Everything Except the Canvas

One of my roommates in Cali was a painter. A wonderful one at that. When she needed to refocus or just calm herself she pulled out her paints, paintbrushes, canvas and laid it all out – in the kitchen, in the backyard, in her room – it didn’t matter where. From time to time I’d walk by to watch her work. The way the colors all blended together, the strokes which filled the canvas, the layers which added depth – all amazed me. Near the end of my time there she brought out all of her supplies and asked the rest of us if we wanted to join her. After debating, I jumped on board. I love to be creative, and painting is something I haven’t really ever done – unless you count those pictures every child creates with the dollar watercolors or finger paints. As I watched an image that was only in my mind slowly be created on this canvas I was enthralled. When I finished the piece, the feeling of accomplishment was overwhelming. I turned it around and wrote #1 on the back – as it was a gift to a very dear woman who had treated me as her own daughter while we were in school together.

Since then I’ve wanted to paint more. Back when there was a relationship in my life and the other person in it pushed me to find my own hobbies, I figured painting could be one of them. I wanted to be like Allie in The Notebook. Have a guy who loves her so much that even if she isn’t in his life he builds a house exactly like the one she wants – including a room just for her to paint in. *smiles* It’s sweet.  Well, anyway. Once the relationship ended I threw myself into work and activities, absolutely denying myself the ability to express myself in any form aside from this very blog you read. The desire to do something I had found pleasure in while he was in my life was stripped away. Only recently have I longed to pull out a canvas and create a world – one which only I had knowledge of. So what did I do? Well, I went and found a small collection of paints (a 12 color starter set of sorts) and a small bundle of paint brushes – Merry Christmas to me! The only thing I’m missing is the canvas. The blank slate. The empty world. The openness to whatever.

Isn’t that just the way it goes in life? We have to be open – willing for whatever is next before it hits and starts on a new picture (season) of your life.

I think I’m ready for my canvas now…

Miss Grinch

The grinch. We all have heard of him and know the type of person. I’ve never been a big fan when it came to Christmas. I’ve always felt it was over-hyped and more materialistic than remembered for the reason it exists. This year my feelings are a little bit more evident though. Most people accept the fact that my dad is in the hospital as reason enough to not be in the chipper, friendly mood usually found at this time. Others though still argue with me that I should still be listening to Christmas music, wrapping presents and otherwise smiling and joyful.
In my life, if I put my mind on something and have it planned out, it has to happen. Otherwise, I’m not sure how to accept the non-happenings. This is what I’m experiencing, on top of memories of Christmas last. All of this on top of my dad (still) being in the hospital, I’m just not even interested in the fact that Christmas is on Sunday.
So, call me a grinch – you won’t be the first.
I dislike Christmas songs and movies, commercials for jewelry make me scream, seeing couples or families in vehicles increases my push on the accelerator, relationship status changes lead to avoiding the book of faces, hearing of people’s plans to visit their family, trim trees, bake cookies, exchange presents and be merry together is just too much for me.
All I know is that I’d be better if I could burn memories from my mind, forget the plans of a first Christmas, be finished at a job I thought I’d have done weeks ago, not have a father who’s in the hospital and feel settled enough to say I’m ‘home’.
This is me, Miss Grinch.

Standards

My mind has been fluttering between thoughts of my dad, work, my car, family, friends, puppies, the house, my ex, the holidays, my upcoming birthday, and so many other things recently it’s hard to keep track of life. Things have been occurring left and right with those I hold most dear, but still nothing can knock out my thoughts on this time of the year.

Last year I was in a different physical, mental and emotional state. I was looking forward to returning to PA and spending the entire Christmas break with my boyfriend. We had gone through a lot that first semester, but it was nothing compared to what we would face once I left for the spring semester.
One thing I remember discussing with him when we first entered into our relationship was how he had moved from western PA to central PA earlier than planned because things had gone awry with a girl out there. Something I just recently realized is, now that he’s older and girls pay attention to him, he can’t be single for long. It was only 4 months after we ended our engagement, and 2 months after he told me that he’d always be there for me (on the night we said goodbye forever) that he entered into a new relationship.  That doesn’t quite add up for me in my world, I’m sorry. If you were truly committed to someone and honestly loved them you wouldn’t pick up the first person to come along and enter into a relationship with them. There’s something wrong with you if you do.

The inability to be alone exists from an incredible amount of fears.

Considering this is all occurring in his life, I’m not surprised. The light in which I have viewed him since June/August has revealed so many things, I can’t believe I hadn’t seen most of them while we were engaged.  If his standards are so low and his fears so high that he is satisfied with this current relationship, wow. No wonder he wasn’t comfortable with me in the Spring. I pushed him to take responsibility for himself and to step up and be a man. In his eyes that meant attempting to pull me apart and tell me how I should be. Granted, I did this to a certain extent – but I longed for a spouse who was at least on the same level as me. It’s warned in the Bible to not bring yourself together with someone who is not on the same path as you. Because he and I had at one point been on the same level, the same path, I had desired to continue together – apparently though he just wasn’t up for it. My path took me further into a relationship with God and his… Well, he will do as he pleases.

My heart has longed for someone to be there for me, to give me a shoulder to cry on, to handle some of my errands, to spend time with me while I visit my dad, to discuss options with me, to compliment me on the things I get done, to remind me that everything will be okay – and hold me, to sit me down and chill me out… But I’m not stopping at the first guy who says Hi. My options to this point have all been lacking.
My standards are set so high now that even in the midst of the most difficult time I’ve ever had in my life, I’d rather be alone than with any of the guys who surround me.

The Guilty Daughter

Sometimes even when we do what we are supposed to, we still feel guilt.

As mentioned in “Hospitals, cars and weddings“, my dad has been sick lately and in the hospital. He was discharged last Tuesday, but by Thursday was unable to swallow. It was at that point he and my mom made their way to Hershey Medical Center – a much better hospital than the po-dunk one he had been in (where they found nothing wrong with him). For the past week my life has been consumed with concern for him and spending all of my free time with him and my mom at the hospital. Neither of my brothers are able to come to see my father, as one is in Austria and the other in Texas – both absolutely overwhelmed with work, new businesses, car issues and financial issues of their own.
Since my dad hasn’t been feeling well the emotional and physical drain on my mom has been obvious. On Thursday night while we were still in the ER waiting for the docs to admit my dad I saw my mom break. She allowed her husband hold her in his arms and let her tears fall on his shoulder.   Seeing both of my parents in states I am simply not used to takes a lot out of me. On top of which I’m still juggling 3 (or is it 4?) jobs, a car which still isn’t fixed, friendships and what I believe people call “breathing”.
The guilt comes in to play in the sense which I don’t feel like there’s anything I can do which will ease the situation on either of my parents, I’m the only child in the area so I’m expected to either be with my dad or be at home taking care of things there (like the baby puppies!). On Friday night I had a ticket to go see one of my favorite performers who was in the area and it took all of me to leave my dad and go spend time ‘enjoying’ myself. The hours I spend sitting in the hospital room with my mom and dad I find myself thinking about the work I should be doing and become frustrated. When I realize I still haven’t cried at all it makes me wonder why I’m forcing myself to be so strong.
This is what I do though – even when my life is crazy, I push aside my own emotions and concern myself with those around me.