Secret Pop

Jan 26, 2002

Swelling of the eyes and other tales

I drove down on Thursday night so that I would be able to attend the funeral today (yesterday, technically). As much as I cried incessantly and suffered the painful headache-y and puffy-eyed aftermath of that, I'm so glad I did. I'm so glad I heard my father speak and was able to feel so much pride in him and how wonderful he is. And I was so moved by the giant outpouring of love and appreciation at the service. It gave me pause.

I also got to see a lot of familiar faces. Some kids I haven't seen since they were in elementary school who are now all grown up and making decisions about their lives. It makes me want to rush to the bathroom mirror -- the only one I have, curses -- and check for grey hairs. And I got to express my love and my support to people I really care about and was glad to see.

And then I had to do a comedy show. Definitely not my best work, but I suppose it's understandable. I even got the challenge of having to come up with lines for World's Worst based on the suggestion "funeral." Method acting, I guess. Just take it in stride. My eyes ache. My head hurts. I'm kind of hungry. And I'm cold. And I wasn't funny enough tonight to merit any sense of satisfaction or pride. I guess I'll get 'em next time.

And, Alex, if you're reading this, don't be a nincompoop. How many times did I alert you -- either by phone call or email -- that so much of what I wrote here was intended specifically to be read by you. Honestly. You, nameless as you may have been on these pages, have been tightly knit into everything I have thought and felt over these past few months. Don't think otherwise. And you are mentioned on the home page and in the guestbook. Seriously. How demanding does a chap have a right to be? (And, of course, you must know that I bear you no ill will. I'm glad to hear from you, no matter the ribbing. And I am envious of double-decker buses and Don King sightings and beer in the wee hours and den-of-sin decor. Believe it.)

I am reluctant to call it a night. I have felt a lot of things today. I have traversed a huge spectrum of emotions. I have had thoughts that were healing and thoughts that cut me to the core. I have had swelling bursts of encouragement and dagger-like assaults of personal indictment. It isn't just the humility that comes with recognition of my mortality. It is the silent but thorough surveying of all that I am, all that I have been, all that I have become, and all that I hope I will allow myself to be.

When I look for words to describe myself or my state at any given moment, I have recently been at a loss more often than not. Recogizing that I have opened my thoughts to scrutiny. Knowing that the easy comfort of privacy does not exist here. I think it tempers my thinking and guards my words. And half of the time, I think that is the best possible scenario.

I realized today that, despite all the difficulty and disappointment that have often crowded my days, I am a girl who laughs a lot. I am a girl who smiles and enjoys things. I am a girl who makes the people near her smile, too. And it is hardest for me when I know that I am not able to convey smiles or laughter. When I know that I can't provoke those things in others. It is uncomfortable for me to be the one who needs a warm embrace or a word of encouragement. And yet I know that I am always the one who could use those things.

I am looking forward to spending a nice day with my family. I am hoping to be content with that. And I think the outlook is good. I have been less and less inclined to want something other than what I have at the moment. To prefer what someone else ordered to what I got. To wish I had chosen a different movie. Insert metaphor here. I have been more and more inclined to look for the winning aspects of what sits in my lap. And to sleep the night through.

I am not by any means invincible. I'm not even particularly powerul, in my estimation. But I am inclined to be better. Every day, I am. And I am inclined to find joy and satisfaction in things wherever I can -- even if that means just buying more cool pants.

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