Sunday, April 08, 2012

Pardon Me for Being Absent. I'm Living.

When I first began Notes from the Cookie Jar, blogging was intoxicating.  I could spend an entire day doing nothing but write-about what, I'm not sure.  Maybe I had kept in so much for so long, the dam burst and it all leapt out onto the keyboard.

Six years later, I'm writing less, especially lately.  Not because the shine of blogging has waned-in fact, I love blogging more now than I did then.  As I type this very second, I'm sitting in my kitchen watching robins peck at the lawn for worms, with chicken broth bubbling on the stove.  I adore the community I have found, the friends I have made, and the wonderful companies I have made connections with.

I used to feel like I had to be connected all the time-must keep up with all the gossip and news, be posting all the time, because if I let things slide at all, I'd be doing it wrong.  I wouldn't have traffic! People would stop reading!

Of course, that was before life decided to slap me upside the head and laugh.  You see, the last nine months have been a little...rough.  A best friend fighting cancer, a husband diagnosed with a serious illness, brutal medications and their side effects, a newly minted online school teenager, new jobs for me, and in the middle of all this you'd think I would've considered crawling into a hole and never coming out.   (trust me, I have those days and I still do)

There have been many, many moments that I've wanted to share but haven't because they are unbloggable.  While some may argue that stories need to be told, sometimes things are too personal, too fresh and painful, and not really my story to tell.  I want loved ones to feel safe and not that everything they say to me will be held up for public consumption.  One day, those stories may be told, but right now is not the time.

Sometimes, at night by the fire as I've watched John sleep, it would be easy to let myself write about how hard and depressing it can be watching people you love battle illness, but I'm often afraid that if I go down that path I won't be able to leave it.  It's easy to go there, and wallow. Easy to take in the questions and concern over twitter, talking endlessly about how horrible things are.  What's much harder is pulling myself up, dusting myself off, and getting on with it.

Yesterday I wandered into the the coffee shop that my bestie and I used to frequent.  We would sip tea at a table in the corner amoung the tacky tourist knick nacks, watching the sun set over the ocean, discussing life, husbands, and dissecting whatever celebrity gossip was popular at the time.  We haven't been there since her cancer diagnosis last August and looking for some sodas for Kevin's Easter basket, I dropped by.

The minute I walked in, I knew it was a mistake.  Nothing has changed, really.  Colorful tubs of gelato still line the dairy case, girls will still froth up milk to make you a latte.  Fun food products line the shelves, and there are sodas at the back.

I glanced in the fridge, then turned and saw our table, sitting empty.  Sea themed knicknacks, the magazine rack that we used to browse, the same gorgeous view of the ocean were all still there.  This time, I wasn't waiting for her to come so that we could chat like we usually do-because she's moving away,  closer to cancer treatment.   Rooted to the floor, I stood and stared at the table for a few minutes before finally bolting from the store for the solitude of my car where I sobbed the entire way home.

Sometimes we all need to be in that sad, self pity place, she says.  But you know, it's really boring to stay there. 

It's tempting to take the words of people who are sick and hold them up as great words of wisdom-something with great meaning to hang onto.  The truth is, just trying to survive circumstances that threaten to over take us makes all of us reach for something to hang onto.  These words, however unintentionally inspirational she may think they are, have rung in my ears, every single time I've slipped into that sad, self pity place over the past nine months.

Okay, be sad.  Then get off your butt and live, dammit. Because you CAN.
Can't get a post up? Fine. Take a nap.  Get outside, every single day, and make myself sweat.  Exercise until I am too tired to overthink things. Start a container garden.  Dive into my kitchen, and if I get photos of everything I make, great. If I don't?  Oh well.  Write when I have something to say.  Tweet.  Visit friends. Go to kick ass conferences.  Walks by the ocean.  Drink wine.  Eat really good chocolate.   Stop to look at the sunsets off the back porch.  Sneak kisses from Hubs now and then. Dance in the gym with students. Send silly Facebook messages back and forth with Kevin.  Love.

Oh my god, most of all, love.  If anything, the last nine months have taught me this:

Love really is ALL you need.

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