Letters to Mom 009: Christmas Eve 2016

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Hey mom,

It’s Christmas Eve. I’m in Vegas with Jason, Lio, Jon, and Jace. I’ve been here for a while now. Since the 18th.

It was the first flight where I had company. Jon and I flew out from Orlando together. At three in the morning… I know you’re jealous. : p

I still cried but it was easier having someone there to hold my hand through take off. It was comforting to know that someone understood why take offs suck for me. Why they’re hard. Why they hurt.

I miss you, mom. I wish you were here. Physically.

I’m alone right now. Everyone else is at a Christmas party. I opted to not go so I could have a chance to write to you. There’s not a lot of time for quiet or solitude with a three-year-old running around. There’s not really a place to set up and work or write or process.

I’ve been sleeping a lot since I’ve been here. Jon made a comment about it. How I sleep a lot. I don’t feel bad for it. All of my bruises from jujitsu are gone. My shoulder isn’t bothering me anymore. I guess physically and emotionally I needed the rest and I let myself have it without regrets.

My birthday wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I wasn’t forced to have a party or anything. I wasn’t forced to fake happiness. I was allowed for it to be just another day and I think that helped. It wasn’t a big deal. We went out for dinner and then got ice cream from Dairy Queen afterward, but aside from that, it was just another day. No gifts. No song singing.

I don’t really know what I want to say. There aren’t really words. I want to give you a hug. I’m reminded of all the times I drove home and spend the holidays with you. How we would sit on the couch and talk about everything and nothing. How we would go out and get Moe’s and eat nachos while Law and Order reruns played in the background. I’m reminded of all the times we were together and how that made me feel at “home” no matter where we were.

I think I’ve finally found that “home” feeling again. The dojo makes me feel that way. Seeing Jim and Paul and Carolina. I look forward to going there. I smile when I see them or think about them. Training makes me feel good.

I don’t think I’m ready to give that up yet.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the job offer. I’ve been thinking about how I have to cram to get everything done. How I should be working 12 hours a day while I’m on vacation for the merest hope of getting the files done in time to send to animators to maybe possibly get something back that’s good enough to go on my reel for February. I keep thinking about how I promised myself a year, and how that year didn’t really even get a chance to start until October when I finally got the apartment. I keep thinking about how I haven’t finished painting and how I’m trying to focus on myself because I always put myself second when it comes to my life.

I keep thinking about my Warrior Dash and Allison’s bachelorette party that I’ve finally started organizing, and then her wedding at the end of March.

I keep thinking about all of these things that I don’t want to give up or compromise on. But if I make the job a priority then I have to do that. I have to compromise. I have to sacrifice myself and the things that I want. I have to sacrifice my happiness for a paycheck essentially.

I don’t want to do that, mom. I’ve figured that out while I’ve been here. I figured it out while I tried to remote desktop into my computer at home to work, only for it to not work even though I had checked to make sure it would before leaving. So instead I installed Maya directly on my Surface and worked for 8 hours instead of cross stitching or spending time with the family I’m supposed to be visiting.

8 hours of working with shitty resolution and mis-clicking things and fixing broken systems that shouldn’t have been broken because they worked on the computer at home.

I still have the trip to Dad’s on the 9th, too. That’s another week where I would have to give up time I’m supposed to be using to bond and rebuild that tattered, beaten, bloodied relationship.

I want to, for once, be able to pick me and not have to defend my choice against an attack.

Why aren’t you working towards this job? Why aren’t you taking this amazing opportunity seriously? What are you doing with your time? Are you scared? Are you in a rut since you’ve been unemployed for so long?

No. Thanks. I’m none of those things.

Opening my scripts for the first time was hard. Emotionally. Like, “had me in tears” hard. Starting work on the first file was even harder. But you know what, I worked through those emotions. I’ve cleared out most of the cobwebs that formed in my brain from disuse. I can feel a difference in myself, in my mentality. I’m finding the love for my craft that I had lost while I was teaching.

I’m making progress.

That doesn’t mean I’m ready to go back.

I’m not ready.

Or rather, I’m not ready to give up my happiness for it. I don’t think that’s wrong of me.

If the contract started in April or even May, then I would be so much more ok with it. But even when Tre first mentioned the time frame my knee jerk reaction was I would have only lived in my apartment for three months. Three months of tentative stability before upending everything all over again.

I’m still going to work on my projects. I’m still going to try, and if it works out, great. But I’ve come to the decision that I’m not going to kill myself to do it. I’m not going to give up the time I’ve already set aside for things I feel are important and worthy ventures. I’m not going to give up my time at the dojo, or the dance classes. I’m not going to give up family. I’m not going to give up sleep, unless I already can’t sleep and then I might as well work because that still happens sometimes. I’m not going to give up myself, burning myself out, stretching myself thin, to try to get this to work.

I think you would understand.

I remember your letter where you said the only thing you wanted for me was to be happy.

I’m finally getting there, mom. I wasn’t crazy depressed on my birthday, and tomorrow doesn’t seem like the black abyss that I thought it would be. I actually think tomorrow will be a pretty decent day. A sad day. I solemn day. But I know I’ll make it through it. I made it through Thanksgiving. I made it through my birthday. I’ll make it through tomorrow and new years. I’ll make it through April 4th, 2017. I’ll make it through every April 4th after that.

I don’t want to give up the things that are helping me survive and I don’t think that’s being selfish or irresponsible. I don’t think that’s being scared or shrinking away from responsibilities. If I’m still able to support myself and not be a burden to others then I don’t think it’s an issue and anyone who does have a problem with it can go make their own decisions in their own life.

I don’t think that’s unfair of me.

I wish I had your perspective. I wish I were home with you, sitting on the couch with nachos talking about all the pros and cons and what ifs that keep popping into my head. I wish I could hear your voice. I wish I could feel your arms around me.

You were the best mentor, the best friend. You were the best mom anyone could ever have, and I’m grateful that I was lucky enough for you to be mine. For 27 years you were the best influence I’ve ever had in my life.

I’m 28 now, mom. For the first time, I felt different on my birthday.

I still don’t know where I’m going with this writing. The tears come and go. The emotions feel like waves inside me. They make me tired, but they aren’t the crushing tidal waves I was terrified of for so long.

There’s a video Jason posted on Dropbox. It’s of the first Christmas Lio’s parents came over from Belguim. Jason says you’re in it. That you smile and laugh a lot. I have another two hours of alone time. I don’t know what to do with it other than curl up in bed and listen to silence, but right now that sounds amazing. But maybe I’ll watch the video first. I miss your smile. I miss your laugh.

I miss you.

I love you, mom. Merry Christmas. I’ll try to make it a good one for you. I promise.

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3 thoughts on “Letters to Mom 009: Christmas Eve 2016

  1. This is very moving, and beautifully written. I wish there was something I could do or say to make it better, but I don’t think there is. I do, however, understand the loss of a parent-so if you need to talk to someone who understands, I’m here.

    Keeping you in my thoughts tonight-take care of yourself and try and have a wonderful Christmas. I don’t know if it would help to know, from what I’ve seen and heard, that you’re a wonderful person and she would be very proud x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I apologize for taking so long to reply to it. I read it almost as soon as you posted. Your words moved me to tears because they helped me feel connected and understood.

      There isn’t anything to be done or words to be spoken. For me that’s one of the hardest things to tell people. I know the people in my life want to help. They want to do something to ease the pain, but there isn’t anything broken. There’s nothing to fix. Grieving is a process, a transformation, and the only thing to be done is to go through it.

      Comments like yours let me know that I’m not going through this transformation alone, and so the pain that sometimes feels overwhelming becomes a more bearable. Hearing people think my mom would still be proud of me helps because there’s a lot of times where I feel like I’m floundering still and messing everything up along the way to nowhere. I sometimes forget that during one of my last conversations with her she told me that she had always been proud of me.

      Your comment, and others like it, help me remember truths like that when things get dark.

      I appreciate you and the fact that you took time out of your day to not only read my post, but to comment with such heartfelt words. Thank you, sincerely, for your support. It means the world to me.

      I hope you had / are having a wonderful holiday season. I’m sending you my warmest wishes.

      With love,

      Jen

      Like

      • It’s no problem Jen! I know there’s nothing much people can do-a family friend has sadly passed away this afternoon which has been quite difficult for everyone. I agree with you that knowing you’re not alone helps-even if people can’t repair the damage, it’s nice to know that you have places to go for a hug, which is a kind of medicine in itself.

        It’s really nice that she told you that. Everybody feels like they’re messing up from time to time-but that’s 100% normal and you don’t need to be perfect, so long as you’re doing the best you can :). So long as you’re kind and caring, you’ll always have meaning and a purpose.

        It must hurt very deeply 😦

        But I wish you a very happy and hopeful new year too, if you can! And, as I said, I’m here if you ever need me 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

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