Monday, December 28, 2009

Mom's Olay

As I got ready for a client this morning I noticed my face was a little dry. I reached into the cabinet and pulled out a plastic bottle of Oil of Olay and dabbed some on my chin, my cheeks, my forehead, my neck. And then I slipped back in time a little.

After my mom died I took over most of her belongings. It was too painful for her brother and my grandparents to take anything, so they pawned it all off on me, citing that I would be honored to have these little reminders of her everyday. I was sixteen and hadn't yet figured out how to say no to anyone, so I took most of it.

The clothes that didn't fit me I convinced my grandmother to donate to a women's shelter in Los Angeles. I held on to pretty much everything else. Including her make-up and toiletries.

My mom loved Giorgio. But at some point she stopped buying it because the same scent seemed to come out of a little yellow striped can that stated, "If you like Giorgio, you'll love...". Since the can wasn't the real thing (and the smell of it kind of made me sick), I had no problem tossing it into the trash.

She had a plastic bottle of Jafra body lotion, which I used up within the first few months. I didn't relate the smell to just my mom since I've always used my mom's lotion. It was hardly like using my mom's lotion at all.

And then she had a glass bottle of Oil of Olay. Pink glass. Black label. I can hear the sound of the black plastic cap being screwed off the glass top. I can smell the Original scent of creme. I can feel the moisture being locked into my skin after my morning shower.

I don't remember when I actually finished that bottle, because I kept it for quite some time after I emptied it into my pores. It might have been a few months, it might have been a few years. I'm sure I used it long after the expiration date had passed, though, because I remember at one point seeing 04/92 stamped on the bottle. Seeing the date now reminds me of just how long ago that really was.

For a long time I remembered how much I missed my mom, and a moment like this morning where I was taken back to the scent of my mother's Oil of Olay might have sent me into a long list of why it's so horrible that my mom was taken away from me so long ago. But when that moment this morning happened, I simply smiled. I remembered my mom. And I thanked her for my youthful skin. I doubt I would have started using the Olay at age 16 had it not been for her.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Keep On Keepin On

I've been doing a bit of reflecting of late, and realize just how much growth there's been for me this past year. Not just for me, but for the book. This year the book went from concept to paper to being read to being edited. It's not that there's nothing left to do; there's plenty left to do. But the growth I've had this year gives me a sense of urgency for getting the book finished and published and out there into the world.

I keep having this dream (even when they suck, I hate to call them nightmares) that I get the book published and no one buys it. Or that two people buy it and they both tell me it's crap. Or that five people buy it and they form a group to come TP my house because they expected more out of me. I hide inside while I see rolls of toilet paper flying hither and thither, and people from the neighborhood join in on the egg throwing and the toilet paper tossing while my dog looks at me in contempt and refuses to protect me. Dreams are stupid. At least the ones I refuse to call nightmares are.

I know this is just fear of working for years on a project that doesn't relate to anyone. And I know this fear is unfounded. Everyone I've handed the book to has been touched. The greatest compliment I got from handing the book out to my cast of feedbackers was that most of them cried. It's not that I was trying to make anyone cry; I just told my story. And while my story is written around the cancer that took my father from me, the basis was the relationship between my father and I. I guess the story's not for everyone, but I've realized that I'm not really writing it for anyone else; I'm writing it for me.

Without this book and the last three years of writing it, I might not have ever learned a thing from my father's death but that he's not coming back. By reflecting, by writing, I've been able to connect with me. Who I was then, who I am now, and who I'm on my way to becoming. I've learned more about myself in this past year or four than I have in the my thirty years prior. I've been able to connect with myself in a way I never knew existed, let alone thought was possible. I guess that connection is what people relate to, not the details of my story.

We're all human. We all feel. We all have relationships, whether they work for us or not. Those relationships all need tending to. And at some point all of those relationships will cease to exist, whether we like to admit it or not. By change, by circumstance, by accident, by death. I want to create as much learning, as much healing as I can in the relationships that haven't yet ceased to exist.

I guess I'm still trying to figure it all out.

In the meantime, I'll just keep writing.

What about you?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In Progress (Aren't We All?)

Draft 7 is on the way. In progress (aren't we all?). Streaming wildly, slowly, softly, thoroughly. Writing in stream of consciousness style of late, and it seems to be working. The connection to my father grows and grows as the days without him pass me by. It seems to me that the connection I create (retain?) by writing about him and me and our relationship and what it was like to lose him and live with him and take care of him and feel guilty for not taking better care of him, for not making him well and making him beat the cancer. By writing about all of this, my love soars and my heart grows for him. I have new and old appreciations coming to light for all of my relationships. I feel less at ease with questions in passing and long for deep conversations about who you are and what's important to you. I feel motivated to share this connection with my father, to share this connection with you, with him, with her, with everyone, everywhere. Because aren't we all connected? Don't we all share something (what is it, what is it??) with each other? We share this emotion, this passion, this grace, this gratitude, this life, this focus, this awareness, this conscious effort to [be who I am], this grief, this loss, this air, this memory—albeit for different things, but we share it nonetheless.

And so I remain in progress, as ever I will be while I'm alive (don't you, too?). At some point the book will be finished and cease to be in progress, but me, I prefer to always be on to the next bit of growth.

As for the book...I'll be testing excerpts (although is it still an excerpt if it doesn't actually end up in the book?) to see how it feels to get some of this out into the world.

I must remember to breathe.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


always too long since the last post. the thing about blah blah blah is blah blah blah. it's all the same thing. i've got to get back to being connected to writing. i've got to get reconnected. and i've got to realize that the connection is never lost. this is not like a magnetic field that gets interrupted, this connection i have to my source is all powerful, all abundant, and so is my ability for keeping things invisible. like my good state of mind. it's always good but sometimes i think it's not because i hide it from myself. where does it go, my good state of mind? it goes in the closet, out the door, left behind with the shoes i wore last week on a run, or maybe in the grass where jackson peed while we were on our run. he looks so free when he takes off running without me. i let the leash down and tell him, go 'head good boy, and he runs and runs and runs as if he'll never come back and then he reaches that point, that same point every time, only sometimes it's 5 yards, sometimes it's 50 yards away, where he stops and turns around, looks over his shoulder to make sure i'm still running behind him, still trying to catch up with him, and then takes off for another sprint way. and all the while i see myself in him, longing to have that run to be free and let myself loose with each moment of each day. only i feel like i can't be that free, i can't be that loose because there are bills to pay and mouths to feed, bills to feed and mouths to pay. oh jewel, where are the days when you wrote a good song again? but songs won't reconnect me to writing. or maybe they will. maybe that's what i'm missing is to turn on some music and get myself inspired, like the blog told me to. i read a blog this morning that told me to read newspapers and magazines and blogs to get inspired, and to listen to music and the radio to get inspired. hogwash. inspiration comes from beauty and i don't feel beautiful right now. i feel horrid. and cold. and disengaged. and there is no inspiration from where i'm sitting, but i can't seem to choose to get up. the cold keeps me here, staring out a window that surely holds beauty on the other side of it, but I can't for the life of me figure out where. and so i sit here, waiting for inspiration to find me, inspire me, take hold of me and toss me around like a rag doll until i am shaken and stirred, like a dirty neat martini on a friday night.