Dilemma

I have a piece of artwork that has got me in a quandary.

It’s a painting, done by a friend, that is beautiful, that is huge.

And that is so connected to him; he gave it to me in the woo-ing me back stage. I had mentioned once in passing that she was an amazing artist and that she had done this one…

And we all know what happened after that.

There’s some additional history to this gift that I won’t get into, but suffice it to say there’s a second one out there too.

So I hung it on my wall here because the space screamed for an extra-large piece of art.

But in the process of getting over him, I took it down.

And now it’s propped up against the wall in my house while I ponder on hanging on to it even though I have nowhere truly safe to store it.

But I do love it so.

For now, though, I I walk by it and think, “Oh yeah, there’s that fucking painting.”

Processing

One thing I’ve realized this year is that I have done the majority of my processing by myself.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself around it – just thinking about it.

I have some really amazing friends. I have people available, if and when I call on them. There have definitely been occasions when I have shown up on doorsteps in tears, but more often than not, I have dealt with the bulk of this on my own.

Usually I am more dependent on others, more in need of hashing out every detail and getting affirmation from anyone and everyone who was willing to listen, more in want of advice and guidance from those around me.

But not so much this time.

Maybe because the way it all played out felt enough like middle school that I was didn’t want to create more of it. Maybe it’s because I felt alienated from an entire group of friends. Maybe it’s because I’m embarrassed by all of the drama. Maybe because I figure that everyone is sick to death of listening to me. Maybe because I understand that other people also have hard stuff in their worlds and I didn’t necessarily want to be my narcissistic self when others needed support. Maybe I imagined that no one could understand the absolute insanity of all that was happening.

I leaned on different people for different reasons: different pieces of the drama: like the friend whose son is also a felon or the friend who has offered spiritual guidance to help me remain standing.

I’ve written about it, receiving support from my readers, but so much of what has happened I kept under wraps in my writing because it hasn’t been appropriate to make some things public.

And things kept under wraps are things that I process alone.

It doesn’t matter why or why not. What matters is how I’ve done this.

Has it been good for me?

That’s the main question here.

Has it made me stronger or is it that I haven’t fully dealt with my shit?

I live alone. I do most things alone. I go to the desert alone. I don’t talk on the phone.

I am absolutely a classic introvert but I hate saying that because suddenly it’s hip to be socially awkward and avoid people.

I spent most of the year hiding out – avoiding the possibility of running into anyone that I might not want to encounter.

I feel like my trips to Utah have been the saving grace but maybe it’s been a really unhealthy way of isolating myself?

Because sometimes I am really lonely.

But I might be just as lonely if I had leaned on 50 of my best friends every day all year long.

And now I hesitate to reach out because if I am sick and tired of my world of shit, I can’t imagine how sick and tired of it other people are.

I like to think that it’s been really good for me to stand on my own.

I’m at the rambling point now so I’ll stop.

And most likely pack up the truck and head west.

 

Number 33

“I’m headed up Denali for a shift. If anything happens, I have the Outward Bound van stashed at _________’s place and the key is tied to the rear axle.”

Those were some of the last words I heard Mike say before he went up on Denali and died.

And today, of all days, my son popped in unexpectedly and when he threw his keys on my kitchen counter, I saw the number tag from that van that Mike had stashed in Talkeetna when he flew in to the glacier.

There’s no mistaking an old COBS key ring

I didn’t know it still existed.

My breath caught and I reached for it without a thought, mesmerized; flooded with feelings: physical stirrings, an emotional rinse; just a moment wherein I was completely taken over with unconscious memory.

For a brief moment I was transported twenty years back in time and I was outside that van, about to unlock it, and open the door onto the pieces of Mike’s life that were tucked away waiting for him to come off the mountain.

The smell that bowled me over when that door slid back was a combination of chain saw two-stroke gas, dirty socks, mildewed rain gear, and wood stove smoke. It’s the smell of my memories of Mike.

As I held the 33 in my hand, my brain was breathing in the fragrance of him.

And my sweet sweet boy said, “Do you want it mom?”

Never one to take anything from my generous children, I tried to hesitate, I imagined saying no thank you, and yet “yes” flew from my mouth completely unhindered.

And now it’s mine.

September 14

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Accident.

One year.

It’s been the longest, saddest, hardest, scariest year of my family’s life, and yet, it feels like it can’t possibly be an entire year since that night.

I haven’t really written many details about the accident or the fallout from it, out of respect for my son and the other families involved. I’m holding true to that but I will share what happened:

My guy and three of his friends chose a random place in the country to hang out and party. Then they all got into my son’s truck to drive home.

He hit a huge cottonwood.

There were broken femurs, a broken jaw, a broken face, a broken neck, and several other serious injuries. Children were airlifted to other hospitals. My son was transferred from police custody to the ICU.

He was charged with 3 felony counts of vehicular assault which each carry a sentence of up to 5 years in prison. Add an aggravated DUI to that with up to a year in county jail for that one – and no, nothing could be served consecutively.

Meanwhile, his friends and their families were moving through the not so gentle aftermath of that night, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

We went through the system, and yes, it is a very slow process.

Painfully so.

When we finally got around to his sentencing we had accepted a plea agreement from the District Attorney, which keeps him out of prison as long as he adheres to demands of his probation for the next 2 years. Also at the end of that two years, he will be able to say that he is not a convicted felon.

The State owns him, which is fine with me – he fucked up – but his life will not be shaped by a felony record.

Most importantly, his three friends are alive and well.

 

 

 

 

I need something

Besides sex, I need something else – a purpose or a change – something to get excited about, look forward to, to ponder, to wonder, to wish for – something positive to occupy my brain.

I am depressed and lonely – not horribly so, but it’s there enough that I have to consciously fight against it to get out of bed and do the day.

After sleeping most of the weekend away, I forced myself out yesterday and went on one of my go-to adventures: a trip to Silverton.

Silverton is where I had some of the best times of my life, where I felt strong and competent and light. Plus, it’s so fucking beautiful and feels like home. Going there usually helps any negative feelings wash right off and all I am left with are elation and joy.

It didn’t really work yesterday. I spent most of the day driving around crying; loud crying that just wouldn’t stop.

I was going to drive up one of the passes and hike along a ridge above tree line to get to an old haunt that I haven’t visited in years, but on my way up 550, it rained a bit and I resigned myself to not hiking above tree line for fear of lightning.

The day just fell apart from there. I got in my head that there was going to be lightning (danger) everywhere so hiking as an activity was off the list.

Then I decided that I would still drive the pass but after dealing with one mildly rough road and a bunch of OHV’s I decided that I wasn’t in the mood to go four-wheeling either.

So I chose to drive up into a gulch that I remember as beautiful. The road was more narrow and steep than I recalled. I got a few miles up and then hit a turn that would have sent me plummeting had I made one wrong move and I turned back.

What happened Sally? What happened to your ease and comfort in the mountains? Where’s your badassery?

I used to drive HUGE F350 cage trucks up, down, and over way worse, fearlessly, and yesterday I couldn’t make it around a simple bend.

And, the skies were clear.

Why did I sabotage my own day?

Because I am sad and lost and directionless. My self-esteem has been shot to hell.

I need something to which I can look forward; but it needs to be ongoing, not just a one day event. I’m going to Florida with my kids next week, which is great, but I am already dreading coming home to the humdrum.

Recently there was a possibility (again) of moving to Utah, and there was a not-boyfriend in the picture who had the potential of becoming a boyfriend.

Neither one happened. The stars did not align for the move (this town just will not let go) and the not-boyfriend became a not not-boyfriend, which is fine.

But those two things gave me reason to get up every day: I had something to anticipate, get excited about, hope for, and it helped.

Now I am left alone with my grief, my lack of direction, the weight of it being one year later and not feeling like I’ve landed on my feet – at least not yet.

It could be worse – my son could be in jail. Someone could have died that night. I know enough to be eternally grateful.

But with all the friends in the world, I am lonely. And not necessarily in a “I need a man” kind of way, but there is a hole in my world, in my heart, that still exists; it hasn’t filled itself in yet.

Part of me is thankful to have life be back to normal, uneventful. I keep saying “Boring is good” after this last drama-filled year.

But back to normal is relative. I no longer have a normal to return to – my normal was obliterated.

And I’m not the same person. This year has made me feel old, weary. I don’t have joy in my world like I used to, daily. I wouldn’t necessarily say cynical and jaded, but worn down?

Yes.

Less enthused. Sporting a blanket of sadness. Heavy.

I want something to bring me back to joy, excitement, enthusiasm, lighthearted happiness.

Any suggestions?

 

alone

I blew off paddle boarding with friends today to instead go alone with my dog.

I had to force myself to go to the coffee shop to have some human interaction before I hole up for the rest of the weekend.

I did not bring my dog because he didn’t want to sit in the hot car.

I keep looking for him.

I spoke to him in the car.

He was at home.

He loves to paddle board. He willingly hops on and is good for at least an hour before he needs to stretch his legs. Sometimes he sits at the helm, others, he scouts behind us for attacking sharks.

He loves to watch birds.

He’s afraid of buoys. I found this out recently when I got close to one and heard a sudden splash behind me. I have no idea if he backed off accidentally or jumped off to swim away, but either way, he ended up in over his head out of utter terror.

With entertainment like that, who needs friends?

 

the discerning art collector

Whenever I walk past Pier One I look at the display windows and wonder, who finds mass-produced art attractive and actually wants it hanging on their walls?

Admittedly, it’s quite snobby of me.

I believe in one-of-a-kinds, originals, cool shit you find in the back of a thrift store, or art produced by friends.

So as I’m checking out at the Salvation Army the other day, I saw this hanging on the wall:

And I’m totally excited because it’s a real canvas stretched on a real wooden frame and there’s even a layer of gesso on some sections.

Convinced I’ve scored, I hang it on the wall, sit back and appreciate my new bird.

Then I notice that it’s hanging a bit cattywumpus and when I take it down to adjust, I see the sticker on the back:

Pier One Imports.

Guess who like mass-produced art.