February Frost

We–most of us–have a month or an event that becomes hard for us. As the years go by, maybe the hurt gets a little better, or you just learn to adjust. Or, like me, you either suffer in silence or burst onto the world, somehow.

February has always been a double-edged sword. In previous years, it was because of Valentine’s Day. Oh what, that commercialized thing that I shouldn’t care about? It’s awfully hard, when all you’ve ever gotten is pity gifts. It’s…kind of worse when you see endless adverts for what to get s0-and-so, and people are saying up and down “oh it’s just a holiday, I show him/her/them love all the time, sooo…”, but end up getting their boo something nice, or THEY get something nice. It’s kind of like you KNOW the whack to the head is coming. You see it, you hate it, you anticipate it. Meh. Anyway…

Me?

Usually in the corner, sigh of longing escaping my lips. Sad eyes, wondering when’s it going to be my time to get a gift. I mean, I LIKE HEARTS, OKAY? I like pretty hearts and campy candy. I like fuzzy bears and love mugs. I like cards. I’m a sappy yutz. You don’t have to break the bank, but for fuck’s sake–I love love. I don’t think V-Day is THAT bad. The USA is one consumerism machine, anyway. So we can’t act like we don’t like stuff. Maybe not ALL the stuff, but you like stuff.

The interesting (not really.) part is that for the exception of one beau/boyfriend/boo, I have had one pretty decent Valentine’s Day. He had to work that day, but eventually found the time to slip me a little white bear, some chocolate, and some good ass lovin’. I was TOUCHED. He was the only one, bless his curly-haired, Undertaker-loving self.

The rest of them?

“I don’t believe in this holiday.”

or

“It’s a commercialized [insert variation of what it is here]”,

And I’m sitting there all defeated, trying not to show it. Just agreeing, but not really. It made me feel like my worries and confirmations about not being worth it were true. Not even worth a campy gift? Oh dude, if he can’t go to Walgreen’s to at least try to throw some shit together, throw in the towel. NOW. What else won’t you be worth enough for?

Then I also felt bad and stupid for asking them what THEY wanted. Like a child, if you will. Here I am, all wide-eyed and idiotic, asking these non-believers what they want. How innocent, how basic, how…embarrassing.

I sort of did it again this past month.

When that old feeling came back–the stupidity feeling, the not feeling worth it thing, I started to ask myself why any of this mattered. Why I wanted a gift, beyond my love of hearts and shiny baubles. I didn’t need the entire world, but I just like celebrating holidays. I can give and get love at any time, despite very few people crushing or desiring me. And yes, I was right there with A–but even that was complicated.

I was already feeling like extended time with me sort of turned him off from me. Which…really branched off into some soft ass feelings. I didn’t want to keep bothering him with my feelings. He has so much going on. I’m…here, you know? But to chase him and hound him isn’t my style. It also felt stupid/pathetic/odd to be defending the holiday, let alone hinting I wanted something/wanted to give him something, and he’s so…not for it. It means nothing to him, but the world to me. Anyway….

It wasn’t about being selfish or ungrateful. He did a lot of nice stuff for me. I realized that maybe–like most moments after February 1988–I just wanted comfort. I wanted to forget that one of the worst days of my life happened the week of Valentine’s Day.

To be honest, I never knew the exact date until I read a program almost two decades later. I knew it was cold when she died. I knew my dad didn’t want to take me to the funeral. I have written about this before. Yet as I get older, smarter, and mature–I realize that what my dad says is true; you never really get over the hurt of losing someone when they die.

Listen.

I get that this day is crap to some people. I get that stores and websites pounce on it to get sales. I get it. I get that love should be given daily. Believe me–being a single loser idiot for so long gives you a lot of time to think. Trying to cope and pretend and adjust will do that too. I just wanted love, okay? It’s hard getting sad in front of all these people I live with. Which makes no sense, but I sometimes don’t want them to know I’m like this. That I am 31 and weeping for my mother, whom I barely remember. That holidays colliding with the week of her death mean something to me. That I have so many memories of pity gifts and family gifts, and held on to the entitled comfort that there would be more.

How dare I.

I will never ask for the moon. Just something nice. Just some consideration.

I spent a lot of time online trying to find other sad souls. Reaching out to them, saying something nice. I wanted to spread the love. I still kind of feel like…an idiot for having these mushy feelings.

Then, last year, something happened.

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This beautiful, loud, wiggly nugget of softness and perfection was born. I started watching her February 2016. I think this was the first year the loneliness wasn’t as bad as it used to be. It gave me hope. I always feel like I have so much love to give, but nowhere to put it. Or that I’m so repulsive or annoying that people don’t want it. Then Imani was born, and it became different.

Her birthday is the 4th of February. She will be one this year.

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I love her. It was instant. I don’t care if we are not blood related, she is my beautiful step-cousin. Loud, silly, and a little diva, but she is my heart.

That pain will not disappear. The embarrassment of liking what I like won’t go, either. I guess there will always be an innocent coping method within me. I don’t really like my birthday either, and sort of need to escape the fact that my grandfather died the day before it. But, you can’t escape it. You can only soothe the soul for a little while.

I don’t think I will ever be able to voice my defense of Valentine’s Day. I hated it for a while, too. Whole neighborhood full of men, rushing to get their girl something. My dad, rushing to get his girl something. He got some some candy too, but….I mean…I wanted romance. I like romance. I like giving people attention and care. I like getting it back. It’s been a while and maybe I’m rusty, but romantic affection is nice. I’m grateful for the gifts I have gotten, though. Can’t stress that enough.

I then realized that love comes in more than the lust and romantic forms. Perhaps that is what I wanted, but love is everywhere. Love is within me. It’s lonely sometimes, but maybe I need to look a little harder to find other people to love. What if they’re lonely just like I am, and don’t have the Internet?

Please don’t think I’m a selfish and needy person. Or that I need a lot of stuff to feel a certain way. I like stuff, but I like the concept of giving behind stuff. Maybe I want the kind of love my uncle and aunt have–imperfect, but so often it is in sync that the little things seem so big to me. I wish I had that.

When A tells me to slow down, it kind of makes me feel like I am going too fast. It’s just that I know what I want. I’m not trying to rush it, but I just want my hands on it. I don’t want to always silence myself. I want to show someone I care about them all the time–even on campy holidays.

I like camp, sometimes.

My mother was a Pre-K teacher, for crying out loud. Campy decorations were sort of her thing. She was sort of sensitive like me, so…yeah.

So I’m starting my own tradition. Party City and Dollar Tree–just get V-Day stuff. Enjoy it, like it. I’m not going to hint at wanting stuff. I’m not going to bring it up again once the topic has been put down. I’m going to enjoy my campy commercial thing. I’ll…sort out the moist feelings later.

Or, eventually….

Get more used to them?

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Anyway.

Love you, ma. Miss you.

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Never Give Up, Be Brave, Be a Lion(ess)

I write this, sipping coffee and feeling the super gross Sara Lee brownie rolling around in my body. I write this, fully ready to talk about the change in my person since nestling and settling in TN. I write this, telling the world that Nichiren Buddhism burns in my soul, but is afraid to pass my lips. It cannot be in this home in any form. Not because I don’t want it to, but because I’m trying to respect the home I live in and not cause drama between my uncle–the pastor, and my aunt–the first lady.

I write about this a lot on Tumblr.

I guess it’s been itching at me and hurting me so much that I have to keep writing and writing about it. I’m pretty upset about it, and it’s really starting to dismantle things a bit. I don’t have the stress of Chicago, but the stress of joblessness, a dead lovelife, and a writing career that might as well be face-down in the nearest river really isn’t doing wonders either. I can’t chant about it in front of my Gohonzon. And, while I can simply chant with beads in hand and my other items in tow, it’s better to have the Butsudan and the Gohonzon.

This is the problem–I can’t.

I want to chant, but I feel like even that’s going to be offensive. I can’t have an Omamori, either. I can’t have an altar in this house from another faith. That’s just…it. When my aunt said “talk to your uncle about it”, I KNEW where it was going to go. I might not have been the best Christian in my past life, but I remember a lot of the basics about altars, idolatry, and what can and cannot be in a Christian home. I just didn’t want to start any drama.

My Butsudan is mine. So I didn’t leave it in Chicago. I snuck it in the house, here. I wrapped it up securely. It is in storage under the stairs. I hate to write that. I hate to think it. I don’t want to give it back, because I don’t want to stop practicing. But I haven’t practiced in a long time. I haven’t renewed my subscription to the World Tribune or Living Buddhism. I semi connected with the members who ARE down here.

That got messy.

Wires all crossed at the same time. I know my uncle and aunt are fine with whatever religion I choose. So it’s not like they’re going to throw me out. They love me and want me to take this time to straighten myself out. However, this is their house. So while they were fine with that, again, the altar. At the time, I asked when I was going back to Chicago to get my things and go to wedding. At the same time, I’m getting howdy do’s from the members here in Paris, not realizing what I would not be able to do.

 

I can still connect, I can still “be with my people”–but I’m stuck in this weird sadness. I’m embarrassed to tell them anything, so they probably feel like this lack of communication means I’m an antisocial jerk, or that I’m done practicing.

That’s the thing.

The principles.

What we read over and over about this Buddhism.

Never give up. Practice the Sutra with your heart and soul, fiercely and courageously. Be a lion/lioness.

And I keep putting it off and promising the next day to do something about it, forgetting that Nichiren Buddhism is all about the change that starts with me. We chant for clarity and wisdom, we walk in faith, but WE have to make changes as well.

 

And I just want a job so I can get an apartment and put my Butsudan wherever I want it to go. I want to stop being sad and depressed. That stops everything, and I need to keep going. There have been days when I’ve gotten up to take on the world, and others where I just stay in bed and munch my problems away. And all the signs of depression–lethargy, carelessness, hopelessness…I don’t know what these people are seeing, but I’ve been a wreck for about two months. I’m 30, I don’t want to be a wreck.

How do I balance respecting this household, and practicing the religion of my choice? How do I maintain a good relationship with my family without stepping on their toes?

 

I don’t have an answer for anything, but doing nothing simply will not do.

Somebody To Love

Which is, in fact, one of my favorite songs in this entire world.

But we’re talking about my lovelife this early morning. I’ve been crying over it, reflecting over it, and just missing lots of people who’ve gone to the great beyond. How did it all start? Cleaning. I’m cleaning every drawer in my grandmother’s room, trying to figure out WHERE I put her crystal jewelry. It belonged to her mother, and I stored it away so it wouldn’t get lost. I stored it away SO well that it’s lost. Typical Roni.

So I go through EVERYTHING.

She has this box under her old sewing machine storage table that’s full of funerary effects, her mom’s death certificate, and the family bible. I go through the box, thinking the jewelry might be in there. It’s not, but I find all these funeral programs that I haven’t seen or missed out concerning info. In my free time, I update our family tree on ancestry.com. So I leapt at this chance to look at programs, read, and update.

I cry thinking about how I wish grandpa Fred were still here. Cry a bit for my mother, because it’s always a thing to want her here. Cry about my brother–he was stillborn. I guess I got upset about that, because I have always wanted a brother. My dad didn’t exactly tell me I had one until he had to explain what my maternal aunt was talking about. She let the cat out of the bag, and his face dropped having to explain to his nine year old kid. Years later, the ache is still there. Deeply for him, having lost his son first and THEN his wife–but also for me. Not remembering her, and never getting a chance to be around him. I have always wondered what it would have been like, knowing full well the horror of my dad’s years with his brother. Still, I wanted one.

So all that sadness and emotion washed over me as I sorted things out. Once I found some new papers and dates, I added them. When I started looking over all the marriages and births, I got emotional. Again.

I mean, yes it would be AWESOME to get that writing career going. To be able to pay off crap, get my credit in order, and blossom like the person I’m supposed to be. But I also want to be somebody’s wife, somebody’s mother, and SOMEbody’s reason. I don’t have to be the queen of the thing, but at least be able to take one last breath on this Earth, knowing that somebody loved me body, mind, and soul and felt like I was a good partner/spouse. I want that.

I want to matter to someone. Not to say “you complete me”, but rather “you compliment me” and “we compliment each other”. I want to inspire someone, make them feel loved and wanted. I want the same in return. Is that asking for too much? I don’t want it to be some sickening, perfect piece of white picket fence work. But, I want something real and authentic. Not just someone who sees me and uses me as a cure for their loneliness. I would never do that to someone. I know what it feels like to think you’re loved, only to realize you were someone’s piece of boredom killer, or someone’s cover for an inability to face their own lonely.

At the end of the day, I just want real love.

We don’t have to skip in fields of flowers, but it would be nice. We don’t have to hook arms and sip bubbly, but it would be nice. I would be just as happy chillin’ on the back porch, drinking Seagram’s and popping sunflower seeds. I just want the kind of comfort and happiness my aunt and uncle have–the simplicity of getting each other a snack before bed, the joy of doing for the other person, to hold them up.

And, of course, I want kids. I don’t have to have a huge van full of them. Give me three, four. I’ll take two, will have even one. Just let me have some kids. Some wacky, crazy carbon copies who’ll probably do all the nonsense things I did as a child, but have the intelligence I had to work hard to get. I don’t want perfect kids, ’cause goodness knows they’ll all probably be asthma machines like me….but I want my little family. Some rusty-butt boys, some sass pot lil girls….just more people to love and nurture.

I’m kinda feeling like in this town, that won’t happen. Everyone is either not interested, too old, too young, already taken, too nuts, or y’know “I just don’t date Black folk, but I’ll sleep witcha!”

Slim. Pickins.

But I’m here to work on myself, and get some actual money and finish college. But I’m also 30. Way past my family timeline starting at 24. We won’t dig into the past to discuss who was to be husband and father, but you can imagine my disappointment with myself when that ship not only sailed, but sank in the ocean of life ablaze with the tense BGM from Titanic in the background.

I guess reading all those eulogies with family members full of life and full of families got to me. Especially the big ones. My grandma would always say “there wasn’t much to do down there but have some babies.” Would that be so bad? Have some kids, keep the home up, garner some income? It’s hella hard work, but these same people were so deeply loved. These same people have these beautiful biographies written about them. They were missed. I want somebody to miss me.

I felt bad about that.

I know my family will miss me. If any of them are still alive by the time I’m ready to exit this plane, I know they will shed a tear or two. Why is it so important for somebody to love me, outside of blood? To have kids, to matter? There is a cliche explanation for it, but all I can say is that I have that desire deep inside of who I am. It’s not some kind of “thing” where it’s superficial–I just want to connect and feel like I am in somebody’s heart. As simple as that sounds, as optional as every part of it is–I WANT that option. I want to experience it. I have tasted faux love and purged it. I want authentic love.

I don’t need the moon, I don’t need the stars, and I don’t want rose petals at my feet. I don’t need to be worshiped, but a little adoration and excitement wouldn’t hurt. And above all else–give me sincerity….not crap.

I have seen true love in so many forms, and all I want is my turn in the Sun.