Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Dam Has Burst

These past few days I've been thinking about how bad it felt to once again have our privacy and sense of well being violated.
I've also been thinking about how wonderfully good it felt to be able to write write write about that experience and all of the experiences leading up to it.  I've been thinking about how, after I wrote, I felt energized and happy and filled with what must have been all of the joy of the universe.  I've been remembering how I published my post and then rushed out to the kitchen and made a lovely dinner for my family and found a beautiful table cloth, place mats, and napkins buried deep in a low kitchen drawer and used them to make our table look festive, warm, and welcoming.  Then I remembered how I greeted my children and husband at the door with love and enthusiasm and how I could see on their faces that they were happy to see the old and wonderful Krista.  The Krista who is filled with joy, playful, happy, and positive.  The Krista who is the leader of the Fun Pack.
And, all of the sudden, I began to feel incredibly thankful to that early morning bike thief.  You see, I am a woman who needs to write like a river seeks the sea, like the wind needs to blow, like a fire needs to burn.  And, well, okay, I'm purposely letting myself get carried away with the similes because it's fun, but, well, you get the idea.  But.  I don't let myself write.  I don't do it every day and I need to.  I need to write every single day to be ok and happy and on an even keel.  And the question is:  Why?  Why don't I let myself do the thing that makes me almost the most happy of anything in the whole world?
My husband has a favorite book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  He had been encouraging me to read it for all of the 8 years that we've been together and I was resistant, probably just because I felt like he was telling me to do it.  I finally overcame that childish block just a few months ago, read the darn book, and found myself just as inspired and moved as my husband had said I would be.  Pressfield's basic tenet is that the more important an endeavor or activity is to us, the more integral it is to the well being of our very soul and essence, the more resistance we will experience and possibly create in opposition to being able to undertake that thing.
Reading about that idea was a watershed moment for me because it allowed me to have a bit more understanding of my self.  But, of course, it didn't quite create the push that I needed to actually sit down and write every single day.
That push, oddly enough, was delivered by the Universe at approximately 2:06 am in the morning just a few days ago, in the form of a yet to be identified bike thief.  If you are me and you think all day long every day about what you'd like to write but don't write for days, and then the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months and even years, you are like a very taut balloon floating around in a house of needles and pins.  In other words, you feel all clogged up with words that haven't been given their proper outlet and your very soul is a thing made angry by the loss of so many stories and ideas.  And then one morning some stupid guy steals your husband's bike and that's the thing that pops the balloon.
 So, what I'm trying to say is:  Thank you.  Thank you Universe and Thank you unidentified riding bike thief.  For, now, my balloon is really and truly burst and thus unable to hold any more unused words.  I am allowing the words to flow out of me and onto paper instead of refusing to acknowledge their existence.
By writing when I want to write I have given up the title of Eternal Grumpy Party Pooper of the family.  I actually think that my 5 year old has now adopted that title, but that's a whole nother blog post.
Just to be clear:  I will still put a cap in that guys ass if I see him riding around on my husband's bike, but I'll yell Thank You and smile sweetly at him while I'm doing it.

P.S.  Just a quick shout out to my cousin, Betty Jean Flagg, who, even during years and years of sleep deprivation and life changes, managed to write AND draw beautiful pictures almost every single night. Even though you might not know it, Betty, I noticed that and it has been an ongoing source of wonder and inspiration to me.  Thank you and I love you.  K xo

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Angry/Thankful Rant

At approximately 2:05 am this morning I was pulled from sleep by a sound that was not part of my dream.  It was the sound of someone pulling my husband's Schwin Stingray over the top of the chain link fence on the west side of our property.  As I struggled to understand what was happening, I sat up, turned around, and flipped open the shades just in time to see someone riding away on my husband's bike.  Momentarily stunned and bewildered I glanced to the left to assure myself that Ian was indeed in bed with me and that it wasn't him out there taking off on some very odd, very early morning cruise.  The lump under the covers confirmed that he was there and as I glanced back out the window I still found myself unable to utter a single word.  It was like being in one my own recurring nightmares in which some kind of danger is happening and I try to move and/or speak but find myself mute and paralyzed.  After a few seconds I was able to say Ian's name and gently touch him and he rushed out to the back yard to confirm that we had, indeed, again been the victims of a crime of opportunity.

Now, a little background to this story is that in the almost 6 years that we have lived on this property, just east of the college, the following things have happened to us:
May 25, 2008-A serial arsonist burned down our garage.  The structure was a loss, as were 4 trees, our lawn, all of the vinyl siding on the back of our house, our retractable awning, and our hot tub.
May 27, 2008-The same serial arsonist set another fire on the east side of our property.  Luckily, a few guys living on the second floor of the place next door happened to be out on their balcony smoking at 2 in the morning and not only saw him, but were able to detain him, which led to his arrest.  He's in jail now.  
October 2008-Someone in our neighborhood shot my beloved cat, Mowgli, with a pellet gun.  The pellet lodged near his spine and while it was successfully removed by our amazing veterinarian, Mowgli never regained the use of his back legs nor was he able to use the bathroom on his own.  After a long and heart wrenching 9 months we made the decision to have him put to sleep.  My heart was broken.
November 2008-Someone came in through our back gate and stole 2 very expensive bikes and a bike trailer from our back yard.  Our insurance agent encouraged us to file a claim, which we did.  We got 2 great new bikes and then a letter from our insurance company, Allstate, saying that they were canceling our home owner's insurance.
Last Tuesday, September 11, 2012-Ian walked out of his studio just in time to see the man who owns, but does not live on the property to the east of us, throw a huge handful of rocks at our sweet puppy.
This past Sunday, September 16, 2012-I discovered that sometime on Friday or Saturday someone had stolen the welcome mat from our front stoop.
Early this morning, Tuesday, September 18, 2012-Some very bold person walked right up to our fence, activating the motion sensor light while he or she was at it, hauled my husband's bike over, and then rode very casually away.

So, we are good people who try to put out into this world what we would like to receive back and we know that we have been victims of two random acts of violence, a handful of crimes of opportunity, and a total douche bag moment by the land lord next door but that knowledge has not prevented me from feeling horrible.  All of these events have robbed me of something that I didn't even appreciate until it was ripped from me:  peace of mind.  For months after the fire, I was unable to sleep and to this day if I smell any smoke I have an immediate adrenaline rush and a feeling of panic.  One afternoon, just weeks after the fire, I found myself frantically running around the neighborhood looking for the source of a pungent smoke smell.  It turned out to be the neighbors a few doors down having a bonfire.  When I calmed down and came to my senses I realized that I had on only a half open robe as I had blindly jumped from the shower when I detected the smoke.  So much for enjoying campfires!  I lived by myself in many different places over many different years and did things that I now cringe to think about, like walking home from friends' apartments late at night on dark stretches of road, and I was never afraid because I thought that nothing bad could ever happen to me.  Now I cannot fall asleep in this house unless my husband is in the bed next to me.  I was fearless and now I am fearful.  What every single one of my fears centers around is this:  someone will somehow be able to gain entrance to our home without our knowledge and either harm or abduct one or all of our children.  I have now had the same nightmare on and off for the past 4 years.  In it a person or persons is breaking into our house through one of the windows in our bedroom and I see them doing it and I am paralyzed and rendered mute.  Immediately after I was able to fall back to sleep early this morning I again had this nightmare.  This time I was able to cry out my husband's name, which is what usually happens, and he, who found himself sleepless beside me, was able to reassure me right away that it was just the nightmare again.

So, I am angry.  Pretty fucking pissed, actually, that these things keep happening to us and I've been thinking all day about what I wish I had been able to shout out through the open window to the back of the retreating bike thief.  Things like:  fuck you, mother fucker, or, you god damned mother fucking son of a bitch.  I, who have never wanted a gun, even a toy gun, in my home, also found myself telling my husband that I wished that I had had an automatic weapon handy at 2:05 am this morning.  Charming, I know, and not quite ladylike, and not quite me, but I find myself with this anger welling up inside of me that represents the culmination of everything that has occurred over the past 4 years.  Angry.  Yes.  But also thankful.  Thankful because that fire did not destroy our home or harm anyone in our family.  Thankful because I had 5 wonderful years with the world's most amazing, human-like, lovable cat who will ever walk this earth.  Thankful that I and my family have never been physically harmed.  And, finally, thankful that we have managed, through everything, to hold on to our idea that the world is a good place and that everything is going to be ok.

So, we are moving forward, once again, and I am writing about everything here to help myself feel better and we are going to concentrate on living the lives that we have dreamed and on making enough money so that we can move to a new property and have a fresh start.   Time will help me feel better and I will have a good cry and maybe practice saying more nasty words but I will not allow this to rob me of my own kindness or my faith in the goodness of humanity.

But, so help me, if I see someone riding around this town on a Schwinn Stingray with a ripped seat, I will pop a cap in his or her ass.  Even if it's only in my dreams.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Each Day An Adventure

When I was about 16, I read a book, Tracks, by Robyn Davidson.  It's the story of her 1,700 mile solo trek from Alice Springs, Australia west to the Indian Ocean.  She was the kind of woman who I wanted to be.  Hers was the kind of life that I began to dream about living. She was beautiful and strong and she wore sarongs and sandals and made them look like a fashionable adventure uniform.  Life happened to me and I did have adventures.  I traveled and I lived in many different places, went to school, and had many wonderful times with a long list of amazing friends. I had my share of relationships and one night stands, not with the likes of Salman Rushdie, like Robyn, but with a slew of men who were mostly horrible for me.  I made many, many bad choices and an equal number of good ones.


They say that the heart wants what the heart wants, and what my heart seemed to want, in addition to travel and adventure and instead of new men, was a to fall in love, marry, and start a family.  So I did those things.  I found a man who is kind to me no matter how difficult or unreasonable I am.  We had two very beautiful, smart, amazing children.  We bought a house and settled down to live in this town in the high desert of Western Colorado.

I have been living this life now for 8 years and I have been somewhat miserable for every second of that time.  I didn't realize just how miserable I had been feeling until my husband asked me last night, "Wasn't there some time when you were younger when something happened and you just knew what you wanted to do with your life?"  Before he had even finished that sentence, everything came rushing back to me and I realized that for all of this time I have only been allowing myself to be part of the woman who I want to be.  For some reason I made up rules for myself, rules that seemed to say,  "You must choose, you can't do both."  These rules have made me very unhappy and they have made it difficult for me to be the wife and mother who I want to be.  I realized, though, with the help of my wise husband, that I'm the one who gets to define what adventure is.  This crazy life of being everything to two still very small people is amazing, tragic, exhausting, exhilarating, confusing and the most important thing that I will ever do in my whole life.  So, even if I do go on to have other great adventures, adventures that don't have anything to do with being a mother or a wife, and I hope I do because it's what I truly want and what I want my children to see me doing, nothing will beat the amazing parts of this mother journey on which I am both guide and awe struck onlooker.  Nothing will ever be better than how my daughter's face fits perfectly into the crook of my neck or my son tells me that he loves me more.  Nothing.

And so I move forward.  My life here in the high desert may not be a solo trek, but it is my own adventure and the steps of my days are worth writing about AND worth hearing about.  I shall write down those rules that have made me so unhappy on a beautiful piece of paper and then tear it into a thousand pieces and allow the wind to carry them away from me.  I shall enjoy each day.  I shall write like there's no tomorrow.  And lastly, I shall wear sandals and sarongs as often as possible, because, of course, no adventure, even the adventure of being a mother, would be complete without them.