Even My Hair Hurts!

15 11 2007


Sorry for the long and unexplained blog absence.   I’ve spent the last couple of weeks munching on cough drops, building a life-size replica of Mt. Everest made entirely out of Kleenex, swapping fever dreams with my mom, and moaning dramatically, “Even my hair hurts!”

It’s amazing how little time it takes before you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.

As I’m sure you can imagine, there just hasn’t been much to post about lately.  I appear to be on the mend, though, so hopefully I’ll be back to posting again soon.



12 05 2007

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“I’m away,” the message on my instant messenger reads.  The brief message gives the reader plenty of opportunity to imagine that I’m catching up on some cleaning and organization around the house, using up the last of my monthly cell phone minutes, or lost in the fantasy realm of an old, dusty book.  When the truth is, I’m just hiding.   

This Mother’s Day marks the third anniversary of The Beginning of the End.  Three years ago exactly, I fell down the rabbit hole, and I’ve been lost in Wonderland casing after white rabbits and Cheshire Cats ever since.  I remember walking into my mom’s bedroom to find her staring in disbelief at several credit cards bills in her hands – credit cards we supposedly didn’t even have.  My dad had racked up quite a hefty sum, but not only that, he’d been lying about it to all of us for months.  I was angry and confused, to put it mildly. 

It wasn’t until later that same year — while on vacation in Disneyland – we realized it was much more than a midlife crisis and a pricey shopping spree.  We learned he’s dying very slowly at the hands of the silent killer known as Dementia, which was why he’d lost interest in his family; along with losing impose control and his moral compass to boot.

Things have changed drastically since our first unforgettable Mother’s Day.  My dad’s living in an apartment on his own, we’ve moved to a new town, and his heath is much worse.  But much like three years ago, mom and I find ourselves very concerned about yet another thing he appears to be concealing from us.  Only this time, I’m concerned he’s become involved with someone.

Three years ago, if I’d even suspected for a moment my dad was involved with someone else I would have been devastated, but now I feel too apathetic to even care much.  When mom and I discussed earlier today how we’re concerned, my eloquent, thoughtful response to the situation was, “Well, this isn’t cool.”   

I know my dad wouldn’t have wanted any of this; I know he doesn’t have the same level of control anymore, but that only adds another layer to my frustration.  I don’t blame anyone; its nobodies fault, but I’m still angry any of this is even happening. 

I need a moment to breath, a chance to collect my thoughts, and to simply get away.

Forgiven, But Not Forgotten

18 04 2007

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Generally, when I think of forgiveness, I tend to think of the humbling relief that comes from being honestly forgiven after you’ve said something hurtful that you didn’t mean, or, at least, didn’t mean to say. But forgiving someone else can be a nice feeling, too, but it normally comes after a lot of not-so-nice feelings.

You know that person in the world who you’d rather eat a large helping of mud than have to talk to because they did something – either because they’re stupid or just downright mean — that ripped you into little bite sized bits? Well, I ran into my I’d-rather-eat-mud person yesterday.

I wasn’t exactly thrilled when I saw her, but we were both standing in the same line, so hiding or pretending I didn’t notice she was standing right beside me weren’t really options. And so, with an oversized amount of awkwardness and civility hanging in the air and swirling around our heads, we chatted briefly about pointless, frilly things that neither of us cared anything about – the weather, hair dye – and talked so vaguely about our lives you’d think we kept the smallest details as close to our hearts as a card shark keeps his hand. 

As our line came to an end, and we parted, I wished her well. And you know, I actually meant it. I honestly hope life turns out well for her. I still don’t trust her any farther than I can throw her, and I have no desire to go out for Starbucks with her, or to sit around a campfire singing Kumbaya and roasting marshmallows. She hurt me, but knowing I’d forgiven her — even though she’ll never know I have — made me feel like the last bitter string of our former friendship had been cut, and I was free.

Even though I can’t flip a switch and erase the unpleasant words that were said in the past from my mind, she no longer unconsciously has any control over me, because I’ve let it go; I’ve wished her well.

Forgiveness is very freeing.


10 04 2007

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You know the feeling you get when your foot falls asleep after  you’ve been sitting on it?  How it feels so numb you’re not even sure if you pulled out a fork and jabbed it a couple of time you’d notice? I feel like someone could jab me emotionally with a fork right now and I’d barely feel a thing. 

Another holiday’s come and gone. I felt too apathetic to do much more than glance at the date on the calendar. I’ve never particularly been a holiday enthusiast anyway, but all holidays – especially family holidays – have now become something to survive, to take a deep breath and get through, rather than something to look forward to and enjoy.

I smile on holidays and cheerfully wish people a happy whatever it is, but I feel too numb to honestly even care if every holiday was suddenly permanently deleted from the calendar, sucked into a black hole somewhere in the cosmos and gone forever.

I feel numb, frozen and apathetic. Like a zombie who somehow escaped out of the TV screen during “Shaun of the Dead” and is now feeling out of place here in Human World. I get out of bed, eat breakfast, brush my teeth a couple of times too many, and continue on with my day, but I’m only going through the motions. It’s like I’m stuck on a treadmill, running in place. I don’t know where I’m going, and I don’t even know if I care.

I didn’t use to feel apathetic. For awhile I felt afraid; afraid to dream or plan, because everything had crumbed and fallen into ragged shards, and I was tired of bending over and sweeping them up off the ground again and again. I was afraid to reach out to people, too, because I learned even the nicest ones sometimes bite and it hurts when they do.  

But even though I’m no longer as frightened by the pain of broken dreams, plans and friendships — I expect them, the same way I expect summer to come after spring — I’m apathetic.  Maybe it’s because it doesn’t hurt as much to have something ripped out of your hands when you weren’t holding on to it tightly, when you didn’t really care. 

I want to feel passionate about something again, to feel more than just numb. I want to feel alive. I don’t feel sad, angry or afraid; I don’t feel much of anything. I just feel numb.


1 02 2007

The journey from empathy to aggravation can be as effortless as sipping your morning coffee, while munching away on a slightly burnt piece of toast, and staining your figures with news print, completely oblivious to the fact there’s a hint of poison deluding your morning ritual.  It doesn’t require much poison for the results to be lethal. 

I caught myself recently feeling increasingly frustrated and annoyed with some of the very people I’ve gone out of my way in the past to be there for; people I truly care about.  My inner voice (not my conscious, the other fellow) had become more and more irritable and nitpicky and I’m sure my mental eye rolling count was rising at a rate to rival the gas prices.   

Yes, there are some obnoxious people in the world, but if you feel the need to put them all in The Stupid Box, pretty soon it’ll just be you and the local shrubbery (which honestly doesn’t always sound so bad, but that isn’t the point right now).  

It wasn’t the people and their both irritable and concerning quirks that frustrated me originally; it was the looming problems on the horizon, which they were unaware of, so consequently where walking headlong into. 

I was frustrated because I cared about them, and the last thing on earth I wanted was to see them get hurt, but somewhere along the way I’d lost sight of why I was even upset in the first place.  There was cause for concern and frustration, because there were real problems, but I was getting tied up in knots over the minor issues and irritations.  My concern for them and developed into frustratoin wtih them.    

It’s amazing how just a slight change in perspective can completely alter everything from our mood, to the way we interact with those around us.  It doesn’t take much to lose your focal point, and in doing so, completely miss your target.    

Oh, that’s right, I do like people.  Duh. 

Empathy is a curious thing.  It’s a wonderful gift, but if you don’t keep a regular tab on it, it can easily turn into something hideously narcissistic.  Maybe even our best traits can become disfigured without a careful eye.  Proverbs 4:23 puts it nicely, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” 

Perspective can make all the difference in the world, but it needs some looking after.

Perplexing Pleasantries

24 01 2007

Of all the many problematic questions we’re posed with on a daily basis, I’ve concluded “How are you?” is, by far, the most perplexing.  If it didn’t appear to mean “Are you happy?” as often, it might not be as challenging to sort through the files in my brain until I’ve located a both creative and honest reply. 

Part of the problem, is most of the time I feel numb; it’s as if I’m on autopilot.  At times, I can deal with life very factually, rather than being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the reality and the emotions, but I do have my moments.   

The reality is, most of the time I don’t know the answer to the simple question “How are you, Kelsey?”  Is the question how I’m choosing to deal with life, or how it’s affecting me simply by osmosis?  It seems to depend on who’s asking.    

Life has dealt my family and I — along with many other people living on this planet we call home — what can feel like an overwhelming, unfair and very crummy hand.  At times, I’d like to slam my cards down in frustration and defiance on the table and demand a redue.  Someone’s stacked the deck; I’m sure of it.  Circumstances can seem overwhelming, unfair, and nothing more than a great cosmic joke, but I’m playing my hand to the best of my abilities, and I’m surviving, learning and growing inspight of it.    

The notice sign on a tiny church I drove by read, “Happiness is based on circumstances.  Joy is based on Jesus.” 

Am I happy?  Sure, I can smile and laugh with the best of them, but happiness is not my state of being.  Of course, it’s something I enjoy while it lasts, but it comes and goes like any other emotion.  It can be based on something as trivial as what I had for breakfast and the weather forecast, and it fades just as easily from sight.  (Please see “Happiness vs. Joy.”)  

Happiness shouldn’t be a euphemism for joy, not when you’re talking about true biblical joy.  It seems like peace, hope and faith would be better linked with joy than happiness.  To equate joy with happiness is to say this joy — that’s supposed to be our strength — is nothing more than an emotional high.      

I don’t know that I’m happy at this very moment, but I have peace, because I have hope for a future, even if that isn’t in this lifetime, and I have faith that God is good, even when life seems to be screaming something completely contrary.  I have joy, but I don’t always feel happy.   

The asnwer to this perplexing pleasantiry of how I am, is that God is good, and because of this, as the old hymn says, it is well with my soul.