Monthly Archives: February 2012

We now return to our regularly scheduled program of me beating up on myself. Oh joy.

I hate my brain.

Not the part that is keeping me alive and that allows me to read and write and walk and hear and talk.  That part is fine.  I hate the part that just keeps chattering away about every single little thing and finds fault with pretty much everything I do and/or don’t do and/or think about doing.

Believe it or not, I ‘ve actually gotten 1000% better at disengaging from the uber-talkative part of my brain that is crazy and hates me thanks to the amazing book, “The Untethered Soul” and my therapist Carolyn (who recommended the book and is, well, awesome).

 HOWEVER

I find myself unable to disengage from it today, when the topic seems to be:

THINGS YOU WERE GOING TO DO WHILE IN MEXICO VS. THINGS THAT YOU ARE ACTUALLY DOING, A DISAPPOINTING COMPARISON, KIM.

Heavy sigh.

Things I thought I would be doing while in Mexico included the following inspiring and motivational and healing things:

  • Writing.  A lot.  Every day.
  • Doing yoga — on the beach, in the square, at one of the 8,000 yoga studios in town, including the one pretty much right across the street.
  • Eating only healthy foods and refraining from alcohol.
  • Engaging in brilliant brainstorming sessions which would lead to a wonderful vision/plan for my life ahead.
  • Walking the streets of Puerto Morelos befriending the locals.
  • Walking the beaches of Puerto Morelos and thereby discovering myself, like all those women in all those books about women discovering themselves by the sea….
  • Snorkeling.
  • Did I mention writing?
  • Reading literary fiction because, hey, I’m trying to be literary, right?
  • Practicing Shiva Nata — I can’t explain it here, see the link.
  • Going on adventures to find hidden beaches with lovely beach trash and thereby finding myself, see above re: women finding themselves on beaches/by the sea.
  • Frolicing in cenotes — perhaps ziplining across them to show how I’ve conquered some fears.
  • Having a visionquest.  Whatever that means.

Things I have actually done while in Mexico include the following mostly meaningless and pedestrian things:

  • Began and ended a relationship with Sue, the pretend-Buddha iguana, who was completely unaware of our relationship status at all times.
  • Somehow avoided doing yoga, despite the fact that it’s available pretty much 24/7 everywhere in town.
  • Read a bunch of zombie novels (a/k/a NOT LITERARY FICTION)
  • In keeping with the zombie theme I watched 1.5 seasons of  The Walking Dead, my new favorite TV series EVER.
  • Watched the first season of an American Horror Story — yikes!
  • May have watched a few Real Housewives of Beverly Hills episodes….
  • Barely blogged.
  • Obsessively read everything I could find about Whitney Houston’s death. 
  • Walked into the ocean a few times.  Kind of swam.
  • Watched a few movies.
  • Eaten meat, fattening food, Diet Coke and yummy alcoholic beverages.
  • Got the electricity in the house turned back on, got cable/internet hooked up, had laundry room torn down and rebuilt (roof caved-in sometime between November 20 and January 19), prepared for and hosted Mom’s non-memorial service/party, had houseguests for a week, had the rotting front fence torn down and replaced with a nice wall + gates rebuilt, had propane tank refilled, located septic system for potential hook-up with new city sewer system…
  • Watched a lot of  TED talks.
  • Helped to prepare for and volunteered at local charity bazaar.  Delivered leftover clothes to church in colonia.
  • Started a Zazzle store (which hasn’t been opened to the public yet) for some of Mom’s artwork.
  • Read some other non-literary fiction books.
  • Researched things like “freelance writing” and “travel writing” and “teaching english as a second language” and “how to make money from anywhere”…
  • Walked the beach a few mornings — the local beach, not a hidden adventure type beach.
  • Went to a girlfriend’s house and watched the new episode of The Bachelor last Monday night.  (Which is totally dumb because I already know who “wins” and surprise!  it’s the bitchy girl who everyone else hates!  Go figure.)

 And that’s about it.

I’ve had no grand epiphanies.  No great revelations of my life’s purpose. 

I’ve been here 5 weeks (as of today) and I’m pretty much exactly the same confused, sad, grieving person who arrived here on January 19.

Actually, I’m worse.

When I got here, I believed that my Mom’s estate would be a source of funds for my immediate future — not a lot of money, but enough to survive until I got back on my feet after not working for a year.  A week after the non-memorial service/party we found out that, due to an unfavorable court decision, there is no money in my Mom’s estate.  Zero.  Probably less than zero after everything settles out as there are no funds and her two houses to maintain + medical bills pending.

I’ve got no income, no savings, no assets left to sell, no retirement plan to raid.

I hate to sound all negative-newt-ish, but I gotta say that I’m feeling pretty fucked right now.  Oh, and my son is in his first year of college.

So.

Total panic and paralyzing fear have taken over for grief and depression.

And that might explain why I’m not out discovering myself on a deserted beach right now.

Maybe tomorrow.

xoxo

kim

p.s.  wow.  heavy shit.  when i started writing, i didn’t know i was going to end up here, in the darkest of the dark.

p.s.s.  i’m not suicidal, nor am i homeless (for now)(but really, my family will help) but i am scared and right now i don’t see the way out.

p.s.s.s.  for the love of god, please don’t write and tell me to think positive and that this lack of a job/money/home/future is really just an opportunity for growth.  it’s scary as fuck.

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Filed under grief, The Caregiver with the Dragon Tattoo, Writing and Not-Writing

Dear Madison, the bad news is that girls are mean. Love, Aunt Kimmy.

My niece Madison is almost 7.

She’s scary smart and drop-dead gorgeous.  And I’m not just saying that because I’m sometimes her favorite Aunt.

She is in first grade and is having her first broken heart caused by (here’s a surprise…) MEAN GIRLS.

This makes Aunt Kimmy want to kick some first-grade bitch ass, but, as a former child-welfare lawyer, I’m categorically against violence against children, supposedly.  So I’m going to do what I do and write her a letter instead:

Dear Madison Grace,

I know you’re only almost-7 years old, but there are a few things I think you should know right now, sweet pea.

The first is that you are smart and beautiful and sweet and kind and complicated and a great organizer of hand sanitizer bottles and a happy dancer and a kick-ass Chinese jump roper and a picky dresser and an independent artist and a feisty athlete and all sorts of other amazing and wonderful and complicated things.

Everything that you are makes you worthy of love, Madison.  And here’s something else that you might not understand until you are a LOT older, but I wish you could understand today:  Even if you were none of the things that you are today, you would still be worthy of love.  You are so loved, just because you are alive.

The bad news is that girls are mean.

Boys can be mean also, but girls seem to have been born with the innate ability to be exquisitely mean, especially to other girls.

Sometimes they don’t know they are being mean, but, unfortunately, most of the time they know exactly what they are doing.

I am also a girl, Madison.  And as much as I wish it were different, I know I’ve been a mean girl at times.  Not in first grade.  In first grade I was an outsider, so I was the one the girls were mean to.  Actually that was the case pretty much until I got to high school.  Before then I was always the new kid, I was taller than all the boys and most of the girls, I wore huge thick glasses and had stringy horrifying hair and a big gap between my front teeth and my clothes were weird.  (I blame my mother for almost all of these things, by the way, even though that isn’t fair, you’ll blame your mother for a lot of things that aren’t fair either also, sweet pea, trust me…)  My point is that I have a LOT of experience being the target for mean girls.  Then one summer I “blossomed” and got contacts and figured out how to fix my hair (kind of) and I got my teeth fixed and then all of the sudden I wasn’t an outsider as much.  In fact, all of the sudden I found myself kind of “popular” and then guess what, Madison?  Then the other girls who were still outsiders (for whatever reason Madison) were mean to me.

It’s weird, Madi.  Because other than the stuff on the outside of me, I was exactly the same person.

Anyway.

It makes me sad to think about it, but what makes me more sad, Madison, is that I’m 47 (a really big number, sweet pea) and guess what?

There are STILL mean girls.

There were mean girls in college, mean girls at my first job in marketing, mean girls in law school and SUPER MEAN GIRL LAWYERS at my first job at a law firm.  It’s crazy, Madi!  Then I had a baby and I had to go back to work (which broke my heart and also saved my life) and the other mommies who didn’t have to go back to work were mean to the mommies who did have to go back to work?!?  Then the girls who didn’t have babies were mean to the girls who did have babies because they thought the girls who had babies didn’t have to work at being a lawyer as hard as they did.  Crazy, right?  And now I’ve had a career full of mean lawyer girls and I kind-of moved to this new town in Mexico, where everything seems perfect on the outside, but really, Madison, the truth is that there are still mean girls, even here.  Older, more sophisticated and tan mean girls.

I realize that this may seem to be a depressing story, but I was saving the really good news for last, Madison:

Not all girls are mean.  And some girls that who seem to be mean, really aren’t.  And you’re going to have some awesome girlfriends.  And those girlfriends are probably going to save your life one day.

Even though it doesn’t seem like it now, Madi, you’re going to have some awesome girlfriends.  Trust me on this, honey — you will have some of the best times of your life with your girlfriends. 

Your girlfriends are going to change throughout your life, baby girl, and each one is going to teach you something amazing. 

The girls who don’t want to play with you in first grade might be your very bestest of friends in the fourth grade.  The girl who steals your boyfriend (note this, sweet pea:  no girl can “steal” a boy, it turns out boys sometimes go where they think the most shiny toys are, they can’t help themselves…) in middle school might be on your basketball team in high school and turn out to be the only person who understands your abiding love for Justin Bieber (besides your sometimes-favorite-Aunt Kimmy :)). 

For every mean girl you run into, Madison, there is another girl out there who is going to adore you just the way you are and be thrilled to be your friend. 

For every girl who says “you’re not invited to my party”, there will be another girl who says “teach me how to dougie, girlfriend!”.  For every girl who laughs at your outfit, there is another girl who says “here, try these shoes with that skirt”.  For every girl who is jealous because you’re so pretty and smart (and, sadly, there will be a lot of those, Madison) there will be other girls who know that being pretty doesn’t change the fact that life can be hard and being smart is not always the best thing for your social life.  For every girl who snickers at your broken heart, there will be another girl who says “he wasn’t good enough for you!”

And even though it may seem impossible to you right now, believe me when I tell you that you already have some of the best girlfriends ever — your mom (she is a girl too!), your grandma, your other sometimes-favorite-Aunts — we are all girls who love you no matter what.

So, here’s the deal, Madi.  Try to forget about those girls who don’t want to play with you today, even if it makes you sad. (It’s ok to be sad, sweet pea, as long as you know that, in general, being sad about other people’s behavior usually doesn’t change anything).  I know if you look around you will find some other girls who do want to play with you, but just don’t know how to ask.  Find those girls and be silly and sweet and happy first-graders.

I love you Madison Grace (with the beautiful face!) and I will always be your girlfriend.  Like it or not… 🙂

Love,

Aunt Kimmy

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Filed under Writing and Not-Writing

Sue (the pretend-Buddha iguana) is into games, apparently…

(Preliminary note:  I’m blogging from Starbucks.  In Cancun, Mexico.  I love the internet!)

Actually, Sue (the pretend-Buddha iguana who lives on my wall) is totally fucking with me, but I didn’t think I should use the “F” word in my blog title.

In short, Sue completely disappeared for a few days.

He wasn’t just missing from his usual spot on the wall.  He was nowhere to be found.  He wasn’t anywhere on the entire wall.  He wasn’t on the roof of the bodega.  He wasn’t in the bougainvillea tree/bush.  He wasn’t on the roof of my house.  He wasn’t in my house.

I was concerned.

This iguana (or one who looks a lot like him) has hung out on this wall for years.  And then, right after I wrote about him (and blew his pretend-Buddha/pretend iguana cover?), he disappears into thin air?

Coincidence?

I think not.

There’s really no reasonable explanation for his sudden disappearance other than the one my brain came up with:

Sue is mad at me.

(It has to be about me, obviously) 

Perhaps he doesn’t like the name Sue?  Maybe he didn’t enjoy how I described him as icky and not cuddly at all?  It’s possible he is upset that I doubt his Buddha-nature.  Maybe he was freaked out by all the attention?

Anyway.

I’ve spent more time than I really want to admit looking for this damn pretend-Buddha iguana.  Missing our little unspoken connection every time I looked out the living room window into his creepy peeping-Tom eyes.  Wishing I had not gotten so close trying to get a better picture of him.  Wondering if I had ruined his happy home on the wall with my attention/staring contests.

Mourning the loss of the imaginary relationship I had created in my mind.

(Hmmmm, this seems familiar….)

I went out at dawn this morning, thinking perhaps I could catch him on the wall before the day warmed up too much.  No sign of Sue.  I checked again at 8:00 a.m. when Carlos the construction guy and his sons came by the house.  Nada.  I looked around again at 10:00 a.m. as I was leaving to pick up a friend to take to the airport in Cancun.  No Sue.

Then, about five minutes later, I returned to the house to get the sunglasses I had forgotten to bring. 

And there he was.

Sue.

Just sitting there.  At his usual spot on the wall.  Pretending not to notice me.  Acting like nothing has happened.

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, SUE?!  WHY ARE YOU TOYING WITH ME LIKE THIS?  LOOK AT ME, DAMMIT!

You can see his response in the photo above.

Nose in the air.  Refusing to acknowledge me.  Evidencing nothing but callous disregard for my feelings.

And now I’m angry.

FUCK YOU, SUE.  I DON’T EVEN LIKE YOU.  YOU’RE AN UGLY, SPIKY IGUANA AND I’M NOT THE LEAST BIT ATTRACTED TO YOU.  FURTHERMORE, WE HAVE NO INTELLECTUAL CONNECTION.  I’M NOT EVEN SURE YOU HAVE A BRAIN.  WHAT A WASTE OF TIME AND ENERGY THIS COMPLETELY PRETEND RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN.

Again, this seems familiar

And now I’m sensing a lesson.

Fucking pretend-Buddha iguanas.

YES – I see that sometimes I assume things are about me when they totally aren’t.

YES – I may have, occasionally, ignored reality and created a fantasy relationship and then been crushed when the actual relationship bore no resemblance to the fantasy.

and

YES – I’ve probably  “pursued” relationships with people (read: men) who I’m not really attracted to physically/intellectually simply because I wanted to “win” i.e., “not-lose”.

But why this lesson now, Sue?

I haven’t dated in eons (a year).  I’m completely shut-down (I did notice a nice-looking man reading an interesting book on the beach next to me yesterday).  And I’m totally unattractive (I’ve lost at least 10 lbs. since I’ve been back on anti-depressants/in Mexico).

Oh.

xoxo

kim

p.s.  I had no idea where this post was going when I started it…. and that is why I love writing even when I hate it.

p.s.s.  These aren’t exactly new lessons, FYI.  I guess I needed a refresher course?

p.s.s.s.  I love mocha frappuccinos!

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Filed under The Great Anti-Antidepressant Experiment of 2011, Writing and Not-Writing

I finally have some stuff to write about that *isn’t* grief or depression, but am I writing it today? NO. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Here’s the deal:  I finally have some shit to write about that isn’t related to death/dying/grief /depression and/or presumptuous pretend-Buddha iguanas.*

FINALLY

Like, “Hey y’all, my blog is now ONE YEAR OLD!”

and

“Hey, remember last Valentine’s Day when I enacted that stupid no-dating/sex Moratorium (and then substantially complied with it?)  It’s officially over today!”

and

“Hey, it turns out that I’m probably going to stay here, in Mexico, and try to scrabble out a meager existence in paradise (whether I want to or not) this is major!”

That is a LOT of fodder for blog posts.

I should be ecstatically writing my little heart out.

But I’m not.

I mean, I’m writing this, right now, but trust me, I’m practically having to force each word.

Each.  Fucking.  Word.

Oh, the “I don’t want to write and you can’t make me” trauma/drama/angst going on in my head is truly remarkable.

Remarkable.

(it took me 10 minutes to come up with writing “Remarkable.”…again.)

(I’m not kidding.)

Now what?

I’m so resistant today that I don’t even want to entertain the thought of  trying to figure out what the fuck is responsible for this latest writer’s block.

So.

I guess I won’t.

🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day….

xoxo

kim

*except for this:  Sue, the pretend-Buddha iguana is NOT ON THE WALL TODAY!  I can’t find him anywhere.  It’s very unlike him to not be on the wall.  OMG what if he is in the house?  Totally.  Creepy.

** and I guess I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has gone on this blogging “journey” with me over the last year.  It’s been fun and crazy and weird and oh-the-wonderful-people-I’ve-“met”-here.  As of yesterday I had a little over 10,000 page views and 80 blog posts….say WHAT?!  You guys are awesome, every last one of you.

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Filed under Writing and Not-Writing

I’m having a relationship with an iguana who is pretending to be the Buddha. Or the Buddha is pretending to be the iguana. Either way, it’s weird.

This is the iguana who lives on the wall next to my Mom’s house in Puerto Morelos (a/k/a Casa de Colores).

More specifically, this is his head.

To be honest, I don’t actually know if it is a “he”.   Nor do I even know if  it is really an iguana.

But for now, I’m assuming it is a male iguana.

He’s a total peeping tom (see him staring into my living room window?) but I haven’t named him “Tom”.  In my head, his name is “Sue”.

Probably because when I look at him it seems like he might have a lot of issues, not unlike that guy in the Johnny Cash song “Boy named Sue” (“My name is Sue,  how do you do,  motherfucker….”)(OK, Johnny Cash doesn’t actually say ” motherfucker”, but it’s implied… he was super-pissed.)

He’s always like “yeah, I’m an iguana and this is my wall.  Fuck you, transient human beings.”

It’s totally his wall.

He’s been living there for several years.  Maybe a hundred years, I don’t know.  He seems ageless.

Nothing bothers him.  Nothing alarms him.  He doesn’t react to anything.

I can’t win a staring contest with him.

He’s totally focused.  Zenlike.

He meditates a lot.

It’s like he’s mocking my inability to meditate.

He’s all “Oh, look at that human being flailing around and reacting to shit while I just sit here on my wall in perfect, peaceful silence… clearly she has no spiritual life.”

He’s also some kind of ninja iguana.  I can watch him for HOURS and he doesn’t move a muscle, but then if I blink or look away and then look back all of the sudden he’s got like one little leg up in the air.  Just one little green front leg.  Just holding it there.  Acting as if it had always been that way.  No big deal.

Asshole.

He thinks he’s the Buddha for chrissakes.

I’m sure he’s here to teach me some spiritual lesson.

Because God knows I haven’t had any kind of challenges lately.

And of course he is an IGUANA.

Remember how I went to Portland last spring, to Rally! with Havi?   Havi teaches/talks about iguanas kind of a lot. 

In Havi-world, iguanas are the [stupid, crappy, annoying] things you don’t feel like doing.

I didn’t realize how perfect Havi’s metaphor was until I became more familiar with Sue (the iguana.  not my friend Sue, who I’ve never met in person, but who is totally lovely and not iguana-like at all…) 

Iguanas are prickly (and not in the cute hedgehog way, FYI) and scaly and ugh, not cuddly at all. (No offense to the iguana-lovers out there, if there are any, which I doubt….)  Moreover, they stare you down.  You try to go about your life — la di da — tra la la — and there they are, peeking in your windows, invading your privacy and staring you down.  My iguana, Sue, is not even that big, but I’m still totally intimidated by his unrelenting stare.

(Note:  I just opened my back bedroom door and there he is, staring at me from a new place on the wall…Ack!)

So.

To recap.

  • I’ve projected a personality onto this thing that may or may not be an iguana.
  • On one hand I feel he’s pretending to be the Buddha (or the Buddha is pretending to be him….see how that works?) and although I think he is kind of judgy in his Buddha-ness, I also think that I could probably learn a lot from him re: mindfulness.
  • On the other hand, he represents all the shit I am avoiding (little things like my finances, my career, where I’m going to live…) and all the issues I don’t want to deal with, but can never get away from, because, ummm, they are mine.  So they sit out there and stare at me wherever I go, whatever I do.
  • I’m not in therapy right now.

Hmmmm.

It seems the only good news here is that I’m ACTUALLY WRITING.

Woo-hoo!

xoxo

kim

p.s.  The non-memorial party for my sweet mommy was amazing.  I haven’t been able to write about it yet and I’m pretending that is because I haven’t received any of the pictures from the party to post to the blog, but that is probably bullshit.  Maybe I’m just not ready.

p.s.s.  In my defense (ha) I had a house full of guests from last Thursday to this past Thursday and all of that was wonderful and also pretty challenging for someone who recharges by being A-L-O-N-E.  I spent Friday completely cloistered in the casa (which was crazy because it was a ridiculously gorgeous day) and then ended up spending most of yesterday at a committee meeting (yes, there are committees here in paradise!) and then with friends, so this is really the first chunk of time I’ve had to write in awhile.

p.s.s.s.  Actually that is all true and also probably bullshit.  I’m sure I could’ve taken some time to write if I really wanted to.  I mean, if  I want my job to be “writer”, then it seems perfectly acceptable to say “hey, I need to go write for awhile” to guests/friends.  Maybe I don’t want my job to be “writer”?  Ugh and Heavy Sigh.

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Filed under grief, Writing and Not-Writing