Criminal Complexity: Hard Knocks Back and Forward

It’s nearly four o’clock in the morning and I am not quite ready to sleep.  I have an article that I want to write.  That I should write.  That… I might not write until… well, at least after this.  This is my treat to myself.  I’d like to think that maybe I’ve deserved it.

Last year was really difficult.  Or rather, the year before were really.  It’s been that way for quite some time.

Oh “time…”

Life has hit me hard.  The top photo was actually taken during a relaxed moment last year… before it all happened.

After it all happened.

Same difference right? Heh.

The inside kitchen wall of my then loft just outside downtown but not quite in an artist colony might make me look like a bit of a hard ass criminal.  Rest assured, that is not true.  You can even check my record if you’re curious.  The funny thing, however,  is that I seem to get the criminal label quite frequently.  Confused?  Read on and hopefully you will understand a bit more.

There is a quote by Butch Patrick (aka Eddie Munster) which just sort of stuck with me since that first time it came into passing:

“I may be little but I’m odd.”

At four foot, ten inches in stature this rang true for me on all sorts of levels.  It’s been the blessing and curse that has followed along beside me each step of the way.

I could potentially have to go into labor tomorrow.  This pregnancy has been an abundance of surprises and complexities.  A test tomorrow at 1 will determine our fate.  So why the hell am I even awake at this hour?

My exes would lead you to believe I’m crazy.  The entourage of potential clients in the background might believe that I might be…

And I think about how much different my life is today than it even was yesterday.  Reeling back to a month ago.  To six months ago.  To a year ago. To two years ago.

And so on.

And so on.

“You wanted this.”

I found scrawled on a piece of paper.

I did.  

I didn’t know it.

I didn’t plan it.

But it was likely there… waiting.

Like that first day I saw my son on that screen.

In the following months that would come into fruition after that night I finally got the guts to leave I would be amazed at the wonders of the heart.  Of the wonders of all of those around me.  Complete with their flaws as well as their peaks.

Nearly a full day week has passed since I started to write this draft.  My doctor’s appointment has come and gone.  Thankfully I am not typing this from a hospital bed.  I’m still at home on my computer… thinking about how to tell those potentials that I might not be available for a week or two to talk, plowing through Amazon looking at strollers and car seats (that won’t be here until after I have my son thanks to crappy customer service and shipping deception), thinking about the next few days hours… and enjoying a bit of the quiet and introspection.

He’s going to be here soon.

I was glowing as I left the appointment.  I am excited.  My doctor let me decide when I’m going to be induced.  Due to the complications with this pregnancy (of which I feel has been about the entirety and theme of it), I have one week day maximum before he must make his exit.

It all started a  couple of weeks or so ago when something just seemed a bit odd.  I didn’t know what it was and I barely mentioned it to my doctor.  Why the heck was I itching so much? Was I just nervous?  Surely it wasn’t all those nonexistent hikes I’ve been going on.

I was told that I have some uncommon liver issue that makes my son’s exit necessary or I could potentially lose him.  They call it cholestasis.  Feel free to click the link and read about it further if you dare.  I won’t be boring you with all the nitty gritty medical details.

My due date wasn’t for several weeks.  I remember joking about it during my pregnancy how funny it would be if he came before/on Halloween.  And now?  Well, hopefully he will.  I go into the doctor later tonight in hopes of potentially having that Halloween baby.

The debatable crazier part?  I might be alone.

Even crazier?  It’d be my choice.

Papa bear will not be present.  I didn’t give him specifics nor will I.  After he’d told me several times about how he wished this baby not to exist, I fought with my heart to tell him anything more beyond my diagnosis and planned induction. Hours left to go and… I still wonder if not telling him more than that is the right decision.  But I can’t be stressed to think about it more than that.  It’s admittedly somewhat selfish but after all that has happened, this is a special moment going to be shared with the one person who always (didn’t know) wanted him to exist.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about my upcoming birth.  He asked me how I was going to get to my appointment tonight.

“I’ll take a bus. No big deal.”

He seemed baffled by this.

“No one is taking you?  Who is bringing you home?”

“I had offers but it’s not that big of a deal.  I can get a bus there. My friend is going to pick me up since she has a car seat already and mine hasn’t come in the mail yet.”

He wouldn’t let me do that.  He offered to take me.  So did others.  I wasn’t going to take any of their offers.  I was ready to do it alone.  I feel like I have been alone for a majority of this pregnancy anyway.  I’d made peace with it.

But I caved.

“Well maybe we could get dinner or something before I go in?”

“Ha.  What do you want for your last meal?”

“Poutine. And maybe some [famous named] ice cream.”

“We should post a FB invite for people wanting to have dinner before you pop!”

I couldn’t really go that far.

And while poutine is magical, there’s still a part of me that wonders if I should just take the bus.  I have some wonderful people around me and… I just think I want to be alone.

 

Going back to how things were once upon a different time ago…

Last year I turned 30.  My then best friend moved up North to Seattle and… I nearly almost moved there myself.  I was doing fantastically.  The year before that had been.. an absolute nightmare.

(I haven’t talked to her much since I got pregnant.  She has mysteriously disappeared from contact…)

Most people enter their thirties and freak out.  I did the opposite.  So much so that I remember that last airport train back when someone asked me about my boyfriend back home and I was glowing when I answered.

“I don’t need one.”

That was, of course, before I met bear.

Fast forward to a few months later.  To coffee shop visits in the early morning and later to that day I let this guy I knew help out with some work around the office. (With results so disastrous I had to fire him only an hour later.)

“That’s your boyfriend isn’t it?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

To the yearly Halloween party at The Studio Bar.

(I wish I had those pictures.)

Greg and Janet (pictured below) host the most amazing holiday parties every year.  Little did I know it at the time but the man I brought to that party (dressed as Hi from Raising Arizona) would be the father of my future child.  And while I wasn’t dressed as a cop to that party, perhaps the baby part was the one thing missing from that costume.  Lord knows that I could imagine that’d be the look on his face when our son (not named Nathan Jr) would have garnered from him if he… actually was going to be present.

 

haha Jena is going to be pregnant

But that’s the way life goes.  It’s unscripted.  And as much as these past couple of years have had their down points, there has also been a tremendous amount of glory in it all.

And maybe that’s why I fight so much.

I get a lot of flack on a nearly daily basis for why I stay here in Los Angeles despite all of the hardships and struggles.  During my pregnancy I was told by several people (including and especially family) that I should just “move away and be a better mother” and that staying was “selfish” of me.  I get talked down to like my choices are that of some sort of criminal constantly.  I have learned who my real support system is.  Who my real friends are.  Who… I was wrong about.  Who… my REAL family is.

So why is being an individual with out of the box ideas something to criminalize?  Why does society constantly feel a need to punish those who are educated in ways of… perhaps the full effect.

Mind.

Body.

Soul.

(I swear I showered and am not a hippy.)

It’s a constant struggle with the world to tell them to… just open their damn eyes.

When my children were here this summer we analyzed the word “monster.”  Our Disney experience was filled with laughter as I asked them why they were not scared of people like Sully from Monsters Inc.

“Because monsters aren’t real mommy.” they told me.

“Oh but they are.”

They didn’t understand.  I talked a bit more about it with them.

“Monsters are real people.  They can be anyone.  They can even be me or you.”

“How?”

“Everyone has a monster living inside of them.  It’s not always a bad thing.  But anyone is capable of being a scary horrible monster.  It’s a choice. “

Later in their visit, my father would start talking down to me condescendingly in front of them.  I said the word again.

“Monster.”

The kids understood.

The same could be said about this criminal complexity.  Anyone can get the title just like anyone could be a criminal.  (Or so at least the Joker tried to prove ala The Killing Joke)

Being an actual criminal though is a choice.

There is so much magic in this world.  There is also so much disaster.  Our society has not “grown up” much as we’d like to think.

We are embedded to think that different is bad.  That it must be squashed, medicated, criminalized, and otherwise reprimanded.

But then there are some lucky, wonderful, amazing people who see through the bullshit and know better.  And these are my friends.  They are the music makers.  They are the dreamers of the dreams.  They are part of my inspiration to keep going towards these dreams and why I am closer and closer everyday to actualizing them all into reality.

One by one.

Day by day.

It’s all happening.

All because I’m making it happen.

Alone.  

that’s ok I don’t need it

…And it’s the best place I’ve ever been yet.

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It wasn’t always like this

Let’s rewind to almost a year ago.

I had been working two jobs- a freelance client opportunity and a full time “mundane” office job in downtown Los Angeles.  After years of trying to make it (between freelance and temporary contract jobs amongst other life matters) I found myself not only capable of doing it, but doing a fantastic job at that.

So much so that I had saved and had no worry or care when my then boss at the time tempted not give me time off to spend my 30th with my best friend in Seattle.

I had conquered a mountain of debt, spent several thousand dollars in investments into personal matters and was thriving.  I had worked hard and it was finally paying off.  This was a milestone moment and I was going to take it.  Thankfully it was approved and off I was on my first real vacation trip on my own in ages.

Something curious about the time?  I was also single.

Sure I had gone out on a few dates here and there but it wasn’t anything major.  Hell, it was one of those experiences that had it’s magical moments but we both knew we weren’t ready or able to give the other the fairy tale happily ever after tale at the end.

When I left for Seattle for that trip last May I didn’t have a real care in the world.

I was whole.

I was complete.

I had no one but I felt like I was everyone.

I was awesome.

It was all going to be alright because I made it alright.

I was enough.

And it was absolutely amazing.

Seattletripmayme1When I think about how far I’ve come from that, and how far I was before I got there in the first place, it’s kind of difficult to wallow in sadness for too long.  Yes, I’ve had probably a million moments of sadness.  I know that there likely will be more where that came from.  But there will also be that many moments of joy.

I learned that magic isn’t just something that exists in this world, but it’s created.  It’s an internal choice.  It’s an external mission.  It’s often great shared (and sharing I would find is also its own process at times, especially in the dark hours) but… it’s also great when it’s not.

In Seattle I spent my time primarily with Jo.  We had a blast talking about the past.  About the moment when I couch surfed at her place when I had a bump in the road.  About how we missed being roommates.  About the silly stupid stuff that best friends talk about and miss when they are miles apart physically.

However that trip taught me so much about what companionship was and balance that…

The day I arrived we were to meet up with a few of her friends who were also in town.  The night was amazing.  I hadn’t previously met these women but they treated me like they had known me for years.  It was heartwarming.  A reminder that strangers are just people waiting to be friends.

And then there was that last day.  With that trip, as with the next that followed, the last day would be my day.  It was to be treated completely at my whim.  The day was whatever I wanted.

The last day was always the best day.

On my rush to the airport that day I ended up on the train where an old man started talking to me.  We talked about being strangers.  We talked about the town.  We talked about destinations and the future.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” he asked me.

“No.” I said with a laugh.

“Why not?”

“I don’t need one.” I said with a smile.

For all those times when things are hard, this post is to remember that day.  It might feel like ages away but it really isn’t.  A person is capable of going farther than they would imagine.  No matter what the hardships… no matter how bad it seems like it could possibly be (and it was pretty bad), it can always get worse.  Or…. it can get better.  You just have to suck it up and believe.

Remember what it was like to believe.

Gold stars for you: Moving is more than moving

I haven’t talked to her in a few months.  We’d said that we were going to talk more.  We used to be best friends.  You know, back before he happened.

I introduced her to her boyfriend- a guy I knew from a website around the same I started to date Big.  While we all know what happened with him, her relationship, though cross country not only lasted but she arrived in New York this week to take up residence to be near him.

Her sheer amount of patience through the struggle of being away from the person she loved for so long is admirable.  I envy her in a way.  It is not something that I think I could have done.

Her cross country love story- from Alaska all the way out East, gives me a bit of hope.

Everything is possible if you add heart and push yourself.

So while I push harder than ever to get through some of the things going on here, my bag is a carry on tote.   These cranes will continue to be folded.  And perhaps wishes and dreams really can come true… but only if you give yourself entirely to the goal.

Here’s to fighting to making that move… everyday closer to that one bit of manifest destiny that resides within each and every one of us.

And with that, I have to go back to work.

Gold stars to you my former best friend.  I miss you.  Congrats on making it home.

3 questions

Happiness is in the eye of the beholder, but only if the beholder is truly happy.  No amount of money, sex, possessions or stimulants can truly compare to that of a person who has everything within.  It’s like a ripple effect.

Think about that person on the road yesterday who cut you off.  You in turn, flick someone off.  Your drive home is aggravated.  Behaviors are contagious.  I dare you to make little changes like that for a week.  See how it effects you.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1) Who do you see when you wake up and look in the mirror? Answer this inwardly as well as outwardly.  Change starts with acknowledgment.  So does acceptance.

2)When you get hurt, who feels the pain?

3)If you don’t succeed at life, who will you really let down?

So often we, as a people, find ourselves becoming the victim.  Catch yourself before it happens.

It’s not wrong to be selfish all the time.  Get that notion out of your head.  The holidays are coming.  Do something for yourself even if it’s something small.  Try to avoid that holiday depression.  It’s alright to moderate.

You must put yourself first before all others.  You are the only thing that matters.  You have to be happy with yourself.  You have to live with yourself.  Make yourself happy.  It’s only then that you’re able to make someone else happy.

I’m making a resolution to do these actions, however small, whenever I’m having a horrible day.  I repeated them many times after I had this conversation yesterday.  Make today yours.. now it’s off for my cup of coffee.