Posts Tagged ‘#lifestory’

Today’s gem of the day was Mom yelling out, “There’s a fire in the basement!” Without considering the source, panic set in. She was sitting at the dining room table eating her cereal and I was in the sunroom with my SAD light on. Then she made that exclamation and I jumped up LIKE THE HOUSE WAS ON FIRE. Heh. We’ve never had a fire (knock on wood) but I know it’s nothing to fool with. I don’t want to be the person whose house burns down at Christmastime OR EVER. We see it on the news so often this time of year but really all year round. I ran to my mom and said, “What are you talking about?” and she pulled  back the curtain on the window to reveal “smoke” coming from under the window. Again she said, “The basement’s on fire!”  Before my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she was the most trusted authority on if something wasn’t right. She used to have the best “smeller” and could smell anything that most others couldn’t. I inheired this super smeller but I’m sure mine isn’t what it used to be either. So at one time if she said there was a fire, I would’ve believed her and gone down to investigate. This time I knew exactly what the “smoke” was from. Our forced air gas furnace vents out the side of the house. OMG. I could never forget that since over 10 years ago the next door neighbor kids were playing between the houses and stuffed both pipes (intake and outtake) with snow! The furnace quit entirely and we were freezing to death. Hubby cleaned it out and when he told the next door neighbor what her boys had done, of course she denied it. “They wouldn’t do that.” She also said the same thing when confronted with her boys poking our previous dogs with sticks through the fence! Anyway, I told Mom that’s what it was and that there was more than usual of the exhaust coming out  because it was extra cold today. Temps overnight were around zero with windchills of 15 below zero. She seemed to be satisfied with my explanation but it made me do a double take. Luckily, it really didn’t upset me. I’m trying to find the humor in the situation since I’ve been far too serious most of my life. Now that I’m faced with her gravely serious diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, I need to laugh more than ever before. So I try to find humor in everything I can. That’s why one of my favorite sayings is “We’d get along like a house on fire.” I’m ablaze for you. 😉

Back on Sept. 11, 2001 when Mom still had most of her faculties, she was the one who came into our bedroom while we were still in bed (sleeping) that “They’re flying planes into buildings!” She used to lie in bed in the mornings if she woke up before us and listen to radio. She had heard a news report and got scared. We thought she was out of her mind. Another incident around that time had her coming to us saying there had been a “pterodactyl” on the deck. That it was 4 feet high and just huge. That it was taking fish out of our koi pond. We had NO idea what she was talking about. Shortly after that, I saw with my own eyes the pterodactyl! It was a heron. I could understand her thinking it was something prehistoric because it was enormous and not something I’d seen up close before.

One of the things I regret most is not writing Mom’s life story. I’ve wanted to for the past 15+ years and she really wasn’t interested. She was never a big reader and even less of a writer. I don’t know that she saw the value of having her life documented. About a decade ago, I used to suggest we sit down together and tape record some of her childhood stories. She loved to talk about her time growing up on a farm in Minnesota. Now she doesn’t talk about it anymore and I have no way of getting those stories out of her again. All that knowledge and life experience is just lost. I honestly think it should be mandatory that everyone either write their life story or have someone else write it. It could all be kept somewhere digitally (maybe even on the Internet). If people didn’t want it published until their death, it could be their option. However, this makes more sense to me to honor someone’s life this way than with a cemetery plot and tombstone. I don’t know how we’d get people to tell the truth about their lives. To not only curate their successes but their failures, their broken hearts as well as the love they shared, the pain endured in addition to the happy times, etc. I just feel there should be something left (besides offspring) to commemorate the lives lived. Not everyone makes a huge mark in the world (or has kids) but there has to be lessons to be learned from every human being. As I’ve mentioned before, I find everyone’s life fascinating. That’s why I love reading biographies, autobiographies and blogs. I marvel at the different lives they’ve lived, choices they’ve made, journeys they’ve weathered, etc. That is why I CAN’T DIE UNTIL I WRITE ALL OF THE WORDS. I have so much to tell and share. It’s not that I think I have more wisdom to impart or eyepopping experiences to share than anyone else. It’s my way of making a mark on the universe.

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 Back when I was 21, I fancied myself a writer. I enjoyed writing for the sake of writing. I had a penpal who I’d known since I was 18 and felt especially close to because we both shared a love of groupie-ing. (That’s a whole other blog post.) I suggested we both write our life story and share with the other. Yeah, at 21 I thought I had lived already. So we swapped memoirs and got to know each other even better. Consequently, as time passed and I moved to another state and our basement flooded, I lost track of where my one and only hard copy was. This was before computers, people. The only people who I had let read mine were this penpal, my husband (before we got married) and a psychologist I went to a handful of times. (That’s an entire blog post there as well.) I wasn’t agonizing over the fact that I couldn’t locate it. There’s a chance it’s here somewhere. But I did ask this penpal, who I’m still in touch with via Twitter, if she still had the copy I sent her. Thankfully, she still did and offered to send me a copy just before Christmas. We were out of state for the holiday so I didn’t get a chance to peruse it until Jan. Even then, I could only stomach a bit of it at a time.

Here are some of the revelations I got after I read it:

1) Boy, I was really a good writer. I wish I could write half as good now.
2) I really swore a lot in my writing. I don’t remember starting to swear IRL until I was 25 and started working nights at the Post Office. It was a factory type setting where everyone swore like longshoremen. In this memoir, I was throwing around every cuss word I could think of, just for emphasis.
3) I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic but OMG, I almost can’t stand how melodramatic I was. It makes me realize that I’ve actually toned it down quite a bit.
4) It wasn’t a full life story. I dwelled on a lot of incidents and events but clearly not everyone or everything. A lot of what I mentioned then is unimportant to me now. Some of what I left out was really noticeable to me as well.
5) I don’t remember some things or I remember them differently. Other things are still the same in my memory bank. Weird.
6) A lot of what I told seemed intensely personal at the time but now I would probably air most of it on my blog, a chapter at a time. Mine didn’t consist of chapters. It was one 50 page run on sentence. With punctuation. 🙂
7) I still feel stupid for being so gullible and letting a “friend” take advantage of my trusting nature. I’m no longer as angry about it but I haven’t forgiven her either. I no longer feel a need to protect her and now want the world to know what kind of person she is. The damage from this incident is why I can’t really have friends or don’t have friends. A future blog post will recount word for word how she “played” me.
8) I need to write about the years since I was 21. Those are just as important, if not more. I need to write about all the ups & downs of my adulthood before I forget them. Obviously, some will never be forgotten but plenty will if not documented.
9) I’ve always been a sensitive person but I noticed how much more deeply I felt things. Everything was a huge insult, a criticism, a snub, etc. I was hyper-sensitive and took everything to heart. I’ve outgrown this to a degree just from no longer tolerating being a doormat or taking crap from anyone.
10) I can’t believe how much I used to lie! Not in the memoir, I told the truth about everything in there. I even mentioned how I lied to people and what lies I told. These weren’t things I ever said to impress anyone, it was what I considered self preservation. People would ask me things and I would feel bad so I’d lie. Like if I didn’t have a job, I felt terrible. I wanted to work but didn’t have enough experience so couldn’t get hired. If someone asked me, I would say I worked part -time at such and such. I felt like letting on that I didn’t have a job was admitting I was a failure. I felt like a failure. Another part of my life story was my disappointing 18th birthday which made me feel like my life was ruined. When some of my “friends” asked what I’d done, I lied and said I’d gone out with a friend, instead of what really happened–staying home. When I look at it written in black & white, it looks awful to lie like that. I never lied to make anyone else look bad or feel bad. I hope this is something I’ve outgrown.
11) Possibly the best thing I learned from reading my life story which was titled, “The Heartbreaking Saga of The Life & Times of Chrisor Bowana” was that I need to own my story. I need to bring it out into the light and not keep any of it in darkness any longer. Sometimes I think I know myself very well, too well. Other times I wonder if I’ve even looked deep enough into my being to know for sure.
Stay tuned for excerpts from the first 21 yrs of my life! They will confound you but also make you know a life was lived…

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