Hello, Old Girl

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Life has been strange and beautiful, and though I’m going to do my best to describe it to you, I don’t know how well my world will translate onto the page, but I’ll give it a go.

As I wrote last week, transitioning back into Vegas, seeing my dad off to Germany, ramping up new work plans, it’s been in intense emotional roller coaster– one of which I’m proud to say I’m riding to the best of my ability.

I’m in a period of loss, so to speak, losing my dad in proximity, and a few other things I cannot discuss yet, it’s strangely drudged up the residue of my first major loss– the death of my Grandma. Though it’s been about 9 nine years since she passed, it’s a loss that has left (or at least I thought) a gaping hole within me.

Brenda

My grandmother was magical. My childhood was full of wonder, imagination, and excitement of which she facilitated by encouraging my storytelling, love for books, and card games. Seriously, I was 2 when she taught me how to read. I’ve been reading books like a crackhead in need of a fix ever since. She saw something within me and helped unleash the madness that is Taryn into this world.

Brenda was the quirkiest/kookiest woman I’ve ever known. She laughed at odd things, remembered important dates at odd times, and when I was little, I thought she was nutty. “Crazy like a fox!”, she’d say when I told her I thought she was nuts.

At 27, turns out that I too laugh at odd things, remember important dates at odd times, and am a little nutty. I think I’m beginning to get the hang of this crazy like a fox thing.

Around 16 — I can’t remember exactly– I had this strange feeling to spend more time with my grandma. I can’t explain why, but I felt the need to spend more time with her and to say “I love you”. So each Saturday, I’d stop by her house with a DVD and we’d watch a movie.

We both shared an appreciation for good looking men, and Troy had just come about. “Brad Pitt and those legs,” she’d exclaim. I’m sure I nodded in agreement. The dude had some great legs. On that note, I need to rewatch that film, ha.

This went on for a few weeks, and sometime shortly after, she suffered a stroke on the bus she rode from work. When I first heard about it, it was hard to put into emotion because I was still removed from it. It wasn’t until seeing her in the hospital, in an altered state from the crazy lady that I adored, to a sickly being staring down mortality, that I began to shut down.

I couldn’t bear the pain of seeing my hero reduced to a mere mortal, barely hanging onto life. Though initially she was improving, it was about a year or so later that she passed, right after my first horrifically shitty year of college and some massive changes within my family. Needless to say, 2008 can go to hell for all I care.

As my sister told me the news of my grandma’s passing, I cried for a few seconds, and then I went into an emotional coma of sorts. I’ve always been terrible with feelings but this took the cake. I buried my feelings– deep into an abyss with plans to never really use them again. My world went gray, as the person who first introduced me to the vivid colors of the world was no longer with me. If I’m being frank, I thought the best parts of me died with her.

A semi kind of life

As time went on, I trudged through life, having some decent moments, but never truly allowing myself to experience joy or peace. Granted it doesn’t help that I’m an existential weirdo, lol. Anyway, it’s funny how caring for others will help you eventually learn how to care for yourself, and I’ve got an army of niece and nephews and a not-so-obedient dog to blame for that.

Over the years, I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time in helping bring up my niece and nephews. Changing diapers, potty training, school graduations, awards ceremonies– it’s been a blast. Though there are 7 of them, I can spot their unique identities, what makes them tick, and how to reach each of them on their terms. Looking back, that’s exactly what my grandmother did for me and my siblings/cousins.

So fast forward to yesterday, after spending the day watching a set of 1 year old twins, a 2 and 4 year old, memories of the craziest lady I’ve ever known came flooding back to me. It was odd, as I was walking my dog late last night (90 degrees at 10pm, yay Vegas), I began to think about what she’d say to me about how I’m “doing life”. I knew she’d never want me to live in the self-imposed prison I’ve created.

In that moment, as I was walking Abbey in the suburban streets of Vegas, I spontaneously combusted into hysterical bouts of crying. Man, was it ugly– but also peaceful, freeing, and about freaking time. On a side note, I’m so glad no one else was out, because I’m sure I looked like a mess. Even Abbey kept giving me “wtf” looks from time to time. I wasn’t crying out of sadness or grief per se, but they were tears of joy because someone who I’d hadn’t seen in many years had returned to my life — me.

Not gone, just sleeping

Maybe this is my roundabout way of accepting the loss of a loved one, but it’s nice to be able to resurface from a long slumber. Much to my initial belief, I didn’t leave, I’m not broken, I just came back from playing an unintentionally long game of hide and seek. That’s at least what I’m telling myself, anyway.

I can’t help but to think and smile because though my grandmother is not with me, I’ll always have her. I find her in the things that I do, how I behave, how I think, my work ethic– I find her in me. So as it turns out, I was never gone or broken– just hiding underneath the layers of time.

Today I say hello, Taryn. Glad to have you back, we have a lot of catching up to do.

Waves of Change

I hate change– in all forms. Think about it, pennies and nickels are a nuisance. If I counted all of the change that is hiding around my room, I’d probably make a dent in my student loans. On that note, I must sign off to scour my apartment for loose change. Just kidding… 😉 Continue reading “Waves of Change”

I’m Only Happy When It Rains

If being a worrywart were a profession, I’d be the CEO. Honestly, I can’t seem to function unless I’m thinking of some impossibly unforeseeable tragedy that is potentially looming around the corner. Right now, as it stands, I should be super duper happy and excited about life. I am, really, but also my psychotic brain is telling me “dude, don’t get too excited, Mt. Everest could come crumbling down on someone you love”. Ok that is a minor exaggeration but seriously, I’m a waiting for the shoe to drop kind of girl. I don’t mean to be but it is what it is.

I wasn’t always this nuts, I swear. I was actually a pretty happy-go-lucky type person until what I like to call the “2008 debacle” occurred. At 18, I suddenly lost both my maternal grandparents within 6 months of each other, my parents were going through a financial crisis, and going to school in LA was taking its toll on me. So what’s a girl to do when her pretty sweet life is turned all the way upside down? The answer simply, is to just shut down. I mean turn your feelings off, live like a robot, and just exist, shut down. I spent the next few years just going through the motions and surviving instead of fully enjoying my life. Also food become my BFF, well carbs/sweets/ etc., that is.

It wasn’t until my mom found me in the laundry room with a Dutch apple pie (the best pie in the world I might add), watching The O.C. on my laptop at 5 in the morning that my parents decided I was going to go to therapy. I’ll admit my first go with it, I wasn’t in the sharing mood, but it did slightly give me a wake up call as to the fact that I wasn’t being myself. To be completely honest, it took me about 2 years to kind of start waking up from my gray life that I’d grown accustomed to. 6 years after the fact, I can proudly say I’m “seeing in color” once again. However, anxiety is still a close friend of mine.

After leaving corporate slavery and doing my own thing, I cannot think of a better transition for me. I absolutely am enjoying where I’m at in this point in time. My issue is that from time to time, I get nervous about being happy, because the last time I was truly content, my world came crashing down. So how does one go back out into the world knowing that bad things can happen at anytime? Well according to my parents, you do it one day at a time, which is some pretty sound advice. I can’t live according to the fear of things that might happen. Furthermore even if bad things do happen, me worrying about it is not going to change the outcome. So I’m choosing to try and take the good with the bad. Life is a tragically beautiful thing, so it is important to cherish the moments that you have. Ok, now that my neurosis has subsided for the moment, I probably should get back to writing some articles. Who knew that being a freelance writer meant that you actually have to do work? 😉

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I’ve Changed

Why is it, that whenever you make great strides in the right direction, there is almost always someone there trying to drag you down? It is so frustrating! These past 3 months, I’ve changed so much and for the better. I’ve eliminated so much unnecessary stress it’s crazy and yet, here I am pissed about things I cannot control. I should add that usually when I get my feathers ruffled it swings me into an emotional whirlwind. Externally, you can’t see it, but internally I’m at odds and I hate it. I loathe conflict to the nth degree and will typically bend until harmony is restored. I will fall on the sword even when it’s not my fault just to end the conflict. Well, I’ve changed. I should probably explain how I came to be this way.

When you go through events that make you understand how previous behaviors don’t work, they change you. Like you’ve stretched your brain and have grown to the point where you can’t turn back and become who you once were.Yes, I have changed. Gone are the days where I play martyr because I don’t want people to be mad at me. If they’re mad, so be it. No longer will I get so bent out of shape that I disrupt my balance because of someone else. I feel like I’ve lived my life for others for so long, that I’ve forgotten how to just be content with myself.

Being the middle child, I’ve always felt the need to go my own way and was fiercely independent. It’s funny how death changes you. I lost my grandma suddenly when I was 18 and became painfully aware of mortality and that we are all on this earth for a limited amount of time. So much so that I changed from being that independent kid to being a pillar for my family because I thought they needed it. I made more sacrifices than most kids that age and matured a lot more than necessary. I didn’t make the typical teenage mistakes and I’ve always been careful. Well, being careful is lame and I don’t want to act like I’m 45 anymore.

One of the many reasons why I decided to become a bum was the fact that I started identifying with 40+ years old rather than people in their early 20s. It was then, I realized that something was very wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being mature, but I certainly don’t want to be 55 regretting that I was so in my head that I didn’t allow myself to be young. Nobody likes a 55 year old in a tube top ;-). I’ve started putting me first and it’s been a great experience. I’ve lost almost 20 lbs. in 4 weeks, I’m not nearly as anxious, and I’m doing what I want to do for the first time in a long time. So there’s no way that I’m going to let external factors ruin my newfound autonomy.

So to recap my little rant, I’m working to let go of things that are out of my control. No point in stressing if you can’t change the outcome. Screw being a doormat, it’s no fun and nobody deserves to be one. So don’t push me because I’m pushing back. Be happy with yourself for yourself. I’ve learned that happiness comes from within and if you’re trying to get it from someone else, chances are they will disappoint you. I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just we aren’t perfect so to keep that expectation on someone is not fair by any means. Now with that all said and done, I plan on conquering this life while I still can. Cheers to the weekend! Oh and I also saw Divergent this morning, they did a great job, I highly recommend it. 🙂

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Kobe

I just found out that my childhood cat Kobe passed away recently and it really freaking sucks. That cat had been terrorizing me for well over half of my life. See, Kobe was an asshole of a cat. He was mean, self-obsessed, and had a penchant for scratching humans just for the hell of it. He also had a huge vindictive streak in him. Once when I was about 14, I removed him from a chair in the kitchen because it was the only place where I could sit without the sun hitting my eyes. Because he felt disrespected, Kobe stared me down until I looked away, because quite frankly, I was intimidated. Later that night, when I was sleeping that jerk came in and attacked the crap out of my arm. Seriously, to the point where I had to shake him off. The next day, he rubbed himself on my legs as if to say we were ok. I decided it would be best if I didn’t try and take his seat ever again. Yes, Kobe was a mean son of a bitch, but he was also the best damn cat in the world.  

Though he enjoyed being a bully, he also enjoyed spending time with me and my family. Whenever we were all together, Kobe would be plopped down in the middle of whatever was going on. He was also an attention whore. If we had company or new people over, he would graciously saunter over and insert himself on the new person’s lap and demand to be petted. He really wasn’t shy, like, at all. He was also pretty good with kids (except for my niece and nephew, but in his defense, they pestered him quite a bit.). He also had a really sweet side. If anyone of us were sick or upset, there he was, laying down next to us or sitting in our laps almost like a sign of solidarity. And just as he had instinctually come over to show support, he would leave the scene upon patient recovery to kill some rodents/bunnies in the yard. He was also a master hunter ;-).

I could go on and on about that damn cat and how much he meant to me, but that could take all week. Nearly 14 years would take quite some time to go over. It’s funny because he was so ornery and tough, that I thought he would last forever. Or at the very least die fighting a bear, not by kidney failure. Despite his intense personality, I know he loved me and my family just as much as we loved him. He will be greatly missed.

 

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Kobe sunbathing, as you can see he lived a tough life 😉