Monday, January 20, 2014

Making Room

During the last month or so, I've been cleaning house.

Not literally cleaning house.  That would just be silly.  I mean cleaning my "personal" house.

Okay, now that makes me sound like I should be on penicillin. 

I've taken a hard look at my life and the people I have surrounding me and I've decided you're either in this whole thing with me...or you're out.

I know this doesn't sound like a monumental task, but for me it is.  Me...the person who always needed to be liked.  Who always felt like she needed to justify every decision she's making (just in case you don't agree).  Who always, up until now, felt so unsure of herself.

Brace yourself.  There's a new Chick in town.

I've always been that person who will bend over backwards for anyone and not really think about what she's getting in return.  Generous?  Yes, maybe.  Pushover?  Oh, definitely.  But I've come to a decision.

I just don't have the bleeping time.

I don't know if it's because 2013 was so bad that I've decided - truly decided - to make 2014 a great one, if it comes with age, or if it comes with experience...but I'm a greater, better person than I was a few months ago.  The person I've always been is completely loyal and would stick with you no matter what.

The person I am now is somewhat the same... but expects you not to take advantage of that for your own personal gain. I sound bitter.  I'm not.  I promise.  I talk about this a little in my book...about how I wasn't sure if, after my husband died, I'd want to reconnect with every person I'd lost contact with because I know now how short time really is....

Or if I'd want to spend my time with people who matter.

I want all of that bad stuff out.  OUT.  That energy spent on being annoyed with people who annoy me (yes, I need to get my thesaurus out and stop using the word "annoy")'s WASTED.  It's energy I don't have to spend.  It's like investing in a house and knowing you will never see your money again.

What's funny about it is that it's actually pretty easy.  I've always thought I needed to justify my decisions and explain myself.  And you know what?  I don't.  If I can look at myself in the mirror every morning and be comfortable with who I am, I don't need anyone else to validate that.  I can say "no" and not explain why.  I can gently back away from people who suck the very life out of me.  I can live my own damn life...and I don't have to explain any of it to anyone (unless it's the cops.  In which case, it's possible that I'll freak out so bad that they'll pin the Kennedy assassination on me).

And that means that I have the energy and the mental capacity to accept the good things that come my way instead of focusing on all of the crap that doesn't do me any good.


I've recently been given a gift.  

The mother of one of my husband's childhood friends emailed me last week and told me that she had Googled his family name and my book came up.  So she thought she'd contact me.

In the last week, I have been treated to stories about my husband that I never knew, insights that I have come to covet...and I now have a friend that I never knew I was missing, but suddenly can't wait to hear from.

It's like a whole new world has opened up for me.  I've laughed, cried, and started a new chapter of my life with him - which is weird because it's all stuff from a past that started before I knew him.  I knew him as an adult, but this has allowed me to know him as a child, as a young man, and as the person he grew into and I was fortunate enough to meet.  

The craziest thing about it is that she came into my life...

...just at the moment I was making room for her.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Today Is Your Day

This morning when I woke up at the crack of 6:30, the following saying flashed in my head:

January 7, 2014.  The day I have been waiting for for years.  The day my book actually comes out.

This may sound cheesy, but I just want to document this moment here.  This blog has really become my diary, mainly because I lose all of my diaries, then write in another one, then find the old one and start writing in it.  When I leave all of this to my children someday, it will be a headache for them to decipher.  But the mean little mother in me likes that just a little bit.

So at least I can write here and know that I won't lose it.

I love that saying "it takes ten years to become an overnight success" and that's the way I feel.  Not that I've made this gigantic leap to the best-seller list my first day (I'm no Robertson, for crying out loud), but getting Confessions of a Mediocre Widow to this point has been a long road. 

It's weird that this day is here.  It's been "in the future" in my mind for so long I think a part of me thought it would never come.  So the whole day has been kind of a blur.

This morning I left on a secret mission to my closest Barnes & Noble.  I just wanted to see if it was there.  And then I found it - right smack in the middle of the Biography section, next to a David McCullough book, no less - and I couldn't help but stare.

I'm sure the people around me thought I was crazy and it didn't help that I took out my phone and snapped a picture of my book on the shelf.  I even thought about buying one just to know what it felt like, but I held back (as you can imagine, I have quite a few at home).  I almost couldn't breathe as I looked at it.  Then I walked out of the store, got into my car....

And bawled like a baby.

I had no idea that today would be so emotional and I sure as hell hope I got it all out before I have to speak at my book signing tonight.  Honestly the thing that I kept crying about over and over again was what always brings us widows to tears.

"I wish my husband could be here to see this."

Six years ago, I had no idea I had it in me to do this.  And here I am.  I wish he could be here because I do feel like this book was a collaboration between the two of us - that he wrote this book just as much as I did (okay, maybe not quite.  I mean, the man was an engineer and his grammar was not always the best).

But I did do it.  I saw it through. Just like Dr. Seuss is my day.  I don't want to forget it.  And I don't want it to get lost in one of the 30 diaries I have scattered through my house.

Hang on. I just need to write myself a note for later:

Remember this moment.  Remember what you've done.  This is big and it's okay to be proud of yourself.

Sorry.  Sometimes we all just need to remind ourselves about stuff like that.