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day 4: driving

I was going to post every day, but then I forgot, because I’m really out of the habit of posting every day. But three times since Saturday is like some kind of record for me, at least lately, so hey! Three posts!

Anyway.

I spend a lot of time in my car. Aside from my daily drive to and from work, I also have to go to a lot of meetings and drive between locations and in this way, I basically have a smoker’s dream job. Because smoking and driving is, to me, a natural combination, up there with coffee and cigarettes or cigarettes and beer. Or macaroni and cheese, if we’re thinking of non-cigarette-related combinations.

Smoking and driving — it’s as natural a combination as turning it off and turning it back on again.

(I work in IT. Forgive me.)

So anyway, here’s the hardest thing. It’s not the cravings that make me feel like my internal organs are itchy and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s not the fact that I’m feeling slightly irritated about everything on the planet, but not irritated enough to take up mass murder or anything so I think that’s a plus. It’s not even discovering how bad spearmint Life Savers taste with Diet Coke (look, if I have to quit smoking, then you can have my Diet Coke when you pry it from my cold, dead hands).

It’s that driving is so boring. Seriously, what do you non-smokers do? Just drive the car? Like with both hands on the wheel? Without the ever-present possibility of setting yourself or your vehicle on fire? Dull.

I can get through everything else just fine, but when I’m in my car, I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s this ever-present thought that I don’t know what I should be doing with my hands. WHAT? JUST DRIVING? I DON’T KNOW HOW TO JUST DRIVE.

I will admit that I hate this.

I love to drive. I love to drive and smoke. I can’t figure out how to come up with a substitute behavior. I mean, I can keep my hands busy during the day by, well, by typing, mostly, because I get a lot of emails. I can chew gum and suck on mints and gnaw on straws. But really? I have to just drive the car? I mean, it’s not like I’m going to take up texting while I’m driving, so…

Sigh.

day 1: iggy pop, tom waits and gum

I decided that with this quit attempt, I would go cold turkey, because I hate myself I don’t want to wind up replacing one addiction with another. I also reserve the right to change my mind about how I go about this at any given time — the important thing to me this time is that I don’t wind up smoking again.

Today so far has gone okay. I haven’t yelled at anybody or punched any babies, so I think I can say hooray for that.

I got up this morning, I smoked my last cigarette. I meant to smoke my last cigarette last night, but I wound up falling asleep on the couch at approximately 9:30 p.m. and waking up in the middle of the night and going to bed (I am such a party animal) and I forgot. I knew from previous quit attempts that if I threw the last cigarette away, even if I’d broken it into pieces first, that when I got desperate, I would actually see no problem with digging it out of the trash and smoking the pieces, so I decided that I’d smoke it and remove the future temptation. Sue me.

So, with that last soothing bit of nicotine coursing through my veins, I started the day with coffee, which is how I start every day, because I know what love is. And this morning I was standing in front of my couch, staring at the pile of mail on the end table and drinking my coffee, instead of sitting on the couch like a lazy slug and drinking my coffee, which is my usual ritual. I was also thinking about that scene in the movie Coffee and Cigarettes with Iggy Pop and Tom Waits, which is one of my favorite movie scenes of all time:

(I show this to people expecting someone to think it’s as great as I do, and the reaction is typically like… *crickets* but someday I’ll meet someone who loves it like I do. “You know, there’s nothing worse than roadside surgery.”)

Maybe someday after I have a successful career in music, I can start smoking again.

That’s the lie that your brain tells you, that you can just have one. And some people can. I know myself though, and I am not one of those people. I’m more one of those “One cigarette? That’s cute. How about I just smoke all of them now?” types of people, and I might as well not pretend otherwise.

The cravings have happened, off and on, though they’ve been fairly mild, physically. My brain has been cajoling me all day, however, with reasons why I could put this off until later or I could just have one or or or. And my brain, as grateful as I am to it for so many things, is basically full of crap most of the time. So it can shut up.

Instead of giving in, I’ve been chewing cinnamon-flavored sugar-free gum.

(Note: I’m lying, of course. The best gum I’ve ever had in my entire life was the watermelon-flavored bubblegum I used to chew in Mrs. Johnson’s 7th grade English class, which I would chew precisely because Mrs. Johnson had a professed hatred for the smell of watermelon-flavored gum, and I’m like that.)

Tomorrow I get to do this while working. I typically smoke more on Mondays than any other day of the week, because, um, Mondays. Should be fun. I might need bail money by about 1 p.m.

Right? Right.

Right? Right.

Right.

blood and smoke

This photo is from nearly a decade ago.

This photo is from nearly a decade ago.

Long story short: I have to quit smoking.

Hey, yeah, I smoke, and I have done for nearly 20 years now (lordy). Oh sure, I’ve quit before, for differing amounts of time, but I always wind up doing it again, for one reason or another. I started one night when I was 15, during a break while I was at play rehearsal, and I took to it immediately — it was like breathing with benefits. And I knew all the reasons at the time why I shouldn’t do it — I still know them now — but I didn’t care. Because here’s another truth: I loved it.

I still do.

I know that smoking makes people disapprove of me, because, like, ew, but that’s never really been a deterrent (though I will admit there have been a couple of times in my life when I had a super big crush on a guy only to have him not like me because I was one of those gross smoker folks). I love opening a pack of cigarettes, I love lighting cigarettes, I love the way a cigarette feels between my fingers, I love the way smoke feels in my mouth. I love smoking when I’m in a good mood, I love smoking when I’ve just had a long terrible snotty cry-fest, I love listening to loud music and driving and smoking. I love it.

I hate it, too, of course. I hate the smell, I hate the cost, I hate being relegated to Siberian smoker pariah-land. I hate planning my day around a habit, and I hate when I get a craving and my brain won’t stop screaming “SMOKE A CIGARETTE NOW” at me. I’m 35, I’m terribly independent, and I hate feeling like I’m Marlboro’s bitch.

And I’ve been thinking, at least for five years now (five years!) that I should stop. You know, sometime. But I’ve never gotten around to it, because I had other things to do, and I had to smoke while doing them.

But I’ve reached the point where I have to stop.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had super fun adventure time with my health: lady edition. I don’t really need to get into particulars, and you’re welcome, but to explain briefly, I bleed a lot. And let me tell you, if you think periods are fun, try having one that lasts for a month! It is basically the pinnacle of delight. Except whatever the opposite of that is. And I’ve been through a lot of tests and birth control pills to try to regulate things. While the meds generally work for awhile, their effectiveness tends to wear off after a few months, returning me to being a human bloodbath. This is frustrating (I never know when my leaky uterus is going to kick back in, and a surprise period is always a joy) and tiring (I lose a lot of blood), AND I AM SO OVER IT.

After my last trip to the doctor’s office (and subsequent round of ultrasounds to make sure there weren’t any tumors or aliens or velociraptors in there), we decided to try a really high dose of hormones. Though I’ve had the blood clot/stroke risk all the time I’ve smoked while on The Pill, the risk goes way way up with this new one. And since I don’t want to have a stroke on, like, Wednesday, I’ve elected to stop smoking to reduce my chances of dying.

See, sometimes I do care about my health.

So, I start the new pill tomorrow, which is also my quit smoking date. I figure I might as well become a festival of hormones and nicotine cravings all at once, because I was never one to do things by half measures.

And to anyone who has to spend any time in my presence over the next week or so: I am so sorry, and please keep sharp objects out of my reach when you talk to me.

I plan to post updates each day while I’m going through the worst of it, basically just to have a written record of what quitting is like, and to remind myself when I desperately want a cigarette of the progress I will undo by smoking again. (Or maybe all I’ll want to do is put in writing somewhere that I made it through a day without hitting anybody in the face with a shoe.)

We’ll see. Off to new adventures. Until tomorrow, when shit gets real.

in the bleak midwinter

You guys, I hate winter. I don’t know when this happened. When I was a kid, I was great with winter. I loved sledding and ice skating and if there was a pile of snow somewhere (the taller, the better), you could probably find me climbing it. Again and again. Because who can get enough of climbing snow piles? Not me when I was under 5 feet tall, that’s for sure.

When I was in third or fourth grade, we had this righteous pile of snow that had been pushed to the edge of the playground by the plow, and at recess, all the kids walked along the top in a single-file line. Why? Because that seemed like a fun game, that’s why.

It was kinda like this:

Instead of mountains in the background, though, there was just a tall chain link fence.

Instead of mountains in the background, though, there was just a tall chain link fence. But otherwise, I think that’s fairly accurate.

Ah, sweet nostalgia.

These days, though, I doubt anybody would find me climbing snow piles (at least not willingly) and if there’s a question of doing an outdoor activity in the winter, my answer is usually something along the lines of “Can’t we just wait until April?”

I guess this is because I’m turning into a grumpy old lady who doesn’t like to be cold. Hey snow, get offa my lawn. Something. Or maybe it’s because I can just sit on my couch and watch Netflix and I know I can do that at any time of the year, but it seems more okay when it’s a frozen wasteland outside.

Winter: no pressure to stop wasting my life.

(Maybe I should reconsider how I feel about it.)

So anyway, here are some things I’ve been enjoying so far this winter while I haven’t been climbing snow piles:

1. The Fall. I watched the first series of this show over the summer, and just binged the second series on Netflix last weekend. Have you seen it? I read awhile ago, I think in The Guardian when the second series premiered in the UK a few months ago, that the show was terribly misogynist, but I tend to agree with Jezebel’s take, that it’s a feminist crime drama. Gillian Anderson is fantastic in it and it’s creepy and smart and did I mention Gillian Anderson? Because Gillian Anderson. (People are excited about The X-Files coming back, but I never got into this show. My jam in the 90s was Homicide: Life on the Street because I guess I love murder stories.)

2. Reading some books. Right now I’m into The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, but I’ll write more about it when I finish. I’ve heard that winter is a good time to read Russian novels (I guess because they are long and bleak just like winter), but just like every year, I think 2015 won’t be the year that I finally finish Anna Karenina.

3. Buying things from Amazon, because then I don’t have to leave the house. I bought a spiral vegetable slicer, because I think I’ve been spending too much time on Pinterest. But it’s stupidly fun. Tonight I’m going to spiralize (apparently a word, according to blogs about spiral-cutting vegetables) a butternut squash and I’m excited about it and I should get out more.

4. Snuggling Sweet Pea because she is the cutest.

And sometimes she will even let me take pictures of her.

And sometimes she will even let me take pictures of her.

5. Having my life revolutionized by an electric blanket. About five years ago, I explained the problem with my bedroom, in that it is cold all the time. On a typical winter night, I used to have to wear a couple of sweatshirts and a couple of pairs of socks just to be able to get some sleep (instead of lying awake and shivering), but this year for Christmas, my mom bought me an electric blanket. If I remember to turn it on about an hour or so before bedtime, when I do go to bed, everything is nice and toasty and I can turn the blanket off and stay comfortable. Even without extra layers of clothing! Miracle! But sometimes I don’t remember to turn it on an hour or so before bedtime, so I turn it on when I get into bed and forget to turn it off before I fall asleep, and then I wake up at about 2 a.m. nearly roasted to death, which is unpleasant, but you know? I’ll take it over being cold.

the ocean at the end of the lane by neil gaiman

the ocean at the end of the lane

the ocean at the end of the lane

The first time I read anything by Neil Gaiman was, I don’t know, approximately a decade ago, when Levi sent me a copy of Anansi Boys to review. I read the entire book in a single day, sitting at my dining room table (though certainly, there are more comfortable places to read) with my feet propped up on the chair across from me. I’d opened the mail at the table a day or so before and left the book there. I thought I’d read for maybe an hour, but instead I read the whole thing cover to cover because I couldn’t stop. It was wonderful.

I’d heard of Neil Gaiman before, of course; I grew up a Tori Amos fan, and it’s impossible to be a Tori Amos fan without hearing of Neil. (“Neil says hi by the way” is where it starts.)

Over the years since, I’ve read a few more of his books and discovered that my delight at Anansi Boys was not a fluke: I really do dig the hell out of Neil Gaiman. I’ve not read all of his books, although they’re easy enough to find. I like to go slowly with writers I like — if I read everything in one go, then I run out of things, and then it’s like when I watched all the episodes of Doctor Who and now I have to wait for the TV to give me more. Sigh.

Anyway, book #2 in my 26 books for 2015: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by the aforementioned Mr. Gaiman. From the book’s cover:

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

You know how, when you’re a kid, you believe in things like ghosts and monsters? Your imagination runs wild with them? And at bedtime, your mom or your dad tells you it’s okay, that there aren’t any monsters under the bed or in the closet, and the shadows on the wall are just shadows and they won’t come to life and eat you when you close your eyes, really, so just go to sleep already, kid. But you know different, you know there are monsters, and that furthermore, they are going to GET YOU just as soon as the adult turns around and goes back down the hall and leaves you to their mercy. But after enough time has passed without you being eaten alive in your pajamas, you begin to think maybe the adults have a point and after awhile you’re all grown up and you don’t believe in monsters under the bed anymore?

Neil Gaiman writes from the imagination that didn’t grow up and side with the adults, and bless him for it.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is scary and sad and sweet. It is of the things you can believe as a child and no longer fathom as an adult. It’s a lovely book, and getting lost in the story was a good way to spend a few hours on a Saturday. Loved it.

of murakami and chicken stock

Kafka on the Shore, and a Christmas cactus.

Kafka on the Shore, and a Christmas cactus.

Well, it’s 2015 now, so I thought I’d take the ol’ death blog* out for a spin. I’ve decided that I’m going to write more about books here this year (instead of death) (I hope). I’m pretty good at getting reading done over the winter, since it’s cold and dark and I’m not doing much of anything anyway, other than curling up under a blanket and wishing it was warmer, so I might as well add a book to the mix. I get more terrible at it as the days get longer and warmer, because I’d rather be outside than inside, but I set myself a goal of finishing 26 books this year, which equals a book every other week, and I think I can handle it.

So, book #1, which I finished last night: Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami. (I began 2014 with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, so maybe Murakami is my writer of choice for beginning a year.) I think, having read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I was prepared for Kafka on the Shore to be odd, but still. I’ve been done with it for about half a day now and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel, other than somewhat… head-fucked.

I didn’t mind the elements of the fantastic — such as the talking cats — because really, the best part of being a writer is that you get to make stuff up, and as long as the internal world of your story remains consistent, then you can pretty much do whatever you want. So, talking cats? Sure.

Kafka on the Shore is — more complex than this, and I’m glossing over a lot — basically Oedipus Rex in Japan. And weirder. Oedipus is, of course, everybody’s favorite “Hello, Mama” story, so much so that we named a complex after it. The book is about a 15-year-old runaway named Kafka Tamura, and also a 60-something simpleton named Nakata and tells their stories in alternating chapters. Their quests are different, but interrelated, and by the end, there are at least as many questions as there were in the beginning. Just not the same questions.

Do I know what happened? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Sorta. The book does not provide clear answers, which makes it a head trip, or at least it left me with a lot of things to turn over and over in my head. Did I like it? Yeah. It’s incredibly readable, fast-moving and engaging. It has a sense of humor, and it kept me turning pages all the way to the end. According to Murakami (research!), “Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren’t any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It’s hard to explain, but that’s the kind of novel I set out to write”.

So there’s that.

And now that I don’t know what’s real anymore, I’m going to make chicken stock, because cooking a delicious kitchen staple item should root me back in reality, yeah?

I’m not sure who invented chicken stock. Like, hey, we have some chicken bones here, why don’t we throw them into a pot with a bunch of garbage and water and see what happens? I don’t know. But whoever you are, I salute you. Making chicken stock is kind of like being a writer, in that you can throw whatever you want into the pot, as long as it makes sense in the world of chicken stock, and it works.

This will be chicken stock. Oh yes, it will be chicken stock.

This will be chicken stock. Oh yes, it will be chicken stock.

For my part, a few times a year, I buy a whole chicken and I roast it for dinner. The following day, I throw the bones into a stock pot with some junk that’s handy. Today’s chicken stock has carrots, celery, onions (you don’t even have to peel them!), garlic (you don’t have to peel that, either!), thyme, bay leaves and a handful of peppercorns. Sometimes I use leeks instead of onions. Sometimes I throw in one of those tiny cans of tomato paste. You could also throw in some kitchen scraps, like potato peelings, or a shoe**. Whatevs. Seriously, as long as it adds flavor, you can put pretty much anything in there.

Plus, it makes the house smell incredible. Bonus.

_______________________
* I think over 40% of my posts so far at least reference the death of someone I love.

** A shoe: most likely flavorful, not recommended.

nine years

I don’t remember if it was one of those snowy Novembers nine years ago, but I do know for sure that it snowed and snowed the day before Thanksgiving in 2005, and that was the day — November 23 — that my best friend Stacy was killed in a car accident on her way to work. It’s hard to believe it’s been nine years, and yet it’s also completely believable. When I take a moment to think about my life — then versus now — almost everything has changed. But there’s still the one thing: I miss her.

I miss Stacy in big and small ways, at major life events and in tiny moments. There are times when I’ll hear her voice in the back of my head, not because I’ve gone mad (I don’t think), but because I know exactly what she would’ve said right then. I miss the sound of her laugh, I miss her perspective on things, I miss the way she ordered food in restaurants.

But I don’t want to be sad today, because even though I still think sometimes that dammit, it’s really not fair that someone so bright and so full of life and love had to leave so early, I was lucky that we were friends. And when I miss her, I remember her, and I can’t remember her without smiling. I wish we’d been able to have more time to make more memories, but the ones that I am left here with are really pretty fucking great. In this season of thankfulness, I like to take time to be grateful that life brought us together and we got to be friends. I won’t be sad for what I have.

So I will leave you with a photo of the two of us spinning around in the mountains in Poland, singing “The Sound of Music” because why not, really.

the sound of music

I miss you, Stace. Today and always. But I’m smiling. God, we had fun.

thirty five

Annual birthday self-portrait. Years ago, I decided I would take a self-portrait shortly after midnight on my birthday (I've come to hate this rule because I'd rather be sleeping) with no makeup, no special lighting, no fancy processing, just me. So here it is for this year. I need a nap.

Annual birthday self-portrait. Years ago, I decided I would take a self-portrait shortly after midnight on my birthday (I’ve come to hate this rule because I’d rather be sleeping) with no makeup, no special lighting, no fancy processing, just me. So here it is for this year. I need a nap. Also I am now concerned I might be somewhat cross-eyed.

Twenty years ago now (good lord, I have to let that sink in for a minute), I had an assignment in my 10th grade English class, to write about what I’d be up to in 10 years’ time. I remember being 15 and thinking that in 10 years, when I would be 25, I would be so cool and such a grown up and I would have it together at last. (My 15-year-old self imagined that my 25-year-old self would be a writer who worked on a typewriter — I worked on a typewriter at the time, so it seemed logical — and had a tattoo. Writing would, of course, be my full-time job. I’m sure there was other stuff, but those were some of the things I remember.)

When I turned 25, I was disappointed when I realized that I was not a grown-up who had it together at last. In a lot of ways, I felt much the same as I did when I was 15, and also I didn’t have a full-time writing career or a tattoo. I remember, when I turned 25, that I had some anxiety over the fact that instead of having it together (I was an adult, after all, halfway through my 20s and at what point was I supposed to have it together if not then?) I felt restless and confused.

And now it’s 10 years after that. I still don’t have a full-time writing career, but I do have 2 tattoos. I still don’t have it together at last, but I have realized that there’s actually no such thing, so that helps. And my 15-year-old self would never believe this, but I am really good at accessorizing now.

Who says I’m not accomplished?

Anyway, it’s my birthday. I haven’t come out and said it, but if you are able to do math, you will know that I am now 35. Hello. This is my first post as a 35-year-old. I’m sure it will be monumental.

There’s one slight problem — I don’t have a lot to say. My birthday this year kind of came out of nowhere. I mean, I knew it was going to happen, but I haven’t really thought about it much. I’m not sure how much I ever really think about it, but this year I’m a bit blindsided by it, mostly because I’m still slightly surprised that it is not, in fact, still mid-July. Not sure where the summer went. It just kind of disintegrated. All of that to say I guess my biggest birthday surprise this year is the fact that oh hey, it’s happening now.

I find that I don’t care much about turning 35. I thought perhaps I’d feel something about it, the fact that I’m now officially halfway through my 30s and turning 40 is no longer a vague concept for the future but a highly likely possibility, provided I don’t get hit by a bus or something between now and then. Now that I’m here, though, I realize that I am pretty okay with it. (You want to know a dumb secret that will no longer be a secret once I finish typing this parenthetical statement and don’t you love when I get all meta? The age that freaked me out the most so far? It wasn’t a milestone year and there wasn’t anything outstanding about it in any way, but I was really bothered about turning 33. For whatever reason — and I have absolutely no idea what that reason might’ve been — that shit freaked me out. But I lived through it, and here we are and I’m going to stop with the parentheses now.)

Typically in one of these birthday posts, I’d spend some time reminiscing about the year past, but I don’t think I will this time around. Oh sure, stuff happened. Some of it was good and some of it was bad. I find that I’m not interested in the majority of it, though, the most recent collection of 365 days that brought me here to this post. It happened, but I don’t have anything much to tell you about it. It was pretty quiet, fairly solitary, and I don’t know. I read some books and I think I still have PTSD from this past winter, but overall, 34 was a rather nondescript blur. But that’s okay. I had a lot of drama in my 20s, so maybe this is the decade when I get to be more even-keeled and spend my spare time binge-watching things on Netflix. Could be worse.

One nice thing about getting older is that I am definitely more at peace with the fact that life doesn’t have to be exciting all the time.

So. Now that I’m 35, I use anti-aging moisturizer on my face at night, not because I’m concerned about wrinkles (I’m not; they’re going to happen regardless), but my god my skin has gotten so dry and that stuff really hydrates and what did I tell you about not being exciting?

I’m going to have a year. I’m going to try to write more, though I don’t know how much of that will happen here. A week or so ago, I found a recording on my phone of my grandmother telling a story one Sunday afternoon when my mom and I were visiting her, and though it was a weird, meandering, circuitous story, it reminded me of a book I was writing. Not because it was weird, meandering or circuitous (though it may in fact be all of those things), but the rhythm of my grandmother’s speech patterns when we would sit and she would tell me stories about her youth in Arkansas was one of the things that inspired it in the first place. The story I was writing back then in 2009 when I first started it still nags me, and I owe it to myself to finish it, although I have a feeling that might mean scrapping everything and starting from scratch, but scrapping everything and starting from scratch is kind of my thing anyway, so that works. I don’t think I was ready to write it when I started it back then. I think I am now.

Writing still won’t be my full-time job, but it’s about time I got closer to the dream I had forever ago, even before I wrote it down for an English class assignment. So there’s that.

Happy Thursday.

throwback thursday: happy birthday

That photo was taken on my birthday, when I turned 2. I remember the tea set.

Today would’ve been my grandma’s 100th birthday. Our birthdays are two weeks apart — first hers, then mine, then my mother’s. The three of us would usually go out sometime in the middle and celebrate all three, and my grandma would always say she couldn’t possibly eat a whole dessert, but then her sweet tooth would take over and she would inevitably eat two-thirds of whatever we ordered to share.

Today at lunch, I had a piece of pie (key lime). I would’ve been okay if my grandma had been around to eat two-thirds of it, but instead I got to eat the whole thing myself. This day was going to be a big deal, but then it wound up being a Thursday.

Might as well have pie, yeah?

Speaking of pie, here’s a picture of balloons, because non sequitur.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Happy birthday, grandma.

hi

forget me not

The photo, that’s of forget-me-nots from my grandma’s garden, taken ages ago, when I was into flower macros.

I’m here. A bit on the pensive and sad side, now that I have time to be both pensive and sad (last week, with its funeral preparations, was far too busy for either). Every day on my way to and from work, I drive past the exit I’d take if I was going to visit my grandma. I drove past it twice a day before, and I realize now that it was where my brain would shift over to her and think about what she was doing, the answers being, depending on whether I was going to or coming from work, either a) sleeping, or b) eating supper. I still think those thoughts when I drive past, just now I have to remind myself that she’s not there. And I get a little teary-eyed. And I keep driving.

It’s funny, going back to life as usual, after life has tilted to the side a little and everything looks the same but it isn’t. It’s working and driving and eating and sleeping just like before, but it’s not anything like before because it’s after. And I know that after becomes normal, becomes a new before, and that’s how it works, but there’s that time, however long it lasts, before it becomes anything else, when it’s after, it just is, and it’s weird.

Good luck making sense out of that paragraph.

Not sure where I was going to go with this, but that’s okay. And I’m okay. And I suppose that for now, that’s enough.

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