Posts Tagged admiration
I have been thinking a lot about the way I live within my own little world of “Me, Myself, & I.” At times I can be very painfully oblivious. Like so many others I selfishly wander around having the distorted outlook that somehow everything is about me.
I have a client in her 80’s who has Alzheimer’s. When I blog I refer to her as Ms, Lee. She was a teacher by profession. Ms’ Lee was born, and raised in Mississippi. Her mother was also a teacher, and her father was a pull-man porter for the railroad service. What makes Ms. Lee & her family so extraordinary is the fact that they were African-American citizens with careers in Mississippi during the 1920’s & 1930’s. No small accomplishment by any means.
Ms. Lee is declining on a daily basis, but her essence remains powerfully in tact. I have grown to both respect, and love her. When we are together I confide in her. This has become beneficial to us both. It helps to stimulate her mind by focusing on real situations. Ms. Lee naturally falls into the role of teacher, and I have the privilege of being the student of a highly educated beautiful soul. Her wisdom is timeless, and she possesses the ability to remind me in the most gentle manner that my way of viewing the the world is not the only way.
After Tarzan took his life I found myself in such a dark place. I questioned my every conversation with him. I went over every single scenario trying to figure out why I had not been able to see how much he was suffering. Why didn’t he confide in me the same way he did when something was going on with he and Jane? Ms. Lee continued to listen to me ramble on as though I had been somehow more hurt by Tarzan”s death than he had been. At that point I was still completely oblivious to my own behavior.
Then while staring directly into her eyes, I felt the warmth of her hand as it covered mine. Very softly she said “It hurts me to see you suffering so much. Maybe your friend had no words for his suffering.” The empathy that filled her powerful words immediately removed the “Me, Myself, & I” from mine.
It’s entirely too easy to get caught up in the whole “Me, Myself. & I” world. It’s also deeply humbling to realize that some things are not simply about us. “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”
I know why the Greek “Gods” frolicked on the Acropolis in ancient Greece. It was because there is something magical about standing on top of that mountain overlooking all of Greece. At the risk of being completely partial I think it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. Being there breathes new life into me. My family has a lot to do with that without a doubt, but one would have to be in a coma not to pick up on the undeniable vibrations of something different in the atmosphere.
Stumbling around the ancient ruins you can’t help but notice the looks on the faces of every passing tourist. The complete, and utter look of awe. This was not my first trip through the ancient ruins. I was born there, and have returned there four times before. This was my fifth visit, but my first since the Greeks had begun to remove the ruins. They have built a fantastic museum to both recreate, and preserve the Parthenon in it’s original state of being. They actually uncovered a buried city while constructing the new museum. They brilliantly decided to uncover, and showcase the ruins beneath the new museum with clear flooring. So as you walk through the new museum, you can look down at the view of the newly discovered treasures below.
I think you need three full days to fully explore every part of the museum the way I would want to explore it, my family votes two. No matter how many times I have seen the ruins I find myself utterly drawn to them. Even though I am a huge fan of the new museum I felt the loss of not seeing the Parthenon in it’s original birthplace. I felt a sadness for all those who had missed out on climbing up the Acropolis, and feeling the thrill of laying their hand on the side of the magnificent stone where billions of others had rested their hand before. On each of my prior visits, I sat across from the Parthenon watching each person who had reached the top do exactly the same thing.
I have often wondered if our hands laid where the ancient greats hand’s once laid. I like the idea of my hand resting in the same place as theirs. I love sitting in the outdoor cafes at the base of the great mountain sipping Greek coffee while staring up at the great ruins people watching, imagining what it must have been like so many years before. I can’t shake the feeling that although the surroundings have changed over the many years the essence of the people remains the same. 😉
Anyone who’s been in a long term- relationship can tell you that nothing’s perfect, and if they do admit that to you they are probably in a really good one. For some love is not enough to glue two people together for a lifetime. Then for others a lifetime would not be long enough. In spite of all the trials & tribulations that come with sticking to a commitment you once made when your heart was overflowing with love, and stars danced in your eyes. I like the quote that says a good marriage is just two people who have decided to love each other no matter what. I know that’s not exactly the wording, but you get the point.
Thirty-three years ago Mr G-uno, and I said I do in his grandmother’s little church in front of 200 guests. Only one family member was actually mine, but the truth is that to this very day all I remember is the way he looked at me as we said our I do’s. We were late getting to the church because we decided to wake up early, and go to the beach before the actual ceremony. We laughed, and played in the sand until we finally realized we only had an hour to get ready.
So with one quick shower together, no hair stylist, or makeup I marched down the aisle to begin a life I could never have anticipated. There have been moments when I could actually have floated above the ground with happiness. There have been moments when I could have gotten in my car, and drove away never looking back. It has never been perfection, unless you can appreciate the grandness of two people holding on to each other just to be able to wake up next to each other for one more morning. For me that is as close to perfection as a marriage can be.
Knowing that no matter how good, or how bad things may be you’ve built a life that would never mean as much to you if it had not been shared with the other. 😉
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly without complexities, or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this:
where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.”
So where I live the rain has been pouring day and night. I’m talking about the kind of rain where you look out your window fully expecting to see all the animals line up two by two. I can’t seem to find my inner balance these past few weeks then finally it made it’s reappearance as we all sat around the Lebanese restaurant eating Baba Ganoush. Yesterday was our son’s 25th birthday. I had a picture in my mind of how our family would celebrate this day, but then life happened.
I came home from work to what would have normally been a most welcomed find, our son, his sister, and our son-in-law hanging out together in the living room. My kids although they are no longer kids, are my happy place. They arrive, and joy follows them. Their mixed personalities go together like the best ingredients of a perfect recipe. The problem was that my fairly new 10 year old roof was leaking profusely in our main bathroom, and kitchen. My kids informed me that they had already called their father, and they were now strategically engaged on how to stop all the rain from flooding our home.
This was not exactly the birthday celebration any of us had imagined, least of all our son. Our son was crawling through our narrow attic searching for the leakages. My son-in-law and daughter were holding flashlights, and bringing buckets to catch the relentless amounts of rain that kept pouring into our home. Then we all searched our garage for tarps to cover our roof as much as possible since we knew that with the continued downpouring of rain there was not much else that could be done.
We all worked together to clean up all the water that had poured into our kitchen cabinets, and bathroom floors. At this moment I looked at my children, and realized that they were incredibly capable adults. They laughed, and joked with one another not letting the frustration of this huge unplanned pain in our backsides stress them in even the slightest way. When Mr. G-uno finally arrived he looked around realizing his family had taken care of everything that could possibly be done for the time being. He jumped in the shower, and we all headed to the restaurant to meet up with my mom, sister, and my brother.
Of course the restaurant of our choice was closed because of their own family emergency, so my sister called to rerouted us to another Lebanese restaurant. The problem being that there were two restaurants with exactly the same name, and of course we were at one, and they were at the other. We all finally made it to the same place. Meanwhile the rain continued to pour from the heavens relentlessly but because of the rain we had the entire restaurant to ourselves. The owner, and his beautiful wife prepared us the most wonderful food.
The eight of us sat together eating, drinking, and laughing. It was in that moment where my balance found it’s way back. I remembered that it’s not about the chaos that can pop up so unexpectedly in our lives. It’s about making the most of situation, looking beyond the surface into the faces of those who love you, and whom you love. It was not the celebration I had pictured in my mind. It was something much better. 😉
I hate the way hospitals smell. The energy that comes from everyone inside them permeates through every pore of my body. From the moment you enter your own personal space shrinks as the everyone else’s struggles to make room for theirs. I think it’s the intensity of all that emotion under one consolidated space. I think it’s what my own personal torture chamber would be like.
The elevator was way to small, and it smelt like stale air. It seem to be creeping towards the third floor almost as though it felt my dread. When the doors finally opened the strange nurse breathed a sigh of relief. We had managed to ride up three floors without even making eye contact. She almost trampled another nurse as she made her escape. Never realizing that her energy had been swallowed by mine.
I had prepared myself on the car ride over. There would be no sadness, no negativity, I would not make this beautiful 33 year old woman hold the weight of my sorrow with her cancer ridden body. She has carried far too much for far too long. My mother had warned me of how frail she has become. Her already slender Asian frame had been beaten down by both her disease, and her treatment. She has not been able to withstand food, or liquids for almost two weeks now. Blood flows from her abdomen like water from a slow streaming faucet.
Our mother’s are like sister’s. Alove built from the kind of friendship few others ever experience. We regard each other as chosen family, and even when there is nothing we can do for one another we stay together. We are like the support beam that keeps your home from collapsing. She smiles as I enter her room forging through her pain to make a fuss over the flowers I have for her. Her grace only makes me love her more. I hide my emotions for her as well I regard this visit as if it’s a temporary problem that simply requires some time.
This is strength beyond all boundaries, and respect without limits. We talked about our families. She is in agony, but never says that she is. Instead she says that she’s tired, and relays to me that she is getting the best care. Then in a brief moment of fear she tells me that she is dying. I know in this moment she is grasping for my strength. It was a moment I knew would come. It was my dread that filled the elevator, and permeated through the nurse causing her to run away when the doors opened.
So I took her tiny hand, looked deeply into her fearful eyes, and said” I work with the dying everyday. You know this, and you are not dying now.” I could feel her energy change immediately. Her body had swallowed mine. She smiled, and said “okay I will fight.” I smiled back staring deeply into her eyes. Then her mother entered the room, and saw her daughter smiling. I told her I was leaving, and that I would be back soon. Her mother reached for me, holding me as only a mother can hold you. The energy in that moment kept us all from collapsing.
There he stood on his tiny chair in the middle of his preschool cafeteria making his royal stance adamantly clear. My eyes surveyed the room. His poor teacher was completely unsure about what to do. The other children were entranced by his command of the room. “The Baby” otherwise know as “The King” was perched on his tiny little chair with his index finger pointing straight up in the air shouting at the top of his little lungs “Never I say, never!”
“The King” is not your average 4 year-old boy. He falls into several categories within the Autistic spectrum. Although his intellect borders on brilliant, his speech is severely delayed. The biggest problem with “The King” is that his mind is bursting with thoughts that his speech simply cannot relay. So he has learned to make his royal commands, and desires intensely clear in other ways. This king will be heard whether he is able to express his wishes with words or not.
He is intensely easy on the eyes. His large beautiful blue eyes draw you in then while you’re completely captivated he throws you a smile that lets you know you are probably going to give him whatever he wants. Adults, and children alike are often drawn into his kingdom with not so much as even a single word. He commands your attention while systematically getting you to relent to his every wish.
On the flip side of his charismatic charms there is a tyrant who loses his shit when his powers of persuasion are not being understood, or worse yet denied. Like all great rulers he knows that when his charms are not doing the trick you have to rule with an iron fist. He has a new teacher who is quite young, and clearly has not had the experience of dealing with a 2 -1/2 foot tall ruler. I have dealt with this mighty king since he was a year old. Over this period of time I’ve been extremely lucky to have found myself very much in “The King’s” favor.
I have the ability to understand him in a way that does not require so much energy output on his part, so he tolerates me much more easily than the rest of his subjects. I don’t deal with him in a verbal way because I know that when he realizes he is not able to converse back in the same way he becomes frustrated. I can see from the look on his face that he feels defeated by his inability to speak. Plus it’s good for him to see that I am as bilingual at getting what I want in the nonverbal sense as he is. He likes this about me. He knows I share the same admiration for him in this way.
However much to “The Kings” dismay I am equally as tenacious about fulfilling my job requirements as his personal assitant. So as he stood perched on his tiny chair I walked over to him, and looked down towards the ground signaling him that it was time to step down. He looks me straight in the eyes to let me know he is not ready to comply. So I look him back in the eye being ever so cautious not to be mesmerized by his charms, and I raise both of my eyebrows while smiling at him.
He is assured by my smile that I am not issuing a command so he climbs down off of the chair, and starts to walk away towards the door. I remain by the chair until he realizes I am not following him towards the door. He looks at me with slight disgust, then I smile again and stare down at the chair that has not been pushed back into the table, and the snack (of apples & raisins) that remained uncleared. He gives me a pronounced hesitation just to make sure I know he is making a choice, not following a command. Then he walks over pushes in his chair, and clears his uneaten snack from the table.
I smile at him again. He looks at me in a way that let’s me know he is only conceding to my wishes only because he wants to, but he knows that I will stand there like an immovable mountain until he relents. Then he looks at me again with his “Happy now look?,” and I beam back at him so he knows that I am. I hand him his royal nap blanket, his box of apple juice, and his bag of pretzels. As we walk down the hallway I look at him with my “What happened in there face?” He smiles at me then in four tiny words says ” I don’t like raisins.” 😉
Up unto now you have patiently let me explain to you about Sam’s homelife. Today I would like you to know about who Sam was as a human being. He was not only my good friend, but he was my hero. Aside from being incredibly smart Sam was a gifted seamstress. Home Economics for most of us was a filler class in highschool. This was not the case for Sam who absolutely adored two things in life Rosanna Rosanna Danna from Saturday Night Live, and designing women’s clothing. He was a genius with a sewing machine.
Outside of the classroom Sam was the embodiment of the beloved SNL character played by the late Gilda Radner. He dressed like her, spoke like her, and made us all laugh like her. Sam’s talents with the sewing machine did not go unnoticed. In fact he had a pretty good side job doing alterations, and designs for a lot of our teachers. He could never seem to make enough money to keep up with his love of wigs, and make-up. Until we were shooting pool in one of the gay bars outside of town, and a man approached Sam who was in full Rosanna drag offering him a job in one of his clubs.
This was beginning of my love for drag clubs, afterall my favorite queen was one of my closest friends. Sam was a huge hit with the other queens, and customers alike. He once told me he was finally home. Sam dropped out of school that year. He rented a trailer from the man who hired him to work in the club. Between shows, and sewing costumes for the other ladies in the show he was making a pretty decent living. The club was two hours from where we lived, but to highschool girl with no transportation it might as well had been two states away. I missed my friend, but seeing him so happy more than made up for my loss.
More, and more time passed by, and we saw Sam less, and less. I finished high-school at seventeen left home, and moved three states away. Eventually Sam and I lost touch. Sam continued to send money home to his mother. This was something I had a hard time swallowing. Sam hated the idea of her not having electricity, or food in the house. I remarked that it was too bad she never worried about whether he had those things. Sam took my arm placing his head on my shoulder, and said “We are not like them, they don’t get to change who we are.” I had not reached that kind of maturity in my life at that point. I was bitter, and full of hate. Sam just wanted to be better than before. He wanted to view everything as though it were some kind of miracle. He was the miracle.
In the summer of 1985 on June 28th (ironically Gilda Radner’s birthday) Sam passed from complications from his Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. He was surrounded by his chosen family. Sam left this world way too soon. He was a great friend. and an excellent human being. I realize now he just didn’t wear “broken goggles.” He also wore a pair of “miracle ones.” In spite of every horrible disadvantage he was able to see everything in his life as miracle. I strongly suspect that my hero was there four years later to greet his hero. 😉