Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - Not as bad as I thought

This was probably one of the worst Christmas/Birthday I've had so far. It wasn't one thing that made it bad, it was a mixture of things like stupid family arguments I witnessed. My grandmother gone. A depressed and lonely grandfather who can't imagine life continuing without his wife of 57 years. My extended family of cousins who all live in Florida sequestering themselves and doing their own things. The emotional ups and downs involved with having a birthday on Christmas day.

This, along with struggling still with health issues and not really talking with anyone about how I've felt about it, made me feel profoundly alone and miserable, which all came to the surface yesterday. I felt truly hopeless and the only thing I wanted was for 2008 to end because I thought it sucked so badly, yet I wasn't looking forward to 2009 because I assumed it would be more of the same.

So I talked to friends about it yesterday and I talked to friends about it today and started to feel a little better. Then on the way home today, freezing my ass off, I slipped and fell on my ass. I looked up and saw an unexpected clear night sky with Venus and the moon looking all pretty.

And then, still sitting on my ass, I realized while there were some bad moments this year, it was not all bad and I do not have it bad. There was much love, growth, and wonderful experiences and while I sometimes feel lonely I am not nor have I ever truly been alone in this world.

So looking back on 2008, here are some of the many great experiences I had for which I am thankful for:

* When my grandmother got diagnosed with terminal cancer in February, I was able to fly down every month to see her before she died. This meant so much to the both of us.

*I reconnected with four former coworkers/friends and not only have we been able to reconnect despite the physical distance, but forge a deeper friendship that's special to all of us.

*Flying out to California to see these friends for the PRN West Coast Reunion, playing Rock Band, eating great food and celebrating! What a fantastic moment of 2008!

*When I started at my job Oct 07, things weren't looking so good. But changes in 2008 made this job the best job I've ever had.

*Not only is this the best job I've ever had, but I have fantastic coworkers who are smart, work hard, make me laugh and that I can call friends.

*Rock Band and all that came with it!

*I said I would do so, and I really have made strides to be more social and expand my circle of friends this year.

*I went to a pizza party where a friend and I pumped out fresh creative pizza after pizza that everyone loved and made me feel like a total rock star in the kitchen!

*Getting a whole lot closer to my cousin Bianca, laughing like hyenas, GI Joe, Rockband, supermanning the bed, and the sheer amount of love that I have for her. Friendship, sisterhood and memories for a lifetime made with still more to come!

*My father and I continued slowly to reconnect after not talking for 15 years. And, I gave him my car, something he needed far more than I did, surprising everyone including myself, on what love and forgiveness really means.

*After shunning it for years, I finally understood the emotion behind dancing and found myself connecting and letting go. Plus, watching a bunch of senior citizens dance to "Low" was beyond hysterical!

*I've worked hard this year to embrace the parts of myself that I rather not see and face my own darkness. I've really grown and learned so much about myself. It's a work in progress that will continue in 2009.

*I do crazy things like make plans to go to a concert at 2am on New Year's Day. By myself. And I plan on having a great time!

I look back and see that yeah, my life is messy, sometimes sucky, but really really full and good. I'm glad that I figured this out before 2008 ends as now, I am hopeful and looking forward.

Best in 2009 to all of you, my dear, dear friends. Thank you for being you and bringing much joy to my life!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I did what?

I've been a vegetarian my entire adult life. On Thanksgiving day, 1990, I made the decision to become a vegetarian, right after I finished eating enough turkey, ham and prosciutto to call it a night. A few weeks later, I did eat some steak milanese, which was one of my favorite things, but I've never intentionally eaten any poultry, meat or fish since.

Until this Thanksgiving.

I already had two very strong cosmos and always loved the smell of turkey roasting. Like the year before, I sat at the island in the kitchen watching my uncle carve the turkey, directing him on where he should cut, watching him and thinking how I'd do a better job.

And just like ever year, I wanted to eat a piece. In the past I resisted, but this time, I felt myself sitting there and thinking, "Do it. Eat it. You want it." And I found myself working up the nerve to reach into the roasting pan and grabbing that delicious looking piece of meat that just just fell into the juices at the bottom. So I grabbed it and ate it. I had expected not to remember the taste but it tasted exactly the same.

Everyone stopped and watched. My uncle, aunt and two cousins were momentarily silenced and then they started shouting like their football team just won the superbowl.

So, why did I do it? For a while I didn't have an answer. I didn't really make a decision so much as leap off a cliff. The way it came on felt like a dare. I've been analyzing and analyzing ever since and now I think I know the reasons why:

1. I made the decision to become a vegetarian when I was seventeen. A huge, major core of how I live my life, a huge part of my belief system has pretty much remained static and unchallenged.

2. Lots of stuff happened this year, like my grandmother dying and getting some uncertain medical news that led me to want to not hold back and to be conscious of the things that I do, the choices that I make.

3. It was a moment where I just said to myself, "Fuck it."

So what now? I'm not sure. I don't see myself reverting back to eating meat. My core belief - that we are needlessly cruel to animals and we don't need to treat them this way and it's a reflection on the type of people we are individually and as a whole - still holds true. Yet, I cannot say that I won't try and taste more things. It makes me feel conflicted and hypocritical because my belief in the value of animal life is strong.

I think I need to hit the reset button and choose again.