And just like that..

Precisely when she wasn’t expecting it, she found herself deeply immersed in love. A love that was generously given rather than taken. That was kind rather than biting. That was warm rather than cold. A love that she knew actually had a future, and it wasn’t one she had to fight for.

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better man.

I know I’m probably better off on my own
Than loving a man who
Didn’t know what he had when he had it
And I see the permanent damage you did to me
Never again, I just
Wish I could forget when it was magic

I know I’m probably better off all alone
Than needing a man who could
Change his mind at any given minute
And it’s always on your terms
I’m hanging on every careless word
Hoping it might turn sweet again
Like it was in the beginning

I hold onto this pride because these days it’s all I have
And I gave to you my best and we both know you can’t say that
You can’t say that

I wish you were a better man
I wonder what we would’ve become
If you were a better man
We might still be in love
If you were a better man
You would’ve been the one
If you were a better man.

little big town – better man

When love isn’t enough

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean…

It’s a strange feeling, almost an out of body experience, to see yourself as the quiet onlooker to a broken horizon. To be one of the people who has fought and pushed to help people be better, stronger – and then to feel helpless.

Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens…

So what do you do when your hope isn’t enough? When your love isn’t enough to help? How do you break through that numb feeling that washes over you? It’s dumbfounding.

Give faith a fighting chance…

It’s painful to have your heart be so full of emotion, of promise, of passion for someone who can’t see what you see. When the faith that you have, the hope that you see, is slashed by negativity that moonlights as someone else’s logic and reality. It’s not real at all, and it’s certainly not logical. Sadness is as much an emotion as faith and hope.

When you get the choice to sit it out or dance…

So where do we go from here? Someone once told me that faith and joy are the grease that makes the world run more smoothly. But somehow I’m tempted to target faith and joy as the culprits to my frustration. While that’s not at all true, I’m still left wanting. I’m still here standing as the onlooker, feeling completely powerless.

I hope you dance.

I hope you dance, sweet girl. I hope you dance.

Stream of Consciousness: sleepless nights

There’s a knot in my stomach and another in my throat. This bed is too big.
Too many thoughts are running through my head and this room feels like a black hole.
It’s that time again – that part of the semester when everyone is falling apart. When considerate phone etiquette gives way to 12:30am text messages and people would rather do shots together than speak to each other.
Are we ever going to build this house? Will I be here to see it through?
I’m six days away from my 29th birthday and somehow I feel just as unsure of myself as if this was that 24th surprise party all over again.

Deep breath.

the void

There’s no one waiting for my in the window to greet me when I come home. No paws click-clacking on the hardwood. No noses nudging me awake. No tails knocking against walls and windows.

It is so quiet now. Without having to meet the needs of another life form I find myself remaining in downtown and packing my evenings. I get home so late; I haven’t walked through my door before 9:45p since he died. Reaffirming the change, as if that was necessary, is the reminder that he’s not there to greet me after a long day. Thats really hard.

I consider myself a pretty strong woman. I’ve had more than my fair share of love and loss in my 28 years. But this hurts differently. I knew every part of him. I could tell if he had a stomach ache just by the way he carried himself. We had a schedule. He loved me every day and I had so much fun just being around him. My companion is gone and it wasn’t my choice and it was out of my control and I want him to come back. And everyday I’m reminded that he can’t come back when I walk up to my dark and empty window.

On Tuesday I’m supposed to get his ashes back. I’ve never understood cremation. The first time I encountered it was when my maternal grandfather died. Suddenly my steadfast, strong, noble grandfather who was exceedingly tall in stature and standard was contained in a brown plastic box with a public health certificate taped to it. This was mind boggling to me. How could a person who lived such a full life possibly be reduced to fit in a container and carried around in a craft paper bag? What? It still doesn’t make sense to me and I wish I had a place to go and physically be near him.

I didn’t appreciate his gravitas as a kid. He was a grouch who liked baseball, the stock market, and was set on my brother and I being skillful and respectful. We were rarely both, which only reinforced his grouchiness. Nevertheless, he showed up to football games and parades, supporting us in ways unseen and under-appreciated. He was the foundation that made our successes possible. His quiet love became so much more apparent as I grew older. So often I find myself missing his side glances and wishing I could just sit in my spot in the living room, next to the hearth – three feet from the tv, and be in his presence again. Maybe then I’d feel more assured or comforted. Right now I feel neither.

He would’ve been 91 next week, and only the Lord knows how crotchety his age has made him. He didn’t share much about his past with us kids, but tonight I learned about his Navy service. Turns out that my brother was following in Grandpa J’s footsteps when he pursued HVAC. Unknown to any of us, he was trained in HVAC – was his job aboard the USS Aucilla. He really was fundamental to who we became; Matt stands on his shoulders and has an incredibly successful career. I’m now more convinced that is part of my grandfather’s legacy. He’s been gone since November 2007 and I’d give my right arm to have breakfast with him again.

I know I have to just let myself feel this voided space. This hole. I know that it won’t ever be filled in completely. But as far as I can tell, this crater is as big as the one that killed off the dinosaurs.

“This is a song for anyone
With a broken heart
This is a song for anyone
Who can’t get out of bed
I’ll do anything
To be happy
Oh, ’cause blue skies are calling
But I know that it’s hard
This is the last song that I write
While still in love with you
This is the last song that I write
While you’re even on my mind
Cause it’s time to leave
Those feelings behind
Oh, ’cause blue skies are calling
But I know that it’s hard
I don’t think that it’s the end
But I know we can’t keep going
I don’t think that it’s the end
But I know we can’t keep going
But blue skies are calling
Oh, yeah, blue skies are calling
Oh, blue skies are calling
But I know that it’s hard”
– blue skies. noah and the whale.

Stream of Consciousness: insomnia

Transition. Tears. Union Square.
Susan died.
Fight. Flight.
“Serial” binge listening down the 101.
Winston’s first hotel room in Santa Barbara.
Our fifth Christmas with gluten free banana bread at Finch & Fork and a renewed commitment to each other.
Citrus groves, Grapevines, Valley fog and frost.
French toast casserole and a wrapping paper fight.
Giggles, tickles, and my favorite five year old.
Snowpack and clear skies. Open roads. Still needing an adventure.

love languages

sad.
thankful.
nostalgic.
incapable.
excited.
blessed.
encouraged.
anxious.
nervous.
alive.

I’m learning a lot about love languages right now. Talk about a crash course…whew. As I process my feelings, I have the blessed opportunity to be part of a community that also has very strong feelings about my transition. Some react with kindness and words of affirmation. Some don’t speak and instead prefer a hug (affection/personal touch). Others wallow a bit, upset about their loss of me (loss of quality time). A few have asked how they can help (personal services). Today, I received the last language: gifts – both emotional and tangible. I am so thankful for my friends who took the time to share their well wishes and memories with me today. That was certainly a gift. I hope that I can respond in kind.

For the last month I’ve been losing sleep over the Housing Impact Fee. Two years of work on behalf of working families, the elderly, younger generations…all squashed into a quickly changing public affairs strategy with a political climate that is changing faster than the polar ice field. We did it right. Our policy position is founded in data and addresses adverse impacts. We worked closely with all stakeholders – even ones that we were categorically opposed to based on the premise. We worked with them even when their advocacy made me feel like I was in a human vice. I know we did it right because at the end of it all, ours is the only position that both the advocates and the developers agree with. The only one that brought two opposing groups together. This is the kind of work that a Mayor is supposed to do – and instead, we did it. We did. And when we were done with the last major policy position I will work on for the City of San Jose, we went for drinks. Sad, celebratory, ceremonial drinks, which were really only a vehicle to stay in fellowship for a few more moments.

The policy process – all two years of it – was a gift. The advocacy exercise was a gift. The final product was a gift. The fellowship was a gift. Hopefully the outcome on Tuesday will be a gift for generations of people chasing their dreams in this place.

I spent the rest of the night with my girls. In a group text that drained my cell phone of every ounce of life today, we realized that we were all having very strange days. So for drinks and sushi and cupcakes we went. That was a gift.

When I came home I found an amazon package with a new book, a google shopping express envelope with pup treats and a bag of dog food, all from the Warrior prince.  Those were pretty heartwarming, tangible gifts.

Feeling lots and lots of feelings right now, as outlined in the beginning of this post. Those are gifts too.
And I am blessed.

“There are ways in, journeys to the center of life, through time; through air, matter, dream and thought. The ways are not always mapped or charted, but sometimes being lost, if there is such a thing, is the sweetest place to be. And always, in this search, a person might find that she is already there, at the center of the world. It may be a broken world, but it is glorious nonetheless.”
― Linda Hogan, The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir