Category Archives: Uncategorized

Owning It: A Love Letter

Hey you,

I know I haven’t written in a while. I guess I haven’t felt like I had anything original to say.  Not that I’ve ever had anything truly original to say, but you know what I mean. I felt like I needed to write today though, which I haven’t felt in a long time.  Actually, for a long time, I’ve pretty much exclusively felt like I’m living under water.   Like Ariel!  Or something.

Turns out, when you’ve had some scary health issues every October/November for the past two years, it can make you kind of an anxious mess.  Also, turns out that it’s pretty hard to write when you’re like that. The idea of writing again started to prickle in my brain a few weeks ago, even though I still didn’t have anything to say, or know why I wanted to say it.  But this morning was a good morning, and I woke up and blow-dried my hair (I know!), and texted my best friend.

Me (7:50 a.m.): Annnndddd I’m back!

Mel (7:51 a.m): Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!

Quick life update:  I am healthy (you know, -ish, but still!), I still think gin tastes disgusting, I’m still a nut case, and I’m starting to own it. All of it.

See, for a little while, I’ve been letting things get to me in a very non-Me way.  I didn’t feel like myself- I wasn’t- and they’ve been noticing.  They being the family and friends who’ve selflessly stuck by me through the roller-coaster that the past few years have been – it’s been super fun, right?

I know what I want to say now.  I want to write for them.

So, hey you, I wanted to write a friendly reminder that I love you a lot.  That’s right, this blog is a love letter to you. Thanks for putting up with bad moods.  Thanks for coming to doctor’s appointments and for worrying about me. Thanks for listening to me talk shit. Thanks for making me laugh. Thanks for encouraging really ill-advised behavior. Thanks for googling. Thanks for loving me back. Thanks for always forgiving me. Thanks for letting me figure out how to be how I am now and still be me how I’ve always been.

In a way, it’s also a love letter to myself.   Not only cause you are all a big part of who I am, but to remind myself that it’s ok to be in a bad mood, and it’s ok to not bend over backward to be nice, and it’s ok to google (even though I personally do not recommend googling- guys, seriously, never google). It’s to remind myself, and you, that it’s okay to change, to be tougher, and sometimes more difficult; that we’re allowed to be weird; allowed to take time to figure out how who we’ve always been fits in with who we are now; and allowed to muck up the process of figuring out how to own it.

And even though I’m back–which you all noticed about three weeks before I did–still, thanks for making it easier.

Xoxo,

Aislinn

P.S. Sorry this isn’t funny.  I’m still funny.  Okay, okay, I’m vaguely funny sometimes.  I’ll bring that back soon, too.

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Hope is a Thing that Flutters

My brother and I went to an SAT tutor together.  He’s a year older (1 year, 3 months, and 19 days to be precise) but we ended up in the same grade in high school.  Neither of us are particularly good at or fond of standardized tests because they’re boring, but he was too driven and I was too lazy to study on our own, so a tutor it was.

I remember very little about my time at SAT tutoring.  I don’t even remember our tutors name.  I do remember, however, that she wore polyester leopard print tops and makeup on her hands which were also heavily moisturized in sparkly glitter.  Her house smelled like Playdoh, which always freaks me out, and she really liked roosters.  Rooster blankets; roosters wallpaper; rooster pillows;  rooster plates; rooster statues;  and roosters on those towels that aren’t face cloths and aren’t hand cloths but aren’t big enough to be a bath towel (UGH! Why do they make those!)

While I found myself incredibly uncomfortable by the twin Taxidermy Roosters that flanked the doorway to her sitting room, I was more unsettled by the fact that the toilet mags were a years worth of gun catalogs, Men’s Health, and Chicken Soup for the Soul- which, who writes those?  Give me their name so that I can tell them that I am still scarred by that story about Tilly the dog who just wanted you to pet her before you went to school and you ignored her!!! and then you got home to find out that Tilly the dog had been hit by a car!  I cried at recess when I read that, and I’ll never live it down… just like you’ll never ever be able to pet Tilly again, you MEANIE, you should’ve pet her when you had the chance!!!!!!!

My Chicken Soup aggressions aside… there are nice things I remember, too.  Mainly, the drive with my brother, who’s always been one of my favorite humans.   We would drive in our shared clunker the 15 mile route over to her house in the boonies of Newtown, passing some of my favorite sites:  the Flag trees, about a mile from my house in Bethel; Fairfield Hills, a hauntingly beautiful abandoned(ish) psychiatric hospital; the colors of autumn.  We’d listen to Coldplay’s “The Scientist” on repeat (say what you will, it is a good song), Bob Dylan, and The White Album of the Beatles…. The musical education was probably more important than those silly tests anyway.  I couldn’t have guessed then that things would be how they are now.

I drive past those old favorite spots of mine all the time, since I moved back to old Bethel town.  And most of the time, I don’t notice them, but in the winter months I start to feel the heaviness of the past few years; the weight of the landmarks all of us grew up with has shifted slightly since December 14, 2012; the lives of all those little babies who were murdered senselessly, what could have been but wasn’t, what SHOULD have been but wasn’t.

Things have been hard lately, guys, and I know more than ever that I cannot be selfish – it’s not just that way for me, but it seems for everyone in our little corner of the universe: the unexpected passing of a 25-year-old lovebug; the passing of a beautiful, vibrant 22-year old girl I’ve known and loved since I can remember;  the death of a 23-year-old new mother of a gorgeous 3-month old baby via hit and run; a cancer diagnosis of two beloved neighbors… Just in the last few months.  Sometimes, I wonder, does this happen in other little towns?   At 25, I can’t count the number of funerals I’ve been to, are we all alone in this burden?   Then I find a little perspective in my Facebook feed, as my friends post more and more about their hardships or their friend’s hardships. And I am reminded not to be so self-centered.  I’ve come to realize it doesn’t take away from individual pain,  suffering,  sadness, but rather makes me feel like I have a little purpose – to let people know “we’ve gone through this, we can help you get through this, because you CAN get through it”  or at the very least “hey, I’m here if you need me, and I understand.”

flagtrees

So, I return to the flag trees.   Painted when I was 12 years old, when towers fell and planes crashed.   The flag trees have always held a special place in my heart, I’m sure I have photos somewhere of my siblings and I climbing all over them somewhere (though, as I am moving house, I can’t find any!!!)  Most of the time I drive past them and forget they are there – how strange the way the landscape of home fogs over in your mind.  I found these trees a comfort at 12 – old enough to understand, but not old enough to have people tell you everything; old enough to know your daddy had biweekly appointments on the 71st floor of the North Tower and luckily they weren’t on Tuesdays.   I found them a comfort at 23 when twenty babies, six educators, one mother, and a severely ill young man died.  To me, the trees are hope.  Hope is not always a thing with feathers.

Sometimes hope is a thing that flutters like a flag, or continues to grow.  Sometimes its just some paint on a couple of trees.  Sometimes hope even looks like roosters and chicken soup for the soul.  Sometimes hope is when you say, “I’m here if you need me.”