These same blue windows…

I remember small drops of time, little moments that were given to my memory as if to say – this was real, this happened, and your generation will be better because of it.

There I sat, eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I had strategically cut with my favorite star shaped cookie cutter – yes this was what we did before uncrustables, gasp. I sparingly picked at the peanut butter side knowing I had only put a sliver on the bread to justify and indulge in the jelly – smuckers always had it right. I try to maneuver the sandwich between each hand in perfect balance to keep it from spilling over onto the floor below me, I push the power button on the then “flat screen” television and listen to the familiar jingle as I turn my back knowing the TV’s bulbs are warming up.

I take my favorite seat on the couch in the middle, that perfect spot where you sink into the cushions as though they are embracing you in a hug, but when it comes time to stand up and be productive – you find yourself stuck and committed to the comfort of the energy. I wrap myself up in a blanket as a cool breeze from the April month whips into the living room through an open window (if you should know anything about me as a child, teen, adult, fetus – whatever…I love sleeping with the window open) I pull it tight around me and finish the sandwich I had just delightfully demolished. When I look up to the screen I am welcomed with the news station “sudden alert” update, I hear a weird beeping like it is trying to inform me of unsound and hasty weather – nope that’s not it, anyone from the midwest knows there is a small enough graphic presented with the information of which counties are hell over head in trouble with weather, the graphic that let’s you know “oh shit that’s me” but not quite big enough to know for sure.

I read the bottom screen as it scrolls rapidly…what even is a massacre – I know we’ve read about this in social studies but hell I wasn’t paying anywhere near the attention I should have been”…
“Columbine Massacre”
“Where is Columbine located – is this in relation to Christopher Columbus, should I call my mom since she isn’t home yet?”

I pass on that idea and decide to turn up the volume so I can actually hear what is going on and maybe connect a few dots here, see the extent of my vernacular is limited – my brain has only seen a world of one teacher a day, seven subjects, oregon trail, doctor quandry, everything was PC, schools had gym & recess, we had lunch tickets – not pins yet, we scraped our knees and it was ok to cry; the faculty didn’t call the parents as though someone was being beat, these were the days of no worry where we swung on the swingsets with our best friends to pass time, and played in trees while making secret clubs because we thought that was cool. We were in our self created bubble that was quite warm and quite safe – we were in the 4th grade, at recess we played four square – at lunch we ate tater tots…and liked them – at class we actually learned something – and at the end of the day actually enjoyed going home to see our parents whom we had missed from the long absence.
We weren’t old enough to breathe independence but we were close enough to smell it – we hadn’t even come close to the real world or anything associated with it, we didn’t hear of kidnappings and Jaycee Dugard, we didn’t know what a pedophile was or what their intent was at our softball games …we were safe, we were made safe, and we were constantly assured of our safety – in between any given tornado drill….which sucked if you had the smelly kid next to you or someone so anxious they farted – that was just awful.

Our world was small, and warm, we had love, and birthday parties, we didn’t pay taxes or work part time jobs, we enjoyed the freedom and fullness our miniscule world had to offer…until that cold day that reflected through an entire nation in grief on one brief moment in time that will never leave any of us the same

….

I will spare the disparaging details of that horrific day to anyone that is not informed, a fine tuned search entry guess through google should lead you straight away to the answer.
Fastforward 12 some years

And here I stand staring at these blue windows that so vividly kept repeating the reel on my TV screen that awful day – I recognize them but I don’t feel the same way my 4th grade self did…Yes I know I’m a different person, in a different time, and a different distance from that time long ago – but it doesn’t change what happened that day, the situation that forever changed the idea of what public high school meant to all of us, what our perception of safety was, and where we could feel comfortable/loved/and safe once again.
I breathe the air in deep and I close my eyes, I remember that picture of students bodies being dangled from these very windows – people lying on stretchers exactly where my feet were planted and loved ones mourning known losses within arms reach of me – we are in a different time, but that moment and those memories will never leave me; I will never forget these blue windows those scared faces, and all the selfless acts I read about at this very location. Columbine changed the history and knowledge of protection and safety for generations to come – and as I sit here typing this as my 23 year old self I know the truth’s and sadness of today’s society in which status is more important than characteristic – souls can be bought after beauty – and infamy can be attained in a single credit card swipe. I also know the atrocities in which our vision of safety has since been changed and formed – before that day the world was one, green, loved, happy; after that day, the world digressed and the evils took over – I unfortunately know who Jaycee Dugard is, I know what a war means, I relentlessly have to pay taxes more than I ever could have imagined, I know what a bomb threat is inside of the safe walls of school – I know what a national threat is, and I unfortunately know how many people’s lives can be lost in a short amount of time – the world we grew from on that unfortunate day has not become brighter, rather, a more cruel – dangerous – and scary place.

Staring at this beautiful memorial that has been erected in honor of those lost selflessly that day I am speechless, I am among other bodies that are reading alongside me and probably with me but I say nothing, I wander around while beads of sweat fall from my brow and I am silent – I feel moved. It’s nothing I can put into words I just feel completely, physically, emotionally moved – this place is no longer one of sadness, nor is it of joy – this place is a sacred ground that will be visited for decades to come – the unfortunate events that took place for this to be here will be in history books my children will read and I will explain to them a story very similar to the one you have just read, this place is at peace, I felt as though I could lie in the grass and take a nap, I felt as though I could hug the woman reading the stones to her son next to me, I felt whole – In some weird ass backwards way; the Columbine Massacre brought not only people together on such a deep emotional level, it moved a national to tears of regret, tears of sadness, and tears of sorrow; this single event shook the Earth in shock waves we weren’t even introduced to, because of this event I’m standing here today reading the bios of the beautiful lives lost all too soon.

I know not one of these names personally but as I continue reading onto the 3rd or 4th name and story I pull my sunglasses down to hide the tears that are flowing from places I didn’t know were there – I am conflicted with this feeling of wholeness and that memory of helplessness – I will never forget that day, nor the lives that were lost before there time.

Hug your loved ones, kiss your parents, and don’t wait until tomorrow to do what you can today.
M

 

This is what you see behind the school – as though you are looking at those hopeless blue windows, you turn your back and see such peace.

afterthought: My husband and I are now proud owners of a small townhome/apt 3 miles from Columbine High School – the peaceful calm feeling we both shared that day at the memorial has followed us to our new home not too far away – we couldn’t be more happy and whole in the blessings of our lives.

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Good Riddance 2011

I’m not sure why I’m hustling to finish this post before the strike of midnight (maybe all good things come at the last minute) but a few days ago (Wednesday to be exact) there is such a thing called “good riddance day” if you’re scratching your head wondering what in the hell I mean – it’s as simple as this. Think of the past year that has now succeeded you – what resolutions did you make?…did you live up to them (it’s ok sport, life goes on) did you feel defeated by them? Or even better did you forget about them? Either way this has nothing to do with it – Good riddance day was established 5 years ago by someone who wanted to embrace the out with the old part of the term “out with the old in with the new” because as creatures of habit we always welcome the new – we embrace it – and we prepare ourselves with planning to make plans (yes that is what a resolution is by my own definition)
I feel as though this person had the right idea – to completely shed your skin of the previous year to be able to make a warm coat with plans of the next – see it’s ok sometimes to plan to make plans…the part that I struggle with is planning to make plans when you haven’t taken off the old jacket with all the plans nicely organized to the front sides and back…you’ve got to live your own life – let your own self go – and learn to live free from expectations – that’s why resolutions are shit (sorry mom). Be realistic – set goals…which are glorified small, short term resolutions – do you want to know what that creates? instant happiness and instant fulfillment of success (because guess what…you manifested your own success and happiness right there kiddo!)
I feel as though “National Day Of Good Riddance” is spot on spectacular to what we actually need and furthermore can see for ourselves within the new year – how many people want to lose 15 lbs this new year but feel the guilt of last year (sit down while you read this part: it’s not going to work out for you until you change your thoughts – you can change your world). It’s healthy to look back reflect, acknowledge, accept, and forgive yourself to move forward – this year (although a few days late, what else would you expect) I will be personally giving the world wide web my list of Good Riddance – for 2011 kicked me in the balls of life and I can’t tell you how elated I am to welcome in 2012 with the ones I love.

For the list of good riddance is as follows [if you don’t like negative, now’s a good time to find the Sunday paper, or readers digest – big print edition (it takes longer to read)]

In 2011, although I can’t sum up the year, I can only highlight the parts that truly tested character, integrity, and strength I thought I had I knew – sometimes was surprised that I didn’t.

1. I completely cut ties with the person I loved most to find out who I was without the influence of another

2. I lost more friends in the year 2011 than any other year – more living than dead

3. I almost lost my brother – thank god for his strength, god and medical miracles, he’s still with us

4. I single handedly (did have help) fought a court case I thought was complete bullshit and went against what everyone was convinced to believe to what the truth actually was – made sure there was an article published and press coverage on said event…he still walked out of jail that day and my heart broke piece by piece – but from that I gained so many more acquaintences and friends touched by his story than I could have ever imagined.

5. Spent a summer draining my savings account to start my own business

6. Buried more friends than I can count on one hand…all younger than me

7. Was unemployed by force

8. Still had bills, no one giving the bills gives a shit if you’re unemployed

9. Let a few people down

10. My parent’s lost their jobs

11. My parent’s discussed separation and better yet divorce.

12. A best friend moved far far away

13. Another best friend distanced herself by choice which is more hurtful than burying the other best friend.

14. I saw a lot of failure

15. I felt defeated often

16. We had 2 medical miracles that could have gone horribly wrong

17. I owe my parents money they will never see

18. I was treated poorly by multiple people I love – and although I still love them – I love me, and for once I’m making that important

19. I experienced the real world – where people get flat tires, have their cars broken into, get shit stolen, have unexpected expenses without the unexpected income…it sucked.

20. A lot more people chose to walk out of my life then chose to stay – it made me feel completely unlovable for quite sometime, and no your stubbornness and shitty attitude didn’t teach me anything positive but exactly what I don’t deserve to go through, nor deserve to be treated like…

So as usual when I force my family at the dinner table to share their pits and peaks – I’ll follow all these pits with the peaks they left me with [yeah they don’t include that in the good riddance day – it’s ok, I’m making it my own]

1. I’m so glad I did – because I found out exactly who I was meant to be and what I was meant to do in this world – I’d spent 7 long years living someone else’s life and someone else’s dream, wherever I fit in on the priority list was good enough – fuck that – I’ll get comfy with the top three spots, because I know I deserve that.

2. The friends that I lost living is by their own choice – they have to live with that, the friends I lost dead – they can’t change that – I only hope they are being the best guardian angels anyone could ask for. As for the living – shame on you – your selfishness has them shaking their heads and me locking my heart – your own loss.

3. I can’t even speak on this accord because it is such an emotional story for me – from finding my brother clinging to his last minutes of life – to see him in a diabetic coma and see my family rally around him, rediscover full health in a new way and completely conquer insulin dependent diabetes after being in a coma people twice his size don’t usually live through – I began to believe in God again, and began to realize what’s important – friends leave, people walk in and out of our lives – what we can control and what we can maintain is more important than others mood swings ‘you are the keeper of your own domain’.

4. I poured over that court case for days on end when no one else was willing to help – I gave everything I had for someone I loved. They have since walked out of my life – but I hope that positive memory is engraved in them forever, I did it for you – I cared enough for you to give my time, talents, and stubbornness to help you feel not so alone…700+ signatures not so alone..

5. My savings account is empty yes, but my business is single handedly started – no one helped me nor showed me the ropes and I’m doing just fine “be your own hero & inspiration – It’s ok to leave it up to you”

6. Although we said goodbye and have since buried them in the ground – their souls live on everyday – there’s not a time frame that goes by where you aren’t discussed or referenced, you keep us safe up there – I can still feel you and I know you’re watching.

7. Unemployment rules – no I didn’t get any unemployment checks but it helped me free up the time I needed to re evaluate the important things in life and the important things to me that I needed to fill my life with.

8. Bills will always be there, same as life, and any stress its how you deal with them and who you become because of them

9. You’ll always let others down weather you know it or not – did you let yourself down? I know I didn’t – that I’m proud of.

10. Sorry Mom & Dad you’ve got degrees though so dust yourselves off and make do with what you’ve got

11. Divorce is awful – seperation is just as bad, I hate when I hear about couples “taking a break” sorry news flash – if you need ‘you time’ to ‘find yourself’ and what you want…I’m not going to wait around for that – if its not with me now – its not with me ever…call me old fashioned I’d like to have someone appreciate for what I bring to the dinner table right here and right now – not just on thanksgiving, christmas, and easter.

12. I miss her – but I still get to see her and as shitty as it was to lose best friends that live minutes away it showed me how important our friendship is – because even though 1500 miles separates us…there’s never a day that goes by where we don’t think or speak to one another…

13. I hope she comes around – i’m not holding my breath she does, I stood my ground and stated my case – it doesn’t change the fact that I love her and care deeply for her – it just changes the hearts perspectives and retrospectives.

14. And with that I learned to appreciate success wherever it was deemed to me in an appropriate amount

15. And when feeling defeated you suddenly can appreciate any demise or amount of success given to you thereafter – that I am the most thankful for this year. It really is about the little things.

16. My family is filled with medical miracles – and I can only hope/know that if something as bizarre and completely unexpected happened to me – my family would be there in a heartbeats time.

17. They’re ok with it

18. Deciding to manifest in my own destiny was the most selfish selfless thing I could do – for many years I was living someone else’s life on someone else’s time line and guess what? The second I allowed myself to feel and be hurt or be happy – I was given that beautiful blessing to experience just that – If I hadn’t let the bad go – I could have never harnessed or appreciated the good.

19. The real world sucks – bills suck, some people suck but again – it’s all about who you become because of it and from it then how you react when it happens to you…there are far more people fighting far more difficult battles than a broken window or a flat tire – find the silver lining…it usually lies in the place you least expect it.

20. Thank you. Plain and simple – without you walking out I would’ve thought you were my friends and comrades all along – and when tragedy struck, man that would’ve been awful to have you by my side. You’re good people – but not to me, you mean well, but not for me – and you do well, but please not with me. I found my own strength, integrity, and courage – the one that it takes to put on your big girl pants and go stare down “scared shitless” in the face and let them know what’s up and who is going to win this thing…
Without the huge dissapointment of people whom I thought loved me, waltzing away,  I couldn’t appreciate for a second everything I have and everyone I have right now that cares for me, and isn’t afraid to show it. I’m so thankful to have the blessings of friends, family (an abundance), and people that love me for me, unconditionally – even when I’m a raging bitch it happens more than not. I’ve had the beauty of someone stepping in and up to the unknowing plate of life and love to take a swing and a chance on me – he’s shown me more of myself then I’ve ever thought I knew, I’ve had family come in and express things that have meant the world without them knowing it, and finally unexpected friends that casually skipped in when they had no idea who was skipping out – from there we are shaped and formed into what we know and love, what we want and what we will be. Be yourself – because there’s nobody else quite like you, and it’s OK to be your own hero – sometimes the other ones never show up and you’ll you get sick of waiting. Save yourself.
And in this coming new year – accept the good, bad, and ugly from the past so you can move forward to the future for the better of tomorrow through a better today – be the change you wish to see and never let anyone love you less than you love yourself.

Cheers 2011 – I wouldn’t ‘Like’ you on facebook but I’ll look back for the lessons you’ve taught – 2012 be as gentle as you are sudden upon us, I know this years going to be a good one.