Category Archives: Friendshipping

“Living” in LA

For the next few weeks I will be “living” in Los Angeles. I’m going to be house sitting for friends who are traveling. It will be the first time in five years I’ve lived alone. And the first time in 10 years that I’ve lived in LA.

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Trip Back Update

WOW! We are half way through the trip. How did that happen? It has flown by. So crazy.

On our way out of Canton we went to Monument Park to see the McKinley Memorial. It seemed to take forever to get out of town. I don’t even really remember why. LOL.

We stopped in Indiana for me to say goodbye to my grandma. We spent the night with her and were treated to my favorite dinner and dessert. Jojo came down from Chicago to hang with us as we talked, laughed and ate. Read the rest of this entry

The Power of Story

Who doesn’t love a good story? The love, the fight, the drama, the comedy. It’s why we go to the movies. It’s why we read book. It is what transports us to another time and place. We are inspired, horrified, scared, captivated and engaged.

All the while we are writing our own story, full of the same emotions, plot points and events. Yet there are so many elements of our lives we keep hidden. We’re afraid we’re the only ones. We’re worried about being judged. We’re ashamed of what happened to us or what we’ve done.

Yet my old pastor always said, “We’re only as sick as our secrets.” It makes a world of difference as soon as we begin to give voice to what is happening to us, what we’ve been through and how we are feeling. It empties out brain space. It frees up our heart to move on, so we don’t get stuck in the mire of our circumstance.

This is in part why I chose to blog. Some write stories. Some sing songs. Others write poetry, paint or play an instrument. Anything is better than being silent. Anything is better that being alone. Anything is better than quiet surrender. We have to fight for ourselves. We have to shout, in a way that is healthy, so we can be set free.

My friend Jenn is choosing to give voice to her story of breast cancer. At 34 she is facing a stage three diagnosis, a mastectomy, chemo, losing her hair and fighting for her life all within about a week. To reach out for support and keep those who love her updated on her progress she is blogging through it. I am amazed at her strength, resilience, faith and the joy in her journey so far. I know there isn’t much I can do but pray and her blog helps me do that more specifically.

We are also part of a bigger story that God is telling through us. All of our stories overlap and interact with others. We are not alone. We are part of a huge family. In that there is comfort, encouragement and faith. In the midst of pain it is easy to burrow inward. It is easy to become destructive or self-sabotage. But having the courage to speak out means that we can be held accountable, someone can give reason to our voices of insanity. Or in some cases someone to just give us a hug and tell us to hang on.

I think my friend Erika is right in that we are all a beacon of hope for someone who isn’t as far in their story as we are. We get to lead the way for someone, if we let ourselves speak of what God has done, how he has provided, how he has healed, how he has disciplined and even through how we suffered.

It’s easy for me to forget these things. I want to shut down. I want to block out. I have done that a bit over the last few months. The pain of my parent’s divorce was just too fresh. The death of our family unit was overwhelming. I was fighting out of wallowing in it. I was trying to help my parents. I was trying to be there for my brother. I didn’t know how to be there for myself. I just slipped into survival mode.

I am so grateful for those friends that have kept me sane. I am so blessed with their love, joy, distractions, prayers, encouragement and support. They have made this time of pain tolerable. There have been moments when I didn’t want to talk to God. I was angry at him, yet I knew that I was getting his voice through them. They kept speaking truth. They kept speaking love.

As I come out of the shock and denial of what is happening I can finally begin to give voice to everything. I am starting to process out what it all means to me. I learning how to have a different kind of relationship with my parents and my brother.

It’s all a process.

Grease

On Friday, Sandy and I went to the Palace Theatre in downtown Canton to see Grease on the big screen.

It was a pajama party and singing was highly encouraged. Pajamas and singing, count me in. We donned our robes and slippers, braved the rain and tuned up our voices. At the historic movie house we bought pom-poms for a quarter and waiting anxiously for the strains of Love is a Many Splendored Thing.

Most everyone in the audience knew the words to the songs and dialogue. We spoke them together in one accord, cheering for Rydell, booing the mean Danny Zuko, and glad the Hand Jive was alive once again.

Only four when the movie was originally released, this was my first time to see it on the big screen. It was awesome. A fun night singing, shouting and losing yourself in the moment.

I have seen Grease at least 100 times and it never gets old. Although as an adult I’m amazed at how risque this movie is. As a kid, I really had no idea what I was watching. I didn’t get half of the jokes. As it should be I suppose.

I am such a sucker for sing-a-longs. I think I have an inner broadway star anxious to get out.

Realizations in California

I had a fantastic time in California. It was awesome to be in the sun, with friends, eating delicious food and just no pressure. There was no where I had to be, nothing I had to do and no responsibility whatsoever, who wouldn’t love that? I was living life as I used to know it. LOL. Which sounds a bit odd, but it’s true.

Living near family requires a different mindset. There are certain responsibilities you have simply because you’re a part of the family. After living away for 15 years it’s been an adjustment to get used to being an aunt, a sister, a niece and a daughter again.

I struggle drawing healthy boundaries in the family scenario. We all slip back into the roles established when were seven. It’s like being a Disney star, you are locked into your contract for life. This process is hard.

When I left for CA I was so overwhelmed, feeling like I was responsible for fixing what was wrong in my family. I am the peacemaker. I make sure everyone is ok. It is the role I have played my entire life, one that I felt was required of me. That is a heavy burden to bear. Is exhausting, stressful and enfuriating. When I left I felt smothered, lost and I couldn’t think. As I flew west I could literally feel the weight fall off me. I had to reconnect with who I am and what I want.

In CA, through the help of friends I realized it’s not my job to fix my family. Ta dah. It’s that simple. I have to let myself off the hook. I don’t have to carry the burden of the family, to make sure we’re all ok. That ephiphany set me free. When I realized this I could let go. I can let go of them. I can let go of the problems. I am only responsible for me. Phew. I’m enough trouble all on my own. LOL. I need a new definition of who I am with them.

Now, I have to move forward in my life. I’m trying to decide if I want to move back to California or can I find my own life in Ohio? I’ve also decided I’m going to finish my licensure to become a therapist. I’m only a year away and it feels like something undone in my life. Whether I pursue my PhD after that who knows.

That’s all I’ve come up with so far. LOL