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BY Dana

12/01 Direct Link
I spent part of the morning rereading some of my old batches—the early ones from when I'd first started writing here—and it's clear to me that I've changed. So much has happened. Things seem harder, and my life really doesn't feel the same. It's like I've become a spectator—a background character who's never quite important enough to deserve a feature role. Is this a midlife crisis—this feeling that I'm merely going through the motions but am no longer truly alive? There are more people close to me now than ever before, but I am all alone.
12/02 Direct Link
I wonder what you're seeing behind your closed eyelids.

I asked you that question yesterday, in the middle of it all, and you didn't respond. Maybe you didn't hear me. I shut my eyes then, tried to see what you were seeing. Who knows if I did?

If I ask you that same question now, will you hear? Will you answer?

Last night I learned that my uncle is dying. He wants to talk to my mother, his sister, but he won't reach out to her. They've been estranged for eight years. Too long.
12/03 Direct Link
I hear people all the time saying that this or that is driving them crazy or making them nuts. I've said it too. It's always just been a figure of speech, not something I meant as truth; it was just something I said. But now I wonder because what's in my head—the thoughts, the constant noise—really is making me feel crazy, like I'm losing it or on the verge. I realize I sound nuts just writing this, but it's like there's a battle in my mind, making me want to be out of my head, anyplace but here.
12/04 Direct Link
Roller coaster of the madness, and there's only me to blame...

Another way to look at it: Maybe I'm driving myself insane by pushing too much and expecting too much and trying to be all things to all people all the time. Or is that just an excuse, a get out of jail free card for a person who's just too lazy, too stubborn, too stupid to get out of her own head and out of her own way and realize that only she can come up with a solution to it all? Is that it?
12/05 Direct Link
Let me tell you a story.

Last night a woman ate a snack in front of the computer in the bedroom she shares with her husband. She grew tired and put her plate on his dresser, intending to bring it to the kitchen before she went to bed. She forgot. Her husband came into the bedroom, saw the plate, and yelled, "Who the hell did this?" He then proceeded to call his wife names. She dissolved into tears, recounting other times he's done that very thing, and now no longer wonders why her self-esteem is so low.
12/06 Direct Link
And it goes on and on, even when we don't want it to, even when some part of us starts thinking about how we want it to stop—to end—it doesn't, and all we can do is hold on to something, anything as tightly as possible and hope for the best—for happiness, mainly, but also for success—and we wish upon stars ("Star light, star bright...") and cling to whatever we believe in, and somehow we keep going, keep breathing life in and out, the heartbeat of time a metronome, a drum, a cadence as we go along.
12/07 Direct Link
"Sometimes when you're trying to survive, it's easy to lose sight of who you are."

I heard that on some show this week. I can't remember which one. My mind is a sieve; thoughts fall out, nothing sticks. Maybe I'm getting old, although I don't feel old. As a kid, 46 seemed ancient. Now it seems pretty youthful—except for "brain as sieve," that is.

Today was a horror best left undocumented. But...

When she needed help, he refused to help her. He screamed until his face was red and hers dissolved in tears.
12/08 Direct Link
I see the kids at this time of year with their happy smiles and their sparkling eyes and wish I were one of them. Sadly, I've got too much of the world in me now to be excited by much. I've lost a lot of that wonder—a lot, but maybe not all. Deep down, there must be some small part of me that still believes in the magic of Christmas—the wonder, the heart-pounding anticipation, the joy of running to the tree and tearing through wrappings, searching for my wishes, for dreams that might be about to come true.
12/09 Direct Link
This is one of those days when I'm finding it hard to come up with anything to write. Most days (knock on wood), the words come pretty quickly, but today I've started over multiple times, and nothing wants to stick. I hate these days.

This weekend I've gone to three productions of "It's a Wonderful Life." My son was in the cast, which is the reason I watched it so many times. I would have gone only once otherwise, or maybe not at all. Actually, definitely not.

Today in my wonderful life I took a nap.
12/10 Direct Link
I'm surprised I decided to write this month. December is crazy, and I don't know how I'm finding the time. But I guess it's true that people find time for the things they love. It's just too bad that a lot of those things are considered a waste of time—like watching TV and scrolling on Facebook. Then again, the definition of "waste" is relative. Some people might think that painting (something I love to do) is a time-waster. And if I saw you playing solitaire, I might think that maybe—just maybe—your time could be better spent.
12/11 Direct Link
I'm a freelancer—my office is my home—and I often feel isolated. Although I don't love the idea of going to an office and interacting with people face-to-face, I do sometimes miss the camaraderie of that environment. It can be lonely to work alone. Today, however, I was out early—during rush hour—and weirdly I felt like I belonged there. As I was driving along with all the people who were heading to out-of-home jobs, somehow I felt like I, too, was a part of it all—like I had found my tribe.
12/12 Direct Link
She couldn't stop the thoughts: I'm hungry, but I'm not going to eat because eating will lead to more eating and more and more, and soon I'll be stuffing my face, and there will no longer be only meals but meals and snacks and then meals and snacks and between-snack snacks until all I do is gorge from morning to night to morning, stopping only to sleep (if I'm lucky), and then I'll get on the scale, even though I'll tell myself not to, and when I see the evil there, that will be the end for (of?) me.
12/13 Direct Link
I can't get my head above water today. I'm drowning—helplessly, hopelessly—in all the things that shouldn't have any meaning this Christmas season—all the buying and wrapping and worrying and stressing about things that really don't matter in the end. Will that gift get there in time? Did I order exactly what she asked for? Did I spend enough? Will (insert product here) really show him how much I love him? It's crazy, and it's stupid, and the stress does no one any good. I'm caught in the undertow. All I want is to break free.
12/14 Direct Link
Still drowning. Still waiting for the day I don't have something urgent to do. At this time of year, everyone seems so harried and frantic, so I guess what can I do but join them? Today I had to rush through the grocery store to get home before the bus dropped off my son at home, and I kept getting behind an older woman leaning against her cart and shuffling along. I honestly wanted to scream, but I kept a smile (albeit a fake one) pasted on my face, and I tried not to look as frantic as I felt.
12/15 Direct Link
Ten more days. I wish I were writing that with the excitement of a child, but I'm not. I need ten more months, I think, to get everything ready. There's too much pressure to be perfect—to have the perfect tree, to buy the perfect gifts, to cook the perfect foods... It's exhausting.

Must write of happier things. The New Year holds such possibilities. In the back of my mind, I've been working on coming up with my word for 2019. This year it was "fearless." So was I fearless this year? Maybe. I don't know.
12/16 Direct Link
She knew she was stuck. There were too many things holding her in place; she would never break free. She hated herself for how she let him treat her—how she'd put up with his name-calling, his silent treatments, the way he blamed her for everything that ever went wrong... When the storm passed and his anger lessened, the words "I'm sorry" never fell from his lips, but she would crawl to him anyway. As if she were the one who was wrong. As if she were the one who needed forgiveness. She made him big and herself small.
12/17 Direct Link
So much back and forth. So much I love him, I love him not. And him. She never believed him —never trusted in the I love yous that only seemed to come when he wanted something: a favor, a relief. She was being used—she knew that—but felt she had no options. Her friend told her that there are always options, always ways out. She couldn't see any. Life was a roller coaster, and she couldn't break free of the madness. She'd keep pulling the petals. I love him, I love him not...
12/18 Direct Link
I make lists. I love lists. They help keep me on track. They make me feel organized (although I'm really not). I primarily make two kinds of lists: a to-do list and one that I call my "creativity" list. My creativity list names all the creative things I want to do—all the paintings, all the books, all the techniques to try, all the projects I intend to complete... It's a long list, but you can guess which list is longer...sadly. Why are to-do lists infinite, leaving everything else lumped in the category of "maybe someday I'll...?"
12/19 Direct Link
I was angry with you when I heard you had killed yourself in that dingy hotel room. Of course I was sad; of course I cried. The tears came first, but the anger...it was fierce. It still is, even after all this time. Why didn't you reach out? I would have been there for you; I was always in your corner. Didn't our time together show you that I'd do anything for you? I saw a future with you, you know. Did that scare you? I loved you; I still do. But Rob, I'm so angry with you too.
12/20 Direct Link
I never seem to be able to live in the moment. No matter what I'm doing, I'm always doing something else, even if it's only in my mind. I wish I could bring myself to savor moments as they happen. I look back sometimes and think about all I missed. Am I really getting the most out of life? This afternoon I'm going to a holiday sing-a-long at my daughter's school. Normally I'd write the store list or something while I "listened." This time I'm going to try something new. I'm going to try and be.
12/21 Direct Link
I keep falling asleep in weird places. Yesterday I dozed off while sitting through storytime with my daughter at the library. Today I succumbed while waiting for my son to get a haircut. The ease with which I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat is getting embarrassing. A guy came up to me after my storytime slumber and told me jokingly, "Hey. No naps allowed." I wonder who else noticed? I think the only thing worse than actually sleeping in public is fighting off sleep. The way I must look trying to keep my eyes open... *shudder*
12/22 Direct Link
It was the biggest role of her life, this walk on eggshells she'd performed from 2006 until this day. What will set him off? What will send him into fits of red-hot rage? She never knew—there was no way to know—so she tiptoed around him, placated him, suppressed her wants and needs and opinions, the princess—no, the slave—to the King. The acting exhausted her, and she was left with the uneasy feeling that she no longer knew who she was. She'd look at pictures, staring into the eyes of her younger self, and whisper, "Run."
12/23 Direct Link
Last night my husband posted a horribly unflattering picture of me on Facebook. My heart is racing. I want to cry. Hide. He doesn't care how affected I am by photos. How triggered. Losing weight a year ago hasn't given me the self-esteem I'd thought it would. Instead it's left me feeling anxious, self-conscious, and worried about every bit of food I eat. My brain is screaming that everyone who sees the picture will think about how horrible I look—how fat—and even if that's not true, it feels like it is.

I hate food.
12/24 Direct Link
It's Christmas Eve, and I woke up this morning feeling a sense of relief. It's like a weight has lifted; I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. This month has been exhausting. I've been a zombie walking around on four hours of sleep a night. I'm looking forward to leaving this time of hyper-craziness and getting back to the normal craziness of life with a husband and three young kids. I'm looking forward to having bits of time (however small) for myself. I'm looking forward to reading a magazine. That's not much to ask.
12/25 Direct Link
Christmas is over. It was a good day.

Now, though, it's time for me to really focus on my word for next year. Even though it's not the new year yet, I feel like tomorrow is a day of possibilities—like it's a new slate and a fresh start.

This year my word was "fearless," but I can think of many times throughout the year when I was anything but. Still, I don't want that to discourage me from moving forward with a new goal this year.

Think positive. That's what I need to do.
12/26 Direct Link
I get so excited about the new year, and now that Christmas is over, I'm more excited than ever. I guess I always have a longing to start over, to begin again. If I could go back in time, there are so many things I would do differently, so many things I'd change. I want a reset button for my life. January 1 gives me one.

So here I am. I'm ready. I have my word for the year. I have my intention. I have my goals set and have reflected on my hopes and dreams.

Hello 2019.
12/27 Direct Link
I ordered a bracelet from myintent.org yesterday, and today it shipped. I'm looking forward to getting it. It's the little things, I guess.

Sometimes it's hard to type words in this box. Do I have nothing to say, or is it that there's too much to say? Am I being an English professor again and thinking too much about my audience? I don't think that's important in this case. People here go on and on about everything, and I read it all with interest. We all have something to say, don't we? We might as well just say it.
12/28 Direct Link
It only takes one shitty moment, doesn't it? My day was good—great, even—and then I took my kids to the grocery store, where one of them wreaked havoc. I reprimanded her, then looked around and saw a sea of people with disapproving faces, all glaring at me. Apparently, I was on trial—a bad parent for telling my daughter that her actions were unacceptable. I'm embarrassed. I'm angry. All those fucking people with their smug, holier-than-thou looks. They can go to hell. Walk in my shoes, maybe. It's a lesson for me too. Judgment is everywhere.
12/29 Direct Link
I'm feeling better today. It's a new day—almost a new year—and I've decided to let all the crap go. I'm not letting other people's opinions diminish my excitement about the year to come.

"It's the final countdown"—am I the only one who remembers that song? I was thinking about the traditional countdown to the new year, and those lyrics came to mind. 1986. I was fourteen and in the ninth grade. It seems so long ago—but not really. I couldn't imagine the year 2000 then, much less 2019. It's crazy how quickly it goes...
12/30 Direct Link
I received several gift cards for Christmas, so for the last few days, I've been happily shopping away. I bought the most beautiful leather journal at Barnes and Noble the day after Christmas. I'm looking forward to starting it on New Year's Day. That same day, I bought a bracelet online, and then yesterday evening, I made a couple of purchases on Amazon: a book I've been wanting forever and some materials for an art project I'm working on. Then last night, I couldn't resist the leather journal I found on barnesandnoble.com. The fifteen percent off coupon didn't hurt.
12/31 Direct Link
I made it to the end of 2018. Maybe I shouldn't write that here quite yet; after all, it's not even noon yet, and there's still a lot of the day to live. I'd better amend my statement: I made it to the end of 2018—so far.

When midnight strikes and the ball comes down, I always get excited. I wonder who I'll be in 2019, what kind of person I'll become? What goals will I accomplish? Will I finish better than I start? So many possibilities... Armed with my word for the year—free—I'll begin.