This afternoon, I went outside and noticed that even though it was 90 degrees and humid (pretty much the status quo around here from late May-early October),it was raining, one of my favourite types of weather. In fact, it was so beautiful, it made me burst into tears. I’m not sure why, other than it reminded me of a few rare times in my life where I was just perfectly happy, and it seemed like the world was this exciting adventure in which anything was possible. It reminded me of being young and healthy and free and not yet discovering that the world holds a lot of “No”, a lot of disappointment.

I miss that person. I miss those moments. I miss that freedom I used to rely on all the time, to constantly rewrite my own story. Somewhere along the way, I lost that. It’s kind of sad that something as simple and beautiful as rain leaves me mourning for that brief time of possibility that exists in everyone’s life, before we start choosing, and choices have consequences and obligations, and those things shrink the size of your world immensely.

I don’t dream the way I used to. I think I’m afraid that if I did, I’d always want my dreams to become part of my reality, and my reality would be less of a comfort to me.

Image Courtesy Of DangerDame.Com
I have been very ill lately. I don’t know what’s wrong, despite a trip to the ER and the hassle of trying to get in touch with a specialist. There’s a random problem with my heart, which is beyond scary, and the entire month of July has been spent with me barely having the energy to keep up with anything. My world has gotten so small I’m almost the only person in it, and I spend a lot of time feeling scared and alone.

The thing is, too many of my friends have had to leave this world far before they should have. I can’t stand the thought of being one of those people. There are too many things I haven’t done yet, and I’d give anything for a do-over, back to those summers of rainy days when anything was possible and every adventure the most exciting thing in the world.

So, it seems rather appropriate that in the midst of all these worries, and loneliness, and fear that it’s a time in my life to prepare for endings rather than beginnings, I should read about the passing of Amy Winehouse. All of the talent, beauty, charisma, and vivaciousness in the world doesn’t prepare a person for how to live in the world, and how to be content in that world, and in herself. I can only imagine that she would have been thrilled to have departed in the company of so many others with the same struggle; the “27 Club” is full of geniuses, eccentrics, and those that couldn’t reach out and connect in any other way than through the beauty of art.

People have been on the television all weekend, telling tasteless jokes and putting nails in the coffin of a beautiful person they all gave up on a long time ago. But I feel it’s a huge loss, the crashing of a magnificent plumed bird into the sea. RIP, Amy Jade.

Amy Winehouse, A Memorial, by O-Lie

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been around much lately, and the “Life Less Ordinary” project has found itself on hiatus. Initially, this was a good thing—I spent two and a half weeks traveling to see family and friends in the Northeast, hanging out in NYC, Philly, and spending a week in the sun at the Jersey Shore.

Not unexpectedly, the latter is where things began to go terribly, terribly wrong.

If you know me, you know I love the beach. In fact, most of my “what I want to do one day when I’ve made enough money and am ready to disappear into anonymity” scenarios involve living on a beach somewhere. And, since I’ve been under a rather large amount of stress lately in my everyday life, I figured there was nothing better than spending hours each day on the sand, soaking up the rays.

This provided a fun and relaxing holiday, until the very last day, when I decided to rent a beach chair and sit near/in the ocean, while reading my book and drinking my contraband vodka and clementine Izze soda. It was a great day, and when I got back to the hotel and took a shower, I noticed I’d acquired a killer tan.

Two hours later, I noticed that the tan was actually sunburn, and it was kind of painful. By the end of the evening, I could barely walk without crying, and of course, the next day was the day we were set to travel to Philly.

I made it—barely—but spent the next week largely in bed, with blisters and painful 2nd degree burns over my legs and belly. In addition, I started to have dizzy spells for no reason, often accompanied by a feeling that fainting would soon occur, heart palpitations, and a feeling that my body was out of control. The first time, I thought I was having a heart attack, and was going to die. :(

I can’t tell if these experiences are provoked by heat exhaustion, anxiety, or a totally unrelated medical issue—but let me tell you, nothing is more frightening than the feeling your body is working against you. For nearly two weeks, I’ve been unable to tolerate bright lights, heat, and staring at the computer screen. Even small things have tired me out immensely, which is unlike me, and my typically energetic, vivacious approach to life.

Slowly, things are improving, and over the past few days, I’ve had the physical and mental stamina to return to work, largely through the help of sunglasses. (wearing sunglasses indoors so you can work on your computer looks silly, but if you are intolerant to light, it actually works quite well.) Yesterday, the sun and the 100 degree temperatures decided to disappear, and it was the first day I actually felt like my old self…so I have some level of confidence that I am recovering, although perhaps not as fast as I’d like.

As always, I enjoyed my time in NYC, although I’m always there far too briefly for my tastes. I had the opportunity to catch up with three old friends I’ve known for years, and always miss dearly. It seems like years ago, distance wasn’t such an impediment to friendships, since there was always time for phone calls, IM chats, e-mails, and the like. Nowadays, there’s rarely the time, and when there is, there’s not always the energy. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, but it’s something that kind of sucks about getting older.

Philly, on the other hand, was a bit of a disaster—with the exception of July 4th. If you’re going to be anywhere on the 4th of July, you want to be in Boston, Philly, or D.C., which is one of the reasons I always plan my trip up there over that timeframe. Unfortunately, being ill really limited my ability to see anyone or do anything, and also reminded me of how difficult it’s always been for me to get along with my family. They’re largely like strangers to me, strangers I find negative and less than supportive, and who don’t really relate to me or anything I have going on in my life. It’s always been that way, of course, but the older I get and the more well-defined my own life becomes, the less they seem like people I know or understand. There are always arguments, always difficulties co-existing, and within two or three days, I begin to miss living in my world instead of theirs.

I think that, all these years, I’ve tried to create a relationship and an understanding with my family that just doesn’t exist. I’ve tried to create a feeling of “home” in this place that should be home to me, and I’m always devastated to remind me that it’s not. I’ve created an ideal in my head that I’ve always wanted, a place that feels like I belong and am loved and understood, and it’s natural to assume that safe place should be with one’s family. For me, it isn’t, and I’ve come to realise that the stability and support and comfort I want from “home” is going to have to be one of my own creation. It’s reminded me why I’d like to focus on finding a place I’d like to live on a permanent basis, and being able to buy property there, so that “home” doesn’t have to be someone else’s, and it doesn’t have to be a transient idea.

I’m glad to be back in Atlanta, though, and to spend time with the people I care about here. Even if I have to spend a chunk of my summer in bed, watching TV and working with sunglasses on, there are still some good times to be had before the summer is over.

And, of course, Big Brother is back, one of my favourite summertime guilty pleasures!:)