I used to think I suffered from writer’s block.
It turns out my scatterbrained-ness (I refuse to call it ADHD – I have a pretty firm policy against making self-diagnoses, unless I want to be miserable. Man, I’m already digressing) actually gives me a case of inspiration overload, where I have a bunch of ideas and don’t know which topic to pick for that day’s post.
July so far has been a month of quiet realizations.
July 9th marked a full year of being single. I thought about sharing some reflections earlier in the month, but ultimately decided against it. It has been a year and frankly, that horse has died and was buried long ago. He’s in a new relationship and my home is peaceful again, so I see no need to rehash old stuff that doesn’t spark joy or foster happiness.
In August it will be a year since I’ve been back to work, which was a breakthrough I didn’t really believe would be coming. Granted, I never believed I’d be impoverished and have to move back to my mother’s home, but after being unemployed for an extended period of time and not even getting any nibbles, it does wear your faith down. It was this time last year when I was job searching and finally getting calls back for first and second-round interviews, after long stretches of radio silence. The windows weren’t flying open yet, but the drapes were finally getting pulled to let some sunshine in.
That’s not to say everything is all resolved and rosy. Losing my grandpa, grieving and trying to find the way forward is still a challenge. For the most part I’ve accepted he’s gone and find comfort in knowing his spirit is around me, that I can call on him to be with me and in little ways, he’ll answer me. A couple weeks ago on my long ride, I was taking a drink break on the trail that runs alongside Sunbury Road. I asked Grandpa if he could send me a sign he’s on the ride with me. Not too long later, a group of Corvettes came down Sunbury, revving their engines after the lights turned green. One of Grandpa’s loves was his yellow Corvette and getting to drive around in it. Even when he was alive I’d find myself stopping and watching any Corvette cruising by. Now stopping to watch has a deeper meaning to it.
I know grieving is never a linear process of sad-then-completely-over-it, but it does bring me some comfort on the hard days to come that the spirit of Grandpa is with me. When I first registered for Pelotonia, there were some concerns about both the distance and the fundraising commitment I’d made, with more focus on the latter. I asked Mom what she thought Grandpa would think of Pelotonia – would he be proud of me for being willing to do it, or quietly think I’m a bonehead for committing to something expensive?
Mom said he used to bike regularly with my uncle and loved it, so he’d be thrilled and supportive. That was all I needed to know that my lofty aspirations and the commitment to Pelotonia is the right thing to do.
All of this brings me to this past weekend. My plan to ride 50 miles was derailed by heavy rains until mid-afternoon and waking up with a migraine, which I had a feeling would happy Friday evening. So Saturday I slept in a bit, then decided to get some errands done that are usually after work to maximize my weekend time. One of those was a trip to the grocery store, where I got hit with a craving for cupcakes. However, I’m trying to watch spending and consider ingredient sources, so I couldn’t justify buying a carton of six or a dozen mini cupcakes.
I wandered up the baking aisle and decided to Google white cake mix and flavors that pair well with it. This eventually lead to a recipe for cherry cola cupcakes on Southern Living’s website, and wouldn’t you know I had a few more items in my cart that weren’t originally on my list.
The rest of my Saturday was a cross training session at the gym (my migraine had gone away by this point) and evening baking, finished off with an early bedtime.
Sunday was a slower day. I slept in for a bit, then got up and iced the cupcakes. I have a Wilton icing piper and the cupcakes called for swirled icing, which I’ve never made before and had fun playing with. Then my stupid hands decided to freeze on me, which is a side effect of using the piper I forgot about. The cupcakes turned out wonderfully, even if I had to spend the rest of Sunday doing the “squeeze and release” motion to get the aches out.
Sunday afternoon was spent at Columbus Museum of Art. This past weekend was opening weekend for “Raphael – The Power of Renaissance Images: The Dresden Tapestries and their Impact,” which was pleasant. I’m still a fan of the Impressionist era, but a Sunday at the museum is never a bad way to go.
Sunday night I came to the realization that this past weekend was one of the first “how I used to be” weekends. From 2019 and especially from 2020 on I hadn’t felt like myself, which was partially because of world events around me and also because of the upsets in my personal life. I remembered who I used to be in 2018, when I could run when I pleased and go where I wanted, from trails to restaurants, and feeling empowered to the point that stress and the lows of life couldn’t break me. They just were what they were and were an inevitable part of being alive. Then I went into relationship mode – which in hindsight wasn’t good for me; never put the cart before the horse and with a man, ladies – which lead to discombobulation, then depression and resentment. There was a quiet period before my grandfather’s passing, and then the period afterwards was survival mode with a loss of perspective and identity.
From April on I’ve been making the effort to grow and get back to the old me, and I realized Sunday night that I was finally back to her. I love to bake and couldn’t remember the last time I did it, and I love museums and arboretums. I love to be around beauty, to create and cultivate. I love to write and read for pleasure, the same way I love running and being active. Simply put, I love life and want to experience it in all its beauty and promise.
For the first time in a while, I didn’t feel the need to reinvent myself from a place of inadequacy. I was just me again, and it’s nice to be back.
I hope you all have a peaceful week. Until next time!
Yours in writing and life,