I remember her.
How she looked then.
It took me almost as long to write this blog post; the lingering sorrow of inner-circle loss is torpor for the soul. I never get used to it no matter how many times people depart on their own or I’m motivated to head out of Dodge.
Writing about this topic resurrects mourning and at the same time, casts a different light on tenebrous memories. Surrounded by the spirits of those who are gone steels my judgment, sharpens my perspective and allows me to effectively face my own weaknesses and all-too humanity.
Human losses define my Phase 2; the new, improved and clear headed iteration of me. Sharp edges cut clean to acceptance. Free of shackles.
All human connections good or bad, add richness to life. Although the bad ones fill volumes of lesson books with razor-bladed pages. Bleed and turn, bleed more.
Healthy relationships that turn black are worse.
Unfortunately, life suspended in a cancerous relationship soup, sucks away enough energy to prevent the spirit from moving on, growing. Self-worth fades to the grated pallor of steel. Perspective flash freezes like moisture in a high mid-winter sky.
You’re heavy, stuck and falling.
But there’s only so much pain a person can take. Everybody has a trigger, a breaking point. Something happens that jolts an awakening. Could be as subtle as a recurring, inner whisper. A word. An action. Or as dramatic as a crash and burn (I’m Italian; we add drama to our rigatoni).
By the time that happens, healing has begun. Before you know it the circle will begin again. A new connection, a stronger chain, a weaker link. The leaded steamroller of life moves forward – flesh, blood and emotions in its wake.
I look up to the clouds often. I breathe in the vast universe to revitalize my small world. Let’s say I focus higher to stay closer to the ground, especially when I lose those I care about.
In the past, blinded by my ego and overtaken by the egos of others, the sky meant nothing. Looking back, I’m not sure what happened to replenish my appreciation of simple things. It’s all a big blur. Ironically, I’m grateful how I mistakenly granted admittance to my inner circle to the wrong people, organizations and feelings because they all lead me to where I am today.
The friendship that began in 1972, between T and me, has created several of my deepest pauses of reflection. Months, years, years beyond years do that.
She was my dearest crush in fourth grade. I awkwardly stumbled through many juvenile affairs of the heart then – most of them hidden behind painful shyness, a lack of self-confidence driven by sappy daydreams of holding hands walking home from school.
On Friday nights, I pounded away – creating love notes on a baby-blue & white typewriter to school girls who would never care to read them. I barely recall their names but I never forget hers.
She filtered simple, daily life experiences through a happiness prism which I found interesting at such a young age. I was an eternal fatalist. I saw the worst in everything first. I went directly to the worst-case scenario.
T was diplomatic to a fault. I was jealous of her consistently positive (occasionally cloying) perceptions of the world around her. Even when diagnosed with advanced breast cancer that upbeat perspective rarely waned. I waned. When she told me, all I had for her was silence.
“Hey, I’m not dead, yet.”
I admired her nature. She was restive, I was restless. She was a healthy distraction from my parent’s invidious marriage. Everybody wanted to be her friend.
I wouldn’t call T a frequent gambler although she had a strange passion for roulette. That’s it. Roulette. When I was 14 my parents bought me a roulette set (made by Kenner Toys, I think) for Christmas. We spun the silver disc inside that black, plastic wheel for hours. The thrill of hitting chosen numbers or black or red captured our attention.
The excitement was greater for T as she consistently played zero or double-zero. It was the deep green color that stood out in a sea of dark on a felt “table.” It felt different for her. She basked in the beauty of rare moments (like hitting the zeroes). Every time she hit it, which seemed often, I would get pissed off.
Personally, I rarely played the green zone. I think the odds of hitting zero or double-zero are like a bazillion to ten. I sought stronger probabilities.
“I like the feeling I get when I hit double-zero.”
I so wanted a to feel like that look on T’s face when that little silver ball hit 00. Or when she beat breast cancer the first time in 1994. That smile. Post-brace face. Unforgettable. A grin born from the positive attitude which defined every part of her.
I asked her why and how she believed the impossible was possible.
She said – “because I make room for it.”
That was it.
She made room: In other words, there was a place in T’s mind and heart that created space for the impossible to be possible.
Her life was defined by double-zero.
So in honor of T’s life and eternal life, I made it my mission to make room.
I started finding and cutting away my definition of cancer: Connections with people who drained my energy, fed off anger and frankly no longer fit into the positive life I was finally beginning to cultivate.
It’s not that they were bad; just bad for me.
I began to understand what she had been trying to tell me for decades.
And now, so should you.
1). Double-zero creates space to breathe. It redefines the sky you’ve ignored. It allows you to fill your present with positive people and increased productivity as mental fatigue diminishes.
2). With double-zero you land less on black. There’s white space created for activities that fill in the hole. Great room to undertake those projects which fulfill you. The more you hit on 00, the faster your spin lands on inner peace. And it happens more often than it could in Roulette.
3). Double-zero is a clean slate. You’re open to new lessons; it’s a creator of second chances. The rebirth of a stronger inner circle.
4). Double-zero is not just a burning bridge. It’s using the intense light and heat from the fire to blind you from who and what you removed. It’s scorched earth. It’s the adult version of “you’re dead to me.” It’s cutting out, going cold turkey on cancerous people, situations, subjects, so you can live. No. Thrive. Never go back. Once you hit 00, take your sanity and cash out.
Double-zero isn’t forgiveness. Oh no. It’s inflamed forbearance. An internal act of defiance that transmits a clear, outward message to those who are unethical, untrustworthy and unwilling to to exhibit loyalties to love, silence, commitment and grace.
5). Someone is about to 00 you. Be ready. We have all been and will continue to be double-zeroed by others. It’s OK. Time to self-reflect. Most likely, you initiated 00, motivated the spin. Own it, burn it, move on.
Naturally, T would say I’m perceiving double-zero all wrong.
Damn my negativity.
Here are additional random thoughts T would place a stamp of approval on if she could.
A). Double-zero is making that call you’re hesitant to make. The one that makes you a target, open to hurt. Vulnerable. It’s also the one that may positively change your life forever.
B). Double-zero is a complete awareness of who you are. And the great value you bring to the table. It’s destroying what society tells you is success and re-defining it outside the cubicle, middle management and others who “just don’t get you.”
C). Double-zero fuels you to fight another day. Positive energy is contagious. You’ll attract light, warmth and peace. Over time, you’ll be addicted to 00. Odds will be in your favor.
D). Double-zero is making radical changes to your finances. It’s shrinking to grow. It’s working on taking more in and having less go out. It’s freedom from debilitating debts to pursue what you love, not what you do to pay a big mortgage.
E). Double-zero is taking a stand. Recognizing and believing in the possibilities which can come from saying no more often, pursuing interests that fulfill your soul and again, cutting deep and away from all who choke off positive flow. You’ll look up at the sky more often.
Teresa, if your energy is still here, if your afterburn is around me – I feel it.
In your death, I found a secret of a life.
And I think others will, too.