I think we can all collectively agree on one thing.
2011 was a clusterfuck of suck.
Don't get me wrong. There were wonderful moments.
In January, I had a fantastic New Year's Day with the Hotband and my kids and of course, my grandson turned 2 in January and that's always fun. In February, we had a very lovely Valentine's Day, or as the Hotband and I call it, "excuse to buy each other cards" day. February also reared it's ugly head in the form of one of my closest friends losing her daughter in a car accident. She and her son were both in coma, her daughter, in a morgue. It was one of the most horrific moments of my life, getting that email from my "Northern Bestie", Jan of Two Scoopz, telling me that Destiny was gone and my dear friend Melia's son, Riley was barely clinging to life himself. It was a time of close friendship as Melia's "angels" reached out to her, rallied around her and fund raised a large sum of money to help her to ease the burden of burying her baby girl. Six dear friends and Melia. Since then, those friendships have broken down. Familiarity breeding contempt and what not. And it's a damn shame. But, for six months, we stayed the course, protected her ferociously, guarded her with our lives, staved off the press, people who were trying to benefit from a horrible situation, crazy ex boyfriends, etc...and made sure that our sweet Melia stayed untouched and able to grieve in peace. The pain all of us felt as mothers was indescribable...and we all hugged our babies just a bit tighter during those harrowing months. Riley made an amazing and near full recovery. And while Melia and I no longer speak, I do ask about her and Riley all the time.
There are moments in life that bond people together for eternity. It doesn't matter if we no longer speak due to a falling out (that I know she had no part of). What does matter is that when she looks back and reflects on that time, she can do so knowing that she had people who loved her surrounding her with love and light.
In March, and the same week as Destiny's funeral, the Hotband and I set sail with my parents for a great cruise to the Bahamas to celebrate my father's 70th birthday and my parents 30th wedding anniversary. While the cruise with my husband part was phenomenal, my mother was being...well, my mother, and made it a pretty unpleasant experience. In April, I went to Washington DC with my home girl, Bran Muffin, for some cultural doings and met up with my home boy, Gary R. who I have known since kindergarten. They drove all the way down from Virginia to come see me and I was thrilled to see them. We dined at a great restaurant, saw some pretty cool historical stuff and it was great. However, the week ended with me falling out of his truck, sustaining a pretty bad back injury (I fractured one of my vertebrae) and that was sort of the beginning of what was to become a radically shittier year.
In May, I had a problem with one of my professors accusing me of plagiarizing a paper I wrote. I might have blogged about it. Who knows. Who remembers. Apparently, since I was on pain medication from my back injury, I ended up submitting a paper to him that was my draft which included direct quotes from sources. I didn't send him the actual paper I had written. In the confusion, he attempted to take me up on charges with the school. Fortunately, I have a very strong connection with my college as a perpetual student there and enough of my teachers were able to vouch for me...that I am not the sort of student who plagiarizes nor needs to. I had a perfect GPA. Why would I need to plagiarize a 3 page paper, for God's sake? So, he gave me a "make up" exam, to prove that I actually DID know my stuff. Hello? It's Humanities. The Arts. You only have to know me for 10 minutes to know that I know my shit where that stuff is concerned. I got an A on the exam. He tried to give me a B for the year. I fought him and won. May was also the month that my relationship with Melia started to take a radical turn and when others via jealousy, slowly started making their attempt to oust me from her life. I did, however, get to go to San Francisco with my husband and see my best guy friend, Jester and his partner, Mikey. Hotband and I got our beautiful Star of David tattoos that we were dying for Mikey do put on us for nearly a year. It was a wonderful time. Saw my buddy, Jerry, as well...and made some new friends during Jerry's birthday party, which also marked for us the passing of the "Rapture". We all survived. The tragic part was ending that visit with a terrible tornado that ripped through Jester's hometown of Joplin, Missouri...killing hundreds of people and leaving very little of his hometown left to salvage. I was grateful to have been there to supply him with hugs, handholds and kisses as one by one, the texts came rolling into his phone about another person he knew being injured or killed. Another friend who lost their home. The text about his old school being ripped from its foundation and no longer existing. It was tragic and heartbreaking. I didn't want to leave him. Ever. I will never forget the look on his face when he got word...not ever.
June came, and with that, the end of "Team Melia" as a trip to Arizona was thwarted by a manipulating piece of garbage. The beginning of the end. But, June brought other things...things that were far more important. June handed me a big pile of dog shit in the form of my sweet Jan being diagnosed with cancer. I can never remember, since my own personal bout with the Big C, crying so much, so hard, for so long as I did when she told me this. I felt like my world was ending...because Jan has been my rock for so damn long. She is beyond a sister. She is part of my life in so many ways. For two people who have never been in the same room together, you couldn't find two people closer than she and I. And now, here I was...1600 miles away from her while she was going through what was going to be the most challenging time of her life. While I offered to come and be with her, she refused me...the eternal optimist, comforting ME and telling me that everything is going to be just fine and if she REALLY needs me there, she promises to call. That woman is still fighting the fight valiantly, with a strength and a conviction that very few are capable of, let alone privy to. And I am so grateful to have a ringside seat in her life. I am grateful that she turns to me when she is feeling sad. I am happy that she still has the ability to say, "OMG...shut the hell up, CP. You're DEPRESSING me and I am the one who has the cancer, for fucks sake!" She is also my "Hyster Sister" as we both had our hysterectomies this year barely two months apart from each other. She was absolutely key in helping me make my decision to have it done. And I think in some ways, her being able to focus on me and my recovery helped to keep her strong. She was able to give the the ol' "Pffft, been there, done that. Suck it up, gorgeous. You'll be fine again in six weeks."
She's a no holds barred, no bullshit kinda girl...and I love her for that. More than words can say.
July was a trip to New York and as usual, save for one AWESOME damn party for my friend Suzee's birthday, it was business as usual for mom and I. The saving grace? My son came along for the trip and somehow, he manages to keep it all in perspective for me with a simple, "Damn. I'm glad she's only my grandmother. She totally sucks as a mom, Dude." Heh. I love my son. Well, loved him right up to the point where my brother convinced him to cut his shoulder length hair and I realized the reason he was keeping it so long. Yeah. Double pierced his ears. Awesome. After that trip, I came home to a barrage of surgeries to figure out what was going on with my female parts. I thought I was having pain due to my back injury I sustained in Washington. I was having trouble walking. My body, especially my lower abdomen, felt "heavy". My periods were starting to look like gangland mob shootings and I was constantly drained. Tests showed me to be heavily anemic. Further tests showed a "tumor of some sort" on my right ovary. No. There is no way that Jan and I both have ovarian cancer at the same time? I mean, I heard of being close...but really? Do we need to go this far?
Well, the big C avoided me this time...but what I did find out was that I had Stage 4 endometriosis that was slowly wrapping itself around my bladder, abdominal wall, colon and the edge of my spine. Two surgeries later, and the doctors were still unable to chisel their way through to removing that ovary that now had a tumor on it the size of a golf ball. The only option? A full radical hysterectomy with bladder shaving, colon shaving and perhaps, some snipping around the spine where the endo had decided to cling to it. To say I was scared shitless is an understatement. But, with Jan's help...knowing that she had just gone through it and was now into the chemotherapy stage of her recovery, I said, fuck it. I can do this. And there were hard times in that. While the Hotband and I always pretty much knew we were never going to have any kids...I still had a choice. His vasectomy could always be reversed and in the back of my mind, I knew this. But a hysterectomy? That's some final shit right there. Can't make no babies if the baby making machine is removed from the building. The thought of this fucked with me emotionally and for the first time in my 8 year marriage, in 12 years together, I felt a distinct separation from my husband. Emotionally. He just didn't understand WHY I would be so upset about this.
"We always said we were not going to have kids, Babe. I have YOUR two kids. They are OUR kids. I don't need any thing more than that. I am already a dad. I don't need to have my last name 'carried on'. I raised our kids with you. That's always been enough for me. I don't understand why this is upsetting you so much."
And it was apparent that he really didn't "get it"...which only served to make me more angry. My best friend, Gin, wrapped it up for me quite nicely. "He's a MAN, CP. Neanderthals. They just don't get it." And she was right. She rallied around me, as did my daughter, in a way that made me feel complete. Even though I felt that everything that defined me as a female was being stripped away from me, they managed to make me feel loved, protected and safe. I am not defined by having a uterus. I am defined by being the woman I am...a loving mom, a phenomenal wife and grandmother, a fiercely protective and loyal friend and a person with the ability to make people laugh, even in their darkest hours. Hubby and I went away for a much needed vacation with old friends to Jamaica and for that week, I was allowed to forget that, come September, a new chapter of my life was about to begin. A new adventure. A life without pain. We had so much fun that week with Joey (an ex boyfriend from 30 years ago) and his wife, Marcia, who is an amazing lady...that it should have been crime to have that much fun in one lifetime.
September arrived and with it, my surgery. The rest of September and October were a blur for me. I remember a lot of pain, a lot of pain medicine and a lot of sleeping. But, the end of October and my granddaughter's third birthday allowed me to do the "unveiling" of this new woman. I put on my brand new Michael Kors suede wedge boots (my hysterectomy gift to myself), with a fantastic amount of gorgeous jewelry and proceeded to be the best new "me" I could allow myself to be. I felt like I was back again. Not perfect, certainly, but back in my life again after six weeks of pain and struggle.
It was like coming home.
November brought the clusterfuck of a bad visit with my parents. A falling out with my brother. A multitude of chaos in my personal life but, it also brought me back together with my husband. After feeling emotionally detached from him and physically detached from him (no sex? SIX weeks? Are you kidding me?), we were back on track again and it felt so good. There was some personal pain from other things...but nothing I felt I couldn't handle.
December and the holidays. Normally, I am a bah humbug kind of person...but this year, I felt like celebrating life. My life. My friend Jan's life...the fact that she was getting stronger and getting through her chemo with a brave face and a positive attitude. The lives of my children and grandchildren. My best friend, Gin, evolving as a wife and mom, really bringing her A game and showing me that a "stay at home mom" is something that means you have value and worth as a female and your not "just a mom." Hubs and I went on our yearly vacation to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and the Bahamas and recharged our batteries. We reconnected on a level I have not felt between he and I since my surgery and life was suddenly, really good again. Really good.
So now, here we are. On the precipice of a new year. Once more, Hotband and I will be spending it at our hideaway on Treasure Island, having a beautiful dinner gulfside and then, likely standing on the beach, holding hands for a long stroll right before the ball drops. Likely, we will be making wonderful love during that year change as we have always done. (He likes to be able to say he fucked me for a year straight. Corn ball. LOL) Yes, from 11:59 pm until 12:01 am. He's quite the stud. Heh.
While I am excited to see what this new year is going to hold for us, I have to admit...2011 is a year that I don't want to revisit ever again. Like I said, there were some amazing time in there, but it was like a beautifully wrapped present, shiny paper, big elaborate bow...and then, opening the box to reveal pound of shit inside. I am praying that this year brings all my friends health, prosperity and the best of everything life has to offer. This is the year that I am opting to take on some challenges, both scholastically and with my own personal health. I want to be stronger in the upcoming year. I want to be able to run around a bit more with my grandchildren without getting winded. More than any thing...I just want peace. No drama for this Mama. I just want to have my family and my friends be happy. I am not sure what the definition of happiness is for each individual in my life...but whatever their definition is, I want them to own it in 2012.
The way I see it, Folks...any day on this side of the grass is a good day and I want to keep that perspective. I want to leave the petty stuff behind and focus on the things that really matter. The people that count. I want to make sure that I take care of myself so that I am capable of caring for those that I love and who love me for a good long time to come. And even if the world ends in 2012 per the Mayans prediction, I want this to be the best last year on earth ever.
So, in closing...have a blessed New Year. I have some ideas and changes for this blog coming up...and I hope that my writing will reflect that. I want to swing back to 2006, when it was all about the laughs and a certain amount of introspection. I want to repair burned bridges and make things whole again. I want to learn the value of "I'm sorry" and I want to make sure that people know they are loved.
Tomorrow is promised to no one. So, for today, I want to make it the best day, every day, until the day they lower me into the ground.
Happy New Year to all my faithful friends and followers. And to those, not so faithful, let it be said that I can forgive who you are, what you have done and be at peace with myself for it. I hope the same for every one of you...even those who have hurt me immensely over this past year.
And to those who I love, and you know who you are, let me tell you that you are a part of my life for keeps. You will always be valued, respected and treated with dignity and love. All I want from you is the same in return. A friend of mine (named "Angel", ironically enough) just said to me on Facebook, "I only have one (resolution): to live purposefully." I could not sum it up better than that. A life with purpose. That is all I want...
A Certifiable Princess could ask for nothing more.
See you in 2012. xoxo