Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Tale of My Dear Friend

Once there was a girl. She lived in the middle of the desert and while she was shy and a tad odd she still managed to make a friend or two. She lived on a street that was under developed. There were large desert lots open for her to explore, collect bugs and stalk lizards.

Then one day, her favorite empty lot was sold and construction on a house began. She felt bitterness deep in her heart as she watched that house go up. It was taking the biggest lot, that had the best trees for hiding. It was also the lot where her and her best friend, who had recently moved away, had spent many hours exploring and recreating scenes from Are You Afraid of the Dark?  When the house was finished it sat empty for some time. The girl began to hope that a family with a gaggle of cute sons might move in so she could ogle them from afar.

Finally, when the girl was in eighth grade, a moving van pulled into the driveway and a family moved in. As mentioned before the girl was shy, however, she managed to convince one of her equally shy friends that if they went to the house together to greet the new neighbors it wouldn’t be so intimidating. And so the girl and her friend went to the new neighbors house and rang the doorbell.

It seemed the girl’s prayers were answered for an adorable seventh grade boy answered and smiled awkwardly.

That’s how I met one of my closest friends Joshua Tennis. Josh immediately invited us into his house, got us drinks and made us feel at home. When the time came to go home it felt like leaving a friends house, not someone who was essentially a perfect stranger. In fact I’m pretty sure that within an hour he had both of us sitting comfortably on his bed regaling us with stories from his previous schools, his family, basically anything we wanted to know about him.

Josh moved often and sometimes would disappear off my radar for months at a time, but he always reappeared, apologetic and eager to catch up. And even though I wouldn’t see him for months it felt like I was with my friend. He had a way of making one feel important, not just to him, but to others as well. He always managed to fill me with optimism, which was definitely a challenge most times.

Through the miracle of Facebook we had recently reconnected in a very real way. That may sound weird. There are some people on Facebook that I reconnect with in that we chat a bit, or comment on pictures or “Like” things the other has posted. But we haven’t reconnected in that we’ve started hanging out, talking on the phone and having real conversations. That sounds harsh, but it’s the brutal truth of Facebook.

When I reconnected with Josh he had recently moved back to the desert. So we started hanging out again. When I wasn’t in the desert he would call and we’d talk for hours. He would text me regularly and if for some reason he couldn’t he would find a way to let me know he was alright.

Last week Josh randomly popped into my mind and I realized it had been awhile since I’d heard from him, so I shot him a quick text. I didn’t get a reply, so I went on Facebook to do what any devoted friend would do, stalk him. I noticed before I even got to Josh’s page that lots and lots of pictures of him were popping up. One even had a description that read “RIP my friend.”

I panicked. I went to his page and found that my worst fears were confirmed. Josh had been killed in a car accident.

I miss my friend. I miss my friend a lot. And the very strange and perhaps even most painful thing about it is how far removed from it I am. I’ve dealt with a lot of death in my 31 years and they’ve all been deaths that are close to me. Ones that impact my day to day routines. But this one is tricky. No one here knew Josh, so while the folks here are sympathetic and kind, I feel I can’t do my grieving properly.  I’m sure no one would blame me if I broke down weeping (which I won’t do because crying in public…you’ll never see me do that) but I can’t. I feel weird and I hate it.

It felt different when I went to the desert for the service. As soon as we were in Palm Springs, I felt worse. I hated that I wasn’t going to get to see him, hang out with him, poke fun at his electronic cigarettes. I hated the reason for my visit. I didn’t want to go, but I knew I would regret it forever if I didn’t. I also knew I needed to say goodbye and if I didn’t go to the service, how could I ever let him go?

Leaving was terrible as well. The service didn’t make his absence real for me, what was real was the fact that I had visited the desert and not seen him. We didn’t get together for drinks. I didn’t drag him to a scary movie. He didn’t come pick me up with Teddy squirming in the backseat. We didn’t lay on his bed talking about love, relationships and memories from middle school. I didn’t make him roll his eyes with the orange juice story that never fails to make me laugh til I cry. Leaving made him being gone real for me and instead of feeling better I just felt worse.

I miss my fucking friend. I just wonder how much more of this I can take before I turn to stone.

Oh, Sweet Friend

Oh, Sweet Friend

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Good Reasons

I’ve got good reasons why there’s not blog post this week.

1. I’ve been drawing chibis all week and sweet sassafras, they are adorable.

2. I watched a few episodes of Naruto with some friends last night. Then I watched season 3 of Archer til it was well past time to turn off the telly. I managed to limit myself to the first three episodes. But then I went to bed and read a comic until 1am.

3. Mario Kart Wii has to be raced by someone right? Actually I haven’t been the one racing, it was my sister. Like I said I was busy drawing chibis.

4. I’ve been contemplating lots of different comic ideas. They’re not long ongoing stories, more like one shot quickies. (Heh)

5. I am lazy and have a hard time with time management so something always suffers. It’s too bad it’s my writing, it hasn’t suffered like this in a long while. Ah well, at least I’ve got my cute chibis.

How to be Happy

Around last week sometime I was messaging back and forth with a dear friend on Facebook. We talked about all the usual things, men, dating, sleeping (or not sleeping) kids. As I wrote a reply to one her messages I suddenly realized how insanely happy I was.

Now I’ve not been totally unhappy these last few years, but things have been less than rosy, which is to be expected. But I was getting really tired of feeling sad/discouraged/annoyed all the time. It wasn’t until I was writing back to my friend and giving a truly honest answer to the “how are you” question that I realized how much my attitude has changed. And in turn how truly happy I feel.

I’m sure part of this feeling is the whole “passing time” thing but I think there are a lot of other factors contributing to my happiness and many of them are new things for me; new in the last couple months.

The biggest thing I did was to let go of my guilt, especially my mommy guilt. I used to wrestle with feelings of guilt all the time. (And I still do occasionally.) A lot of it had to do with what kind of mother I am but I realized, pretty recently in fact, that I can’t be a supermom, no one can really. I could sit here and feel bad about all the mistakes I’ve mad, all the times I’ve left Jack with a sitter to go out, but that doesn’t do any one any good. If I obsess about mom guilt while I’m out I won’t have any fun and that’s just a night wasted. I can’t change my mistakes, but I can admit to Jack when I’ve made them and apologize. Which I’ve started doing and even though he’s just three and a half I think he appreciates the fact that I’m owning up to the stupid things I do. Letting go of all that guilt was the first step to really being happy.

When I let go of all that guilt there was this amazing freedom to just be who I was. I didn’t feel pressure to be perfect; the perfect mother, grieving widow, geeky nerd, the list goes on and on. The only thing I felt I had to be was me. As a result I feel more like myself than I have in years. I’m feeling more confident and less like I need to impress people.

It’s funny because now that I’m actually feeling happy with my life things that used to be bother me all the time just roll off my back. I don’t even have to chant my mantra “I’m a duck!” over and over, the rolling off just happens.

This feeling of general happiness is great. Of course I still get upset, or bummed out, such is life. As a whole though I feel really satisfied and excited about my life.

How about you guys? What do you do to feel happy? What do you think you could do to feel more satisfaction with your life?

Prince of Cats- A Review (Or a Gushing Fan Girl…Whatever)

Reading web comics has been a very slippery slope for me. I am a sucker for a good story and there are some really good stories out there. Usually web comics have ads for other comics on their pages. So I’ll click on one and start reading. Then I get sucked in and keep reading until I catch up and have to wait for more updates. While I anxiously await the next update I’ll click on another link and the whole process starts again.

That’s how I happened upon a web comic called Prince of Cats, by Kori M. Handwerker. I started reading it and got completely sucked in. It’s 2003 and two boys are trying to navigate the tricky waters of high school and their friendship. What makes it even more tricky is they are in love with each other. I can’t put my finger on what exactly makes this comic so compelling. I suppose there are several factors.

The characters are so easy to relate to. From the main characters Frank and Lee, to the minor characters of teachers and classmates, the behavior is believable. The dialogue is realistic. It’s like being transported back to high school. I think that’s one of the things that makes me love this story, it doesn’t feel forced or fake.

The story line also keeps me interested. I went back to the beginning today as I was preparing to write this review and again, even though I knew the story, I was sucked in. I kept thinking just one more page, one more page, seriously this is the last one.  I don’t think there’s been a time that I’ve lost interest in this story. I like that the year she’s chosen is one when being gay wasn’t widely accepted, especially by insecure high school students. The location is also more conservative so I’m interested to see how she’ll make that apparent in the future.

Let’s talk about the art for a second. It’s really beautiful. It’s one of the comics that inspired me to pick up a pencil and start drawing again. I liked the art quite a lot at the beginning and I think it has really become something special. It’s not only entertaining to read but beautiful to see.

If you’re looking for a well crafted story, with lovely artwork and compelling characters look no farther than Prince of Cats by Kori M. Handwerker. Seriously go there now and just read the first couple pages. Lee will suck you right in!