So...the past few years have been very, very hard. Actually, "hard" doesn't even begin to describe the angst, frustration, pain, fear, tears, and loss. The last few years have quite simply sucked!
Through it all a few well-meaning folks have begged the question, "So Liz, what are you doing for yourself?" Well...um...for myself...uh... What does one do when doing "something" for oneself?
I've learned a lot about myself over the past few years. I now have a much longer list of things I know I do not enjoy. I do NOT enjoy manicures, sitting for long periods of time sipping coffee and watching the Tower Rats scurry about (more on Tower Rats later), sitting in a darkened theatre watching a scary movie alone with twenty two strangers, having my hair done, shopping alone, or buying make-up! What I most enjoy "doing for myself" is spending time with friends - watching a rented movie, enjoying a good play, driving up the coast, walking on the beach, playing in the snow, talking on the phone, playing a board game, or putting on a show (even the rehearsals bring me joy!). What do I want to do for myself? I want to be surrounded by the people I love the most, trust the deepest, adore completely, admire greatly, and who make me laugh. Relationships bring me joy!
We've lost all the relationships that matter most to us (except for a few extra special family members). The experience of a crisis (or one crisis after another) always brings out the best and worst in people, and believe me, we saw the worst of the worst! All of our energies went into saving the lives of our children and when you don't invest in relationships there is no return. So, some people gave up on us because we weren't available to them anymore. Sadly, we had to turn our backs on some friends and family because having them in our life brought more toxins than healing balms. Relationships bring me joy and right now I am relationship poor and most definitely JOY poor!
Now...the Tower Rats. Every town has one - the neighborhood that boasts the most of everything - art energy, eclectic citizens, interesting architecture, surprisingly good restaurants, great theatre, and colorful characters. In Fresno that neighborhood is called, "The Tower District" because the focal point of the neighborhood is a very old movie theatre/entertainment venue called "The Tower Theatre". The gyspyskirt-wearin', dreadlocks-adorned, skateboard-ridin', don't-need-no-job-to-tie-me-down characters that walk the streets of the neighborhood and hang out in the coffee houses are called "Tower Rats". I envy them. They have each other - in good times, in bad, in joy, in sorrow - they are ever supportive and ever loving towards one another.
The one solitary activity that I do love is reading a good book while sitting in one of the comfy chairs at Barnes and Noble, surrounded by the smell of new books and good coffee. Happily, I still have Barnes and Noble (or Borders when I want to feel old). But I miss knowing that today will bring a welcome phone call, an unexpected coffee for two, a surprise invitation to lunch, or a bit of creative sparring with the creative team I so dearly loved. But mostly, I miss my Rats! :)