I am a life blogger, a fine art portrait photographer, and eventually I will publish my first book. This profile is not a solicitation so if you message me about pictures I will not reply. I will eventually fall in love with someone I meet on the internet. I work from home with families that are well established so this is my lifeline to the "possibility" of love. I am driven in my career so the love thing might take awhile. I rarely find time to date but every now and then someone c...
The goal was written in dry erase in case it should be changing. I wondered about pain as I sat in my father's hospital room Wednesday, May 29th, 2013. The day of his bypass surgery, and my little brother's 34th birthday. I wondered about how much pain a person can endure before it kills them, feeling grateful that my own comes with frequent pause. I am more up than down. I remember my dad telling me once, "People like to get high Amber. All people. If they try to tell you different they are lying."
I can't even argue with him for the most part because almost everyone I know medicates in some fashion; booze, weed, killer pills (the kind doctor's give to relieve pain), and the ANTI, anti-depressant. I experimented with all of them before I realized that I would have to walk around with an I.V. drip of heroin to kill all the things I feel. These days I just run with it, as in I lace up my Nike's and run. You bet I get high, but pain. The pain is there.
The wound was green, leathered with tendons near bone. My father cringed and howled as the nurse pressed to clean the meat of it. "Breathe.." She urged gently. He howled to the bowels of torment until a second nurse popped in to ask, "Did you change your mind about the pain medicine? Are you ready for it now." The question was a dose of inevitable. He shook his answer like a fiend on the edge of losing himself, and he was, as the first nurse continued to tear into the gape of his "big" wound which was white and green like a maggot squished to guts. "Big breaths," she coaxed to cheer lead, "Big breaths... You can do this."
Tired today. Still not out of bed tired. Just spoke to my dad and he is tired too, but there is good news.
His Kidney function is improving, and he is gaining weight. His heart is strong enough to take the surgery. Wednesday is the big day and my own heart is whispering....
He is going to make it,
and he is going to get better
to the standard of a quality life.
Even his leg will stay,
because he needs it to ride
that bike he hasn't been on in years.
He looked like a brand new person yesterday, sitting up in his bed. His energy was near bubbly even though most of our visit was conflicted. My brother implored him to be nicer to me when I stepped out of the room for water, and the result was all the trauma of our broken childhood by argument, and his. My own father suffered greatly from divorce, and then abuse.
"I can't live like this," my father bellowed to a son who had only recently come back into the room after storming out with yet another final good-bye, "If you can't forgive me then go Steve, and if you do don't ever come back. I am not going to let you torture me with my constant failure as a father. We will either move past it now, or there will be no relationship."
My brother, puffed in size to a man, shank to the smallness of a boy. Only his heart was enlarged, "You did fail," he screamed, "You failed at everything miserably. You were never there. I needed a dad to teach me how to be a man, all those things that guys do. Where were you?"
"I was there when I could be Steve. I did my best, but you have no idea how hard it was. I was in the struggle of my own life. I was trying..." My father was the tender of his regret. "I tried. How well did you do with your own daughter?"
His question brought life to the circle of generations until the truth of failing settled into the quiet comfort of peace. There was no fault.The dysfunction was not the character of one person, it was the split of family by divorce, with the ripples felt for eternity by bloodline.
We were each of us trying. Trying to undo our own history while wishing for Superman.
I told him that I hadn’t, but that I had thought about it. The tide of my memory lapped at the detail of water at mooring. He had asked me to describe it as we pulled into port. I found my mind grasping, near empty, like lungs held without purpose of air. I was nearly absent under the Tacoma skyline, my lips parted to the taste of the city as I remembered surrendering to it. I was in love, had fallen, when I first drove to find my new studio within the sprawl of architecture months before. The urban aroma, once a stench, had opened to the flower of new possibility, and the lights did dance. They were the red and green of Christmas until the memory of Bo surfaced like a seal head, with all that I was trying to hold under surface suddenly looking back at me, hungry, and untied by trying. He was the question mark of gifts to come through romance, the celebration of new spirit, rekindled after a long and desolate divorce. I remember that my heart lit to get his messages, the first so close to Christmas, and then on the day, even a “Hi” was magic. He drew his smileys with noses : – ) The coolest motherf*cker on the planet. I couldn’t wait to meet him, because I knew what I felt before knowing his face. I was excited about him and everything; inspired.
I blinked, and the season had past, leaving the city to concrete and the boat to float new memories. I was nearly bitter that it had ended, until I saw July on the horizon of the sea. Santa wasn’t real, but independence surely was. I was the freedom of open waters sitting on the vessel, my mind the color of quiet. Inside, I was the detail of a hole. “They look like fireworks,” I said at last.
“Fireworks?” his question was to my obvious. The water was a reflection of show.
“Yes, fireworks, like sparklers lit all at once,” I let the description drift lazy in mediocrity, while remembering ignition inside myself by comparison. There he was again, his memory a seal stealing salmon from my date. Knowing Bo was like bursting, until I did through implosion. Falling in love with him was like swallowing light, only to have it reabsorbed by darkness. I felt put out sitting in the company of another man, but then it would always be that way, until it wasn’t, until I let him go, and damn it if I wasn’t trying. I felt like a fool sitting in the memory of nothing; I had nothing, because there wasn’t. There was never an us. I had imagined the whole thing, much like the fireworks masquerading on the water.
I studied the doctor in the twilight, wondering if I could feel for him, if I dare imagine trying again, after swallowing my own heart. He was quite handsome, tall in skin the bronze of statuesque. His eyes were pools of clear emerald, flecked with an invitation to gaze and his smile… His smile was the carved ivory of tusks, near synthetic in appearance, while bolstering all that is genuine and also rare. I couldn’t have written him better, Cheshire to my cat, or to the Mona Lisa by ponder. The question sat pregnant to void, consistent with every suitor since parting. Even if they were better, they were still not him. They were still not Bo. The doctor was an exception, further still, in that he was everything I had asked for. In fact, he was exactly what I had written as wanting in my dating profile, down to the mission of his travels. He visits orphans in third world countries, helping them thrive by the simplest gift, the joy of a smile, and arms open to hold in friendship.
“Maybe…” was my silent answer. Bo had taken the “Yes”.
Why do things have to be so f*cking complicated? I just don’t understand. People keep telling me that men are simple, that their minds are not as complex as women. My favorite is when I hear, “You know how guys are…” Yes, I do know how guys are. I have known a lot of great men in my life, the worst and the best of them, criminals and kings. I can tell you that I could find something in each to love, because beyond our skin we are just people feeling our way through learning, through life. We were put here to f*ck up, and men, men carry the largest load because somewhere it was decided that he should carry the burden of humanity as the provider. We are all equally different, and the laws of Sovereignty are understood beyond the politics of pc. We are not the same capabilities. We are evolving though, as we devolve, through bombings and terror. Did you ever stop to think that maybe people kill other people because we aren’t afraid of the animals anymore? We are desensitized to the need for extremes, something has to keep us running because there is always a lion. America does not see lions unless they are in cages, or on screens. Lions live in other countries… until they came here.. I think about that when I run, when my lungs scream from my disease of asthma. I would not survive the destruction of man’s, “you know how men are.” I would perish because I am not a strong runner. I am passed on every occasion, while the survivor says, “run your own race,” and the terrorist screams, “That lion is going to eat you b*tch. RUN!” The men are the first to pass me. It’s always going to be that way. They are faster, stronger, and many of them are smarter. History is proof of that, but then there are also women without equal; adept, and virtuous, wise beyond time, until it nurtures all life; smarter than even he, in knowing need selflessly. They are the negotiators, and diplomats, philosophers, and poets. Doctors, Lawyers, Architects, and Engineers, Officers, and Judges, Soldiers, Men…. And we are again the same in capabilities.
What a gift it is to have a mind. How does it differ from each body? What the hell am I supposed to do with mine? That is the question of the day. So far my brain is nothing more than words on paper. Shouldn’t I be using it for something? How much of a profession do I need to lead in order for my life to count for something? If I am to think should there not be a purpose, because it sure the f*ck does not help my dating life. I think about it, and I just want to throw my hands in the air, “f*ck it” give me a lobotomy, I will pull out the knee pads and we will call it good. I have had guys actually tell me, “I want a normal girl.” Well, sh*t you are in luck because I would very much like to be normal. Will you please tell me what the f*ck that looks like because I am working on my stedford mold. F*ck Me. If I seem a little hostile it’s just because I am more than a little frustrated right now, and I will let you decide if it’s sexual. I am definitely not a lesbian because I want to throw down with some d*ck, and I do NOT (I put that in bold for the perverts and prudes) mean that sexually. Men are d*cks.. Lucky b*stards. They get that as a birthright for having a penis along with a switch that they get to flip off when caring is inconvenient.
It’s really no big deal because I feel the same way, “Don’t interrupt me during Dexter. I will f*cking cut you.” My seventeen year relationship taught me to pick my battles because life is long, and we all only have so much time to do all the sh*t we want to do before we die. I am pretty sure I am in that same state of mind after a year and half of being single. I just want to be happy. If you want to do that with me cool. If you have other things to do, versions of happy that don’t include me, well that’s fine too. I am not here to hold anyone down with force, though it could be fun to pretend.
My friend Dani asked me the other day, “Amber, what do you want in a guy?” I said, “Well I don’t want to ever live with him. I want him to live in his world, and I want my own. He can have conjugal visits.”
“So you just want a booty call?” was her reply.
No, I don’t want to be just sex to anyone. It hurts my feelings to be thought of that way because I am person, a caring person. I will also tell you that nothing makes me more nauseous that insincere emotions, fed for the sake of a tender heart, or a man looking for an in. I waiver between two sides, the romantic and the realist. Men tell me how men are, and I believe them. They do not have much faith or admiration for their own kind, to hold the bar low in standard. I see all men as kings until they prove themselves to be criminals. That doesn’t mean that I am attracted to them all, or that I think each personality is a fit to mine. Hell yes I have dated, and I have met some amazing people. I have only met two, in a year and a half, that I would consider. The rest are friends.
Thank you for yesterday. Thank you for being you. I am not writing you in regards to the studio, or with any agenda tied to it. I think it is an amazing space, with gifted and wonderful people, but it does not have room for my ideas. I am ok with that, respectfully. Yes, I tested the waters in a most offensive fashion. I needed to know, because I had doubt, and now I do. I know that it is not what I need it to be.
I am writing you as a mother, as a woman, and as a person, humbled by knowing that I need help. I want to change the world, far beyond any one business. I have not lost my passion as a photographer, though I have said I could care less if I take another picture. I was given my talent for a reason, and I need to use the resource if I am going to create the change I need to see in the world. I realized after I let it go, that it was never about money, or talent. Admittedly, I did need the ego boost of success, but it was always about the people. I needed them to love me because I couldn’t love myself, and I treated them like I always wished I had been, or at least I tried. I would give my last breath for even the smallest kindness because I had so little then, in my formital years. My business blew up because of that love Carla. It had nothing to do with my skills in business, or my talent for that matter. There are MANY photographers that I feel are better. You are one of them. Your art is classic, clean, vibrant, and polished. Your blog is NEAT, organized and structured, just like your marketing. I researched you and started making changes on my own blog, a week or so back. The first thing I did was to shorten the titles of each category. There is only one long one now, “Running with Cancer; Tara’s Story. She needs to be a front liner, newly inspired is she. She was fired two weeks after her last round of chemo. She does not want to return to a 9-5 hoping instead to help people, to inspire people, to see life past cancer, because she wants her battle to have been for a reason. If she survived, which she did, she wants it to mean something. I understand. I want to help. I want to help Tara and many others accomplish their dreams of helping others, even if the “other” is family. I want to help, but I need help myself to get there.
You know your sh*t lady. I am impressed, and I want to learn, if you will teach me. I had no ideas what I was doing with my first photography business which I have already written “is no more.” I just ran and worked my ass off, trying in desperation to be what everyone needed me to be.
I can quit taking pictures, and I will if it best for my business. If my energy seems manic now, you should have seen it then, back when I was huge. You have to understand where I started to know how difficult it was for me to reach, let alone thrive. At sixteen I was no better than an animal, the rage and hurt festering far beyond humanity. I was losing myself to evil. I could have easily become one of those kids who shoot up a school, Carla. Columbine. People watched the Sandy Hook footage screaming at their televisions that they can’t understand why all of those precious babies were murdered. Lost souls take what they can not have. If I can’t have love, the love a child should know, you shouldn’t have it either. Savage was the agony of my soul. I understand. I would punch myself in the face when I was young, out of sheer hate of my reflection, because I couldn’t understand why God would birth me from parents that hated me, and then place me in a world where I was allergic to all animals, fur, feather, wool. I am left with snakes and fish? Cold blooded? Am I even human? Why am I so sick? Diseased? Even my breath was taken by asthma.
I promised my mother that I would grow up and tell the world what happened to me as a kid. I made the vow on the very same day I slammed her against the wall with enough force that I thought I had paralyzed her. She was already in a neck brace, recovering from her fourth spine fusion.
If you want to know what I pray for Carla, I will tell you that it has little to do with me. I think about them; the ones that people hate, the ones that hate themselves, earning it by the action of unspeakable crimes. Anger is a byproduct of hurt, primal, because it is easy and groups follow. Very few people linger near hurt, fewer still can bare it themselves, which is why antidepressants are such huge industry. People allow anger, but shun pain.
Do you know what repels people even more than pain? Love. There are very few people who allow themselves unconditional love, which is absolute forgiveness. What good does animosity hasten? I have never seen it lead. It is my regret because I myself held onto hurt, and then hate. I pushed for it, expectantly; only trusting that it would come, and that I would need to forgive my own flogging, my own corruption of wishful thinking lent to a train of thought no where near parallel. I would always be betrayed, just as surely as I am my imperfection. We are made to think. Is it any wonder that there is conflict? We will all commit a series of grievous acts in our lifetime; it is written that way by our sin of choice. Even the most devout are not spared from judgment, which is the melancholy of man. Love is the responsibility of knowing the casualties, and spending a lifetime trying to resurrect new possibility from forgiveness. If it has all been done before in history, how can it ever be rightly written as growth? Change.
Change is possible with dreams Carla. That is what I do. I dream. I devoured books as a girl, consumed by every story, to know a page like a face.
I need help organizing them into strategy. Can I send you my dreams to see what you make of them? I believe you can help me.
Thank you for your consideration,
Much Love and Many Blessings,
What if I created it all again, but this time I had a plan? What could I do with the kind of success that spreads to other people? I can only help people if I am willing to help myself….
Can I write you about my ideas? That is what I need most. Someone to look.
The boy was poor. I could tell at once; the room was barely a spare, where as hers was striking. Each child was tucked neatly in bed, as the story danced by fire light along walls in separate houses. His father was tall, filling the room with structure; his smile was the beam of his baritone. “The Giants made a feast of man,” said he, far too kind to be ominous, “Their flesh was a favorite, until the people became too few, to eat.”
The girl had eyes like starlight; they were twinkling as her mother read the passage in a far away castle. In a bed for a princess, so grand, “There was a great battle, with one last hope for victory,” Her voice was a melody, her face lyrically lined, “King Eric cut the heart out of a Giant slain, molding it with magic and steal. It became the crown on his head, and yes, the magic worked!! It was the heart in the steal, the recognition, that made the Giants kneel to man…
I didn’t think about the possibility of POWER, about the advantage of controlling an army of monsters, as I watched from my seat in IMAX, but I remember feeling the mass of them, the volume of Giant. I was the small of the king, sitting there in the theatre, even through the crown which had at last brought the beast to bay.
It was the pauper who finished the book, father reading to son, “King Eric climbed down the beanstalk, leaving the Giants to roam the ancient lost land of Gantua, the place between earth and sky. He ordered the stalk immediately cut, and it ripped through the earth like a scar. Time healed the land, leaving just enough unsealed to lie to rest a king, worn by years to sleep eternal. He was buried with both; the power, and the seed.
“When are you mortals going to realize that you weren’t meant to live forever…”
I was sad to see the story end; the scene of loving parents, telling the same tale simultaneously. All at the once the children were grown and both parents were absent, killed. The plague took out his father, leaving him an impoverished orphan, indentured to his uncle who could not afford to keep him. I can not tell you how her mother died, but I will say it pained her father to see her reflected. He didn’t like to lose sight of her, in worry. Stubborn, she went anyway, as most princesses tend to do. She was watching a production, a lively stage of colorful banter, until a crowd of men took notice of her smile. That is what first captured Jack, it was the giant of her smile…
He watched near panic, as a hoard of rowdy men began ripping at her gown, far too fresh to be comely. Her skin was the white tale of a deer, the gasp stuck, just to throat, when Jack burst over to his damsel. He was distressed by the size of these manly giants, never fathoming that he would soon meet the legend of his book. You can’t plant seed and power in the same plot, because they impregnate greed. Jack had no foresight, other than to eat fist, which he did before he fell. He stood rightly enough, next to his princess; though he was not right in composure because he did not yet realize who she was.
Jack, played most adoringly by Nicholas Hoult, was just that, absolutely adorable by the way he looked at her. She was royalty before she was crowned; by the way he admired her smile.
She was revealed as Princess Isabelle, removing her cloak upon horse. I was envious from my seat, wanting nothing more than to steal both her beauty, and her youth. Eleanor Tomlinson was cast like a gem upon the screen, her eyes Sapphire brought nearly to Aqua Marine; Her hair was a carrot by lavish, rich to nearly burnt auburn, like a sky on the dim of sunset. Jack was taken, as was I. How could it not be possible to love her at a glance? I wondered about my own face, knowing that there have been many to turn. No one has cared to see my smile on any account that is regular, or maybe I was just missing him, the guy I don't really like... Perhaps age is a spoil, but then to watch them was to relive it. I remember being loved like that. The way Jack looked at Isabelle that first day.
Ewan McGregor made me forget! Hot damn that man is SEXY!!! I wanted to be the blade he stuck playfully out at Jack who had forgotten to bow for his lady, just because I knew he would take it back in. I was biting my lip at the flirtation of his character, deciding on the spot that knightly men in silver would be my new fetish and YES… I would mount him. No disrespect to his wife (married over 13 years? I ran out of fingers), and three children. Celebrities get to be my fantasy because they aren’t real people. That is my disclaimer for being a sexist.
That is how it was back then, and the poor princess would be denied Jack’s love, (yes, they fall in love) because she was promised to another by her father’s choice. Women did not choose who they mounted back then, perhaps I am more fortunate than she, after all. I suddenly regretted feeling jealous of his love. She plead her case to the King, imploring him. The man she was pledged to marry was twice her age, and he cared nothing for her, nor she for him. I normally like Stanley Tucci, who played the fiancé Roderick, and future ruler of the land. I despised him quite readily as the villain he was in the flick, forgetting that I had seen him elsewhere, though my mind kept trying to place him in other films. That is the danger of being memorable which he is and was.
I knew my life needed to change, but I couldn’t fathom the scale, nor could I pin point the source of my angst. I felt it rather; as a canker festering like gangrene, more like an itch vs. pain. If I am to be frank, which I usually am, I didn’t feel much at that time in my life. I couldn’t even make myself orgasm through masturbation; my mind flat out refused to give me the gratification of self pleasure. “You are not enough for you, but you must be….” The voice was silent, but it was there.
I did not consider myself “unhappy” back then, two years ago when I weighed nearly two hundred pounds; I am a woman who finds joy abundantly. I can’t think of a single day in my life when I haven’t smiled. There has always been a reason and a place. I have also known great sorrow, the most tragic in circumstance….
“I am very impressed by you, Amber. I know your childhood was rough. I saw bruises and marks on you when we rode on the school bus together. You were so strong to get through what no child should ever experience. I also remember you having a beautiful singing voice. Do you still sing? I really hope so! I always loved it when you would. It was one of the precious few things I enjoyed on the bus. Most of the time I just tried to hide from everyone and endure it until we got to school and a different version of hell began. My home life wasn't so hot either.”
The message above is an excerpt from a reply I received on facebook a week or so back. I wrote to a grade school friend on behalf of a woman I met undergoing chemo. I go to sit with my friend Tara bi-weekly as she undergoes treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The woman I wrote on behalf of, almost seemed jealous of Tara’s cancer though I know it couldn't be, “At least you will get better,” she said with words drawn and quartered, “You are not only young, you have a fighter’s spirit. My disease has no cure and the treatment leaves me so ill I am back in the hospital for weeks after each session, at least you have hope….”
I stood there in front of her wanting to argue, wanting to give her hope, “Is your cancer terminal??” I asked instead.
“I don’t have cancer.” She replied, “I have Multiple Sclerosis. Chemo helps keep the disease from progressing.”
“So you are making yourself sick, because you are sick, to prevent more sick, which is the pattern you are stuck in???? Where is the healing in that?”
She defended her choice of treatment, mentioning some relief, and I let my line of thinking drop. I can only imagine the struggle of such a decision, the power that must be found to quiet the doubt of making the wrong one. My own mind reverted to the sword, “I would rather die. I would rather kill myself. I could not live that life, I would refuse.” I fell silent, admiring her determination to fight, while questioning the recesses of my own inner struggle.
According to Chassidic philosophy, a soul descends into this world to perform a mission, which cannot be performed in the "spiritual worlds". This is the Chassidic interpretation of the Talmudic statement "One second in the World-to-Come is more pleasurable than the whole life in this world. But one good deed in this world is more important than the whole eternity of the World-to-Come" (Ethics of Our Fathers, Mishna).
Suicide has been the resistance of my life pattern. The thought lingers like a malignant shadow pulling at my soul with a devil’s whisper, and then a prod, “Just do it, You are going to die anyway, Amber. Does it really matter when you go?” It creeps into the forefront of my mind even now (with far less frequency), whether I am happy or sad, like a viable option should I need to abort.
“Life ends when living quits, the act of suicide is mere punctuation, much like pulling the plug on a catatonic.”
I remember feeling it there, the pull to quit, at a very young age. The instinct was entwined with my consciousness on such a level that I was certain I had lived the death before. There was a time that I thought that God didn’t want me here. Why else would he have me born into a world so difficult to inhabit. He made me allergic to most things living, anything with fur, feathers, or wool, and then he further exasperated the isolation with a disease. I was diagnosed with Asthma around eight months old, spending the duration of my childhood gasping...
6:10 on a Monday which could be manic if I stare at my "To Do" list. One thing at a time Amber Garibay....
BE IN THE MOMENT
At the moment I am organizing the day in my head while I knock out my cardio. I am writing this blog from my iphone while sweat rolls off my face. My stomach is a grumbling hollow, the grocery store is my next stop. I feel proud that I am teaching my daughter by example and I am driven to succeed so she can use mine to go even farther. I would love to show her a world where every dream is possible because I believe it to be true. I will eventually grow tired as age sets in like a winter blanket of snow. I can't wait to settle down into the pages of classic; fire crackling in a room that glows while her legacy giggles and bounces, grand as children, so full of potential. They will read my words someday knowing that I did my best so they could have better....
Mason Olivera bought me chocolates for Valentine’s Day. I remember being so impressed as he stood there looking up at the counter, a wad full of cash in his hand. The box was classic, a heart made of crushed velvet, trimmed in satin and lace. I wondered about the money, if his parents made him earn it, mine would never hand me cash for such a purpose. I wondered if it was his idea, or theirs, as I excepted the gift which was an addition to his first, a small silver necklace in the shape of a heart.
Mason Olivera was my Valentine in middle school and before that he chased me around the playground trying to steal kisses at recess. I had the greatest time running away from him, squealing with delight when he’d catch me, but not letting him win. I often left him standing there holding nothing but my coat, which I could slip out of like snake’s skin when he caught me, which he often did. I loathed the fact that boys were faster; almost near as I despised the lack of air. My asthma was a bother, and so was he. I didn’t really like Mason, but he sure liked me. I was in love with the chase.
It is 7:16 in the evening on Valentine’s day 2013, over two decades have past and I am still grateful for that chocolate. I remember standing there feeling like I owed him the world for such thoughtfulness. It was a grown up thing to give a gift like that; I didn’t even realize that he liked me. We were really just friends….
I was married for fifteen years, though the last year we lived mostly separate. The judge wanted to finalize our divorce today, Valentine’s Day, but I asked her for an extension. She asked me if I still wanted the divorce to which I said, “Yes, mam.” She was visibly annoyed because we filed over six months back and still had not met our obligations to complete the process. “What exactly is taking you so long??” She directed the question at me, so I answered.
“I am sorry your honor, but romance just has not been my priority right now. My focus has been on making money…..my business….”
I wouldn’t let my husband buy me flowers and if he got them for me on Valentine’s day I was pissed. Flowers on Valentine’s day were the biggest insult there is because he knew better. We started our lives together dirt poor and my way of expressing love was “practicality,” my request in return was the thoughtfulness to notice.
“Don’t buy me flowers! They are a waste of money; they last a week and then they die. There are so many things we need….”
I did all sorts of crazy sh*t to make “NO FLOWERS” a creed in our relationship, including throwing them at his head because he usually had his memory lapse on Valentine’s day, which I already mentioned as a cardinal sin. Flowers on Valentines day was the WORST offense because it meant that he put ZERO thought into the gift.
“Just get me a card and tell me your thoughts. Your words mean everything to me. Take the time to tell me what you think.”
That is what I do…… I talk and I think….. I think and I talk….
My thoughts today.
Giving up flowers was a romantic sacrifice, but it was also plain out retarded and completely unnecessary. Flowers are f*cking beautiful and they are also inexpensive. I bought my daughter’s teacher a STUNNING bouquet at Safeway today for $20 and another for my friend Heidi Klein who gave up half of her Valentine’s day to come help me with this house because my marriage fell apart and seventeen years worth of crap got abandoned for me to sort through by myself. There was a point I looked for a match….
BURN THE B*TCH DOWN!!!!!
It took me nearly a full year to finally make this place a home again, an irony because we will move in a month. I will be honest, I couldn’t touch it, could hardly stand to clean it, and I was out the door as soon as I was able. I hated this house because it was supposed to have a family inside. We cemented our name at the end of the driveway, THE GARIBAY FAMILY, 6611 Columbine Crt Se. We were going to grow old here. I remember chuckling because I knew that we would need to move eventually. Old people do not do stairs well. We would need to retire somewhere closer to the earth....
We live in a country full of great opportunity, arguably the most in the entire world. People die trying to get here to America, to their only real chance of making it. I envision bloated bodies being eaten by fish, as families wait to see if they will ever be called on, as they wait for a message of any kind. I imagine children wondering if they will ever see mom and dad again. “They said they would come back for us….”
I think about that when I feel like giving up, because sometimes I do. I think about broken families, and once in a lifetime chances when I consider being ordinary because I could be. I could be average; I could give up and let myself be average if this country hadn’t already promised to make me great by its opportunity.
“You were born in a country that promises a win, a standard of life that includes HAPPY, WTF are you doing with your life AMBER GARIBAY???”
It seems to me that American’s have the largest responsibility on the planet by how much we boast. Words are nothing more than ideals without action, and substance. Our country is far greater that that. Our character is the thread of our flag which must always be held high, respectfully. We are the action of our beliefs, the work ethic, the pride and ingenuity; intelligence paired with the competence of follow through. I view my opportunity, my status as a citizen, as a responsibility of self.
I sometimes see a bar held so high that it feels like I can’t reach it and then I remember that people do. People make their dreams come true every day in this country and they do so with less than I can even imagine. I should be more in their honor, and I have no right to complain, but I do.
I complain because I know I can be better and so I strive to be. I catch myself because I forget we don’t all have the same agenda. Some people just don’t give a f*ck, and others…
He thanked me for my thoughtfulness, first for the emails, and second for making the drive to see him (four hours round trip). I smiled because the pleasure was mine; I own a business and am building a second career simultaneously; I understand busy. Thursday is my day off and I enjoyed both the drive and the compromise. It felt good to send him the message that I think he’s worth it. Why should a man have to put all the effort in during courtship?? He already has to pay for everything, travel I can do. I would go to the ends of the earth for people I care about and he was already on that list, too easily perhaps, but rightfully so by how much he made me smile. The grin was a fortune I was eager to pay back; I work so much I sometimes forget about fun. I’ve always fancied myself as an easy going, laid back kind of girl, fair and willing to make it work. Success is a choice and I wanted him to have the opportunity to have a woman like me in his life, one of consideration. He was a consideration, real potential by how much I believe in him until,
“I do like getting your emails Amber, please just don’t get mad at me if I don’t reply to them…….. I’m busy. I hope you understand; I have a business to run.”
I do understand because I am a business woman. I understand value, and that time is the most precious commodity there is. I would never burden someone with the obligation of caring unless I was paying for a service or product. If I was a client, HIS client, my emails would be returned. I know that just as I know that caring can be as simple as a gesture, however brief. His choice to pass on replying, to save himself time, sends the opposite and equally impactful statement. “Thank you for your caring, but it is not reciprocal.
I want people to care, but I can’t make them. I care regardless, perhaps more so with less. In the case of the gentleman mentioned above, I let it go without further mention, unless you count this post. He’s an amazing person with enough on his plate, plenty of obligation, and perhaps one less opportunity. The power of that choice is his by actions; I merely gave him the gift of an opportunity, my friendship, which I will eventually rescind if taken for granted.
Once in a lifetime, I remember my ONE LIFE, when I consider being ordinary because I could be. I could be average; I could give up and let myself be average if this country hadn’t already promised to make me great by its opportunity. I feel the exact same way about love. I am a once in a lifetime kind of girl because that is all I have, ONE LIFE, and an opportunity to create my own version of happy.
I made the mistake of asking my ex husband about his dating life today. To which he shrugged and said, “I’m still friends with all of my X’s. They all think I’m a great guy….”
Great, but also bitter.
I didn’t need to say it. He said it himself, “I’m still f*cking pissed at you Amber. I’m f*cking pissed that you gave up on us, on me, on your family. I’m mad that I even have to be out there dating in the first place when I could be home with the people I love the most. You were my magic.”
I stood there in the doorway looking at him, as my heart sunk with guilt. I felt the numb start to creep, the loathing dread. It was like watching us all die by my own gun. The divorce was that. F*cking dreadful.
I remembered when I realized that I could pull the trigger. It was the day I admitted to myself that he had, in fact, let me fall on my face every time I needed him to catch me. Every time I really, truly needed him, he let me fall. I got back up each time, holding a fistful of my own teeth, stronger. I should thank him. I let the hurt of each betrayal drive me toward success. I would do more, I would try harder, I would be better….. and then… and then I would leave him.
How quickly guilt turns to rage…
“You know what, F*ck YOU. I don’t feel bad for you at all, because I asked you not to cross a line with me. I never gave up on us. I asked you to make a choice and you made the wrong one. I told you that it would be a deal breaker and I was quite clear that it was decisive. I warned you that I would not change my mind, and I begged you to consider carefully. I have always, always, always, been the olive branch, but this was not that case. You made your choice.”
It was then that my heart shattered because I had made mine as well….
“I f*cking told you, that you are the only one in this world who thinks I’m magic. Don’t you think that there is day that I don’t wake up to the sting of my choice. I was the magic in our marriage because I believed when you couldn’t. I got tired of being the one to believe in us. I got tired of being the glue. F*ck it. You got what you asked for, don’t put that sh*t on me. You wanted out ; I gave you a door and kicked you to the other side. I don’t need to be magic.”
I have been single now for about a year. I have dated with no claims to magic. Funny thing I’ve noticed is how few of my dates actually look at me at all. I know this because I look at them long enough to paint a portrait in my head, and I notice the detail of behavior. People speak without words. Our actions are the message.
This is what I know. There will come a day, when one really lucky man, takes the time to realize that he is in the company of magic. He will just need to look at me to know. He will not be so foolish as to let me get away, nor will he EVER lead me to believe that I am not wanted. I will also never need worry about falling because he will carry me like a princess. I will wait for that fairytale.
In the meantime I will mend my broken heart while I plot to make my millions. I just opened a new business in the heart of beautiful downtown Tacoma. This is year ONE of my $10 million plan.
I got my first legitimate job when I was a runaway around fifteen years of age, though there was never any push for me to do so. I was being taken care of, supported by the all ‘The All American” welfare dollar, drug money, and a little hustle. It’s the hustle that reminds me to work it…
I arrived at my job interview dressed to the nines, polished, professional, poised….
in stolen clothes.
I didn’t like any part of stealing; I abhorred it, but I also considered it a necessary evil, kind of like slitting the throat of a chicken; you have to drain the blood to eat the meat. I would have gladly paid for my clothing if I had a job, but society had certain rules and so far the message had been, “You need not apply.”
First of all I wasn’t old enough. I wasn’t old enough to work “legally”, without parental consent, which I didn’t have. What I had were warrants for my refusal to comply. I couldn’t get the grown up’s to agree with MY PLAN for my life, so I changed my name and became someone else. Amber Gave was a juvenile delinquent with warrants out for her arrest. I have never been that person.
I have always had the best of friends, my entire life. They light my path like a halo, an arrow leading up and out. I have a dear friend who is a few years older and I owe her a debt of gratitude because she helped save my life at nineteen years of age. She added four more years to my identity, just enough to give me a fighting chance to support myself, “legitimately”. She let me become “her” until I was old enough to become me…
I walked in the building like I should be running the company, wearing a high wasted charcoal grey pencil skirt that was just a tad higher than it should be, but close enough to be just right. The top was tailored, pressed white cotton and the heels were appropriate, quaint. I took my time with my approach, trying to will myself to calm, because my insides were frayed. “What if he looks at me, laughs, and hands the id back? No way kid, there is no way you are nineteen!!! What if I forget to answer when he uses my new name???”
I have always had a baby face, and at fifteen I looked around twelve. I was a tiny little thing, and I remember feeling like I needed to put a cap on my youthful effervescence; grown ups were always so serious and calm. I was calm when I shook his hand. I looked him in the eyes evenly as I sat down and across from him at the booth. He had my application in front of him.
I studied the room, imagining the responsibility of it, and I knew that it was too easy. That was how the interview went. I had the job before I sat down because I wanted it enough to own it.
“Thank you for choosing Burger King. Go ahead with your order when you are ready….”
Wedding at The Thornewood Castle 2007: Photographer Amber Garibay
It is 5:47 am on Wednesday, January 23, 2013. I have had twenty three days to make progress in my $10 million plan which I was giggling about just last night as I chatted with a friend about losing most everything in this down economy. My friend is in the construction industry, and his own business had taken quite a hit, but it is at last recovering. We were both in agreement that there are times when we consider closing up shop; going to work for someone else so that there is a check to collect each month. I feel like I am always chasing it, and I don’t know if I am running scared, but at least I am running…..
In other news.... I have come out of retirement. I am now photographing weddings again!!! It looks like February 22nd will be the kick off at The Thornewood Castle. Some of you reading may marry your millionaire and hopefully my wedding pictures (I am the photographer, not the bride) will inspire you. I will be posting often because I will be VERY BUSY working to make my own millions. The pictures are not a soliciation, just inspiration for love :)
In regards to millionaire's HERE, I've dated TWO from this site, one was an excellent lover, and the other was a terrible host (maybe I should have slept with him). The site is legit.
I love this crazy life of mine, and the endless possibility. If you post a comment I never reply, but I do read them. Some of them hurt my feelings, I usually feel stupid for it. Why should I care what a stranger thinks?? I do care. I care enough to tell you that fairytales are real, and happy endings happen everyday at The Thornewood Castle. I will be there with my camera :)
Tara was the first to spot him when we left body pump tonight, with all due respect to her boyfriend whom she loves very much and never stops talking about. This guy was just made to be looked at and I had missed him entirely. That is the down side to being a dreamer. I sometimes walk into walls and pee myself.
I suppose I should elaborate…
It was a food porn kind of day, one that started with chicken and ended with Italian. Tara and I had gone for a short run before cooking lunch and making a "healthy eating" video. The run was just shy of two miles to “condition” ourselves for The White Elephant Race tomorrow. There hasn’t been a lot of running with the holidays and such, so both of us are a little worried about making it the full five miles. If I do recall, five miles is nothing, but the air was still warm the last time that memory was fresh. It was like a honeysuckle steam bath.
The two of us set out to run on new years day and the cold was cutting. I remember thinking, “Come on Amber, you can’t let the chick with cancer beat you.” Tara runs like a boxer, head slightly down like she’s about to dodge a punch mid stride. On this particular day she was just shy of my flank and pushing me to keep pace. My lungs were screaming and I could still hear her laughing at me. She started in the car, “Really Amber!! You packed condoms in your purse, but no asthma inhaler.” She thrust my mangled “Little Miss Naughty” bag back at me in mock disgust.
“Safety first, and sex before air??” I said the last part like a question because I was certain that I would need air long before I got to have sex again. I imagined myself turning purple in dual frustration. The condoms had been there for awhile. I bought them six months back after my friend Kim Ames grounded me from dating for two full months after I failed to insist on protection with The Italian Stallion. I tried to explain to her that the whole thing with him didn’t go down in a way that would allow that sort of thing, but she was adamant that I need to be more assertive and grounded me for bad behavior. I actually complied and didn’t see any one for two months, The Italian included, but that was mostly on the account that my entire body was covered in poison ivy blisters. I did have ONE last date after, which I don’t count because it was a disaster, with no part being sexual. I flew to Ohio to go on a date with a doctor that I met on millionaire match only to return with boils. He left me unattended and I decided to weed the grounds of his estate. Never mind the fact that he has a gardener. The doctor returned from his practice to find two giant wheel barrels full, and four sky high piles, of nearly four hours of my manual labor. If it looked like a weed I pulled it and I had no idea what I was yanking.
“WOW AMBER…,” he said with his hands on his hips, tipping his head slightly, “That looks great, but you do know that whole area is infested with poison ivy? My groundskeeper sprayed it a few weeks back. We were hoping to kill it before we tried to have it removed.”
I put the garden glove I was wearing to my mouth and yanked with my teeth, “I cooked you dinner…,” I said sheepishly as I tried to pretend like I wasn’t thinking about how f*cked I was, “Garlic roasted chicken basted in a basil butter with stuffing, corn on the cob, and fresh strawberry shortcake for dessert….”
The rash appeared nearly two weeks later spreading like crabs in a whore house. Around that same time I peed into a cup for my STD tests (which were clean) while inquiring on a remedy for poison ivy. Taking a break from dating seemed more than reasonable and I accepted my friend Kim’s grounding.
Fast Forward to TODAY…
Heidi Klein and Tara Rene Jones were egging me on. The three of stood just outside the door of the women’s locker room, door ajar, staring. He had his back to us and was bent in his workout. At first I didn’t think he was “that cute”, tipping my head much like the doctor had in Ohio. The lines of his body were cut lean, winding in happy trails along skin that was tight. The only thing missing were beads of sweat, but I wasn’t close enough to see the detail of that fantasy. I wanted to run over and spray him with mist.
“He looks Italian,” Tara said with one last glance as she moved on and into the women’s room.
“I like Italian,” I said as my eyes devoured him like meal. I nudged Heidi, “I want him. How do I get him?”
“Go over there and start working out on a machine next to him..” she nodded in his direction. He lifted his head and started to turn our way.
“I can’t,’ I said, suddenly spooked, slowly backing up as I continued, “Heidi Klein I wouldn’t even know what to do with him…. I could hurt myself seriously.’ I retreated into the locker room as she waived her arms at me in exasperation. “Seriously Amber that guy would totally go out with you!”
I brushed her off temporarily entering the sauna to escape. He was so attractive that it was unnerving and I found myself suddenly frantic, “Let me just ask his girlfriend if she minds if I borrow him for a few hours,” I said as I perched myself on the highest tier.
Heidi laughed easily, “I know right, more like girlfriend..ZZ”
“F*ck.. that could get tiring fast,” I said as I imagined the constant barrage of women. He is the kind of guy who will always be tempted, “I think that borrowing him would be the best course of action. Go out there and wrap him up for me will you.”
We were all laughing when we left the sauna, or at least I was, until Heidi decided that she would. My eyes turned to saucers when I realized that she was going to talk to him, my stomach dropped out from under me. “I can’t talk to him,” was the last thing I muttered as I ran out the door, leaving my protein shake I'd ordered without paying. Minutes later Heidi came out to the parking lot informing me of the good news, “He’s 39. He isn’t married, and he is hot!! I am giving him your number.” She ran past adding a slight roadblock, “He did say he is "mostly" single…..”
"Mostly single." And there it was..the c*ck block.
I always run into a wall right before I pee my pants. Heidi ran past me like there was still hope, my number in hand, “Are you coming?” She asked turning slightly.
“I can’t” I said as I crouched, “I am going to pee my pants. I am so freaking nervous that I just might pee myself…”
Heidi rolled her eyes at me, “Whatever Spaz, I’m giving him your number.”
My daughter commented on it as she tried to make her way past the front and into the back passenger seat. She froze, mid way in tangles like a marionette, one arm pinned slightly over head while the other batted at the straps of the seatbelt that kept her from making it back, “Is that a book? Are you really reading a book mom? I haven’t seen you read since Twilight…”
I opened my mouth to argue with her but I couldn’t. I haven’t been able to finish a book since that series. I attempted to read “Eat, Pray, Love” but I went on a food binge shortly before it was time to pray because I was bored out of my mind and I eat when I am bored. Even Julia Roberts couldn’t make me fall for that book and I so wanted to because I have a celebrity crush on that girl. She is absolutely adorable. I walked out of the movie. I couldn’t do it. The whole thing just pissed me off and I was still stuck on Twilight.
“I wonder where I can find a vampire…”
Eat, Pray, Love, pissed me off. I was still married when the book and movie were popular, in the throat of the struggle or the strangulation of trying. I sat lackluster in my seat at the theater seething because I wanted to be on that plane. “Hello!! This is me sobbing on my bathroom floor. I can write, please send me on an all expense paid trip around the world so I can hook up with a new guy that is ten times better after talking to Buddha somewhere in Bali.”
Who gets that life… How does that even happen?
It would be the death of Jacob. My divorce was like watching him slowly being disemboweled as he in lingered in both parts, wolf and man, equally savage. I imagined that I was going to make it, as I stormed out of the movie theater back then; that “WE” were going to make it. It’s been so long now since we’ve departed that I forget about the “we”. “I” is such a selfishness, and “Eat, Pray, Love” was an orgy of self indulgence.
I was indeed crying on my bathroom floor, but I didn’t want my happiness to come at the destruction of my family and for me to choose that life would be a selfishness. That character made her choice before she had children; she realized her discontent before there were strings attached but what happens when there are? Most of us on the planet have strings and I laughed at my own little puppet as she finally plopped herself in the back seat of my two door red mustang. “TWILIGHT!!! Now that was a great a love story!! I devoured those books!! The book I am reading now is called, “Aspire….”
“Aspire” (written by Kevin Hall) was the very first gift that a reader (I write a fitness based blog) ever gave to me. He wanted me to read it so adamantly that he bought it and had it shipped as to make certain that I received the story which he was most certain had merit to my own which I was, and am, in the process of writing. The sender found my blog on and he was quick to boast about his family and the new baby that he was expecting. I believe a fourth…
“A postcard Christmas :) Bob Marley is singing in the background here, as we are just about ready to sit down to a feast. The group is eclectic from the man with tats up his throat, to the preppy Asian chicks, one of which is sporting a navy blue letterman jacket. She has on thigh high leather boots the color of caramel. Her lips are a deep red which makes her smile a Colgate commercial, the white is a dazzling contrast. Dinner at my brother’s house somewhere in BFE…”
I sent the text and shut off my phone. I was at last settling into the spirit of Christmas all the while realizing that the only damper on the evening had been my attitude. Even my attire was lackluster and I felt somehow guilty that I hadn’t made the effort when everyone else present clearly had.
“That color looks amazing on you and OH MY GOODNESS how awesome are your boots!!! I feel like an under-dressed bum...” I said turning to Katie’s sister who was nestled next to the tattooed man.
She kicked up her foot and turned her ankle so I could see the boot in its entirety. They were neatly tailored with minimalist detail, the hide two variances of grey each of which played off each other in compliment.
"You came wearing your eating clothes," she said while eyeing my yoga pants. "There aint nothin' wrong with that girl. It's Christmas."
TO BE CONTINUED...
This story is still a work in progress in that it is being written, currently. It is 6:12 am on Wednesday December 26th, 2012. I intend to write a book someday and perhaps the excerpt above will be among the pages. I can’t picture the outline which I do believe is where one should start if they intend to write a novel. Questions should be asked like, “What is the point of your story, the message?” “Who is your intended audience?” “How will you organize the content?”
My highest level of education was primary school, though I did attend some college. I grew up yearning to be smart, mostly to hide my intrinsic awkwardness. I was an excessively hyper child, kind of like a cheerleader in a library filled with nuns. The stupidest sh*t comes out of mouth because I think out loud unless I am quiet. It took me years to learn tact, but the lesson once received, poignantly graceful. I enjoy the elegance of quiet and still.
It is 6:36 am. I am not often quiet, nor still. My white rabbit has already invited me to chase this day and I doubt I will have time to linger on yesterday, which was Christmas. Today will be business as usual and I have one to run; a photography business. A couple called me on Christmas day to share the news that they had just had their second child, a son I do believe. I have worked with them before, photographing their first. I look forward to seeing them again in celebration of a new life to bring in the new year just short of Christmas, if not born on the day. I will have to ask them about the actual date, though a baby is a gift to any day. Today I will be working on my new pricelist for 2013 and I will be putting together the network of core values that I want for my business. I have the unique opportunity to rebuild and restructure my life, which is business, and the outline of that is where I will start.
At 7:00 am on Christmas morning I was sitting at my computer crying my eyes out like a freak. “x-mas is ruined” was the sarcastic reply he sent via text after I admitted that I was hurt that he let our daughter open her big present without me being there. We had a plan to be together when she did.
She had been so excited about the gift, but beyond that I could tell that she wanted us to be together when she opened it. “Mom, I think you should stay the night at Dad’s Christmas Eve.”
“I’m not staying the night at your Dad’s Sapphire. I have a home of my own.” I was short with her, softening when I heard my tone played back as my voice. “Is there a reason you think I should sleep there because I only live seven minutes away. I can be there at what ever time you wish.”
My rebound put her back in the game, “You have to be there EARLY mom!!! Dad has to work but he said I can open one present before he leaves in the morning.” Her eyes were diamonds.
I laughed easily as I reassured her I would be there, “This coming from the girl who sleeps till noon!!! I get up as earlier as your dad most days Sapphire. You let me know what time and I will be there on the dot….”
The time on my phone read 5:45am. It was late and I had not received a call. His voice was scratchy from sleep when he answered, “Sh*t what time is it!!” There was a small scuffle followed by a groan that meant he had overslept, “My alarm didn’t go off. I need to call my work. I have to go.”
I barely had time to say, “Merry Christmas,” before he hung up.
It was nearly six when I realized that he wasn’t going to call me back. I had expected him to follow up because he knew that Sapphire was expecting me before he left. I dialed him questioning, “Hey, what’s the plan?”
“Ummmmmmm… I’m going to work….”
I was patient with the redundancy of the obvious, “I know you are working today. What about the present and subsequent plans?”
He replied like a cat that had eaten a canary, “Oh, no need to come. I let her open it last night. I stayed up until nearly midnight putting it together for her.”
I was numb as I hung up the phone without a good-bye.
My marriage was an adaptation of hurt and it was also the greatest accomplishment of my life. Seventeen years; I spent more time with my first husband than I did with my own parents. I ran away from them at sixteen. I wasn’t the kind of girl who dreamed of a big wedding and a dashing prince. The dream I had most frequently as a child was one that kept me hidden in a forest with a canopy made of light. The cottage was simple cobblestone and straw. I swept with a broom made of sticks and sang as my daughter picked flowers not far from the window which didn’t need glass because it never rained and the temperature was always just right. It was a perfect world and it was always just the two of us, my daughter and I. I had the dream so often that it almost felt like destiny; I remember clinging to it as I woke not wanting to get up or out of bed even at the protest of my bladder which didn’t care if it went in the bed or somewhere more appropriate.
The little girl in that dream was born on my 25th birthday and I remember thinking about all the things I wanted to give her, what I hoped her life would be. I wanted her to have a family and most importantly a dad. I wanted her to have a normal life with two parents that never went away. I remember being terrified that I wouldn’t be able to keep us together. He was beyond unhappy when he found out I was pregnant. I manipulated the retelling of the event in the scrapbook I made for her when she was a baby,
“Your dad was at work when I took the pregnancy tests. It took every bit of will power I had not to pick up the phone and tell him while he was at work. I wanted to tell him in person, to see the expression on his face. It seemed like an eternity, but he finally came home. I told him that I had a surprise for him and I sat him down on the couch. Then I had him close his eyes and hold out his hands. With that I put BOTH pregnancy tests in his hands and I waited with eager anticipation for him to open his eyes. Yet, when at last he did open them he just sat there looking at what he was holding as if it came from another planet. “READ IT,” I urged him “You’re pregnant?” He asked. Then without waiting for an answer he replied, “No way. I don’t believe it…..”
I left the story (which is an actual account) there because I couldn’t extend upon the reality that followed without hurting her. I couldn’t tell her that his face fell like I had just told him his best friend had been murdered. He wasn’t excited at all, in fact, he seemed like a man with one foot out the door and things between us were good. My head was suddenly frantic, swimming with dread and a fear of abandonment. I crumpled, curling inwardly, unable to keep myself together as I tried desperately to understand. I tried to push those memories out as I finished the page of her scrapbook.
“The funny thing about it was that I didn’t believe it either. It seemed impossible. We had been trying to have a baby but both of us had convinced ourselves that for some reason or another we simply were not able to conceive. After all this wasn’t the first time we had tried to have a baby. We had tried MANY times over the six years we had been together without success. Babies were something that God gave to other people, not us.” Yet you were here growing in my tummy, a miracle. I didn’t allow myself to believe until I saw you on the ultra-sound screen. There you were, our little peanut, each heartbeat telling us, “I’m alive.”
This is my first Christmas as a single woman and as much as my heart is broken for all that the wrongs that I couldn't right in my marriage I carry peace in knowing that I changed the story because I believed when he couldn’t. He is an amazing dad and she is a “Daddy’s Girl” to the point of my exclusion. My ex stood in front of me not even a week ago shoulders slumped as if he had been assaulted, “I can’t believe that you gave up on us. Not you, Amber. I would never in a million years expect that from you.”
I was like the little train that could because I believed that we could be everything that I wanted, that I needed, if I worked at it, if I believed. I cried until there was nothing left inside of me that day I told him that we would be parents and then I let the numb set in as I tried to understand his position.
“We had been trying for a baby. This was not an accidental pregnancy. Why was he unhappy?”
I like to fancy myself a good mother, but if there is a list of qualifications I think I might just come out on the short end of the not so long bus. I’m kind of retarded when it comes to most things domestic. I really thought that I was going to be a kick ass mom but most of the time I just feel like I get my ass kicked. Take Christmas cookies for example. I’ve been scrolling through post after post on facebook this holiday season and it seems that all the “cool” mom’s have been baking. It has been cookie porn since Thanksgiving and I should know because I have most definitely been getting off on the pictures. If you are shocked by this you shouldn’t be. My addiction to junk food has been well documented and at one time I carried the proof in my ass. I was living so large that my behind went all the way “Back to the Future” and into the sequels.
I don’t do much baking these days… or ever.
I’ve never been into cooking or baking for that matter. I’m an instant gratification kind of girl and being hungry makes me lazy and so does being full. Culinary art seems like a big production especially when the end result is something I will later need to work off at the gym. I didn’t feel bad about skipping out on making Christmas cookies until I realized that I was actually missing out on her, my daughter. Some of the best memories from my own childhood were of me baking with my mom. No scratch that, I don’t think I baked with her much at all. If I do recall right I boycotted Betty Crocker because I was just “too cool”, but hot damn did I run out of my room with a quickness when my mom hollered out, “Do you want to lick the beaters??” That was of course before eating "raw and under cooked foods causes salmonella"; back in the good old days when the batter was a treat and not child abuse. I LOVED to lick the beaters like I loved my “Easy Bake” oven. I didn’t use that to bake either. I took it apart and used the light bulb to iron my Barbie clothes.
So tonight I decided that I can bake. Just like that it came to be that I am a master pastry chef and each bite would be a gift. Yes, you heard me right, I intend to give the cookies away as Christmas gifts. Sapphire and I stood in line at THE DOLLAR TREE today so I could get my cookie bags and boxes. I couldn’t decide which would dress my ghetto parfait all the more so I bought both, bags and boxes. I even splurged and got bows which put me just a tad over budget. I spent nearly seven whole dollars in that petri dish store of odd humans. Call me a snob but I think there really is something wrong with people. I don’t mind being on the list either because like I said I was standing in the same line. Yikes!!
I then braved both Target and the grocery store to get the ingredients for the cookies which we intended to make from a recipe instead of a box mix or ready made dough. I am putting myself out in big ways this year to show I care and I planned on going “old school” though I used the internet to find a recipe. I totally screwed that up though because the recipe I sent to my phone never arrived and so we picked our recipes while standing in the isle at the grocery store; the two of us scanning packaging for anything that sounded both edible and easy. Sapphire chose Reese’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies which are made with Reese’s Peanut butter chips. I picked up a package of Heath Bar Chips so we could add a little English candy bar to the equation; keeping in mind that I am, of course, a BRILLIANT baker, practiced as of today. I chose Oatmeal Scotchies for the second cookie recipe because it is an all time favorite of mine; nostalgic in memories. I used to eat them when I was locked up. The juveniles were fed after the adult prisoners in Thurston Country, but every now and then the cookies came in still fresh like they had just come out of the oven. I would nibble on mine like a mouse because I wanted it to last as long as a dozen. We were only ever given one cookie.
I drove home grinning because the cookies were going to be amazing. I was SNOW happy, as in, “Oh my goodness it’s snowing!!!!” The scene was set for a night that would be perfect and cookies that were…
“Don’t you need to add something to make it wet?” Sapphire asked as we tried to figure out what we were doing wrong.
I scanned the ingredients again before answering, “It doesn’t call for water or anything.” I reached for the almond milk completely perplexed, “It definitely needs something to make it dough instead of powder. Did we add the eggs?”
Sapphire nodded as I started to pour, “Well, shoot. Let’s just add almond milk until I get it to mix.”
The concoction quickly gained the consistency of a cupcake batter as I haphazardly added milk though it wasn't called for anywhere in the recipe. I added peanut butter chips until it became chunky. I ladled it out on the slightly greased cookie sheet like I would pancakes; each pile resembling soup. It wasn’t until I closed the door to the oven committing fully to the first batch that I remembered the butter. “Oh man!!! We forgot the butter!! I bet you the butter was what we needed to wet the other ingredients. Oh well f*ck it. Let’s see what happens.”
Sapphire was scoffing at me when I finally gave up, dropping her off at her dad’s completely cookie less after my more than newfangled attempt at domestication. “Sherry makes the BEST cookies!!” she giggled as she hopped out of the car (Sherry is her dad’s new girl friend).
“Get out of my car!!! No cookies for you!! You get nothing for Christmas, I tell you Nothing!!!!!!”
My daughter was laughing as she raced in the house.
I drove away knowing that this will be a new tradition. I am calling our cookies “ARE YOU BAKED?? Christmas cookies because you just might need to be stoned before they are edible. It is 10:24pm and my kitchen looks like a bomb exploded in it. I have not gotten to the Oatmeal scotchies but I did finish the “Reese’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies”