Saying farewell to 2010 and 30 Things

-Contributed by Big L

Well, I did it. I capped off the bigness of 2010 by partying it up on NYE with good friends and two bottles of champagne, then I ushered in 2011 with a big, fat hangover. But that’s not all! I also rounded out my list of 30 Things by adding the final two things to the list. Numbers 29 and 30 were fairly epic in their own right and as I write this, I realize they have something in common: nakedness.

For one, I physically stripped down (a la Wee C’s #30) and did a professional boudoir photo shoot. After seeing, and shooting, the two of us in our skivvies, photographer Liam at Applehead Studio is practically our BFF. I mean, really. He has seen more of our cellulite, nervous laughter, and awkward sex eyes than we’d ever like to remember. But on the up side, he’s also helped us look and feel more attractive than we’d ever like to forget. (Does that sentence even make sense? I don’t know, but I’m going with it.)

These photos are nothing to sneeze at. Dramatic lighting, shadows, brightly coloured underoos, and Photoshop can really work wonders! The cellulite? Smooooothed right out. The nervous laughter? Not captured on film. The awkward sex eyes? Less awkward from behind the lens. It’s definitely an experience I’d recommend. And, it feels pretty damn high on the ladder of self acceptance, so, Yay for Me!

For the other, I emotionally stripped down. Four years after the trauma of the sudden, much-too-soon death of one of my favourite people ever to live, my Uncle Larry, I finally manned up and went to visit his grave.

In four years, I’d only ever been to his final resting place twice; once to bury him there and once to see his headstone, not in place until the spring thaw following his early January death. In four years, not a day passes that I don’t think of him, miss him and wish somebody else was thinking of and missing him, too. I’m sure people are, but we don’t really talk about it.

I think I’ve come to terms with that part, and with his absence, but I was still too scared to visit. Too scared of breaking down and recalling the horrors of that five day period. From the 1 a.m. phone call from my Dad once the ambulance had arrived, to waiting for my aunt to make it back home from Sweden to bury her husband. From seeing his name on a plaque in the funeral home, to looking down at his dead body, the first I had ever seen.

Yes, there was trauma. And yes, one of the best people ever was ripped away from us before he should have been. But it’s OK now. And the truth is, visiting him wasn’t that hard. I didn’t cry. I just stood, looked at him, missed him, and told him I loved him. That’s all. It didn’t need to be more than that. And it certainly wasn’t worth avoiding for four years.

Now I know. Now I know that I can go visit and it’s not that hard. In fact, it should be easy. If you love someone, it should be easy to tell them that. Right? I guess that’s a lesson learned for me.

Before 30 Things, I did a lot of swerving and side stepping, avoiding certain emotions like pot holes in the road, which only get bigger if they’re not tended to. But I’ve come a long way, baby, and my maneuvering skills are weakening. In their place are paving skills that I’m putting to work to make my road smoother, so it’s not so laden with hazards in the first place.

And with that, I wrap up a year of saying yes to 30 things I would normally say no to. Now it’s up to me to keep the momentum going by saying yes once a month, every month, and allowing two powerful themes to guide my every move this year. I created them today and they’ll be revealed in my next post, so stay tuned.

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6 responses to “Saying farewell to 2010 and 30 Things

  1. Have I told you lately how proud I am of you xxoo

  2. I don’t visit my Dad’s headstone much because of distance. But when I do go home I always go. I never thought of myself as the type of person Who would sit by the grave and talk but, I feel and incredible peace there. Because I’m thinking only about him, the memories become clearer. I can remember what I choose to. I can grieve.

    • That’s a great point, Kathryn. That clarity and focusing only on that person is really comforting in the moment, isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by and sharing your perspective.

  3. You know, I’ve never visted my grandparents graves? Or either of my two uncles’? I think it’s for many of the reasons you gave. Another big step for you Big L. You inspire me. I am so lucky to be able to call you my friend.

    Giant congrats on your 30 Things! Here’s to a year of maintenance and some more, fantastic change.

    xoxo

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