My last night at my parents, I made mom pull out all the old photo albums. There was a photo I was looking for in particular of me and my siblings, that now that I think of it, is in my stash of pictures in storage. But I looked through all the pictures anyway. There were loads of old square black and white photos taken of their lives before me and Janell even. I like looking through the pictures of my brother as a baby because I never knew him as little. He was a teenager when I came around. I was mesmerized by vintage Mom and my gangly Dad. There where pictures of the two them as a young couple on picnics with a young Aunt Anne and Uncle Russell. I asked mom about those pictures. She told me that they all used to pile in the car and head to botanical gardens in LA or Civil War battle sites like Vicksburg. I was shocked by this because I couldn't imagine that their parents allowed this. But then again, those were different times. As I flipped through all those early years, I kept looking for signs wondering if they were happy then and feeling slightly removed from it all. Sort of how I've felt about this whole holiday. I feel I haven't been really interactive. Present and accounted for for sure, but not participating. Many times during visits with friends, I felt off kilter. I might as well have had my camera up to my face because it felt like I was seeing it all through a film. I was an observer. I know a lot of this was probably caused by cold meds and antibiotics. It seems everyone got the plague for Christmas. But some of that feeling of disconnect comes from something else. Maybe I don't quite fit in here any more. I've turned into a square peg. Maybe it's that people here have moved on. Their lives have continued to move forward with various achievements, soccer games and classes while I've been standing still. Nothing's new with me. I have no words of humor or wisdom to bring to the table. So, instead I stand in a corner watching it all and feeling like a wallflower at the middle school dance hoping that someone will ask me to dance, but terrified that someone will ask me to dance. It wasn't all this way. The times where I was one on one with someone I was fine, not a complete zombie. But even then, I had a hard time shaking the melancholy blanket off my shoulder. I felt like I did a lot of complaining and I hate that. It sets me back to the years when I was whiny and complained all the time. My massage/energy worker/therapist tells me it's OK to be where I am, but I don't want to be in that place. And I can't help but hear the Waitresses singing "Christmas Wrapping" some where in the back of my head. Robin provided a cozy space for me to run to during those times I needed to be reclusive. I knew that moving would risk things, but I was optimistic. I lost a bit of that optimism when Chris left. He was the glue and I'm not confident enough in myself to be able take up the part of being glue. I'm more like tape and not even the good kind that sticks to everything. I just barely hold on and I know that I need to try harder, reach out more often. I don't even have a good excuse other than I'm lazy. Next year I'll do better, I'll be healthier, I'll be skinnier, I'll be... Isn't that the way? I say these things in my head, but don't feel them in my heart. Someone told me not too long ago that it's possible I'm too hard on myself. I told him that's probably true. I've always expected too much of myself and those around me. It's why I'm constantly the cheerleader. I believe we can do anything. But those pom poms have gotten heavy and I've lost the energy to cheer myself on let alone any one else. Yet, I'm not willing to retire them just yet either. I still believe. My soul just needs a rest. So that's the plan, let this old soul of mine take a rest. Practice the art of living as opposed to just existing which is what I feel like I've been doing lately.