Caviar to catfish & saying goodbye to my cousin on the last day of 2009

There is nothing good about burying your cousin on New Year's Eve. Nothing. I would be happy to give up spending the day with missed relatives if I didn't have to feel what a funeral for the 34 year old cousin who wore that particular smile made me feel. But since that's exactly how I just spent the last day of 2009, it's the experience coloring the start of my 2010. Without my preferred last week of the year, usually reserved for reflection and thoughtful planning, instead I'm starting with 25 hours of solitary driving behind me. And an ocean's worth of emotion swirling through me.

Identity. It's the familiar theme that screeched to a stop in front of me again last week and is hanging on tight today. After spending time with the people most affected by this unthinkable loss, I've returned home with my selfish questions concerning my own space in the cosmos. These relatives live at an exhilirating pace with emotions a hair away from the surface at every moment; if they think it or feel it, they say it. I, on the other hand, have spent my life trying to learn how to keep what I think and feel contained in some appropriate box, brought out only under carefully-monitored circumstances. No other time in my life am I ever as in touch with the craving for unadulterated candor as when I'm with my aunt and uncle and cousins. And I'm always a little lost when I leave them behind. Never before, though, more than this time.

About me, my remaining cousin told his girlfriend, "She can go from caviar to catfish with no trouble at all," and I liked it. Of course, being a salmon/tuna/tilapia kinda' girl helps with that. Somewhere in the middle. I like possessing the ability to flow from one setting to another without a lot of hassle. The world's too interesting for me to require everybody around me to be the same. I crave the variety. But when you step away from fresh energy and return to your own familiar space, it leaves its mark on you.

Today the appropriate box feels confining. Smothering. There's no choice but to return to my work and force myself to focus on getting caught up from two back-to-back breaks. But when it comes time to step away from work? I don't know. Writing will help. I'll do a lot of that, no doubt. I'm craving speed, but given the circumstances of Jim's death, driving fast lacks a certain appeal. I think it's music that will help me get my head on right. Not the music I play every waking hour. Something more raw and permeating. I'm going to hunt down some loud, live music and let it fill me up. If it makes me cry while standing in the middle of a pack of strangers in this nice town where I live the bulk of my semi-appropriate life? That'll be just fine.