Monday, June 9, 2014

The Stories We Tell

Perhaps it's the writer in me, but I think about most experiences in terms of the stories they make.  Often, they are boring stories that I pepper with extraneous details in an effort to add a little flavor  And usually that fails but when has that ever stopped me?  [Insert winky-faced emoticon here.]

And I am sure that like everyone to some degree, I can fall prey to that desire to tailor your life to the narrative and become frustrated when the seams don't match up.  Like that little analogy?  I'm here all week...

Anyways, I think most families tell a lot of stories.  At least mine did.  How our parents met.  Their first years of marriage together, embroidered with tales of domestic bliss: arguments about leaving the toilet seat up and the correct direction for hanging the toilet paper and that one time my mom stained the kitchen sink with the duck curry she made and my dad subsequently didn't like. (Good stuff.) Stories of my mother growing up on a farm and sharing a bedroom with three of her sisters.  Stories of my dad growing up with an immigrant family in upstate New York and not dining in a restaurant until he was in college.

Every Sunday, we would visit my Polish grandparents' home where they would tell stories in broken English about the war, about their families, about bravery and sacrifice--epic stories, that I didn't truly appreciate until my grandmother got alzheimer's and her stories started to change and were told to us in Polish and I felt awful by how internally frustrated this made me.  Those stories, however horrific, were comforting to me. They were told like routine every week.  And just when I started to realize the importance of those stories--so often half-heartedly listened to in between bights of roast beef and mashed potato--now those stories are gone.   But I remember some of the stories and my Dad remembers the stories and retells them in their original form.  And once my grandparents died those stories were really all we have left of them.

But I'm getting off track.

Sometimes, I feel a little overwhelmed with the future when I think about it as a narrative I will tell.  Mostly because I have so many expectations for how it will be.  I want it to be a good story. One that I don't necessarily have to embellish to make it appear compelling.  I want it to be full of stories of a meaningful career, of motherhood, of my children knowing only one home their entire childhood, of my children having wilderness and space to run in.

And then I think of my impending unemployment, my move to a one bedroom (albeit a beautiful one bedroom) apartment in Boston, of turning 30 and nudging only slightly closer to settling down in the traditional sense and doing all those things that would allow me to tell stories of children who run in open spaces.

How will I be able to tell the stories that I want to tell?

And then I think: get over yourself, Kozak. Stop trying to plot everything and just let it happen.

After all, Moses and my love story is nothing like I thought it would be and that remains one of my favorite stories to tell.

So, in this intensely transitional period of my life, I am slowly transitioning out of the idea of telling the stories I thought I would.

But it will be good.  These stories will be better.

I know this post is rather banal and rife with repetition but...when has that ever stopped me?  [Insert yet another winky-faced emoticon here.]  You have them to spare, I know you do.

Now here are some unrelated weekend photos of our hike to Eagle Rock to cleanse your palate.




A natural at posing.  Always.




And another LA bucklist item checked off.