An Emotional Pilgrimage

Sunday, December 31st, 2017 (cont’d)

2017 was challenging for me, to say the very least.

Not only did my Granny pass away at the ripe old age of 96 years old, after a long battle with illness, but a dear friend from church was murdered in cold blood…senselessly, carelessly, confusingly.

It’s something that I’ve spent the majority of the past few months wrestling with. And something that has caused many a night of sleeping on tear-soaked pillow cases.

One night in particular, I was beating myself up about my grief. “Why can’t I move on?” I asked my cousin Sterling. She gently told me that what was happening to me emotionally seemed to be what I needed most, even if it wasn’t what I wanted! She suggested I give myself until Paris and to not even think about being hard on myself about my grief for one single, solitary minute…no, longer than a minute, months and months of forgiveness, even!

Murder is a heavy thing to deal with. Death is not something you get over in a day. Is there a time that can be devoted to “getting over it?” She thought NO and she is one of the smartest people I know, so I thought it best to agree with her. I let her clear-headedness and discernment guide me in a time when I could not rely on my own.

She also suggested that when I got to Paris, that I could try to do something symbolic, something that would release this emotion into the universe and let it go like a balloon on the back of the wind.

I resolved to take a ribbon to Pont Neuf (one of the many Love Bridges…not the original.) You may have heard about it and the locks that people flock there to lock onto the bridge in the name of LOVE.

I went with a ribbon because I’d heard the Parisians were worried about the locks eventually weighing the bridge down from the unanticipated weight. So ribbons it was for me.

Between the time of Wally’s murder and my trip to Paris, another thing happened. A secret emerged that really changed a lot of things for me. Something I can’t and won’t share. But what you need to know is that I was angry about it! Truly, deeply angry. An anger I don’t know that I’ve ever felt was constantly bubbling inside me, threatening to burn me up and leave nothing behind.

So, I made a vow to release this anger as well on the bridge and I offered the same to my family members who might be feeling sadness or anger of their own about this secret, about Wally’s murder, about the death of our Granny. All of these were big things to wrestle with and I wasn’t alone in needing a gesture to symbolize a new year.

What started as a small gesture turned into an emotional pilgrimage.

I wasn’t sure which day I would end up at the Love Bridge, so I kept my little ziploc baggie full of my family’s tokens, with me at all times. In case I happened upon it when I wasn’t expecting to be there, I wanted to be ready.

Lizzie Does Paris - Love Bridge locks
This is my ribbon for my Granny. I wrote her favorite saying on it, “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do or do without.” I also wrote the initials MHROTD on there. Another favorite of hers. She faithfully wrote it on birthday cards and in the memo line on checks for years and years. I think I’ll get a tattoo of it some day! It means: Many Happy Returns of the Day.
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This is the ribbon I tied on for Wally Worman, my lost friend! I wrote “Farewell, Dear One” on there. “Dear one” was a term of endearment we’d often hear him call people. I thought that was a fitting tribute to that kind man!
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This is my cousin, Sterling’s contribution in honor of our Granny. You have no way of knowing this but, Florida oranges are a very fitting tribute!!!
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My father forgot to give me his ribbon, so I had to improvise. I always carry a hair tie on my wrist. So I took one and added it in honor of my dad…in honor of his mom (My Granny.)
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And finally, this one is more of a totem than a ribbon. My Aunt Beck (my father’s older sister) made this herself and sent it along to be added to the bridge. And let me tell you…this bridge has never seen it’s equal! Each piece on the totem is symbolic and personal. She sent this in honor of her mother (my Granny.)

I wasn’t prepared for it when it happened. I stumbled upon the bridge somewhere between Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle on Day 3 of my adventure. How interesting it was to find the most touching moment between me and God and have it not be in either of the churches I’d stepped in that day, but rather outside on a bridge full of locks. God met me there.

Lizzie does Paris - love bridge locks

As I tied each ribbon on, I let go of what I was holding onto.

Lizzie does Paris - love bridge locks

I symbolically let go of what each family member who’d taken me up on my pilgrimage was holding on to.

Lizzie does Paris - Love bridge locks

And when I walked off that bridge after fulfilling my mission…I felt lighter, like a burden had been lifted. I felt lighter, like a darkness had receded. I felt lighter, like a candle had been lit. I felt lighter, like the souls of those I came to honor.

On this, the Eve of a New Year, as I prepared to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018 with open arms, I let it all go. I forgave the secrets that had hurt me personally. I accepted hard truths about the world that I had been either unwilling or unable to accept. I remembered that these emotions, these big mountains cannot be climbed or healed by big symbolic gestures alone. Rather, the practice of forgiveness is something to consider each and every single day. Some days harder, some days easier.

The journey I took travels forward with me as I walk off this bridge and into the future that awaits me. The ribbons I tie here for me and my family…they stay, but we walk forward…lighter, better, bolder, brighter!

I think it’s fitting that I chose the word “Bright” as my word for 2018, because with this weight lifted from my shoulders…forgiven, not forgotten, I sure do feel Bright!

Brand New Episode of So…This Happened

Episode 18: Christmas Traditions

Starring: Liz Tailor

Ethical Closet: (Click the links for Liz’s Look)

The Madman and the Crazy Girl earrings from nerdgirlwensi on Etsy

Homemade Harley Quinn cosplay

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So… This Happened is taking a holiday hiatus and will be back on January 13th. Don’t forget to check back after the New Year!

5 Fandom Friday

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5 Characters I’d Invite to My Thanksgiving Feast

Today’s blog topic from The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick is about characters I’d invite to Thanksgiving. Before I begin, you should know a little about my family. We are a very tight knit group of people. We uphold many unique holiday traditions and we are also what you might call… a little quirky. With that being said, adding any more personalities into the mix could be tricky. But we’ve always been a family that welcomes new comers and vagabonds alike with open arms and plates of turkey. So here is my list of characters I’d like to invite to Thanksgiving. From TV to Books to Muppets to Movies, my choices come from all over the place.

#1 – Swedish Chef from The Muppets

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“Gersh gurndy morn-dee burn-dee!”

My family is talented at a great many things. One of them is cooking. So it’s not like we need any help in the kitchen. But I’ve always loved the Swedish Chef from The Muppets. His Mock Swedish dialect and his can-do attitude would make for an upbeat positive guest at our Thanksgiving Feast. Plus we love to add multi-cultural elements to our holiday traditions. So why not add one of his famous dishes to the menu? Like his Flapjacks, Fishie Chowder, Japanese Cake, Frog Legs or his Squirrel Stew. It’s not so much the end result as it is his process that would be the most entertaining.

#2 – Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

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“She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me, and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”

Sure, he’s haughty and proud. And sure… those are qualities a modern woman would rare to never tolerate in a man. But he’s Mr. Darcy!! And aside from providing some delicious eye candy (Colin Firth is the Darcy I’d choose), he can also provide sparkling conversation when prodded and pushed. Maybe it’s an odd choice, but I’d love a traditional Regency Era Thanksgiving Feast complete with reel and musical concert. Perhaps a little impromptu singing might be in order. And if Mr. Darcy was in attendance you could almost guarantee that something exciting would happen.

#3 – Lady Grantham from Downton Abbey

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“I knew this family was approaching disillusion, I wasn’t aware that illusion was already upon us.”

My Grandmother, Flora, is the matriarch of my family. We have Thanksgiving at her house every year. She is strong willed and stubborn and I think I get a lot of my gumption straight from her. She reminds me a lot of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, Lady Violet Crawley. You might wonder, with one Lady of the house already in attendance, why invite another. I imagine that if Lady Violet and Lady Grandmother Flora were ever to meet, they would either become best friends and while away the hours playing bridge, or they would become sworn enemies and take turns delivering crushing set downs. Either way, I think it would make for a most entertaining Thanksgiving Feast!

#4 – Genie from Aladdin

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“You ain’t never had a friend like me!”

A genie is always handy to have around. You never know when disaster could strike and if you had a magical genie of the lamp then crisis would immediately be averted. A genie is useful, but Genie is a delight. Genie has long been my very favorite Disney character. Voiced to perfection by the late Robin Williams, he is caring and funny and the life of the party. He will always be welcome at my Thanksgiving table!

#5 – Lucy Ricardo from I Love Lucy

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“I may not be able to understand what you say when you say it, but before you say it, I can understand what you’re going to say perfectly!”

This one is for my sister-in-law. She is an avid Lucy fan. Who isn’t! (But she really is!) I think Lucy would round out this quintuplet of Thanksgiving guests. Accident prone and ridiculously goofy, Lucy is always trying to do right, yet always managing to mess things up. I’m not saying she’d drop the turkey, burn the mashed potatoes and end up with pumpkin pie on her face… but it would be worth the invite to see just what might happen!

Happy (less than a week till) Thanksgiving to you all. Who would you invite?

Episode 6: Granny’s Big Idea

Starring Liz Tailor

Clothes: Liz – Breathe Organic Shirt by SunseApparel, Multi Strand Necklace by The Leakey Collection

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New Episode Next Tuesday, October 7th

10 Things I Love…

1. Walt Whitman’s “O Captain, My Captain.

2. Granny’s cheesy bread.

3. Teapots and flamingoes.

4. Step Up  movies.

5. Snood.

6. Babybel cheeses.

7. A tall cold glass of champagne.

8. Compelling sermons.

9. Scavenger hunts.

10. Wearing my hair in pig tails.

 

What do you love?