Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The year in review

Last year about this time ... actually it was several hours later and the new year, 2008, was about to be rung in ... I wrote about making the new year all about me. I declared it the "year of the Riss." I vowed to love myself a little more. I promised to be kinder to the woman within the skin and bones that you all know as Marissa. Did I succeed?

2008 turned out to be a very trying year for my family and close friends. We mourned the death of my brother in law. A tragic circumstance for my nephews he left behind. Then, shortly after the burial, Maureen, their mother, discovered a carcenoid that had been assumed dormant grew substantially. Surgery wasn't successful. Chemo was the only course of action. We're blessed that it's working. The tumor is decreasing in size. My nephews have bravely faced what fate has handed them. I swell with pride as I worry daily about them.

My dearest friend Tom has had to face the mortality of his mother. It was discovered that she had lung cancer. The tumors were in a quadrant of the lung that makes removal easier. We'd hoped that all was well, but another tumor has grown. Aggressive chemotherapy is the suggested course of action. Momma Nelson was a staple in my teen years. She's a tough bird whom I admire greatly. For him, seeing his mother in pain and suffering feels like too much to bear. For me, it all seems too familiar.

In this year, my family has grown. TWO new family members were born and we gained another by marriage: Karley, her mommy Debbie and sweet Isabella (daughter to my niece Elyssa and her love Aaron.) In addition, I welcome Maureen's best friend and partner, Kris. She's proven to be a source of reliability, stability, comfort and friendship to those who know her. My sister Mary is still making music with her partner in crime, Steve. Woop-woop!

So, where in all of that did I get to have a good time? Summer was most active. I met Asshat Running Man. For a split second I had fun being in the presence of a tall version of Vin Diesel. He didn't get my pop culture references nor did he understand my need for social networking online.

My heart was broken by a man I'd never met, but had formed a friendship. We'd discussed, at length finally meeting. A blogger far more popular than I. I realize some things are just not meant to be, but it was a difficult adjustment when he told me he met someone else. Whirlwind, I think was the term used. He'd read the honeymoon phase of Asshat Running Man and didn't figure I'd be bothered. I guess I shouldn't have been upset, but I was.

NEXT! There's nothing else a girl can do than hold her head high and jut out her chest .. and wear a tight, white t-shirt when necessary.

My high school reunion happened at the end of July. I had enough fun with my former classmates to make up for a year's worth of boring and mourning. I hadn't let my hair down like that in at least 7 years. Boy, did I need that seven year itch scratched! I have to admit it took some convincing of my close friends. I nearly bailed. I had been swirling in self-pity and sadness. Tommy talked me into going. Jessica, Amanda and Ted pushed it all over the top. Thanks. I went and I even have the t-shirt to prove it! I had blisters on my feet from dancing on asphalt while intermittently diving into the tower of bubbles!

Enter Alton. A former co-worker called me out of the blue and asked me out. For a month I was starry eyed and relishing that someone could look at me as he did. He seemed to gaze upon me as if I had hung the moon. I don't know if it was an act or my years of celibacy that had me fooled. I'm not saying he didn't like me, but he didn't like me enough. I chalk it up to a momentary good fit. Then, reality sunk in and serious consideration for a viable future had to be addressed. Obviously, you all know the answer. Actually, he used the slow burn break up method. That seems to be easiest with most of the men I've dated. He asked for time to think. He'd throw me a bread crumb, I'd lap it up. Then, more time passes between email or phone call. Finally, he just stopped communicating. No definitive reply. I stopped hoping. I don't chase men. I believe in that old saying about setting something free ... yada yada. You know the rest. Plus, I don't want to be remembered as the psycho chick.

That was the end of romance for 2008.

Mancub and I performed on stage for the first time. Along with my niece Aubrey, my nephew Steve and behind the scenes, niece Amanda -- choreographer, we turned "STATE FAIR" into a family affair. I had a great time. I donned a beard, danced the waltz, kicked up my heels and made the most of every second I was on stage.

The question remains whether or not I learned to love myself more deeply than I did at the start of this year. It's surely an ongoing process. I believe I have learned to appreciate myself for the things I can and have accomplished. I worry less about what everybody else thinks or expects of me. After all, I have to face myself daily. I look to my son as a barometer of my success. As this blog proves, my pride in him is always growing and ever present.

Because of familial trauma, I have learned that I can be a source of comfort and support. Maureen and I have switched roles. She's had to depend on me. That scared me. I thought I wasn't capable, but I am. I have grown as a sister, friend, mother, woman.

I've encountered and befriended some amazing people thanks to the Internet. This silly little site called PLURK has turned out to have been a saving grace and God send. Without fail, my friends have prayed with me when I asked (or didn't ask. They just knew.) Through them, I have learned so much about myself. They are not selfish in their compassion. Through each trial I've faced, they've been with me providing me comfort, insight and humor. Advice is given when asked. A shoulder to cry on and a friendly ear were readily available to me. I can't thank you enough for being insomniacs or in another time zone so I would have someone to talk to at all hours ... or when I needed my ego stroked and got my flirt on. I know it sounds goofy to anyone who hasn't participated in a social network.

I declare 2008 a success. Happy New Year!


  1. Well Done, Marissa! Don't settle, dance on stage, be you. And if other people don't get it, to heck with 'em.

    Rock on in 2009.

  2. Success?!? Are you kidding?! You totally RULED 2008!! You took every challenge and overcame it with your usual grace and beauty. You are truly an inspiration.

    And I am deeply grateful to know you.

    Blessings in 2009

  3. what an amazing post, Marissa. you have truly been to the edge and back this year. thanks for sharing your intimate moments with us. i am fortunate to have met you. and even though we seem to miss each other on-line because of schedules, you are in my thoughts. have a wonderful new year, my love.

  4. You're a strong woman and I'm so happy to have met you via plurk! ((hugs)) Kudos for living life to the fullest!

  5. After all is said and done, '08 appears to have been a success, Riss.


    Ready to start all over with '09? Of course you are. You've got momentum behind you in '08.

    Happy New Year ...... Rupe

  6. Fantastic post, thanks so much for sharing so much. Make no mistake, your friends appreciate you as well!!! :)

  7. This was an excellent post Riss! You are on a roll and steam rolling right into 2009 I know it will be a great year for you. I am very happy to have met you! Happy New Year! *hugs*

  8. Learning to love and appreciate yourself is a great accomplishment, and it is something that can continue to be accomplished and improved over time.

    You've had a year of tremendous ups and downs, and you have handled it with grace.

    Kudos to you for becoming a better person in your own eyes, and for being there when your family and friends need you. I believe that is the one of the keys to this mansion we call life.

    2009 is being rung in shortly, and it is another empty home we'll strive to fill with memories and accomplishments.

    May your 2009 be filled with the most beautiful things in life: love, friendship, and adventure.



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