It’s getting heavy, y’all.

After deep diving into the depths of my soul, I felt I needed air.  However, it’s rainy and gross so instead I needed hours of watching silly movies that only I would ever want to watch.  Mary Poppins wasn’t an utter disappointment, after all.  Puddin’? Punkin? Dumplin? I don’t know…but it was a cute little movie with Jennifer Anniston as an insufferable mom and it had a sweet message though I cried too many times than I’d like to admit.

The last movie I watched was Up in the air with Anna Kendrick and George Clooney.  I remember the previews but never gave it another thought.  It was near the bottom of a long list of movie suggestions on my Netflix and I decided to give it a go.  It started kind of slow in a way that I wondered if I’d nod off before I finished it, but it was just whitty enough to keep me engaged.  The synopsis is that he travels nearly all year with his company who is hired to fire people.  Ironical.  He loves to travel and hates to be “grounded”.  I suspect it’s because his home is in Omaha and nothing ever sounds fun coming from Omaha, but I digress.  Insert Anna Kendrick and she’s a young and uber eager girl who jumps in feet first only to realize the job is pretty damn depressing.  I mean seriously, you walk in to fire people at a company and they don’t even know you.  Screw that.

Part of the job Clooney’s character loves is public speaking.  It’s here that he asks the audience to figuratively, in their mind’s eye, start going through their home and put into a backpack all the crap in their homes.  Start with the things on the shelves, then move to the bigger things like clothes, and on to the even bigger things like couches and cars and the actual house itself, he says.  Then imagine picking up that backpack and lugging it with you when you go to walk away.  Laughter breaks out in the crowd because of course, no one can walk with that load of shit on their backs.  He then challenges people to start taking out the things that really don’t matter in their day to day life and learn how to unpack and repack this backpack with purpose.  All the while the movie follows him firing people who were lifers at their company, engaging in a relationship he didn’t think he could have, and we see him evaluating his own “backpack”.  I’m not going to say much more cause you’re probably one of the millions who looked at the previews and didn’t bother to see it, but I think this is an egregious mistake and you should give it a go.  It’s thought-provoking and real and it resonates to the deepest depths of someone’s life.  Truly.

My backpack is full of a lot of useless shit and I really need to start evaluating what I’ve decided to pack into it.  I’ve been battling with myself and my ever present depression and a friend recently asked me how that was the case since I had a job, kids, husband, car, home, health, etc. and I was really taken aback.  Just because I have all of these things doesn’t mean I’m not susceptible to depression.  It doesn’t mean that it ‘skips’ me.  It’s like that one asshole you inevitably run into when you say you’re tired and they want to argue that they are more tired than you are.  People fail to realize just because they are going through some tough shit they don’t own the monopoly of shitty situations, other people have their own problems and their own rights to feel a certain kind of way about them.  A lot of people are lugging around really heavy backpacks that they don’t realize they need to unpack and evaluate.  My backpack is heavy, y’all. Too fucking heavy.  It’s time to unload.  Baby steps, though, because I don’t want to throw out my good mascara.

2020

This year has been one for the records, and no doubt it will go down in history for its insanity and its unease.  It started off as any other year before it has.  We rang in the New Year hopeful for what was to come, closing doors on what has been.  Glasses were clinked, toasts were given and resolutions were made, mostly in haste as resolutions usually are.  I don’t think even fortune tellers could have foreseen the unfolding of 2020.

I am an Executive Assistant for a medium-to-large company.  I love what I do because I love the organization that it needs, and I am nothing if not organized.  I’m good at it, after all, I’m a wife and a mother of three.  I make sense of chaos.  It’s more social of a career than I thought I would have, but I love it despite that.

It was late February when the news started imploring our attention on this strange little virus that has been floating from continent to continent.  We watched with concern, but we didn’t grasp the reality that was coming.  The words Global Pandemic started to flow and with it the worry and angst that consumed most all humans.  On March 13th, we decided to follow the orders and shut our offices down and setup everyone who could be with virtual offices.  It was worrisome and chaotic, but it was a precaution in this unknown time.  Our executives made a great decision and led us with such care that I’ll never be able to thank them enough.  With Mr. Medic on the front lines of this terrible virus, I knew too well how serious it really was and having kind, understanding leadership in a time like this was something I didn’t see coming.  I’ll forever be grateful to them.

It’s now mid-October and our numbers here in GA continue to be at or over what they were when we decided to close the state so our office remains mostly remote despite our state throwing caution to the wind and opening up several months ago.  Seven months into this pandemic, all the while working from home with the exception of a day a week, and I have become a very different person.  I’d love to say I have gained insight, welcomed new challenges, or made better decisions for myself.  Alas, I have not.  In fact, I have found that I am far more comfortable in my home working diligently alone.  For someone who isn’t social, this has become a very eye-opening time.  I am finding life alone both reassuring and frightening in equal measure.

I’ve found solitude has started to break me in ways I never saw coming.  I closed myself into my own little bubble under the name of “sheltering-in-place”, but I have altered myself, inevitably, for the worse.  The idea of “going out” or entering the world again spreads an anxiety I haven’t yet felt despite the last 20 years of my life living with anxiety and depression.  This is different.  This is raw and carnal. This is a fear I can’t afford to have. 

This new fear has caused quite a few fights between Mr. Medic and I and it seems I am not responding logically and, in truth, I find that I am very nearly unable to find logic and reason at all even when I beg it to come.  We’ve entered our 40s and our children are all of adult age.  This is a time we should be living life to the fullest and traveling, and I’m finding it difficult to simply take a shower some days.  I acknowledge this change inside me and I want to fix it desperately.   I’m going to go dive in deep and figure this shit out because I refuse for 2020 to rob me of any more time.  

Two decades and an undying love

Today is my 20th anniversary, and this morning on my hour-long, traffic-filled commute, I reflected on these last two decades with my Mr. Medic.  Two decades.  Y’all, it’s difficult to fathom.  What’s crazier to me is that I can remember all of it like it was yesterday…literally.  I grew up hearing that phrase and remember sighing or rolling my eyes at its overuse, but as I get older, I completely understand its connotation.

I can remember seeing him in high school for the first time, and something inside me just clicked.  I didn’t know that 27 years later that he would be the sole person on this planet with whom I share my deepest, darkest parts of the chaos that is me.  Nor did I know we would grow to trust each other so emphatically and love so deeply that our worlds would truly merge as one.  We’ve seen each other at our best, and we’ve seen each other at our worst many times those two didn’t align, but we pushed on, and we supported each other the way only a wife and a husband could.

It’s not always been easy, and we’ve been way too close to divorce and have had our very fair share of fights and unspoken nights.  We’ve cried into the early hours of dawn pondering what would come of us as a couple, as a family.  But we’ve laughed so hard that we doubled over in pain.  We’ve spent countless hours laying in each other’s arms talking about our future.  We’ve made 5-year-plans and retirement plans and spoke about future grandchildren.  And we’ve become not just lovers or husband and wife, but the best of friends.

I love you, my darling husband, with all of my soul.  I thank you for your unyielding support and understanding of my, sometimes, debilitating mental chaos.  You are the only one on this planet who can understand and tolerate me at my worst, and I’ll forever be thankful for how much you love me.  Here’s to the first 20 and I’m so looking forward to all that we can experience in the next 20. xoxo

 

 

Yin-Yang Twins…No, not those guys…

I lost a dear friend this week.  It was a hard shock and my soul is still trying to stop crying over the premature loss of a soul whose very essence screams purity and wholesomeness.  We lived in the same neighborhood when we were middle and high school kids and we went through the same awkward phases together.  It was the early 90s and therefore we lived by the nights of MTV, when it still legitimately stood for music television videos, to watch the latest hairbands release the next big hit.  We spent many nights together listening to music, watching videos, and crushing on the likes of Axl Rose and Bret Michaels. We did silly things like tease each other’s’ hair, try on rad ass clothes, put on bright, powder blue eye makeup, and all the jewelry we could possibly find in her mom’s room.  It was a great time.

Honestly, she was my safe space.  She was the one person on the planet that wouldn’t judge me, hate me, or try to change me.  She was honest in a way that worked for a rebelling teen.  She balanced my yin with her yang, which is probably why we kept the BFF yin-yang necklaces for years.  You remember those necklaces, right?  The ones that started with half heart pieces that looked broken and one side had BE FRI while the 2nd half had ST ENDS…the yin and yang were much, much better options because honestly, who wanted the 2nd half that read ST ENDS, it was like getting the utter and ass section of a two-part cow costume…and who wants to be the ass?  No one.

Yep, yin and yang best friend necklaces in the form of hip chokers were our thing and it just fit perfectly.  She was always the positivity that everyone needed in their life, the shining brightness in an otherwise dark, dark world.  I remember I asked her once how she stayed so happy all the time and she simply said, because it’s easier to be happy than it is to be sad or angry.  It was simple, but it was right.

I remember when she had her 4 wheeler accident and she ended up with some permanent damage.  My mom, God bless her patient self, drove me to Macon, GA several times while she was in the hospital.  It was a scary time and it was some of the longest days until we were confident she would come through it.  It wasn’t long after that when we started to drift apart.  Boys got in the way, more specifically, Mr. Medic got in the way.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t his fault in the slightest, but it was something that happened the way it usually does when a boy enters a teenage girl’s life and suddenly there’s no time for anything or anyone else.  I was completely smitten and mine and her time became less and less until my family moved three states away.  We spoke a few times after I moved and a few times after I came back a few years later, but nothing was ever as close as those middle and high school years.

We met up a few times after I got back and she was still a pillar of sunshine and rainbows on a stormy night, but like with life and kids, time got busy again.  Technology advanced and eventually social media became a thing and we reconnected via Facebook, but we never really reconnected they way we were once connected.  I’ve always regretted that, but then I thought there was time.  Don’t we all think that?  Don’t we all think there’s time?  Time, it’s a fickle thing – you always think there’s more of it, until there isn’t.

So, here I sit in the darkness and silence of my living room with tears streaming down my face – thankful that I know my keys and I can punch these words out without needing to see – and I wonder.  I wonder if she knows.  Does she know?????  Does she know the light she poured into my soul some 25 years ago that has never, not once dulled?  Does she know how many lives she’s touched by just being the angelic, sweet person she was born to be?  Does she know how special she was to every single human being she met?  My guess is that she doesn’t. She saw herself as any selfless person would, just another person.  She was so much more though, she was the person that ALL people who meet her aspire to be more like.

She was unapologetically herself and who she wanted to be.  She strived for happiness and peace when others only dreamed of it.  As I sit here and reminisce over years gone by and time forgotten, I remember her smile, her positive thoughts, and the way she lived her life and I smile through the tears and heartache knowing that I am immensely blessed for having had only a blink of time with her.  I am a better person for just having known her.  I take this time to make a promise to her beautiful soul that I will strive to live in peace and happiness when others only dream of it, and acknowledge that if something does not bring that peace and happiness, that I must let it go and find what does.  She taught me that.  She taught me to be brave. She taught me to love endlessly and hopelessly and it’s time to start living for her.  I will grieve her, I will love her, and I will get busy living in peace and happiness because to do anything else would tarnish the perfect memory of the most beautiful soul I have ever known.  God bless you, Pamombeau, my darling friend and know that you will live on through time and space.  I love you and I can’t wait to see your smiling face again one day.  Fly high and shine bright my sweet friend.

A senior letter

This has to be one of the hardest letters I have ever written. xoxo

I’m supposed to be writing you a senior letter, probably without getting emotional.  HAHA!  Yeah, right. We both know better than that.

Starting with the most mundane, I’ll remind you how proud I am of you.  Words cannot tell you how proud I am.  You’ve become every bit of the man I had hoped you would when I met you 18 years ago.  I prayed you would take the good characteristics of your dad and me and mix them together with your own spin to turn into an amazing man, and you have done that plus so much more.  You’re better than I could have dreamed, God truly blessed me more than I deserve.  You have a beautiful heart and soul, more than you really know – don’t let life ruin that.  You’re more than just smart, you’re sincerely intellectual.  You consider all things and analyze the good and bad before making a decision or judgment.  That’s really the key to life, kid, so you have a one-up on most people already.

I’ve watched you learn to crawl, walk, talk, and read.  I’ve watched you learn to ride a bike, play soccer, play guitar, and drive a car.  I’ve watched you walk into your first day of pre-school, kindergarten, middle school, and high school.  I’ve watched you drive off to your first job.  I’ve watched you go on your first date.  I’ve watched you drive off for your senior prom.  Soon, I’ll watch you walk up on stage and receive your diploma.  Soon, I’ll watch you drive off for your next adventure in the Navy.  You have been a joy and blessing to watch and I cannot wait to watch all the next stages in your life.

I admit that when you first told me about your aspirations to join our military, my heart broke.  It was a selfish act, and it took a long, long time for me to come to peace with that.  I didn’t want to think about you leaving me.  You and I have had each other for 18 years, you’re my firstborn and I just wasn’t ready to face the fact that you’ve become an amazing man who doesn’t enter into things lightly.  It’s because of this and your infallible reasoning that I got on board and knew in my heart you would do amazing things with this opportunity.

I read somewhere that I’m supposed to tell you what I want for you or expect out of you.  Like so many parts of our family and relationship, my wants and expectations aren’t really traditional.  Of course, I want you to get an education, find a good job, meet and marry a great girl, start a family, and all that jazz.  But, Austin, I want so much more for you.  I want you to leave this little town, join the Navy, and see the world.  I want you to live with no strings attached.  You have such a great opportunity to do things very few people get the chance to do.  Since you could read (at the ripe age of 2½) you’ve been fascinated with the world.  You’ve been interested in all things history and science.  Go see all those countries you have only ever read about.  Go see, feel, touch the history of the world and let that experience blow you away.  Life is so short, baby, and you have the rest of your life for settling down.  Hold off on that day to day grind just a bit longer and make adventure your next path.

What do I expect out of you?  Greatness.  However, before greatness, I expect you to live your life to the absolute fullest.  Drink a beer with your new brotherhood and make stupid decisions that won’t cost you too much in the end – you know like an arrest and big ass tattoos that you’ll regret later (and coming from me that’s saying a LOT).  Get your heart broken a few times because until you do, there’s no other way to know real love when it comes to you.

You’re one of my greatest accomplishments in life.  If I have done nothing else in this life, I have raised a great boy into a phenomenal man.  I know that you’ll take part of me, your dad, your brother, and sister & papa and nana with you along the way and we will help keep you grounded…just enough – not too much.

You’re going to be scared, you’re going to be nervous, and I’m sure there will be days you’ll just want to come home, but those days will be few and far between.  You will succeed.  You will be ok.  You will overcome.

Go start your life, baby – it’s only just beginning.  I’m so proud of you and all that you’ve become.  I love you with all that I am and all that I have, son.

A father’s daughter

My father called me yesterday, no doubt after a conversation with my mother who told him of my recent bouts of the weepies.  My father is a great, loving man with a heart deeper than the ocean.  I have always been a ‘daddy’s girl’ and I guess, even at my age today, I still am.

We spoke last night for an hour and a half.  I don’t know how your parents are, but in my family, my mother is the most loquacious and my father just sits back and listens so that he called me and we spoke in length, says a lot to me.  The last two days have been so refreshing to speak at such lengths with each of my parents.

He reminded me who I am, how I was raised, and how I don’t need anyone for me to be ok with me.  Something I seem to have forgotten these last 10 or so years.  He reminded me that we choose the people in our life because we want them there, not because we need them there.  He’s a wise man who has been through a lot in his 61 years, and his words ring true to my heart and soul.  He’s never been one to pick a side and when I’m wrong, he has no problem telling me so.  He doesn’t often offer advice without being asked, but I am so grateful that he did.

He’s so right – I have lost myself – I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be who I am and stand on my own two feet needing no one to hold me up.  He raised me to be a strong person, not take no for an answer when I deserve a yes, to be self-sufficient, and self-reliable.  He raised me to be fierce.  I am slowly cowering away, letting myself get wrapped up in some sense of doubting self-worth.  Maybe if I remember that I don’t need anyone, but instead want someone, I’ll figure out just what I want and what I don’t want – I’ll no longer be clouded by the preconceived notion that someone completes me.  If I can’t complete me, how can I expect to love me, how can I expect to love others, and how can I ever expect to be loved in return?

Being a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, or an employee does not define me.  Who I am, not what I am, is the definition of me.  It’s time I rediscover that.