I just spent 5 minutes sitting here choking back illogical tears (“but are any tears really logical?” I think to myself), and another 10 staring at the blank page with no idea what to say. For whatever reason, nothing in my life can get to me quite the way my father does. I know, logically, I’m over it. I’ve watched Dead Poet’s Society – I know to stand up for what I believe in. Good Will Hunting taught me, “it’s not your fault.” But somehow still, years later, one email for the first time in months of not hearing from him and it still gets to me.
I can’t put this on anyone. This is my battle to fight. My demon, or rather devil. I was just saying last night when catching up with a good friend how we hadn’t heard from him in months and it’s been rather peaceful and then BAM. Speak of the devil. I wake up to an email for the first time in I don’t even know how long.
It’s like waking up to a nightmare, only it’s in writing and it’s still there. I should delete it. I should block him again because while we rarely hear from him, it still gets to me. I don’t let anyone get to me, but he gets to me and even now, as an adult I’m sitting here questioning my self worth and how long it will take me to fuck up the next important thing in my life because if there’s anything that man taught me, it was that I was a fuck up. I wasn’t good enough. I am not good enough. I’ll never be good enough.
And I’ve spent my life proving him wrong. If only I always believed it. But I know better, I really do.
His emails are delusional, painting this picture of how perfect life supposedly was when, without warning, his entire family turned on him. He has no idea why or how, when we had this perfect childhood, this perfect upbringing, with perfect family vacations in a perfect suburban town during the perfect Reagan years, when Disney was the best place on Earth and everything was, as he remembers it, perfect. Or that’s how it was if you ask him. He has no idea why one day, his family disowned him and condemned him to a life of boredom with nothing but his cats, the TV, and the internet to entertain him. Oh, and his alcohol. Of course his alcohol. But it’s okay, he doesn’t get drunk anymore, he assures us. He hasn’t in years. Only a few vodkas and a few glasses of wine a day, give or take. Maybe a little more. But really, that’s nothing. He even quit cold turkey before. I mean, except for wine, but it’s not like a few glasses of wine with lunch and several with dinner even really count, at least not if you ask him. No, he hasn’t been drunk in ages.
Funny, I don’t think he’s ever really been sober. And I know a lot more about how his mind works than he thinks I do.
I get my math brain from him. My never-ending curiosity that questions everything from reality to infinity and wants to know more. I also get my manicism from him. The difference was, I got help, and continue to be vigilant in managing my health. This life means a lot to me, and I plan on being in this one for a very long time, so quite literally, my life depends on it. And I’m okay with that. I don’t drink when I’m mad, or stressed, or upset. I can tell you I won’t be drinking this week until I get my brain quieted down and this swift-kick-in-the-gut feeling gone enough that I can breathe without feeling like I’m choking on air or about to puke. I know better, and I know that I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, and it’s not anyone’s place to fix but my own. I can’t fix him, but I’ve spent a long time fixing me, and I have no intentions of ever really being broken again. I’m okay. I’ve got this. Really.
Just know that this week, if I’m a little off kilter, I’m sorry. If I’m a little rough around the edges, or a little tense, or a little more quiet than usual, I’m sorry. I just need some air. Or a hug. Or nothing at all but some solitude on the lake. Or to learn how to see myself through someone else’s eyes other than my father’s.
I’ll figure it out, I promise. I always do. And while in some way, my father will always haunt me, I also know that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for him. Underneath it all, there’s greatness even in the devil himself. For that, I thank him. Truly. Because where I am in my life right now is the best place I’ve ever been. And I mean it – I have the most genuine people in my life that I can’t imagine even going back and changing a thing, not even the hard parts. Those are the parts that make you realize how great the great ones really are. And these days, there’s a lot more great parts than bad ones. And even more great things to come. So much more.
It’s okay, I can do this. Don’t worry about me. Anyone else can see that I’m so much stronger now. Anyone can. And if anyone else can, I can too. I love you.
I’ve never really been here before. Coming off my first huge manic episode in years, followed by a leveling out, a peace of mind, and an acceptance if you will, that where I am now is so much different – and BETTER – than anywhere I’ve ever been before.
And then all of a sudden I’m doing silly things like leaving my heated car seats plugged in and killing my car battery. Contemplating all the shit my brain does and says from every what if to fractal math and quantum physics and all of a sudden I can’t sleep because I can’t quite comprehend if infinity is real, or if it’s even enough time for everything I want to find answers to, as I’m here questioning every what if and every reality wondering if perhaps this time I really did find my way through that childhood poster with the unicorn and end up somewhere in Narnia. Because clearly, this isn’t real.
Another whirlwind weekend where time goes too fast, but at the same time too slow as I remember and cherish every moment, and I’m wide awake exhausted questioning so much about every bit of reality I’ve known this life and apparently every life – at least those that I can remember – before this one.
You see, I’m a loner. I have friends – lots of them – and the good ones I’d die for without a second thought or a first request because that’s what friends are, or at least that’s who I am. But this is different. This is something I can’t explain. Something I thought I wished for to be so impossible that it couldn’t possibly ever come true because then I’d be safe. I’d be able to continue – alone – for as long as I need.
I like my castle. My walls. My barbed wire. My over exuberant social and work life that leads me to be the person that knows everyone and everything and is at home everywhere right up until it’s time for me to retreat to my mountain where I can find the solitude and silence in the woods that makes me feel whole. It was a different mountain before this one, but this is the mountain I live at now and it’s different. It’s better. It’s taller and stronger, like me these days. And I know that I am all the strong I’ll ever need to get through this.
I’ll get through this. I always do. But this time I also don’t want to run away.
Sitting awake listening to Jason Aldean and realizing my walls are crumbling because when you’re not here, I miss you. When you are here, it’s like the world melts away and it’s just us. And when you are gone again, I can’t breathe.
Sometimes I can’t breathe because I’m so god damned afraid I don’t know what to do. I couldn’t breathe after we talked about tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that, and I said I didn’t want to run away because I couldn’t imagine a tomorrow without you in it. And then I couldn’t breathe again. You Make It Easy came on the radio on my way home today, and I couldn’t breathe again then, either, because suddenly that song made me think of you, and how easy this is and then my brain kicks in to remind me nothing is easy and everything good goes away and the air became thin again.
I want you here more, but I also need to breathe. I don’t know how to do both, but it seems every day I am learning. Space is a good thing but just how much is a thing I have never stopped to think about before. I always was willing and able to wholly and completely run the fuck away. Far away. I could breathe over there. But you’re not over there. You’re right here.
Suddenly, I don’t want to run, and I don’t know where that leaves me or what it means.
Every cheesy rom com movie comes to mind, from Sweet Home Alabama (so I can kiss you any time I want), to Practical Magic (I wished for you because it was impossible for you to exist – but you’re here) and then there I go choking for oxygen again with the realization that movies aren’t life, and no life is that good, especially not mine. It’s never been, not this life and not as long as I can remember. And I remember a lot.
I don’t know how to just be here, and breathe, and just be. Maybe it’s like the Killers said, and I’m just in a rut. Don’t give up on me, I’m just in a rut. I’m climbing but the walls keep stacking up. Please, don’t give up on me. I’m just in a rut. I can find the air out there, somewhere, if I just keep believing that this is real. That maybe I was lucky enough to deserve this. To deserve you. To believe that all those years and lives of fierce loyalty and lioness strength has lead me down this path where I get to stand beside you.
Or maybe I’m wrong and suddenly I will wake up and it’ll all be over. Like a ghost in a dream, whispers of a past I don’t remember or try not to, and I can face the world with the stark cynicism of a steadfast soul that is used to fighting for friends with the strong solitude of confidence that comes only from a past littered with loss and despair that only the strongest can overcome.
Maybe I’m still wrong. Maybe I just need to breathe. My chest keeps tightening. I’m terrified. I’m falling – I’ve already fallen – and I don’t know how to fly. I never really have. I just fall, pick up the pieces, and start over. and over. and over. and over. It’s just who I am. It’s just who I’ve always been.
Tonight I’ll try to bribe my mind with thoughts of quiet solitude and a chance of you here. Tomorrow I’ll try to breathe again and remember, every day is just one day. One more day forward doing the best I can. One day, that best will be good enough. You’ve already said I’m perfect. I’m trying so hard to see in myself what you say you already see in me. I am doing the best I can with everything I can. Everything. Because something tells me this is it. You are it. This is what I’ve been fighting for my whole life. The life I’ve been fighting for my friends to find for themselves. I just never really believed that I deserved that myself, but I believe in you and it seems you believe in me and I hold onto that hope and faith like a battle cry or banner as I fight my own demons. They’re almost gone but they still tell me I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve you.
I deserve you.
We deserve this.
If only I could breathe.
Just when I think things are perfect and I’m so busy looking at life through rose colored glasses and melting snow listening to “What Ifs” by Kane Brown marveling at how sappy I suddenly am (who AM I?! Help me find my ever loving cynicism!) and I sit down after a great morning hike and turn on my computer and BAM. It hits me in the face and out of nowhere I’m at my desk shaking in tears.
It would seem that even when I least expect it, I still have my demons and dragons lurking around. I’m trying to get better with overthinking. I’m trying to not pre-play every scenario and every possible conversation and every possible answer, next step, and outcome out in my mind. When I do that, I make myself crazy with the endless unfathomable possiblities and usually what happens in the end is something I never thought of in the first place anyway. Before you know it, I’m sitting up wide awake at 4am trying to make my very humanly fallible brain grasp the quite inhuman concept of non-linear math and things like infinity, the applied infiniteness of the galaxy, the exponential potential combinations of things like life, congruent and concurrent time overlapped with concepts of three and four plane mathematics overlaid with ideas of fractal math to fractal time to if it would be possible to mathematically prove ideas such as theories presented in the much loved children’s book “A Wrinkle in Time” or the lesser known Piers Anthony series “Fractal Mode” all based on these things. And people wonder why sometimes I can’t sleep…
So what was it today? Last night I mostly slept (minus some slight insomnia thanks to new thyroid meds taken at the wrong time that day). I didn’t contemplate all the theories my brain likes to profoundly toss about. I had a beautiful morning hike with a friend and my dogs. I texted with a guy I went on one date with so far (yes, me! wtf? to be fair he seems really awesome and I can’t wait to see him again). I’m in the process of breaking down walls and maybe, just maybe, starting to untangle that barbed wire from around my heart. So what was it?
Still Demons & Dragons
My good friend passed away last summer of stage 4 breast cancer. She was my age. We rode together. She always wanted to come camping with us with the horses and had talked about it for a few years. She loved my trailer with living quarters, and as a gift to herself after her initial diagnosis and chemo, she bought one like it – even nicer and brand new – it was beautiful. Drove all the way to Florida with her father to go get it. And she got to use it a few times. We rode together last spring and she had the trailer. But she never got to really camp in it.
There it was on Facebook this morning, for sale. It makes sense of course. I’m actually sorta surprised that her parents didn’t list it sooner. It’s brand new and absolutely stunning. But it hit me right in the gut that she wasn’t here to go camping with. The cancer came back with a vengeance and she didn’t make it through last summer. She never got to camp in that trailer in the mountains with us. And while my rose colored glasses are still pretty rosy, and my life is still pretty amazing as I picked up Rilian (my truck) from the shop this morning to head down the shore tomorrow to see an old friend, it also reminded me that there are no guarantees in life.
Above all, be YOU
So love whom you love. Be yourself. Stop making excuses, and please don’t waste time playing games. Life has no rules. There’s no wait x amount of days before calling, or don’t text him too much because it may be too fast. Don’t call him until he calls you. Wait for the right time to do this. Wait for the weather to be better to plan that trip. Wait til you save a little more money to go here or there. Wait for what, really?
Nothing. Stop waiting. LIVE. Live your life today. Be present in the moment and soak up the sun, but also soak up the clouds and the fog and the rain and the snow because all of that together is part of what makes life beautiful. Be happy for the friend you had (even if she’s gone now, and the others that are gone too) rather than wishing for the “could have beens” and “should have dones” that never came.
I’m not saying run blindly into the night screaming in glee as you guess whether the light at the other end of the tunnel is daylight or a train (spoiler alert: it’s probably a train). No, I’m not saying run blindly anywhere at all. I’m saying that sometimes you need to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and have a little faith. Finding a little hope along the trail often helps too. And then remember, you’re not new. This life isn’t new. And chances are you’ve had other lives before this one too. But this life we’re not in Narnia (and from what I hear, there’s even conflict there from time to time – just ask the White Witch). We’re right here on Earth, and the most we can do is make the best of who we are and the people that are in our lives today.
You never know when there’s demons and dragons hiding around the next bend. I’m manic. I always will be. I can go from flying as high as a bird to crashing and burning when I see my friend’s trailer for sale and I realize just how much I miss her – still – and likely always will. I want to warn you – I have demons and dragons. I’ll likely be escaping them my entire life, or lives. I don’t know if they follow you from this life to the next, I’ve never stopped to ask. I’ve been too busy fighting for my life, for what I believe in, and everything I stand for. This time, it seems like life is good – really good. Not just superficially good. But good in a way I haven’t entirely felt before, and in a way that’s both exhilarating, inspiring, and more than a little bit terrifying. When I fuck this up, can I live through this again? What if I don’t fuck this up? What if I do? What if the issue is me – what if it’s always been me? What if I’m not seeing around the next corner or thinking too far or not far enough ahead? What if my father was right and I’m not good enough? What if I never will be good enough? Sometimes there’s a reassurance in solitude and a comfort in a fortress built around being alone that also brings with it a sense of security that allows all the friends in the world in – without ever needing to ever really let anyone live there.
The what ifs will kill you if you let them. And the worst one is the one that’s the what if you never took that chance. But they’re friends with my demons – the what ifs are – and I’m trying to keep them all at bay. The dragons, however, they just keep telling me to open my eyes and see that I always could fly – and suddenly – I’m flying again. So take that chance, the chance of the most important what if. Isn’t it worth flying for?
To all of you who believe in dragons, keep on believing. I believe, too. This is for you. Because I always have been and always will be that girl.
Sometimes the best things in life are finding those comfortable spaces where you just fit. I’m not talking about the space on your couch – though that’s comfortable too. I’m talking about those spaces where you fit with comfortable silence. You know, those silences when you’re just comfortable with someone that the conversation flows, and those gaps between conversations is filled with that comfortable silence that you don’t need rush to fill in with words because you’re perfectly content to just be.
Comfortable spaces are like those comfortable silences, but better. It’s the comfort of sitting next to someone at a bar and when your leg touches theirs, not recoiling out of habit but being comfortable having someone else in your space. It’s those days just sitting and doing nothing and fitting into the space in life where things are okay. Being comfortable and realizing that not everything has to be a challenge and finding those comfortable spaces is one of the great parts about life.
Sometimes, you find those spaces out in the woods by yourself, enjoying the fog on a cool-warm day between raindrops and melting snow. Sometimes you find those spaces out on the town with friends when you go just a little bit out of your comfort zone and have a blast anyway. And sometimes, you find those spaces sitting next to someone at a bar on a day drinking excursion that turns out to be an incredibly comfortable space that you just don’t want to end.
Who knows, maybe it doesn’t have to. Maybe it does. Maybe all things that seem too good to be true really are. Or, maybe there are things in life that are just that good. For a change, I’m trying to not overthink everything, and have a little faith that maybe sometimes things really do happen for a reason. Even if that reason was just that I needed a really great Saturday to find a comfortable space. All the while hoping it’s more.
After writing last week’s blog about living a great story – your story – it also got me thinking about another one of my sister’s great quotes that I have hanging on my fridge on a photo of her crossing the finish of the NY Marathon (yeah, she runs for fun, I run only when chased…idk some days how we’re related, but I digress). And even though I’ll never get the whole running thing, the quote – now that’s something I get. Right here, through to my core. No running required.
Be your own superhero.
Really, why not? It makes sense, and I realized a few years back that I already was mine. I think that’s why I find the whole dating scene so frustrating and often opt to forego that and go for good company and good friends and good whiskey instead. It’s far easier than explaining living my life. This life. Life as a superhero.
I realized this with the help of a dear friend and a huge inspiration to me. She was the oldest rider to ever compete and complete at Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event – the only four star FEI event in North America and at just over ten years my senior, I hardly consider her old. If you met her, you’d know her spirit is as youthful as they come and that lends itself to her successes. She’s always smiling, always takes time for others, and has raised some wonderful kids, one of whom I am also privileged to call a colleague and friend. I’d like to think some of her inspiration has rubbed off on me.
She sometimes refers to me as a superhero for all I accomplish. Funny thing is, I look at HER as a superhero without having seen it in myself. And then I stopped and thought about it, and realized we could both be superheroes. After all, X-Men didn’t do it all themselves. They weren’t all men either. And superheroes often have superhero friends. So why then is it so hard to find other people that understand that? Just be yourself.
Yes, being yourself is extraordinary. The very definition of ordinary is “with no special or distinctive features” so by being yourself – your true self – and living your great story, you are therefore, extraordinary. No one else can be you. No one else can live your story. So stop being afraid of what’s out there and go out and do your extraordinary things, whatever those things may be. Whether it’s defying odds and competing around one of the hardest event courses in the world on your home made OTTB, or starting your own company and fighting for what you believe in. Even if it’s just a matter of living every day better than the last and embracing your quirks such as painting the laundry room to 80’s music while singing off key and having a blast with your friend and her kids.
Being extraordinary is a matter of being you to the fullest. Sometimes I take a step back and look at everything I accomplish on my own, and realize, wow, I really did do all of this. And I’ll do even more tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that. And sometimes, I’ll accomplish nothing more than a day on the couch after a soak in the hot tub and that’s okay too. Even superheroes need a day off from time to time.
I can see it. Can you?
You may not be able to see it in yourself, but if you can see the superhero in someone else, it’s there in you too. You just have to believe in yourself. Be you. You already are your own superhero. Even without ever running the NY Marathon and don’t worry, I’m not ever running it either. But follow your superpower dreams and go live your own superhero story because being your own superhero is the best way to be.
The best part of life is being your own superhero. When you can live life as yourself, with a passion and focus and drive – and above all, independence – that shows the world, you don’t need to be saved. You’re no damsel in distress. You’ve got this.
I’ve got this.
That doesn’t mean that I never need help. I do. And I am lucky enough to have some amazing friends that are there for me when I need them and I am there for them in return. Even superheroes need help from time to time. And no one should ever feel that they need to go it alone.
So why then is it so hard to understand this when I tell you I don’t need to be saved? I see this with my friends being told over and over the perfect guy is right there, or right here, or he really likes you and is a good guy so you should be with him. Should I? Should you? Should she? Really? What about the part that maybe I/you/she doesn’t WANT to be with him? What if all he wants is someone to protect and save, and that’s not what she ever needed at all?
Just how much of this is the #metoo movement and it’s reverberations throughout society and how much of this is basic male instinct or well, I don’t even know what anymore. I just know that I’m over it. I just want someone to BE with. Not to be saved, rescued, lost, or found. To just BE. Be me. Is that so much to ask?
You see, I can already take care of myself. One would think at 41 years old, I should be able to (but there is much of society these days that cannot, so who am I to say). I have my own home and farm to live on (rent or own, I don’t care, the point is, I live here, it’s home to me). I live on my own. I take care of my own horses and cats and dogs and chickens. I don’t have kids, but I am capable of taking care of my freind’s kids when I need to (mostly. I know to feed them and give them water, and a tv remote + a kitten will make even a sick kid feel better). I can rewire my own quad (and have to this spring). I have snowmobiles, and love mudding, sledding, and camping. I have a diesel truck and a rather large rig (horse trailer with LQ) and have been hauling a trailer myself for as long as I’ve had a license.
I have help when I need it, but also greatly enjoy doing a lot of this myself. I guess what’s most baffling to me is the fact that this is really who I am. It’s not some act to get someone interested. I LOVE sports (just ask my friends), beers + darts in The Dugout (my own game room at the farmhouse) is a favorite past time, and I genuinely am an outdoorsy person that you can find sitting on my four wheeler at the lake fishing for a large mouth bass to grill for dinner on just about any given day after work in the summer.
Funny thing is, I see more and more of my friends who are independent strong women struggling with these same things when it comes to the men in their lives.
We’re not damsels in distress, or waiting for a hero. We already are our own superheroes. We just need you to be YOU. And by that, I mean bring your own hobbies and strengths and superheroness to the table. Wow me with who you are, what you love, and what makes you awesome. Not what you can do for me – this isn’t a job interview or some planning for a future shopping spree. I have my own money to buy things, thankyouverymuch. No, I’d much rather you have your own life and passions and such, and learn about those.
Sure, there are girls out there that are still impressed that you can beat up their ex if they want, buy them dinner all the time (it’s okay to treat – that’s nice, but not a reason to date you in my book), and to rescue them from whatever bad situation they put themselves in next. Sorry, I’d much rather make better decisions, avoid those bad situations, and get to spend time with you over a rare steak and aged whiskey where great conversations flow. Is it that hard to see?
Why do Average Joes think that they deserve Supergirl?
Sometimes people only see the Clark Kent and never realize they’re standing next to Superman. Or Supergirl. So what? Does it really matter?
It matters to me.
It matters to me because I find it incredibly frustrating when me or one of my friends gets the line – oh you should date him, he’d totally take care of you. Or – you just need to open your eyes to realize you’ve had someone right in front of you all along who would make sure you never had any more problems. Really? Like that’s a thing.
What? Do you think I am blind? I can see who’s right in front of me. I always have. I’m not stupid. Just waiting for that spark. Something DIFFERENT. Did you really think Supergirl would date Average Joe? She’s probably got plans with Superman after they’re both done saving their own respective days. So please, be a superhero. To your friends, your kids, your family, and above all, yourself. I’ll meet you for dinner after you’re done and we can catch up on our days and the things we love most in life, together.
It was just about a week ago that I finally sat down, and opened up the envelope with my horse Lucky’s hair, and it was almost a year since I lost him. I wasn’t home that day – I was on my way to Kentucky for work and just about an hour from the Horse Park when I got the call that he was injured in a pasture accident (Lucky was a master at pasture accidents, so initially this wasn’t a huge shock as he could get injured in a padded room most days and hadn’t been rideable in well over a decade). The vet was on the way. The rest of the circumstances surrounding that evening and everything that happened are lost in a blur of phone calls, text messages, juggling work responsibilities and checking in at the park, and, of course, the final outcome. He was gone. I collapsed in a heap of tears and despair. Not being there to triage and attend to him myself, and be there with him in his final moments is something I am gutted over to this day. Opening the envelope with the lock of his hair was the first step in realizing that everything happens for a reason, even when that thing that happens is sad and tragic, or jolting, or shocking, or something you never expected. Or maybe it was something you did. But somewhere in there, there’s a reason in everything. You just have to look for it.
What followed next was a whirlwind of change that lead me to where I am today. On my own farm in a long term situation surrounded by one of my lifelong best friends who I can trust not just with my own life, but the lives of my animals as well. That alone is a peace of mind that is priceless. Since moving, my cats are fitter (Caspian is even less fat!), the horses are fatter (free choice hay + low stress environment will do that!), and my dogs are in heaven (figuratively, not literally!). Finally, I’m learning to breathe again. And I mean really breathe, not just survive. I realized that a lot of life is figuring out which bridges to cross, and which bridges to burn, and the move last summer started for the first time in my life to make that clear to me.
I’ve been able to take a step back and when things started to feel overwhelming, I had a safe space to be that I could retreat, regroup, and heal. And that’s exactly what I did. I took time for me. I took time with friends. I took a mental health day from work. And I was able to remember – from the reassurance of my own self, as well as the support of true friends – that even when someone wants me to be their scapegoat, no one can change my own reality but me. And with that, I was able to let it go.
Let it go. Stop holding on to worry and concern. Stop fretting over who was saying what about me, if someone really thought I did this or I didn’t do that, and making sure that everyone heard my side. I realized my side doesn’t matter.
My story does.
And so I sit here to tell my story, only to realize that I don’t need to tell it. As my sister always says, “live a great story.” That’s exactly what I am doing – living. A great story.
My great story.
Thing is, the truth always seems to have a funny way of coming out. Stories, you see, have a life of their own, and what you spin into story comes to life. It would seem that all those years of staring at this poster believing I really could climb through the wall and ride that unicorn to go on great adventures was every bit as true as I believed it to be. Because it was part of my story, and so it came to life for me, in its own way. The same holds true of any other stories you put out into the world. You breathe energy and life into them when you tell them, so make sure the story you’re telling is a great one. But also an honest one. Because if it’s not, those elements of untruths will start to fall apart. They can’t hold up in the light as well as the truth can and their little bits of darkness start to seep through the cracks, and eventually they crumble under the light. When that happens, those spaces the untruths leave behind start to open up gaps in the story. Gaps that will be filled by other people in the stories, and they’ll start to plug those holes with their truths, or perhaps, their own untruths. But if they fill those holes with their own untruths, over time they too, will crumble and so the cycle will continue until all the dust has settled and all that remains is the truth.
So unless your story exists in a vacuum, or perhaps in a cabin in the woods with no interaction from others akin to Walt Whitman’s humble abode, it’s always best to tell your TRUE story.
Be honest. Be raw. Be real.
But above all, be you.
I’m me. It’s the only person I know how to be. And I want to live a great story, so I am. This story of mine is one of friendship and courage, of mistakes and fuck ups, trials and tribulations. It also includes heartbreak, juvenile mistakes, and adult lessons that all lead me to where I am today. And I’m not done yet. My story moved with me to New York last summer. It went with me to the Western Beer Garden Winterfest in Callicoon yesterday. It was a part of me when I forgot to unplug my aftermarket car seat heaters from the cigarette lighter and killed my battery in the middle of a snowstorm and needed a jump, forcing me to go back inside and maybe, give my number to that fun guy I was talking to all night. Maybe. It was with me when we *almost* made it over the mountain to Shandelee and just about did then Squirrel Nut Zip Car overheated and we had to slide back down in neutral and go the long way through Roscoe. It was with me today when I cleaned the house, and when I played with the dogs and cats, and when I went outside and did the barn chores for the whole of 20 minutes a day it takes me thanks to my awesome setup here. It was with me when I took a little longer to relax and spend some time with my horses, and when I came back inside to change so I could soak in the hot tub, and it was still my story when I got out of the hot tub and then decided that chocolate covered fruit and sweats and an afternoon on the couch watching Daytona was so my thing today.
My story is also one that I tell to be inspirational. To serve as a warning to others to help them from making the same mistakes that I have made. To help everyone who’s manic know that they’re not alone. We’re never alone even when we are. That’s the beauty of a great story. It has a life all its own. My story also has you in it. Because you’ve been here for me. All of you. Even those of you that I don’t necessarily want in my story are in my story if I give you words, or tell your tales intertwined with mine.
Suddenly, I realized, that if I didn’t want you in my story, I just had to stop talking about that part of the story and, like an actor on a television drama, let it be written right off the show.
That leaves the rest of it. The friends I have. The life I lead that I hope can be inspirational as well as encouraging. Humorous, different, a little off kilter even, and always without a paddle. And I know not everyone will like my story, nor will everyone want to be a part of my story. But that’s okay. Because sometimes you’re too much for people and that’s okay too. Those people aren’t part of your tribe, so don’t waste time trying to write them into your story.
Live a great story. Live your story.
And believe in yourself because it’s an amazing life when you write your own story. After all, no one else can write your story but you. What are you waiting for? Me? I’m here living my story. Write with me and let’s see if our stories intertwine.
I was going to bed just now to have Iris by Goo Goo Dolls come up on my newsfeed with them playing in the rain and I had to stop and listen. Because I couldn’t sleep, and it’s raining, and because that’s a song that spoke to my soul years ago in my teenage years, and still speaks to me today.
Because there are days that you don’t want the world to see you, and you don’t think that they’d understand. When everything’s meant to be broken, I just want you know who I am.
I don’t want to to go home right now, but I’m home already and I know home now like I never have before. But I also miss you with a heart that’s been broken since I was a misunderstood teenager and you and your mother took me in, broken and all, no questions asked, and called me a part of your home.
Fuck. It’s been 23 years this July and it still hurts. I guess at this point it’s safe to say that it never doesn’t hurt, because if “time heals all wounds” by now you’d think I’d be healed. But I’m not.
I’m still every bit as much that broken 18 year old who lost her best friend. That fucked up twisted teenager still figuring out what it means to have people you can trust, learning to cherish the ones you can and spot the ones you can’t – and dealing with the fallout when you’re wrong. Again.
Sure, I’m a little bit wiser. A lot less manipulative. A whole lot more aware of myself and my actions and how they affect others that I care about, and how to become a better person and live a better life while not trampling those around you. Despite a fun online persona, I drink and party a whole lot less. I think and contemplate, and even meditate a whole lot more. And I’ll tell you the opposite because it’s all about appearing cool, while those of you that know me know that I’d rather be at home waiting for my Moulin Rouge Ewan MacGregor to come sing to me our song than I am actually interested in going out and finding some guy at a bar because it’s better than being alone.
Truth be told, I’d rather be alone. Because at this point, after this many years, I have little reason to believe that anyone else would understand me like you did and that was 23 years ago. What’s the chances that lightening strikes the same place twice? I already found you once. And that’s only counting this life.
Somehow I tend to believe that I’ll never find anyone who can understand my manic passion and crazy life the way you did. To be fair, I’ve never really given anyone a chance. Not even you. But I was a kid then. And we were kids together, riding subway cars talking about dreams and how the whole world misunderstood us. The only difference now is that I’m misunderstood all on my own. All because I won’t let anyone else in, but to be fair you set that bar so high that any time I tried no one compared.
I miss you, forever. For always. And I miss the friends that we had around us that you were the glue that held us all together. And I recognize my own part in some of us falling apart – mostly myself and how I managed to isolate myself from the very people that loved me – and I’m sorry. Of all people, I never meant to let you down, You really were the closest to heaven that I’ve ever been, and I’ll never stop missing you, my friend. But I promise to keep working on being a better person. Today, tomorrow, and always. Because you’d want me to be, and you’d be kicking me in the ass right now for sitting right here sleepless and alone all of my own doing.
If only I could see where I was going.
They say that often the truth lies somewhere in between. They’re right, you know. Even though I don’t know who “they” really are. But that’s not really what matters. What matters is not what others say about you, or what you think they think about you, or even what they actually think about you. What matters is how you live your life, and that’s something no one else knows the truth about other than you.
Also in between is this sense of life. Where we are going. Where we’ve been. Where we are now is always in between that. It’s not a bad thing, really. It just is what it is. And sometimes, in between is just a step along the way and you can feel like you’re stuck there even when you’re not. It’s always just a matter of perspective. Whether you’re in between things, in between here and there, yesterday and tomorrow, or solidly on the road to tomorrow. And sometimes the difference is just a matter of making up your mind.
I’m on the road for tomorrow. Firmly. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other, I know where I am going. I also know where I’ve been.
Even when I don’t like admitting where I’ve been, I can always admit that I’ve learned from it and whether I saw it at the time or not, it had its purpose in my life at that time for whatever reason or lesson it was I needed to learn. And so I’m happy to say I’ve learned, and moved on, moved forward, and no, I am not looking back.
Some people like to dredge up the past, point fingers and blame, and talk out of both sides of their mouths. Saying on one hand that this is the situation or circumstance, but on the other trying to also own the results without the blame. Or maybe they want to own the blame because playing the victim works for them. In some cases, it’s about attention. In other cases it’s about things I can’t even explain or understand, nor do I care to try. Reality is often in between, and always personal. If you can’t own your life, stop, make changes. And then own it. Not later, not tomorrow, not when there’s more time. Now Do it now. Because you’ve got fucking time. This is the most important shit you can deal with so do it right this minute before you do anything else. Understand the difference between delegating and shirking. Delegate to grow and learn while still owning everything under your umbrella, whatever that umbrella may be.
I’m still learning. Life is all about learning and every day I am learning more. It’s been a long time since something threw me in such a tailspin as so many recent events have (and no, it’s not just one thing, and it’s more than you think), but it’s also never been something I’ve been so readily able to own. To say this is me – I am manic – and I need some time but I’ll be okay. And it’s okay to take a mental health day. And it’s okay to talk about it. Or not. You do you. No one needs to tell you how to live your life. Just own it. Own yourself. Own your body. Own your rules. Own your life. It’s okay if you color outside the lines, or prefer math to magic, or magic to monotony, or unicorns to horses, or a pet rock to a pet anything else.
You do you. No one else can.
Just remember that. When you’re down and out, or struggling with the whys or hows or who’s, or in a twist to put what you thought you knew as reality back together because someone pulled the rug out from under you, just stop and remember. Nobody else is you. Not here. Not there. And not anywhere in between.
There are days that life doesn’t even feel comfortable in your own skin. And others where your mind can be a scary place. I’ve lived in both places, and while I try not to dwell there anymore, there are days that things are what they are. Sometimes you need to just look around, realize what is going on, and move on.
Recently I’ve had several people come in and out of my life. People that I thought were good – but that’s a fault of mine, always seeing the potential irregardless of the person that potential inhabits – that turn out to be anything but. I’ve learned over the years that there are friends, and there are givers, and there are takers. Friends are a two way street. Givers give to appease some sort of guilt or need for self worth that, no matter how nice it may seem up front, slowly sucks away your soul. And takers, who only see things from their point of view and want only to leech from you whatever it is that benefits them.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. Sometimes you think a pauper is a princess, or the other way around. But eventually, everyone’s true colors show through.
And so here I am, at my desk at near midnight, with a glass of wine and a side of insomnia, spilling my guts on a blog I haven’t looked at or even logged into in over a year. Well fuck me.
And then sometimes there are days when your family doesn’t feel like they even know you. Like you’ve built your own traditions on who you are, irregardless of who you are related to, but you still love them just the same. Or maybe there’s something they do or somewhere they go and they forget to invite you and it hurts. It hurts like fucking hell and you’re the oldest so you don’t want to really tell them that you cried at your desk when you saw the posts on Facebook about that awesome time you were never invited to. Maybe it’s when your friend who you trust with your whole life makes a joke, an innocent joke that you just happen to be the brunt of, and they have no way of knowing but the result of that night was you. In a hotel room. By yourself. Throwing your phone into the wall wishing it would break because then you’d have something tangible to be mad at which made a lot more sense than being mad at yourself for being so weak/hurt you were in tears for the first time in who knows how the fuck long.
Maybe there’s just that nerve exposed just enough that it hurts in ways you can’t ever anticipate but that when it happens you want to scream. You know it’s not anyone’s fault – they didn’t mean it – but it hurts just the same. Then your perception of someone is totally changed and someone you called a friend and trusted turns out to be one of the most pathological liars that you have ever met and you start to not trust yourself.
No. No, that’s not good. Because when you stop trusting yourself you end up typing a blog that no one will read and all of a sudden it’s 2am and you’re still at your desk in your home office alone with your cats and dogs. #winning #ornot
And then you take a deep breath and calm down. Sip some more wine. And reread what you wrote about Robin Williams two years ago. You remember what madness is, why you have it, and how it makes you great even when no one else in the world believes in you. And then your friends reach out to you – not the crazy ones, the real ones – and you remember that you really have found your tribe. It may not be a big tribe, and you may not be blood related (but maybe you are), and either way it doesn’t matter because you realize that you’ve found your people. You can hear thoughts, and theirs never make you paranoid. They just help you remember that you are, truly, loved.
Then all of a sudden it’s okay to be in your skin. And
Thank you, guys. I wouldn’t be here without you.
#findyourtribe #liveyourlife #loveyourfriends #beinyourskin