Filed under: everyday stories

in my head, in my heart, in my soul

I am 29 and home recovering from a minor surgery, in a pink t-shirt and jeans, idly logging on to Facebook to see what’s going on in the world.

I am 29 and frantically logging onto a comic fandom message board to try to make sense of something terrible I’ve just seen referenced on Facebook.

I am 29 and calling his house over and over again, 10 – 20 – maybe 50 times before gradually realizing he is not there, but there might be other people there I’m annoying. I call a few more times anyway in case one of them might pick up the phone and let me know this isn’t true, this isn’t happening, he’s fine or in the hospital or anything, literally anything, but dead.

I am 29 and listening to his voice mail greeting for what I will later realize was the last time.

I am 29 and frantically calling my parents, who are in town for the day at a program over on campus. I am 29 and humiliated that I am crying so hard they get frustrated because they can’t understand me.

I am 29 and trying to explain to my boyfriend of three months, over instant messages, that I need him to leave work because someone died, someone so desperately precious to me that I have guarded him like a secret, whose existence my boyfriend was not at all aware of until he was gone forever and definitely not a threat anymore.

I am 29 and lying curled like a question mark on my living room floor, crying uncontrollably and remembering a time when we had a phone call where we both cried like this because we could not find a way to bridge the distance between us.

***

I am 29 and I am embarrassed all the time because I am a raw open bleeding wound but the people who see me grieving never even knew the guy, might have heard his name once or twice, and certainly had no idea what he meant to me.

I am 29 and I don’t sleep for days.

***

I am 39 now and I have had more time than Frank was given.

I am 39 and he’s been gone almost as long as I knew him.

I am 39 and at some point in the past ten years I was finally able to stop wondering what might have been.

I am 39 and I still think about him most days.

I am 39 and after so long, his memory does bring me strength, joy, inspiration, and happiness — just like Mike Nebeker promised.

1 Comment April 18, 2019

thanks, obama.

In just a few hours, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.

If you are a time traveler from the past, I’m sorry; this is as confusing and inexplicable to me as it is to you.  But it’s real and it’s happening and if you have a second after going back in time to take out Hitler, please fix this.  We would be so grateful.

But I don’t want to talk about him any more today.  I want to talk about Obama.

I first noticed Barack Obama about the same time many others did, during his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.  I was in New Hampshire at the time, at Dartmouth for a conference, and several of us watched the speech in the lounge of the dorm where we were staying.  I don’t remember a word he said but I remember thinking whoa, this dude has something special.  In 2008, I gave to his campaign (possibly the first time I ever made a campaign donation), attended a number of rallies, and had the great privilege to be one of just 2,000 people who got to see him speak at a campaign event in Lynchburg, Virginia.  To this day, that is one of the most cherished memories of my life.

I wrote this and every word of it is still true.

I voted for him and when his victory was announced, I sat on my couch and cried and cried.  I could not believe what I was witnessing.  I remember watching his victory speech on TV and seeing some elderly people of color in the audience who were crying like I was, and I thought, they never expected this to happen in their lifetime.  Never.  And neither did I.

The last eight years have been very good to me – in part because of this administration and probably in part due to dumb luck.  I met and married a wonderful man.  He has earned not one, but two graduate degrees.  The job market for both of our industries is very strong and has seen healthy growth.  We moved to a city with even more opportunities than the cities we left.  We have been stably and gainfully employed, and our family income has increased dramatically.  We drive newer, reliable cars and live in a safe and spacious home.  We can afford the health care we need and are able to provide for our kids.  We have been able to take vacations.  I never worry anymore about whether I can pay the bills or afford food or go to the doctor when I’m sick.  I was able to witness health care reform and marriage equality, Dodd-Frank and the end of the 2008 recession, international agreements on climate change and trade, nuclear peace agreements and steady job growth and the reopening of the embassy in Cuba.  Plus, I got the world’s best dog the very next day after Obama’s first inauguration.

Obama has not been a perfect president, and that’s okay with me.  I never expected him to be.  But I truly believe he has been the greatest president of my lifetime – a man of tremendous intelligence and integrity, who spent eight years without a whiff of personal scandal, who modeled loving and respectful relationships with his amazing wife and gorgeous daughters, who took the high road even when it must have chapped his ass like crazy.  I have been so fortunate to have been alive to see his tenure.

We had a good run.  I can only hope to live to see a day when another president comes around who inspires me the way this one did.

Thanks, Obama.  I will miss you.

Leave a Comment January 20, 2017

enjoy the silence (or suffer mightily)

It’s the dumbest thing: I need to write a post because I can’t speak right now.

I caught this terrible cold on January 3rd from Seth, who had had it since Christmas.  Talking about being sick is boring and I know this because I’ve been reading my archives lately, and it turns out I wrote about being sick a lot and it was always boring.  So anyway.  Seth, who never gets sick, got this cold and had it for weeks.  I got just a little too cocky about not catching the cold and promptly came down with it on January 3.

It’s a really bad cold – one of the worst I’ve ever had.  And I still have it.  And I know I caught it on January 3 because I’m keeping track, because it’s now January 19 and I still have it and some days I’m convinced I’ll never be well again.  Between January 3 and last night I was averaging 4 hours of sleep a night, usually on the couch downstairs instead of in my own bed, and never with my CPAP so any sleep I got was of poor quality.  I coughed for hours every day and night.  Most medicine didn’t help.  When I went to the doctor and broke down sobbing, they gave me better medicine that only sort of helped.

Side note: If I were ever a prisoner and they used sleep deprivation to torture me, I’d give up all the info I had on like day 2.  I need my sleep.  I don’t know how people have fussy babies and function without sleep for days on end.  This has been miserable.

And then on Monday I lost my voice completely.  I can’t even croak.  At best, it comes out in a whisper.  It’s Thursday now and I’m still basically mute.  I’ve had laryngitis before but I don’t remember it being so…thorough.  And it’s never lasted this long.

A funny thing I’ve learned this week is that when you can’t speak, people stop speaking TO you, too.  I’m still having to go to work because I can’t exactly take a month of sick time, and I have to go to meetings, and I have ideas but mostly I can’t share them.  When I do try to speak it frustrates people because they can’t hear my whisper.  But I still have to be there.  People have casual conversations around me and don’t include me even though I’m just a few feet away and can still hear them just fine.  It is very lonely.

Lots of people from outside my department dropped in to my office (which I share with another person) yesterday, and when they chatted and I didn’t they started to think I was being weird, so then I’d whisper that I had laryngitis.  It happened often enough that one person finally suggested I make a little sign to put on the back of my monitor so people would just know.  I thought that was a good idea so I found some cutesy little thing online and printed it and put it up.  I thought I was so clever that I then posted it on Facebook, like yeah, maybe this is dramatic, but damn it I can’t talk and someone suggested it so here’s what I went with.

A casual friend who almost never interacts with me online made sure to take the time to tell me that I was ridiculous, that a sore throat was a first world problem, and that there was no sign on earth that could make it cute.  This helpful comment started with, “I like you, but-” which is always a clue that you’re about to be told something that will make you feel lousy.  I post on Facebook every single day, often multiple times, but this is the post that really spoke to this person and needed a response.  Maybe he’s tired of reading my daily complaints about being sick.  I’m tired of BEING sick every day so I guess we’re even.  Whatever.

So I threw the sign in the trash.  I deleted the post.  And then I cried for fifteen minutes straight.  Thankfully, everyone was at lunch and no one saw.  But I don’t know, that stupid comment broke something in me, and the fifteen days without sleep and the hours upon hours of coughing and the constant exhaustion and the isolation and the fear I’ll never be better all hit me at once and I cried so many more times yesterday.  Big ugly snotty crying – none of those gentle brave tears for me, no sir.  I cried because I can’t talk and every time I try someone tells me to shut up and thinks they’re being funny.  I cried because I can’t sing along to the radio in the car.  I cried because some dude tried to panhandle me at the gas station and when I was unable to speak to him, he backed away like I had leprosy.  I cried through 95% of the newest episode of This is Us and I didn’t even like that stupid episode.  I cried because my husband didn’t like that episode either and said so.  I cried because he didn’t want to eat a brownie.  I cried because I didn’t get enough steps on my Fitbit (and that’s part of a longer story for another day).  I cried because Obama isn’t going to be president anymore.  I cried because I was exhausted.  Not one of those reasons is an exaggeration, by the way.  All of them are real reasons why I really cried.

And I don’t know if it was just that the dam finally broke, or that Seth is a very calming presence, or what, but last night I managed to stop crying finally, and to get 7 solid hours of sleep with the CPAP in my actual bed, and it felt so wonderful I wanted to hire a skywriter to fly over Nashville so everyone would know.  I’m still coughing but not quite as much as I had been.

Maybe I’m finally getting better.  I certainly hope so.  But I also really hope my voice comes back soon, because I didn’t realize how much I like to talk – NEED to talk – or how much I would miss my voice until I lost it.

Leave a Comment January 19, 2017

archaeology

As I’ve done so many times before, I decided to find ten minutes dedicate to writing a post.  It’s been a while.  I mean, aside from yesterday’s post of course.  But much like physical activity, building the habit of writing again is going to take time and work.

I don’t even know if blogging is where I want my writing to be anymore.  I feel much more protective of my life and the people in it these days – plus, I’m old and my life is boring now.  I’m 35.

Twelve years ago around this time I compared myself to a lesbian for no good reason and my mom said my “diary” was “slutty.”

Eleven years ago I went to a bachelorette party and was visited by the worst stripper in world.  We hid in the bathroom to avoid having him grind on us.

Ten years ago I was really struggling with my depression and needing a medication adjustment.  That was another time when I used the ten minute writing exercise to grind out a post.

Nine years ago I was in Florida at a conference when there was a British airline terror plot that disrupted air travel and led to the 3oz liquid rule we still suffer with today.  I was really annoyed at having to pack my wide variety of lip glosses in my checked luggage.

Eight years ago I wrote about this stupid dream I had, but I also wrote one of my favorite stories on the site, about the time we put Steve the cat in the swimming pool.

Seven years ago I wrote a list of ten things other people were doing that, at the time, I thought I might never do.  Since then I’ve accomplished 4-6 of the ten depending on how we’re counting.

Six years ago I didn’t write at all in August or September.  2009 was a hard year where I lost a good friend, was diagnosed with sleep apnea, wrecked my car, and indefinitely delayed starting graduate school (I’m still delayed).  But it was also the first summer I spent with Seth, who turned out to be a keeper.

I also did not write anything in August five years ago, but there was a lot going on.  I changed companies after nine years at the college, Seth and I moved to Charlottesville, his car spontaneously combusted, my dad had a heart attack…some of that happened in September actually but it was still pretty eventful.  I wrote about that a little bit here.

Four years ago I was barely writing at all, but stuff was happening.  I switched jobs again, to one I hoped was a better fit and that came with a much higher salary.  We also bought a car and I tried roller derby for a minute.  I bought all this stuff, skates and everything, and I’ve never worn the skates outside the house.

August was crazy again three years ago because Seth’s company relocated its operations, leading us to move from Charlottesville to the Nashville area.  We were settling into a whole new place, I had a new job, and once again, stuff was eventful.

And I really don’t know what was going on two years ago in August.  No one was moving or changing jobs.  Facebook says I was playing a lot of board games and that things were vaguely annoying at times.

Finally, last August I was planning our wedding.  See, I told you Seth was a keeper.  By this time I loathed wedding planning and had become a miserable shell of myself.  I never felt less connected to my family and friends than while I was wedding planning.  It was the weirdest thing.

So here I am, August 2015.  I’m very happily married to that guy I wrote about so many years ago.  Our wedding turned out to be awesome and I’ll tell you about it sometime.  In the meantime, August is proving once again to be quite the eventful month, with lots of changes.  I don’t know why, but this time the upheaval got me itchy to write again.  Let’s see if I find anything else to talk about.

1 Comment August 14, 2015

things i do in traffic:

  1. Examine the tire treads on other cars and make judgments about whether they should get new tires.
  2. Read bumper stickers.
  3. Ruminate (but who are we kidding?  I ruminate everywhere.).
  4. If the car behind me has multiple people in it, try to determine if they’re fighting.
  5. Try to figure out if anyone around me is listening to the same radio station as I am.
  6. Count the number of people who are/are not wearing seatbelts and judge the ones who aren’t.

things I do NOT do in traffic (but other people do):

  1. Read the newspaper (or a damn book for crying out loud).
  2. Put on makeup.
  3. Fix my hair.
  4. Shave.
  5. Take selfies.

1 Comment August 13, 2015

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