Unity

I’ve moved (finally).

Here I am in West Chester. And boy was it hard to get here.

Things fell so quietly into place with Andrew and I finding a house, working my fingers to the bone until the day that I moved. In a way it was so much of a whirlwind that it was sort of hard to process. But I think that was the best way for my mind and soul to handle it.

It was hard leaving. The entire week I was gathering my things, I was on the verge of tears at the drop of a hat. Leaving my friends, my mountains, the life that I had always known and returned to. Leaving Mom and Dad was harder than I thought. Leaving Main Cup was harder than I thought! I never realized how much I had grown to love that place, those people, until my last shift. Granted, restaurant life is always a mess of stress and bitching, which is why I was surprised to find it hard to leave. People I never expected to cry bawled their eyes out — including me.

And I bawled my eyes out the morning that I left, with a sinking feeling in my heart that there was an end of my rope that would always be attached to Middletown. Even the songs on the radio seemed to point to me staying in Middletown. It felt like my last breakup — where songs brought back emotions, seemed to speak wisdoms to me that I was eager to soak up and turn into my staying. I guess we’ll know in the next few years whether or not they were wisdoms or falsehoods.

But as the tears rolled down, I tried to keep my chin up. You must let go of the past to make way for the future. So this little potted plant grew too big for her pot, and she was transferred to a new one.

So far I’ve been surprised at how at home I already feel here. I miss my friends, and I look forward to making ones at whatever job I stumble upon. There are still glaring moments where it’s hard to be here. The first time I drove to the gym here, I was struck with this surreal feeling of being in an alternate dimension, that were I 100 miles south I would be on a similar road to an entirely different gym, living an entirely different life. The first week being up here was a chaotic battle between calm and calamity. Peace and war waging within my own mind and body.

The second and third weeks haven’t been as bad, though I’m still terribly bored throughout the day. I’m missing human interaction, to the point of enjoying the short exchanges with cashiers at the dollar store. But the evenings and weekends spent with Andrew make me feel like I’ve made the right choice.

I will say, it has been difficult motivating myself to get outside. I don’t know the area spectacularly well, so I’m not sure of any good nearby trails. So that part of my soul has been feeling a little worse for wear. Especially with daily reminders that around this time last year I was on my big trip out west.

But enough about the insecurities of a wavering mind.

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– – –

I’ve noticed myself becoming a little more cynical (and I can’t help but wonder if it is that I don’t have the same fun outlets in PA yet. I read somewhere that healthy people laugh at least 13 times a day, and sometimes I know I don’t reach that number).

I think I need to reconnect to my empathetic soul. I was always proud of being compassionate. I think I’ve stepped further from that than I would ever have wanted.

I was watching The Bachelorette (of all things) with my sister tonight. They were in Thailand, speaking with monks in temples about love and Buddhist ideals. Naturally, my first inclination was to doubt how real all this “reality” tv is — and I stand by you shouldn’t be a brainless and gullible consumer. But they were talking about how honesty, patience, and acceptance are central to Buddhist ideals.

We are currently growing in a society that is both wholly accepting and entirely ostracizing of “outcasts”. If you want to get political, when you think about it, the majority of people seem to ostracize. For example, most conservatives are notorious for not accepting gays. However, most liberals are not accepting of beliefs that vary from theirs. It’s a two-way street. To be able to talk freely with someone about their opinions without criticizing whether or not you believe in them too has become a rarity nowadays. It doesn’t make much sense to me. We live in a day of misinformation, and social media sites are teeming with misinformed opinions (of which I’m sure my hands are not clean!).

And lately, dating someone with more conservative-aligning views, I have found myself being more critical, less open to others. More mocking, less empathetic. I haven’t been proud of myself for it. (He is not to blame since I am the one experiencing this. I just think it adds to the influences I’ve had around me in the last year or so).

I think tonight was the reminder I needed to get back on what I feel is the right track. To express that love, acceptance, and compassion for everyone I meet. To go into the world with an open heart and try to help those who need it. With all the hate that is spread in this world, I want to believe there is an equal amount of good going into it. The news is just made to scare us all. Do we want to be scared, or be free in mind, body and spirit?

I thought I had more to say, but this tea tree oil diffuser & that glass of wine is making me tired. I think I’ve said what I need to. Let’s be worldly people together.

Love,

Dani

I’m Going Where You Are

This weekend I watched two coworkers get married, and it was a weird, surreal experience for me.

Phoebe was always so independent, and she never wanted to be in a relationship. As far as I know, she had never been in a long-term relationship. Of course, if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you’ll know that I am a proponent of “when you know, you know”. But it was still strange to think people my age are getting married.

Andrew sat quietly beside me, the third wedding we’ve been to together since we’ve been together. I can’t wait to marry him, that’s for sure. But I’m glad we’re waiting until I’m 25. Finding a house is hard enough — I don’t need the pressure of planning (and making sure I’m ready for) a wedding of my own just yet. Though I certainly won’t say no when he decides to give me that ring!

After a somewhat early night, we headed home, and I became very emotional with Andrew. I started tearing up, telling him how much I love him, how I can’t wait to marry him. He was incredibly sweet, stroking my cheek, telling me how much he loves me too, how he can’t wait either.

(Thankfully he and I are both very rational people, or else we might have eloped right there)

And, because I was already so emotional and knew I needed a good cry, we went upstairs and I threw on PS I love you, a movie that is GUARANTEED to make me cry EVERY TIME I watch it. Andrew just tried going to bed since he had to get up early, but basically as soon as I pressed play on the movie I started bawling my eyes out.

(This is not the first time I’ve bawled my eyes out to PS I love you in front of Andrew. Thank god he loves me.)

It was just so hard thinking “what if something horrible like that happens to me and Andrew? What if he dies suddenly of a brain tumor or a heart attack? What on earth would I do without him by my side?”.

I’ve always had this weird feeling that whatever I have is going to be taken from me unexpectedly. I’m hoping it’s just irrational anxiety. Or maybe Fate knew I was going to fall in love with someone almost 10 years older than me, knowing he will likely go before me. Maybe It was just preparing me. But I don’t think anything could prepare me for losing Andrew.

I told him yesterday that, before meeting him, I had never really thought I’d meet someone I could never live without. I’d dated people, fallen in love with them, and even for as much as I depended upon them, when things ended, I was okay. I cried, I went through my depressions with dumb, hollow feelings, but I always came out the other side feeling fine and moving on.

And then I met Andrew, and ever since I haven’t been able to envision a future without him with me. He is my companion through everything. Whatever event I want to go to, an amusement park, a concert, a wedding — I want him there. He treats me so lovingly, with foot rubs after a long day at work, a head rub to get me to sleep at night, a shoulder rub after celebrating the Capitals winning their first Stanley Cup (woo!), and always a “good morning beautiful/gorgeous/cutie/my love” text when we are away from each other.

He is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I just want us to love each other forever, for the rest of the days we have together. We handle each other so well. And while sometimes I may not be super patient with him, he always takes it in stride. We communicate so well, and we genuinely support each other and work to understand each other. We are open minded, even though we are both so opinionated. It’s liberating to have someone love you wholeheartedly for exactly who you are. Plus, getting full body massages every other week ain’t a bad gig.

I know I could never live without him. Should we make it to old age, I know that he will be waiting for me when he goes. And I’ll be ready to go when my time comes, so I can spend eternity in his arms.

Naturally, having all of these existential crisis thoughts while watching PS I love you makes one emotional! So I continued to cry while Andrew tried to sleep next to me. But as soon as I made a noise, he turned around and held my face, kissed my cheeks, and whispered how much he loves me, how he’s never going to leave me like that. For several minutes. Until I finally calmed down and fell asleep.

Lucky me, he even loves my emotional crying over existentially stress-inducing thoughts! What a wonderful man I have managed to snag.

This blog was inspired by events that happened this weekend, but also the song My Religion by Dierks Bentley from his new album.

I feel like Heather when I say “I love love!”, but I guess that’s why we’re friends.

Love,

Dani

 

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I’m a Riser

Last night I had a dream that my mom gave Misty (my dead cat) away while I was away somewhere. I was sobbing in the dream, so hurt and pained, angry with my mom for ever thinking she would give away one of my little babies. I writhed in my sleep, and I remember faintly waking up and touching my eyelashes to see if I had actually cried in real life. I did. It made me feel like a child.

Its’ always hard to wake up from those dreams. How do you start your day by trying to work through complex emotions of depression all because you had a dream about your cat that died a few years ago now? I’m supposed to jump into yoga and get on with my day with this confused feeling of depression that stems from nowhere but your own subconscious?

I think part of it is unprocessed feelings towards my moms involvement with my cat’s death.

Misty died my senior year of college, about a year or two after my first cat died. Mom had forgotten her outside, and she spent the night under our deck. I don’t blame my mom for that, it happens. Misty used to be a stray, realistically she would have been fine out there. But I think Misty was bit by something. When I came home and found her under the deck, she had a miserable meow that was more than her just not having water for 12 hours. Her neck was swollen, she was taking painful, heaving breaths.

And we left.

We went up to see Lauren that weekend, so as soon as I got home from college we were supposed to turn around and head to West Chester. But I wanted to see Misty first, and that’s when I found her under the deck. I immediately started crying, I was so worried about her. But we left because my parents didn’t want to spend more time in traffic.

When we came home that Sunday, Misty was my first priority. She didn’t look any better, and she had taken to staying in the basement. I asked Mom if we could take her to a vet. Mom said no. If Misty was going to pass, she would pass on her own time. Because putting Tequila (our other cat) down was too much for my Christian, life-loving mom.

But in my eyes, instead of allowing Misty to pass on her own, my mom was being selfish. Be it not wanting to pay for vet bills, not wanting to have to put Misty down a few years later, or not wanting to take care of another living thing in the house while I was gone, I felt my mom had selfish reasons for not taking my cat to the vet, not allowing her live.

I hate to say it, because I love my mom and I think she is a good person. But I do blame her, in my mind at least, for Misty dying so soon. If I could go back, I would take her to the vet on my own and do whatever I needed to to make sure that if should could have recovered and lived a few more years, she would.

It still pains me that I couldn’t be there with her when she passed, as is. I’m sorry, Misty. You deserved more.

*

This is the second time I’ve been in tears in about 24 hours (third, if you include my dream).

Yesterday I was upset about my damn birthday plans. My birthdays never pan out the way I want them to. It’s either close to Mother’s Day so no one can do anything, or it’s near finals week so people aren’t home. So, not to get into that, I’m already disappointed with my birthday this year. But that’s not the point of this part of the blog.

As I broke down in frustration and self-pity, Andrew was right there beside me. I could see the pain in his eyes at my tears. I know he always wants the best for me, that he wants me to be happy. And it many ways, he is responsible for my happiness. Between the massages, the millions of kisses, the laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying, I’m very fortunate to have met him.

One of my favorite things about him, one that I overlooked in my previous relationships, is the support he gives me. I’ve always seen myself as fairly strong, but I can’t describe the feeling of relief the comes with just being able to bare your soul out there to someone. To be vulnerable and to need someone and have them be there for you in every way imaginable.

I’m reminded of it everywhere. When he rubs my back at the end of a long, stressful day. When we talk about our future together. When I listen to “Riser” by Dierks Bentley. When we watch one of our shows and the main character kisses his hospitalized girlfriend. It’s like I can feel Andrew doing the same for me in those scenes. I know that he has my back any time that I need it.

And it’s just so freeing to know that I have someone who will work his fingers to the bone for me, hold me through the bad times and dance with me during the good times, someone who will pick me up when I need it most, dust me off, and hold my hand until I get back on my feet. “I’m a get down low so I can lift you higher.” That’s exactly how he is.

He loves me unconditionally. I will be forever grateful for his love, for his support, and for him. I look forward to spending the rest of my life in the arms of my soulmate.

 

 

Mom

I am bitter and I am angry.

The wind howling outside reflects the storm inside me, biting, twisting, gnawing to get out. Pure blind fury.

My mom is in the hospital battling Crohn’s disease, as she has been for at least the past 10 years of her life. She is dehydrated. She is pale. She smells of dried vomit. She is weak in body. It pains her to speak or sit upright. She is dying. She is hurting. And all I can think about is how this woman deserves so much more in her life.

She’s a physical therapist, yet all the RNs speak to her as if she is stupid. She’s been through the ringer – she knows what she’s talking about, how she reacts to certain medicines, what she’s comfortable with.

Her parents, my ungrateful grandparents that live with us and mooch off our home, off my mother’s strength. They have not given her the time of day since she was born. Everything is all about THEM. They are the parents, they are the elders, they are the ones that require all the attention because they’re old, they’re falling apart. They are the ones that can kiss my ass with that bullshit. I’ve never heard them say they are proud of my mother. I’ve never heard them say that they love her. I’ve never heard them thank her for every fucking thing she does for them, from trying to help grandma figure out grandpa’s caretakers, to taking them into our fucking home because she thought it was the right thing to do. Honor thy father and mother.

I can’t help but be reminded as to why I turned my back on God. I watched for years as my mom suffered through new restricting diets, new daily routines, horrible doctors, the stress of being lost in a disease that no one with money cares about. I have watched her suffer, in the most inhumane sense of the word. I have watched my mother suffer. For years. Begging God, praying to Him every chance I could that she would be okay, that things would be better for her, that she wouldn’t be in pain, that she would have a good day at work, that she would have a doctor that knew what they hell he was doing. And I have never seen those prayers answered. And it’s so frustrating and hurtful. I just want my mom to be okay, to not be in pain, and to enjoy what she has left in her life.

I want her to walk down the aisle at my and my sister’s weddings. I want her to hold whatever children we may have because she has been waiting for that moment since the day we were born. I want her to enjoy retirement with my dad after working her fingers to the bone for so long. I want her to have ONE easy part of her life. Something she can enjoy. And I can’t help but be angry with God that he hasn’t given that to her, the woman in my life who deserves it most.

I can’t help but be angry with my grandparents for neglecting her, for not loving her the way she needed to be loved. For invading our home and throwing more stress on her plate. For expecting to be taken care of when they never cared for my mother. For not doing anything for her in her childhood, and for not doing anything for her now. Grandma sleeps soundly, having said her nightly prayers, thinking that will do the trick, that she has done all she can do. To hell with her. And my grandfather. The stupid xanax-addicted asshole of a man, who wouldn’t even have put us in this state if he didn’t OD on all the drugs he was prescribing others for years.

Lauren and I hope that we can love our mom the way that she has loved us our entire lives – endlessly. We can only hope that we can show our own children the love that our mom has showed us since the moment we were born. She deserves to be loved, she deserves to be happy, and she deserves to not be in pain.

I do not apologize for this rant, because they are feelings I have bottled for a very long time. I fear losing my mother to this illness. I am terrified. I am crying. I am bitter. I am angry. Nothing could bring out those feelings but family.

End the battle with Crohn’s. Someone find funding for this shit. No one should have to endure that pain.

Tonight is one of those nights you walk around the house with all the lights off, because the light feels too exhausting and the darkness doesn’t scare you anymore.

I love you, Mom.

Little Black Dress

The room buzzes and I feel the sweat that has stuck itself to my face. I carry my black stilettos lazily in my right hand, my left hand draped comfortably in your arm, as it’s been there a million times before, as we sway our way out into the cool night air.

It’s rare that we get the night to ourselves, but a wedding with no kids allowed was just the blessing we needed.

I stare at you, smiles brilliant on both of our faces. It feels like we’re back on our honeymoon, finally feeling comfortable in a fitted black dress again. My heart stutters thinking back to your reaction when you first saw I was wearing this dress tonight. You knew exactly where the night was headed as soon as I put it on. And I gotta say, you weren’t wrong.

It feels like we’re kids again. Giggling all the way home, hands finding each other in the dark backseat of a taxi, unbothered by the presence of a stranger that we will never see again. I knew you wouldn’t be able to keep your hands off me tonight. I feel that coy smile break across my face as you lean in for another kiss.

It crosses my mind that we don’t make out sitting up anymore. It’s typically the short foreplay before trying to fit in another quickie. But tonight it goes on forever, trying to behave ourselves enough for the taxi driver’s sake. At least he can’t see your hands snaking their way up my long legs.

The lights flash outside the cab in the moments between our kissing, and all I can focus on is where your hands go, how handsome you look in your clothes, and how sexy that playful smile is.

We finally reach our hotel, and I’m still carrying my heels as your fish for our room key, eagerly awaiting the invitation that is our giant king-sized bed in a city miles away from all of our responsibilities.

As soon as you get the door open it’s game over. Our hands are free to explore each other anywhere they want, and it’s at that realization when we start undressing each other while still trying to keep our lips together. Why don’t we do this more often? I wonder. I refuse to let an actual answer provoke any anxieties. Not tonight. Not after all the liquor we’ve had. Not after putting this dress on.

Sometimes the best times are when all I think about is you. What feels good for you. I make sure I do everything you like, and it’s not long before you’re moaning and losing your breath at the same time. The best aphrodisiac? Feeling sexy for you. As I move, I glance at the little black dress in a rumpled puddle on the floor and grin. Your breath is short and you’re making that noise you always make, and I know that soon your world will be as black as my dress in just a few motions. All because of that old faithful little black dress. Thanks again, old friend, I think with a smile.

***

Fiction inspired by Dierks Bentley’s song Black and perhaps a fantasy with my wonderful boyfriend.

Apprehension

(continued from previous blog)

…It’s later and I’ve been a little upset lately about moving.

I’ve been very nostalgic about my small town for the past few days. Last week was the first time in a while that I stayed late at Main Cup, had my glass of wine under the glow of the hanging lights, chatted with some coworkers (shoutout to DJ WHITE HEAVAAA), and thought I’m actually going to miss this. 

Driving through town, knowing all the backroads and the main roads, knowing when to avoid certain intersections because school just let out… I’m going to miss knowing this small town like the back of my hand. There’s something so charming to me about small towns.

West Chester isn’t a small town… it’s a small city. It’s like downtown Frederick, but I’ve never really gotten the hang of DTF either, so it’s intimidating to me to be moving to a place that I have always viewed as cold, jagged, and unwelcoming. Pennsylvania was never in the plans for me. I had always dreamed of moving south. But the man of my dreams is in PA, and I want to be with him. I’m not afraid of that at all – I know he is the love of my life and I want to spend forever with him. It’s just the location.

I heard a song the other day saying “show me the long way around your town,” and it made me sad. I have a lot of pride for my small town. I love the mountains (I have them tattooed on my side. It’s the only tattoo that I have. Yeah, I love them).

I was worried about finding a job that wasn’t an hour-long commute to Philadelphia, and while I have been fortunate enough for an employer to be interested in me in a town only 20 minutes away, I fear they may pass me up because I’m not trying to move up until May.

I want to celebrate my birthday with all my friends without asking them all to travel to PA and crash in whatever tiny space we can provide them. I don’t want to leave my small town any earlier than I have to.

Deep down, a part of me is very scared that I will lose all of these friends and relationships because I move. I know I will have a few relationships that will survive – Heather, Mary, Rosie, Ryan – but I fear for the others. And it’s humbling to know that a place that meant so much to me, that helped form me, gave me the confidence to wholeheartedly be who I am, that I gave almost 6 years of my life to, will forget me. New workers will be hired, ones that will never know me, and eventually my homecomings won’t mean going to see all my friends at Main Cup. Eventually I will be a stranger to those at Main Cup. That has been a hard reality to process.

I know it’s a part of life. It’s something I need to learn – letting go gracefully. I must let go of this part of my life so that I can wholeheartedly start my new one. It’s just a hard transition.

Seeing how hard it was for my sister to move up to West Chester frightens me, I’ll admit. I don’t want to take out any unhappiness with West Chester on Andrew. He’s been incredibly supportive as is. Reassuring me that if I’m genuinely not happy up there, the move isn’t permanent. He’s willing to consider moving to Frederick for my happiness, but I don’t want to hold on to that. I want to put my best foot forward in West Chester and not just be counting down until we can move back to Maryland. He’s been sending me links to mountain trails that aren’t too far away, trying to comfort my outdoorsy side. I really do love this man.

As I said, I want to put my best foot forward. I’m trying to go into this transition with an open heart and open mind. But I’m also fighting the anxiety of moving. Trying not to cling tighter to the people and memories around me for fear of losing them. I’m still trying to navigate it. I hope I am happy.

 

Coronavirus 4.25.2020

Hi all,

Given all that’s going on in the world, I figured I should probably document what’s going on in the world in some way/shape/form. Though realistically if a true apocalypse happened, the internet wouldn’t survive and this would be lost anyways (Saturday night ramblings…)

Chester County, PA has been in quarantine since Friday, March 13, 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19/SARS-Cov-2 (or something like that). Which means it’s been almost two months since life has seemed somewhat normal.

It began in December for me. News of an outbreak of a deadly outbreak in China started hitting the news, and I was on high alert ever since. So many people travel to and from China on a daily basis, and in this technologically advanced, travel-based world, this was going to spread quickly. As I scrolled through the Daily Mail on Snapchat (I know, not the most reliable news source, but I pride myself in being critical of what I read in the news), I kept seeing “coronavirus” this and “coronavirus” that, with infection and death reports increasing at an alarming rate. It was on my radar for weeks before the US had its first confirmed case in late January. It seemed to be spreading as rapidly as it had in China, which was still battling the outbreak every day.

It became more and more serious; cases in Seattle, California, Chicago, Boston, New York City… Andrew traveled for work to Boston, and I was an anxious mess. We went to visit my parents before all the states started shutting down, and my mom gave us some of her surgical masks she had from when she used to take care of Grandpa so that Andrew could wear a mask for his work trip. He didn’t want to wear one because he felt it was overkill, that he would look silly compared to other travelers. At that time, he was one of the few on his plane that wore a mask.

On the plane to Boston, his coworker started getting sick; he threw up on the plane and when they got to the local (they audit unions). Andrew and I were nervous already, and he had tried to talk to his boss about doing this work trip virtually because Boston seemed to be a hotspot at the time, and planes were typically crowded, but Andrew conceded because this was his client, and his coworker didn’t seem to have any qualms about going to Boston for this client. Andrew didn’t want to seem like a slacker, so he sucked it up and wore his mask on the plane and made it to Boston.

Then Massachusetts declared a state of emergency and started shutting down. Andrew and his coworker knew they needed to get home, so they cancelled their flight, booked a rental car, and started the journey back to PA the next morning. At this point, the coworker wasn’t feeling well; he stopped throwing up, but he had a cough, said his mouth was really dry, and admitted to feeling like he’d had a fever the day before.

Andrew made it home safely, and I was happy to have him back — at a distance. As soon as he came in the door, we disinfected his stuff, threw his dirty clothes in the laundry, and he went upstairs to shower. We slept in different beds for several weeks, me in the master, him in the guest room.

We limited our contact as much as possible. He would set his water cups at the door so I could fill up his water. When he showered, I would retrieve new clothes for him so he didn’t have to go into our bedroom. We called each other if we really wanted to talk. I was the only one taking our dog out, making food, doing laundry, going grocery shopping for weeks. Andrew was coughing, had a sore, throat, headache, and was really fatigued — “totally fucking out of it” as he says.

One night, he called me to wake me up because he said he felt like he couldn’t breathe. I asked him what he wanted to do — if he thought he could sleep it off, or if he felt like he needed to go to the doctor. He has asthma, and we weren’t sure if that put him in more of the at-risk category, so we wanted to play it safe. But what if he didn’t have anything, and now we were exposing him by taking him to a doctor? We later found out that Andrew’s coworker was diagnosed with pneumonia.

He decided he wanted to sleep it off. And that was the first night I prayed. The first time I remember praying since I was 15 years old. I didn’t sleep well. What if I lost him? What if something happened to him? What would I do? Would I stay here? I couldn’t live in this house without him — regardless, I couldn’t afford the mortgage, but I couldn’t handle all the memories we’ve made here. Could I stay with my sister and brother-in-law to get out of this house? Would I stay for my job? Would I even want to? What would I do? So I prayed. For Andrew, and my friends and family. For health care workers. For the world.

And then I started to feel sick. I was fatigued, but I couldn’t tell if it was the usual or if it was the stress of taking care of Andrew and Daisy while navigating the shift in my job as we tried to figure out what the hell we could do as a chamber of commerce. But the only thing I felt was stomach pain, which wasn’t unusual for me, but it was in an unusual area. It happened every time after I ate something. I would shake and shiver, curl into a ball, lay on my stomach, cringe until the pain had passed, which sometimes took hours. It hurt to touch. I threw up once night and had questionable BMs the next two days. But I still had to take care of the household and do my job at work.

Andrew started to feel better. We started having conversations while I was on the couch and he was on our stairs. He was wandering out of his room more often, even though we were still sleeping separately. We made it past the 14-day mark that was allegedly the longest recorded incubation period for this virus, and I didn’t feel any worse (though I am type O and he is likely type AB, if that makes any difference), and he started feeling better. I kept praying. Our Father, begging God to protect my loved ones, thanking him for the time we already had managed. Because praying can’t always be about what you want — sometimes it has to be gratitude for what you’ve got. Otherwise you’ll be begging forever.

* * *

Grocery stores are awful now. There’s no paper products at any of our usual stores, and if there is there’s a one item per household limit. All the produce was picked over and stockpiled. Why someone would hoard 30 packs of perishable spinach and mixed greens, I have no idea — it would all go to waste by the time you made it through week three.

Now the produce section has gotten better, but there are duct-tape arrows on the floors informing people which way to walk down the aisles to aid in social distancing (aka one-way aisles), and there are squares on the floor marking what 6 feet apart looks like. They wave you to an open cash register, and the cashier wipes down the conveyor belt between each customer.

Everyone is wearing masks now. And gloves, if they have them. Hand sanitizer has been scarce since the beginning of March. I remember going to the Rite Aid around the corner from work, and I bought the last three travel-size bottles. I haven’t seen any available in stores since then. First it was the hand sanitizer (and spinach), then it was the toilet paper, and then the Lysol products. Then the alcohol, as PA deemed liquor stores non-essential/non-life-sustaining. What a load of shit. Thank god we can still get it at grocery stores here.

* * *

Then we all started to get used to it. We were sleeping in later than usual, adjusting to new routines, starting to enjoy the working from home. Still missing our friends and families, but for Andrew and I, it wasn’t that bad. We are introverts anyway, so a weekend at home isn’t unusual for us. And my sister started a weekly Zoom call with the Anderson’s so we could all see each other and catch up (and apparently play drinking games). And Andrew’s mom also suggested a Robertshaw family Zoom, which we don’t do quite as often but is equally as fun.

I started laying out in the sun on our deck after taking Daisy on her afternoon walks, because when would I get the time to do this again in the middle of a work day? To take a breath? To do yoga when my limbs are feeling especially tight? To walk upstairs and kiss my soon-to-be husband at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday? I stopped stressing so much about getting to bed by 9:45 because I would be up at 5:45. The schedules aren’t so tight anymore, and I can’t help but be appreciative of that. As much as I love schedule, structure, and routine, it’s nice to play Call of Duty with Andrew and his friends until 10 pm on a weeknight and know that I can sleep in until 7 am and still get a workout in before logging on to do work.

* * *

Recently I posted this on Facebook:

“Just did a little Yoga with Adriene (my fav YouTube yogi) and completed Home Day 19: Balance, and Adriene said something that really rung true for me:

“Sometimes the path to balance is not in doing all the things that we’re told to do for our well being, but in the listening — or the undoing.”

I don’t think anyone will disagree that this pandemic and subsequent quarantining has drastically undone your daily life. And while I see lots of fear and anxiety about when life will return to normal, I’ve noticed lately how this “new normal” has made me feel… pretty good!

I’m working out consistently, getting outside to walk our dog and bathe in the sun on our deck (something I would never normally be able to do at 1pm on a Wednesday!), do daily yoga, read more often, and actually get restful sleep. I know it’s weird because our world is in chaos, but I actually feel less stressed!

So maybe instead of focusing on the bleak outlook or wanting this all to be over and done with tomorrow, why don’t you take a second to think about the opportunities this isolation provides you that you may never (hopefully) have the chance to take again?

Just my two cents 🤷🏽‍♀️”

I really love it. Despite all the horrible shit going on in the world, I can’t help but feel grateful. The slowdown is helping our world heal. It has helped me connect to a spiritual being again. It has helped me connect to my own spiritual center again through yoga.

I am one of the lucky few that does not have to worry about being laid off/furloughed, at this time anyway. I think my work can afford to pay us for another month or so before we are in dire straits, but I don’t want to focus on that. So I am choosing to focus on the bright side — which I feel is something I haven’t been able to do for a long time.

Thank you, quarantine.

The Loneliness Comes in Waves

Twenty-four almost twenty-five. My grandmother just turned 80 today. What a crazy time.

 

I’ve been having some feelings. In the midst of this pandemic, these dreams have been killing me. One, two, three…

 

I’m sorry for how I’ve left things. Broken. Snapped. Cracked.

“I always thought ____ would come back — you could see how he really loved you.”

A knife to the heart, in the most unexpected of ways.

I was lost. YOU were lost. We were young. How can you expect us to have it all out together so young? How can I expect that? Am I even ready, together, now? Will I ever be? Is this where you take that flying leap of faith? When all you think about is the good old days?

Buzz.

Echoing Desires

Sometimes you hold back with everything that you can until the need just explodes right out of you. For as much as I fought the idea of having sex that night, from our routine foreplay to what would likely be pain for me (I’d never quite recovered from our last’s birth), I couldn’t believe how easy it was to relax into your arms again.

I know you’d been looking forward to this all day — I could feel it in your lips as they gently parted and guided me, guided my mind away from all the day’s shit. You were still poised over me as you kissed me through the worst part for me — the beginning. And as your lips continued to express your urgent need for me, for love, I fully gave myself to you. Our chests touched and I felt this electric shock between them as I grazed your back and arms with my fingertips, craning my neck to kiss your shoulders, your neck, your ears, suddenly cheek to cheek.

I forgot how meaningful it could feel, to give yourself to someone. We’d been married for how many years? How many times have we had sex because we felt like we needed to? To fill the space? To feel like successful adults? For maintenance?

And in the years we’ve been married, how many times have we had fun with it? Have we relaxed? Have we giggled in the middle of it? Have we felt that spark that tore the walls down and erased the day from your physical body?

Sometimes you don’t know what you really need until someone does it for you.

~~~

Trying to get back into creative writing with daily writing prompts!

August Writing Prompts

 

 

Soul

She dreams of the black and white crisp of art in a hotel room,

Of the last drop of red in a crystal glass.

Of trails at sunrise and days spent free.

She chopped her freedom for trends, her Indian spirit defeated — she’ll never earn another feather.

Or feel the soft golden sunrise seep through her window after its hiked mountaintops.

Or wander the docks in the cool humid air of a foreign country.

Did she give up her dreams?

She asks as she sits in her yellow room, speaking for the first time in what feels like years.

Trying to reach that little girl from her past,

The one who sat for hours, any time she could, to tell a story she hadn’t heard before.

The one who knew what she wanted from life.

The girl that was just beginning to dream.

Magical Yellow Room

Well nice to see you again.

It’s hard to break through the fuzz of the day to set some time aside for myself to do anything, much less write what I want to. Even now I’m distracted by the thrum of the TV.

I’ve been wanting to get back into writing lately. Inspired by You, a Netflix original. Funny to feel inspiration from a show about a stalker, but his cynicism in poetic storytelling is both funny and accurate. The problem is, and always will be, time. Time and money.

My nice cushy job doesn’t bring in enough for us to stop worrying about finances, so I continue to work my fingers to the bone. I used to be so proud of myself for having that hardworking attitude. Now I realize that’s the theme in this country — destroy yourself to take care of others. What an American dream.

I miss the days I was able to practice yoga, meditate, do ANYTHING to care for myself without thinking “there’s something else I need to be doing” in the back of my mind. Frankly, it’s exhausting. I feel like I’m expending so much energy just picking up the trail we leave through the house. It’s overwhelming just thinking of adding another human to this mess.

I’ve been thinking about that more and more though. As someone who said she never wanted kids, I’ve come a long way. I’m still unsure — I’m a baby with pain and I’m not actually good with children, but I know it’s what Andrew wants. I feel it’s the next step, and I’m not as afraid of it anymore. There are plenty of other things to be afraid of.

The future is a syndicated shitstorm in my head. Staying in PA, moving to be closer to my family, but then where will the kids go to school and where will we work and will we have enough money and what about traveling and doing it all in one shot. What about making sure you’re happy along the way.

I used to always envision myself typing away at a computer in a bright yellow room with a beaded entryway at a beach house. Still living a modest life. Enjoying what I’m doing. I never knew what I was writing, I just knew I was writing. Yawning and stretching as I get up to hug the man of my dreams on a sleepy Saturday morning as the golden godly rays of morning sunshine streamed through a window.

And I had that yellow room, and I still do. I hung beads on my childhood bedroom door, I painted my childhood bedroom yellow, and hung twinkle lights to inspire my thoughts, because light and beauty inspire the masses. We moved into our new house and even here I have a yellow room, this time with a desk and lamp but also a yoga mat because life is a balance. Can anything be tacky when it’s what brings you back to your childhood dream, your life’s vision?

But what they never tell you is living in fear is not the same as living a modest life. I’m not choosing to live a modest life because I want to right now. When it comes down to it, I would still choose a quieter life, but I don’t know anyone who would choose to live with the anxiety of how big will that next paycheck be.

Once so enthralled with the idea of becoming a writer, I eventually became intimidated. I blame my senior english class for that — looking up realistically what authors make scared me out of wanting to stake my livelihood on whether or not someone thought my writing was worth something. But as I get older, I wish I would’ve taken the shot anyway. Everything anyone does is judged by how well they do it. Can I pick up legalese quickly so we can jump in to getting the work done? Am I good enough at X to achieve Y. My livelihood is already at stake based on my skills — why shouldn’t I have just tried my hand with writing?

Especially while I have the time. Now between having a full-time job and a house, I don’t have time for much. Next step is a wedding and babies, both expensive and time-consuming. The only reason I have time today is I have a half-day at work.

Being an adult is much more boring than I thought it would be. I’m excited to have found the love of my life, but would I appreciate if he did the dishes more often? Of course. I love having this house, but would I enjoy not having to pay any bills? Absolutely! As a 23-year-old would I love to spend my money on dying my hair a crazy color and traveling to an exotic place? You betcha! Instead, I’m sitting on my couch in a robe after downing an entire bag of chips, thinking about how I have to go back to work in 15 hours. I’m surprised how easily I have slipped into the adult-that-dreads-work-and-battles-menial-depression-every-day lifestyle.

Like I said, I never expected an extravagant life. I just thought I’d be happier right now. Then again, don’t all great artists go through a blue period? Maybe this is mine, as I sit in my blue robe.

One of these days I will have to try my hand again — when I have the money to rebuy my subscription to Word. And maybe I’ll have the courage to dye my hair blonde like I’ve always wanted. Move to a house on the beach with the love of my life, typing away in that yellow room, spinning yarns someone actually wants to read, something that actually touches someone’s heart and soul and changes them for the rest of their lives or at least the rest of that afternoon — the way books spoke to me as a child. Maybe I’ll finally say something worth listening to. Or maybe I’ll move to the mountains so I can be snowed in all my life. I guess the bright side to 23 is everything’s still a mystery.

But 24 is coming soon. And I still fight with myself on what I want, what I need, and what I feel. I write for me.

Now I must go shower so I can continue to take care of me.

Love

Beast of Beauty

The beast is back.

I’m disappointed in myself, but it’s back.

Jealousy.

Andrew has been at a bachelor party for the weekend, and I haven’t handled it as well as I would have hoped, considering how far I’ve come from past relationships.

This is the first time in a relationship that I have genuinely been worried for the other person’s safety, which I think is a big step and a progressive sign actually. I never understood why my father could never sleep while I was out of the house, but he oh-so-graciously seems to have given me that anxiety. Granted, my back has been hurting for about a month now, so I haven’t been getting great sleep regardless… but for the first time in any relationship, I was genuinely worried about him making it on an 8-hour drive in the evening, especially when he wasn’t texting me back.

All I can say is, it’s weird and I don’t like it. I apologize to my future children about a potentially overbearing mom.

Andrew has finally been able to text me more than once every few hours, which is great. But I could feel the jealousy creeping up as soon as he started to text me. It’s a part of me that I genuinely dislike. Because I trust this man wholeheartedly. He constantly reassures me that he would never do anything to put our relationship in jeopardy, and he does everything imaginable to prove it — from regular foot rubs, to scratching my head every night before bed to help me fall asleep, to gently rubbing between my eyebrows every morning to try and keep me asleep when his alarm goes off. I even woke up to him putting a thumb over my ear to try and block out the noise from the traffic that’s constantly outside of our window.

(He’s the sweetest)

Which is why I’m so upset that I’ve let any jealousy get to me! Over someone telling him he’s sexy at a bachelor party!

I thought I’d slain that beast years ago, after finally deciding I don’t want to be the victim, I don’t want to be the girl who was cheated on, I don’t want to use that as an excuse for my jealousy. Apparently it’s a tough beast to slay. And it immediately brought up all my insecurities in a relationship. I won’t fan them all out on here, because that’s a conversation I need to have with Andrew first.

But I will blast a few of my exes for helping stir the beast.

To my first, for cheating on me twice, once immediately after I had gotten off the phone with him, with girls that both knew I was his girlfriend.

To the next, for essentially going on a date with a girl I knew wanted him, and then gave him the hickey to prove it.

To the one after that, who ghosted me for a girl he’d been talking to for years.

To the last, who convinced me that casual relationships were fine, that that’s all I wanted from a guy, and still inexplicably broke my heart.

You each stole a piece of me that I will never get back. From my innocence, to my trust, to my thoughts on love, you tore me apart in your own ways. While you may not have created the beast, you did nothing to dismantle it.

To Andrew, the love of my life. Thank you for building me back up. To the person I was before, the person I want to be, and the person I truly am. You have seen the heart of me, and you have kissed every inch of it.

“For I need all the cracks in my shattered heart, ’cause that’s where her love gets in…

Thanks for the moon and the stars up above, forgiveness of sin and your undying love, every twist, every turn for the way you made sure all my roads led to her.”

I still always think of you when I hear that song, because I truly feel whatever greater power is out there led us down the right paths. I never imagined I would meet anyone like you in my life. I thought I would have to settle for someone that would just be good FOR me, not good TO me. You have been all that and more. You are the biggest blessing I have ever received in my life, because you gave me back to who I really am. I am forever grateful to you for loving and supporting me in the way that you do.

Because when our kids look at us and think that we’re soulmates, they’ll know they’re right. They will know what true love looks like.

I know the tone of this blog has changed drastically, but I think it’s just what I needed to get that beast out of my mind. To talk myself out of it.

And in this hour of dying sunlight, I say goodnight from the serenity of our new home.

Love always

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