The Non-Anniversary.

A note to my 21-year-old self, on what would have been your 26th Anniversary.

I can still picture you sitting on blue carpet in your veil and flannel shirt. Sitting in your sister’s old bedroom, leaning against the bed. I remember your doubts that day. I remember how you dried your tears, squared your shoulders and marched down your parents steps to meet your soon-to-be husband. You’ll need that tenacity a lot in the coming years.

No one really told you how marriage worked. There are basic skills you were both lacking: the ability to communicate being a big one. You won’t figure this out for many years.

I hate to break it to you kid, but your marriage isn’t going to last. You pictured a house and kids, a labrador retriever and picket fence, and you get all that. The reality is not what you thought it would be. It’s a lot lonelier. It’s a lot harder. One day, you are going to decide doing it alone is easier than trying to make your marriage work in a way that makes you both happy. This knowledge will break your heart. This will be the hardest decision to make, and you will never quit feeling guilty about it.

Your children will literally be your lifeline and reason to wake up each day. Your love for them and need to provide for them will lead you into careers you would never picture for yourself. You will never have much, but you will have enough. You’ll never be able to give them what you had imagined for them, but you’ll keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. You really should have gone to college, but you’ll manage to fashion together a nice career out of moxie and hustle.

You will be humbled. Right now you are cocky and young and have one hell of an attitude. That attitude will help you, and hurt you. You will be your biggest champion and your worst enemy. You are a fighter, but you will learn to choose your battles. You will need to learn to ask for help. From friends and family. You will need to learn grace, and forgiveness. These will not be easy lessons.

You are going to have your heart broken. A lot. You will lose friends. You will lose family. You will lose a child you helped to raise. You will lose lovers. You will lose jobs. And you will survive.

You are going to meet so many wonderful people. You can’t even imagine. You are going to meet men and women that will change your life. Some of these people will only be around for a short while. Some of them you will know for years and years. You’ll have friends who become lovers, and lovers who become friends. You’ll have more female friends than you could have imagined and you will learn so much from them. They will teach you to be soft and open. You will love them harder and longer than any man, be thankful for that.

You are going to see and do so many things. You will travel and go to concerts and meet strangers and stay up too late. You will sing Carly Simon songs with Irish boys in a little bar in Ireland.

You will go running through Chicago in your bare feet, heels dangling from your fingertips so you can make it to the bar in time to watch the Blackhawks cinch the cup with your best friend. You can’t even imagine that now, but it will happen and it will be one of many great stories to tell someday. You will have so many great stories.

You’ll never love someone again like you loved the man you married and had your children with. You can’t even fathom right now how someday you’ll barely really know each other. But he will always have your back. He will turn out to be a great dad. He will be the best ex-husband a girl could ask for. He will also be a monumental ass before that happens and he will hurt you like no one else could. But you will both put all of that aside and raise your children together, but apart, in the best way you can. It’ll be ok.

Rest assured, you will fall in love again. You’ll fall in love a lot actually. But you will spend most of your time without a partner. Don’t be afraid of that. It was scary as fuck for a long time, but you will get past that. You’ll do more things by yourself than you can picture. You will be brave.

You will never have a silver anniversary. You will wonder if you will meet that one person to settle down with. There will be moments fear will grip your chest in the middle of the night. And you will continue, at times, to be lonely.

The most important thing 21-year-old me: you will have the best, most amazing children. You are going to do some things really poorly and it won’t be easy. You are going to miss some things you didn’t think you would. They are going to go through hard times, really hard times. And it will break your heart into tiny pieces when they hurt, every time they hurt.

They will be the best things you ever accomplish.

Happy non-anniversary to my first (and only) ex-husband. Happy non-anniversary 21 year old me.



all in my head.

one of the re-occuring quandires I seem to face again and again, and I know I’m not alone, is “is this all in my head?”  what is my reality. reality is simply my perception of things around me. that reality is altered by my interpretation of the facts presented. how much do we shape our reality by our hopes, dreams and attitude.

one of the things that is interesting about examining where we have been is to see how differently we might see things with some distance attached. something that felt very badly, in retrospect might not have been as bad as it seemed. or something that we thought was really wonderful, in retrospect through the right filters and lens might actually have been pretty fucked up. and mostly, most situations are a combination of the good. the bad. and the 99 shades of grey in between. which makes it REALLY hard sometimes to separate out the wheat from the chaff in any given situation.

then there are the unexplainable things that surface.

i was sitting on the beach in NC just a few short weeks ago and a memory (which turns out was a partially false memory) surfaced. it was a memory of me and my mom on the beach together when i was 7 or 8 and as my mom was playing with the sand a charm surfaced in the sand. it was a necklace with a Crab charm on it. I don’t recall my fascination with it, but I was pretty sure as I sat there in 2013, that I had that charm at home in my “jewelry” box.

So last night when I was cleaning my room and was having several things pop into my head about a variety of situations that might have been skewed all up in my head I went to my jewelry box and there was the crab. just sitting there.  now how is this relevant at all? well i cant exactly expound on why it is. but the crab is symbol for the astrological sign Cancer. Cancer is another water sign, one of the very few that are even remotely equipped to understand the Pisces which tend to be the most difficult of the signs in the Zodiac. and in my life this all comes into play and its insanely interesting. things like this i observe and try to take note and not dwell and not get all stuck up in my head letting things go round and round.

and then.

today my coffee press got hulk smashed by a beer glass. so how is that even remotely interesting? well. the coffee press was a gift by someone who felt pretty strongly that i needed to change my ways. that i needed to alter some things in my life. it was a well intentioned gift, but the root of it was based on someone elses reality in their head of who i was and what they felt i needed to be. the beer glass is linked to someone who has spent our entire connection time re-inforcing that exactly who i am, as is, is exactly who i need to be. who has managed to take my negative self chatter and turn that around into positive self cheer. something others have tried, unsuccessfully. to help me understand that while i am far from perfect, my imperfection is what makes me me. i can always strive to be better, but how i am NOW, is good. because its fact.

so when that glass smashed that press i had a OH HOLY FUCK moment.

so i would guess a good portion of my 12 readers will read this and think “surely you arent looking at a glass falling out of the cabinet as some sort of symbol”.

yeah, i am. because every day is full of them. and i read them like road signs in my life. and once i accepted that was a perfectly acceptable way to live, my life has gone so much smoother.

so go back 10 years. i was listening to this song and i was questioning every last thing in my life. i was watching things play out and i was ignoring every last sign thrown in my face. and i was all up in my head running things over and over again and trying to figure out my reality from the fantasy.

maybe its still all in my head. but when it smashes on my counter or appears in my jewelry box or pops up out of nowhere or continues to cross my path. i’m going to pay attention.

its not all in your head.