Plain-Clothes Superheroes

(Caveat — I wrote this over a number of days, in between other assignments. Apologies if the timelines for specific items seem out of date.)

 

In my observation, it’s not about the mask or cape; it’s about how people respond to that signal in the sky.

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling lately. I don’t hide it. I don’t like lies or secrets, and if someone isn’t akin to my pain, they’re not required to read it. This is my voice. Many times, this is my only voice. Until this week, I thought I was talking to myself.

My God was I wrong.

I’m so blessed to have an arsenal of sounding walls waiting in the distance. I’ve cried more in the last week than I have in the past year. Positive tears. Tears of inclusion. Tears of being part of my chosen family.

You don’t choose your family, but you do choose your friends. If everything goes right, they choose you back. My chosen family — the people with whom I have created incredible memories over many years — has chosen me back. At my loneliest and saddest place, I’ve been put on a pedestal.

Of course, that has nothing to do with the reason for my outcry. I wasn’t looking for attention. I simply needed to get the words out of me because, as a writer, if they’re left inside me, they fester. They create resentment, harm, and danger. My words need a home, and if it’s this blog, so be it. I wasn’t seeking attention, but attention I did receive. And, while I didn’t ask for it, I desperately needed it.

In honor of all the people who put on their capes and let down their daily tasks to pay attention to me, I say thank you.

Can you find you?

At first, I was going to name names, but, after thinking it over, I’d prefer to keep this blog going silently. So, in the name of anonymity, you know who you are. Please feel free to comment or share as you feel, text me a note, or simply smile because you know you’re you. If I forget anyone, I apologize in advance, and it wasn’t on purpose. I’ve just had so many plain-clothes superheroes touch my life in the last couple days… you’re all more important than you’ll ever know (the following is in no particular order; I tried to make a list, but everybody is Number One, so…)…

The Military Guy

Thank you, Military Guy, for helping me understand things that are far beyond anything Google could help me with. This has been one of my greatest struggles, and, despite my best efforts, it’s way more real than anything I thought I could prepare for.

You’re a gentle, kind man with an enormous heart. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude. Everything you’ve given me–from advice to a listening ear–has been invaluable in my life. Thank you more than words can say.

The Girl Who’s Been There Forever

You didn’t really get to choose to be in my life; it just kinda happened. Since we were around five or six years old, you’ve been my big sister. You were my biggest influencer, even when you had no idea you were. I always looked up to you. I still do. I can’t wait to see where motherhood takes you as your Mini grows.

Thank you for always being my other person. I can’t imagine my life any other way, and I feel comforted knowing you’ll always be a part of it.

My Third Grade Crush

Man, was I a fan of you! You were the first boy I ever called on the phone. As time went on, you became a pretty awesome dude. You allowed me to be a part of your life, wherever it took you. We ran into each other an intermittent times, completely unplanned.

When life took over, you became successful, started a family, and continued being an incredible man. Tonight, you text me so randomly…just to check on me. I cried full tears.

It’s funny how time brings you into my life at the most unexpected moments. Although, truth be told, I suppose we both know they’re not unexpected, nor are they unplanned. The night you text me a thank you for letting my dad bring me into the house… it still brings goosebumps. I had literally told someone that story an hour or two before you text me completely out of the blue — a couple years since we’d spoken.

You’ll always have a place in my heart. Thank you for allowing me to have a place in yours.

The Wheel to My Axle

Man, do I owe you a debt of gratitude. From the moment we met, your fireworks have powered me through some very tough times. I don’t even know what to say. You’re an incredible being, whose simple existence has made the world a better place. Each breath you takes makes someone’s life a little better, whether it’s by donating clothing, feeding a goat, or simply showing those radiant pearly whites.

I could never begin to tell you how incredible you are and how much you mean to me. You’re such a smooth diamond in a world of chaos. I’m truly honored to know you.

My Best Friend

You’re probably not gonna read this unless I send it to you and ask you to read it, but that’s okay. I’m so incredibly blessed to have you in my life.

We’ve had an interesting road, filled with lots of “growth opportunities”. After a ten-year stint of not speaking, we picked up right where we left off. You’re such an incredibly special person, and I hope everyone who meets you understands this. So far, I have no doubt this trend will continue!

Our filter-free friendship has probably saved my life more than a couple of times. For all my fuckups and downfalls, you’ve always been there to scoop me up off the concrete with your gentle-yet-honest shovel. I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but I’m so grateful I did it.

We’ve endured 30 years. That’s impressive, considering we’re only 26  😉

Most people will never be afforded a special friendship like ours. There’s no hate. No dishonesty. Only eggshells when absolutely necessary, and even then, we walk a little crunchy. It’s unlike anything else I’ll ever have in this life. I’m so glad I got to experience this kind of friendship.

The Girl with the Giggle

Supporter #1! I can still hear you giggling about silly shit back in high school. I proudly stood up at your wedding years ago, and even though life has changed everything we were then, you still stand by me.

Distance hasn’t changed much, as far as I can tell. You’re still an incredibly supportive friend with a huge heart and an awareness of others around you that’s really special. I suppose that’s why you chose the profession you’re in.

You have no idea how much it makes my day when you take the time to comment on a post I publish or text me just to say hi, even if it’s been a while. We’re both busy and lead very different lives, but I’ve never doubted your support of me. The feeling is mutual, of course. I don’t show it as well as you because I’ve been in the trenches and haven’t had the opportunity to come up for air, but you’re always on my mind.

Please know that every inch of support you give me goes a mile. I look at our old pictures often. I’m proud of the person you became.

My Perfect Penpal

You haven’t said shit about the most recent occurrences, yet I know you’re totally aware. You’re kind of a badass in every sense of the word. I know I totally could freak out on you if I needed to (or — if I wanted to — because I actually do kind need to), and you would simply respond with a statement solid enough to be replied to by way of one great Google Image search.

Holy shit … I don’t know what I’d do without you. I appreciate the fact that we can have Eff Bomb Competitions all day long; sometimes, you’re the only person I “speak” to in an entire day.

I can’t actually remember how we became friends, but I’m sure it had to do with a similar disinterest about someone who publicly sucked. Thank you for hating awful people as much as I do ❤

That Dazzling Couple

It all started many years ago, at the end of a long table in a jazz club by my spot. Here we are, a decade or so into life, and you were kind enough to offer me a place of respite an entire country away.

I’ll likely take you up on the offer very soon. Thank you so much.

Over the years, we’ve gained a group of friends, had some dwindle away (myself included), and gone our separate paths. The fact that you still reached out to me, despite time and distance, meant a lot. I cried a lot when you messaged me. Please know how much I appreciated it.

The Supporter on the Other Side of My Screen

You’re a beautiful person. I barely know you, if at all, yet you gave me your number and extended your arms. There were times recently I wasn’t sure I could make it through the hour, but you gave me your number and told me I could call anytime. I’ve spoken to you only once; it was a long conversation that filled my heart with the honesty and love I’ve needed.

You’re a great person and friend. You already know that, but sometimes you doubt yourself. Chin up! I’m here if you’re here.

That Guy Who Made Me Feel Special for a Few Days

Like a gust of wind, you swooped out of nowhere, showered me with virtual affection, and disappeared into the night. I don’t think you understood the pivotal moment in which you approached me, but I definitely needed it.

I’m sorry if I said something wrong or offended you in some way, but I want to thank you for making me feel so special, even if it was only short lived. We go back a long time, so feel free to reach out to me if you ever want to talk again. I wish you success with school, your kiddo, work, and wherever life takes you.

My Cuss Buddy

Ha! So, my Eff Bomb Partner has found a competitor. Girl, you have no idea how important you are to me. There are a billion things I can’t tell other people for fear of judgment, but I can tell you. Besides the fact that your accent makes me wanna talk to you for days, your heart settles me down.

Everything you’ve given me, from friendship to work, has been beyond the bounds of anything I could have ever imagined. Keep making those family meals. They’re important, and your kids will remember how amazing your specially set plates are when they get older!

That Preschool Revamp

I’ll never forget the first time we talked a year or so ago. It was a long conversation, and I remember both of us commenting about the others’ voices. How long it’s been! How many miles we’ve come!

We lost touch for a really long time, but I always had you in my heart. I didn’t know how to find you because I didn’t know your last name. I disappeared in high school on purpose, so I lost a lot of that roadmap. I don’t regret any of that, but I did regret knowing how to find you. Thank you for making yourself available to me when I needed you.

The Unexpected Close Friend

By way of a message that read something along the lines of, “I feel like you need to know you’re not alone”, you touched my heart recently. I told you how proud I am of everything you’ve done over the past 20 years because I’m sure it was incredibly tough. I can’t even imagine. Everyone has kids now. Some are just starting out in life; some are starting their own lives. You were young when all of this began, and you’ve done an incredible way with making this world your own.

Your kids are great kids. That means you’re a great mom. Shit’s hard. Don’t let anybody tell you it’s not, because it is. Your team of humans are real people. They’re exactly what the world needs, and you made them. Be proud.

My Mom

I don’t exactly get to talk to you often, but you’re my mom. I know you want the best for me, even when I’m struggling. I know you love me and think of me often. Thank you for giving me the tools to conquer this world as best I can, even I fall sometimes.

My Dad

Let’s be real — this one isn’t a surprise. My plain-clothes superheroes are the two people who put me here. There are a billion words I could dedicate to the wishes I have that my dad could see me today, and even though he hasn’t been here to see me through this episode, he’s here.

Emily Morris

It’s funny — they say time heals all wounds. My grief for this girl has never left. I live everyday, hoping to fulfill a little bit of the light she would have shone upon the world. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. So much of the person I am today came from the person she molded me into.

From fearless night walks through the cornfields to four-hour-long drives up north to see guys who couldn’t be less interested in us, you are so much of the reason I am the person I am. Every memory, moment, bit of fear, and incitement of excitement I felt when I was younger lives in me today.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that good people aren’t hard to come by, but good people who will be by your side when you need them are. I’ve been in a really hard spot lately. It’s not depression; it’s life.

There is a difference.

I do my best to be a good person and an even better friend.

To all of my plain-clothes heroes, thank you for taking the time out of your lives to make time for me.

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Social Media Ate My ‘Me’

In my observation, I knew who I was — once upon a time. I was happy. I was successful. I had a good job, owned my own home, had a dog, maintained a reasonable weight, and looked pretty cute.

That was a long time ago.

I still have a dog and own a home, but the rest has gone by the wayside.

It’s funny to say, but social media has caused much of my demise.

When I was lonely and desperate in 2009, I matched sparks with a friend of a friend. He came with references, so why would I have any reason to have suspicion?

He robbed me blind over the course of three years because I was lonely and desperate and just wanted someone in my life who I could shower my love upon.

I’m a lover, not a fighter.

I still remember the day I met him after work (work #2 because I worked two jobs to pay the bills while he paid nothing). I extended my hand to his friend, and the friend said, “Kelvin, I didn’t realize your roommate would be joining us tonight.”

Roommate?

For fuck’s sake. We talked for months (which is obviously a trivial amount of time) before he decided to move from Florida to Denver to start a life with me.

The agreement was this: I would pay for a one-way ticket to Florida, he would pay for the rental car and hotels to get us back.

As we stood in front of the Avis counter that day, he looked at me and asked if I was going to give the man my card. I knew I was fucked. That was a bad situation that lasted for many years and many, many dollars.

Like I said, I was his roommate. At least, as far as he was concerned.

The funny thing about social media — he absolutely refused to befriend me on Facebook and whatever social sites existed at the time. I always swore I wouldn’t let that matter because it’s petty as fuck, but really… it can matter. For me, it does matter now.

He used to take his phone into the bathroom so he could check out Facebook. Then, he would return to the living room to report about the goings on in his friends’ lives. After being introduced as the roommate, you can imagine how this deflated my being. Super shitty for all kinds of reasons. He was a terrible person who took advantage of me for a very long time.

Not too long ago, he requested my connections on LinkedIn and Facebook. The irony.

In my current situation, social media has always played an equally relevant part in the obstruction of my self-esteem.

It goes without saying that sex is an imperative part of any two humans’ interactions. I have none. That, alone, can really fuck a person up.

Years ago, we were friends and followers on the few social media sites I frequent. Every time my Other got upset with me, he would delete me. Childish move, but I guess I enabled it.

Here we are, four years later. My Other and I are not friends on Facebook, we don’t follow each other on Twitter, and as minimally as I post on Instagram, it would still be nice to be connected. He’s a photographer, so his life is Instagram, and I am not a part of it. I tried to send my Other a message on Facebook the other day, but I couldn’t find him; he told me he deleted his profile.

I feel like the world is ashamed of me. Like I’m good enough to use but not good enough to be seen with.

I want my 20s and 30s back.

I started an argument tonight, which wasn’t supposed to be an argument, but how do you address so much pain without emotion?? One of my Other’s Navy buddies died the other night. It’s hit him hard, as it would any normal human being. In the face of this, he told me he never actually deleted his Facebook. So I guess I was blocked?

How childish I feel for making this such a pivotal trust issue. At the same time, how incredibly painful is it to always be considered a second-class citizen?

I’m tired. I don’t want to take care of everybody else. I need to be taken care of so I can be there for my people when they truly need me. At this point, I cannot. I’m exhausted. My emotions are fleeing. My ‘me’ is fleeing. I don’t want to be blocked or disregarded anymore.

My messages are important. My presence is important. My being matters. Even if not to you — it does to somebody. Or it will someday. Someday, somebody will not be embarrassed to be seen with me.

My First Coupled Christmas Alone

In my observation, this is a strange place.

I haven’t been in the Christmas spirit. In all honesty, I’ve had no fucks to give. I work too much, enjoy life too little, and have enough stress to put in all the stockings across the country.

I anticipated an unfortunate event this Christmas season (Monday) when, on Saturday:

  • I reached for my daily anti-depressant. I’m out.
  • I called the pharmacy for a refill. They’re out.
  • I received a message from the pharmacy. I’ve used up all my refills; my order can’t be sent elsewhere.
  • I prepare for wicked withdrawals that make my brain chemistry fucking crazy. It’s okay. I’ve done this before.
  • I cry and hide in my bed. This isn’t going to go well, and it’s going to hurt a lot. Merry Christmas.

I wake up to a note on my computer, which I fell asleep next to as I watched some silly Netflix show in anticipation of the coming events. I knew I’d be unwell. It’s a terrible feeling to feel good and have that all taken away when the pharmacy isn’t able to oblige. Fortunately, this isn’t the first time, and I know what I’m in for.

I’m dizzy, unable to think, and filled with tears for no reason. The note simply says one thing:

“I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m right here.”

My naked self stumbles to the bathroom. We live in a concrete shoebox; everything is within stumbling distance. I smell food. I don’t know what kind of food, but it’s food.

Pee. Back to sleep. Blankets securely placed over my body in such a position an intruder would simply think the bed was well made while the inhabitants of our condo were out enjoying the holiday. Head covered. Body immobile. Brain swimming.

I smell coffee. What’s that food I smell?

I move… as best I can. Back to sleep. I awake to a gentle backrub and a beautiful man telling me he’s prepared my Christmas dinner. Here’s my coffee. He refilled my water glass with fresh ice and that filtered goodness that’s so cold, yet so welcomed to my fragile body.

Since then, he’s gone off to the homeless shelter to make food for the needy. Apparently, he’s on cornbread and beans. He’s putting his cooking skills and Southern style to work this Christmas.

He asked me if he should cancel. No! Do not cancel!

He asked me if I’d like to go. I would love to. But I cannot. I cannot move.

He asked me if he should stay here. No! Others need you more than I do.

My heart is filled with happiness. Would any man spend his Christmas making food for others when he hates being “a cook”? Absolutely not. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m thankful. I will happily spend this Christmas alone, busily writing about data security breaches and marketing whatnots so my family can be embraced in the blessings we have that others do not.

As I began walking around, I had a memory-in-passing. Didn’t I see a sample pack of my anti-depressants as I was packing for last week’s vacation? I did! I found two three-year-old sample pills — twice my current prescription — hiding in my suitcase.

I’ve cut them in half and taken one. My brain has balanced. My heart has filled. My kitchen has accumulated an amazing amount of ready-to-eat homemade food while my Other is away.

And I’m watching shitty daytime TV. I heart shitty daytime TV.

My Other is busy making life better for those less fortunate. I’m busy basking in the blessings that are my life.

I don’t do religion. But I do do gratitude. And I am  very grateful for the person who has taken every effort to take care of me — and anyone else he doesn’t even know — this Christmas day.

 

 

Job Jockey or Job Junkie?

In my observation, this question could be perceived in several ways.

I really thought about it before I posted this — am I a Job Jockey? Or, am I a Job Junkie?

The word “junkie” has such a negative connotation; however, as I look back upon my almost-two-years at my current job, it seems that’s what I’ve become. Fortunately, it’s far from a negative. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I now live and breathe my job in the healthiest of ways. I want my company to succeed; I want my boss to do well; I want good fortune to come for all of us.

If you’ve been keeping up with me, it hasn’t always been this way.

You see, for the first eleven years after I obtained my noble and golden piece of paper, which tells the world I’m worthy of being employed, I was treated like dog shit. At each professional job I worked, I was great at what I did. Yet, at each professional job I worked, I was put in a corner and told to work as hard as I could without a name or a face. In fact, my former Vice President used to introduce me to people as her Workhorse.

That was my name.

And that was my trade.

Unfortunately, I lived up to those expectations because that’s what I do. I’m a people-pleaser. If that’s who I am to you, then that’s who I’ll be for you.

I love being me, but this is a significant downfall in my people-pleasing personality.

Back then, I wanted nothing more than to be a Job Jockey. I wanted nothing more than to take the reigns of whatever opportunity came at me — be it the manager of an office, host at a restaurant, or walker of dogs — just so I could be amazing, win my medal, and move on to the next. Back then, the only thing I wanted was for someone to recognize me so I could put it on my resume and have someone else pat me on my back for my awesome accomplishments.

It’s not an age thing, though. It’s not that I’ve gotten wiser as the years have gone by. It’s that I’ve been shit on enough to know when I need to stand up for myself. I now know when a job is a job and when a position can be a career. Thankfully, I’ve found a career where I can excel, and I am now a Job Junkie.

Rest assured, this wasn’t always the case — not even in my current company.

To any job seeker, I want to offer my full honesty, as this was far from an easy route. Here’s a breakdown of my breakdowns over the past decade or so:

I Cried

And I mean, I cried a lot. I cried on my way to work on most days. I cried on my way home from work everyday. When I was having extra special days, I cried in my car during breaks.

I knew I was better than the way I was treated, but I didn’t know what to do about it. I had also landed myself inside a bubble where company culture dictated that my treatment was acceptable.

I Plotted & Planned

After about four years into my seven-year stint, I started strategizing. I had spreadsheets, color codes, notes — the whole nine yards. I was getting out of there, come hell or high water.

I tracked every application I submitted, every person I made contact with, every interview I went on, and every rejection letter I received. I reached out when I was rejected, and, while I seldom got a response, I documented my efforts so I could improve.

I made the Grade

After three grueling years of second-best and almost-had-its, I was awarded my dream job. It took six months and one week of interviewing. For my final interview, I was flown out to headquarters in another time zone. That interview was nine hours long, lasting from the moment I stepped off the plane until the moment I boarded again. Why on Earth that wasn’t a sign, I can’t tell you. I can only tell you that job grief does amazing things to a person’s perception of the next possible reality.

I Quit

And damn did it feel good. I worked at that job for one week less than I interviewed for it, and it felt so good to not give a shit about what I would do with the rest of my life. At the time I quit, I was working 120 hours a week on a very entry-level income. I had one day off in six months — no weekends or holidays — my day off was jury duty. On that day, my boss threatened to fire me for insubordination when I didn’t return his emails within his required two-hour time frame. Weird. The judge wasn’t cool with it in a court of law.

I Meandered

I pulled out my 401(k) and spent my savings because, in my mind, if I was this stressed out at 32, I’d never live to spend it anyway. I spent 18 months being a Job Jockey. I hosted, waited tables, watched a few dogs, wrote a ton of words, visited every coffee shop I could find in a ten mile radius (there are so many!!), and made random bar friends I never spoke to again. But, in their moment, they were the best things to happen to me.

I Made it Here

This month marks my eleventh year in Denver. I was offered my first job in this city six days after I got here. I had no friends, no job, and no apartment until about twelve hours before my departure. I loaded up the MINI with everything I had and hoped for the best. I had some clothes, some shoes, a TV, and a big pile of omg-what-are-you-doing? in my backseat.

I spent seven years at that job being treated like I didn’t belong in public. It does something to a person. After my 18-month stint, I was broke, couldn’t pay a single bill, hated writing words, and didn’t know what I would do.

Was I worth anything to anyone? What could I do to rectify the setback I’d made for myself?

Then I met my Other. We’re very different. We couldn’t be more opposite. I met him accidentally — I couldn’t make eye contact with him at first.

We accidentally started a life together.

Then my current boss found me — on Careerbuilder, of all places! I hadn’t posted a resume there since 2011 or so! He asked if I’d be interested in a job he was looking to fill; the job description was nearly verbatim my resume.

Welcome to Today

I spent over a year wondering why I made the decision I made to join the company. It was tough, and it felt all too familiar. I hated every Sunday evening, just as I had before. I dreaded the morning talks, just as I had before.

Thankfully, with a strong skillset and a diligent mind, I’ve found a place where my boss and I communicate as though we’re business partners. We understand that we want nothing but the best for our clients, and his clients are my clients. My Other and I have had each others’ back for almost three years; I’ve been at my job for nearly two of those.

 

I’ve found that my life, like most other people’s, requires a lot of ducking and dodging. When it comes down to it, you have to decide — do you want to be the Jockey or the Junkie? and before you decide between the two, you have to define each of those titles for yourself, as they could find themselves in very different places, depending on how you look at things.

I Just Can’t Put My Finger on It

In my observation, I can’t tell if I’m the victim, the prey, or the observer.

Who am I?

Who are we all?

It fucks me up when I know that the only thing I need to do in life is be me.

But who am I?

Where have I gone, what have I done, and who have I become?

It’s a crazy life, and I just can’t seem to put my finger on it.

At some point, I got really lost. At the exact same moment, I found myself. I have no idea where these two moments intersect, but I know that there is a specific moment in time, unbeknownst to me, when all of this chaos meets in a single place and becomes cordial.

It’s a place where serenity meets destiny. When “I don’t fucking care” sits down at the table with “Let’s do this.” It’s a place completely unfiltered, yet filtered to its fullest.

This place puts its best face forward. It smiles when it meets new people, shakes hands, and makes kind gestures.

This place angrily resents people it meets for their fortunes, their beautiful homes, their happy families, while simultaneously being thankful for all that it has, all that it’s come from, and all that its become.

My place, on the other hand, welcomes the inquiries from others and seeks to find solutions to their questions. I’m a people-pleaser. I love this about myself. Recently, my therapist has questioned if I should really love this quality as much as I do.

The answer? I should, and I do .

But her question made me question myself, as well it should (after all, that’s why I pay her.)

Who exactly am I supposed to be at this moment? I just can’t put my finger on it.

I see photos of friends’ kids graduating, and I think to myself, “Did I fuck up by not wanting that?”

I can’t afford myself, so, no, I can’t put a kid through college.

I see photos of my friends’ babies having their Year One bib baby pictures, and I think “Is that where I’m supposed to be?”

I can’t imagine having babies. So, no, that’s not it.

I see photos of my friends’ beautiful homes they’ve built from the ground, up, and I think, “That could be my house.”

I live in a 600 square foot shoebox. Maybe that’s it.

But I live in a happy life where a man treats me like a princess and plans his every day around my happiness. We’re not rich. We don’t have babies. We have each other.

I can’t quite put my finger on my frustration, but maybe that’s because there’s nothing to really put my finger on. Finger-pointing is blaming. What if I just have a great life, a man who loves me, and a job that needs me?

What if I’m looking for something I don’t need to make me happy? What if I can’t put my finger on it because everything I have in my everyday life is already everything I’ve asked for, regardless of titles, techniques, and tethered histories?

What if I can’t put my finger on it because it’s so obvious?

The Strength of Vulnerability

In my observation, it’s hard to be weak.

In truth, it sucks.  As people, we’re bred to think we know how to conquer the world.  We spend every night planning for the day ahead, and we spend every day, working to settle into the night.

We’re never not working.

I’m never not working.

I’m working to make money.  I’m working to better myself.  I’m working to make my family as happy and as prosperous as we can be.

I’m working to be the best person and woman I can be.

Two years ago, I met a man who changed my life.  From the moment I met him, I loved him.  Deeply.  Like nothing I’ve ever known.  This man is my family.

There are few things I don’t love about him, but among the most spectacular of characteristics is his vulnerability.

I find strength in his weakness, and he does so in mine.

I often wonder — Where would I be, had chance not given me this man who I treasure and hold so dearly?

We struggle.

Sometimes it’s hard to pay the bills.  Sometimes it’s hard to have fun with the incessant thoughts of life rustling around in the back of our heads.

I take the odd days.  He gets the evens.  Wednesdays, I’m allowed to feel down;  I give him Thursdays.

When I look at my life, and the last 34 years, I can honestly say that I’ve never felt so vulnerable as every moment I feel in my home right now.  I can say, too, that I’ve never felt so strong.  As individuals, people aren’t meant to make it through this life alone.  We need to cry.  We need to suck.  And we need someone to tell us to suck it up and be better.  With a partner, two individuals can conquer the world.

My job is to be strong when my person is vulnerable.  And my job is to let him figure out how to be weak.  His job is to figure out how to be vulnerable and to wrap his arms around me when I need strength.

There’s a certain comfort in tears.  They are your own.  They were born from your own feelings, experiences, frustrations, sadness, and loneliness.  You own them.  They belong to you.  They’re part of your own mind, heart, body, and soul.

When you’re strong enough to be vulnerable, you let someone else in.  You invite the possibilities of every weakness you’re allowed to encompass, and you welcome the people in your life to bind their strengths together to create a bridge from here to there.  In the end, you’ll either find you again, or you’ll find a new you who is ready to accept the challenges and uncomfortable situations the future has to offer.

I’ve always been strong.  And the person I love is even stronger.  We’re strong in different ways, which affords us the ability to be weak differently.  We’ll never fall.  The other one is always here to grab a shovel and scoop the other one into a healthy, loving spot where we can be ourselves — whoever that person may be at the time.

Without vulnerability, no one can be strong enough to do this life.  This life can’t be done without friends who love us unconditionally and without cause or clause.

Glass Walls

In my observation, adulthood is a strange place.  

Somewhere between love and hate, turbulence and serenity, we find ourselves.  Even if the selves we find are found to still be lost from decades past, we find an understanding of this wandering, and sometimes directionless, journey. 

There’s something so perfect about being able to be honest —

When emotions cry and angers rage —

When the truth comes out, despite every bulletproof article you arm your mind, body, and soul with, are you ready to take the hit?  Will otherwise silenced words slash like a sharp knife across your flesh when they’re unleashed?  Or are you strong enough to accept the person you’ve become and the people around you at face value?

Since I’ve discovered words on paper, conversations have become much easier.  I can’t decide if this ease is attributable to the tool I use to create a voice or if it’s simply something that comes with adulthood.  

Maybe it’s timing. 

Maybe everything is timing.  

Somewhere between “fuck you” and “I can’t live without you,” we all have people who can ignite passionate emotions unlike any flames another person could ignite.

I thank timing for delivering my person to me.

When the words start flying, which side of the glass walls will you be standing on?  Stones blemish the fragile layer of protection no matter from which side they’re thrown.  One crack can cause a spiderweb of pain and complex, intricate lines, each of which takes on its own destination and intention. 

At some point, the unified shield will collapse under the pressure, and nothing but shattered shards and ruins of what once was will remain. 

That is, of course, unless those stones turn from things we throw out of frustration and become decorative accessories upon which we choose to build a foundation and reinforce our fortress.

I choose love.  I choose strength.  I choose happiness. 

The Honesty of Truth

In my observation, it’s hard to hide.  When you are the person you are meant to be… when you’ve honed yourself into the person you’re proud to present to the rest of the world…

…When you’re good…

…It’s hard to hide from the rest of the world.

I’ve spent over three decades trying to be okay with myself, and please let me tell you — the day I figured out my worth was a day worth celebrating.  Seriously, it was fucking beautiful.  Amidst doubts and troubles, tears and jeers, I found a way to go beyond accepting my me and loving my me to the fullest.

As it turns out, I’m substantially awesome.

This doesn’t make the struggle any less difficult.

In recent weeks, or as some may call them months or years, I’ve had a few conversations with myself that are not to be mistaken for blind silence.

I know.

I get it.

I understand.

Somewhere between happy and healthy, lies a finite measure of okayness.  Of beauty.  Of everything that made you not okay yesterday is fucking perfect today.

Today, you are fucking perfect.

So am I.

I have words that swirl in my head every moment of every day.  From every angle, the way I see the world is so perfectly spectacular.  Between a few tiffs, some tough moments, and times only someone who truly loves you could understand, we get by.

It’s a strange world to enter — one that welcomes your arrogance but reminds you stealthily not to be too arrogant.  My world is filled with a super supportive super hero of the beautiful kind — one who would never want anything less for me than the very best

A Letter to the Ex

In my observation, you made me who I am.

So, please allow me to thank you.

Let me get this straight, for the record, of course.

Under your rule, I wasn’t good enough. I was someone to be kept in a corner, hidden in a closet, or wrapped by so many suffocating cloaks that no one could ever find me, less they knew I existed at all.

I tend not to re-read previously written pieces — they are what they are, and what they are is how they’re supposed to be. Without reading them (which I suspect I will do in the next coming days), I know that I cheated on you because you made me feel inferior, yet I knew I was of value.

After nearly seven years of bad luck, innumerable tears, and a significant weight gain, I knew what it felt like to be as amazing I could be and still be in the worst relationship I could imagine.  Three and a half years after I sat across from you, eating my peas and carrots, I still remember how I felt when I left that metaphorical dinner table and consulted my keyboard for help.  I honestly had no idea how long it’s been since that conversation took place until right now; it resonates with me as though it was last week.

That was then.

Allow me to remind you that our official breakup took place four days shy of my two weeks’ resignation.  That was the day on which you decided to have someone who had worked for the company for two months walk me out, without notice, in front of my entire team of people.

Publicly.

You shamed me.

While you sat behind your closed office doors.

All of you.

I never said goodbye or had the opportunity to thank you.

So I will do it now.

Thank you.

Thank you for teaching me how to treat people.  Because anything I can do that’s not what you did makes me a better person.

Thank you for teaching me the industry.  Because without you, I wouldn’t have you on my resume, and I wouldn’t have been found by another of your exes.

Thank you for the professional PTSD.  Because since my time with you, I have learned to acknowledge the flags, and walk away quickly.  Unfortunately, you’re more common than you are rare.

Thank you for empowering me with the understanding that, even when I’m being spit and shit on, kicked and punched, covered and suffocated, I am still wonderful.

And you’re welcome.

You’re welcome for all that I gave you for all of those years.

You’re welcome for my phenomenal resistance to your hateful nature and my constant strive to want to be a better person, despite your hideous downfalls.

You’re welcome for taking everything that you’ve taught me, mostly through opposition and the desire to be nothing like you.

You’re welcome for accepting a position with a company that will fight for the people you fuck over on a daily basis.

In my observation, you. are. welcome.