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Author: Just Me

Happy New Year…2016 Starts Today

Happy New Year…2016 Starts Today

The rest of the world celebrated New Year’s two weeks ago. Today, I celebrate mine.

The week between New Year’s Day and my birthday is the time I take stock of who I am, my lot in life, where do I want to go, both physically and metaphorically, and the big daddy of all questions: Am I on the right track for who I want to be in 5-10 years?

This question always trips me up because for years, I’ve believed  that if I didn’t like the projected trajectory, I could change it. Often I would declare, this is the year I’m gonna make “it” happen, and so, I would make, making “it” happen my full-time job (ring in: if you want it bad enough you will make it happen). I thought that with enough hard work I could make the dream of my 10-year old self, my 32-year old self, come true. After all, isn’t that what all those dumb quotes on Pinterest tell us we’re supposed to do?

Birthdays are an excellent reminder that time does not wait for us. I try desperately to avoid birthdays–I don’t like the attention and the annual slap in the face that another year has passed and the only thing different from last year to this year is my annual budget for hair color, Botox, and chemical peels continues to increase as the signs of aging grow more prominent.

But this year, I’m done! To be clear, I’m not done with the anti-aging treatments, no, that’s crazy talk–I’m done with making the proclamation about making “it” happen. See, I am a societal novelty, a rare breed, who managed to make it to her 40’s and never marry or have a baby. This has often made me feel like a failure, defective, a misfit exiled to the island of broken toys. And for years I’ve tried to fix it, searching tirelessly, endlessly for that one defective gene that I could rip out and finally free myself from the self-imposed societal inadequacies.

Yesterday, I told a good friend who was bitching about her sister-in-law, “you’ve got to let it go.” I suppose I also need to let it go–let go of what I was supposed to be, ditch the road map, embrace my defective gene, and just be, no matter how uncomfortable just being me makes me and those around me.

And so, I think the time has come to get real, bare my soul and unravel the realities, myths and mysteries and truths about this path I’ve been traveling, the path I stare at everyday and wonder, why me?

WARNING: This is not going to be pretty and it’ll break every  instinct in my body that wants to say to you, I’m fine, I’m good, I’m okay, I love my life. Well, not always.  This road I’m on is hard and I don’t always like it, and many times I hate it, as I go around bitching with the confidence of Donald Trump that I’ve been forgotten and God’s conspiring against me. But then I settle into myself and resign that for whatever reason, I’m on this road–a road forged absent a we, but uniquely me. Here I go.

 

I hear voices

I hear voices

For the past couple of years, I’ve stayed pretty quiet. A blog post here and there, but no self promotion, just me and WordPress getting together once every four or five months to take a few notes about what’s on my mind, so I don’t totally lose track of these years-even though there’s much I’d rather forget.

But as I try to fall asleep, a nagging voice inside me tells me to get up and write. I try to ignore it, I really want to go to sleep, but it keeps whispering, go get your computer, write something, there’s something new for you there. I hate that voice–I don’t want to listen. But for probably the second time in my adult life, I listened and I got out from under my cozy, silk comforter to grab my computer from its home base in the kitchen.

I’m blinded by the light of my laptop as I open up the lid and type in my password. I’m remembering what those sleep experts say about not using electronics before going to sleep. Damn it, this means I’ll never make mass in the morning because I need those eight hours of sleep. Ugh, I don’t want to write, I don’t even know what to say, I hope the words come easy.  The same voice that told me to go get my computer is asking, what the hell do you have to say anyway? No one cares.

But then from a quiet corner of my soul comes a reserved, almost shy voice that says, you need to say it, others need to hear it. I’m listening, but I’m wondering, what is IT?

Questions run through my mind. Have I not been authentic? Has everything I’ve ever written been a complete ruse? Have I been fooling myself to believing that whatever persona I portrayed was really me? Ugh, this is so much to ponder on a Saturday night. But I know I’m on to something.

I look back at past posts and see the holes where I’ve been hiding. I see the stories I want to tell rather than the stories as how they were or are. I know that if I’m truly honest, I need to go deeper, I need to come out of my rabbit hole,  and unravel, unpack the beautiful mess that I am. I need to open up about my struggles, my fears, my challenges, my hopes, my dreams–all those things that make me completely vulnerable–something this tough girl doesn’t like to talk about…

 

2015 Shattered Me

2015 Shattered Me

Seven days into 2016 and I’m still reflecting on 2015. My New Year’s Eve was spent jet-lagged from three red-eyes in four days across 15 time zones, and instead of my traditional bottle of wine, I was in REM sleep before 7PM. In complete zombie mode, the only thing I wanted or could contemplate was: What time is it and is it too early to go to bed? But it seems the worst of the jet-lag is behind me and other than an earlier than normal bedtime, which is not a total bad thing, I’m mostly back to regular-programming with a clear mind to reflect on the year gone by.

My annual tradition is to select a theme song that best summarizes the year. I often find lyrics have a better way of wrapping up the year in nice four line stanzas rather than me rambling about what I did or didn’t do that was great, shitty, depending upon the year.

For 2015, Shattered, by O.A.R. seemed most appropriate. This song has been on my iPod since 2010, but somehow it popped back up into my playlist this year. When I first heard it again, I was exhausted with life, taking care of myself and being strong for myself, I was begging God for a bone, anything to show me that it won’t always be this way, but everything looked dark and I couldn’t find anything to soothe my soul, to give me hope.

So many times I had pulled myself up from my bootstraps, put the pieces together and moved forward, but this time it felt different, this time I felt irretrievably lost, unsure of everything, searching for anything–I was more than broken, I was shattered, left wondering, can I turn this around?

SHATTERED by O.A.R.

In a way, I need a change
From this burnout scene
Another time, another town
Another everything
But it’s always back to you

Stumble out, in the night
From the pouring rain
Made the block, sat and thought
There’s more I need
It’s always back to you

But I’m good without ya
Yeah, I’m good without you
Yeah, yeah, yeah

How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line can’t define what I’m after
I always turn the car around
Give me a break let me make my own pattern
All that it takes is some time but I’m shattered
I always turn the car around

I had no idea that the night
Would take so damn long
Took it out, on the street
While the rain still falls
Push me back to you
But I’m good without ya
Yeah, I’m good without you
Yeah, yeah, yeah

How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line can’t define what I’m after
I always turn the car around
Give me a break let me make my own pattern
All that it takes is some time but I’m shattered
I always turn the car around

Give it up, give it up, baby
Give it up, give it up, now
Now

How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line can’t define what I’m after
I always turn the car around
All that I feel is the realness I’m faking
Taking my time but it’s time that I’m wasting
Always turn the car around

How many times can I break till I shatter?
Over the line can’t define what I’m after
I always turn the car around

Don’t wanna turn that car around
I gotta turn this thing around

A year later: Can you go back home again?

A year later: Can you go back home again?

The one-year anniversary of my return to North Carolina was this month, so it seemed like a good time to speak out on what the past year has really been like and answer the question: Can you really go back home again?

When I crossed over the I-85 South Virginia/North Carolina border with a Carolina blue sky to welcome me, I said, I’m back, I’m home. It took me 16 years and a lot of moves up and down the East Coast and Midwest, but I had found my way back home, or so I thought.

See, over the past 12 months, I’ve been lost–I can’t seem to find my footing. Nothing feels right. Yes, Charlotte has my beloved Container Store and Fresh Market, Broadway shows tour here, it has the ballet, even the opera, and it’s even more aligned with my conservative viewpoints, but it’s not the same, something is off.

I left DC with open eyes. I knew I would miss going to shows at the Kennedy Center, or spending Sunday afternoon’s with a blanket, a book and a box of wine with Iwo Jima as my backdrop. Even with it’s insane traffic, I knew I would miss the postcard view of the Lincoln Memorial as I drove into DC over the Memorial Bridge. Nonetheless, I can categorically say, I don’t regret my decision to leave– it was time–the city wears you down. But Charlotte doesn’t fit. It’s as if I’m 15 all over again trying to wear my favorite Forenza shirt from two years before, ignoring the fact that my boobs have doubled in size and the only way I can still wear the shirt is if I wear a tank top underneath and leave it unbuttoned and open.

I look around at Charlotte and say,  it’s not you, it’s me. For many, Charlotte has a lot to offer. The sheer growth of the city proves that people from all over the country find it a desirable location to plant roots. But for me, Charlotte leaves me empty and uninspired.

Charlotte has changed enormously since I last lived here in 1989 and flourished as a high school senior. My gold and green pom poms from Friday nights on the sidelines of Independence football games are buried away in a storage bin, a symbol of what I used to be and what I used to call home. I graduated, moved away and grew up. Charlotte grew up too, but as so often happens when you meet up with an old friend years later, you discover the two of you grew apart and no longer want or like the same things. For over 20 years, I have lived a non-traditional, take a chance, sometimes gritty, pull your bootstraps up and do it, I can’t believe you did that kind of lifestyle. Charlotte on the other hand stayed safe, craving, even buying respect, a desperation to fit-in no matter what part of its self it had to compromise.

The saying goes, “home is where the heart is” and well, my heart no longer lives in Charlotte–it’s in New York, Paris, London, Moscow, Bali, Fiji, Tuscany, basically, anywhere a plane and my passport can take me. For the moment, Charlotte is home base, but it’s not home–it’s a connecting terminal for this juncture in my life–it’s purpose to get me from point A to point B, wherever that might be, wherever life takes me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My spiritual epiphany, I’m not a problem to be solved

My spiritual epiphany, I’m not a problem to be solved

A week before Paxton died,  I had a sort-of spiritual epiphany. See, for some time I’ve struggled with my place in the world.  Now whether that’s self-induced or real, I don’t know, but I’ve found it’s hard for people to completely understand you or appreciate you when you don’t necessarily follow the prescribed path of life or fit neatly in a box.

I’ve always wanted to fit-in, to be like my family and friends and have the American Dream: Education, house, marriage, kids, family. I craved the ordinary. And while I’ve been successful in some areas, namely education and well, kind of-housing, all my efforts to add-on, to upgrade to the full package have failed miserably–and not without a hell of a lot of effort, time and money.

By nature, I’m a fixer. If there’s a problem, I want to solve it. And for years, I’ve thought, I was a problem to solve. I thought if I knew the reason why every guy who had left me for another girl, I could understand and fix whatever it was about me that made them choose her over me. I thought if I went to the best fertility specialists on the East Coast, I could have a baby. I thought if I dated every man on Match.com, OKCupid or whatever dating site was hot at the time, I’d find someone who wanted more than just one date with me. I thought if I read enough books, followed enough marketing strategies I’d find the elusive “one.” I thought, I needed to be fixed, and in doing so I could be what everyone else was–ordinary and accepted.

But then it occurred to me that I had spent an obscene amount of time trying to be ordinary with futile results, when at my core I was adventurous, a risk-taker, a non-conformist. And then the big spiritual awakening: Maybe I’m not meant to be ordinary, maybe I’m destined to be extraordinary–Relief washed over me and for the first time in this millennia I was free from the box.