Dear Catie, my body is a temple.

Catie, my body is a temple.

New International Version
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

New Living Translation
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,

English Standard Version
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

Berean Study Bible
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

Berean Literal Bible
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have from God? And you are not your own,

New American Standard Bible
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

King James Bible
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghostwhich is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

International Standard Version
You know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God, don’t you? You do not belong to yourselves,

NET Bible
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Do you not know that your body is the temple of The Spirit of Holiness who dwells within you, whom you have received from God, and you are not your own?

GOD’S WORD® Translation
Don’t you know that your body is a temple that belongs to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you. You don’t belong to yourselves.

 

I had no idea that that phrase came from the bible. I had heard people say it – usually in defense of staying abstinent until marriage – but I thought it was just a nice way of saying “you are worth more than a careless shag.” Y’know?

Which, to be honest, that always bothered me. Absolutely, a person is worth more than that, but to give a phrase that much power without first ensuring a sense of self worth is hard. Personafying a body as something so holy, so right, so without flaw in God’s image… It truly bothered me to hear things like that because it only solidified what I felt about myself.

As someone who was raped multiple times by multiple people in my life, I began to feel that my temple was destroyed. My temple was no longer a temple, but a ruin. And if my body was to be a ruin, then what did it matter how I treated it? Sure, doll it up, make it pretty, but a ruin is nothing more than a collection of pretty artifacts of the life that lived within before.

Can you see, now, why I began to detest the phrase?

My body is a temple. Was a temple. Is a ruin.

And then, my mind changed. I began to think for myself, and then, I began to read and reread and reread that phrase. I began to see how misused it had been, and how harmful it was as a weapon disguised as a shield.

Now, I realize, my body is a temple.

My body is a gift from God. It is not truly mine, but what I use to walk this Earth in. It is a vessel in which I can experience life in, and what a true gift that is.

My body is a temple, and with it, I realize.. It will only last so long, as all great things will crumble in time. So, perhaps, I should do my best to respect it. To use it to venture forth in to this world. To push it to it’s limits and see what I can withstand with it while valuing it enough to feed it what will nourish, heal, and rest it.

I dunno. This phrase just hit me recently, and it’s made me want to dance.

I got big plans, girl. Big plans. God’s just been waiting for me to see them.

 

xoxo

mojo

Dear Catie, the older I get, the less I care.

I’m not talking empathy. That is still high and I will always feel unmeasurable pangs of guilt, sorrow, sympathy, empathy, happiness… etc. That’s part of BPD. I’ll never be ‘mellow yellow’, but you get used to living with that after a while.

What I am talking about is the older I get, the less fucks I give about things like:

  • How someone other than me parents (as long as it doesn’t hurt the kid)
  • How someone other than me loves another person (gays, bisexuals, etc)
  • How someone other than me lives their life (as long as it doesn’t hurt someone)
  • What I eat, what I weight, and have I told you how much I love my body lately?

  • Where someone lives and the pictures of their ‘life’ they allow us to see on social medias
  • Keeping up on my own ‘social media’.

I try to post enough to let my grandmother not freak out, but honestly, I have found the tools on Facebook considering who is allowed to Follow you, See what you post, etc to be very helpful. I can now feel comfortable that I won’t step on any toes and other bullshit like that when I post things about how I feel with friends who are like minded. My family is southern, conservative for the most part, and not as… progressive? And that’s fine. I’ve learned that I don’t want to change them at all. Let them live how they always have, cause it’s not hurting anyone. While they disagree with gay marriage, they aren’t going out of their way to kill, abuse, or otherwise hurt gay people. *shrugs* And I know that I give less effs about what other people think, but Facebook is full of little ways that people can pipe up with their opinions and disagree with mine and make me feel like, in general, using facebook to share my opinions is a waste of time because they will be shit on every fucking time. (Which is why I hide a good majority of it now from those who do that.) (I’m looking at you, Joseph. I hope he reads this with the same humor as me, but damn, that guy is as much of an instigator as ever. AGAIN, THOUGH, WOULDN’T CHANGE ‘EM.)

  • What people think of me.

A good part of social media for me, way back before I left it, was I put way too much stock in to

  1. What people posted and how their lives that they let everyone see must be all there is to it.
  2. What people see of my life must be perfection, just like theirs, and wtf, why isn’t my life perfection like theirs?

A great part of learning people are full of shit and all about The Game of fronts and perceptions is that I don’t give a fuck to play a game I didn’t realize I was playing. Fuck the rules, fuck the ‘my life is perfect #blessed’ bullshit. I don’t care. I’m glad everyone’s so happy, but they got nothing on my life. Sorry ’boutcha.

And I mean that. You ask on the regular how I am doing, and I feel bad and like a parrot when I repeatedly state: “I’m good. We’re good. Everything’s groovy.” — But it’s the truth. Matthew and I are —

Oh wait. The readers have no idea about that. Oops. Summary recap.

Matt and I split up last summer in July 2014.

We were fantastic apart. We were nothing but nice and friendly to each other the entire split.

The worst part was divorcing not only him, but his parents. — And that’s a lesson we learned. We were married, but his parents were a heavy portion of our marriage. While, in their own lives, Matt’s grandparents were a huge part of their marriage, they felt that was the norm for everyone – so they including their lives so heavily on ours. I don’t mean ‘come and visit me once an a while’. I mean, where we live (apartment vs house), how much we pay, the city we live (was 7 minutes from their house), how often Elijah sees them else we hear about it, the things we spent our money on, keeping up appearances and visiting extended family at functions, going to the lake and outdoorsy things all the time when the weather allows.

None of these things are awful traits. They honestly do it because they care and that’s how they know how to care. They have always wanted what is best for Matthew and I, and if it worked for them, it must be ‘best’, right? I used to be so frustrated and angry with them and the way I feel they personally drove more stress and anxiety in to my life – in to Matt’s life – and then, in to our marriage because they ultimately ended up pinning Matt and I against each other on the regular. It was so unhealthy — but they aren’t solely responsible.

Boundaries are important, and if Matt and I never speak up, and never hold up to our end of the fence post, then they would never know where the boundary began.

Anyhow, so they were hard to divorce because they were hurting and I was the one to blame and blah blah. It was pretty ugly there, but I remained trying to be as nice as humanly possible because that’s how I was raised, and I didn’t want Elijah to think Nana and Pops were some horrible people. They’re not, and I don’t want him ever to think they’re anything than super heroes in his eyes.

Matt and I dated other people. Our paperwork wasn’t filed yet, but damn, do you know how expensive that crap is? You do, cause you’ve done it, but we agreed that we were both divorced, that neither would use in court some adultery charge if we were to date before we filed, etc etc. So we agreed to date others. We didn’t live together, we dated, we would occasionally update each other on how that was going, and we became best friends again. It was amazing.

And then, one night we decided to take Elijah out to eat together. And then we took him back to Matt’s place. And then I didn’t leave, and we fell back in love. It went something like this:

The most important thing I took from this separation is: We grew up.

We were not so focused on the other person, and would they still like the other person if we liked this or didn’t like that, or had a preference to this or that. We weren’t able to grow up healthily in our former relationship, between each other and his parents. I wasn’t allowed to feel comfortable, and feel like I wasn’t some freak because I didn’t like fishing like the others did. Or that I preferred to read. Or whatever.

We got to grow up when we were apart, and dating again was complete and total new territory. We were different people, who loved ourselves, and we went in to this relationship like this:

-Do we feel the same religiously? (Because I gained way more faith when I discovered I was Super Mom as a single mother)

-Can we communicate? (A huge problem before, where Matt would rather bottle things up than speak up about them at the risk I would blow up at him — and I would definitely blow up at him at every chance, with tensions so high.)

-Can we be our own people, but also still love each other? (I’m sorry, Matthew, but Grunge was so hard for me to pretend to like. While some is fine, I just can’t get behind Sound Garden. It’s not my jam, mannnn.)

-Can we be us, and not let anyone else intrude on our relationship? (We decided, if this would happen, that this time around we would gently let everyone know that it’s us against the world. Just us.)

Naturally, we came to an agreement. We dated in secret for a while, because while we can forgive each other and fall in love all over again as new people — everyone else that we knew in our family would likely be confused, hurt, and not know what the fuck was going on. I was definitely worried for his side of the family, who had every right to be bitter I feel. I was never worried for my family, though. They’ve always loved him and his family. I half expected a celebration — one that will come.

When we eventually came public, Matthew told his parents and informed them as gently as he could that it was he and I, and that this time, while he knows they love him, he would do his own thing with me. They didn’t quite understand, and he tried to explain, but again. That may be something that never changes, and that’s life. Gotta let it go.

Sooooo. Long story short, we’re happy. Still. I wouldn’t say it’s ‘honeymoon’ phase, because we’re smarter than that. We know there’s hardship, and we struggle – but our struggles are easier now. They seem so easy. Communication has been key. We both make more money, and love our jobs, which is huge. We live in Frisco — which is perfect for our lifestyles. We go on dates, with or without Elijah, weekly and without having to plan it.

I tell you, spontaneously asking the other person if they wanna go see a Movie tonight and knowing you can afford it without having to skimp on some bill is the best feeling in the world.

But, despite how amazing we are, I don’t like to go in to detail anymore. Why? Well..

  • It’s my life. Our life. And that’s between us. It’s a boundary.
  • Life really is great for us, but rather than post all the damn time about it on social medias, I’d rather people witness it if they’re curious if we’re just as happy as we seem.
  • I don’t have time any more to post on the regular about my life when I’m busy trying to write my book and relax on the small amounts of times I have. I work pretty heavily now (which I love), and Matt works opposite schedules, and Elijah is on a schedule, and while there is always time for the three of us – we don’t back burner each other, and that means things like this and gaming are not prioritized and it’s just hard to keep everyone updated.

I know you ask because you care, and because you can’t just ‘come over and chill’ and witness the glorious harmony yourself, but believe me when I tell you.. Things are groovy. We’re so lucky. No one I know has the love story we do, and let me say, just because it worked out for us, doesn’t mean it will work out for everyone going through divorce. I’m not one of those blindingly positive people who thinks people need to try harder. Not at all.

Also, just because he and I ended up never getting an official divorce on paper, we do consider ourselves divorced in our hearts, because we dated other people and truly attempted to live apart.  We fell out, definitely.

Which means as of today, we consider ourselves Boyfriend and Girlfriend, or dating. Someday, when we decide this is forever, and Matthew asks me to marry him again, we will have a ceremony in which we reconfirm our love for one another — but this time, with God involved, and on a personal scale. But that’s the future.

We’re enjoying the now.

Love you, Pot.

Dear Catie, The ‘I don’t give an F meter.’

Hey B,

I know it’s been a long while since I last posted. I’ll be doing a post on my new years resolution progress after this one to catch up on that, but this post is going to be about my ‘Give an F” meter. For sake of making this post a little less explicit, we’ll call it ‘I don’t care” (IDC) meter.

I’m seriously discovering that I just might actually have an IDC meter. For example, about a month ago, here’s what would happen:

  • Wake up super early for work. It’s likely that by the time I actually rise from the bed, my alarm has gone off around four times. Thus, I’ve wasted valuable ‘getting ready’ time and already in a rush. The IDC meter depletion begins.
  • Wake up Elijah and clothe him because the poor guy got my lack-of-morning-person personality. He’s basically dead weight for the first hour. And cranky.
  • Food things. Feel guilty about the food things being Fast Food things both for health reasons and an unnecessary expense. Stress / Anxiety / Catastrophic thinking IDC depletino.
  • Drop off Elijah / pay for day care. Stress IDC depletion.
  • Go to work / work all day. This is where most of my IDC depletion happens.
  • Work out after work at trail. This one is hard to make happen after all the IDC meter depletion.
  • Drive home in guaranteed rush hour traffic. Some IDC meter subtraction.
  • Food things again. Likely fast food, because my IDC meter by this point is so depleted.

Like, seriously, after work, it’s kind of like my IDC meter is just done. Like, the rest of the things from the day are just extra things I have to really push myself to give any of the Cares about. And that makes just about everything that wasn’t a necessity in my life very difficult to manage. I started paying my bills and doing my budget and doing my schedule and writing and things while at work because by the end of the day, I just didn’t care and it wouldn’t happen because I’d be vegging out on the couch because.. I mean, come on, my brain is DONE.

 

This is something I didn’t realize would significantly change when I moved in with my Mother. I knew there would be positive change financially for me in this decision because I wouldn’t be paying rent and could pay off all of my debts much faster. But, what I didn’t realize, is that my IDC meter INCREASED in amount. So did the spending .

  • Wake up super early, still, because now I live 30 minutes farther from work than I did. But, I also go to bed earlier, because part of the condition of moving in was to not disrupt my little sister Melody’s schedule. Wakes up at 6am. Bathes at 7pm. Story at 7:30p. Bed by 8pm. So if Elijah is on the same schedule, as to not disrupt it, then I am done putting him to bed by 8pm. And if I am done then, and I still want to do the things such as gaming, reading, or lounging, then I can still do that for a couple of hours before going to bed at a reasonable hour myself. Tadaaaa. Therefor, no more IDC points taken during this activity.
  • Wake up Elijah. He is still dead weight in the morning, but he wakes up in about 20 minutes now instead of an hour. I don’t have to fight him much, and since he has his own room, I can wake him up once I am ready so I don’t have to battle both of us at the same time. Less IDC points taken!
  • Food things. Because we need to eat. So, oatmeal is yummy and he partakes. Myself, instead of buying food on the way to work, I eat breakfast there because it’s there and I can and I feel better both health wise and financially. Less IDC points taken!
  • The drive to work is always going to be rush hour. And that kind of sucks. BUT, mom suggested to me that I start listening to audiobooks in the car to make the time go by / take my mind off of the ridiculous traffic. IT WORKS. I am so rapped up in the story that I don’t notice how long I’ve been chilling in the same spot in traffic. Road rage depleted, and IDC points saved. (Plus, I feel like I am accomplishing / completing tasks I have held off on forever now because I never have time to read. So listening while doing something I HAVE to like driving makes me feel like it’s less of a chore and more of a, “YES I FINALLY READ THAT BOOK HUZZAH.”)
  • Drop off Elijah / Pay for daycare. This one still makes me sad because dat money, but I’m considering finding him another place to be that does Pre-K since he can’t do Kindergarten this year and has to wait a whole other year because September Baby.
  • Go to work. This one doesn’t cost so many points and it didn’t before. I like my job, I do. The only points depleted in it were having to do other not-work related things at work, which made things harder because multitasking. This is just never going to not take some points.
  • Work out after work. This one takes points, but it’ll be worth it someday, I tell myself. It makes me feel good about myself, like I did productive things, like I am gettnig stronger, ilke I might have my shit together if I can finally do this and not hate me.
  • Drive home in rush hour traffic. Same as driving to work in rush hour. Dat audiobook. Plus, I get to wind down from work out.
  • Food things. Not fast food, because I live with my parents and they cook the things. So that’s less fast food I’m consuming.

 

Basically, the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) version of this is: Life at Mom’s isn’t that bad and helps my Give an F meter. Go team.

-Mojo

 

Dear Catie, A Happy Self.

When I woke up this morning at 9:00am, I didn’t really have a ‘plan.’ I knew I was off, I knew I wouldn’t have Elijah until tomorrow, and that I had just me, myself, and I for the next 24 hours. It’s a Thursday, but it’s also New Years Day. Is anything open? I bet not, but I bet the movie theater is. For some reason, they’re always open and it kind of makes me feel bad for the workers, but not bad enough that I didn’t get my ass up for the matinee showing of Wild (Starring Reese Witherspoon) at 10:40am.

So in I walk to the theater, having no idea what this movie is about – not even a trailer of it. Someone I loosely know knew of my situation (‘divorced’) and thought to tell me to go see it, with urgency. They were not mistaken in this suggestion. This is my first text after seeing it, to my mother:

It’s about a woman who’s had it all and lost it all and made a lot of mistakes and so she goes on a journey for herself to find the woman her mother always wanted for her (to be her Happy Self). It was just really therapeutic. I thought to myself, “Maybe I should go on a little thing, too.” And then I realized, “I already am.”

It just gives me hope that this isn’t for nothing and I will come out of it all a Happy Self.

It’s true. I really am already on my own adventure. I live by myself (sometimes with Elijah) in a new city I’ve never lived in that is much bigger than the suburbia I grew up in and the small towns I visited. The dynamic of people, their mannerisms, everything is different. At the mall, once the movie was over, I realized that sitting on the bench drinking my smoothie – no one noticed me. No one spoke to me, no one saw me — I wouldn’t even have to go on a hike across the PCT to feel solitude. Life was happening all around me – yet separate from me.

I am not writing this as a depression piece — I actually find this very beautiful. The idea that I can sit in a populated area and simply be beside myself while having the opportunity to reach out and speak to anyone I wanted, it was like a super power.

A lot of my country-living family and relatives have asked me how I can do it, and that all the sirens and noise of the highway must drive me insane. When I began to speak of the ritual at night time when I turn all of the lights out and lay on my bed, stare up at my ceiling and the noise just… enters. Cars on the highway. People in their apartments (speaking softly). The occasional, nightly sirens going off. It’s all a symphony of hyperactive life all around. You will find each of these things – though maybe isolated – in the country. They won’t be as often, and the country leaves a lot of quiet – too much quiet for me. Too much silence for my thoughts to invade where they shouldn’t and cause problems that never were.

But here? Here, it is a symphony. It is music inside of earbuds taped to my head as I drift off to sleep. I am at such peace, yet I am still able to think – and better yet, control where my thoughts linger. I am able to contemplate the last year of my life, where it ‘all went wrong, and then take a deep breath as I release the burden to the sky.

Every day that I am off, I have ventured in to the city – to a location I’ve never been. I’ve been to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or two, a privately owned pharmacy, a coin-laundromat on the other side of town, and even walked a mall I’ve never taken time to bother with. Every day, I put myself out there without going farther than 10 miles from my new home. There’s people of all walks of life here, and I finally feel like I can belong in such a new place without everyone staring at me like I am the new girl. I’m not the new girl in town anymore. I’m the new girl in the city – and that’s exciting. I can walk around with the utmost confidence because no one knows me, no one can snoop up who my family is off a whim of asking ‘granny down the street who’s kin I belong to’ or any of the more ‘comfortable’ details of living in a small town.

And I know this won’t last forever. I know, someday I will find someone up to my level who will sway me to move elsewhere – whether it’s in Texas or not – and my single-living-apartment-adventure will end..

But it’s not about the start or finish. It’s about the journey. It always has been. I have been so focused, the last half year, on reaching the finish line of my grief. I gave up a life I had – a beautiful life that I had with a beautiful family. You will be hard pressed to find more decent and considerate folks than Mr. Donald Dyer and Mrs. Debbie Dyer, my ex-husband’s parents. I will be hard pressed to find a more compassionate man than Matthew was – and remains to be. I am so blessed to call him co-parent to my child, Elijah. That young boy will want for nothing.

As the holidays came upon us, I look on it now like it was all a blur, though at the time it was very much not. Thanksgiving came like a slap to the face. My birthday arrived a week later with news of needing to pack everything up immediately and find a place to live, my dad having hardship that aided this, and then being single for my birthday for the first time in.. at least a decade. Then three weeks blew by as I packed, searched, found, scavenged for the money, and then moved in three days before Christmas. I didn’t even have a tree, let alone the amount of presents I wanted for Elijah – but we’re doing fine. He made out like a bandit. But I was single, once more, for the third anniversary of celebration in a row within a month. Thanksgiving. My birthday. Christmas.

It was a lot of grief, a lot of pain they don’t tell you about. I remember texting my mother the day of Christmas, prepared to beg that I stay home because it was all too much. But instead, I decided it was time to get out of bed. It was time to go see my family – because that’s what it is about and I lost sight of that. I went and had the best time at my stepfather’s parents’ house with the whole family, eating, laughing, playing games. My sister, her best friend, and I went to the movies for a double feature and I didn’t get home until the early morning next day.

I feel like I was prepared for New Years Ever, and then Day. I had made it through the past month with my head above water, and a strong mind. Crying is alright, and grief is a place I went for the holidays, but the important thing to remember is not to live there. This, too, shall pass.

New Years Eve was a blast. New Years Day was a revelation, not because of the first day of a new year but because of the events that happened on it.

It’s time to stop grieving.

It’s time to let it go.

It’s time to be a Happy Me.

Dear Catie, I’m starting my new beginning before the new year. #becauseican

So, allow me to apologize and thank you at the same time, my darling Kettle.

I apologize, because I have been rotten the past few months. I’ve been hurting in my own way, and that made me more bitter than I care to admit – but will anyway because admitting my feelings is more healthy than pretending they didn’t happen at all. I sincerely thought this would be my new life, this not caring, being sassy, and bitter thing.

But, it was not meant to be. And, while I was doing it all, and writing out in my darkest moments, I truly appreciate you for responding with haste, with compassion, and with humor. You and I speak on a level that is secret to our own nature, our own way. It’s a language people can see and hear and understand, but they may not fully comprehend the depth. You reached me. And I thank you so much for it. I’m surprised you didn’t just:

 

 

I mean, I would have taken it.

 

Anyhow, let’s move on to the new things.

 

I thought up a few new ideas for a book. Two are in this world. They’re fiction, but it’s like, modern day. 2014. You know. Another is in another world, made up, very steampunk meets victorian.

I moved in to my new apartment. Tomorrow, my father moves out of his house and stops sleeping at my apartment – and Elijah and I will be completely and totally alone. I love my father, and this isn’t a jest at him or the old, “I’m so glad to kick my parents out” joke. I am seriously thankful for the opportunity to be in my own home. My own. Just me (and Elijah). And more so, that I can magically afford it somehow, like a grown ass responsible and independent woman that don’t need no man. Huzzah.

I’m also kind of thankful that Dad’s gone because I could not get the man to cook healthy. I mean, come on. I am trying to lose weight. Stop making potato-cheese-bacon melt casserole, jeeze.

I also no longer have to deal with toll roads. Hallelujah. It takes me 20 minutes to get to work, even from Dallas, because every time I drive the highway is against traffic rather than with, and thus I don’t have roadblocks. I’m sure they will periodically happen. I’m not daft, but it’s a much better situation.

Oh, by the way, I am in the center of everything. I love the city, and have always wanted to live here. I’ve lived in suburbs, but this is my first in the actual city where sirens are a daily occurrence sort of deal. I love it. There’s 3 malls around the corner, a million bookstores on my block and my walmart is two stories tall. (Three stories with the Sams Club attached. Oh yeah.)

I read an article the other day about people who want to travel to go on their ‘soul-searching’ journey – and the author was like, “Quit coming to my country looking for your peace. We are not for you tourists pleasure. We do not magically fix you. You fix you. You will not be ‘fixed’ unless our mind and heart and soul are in the right frame. If you have to come here to ‘get away’, fine, but do not assume we are miracle workers. You can do this at home. Just find a place inside to sit and ‘get away’ and find yourself. It’s frightening, but cheaper!”

My apartment has become this. Granted, I pay for it monthly, but I’m on my own. My own rules. My own decisions. My own life. I am so thankful.

I know that this may be backwards, but after many disagreements and arguments with my cousin who is very devout in Christian faith, I have decided to take the label off of my faith. I believe there is a God. I believe whatever this God is is fair and just and lovely and fascinating and has to exist because this world, nay, universe is too much for chance. I believe in paying respects. I believe in thanking each part and piece of nature and our natural world for it’s existence. For thanking calm as it washes over me. For thanking worry as it reminds me that I care about something so much to be anxious over it. But I will no longer call myself of Christian faith. It was the hardest decision I’ve made recently, and one that broke me down to tears. It’s a long story, but it has been brought to my attention that my way of life was hardly anything to do with Christianity, and if that is the case, then fuck it. 

I’ll do good and be a good person because I am a good person.

I love you so much.  I may write smaller pieces here and there because there’s more I want to write to you but have momentarily forgotten. I love you. I love you. I love ou.

I appreciate you. I see you. Thank you.

Miranda

 

 

 

 

P.S. I got a text from my mom as I was closing this and my mom announces, “No breast cancer!! Just cysts!” Yeeeeehaw!

 

Dear Miranda, My friend has six months to live.

This is my friend Richard. He loves homegrown tomatoes, so I bring him some every now and then when I can snatch them from my parents garden. He sent me this picture to show me how much he is enjoying a tomato I gave him. He looks a little like Wario in this picture which makes me laugh.

 
Richard went to the Dr. again last Tuesday and they found that his ability to breathe was down 30% from the last time he was there. His Dr. informed him that he estimates he will live about 6 months.
 
Six Months.
 
Of course I was really upset but I am trying to remain positive. Sometimes there estimates are really wrong. And even if he is right, Richard is not gone yet, so I need to cherish the time that we have left.
 
I meet him for coffee. I share homegrown produce incase this is his last summer to have it. And we talk. Last time we talked about being present and living in the now instead of wasting time in the past or worrying about the unpredictable future. We talked about trying to be more human. We talked about Zen.
 
And we talked about having only a short time left to live. I realized that if I only had six months left to live, I would want to spend as much time as I could interacting with friends and family. I would make more time for coffee, e-mails, and phone calls. I would find time for game night, because laughter is the most intense therapy I can think of for mental anguish.
 
I would stop freaking out about ALL the dumb small shit that seriously matters none. I would probably volunteer somewhere. I might go camping… or maybe I would just camp out in the living room with Emily but there would defiantly be smores involved.
 
I think if I had a deadline on my life I would feel a lot more “alive” each morning when I woke, and be a lot more appreciative for the blessings I’ve been given then I did before.
 
And  though I haven’t been given a diagnosis like Richard, things like this serve as a very real reminder that life is precious and fleeting and that death doesn’t seem real until its upon you. Many people never even see it coming. So I’m aiming to get my shit together. Not in the “I need to get more organized… I need to make more money… I need to be better about folding the laundry so it doesn’t get wrinkly…” way. In the “Is today my day and if so am I doing what I need to. Am I happy with how I spent my time. Do I need to do anything else today to set it on the path it should be on,” way.


Dear Miranda, Sometimes life can be painfully ironic.

In 2005 I worked at Starbucks. It was one of the best jobs I have ever had. I loved the people I worked with and I loved my regulars. I looked forward to going to work everyday. I loved being a barista and my favorite part of all was when we went on break or when we got off work (or got there a little early) we would hang out with each other and the people who regularly spent lots of time there.

There were several of us that it seemed like spent 95% of all our free time together. We were such a motley crew… made up of all ages, religions, and backgrounds. The group was Debbie, Eric, Grant, Chiblis, Richard, and I. There were others who floated in and out of our group, like Debbie’s daughters, Eric’s dad, a paramedic who’s name I cant remember, but this core group… we were close. We were family.

Time has changed a lot. Eric died my senior year. It was devastating. I still miss him and think about him all the time. I vaguely keep up with Grant on facebook, but somehow after Eric died it just wasn’t the same. It was hard for us to hang out or at least it was hard for me to hang out with him. Chiblis moved to California, which suits him. Debbie is the woman who moved to Alaska with her children who I e-mailed the other day. And then there is Richard.

Richard and I have always had a special bond. He is older than my parents, in his late sixties probably, but you can talk to him like I talk to you. F*bombs and all. He is interesting, supremely intelligent, and generally doesn’t give a fuck. He is sarcastic and witty and sometimes a bit of an ass. I adore him and I am sure you can see why he took to me. He has two children a little older than me, but they both live far away so I think he sortof saw me like a surrogate.

I lost touch with Richard when I moved to North Carolina but after my divorce I found him again and we picked up right were we left off. Like I had just been on vacation or something. We meet regularly and have coffee and talk about philosophy and politics and relationships and how fucked up the world is. We talk about how people  don’t know how to be human any more. We gossip about silly shit. We just spend time together.

Now get ready for the irony.

Richard has COPD. I don’t know if that means anything to you… it didn’t to me. All it meant was that he now used oxygen. No big deal…old people stuff right? Only it is. Its a really big deal. Richard is dying… and I didn’t figure this out until yesterday… which… IRONICLY is the day I started reading Tuesdays with Morrie.

Life is so fucking crazy sometimes. Now I’m not saying that Richard is like Morrie. As a matter of fact the idea of that makes me laugh. He is to cynical and snappy for that. However… the parallels are the same in a lot of ways.

His shorted time makes me realize how freaking much time I waste, how much we all waste, on absolute bullshit. I am making a vow, here and now, that I am going to do my best to never say. “I’m sorry, I’ve just been so busy,” ever again.

We fill our lives with material things. Cars, and houses, and jobs we hate, and money. And it doesn’t fufill us. But we are told if we just have more then we will be happy, so we seek more. Of course it never works. There is a reason rich people suffer from depression and anxiety the same as everyone else. Material goods will NEVER make you happy.

What does make you happy is love. Affection. Quality time. Conversation. Touch. Play. Laughter. Even Tears. And I think we all know this deep down but somehow we buy into our cultures philosophy that money makes you happy.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I realized the seriousness of Richards condition before it was to late. I’m having coffee with him tomorrow. And I am going to make time for him… and everyone else… more often.                  

I feel good when I give and I can give my time for free. I can feel good… happy… for free. That makes me truly rich.