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

 

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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 Miranda, Here are some Reflections and a NEW set of Resolutions…

My darling Pot, can you believe that we have been at this for a YEAR now? We have sixty someodd posts and I have to say this has been such a good way for us to keep up and stay close despite the miles between us or our never ending hectic schedules. All the ups and downs and twists and turns of life. And life  has changed so much for us both this past year. I have no doubt this coming year will include just as many ups and downs and crazy changes and shenanigans and I look very much forward to living out my thoughts in feelings in letters once more.

 

We Rock.

 

Now. One of the first posts I did last year was a list of resolutions. Some people think that resolutions are stupid. I think those people can stuff it. lol jk I know you are/used to be in this camp. However I do think its silly to hate resolutions just because many people don’t stick to all of them. If you complete even ONE goal you had for yourself its more than the person that chooses to have no goals. And ANY accomplishment should be celebrated. Also I like doing it here because there is some accountability. I have to tell you when I fail and I get to brag when I do something right!

 

So last year I did not do so well on keeping up with my healthy lifestyle, drinking enough water, and I did only a so/so job on making more time. BUT.

 

This is what I accomplished: I put $500 in an IRA account and $2000 in a growth based stock account for Emily separate from her college account. This account will be used for stuff like when she needs a car/prom dress/big school trip/ect. I took a two week trip to Scotland and Ireland. I lived life more fully, learning how to express myself as ME and have a good time. Just last weekend my coworkers were cracking up because I was blasting music for the kids and dancing around the house like a crazy person. I made new friends at work and I found a balance between my own needs in romantic relationships. Which is a pretty big deal considering at one point I was thinking of swearing off men totally. Dating is tricky. I made some mistakes and there are some things that I wish hadn’t turned out quite the way they did however I wouldn’t change a thing and I’m extremely happy with my progress and with the relationship I have now. I can honestly say I am a more positive person this year then last year.

 

That is a big deal. And I am proud of myself I also spent a fair amount of time exploring my faith so the “make more time” wasn’t a totally lost resolution.

 

And now its a new year and it’s time for new resolutions. Here’s to 2015 and to making good choices.

 

1. Make better health choices.

-This one is obvious considering I did so poorly last year. I’m going to make it a pretty broad goal this year as well so that it includes not just eating right and exercising but also drinking more water, cutting back on caffeine, and taking vitamins.  The good news is that I did so bad last year that it wont be to hard to improve this year!

 

2. Utilize the time I have in the best way possible.

-I feel like this is a little better goal then “make more time” for one thing because when you are working 40 hours a week at weird hours, the time you have available is limited and inconvenient. So this year I’m going to try and just utilize the free time I DO have in an effective way. Maybe I will workout in the weird morning hours between taking Emily to school and work. Maybe I will do a bible study. Maybe I with write on here or bake a healthy snack. And when I have time off with Emily I want to take her to the park and dance around with her, ect. I cant make more time where there is none, but I CAN take advantage of the time I have.

 

3. Pamper myself.

-This one is going to be hard for me. Over the years I have gotten to the point where I don’t care what anyone thinks and as such I hardly ever do my makeup, paint my nails, or do my hair. Heck, lets be real, half the time I forget to shave my legs until they are way past the point of stubble. But this past year I realized something. I like when I do those things and it genuinely has nothing to do with anyone else. I like when my nails are painted because I like it. These little things make me feel good about myself. Like I have my shit together and more importantly like I care about myself! I spend a lot of time caring for others. It’s about damn time I love on myself a little!

 

4. Learn to keep a consistent savings account.

– This past year is the first time in my life I have ever had any significant amount of money in a savings account. And honestly it takes a big weight off your shoulders when you know you have a cushion or something to fall back on. I don’t want that to be an occasional thing. I want it to be a lifelong thing. I like having money in savings.

 

5. Make a Quilt/Keep Stitching

-I picked up on embroidery this year and I made everyone Christmas Ornaments and Wall Hangings. I LOVE this hobby and I REALLY want to make Emily a Quilt. It’s a big goal but I think I can do it.

 

6. Figure out my faith.

– This I think is a lifelong process but what I mean is that I want to continue spending time exploring what my faith means to ME and to become closer to God when I’m not at church. I feel like to strengthen a faith you have found you have to do a lot of it alone. It’s what you have to wrestle with and read about and pray for and meditate on… not JUST what comes easily in a crowd of worshipers. (I’m not down on church at all. I think its a great staple but I want to BUILD on that. I am an individual.)

 

7. Keep a Gratitude log.

– I want to start logging the little things I am thankful for. This doesn’t have to be an every day thing but I also don’t want it to be a once a year thing. I’ve found thinking about it REGULARLY and writing down the things I’m grateful for makes me a more happy individual.

 

8. Get rid of the Guilt and other Nonproductive Negativity.

– I’ve noticed some habits of mine that breed guilt, anger, frustration, and a whole myriad of other negative feelings. For example I constantly read the Facebook posts of one of “those” moms. I know you know which one I’m talking about because I have been bitching about how much she gets under my skin for ages. And you know… I can remedy this so easily. I could list a few other examples off the top of my head but I will save those so that I can tell you what I’ve done to fix it! (I’m starting on this one early)

 

9. Be the Love.

-I want to be the love I want to see. This means doing small acts of kindness, being loving to those around me, and most difficultly… learning to be kind when it’s the opposite of what I want to do.

 

10. Keep Blogging.

– BECAUSE I LOVE YOUR FACE AND OUR BLOG IS AWESOME!

 

Love you and can’t wait to see what you have to say about this new year!

-Kettle

 

Dear Catie, Hippy Jesus and Hamptons Jesus.

I know I’ve been talking a lot about religion lately – whether I’m for it, against it, in the middle of figuring out what the fuck about it.

I’m a hot mess about religion, let me tell you – except I don’t need to tell you because you already know (as does anyone else who’s reading this blog.)

(I’m pretty sure God reads our blog.)

So, what threw me off of religion this time was yet another argument I had with my cousin about religion. My cousin grew up with religion in her life. I did not. She has been going to church since she was born. I started (consentually) going in my teenage years (because I wanted to hang out with the cute boys) and then seriously when I was about twenty-years-old. This was during my ‘I want to find Jesus to save my marriage, because I heard you can’t have a marriage without Jesus in it’ phase. When that fell through – and didn’t ‘fix’ my marriage, I gave up again. Then when my marriage fell apart (I am not blaming this on religion at all, by the way, readers), I went back to church to try again.

As you recall, it. was. fantastic. I found people who believed in the same kind of Jesus as I did. This is a direct quote from myself when I was speaking with our mutual friend Melisha / Lareia.

“Shit has been so damn difficult lately, and it’s made me think about religion a lot.

I am torn between Religion and God. I believe God exists, but I just wish I found a group of people who felt the same about him as me – and that’s hard to find. Even more so, I feel like it’s about the relationship between myself and God. Not the relationship between Religion and I. But just like a new friend you’ve met and think is totally awesome and great and all that, you want to introduce them to your friends and you want your friends to like them too because you like your friends and you like this new friend and it would just be so much simpler if you had more than just the two of you to hang out with.

That’s what kills me. I don’t have friends who know my ‘friend’ / God the way I do, or don’t see Him the way I do, or whatever. Now, this isn’t just a ‘I have friends who are atheists’ cry, this is a ‘I have friends who have a different kind of friend named God that they think have rules and regulations on how to be friends and etiquette and blah blah. Like, their God (in my metaphor) is from the Hamptons and there are rules of being that classy and that great. Don’t air dirty laundry. Don’t talk filthy. Don’t wear certain clothing. People can see you, so be on your best behavior 100% of the time.

Meanwhile, me and the God I know and love are kickin’ it back in our sweatpants watching Netflix marathons. We talk about all kind of things – things I’m proud of and things I’m not. And when it’s just us I feel so great and fantastic. I’m relaxed. I feel like I’ve got my shit together – even if the laundry’s not done.

But I still have friends who don’t know him, or they think he belongs in the Hamptons, and I just.. It’s hard. It’s like, not only does believing in him narrow the field of people who I could potentially get along with / date, but even further still, the Him that I believe him narrows the field even more to impossible percentages.

So then, with it being so small a number of people that I’ve met that feel the same, I’ve begun to think in the back of my mind: What if I am in the wrong? What if it’s MEANT to have all the damn rules and Hamptons shit? I mean, he’s GOD, shouldn’t he be treated like royalty like the Hamptons kids?

Or what if my God is an imaginary friend? What if he doesn’t actually exist and I’ve made him up because I seriously cannot deal with life sometimes and rather than feeling like my misery and existence is all for nothing and why not just die today, I made up a story about a creator who gives it purpose, suddenly?

Shit is hard. But no matter how many times I’ve tried, I cannot shake the feeling that he’s real. So, I’m back to the scenario of my God being too chill and loving like a hippy than like the Hamptom kids want.

Ugh. I hope all of that made sense to you. I have the Hampton kids analogy because I wasn’t born in to religion. I wasn’t forced to go to church or anything. I didn’t know about God until I was a teenager, and then I only went because it was the ‘cool thing to do’ in my circle of friends. Then when Elijah was born, I tried discovering more about it, but was shunned because of my circumstance by the Southern Baptist churches and like minded churches.

Then I started looking for nondenominational churches, and I always remember thinking that big churchs that have fancy shit in them must be Hampton like — but the one I found “IBC – Irving Bible Church” is huge, and has a lot of people. So much people that I feel like not everyone in the room is watching me as an outsider, but also that there’s so many people that they split in to study groups for those of even more like-minds… So people like me can find each other, but also more specifically, people like me in my age group, or people like me with kids as a SINGLE parent… That’s one I’d never seen before.”

So, my darling cousin (whom I love enormously, which is why this hurt so much) and I were speaking about a mutual friend we have. This mutual friend has become pregnant outside of wedlock with a guy she fell in love with (at 18/19 years old..sound familiar?) and so now they’re engaged to be wed and are moving to California for it all (where his family lives) and my cousin is.. just not having it.

But that’s besides the point. That just started our little debate, in which Hannah said she couldn’t support anything about any of that, because she’s recently decided that in her ‘faith journey’, she’s going to adopt Admonishment. Admonishment is defined as follows:

“to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner”

“to indicate duties or obligations to”

Now, I understand that this is meant as “gentle and earnest” manners, but to me, it also reads in as a lot of… judging others, disapproving of them, and then suggesting what they ought to do for their own good — which, you know, I just love to hear about. And in addition, there is way too little room between the boundaries of stepping on that line or over it when trying to do this in the most gentle way possible.

Anyway, I don’t believe in getting in other’s business like that, or telling them what they should do or shouldn’t. I don’t feel like it is my job to judge anyone for their sins. That’s God’s job. It’s not my job to see if they’re truly repenting or if they ‘deserve’ Heaven or not. Why would you try? We don’t deserve Heaven, or God’s love. That’s the whole point. We will never be worthy, YET HE LOVES US. How crazy and unconditional is that?

What’s that word I just used? Unconditional? I feel like religion based upon ‘do this or don’t benefit’ or ‘do this and you’re damned’ is kind of against the whole ‘died for our sins’ policy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If you ask me for advice, or it’s something life-threatening to you or another, I will probably say, “Hey, think about this before you do it, because it could be a bad time.” But am I going to look down on you? Am I going to judge you, you heathen? No. I am not perfect, and that would make me come off as holier than thou. Which, I personally feel, this Admonishment movement with Hannah is making her come out to be.

We fight all the time over it, and this argument we had the other day.. broke me. I said fuck it. I said if this is how religion is, then why the fuck would I believe in it? It’s so hopeless. I cannot strive with the anxiety every day of wondering if I have been good enough, or if one of my friends is going to fucking judge me because of whatever mistake I made forever. And I love Hannah. I love her so damn much it hurts that we fight like this, over something so vulnerable for me, something so personal to me. To have what I believe, and have struggled so hard to believe shut down as false, to be told I’m doing it wrong, to be told that my God is not the same, not the correct God…

I mean, fuck it, right?

 

So I gave up on Him for a little while. I mean, Hannah has been doing this her entire life, right? So she has all the authority on this over me. I should trust her, believe her. Even if it makes me never want to look towards Him again.

 

And then I had a thought.

 

Miranda. God knows you. He knows you exactly where you are right now in your life, in your past, and in your future – should you choose it. He knows what He’d like, and he knows what you’ll choose. He meets you where you’re at, and he takes you and lifts you up. He is in everything you appreciate, everything you struggle with – guiding you from the straying path. And even in this, even in an argument about Him, He still waits. He knows what hurt it’s causing. He knows that moderation is key. He knows that while mistakes happen, strive for Faith, Hope, and Love. He is forgiving, while condemning – something I believe only he can do, truly and deeply, as he is not human, and he is not prone to these mistakes that humans are – which, again, is why I don’t think we have the right or capacity to do so. Especially those of us without training, education in this specific field, and seminar.

 

So, I still love Him. Thank goodness, He still loves me and I don’t have to worry about how many mistakes I make that will finally make Him leave me. Hannah is going to be how she is, and I can’t change that, but.. I can just not talk to her about God. She just may have to be one of those people who can’t hang with my chill Jesus, and that’s hard – because we’re so close – but it’s also what keeps me sane and I would rather get along with Jesus than with her without him.

 

I hope any of this made sense. I love you, Catie.

 

Miranda

P.S. This gif is hilarious, because as punny as it is, this is literal bible thumping:

 

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 Catie, It’s Nobody’s Business, But Here’s My Last Six Months In Gifs. (Featuring Emma Stone and the cast of Easy A)

 I mean, not really. I’m figuring it out for the most part and I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come thus far in the journey. But, still. Here’s a quick series of gifs that explain how I feel, despite feeling all of this and having select few people who know little or nothing about me ask me how I’m doing, because… Let’s face it. They’re not doing it out of my best interest. They want the scoop, the dish, and the gold medal of being a friend ‘whose shoulder I can cry on, if I want to.’ Thanks.

When I made the decision to separate, and told close-to-me people. Thanks for the vote of confidence that I have an idea of what my life is like, and what it isn’t.

Which brought this on:

The gold-trophy-award-friend who gives me a shoulder to cry on to win said award (and gossip):

When I go on a date (since our separation):

I mean, dang. How do you really feel about me and my life decisions?

Because I’m tired of hearing this:

One thing I’ve learned about people who are divorced (and those who end up as single parents like myself), is to not be so judgmental. It’d be great if others did the same for me, you know, if you wanna be friends that is.:

So now, on my days off (Sundays), this is me… By myself… Being awesome:

And finally:

Love you, Catie. I’ll end with this:

Dear Catie, My grandfather’s miracle.

This is a conversation I had with my grandfather to the best of my memory. The conversation happened a couple of months ago.

So by miracle, I mean once in a lifetime, unbelievable opportunity.

My grandpa was in the Navy and doesn’t EVER talk about what happened during his time because it was during Vietnam and that shit was cray cray and very shady. And he’s not proud of Vietnam, but also he’s not allowed to say anything, right? Well, unlike my father, he’s very sentimental. He loves us all (he has 3 daughters, 8 granddaughters myself included, and Eli.) He is surrounded by women in the family because until Eli that’s all we had. Men were only married in, So he’s not hardened or anything. But anytime Vietnam is mentioned, you can just tell by the way he slowly excuses himself from the room that it’s a no-touch topic.

Well. You know what is normally known as Thanksgiving for most Americans, and they all get together with their family and eat Lunch or Dinner? Well, my family does that every Sunday.

So, One Sunday a few months ago, my grandpa pulls me aside. He knows I’m the one who enjoys history while my other cousins are all about other girly things. He pulls me aside to tell me a story, which I just engross myself in because (in a way, I think) I am his favorite in these times, and I want him to know that. And he begins to speak:

“You know I was in the Navy, right?” Submarines?”

“Uh huh.”

“Well, this stays between you, myself, and your grandmother.”

“Do you know what a Navy Seal is?”

“Kind of. They’re the super bad ass of Navy? All secretive and special rank?”

“More or less. You hear about them today because news is hard to keep secret. But back then, it was very much honored to keep secrets. Vietnam wouldn’t fly today.”

“Okay.”

“Well, one time, we had this mission to coast the area around Vietnam – I can’t tell you where, I”m sorry – and we just had to keep an eye on things. We were stationed there for so long, and it was dangerous because if we were detected.. Well.”

I nod.

“And since we were stationed in the area, we got orders to play hostess to 8 Navy Seals who were going to go on an operation nearby.”

I nod.

“We housed them for about three days. During this time, we weren’t allowed to talk to them, bother them, and most of us never saw their faces. Better not to know. Three days later, and we were asked to get them closer to the surface, towards the beach for their mission.”

“So we do, and they depart, and we go back to our section with orders to return when the time is ready and pick them up at the rendezvous point. When it was time, we went to pick them up – but something had gone wrong.”

“They were slaughtered on their way out, but still, they were us – they were American, so our active leader told us to search – long and hard – for ANY survivors of the 8.”

“We didn’t find any bodies but one of the 8, and he was face up in the water, but not moving, seemingly dead. We pulled him up, medical attention saw him immediately and we went back under to hiding.”

“Within the next few days, we met up to transport him to safety elsewhere, and by that time, we had learned her DID survive, and was conscious but not talking. By the Grace of God, I saw his face when he was being moved and I reached out and I touched his hand. I don’t know why, I just figured if it were me, and I”m in a lonely career where I just lost my other 7, I’d want to know there was a reason to stay.”
“And that was the last I saw of him.”

It’s at this point, that I assume that is the end of the tale, but he begins again, shaking.

“Now..That was decades ago, Miranda.”

“But just the other day, I was up in Denison getting my car serviced, and I”ve been going to the dealership up there for the services for years upon years, so I know the Director, and we were conversing.”

“In comes a man who’s in the same boat as me. Known the Director for years, old like I am, and you know me, I’ve never met a stranger, so we hit it off.”

“We get on to the topic of our service history in the military – both Navy.”

“We can’t give too much detail, but we skirt around it, and I am the member of the Navy. And he is the Seal.”

“And when we realized it..”

“How we are such small players in a huge world where he could have been anywhere – or as he put it – that day he could have died..”

“And we didn’t even know each other’s names, or anything about their location..”

“.. And here he was, and when we realized the connection, we never cried so hard.”

“He hugged me, shook my hand, and thanked me. Said he wouldn’t be here if not for me.”

So, by this point, I’m crying and stunned. And he pats my shoulder, and says, “If that’s not evidence of the miracles in this world, I don’t know what is.”

Just. Wow.

-Mojo