Tag Archives: life

Crazy

cra·zy [ˈkrāzē]
  1. full of cracks or flaws

  2. not mentally sound – marked by thought or action that lacks reason

  3. distracted with desire or excitement; absurdly fond; passionately preoccupied

Once upon a time there was a girl who was batshit crazy. And that girl’s name was Melissa.

Granted, some days were crazier than others. But even on the days that didn’t seem so crazy, there was still plenty of crazy lying dormant. The crazy fountain never ran dry for that girl.

Never.

Oddly enough, though, she sort of owned it.

Even when people in her life called her condition to her attention (“Hey Melissa – you are CRAZY!”) or spread the news of her condition around to others (“Oh, there’s Melissa – that girl is CRAZY!”)  – she never really took it as an insult.  It seemed kind of silly to her really…why state the obvious? Did they think they were hurting her in some way? That they were telling her or others something that she/they didn’t already know? Something she should be ashamed of?

Finally, one day – one of her craziest by far – Melissa decided to figure out why being called crazy didn’t seem to bother her all that much. These people were going to so much trouble to hurt her with that word, that she thought the least she could do was look it up and attempt to find what they were trying so hard to convey with those five little letters.

Thanks to this new world of instant gratification via internet, Melissa quickly found Webster’s definition of the word. It was broken down into three separate definitions, so she decided to explore each.

1. Full of cracks or flaws.

The first definition was “full of cracks or flaws.” Well, duh! Melissa knew that already. Did anyone think she didn’t? She could list them all for everyone, but it didn’t really seem necessary. She was sure that most of hers probably matched most that everyone else had too – if they were honest with themselves. Melissa was definitely full of cracks – some she created herself and some others helped to chisel for her – and she was well-aware of her flaws. She was loud when it was time to be quiet; she never backed down from a fight (even when it was neither the time nor the place); and everything she needed to say, she said it, with no regard to taking a break to consider whether the words needed to wait until a better time. She figured in the grand scheme of things, compared to all of the good qualities she had about herself, if she had to have flaws (which she did – everyone did), then these weren’t all that bad to have. There definitely could be worse. And until she found the magic potion that made her perfect, she figured she’d just have to get used to these and embrace them. Which is exactly what she did. So, yeah, according to Webster, Melissa definitely fit the first definition of crazy. So, what was the big deal?

2. Not mentally sound – marked by thought or action that lacks reason.

Definition #2? Oh boy – she totally fit that one! As she had already observed with the first definition – one of those flaws was not thinking before she speaks. When it crosses her brain, it slips straight out of her mouth. If she’d take the time to think or reason as the definition implies, she’d probably be a little more “mentally sound.” But good grief – who is mentally sound? She didn’t know anyone in her life that was – why should she be? Her mental processes were all over the place. Especially in the heat of the moment. Sure, there were times that she said things she wished she could take back, or found herself in situations that her emotions had led her to rather than allowing her “sound mind” to lead the way – but didn’t everyone? Melissa was pretty aware of herself (she’d had 38 years to get to know her by that point) so nothing in definition #2 was a shock to her. She still couldn’t find the insult that the people were trying so hard to aim at her. Having no luck thus far, she felt the answer had to lie somewhere within the third definition.  She owed it to the naysayers to at least try, and maybe this would be answer.

3. Distracted with desire or excitement; absurdly fond; passionately preoccupied.

Oh man. Really?! They think this is an insult? Of course she was distracted with desire or excitement – about a lot of things!  She had taken a long time to finally find herself and become who she knew she was. Part of that process involved finding the things that brought about the feelings of desire and excitement. She had done that on purpose! Not only did this not insult her, she was proud of it! Being “absurdly fond”? “Passionately preoccupied”? YES! Of course she was!  And it was marvelous. After so many years of negativity and roadblocks, she had finally learned to navigate the rough waters and row towards the things that brought her this profound feeling of “fondness” and “preoccupation.” She was thrilled about that! Some people never find anything that makes them feel that way – and she had found many. Books! Art! Theatre! Running! Writing! There were so many things that got her juices flowing and kicked her passion into high gear.

That was the definition of crazy? Well, hell yeah, she was crazy!

Finding herself exhausted of definitions of that silly little word, she sat back and contemplated the meaning of it all. Something people were calling her as an insult, was actually a compliment to her!  Isn’t it odd how just throwing a negative attitude behind a word can make someone think it means something completely different? Words have so much power, but we get to decide what that power is. See? Someone calls us something and they think they’re going to hurt us, but we can turn that around and actually strengthen ourselves with it.

Was Melissa crazy? Of course she was! And she was proud of that. A life lived any other way would be boring and passionless and there was no way she was going to let herself fall back into that rut again. She had lived that life once and promised herself she’d never return to it. She tried “crazy-less” for years. Sure, no one called her “crazy,” (no need to when she was doing whatever they wanted), but oh she was so miserable! She lived her life the way others expected her to and never stood up for herself or her beliefs. It was a calm existence, but boy was it lonely. She felt dead inside.

And that sure was no way to live.

So, that was that. Bless her heart, she tried. She tried to give the naysayers what they wanted and allow their words to sting from their intended venom. But in the end, she just couldn’t. She got to decide who and what she was – no one else did. She was even a little proud of the fact that they had noticed who she had become. A fearless woman who stood her ground and would not back down from her truth. She only gets one life to live, why not make it an authentic one?

So, with that, Crazy Melissa curled into bed with the novel she had just started, pulled the covers up to her chin, and began to read – escaping into the world where other crazies lived and loved and worked and played. Sighing with contentment as her eyes started drooping from the strain of the words, she slipped in her bookmark, set the book on her nightstand, switched off her lamp, and buried down deep into the covers and allowed herself to drift off into the land of sleep. She knew she’d need it.

Tomorrow was a whole new day – and she intended to let her crazy light shine.

***

“You have to go on and be crazy. Crazy is like Heaven.”
– Jimi Hendrix

crazy

A Heavy Life

“Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.”
– Galileo Galilei

So, I have a question to ask you guys today.  And if I were guessing, I’d say it’s probably not one that you get asked very often. What I want to know is this:

How heavy is your life?

heavylifeAny idea what I mean by that? I’m going to guess that most of you probably put a negative connotation on the word “heavy.” Am I right? That word is thrown around a lot when used to describe not-so-pleasant things. Weight, for instance. (That’s the first thing that would come to my mind.)  Or it’s used in various negative phrases…”a heavy heart” or “carrying a heavy burden,” things like that. But today, I want you to think of that word in a drastically different way than you may have before.

Let me explain.

Too often, we find ourselves measuring our lives incorrectly. We measure it in terms of success or status or…the one I despise…money. (Nothing makes me angrier than greed….UGH…but that’s a blog for another day.) We constantly compare ourselves to the Joneses. Do I make as much as he does? Is my house as big as hers is? Is my bank account as fat as it possibly could be? What do I need to do to make more money? To be more this? To have more that?

Sigh.

Frankly, I think we are idiots.

My husband just lost a very dear friend yesterday. In the process of his passing, something has spoken to me so loudly and clearly that I can’t seem to ignore it. All around us are words of comfort to the family and words of praise for the man that he was. Not once…not once…have I heard anything about the amount of money this man had. Or how far he got in his career. Or what kind of car he drove. Or how big his house is.

No. Of course not.

No, I’m hearing his life being described in much more measurable ways than money. It’s the weight of his life I’m hearing about. And let me tell ya, this man had a heavy life.

Most notably, his life was heavy with family. He leaves behind three children who adored him and countless other relations whose lives will now have a gap where he once belonged.

His life was heavy with friends. I can’t count the number of people on Facebook who have changed their profile pictures to one of him in his honor. So many status messages have been shared honoring him and the life that he lead. It doesn’t get much heavier than that, if you ask me.

His life was heavy with dedication. In addition to being a dedicated father and friend, he was a dedicated Mason. Twenty-five years, to be exact. That’s a long time to dedicate to the love of your fellow brothers and to the good that these men do for the world…more than we are probably even aware of.

No, the weight of his life has nothing to do with his money. Not at all. It’s the weight of all of the other things that matter. The weight of the tears that are shed in his absence. The weight of the words of praise that describe the life he lived. The weight of the kindness and compassion he showed towards others while he was here.

The weight of the love that surrounded his life, both given and received.

That is how you measure how heavy a life is, my friends.

So, again, I ask you: How heavy is your life? Are you using the right tools to measure it by?

Just checking.

***

“The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.”
– Corrie Ten Boom

In memory of our friend Jim Nelson, 1944 – 2014

jimnelson

Vanessa

“I have never felt more beautiful in a dress and I was denied the opportunity to wear it. Instead of leaving it to hang alone and dejected in my closet, I took it out and wore it. I wore the hell out of it.”
– Vanessa Schilling

I spend a lot of time using this blog to tell my stories.  Today, with her permission, I want to tell you someone else’s.

As some of you may remember from a previous blog, I got an awesome opportunity a few months back to play Glinda the Good Witch at a weekend festival in Beech Mountain, North Carolina.  I could fill this blog for a year with stories from that experience.  It was just so friggin cool.  And, truth be told, I will probably reference various tidbits about it for the rest of my life. Therefore, allow me to go ahead and issue my formal apology right now for that and just get it over with.  In fact, may I suggest a drinking game?  Every time I say the word “Oz” or “Glinda” or “good witch” or “Darn it, I miss being a pretty pretty princess!!!,” just go ahead and chug. Hey, everybody wins!  I get to talk about Oz [DRINK!] and you get to put yourself in the mindset to put up with reading the rest of my blog.  Ok, wait.  Maybe I’m the only that wins?  Eh.  Either way…drink up!

Whew.  This blog girl sure knows how to digress….

So, back to the point.  One of the first experiences I had after just arriving at Oz [you paying attention?  DRINK!] was meeting a lady named Vanessa.  In fact, I have a photo from about 5 seconds after meeting her.  Wanna see it?

mevan

There you have it folks.  I kid you not.  It went pretty much like this, “Hi, I’m Vanessa, and I seriously have to get under that dress.  Hold still….”  Now, granted, that might not be the first time I’ve ever heard that in my life after just meeting someone, but I can honestly say it was the first time I’d ever heard it from a woman…

But in all seriousness, that story right there pretty much described Vanessa –  a funny, charming, risk-taking breath of fresh air who quickly became my friend.  She ended up being one of my roomies for the weekend and I found myself looking forward to just being around her.  No pretension, no formalities – you could just be yourself around Vanessa because she brought that out in you.  She was ‘real.’  And I liked that.

And along with being real, you wanna know what else she was?  About 8 months pregnant.  Yep, there were actually two people under that dress in that picture up there.  (And room for plenty more, to be quite honest…)  Vanessa, who usually played the wicked witch for this Oz weekend, was just along for the ride this time since it might look a little odd to have the wicked witch of the west with child.  Didn’t want to confuse the kiddies, ya know.

So, Oz weekend came and went and we all discarded our costumes (Darn it! I miss being a pretty pretty princess…[DRINK!]) and went back to our lives.  Thanks to good ole Facebook, however, we were all able to keep in touch.  I eagerly awaited the updates from my new friend Vanessa’s pregnancy and was excited to see that bouncing baby boy bundle of joy arrive a few weeks later.  Her military husband had just arrived from his tour in Afghanistan and her happy little family was complete.  

And boy do I wish this story could end here.

Unfortunately, however, as often is the case, Life has a way of stepping in and not letting stories end all tied up in the pretty red bow like we wish they would.  And this time is no exception to that sucky rule.  Just a few short weeks after Vanessa’s baby was born, her husband dropped the bomb.  He told her he wanted to end their marriage.

I sat and watched, helpless, as my friend’s world was falling apart.  I watched her go through the motions.  Sadness.  Defeat.  Confusion.  Fear.  Anger.  Anguish.  I could list vocabulary words for days and none of them could adequately describe the pain.  And I, like so many of her other friends, had no idea what to do to help her.  So, we watched helplessly from afar, hoping that our empathy could somehow reach through the technology waves to let her know that she wasn’t alone.  What else could we do?

I found myself thinking of Vanessa so often throughout the day.  This vibrant ball of energy had lost her spark.  And though I had only known her for a short time, it truly affected me to know that her spirit had been crushed.  And one of the posts in particular that she had on Facebook especially tugged at my heartstrings.

Vanessa had just gone shopping for  a new dress to wear to her husband’s formal military ball.  And, as a lot of us who have been mommies know, your body is barely your own after you’ve just given birth. We can all imagine just how thrilled she was when she found the perfect dress, post-baby body and all.  A sweet little red number that accentuated her curves to a tee.  She had found THE dress.  The one that was going to make her the belle of the ball.

Well.  There went that.

All dressed up, and no place to go.

As the date for the military ball drew closer, Vanessa’s hurt and pain increased.  This was supposed to have been her night.  Much like the feeling I had as Glinda during our Oz weekend – now it was Vanessa’s turn to be the princess.  To don the dress and watch the heads turn as she walked arm-in-arm with her prince.  She was supposed to feel beautiful again.  This was going to be night that fairy tales were made of.

Only the prince didn’t hold up his end of the deal.

And there you have it.  This sad story could have ended right there.  No ball, no dress, no fairy tale.  The end.

But no way.  Not a chance.

This was Vanessa.

Vanessa had a decision to make.  Now, most of us would understand if that decision involved sitting around the house eating a large tub of ice cream and staring at the beautiful dress hanging on a hanger in the closet, right?  Of course we would.  Heck, that’s probably exactly where I would have been if I was her.  But oh no.

Not her.

Tucked underneath all that hurt and pain and anguish was the same girl that had climbed underneath all that tulle only seconds after meeting me.  That risk-taker.  That fun-loving breath of fresh air.  That beautiful tower of strength.  And for a few hours, Vanessa made a decision that took the last bit of courage she could muster.

She pried open the heavy door of pain, and let the real Vanessa run free.

vanessa2

Armed with the combination of her incredibly talented photographer friend, Van Roldan, a gorgeous white horse, a sexy red dress, and an enormous well of strength that I don’t think she even knew she had, my friend Vanessa decided that she didn’t need the prince in order to be a princess.

Channeling all of that pain into something beautiful, Vanessa got that dress out of the closet and created her own memories. And then she decided to share the result with the rest of us.

vanessa3 vanessa4 vanessa5 vanessa1

I looked through these pictures this morning with tears streaming down my face.  This was it.  That display of human strength and resilience that I am constantly striving to put into words in this blog?  These pictures did it.  Vanessa did it.

vanessa6This girl is a survivor.  We are all survivors.  No matter what life throws our way – no matter how many times we are left sobbing on the floor feeling the world crash in around us – we always, always find a way to drag our sorry selves up off the ground, brush the dust off, and put one foot right back in front of the other and keep moving forward.  Even when we think the world should stop spinning, by God, it just doesn’t.  It just doesn’t.

So, we might as well just do what my friend Vanessa just did.  Hop right back on that horse and see what’s waiting around the next bend.  And hey – why not look sexy as hell while we’re doing it?

Thank you for letting me tell your story, Vanessa.  I am certain that someone out there somewhere needed to hear it.  I know I did.

Welcome to your new role as an inspiration.

vanessa7

***

Four things greater than all things are, –
Women and Horses and Power and War.
– Rudyard Kipling, “The Ballad of the King’s Jest”

Moving Forward

“By seeking and blundering, we learn.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

weather1

Well, here it is.  *sigh*  I knew it was coming.  Knew I’d have to face it eventually.

The dreaded winter.  The evil snow.  The crappy road conditions.

Ugh.

For my readers who have been with me a while, you may remember one particular snow-related blog I wrote earlier this year.  To recap, we had one last freak late Winter/early Spring snowstorm that showed up out of nowhere at the beginning of April.  And said freak snowstorm just so happened to show up while I was driving home from work.  Freak snowstorm + driving home from work in a big, clunky car = bad.  Very bad.

I wrecked.

wreck

And not only did I wreck, but I flipped my car down a rocky bank and totaled it.  But…I’m here to tell you about it, so obviously the outcome was much better than what it had the potential of being.  And I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for that.

Now, fast forward a bit.  Although I was definitely a little shaky getting behind the wheel for the first time after the accident, the fear soon subsided and my life as a driver sailed on.  I got a new (well, new to me) car, one with all-wheel drive, thank you very much, and the accident was all but forgotten.

Well, that is, until today.

Today, we have snowfall #1 for Winter 2013.  And where was I?  Driving in it.  What was supposed to be a 30-minute drive to work ended up being an hour and a half drive to work.  (Now, if you know me well, or even if you don’t and you’ve paid attention to things I’ve said in the past, you’ll know that I actually live an hour from where I work.  Why did I say a 30-minute drive?  I’ll get to that part soon enough.  Believe it or not, this will all tie together eventually.  How do you like for foreshadowing, huh?  Huh?  Dude, I’m such a writer…)

weather2

Ok, back to the story.  So, when I left for work, it was just spitting snow a little and I didn’t think it was going to be that bad.  But as I got about a third of the way there, I realized that the further I went, the worse the roads were getting.  If there had been a place to safely turn around, I think I would have done it right then and there and went right back home.  But, sadly, there wasn’t.  So I kept moving forward.  By the time I got to the main road, I was over halfway to work, so I figured there would be less driving to just keep heading in the direction I was going.  Now, I’ve never been someone who was scared to drive in the snow, mind you.  But I’ve also never been someone who was driving in the snow for the first time after a bad snow-related accident either.  Needless to say, I was a little shaky.  Ok, a LOT shaky.

So, driving along scared to death in the snow with an extra hour of driving time than I had anticipated, my poor little brain had nothing else to do but think.  And think and think and think.  And since my dumb ole thoughts kept drifting back to the accident, and consequently to the similarities of today’s driving conditions to that day’s, I was doing all I could to redirect those silly thoughts to something else.  Anything else.  So…I reverted back to the old fail safe.  Something my thoughts seem to drift to pretty regularly.  Something I tend to overanalyze to death on a regular basis so why would my snowy drive to work today be any exception?

My relationship with Richard.

US2Richard and I have been talking about taking another step forward in our relationship.  And although I’m head over heels, madly in love with him, I’m a wee bit nervous about that.  Ok, just kidding…I’m scared out of my friggin mind.  See…I don’t have the best track record when it comes to making relationships work out.  I know, shocking, isn’t it?  I mean, a mild-mannered, shy, quiet little un-opinionated girl like myself?  How on Earth would I have trouble getting along in relationships, right?  I know, I know.  It surprises me too.  But alas, as hard as it is to believe, it is the honest truth.  And with that truth comes fear.  A well-founded fear.

A fear of another failure.

As my mind once again played out the pros and cons of our impending ‘next step,’ I looked around and realized that I was pulling into my driveway at work.  I had made it!  Obsessing over something besides the weather conditions actually worked to distract me!  Woohoo!

So, since I was safe and sound, I answered Richard’s “Did you make it to work?” text.

Me:  I made it!  My little car did awesome!
Richard:  Well, YEAH!  It has an awesome driver.
Me:  Ha!  I think last winter’s little accident proved that’s not true.
Richard:  Oh, that wasn’t your fault.  Shit happens.

And suddenly, with that one line of pure poetry coming out of my honey’s mouth (or, er…I guess I should say, fingers), it hit me.  The glaringly obvious similarity.  Duh!  How did I not notice it before?  This clear correlation between my fear of driving to work in the snow, and my fear of moving forward with Richard.  The fears were identical.  Both fears existed because of things that happened in the past.  And just like my carrying the heavy burden of blame for the accident, I was carrying that same burden of blame for my past failed relationships.

And this burden – this heavy, unnecessary albatross around my neck – was preventing me from moving forward.  Preventing me from just getting in the car (the new and improved car, I might add) and driving through the snow again.  I learned my lessons.  I drove a little slower.  I bought a better car that was more suited to winter weather.  I allowed myself more time.  I wasn’t in any hurry.  I learned.  It wasn’t my “fault” exactly, I realize that now.  As my philosophical sweetie so eloquently pointed out: shit happens.  It does.  It just happens.  So, you adjust.  You do things a little better next time.  You take it slower.  You make sure you’re better equipped.  You let life make you smarter.  And then you just keep going.

You just keep going.

So.  Accident logic learned – I cannot just stop driving anywhere because I once wrecked.  That would just be stupid, now wouldn’t it?   (*ding ding ding*)  Time to apply that logic elsewhere.  No more fear.  No more blame.  No more albatross.  Just let it go.

Time to move forward.

So, remember that little teaser I threw in there at the beginning?  The part about me having what should have been a 30-minute drive to work, when I actually live an hour from work?  Well, here’s why.  I was at Richard’s house.  You know why?  Well, let’s just say the past week has been a ‘test run’ of sorts.  We’re seeing what it would be like for me to live there.  With him.  Together.  And you know what?  We both feel – deep down in our guts – that this is the right thing to do.  It just makes sense.  You know?

So, as of January 1, 2014, Richard and I will be officially taking this next step forward to our future.  We’re moving in together.  We have our seatbelts on and we’re ready to go.  Our previous ‘accidents’ are just that.  Accidents.  They happened, they’re over, we’ve learned, and we’re ready to hop back in the car and see where this next trip takes us.

It’s time.

Wish us luck….

(Oh, and hey.  Do me a favor ok?  Don’t tell my Grandma!!!…) 😉

***

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
– Rick Warren

Movie Night

“You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”
– Steve Martin

So, last night, I made my honey watch a movie with me.

Ok, I didn’t “make” him.  That’s a total lie.  But it made me sound powerful, right?  Like I’m one of those “I am woman, hear me roar!” types.  I figured that sounded better for the blog than the actual truth.  You know – to help with my whole ‘online persona’ thing I got goin on.  Because honestly?  Well, honestly, it went a little more like this…

Me: “Honey, is there a game on tonight or anything?”
Him: “Well…”
Me: “Oh, ok, never mind.  It’s fine.”
Him: “What were you going to say?”
Me: “Oh, nothing.  It’s fine.  Really.”
Him: (*sigh*) “Melissa.  What. Were. You. Going. To. Say?”
Me: “Welllll….I have this movie I was wanting to watch…”
Him: “Ok, that’s cool.”
Me: “Are you sure?  We can watch the game if you want.  It’s fine.”
Him: “No, let’s watch the movie.”
Me:  “But it’s kind of a chick movie…are you sure?”
Him: “Yep. Let’s watch the movie.”
Me: “If you were really wanting to watch the game….”
Him: “Melissa.  Go. Get. The. Movie.”

(See how this works?  I laid down the law, right? I’m badass.)

Ok, so anyway, back to the topic.

So, we watch the movie and something about it just resonates in me.  I can’t really explain it.  I’m sitting there watching what is supposed to be a comedy (which it was, with some laugh-out-loud moments that you may not want to have your kids around for…), but yet somehow the underlying meaning of the whole thing was just hitting me like a ton of bricks.  And so what do I do?

I cry.

No, I don’t just cry.  I SOB.  The waterworks would. not. stop.  I mean it.  The tears, the hiccups, the snot….we’re talking the whole nine yards, people.  I mean, what the heck was up with that?!  And poor Richard….

Him: “Why are you crying?”
Me: “I’m fine.”
Him: “Is something wrong?”
Me: “No…”  *hysterical sob* “…really, I’m fine…” *hiccup*
Him:  “Melissa, what is wrong?”
Me:  “Nothing!”  *sniff*  “I’m fine!”

(Thank God I don’t date women.  That crap would drive me crazy.)

Ok, so for poor Richard’s sake (and for mine too, I suppose), care to join me as I try to figure out what the heck was going on with me?  (This should be interesting…)

So, the movie is “The Five-Year Engagement.”   Heard of it?  Seen it?  From what I’ve read, the reviews weren’t all that great, but I don’t really understand why.  five year engagementI thought it was a great, real look at a couple trying to figure out what the heck they’re doing together.  What was supposed to be a quick wedding after a short one-year relationship, ends up turning into a five-year long “planning” session that just can’t quite seem to come together.  You know – that pesky little thing called life just kept getting in the way of their plans.  (Pssssh.  That never happens, right??)  What was supposed to be a happy time, ended up turning into a real, gut-wrenching look at the question, “Who the heck are we and is this really what we want?”

Yikes.

Over time, the two are starting to discover that life is taking them in somewhat different directions.  Their best-laid plans of what they thought their future would be aren’t exactly working out like they had hoped.  And as new things enter their lives (job switches, location changes, new ‘acquaintances,’ etc.), they start to feel like they’re no longer compatible.  Like they are totally different people.

Hmmmm.  (Ok, maybe now this is starting to make sense to me….)

So, not to give anything away if you haven’t seen it (which I’m sure it won’t take you long to figure this out as you’re watching it anyway), the two decide the differences are too much and they decide to take a break.  During this break, “Tom” (the main dude) has a somewhat uncomfortable, hilarious discussion with his parents as they divulge tidbits of their relationship from over the years that no child ever wants to hear.  But during the hilarity, a little snippet of wisdom spills out from his mother:  “Your father and I weren’t 100% compatible, heck we weren’t even 60% compatible.  But he’s the love of my life.”

*sniff*

Ok.  I think I’m on to something now.  Let me share with you one of my favorite writing quotes of all time.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
– Flannery O’Connor

This is so incredibly true for me.  Sometimes I’ll just sit down at the computer with a random idea in my head and just let my fingers do the talking.  I’m often just as surprised at what it is here as the readers are.  Somewhere inside of me there is a knowledge that I only know how to tap into while I’m writing.  This time is no exception.  As I sit here and describe this movie to you, this relationship to you, I realize why it touched me so deeply.

It hit home.

Richard and I are very, very much in love.  But buddy, let me tell you something.  We are about as different as night and day.  This second year together has been a trying one for us.  New jobs, moves, you name it…we’ve faced it.  And sometimes, we haven’t done such a great job of dealing with it.  Sometimes we get frustrated and feel like what we want in life and who we are as people are so far apart that they stand no chance of being on the same page.  But then.

Oh, but then.

He looks at me.  I look at him.  And my heart melts.  It really does.  I’m not kidding.  This isn’t one of those sappy love stories (you people know me by now – I tell it like it is, no sugarcoating).  This is a real relationship, filled with hard times left and right, and yet – still.  We look at each other, and those butterflies are still there.  After all this time.  This man is the one I want.  He is truly the one I want.  And you know how that makes me feel?

Friggin scared to death.

Thus, the tears.  The sobs.  The hiccups.  The emotions.

Like the couple in the movie, we don’t know what the heck we’re doing either.  I mean, we are absolutely CLUELESS, people.  Picture someone handing a rare, precious, fragile object to two people – telling them to hold it in their hands and keep it from breaking – and then strapping them into an open-air Jeep and sending them on a 100-mile-an-hour cross country trek across boulders and ravines.  Yeah.  That.

That’s us trying to keep our relationship going in this crazy world.  And if I were a betting woman, I’d say that probably pretty aptly describes each and every one of your relationships too.  Am I right?  This crap ain’t easy, man.  Trying to blend your life with another person – another person who has their own thoughts, their own habits, their own ways of doing things – just can’t be expected to be easy.  But you figure it out.  Why?

Love.  That’s why.

Another quote from the movie:

“I don’t think we can figure out all of our problems before we get married, but I promise you that I will just love you every step of the way.”

That’s all we can do, right?  Just love each other through the mess.  Cry when we have to.  Scream when we need to.  And then…

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Hold on tight and laugh and smile through all those great times that remind you why you’re still hanging on.  They are worth it.

So very very worth it.

***

“I believe that two people are connected at the heart, and it doesn’t matter what you do, or who you are or where you live; there are no boundaries or barriers if two people are destined to be together.”
– Julia Roberts

Journey to Mayberry

“As an athlete, when you least expect it, you may find yourself standing on the threshold of an accomplishment so monumental that it strikes fear into your soul. You must stand ready, at any moment, to face the unknown. You must be ready to walk boldly thru the wall of uncertainty.”
– John Bingham

It’s time to talk about running again.

So, as you may remember, I’m currently in the middle of training for my second half marathon on November 9.  And, training with me, is my training partner from afar, Zoe in Australia.  (Read that Cool Story here.)  As a quick recap, Zoe and I met online through this very blog and have decided to train together for her first and my second half marathon.  Mine is an “official” race (the Mayberry Half Marathon – a small race in Mount Airy, North Carolina), and she will be running on her own there in Australia.

Well, let’s do a quick update, shall we?

We are officially 17 days pre-race.  Yikes.  SEVENTEEN DAYS.  That seems so soon….

I have spoken with the race director and he has pulled some strings and worked it out to get me a bib to send to Zoe so that she will have an official number to wear as she races (and she better wear it too – you hear that, woman??) 🙂  Here’s a picture of it before it is shipped off to Australia to its rightful owner:

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Goodbye, little bib.  Enjoy your journey halfway across the world.

Once I have completed my half marathon (which I will do – and hopefully with a time of less than 2:30), I will be awarded two medals.  One for myself, and one for Zoe.  I’ll ship her medal, together with her t-shirt, of course (hey, we all know we only do this junk for the t-shirts…) to her in Australia as well.  Eeek!  Sounds exciting, right?

Well, it is.  But it’s also scary.

This little “project” of mine has put a lot of pressure on both of us to succeed.  And let me tell you – this process has not been an easy one.  She and I both have been through quite a bit getting to this point.  At the beginning, we had our training plan all laid out…4 runs a week with gradual increases in pace and distance…we were ready to ROCK this thing.  Stick to the plan…no variances.  Go team!

Yeah, well.  That hasn’t happened.

We’re both thirtysomething-year-old moms.  While it’s easier on me having teenage children; her, not so much.  She has small children that she has to arrange to have cared for so that she can squeeze in her training runs.  And on top of all of that, she has battled the head cold from hell…TWICE.  I, too, had said head cold once myself.  (Hmmm…wonder if you can catch a head cold from 9,000+ miles away?  Ahhhem…excuse me…15,000+ kilometers away.  Google’s “miles to kilometers” function is my new best friend these days…)  And, on top of that, I got an acting gig that I hadn’t been expecting to get during training (read that blog here if you missed it), which took a little chunk out of my training…  Oh heck.  I could list a million things here, but I’ll give it a rest.  The point is this…

Life has happened.

It just has.  And it’s always going to.  There have been times that even if we were able to squeeze in our runs, we weren’t able to go as fast or as far as we had planned.  Mental ability is just as important as physical ability…and some days it just hasn’t been there.  For either of us.

But you know what?  We’re still here.

We both still have our training plans in front of us every day.  We both still check in with each other, and build each other up when we’re feeling down.  We give gentle pushes when needed, and give the little e-hugs when a push just isn’t going to cut it.  We have understood each other’s frustrations and virtually held each other’s hands, not only through the not-so-great runs, but also through the reasons that have accompanied the not-so-great runs.  In other words, we have become friends.

And that’s pretty awesome.

So…seventeen days from now, I certainly hope to report back here and tell you that my friend and I have finished the Mayberry Half Marathon.  Together.  And, if the sickness prevails with Zoe and she’s not able to complete it on November 9 as planned, then I’ll come back here and tell you on November 10.  Or November 11.  Or however long it takes for it to happen.  Because it will happen.  (And I’ll be holding her medal and t-shirt hostage until it does!  Yep.  Holding the coveted T-SHIRT hostage.  That’s runners’ blasphemy right there, but you do what you have to do…)

The point is this.  She’ll be ready.  Sometime in the near future, my friend Zoe will have completed her very first half marathon.  And she won’t have a giant group of people to run with and to cheer her on.  She’ll be doing it entirely on her own.  Her own course, her own pace, her own journey.  And that, blog-readers, is some serious bad-assery if I’ve ever seen it.

So, thus ends my “Cool Story” recap.  Tune back in here in a few weeks for another update.  And until then, whether you are a runner who is training for your next race distance goal, or just a human being training to get through whatever struggle you’re currently facing, remember these words:

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Keep moving forward, friends.  We’re all in this race together.

***

“It’s important to know that at the end of the day it’s not the medals you remember. What you remember is the process — what you learn about yourself by challenging yourself, the experiences you share with other people, the honesty the training demands — those are things nobody can take away from you whether you finish twelfth or you’re an Olympic Champion.”
-Silken Laumann, Canadian Olympian