See it’s like this. I dyed my hair black all through high school, but I always wanted to do at least my tips or roots or something (anything!) a funky color. My mom said no and wouldn’t budge. Once I became an adult I was working one job after another and funky hair just wasn’t an option. You’d think that somewhere in time I’d have grown out of it. But right now I’m in a spot in my life where I have no one to report to outside of my family, and I could use a little funky in my life. Even my mom says it makes sense. Not that I asked permission, but I did warn her. Oh, she has loosened up some in the decade plus since I graduated high school so it would have been cool. But as I said, I wasn’t looking for permission. Just validation. Which I got. And I’m going with turquoise.
Life List Archive
I’m not going to lie, I’m currently hating it. Right now my upper arms burn so bad.
But you know what? For once? It’s a hurt that I earned; in the same way that like challenging myself with kayaking and rock wall climbing. I live almost every day in pain. Granted, it’s a different kind of pain, but it’s constant and for no good reason. This? There is a reason to it. Just like I made it to the top of a wall and down a river, I will make it to 20 pushups. Maybe even 50. Or probably just 20. But I’ll be stronger for it, better for it, healthier for it, and proud of myself. Even if I am in so much pain for it.
Faith and I met when Thomas was 1. We last saw each other not long after he turned 2. He turns 10 in less than a month. So to say it had been awhile is an understatement.
I’m not sure what happened to cause us to drift. We weren’t extremely close to begin with. We hadn’t known each other long enough to reach extremely close. She is a wonderful person and we got along well, the time just hadn’t been put into it.
She lived not too far out, but not down the street. We both had kids. My mental health was going down the tubes. I feel like there was something more as well, but I don’t recall. It wasn’t a big blow-out fight or anything dramatic between us. Life just prevented us from hanging out and so we kind of drifted.
But we did keep in touch over various social media. So I knew the major events of her life, and she knew mine, even if the fine details weren’t being discussed.
When Lisa moved and I questioned how I was going to find myself in a kayak again, Faith spoke up with there being local places that kayaks could be rented, she just didn’t know where and she didn’t have the guts to do it.
At least not alone.
Faced with all of my social life leaving the state, and hearing an offer of an old acquaintance wanting to give things a go, I didn’t miss the opportunity.
I sought Lisa’s advice on where to go, I planned well in advance with Faith when we could do this.
And yesterday I found myself in 1 of 2 rented kayaks, Faith in the other, and off we went on adventure. An adventure we’ll never forget. The trip we bought, which is self guided with instruction on where to get in and what to look for to get out, was promised to be 1-2 hours. We took 3, with an hour of it sitting in our boats, anchored to the side of the river, just catching up on 8 years of history away from one another. It was like we were never apart. It was easy. For all my social anxiety and awkwardness, it was so easy.
We got stuck, we found ourselves going through fast water spots backwards with little control of our boats. We laughed. We cried out in half terror, half amusement. I found myself sitting in the middle of a river when we were too stuck to move without someone getting out. I pulled her through it, working hard to not lose my boat in the process, and at one point just sat in the water up to my waist, to catch my breath. I’ll tell you though, my hip was sore from sitting so cramped for so long, and that water was instant relief.
We came out soaked head to toe and thrilled with the experience. We were a sight. We elicited laughs from fellow boatmen, who were better at it than we. But we made it to the end, proud, soar, and not the ones lamenting the loss of keys and socks to the river.
And we came out knowing that while we can’t get together weekly, she lives an hour or so away, gas isn’t cheap and time isn’t limitless, we will make at least once a month happen. She works closer to me than she lives, so we’ll do the occasional dinner. Her son is a couple of years older than Thomas, we’ll get the kids together somewhere roughly half way between our homes. She and I will kayak or canoe again at the end of the season.
I’m not without hope.
I have Faith.
I think life is about doing the things that scare you until they no longer scare you. When was the last time you did something that scared you? Did you do it again and again until fear was the last thing you could imagine feeling?
This year has been about crossing things off my to-do list for life.
I’m back in class. I mean really back. I’ve taken out loans. If I stop going, that is all the sooner I have to pay that money back, with no degree to advance my career, to make is possible.
I sat down and wrote out a financial plan. Some are just goals, like what year I hope to be off all government assistance by. Some is actually dated such as going in and refinancing our car the first day of my vacation in July. It’s almost ridiculous that taking control and making a plan could be scarier than floundering in the pools of broke, oh so broke.
This July I’m taking a 9-line zip line tour. I can only imagine that my current “OMG WEEE!” will have the addition of “I’m going to DIE” once I’ve climbed up high, am strapped in, and it’s time to fly.
I’m boarding a plane in November to meet face-to-face a friend I’ve only ever known online.
While there I’m catching up with another friend I met in real life, who, depending on if she gets the job or not, might be able to help me rappel down the side of a skyscraper.
This year, I’m living. And living can be some of the scariest shit there is.
So I have to ask, when was the last time you did something that scared you? Will you comment and tell me about it?
I have been married for 10 years as of today. That is more than 1/3rd of my life. No joke. I’m 30-years-old at the end of this year, but not yet. So my math holds tight.
Way back, before Luke was born, when Pat and I were separated and he had just moved out with our son, my mom told me she didn’t think we’d last. Pat was a nice guy but…
Thank you, mother, for driving me back to my husband with a determination to make things work, better than anything else could have.
Even now, 6-7 years later, when we go through rocky periods, I reflect back on that moment with my mom, and really all the odds out there, which are not in our favor, and my sheer bullheadedness kicks in and I’ll be damned if I’m going to fall to a statistic. I enjoy beating odds.
And yes, we have rocky periods. Sometimes they last days or hours, other times they last months. I think that’s normal.
Marriage is work whether it’s in year one or year fifty. Marriage is a lot of work. It takes effort, patience and in my case, bullheadedness. And sometimes things aren’t perfect.
But other times things are exactly how Nicholas Sparks would lead you to believe.
Then the rest of the time things aren’t over the moon, but they aren’t in a swamp either, and we can go through the day-to-day married to our best friend, raising our kids, and just enjoying a state of low to no drama, and general contentment.
That, my friends, is a healthy marriage. The highs, the lows, and the sweet, normal, between.
Happy anniversary, my love. You are my best friend and my first real love that doesn’t involve the color white and a pedestal. So with that in mind, I promise not to lose my bullheadedness anytime soon.
(Edit in response to Pat’s response (Really?!?!?) to me singing love songs while writing this: “I’m writing our anniversary post! It goes live Wednesday at 1oAM and if you don’t read it, I’ll take back everything I said in it!”)
(Second Edit: Wow, I linked to some crappy times up there. So I think I should link to where I realized how much Pat loves me. And why our marriage works so well. Why I love him. And how he became my hero. Oh, and he held true to his promise about The Bloggess, though my mom and sister took me, he stayed with the kids making it all possible.)
I’m damn lucky.
On the 19th of March, my mom, sister and I piled into my mom’s car and drove. Her GPS “Maddy” took us the scenic route past farms, cows, horses and trains, without an interstate in sight. But we were in no hurry. We gave ourselves 5 hours to make a 2 hour drive.
We got to the bookstore in Dayton with plenty of time, so we parked the car and decided we’d go into the bookstore to look around, and find out event details.
Around this time, I realized my husband had given me a 50 with the idea that he didn’t like me wondering so far from home without any sort of cash. I sent him a quick note warning him he’d set me loose in a bookstore with cash. He made it clear he had been aware longer than I had, of the situation, and that I would indeed owe him.
There was one survivor. He goes by Washington.
Funny how all three of us bookworms didn’t really realize that the book signing in a book store would involve, you know, many, many books. I think we blocked that part out in our quest.
Our quest to meet The Bloggess.
After we spent ourselves broke, we wandered to a nearby subway for an early dinner and then a few other shops to poke around. But with only an hour and a half left before the signing started, we made our way back to the bookstore to find our place in line. With a heads-up from the vixen Dawnie, I knew we needed to be there well in advance. We were the second group in line, but it grew well before 6, when we could find seats. By the time The Bloggess was presented at 7, it was standing room only.
We had front row seats. Score!
The Dayton reading had the privilege to be the audience that was not allowed to witness a single curse word, as she read a chapter from her book. So Jenny, in advance, set about finding the chapter with the fewest F-bombs, and friends. The winning chapter had only 12 words that needed replaced with hippopotamus. You heard me, hippopotamus. But oh you should have heard her!
We laughed, we cried, we laughed some more.
Then we single file got to meet the Goddess that is the Bloggess and have her sign our books. Our coveted books of inappropriate hilarity. I was lucky enough to be able to have 2 copies signed. I bought the paperback version for myself (with a new bonus chapter, yo!) and had my older hardback version signed for my good friend Lisa who was spending the day back in Columbus growing older. No, seriously, it was her birthday. When I mentioned this to Jenny, she was sure to wish her a happy birthday in writing. Lisa is one lucky hippopotamus!
We are all very lucky hippopotamuses. Not just that this book has been written by someone so very real and honest and inappropriately hilarious.
But that this single person could make it clear to all of us who are so very isolated and alone, that we are in fact one of millions and not so different after all, is something we all needed. We aren’t the only one with chronic pain. We aren’t the only one with crippling anxiety. We aren’t the only one with depression so bad we can’t leave our bed for days if not weeks. We aren’t the only one who has cut to feel something. We aren’t the only one. You, I, Jenny. We are all so unique but in the ways we need to be the same, to not be alone, Jenny has made it clear we are a community. She has given us that gift.
So we are very lucky hippopotami indeed!