November 25, 2016
My dog. She has anxiety. Here she is as I got home one night: panting her brains out after she shook the bottom out of her crate.
The other day when she broke out of Janae's metal crate I had had enough.
This is my girl at the vet. Thinking about what she did as we decided to put her on daily medication.
You guys. I know she isn't a human. I used to make fun of this, but really, my dog is on anxiety meds. And I don't even care because it's either her, or me. Or maybe both.
November 17, 2016
In the process of moving out I changed the name of my Pinterest board "Love" to "Love and loss." And then as I realized that I wasn't in a dark tornado of death that would never end, I created a new board, "Love and loss and moving on." It's interesting because this process of love and loss and moving on has been so educational. I've recently started socializing again (sometimes even with men!) and each new experience I have or person I talk to teaches me something new about love, loss, moving on. Everyone has a story about each of those things. But the stories that cut me the most are the ones about the losses of children. Kids in divorce who have to move away, children who are killed by cars, children with cancer. There's something about children, the way they embody love and forgiveness. The way they model who to be. It makes their loss hurt so much. So much more than we even knew we could feel.
The first pediatric trauma I took care of was a boy whose foot had been severely injured when it was run over by a truck. He was screaming and it made me cry. (I cry a lot. It's a thing. I cried the other day on a breakfast date talking about how much I love and miss my nieces). Staci, teaching me who I wanted to become as a trauma practitioner taught me. "I love it when a kid is screaming. A screaming kid is breathing." I spent an entire session with Kate in therapy asking "How can I take care of a traumatically injured child and maintain a sense of composuse?"
Two years later, a little boy was hit by a car. Severely, but not critically injured, he looked up at me and said, "Could I be dead?" That moment the tears were not because of the pain but because of the gentle innocence as I said, "No bud, you're gonna be okay." I learned to hold it together.
The thing I've learned about love and loss is we don't feel loss unless we've loved. Real love. Strong love. Transcendent love. Love helps us grow, expand. Loss wrings out our imperfections, and if we let it, loss leaves us better than it found it. It's a hard way to learn, but in the end we can minister to those around us, love them more genuinely when we have learned through our own losses how to sit with people in theirs. How to just be there. To say yes. Yes it hurts. It hurts so much. And I am here. You don't have to be alone while you feel this. I am here with you and I hear you.
I thought for me that love and loss and moving on would be about my marriage, but really for me, it was about my Toby. That bright eyed five year old who just wanted me to get married so I could sleepover. The six year old who left me notes in the mailbox to find as I came home from work at 4 am to tell me that he liked me, loved me. The seven year old who wanted to sit next to me me in the quiet and color because it was so peaceful. That is my loss. But it is also my gain. My growth. My love. My expansion. That is the hurt I carry in my heart. That my Jesus carries in his. That my Gracie carries when she is alone. But man. I am so glad I feel that loss. I think this is different than love, loss, moving on. This is love, loss, and keep on loving and living. I know the sting will lessen over time, but I will always have a space for the love that Toby taught me. The loss that I felt in having to leave him behind, and the growth of my heart from the terrible and lovely process of learning that I had no regrets because I had learned to love him with my whole whole heart.
November 14, 2016
Gracie has a best friend named Koda. He's a border collie aussie mix and is smarty mcsmarty pants. He can climb a chain link fence. Gracie likes to steal his bones and hide them all over Janae's yard. She buries them like Scottie on Lady and the Tramp. Here they are being besties.
Sometimes when Janae is being really mature she throws a blanket over Gracie because Koda hates hates hates it when she does that. Turns out Miss Grace Face doesn't care because she's so sleepy.
Did I just write an entire post about my dog and Koda? Yes. Yes I did.
October 27, 2016
It's 3 am and I just put down the book I started tonight. It started with a chapter before dinner with Taylor. Dinner that was real. Dinner where I was me and he was he and authenticity was conversation. It continued while I talked to my dad in the living room after the Cubs game. Talked for hours. Talking about all of the hard. Life is hard sometimes. It is hard, and it is not fair. I told him if I could do my life over, I would marry L_____. L______ would never have done what S______ did to me. He would never have betrayed or hurt me. My dad listened. He said what he needed to say when he needed to say it. My dad is good like that. I told him that's what me now would do, but me then couldn't. Didn't want to. Maybe if I had known about anxiety, about medications, about therapy. But things happen the way they do and someday looking back we understand why. Not to mention that there is Toby. I regret nothing about having Toby in my life for the short time that I did. My soul is overwhelmed when I think of how much he changed me and taught me. (Hand on my heart. Help him please God to feel loved and secure). I told this all to my dad. There were lots of tears. Eventually my dad had to sleep, but I wasn't done. There's so much of me bursting to get out.
I picked up the book. I proceeded to read 200 pages. It was perfect and intense and connected to the part of my soul that was needing connection. I put the book down, crying like I do so often now (although less often than before I left my terrible marriage) as the author had described herself sitting in hot yoga literally sitting on the mat not moving and letting every terrible and scary and overwhelming thought hit her with full force. And she didn't die. And it is the same for me. Feeling my feelings, all of my feelings (and there are so many now) will not kill me. It will overwhelm me. It will hurt me. It will make me come up gasping for air, but feeling my feelings will eventually leave me face to face with myself, exposed and comfortable.
I got up to get a drink of water and there was Gracie in her crate. Asleep like the dead. So asleep that she didn't move even as I turned the light on over her head, didn't even open her eyes. That dead peace is what I seek. The ability to sit still and face disturbance, to be disturbed sufficiently that I need not even open my eyes to see things as they really are.
Part of it needs to happen for me as it happened for the author: on a yoga mat. The rest on a blank page, on a bike, at my new job - the one that feels almost like a calling. There will be many ways in which to face myself. To forgive myself. To let my hurt go. To keep reminding myself that I have already chosen to let my anger go because it no longer suits me. There is a new me inside, smaller but more substantial and settled. She needs to be heard, and facing her, discovering her, is now my story.
October 20, 2016
I'm a strong advocate for sleep. I'm pro naps. I still have a sign in my room that says "I like you and naps." So when I was 20 and Carlos told me he wished he didn't have to sleep because he would get so much more done, I respectfully disagreed. I love sleep. I love taking a break from consciousness. In college, when studying was overwhelming, John Burton said you could do one of three things 1) take a nap 2) go for a run 3) drink a diet coke. That has become a bit of a life mantra for me, although go for a run was eventually replaced with going on a bike ride.
Tonight I had a fleeting glimpse of what Carlos meant when I had to put down my copy of China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan. It's the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, which if you haven't read, you ought to. I literally thought, "Man, I wish I could already be awake so I could keep reading this."
I guess he had a point, didn't he?
I'm still going to bed.