Day 3: Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and how they became fears.

I’m a huge true crime junkie and listen to farrrrrr too much murder for a woman who lives alone. Oddly enough, I don’t worry about being murdered as much as I worry about something happening to someone I love. I’ve read this prompt three times and realized that my fears are basically trivial and not terribly… scary.

This requires a little more soul searching and a little more time spent delving into the scary stuff… those dark areas of my heart that I try not to give much light to.

It’s been a year of loss in my life. I’ve buried too many friends and let some friendships fall by the wayside in being overwhelmingly depressed. I have to admit that my biggest fear is being stuck in this sad place instead of having enough love for myself to want to climb out of the swamp.

img_7592

The world lost a truly incredible man this week. Kirk Miller was a beloved member of my community and a dear friend. His son played at my house as a little kid and my heart is in my throat as I realize for the umpteenth time that “I’m sorry for your loss is a hollow sentiment when it feels like your entire universe has imploded. Kirk made the world beautiful, with no expectation of profit or success. He lived a quiet, remarkable life that filled the world with beauty. I spend so much time going through the motions, folding the same laundry, scrubbing the same floors, making the same recipes… etc. Having someone so quietly spectacular leave the world so suddenly, reminds me that I need to light a fire under my own exceptional life. I worry that I waste so much time doing the necessary stuff and focusing on the things that are missing in my life, that I neglect the truly important things I should be more focused on. I absolutely fear the idea of running out of time having wasted all of mine on stupid shit that makes me unhappy.

I worry most about being in a situation where I can’t protect my children. I have two over the age of 18 and I’d bet my life they’ve been in some sketchy situations that would turn my hair grey. I don’t even want to know. I have my own scary list that would send my poor mother to her grave early.  Yesterday was the 8 year anniversary of my stupid ass flying to Puerto Rico for a first date with (surprise!) someone else’s husband.  I’m lucky  my mother didn’t lock me in a box after that and I was in my thirties. I suppose after having put myself in such an awful situation that gave no respect to the hard work she put in to get me to that point, I gained a fresh perspective about the value of my life.  It’s one thing to lay my own neck on the line… it’s quite another to have my children in danger and not be able to help them. I’d rather fly to meet that moron again before watching any of them do something so stupid and reckless. I can hardly stomach the thought of something happening to any of my beloved trio, let alone in my presence.

Then we have the damn vermin. Those awful mice. My biggest childhood fear and the source of all my screaming. I grew up in a 100 year old farm house and the attic was my bedroom. My dad was a chef, not a builder, and his idea of making the attic into bedrooms was nailing some drywall up to the existing lathe and plaster walls. I spent much of my childhood listening to those awful creatures chew on the chalky white drywall, as they tried to get back into the rest of the house. I regularly woke up with mouse turds on my bed in the morning. My sister slept with her mouth open (shudder) and I was forever afraid she was going to have one climb in. Ack. As an adult… I have less patience and more fear than ever. Their shitty little descendants have recently decided to use the ceiling above my bed (my very own attic in my house) to run laps in the night. I haven’t slept well in weeks because I wake up wide eyed, horrified… and contemplating putting the Dumpling in the car with our cats and dogs, lighting a match and burning the whole damn thing down.

I grew up with my mama telling me that many fears were borne of fatigue and loneliness. I have learned a million times over how very right she is. I had a phone call from a beloved friend last night and it broke my heart wide open. She told me about the man she loved, who worked overtime to hurt and disrespect her. He has one foot in her life and one foot in someone else’s, and the saddest thing to hear was how much love and understanding she has to offer someone who can’t be troubled to worry about her feelings or how destructive his selfishness is. With no thought to her own shattered heart, she told me how much she hoped it would work out and how happy she was to see him again. My greatest fear is that I encouraged such lunacy or fed the idea that disinterested men, change. They never do. If he can shit on your heart from the beginning, he will never turn into that guy your friend’s and family hope you’ll have in your life and heart. Nobody ever says “When we met he was a miserable fuckboy but now he’s an incredible husband and father.” As sad as it is and as hard as it is to reconcile that you could possibly love someone who could so flagrantly disregard you… it’s just the way it is.

Fear keeps you in places you shouldn’t stay. Fear borne of hard lessons gives your heart too much fuel to keep fighting losing battles.

I wish all of mine were as easy to deal with as mice.


Perspective

Other than the dark fog of that first month of raising a newborn alone, I don’t know a day I’ve been more exhausted. My eyeballs ache, along with every single inch of the rest of my body. I hardly slept and it shows. I had to schlep everything back home from my mom’s house today and it was a herculean task.

I’m a whole lot of destroyed, today.

Unfortunately, that brings out the very worst in me and I acted like an asshole this morning. A snotty comment inspired my inner hateful bitch and I summoned the sass of my ancestors. I don’t like that, nor do I desire to rise to the occasion anymore. I’ve gotten softer and more gentle in the last five years and that’s the woman I want to be.

Wanna hate me? Go ahead. It’s not easy because I don’t want anyone to feel bad. Wanna laugh at me? Set your alarm and get up early because I laugh at myself from the moment my feet hit the floor.

I took the day off to snuggle the kitten who literally climbed onto my head while I tried to take a nap, then spent the afternoon dusting myself off a little. It’s been a hard month in the hardest year and I was so sure things were shifting into an easier and better time. It turns out, I’m meant to be stronger, after all.

I counted the minutes until I could go pick my Dumpling up from school and when I saw her walk out the door with her teacher, turn, see my face… and shout MOMMY!!! I finally cried.

This. This is who I am. This is what I live for. This is what REALLY matters. The tiny blonde who grounds me to what I treasure most.

M- I missed you so much today.

D- Mama.

M- Let’s go shopping and make something fun for dinner. We’re finally home and Dazzle Fresh is SO excited she spent the afternoon laying all over me.

We held hands to the car, then to the store to buy steak. The girl speaks the same language as her Daddy and I. When in doubt, add steak and see how you feel afterwards. In the throes of CrossFit, I tried to talk her into salmon.

M- Let’s have fish? Salmon? You love it.

D- I want steak or shrimp… or CRAB LEGS!!!!

M- You need to go to college. Your love for crab legs demands it. We’re having carne asada tacos.

I caught sight of a woman walking up a little too close and gave her a little exhausted side eye.

S- Jenni? I’m Stacy. You worked with my son?

Exhausted, I stumbled over my thoughts for a second until it hit me.

Logan.

I walked towards her and hugged her close to me, immediately.

Her beautiful son died of cancer a few months ago. He was my busser for years and I watched him grow from a shy, awkward kid into a dynamic and hilarious young man. He filled a void in my heart left by the absence of my own son and we had a million funny moments together.

The world is a whole lot less beautiful without Logan. We are all a whole lot worse off because he’s gone.

But…

I laugh when I think about him and I have a million funny stories to share with his bereaved mother when the time is right. I don’t envy her grief and I am damn determined to ease it in any way I can.

Even if it means turning the other cheek and letting a pointless argument, go. Especially then. Logan was funny beyond belief and his mother should write parenting books because she perfected the fine art of giving her children the world while simultaneously teaching them to be good humans who earned their own way. With all the money at her disposal, she made them respectful, loving, hard working and kind.

Anyone can raise a spoiled brat…. but it takes a quality woman to raise a good man or woman. Good people come from the same, and I am determined to keep on, keeping on with respect to his memory.

You never know how much time you have or where your child’s clock will run out. You don’t know the horror of losing your baby until you have no other choice.

There’s no point in wrestling with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. Spend the precious moments you have left doing the things that light your life up like Christmas and make it feel worthy of the moments that our brilliant Logan didn’t get.

Be like Stacy.

Live for Logan.

Do better because you have the chance to.


Derek the douchebag.

I knew when I agreed to this date that Derek was not my current type. I actually picked him for that reason. Let’s be honest… I’ve been ass deep in heartache and begging…. the least attractive a lady can be…. so I didn’t expect this to be a fun choice.

This was a date based on vice, not vision.

I have had a horrifying week full of sore muscles, financial bombs and vomit. My little Dumpling caught the worst of it this week and I’ve been juggling a million nightmares while smiling through feeling marginalized by the one person who can turn my frown upside down.

My stupid car broke down and I had to go pick it up tonight. Three guesses who I called and the first two don’t count.

Already sick to my stomach with nerves over a date I don’t want to go on, sitting beside the reason I have to go in the first place, I fought back tears and was grateful for the dark of daylight savings. He wasn’t paying any attention so it wasn’t hard to just sit silently and breathe through the cold and disinterested side of him. He’s like the moon, shining on me when he wants and never when I do. I’m itching to touch him and he could not be more prickly.. when hot tears break and spill down my cheeks. I brushed them away and bit my lip to stop the flood. He sat silently and I prayed for the minutes to turn into seconds.

We got to the mechanic and I bolted. I didn’t even thank him… and we all know that’s not like me.

Into the safe haven of my car, I absolutely bawled. Great. Puffy, red-eyed glory for my date. That’s awesome. I just wanted to cancel, pull on my ugliest and most comfortable pajamas, and go to bed at 7, with the Dumpling. My date was driving over an hour to take me to dinner, so I needed to pull it together and put myself back together as well.

I flew home, put a pizza in the oven and ran for the shower. A quick 10 minutes and I was blow drying and painting myself into a misleading version of pretty. I clean up well.

The babysitter arrived and I was off to meet my next bad choice.

I’ve been craving my favorite hippy food lately so I took him to a place I don’t usually take a date, in order to eat what I wanted. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but when I walked in and saw a dozen people I knew, I kicked myself.

He was waiting at a table and looked like the only dessert on the buffet. I could see women eyeing him and whispering to their friends.

I really have spectacular taste in douchebags when I’m being shallow.

Derek is 27, 6’5″ and reminds me of chocolate pudding. I got to the table and held out my hand to shake his. He hunched over and kissed my cheek. He reeked of whiskey and we’re in a hippy bar… so I knew it wasn’t recent.

J- Hi. How was the drive?

D- Long.

J- Hungry? This place has horrible service and great food.

D- and no liquor.

This is where I should have left. I should have just cut my losses and gone out the back door he doesn’t even know exists. I’m starving and determined to shake this heartache off, so I ignored my inner voice and ordered my favorite mahi-mahi zucchini wrap.

Awkward silence at the table has me looking around for a lifeline… and there are only nightmares from the past, bobbing all around me. I excused myself to the bathroom and did the unthinkable.

I sent the sober version of a drunk text to the guy I’m suffering through all this bullshit for..

Silence… nothing but deafening silence from him.

I went back and sat at the table while Derek told me how lucky I was to be there. I ate the one thing I felt like I could actually stomach after another week from hell.

I didn’t even cry. (Go ahead and clap.. … because it was touch and go there a half dozen times.)

Our inattentive server brought the check and Derek eyed me smugly.

D- Your place?

Once upon a time, I could have said yes. Ten years ago I’d have been only too happy to ignore his shitty character in trade for screaming orgasms.

Now?? Not in the slightest.

J- Thank you for dinner. I appreciate you making the drive to take me out, but no. I’m not taking you home.

D- Why not? I wanna fuck you.

J- Charming as that is, I’m not interested, but thank you.

D- Your loss.

J- That’s debatable, but ok. Have a nice drive home and thank you again.

I bolted for that beautiful back door that led to my freshly repaired car and the ticket to climbing into my bed, by my own damn self.

Single never felt so good, even if tears are more common than satisfaction.


Gone.

I lost my gay husband yesterday.

I spent half the day on the phone with him, trying to talk him out of the jealousy that cripples him. I’ve had an unfaithful partner and know all too well how awful it feels to lay awake at night, wondering where they are.

Wondering why you aren’t enough and why someone else is.

Jealousy can ruin everything and insecurity is debilitating.

When you decide to betray the love and trust of your partner, you’re killing them while leaving them alive enough to wallow in the horror of it all. Some people can’t survive the truth, and my dear friend couldn’t bear it.

He left a note.

He left an even larger hole in the world.

I picked my phone up and called the only person in the world who could comfort me in that moment, and he was there with all the right words as I broke wide open.

I had the unenviable job of telling everyone after being notified first and I went to help his husband deal with the details and face the devastation.

I went to say goodbye.

Walking in to a cold sterile room full of stainless steel that held the empty bodies of loved ones, I got mad at him for the first time.

Suicide is so unfair to the people left behind who have to pick up the broken pieces and try to put some semblance of a normal life back together again.

He’s my +1. The keeper of my secrets. The glue that holds all my broken parts together.

I’ve buried my best friend before, but she was almost 70, fell asleep on the couch and woke up in heaven. I don’t handle death or loss well, and I died a little with him today when I kissed his cold cheek.

I don’t know why he ever thought I could live without him, but he just showed me in the worst way why I have to.

Be kind to someone today.

Tell someone they’re important to you and you can’t imagine your life without them.

Drop what you think is important and be there for someone who needs you.

Find the magic in being needed because it is not a slight thing to be important to someone.

Rest in peace, my beloved Anthony. ❤️ I wish you knew how much I love you and I wish I had loved you fiercely enough that you couldn’t leave.


Help

kind

It was a long-ass weekend full of the worst parts of being a single woman.

Firewood to chop and stack. A broken fence to repair. A lazy hippie who did a shitty job AND ripped me off, to deal with. A garage to clean and sort. Camping gear to put away. A chest freezer to empty and defrost. Mouse traps to set, oil to change… and that doesn’t even touch what needs to be done inside the house.

Add a nasty case of bronchitis to the mix, and you can imagine how fun my weekend was.

I coughed to the point I was lightheaded and sick to my stomach. I came damn close to peeing my pants a few times. I’d love to spin some story about me doing it all with a smile, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Sweeping up mouse shit, makes me suicidal. Given the current level of my unhappiness… it was a ballsy move to risk it. I finally lit a pile of cardboard on fire and started burning things while big alligator tears filled my eyes and rolled down my rosy, feverish cheeks. I did my best not to drown in feeling sorry for myself. Being sick makes me vulnerable and frankly- I do everything for myself, including taking care of my broken body.

I really just needed some help. Good old fashioned, help.

The number one thing I am miserable at asking for.

There’s really nothing like fixing a fence to kick you in the broken heart. Hands full of splinters, screws in my teeth and a drill bit that kept falling into the leaves at my feet. I could see my neighbor watching from across the street, laughing. He’s lucky I’m not one of those concealed carry ladies, because I’d have shot him. Nothing really screams “How’s pining for someone treating you now?” like fixing a fence in the cold, alone.

God damn it, it’s a man’s job.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time doing men’s jobs.

From heating my home, to fixing the car… from orgasms to rodent disposal. I do it all.

and I’m fucking sick of it. Or sick in general? I don’t know. At any rate, I threw myself a pity party while I screwed the fuck out of my broken fence. The neighbor stopped laughing and I realized I was sobbing out loud. Ugly crying while I fixed one more fucking thing, by myself.

Out of screws, I stood back and admired my franken-fence. It’s not pretty, but it’s going to make it through winter.

M-Excuse me? Are you ok? Can I help hold it up while you screw it?

I looked up and my neighbor was walking up the driveway. Great.

J- Hi! Sorry- it’s been a long weekend. Don’t mind me.

I’m past the point of making polite small talk. Tears are running down my cheeks and snot from my nose. Real glamourous. I blew my nose and apologized again.

J- Sorry. I’m.

M- I didn’t mean to laugh. I was tempted to do the same thing when I saw it start to rip apart. Hi, my name is Mike. I live just around the corner.

J- Hi, I’m the crybaby neighbor, Jenni.

M- I don’t know a woman that would even attempt to fix that by herself, so I have nothing but respect. Can I help you with it?

I don’t know what happened, but I just bawled. Sat down on the ground and cried.

It’s humbling to me when I realize how much time I’ve spent hoping and waiting for someone while juggling the same crazy workload and never getting anything back. I think I finally ran out of faith, hope and peace… all at the same time.

Poor neighbor Mike stopped asking if he could help, and just started doing it. He picked up my extension cord and wound it up, He tightened the drill bit on my drill, then stuck a hand out to help me up.

J- Thank you. I am so sorry. I’m always a crybaby, but not usually this bad.

M- Hey, we all have shitty days.

J- I’ve had a year of them.

M- Me too. We should be friends. Misery loves company and an extra set of hands to fix a fence.

J- Do you like spicy food?

M- Love it.

J- I’ll be right back.

I filled a jar with the spicy, cheesy, potato, leek, butternut squash soup I’d made and traded him for my drill and cord, now neatly wound together.

M- WOW!!!  Homemade soup????? Thank you! That is so nice!

J- Thank you for helping me. I really appreciate it. Sorry for the tears.

M- You apologize a lot for someone who does all this and makes soup. I’ll help anytime.

He left with a jar of soup and I put my gloves back on and went back to work.

With a glimmer of hope, restored. ♥

help