Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Like a perfect little sunflower, you were meant to be enjoyed while it lasted.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Unlimited Text Messaging

Since October 12, 2010 I have made and received over 12,000 text messages.

That is roughly 1200 texts a month, an average of 40 texts a day, approximately 878,000 individual words and if I were to print them all up on 8 1/2 x 11 standard "letter sized" paper,  it would equate to 1119 pages. That's longer than most novels!

That seems crazy, right?!

Exactly just what did I have to say and what was being said in return? The conversations paint a picture of anything and everything. What makes this 21st century form of communication so much more exceptional is the fact that those 12,000 messages floating through cyberspace were between me and just one other person.

Just you and me living life on a Sim Card.

Is it the making of a modern day "Notebook" or a great Fairy Tale? Who knows, although there was once upon a time when starry-eyed little heartfelt messages were being sent and received, but those chapters have since turned the page.

It's interesting to go back and read, through 10 months of the past, to actually re-watch your life play out on a little screen. You remember things that got pushed aside to make way for current thoughts. A real time visitation of memories made. You see the words and are transported briefly to the time when they were originally said. You remember where you were and exactly what you were feeling the first time you read them.

Time passes, but the consciousness of it all remains.

For a moment you allow yourself to relive where the friendship began, where things took a romantic turn, the ultimate break down in communication, the split, the anger, the hurt, the disappointment, the attempt at recovery and back to starting anew. Your life comes full circle in 140 characters or less.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I See Dead People

Sometimes I talk to dead people. That's crazy, right? Before you judge me, let me explain. While I'm not an exceptionally religious person, as in I have not darkened the doors of a church in years, I do believe in God and heaven. I also choose to believe that when people die their souls live on and guide us from above.

Spirituality was something that I never really understood until David came along. It was only after he was gone that I began to view death in a different light. If you have read any of my previous posts involving feathers then you know that David was a dear friend of mine who passed away in October of 2005. His death consumed me, in fact it still does to this day but for more diverse reasons.

Throughout his funeral I was inconsolable. During the service, a small, white feather landed on the sleeve of my friend Trish who was seated next to me. Without thinking she plucked it off and handed it to me. She whispered for me to hold onto it and focus, somehow knowing that the distraction would help get me through. It worked. I walked out of the funeral home with it still firmly gripped in my hand.

For reasons unknown to me then, I felt compelled to keep that feather. I put it in my wallet to protect it and started my new life without David in it.

The next day I was the opening manager at the Pottery Barn where David and I had worked. It was quiet as I went through my morning routine of preparing the store for business. My associates had yet to arrive, so it was just me and my thoughts. I paused in the Design Studio where I had last seen his smile to say "Hello." And right there, on the verge of falling to pieces, I saw it...another feather. David had found a way to say hello back to me in a way that I could understand.

That was the day that I learned to accept the unexpected. Even though I found it impossible to comprehend, I opened my mind and heart to the fact that certain things defied explanation. All it took was a leap of faith on my part and I'd know that even in death, David would be with me always.

In the nearly six years since his passing, he still finds a way to communicate with me. I have found feathers of all shapes and sizes in the most surprising places. I always pause after picking them up and look into the sky and say "Hello" right back to my friend. The feathers serve as a reminder that with hope, anything is possible, even in the most impossible of circumstances. Where there is a will, there is a way.

In my line of work, I see people die right before my eyes. It is the harsh reality of working in the Emergency Department and unfortunately, it comes with the job. No matter how I try to man up and accept it, death still haunts me. Ironically, not only did I work in an environment where David was very much alive, I now work in the same place where he died. I was put there for a reason and embrace it for what it's worth. I help people in sickness and pray for those departed.

When someone dies in the ER, my emotions automatically go back to the Thursday afternoon in late October, 2005 when I first heard the news that David was gone. It is a natural reaction to put myself into the shoes of the family and friends who will mourn their own losses. Being in a room with a lifeless body is surreal, it's just not something that you get used to. We're not supposed to unless perhaps your profession is that of a funeral director or pathologist.

I always pause to say "Goodbye," remind them that they we're loved and the love they gave love in return was so appreciated. Their life touched the lives of others and they will be dearly missed, but it's not over. It's never over unless you make that choice. I hope that their loved ones find their own form of feathers in which to comfort and communicate.

In life it's all about the heart, we follow it and live by the emotions it generates. The soul is immortal, it survives death and lives on in spirit and in my world through feathers. That's crazy, right? Maybe...but to me it makes perfect sense.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Emotional Rescue

Have you ever emotionally fought so hard for something that it left you physically disabled? You exhaust your energy by trying to crack the core of someone, because you know behind that hardened facade is something so promising and good; that every amount of effort put forth was worth the toll it took to get there.

Sometimes you fight so hard that you end up exposing too much of your own self. The assault is so intense that you don't even realize the damage done until you look down and see your own flesh falling off the bone. There you are left standing naked and vulnerable, knowing despite your best intentions to unveil the soul of someone else, your own has been unmasked in the process.

It's frightening and cathartic all at once.

It's hard to be the hero when your own superpowers are filled with defects. It's daunting to reveal that underneath it all you are but a mere mortal, with nothing more than a loud mouth, a lot of thoughts and a big, sloppy heart.

So, what are you really afraid of? What others will think of you now or what you see in yourself? And what do you do now?

I don't want a foxy little face to tell me lovely little lies, so why do I expect you to be on the receiving end of mine? It's time to get pretty on the inside. Face the fears and forge ahead. We are bred to make mistakes, that's a given. But, it's all in how we go about recovering from them that makes the true difference. Once we are no longer afraid of those mistakes, only then will we begin to make fewer of them.

Once the truth comes out and you look up to see that your friends, your real friends, not just the ones who claim to be, are still there, accepting all of your imperfections without judgement is liberating.

You come to the realization that the exact same flaws that we see in others are in fact our own. It's strangely familiar and is the very reason behind why you recognized them in the first place. It forces us to make a choice, throw in the towel or be a better person, not only to those you care about, but to your own self.

Once you have broken down the boundaries and completely dropped your guard, everything becomes limitless and you learn to love. Not that ridiculous fairy tale love that plays out on big movie screens and not that superficial sickeningly sweet shit. We're talking hard, true, tough, messy, unfinished, imperfect, rudimentary, honest love. The kind that leaves you bloodied and bruised, but so worth the struggle it took to get there.

A wise consort recently said to me "You put other feelings aside and be a friend first. It's not gonna be a walk in the park, but anything is possible if you care about the person; that's love right there."

Yep, truth. That's love right there.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cue the Gosling

"Well, that's what we do, we fight! You tell me when I'm being an arrogant son of a bitch and I tell you when you're being a pain in the ass, which you are, 99% of the time. I'm not afraid to hurt your feelings. They have like a two second rebound rate and you're back doing the next pain in the ass thing."

"So, it's not gonna be easy, it's gonna be real hard. And we're gonna have to work on this every day, but I want to do that, because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me every day. Will you do something for me? Please? Will you picture your life for me? 30 years from now, 40 years from now, what's it look like? If it's with that guy, go! Go! I lost you once, I think I could do it again, if I thought that's what you really wanted. But don't you take the easy way out."

"Would you stop thinking about what everyone wants? Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want. What do you want? What do you want?"

"What...do...you...want? What do you want?"

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I'm a bit of a handful, it's true. I'm loud and selfish and stubborn and quirky and cocky and outspoken and completely inappropriate at times. I make mistakes every day. Sometimes I learn from them, sometimes I don't. My expectations are high, but so is my tolerance. If you accept me for me, I will accept you for you, but there is a catch...you have to meet me halfway. I can't be expected to do all the work, because I will eventually tire.

I'm an all American rebel, tougher on the inside than I look on the outside. I can take whatever you dish out and will always give it back in return. I am cynical and sarcastic and jaded and bitter and have been burned more times than I have intentionally set the fire. You have to earn my trust and I expect your total honesty. If you want to be a part of my life, you have to follow through with every word you say. I won't hang on your empty promises.

I am big hearted and kind, but never misjudge that for weakness. Loving is easy, I will give you my whole heart. As a friend it is my job to love you, but I don't always have to like you. Just like trust, you have to earn my "like" if you want it in return. Show me the respect that I deserve and I'll repay it tenfold.

I am brilliant and beautiful and hilarious and imperfect and true. I spin out of control and my emotions often shoot off in all directions like a loose cannon. I'm head-strong and feisty and completely full of myself. I can be hard to handle and downright ugly at times. Some days I'm the blue pill, others the red.   I know that my personality is not for everyone and that's ok. "You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."

I am a walking contradiction. I'm overly confident and independent yet reek of insecurity. I will choke you out just as soon as I'd breath life back into your soul. Take me as I am or move along. If you can't handle me at my worst then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best!

I will give more than I receive. I don't expect the same in return, all I ask is for your appreciation and a little recognition. Putting a smile on someone's face for no reason at all is one of my greatest joys. It's the little things in life, the things that others might take for granted or not even realize are a big deal that matter most to me.

I'm not sure of anything and my thoughts change erratically from one moment to the next. What you construe as "crazy" might be my normal. Get over yourself, we've all been there. You will often find me standing right on the edge, walking a fine line between holding it all together and crashing hard. It's the rush, the adrenaline that keeps me going and reminds me to breathe. And if you are coming with me, I will push you to your breaking point and beyond.

I'm loyal to a fault. I'm transparent. I'm pessimistically optimistic. I'm in your face. I'm a nuisance. I would rather die living for the things I believe in than to die without ever taking the chance. I will walk until I'm able to run. I will stumble and I will fall. I will get up and do it again. My wounds will always heal. I am unbreakable and resilient.

I will argue with you because I care. I will try my damnedest to understand you, but you have to try to understand me too. Our personalities will differ, that is what makes us unique. It's our own individual personalities that attracted us to each other to begin with. What do you want to contribute? What will you bring to the table? What will you allow me to understand? Can you to sympathize with my needs? What will you allow to exist? What are you willing to do in the name of friendship?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Born Lucky

Are some people born luckier than others? Is there an algorithm that fate sets long before one's first steps are taken that determines just how fortunate that individual's life will be? Does karma really play a part in destiny? If so, then I must have been a really bad person in a past life, reincarnated in this one to pay for my antecedent transgressions.

Seriously, it's comical how ridiculously unlucky I am. In this particular life, I've fallen from grace too many times to count, but you know what? I get back up and I do it again every day hoping that eventually I will get it right.

Don't get me wrong, I have had a lot of good and when weighed out, it certainly counterbalances all the bad. I have a family who loves me unconditionally, who are healthy and happy; who would without question, walk to the end of the earth and back for me. I have made more friends than I have lost. Ones that I know will stick with me, not only through the sweetness, but straight through to the bitter end. I'm by no means rich, but am content in my possessions.

I have literally partied with Rock Stars and interviewed NASCAR drivers. I have traveled the earth and been immersed in cultures that many people only dream of. I was blessed with open minded parents who allowed me to see and experience the world through my own eyes. I have jumped from airplanes, climbed peaks and floated in the Caribbean seas. I changed careers midlife, went back to school and kicked it's ass. I was the first Paramedic student at my college to receive a full scholarship based on academic achievement. I have loved and felt love in return.

Not bad for a little girl from a quiet coastal Texas town. Truth be told, if I were to die tomorrow, I'd look back with little regret, for I have truly lived. Sure there are a few things that I have yet to do in this life, which is precisely the reason why I have no immediate plans of leaving this earth any time soon. I refuse to go down based solely on a little bad luck. Nope, you might be a temporary setback, but you're only an obstacle that I will always find a way to overcome.

When my 19 year old cat was dying from kidney failure earlier this year, I had to make the hard decision to end his misery and have him put to sleep. When I arrived for my appointment, I was told that the Doctor was across town dealing with a sick foal and was told that I had to reschedule his euthanasia for later that day. What?! How cruel and unusual is that?

On Christmas Day 2010,  as I drove across the state of Virginia to see my family on the biggest holiday of the year, I ran over something on the highway that shredded my rear tire at 65 MPH, leaving me stranded on an overpass for hours until help arrived.

In 2008 I had a pretty common surgical procedure that was botched terribly, which resulted in two additional surgeries to put me back together again. I was out of work for three months recovery time.

On October 20, 2005, I lost my fourth friend within a two year period to suicide.

I could go on and on, reciting stories that you wouldn't believe unless you actually knew me and witnessed it first hand, but I think you get the gist of it.

I have been on the brink of throwing in the towel on more than one occasion. I've wanted to curl up and just wither away, because what good is life if it isn't what you envisioned it to be? I'll tell you what it's good for...everything. All the meticulous planning and guidance never prepares you to roll with the punches and live. Really live.

Years ago for fun, two friends and I went to see one of those roadside "fortune tellers." She told them just what the future held for each of them and they left content in knowing that they would face no real hardships in the path set before them. When my turn came, I was told that she, the "psychic," sensed an unlucky aura that "surrounded my soul," a black cloud if you will and for just $500 she had the power to remove it. I laughed the notion of it and promptly walked out. Looking back over my life, I sometimes wonder if that might have been a small price to pay for absolution, but then I come to my senses and laugh about it all over again.

No one but yourself has the power to change your own luck, whether it be through the power of thought or spiritual beliefs or even a lucky charm of some sort. In my case, I am a combination of all three. I think positively, try to do all the right things and as crazy as it seems, I corresponde spiritually with my deceased friend David, who I lost in 2005, through our own form of communication. When I am feeling down or particularly sad or stressed out, he sends me a random feather that I stumble upon in the strangest of places. In the years since his death I have found over 200 of them and keep them safely locked away in a special shadow box to remind me that there are angels that look down on us from above and keep us safe and honest.

Now that lucky charm thing, well that is different for everyone. Some dangle a rabbit's foot from their keychains. Some carry a lucky penny in their pocket. We break wishbones at Thanksgiving, hoping to pull the side that counts, the bigger piece where wishes are often granted. We search for four-leafed clovers in fields of shamrocks and have "lucky" articles of clothing that we where when we want to win the big game.

My lucky charm was a well thought out plan, something that I contemplated for years until I was 100% sure of exactly what it should be and where it should be in my life. A little over a week ago, I chose to have a small horseshoe tattooed on the outside of my left wrist. I drew out the exact placement of where on my body I thought it would bring me the most luck. Points facing up so that none of the so-called luck would drain out.

I mustered up my courage, found a reputable artist that came highly recommended from a friend, bit the bullet and finally had it done. It was perfect, exactly what I wanted. A tiny little "U" shape with six nail holes, one for each member of my immediate family. I babied it and cared for it exactly as I was told and for the first couple of days it began to heal up nicely.

On the third day I noticed that it was beginning to come off. Not just the normal peeling and scabbing that a tattoo generally goes through. This little sucker was actually coming off in chucks, as if the bad aura of my luck was rejecting any of the good that I was trying to create!

By days four and five it began to look as if it had been drawn on with a magic marker that had gotten wet and was smearing and fading quickly. And by today, I can only see visible red scars in certain places where the black ink once was. My body is literally ridding itself of what it sees as an intruder.

How ironic is that? My luck is so defective that a purposely permanent piece of kismet is quickly sloughing off my own skin!

It's typical really.

Good things rarely happen on the first try, that is just how life goes for me. So right now half a horseshoe is better than none at all. I'll have it reworked in the next week or so, then lookout! With luck on my side, there may be no stopping me from anything that I set my mind to!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sometimes a Little Reminder is All it Takes

"This is your life.
Do what you love and do it often.
If you don't like something, change it.
If you don't like your job, quit.
If you don't have enough time, stop watching TV.
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love.
Stop over analyzing, life is simple.
All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
Open your mind, arms and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them.
Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.
Some opportunities only come once, seize them.
Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.
Live your dream and share your passion.
Life is short."

-Author Unknown

Monday, August 1, 2011

Say What You Need to Say

Damn you John Mayer and your catchy pop ballads! Seriously, who do you think you are? You've got life all figured out in three minutes and 50 seconds, don't you?! As infuritaing as it seems to follow the advice of a top-40 radio song, I can't help but wonder if he isn't on to something here. Is it really as simple as just saying what you need to say?

Let's analyze, shall we.

In the song, Mayer repeats the line, "say what you need to say" about 298 times. Repetition is a good way to commit something to memory, so thank you for that.

Talking. It is something that we do naturally on a day to day basis. We talk to friends, family, pets, ourselves, even total strangers for hours on end during the course of a 24 hour span. We talk they listen, then they talk and we listen...or do we really?

On paper, I am a girl of many words. I can somehow take the time to process everything that needs to come out and effectively communicate my point, but when it comes to the art of fine, constructive conversation, the words and thoughts floating through my mind sometimes get lost on their way to my mouth. It is as if my IQ level drops 60 points and all I am left with is a blank stare and lips so numb they find it hard to even form the simplest of sounds.

When I do manage to muster up something, it often comes out sounding like like mental vomit. It's like buyer's remorse. I impulsively shoot off at the mouth then spend all future moments regretting everything that I said to begin with. Open mouth, insert foot, repeat, it is a ridiculous vicious cycle. Let's not forget  that I'm also a giant, sucky cry baby. So you can only imagine what happens next.

It is frustrating not to be able to say what I really need to say at the exact moment that it needs to be said. These late night musings are generally products of something that I have experienced during my day and only after hours of lying awake replaying said verbal disaster over and over again am I able to figure it all out.

"It's better to say too much then never say what you need to say again."

Is it really? I'm not so sure, I mean, I'm pretty good at saying way too much to try to get my point across, doesn't seem to help my cause. Perhaps it is more about timing. I should block out some daily time, preferably under four minutes, to say what I need to say instead of holding it all in waiting for my tragic Rock Operas to make their stunning debuts. You would have thought that I'd have learned a lesson or two by now, as they almost always open to bad reviews.

Ugh, what is the deal? Where is the translation getting lost? Seriously, The Who called, they want "Tommy" back!

Life in a Pop song makes it all look so easy, but it ain't got shit on a good heartbreaker of a Country tune. So John Mayer, you go on and "say what you need to say!" In the meantime, I'll stick with what I know. Just give me a little fire and gasoline and watch me burn like there is no tomorrow.