Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mama

This morning started out much like every other morning this week. I struggled to get out of bed. I felt sad, but other than that—ok. I even felt a little numb this morning as I got ready… uncertain of what this day would bring.

Today is my mom’s birthday. She would have turned 68.

As I told my dad earlier, it feels like I’m stuck in this terrible, never-ending dream, and I keep waking up, hoping it’s going to end, and it just… doesn’t.

On many levels, her death still seems surreal. It hasn’t sunk in yet. It hasn’t become stark reality, it hasn’t been carved in the stone of recent history.

We’re all still reeling.

And today, I made my way to work—confident I would be able to make it through the day.

I stepped into a meeting in the conference room. Six women gathered around the conference table as we called in to speak to our client.

At one point, the client asked a question and we needed to unmute the phone line.

Instead of hitting the mute button, I accidentally hit the button to call our president’s office. And then, once we realized what I had done, somebody else hit a button and it ended up dropping us off the call with the client.

I was immediately embarrassed, and I felt emotions thundering in my belly and threatening to shoot up through my throat and out through my eyes in the form of tears and wails. I crawled under the table as everyone guffawed—it was a hilarious scene, and I saw and felt the hilarity of it, but I could not fight the emotions welling up from deep within.

I sat back in my chair, for a split second believing I was ok.

But grief is a bitch, and before I knew it, my skin was suddenly hot with giant tears streaming down my face, and I could feel the suffocating gasps of pain coming.

I fled the room and ran into an office and closed the door, collapsing against the table.

I sort of composed myself after a little while. The meeting finished. My co-workers offered condolences and reassurances.

I tried to come back to some semblance of ok, but I felt like a shell the thickness of a soap bubble trying to contain the nuclear explosion already going on inside of me. I walked around, enjoying seeing everyone’s festive, ugly sweaters and cute Christmas ornament earrings. I tried to talk myself into searching for some enjoyment with the festivities that we were about to experience—the big reveal for secret Santas, and then our Christmas lunch, followed by early release from work.

But I returned to my desk, where I sat, tears running down my face, wondering how I was going to get through this day.

Truthfully, there was only one place I wanted to be: by my dad’s side.

I called Daddy on the way, asking him to make some coffee. His voice immediately lifted when he realized I was coming over.

We hugged and sat, watching a couple of TV shows as he finished breakfast and I sipped coffee.

And then I asked him what he was planning to do today. He said he was planning to decorate for Christmas, but he just couldn’t seem to find the motivation.

So, we did it together.

We put up the tree, again going over the history of some of the decorations and how much they meant to us, just as we had done for many years before now. 



We put out stockings and a few other odds and ends—marveling at just how much Christmas décor was left… just how much we weren’t putting out.

What can I say… my mom loved Christmas and Christmas décor.



We went out on the town in his new truck to Michael’s, Walgreens, and Target. We took our time running errands, poking around for some time in both Michael’s and Target.

And then we went back to the house and ate dinner.

It turned out to be a leisurely day. A better day than what we both started with.

We stood at my car, hugging, and he thanked me for coming over. I told him there was nowhere else I wanted to be today, that I didn’t just do it for him—I did it for me, too. I felt so lost this morning, and the only place I wanted to run to was to him.

He needed me today, and I needed him. And we turned a shitty day into a better one, and we managed to inject some color into this rather gray day. I am grateful.

Happy birthday, Mama. We love you and miss you, more than words can say...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mama's Passing

My favorite picture of Mama.
The last 36 hours have been, in a word—surreal.

It all happened so fast.

It’s important to note that my mom had been on dialysis since 2006, and she had a lot of other health problems, too. For all the health problems she had, she managed to stay positive and upbeat most of the time.

On Thanksgiving, she seemed “off.” I mentioned it to my boyfriend, and I tried to get her to talk about it, but she wouldn’t. She said there was nothing wrong—she just wasn’t feeling well.

But Thanksgiving was a great day. We all enjoyed it immensely, each of us regaling each other with stories from our childhoods and antics we pulled. Lots of laughter and a laid-back day with good food and family connection. You really couldn’t have asked for a better holiday.

On Monday, my mom called me to tell me she had heard the “sad news” that I gave away all of my Cabbage Patch Kids. She raised quite the stink about it and made every attempt to make me feel guilty. (I actually haven’t gotten them to their new owners yet, but they’re in bags in my apartment, waiting.) I was shocked at her strange behavior though. It threw me for a loop that she was making such a stink about something that really doesn’t matter—toys she bought me over 25 years ago.

For what it’s worth, I kept and will always plan the keep the first one she gave me. I remember that well—it was one of the first Cabbage Patch Kids made, and she went to many stores to try and find one. She finally did find one, and she stood there by her car, waiting for me to come out of church camp one summer. I walked out of the building, and there she was with Christina, the Cabbage Patch Kid.

We hung up, and I was totally puzzled.

I didn’t realize that would be the last time I would hear her voice. That was the last conversation we had.

The instant I realized that, I felt deeply thankful for our family tradition of always saying I love you at the end of every phone conversation.

My mom went into the hospital on Wednesday, when they couldn’t give her dialysis. She ended up in the ER and immediately checked in and taken to ICU. Her veins were tiny, and they struggled to get the dialysis to take, but they tried multiple channels and eventually got her stabilized.

The details are fuzzy right now, because I didn’t even know she was in the hospital until yesterday.

But basically Wednesday night, she was stable. Thursday morning around 7:15am, all hell broke loose. I knew nothing about this, and my dad didn’t either—he slept through several of the doctor’s phone calls. He woke up around 9am, and as soon as he heard the messages he got dressed and went straight to the hospital.

They ran a CAT scan and discovered she had a colon infection that had gone septic.

She also had a heart arrhythmia, which can cause a lot of problems when other things are piled on top of that issue.

Then the infection got into her blood. They couldn’t give her fresh blood quickly enough, so her blood became toxic, and her heart gave out.

She coded one time just before Daddy called me.

I got the call right at noon. Daddy sounded weary and weak. I had no idea of anything that was happening, of course. I had never heard that tone of voice in my dad before, and I knew right away that it was serious.

I called my sister as I packed up my stuff at work. I let them know what was going on, stopped by Jimmy John’s to grab sandwiches for myself and my dad—knowing he probably hadn’t eaten at all that day—and headed straight to the hospital.

I was too late.

By the time I had gotten there, she had coded three more times, and they couldn’t bring her back the last time.

Telling this story is surreal. I wasn’t aware it was happening.

When I got to the hospital, Daddy told me.

I got to sit with her for a few minutes in the hospital room, which was oddly quiet, even though her room was right in front of the nurse’s station. I talked to her and wished she would come back. I asked her why she had to go, and all I heard back was, “I was just so tired.”

The next hours are a complete blur, but at some point once I realized the family and most of my close friends knew, I posted it to Facebook.

I have been overwhelmed by the love and support, the prayers, the kind words, and all of the offers of help.

The house was full last night, and that was the best that any of us could ask for. My most precious friend Veronica brought dinner for the whole family, and we were so grateful—none of us had even thought about dinner… or eating.

I struggled to fall asleep last night, as reality faded from surreal to more real.

This morning, we made the funeral arrangements. All of those decisions made me dizzy and completely, utterly, and deeply drained.

In some ways, none of those decisions matter, because she’s gone, and it feels like we’re mostly making the decisions for our own sanity. But really, those decisions are important—after all, we are responsible for preserving her memory and we are responsible for everyone’s last impression of her, before we lay her to rest.

I have so many words, and yet—none at all. I’m quickly passing through moments of numbness, normality, anger, deep sadness, and a level of grief I have never felt in my whole life.

No relationship is more complex, intimate, or impossible to describe than that of a mother and daughter.

The picture that will print with her obituary.
To know I will never again get to hug her, smell her, hear her voice… to know she’ll never meet David’s kids or truly know David… the things I’ll never be able to ask her, the questions I’ll never have answered, the words I’ll never get to say—it’s all too much to think about, but those thoughts show up in random moments, and just like I did in the divorce… I am riding the wave.

Thank you for your continued support and words of encouragement, your prayers, your offers of help. I am not sure if I’m going to blog here about the grief wave, or stories, or frustrations, or whatever—or if I’m going to keep quiet, like I have for the last several months (sorry)… or if it will be something in-between.

I’m going to do whatever needs to happen. Whatever will keep me connected, at least on some level, to sanity—that is what I’m going to do.

Mama’s obituary will run tomorrow (Sat. Dec. 1) and Sunday (Dec. 2) in the Dallas Morning News, with her picture:
Jill Johnson Tritton 
Born December 14, 1944 in Dallas, TX and passed away November 29, 2012 in Plano, TX. She is survived by her loving husband of over 46 years, David Tritton; daughter and son-in-law, Jill Wendilyn and Kevin Troquille; daughter and partner, Linda Lee Tritton and David Hoffman; grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Reilly Johnson, as well as other relatives and descendants. Visitation will be Sunday, December 2, 2012 from 3pm to 5pm at Restland Funeral Home. A Graveside service will be held on Monday, December 3, 2012 at 10am Restland Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The National Kidney Foundation.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Purging the Stuff, Not the Memories

I’ve come across some cool stuff while going through all these boxes from my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood.

I discovered my Cabbage Patch Kids (and almost immediately found new homes for them), some old Legos, and the very first Fossil watch I ever owned (which is unfortunately all corroded from leaving a spent battery in it for too many years).

I have already warned my boyfriend about the forthcoming Beanie Babies. I have a huge box stuffed full of nothing but Beanie Babies. I can’t wait to give those suckers away to good homes.

(Just as soon as I find them.)

So, last night, I came across a box that had a bunch of notebooks and folders from college. One of the folders was a packet from the Alpha Phi Omega national convention in 1996, which was held in Phoenix, Arizona.

Inside the packet, I came across a huge collection of folded pieces of paper.

I was utterly confused.

I began unfolding the papers and reading their contents. I read paper after paper, until finally, it hit me.

Suddenly, a wave of memory hit me as the whole 1996 convention flashed back into my mind. I read every single note and laughed. Some of them were inside jokes I’ve long since forgotten. Some were from people I still remember, and other notes just struck me as peculiarly funny.

A few of the notes contained pleas to buy t-shirts like what we were wearing (the front of the shirt said, “We do service, what the hell do you do?”)

And a lot of the notes discussed party logistics, because, let’s face it—if you’re a college kid going to a decent hotel with 1500 other college kids from all across the country… there will be parties. 

Good parties.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading those notes and strolling down that long and twisted lane of memories. Those notes even jogged my memory on some of the details of parliamentary procedure (sometimes called Robert’s Rules of Order).

I was one of the voting delegates, which means I had the honor of sitting on the legislation floor, along with over 200 other chapters from across the country.

So as voting delegates, we could not randomly get up and walk around, we had to wait for breaks. If we needed something, we used a runner to pass a note to the peanut gallery, asking someone out there to go get us whatever we needed.

For those not familiar with parliamentary procedure, the peanut gallery is the space behind delegate seats where the general public can listen in. If anyone in the peanut gallery had strong opinions about legislation on the floor, they could send a note to their delegates. Sort of like real-time lobbying.

Any delegate could also pass notes to another delegate on the voting floor.

Are you getting this picture?

Imagine a bunch of college kids sitting in a giant hotel ball room, with runners constantly on the move, passing notes, t-shirts, money, sodas, snacks, and whatever else amongst the peanut gallery and delegates.

It was actually pretty cool, but it did get boring to sit there all day if the legislation you cared about had come and gone.

I loved coming across those notes and having that sudden flash of memory.

I also threw the notes away, along with all the other accoutrements from that convention.

(Go me!)

I’ll never forget how important Alpha Phi Omega was to me. It gave me a sense of purpose, back when I didn’t feel I had one. My favorite role was liaising with other chapters and building the connection between our chapter at Vanderbilt and other chapters at schools in our region.

APO was so important to me that I became a life member during my senior year in college. I was also awarded a Distinguished Service Key, which is the highest honor a chapter can give a member. It's given for outstanding service to the fraternity. 

I’ve done absolutely nothing with APO since those days, but through that co-ed service fraternity, I found my friends and a sense of purpose. I learned and then taught leadership skills. I learned the depth of value of community service, and I learned that one person really can make a difference. I even organized an entire weekend convention, including presenters and a whole host of other tiny little details. It nearly broke me, but it’s one of the best experiences I ever had back in those days, because it showed me a glimpse of what I was (and am) really made of.

(And it's not completely out of place to mention that the theme for that conference's t-shirt was, "You'll love the stuff we're made of." Yes. We stole the Pizza Hut tag line from those days... oops.)

I’ll always have these memories. And now that I’m finally going through all of this crap and throwing it away, I can record the memories in my own way, so I won’t forget them again. It's refreshing to finally understand that I don't need to hang on to all of this stuff as physical representation of the memories. 

I have to say that although this cleansing and letting go process is not easy… it's not all bad, either.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Another Round of Letting Go


I have things. So…many…things.

I have yearbooks from junior high, high school, and college.

I have stacks and stacks of magazines that I’ve never read. Oprah, Real Simple, and some jewelry and writing magazines. I held on to them because I just knew I’d read them “someday”.

I have letters from people who are no longer in my life.

I have clothes from high school. Concert T-shirts for musicians I no longer care about. Yellowed old T-shirts from various activities, groups, and events from my high school and college years.

I have paraphernalia from all phases of my life: papers, drawings, and books from childhood; toys, paperwork, and wall hangings from old jobs; stacks and stacks of photos, waiting to be sorted and digitized.

Lots of things… just waiting.

Waiting to be organized, sorted, discarded, remembered, and finally—forgotten.

I am a sentimental person, and I always have been. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. But at what point does holding on to old things burgeon from sentimental into the realm of narcissistic?

How long do I need to keep all of these things around me? What is the purpose? To remind me of who I was, or where I’ve come from? To remind me of things long forgotten, of moments I can no longer place, of history I don’t even remember living?

How much longer am I going to cart this stuff from one domicile to the next? How much more money will I pay movers to move all this crap? At what point does it turn from momentous and meaningful to downright self-centered, even selfish?

These are not small questions.

But the confession I have yet to admit is rather embarrassing.

When I moved into my two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in March 2011, the movers filled up the entire second bedroom with my crap. They moved over 100 boxes, in addition to the large pieces of furniture. In addition to my clothes. In addition to shoes.

Over 100 boxes of stuff.

What can you even say to that?

Yes, I downsized from a 1550 square foot house to an apartment of 862 square feet. Yes, I got divorced, so it was not only the splitting apart of stuff, but the splitting apart of my life and his life. And, yes, the minute my ex and I had moved into the house in 2002, my parents had lovingly dropped off over 20 boxes of stuff from my childhood they’d been storing in their garage. And, no, I hadn’t touched a single one of those boxes in the 9 years that we lived there.

And I could probably write an entire book about the actual split, but when I think about cleaning out that house, and how much stuff I ended up leaving in the house, it kind of astounds me. I even left my wedding dress there, atop a very large amoeba-like pile of trash bags stuffed to the gills with clothes that no longer fit me because I’d lost a significant amount of weight.

The things you do when you’re desperate, sick, exhausted, out of time, and out of patience…

What’s left, though, is quite impressive, which is to say it still overwhelms me.

So now, it is my task to go through all of these things. To sort, discard, donate, sell, give away, or organize all of this… stuff.

I’m not the most organized or patient person, and when I decide something has to go—I have to do it immediately, or I lose my momentum. So I may have the best intentions of selling something, or giving something to a specific organization, or scanning pictures just so someone can see whatever it was from 20 years ago that they probably won’t remember anyway—but when it comes down to it, I at least know myself well enough to admit I’m not terribly disciplined, organized, or patient. I tend to get bogged down in these kinds of tasks, and it drives me nuts to the point of quitting.

And besides, posting stuff on eBay takes patience and time. Giving away old magazines and toys through freecycle or whatever other venue takes time, effort, and energy. And patience. And dealing with complete strangers, who may or may not show up to retrieve said items.

Maybe if I had an assistant who could take care of all that stuff for me, I would do it.

But since I’m just a regular person… I need to make sure I only bite off what I can chew—without choking.

This is as good of a time as any to mention that I’m quite good with space. Specifically, strategically cramming lots of things into small spaces, like suitcases or closets. I am my father's daughter, after all, and he was in the Navy. He taught me how to pack for a trip, how to fold clothes to take up minimal space and not wrinkle, and of course, he taught me how to put sheets on the bed with perfect hospital corners.

When I moved into my apartment in March of 2011, I had boxes everywhere. Boxes from childhood. Boxes from high school. Boxes from college. Boxes from my marriage. Boxes, boxes, everywhere—when I moved in, they covered the whole floor and piled up as tall as my forehead in the back bedroom.

When I first moved in, I completely filled up the two decently sized closets in the back bedroom with boxes. The rest remained on the floor, and I went through some of them but quickly got overwhelmed and lost my momentum.

(It seems all of my stuff actually chokes me… and breaking free of it may offer a kind of freedom I can’t yet grasp.

I’m not quite there yet.)

Every time I walk into that bedroom, I think about those two closets, stuffed full of boxes I need to go through.

Up until this past Sunday, they had remained mostly untouched.

I know as well as anyone that you can’t move forward and allow new things to come into your life until you let go of the old.

So, on Sunday, I began the emotional gutting of my apartment.

I went through five boxes from my old lives. Letters, stuffed animals from childhood, photo albums from high school and college, old clothes. Five boxes to remind me of all the things I have never dealt with or discarded.

It was so much more than that, of course. It was also an emotional gutting to my psyche. The thing that did me in was finding a letter from my dad from nearly 15 years ago, where he was upset that I was late on my car payments to the point it was hitting against my parents' credit. He was worried he couldn't keep it from my mom any longer.

It hit me like a pointy object jabbing me in the heart just how much I've disappointed and hurt people I dearly love because of my selfishness. Not just my mom and dad, but my college roommate, family, and other friends who have given me so much… and what have I given?

I couldn't throw that letter away. The sad thought entered my mind as I looked at photos of Daddy from almost 20 years ago, how healthy and young he looked... and I freaked out at the thought of throwing away one of the only things I have with his handwriting, because he won't always be around.

After I finished bawling into my boyfriend’s arms, he told me I’d done enough for one day, and for once—I listened. I heard him, and I agreed.

Letting go of things that I once held so close to me is hard. But when I look at each item and can’t place why I have it, a memory surrounding it, or a current or near-future use for it… why keep it?

I know I’ve only gone through five boxes, but it’s a start. A good start.

(I am working towards a goal, here. A goal that I don’t want to disclose yet… but I promise that when the time is right—you’ll know.)

In the meantime, though…

I am learning to be gentler and tenderer with myself. I am learning to honor my emotions—whatever they are. And I am keeping only safe people around me while doing this emotional archeological dig.

Each box promises new surprises and new challenges. I quickly lost count of the number of times I said, “Why do I even have this?” on Sunday, and that was for five measly boxes.

I still have many more to clear out. Many more to sort through and decide the fate of their contents.

And believe me when I say that the whole theme of letting go isn’t lost on me here. I’ve let go of nearly everything in the last year or so, and I understand that letting go of most of these things is profound—and that is part of the reason why it’s also profoundly difficult. I realize that when I’m on the other side of this, I’ll feel lighter, better, and all that jazz.

Right now, though…
This isn’t easy.

But I seem to be one of those people who is never content to remain idle or complacent. I must always be moving, and hopefully that movement is forward. I’m reminded of a rather clever and totally true bit that my friend Mark has said: consistent and constant personal growth requires daily discomfort.

It doesn’t have to be monumental every day—that would be too exhausting.

But it should be a stretch. It should at times be hard. And sometimes, it should be easier.

I am learning to be more fluid as I grow older. I am learning that it isn’t all about me, and if I truly want to reach higher, do better, and continue to grow, it’s going to be a little uncomfortable.

Another thing that makes me uncomfortable is asking for help. But I am doing that now…

If you have successfully done this sort of task before, and/or if you are an organized person brimming with ideas that would be easy and quick for a non-organized person to execute, please feel free to offer up some suggestions to make it feel slightly less like my heart being scraped over a cheese grater.

(And if you’re thinking of suggesting, “Just throw them all away!” I appreciate it, but if I had done that, I would have tossed out several irreplaceable and very meaningful things that have been mixed in with the randomness… things I thought I had lost forever, and after rediscovering them, I wept with joy. So tossing out all of these boxes without even glancing at their contents is not the best option at this point—although if this drags on for too long, I may resort to exactly that.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Pound of Flesh

I might as well come out and admit it.

I have a feeling that others have noticed, but what exactly do you say when you see that someone has gained a few pounds?

From May 2010 to March 2011, I lost 75 pounds.

Since March of 2011, I have gone up-down-up-down-up in my weight. I have done a fair job of maintaining an approximation of the weight I’d lost, but I’ve noticed an alarming trend over the past six months or so. I’ll get to that in a minute.

For most of that time, I weighed myself every single morning. I was vigilant about not eating bread—only allowing myself to have wheat tortillas now and then. I never ate restaurant bread. I rarely indulged in one of my favorite things, fresh English muffins. I rarely ate dessert—another of my favorite things.

Food became something I portioned out. It became something I had to think about, all the time, because I didn’t want to put bad food into my body.

At first it was a game I played with myself, to see if I could do it. To see how far I could take it, to see how far I could go with the weight loss. And since I’m piss-poor at holding myself accountable (apparently this is a trap “artist-types” often fall into), I posted my progress each week on Facebook. The encouragement and kind words I received helped keep me going, even when it was hard.

For a while the game was fun, but I got really tired of it.

So, I quit. I quit playing the game. I have really wanted to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food—all food, not just the food I “allowed” myself to eat. I wanted to learn how to allow myself to eat anything I wanted, but in moderation, so that I wouldn’t gain what I had worked so very hard to lose.

And another thing. During all that time of weight loss, something unexpected happened. People started coming up to me and telling me I was an inspiration to them.

Me? An inspiration?

Somehow, that set the bar higher. In a weird way, I can identify (just a teensy, tiny bit) with celebrities who seemingly overnight turn into role models for young people. It’s a difficult façade that’s tough to maintain. Impossible, if you ask me… it goes completely against the notion that what others think of me is none of my business, and it also goes completely against the mentality I’ve been working hard to embrace—that imperfection is truly a gift.

Life is a journey and it’s a process, yada yada yada.

So, it’s hard for me to admit that in the last months (I’m not exactly sure how many months, but definitely since last fall/winter) I have gained 15 pounds.

Fifteen.

I could list a whole host of reasons, excuses, and explanations, but the reality of it was on the scale for my sleepy eyes this morning. I have, indeed, gained 15 pounds.

As a recovering perfectionist, it’s extremely difficult to silence all of those tapes that are currently screaming in the background. Here’s a brief sample: You idiot! How could you let this happen? You can’t let all those people down! You look fat again! Fatty! Time to break out the fat clothes again! Oh look, another failure! Another thing you quit! You suck! You’re not good at anything! Might as well give up now!

Etc.

It goes on and on… and really, the tapes just get nastier.

So now, I’m not sure where I go.

I want to lose that 15 pounds I’ve gained, and more. I never hit the actual weight I wanted to hit, which is now officially 35 pounds away.

But I want to do it in a way that really works. I want to eat what I want to and not deprive myself of things I truly enjoy. I want to eat to take care of my body. I want to exercise regularly and get enough sleep most nights, not just a few.

Over the past months I have officially put my own health on the back burner. I know the reasons, but at some point reasons just turn into excuses, and it’s about time I own up to this and take accountability, because then I can’t sit in denial any longer.

It would be easy to say I’m angry at myself, but anger is such an easy emotion. It goes so much deeper than that.

The truth is, I’m heartbroken. I’ve let myself down in a way I never thought I would.

Weight, eating, sleeping, and exercise take so much energy to focus on, and now that I have a lot of other, new (and yes, exciting) things to focus on (job, boyfriend, writing group, volunteering, etc.), it’s been easy to let it slide.

No more.

By posting this, I am committing to move it all back to the top of my priority list. My very life depends on keeping myself healthy and that includes keeping my weight under control and making sure I sleep and move enough. It’s so easy to let it all go… too easy. It’s easy to forget why I did this in the first place, because I’ve come so far… and yet—despite all the health problems that run in my family, I have managed to lose focus.

I don’t know how people keep balance in their lives. I’m not sure I’ve ever had balance. I can keep one thing going strong, and the rest of it falls away. For a long time, that one thing was my health.

I’m not sure how to keep all the balls in the air, all at once. I have so much practice at dropping them…

But… I keep picking them up and dusting them off and trying again.

I guess that’s something.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

I think I'm ok with turning 37, even if it means I'm now in my "late 30s"... which makes me cringe a little.

But, I am healthier than I was at 27.

I am happier than I've ever been.

I have more love in my life than I ever imagined.

I finally work in just the right place for my personality, my skills, and my needs.

My life is decidedly not perfect—and I am recognizing it much faster when I fall back on that perfectionism mentality, too.

My life is quieter, slower, and calmer, and yet—filled with deeper connections, greater intimacy, and vulnerable authenticity.

Truly, I am blessed.

If you recall, my “theme” for 2012 is abundance. What I didn’t realize at first is that to welcome abundance in all its forms: love, money, blessings, health, stability, strength, openness, authenticity, etc… you have to clear out the old.

That means letting go and walking away. It means paring down. It means readjusting priorities. It means knowing and feeling what’s really important and meaningful in your life.

And sometimes that’s not only a difficult process, but painful one, too.

But, like anything else worth doing, it feels good to finally let go. When I let go of my Acura back in February, I had no idea the events that were already cascading into place in the background. It’s as if the Acura was the dam, and once I agreed that the dam was no longer working as intended… it broke loose and I was washed over with a flood of—yes… abundance, in the form of a new job, a newer car, and a renewed lease on my condo.

I also had to truly let go of David. That is something I haven’t found a way to talk about cleverly here (or anywhere), but it was incredibly difficult. I let him go because he wasn’t really all in at that point. He was acting as if I truly wasn’t that important in his life.

Well…

Once I finally (and wholly) let go—he came back. And as I mentioned before, he came back in a very big way. And I have felt altogether overwhelmed, amazed, and deeply humbled at the abundance of love flowing between us and surrounding us.

It proves to me that letting go of what I perceive to be the best I can have makes room for something better than I ever imagined. That is what abundance looks like in this first half of 2012.

Letting go is painful, though. It’s a tough decision and I don’t arrive there easily, quickly, or even all that willingly.

But once I surrender… I’m inspired and awe-struck.

The beauty of letting go is all the unexpected blessings that suddenly arrive. And I am letting them in, too, which is something else new for me.

It feels good.

I think the best thing about getting older is that I feel like I have come into my true self. I am finally allowing myself to “just be me”, which is something I longed for—for so many years. And after a whole lot of hard work, and more than one slice of humble pie, it’s come true.

I am me. And 37 is already looking like a great year.

Thank you for being here on this ride with me. I can no longer imagine trying to do this alone.

Thankfully, I don’t have to.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On Priorities, Love, & Freedom

“In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead. Place a mask on yourself before helping others around you.”

Such a simple, yet profound message.

Why put your mask on first? Everyone knows the answer to this—if you’re passed out from a lack of oxygen, how can you help anyone else?

You can’t.

You become a liability to those around you—relying on someone else to save you because you didn’t care enough about yourself to take care of you.

It’s easy to scoff at anyone unwilling to put on an oxygen mask first. It isn’t seen as selfish; it’s a necessity.

(You know where I’m going with this, right?)

Why do people think it selfish to take care of themselves first… before taking care of others? Why is martyrdom so acceptable and even encouraged? That type of codependence is rampant, and yet—it’s also acceptable, and in many cases there is such a long family history of it that no one is aware of another way of living.

A better way of living.

Thank you, Pathways. Thank you, Brené Brown, for writing The Gifts of Imperfection, for being so amazing and so willing to put yourself out there in the name of shame and vulnerability and wholehearted living. Your words are easy—to read, to understand, to grasp—but the concepts you lay out before the reader are complex, requiring from us a deep commitment to love, to self, to priorities.

I am doing better than I thought with the whole priority thing. I’ve noticed that I’m more relaxed and not nearly so frantic as I used to be when I don’t accomplish x-y-z. it just isn’t as big of a deal to me anymore. It doesn’t matter as much anymore.

Shit will get done whenever it gets done, and not a moment sooner.

And the really important things get done—no matter what it takes. And I find it fascinating that what’s stayed on the surface as I sift through my life and shake the sediment down through the screen and back into the river of life isn’t always what I expected it would be.

Priorities change.

A prime example is making jewelry.

Everyone who knows me knows that I love making jewelry. It’s a passion—or, at least, it used to be. I used jewelry making as an outlet—something tangible I would cling to, to keep me sane when my whole life was crumbling slowly apart, when the glue holding my insides together had turned to rot and the cracks multiplied exponentially on a daily basis.

Jewelry making became the new glue.

But I have a new life now. I don’t need jewelry design as glue anymore. And I find that while I still love making jewelry now and then—and I still love “playing in the beads” (as my ex used to say when I’d spend hours combing through my entire stash, creating ideas and designing new necklaces in my mind)—it is no longer a necessity.

I don’t need it.

These days—I need writing. I still write every day, although I have been neglecting this blog. Our little writing group is small but very strong. We six gather each week, and they take whatever I throw at them and run with it—always going farther than I could ever hope for, always impressing me with their commitment, their openness, and their vulnerability. I am so thankful for our writing group. They inspire me!

(And, yes, we always welcome “newbies”!)

Pathways TAing has once again taken a priority in my life, after almost a full year break. I missed it, but I also needed that time away.

My Monday night group is also a priority, although one I have been somewhat overlooking for the past weeks.

My work is a priority—after going four months without work and then almost like magic—stumbling into a role where I can use my strengths and I work with amazing, dedicated people, and where I can also stretch myself—I can safely say that I’ve never been happier in any career or job or company than I am right here, right now. I am deeply grateful. Words can’t express it, really.

And then, of course, there is David.

I could go on and on about David, and how good he is for me, how good he is to me, and how good of a man he is. I let him go back in January because there was something important missing from our relationship. At that point, he hadn’t really let me in, and after dating for four months, that wedge grew—and I knew that if I continued to stick it out the way things were, I was shortchanging myself—and settling for a relationship that was less than what I deserve.

I let him go. As my friends can attest, it wasn’t easy. In fact, it was incredibly difficult.

I even started going on dates again. I had two dates with two men, but my heart wasn’t in it. That’s not saying anything bad about either of the guys—they’re both actually pretty great. But my heart was decidedly elsewhere.

As hard as it was, I made a point of not connecting with David. My heart was heavy, but I knew that eventually I would be ok.

And then one day, he reached out to me. He wanted to come back into my life.

I was extremely cautious, but I let him come. And he came back in a very big way. He started to let me in, and then at some point it’s like the flood gates opened, and ever since then—it’s been amazing.

I can safely say that I’ve never had the connection, chemistry, and depth of love that David and I have. Every day he amazes me, just by being himself. Every day I marvel at how lucky I am to have him—all of him—in my life.

I’m writing this on the plane to Boston, and even now, I miss him—even now, I smile and honestly have to fight back tears because I am so overcome with love… with our love. I have never felt so honored and cherished as I feel with David.

Every day, I am amazed at how much better our love grows.

The last time I was on a plane was July 2011. I don’t remember appreciating the curve of the Earth back then—probably because I was nervous about the meeting I was prepping for and still very much hurting from the divorce and trying to hide and cover it up with dating. That’s when a couple of pivotal men entered the picture for me (and almost as quickly exited).

As the airplane banked to the left and I gazed out my window on the right side of the plane, I saw the vast horizon, and Earth revealed her gentle curve to me. I felt overcome with love—for this life, for all that I have been given, for the love I am now able to give and receive, for every trial that carves a deeper well of gratitude and growth within me. I am truly amazed at this life and deeply wondering how my life will change again—in 24 hours, 24 days, 24 years—but it’s a child-like wonder, not a longing.

Now, I am absolutely, blissfully free—to live in this moment and feel curiosity and wonderment about my future while giving a nod of honor to my past and to all the lessons that live there.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What I've Learned About Faith

A couple of weeks ago, so much of my life was up in the air. I didn’t have transportation. I didn’t have a job. And the pending renewal of my condo lease was looming. If I couldn’t find a job and/or a roommate within a couple of weeks, I would be looking at finding a friend to stay with or moving back in with my parents.

Just the thought of going through moving (on top of everything else) made me sick to my stomach.

The Sunday night before selling my car was tough. It’s as if I stayed up as late as possible to try and put off the sun’s rising Monday morning, knowing what I would have to go through with—knowing that I would be selling my car. My one asset, the one thing remaining from my old life, but really, it was even more than that.

That car was part of my identity.
We had a good run... 

Letting go of it meant letting go of the last piece of my old identiy—one I had worked so hard to create: a delicate façade of trying to be a perfect wife, a perfect provider, a perfect friend, a perfect daughter, a perfect artist.

What I ended up becoming was a perfect failure.

Monday, February 6, inevitably arrived, of course. I hastily cleaned out my car, dumping all its contents into reusable grocery bags and hauling it upstairs.

(I might as well admit right here and now that all of the contents of my cubicle from my Frito-Lay days were still jostling around in the trunk.)

My friend David met me for breakfast where we talked about some things that were on both of our hearts, and then we headed to CarMax. The selling process was rather unceremonious, and I walked out of there with a bank draft.

My friend took me to the bank, where I deposited the check and then drafted a cashier’s check for my February rent.

Then, he dropped me off at home, where I waited for my landlord to stop by and pick up the check. When she arrived, I was very open with her. I told her I didn’t know what was going to happen—that I was doing the best I could do, and I had had some great interviews, but nothing had yet turned into an offer. I told her I wanted to do right by her and give as much notice as possible if I was going to have to move out. A lot would depend on the next couple of weeks.

She offered to go month-to-month for the same dollar amount until I got everything figured out. I think she appreciated my openness, and up until this point, I have been a perfect tenant.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

I didn’t know what was going on in the background as all of this transpired. I felt strangely peaceful.

As it turns out, a former colleague of mine had run into a former colleague of hers. And although I don’t know the exact timing, I’d like to think it was sometime around the sale of my car. Anyway, he mentioned the need for an Instructional Designer, and did she happen to know anybody?

Indeed, she did.

She recommended me and introduced us via LinkedIn that evening.

An hour later, he emailed me directly and asked if I could come in for an interview Tuesday or Wednesday.

I knew my friend David was going out of town Tuesday afternoon and had offered to loan me his car while he was gone. I asked for a Wednesday interview and sent my résumé over to him on Tuesday.

It’s interesting to note that on Tuesday, I met my friend Michael for lunch, and we talked about the Laws of Attraction. That evening, I started making a list of what I wanted—in a man, in a career, for myself, etc.

The important part of Laws of Attraction is also describing why you deserve the things you’re asking for… and to be sure to only ask when you’re in the right frame of mind—a genuine place, rather than a place of desperation or greed.

And, I realized a few things—that I have already tasted a lot of what I want, I just haven’t had a lot of it all together at one time. I also realized how far I’ve come, to dare and to believe I am worthy of all that my heart truly wants. It was a good feeling, and I went to bed feeling positive and hopeful.

On Wednesday morning, I got up and prepared… looked over all of my work and put some samples on a jump drive to show them. I thought about what I might say and what questions they might ask. I combed through their website. You know—all the usual interview-prep stuff.

I expected the interview to last an hour or a little longer. You know—the usual.

But, I ended up being there for over four hours. I met with the President and VP. I met with a main Project Coordinator and I met the other two Instructional Designers. I met a few other people, too. It felt like I was part of the team and that was my first day of work. I felt welcomed. I felt energized to finally find a small company that has a great business model that really works.

On Friday morning, I got the job offer!

That afternoon, I signed paperwork accepting the offer… just after signing a two-year renewal on my condo lease.

And, Saturday, I took care of the one missing piece: buying a car.

No longer did I have to settle for a cheap “cash car”. I could actually finance a car, and apparently I’ve done something right over the last year or so, because I managed to get a great interest rate.

So… I bought a 2009 Honda Accord.


I started my new job the following Tuesday, and I’m quite happy there. I didn’t just get any job, after all. I got a job that truly fits me and my personality. I fit, too. I get to use my strengths, my background, my education, and I get to work with great people in a great environment, too!

I feel pretty strongly that letting go of the Acura—the last piece of my old identity—was the very thing that set into motion the chain of events that happened within a span of just five days.

I’ve learned so much over the past few months—about myself, and about others. I have received an abundance of love, support, and energy. I’ve learned just how little money I really need.

There were times when I quite literally didn’t know where I would get the money to pay for my next meal, let alone my next bill. And yet, I didn’t ever truly go into panic mode. I found that in just the nick of time, I would get a donation for writing group, someone would buy a piece of jewelry, a friend would generously buy me dinner, or something else would happen and suddenly—I’d have $100 again.

I have learned the real value of money, and with all the time I’ve had on my hands—I’ve certainly had ample opportunity to examine my spending habits from the past. I realized that I spent entirely too much money on stupid things. That realization has helped me renew my focus, come up with a more realistic budget, and of course renew my awareness of where my money really goes.

I bought one thing in the last two or three months that I didn’t need. One. And that was BrenéBrown’s new book, The Gifts ofImperfection, which I recommend to everyone. (I bought it after hearing this awesome podcast, by the way.)

That’s pretty different for me. In the past—even when I was in a financial pinch—I would have found ways to spend money on stupid things like a new sweater or pair of shoes. I didn’t do that this time. I needed every dime I got to pay the phone bill or the grocery bill.

What I’ve learned about faith over the past few months is that I had to fully trust in God before I could have it. (Maybe that isn’t the case for you, but for me—it is.) I made that choice, to fully trust, back in December when I refreshed the Step Beyond training through Pathways. That was pivotal for me, and ever since December, I have felt a deep sense of peace.

Even through this crazy storm of my life, I have felt an underlying sense of peace. I did my part—looking for jobs, applying for jobs, asking for help, reworking my résumé over and over, connecting with people who might be able to help, and in the meantime continuing to pursue my passions so that I didn’t go completely insane.

And because I did my part, I was able to—somehow… let go of those things that were out of my control.

I took a leap… a leap of faith.

It didn’t feel like a leap, though. It felt like a daily practice, and there were some very dark days, to be sure.
Happy me, in my favorite shirt. It was my grandmother's.

But instead of turning completely inward during the darkness, I turned to God. I turned to friends and family. I turned to writing. I turned to all of the things that feed my soul, and I was never truly alone. I walked through this storm with dignity. I have emerged stronger and more solidified in my faith, with priorities revamped, focus restored, and a brand new appreciation for friends, family, and even acquaintances who have in one way or another been so willing to extend a helping hand… just for me.

To me, faith is a choice (and, like all things, it takes practice). But it is not a choice easily made, and I had to be in the right place, spiritually, to be able to make that choice.

I had to be on my knees. 

I have been through some of the most truly humbling experiences of my life over the past months, and I have learned so much along the way. But this time... instead of being knocked down to my knees by external forces, this was an inside job. I had to be willing to go to my knees myself. Humility was a choice. I recognize now that all of the lessons in humility that I've had over the past months (years?) led me to this point, so that I would have the courage to willingly go to my knees when it was time.

I believe faith is about stepping forward and doing something incredibly hard, and trusting that even when you have no clue what the outcome will be—you will be okay. For me, this time, it was the past few months culminating in the biggest leap of all—selling my car.

In my willingness to let go of control and trust that I would be okay, I gained deeper understanding of what it means to walk with God and to let Him carry me when I am too weak to take the steps myself.

And, truly, what I’ve learned over the past couple of years sank in, all the way to my core. I am loved. I am cared for. I am taken care of. I am not alone…

(These things are true for all of us, by the way.)

I am deeply grateful to accept these gifts and all the blessings I have received thus far.

I am drinking from my saucer, because my cup is overflowing.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What a Day.

It started last night, really. When I knew I needed to get to bed, and I also knew that today I would be making the trek to CarMax to hope for the best regarding an offer for my car.

My 2003 Acura RSX Type-S (6 speed manual)
I thought about the first memory of driving it off the lot, when my now ex-husband had the dealership put a giant red bow on the hood when we went to pick up the car… the smell of the leather when it was brand new, the way it handled so tight, the way I thoroughly enjoyed breaking in the engine and spreading her wings…

Over the years, that car has been more than just a mode of transportation. It’s more than just a possession to me. It’s more than a way of getting from A to B.

I’ve always loved driving, of course. It’s a passion for me. But with my Acura being my first brand new car, ever, it does and will always hold a very special place in my world. Perhaps for those of you who view a car as nothing more than a mode of transport, substitute whatever other passion you might have, and you might start to see my point.

I went to bed and ended up sobbing for a little while, knowing that while I am fully willing to let go of this possession, it’s still a grieving process that I have to endure.

I woke up with a heavy heart this morning.

I had a great writing (and talking, and sharing) session with John, who is my guinea pig writing coaching client. He and I have become great friends.

I’d like to share a couple of things I wrote during our time together this morning. It will make this particular blog post long, but no one has strapped you to the chair and forced you to read it, ya know?
I’m tired of thinking about it, but I need guidance. I have asked for help—from friends, trusted mentors, and of course from God. I am with Him. I can feel his hand on me, on my shoulder, even now. But I don’t yet have any answers, and that is what is painful. I have listened—sat in silence in my car, in my home… listening to music is almost too much for my brain and my heart right now. Silence is what calms me… deafens my deep interior.
And still, I have no answers. And still, I am uncertain of what tomorrow brings—let alone next week. I am scared, yes—and still I am finding a way to function, to take care of at least the bare minimum of what needs to be done. I am low down on Level 2 of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs right now. Hunkered down. On my knees… still. In a way I never have before, I am submitting. It’s worse than uncomfortable—it’s painful. And I know why it’s painful: I am resisting.
I am still fighting it in my own way—it’s like I’m that black knight in Monty Python & The Holy Grail. My legs and arms have been hacked off by a sword, and still, I’m arguing with King Arthur as he quasi-gallops away.
“Come back here, I’ll bite your legs off!”
It’s useless. I know. And I get now what it’s about… denial. I am still denying that this is all really happening. I am still denying that I may actually have to lose everything. I don’t feel that’s the case—I don’t feel like I should have to lose everything. Is it a sense of entitlement? I don’t think so, but maybe I’m wrong… certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
I guess what I need is… answers. I have asked questions and certainly not the questions I used to ask (Why me? Where is this God everyone talks about so much? Why do bad things happen to good people?).
No.
My questions are not so universal. Why me isn’t even in my vocabulary anymore.
I guess this feels… personal. Like maybe I’m not good enough for his favor.
I am sad that it's really come to this. That I really do have to sell my car. That I really am that broke, and that out of options.

That last line really stung, though. Even just to write it down was hard. I felt the resistance in my hand, but as tears welled up in my eyes, I knew I had to come clean with that level of honesty.

John reassured me that he saw faith in me. That even though I have these questions, there is still a peace about me that he hadn't seen before. I agree with him.

For whatever reason, I ended up writing the last piece in third person. Weirdly, it’s as if I was writing it as it was happening to me.
Naked. Nervous. Foreign.
She read those words on the page—the page that described her sudden clinging to Jesus, the page that she had written, and suddenly a calm washed over her that she wasn’t even aware she needed. Deeper than peace, and something certainly not sustained or maintained by her. No. Serenity comes directly from God.
And gaining the reassurance she needed, from her friend, and from her own words, from the voice deep within her and the voice in every particle of air around her, in every cell of her body, in her very DNA: God’s voice.
The answer had come.
She felt it then—the understanding that her next step was selling the car, and just as she’d been saying the few days before, she said again: “I can only handle one thing at a time right now. What is the next thing?”
Only the next thing.
It’s the tiny details of all that could happen and all that could go wrong. It’s one thought leading to another thought and then a flurry of thoughts after that—of the worst that could happen, and the striving, the fighting, the resisting of saying, “How do I prevent that worst thing from happening?”.
That’s where she got overwhelmed… when she tried to provide her own solution before it was time.
She got that now.

I wrote some more after John left, I had some lunch, and I finally made my way to CarMax.

I had a great experience at CarMax, and the guy could tell I have an emotional attachment to my car. I got a reasonable offer, and I’m going to go through with it on Monday… I just need my car through the weekend (and I need to clean it out, which I won’t get to do until Sunday evening).

On the way home, I felt the tears streaming down my cheeks and on a whim, I pulled into Bachman Lake to watch planes land and walk around and stare at the water.

I didn’t realize I was in for a little treat… a little distraction, even.

I ran into these four clowns. In a row.
Ducks in a row...
 For whatever reason, they immediately took an interest in me and started following me around.

I walked for a ways and stopped at the most magnificent pecan tree. It immediately catapulted me back to childhood and the giant pecan tree in the front yard of the house I grew up in—the one that was struck by lightning and was badly bruised for a while, but over time, it healed up and kept growing. I often leaned against that tree, marveled at the bark, and gazed up into its branches, wondering what the world might look like from way up there.

I leaned against this tree and felt its power. I let it hold me as I stared blankly out at the rippling water.


The ducks plopped into the water and swam down to where I walked. They swam down farther and then doubled back and got out of the water right in front of me.

I watched them for a while. They watched me for a while. But this one was really stuck on me, apparently. I’ll call him Rusty, because his coloring was a little different from the others. He stayed near me the whole time I was at the lake. He didn’t get in the water when the others did. He stayed on the ground about 20 feet from me. When the others got back out of the water, he came closer to me.

And when I started to leave, Rusty followed me.

And then the rest of the ducks joined him.

They meandered towards a patch of clover, and I stopped, again remembering my childhood and wondering how many hours I’d spent in my front yard, searching in vain for the ever-elusive four-leaf clover.

Rusty was intrigued that I squatted down to his level to take a picture of the clover, and he stood very still, very close in front of me for a full minute, looking at me, as if he was posing for me to take this picture. So, of course, I indulged him.
Rusty, striking a pose
I walked to my car to see if I had any nuts or other acceptable food with me, and I didn’t. I heard some geese making a bunch of commotion. These guys were chasing everybody around, honking their heads off.


Just as I thought about leaving, though, I saw this guy.


A lone swan amongst a bunch of noisy geese and ducks.

He swam right up to me, and for a minute I thought he was going to jump out of the lake. He didn’t… but he did this funky thing with one of his webbed feet, sticking it out straight, above the water. I looked down at my hand and stretched my fingers wide, and realized that his foot was as big as my whole hand.

Yeah. That dude was big!

I realized today that I am taken care of. All of my needs are met. It felt like Rusty the duck was a little angel hanging around me, making sure I was okay. The pecan tree welcomed me, supporting not only my physical weight, but my emotional weight, too. And the clovers made me smile…

And the kindness of the CarMax salesman, and the sweet words John said to me earlier today, and the messages of support and love from other friends… all carried me through this difficult day.

And while I feel particularly emotionally drained…

Yes… I am okay.

And tomorrow is another day, where I will only be concerned with the very next thing in front of me.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It Takes a Village

It has been said that it takes a village.

We’ve all heard that in regards to children, right? But I am learning that it takes a village for adults, too.

The power of prayer and positive thinking, along with positive actions and results, can multiply exponentially when shared across friends and family.

I’ve mentioned here and there in my blog that I’m in a difficult spot financially. There have been times—like right now, for instance—where I am not entirely sure where my next meal is going to come from. There have been times when I wasn’t sure how a bill would get paid. And of course, times when I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay my rent, either.

So far, things have sort of worked out. I’ve got a growing stack of bills that need to be paid, but the critical ones—my phone, electricity and rent—have been paid by doing odd jobs here and there, or by my writing coaching (individual as well as our writing group).

And I’ve been looking for jobs, with a very recent focus on getting a job as a server (aka waitress). I have a second interview later that I hope turns into an offer, and a hopeful start date of sometime next week. And I just heard back from another restaurant that wants to interview me for a hostess position, too.

Until the job thing pans out, though, I need something bigger, and I need it fast. In times like this, one tends to have a lot of time to think. And when I looked really hard, I started to get really creative with my thinking.

I realized that I could sell my one and only asset: my car.

That’s a tough one for me… because I love my car. Any of you who know me at all know this. I have loved that car since the day I drove it off the show room floor, back in December 2002. I love driving it, I love the way it looks, I love the interior—I love everything about it, really, except that it’s now getting old and things are starting to go wrong with it.

I’d be looking at buying a cheaper and likely older car, and then using the difference as a buffer to carry me through until I can make enough job waitressing to keep me afloat.

So, knowing how much I love my car—for me to be fully willing to sell it… that should just about tell you where I am.

I am on my knees. And willing… to do whatever it takes.

Selling my car and hopefully getting a job as a server don’t solve my immediate need, though.

I am out of money. I don’t have a way to pay February’s rent, and even if I started a job waiting tables next week, I don’t think I could get enough money together in time for the February 1 deadline.

I am going to ask my property manager if I can have a grace period. I feel hopeful without feeling expectant. We’ll see what she says.

And the rest of this week, I’m volunteering for Pathways as a TA at The Walk, so I will be totally out of pocket as far as looking for work or even following up on potential jobs.

In other words… for now—this is out of my hands.

I find myself in a very uncomfortable position. I am posting this at the urging and encouraging of friends, who have said it can’t hurt.

If you are willing to help, I would be forever grateful.

I am willing to clean your house, wash your car, or do other odd jobs to earn the money. I’m not really looking for hand-outs… I’m not that type of person. I will of course sell you jewelry, or make something custom (if I have the materials on hand, or if you don’t mind paying upfront).

Just putting this out here is… well, humbling, to say the very least. There are so many tapes that play in my head when I think about hitting “Publish” on this post: other people need it more, I can figure this out on my own, there are so many others in need… I don’t deserve it, and on and on…

But all those tapes playing in my head aren’t doing me any good, so now I am trying something different and something that is very difficult for me. I am asking for help.

If you would like me to do an odd job for you (like cleaning house, washing your car, etc) then please email me at lindaleetritton [at] gmail [dot] com.

Or…


And if you have nothing to give in the way of funds, then positive thoughts, prayers, a lit candle, good vibes, positive energy—it all helps.

Thank you.