The Wizard

You probably know about my situation.  Well, not my situation, per se, but the situation the love of my life is in.  He is the keeper of my heart, so I guess it is my situation, too.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I cannot say much regarding this.

I use this blog as a place to vomit my feelings, fears, hopes, questions.  I am here now because it is like my diary.  An open diary, yes, but still a place where I can have something akin to a cathartic experience.  I guess the only thing that makes blogging different (for me) from catharsis is that I don’t feel spiritually renenwed after I write about this tough stuff.  I don’t feel better, just less anxious.

The Wizard of Oz is playing through my head.  I don’t know if it’s because Jay and I watched it together so many times or if it’s just meaningless.  But the characters stick in my mental picture, each of them symbolizing a piece of strength that I’m trying to summon.

First and foremost, I feel like I woke up in Oz on Friday morning.  That was when I first learned the news of what Jay is up against from the detective.  The wind was knocked out of me and I was in disarray.  (I still am.)  When I opened the door to my home, I was awestricken.  I knew from that moment on that nothing would ever be the same and also that I cannot comfortably be there without him there.  Much unlike Dorothy, my life has not repaired itself in the two to three hours of the movie’s length.  It won’t be that easy, because Oz is not real and this is the most real situation I’ve ever had to face in my life.  Not to mention Jay. 

Like Dorothy, I have always been a dreamer.  I dream of a better life.  Even now, I still daydream about the years after this mess is over.  And I know that that could be many years.  But I refuse to stop dreaming because that is what propels me forward, most of the time.

Sometimes I sit in external silence.  My mind is always reeling with thoughts, fears, hopes.  My mind is never silent.  Jay is always there.  Sometimes I can see him happy and joking, or calm and kissing me; sometimes I see him alone in the cell, orange jumpsuit.  I guess I don’t really care in what form Jay comes to my mind, just as long as he’s there.

I think about the Scarecrow.  “If I only had a brain.”  I relate this character to the “shoulda coulda woulda” sequence that is probably rolling through everyone’s mind.  Shoulda done this, shouldn’ta done that.  But you know what?  It’s been done.  And the only thing to do is continue on this “Yellow Brick Road”.  I think, for my own intents and purposes, I am going to rename it the “Black Suck Road”.  Because I can.

Then the Tin Man.  I feel serenity when I think of the Tin Man because I believe that I have a big heart.  My heart is reminding me constantly that I love Jay and through love all things are possible, right?  RIGHT?!?  I know that my heart is hurting and in those moments of despair I feel like it’s not even there, but I know it’s true.  That’s one less thing I have to ask the Wizard for.

Oh, and the Lion.  He’s the character I identify most with, I think.  Because the thing I need the most right now is courage.  Courage to face the opposition of standing beside the love of my life.  Courage to feel his absence but not to be lost in it.  Courage to keep hoping for a miracle.  Courage to be good on my word to Jay, words that I speak with ferocity: “I am NOT LEAVING YOU.”  End of story.  That’s the only way I see it. 

The Wicked Witches and Flying Monkeys are going to try to punish him, for that is their job.  But I’m praying that the Witches and Monkeys will unveil their eyes and see before them a good, kindhearted, gentle person who knows he has wronged people but also knows he can be better.  If they will just do that.  For Jay. 

That’s where I need the courage.  The courage to believe that people are good, and that good people can identify other good people.  Where the Hell is Glinda when you need her?  I could sure as fuck use that cute little wand adorned with a shiny star…

All in all, there is no place like home.  For me, I’m not quite sure where home is right now.  I guess I don’t feel like anywhere is home without Jay.  But I need the courage to put the melancholy feelings aside and lift my chin.  I need to start working on taking care of myself so I can get through this long road of anticipated 20 minute visits and letters to an inmate. 

My M.O. right now is to prepare for his return, no matter how long until that happens.  I will work and sleep and eat and write and visit, all for the end of the road.  When I can hug and kiss him and sleep next to him.  I am willing to fight  my way out of Oz for Jay.  Yesterday, today, tomorrow. 

So, it seems we’re off to see The Wizard, or the Judge.  Is The Wizard going to feel generous?  I don’t know.  We have to wait and see.  But I’ll be replaying the Wizard of Oz in my head over and over until I know anything for sure.  I’ll latch on to the idea that courage is attainable.  I’ll latch on to the knowledge that I do have a heart, filled with love.  And onward I go, down the Black Road of Suck.

If you see Glinda, could you direct her to me, please?

Our Getaway Weekend (A Pictorial)

I told you all about the surprise I planned for Jay about a month ago.  Well, we packed our bags and drove our little buns to Lexington, KY on October 10.  Here is the photo documentation of our weekend, with Saturday being spent in Lexington and Sunday being spent in Louisville.

KingsTIX!

Getting ready to hit the road...

We made it!

Rupp Arena

Here is where I was going to put a picture of us waiting for the Kings of Leon to take the stage but it didn’t pass editorial inspection.  Ha!

ultimate swoon

Kings of Leon rockin' the stage

Pretty horse

A plethora of these beautifully crafted horses were scattered about Downtown Louisville. We played "Where's Waldo" with them. Sorta.

:)

I think this one is my favorite. To be fair, I'm sure I didn't see ALL of them...

Tunnel

Home again, home again jiggety jog....

It was a great weekend!  The highlight, of course, was the concert but really Jay and I have a blast anytime we travel, no matter the distance.  We are disgustingly compatible so the conversation flows with ease.  We also share similar tastes in music and both like to dance in our seats… 

I have to mention that (being the procrastinator I am) I didn’t have explicit directions to the arena, which nearly gave Jay an ulcer.  HOWEVER, I am amazing (cough) and followed my instincts.  I was seconds away from Mapquesting the directions when I looked up to find myself pulling right in to the arena parking lot.  I wish I could put this on my resume, I’m so proud of it!  Ha.

Time Flies!

“I can’t believe it’s October already!”  I’ve said this umpteen times over the past few days and it’s only the 7th of October.  I catch myself making these statements at various points in my day, sometimes altered with a time (“I can’t believe it’s 11:00 already!”), sometimes a day of the week, sometimes the weather…  It’s true, time does fly.  How else do you think it moves so quickly?

Somebody once told me, “The older you get, the quicker time passes” and I’m discovering the truth in this.  I’m only 22 years old but many of you know that my “life experience years” outnumber my earthly ones.  But I have noticed that as I get older, the time does seem to go more quickly.  Sometimes days merge together and the walls that hold information specific to one day bend, leaving me to ask “Is it Wednesday already?” 

On the 17th of this month my niece will turn 2.  I can’t believe it.  I have a flashbulb memory of the day I found out I was going to be an aunt.  It was a warm summer day, with bright Iowa sunshine warming my face.  I was taking a leisurely stroll and answered my sister’s call.  I immediately noted the worry in her tone and guessed she was pregnant.  It’s all so clear to me but, really, it was three summers ago.  I can also vividly recall the day I met my niece– the day she was born.  I checked my voicemail between classes and listened to my mom’s voice crack as she debriefed the birth into her phone.  I could hardly stand the 1.5 hour drive to the hospital that day.  I remember it as though it were yesterday.  Alas, it was nearly two years ago. 

Speaking of years… Jay and I are coming up on a mini-milestone in our lives.  We’ve almost been together for a year.  Yeah, yeah… I know you’re thinking “Wow. Why am I reading this?” or “So what? Big deal, being together for one year”.  But you know what?  It is a big deal to me.  Because the way we met was so random and unexpected and for us to have persevered through (almost) 52 weeks together and still be giddy to see each other is an accomplishment.  I’m still as much in love with Jay today as I was when we first met. 

Let me tell you a story…

          I was at a bar enjoying a brew with my girlfriend, sort of celebrating her birthday when someone caught my eye.  I had a pretty clear view of him and tried not to make it too obvious that I wanted to know more about him.  He was playing pool with some buddies and it appeared that he was on a date or something.  There were a couple of girls laughing obnoxiously whenever he spoke to them.  I periodically gazed across the room to gauge the situation, to see if he was on a date or not.  I ultimately decided to approach him and just get the facts.  I sauntered across the room, making sure to suck in my tummy and not hold my chin too far into the air.  ‘Shoulders back, easy gait’ I repeated in my head. 

          I approached Jay’s best friend at the pool table.  Noting that the game had ended I offered, “I’ll play you Rock, Paper, Scissors and whoever wins gets to be that guy’s partner (pointing to Jay).”  Caleb agreed and I ultimately beat his ass won the game and subsequently met Jay.  I was shocked to find that the conversation came easy and I was comfortable being my absolute self around him.  I brought down his game in pool and he didn’t even flinch.  He invited Samantha and I to go along with Caleb and him for some post-bar beer at his place.  We agreed to go and so it was.  Jay and I carried on a 4 hour meet-and-greet with each other, not going to bed until dawn.  We talked and talked and laughed and smiled and shared and listened and kissed.  I knew what I was feeling was lust and excitement.  At least that’s what I told myself, not wanting to be hurt again.  I was tickled when Jay said “It feels like I’ve known you forever”.  I wholeheartedly agree.  We clicked.  Of course, our friends gave us grief about spending so much time together but we didn’t care.  We fell in love.  When neither of us were looking for it.  (Fact: my legs were despicably unshaven.)  We were both recovering from a breakup and didn’t go out looking for anyone.  And still, we found each other.

When Jay told me he was moving out of Cedar Falls to attend the University of Iowa (more than an hour and a half away) I was disheartened and confronted with a choice: continue the relationship, knowing it has a boundary or end the relationship because, after all, he’s moving away.  What to do?  I followed my heart.  And it walked right into Jay’s arms.  The body of our relationship unraveled so quickly I think we both questioned our footing.  “I want you to know that I already care a lot about you” I would tell Jay.  After he reassured me that I wasn’t crazy for feeling so strongly I fell into a comfortable rhythym with him and ultimately decided to pack up and move.  The compass of my heart led the way. 

I feel like we’ve been together for years.  When I recall memories from early in our relationship I can’t help but say, “Isn’t that crazy?  We haven’t even known each other for a year, let alone been together for a year!”  And then the saying plays on the airwaves… Time flies!

Indeed, it does.  I’m glad time has flown me here.  I’m glad I met Jay.  I’m glad we’ll be spending our second Christmas together, building more and more memories.  I’m also glad I had the opportunity to surprise the hell out of him with Kings of Leon tickets as a souvenir of the birth of our relationship.  (This deems me best girlfriend ever, right?)

I haven’t figured out how to slow time down so all I can think to do is fasten my seatbelt and listen for the captain to say “Full speed ahead!”  Life is wonderful.

My Dearest Dede

DeAnnaLynn Marie

Eyes as blue as the sea

A smile so wide, laughter so sweet

Don’t you know? You mean the world to me!

From a baby I have watched you grow

Into the “Dede” we all know.

God has blessed us with you

This we know, is true.

I do believe that with your birth

The Lord subtracted years of hurt.

You see, my Dear One

Your existence brings our family home–

We all long to see you and smile with delight

So much that your Aunt will drive  into the night

Just to see you for a few hours or so…

You are a piece of my heart, don’t you know?

I’ve loved you since before we even met!

Always,

Aunt Bre

A Follow-up to “Farewell”

It was brought to my attention that I held back on my post bidding Jazz farewell

I’ll tell you all how I really feel about her departure.  I’ll let my feelings flow onto the screen like bright red blood flows from a fresh cut on your leg after shaving. 

I’m sad.  I’m at a loss for words.  I cannot believe she’s actually doing it.  She’s really going.  To Oregon.  And then what? 

During her last marriage, I found myself wishing for her sake that she’d just get on with it already and leave the guy.  He was a jerk.  A smartass, arrogant bastard that expected to mold Jazz into a housewife and a mother to two children not her own.  What selfish motives.  What a horrible repayment– keeping her on a leash and telling her it was “a little weird for a woman of almost 30 to be hanging out with a 21 year old.”  Says who?  Especially when that woman of almost 30 and that 21 year old have known each other for all of the 21 year old’s life.  Is it so weird to bond with somebody so closely?  Is it so weird to love someone and want to spend time with them?  And since when did God die and crown you Ruler?  So sit the hell down, jerk, and let us girls have some fun! 

Of course, we had to sneak around behind his back because if he found out that we were going out for cocktails or going out dancing, he’d be pissed.  He wasn’t above showing his distaste for our carefree nights.  He even fed Jazz full of bullshit about how all of her friends were married and settled and that these women wouldn’t have time for her if he left her so she might as well sit at home and behave.  I cringed while typing that.  We all know how I hate bullshitBut it’s true.  This guy disguised himself as a down-home hardworking guy who could fit so nicely into our family that at first I didn’t see that he wasn’t a good person.  But my grandma did. 

Grandma has a really good sense of character.  And she’s met the new Cowboy; the prince who is stealing Jazz away from us all.  And Grandma approves.  So I take solace in that, I am relieved that at least Grandma believes this guy will be good to her and take care of her and love her.  I’m afraid that if she is faced with one more heartbreak, she won’t bounce back.  She won’t recover and continue to be the smart, sophisticated, eloquent, carefree woman that we all know and love.  I honestly believe that.

You see, she lost not only two marriages but one very special and important little girl:  Lauryn Grace.  Jasmine’s daughter.  Losing Lauryn was part of the downward spiral of her last marriage.  Jazz was devastated.  She had wanted so badly to have a daughter.  She had played Life by all of the rules– get an education, check; get a career, check; get married, check; have a family.  She wanted to move to the next step of her life, to check off “family”, to delight in the life she had worked so hard to obtain.  She was running her own business, had a husband and was raising his two sons.  But she wanted a daughter.  Her daughter. 

I remember finding out that Lauryn had birth defects.  I bawled.  I could not fathom how badly this was hurting Jazz.  I wanted so badly for her to be happy.  I felt she deserved to be happy.  It broke my heart when I learned that God took Lauryn from Jazz.  It broke my heart to hear her cry.  And it broke my heart when her own husband, the father of Lauryn, told Jazz it was “time to get over it”.  TIME TO GET OVER IT??  As Jazz says, “Who the fuck are you? The GRIEF POLICE?”  And I agree.  The time when a wife needs her husband’s support the most, I would venture to say, would be a time like that.  And I believe Jazz’s ex-husband tore a couple of bricks out of their marital wall the day he told her to move on.

So yes, I do have some reserve about Jazz leaving us and moving all the way across the US to live in Oregon with a cowboy who just swept her away.  I love her.  I want her to be happy.  But I also know that when we invest ourselves in something and it doesn’t work out, it’s a hard tumble from the top of that euphoric mountain.  I don’t want her to fall.  I want this man to live up to his word.  He’ll be the first man in her life to do it.  And it’s what she deserves. 

“I’ll grab the wheel and point it west, pack the good and leave the rest. I’ll drive until I find the missing piece.  You said I wouldn’t get too far on a tank of gas and an empty heart but I got everything I’ll ever need…”  Miranda Lambert sings it so well. “…Now I worry about life and if it’s ridin’ right on time, I guess if you don’t jump you’ll never know if you can fly…”

Jump Jazz.  Jump!  I hope with all of my heart you can fly.  I’ll miss you very, very much.  But I just want you to be happy and if your happiness lies in Oregon, on a ranch, with a handsome, chivalrous cowboy, then so be it!  I’ll be anxious to hear of all the new and wonderful things in your life. 

I know Lauryn wants you to be happy.  And so does the rest of your family.  Je t’aime!

The eyes are the windows of the soul. And the eyebrows are the curtains. Part deux.

I refuse to listen to bullshit. In the previous post I broke a barrier of silence that I used to wear like a badge.  I didn’t want anyone to know that I had a less-than-favorable childhood.  Now, I want everyone to know that I am not the victim.  I am the survivor.  I wouldn’t have changed my childhood because I know the benefits I’ve reaped from it.
And that breakup I described yesterday shed a light on my life.  While I was picking up pieces of emotional aftermath after Philosopher and I had parted ways, my life was brought full circle.  I received one of the most important calls of my life.
“Hey kiddo. It’s your dad.”  I hadn’t spoken to my dad in months, close to a year.  Up until then, the last memory I had of him was him coming down from a high in his apartment.  He could barely speak, let alone look at me.  He was hitting rock bottom.  I left that apartment pissed off.  I didn’t need that bullshit in my life, not when I was trying to figure out who I was as an adult.
“I’m getting clean.”  Emotions and ideas and things I had waited for years to say flooded to my head.  And from my eyes.  I couldn’t think of what to say so I just bawled. “Really?? Is it for real this time?”  My dad had had stints in rehab and I had already forgiven him for being an addict a couple of times already.  My guard was up this time.  I wanted proof.  I wanted somebody else in a relationship to earn my trust.  Prove to me that my self-preservation won’t be sacrificed because I love you.
My dad did prove it.  He actually became my dad in the fall of 2007.   He called me almost daily to talk about anything and everything.  His sobriety.  My classes.  My breakup.  My dad gave me advice about what to do with myself post-boyfriend.  My dad became my best friend.  I’m 95% sure I was his.
When my dad told me he wanted to voluntarily go to rehab to ensure his path ahead, I was supportive.  It was only when he told me he might go to Des Moines that I was sad.  I was living in Cedar Falls, Iowa at the time and Des Moines was a solid 2 hour drive south of me.  There wouldn’t be much contact with this new dad I had become so fond of if he went that far away.  About a week after he mentioned Des Moines, he decided to move to Waterloo (a 10-15 minute drive from Cedar Falls; comparable to St. Paul and Minnesota-type cities, distance-wise).  I was ecstatic!  Now we could continue to be each other’s rock.
Dad completed his rehab program, transitioned into a community-based house for recovering addicts and enrolled in college classes.  We actually both went to the community college together for a semester and would meet each other in the parking lot after class in order to eat lunch at A&W together. (It’s my dad’s favorite restaurant in Waterloo. He’s so weird!) I kept my dad posted on a daily basis.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving Day, 2008: My family had gathered at my Grandma Deb’s house, my dad’s mom.  In his sobriety, my dad had a fear about being around his family sober.  I think he felt that they would be judging him instead of enjoying him.  In sum, Dad didn’t come to Grandma’s. Instead, he ended up consuming 40+ tablets Ativan.  That shook my world.  I was so filled with rage, hurt, disgust, worry, WHY? Why, why, why? Why did you do this?  This was not what Thanksgiving Day was supposed to be about!  I was not thankful that my dad was, in my mind, back at square one.  But really?  It was necessary. 

I was trying so hard to keep my dad clean that I didn’t realize I was enabling him.  I would drive him anywhere he needed to go, I would do next to anything for him.  But I realized that I was keeping him in his comfort zone.  There are taxis.  There’s a bus system in Waterloo.  I didn’t have to mother him, but I wanted to.  I wanted him to succeed because he’s my dad.  At that point, I was so invested in his sobriety that it was bordering on unhealthy for me.  Because this was his sobriety, his quest and on Thanksgiving 2008 I let him take the driver’s seat.

He’s still sober.  No meth since summer 2007.  He does have a couple of beers now and again but never have I seen him drunk since 2007. (And the first time I saw him have a beer since that summer? Another “letting go” moment.)  I have grown to understand that my dad loves me, but he doesn’t depend on me for his sobriety.  It is his choice.  Every day he wakes up and chooses to remain clean.  I consider myself fortunate to be involved in his success. It’s much the same for me: what my dad thinks means a lot to me, but ultimately I’m going to make my own decisions.

Fast forward to Fall, 2009: I’ve begun my career as a nurse, I’m involved with a great guy (a guy who is equally as good to me as I am to him), and I have a great relationship with my family.  I feel very satisfied yet I feel a sliver of guilt when I know I’m longing for something more.  The next step.  I’m having growing pains because I’m ready for the next chapter.  I’m ready to get married and start a family.  Above and before all of that, I’m ready to enrich my career and become a Registered Nurse.  I’m ready to fill out the last couple inches of these big-girl shoes I picked out when I was young.  Various people will say “But you’re still so young!”  I know, in numeric years.  But in life experience years, I feel older.  I feel ready for the next accomplishment. 

And pictures of me these days?  My eyes are happy.  My eyes even have a smile.  And?  My eyebrows rock!

One of the Best!

This has been one of the best Labor Days I’ve ever had… I guess it’s a cheap shot to be classifying this government holiday as a real holiday. But whatever. Anybody who has ever grocery shopped with me would say it. I am cheap.
Today I had a stellar day at work… A day that didn’t require me to wrestle with doctors, groan over a new discovery of a skin issue; a day where I didn’t have to write up and transcribe an insane amount of orders… Today was definitely not a regular Monday!
To top it off I got off of work at the daily projected time: 2:30 pm. That really, honestly, never happens. Whether it’s 3:00 or 5:00… Anything after 2:30 is late. That’s just the time ingrained into my head. I even had 5 dressing changes!
I came home mid-afternoon to find my house still clean, a living room waiting to host three guests, and my TV.
I very much enjoyed this break from reality and to be able to come home to a handful of friends joined with us, just wanting to enjoy our company and hospitality. (I like to think of myself as Betty Crocker only 4 nights a month… I just used one of your ration tickets, bitch).
It totally made my day that I got to socialize with one of my best girlfriends while Jay could also hang out with some of his guy friends. It was such a change of pace for us since the summer was spent drivng no less than an hour to see either of our families OR friends, let alone have more than one of our friends in our presence at a time!
I very much enjoyed this “last weekend of summer”, sad as it may be. I am so biased and favor summer to its fullest! Winter. Ugh. I only dread it because I know what effect it has on me. It is generally not a favorable one… But. This winter will be a celebration for a lot of little reasons…Dad’s second Christmas sober, Dede’s [DeAnnaLynn Marie’s] third Christmas (she was a newborn at her first…), Jay’s and my second Christmas together and so much more…
As I’ve said once and many a time all the same: Time Flies!
This is why it’s so important to say “I Love You” no matter the circumstances, no matter how long you’ve known one another, no matter why you think you may love the other. Love is love. And LOVE IS MY RELIGION! (Hats off to Ziggy Marley for that ending…)