On Titles and Naked Streets

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I didn’t name the blog after that quote, but finding it on Pinterest was nearly serendipitous. I haven’t explained the name yet because I’ve been reconciling my feelings inside with what will appear on the blog.

Have you seen Disney Pixar’s Inside Out yet? It’s a cute, animated look into the emotions that control us. The ultimate takeaway is that you cannot have joy without sadness. Sure, there’s a sprinkling of other emotions in there, but sometimes your happiest memories can change to sad ones.And that’s ok.

I feel like that’s my life. So many happy memories, turned into sad moments in time. Part of me thinks I’m no longer allowed to look at them with the same level of happiness. It’s been two years of feeling like I’m half happy.

I hate waiting so long for things to change. I’m not one to let time heal—what if time takes 20 years? I’ll regret wasting it. So the blog has started out a little on the sad side. The changes. The emotions. The truth of what it’s like to be me right now.

It’s a longer way of getting to a response to the folks who see me as a strength. Who see me as absolutely fine. Or who see me as only struggling. There’s an awful lot that goes into this stage of life—and all of those emotions sort of play off one another. They’re necessary. They’re going to make me…. stand up against the wind.

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You cannot have joy without the sadness.

Writing it down. Experiencing it. Being honest. It’s a lot like walking down the streets naked. I’m vulnerable and open. It’s like starting over… and there’s never a bad time to start your second chance.

You’re reading mine. 

Welcome to Naked in the Streets.

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On Titles and Naked Streets

On Strength, Independence, and Name Changes

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When I walked out of the Social Security building yesterday, I had tears in my eyes. There was no one there to hug me. No one there to say it was ok—that I was going to be ok. The door attendant didn’t say “Goodbye!” or “Have a nice day!” on the way out. I held the paperwork in my hand, walked to my car, texted a friend that I was in pain. And alone.

Getting a divorce is lonely. Printing paperwork. Filling in blanks. Explaining why you should be granted to live in peace alone. Leaving your personal items in lockers at the court house. Admitting you can’t make it work.

Ever notice there’s always two chairs, sitting side-by-side wherever you go? I never need the second. That’s how life feels lately.

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None of this has been the “easy” way out. The first conversation left me crying because he didn’t fight for us. When he signed the papers, I walked into the bathroom just to be out of the same room. Tears constantly swelled and all I could do was pretend to wash my hands. No. This was not an easy road. I have a tightness in my chest that sometimes takes days to go away.

I have tears that come when I think of memories. In Germany. Door County. Restaurants. Cubs Games. English Class. College Parties. So many smiles.

I’ve heard the word “strong” and “independent” and “envy” so many times in the past few months that I’ve grown an aversion to them. Those words are exactly the ones he used to describe why we’re not good for one another. Right before he said, “You’ll find someone who will care about you.” And all I heard was, “Because I don’t care about you.  I’m not that person who can.”

FullSizeRender2I’m baffled at times when people look at me and see strength and independence. I feel failure, disappointment and uncertainty often. Because it’s real.

Real is ok.

I doubt anyone is ever going to look at me and say, “How dare you be sad because someone you loved is no longer in your life!”

I’ve cried so hard that my eyes burn and I wake up with puffy eyelids. Sometimes I blow my nose so often the skin peels and I curse the makeup gods for not being able to cover it. Sometimes I’m so sad that I don’t move from the couch and watch all five seasons of Game of Thrones because I can.

That’s what real looks like. And guess what? Real is STILL ok for me.

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I want to be happy. I want to be with someone who makes me happy. I want to make someone else happy. And coexist in a way that seems effortless and easy. It hasn’t been that way. And it’s damn well time it should be.

I crossed the first part of a goal off yesterday: Change name with Social Security. In 7-10 days when the card arrives in the mail, I’ll knock off the second part of getting a new drivers license.

Yes, it’s soon. But why dwell? In my heart, I think I know things won’t change, at least not how they are now. If I want to be happy, I have to make myself that way. And sometimes that requires me to do it alone.

IMG_5548Part of being strong is acknowledging the pain. And then realizing it’s life. My track record for getting through hard times, thus far, is 100%.

I don’t like to dwell—What if I already met someone who could make me happy and love me, and didn’t give him a chance? What if there was a sign, and I was too depressed to see it? What if I spent so much time on my thoughts that I wasn’t able to see a lovely opportunity elsewhere?

I knew when it was time to move on. And as much as I hate doing things alone, if it meant choosing between happy/alone and miserable/together, I’d choose happy. Every. Single. Time.

Think of it this way…. those chocolate hostess cupcakes? Snoballs?Always come in packs of two. Now I can take time to savor them both!

On Strength, Independence, and Name Changes

Let’s Talk 29 – Of Peaches, Beaches and Humid Things

You know those themed “over-the-hill” parties that are thrown when someone turns 50? Usually they involve black clothing and tombstones? They’re depressing.

I feel like those dreaded years keep getting younger and younger. On my way home from work, I noticed a sign in a front yard with, “Lordy, Lordy! Look who’s forty!” God…I really hope the person turning 40 didn’t care.

I just turned 29. And I care about 30. No one is allowed to say any negative things or point out that fact. I already cringe when I hear, “ONE MORE YEAR!”

One year closer to 30. And one year away from a reminder that my life isn’t quite what I anticipated it would be. You see, I’m having a hard time with reality right now. I just got this packet in the mail. May not look like much to you, but it was enough to make me cry.

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I’ve been separated since October 2013, and was stalemated. Dating around some, but not moving forward with anything. Finally, the topic of divorce was brought up earlier this year. January 2015. And in the beginning of May, paperwork was filed. I knew I needed a pick-me-up… as divorce wasn’t my first hope in solving the issues. But it’s the solution that was taken in the end. I booked a trip to Florida with a friend. The day I left for the trip, I got the self-addressed, pre-stamped envelope with the final divorce decree in it. I left on vacation officially single.

And officially depressed.

It’s to be expected—while some divorces are happy, this one is not. It’s a reminder that I messed up an awful lot. That I was too proud, too independent, and too selfish. For anyone that has experienced a divorce, you know the pain. Of not being good enough. Of failing at your “forever.” It’s an ache in your heart that doesn’t go away easily, and I am too much of a make-things-happen kind of gal to let it continue forever.

So I wanted to start 29 off with a bang. Florida was my answer.

I reached out to an old blogging friend of mine. We’ve known each other for a handful of years, but have never met in person. Same age; same job industry; same relationship status (single!). Figured, why not? Thank god she was game. (If you think about it….isn’t it weird that you can now make friends online? I swear that wasn’t as normal 10 years ago.)

I flew from Denver to Atlanta. Then drove Atlanta to Birmingham. The next day, we drove 6-ish hours to Destin, Florida where we’d hoped for some good-for-you, down-to-the-soul, relaxing type of vacation that can start the healing process. And fried shrimp. Because that’s instant happiness.

It was gorgeous. And also National Donut Day when we got there. Serendipitous, don’t ya think?

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Once out of town, with the radio up and the air conditioning on (there’s a reason why most houses in Wyoming don’t have A/C built-in…. there’s no way that most cowboys would live in the dense humidity and hot climate of Florida. This curly-haired gal had the best skin and curliest hair of her life for those five days) it felt like a normal life. And normal has been a hard thing to come by lately, ya’ll.

We stopped at a charming farm stand, where we smelled every piece of fruit there, and, no joke, saw some Peach Queens. They give out sashes dedicated to fruit to beauty queens. Yep—big hair, lots of makeup, pearly whites, and dressed to the nines. AND ONLY FOUR FEET TALL. Things are different in the south.

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We grabbed some fruit, hit the road and talked. I’d been tossing back and forth the idea of a happiness checklist for the past few weeks. Something that will get me out of my element. After all, how can you expect to be happy, if you’re not and nothing changes? Going to meet someone I’ve never met, heading to a new beach, and spending my first birthday on vacation was a good start.

But the list was next. And sitting on the beach, with book in hand, sometimes with a slushy-boozy drink, was honestly the best way to think up said list 😉

I’ll post the list tomorrow…. and hope to update you for the next year on that list, and happiness in general.

But let me at least get this image in your brains before I end this post… the south is the best place to buy peaches. Hands down. I prefer nectarines due to the skin. Typically peaches are overly fuzzy up north and out west. But in Alabama? Georgia? The peaches are outta this world.

IMG_5344They even look gorgeous (I did get to see a gigantic peach water tower in Canton, GA that reminded me of the one referenced in House of Cards. When you’re going by at 80 mph, it does sort of look like a vagina. And yes, I’m ending my blog post with the word vagina. You’re welcome).

Let’s Talk 29 – Of Peaches, Beaches and Humid Things