It was an unintended hiatus.
Gone for a five-day adventure into the mind of The Guat except I really didn’t go anywhere. Just been exploring unbounded awareness and trying to focus attention on my writing and personal deadlines I set for myself earlier this year.
I was catching up on life and writing. In fact I was hoping that this side project I had was going to give me that extra boost I needed to cross that finish line at the end of the year. But we’ll see … My time is limited and staying up until 3 a.m. has taken a toll on my body, so once Thursday gets here I’m functioning on reserves and looking like I need a serious makeover, or at least a coat of miracle CoverGirl cosmetics found on aisle 12 at the local Walgreens.
But it was during one of my half asleep zombie moments that I got a great surprise. Something unexpected that gave me a great sense of pride. When my son asked me why I was so tired I explained that I had been working late and was trying to meet some deadlines, trying to finish my book.
And then he asked me why.
I said it was what I did, what I liked to do, and what I always wanted to do. Plus it would help us get out of the George Costanza phase in my life.
He smiled and gave me a hug.
About an hour later he was asking for a stapler and seeing how he’s still in first grade and only has paperclip experience, I thought it would be best to staple whatever he was working on.
This is what he brought to me …
He had created his own version of the Captain Underpants kid series.
I couldn’t even …
I know that when he grows up he wants to be part firefighter, part Batman, part astronaut, and part Ironman. I know that, I’m happy with it. But the fact that he did that makes the writer in me happy. I had a good moment and it inspired me to keep typing away and keep chugging along.
One word at a time. One sentence at a time. One page at a time. I’ll get there.
It hasn’t happened to me in such a long time, so I wasn’t sure how to take it. I mean I know how I took it, I took it poorly. In addition to raiding my kids Halloween Candy stash, I emptied the freezer of two Ben & Jerry’s pints.
It was a crisis or sorts.
I had lost it.
I lost a friend and it wasn’t because of death, health reasons, or an untimely demise. They’re living and breathing just fine, it’s me who was hyperventilating when I realized a couple of months ago that our friendship was over. It was a friendship that was rushed to the relationship ER and then never made it out.
There wasn’t an argument or heated discussion, and nobody had crossed any lines. It just slowly deteriorated. I saw it happening and tried to stop it. But with all my efforts I felt like that chic from He’s Just Not That Into You. The dork that hopelessly and endlessly tries to find the one and then thinks that every guy she’s been with is the one, only to realize that they’ve all been lame dudes that she’s made these excuses for because she was blinded.
Yeah that was me. I was trying to hang on to a friendship that apparently meant more to me than them.
Now I realize that everyone is busy and as we get older there are all kinds of demands coming from work, family, and other friendships. I get it. We’re busy. But there are friends that I haven’t seen in months even years, and when they come into town and we get to talking, it’s like we never left campus and we picked up exactly where we left off. No awkward pauses or talks about the weather. We get down to laughter and real talk. The comfort zone is still there. The inside jokes are still there. The friendship is still there.
But this time around I realized that was gone. And I don’t know if guys really make a big deal out stuff like this, or if it’s just a chick thing, or if it’s just me but losing a friend kind of sucks all the way around. I was making all kinds of effort to maintain this friendship in a non-stalker-non Single White Female kind of way.
But then it dawned on me.
We had already broken up, I just wasn’t aware of it. I didn’t know the ins-and-outs of their lives anymore, I wasn’t part of their growth process. I wasn’t a chapter in their novel anymore, I just ended up being a really good short story. And I guess nothing is wrong with being a short story, great movies and TV shows are based on short stories.
But it’s something I didn’t expect. I think I had more to offer, I think I still could have been a great chapter.
As an adult I thought I was set and my circle of trust was in tact, but was reminded that some relationships don’t last and there’s nothing more that you could have done. Just got to be happy with the fact that you lived with integrity and you always did right by them.
I’m in recovery mode.
It took 48 hours to get through this, I mean I’m still getting through it. I’m still in disbelief even though I saw it coming, I’m in denial because it was so shocking and it hurt. For a minute I thought, maybe. I was so invested, I really thought he would make it to the end.
But I should have known.
The almighty writing genius Kurt Sutter from Sons of Anarchy had other plans.
He broke my heart … again. Just when I thought I recovered from Opie and Tara’s gruesome deaths he killed off another of my favorites. I guess I knew he wasn’t coming back after Moses took his eye out.
So I sat there in the dark of Daylight Savings Time as the credits rolled wondering why the hell he keeps killing off all these great characters, but leaves these twisted sociopaths in excellent health. Then I realized … their death will be epic, of the I-can’t-even category. But still does that justify the utter devastation that me and the rest of the Samcro faithful feel?
I’d still like to see Opie, Tara, and Bobby Elvis.
I was rooting for them, I’m a lover of the underdog stories so when they kill my character and the future storyline I’d imagined I’m in need of a moment.
So with all my TV watching experience, how do I continually get over the death of beloved characters? How do I get over it?
Well … sometimes I don’t. I remain angry and hurt for weeks. I get so attached to these people because they’ve become people to me. It’s the writer in me, I get so attached to their story and their journey. It sucks when it ends in an untimely manner.
Sometimes the death is so shocking, like when they shot JR and you thought he was dead, that you can barely function the next day. These cliffhanger moments cause chest pains, anxiety attacks and bouts of profanity, which is probably why I enjoy watching Netflix because I can binge watch and find out what happens on my own timeline.
But heroes still die on Netflix.
So what do you do?
Recovery takes a while, it always does.
I’ve seen 24, LOST, The Sopranos, The Wire, and The Shield where some my favorites didn’t quite make it to the end, and it helps if you have a buddy. The mourning period goes by quicker because you have someone who gets it. My Dad was my buddy.
My Dad was around back then and I was able to go through this with my TV-watching-partner-in-crime buddy. We’d have never-ending panel discussion for days and share our best moments of the season. It was awesome. Unfortunately I’m flying solo in my epic television adventures and only have one other friend to discuss these Holy-Crap Sons of Anarchy moments, but she lives like two hours away. So we send text messages to each other.
Text messages are good but I wish she lived closer, and since I don’t have an actual Sons of Anarchy cohort, I remain at a loss and wishing that Sutter never ended Bobby’s journey. I hope for revenge a lot.
Revenge is a good thing and I hope it comes for Jax. I’m waiting for it.
If that doesn’t pan out, chocolate works wonders. Chocolate and profanity.
If you’re a positive person your first instinct leans more toward blessings. You’re optimistic and believe in the good nature of people. You wait until they reveal themselves before you judge. However sometimes your gut speaks to you and red flags are raised.
There are two sides.
Hopefully you figured out which one you’re looking at and you’ve got chocolate for either occasion.
It was that time of year again where we drove up north to check out the funky pumpkins, relax on a hayride tour throughout the farm, check out some pig races, walk around mazes made out of corn, look at ginormous John Deere rides, climb haystack pyramids, and listen to the good old twang of a banjo and guitar.
Yeah we’re sneaker and ball cap people, but we felt like we had cowboy hats and boots all day. Yeah … we let our country out. We were on a mission to find our pumpkin and we had fun getting in touch with our country side along the way.
I haven’t had one since high school.
A good-old fashioned one, handwritten on paper, with pen, and folded just right. Nope, it’s been at least 25 years.
Don’t get me wrong I’ve gotten emails and cards, but nothing quite like that hand-folded note given to you while waking the hallways to your next class. Nothing like a Lloyd Dobler moment in written form to make you smile.
It’s the feeling you get when you read them.
Comfort. Warmth. Friendship. Love. Possibilities.
It’s the fact that someone took the time out of their day to inspire you, to let you know that they were thinking of you, to make you feel special in some way.
I hadn’t thought about these notes in quite some time.
But then I discovered the little love-me notes waiting for me every night. After a long day of everyday business when I’m trying to enjoy the quiet of the night and get lost in the drama that is television, I sip a cup of tea. It relaxes me, brings back the Zen if I feel that it’s been lost. And as tear open the pouch the first thing I look for is the tag. It’s a little bit of inspiration, a little warmth, a little love. It reminds me of the love-me notes from before and it makes me smile. Granted they’re not handwritten, probably massively produced, but they still give me a moment. And that’s all I need, a feel-good moment every night. But instead of someone else giving them to me, I feel like I give them to myself every night.
It was quite unexpected to have found those feel-good moments from a tea bag, but I look forward to them.
I was in the car when it happened.
In fact I bet you’ve been in the car when this has happened.
You’re sitting there waiting for the light to change and then it hits you.
You hear it, you lean your head back, and close your eyes for moment. You feel a smile coming on and then you reach for the volume … and crank it up.
It’s your jam … the one that takes you way back to Aquanet Hairspray, Levi Jeans, L.A. Gears, and Trapper Keepers.
You haven’t heard it in years and you begin to do your best Night at the Roxbury dances moves while driving down the street. You’re having all these 1980s feel good flashbacks and you’re feeling good because you’re having a moment. You’re enjoying the present. You’re letting go. You’re having a let-your-freak-flag-fly moment. And it’s so good that you begin to sing. You’ve only done karaoke twice in your life, but you feel like you can take the stage at this point.
And then as you turn around you notice the driver next to you is not only watching, but staring.
So what do you do?
Do you pause in mid-song and shift to slow-motion until there’s no motion? Do you stop abruptly and hang your head in shame? Or do you turn around and pretend like you didn’t see him?
What do you think I did?
I looked straight at him, continued singing, and continued dancing. In fact I even got a smile.
Yeah the feel-good-Friday celebration continued.