Stick Your Hand Into The Fire

(The following post was written on July 6, 2011.) 
This year, for the first time, I spent the Fourth with John and his daughter. We fed the little one ice cream for breakfast and took her swimming at midday, the sun scorching hot where I sat on the only towel we brought and dangled my feet in the water, watching how how intimately she and John worked together to help her practice swimming, and then later I watched her wearied form draped over his strong arms slicing through the water, a cut healed instantly. And they were a they. I didn’t have much to do with it. With them. But I cheered her on poolside as she faced her fears and jumped into the deep end, into her father’s arms, although I am still the girl who only comes over on weekends to snarfle fuzzy cat bellies and draw decorations to tape on walls for the little one’s imaginary parties and hold hands with John while we watch Leverage.
I felt…so foreign there. That’s the best word to describe it.  Because they were a theycontained in two, complete and perfect in themselves.

Twilight came, as it does (although never soon enough on the Fourth of July) and we rushed to see fireworks back in town. A thirty minute drive. It was already 9:00. We weren’t going to make it.
Halfway there at an exit onto a major road I see a brilliant burst of color and a bit of open land. Here, I said. Here is good. So we parked and tumbled out and John grabbed the provisions from the back that I’d begged him to get at Kroger and we hefted the little one onto the truck bed and shared a pack of Nutter Butters between the three of us, just like my parents and I did as a child, and then suddenly, fleetingly all of us were a wea fragile nucleus of joy forged from darkness and fire.
I don’t know quite how this happened but
I’ll take it.
***


The one year anniversary of that Fourth has crept up on me and I find myself going back to my dog-eared bookmark of that memory. That day was the first time that I really felt that I could have a family, this family, this small and mighty thing. 
A lot changes in a year.
You know when you hear something and something inside you, some bearing that you have, just…shifts?
He said he didn’t want more children. Shift.
Because as much as I wanted her to be enough, she wasn’t enough. I wanted a baby. Our baby.   To complete our family. I dreamt of a little boy with his smile. I dreamt of the four of us eating breakfast together on Sunday mornings. I dreamt that John would sing our children to sleep, his low, soft voice stirring all the strings of my heart.
I wanted a baby so badly I would pluck the stars from the sky.
I wanted a life with him so badly I would move all of the planets in all of the heavens to have it be so.
No, he said. I do not want more children. Shift.
And there, in that crux of a moment, I had to choose. 
I wanted her to be enough so, so badly.
But she wasn’t enough.
***
I have tried to run. I have tried to hide from it, from myself and what I find in front of me. I have denied and fled and flung myself at everything but the problem at hand. I have tamped myself down tight, so tight, in the hopes that if I make everything smaller inside me, it will disappear altogether. (Because, obviously, that has worked so well in the past.)
But the fact of the matter is: I am angry. I am sad. Like I was afraid of, I am finding it hard to keep my head above water.
I am scared.
But I am plunging headfirst into the fire because, unfortunately, the only way out is through.
So I’m not hiding, or running, or denying, or squishing all the vile things that bubble up from the depths of how much that I hate that this is my life now in the After, in the aftermath of my choice.
I am only feeling.
And it really, really sucks.

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And we have a contest winner!

Actually, winners.

I chose two, but it was really, really hard to only choose two because HOLY CRAP you guys are freaking hilarious. It was totally a little bit like Sophie’s Choice. (I READ THE BOOK. I CAN MAKE THE REFERENCE.)

So, MLE and Tara! You guys won! I still haven’t shopped for your prizes! I am the worst contest thrower IN THE HISTORY OF EVER.

DM me on Twitter (or, if it’s more convenient for you (hahahaha, because an actual email is more convenient than Twitter! I crack my shit up sometimes.) you can email me at kdj003 at gmail dot com) with your address.

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In which I am an asshole. A lot.

A vacation recap is coming, I swear, with pictures. (Not that you CARE, but you should know that one of the stories involves me being mocked mercilessly by a tour guide, so that will probably be enjoyable for you.)

But before I get to that because I am lazy and don’t want to sort through all the pictures because that is WORK I have a couple quick things from the last few days to tell you.

***
Me to friend, “I am SO MAD that [bad thing] happened on [season finale of favorite show that we always discuss with each other whenever we meet].
Friend: “…I haven’t seen that episode.”
Me: “I AM GOING TO THROW MYSELF ON A SWORD NOW.”


Seriously, guys. There is NO WAY that I don’t come out of that story looking like an asshole.


NO WAY.


COME UP WITH ONE, AND I WILL GIVE YOU A PONY.


***

Confession: I make “your mom” jokes. But only when they don’t make any sense/aren’t offensive in any way. And usually when someone can’t find something needed at work. Because I think it’s funny to be nonsensical.

I’m telling you all this to set you up for this scenario:
An employee from another store, a guy I don’t know really well, but well enough to joke around with, asked me where he might find the hose clamps at the store we were inventorying.
Not being from that store, and thus not familiar with it, I make a joke.

“YOUR MOM is a hose clamp.”

…Do you see where exactly I went wrong with that? Because I did not. Until it came out of my mouth.

Yes, I did turn a SPECTACULAR SHADE OF RED.

Yes, I DID walk away. QUICKLY.

YES, I CONTINUE TO BE AN UNINTENTIONAL ASSHOLE.

***

My mom and I were talking about the planets because TJ (Read. her. immediately. if you aren’t already.) was talking on twitter about how we are so old that we’ll have to tell our children that we used to have 9 planets and they were going to make fun of us (I would post a screenshot but I have NO IDEA how to do that on this operating system), and I was complaining to mom that Pluto was my FAVORITE because because it was so twee and I felt like I had to take care of it when I was little, all Little Prince-style.

And my mom goes, “Is that the one named after the dog?”

And I’m all, “ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME RIGHT NOW.”

And she’s all “No? Not the dog?…Was that Goofy then?”

And then I had an APOPLEXY and I HAD TO ASK MY MOTHER, THE WOMAN WHO GAVE BIRTH TO ME, “WHAT DO THE NAMES OF ALL THE PLANETS IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM HAVE IN COMMON.”*

She answered “Ummm, they are named after razors, candy bars, and cars?…So, product placement?”

I’M FUCKING ADOPTED YOU GUYS.**

*She guessed Greek gods, finally. WRONG, MOTHER. ROMAN.

**MY REAL MOTHER IS OBVIOUSLY A PRINCESS. WHO MARRIED AN ASTROPHYSICIST.

A Song For What I Love

I fell in love with Texas so long ago that I don’t remember it. It was probably in Galveston, my feet curling into the sand, my fingers groping for seashells, the waves erasing everything before or since. My love developed before I knew how to talk. It was a blind thing, this adoration, the unknowing clasp to the heart of a child who knew of nothing else.

Like all first raptures, it slowly faded.

Until last week. In spending all your time with only yourself and the land in front of you for company, you tend to find the crux of things. I found that I still had a passion for my home of these many years. It just took a change of scenery, a second honeymoon.

I would wind through the back roads in obscure counties and catch sight of craggy rocks of Hill Country and sit dumbstruck at the beauty of the state I call home; the mounds of earth would clothe themselves in graceful, bending wildflowers of ivory, sundrop gold, and plumes of violet and I would be tempted to make myself an alluringly fragrant crown. (I didn’t, couldn’t even, take any pictures of this, not because I didn’t have a camera I could work, which I did, but because you never love a photograph even half as much as you love a half-faded memory.)

Eventually, I felt my heart start to glow and my soul try to escape out of my mouth and experienced that happy terror just before the plunge into the abyss.

That is the only way I know how to describe falling in love.

Love is a distant laughter in the spirit.
It is a wild assault that hushes you to your awakening. 
It is a new dawn upon the earth,
A day not yet achieved in your eyes or mine,
But already achieved in its own greater heart.
–Kahlil Gibran

Misadventures

Because I am a stupid person who didn’t take care of my eyes (DON’T SLEEP IN YOUR CONTACTS. NO, SERIOUSLY. JUST DON’T. I MEAN IT.) I had to go to the optometrist yesterday. I know that I didn’t tell ya’ll this, but this is the THIRD TIME in THREE WEEKS that I’ve had to go and have my EYES all FIDDLED WITH.

(THEY HAD TO PUFF MY EYES WITH AIR AND I AM NOT EVEN GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT THEY HAD TO DO WITH MY EYELID BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH I WAS THERE AND IT REALLY ISN’T ALL THAT BIG A DEAL, REALLY, IT MAKES ME A LITTLE BIT NAUSEOUS JUST THINKING ABOUT IT, OK?)
While I was there and the (lovely, kind, patient, friendly) doctor was using MEDIEVAL TORTURE DEVISES on my EYES, I also got them dilated.
To those of you lucky enough to not have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad eyesight, this is where the optometrist puts some sort of drop in your eyes to make them very, VERY wide. And then in about 20 minutes the entire world goes blurry and you can’t see shit for 3 to 4 hours.
Thankfully, I had my mom come with me because my mom is awesome and long-suffering (Hi, Mom, if you ever find this blog! I love you!) and she could drive me home because dude. DUDE. We tried to do some shopping while we were waiting for my eyes to dilate fully (my optometrist is in Walmart! It is both very convenient and a terrible situation because I CAN BUY ALL THE THINGS THERE.) and I kept picking up things to try and read the labels and I kept having to stretch my arm further and fuuuuurther and fuuuuuuuuuuurther to try and get them into focus and you know what is hard? Trying to be farsighted when you are significantly nearsighted! Eventually I just yawped “MY ARMS ARE NOT LONG ENOUGH FOR MY EYES.” and then I kind of slumped over. In defeat. Because a $7 bottle of sunscreen THAT I JUST WANTED TO KNOW HOW OFTEN I NEEDED TO APPLY IT had BESTED me with its twee print.
It is a Bad Day when a bottle of sunblock makes you feel like a failure.
There was another Bad Moment when they gave me the temporary sunglasses that you get when you have your eyes dilated and they were NOT these snazzy ones that you roll on your face and make you feel like this BAMF, but were some bullshit, flimsy ass crap with ear pieces (EAR PIECES!) that 1) were not intended for Ladies With Large Amounts of Hair, 2) didn’t make me feel space-agey AT ALL. 
(THOSE WRAP-ON SUNGLASSES WERE THE BEST PART OF THE EYE DOCTOR AND THEY DID AWAY WITH THEM. AND THEN! THEY HAD THE GALL TO TELL ME TO MY FACE THAT THE NEW ONES WERE “UPGRADES”.
“Upgrades”, my ass. I want to pretend that I work on the USS Enterprise.)
Anyway, my eyes are fine now and I’ve been cleared to wear contacts again. YAAAAAAAAAY, STEROID DROPS!!
P.S. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been wearing glasses exclusively for the last month and they were block-ish and figure distracting or something, but has my face…always been this round? And puffy?
P.P.S. Probably.
P.P.P.S. I will, however, keep you updated on this important situation as it develops.