I’m too rowdy to sleep or sit still. Tonight was fucking amazing for me. I felt like something changed in me… getting to see THE Counting Crows raw and Matchbox 20 together is something I can’t put words to. These are the two bands that have had the most impact on my life for as long as I can remember loving music. I watched them last night in Birmingham. In the rain. Through the onslaught of emotions I have going on in my life currently. Adam Duritz took me somewhere I don’t think I ever could have gone alone. Watching him was such a rush for Me. I cried. I laughed. I cried some more. I stood in awe. My body kind of half aware of what was happening to the rest of me. As I stood there in the rain. In the second row. Not 15 feet from Adam Duritz. Moments where his eyes were closed. Then glancing at me. Because not only was I in the 2nd row in the rain, I was relatively alone. The rain had moved most of the crowd to seek dryer ground. But not me. And it was kind of surreal. Just him and me and Round Here. Fucking no goddamn way this is happening. Just wow. And as it was happening I found myself looking for someone to tell, to share it with… and then I just stopped. I put my phone away. Stopped looking to share the moment with anyone other than me and I just soaked it through. I was just there. Listening to Adam sing to me about the girl on the car in the Parking lot. My mind absorbing every tiny detail. After the down pour, people came back to their seats and I wasn’t alone anymore. But for just a little while, I was. Maybe I’m the girl in the parking lot. I’m more than just a little misunderstood. I got some Amazing pictures. I feel like I dreamt it all.
The way a moment captures in your mind and sticks to a smell, a song, a color… might be the most amazing thing about life. When it attaches, it also… somehow… magnifies it. Blows it up into something that lives on, forever. The way your eyes dance in the moonlight reflecting my smile back at me. The way salt sticks to your skin from the Gulf of Mexico and leaves traces in each kiss. The way angry words tear through raindrops and shatter on the windshield, lost in moments you can’t take back. The way innocence is maintained by soft bird chirps through the dawn. I’m starving for you. The blood in the water is thick. You’re hungry for me. I cannot swim. Jump inside the ocean of my mind and save me. I wake to find I’m safe and sound, your breathing soft beside me. Just a dream. Just a dream. Another night to haunt me. Dear sunshine, please bring the dawn.
Ever tuck your girls in at night- after they are asleep- and stare at their faces thinking to yourself… they are grown. And wondering… where did time go? I was so busy making sure they turned out to be decent human beings that maybe I missed out on every moment. Or maybe I saw it, enjoyed it, but it passed by too quickly? Thoughts for your next blog….
I wonder every single day. Every single day when they prove me to be a fraud. Every day when they challenge me, and I myself am not adult enough yet to answer their questions. Every single day when I thank God that He has kept His hands on them, when my hands were much too slippery to do His work. Because I… am such a mess.
I’m emotional. I wear my heart on my sleeve. When I am happy, everyone in a 10 mile radius knows it, and they can’t help but be happy too. I’m infectious that way. But when I hurt, my family, my friends, my children…. they know it too. And they’ve ridden the roller coaster of life with me. Because unfortunately as a single parent, you don’t get to choose when they see you upset, or when they see you happy… because you just have to be. And let’s face it, in 2017 as a mom… regardless of your marital status… we are almost all single parents.
At the end of the day, after work, after dinner… when I remember to ask if homework is done… they’ve already done it, because they’ve had to be self sufficient. And it cuts me. It bruises my soul to know that my girls have had to do so much adulting at such a young age. I check on them as they dream at night, their faces a reflection of their childhood perfection and I see strong, determined young women in their sweet surrendered moments of peace.
I remember getting to soccer practices, cleats falling out of the car, snacks forgotten, water bottles two days old grabbed from the back seat and me looking apologetically at the best goalkeeper I’ve ever seen to date, and her simply saying, “Mom, it doesn’t matter, I’ve got to go, I’m late.” I could feel her anger in those moments, but they were moments when she was dropping $145.00 cleats out of the car, unknown to her the price I paid to get her there. Unknown to her that I had to leave work early to pick her up and run her back across town to be 10 minutes late to practice. Unknown to her that the men that ran the meetings I left were judging me the whole while and that I would never be promoted to any of the positions held by those guys whose stay at home wives had fresh water and fresh cookies already at the soccer field. Even though I would be working well into the night on whatever I hadn’t finished that day. She was already angry. She doesn’t yet realize I went to college and work and coached her soccer team and made dinner. She just knows she always feels like she gets part of me. I hate that.
The days continue to roll passed. I continue to watch her sleep. Nights that are feverish. Nights that are lonely. Nights of heart break. Nights of worrying about friends that are threatening suicide. Nights that I awake to find a car missing out of my driveway and no clue where one of them was at. It’s a night I was drinking wine. Is this my fault? Did I sleep through hearing her start her car? What would be different if I somehow could hang on both of their every single word? Pure panic. Fades into the next day. You trust them. You distrust them. You worry. You watch every move. You miss crucial moves. You check your phone. Facebook shows you pictures from 5 years ago. Teeth are missing. Days were simple.
The glances from them, they’re in that stage of adolescence where they feel like every single thing you decide is wrong. They know better than you. You’re stupid. You apologize to your own parents. You can’t imagine how foolish you were. They’re glaring at you. You feel like brutally embarrassing them, because after all…. you’re cool. You know you are. Right? You were? How long ago was that? Where did 25 go? Were you at soccer practice? Do I even play soccer? I don’t think I do. Never cared for it much. I don’t think. I don’t remember.
Band rehearsal. That’s happening again. God it’s so loud. Why? Where did my lipstick go? The one they both said was abhorrent. You know, the one I just got from Chanel. Yea, that one. I can’t find it. They’re waiting for me in front of the school. I forgot them. They think. I couldn’t leave that meeting this time, I just couldn’t. They’re pissed. I hate myself. I wonder if anyone at all understands this. We get to practice. There’s Sarah’s mom, with her stupid friggin snack bag for the whole team. They glare at me. We are late. They all love the goalkeeper though. She’s a hit. I take the glares. I think I might wear a smaller tank top next time, just to piss them off. That makes me laugh to myself. She’s rolling her eyes again.
God they’re beautiful when they’re asleep. So full of hope and promise. I can see all of my dreams in them. All of my dreams that changed when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t think I would ever have kids. They weren’t in my plan. What would my life be without these two? Would I have worked for National Geographic after all? She’s waiting for her water. I did grab her water didn’t I? Did I shut the crockpot off? Or is my attempt at making sure they have a healthy dinner now an overcooked mess on the counter? God, help me. No wonder no one at work takes me seriously, I can’t finish a whole thought.
I can’t fall asleep, no matter how tired I am. I check Facebook. Then Instagram. I see their posts from the day. Dear Lord, they’re beautiful. Are they really mine? How is this possible that You gave me such beautiful daughters? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I must sleep. How many days have passed? Thank you.
“She’s got a smile it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I’d stare too long
I’d probably break down and cry
She’s got eyes of the bluest skies
And if they thought of rain
I hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain….
Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place
Where as a child I’d hide
And pray for the thunder and the rain
To quietly pass me by….
Oh oh oh oh … sweet child of mine.
And just like that, I’m taking first day of school pictures of them, but it feels like 20 years have passed and only a day, all at the same time. They’re still rolling their eyes. But I am saving this moment forever. Dear God, I love them. Through to my very core. All in the blink of an eye.
We speak to each other in lyrics. We always have. When we first met the lyrics we shared weren’t ours, but our parents. The only music we had in common was the classic rock that had poured through our ears as children. We pondered the Black Crowes Bad Luck Blue Eyes and my ever favorite She Talks to Angels. Sunroof open. You usually trying to pull me back in the car, or at least make sure I was balanced as I stood in the breeze down the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. As our friendship turned into a complicated mess of teenage angst so did our music collection. I remember sitting in the Walmart parking lot not long after we became friends, you were sitting in the door jam of my car listening to music with me before we raced home for the night. Glycerine was on by Bush. The song spoke to me, and you had never heard it. I was falling madly in love with Gavin Rosedale and you were falling madly in love with me. I had no idea at the time. How could I have known. The song would for 20 years return us both to that moment. Moments so strong that you would want to name a son Gavin if you ever had the chance. Moments don’t ever obtain more potency than that. We would go on to base thousands of new moments against those little nothing moments sitting in the door jam of an Oldsmobile. Just a boy. And just a girl. A different lyric crosses my mind. One for now.
“If you only knew,
I’m hanging by a thread
The web I spin for you
sacrifice my beating heart before I’d lose you.
I still hold on to the letters
That you’ve returned.
I swear I’ve lived and learned
If you only knew
It’s 4:03 and I can’t sleep
Without you next to me
I toss and turn like the sea
If I drown tonight
bring me back to life
If you only knew
How many times
I counted all the words that went wrong
If you only knew how I refuse to let you go
Even when you’re gone
I don’t regret the days I spent, nights we shared
Or letters that I sent.
Usually I am a Counting Crows girl when life has me wondering what the fuck is going on. But lately Shinedown’s been really getting it done for me. I suppose Threat to Survival fits more right now. It really reaches in and grabs ahold of my psyche, you know? I roll my eyes at myself because I am still writing to you. I suppose I always have.
Truth is I am mad as hell. And so very sorry all at the same time. I was feeling the ache of days gone by and focusing on that. For a week the song Through the Ghost was haunting me like crazy. Go figure. I kept coming back to the lyric, “Speak of the devil, look who just walked in the room. The guilted and faded notion of someone I once knew. All the perfect moments are wrong. All the precious pieces are gone. Everything that mattered is just a city of dust, covering both of us. Did you hide yourself away, I can’t see you anymore, Did you eclipse another day? I used to wake up to the color of your soul.” This really hit me hard. It would bring the sting of tears to my eyes in seconds. But you’re not gone. You didn’t die. And our precious pieces aren’t gone. And I am not giving up on us. I refuse. Because the color of your soul is my favorite color, and I need it in my life. Because I know me, and I know what I feel and I know what I’ve felt in my lifetime and this is the best, the most honest, the most beautiful and I cherish it.
I hit next on the music, because I can’t handle the ghost. Next up… “I don’t want to live, to waste another day, underneath the shadow of mistakes I made,” “Cigarette in my hand, hope you all understand, I won’t be the last one in line, I finally figured out what’s mine. Leaving pieces of me behind. I feel like I’m breaking inside.” Ugh, I am not making any progress. All I can see is your face.
I need Shinedown to take me full circle right now. I’ve been living without music for 3 weeks because I can’t hear it without you being present in my mind. But the silence echoes you even louder because there is a giant missing piece of my life. What in the hell am I supposed to do, and how is it I have never felt this kind of emotion before? Can it be? Am I realizing you’re the one, in the shadow of your absence? “Hold your breathe and count to ten. Agony brings no reward….. don’t be a casualty. Cut the Cord.”
The cord that needs cut though is the one where I am worried about what’s next. What if. What if. What if. I don’t care. I know where I am supposed to be. You’re supposed to be there too. “I’m gonna make it rain, so ring the bell…. can I get a witness??” Let’s not let this be a casualty. We can beat this. Cut the cord.
Then it’s there. Shuffle feature is actually reading me well right now, which is good because I have to get all of this out of me, it’s a lyric that has always taken me to you, and our friendship in all of it’s weird quirky awesomeness. “Staring back in time, the two of us, intertwined. Your black boots. Walking fast, next to mine. We were chasing thunder inside the storm. Running wild outside the norm. And what we made, the two of us against the grain. Come out, Come out, wherever you are. I know you’re there. I know you are. They called us crazy cause we never fit in. We never bothered keeping up with their trends. It didn’t matter that we weren’t on the list. Cause we were misfits. We were misfits. Staying up all night, drinking more than we should. Getting way too high, and when the sun came through, I watched you laugh, I saw you cry. Cause the world has a way of tearing you down. Keeps you tied to the circus. Paints you up like a clown. But I’m right here. Yes, I’m right here. Day after day, and year after year.”
My own words are lacking lately, because they’re tied to a mess in my mind. They’re scared to break lose. Scared to try and define things. Because I don’t want to know. I refuse to let this be it. I refuse to let it be the end. I will carry us. I don’t know why. I just know that I need to. They land perfectly in my ears. “You can have a sound of a thousand voices calling your name, you can have the light of the world blind you, You can be an angel of mercy or give in to hate, you can try to buy it just like every other careless mistake… No one gets out alive, every day is do or die, the one thing you leave behind is how did you live, how did you love? Nothing ever feels quite the same when you are what you dreamed, and you will never look at anything the same when you see what I see. You can’t replicate or duplicate. Got to find your own way. But the one thing you leave behind is how did you love? How did you love?”
I am loving with everything in me. I know that I love you enough. I know that you would find me. Again and again. I know we’ve sat through idly fuming inside as we watched each other get married. Divorced. Have children. Lose grandparents. Friends. And then we crossed a boundary in our relationship that brought us face to face with all of the side stepped emotions. All of the backward glances. Missed phone calls. Missed dances in the rain. And we collided. Space hung still for a second. Because I was changed. Forever. AND I will never be the same.
I’ve got a mind full of aggravation.
I can take it if I just relax.
I say a prayer for the motivation.
Keep me solid so I stay on track.
But there’s a monkey on my back
And it don’t know how to act.
Got me climbing up and down the walls.
I hear the sirens of redemption
Screamin out like never before
And there’s a roadblock in every direction
But I ain’t stopping cause I’m in control…..
I miss you. God do I miss you. But I am learning a whole bunch of interesting things about myself right now. Like I can be alone. I don’t like it. I don’t want to do it. Like I have a lot of mental baggage that needed cleaning out. Correction, that needs cleaning out. I’ve got the trash bags and dust pan, but there’s a lot of work left to do. God I miss you.
“I took all of your pictures off the wall and wrapped them in newspaper blankets. I haven’t slept in what seems like a century. And now I can barely breathe. Your words still serenade me. Your lullibies won’t let me sleep. I’ve never heard such a haunting melody. Oh It’s killing me. You know I can barely breathe. I never thought you’d slip away. I guess I was just a little too late.”
Then it hits me, I’m listening to the wrong songs after all. Because it all goes full circle doesn’t it. It very much does. Because this song finally fits something. And I feel it cut through me.
Must be your skin,
I’m sinking in,
Must be fore real,
Cause now I feel
And I didn’t mind
It’s not my kind
It’s not my time to wonder why
Everything’s gone white
Now you’re here, now you’re away
I don’t want this
I’ll never forget, where you’re at.
Don’t let the days go by, glycerine, glycerine
I’m never alone
I’m alone all the time
Are you at one,
Or do you lie
We live in a wheel, Where everyone steals
But when we rise, It’s like strawberry fields
If I treated you bad,
You bruised my face
Couldn’t love you more,
You’ve got a beautiful taste.
Don’t let the days go by…
Could have been easier on you
I couldn’t change though I wanted to
Should have been easier by three
Our old friend fear and you and me
Don’t let the days go by
Bad moon white again
Bad moon white again
And she falls around me
I needed you more
You wanted us less
I could not kiss, just regress
It might just be
Clear simple and plain
That’s just fine
That’s just one of my names
Don’t let the days go by…. Could’ve been easier on you.
The song was always beautiful to me, but actually never really understood it, or took meaning from it until just now. Just now while it’s playing everything in me changes. Like I am hearing it for the very first time. The way that music seems to happen when it applies to you. Any time I’ve heard it over the last 20 years, I just think about the moment. About the hair hanging in your eyes. About your face watching my face as I loved a song. There’s no way a boy looks at a girl that way, that he won’t love forever, with everything inside him. Now that song, I send to you. With love, from home where I am waiting for you. Clear simple and plain. That’s just fine.
Now tell me, would you like that? Would you like that? 😉
Love you always,
Con Amor Siempre
How you make your face just like a wall,
How you take your heart and turn it off
How I turn my head and lose it all
How just one move puts me by myself
There you go just trusting someone else
Now I know I put us both through hell
I’m not saying, there wasn’t nothing wrong
I just didn’t think you’d ever get tired of me
I’m not saying we ever had the right to hold on,
I just didn’t wanna let it get away from me
But if that’s how it’s gonna leave
Straight out from underneath
Then we’ll see who’s sorry now
If that’s how it’s gonna stand, when
You know you’ve been depending on
The one you’re leaving now
The one you’re leaving out.
How you threw me out and you tore me down
How your good intentions turned to doubt
The way you needed time to sort things out
I’m not saying, there wasn’t nothing wrong
I just didn’t think you’d ever get tired of me
I’m not saying we ever had the right to hold on,
I just didn’t wanna let it get away from me
I used to have this dream that there would be someone out there somewhere that when they read the words I put down on paper, they would be able to feel them. Touch them. Through me. They would just know, because my words were powerful enough to reach them. The words that I would tie together to form beautiful illustrations about the way a connection was made, a spark ignited, a kiss lingered. I would put them out there, and I knew no matter where you were, you were reading them.
I can feel your hands petting my hair. Pulling my hair. I’m lost in this moment. I can see you standing in the distance, lighting a cigarette. I can’t get to you. There’s something in between us. You won’t answer the door. The phone. My screams. I’m too much. I’m not enough. All this space is echoing and ringing in my ears. You’re biting my shoulder and touching the core of me, I can feel your weight on me, it’s crushing me, perfectly. I’m shaking. I love you.
I wrote our names in the sand, the waves washed them away. I wrote our names in the stars, the clouds hang low these days. I wrote our names across my heart, and I’m bleeding out. But I will say your name with my last words. Because the echo of you is more than anything else I’ve known.
Every morning I stood in front of the mirror, brushing my teeth. Scrubbing away the night. Focusing on what was in store for that day. Looking at myself. Not recognizing the person looking back at me. Daydreaming through myself, blank eyes that seem to lock away someone I used to know. I don’t have time to figure out this level of crazy. I close the toothpaste. Glance at me again. I did this routine a thousand times plus.
Putting little kids in a SUV, pulling them out again. Sitting in a cubicle, struggling to stay put until 4. Leaving at 3:30, because I am a fucking rebel. Little things. You have to have your small victories somewhere or you’ll go mad. Clipping coupons. Spending $300 bucks at Costco. Hating the person I was while walking through Costco. It made my soul bleed into my shoes as each step dug me into the concrete of the floors and buried me under the foundation of a building no one would ever fucking remember.
Here I was. Just a girl, that used to dream in color, buried under a Costco. How did this happen? Then before I knew it, I was brushing my teeth again, to do the same thing the very next day. What day was it? They were lost in translation. The only thing that made one day different from the next was whether or not I needed a coat.
Screaming. I hear screaming. Someone’s hurt. Lord, it’s me. I’m screaming.
I was screaming.
I can’t. I won’t. Be buried under Costco. What on earth could I possibly need 500 poptarts for? Why do I need new furniture every 3 years. New paint in my bedroom because the old color isn’t IN this fall. Does my iphone really need upgraded? Is Starbucks on my way to work every single day really the place I want to invest $150 bucks a month? Or $25 for OnStar, and 40 for SIRIUS radio? Over $200 a month just to get me to a job I don’t want to be at? Not to even remotely get started on the car payment itself and the insurance! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!
Slaves to ourselves.
No. Nope. Ha. No.
Roll those windows down baby.
Yes, I know it’s raining. The sting on my skin reminds me I’m alive.
Dance with me. Right here, in the middle of the street.
I love this song. I love you.
I love breathing in the fresh air, deep into my lungs.
Scoop up those kiddos and put their bare feet in the sand. Teach them to see in color. Run and skip. Sleep on a blanket underneath the stars. Read an extra story.
When I brushed my teeth this morning, I looked up, into a reflection I remembered.
Recently the tides of change have rolled through my life; and a new job, in my home town of Pensacola Florida relocated me from Huntsville Alabama. When I took the job, I left my 16 and 13 year old daughters in Huntsville to finish the school year. Three months without them seemed like it would pass rather quickly when we made all of those decisions and put that plan into motion. In almost all ways, it did go by incredibly fast. What I wasn’t prepared for was missing the end of a school year, the awards, the shows, the final recitals, the last day of school picture that I snap every…. single…. year. The little moments you take for granted.
I was able to go pick them up over Memorial Day weekend, and I’ve had them with me now for two weeks. As soon as I picked them up, I had to go to New Orleans for work, so I took them with me, because I was not ready to part with them again so quickly. Then we spent a long weekend in Orlando, before finally making it to the new apartment so that they could unpack. I know they were tired, cranky, and ready to be settled somewhere. I was feeling it too.
When the weekend rolled around, they both were itching to get out to the beach. We spent the day collecting shells, being goofy, and letting the salt air relax us. The drive home was quiet, except for me pointing to things and saying this or that about it, referencing my childhood. I looked over at Faith, and said, “I am so very thrilled that I get to show you my hometown, and where I grew up,” she snapped back at me, “Yea, well I didn’t grow up anywhere, and I won’t have a home town.”
She stared out the window for what felt like days to me.
My eyes filled with tears. My parents were together my whole youth… guilt punch to my face. My parents didn’t move me around much… guilt punch to the stomach. I wanted nothing more than to give her friends, her school, her house back to her in that moment. When she turned to look at me, her 13 year old eyes full of tears, I started to apologize, but she interrupted.
“No, Mom… no… I am such a jerk. I want to see all of those things. I love being in Florida, I always have. I love your stories about Florida. And I do have a hometown, I am growing up somewhere. I am growing up right here, right beside you. I grow when I am with you. I am so sorry I said that, I didn’t mean it at all. You are where I feel safe and sound.”
I’m staring at her, dumb struck. Because I know her heart is hurting for her boyfriend and friends she has left. Her soccer team. Her grandmother, aunt and cousins. She’s been in Huntsville for 10 years. But I know the words she says are true, because my girls have always been my world. I try to make the best decisions I can, around them, for us. All of the things I have made mistakes on, God granted me so much mercy in the hearts of these two girls. For some reason the movie Inside Out is playing in my mind, and I realize once again that Joy is never alone. “It takes a hole to have a mountain….. Life is wonderful.” (Jason Mraz quote). Meanwhile the sunsets on another glorious Florida day.
Watching the cursor blink at me on a blank screen is daunting. It’s torturous to construct the first sentence. It’s like starting to workout. You know, that moment right after you lace up your tennis shoes and seconds before you start moving…. that blank second in time where your brain and your body fight over what you are about to do. Writing is like that for me. I know I need to. The ache is bruising my soul, it squeezes me so tightly. But as I stare at the blank white screen determined to just begin, my mind drifts away.
One of my favorite song lyrics ever is a 90s crap song called Just Breathe by Anna Nalick. The verse says something about, “It’s 2 am and I’m still awake writing this song just to get it all down on paper so it’s no longer inside of my threatening the life it belongs to, And I feel like I’m naked in front of a crowd and these words are my diary screaming out loud, and I know that you’ll use them, however you want to.” I don’t think there’s ever been a lyric that’s hit me like that one does.
So I stare back at the cursor on the blank page. I think over all of the good things that are in my life now. The struggle the last year has been, but the amazing things that have happened over the course of it as well. I want to write about it. But I want to bury it all too. I squirm in my chair. I’m not ready to write about it. I refocus.
I see the sunlight pour through his honey colored hair and spill into his storm blue eyes, and I can’t help but smile. His sweet face brings me back to the light. Our journey has been a long one, yet it’s just beginning. It’s a happy story.
I stare out of my office windows across a Navy base that’s been quiet and deactivated for almost as long as I’ve been alive. The door is open and the last of the cool night air is already burning off as the Florida sunbeams pour across the floor. It’s going to be hot today. My insides burst with the thrill of Florida warmth.
I can hear the echo of the service men and women that have walked these sidewalks. There’s definitely a story there. The National Anthem is streaming through the airways now over the base loudspeaker, to no one in particular. It’s going to be a gorgeous day. And I’m ready.