Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Single Love

"It's okay to fall in love, you know." He said this with the hint of a playful smile gracing the outer tips of his bright blue eyes. She stared at him, his eyes, his nose, his chin, then finally his lips, as his smile faded and he slowly turned to leave.

"Prove it," she said in haste as she watched him turn her doorknob and walk out her front door into the cold, dark night.

She stood there watching his shadow cross her stone walkway, now a memory of another late night spent alone. She closed the door behind him and watched as he started his car and sat there for a few minutes, phone in hand, answering texts. She wondered who they were to, but never dared to ask. Another "booty call?" Another "friend in need?" His son? His daughter? His ex?

She turned to face the emptiness of her house, too big for a single woman alone, too small for her emotions and pain, but just right for all the accumulated shit from years of a broken marriage and subsequent relationships. She examined her hands. The hands that touched him. The hands that explored. She smelled him on her clothes and in her hair. She breathed him in.One.Last.Time. That night.

The path to emotional openness is not an easy one. Years of building a wall around your heart, only to have them torn down in a single moment, then crushed and built again. Only this time sturdier. Thicker. No small pockets of hints and tiny openings where someone can peak through and start whittling away at it. No small offerings of escape. Or hope. Walls. Nothing but walls.

She contemplated texting him. Thanking him for a night well spent. Is that what people do? Thank their friends-with-benefits for sex? Possible hints at something more? Or wait at least a week, before the next text of, "hey, wanna come over?" Is there mutual respect?

In the moments of raw passion, yes, there are moments of mutual respect. Respect that the two of you can keep it on this level. That's what makes the sex more passionate. It's all a secret. It's all hidden. No one else knows. You respect each other on that level.

She checked her phone. Of course, there were no texts. Nothing indicating he'd arrived home safely. No one texting her, "good night." She undressed herself, yet again, and stepped into the shower. The warm water cleansed her being of the emotions that ran through her body. They washed down the drain and she, once again, regained her own respect. She stood up straight and planned her schedule for the next day. As she stepped out of the shower, she checked her phone, a habit and yet a need. No texts from him, but she did receive something. From another friend-with-benefits. "When can I see you?"

She set her phone down. Pulled the towel from her wet body and stared at herself in the mirror. "Is this really me?" she asked. Successful. Beautiful. Powerful. Wanted.

She dried her hair and slowly applied lotion to her drying skin. She looked at her gracefully sagging boobs and that waist that she can't quite perfect. She picked up her phone, "tonight?"

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Starting over... Again

The thing they don't tell you about breakups is that you have to learn to be okay with yourself again. A breakup is a huge blow to the heart, the ego, and the self. Back in April of this year, I broke up with my boyfriend of almost a year - we started dating a few months after my divorce. After five months apart this past summer, discovering ourselves and really questioning what we wanted, we decided to give it another try. Less than a month later, it was over again. I won't go into the why's as that is a very private matter. I still love him deeply and we're going to remain friends. Not only because we're really good together, but we also have commitments to each other outside of our romantic relationship that we can't throw away. We're tethered to each other for a long time. All of that aside, however, it still hurts.

Over the summer, while we were apart, I learned how to be alone. I went through some major self-discovery that involved a lot of really shitty nights, a lot of crying, and a lot of drinking. I made it out okay in the end and by the end of September (when we got back together) I was a new person. Someone who could be alone. Live alone. Survive alone. I put me first for the first time in my life and it was refreshing. I finally learned to love ME. And I made a LOT of films! My goodness did I work my ass off this year. I kept myself incredibly busy, it was nice.

We broke up this past Wednesday. I'm still recovering. This time, however, my recovery is different. There's crying, but not all out bawling. I'm not drinking (not tonight, anyway). HA! And I'm surrounding myself with friends more than I did the last time. My friends even said that I could eat dinner over their sink instead of over my sink if it means I don't have to eat alone. My friends love me. The part that I'm struggling with this time is relearning to be alone. It's easier, but it's still tough. There are no goodnight texts. No good morning texts. There's no one to hold me while I heal through this time in my life. The house feels empty again. Quiet. Cold.

You have to be okay with yourself again. Think about that. Process that. For those going through their own recovery after a breakup, or divorce, or death, know that you're going to be okay. You'll find yourself once more. This isn't the end.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Still Divorced

As most people know, because I haven't been terribly quiet about it over the last year-and-a-half, I am divorced. I divorced my husband of 11 years (partner of 16) last March. Signed and finalized papers came through in early April. I'm reminded of this fact every day when I step into my empty house and wake up in my empty bed. It's been a lonely struggle. It was necessary that it be lonely. I've had dear friends who have been there for me at the drop of a text or phone call. I've had friends show up unexpectedly with a bottle of wine because they just felt like I needed a human connection. My friends have kept me grounded, but the internal struggle has been mine and it has been necessarily lonely.

I've been doing really well with being divorced then going through a breakup with the man I dated post-divorce. I'm happy. I'm strong. I'm not lonely because I've finally gotten to the point of realizing just how much fun I am. Dance parties in my living room with my dog and cats at 1AM after working and doing homework all day. We have fun. We are all finally okay with me being single.

What started me on this particular post, however, was a reminder of the distance I've traveled since last March/April. It is time once again to fill out my FAFSA information as I start my third year of school at the end of August. My goodness how this time has flown by. Granted, I'm in an accelerated program where I earn a bachelor's degree in two years, eight months, but still, I've been in school now for over a year. And I haven't quit!! And I don't plan on quitting!

While filling out my information it asked me of my marital status, to which I replied "divorced." Then it asked me to fill out the date of that divorce. It was like a slap in the face that I was not prepared for. Tell us, dear student, when was it that you broke your marriage vows? When was it that you decided you wanted to walk the path of not being married? When was it that you chose to walk away from your marriage?

The decision to get a divorce was not made lightly. It took days, months, years. This is not to say that I was in a bad marriage. It's just that the decision didn't happen over night. Once you get a divorce, however, it feels like there is this stigma placed upon you. These forms, whether for FAFSA or opening a bank account, asks for your birthdate and the date you got a divorce. I understand that it is because your financial situation changes after a divorce, but still. There's a mark on you now. I usually feel like I wear it out in the open, on my sleeve. Don't touch me. I'm divorced. I'm scarred. There's something in me that is broken.

This hinders all relationships moving forward. It shouldn't, but it does. Those of us who have been through major heartbreak (which is everyone, don't lie) seal ourselves up. We lock that shit away. We keep our hearts hidden and safe from future heartbreak. I'm not opposed to falling in love again, but damn it, FAFSA, I don't want to tell you when I got a divorce. And on falling in love again... That is a touchy subject. I love many people, but to allow another person to break that seal around my heart is a big decision. I'm going to keep that key hidden under the rock next to my front door until someone finds it after meticulously looking and understanding what type of rock I hid it under. Is it the plain looking rock? Or the fancy one? Is it the one that looks like a skull? Or a heart?

All of this to say: I think I've finally made it. I understand myself. I know who I am as an individual. Not a wife. Not a partner. Not an appendage. I am me. A woman. A filmmaker. A person at peace. Someone who dances in her living room at one in the morning with her dog and cats, because she can.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Week of Summer

It is after 10pm on a Sunday night. This ends my week of summer vacation. As a college student in an accelerated program to get my bachelor's degree in 2 years 8 months, I only get one week off for summer and then it's back to the intensities of school. Since I only get one week off of school, I decided to take the entire week off of work as well. And it was worth it. I did not check any of my emails. So, if I have a 7am meeting tomorrow, I have no clue! And I will not be in attendance. So, there. That's not the professional way to handle things, but really, I do not even want to check my email at this point. I should be in bed. And it has been a long week of "vacation."

Let me start by saying that everything that happened this week, was instigated by me. How? I make the choices in my life. I choose what to say, who to say it to, what to do, and who to do it with. I started it. I have not yet finished it. That's the beauty and the disaster of only having one week off. I need more time.

My original plan was to drive to Oregon for a day and soak up the ocean. Renew my being with the energy of the waves and the fresh salt air. Instead, I agreed to work on a local film project. I.HAD.A.BLAST. And I am very happy with the decision that I made. Film is my life. So, starting my week off with film was perfect. I also ended it with film. I just got home from a meeting of great minds for another film project that is in the works and prepping to take off any day now. It's in my blood.

I don't know what I had hoped to accomplish this week. I had my ideas, but I really couldn't depend on anything. While I do make my own choices, they don't all just depend on me. Some choices involve other people.

I am on a journey. A journey to find myself. A journey to know who I am and to deal with who I am. There are so many aspects of myself that I dislike. So many aspects that I wish I could change, but in reality, that's who I am. These journeys we take ourselves on are not for the weak of heart. At the same time, there are aspects of myself that I LOVE. I'm pretty awesome. And I'm not ashamed to be my own cheerleader.

So... My week...

Sunday started with a bang. You know, the day before 4th of July. I had homework. I also had a short film shoot. It was fantastic and I got to work with some amazing people. We have good filmmakers in this town. Hollywood needs to pay attention. I also stayed up until the sun rose. Because I could. And I did. I haven't done that in a long time.

Monday was Independence Day. I took my dog to Swan Falls Dam to be near water. To sit. Think. And love. That afternoon I had drinks with one of my Besties and her boyfriend. And my ex-husband. It was not like old times when we all hung out together when we were married. But it was good times. New times. And we laughed. I spent the night at home. I passed out on the couch with my dog in my arms. He's afraid of fireworks.

Tuesday, I started unpacking boxes. Instead of buying a new house, I have decided to buy the other half of my current house from my ex-husband. It will be a month-long process. I just hope I don't have to repack everything again and attempt to move. Tuesday night was dinner with filmmaking friends, planning a short film, and location scouting. Film: Always prevalent in my life.

Wednesday, was the same with the boxes. I also met a dear friend for lunch and we talked about life. We both needed it. It was good. That evening, I went to an event in Boise called Alive After Five. I watched a local children's band play covers of 90's songs and enjoyed a couple of beers. I ran into a coworker and we talked. I then spent the evening sharing dinner with friends. Sushi. It is great for bringing people together.

Thursday I woke up late, because I stayed up late, and I think I unpacked more boxes. I also worked on some film stuff. Then Thursday night I went to see KISS live with a very good friend of mine. It was EPIC!!! I've never seen them perform and I was blown away. I was never a fan before, but they just gained a new one. Seriously. Awesome. Concert.

Friday morning was a big life changer. Banks. Loans. Life. It'll all come together eventually, I'm sure. Breakfast with my ex-husband. That night, I shot a short film with some fantastic friends who are also incredible actors and crew. We had a TON of fun. And I can't wait to edit this film together.

Saturday, I got a massage. My mind, body, and spirit were replenished. I needed this. I spent the rest of the day at home. Unpacking boxes and working on film stuff. Then a new friend called me to hang out until the bars close. So, I did.

Sunday, started as every Sunday does, with a hike with my beloved pup. We talked about life - I talked, he chased critters - and we enjoyed the peace of the empty trails due to rain. As I was writing a new script for an upcoming project, a friend contacted me and told me to show up at this time at this place to work on another film. So, I did. Because: FILM. After the meeting, we hung out at a book store. I didn't even think those existed any more!!! There were people there! And books! And then I came home. And instead of doing my chores, I chose to write in my blog and chat with a friend about life.

Life.

I need more time to figure shit out. It has been said by some random people that after a breakup, you need time. Time to figure shit out. Time to understand yourself. Time to learn who you are. I feel like I've only scratched the surface. This week off of braining for work and school was necessary, but I don't feel like it was long enough. I'm reinventing myself. I'm understanding who I am, but I need more time. I'm just going to have to fit this in among the work and the school and the personal film projects. I can do this. I make things work. Maybe my healing comes shoved between everything else I'm trying to accomplish in life. Healing. Between work. And school. And film. And friends.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

On Relationships

This post comes not on the heels of a date, nor after spending the night with someone, nor after hanging out with friends, or a hike alone with my dog. This post comes on the heels of multiple conversations with friends who are all in the same boat I'm in. This boat just keeps getting bigger, stopping to pick people up along the way.

We are all on our separate journeys. To assume that anyone is on the same journey we are on, is egotistical and unfair to the other people involved. We can be on similar paths. I have a ton of friends who are on a similar path as I, but those paths aren't the same. Some of us are on similar spiritual paths, but very different relationship paths. Some of us are on the same artistic paths, but very different political paths. Some of us are on similar movie-taste paths and vastly different musical-taste paths (no thank you, country music). Not one of us is, or should be, on the same path. There's enough room for all of us.

The journey I'm on involves a lot of people, but I walk it alone. I need to. You need to. This is how we grow. Every single person we meet on this path teaches us something about ourselves and in return we teach them something about them. I'm being taught how to love differently than I've ever loved before. I'm being taught that focusing on me opens doors to other opportunities. I'm being taught that broken hearts take a long time to heal and any relationship (friendship, lovers, business partners, or other) takes time to cultivate. Because we are all walking our own paths. When we meet someone and think, "I want to have a relationship with them (of any sort)," we have to realize that they too are walking and contemplating the direction that this relationship is headed. Our paths cross and sometimes they run parallel to each other, and sometimes (most of the time, I think) they keep going in opposite directions. Maybe those paths will cross again and this time, years later, they run parallel, because now, you've both grown. You've become the person you are today, who is different than the person you were yesterday, and you're able to make that relationship work differently and be more in sync with your life, and their life, today.

These crisscrossing of paths needs to happen naturally and not be forced. As we walk down a trail in the mountains, or on the beach, we can't force a path to cross another path. It's impossible, those paths are already packed into the ground, or the sand. We have to work toward reaching that path. We may veer off to pick a flower, or admire the sunset, but we eventually get back on that path and come to an intersection, followed by another, followed by another. At that point, we can decide to turn down a new path, keep going, or walk a path with someone else. And these paths are happening everywhere at every moment of every day. The kid that bags my groceries (although I go to Winco and bag my own, but that's beside the point) just crossed my path. Do I engage in conversation? Ask him how school is going? And if I do talk to him, we just made a connection, our paths crossed for a brief moment and maybe something I said will keep him motivated to stay in school. Or maybe something he said will make me cry in my car because it hit too close to home that day.

I am lucky enough to have crossed paths with many people. And I am blessed to walk different paths with different people. I think of my group of supportive friends who understand that I'm on a different path than they are. I choose working and school over taking a week to go backpacking in the wilderness. Because that's who I am. That's who they are. And we still love each other. And we are still able to sit together and enjoy the successes that each of us has. We walk similar paths, but we're all on our own separate journey.

Once we can accept that we are different in any relationship, even those of the family type, we have the ability to recognize that we can survive in this world. We may never see eye-to-eye on everything, but that's okay, we are all on our own journey. How we choose to interact with people is on us, how they choose to interact with us is on them. Compassion and understanding go a long way to accepting just how diverse we all are and how we are all walking our own paths. Once we stop forcing the outcome, we can live happier and more free, and enjoy this journey instead of fighting against it every step of the way.

Life changes. Relationships ebb and flow. We have the choice to treat each of these with the care and consideration that they all deserve. Letting things naturally unfold enables growth and prevents us from going mad at the prospect of starting something new with someone. Or rekindling a friendship. I am rekindling. I am starting something new. I am enabling growth in my current relationships. I am growing and becoming me with the aid of the people I know. I hope you do the same. Cross those paths and let whatever happens with them happen. Connections are a beautiful thing.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Let it click

Hey you. Yeah you. This post is about you. This post is for you. And in a way, it's for me. It is difficult for me to describe what I've been going through for the last two years. I just celebrated my two year anniversary in a job that I have worked for my entire life. And I didn't even know that this type of job could be possible. Two years. I'm still here. The day passed without notice until now, when I realized what day it was. Two years. That's a long time. But again, it's not. This post is for you.

Time. It is relevant, yet irrelevant. It passes us at a snail's pace. And it passes us in the blink of an eye. Two years ago, I started a job in my chosen career path - I make videos for a living. Two years ago, I was shooting my first feature film. Two years ago, life was different. Two years ago, my life changed.

Last year, my life was not what is was the year before and it is not what it is today. Last year at this time, I was devastated by a divorce. I was trying to understand everything happening in my life. In the process, I almost lost my job. In the process, I won my company an award. In the process, I created some of the best art I've created to date. In the process, I started school. In the process, I lost myself. In the process, I discovered myself.

There's still more to discover. There's still more to process. There's still more to learn about me. And I'm getting there.

We all have our independent journeys. Not a single one of us is the same, but we are similar. We are dealing with the same shit. We are trying to understand who we are in the middle of the bullshit that has been flung at us. We are trying.

That pain that you feel. Feel it. Don't deny it. These rollercoasters of emotion is what make us who we are. It is what helps us grow. It is what heals us. At the same time. Accept those moments of pure ecstasy. Where everything seems nearly perfect. Where life is amazing. Where we can breathe and realize just how incredible we are for making it through another day.

Over the last few weeks, something in me has clicked. I've been going through life in a haze. Literally, a haze. For the last few months, I couldn't remember appointments I'd made. I couldn't remember conversations I'd had. I couldn't remember if I had fed my dog and cats, or not. I was not myself. I was me. But I wasn't. I was a different version of me that I hadn't known before. The version that was trying to piece everything together. The version that didn't know her front from her back, her head from her feet.

Then something clicked. I can see clearly now (the song starts playing in my head). I see what's in front of me, I see what's behind me, and I see what is happening now. I am okay. You are okay. This click changed something in my Universe. I have so many people who have been reaching out to me lately. And it's not for a date. It's for real. People who need someone to talk to. Someone to feel safe with. Someone to love. I clicked in my own life and the Universe changed.

It can happen for you. I don't know how. And I don't know when. But it will happen. Something will change. That moment. That specific moment when you face yourself and realize that you're going to be okay. It is so subtle. And then you notice everything happening around you. The life changes. The people. The hands reaching out to you. The hearts needing you.

We need you. We need you to stick around. Don't go away. You are too important. To me. To everyone. That moment of change. That moment of realization is going to happen. You. We. Us. We're all going to make it. Keep fighting. Life is precious. Give it time to click. Because it will. And then you can tell someone else your story. And help them click. Help them slip into the fold. Help them become them. Help them overcome this difficult road in life. This road ends and become another road. Help them. Help you.

Be real. Be authentic. Be you. Everything is going to be okay. Let life and love happen. It's all we can do.

Monday, June 27, 2016

On Being Single

I know that I write a lot about being single. I also know that it bothers some people. Let me be the first to say, that I actually really like my life. I'm happy. And this blog post is about to get real.

I like that I can sleep in a queen bed alone (along with three cats, but that's beside the point). I sleep diagonally and I may, or may not wear pajamas. Because I can. I don't have to ask anyone if I can, or can't do something. I don't have to check in with anybody, because there's no one to check in with. If I want to go out at 11:30 on a Sunday night to have a drink with a friend because shit just went down in the world and we both need someone to talk to, I can. I eat soup out of a can at 9pm because I was busy making a film and forgot to eat. Sometimes I only eat a PB&J sandwich. Sometimes I eat half a jar of pickles. I have my responsibilities, yes. I work full time. I attend school full time. I take care of my dog and cats, more than full time. I also make films in my free time, hang out with friends, and occasionally sleep in on the weekends. I do all of these things as an independent, responsible, carefree woman who knows what she wants and goes after it like a boss. I am not weak and I don't need someone to complete me.

However.

It can be lonely.

I have amazing friends who I know would be there for me in a heartbeat if only I would ask. I have family members who will answer a text if I would only send it.

The tough part about being single - not alone, mind you, remember those supportive friends I have? - is not having someone there, in your house to share your joy and sorrow with. I choose not to have a roommate because I don't want my dog to go through separation anxiety after that roommate inevitably leaves. It has taken a year of training just to make him feel comfortable with me being his alpha. I can't have someone else enter my life (read: home) and leave again only to have to retrain and console my dog about the fact that people do leave. I get it. He doesn't.

But being alone in a house, when you hit a point in creating a film where you want to jump up-and-down and sing and dance because you just edited the fuck out of that film, can be tough. Those moments of pure joy and accomplishment should be shared! I want to sing my awesomeness to someone! I want someone to watch what I just created and laugh and cry with me. I do share my work with my friends, but that moment, just after you add the last dissolve into black to end your film. That moment, my friends. That moment is huge. And there's no one in the house to share it with.

The same goes for the heartache and sorrow. After a rough day at work, or hearing horrible news, sometimes all you want is someone to hold you. Or to be able to hold someone and share your warmth. We need touch. We need to feel like everything is going to be okay, even if it's not, and sometimes those feelings of okay can only come when someone holds you tight. Or touches you and makes you feel loved and wanted.

Touch. Joy. Exuberance. Love. Shared emotions. Peace.

Being single is cool. There is a lot I'm not saying about this ride, but I am having one hell of a good time with it. But it is also tough when all you want to do is share a dance, or a song with someone because you're happy. Or share a cuddle because you're sad.

I sit alone in my big house at 12:15am, knowing that I have to wake up for work in less than six hours, celebrating my independence and the fact that I just created an amazing short film. I'm sharing my joy through a blog post, because there is no one here to dance with me.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Friend





I wrote the following story for my creative writing class at Full Sail University. It went through several drafts before I felt confident enough to turn it in. The above graphic is the movie poster that I created for this short story. Maybe someday I'll produce it...



Her tear-stained face looked around for someone, anyone, to hold onto. Delilah watched as the other neighborhood kids ran through the wooded forest. She longed to run with them, but knew that she didn’t fit in. No matter how much she wanted it, she knew that they could never be friends. She imagined what their lives might be like and what it might be like to be friends with each and every one of them. A boy her same age whispered in her ear, “Let’s go play.”

Delilah turned around, but saw nothing.

A gust of wind blew through the trees and Delilah’s hope of seeing her speaker was gone. She trudged through the brush knowing that it would soon be time for dinner.

“Did you make friends today, Delilah, or did you get scared again?” her mom asked as she set a plate of peas and mashed potatoes down in front of her eight-year-old daughter.

Delilah thought about it for a moment. “Someone talked to me, but I didn’t make any friends. I got scared again.”

“Honey, I’m sure they would be happy to accept you as their friend,” her mom said, while tearing some chicken onto Delilah’s plate, “All you have to do is ask. It’s not that hard.”

Delilah sniffed her warm plate of food and pushed it away from her. “I’m tired of eating chicken.”

“I know, Honey,” her mom said as she walked away.

Delilah stared at her plate, trying her hardest to hold back tears. She thought of all the kids who were still out playing in the woods and wondered what they might eat for dinner. “Probably not chicken,” she mumbled to herself.

“Probably not,” she imagined the boy from the woods whispering.

Delilah looked at her mom and wondered if she should tell her about the boy she met that afternoon. The one who peaked through the trees with her as she watched the other kids.

“Well, there is this boy,” Delilah began.

“Really? A boy? What’s his name? Have you held hands yet?” her mom asked.

Delilah swallowed and thought hard about this boy she met. She thought about what he looked like, how he smelled, and what kinds of clothes he wore. He had thick jet-black hair, deep calcite-blue eyes, and olive skin. He smelled like comfort, dirt, and lavender after a rainstorm. He stood just slightly taller than Delilah, and his hands were always covered in dirt. He liked to wear jeans and t-shirts with kittens on them. When he smiled at Delilah, her whole heart swelled; he made her feel like a person. She loved this boy from the moment that he whispered in her ear, “I’ll be your friend forever.”

“His name is Jason,” Delilah told her mom. “And he’s my best friend.”

“That’s wonderful Delilah! I’m glad you finally found a friend! Will I get to meet him someday?”

Delilah took a deep breath, “Maybe, he’s very shy.” She sat for a moment and thought hard about her next steps. Then she gestured to her left and said, “Jason, come meet my mom.”

Her mom stared at the empty space beside her daughter.

“Isn’t he cute?” Delilah asked, an unmistakable smile spread across her face. “He’s going to be my friend forever.”

As Delilah got older, she would often reminisce about her time playing in those woods. And while most of the time she played alone, she always knew that Jason was there trying to talk to her. He understood her.

One morning, while Delilah was in the girl’s bathroom getting ready for her seventh-grade science class, she caught a glimpse of a figure behind her. She turned around to see who might be needing the mirror, but saw no one.

“Delilah, hurry up,” said a girl in Delilah’s class, “We’re going to be late.”

Delilah quickly finished fluffing her hair and turned to walk out.

“Did you see that guy?” Delilah asked.

“Ew! No! Boys aren’t allowed in the girl’s bathroom,” the girl said.

“I know, but,” Delilah could see that the girl wasn't listening, “Never mind.”

Even through middle school and high school, Delilah didn’t make any close friends. She tried. She tried every day. She joined the school orchestra after much prodding from her mom, and even auditioned for the drama club one afternoon. Her nerves would always get the best of her, though; she would clam up when people would try to talk to her and then she would run away. In high school, when a group of girls was forced by the school counselor to ask her to hang out with them at lunch, she found herself hiding in the farthest corner of the school library refusing to eat with them. The pressure was too much. Not just from Mom, but from everyone else around her. She wanted a friend, desperately, but what was so important about finding one RIGHT NOW?! Not everyone has the ability to make friends! Sometimes people are scary! How could they not understand this?

“Mom, Jason asked me to be his boyfriend,” Delilah proudly said one day after school. She was standing in the same kitchen that she grew up in, while her mom sat at the table drinking coffee.

Delilah’s mom stared at her daughter. She took a slow sip of her coffee and glanced in Jason’s general direction, “When did this happen?”

“Today, when I was in the library, hiding from a group of girls. Jason came and sat with me. We read a book together and then he asked me out. We haven’t kissed yet though, so don’t worry about that.”

“Well, you should take things slowly, you have all the time in the world, Honey,” her mom said, still staring at her daughter. She silently watched as Delilah and Jason turned around to head up to Delilah’s bedroom, then she dropped her head into her hands.

Months later, Delilah walked through the living room wearing an aqua-blue dress that shimmered in the dim light and hung just below her knees. Her hair was done up in a loose bun and she wore a pair of her mom’s dangly silver earrings.

“You look beautiful, Delilah,” her mom said, “Have fun at the dance tonight.”

“Thanks, Mom! Jason and I are going to meet some friends there.”

“Have these friends met Jason before?”

“Well, we are at the same school, but they haven’t officially met yet. He doesn’t talk to anyone but me. I’m going to introduce him tonight, though,” Delilah said.

“How do you know these friends?” her mom asked.

“They’re from the drama club. Jason wants to help out backstage, which is why I’m introducing him to them. I think they’d all get along great.”

“Honey, can I talk to you and Jason for a minute?”

“Okay, but we don’t have much time. The dance is going to start soon.” Delilah sat down on the couch next to her mom, leaving room for Jason beside her.

“Honey…”

“Jason thinks you look pretty tonight. He’s very happy that you think we make a cute couple. He said that maybe someday you can be his mom too,” Delilah interrupted. “You know, like get married.”

Delilah’s mom reached for her daughter’s hand. “Honey, I think I’ve put too much pressure on you to find a friend.”

“If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t have met Jason,” said Delilah.

“Yes, I realize that now,” her mom said. “I remember you talking about Jason when you were a little girl.”

Delilah smiled at her mom and remembered the first day she told her mom about him too. She remembered how she felt when she finally met someone who understood her and listened to her and actually wanted to be with her. She remembered how lonely she had been before Jason and how awful it was that her mom kept telling her that she needed to make friends. She knew she would make them in time, but it was taking too long and every night was the same with the questions. Until Jason showed up. She told her mom about Jason and everything was better. Mom stopped asking if she was making friends and would instead ask her about Jason. She loved talking to her mom about Jason. Better still, she was never alone, Jason was always there to cheer her up and help her with her homework. Jason was her best friend, her boyfriend, and maybe her future husband.

“Mom, we really have to go to the dance. We don’t want to be late,” Delilah said.

“Honey, you can’t introduce Jason to your friends in the drama club,” her mom finally said.

“Why not? You don’t think they’ll like him?”

“I think they’ll like him just fine, but, Delilah, you need to understand something about Jason,” Delilah’s mom swallowed hard. “Jason isn’t real.”

Delilah stared at her mom, her mouth slowly opening as she started to question her mother’s statement.

“Mom, what are you saying? You’ve known Jason since we were eight. He’s here,” she gestured to her left. “Wait, maybe he went in the kitchen. Jason!” she called.

“Delilah,” her mom reached for her hand again.

Delilah stood up, “Jason?” She looked around.

“Delilah, he’s not here. Jason isn’t real,” her mom stood up too.

“No, Mom! You’re crazy! He just walked away for a minute! He’ll be back! We’re going to the dance together. I’m going to introduce him to my friends! He’s going to help out backstage. JASON!” She called again.

Delilah desperately looked around the room. Her mom stood watching. Delilah’s face contorted in despair.

“Delilah, I think you need to stay home tonight,” her mom said.

Delilah sunk to the ground and began to cry. They were quiet tears at first, then her body began to tremble as she started to sob. Her mom held her in her arms and slowly rocked her back and forth.

“I’m sorry, Baby,” her mom said.

“I don’t believe you,” Delilah choked through frantic sobs. “He’s real.”

“Honey, I am so sorry,” her mom said as she began to cry with her daughter. “Life’s not fair. Sometimes our friends leave us forever. Sometimes they go off and create a new life of their own. A life with a new family. A life that doesn’t involve you.”

“She’s lying,” Delilah heard him whisper. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Delilah sat up and stared at her crying mother. “Mom, you know Daddy’s not coming back.”

“I know, Honey,” Delilah’s mom sobbed, “I am so very sorry.”

It was Delilah’s turn to hold her mom in her arms. “Jason’s not going to leave us,” Delilah said, “He’s better than that.”

Delilah and her mom sat there on the floor together, crying and pushing each other’s hair out of their eyes. They looked at each other, both recognizing just how much pain and hurt they had each endured; understanding their individual loneliness and embracing the truth of what they had both become. They saw each other now through their tears and understood everything.

“I’ll be your friend forever,” Jason whispered, “I’ll never leave you.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Change

"Are you an idiot?" she asked me.

I thought about it for a split second. After all, she was referring to my current life situations that she knows about...

"You're working full-time, and going to school full-time. That's got to be insane. Are you an idiot?"

"I'm also attempting to sell my house and buy a new one," I told her.

She looked at me in disbelief.

---

I had to ask myself, "am I an idiot? Am I crazy for doing all of this at once?"

In order to put my house on the market, I not only have to pack, but I also have to make it presentable. That means painting the baseboards that were never painted when we moved in three-and-a-half years ago. That means doing yard work; massive yard work. Before I mowed this weekend, my grass was up to mid-shin and my weeds, in some areas, are at (or above) my waistline. As I was mowing on Saturday afternoon, with my manual push-mower, I got stuck on a rather tall, thick patch of grass. As I pushed and strained to get the mower through the grass, the thought occurred to me:

I.HATE.THIS.PLACE.

That moment, summed it all up. It is not just my physical location. It is where I am at at this point in my life. I am struggling with depression and it is time to move. I need to get out of here. I need to get over this bump in my journey. So, I'm packing up two lives and a production company (my ex-husband didn't take much when he moved out), working full-time, and going to school full-time. I take my dog and cat for a run twice a week, I go to the gym three times a week, I am managing to get it all done. So far...

My saving grace, what is keeping me going and keeping my head above water right now, are my friends. I've finally started asking for help and reaching out to them, and they are opening their arms to help me.

I have friends who take me to see musicals in the middle of the week, so that I can take a break and remind myself of where I was once-upon-a-time, years ago, when I was young and able to spend hours upon hours at the theatre, singing, dancing, and acting. I have friends who make me dinner and take me to a movie so that I can stop my life for a minute and experience their life. I have friends who go hiking with me. Friends who take me to beer and taco festivals at a local brewery. I have friends who come and pull my weeds. I have friends who take me to breakfast on the weekends. Friends who check-up on me via text, or facebook messenger. Friends who make sure that I'm still kicking.

---

"Yes, yes, I am an idiot," I replied, before she walked away.

---

I'm an idiot for taking on so much, but I don't know when the hell else I'm going to do this. I won't quit my job because not only do I need to make money, but I'm actually doing what I set out to do - I make videos every day. It's not Hollywood, but it is a career path. I won't quit school, because I am a year in and I have never felt better about pursuing a degree. I won't stay in this house, because it hurts too much to live here.

I am allowing myself to be an idiot while I go through this change. I have to. I promised myself that I would get through this. Besides, I don't boring very well. And my life is anything but boring.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Love

It's been awhile since I've written. Life has been busy to an almost unhealthy degree. Life has also been beautiful, amazing, full of love, and quite shitty. I think that can describe just about anyone's life. We have our ups and downs; our roller coasters and our straight lines that we can walk with ease; our dreams and our fears; our loves and our heartbreaks.

What I'm about to write is going to be incredibly difficult for me, but I feel that I need to tell some portion of my story before I decide that I'm too busy to tell it. And maybe my story can help others heal in their own process of love and loss. I won't reveal everything, because that is not for everyone to know. Some secrets are best left untold and only understood by the people involved.

This post is not in anyway an act of revenge. This post is not meant to diminish the characters of the people involved. In fact, the people I'm about to write about are a couple of the biggest loves I've ever had the privilege of experiencing in my life. Please do not assume things about me or the people involved in my story. If you want some clarification, feel free to ask, chances are I won't indulge. Some things are better left unwritten and kept hidden in the corners of my heart.

Last Wednesday, April 6th, was my one-year anniversary of the day that my divorce papers were signed. I tried to let the day pass without thought, but that's not fair to the memory of my marriage or my divorce. Every moment that we experience in this life is a moment that is a part of us. We can't change the past. We shouldn't try to. And we also shouldn't try to forget it. Each moment is a chance to grow and become our best selves. So, I've marked these anniversaries in my calendar. I recognize the anniversary of the day I got married to the love of my life. I recognize the anniversary of the day I asked for a divorce, the day I started living alone, and the day that our papers were signed by the court. These are important dates. These experiences are what make me who I am.

Yesterday, I started what will become a new anniversary. I broke up with the man I've been seeing since last May. Yes, only a month after my divorce I began seeing someone who helped me heal, gave me hope, and made me feel things that I hadn't felt in years. We kept our relationship quiet until just recently. Only a few friends knew and I am so grateful that I got to share that aspect of my life with them. Last night, a month before our own one-year anniversary, I told him that I had to leave the relationship.

Heartbroken doesn't even begin to describe what I'm going through right now. I really don't even know if there is a word for this awful pain. I won't go into why. Just like I didn't go into why I asked for a divorce. The why doesn't matter to anyone but me and the men involved in my life. What does matter is that these men made such an impact in my life. And when you truly love someone the loss you feel over a divorce, or breakup, is immense. You just want to stop your life and ask for a few days off to regroup and really determine if this was the best decision you've made, or if yet again, you made a huge mistake. But you can't. Life doesn't come with days off. Life just keeps going. After my heartbreaking conversation last night, I had to write a four-page script for my pre-production class. Funny thing is that my script is about revenge. It's just a coincidence. A really unfortunate coincidence, but I believe this might be one of my better scripts. Just saying.

Then, as I was writing my script, I got news from a family member that an old friend of mine had passed away that morning. Life never stops. Life never gives us a break. Whether it's a break from our own hearts, our own minds, the shit that goes on from day-to-day, there is never a break. We've all learned to cope with that in our own way. My like-minded friends turn to telling stories, whether it be on the page, on film, or with our bodies in dance. That's how we cope. I also cry into my pillows at night and drink booze. We all have our vices.

I am confident that these experiences in my own life will help me grow. I imagine that I've already grown, I just don't see it yet. I can't feel it because my entire being is trying to heal from the pain of two relationships that ended within a year of each other. I want to say that my walls are going up. That no one can reach me, but I'm sure that's not true. Walls may go up, but that doesn't mean that they can't be broken down. I want to say that I'm going to swear off relationships until I graduate from college in early 2018. But seriously... no sex for two more years? That's harsh. Although relationships don't equal sex and sex doesn't equal relationships, but two years is a long time to swear off something that you can't control. We all know that our heart has a mind of it's own. I can't control that heart and neither can you.

School and work will definitely be my focus though. That and taking care of my dog and my cats. We're in the process of moving, the five of us. I've finally started pulling things off the walls and packing away the books that I've carried around through 16 years of a relationship that was so deep and so beautiful, yet flawed in its own special way. It is time to sell the house that I bought with my ex-husband over three years ago. It is time to move into my own space. A place that I can call mine and feel comfortable entering after a day at work. A place that my dog can grow and my cats can bask in the sun. And then, after I graduate in 2018, who knows. My thoughts are looking toward California and what that state has to offer in the film industry. Besides, if my brothers will have me, I would love to live close to them. Those two men, along with my dad, mom, and sister, have been beacons of hope and love throughout my entire life. They are the people who make me feel secure and capable of anything in this lifetime.

As I began writing this post, I could hardly contain my emotions. I couldn't see my computer monitor through my tears. As I get close to my conclusion, my heart is hopeful and looking forward to what life might throw at me next. On Sunday, I will be heading to Vegas for NAB, a film, video, and broadcasting conference. I'm going on my own dime, but with the label of the company that I work for. I plan to learn new things, network with people in my field, and build my future. Although I've travelled alone multiple times over the last year, this will be the truly first time that I will be completely traveling alone. I'm not meeting up with a friend, or family member as I've done in previous trips. I'm arriving alone, staying in a super-sketchy motel alone, networking alone, eating meals alone, drinking alone, and leaving alone. My nights will consist of work (checking emails and such) and doing my schoolwork. Like I said: life never stops. It continues forward. School, work, conferences, love, heartbreak, family, friends, everything keeps moving forward. This moment will never happen again.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Loneliness

No one ever tells you that one of the hardest things to deal with after a divorce is loneliness. At least, no one ever told me. Although, I guess I never asked. March 20th will be my one year anniversary of living alone. I still have two months to go before I reach that one year mark and every day feels like five years. I live in the same house that I lived in with my ex-husband for two-and-a-half years. There are still photos hanging on the walls of the two of us together. I don't know what to do with them. He didn't take much when he moved out, so I still have all his movies, books, and furniture from when he was a kid. His desk, his night stands, his childhood shelves, all still in my house holding "our" things. This house full of stuff and none of it belongs solely to me.

I arrive home from work and walk into an empty house expecting someone to greet me at the door with a beer and a hug. Someone to listen to the stories of my day. Someone who can walk the dog with me and clean the cat litter while I make dinner. Someone to ask me, "how was your day?" These expectations go unmet. I walk into a house void of humans. My cats are there to welcome me and my dog is waiting for his evening walk through the neighborhood. But I can't talk to them. I don't want to share the pain of my day. I don't want them to feel what I feel.

I make dinner for a family of six - throwbacks to when I was a kid making dinner for my family. Tearing the lettuce apart and cutting the tomatoes for the salad. Making rice and cooking the chicken (although now it's tofu). I don't know how to cook for one. So my freezer fills up with leftovers that I don't want to eat. I open a beer and start drinking.

Luckily, I started school a month-and-a-half after we divorced and he moved out. I have enough to keep me busy most of the time. But sometimes there's not enough homework to keep me busy and so my brain gets lonely and I have no one to talk to. I've stopped writing, because it's difficult to put all these thoughts into coherent sentences. And to be honest, I've become so addicted to reading about other people's lives on facebook that I don't have time to write. I don't know what it is, but the lives of my friends keep me company. I at least get to read about someone's day.

After the homework is done, the dishes are put away, the cat litter is scooped, and the dog has been walked, I crawl into the bed that he and I shared for ten years. I know that's a long time for anyone to keep a bed, I just haven't had the opportunity to replace it yet. At least the sheets are new. And the pillows. The pillows are new. I bought two - one for my head and the other for cuddling. He and I never cuddled when we slept together. We were that couple who slept on the farthest sides of the bed from each other with at least one cat always between us. So I'm not sure why I've taken to holding this second pillow tight to my chest. I hold it like I would a person - the pseudo comfort that my body weeps for after a long day. I hold it and I fall asleep. Waking up the next morning to realize that this is still my life and I'm in charge now.

I make myself coffee and breakfast and pack my lunch. I feed the animals and take the dog for a walk. I make sure the appliances are turned off and I lock all the doors. I leave my babies for the day while I make money to pay for our house and our food. And I come home again to feel the emptiness that I felt the night before. But every day gets a little easier. Every day I know that I'm crawling further out of the hole that I feel I've been buried in for almost a year. Every day I find more comfort in my own mind and heart. Every day I become my new best friend. Every day I'm a little bit stronger.