Everything I Learned…I Learned From Fast Cars & Toretto

I remember sitting in the theater, packed and hot–teeming with anticipation, waiting for the first glimpses of tricked out foreign cars and mysterious macho actors. From the first scene to the last, I sat on the edge of my seat wishing I, too, could rip through city streets and zip under 18 wheelers. That night, I learned about the Rush.

The Rush is a feeling you get when your body is crackling with electricity. The smile on your face is pure joy. The palms of your hands are sweaty with anticipation. The beat of your heart is beyond normal. The Rush reminds you that you are alive. Every idea, every dream, every ‘what if’ spins around until they blur and you realize you are capable of everything.

I remember sitting in the theater, all of us feeling the sting of the loss of Letty, feeling so heavy in the seat. From the moment she died until the end, nothing quite felt the same. None of it felt….good…except Toretto’s love. That night, I learned about Love & Loss.

We all know Love & Loss–no further explanation needed. That was the night I actually questioned Love…what it was and what it really felt like…if I actually had it. I knew Loss, or at least some version of what I envisioned Loss to be, but I did not know Loss as it was connected to Love.

I remember standing in the isle, shortly after the credits finished rolling. The theater crowd was thinning but when we heard voices, we all froze. Something more was happening. Life was changing. Letty was alive and everything as we knew it was about to be turned upside down. We all stood, frozen, mouths agape at the thought of what was to come. That night I learned of what Possibility felt like.

I buzzed about the Possibilities of Letty for the rest of the afternoon. Possibility is endless. I started to see the Possibility in everything. What if, What would happen if, Where could, How should, Why…. With Possibility, Life becomes much more exciting and unpredictable. The end never seems so fixed when Possibility is involved.

It all sounds kinda nerdy, I guess, but when sitting in the theater watching silver screen friends (who happen to be real life friends) say good-bye to one of their own it didn’t feel nerdy at all. It felt incomplete. It was sad. I was sad. Everything I had learned over the last decade, I had learned through fast cars, corny one liners and bad ass drivers….and here it was….finished yet not on their/our terms.

I walked out of the theater neither interested in staying past the credit roll or bothering to see if there would be a ‘what’s next’. I took the experience, a decade and some change long, and packed it away. I packed away the Love & Loss, the Possibility, the Unfinished, and the Rush and put them on a mental shelf to be revisited later when in need. I smiled to myself thinking of something Toretto said (by which I currently live), “I live life a quarter mile at a time…” That’s all we have really.

~SM

Goin’ To The Chapel And We’re…

No. Not me. I am not getting married, but a friend of mine (Big Show) is and I voluntarily immersed myself in the sea of wedding stuff. It has been a conversation between Big Show and I for the past month and it has me thinking….is marriage all that bad?

Truth be told, my parents have been together for about 40 years and they are both relatively young (in an old person young kinda way), so they might have another 40 years to go. That’s 80 years with the same person….day in….day out. Their mud butts, their farts, their snores, their laughs, their illnesses, their boogers….80 years. The thought of that makes me sweat and break out into hives.

But the flip side is (and yes, I am officially acknowledging the actual flip side to marriage–ugh) love. My parents love one another. The two recent couples I witnessed jumping the broom clearly love one another. Marriage is complicated, no doubt about that, but if the bond is love….isn’t that enough?

Sifting through all of this wedding crap is fun in a girly kinda way, but in the end when everything is stripped away and it is just the bride and her groom that is where the fun begins. Thinking of it that way doesn’t make it so scary. Could I actually consider marriage again? Mmmmmmm……idunno. That 80 year thing kinda has me spooked. For now, though, I will leave the fluffy dresses and flowers to Big Show. I’ll giggle and sift through a bajillion bridal mags all the while pretending not to be breaking out into hives ๐Ÿ˜›

~SM

 

Writing. That’s It.

I went on a job interview yesterday. A simple job, yet a little different from where I am now. The tasks are basically the same. The money just a few dollars more and the hours are greater than the 20 I work presently. The interview went well. I spoke properly. I looked him in the eye. I shook his hand. I looked professional (afro included). As I said my good-byes and thank yous and headed out of the door, I knew it wouldn’t make me happy.

I went on a job interview yesterday. I need to make more money. I would like to move. I would like to save. I would like to send the kids to college and a part time paycheck just does not cut it–so….I went on an interview yesterday. But it isn’t what I want.

Not the job, per say. The job was neat. I would learn a few new skills, meet some new people, and perhaps add another 5+ year employer to my resume….but it isn’t what I want.

What I want is this. Right here. Right now. A desk. A phone. Converses on my feet. A cute shapeless dress on my body. A computer. A keyboard. And words. I want the creative license to just….be. I want words and enlightened thoughts spilling out onto blank pages. I want this.

When I told YG my thoughts on the interview yesterday, he fell silent for a moment and finally said, “Want to know what I see you doing? I see you writing. That’s it. Writing.” Me too. I see it too.

I went on an interview yesterday and by the amount of “Thank You for Your Resume Submission” emails I receive daily (due to my job applying marathons), I will likely go on more. I have to be realistic, right? We need to eat and bathe and live with lights. So, I will go on more interviews and apply for more jobs just as a cheating spouse would continue to go home and pretend to like their partner—all the while dreaming/loving/fantasizing about something (someone) else.

~SM

Its Tough Being Good To You

Right now I am sitting in a nail salon, in a pedicure chair trying to ignore the petite Asian lady with the sparkly pants pick at my toes. I’m watching the girl about ten feet from me getting her nails filed and painted. We decided that while her brother was at practice, we would do girly things. But this girly thing is giving me a heart attack…slowly and quietly.

My mother is the best. She has a straight line to God’s heart and His ear. She often knows just the right prayer to pray and at just the right time without a word from the person she’s praying for. She often sends cards and small amounts of money for us to just spend on things other than regular life. For the kids it’s often candy and for me it’s usually gas, even though her instructions are to use it on myself. Last month, I opened up the mailbox to find an unexpected card with an unexpected blessing in it. How did she know I needed it? I immediately put it up in a safe place and managed to make it to pay day without spending it.

It has been my goal to save it and keep it until I find something worthy to spend it on like a broken pinky toe cast…light bill…bail (just saying), but this afternoon I decided to spend it on me.

So here I sit, getting my toe nails painted practically having a stroke because this seems frivolous and irresponsible. Sure, the rent is paid and yes the power bill is finally caught up. The Boy’s extra curricular activities have a 0 balance and I even managed to get an oil change. But getting your toes and nails painted doesn’t help with putting food on the table or gas in the car (unless you are a porn star). I should have run like the wind when she patted the chair. I should have thrown up the cross and backed out of the door when she told me to pick out a color. I should have been more responsible.

The saving grace…the only thing keeping me from keeling over in this stupid, vibrating chair…is seeing the girl flash me her nails and smile. The anguish, the self-imposed guilt, and the continual running list of better things to do with $30 sorta fade away seeing her pampered and happy. Maybe she’ll remember this moment one day. Maybe she finally feels the boy’s shadow moving out of her sunshine, just a little. Maybe she just feels good about feeling good. It is tough being good to yourself, but sometimes it’s ok to be good to you even if it feels heart attacky in the beginning.

~SM

What IS This, Exactly?

I am not one for a bunch of emotion. I think these past two years have been the most outwardly emotional I have been in quite some time (or maybe ever). I know what those look/feel like. I know what fear looks like; I know what joy feels like; I know what anger says….but as of late I am a walking cesspool of butterflies and smiles. WTF is that???

I caught myself smiling at the ceiling at work one morning–lost in thought. I found myself battling butterflies and squishy insides one afternoon. I called Brooklyn yesterday and literally screamed in her ear for no reason other than just to get whatever this crap is out. What is happening to me?

I left my car keys hanging in the car door. I left my office keys hanging in my desk drawer. I can barely string together a sentence or comprehend what people are saying because my brain is like scrambled eggs (gosh that sounds good right now…I’m starving…see what I mean…lost focus). My heart skips beats and I swear I blush about 50 times a day. I am a walking, barely talking skin bag full of squishiness and fog.

Even now I sit with butterflies in my belly, floating from one end to another. Do I have some sort of disease? Is it Shingles? I have had chicken pox, you know. Scarlet Fever? The Flu? It’s not crabs because my gentiles don’t itch. And, no, I am not with child–this uterus is on lock down. Perhaps the Zombie Virus is a real thing and my body is fighting it with a vengeance? Whatever is happening, it feels funky but it feels good. I feel like I am floating beyond Cloud 9.

~SM

Cinderella: The Demise of Relationship Reality

I sat in a theater seat next to The Girl and watched wide eyed and hopeful as (Cinder)Ella found her true love. I can’t lie, I believed in that whole story book love until a few years ago. I believed in Prince Charmings and Love At First Sightings. I believed that love is everlasting and can heal all ails. I believed in big beautiful dresses and romantic moments. I believed the fairy tales spun for my enjoyment as a little girl and I carried the possibility of those tales with me for well over 30 years. Sitting there, watching ‘true love’ spill off of the screen left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Reality is far from that depiction of relationships. It saddened me a bit.

I remember the year I told the kids Santa wasn’t real. It changed Christmas forever. It just doesn’t feel the same. The magical bubble had been popped and now it feels like just another lazy t.v. watching day off from school and work. Watching Cinderella felt similar. The magical bubble of true love and fairy god-mothers and beautiful dresses and Prince Charmings had been popped. It felt just like another lazy movie watching day off from work and school.

At some point little girls began to believe in the picture Cinderella and her Prince painted. The ugly duckling, the diamond in the rough being polished by true love (which prevails all–even ugly stepmothers). ย The long suffering turned into happily ever after by the mere locking of eyes and the glitter of goodness. The happily ever after was left to the imagination of girls barely old enough to spell their names. They believed Cinderella and her Prince lived in a beautiful home with beautiful happy children and fortune always. Little did they know none of it was true.

The wedding with gowns and tuxes and grand parties and glasses clinking is a nod in Cinderella’s direction. The big houses filled with 2 kids (one of each gender), a dog and a cat are nods into Cinderella’s direction. But where is the debt or the sleepless nights? Where are the ‘i hate you’s’ or the ‘i’m leaving’s? Where are the dirty diapers and the lay offs? Where is the changing of the guard when the infamous ‘mid-life crisis’ hits? Where is the day when love just isn’t enough?

I sat next to The Girl a little sad for her. Relationship reality was found no where near Cinderella and her handsome (deliciously gorgeous) Prince, and should she choose to believe in the story unfolding on the silver screen it might come with a rude awakening someday. I stared at the screen hoping to naively believe in that again, but to no avail. It was no use. Relationship reality has set in and set up shop. Perhaps it is best–fairy tales belong in story books and on silver screens…not in homes filled with bills and dirty diapers.

~SM

The Nutty Professor: Step 3

With The Kids pulling the growing up move on me and with my life starting sorta over from scratch, I took an inventory of where I stood and where I wanted to end up. Clearly there was a gap. I work a part time job that does not quite capture my attention. My bank account sees more negative signs than a false E.P.T. My debt to income ratio is hysterical and I don’t see any of this getting any better without some work on my part. Enter the never-ending BA quest.

The first step in changing anything is to actually want to change it. The second step is to plan to actually change it. Step three is holding your nose and jumping in (with intention that is). I recognized something had to change. I had the opportunity to re-do somethings and rearrange some others. I had a second shot at this and I wanted to do it right.

I pulled the trigger and stepped back into the classroom–virtual anyway. I decided it was not too late for me to move into the educational system (teaching adults…not kids….I shudder at the thought). And, sure, I had attempted to go back to school before, but this time it is different. I have no partner to hide behind. No kids to use as an excuse. No more years to waste. There is just me and the goal. That is it.

So for weeks I have been reading, studying, doing homework and making a real effort to be an intentional student. I have kept up with assignments, read during baseball tournaments, spent off days writing papers, and stayed late at work to finish up homework. Presently, I have purposefully made room for obtaining a degree so that while The Kids are off doing things college kids do, I will be settling into The Beach House teaching at a University.

Plans change. We know this. But I am willing to take the steps to make the plans possible. It is exciting and rewarding to know that if I keep pushing there is an obtainable goal at the end of the yellow brick road. Dr. Van Dunk never sounded so good ๐Ÿ˜›

~SM