Crying and Dirty Laundry: Thankful Thursday

Little Bighorn National Monument at dusk, August 2019

I have had such an up and down time this last few weeks. Some great things have happened and some truly awful things have happened.

My extended family lost a member this week. It’s not really my right or place to write anything about it, but my heart hurts so hard for them. It’s tragic and horrible and just send prayers to the universe for people that are hurting.

In more bad news, one of my co-workers got hurt at work, another had a health event, another lost a spouse, another is recovering from back surgery, another returned to work, separating from their 7 week old baby at home. I’m loving and attentive and there for my work family, but I don’t know any of them well enough to show up with a big hug or a cup of coffee on their doorstep. It’s tough that the beginning of our school year has been so challenging personally for so many of our team.

In great news, on Tuesday I got a letter and art in the mail from one of my Kindergarteners from last year. It made my entire day. I told my 3rd graders about it the next morning. That same morning a student said “can I get something for you out of my backpack?” She produced a glitter paint masterpiece on cardboard (soul sister). Today I was given 4 pieces of paper glued together with sections and a accordian fan feature, and the theme was “Ms. F, you are the BEST TEACHER EVER.” They made things for me AT HOME and brought them TO SCHOOL for me. Thank you so hard, my beloveds. I need you.

And yet, here still I am, just selfishly wrapped up

in my own negative shit.

I’m turning FORTY NINE in two days. It’s making me all kinds of wound up. I want to celebrate and puke at the same time. It’s a big UGH and GO GIRL all wrapped up together.

I have been having non-stop crazy stress reactive dreams and I wake up right at the height of them, so I remember them for a little while before sleep overtakes me and I fall into a well of stress dreams again. The general consensus of my psyche is that I’m undergoing more transformation, and I’m stressed out.

No shit, Sherlock.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be single and living alone in Billings, Montana (of all places) at 49, a thousand miles from my family, in a house with only pets to keep me company. My marriage to Will lasted long enough (21 years) that for most people, it’s extraordinary that I’m not still in that marriage. He and I lived through our share of stuff, for sure. I still count him as one of my closest friends. But obviously there are personal boundaries and personal needs and we are just friends. I’m good with it, and I’m pretty sure he is, too. It is what it is.

I am just sad, ok. I’m sad about a lot of stuff and I’m worn out. Is it normal to be this tired? Is it because I’m OLD, or is it because I’m busy? I can handle one major chore for about 2-3 hours after work, and then I’m toast. I can’t do another single thing. Is this normal or am I destined to be the lady that eats dinner at 4:30 and goes to bed at 7?

I’m sad that I have no toilet in my house. I’m sad that I can’t raise my arms over my head from a standing position in my house..because the ceilings are only 72″. It makes working out very ridiculous, but I try anyway. I still love my house, but I’m ready to actually live it in, with no tools hanging out on my kitchen countertops, my shelves, my stove, my bedroom. I’m ready to just live without debris everywhere–construction debris and emotional debris litters this house.

I’m sad that online dating, and dating in general, is such a damn cluster. There are kind people out there, for sure. But the whole scenario makes me exhausted. I have been on many first dates at bars/coffee shops/breweries lately, and I’m starting to feel “NOPE.” I just don’t want to do the online thing much anymore. It’s like a second job, and we all know I have no time for that.

I do still want to meet and fall in love with a person that is my person, though.

Tuesday was a cray cray day at work. I decided to go Billings’s version of a saloon with great food, and had fish and chips. I sat at the bar, reading my water stained copy of “Where the Heart Is,” and minded my own business. Then I noticed someone at the bar that was interesting, and I started talking to them. We enjoyed each other’s company, and made plans to see each other the next week at the bar for fish and chips. I gave the person my number on a piece of paper. It felt like 1998. I loved that feeling of just letting life happen.

I don’t care what happens with fish and chips person, but just that experience made me feel like I should just let things happen in my life. So what if I don’t feel like doing any work on the damn bathroom on my birthday, I don’t have to. If I want to spend the afternoon at the Pride parade with Queer teenagers and then come home and set up my art studio, that’s what I’m going to do. If I stay home all night and make art or go out and see music, whatever I decide to do is fine.

But the truth is, no one will know. I’m just here by myself all the time. 90% of the time, that’s cool. But having family and friends that have known me forever back in Oregon and California…it hurts a little. I didn’t bank on how hard this feeling would be. The only other time I moved states as an adult was in 2002 when Will and I moved the family from San Francisco to Eugene. We had two kids and each other, and while it took two years to feel like Eugene was home, we had our own home that felt normal and filled with our traditions and sounds and scents and laughter. In my home in Billings, it’s just me. And Lucy and the animals aren’t the same as having kids and their school stuff and your partner’s work and your work to make life feel full with activity and people.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself or seeking sympathy. Truly. However, I am feeling deeply unsettled and lonely. I don’t know what will make that feeling transform into something else, and while I suspect it is just a matter of time, I don’t like the wait. I can only join so many clubs and organizations.

I suppose the lesson is As I was typing that I realized that YES the lesson is learning how to just BE. No matter what is happening around me, my #1 soul job is to learn to BE with that energy and not let it take me down.




I will find a way to center myself this weekend. And I will practice self-love and letting joy in. And I hope that that little act will make things a little less hard to process.


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