She said I don’t know if I’ve ever been good enough
I’m a little bit rusty, and I think my head is caving in
And I don’t know if I’ve ever been really loved
By a hand that’s touched me, well I feel like something’s
And I’m a little bit angry
– Matchbox 20
Sometimes, late at night, when I can’t sleep and I’m looking to torture myself… I go through my old posts.
The other night, I stumbled across “Love Is War.”
It makes no sense, honestly. I typed “Matchbox” in the Search bar. My intention was to find posts with Matchbox 20 song titles. But this one popped up first. I guess because buried deep down in the text I mentioned, “On Sunday, we had brunch and morning time mimosas at Matchbox.”
Whatever. The damage was done.
I laid in bed and watched the music video over and over again.
Because I’m a fucking idiot.
A gluten for goddamn punishment.
I sat in the dark willing the first few lines of a song I hadn’t heard in over a year out of my mind. “Please just let me fall asleep,” I prayed, “please just make it go away.” But those words played on loop.
Young lovers in a picture frame
Ever notice how there ain’t no rain
Nobody hangs hard times on the wall
You won’t see it in an 8 by 10
But there’s a storm every now and then
A slamming door down the hall
Sometimes love is a white flag
Sometimes love is standing tall
Sometimes love is a feather
Sometimes a cannon ball
But it’s worth fighting for (it’s worth fighting for)
Baby, sometimes love is war
That fucking catchy ass melody echoed in my brain until I had no goddamn choice but to rip the covers off and grab my laptop. “Fine,” I yelled out into my empty house. “You want me to fucking write?” This time, I spoke to Jesus… or whoever the hell was keeping me up at night. “I’ll write. But it sure as shit won’t be fucking pretty.”
I post photos all the time. Selfies. People (i.e., Dad) give me a hard time about the photos I take of myself. I guess it does seem rather self-absorbed to have a phone full of pictures of yourself… by yourself. But whatevs.
I blame my mother. And my Nana.
They started me out young. Those two primped, primed, wardrobe-changed, and 4×6’ed me into the little narcissist I am today. So point the finger at them. It’s not my fault I’ve had someone paparazzing my every outfit since I came out of the womb.
So, I’m listening to this song. I’m listening to this song and I’m fuming. I’m fuming about various things swirling around in my life right now. And this fucking song. This fucking song just wooonnn’t fuuuucking quit, man.
Young lovers in a picture frame
Ever notice how there ain’t no rain
Nobody hangs hard times on the wall
You won’t see it in an 8 by 10
Then it occurs to me, “Well, that’s a lie. I ‘hang’ all kinda bullshit on my ‘wall’.”
Like this picture, for instance…
Posted: September 6, 2014
The truth behind the photo: Another weekend alone. It’s probably three in the morning. I am sitting in my spare bathroom. For whatever reason, you can’t make out my tear-stained cheeks in this picture… but I am crying. Actually, I cried the whole way home from Heat and Midget’s house that night while on the phone with Kristen. I did this often – had these sobbing fits. These panic attacks. These very private, shoulder-racking, breath-gasping, cries out for help to my very best friends (Kristen and Tay). By this point, I knew my relationship was over. It had been over for quite some time but I refused to admit it. I refused to accept defeat. I refused to end it and not let him inch his way back in again. I refused to accept the fact that only I could pull myself out of the darkness I was drowning in…
Should’ve been captioned: “Sometimes you just need to distance yourself from people. If they care, they’ll notice. If they don’t, you know where you stand.”
I found a few things ironic with this photograph. First, a picture of me crying warranted multiple “Likes” on the various social media networks it was posted to. And secondly, the Bible verse that served as this particular photo’s caption, is now tattooed on my wrist.
I decided to keep digging through more photos…
Posted: March 26, 2015
Caption: “When it rains, look for rainbows. When it’s dark, look for stars. #tangled”
The truth behind the photo: I tell him I want a “break” on February 1. He continues to badger me for the next three weeks. He calls, he texts, and he pretends nothing is wrong. I ignore his efforts. I am good at this. I am good at the silent treatment. I am especially good this go ’round as I am hundreds of miles away in New Mexico on business. “You’re right, I guess we need more time apart… let me know when you want to just talk,” he says, on February 15. He goes on his first date February 21. I begin to see her car parked in his driveway soon there after. The car is there at night, in the morning, and all weekend. I have to see it every day, every time I want to leave my house, go to work, or go to the grocery store. The blog is posted March 5. Word gets around that they become “Facebook official” on March 14. Tay sees him out with her on March 20. I decide it’s probably time for that “talk” on March 24. We break up? I guess? Maybe officially? Obviously, he’s moved on. I talk to him about respect. We are on the same page. He gets it. He tells me things I have needed to hear for years. We’re good. We’re better. And then, we’re not. Two days later – March 26 – we’re back to square one.
Should’ve been captioned: “Sometimes, you don’t need to hear their excuses or what they have to say for themselves because their actions already spoke the truth.”
Posted: April 6, 2015
The truth behind the photo: I had literally – like, just minutes ago – blocked his silly ass on social media. Not because I had stuff to hide. Not because I was trying to be petty, or silly, or immature… but because I had to be free of him. I was officially done. Done with the lies, the blatant disrespect, the hurt, and the pain. I had to cut him out. The friendly relationship we were trying to work on – finished. Every word spilling out of his mouth – not to be trusted. Everyday there was something new. Something he did that reminded me why I left. I could not continue to allow him – to give him the power – to break my heart over and over again. I had to let go.
Should’ve been captioned: “If I cut you off, chances are, you handed me the scissors.”
Posted: May 1, 2015
Caption: “I call her the devil because she makes me want to sin. And every time she knocks, I can’t help but let her in.”
The truth behind the photo: I was a fucking wreck. It was the day before Kaley’s wedding. I was her Maid of Honor. I had to make a speech. I had to be a pillar of strength, stand in front of an entire congregation, and look nice enough to take pictures all goddamn day. And that asshole was going around telling everyone he was bringing his new girlfriend to the wedding. I was so enraged – so goddamn mad he was making even my best friend’s wedding about himself and his own fucking drama – that I was sick all week long. Not to mention, I had even explained to him he didn’t have a plus one and it was rude to bring an uninvited date to a wedding. Who even does that? Ugh. Anywho, shortly after this photo was taken, I fell in the grocery store while wearing five-inch wedges. Fear not, my friends, I cushioned my own fall with – not one – but two bottles of champagne. P.S. – I looked super honorable standing up at the alter sporting a carpet burn, a splotchy spray tan, and a fucked up pedicure.
Should’ve been captioned: “I may not be perfect but at least I’m not you.”
Posted: May 9, 2015
The truth behind the photo: This photo was actually taken on Kaley’s wedding day, prior to the ceremony. I ended up getting wasted at the reception. Maybe it was due to all of the stress I had been carrying around the days leading up to the wedding. Or maybe it was the Percocet I took on the way to the reception because my head was hurting so fucking bad… or my empty stomach… or the emotional conversation Momma B and I had during the first few dances. Who the heck knows, it could have just been me working myself up again over having to watch another friend get married while my own life laid in pieces at my feet. Whatever triggered my shot-heavy hand at the wedding is beside the point, because when I arrived at Heat and Midget’s later that evening for the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight, things only got worse. They were there. I was so sick it took two of my best friends and my brother to get me changed. Midget took care of me the entire night. I stayed cuddled up with him on the couch while the fight went on in the background. We talked. When I felt sick, he took me back to their master bathroom… just so no one knew anything was wrong. He fed me Pepto. When I asked him to grab my purse, he lectured me on why he felt I didn’t need to take “depression pills.” Later, Midget and Heaty put me to bed in “my room.”
Should’ve been captioned: “You saw me hurting. You noticed the pain. And you didn’t do shit. That’s when I realized you didn’t love me.”
Posted: May 9, 2015
Caption: “Me and #teddytheterror catchin’ some cuddles on the couch.”
The truth behind the photo: I took Momma out for dinner at Carrabba’s the night before I took this picture. We were sitting in a corner booth at the restaurant bar that night when I told her I was moving to California. She cried. She asked me why I had to move so far away. She asked me why I couldn’t go to Charleston, to Charlotte – why it had to be California. But she got it. She understood. She knew there was no other choice. A few hours after this post, Bubba took me to get my first tattoo.
Should’ve been captioned: “And she finally gave up, dropped the fake smile as a tear ran down her cheek and she whispered to herself, ‘I can’t do this anymore.'”
Posted: May 30, 2015
The truth behind the photo: Actually, the truth is, I made this particular visit home to tell my extended family about my decision to move. For the first time in my entire life (with the exception of one “romantic getaway” weekend downtown), I had consciously made the decision not to stay with my Nana for the weekend. I dreaded having to tell her I was moving. My stomach was in knots as I pulled into the driveway. My heart fell as I walked through the back door. My Nana – my heart and soul – could barely walk the small distance from the living room to the kitchen… the air was ripped from my lungs. I couldn’t do it. In an instant, every plan, every decision, every bit of courage, and gall, and balls, and strength I had evaporated. California? Was I crazy? I was needed here. In Charleston. Home. This is where I belonged. Not some hippie beach town on the other side of the world. My mind filled with panic. I immediately started to rearrange all of my plans. I had to “un-tell” the few people I had already told. It would be a minor change in the grand scheme of things but a change nonetheless. And then, it hit me. This tiny voice in the back of mind – this piece of me buried deep in my subconscious – raised her hand and said, “But you’d be doing it for all the wrong reasons. You would be doing it for someone else… again. You have to do this for you. Don’t worry. There will come a time…” So, with a lump in my throat, I eventually spit it out. I was sure not to cry in front of her – in front of the woman who helped raise me. When she got upset, I ran to hug her and tried to make her laugh, “You’re sad now, Nana, but a year from now I very well could be coming to you saying I’m moving into Momma’s old room upstairs. And then, and then, you’ll be crying because you can’t get rid of me!” I spent Sunday night at Nana’s house upstairs in my Uncle Jeffery’s old room. That night, I stayed up for hours going through old yearbooks, photos, and files. I wanted to fill my suitcase with every stitch of what I had found. I wanted to haul every piece of that history, that room, that house, those feelings with me out to California. However, I refused the urge. “For another time,” that tiny voice reminded. On Monday, when I finally decided to head back to North Carolina, I cried from the moment I pulled out of the driveway until I reached the exit for I-95.
Should’ve been captioned: “It is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply.”
Posted: June 5, 2015
Caption: “Kicking off the birthday weekend! #heywhatsuphello”
The truth behind the photo: It was 7:00 p.m.-ish. I was innocently taking selfies at my vanity. It was my birthday weekend. I was excited. Little did I know, just hours later, Heaty and I would be hanging out with the guy who had drunkenly shoved his junk in my face a few months prior. Okay, okay, so I’ll throw him a bone… he did still have his panties on. Regardless, when I refused to sleep with the man, he shoved his dangly-bits in my face and mumbled, “So, what am I supposed to do with this?” “Uhhh, slam it in the door?” I thought. Fast-forward to Friday, June 5, and homeboy is making jokes to Heat and I about the best way to make an impression on a couple of 12-year-olds playing pool a few feet over from our table. He makes a make-shift penis out of his arm and hits it on the table, “What if I went over there and just whipped it out on the pool table. Hahahaha.” Unimpressed, I looked at him and said, “Humm, tell us, how has that worked for you in the past?” He could have died. He could have crawled under our high top table and died. At that time, Heaty chirped up and said, “Oh! This is my favorite story to tell! Hahahaha!” I sat back and let her tell the story. At the end of the day, Sir Douche Canoe himself tried to convince us both that he had been highly inebriated at the time of his indiscretion. Whatevs. You win some, you catch some in the face. What can ya do?
Should’ve been captioned: “How much douche could a douche bag douche if a douche bag could bag douche?”
Posted: June 6, 2015
Caption: “So very thankful for these beautiful women. I couldn’t think of a better way or better people to celebrate my last East Coast birthday! #queencityshenanigans #nothingbutthebestforthisp
The truth behind the photo: I can’t remember if we took this picture before or after I made that impromptu toast at dinner. The one that caused everyone to get all teary-eyed. But I guess it doesn’t matter. With the exception of just a few, every single woman I loved was gathered around a table in honor of my birthday. I was overwhelmed. My heart, and head, and soul were feeling all of the feelings. And honestly, never in my life have I felt so loved. I would not be where I am today without those women photographed in the picture above (plus, those few more who weren’t able to make it). I could not be this person – I would not have the strength, the courage, the balls to be the woman I am – without them. The seven of us spent most of the night dancing to 80’s and 90’s music at the Roxbury. By the time we left, everyone was sweaty and slimy but not ready to call it a night. We walked up one block, shut SIP down, and then stood in line for an hour waiting on a slice of pizza. It was the best birthday I have had in a very long time.
Should’ve been captioned: “I like messy people; people who don’t fit in a box or stay between the lines, but who’s integrity is greater than any rule book and who’s loyalty is stronger than blood.”
Posted: June 10, 2015
The truth behind the photo: I managed to dry it up long enough to paint on some makeup, put on a happy face, drive over to Momma’s, have dinner with the family, open gifts, and take this picture. But in all actuality, I had basically spent the entire day incapacitated and on the brink of a mental break down. I should have known. I should have fucking known. I had literally just said to my therapist that I was sick of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Why didn’t I anticipate it would be on my birthday? Of course he would choose my birthday. That’s what a true-to-form narcissist would do. And why was I surprised he would only be “man enough” to send a text message? A “goodbye” text message. A “I hope you find YOURSELF” text message. Why would I ever assume I deserved anything more than a text from him? Because we work fifty feet apart? Because he lives a mile away from me? Because I’m confident he still has access to a telephone that makes actual phone calls? I do this to myself. I cause myself this much grief. I give people too many chances and too many “benefit of the doubt”-s. I underestimate them.
Should’ve been captioned: “You can’t change someone who doesn’t see an issue in their actions.”
Posted: June 25, 2015
Caption: “She had the soul of a gypsy, the heart of a hippie, and the spirit of a fairy… #sistersister”
The truth behind the photo: I was convinced a week away would be perfect. It would be a week of not having to drive by his house, running into him at work, hearing about his bullshit, or dealing with reality in general. But for the first time in years, I was at the coast… without him. Everywhere I turned I was reminded of him or us. On the morning of June 25, I woke up missing him so very badly I was filled with nervous energy. At 11:21 a.m., Tay and Kristen received this text, “For whatever reason today is a bad day. I can’t stop crying. Two weeks, right?” Once again, they managed to talk me down off of that proverbial ledge. Later that day, I tried to explain my feelings to another friend via email, “It’s a constant work in progress – a constant job – trying to be your “best self.” I wish I could just be one of those goddamn Yogis or some shit.” Her response, “You’ll become one in California! They do yoga and beer here!” Praise fucking Jesus.
Should’ve been captioned: “Missing you comes in waves. Tonight I’m drowning.”
Posted: June 27, 2015
Caption: “No matter how hard I try… always gonna look like an inmate in braids. #blackisthenewblack”
The truth behind the photo: True. But staying up until 5:30 a.m. texting a wasted dickbag prrrrrobably didn’t help either. I know what you’re thinking, “Why stay up so late texting if said responder is a dickbag?” Uhhh because the conversation was frackin’ hilarious. We’re talking material I plan to screenshot (when I have a couple hours to dedicate to the cause) and keep forever ‘n ever. Hell, I might even throw that shit in my book one day. (Yes, buddy – yeah, you – I’m not above putting every bit of those messages in a fucking book.) Unfortunately, this isn’t an X-rated blog, so I can only provide a brief synopsis of the conversation in question. I received a text message from a male suitor I have not heard from in two-ish months. After much banter, a lot of whining, many auto-correct fails, and a disagreement on how dangerous it would be for me to take an Uber 70+ miles away (at 4:30 in the morning, no less)… I finally decided to put an end to the madness. How do I let myself get wrapped up in these situations? How do I just so happen to meet the same dickbag type of guy with those very same assclown tendencies over and over again? Do I have “Normal Fuckers: Need Not Apply” tattooed in special glow-in-the dark ink on my forehead or something? I mean, shit. I do appreciate a good laugh every now and then, but damn, can a sista catch a break already?
Posted: July 3, 2015
The truth behind the photo: For the past year, with the exception of my poor director (bless her), I have worked on a team made up solely of men… and it has been one of the best years of my entire working life. There was not one single day in the past year that I left work mad at a co-worker. Never, at any point, has there been one single ounce of drama, or bullshit gossip, or even a drop of bad blood between us. Those boys treated me like a princess. They noticed when I got my hair cut and wore new shoes. The Chrises (we had two on the team) even let me pretend like I was Madame Medusa from The Rescuers when we walked to meetings together. I’m sure they thought it was super cute how I treated them like my little alligator sidekicks, Brutus and Nero. Anywho, I will truly miss these people. I have never worked with a better team, for a better manager, or reported to a better director before in my entire career. Their support through this transition has been amazing. As a thank you, on my last day in the office, I brought them a cookie cake. I had the old lady in the Food Lion bakery pipe on it, “Sorry I’m Not Sorry I Quit.” At first, it said, “Sorry I’m Not Sorry I Quite” because she wasn’t sure “which one had the ‘e’.” But we got through it. One of my work BFFs, Susie Q, ordered me a “So Long Quitter” pizza from the cafeteria downstairs and the boys gave me a “Happy Birthday” ice cream cake to celebrate. Leaving my family at the Big Blue Box was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. The relationships I have created there over the last four years are ones I will keep with me wherever I go. And, yes, I cried on the way home.
Should’ve been captioned: “I really loved working with you assholes.”
Posted: July 4, 2015
The truth behind the photo: Tay and I had spent the day at the lake with Kristen and her family. It would be the last time for a long time the three of us would be together. It would be the first time in my life I would be more than just a couple of hours away from her. Bradley and Tay took me home as the sun was starting to set. We stopped periodically to watch fireworks light up the sky in the distance. When he pulled up in front of my house, Bradley got out of the Jeep, told me he loved me and gave me a hug. Tay and a danced in the street for a bit – me in a tank top and no pants, her in a dress – as the radio played in the dark. We hugged. Fireworks boomed over the trees. I cried. After I went inside and got myself together, I met my siblings out at the bar for a beer. We had such a great time together laughing, dancing, and talking to each other. Those two really are two of my very best friends. We truly do enjoy each other’s company and I laugh harder with them than I do with anyone else. That night, Bubba, Mace, and Brittany (Bub’s girlfriend) all slept over at my house. And on Sunday morning, we all got up to meet Momma and Dad for family breakfast. It was a full weekend. A weekend spent with people I love with every inch of my being. But honestly, I can’t get the last thing my very best friend yelled to me out of my head, “It’s time to spread your wings and fly…”
Should’ve been captioned: “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”
Today, I start out on a new journey. I start a new life – a life I think I’ve always wanted. I have absolutely no idea where this path will lead me. I have no expectations, no real goals, and no destination in sight. Lately, when people have asked me what I plan to do for work I have answered with, “Well, right now, I think I’m between a lemonade stand and being a Disney Princess.” I cannot tell you how many times over the past few weeks I have said to myself, “Oh my gosh! You can be whatever you want!”
I have never felt so at ease, yet, so very excited for something before in my life.
I am overwhelmed with emotion too. Leaving my family and friends will be difficult… probably more difficult than I anticipate. But I know that I am making the right decision for myself. This is the right decision for my own heart, soul, mind, and spirit. I hope they understand. I hope they understand that my selfishness is also to their benefit. If I were to stay here – stay in this frame of mind – I am confident I could never fully heal. I could never reach my own full potential. I could never be what they need me to be.
I read a quote once, it said, “I am lighthouse rather than lifeboat. I do not rescue, but instead help others to find their own way to shore, guiding them by my example.” I realize now, that I have spent too much of my life being someone’s lifeboat.
After the break up, even after every thing he did to me… I still put him – his wants, his needs, his goals and desires – before my own. Up until 9:00 p.m. last night, I had even planned to go against all of my therapist’s advise and drop his box of things off on my way out of town today. I took the liberty of washing everything, folding it all, and putting each item neatly in a box. I was even considerate enough to throw in the pack of cigarettes I found under my bed. Maybe I just didn’t have the energy to ruin those bastards like I normally would have. Who knows? I left the two cigs in their box, taped them to a piece of cardboard, and wrote, “Found these under my bed. Really, dude. Get a fucking patch. PS – I kept the lighter. ; )” Ugh. See. I’m even still trying to save his sorry ass from lung cancer.
But I thought of that quote and I stopped myself. “I am lighthouse rather than lifeboat.” It is not my job to save everyone. It is not my job to save him anymore. It is not my job to go out of my way – regardless of the distance – to do things for others who will always be unappreciative. It is not my job to pick up messes, or be a doormat, or prevent hurt feelings. It is not my job to anticipate when someone will be irresponsible, disrespectful, selfish, or disloyal. Life is entirely too short.
So, from this day forward, I choose happiness.
I choose love and laughter.
I choose a full life.
I choose nothing that I wouldn’t “hang on my wall.”
Posted: July 6, 2015
Caption: “Do what is right, not what is easy. #MCmovesWest”