All is quiet, on New Years Day

2021 has been rough. But it’s just a continuation of the insanity of 2020. Tomorrow is New Year’s Day. I walk into that year, leaving all my regrets in the steaming pile of crap 2021 turned out to be.

In 2020, after nine months of good communication, affection, falling in love, it all began after I had asked someone to be my girlfriend, almost like a Proposal. We talked about moving in together. What life would look like then. We talked every day on the phone. Saw each other nearly every weekend. We texted all the time, and she exceeded all the expectations of a relationship standard set by my first girlfriend when I was 17-21.

We didn’t survive the first six weeks of COVID lockdowns.

I was devastated. I did what they tell you to do to get over a loss like this. You strengthen your friendships with the people in your life. You keep yourself busy with things that help you grow. You grieve, you move on. You grieve some more. You keep moving forward.

Just over a year ago, a friend of mine sat with me and listened to me grieving the loss of this good relationship that I had. She sat with me and listened to how my former GF had no good reason to leave, only excuses.

“Lots of excuses mean lots of fears,” she told me.

Then she heard me say something that bothered her. She heard me say that I wasn’t worthy of that kind of love. She proceeded to kick my ass.

“You mean the world to me and I want you to see your worth! Yes, life is shit, it’s not perfect, you aren’t perfect, but god damn you are a great man with a heart of gold. These women who treat you less than that don’t deserve a second thought. Although I know it’s hard to heal and move on, especially when it’s what you’ve known for so long…because this shitty level you bring yourself down to attracts these women who match it.”

Today…I took that advice. Unfortunately, it was with the person who gave it to me. Situations had changed and feelings had grown. We were on the verge of something beautiful. Until…she changed. She put up her walls. We stopped talking. Our unique friendship soured. I was watering dead plants.

Today, I decided to start a hard conversation rather than linger in her orbit. The hardest thing about Boundaries is when you set them, you risk losing people. It is cold comfort that you will lose the people who cannot go with you when you have those boundaries, and that likely they are not the people you need in your life anyway. My Boundary was that I remembered my worth. She had been one to help me remember it back in 2020. Which is why it hurt so much to say what I had to say today, because I knew a possible outcome was ending a four year friendship, and so much more.

Today, I have lost a dear friend, and someone I cared deeply for. People do change, but sometimes they change back to their old, sad choices. Keeping people in their orbits and not being honest about it. (It’s hard to trust someone when you act in a way that is untrustworthy before you are “Facebook official.”) Putting themselves in danger when they should know better. Making lots of excuses. Then complaining about it when they are alone, or worse happens. She was a practicioner of this kind of self-harm. Most people these days just call it “dating.”

My former girlfriend, whom I mentioned before, had something to say about her situation all the way back in 2019. “Oh hell no! She, kind sir, is a douche lagoon.”

Tonight, I am alone, but I’m no longer lonely. Not the way that hoping we could talk though things–but never did–left me feeling. I decided after a lot of thought that I would have the conversation that needed to happen for months now. I wasn’t going to walk into 2022 with that empty feeling. The one I’ve been carrying around in the pit of my stomach since September. Life is too short for bad books, shitty friends, or regrets. I tried. I honestly fucking tried. I would have moved mountains for her.

On to the next chapter. We take what lessons we can from life and we try to do better the next time after our failures. It’s growth. Take good advice, even if it undoes a bond you shared with the one who gave it.

I wish her peace. I wish her love. Goobye, my dear friend.

Don’t Count Your Blessings

Everyone always says “Count your blessings.” I don’t agree. If we keep an inventory of our blessings, we risk becoming hoarders. Blessings are things that are shared. If we hold onto them, and count them, we aren’t sharing them. I think we should know that we are blessed and show gratitude for being blessed.

This holiday season has been hard, I’m not going to sugar coat it. We had so many plans. Plans that might never come to fruition. But it isn’t about me. It’s about my son, my family, and everyone else whose light touches our lives. It’s about being that light in the dark even if you are just down to a spark, because this time of year, the nights are long and cold.

If I focus on what I don’t have this season, the list is long. And if I focus on what I do have, I run the risk of holding onto it too tightly. If anything the last couple of years has shown us, it is how everything can change so quickly.

So, this year, I’m just going to be grateful. I’m not counting anything. Because my blessings, in spite of the hardships, are beyond number. Though I won’t be seeing my son this holiday, I can still feel his love for me out there. We are both still fighting the good fight. Thank you everyone for your support and kind words.

Have a happy holiday, Merry Christmas, and squeeze your loved ones just a little bit harder this year for me if you would. Just don’t make it weird for them.

Missing

Ever have a rough day and you wish you could go back in time and just sit with someone and talk with them and wind up laughing together until you had tears in your eyes and you forgot all about what was bothering you because you felt that fire inside your soul get stoked one more time when you thought it had all but gone out?

Today, I’m feeling a little frozen. Stuck. I haven’t had many of those people in my life, but I sure could stand a visit from one of them now. But right now, all I can manage to reach out is writing this post. Why? Because it would be nice to know that people actually care without having to ask.

I used to be a pretty happy guy. Not so long ago. I think that as usual, the struggles that I have to go through in this life right now have chased a lot of people off. They always say it doesn’t matter, until it does. I think they are fine with whatever external conflict they see, but they don’t like seeing what it does to me inside.

Today, I might feel more alone than I ever have in my life. But I’m not supposed to talk about that. It shows weakness that can be used against me, even though I don’t think anyone would be grinning and bearing what I’ve been going through for the last few months.

I don’t want a medal or a pity party. I’m just done is all. Fuck.

I’m missing many things right now. I’m missing the way my Grandma Babe would tell a story at the kitchen table and her eyes would light up. I don’t think she knew what an indoor voice was. I’m missing sword fights in the park at night with my two best friends growing up; they were more brothers to me than anything. I’m missing a trip with a bus load of kids going from Denver to NYC, kissing someone in an Ohio barley field at sunset with lightning bugs rising around us. I’m missing cigars and wine on the back porch on a summer night listening to Salt-N-Peppa another lifetime later. I’m missing house-wide Nerf gun battles with the kids and car karaoke with my daughter who had the sweetest singing voice I’ve ever heard. I’m missing random facts read to me from the Guinness Book of World Records. I’m missing riding scooters in the dark on campus and watching my youngest play in the sprinklers on a Summer night. I’m missing gifs and heart reacts and movie marathons long into the night and an octopus stuck to my face.

Today, my heart is shattered. These moments are all gone. I held onto them too tightly and they fell through my fingers like sand.