Category Archives: Changes

The Way Things Change

Moving on is hard, and sometimes damn near impossible. For the better part of the past year, I’ve spent more time than I care to admit obsessing over a lost friendship. Funny isn’t it, we always think romantic relationships are the hardest to end. Now, this isn’t the first friendship I’ve had come to a close, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. However, it’s the only one that ended in an explosive argument. And — at the time — I didn’t realize it was actually the end. I thought she’d admit wrongdoing, apologize, or at least forgive and forget. But none of that happened.

The more time that passed without one of those things happening, the angrier I got and the further I distanced myself from the relationship. Looking back, I realize how that probably just made it easier for her to pull further and further away. In the end, by the time I was ready to acknowledge my wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness, it was too late. By that time, she’d moved past our friendship and was ready to not turn back. Oh my god how that hurts.

Perhaps the hardest part of accepting the fact that “your person” is no longer there for you to turn to is not even having the chance to say goodbye. Not even getting a big “Fuck you, I’m done,” and instead receiving radio silence after a phone call, text message and email. For some reason, as much as that response sounds painful, it seems better than this. Better than a lack of closure. Especially knowing I could have prevented things from going this far.

So, I try to look for the good in things. Lessons learned, frustrations ceased. But in the end, none of that matters. Nothing can replace the person you could laugh with, cry with, bicker with. So it seems the only thing to do is become better. Recognize how to better deal with situations and react to emotions, even if it’s too late to fix what’s been broken.

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Day 4: Writing Retreat Reflection

Earlier this month, I confided to my mother that I was disappointed when my former best friend didn’t show up for my 31st birthday. I’m not sure why, maybe it was because the last time we “spoke” (texted) was on her 30th birthday — six months prior, but I had some expectation that I would (at least) receive a generic “happy birthday” text. Even worse, I had some small hope she’d show up at the finish line of my half marathon that day. Obviously, she didn’t. She didn’t text. She didn’t call. And she sure as hell didn’t show up. My mom’s reaction to my disappointment?

“Fuck her.”

A few months ago my husband told me that he’d considered reaching out to J to help me reconcile things. I had two reactions to this:

  1. Why didn’t you?????
  2. I’m so glad you didn’t.

In the months since October, I’ve been sorting through a lot of emotions and trying to figure things out. The first is I’ve been shocked at how much a friendship ending can hurt. The gut-wrenching pain and constant reminders of someone who was once such an influential part of your life is outstanding. In all honesty, it’s worse than almost any breakup I’ve been through.

I’ve lost friends over the years, but never like this. In college, my high school best friend replied to an email telling me she “didn’t have time” for our friendship anymore now that she had a boyfriend. Despite our closeness, the fact that we went to different universities and I was consumed with a boyfriend (the only breakup that, in memory, seems worse than this friendship ending) and other friends made moving on a lot easier than this. I think I can contribute a lot of that to the fact that my high school best friend and I didn’t go through nearly the shit I did with J.

So, I’ve been trying to figure it out: Am I better off without her? Should I listen to my mom’s advice and say “Fuck her” after all? She was the maid of honor in my wedding just two months prior to this breakup.

J and I met working at Starbucks sometime in late summer, early fall of 2010 – I actually didn’t realize until now how far back we go. I was 24 and had just been fired from my first and only waitressing job in Chicago. I’d been living in the city for three years working as a freelance writer, which meant I was also a dog walker, waitress and barista.

If my memory serves me right, we became fast friends as two young adults trying to accomplish our dreams in a big city. She’d gone to college in Chicago, and I moved there immediately upon graduating from college.

We were exactly the same and completely different. She was a quiet theater girl who was ready to marry her abusive boyfriend she was living with at the time. I was an outgoing writer who had no idea what the future held and prided myself on my independence. She was from Kentucky. I was from Detroit. She was a runner. I was a smoker. She had bunnies. I was the proud owner of a hound dog. And yet, a powerful bond was formed.

Over the next six years, a lot happened. And I mean a lot:

  • I left Starbucks to finally kick off my career at the Chicago Tribune.
  • J left Starbucks not far behind me. She was in an off-Broadway play, Pinkalicious, and started working at a children’s gym.
  • I was in a near-death accident when riding my bike to work at the Tribune.
  • J visited me almost every single day during my month-long hospital stay at Northwestern hospital.
  • I spent three months back at my mom’s recovering from my accident (yeah, it was that bad – you can read more about it in my post We’re Goin’ to Better Places).
  • I moved back to Chicago.
  • I started dating my husband.
  • J’s boyfriend came out as transgender and decided to make the transition to become female. J supported her and stayed with her.
  • J left her girlfriend, because she’s heterosexual, and moved out – living alone for the first time in her life.
  • J’s apartment building burnt down. (She didn’t call me. I only found out because she posted it on Facebook.)
  • J started dating a psychopath who eventually told her she was “too damaged to be loved.”
  • J texted me threatening suicide; when I reached out to that psychopath boyfriend, he informed me they had broken up (at least) a week before. I had no idea.
  • My boyfriend moved in with me.
  • I got engaged. (J didn’t respond to my call/voicemail celebrating the good news. It took several months for her to actually — reluctantly — congratulate me.)
  • I asked J to be my maid of honor.
  • J started dating the “male version” of me (her words) via Tinder.
  • J’s six-month old nephew died unexpectedly.
  • I got married.

And then, our friendship ended. The event that triggered the breakup deserves more than just a bullet point. And I’ve been reading about “how to deal” with these types of breakups. A lot of articles say that the author realizes at a later date how they made themselves out to be the victim. So I hope one day, once I’ve actually mourned this loss and moved on, I can see it that way too; I think it would make it hurt less. However, for now, I’m still bitter as hell.

My near-death accident (mentioned above) involved me (on my bicycle) being hit and partially run over by a delivery truck — think FedEx truck, but smaller than a semi and bigger than a van. In the years since, I’ve been traumatized by stories of and actual encounters seeing other cyclists hit by cars and trucks. My reaction is the same every time: I freak the fuck out. And I usually freak out to my mom, my husband and J.

One of these events is that catalyst for mine and J’s demise. I had recently started a new job and was having an issue with my contacts, so I went home early. (If it hadn’t been for my early departure, J and I would probably still be friends.) On my walk home from the train, I came across a motorcyclist who had been hit by a minivan. He was on the ground, unconscious. There was blood. Good Samaritans had stopped and were at the biker’s side. I heard sirens coming. I knew help was on the way. I kept walking.

I was rattled. I think the first thing I did was call my mom and sob, “Why do I always see horrible things?” Earlier that summer I’d seen a bicyclist get thrown into the air by a car when crossing the onramp near my house while out for a run. He was OK, I’d called 9-1-1 and he’d walked away.

I texted J, in need of a friend. In need of support. And I got shut down.

What happened next was a series of text messages (still on my phone) that I refuse to look at. I know it will make me mad and sad and a lot of other emotions to revisit the exact words. But, overall, the conversation went something like this:

I asked J why she hadn’t responded when I’d reached out the day before. Her response? She was talking to her mom. Apparently some things were going on back in Kentucky that I don’t know about to this day. But somehow, I was supposed to recognize that she was “going through something” even though I’d never been looped in. (If I had to guess, it was something to do with her brother and sister-in-law who were still dealing with the effects of losing their son a year and a half prior.)

My confrontation regarding her lack of support resulted in J asking if I was drunk. This only fueled my fire. The texting ended with one request. I said something along the lines of, “Don’t bother talking to me until you can admit you’re wrong.” She responded with, “I mean, likewise.”

Her 30th birthday was a few weeks later, so I shot a HBD text her way. It was greeted with a simple thank you. That’s the last time we spoke. And I’ve been devastated ever since.

I’ve thought about reaching out, trying to mend the fences. Maybe it’s my pride, but I’ve chosen not to. I’ve also gotten more and more angry the longer she’s gone without reaching out.

Sometimes I think it might be better for my personal well-being to get some sort of closure with this. But in the end:

Image result for i want to forgive you and forget you the hills gif

I’m completely hesitant to even post this, because it means putting how I feel out in the world. It means the possibility that J will see it. Which means the end. But, I need to move on, and I’m not really sure how else to do that.

Multiple articles say writing a letter you’ll never send is one of the steps to closure of a friendship that’s ended, and, I’ve done that. It’s in the drafts folder of my Gmail account, and it’s mean. It says things that I don’t even feel or think. And I think that’s because I’m still in the anger stage of grief.

I don’t know where I was hoping to go with this or what I was hoping to get out of it. I think it just needed to get my thoughts on the page, and vent. So, I’m really no further along than I was at the start. Somehow, though, I’m OK with that.

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Why I Love ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ And You Should Too

If you’ve started watching Season 2 of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix too there’s a good chance you can’t get that catchy-as-hell theme song out of your head. But do you know where this viral little ditty came from?

Unbreakable!

They alive, dammit!

It’s a miracle.

Unbreakable!

They alive, dammit!

Females are strong as Hell.

As a word nerd, I had to find out what it was he was saying. So today, I Googled it and dove further into my obsession with the show.

Simply finding the lyrics proved tougher than I expected, as I stumbled across multiple pieces discussing the origins of the song. Turns out, not surprisingly, the theme song is the product of a monologue written by producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, according to Vanity Fair. See a clip of character Walter Bankston’s full monologue below, from Netflix’s YouTube page:

While I found it surprising that some viewers thought the above was a legit newscast, there was another point in the article that stood out to me. Vanity Fair refers to Ellie Kemper’s character as being not “just a survivor of a horrific experience, but a very famous one[.]” That got me dwelling on how the silly and sometimes dumb Kimmy Schmidt was so much more than just another unrealistic comedic character to watch.

Turns out, Fey and Carlock were asked by NBC if they’d want to write a show for Kemper. As the two (mainly Fey) go on to explain to E! in an interview, they recognized that Kemper has “this kind of sunniness, but also this strength.” And it was with these two traits and the crazy-horrific backstory that Kimmy’s character was born to create a twist on the standard starting over story.

For me, I think that’s what makes this goofy girl and sitcom so lovable – it is relatable and inspiring. Unlike most of us, Kimmy is able to keep a sunny disposition despite tragically losing out on her childhood. So we get to follow her around NYC as she makes her way, and laugh about it with her. Because there seems to be one thing that Kimmy did learn while living inside that bunker: Bad things happen.

And, as Kemper points out in an interview with E!, Kimmy has the ability to overcome her bad things and not let those experiences define her. Which is what makes this comedy so worth watching. Let yourself be inspired by the pure optimism and strength of a character who may just seem simple at first glance.

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Dear Dad

When my fiance and I got engaged, he reluctantly called his dad … and I was so jealous. While this may sound a bit strange, let me explain.

I think I was around the age of 2 when my parents got divorced, so needless to say I don’t remember that part of their relationship. The thought of them promising each other happily ever after has always just been something I searched for in old photos. But still, I look to find what’s now long gone.

In the years of my childhood that followed, I literally have no fond memories of my dad. Mostly it’s just anger over events that were missed or his selfishness. And, I’m not going to lie, I’m often jealous of other women who are close with their fathers. Oddly enough, I still consider myself a “daddy’s girl.” However, I chalk that up to always wanting what we can’t have.

I have a lot of respect for my fiance, because despite a poor relationship, he still respects his father. The fact that his dad was one of the first people we called to announce our excitement was something that spoke volumes to me. I didn’t even want to text my dad the happy news – this celebration was about us after all.

To tell the truth, now that I’m planning my own wedding, I think I’m just upset that my dad won’t get to walk me down the aisle. I realize that this is ultimately my choice, but why would I choose someone who rarely remembers my birthday to “give me away”?

Instead, I’ll have my Papa stand by my side. While I’m not sure he’ll ever understand or that I could fully explain, my Papa’s love for me has given me the strength to be the person I am today. It is my dream to be the rock that he is for my own family. And, as such, there’s no one else I can imagine asking to help me join in beginning my lifelong adventure with Mike.

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Body Image

Over the last year, I have struggled with my weight more than ever.

Growing up, I was never thin, but I was also never fat. I know plenty of girls who suffered eating disorders throughout their childhood and teen years, but I guess I always just accepted my chubby cheeks, thick thighs and belly. Fore the most part though, I was fine.

In high school, college and after graduation, my weight fluctuated. A boyfriend led to extra pounds, and the following break up shed what I’d added plus some. Biking and hiking around the city always kept me fit, and I owe something to that. Still, I was never skinny.

But after a three-month recovery, I was finally thin. I joked: Great weight loss trick, get hit by a truck. But at that point, I was unhealthy looking and the doctors urged me to eat, eat, eat – even if it was ice cream and potato chips. So, I did. And I got healthy. Then, I got fat.

I don’t weigh myself, to me it’s more about how I look and less about my actual size. Because of that, I think my body image issues have worsened. On top of the pounds, I have a hideous scar. Fake it as I might, never will I feel confident laying out at the beach in a bikini – no matter my size. I’m hesitant to even let a peak of my mid-drift slip into view.

(For those of you who are unaware, I have about a 12-inch scar running down the center of my abdomen – the result of emergency surgery.)

Some people say it’s beautiful, and I want nothing more than to wear my skin with pride. But it’s not. Either side of the scar is off-balance, as the left will always remain a little bit swollen. And more than anything, that scar serves me as a daily reminder. No, it’s not something everyone can see, but I always know it’s there. It greets me in the morning when I shower, and kisses me good night when change for bed.

If you follow me on social media, you know well that I’ll be participating in Mudderella Chicago this May. Not only have I found this training as an outlet for aggression and stress, but of course I’m also getting stronger. However, over the last six weeks, my visible body has not changed. Tonight, that hit me as a frustrating and disgusting fact. What do I have to do to be happy with my body’s image?

Still, I can feel myself getting stronger, and for that I am infinitely proud.

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We’re Goin’ to Better Places

If you’d asked me two years ago where I thought I’d be today, well I honestly wouldn’t have been able to reply. Not for a few days anyways, and even then, my response may have come out in the form of a singed alphabet.

I’ve wanted to write of the events on October 6, 2011, for awhile now, and well I still may not be ready to share all the intimate details, there’s a lot to be said. Many in my family would rather not hear it, as it’s a topic that makes both them and me uncomfortable at times. And, when it is discussed, it’s done so with a sort of sadness, distance and caution.

For those of you who don’t know, which is many, two years ago to this date, I was struck on my bike by a large delivery truck while en route to work. It looked something like this:

(No, it’s not the actual truck.}

So, anyways, I was struck while on my bicycle, riding in a bike lane in downtown Chicago. I flew off of my bike and was then partially run over. I point out partially because had I been flat out run over, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

My first thought was, Today’s going to suck at work. Of course, I did not make it in, and wouldn’t for another 3.5 months.

That’s the end of the accident portion of this post, it’s the easy part to say. The recovery, fear and fight that took place after, that’s where it gets messy. All in all, thanks to this man, I’m here.

Not the best quality, but this is the only photo I have of Dr. Shapiro.

In the last two years, a lot has happened. I went back to my position at the Chicago Tribune in mid-January of 2012, got a promotion seven months later and was laid off by the end of January. Luckily, I snatched up a writing position in February and have since been promoted within a great company. So career wise, I feel pretty good about how far I’ve come, and I’m much better off than I was two years ago.

Friends, friends  have come and gone over this time. One of my closest, who actually held my hand during the quick ambulance trip, and I have gone our separate ways. Which, for a time, was hard to swallow, but I have since come to appreciate the fact that he was there when he was – when needed the most. In a number of other friendships, the bonds were strengthened. Most specifically, this nerd:

Na na na na na.

My family has always been close, so I won’t say that those relationships were tightened at all. Especially when it comes to myself, my mom and my brother – although I think something changed there, I can’t quite put my finger on it.

I’ve heard your life changes when you have a near-death experience, but I don’t think that’s true. Some small things about me have changed, but I’m still the same clumsy goofball I always was. I have less patience for complaints about unwarranted issues and more compassion for others. My spleen was removed, I’ve got scars to carry with me for life and struggle with anxiety in certain situations, but I was always a little neurotic. But still, I’m me, I haven’t really changed.

There’s a part of me that wants to go out, explore and change the world, and maybe some day I will. For now, I’m just living and figuring out the usual issues of a 27-year-old woman.

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