I’ll Never Sink When You Are With Me

I’ve been begging myself to write about grief, hoping it would somehow bring closure. Yet I can’t wrap my thoughts around the pain well enough to understand or explain. It’s empty, it’s vibrant, it’s breathtaking.

The emotion of grief is so consuming, it completely takes you over. And that’s not necessarily in the form of sorrow or sadness, not always. It will fill you in ways you didn’t expect.

Recognizing the love for a life lost is inexplicable. Your memories wrap their memory in an embrace, and you can almost feel them. Here. It’s calming and chilling. It will make you weak and give you unbelievable strength. It will drive you and stop you in your tracks. It completely absorbs you in every possible way. You grieve for what you’ve lost and yet you celebrate what you had.

I’m not one for letting go. Especially when it’s not on my terms. And as time wages on, the more I’m left longing for what I’ve lost.

You’re My Best Friend

Maize was a very good boy. Dogs are inherently good, and if we treat them with love they will love us back—unconditionally. If you teach your dog how to be a very good boy, he’ll be the best boy. Our dogs are exactly what we need them to be, and that’s why Maize meant so much to me, because I needed him to.

When I moved to Chicago, I was uncertain and alone. I was worried about living by myself and didn’t know anyone in the city. I didn’t even have a fulltime job when I made the move. But I knew that I’d be safe if I had Maize by my side. He was someone to come home to, someone who counted on me and he was such a happy boy. He was my security alarm and my safety net.

And when I needed him most, he was up to the task. When I was released from the hospital following my biking accident, I was scared to see Maize. I thought he’d be too wild, too aggressive. I thought he’d jump on me out of excitement, that I’d be too weak to handle it. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Maize was gentle and kind. He was so sweet and sensitive. He wagged his tail in excitement, and gave me the space and tenderness I needed. Throughout my recovery, he stayed by my side, loyal and protective. He made me feel just as he always had; he made me feel safe. And he hasn’t left my side since.

Today, I said goodbye to Maize. I tried my best to help my good boy feel safe and secure, just as he’s always done for me. We had 12 wonderful years together, and I’m so thankful for all he gave me and all he taught me.

Thank you, Maize, for teaching me how to be responsible and independent. Thank you for teaching me kindness and patience. Thank you for your fierce loyalty and complete trust. You helped me grow up, you helped me become who I am today. I am so thankful I had the joy of loving you and being a part of your family.

Rest well, sweet boy. I’ll always remember you.

Time May Change Me, But You Can’t Trace Time

Sometimes we make mistakes. If we learn from them, that’s supposed to make it OK. But sometimes there’s no coming back from a mistake.

This weekend, my once best friend got married. I wasn’t there. She didn’t even tell me she was engaged. We’ve not spoken in two-and-a-half years. People who are close to me who don’t understand why I can’t make things right have kept me in the loop, and now I’m here realizing it’s a good thing I wasn’t a part of her big day.

Toward the end of our friendship, I became selfish. I took on a mean girls mentality, and somewhere along the way stopped being kind. I started putting myself first and asking why she was never attentive to my needs. I took years of feeling like I was her support without any reciprication and let that fester and explode. Our friendship imploded.

In the days, weeks, months after, maybe I could have mended things. But I was far too proud to admit any wrong doing and I became angry. The longer I sat with my anger, the more I convinced myself I was better off.

And now, I’m mostly just sad. And it hurts.

It feels like it’s been too long to still grieve our friendship, but I think that comes from having regrets.

Let’s Talk About Sex

The other weekend, I was pressured by multiple women in my family to share the age I lost my virginity. They were playing a game of 20 questions and I’d sat down unknowingly. This was not a group I’d choose to tell all to.

When they first asked, as an “initiation” question, I said I’d rather not say. To encourage me, they all eagerly went around announcing their answers. It was back to me. “I’d rather not say,” I told them again.

It’s a safe place, I was assured. It didn’t feel very safe.

We won’t judge you, they explained. I didn’t care if they did.

We told you ours. I didn’t ask.

It wasn’t my age. It was the story. And what they didn’t know was that I’d lost a lot more than my virginity at that age.

But this isn’t about that story, it’s about five women in my family making me feel pressured into sharing.

Today, women are able to enjoy sex and acknowledge it publicly. We’re no longer forced to feel ashamed of our sexuality. And while we’re still fighting sexism and inequality, we’ve made broad strides.

I’d like to think that’s where this pressure was coming from, the false promise of a supportive group of women. But when my discomfort was dismissed for their entertainment, they lost all credibility.

We need to do better

I recently watched Mindy Kaling’s commencement address to the Dartmouth class of 2018 and was both inspired and ashamed. Toward the end of her speech, Kaling speaks directly to the women in the graduating class and encourages them to lift each other up.

We need to do a better job of supporting each other.

And she is so spot on.

I know I need to do a better job of supporting all the women in my lifeprofessionally and personally. My inability to do so has distanced me from family, my best friend and colleagues. It’s inhibited me emotionally and paused me professionally.

While acknowledging this shortcoming is easy, it will take a lot of effort to do. It will take forgiving myself for past mistakes, saying goodbye to a friendship I long for, letting go of the past and looking toward the future, and allowing myself to feel inspired and vulnerable. It means starting over, feeling better and moving on.

I’m not sure how I got here from when I started this draft last week, but I’m glad I did. And I’m ready to start trying.

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.