I had a breakdown in a rental car this weekend.
The car was fine. I was not.
As I drove across Wisconsin, tears kept placing a chokehold on my throat, and then they'd pour out of my eyes and I just kept driving because I had no time to spare to get to the airport, 200 miles away.
All this emotion is a combination of something chemical in me, circumstances in my own life, and the state of our world.
Lord, have mercy. Are things bad now.
I've been in some really dark places in my life, times that have brought me literally to my knees just telling God, "I need you to show me some hope." But right now the ache inside me is giving those times a run for their money.
I'm scared. Nothing seems stable. I keep looking at Facebook, out of habit, and I keep telling myself maybe I should take a break from the outpouring of horrible, helpless, hopeless news.
You might be wondering why I'm here telling you all this. My vulnerability might make you uncomfortable. You might be wishing I'd keep it to myself, or just between me and some close friends and family.
But that's not my way, for one. It used to be, but then I started sharing my feelings and I felt the life it gave back to me, and I said, "Sayonara, Privacy. Never keeping things to myself again."
And, if I'm going to survive, Friends, I've gotta stand with someone. I can't just sit here and let the fear rot away at my edges, at my core.
I need help.
Some help I've already employed:
A med check with my psychiatrist. Check.
A fresh cup of coffee, to fight my fatigue. Check.
Emails and texts to family and friends. Check.
Already owning a cat. Check.
Ugh. Writing this is not providing catharsis.
But I guess I'm here to say this: after all I've been through in my life, what I've survived and overcome, all the great experiences I've had...I'm gonna be a fighter.
I just emailed my pastor to see if he'd be game for an impromptu prayer night at church.
I've got to believe in something bigger than all this. And I need to be around people who want peace and hope and love. I know we all want that, but I can't feel that from the headlines. I need to feel it in held hands and long embraces and with my butt in a squishy church pew. I need to fill my tank so I can get back out there on the front loving lines.
A couple of years ago, I was having a very hard time, a time I thought might end me. Freaking out, I called my friend Tommy, and he told me that I had to stick to my plans of working out that evening. He and I both knew the movement of body would move the soul and heart, too.
So I followed orders, and then I took a shower and put on a happy green shirt and sat on my patio and made a list of good things in my life at present.
I wrote about a sweet friend of mine, who had recently had twin girls. I wrote about how I had the chance to help her bounce and rock and pat the girls' backs so they wouldn't cry as much. How we whispered to each other about life, as the sun went down and their nursery grew dusky dark. How the time spent with little squishy darlings collapsed on my chest helped lift me up.
As my arms grew sore from holding babies, I mentioned it to my friend. She said lifting the babies was like lifting weights. Like lifting sacks of sugar, she said.
I'll never forget that.
And thus, ever since, when I've felt down I've forced myself to sit down and count some sacks of sugar in my life. Or little sugar packets, if I can only think of small things. All the good things in my life, whether they be squishy babies that feel like sacks of sugar, or something else.
So I don't know about y'all, but I'm not giving up. If I get the go ahead from my pastor about the prayer night, I'm inviting the whole neighborhood. I'm going to keep visiting my psychiatrist. I'm maybe going to take a break from Facebook. I'm going to keep being transparent on this blog, and with my friends, and with strangers and with everyone.
I'm going to pray, and pray some more. I'm going to hug more.
I'm going to tidy my space. Hang out on the treadmill, and out in the sunshine, more often.
And I'm going to list 25 things right now that are sacks of sugar in my life.
Ready? Here we go.
1. I got to see these people less than a week ago:
2. I have glasses now, so things aren't blurry. Yay!
3. I LOVE my church family, and the peace those brothers and sisters give me.
4. I love that we let anyone share the communion meal with us at said church. So on board with how I feel about God's grace and love and message.
5. I get to go to a very special event this weekend -- that I can't name here, because it's a surprise for Alex.
6. I'm listening to Shania Twain right now, and she's pretty upbeat.
7. We still have things to smile about in this world, thank God.
8. I need a shower, and I have a shower at my disposal to make that happen.
9. With my super cat loving powers, I molded my already snuggly cat into a lap cat. So I can smooch on that little fuzz face as much as I want, during non-working hours.
10. I have an appointment this week with my therapist, who wants to help me and see me thrive.
11. I get to write prayers for church this week, and I love doing that.
12. I have a lot of groceries at my disposal currently, which is not always the case. Thus, I can eat actual adult food, and I don't have to spend money on restaurant food.
13. I have a movie date with a friend tomorrow.
14. The night after that, I have a date with the same girl and some of her pals, and we're going to see MY BIRTHDAY TWIN DREW CAREY!!!!
15. Last Wednesday I got a voice mail saying that I won a trip to Napa (in a raffle at the Bonnie Raitt show this summer!).
16. My sweet friend Jill texted me this weekend and told me she has an extra ticket to the Dolly Parton show next month. And she wants ME to have it. Thrilled. Dream show.
17. That friend Jill is someone who I met through the Internet, and I consider that a miracle. She is great and loves to read and write about the same amount as me (I think we're pretty much equal, but one of us might love those things more than the other).
18. I understand basic makeup applying skills now. I did not always have such skills.
19. Someone close to me was in an unhappy job and recently found one doing something he loves. Hallelujah.
20. Some friends of mine recently had their first kiddo.
21. I got to text with my friend Lynn recently, and it was encouraging and just warm and wonderful to chat with her. She's so real and loving and amazing. One of my role models for sure.
22. I think my Rachael Yamagata CD is coming in the mail on Friday. I pre-ordered. Duh.
23. My new workout pants are coming in the mail soon. I've developed a problem with leg chafing, so I have to say "See ya!" to workout shorts.
24. While I have been SO BLESSED to travel to a million bazillion places this year, I am so relieved to say that I don't have to do any traveling for 53 days.
25. And finally, I have you guys. People who read my writing. That's amazing. It gives me so much life to write, so to have an audience is just all the better.
Be strong, everyone. Fight for love. Fight without fists. Lift your head up to the sky. Feel the sun on your face. Buy a latte. Pray. Vote in November. Count your sacks of sugar, and get back out there.