Tears

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The inevitable emotional emergency

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Well, it finally happened. I freaked out and lost my mind.

Back in January, I applied for a job that I was eventually offered in May. This means that for the past six months, I have lived with the possibility (and now plan) of leaving Colorado – and even after making the decision, it’s felt like a whim. Oh sure, I’m moving across the country, I’ve thought. Everything will come together. I’ve had the poise of Kate Middleton, if not bigger thighs, and moved through my days with a serenity that, as it turns out, I am not qualified for.

I’ve been sailing off into the sunset, only to wake up this morning and panic that THE EARTH IS NOT ROUND I WILL FALL OFF THE EDGE.

I am still three weeks away from starting my new job, but I will only sleep at my house for four more nights. On Friday, I’m picking up a moving truck and loading all of my worldly possessions into it, then driving to Minneapolis alone. I’ve hired men to help me unload my stuff into a storage unit, where it will stay for over a month while I fly back to Colorado, go to a wedding, celebrate my mom’s birthday in the mountains, leave my dog with my dad, drive all the way back to Minnesota, temporarily move in with friends, start my new job, and eventually, hopefully, close on a new house – which will result in a reunion with my dog and a second moving of all of my stuff at the end of July.

In the meantime, I am hemorrhaging money, picking at a rotisserie chicken carcass for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in an empty kitchen, and wishing for everything to be different. Easier. Safe.

But like Mary Engelbreight reminds us:

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 7.12.36 PM

(I promise never to do that to you again.)

In all seriousness, risk is risky. Adventure and discomfort go hand-in-hand. But aren’t you curious? Don’t you want to know what might happen if you just step out into the unknown? For all of the mystery, I would rather walk forward into the unmapped and uncharted than know exactly what tomorrow will bring. (Because after all, it’s probably rotisserie chicken off the carcass.)

When it comes down to it, come August, I’m going to be unpacking my clothes into a closet with Foxy at my feet, and readying a guest room for you to come visit. And if you need further persuasion as to why Minneapolis is worth a look-see, help yourself to these articles:

“The Miracle of Minneapolis” – The Atlantic
“Minnesota’s New Cool Image as ‘The North'” – The Wall Street Journal

It’s going to be great (she says, after a good cry, some frozen pizza, and 20K+ steps on her Fitbit).

Bawling

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Mark my words: I will never, ever sell Toad to Budweiser.

But I am 100% in favor of men in Carhartt jackets.

What to do with this blog

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

I have a confession: I don’t quite know what to do with this blog.

The posting has been light, at best, in 2012.  I’ve thought about scrapping the whole thing, taking the site down, going off-the-grid in the virtual world.  I’ve thought about forcing myself to post more often, rehashing the meaningless minutia of each day.  I’ve thought about doing a series, dedicating each day of the week to highlighting all 5 members of various boy bands.

Instead, most days, the site just sits here.

I have so many amazing friends who are doing a great job of keeping up their writing, featuring vignettes from their lives, sharing what’s on their heart and mind.  I used to do these things, I think.  But these days, when I sit down to write anything – a blog, an email, a journal entry – it just feels flat.  It feels forced.  It doesn’t make me happy – which is alarming, since historically, writing has made me happier than just about anything else.

It’s been a long time since my heart has felt full to the point where I feel like I have something to share.

I keep trying to rally, but the truth is, I feel too tired.  I miss my friends – I really do. I miss having a sense of belonging.  The future feels big and overwhelming. I wish my family was intact.  I wish I wasn’t broken.

I know, I know – this is the point where I’m supposed to stop and say how lucky I am, how many things I have going for me, how there are good things about my life and situation (because there really are, and I know it).

But just now, as I was writing this, the tears came – and damn it, but I’d rather cry than say nothing at all.

Beauty for ashes

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Well, well.  Happy new year, all.  And just in time – I’ve never needed a new year so badly.  I was so ready to drop-kick 2011 Beckham-style out the door and usher in 2012, fresh, hopeful, and, as of yet, untainted.  Hallelujah and amen.

You may be wondering what life has looked like since I last blogged 9 days ago.  Or maybe you’re not (likely).  Regardless, YOU ARE GOING TO KNOW.

I wrapped up my job at Emma.
I flew from Nashville to Kansas City.
I snuggled my nephews.
I read four books in seven days:
– “One Day
– “Room” (the best book I read all year)
– “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
– “Incendiary
I ate so much cheese.
I slept full nights.
I played Dance Central on the X-Box.
We made it through the first “divorced Christmas.”
Things were awkward and sometimes painful.
But we did it.
And I love my family for it.
I drove from Kansas City back to Denver with Becca.
And Greebs and Toad.
Every day I declare war against dog hair.
I bought and assembled one of these.
Zion’s adoption was made official.
He is irrevocably a Parsons.
He is the best thing that happened in 2011.
I spent multiple days cleaning and organizing our home.
Four different sets of friends got engaged (including Greta, OMG!).
I got a new phone number.
And I start my new job on Tuesday.

I rolled into the new year a burning train wreck, having spent a solid two hours of December 31st on my bed in uncontrollable tears before pulling myself up by my bootstraps, throwing my body into the shower, and willing myself to go to a few parties.  It’s been awhile since I’ve cried so hard – the honest, gasping kind of tears, the sort that leave your eyes stinging and your entire face swollen.  2011 was a kick in the gut, to say the least – and a good, long cry seemed the most appropriate way to mourn what went down, and bid the year adieu.  With a bold middle finger.

But as I stared at my puffy, snotty countenance in the mirror, wondering how I was ever going to recover enough to show my face at these parties, I remembered the part in the Bible about how those who grieve are given beauty for their ashes, and joy for their mourning, and peace for their despair.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m not one to go slinging around scripture insensitively – especially when it comes to the big, weighty things.  Life is too hard and people’s hearts too fragile to offer Bible verses as mere Band-Aids.

But I have to say – if it weren’t for this idea, that God takes the burning wreckage of our lives and gives us beauty instead, I would have no hope.  None.  The fact that he can take the hopeless cinder pile of my heart, and transform it into something not only worthwhile but beautiful… well, this is where I’m staking my hope.  And they say that where you place your hope, that’s where your joy will be found.

So, onward.  New year.  Same old me, but new hope.  Hopefully.

Cheer up and smile

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Yesterday, I was a total crankpot.  Everything was wrong.  Everything was complicated.  Everything was making me nervous and anxious and angry and tearful.

During my break, I took myself on a walk around the lake, feeling the clouds hang low to the earth.  I tried to breathe in the cool air – the first traces of fall – but with each breath I took in, the bad things built up more and more inside.

Just when my throat was getting tight and my eyes were getting full, a friend called.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m out on a walk and trying… not… to… cry…” I sputtered.

He laughed, because he is a boy and that is what boys sometimes do, but when you’re a girl you don’t really mind – because you know that he’s a boy, and you know he isn’t being mean.

Then he asked me why I was almost crying, and I erupted with all of the reasons.

He laughed a little bit more, and then offered very logical advice (boys are good at that, even when it feels kind of annoying), and by the time my break was over, my tears had passed and I was ready to get back to work.

Today is a new day.  I’m going to treat it as such.

Worth every tear

Monday, June 28th, 2010

When I first saw a copy of Jakob Dylan’s new album, “Women and Country,” I was immediately intrigued. I mean, come on – look at the cover.

Even better, check out the cover of his EP, the precursor to the full record.

Based on these two pictures, this is the coolest man alive. And this album confirms it… because holy mother of pearl, it is phenomenal. I’ve had it on repeat – it’s the soundtrack to my existence these days.

So on Friday afternoon, just before I left work, I checked his website to see if he was coming to Denver anytime soon. I pulled up the tour dates, and right there at the top of the list was my city. I couldn’t believe it – I checked the date, and… HE WAS PLAYING THAT VERY NIGHT, one mile from my house.

Serendipity? Me thinks YES.

I kicked it into gear, and ran down to the theater to buy a lone ticket. I couldn’t believe that there were still seats available with just an hour to spare, but $28 later, I was hurrying home to change and scoot back in time for the show.

Except.

Somewhere in the mile between my house and the theater, I lost the ticket. It was in my back pocket when I set off for the venue, but when I arrived at the door, it was gone. I panicked, telling the girl at the box office my situation, showing her my receipt – but no dice. No ticket, no admission.

The show was about to start, but I turned around and started to retrace my steps home. I bent down to check every scrap of paper I saw, but it was always a bus ticket, a receipt, a matchbook. My shoes started to give me blisters, so I took them off and walked barefoot in the dark. By the time I got halfway home, picking up every piece of trash I found, no sign of the ticket, shoes in hand, totally devastated – I just started to cry.

And I couldn’t stop.

In my own defense, I wasn’t just being dramatic.  The tears were the culmination of several incredibly difficult things happening in my life right now – things that are weighing around my neck heavier than a millstone. Losing my ticket put me over the edge; I was a hot mess.

So I did the only thing that I knew to do in times of distress, which was… you know, call my mom.

She encouraged me to go back and get another ticket, so I did. Except when I showed up at the box office (again – third time in two hours), I was STILL CRYING. It wasn’t that I was trying to make them feel sorry for me – I simply could not pull it together. I was sniffling and wiping black rivers of mascara from my cheeks – it was not pretty.

The manager took one look at me, and ushered me in without question.

And it was the greatest show.

Now, I’m not endorsing stuffing your emotions in until they erupt on a Denver street corner.  All I’m saying is… it might come in handy.

Our only comfort

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Last week, my sister-in-law lost her dad.  My nephews lost a grandpa.  And all of the Parsons lost a man who has been family for the past 9 years.

Today, Kent McElroy will be laid to rest in a cemetery in Missouri.  A few weeks ago, he chose his plot, and bought kites to be delivered after his death, asking that Jeremy and Ashley take Micah and Tyler to fly them next to his grave.  He knew that he was leaving.  If he could have willed himself to stay, he would have – but cancer does not honor our will, our wishes, our fight.

It is cruel.  It is callous.  And in its aftermath, it tempts me to be the same.

But Kent was the opposite.  He was generous, and positive, and selfless.  In the face of terminal, inoperable cancer, his heart was continually for God, and for others.  He touched so many in his 56 years – and never so many as in his last one.

I was in Kansas City last week to say goodbye.  It’s so hard to see death up close – painful, and terribly sad.  But it’s also an enormous privilege to be invited into that precious time.  I will never forget it.

Hearts are broken today.  They will be for a long, long time – and maybe forever, because I don’t know that we ever “get over” the loss of a loved one.  I think of my sweet sister-in-law Ashley, and how the mountains of her heart have slid into the sea – how nothing will ever be the same again, how nothing COULD ever be the same again.

But, as the Heidelberg Catechism says, my only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.  I believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (II Cor. 5:8).  And even when I can’t see it or feel it, I have faith – and faith, no matter how small, is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).

kent

Sooner or later

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

I went to the dermatologist yesterday.

I have an age spot.

At least, I’m calling it an age spot.  The doctor called it a “sun freckle,” and I was like, lady, I’LL SHOW YOU A SUN FRECKLE.  This spot is 5mm by 4mm – much larger than I am comfortable chalking up to just a “sun freckle.”

(To be fair, let’s remember that I have a flair for the drama when it comes to physical woes.)

I wanted her to burn it off, but she said no.  (Why does no one ever indulge my desire for the quick fix?  *pout*)  Instead, she gave me some bleaching cream to use twice a day for 3 weeks.  If it doesn’t help, then I’m supposed to stop using it because if I use it for too long, it could cause paradoxical darkening.

“What’s paradoxical darkening?” I asked, doe-eyed and naïve.

Well, Annie, paradoxical darkening turns out to be exactly what it sounds like.  The cream is supposed to fade the spot – but if you use it for too long, it can have the opposite effect and make it worse.  Get it?  Paradoxical darkening?  Get it?

In any case, it made me think of one of my favorite quotes – one that I’ve written about before, but surfaces frequently enough in my thoughts that it’s worth mentioning again:

Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
-C.S. Lewis (The Silver Chair)

Indulging my feelings is all well and good for a moment or two.  Everyone needs a good cry.  Everyone needs the freedom to acknowledge when they feel left out, or left behind, or unwanted, or unseen, or just tired and sad.  But at some point, it’s time to decide what to do – otherwise, the very thing that was supposed to make you feel better only winds up making you feel worse.

I’m making a plan.

And in the meantime, I am bleaching the devil out of this spot.

Keepers

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

If eyes cleansed with tears see the most clearly, then today, I have perfect vision.

Sometimes, I think that I’ve gotten really good at confessing my tiny faults in hopes that no one will ever suspect nor discover the big ones.  But lately, I’m not very good at hiding them – and as a result, have been pummeled with my rather large, rather imperfect, imperfections.

I guess that’s bound to happen when you exist in relationship with other humans.

We are messy creatures.  I am a messy creature.

And sometimes, it brings a lot of tears.

But I’m learning that the people who stay – the ones who don’t run away when the going gets tough, the ones who listen without trying to fix, the ones who forgive ugly words and flat-lined attitudes and the same old shit that you carry around no matter how your life changes or morphs or moves – are worth anything and everything it takes.

Communication.  Honesty.  Vulnerability.  Compromise.  Effort.  Forgiveness.

I am learning a lot.  And I don’t call them my “starter husbands” for nothing.

– – – – – – – –

My friend Heather (SHOUT OUT) recently told me that this blog is the only “Dear Diary” blog that doesn’t make her want to vomit.  Well, that kind of made me want to vomit, because wait – I don’t write a “Dear Diary” blog, do I?

Who am I kidding.

Enough about my feelings.  I’m changing the subject.

I woke up this morning with 7 spider bites on my thigh, abdomen, and armpit.

I never go to movies, but all of a sudden, I want to see a ton: “Away We Go,” “Harry Potter,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Julie and Julia,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (you know during the preview where he says, “You have a choice,” and she says, “I never had a choice”?  I LOSE MY MIND), and “500 Days of Summer.”

I wish I had a cute lunch bag.

On forgiveness

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

It’s amazing how quickly I, an alleged full-grown woman, can revert back to feeling like I did with other girls in elementary school: insecure, timid, and small.  Recently, a moment leapt out of nowhere and grabbed me by the throat, reducing me to those irrepressible tears that leave me shaky and sick to my stomach – because my feelings got hurt.

I am naturally a sensitive person, but I’m also fairly rational.  I don’t get my feelings hurt all that often – mainly because I am largely surrounded by pretty tremendous humans who rarely do or say mean-spirited things.

But when it does happen, it makes me feel so sad, and shocked, and ultimately, rejected.

How could I NOT cry?

But here is the difference between 9-year old Annie and today’s Annie: to forgive is to not let those feelings take root – even when they are justified.  To forgive is to deflect any feelings of insecurity catalyzed by those initial words.  To forgive is to let go of what is right, reasonable, and defensible – in favor of something entirely unsensible.

It’s hard work, forgiveness… but then again, isn’t it our very best option?  Isn’t it the easiest, most freeing thing we could possibly do – to simply let it go?

No one ever loses if no one is keeping score.