And Sometimes You Can’t.

So I’ve been thinking the past few days about something my grams said to me when I was hugging her goodbye the night before I left for Tennessee. It was a total sob fest that night–which I think goes without saying–but I remember her saying in that last moment before she let me go that no matter what–I could always come home. Yeah…

Tomorrow’s the first of April, which means I have exactly 23 days before my little trip back to New York comes around. Maybe it’s nothing and I’m just having some kind of weird mood moment here, but I don’t feel as excited as I think I probably should feel about it. I mean, I should be over the moon, crazy ecstatic about seeing my family again for the first time in months. But I’m not. As crazy as it sounds–truth be told–I feel more stressed out about it than excited. Maybe even a little scared. Just a bit. Weird, right? Yeah. So weird.

I miss my family. I truly, truly do. Especially the kids. I mean, I’ve talked to them on the phone or over Skype here and there…but it’s just not the same as actually being there with them. I miss Angelina filling me in on all the ridiculous 6th grade drama and gossip and that frustrating eye-rolling of hers. And Emmie’s huge, happy grin when I’d simply just walk into the room. I miss Ava’s Hands-On-Her-Hips-I’m-Four-Going-On-Thirty attitude of hers and our little “love you to the moon & back, love you the most-est, love you too much” thing that we’ve done for as long as I can remember and pinky promises for secrets that we both know she’s going to yell from the rooftops the first chance she gets. And oh my gosh, I miss my little Twinnies something fierce. My mother and sister both like to constantly make it a point to remind me every time we talk on the phone of all the boys’ moments I’m missing out on by me being here in Nashville. I know they’re mostly just teasing and don’t mean to be deliberately cruel…that they understand that I’m happy down here but would, at the same time, prefer that I didn’t live 900 some odd miles away…but the reminder still stings a bit. They’re right. I am missing out on a lot. They’re walking and running and talking like crazy now, and really coming into those little personalities of theirs that I only got a glimpse of during the year I took care of them. I miss them so much and it literally breaks my heart that I’m not there…but at the same time, I feel torn between what I want to do and what I need to do in terms of what’s going to make me happy and what’s best for me, both career-wise and personally. I’m content here in Nashville. I feel alive here. And not just going through the motions like I’d done for so long back in New York. I feel like this is where I need to be. Where I belong. I’ve met so many amazing people down here and I’ve made some great friends. I’m happy here. I don’t want to leave. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I just feel so guilty for saying that.

I just wish things were clearer. Just black or white. And none of this grey-area stuff. I wish there was a guide I could follow or someone to tell me that I’m doing the right thing here…one way or the other. Because honestly, I feel like I don’t know what’s right. Or what’s best for me. That is, not with 100 percent certainty anyhow. I don’t know what’s going to happen once the semester ends in May. I mean, yeah, I’ve been searching around for apartments and I have my work–possibly even a second job as my friend Alan wants me to work this summer camp with him as a lifeguard. But as we all know, things happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen one day to the next. And I’m trying not to stress over it. Everything happens for a reason and what’s meant to be, will be. I truly believe that. It’s just the waiting and wondering that gets me into trouble. Having too much time to think about things is well…for me…a recipe for disaster, usually.

Anyhow, back to my family and this month’s visit…it’s not so much that I’m worried about being weak and caving into my family’s pleas for me to stay. I don’t think that’s going to be an issue per se. I mean, it’s a no-brainer. I’m happy in Nashville. I’m miserable in New York. And all the guilt-tripping in the world isn’t ever going to be enough to get me to willingly walk back into that misery. I love my family…but moving back isn’t an option. Call me selfish, but I like this feeling. I like being happy and feeling like I belong somewhere, like I’m a part of something. I’d have to be certifiably crazy to pass that up…and I’m completely sane, trust me. The guilt is part of it though, I guess…why I’m having some second thoughts about this month’s trip. But then, it’s not really guilt either. Honestly, I think it’s just a matter of my not wanting to hurt them by choosing Nashville and my happiness over them. At least, that’s what it’s going to look and feel like to them when I have to leave after a just few days, with no real timetable in mind of when we’ll be seeing each other next. I love them and it’s not my intention to choose this city over them…it’s just what it is. I can’t pretend to love New York or act like I’m happy there when I’m definitely NOT. They’ve never quite understood me I don’t think…and they definitely don’t agree with my decisions to turn and run when things get tough instead of facing my problems and working through them. I don’t blame them…I don’t understand it some times easier. It’s what I do. It’s horrible, but it’s what I’m good at. And it might not work for them, but it works for me. I’m not like them. I can’t sit there and “talk” about my feelings or “let it all out”. That’s just not something that I do…that I’ve ever done. I’m the girl with the stacks of journals that I lug around, thousands upon thousands of pages detailing every heart break, ache, and every significant moment or feeling I’ve ever had or felt. I can pour my heart out with a pen on a piece of paper, or to complete strangers in a blog post…but I can’t open up to my family, the people who are supposed to know me best. I just can’t. I don’t understand it. Never have–likely never will–but that’s me. I’m not perfect. I’m just as screwed up as the next person. Just in my own way.

Part of me just wants to cancel the trip and stay right where I am. Where I feel safe. This is HOME now. At least, that’s how it starting to feel. And I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about that. I should be elated. And I am…it’s just bittersweet because my family and friends, the people I love the most in the world, aren’t here to enjoy it with me. It’s hard being this far away. I mean, in some ways–and like I’ve said it before–I feel really disconnected, like we’re living in two different worlds, different lives. Everything is different now. I’m different. I’ve changed. I’ve grown in ways I didn’t even think to expect that I would…or even could. My head is still a bit of mess…but it’s getting there. Slowly, but surely. It’s one thing to pack up your things and run off to another state…believe it or not, that’s actually the easy part…it’s another to actually let go of and put behind you all the things that sent you running in the first place. That part’s a little trickier. But I’m figuring it out, a little more each day, how to do that. And it’s  hard, it’s really hard. This coping method of mine–running away–has, for the most part, been my saving grace until now. As illogical as it might sound to some, I really think it’s the one thing that’s kept me going all these years, that’s kept me sane–or relatively sane, anyhow. It’s crazy, I know. And it doesn’t make sense, I’ll admit, but it’s the truth. It’s a solution I’ve found that works…but it’s not a long-term solution. As easy as it would be to keep on doing what I’ve done for so many years–bottling up all the pain and the hurt and the fear…all the bad…just letting it all gather dust in some unused corner of my mind–I can’t run forever. And I don’t want to. It’s as simple as that. I don’t want to. Do I relish the thought of diving headfirst into the same sea of absolute hell I nearly drowned  in the first go-round? Hell no. Not at all. But I’ve got to. I’m an adult now. It’s time–well, past time technically–that I put on my big girl pants–so to speak–and take ownership of what I’ve done and what’s been done to me. Granted, it sucks–and I’m sure it’s only going to get worse the deeper I delve into it all–but my focus–my only focus–is on the end-game here, this time around. Moving here to Nashville wasn’t just about running from certain things or away from certain people. It was about finding myself, too. And figuring out what kind of person I wanted to be, and being that person. And though it’s only been a few months, I think I’ve done that. That is, I know what kind of person I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be the girl with the secret past that lets all the bad moments in her life shape and define who and what she is. I don’t want to be that girl. And most of these things that I thought I had to hide–turns out, I didn’t need to hide them. All that guilt and shame and blaming myself for things that I shouldn’t have blamed myself for…it was all just so unnecessary. Those people and their rumors and accusations…they’re the ones that should feel guilty and ashamed of themselves,  and not me. While I’d be lying if I said some of the things they’ve said haven’t hurt–they did, in some ways they still do–their words don’t matter. They don’t matter. They never did. And all that time I spent trying to avoid giving them the satisfaction of thinking that they somehow won or broke me, was nothing but a waste of time. There’s this little cliche –“the truth will set you free” one–that isn’t altogether wrong. That whole situation nearly 6 years ago…I spent so long looking at it in completely the wrong way. All the drama and all the devastation from that fallout of having told the truth–I let it take over and totally consume me.  At the time, it felt like the exact opposite was true. I told the truth, but it didn’t set me free. Instead, it just turned my life into a prison. And I shouldn’t have let it do that. I guess I was naive in thinking that people would see through the accusations and lies and see him for who really was and see things for what they really were. I put too much stock in believing that most people were inherently good and not as vindictive as certain others. That was my first mistake…and just a start to a long list of many, many others down the road.

Honestly, I’m not sure which hurt more…whether it was the rumors and accusations themselves…or the betrayal of so many people who knew me, some that I even thought were my friends, when they fell hook, line, and sinker into his lies, passing judgment on me without even so much a giving me a chance to defend myself or to tell my side of what happened, for that matter. I was guilty simply for the fact that he’d declared me so. That hurt more than anything, you know…the realization that my friends were not my friends and I was–essentially–alone. I couldn’t understand the injustice of it all. I mean, I thought I was doing the right thing by telling the truth…that it’d count and matter for something. But it didn’t. No one cared about the truth. They heard what he wanted them to hear and they believed what he’d convinced them to believe. I never even stood a chance.

Looking back now, it’s all so much clearer. I should have looked at it in the sense that it was one of the best things that happened to me. I didn’t see it then, but I eventually got it right and realized there was, in fact, a silver lining in it after all…just not in the traditional sense. All that time I spent imprisoned in that world, shouldering all the blame, I was completely oblivious to the fact that it was actually a good thing. It gave me the perspective I needed to get to where I am and be who I am today. The truth really did set me free. Free from him, free from the lies…and free from a life of undeserved shame. All those people who so readily believed him don’t matter. Nor does what they think happened or think about me. I don’t care what they think of me. I don’t care about their opinion of me because–yet again, THEY don’t matter. I know the truth. And that’s enough for me. It’ll have to be. Either way, they can’t hurt me now. That control they used to like to lord over me…it’s gone now. This is my life and I’m control again.

I’m happy. And all it took was my crazy, impulsive decision to move to Nashville. If I’d known how good it could be and is, trust me,  I’d have done it a lot sooner….

xoMESSIE

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The Bulletproof Ballad.

Okay, tad bit obsessed with these Demi Lovato lyrics at the moment… (& everything I wish I would have said…)

#WARRIOR

This is a story that I have never told
I gotta get this off my chest to let it go
I need to take back the light inside you stole
You’re a criminal
And you steal like you’re a pro

All the pain and the truth
I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I was broken and bruised

Now I’m a warrior
Now I’ve got thicker skin
I’m a warrior
I’m stronger than I’ve ever been
And my armor, is made of steel, you can’t get in
I’m a warrior
And you can never hurt me again

Out of the ashes, I’m burning like a fire
You can save your apologies, you’re nothing but a liar
I’ve got shame, I’ve got scars
That I will never show
I’m a survivor
In more ways than you know

There’s a part of me I can’t get back
A little girl grew up too fast
All it took was once, I’ll never be the same
Now I’m taking back my life today
Nothing left that you can say
Cause you were never gonna take the blame anyway

Now I’m a warrior
I’ve got thicker skin
I’m a warrior
I’m stronger than I’ve ever been
And my armor, is made of steel, you can’t get in
I’m a warrior
And you can never hurt me again

You can never hurt me again

xoMESSIE

Let’s Go Chasin’ Waterfalls.

So I went on a little late-afternoon Friday-Funday excursion today. I just needed to get out of Nashville for awhile and going for a drive usually helps me to clear my mind…and after the week I’ve had, a drive is exactly what I needed. So, I decided to drive out to Cookeville, a little city off I-40, roughly about an hour and 20 minutes from Nashville. The area is so beautiful, and right in the middle of half a dozen different state parks…so I decided to check out a couple of them. I brought my Canon with me, so I figured I’d try to get some pretty nature shots. 

I went to the City Lake Falls first. It was so beautiful and serene, and sits right on City Lake…and there were even a bunch of ducks that were hanging around. I ended up taking the hiking trail that’s there, taking pictures along the way of all the trees and moss and whatever else happened to catch my eye. At the end of the trail, there’s a clearing with a pretty waterfall…and of course, the photographer in me just had to take half a million pictures. 

I was going to just head back to Nashville after that, but I decided to check out another of the nearby State Parks called Cummins Falls, a 35-acre park with trails that bring you to this amazing, huge waterfall. Since the excursion was a last minute thing and because I’d left Nashville so late in the afternoon, it was already about 6:30 or so when I finally got there. I checked online for the sunset time and it said 6:48, so I knew I had to rush to get there if I wanted to see the waterfall in what little daylight there was left…and then get my behind out of there before it got dark. Unlike City Lake’s 5-minute trail to the falls, it was a 2 mile hike down a steep, muddy hiking trail that–if you ask me–should be marked better. I got there in time to get my pictures–dozens of them actually–and managed to get ahold of my family on Skype so they could see the falls, too. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have spent so much time taking pics from the overlook ledge by the falls in that by the time I started back, it was already getting dark…real fast. What’s worse is that I’m a girl with absolutely NO sense of direction whatsoever, which isn’t exactly a good thing when you’re on a hike in a 35-acre park and you can hardly see the trail in front of you since it’s so dark. So, yeah, it wasn’t the best or easiest of exits. Like I said, the trails aren’t really marked that well, and since we’ve had some rain recently, the muddy trail looked no different from the rest of the ground. I figured my best bet of getting out of there without getting lost in the dark was to try and go back the way I’d come from. So, that’s what I did. Not to mention that I had to use the flashlight app on my phone to see where I was walking. I called my sister while I was finding my way out and told her that I was lost in the dark in a 35-acre park…just messing with her…and she totally freaked, as usual. She really needs to lighten up and not always assume the worst. AND she needs to stop watching shows like Criminal Minds that show people getting lost and dying in the woods. She’s hilarious. I’m sure I wouldn’t have found it as funny if I actually had ended up getting lost in there, but I didn’t…so yeah. I made it out, so it’s all good.

I’m thinking of checking out the Zip-Lines at Nashville Shores next weekend for my next little adventure. I love Tennessee. It’s such a pretty state and there’s so many places you can go to and things to do. I’m loving that I have the freedom to do things like this and go on these little day-trips to all these really neat places. I literally can’t get enough of it. It’s great. 

xoMESSIE

–> And To Share Some Pics From Today’s Little Adventure…

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Really, God?! Really.

You ever just get the feeling like if there is a God, he’s just sitting up there going, “Oh look, she’s happy and things are going well…we can’t have that…BAM! There’s a curve ball for ya bitch!”?? Yeah. Not having a good day. At all. I just wish that for once, things would work out in my favor, you know? I’m not expecting this to be a cakewalk, but come on. Why can’t I just get what I want and have everything go smoothly for once in my life? Just once. I mean, is that really asking so much? My grams is always saying that God only gives you as much as you can handle…but from where I’m sitting, that’s total bull. And if this is some kind of life lesson thing that I need to learn to somehow be a stronger person or whatever…then I’m sorry, but I’m just not seeing the silver lining here…

xoMESSIE

#Nashville2Memphis

So, Friday marked the official start of our Spring Break, so I’m off for the week! 🙂 I was maybe thinking of going up to NY to spend the week with my family, but I decided against it and to just stay here in Nashville. While I do miss them and it’s been months since I’ve seen them, I’m going to be seeing them in a few weeks anyhow when I fly up next month to surprise my niece Angelina for her birthday. I’m only staying for a few days because I still have classes then, and if I know them–a few days will be MORE than enough time for me to spend with them before they start to wear on my nerves and drive me crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I love them–to death–I do, but they haven’t changed (and never will) so they’re still loud and obnoxious and constantly at each other’s throats…my grandmother and my mother especially. It’s gotten so that when my mother calls, I end up weighing the option of whether to answer or let it go to voice mail because it’s typically her calling to rant and bitch about whatever latest argument her and my grandmother got into and well…it gets old. And not only that, but I’m down here in Nashville…900 something miles away–I don’t exactly know what she expects me to do from here. That’s one of the things I LOVE about being down here…the peace and quiet. There’s no drama. It’s great. 🙂

Anyhow, since I’m on break and the weather was absolutely amazing today, I decided to take a little road trip to Memphis today to get some more pictures for my photo history project due when we get back from break. It was a nice-ish drive…three hours and miles of potholes–there and back. I didn’t really have a planned itinerary set or anything, so I was just playing it by ear. My first stop ended up being Graceland–because you can’t go to Memphis and not go to Graceland obviously–which was nice. I ended up taking the Mansion tour, which was really neat…though I’m not really sure why they call it a mansion because it really isn’t all that huge. The estate is though. There’s stables and all these different buildings. I was sneaky while I was on the tour inside the house and Skyped my grandmother so she could see inside Graceland. She’s a big Elvis fan–even had tickets to see his show when he came to upstate NY–but I think he died a few weeks before the date of the show, so she never got to see the show. The house is beautiful inside, though some of the interior rooms’ decor styles are a little too 70’s-ish for me. The yellow room…the pool table room–though the colors are incredible in that room–they’re bound to give someone a headache if they stand in there and stare at the walls for any length of time. After the tour through the house, I wandered outside and around the estate, snapping pictures of EVERYTHING, especially the trees. There’s so many pretty trees on that estate, I’m telling you. The mediation garden would be my first choice favorite part of the estate though. That’s where Elvis and his mother are buried and there’s this big fountain behind the graves and headstones, and a brick wall with these stain-glassed windows…so pretty. Second best spot would have to be at the street entrance to the Graceland estate with the pretty green gates and brick wall lining the property that people have been writing their names and messages and tributes to Elvis on for years. It’s really cool.

After Graceland, I headed downtown to Mulberry Street, more specifically the Lorraine Hotel, which serves as the location of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. The hotel has been completely preserved and is now part of the National Civil Rights Museum, along with the adjacent buildings–one of which is where the shooter fired the shot that killed MLK. There’s a wreath hanging from the 2nd floor balcony in front of Room 206, memorializing the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. was standing when he was shot and killed. The original two cars that were parked out front of the hotel at the time of the assassination are still parked there and have been preserved as part of the museum/site. It was a pretty surreal thing, standing there, maybe 10 feet or so from the spot where one of the most famous civil rights activist was murdered. You know when people ask you what famous person you’d want to meet if they were still alive–well, Martin Luther King, Jr. is definitely high on MY list. People nowadays are  still so narrow-minded that they think you have to be black to be inspired by MLK…and it’s completely false. MLK fought and campaigned for the equality of all races, white AND black. He wasn’t even anyone important…just an ordinary man with a family and the pastor of a church who believed in and fought for his cause with a bravery that isn’t often seen. He put himself and welfare of his family and his friends in jeopardy by doing what he did, especially by being a colored man in the South in the 60’s. Every march, every rally, every speech–he risked incarceration and/or death. Even then, his determination and courage never wavered. He should be an inspiration to everyone not because of the color of his skin, but because he stood up for something he believed in…even if that cost him his life in the end. It’s just so unfortunate and sad that he didn’t get to see his cause get to fruition. If only he could see it now…and the great strides of progress racial equality we have made since then….hell, we have a black President. I mean, who’d have thought in the 60’s that we’d elect a black president some 50-ish years in the future? I’m guessing not many. With all this progress, however, also comes the setbacks. We may have a black president and black politicians…but racism is still an issue. There’s still individuals and groups like the KKK that are still racist. Personally, I don’t get it. Never have. Never will. I just don’t see why the color of someone’s skin determines the way people see and interact with one another. I have friends that are black…and they’re awesome. As for inter-racial dating and marriages issue…I don’t have a problem with it. I mean, if you love someone and want to be with that person, skin color should never be a deciding factor. The heart wants what it wants…and honestly, it shouldn’t be up to politicians and society to judge or dictate a person’s relationship. It’s no one’s business but theirs. Would I ever date or marry someone that’s black? Probably not. And that’s not because I’m a racist–I’m not–I just think it can be really hard for the children in bi-racial families…BECAUSE there’s still that stigma, whether society wants to admit it or not, it’s there. It’s one thing for an adult to deal with racism and prejudice…but the children are the ones that suffer most–whether they inherited their Dad’s dark skin color, or their Mom’s fair-skin, or a mix of both. People are still going to whisper and judge. Bigots beget bigots. It’s so messed up, but these racist people with kids either don’t realize it–or they don’t care–but they’re essentially raising a new generation of racists. We know those kids that hear their mom and dad make racist comments at the dinner table are going to go to school tomorrow and repeat those degrading, racist remarks to the bi-racial kid in the class…and actually think it’s okay because they’re imitating their parents. And your parents are supposed to be your role models, so they have to be right, RIGHT? Ummm, NO! That’s how I feel about it. If and when I do decide to settle down and start a family, I don’t think I’d want to bring a child into this world that’s already bad and prejudiced enough…the baby’d be starting life with a disadvantage…and that’s just not right. Or fair. It sucks, but that’s just how it is. Hopefully my kids and grand-kids will be the generation that eradicates racism once and for all. One can only hope.

Yeah, so after that I checked out the Riverfront and Downtown and Beale Street, of course. All in all, it was a great day. 🙂

Thought I’d share some pics from the trip–P.S. I got a little camera happy. 🙂 🙂

xoMESSIE

Graceland.
Graceland.

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Elvis' Burial Site.
Elvis’ Burial Site.

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MLK Assassination Site/Memorial.
MLK Assassination Site/Memorial.

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Beale Street.
Beale Street.

 

Spoon Full of Sunshine.

So today was a good day. I got to soak in a little sunshine…I mean literally, I actually have a sunburn across the bridge of my nose. The weather was absolutely beautiful–it being in the mid 60’s–and you could tell how glad people were to finally venture out after these insane past few weeks of brutal winter here in Nashville because it seemed like everyone and anyone was out and about. I decided to take advantage of all the sunshine and go out shooting for my photo assignment, considering how it’s been weather-wise and all. Who knows, we’ll probably get another freak snowstorm and have yet another snow day (we’ve already had four) in a day or two…you never know, right? And just so I’ll be prepared for the next Nashville go-round with Mother Nature, I’m having my mother send me down a snow brush…dummy that I am, I didn’t bother to bring one down with me when I left New York. Mostly because I didn’t think I’d need one. And certainly not at the frequency that I’ve been needing one. It’s a little ironic in that I’d only been in Nashville for a few weeks when we had a forecast calling for snow, and everyone I mentioned it to basically acted as if I’d just landed from another planet. Because according to them, it never snows in Nashville, and when it does it’s just a light dusting that’ll typically be gone by morning. It was actually kind of satisfying and funny even at first because oh boy, did Mother Nature prove them wrong. Now I know that it does snow in Nashville, on occasion. Everyone I know that’s from Nashville have said that is one of the most brutal, coldest winters Nashville has seen in decades. And wouldn’t you know it, it just had to be the winter I moved down here from NY  It figures. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the snow. After all, I’m from upstate New York, so I’m used to it. While it’s pretty to look at and play in up in NY, down here it’s nothing to joke about. I, of course, had to learn that the hard way with my near-death hydroplaning incident a couple of weeks ago. Driving on the interstate has been absolute hell for me ever since then. I freak myself out every time I feel like I’m starting to slide or find myself having to drive next to an 18-wheeler. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I’m actually sliding, or if it’s just me getting all worked up over nothing. Either way, it’s scary as hell. So while the snow was nice at first–and 4 snow days is pretty awesome–now I’m just over it. Over the freezing temps, the snow, the ice rain–all of it. I’m just ready for winter to be over with. I think Nashville’s seen enough snow to last the city for a while. I know I have. New York and the northern states can keep their snow…but down here in Nashville, we’re more than ready for Spring to get here and the sunshine I was promised and expected when I moved here. Here’s to hoping we’ve seen the last of that white stuff…hopefully.

Any who, so the weather and sunlight were perfect for going out and taking some pictures. I picked up my friend Hannah from our photography class and we spent like 6 hours–or just about–driving around Nashville and taking pics of old buildings and bridges and other random places and things that hold some kind of historic ties to Nashville. Six hours is a long time to be out taking pictures, but we had the best time. Hannah is hilarious. We spent a good portion of the time driving around, talking about some of the odd and irritating “characters” that are in our class and joking around. I drove Hannah crazy with my driving, which was funny as hell, and we chatted about the strangest and most random of things. It was fun.

Seeing and going all these places today only made me love the city of Nashville more than I already had. I keep expecting to find something about it that I don’t like, some kind of flaw or fault, but so far, I haven’t found neither. Nashville is amazing. Now that I’ve been here and I’ve gotten to experience and explore the city, I can’t even imagine wanting to leave and move back to NY. I don’t think I’ll ever want to. I miss my family–that’s a given–and my friends back in New York, but my life is here now…at least for the time being. There’s so much more to do and see and experience here than there is back home. And more opportunities–career and other wise. But most importantly, it’s the people that make me want to stay. I was a little worried when I first got here that I’d feel too out of place and too nervous to meet people, but that turned out NOT to be the case. I’ve actually been more open and more confident with people down here than I expected I would be. I’ve made some really good friends already in the short time that I’ve been here and I meet new people nearly every day. My friend Alan, who I met in my design class, has pretty much become like my surrogate-bestie down here in Nashville. He’s hilarious and so much fun to talk to and hang out with. It’s great…and I think it’s because–for the first time in a really long time–I’m able to actually be my real self with the people here. There’s no rumors and stories going around, no having to look over my shoulder or wait for the bottom to fall out. I don’t have to worry about any of that here. Here, I can be the real me, without worrying what people might think or caring what they might say. They don’t know about my past or about all the dumb things I did. They just know the me that I am right now. And it’s so liberating. And such a relief to not have to pretend to be someone that you’re not, or carry around baggage that you’d rather just get rid of once and for all…it’s like I’ve been given a second chance and the opportunity to finally get to do and have what I want and be who I want to be. Moving here was the best decision I could have ever made for myself and I’m glad I did because finally–FINALLY–I feel like everything is right with my life. I have friends here, I’m happy here…I have a life. And it’s a pretty damn good one, if you ask me…and a long time coming.

xoMESSIE

Just My Subconscious Working Overtime…

Looks like Messie here is gonna have to go back on some Prozac…and she’s not at ALL happy about it. Not one bit.

I had another panic attack when I got in the car earlier to go to the store, my second in a week. I was being proactive after the one I had earlier in the week and remembered to leave some paper bags in the console, just in case. Didn’t think I’d actually have to use them, though. I’d hoped the earlier one was a one-time deal. That it was just some shot nerves left over from the hydroplaning incident last weekend. I assumed wrong, apparently. Obviously. Yeah.

I’m thinking that it’s the weather’s that’s triggering them because both of the times they happened this week it was raining…just like it was doing that morning when I hydroplaned. I figure the rain has to be it because I’ve driven a few times after that when it wasn’t raining and I was fine. No panic attack. No hyperventilating episode. Nothing.

It’s so damn frustrating, you know? I feel so stupid and ridiculous for having the damn things. It’s embarrassing because it really is THAT ridiculous. It wasn’t that bad. I mean, it was, but it wasn’t…if that makes sense. By that I just mean that it absolutely could have been much, MUCH worse than it was. I could have died. It’s not an exaggeration. It did happen and it was that close. I can still picture it in clear detail, same as when it was happening. Spinning towards that concrete wall, catching glimpses of those tractor trailers speeding towards me as I was spinning across the three lanes of traffic. Everyone keeps saying how brave I was for keeping my wits about it when it was happening, long enough and smart enough to know that I had to turn the wheel in the direction I did to keep from hitting the median…but they have it ALL wrong. There was nothing brave or smart about what I did in that moment. I wasn’t brave and I sure as hell didn’t keep my wits about it or stay calm. I panicked. Full-blown, too damn scared to even scream, panicked. That’s what I was. And turning the wheel like I did wasn’t smart at all. It was reckless and dumb. You’re supposed to turn INTO the skid…I did the opposite. I freaked and turned the wheel OUT of it and away from the direction of the median. That shouldn’t have worked. It’s simple physics. It should have sent me right into that concrete median. By some freak, dumb luck, it sent me in the other direction. If the traffic had been just a few yards closer, it would have been an absolute disaster. There’d have been a pile up, for sure. And I’d be dead, I don’t that for a second. Chances are, I probably wouldn’t have been the only one. Is that bravery or courage? Absolutely not. I wonder what they’d say if they knew what really happened in that car…if I told them how after I turned the wheel–more sharply than I should have, I might add–and saw those trucks while I was spinning out of control across those lanes, how I did what was probably the worst, dumbest thing I could have done–I closed my eyes. I wonder what they’d think if they knew that. As crazy as it sounds, it’s the truth. I closed my eyes. Honestly, I didn’t know what else to do. It was the only thing I could think to do in that moment. I knew those trucks were coming and that they wouldn’t have time to slow down. And I knew that I was spinning too fast and too out of control for the wheels to catch traction in time for me to get out-of-the-way. So I did what any sane person–one would think–would do. In those few split-seconds, I accepted that I likely wasn’t going to make it out of that situation alive and that my fate had been sealed the moment I got into the car that morning, and then I closed my eyes and prayed like hell that it’d be over quick and no one else would be hurt. Smart move? Probably not. But my logic in that moment was pretty much summed up by the fact that even though I was probably going to die, there was no way in hell I was going to keep my eyes open and watch while it happened. Hell to the no. It’s one thing to accept that you probably might die…another to be, literally, an eye-witness to your own death. Some people might think I’m crazy for closing my eyes, but if they’d been there in that vehicle with me in that moment and saw what I saw–I’m pretty sure they’d have closed their eyes, too.

Was it scary as hell? Without a doubt. But I was beyond lucky to have walked away with just a few bruises. I’m alive. I shouldn’t be. According to the Laws of Physics, I should most definitely be dead right now. The fact that I’m not is a good thing. Better than good, in fact. I cheated death. I can’t tell you how or why it happened…or if I deserve to be spared–especially considering all the mistakes I’ve made in my life. I can’t answer those questions…and believe me, I’ve tried. It’s all I’ve been able to think about, to be completely honest. I know it’s probably not the healthiest thing to be questioning why I didn’t die when I definitely should have–and that I should just be grateful and thankful that I didn’t…but I can’t help it. I don’t understand it. Some people might say that I had to have a guardian angel or something looking out for me that day–or God himself–but since I don’t exactly believe in God, that explanation doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe it’s as simple as pure, dumb luck…some cosmic alignment or whatever that saved me that day. I don’t know.

It’s weird, but I feel like something’s–I don’t know–off, you know? Like something in me changed that day. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. I just know that something is different. It sounds crazy, but it’s like I’m numb and can’t feel anything. I don’t mean physically–my collarbone is feeling better and the bruises are fading so physically, I’m totally fine. Emotionally…not so much. I think maybe it has to do with the fact that I really did come thatclose to dying. I mean, once you’ve pretty much accepted that you’re going to die, it’s like there’s nothing else really left to be afraid of, you know? It’s like when you hit rock bottom. Once you’ve hit it, you know you don’t have to worry because it’ll never get worse than it is in that moment. I kind of feel like that.

It’s a strange thing to say, but it’s almost a little ironic. I mean, I’ve never really been afraid to die before. I guess I’ve always just accepted that it’s going to happen and there’s really nothing you can do about it, so there’s no point dwelling on the fact. Not to mention, there’s the times when I tried to speed it along, so to speak…and nearly succeeded. Like when I slit my wrist years ago. I know there are people who wouldn’t hesitate to judge me for that and would jump at the chance to label me “crazy”, but the truth of the matter is that I was no more crazy for wanting to die that night than a person that wants to live. It sounds strange, but it’s true. Society puts this big stigma on death and suicide and no one wants to talk about it because they’d rather continue the illusion that as long as they don’t think about it or know when it’ll happen, then they can live happily-ever-after in some blissful unawareness that, if you ask me, doesn’t realistically even exist. Our lives…time…it’s all an illusion. What I find absolutely ironic though, in this case, is that even while I was essentially bleeding out that night years ago, I wasn’t really afraid to die. I wanted to die. I wanted to be non-existent. I saw no point in living. Life held no meaning for me at that point in time. There was no pretty eternity I was anxious to find waiting for me on the other side. There was nothing…and that was the crux of it all. That nothing…that peace…that was what I wanted. So why didn’t I let things play out that night–why didn’t I die as I intended? It wasn’t fear that stopped me. Rather, it was the guilt. You see, even though I wasn’t afraid to or cared if I died or not, there were people who did. People who loved me and to whom my life meant something. I just find it so strange–so ironic–how in the past, I’ve had moments where I would have welcomed death…but when I was in that car last weekend and spinning towards what I thought was my inevitable death, I was literally and absolutely terrified. That’s the part I don’t really understand…how I could be ready to die that night, and yet feel absolutely helpless and scared now, a few years later.

I’d like to think that it’s because things have changed since then…that I’ve changed. I’ve come so far from that girl sitting in my family’s driveway with a blade in her hand, covered in her own blood…not caring whether she lived or died. I’ve made so many mistakes in my life, and godknows all the screwed up, fucked up things that I’ve done, but I’d like to think that I’ve also done some good. It’s weird, but I feel like my life actually has meaning now, unlike how I felt back then. Not that my family wasn’t enough back then for me to have felt like my life had value–they were–but I feel like they mean more to me now. A lot of it is the kids, my nieces and nephews. They make it all worthwhile, you know? They make me want to be better…to do better. When I think about how close I came last weekend to losing all of that–of never having the chance to say goodbye or tell them how much I love them…not being there to see Angelina become a teenager and graduate high school, get married…never seeing Ava and Emma do those things…never seeing my little Twinnies again and knowing that they’ll never know who I was or remember me…it literally breaks my heart. It’s terrifying. Hell, it makes me sick just thinking about it.

That’s probably the greatest irony of it all. Now that I actually have something to lose, I have no choice but to join the ranks of the rest of the world that are afraid to die. So I guess the real question is whether the fear is worth it. Eight–maybe even five–years ago, I probably would have said no. But now–now I definitely would say that it is. Those kids, these people I love, this new start and life journey that I’m embarking on down here in Nashville…it’s worth it. So, so, worth it.

Now if I could just get those images out of my head and be done with these ridiculous panic attacks, that’d be great. Maybe my subconscious will get the hint…and soon, I hope.

‘Til Next Time,

xoMESSIE

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