The Lovers’ Noose… a poem

You took my hand, promised to never ever let it go.

Saying “Baby, let’s just take this nice and slow.”

Then you fastened the rope, hung the noose;

held me close.

With a twist and a tug; tied a knot—then you pulled.

Yeah, you pulled so tight ‘til I gave in.

‘Til I was yours.

Heart, body, and soul.

A clever rouse, I should have known.

I was right there. You were so close.

Now we’re enemies and adversaries; each other’s greatest foe.

Oh, how did I not see it, how could I not know?

With your sweet kisses and pretty words,

Reeling me in just to cast me right back.

Over and over again.

Then out of nowhere, not a word, you just turned.

But you never returned.

You dug the hurt even deeper, made it worse.

You preyed on all my deepest fears.

I swear I must have cried an ocean’s worth of tears.

For you.

And I still remember those moonlit nights.

I replay the images over in my mind.

Not often, but sometimes.

Tangled together, your body and mine.

Feelings and emotions, always felt but never spoken.

Alone in the dark, with no one to witness or see.

No one to hear or ask me why.

As I break the silence, close my eyes and cry.

I travel back in time.

I know the fury will come soon enough.

It always does.

Do you remember the broken glass?

The accusations you threw that I threw right back?

I do.

I remember all the lies,

The ones I couldn’t forget if I tried.

(And I really did try).

How you claimed your innocence in the public’s eye.

How you played that victim card of yours to the nines.

When you said the blame was all mine.

But you know, that’s just fine.

It’s your conscience on the line, not mine.

How it’s come to this, how it went that far, I’ll never know.

We said no strings, no hearts.

No falling in love.

But then I fell.

I fell so hard.

And it was good, ‘til it just felt so wrong.

‘Til all that mattered; who I’d be and who I was, was gone.

‘Til there was nothing about you left for me to love.

Finding comfort in the fact that it was over with and done.

That the storm and the worst had passed.

Even hurt like that…it doesn’t last.

‘Cause someday.

When you’re ready, when the time is right.

You’ll forgive, you’ll forget.

You’ll learn to trust again.

To live in the now, not then.

You’ll find someone new to love.

And you’ll box up the past.

Push it to some dark, deep place in the back of your mind.

To be forgotten for the rest of time.

Have no doubt, you’ll find your way.

You’ll find your purpose, your place.

Where you stand in the middle of it all.

I promise you will figure it all out, somebody, somehow.

You WILL find yourself.

Your heart will heal, your soul will mend,

The world will right itself again.

And as daunting as it will seem

(and it will for quite some time)

Just know.

You’ll get through the hell.

You’ll move on.

It may feel like you can’t, that you won’t.

Just breathe, just believe.

Just hold on, just be strong.

Be patient.

It just takes time.

Trust me.

You’ll survive.

-JLR-

9/12/2016

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Our Skeletons.

I’m going back. To Nashville. I’m going HOME. Yes, because that IS what Nashville is to me, it’s HOME. Not here. Not anymore. A home is a place where you feel loved and protected and safe and wanted. And I don’t feel any of those things here. I should. My family is here. And therein lies the whole of the matter. There’s this saying that goes “…sometimes it’s funny that the people you’d take a bullet for, are the ones pulling the trigger.” It’s true. With my family, it is SO true. My “family”.


You know, there was a time when I would have gone to bat for any one of them, no questions asked. A time when I actually believed they were good, loving people. When I would have said that while “sure, they’re a bit dysfunctional, but what family isn’t” and defended them to others…to myself. Growing up, I didn’t really think much of the dysfunction, you know? It was just the norm. The fighting, the secrets, the cops being called on nearly every holiday or family get-together. I ignored it, hid it. On some level, I think I was probably ashamed of it. I mean, our house wasn’t the place for birthday parties where you invited your friends from school or sleepovers. There was just too much yelling and drama for that. The older I got and the more skeletons that came out of the woodwork—the more I realized just how selfish and callous and oblivious they could be. I finally started to see these people for who and what they really were. My grandmother—the woman I’d pretty much looked up to and idolized my whole life—I saw her for the controlling narcissist that she is. She’s the matriarch of the family, through and through. Right down to who holds the reins and what is and/or isn’t. She’s spent her whole life raising kids. She loves kids. It’s the ones out of pull-ups and grade school that have opinions of their own that she despises. Oh, how she loathes anyone and everyone who dares to even breathe a word in opposition to her. Heaven forbid she’s ever wrong about anything. And my mother—well, she wasn’t much of an enigma. I’d figured her out long before the training bras came off, so to speak. I guess that happens when you’re five-years-old and you wake up in the middle of the night from a bad dream and Mommy’s nowhere to be found…so you go to the window and watch her getting in the car and leave with whatever guy she happened to be seeing at the time. And while you’d like to say that it only happened once, you can’t. Because time and time again, she put you and your siblings in the 2nd priority slot and never the first. It’s hard when you’re little, you know? You’re five. You don’t understand why your Mommy would rather be with some man and not you. You don’t know why you aren’t good enough, or what you didn’t do for her to love you enough. You blame yourself. As you get older, the clouds lift and everything starts to look a hell of a lot clearer. You start to blame yourself less. You realize that it’s not—that it’s her. And part of you feels sorry for her—because she must be sick or at the very least have something wrong with her to be so cold and disinterested in her own child. But the other part of you—that’s the part that gets angry because you’re not a kid anymore. You know that the decisions she’s making are exactly those…decisions. Choices. A deliberate and conscious effort and action. That what she’s doing is wrong and unfair. You know it and you want her to know it…but you know it’s pointless because in the end, it’s not going to change who she is. That that is who she is. And all you can do is accept it and move on and hope like hell that you didn’t inherit that motherless gene from her that makes you love—for all intents and purposes—but not actually care about your child if and when you decide to become a parent yourself.


I’ve made so many excuses for them over the years and I’m done. I’m just done. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t defend them when my heart’s not in it anymore. And my heart’s not in it. It may be a horrible thing to say, but they aren’t worth it. I came so close tonight to giving in and giving up and cashing in all these chips I’ve collected over the years…because of them. And the fact that they could push me that far and that close to the edge—well, it scares the hell out of me. And I’ve come too far and worked too damn hard to get to where I am right now to throw it all away for them. They’re my family. They’re supposed to have my back. They aren’t supposed to be the ones to stab the knife in it. They’re supposed to be loyal, but they don’t have a loyal bone in their bodies. I honestly don’t think they even know the meaning of the word.


It’s a long story, but there’s been a war launched between my brother and I this week. He’s had his skank of the moment and her kid nearly moved in here. Neither my mother or grandmother want her here and he’s been told, but of course as he always does, he does as he pleases. Because they don’t have the nerve to confront her directly, I did. Well…he didn’t take too kindly to that, or my calling the bitch for what she is: a whore. And I don’t use that word lightly, but she is one. Hell, that’s pretty much his type—blonde, white trash whore. Of course, you can’t dare insult any of his skanks because then he turns the tables onto you—in this case, me. So it was back to the whole “I’m a whore, I’ve slept with half the county, traded sex for coke…blah, blah…” spiel that’s so worn I’m surprised he doesn’t have dry mouth when he says the words. He also tried to punch me in the face—would’ve if my mother hadn’t stepped in the middle—and threatened to kill me. Wait, what were the words… oh yeah… “I’ll bury you.” Yep. And yet, I get told to shut up and just ignore him. No calling the cops or going to family court and getting an order of protection against the bastard because of course, that wouldn’t look well for them. After all, they have the kids to consider. Funny. They’re so concerned about these kids when it’s convenient for them and never when they actually should be concerned. And the kids aside—what about me? Where the hell is their concern over me? Their flesh and blood. Someone they claim to love. Someone they constantly say they don’t want to go back to Nashville. Where the hell is their concern when he’s spouting his bullshit at me? Holding the worst things to ever happen to me over my head? The bastard has held that damn party 9 years ago and my secret over my head for years. But you know what? I’m done caring, of shutting up and letting things go just so he’ll keep his mouth shut about that night—things he read in my journal that he stole—the words and secrets of a scared 16-year-old who had literally just had her entire world turned inside out, who had to cover up and lie because she didn’t want them to think less of her for having made the mistake of going to a stupid party and getting raped. Even so, I’ve come to terms with what happened and the things I’ve done. I’m not a saint, nor have I ever claimed to be. I’ve made mistakes. I made one that night. I’ve made a hundred more in the time since. I won’t deny that. But I won’t stand there and shut up as he calls me a whore and accuses me of sleeping with scores of men and trading sex for drugs when I have never and would never do such a thing. I may not be lily white, but unlike the trash that he whores around with, I can sleep at night knowing my sexual exploits.


Rather than cause a scene or hell—make her leave–what really pisses me off though is that they continue to let her come over—despite both still saying that don’t want her here—ESPECIALLY after all the shit he’s done and said to me over the past few days. And the fact that his smug fucking bastard self is winning is what pisses me off the most. He gets what he wants and nothing changes. Nothing. Ever. Changes. It’s the story of my entire fucking life. And they don’t see a thing wrong with it. They don’t see how their silence is, in essence, condoning everything that he’s doing. Everything that he’s saying to me. I told them to make a choice. Either get rid of her—and stand up to him for me, for once—or I’m done. And they chose to let it be. To “keep the peace” by not making her leave—as in, not get him pissed off by kicking her out. So…they made their choice. And their beds. I’m done. I can’t do it anymore. They aren’t my family anymore. They’ve shown it time and time again that they have no regard whatsoever for how I feel. So I’m going HOME. To Nashville. To the place where I don’t feel like yelling and screaming at the injustice of the people and situation I’m surrounded by every five minutes. The place where I don’t feel like I constantly in a backslide into the past, being dragged under and drowning by memories. The place where I feel like I actually have a chance. A future. Where there are people who actually care—good friends that I might not have known for very long, but that I trust a hell of a lot more than these people I share the same blood with. Those people—they’re my family now. And maybe that’s a horrible and hurtful thing to say, but until you’ve met my family, until you’ve lived with them, been dragged down into their hell where there’s no air and you can barely breathe and you’re alive but you’re just waiting for someone to do the humane thing and let you out of your misery…don’t judge me. Don’t you dare.


As soon as I can make the arrangements, I’m gone. As badly as I want to just pack it all in, get in the car and drive and not look back right this second—hell, at this point I don’t think I care what the destination is so long as it’s a hell of a lot of miles between there and here—I can’t. I’m stuck here, thanks to these damn headaches and the doctors—half of which don’t have a clue and the other half who seem to be getting off on treating me like a guinea pig the majority of the time. Thanks to the lovely state of Tennessee and the even lovelier medical specialists it employs, whom for some godforsaken reason won’t treat a patient with out-of-state insurance, nor someone who doesn’t have full-resident status in the state—despite the treatment being for injuries sustained in an accident that occurred in that lovely state. Oh, the irony! So thus the dilemma I find myself in. I am stuck. I can’t stop treatment—I need it. And I’m hoping like hell that it works. Then there’s the legal aspect—the lawyers and this damn court case. So no, I can’t just stop. So instead, I’m spending my time trying to find a loophole—something—that could fix this little dilemma of mine somehow. Once I figure that out—figure something out—I’m out. Once and for all.


I’m going back.

I’m going HOME.

 

xoMESSIE

Scandalous…A Poem

– Scandalous…A Poem –

Lower me down

Into blankets of silk

Skin to skin

Cradle me close, lover of mine

Bathe me in sin

Over and over, and then over again

Tell me you love me

With feeling this time, like you actually do

And maybe, just maybe I’ll believe it, too

Your touch, such a frenzied-yet beautiful thing

Your whispered promises carry in the wind

The gentlest of caresses against my skin

Pull me in closer, do it again

Just like that

Baby, that’s the spot

A parry, a thrust

The time-old connection where soft meets hard

Your ragged breath against my neck

With you, I’m at my weakest

If it weren’t for the lingering remnants of my pride

I’d beg you to please show me some mercy.

My guard goes down, the façade is gone

In your arms, I’m lost.

Our bodies, they glisten with a most decadent sheen

The aftermath glow of a mutually satisfied,

yet purely self-serving need.

After, when we part,

The vow we make is always the same.

We try our best to hold out; to be strong

But to the world, we’re just pawns

In this hopelessly futile, self-deprecating game.

The world tells us lies

And we console ourselves with the idea that we have time.

Thinking we have more.

When in truth, we have nothing of the kind.

We’re been betrayed

Deceived by fantasies and fabricated facts

Happily-Ever-After doesn’t exist

True love is a lie

It’s a hard pill to swallow

Believe me, I know

It was hard for me, at first, too

To let it all go

But fantasies fade

And sometimes love dies, never was, or just needs to change—

For everyone’s sake.

So with baited breath, we wait.

We glide through life

Believing everything is meant to be

See and do things we aren’t meant to do or see

Until we see the light, slip on life’s black ice

We fall through the cracks

We fall so hard, we fall so deep

We’re not nearly as invincible as we might like to think

You and me

We’re walking vulnerability

Beach sand formed to fragile glass

We heat until we break

Then shatter what’s around us

Hurt the ones we claim to love

We’re flawed, we make mistakes

Just as children starting out so often do

We falter in our steps

We skin our knees, we bleed

It’s what we do

After all, we’re only human,

You and me.

– JLR –

2.21.2016

Only Tennessee.

Low-lyin’ clouds

Birds singin’ all night long

I see the hills in my dreams

And hear the bells, hear the bells in my bones

Never thought I would give in

Now you’re underneath my skin

**

Only Tennessee

Only Tennessee can save me now

Lazy, long roads

Trees bending in the wind

I’m coming home

**

Wild flowers in the fields

In the fields of my mind

I feel the sunshine

It’s coming through

**

Never thought I would give in

Now you’re underneath my skin

Only Tennessee

Only Tennessee can save me now

(Song Credit: “Only Tennessee” — Written By: Claire Guerreso & Daniel Tashian)


I’m heading home to Nashville after this weekend. FINALLY. Even if I didn’t want to go and I wanted to stay her in NY — which I definitely DO NOT!! — I couldn’t. The lease for my apartment–the one I literally only lived in for 3 weeks, by the way–is up at the end of the month, so I have to pack all my things and move into my new place.


This is the part that sucks. The leaving. As glad and as excited I am to be going home and seeing my friends and everyone in Nashville again, I feel sad about leaving my family, the kids especially. When I first got here, back in July, the Twinnies–they didn’t even recognize me. It actually took them awhile to warm up to me at first. And now they’re all over me. Ty especially. He’s such a little lover. He’s always climbing into my lap and giving me hugs. My grams watches them during the day so we’ve made a routine, Ty and I, of taking an afternoon nap. He’ll climb on the bed, take my phone and open up the PBS kids app (all on his own!). He’ll watch the shows for a little while until I tell him it’s time to take a nap. Then he’ll hand me the phone, turn over so that he’s facing me, and then literally curl right up against me and fall asleep. He’s a big-time cuddler and it’s the cutest thing. I’m going to miss the little guy. So much. And Jakey–that kid is something else. He’s got a temper, that one. And he’s a little monkey, too. He’s always climbing on and jumping off from things…he’s totally fearless.


I hate to leave the girls, too–especially with everything that’s gone/going on with Emma and Avie and the whole custody/family court thing. Who knows what the hell their mother has up her sleeve and/or will try to do the next time she gets pissed and feels like being a bitch and taking the girls out of pure spite. Then there’s Angelina–she’s out of control. Her attitude is atrocious and she doesn’t seem to think that she has to listen to anyone. My mother instead of disciplining her like she should, just lets the bad behavior continue–as she’s allowed it to for years. As her first granddaughter, she spoiled the hell out of Angelina. She still spoils her. She let her get away with murder all these years and only now is she cracking down on the behavior…now that Angelina’s 12. Hell, she’s going to be a teenager. If they think she’s bad now, I can just imagine how she’ll be in a couple of years. They’re in for a hell of a time with her, I’m sure of it. And they’ve only got themselves to blame.


So anyhow, yeah. It’s time for me to go. And while I may be leaving, it’s not goodbye. So…I’ll see you on the flip-side New York. ‘Til then…


xoMESSIE

You Only Wake Up When It’s Over.

VERSE:

It wasn’t one big blow that brought our love down
It was the hairline cracks that took it to the ground
Just kept creepin’ over time, spreadin’ like wildfire
It wasn’t one big blow that brought our love down

CHORUS:

Oh we didn’t wanna see
We didn’t wanna believe
The dream was gettin’ colder
Oh, we begged the truth to bend
It’s easier to pretend
Than to see it when you’re sober
You only wake up when it’s over
You only wake up when it’s over

VERSE:

There was so much ’bout you I didn’t realize
There was so much ’bout me I couldn’t recognize
You can only get a clear view, when it’s fadin’ in the rearview
There was so much ’bout you I didn’t realize

BRIDGE:

Oh we didn’t wanna see
We didn’t wanna believe
It’s easier to pretend
Than to see it when you’re sober

You only wake up when it’s over
You only wake up when it’s over…

(“Wake Up When It’s Over” – Michael Logen & Maren Morris)



**

Why, oh WHY, is it that it’s only in hindsight that we see all things in 20/20 perspective?

**

Why’d we first have to fall before we learned to stand? Why did there always have to be a lesson to be learned…why couldn’t things just be what they were? Simple. Easy. Uncomplicated. Why couldn’t it have just gone our way for once?

**

Why weren’t we satisfied until we’d broken and destroyed one another? Why did we toss around the words that cut the deepest? Why didn’t we take the high road and bow out gracefully? Left with our dignity? Why’d we let it go that far? Why didn’t we stop ourselves? Why’d we make excuses when we knew it was wrong? Why’d you get off so easy–how’d you, of all people, get to play the victim card? Why’d you have to go and make forgetting you easy but forgiving you  so damn hard? Why?

**



 

Singing Those Small Town Blues.

So, I seem to be on a bit of  a lyric kick this week…[ in case you haven’t noticed from recent posts 🙂 ]

 

 

Today’s lyric pick is one from the one-and-only, incredibly musically-inclined, (and so damn gorgeous, to boot) emerging artist otherwise known as SAM HUNT. I just love everything about his songs. The lyrics of which are absolute perfection. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to have missed his performance at the CMAFest last month. But lesson learned : buy festival tickets early in advance next time. Anyhow, the particular song that happens to be my muse for today’s post is called “Breakup In A Small Town”. With everything that’s been going on with the Bestie and her significant other these past couple of weeks–and my own not-so-pleasant past experiences–it seems fitting to share this track.

 

 

My favorite part of the song–the chorus :

 

**

I guess that’s just how it goes
When you break up in a small town
I see our friends and they put on a show
Like they don’t want me to know
So they give me the go-around

But there’s only so many streets, so many lights
I swear it’s like I can’t even leave my house
I should’ve known all along
You gotta move or move on
When you break up in a small town

**

As with every small town, there are both advantages and disadvantages to living in one. In spite of all the time growing up that I spent resenting my boring,  Upstate New York little hometown, I’m grateful and glad that I grew up in a small town. There’s just something about the dynamic of a small town that will outshine and rival that of a city any day, in my book. The pace is slower, people are nicer and more aware of their fellow citizens/neighbors. And as hard as it is to believe, there’s actually a perk or two about everyone knowing everyone and everything. People look out for one another more…people care. And when push comes to shove–most of the time–they’ll have your back. It’s a comforting thing…knowing you’re not alone…having that figurative safety net.

But what goes up, must come down…and there’s two sides to everything. Small-town folks are fickle people. They’ll just as soon stab you in the back and turn on you as they will come to your defense.  It’s a double-sided sword…this whole “everyone knows everyone” deal. When it’s good, it’s great. But when it’s not–well…then you best run and take cover–that’s all I’m saying. Breaking up in a small town can be just as ugly as one might probably imagine…and that’s putting it nicely.  It sucks to indefinite proportions. And it’s not fair–but that’s just how it goes. That’s life in a small town.

Distance is what typically heals a breakup. And let’s face it–in a small town–there’s no such thing. A breakup is difficult enough on its own, without having to run into or see him/her all the time, every day. Of course, the small-town gossip mill doesn’t help the situation any. People–oh how they love to talk and make up stories and spread rumors–usually with complete disregard for how their words might effect the other person. Simply put, people don’t care. Not one bit. If it’s interesting and newsworthy, they’ll run with it–despite only having half the facts–if any–about it. Nobody thinks about or cares that their lies–big or small–can ruin a person’s life. Or destroy a person’s reputation, damaging it permanently. No one cares about the consequences of their actions, or the level of hurt and pain their words can bring. People are bullies…tearing down others in order to build themselves up, and to make themselves feel good about their miserable excuse for an existence. People don’t consider the person behind the lies and the rumors–or that he/she has the same feelings as anyone else.

I hate it, but I’ve seen it first-hand. I’ve seen how cruel people can be. How resentful and vindictive and destructive some can be. But I’ve seen it happen; I’ve felt it. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to be afraid to leave your house or go out with friends for fear of who you might run into or see out. I know what’s it like to not want to feed into the rumors and the bullshit, even though it’s killing you to remain silent and you want so badly to stand up and defend yourself–but can’t because doing so will only make it worse. I know what it’s like to drive past a place that holds so many painful, lost memories to the extent that even the few good memories are overshadowed by the bad. All those places…the bar where it all began, the beautiful, grassy knoll where many a secret rendezvous took place, the alley where it all finally ended…all those places, permanently marred by all the pain.

I know what’s it like to be alone in a town full of people, to feel the betrayal of those you once considered a friend. I know what it’s like to carry the burden of guilt and shame everywhere you go. To hear the whispers, see the looks, and know there’s not a damn thing you can say to get them to listen to you, to hear your side of it–to hear the truth. I know how bad it feels and to be so desperate that you’d pretty much do anything to make it stop…to make them stop. I know what it’s like to be accused and found guilty of something you’re completely innocent of.

Most importantly, I know what it’s like to be driven and run out of the place and town you once called home. To feel like you have no other choice but to go because there’s nothing left for you, and because you know you’ll never be happy there…you’ll never belong. I know what it’s like to want to turn back the clock, to make things right. But you can’t because what’s done is done and you can’t fix damage that’s irreversible, no matter how hard you might try, and no matter how badly you might want to.

I know what it’s like to feel trapped. But on the upside, I also now know what it’s like to be free from it all–from everything and everyone that had a role–minor or otherwise–in all your misery. I’m not proud of the fact that I let certain people get the best of me, so much so that–at least in part–they ended up driving me 900 miles away. But I’m not sorry, either. It might have started out with me running away from certain people and situations…but somewhere along the way these past 7 months…I changed direction. I no longer see my moving here to Nashville as me running away from something…but rather, I see it as me running towards something. My dreams, my goals, my future…and my own life that’s good. It may not seem like much–this freedom–but it’s enough. For now.

xoMESSIE

Perfect Is Overrated

So, I’ve gone and fallen in love … with a band. Yep, it’s true. It happens.

 

And the name of this incredible, apple-of-my-eye band, you might ask? They’re called HEDLEY. And I am head-over-heels, crazy feeling in love.

 

Especially with this one track called “Perfect”. Its lyrics are literally, well…perfect. 🙂

 

This chorus, for instance…

**

I’m not perfect but I keep trying

’cause that’s what I said I would do from the start.

I’m not alive if I’m lonely, so please don’t leave.

Was it something I said or just my personality?

I know I’m not perfect but I keep trying

’cause that’s what I said I would do from the start.

I know I’m not perfect but I keep trying…

**

I mean, come on, who hasn’t been there before…who hasn’t stared at the retreating back of a person they liked–or maybe even loved–and wondered what they could have done or said to make him/her stay? We’ve all been there. Well…most of us, anyhow. And us girls especially–we’ll literally analyze every moment, every conversation, every word spoken…rethink every decision we ever made, every action we took…and when we finally (it’s a matter of WHEN, not IF) fall to the proverbial rock bottom, it’s ourselves we hold liable and assume are to blame…even when we’re not. It doesn’t matter who does the walking away…we blame ourselves for the loss…the failure. At first it’s superficial, then the blame and self-doubt goes deeper…under the surface. The blame becomes internal…more personal. We start to question our looks/appearance, our personalities, our self worth, and ultimately our identity as it relates to who we are. We start to circle all our faults and flaws and insecurities with this figuratively bold–albeit invisible to anyone but our own self–bright red permanent marker. We get paranoid and neurotic and we start to obsess over these so-called “flaws” until the obsession and  all those doubts begin to cloud our judgement and take control of our lives…until it consumes us.

Until it destroys us…and everything/everyone we love and care about–though unintentional–becomes collateral damage. We don’t mean for it to happen, but it happens all the same. Naturally, it’s different for each of us. Some are fortunate and just so naturally complete in their self-awareness that they can handle the fall-out with little to none lingering/lasting damage. And then there’s the rest of us who are just not that strong. That can’t let go that easily or move on that quickly–acting as if nothing had ever happened.. Some of us are dizzy with doubt and end up allowing ourselves to succumb to all the guilt and insecurity. Some of us have lost faith in ourselves and aren’t able to get it back. We put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect…to fix those imperfections…if not to win him/her back, then to be at least prepared for the next time, and that next someone. Until eventually, it becomes a control thing. A way to keep some sanity and control over our lives. We change ourselves to fit the needs and wants of another…and we lose ourselves in the process. Until it becomes less about that person and/or about what happened and more about fitting the “ideal”… that state of being and achievement that we call perfection. We starve ourselves to fit the status quo, to blend in because standing out is far too terrifying for us to even consider. In the blink of an eye it seems as though everything that we once were ceases to exist.

And all the while, we fail to see the reality of it all…the reality of what and who we are. It’s a vicious cycle, that perfection business. Some reach the pinnacle…and others spend their entire lives reaching for it.

**

When you’re caught in a lie,

and you’ve got nothing to hide,

When you’ve got nowhere to run, 

and you’ve got nothing inside. 

It tears right through me,

you thought that you knew me,

you thought that you knew me…

**

But its as we all know…imperfection is inevitable. And you shouldn’t have to change yourself for anyone. And if they truly care about/love you…they won’t ask you to. They’ll love you just the way you are…

xoMESSIE

The Gypsy Tale.

—Well, I’ll be heading back to Nashville on Saturday. I’d planned on starting back tomorrow, thinking the promo shoot for the film was on Saturday…yeah, it’s Sunday. My brain’s all muddled, I swear. It’s all good though. Gives me an extra day with the fam and the kiddos and a chance to fit in some quality time with the Bestie. We did manage to get together one night over the weekend for a couple of hours, which was good. Although I still can’t shake that feeling that our friendship has changed in recent years…it’s still nice to get together and catch up a bit. I keep telling her that she needs to just pack up and move on down to Nashville…in jest mostly. Part of me thinks that it could be really great if she actually did it. I do miss her and the close friendship we once had…I do. But at the same time, I can’t help but think that maybe this whole distance thing is sort of good thing. And by that I just mean that it’s been a good thing for me. It really has. My moving to Nashville was a huge step for me. And it’s given me new insight and a fresh outlook on my future and what I want to achieve. And the confidence boost it’s given me has been huge and incredible. To explain…I never thought I’d actually do it. That I’d move so far away from everything and everyone. I honestly never thought I’d have the nerve to do it. And by some chance that I did muster up the nerve, I never would have imagined that I’d actually see it through. I’d have thought I’d have cashed in my chips by now and gone running back. But I didn’t. And I don’t have the slightest inclination of ever doing that.  I’m not sure if I should feel bad or guilty for saying it, but Nashville is home to me now. Which is a little crazy in and of itself, considering I’ve literally only been there a mere six months. But I know how I feel. And that’s it.

—As unreal as it seems, I feel like I’ve done a lot of growing up. That I’ve changed. And I have. It’s kind of hard not to when you relocate to a new city in a whole other state by yourself. I mean, before I always had my family there to back me up when things went to hell. It’s not like that now. Sure, my family is still there for me–I know that and I love them for it–but in reality, it’s just me for the big things. The important things. Like having a career and paying the bills…it’s all on me now. Though the stack of responsibilities I now have sometimes seems overwhelming…it’s also a sign of how far I’ve come…how much I’ve grown up. Granted, the majority of the time being an adult just SUCKS…there is this sense of freedom that’s kinda great. I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself. I don’t have to defend my actions or the things I do. I can tell my family as much or as little about my life as I choose…and they will never be the wiser. It’s kind of perfect actually. Terrifying to some degree, but mostly just awesome.

—I think my family has finally come to terms this trip with the fact that I have no intentions of moving back. I think they’re finally starting to get that…and while they still aren’t too happy about it, I think they’re beginning to accept it. They seem more supportive…for the most part…which feels pretty great, to be honest. I think all I’ve ever wanted from them was their support…their encouragement. For them to believe in me…even if they don’t necessarily understand why I do what I do or want what I want. My mother called me a gypsy the other day and said that I’ve got this free spirit-personality that she’s both in awe and admiration of. She also said that it scares the hell out of her sometimes…the fact that I’ll throw caution to the wind and take all these risks, never knowing in advance where I’ll land up or if I’ll land up right. I know my moving hasn’t been easy for her. Granted, we haven’t had the greatest or closest mother/daughter relationship over the years. According to my father, she and I used to be so close when I was little…and I wish I could remember more of that, but I don’t. All I remember is the relationship getting progressively worse while I was growing up. I remember her leaving…her putting the men in her life before my siblings and I…her not being there for those milestones that a mother should be there for with her daughter. I’m not sure when, but I think at some point all the hurt I felt towards her just meshed into anger–which eventually just became so drowned out by resentment that there was no room for those hurt feelings or even the anger. I think I stopped calling her Mom before I was even a teenager–that’s how long it’s been. And a lot of people will stay say to me when they hear me call her by her name–rather than Mom–how wrong and disrespectful it is…but it’s not that simple. They weren’t there. She didn’t leave them behind. They don’t know what it’s like to be 5 years old and watch the taillights backing out of the driveway from your bedroom window each and every night. They don’t know what it’s like to look into the audience at an awards ceremony or in the stands at a home game and realize that yet again, she didn’t show up. Or to spend the majority of your childhood and adolescence feeling like a burden, feeling like you weren’t wanted. I love my mother, I do. And I’m grateful for the fact that we’ve begun to mend some fences in recent years…but that doesn’t excuse or erase all the hard stuff. I feel the same way about my Dad. I’m glad we have a relationship now, but nothing can make up for the fact that he wasn’t around while I was growing up and that that relationship didn’t start until I was practically already 16-years-old.

—As for the gypsy part–I’ve got to admit she’s probably right. I’ve had these crazy, big dreams since I was little of wanting to see all these different places, of wanting to travel the world. Granted, I now realize it’s not as easy to do those things as I once thought it would be–financially especially–but those dreams haven’t changed. And it’s not about being ungrateful or hating where I come from. It’s just this restlessness that I’ve had in me for as long as I can remember…that I sometimes think I must have been born with. I don’t know why I have it…or why I’m the only one in my family that seems to have [apparently] inherited this gypsy DNA…but I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. They might not understand it or relate, but it’s not for them to understand. It’s my life. They don’t have to understand it, or agree with the risks I take…they just have to respect it. And ideally–accept that I’m not like that. For some reason or another, I’m never going to be like them. It’s just not in me to stay in one place for too long. Not that I have any intentions of taking off from Nashville and running off somewhere or anything. Trust me, I don’t. For now, I’m content and happy right where I am in Nashville. I don’t think I’m going anywhere anytime soon. That said, I still think it’s pretty damn awesome that I can–that I have that right and that freedom–if I so choose.

—In getting back to the Bestie though–even if I wasn’t kidding about wanting her to move down to Tennessee–it’d never happen. She’d never do it. She and the boyfriend are practically married already. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before they make it official. And I highly doubt she would ever convince him to leave the area, what with him being as close to his family here as he is. Not to offend his wanting to be where his family is–it’s perfectly understandable–or anything to do with the guy just in general…but I sometimes can’t help but to think that, in a way, he’s holding her back. The Bestie and I–believe me, she’d be the first to tell you that I probably know her better than most anyone else…and I would probably have to agree. Which isn’t all that surprising considering we’ve been best friends for well over a decade. We’ve been a crazy duo, dating all the way back to our high school days. We were practically cut from the same cloth, so to speak. We bonded over our extreme hatred for our ridiculous Chemistry teacher and our ultimate mission of doing absolutely every darn thing we could think of to annoy the hell out of him and make those every-other-day, 80 minute class periods as difficult for him as we possibly could. (It sounds horrible, but trust me, that teacher was a jerk and he totally deserved it!) Aside from harassing teachers, we saw each other through everything–good and bad. An unplanned pregnancy and the abortion that followed, the heart aches from bad break-ups, the degrees of dysfunction within our respective families, the death of a grandparent…we saw and experienced it all. As Christina Yang (**From Greys’) would say…she was — and in some ways still is– my person. We know each other’s secrets. We know how to put each other’s buttons just enough to send the other off the wall. We’ve had some pretty insane fights over the years…it’s a wonder that we’re still even friends. But we are. At least, I’d like to think that we are. It’s hard though, building a life that you can’t really share with that person because they live 900 something miles away from you. Growing apart…I guess it was just inevitable. After all, it’s a helluva lot easier to be joined at the hip when you’re young and free and have no real awareness of what “responsibility” looks like or even means. We were kids then. Now–well, now we’re stuck in the big, bad real world. We can’t afford to be oblivious and reckless in our ways when our futures are dependent upon the actions we take and the choices we make…

—Any who, time to call it a night. I have a feeling the next couple of days I’m going to need all the rest/energy I can get. Excited to leave and get back to my life in TN…but that damn drive though…ugh…

‘Til next time,

xoMESSIE

Bruises Fade & The Tears Will Dry.

My world revolved around you

Every word was a promise, I was hanging on

Swept up inside a whirlwind

I just couldn’t see the end ’til you were gone

Oh, I thought I would fall apart

With shattered dreams and a broken heart

Scrambling’ in the dark

How was I to know, that I’d be okay?

Thought I’d lose it all when you walked away

How was I to know, I would be this strong?

I had what it takes all along

How was I to know?

What I was so afraid of

Turned out to be my freedom in disguise

Now, I know what I’m made of

Guess it just took some time to realize

Oh I was blind, I couldn’t tell

Put too much faith in someone else

I gave up on myself

How was I to know, that I’d be okay?

Thought I’d lose it all when you walked away

How was I to know, I would be this strong?

I had what it takes all along

How was I to know?

How was I to know?

(Lyrics, “How Was I To Know”, Reba McEntire)

There’s this quote that I swear I’ve heard half a million times that goes, “Some people come into our lives and quickly go, while others stay and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never the same.” It’s so true. It’s actually kind of incredible if you think about it…the influence and effect that a person can have on some one else’s life. It really is. So many people have come in and out of my life over the years. Loved ones, friends, lovers…absolute strangers. When you’re young, you tend to think in terms of quantity, rather than quality as far as relationships and friendships go. You basically weigh your self-worth on the basis of how many friends you have and how popular you are. And then you grow up and you realize how little those things matter, especially in the long run. You start to see people for who they really are beneath that naive cloak of adolescence. On top of all the struggles you face when becoming an adult, you’re saddled with the not-always-so-easy task of weeding out the people that you want and don’t want in your life. You’re left to figure out who you can trust and depend on, as well as the ones that neither deserve or need to be in your life…those people you can do and live without.

I’m so blessed and thankful for the people I have in my life right now, sincerely and truly thankful. Over the years, I’ve lost touch with so many friends that I’ve lost count. Some were ones that I chose to remove from my life…you know, those two-faced “so-called” friends that will smile and act all nice to your face, and then stab you in the back the moment you turn away or the first chance they get…yeah, those friends. I’ve had my fair share of friends like that over the years, some I’d even known since grade school, that I no longer talk to or see. It wasn’t until about six years ago when everything blew up with what’s-his-name and life as I knew went all to hell for me, that I decided to free myself from a lot of those “friends”. As difficult and as trying as that period of my life was then, it was also a really pivotal time. It’s like I finally took off those rose-colored glasses I’d been wearing for years and saw things for what they were…and people for whom they were. So much happened and changed during that time…I changed. I realized that I didn’t need, nor did I want, those “I-told-you-so” friends that were practically celebrating the fact that it was finally done and over with him and I…and were more concerned with having been proven right about him than they were with the fact that my entire life had just been turned upside-down and I was a total, absolute wreck. Friends don’t do that…they just don’t. I learned real quick after that all happened who I could trust and who I couldn’t–and though it wasn’t necessarily fair–instead of picking and choosing, I chose to group them all together and push everyone away. It was just easier.

I did a lot of–“soul-searching” I guess you could call it–in that year that I didn’t talk to anyone. And though it hurt so many people, my pushing them away and shutting them out like I did without even so much as an explanation or goodbye, I needed that time…in so many ways, for so many reasons. I hated the person that I’d become, that I’d allowed him to turn me into…you really have no idea. When I looked in a mirror, it was like looking at someone I didn’t know…and that scared the hell out of me. I’m not going to lie–I had some pretty close calls that year…moments where I literally just wanted to say to hell with it and would have given absolutely anything just to make the pain go away. I had this ridiculous notion starting out that I’d somehow be able to forget and put it all behind me…and when I realized just how naive and ridiculous that was–and that it was never going to happen–I think in that moment I finally just gave up. I was so sick of fighting the memories and living with the hurt and the shame and I just…wanted it to end. I remember sitting on my bathroom floor one night, a razor-blade in one hand and a bottle of sleeping pills and Oxycodone in the other and I swear, I must have sat there for hours, just staring at the bottles and the blade and thinking how easy it would be…and then I thought about the satisfaction he would have no doubt gotten if I just ended it all…and I got angry. So, so angry. He’d taken so much from me and the thought of him taking anything more, well, I just couldn’t let him win. So I didn’t. I pulled it together–somehow–and I fought back. I thought about telling everyone the truth–of publishing each and every sordid detail, every secret, every truth–of publicly humiliating him and destroying his life as he’d done mine…and then I realized something. I realized that that was what separated us…that line that he’d had no problem crossing for his own selfish reasons…I realized that I couldn’t cross it. I wanted to–godknows I wanted to–but when it came down to it, I couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to deliberately ruin someone’s life, no matter how much he deserved it, because the truth of it all is that it wasn’t just his life I’d be ruining. There were so many other people–innocent people–that would have felt the back-lash and I couldn’t do that. I realized I was better than that. Better than him. I had a conscience. And I knew that the small relief and satisfaction I’d feel wouldn’t last nearly as long as the guilt I knew would come with it. And I was sick of feeling guilty, tired of feeling like I was the bad guy in what happened…just tired of all of it, really.

And hating him–if anything–was just exhausting. Then one day I think I just woke up and decided I was done with it, with hating him, with blaming him, with anything all at having to do with him. Just done. Once I let go of all that hate, I felt so much better. I know it sounds so cliche, but it really was a relief to be free from all that, from him. It’s funny because when people ask me now whether I’d go back and change anything if I could–particularly what happened with him–they can’t believe it when I tell them I wouldn’t change a thing. Honestly–and I know it sounds crazy–but I’m actually grateful for what happened. In a way, I think I needed that experience, that heartbreak…that living hell…to become the person I am today. When I look back on that time, it’s like I’m an outsider looking in on someone else’s life. And in a way, that’s exactly what it is. I’m not that girl anymore. I’m not young and naive and easily swayed by some guy with green eyes and a few well-versed, overused lines. I know now that love isn’t the solution to everything. That you can love and believe in a person with all your heart and it still doesn’t change the fact his heart is cold and black and incapable of feeling anything. I’m not cynical really, just realistic. Fairy-tales are for kids and Disney movies…this is reality. Love can be a good and bad thing, all at the same time. And people can and will hurt you, no matter how high you build up those walls around your heart.

It’s funny, really, when I think about how far I’ve come in the last 5 years. I mean, I literally picked myself up from rock bottom and went through hell and back, ten times over, and yet, here I am. I survived what was surely one of the hardest periods of my life so far, and I’m truly a better person for it. And while I don’t like the idea of giving him any satisfaction, if we’re being honest, I do owe him some credit for that. If it weren’t for him and his twisted, overly-vindictive need for revenge and my just as determined refusal to NOT give him the satisfaction of knowing he’d wrecked me, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I really wouldn’t. For so long whenever I thought about about him or heard his name, I’d automatically think of all the hurt and the pain. I don’t know when that changed or stopped exactly, but that doesn’t happen anymore…and hasn’t in a long, long time. There’s this saying I’ve heard that says that only you can let your fears destroy you…or something along those lines…and I think it’s pretty accurate. I mean, I gave him the power to destroy me the moment I said yes and went with him that first night. It’s kind of a harsh metaphor, but in a lot of ways, I made a pact with the devil that night. And while it’d be so easy just to blame him for everything and hate him as I once did, I realize now that it simply just isn’t worth it. It’s just not.

People come in and out of our lives all the time. And the footprints left by some are a little deeper than the shallow ones left by others. That’s life. And I happen to believe that everything happens for a reason. I’m not necessarily convinced that it’s some kind of “divine intervention”–these paths we take in life–but I do believe that it all–every person we meet, every decision we make, every path we take–has a purpose. Though I think I would have preferred that it hurt less than it did, I think his purpose and the role that he played in my life was to lead me to the realization that I’m enough…just me…and to make me realize that I’m a hell of a lot stronger than I thought I was. I mean, I could have given up that night, sitting on the floor of my bathroom. I could have said to hell with all of it. But I didn’t. I think Bob Marley said it best when he said that, “You don’t know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.” That was certainly true in my case. And believe it or not, there’s actually an upside to losing everything and hitting rock bottom…which is that there’s nowhere to go but up. You can let the people and memories from your past and all that pain destroy you and keep you down; let it break you. Or you can pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and fight back.

That’s what I did. I fought back in the only way I really knew how–by being happy. I stopped letting the lies and accusations and rumors that were going around about me have any kind of hold over me. I stopped blaming myself and feeling guilty for things that were out of my control. But most important, I refused to allow that relationship, that one mistake, define me. I made a mistake–I did–and I’m not proud of some of the choices I made then…but we all have a past. We all have regrets, some bigger or worse than others. I think that the footprints he made are always going to be there…though they’ve faded for the most part, at this point. For a really long time, I thought that moving on meant forgetting completely…but I was wrong. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever forget, or if I will ever be able to run into again without remembering all that pain that he caused me or the terrifying depths that he drove me to…of if I’ll ever make peace with it or forgive him even…but I think that’s okay. I don’t know what the future has in store for me or what’s going to happen one day from the next. And I don’t know how to explain how I know it, but I know that I’ll be okay…that much, I’m sure of…

xoMESSIE

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