Currently…. December

Reading: The Sister Season by Jennifer Scott. So I don’t normally start a new book until I finish the last one, but I wasn’t getting into The Winter Wedding Plan like I had hoped, and The Sister Season has been on my list for awhile. It also takes place around Christmas and happens to be about three sisters, so I decided to try that one instead. It is turning out to be a much darker story than I was expecting, but it’s so juicy that I just want to keep reading it!

Watching: Drop Dead Diva – again. This show is just fun and since I’ve already seen the full series once before, I don’t feel like I have to watch every single second of it to keep up.

Planning: Christmas shopping, and the wedding. Tuxedos are chosen! But, let’s not get me started on the florists right now. 😐

Writing: Christmas stories and traditions. Stay tuned 🙂

Obsessed with: Christmas! AND Pinterest sections! I have said that they needed to implement sub-boards, or sections, on Pinterest for quite some time now so when I found out about it, I was pumped, and my Wedding board has never been so organized!

Needing: a memory foam pillow, so my neck doesn’t hurt all the time.

Wanting: a day of baking!

Looking forward to: next week I get Thursday and Friday off work, then we’re closed the following Monday and Tuesday for Christmas, so I will have a wonderful little 6-day vacation 🙂

Thanks for reading!

 

-M

 

Advertisements

Sunday Short Stories: A Hero Complex

                I didn’t expect to see her, not on this night, not at this party. She normally went out of her way to avoid parties. When we first met she said, “Why doesn’t anyone try to pick me up at a bookstore? ‘Can I buy you a book?’ ‘I see you’re into fiction, have you read Tom Clancy’s latest?’ I’d be much more impressed and you would learn a lot more about me than ‘Can I buy you a drink?’” She said that in response to my asking, “Can I buy you a drink?” So to see her at a party was certainly a surprise.

I saw Kate from across the room. She had a red cup in her hand – no doubt filled with water – and was pretending to be interested in whatever story the guy in front of her was telling. I looked around trying to spot who she was with, when I saw her sister, Lila, just within eyeshot of Kate. Lila and I never got along. It wasn’t for lack of trying, believe me I tried and I tried, but Lila just hated me, and I never knew why, even at the end.

I try to make my way over to Kate when Lila comes running to her, flailing around, drunkenly yelling, “Sister!” I quickly turn around and pretend to be on my phone. When I hear Kate’s voice, I’m right back in the past.

“Hey Lila, are you ready to go?”

“Um no! But you can go home, I’m going to stay with my new friend Danny!” she says as she drags a tall man over towards her sister.

“Does Danny have a last name?” Kate asked. I can’t help but chuckle as I realize that not much has changed in that regard.

“Ugh! Kate! Why do you always do this?!” Lila asked.

“I just think it completes the name. And besides, you know my rule.” She tried to whisper, but the party was loud and Lila was barely listening as it was.

“Come on sis, let her go.” I heard Danny say. Things were going downhill fast. Kate can handle these things for a little while, and then she just looks cool, but starts to lose her nerve on the inside.

“I’m sorry, Danny, is it? First of all, I’m not your sis. Second of all, why should I let her go with you? You barely know each other, obviously, since apparently you don’t even have a last name.”

“Come on Lila, let’s go.” She grabbed her arm, and Lila pulled back, just in time for Danny to grab her other arm.

“You’re not her mommy, if she wants to come home with me, she can.” He said.

“So I assume you’re going to hold her hair back when she’s puking in half an hour? Or make sure she’s drinking plenty of water the rest of the night? And I’m sure you’ll make sure she gets to her apartment okay in the morning? Oh wait, you don’t even know where she lives. I’ll take it from here Dan.”

Danny tightened his grip around Lila’s arm enough for Lila to say, “Actually I forgot, I do have this thing tomorrow, so I probably should go with her.”

“Really? You think that you can just talk to me, dance with me, lead me on all night and then go home with your bitchy sister? Oh no you’re coming with me.”

Some may say, that I have a hero complex, others may just say I have a soft spot for Kate, but whatever the case may be, this had gone on long enough.

“Lila! Kate! I’m so glad I found you! Mom’s been trying to call you. Grandma is in the hospital, she’s not doing well and we need to get over there quickly!”

I could see Lila’s internal struggle. She obviously didn’t like that I was there, getting involved in their battle, but she didn’t want to be in Danny’s grip anymore so she kept her mouth shut.

“Oh my God.” Kate said. She clearly didn’t expect to see me here tonight either. “Um. Grandma. Right. Oh wow, she’s not doing well? Well then yeah, Lila we have to get going!”

“Who’s this?” Danny asked, clearly agitated. “You think that just because some dude comes in and tells some lame story about your grandma, I’m going to just back down? Well he’s going to have to go through me first.”

“I’m really close to my grandma.” Lila said, trying to deescalate the situation, but was too drunk to help substantially.

At that, Danny forced Lila to the chair next to them, and stepped up to me. Kate ran over to her sister and sat with her, then just looked at me. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. Her eyes were scared, surprised, confused, and maybe a little bit relieved?

“Danny, you don’t want to fight me. Now that the girls are good to go, I’ll make sure they get to their homes okay, and you can go flirt with some other girl. Or better yet, you could go home too. Or go to a well-lit bar to do your flirting.”

“Oh yeah pretty boy?” he was rolling his sleeves up. That’s the thing, when drunk people try to fight sober people, it’s already not fair, but to try and fight me, well that just wasn’t a good call to ever make.

Before he could even bring his arm back from behind him, I broke his nose with one punch – something I learned long before combat training.

“Goodnight Danny.” I motioned to Kate to get out of here, as I was leading them to the door, Danny was back at me and even angrier.

“Come back here you piece of shit!” I kept walking and then felt him grab my shoulder to turn me around.

“I didn’t want to do this Danny!” I said before I knocked him out.

I followed the girls outside, and helped Kate get Lila in the car.

“Thanks DREWL!” Lila said from the passenger seat.

“Sure thing Lila. Drink some water.” I said as I closed the door.

“Thanks a lot Drew. That was really nice of you.” Kate said before walking around to the other side of the car.

“You know I’d do that for you anytime.” I said.

“Drew, just so you know, you may have coincidentally been in the right place at the right time, with your superhero complex tonight, but this doesn’t change things with us. I appreciate what you did. Tonight. But you and I are still ancient history.” She slammed the car door shut.

“You and I.” Those words in her voice, they gave me hope to this day. I knew I would win her back. Maybe not tonight, but I would win her back some day.

Currently… November

Reading:The Winter Wedding Plan by Olivia Miles. This seems like it will be like a Hallmark Christmas movie, predictable, easy to watch/read, but makes you feel good at the end.

Watching: “The Good Place”, I’m just on season one, and I fell asleep during one episode, but overall it’s a cute show.

Planning: My Thanksgiving recipes, (appetizers for one family, rolls for another), and Christmas decorations 🙂 And of course, the wedding! Currently working on flowers in that regard.

Writing: Novel. For ever. AND short stories! So far every Sunday I have written the start of a novel, novella, etc. or a short story. Click here for the first one, and here for the most recent one!

Obsessed with: Creating. I want to write, do crafts, bake, do anything creative lately.

In need of: A good night’s sleep. And probably a more supportive pillow.

Thinking about: Black Friday, and how it’s gotten to this point. Just a reminder, Black Friday originated because stores wanted to make sure they end the year “in the black, ” or profitable, and the best measure was the day after Thanksgiving, because that’s when people start shopping for Christmas. But now, it’s all about greed. It was never about making employees work instead of being with their families on Thanksgiving because of some stupid sale, or about getting up at midnight to fight someone over a TV, or starting this sale a week early (I’m looking at you, Macy’s!) What happened to being closed on Thanksgiving (I know there are still stores that do this, DSW for one, but it’s getting so rare to see). Mini rant, I know, but I am a dedicated shopper, and I hate what Black Friday has become. I would love to go out and pick up a few things on Friday, since I have the day off, but I don’t want to fight with people, or deal with traffic. I will be home on Friday, watching Christmas movies, drinking hot cocoa, and decorating for Christmas.  🙂

Thankful for: I have so much to be thankful for this year. I am engaged to a wonderful man. My family is all healthy and happy. I am growing closer to friends every day. I have a job that keeps a roof over my head and food in my belly. I have a cuddly cat, and so much more to be thankful for. I am a happy, and very thankful girl!

Wishing: A happy Thanksgiving to everyone reading this post! I am thankful for you!

Sunday Short Stories: A Real Family Thanksgiving

This week, I found a prompt that seemed very fitting and festive for this week. As always, let me know your thoughts, and I hope you all find love and forgiveness in your hearts this holiday season. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

I stopped for a breath before cutting the turkey. I wanted to appreciate the moment. Seeing everyone there, sitting around the table, almost felt like we were a family again. But if we had been a real family, we wouldn’t all feel obligated to be here today. I hadn’t seen some of my uncles for years; my estranged cousin hadn’t even met my own son. But grandpa had requested one last old fashioned Thanksgiving dinner – one he would “take with him.”

After Grandma died, Grandpa tried his best to be the glue that held this broken family together, but for a few of us, he was the reason we stopped coming home. Grandma was always there to remind us, “He means well,” and “He grew up in a much different time,” but now that she was gone, it was harder to forgive and forget, even for just one day.

I looked over at Grandpa, I thought I saw a tear in his eye, a rare sight for a World War II vet. To my surprise, he stood up and raised his glass. The sight of him standing stunned everyone, and when he cleared his throat to speak, you could have heard a pin drop.

“Thank you all for being here today. I know it’s been awhile for some, and I know it’s difficult for many of you. Your grandmother would be so proud to see this. I know that I’m far from a perfect man. I’m not a perfect grandfather; I wasn’t a perfect father, as you know, and I certainly wasn’t a perfect husband. But you mother, and grandmother to some, she loved me and our family despite those imperfections. She had a way of seeing beauty in anything, even broken things. So while I have grown to accept these broken parts, and imperfections, I recognize that some of you may have a harder time doing so. This holiday is about being thankful, something I’ve never been very good at. So I want to take this moment to say, I am thankful for my beloved wife, for loving me despite my imperfections as a man, and for helping me create this family. I am thankful she was always able to get you all to come home every year until she passed. But I also need to say thank you to each and every one of you sitting here today. Thank you for showing an old, imperfect man kindness when he sure doesn’t deserve it. I know I’m hard on all of you, especially my sons and grandsons, but I love you despite your imperfections and your brokenness, and I just hope that for today, you can love me despite mine.”

He sat down and dabbed his eyes with his napkin. I looked around and realized there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. For me, it was the first and only time since the funeral that I saw my grandfather cry; that I saw a vulnerability in him, and that I heard the words so many thought he would never speak. My dad stood up, raised his glass, and said, “To mom, we love and miss you. And to Dad, I forgive you, and I love you.” There was something about the way he said it, I knew he truly had forgiven him, rather than just forgotten about it for one day. Slowly, one by one, my uncles, brothers, cousins, sisters, all of us, stood, raised our glass and toasted to family. I stopped for a breath once again to appreciate this moment, in this moment, we were a family again, a real family.

25 Things I’ve Learned in my 25 Years

Today is my 25th birthday.

Last year I decided that for my 25th birthday I would be traveling, ideally to Paris. But then I got engaged and money and PTO days at work are much more valuable when planning a wedding. I took today and tomorrow off so I could really enjoy turning a quarter century old. This morning I got breakfast in bed from my amazing fiancé, and then I slept a little bit more. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I woke up, so I did some of my favorite things. I wrote, I baked, and I watched I Love Lucy.

Every year on my birthday I reflect on the past year, the failures I’ve had, the accomplishments I’ve made, and the lessons I learned along the way. This year felt like a culmination of everything I’ve learned in life thus far. And even though I certainly am not the wisest owl in the forest, I have learned enough in my life to come up with 25 points. So here, my lovely readers, are some lessons I have learned that have proven to be most valuable over this past quarter of a century.

  1. Never cut your own bangs. But if you do, blame it on your older sister.
  2. Barbie’s hair doesn’t grow back when you cut it.
  3. Over time, if you hold her doll close to you when you sleep, your body heat will warm the plastic in her hair and fuse it together to look like dread locks. Your dad may make fun of her hair, but you know that it just means she is loved and she is real.
  4. People may think you’re weird, but wearing high heels all the time gives you great calf muscles. (Not to mention confidence.)
  5. Bullying can have a greater effect on people than you know.
  6. Depression is real, but you can fight it, and you can get through it.
  7. You can learn from your siblings at any age. Whether it’s how to share, how to cut your own hair (or not), or how to get $5 out of mom, they have already been through what you’re going through, and if they haven’t, they will still help you through it the best they can.
  8. Not everyone is doing it. Whatever “it” may be. And even if they are, it doesn’t mean you have to.
  9. Don’t lie to your parents. And don’t let your phone die if you do.
  10. School and exercise are very similar in that, you get out of it what you want to get out of it. (And I absolutely love school, and hate exercising).
  11. You’re worth much more than some people may make you feel, and you deserve better than some people have to give.
  12. The bad boy is fun for a minute, but not in the long run. You shouldn’t have to question anyone’s feelings for you. You shouldn’t have to wonder if you did something wrong all the time. And you certainly don’t deserve to be manipulated in any way.
  13. Going through the bad boy phase will help you appreciate the good guys that much more.
  14. Fight fairly. Don’t say anything that you don’t mean. Don’t name-call. Take a breather if you have to.
  15. People are going to let you down. And it’s going to hurt like Hell and make you question everything but just remember…..
  16. You truly are stronger than you think. You will do things that you never would have imagined, and fight things you never thought you could. When you make it out alive you’ll look back and wonder how, but what really matters isn’t how you got through it, it’s simply that you did. Just remember the sun will still rise.
  17. Speak up. If you don’t agree with something, if you think something is wrong, if you have a question, speak up. Nobody else can use your voice.
  18. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.
  19. When the world is shitty and it seems like unhappiness surrounds you, go to your comfort. Whether that means watching baby laughs on YouTube, watching I Love Lucy or Friends for hours, or simply listening to your favorite Christmas songs, find some comfort when you can’t find hope.
  20. Even when it’s hard to find, hope is still there behind all the darkness.
  21. It’s okay for your dreams to change.
  22. Be okay with being by yourself. Just because you’re alone, that doesn’t mean you are lonely. Get enough “me time” to make sure you keep your head on straight.
  23. Over time, you will lose friends. Some you will lose by choice, and some will just fade with no explanation. Priorities change, life gets busy, and people can’t always be a good friend, including yourself. Hopefully, you’ll make some new friends too!
  24. Family can be complicated and messy. But at the end of the day, they’re the only family you have. And if you’re lucky, like I am, they will be there for you night and day, and for any reason big or small. Learn not to take people who care about you for granted and show your appreciation as much as you can.
  25. You are loved. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, even when being alone feels lonely, even when you can’t see the hope behind all the darkness, you are loved. 

002

 

Sunday Short Stories

I am thinking about adding a new feature to my blog called Sunday Short Stories. I bought a book called “Complete the Story” that gives a few lines of a story and then leaves the rest of the page blank. I had seen it multiple times at Barnes and Noble, but never actually bought it until recently. I hope to at least twice a month post the story that I wrote based off these prompts. The prompts will be in bold, and my completion, or start of completion, will follow.

I need to be creative more often. And I want to push myself out of my comfort zone to write things I wouldn’t necessarily think to write about, so I finally just bought the book. Yesterday, I color coded the prompts by: Favorite, specific plan already in mind, easy, medium, and challenging.

Some of the prompts will lead to just short stories, and some may be bigger than I imagine. As always, I welcome feedback, so if there is something you love, or hate, about any of my posts, please feel free to leave me a comment. The first one I wrote was the first prompt I read that really spoke to me, and I’m thinking maybe this will be another novel someday, but for now, here is what I wrote today.

           I closed my eyes. The sound of people clinking glasses was beautiful, almost like wind chimes. Why then, did I feel so unbearably sad? When I opened by eyes and looked around the table I saw half eaten plates of filet mignon and salmon sitting in front of strangers, family members, and childhood friends. And there, sitting next to me was the bride. She looked flawless in a pale blush, beaded ballgown that only she could pull off and not look like a flamingo. My little sister had finally found the prince she had been looking for. The prince she deserved. And I was thrilled for her. But I couldn’t help thinking, Why can’t I? I wiped a tear from my eye and raised my glass yet again, Thank God everyone will think that was a happy tear, I thought.

“To the bride a groom!” Danny, Ken’s best man said. With that, I downed the rest of my champagne and thanked God that was the last speech.

Just as I was about to excuse myself and head to the bar, I saw him. He was wearing a white button down with the sleeves rolled up just enough to see his impeccably toned forearms, and a black pinstriped vest that gave him a cool guy, friendly bartender look I had always loved. His dark hair was spiked in the front; not on purpose of course, I could tell it was because he had been running his fingers through it, a move I remembered a little too well.

Charlotte must have caught me staring because suddenly she tugged on my arm and pulled me back down into the chair next to her.

“Oh my god, the catering company told me he wouldn’t be here tonight. I specifically asked them to tell me if…”

“Charlotte, stop!” I interrupted. “There is nothing to worry about. This is your wedding day, do you really think I am going to let the likes of an ex ruin that? Need a refill?” I grabbed her glass.

“An ex fiancé, you don’t need to do this alone, I’ll come with you!” Charlotte replied.

“No no, you and Ken have to do your rounds. Go, have fun, and I’ll be right behind you with a fresh glass of champagne. Don’t worry about a thing.”

“You’re the best. You’ll tell me if you need me, right?” she said with a look on her face I had seen a hundred times.

“Of course, sister.”

I turned around, adjusted my bra just enough to add some more oomph to the girls, and walked over to the bar with confidence. False confidence, but he doesn’t have to know that.

“Well well well, look at you. In that dress you look like Cinderella herself.” Johnny said with a wink.

“Two champagnes please.” I said and turned my back to the bar.

“No Patron for you tonight?” He chided me.

“No. Just the two champagnes please. And try not to get drunk and confuse one with someone else’s.” As soon as I said it, I knew it was a mistake, but that’s what he did to me. He lit a fire inside that I always try to smother to seem perfect.

“Chels, please.”

“Champagnes. Please.”

“Here you go.” He handed me two flutes and I walked back to my sister, my heart racing and my mind going a million miles a minute.

Charlotte and Ken were talking to a table of his work buddies, so I tapped her on the shoulder and she turned around looking relieved for the distraction.

“How was it? Did you tell him exactly where he could go?” She asked taking her glass from me.

“It was fine, sis. I told you, you have nothing to worry about.” That was the truth. She, my perfect little sister, had nothing to worry about on this perfect day.

 

 

Halloween Traditions

Happy Halloween!

I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of Halloween. I once got sick from all the candy I ate and only a few people showed up to my Halloween party in elementary school, so ever since then, I didn’t care as much. However, when the day arrives, I get a bit more in the spirit. Today, we had a very foggy morning, which made it just spooky enough to put me in a witchy mood (that’s a good thing I promise!)

When I was growing up, we would dress up in our costumes for school, come home and carve our pumpkins, and order pizza. Then we would bundle up and go trick or treating with Dad while Mom stayed home and handed out candy. We used to live next door to my dad’s parents and that would be our last stop, where we would warm up with some hot cocoa. My mom would put a sign on the front door that said, “Go next door for more candy.” It often snowed on Halloween and was always cold regardless. We were so bundled up you could barely tell what our costumes were.

Over the years I have dressed as:

  • a princess
  • a witch
  • a 50s girl
  • a bride
  • a fairy princess
  • a vampire
  • a fairy
  • a cat
  • Strawberry shortcake
  • Barbie
  • Encyclopedia Barbie
  • a “walk of shame”
  • Tacobell’s “Fire sauce” (Alex was a taco)

And I’m sure plenty more that I can’t remember. This year and last year I dressed as a broke twenty something who has a miserable job that’s not related to her degree, but that she can’t quit thanks to her mountain of student loan debt and rising housing prices! …wait, was I supposed to dress as something I’m not?!

Last year I bought two bags of candy in expectation of trick-or-treaters and we did not get a single one. There is a nice neighborhood right behind our apartments that I’m sure gets plenty of trick-or-treaters. This year I didn’t buy any candy but I’m worried I will get one trick-or-treater and then be the woman who gives out money!

Alex and I will carve our pumpkins, and watch Halloweentown tonight, and maybe get a few trick-or-treaters!

What are your Halloween traditions or creative costumes??

Thanks for reading! I know it wasn’t deep or beautifully worded, but hey, at least I’m writing!

1990s

Currently…. October

Reading: Delicious by Ruth Reichl. This one has been a slow go for me. It took me awhile to get into it, but I’m currently trying to find more time to read it because it’s getting interesting.

Watching: Designated Survivor and This is Us. I know we’re late to the party on the latter, but Alex and I are always trying to find a show that we both like and these two are it!

Planning: The money strategy for birthday and Christmas season. In my family we have 9 birthdays in 6 months, not including Christmas and my soon to be sister-in-law is going to have her baby this week too, so that will make 10! And yes, still the wedding, until the day of!

Writing: I actually have a running list of ideas that I need to write about right now. I have Children’s Book #3 planned out, an brief outline for another novel, and very rough ideas of Children’s Book #4, and another outline. And yes, still writing my novel. Speaking of, this Tweet made me laugh harder than I probably should have.

Obsessed with: P!nk’s new album, Beautiful Trauma. I love everything she does, and I think this is one of her best albums. She is vulnerable and resilient, while still being the same genuine bad-ass she always is. I highly recommend this album.

Thinking about: Too much for just one post but here’s a short list: turning 25 (less than a month away now), what I want to do with my life, the #metoo trend, how to be a better story teller, what to get my dad for his birthday, etc.

 In need of: a good hydrating cat shampoo.

Enjoying: I framed one of my and Alex’s engagement pictures and put it on my desk at work, next to an older picture of us. I love being able to look at that picture and see how we’ve grown, and it gives me something to smile about in this gray cave that is my workspace.

Looking for: recipes for my dad’s birthday cake, and advice that you would give to your 25 year old self.

Dreading: deciding which family to see at what times, on what days, etc. for the holidays. I love that Alex and I are both so family oriented, and that our families are all nearby, but it gets tough to divide the time around the holidays.

Looking forward to: Meeting my newest niece this week! My birthday 🙂 and the holiday season, despite all the stress that may come with it.

As always, thanks for reading!

-M

 

To the Next Man who Loves my Sister

Dear sir,

I hear you’re after my sister’s heart. Well, sir, there are a few things you should know about her that only a sister could tell you.

You see, my sister dives right in to love. She has a huge heart filled with love and she has so much love to give that she is always eager to give it out. It’s great to be on the other end, but sometimes she settles for less than she gives. She gives all of her heart when she’s in love and I’ve seen the after effect. She never complains about it, but I’ve seen how it exhausts her heart.

My sister knows what she wants out of a relationship and she deserves the fairy tale. So if you don’t want the same things, or you can’t provide those to her, tell her now before you’re both in too deep.

My sister has “baggage.” But she carries it on her own and rarely lets it bring her down. She’s been through her share of hardships and the scars on her heart remind her that she survived and now can emphasize with yet more people and she still has all the more love to give.

There are a few things you should know about me, and our family, because it’s important to know where she came from.

She was raised by a strong woman. In turn, she is a strong woman, but don’t let her fool you. She too, has a breaking point. She was raised by a protective father. In turn, she is always alert, but don’t let her fool you. She still yearns to be protected.

She is the middle child. Of course, she can tell you what all of that means to her, but from her younger sister, it means that she has seen the fallouts of our past mistakes, she’s protected us, she’s helped us along the way and she is there for us at the drop of a hat. “I need my sisters.” “I’m putting my shoes on.” That happened in the middle of the night, and we went to our older sister’s house.

She is a product of traditions. Our family traditions go back years and sometimes we don’t even know how or why they started, but that is something that is important to her. But, she still wants to make her own traditions as well.

We are a loud, rambunctious, stubborn, and sarcastic bunch. But we’re also loyal, caring, fun, and close-knit family. You’ll see us fight with each other. Boy, will you see us fight. But you’ll see us fight for each other even harder. We’re sisters and nothing will ever change that. Through hurt feelings, broken promises and drunken nights, we’re never in doubt that our sisters will be there.

And that, dear sir, is why I am extra hard on any boy that my sister brings home. I won’t threaten you like our mom, or intimidate you like our dad, but I will be critical of you. Because she’s my sister and you have to earn her heart.

So before you go walking into my sister’s world and giving her butterflies in her stomach and making her head spin with the ideas of the future, make sure you’re really able to give your full self to her. Make sure you can support her, encourage her, and protect her, the way she does with her family. But please, don’t play with her heart, for it is no ordinary heart. 

I’m Sick of This

Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve woken up to news of a mass shooting. It’s not even the first time I’ve written about a mass shooting. Even more sad, it’s not the first time I’ve heard “this is the worst mass shooting in our history.”

This one just hit me harder than the rest.

I have lived in Colorado my whole life and was 7 years old when the Columbine shooting happened. I remember my older sisters at the front door and someone, I can’t remember whether it was my mom and dad, my parents and my sisters, or a combination of the four, but there was an argument about whether or not they should go to school that day. I remember my mom was hysterical and terrified. That same weekend I went to my church and I remember the church praying for all the families and victims of the shooting, and I remember the church praying for the parents of the two shooters, because “they lost children too.” I was 7 years old. 

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I remember seeing that same hysteria and fear in my mom, as she watched the attacks on her home. She was calling our family and friends, trying to find out if everyone was okay. They were, thank goodness. She told me I would never forget where I was on that day. I remember hearing snippets of news and taking them to school with me. As third graders are trying to make sense of what happened, I remember saying, “It was a suicidal attack,” in third grade. I remember a boy telling me, “it was terrorism.” And I remember going home and asking my dad what a terrorist was. He told me it was someone who wanted to scare people. I asked why they would do that. I don’t remember what he said. How do you answer that question to anyone, let alone a third grader? 

I think that’s the day I went numb. 

One seemingly normal July night, my boyfriend texted me, “Did you hear what happened at the Batman movie?” I hadn’t, but soon enough I learned. I texted the one person I thought might be at that theater, she was safe. Then I waited on social media to make sure everyone else was safe. The next day, my sister came home hysterical. She wasn’t at the theater, but she worked overnight close to the theater, Batman is her favorite character. She had gone to the movie that morning, after work. After the shooting. The same look of fear came over my mom’s face. “Was she in the theater?” Thank goodness, she wasn’t, but it hit home. My dad knew someone who died while saving his girlfriend, he said to me, with tears in his eyes, “Ask Alex if he would do that for you.”

A few months later, I was home from college for the weekend and when I got there, the news was on. A shooter came into a classroom of kindergartners and started shooting. This time the look on my mom’s face was more shock than other emotions. They were only 6 or 7 years old. The next day, our family dog died. I told my mom that Oreo heard there were some kids up in Heaven who needed a great pet to play with.

Four years later, I woke up next to the same boyfriend who told me about Aurora, and told him, “49 people were killed at a nightclub last night. They say it’s the worst in our history.” 49?” he asked incredulously. I texted my aunt, is my cousin okay? He’s okay. Thank goodness.

And a day ago, I woke up, checked my phone and read, “At least 50 people killed in Las Vegas; worst mass shooting in US history.” I read it aloud to my same boyfriend, now fiance. I found out it was at a concert. I thought back to what I had seen on social media the past few days. My high school best friend had family at that concert. They had marked themselves as safe on Facebook (A feature I wish we didn’t have to have, but am relieved we do). Thank goodness. I checked an old high school friend’s page to see if he was okay. Nothing yet. Hours later, he let us all know he was safe. I was driving home from work and started crying. I got home and my fiance had the news on. I walked away, I couldn’t watch it anymore, listen to speculation, listen to any of it anymore. I went to my room and started crying. It was raining, and I remember my mom telling me once, if it rains after someone dies, it means that they went to Heaven. Something that I hadn’t thought about for years, but I remembered last night. My fiance came in and gave me a hug. “I just want to fall asleep in a hug.” I told him. “It could have been you.” It could have been any of us. “I’m so sick of this.” I told him. The world had finally broken me. 

I didn’t even list all of the shootings or attacks that have happened in my lifetime. I simply listed the ones that shocked me enough to remember exactly what I was doing. I’m tired of hearing about mass shootings. I’m even more tired of them getting more and more deadly than the last. Every time I think that I’ve been shocked enough, and nothing more can do it, someone does.

I keep seeing posts that say, “Thoughts and prayers won’t help.” It makes me so sad to see that. People are grieving, trying to heal, trying to make sense of everything, and you’re telling them that’s not enough? Or that they’re doing it wrong? Is there really a right way to handle these events? I posted on Facebook yesterday that I just wish we could take one day to mourn, to grieve, to digest, before the politics take over again. And that is not to say that I don’t want to talk about gun control. Let’s talk about it. Tomorrow. I just want to take a day to digest it all, get all the facts, and ask the questions that my 7 year old self is still asking today. I want the victims families to be able to breathe for a minute. I want the wounded to get the medical treatment they need first. I want the first responders to be able to hug their families first. I want the survivors to hug their families first. I want us to unite, for twenty four hours, before we go back to the same hateful division that we just experienced. And then let’s all sit down at a table and figure out what we have in common, and how we can deal with our difficulties based on what unites us. Imagine what we could do if we focused on what unites us, rather than yelling at or labeling those who disagree with us. 

I woke up today not able to shake the gloom of yesterday. So I did the only thing I could think of, I wrote.