A Tribute to Friendship, Sex, & Milkshakes

Thankful tears flowed from my eyes this morning as I thanked a friend for being the blessing he is in my life.

He is my imperfect friend who has no pressure to live up to anything but being him, because his perfectly imperfect genuine self is a rarity.

Take a big, beautiful heart and add in compassion; understanding; trustworthy; humor; integrity; wisdom;hysterical; God loving; creative man who is well dressed and super fun ..there is my dear friend.  See?  Rare.

He accepts me as is.  He loves me as is.  He might sometimes be disappointed for my choices and how they will affect me; at the same time, he is not disappointed in me.  Big difference.

He encourages me to be the best version of me I can be while never loving me any less as I travel my journey and sometimes behave like a dumbass. (true story) We speak truth to one another; even when truth is ugly feeling.  The thing is…when truth is spoken in love and safety is present…it’s a sacred treasure.  He challenges me when it’s uncomfortable and would be much easier to not.

He knows my everything.  My everything is safe with him.  He has never played judge and jury to me.  That is magical.  We’ve all been in a place that we believed we were truly safe with someone…until a dreaded, unexpected moment illuminates a reality that safety has been an illusion.  There was not acceptance and love of who you are; perhaps there was acceptance and love for who they want you to be.  That is not magical, it sucks.

Laughter, tears, and everything in between are welcome. He is proud of my accomplishments, generous with his encouragements, okay with my sunshine as well as my melancholy and super fun to go to the grocery store with.  He loves sex (not with me), milkshakes, animals, learning and laughter.  The countless endless conversations we have will never have sufficient words to let him know that he is cooler and more than he will ever grasp.

I hope and pray I provide the same for him.  There are perhaps 10 people in my world outside of my family that I have this type of friendship with.  I intend to ensure they always know how deeply I love them.

As I expressed my gratitude to my precious friend this morning, my heart was pinged.  Is this not how our God designed us to be in relation with one another?   We are made in His image, right?  I know God loves me.  He made me.  He knows my heart, he knows the numbers of hairs on my head for goodness sake.  He knows my journey.  God weeps with me, rejoices with me, and loves me in the messy middle (which is where my humanness seems to have me living the majority of the time).

Beloved human connections (could, should, can) mirror our relationship with God.  We are God’s heart, walking outside of His body but still in Him.  Our loves are the same…pieces of our heart walking outside of our body but always in us.

True Friendship…it’s a beautiful form of intimacy.  In our individuality, we are still all reflections of each other.  In our separateness, we are still made to be unified.  How cool is my God?  Not only does he offer me unconditional love and friendship through Him…he gives me that in real live humans.

The reciprocity of real friendship is the ultimate legacy to leave with another.  This type of friendship has impacted my life profoundly for the better.

I am grateful to have even one friend of this caliber in my life; sex and milkshakes too.

Philippians 1:3  “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”

 

In the meantime

In the meantime….

My downstairs toilet made a gurgling noise two nights ago.  There was nothing in the toilet so I flushed it to see if the noise would stop.  Instead of flushing down, water rose to the top.  Despite my professional plunger efforts, the water would not go down.

I shut the water valve to the toilet off before running to home depot (literally across the street)  to purchase Green Goblin to destroy the issue…I thought.  I always used this in our old home and had great success.  Anywho…never had to use the Green Goblin as I returned home and saw that the toilet had drained.  Whew.  Bullet dodged.

I made a quick trip to Walmart (a block away) to grab a few groceries…maybe gone 20 minutes.  I came back to such a surprise!  Poop water (aka sewage…aka Class 3 according to the restoration man) had flooded every crevice from the downstairs bathroom, down the hall, down the stairs into my split level living room and into the living room.

An.explosion.of.poop.  Everybody’s poop.  Thank God my adrenaline was pumping so hard that I didn’t have time to stop and reflect on the new floor covering.  I knew my friend was on his way over so we could watch a movie and have dinner.  Honestly, my first thoughts were that he was going to gross out and leave me here to deal with this.  I would need to call my brother or my ex husband.

I had begun laying towels everywhere when friend (we will call him D) walked in.  I yelled for him to be careful.  Without explanation; he knew what was on the floor.  Instead of leaving, he grabbed towels and started helping me with the mess.  Together we cleaned, using every single towel, sheet and blanket that we could find.  I know…gross.

We had almost everything cleaned.  I began my second round of sanitizing laundry and we decided to go to Home Depot for a big mop.  We made another expedient trip there, grabbed a mop and $5 mop  bucket (Did you know some mop buckets cost $70 or more?)

We came home, ready to mop and sanitize; shower and order dinner…in that order!  Can you imagine the expletives that sounded when we walked in to find that sudsy water had now flooded the entire living room floor? As a matter of fact, that water was still shooting out of the sink in the bar area as well as from underneath the sink where the pipes are.

We did our best to keep up but it would not stop (yes, D shut the water valve under the sink off).  He mopped, and I (with gloved hands) squeezed the mop….since I didn’t buy the $70 bucket with the squeezee apparatus.  We were our own Saturday Night Live episode…from back in the good ole days…when SNL was super funny!

D told me to shut the washing machine off when he surmised that is where the water was coming from.  He was correct.  The pouring of water stopped.  Finally.  The floor was soaked, we were drenched in water and poo water and all the yuck; still we were laughing.  So thankful for D’s presence and willingness to help….sometimes we need a friend to help us not become blithering balls of tears curled up in the fetal position, right?  Sometimes those friends are the same ones laying curled up with us…but that’s for another post.

I felt that the floor needed just one more round with the mop.  D told me we had done all we could for the night; the floor was slippery and I needed to stay off of it so I didn’t fall.  I know I have balance issues, true.  I didn’t realize the floor was quite as slippery as it was.

Being a tiny bit of a stubborn soul, I decided yes to one more round with the mop.  I headed down the steps into the living room.  My bare feet gave way to the wet floor.  There I was…on my bottom, sliding down the hard, sharp edged stairs.  One, two, three, I hit each of them with my booty, tailbone and right hip.  Ouch.

This was reminiscent of being a little kid who loved sliding down the carpeted stairs on her booty.  Reminiscent because I slid down so easily; yet entirely a different experience.  D helped me up.  Kind of.  As much as I would allow. Falling tends to make me feel fearful…too much passing out as a kid.  Yuck.

Anyway….I had attempted to call my property management company emergency number several times, as well as their office, when this was happening.  I never got a call back.  I finally reached out the the owner of my condo and told him.  He was sending a plumber in the morning.  I felt it needed to be right then, but I am not the decider of all things.

In the morning, the property management company called.  By now, I was fuming that they had not called me and been a part of any of this.  Long story short, the office person tends to be extremely rude, makes me feel like a criminal any time I report something and now was asking numerous questions that supported her past behavior.  I felt she was trying to make this my fault.

I sent an email of complaint and asked for her supervisors number.  I did not get that yet.  I have gotten a sudden amount of kindness when she speaks to me.  I still want to speak with the supervisor.

The restoration company is now ripping out the entire living room floor bc of the class 3 damage.  When the owner was speaking with the property management company, she asked him to step away from me to talk.  This was obvious and confirmed when I asked him about it later. My mistrust in her affirmed in that moment.

Thank God the plumber found NOTHING in the system that was not supposed to be there.  I was well aware that if the clog were due to feminine products, we would be responsible.  (We grew up with a very touchy septic system and our Daddy drilled it into our heads that only toilet paper went down the toilet.  If there was a clog, we girls knew the first question from Dad would be; “Did you flush anything that shouldn’t be flushed?”) My daughter and I are both extremely cautious about this as are our guests (at least we make them aware…I never have actually accompanied anyone on their potty break).  Still…lots of teenage girls so that was a thought on my side too.

I am sure the property company management (PMP} lady dislikes me.  Or she likes to pretend she dislikes me for fun?  At this point, the owner might dislike me too and I hate that possibility.

PMP lady has told me the owner is frustrated with all of ‘my issues’.  I reminded PMP lady that with exception to one issue and this, everything I have turned in has been existent since before we moved in on March 24 of this year.  It takes me several times to get a response and then several weeks for them to provide the cheapest solution possible.  I’m sure the owner is paying them and I wonder if this is just how the system always works.

Enough of that!  Last night, the precious people from the restoration company were working hard well past 8 pm.  I came downstairs to get a drink and didn’t realize that it was wet at the bottom of the stairs.

I was made aware of the wetness as my bottom again made contact with the ground, magically, I bounced off the same areas this go round too!  The people working were super kind and tried to help me up.  I assured them I was fine and just needed a moment.

Truly not their fault, I just didn’t anticipate the wet floor.  I am moving around like a little ole lady this morning!  Lol but not really lol.

Here it is…no matter who is pleased with me or not (and lately it seems like a lot more not than this lady is comfortable with)…I’m okay.

God has my back and He is Good.  All of the time.  Even as I walk through literal s*h&t, he provides a tangible friend here for me and always His mighty love.  The question remains as always…will I accept it?

Still, my bum hurts.

CHOSEN

Sitting in my group psychotherapy class, in a group….it’s my turn to share.  We had each made a collage with images or words that symbolized our spiritual life, gender role, sexual orientation, masks we wear, an identity not mentioned that was important to us and a few other things.

We had been a little bit focused on the topic of death, namely, how our lives would change if we knew we only had 10 years left to live.  There were discussions of dropping out of grad school, deciding no children could be birthed if there were only 10 years with them, and support for having kids even though because the experience was so valuable.  It wasn’t my turn to speak yet, my mind was spinning with thoughts.  10 years!  10 years?  TEN YEARS!  What a gift!  I thought back to the stroke in 2009 and how terrified I was to die.  If someone promised me 10 more years from now, it would almost be a relief.  Then I could stop wondering how much more time I had with my people and in this life. Ten years seems awfully precious when I consider that no one actually knows if they even have the next moment.

The question was posed directly to me, “What was the hardest thing on your collage for you?”   I began sharing;  “You see, in 2009, I had a massive stroke, I had to learn to walk again.”  Having my own mortality in my face like that and realizing how precious it was to be able to walk contributes well to thinking that 10 more years is a gift.  Our professor remarked, “Gosh, you are almost 10 years out from that stroke.”  I am!  I hadn’t even thought of that, and somehow it seems like something that I should celebrate even more than I do every other year.

(SIDENOTE:  I know I drive others crazy with my selfie taking and insistence on picture taking during nearly anything.  My classmates were fussing about precisely this at lunch today, thus, I explained to them the why’s of my insistence.  

My Daddy lost his memories with his Alzheimer’s.  I recognized from that how very important pictures were in helping tell him stories, whether he recalled or not, we remembered precious moments.  Also, after the stroke, I lost a few big  chunks of memories that I treasure.  In looking at pictures or videos, it will often trigger a memory recollection that I had lost.  Lastly, I NEVER took a selfie until after my divorce.  I’m truly not vain.  However, I do cherish memories and know it is possible to lose them.  This is why I like to have so many pictures.  The selfies….they help me remember where I’ve been and how far (usually) I’ve come.)

I continued, “So, the hardest thing on this collage is the blank spot on the bottom left corner.  It is blank because I couldn’t find the word.”  “I was looking for the word chosen“.

This ties in with my ideas of spirituality.  I can trust the process.  I can trust that I am right where I am meant to be.  I can trust that I have a bright future ahead.  I can trust God.  “The reason that chosen ties in with this seems insignificant but I know it’s not.”  In my heart, I know that I have been chosen for many things that I am not deserving of.  I am healthy, whole and breathing, for a start.

I explained in detail, “When I look back and see how God has put the puzzle pieces together, I know He is trustworthy.  In hindsight, He is good.  However, for the future, I struggle with this whole trust thing hugely.  There are two driving factors to my thinking.

First, I am not really sure that the desires of my heart are worth His time, or the plan, or whatever.  Second, I still grapple with the lifetime thoughts that I am not worth it.  Period.  That said, I took a deep breath and shared what my deepest desire was.

I absolutely want to share my life with a mate.  This is terrifying to me.  I explained, “My ex-husband is my best friend, we were together for 23 years and I don’t want to lose that friendship.”  Hard questions followed and the tears that had started flowing the minute I spoke hadn’t stopped.  I decided that my vulnerability in this moment was a good thing, even if it totally sucked.  I know (believe) that when I give my heart to someone, the relationship between my ex and I will need to change.

We will always be important to one another, and we will always have a friendship and co-parent our precious children.  However, we still at times share the intimate nature of friendship that I feel belongs in a relationship.  No more romance but all of the deep connection.  It’s weird.  I just know deep down that will change; and although it could be very positive, it’s super scary.  For 23 years, we have been there for one another.  Who will ever know me so well?  I don’t know how to navigate any of this so even thinking about the possibilities makes me want to throw up in my mouth.

Despite these fears, I long for that intimate, soul sharing connection with the man who I hope exists not just in my heart and mind.  I pray my desires aren’t denied.  I don’t like saying any of this.  It’s quite uncomfortable.  I do not ‘need’ a man.  If it is true that I want my own fairy tale, I am resentful of even wanting that.  I recognize that my fears are holding me back and I am trying my damnedest to work my way out of them.

Back to the word, “chosen“…let me paint what this looks like to me.  I want to be the woman that is not second choice to another woman and is in competition with no one.  I want to choose and be chosen; to cherish and be cherished; to treasure and be treasured; to accept and be accepted; to trust and be trusted; and to passionately love and be passionately loved.  All with the wildness and naturalness we are capable of.

Whether my hair is long or short, my booty is flat or bubblicious, whether my emotions are a jumbled mess or I am steady as a surgeon’s hand…just see me (an my people) and love me (us) right there, just like that.  Just as I am (we are).

Is that a crazy notion? I want to give these things right back, in the manner they are needed.  I guess this is my version of a fairy tale.  I went to the restroom and cleaned of my mascara stained face, then returned to my desk.  I picked up my pen and began an unfiltered 3 page list of what had happened or changed in my life in the past 10 years.  Just look at this…

2009 – 2019

  • Celebratory 1 year ‘birthday’ party on the strokeaversary.  Celebrations on year 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 as well.  I will always celebrate November 9 as a second birthday because it was a second chance that forever changed me for the better.
  • Surgical repair of a paten foramen ovale (hole in my heart suspected to have caused stroke)
  • My babies are 9 years older.  They are 17 and 14.  Just wow.
  • Infidelity in my marriage
  • 3 years of intense marriage therapy and growth
  • Divorce 
  • Started grad school (which I will complete 1 month after my 10th year celebration!)
  • A special journey of self discovery…still in process.
  • Had my only two relationships other than my marriage after divorce. One great, one yuck.  Learning to date.
  • Grappled with God.  Alot.
  • Grappled with self.  Alot.
  • My Daddy battled with Alzheimer’s.  He passed away.  I miss him.
  • Went through and graduated Pathways.
  • Learned more effective ways of dealing with my anxieties and fears.
  • Lost weight. Gained weight. Lost weight.
  • Learning to love myself.
  • Almost lost home due to foreclosure.
  • New and old animals.
  • Worked at Jenks public schools, Sooner Start, Life, Autumn Leaves and I’m sure I’m missing something.
  • Learning the value of letting go, letting go and letting go.
  • Became stronger, wiser, taller, braver, more cognizant of reality and less apt to live in a fantasy land.
  • Continue learning every day.
  • Lost and made and regained and didn’t regain friendships.
  • Endless hugs and kisses, even more heart to heart moments.
  • Drove (all by myself) to Dallas, Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri.
  • Finding my voice in a positive way.
  • Practicing gratitude more than ever.
  • Stepped out of my comfort zone a billion times.
  • Crossed items off bucket list, including getting fired from Whole Foods!
  • Learning who I am as a grown woman.
  • Treat myself with love and respect more than ever.
  • Gardened until my fingers and feet were mud stained.
  • Cooked a trillion meals.
  • Watched my Momma move out of our family home and into a new home.
  • Stopped sugar and processed foods.
  • Watched more precious nieces and nephews graduate, get married, have babies, enjoy first careers and more.  Added the role of friend in with aunt.
  • Learned that I am strong.  I am a survivor.  
  • Finding my path to joy and freedom (it’s a journey.)
  • Learned to love the word fuck.  As in fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck….because sometimes it’s the only appropriate word even for a princess.  (really a Sailor Sarah)
  • Experienced two fabulous years of marriage that placed hope in my heart for beautiful things.
  • Put dreams into action, see some coming to fruition.
  • Experienced countless storms, rainy days, splashed in puddles, danced, sang, laughed, cried, embraced, shared, found the deepest pain and the most radiant joy, focused on passions, wrote, cooked, held hands with dying people, held new born babies, manicures, pedicures, massages, listened to music, had my eyes opened to the beauty of diversity, loved hard….an endless list.  
  • I’m still breathing.

I’m breathing.  What a miracle I am.  What a miracle we all are.  This gift of life is one I can barely grasp.  What did I do to deserve the goodness of being here and of being me?  Chosen.  Yes.  Want to be chosen in other ways? Yes.

So ya…10 years.  An amazing gift.

 

Hang in…

“Rough times”, she said before she took a deep breath and told herself this was just a season.

My heart has been hurting far more than I realized. My actions haven’t been super congruent with who I am.

This morning, I had a beautifully hard conversation with a dear friend who has proven to be a soft and safe place to land. I am thankful for everyone (and I mean everyone) God puts in my path. I keep getting opportunities to choose what is best for me and somehow, I keep veering toward what is the least good option for me.

My stomach has been churning for days….a favorite thing of mine to do when I’m feeling anxious. A good cure for that..hot tea for breakfast, bone broth for lunch, a BIG ugly cry with a trusted friend and having that same person care enough to not judge and pray with you. Then, a visit with a client who is deeply grateful and a whole lot less ‘fortunate’ than me.

So…another deep breath. Gratitude for all the moments and for my very real faith. Prayers for courage to keep on keeping on, wisdom and a spirit that yields to a purpose much bigger than one of my own creation.