Sometimes these blogs are born out of a couple of days of a sentence that pops in my head. I don't necessarily know where they are going to go from that seed but, over time, they start to come to fruition. Wednesday there was a Teacher's Rally (and they deserve every single thing they were rallying for). We were caught so very unprepared at work for the rush of red that came in on us like a tidal wave. We saw it coming and could do nothing to get out of its way. I think everyone lost their minds that day. In the middle of the worse chaos I have ever seen at that place, I fell right on my ass. I busted my elbow and my knee and hurt my hip and got right back up. We were getting the crap kicked out of us so hard I did not have time to figure out if anything was broken. I did not have a second to assess my own well being because people needed their beers for the love of green apples! So, I fell. The place got quiet. I bounced right back up and the room cheered for me... and thought to myself I will deal with the pain later. It was in that sentence that I learned something about myself that I guess I just didn't want to accept. When something hard happens in my life, that's exactly what I do. I get through the moment. I'll deal with the pain later because later will be easier, right? Not at all. I remember sitting on that bar floor, cried one tiny yelp, and told myself, "Get the bleep up, Jes." And I did. I did regardless that my elbow was on fire. I did knowing that I would be in more pain later that day. I did because it's just what I do.
That sentence has been ringing through my head all week. So, I let it gestate. I let it bake. I analyzed myself, my past. My world fell apart when I was a teenager but I had to get back up and move on. I would deal all of it later. I got pregnant on purpose because I needed someone to love me though I had no idea how to do it. I would figure it out later. I married my first husband, a man who never once really respected me but I would deal that later. I lost my father and went back to work right away because I had to just get through those moments. I would deal with his loss later. I lost my dog but I just had to get through those first moments. I would miss her later. I let all of these things swirl around my head like tiny tornadoes and allowing the lessons that were presenting themselves to me do their reconstruction, letting them sink in. Yesterday was my birthday. Maybe that's why I allowed myself to finally see these things about myself. I turned 39 years old. I turned 39 years old and I'm still under construction. So often I push through things that I need to take the time to deal with. And I make up all these excuses of why what I'm feeling doesn't matter. He needs me. She wants me. That girl is going to die without her ranch. It's my own doing. Sometimes I just don't want to deal. Sometimes I just want to fall and stay there, to not fix the parts of me that I know are broken. I've picked up so many of my pieces over the years. I've got buckets hidden away like a hoarder with the ghosts that sit at the edge of my bed at night. I push through all of it because it is easier to skim a page than to figure out the real meaning of any of it.
These last few weeks I've had a lot on my mind. Where am I in this life? Where do I go in the next? What exactly is going to make me happy? Perhaps it is a mid life crisis. Who knows? I think I go through one every three years honestly. As much as all this self reflection hurts at times, I never want to live my life blindly. I want to understand and learn and reset as many times as I need to. Losing my father, changed me. I know that may sound a bit dramatic but losing him allowed me to see myself in a way that I couldn't before. When he passed, I saw, not just saw. I accepted that someone could have so much unconditional hope in me. I guess in a way I started to feel that way about myself. It was like losing him gave me permission to be brave in the ways I ran away from before. It gave me permission to truly learn who I was, not who I wanted people to think I was. There was this quote by Alexander Pope that has often been a theme I have lived by for years. "Act well your part: there all the honor lies." So I spent a lot of my life playing this part, not exactly who I knew I was because I thought that was what I supposed to do. I fall. I get back up. Time and time again I get back up. I don't have time to mourn or cry or fail. I get back up and deal with the pain on my own terms behind doors that no one can break through. Time and time again I hide because I've always felt like that's the part people wanted me to play. The older I get, the more I realize sometimes it would be nice to let myself break for a minute. It would be nice to deal with the hurt while I'm shattered because dealing with them after I've healed is like breaking a bone that's healed wrong. Writing this blog today makes me feel incredibly vulnerable and I'm tempted to erase the whole thing... but I always want to write from the most honest place I can. Some people wear their hearts on their sleeve. Mine resides in these words. Part of growing and learning who we are is facing the parts of us that don't always work. I will always get back up but I am starting to learn that I am allowed to take a minute to heal, too.
I had this dream last night where I was super stressed out about something that didn't really matter anyway. I'm not a big believer that dreams mean anything but maybe there is something to it. Our brains are a wondrous beauty, full of so much that we don't use and don't understand. Why wouldn't our subconsciousness being try to tell our stubborn wake minds what's wrong? Yeah, I know, most times dreams are just dumb. I can't tell you how many nights I dream about not being able to find the tea urns at work or how my entire section disappears. They're dumb... but then last night's dream happened and maybe I should take a closer look. Putting it into some sort of context does make it seem like it could mean something but doesn't everything? I won't go into the details of it. Let's be honest. We all hate when someone is telling us about their dreams (not that we'll admit that). It really was me worrying about something that turned out didn't matter at all. I think about ranch and how I joke that this life is just a bunch of unnecessary ranch. Why waste our precious energy on this stuff? But sometimes we do. It's not wrong, it just doesn't get us anywhere. Yesterday I was standing behind my bar, watching the day play out, already knowing how it was going to roll (not great), and I just started chuckling to myself. I realized in that moment how hard I try for things that ultimately are just ranch. So, when the man got a little saucy with me, I just smiled, knowing that the three second wait that he had to endure for me to pour that beer wasn't going to determine my worth. It just doesn't. And I can run around all day, stressing myself out because there is no tea in the urn. I can throw racks across the back, making myself angry because I feel like I'm all alone on that floor. I can walk around in a sour mood all night, wallowing in the frustration, knowing it won't ever really change... but I'm so tired of feeling the weight of a world that will never appreciate it on my shoulders.
I remember in this dream last night I started to laugh at the people around me. Who they were? I don't know and it doesn't matter. They all looked at me, not understanding why I was laughing. I just kept laughing, stopping what I was doing, and started walking away. I guess my dream was, in a way, mimicking the thoughts I was having during the day. Maybe I'm finally having a mid life crisis. My birthday is a matter of days away. I suppose in a way I'm contemplating my plot in life. Is this where I want to be? Is that where I want to go? Do I really want to keep working for the tips? Or do I want to find a nice office job and slowly fade away? I don't know. I want to write and draw and laugh and just be happy. I want to get up in the morning not dreading what's to come, preparing myself to be treated like human walking poo. I don't mean to sound so melodramatic. My husband tells me every day that I have a spot with him if I want it. I just don't know if trading in one thing I settle for is worth another thing I would be settling for. These words "at my age" go through my head and I want to straggle them right out of me. I know that age doesn't matter. I know life doesn't work like that. So why does that statement haunt me so? Yesterday I was talking to one of my bar guests, a kind woman, the kind of customer that makes this industry worth it. It made me realize why I keep beating my head against this wall though I feel the bruises more distinctly these days. At my age, I have relationships and a family and I'm good at what I do, getting better at what I want to do. And I realize perhaps that dream last night was telling me just that. All this other stupid stuff I cloud my brain with is just that, clouds. Clouds pass.
The truth of the matter is we're all perfectly imperfect works in progress that may never be complete. I may look in the mirror in five years and still be like, "what the hell, Jes?" and you know what? That will be all right. I think what is important is that we learn what things are important to fret about and what things are just ranch to toss in the trash. I had this customer the other day who ordered four ranches (yes four ranches) for herself. While I was annoyed to have to go get her four more ranches, I laughed at myself for that annoyance because who cares? The girl likes her ranch and, by god, she certainly enjoyed every single drop of that ranch, too. What I'm trying to say is that so much of our existence gets wrapped up in these dumb things that make us miserable. I don't want to be miserable any more. I don't want to spend my days worrying about what he's not doing or what she is doing or whatever because it doesn't matter. I get so wrapped up in what other people think of me when there was a time in my life I really didn't care all that much. I am kinder sometimes than I want to be. I shut my mouth too tightly when someone hurts my feelings. I turn the other cheek way more than I should. And I do too much for people who take advantage of it... and I get it.... and I'm tired... As I was talking to this customer the other day, she reminded me that I need to get back to me, this funny and smart and confident girl that I used to be, and (pardon my french) fuck the rest. When I go home at night, I have a husband who loves me and I have a daughter who will love me again (once we're past these teenage years). I have a hand full of friends that will be there the minute I call them. I have a strong, brave mother who believes in me and siblings that support me without question. I have my hopes and dreams and my compassion that pushes me forward. All this other stuff? Yeah, it's just ranch that gets thrown in the trash anyway. Over the last few weeks, I allowed things and events and people dictate my behavior because I thought it was the only thing that mattered. And this week what I realized in all those things that didn't matter, I forgot the one thing that does. I matter, too. At my age, I'm still learning that lesson.