things I’ve learned during a global pandemic

People are incredibly stupid and selfish.

They can also restore my faith in humanity.

The amount of love and support sent to me and my coworkers in the healthcare system has been overwhelming.

My life didn’t change all that much. #introvert

Chick-fil-A is still the GOAT.

Quarantine makes weird things happen.

Life is short. Tell people you love them.

Health is important.

Toilet paper is important.

Grocery store workers are hero’s.

I can actually cook.

The world can truly change overnight.

I like to bake.

My husband and I have vastly different opinions on things.

Books will forever be my escape.

I will never again take my nail salon, hair salon, esthetician’s, etc for granted.

I can’t paint nails.

Music is healing.

Workouts are therapy.

The power of Jesus even when churches are physically closed.

There is a reason I don’t buy junk food.

The amount of Pringle’s my household can consume is embarrassing.

The things I’m possessive over.

I can and will cry if someone eats my Pringle’s.

Learning a new instrument is humbling.

How to channel my little brother’s worst case scenario question asking.

I’m angry. About a lot of things.

How important hugs are.

The controversy masks cause.

I love being an aunt.

Social media and news outlets lie.

The world is a scary place. I already knew this, but this global pandemic has reignited my apocalyptic survivor obsession. If I had my choice though- I pray I get taken out in the first wave. 2020 was supposed to be a huge year. I guess in some ways it still has been. Fear and unanswered questions has plagued my friends and family. Tragedies and unimaginable things have happened. Uncertainty, loss of jobs and income, social distancing and masks are the new normal. Even though my day to day life didn’t change all that much, I learned how much I took for granted. Quarantine changed how I envisioned the year, but it also brought me things I never would have had without this new normal. It’s challenging because there isn’t a clear end in sight. Things seem to be getting worse, not better (at least in my pessimistic outlook). I do, however, believe that there will be light at the end of the tunnel soon. I hope I can remember to stay flexible and be molded with the lessons I learned during Covid once I find the light again. To be brave. Selfless. Resilient.

And always buy wavy Pringle’s each grocery trip.



2019 and a few less sucky things

January: had terrible insomnia all month. Finger knitted A LOT of beanies. Read The Uninvited and highlighted every word. Rewatched Vampire Diaries and decided how I wanted my anti funeral to be. Started my genetic counseling for my genetic testing for Huntington’s Disease.
February: fought with my mom because she was worried my eating disorder was back. Really struggled with self worth this month. My husband agreed to come to therapy with me. First and only time. It didn’t go well. Terrible insomnia most of February too.
March: Had my first neurology appointment. Went to an awesome Ron Pope concert. Lost a patient. What do you know? Insomnia was bad in March too. Started taking ambien again: update- still didn’t help. Started to lose trust in a lot of things. Had a melt down in my last therapy session of the month. My therapist just let me lay on the floor until I could breathe again. She asked if I’d start coming twice a week.
April: Wild Reeds concert. On April 15 after six months of tests and genetic counseling, finally got the news I don’t have Huntington’s disease. My brother and the girl I thought he was going to marry broke up.
May: My small group babes graduated highschool! VEGAS! Rj and I went to a Celine Dion concert and got in a huge fight before leaving.
“Takes an army of my friends to fill my cup
One word from you to make me shut up”
My cousin started her summer at our house.  Did my first pediatric sexual assault case- on a 2 year old.
June: cried ugly tears to 5 feet apart. Felt unloved and lonely. Did three rounds of chest compressions on a patient- patient survived and I learned I am not in the great shape I thought I was. My mom sold her house.
July: went back to Orange Beach. Our first trip ever 6 years ago. Went to Rascal Flats concert, I sweat out half my body weight.  Bought a new couch. Got robbed.
August: returned to my favorite place ever for my birthday. Had a “chat” with my husband. I spent the next month praying all night every night for healing, but feared separation. Family drama. Bought a pregnancy test for my 14 year old cousin. Started Red Sea Rules, a book that was preparing me for what was to come. Started going back blonde.
September: lots of football games in Tuscaloosa. Made it on jumbotron at Bryant Denny.
Found out my brother is going to be a dad with a girl he met off Tinder.  Did a 7 graft CABG on my patient and was once again amazed my cardiac surgery. Went to a prayer revival at church with my husband and I’ve never been a part of something like that. Had a huge meltdown at work and had to talk to my manager about it.  Found my new favorite worship song: Waymaker. Cried every single day in September.  Learned a new way to pray.
October:  Really wanted to love October again. But I cried ALMOST everyday in October too.
I’ve never prayed, worshiped, read my Bible/devotions/ etc more than I did in this season. In October, I started to lose my trust in God. Lex died.
Messed up my shoulder. MRI’s and acupuncture.
Went to Texas for the first time. It was awesome. Had another meltdown at work. Football games and Tuscaloosa. My sweet aunt beat her stage 4 breast cancer and got to ring the bell. First full blown panic attack in a long time. Too much time spent in bathroom (but lost a few pounds so won’t complain), cried at work and then cried in my closet because I couldn’t unzip a dress. Fun month.
November: RJ had hair surgery. Actually started communicating with my dad. Saw Scarypoolparty in concert. Football games and Tuscaloosa. Sat 20 feet from Trump and Melania and she waved at me. Finished my good reads challenge of 75 books. Met my best friend’s baby for the first time. Went to see Wicked. Read some really great books with fantastic dedications.
December: I spent more time in the ER than actual payable hours. Rj had two more surgeries. Passed my century ride on Peleton. Posted a short story on Instagram of me playing piano. Decided to start a war with my family. Third wedding anniversary. Terrible GSAC case.
So 2019 really sucked for the most part. But here are a few things that didn’t suck:
Songs: This is a Move- Brandon Lake, Waymaker- Leeland.  If we were Vampires- Jason Isbell.  Out of Love- Alessia Cara. Be Still- The Fray. Say Something- Great Big World.  Start a War- Klergy. My Name- Wild Reeds. Out loud- ScaryPoolParty. Leave the City- twenty one pilots.
Books: The Uninvited. Red Sea Rules. Girl in Pieces. Ryan’s Bed. Teardrop Shot. Kill Switch. Verity. F*ck Love, Dare Me.
And as always, FRIG.
2019 was a really challenging year. I learned some things I need to work on individually and as a couple. Communication, intentionality, kindness, romance. And lots of dancing. 2019 forced me to grow. I’m learning I don’t need validation from anyone but myself. My music is changing. I am changing.
It’s been real, 2019.

Part 1- How We Met

How we Met- Part 1

Let’s rewind to the almost beginning. 2011. I was dating this guy* that was in every aspect ‘perfect on paper.’ We knew each other through high school but didn’t reconnect until college a few years later. In May 2011, he invited me to go to our church’s college night with him and then dinner after. We had so much fun we decided to go see a movie after dinner. It was probably the best first date I’ve ever been on. I felt like we just clicked. His family loved me and mine loved him. After a few months of dating I moved to Augusta for nursing school. We decided there was no distance that would keep us apart. I drove home every weekend and stayed until the last minute possible and cried every single time I had to leave. Our families started getting really close. It seemed like the perfect relationship.

While I was home for Christmas break my first year, we wanted to have a sweet Christmas together. So we filled his truck up with blankets and pillows and drove out to his family’s farm. We drank champagne out of solo cups, danced in the fields while his favorite playlist played and then cuddled in the truck watching the stars. That was the first time he told me he loved me.

We started talking about our futures together and how we will make things work. We wished all our dreams to come true. We promised they would. We would check all the boxes.

I head back to school after break and things are still great. We have an amazing one year that he completely blew me away. May also means the end of first year of nursing school. We spend the summer together and things slowly start to breakdown. There wasn’t something exactly that I could put my finger on, but I just started noticing different things. And over time those things turned into big things.

Right before I moved to Augusta, he got signed with a talent and modeling agent in Atlanta. So I’m not sure, if that had anything to do with the change in behavior or attitude or whatever. My friends noticed it to and warned me they were seeing red flags. I guess because I only saw him on weekends I didn’t realize the change instantly. Until February 2013 rolls around. We were supposed to get together for Valentine’s Day, but my mama fell, so I spend my weekend with her and taking her to doctors appointments. But don’t worry guys, he sent me a framed head shot of himself that he signed for my Valentine’s Day present. (I’m a little disappointed I didn’t break up with him then). The following weekend I was supposed to meet my mom and him in Madison (halfway from Dacula and Augusta), and last minute he bailed because he had a ‘meeting’ with his trainer. So we decide he would come to Augusta the following week, spend the night and drop me off at school so I could head to FEMA. The night before he is supposed to be coming to see me, he calls me and tells me he doesn’t think it’s worth it to drive two hours to see me to just spend the night and drive me to school the next day. (Keep in mind, we hadn’t seen each other in almost two months at this point, he has skipped Valentine’s Day and bailed on coming to see me in Madison). I said I’ll just grab a ride from a classmate. End of discussion- for now. My whole nursing class went to FEMA disaster training. It was the coolest, most intense thing I may have ever done. But while I was on that trip, I realized I had gone almost a whole week without talking to him, texting or anything. He didn’t try to communicate with me once, and I didn’t miss him. I don’t know which part scared me more. So I finally text him, and he gives me a shady reply that he had been crashing at his trainers house for a couple days. His trainer was a female… Straight from FEMA I had to work a 12 hour shift on no sleep. After all of that- we finally got to talk. Best timing for that conversation? Probably not. I asked him if he truly wanted this, if he missed me? Because I don’t know what my answer would be. We don’t make the effort to see each other and now he is sleeping over at another females house. Long and short, he cheated- but didn’t admit until a couple months later.

But after that conversation, our relationship nosedived. I was months away from graduating and already had job interviews lined up. I was setting up 401K and health insurance. He was still in the same spot he was two years ago. No more college classes, no shoots, no commercials. Still living at home so mom can do his laundry. We sat in that field and made plans and goals and dreams. And I’m reaching mine. I’m doing what I said I was going to do. I’ve checked almost every box. And he wasn’t. He hasn’t. We wanted different things. Everybody was getting bad vibes from him. So I opened my eyes and really saw. And sometimes, it’s just better not knowing.

On one of our last weekends before my graduation, I was home going to church with him and my family. And I ran into the infamous ‘Mr. D’ he was with his daughter and my [ex] best friend. He gave me a hug and whispered in my ear, “you need to ditch your boyfriend.” I was so shocked! I thought I imagined it until I text my friend about it. And she admitted he was serious. I joked about it back and forth a few times and she was like if you ever want to make that happen, I’ll help coordinate.

Well lo and behold, I’m back in Augusta and as a chairman of the social committee I am looking up places to have our class graduation party. I inquired information about a county club type venue. And guess who owes the damn building. Mr. D! Small world. We go out to coffee, neither of us drink coffee and we talk about the venue and our class budget. Then we talk about my boyfriend that he thinks I should ditch. Ironically enough, after that conversation I had the validation I felt I needed to demand if I was cheated on. I was.

So I went home and broke up with him. We were both crying. We were just in different places. He made me promise that we could try again after summer when I was settled in Savannah for work. I told him I would think about it.

Then I reached out to Mr. D (RJ) and told him he was right and we broke up. He asked if I’d like to go out for dinner one weekend before I moved? I said why not? Then I remember he is 25 years older than me and I said hell no. But then I remember that he isn’t a stranger. I’ve known him for years through my friend. I agreed to go out on a date with him as long as my friend could come with me. She did. We all three went out and had a blast. We were all in this group message for a while, but when I felt comfortable enough that Rj wasn’t going to kill me, we starting texting and skyping and talking on the phone. Every free minute.

Summer of 13 was the best and worst summer of my life. I graduated from Medical College of Ga with my RN BSN.

Passed my boards and got my dream job offer in Savannah. I started sneaking around with Rj because I knew my family would never be okay with our age difference. My relationship with my family has never been worse. But I was really living and loving for maybe the first time in my life. Most nights we just drove around at night with ball caps on listening to music. Or dancing around in the kitchen while he sang to me. He helped me do flash cards and study for my boards. We would have to drive out of town to go eat without anyone recognizing us. On nights we couldn’t see each other we Skyped until 2 or 3 AM. We talked about everything. Right from the start. He said after hanging out with me once, he knew I was different. We talked about religion, politics, family, money, sex, children, Alabama football. There was no topic off limits and I’d never felt my walls crumble down the way he got them too. I told him things I’ve never told anyone before. He knew me.

After two months, he told me he loved me and he kissed me. Another month passed and I got the results of my boards exam. I passed. My mom and brother cried in the kitchen with me and we drank champagne and laughed and cried some more. She said I should go and celebrate. So I did. I went over to RJ’s with two envelopes. The first was my passing official letter. And the second was a letter I wrote telling him I loved him too.

So ladies and gentlemen, that is how our story began. Summer of 2013. Crappy cheating boyfriend. Run in at church. Coincidence in Augusta. Whirlwind Summertime Romance.

And it was just the beginning…



*psa- I know in the first part I use a lot of pronouns, but I’m leaving out unnecessary names because I’m the better person. That is all.