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.

Unpopular Opinion: I’m proud to be an American

Never forget” at least that is what we said.

Seventeen years ago today, history changed forever. September 11, 2001. It started just like every other day for my brother and me. We woke up and went to the elementary school a mile from our house. My brother was excited about his birthday the next day. It was a normal day, until it wasn’t.

I was in fifth grade. I was ten years old. I didn’t know that my life was about to change forever. That America was about to change forever. I vividly remember being SO upset because the school announced recess would not be allowed because ‘it was too hot outside.’ Shortly after that announcement my mom checked Ben and me out of school. We thought she was doing it as a birthday surprise. I remember reaching the front office and seeing tears streaming down my mom’s face. There was a multitude of parents checking their kids out of school that day. I was confused because it didn’t feel that hot to me so I didn’t understand why so many kids were getting sent home early. Once we got home my mom tried explaining what was happening and let us watch the news. Obviously, my ten year old self didn’t grasp what was unfolding on the television. There was no way this could be real! It was just supposed to be hot outside! Ben tried to stop my panic by calmly explaining that if what we were seeing WAS real that the power rangers would swoop in and save the day. He said we had nothing to worry about. (except making sure his birthday party was still happening.)

In the weeks to come, I felt like everyone was living in constant fear. I was still not fully understanding what happened on 9/11. I was still only ten. I saw the news, I listened to President George W. Bush address the nation, I saw the flags appear on every window front and house around town.

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” former President George W. Bush.

September 11th caused a transformation to sweep the nation. Americans were proud of the flag. Singers were writing songs about freedom. Neighbors helped each other. We supported our troops. We stood together.

“Remember the hours after September 11th when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran upstairs and risked their lives so that others may live; when rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon; when the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation’s capitol; when flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.” Senator John Kerry.

Over the years, as I got older, I slowly realized the gravity of the acts of terrorism against America that day. You see, in school, children are taught about history. My whole life I was reading these history books with huge accomplishments for mankind but also about horrendous tragedies from the past. But now, September 11th is written down in American history. I was alive for something that changed my country forever. It is something I was a witness to. It blows my mind that there are people in high school now that were not alive that day in September. I guess that is the funny thing about history.

Growing up, I was always taught that we had history lessons so history wouldn’t repeat itself. We learned about WWI and WWII to prevent another world war. We were taught about the fall of dictatorships and communism to prevent future governments from failing. We were taught about the division of America in the Civil War to prevent this nation from becoming so divided again. We were taught to NEVER FORGET. So let me ask you this: How did we get here? Seventeen years later? Our country is divided- and not just between democrats and republicans. We don’t support our troops. We idolize cowards who “sacrifice everything” by NOT standing for the National Anthem. Our veterans don’t get the healthcare and opportunities they should. We are making movies about monumental moments in American history, but removing the flag.

When did it become an UNPOPULAR opinion to be proud to be an American? When did we stop letting our enemies be foreign and start attacking each other? When did we remove the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance from schools? How did America let so much hatred and fear cover our history? How could we forget?

I did not know anyone personally who lost their life that day, nor know anyone who lost someone. And I can’t imagine what this day is like for the ones that did. The heroes that sacrificed everything.The heroes that have sacrificed themselves in all the events stemming from 9/11. The men and women who are still fighting and risking everything today. It has been seventeen years since 9/11, but with heavy hearts we WILL remember the sacrifice. It was not in vain. We will stand together under God and make America the greatest country again.

a PROUD American

Tell me a secret

Tell me a secret you’ve never told anyone. Tell me a secret you thought you’d go to the grave with.

Tell me what your greatest fear is.

Tell me how you choose to suffer.

I am not one for small talk. If I’m being honest, I’m not one for much of any talk. I don’t believe in wasting time talking about the weather or how Alabama is still number one (Nick Saban will always be number one). I want to get past the superficial fake things. I want to know what makes you who you are.

I’ve learned over the years there are a few ways to REALLY get to know someone. Get a person to tell you a secret. Learn a new secret every week. It’s such an intense experience when you know the things that matter, that most people don’t get the privilege to learn.

Ask someone what their biggest fear is. Not the normal spider, snakes, playing against the undefeated Alabama football team, etc. I’ve learned people’s greatest fears have prevented them from their passions and dreams. Some people let their fears paralyze them while other accomplish so much despite their fear. People often lie when asked this question because they are afraid to be judged or being vulnerable.

Ask someone how they choose to suffer. Odd request, yeah? This may be the best way to truly get to know someone though. It’s easy to ask people what makes them happy, what they want. Most people essentially want the same things out of life. Love, happiness, success, good health. In order to get these things though, you have to suffer. You have to have pain. What pain are you willing to endure? What suffering do you choose because whatever/whoever on the other side is worth it? This question will tell you who a person is.

I have a horribly ugly teddy bear named ‘Purp’ that I still sleep with on really bad nights. (I’m 27 and married). I’ve been sleeping with him a lot lately.

My biggest fear is being inadequate. I’ve never been enough for someone to stay. To be someone’s number one. The racing thoughts in my head daily tell me I’m not good enough. I’m not a good enough wife. I’m not a good enough sister and daughter. I’m not a good enough nurse or friend. Eventually, one day I’ll be all alone. The internal dialogue in my head is constantly on repeat. Bonus secret: I shake my head or close my eyes really tight to try to stop the thoughts. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

I choose to suffer for my marriage. I choose to have to painfully long silences, the awkward conversations, the nights I cry myself to sleep. I choose to let people make judgements on what they think my relationship is like because of our age difference. I choose to be a step mom of three kids that despise me. I choose to battle the bloody monster in my head telling me that I’m failing as a wife. I choose to do all of these things. I choose to go to therapy. I choose to suffer because at the end of the day, I have a marriage worth fighting for. I have a man that loves me. That’s how I choose to suffer.

So don’t waste my time. I’d rather read a book.

I don’t want to know what your favorite color is. Even though mine is black. I don’t want to know what college team you root for. Because Roll Tide.

I want to know your secrets. I want to know your greatest fear. Tell me how you choose to suffer.