Friday, March 28, 2014

Decorate Your Soul


So here we's Friday morning, my back has been trying to go out since last night and I am fighting it with generic icy hot patches and Bayer Back & Body.  Maybe this isn't the ideal way to start a weekend.  Perhaps the fact that I woke up just after 7 in an attempt to get my car's oil change done at a place I ended up never being able to find also plays into the less-than-ideal start to the day, but I've decided the weekend is going to be good.

In a few hours I will be driving to Atlanta.  I'll get my oil changed tomorrow at a more reasonable hour than 7 at a place I know I can find.  Tonight I will go eat drunken noodles (hopefully they'll have tofu again) with Shelby at The Red Orchid and watch "Robin Hood Men in Tights" and laugh a whole lot.  I will stretch out my back, and I will keep moving.  I'm not letting Death Spine win this one again.  I don't have the time or the money to play games with my back again.  

I will find my beautiful sister-in-law the right copy of the children's book I've written so she can continue working on illustrations.  We will get that sucker published yet.  I will actually think about Nikky's question of where I want to be in 5 years because the more I think about it the more I realize, I've got no plans, and I'm no longer okay with that.  

What I know is this: I cannot wait for someone else to plan a life with.  I can't keep putting my future on hold because I'm afraid that if I go ahead and make plans, I'll be alone forever.  Maybe I will be alone or maybe this is just a long season, but either way, putting my life on hold because I'm scared of something I can't be sure of is not going to help.  I nearly died about a year and a half ago, and I think I've been trying to figure out how to live ever since.  I think it's time I work on decorating my own soul and making my world colorful and bright for myself because it's not anyone else's job but mine, and really, if I can make my world more colorful and bright, I think that color will spill into and change the lives of the people I love and meet.

Maybe I should be the one bringing flowers.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Full Speed Into the Dark

Favorite things of this very moment (3:16 PM EST):

  • Unsweetened ice tea from The Millhouse (Angie is the best)
  • Plans to head to Atlanta tomorrow afternoon to hang out with Shelby for the weekend
  • Motor World (because Daddy got me completely hooked on this pointless game)
  • Remembering that I have Oreos in my room from Calle (sweet)
  • The possibility that Jordan and I will be heading to TN for a day to see Amber, Jake and Ellie at CWS and then spending the weekend with friends in Atlanta in a couple weeks
I need to move again.  I'm back to being antsy and unsettled and frustrated.  I need my own boundaries, privacy and a clean kitchen.  It's time to face everything I'm truly scared of at this point, and move out on my own.

For years now I've just figured my life would follow the path that seems pretty traditional in my family (and for many of my friends as well) where I would just go to school and live with family and/or friends until I found the right person and settled down.  At that point I'd expect to move out and deal with all the joy and wonder of normal rent/housing everything, but I'd also be facing it with the person I plan to face all my future challenges with.  This is not my life.

It's kind of hilarious when I start thinking about the fact that there has ever been a hope that my life would follow a traditional pattern.  Nothing I do seems to go by any cultural/social norms within my family or just the circles I am a part of.  I am, instead, a gypsy.  A nomad.  A wanderer.  Mind you, this is not strictly by choice in any traditional sense, but rather, I begin to get comfortable or use to a place, and I find myself being nudged onward.  Always onward.  Packing my bags, my life, my car back up and heading to the next place.

I don't regret the places and people I've been introduced to along the way.  I don't regret following God's leading to new places.  I don't regret any of that.  I've lived a life few can claim.  My locals haven't been exotic.  I haven't gone to new countries or had to learn new languages, but I've lived in different cities among different people in different states.  Each place is a new culture to learn with new stories and traditions, and in each place I have met people or grown relationships that have helped me to continue to grow into the woman I am trying to become.  I've learned new skills and learned about my shortcomings.  This life grows me and stretches the bounds of my heart.  It tests my trust in God, and it scares the living daylights out of me.

There is a longing in me that wishes I could've lived that other life.  Lived the life where I went to a secular college, become a psychologist or a librarian or taught literature or art history somewhere, found a normal guy, got married, had kids.  My folks were married with 2 kids at this point.  One of my brothers is married.  Most of my close friends are married with little ones.  If I'd have picked my life out of a stack, that would've been the life I chose.

But God knows better.

Lord knows I'm a wanderer by nature, and I love the travel.  I just really wish I could find home again.  Maybe moving out on my own after all these years will find my heart at rest, or maybe I'll just realize I'm beginning the next step onto a new path and into a new adventure. Whatever I'm facing, I'm holding onto God's goodness and praying that I'm discerning enough to see where He's leading and brave enough to follow.

Here I hold to Elizabeth Gilbert's words defining faith as "walking full speed into the dark." Here I go.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Is it selfish to pray that God brings you someone to share your life with? There are so many people more together, kinder, prettier, and more deserving than I am. I feel selfish for wanting to find someone to love, but I know what my heart of hearts is longing for in this life. I know I want to spend the rest of my life making someone else's life better every day. I know I want to raise kids in a loving (though probably goofy/crazy) environment with the person I love. I just want, as selfish as it feels, to get a chance to start this relationship before I truly am too old to have healthy kids and watch them grow up. 

I spent the past 2 weeks playing with my beautiful nephews, and I know how much work and stress a family can be, but the joys outweigh the risks. 

I realize that some people are gifted in the talent of being single, but I can't do this forever. It will literally drive me mad. 

I'm going to keep leaning into God. I can't see this path, but I know I'll be moving again in the next few months among other things. God will help me find my way and hopefully I'll come out the other side with a stronger faith and renewed heart. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Dear Zuni,

Find myself baking a pair of pies because I didn't think through how putting them off till after I got back from dinner would adversely affect my sleep schedule. Midnight's rolled past, and I realized the date had rolled over as well. I can't pretend that I hadn't already been hyper aware of its looming, but part of me had been trying to ignore what it meant. 

Typically I find myself waking up on this date contemplating taking up drinking temporarily and wishing to remember only the good stuff and not the phone calls. Even that wish makes it worse. 

Time hasn't erased the pain of that day 8 years ago, but it has managed to take the edge off. It doesn't hurt to breathe, and most of the time people can't see how damaged I am. Most days I can wake up, find the good, be grateful to be alive, and make the best of what God's blessed me with, but today will hurt. 

In a few minutes the second pie will be done, I'll clean up, and I'll get myself to bed. The problem will be waking up in a few hours and trying to face this day. 

Most people (and God bless their good luck and healing) won't realize what today is. Most people won't realize 8 years ago today we lost a brilliant author, aspiring filmmaker, true romantic, poet, and my best friend.  I still read your poetry and our emails and notes from time to time. In those moments you still seem close, and I wonder if I'll always remember your laugh. 

Thank you for being the one man who saw the whole of me, and the one man who told me I was beautiful without ever being prompted. I am grateful for the memories I have, the stories, and for your faith in me. The next time I see you, I hope to have some great stories for you and to have proven you right about me. 

I miss you, Zuni. 

Ms. Cheatwood

Ps. I wrote a children's book about an armadillo. Hoping to get it published sometime soon. I think you'd like it. 
Pps. David and Kelsey got married. You'd have loved their wedding and reception. It was beautiful and hilarious and fun. We missed you.