ThxFriday, Shootin’ at the Walls of Heartache (Bang Bang) Edition.

Low-key Friday GoT marathons; lazy, rainy Saturdays with breakfast out and a brave Costco attempt; dinner with the nephew; coming home to Motörhead: finishing up the season (baby dragons!); new coffee shops that feel like them old coffee shops; otherworldly biscuits; soaking up ALL THE SUNSHINE; overdue talon-tending and catch-up time; happy accidental sightings; afternoon cocktail hour at the Lair; sandal weather; laying it all out; friendly out-of-towners at the Pinewood Social; happy St. Patrick’s Day burrito fun time; all the new shows and all the John/Jon’s; a slow reemergence from the cocoon; not taking things personally; opting for the wait-and-see; practicing flexibility; being late for good reason; mammograms (healthy boobs are happy boobs!); and heading out of town for friends, food, fun, and frolic on a Friday afternoon. Bama bound, baby!

ThxFriday, Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight Edition.

Much-needed hair witchery (and wine); unexpected road trips; saying yes to whatever’s next; extended family gratitude and kindness; all the talk about all the things; remembering the “why”; the flood of relief from a kung-fu grip release; present moment presence; gorgeous weather for a weekend away; faces and places to put with all the stories; sight-seeing, beer-drinking, pretzel-eating, and hand-holding; rousing, late-night games of Cards Against Humanity (that poor, poor bucket); remembering the “how”; losing hours for the sake of later light; red velvet waffles; all that caffeine; pulling through together; transparency for trust; those friends who actually get it (whatever “it” may be); the value of making amends; finding the lessons; maneuvering 180’s with relative grace; seeing myself in a rescued member of an Indiana doomsday cult; and looking forward to a few days of snuggling up, sleeping in, and savoring the moments. Every last one of ‘em.

ThxFriday, Shake It Off Edition.

Friday night spaghetti and a swipe; The Nations Nashville Neighborhood​ Pancake Breakfast, building community one pancake at a time; jazz brunch with The Combo​ at The Stone Fox​, always and forever; small world connections, how-we-met reflections, and time with the object of all of my affections; playing DJ on the gorgeous system and a rousing game of “Guess What Year”; cozy, lazy Sundays filled with couch time, nap time, kitchen time, and together time with a backdrop of HoC, TD, GoT, and Team America; lunch for breakfast; fancy food for charity; having the most fun; comfort food Tuesdays; tending to the things and building up the trust; evil urge resistance; being so much better than that; having something to teach; having more to learn; braving the waves together; Skype dates and catch-up texts; and kicking off the countdown with that perfect cup of coffee (I’m gonna need it), a biscuit & some bacon (need is a relative thing here), and the knowledge that I’m as great as I always hoped I’d be, with plenty of room for better. <3

Getting back to the before.

For years, I’ve made the joke that I’m a Quarter Rican, since my grandmother’s family on my dad’s side lived in Puerto Rico (they’re originally from Spain). Ninja​ likes to add that it means he’s got a 25% chance of getting stabbed on any given night. :) So, yesterday, my sister posted a photo of my nephew standing in front of a class project about his Scottish heritage (on my mom’s side). Apparently, the clan motto is**, “Conquer or Die.” It would appear that I come by all of my stubborn survival attitude honestly, then. So, by embracing it, I’m honoring my heritage, right? Right.

(And if you cross me, I will cut you. Just FYI.)

**Edited to add: There were two clan mottos, since there were two clans. My grandfather’s was mentioned above; my grandmother’s was, loosely translated, “I embrace the unfortunate.” Or something along those lines. I’ll opt for the former, thank you.

There’s been a lot going on lately, most of it good, which often means the writing falls by the wayside. I’m trying to get back to it with some regularity. Quiet on here = I have better things to do than over-think and wax poetic/philosophical/etc, usually. Either that or I’m so spun out that I’m trying to make sense of things before I dump it all here. Fortunately, it’s primarily the former in this case, although I do have a few posts in the works (consider yourselves warned).

Anyway. I’ve been thinking a lot about the question of who I was, before ALL THE THINGS happened. You know? Who was I, before the big separation? Before the time on the streets? Before the traumatic relationship experiences? Who was I, all the way deep down, before life happened?

And of course, all of that is kind of a trick thought process, right, because we are the sum of our experiences. We are the things that have happened to us, the people who’ve crossed our paths, the things we’ve seen and done, the thoughts we’ve conjured, the love (and hate) we’ve felt… we’re like patchwork quilts of moments and memories, with spirits of papier-mâché. At some point, I suppose you can make the decision to no longer carry those things, to no longer let them affect you; but more often than not, you’re already changed.

When I think of who I was, all-the-way-deep-down-before-life-happened, I imagine I was trusting and loving, more than anything. My family tell stories of me, as a young kid, going up to strangers in church and sitting with them, holding hands. Of me, asking what the Salvation Army person was doing ringing the bell, and then trying to put all my money in the kettle when I found out. Things like that. Generous heart and spirit, with a heaping side of stubborn independence. I like to think I’m getting back to that. Slowly but surely. I’ve gone through a lot of stuff, and being the way I am, I tend to carry it all with me.

It’s a heavy-ass load sometimes.

On the positive side, you amass insight and experience that enables you to see other people for who they really are, regardless of how masterful they may seem at manipulation or disguise. So, there’s a reason we carry life with us: so we can learn from things and, ideally, stop making the same decisions that don’t work for us. It’s a good defense mechanism, one that serves a good purpose – but, as with anything, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. And that’s where the insecurity, mistrust, walls, knee-jerk reactions, and all that other crap comes from. Secondary reactives, right?

It reminds me of a story I heard about a researcher, going in to classrooms with little kids, like kindergarteners and 1-2 graders, and asking them questions like, “Who in here is an artist?” *they all raise hands* “Who in here can sing?” *all hands go up* “Okay, who in here is a writer? Plays sports? Etc.?” *again, with all the hands* And then, this researcher goes into high school classrooms to ask the same questions. This time, less than half of the hands are raised. And even fewer, in college classrooms. So, something happens as we get older – the world starts telling us who we are (and what we’re worth), and we stop listening to the voice inside that tells us the truth.

You know. The real Roxanne.

I am finally in a place that, for the most part, has afforded me the opportunity to explore the question of who I was before the world inserted itself, and to re-engage from there. With a whole lot of life experience to go with it. To me, there’s nothing more powerful than that.


ThxFriday, Buddha Buddha Buddha Edition.

The joy to be found in shopping for a special meal; handmade cards, full of rotten; early bedtimes; earlier mornings and rackin’ up those karma points; hours in the kitchen netting oh-so-worth-it results; pot roast (and green bean) perfection; afternoon rugby and a little family time to boot; Mother Nature’s forced vacation; all the pretty snow; warm homes and cozy beds; preferring – nay, demanding – difficult truths over blissful ignorance; saying everything there is to be said; separation of person and deed, of emotion and reason, of what’s mine vs. yours; leveled playing fields; removal of poisoned apples; grace, dignity, optimism, and love; seeing, feeling, and living the growth; finally getting back to work; and the willingness to slow it down, open it up, and embrace whatever’s next.