I am going to let you all in on a secret: this year – or the last several months, at least – has been firmly in my, “this scares the shit out of me” box in real life. Let me unpack that box a little bit. I think we’re all pretty well aware of the dumpster fire that the rest of 2020 has been, so I won’t touch on that, but these last few months? Those of you who live in Tornado Alley or in an area frequented by hurricanes in season probably might understand this metaphor. It’s like watching everything around you bending to Mother Nature’s will. Then things calm down, but you know better. You know that big b**** is just gearing up for the final act in her show, so you stay put and hug your knees to your chest and hope the neighbor’s pear tree doesn’t topple over onto your house.
When I was little, me and my family lived in an old country house. It was one of those with the wrap around porch and the big yard in the country, and there was a field of corn across the street because we lived in Indiana and there’s corn everywhere, but it was just perfect. In the back yard we had a pear tree and and a garden full of fruits and veggies my mom and dad had planted, and everything there seemed to be so perfect. We could play outside. We had a huge yard. My youngest brother had just joined us in the world and I remember getting up in the middle of the night with my other brother just to watch him sleep, or sneaking into the kitchen to make snacks with unidentifiable ingredients to surprise our parents with. I was about six years old. I’d just had a heel cord lengthening surgery and was celebrating being liberated from casts on my legs that went all the way up to my thighs. I was playing outside when the sky started to look a little strange and my mother insisted I come inside. She hurried us down into the basement – a scary place into which we never ventured – and we waited. We heard the wind, things slamming into the walls, breaking the windows. By the time we came back upstairs, the sky looked normal again, but several of our windows were broken, the tree in our back yard was destroyed, pieces of the siding from our house were laying in the yard, and perhaps most oddly – our whole garage had been pushed back. The neighbors cows were wandering in our yard. His fence had collapsed, and there seemed to be pieces of his roof sitting in his yard, but he waved to us as we ventured outside.
The weirdest part about that experience as a child was looking at the damage done to our house and our neighbors, and then looking just beyond it and seeing that the house on either side of each of us was fine. I deduced that the tornado had hopped – it had picked us and ruined our things and shattered our windows and decimated my favorite tree – and while I remember we were all very glad we were okay, I came away from that experience with a new fear of the unknown because I realized that essentially, you could be standing right next to someone, and you could both have a bird sitting on your head, and by nothing but luck and chance alone, only one of you would end up not having to wash bird poo out of your hair later.
2020 has been much like that, with most of us holding our breath and trying to do the right thing and praying that we can keep the boogie man off of our doorsteps. In my case, this run of rotten luck has seemed to be a pattern in my life – a situation wherein I’ve gotten so used to the second shoe dropping that I’m not at all surprised when it does anymore.
So when I made new friends earlier this year, I found myself waiting for the second shoe. But it never came. And then I got this new job in November, and once again, I could feel that familiar tightness in my chest just like I still do during tornado season every year. How is it possible that I of all people could get this job? How is it possible that they chose me? How is it possible that I haven’t said or done something to ruin my own happiness, or that the universe simply hasn’t laughed at it all yet and swooped in on her own? I’ve spent most of the last few months terrified, waiting for this second shoe to drop and this little house of cards to topple over.
But I realized something this morning. See, I don’t have to work today, but my coworkers are all in another country, so there’s always messages to look at from things that happened during my off time. And I see this message from the owner of my company – this letter of several paragraphs addressed to all of us about how he was going to go see his family and he was going to be offline and he suggested we do the same – or if we had to spend the holidays alone, that we still make sure to stay safe and keep the spirit of the holidays and be ready to kill it when we come back to work.
The kicker was what he added to the end of the note, though. At the end, he’d placed a picture from the movie The 300. You know the one from the promos, where all the warriors are lined up and looking like their ready for battle? Except on each one, he had badly photoshopped a cutout of each of our faces. And I’ll admit… I laughed. But beyond that, I realized that if that isn’t one of the best photos to illustrate the way this has all felt, I don’t know what is. But… it also made me feel like I belonged. Because among the goofy, smiling cut-out faces of my coworkers was one of me, too. I was part of their army.
And it’s not just the new job. Cutting ties with people this year was hard. I’ve talked about my dad, some of those toxic friendships…. That stuff is hard to walk away from, and it’s hard every day… but as bad as this year has been, it’s also shown me how wonderful things can be because I have new friends. People in my life who accept me at face value and opened their arms and their hearts. People who encourage me and celebrate with me. People who tell me how glad they are I am in their lives and how much they love me every day. And that’s the kicker, guys. Things are scary. New things are scarier. But… sometimes, the things that seem like they are the scariest are really and truly the most amazing and rewarding things you can do for yourself if you can find a way to get over the fear.
[Head][LeLUTKA]Nova v 2.5
[Skin][[ session ]]Astrid (tone 2)
[Hair][Tram]J0324 (hud C)
[Lips][WarPaint]Lip Nectar (set 2)
[Face][Izzie’s]I’m not feeling very well
[Coat][Vinyl]Chestnut Puffer Coat
[Pose][Hera]Winter is Coming (5)
[Tune][Aaliyah – Journey to the Past]