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***This is one of those posts that I’m writing because, frankly, I don’t know what to write. I need to write, but sometimes I have to just start. And stop trying to come up with a great first draft idea in my head.

When I go a long time without posting, sometimes I’m writing a lot of drafts, only to delete them. Other times, like recently, I’ve just felt like I had nothing to say. But I hate being stuck. And the only way out is to just write. That’s what this is. And it may not be profound or eloquent or anywhere near my best work, but it’s the closest thing to a revelation I’ve had in a long time. And I felt like it was as good a place to start as any.

I don’t have a lot of “quit” in me. I cling to bad habits like gold, and I am stubborn to a fault sometimes. Most times.

But this isn’t always a bad trait. In fact, I prefer to think of it as one of my strengths. I’d rather try and fail a thousand times than never try at all. I just don’t think life is meant to be lived with a fear of failure hanging over our heads.

I spent the entire day at work yesterday looking at a loan. My adding machine tape was several feet long by the time I locked up for the day, and I was no closer to the answer to the problem I was trying to diagnose.

My job, in a nutshell, is “problem-solver”. Usually that comes in the form of collecting on bad loans in whatever way is most beneficial to the bank. But, yesterday, I couldn’t break the surface of what was going on with this one account. The numbers just didn’t make sense and, in my job, the numbers always make sense. Even when it isn’t good news.

As I headed to my car at the end of the day, my head was spinning. I drove in silence, except for the occasional conversation with myself until, about halfway home, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I think I finally figured it out.

But had I stayed in my office the rest of the night, I doubt I’d have seen it until I stepped away.

I did step away a couple of times yesterday for brief breaks, but it wasn’t until I really separated myself from the problem that it began to show it’s truth to me.

And isn’t that the way sometimes?

So often, in life, we live amidst a cloud of circumstances and problems that threaten to steal our very sanity. But when we begin to relax, and focus our energy into something else, the answers will come.

Those answers may not be what we want, but at least they are answers. Something we can identify and then take measures to correct.

Last night, our best friends came over to play Rook. We’ve taken to gathering once a month to play cards, but I knew very little about the game when we first started.

Being me, after our first game, I vowed to learn more. Get better. So I downloaded a similar game on my phone, and began playing regularly to improve my skills.

Last month, I had a better grasp of the process, but still lost pretty miserably to the other team – very experienced players.

This month, I haven’t had a lot of time to practice on my app. So, when we gathered last night, I had a “just do the best you can” mentality. And my partner and I won 1 out of 3 games!

Again, a situation where I tried my damndest to think my way through something, only to find that it was in the relaxation that the answers came to me.

This isn’t a post to condone laziness or lack of action, reflection. It’s just a reminder to me about how often I try to control an outcome, expending energy to the point of mental strain, only to realize that most, if not all of it, was unnecessary.

I think, the payoff, is in those moments of realization. Maybe they mean more to me because I have spent so much time obsessing about the answers and what they might be. Maybe I would have more moments of clarity if I didn’t try so hard sometimes.

Who knows?

I just know this: just when I think I’m fully actualizing who I think I am, I learn something new about myself. Usually in a moment when I stop trying to figure me out.

Relaxation doesn’t come easily to me. Staying busy is my way of deflecting anxiety. It’s healthy sometimes, but not all the time. I’ve got to learn to balance my busyness with moments of not trying so hard. And let the answers and peace have an opportunity to show up. Because, more often than not, they will.

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Recent Happenings

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The last several weeks have been quite busy, with lots of outside-the-norm activity.

THEATRE AND LUNCHEON

Ever since I started watching Downton Abbey, I prefer to say “luncheon” instead of “lunch”. It sounds much more dignified and proper.

A few weeks ago, I attended a play with my daughter and some of our family with whom she is now homeschooling. The play was Morningside, and it was written and directed by a Mississippi Native.

The scene was a contemporary living room in a quaint southern town, and a baby shower hosted by quaint southern ladies. A family drama with lots of laughs, the production and performances were fantastic.

I don’t get to the theatre much these days for plays, but I do love live productions and make a promise to myself every time I attend one that I’ll do it more often. Maybe I’ll keep that promise this time.

After our morning matinee, we headed over the Brent’s Drugstore, a not so secret diner in Fondren. I’ve seen Brent’s featured on news stories and even on the big screen, but I’ve never tasted their famous milkshakes. Until recently.

I savored the patty melt and fresh cut fries. Yummmmm.

Their special shake for the month was Salted Caramel, which only proved that it was divine intervention that led me to this gem of a place in the heart of the Capital city because I LOVE caramel anything.

It was a fun outing and one that I hope to repeat with some of the most fun-nest 😁 ladies in my family.

BILOXI BABES

My mother’s and sister’s birthdays are less than 10 days apart on the calendar so I decided that, this year, I’d treat them both to something they need more than they often admit: a night away from their families!

We all love the ones we care for, but we all, also, need a break from the frustration that is the day-to-day stress that goes with those responsibilities.

So I scooped them up one Saturday morning and we headed to the MS Gulf Coast for an evening of laughs.

Anjelah Johnson was headlining at the Hard Rock Casino, and she put on a great comedy show.

We visited Dolce Bake Shop in Long Beach for, ya know, midnight snacks to keep in the room, and we were not disappointed with the selections. My favorite? The cookie butter. I don’t know what heavenly concoction was placed in that cupcake, but it was simply divine. Such a cute little shop, too.

For dinner, we opted for Lil’ Ray’s, and each enjoyed some crazy good po’boys.

I liked their philosophy. I need a sign like that in MY office!

The next morning, we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast before doing a little shopping and heading to our respective homes.

It was a long overdue trip for us three as we rarely get to just “hang out” much these days.

I hope we don’t wait so long before we get away again.

OCTOBER IN THE BIG EASY

I had the pleasure this past weekend to attend a seminar hosted by my employer at The Ritz-Carlton hotel in New Orleans.

The speaker was there to teach us about leadership and employee engagement. It was unlike anything I’d ever really heard and presented in a way that I found both interesting and thought-provoking.

The Ritz, I learned, has one of the lowest turnover rates in the hospitality industry. No small feat and one that qualifies them to teach others the lessons of their success.

As a Psychology major, learning about human behavior, what motivates, what fosters problem-solving, etc. – these things are both interesting to me and things that I find are often overlooked in other sectors of the workforce.

The seminar was, in short, great, and our employer was generous enough to accommodate us for two nights at The Ritz.

I’ve lived in the south for 25 years, but have only visited NOLA 3 times. I have to say, bar none, this was the best trip yet.

Though we were hoping for some fall-ish temps, it was hot and humid for the duration of our visit. Still, that didn’t slow down our exploration of the city, or diminish our appetites for some of the best food in this part of the country.

The food and drinks were spectacular, living up to the reputation they boast across the world.

From Mexican fare to freshly shucked oysters, pineapple-cilantro margaritas to the famous Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane, my tastebuds enjoyed the city tremendously.

And, of course, I finally got to visit Café Du Monde for the Beignets!

The travels are winding up now for 2018, but what a year it has been. It’s time now to save up for some new tires so 2019 can have some adventure as well.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Real Possibilities

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2018 has been a stellar year for my luggage.

The saying goes, “If I had money to travel, you’d never see me again.”

I’ve made it my life’s motto.

I live to see new places and have found that my melancholy spirit is best soothed with a change of scenery.

I seem to need it. Actually need to get away from life as I know it, from time to time.

Not only does it refresh me mentally, it sparks some creativity. Something that needs new life breathed into it, on occasion.

Mississippi, despite it’s reputation for simply being fat, stupid, and racist, is a lovely place to call home. We have rolling hills and thick forests. Babbling creeks and long, winding rivers. It’s the center of my universe, but it’s not the entire universe.

This year, I’ve been to either side of this country. Something, honestly, I thought I’d never do. I never once thought I’d dip my toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, let alone within the same year.

Never say never.

I’ve seen both the Carolinas. Visited my beloved Mobile. Took a girl’s trip to Florida. Rested in Tennessee on a long drive home from retrieving the girl child. Spent a week in SoCal.

Closer to home I’ve spent some hours in Vicksburg, the River City. Spent a few nights in Biloxi. Natchez.

Coming up, we have a weekend in New Orleans for a work retreat.

Some of these miles were for work, but mostly not. And I’ve enjoyed them all. Each one. The time sitting in conferences and the time exploring a new city. Eating fried oysters on the gulf and sampling fresh Guacamole in San Diego.

Watching the sun rise in South Carolina. Watching it set on Coronado Island.

The time spent with my daughter, my friends, my mother and sister, my cousins, my husband. The time alone. It has all wrapped me in beautiful memories that I will carry for a lifetime.

My heart, as I reflect on all of the places my eyes have seen this year, is full of overwhelming gratitude.

I used to feel so stuck in this place. I go to work, day in and day out, to a job I love with people I adore. I come home to a family that is everything to me. And yet, I have this wanderer’s soul. This need to see other.

This year, I have. Mardi Gras parades, the Sunset Cliffs, monuments of history, vast oceans, mountains, rivers. I have felt sand between my toes and a chilly wind nip my face. I have tasted. I have heard. I have seen.

I don’t cling to the notion that all years of my life can be so full of adventure. Limited time off and limited finances definitely provide limitations to travel.

But the memories will sustain me. They already do. I’ve learned to not doubt that I will see more of the beautiful places my heart longs to explore. The dream is within my reach.

In the meantime, between adventures, I remember.

The wistful heart turns thankful.

The mundane becomes bearable.

And possibility is born anew.

The Lies We Tell

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What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.

Or

How are you?”

“Fine.

Both are short conversations. Both are, very often, far from truthful.

I have a friend who, last week, wrote about grief. And I found his post both moving and timely as October dawns.

This is a hard month. Even now, 6 years later, I find that some wounds are still, and will always be, raw.

As I read my friend’s words yesterday, I realized how very often we are kept from truly feeling the scope of our deepest emotions. By others. By ourselves.

As someone with a powerful emotional center, having my grief or my elation interrupted by societal expectations is not something I take kindly to. Likewise, I hate for others to repress what they’re feeling.

We all do it. Every day. Have the conversations I mentioned at the start of this post. We say we are fine when we are decidedly not. We say nothing is wrong when things are not good, even if it’s only visible to ourselves.

Sometimes, we don’t know exactly how to verbalize our discontent, so we just sweep it under the proverbial rug, rather than explore the uncomfortable. Sometimes we just know that the person asking wouldn’t understand.

Either way, I’m guilty of the lies myself.

I have a little saying…I’ve had it for a while…when I’m having a bad day and someone asks me how I am, my response is “Just peachy.”

My tone will often reflect the fact that “peachy” could very well mean that the peach is rotten. But it’s not a lie. The words are very much open to interpretation.

I generally mean it sarcastically, and people, more often than not, usually get the hint.

It’s my way of being honest, without people feeling obligated to ask, “Oh I’m sorry – what’s wrong?”

Emotional people are not welcome in a society that is fast-paced and success-driven. Because emotions are so often perceived as weakness. But my strength is in knowing the very powerful core of who I am is rooted in emotion. It allows me to write, honestly and openly, and it gives me extreme empathy and the ability to be with others where they are when they are hurting and need to know, above all else, that they are not alone.

When my cousin was killed in October 2012, it was, it is, a grief like I have never experienced before or since.

He was young. Younger than I am now. And our grief was interrupted by someone who had selfish and hateful motivations.

Eric’s father, who had not had any sort of relationship with his son in more than 20 years, started a push to have his own way. To not honor my cousin’s final wishes and lay him to rest in a way that would honor himself, not his son.

It went to court. And we waited, not even able to lay his ashes to rest at his memorial, but weeks later.

In all of my 30+ years, I have never known the mix of emotions that ravaged my heart those few months.

The shock of losing my childhood best friend. A brother. His future. Mixed with the hate for people who never cared about him, the ones who decided, after 20 years, to throw salt in an open wound and make the unimaginable that much harder.

It took me years to forgive. Even now, I struggle with it. The hate and the grief.

Life has moved on. I live, I work, I smile, I laugh. But it was one of those experiences that leaves one….different. Changed.

And, I supposed, that is at the heart of the lies we tell. People are uncomfortable with change. Most individuals prefer to live a life free of pain and unpleasantness.

But pain and unpleasantness color this life, whether we want it to or not.

And we can acknowledge it. Or lie. To others and to ourselves. But the only way through the hard parts is through. Even if it requires work, years later.

Dealing with what happens to us is necessary. Avoiding the hard things only results in an eating away at our very souls and the relationships that preserve them. They are moments of refinement. Opportunities to learn and to grow and to reach greater heights of humanity and grow our abilities to truly empathize with others and connect to the inner peace that is available if we make ourselves vulnerable enough to receive it.

Living Fear

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My greatest fear has always been “the unknown”.

What might happen.

I don’t know when that started, or why, I just know that I have lived with that fear for most of my 36 years.

The dark. Deep water. Not knowing what is there, beyond what I can see.

Some years ago, I heard a woman speak about fear. The debilitating power of it. And how she overcame it.

Basically, by considering the worst possible outcomes, and then recognizing what she would do if those fears ever came to fruition.

And, the thing is, none of us know, exactly, what we would do, specifically, if our worst nightmares came true. But, the fact is, we would either wake up, day after day, and face the rising sun, and deal with the painful truth of what happened or we would be dead and it wouldn’t matter to us anymore.

I know people that have experienced unthinkable tragedy. It haunts them. Will haunt them. Always.

People that have experienced trauma carry the scars for life.

But they live on. And breathe. They smile again. They laugh again. And they live.

Because they choose to.

Maybe unconsciously, or even, at times, begrudgingly. But they go on. How they choose to do so, is very much up to them. To us.

I have lived my own griefs. My own traumas. I don’t speak flippantly, or without my own experience with the kind of pain that can hit a person in the gut and knock them down for a long, long time.

The circumstances in our lives can be so beyond our control, and yet again I bring up the book selection for this month because the author talks about tenacity and not taking no for an answer but sometimes, sometimes, “no” is the harsh answer that life gives us. And, true strength and resilience of character lies in recognizing that, and moving forward. With the pain. With the disappointment. And not letting it swallow us whole.

I can ask “why?” until I’m blue in the face. I can worry about the next time life is going to throw me a curve ball. Or I can live. And live well.

Our lives are seasonal, and, certainly, there is a time for all things. For grief. For mourning what is lost. For considering the future. Remembering the past. But ultimately, the present is what matters. What we do, today, in response to both what is behind us, and what is yet to be.

Will tomorrow we be satisfied with how we handled today? That answer can only be controlled in the moment that we are currently breathing. And it’s work. It takes conscious effort to live a thoughtful, intentional life.

Yesterday has passed. The could-haves and would-have-beens are becoming less and less important to me.

Tomorrow is not promised. Its fears do not hold sway over me as they once did.

I credit therapy. And medication. And the inspiration of those who have lived through difficulty and grief and challenges I hope I never know.

I’m learning, slowly. Learning to embrace each day for how I can use it for good. To show love. To love myself. To walk toward goals, even if I never reach them.

To step out of my own head, and into the day I’m in. And live.

Being better

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When I don’t know what to write, the best thing I can do is just….start writing.

I’ve learned some things about myself this week. And the temptation, as always, is to overanalyze those things until I am exhausted.

First, I have learned that my physical self takes a nosedive when I become sick. The autoimmune side of Hashimoto’s is, in fact, a real bitch. I came down with “the crud” 12 days ago and am just now starting to feel like myself again. Not only did I feel physically horrible, my mental state took a turn for the worse, teetering on some pretty bad depression.

Somehow or other, I powered through, and feel like I’m on the upswing now. Still, it is a harsh realization to know that the slightest physical illness can now affect my thyroid levels to the point that it can take me back to the worst of the symptoms I experienced at the onset of my hypothyroidism.

The temptation was to linger there, in that dark place, and dwell on the fact that my body will never be “whole”. Hypothyroidism never heals. It is simply (or not so simply) maintained.

But then something else happened.

I took a personality inventory this week. The Enneagram profile is different than other, similar tests I’ve taken throughout the years, but the analysis of the personality types was a bit more…..practical. I have no doubt that I am, in fact, a 4 – “The Romantic”. Not because I believe in romance per sé, but because of how my feelings dominate everything else about me.

It took a good year of therapy to learn how to identify my “true self” amidst the chaos of my often intrusive and conflicting emotions. And I believe I’m better about disassociating myself and situations from my feelings about either.

Where I need improvement, is in the process of getting out of my own head, and not letting what I feel stop me from doing the things I need to do in order to live my best life. When I don’t know what to write, the best thing I can do is…..just write.

When my feelings threaten to overwhelm me, the best thing I can do is…..just breathe. And focus elsewhere.

The temptation is to simply distract myself, but that’s not necessarily healthy. And the effects of that will ultimately do more harm than good. Because, after all, no matter where you go, there you are.

Instead, I’m learning how to channel. Take the energy that I would normally spend on that overanalysis and turn it toward more positive efforts.

This requires discipline. My type 4 personality tends to only want to do whatever I’m in the mood for. And when your dominate characteristics have to do with your own feelings, moods can change on a dime. It is said that type 4’s enjoy melancholy.

I don’t know that I “enjoy” it so much as I’m sort of comfortable there.

I suppose the question I need to be asking myself most often about my behaviors and actions is not my initial response, which is to sort out my feelings but rather, “Is this healthy?”.

I know the answer to that, more often than not, is probably a resounding “no”.

So, as the last quarter of the year approaches, I’m attempting new disciplines. Fighting through the “don’t wannas”. Pushing myself in areas where I know changes are necessary for my own mental and physical health.

And a funny thing happens when I do that. An ironic thing. I feel better. Good. Positive. In control of my feelings instead of the other way round.

Not feeling it

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There are moments in life that define us. Moments of transition that take us to new heights, new dreams, new destinies. In these watershed moments, we know, deep in our souls, that we are becoming who we were always meant to be.

And those moments are great. But what the gods of inspiration don’t tell you is this:

That shit only happens in the movies.

I’m reading a book right now for book club. I won’t name it here. I’ll just say that I’m already judging it. I was judging it before I even picked it up. The nature of this book is quasi-self-help with a dash of inspirationalism and some cliché, white-girl humor sprinkled on top for good measure.

Part of me finds books like this relevant to the overworked, underappreciated females that I know. That I am. But another, more dominating part of me, finds them exhausting.

The premise of these types of books is to basically tell you that you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it people like you. You just have to believe in yourself, yadda, yadda, yadda. Learn to say “no” to things that don’t benefit you, yadda, yadda, yadda. Drink more water, yadda, yadda, yadda. Follow your bliss, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Look, all of this is true. But I’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of dollars trying to figure out who I really am, how I turned into a neurotic bag of anxiety, and what to do to fix my broken parts. And I think, somewhere in my journey, I developed a low tolerance for one-size-fits-all-buy-my-book-so-I-can-become-a-celebrity-and-develop-a-brand-that-will-sell-you-cute-bumper-stickers-to-put-on-your-minivan advice givers.

There is no magic formula.

There is no one right answer.

We’re all just doing the best we fucking can.

What works for you, may not work for me. Yes, there are universal truths that can apply to how one becomes a better version of themselves. But sometimes, sometimes I just want to scream when I read advice that is tied up in a Pinterest-esque package and sold to me as wholesome, good-for-the-soul literature.

I realize this all sounds harsh. And I don’t make it a habit of being harsh on other writers very often. Especially if their intentions were probably good.

But I did say I was judging it. So I’m not going to apologize.

Instead, I’m going to give you the quick version of what I have finally taken away from my life experience, at 36 years old, hundreds of dollars unnecessarily poorer from the purchase of books like the one I just mentioned…

Are you ready? Here’s what you need to know:

Love yourself. As you are.

See, I didn’t even charge you to read that little nugget of truth.

I’m not going to write a book about it and sell it.

I’m not going to go on a speaking tour and sell it.

I’m going to live it.

We make our lives so damn complicated with expectations. Social media has ruined us and deceived us and continues to feed the notion that we aren’t somebody, we aren’t “worthy” unless our lives appear to be perfect.

People, I’m going to take an opportunity here to break something to you: Nobody’s life has been a bed of roses.

Even the queens who write bullshit books about how to get your life together. They have struggled, I’m sure.

The author of our book may get to that. In fact, I’m sure she will. In her own way. In her own time. I may have judged this whole book too early. Everybody writes to “their” audience. I am not her audience. This genre doesn’t excite me. It doesn’t feel “real” to me. It feels like the same thing I’ve read before, just between a different book jacket. And I’m at an age where I really just don’t need anyone else telling me what I need to do, because, at the end of the day……

the only person that I ever listen to

really

is me.

That’s true for most of us. But we read other people’s advice because it’s so much easier than dealing with our own selves and the hoarded emotions and issues that we leave unresolved while we try the newest fad to fix our broken parts.

And it keeps us from being accountable to ourselves. Because we were just following someone else’s plan.

The author of this book does talk about personal accountability, so I’ll give her that. And I’m sure there are a lot of other truths buried in this month’s selection that I’ll appreciate. But overall, you understand, I just don’t care for the genre of “girlfriend self-help”. Because the very implication is that we should want what other people have and be dissatisfied with ourselves until we reach society’s version of success.

I don’t begrudge the women who have their lives together. Women who have surmounted their personal obstacles and really do live Instagram-worthy lives that are interesting and fulfilled and lacking in cellulite and fights with their spouses and worries over whether their kids will end up in bad relationships or on meth.

I don’t begrudge the ones who actually HAVE pulled themselves up by their own designer bootstraps and made a brand out of telling the rest of us the shit we already know and really don’t need another white girl telling us.

I don’t begrudge their success and I don’t begrudge their attempts to profit from help others.

I just don’t really want to read their books.

Season’s Weepings

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I am currently writing this post from a recliner, following my consumption of a full dose of liquid green Nyquil. The good stuff – no off-brand garbage.

Hubs started out the week with fatigue and then heavy congestion. It looks as though I’ll be finishing it in similar fashion.

I was ravenously hungry yesterday. That should have tipped me off. When I get that way, it’s as though my body is signaling me, saying, “Yo. You about to be DOWN for the count, girlfriend. Stock up on some chow cuz you ain’t gonna wanna eat for a while.”

And, sure enough, I barely touched the cheese dip in front of me tonight and anyone that knows me well will tell you that queso and I are long-established lovers. And I can easily make a spectacle of myself with melted cheese and a basket of warm corn chips.

But I digress.

Another tip that I was about to be carried away on the hay fever/sinus infection train was the constant scream-sneezing that began shortly after lunch today and progressively became a constant need for Kleenex.

I’ve been avoiding my daily regimen of Claritin because I’ve been having some dry eye issues that required a doctor’s care and two examinations in the last two weeks, the last one leaving me looking as though I was about to develop superpowers….or sprout horns and a tail.

I blame Gordon. The Tropical Storm. The one that came sailing in early this week and failed to carry any of the damn Love Bugs off with him when he left.

I could almost taste the first feelings of fall today. There was something about the light that just felt…autumn. And then the heat and humidity sucked out my breath and I began sneezing, suddenly and sadly reminded that we have a few more weeks of hell summer left to endure before the cooler temps and blessed days of fall arrive in all their anticipated glory.

The kiddo is visiting her Dad this weekend. I plan to do nothing, and then do more nothing. Except take more Nyquil. Drink liquids. Binge watch some mindless tv programming. And sleep. Sleep. And sleep some more.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe my pillow is calling. 🤧

Hold on to your “drawers”

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Is that a southern expression? I’m not sure. In any case, it means “Get ready!”.

We’ve got a nice little tropical storm headed toward our coastline. ‘Tis the season.

For those of us who experienced Hurricane Katrina in all of her bitchy glory, it took us over a decade to stop wincing whenever we heard the “H” word.

It was no laughing matter. We joke about people running for supplies whenever there is a disturbance in the waters, and even one radar model shows it reaching Biloxi. But, in our defense, we did get hammered, once upon a time. And we have lived by a “better safe than sorry” mantra during Hurricane Season ever since.

While New Orleans did, indeed, have quite the mess to clean up, our coastal towns were ripped to shreds. I’ve seen the water lines on the building that stood in the midst of the storm surge. To this day, it makes me shiver and nauseated to think about that water.

Further inland, we dealt with wind damage. Trees were down everywhere we turned. Power was out for weeks for some, even as far as over 100+ miles from the coast.

My family and I were without power for around a week. I had an 18 month old child, and was recently divorced, in the middle of a job transition. My sister had just become pregnant with twins. She and I went home. To the woods. And mooched off of our better-prepared parents until things began to normalize a bit.

When the winds settled, it was hot. Humid. Miserable. Communities came together. Neighbors shared. There was a lot of good that came from the devastation.

But we don’t play around with storms. Not anymore.

We make preparations, make sure our neighbors further south evacuate in a timely manner, and pray.

I’ve got one eye on the radar in the coming hours. Gordon is expected to only be a Category 1. We anticipate rain and wind. Tornadoes. Maybe some power outages. But there’s only so much one can do to prepare.

So in the meantime, I’ll start this Tuesday like any other. Go to work. Top off the gas tank. Fill my water jugs. And wait.

Baby, you can sleep while I drive

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The sound of the interstate beneath 4 wheels. Sunset fading into night as sleepy, roadside towns settle into their slumber. The distant glow of lights from the city. Things are happening there, but might as well be a world away. These 4 lanes bypass them, unknowing. Unconcerned.

The radio gently cradles the mind, the thoughts about what is ahead, what is behind. There is no scenery to distract. Only darkness, an occasional spray of street lamps, and the sounds of the road being traveled.

When the night is broken by the first hint of sunrise, the possibility and promise of that new day stretches out like lines on asphalt.

Later, a pause. A stretch. A hot cup of coffee. Perhaps a friendly interaction with a stranger. Tiny moments in the journey, reminders that there are places to stop. Experience with all of the senses.

The pause is brief, the road beckoning again. “Miles to go before you sleep.” she whispers. “Miles to go…..”