Are you my Emergency Contact?

Generally, I am a passionate talker. But I am not a complainer. There is a difference. Maybe it’s more subtle than I think it is. There is definitely a difference. I don’t blame others for the state of my existence. My mom and dad made mistakes. I make mistakes. We all do. I have known some heartless people but most people don’t set out to be cruel or unkind.  I have made bad decisions and hurt people I loved. But I believe we are all human and all of us are imperfect. There are people that I can’t have in my life because their presence is toxic. But generally, I am not a grudge holder. It’s just not how I roll.

So preface this blog post with the statement that I am not looking for sympathy. I am NOT feeling sorry for myself. Oh there are days when I certainly feel sorry for myself but today isn’t one of them. Yesterday I got on the scale and saw a bigger number than I have ever seen NOT PREGNANT. I felt a little sorry for myself for a few minutes and then I moved on. I moved right onto eating a delicious bean and cheese taco and told myself it’s my happy weight. I’m happy. So I will buy bigger jeans. Oh well. I still look good. And hell…I look damn good for just shy of my 45th birthday.

So now…two paragraphs in and way too much exposition…allow me to get to the point.

I don’t have an emergency contact.

I fill out forms all the time, at work, at the doctor, for insurance. There is always the “emergency contact” line. I get to that line and I stop. I never know what to write.

Because, well, I don’t have one.

I don’t actually have an emergency contact.

For some reason this reality is like a slap in the face. It’s like that moment in that Steve Martin movie when he walks into the restaurant and asks for a table for one and a spotlight hits him and everyone grows quiet and stares at him.

That’s never happened, the whole room getting quiet and a spotlight appearing on me while I am filling out my forms in the doctor’s office but it feels a little bit like that. I always look around and wonder if anyone else knows the truth about me?

That I am that guy, the lonely guy, that pathetic sucker without an emergency fucking contact.

Ok, ok, I have lots of friends. I even have a few friends I would help hide a body for with no questions asked.

I’ve got people.

I’ve got a girlfriend but you know, we aren’t there yet…we aren’t to the “will you be my emergency contact?” phase.

Maybe someday but not yet.

I have some family, several states away. Even one or two that COULD be my emergency contact. But they aren’t actively involved in my day to day life. What on earth would they do if they got an emergency call about me? Here in Texas, thousands of miles away?

Sometimes I write down a good friend here in town. She would totally be my emergency contact. She is definitely the one I would call if I needed to hide a body.

But it always feels a little wrong. It feels like a burden that doesn’t belong to her. Sometimes I put her. I put her a lot on my kids forms but less often on mine.

And sometimes, I just make something up. Because really, I am at the doctor for cold medicine. What the hell kind of an emergency will happen in the next hour at a doctor I likely won’t ever see again? None. So I make up a fake aunt. Her name changes and so does her phone number. She’s local, my fake aunt.

But she’s there for me. In a pinch.

There is always an annoying auto pilot moment when I start to write my former spouses name. But that’s weird. And frankly, he sucks in an emergency. He would have been a crappy emergency contact when we were married. But now?

There is a part of me, a pretty big part, that wishes he could still be that for me. But that’s another blog post.


Someday my kids will be my emergency contact. But they aren’t old enough for that. Not yet. In a few years maybe.

And don’t even get me started on the will thing, power of attorney, medical power of attorney stuff. That decision has put me into paralysis for over two years…hence the fact that I have no will. Sorry kids, if something happens to me you get to learn what probate means.

Here’s the thing, it’s not really about the emergency contact. It’s more the reality of living a life where, in a crisis, I am on my own. Since my mom died and I divorced, I have truly discovered what it means to be on my own.

(Cue music from Les Miserables)

This was something I didn’t understand the implications of a few years ago and now I understand all too well. Some days I don’t notice so much. Other days, rare days, when I feel like falling, I know I better not…cause I am screwed if I do.

The good news is that I am pretty tough.

A little clumsy, ok, a lot clumsy.

And that’s tricky in a life without an emergency contact.

Getting Old is Awesome

Hey, got you with that title, didn’t I?

Ok, so getting old isn’t really awesome overall. My back hurts, I have a muffin top, “the girls” sag too much and my energy is lower than it used to be. For someone like me, who stays in constant motion, that’s hard.

But generally, there are some things about growing older that make all those things worthwhile.

As I reflected back on the year, as we all tend to do…I discovered that I’ve actually learned a lot…that I kinda like what I have learned…I discovered some good things over this past year, my 44th and the beginning of my 45th.

So, here is my list of the TOP TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT GETTING OLD:

10) I don’t have time for that shit.

You know the shit I am talking about…the gossip…the cattiness…the negativity.

Not only do I not have time for it, I am no longer afraid to say it. I have reached the ripe old age of,

“Hey, ms. negative gossip girl over there…just shut the fuck up, ok?”

Drama, you like a little bit of that drama? Then I want nothing to do with you. Bye bye.

I don’t gossip. I don’t support gossip.

I don’t have time for that shit.

9) I feel better when I exercise.

I used to see exercise as a necessary evil, something I did to stay skinny and strong but not something I really enjoyed.

I am not sure if I would go so far as to say I enjoy it, but I am certain that I feel better when I exercise. And now, after ten years of running I can definitely say it’s something I need.

I think everyone should find some form of exercise and stick to it and they will likely realize they feel better when they exercise too.

8) I really don’t like getting drunk.

I have spent some time as a party girl. Then I spent some time completely sober, trying to figure out why I always had to be the drunkest, loudest, funnest person in the room. Now, I drink when I feel like it. And since going back to drinking, I have been drunk… never sloppy disgusting puke drunk…but rather drunk enough to not drive and to feel like hell the next day, probably five times.

I don’t like it. It’s really not all that fun while it’s happening. And I feel crappy the next day, mentally and physically. Drinking too much, even a little too much, is depressing.

For 2015, I am going to avoid getting drunk. Not because I have to but because I want to.  I really don’t like how it makes me feel.

7) Everyone has imperfections.

The more people I know, the more I realize that all of us are struggling to be happy, to be present, to be at peace. I think life gets significantly more clear, easier, when you realize that. All humans are flawed. I am more drawn to the seekers, the people who are striving to find the sweet spot of joy in the present moment. I prefer those people to the ones avoiding pain by sitting in their lazy-boys watching TV all day. But all of us, almost all anyway, are doing the best we can with what we have.

6) I really like sex.

Yeah, you weren’t expecting that were you? But seriously, I like sex. Not with just anyone. But I like it. A lot. I really like sex with someone I love, I like it even more with someone I trust. But sex is a beautiful expression of love, it’s fun, and when I find my lifetime partner, they are gonna have to like sex too. I need a partner that is comfortable with their sexual selves. Cause, I like sex. And that is perfectly healthy and good and nothing to be ashamed of. (I used to think there was something weird about that, loving sex and not being afraid to say I love it, I was wrong…it’s good.)

5) I am unusually forgiving.

I have seen some ugly shit in my life so far. And I really don’t hold grudges. I forgive easily and completely. I don’t even need an apology to forgive. I have “learned to accept the apology I never received.” My therapist says this trait worries her a bit because she wants me to forgive for my own mental health, while holding onto the truth of a person, or a situation, etc…and I hear this and know it’s true. There are all sorts of reasons that I am this way, all this childhood crap. But it’s who I am. I am forgiving. Once I let go of something, I let it go. Forever.

On the flip side, I have discovered there is only one thing I find truly unforgivable.

Intentional cruelty.

People who set out to be purposefully cruel. Those people. I will not forgive them. Or perhaps forgive isn’t the right word. I have no trouble holding onto the truth of those people.

I have known exactly four of those people, possibly five, in my lifetime.

I have a place in my soul where my love for these four resides. It’s locked tight. I have thrown away the key.

Those people, the four, I have learned so much from them. They taught me to be more careful. They taught me to listen to my instincts.

Letting go of the injustice and frustration and anger, is difficult but certainly not impossible.

I want nothing to do with them. Ever again. They are dead to me. I didn’t know I was like that.

I am.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, I disagree. I think the road to hell is paved with bad intentions.

Bad intentions people can kiss my grits.

4) I am a happy person.

Reading this blog, it might seem like the opposite is true. But it’s more likely that I write from pain. When I am happy, which is a LOT of the time, I am too busy being happy to write about it…although sometimes I do. But being happy, peaceful, laughter, joy, these are my absolute favorite things. I want more of this in my life in 2015. Life isn’t a bowl of cherry’s…blah, blah, blah…but generally being happy comes naturally to me. I love to make other people happy. I love to be fun, to have fun, to feel joy. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of life and forget your fundamental self. I forget what a free spirit I am. I am going to try not to forget again.

3) Parenting is the hardest and most important thing I will ever do.

God, I love my kids. I mean, I love, love, love them. I don’t need to explain this to other parents. They get it.

I found a greeting card recently that said on the outside “being a parent” and then on the inside it said “is like being pecked to death by chickens”. The picture was really hilarious.

When I paid for it, the woman behind the counter said, “it’s our most popular card.”

I replied, “of course it is, I am not the first person to be pecked to death by chickens” and we laughed.

Parenting is nothing like being pecked to death by chickens. But it is hard. Because of the love. Because it matters so much.

The desire to give your children all they need to grow up and be reasonably productive human beings who love you and forgive you for your mistakes is pretty overwhelming.

It’s hard. I don’t think anything is harder or more important.

“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” Jackie Kennedy

I believe she is correct. Completely.

That pressure is enormous.

And worth it.

Peck me again, little chicks.

Keep on pecking. I can take it.

2) I know what my issues are.

I used to think I was needy. I was actually just insecure, but more on that later.

I was in a marriage, with a good man. A kind man. A stable man.

Who wasn’t in love with me.

My need for his love, for connection, for passion, nearly destroyed me.

And it caused me to believe I was incredibly needy and impossible to satisfy.

Since the separation, over two years ago, I have made a wonderful discovery.

I am not needy, after all.

I don’t mind being alone. I enjoy my own company. I don’t scare easily. I can travel alone. I can go to the movies, dinner, the theatre alone.

I have some other issues. But neediness isn’t one of them.

But my real issues, the ones that are problematic, that keep creeping back into every relationship…I know what they are.

I can be secretive when I feel controlled.

I can easily slip away, into my head and become unreachable.

I default to anger, always, when I am not actually angry but hurt. Certain situations can shift me into super scary rage. That’s a problem. A major one to work on. It doesn’t happen much any more but it’s still there.

And there are others, issues.

Being this age, being where I am right now in my life, it’s absolutely fantastic that I know myself this well, understand myself and my triggers and patterns.

Doing something about it…I don’t know if I can. I don’t know if I will. But the self-knowledge is there, the accuracy without judgment is new…a reflection of age, I suspect.

1) I am enough.

Parents who did their best but couldn’t give what their children what they needed, failed relationships, difficult children…these things can break you down, make you feel less than.

Somewhere in the past year or so I started to recognize the truth.

I am enough.

I am lovely.


I talk too much.








I am all of these things.

Good things.

Not so good things.

The sum of all of my parts is this:

I am enough.

And honestly, that’s the very best part of growing older…recognizing the truth of your enoughness.

It’s peaceful when you embrace it. Even if it slips away in some moment of depression.

It’s still there, the truth. And I will take every wrinkle in order to feel that.

Happy New Year.