Author Archives: Jamie

In the meantime

This past weekend, my church started a series called “in the meantime” – With the tagline: “what to do when there’s nothing you can do.” The message was incredibly insightful – And it forced me to reckon with myself.

Full disclosure: I’m going through a break up. On top of that, my career has become a bit foggy. And I’m talking about the fog that lays on the highway like a thick blanket in the morning. The kind that’s almost sufficating. I’m unsure of my place here in Atlanta, and of this phase of my life in general. I feel like I’ve lost “my purpose.”  As a result, I’ve pushed back on a lot of the change that’s catapulting into my life. Because it’s been straight up excruciating.

On Wednesday night I came down with a case of the sniffles – Your basic mild cold, which in a sense is much like a paper cut – Nothing major but annoying as HELL. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t sleep, so I shoved some tissues up my nose and took a little bit too much Nyquill (which is way too easy to do.) I woke up in a daze the next day and went to work with what felt like a spacesuit around my head. But when I finally snapped out of, I was calm, clear and alert.

Similar to the clarity and stillness of the moments I’ve found after accepting some difficult realities about my life. Some things are over, and others are just beginning.

And the relief I’ve gained by accepting it, has been mind-blowing. It’s pretty magical to sit back, let the pieces fall where they will and let go of what I thought I wanted, to make room for what will be – And I have a strong conviction whatever is coming is amazing.

Call it Jesus, call it maturity – whatever. It’s unnerving, in a good way.

The 5-year-old in my head keeps nagging, “But what am I supposed to do right NOW?”

Wait.

*Insert side eye.* I’m just supposed to sit here and wait?

My conviction says, yeah, just sit there and wait. Better days are ahead, I’m where I am for a reason – A reason I haven’t discovered yet.

It’s easy to fight back against what we know will cause us pain. But there’s a certain grace about accepting life and relationships for what they are. It doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to feel sad, even depressed. But surrendering to that sadness and getting beat by emotions, is a mistake.

If we can accept the darkness as a season rather than a lifetime, our eyes will adjust – And we’ll spot a window.

The level of inner torcher Robin Williams experienced before he died – we won’t ever know. But his death, however morbid it may be, gave me some perspective, and some hope. The whole world, across generations, pay-grades and cultures mourned the loss of such a light. Did he not know how much he meant to us? Maybe he couldn’t find a window, because clearly, there was hope. Even in his death, we remember the way he made us laugh – The way he changed our lives, the way he gave his audience something to hold onto past the movie screen.

Robin Williams - "Insomnia"

Pushing back on the change that organically happens in your life delays the healing process, and the first part of healing yourself is to accept your circumstances, however crappy they may be.

I’m not where I want to be right now, but I know I’ll find it eventually – So in the meantime…

I’m thankful for the pauses, even when growth seems like it’s standing still.

After all, “to live, is an awfully big adventure.”

When life gives you lemons… Order a pizza

In this case, it was enough pizzas to feed a whole plane full of passengers.

I’ve been “going through it” for the past few weeks — Dealing with one personal problem after another.

I had temporarily lost faith in my abilities, my relationships — and my future. It seemed everything I was working for was crumbling.

But this story came just in time.

Most of what we cover in news is sad, depressing — doom & gloom.

But sometimes, a slice of goodness like this comes along, and it restores your faith that people are good, that the world is good, and that there is always a silver lining. And if there is no silver lining… at least there is pizza.

That’s what a Frontier Airline’s pilot decided while his plane was grounded for almost two hours in the middle-of-no-where, Wyoming, because of bad weather in Denver. He didn’t throw up his hands, storm out of the plane and quit. He ordered the whole plane Domino’s. (Pause for happy tears.)

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Last week, my car broke down — and if you know me, you know I am no stranger to car problems. I’ve been known to pull up to the spot with a car blowing more smoke than a Cuban cigar.

So when my car stopped — Just shut completely off — in the middle of the road, I didn’t panic. I didn’t cry, or cuss. “Just needs a little oil,” I thought.

Well needing “just a little” oil turned into 900 bucks in repairs. Thank God the adult version of Jamie had a “savings” account.

This happened on a Monday — And the days after were increasingly worse.

A hurricane was brewing in the Atlantic — And in my professional & personal life.

Much like this plane bound for Denver, I was circling over Nebraska trying to avoid a storm — And I finally ran out of fuel. And there I was  — grounded, desperate and empty. Will I ever get where I’m supposed to go?

On Thursday I collapsed into a puddle of tears and self-loathing and spent my evening hanging out with the triple A guy while he changed my dead battery.

What could I do? Order a pizza.

That was the only option. Life had whooped me so hard that week, the only thing left to do was order a pizza.

Just like my mother ordered a pizza after she spent hours cleaning our her husband’s refrigerater. “Could have grown a potato plant in the bottom of that thing,” she said.

Cheese and bread makes us feel better about the hopelessness, stranded flights — and the seemingly bleak future. It helps us get from one struggle to the next.

I got my mojo back yesterday while I was working on this story. The ugly parts of the world have a way of interceding your thoughts and clouding your judgement — And sometimes it takes one person, like this pilot, responding to a bad situation in the best way they know how, to inspire you to do the same.

So instead of wallowing around in my misery — I’m gonna order the whole plane some pizza.

An ode to the graduate: Fearlessly be yourself

My sister Jordan graduated from high school last week.From the same high school I attended. But even though we’re from the same place, we had very different experiences. Jordan’s high school years were pretty typical, nothing to write home about. So going to college for her, is a shining beacon of *hell yes.* For me on the other hand, I felt differently. 130_8499875481_8545_n

I was blessed with some really, really good friends in Lakeland. Friends whom I shared every secret, tons of laughter & countless trips to the beach. They were the people who made my high school years more than bearable, they made them fun. So, when my acceptance letter from Florida State came in the mail, I was well, scared to death. I really didn’t want to go. I was comfortable. But I went, & I moped through my freshman orientation, & I sobbed my way through my freshman year.  I had a tough time – I was dealing with some teen heartbreak and homesickness. But I somehow crawled out of that Lifetime Movie without being sedated, which to this day, is my greatest accomplishment. (seriously.)

I eventually found my way and became heavily involved with student activities. And even though I basically took a year off from school to do so, I had fun, and I graduated, and landed a pretty great job.

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But Jordan is different. She’s over the moon about heading to USF, she’s already earned a spot on the dance team – she already has a resume. (When I was her age, all I had was a MySpace & a Live Journal.) She’s excited, she’s ready and she’s the proud owner of a hot pink Keurig.

For the larger part of my life, she’s looked up to me. I’d like to think she gleaned my determination & drive – but I think she learned that from my mom. She raised us both to be real & determined as all GET OUT. So really the only things my sister may have picked up from me is how to tease her hair & why you shouldn’t have a boyfriend in high school.20140616_1753491

But as she heads into this new part of her story with confidence & poise, I find myself looking up to her.

I consider myself fairly successful person (even though there’s a long road ahead) but just as I thought I had figured some things out, they fell apart again. But that’s life. It sneaks up on you & teaches you lessons you didn’t think you needed to learn. And sometimes you pick up a few things from your kid sister – Who used to steal your china tea set & your Limited Too polos.

While I was interning my ass off – during the era of “South in the City” – I was fearless. I hopped a plane to New York, lived in a nunnery, interned at a fashion mag – And a short month later, I was already driving up i75 to Atlanta for an internship at CNN. I may have been a doe-eyed, inexperienced “intern.” But man, was I gutsy. I worked really hard, showed some tried and true grit – And then I “arrived.” I got where I wanted to be my WHOLE life. I have a job that I love, in a small apartment, that I love. But I’ve gotten a little soft.

You know when you feel the wind of change blow into your life? You know, the wind that you’re not ready for, the kind that whispers around before it takes knocks you cold in the gut. That’s what I feel right now. It’s scary. It makes me nervous – But, from experience, I know that change hurts the most when you resist it.

I hope to be brave again, just like I was as an intern, just like my sister is as an incoming Freshman. Just like I know I can be. But the “what if” bully enters my thoughts, yelling: “What if you don’t succeed? What if you make the wrong choice? What if you never find what you’re looking for?”

And the small voice: …But what if you do?

That’s harder for me to picture than the failure.

But time & time again, when I think I can’t or won’t – that there isn’t going to be a next thing, a next someone, a next job – there always was. So while I teeter around the edge of wondering if I can I make the jump – I’ll be thinking of my sister and her God-given inclination to fearlessly be herself.

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Charleston & the disposable camera

Last weekend, we took a quick vacation to Charleston, South Carolina. We brought the Kodak disposable camera, for it’s quality, obviously. Here are just a few of my favorite shots. It was a weekend full of charm! (And getting lost on backroads and arguing about Google maps.)

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The Charleston Harbor.

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One of the many charming houses lining every street.

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The food in Charleston is bangin’. Hominy Grill  has a “to-go” window for ordering drinks while you wait for a table. Need I say more?

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We rode bikes!

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We saw the sites (Rainbow Row.)

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We went to the market.

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Admired the charming scenery.

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Represented ‘Merica.

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Took a selfie.

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We sat on the swings on the edge of the bay.

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More market charm.

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You can find me living here in 60 years.

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Cobblestone streets.

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Great friends, great drinks.

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Brad’s winning smile.

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This kid was cranking out some Disney tunes with his saxophone along the harbor (it was SO cute, and he sounded so good! You go!)

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We really, really didn’t want to go home.

On engagements, and why they freak me out

“She said yes!”

Well… Good for you.

There have been a lot of engagement announcements lately. And when I say a lot, I mean like 2 or 3 per week.

And every time I see those sweet pictures pop up on my timeline or my newsfeed, I get a twinge of nausea.

It’s not that I think marriage is stupid, or that I don’t think love is real, OR that I don’t approve of the union.

The hand holding, the ring pix, the “save the date” signs — That’s all charming and great, but wow — I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack.

The mini-panic I feel when someone I know decides to tie the knot, has compelled me to dive within myself and figure out, just why engagements freak. me. out.

My parents got a divorce when I was 14-years-old. I was in middle school, had a surprisingly great group of friends, listened to a lot of indie music and had a pair of lime-green converse sneakers. And after their divorce, I continued to listen to my weird music and wear my weird shoes. The only difference was, I lived in a smaller house. Which was fine with me, it was less scary. I wasn’t damaged, I didn’t suffer psychologically. Neither did my sister. We got a dog and we moved on with our lives. My Dad moved on, too.

I’ve had two serious relationships in my life. One that ended, and one that has, despite it all, survived, and it’s a pretty healthy one. He’s my favorite guy. Neither one of us have the desire to get married right now. Mostly, because we have young but serious careers, but also because, we are just not ready for that kind of commitment.

And that’s where my anxiety about all this marriage crap really gets to me. It seems like when people get engaged, the whole damn world is cheering them on from the sidelines. “Yes!!! Go!!! You can do it!!! Finally!!! Wooooo!!”

And inevitably, I’m the spectator wondering, “Are they sure?” “Do they REALLY wanna do this?” “They can still turn around and go home!”

I have dear friends, who are engaged or married and I have no doubt, whatsoever, that they are committed to each other, and will continue to stay that way. Because they were ready. They knew. They were “consciously coupling.”

Agreeing to marry someone is brave.

To look at a person and to be capable of saying YES, you WILL be there, when things go bad, when people get sick, when money is tight, and when the septic tank explodes.

That’s a gigantic commitment. And it’s a complicated one. Intricate, even reverent.

But getting engaged looks oh-so-easy. You looked up how to do it on Pinterest, and you picked out the perfect ring. And you asked. She said yes! And people took some pix that you posted to Instagram and just like that — You have 500+ supporters of your decision. Easy-peasy.

But there’s no Pinterest board titled “How to Make Your Marriage Work, Forever, For the Long-Haul, Even When You Want to Stick a Fork In Their Eyeball.” (Unfortunately.)

Marriage has to be hard, I can’t imagine that it’s not. I recently read a book and the author compared being married to Jesus carrying the cross up the hill before he was crucified. Yet Seth Rogan says, if everything in his life was like his marriage, he would have no problems.

So, what is it? Easy? Or torture?

On Monday I read an article from a man who lost his wife to cancer. She was in her 40s. He stood next to her while she tried on wigs after she lost her hair and he admitted to her that her eyes were yellowing when her liver started to fail — Which meant her life was beginning to fail. He compared her death to a phantom limb — an extension of his own body that wasn’t there any more.

All of that scares me. To my core. And the engagement pictures are fun and cute, but what happens when you’re middle-aged and sick? Or elderly and senile? When you have to be the one to tell your wife her eyes are yellow? Things aren’t as cute anymore. They aren’t as Pinterest-y.

I know marriage has its perks. You get a tax break right? Just kidding. I see how being married can be exciting, a ton of fun if you do it right, and down-right hilarious. But I see all the bad things, too.

One day I hope I’ll be able to look somebody in the eyes and tell them I promise to stand next to them even when they drive me nuts, when they’re running late, when they’re being rude — When they get sick, when they are depressed and even when they are dying.

But until then, I’ll celebrate your engagements, and I’ll your drink your free wine at your wedding (gladly), and I will buy you mixers and plates and shower curtains, and I will support you. With a twinge of anxiety in my own heart, until the day I am brave enough to promise somebody that I will, and always will.