January’s Journey

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I got fat.

Well not just fat, more like heart-attack-waiting-to-happen obese.

But let’s just back the food truck up for a minute here and start from the beginning.

Now, to truly start from the beginning, I need to take you back to August of 2014 when, on a snap decision made out of my husband’s mid-life crisis, I found myself in a mini van packed to the roof with my belongings heading back to my hometown in Michigan.

Lizzie did not survive the trip. I think she was just too old and hadn’t been feeling herself for some time. R.I.P my sweet, scaly girl.

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Anyhow, about 2 and a half months later, my husband Paul would walk away from our condo in Jacksonville and his property management job of 16 years to join me at my parents’ house with our 13 years of accumulated crap in tow. I had started working for my father at his auto repair shop, Paul got a short-lived job in property management for the first few months until that turned sour, at which point he decided to join the blue-collar world once again working in a factory. We rented a cozy little apartment in a quiet neighborhood, and we adore everything about living in a small town.

As for the kids, two of the five stayed in Jacksonville. Big Red moved to North Carolina with her new boyfriend. The oldest, her husband, and our grand baby decided to join us here in Michigan and get their own apartment. So we just have the youngest with us yet, and he’s 14.

I don’t know if I’ve ever really thanked my husband for his mid-life crisis yet, but it was the best decision we’ve ever made.

So now that you’re caught up on 2 years of my life in a nutshell,  you’re probably asking yourself, “What does any of this have to do with you getting fat?”

Well, the answer is 2 fold:

1 – Even though the move was a good one, I don’t adjust to change very well.

2 – Suddenly, without five mouths to feed we could afford food. Like…any food. All of the tasty, glorious, calorie-loaded food that we could get our lips on.

2 and a half-ish – having a sit-for-9-hours-a-day  desk job where customers are always bringing in donuts, pizza, and baked goods “just to say thanks” doesn’t help much, either.

Caloric intake doesn’t affect my husband much. As a matter of fact, he’s gotten skinny because his factory job keeps him in shape. He can shove anything into his gullet and not gain a pound. I hate him for this.

Me, on the other hand, I can just smell chocolate and gain 3 pounds. It’s like my metabolism got up and walked away when I hit 40.

So, I started gaining weight. Just a little at first, but then a little more. My dad would order himself and the other woman in the office some breakfast every morning. “Hey kid, you want anything?”… “Sure, dad, I’ll take ham, egg, and cheese on a muffin… and a chocolate milk.” Then I’d go get a greasy burger and fries and a big chocolate shake for lunch.

Oh, and not to mention the late night snacking just because I could. Doritos and Oreos? Sure, why not.

So the pants would get packed away to make room for larger sizes. Large and XL made way for 2XL and even some 3XL. It just kept getting worse.

The beginning of 2016 rolled around and I found myself in and out of the doctor’s office because of this pain or that pain. I’d look away when they’d have me step on the scale because I just didn’t want to know. I was depressed, partly because of what I’d let myself become but there were some other factors involved, too.

I started looking for a quick fix for what I had done to myself. I checked into bariatric surgery but insurance wouldn’t cover it. I started shopping around for miracle slimming pills…something that would shed the pounds quickly with no effort on my part. I checked out the Fit Body Boot Camp one morning, but decided it was just too intense for me. Nope. Not happening.

Around about the 6th of the year as I was driving home from somewhere that I can’t even remember, I recall thinking that maybe I should just drive into a tree at about 70 and be done with it. That’s a quick and easy fix. That’s about the time I realized how bad my depression had gotten and I ended up at church sobbing my heart out to my Pastor’s wife and getting some much needed encouragement. The following day, change started.

Change is hard.

Change is especially hard for people who fear change, and lets face it, are so lazy that they’d rather have a quick fix than put any real effort into getting back on track.

But, it happened, and as all change must, it had to start with a goal.

I gave myself the year to lose 107 pounds. That will put me right where I should be for my height and body type.

So where am I at today?

Well, I have lost 47 pounds, which leaves me with 60 to go.

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Here’s what else I’ve lost: Back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, ankle pain, night sweats, and low self esteem. The depression has gotten quite a bit better, too.

Here’s what I’ve quit to get here: Soda and other sugar-loaded drinks, candy, chips, sweets and junk-food, anything deep-fried, bread, potatoes, and some dairy. We don’t eat out much anymore, either, which has saved our bank account as well as my thighs.

I still have a long road to haul but I’m confident I can do it because some changes have already become habits. I really thought that giving up sugar would be hard, but that part hasn’t been too bad. Bread has been the hardest one to quit because so many things involve bread, but I’ve found some pretty creative ways to make breadless sandwiches.

I decided from the beginning that I’m not going to be one of those  people that has to keep annoying everyone with the constant updates of their weight loss journey, nor do I feel it’s my duty to become some outspoken advocate for health and wellness just because I’ve made it my personal goal to get on the right track. If you want a big old sloppy bacon cheeseburger,  fries, and a coke, well I’ll join you with my grilled chicken salad and water, and we’ll hopefully have some great conversation while we stuff our faces. I won’t judge. Nothing is more annoying than someone that jumps on a bandwagon and expects everyone else to join them, too. You live your life, I’ll live mine. Deal?

So consider this the first of maybe only two or 3 updates that you’re going to get on the subject of my weight loss journey.

I wouldn’t mind a few words of encouragement as I journey on, though.

Even though my body says, “You go, girl, eat that lean cuisine,” my taste buds want to bury themselves in a big bowl of macaroni and cheese and a bucket of fried chicken…

YUM! wear 309

Extra crispy…

With gravy…

No.

Bad taste buds.

 

 

 

 

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10 Reasons Why I Could Never Be A Cougar

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I enjoy surfing long into the still of the night.

Channel surfing, that is.

Hours after the hubster is gently…okay loudly…very, very loudly snoring next to me, my insomnia has me flipping through 300-and-something channels in search of something suitable to watch until I’m sleepy enough to join him in dreamland.

Many times in my late night TV travels, I’ll come across a commercial for a website for called cougarlife.com.

Now, in case there’s some confusion, this particular site isn’t dedicated to informing the masses about the instincts and habits of some sleek and powerful mountain cats. No, this is a site dedicated to the human variety of cougar; middle aged women in search of men half their age or significantly younger in the interest of pursing a sexual relationship.

When I see these commercials I admittedly shake my head and roll my eyes.

I’m a happily married Christian woman, and for those reasons alone I could never bring myself to do what these ladies do,  but of course it still makes me think…what if I weren’t? Could I commit to becoming some cradle-robbing baby chaser under a different set of circumstances?

I decided that no matter what type of life I chose to lead, the answer would be still be no. I could never become a ‘cougar’, no matter how desperate for male companionship I became, and here are some reasons why:

1. Who’s Lynyrd Skynyrd and what’s an 8 track?

Come on…Freebird? Sweet Home Alabama? No? Okay kiddo, you just go back to listening to the ‘Flying Meatmonkeys’ or whatever drivel is streaming through those buds in your cute little ears.

Its called common ground…or in this case, lack thereof. To be able to connect with someone on even a physical level, there has to be some key element that we can both relate to, some sort of chemistry, a conversational spark. Coming from completely different eras, I don’t think that the Golden Gate could even bridge this generational gap.

2. Club hop? I couldn’t even club hobble anymore.

Generally speaking, the younger crowd tends to get their kicks indulging in whatever social scene that nightclubs have to offer, and it’s the best place to go if you’re on the hunt for young, available, easy men. I used to frequent the clubs when I was young, as did all of my friends.

I, however, grew sick of the partying scene and grew up somewhere in my late 20’s. Now I have maybe 2 or 3 drinks a year and only dance at weddings.

I can’t really say this fact bothers me much, either. When my husband and I go on our yearly cruise, there’s always several young drunk people making complete idiots of themselves, and it always makes me think, “Man, did I used to act that foolish, too?”

3. I was graduating high school when your mother was begging for an epidural.

I don’t know how these women can overlook a fact that to me just seems, well…twisted. If this is the case, I am literally old enough to be your um…hot older sister…and as such, I should be offering you some snippets of wisdom and life advice, not trying to get into your pants. Seriously though, as a mother figure, I should be looking out for you, rather than trying to pick you up in some shady bar or on some equally shady website.

I doubt I’d even be able to live with the guilt that came afterward if I were to pursue an encounter with someone that many years my junior.

4.That’s someone’s son for Heaven’s sake.

Maybe one has to have a male child to actually get this, but I’m capable of putting myself in a parent’s position here. Someone, somewhere, has tried to raise their darling baby boy with a hint of morality. While the fact that he’s out chasing women old enough to be his mother holds some indication that they’ve failed in their endeavor, I’d still have to ask myself if I’d want my son involved with a much older woman.

I’d be lobbing snowballs at Satan before I’d ever let that happen.

5. My parents would be so proud.

My parents are still both very much alive and very quick to offer advice when they deem that I’m screwing up my life. They did their best to raise me with certain ethics and moral standards that set me apart from oh…hyenas and vultures, and while I may not always adhere to the way they’d like to see me handling my life, I think I do a pretty good job at being the upstanding citizen that they raised me to be.

While they may not know exactly what unsavory activities I’d be involved in if I chased after men half my age, the guilt would still be there. I was raised better than that, and knowing that my behavior would be going against every value that my parents tried to instill in me would be a terrible testament to their legacy. I’m not sure I could forgive myself for that.

6. Age is just a number you say?

I get disgusted every time I hear this statement. Granted, I’ve mostly heard it from men in my lifetime, but there has to be some degree of this line of thinking to be able to pursue a man half one’s age.

You see, age does matter. The progression of time in a person’s life equates to a greater level of stability and wisdom brought about by years of experience; emotional, mental, social, etc. Well, at least in most cases it does anyway.

By the time a woman reaches 40, even 30, she should be smart enough to understand what are or aren’t healthy relationship habits, and she should have the ability to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable social behaviors…like chasing after men half her age.

7. That’s like, hashtag, hella cray cray G.

You, young sir, sound like a moron.

With the passage of time I’ve learned that speaking in full sentences with real words has it’s social advantages, like oh…people with some measure of intelligence can understand you.  I can’t get to know someone and carry on a stimulating conversation with street slang, and it’s a huge turn off to boot. Heck, I don’t even know what half of the words in the vocabulary of today’s youth mean. This blowout’s about to turn up, huh? You want to try that sentence again in a way that my old, lame self can understand?

On the flip side of the coin, young men that try to sound overly intelligent in an effort to impress an older woman appear equally as ridiculous. I don’t listen to indie-rock, don’t drink iced mocha-chinos, and have zero interest in progressive politics. While you blindly believe that you’re hipster ways will impress me, I’m just grateful that my hips are still my own.

8. We could go back to my place, but my parents might still be up.

For oh-so-many reasons, I don’t even need to expound upon that sentence. No woman wants to hear that, whether the guy is 21 or 40. I’d imagine there’s more of a chance of hearing it from the younger crowd, though. By 40, if a man doesn’t have some sort of financial stability and a place of his own, he should be far too embarrassed to even be out trying to pick up women.

9. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

There are so many more productive things that I could do with a Saturday night than go out and try to pick up a man- any man, let alone one that’s half my age. It’s called having a sense of responsibility. My laundry isn’t going to do itself, my kitchen won’t clean itself, my blog won’t write itself, my kids could probably feed themselves but I don’t think reddi-wip, nila wafers, and processed cheese slices qualify as a well balanced meal, and I’m sure there’s a new episode of something on TV that I won’t want to miss.

10. Oh my aching back.

While a man in his early 20’s may pride himself on his 2 hour stamina, I pride myself on being able to go 5 minutes without hearing anything crack. So sorry, tiger. I couldn’t keep up with you even if I were a cougar.

And there you have it.

I’ll leave the pursuit of younger men to those older women who just don’t seem to know better…or simply don’t care, in pursuit of other avenues in life…

Like having respect for myself as a seasoned woman.

 

Sagging Stupendous!

Daily Prompt: Game of Groans

Think about an object, an activity, or a cultural phenomenon you really don’t like. Now write a post (tongue in cheek or not — your call!) about why it’s the best thing ever.

I personally think every male on the planet should start “sagging”.

What is sagging, you ask?

Why its only the greatest cultural phenomenon ever!

According to Wikipedia, sagging is defined as: a manner of wearing trousers or jeans which sag so that the top is significantly below the waist, sometimes revealing much of the underwear. Sagging is predominantly a male fashion.

I, however, believe sagging is best defined here:

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You see, they just can’t help it. Their elongated torsos make it difficult to wear their pants in some normal, boring, mainstream manner.

Ooo la la…Am I right ladies? Nothing hotter than a scrawny butt sticking out from over the top of some seriously huge jeans. Add a belt around the knees, and the ensemble goes from daytime casual to evening wear in and instant. It’s a great look for frequent trips to the ATM, pawn shops, liquor stores, job interviews, first dates…

When I see this look I instantly think, “Wow. That young man right there has it all together. He has a bright future ahead of him for sure.”

Just think of all the perks that this phenomenon brings with it, too, girls. I mean, you know exactly what you’re getting because you can see it all gloriously displayed over the top of their sagging South Poles.

Oh! And If you ever decide you just need a little break from your doting sagger, a brisk walk in the opposite direction will provide sufficient alone time. Pretty hard to give chase with your pants around your ankles.

Also, imagine all of that extra storage space they have for wallets, afro picks, guns, knives, your jewelry, a refreshing 40 oz. malt beverage…there’s just so much room in those over-sized jeans! Saggers are like the SUV’s of the fashion world! And if you’re ever tired of walking, ladies, you can just hop right into those size 80 jeans and hitch a ride because there’s plenty of room.

And a note to saggers everywhere: Please, by all means, continue to approach my gorgeous daughters with your pants around your ankles, sideways hat, and an ample handful of that which you are over-compensating for with your oozing charm.

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It makes me all warm and fuzzy right down to my toes when you dashing gentlemen shout things at them from across a parking lot like, “Ooo gurlll…let me holla at you fo’ a minute” and then, to make absolute certain you have their full attention, follow it up with “What? Where you goin’ gurrlll. I just wanna axe’k you sumfin.”

That right there has ‘future son in law’ written all over it.

I’m sure my husband would agree, too.

Now waddle on over and give us a hug.

Welcome to the family, son.

Thoughts On Aging

DailyPrompt: Mind Reader

Who’s the last person you saw before reading this prompt? Whether it’s a family member, a coworker, or a total stranger, write a post about what that person is thinking right now.

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 Well, it likely defeats the purpose of the whole mind reading assignment, but it’s easy enough.

The last person I saw was me.

Yep…looked in the mirror about 10 minutes ago and thought, “Man this aging business sucks.”

Things are starting to sag that never sagged before, and I used to pride myself on things being firmly packed into place in my 20’s. A push up bra? Pffft. I never even owned one.

Not to mention the occasional grey hair that I used to find that has now turned into 6 dozen or more. As I was gazing into the visor mirror busily plucking them in the car the other day, grumbling each time I’d find another, my husband and daughter told me to just quit while I was ahead. “You’re going to get 2 for every one you pull”, my husband advised. Yeah, right. It’s more of a 10 to 1 ratio these days. “But why are they all thick and wavy?” I asked. I don’t even have wavy hair! Are these someone else’s grey hairs and God just made a mistake by giving them to me?

My only saving grace now is that I don’t have crow’s feet…yet. I have a 25 year old face on a 40 year old body. Thank you, Mother Nature.

I swear my freckles have at least quadrupled over the years, too. Once upon a time, you could take a pen and play ‘connect the dots’ on my face, arms, and shoulders. Now, after half an hour in the sun, you can’t even find my face under the mass of orangey-brown freckles. At least I hope they’re freckles. Could just be liver spots.

My memory is slowly going. My husband can tell me something 50 times, and I won ‘t even remember it the next…wait…who are you again?

When I was a kid, I swear I had a cast iron stomach, too. People would dare me to eat things, and I, being the ever vigilant attention seeker that I was, would gladly oblige them. Tin cans, earthworms, failed math tests…you name it, I could ingest it as my peers looked on with open-mouthed fascination. The way to everyone’s heart seemed to be my stomach, and I could trot off down the road afterward without a care in the world.

Yesterday, people… I ate grapes. Nothing out of the ordinary, just some plump, sweet, juicy, burst-when-you-bite-them red seedless grapes. An hour later, as I was curled up in the fetal position wishing for death, wondering exactly what I did to bring the wrath of God down upon my intestines, I realized that those “eat anything and pay nothing” days were long gone.

Now, if I just get a whiff of pizza, I have raging heartburn for the next 3 days. I can’t even drink orange juice without a cherry tums chaser, and I absolutely love orange juice! And tacos? Tacos are like death wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. Even the mild ones are like a stroll through hell.

Why oh why does my body have to do this to me?

Oh, that’s right…because 40 is only 3 and a half months away, that’s why.

Welcome to adulthood, sweetheart.

Maybe you shouldn’t have been so eager to wish for it when you were a kid, hmm?

To Know-It-All’s Everywhere:

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You know everything already, so you must know who you are.

On second thought, I’d wager that you probably don’t.

I’m referring to you, the one standing in my personal space informing me how I should be performing the task that I’m currently involved in because you happened along while I was doing it. As you frequently reiterate that you’re ‘oh-so-qualified’ to do so because you spent 3 years working at some place that makes you an expert, you don’t seem to notice my blank stare and occasional “mmm hmm’s”, thus signifying that I mentally zoned out somewhere after “You know, you should…”

That’s called unsolicited advice, and short of stamping “no solicitation” across my forehead, I don’t know of a way to make it clear that my knowledge reserve doesn’t need your 2 added cents unless I come right out and tell you. Then, I run the risk of being just as rude as you often are, so my best course of action seems to be avoidance of you altogether. Something tells me you wouldn’t get the hint then, either.

Still don’t know who you are? Okay Let me provide another example for you.

You’re the one that always has to meet an exciting tale of someone else’s with one of your own. Instead of just smiling and asking interested questions of the story teller, the first words out of your mouth after the conclusion of their amusing anecdote or harrowing tale are something along the lines of, “That’s nothing. There was this one time I…” or, “Oh, I’ve done that before…”

Congratulations. Your need to seek attention just made you a terrible friend. If, in fact, there are people out there that even consider you their friend.

Look around you. Do you see a plethora of people rushing to hang out with you, or is your dog the only one that willingly comes within 5 feet of you? Do you wave at an acquaintance from across the grocery store only to watch them promptly turn and walk in the opposite direction and pretend not to notice you? Do people almost never return your phone calls unless it’s work related?

Take a quick whiff of your armpits. Don’t look at me like that, just do it. Still fresh as a daisy?

Unless you curled your nose up in disgust, I doubt foul body odor is the problem here.

I hate to break it to you smarty pants, but you are likely a prime example of a Know-It-All.

Don’t worry, though, I’m here to help.

Here’s my unsolicited advice to you, Advice Guru:

Zip it.

Even if you’ve been there and done that, as always seems to be the case, try not to offer a solution if a solution isn’t needed. Assess the situation. Is the person doing just fine on their own without your advice, even if they aren’t doing something the way that you normally would? If so, then leave them to it and just stay out of their way.

Offer your advice if, and only if – you see them struggling, or if they come right out and ask. Even when they are struggling and could use some help, give some thought to the way you’re approaching a person when you give your advice. Never offer your advice in an attacking or accusing manner. Responses like, “If you would have just done it like this…” or “No, no, no. Not like that…” aren’t going to win anyone over. You’re only succeeding in making the other person look stupid.

Try something more along the lines of “Those things can be really difficult. Mind if I show you a trick I learned that might help?” If you make it seem like you’re genuinely showing interest in or concern for a person rather than simply trying to show them up with some vast knowledge that you think you have, people will start to welcome your presence instead of avoid you.

Next…

Learn to be a good listener.

Everyone wants their moment in the spotlight. It’s human nature. However when you’re the one trying to steal everyone else’s act, nobody is going to want you in their show. Be, or at least pretend to be, interested in what someone else has to say for a change. Ask questions. Respond with things like, “Wow, that’s amazing!” or, “How funny that that actually happened!” Then when you feel the need to chime in with a story about something similar that happened to you, bite your tongue. Let them have their moment. It isn’t always about you.

If you simply can’t bite your tongue, at least hold it for a minute. Share a good laugh with them over their funny story, or give a consoling hug if it’s a sad tale. Pat someone on the back for encouragement and tell them they did the right thing, or tell them that you feel for their difficult situation. Whatever the case, don’t be quick to rush in and make their moment about you. Consider the timing. Offer your own tale of similar humor or difficulty once the other person has had the chance to fully discuss their own situation first.

Then…

Ask yourself what your intentions are.

Are you genuinely trying to be helpful, or are you just full of yourself? Are you merely seeking the attention that interjecting at that particular moment is going to bring you? Do you care about other people and what they have to say, or do you only care about your own point of view? Do you think that there might be more than one way to accomplish something, or is your way the only way? Will any harm come from not correcting someone? Are you just looking to start and argument? Show off?

Whatever the case may be, sometimes its best not to say anything at all if you run the risk of coming across as a complete know-it-all.

Silence may be golden…

Recognizing when to be silent is priceless.

 

 

Sister Stockholm Syndrome

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My poor son just happens to be cursed.

The boy has been afflicted with 3 older sisters.

Well, one actual birth sister and 2 step-sisters, but in our house, a sister is a sister. Titles aside, they all torment just the same.

He has a step-brother, too, who sometimes crosses the line from simple sibling aggravation into straight up bullying. We put a stop to it when we know about it, but under threats of further torment, my son will opt to keep silent most of the time.

My husband has theorized, however, that some sibling oppression is good for the boy. Character building, in fact. So, he’ll often respond to my distress over any given situation with, “Well, my brother tortured me as a kid. I turned out just fine and still love him very much. Besides, he needs to toughen up a little.”

I just huff exasperatedly and shake my head at him.

We will probably never see eye to eye on the subject, but hey, I’m an only child so my views are naturally going to be different.

Anyway, I believe that the boy has weighed his options and realized that sister torture is marginally less painful than brother torture, so he’s decided to let the sisters do to him what they will and go with the flow.

I think he was conditioned by the girls at a young age when they made the assessment that he was a living doll put on this earth strictly for their personal entertainment, and would put him in dresses, complete with hair accessories and jewelry to match.

I would peek in on them to find them all staring up at me; the girls with big cheeky grins, and the boy in full female regalia with a defeated look on his face.

Over the years he’s been dressed up, made up, had his eyebrows plucked, his hair sculpted, his nails painted, and countless other atrocities committed against him compliments of his sisters.

When I would find him in such predicaments, I would go and get my camera to the tune of his screaming admonitions, “NOOOOO, MOMMY!! NOT FACEBOOK! YOU CAN’T PUT ME ON FACEBOOK!!!”

After a while, though, he gave up when he learned that Facebook was an inevitable fate.

Now he doesn’t even try. He has adopted a “just do to me what you will” attitude with his sisters, and even plays into their little brother bothering games with enthusiasm most of the time.

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This could mean one of 2 things. Either he’s been tormented by his sisters so much that he honestly genuinely enjoys it now, or it just proves how smart the boy is, because he knows that if he’s not acting like their antics annoy him, they’ll give up on him out of boredom.

If the former is the case, I see therapy in the boy’s future.

If the latter is the case, then…

Well played son, well played.

I Have Let You Go

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To the man that I know loves me:

I have let you go.

I know that it may seem silly to say this to you right now. You’re probably puzzling over what this could possibly mean. Why would I choose this moment in time to say this to you? You’re perfectly healthy. We’re the strongest in our relationship that we’ve ever been. There have been no threats of separation. No diagnosis of disease. Yet here I am letting you know that I have let go of you nonetheless, because I need to.

You know that I’m a worrier. There isn’t a moment when you’re not with me that I’m not worrying about what’s happening to you. Are you sick and we don’t know it? Are you safe? Are you paying attention when you’re driving? Are others watching out for you? Has someone pulled a knife on you? A gun? Threatened you? Hit you? Hurt you?

When I know that you’re on your way home and I hear sirens in the distance, the fear takes my breath away. I pray that it isn’t you that they’re coming for.

I have lived with this overwhelming fear for 11 years. I have lived in fear…for you.

So many times I have thought about what would happen if I lost you. I can never imagine this world without you. I can picture myself curling up and dying right along with you were you not to make it home to me someday. I always think that if I did not die, too, I would just shut down. Never get up again. Stop functioning at a normal human level. Cease to think, reason, or even move.

I admit that I’m co-dependent. I rely on you. You cook because you know I hate cooking. You always put gas in my car because you know I hate doing that, too. You pay the bills. You drive the kids around. You spoil me as much as our finances will allow. I often start to wonder if I might be taking you for granted. Then I think, “No. I always appreciate all that you do, I just don’t tell you enough how much it means to me.”

I could likely never put into words how much I do appreciate you. More than mere appreciation, though, what I feel for you is adoration.

Even after all this time, I am still completely head-over-heels, droolingly, babblingly smitten with you.

After 11 years together, I continue to look at you with stars in my eyes and butterflies in my stomach. I will watch you singing on stage, or working, or teaching, and think, “Wow. That’s my man.” Then this feeling of overwhelming need will wash over me. I don’t know what it is about those times that I can’t have you that make me desire you even more, but for some reason, it happens.

Yet I’ve been taught the evils of lust. So I have wondered, “Is it okay to lust after your own husband?” Surely that’s an exception, right?

Then I realized that my desire is not always purely physical. I sometimes feel a need just to be near you. Simply touch you. Just hear your voice. Know that your heart still beats. Feel your aliveness.

My love for you had crossed the line into unhealthy obsession. I knew it, and God knew it. As I looked at you on stage again today, and thought, “Look at that guy. He’s amazing, and he’s all mine!” I heard that still small voice tell me, “He is not yours to keep.”

You would think that those words would have crushed me, and maybe, had I had any farther to fall for you, I would have been hurt when I landed on the solid ground that I had just been knocked down upon. I could not have crawled any deeper down into my pit of selfishness, though, so those words had an effect on me that I would not have otherwise imagined that they could have.

You see, it all came to an end for me today. The fear of losing you. The fear of what the future holds. The fear that you will be gone from this world someday, it’s just a matter of when and where.

Understanding that you don’t really belong to me took a burden off my shoulders and freed me in a way that I had never thought possible.

I know that we aren’t promised tomorrow, but if something were to happen to you before the next sunrise, I now believe that I could make it through. Yes I would still mourn. I would hurt. The pain would likely stay with me for longer than I care to even think about.

But I would be okay. I would survive it. I would press on; because you don’t belong to me. Your life isn’t mine to hold on to. You are simply a loan that will need to be repaid someday, and when collection day comes, I will still be able to stand because you were never truly mine to begin with.

You will still hold my heart in the palm of your hand while you’re here, and I will likely hold yours as well, but I understand now.

It’s just for safe keeping until we move on from this world, and someday, we must.

I still love you just the same, and always will, but I’m letting you know that I’m okay with letting you go…

Because now I can.