In the days following New Year’s Eve, I spent some time meditating on what I wanted for 2019. I’ve been journaling a lot more this year – more than I have since I was in high school – and I filled six pages with intentions for this year. The part that took the longest was splitting the page into four, and writing about how I could be a better human.
I’ve said time and time again that I am happy with who I am. I’m happy with my looks, I’m happy with my job, with my cat, with my partner, with my life. But I believe in constant education and evolution, and when things could be better, we owe it to ourselves to improve, however little.
So I asked myself – what do I want?
What do I want to do with my life? What kind of daughter do I want to be? What kind of partner do I want to be? What kind of friend? What do I want to improve myself? What steps do I need to take to make myself happier and healthier? What can I do to feel sexier in my skin?
With that in mind, I wrote my lists. It wasn’t easy – self reflection rarely is – but in the end, I was content. With a small change each day, this list was doable.
And then things changed.
Someone I loved dearly died.
And I have been trying to find words ever since.
Jamie was one of the best men I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and he also was the person I generally confided in. We talked a lot about what we wanted from our lives – love, careers, kids – and some of my scariest secrets stayed with Jamie. His passing felt – feels – impossibly heavy. There was a day – just last week, actually – when something I’ve been wanting for years, happened. This far fetched dream became reality from something bittersweet, and I actually wrote Jamie a Facebook message to tell him, because he KNEW how much I’ve been wanting it. He cheered me on, every single time.
I got finished the first sentence, remembered, and cried a little.
I do think he knows, and I do think he’s hella proud of me. But there was a hole in that day.
There was a memorial for him, and on that day, I realized how much work I have to do in order to start moving forward on the “What do I want?” Question. I went to high school with Jamie, and at his memorial I was surrounded by people I knew in high school. Hell, I ended up sitting with my high school crush and his parents. I couldn’t bring myself to look around – I was so afraid. I’m good one on one – but surrounded by people that I haven’t seen in almost 20 years put me over the edge. I couldn’t stop looking forward – I dared not look around – and as I sat there, listening to people talk about Jamie and how kind and loving he was, I was fighting a panic attack. I couldn’t stay for the social afterwards – I ran. I didn’t make eye contact, I couldn’t breathe, I held in most of my tears until I got into my car – and then I called my mom and cried.
I cried for Jamie, for his mother, for his life, for every single person who was feeling Jamie’s absence. But I cried for me, too. I cried because I was ashamed – too ashamed to make eye contact with anyone – I cried because my friend was gone, I cried for the hearts I’ve broken and cannot mend, I cried because I’m not who I thought I was, I cried until I couldn’t that night. I cried until I was empty.
One of the things I want most dearly is to be a better friend. I hope to make amends, one day, for the people I’ve hurt and for the heart I’ve broken. After Jamie’s memorial, that is so clear to me.
So, in case I haven’t told you lately, I love you. I’m sorry that I’m not the best friend all of the time, but please know that it doesn’t lessen my feelings for you. I am trying to be better, and I intend on trying to get better at showing how much you mean to me. Please be patient with me.