Monday, September 19, 2016

I want the peace and joy in your mind

"How can a beautiful soul such as yourself stay positive and trust in God when there is so much anger and hate and violence all around us? I’m about ready to jump off this sinking ship called life and take my chances with what comes next."

Earlier this week it dawned on me that we hadn't had any terrorist attacks in a while. Immediately I began praying that trend would continue. Forever? Impossible. For two months? Sadly, that's not realistic either.

Saturday morning a pipe bomb detonated in Seaside Heights, NJ. The explosion occurred in a trash can on the site of a 5K run to support the Marine Corps. Luckily, the start of the race had been delayed due to higher than expected participation, and there were no injuries.

Still, an explosion at a marathon site echoed the terror attack at the Boston Marathon in 2013.

Then, late Saturday night there was another explosion in the tri-state area. This one was in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, and there were reports of "multiple injuries" but when I turned off the TV before midnight the exact number had not been confirmed.

I had to get up early Sunday morning. We had to be in CT by 10am for a baby shower, and I set my alarm for 6:30am.

At 5:40am a loud BOOM jolted me awake. It sounded close, in the next town perhaps. I waited for the sirens. Didn't hear any. Soon I realized that it was just a dream, though it felt all too real. It wasn't the first time a phantom explosion awoke me, and it likely isn't the last. I could not go back to sleep. Too many worries and fears over the state of the world. [update: the suspect was apprehended in the next town over from me.]

When I turned on the TV an hour later I learned that the bomb was detonated at an Orange Theory gym. 29 people were injured. Are terrorists declaring a war on fitness?

This last month has been difficult. Everyday after work I have had to crawl into bed immediately, my energy has been so depleted, I was completely nauseous, lack of appetite, no interest, etc. It is frustrating when your monthly goal is “to wash your face and brush your teeth” every night. You know when all you want is to sit in a corner and cry, not for any reason but just because everything in your brain is triggered as “Sad”.

Days where my energy was low and I didn’t want to work out - my friends were there to remind me of what life is about, relationships. Long walks (10 miles on some days) with friends saved me.

This verse is my current anthem: The LORD your God in the midst of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

I kind of don’t know where I am going with this. I just wanted to update you all because I haven’t been motivated to even get on social media, blog, youtube, workout, eat, shower, etc. But here is my life - and it is in God’s hands.

She's sharing much less of herself lately. The things she posts are mostly adverts for her new fitness plan. I get it. It's her job now, and one she probably got by promoting and hashtagging like crazy. It will certainly be easier to resist her social media sites if there's less personal content. This is a good thing for me. (though I do miss the 'old' her.)

I avoided her blogs for more than a month, and for four months before that. It seems I only check in on her when I'm stressed and depressed and in desperate need of a distraction. But much like my other bad habit, caffeine, the effect produces diminishing results.

There was a time when I felt a rush of adrenaline reading her posts and watching her videos. There was a time when the mere thought of her depressed the hell out of me (oh, the irony of someone whose stated mission was to help people out of the darkness being a trigger for self-destructive thoughts.) Now I feel neither of those things.

I still call her "My Favorite Girl" but it feels less accurate every day. She will always be this mythical figure in my mind: some days she's my muse, other days she's the personification of all my weaknesses. Always I wonder about her. And worry about her.

This affliction wont last much longer. The embers are fading. She doesn't feel real anymore.

A beautiful, funny, kind, caring, social media savvy girl whom I've never met, and have no tangible connection with? That could describe lots of girls. Hell, that could describe Taryn Southern. And I don't mark my calendars with a shameful 'X' when wandering onto Taryn's corner of the interwebs.
I don't worry about how the world is treating Taryn, and I don't dream about being her boyfriend. (okay, maybe once or twice)

(or a dozen times)

When I hear reports of an earthquake or a wildfire in California I don't ever think Oh God, I hope Taryn's okay. Is it because Taryn is "famous" and My Favorite Girl isn't? Is it because I've never actually communicated with Taryn? It's not like MFG and I had this magical connection. How the hell has she left such an indelible imprint on my heart?

The simple answer is, she's the key to something. I may have said this before, but she and I experience similar emotions. The only difference is, when life knocks her down she at least tries to get up. Sometimes she is triumphant. Sometimes she is defeated. But she has hope. She has faith.

And I just...don't.

There is so much about her that I envy. Her youth, her beauty, her background, her support system. But above all, the one thing that I wish I had is the light inside of her. The thing that gives her body and mind and soul the strength to persevere.

I don't know a lot of people. Not even on social media. And when I found one I liked, I stopped. No more calls, we have a winner. I needed to know that someone like her exists. I don't even need to know her personally. 

I just need an occasional reminder that, even though this country is more divided than ever,
and social media has made us bitter and angry and suspicious of those who are different,
and there are more guns in this country than people,
and innocent people are being targeted by trigger-happy police,
and innocent policemen (and women) are being targeted by trigger-happy thugs,
and politicians are openly advocating for the assassination of their opponents,
and the internet has facilitated cyberbullying and hacking and identity theft and terrorism,
and our planet is getting warmer and warmer each year...

there is Joy in the world.

and if she can stay strong through all of these things...why can't I?



  1. You packed a great deal into that....a stream of consciousness

    1. I guess that's my style :-) Glad you enjoyed!

  2. I was not surprised by the events of late--actually I guess I've been more surprised that more hasn't happened. I'm not overly optimistic about bad things not happening again in the near future.

    Hope you get back to a better place despite all the bad stuff in the world and in our lives. Life is really not too bad when looked at through a different lens.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. It does seem to be the new normal, doesn't it? I was always afraid that it would hit close to home and it does not get any closer than this. Hopefully it doesn't get any worse but...yeah. Cant expect peace for too long I guess.

      I need to borrow that lens of yours ;)

  3. Focusing on all the bad things can drive you nuts. I just try and make the little piece of the world around me a little bit better. Baby steps.

    1. Good advice Stephen. I do try to stay positive but its difficult to undo a lifetime's worth of trauma. Baby steps, yes.

  4. You chose a good verse. Attacks are frightening, and the closer to home, the worse. We lived in Western Maryland during the sniper shootings around the D.C. area. My sister who lives in Texas sent me an email to ask if we wanted to stay with her for a while. I thanked her and said no, we would stay at home because the perpetrator was on the other side of the mountains. Where were they caught? About twenty minutes from our house. We don't have any way to prepare for such events other than remaining vigilant. The snipers were caught because they fell asleep in their car at a rest stop. Some people who were suspicious of them called the police. Truck drivers formed a barricade to keep them from leaving the rest stop. All we can do is our best to take care of each other.


  5. Which one, Muse or Fall Out Boy? mean the Bible verse ;D Wish I could take credit for that but the pink text is all MFG. It is a great verse though, yes.

    I remember the DC sniper attacks and I cant imagine how you and your community must have felt throughout that frightening ordeal. Sadly it seems that more and more communities are experiencing similar tragedies.