So You’ve Got a Cat… In a Bar

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So it’s come to this. I’m sitting on the patio of Boulevard Brewing Co. on a Sunday afternoon with my laptop, a Ginger Lemon Radler and… my cat. True story. I brought my cat to a brewery. That’s normal… right?

It all started 12 days ago when I decided to put my house on the market. In the last week and a half I’ve been on a roller coaster of emotion as I saw my friends rally together and spend a full day at my house working to get it ready to put on the market; as I cleaned out 37 years’ worth of stuff and things; as I rearranged rooms, donated furniture, painted over memories and in general just rid myself of all the material items that weren’t deemed absolutely necessary. I’ve spent the past month in a virtual daze with the only truth seeming to be that every day I wake up and feel like I’m fighting for my life. A new life. This old one doesn’t fit anymore.

So yesterday my house was listed and today there is an Open House which meant Callie and I had to leave and figure out a way to spend the afternoon. I suppose there are worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than sitting on a patio, drinking beer… with my cat. And as I sit here I finally have a chance to take a breath and begin to process through the past week and a half.

As with many Jean-things, it takes a village to love and support me. And that’s a good thing. We all deserve a tribe of fierce people willing to fight for us. Last Saturday I had eight members of my tribe and four of their littles come over for a full day of manual labor. I tried to help as best I could but I struggled with both a lack of skill and interest. So mostly I just went on mulch-runs to Lowe’s (seriously HOW MUCH MULCH DOES A YARD NEED? Answer – more.) Some highlights from the day include:

Carrie: “Jean—use a tool! You’re just moving dirt around with your hands!” – when I tried to help in the yard.

Tim: “So are you ABSOLUTELY certain you turned the power off before I re-wire the smoke detector?” – Maybe next time he’ll specify WHICH power to turn off. Gosh.

Alicia: “Sooo… I really can’t decide for you what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of…” – My unwavering answer – ALL. OF. IT.

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Suffice it to say I have an amazing tribe. More than the necessity of the physical help they provided, I realized after the fact that I was really needing their emotional support as well. Not a single one of them hesitated when I asked for help – they showed up when I really needed them and knowing I wouldn’t do much to help physically and knowing that I wasn’t in a place to even really give guidance, they pulled together and got the job done. The work itself meant a lot to me, but the action of truly supporting me when I am needing it the most is indescribable.

And I do need the support. It’s hard to ask. In fact, it’s hell. But I’m learning. I’m learning that even when it isn’t nice, it’s okay to say as long as it’s true. Keeping the bad things inside only makes them worse. I’m learning that it’s okay for things to not be pretty, as long as they’re honest. There’s enough beauty in the world, there isn’t enough truth.  And I’m learning it’s okay to say you’re not okay, it’s okay to ask for help and take time to yourself.

Last week I had to leave work suddenly. I just couldn’t be there anymore. The man who broke my heart works at my company. Being at home, surrounded by the ghost of him, has been hell. But so has going to work every day. Seeing him. Being afraid of seeing her – she works there too. On Thursday I asked him to stop parking outside my window. It’s too much. I can’t keep seeing his car every day. Every time I walk in my office, turn my head, look out the window… It’s too much. There are three other sides of our office to park on, it’s a 360-degree parking lot, I just needed him to park somewhere else. So I asked. I’m learning to ask for what I want. However, instead of him moving, she moved her car over by his, right outside my window. I’m shaking as I write this. Their actions have humiliated me, hurt me, taught me to hate… but to purposefully try to hurt another person? It’s beyond cruel, it’s sadistic. And I lost it. I had to leave.

So I did. I left. I left my job in the middle of the day and suddenly found myself at a movie theater. I just had to shut off my brain. I couldn’t be home. I couldn’t be at work. I didn’t know where to go. So I ended up at the movies at 2pm on a Thursday. I had to take a half day PTO because I’m having trouble just functioning as a person… And that’s okay.

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Am I okay? No. Will I be? Judging by the support I have, yes.  Take care of each other, take care of yourself – you’re worth it.

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