Don’s birthday at the dropzone
These are some of my skyfriends. Some new, some old. We have a thing going on Facebook called ‘Ed Threads’.
A normal conversation back and forth turns into something out him.
At Don’s party we got all his girls together for a picture.
She is finally legal to drive.
I couldn’t be more proud of her.
She’s safe, except for that crazy pull out in front of the car thing and her dramatic hands when telling a story and forgetting to hold onto the wheel, but no…really…she’s a great driver.
We went driving today to find a place to get some updated pictures of her. Only once did my ass pucker up in fear. For someone that has/had acute anxiety disorder, she did a pretty good job at making me feel safe.
She’ll do great if she doesn’t take on her father’s ‘riding up on someone’s ass because they are driving too slow’ and my ‘i didn’t have to stop for that stop sign, it had white borders’ driving habits.
Congrats Bear Bear! Welcome to what FREEDOM truly feels like!
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi
I have been asking for direction lately.
Which direction do I take my life right now?
Which do I listen to? Heart or head?
My heart has made some poor choices in the past. My head may have had some role in it too. Whenever I listen to my heart, my head has a way of telling me that choice isn’t the right one and fights me day and night.
When I let my head make choices, my heart aches.
“Follow your bliss.” Is something that I live by. Some may say it’s selfish to live your life trying to find your happiness. I am not looking for my happiness any longer…I am creating it.
I’m going to focus on the things that make me happy and the important people in my life. What falls away when I am doing this must not have been something that was important in the first place and maybe it was those things that got in the way of truly seeing what is important.
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
Sometimes we trade in a certain part of ourselves for another. A certain part of our lives for a new one.
No one forced me to jump out of a plane. No one told me it would change my life either.
Somewhere mixed in with the nightmares I have at night, will be ones of where I am finding relative wind. Sometimes I am grabbin’ air, sometimes it comes naturally and I am doing backflips and tracking through the sky. There was even that one where I was in a wing suit, but that couldn’t have been me, because HELL NO will I fly a wing suit. Base jump from a bridge, yes. Wing suit? not so much.
I haven’t been up in awhile…and my subconsious is nagging me every single night with dreams of it, begging me to go back.
This weekend, I believe, is when my instructor is going to Elsinore to try to break their world record from last year.
I can’t even put to words how much is put into getting that world record.
When you watch the video, you see a bunch of guys (and girls) in what look like flying squirrel costumes ‘floating’ in the sky.
Be reminded that they are not ‘floating’ they are FALLING.
For them to have that much control and focus is impressive beyond anything I can ever express. From start to finish these people put everything they have into this.
I’m not even going to try to express the respect I have for my instructor and how much he brings to this sport and to everyone that knows him, been taught by him, jumps with him.
The part that I personally my favorite is after they are holding formation and they ‘track’ away (break up). Everything about skydiving is serious. There isn’t anything can’t go wrong, but the moments before they open their chutes is important. If they don’t ‘track’ away from each other, when they open their chutes they can get tangled.
I guess it’s my favorite part because the respect they have for the sport, for themselves and their other jumpers. Each one of these people were taught the importance of safety, not only for themselves but for all those they jump with.
No metaphors today.
Just crossing my fingers for my sky friends that are participating in this new world record for a safe weekend and good luck!
People come into our lives for a reason…at a certain time. I can usually figure out why they are there within a few weeks.
I often question why certain people move in and out of our lives. You think they will be there forever because the bond is so deep. Some people you think you will meet and never talk to again.
Recently I have had new people come in. How long they will be there is now a question that first comes to mind. I never was this cynical, but with the events in my life, when shaking hands I think, ‘Nice to meet you, how are you going to destroy my life?’.
I have let my guard down a few times in the past month to allow some really neat people in. One is a woman that I respect greatly. The amount of time we spend talking through IM is just stupid. She makes me laugh and I do the same. The conversations will get serious and then always lead back to something totally stupid and we laugh again. She asks me questions about the stuff that I have been through and she actually has asked me questions I have avoided asking myself.
The other people are a bi-product of skydiving. They came into my world and became my family. My Sky-Family.
Lastly I have allowed people I have pushed out of my life back in. I want to beg, “Please don’t break my heart again like you have done so many times before. I want to trust that what you say is true and right and you’re not going to turn on me. I don’t think I can handle looking like an idiot anymore.” — but with this friendship I have to allow that there will be the downs with the ups. When we talk, she speaks the truth.
There are many things I have wanted to tell people that have come and gone from my life for various reasons. The number one thing is, “I wish you would have told me this information BEFORE I married him!” — but the reality is I, without a doubt, wouldn’t have believe anyone when they told me he was anything less than a saint.
I sent a mean text the other night. I wish I could say I regret the text, but I don’t. Maybe it’s this new phase in the healing process. I’m past a lot of the stuff that happened. NOT past a bunch of other stuff. There are things I wanted to say that I have haven’t. Is this the place? Why the hell not.
You will never be a part of the ex-wives club. Why? because unlike us, we didn’t have any formal warning of what was to come. We were blindsided. We were lead to believe that the person we were allowing not only into our lives, but our children’s lives, was going to be real, true, honest and faithful. She believed it because she was the first. I believe it because I didn’t have any warning.
I’m going to make this short; He will, without a shadow of a doubt, do what he did her, do what he did to me….to you. You’re not special. You’re not anything that we weren’t. Because you were the other woman doesn’t give you the leg up or any special insite to how he thinks or feels…it certainly doesn’t give you a get out of jail free card.
Again, without a shadow of doubt…he will work his way into your kids lives, become the most loving father figure and you will think to yourself, ‘how did I get so lucky?’ . He will raise your children as if they are his own. You know this, because you’ve read my blog. You’ve seen the pictures, you’ve read his words to me and my children. You know he’s going to be the most awesome person, bestest friend you could ask for…you’re family will love him! His family will make you feel like you’re one of them.
Just let this be your warning…when he walks away, and he will…he is going to DESTROY your children. They are going to hurt like they have never hurt before. They are going to cry themselves to sleep at night. They are going to forget what it feels like to laugh. That will pass, but they will NEVER forget the feeling of never wanting to trust another human being again. They will never want YOU to trust again. When you feel like you’re ready to move on and find happiness, they will remind you of the pain you went through and when that doesn’t work they will break down and cry and say, “WE aren’t ready to allow anyone in our lives again!” and they will remind you through letters you find tucked away in corners of their room or in your dresser, letters to him, letters to God, letters asking WHY. You will be reminded by them through songs they play for you and look at you waiting for a reaction. They will remind you through stories of the places you have been together with him. You swear if you hear, “Remember that time when we all went…” one more time, you’ll wish you could just erase every single memory of him from your children’s lives just so they can have some peace.
This is the only warning you’ll get. When it happens…and it will…the pain your children are in will be nobody’s fault, but your own. If it were just you, I would say, “have fun…enjoy the ride…see you on the other side!” but since you have children…you should know, you’re not special and if you think this won’t happen to you and your babies, you’re more foolish than I ever thought possible.
These are the words I wish I would have been able to hear. Would I have listened? probably not…because he was the victim in a bad marriage. I could save him from all that sadness she had caused him. I could heal the wounds of his past and we would be a team, do this together, we would be the better parents together. With us together, our combined children would be better off.
Perhaps I drank the kool-aid, but I’m detoxing. Now if only I could find a way for my children to do the same.
Once in the plane as we were heading to elevation I was stuck next to a skydiver that insisted on singing. As the first bunch of jumpers exited the plane, he turned and sang to me, “Noooowww, I’ve hadddd the timeeee of my lifffeeeee…” in full Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze style.
“Dude…seriously… I do NOT want that to be the song stuck in my head when I am in free fall or under canopy! Let alone the LAST song I hear if I die!” He laughed and exited the plane and I followed, soon forgetting every thought in my head.
On the way home a car fishtailed to a stop and I had to swerve to miss hitting him. I’m pretty alert most of the time, but it was at that moment that I was getting my car-dance on and singing at the top of my lungs.
The sad thing is, the last thought through my head if I had died at that moment would have been, “Dear God, do not let ‘Baby Got Back’ be the last song I ever hear!”
It’s been awhile since I have actually sat down and wrote.
The book I have been adding to is a complete mess as I began writing it before the walls of my life came crashing in. I’m sure if I actually sat down and wrote everything out it would probably be a best seller.
It has all the elements of a great book.
Seeing that I have taken nearly every step to avoid even thinking about what happened, it seems stupid to write it down and relive it.
There is a story in it though. It’s about ghosts. Ghosts that haunt you every single second of the day.
This week the ghosts weren’t just haunting me, but screaming at me.
I had spent Friday night shooting a wedding with my ex-husband. Now I say ‘ex-husband’ loosely. The fact that we haven’t filed any papers yet to make that official is kind of strange. When asked why we haven’t started the process I point out that I skydive now and there isn’t a shadow of a doubt that I will at some point need more medical care than I have ever needed in my past. There hasn’t been a time that I landed my chute and haven’t fucked something up. Toes, fingers, tail bones. Nothing is spared when falling from the sky at 120 miles per hour and then trying to land a massive canopy with no formal training. I say formal and I mean something more than, “flare here and you’ll be fine.”
This wedding was a lot nicer than I had expected. It was near by and who ever decorated it did a good job. It wasn’t over the top like some that I have shot. My ex-husband and I have this lame after-you-left-me-for-someone-else ritual that we seem to do. I get there after he does. He meets me at the car to carry the enormous case I have for the camera gear. He says I look nice, which is always taken with a grain of salt, because his new girl friend is a marathon runner and dresses nicer than both of us ever could muster. “thanks.” I mutter as I try to find the reserve to not punch in the throat and call him a cheating douchebag. After we get our gear hidden away he shows me all the places he scouted out for pictures. I half listen and go find my bride. She always looks beautiful. Her girlfriends are always beautiful. Everyone is so happy.
The wedding I shot alone a couple weekends before, I was expecting to not be able to do without wanting to strangle myself with my neck strap. It turns out when my ex-husband isn’t there, i’m not nearly as stressed out. It was one of the most awesome weddings I had been to. It snowed, it rained, the sun was out, the bride wore a short dress, the groom was a complete jokester. I loved it. Best wedding so far. When it was over, I told the bride that she had something that no other wedding has had so far…every single weather condition.
The wedding this past weekend seemed to hit me in a place I wasn’t ready to face. The ghosts were there and they were working double time.
During the wedding, the part I don’t listen to is the vows. I mean, really…I could now write a book entitled, “The Cynical Wedding Photographer” and the first chapter will talk about how I do everything in my power not to snort during the vows and roll my eyes when the words say, “For better, for worse. In sickness and in health. Forsaking all others.” are muttered by the minister. I should get a tip for not grunting, “Yeah, right…you buy that and I have a bridge I’d like to sell ya!”
Now I just walk away and find something else to do until it comes to the exchanging of the rings. This part is even a joke, but it makes for beautiful pictures. Sliding on that most precious ring.
I’ve actually thought of writing the book and this chapter would be titled, “Girls, pick an ugly ring that you hate. That way in 3 years when you find out he’s fucking the office whore and you have to remove that ring, it won’t hurt so much.”
During the reception, we have our rituals here too. He goes one way and I go another. Wow, that sort of sounded like how our marriage turned out. Anyway, we sometimes meet up in the middle and exchange cute things we saw. Now I shoot him daggers while the best man talks about ‘how when so-in-so met his new bride they knew it would be forever’ because I am reminded of how his son stood up and gave an awesome speech at our wedding and how my daughter brought the place to tears when she talked about how much she loved her step dad and we would always be a family.
Normally I don’t even hear the music. This last wedding I heard the song he had chosen for his parents to dance to our wedding. It was paying homage to a marriage that has stood the test of time and distance. It ripped my heart out and try as I might to avoid it, the tears came. Never did I imagine as we watched his parents dance that 2 and half short years later, I wouldn’t even talk to them anymore. The fear of hearing a single thing about his new life and family has kept me from calling to see if they are okay. It seems harsh, but hearing his dad would probably do me in. I remember times when Shaun and I were in the middle of a rough patch that I would think about just giving up and I would think of how much I loved every single person in his family and I would see his dad’s smiling face and I was reminded that every marriage has it’s bad times and it’s sometimes easy to take the easy road, but in the end when you get to wake up to your next best friend every morning and you’re promised to laugh through the tears.
Near the end of the wedding, they played another song and the whole crowd joined in the singing of it. The bride was very animated as she sang to her new husband. He looked at with all the love in the world. At that moment, no on in the world existed but her and her adorable singing. She laughed at him and he pulled her close and then looked at her again as to make sure she was really there, really his. He laughed and smiled and sang along with her.
That was the part that I realized I don’t think I have ever been as happy as those two people on the dance floor were at that moment.
The ghosts led me out the door to the chairs that were still sitting on the lawn from the ceremony and I let it out. I cried. I cried for the loss of my best friend. I cried because no matter how much I can hope to love again, I will always walk around with the ghosts that he left me with. The insecurities of who I am and what I have to offer. The feeling that I can’t ever shake…that I am just not enough.
I drove home too fast that night on a road that should be given a lot more respect than I showed it. I rounded a corner going too fast and the fear of losing control of the car ripped away all the pain I was feeling. My head was straight again. I slowed the car down enough to still feel the electricity of speed, but able to control it.
When I got home, the girls were excited to see me and they were goofing around. Instead of joining in like I normally do, I snapped. “NOT TONIGHT!” The ghosts didn’t want me to end the misery I had been in…they were enjoying me as I twisted every day of my eight years with Shaun wondering at what point exactly it went so horribly wrong.
People always tell you when you’re in this situation, “It wasn’t your fault. This is something HE did.”
The reality though is it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in a situation like this.
You can sit and point fingers, “Well, I wouldn’t have done this if you had done this.” all day long. The person that was done wrong, will not only feel like shit because of what was done to them…but wonder at what exactly was the thing that drove the other person into someone elses arms? Was it the way I looked. Did I dress wrong? Was my hair too short, too long, too dark, too light? Was it the new tv show I started watching or was it because I blinked too often? There isn’t a damn thing that I still don’t wonder about. Nothing is left unthought of.
The next day I promised to not let the night before bother me. A friend and I packed up the kids and took them on an adventure. The one thing that I have found that clears my mind. Getting in the car with a destination in mind, getting lost or enjoying the unexpected traffic jam.
The ghosts followed me there too. The ghosts will follow you to all the places you had gone to with the person that left you.
I would like to end this with some sort of ‘i’m doing better now, and I am working on getting rid of my ghosts and I am going to be fine’ but tonight I just don’t feel like I can.
I have a few ghosts sitting next to me telling me that I need hide, run, go, flee. My chest hurts from the fear of rejection even when I’m not being rejected. My heart feels like it’s going to stop when I think about allowing anyone in.
The weather has been really warm lately, but yesterday it looked like it might rain.
In my backyard I had a box of memory stuff that I had pulled out to see if I could find something the girls had made. Me being me, forgot it out there and the sun damaged it and the bottom cracked. In a new box I gathered up all the stuff and began sorting through it.
I’ve known for awhile that I have several boxes in my garage that contained both memories from Shaun’s life before me and some of my own. There was a point in boxing it all up that I never believed there would be a day when I would need to separate the two.
The hot water heater exploded water all over my garage and all the boxes were covered. I decided that while the guys were fixing the water heater that I would use that time to sort through all the boxes and separate them for pick up.
In 4 boxes I found pictures of our time as a family, our wedding and letters to each other. What does one do with all those things? I figured since I had to go through them, that it was up to him to decide what he wanted to do with them. I ripped up the letters because the words somehow seemed so hollow and the promises made in them were not worth the paper they were written on.
When I was finished and I put the boxes back up on the shelf, I was sad…but relieved. The ghosts of our lives together were nearly gone now. It’s been months since he’s been there, but somehow his socks still end up in my dryer and then soon end up in the garbage. There is nothing left that I need to go through.
Today at the office we have construction workers putting in new cubicles. I have watched them as they took apart the desk that was there, remove the stuff on the walls, paint over the holes and put a new layer of paint. It feels like what I am going through. Someone is deconstructing my life and turning it into something new so new people can move into it.
This time though…no one will make it their own. This is my life.
There is something about a road trip that will make everything all better.
Ru and I went drove to Redding/Shingletown to do some stuff that needed to be done. On the way there we got Sonic slushies and sang at the top of our lungs as we passed through the quiet towns on the way back ‘home’.
‘home’ is a strange word. In the past few months I have been walking around my house with the ghosts of my past bumping into me around the corners. You can take pictures down and paint walls, but they are still there. We needed to face a few of those ghosts this weekend so we packed up Adventure Duck and headed out.
The trip was nice. We spent a few hours in a town she hadn’t been to in a million years and I bumped into a few old friends. One of them was a little sister of a guy I dated in high school. Her memories of the time her brother and I were together were so vivid. She said, “I thought for sure you two would get married and I would have you as a big sister!” Sadly, I don’t really have any memories of my time with her brother, but she gave me a big hug and said she missed me.
I asked how he was doing, trying to remember what he looked like. He’s married and has 5 kids and according to his sister, still looks great. *sigh* Well, I do have ONE memory…he was HOT! I hate it when time doesn’t make us ALL look a little haggard. Why is it that men get better looking?
That night we stayed at a hotel and drank an absurd amount of Captain Morgan and I told the story that Ru had been waiting a few days to hear about. We finally decided around 3 am it was time to call it an evening and save a few stories for the ride home.
The next morning was hard on me. Not because of the hangover, but because of a dream I had right before waking up. I’m always shocked by how during the day I can be so strong and push everything aside, yet at night when I dream…things I wish I could do and say come out so effortlessly. This time I was angry. I was throwing punches.
When I finally woke up, the tears came fast and Ru rubbed me as I sobbed, “Really? REALLY? Can this get any freaking harder? Do I have to see this shit when I sleep!?” I was angry all morning because I couldn’t control my dreams. “I will never be able to fall asleep next to someone because If this is how I wake up 5 out of the 7 days in a week, they are going to freak out!”
On the ride back to Sacramento, we would sit in silence; thinking about our own problems. Sometimes we would turn up the radio. We would softly talk to each other and when the words became too much, we would turn back on the radio really loud and sing with all that we had left in us.
Even with the tears we shared, I will remember most the laughing in the parking lot of the hotel as we downed a half a bottle of Captain Morgan each. The attempted pictures of hanging off the back of a fire truck while talking REALLY loudly about one of the firefighters and his “Porn Stache” and the hysterical drunken phone calls we, er..I made, on our way to McDonalds because she HAD to have french fries at 1am.
I’m going to get through all of this. Probably not as gracefully as I had hoped, but I will get through this. I’m just getting really tired of adding more ‘this’ to the shit I need to get ‘through’.