Tag Archives: Fear

On the up and up…

The upside of being down is… well, it’s the upside.  You start coming back up one step at a time and before you know it you are back on top.  I beat back the blues (again) simply by putting one foot in front of the other, over and over again as fast as I can.

I did not get to use my favorite treadmill today. And I brought the water bottle that leaks.  I turned on my music and I didn’t hit the playlist I had intended.  Instead, quite accidentally,  I started a single song.  On repeat.  Somewhere around the third time the song played I realized that I had it on repeat.  Somewhere on number five or six I had run just far enough to realize that I would definitely hit my goal for the year – one thousand miles.

This morning listening to the Cowboy Junkies’ cover of Vic Chesnutt’s  “Flirted with You All My Life” I ran.  I ran and ran and I cried (yep, on the treadmill like a lunatic) and I realized that I am not ready to quit.  (It’s not the first time that Vic Chesnutt made me realize that I am not ready to give up.) Chesnutt’s tune is about death and suicide but to me it has always been an allegory about letting go and moving on. Death is the absence of change, the absence of moving on and transforming.    And I am not ready to give up on Change.

I am so desperately afraid of that which is Unknown.  But sometimes to accomplish anything at all you have to change.  I am even more afraid of Hope.  But I am certain that in order to Change you have to Dream, you have to Hope.

When I decided that my bizarrely cathartic weeping and sprinting act really needed to stop I hit next on my phone.

And I had to smile.  The Universe was having a time at my expense today.  Jeff Buckley’s version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah serenaded me as I crossed my thousand mile marker.


I updated my Facebook status from the gym today (like you do) – “I try not to be a runner that is all “holy shit, y’all, RUN. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.” But if you don’t do something every day that makes you feel like every song you hear is the best. song. ever. and that you are at peace with everything and you totally understand your life – well then, find it. Because it will save you some heartache. Really.”

I can’t seem to find better words than those above. I don’t care what you do.  Yoga.  Meditate.  Paint.  Organize your linen closet. Skateboard. Do it. And love it.  And listen to music and figure out your whole entire life.  I promise you that the Truths that you realize in that hour a day will vanish.  It is similar to the way that dreams tend to evaporate in the time it takes you to roll over and say “damn, I just had the most fucked up dream.”  But for that hour everything makes sense and music sounds so good and your Life feels like no matter what it will all be okay….

I wanted to tell you what I figured out this afternoon.  I wanted to wow you with my simple understanding of Life and Death and Fear and Change and Hope.  But it’s gone.  Up in smoke.  Rather it is up in the grocery store and laundry and math homework and nap time.  But I will find it again tomorrow.

I want that for you. I didn’t run one thousand miles today.  I ran them over the last 343 days.  I have twenty two days to figure out what I will do with the next 365.

If you’re not sure what you are doing with the next year of your life go hide in the bathroom and listen to these two tunes back to back.  You still probably won’t know but they are damn good tunes.

Thank you for reading.  Thank you to all of you that have reached out over the last few days to say “Hey, I am sorry that you’re blue.”  It’s imperative that I write it down when I am hurting.  I need to.  It makes it start to go away.  But sometimes I forget to make the time to write it down when things are on the up and up.  I am back on an even keel, guys.  xxoo


20130223-233341.jpgThe final stage of active labor is transition. It is the most painful. I wept and moaned and cried during labor. But during transition? In transition I got quiet. I was scared. Scared and excited about what was surely going to happen next.

Transition is hard. Even when I am not preparing my body to deliver a baby I have been known to get quiet as I move my mind and body in to a new stage of life.

I have been quiet. And reflective. I think I am in transition.

I have been reading about the idea that we all reinvent ourselves every seven years. According to a lot of medical research all of the cells in your body are replaced every seven years. Granted, you do not wake up to a brand new body overnight. One cell at a time your body rejuvenates itself. And who I am today may actually be a different physical person than I was seven years ago. It stands to reason that I would feel different emotionally, spiritually.

Seven years ago I felt it happening. I was a new mother. My marriage was dissolving. I didn’t know what my future would look like but I could see small stretches of the path to get there. There were tears and glasses of wine and friendships forged and promises made. I moved my body hundreds of miles from my home. I got a new job. I made new friends. The change was slow and painful. I fought against it even though I knew my smile would be brighter when it was over. I held on to bitter moments because I thought they defined me. And perhaps because I wasn’t sure who I was going to be if I let them go.

It’s happening again. The quiet. The quiet that precipitates evolution.

Change is hard when you aren’t running from anything.

And so I run in place. Or around and around my neighborhood. But I still don’t know where I am going.

I have been home with the kids for a year. I don’t want to leave them.

I have been married for three years in April. I am still over the moon for my man.

I am putting down roots in my community. I don’t want to move.

I have been writing here for almost four years. I don’t want to stop.

I have a dozen drafts in my files. Half-written essays abut the girls and motherhood and fitness and my velour sweatsuits. But none of it speaks to me. If it doesn’t hold my attention it won’t hold yours.


Change is paralyzing. Odd that growth makes me feel so frozen solid. As my mind races and my cells replace themselves I can’t seem to make a complete thought.

My big girl is reading chapter books and Tiger Beat magazine and painting her nails with her friends. My baby girl is eating a sandwich and chasing the dog in a itty bitty track suit. They are growing so fast. Days are moving so quickly and I can’t hold on tight enough. I am running short on the time needed to sit at the keyboard and write it all down. As soon as I sit down to finish a thought I no longer really feel that way anymore.

My girls are growing fast all of a sudden. And so am I.


I don’t know what will become of my girls. But I know that no matter who they turn out to be they will be fine. Because they are loved. And I know that someday we will look back at pictures of their childhood and laugh and say “Of course! They couldn’t have become anyone else!”

And I know that days, weeks, months from now – when my transition is over – I will laugh and say “Of course, this is the path I have always been on.” But today? Today I am not really sure where I am going. But I know I will be fine. Because I am loved.

I hate the “P” word. But sometimes it is exactly the right word.

Just because I am full of Hope and new Habits and dreams and crock pot recipes doesn’t mean I have turned my back on my  demons.

But last night I laid one to rest.

Perhaps other  people’s husbands say just the right thing and it is poetic and full of “sweethearts” and “I love yous” broken up only by tender moments.

But when I need support. True support. I don’t  need coddling. I just need someone to shoot it straight.

“I will not even entertain this conversation” he said.

Always mannerly, even in an argument. He managed to tell me to shut the fuck up in such a way that he eased my fears. I hate that he can do that.  Even while I am simultaneously loving it  – it pisses me off.

When you write about your insides and you don’t seem to edit much out there is an assumption that you put it all out there. Maybe some people do but I don’t. Not out of a desire for privacy or an intent to be misleading. I just can’t write until I’ve figured it out. And then it is an after the fact admission instead of a real time confession. But the writing it all down. It helps me to keep the same fears from cropping up time and again. Once  the demons that I wrestle with in my head  have names they don’t scare me anymore.

Last night in the middle of an argument (the details of which are both private and irrelevant as I have a knack for deviating from the original discussion) I realized I wasn’t making sense. I was pushing MQD away out of fear. So I summoned the courage to be brave for just one minute.

Deep breath and spill it. If something happened to me and Mike, to our marriage, I’d lose everything. He would get Lucy half the time. And Emily, too, if I did right by her. And I’d be lost. Without a home, a job or my children.

As always once I said it out loud it lost a lot of its power. But it was what he said that assuaged it altogether.

He could have asked me what my problem was or been hurt that I’d be suggesting now of all times that our marriage would fail. Instead he just said he refused to entertain this conversation.

“Ok.” And I could feel the weight lift. “I guess it is just as much a waste of time as making a plan for if aliens land in the backyard.”  I smiled.

And even though I’d been yelling at him and being all kinds of hysterical for the last half an hour he smiled too. “No, that would actually be more worthwhile.”

What reason do I have for being afraid? Are there problems in my new marriage I haven’t addressed? No. None.

It’s just me. And February. My divorce from Emily’s dad was final in a February. I saw the date pass in the calendar  recently and I thought about the nail in our coffin. And for a moment I forgot the truth and I began to think that it was all me. And my love for Emily. That I couldn’t be a wife and a mother and our divide began when Em was born. That it was all me that had failed. And the Insecurity Dragon (the only demon with a name that I fear I will never slay) reared its head and went to work on my heart.

Several days later and I am in my kitchen crying. Preparing my heart for the day when my marriage crumbles again because I pour my heart in to being a mother and I don’t know how to be a wife at all.

Only this time I do know how. I stopped yelling. And I stopped crying. And I said “I am afraid”  and I asked for help. That is four impossibly hard things if you’re keeping track.

He stood and took the baby from my arms and jiggled her on one shoulder. With his other arm wrapped around me, there was stereo crying in his ears.
It’s funny. The things I repeat in my head. The moments in my marriage that become touchstones for when I require strength or faith. I’m adding “I will not entertain this conversation” to the pile with what MQD said the day I went in to labor.

Early in the day not long after he came home from work I was pacing in the kitchen when it hit me. Today would be the day I’d realize a dream.  My unmedicated birth.   And then I started to question if I’d have the strength, no the courage, to follow through. He must have seen the fear start to take root and he stopped  me. “You’re a bad ass Kelly. You just can’t be too much of a pussy today to be a bad ass. “

I love that he said “today.”  Because  you can’t be expected to be a bad ass everyday. And sometimes all it takes to be a bad ass is to just not act like such a pussy.

I’m working on it.  Being brave is not so impossibly hard.

In December of 2008 I thought MQD was a kid and I was all Grown Up. I couldn't have been more wrong.

For MQD – Because one day I will be Grown Up.  And it will knock your socks off.  Thank you for being so patient.  I love you.  More today than I have in all our days.  At least until the aliens land.  xo

Heads or Tails?

Moody doesn’t really begin to describe it.  There’s a 50/50 chance I will begin to cry every time MQD puts his arms around me lately.

And since my brother is not here to say “No shit” I will chime in on his behalf.  I am a crier.  I have always been a crier.  But the tears of late are not of the “Jeez, I have so many feelings” Hallmark commercial tears ilk that have plagued me all my life.

They are the ugly, make your face all splotchy tears that came from a place of anger and fear and pain.

Sometimes it is hard to reconcile the two people that live inside of me.  Three, if you count Baby D.  Happy Go Lucky Kelly wishes Doom & Gloom Kelly would take a hike.  It might leave more room for Baby D, and maybe s/he’d quit poking me in the ribs.    Not likely but a girl can dream.

This hasn’t been the most glamorous of pregnancies.  I never realized how fortunate I was before to feel so great so much of the time.  I have complained about my heartburn.  But heartburn is tolerable.  I was completely ill-prepared for the day in and day out aches and pains.  The can’t get out of bed flu like feeling of all over tired.  The pain in my hips.

I am six years older.  I sit all day now, instead of working two jobs on my feet as I did with Emily.  Every pregnancy is different… blah blah blah…

I went in to labor last time strong.  I was walking daily, miles, not steps to and from the door to the car.  I was positive that an unmedicated birth was in my future.  I was ready.  And beyond hopeful. I was sure.  And I failed.

This time I am afraid.  I know how many things can happen, how many things can be outside of your control.  My body feels weak.  And tired.  And yet I am hoping to make it happen this time.  Because I don’t see myself doing it again.  I see our family of four as complete.  And I don’t want to do this to my body again.

So, it feels like my last chance to make it right.  For me.  This body I have struggled with loving, I want to see it do what it was designed to do.    I want to feel it this time. I want to be in awe, just once, of this body.

But it isn’t the pregnancy and the labor experience that has me inside out.

Last night I finally found the words.

It’s the baby.

I am ready for this baby to make me feel good.

I know it will.  I know when I can put my chin against my chest, my lips resting on a tiny little head, arms and legs all squished against my chest, my hand curled around a tiny little baby butt.    Breathe in baby smell and exhale every fear I have carried in my heart for the last year, I know I will feel nothing but love.

But now.  Now I don’t feel love all the time.  Sometimes when I reach out for MQD I see this man I have been married to for less than  year, I see this  life I had been waiting for for so long and I can barely reach my arms around his waist. My face no longer fits in his neck as it did the day we were were married, his arms no longer create a space for me where I feel safe.

All I can say through tears is that I just wish it would all go away.

I don’t want to be tired.  I don’t want to be cranky and short tempered.  I don’t want to spend the next six months in a newborn haze.  I want to rake my leaves.  And stay up late and wrap Christmas presents.  I want to drink Grasshoppers and write Christmas cards with this man I fell in love with.  And be a newlywed. I want to roll down the hill with my kid in to the leaves we just raked.

But I can’t.  Because I am tired.  And dairy makes my heartburn worse.  And I am too busy being weepy and peeing every five seconds and I can’t even get up off the couch anyway.  Walking to the mailbox makes my hip hurt some days so there is no hill rolling on my agenda.  Because I am fucking pregnant.

And “fucking pregnant” doesn’t make me feel full of magic and love.  It makes me feel full of a lack of gratitude for this beautiful thing that is happening to us.

And even though I am nine feet wide, he finds a way.  To wrap me in his arms and rock me back and forth and say “It’s gonna be ok.  You don’t have to do everything yourself.  I love you.”  And he smiles.  And as quickly as Doom & Gloom Kelly arrived she is gone again.  And “Get a Load of THIS, shit, we’re gonna have a BABY, y’all!” takes her place.

And I am smiling, and hopeful.  And excited.  So maybe the smile is forced.  But I am hopeful.  And excited.

[Note:  Dear Baby D, If you are reading this you are no longer a baby.  You are probably a tech savvy pre-teen.  And in case you are reading and thinking “Holy shit, you didn’t want me!!  You said it!!  That you wished “it” would go away!!” I have two things to say.  Watch your  mouth, we don’t swear in our house (ha!) and of course I wanted you.  Some days I wanted you so badly I was ready to reach down my own throat and yank you out by the feet.   Because I wanted you. Out here.  With the rest of us, please.  So I could have me back, too.  Because contrary to what you might think the world does not revolve around you.  Now, go clean your room. Love you, Mom. ]

There is a first time for everything…

In preparing for Baby D’s birth and planning a birth at the birth center I am hoping to avoid many of the common interventions in a hospital birth.  But to be plain I am trying to avoid  the hospital all together. I am committed to keeping our birth  out of a hospital  unless medically necessary (and while I might have some  narrow views on what constitutes a “medically necessary” birth) I am not anti-medicine across the board.

Almost eleven years ago I walked in to a hospital to apply for a job. Applying for a job is nerve-wracking but couple that with my almost phobic fear of hospitals and it was a tough morning. Ultimately, I had the pleasure of working at The Outer Banks Hospital for five years.  With only twenty-one inpatient rooms it was just the right size to help a girl like me get past the fears. That institutional, terrifying smell of clean was somehow less frightening in a hallway that is only twenty some yards long. A small hospital. A relatively small group of employees. Soon enough I grew to feel safe and comfortable inside that  building.  My skepticism surrounding modern medicine was trumped by my faith in the individuals I met that put everything they had day in and day out in to helping people.

Since moving to Chapel Hill I have been to UNC Hospital twice. Both times to see new babies and their parents.  The fears I was accustomed to feeling as I walked through a hospital’s doors had all but left. I chalked it up to a great experience at the hospital in the OBX. I thought maybe I wasn’t afraid anymore  of those big buildings with their orangey bleachy smell and the white coats hurrying from one place to another.

Night before last Em was sick. Sicker than I have ever seen her. Granted she has been very lucky in her six short years.  She has had an ear infection, a rotten cold she can’t shake. But never had I held her little body in my arms as she vomited for hours on end.  Barely awake, her eyes would flutter as she tried to fight sleep. Rolling her on to her side time and again, replacing soiled towels with clean ones and holding her hair out of her face – a parent rises to the challenge.

If you are me, a parent also has a sense of humor.  Behind her in bed I would rub her back.  Jumping up at her slightest movement to grab the trash can from the bedside table.  I couldn’t help but chuckle as I imagined the following morning, the dark circles beneath her eyes.   Would I tell anyone that they were not from lack of sleep at all?  But from being repeatedly hit on the bridge of the nose with a small plastic trash can as I aimed her face towards the trash can, and away from my new white carpeting?

I was worried about her.  But a stomach bug is a stomach bug.  This one was vicious  but I assumed it would pass.

Late the next morning I picked up the water bottle from the bedside table. I had filled it at least twelve hours earlier. There were  less than three ounces missing. I started to contemplate the possibility of dehydration. I tried  to convince myself that I could just take her in to see her pediatrician if she needed fluids or some high test anti-nausea meds.

When the nurse at her doc’s office called me back and said she thought I should take her in to the ER my eyes welled up. I was afraid. And I had to be the mom.  I jumped in the shower. I had been awake for 30+ hours and I needed a quick cry and to clear my head.  I was going to take my baby to the hospital.  But she would be fine. Stomach bug.  Worst case scenario was IV hydration.

I called MQD.  I refrained from sending hysterical text messages.  And off we went.  From the back seat she looked so tiny.  Her voice so weak.  “Mom, I did make it to six before I ever had to go to the hospital, Mom.”  I smiled.  She sure did.  And so did I.

An hour later when MQD walked in to her room at UNC I exhaled.  She told him she had made it to six and a half.  We joked her about fudging her age a bit.  Some Zofran and another hour later she’d had a Popsicle.  And kept it down.

Not long after that I saw a smile.  The nurses and docs never asked about the dent on her nose from the trash can bludgeoning.  This morning we are 18+ hours puke free.  Sipping Gatorade in bed.  Watching movies.  Milking it for all its worth.

I am still kind of scared of hospitals.  But that smile was worth a million scary walks through automatic front doors.


Fear seems to be a reoccurring theme with me.  I’m not sure if the pregnancy induced insomnia makes me crazy on the inside or if it’s just that I have the time to dwell on the crazy I have already got.  No reason to spend hours dissecting that question, which came first the insomnia or the worrying.  Either way, I don’t sleep lately.  I just worry.  Continue reading

hȯr-ˈmō-nəl: of, relating to, or effected by hormones

I was standing in a crowd of people that all smelled a little like sweat and a lot like beer when he said “Hey, how the hell are you?”  And I smiled the “Oh wow, I haven’t seen you since high school” smile.

We exchanged some “You look greats” and a few “What have you been up to” kind of questions when I started to feel my cheeks get flushed.  There are obligatory “you look fantastic”s and then there are the kind that you can dish out to someone you knew long ago in a meaningful way.  These were definitely the kind of compliments that can make a gal stammer but not the kind that make you feel like you’re being hit on. 

He leaned against the wall and suddenly the crowd of people seemed to be gone.  I got all antsy and took a big swig of water just for something to do.  I could remember seeing that smile in the hallway when we were young and thinking I wish I had known him better because he always looked like he knew a funny secret.  He grinned and said “Just water for you, huh?”  and I smiled and gestured to my pregnant belly and somehow he managed to say in a way that didn’t sound like bullshit “oh wow, I hadn’t even noticed.” 

And he hugged me and I felt like my whole body was on fire. Like if I held on just a little longer I might know the secret that made him smile, too.   It was awkward when I let go and I said “I better be careful, I am a pro at making a scene” and my eyes welled up with tears inexplicably.  He smiled and hugged me again, dipped me like a movie star. 

“Me, too.” he said.  And that smile again. 

“Who cares about the scene, huh?” and I laughed.  “You just get this one life, right?” 

“Oh, I know that.  But do you?”

And I woke up.  That kind of wide awake from a dream where you turn to see if your alarm clock had gone off and then are surprised to find it is the middle of the night.  My first conscious thought was that I was going to blush when I saw him next.  And I rolled over and reached for MQD and he wasn’t in bed.  In the same breath I realized that MQD was gone (likely he had fallen asleep on the couch) but that the boy that made me blush and suggested that I was the one that needed to remember that we have just this one life had passed away a little over two years ago.

Analysis of one’s dreams is the height of navel-gazing in my book.  But this one really got me.  “You just get this one life” is my standard advice.  Why was I having it handed back to me?

I have remarked recently on the fearlessness with which MQD and I have taken this Marriage Bull by the horns.   I am, by nature, not one to take kindly to change.  I stay put.  It’s the Taurus in me, perhaps, that doesn’t want to give up combined with the laziness that is bred of insecurity.  But lately I have made great strides in that department.  For years it scared me to say out loud that I wanted something, the good old “don’t try and you never fail” hadn’t served me so well in my twenties.  By thirty I had so little to lose it seemed like a good idea to start wishing and trying.

Five years later I am trying and wishing my ass off.

MQD is a do-er not a talk-er.  It is inspiring.   I talked and talked about a baby that I wanted so desperately.  And science be damned, I think he made this baby happen.  Because he gets things done.  We sat up late nights and laughed and drank wine and planned on getting married “someday” and it was MQD that put on our shared google calendar “Go ring shopping.” I fell in love with a house and five days later he had a mortgage broker, a real estate agent and a plan.

Sometimes I feel like I am riding the coattails of his actions.  They may be our  dreams but much of the time it his actions  that get the ball rolling.  If pressed he’d tell me that my belief in him and my support is crucial to him having the courage to take these big steps.    We have a pretty perfect marital synergy in that respect.

So when I found myself sitting on the floor Sunday afternoon with my head in my hands, big fat tears rolling down my face I realized what it was that I wasn’t letting myself do.  That advice about how you only get one life?  That is just one of my inner mantras.  The other I have adopted in the last five years is the simple “fake it ’til you make it.”  It seems I have gotten a little too good at the latter.

It is so important to me to identify and reach for my dreams these days.  And in order to do that I need to feel positive and capable.  So I have focused extra hard on the “fake it” part, and believe it or not I have “made it.”  I feel good almost all of the time.

But in doing so I was failing to let myself feel afraid.  I just crammed it all back down so I could keep reaching for the next milestone, keep dreaming bigger.   Maybe what my dream visitor was encouraging me to do was to go ahead and voice my fear?  I am not sure yet if that is what he was telling me to do… but I know that after I said it all out loud I felt better.  So, I thought I’d better write it all down before I lose the courage it takes to be afraid.

I am terrified.  I am afraid I won’t be able to love this baby as much as I love Emily.  I am afraid I won’t be able to love MQD as much as I do now once I have to share my heart with the baby and Em.  I am afraid MQD will resent me not bringing in the income I am now. I am afraid that it will be five more years before I feel like myself inside my body and that I will be forty god damn years old next time I lose the “baby weight.”  I am afraid that I will repeat the mistakes I made in my last marriage.  I am afraid because it is all happening so fast and it is what I wanted so desperately.  What if I get what I have always said I wanted and I am still blue?

This weekend I came up with a bunch of questions and very few answers.  I’m still not sure if I am taking full advantage of “this one life.”   But I am present.  And I am feeling.  Even the shitty hormonal-pregnant-putting my baby on a school bus feelings.  I am even feeling those.  And I feel pretty okay.  The one answer that I managed to come up with that I completely believe is the one that will tide me over for a while. I sent MQD a text on Sunday post meltdown “I am scared, but in my “not crazy” mind I know we have what it takes.”

I went to sleep last night with the kind of burning eyes you can only get from a good cry.  And it felt good.  And I slept hard.

“Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.”

The library in my parent’s bedroom was full of books, most of them hardbacks. Sometimes they were exactly what I was expecting.  In the summer of 1984  I fell for Nancy Drew and I  was never disappointed.  Book after book, I enjoyed them all.  Several years after that Agatha Christie was more my speed.  I loved Christie’s Hercule Poirot (but I admit years later I love Albert Finney’s Poirot from the 70’s film  Murder on the Orient Express even more.)

Year after year I found more books that I’d not yet read.  I’d stand in front of the big built-in book case until something caught my eye.   Sometimes the books I pulled down were not at all what I had expected or hoped they’d be.

I read The Reincarnation of Peter Proud and spent way too much thinking about reincarnation for an average ten year old.

I pulled Helter Skelter down thinking it would be about The Beatles and was none too interested in the Manson murders.

I was titillated upon finding Lady Chatterley’s Lover but soon discovered that the late night viewing of Bo Derek’s Bolero I was able to catch on “the blue channel” of “Super TV” at an often unsupervised friend’s house put it to shame. (I recognize that this is a heinously long run-on sentence but I am so pleased with my recollection of SuperTV and the memory that the dirty movies were in blue in the guide.  I mean how many times could you watch The Golden Seal and On Golden Pond before you wondered what the “Blue channel” was all about?  I think it is only too sad that I might be the only person on the planet that remembers this weird pre-cable TV movie box, but I do so fondly.)

I first met Andy Dufresne the summer after seventh grade.  I tore through Christine that summer and then promptly read everything in the house that Stephen King had written.  My heart ached for Carrie and then silently cheered for her.  I remember remarkably little of any of  The Bachman Books (aside from thinking I was far more clever than my fellow 12 year olds for reading them at all, since we had the copies that did not actually say “Written by Stephen King” on them.)  I started and stopped both It and The Tommyknockers several times that summer.  And then I stumbled across Different Seasons.

I was as charmed by King’s Gordie in The Body  as I had been by Wil Wheaton’s in Stand By Me. But it was Andy from Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption  that stuck with me the longest.  Years later when the movie came out I was moved all over again. I suppose an alternate title to this post could be “Things I Learned from Andy Dufresne.” My pal Andy also suggested that I ought to “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” He’s a smart cookie, that Andy.

Lately I have had little drive to sit down to write.  And it’s not because I don’t have lots of Big Thoughts. Or Big Plans.   I’m just busy.  Busy living, I guess.  And hoping.

MQD and I  have been married now for one month.  And in the last month I  have allowed myself  to eat great big scoops of Hope.  And I’ve not dined on even a morsel of Fear.  There is plenty to be Hopeful for, and certainly plenty to Fear.  But for now I am trying to be mindful of Andy’s words.  Often when I am asked for advice by a friend it comes back to the same thing, over and over.  I always say “You just get this one life.”

I think that is what Andy meant when he said you’ve “got to get busy living, or get busy dying.”  And not until I started thinking about it today did I see the parallels between hope/freedom/living and fear/prison/dying.  I’d never thought of my countless “what if’s” and of my worries as a prison.  But it’s true.

If I had to answer the “what is different since you got married?” question today, it would be the same as my answer to “What is different since you turned 35?” (Eerie, right, if I had not celebrated my 35th birthday on the last day of our honeymoon.)

I am not afraid.

There’s not much that Vic Chesnutt didn’t figure out in his short life.  I have, to quote Jeremy, bought a pass to shake my ass at a zillion Widespread Panic shows.  And at at least a third of them they played Let’s Get Down to Business.  But I think I finally get it, Vic.

Let’s Get Down To Business shall we?
It’s time we stop playing stop playing games …
Let’s Get Down To Business shall we….
And tackle this what shackles us all of this pressing business. ~Vic Chesnutt

It’s fear that shackles most of us.  And I am unafraid.  I don’t know if it is getting married.  Or turning 35.  Or the big heaping bowls of Hope I’ve been eating.  But I am not gonna ask too many questions.

We’d been married for one week, on this day, the morning of my thirty-fifth birthday.  But it was May 10th I stopped being afraid.