Tag Archives: texas

CROOKED PATHS AND BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE

Someone once told me I was doing it wrong. DOING IT WRONG. It doesn’t matter what “IT” was. I saw a quote that says “Just because someone is on a different path than you does not mean they are lost.” That person who told me I was doing it wrong….she was wrong. She was very wrong. I have made a million mistakes, some bad decisions, said some words I regretted, hurt some people I shouldn’t have, and all of it has me right here, right now. And there’s no place else Im supposed to be.

My High School reunion was pretty cool. I saw people I hadn’t seen in a long time. And I realized they have each taken a different path to where they are. Some married, some divorced, some widowed, some with kids, some with no kids. Some who had tackled alcoholism, abuse, heart break…and some dealing with Brain Rot. And you know what…not one of them is doing it wrong. We are all doing it exactly how we know how. Exactly how we can. Exactly they way that is best for us right now. And a bunch of years of stupid, immature, judgement fell away. Just like a robe that falls to the floor. And my shoulders felt light and I knew all that had ever happened to me, around me, was all exactly what brought me there. And the trip was worth the kind words I got from an old friend about how my blog had helped them.
I am not super proud of every decision I’ve ever made. But I think you get to an age where you reflect a lot and my best friend & I hiked yesterday and did some reflecting. I work with teenage girls and people with weight issues. Self esteem and self acceptance are hard to come by in those two groups of people. And for me…it might’ve been hard to come by for a long time. But time has a way of rolling some pretty cool people into your path. And Im reminded of a Cheryl Strayed quote (of course) “PUT YOURSELF IN THE WAY OF BEAUTY MORE OFTEN”. And instead of dodging the scary things, the new people, the new experiences…I choose now to stand and let all the beauty that can possibly be, roll right into me. And Ive learned to like me…just the way I am. All the good. All the bad. All the weird.
All paths aren’t straight. All rules aren’t meant to be followed. All destinations don’t have a one-way-only-to-get-there map. In fact…I now know that most of the fun and most of the lessons and most of the love happen OFF of the path, on the roads not on the map, in the way of beautiful people who have something to show you. Crooked paths are so much better than straight ones. You scoop up all the interesting when you venture off the path.
Feeling grateful today for this moment in my life where I can jump on a plane to Texas when I want to. Go hiking when I want to. Stop into a tattoo shop on a Monday afternoon and get a tattoo when I want to. Maybe the good moments don’t throw themselves at you- maybe you have to look really hard to see them…but man…its worth the effort to look.
Maybe I was lost. Maybe I am lost. But I tell ya what….lost and wandering is a much better place to be than on a straight path to the same place everyone else is going.
Stronger than yesterday.
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WHY I HIKE

I am slightly obsessed with the movie “WILD”. You know the one with Reese Witherspoon where she treks across the Pacific Coast Trail to find herself. I’ve seen it a few times and for some reason I cry though the entire movie. I do not share the same “colorful” history as Cheryl Strayed. Well….not QUITE as colorful. But the theme of her hike. The reason behind it was that she was trying to “walk back to the woman her Mother thought she was.” And I get that.
I grew up in Texas. I lived there for 41 years. In case you’ve never been we don’t exactly have what you’d call “mountains”. So the fact that I’ve literally fallen in love with the mountains, with hiking, with trees and trails and dirt and long hours on the side of a mountain and boulders and gravel sliding and outside is pretty weird. I had no idea 3 years ago what the word “fourteener” meant. No clue. Im now obsessed. I think that when we are growing up, at least for me, there’s this plan you are expected to follow. College, job, marriage, kids. House with garage, a few pets and a mortgage and a schedule. A schedule. And it was what I wanted. I got it. I wanted kids so terribly bad and when we lost so many pregnancies I was devastated. I am beyond grateful for my kids. They are damn amazing. Funny, smart, witty, strong, smart-asses with opinions. All I ever want is for them to be happy. Thats it. And if that includes college & marriage & kids then great. If it doesn’t then thats great too. Happy is what matters.
Moving to Colorado was so scary. So. Scary. We knew no one but one friend. No family here. Moved across country to new schools, new weather, new people, new jobs, and the knowledge that I might be alone here someday. That’s some scary shit. Military families are amazing.  But as I’ve said before, when you wake up to a diagnosis like Brain Rot there are two paths you can take. And we took the one that was right for us. The scary one. The unsure one. The one where we just had to throw safe to the wind, grab on to the idea of not knowing. And there is not one single moment of regret. There are moments here and there that I tear up because I miss home. Texas is my roots. My family. My past. The place that built me. I am who I am because of Texas.
But moving to Colorado has opened a part of me that I think I knew was always there I was just scared. The part of me that wants to roam and travel and not have responsibilities and not have a mortgage and just write and wander. Hiking found that for me. Its funny my son says “isn’t hiking just walking?”. I suppose you can look at it that way. But…I grew up at about 500 feet above sea level. I don’t know how to explain what altitude sickness feels like if you haven’t had it. But I now LIVE at 7,400 feet elevation and my hikes most often take me well above 8,500 feet. It can do quite a number on the body. And climbing to 14,000+ feet elevation is QUITE an adventure. The lack of oxygen alone makes it difficult to say the least. Gasping for air WHILE bouldering over scary rocks and maneuvering barely-there-trails is exhuberating. Almost dying makes you feel very alive.
And there’s the terrain. Enormous boulders the size of which Ive never seen. The views. God I would hike JUST for the views. Never in my life have I seen such views. And I get to see them daily. The accomplishment of summiting a mountain cannot be explained in words. It is not a team event. You don’t rely on others. You can’t out-smart or out-perform a mountain. You can’t train for fear. Pure, raw, animal, biological terror that comes when you have to cross a very sketchy part of a trail that very well may lead to your death. People die hiking & climbing all the time. You bargain with the large rocks you step on…”please stay sturdy, please stay sturdy”. As you place your life and trust on this piece of nature that just doesn’t give a shit about you. Doesn’t it sound fun? And when you ascend to the top you know that YOU got you there. No one else. No team, no equipment, no shortcuts. Just you and a mountain and on THAT day the mountain decided to let you climb. Nature is bigger than me. I am just a speck of dust on the side of a mountain.
And searching for the words to answer the question WHY I hike I guess maybe theres a million reasons but perhaps its just that….that I am nothing on a mountain. I don’t have to be Mom, Wife, Business Owner, Leader. I don’t have to pay bills up there or think about Brain Rot or worry about all the things we worry about. All I am responsible for on a mountain is getting my ass up and down alive. No clutter. No homework. No technology. No noise. No complications. And I can feel small. There’s no ego on a mountain. It doesn’t care if you have great abs or are a Two Star Diamond Beachbody Coach. It doesn’t care. One bit. And I like that. No pressure to be all of those things. No pressure. Its funny but I breathe deeper and fuller and slower and more purposefully when there’s less oxygen. Makes me slow down.
I don’t know why it means so much to me. I dont know why exactly I love it so very much. I like Starbucks and cute jeans and dressing up as much as the next girl. But I have never in my life felt more at peace, more whole, more happy, more home, than on a mountain. I absolutely LOVE not knowing. Not having a plan. I LOVE it. And every time she lets me get up and down unharmed I say “thank you”. For all that I leave up there and all that I bring down.
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FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

I’ve had a few people tell me us “Texans” think we are a country in and of ourselves. That we think we are special. That for some reason we think Texas is “better than” the other states. And they can’t quite figure out WHY we think that. Of course they can’t. You’re either born in it or you’re not. You can’t explain it.

So living in Colorado has opened my eyes to the fact that there ARE other states in America! Of course this is all in jest and Im mostly being sarcastic. I absolutely love Colorado. I don’t think there’s a doubt about that. I belong here now at this point in my life. It is amazing and beautiful and peaceful and I cannot imagine leaving. I am happy. HAPPY! But make no mistake I am a Texan. Fifth generation born and raised there. There are so many stereotypes about Texans. Pretty sure I bust apart all of those stereotypes. Funny. I don’t think it gets more TEXAN than me and I don’t fit MANY of the stereotypes. I do, however, fit a few…..

On Friday nights, in the Fall, in Texas, there is a religion we follow. A drum beat we all march to. A fellowship of sorts that is hard to explain. And I was beyond privileged to be part of that tradition. Friday night High School Football. Until the age of 40 I thought that all High School Football Stadiums would seat over 10,000 people. I thought all towns shut down on Friday nights. I thought all schools dismissed a tad early on Fridays so the Band, Drill Team, Twirlers, Coaches, Cheerleaders and Football players could board the bus and get to the field early for warm-ups.

I cheered at every High School Football game in High School. And until I graduated from High School and went back I had NEVER seen any other perspective of a game in person except from the sidelines. I never really thought about that. For four years as every game was played I stood eye level to the field. I stood below all of the spectators and parents and watched from behind the team. I stood steps away from stinky, smelly, football-pants-wearing players. And believe me that has it’s positives as well as its negatives ;)-.

I only saw plays THROUGH the gaps in the players as they sat on the bench or stood and ran and cheered as we moved the ball. I heard all of the curse words and speeches the coaches were blaring at the players. My feet only touched that rubbery, knobby red track material…unless we were performing at halftime on the field. I never sat in the stands. I never knew what that experience was. It’s funny how different a football game can look depending on your perspective. I’m lucky I had the one I had. And a few times I got a pretty good birds-eye view when I was on top of someones shoulders or on top of a pyramid. This morning on the way to school I asked my daughter if she was excited about this coming Friday night…she said “yes but I don’t get to sit and talk with my friends in the stands”. She has no idea. NO IDEA how great of a “seat” she will have. She will quickly figure that out.

This Friday night is our local High School’s opening game of the season. I will be in the stands. Watching from a different perspective. And by that I mean I will not only be watching from the bleachers with the other parents now….I’ll be watching AS a parent. My daughter will cheer at her FIRST VARSITY football game Friday night. On NO planet does it make sense to me that I have a kid in High School. How the hell did I get that old that fast. Funny- in my head Im still the same girl. Maybe a tad more mature….MAYBE! :)-

I LOVE football. I always have. I watched the Cowboys from the time I was born. When you are a fifth generation Dallas-ite that is what you do. It is engrained in me. Football really is a metaphor for life. The grind, the hard work, the discipline, the aggression and patience, the team work, the camaraderie, the fighting through the pain. I hope she will love it as much as I did. I hope when the band plays the fight song and the lights come on and the sun goes down and the players run out and the people cheer that she will relish every second. I might be more excited than her about this Friday. Maybe that’s because I now know how special it is. I now know how lucky I was to grow up with it.

I took one of those dumb Facebook quizzes recently called “How hippie are you”. I got 50%. And it did not surprise me. I am a peace loving, pot legalizing, nature loving, save the environment, pro gay rights fighting, German car loving, big mouth. But I am also a football loving, competitive, ball crushing, pray before a game, protect my property, kick your ass in a parking lot kind of girl who once owned a Harley. Now go figure THAT out….because I STILL haven’t. In a day and age where so many things separate us…football unites us. If even just for a few hours on Friday nights in the Fall.

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BRAVE

I think when I was younger I just assumed I’d never leave Texas. I am a 5th generation Texan. Seriously- thats a LOT of years and a LOT of family born and raised there. There’s this sense of security and safety that comes from staying near family. From living where you are familiar. From knowing there are a 100 relatives within arms reach. Especially if your parents are there. And when Patrick & I bought our last house in Texas it was 2.5 miles from my parents house. I cannot express to the degree at which I was certain, CERTAIN it would remain that way.

No matter how old you get having your parents near is a very cool thing. Well….most of the time. We had built in babysitters when we needed them. And the thought that if I ever needed anything or had to “escape” or feel like a little girl again for just a bit-was supported by the fact that in 5 minutes I could be at their house. My parents’ house.

I had never lived outside of Texas. I was born and raised in North Dallas. I went to college in East Texas and Patrick & I lived in Austin for a few years before kids. That is as far as I had ventured…Austin. Damn cool city by the way. Although I don’t have an NRA card or know any farmers or have ever ridden a bull as all the stereotypes would assume- I am Texan through and through.

When my Dad was killed I was 33. My kids were 4 and 5. And my plan went to shit. How dare he die. How dare my ideal image of life go up in flames. God damn deer. It’s funny that a lot of people I know live what I’d call a “charmed life”. They do not know tragedy or loss or illness or any of that crap. And I would be lying if I didn’t have a tinge of jealousy over that. That ideal life is pretty cool.

When I left for college it was 3 hours from home. I cried. I was nervous and scared and I’d never lived in a dorm or away from home before. But as I’ve blogged about before my second Mom, Lynda, convinced me it would be the right thing. And she was so very right. Im so grateful for leaving home and learning and failing and falling and getting back up on my own. SO. GRATEFUL.

So my Dad died suddenly and Patrick got brain rot and my pretty little plan unraveled. And when your husband has brain rot and asks how you feel about leaving your home and heading for the mountains you pause a second and then remember Lynda saying “GO”. Because why not?

So up and moving your life across the country is quite normal for a lot of people. Military families do it all the time. They are better than me, though. And to this girl- moving to Colorado was HUGE. HUGE. And the honest truth is I had to have a conversation with myself about my future. If my husband is no longer around and my kids are off at college am I going to be OK in Colorado with no family? Alone? It’s just a question I had no choice but to ponder. I never considered myself all that strong or independent. I liked having family around, I liked having support, I didn’t like being alone or left to handle things on my own. But that was before. Before motorcycle accidents and brain rot. And that girl had to grow up.

In the days and weeks after Dad died I was sick to my stomach at the thought of my Mom alone in her house. I hated that for her and wondered how she was going to survive. Now I know I was an idiot- she is a very strong person. And so am I.

I cry and worry and get anxiety and hate brain rot and have my bad days. But I KNOW I am a tough girl. Unfortunately I watched my Mom be that. Fortunately I got that from her.

It’s funny the things you think about as your kids get older. Maddie starts High School in the Fall…Andy wont be far behind…God willing….and that means in 5 years it’s just Patrick & I. That is crazy to me. CRAZY. The time flew. And I know…I know and am acutely aware that it could be just me. Of course not one of us knows exactly the amount of time we have on Earth. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. Im so grateful for the wisdom and strength and bravery and fortitude that was passed down to me that gave us the courage to move at the very time we probably should have stayed close to family. But life is short and opportunities arise at the strangest of times and if Im going to pass down to my kids the strength, the courage, the fortitude, the “why not” attitude….I needed to shit or get off the pot as my Grandad used to say. Actions speak loudly. I have embraced every part of Colorado. It has been the perfect place for my family. It is. Patrick is happy. My soul is happy and my kids are happy. Texas will ALWAYS be home. ALWAYS. But sometimes I think that fate or God or whatever you want to call it knows exactly where we are supposed to be at each turn in our lives. I am right where I am supposed to be.

My hat’s off to all the single parents out there, to all of our military families, to those who’ve lost loved ones, to the ones who have felt “all on their own”….YOU are the brave ones.

As I get older I realized that the things worth doing, the things you SHOULD do are the things that make you nervous and scared and anxious. If it doesn’t make you those things……is it really worth doing? Do scary things. You are braver than you think.

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