Hi. My name is Rachel, and I live an extraordinary life with ordinary moments.
My six-year-old wakes me up with a, “Good morning, Mommy. How did you sleep?” He says my cooking tastes really good, and thinks the dresses I wear are pretty. He laughs when I lose to him in every game we play. Ever. He always double checks the photos I take of him. Yup, that’s my son, for sure.
Ordinary mom things.
I never dread coming into work. I don’t even dread paying my bills. I like my co-workers, and like my paychecks. I plan events for “work” and I plan parties on the side, which is not even really “on the side.” I haven’t looked back since I left it, and that feels really, really gratifying.
Ordinary job things. Ordinary dream things.
The 4,476 messages back and forth through the day bridge the 3,000 mile gap between us. The photos, the plans, the inside jokes. The accumulation of airlines miles is a nice perk too. Us.
Ordinary love things.
We watch Sunday Football in our pajamas. She cooks for me, while she lays down on the couch – still drunk from the night before. I text with my best friend incessantly, plan happy hours, dinners, and nights out. Cry, vent, and have the best conversations about absolutely nothing.
Ordinary friend things.
One ordinary moment after the other, strung together in an extraordinary way. My life, although far from perfect, is perfectly beautiful. Hello, 2014.
I feel like Im constantly navigating different worlds. That soccer mom-make-his-favorite-thing-for-dinner-drop-him-off-at-school-read-to-him-at-night world. That I-already-have-10-friends-and-only-have-room-for-another-half-friendship-in-my-life-and-then-you-showed-up-all-cool-and-shit world. That 2.5-years-later-I-still-stay-up-all-night-to-talk-to-him- world. That I-am-the-best-event-planner-ever world. That I-work-for-a-dope-start-up-in-SF-with-crazy-hours-and-crazy-perks-and-crazy-bosses-world.
There’s a whole lot of other worlds i don’t fuck with because i’ve only got so much time and so many heartbeats. Can I live? Actually, can I live with an assistant?
This is my life.
There aren’t enough things that get my full attention in the day, as I’m trying to do it all at once. Multi-tasking is ruining my life, or saving it. I can’t tell. When I do get the few and far between moments that require me to do absolutely NOTHING, I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel as awkward as my best friend in a room full of hot guys. (If you know her, you know the pain of witnessing that).
Sometimes my single, childless, void-of-responsbility friends want to have intelligent conversations about politics, and music, and you know, important shit that happens in the world. Most of the time I’m up for it, but SOMETIMES i’m in the middle of signing report cards, writing checks for martial arts, editing marketing copy, having a heart to heart over g-chat and booking my next flight that I’m living in my own world totally checked out to things that aren’t my life.
So I’m sorry I can’t be a person right now. Actually, fuck it, I’m not all that sorry because instead of being a person, I’m being a mother, a friend, a lover, and the best godamn social media marketer you’ve come across today. This isn’t a bitch face, I just call it my face
I am never not working in one of my worlds, and that’s ok with me. My brain is always on, and there are mountains growing in my shoulders and in the worlds in front of me. But I’m moving them. Please believe.
And as my brain tries to wrap itself around the fact that I’m going to be in a 32-degree city with the man who holds my heart for my birthday, but making sure to be back in time for Christmas Gift Exchange with my girls — my cell phone makes a sound I recognize as an emergency at work. I turn that fucker on silent, and I remind myself to send out invitations for my son’s 6th birthday (holy shit, he’s getting old) I try on a dress I just got in the mail, because ain’t NOBODY got time to shop offline, and that same almost-6-year-old walks in and says, “Mommy, I like your dress. You look beautiful.”
All that shit goes quiet in my head. And here I am. This is my life.
I love it all. Especially that last part.
Sometimes I feel as if I’m losing my mind. Some days, I just have a day and get lost in my head about all the things that went wrong.
And then I find inspiration in our conversations, and all is right within me. I love our talks.
I found Gail in my dreams the other night, although I still feel lost when I think about her. I can’t believe that life without her is real.
I get lost in the sounds of new music, of old favorites. Sometimes the words sit on the wavelength my heart is on and just.. beats.
Sometimes, when you talk, I find myself losing the words and getting lost in your face. Your animated hand gestures when you get excited, your nervous ticks and old habits. Your words don’t find themselves to my ears, but you’ve got my full attention. I promise.
I found the ultimate happiness at Disneyland with my miracle baby and almost lost it when he jumped up and down at the happiest place on earth. I finally get why they call it that. I find that he makes everything exponentially better by not doing anything at all other than be himself. I get lost in the ocean of love I feel for this little boy.
I find myself reliving memories a lot. That’s why I keep so many photos on my phone. I look at a moment, and find myself back there, back in that feeling, back in that space.
Last night, I watched a movie that had me in tears. Lost it all over my pillows, empathizing with a woman who lost a baby. That memory never leaves me, on any day.
Have you ever seen me eat? The look of pure joy that washes over my face, losing the rest of my senses and relishing in every texture, taste, and smell. God, I love food.
My heart is so full of love, for so many people. For so many things.
The last few months have been a cornucopia of feelings. From Gail’s passing, to Vanessa’s wedding, to Angela’s pregnancy, emotions for my close circle have been everywhere. Most prominent of those, is love.
I watched my best friend fall in love with my other best friend’s best friend. (Still following?) Neither of them really saw that coming.
I listened to one of my favorite hearts break because of it.
I danced as two friends found love in a hopeless place… Literally, they met at a funeral. (Thanks, Gail)
My favorite long distance couple turned into my favorite local couple, as he moved across the country to be with his girlfriend. Mama Bear and Papa Bear need to make a Baby Bear ASAP.
I fell in love the way I fall asleep. Slowly, and then all at once. That all consuming, didnt know I was here until I was here, smack you across the face feeling is something I am enjoying being witness to.
I see you. And you. And you. You’re covered in glitter and rainbows, and when I’m not tiiiiired of y’all, I’m loving every bit of it.
(Ok. I’m over it. I’m back to hating everybody.)
The text for the left brain reads:
“I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.”
And for the right brain:
“I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.”
I’m wearing the watch Jason gave me. It’s Gail’s and it fits perfectly. I remember the day she got it, we all oogled at our rose gold accessories. I miss her.
I’m wearing the hair Charrie gave me. It’s big and curly, just how I like it. I’ve worn it this way for almost 5 years and if my hair could talk….. Ohwee. “That’s why her hair’s so big. It’s full of secrets.”
I’m wearing the ring Abi gave me. It’s the right half of a broken heart. Story of our lives. Together, they read “Best Freakin Friends”. Except, I don’t know how we are still friends. Tiiiiiiiired of her.
Next to that, I’m wearing the ring Aaron gave me. It’s a compass, because I always get lost. It’s broken, but I still wear it. Maybe that’s why I still can’t find my way.
I’m holding the clutch Ren let me borrow. She bought it in Italy… Oh the memories we made in Florence! So much was happening. So much change. So much discovery.
I’m wearing the scarf Cat gave me. Well, we do this thing called BFL – Borrow For Life. Same thing, right? It’s a cheetah print infinity scarf. I wrap it around my neck and for a split second, can’t breathe.
I’m wearing the scar Adonis gave me. A reminder of the miracle that was his birth, and the pain that was his brother. It tingles today. It does that sometimes.
I’m wearing the shirt Queenie gave me. San Francisco — the place she moved to, the place I never left. The city that is so big, and too small. Full of nothing and everything, and always something for me.
I’m wearing the necklace I gave myself. “Big butt and a smile,” it says on the heart-shaped pendant. Just one in a collection of 10 that I gave as Christmas gifts to my best friends. All for one – One for all.
I’m wearing the smile my Mom gave me. High cheek dimples, and all. She says it’s my best feature. I say it’s my best mask.
I’m wearing the heart my Dad gave me. On my sleeve, for all to see. I don’t know how to love any other way, and I won’t want to ever love any less. He says it’s my best feature. I agree.
It’s all mine, and it’s everybody else’s at the same time. And although it’s not anymore than what I usually wear, today, it just feels too heavy.
I think it was the day after you left, I looked through old photos, all the way back to the first day we met. It was in Las Vegas 2007, and I turned to Baning and said, “She’s really nice. Like REALLY nice. I can’t not like her.” And you know me, I don’t like anybody. But I liked you, and we became fast friends. You loved music, and food, and your friends, and LIFE.
The next 5 years were a blur of what twenty-somethings do. Drunken nights, inappropriate laughs and aim conversations, crying over long distance relationships, heartaches and breakthroughs. The pains of looking for new jobs, quitting bad ones, leaving bad relationships, keeping good ones, moving, and turning 30. We were there for it all.
I remember the day you told us the news. I understood because I had told you the same not too long before, and you were there for me. I swallowed my tears through a three-way hand hold. It would all be alright. I would be there for you, too.
I came to visit and spend time when I could. The visits became more frequent when we knew time was running out. I wrote you, a week before you were gone. I sat in my room and wrote you things I couldn’t bear to say out loud, like, how life isn’t fair, and how angry I am. How you deserve so much more than anyone I know, and how much I love you. I told you I would trade a year of my life, so you could have another and I cried like a child, knowing I couldn’t do anything else but watch you go.
I held your hand each time I came over. We sat next to each other and listened to her sing, or watched TV, and talked shit. When you finally left, I held your hand then too. It was on a night we were all together, and I thank God and especially you, that we all had each other. You’ve never had to make us go through anything alone.
I’ve struggled with your reality for a long time. I have been confused as to why our similar struggle turned out to be drastically different. I still can’t make sense of it all.
You came to visit, through my cousin of all people. I feel slightly jealous, that she got to see you again – happy, smiling and vibrant. You held her hand and gave me a message. When she told me, I was in the kitchen cooking eggs for breakfast. I let them burn as the tears fell from my face, fast and hard.
Nailz Mare, I miss you.
As I prepare to celebrate your life with the people who love you, I remember you are happy. I hear you through my cousin’s voice, telling me to not be sad or confused. “She’s so happy,” she said. “She loves you.”
I love you too, Gail.