Posts Tagged ‘Starbucks’

*This post is dedicated to my weekday Starbucks barista. She knows why.*

I love birthdays. LOVE them. In a few short days I’ll be turning the corner on another year alive and this positively thrills me. Growing up I would anxiously await my birthday, hoping no one forgot it (it’s happened more times than I care to admit) and maybe something good would happen to me and at least one part of life wouldn’t be disappointing. Alas, year after year I was disappointed and my hope broken. It wasn’t intentional, it was simply life at that time in our family. And each year I’d pick up my broken hope and tuck it away until the next birthday. Then things in and around me changed.

I grew up. Relationships changed. Where I lived changed. What I did changed. How I viewed the world changed. I stopped cutting and burning myself. I returned to my faith. I left an abusive relationship. I forgave those who’d done incredible wrongs to me. I started working to forgive myself. I began taking opportunities that scared me, stepping outside of my comfort zone, and all those other cliches we tend to roll our eyes at. And my perspective shifted. Life became fun and more scary and comforting and unnerving. Life opened up and I saw every dream I’d dared to dream move closer to reality. I used to dream and wish and hope to be a published writer, so one day I took a chance and submitted a piece to a website I was confident would turn me down. And they didn’t, they took me on and I wrote for them for two and a half years. And that time was exhilarating. I traveled around the country. I went to conferences as a credentialed member of the media. I broke a couple stories. I met some of the most compelling people in the country. I lived. And it felt good to live. It feels good to live.

One of my favorite people in the world told me shortly after we met how much she hated her birthday. HATED it. She’s been known to cry and hide from the world when her day comes around. I was crushed for her. Life is worth celebrating. Making it through 365 days of challenges and victories, heartache and love, fears and conquered mountains, failure and success is deserving of some kind of positive acknowledgement. To be alive and have a chance to make life better is a gift. This year I pushed her to celebrate for an entire month. Everyday I texted her a reminder to celebrate and love herself and be proud of her accomplishments. Everyday was a chance to celebrate how much better the world is because she’s in it- my world is better because she’s in it. She hardworking, driven, compassionate, caring, giving, loving, loyal, and considerate and she needed reminded of that. And for an entire month she celebrated how amazing she is.

So now I actively celebrate my birthday every year. I buy a pretty dress to wear no matter what my plans are for the day. I proudly declare my actual age (32, almost 33). I thank God for another chance to change, grow, love, become, live. I’m not proud to admit it, but it took two drug overdoses and someone trying to kill me to wake up to how amazing life is. And life is AMAZING. Life is a grand adventure waiting to be taken. Life is a spectacularly grand adventure waiting in anticipation for each of us to grab its hand and run, headlong into the unknown.

Some days are harder than others. November 19th I was on my way to Starbucks after work to write a stunningly snarky article for Misfit Politics. Tuesdays are church days so I usually do my writing in between work and service. This routine works well for me on Wednesdays (choir rehearsal) as well. But November 19th I didn’t make it to Starbucks. I almost made it. I was less than 1/2 mile from my destination. No one warned me how stream-of-consciousness things get.

So close.

Traffic stops.

I stop.

Wait.

Look in my review mirror. Just enough time to barely utter “Jesus!” in a one word prayer of help.

Muffled crunch.

Things go blank for a moment.

Did I hit my head? Where are my glasses? What happened to my phone? Why is my CD player console sitting in the passenger seat? Park. Park! Throw the car into park. Let off the brake. Let go of the steering wheel. No hold onto it. No let it go. Look. Look for my glasses. Where are they? Where did the go? I can’t see. I can think. What happened? Where are my glasses? WHERE ARE THEY? Man. Man standing at my passenger door. “It’s unlocked.” He opens the door. “I can’t find my glasses. I can’t see. I can’t think. I need them to think.” He asks if I’m ok. I don’t know. I don’t know anything until I can see. He finds my glasses and phone in the back seat. How’d they get there? It doesn’t matter. They’re not broken and I can see. My brain was focused on social media so all I can think to do is make one post. I’ve been hit by a car. Post. My notifications explode. Everyone is concerned.

No one comes to help me. I’m alone. Everyone wants to know if I’m ok. Some speculate if I’m posting to social media I must be fine. I’m not. I’m scared. My head starts to hurt. My shoulder is screaming. My neck is sore. Phone calls. What do I do? Call parents. Call insurance. Call call call call call call call. I think I need that ambulance.

I’m tough. That may be my biggest fault. I didn’t let them see how hurt I was. I wouldn’t tell them.

Minor head injury. No no no, your shoulder will be fine in a couple days. Pain. Pain. Pain. Can’t sleep. Tired. Insurance calls all morning. For three days. The car is totaled. The frame was buckled.

It buckled all the way up under the back seat.

Texts. Facebook posts. Questions. Are you ok? Are you alright? You must be fine. At least you made it out alive. You walked away so you’ll be fine. You’re tough. You’ve been through worse. You’ll be fine. It could have been worse. It could have been worse. It could have been worse. But I’m alone. I’m scared. No one to help me. My shoulder hurts. Out of pain meds. Go back to work. The pain. I could just cry.

The pain. Be tough. Keep going. Awake at 3:00 a.m. Awake at 6:00 a.m. Can’t crawl out of bed at 7:00 a.m. So exhausted. Leave me alone! Someone please come hold me and be tough for me. Please? Please?

Silence echos. No one comes. I’m too tough. The words won’t vocalize. I need someone. No one. Anyone. Nothing. Physical therapy. I’m tough. Set back. Can’t pick my arm up. Shooting pain. Pain. Pain. Out of pain meds. Can’t get more. Pain. More PT. Getting better.

Drive past the accident site. It looks so normal. Flinch every time a car pulls up behind me. But it looks so normal. Flinch. Silent prayer. Jesus please don’t let them hit me. Please. Please. Flinch. Silent prayer. Keep driving. Work. PT. Church. Back to choir rehearsal. Flinch. Flinch. Pray. But the road looks like it always did. Like it did before. Before crash, crunch. Before blank. I’m tough. I’m tough. I’m tough…

Last Saturday I took the advice of my pregnant editor and went to the store to purchase pickles and egg nog. I like strange food combos so this was right up my alley (I’ve told her to keep the suggestions coming). When I went to check out, the cashier seemed slightly puzzled by my purchase. I explained that the pickles and egg nog were suggested by my editor. She seemed more confused so I told her my editor is pregnant. The cashier’s response? “I’m sorry.” I was thrown for a moment. I politely shot back, “She’s excited about it and so am I.” Her only response was, “Oh.” Since when is an apology the response to the beautiful news of a baby? In a world where people are daily murdered in astronomical numbers in and out of the womb, and countries are struggling with birth rates so low they won’t be able to sustain their country, why is bringing a miracle into this world worthy of “I’m sorry”? Here’s a hint: it’s not. It’s not deserving of “I’m sorry.” Period.

This isn’t an isolated incident. Noooooooo, not by a long shot! Unfortunately I’ve encountered this attitude more and more and in every corner of my life. This week (while minding my own business thankyouverymuch) my ears were perked by talk of how many children someone had and what ages. Any guesses as to the response of “4”? Hm? How about contempt, derision, pity, and groans? How’s that for a response to the lives of human beings?

Another incident involved news that someone was pregnant for the *gasp* third time with two toddlers already at home. The common response was pitiful sympathies for the parents and gratitude it wasn’t them having to put up with that mess. Excuse me?

I have a friend who’s a stay at home dad to young twin boys. I’ve met those boys and they are full of life. Yes, they are a handful, but they are also a delight. Their parents love and cherish them. Their parents have rules and boundaries and are rearing them right. But how are they treated by the outside world? These happy parents receive apologies. APOLOGIES!

Too often children are held in intense disdain by people not the parents and dismissed by the parents as a burden to be contemptibly tolerated until the children FINALLY! WHEW! move out. Excuse me while I go old school, but once upon a time the view of a man’s wealth was partially determined by his ability to father strong, successful children and his wife’s pride was in her ability to raise up strong, healthy, hardworking, productive young men and women. And at that point in time children were called a heritage unto their parents. But oh have we made marvelous strides in human civil rights since then! Yes siree! Women are no longer chained to their ovens. Men are no longer relegated to just one woman for the rest of their days. Technology has made life less hardwork-y.

In all that time since “once upon a time” what have we done? What have we accomplished? We’ve made bags reusable and fuel more efficient. We’ve made houses more eco-friendly and food and clean water more available to desolate regions. We’ve made computers fully portable and batteries in iPhones last almost as long as Androids’ batteries. We’ve made travel easier, faster. We’ve put a Starbucks on nearly every corner. We’ve produced amazing and awful entertainment. We’ve discovered new species.  And babies; what of our babies? Well, we’ve made babies- our future, our legacy, our heritage- disposable.

*This is cross posted on Misfit Politics*