Sunday, September 9, 2018

February 5th BUY IT!



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Monday, September 3, 2018

A Piece of Book 2


He weaseled his way in
Every minute. Every hour
I resisted and hid away
But he picked me, Like a flower.

He coaxed me from the shadows
I blossomed through the dark
He painted a beautiful portrait
It was fate that lit the spark.

But really he's not what I want
He's really not what I need
In fact, I need a challenge
Not a man who resembled a weed. 

7/1/2018
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Consequences

I'm parked at the cemetery. "Consequences" by Camila Cabello has been running on a loop, unintentionally, for the last fifteen minutes. Something about the words triggered a very raw, emotional reaction. It smells like coffee. My purse, my keyboard, even my hair, it all tends to hold onto the aroma long after I've left my cozy nook. 

I shit the bed. Recently, someone taught me the less-than-eloquent phrase of "shitting the bed," which is perfect in this context. I shit the bed with my choice of life partner, that part is obvious. And for a while after the paperwork was finalized, my thought process about it was skewed. In my head, that was it. I had my shot at marriage. I would never have that kind of love again. No one would ever choose me - they already did and threw me back. The idea that someone else could was unbelievable, scary, daunting, anxiety-inducing even. The loss I was having felt like a death. Until I had to actually deal with death. 

Now, I know there's a possibility that it could happen. Someone could choose me. Someones have chosen me since, and I them, as least for a moment in time. And for one reason or another, I'm sitting in this car, writing all of this down, and thinking about this song. There really are consequences to loving someone, because one way or another it's going to end. Relationships all end. Whether they end in death, argument, silence, when you invest yourself into someone else, there's a consequence to that. The harshest reality of all though is all of those people you love will eventually die, before you or after you. That permanence is heartbreaking. 

I was always scared of this happening. So much so that I was 27-years-old with tears in my eyes saying to my on-the-way-to-becoming ex-husband, "But you're the one that's supposed to be with me if something happens to Mom or Dad."

Through tears he responded, "I can't be that person. I never could have been." 

I can remember being worried about dying as a young child. I was labeled as "gifted" throughout my 2nd-grade year and most of the time that translated into "weird" or "eccentric," as most of my closest friends now describe me. And as I've learned from my gifted peers and friends, there's a healthy amount of us that struggle with worrisome thoughts, especially when it's an "unknown" or something that cannot 100% be explained with proven data or conversation. Death was one of those things for me. Sure, I've had my faith, but being presented with my brother and father in front of me with a body that doesn't "work" anymore offered up unexplainable feelings and questions.

My experiences with death and breakups are now so closely intertwined. A very compact two years left me with mountains I didn't ever wish to climb. Not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined having to suit up and start the trek so young, so quickly, and feeling so extremely on my own either. I'm purposefully putting myself in front of new obstacles. They're uncomfortable and scary as well. But the good kind. They're the kind where you grow and develop and in the end you may have sweat and cried a lot, but you come out a far better person in the end. 

Has any of this deterred me from diving into new relationships - of any kind? No. Have those consequences made me second guess my vulnerability to others? No. My friends think I'm a little insane. I'm certainly more cautious than I ever have been before. I try to be smarter. But, I'm still giving people the benefit of the doubt even with the tinge of bitterness that has started to come off of my tongue.

These consequences are what scare a lot of people inside of relationships. The inevitable hurt at the end is what makes them run, or leave before being left, or worse, act like a complete asshole because the effort involved isn’t worth the inevitable-ness of it all. And that’s why I’m the insane one. I will take the hurt anyday for the moments of connection or having someone who cares on the receiving line of your life. That’s really the beauty of it all at the end of the day. That I felt so deeply about such a variety of people that when it ended, I hurt. If it wasn’t so beautiful, it wouldn’t have hurt so badly to lose them. 
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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Sincerely

To the Renaissance Nashville Hotel Family,

I was four years old when I walked into your hotel for the first time. The name outside read Stouffer’s and there were ashtrays in the lobby, filled with sand that had been stamped with the fancy “S” logo. My dad had come to help out, and I was privileged enough to create a home away from home inside its walls.

Mr. John Fleming was my father. A hotel manager by day and a goofy, grinning daddy by night – that’s how his closet was separated too; beautiful suits on one hand and then, on the other, hundreds of white tube socks, vacation shirts, and sweatpants that he wore on his morning trip to grab a newspaper and coffee on the weekends.

Nervous and always on my best behavior, I wanted to make him proud every chance I got to visit you all. I didn’t want to embarrass him. He loved the men and women he worked with, and I wanted to make sure that I made a good first impression, second impression, a lasting impression still to this day because that’s what he did. But now, mostly, I want to make an impression that says, “She is appreciative.”

Dad gave me so much at home. Together with my mom, they offered a life to me that so many people don’t get the opportunity to have. From the intangibles to a room full of everything I could have dreamt of, my siblings and I had it all. Now after sharing such an emotional experience together, I know how much he gave to all of you too.

At the funeral, everyone kept thanking us for sharing Dad with them. What’s amazing is I never felt like I was “sharing” him. He worked long hours, and he would occasionally travel, but he still made everyone in his life feel special. I was never gipped of time with my Dad while he was here. Instead, I gained better insight and advice from him because of the team he had built at the Renaissance – which was all of you. I must confess, though I’m terribly angry that I do feel my time was cut short with him for one reason that keeps swirling around in my head. In fact, it’s how I began the letter I wrote to him – the one I tucked under his sleeve on March 9th, 2018, hoping that he’s able to receive snail mail in heaven.

“I wasn’t done learning from you Daddy,” I printed out on paper from an old journal. I bet a lot of you feel the same way.

Dad, Mom, Nick, and Donna had already traveled and lived around the country before I was even a blip on the radar. I didn’t get to experience living in Mobile, hunkered down at the Riverview during the hurricane, or watching Dad make his mark on The Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. Instead, I was given the gift of making Nashville my hometown. I never felt like I missed out on anything that came before 1989 though, no matter how many times Nick or Donna wanted to remind me that I was late to the Fleming party. And that’s because of how Dad’s team made my family feel every time we stepped inside the lobby of the Renaissance, settled on 611 Commerce Street, Nashville, Tennessee.

The chocolate eggs and bunnies showcased near the elevators at Easter, the Kids’ CafĂ© parties that I tried really hard to be excellent at face-painting for (so many children asked me to give them a reindeer and they’d walk away with a very sad cat on their cheek instead), the renovations, the Mother’s Day brunches, there are so many of my childhood and milestone memories locked away in that hotel. I turned 21 there and had my first appletini. And most recently, my high school class and I celebrated our 10-year reunion there – with details so perfect and food so delicious.

As soon as we walked away from Austin and Bell on March 10th, 2018, I felt the need to do what I always do when I’m feeling things that I don’t quite understand. I write. That memory of those ashtrays kept coming to mind, and I knew that no matter how this letter or gobbledygook ran out on paper that I needed to get it to all of you. It’s the best way I know how to say, “Thank you.”

Thank you for being a part of my Dad’s life. Thank you for being a part of my family’s life. Thank you for being a part of my own life. But mostly, thank you for loving my father and thank you for providing a home away from home for him for the past 25 years. He wanted to get back to you. He was sad that he felt like the chance had been taken from him with the latest diagnosis but going back to work, in his words, “wasn’t being taken off the table just yet.” I need you all to know that he wanted to get back to it. He wanted to shake your hands and goof around and be your leader – if only for a little bit longer – and finish his career on his own accord.

Again, thank you for loving my father. And thank you for showing it in a way that he deserved because he deserved it all.

Sincerely and with so much love,

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Monday, June 18, 2018

February 5th: THE CHAPTERS

Prologue

February 5, 2016

Looking In The Mirror Was Painful

I Wore My Memories & Now They’re For Sale

Hypothetically Speaking, I’d Say Yes

His Name Was James, James Beard

He’d Say, “I Love You,” I’d Say, “Ditto.”

I Liked A Boy Who Wasn’t My Boyfriend

He Showed Me The Red Flags But I Was Colorblind

I Love You To The Moon And Back

Sometimes I Wish He Wasn’t

The Only Time I Came From Penetration

Competing For Likes 

Then I Kissed His Roommate

Please Get Down On One Knee

No Sex Until Union Station

The Skunk Was The Warning

IUGR

Your Husband Shouldn’t Get Naked In Front Of Your Friends

You Can’t Shit In My Bathroom

Dipping My Toes Into The Dating Pool

I Like You Better Without Him

Divorce Diets Actually Work

The Second Time He Left Us

Come Over, Write A Story

We All Have That One

Douche

February 5th, 2017

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