Friday, October 20, 2017

Lost and Broken

Tonight starts the first vacation I have had since Christmas last year. I was supposed to be "yelling" VACATIIIOOONNNN on FB, and headed to Summer's house right now, to attend the Bama/UT tailgate tomorrow. That was supposed to be the way I kicked things off before Steve and family members got into town for an epic week.

 And now it all feels unreachable. 

 I know it will still be a wonderful week, with a lot of love. But this is a horrible feeling. Like, when life keeps kicking you, and keeps kicking you, and keeps kicking you... you do what you can to stay positive. To not let it break you. You find the good things to focus on, to just attempt to not completely have a mental break. You say things like "Man, this vacation is going to be AWESOME." And then life is like, "Pshhh. Watch this."

 I don't know what God's plan was for taking my baby from me without any warning. I don't know if he wants to prove to me how strong I am. I feel like the tests I've had on that over the past 3 years have been enough. Losing my father. Losing my cat. Losing 3 grandparents. Losing friends. Not to mention the medical and personal emergencies. And that whole immigration thing. Why one more test? Why take the one true companion I had in life away from me? The reason I am not locked up somewhere in a straight-jacket. She was the one thing that I knew I had each day. Yes, I have the cats here too - but cats are cats. Mine are very affectionate, but even so, they're very self-sufficient. Allie knew that her smile brightened my whole world, even on the darkest days. That if she just sat next to me while I cried, or kissed my tears away, my mood instantly lifted. That no matter how many times she told me how mistreated she was, because she'd only been out 4 times in the last hour, and was given 6 treats instead of the 8 she wanted, I would still listen and give her a kiss to make sure she knew I loved her.

 For 10+ years, she gave me the best love. The unconditional, I-love-you-more-than-bacon love. She was hand-picked by God for me. Sure I thought I was looking for a cat that day. He knew I was looking for Allie. And now she's gone. And I can't stop crying. I'm writing this through tears streaming down my face. Every time I hear a noise outside, or the neighborhood kids yelling, I brace myself for the loud indignant bark that is supposed to come. And it doesn't. And I think about the fact it never will again. My whole world is forever changed. Again.

 And this time I don't know if I am strong enough to get through.

 Rest in Peace, my precious Allie. Mommy loves you with her whole heart.   

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mean Jean

It still doesn't feel real. I've shed a lot of tears over the past couple of weeks. We've been to her house twice to collect/clean out memories. But somehow, my brain is just not really registering that the last of my immediate family on Daddy's side is gone.

When I think of my childhood, I think of two things. Home (Atlanta), and East Tennessee. Mostly Rockwood. From the point I almost drowned at the lake house, to the piano lessons, to the Honeybee Tree game... SO much of my childhood memories are connected to my Nana. "Mean Jean" as she was referred to by our whole family. Which, if you knew her, was the silliest nickname. Given she didn't have a mean bone in her body. Smart aleck? Spunky? Funny? ABSOLUTELY (this runs in the Smith blood). Mean? Not even a little bit. I cannot think of one time in my childhood that Nana even scolded me. I'm sure they're probably there... I just don't remember them.

It's funny how you remember the stupid little things you'll miss when you lose somebody. I used to love to play in the flour canister when I was little. I loved how soft the flour felt between my fingers. I think I even had a little song/rhyme that went with it, but I certainly can't remember it. There might be family members that do. I also loved Nana's tea pitcher. It had this mixer built into the lid that you pumped to mix/stir the drink inside. Think like a TNT detonator. That's how I treated it, as I pumped it every time she made tea. Even in adulthood.

I'll never get to taste that tea again, or pump the mixer handle.

We went this past weekend to sort through as much as we could. Decades worth of memories/clutter is overwhelming. You want to take everything. It meant something to her, therefore it means something to us. But obviously, keeping everything isn't an option. So you have to somehow think realistically. 

I'm lucky that I just had to go through this with my own stuff 3+ years ago when I moved out of my apartment and in with Daddy, planning for my move to Canada (ONE DAY, AMIRITE?!). So I was able to shut off the Katie "BUT IT MEANS SOMETHING" brain, and only take the few little things that I knew I would treasure. Plus one big thing. Nana's house (not Nana herself; the house visits) to me was always about the piano. Even when I got older and didn't sit down to play it. I would plunk out a quick Hot Cross Buns or Chop Sticks, just to reconnect to my youth. It's now in Daddy's house, and will eventually be in mine & Steve's home. I plan on reteaching myself to play the basics, then progressing from there and actually doing what I should have done in my youth, and becoming a piano player - not just a piano plunker. 

This might be the view I'll miss the most. Oooh, baby baby! Buh-buh-buh-baby!

Most of the cousins know this view the best. It's just missing the lower branches to help you climb up to the top.

I remember when the branches of this tree were so low I would try and hide inside of them during hide and seek. 

Mama's tree

I didn't have the pic of me & Liz as kids in front of this tree handy for this then-and-now photo-op. But once I find it, I'll be sure and add it. 30 years later...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Shoes, Glorious Shoes! 37

It's been a while. A full year since I posted a shoe blog, and almost 8 months since I posted ANYTHING. A lot has happened. Namely, two surgeries for kidney stones that took about a month 1/2 of my life. Life in general, then a couple of crazy work months. And here we are.

The last couple of weeks have been the hardest hit on my anxiety I have ever had in my life. Not my emotions - that was (still is) easily my father's death. But my anxiety. I am going through something I have only shared with a small handful of people, and it is completely consuming me right now.

The thing is, I have learned over the years to be a high-functioning anxiety-ridden person. Anxiety makes people uncomfortable, awkward, annoyed, etc. It's easier to hide it than it is deal with the consequences of the real world (ESPECIALLY in a professional environment). I'm great at smiling/laughing/joking when inside I'm screaming. It's something I've - in a very obtuse way - written about before. I DO consider myself to be an emotionally strong person. The more I've thought about that over the years, it's because of that wall I've learned to put up. So when "normal" emotional situations present themselves, I can deal. When anxiety situations present themselves, I go into that same "strong" mode, but my brain NEVER shuts up. Ever. I can do 8 million things to try and silence it. Usually at home, I'll have a TV show playing on the computer while I play a computer game. Right now, I have a TV show playing while I write this - and yes occasionally am having to pause the show so I can clearly think through a thought. All the while, my brain is saying "What about...?" "Did you think about this...?" "What if...?" And if there is silence around me? Forget about it. I'll likely end up making myself throw up from the stress.

People that don't have everyday anxiety don't get this, and never will. Everyone understands anxiety. Everyone can have anxious situations. But for it to be all-consuming, where it can make you physically ill... not many people in your day-to-day will get that. They'll tell you to think about other things, or find a way to distract yourself. Which as you can see in my above paragraph, I certainly try to do. On "small" anxiety days, it sometimes works. In times like these - it barely touches my thoughts.


That heavy intro aside (I promised y'all I was going to be more real going forward - this is me being real) - I decided to distract myself today by dressing the way the-artist-formerly-known-as-Katie would. Heels, matching outfit, and purse. I had a new dress to wear, and perfectly matching Betsey heels and purse. 

And about halfway through the day decided to blog the shoes, as I would have back in the day. So, here they are!

Brand: Betsey Johnson Name: Kissez
(I specifically direct you to Smile Amazon, because YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE)
Review: 4" heel. Fits 1/2 size small. As you all know by now, a 4" heel is nothing to me, so these would be UBER comfortable, except the heel part of the shoe is SUPER tight, so rubs a blister on the side of my foot if I don't remember to stretch it out a couple times during the day.

This dress** is so simple, but I love it SO much. It's very Parisian, to me. In fact, it makes me think of the last two episodes of Sex and the City, when Carrie first gets to Paris:

As much as I hated how cheesy they ended the show (even though I loved the actual end result), I was (AM) obsessed with those last two episodes, because EVERY. SINGLE. OUTFIT. was perfection. That was most of my (and plenty of other women's) obsession with the show, was the fashion. Then the hilariously brilliant writing was a bonus. But OMG, those last two episodes. They could not have been any more perfect, fashion-wise. And I'm sure they went all out, given they knew they would never have to worry about budget again (until the movies came around). PER.FECT.ION. 

**Sidenote: that one picture of my dress took me sitting in the grass to set up my camera on my tripod/adjust angles/self-timers, etc. for maybe 2 minutes: and resulted in an hour+ long allergy attack. The joys of being allergic to outside, y'all.

Anyhoo, I know this blog has been all over the place. But that's just where I am right now, so I'm sharing it. See y'all... I dunno when. Maybe tomorrow, maybe in another year.