Thursday, February 26, 2015

This is 40. Part 1- Toya

Hello there. 

Well it's been quite a while since Tia and I both wrote anything.  I'll let her explain her reasons.  Mine have been that I think about writing and then get overwhelmed by all of the things that I want to talk about.  Also, the more you procrastinate, the more you mull stuff over and over in your head so by the time you want to write, you are too tired to even think about what's been going on anymore. Maybe that's just me.  So what I am going to try to do is break down how turning 40 has been awesome and absolutely anxiety inducing all at the same time. But before I talk about turning 40, let's talk about my last final months of my 30's.

I was ready to be 40 because I was about as over being 39 as I was with 2014.

I had decided when I turned 39 that 39 was just a courtesy age.   You're really just sitting around waiting to be 40.  Because my birthday is right after Christmas, I only have a few days before I can say "I will be...this year."  I was really only 39 for 5 days!  When the ball dropped on New Year's Eve and I was working coat check (THANK GOD for those tips because moving expenses are so real), I just paced the floor back and forth trying to hold it together. 40 was happening. 

A drunken stranger also tried to give me a sympathy kiss because I had no one to kiss at midnight.  That could have very well been an indication of how this year was gonna go.  

Fast forward many months after moving back home in early February...

Moving back home was 100% the right decision.  I didn't really do a lot once I moved back. I've been here for a little over a year and there are people I grew up with that I have yet to see that still live here.  I hibernated a bit.  I just wanted to figure myself out.  I got a new job (that is somewhat of a long story and since I want to keep my job, I may not want to talk about it right now because people really are on these internet streets), started looking for churches and tried steadily to get Nashville out of my system.  It took me about a year to delete all of my Nashville business and event listings from my email and social media.  Formerly the Nashville busy body and know it all, I had to finally start minding my own business. I really struggled to not constantly be on social media to see what everyone else was doing.  The last email newsletter I unsubscribed from sent me this confirmation message:

You have been removed from Nashville.

I laid on the bed, put Taylor Swift's "Clean" on repeat until I fell asleep and stayed off of social media for a few weeks until D'Angelo came back. 

Side note: Can we just talk about how in 2014 Anberlin broke up and D'Angelo came back?  I wasn't ready for either of these things. Does "Thanks Obama" apply to either one of these situations? I'm not sure yet. 

Tia's Mom's Memorial Service

Here we are with Stephen Christian at Anberlin's last show ever in Atlanta, the day before Tia's mom's memorial service. 

Yes I really did put my head on his chest. Stephen is the homie. Long live Anberlin!

I gathered a small group of friends who mostly live in Nashville to meet us in Atlanta where I organized Tia's mother's memorial service for Tia, her brother, and a few members of her family.  It was during this entire weekend that it really hit me how terribly difficult it is to be an adult.  There are things happening all around us that we did not sign up for.  Life is so unpredictable.  Tia and I are constantly asking each other, have things always been this hard in life or are things harder for us and our generation?  I don't know the answer to that. Sometimes I think we have it harder and then I remember my parents grew up in the south during the 60's so the jury is still out on that. 

It was walking with Tia through this process of her mother's transition all the way up until the service that I realized that everything will be alright but it's definitely not going to be okay.  Does that even make sense?  Like, you can deal with something.  You can accept it. You can function and find joy again.  It doesn't mean it's okay.  This will never be okay.  I realized that when I stood up to give my words at the memorial service.  I had done everything I knew to do to make this situation okay.  I had ordered Mexican food because Tia loves Mexican food. I went to Kinko's and printed the programs.  The decorations represented things that her mom loved.  I found the perfect mix of Sunday brunch Smooth Jazz hymns to play so that the mood wasn't too somber but it wasn't exactly "turnt up" either.  In my notes, I even wrote in a little humorous tale about her mother that I managed to work in to lighten up the room.  But as I went into this humorous tale and saw my very best friend cry and grieve the loss of her mother, the very first person you ever love, I realized I could not make this okay.  I've always taken pride in the fact that when it comes to Tia, being her best friend is one thing I've gotten right in life.  Even at her lowest moments I can get a laugh. I can peer open the dark clouds a little bit and point her towards the light.  But there was no doing that that day because that's not what she needed at all. 

It had been raining all day, harder than I think I have ever seen.  That morning I walked outside in the pouring rain and said "Hey! In the name of Jesus you will stop raining! We don't need this today!"  But then one of our friends said that maybe it needed to rain.  Maybe God was crying with Tia's family. So as I stood up in front of everyone at the service and all of this became real, so very real, I almost ran off to the bathroom to throw up but I didn't.  I just went into auto-pilot, finished out the service and tried my best to firmly but politely get everyone out of the space we rented on time.  To this day, Tia and I have never discussed that day. We don't need to.  We're good. 

This was in November.  With all of that, moving back home with my parents, and starting a new job that at times I feel completely under-qualified for, I was ready for a fresh start. I was most definitely ready for 40.  

Part 2 coming for real. It will be soon.