38

I have been thinking about my 38th birthday for the past 5 years. Ever since I lost my sister the day after my 32nd birthday. Here I am, on the cusp of my 37th birthday and it becomes more and more ingrained in my mind.

I have been thinking about my 38th birthday for the past 5 years. Ever since I lost my sister the day after my 32nd birthday. Here I am, on the cusp of my 37th birthday and it becomes more and more ingrained in my mind.

My sisters last year of life was her 37th year, pretty much. Her last birthday was on August 20th 2014, when she turned 38 and she passed away October 1st 2014. She didn’t even get 2 months of 38. My birthday is September 30th.

So hear I am, about to start my 37th year, the year that was her last. So, I look at my life and my mind goes to that place, the inevitable place of, “And if this was my last year, would I be satisfied with my life?”

That was one thing about my sister Mercy. She lived the fuck out of her life, because she NEVER took for granted the time she was here. She wasn’t supposed to make it past a few months old, so she lived accordingly. But the question I have for myself is…am I living accordingly?

I was born relatively healthy, especially in comparison to her.  But I have always waged a deep internal battle of dissatisfaction with who I am. That, however, is not to say that I haven’t worked on this actively and consciously.  I’ve been trying to turn this self-esteem boat around since I was 25.

My 25th year was one of my hardest, until I hit 2014 that is…but at 25 my world was flipped and I had to make a very hard choice. The choice was that being alone was better then being with someone that was destroying me. To love myself, more then the person I thought I loved. It seems really easy now, but I remember how devastating it felt at the time. But literally, walking away from that mess was the BEST decision I have made in my life. It was the first time I was my own hero, or in the words of Pretty Woman, I rescued myself.

And since then it has been a slow and steady learning and reckoning. I have learned SO MUCH about myself and my life. But to be honest, I was still never 100% happy with myself, I was still traversing rocky territory…and then I lost my mom and sister.

It threw me and it threw me hard. I didn’t revert to any of my past mistakes but I had a whole new mess to contend with and reconcile. I have walked slowly through it watching it go from unbearable to just heartbreaking to lonely. I wasn’t in a great place before I lost them, now I feel like I’m in another not so great place with even more baggage.

But what about the work? The learning and the self introspection? I can’t discount it, I know so much now about loss and pain but on the flip side I know the value of celebrating the fact that you get to live another day. Do I always remember that? No, I’m still imperfect, flawed and very human. You don’t walk away triumphant from loss one magical day, you walk away and realize you have to learn how to traverse LOTS of new, scary terrain.

When I first lost them I thought I’d reach a moment of clarity. I’d wake up one day and it would all make sense. It doesn’t work like that. The gaps in my heart will never fill, the pain I feel when I see their pictures will never go away. And I will never stop wishing that I could just talk to them one more time.

But that takes me back to 37. To this upcoming year of life I am about to live. Though I have done the studying and have been seeking knowledge and endless guidance. I must admit, there is something I haven’t been doing much of.  The work. The hard labor it would take to really begin to confront my own terrible, harsh, self opinion.

The work looks like me being disciplined with myself about eating better or going to the gym. It looks like me playing my guitar and taking voice lessons again. It looks like me doing a lot of things I currently don’t do. I have a lot of reasons and excuses why i don’t do these things. Some days life just feels to hard or draining or sad to do anything more then sit and spend another evening on my phone.

But, the question is do I want to turn 28 next year and feel exactly as I do now? Exactly as I have felt for many, many years. Maybe before I was thinner or had less bills but I have never been fully happy or accepting of who I am as a person. I love so many other people in my life unconditionally, but I cannot offer myself this same kindness. I don’t do things that make my heart happy often enough. I’m not doing the work. I even know what the goals are now, but I am still not pursuing them.

This is my New Years Eve, this is actually way more important to me then Jan 1st ever could be. Did my sister squander 37? No, my sisters crazy ass up and moved to West Virginia at 37 because that’s what my sister did! She did whatever her heart called her to do no matter how ‘effing crazy all of us thought she was. That is how she LIVED her life. She L-I-V-E-D it.  

Don’t read this as me being a fatalist and thinking my life won’t extend past 38. Though, it is not my choice when I leave this earth, I fully know that. But I just feel this is my personal call to action. This is my brain saying, “You have done so much already but now it’s time to take it all the way”.

I wanted to write this as a private journal entry to myself at first. Why? Because I feel like I have said I wanted to change so many times, and I never have. So if you don’t call your shot…no one can see you fail. But I’m calling my shot right now. This is going to be so hard, I know it is and that’s why I have been avoiding it.

But I’m not going to squander 37 or 38 or however long I am given. I’m tired of it. I want to push to be the person I truly feel I am on the inside and the person I was meant to be. I’m not even 100% sure who that is, but I know I sure as hell won’t find out unless I actually do the work.

I feel like I am dragging myself through life right now. Life is living me. And though many amazing things that have happened to me, I still feel like I’m not enough. This comes out in a lot of ways. My appearance, my actions and even more importantly my non-actions. All the things I don’t do because I fear judgement or failure.

I vow to change, and I promise you 37 will look and feel unlike any other year that came before it.

Grief doesn’t define me, but it does

August is hard.

September is hard.

December is hard

March is hard.

Lets just say 12/12 months of the year are hard.

I hardly ever share my feelings about losing my sister or mother. Maybe about the situations that have arisen because of losing them, but hardly ever directly about not having them in my life anymore. I will say X is frustrating me long before I will tell you I’m feeling sad and missing one or both of them.

Because I don’t want to seem dramatic, or stuck in the past… what can you say anyway to make me feel better? Let me just not say anything, let me just sit in my sadness and cry by myself, or maybe to Adam, maybe.

There is a hole in my heart the size of my sister and a hole in my safety the size of my mother.  The loss of each was painful in different ways. And if I spoke enough about it, you might think I miss my sister MORE then my mother, but that’s not the case. The losses were just different. So, so different.

I have really been noticing how hard it is for me to be happy now. How impossible it is to sustain happiness for long periods of time. Happiness is always slipping through my fingers like sand. The more I reflect on this, the more I realize that there is just a massive part of me that is empty, that’s where my sister is in my heart.

But I never speak the words and if I do, I downplay the pain. I act like a trooper. “Look at me, getting through my life!” but on the inside, I’m just crying. I want to roll up in a little ball and wish my sister back here with me, and that actually happens more then anyone knows.

I lost my best friend on earth. The person that knew me best. The person that understood me best. The person that knew everything. Words cannot express that loss. Nothing I type or say could truly feel like it was equal to what I am feeling.

I try so hard to live despite this pain. To try to make my life as full and rich as magical as I can. I do my best to try because SHE can’t live her life anymore. And I have made so many moves I should be so proud of, I try to be proud I really do, but my heart is still incomplete.

And there is a part in me, that just wants my sister back. My heart want’s something I literally can never have, but the feeling is relentless.

Though I have embraced some of the things I lost in growing up (i.e. Disney) there are things that I still avoid because they are drenched in her memory. I pulled myself out of a scene I still love, I can’t listen to music I love so much because every time I go back to it, it feels like i am opening a wound and torturing my soul. Because the person that understood this stuff MOST is not here anymore.

You cannot sit in sadness because it will drown you. It will suck any color from your life and leave you with black and white memories and wishes that can never come true. But maybe I need to sit in it more. Maybe I need to say it more and stop acting like I am ok, stop worrying about making others uncomfortable with my grief.

The innocuous question, “How many siblings do you have?” is literally the question I hate most in life. HOW do I answer that?!

“I have 3 but one passed away”

“I have 2 alive but my sister closest to me passed away”

“One sister lives in O.C. the other lives up north…”

You can see the discomfort on someones face that second you mention death. The, “Oh shit I didn’t mean to bring that up” look. All in good spirit and not in a rude way. But I hate making people feel that way. I hate even dealing with any of this. But then if I just answer, “I have 3 sisters” that feels like a lie too. Like I’m PRETENDING everything is ok.

If people knew how often something made me sad because it reminded me of her, they’d probably think I was a depressed emo girl. They’d probably think I need to get over it. So I say nothing and shove it all down.

I am TRYING to rebuild that lost part of me. I don’t know how though But please believe I am trying SO hard. I’m not doing a good job tbh. Because I just want my sister back, even in this moment.

I don’t know if I will ever be whole again.

How Taylor Swift has helped me through life for nearly a decade

A note about me: I was born loving music and lyrics. In 4th grade I sang, “Take a bow” by Madonna to my then beau to show him how his on again off again “love” was making me feel. Lyrics and music have and always will be important to me.  Taylor put it best..

“People haven’t always been there for me but music always has.” – Taylor Swift

My life story runs parallel with a living, breathing soundtrack. I could tell you my story better in songs then I could plain words. But I’m going to try and do it with both. This is the story of us, Taylor and I.

“Love Story”
I didn’t have my license yet because I was afraid to drive. I’d love to tell you I was a teenager, but I wasn’t. I was in my mid-20’s still terrified. I’d started my first full time job, which was night shift (12am – 8:30am). My father used to have to drive me to work and pick me up. He would listen to KIIS FM as he drove me. Whenever “Love Story” came on he would put it louder. Honestly, I didn’t pay attention the first few times. I was deep into Dilla and hip hop and this country sounding song was NOT in my wheelhouse.

But one night, I listened, I actually listened to words and I totally fell in love with it. The way Taylor wrapped you into that story..I could feel it. I was born and raised on Disney Princesses and fairy tales and this song just GOT ME.

“You belong with me”

I didn’t know who Taylor was before Love Story and I wasn’t quite hooked yet. I went on YouTube and watched the video for, “Love Story”. I was a cute and sweet, everything you’d expect. But then I clicked on the video for, “You belong with me”… I was never the same again.

In that 3 minutes and 49 seconds a swiftie was born. The shy dorky girl being ignored for the gorgeous one, wanting the guy you like to know you’re alive, being looked at as the friend BUT in the end, the dork won. He wanted her…he wanted her!! I literally watched it OVER AND OVER. This Taylor girl..she got me, she REALLY GOT ME.

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“Fearless”
I could literally almost tell you exactly what day I first saw, “You belong with me”. It was April 22nd 2010. Do you know WHY I know this fact? Because I said, “I have to see her live!” And I looked at Ticketmaster and I had JUST missed the Fearless tour at Staples Center by a week! I was crushed, heck, I’m still crushed about that. I missed her by a freakin’ week, are you kidding me?!

“Tim McGraw”
This was before streaming services, I went and bought the deluxe edition of, “Taylor Swift” and “Fearless” on iTunes. And let me tell you, Mrs. “I’m not a fan of country” knew (and still knows) every word. I also bought any song she made outside of her albums like, “Crazier” from the Hanna Montana Soundtrack. I couldn’t get enough of the emotion, the lyrics, oh the lyrics!! Country or not I didn’t care, she told stories that felt like MY stories. She got me and that’s not often a feeling I have.

I also watched every single video she had made, over and over again. “Picture to Burn”, “Change”, “Tear drops on my guitar”. And I had to learn everything about her, how she came up, her story. I could do a doctoral study on the history of Taylor Swift from memory. “Did you know she was one of the youngest song writers ever.” “Do you know she had a development deal with a major label and they didn’t want her to sing her own songs so she turned it down?” “Did you know Big Machine didn’t even really exist when she agreed to be signed to them?” Anyone who has ever dared to come at me with, “Taylor Swift has no talent” has been taken to SCHOOL. Miss me with that nonsense.

“Run”
The only George Strait song I know by heart is, “Run”. And that’s because Taylor covered it at a George Strait tribute and did a phenomenal job. I still get verclempse when I think about how she asked him for advice about performing in a stadium and he told her, “Just do it for about 25 years and it’ll feel real natural.” Oh how far my girl has come.

So anyway, back to “Run”. I went into a long distance relationship with someone that lived across the country. This song was the theme of that relationship, because in that moment all I wanted to do was run to him. I listened to “Run” literally over and over again just dreaming about going to him.

“Mine”
Later on in 2010 I did the impossible, I got my drivers license. I cannot express how scared I was (and still sometimes am..) to drive.  I did it because I couldn’t keep making my dad taxi me to  and from work, the guilt became worse then the fear. The ONLY thing I did love about driving at first was blasting my Taylor Swift music and singing at the top of my lungs driving to work at 4am. (I was on “day shift” at that point.)  That was in early September of 2010. At this very moment Taylor occupies 4/6 CD slots in my car.

“Mine” came out shortly after I got my car. I had missed the beginning of the other eras but for Speak Now I was ALL IN. I even remember, “Mine” leaked the day it was supposed to come out and I refused to listen to it until it was officially out. That video…I still love that video. *Puts hand in the shape of a heart* The bridge of that song, I want to cry just thinking about it! Even though the lyrics were based on an idealized relationship vs a real one, I don’t care! “Cause I remember how it felt sitting by the water / And everytime I look at you it’s like the first time”

The first time I ever drove on the highway alone I had, “Change” playing. Because conquering driving was a major wall that fell down for me. Yes there were times in my life I purposely made Taylor the soundtrack to certain moments.

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“Speak Now”
First came, “Mine” then the announcement of the “Speak now” album. I preordered it from Target, I was ready! Right before it came out another crazy thing happened. I went to Louisiana and finally met my boyfriend at the time. I remember on the plane listening to Taylor the entire way, particularly, “Love Story”. When I got off the plane I felt like Taylor running through the field. Have you figured out that I am a hopeless romantic and highly emotional being yet?

Right after I got home, the album came out. My Target pre-order actually didn’t come before the album released so then start the long standing history of me buying an album in both physical and digital copies because HELLO I wasn’t going to wait to hear it!!!

“Enchanted”
I was rightfully obsessed with Speak now. “Do you know Taylor doesn’t share the writing credits on this album with anyone?!” Guess what happened shortly after the album came out, a tour was announced. I was still SO SALTY about having missed Fearless, there was no way in hell I was missing the Speak Now world tour.

Except one small thing… no one else I knew was into Taylor Swift. Like, no one. Maybe they liked a song or two but they certainly weren’t going to pay to see her in concert. What was I to do? I guess I had to go see her alone.

The thought of traversing Staples Center alone terrified me. But seeing Taylor live was bigger then my fear. I just wanted to experience her live, alone or not.

August 24th 2011 I saw her and it was everything I wanted and more. By that time my long distance relationship was obliterated and I was onto different avenues but my love for all these songs was unaffected. And I cried…and cried and cried. I could care less that Justin Beiber was the special guest, Taylor was amazing and everything I was hoping for. That night was surely sparking. I only wish I had been with a group like a lot of girls there, so I could make cool costumes and share that joy with someone. 

And I have went on to see Taylor 3x alone, Ariana Grande 1x alone and Beyonce alone too. I have seen so much amazing talent because of my willingness to go by myself and Taylor opened that door for me.

 

“Dear John”
“I’m shining like fireworks over your sad little town”. Anyone who has ever seen the Speak Now DVD can envision those fireworks as they read that line. The relationship I was in crumbled and Taylor was with me every step of the way. Her lyrics nursed those wounds. Dear John was like an epic poem I could write to so many that had held my heart at one point or another. If you’ve been there, you get that song.

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“Safe and Sound”
My parents bought me a cat in the 4th grade, his name was Michelob. And I had him for 22 years. I lost him around the time that Taylor’s song for the Hunger Games soundtrack came out. My heart was and is still so broken over that loss and this song helped comfort me when literally NO ONE could understand. A cat is not a cat, this cat had been with me most of my life. “Just close your eyes/ The sun is going down / You’ll be alright / No one can hurt you now/ Come morning light you and I will be safe and sound” It was the first time I ever dealt with loss in my life, that song helped me through it.

“Begin Again”
2011 was the year that my current boyfriend and I started hanging out. My heart was still pretty fragile and we took things slow. Begin Again came out and once again Taylor was singing about my life. Here I was trying to trust and give my heart to someone new after it had been so crushed. But if Taylor could do it….

“Come in with the rain”
I had been obsessed with come in with the rain the moment I heard it. I need to stop saying that but, it’s the truth. It wasn’t a radio single but it was a Malinda’s car single for sure. But that guitar…

I had always wanted to play guitar. When I was in H.S. I wanted a guitar because I loved Michelle Branch (another singer songwriter). But I never got one…I just never did it. But hearing the guitar in, “Come in with the rain”,  “Superstar” and “Breathe” became my obsession. And it was shortly after I saw the Speak Now tour that I finally bought my first guitar. I always say, “Michelle made me want it, but Taylor made me do it”

 

“Treacherous”
The anticipation for the release of Red was insane. She was doing this thing where she was releasing a track a week and I could barely stand it. When the album came out I was blown away, HOW did Taylor get my life so well?

Literally there were nights when I followed my boyfriend home from a night out. I still hated driving but I’d drive to see him. “Two headlights shine through the sleepless night and I will follow you, follow you home” Also the Red album showed my then non-boyfriend just how much of a Swiftie I was.

I was at his house the morning the tickets for the Red Tour went on sale. Sweating and freaking out, because I just had to see Tay again. Once again I was going to see her alone but by then I was fine with it.

Treacherous was also the first FULL song I learned how to play on guitar. There was a girl on youTube that would do Taylor tutorials for the new Red songs the moment they were released. I went back later and learned songs from other albums, but “Red” showed me I could actually play.

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“State of Grace”
I always said that the opening of State of Grace makes me feel like I’m flying. It sounds like dizzying exciting love. It would be in my top 5 Swift songs for sure.

Depending on how long you’ve been a Swiftie you may remember Taylor Connect. The message boards on her website. I mean, of course I was on them! After the Red Tour tickets went on sale the did a lottery for Taylor Connect users to get pit tickets. I entered and I WAS SELECTED.

I was sitting in a booth at The Habit (a burger place in Cali) and I looked at my boyfriend and said, “I HAVE TO GO HOME AND BUY THIS TICKET!” Because I was convinced if I tried to buy it on the phone it would malfunction and I would lose this golden opportunity. Have you figured out that I’m a SPAZ yet?  My computer did not blow up and yes I got my Red Tour pit ticket for $150. You read that correctly, $150. Taylor has always been so good to her fans.

The day of the Red Tour I was A MESS. Pit is GA and I was convinced I was going to get stuck behind a massively tall person. I was there before the doors opened for Staples center and I RAN to the floor. I got a spot on the runway and did not move for hours. I didn’t eat, drink or go to the restroom I stood there and held my spot on her catwalk.

This is why the Red tour DVD not being released still makes me sad. Because that night WAS MAGIC. I have never been and probably will never be SO CLOSE to her. GUYS SHE IS REAL! She is amazing, she is everything you can imagine. Her opening song was State of Grace and I still know where she jumped down the stairs, some of her coreo and the way she walked, her fingers for “2 fire signs, 4 blue eyes” …the black hat she threw into the crowd. I remember it all…all..allll too well. That was August 19th, 2013, my life changed a lot shortly after that.

“The best day”
I cannot listen to, “The best day” I just wrote out that song title and tears started coming out. If you are not familiar with this song it’s a sweet song Taylor wrote to her mom on her Fearless album, hence, why it’s to painful for me to ever hear.

My mom had been fighting an illness for 10 years called aplastic anemia. Due to battling the illness and complications from the side effects of all the medicines she took my mom passed away on March 5th, 2014, a week before her birthday.

My mom knew I loved Taylor, when I got my guitar she told me, “What you’re going to be the next Taylor Swift?” Honestly in the moment I took it as sarcasm, but now I hold that comment so close to my heart.

When the Wonderstuck perfume came out my mom went to Macy’s and bought it for my birthday, she even got the patchwork gift with purchase bag for me. I wear my Wonderstruck perfume whenever I miss her.

Both my parents took me to Staples Center the first time I ever saw Taylor live. They dropped me off and picked me up. I remember jumping into the car with my Covergirl tour merch bag after the concert and excitedly telling them how amazing she’d been and how she was EVERYTHING I’d imagined.

I didn’t know it’d be the last of my birthday’s I’d spend with her. But for some reason I’d opted for an at home BBQ that year and asked her to make my favorite foods. My boyfriend bought me a guitar case for my birthday and I have a picture with her smiling as he surprised me with it. I went back to Safe and Sound, I was very, very lost.

“Superstar”
My sister didn’t know a lot of Taylor Swift. But she knew, “Superstar”. She knew why I loved that song…and so many others. My sister was my best friend, she was my only true best friend. But my sister couldn’t handle losing my mother.

My sister was born with a congenital heart defect and had health issue her entire life. But somehow, she still carved this AMAZING life full of adventure for herself. But just over 6 months after my mother died, I lost my sister too on October 1st, 2014. The day before my birthday. It was the 1-2 punch from hell.

My sisters musical love was Duran Duran but she TOTALLY understood my Taylor obsession, she got it because she was the same way with them. She didn’t like country at all but she’d always let me play Taylor in her car. I remember when the Red album came out and I played her, “All too well” she knew without saying who that song was for.

One of the last text messages I have from my sister was a picture she took in a Dr’s office waiting room. There was someone in there wearing a “Red’ rubber tour bracelet and she wanted to show me. My own Red tour bracelet took on a much deeper meaning after.that. She also bought me Taylor shirts for my birthday one year.

The night my sister passed away we went to a a karaoke bar near U of Penn. (My sister passed away in PGH and my dad and other 2 sisters were there.) One of the songs we sang that night was, “Highway don’t care”. Probably one of the few pure country songs I know, thanks to Taylor of course.

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My sister, mom and I watching The Little Mermaid

“1989”
I don’t remember anything making me very happy that year. There was so much loss and sadness in my life. To be honest with you, all of it hasn’t gone away. I’m not who I was in any way shape or form. I just cried a lot, went to work, came home laid in bed and cried.

I am not over exaggerating that the release of “Shake it off” was one of the first and only things that truly brought me a fragment of joy. That and went my boyfriend took me to Disneyland after a long dry spell for a belated birthday were the ONLY things that made me even temporarily happy.

1989 was one of the only lights in all that darkness. I’d even feel guilty when I’d smile or dance to it. It became my lifeline to joy because it took my mind, if even temporarily off the hurt I was trying to live through. If I ever did meet Taylor I’d tell her 1989 saved my spirit in my darkest time, just by being made…for giving me something to ease that unfathomable pain.

Blank Space”
The thing about loss is that it shows you how finite your life is. You don’t have endless time, so it began to push me to try and stretch myself despite the heartbreak. Even if it was driving to Manhattan Beach for a women’s symposium, running a 5k  or dying my hair red. I just started trying to stretch.

I’d always wanted to take vocal lessons but never did. I was born with a clef palette and have a speech impediment but as fate would have it (and as I mentioned) I LOVE singing. I always felt that vocal lessons were going to be a waste of money for someone with a voice like me. But at this stage of my life, despite all those internal demons saying, “Don’t do it!” I did it anyway.

I have never been more scared of anything in my life, and I wasn’t that great especially because of stage fright. But I kept going and going. The first song I attempted to learn was “Blank Space” then “Style” then “All too well”.

Blank Space was really when Taylor started to grab the image projected onto her by the media by the horns. It was the first glimpse we had at how she could use those bricks to make her castle. I pity anyone that ever dissed that song because they didn’t understand it’s satirical value. I was trying to take control of my own image too.

“Shake if off”
Mean girls aren’t just reserved for high school and they aren’t reserved to girls either. At work I was miserable because on top of the aforementioned loss the person I thought was my closest friend turned out to be a frenemy. Work felt like a battle ground for awhile and I would listen to Shake it off over and over again on the way to work AND at work to remind myself that haters were gonna hate, hate, hate and I didn’t have to play into it. Music really does give me strength and healing and courage and everything else.

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Wildest dreams”
Since the very first 1989 tour date in Tokyo I was waiting to see the Wildest Dreams/Enchanted mash up live. I saw it in a YouTube video and I started crying because it was so perfect. Two of my favorite songs delivered so amazingly.

Wildest Dreams was instantly my favorite songs on 1989. I learned it on guitar, I tried to learn to sing it in voice lessons. When the video came out I went to Disneyland wearing my Taylor shirt. Once again, she had captured that feeling of fleeting love so perfectly. I knew that feeling so well too. Maybe it was in the past, and I know it’s long gone but, that song just made it flood back.

I recorded the audio of the mashup on my phone at the concert and tried not to cry too hard when she did it. The 1989 tour was another bright light in my world that was still pretty dark. I always say death is like a film that forever alters the way you see life and even the beautiful moments are tinged with sadness for the people that can’t share them with you.

But the 1989 tour left me with more hope then I walked in with. Taylor doesn’t understand how healing her speeches are, how much she connects to the audience. I remember once in an interview they asked her what super power she’d want and she said, “A Healer”. I wanted to make a sign for the concert that said, “Taylor you ARE a healer!!!” But I doubt, even if she did see it, she’d understand that I was referencing some random interview she did.

“Out of the Woods”
There was only one bad thing about the 1989 tour. I was sitting on the floor and someone stole my light up bracelet before I got to my seat. And let me tell you as a swiftie I was LOOKING FORWARD to this bracelet! I literally felt like every person in that arena had a bracelet in Staples Center except me. I was really, really sad about it. I wished bad karma to whomever had stolen it off my seat. So that was August 25th, 2015.

Flash forward to the 2016 Grammy Awards. My boyfriend got invited because one of his friends worked on Kendrick Lamar’s record, “To Pimp a Butterfly”. I was so excited because Taylor was nominated for album of the year and they were going to be in the same building!!!

They walked the red carpet and he saw Joseph Kahn, I was so jealous. Then he said that as the filed into the auditorium there was a table…piled high with Taylor’s light up bracelets! Why? She was opening the Grammy’s with, “Out of the woods” and brought them for the Grammy audience. He grabbed about 5 and brought them for me. (Not to mention he was feet away from her as she won her Grammy and did her bad ass acceptance speech.)

I honestly still can’t believe my fortune. Especially with how I was still feeling,  I just needed that reminder that magic still existed in the world. I got my bracelets 5 fold and someone the universe had fully made up for me being sad about it at the concert. Taylor Swift is magic even when she’s not trying.

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“Welcome to New York”
Once again spurred by the need to reclaim my life I left my job that had made me miserable after 8 years. I found an amazing job at an NPR station. My first day of work I remember driving in morning traffic. This was a new experience for someone that used to drive to work at 4:30am, I was used to empty roads and this was chaos! (Chaos in the mind that someone doesn’t like to drive much.)

But, I put on “Welcome to New York” and it reminded me of the enormity of this great journey I was embarking on. It was all unknown and crazy, but a step in the right direction That is exactly what “Welcome to New York” embodies, starting something new, not knowing what to expect but you know you’re on the right path. Subsequent mornings “Welcome to New York” (and all of 1989 would lift my spirits as I sat in morning traffic AND at work when I was nervous at my new job.  I started that job on October 7, 2016.

“Look what you made me do”
We didn’t hear a ton from Taylor in early 2017. But I was still stanning for her and happy that she was getting a break from the relentless public eye. I’d rather her take all the time she needed for herself then keep pushing and being unhappy.  I have never been more proud of her then I was when she gave her court testimony. It was BAD ASS (no pun intended). And her Time Magazine cover with the other silence breakers was by far my favorite magazine cover/interview she’s ever done.

But when she came back with LWYMMD and RECLAIMED her narrative I was in awe. I hated being on socials seeing everyone talk crap before LWYMMD, about her. The stupid snake emojis would infuriate me. But Taylor doesn’t need my defense, Tay has got her own back and she took her image back and minted it! And once again, the song was on repeat and helping me get past my own hurdles. “But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time / Honey I rose up from the dead I do it all the time” 

I can’t say I’m as far along as Taylor, but I’m trying to be reborn again myself. Trying to adjust to the new normal in my life now, I’m really bad at change. Also I’m still not as confident as I’d like to be but watching how strong and happy she’s become gives me the strength to keep fighting for joy too. Not worrying about what other people think of me is my #1 goal in life. Even writing this my brain is saying, “People are going to think you’re crazy…” but I’m doing it anyway. 

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“New Years Day”
I had lived at home my entire life until January of this year. Another reason why Reputation just feels so right in this moment, because it’s Taylor really striking out and L-I-V-I-N-G. It’s not easy to leave the place you’ve always known, but with my mom gone things just weren’t the same anymore…I guess it was just time. So I spent this New Years Day at my new house with my boyfriend in Los Angeles. The first month it was hard, I kept thinking of the line from, “Never Grow up” where she says, “So here I am in my new apartment / In the big city, they just dropped me off / It’s so much colder then I thought it would be / So I tuck myself in and turn my light night on”.

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Cause one day I’ll be livin’ in a big ole city…

“Delicate”
The relationship I am in now is so different then any other one I’ve been in. For so many reasons, there’s a perfect Taylor song (or several) for every past person that’s ever had  my heart. But it’s always a good sign when the happy songs remind you of the person you’re with.  And if “Dear John” or “All too well” remind you of someone run as fast as you can! 

I’ve never been serious enough to live with a boyfriend before but I’ve never been with someone that really understood me for me. We’ve been together 6 years and I’ve never been happier or felt safer with someone. One of the first places we ever met up was a dive bar… I’m not kidding. 

Even though I think the Swift fandom wanted a sweet romance video for “Delicate” what she got was even more powerful. She’s happy cause she gets to be herself and this person she loves actually sees her for herself too. It took me years to actually fully show myself because I was so afraid of being hurt, do to what had happened in the past, delicate reminds me of those first few years when I was really starting to show myself. I’m still working on showing myself to the world however.

“Dress”
I know “Dress” is Taylor’s song but honestly it could be my song too. Because as I keep saying, Taylor writes my life.  “Flash back when you met me / Your buzz cut / And my hair bleached / Even in my worst light, you saw the best in me”

We didn’t meet under the best circumstances, I actually liked someone totally different. But we stood friends for a very long time. He saw me at my worst, my darkest, my dumbest, and yes he saw the best in me. And I really did wake up just in time, because if I hadn’t realized what was important in a partner I probably would have made different choices and missed out on him.

My favorite line on the song, nay, on the ALBUM is, “You left your mark on me, a golden tattoo”.

Because I not only think of him, but for some reason I think of my sister and my mom. I think of how much they influence my life and the lasting tattoo they will forever have on my heart. Love leaves its mark on you, and it is a golden tattoo which can never be erased..even long after someone is gone.

“End Game”
I am now a week away from watching the Reputation Stadium tour in Pasadena and once again I cannot wait. Concerts are my church it’s where my soul is healed where I feel like I belong, amongst all the others there that just get it. We scream, cry, sing and dance it is freedom and it is beautiful.

And for the first time in my Taylor history, I won’t be going to this concert alone. My niece got her ticket after me though…so I’ll still be sitting alone. But, I look forward for the opportunity to enjoy the pre and post concert glow with someone. And I will once again bawl my eyes out next to people I don’t know, happily. 


I often can’t really verbalize WHY I love Taylor so much when people ask me, and this is why. Because we have such an amazing long history together, she has meant SO MANY things to me over SO MANY years. I know I don’t know her, but she’s left her mark on me too. I will probably be a Swiftie for the rest of my life. She’s amazing and has helped me through my darkest times and helped me to express all the joy and love I’ve experienced too. If you actually stuck through to the end of this, I thank you for taking the time.

I will leave you with my second favorite Tay quote:

“If you’re lucky enough to be different, never change.” – Taylor Swift

Big Magic

My mom passed away the week before her birthday, so, today is her birthday. It is never as bad as the day she passed away, but I’m still sad. It makes me wish I could still celebrate her birthday with her…the things you take for granted when you don’t know any better.

I’ve been feeling very disconnected and jaded. I couldn’t even finish books when I was devouring them before, because I was so indifferent. You just feel like you’ve heard the same thing 200 times. Especially with self help books… I couldn’t even finish one. I had 5 audible credits to use I and I kept returning every book I bought. Even if I started out liking it…eventually I just couldn’t stand it anymore.

One book had been nagging at me to hear it. Oddly enough it was a book I had already read when it first came out, “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Even with that book I was hard set on not buying it…because it obviously didn’t work the first time. (Say that in a sarcastic tone to mimic the voice in my mind.)

But, all week last week it persisted. So finally I was like, “FINE, you win brain…I’ll use a credit on the book I already read and OWN.” (It is currently in a box like half my shit…which is really annoying but that’s a tale for another time.)

So I listened, and instantly I remembered why I loved it so much the first time. It was just everything I needed to hear, again. Maybe even more so now. I’m not going to sit here and review the book point by point, what really matters is that it got me to write again. My last post was a product of reading that book, and realizing that my creative self is dying to get out. So, I promised myself I’d work on being creative more. Using that long dormant part of my brain.

A few things happened, including today. (I got recognized, twice, at work for my efforts.) That give me the sense that I am on the right path. So I’m going to follow that curiosity. I don’t really know what that means, because there are several creative things I love doing…but I just need to do something to feed my soul…it’s starving.

4 Years

(I wrote this yesterday, 3/6/18, I didn’t realize it didn’t post after I finished..)

Yesterday was 4 years since my mom died, it was also a Monday. Why does it matter that yesterday was a Monday? Because of office symbiosis and what happens on Monday.

“How was your weekend?”

“How are you doing? Anything new?”

These are innocuous and polite questions..but on a day like yesterday they feel painful. I am not close enough to my co-workers to tell them what the day is. Some, I actually am close enough to but then how will they respond? What can they say that will make it any better?

There’s something that Brene Brown talks about called, “Smash and Grab”, to paraphrase, it’s basically when simple conversation is happening and someone throws something super heavy in the mix to get attention. “I got a flat tire this weekend.” “Well, my dog died this weekend, so yeah.” Even though I wouldn’t personally phrase it like that…I would still feel like that was exactly what I was doing. “How are you?” “I’m sad because my mom passed away 4 years ago today.” It just doesn’t seem like the thing to throw on someone Monday morning.

So I didn’t say a word about it, to anyone all day long. It doesn’t have that I sub-consciously push it down into oblivion without even trying. I had fooled myself into thinking that I was handling the day very well, I was getting BETTER at it. Look at me laughing and smiling…I can do this.

You know when you’re hung over and you can feel your stomach is upset? The next day you’re no longer drunk but your stomach is still turning and you do everything to stop it…but eventually you have to barf your brains out in order to feel better? I do that with my emotions.

The second I came home and laid in bed…I could feel it creeping up. First it came out as anger. I picked a fight with my boyfriend cause he wouldn’t get off his phone. I walked out and slammed the door. Then I went into the other room, laid down in the dark and began to bawl my eyes out. Fetal positon, ugly crying uncontrollably.

Eventually he found me and realized that the issue went far deeper then his tech obsession. Even with him I didn’t want to remind him what day it was. What can he say to make it better? He remembered without me telling him though.

I have made huge strides in my life in the last 4 years, in some areas. But without a moment of pause I would rewind everything positive in my life to go back to my life 4 years and a few months ago. I would give it all up to have my mom and sister back. I would work a job I hate, live at home, all of it.

Death is a film that covers your entire life, forever. It’s the lens from which you see the world after you lose people you love. Or maybe, that’s just me. Even the most beautiful things in my life are covered in a thin, barely visible film of loss and regret. I just want a time machine, is that too much to ask?

But, I walk through the film coated world anyway. I keep trudging along trying to find myself, new or old. My spirit and heart still feel so severed and my joy always feels so slippery. I am so desperate to keep it, I tend to chase it away.

I’m sad and depressed at the moment. I’m glad I can at least say that here because I can hardly say that to anyone else. But, this is a hard moment…they come and go. I push myself towards joy as much as I can anyway. And overall I will say that I have way more good days then bad.

In a way, writing this is just another way to throw up. It’s not only getting this out…but just writing in general has been calling me. All my creative outlets call to me and I never answer. I have I lot of excuses why I don’t. I want to change that. Something in me says that’s the path to true healing…who knows.

But today, I am sad and heartbroken. I miss my mom so much…

Dreaming of you

Last night after our Cinco de Mayo dinner my boyfriend and I were channel surfing and happened across Selena. As a young Mexican girl that movie and Selena were instant cult worship-worthy. My parents used to watch Don Francisco (even though my dad doesn’t speak spanish…..) and they were way into Selena before she was cool. (I’m joking there, but they did like her way before she blew up.)

I have been sick was a supposed “viral throat infection” since Tuesday. I say supposed because I think the doc diagnosed me wrong. I wake up every morning super congested and feeling like doodoo. This morning was no exception. So I woke up around 9am and was able to fall back asleep around 10am. Then I had a dream with my sister Mercy.

In 2014 my mom and sister passed away within 6 months of each other. My mother passed away in March a week before her birthday, my sister passed away in October the day after my own birthday. This fact shapes a lot of who I am, and my current “journey”. It also is a source a depression, sadness (and still) upheaval in my life. You’re going to hear about them a lot. I’m much better then I was, but I’m still not “ok”. I may never be “ok”.

I have 3 older sisters but my sister Mercy (yes that’s her real name) was closest to me in age and by far the only true best friend I have ever had. (I’m the youngest in the family)  My sister was 38 when she passed away, she was born with a congenital heart defect and had many open heart surgeries. The doctors said she’d live 6 months so…I guess 38 years is damn good.

See that is what I’m supposed to say. “We were lucky to have her as long as we did.” “I’m lucky I even got to know her” “She’s at peace now and now sick” All true, but fuck that shit man…I lost my BEST FRIEND. Just writing that has me crying my eyes out. This shit isn’t a Hallmark card. My advice when dealing with people that have lost someone is to say “I am here for you, to listen to you”, “I love you”. DON’T give me the above statements. Hell maybe it’s just me…maybe I’m the only one that can’t stomach the “They’re in a better place” shit. Mind you, I BELIEVE THAT, wholeheartedly, but it doesn’t change the fact that I want my sister HERE with me, living my life with me. I want to text her and call her and send her funny meme’s. I want to talk about Total Divas with her and tell her all I’ve done and been up to. AND I CAN’T. I can, I talk to air, but she can’t respond to me.

Wow, I really derailed this post. But all of this is actually related. Sorry, I literally don’t tell anyone else the stuff above besides my boyfriend. Because I feel like I can’t…

So yes, I had a dream with her. I don’t remember the beginning clearly. I know I was talking to her and dumping out makeup bags. I just know at one point she showed me a video and it was of us putting gas in her car. I think it was when we were still going out. In the video I’m acting silly and just generally super happy. But then she says oh I think there’s something else at the end. Then the camera flips and its my sister in NYC. She’s like at a souvenir store goofing off trying on silly hats. Then I wake up from the dream.

My sister visited a lot of places but as far as I remember NYC wasn’t one of them. My interpretation of this dream… 1. she knows I miss her. I am dead serious last night before I went to bed I thought to myself, “I haven’t had a dream with them in awhile.”. So, she came to visit. Also, with her being in NYC I think she’s trying to tell me she’s still alive exploring. Because my sister went A LOT of different places in her life. She was a free spirit…I’m trying to be like her but it’s hard.

Now we circle back to the title, “Dreaming of you” by Selena. See…it all kind of made sense.