Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Mel: A conversation outside of Costco on Monday...

Mel: Now this is an odd change...
Chris: What?
Mel: You've gone from urban professional to suburban daddy with two little girls, an SUV, and a Costco card.
Chris: No I haven't, I've gone from Born Again Badass, football player, weightlifter, and uber geek, to the Air Force, to young urban professional, to suburban daddy. I'm still the same person, just my duties have changed.
Mel: And you wear a different hat.
Chris: Quite literally... I hate hats, even when I was serving.

This sums up perfectly what has been going through my head lately. My life has changed drastically in the last couple of years and the last 5 months have been more stable than any part of my life for a decade or so. Am I still me? Of course, although I'd like to think I'm a better me these days. I just wear a different hat. But it's just been... odd.

You see, I've been having trouble adjusting. Most of my life I have been "jumping from crisis to crisis", a fair estimation from an old friend. Most of my life I've had one crisis or another to deal with, starting at about 10. I've always either had family, health, emotional, spiritual, and financial issues (usually all at the same time). Hell, for the first time in my life I am living above the poverty line and I'm not even working for money. My health is improving, my family life is great, I'm improving emotionally, and I've finally got my spiritual issues worked out. The only problem I'm currently having is a legal issue with the kids, and that should be worked out by Christmas.

So what happens when a person who only knows how to deal with crisis stops having a crisis to deal with? In my case they fall apart.

The idea of only having ONE crisis to deal with is so new, so unusual that I flat-out don't know what to do with myself. I honestly don't know how to deal with peace, and I'm so shaken up that I've even been inventing crises to deal with. I know it's bad, but I honestly don't know any other way. For the first time in a decade my time is not being entirely taken up by things going wrong, and I'm actually catching up.

So what does catching up mean? Well, for the first time in a long time I have free time and energy to do whatever I want, the means the do so, and freedom from other responsibilities (i.e. Chris watching the kids or a babysitter). So what am I going to do with all that time?

I don't frikken' know.

I haven't had the real opportunity to nurture hobbies, or find a women's group I could deal with, or any of that. I am literally looking at thousands of possibilities and going, "damn, now if only I had a clue what I wanted to do."

But that's a little off topic.

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, for another crisis to come up. Then the BMW's wiring caught fire and I thought,"well that figures, I couldn't go that long without a crisis. Losing a vehicle is always major crisis territory, I've had it happed before and it majorly f***ed things up".

Well, except that it didn't. We dealt with it easily and quickly, and got a new truck in the bargain. WTF?

So I went to the "bad stuff happens to guy" i.e. Chris, and asked him how this was possible, how it was possible for things to go right. He knows more about dealing with crisis than even I do, since the universe prefers him as a kicking bag, even more than it prefers me. His answer was simple, "maybe the universe is done kicking the shit out of us and we get a break for once."

A break? What's a break?

This transition from shit to happiness came a lot easier for Chris, or he adapted to it much more easily than I have. He's enjoying the change while I'm still going,

"wait this isn't right... I'M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPY"

Funny what you learn after years of your life being a poverty-level soap opera, isn't it?

That being siad, I'm finally getting used to the idea. I'm not about to turn into an over-indulged Scottsdale housewife who cries when her Hummer gets scratched, but I could get used to some time without major misery. I'm not about to get soft though, I know all peace is temporary and things are bound to get messed up again.

But in the meantime I've gone from minimum wage worker to neglected wife with two children, to living on my parents graces, to suburban housewife with expendable income and a happy marriage. Not quite the same magnitude of transition as Chris, but major just the same. It's all me though, just me in better circumstances (the last two definitely being better than the ones before).

Now if only I could learn to deal with security, being able to have nice things, and not having everything yanked out from under me. That's even harder than finding stuff to fill my time, as I have not been able to truly appreciate this new concept called "happiness" because I keep waiting for it to go away. Except it isn't.

So in the meantime I'm going to stop worrying so much, and wading through so much shit. I need to learn to do something new, and learn to enjoy myself without the next disaster in the back of my mind. I'm used to carrying the world on my shoulders, and all of a sudden there's both someone to share the responsibility with, and less responsibility to share. Now that I'm not so worried and not in so much pain, maybe I can get around to this thing call living.

So when the world ends, or something major happens, let me know. Until then I'll do what I need to do, enjoy myself, and stop worrying so goddamn much.

This is still me, after all. Just me with a different hat.


Just call me Mel, everyone else does.