Saturday, April 20, 2013

Because Billy Joel is my beacon...

I know, I know ... what's with the title, Erin? Let me explain.

I spent this week, along with everyone else, experiencing so many emotions it was tough to name them all. Anger, fear, sadness, jubilation, you name it, I felt it. What should I do with all these emotions?

One time a doctor I worked with turned and said to me, "You've got an excuse for everything, don't you?" Wowza. The truth hurt. I'm good at making excuses, and even when they're valid, I feel bad.

So today I stopped making excuses as to why I couldn't exercise. I thought of the many innocent people who lost limbs in Boston. I threw on my 1st Ranger Battalion t-shirt with the names of our fallen Rangers on the back, and that made me realize those brave, selfless men would never be able to run again, although knowing Rangers like I do, I'm sure they've got their own workout club going on up in Heaven. I went to the track, with all of these people in mind, and when I felt like I couldn't run another step, I kept on going. I thought of three people who wanted to watch a marathon who lost their lives. I kept going.

Back to Billy Joel. I know you've been reading with bated breath, wondering how Billy fits all of this. His song, "All About Soul" came on while I was running. These lyrics just seemed to fit today and every day:

"This life isn't fair
It's gonna get dark, it's gonna get cold
You've got to get tough, but that ain't enough
It's all about soul."

I'm done with the excuses. I invite everyone to badger me daily, ask if I did any form of exercise - keep me accountable, and don't accept my myriad of excuses. Not to worry, though. I've got soul.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Because now I'm mad...

     I've moved on to the second stage of grief - anger. I'm angry that a coward took the lives of three innocent people on what was otherwise a bucolic day in Massachusetts, especially
Boston. I'm angry that it happened in my city, in my home state. I'm angry that I am here in Georgia and can't be there among my fellow New Englanders to grieve among them. I'm just angry.

     When I was 18, I stood along the sidelines of the Boston Marathon, hoping to catch a glimpse of my dad running by. My eyes darted back and forth, through the runners. "DADDY!" I saw him running, and yes, I call him Daddy. Maybe once I hit the age of 40 I'll just call him Kevin. It was a huge thrill to see my dad running yet another marathon.

     Martin Richard was along the sidelines waiting for his dad to finish the marathon. I've heard his dad ran, his dad didn't run, and I truly believe we will never know all of the details surrounding that day. Martin just wanted to see his dad run the marathon, and cheer him on, the same as I did back in 1993. An evil person with what I can only presume also has no soul changed the Richard's family forever. Martin died, and his younger sister, a dancer, lost a leg. His mother was also injured.

     Two young women with a lifetime ahead of them were also murdered. Why? I keep asking myself why. Maybe we'll never know why. But I need to know why.

     I need a suspect, I need someone to be arrested for this crime. I need a face and a name, someone to direct my anger towards. How dare you go into my city, the city I love the most, the city where I watched the Red Sox play on Summer evenings, where my son was baptized, where friends and family live and have lived, and try to destroy it.

     To whoever did this, I'll say this...I'm angry. I'm just a girl who loves Boston and lives in Georgia by way of marriage. If I'm angry, just imagine the anger from those who ran the marathon, those who lost their family members and friends that day, the citizens of Boston and Massachusetts, New England, the entire country, the entire world. You messed up big time, and now it's time.

     I will say this though - I rarely cry. It takes a lot for me to shed a tear. But after seeing the outpouring of love for Boston yesterday, I have been emotional and even shed a few tears. Seeing the videos of Yankees fans and other fans at games singing "Sweet Caroline" was simply amazing. Though sports may divide us, realizing that we are all a nation standing together against terror ultimately unites us.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Because Billy Joel said it best...

     A few weeks ago, I blogged about that feeling we all had after Sept. 11, 2001 - fear, sadness, anger, hopefulness, and every other feeling we could ever experience. We greeted strangers on the street. We, as a nation, banded together.

     I wrote about never losing that feeling, as a wife of a Soldier who has deployed continuously since October 2001, because I couldn't, and didn't want to. Every deployment reminded me why he was going overseas, and every day he was home between deployments I knew not to take those days for granted.

     I try to be nicer to people - no one but them knows what they're going through. I talk to strangers, try to make them smile, ask them how they're doing, and really listen when people talk to me. When Addison talks, I listen. I sat among families at a memorial service many years ago, and heard a fallen Ranger's dad trying to control his weeping. It was one of the most heartbreaking sounds I have ever heard, and I have never forgotten it. So yeah, if my son is speaking, I can put down my phone for a few minutes, or tear my eyes away from the TV to really listen to him; that father will never have the chance to talk to his son again.
     The last few years have divided us as a country. Adults have taken to calling other adults names as a way to make themselves feel better about their own political leanings, beliefs, and morals. Just knock it the fuck off, okay? If you feel the need to be mean to someone, especially those you know, I suggest counseling to find out why you harbor such hatred. People continue to hide behind technology as a way to try to belittle others - stop it.

     So what does this all have to do with Billy Joel? His song, This Is the Time, says, "This is the time to remember, 'cause it will not last forever, these are the days to hold onto, though we won't although we'll want to..." After the horrific events at the Boston Marathon yesterday, make this the time to remember humanity, caring, and heroism. Hold onto to those feelings, and turn them into a positive thing.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Because the guilt trips don't work anymore...

     I'm an Irish Catholic girl, so of course the first thing most people think about is guilt, because apparently us Irish Catholic's are born with it and it never goes away. I've spent most of my 38 years feeling guilty for things, most of them beyond my control. I've had to leave pet stores, in tears, because I couldn't rescue all of those animals. If I killed a spider, and the next day it rained, I felt guilty for being so awesome I made the old adage come to life. I think you get the idea...

     Lately, it seems like if I choose to make my feelings or opinions known, others feel that it's okay to try to make me feel guilty about it. Wait, what? Sadly, it's true, and I bet at some point, everyone has met or knows someone who has tried to do this to them also. I was made to try to feel guilty for my vote for president last year. It's a good thing I can think for myself. Most of us responisble Americans have a vote, so instead of trying to make me feel shame for my vote, go vote your own way, and shut up about it. Sure, there are those who give in to the guilt, but not this girl.

     I will never feel guilt for owning guns. A woman I don't even know told me on social media, "Well, I hope you can live with yourself when the next Newtown happens." Oh, okay, let's go there. You don't know how much milk I like in my cereal, lady, so why don't you reserve your hatefulness for someone's life you do know about. I'd love to have a big, strong man named Adam sleeping next to me every night. I'd love to have a male adult relative living in the same state with me. But I don't. I am on my own for most of the time, and I'm very cute. If you'd like to try to come into my house, I WILL defend myself and my son and my dogs. And that will be with a gun.

     I think healthy eating and exercise are important, and they are great. But I don't need it shoved down my throat. I don't subscribe to any diet, or any one way of exercise. If I want a bacon cheeseburger, I'll have a bacon cheeseburger, and I'll love that burger and not feel guilty about it. Obviously, I know better than to have one every day (I would if I could). I don't feel the need to make myself and everyone around me miserable by denying myself small pleasures. I believe in moderation, and I'm not much of an eater anyway. I like white bread, beer, carrot cake, eggs and such, and if I want to partake in these, I will. If I unfortunately got hit by a bus crossing the road tomorrow, at least I'd be a very happy girl in Heaven.

     I can't really figure out why others feel the need to try to make others feel guilty about any aspect of their lives. Maybe it's bitchy of me, but I really want to say, "Get a life." If you're that worried about what others choose to do, maybe it's time to take a good, long look at your own life. You can't be very happy with yourself. No need to make everyone else miserable too. Luckily, I'm a stubborn, confident woman who can use my own brain, my own feelings, and my own beliefs to make decisions.