Tag Archives: Letter E

End

This April, I’ll be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I’ll write an entry a day centered on my theme of Memoir. I’ll be using  Old Friend from Far Away by Natalie Goldberg as my inspiration for my daily topic. Each post will be a quick write (about 10-20 minutes) to help me notice and remember.

E is for End

Tell me about how a relationship ended.

I’d been dating T for six months, longer than any other relationship before him, and I was in love. Like really in love. Like the I’d do anything for him, melt whenever he looked at me, and thought we’d be together forever kind of love. So when he broke up with me, with no warning whatsoever, on what was supposed to be a great day, I was instantly heartbroken.

It was early morning on Saturday, December 3, 2005. I still remember the date; it’s forever etched into my memory. We were driving in my truck, on our way downtown to the University of Houston for a robotics tournament. I was the coach, and my team was excellent. The excitement of the day ahead made me giddy that morning. T was coming along to help out, since he’d been volunteering with the team all semester. He was one of us now.

About halfway there, he shifted the conversation from talking about the tournament and what to expect for the day to talking about us. More specifically, talking about how he felt about us, about me. He ambled on about this and that, most of which I can longer remember, but I wasn’t prepared for what would come next.

“You know, a lot of the guys that sing on stage with me at church have girlfriends or wives that look like models,” he said. Perplexed, I wondered where this was going. “I think that I deserve a girl who looks like a model, too,” he continued.

My stomach started to tighten and my breath suddenly caught in my throat, bracing myself for what would come next.

“You know, I love who you are as a person. I love your personality, your humor, how kind you are. I think you are so pretty, too. But…you’re just not thin enough for me,” he went on to say.

The silence in the truck was deafening. As I began to process what he’d said, my heart felt like it was splitting in two. My world crumbled in an instant. You’re just not thin enough for me. Those words echoed in my head over and over. Reeling from the shock of it all, I was dumbfounded. As I ugly-cried the rest of the way there, trying and failing to catch my breath, I couldn’t believe he’d done that, that he’d said those things. That’s not what you say to someone you love.

And to do it right then, that morning, when I was on my way to a tournament where people were depending on me to lead them was beyond selfish. Not only that, we were in the same vehicle, which meant I was stuck with him all day and would have to make the ride back with him later that evening. I remember asking him why over and over, but the only response I received was that it was what he deserved.

The pounding in my head got worse and worse, as the realization of what he’d said set in. I tried to pull myself together and stay strong for my students, but I just couldn’t do it. I had to pretend to be sick, claiming that I’d come down with a bad cold the night before, but came because I wanted to be there for the team. The moms knew something was wrong. They saw the telltale signs of my puffy, red eyes. A few of them pulled me aside to ask me what happened. I fell apart and told them everything, as they enveloped me in hugs and words of support, all while glaring at T who was across the gymnasium.

Somehow I managed to get through the tournament, and my students even won a few trophies. I don’t really remember the ride home. I don’t think there was much said, as I stared out the window, tears sliding down my cheeks. The rest of that weekend was one of the lowest points of my life. I couldn’t eat. I tried, but every time I went to put food in my mouth, I thought about those words. You’re just not thin enough for me. The me that was content with my body before he uttered those words was no longer there. All I could think about was that I was too fat. Too fat to be loved.

The pain and shame and embarrassment of it all was too much to handle. I called in sick to work on Monday, and stayed home and cried. I didn’t eat much that day either, apart from a bowl or two of Raisin Bran. I lost 8 pounds in three days. That’d be the start of a 25-pound weight loss that would happen over the next few months, as I painstakingly went on a diet and spent many hours in the gym, trying to attain the body I thought he wanted.

I wish I could tell you that this was the end of our relationship altogether, but it wasn’t. We got back together and broke up a few more times before I finally called it quits. But that first break-up hurt the most. I didn’t see it coming, and the wounds he inflicted with his words have never completely gone away.

Letter E #AtoZChallenge

Letter E memoir encyclopedia entries…go!

Eggs

I like my eggs scrambled. Basic, I know, but that’s just how I like ’em. My scrambled eggs are tasty, but my mom’s are way better! Hers are always fluffy, while mine can be a little tough. She says I over-mix them. What can I say? I’m impatient.

My granddaddy taught me the way to eat scrambled eggs, and to this day, it’s still my favorite. Two pieces of wheat bread, toasted til they’re toasty brown, but definitely not burnt. Spread on a thin layer of butter, followed by a layer of jam. I prefer strawberry or blueberry. Next put scrambled eggs on top of the toast and enjoy. Mmm, mmm, good!

Ennis St.

I lived my first 22 years at 606 S. Ennis St. in a one-story red brick house. I knew every inch of our stretch of Ennis St. and the surrounding neighborhood streets. I whizzed my bike around, flying up and down sidewalks and driveways, without a care in the world.

I played in the front yard beneath the shade of our ancient pecan tree, whose branches stretched out halfway across the yard and taller than the house. It was a perfect tree for climbing. It had a “v” shape low enough to act as a foothold, and a long branch overhead low and strong enough to grab onto when you were swinging up into the tree. Andrew and I spent hours up there. Every year, we’d collect what fallen pecans we could find, but the squirrels always beat us to them.

Growing up on Ennis St. is something I wouldn’t want to change about my childhood. I was two blocks from both my elementary and middle schools, so we biked or walked to school. For a while, my Meme and Papa lived two doors down, in the house my dad grew up in, and later my Aunt Kathy lived there, too. My best friend, Nicole, lived a couple blocks away and we could be at each others’ houses in a moment’s notice. We had a killer park perfectly built for bike riding. Goldie Ruth, our neighbor whose backyard we shared a fence with, was the nicest, funniest, old lady with some really amazing stories. Every Easter, our family, along with about 10 other families, gathered at Goldie Ruth’s house for the largest Easter feast known to man. Our Easter egg hunts were pretty epic, too!

I still sometimes drive down Ennis St., past my old house, just to see if it’s changed. There have been slight alterations, but for the most part, it’s as I remember it.

Entertaining

Entertaining is my jam. I know how to throw a mean party, and everyone has a good time. The trick is to have the right mix of good food (I’m sorta known for this bit), drinks, music, and party games (Cards Against Humanity is a crowd favorite).

I’m not sure what it is that draws me to entertaining, but it’s this pull that just comes naturally. It’s a helluva lot of work to do, I always get stressed out the day of as I try to get everything ready before guests arrive, and there’s a crapload of clean-up after the fact. But the energy, the smiles, and the fun with my friends makes it all worth it.

Typical soirees I tend to throw each year are back-to-school parties, Friendsgiving, Ugly Sweater Party around Christmas time, birthday party (last year’s was an epic Prom Pub Crawl), and end-of-year parties. I’ll also throw in the occasional cheese tasting or just-for-the-heck-of-it-since-everyone’s-stressed-out party.

You should totally come to my next party…you’re sure to like it!

Expat

Becoming an expat was the single-most life-changing decision I have ever made. Following my heart and taking the leap of faith to move to China and begin a life as an international educator is something that, at the time, seemed like a short-term decision, but now is a lifestyle I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I’m finishing up my seventh year as an expat, and during that time I have lived in Shanghai, China; Tirana, Albania; and Bangkok, Thailand. Soon I’ll begin a new adventure in Indonesia, and I’m really thrilled about this new chapter in my life!

Being an expat has opened my eyes to the world and shown me that there’s so much more out there than I could have ever imagined. This experience has made me a more open-minded, tolerant, patient, and understanding person. I am much more of a risk-taker, and I’ve done more and tried more than I ever thought possible. I’ve also met some truly amazing people during my time abroad that I would not have met otherwise. I couldn’t imagine doing this thing called life without them in it.

I have come to realize that I prefer living in places where it isn’t as easy. What I mean is that I would much rather live in a culturally diverse place that isn’t similar to the US. I like the challenge of it. It’s a real struggle sometimes, and I have been known to cry, but those moments only make me stronger. Experiencing new cultures has opened my eyes to the fact that there is more than one right way to do things.

A big perk to expat life is all of the travel opportunities you’re afforded. As an international educator, our school schedule is pretty sweet, and there are many weeks of holiday sprinkled throughout the year. Being in Asia or Europe, where the countries are all relatively close to one another and flights are inexpensive, means that you can frequently travel to new and exciting places. So far, I’ve been to 35 countries, and I’m not stopping anytime soon!

As with everything, there are drawbacks to expat life. The most obvious is that you are far away from your family and friends back home. You miss the everyday moments, the birthdays, the weddings, etc. You can also get homesick and miss the comforts of home, be it food, modern conveniences, or being able to speak the same language. Life is more difficult living abroad. The biggest difference is usually the language, but beyond that, things like paying bills, running errands, finding items you need, and going to the bank become huge ordeals that require much patience and an open mind.

Despite the drawbacks, I am in love with this life I’ve created, and the thought of moving back to the US, at least at this point in my life, seems so far outside of my realm of understanding that I can’t picture it. I tell anyone who’s considering moving abroad to go for it. It’s definitely not for everyone, and you may miss home and decide to come back, but you will be a better human for doing it. More likely a scenario is that you will fall in love with it, too, and decide to stay a while.

A2Z-BADGE-100 [2017]