In My Skin For a Day


(This is what it feels like to be me for a day.) *written to this song, in my DQ outfit.

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While Working Night Shift at Dairy Queen.

Sticky. Covered in sprays and sprays of ice cream up and down the arms and all over the apron. Streaks of chocolate on forearms, red dye staining across fingers like my nails bled. Sweaty in the black uniform, hoping the deodorant holds out. Bruised in the oddest places; upper hip, mid calf. Sneakers catching on the floor, co-worker playfully poking me in the side, me ignoring how badly I want to sit down. Hands cold. Head hot. The strain in my muscles carrying heavy loads from the back to the front, then swelling with pride when coworkers cheer and call me a beast. Sometimes straight up sleepy, and sometimes frustrated by rude or difficult people–sometimes wanting to snap at someone but always biting my tongue at the last minute.

Usually, I’m happy, surrounded by coworkers who seem to all appreciate me so much. Inside jokes that warm me, the laughing fits where I’m almost in tears, the banter, the smirks traded between us all as cars roll by the drive-thru window forever. That smile or supportive word from someone which  gives me that next shot of energy to keep going. Ears overwhelmed by machines whirling and voices echoing and car engines rumbling. Keep standing. Keep smiling. Trying not to make it harder for anyone else by becoming frustrated. Trying to diffuse tension in the atmosphere when the night becomes overwhelming. 20 minutes feeling like 60. The heart thumping when I have to learn something new. Listening to everyone complain to me about each other. Trying so hard to empathize with them all. Wanting to hug them all because they’re all trying so hard in their own ways.

How amazing it is to hear: “We gucci, homie?!” “I want you on all my shifts!” “I missed you, Jamie.” “My shifts with you are so much better!” “Who else would I work with if you weren’t here.” “You’re an amazing person, Jamie.” Like wow. 

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Fingertips counting dollar bills, fumbling with coins, slamming the window too hard. Hearing my customer service voice that somehow flows like honey, even when things are at its most chaotic. The surge of relief in my chest when backup arrives and I can breathe again. Throat so dry from being stuck in the drive-thru for two hours: “what size?” “need a lid on that?” “anything else?” “That’ll be four-forty four.”; a couple gulps of water in the back before the next wave hits. The happiness of the next paycheck in my pocket.

Being drop-dead tired after seven-day work weeks or the days with surprise double shifts because the homie is sick and can’t come in; crying outside by myself from being so tired between those shifts. The boyfriend’s phone call comforting me as I crouch on an empty ice cream crate before returning for another six hours. The cold air of the freezer doors. The crunch of paper bags in my arms. The happiness when co-workers become more like friends you’re paid to hang out with. And the soaring happiness when a select few become more like family than friends. Knowing you have each other’s backs in and out of work. ❤ That’s honestly the best. ❤

When I’m At Home.

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Tired. Yet wired after usual night shifts, left sitting up till early hours of the morning trying to unwind enough to sleep. The computer’s glow tiring my eyes. The happiness of finding a goodnight message from my boyfriend every single night while kicking off my shoes. Music pounding in my eardrums. Scrubbing ice cream off my arms and face. Trudging around the yard looking for scorpions, toeing the dirt, the scent of poison. Getting lost in the music for an hour and a half while pacing back and forth under the moon–time feels frozen. Processing emotions of the day, imagining novel scenes, breathing sweet fresh air, self-therapy.

Soft bed covers. The glow of Netflix across the room keeping monsters away.  The shock of it being 2 AM. Snuggling something soft in my arms and getting hit by how much I miss him. Mostly drifting off to happy fantasies of snuggles and warm hugs, on rarer times feeling my heart shatter when I almost remember the scent of his hair. Feeling the tears fall, feeling those 2000 miles between us, devastated to be so far away. Flipping the pillow over to the dry side right before sleep hits me like a truck.

For sure no one knows how much you want this when your spouse passes away:

Waking up mid-morning groggy and grumpy. The happiness of his good morning waiting for me, making me smile and roll over, the first thing I see every morning. A keyboard at my fingertips. Tip tap. Tip tap. Tip tap. Music in my ears. Smiling at the funny things he and I message each other throughout the day. Sadly watching the clock slowly countdown my return to work for another evening. Searching my part of the fridge for food. Getting to Skype for a couple of hours. The joy in my chest when I see his smile, the sweetness from hearing his voice in my ear again. Laughing and laughing, talking and talking. Knowing love and how it pains and how it means more than anything. Sometimes sadly lying on my bed being quiet together, because we’re just so tired. The relief when he prays with me to have a good shift. Happiness. Feeling loved.

Then leaving for work again, ready to do it all over again. Soon to be sticky again.

Image by Elisabeth.Niyaha

~Jamie

 

Highlights from My 2016


I did a lot of growing up this year. I experienced different reality checks, forced to grow, to change habits. However, I accomplished a lot in 2016 personally, when I look back because of them. I’ve been in a stand still for a long time (when trauma happens, “fight or flight” is not the only survival instinct. There is also “freeze”. That’s where I’ve been after the last few emotionally traumatic years.) But I’m unfreezing, and I can see that with each passing year; especially in 2016.

I moved forward. These are some of those highlights. ❤

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Self Public Transportation For A Semester.

I wasn’t driving when I took a math course at my community college; so I used the bus and my bike for transportation. It was a first big step I took to leave the house alone and get myself somewhere like that! It wasn’t a huge commute (would generally take a good half hour if the bus wasn’t late and I pedaled steadily) but it still meant a lot to me. I was not used to biking or the bus, so in that first week, it felt like the most difficult trip in the world. But each week it got easier. I got physically stronger from biking and mentally empowered. My MP3 player was a life saver. I even lost some weight riding that bike. The worst thing that happened? I almost got flipping RUN OVER at a big intersection (legit; in the cross walk, I got knocked to my knees in the street and the car was bearing down on top of me) and that was slightly traumatic. I won’t forget some of the most peculiar people I met waiting for my bus after class (a talkative ex-con, a friendly teenager with a Batman shirt, a drunk woman who was so proud of her daughter, a bus driver who told me I had beautiful eyes.) People told me their life stories in moments at that bus stop. It was a crazy experience for me but I’m happy I persevered through it. And with an A in math too.

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Flew the Country Twice Alone

At the end of that semester, I flew to Georgia to meet James for the first time! And just wow, flying is just an incredible experience! It was empowering to get myself through those airports on my own some, especially after all my biking practice. I flew the first time in May, the second time in December, and both were overall very smooth! I remember everyone I sat next to on each plane well, at least for both flights to GA, as they were so sweet and kind. I’ll never forget the butterflies in the pit of my stomach when I first saw all the green trees around the landing strip from the plane window and realized “I’m here. He’s here.” But now the sight of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport runway is one of my favorite sights! Outside of a few common silly fears, I actually really enjoy flying and I look forward to all the future flights ahead of me.

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I Got Myself a Job

I began paying rent this year to stay home, but my savings were very limited at the start, so a job I needed. A job I got, one that worked best for me due to location. Boy, it has been a mad adventure since getting that job: racing in when others didn’t show, learning curves one after the other, adjusting to a boss’s needs, staying out of coworker drama while still being the ear everyone wants to talk to about it, haha. But now I have my very own source of income and I’m saving up for my car. I have grown a lot as a person by learning to persevere throughout the unforeseen trials of that job. I have learned so much about life in general there. I have also built some incredible friendships with several coworkers there, and I go on late night adventures with a couple of them even! I also enjoy my repeat costumers who get so excited when they see me. I’m thankful for the consistent pay and am happy to work with so many nice people.

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I Learned to Drive

I’ve been very scared of driving for a long time. Partly because I didn’t have a longing for it like many kids. But I was also seriously terrified of the being in control of such a powerful vehicle while being among thousands of other drivers more stupid and incompetent than myself. I live in Phoenix, it’s a big city with lots of crappy drivers ok? But I studied the rules hard and took a lot of time to really practice throughout late summer and fall. Now I can say I’m fairly comfortable with driving! I’ve driven to a lot of different places in my state for practice and all of those trips were great fun! I’m a more cautious driver, but I do enjoy flying at high speeds on the freeway. The only thing I still struggle with is parking, but I’m getting better. XD It was a big deal for me to learn how to drive, but I’m glad that I’ve learned!

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I Successfully Began Long-Distance Dating My Best Friend

This took the most time, the most energy, most of the year to do, but it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done! I couldn’t be more grateful for where we are now compared to a year ago. I remember seeing him for the first time, running to hug him and not wanting to let go the entire trip. I’m glad I choose to take my time before committing to “boyfriend/girlfriend” titles until later in the year; we were just “us” and we are still “us” even now because of it! I’m happy that I decided to be honest about myself with him, about what I felt and needed. It was amazing that at the end of the year, we could announce we were happily dating long distance, fully secure in each other and our feelings. He is my first real love, my first date, my first kiss, and I hope my first for many, many, many more things! He enriches and blesses my life so abundantly; I’m so happy that God has brought us into the security we have now, in His plan, our friendship and love for each other. ❤

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2016:

was the year I painted big parts of the house and reorganized the attic by myself. The year I really dug temporary tattoos. The year I started a music blog. The year I started Breaking Bad but didn’t get around to finishing it. The year I flew 2000 miles for my first date. The year I learned new crochet patterns (and crocheted my biggest blanket ever.) The year I got to eat Captain D’s again. The year I biked through the park at night to breathe music better. The year my kitty disappeared and never came home. 😦 The year I stopped walking the dogs. The year I choose to have my first kiss. ❤ The year I worked double-shifts. The year I bought 5 anime posters at comic-con. The year I found Home far away, then had to leave him behind twice drenched in my tears. The year Chris Pratt tweeted emojis at me for loving “Passengers”. The year I finally found Father Goose at the thrift store. The year I lost 25 pounds. The year I watched 73 anime shows beginning to end. The year I started buying dream catchers.  The year I said, “I love you”.

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2016 was a good year for me, despite all the election drama and the different trials I did experience. I learned I could overcome obstacles if I tried, that I was loved for exactly who I was, and that God was bigger than my fears. It was a good year. ❤

~Jamie

six years of blogging (and how it changed my life)


So I completely forgot that on New Year’s Eve it was my blog’s sixth anniversary!

I have been purposefully absent from blogging this past year; and it was kind of weird. I’ve grown used to blogging about my personal life, about the things I learn as I struggle and grow. However, outside of some purposefully vague blog posts, I’ve been quiet about my life most of this year. I was concentrating on something very important to me and waiting for when I was secure enough to share it.

Well, tonight’s the night and I’m so happy that I waited! Some of you who keep up with me on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook already know what I’m talking about. 😉 But I’m ready to talk about it here. I haven’t planned or outlined any of this post, so hopefully me just explaining what I want to explain all makes sense. XD

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I’ve been building my first romantic relationship, with my best friend James, who lives in Georgia, for the past year.

Yeah; probably not shocking many of you who can read between the lines. XD But hey, this feels very official. XD Some of you who’ve been here awhile know James from his blog; several of you readers kinda grew up with us all together, watching Marvel movies, discussing Star Wars and growing up into college kids–you know who you are. 😉 ❤

Well, James and I met through our blogs back in 2011 and have been friends ever since. About a year ago, after several years of consistently skyping and being the best of friends, our true feelings between us surfaced. I’d had feelings for about six months or so, dropping hints which I thought he was not reading at all. Meanwhile, he’d been holding a crush for about three years (which he hid so well, because I had no idea!) and was absolutely terrified of somehow losing our friendship. So it was quite a big deal when “us” happened; when we began to talk it all out, along with how we could meet.

Our top priority in all of it was protecting our friendship: neither of us wanted to lose what we already had in our friendship. I mean, we loved talking every week about anime, about life, about anything really. Our friendship was too valuable to risk, so we entered the romantic waters very thoughtfully. It was not a walk in the park, people. We both experienced a lot of anxiety and fear during those early months. I was unsure how we could make us work at first, being so far apart and having not met in person, but I knew I wanted to try. I wanted to go slowly and make time for us figure it out, to adapt, to fully comprehend we really did “like like” each other, and spend enough time talking about everything we needed to. And we helped each other through the anxiety, the fear, the trust building!

We talked so much before we first met in May; with all the talking was the trust-building, honesty-building; being respectful, trying to be ourselves, learning more about ourselves as we learned more about what “we” were and could be. We messaged and skyped so much before we met, constantly talking out those fears. It was terrifying and absolutely amazing at the same time. We loved it. It was exciting, it was completely brand new! The butterflies were insane!

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Our first hug at the airport; he barely saw me coming, I was running so fast to reach his arms.

We had a lot of fears before we met, resolving some while I was there, and dealing with others after I went back home. (You can read about our first visit here, if you missed it; it’s tastefully written to exclude we were romantically involved at the time.)

I asked him not to ask me to be his girlfriend during that first visit because I wanted to return home without any ties to see how I felt. I wanted to make sure I loved him, not the idea of him. I wanted to be “just us” for awhile, if that makes sense: just James and Jamie, without any labels like boyfriend and girlfriend.

He very patiently let me take my time. I knew a couple months after coming home that I wanted to officially be together, to try to see if we could make it in the long run. I knew the distance didn’t matter, the distance didn’t effect how I felt. So we privately called each other boyfriend and girlfriend from then on and continued being just us, talking about us, before I returned to him just a few weeks ago.

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From our first official photo session as boyfriend and girlfriend.

He officially asked me to be his girlfriend when I returned, and we made it public on social media to enjoy being a couple without feeling like we had to hide it. (I wanted to take as many cute couple selfies while we were together, after all LOL.) We were both happy and felt safe in own feelings and in each other. We had worked so hard for a year to build us, so it was exciting and still is exciting, to share the fruit of all that work.

We will tell you we’ve already been together more than a year, though: 365 days of very, very hard and dedicated communication being “us”, discussing boundaries, discussing fears, building trust, sharing secrets, discussing fun things like anime as we always had, and figuring out what love was. We’re still doing all that now, really. We’re still learning what love is and becoming closer, stronger.

That’s why for a year I chose to keep us private, so we could grow and become stable without anyone’s input but our immediate circles. I’m so so happy that I chose to be slow and private, even though it meant neglecting my blog for a year. XD

I feel secure and free to talk about it now! Now that such a huge part of my life has received a solid foundation that I’m confident in, I feel like I can come back here (and my other blogs) and talk openly again about life: what I’m learning, what I’m feeling, what I’m doing again. I can refer to James as “boyfriend” on here now; I can be happy knowing that I truly love him very much, without any doubts. That I’m proud to have him as my special someone (and wow, he wins best boyfriend award in the world. How did crazy ol’ me get someone so patient, so empowering, so kind, so affectionate, so gentle, and so supportive? I’m incredibly blessed, you guys!)

So, I’m very excited to come back here, back home to this blog. Back to the place that made us possible.

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Because without starting this blog six years ago, I wouldn’t have met James.

Without this place for us to have gotten to know each other, none of what I just documented would have happened! Like woah…mind blown.

Without writing here, without sharing my fandom joys, my little silly thoughts, my painful life experiences, my personality expressing itself in its whacky funny way, James wouldn’t have wanted to get to know me better! XD We wouldn’t have shared watching the new Marvel movies together; we wouldn’t have commented on each other’s blogs as teenagers for years; he wouldn’t have started his old podcast in 2013 as a way to start skyping with me; we wouldn’t have become the unlikely opposites who get so much out our differences, yet discover so much common ground; we wouldn’t have had each other’s backs during some of the darkest most painful times in both our lives.

Without this blog, I would not have discovered anime, flown across the country twice in a year, discovered myself as I have, experienced the most romantic first kiss one spring morning deep in the south with my hero, best friend, and first love, in the most affectionate, steady, funny, thoughtful, Godly young man ever who shed blood, sweat, utter loyalty and devotion, and a crap ton of being the funniest thing ever, to win my heart. ❤

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I’ve always loved words, telling stories, sharing my struggles and journies in writing. I’ve always believed that words are more powerful than the sword. I’ve believed words were one of the most powerful things in the world. And I’ll always believe that. Because the words in this stupid little blog did so much; it made so much possible. FOR GOODNESS SAKE, someone FELL IN LOVE with my personality, my words, my heart, because of this blog! And right now, despite all the crap that can still hit the fan in my life, I consider myself the most blessed woman in the world.

Your words matter. So when you write, be open, be kind, be true to yourself every single time you share them. You never know what might happen because of it. ❤

~Jamie