Grief: Can’t Go Under it, Can’t Go Over it. Gotta Go Through It

Grief feels like a language that I am still learning to speak. Thick and heavy on my tongue, it’s syntax is still new to me. Yet as I struggle to find the right words, I have a new appreciation for the many people I know that understand and speak it fluently. Like a traveler to a foreign country, I am comforted when I encounter someone who shares even a little of this new language with me. And in my lesser moments, I envy those who are unable to understand even a snippet of it.

I have learned that grief has a way of leaving an indelible mark, and people that have been touched by it never forget.  Like a tattoo this mark might be displayed openly its symbolism explained in great detail to all whether they ask or not, shared with just a few, or dutifully hidden. Yet no matter who sees it, the mark remains, and although each one is unique, many of us bare this type of mark.

Grief is both a singular journey and one of life’s most widely shared experiences. While it stems from a unique place,  those that grieve similarly find themselves at the edge of a great chasm. This deep abyss can be crossed but the journey is not easy; there are no maps or Sherpas. We must navigate our own paths and carry our own, heavy loads.

As I find myself at the edge the first chasm that has been put squarely in my path, I am reminded of one of my favorite children’s books, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” The premise is that when confronted with an obstacle, you must meet it head on–“Can’t go under it, can’t go over it, gotta go through it.”

Eventually, I must cross through this chasm because, if I want to move forward, I will need to get to the other side. Fortunately no one is timing me, and I won’t be judged too harshly if I get lost a time or two. But someday, I will reach the other side, and when I do, I won’t forget the journey. Rather, I will bare that indelible mark, and I will remember because some things are far to great to forget.


That’s All She Wrote

Surviving Single

I have been out of college for two full years, and if you take that number and divide it by itself you will get the total number of dates that I have been on since graduation, one. In fact, I have had two different jobs and two different apartments but just that one date. I highlight this statistic not to inspire sympathy (but seriously, let me know if you want to set me up with someone) but rather because during my stint in singledom, I have learned a number of life lessons that are worth sharing.

  1. Lesson One: It is never appropriate, no matter the context, to ask a man his credit score. At least, that’s what I have been told. You might think that it is a reasonable question when somebody explains to you that they have bought both a small airplane and a large truck with straight cash. Be warned, everyone that overhears said conversation will not interpret your question as merely logistical intrigue. Go ahead and add credit scores to the list of topics to avoid in casual conversations. But really, what is your credit score if you only pay in cash? Asking for a friend….
  1. Lesson Two: Be wary of feeding male friends that are especially hungry. They will be so immediately grateful that they will wrongly conclude that the two of you are destined to be together. It is just the food talking. Hours later he will come to his senses and remember that the two of you actually drive one another crazy. There is nothing more threatening to the delicate balance of a cross-gender friendship than a well-timed, delicious meal. If you do find it necessary to provide nourishment to your male friends, be sure to prepare distinctly feminine dishes such as kale chips, veggie wraps, or gluten-free pizza. Avoid prime-rib at all cost, and proceed with caution.
  1. Lesson Three: If you have two friends that you think would be perfect for one another, sabotage any potential meeting. You are all going the same sporting event? Buy seats on opposite sides of the arena. Interested in seeing the same movie? Go to different theaters. Their union can only bring angst to your life. If introduced there are three probable outcomes: they have no interest in dating, they date, or they break-up. The first out-come is actually the easiest to deal with. Everybody feels awkward for a few days, and that’s that. The second two options have the potential of being far more disastrous. If they hit it off and date, prepare to spend an inordinate amount of time extensively discussing their relationship with each of your friends. There are a few perks when your friends date: everybody you want to spend time with is actually in the same place, you already like your friend’s significant other, and they might feel eternally indebted to you for setting them up. When your friends date, it is the best of times often followed by the worst of times. There is nothing worse than dealing with the aftermath of your friends’ breakup.
  1. Lesson Four: Remember the above scenarios when your friends suggest setting you up with their best friend/roommate/brother. It might work out, or it might be awful. Either way, don’t forget how your actions are bound to impact those around you. That being said, doesn’t it make far more sense to date someone highly recommended by a trusted friend?Feel free to hazard a guess on how I ended up going on that one date.   #Doublestandard.
  1. Lesson Five: Don’t forget that not all advice is good advice. Always consider the source. It seems intuitive that your male friends would give the best dating advice, but that isn’t always the case. Having male friends that you are comfortable enough with to ask for dating advice sounds great in theory, but in reality, you will have to deal with male friends who feel the need to give you dating advice. In the past few weeks, I have been told to try harder, to try less hard, to go on dates, to turn down dates, and to up my texting game (whatever that means). As it turns out, the road to singldom is paved with well-intentioned, but often misguided, advice.

To survive single, take the above lessons to heart. Already have these down pat? Don’t worry–there are many more faux pas out there waiting to be made.


That’s All She Wrote.