The Summer that Changed My Life: Part 1

I am having an inner battle about my 40th Birthday which is October 3. If you know me, you know I am a twin which means I was born a “we” and it took years for me to become Just Jamie.. not Jamie of Jamie and Amy.

That happened during the summer of 2004. I call it the summer that changed my life.

I was awarded an internship with Project Vote Smart which meant I headed to Montana for six weeks that summer.

When I told my boyfriend about the internship, he told me he didn’t want me to take it. He told me if I loved him, I wouldn’t leave him. That was the beginning of Jamie becoming Jamie. I loved him. He was my first love. When he said that to me, I told him if he couldn’t be apart from me for a six week internship, we needed to part ways because the career I wanted meant a lot of moving for several years. We were in his house having this conversation. I remember staying so calm in the house. It was a logical way to look at ending the relationship even though it cut me to the bone.

At the time of my life, I was who my family wanted me to be. I was conformed to the mold I was raised to be.  I worried about keeping up with the Jones’… I never left the house without makeup. I didn’t own a pair of jeans. In fact, I had to buy jeans and hiking boots before heading to Montana.

When I left Cameron’s that night… The last thing I said was, “Will you still take me to the bus to leave for Montana and come to my going away party?”… Of course he said yes.

As soon as I got around the corner, I began sobbing. Sobbing to the point I simply had to pull over because I couldn’t see. One of my best buy friends happened to call… I answered but I couldn’t really talk. He asked where I was and told me to stay put. He literally carried me into my apartment. It was one of the worst nights of my life. Ricky, the friend who rescued me that night, told me he was proud of me for not allowing Cameron to hold me back. He said he had no doubt it would change my life.

He was right.

A week later, Cameron took me to the Grey Hound station to get on a bus to start my four day journey from Manchester, TN to Montana.

That journey was the beginning of myself finding myself.

To be continued…

Hysteria over a TV Show!!?!

SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read if you watch Nashville and are not up to date!

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So… I am not going to lie. Last night’s episode of ‘Nashville’ made me sob. I cried so hard I broke all the blood vessels in my face!

It was the most real death scene I have witnessed on TV- at least for me.

One of the main characters was involved in a car accident. The entire episode was intense but throughout I thought, “she is the heart of the show. She will pull through”…

In the last five minutes of the episode, Rayna (played by Connie Burton) was fighting to live as she two daughters and husband sat on her bed praying for her. The husband told the girls to talk to their mom and instead, they started singing to her in perfect harmony. Dad joined in and through tears they sang as she flat lined.

It was almost more than my heart could take. It was so real and something I have lived.

I vividly remember my sisters and I singing to our Daddy as his time on earth ended. My Momma joined in and as his girls sang to him he moved out of this life. My world shattered. I cried so hard my contacts simply disappeared never to be recovered. I guess I cried them out… The daughters in this death scene reacted in a similar way.

The memories it brought to me caused hysteria.. over a TV show!

You see, it wasn’t just the TV show. It was the memories the death scene brought to my mind. It was reliving the hurt of my own life as I watched the scene on TV.

I find that therapeutic.  Books, movies, TV shows, music… all these creative outlets help me deal with life and the emotions that come along with a life well lived. I don’t cry over my daddy and his death often anymore but the pain of losing him is still there. Watching that scene last night made me remember.

Needless to say, if you watch Nashville… I hope you are recovering from the heart break of last night’s episode. I have a feeling next week will be a kleenex alert episode too.

 

Triggering Memories

I am a daddy’s girl.. plain and simple.

I adore my daddy. He’s been gone from this life since I was 20 (I will be 40 in October) but I still adore him and miss him daily. He was a good daddy to me.

When Daddy died, my world crashed around me. I didn’t think I could go on without him. That’s the first time I can remember being truly depressed. Since his death, I remember all the good times.. not the weeks leading up to his death. While those memories are precious, I try to remember him full of life and doing cart wheels. (yes, he did them anywhere and everywhere.. He also yodeled. A lot).

Last Saturday, a family friend passed away from complication due to AIDS.  While I love this person and am sad he is gone from this earth, my reaction to his death is not what I would expect based on my relationship.

Knowing he died the same way my daddy did though, brought back all the bad memories of Daddy’s death. I also became outraged that almost 20 years later someone I care about died the same way. There should be a cure by now! I hope I am alive when that happens.. It needs to happen in my lifetime.

Memories are amazing. A smell can take me back to moment so vividly I feel like I am reliving a moment. It’s both a strange and amazing experience when it happens.

I think memories, both good and mad, help make us better people. The events we live through in life make us who we are as people.

The way you choose to react to events of your life also matter when it comes to how the events shape you as a person. As a twin, I have seen first hand how perspective matters. From birth, she and I have lived through the exact same things yet our memories are so different. It’s all how we perceived what was happening and it’s fascinating.

I would love to write a book about our lives (it could be a soap opera!) together.

For example, a chapter titled: “Daddy’s Goodbye”… Part one would be how I remember the events….How I perceived what was happening and what I chose to remember about those final weeks. Part two would be the same thing in my sister’s words. I would like to find a mental health professional to weigh in for a part three of each chapter.

Personally, I think it would be beyond intriguing.  Now, to get the womb mate on board and DO IT!

Tonight, I will head home to Chattanooga to attend the funeral of our family friend tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing people I haven’t seen since I’ve reached adult hood and most of all, of seeing my momma, sisters, nieces and nephews…