Or Is She A Light Sleeper Too?

When I was young, I would lay barefoot in my dad’s old canoe, with my friend Christian, and daydream. I dreamt of snow days, tree forts, and perhaps a car to wander down my lonely dead end street so I could sell them cranberry juice or a stolen pumpkin from the neighbor’s garden. My mom always said lemonade was nothing but sugar and wasn’t good for my bladder like cranberry juice. My response was that I was just trying to make a buck (literally) and no one had ever heard of a cranberry juice stand.

A few years later, I got blonde highlights, a training bra, and started dreaming of my first kiss or how great it would feel to be able to drive myself to the mall. And snow days. During my early college years, I dreamt of moving to the city, sipping martinis in cute cocktail dresses, meeting an affluent man who wore skinny ties, and becoming a writer for some sort of BS magazine, like say, Cosmo or Allure. That was just a phase, thank God. At that point in my life, friends were ever-changing, as were boyfriends and the color of my bridesmaid dresses, yet I still had no dreams of my own white wedding.

By the grace of God, I turned down a proposal that would have surely ended in a nasty divorce, a black eye, and several restraining orders. Toward the end of college, while filling lumber orders at Home Depot, I would stare at my Italy calendar and dream of exploring this beautiful world of ours. So I did. The trip came with an added bonus: a charming, British boy who moved to my crappy town and bought me a house on a street lined with maple trees. I loved him incredibly.

sad-faceAt this point, I had experienced enough of life not to get my hopes up. However, one sunny fall day as I was driving through the neighborhood, I saw a father helping his son learn how to ride a bike. I remember watching them and thinking that for the first time in my life, I am not scared. I felt happy. I felt relieved that maybe I was finally ready for my “real life” to begin. When I opened the front door, I found my boyfriend unconscious from a heroin overdose. For the following three years, the only dream that existed in me was that I would awake to find him, still breathing.

In my mid-twenties, I assembled the disjointed pieces of myself and started figuring out who I was. Tried many things, failed. I discovered new passions, such as photography. I developed old passions, such as writing. I dreamt of independence. I dreamt of making my living as a writer. I dreamt of finding a man who truly got me, if he even existed. Someone I could laugh with. I didn’t care about his wealth, or status, or how well he could coordinate his own outfits.

As I am now dangerously approaching a middle-age milestone, I look back and realize my dreams have always been rather simple. Many people dream of curing cancer, being famously known, or owning a penthouse suite in Times Square. The dream of a fairy tale wedding never even existed for me, and the dream of watching my son learn how to ride his bike on the sidewalk has long since been shelved to collect dust, along with several others.

I haven’t expected much out of life, or the people I encounter in it – just common decency. I’ve made terrible mistakes, but I’ve learned. I’ve learned how to distinguish friends that actually give a damn; you really are the company you keep. I’ve learned that you might fall for someone’s personality, but unfortunately, must live with their character. I’ve learned that there is no better feeling than a clear conscience; nothing worse than a guilty one. I’ve learned that in every situation, you have a choice. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s okay, even necessary, to be alone. I’ve learned that I’d still rather be hurt, than hurt someone else. I’ve learned that coping mechanisms are cowardice; and only for those not willing to surrender to the pain, which ultimately enables you to better yourself. I’ve learned that grace and dignity during difficult situations are the difference between a girl and a woman, a boy and a man. I’ve learned the high road, although much less traveled, takes you much farther. I’ve learned that you should always call someone’s bluff. I’ve learned that words, although the source of my survival, are also the bane of my existence, because they mean nothing.

feet-in-grass2Yesterday, it was sunset. As I was driving through a tree-lined neighborhood, I looked at all the families. I gawked at the couples, with their hands in each other’s back pockets. Perhaps they were truly happy; perhaps they lived in Ignorant Blisswhere I have been until recently.

And it seemed, in that moment, everything had come full circle. The only thing I really wanted to do was lay barefoot in the grass, rest my puffy eyes, and daydream with someone. Someone I could laugh with. Someone who truly got me.

“Our happiness, such as in its degree it has been, lives in memory. We have not the voice itself; we have only its echo. We are never happy; we can only remember that we were so once. After all, a man’s real possession is his memory. In nothing else he is rich, in nothing else he is poor.” -Alexander Smith


44 thoughts on “Or Is She A Light Sleeper Too?

  1. I relate to this post so deeply and gratefully. I am so sorry you are hurting
    like you seem to be. I am so glad to read such honestly about shattered dreams. My own shattered dreams have been some different than yours, but very
    similar in their simplicity. I have spent hard years trying to reconcile the
    way my marriage has been to the way I wanted it to be, the way my financial life has been to how I was sure it would be, and my health. I love your
    fine spirit and honest writing. Hang in there. You are not alone.

  2. Your entire paragraph in red is amazing. You should create a poster using exactly those words.

    AND since you are around for the minute send me a 125×125 banner ad for my links page and please change my link to http://beartoons.com. You still have it going to my old wordpress account.

    • what bearman wants, bearman gets. i have changed the link. i’ll get you an ad asap. Thanks, you’re too kind.

      maggie- i’m sure i could not put anything as eloquently as yourself, but thank you for your kind words. i am hurting, terribly. i know others have it worse than me, but it doesn’t make my heart ache any less. it’s one of those things that you have to let go, but unfortunately, is irreplaceable.

  3. I’ve often wondered if ignorant bliss is truly a superior way to live life, but given the life of awareness I’ve lived to this point, I’ve decided it definitely wouldn’t be better. Easier, yes. But taking the easy way out is never the most satisfying. In fact, I often pity the ignorant.

    Whatever it is that has you down, I’m confident that you’re strong enough to get past it. As I’ve told you before (and feel this is worth repeating), of all the people I know, you’re by far the most capable of dealing with what has you down, especially when you consider how much you’ve been through over the years. Don’t be afraid to rely on your amazing support system of your parents and friends.

    Britteny, you make it completely apparent just how self aware and amazing you are throughout this post. Your understanding of people, emotions, and how to conduct yourself will continue to serve you well. You keep that up, and you’ll get yours. Good things will come to you, and if you look around, I’m sure you’ll see plenty of great things you already have in your life. You’re clearly capable of great things, this is merely a bump in the road that is life.

    • enna – thank you, my dear. miss you.

      brandon – as always, you are much too gracious with your words. i believe that we will all get what we deserve, in the end; and I have always tried to focus more on that end than the immediate gratification of the moment. i don’t always succeed, but i honestly try. i realize life is short. it took me a long time to be able to appreciate the feeling of knowing you have someone to count on in this world, someone who supports you no matter what, someone who brushes the lint off your sweater, someone who knows what you like on your sandwich. these are simple things, but they are the best things in life.

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    • yellow- aw, thank you… and yes, yes they are. =)

      elise -thanks for stopping by! everybody say hi to elise.

      sherri – i try my best to learn from the things i’ve gone through in life, not always though. i’m far, FAR from perfect. and what do you mean -do you make sense? when has anyone ever made sense on my blog?

  5. You have an understanding of life, people and emotions that not many people have. It goes soooo deep. A lot of people never even give themselves the decency to dig deeper beyond the “I want” and “I need” bullshit. I don’t know if I’m making sense. It makes sense in my head. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I am so sorry! Just read your comment on my blog and then your touching post. Life really is difficult sometimes. It feels as though you won’t feel anything as intense as this misery until you experience true joy. The terrible lows make the amazing highs even more sweet. That doesn’t really help right now but just know that this too shall pass.
    You are a fabulously talented woman. Hold onto your strength. It may be little consolation but those of us who read your blog are rooting for you. Keep writing. It’s good for the soul.

    • jen- yes, i was experiencing an amazing high, hence the tremendous pain i have right now. i didn’t even really think about this post too much. i went into a meeting and wasn’t even able to talk. i told her what had happened and she encouraged me to just sit down and write. that’s what i did, and there you go. your encouragement means alot to me. true story.

      V- i can’t even tell you how happy i am to have discovered you. you’re an amazing woman and i can’t wait for our girls night! ah, i think i’m fortunate enough to finally have some good friends in my life at this point, however, i am still deceived every now and then. David Gray… mmmm. 😉

  7. Dearest Brit, I had to read this post three times to fully digest what you’re saying. I thought it was beautiful the first time. I understood it on a personal and real level the second time. The third time I wanted to jump into my laptop and hug you and take you far away. You are a beautiful, talented, funny, and intelligent woman. One I loved hanging out with and left me only wanting more time talking over wine. You deserve better. You ARE better.

    Distinguishing friends has been something it’s taken me years to learn and fully realize. I have tons of friends. But I have three reciprocal friends, those friends that will be next to you no matter what. Those who don’t lie, cheat, steal, or want anything from you that isn’t just to be sitting next to you.

    Keep your chin up baby. I know you’re hurting, but I also know a girl’s night out (or in) is in your future. You let me know what I can do. Also, This Year’s Love is one of my absolute all-time favorite songs. Loves.

  8. Brit…believe me that person will come into your life, if not already there. It took me years of searching and many of disappointment before that person came into my life (early thirties). Of course, skepticism and doubt rode permanently on my shoulders by then.

    But even having found my best friend/husband, friendships in general can also be a source of misery and disappointment. Unfortunately, I had a friendship that I thought would last forever, but a day came along that I could no longer accept certain unacceptable behaviors. You know the kind that you keep making excuses to yourself and shove to the side because “they are your best friend”. But, a day comes that you just gotta say something, so you choose your words as diplomatically as possible, then….WHAM, you get smacked back with a tirade of BS. End of discussion and end of 21 year friendship. Not much of a friendship, huh, I said to myself. (This same type of scenario had happened on two other occasions during those 21 years and the only reason the friendship continued was because I was the one who made the attempts.) The last time, I finally saw the light and realized it probably never was much of a friendship all along, and have moved on.

    So, if what you are going through is remotely due to friendships, you’re not the only one in your boat. Some people never grow up or learn by their mistakes. They will continue to go down that same road over and over again whereas your path will lead you to much better places!


    • jill- if anyone knows anything about fleeting friends, it’s me. i can’t tell you how many i’ve had over the years…. lucky for now, to have some quality ones in my life. what i am going through now is related more to relationships than friendships, but all in the same. yes, i have alot of doubts that i will ever meet “that person”… we’ll see. Thank you so much for your encouraging words… i have the best BEST readers in the universe. seriously.

      j -yes, we are all full of doubt. we can’t ever trust others, because we can’t trust ourselves. Thank you for being such a good friend, even if i have never seen your beautiful face in person!

  9. That was such a beautiful post. I relate. Because for 5 years that’s where I was…and even now…even in a relationship that I can finally categorize as a relationship (not, “a thing”), I still have moments, days…when I wonder if I’ll ever find someone who makes me feel like I’m not completely alone.

    The wondering hasn’t stopped for me.

  10. I too, like Bearman, think that the paragraph in red needs to be on a poster. As I was reading it I kept thinking that I need to copy and paste it so that I can read it to my daughter. She’s only 8 but you say (so much better) what I want to tell her about life. It’s hard to believe that she’s already learning how to be strong in the midst of a mean world, fraught with mean girls and unfair circumstances. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m the best role model, but I wish I could tell her what you’ve just said. Although I think somehow she’s going to have to learn it for herself. I’ve been visiting here a little bit here and there, but was provoked to write tonight because I think you need to hear that some day you will have someone’s pocket to put your hand into. You’ll know it- when they’re wearing the right pants.

    • mary- i am so glad that you decided to leave me a comment. I highly doubt that i can word things better than you, because that comment about the “right pants” nearly made me cry. Glad you introduced yourself. your daughter is lucky to have such a caring mother. i can relate to her as i remember being bullied by girls at a very young age. it never really stops, to be honest with you, as i’m sure you know.

  11. well brit, as they say, things are fine until they are not (in a relationship). i have had the same thing happen so i can empathise with the retrospectiveness of your post.

    I sincerely hope you do not take the road I took, which was of self blame, thinking that you were and are not good enough…that is all crap dont ever those thoughts (if you have them) ever convince you.

    You are a very talented, witty, gorgeous girl inside and out. Let yourself recover, get out there and have some fun with good friends, your beauty and confidence will again shine and you will attract the right kind of guy for you 🙂

    i was telling bearman the other day on your comment on his blog that i wish we all lived closer so we could all take you out for a great night of laughter and fun.

  12. Hey Brit,

    I can only imagine how much this sucks for you, you don’t deserve it 🙁

    I’m sitting in my study just wondering how you’re feeling. I’d share a bottle of Bordeaux with you if I could.

    Go outside right now and look up at the stars, you see that little one wayyyyy up there twinkling? I told it to twinkle just for you! Cheer up as best you can, love.

  13. Oh you just broke my heart into a million pieces while at work and I feel like crying at my desk and writing a blog response.

    “I’ve learned that coping mechanisms are cowardice; and only for those not willing to surrender to the pain, which ultimately enables you to better yourself.”

    I think those are the truest words we’ll ever learn. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I’m with ya girl. Email me if you’d rather talk privately.

  14. I have been there more times than I care to count.
    You are a beautiful artist with your words and photos.
    What a moving post. Such depth……….
    My wish for you is love and happiness, my friend.

  15. Although this comes as a late response, you are even now a better person through your pain and experience. Smarter too through what you know verses what you didn’t. Gosh I love this song…always have and makes me think of James. Grrrrr. I hate to see you go through so much so often. Take time for yourself and be with your friends who TRULY love you and get you. Dont waste time on the ones who just care about the cocktail dresses and good times. All my love, always and forever,

  16. What a post. Brilliantly written and so direct.

    When you wrote that you were ready for your “real life” to begin, I couldn’t help but think of this song by Colin Hay, formerly of Men At Work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4tcRlHY-3Q

    I’ve been working on writing something similar to this, just to help sort out some things. It took a lot of courage for you to put this out for public consumption. Inspiring.

    • jeff- interestingly enough, colin hay was JUST in my town last night performing. and i LOVE that song. as i love garden state, the movie it was featured on.

      Thank you for your comment. it was difficult to write.

  17. I thought my dreams were simple too, but two marriages and three different lives (it feels like) have taught me that simplicity is terribly hard to obtain. Maybe it will find me, when I stop trying.

    I love this post. I hope you feel happier soon. xx

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