Starting with a Bang

Hello again, Misadventurers!

    I declared this year the Year of New Experiences, and it has not disappointed! This year has thrown at me so many experiences, positive and not, all a little outside my usual realm of existence. I am so glad for the positive, and the negative builds me into a stronger person, so I’m glad for it, too!

    The year began with celebrating the day of my birth, all of 23 years ago. The only thing I wanted for this birthday was a cake, a very particular cake. This cake: 

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    Yes, I do like blink-182, how could you tell? I’ve been annoying my husband about this cake for probably the last 3 years. Like the champ he is, he’s been listening, looking at the pictures, and generally putting up with my annoyingness (love ya, babe). Like the angel he is, he really went and ordered me the cake from the best cake maker we know, and even picked it up for me! I was beyond ecstatic to be able to have this cake, and you can bet your sweet ass I had him and my friends take as many pics as possible before eating it. I also deeply love my friends for putting up with my annoyingness. 

    The next adventures really were misadventures, as we had a month or so very centered on death. One of my beloved pet rats passed, surprisingly though not unexpectedly. He was a little hairless fella named Louie, and he was sweet as pie and as curious as the cat! Here he is sleeping in a little box in his enclosure:

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    I grew up with lots of pets in my own home as well as my grandmother’s and other extended family’s homes. These pets were usually cats, dogs, the occasional fish or gerbil. Many of the cats we had when I was growing up are still alive to this day. Many of the dogs have passed, and of course the smaller critters, too. But it felt so different when Louie went. The dogs in my life as a child weren’t really mine. I didn’t feed them daily or groom them or walk them. They were just…part of the family. It hurt and was sad when they died. When Louie died, it was absolutely devastating. A little creature I’d fed and watered and cleaned was laying dead in his cage. It was such a different sadness when the pet was truly mine. 

    I know it wasn’t really my fault. Hairless rats are sickly and delicate, and typically don’t live as long as their furry companions. But the guilt and pain were still real, and are still a wound to heal. This misadventure is one I dearly hope I don’t repeat anytime soon. 

    To lighten the mood a bit, here is a picture of my other rat, Tiny, poking his head out of my pocket:

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A couple weeks after the loss of Louie, my husband, Jordan, and I were called to his grandmother’s house. Her husband, whose name and photo I am not going to provide here, had been declining in health for well over a year. Now, it appeared he was about to succumb to the various illnesses raging within him. We went to their home to comfort his grandma and provide any help we could. Her husband held on, fighting like he had his whole life. Jordan, his mother and grandma, and myself all waited in morbid anticipation. Finally, his grandmother took the advice of his mother and left her husband’s side to take a restful bath. Jordan and I joined his mother in the bedroom where his grandpa lay. 

    Not five minutes later, he took a breath, and didn’t take another. 

    We waited, holding our own breath. Would he take a next breath? Was this it? And it was. Jordan’s mother covered him in a blanket, and the three of us left the room. When Jordan’s grandma went in a few moments later, it was clear he was gone. It was a sad moment, the loss of his life. It was a bit strange for me, I had never been close to the deceased. We’d talked some at family parties but that was it. But I felt for my grandmother-in-law, and the emotions she felt. I felt for the rest of the family that was close to him. We all sat at the table, decompressing and talking as we awaited the morgue. And it hit me: I had never been in the same room as a dead human body before that day. I had never seen anyone die. Every death happened behind closed doors when I was a child, every funeral closed casket and/or cremation. I’d never been present at that moment. This too, is a misadventure I don’t want to repeat any time soon.

    In the wake of this death Jordan and I set about aiding his grandmother in sorting through belongings and categorizing, as well as just keeping her company. She set immediately to work with putting affairs and belongings in order and organizing the funeral events. I think this busy-ness was good for her. As we helped go through old belongings, my next new misadventure hit. She asked me to catalogue all the guns her husband had owned so she could have her nephew sell them for her. I’d never seen or held a gun in real life before, and here I was holding them and taking pictures of them! It was a rather surreal experience, all of it. 

   

    Here’s a pic of my dog giving side eye to alleviate the tension of all that sadness:

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    So far the year has picked up since then, and I am grateful for that! My husband’s family are all healing and settling in after the loss, and as are we. The next adventures were actually incredibly enjoyable!

    Marvel blessed us with the masterpiece that was Black Panther this February. My husband and I, as well as my mom, my two younger siblings, his sister, and two of our friends all went out as huge ass group to the very first premiere showing! We had a ridiculous amount of fun all together and loved the movie! I saw The Shape of Water the week before and honestly those are probably my two favorite movies now. Tied with Moana of course. Here’s my get up for the premiere, gotta rock that heritage:

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    And the latest adventure was the one which honored me the most. Two of my friends (the same two from the Black Panther premiere) asked me to officiate their wedding. You heard that right. They wanted me to stand at the head of their wedding party and marry them in front of their closest friends and family. I about died! Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! 

    It’s a lot easier than you’d think to become ordained, and in all honesty I did it in two minutes like a week before the ceremony. Of course the next step was choosing what to wear, so I got to have a fun girly day out at the mall! They had decided to go with a Scottish Handfasting ceremony, and so I decided my outfit should match the traditional, nature-infused vibe my friend was going for. The end result was me getting to ascend to my true form of being: 

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    Somehow or another I didn’t fuck up the script so wonderfully prepared for me by the bride. Instead, something in my head clicked and I fell perfectly into Officiant Mode. My voice projected, loud and clear, I only stumbled over myself a few times, and I even got my eyes off the paper and made some eye contact! This is more impressive when you realize I did not memorize that script beforehand. I exited after the wedding party, as is customary, and walked to meet them in the place just out of sight of the audience. The very first thing the bride, my dear friend, said was “Oh my god, you nailed it! It was so perfect.” And I pretty much melted into my shoes. My heart felt like a balloon, I’d done it! I’d not only been a part of my friend’s wedding, but I’d helped to make it magical and what she wanted.     Once we were out and mingling and taking pictures, I had several people ask if this is what I did for a living, and the bride’s stepdad even asked if I were an actor! The answer to both is no. I’d gotten ordained just for this ceremony, and I haven’t acted a day in my life (unless you count existing day to day). Now I think I might just give one of those options a try!

 

    It’s only March, and my year has been full of excitement and sadness and happiness and loss. It’s been a smorgasbord of new experiences and life lessons. And I couldn’t be happier.