One of Four – 2013

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually start things over if we messed up life?  I mean think about how nice it would be to be able to say “do over” and get the chance to reverse history.  I recently started writing some actual letters.  You know with pen and paper?  It seems little old-fashioned and I found it to be quite liberating.  Primarily because it forced me to actually think about what I was writing before I put it on paper.  I wanted it to be because I was putting more thought into what I was saying, when they truth is I didn’t want to have to start all the way over if I messed up.  I mess up in life a lot!  This is going to be in four different parts there are 4 seasons in a year and I feel like each season had something else in store for me.  So bear with me!  I will leave sarcasm out of this because as my best friend Becca says, “no one reads my shit better than me.”  I will also be somewhat reserved here but I can’t guarantee I won’t let explicit words fly out of my finger tips as I type.  There was a lot of emotion this year and words fail where emotions (sometimes very raw and loud) prevailed.

With out thinking much about it, I spent most of 2013 doing things deliberately more than I ever had.  I left no room for error: with my budget, with my children, with my career(s), with really well nothing.  If I had the opportunity to put this last year into words, I am not sure that I could.  I am going to try to do this by month, which is going to be a trip down memory lane so have patience with me.  Humor me because if YOU my reader can learn anything from me it’s that I am a mess.  Yup I know those who know me would find this incredibly hard to believe that I am a handful (sarcastic reference  please read it as such) but I am.  So with out much more pomp and circumstance here is my attempt to put this last year behind me and stand up and scream at the top of my lungs 2013 I can’t stand you!

New years are usually a time for us to reflect on the last year, I didn’t do that at all on New Year’s Day or the night before or really any time, until now.  To say that 2013 was an explosive year for me would be absolutely correct starting with January.  Quite literally, I was working as a news photojournalist and was sent to the south side of Oklahoma City to cover, wait for it:

A house explosion – January 2013 started off with a bang.  A gas contractor accidentally cut a gas line and caused a home to explode.  No one died, but major damage through out that neighborhood was the result.  I never really thought much of myself as a talker, but that night I found myself on TV talking back to my anchors for about 6 minutes (which in tv time is quite a feat).  Little did I know that I was capable of sounding intelligent and less redneck than the next news photographer.

What I learned about me that night was that I could formulate sentences quickly and coherently while recalling massive amounts of information that I had just been given with out error. I only received one critique from that moment and that I didn’t attribute information enough – I later called BS on this.   Meaning I can BS really good when I need to and my memory is incredibly sharp which surprised me considering all the ADHD things that were around me at the moment.  I have incredible focus when I want.

A Routine Surgery – February 2013 I met a little guy named Paxton.  He loves his momma.  He is stronger than all of us put together, his spirit and smile are absolutely contagious!  You can not look at this little guy with out getting this massive smile that encompasses your entire body!  Paxton was going in to surgery for the 23rd time, on his brain.  I wouldn’t be smiling.  His mother was smiling.  As a news photojournalist I try to remove myself from stories in hopes to remove bias or something else.  I wanted these pictures to mean more than ever before.  You see Paxton was special and for the first time in my career I was emotionally attached to a story.  My reporter Kim Passoth was touched by this little guy.  We worked hard because it was important to that family that we tell his story to hopefully get him a little more support.  Yeah I had done things for organizations and charitable causes before, but very rarely are we invited into a hospital room where the little guy is hooked up to a ventilator and tubes and wires encompass his little body.

What I learned from this is that life is fragile, but the human spirit is incredible.  I have heard it before and seen tornado and fire survivors come back from rubble and ashes to reclaim their life.  This is different because Paxton was 2 or 3 years old.  His life was just beginning.  I am now friends with his mom.  I get regular updates on how Paxton is doing and was recently invited to his Christmas pageant.  I couldn’t go and I was heartbroken.  I am looking forward to seeing him soon, but until then, I will continue seeing him on my Facebook news feed.

It’s A Small World After All – March 2013 A “Family” Vacation to Florida happened this last year.  Keep in mind I was divorced when we reunited for this week and put the differences aside for a week for the two precious girls I love.  I carried their little pink backpacks all over the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Universal Studios.  I took pictures, I carried them when they needed to I was daddy!  At night, I tucked them in and escaped to the hotel pool and sat out there until I was sure my ex was asleep because I really didn’t want to deal with her and the conversation that I am sure would have come from laying the bed opposite hers.  Yes we had one room.  Originally when I arrived and got the hotel room, there was one bed.  I quickly called the hotel desk and said “uhhhh no we need two beds.”  Cause I sure as hell wasn’t going to share the bed with her.  I wasn’t ready to deal with really anything.  I only slept there I didn’t watch tv in there, I didn’t even rest in there.  I don’t remember sleeping much that week between seeing the excitement in my girls eyes and then dealing with some tears from the wanting to be in the old house, and my feelings of failure.

What I learned was that I was very bitter.  I made a new friend that week via text though.  I talked to other friends that were back home.  I became very good at avoiding problems that week.  I buried the feelings when I should have been dealing with them head on.  After all I had failed my children, I had failed my wife, I failed my late father.  I realized that my girls loved me as their daddy and that alone took away some of those feelings.  It wasn’t until later in this year that I realized how depressed I was becoming.

So that was the first three months of 2013?  The crazy thing is that if you had met me during this time, you would never know about the internal turmoil going in my life.  I had really weird mood swings that brought me to tears at the end of most days.  I became that basket case of a man that you envision sitting at the end of the bar crying into his beer.  Just to leave you on a happy note and not thinking that I am really screwed up, I am no longer depressed. I still deal with feelings that are strong, but it’s because I am running, no breaking through emotional walls that are leaving me bloody emotionally and forcing me to deal with things that for any mere mortal would leave them curled up in the fetal position in the floor of their kitchen reaching for the roll of paper towels.  I am after all super dad.  I have a cape, don’t hate.  I told my kid sister and her husband that in order to heal faster, I have to bruise myself and sometimes rip the scab off so it can scar.  So I continue to work on me.  This blog is a result of that work.  If that was the first three months of the year what in the hell is coming up for the next three months?  Here is a hint, we are entering storm season.

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