Jessica Latshaw

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life goes on.

Posted By on November 2, 2012 in I Lift My Eyes Up, Loved Ones, Thoughts and Feelings | 17 comments

I went on a long walk today. With…well, I am not quite sure what to call him. Boyfriend sounds weak. Silly. I mean, I had one when I was eleven; it’s not the same, the relationship I have now with this guy.

In fact, I’ve googled alternative words to use. These are some suggestions I found:

  • My Man
  • Pa Pee
  • My Boo
  • My Baby
  • Daddy
  • Solemate (yes, spelled like that; like the bottom of a shoe)
  • Sexy beast
  • Stud Muffin
  • Beau

You can understand, then, why I am still at a loss for a defining title. Yes, even after consulting Google. Or probably, especially after consulting Google. As fun as it would be to refer to my special friend as a Sexy Beast, I think this conversation:

“I am so excited to hang out with my Sexy Beast tonight; I think he’s taking me to a real, REAL nice place. Cloth napkins and everything.”

…SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN.

You try slipping the words Sexy Beast casually into any conversation and tell me how it goes. It’s like attending a dinner where everyone’s cutting their food with normal sized knives. You take a machete out of your purse and hack away over small talk then wonder why nobody is responding to your remark upon the pleasantness of autumn.

People take notice, is what I’m saying.

All that to say, I was walking with my boyfriend today. Or maybe he’s my beau. That’s not so bad. A little old fashioned and French, but there are worse things to be. All I know is he’s the kind of wonderful that’s gotten into all the spaces that fill me up. My brain is constantly trying to think of ways to make him happy, to make life look brighter from where he’s standing. He asks me to draw him a picture of an alien, and I want to draw him an entire alien battalion; I want to wall paper his room with aliens, each hand drawn by me. He’s that kind of wonderful, you know? Worthy-of-millions-of-images-of-aliens wonderful.

Oh my, look how many sentences it’s taken me to tell you that we were walking to Trader Joe’s. My apologies. I was looking at families milling by. Parents swinging their children in the air every three steps while their laughter rings out, the very sound of bliss. And what is it about joy that makes us remember sorrow? Is it that we don’t understand the brightness of light without the darkness to compare it to? Maybe so, but I couldn’t help thinking about the people who are now grieving their children. The mother whose two and four year old sons were swept from her arms in the flood during this recent hurricane. Another mother–also here in New York City–whose two small children were murdered by their nanny.

And then–what? Life goes on. People walk to the Trader Joe’s and other families still have each other, and, man, life goes damnably on.

This is a double edged sword.

When the man I loved left me, it hurt unequivocally that life went on. I couldn’t understand why people still celebrated Christmas. Why I had to eat. The mundane things of life and the celebrations of life all came together and felt like one big slap on the face. Like a mockery of the pain I was in. I still have to brush my teeth?! You’re kidding. Surely, the dead don’t brush their teeth. People leave them alone. Blessedly. Rest in peace and all that. I feel dead…but I’m not, which is why I’m holding this ridiculous toothbrush right now, I guess.

And I wasn’t dead.

Because life goes on.

You see, the fact that life goes on is a good thing. It is healing, actually. It was while continuing to do the rituals that define our humanity–the birthday celebrations and trips to the gym and classes to take and auditions to attend and conversations with friends and meals to make and eat and messes to clean up and woods to hike and words and songs to write and performances to give–I realized that, yes, life goes on. That it isn’t a life sentence–living with this pain–but rather, it is a gift.

LIVING, I mean.

Pain or not, it’s a gift.

Life didn’t end, actually. Darling, wake up, this is your life and your job is to live. It’s a tall order, yes, but nobody can live your life but YOU. Just today, is all I’m asking. And maybe it’s all you can handle. Then, maybe you can do it all over again tomorrow, but right now, your job is to live today.

Life is a hell of a thing sometimes. Especially in senseless tragedy. I hate the lesson that life goes on. And I love it, too. It’s brought me here; and here is wonderful. Here is where I thank God that life didn’t end the day I wanted it to. That He had other plans, better plans–even though I couldn’t see them in my grief.

As we walked back from Trader Joe’s, he (you know, my Sexy beast) looked at me and blurted out, “Were you as special then? You know–before the bad stuff happened?”

I laughed and asked, “What do you mean: as special then?”

“Well,” he said, “I think that what happened to you has made you even more special. I think it’s a kind of branding, but a good one. And it’s made your heart an even more special place now–that’s what I think, anyway.”

Life goes on.

It gets better.

These are things we say; they are trendy pop therapy one liners we tell each other.

And sometimes they show up.

In real life.

On the canvas.

Sometimes those tired phrases are brand new, bold strokes upon a canvas we thought we knew. Thought we’d memorized the picture long ago. But then Life Goes On and It Gets Better show up looking like peace in your heart and joy in your laughter and hope in your future; it’s different for me than it is for you–the details, I mean. Don’t make the mistake of comparing my details to yours and then assuming that Life Goes On won’t come in such a way that helps you, and I will try my best to do the same.

Because it does.

It can.

It will.

Like I said, life goes on. May you see this as kind; may you see this as hopeful.

If not now, then someday.

17 Comments

  1. jason November 2, 2012

    You have a boyfriend (sexy beast)?! What? When did that happen? Just kidding, but how weird would it be if this is how I found out. It’s both a blessing and a curse that life just keeps going on, I suppose. Like most special things. A blessing and a curse. And I can answer the Sexy Beast’s question. You most definitely were not very special until about 2-3 months ago, actually. Then you just kicked it into high gear, special-wise.

    • jessica November 2, 2012

      So, according to your calculations, I really became special around the end of the summer. Isn’t that when you visited NYC? Hahaha you must have rubbed off on me! Thanks for the special-ness! And yeah, that’d be pretty sad if you found out about my bf HERE!

  2. Prentice Crawford November 2, 2012

    Love is nature’s little trick to get some animals to stay together long enough after mating to ensure the protection and nurturing of the next generation. Love, it’s great when it shows up with the right person but awful when the spell is broken generally nine months to a year or so later.

    • jason November 2, 2012

      While it’s certainly your right to believe this is the case, I can tell you firsthand that you’re missing out on a ton of life’s joys if you live your life as if this is true.

      • jessica November 2, 2012

        Ah, Prentice, it IS awful when “the spell breaks.” That hurts unimaginably–especially if you never thought it was a spell; if you were led to believe it was real and lasting. Still, love IS a gift. No trick. Not when it’s with a person who counts it as sacred as you do, I believe.

  3. Heather Ferrari November 2, 2012

    Love this post!!! Celebrating your joy and the strength of your soul out here in Colorado. You deserve it all, girlfriend!

    • jessica November 2, 2012

      Hi Heather! Thank you for your celebration, Colorado-style in my honor! I appreciate it so much! I hope you and your beautiful family are doing well out there! xo

  4. Lindsay November 2, 2012

    Oh, Jessic. This is such a beautiful post that you write with well-earned sincerity and passion. I’m so deeply happy that you’re happy.

    • jessica November 2, 2012

      And I, my friend, am happy for YOUR happiness for MY happiness. So grateful. Thank you for being there along the way–and especially when things weren’t so happy over in Camp Jessic:) Miss you!

  5. Sare November 2, 2012

    This is beautiful. I am so glad that you are happy! So glad that there is joy after sorrow..so glad.;) I am so glad that life didn’t end that day for you too. Love you, friend!

  6. Evangelina November 3, 2012

    The first thing I got out of that was this:

    “I was looking at families milling by..”

    I read that as
    “I was looking at my families milling by…”

    …and it immediately brought forth the image of you as a queen or something walking the streets with your “Papi” and watching all of your commoner families run about as you strut around with a smile and they are dancing around all happy because you’re an awesome queen.

    ROFLMAO.

    But seriously though, yay to life going on. Sometimes it’s a hard thing to look forward to, but most of the time it’s for the best.

  7. Prentice Crawford November 3, 2012

    It’s true we humans with our conscious minds and interpersonal emotions complicate Nature’s simple design for love but it’s not romantic love that keeps people together. It’s shared experiences, friendship, common goals, loyalty and the partnership that develops between individuals. Love is a trick that often starts the process but it’s not what sustains it but it is also true that couples can maintain the romance but it takes two. When one stops loving and no bond is there then the one left behind that is still in love, will feel loss. The same loss that one feels when someone dies. They actually go into mourning.

    • jessica November 4, 2012

      Yes. It absolutely takes two to keep a loving relationship intact. And it is total grief that encompasses one when their partner leaves–whether in death or in a different way. Actually, in some ways it’s harder if it’s not death, because then there’s the pain of knowing that they CHOSE to not be with you, when they have the option to be with you. I think that the best relationships have all that you listed above INCLUDING romantic love, as well:)

  8. Alex the girl November 4, 2012

    OMG Jessica!! Ok so I had a lot of catching up to do on your blog and you don’t understand how excited and happy I am for you and your Sexy Beast!! That is the best news EVER!! Life most certainly goes on and it’s great that you are continuing yours with this wonderful guy who tells you how special you are and makes you want to draw millions of aliens for him!! :-D

  9. jessica November 4, 2012

    hahaha this comment made me smile REAL BIG!

    thank you.

    And hi, Alex–I hope you are super well! :)

  10. Mandy November 9, 2012

    Bahahaha. Sexy beat. A machete indeed.

    Also, I love the question he asked you “were you as special then.” It’s a interesting one to be sure. And while I do believe you were ALWAYS special, this has given you such a beautiful perspective on life – I love how you ended up with a beautiful one when so many end up with bitter ones.

    But I do think about that sometimes, the Before Jessica that I met and bonded over our oh-so-sweet husbands and long distance relationships and fairy tales and happy endings, I guess. Would After Jessica and I still have something to talk about when her happy ending didn’t look like we thought when we sat in that booth so many years ago?

    Fortunately, I don’t really worry about that much. After Jessica is pretty special, Sexy Beast was definitely right about that. Life does indeed go on and somehow we find ourselves still friends even though our situations, many of the things that made us similar, don’t look the same anymore. In fact, we can learn from each other because of them. Just more evidence that life going on isn’t a bad thing after all.

    • jessica November 12, 2012

      I think we’ll always have something to talk about:)

      And…we’ll ALWAYS have the fact that we are both 5’8. NOBODY can take that away from us! <3

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