Sometimes late at night when I’m having trouble falling asleep, I pull out my iPhone (terrible for sleep, I know!) and play the game Bookworm until I finally find myself drifting off. It started off as more of an obsession, of course, as all iPhone games do, but I eventually got millions of points and got bored of it and now it’s like counting sheep. Except when there’s a dang Q.
The basic premise of the game is to make words and get points without letting one of the flaming tiles get to the bottom of the board. If it does– BOOM! The whole thing explodes and it’s game over.
Q is, just as in Scrabble, kind of a toughy, but Bookworm actually gives you the u to go with it and counts that Q-U combo as two letters of the three letter minimum. After that, it becomes relatively easy to add an A, make the word “qua” and move on.
Except freaking QUA. What… the… heck???
I can’t stand words I just don’t get. It stresses me out.
CAN’T STAND IT.
It’s why I quit Words With Friends real quick.
You see, it’s not that I don’t believe that words I don’t understand are real words. I’m perfectly capable of looking them up, reading the definition, and moving on with my life. I’m also perfectly cool with made up, Dr. Suess-style words because generally I get them, even though they are for fake and have no true Websterian definition. (See, Webserian, I can even make up my own words. And you, intelligent reader, no doubt get what I mean.)
But qua? I just can’t handle it.
Obnoxious. Perhaps a few other sample sentences would help:
<discussing the story qua story> (Very helpful, Mirriam-Webster.com)
he’s hard to pin down if you get him on entertainment qua entertainment (Right, oxforddictionaries.com, very good)
It’s all clear now, eh?
Except it’s not to me. Granted, according to Google (what a sweet graph!), it’s an old word and usage has waned considerably over time.
But even in that case, I can usually appreciate a word anyway.
For example, I’m currently reading the book The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco as part of our 1001 book challenge. The book was first published in Italian in 1980 and translated into English in 1983 (love me some Wiki!), but takes place in the 14th century and is written accordingly. I’m super glad that I’m reading it on my Kindle because it allows me to quickly look up words I don’t already know or can’t figure out from the context… or those that I can figure out, but make me curious anyway. Like pudenda, another word for the external genital organs. It’s like the 14th century monk’s way of saying cock, in my mind anyway. And I get that.
I don’t get qua.
Perhaps I never will.
And it bugs me.
Worst of all: I continue to use it to avoid letting my little game blow up in my face. Honestly, I try to make queen or quiet or quote instead, but those are tough, and more often than not, I resort to qua. And for that, I am ashamed.
Such a tiny little word to cause such a large amount of stress in my life. Clearly, I have a problem. And that problem is words.
Words are also the solution though, and here I share qua with you. Now it’s your problem, too. Can you give me a better sentence? Something more useful? A better reason for this QUA?! I’d appreciate it very much.
So I’m at the letter P and you’d think that by now it would be obvious to me when I’ve chosen the wrong word for a letter. I mean, how many times have I started a post with “X was for Y, but actually it’s for Z” or whatever? A lot.
Actually, maybe just once. But I’ve thought it a lot.
Along those same lines: P was for pants. And it was going to be pretty dang funny. I hate pants, almost as much as they hate me, and I had tons of hilariously self-deprecating pants-related anecdotes to share with you… except, if we are of the same generation, then we both no doubt owned our fair share of stirrup pants, wind suits with matching tops, sweat suits with contrast color turtle neck, green jeans, whatevs. Right?
And if we’re not, I’m sure you had your generation’s equivalent– huge bell bottoms, stripes, plaids, butt-crack-displaying-low-rise, or something like that. Who hasn’t owned bad pants?
(I can tell you who– those girls. But I’ve already told that story. And even they probably had those pants, just not in my memory.)
But this is not a post about pants. It is a post about permission. And I was telling you about how I know when I’ve chosen the wrong word. Except I can’t really put that into words, except to say that I spend inordinate amounts of time jotting things down, writing and re-writing sentences, telling people about the “awesome post” I’ve got “cooking up” (yes, I used those exact words today… for shame), and then suddenly the real word pops into my head and I sit down to write it and it just floooows.
Permission it is!
We all live our lives by at least some rules– rules imposed on us by the society in which we live, either written or unwritten. I think most of us (read: me) also live by a set of arbitrary rules self-crafted (self-inflicted, perhaps?) slowly over time. My rule book has always been HUGE. And I do mean ALWAYS.
You can’t will away a fever that’s preventing you from attending school (and making you fall behind!! nooooo!) any more than you can control a feeling. Yet, Chapter 2, “Rules about Feelings,” has always been the longest chapter in my book. (Chapter 1– Rules about Hair, in case you were wondering. And that one’s not arbitrary; it’s trial-by-error.)
As a baby, feelings come on strong when you’re tired. You cry it out, someone notices, you go down for a nap, and wake up feeling a thousand times better. It’s a good system, really. Tried and true. But what about in adulthood? It’s not quite so simple then… people will fault you for taking a nap at your desk or sawing logs in a meeting. Myself included.
In the absence of naps (not always, I’m not a huge napper, but on Sundays, all bets are off), I’ve had to create another set of rules… and that’s where the list gets long.
Sad? Immediately look for a silver lining and explain why it’s actually good. (Also, eat.)
Flusterated? Call your mom and explain to her that the combination of flustered and frustrated really is a word. (Also, eat.)
Happy? Just eat.
And so on and so forth.
See? A solution for every feeling!
Except… feeling it. What if the first rule of the feelings section of the rule book was simply this:
Feel the feeling. Give yourself a minute. You have my permission.
Feel the dang feeling, nerd! Give yourself a cotton picking minute. Geez.
And if you’ve felt the feeling and you still feel like there’s a silver lining, it’s an AFGO, crying would feel kind of nice, your mom should hear about your flusteration, you’re actually kind of hungry… then you can do that too. But feeeeel first. It shouldn’t be that hard.
Of course, with all the “yous” and “yours” I am obviously just talking to myself out loud on the Internet, but you knew that already.
(Speaking of the internet, I actually laughed out loud during a meeting when someone said “The Google” the other day. It just came out of my throat and I couldn’t stop it! Politeness– that’s a rule. Oops.)
I use a purple pen for all of my corrections. As a science writer, I got through about 6 pens or so a year (not even kidding), but purple doesn’t seem so bad to me. It stands out, but doesn’t scream WRONG like red does. It’s kind of my thing. To honor the letter P, tonight, I pull out my metaphorical purple pen for the purpose of correcting my rule book. The first rule of feelings is now:
You have permission to just feel it. Feel the feeling. It’s ok.
When I was really little, I used to tell my mom and dad that my feelings were hurt and they’d ask me, “Which feelings?” To which I would respond with the color of the feelings that got hurt. I distinctly remember it being the blue ones most of the time. I don’t know what that means, but I feel like I may have intuitively at the age of 3 been doing the thing that it’s taken until 30 to finally give myself permission to do.
Feelings aren’t for rationalizing, explaining, pushing away… eating (ahem). They are for feeling. Permission granted to do so.
This blog was brought to you, in part, by my enthusiastic and snuggly co-author from my in-laws’ super comfy couch:
PS: My mom seriously hates it when people say “flusterated” like it’s a real word. It’s ok, mom… I give you permission to feel that hate. Feeeeel it. That’s right….
Anyone else out there a Dean Koontz fan? Personally, I am OBSESSED!
I love almost everything he’s ever written (77 Shadow Street is the one and only exception to date), even his old pen name stuff. My favorite of all is his book Life Expectancy. I rarely read books more than once and that’s one of the rare exceptions (that and The Historian and Jemima J— so random, I know).
But besides Life Expectancy, I absolutely, completely, and totally dig the Odd Thomas series.
Until writing this post, I didn’t realize just how many Odd books there are… there’s a lot! And I’ve loved every one and it feels like such a long wait in between!
Odd Thomas is a young man who sees ghosts… mostly people, some dogs, some famous, some not. He defines himself as a fry cook, but we know he’s so much more. And I love him for that. He’s humble and loving; loving in a completely heartbreaking way (but no spoilers from me– and don’t read any of the Odd Thomas books before you read the first!! I did… and sobbed all the way through the first one…).
Like I said, Odd is a fry cook; a short order cook at a local, hometown diner. He’s famous for his fluffy pancakes and truly aspires to nothing more than cooking good food quickly. When I started reading Odd Thomas this was a pretty foreign notion to me– the idea that you could aspire to be happy doing something well without meeting the societal norms that define “success.” It was the first time that I really thought about the idea of being ok without always, always, always striving for more and more and more. Lots of Dean Koontz’s characters are like that… they don’t all have to be millionaires and billionaires and fancy, important people. They’re regular, but special, not because of what they do or where they live or how much money they have, but because of who they are on the inside. Just like Odd, loyal and loving, thoughtful and intelligent.
Odd also taught me about trusting your intuition. Granted, he has what he refers to as “psychic magnetism,” which is more than just intuition… when he lets go and really trusts his gut, it never leads him astray. But it’s a good reminder for me because I spend a lot of time mulling things over in my head and not following my gut-heart (because I think when people say follow your heart, they really mean gut). My gut knows what’s up though. When I follow my gut, I end up in the right place. So do all of Dean’s characters.
Finally, I love, love, love how Odd loves. He’s amazing in that respect. I really don’t want to give anything away, but this is a man who follows his gut in all matters, including love. Romantic love and otherwise– friends and family. (Also, I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m an absolute sucker for a love story, and Dean Koontz almost always adds a love story. He knows the recipe for absolute literary delight!)
Odd Thomas is awesome. To me, he’s the epitome of all that’s good about Dean Koontz’s characters. He tells us what’s important– loyalty, optimism, perseverance, hope, kindness, generosity… and dogs 🙂 He always adds a dog, ghost or otherwise, and I love that. I loved it even before I had my own. Now I super love it!
Dean Koontz has made me love the regular guy, to look for the extraordinary in the every day, to swoon over all that is California, and to recognize that no matter how bad things can seem, how bad things can be, there’s always, always, always an opportunity for good.
I recently downloaded the Audible app to my phone (there’s an app for that!) and I’ve been listening to audio books while I run, walk, mow the lawn, or drive the dog to the emergency vet… and only then. A chance to listen to a good book is ridiculously motivating in such instances, I love it! And to date, nothing has been more motivating than a good Dean Koontz book. Yes, I pepper in other things (Divergent by Veronica Roth, Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, for example), but I’m completely Koontz-ivated! At present, I’m listening to his newest– The City. It’s wonderful, and so different from the usual! For one thing, it takes place in New York City, not California (or New Orleans). Secondly, it’s centered around a child. Children play prominent roles in others of his books, but this is the first time a child is the main character. Fascinating! He’s branching out, after oh so many books, and still killing it!
Do you have an author like that? One who has found your formula for literary genius???
PS: Speaking of all things high brow and literary… My sister and I have been texting back and forth about The Bachelorette: Men Tell All… and she said to me, “By giving in to the greatness which is the Bachelor, you have helped us take our seester-hood to a new level!” She’s right, you know. This trashy, reality television series is where it’s at!! And books, too. Books. Yep.
Life… you know? Sometimes it can be so hard to write! Let’s be friends on Facebook, then you’ll know I’m still around. And we can virtually hang out– how fun! (Rachel Stankowski, search for me and I promise to accept you… except if you thank me for “excepting” you, I will probably unfriend you. Grammar.)
I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m “back,” but I am here today. So let’s talk about the letter N.
Since I told you before about my childhood obsession with frosting, it probably won’t surprise you that as an adult with a more refined palate (ha!), my attentions turned instead to Nutella.
Mmmmm… Nutella. It’s delicious on everything and anything, but most delicious on nothing but a spoon. (Or your finger, in a pinch. I’m not going to lie though, I’ll even lick it off the foil covering when I open up a new jar.)
And yet, Nutella does not feel quite the same way about me. In fact, it hates me.
The hate grew gradually, over time, but that whole “made with skim milk” claim right on the front of the jar has most certainly become a big warning label for me.
Made with milk = contains lactose. And I just can’t do it.
Back in my binge eating days (you know, like yesterday, except when those days also included lactose) Nutella was basically my go to substance for the drowning of feelings and rapid intake of calories.
While I was on Weight Watchers,* I even calculated that a full jar of Nutella constituted 24 points (FYI: that was on the “old” points system, so don’t go eating a jar of Nutella and recording it as such if you participate currently)… and I’d save up the extras and work out to “afford” to eat at least half a jar. Because what better to spend 12 points on?!
The extremes to which I would go. I wonder if I can help you to understand…
I would save up my WW points all week and on the day furthest from my weekly meeting, I would have everything all planned out. I’d bring a spoon to school with me, even if I didn’t need one, just so that I’d have it ready in my lunch bag. On the way home, I’d swing by the Safeway on Shady Grove Rd in Rockville and I’d park halfway between the Safeway and the Krispy Kreme because not a lot of other cars parked there. I’d run in, purchase my jar of Nutella and a couple other healthy cover foods, and then head back to the car where I would absolutely DIG IN. When I got back to the apartment, I would pull into a spot close to the grill area near the parking lot, where a cleverly placed garbage can allowed me to dispose of the evidence, and then I’d head up the four flights of stairs to my apartment– moaning and groaning all the way because, let me tell you, there’s just no eating a whole jar of Nutella (or even half!) without basically destroying your insides. Try it when you’re lactose-intolerant and it’s even more catastrophic.
And yet, I did it. Time after time after time. In company, I would eat the Nutella on animal crackers or some other suitable vehicle. But man, as soon as I was alone, or at least unobserved, I would eat it as though I hadn’t eaten in weeks and wouldn’t again for weeks more.
Binge trigger? Maybe. But as the title suggests, I prefer to think of Nutella as a nectar of Satan. Ridiculously tempting and easy to acquire, but just waiting to destroy me from the inside out.
Nutella’s not nearly as tempting to me today as it was before I used up all the lactase my body had to offer. (Lactase is the enzyme that breaks down the milk sugar lactose. Not making lactase is what makes a person intolerant to lactose. The more you know.) These days, lactaid (or as Target brand likes to call it: dairy digestive supplement) doesn’t even help much and I voluntarily avoid things like cheese, chocolate, and baked goods simply because I know what I’m in for if I eat them… and it’s not good.
They say an elephant never forgets. And for the most part, I believe that to be true. Things that have stung emotionally are basically impossible for me to forget. Things that sting physiologically, on the other hand? Those, I forget pretty readily. So I do it to myself again and again with, not so much the Nutella, but other tempting nectars that present themselves… things like alfredo sauce (seriously, lactaid does not work in that instance and I need to stop!), cheese curds (Wisconsiiiin!!! WHY?!?!?!), and hot chocolate (because it’s NOT just chocolate, sugar, and water, FYI).
Lactose isn’t the be all, end all though. I told you that my hands went totally crazy while I was in Arizona and that hadn’t happened since I had the piggy pigs (swine flu) and started getting rashes all the dang time while I was in grad school. At that time, I stopped eating gluten and that seemed to help quite a bit. But the doctor (MD, gastroenterology) told me the gluten thing was all in my head, so I ate it again. And then my hands… and my stomach… and whatever. I am a mess! But, I am also a doctor. Not a physician, but close enough right? And I know how I’m feeling better than anyone else.
Recently, another doctor of the same variety as me (i.e. PhD rather than MD, also her name is Rachel, too, except she’s French** (awesome!) so it’s pronounced Ruh-shell, you know, the pretty way) sent me an interesting article she saw in the Oprah magazine about dietary changes for intestinal disorders and the battle to get to a place that’s healthy, or at least pain- and bathroom emergency-free, in the absence of hard evidence and in the face of everyone in MD-style medicine calling you crazy. It was my story, exactly, except much worse. And it was so validating. Especially because Rachel sent it, and because Rachel likes Oprah’s magazine like I do, and I kind of worship Rachel as one of the most brilliant and thoughtful people I know… so….
So, at this point, I avoid lactose and gluten. When I do, my stomach is (relatively) calm and my hands remain human-sized. Perhaps this food avoidance is addressing something that is merely psychosomatic, but if that’s the case… it’s working!
And here’s some super good news: several varieties of store bought frosting are both lactose AND gluten free. Bring it on, Satan!
*I would like to be clear here that this was while I was on Weight Watchers the most recent time, back in 2010-2011, when I wanted to lose weight before getting married. At the time, I weighed approximately 165 lbs, which is, on my 5’10” – 5’11” frame, perfectly healthy and, dare I say, even somewhat THIN! And yet, Weight Watchers happily took my money and let me participate in full. I even lost some weight! Because anyone can lose weight if they restrict what they eat to a great enough extent and exercise (cardio plus weights!) for a mere 1 – 2 hours per day. Easy peasy, right? But let’s be honest here, WW doesn’t care, they’re getting paid, that’s good enough. And that’s why they let me join for the first time when I was still in elementary school. Nothing better for a little girl… who now eats Nutella by the jar. (Except not really because it’s chock-full of lactose and it would destroy me, but you get my point.)
**I’m sure you’re familiar with the bacteria E. coli, short for Escherichia coli, yes? Well, my friend Rachel (the French way) says it so ridiculously beautifully that because of that pronunciation and the movie Amelie (have you seen it?! SO good!) I would consider myself a Francophile. Science is just better with in French-accented English. It’s true. Also, one time, Rachel complimented my dexterity (with tiny little dishes full of Chlamydia— good reason to be careful!) and it made me feel so ridiculously happy that it’s one of those things that this elephant will never forget.
I tend to spend tons and tons and tons of time mulling things over, pro-ing and con-ing, and all of that. But ultimately, I go with my gut. So far, it has not led me astray. (Metaphorically speaking, of course… in the literal sense, I have been led very far astray.)
My senior year of high school, I was certain that I was going to go to NYU– no matter the debt! I was going to live in the big city, I was going to major in political science, and I was going to be cosmopolitan and amazing. But then I visited Houghton, where I had applied to major in chemistry at Michigan Tech, and despite the fact that I was in the middle of nowhere in the UP and I had a raging fever, I knew I was in the right place. I filled out the paperwork, accepted my scholarship, and became a Husky. I met Aimee and Adriane my first day there and knew that even though it wasn’t my original choice, it was the right choice.
My senior year of college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so I decided to go to grad school. (That’s the default, right?) I interviewed at four different schools and was pretty much settled on Penn, the first of the four… until I went to DC to interview at USU and met Jess. Penn may have wined me, dined me, and put me up in a fancy schmancy hotel, but USU sent Jess to the airport in her Nissan Altima and made her put me up in her apartment. She let me stay an extra night since getting back to the UP was nearly impossible and we went out to Rock Bottom in Bethesda in a snow storm and chatted and laughed… and again, I just knew that USU was the place for me. I’d make the same choice all over again.
Things got all stressful and choice-y again at the end of grad school. I didn’t want to go into academia, but I needed a job and a post-doc seemed like the right choice (head-wise, anyway). I tried and tried and tried to get one… then this science writing thing at the Marshfield Clinic came about. We talked about that before.
It was my first post-graduate interview and the only one in person. But after I had it, I knew it was the place for me. The thing that did me in in Marshfield, that had me hooked right from the get go, wasn’t a thing at all– it was two people: Marie and Michele.
I had applied to be a scientific research writer in the Office of Scientific Writing and Publication. My interview was on Valentine’s Day of 2011 and I interviewed with lots of different people. Marie and Michele asked legitimate questions, good questions, but not hostile questions. Plus Marie was crazy stylish and Michele was super nice and by the time I had had lunch with them and was headed back to my in-laws’ house in Mosinee I was certain that I had to work with these women. Once again, I just knew… and it was Marie and Michele that did it.
You know how this story ends– Marshfield Clinic offered me the job, I accepted, Seth and I moved to Wisconsin, and here we are. Most importantly: Marie and Michele are my co-workers. More than that; they are my friends.
I could not ask for better!
Marie used to be a surgical tech (ew, right?) in urology (double ew!) and now she’s an editorial specialist (i.e. really, really good at grammar and super detail-oriented, thank goodness she is!). She’s the most faith-filled person I know and also the best at wearing scarves. She is my style hero. I feel like every time she tells me a story about her life I’m just more and more in awe. (Good news– you can hear some of her stories, too!! She’s a bloggess right here!) I’m seriously so lucky to get to work with her every day!
Michele is a writer like me and she’s a genius at everything that has to do with dogs– everything! Also, she’s just a genius. She’s leaving us to go get her doctorate at Vanderbilt University in Nashville soon (also a dreamy country-music singing boyfriend) and I couldn’t be any more excited for her! She was hand picked for this opportunity and it is well-deserved, let me tell you.
Both Marie and Michele make it worth coming in to work every single day. Just like Jess made it worth going in to the lab during those long years in grad school and how Aimee and Adriane made Michigan Tech home. Marie and Michele, Jess, and Aimee and Adriane are all totally different– I really can’t put my finger on the common denominator, except to say that I loved them all instantly. I was overly familiar just as quickly as I was with Melissa and I felt comfortable around them right away… as early as the interview, the ride from the airport, the hall-bonding exercises… they let me be me and my life is better because they’ve been part of it.
Michele may be leaving, but Marie and I will stick together and we’ll be cheering for her from Marshfield. We’ll be sitting in the front row at her defense… and right behind the paparazzi at her wedding!
M is for Marie and Michele. It’s for those people who just get you… who make you know that you’re in the right place, doing the right thing. The ones who make it worth it.
Lllamas are cool, and with the exception of donkeys (of course) they are my favorite state fair animal in a tie with alpacas (because I’m not talented or patient enough to tell the difference). But L isn’t for llamas, so I really need to stop belaboring it. L is for a certain Lema I know and love.
It’s funny that this post was in the works because last night, I invented something completely new with Melissa Lema. You’ve heard of butt-dialing, right? Well, I managed to arm band FaceTime dial my dear friend Melissa. I made it to Michigan yesterday evening and felt the need to stretch my legs a bit with a jog after all that time in the car. It was lovely, except I got totally lost in my sister’s neighborhood and while fumbling with my arm band to look at my map (my magic smap, if you will, Tom? Ab?) I managed to arm band dial Melissa. On FaceTime. Super weird. Especially since I thought she was calling me…
Totally worked out though, she didn’t pick up right away and texted me after I’d arrived back at Abby and Stu’s that she was available and she got to see baby Claire and give Ab some tips on how to keep Claire from falling asleep “on the boob”… speaking of boobs, Ab’s are out right now and she says that I should title this post “Interlude for a triple X”… HA!
Anyway… L is for a very special Lema. Melissa Lema.
I’ve mentioned the Lemas like a thousand times, I know, but they are definitely worthy of the obsession, I promise– all of them. The Lemas seem to truly embody the perfect American nuclear family and they seem so normal– mom, dad, daughter, son, and pup– except they’re not normal at all. They are extraordinary and I am crazy lucky to not only know them, but to love them like they’re my own family!
I met the Lemas (including the youngest, Christian, in utero) back in 2007. I told you about that already though– it was the first time I tried to destroy their daughter Emily (the baby, the broken glass, you remember the story, I’m sure). I’d heard good things, of course, Seth was already a big fan of the boss man, Chris, his main squeeze, Melissa, and their little girl, but I had no idea how much I was going to come to love them.
And how incredibly little time it would take to become completely smitten!
Because, you guys, it was pretty much instant.
Oh, that’s Melissa? Excellent. I’m in love.
I’ve told you before that I become overly familiar overly quick. For me, when it’s right, it’s right. And Melissa was it for me– my soul friend. I am so thankful for her every day. And for Chris for bringing her to me. And Emily for making her understand me. And Christian for being his momma’s sweet little boy. But truly, it’s all about Melissa Lema.
I am completely serious when I say that you have not known true beauty in your life until you’ve known someone like Melissa. (And yet… is there really anyone else like her? Perhaps not. Perhaps everyone just needs to know Melissa…) Melissa is beauty– inside, outside, and upside down side. In every way, no matter how you look at her, you see abs-o-lute beauty. You know that Roald Dahl quotation that I love so much? “If you think good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely…” that’s about Melissa. She’s friendly, she’s kind, she’s brilliant, she’s passionate and compassionate, thoughtful and musical, gifted and well-read, understanding and tolerant, interested and interesting, and 100% genuine. Plus, she’s beautiful in the physical way, too– perky blonde curls, happy smile, and all! What a bonus, right? (Also, she’s humble so she’s about to be super embarrassed… but too bad, because it’s all true.)
Never in my life have I felt so naturally comfortable around someone. I talked to you about grace before, but I didn’t know grace until I knew Melissa (and her little girl). Because she gives it– in spades. I know that no matter what I have done, where I have been, who I have been, Melissa loves me anyway.
(And it’s reciprocal! I love her SO so SOOO much!!)
And as disturbing and blasphemous as this is going to sound: by knowing Melissa and knowing what it feels like to be loved unconditionally by someone who doesn’t have to, I feel like I get the whole idea of God a little better. I’ve always thought abstractly of God as the manifestation of unconditional love without purpose or reason– Melissa made that a concrete notion.
… As much as the rest of this post has made Melissa sound totally other-worldly and ethereal, I want you to know this: she’s just as human as you and me. Get her in a card game late at night in Mexico and you will see just how weird a person can be– even sans booze! But doesn’t that just make it all so much better? If Melissa can be so amazing, maybe it’s something I can aspire to too! Maybe we all can! I definitely think we all should, because seriously, this is an amazing woman I’m talking about here!