Returning from SXSW

I promise, this is the last one. 

I returned home on Thursday to a half empty house. I knew it would be half empty, it wasn’t any sort of a surprise. I was grateful that I was way far away as they packed and moved. I even had the foresight to have friends to help me through my return home.

KC picked me up from the airport and kept me talking about non-Clayton topics so much that I couldn’t let the sadness surface. An eery calm washed over me when we walked through the door. I did get a little weepy as we toured the house. The ghost house. We walked into every changed room so I could talk about what used to be there. To say goodbye, I suppose.

I still am shocked when I open the left-hand closet door and see two completely empty closet rods. I no longer cry about it, though. I didn’t much that night, for which I was grateful even though I still don’t truly understand why. Penny arrived shortly after we got to the house and she finished Sheri duty while KC moved on to a family dinner. Us two besties had a long dinner in Midtown and I came home alone. 

I climbed the stairs to my daughter’s bedroom (they were at their dad’s house, thankfully) and went to sleep in the only decent bed remaining in the house. When I woke the next morning I didn’t know where I was. 

I still don’t really know where I am, but I’m getting through it. 

I am processing through the stages of grief like a good little valedictorian of heartbreak. I’ve had a lot of help. I have a lot of friends. A LOT of friends. They love me and I love them. They are the reason I’ve survived this. I am the reason I have survived this. 

Greg took me to lunch one day and came bearing two messages from his wife, “Moran said I should give you as many hugs as you need and also she made you cookies.” Tracey left me the best voicemail in the history of voicemails. If I can figure out how to excerpt some of it, I’ll post it here. She also has talked me off the edge more times than I can count. And makes sure that I laugh at least twice during each conversation. Lanie stayed by my side for as much as I needed in Austin. Her wife Dale has been sending her love, too. Jacob picked me up one morning and let me ride in his front seat to talk and and cry as he ran errands in another county. Penny lets me really dig in and psychologically analyze him and me and the former ‘us’. My dad and my uncle cut down the big dead tree in my front yard. KC and David sat with me for hours and hours as I completely lost my shit in their living room, and made sure I was eating on more than one occasion. KC pets my hair when I weep and texts me lots of love and light when I am struggling through dark minutes, hours or days. Zach mailed me a 3.5″ floppy disk with a funny message on it. Blake offered to pray for me and then later that day gave me all the drink tickets I could handle. An anonymous friend offered to run him over with their car. Another offered to slash his tires and/or hamstrings. Andy showed up on my doorstep unannounced with an orchid. Ryan sends me messages of perseverance. My ex-husband took the kids when I was non-functional and has been patient and supportive as my brain has slowly come back online.  Kristy shares an empathic space because she’s been through a horrifying break up. Even some of his friends are reaching out or at least being kind and not talking about the elephant in the room when we happen to be at the same place at the same time. Dave shared his experiences with his own grief. Another Dave took me to lunch for 2+ hours to share his stories of love and loss. Yet another Dave joined me for a 3+ hour breakfast so we could figure out the world’s problems. Nathan and Brian offered me a place to sleep any time. James let me hijack a previously scheduled brunch to talk through my grief and after minced no words that he was available anytime for just about anything, including just sitting with me if I didn’t want to be alone. Keith has been holding my hand at work to be sure I’m moving forward with my job, even if its at a slower pace than normal. Tim and Katie bully me into going out on the town. Peter comes by one night to help me plan my exit from the ghost house. Kristy (a dear, mutual friend) reaches out regularly…which I deeply appreciate. 


I could keep going. I’m leaving out at least 15 more people, not including friends who’ve posted to my blog or send me private messages on Facebook, but I think I’ve made my point. For me, it takes a village. I feel a deep sense of love and belonging, which has saved me through what was a devastating experience. I am grateful.

As I get further and further from this relationship, I can see patterns emerge. But there is no big piece of data that says “Oh, see there Sheri. You should have seen this coming like a freight train” or “How can you be so sad, you guys were so non-functional?” The truth is that what we had was the best thing that had ever happened to me with regards to love by a large margin. I thought it was forever. Everyone thought it was forever. We were aIl wrong. And I will take this experience of all the good, these patterns/clues about him, these patterns/clues about myself and the last 5 weeks of bad and do better next time. I will choose better, look for even the most subtle clues and will do better next time.

When I am ready.

A Room of One’s Own

When I returned from Camp Mighty I had some ideas. And I realized that for my ideas to come to life they (and I) had to have a space. We have a large house and after much mulling I decided that I would claim this weird little non-room sitting area in our bedroom as my own. With the blessing of my beloved, of course.

I decided that before I had the room I needed to get it all cleaned out and furnished appropriately. But where to put all the things? It’s sitting room acting as a junk drawer.

THEN! I created a Pinterest board for it! Which is a nice way to organize ideas and inspiration, but a terrible way of getting actual progress to happen. I did buy a lovely, simple candle for my writing desk, though. You know, the imaginary writing desk.

Then I hemmed. Then I hawed. Then I decided I needed to clean and organize my closet so it could contain at least half of the junk room. However, our mostly unfinished closet needs shelving and storage installations, which cost time and money.

And I want my space! NOW.

I was telling part of this story to my best friend yesterday and I can’t remember my exact phrase, but it went something like, “I need to stop waiting until the space is ready. I just need to make some space.” I love what happens when I get out of my head and get verbal.

I came home last night, grabbed some orange oil and a cloth and cleaned the sewing table in the sitting room. I lifted out the sewing machine, latched it into its case and reassembled the table top. I grabbed an extra dining room chair that we stash in the living room and set it in front of the table. I topped the table with some beloved trinkets and my technologies.



The table hasn’t been sanded and painted. The walls are still contractor ecru. There’s no shelving or big comfy chairs. The clutter surrounds me. But as I sit here and type at the same table my mom used to make me things, I’m comforted. This space is enough.

Reflections on Mighty things

Dude. I totally don’t even know where to start.


Friends have asked endlessly about my Camp Mighty trip. Did I have fun? What was it like? Was it worth the money? What did we do there? It’s soooo hard to articulate. All these feelings that make me feel things. And think things.

I came back to Oklahoma City a little heavier. A lot heavier, actually. Literally and figuratively. I blame carbohydrates and feelings.  It was a bit of a surprise since I had assumed I’d come back ready to light bare earth on fire and scale tall buildings in a single bound. It wasn’t like that. I came back changed. Introspective. I’m still thinking about it all.

I've got 5 things to #nail. #campmighty #gobing

I’ve got my 5 things to work on for 2013. One or two of them are cheater-type items. I want earn all five of those rings and there’s no better way to sabotage that than to add something to the list like, “Lose 50 pounds and run a double marathon” because I tend to shoot for the moon then instead of landing in the stars, I land in self hate and haunting failure. Instead, I shared a collection of slightly to very realistic things. They weren’t super ambitious but I knew that completing those items will bring me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

  1. Read The Hobbit out loud to the kids.
  2. Attend BlogHer Food.
  3. Present a talk at IgniteOKC.
  4. Establish a Sunday night social at our house.
  5. Transform our bedroom from a gigantic dirty clothes hamper into a beautifully appointed, Pinterest-worthy retreat despite the super-wonky layout.

I was talking with my friend Katarina Charm yesterday about camp and tried to distill the experience into as simple, honest bits that I could. I told her that almost all of the speakers were fantastic and inspiring. I met amazing women and forged friendships. I have continued to forge friendships on Twitter and through blogs as us campers get home and start seeking ways to stay connected (which is super cool…it’s like an extra camp!).

But the heaviness I first mentioned is the continued reminder I’m getting from the universe that I am not doing enough for myself. I was in crisis a few months ago and, eventually, marched my sweet self back into therapy to unpack all these bags, purge and reorganize. One of the most memorable moments was my therapist handing me an article he’d copied out of a magazine. It was about how people need to work on themselves instead of constantly trying to help or fix or figure out everyone around them. I didn’t even read it until later in the evening but I think I giggled. Yep. That’s me.

I returned from camp with a LOT of ideas on what I want to do, though they aren’t all doable for now. What I can do is work on myself. Find ways to be kind and give back to me. This isn’t entirely Camp Mighty induced but I did discover things to help me along the way.

I told KC, “I need to write. I need to make things. I need a space of my own.” Blogging helps me write and hopefully I’ll soon get back into writing articles. I started an inspiration board on Pinterest and am commandeering our sitting room into a Sheri retreat. The personal space, I think, is crucial and something I hadn’t given much thought to until I heard Margaret Stewart talk about her space. Then I was all, “Yeah! I need a space!”

Making the space won’t remove this heaviness, but it’s a start. The room will at least be pulling quintuple duty as it will be part writing den, banjo workshop, crafting corner, yoga studio and place-where-I-can-hang-that’s-nice-n-far-from-the-kitchen. And I can decorate it.

More on camp another time. (Yes, really…I’m still not done.)


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