A friend of mine sent a text message on New Year’s Eve stating Betty White had died. Suddenly, it felt as though a galaxy found its way into my body and exploded. I was not prepared for something as heavy as Betty’s death to sit on my chest and pierce its way into me. Granted, I hadn’t been feeling my best — having had a booster shot pumped into my bloodstream earlier that day. No one tells you the autoimmune or invisible illness with which you’ve been saddled will shape your life in a way you never planned. They don’t tell you that an overgrown virus once thought to be efficiently combated by two doses of the vaccine of your choice is now one they could not have predicted and instead of just one booster to further ensure your health — you will also need another.
Now, with the news of four different mass-produced pharmaceutical marketed vaccine visits lumped together on my vaccination card, I can’t breathe. What an odd day to die, I thought . . . And at ninety-nine, too. When I am given information I find hard to dissect, I start reading about it — I start researching from where did it originate? You cannot pinpoint a person’s death before it occurs. And why do I think I should be able to do it?
There is the possibility that knowing a friend of mine who recently pulled up a seat to the table of my heart contracting the Coronavirus, COVID-19, is pressing me harder than I thought it would. The next day — found out her toddler and mother are both positive as well. The same week — a cousin, then another, then another, and I just . . . am so fucking tired of it all. I want to scream, but no one will hear me. I want to lash out, but at whom?
I promised myself 2022 would be different.
The week before all this insanity, I toyed with the idea of emailing a friend, not friend — a love, not love, to begin the process of us. This sounds like a business transaction — a potentially lucrative investment, doesn’t it? I’d been sitting on what I would say for years now and instead of every word being lodged deep in my throat, they were slowly creeping upward — daily; I feel nauseated. If I love this person as much as I feel I do, why is this so hard? I’ve made mistakes before — thought what I was feeling was validated, confirmed, but it was not. I have spent many years trying to understand emotions — feelings — the intensity of it all. And I am better at it than I was before, but I still worry about loss.
And loss keeps me from moving forward. However, I will be the bearer of awkward news. I own it. I won’t ever deny it. I have played paragraphs in my head, formed them without blinking, and now, all I have to do is push them from the inside out — all I have to do is load them up, review them, and send them off. And as sorted as this all may sound, there are things that can go wrong during the process. It is not a carefully constructed assembly line. There is no one to test the structure or its faults before I engage in putting my heart on the line . . . I’ll just be out there bare-assed, waiting . . . waiting for a response.
I can take it, I tell myself.
Whatever happens after I do this, I can take it, is what I am telling myself. I have been tested — I’m tried. I’m true. But I am not battery-operated, so I will feel the magnitude of this — whatever the outcome. It will be a part of me for years to come. Once you have lent your true feelings to the ether, there is no going back — no 360 turns you can take to lasso what you sent back to its birthplace. It will be. It is. And you will have to deal with it in whatever shape or form it takes.
The moment came, and I typed my feelings onto the screen. He’s aware. He knows. Just as I am aware of his — I know. One of us has to be less scared — less threatened by what could be and just jump into what might be. I pick up the weight — secure it to my shoulders — settle it evenly on my back, and type as fast as I have been taught to. I don’t miss a beat. I am mindful of the verbiage used — it’s carefully selected. I breathe. I pace myself.
You’re doing it, I say. Holy shit, you’re doing it! And as I see myself taking these steps — diving into the deep end, I notice the dog is stirring. She will need a walk soon, and I won’t be able to overlook this. It builds anxiety within me. I’m anxious to be done, but I also still want to be careful — cautious of what I say. Once I am done composing and I send it, there is no turning back.
And as I watch my words carry themselves into the depths of an ancient email account — obtained during Gmail’s beta period, I breathe a sigh of relief. I did it. I shared a burden — unpacked the heaviest pieces of my baggage, and tossed them into the waste bin of life.
Betty White dies at the age of ninety-nine, just a couple weeks shy of her 100th birthday. There comes a time when the soul speaks to its host and it says, “I’m tired. I’ve seen enough. I’ve had enough. I am done. I want to rest.” And as much as I would have loved to see her make the milestone of 100, Betty marked so many of them off her calendar and checklist.
The Golden Girl who delightfully gave us Rose Nylund for eight years took her final bow on Friday, December 31, 2021. There’s a piece of my heart breaking into more pieces right now. I am sure I’m not alone.
Rest in Power. Give ’em hell on the other side comedically, Betty. I know you will.
However, much of the body-positivity conversation has been focused on body size and fat shaming. We want to add to the conversation by opening up a discussion about age and menopause. Therefore, we’re hosting a body-positivity essay contest to broaden the conversation!
I will always say, “It’s the simple things” in life to cause me to become my happiest. My beautiful and incredibly talented friend Heejin included homemade Gingerbread cookies in our care package this year, and I nearly teared up when I pulled them out of their bubble-wrapped packaging. I immediately sent her a text message to make sure they were indeed edible and not for decorative purposes only . . . I mean, I don’t want to eat them, they’re so perfectly crafted. She informed me that yes, I could eat them, and not only were they edible, but they were also made in our likeness. One is her, the other is me. I informed her again that I truly didn’t want to eat them even more now after learning this fact.
I am in awe almost daily of her undeniable talent. She never ceases to amaze me. I often think “What can I do to top Heejin? How can I give her the best gift?” But she continually tells me, our friendship is the best gift I could ever give her. Having her in my life is surely icing on the cake.
If you’re blessed enough to know true friendship, hang on to it–embrace it at every turn. I’d choose it over any monetary or tangible gift any day.