breaking (it) down

I’m on the verge of really taking this house apart. Until now it’s remained mostly functional though every day the ratio of bags and boxes to furniture tips in favor of the former. But the functionality is going to change in the next few days.

The kitchen will get mostly boxed up. The contents of the bathroom shelves will be discarded or put into toiletry bags for travel. More papers will be sorted. More clothes donated. More CDs imported to itunes. More decisions will be made—how many books can I bring? How many pairs of socks? Electric Kettle?

More tears will be shed. These are not sad tears, but it begs the question: what exactly are “happy” tears anyway?

It’s easier to comprehend sad tears. The tears of grief, loss and longing all make more logical sense than tears over something beautiful, touching, or tender. But lately I’ve wept tears of gratitude.

It’s a cleansing and a release. I’m giving myself permission to feel all of the emotions associated with this big step that I’m taking, and I’m not suppressing anything. This doesn’t make me feel weak; it makes me feel strong.

The support I’m receiving is blowing my mind. Boatloads of validation, recognition and encouragement are pouring over me. These people I love so dearly are buoying me up in a way that makes me believe I can’t fail, and that intensity is making me weep with gratitude.

I weep for my employers who graciously accepted my resignation and told me it was bittersweet—they’d miss me, but they’re happy for me—and, “Can we have a signed copy of your work when you are published?”

I weep for the friend who, when this plan was in its infancy stage, said, “Don’t let anything get in your way.”

I weep for the friends who unashamedly tell me they’ll miss me, and though I can’t promise I’ll be back to stay, I remind them I’m leaving a (small) storage unit here, so will be back. I’ll miss them too.

I weep at the thought of not coming back here, but I know I need this opportunity to see, feel, and feast on new things.

I weep for the friend who made me a box set of CDs. With liner notes. Amazing.

I weep for my co-worker who gave me a phenomenal massage the day after I officially made my decision and at the end, when I was handing her the cash I’d already carefully counted out, she said, “No. This one is on me.” I resisted, but she did too. “Keep it for gas money,” she said, “And when you’re cruising along and you come across a beautiful canyon, think of me and send some of that good energy my way.” She told me she’d been feeling a little down and my excitement lifted her up and allowed her to remember that anything is possible and she’ll get her adventure soon.

I weep for everyone who understands that giving and receiving are the same.

I weep for one of my favorite couples who had me over for dinner last night. He sent me off with an atlas, and she gave me a romance novel she couldn’t put down. I weep for the people who get each other.

I weep for the friend who says she’ll come over with a trailer at the end and scoop up all the leftovers and cast offs. She’ll store them in her boyfriend’s warehouse and as new people move to town (or return, because that’s what happens around here) she’ll be able to give them a table, chairs, a lamp, a dresser, a soup pot, etc.

I weep for all of my Missoula friends who say they will visit. My writing project could be toast(!) if everyone does, but I sure hope most of them make it down so I can share my experiences with them.

I also weep for the friends I’ll live closer to; the friends I can meet halfway if we each drive two easy hours.

I weep for my generous landlords who are giving me a couple extra days into January so I don’t have to be completely out on New Years Eve, though that would be appropriate since I moved to Missoula twelve years ago on New Years Eve. Twelve whole years ago. WOW. Thank you, Missoula.

I weep for this community that accepted me right out of the gate and that has grown up alongside me, for this community that lets me go when I need to, but that doesn’t hold a grudge and always welcomes me back.

I weep for the friend who I visited a month ago who encouraged me to talk about how I was feeling and through my instantaneous sobbing my response was, “I need new scenery. I need to feel lost.” I weep for the recognition that trip gave me, and the friends who were there to talk, listen, and share.

I weep for everyone who is willing to be authentic, honest and true: You make the world go round. Your vulnerability is noble.

I weep for the friends who tell me they’re proud of me. For the friend who toasted me on Thanksgiving when she said, “A lot of people say they’re going to do things but they don’t follow through. Jaime Stathis is not one of those people.” (She said this because of my drive to collect clothes for Hurricane Sandy victims, but I heard her voice encouraging me as I made this leap.)

I weep for the friends who remind me that I’m making an investment in myself and that I’m worth it.

I weep (in advance) for the friend who is dropping something off for me this morning. She said I don’t have to pack it up and take it with me. Did she bake for me?

Okay, maybe I’ll stop all this weeping so I can enjoy a delicious treat…If I don’t have to pack it, then what could it be if not a baked good? #icanhardlywait

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” Winnie-the-Pooh

UPDATE: I didn’t have to wait long. My baking machine of a friend delivered a sweet box of four homemade holiday cookies. Salted chocolate chip, Polish apricot, Mexican wedding, and powdered sugar dusted chocolate. They’re as beautiful as she is, inside and out.



  1. stephwest says:

    I weep reading your post. 🙂

    I sooo understand that feeling of being happy to move on yet sad to leave people and places that you love behind. It sounds like you have amazing friends and are going to (continue to) have an amazing journey. Best of luck!

  2. Dan Comstock says:

    I love you whatever, wherever, whenever. Dan

    1. jaimestathis says:

      Oh, Dan. Thanks friend….

  3. Hey, Before you leave town, you might want to find Brandon Bryant, and talk to him about this work he did in New Mexico:

    The Woes of an American Drone Operator

    1. jaimestathis says:

      Interesting, hg, do you know Brandon Bryant? It sounds like he suffered quite a bit while he was in NM, which had less to do with the state than with his government work.

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