Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Woman, Be Strong

I always thought I was a strong person. I've been through a lot in my life and managed to make it out alright. I struggle daily with more than most people. But then there are those whose lives have been filled with more obstacles and difficulties, whose daily burden outweighs mine. I always try to keep that in mind when I feel down about something. What I don't think about is the difficulties that may lie ahead.

We spend a lot of time thinking about the past. And then a lot thinking about the present or the future as far as next week. But we don't spend much time thinking about the real future. "Right now" is about all I think I can handle. I torture myself still with memories from the past. But the future is too fuzzy, too far ahead, too early to tell to even spend any time thinking about it.

I just had the toughest conversation I've ever had about the future. I even cried a little. There are a lot of scary possibilities in the unknown that is the future. A lot that I never imagined in a million years I'd ever have to think about personally.

I am in love. Aw. It's true. Totally and completely. After two years of on/off, the timing was finally right. And when I say timing, I mean me. Because I'm a dysfunctional slowpoke. Ha. Well, maybe not that bad. I had a really rotten relationship, and after that, I just wasn't ready. It took me a long time to feel comfortable and to be at a point where I could truly open up and truly trust someone again. And through a series of events over the past few months and the feeling that it was "now or never," I opened up and let go.

All of that is puppy dogs and ice cream as my someone would say, but the real meat of this future talk I mentioned was more like dark clouds and stormy weather. He risks his life for a living. And will for 25 years until he hits retirement. I've always loved firefighters. I experienced New York in the aftermath of September 11th, went to firefighters' fundraisers, watched the first anniversary ceremonies and even was helped out by a few firemen when my own apartment was on fire.

But firefighters risk their lives. Every day. And so do the people they share their lives with.

He's technically not a firefighter just yet. Still in the academy. And this week the theme is 'Saving Our Own.' They're learning how to save their own ass in tough situations and how to rescue their fellow firefighters. More than any other week at the academy, his mind is on the very real possibility that bad things may happen to him. This, of course, has been on my mind since the first day he mentioned that he wanted to apply to a fire academy, but it hasn't been a real concern of mine until recently.

Shit. And I thought I was strong. I don't know strong. Can I be strong? Will my strength ever be really tested that way? I don't really know what I'm capable of, and I'm not sure I ever want to know the boundaries of what I can and cannot handle. How do people do this? It makes my stomach hurt.


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