Coffee Date 2: The One With All The Bitter


I’m sorry to say it, but if we were on a coffee date today…I’d be pretty selfish. Either we’d both know that the coffee date existed because I needed you or I’d pretend I didn’t need you and be nonchalantly nodding along to every word you said. I’d be sipping a flat white with skim milk, new red hair and yes, that Hebrew word would be once again sharpied onto my left wrist.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about the last few days. I’d tell you what happens when the leaves fall…how all the life that’s in me just disappears. And it leaves me not knowing how to get back up again–it leaves me…not knowing if I want to. I’d tell you how badly I wanted to stop the car the other day, sit by the road, and nurse my wounds. We’d talk about the family history and yes, seasonal depression goes back generations and yes, the aunt that had a chemical imbalance and yes, the environmental factors and yes, spring always comes and yes, life goes on and yes, so many things to be thankful for. But no, none of that really matters when the pain is so real.

If we were on a coffee date…I’d tell you about the drive that brought about the depression this time. How that house was under contract and how I flew down a road, feeling so different, so unlovable, and so alone it made me want to stop everything and sit in the middle of a field for a very long time.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you how mad I am at God. How seriously angry I am. How could he leave me. How could he even let my family go through this. Wasn’t ’98 enough? And ’99 and 2000 and 2001 and 2002 and 2003 and 2004 and 2005 and 2006 AND EVERY DAMN YEAR SINCE. No friends for my Mom, no church family to give a damn, no friends for my dad, no solutions for anyone, no heat in the house one winter, no electricity for three weeks the next summer, no jobs, cars taken away, foreclosures and God only knows what else. And he leaves us community-less. Still on the outside after 20 damn years. And then all the pretty church boys fall for all the stereotypical church girls and no one asks the poor girls with the cursed family to dance. I’d break down in Starbucks, friend.

If we were on a coffee date…I’d tell you that I’m putting my faith on hold for awhile. All the books, the Bible on spiritual warfare, the random church attendance, the random chats with God…I’m putting them away. Because it hurts too much right now. How do I place hope in a being that comes through for everyone but the girl who needs him the most? And how do I…pretend it’s okay when it’s everything but?

If we were on a coffee date…I’d tell you that I’m fine, but I’m not. And all the vitamin D supplements in the world, all the rose-colored glasses can’t cover up how low I feel right now.

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Starbucks Lovers: Coffee Date 1


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Hi all! Doing kind of a fun post tonight from the perspective of if we were on a coffee date. This idea has popped up into my newsfeed quite a few times, courtesy of the amazing erinsalmonwrites.com, but this time I couldn’t resist. ❤

If we were on a coffee date, I’d sit across from you in my latest favorite sweatpants and a Fear is a Liar t-shirt, this logo I wear as an attempt to thwart the darkness. I’d probably have a faded Hebrew word, sharpied onto my wrist, where I’ve written it and let it fade. I’d tell you how I’m trying it out, wondering if my wrist will ever be its home. I’d order a venti Flat White with skim milk and subtly explain the lifestyle change I made earlier this year. And as you spoke, I’d memorize every expression and note everything that makes you tick. Because I’m a writer and I notice those things. I’m a caretaker of details.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d pepper you with questions. About everything. I’d want to know where you’re from and if you miss it, if you like where you’re at now and if not, why? I’d ask you what you used to like to do, what you used to want to do. I’d ask if you had family, if you were close to them, if they made you feel loved and worthy. I’d want to ask you what that look on your face meant, what was happening in your world when I touched on that subject, but I’d probably stop mid-question and make some degrading comment about my awkwardness and let it go. But I’d encourage you, as much as possible, to open up all the old closets and all the painted-over windows and let you speak. Really, really speak.

If we were on a coffee date, we’d talk faith wounds and God. I’d talk about the legalistic church that grew me and the charismatic movement that’s helping me piece together why Christians can be so mean. I’d tell you more stories than what you wanted to know, but I’d want to hear what you experienced too. I’d tell you what God says to me and I’d ask you if you believe God still speaks. I’d tell you about my lost boy and what they did to him, how the faith wounds stretched open until they had all that was left of him.

If we were on a coffee date, yes. We’d talk about our villages. You say you’d ask about mine, but I’d ask about yours too. I’d tell you about our adventures and I’d tell you what I love about my people. And I’d tell you that I’ve always wanted to be wanted as much as I want everyone around me. I’d tell you that I don’t know how to make it happen and I’d try to squeeze out some guarantee that you’d stay. I’d tell you how badly I want a village and all the places I’ve tried to find it.

And if we were on a coffee date, that last one would segue to Tinder and Bumble and Whisper and all the other places I’ve tried to find my roots. I’d tell you about fear. How I want to branch out, but serial killers are real. I’d ask you your opinion about fearing strangers on the internet or inviting them in. We’d talk about boundaries and we’d talk about red flags. We’d talk transparency and we’d talk oversharing. We’d talk about that blurry, freaking line.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you about my kids. I’m not a mom or a teacher, but I am a manager and I care about these kids. I’d tell you how God showed me it’s not about the work, but about the people and that scares me. It scares me because I don’t know how to make everything okay and it kills me because I know some of them aren’t okay. But I feel responsible to make them feel okay. I’d tell you every time I say, “Hey, you doing okay today?” and they say, “Yeah, doing well!” I see something in their eyes and I just want to shake them and say, “I KNOW YOU’RE HURTING JUST TELL ME.”

I’d tell you that it’s hard because on the one hand, I have my job and I have to crack down in certain areas. But on the other hand…I just want to hold group therapy sessions in the back room and make them all cupcakes every single day. I want to just build their self-worth until nothing can vanquish it, but I’m not God. But I am a doer. And I’d tell you…nothing feels like enough.

Lost boy would come up again, at this point, and I’d tell you how I couldn’t save him. And so I want to save them instead. All of them. But I still can’t.

If we were on a coffee date, we’d talk work. I’d want to know why you’re doing the work you’re doing. I’d want to know if it fulfilled you. I’d want to know all the plans and all the details, the future, and the goals. In all reality, we’d probably agree that in ten years if nothing’s changed, screw it, let’s start up a tie-dye t-shirt business on the beach.

If we were on a coffee date, we’d talk winter. I’d tell you all about my battle plan for getting through winter depression-free. I’d tell you about my vitamin D, my essential oils, my mental playlist that I thumb through, and the long country drives I take. I’d tell you about spring and how it’s coming. Four months and we’re there.

If we were on a coffee date, we’d talk old ghosts in the closet. I’d want to know what you survived, how you wound up on shore after winters at sea. You’d probably ask me what the heck I mean and I’d explain  how it felt mentally after my storm–how it was like the sun shining for the first time in months. How it was like crashing onto shore after months battling the sea. I’d want to know if you had those moments–if you felt like that too.

And lastly…man. If we were on a coffee date, we’d talk about finding our own lives. I’d tell you how I’ve found the life I want and it’s so new, so free. And you’d tell me what you’re aiming for. I’d tell you that you’ll make it–you’ll really make it. And I’d tell you that you deserve good things–good homes, good villages, good coffee, and good sweatpants. I’d tell you how glad I am to have met you and I’d tell you to keep choosing light. Keep choosing the good and pure things, keep pressing into what you’re worth.