BY: Cherry Maggiore – “The Freak of Nurture”

Chapter 17: Feeling Funky at the Border

AsI sip a glass of white wine in the airport lounge area, I look around at the people waiting to board flight 1195 at 8pm to Los Angeles.  As you may recall from my last blog, this was the flight that was the culmination of all the signs I’ve been receiving since my Uncle Weazle’s passing.

I’m texting with friends who are asking how I am feeling based on the blog post.  Some of them advise me just to let it flow, and not put too much pressure on the person seated in 1A.  Some of them believe that this will be a life-changing experience.  At this point, I’m just eager to solve the mystery.

As they call Group 1 to board, I walk down the runway with hope and excitement in my heart. I just can’t help it.  I’m feeling lifted and energized as I happily greet the flight attendants.  After getting myself settled in seat 1B, I pull out my new book, The Ghost Photographer by Julie Rieger, and try to distract myself by reading a bit (an incredible book by a legend in the Hollywood film business).

Time ticks by and still no one claims Seat 1A. A few people almost sit in the seat and then realize that wasn’t their seat assignment (thanks for the heart attack people!). Just as they are about to close the door to the gate, someone is talking to the flight attendant as he directs this mystery person to the front of the plane…and that’s when I see Seat 1A. 

He’s middle-aged, balding blonde guy who’s about 5’6, wearing a black t-shirt, jeans, and a leather jacket.  I think to myself, “ok…here we go, let’s see what he’s all about.”

Darren. 56.  IT director for a law firm in Los Angeles. Father of two kids, 17 and 13. When the person initially seated in 1A didn’t show, Darren got upgraded.  He reminds me of Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  A stoned surfer-dude who never surfed before.

He shares that he usually travels on Mondays, but since he had an early meeting, he took the Sunday flight. He’s been flying for 8 years to Cali, since 2011. He confesses that he’s unhappily married, but they make it work for the sake of keeping their family together.

He’s apathetic at best; a life-settler.  To be honest, he was entirely and unequivocally underwhelming.  As he tells his life story (people tend to do that with me), he finally starts to ask me questions.  I share the basics and then confess that I am also a writer for The Daily Feels. And that he is seated in an important seat…he looks at me like I’m crazy. 

I ask Darren if he would be willing to read the blog…he skims it but gets the message.  When he finishes, he turns to me and says “Wow, no pressure right?”  I respond by laughing and saying, “No! No pressure at all!”

Then he says, “Well maybe I should watch Ocean’s 8?” I don’t get the joke at first, but once I catch on, I say “Yeah, maybe” and then turn back to my book, he sleeps the rest of the flight. 

Seat 1A is a monumental letdown. He wasn’t some wise sage or a brilliant creator or a soulful comedian. He was just some regular guy, living an ordinary life.  Weazle, WTF?! 

I laugh at myself for the insane build up to this one moment, to this one person and realize that maybe I haven’t figured it out yet.  Maybe, this was just a beginning. Maybe my Uncle Weazle, a complete jokester who loved to play pranks, was seeing if I was paying attention. Maybe.

Following the disappointment from seat 1A experience, I feel myself sink into the total and complete funk.  A funk I was trying to stave off for weeks now.

Why is the Freak in a funk?  Well, there are many “reasons.”  I could point the finger at any number of big things and little things that happened lately.  Shit to do with work or finding out the Chupacabra got engaged (giving my daughter a sense of a “traditional family”that I have yet to provide),  or the lack of any dates or even prospects. 

And then I get a call from Scotland a week later. Guess Who? Ulysses (from Blog #2).  Here’s the message…

“Yo Christine, I’m in Scotland right now. (sound of deep intake of smoke).  I called you by mistake, (insert strange giggle). My bad. remember me?  We were dancing (insert another strange giggle).  My bad Yo, called you by mistake.  Give me a call back.  This is Ulysses.  I know you remember my name.  You never met somebody like me.  It’s been a lifetime ago but give me a call (insert his phone number).  I’m fucked up right now but I know who I called.  Give me a call. Bye.” 

Just another reminder of the stupid, poor choices I’ve made, further propelling me into my self-imposed funk.  My response to Ulysses was a simple “Yeah I remember you, you are a pig.  Don’t ever call me again!”  Closure. 

Then here comes the pressure of the Holidays, between entertaining, gift giving, having to be happy. UGH!  I don’t want to bake. I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to be around anyone. I want to crawl under my covers with a tray of brownies and not leave for a week.

Then I find out that after seeing a financial advisor that due to the new tax laws, for the first time in 20 years, I will have to pay the government in April.  Another selfish reason for me to despise our current administration (among the millions of other reasons). 

I remind myself that this is a time of year to be thankful and find gratitude, but I’m struggling. Even with The Daily Feels 30-Day gratitude challenge, that fucking dark cloud creeps in and blocks the light.

I miss my uncle. I miss my dog, Spike.  I miss that last call of the day.  With all the horrifying news lately, I’m afraid of going into crowds and have anxiety when I drop my daughter off at school or when I get on a plane.  I go home and cry every night in my bed, alone.  I cry over things I do control but can’t fix and things I don’t control; I cry over things I don’t have and things that are missing.

Then I feel glad to be alone because it would be totally embarrassing to explain to someone why I am in this funk when I really don’t fucking know.  Everything I am going through is no different, no harder than anything I’ve been through before.  Ironically, my life has never been better.

So since I’ve been here before, I instinctively know I will come out the other side.  Sometimes I just let myself feel the know, just full on feeling sorry for myself. But it’s soridiculous! I just want to slap myself in the face ala Cher in Moonstruck and yell, “Snap Out of it!!!”

I consciously decide that while I am in this funk,  I will continue to go through the motions of daily life. I get out of bed every day and shower (You’re welcome).  I go to work. I go to ballroom class. I workout.  I cook for my family.  I take care of my daughter and attend all her school events.  I go out with friends and attend celebrations.  I write my blog (although lately, I’ve been seriously procrastinating). I don’t hide even though everyone keeps asking me, what’s wrong. 

As Thanksgiving approaches, the dread begins. My best friend Gregg, invited me to his mother’s in Delaware for the holiday as MSP is with her father every Thanksgiving (I have her every Easter as an exchange).  While I am excited to see him, I know it will be hard to muster the joy that feels like a distant memory.

On Thursday, I drive two hours by myself to Delaware (even though I fought the strong desire to stay in bed all day). I listen to music, my road trip soundtrack (strangely, even music isn’t lifting my spirits).  But I show up on time and do my best not let my crappy energy infect anyone else.  I channel Mr. Roarke, “Smiles everyone, SMILES!” (if you sadly don’t know Mr. Roarke, Google: Fantasy Island). 

After a lovely feast with lovely people followed by a lovely two-hour nap in front of the lovely fireplace, I find myself home alone and in tears again.  FUCK! This funk is utterly relentless.  After scolding myself on this self-inflicted pity party, I get this unexpected text from Gregg.

An excerpt from my best friend’s text…

“I’m so thankful you were there today.  I’m so thankful for your energy and smile and warmth… I enjoy watching you nap and wishing I coulda stayed there too.  It made me aware of how much I love you MORE THAN family. We choose each other, and I’m blessed.  Thank you for loving me.”

And there it is, the beacon of light in this deep dark abyss.  What I wanted to hear so bad from someone I love so much at the exact moment I needed it most. 

As I read that text over and over, I realized how selfish and silly I was being.  I reflected on my life and began to find honest gratitude and hope.  I can’t imagine a better life.  I am loved, I am cherished, and my love is welcomed by so many. Isn’t that what we all hope for?  Isn’t that the dream? 

With that epiphany still fresh, I decided that regardless of how I feel I will getup every morning, put on my red lipstick with a smile (even if it’s forced; I’m going to fake it ’til I make it) and face the day.  Whatever the day brings.  I decided to stop examining what I DON’T have and focus on what I DO have.  I choose to stop seeking answers to maybes and what ifs. I relinquish control over what I don’t know and focus on the magic of people that generously fill my life with love and light.

I’m fucking alive.  It’s that simple.

Cherry Maggiore is the proud single mom of her 9-year-old super-sassy daughter (aka Miss Sassy Pants or MSP) and 15-year-old pug baby (Tiki Barber); in addition to being an award-winning senior marketing executive at NBCUniversal.

Beside her side hustle as the Freak of Nurture, she also started a home design company after being inspired by renovating and designing her 1880’s home in NJ.

This insanely curious and passionate “multi-potentialite” can be found dancing the Argentinan tango, swing and Hustle every Saturday, cooking her family an Italian Sunday dinner, singing and air drumming at concerts or searching for her next adventure.

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