Commode To Joy

finding happy (even in the crappy)

Human Highlights: Surviving Stress

Human Highlights is a Sunday tradition at Commode To Joy. It’s a friendly reminder to forgive your human moments, celebrate the highlights, and enjoy life’s little lovelies in the interim.


Human Moment: Friday, June 23

Normally I look forward to writing these installments, making mental notes of my highlights and humanness during the week. I’m struggling with this one.

My week has been one continual human moment. I’ve been filled with stress, like a riptide that lurks just beneath the surface. At times it’s altered my mood, thinned my patience, and flared my tension spots.

But…I’m not ready to tell you about it. I try, but there’s a wall there, like a dam. A no. A not yet. I’m still processing. Still sifting. Still listening.

Even though I’m not ready to talk about it, I also can’t pretend that it’s not happening. I’m not a pretender. A dreamer, yes. A pretender, no. That’s why I’m struggling with this post.

Every word that I’ve typed on Commode To Joy has been true. I’ve shown you personal parts of me, my thoughts, and my life. To skip over this as if it’s not happening would be dishonest to me, thus, dishonest with you. I can’t do that.

So here’s what I can tell you: I’m having surgery Monday, tomorrow.

It’s a date that I’ve awaited long before it was ever set on the calendar. It’s an operation that I want, and at one point was willing to beg for. It’s also a very big decision.

In my 20s I became aware that I still had a lot of time left in life. (This was not a premonition. It’s an assumption that I’ll make it well into my 80s.) I realized there was still time for me to make decisions and then completely change my mind – without much consequence – thanks to youth.

I pictured life as a big hill, a ¾ climb followed by a ¼ downward slope. As you near the crest of that hill, big decisions continue to be made – marriage, children, career, where you’ll live, and so on. At the crest, you look back on your life and see the decisions you’ve made that have gotten you to this point, for better or worse. I knew that, at some point, my decisions would be with me forever; for life.

Choosing to get married? Big life decision. Wasn’t a difficult one for me to make.

Having a child? Big life decision. Easy peasy. We were ready. We had a child.

This decision? Big. No going back.

It’s easy and it’s not easy. 98% of me screams yes. 2% whispers no. That 2% has been making her presence known all week. She’s the stress, the undercurrent threatening to take me under.

If you know me, you know that I typically don’t operate in percentages. I’m black and white with decisions because I follow my gut instinct. Always. It’s never let me down or led me astray ever. Not once. Except my gut doesn’t always weigh in. Sometimes it lets me just live my life. It might offer guidance in the process, or it might not.

For this surgery? No gut instinct. I’ve got my head (98%) and my heart (2%), and my gut sort of shrugs. Whatever you decide Jamie. It’ll be okay.

My head knows that there’s no turning back from this surgery, and that scares my heart. But not having the surgery means that I keep turning in circles, and I can’t keep turning in circles. So I’m doing it. Majority wins, and here I go. Forward trajectory.

That’s what I can tell you.

I’ll also ask something of you.

Whatever your deity is, however you connect to God, Source, The Universe, Nature, Jesus, Buddha, Mother Mary, or your Angels. Whether you’re religious or spiritual. Whether you’re New Age or newly ordained. Please say a prayer for me. Please send me your high vibes and feel goods. Please think of me and wish me well. Don’t feel bad for me. Don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t add worry to this equation. Add love.


Because I do believe everything will be okay. And I also believe in the power of prayer. I’ve experienced firsthand what it means to have love coming at you so powerfully from so many directions that it washes away all undercurrents and leaves peace in its wake.

With a ready mind and loving (and slightly scared) heart, thank you.


Highlight: Friday, June 23

CrossFit. I went in the afternoon to get one last workout in prior to surgery and to work out some stress. With one round left of the wod, with accelerated heart rates, shallower breaths, and sweaty skin, my fellow CrossFitters started cheering one another on. Hootin’, and hollerin’, as folks back home would say. What began with claps ended with smiles and extra steam to attack that last round.

There’s something to be said for being with a group of people that are all experiencing the same difficulty and still take the time to support one another. It collectively lightens the load.


Life’s Little Lovelies: Saturday, June 24

A wedding, at a place surrounded by buildings, many of which my dad built. At a reception in the same room as my high school proms. Both people and food from my childhood. With Mark, right by my side.

It’s the first time we’ve breathed as a couple recently. Sure, we go out to dinner back home, but it’s not like this. Here we aren’t so close to our house that it’s tethered to us; a reminder that responsibility is just a short drive away. Here, it’s just the two of us.


We do a lot of grinning, which reminds me of when we dated. The sun shines off of his hazel eyes, and I feel a swell of how much I like him. Do I love the guy? Of course. He’s the family member I chose. But I also really like him. As a person. As a friend. As a partner.

At first I thought the wedding would be a distraction from my surgery. Nah; I didn’t have to keep shooing thoughts of what’s ahead from my mind. Instead, the whole experience was a grounding. It always is when I return to my roots.

What are your Human Highlights from the week?

Categories: Anxiety & Depression, Odes To Joy

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5 replies

  1. First and foremost, your courage is amazing, as well as a bit contagious. (love)
    2nd, for me, my human moments were as followed:
    I think I am sure that I have outgrown old skin and it is time to shed it and grow new. Time will tell what this looks like
    Then, I presented a neuro case review to an incoming class of RNs, an Admin, and my husband. The case was mine. It is insanely difficult to present yourself, but not be yourself. Greg said he could see the ripple effect through the audience as they slowly figured out that it was me I was speaking of. I think the trach scar gave it away, dang. 😉
    I also met with an amazing young woman, whom asked me more questions about me, and my journey, and it made me reflect on pieces I had not allowed myself to. For that, I am grateful.
    Then, I rediscovered the simplicity of fishing, being patient, and waiting for the right moment of all things to come together for the perfect moment of randomness. And I did it with my best friend, and the product of my best qualities.
    Thank you Jamie, for all of this, so much of this we all need. In a big way. Thank you, so very much. So very proud of you. Love, Mindy

    • Good for you Mindy. Sounds like a great week, including the shedding of old skin. You are one of a kind, and I’m glad I get to witness some of your awesomeness personally. Not to mention you both write and speak one liners that are off the charts good. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for being you. xo

  2. Prayers of love coming your way. You’ve got this- you’re one of the strongest people I know- so I believe you when you say you know everything will be ok. You’ve had lots of experience beyond your young years to be wise enough to know that better than most. So just (but not ‘”just’) praying that a bright and warm blanket of love covers you (and Mark and Miller) today and many days following. xxxx Kathy

  3. Hi Sweetie!
    I am praying for you…for His peace that transcends all understanding, for His love for you to be felt throughout all of this experience and beyond and for a speedy, easy recovery.

    You are so blessed with a wonderful husband who loves and supports you, a sweet little boy who loves you, grandmas, moms, aunties, great-aunties, uncles, cousins, second cousins and friends who all love and cherish you!!!❤️

    So, your gut didn’t advise you one way or the other…it sounds like faith did, which is your gut?? You put your faith in God and He told you all will be well. That is a great thing. Your life will change so embrace the change…a new adventure to come.

    Take care and God’s peace to you and your loved ones, love, Valerie

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