Life was turned upside down like “raindrops on kittens” or “whiskers on roses”, and that was okay, because we were sorting it out, soul to soul, sister to sister, one email at a time.Kristin Bryan
About a year and a half after I had launched my business and officially became an “entrepreneur”, I met JB. She does have a real name, but out of respect for her privacy I’m not going to use it. JB was one of my customers and we became friends, or should I say pen pals? Anyway, she made a customer inquiry one day and the rest is history. Her emails were witty, clever and humorous with a sarcastic tone that made me envy her way with words. After a few exchanges about products on my website, she had piqued my interest. Who was this quick-witted woman on the other end of our email dialogue and what was her story? Our whimsical back and forth banter left me wanting to find out more, so I asked a few questions and she kindly obliged, giving me a window into her life and ultimately into her beautiful soul.
I have two blogs.
And they’re rough.
One of them has a few light pieces but the focus of the blog is recovering from anorexia.
The second consists of only a few pieces. They’re more recent. They chronicle my journey back from the darkness of being raped last year, the subsequent pregnancy, and my decision to keep the baby. I know…I just changed the mood of these emails.
Also, I stabbed my husband 86 times with a screwdriver when he left the toilet seat up ONE TOO MANY DAMN TIMES.
No. I didn’t. Not yet. (Destroy this email. Plausible deniability). But now things seem a little less Lifetime movie, yes?
Daughter of a comic.
Far too fertile woman.
Killer etch a sketch artist.
If I could only watch one movie for the rest of my life it would be The Princess Bride.
I can talk organic and clean food with the best of them but if given the chance would eat white bread and marshmallow fluff sandwiches every day of my life.
I can’t resist buying art supplies when they’re on sale. I’m not an artist. At all. (Except of course, for the aforementioned etch a sketch).
That should quash your desire to get to know me.
And there it was, this deeply soulful connection that transcended formality, or for that matter, secrets.
From that point forward she had my personal email and I had hers. Because we were both typically burning the midnight oil, it just made sense to have a place where we could lob a few perplexing questions at each other at 2am. For me, there was an overwhelming sense of nirvana to the vulnerability of sharing gritty, honest life truths to one of my kind, a woman, a mom, a new friend, who was as genuine and vulnerable in return. When she wrote, I felt both empathy and pain intricately laced in the words on the screen. And she was unknowingly a lifeline and a voice of reason for me across many miles. However, the most astonishing part of this story, is her story.
Late one evening, once everyone in my house was tucked in bed, I began to follow up on overdue work when JB popped up on my computer screen. I knew it was her because the subject line always read “Raindrops on Kittens”. Because, you know, she was a master at clever prose and always trying to make me smile. Tonight she was replying to my latest email from a few days prior…
I’m not sure I’d inspire you if we lived closer. I’ve been in the same pajama pants for three days now and I’m sleeping under a huge pile of clean clothes that I’m too tired to fold. So far, TIME hasn’t called me for their Woman of the Year cover but I expect it’ll be any day now.
Things are hard right now..in so many ways, but if there were no other people on earth, the six others in this house who love me provide more than enough fuel for me to keep climbing forward.
Scars. Yeah, I’m getting to be a regular Frankenstein’s lady monster. If I’m going to be scarred like this anyway I should at least be getting a boob lift and tummy tuck out of the deal. Hey! One day I’ll work for you and you can get an insurance plan that covers those. They shouldn’t be considered cosmetic surgeries. They should be under the category of repairing the damage. Work on that!
JB was navigating life post the aftermath of a devastating and violent rape. She often shared sad, tough moments through email, some were harder than others to read. But I wanted to be there for her, to give her what she was giving me. To be heard and understood.
My dad passed away about an hour ago. I don’t know what else to say about that..
Oh, Jennifer. I’m so incredibly sorry. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you. XO
First picture of the 7 of us.
It took a funeral.
One is looking off in the distance, another is making a face even though he’s been told to STOP IT a hundred times, and by the time we got a semi-decent shot, the baby had fallen asleep. Perfect.
I was just thinking about you!!!
How are you doing? My heart hurts for you and I just kept saying little prayers that God would wrap His arms around you and hold you tight.
LOVE this picture BTW. Can’t even!!! You have a beautiful family and it appears they have your personality.
Will write more when I can focus. It’s like a zoo at this office today.
XO and an extra XO because you need it.
And then a few weeks later….
Just checking in. Are you okay?
Yes, thanks for checking in. Tired, have one eye open today, worked until 2 last night. Worked all day Saturday as well and had to be at the office early this morning. Been a long week and weekend but the upside is I’m still here, I have everyone around me that I love and I just have to keep pressing on! Your video was gorgeous by the way. What a sweet tribute to your friend. I’m so sorry for your loss. So much pain, so many people who just can’t seem to find their way.
I hope you’re feeling better. I need an update soon
Just need to touch base with you every so often to make sure you haven’t worked yourself into the ground or been checked into the hospital for a psychotic episode from the breakneck pace you’ve been going.
I’d need to know where to go, where to get my hands on a janitor’s uniform, learn how to pick locks..springing someone from a psych ward is no mean feat.
But once we hit that beach in Acapulco and had Cabana boys bringing us fruity drinks on the beach….what was I talking about?
Right. Don’t burn yourself out. Anything I can do from here..that sounds lame but..name it. You might want to read this twice to get the full gist. I’m not sure with only one eye open that you’ll get all the subtle nuances.
This cheeky and random back and forth banter about life and work and tough decisions and kids and family and death and surgery and hurt and happiness and courage and love and just f***ing getting through the days…well, it was healing. The deep down in the darkness of your soul kind of healing.
I was in the midst of losing a battle, while she was waging a horrific war and we found each other at the perfect moment in life. It wasn’t a coincidence it was the exact time for our souls to collide. We were both armed with enormous emotional artillery that’s often acquired while doing what we women do best, suck it up and muscle through. Because that is what we were taught to do. JB carrying her pain with a smile on her face and me, refusing to admit or show the pain and disappointment I was going through and still can’t discuss.
I’m definitely not advocating emotionally highjacking your soul to make it through tough days, but that’s where JB and I both were at the time. That mutual state of mind (and heart) brought us virtually together all those late nights. Life was turned upside down like raindrops on kittens or whiskers on roses, but that was okay, because we were sorting it out, soul to soul, sister to sister, one email at a time.
It’s been a long time since JB and I exchanged late night emails and life has moved on for us both. But she will always be a hero in my life, a woman I admire for not just her strength, but her vulnerability as well. She’s an advocate for women and children and I feel blessed to have shared a corner of my world with such a beautiful soul.
<3 <3 <3