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  • H.M. Jackson

Don’t Forget to Smell the Roses

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Sometimes life moves so fast, and it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of everyday life. We often forget to stop and smell the roses as the clichè saying goes. It is easy to be on autopilot, or caught up in the negative, but it’s important to stop and take everything in. It is important to take a moment to be proud of yourself for how far you’ve come, the people around you, or the people you have met along the way. Lately, I have been doing quite a bit of self-reflection on my growth and journey. In this instance, I want to take a second to stop and recognize all those around me who supported me in ways I could never imagine.

I remember sitting at an internal crossroad once, well more than once, but this time in specific I realized all the things I didn’t have. I was sitting in therapy and my therapist asked me “who is your support system?” This was early on when I had first started going. I just froze. I didn’t have an answer because I didn’t really have a support system, or anyone I even considered my safe space. This was at a point in my life I was very alone. I didn’t always have people around me I could turn to, or even count on. I didn’t have it often growing up, and it wasn’t something common for me in my teens or college years either. Sure, there were some people in my life I considered close, but they only knew me on a surface level. I didn’t often have people who were a constant in my corner. 

I remember the hurt, emptiness and loneliness that would crash over me when I felt I had no one to turn to who I could trust. I’ve had people I thought would always be there, people I thought were family, leave. It has always been difficult when that happens. It definitely makes me question myself and makes me question trusting others. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t tear me apart on the inside when it does happen. It also scares me when I lose people because I can feel my mind starting to go backwards and thinking “this is why I can’t open up” or “I don’t want to be a burden to others'' but at the same time, I try remind myself I cannot let the previous relationships, and previous actions dictate my future relationships. As scary as it can be, I have to move forward trusting the relationships I currently have. So, I’m taking time to stop and be grateful for those who are around, the ones that choose to be around, the ones that have said they are always going to be there for me and have shown that. 

I've shared recent stories on the 'Friends Era' that share the great friendship of Diane and Ann, but there are a couple others in my life, who impacted me so much on my journey and mean so much to me.

Joy and Devin

Joy and Devin, another set of some of my best friends. Joy and I went to college together, but we didn’t meet until our last semester. Joy is very similar to Diane and Ann in the sense that she protects her people no matter what. Now, Devin is Joy’s boyfriend, and he is just as fantastic. He’s like a brother to me. Joy and Devin are the friends you can call if you are having a completely shit day and just need a laugh. I am not kidding. I have called them to say, “Today’s shit, I just need a laugh.” I am guaranteed the greatest laughs each time. They are also the two that will run around the neighborhood on a Saturday morning with you (keep in mind we are all in our mid 20’s) while having an all-out Nerf War. Nerf bullets flying off the balcony, through the garage, around cars, and pure laughter without any care for all the neighbors thinking we are crazy. With all that being said, they are also so loving, and won’t judge you. When I was in-patient, it was one of the lowest points in my life, and the time I felt the most alone. I had only told one person I was going in-patient, since I was so ashamed of needing the additional treatment. But, after a couple days in there, you get lonely. In one of the group therapy sessions they had you do an exercise where you had to build out a support tree. I remember struggling for so long with it, and then remembered, even though Joy and Devin are out of state, they would be there, and they wouldn’t judge me. I finally picked up the phone and called and broke down crying when they answered. I honestly think Joy contemplated getting on a plane down here and breaking me out. Actually, I am certain she tried, and Devin had talk to her down. I couldn't imagine what it would have been like if I didn't have them or didn't have them now. We have plenty of fun memories and our random calls throughout the weeks are something I always look forward to.

T and T - The Dynamic Duo

T and T were two of my teachers in high school. My last two years of school, they were an amazing support system. Junior and Senior year were difficult. I didn’t have a consistent living situation, and I bounced around. I lived in 6 different places between those two years. I was really struggling. They knew I was, and they were there. They were there to kick my ass when I needed it, but to celebrate me too. To be honest, I tried to drop out of high school my Senior Year. T and T did not let that happen. They ganged up on me one afternoon and threatened to drag me to school each day if I didn’t show up. They kept tabs on me the last two years of school, making sure I stayed out of trouble, or if I caused trouble, were there to tell me to pull my head out of my ass. Actually, they even found my twitter account, and apparently checked in on it - because every once in a while, I would receive a text from them about something if I was being a hooligan. Each of their classroom’s were a safe space for me. If too much was going on, or I needed a break, I could go to either class at any time with no questions asked to cool down. Then Senior Year when I was presented an award at the Honors Scholarship Event, they pulled off an epic surprise. You had to have a teacher present you the award, but you could only have one. Tina was presenting the award, and I invited Tara to come to the event to watch. Tara texted me she wouldn’t be able to make it, I was really bummed she wasn’t going to be there since she was such an important part of me pushing through. When Tina announced the award, Tara surprised me and presented it with her. They had reached out to the administration and planned this entire thing. They were such an important piece of my life those last two years, and I truly thank them. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them, especially since I tried to drop out. 

Linda and Robert 

Again, somehow, I lucked out with this relationship forming in high school. Linda was a student teacher my senior year. Robert had graduated from my school years prior and was an active volunteer with our agriculture program (he also had a mega crush on Linda). I don’t remember how it initially started. Probably because we were a wild class, but I was one that at least did the work while goofing off. Or perhaps it was the extra credit dirt project. Yes, you heard that right, dirt project. Linda created an extra credit project for dirt samples. I must have brought in like 6 or 7 bags of dirt for it. Regardless of what sparked the initial relationship, we stayed close after high school. Linda and Robert did eventually start dating (I told you he had a major crush) and they were constants my first couple years of college. They’d give me life advice, pick me up when I needed (literally), gave me planners filled with hilarious jokes, and I could text them anytime I wanted to vent about something stupid. Hell, I even drove like 3 hours for their wedding (yes, Robert did indeed put a ring on it). I spent many Friday nights hanging with them at their Christmas tree lot, and they don't know those were some of my favorite nights. It was a brief escape from the craziness where we could just laugh at anything. These two came to my college graduation, and their son (yup, they had a baby!), is my adopted nephew. Even now, no matter what random item I throw at them, they give me their honest opinion, and cheer me on no matter how far they are. I'm so truly grateful for them.

The OG Fam

The OG Fam has been the OG for the last eight years. I started by babysitting their son, and he quickly stole my heart as just a toddler and adopted me as Auntie H. Him and I spent many Friday nights together going on random ice cream trips while his parents enjoyed a date night. The remaining days of the weekend I would crash their party and hang out. Years later, they got pregnant with their second child, a little girl. I remember the day she was born, and she has only ever known me as Auntie H. Both of these kids can make your worst day the brightest by just seeing their sheer excitement over the smallest items. I am waiting for the day my nephew is “too cool” to hang out with me, but it hasn’t happened yet. Their parents, Jay and May are two of the most kindhearted individuals. I have no relation to them, but they just kind of ‘adopted’ me into their family. I’ve had a house key to their house for years, they are the ones who took me out for my 21st birthday, were at my college graduation, and to this day - I can show up whenever and they will say Welcome Home with no questions asked. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, I can show up or call whenever. I live quite a way from them now, which is partly why I don’t see them as much as I used to when I lived minutes away, but regardless of distance I need to remind myself they are people in my corner. They embrace me no matter what and do give me life advice whenever needed. I credit them for my career, the reason I was able to buy my first home, and so much more. 

I’m slowly trying to remind myself; I can’t focus all the time on thinking of the ones who left and aren’t around, but instead notice the ones who are. It goes with something I learned reading Good Morning, I Love You, by Dr. Shauna Shapiro. If I focus on the ones who are not around, the ones who should have been there, or the ones that walked away, I’m ruminating in the pain. If I take a second, and recognize everyone who chooses to be present, I’m focusing on positive, happy moments instead. Taking the time to look back on the people I have in my corner now, and the ones who did impact me along the way really helps shift my mindset if I start to spiral. It reminds me regardless of all the hardships in my life, I did meet some special people. Yes, I can feel the feels of ones I lost, but I can’t forget to feel the good feels too. So, every once in a while, remember to stop and smell the roses before you catch the next wave. 

⎻ H.M. Jackson

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