To combat my decided mediocrity at crafts, I’ve given myself about a month to make some custom tank tops for my sister and me to wear at the birthday party she’s throwing later this month. (In case you forgot, we’re twins. Technically it’s just her party, but sharing a womb with her wasn’t enough for me so I asked her to share the party with me too. I’M VERY NEEDY.)
I spent an hour with a fabric pen, letter stencils, and a ribbed tank top carefully spelling out the URL for this blog on the back of Joanna’s shirt, because if a birthday isn’t the right time for shameless self promotion, then I don’t know when is. The only mistake I made was that I decided to do this while watching and shouting out wrong answers to Jeopardy, and apparently my brain can’t handle that much stimulation at once, because by the time I got to the “flip” in “flip flops,” I’d accidentally written out “flo” instead of “fli,” and if you’re still following this you now understand why I say I’m decidedly mediocre at both crafts and Jeopardy.
I spent the next half hour online trying to find the ribbed tank top Joanna had purchased so I could buy a new one and start over, but the store was entirely out of it in her size, so maybe she should get fatter. I decided it was useless, and resigned that at least this was only the second angriest I’d ever been at Alex Trebek. (The first angriest was when my friend Prasana and I chased the Cherry Blossom Parade all the way down Constitution Avenue just to catch a glimpse of Trebek as the parade’s grand marshal, and then he wasn’t even there. The good news is that neither of us felt bad about skipping the gym that day, and I recently swept the kids week Jeopardy category about The Wizarding World of Harry potter, so I’m over it now.)
I ended up being able to hide the mistake by expertly drawing over it with new letters, inflating all the other letters, and then coloring them in. Which took another hour or so, but was entirely worth it.
Plus one point for my craft skills.
Then I picked up the shirt to lay it out to dry and realized I’d accidentally done the entire thing on the front of the shirt instead of the back.
Minus all points.
A week later, after I’d gone to the mall, bought a comparable tank top in a slightly different color but whatever it still works, written out the URL on the new shirt (correctly and without incident), and finished the rest of the lettering, I was so proud of it that I decided to put a picture of it on Twitter.
Notice anything wrong with that tweet?
I didn’t. Until this happened.
After I went through the stages of grief (Denial: I couldn’t have possibly made a word-usage error so this must be a mistake; Anger: THE ONE TIME THIS HAPPENS TO ME AND SOMEBODY CALLS ME OUT PUBLICLY? FUCK THAT GUY; Bargaining: It must have just been my iPhone’s autocorrect because there’s no way this is my fault; Depression: I should just give up copy editing forever and go eat ice cream until I can’t feel my tongue anymore because I don’t even deserve a tongue; Acceptance: Whoops, oh well.), I clicked on Stealth Mountain’s Twitter profile and discovered that this is a Twitter account devoted entirely to pointing out whenever somebody on Twitter tweets “sneak peAk” instead of “sneak peEk.”
And if you’re wondering why I thought it was necessary to write an entire blog post about getting called out on a grammar mistake on Twitter and being bad at Jeopardy, it’s because we’re only a month into Jonathan’s deployment and I’m already waking up at 3:00am from nightmares that everybody I love has died, and we’ve taxidermy-ed their corpses to put them on display in my parents’ garage. So if I can be engrossed in something much less disturbing and much less significant for a while, I’m going to jump on it.
A friend of mine…let’s call her Ethel Toffelmeier…is in a relationship with an ex-military man, who recently told her he’s considering reenlisting so he can serve his country in Afghanistan one more time. Ethel Toffelmeier came to me (in a slight, warranted panic) asking how I deal with the constant unknowns and worries and dangers without going completely insane. And while I have to admit that I’m not sure how I would react in her position (because, if you remember, Jonathan already had one foot out the door to Afghanistan when I met him, and I really didn’t know him well enough to plead or object), I gave her the only advice I could think of—
When Jonathan came home from his first tour, I think we were both a little surprised that we survived the deployment and were still together. Especially after he mentioned that a staggering percentage of the men he deployed with returned home, for whatever reason, without the wives, fiancés, and girlfriends they’d left with. So I asked Jonathan…how does he deal with it? With all the stories of infidelities, and drained bank accounts, and fiancés who crack under the pressure of the distance. How does he deal with hearing these stories, and then going a week without even talking to a new girlfriend who, for all he knew, could be a crazy psychopath con artist slut? (At least one of those is true; you choose which.)
So Jonathan told me, the way he sees it, he has two options: 1. Be constantly worried that I am a crazy psychopath con artist slut, and stay up nights thinking about all the horrible infidelities I could be committing, or 2. Trust me; sleep at night; keep his mind where he needs it to be in order to stay safe. Because what’s the point of going crazy worrying about something that, at the end of the day, he can’t control?
I’ve mentioned before that, with Jonathan, I’ve experienced moments of calmness and clarity I never expected to experience on my own. This was one of those moments.
And while I can’t say I never worry, and I can’t say I have more good days than bad, and some nights I have nightmares about IADs and plane crashes and I don’t expect them to go away, I can say that, in my best moments, I am able to trust. To trust that, if anything, he knows what he’s doing. If anything, he’s being as safe as he can be. If anything, I can choose to trust. Because, at the end of the day, no amount of worrying on my part is going to keep him safer. No amount of stress-induced migraines will give him a better chance of coming home in one piece. No amount of my fear or panic will help him in any way, and it certainly won’t help me either. And if I’m still having dreams that my loved ones are killed and turned into taxidermy, at least it means I’m sleeping at night. And that I’ve probably got some good Edgar-Allan-Poe style fiction to write in my future.
And if that doesn’t work, I told Ethel Toffelmeier, try this: