It seems like it mostly began this school year.
Have I recently begun inhabiting people's dreams?
Or are people finally getting the courage to tell me?
"You know Aubs, I used to be really intimidated."
"You? By what?"
"No, it's not bad. It's just like, there's so much Aubrey to handle when someone meets you for the first time. They don't know what to do with it all. It's really overwhelming. So you're kinda scared of it, and so I was intimated by you.
But it's cool. Because we're friends now."
When I was three I watched "The Wizard of Oz" for the first time.
I've made a promise to myself. My children will not be allowed to watch it until they are.... 8.
I saw the tornado, and that did it. In my young adolescence, I was immediately scarred.
I'm sure if my mother would have known the numerous traumatizing experiences that movie caused, I would have had to wait until I was ten too.
Folks, I was scared of the wind. Not a boogie monster, not some creepy thing under my bed. If a slightest breeze blew, I was clinging to the nearest stable thing. Whether that be a light pole, my father's leg, or in the best occasion - my primary teacher's waist.
Olivia technically isn't my first car.
You know, the white one with the red peace sign and cute seat covers.
For two blissful weeks, I owned a red car.
I love the color red.
She was a stick shift. I had never driven a stick shift before, but my dad in all his adorable love and patience, agreed to teach me.
That first time I drove it around the neighborhood I stalled what felt like every 20 seconds. By the end of it my poor father had whiplash.
Two days later, he got up and told me, "Why don't you drive yourself to school?"
I was absolutely terrified. "Daddy, what if I stall?"
"Then you'll just start it again."
At the time, it seemed so simple. But that was still so reassuring. If I failed to do something right, I could start over, I could try again.
I was coming home from work that fateful evening. I somehow stalled on the extremely steep 25 degree incline of my driveway. I slowly inched forward and somehow was veering off to the right. After stalling three times, frustrated, and tired from mopping and making sandwiches, I gunned it.
Straight into the side of my garage.
I pulled on the brake and swung open the door - car still running - to a large mass of smoke.
Before someone could say "Cue tears" I was running inside hysterical.
"Are you okay? Are you okay?"
My mom and Jason came running up to me.
I nodded and merely pointed outside to where the damage waited.
I sat on the stairs, my head in my hands as I stared at the tan carpet slowly grow dark from the tears running down my cheeks.
I heard the door open several times as Jason and my mom ran outside and in grabbing garbage cans, brooms and rags to clean up the glass and oil sprayed in my garage.
I couldn't think clearly. All I can remember is my tears. Perhaps it was the combination of hormones and teenage boys. I was absolutely hysterical, and I couldn't seem to fathom why.
My mom walked inside, put her arm around me and said, "Maybe you should go to bed."
I went upstairs, and immediately sat on my floor and informed my friends of my recent car crash.
The two minutes in-between their responses was too long and I simply laid my head down on the ground. I laid there for a half hour or so, as my chest bobbed up and down and my heart beat way too fast. I couldn't sleep.
My mom suggested I get a blessing.
I felt silly, and I walked down the stairs.
You get blessings for illnesses, for sickness.
I realized, as I sat in my parents dark bedroom, on the edge of their bed that that didn't matter.
All I needed was peace. All I needed was that sweet reassurance that "this too shall pass" and it would all be okay.
And my dad was able to give me just that, simply by being worthy and prepared when I woke him up late at night.