2016. No Bueno...so far.


2016 has started with a thud, for me at least.  When Natalie Cole died, I felt like a huge portion of my childhood died along with her. I grew up binge listening to the 1.0 version of Natalie Cole before she became all swank and Adult Contemporary royalty. "My" Natalie was the gritty, hit-maker SOUL singer who in 1977 produced my favorite album of all time, a live album that I still play in its entirety at least 2 times per week. She's one of the main reasons I became a professional singer. I was lucky enough to see her perform live for the first time a couple of years before she passed. She was really thin. Too thin, actually, but sang like an angel and surprised me by performing the very songs I knew word-for-word, lick-for-lick from that 1977 live album. Rest in peace, Mama. Well done. So there's that.

2 weeks later, my grandmother died. She was 84. She singlehandedly raised me from age 3 to 8 on a working farm in Texas. She was easily the strongest woman I have ever encountered, both in might and in will. My father was absentee, so she stepped in and taught me more about being a man than he ever could. Losing her, though I knew it was inevitable, was more of a blow than I had anticipated. My mother and I, who are best friends now, are both only-children. Our tiny family lost its matriarch and it's left quite a huge hole. I don't have children with no plans for any, so it looks like my side of the family stops with me...which I think makes my mother sad. I refuse to accept the pressure of the unspoken responsibility of continuing the bloodline. I just can't. So there's that.

After proposing last November 1st, my fiancĂ© called off our engagement yesterday. We'd known each other for over 17 years as friends and each other's "one that got away" and had reconnected last February. One beautiful morning we had brunch, re-fell in love and continued the momentum with pre-pubescent phone calls until all hours of the morning, over 1,000 texts and occasional trips to be together. On November 1st, on a beautiful beach, with perfect weather and a few curious onlookers, I was proposed to. I had never felt so loved and so special until that moment. I reacted terribly. "Get up! What are you doing??" But it was real. Yesterday, upon hearing that I no longer hold that special place or that desire to be "us" was probably the worst kick in the stomach I have ever experienced.  And done over the phone, which angered me, as we were just in the same room together the day before. No one likes those kinds of surprises, trust me. Especially when finality comes without any sort of prior discussion to warn of a storm ahead. And the finality is what sucks. We discussed "taking a break," but everyone knows that it's placation and a way to stave off the inevitable and mitigate the sting. So we broke up. And all of the plans I'd set into motion, the relocation I'd just done, "our" home in "our" city that I'd chosen and added to my inspiration board...gone. Just like that. In one phone call. Fantastic.

Given all of this happened within the first 3 weeks of the year, including me leaving a solid, great paying job with a company that I'd helped to build to take a "dream" job that was great on paper, but turned out to be a nightmare of epic proportions...that I, coincidentally, quit the same day I got dumped, well, you can hopefully understand and empathize with a grown-ass man driving down I-5 crying his eyes out.

So, welcome to my blog! Good times! You'll find that I tend not to have a filter, especially with my emotions or how I'm feeling. We've become a society of drones, with keystrokes replacing words said and intentions drawn from characters instead of from staring into the whites of someone's eyes. I'm not that guy. I FEEL. And I'll tell you exactly how I feel, without fear of retribution, because it's the truth.

I won't lie. I haven't left this bed. I climbed in yesterday afternoon and here I will sit until the sun rises inside, enough for me to emerge from my self-imposed exile. (Although I just remembered that I have a bottle of champagne in the fridge that just might have to go down, so I will get up, actually.) I'm going to watch the Sex and the City movie because the "left at the altar" Carrie feels frighteningly similar to how I'm feeling right now. But there will be no magical reunion at the end with Mr. Big. Life doesn't quite work out for me like that. But it's nice to dream.

For all of you once jilted lovers out there, I raise my glass to you. Here's to keepin' it movin', with little patches of fur missing.

I'm Phoenix.

Phoenix NormandComment