I Tip My 40s to My Homies.

Forty.

What a weird thing it is to have a word symbolize so much in my mind.

Previously, when I thought of being forty the following words came to mind: suburban, mom jeans, boring, mini-van, out of touch, old, conservative, confident, routine, accomplished.

Those are all words that can terrify you depending on how you read them. Subconsciously, I was so removed from all of them. I mean, I am a mom in suburbia but I am certainly not boring and I drive a Jeep ok? I listen to hip hop music and not out of touch or old.

I mean I wasn’t until I watched the VMAs and realized HOLY SHIT ITS HAPPENING!

I’m old, I’m out of touch and I’m not just conservative, I’m a PRUDE. FML.

Ten years ago, I was fresh to Minnesota. I was what we call a “transplant”. I’m a west coast girl, born and raised in San Diego, CA with a short cameo in Phoenix, AZ. My ex husband and I moved here in 2007 and were separated and divorcing within months. If I’m being honest, we were divorcing when we moved out here. It was a last ditch effort to save our sorry excuse for a marriage – or at least that was the badge I wore for a while. I mean, I could’ve really looked in the mirror and made personal change… but seeing a blameless victim was all I saw and that’s how I lived most of my 30s.

When you have a sob story that defines you, it opens the door to people who prey on it and help you maintain a pitiful downward spiral that feeds your shitty self image.

Read that again.

When you have a sob story that defines you, it opens the door to people who prey on it and help you maintain a pitiful downward spiral that feeds your shitty self image.

When you have a positive vision of self worth, it closes the door on those people and bad habits. But you know that doesn’t start with a pity party, it’s starts with accountability and ownership of your shit.

I’m sorry (not sorry) but you don’t get to be an asshole of a person because “underneath it all you’re a good person”.

Rise up.

If I’ve learned anything this decade it’s that if you wallow in your bullshit, you will sink to your bottom like quick sand and eventually no one will see the good. You will get eaten up by the bad so that the good will barely exist. You’ll be at the very rock bottom of your shit like “NOOOOO THIS ISN’T ME!” You have to decide whether you really want more or do you want to drown in your own shit.

Accountability is super scary because that means you’ve got to admit to having been scary things like: drunk, sick, irresponsible, addicted, irreverent, blasphemous and careless.

I entered this decade with too much alcohol, all the cigarettes and men that were bad for me. I wasn’t interested in self improvement. I wasn’t interested in being a good mom. I was ONLY interested in feeling good. That’s it. I felt an awful lot of sorry for myself for an awful long time. Sure, I was witty and made people laugh. On the surface, I cared about others, but I wasn’t exactly the stand up friend or girl that your mom was happy you were hanging out with. No, I’d puke on your wedding bus- I’d end up in detox or with a DWI – I’d accept attention from anyone who would give it. I gave no concern for the feelings of those around me, everything revolved around me.

Yet somehow, God put me in the arms of amazing humans who kept me alive and in the direction of self awareness and change.

I had to break my heart 100 different ways until one day, when I was 35, that one big heartbreak on a treadmill while at the gym with my best friend- I’d finally had enough and I completely broke.

I’d lived in denial about my life. I was a fraud who pretended things were fine. I was tired of feeling bad and it was me who was ultimately doing it to myself.

The man I was “dating” was for the umpteenth time telling me via text that he wasn’t interested in a relationship after spending a weekend together. How many weekends would I take? How many times would it take? I felt the tears form in my heart and then my eyes and I stopped running. I replied “Stay out of my life”. He replied “ouch” then that was it. I punched the treadmill and ran away crying. This man was supposed to be my best friend. He was my everyday, my constant, my confident, my safety, the love of my life and he broke my heart every other week.

I stood outside the gym sobbing to my girlfriend who had chased after me. “I’m tired of feeling shitty. I’m done”.

And I was.

That moment.

I went home and realized I was in my own way.

I wrote out what I wanted my life to look like hour by hour, I wrote out my routine. I wanted to be healthy so I’d wake up at 5:30 to go to the gym. I wanted to stop smoking so I got chantix. I wanted to stop drinking and I wanted to find God again and pray and just be better. So I went to church and threw myself in to being a servant to those in need. I got out of my own way. I spent time with my children, I called on my friends to hold me accountable for my change. No more drinking. No more smoking. Let’s be good people. Lets have hobbies. Let’s love each other. I wanted to be a better person.

Every day. I fought. But also – every night, I cried.

I secretly hoped and prayed that someday this man I had left would emerge from a chrysalis and be my butterfly in shining armor or something ridiculous.

I told myself- if I still missed him on his birthday, I’d reach out. I took it one day at a time, one month at a time and everyday I made the decision to just show up.

I turned my life around. I bought my first home. I was an active church member. I was sober. I was healthy I was exactly who I decided to be.

And then, despite warning and a very concerned tribe – on June 28th, I sent that text:

“Happy Birthday”

Immediately – he replied. I didn’t have expectations, I felt secure enough in who I was to not let anything change my progress. But I had hoped.

Slowly but surely, we began talking more frequently and I made it clear “I’m not interested in being nothing to you again. If you can’t be who I NEED YOU TO BE, please stay away”.

He didn’t stay away. He rose up. The same way I had.

My very same friends who wiped my tears when my heart broke, gathered in a circle around my heart to protect me.

Remember Sex in the City the movie? When Charlotte beat Mr Big in the head with flowers for messing with Carries heart AGAIN? Those were my friends. They text him warnings, they confronted him to not mess it up, then they embraced me and supported my decision and judgment.

Cautiously.

Then they watched my faith in God as our story would unfold. Our story became a God story and a testimony to what Gods love can do.

That man is now my husband.

That man is the man who took on a role within a non profit and has spent years dedicated to Minnesotan youth sacrificing so much to make a difference. That man has spent months planning for me the most amazing countdown to my birthday I’ve ever seen. That man who constantly is trying to be the best man he can be. The best dad, the best stepdad. The best friend to all his friends. The most kind and gentle man I’ve ever known. This man is more than I could have ever dreamt of. He is the best man I know and has helped me become the best version of myself.

That’s what love is, that’s what God is. This love, this story, this decade, this redemption, this restoration is EVERYTHING.

It’s easy to focus on the changes we both made. It’s easy to say look what WE did. But truly the real MVPs are the village of humans watching after me through it all. God put these people in my life to keep me on the straight and narrow while I drunkenly ping ponged from one bad choice to the next.

My tribe, my Minnesotan sisters, my squad – my homies. They’ve somehow managed to love me unconditionally. They’ve seen this last decade transform me in to a different Monica. They’ve protected me along the way, they’ve stayed with me, they’ve forgiven me- they’ve loved me like God loves. I’m forever grateful for the so so many of you. I don’t deserve you and you saved my life a million times. If you need ANYTHING in this world, you need friends. Good ones. Great ones. Ones who bring you food or coffee or TP when you move, or bedazzle back braces with you when you’re injured, or take you to the ER when you have a kidney infection. Ones who call you a cab when you’re too drunk, who will walk in to a boy who is being mean to you at his work and tell them not to be dumb. Ones who slap you for making poor choices, but love you when you make them anyway. Ones who hold your hand at church, who show up to your baptism, who meet you for coffee or tacos or chicken wings in Anoka. Or ones who bring food or tables or decoration to your wedding or keep the drama from me on my big day. Ones who help you hit goals, who support life changes, who encourage your dreams. Ones who set up GoFundMe accounts to help pay your child’s medical bills. Ones who set up food trains when you’re sick. Ones who laugh at your jokes, who tag you in memes, who send you Justin Beiber candles or face masks or banana bread. Ones who won’t let you die.

I tip my 40s to you all. I take a drink and I start to think and I’m forever grateful for your love and friendships. I’m baffled that I somehow landed here with my husband and our boys and these amazing life breathing friendships that are ultimately responsible for me being here to begin with.

I love you.

So while turning 40 may have sounded like a lot of things that, to be honest, I’m ALL of. I’m a little boring, I’m super suburban and my Jeep is totally minivan-ish. I’m also a little accomplished, I’m super conservative and I’m TOTALLY ok with it. Because mostly 40 now just sounds like peace.

Also- I’m sorry if the Tipping 40s reference is lost on you. It’s because of my Gangsta Lean.

4 thoughts on “I Tip My 40s to My Homies.

  1. Thank you sharing so deeply from the heart Monica. An amazing reflection on grace and how God restored not only yourself, but the man who would become your husband to Himself. It is indeed such a powerful testimony of what God’s love can do! God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

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