I’ve been sad lately.
Despite what I said in “Keys,” there has been a quiet undercurrent of sadness gradually weighing me down and dragging me under. It all came to a head on Friday morning as I drove home from dropping my son off at school.
I put myself together hastily so I could make the short trip to the middle school around the corner: I straightened the dress I’d slept in (yes, the one from work on Thursday), smeared a finger roughly over the remnants of yesterday’s make-up that had settled under my eyes, raked my hands through my disheveled matted hair, and scraped a toothbrush hurriedly across my teeth. Good enough would have to do or else he’d be late.
On the way back home, the seatbelt alarm irritated me and my eyes darted angrily to the passenger seat. Daisy sat there happily peering out of the windshield.
That’s when it hit me: she’d ‘called shotgun’ after we dropped him off at school.
And it really got me to thinking about who’s riding shotgun in my life.
Clearly the missing keys aren’t riding shotgun – he “didn’t wanna stick around!” I sang the line from the song and laughed for the first time in days.
When I got home, I decided to do my own form of ‘calling shotgun’ – I texted and called a series of people whom I trust to ride shotgun in my life.
I was in trouble and I knew it. I’d spent two days consciously worrying about why I’d been abandoned and why I wasn’t ‘good enough’ for my friend to stick around. That really was some stinkin’ thinkin’ and it landed me right here in this seemingly insurmountable funk.
My friends responded; I got what I needed instead of the pity party I wanted. “What you’re doing isn’t good for you and won’t help the situation.” “Are you serious? GEEZ! Get up and go take a damned shower!” “I’m on my way over to make you a cup of coffee and burn that dress. You better be showered before I get there.”
Their comments reminded me that ‘shotgun’ had a tangible meaning before the colloquial one.
I huffed, fussed, cried. But I got up and showered; my friends’ buckshot had hit its mark.
Who is your shotgun?
Mentally, I know that I’m the peacock inside. Mentally I know my worth. Mentally I’m pissed at having been treated with such disregard and simultaneously I’m at peace about having lost those keys. But somehow the heart refuses to buy-in.
Sometimes we call on our friends to stand up with us in the face of a negative life event. They aim their shotguns at ‘the bad guy’ or the terrible life event and they fire in the form of commiseration and lamentation. Then they stand watch until we get back on our feet.
Sometimes, however, we find ourselves at the muzzle of those shotguns – just as I did on Friday.
If we have chosen our companions wisely,
then those who “ride shotgun” in our lives
are there for us, protecting us
even from our own wounded selves.