Sunday, January 19, 2020

lazy sunday

full disclosure:  i had plans to go to church this morning (as i plan to do every sunday morning) and then to attend a meeting at daddy's church-a biblical seminar on grief-at 1:00 BUT all i've done is walk the dog, eat toast for breakfast and finish my re-read of the fourth harry potter book.  i've also read my bible study for the day and spent a good deal of time in prayer.

now i'm watching a hockey game while waiting on the titans game to start.  i have a full day tomorrow: therapy, haircut, meeting a friend for coffee, grocery store.  i'm so exhausted these days that i need one day a week that i don't have to leave the house.  when i have no plans on monday i have an easier time getting to church. i'm making it to my wednesday night class without fail but i'm struggling with getting to church sunday mornings.  i get home saturday night so stressed out and exhausted that i'm useless until about supper time sunday night (i'm a night-owl).  

january at the store has been abysmal.  it's wearing on me like it hasn't before.  i don't know if it's because, with the sale of the building, i know my days/months are numbered or what but it's killing me.  it's obvious that the neighborhood in which i'm located can no long support a bookstore.  it's obvious that the new owners of the buiding see no value in a bookstore being there.  

it's so hard to know this 100 year old building with so much history - that is so loved by the neighborhood - is going to be destroyed.  anyway, i'm angry about it.  i'm angry that the city is changing so much.  i'm angry that the neighborhood is changing so much.  i'm angry at the people who don't come in.  i'm angry at the people who do come in, compliment the store in such glowing terms then wish me luck and walk out without buying anything.  i'm angry at more than that but you get the drift.  

i'm angry and that makes me tired.  being angry is so taxing and destructive.  i don't want to spend the last few months that i get to live my dream being so angry.  i'm trying really hard (hence all my time in prayer) to enjoy the positive things: the genuine interactions, the in depth, nerdy book talks, the compliments, etc.  i want to appreciate those while i still have them.  i do know that when this is over that those are the things that will comfort me. that those are the things i will look back on in the days and years to come when i tell people about what it was like to own my own piece of heaven - a used bookstore.

grace and peace


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

my brain feels full

i'm tired, y'all.  very tired.  i took 4 days off at new year's but don't feel rested.  i opened the bookstore sunday to do inventory and year end paperwork.  i was hopeful that since dorms were opening that i would sell some books but that didn't happen.  i was so disappointed to see my 2019 sales and final numbers that i was near tears when i left.

i had a good therapy appointment monday morning and a decent day off.  i feel a little more settled after a productive day today but i don't know how much more of this i can take.  i stopped to pick up dinner on the way home because there is nothing here to eat that i don't have to cook.  while waiting i saw a news story about the peril that nashville retail is in.  listen, i don't need to see it on the news.  i'm living it.

the building sold, my lease is up in june, but i'm not even sure i can make it that long.  the stress is likely having some serious negative effects on me.  but how would i know?  how would i know?  

i'm sick at the thought of closing but i know it's my only option.  in my best moments i comfort myself by repeating a few things that i know for sure:  "it's nothing you did," "you've worked so hard!," "you did a hard thing," "most people never get to live their dream and you did!" in my worst moments it's dark.  it's miserable and it's not worth repeating.  i'm tired and i'm sad and i'm angry.  

i don't know how this ends.  anything can happen.  i try to just go day to day but i'm really not good at it.  i know that i will survive this.  i know that i've survived worse.  i still want to avoid it.  i want to keep my store and avoid the pain and stress of losing it.  i want to avoid job interviews and a boss and co-workers.  i want to avoid feeling like a failure and starting over... AGAIN.  i want to work hard and do a service and be rewarded for it.  i don't want to do any of this.

if you pray...pray for me.

grace and peace


Friday, January 3, 2020

so it goes

the rain continues.  here i am...nearly 10 years from the flood and i'm so anxious today because of all the rain i can hardly breathe.  it's going to rain all night so that sets me up to have to try and get any sleep possible with music playing (or the tv on) loud enough to keep me from hearing the rain.  i like total darkness and quiet at night as i'm already a raging insomniac!

i've grown weary over these last 10 years of trying to explain anxiety to people who think it is controllable or that it is situational.  it isn't.  yes, there are situations when the acute symptoms present themselves but mostly it is a chronic state of being.  the anxiety i feel when it rains hard for long periods of time doesn't happen in isolation.  it is added to the underlying, steady anxiety i feel all the time.

it's exhausting.

i have acquired some coping mechanisms over these years and they help.  i rarely have a panic attack anymore.  that is a blessing.  but the point is that the aftermath of trauma is long-lasting for some of us.  the calendar has counted off many days since may 2, 2010 but my body and brain spend a lot of time surviving that day. still.  

grace and peace

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


as this year/decade comes to a close i realize that i haven't written on this blog in more than a year.  it's been a blur.  the life of a small business owner, i suppose.  december is so busy that christmas comes and goes without my noticing (except that i get a day off on the 25th).  so, i didn't even consider that a new year was upon us until i started seeing social media posts about the decade ending.

that's when it hit me - this decade has been a bitch and i'm glad to see it go.  but it has also been ten years of...growth...maybe.  it begin with me in a job i didn't love but that provided me a good living, i owned a home, had a couple of dogs and a cat.  it was okay.

the flood in may of 2010 changed everything - i lost everything.  every thing.  but the most important thing i lost was me.  the trauma changed me.  it damaged me.  i know now that it also set me free.  in the best way it taught me to have no attachment to things but in the worst way it taught me to have no attachment - period.  

may-oct 2010 we rebuilt the house.  oct. 2010-june 2012 i was nearly paralyzed with anxiety and rarely left the house.  in 2011 i lost an aunt to cancer.  i started working in june 2012 at a local used bookstore and while i still suffered from severe PTSD i was able to go to work.  in 2013 i lost my 3 remaining grandparents and a great-aunt in 7 months.  i stayed there until 2014 then went to work at a friend's jewelry store where i learned a lot about sales and business and customer service.  

in august 2015 daddy was diagnosed with stage 4 lunch cancer and he died in april of 2016.  it was, is and remains the hardest thing i will ever go through.  i'd often heard people talk about the "club" you join after losing a parent.  i've heard people say you don't really become an adult until you lose a parent.  i'm afraid it's true.  it's the most untethered to life i've ever felt in a life that has felt full of floating just out of range of most people around me.  

almost immediately i opened my first bookstore (daddy never got to see it open but he was there when we painted the walls). upon reflection it's obvious i wasn't capable then of the stamina or drive i needed.  it's also obvious that i opened in a neighborhood unprepared to sustain a used bookstore. i was incapable of taking care of myself at the time and stopped paying all my bills and called my mortgage company and told them to take my house.  i didn't want it anymore - it had tried to kill me and i wasn't staying there one more night and i wasn't paying one more dime.  i was lucky that my mother had inherited a house from her aunt that was sitting empty so i took the dog and 2 cats and moved.  i left behind about 3/4 of my meager belongings because i didn't want anything that had ever been inside that house. i eventually filed bankruptcy (on just one credit card a credit union line of credit) to avoid foreclosure.  they foreclosed anyway. 

the presidential election later that year sent me into months of depression and grief that i had not had time to process.  i went to work but i talked to no one.  i moved my store to a temporary location in april 2017 for 6 months at the end of my first year-long lease.  i worked at the bookstore 1-2 days a week, at the jewelry store a couple of days a week and for a jewelry designer 3 days a week. i moved my house in may 2017.  i went to bed each night exhausted, sometimes hungry and always in mourning.

in novemeber 2017 i opened full-time in my permanent bookstore location.  my lifelong dream realized!  it's been a difficult run.  the neighborhood, in fact the city, is changing so fast and all retail is having a hard time adjusting.  the retail book business is especially hart-hit. in april 2018 i moved houses again. in april 2019 i lost my perfect, sweet, hilarious pug winston and i wanted to stop.  i wanted to refuse to go on.  i wanted to shout to the heavens that i'm tired of losing.  that last one i did.  the others i can't do.  that lost was the only of the many losses that made me feel as hopeless and as helpless as the loss of daddy.    

just last month the building in which i rent for the bookstore was sold to the university across the street.  my days/months are numbered.  there isn't any affordable commercial rent in nashville in the areas i could make a go of it.  i'm faced with another loss that doesn't feel possible to survive.  

i do know that i will survive it because i've survived all the rest but i'm sure beaten down by them.  i don't always know what to do with myself over them.  i'm not sure why i've suffered so many.  i try to repeat to myself a line from M*A*S*H that is 100% true.  BJ, in despair over what he's missing with his wife and daughter while away in a war, lashes out at margaret and hawkeye because with them being unmarried they can't understand his pain.  margaret says, "maybe you do have the most to lose but that's only because you've got the most." 

maybe i've lost so much because i had the most.

this is a long haul; thanks for sticking with me.

grace and peace

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

a long day

today has been full of anxiety because of a pair of slippers.  let me explain:  i went to cvs this morning before work to buy a toothbrush and a couple of other necessities when i made an impulse purchase of a pair of slippers.  i've been needing slippers since my old ones bought the farm after years of loyal service.  they were on sale at $5.99 from $9.99.  i labored over it but i ultimately decided that walking the pug in my socks wasn't going to be okay in a couple of weeks so i put them in my buggy and paid for them all the while suffering heart palpitations and shallow breath.  

all day long i kept thinking about returning them because i can't afford $5.99 on a luxury item like slippers.  i shed tears over having to let them go but i was ready to take them back because i just couldn't justify the expense. i thought about how different my life is from most people i know.  i thought about what it's like to live on a few hundred dollars a month and how far i've learned to stretch a dollar. 

when i got home i put them on and decided to take them back.  then i decided to keep them.  then i walked the pug and now i have to keep them.  they are comfortable and warm and worth $5.99 but i still feel crazy over them.  

life with anxiety is hard.  life for people who are poor is hard.  life is hard.  be kind.

grace and peace  

Sunday, December 2, 2018


i work 6 days a week.   monday is my day off.  every other monday morning i have a therapy appointment which i need to attend for my sanity.  that means i have 2 days a month that a i don't have to set an alarm.

tomorrow is one of those 2 days.  yes, i still have to go to the store to take care of the bookstore kitty but i can do that in my pjs.  i love to have days in which i don't have to leave the house but i don't get those anymore.

i will keep this up as long as i'm blessed enough to have my own business.  and i'll be grateful

grace and peace

Sunday, November 18, 2018

happy anniversary to me

today marks one year that my bookstore has been open at its current location.  basically, today is my one-year anniversary because i couldn’t do this full-time until this last move so i consider november 18, 2017 my opening day.  it went by uncelebrated and that’s okay because i knew.  i didn’t want to plan anything or have an event since it’s a holiday week.  i felt sure it would be a slow day and that would just depress me and add to my anxiety and frustration.
i had a good day though.  i had gotten in several books as part of a donation that i knew a customer would want to look at.  i texted and she came by and made a sizeable purchase.  i love doing what i do.  i love knowing my customers wants and interests and contacting them when books surface that they will like.  i had that happen one other time this past week as well and it reinforced why i do what i do.
the used book business is really hard.  i’m in constant competition with big warehouse stores and thrift shops and goodwill but i offer so much more than that.  you can’t walk into one of those places and ask for recommendations or spend literally hours talking about literature or politics or family or music or film or God or anything else.  i do that all day.  i know my customers and i do what i do for them – not just for me.
i don’t know that i will see another anniversary in this business unless something changes.  lots of things are happening in the book world and lots of things are happening in nashville.  it’s a source of pride for me that the store sustains itself but i must pay myself as well and that’s proving to be much more difficult. 
if i’m able to hang on i hope on my 2nd anniversary then i can have a party!

grace and peace and books