To celebrate my 32nd birthday, I started the Hustle Hard Interview Project. Each month for the next year, I’ll be interviewing one Hustler who embodies a skill or a quality I admire. I hope to uncover some gems that bring me one step closer to being a fully-formed adult.
APRIL: RIDE OR DIE
I’ve been in a deep funk lately. When I woke up with The Gloom a few weeks ago, I chose the course of action I thought was best- I ignored it. I apply this grown-up approach to almost everything unpleasant in my life. Avoidance usually leads to one of three outcomes. 1. The un-good goes away on its own (top two in this category: hormonal acne and insolent children on airplanes). 2. I eventually deal with it (This most often pertains to household chores. I swear to God when I say this: There is only a finite number of times you can turn a pair of socks inside out before your life spirals out of control.). 3. I keep ignoring it, and it keeps NOT going away (top two: parking tickets and depression).
A bout of blue here and there isn’t unusual for me. I try my best not to wallow because the longer I swat away the goodness in my life to focus on my goddamn feelings, the harder it is for me to remember how to be happy. When it started a few weeks ago, I put on a happy face for the first few days, got out of bed, and tried to fix myself up so I didn’t look homeless. Then, one morning, I just said Fuck this bullshit and stayed in bed. For, like, days.
My family graciously carried around the extra burden of having a non-functioning member without guilting or shaming me. One morning before school, Cal knocked softly on my bedroom door before peeking her head in. “You know, Mommy, a rock isn’t just a rock. If it’s a rock on the side of the road, it’s okay to ignore it. But if it’s a rock in my shoe, I have to sit on the curb and take my shoe off and get the rock out or I can’t walk right. I think you have a rock in your shoe.”
I thanked Cal for her wisdom, and then I laughed the kind of deep and roaring laughter where sound ceases and you eventually end up coughing because your body needs air.
The Ride or Dies in our lives will always give it to us straight without being cruel or careless.
The family we are born into and the family we eventually create can be two totally different experiences if we want them to be. My biggest hope is that Cal’s first family experience is the one that teaches her about love and patience and compassion and forgiveness. It wasn’t my first family experience, but I’ve learned about these goodnesses through the family I’ve created- Harv and Cal. My ride or dies.
(Originally, I had planned to post this as April’s Hustle Hard Interview. However, the bulk of my waking hours have been devoted to wallowing and doing jack shit for the past few weeks. I’m now addressing that rock in my shoe. Things are looking up.)
EJL: First things first. Who’s your favorite rapper?
Harv: I thought you said this was going to be a serious interview.
Cal: I like show tunes.
EJL: Can you please not make this the hardest interview I’ve ever done? Sheesh.
Harv: Fine. My favorite rapper is that Chain guy. The one with that music video you made me watch twice yesterday.
EJL: Uh. 2 Chainz? Please never reference him as “that Chain guy” in public. I only showed you that video because you said a rap video couldn’t be tasteful or artistic.
Cal: Mine is the one that says “Go Shorty, it’s your birthday. We’re gonna party like it’s your birthday,” because you sing it to me every year on my birthday, but you bleep out all the bad words.
EJL: That’s 50 Cent, babe. Since you brought up the birthday song tradition, can you guys tell me what your favorite family tradition is?
Harv: Our Saturday morning trips to the farmers market. Even though you refuse to wait until the end of the trip to buy all of the heavy items because you’re afraid someone might buy “your” squash. Hey, are you going to mention that you didn’t know my birthday for the first two years of our marriage?
Cal: I like our Mother/Daughter trips to Las Vegas every year because you always let me pick the activities. You said that cat circus was highway robbery, but I still think it was the best thing we did on our last trip.
EJL: Those trips are some of my fondest memories. And I appreciate that you’ve adopted my buffet philosophy: No breads. No fruits. Easy on the liquids. Start with the most expensive stuff first.
This question is just for you, Harv. A lot of people think it’s weird that we got married after dating for only 18 days. Well, no one’s really said that to my face, but I think it’s because they have manners. What compelled you to take that chance? And don’t say love or kismet, because I’m not tryna make this into a Hallmark special.
Harv: I don’t think you’re supposed to set parameters like that, but those weren’t my first thoughts anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I do love you, but I married you because I knew my life would never be boring. So, my answer is entertainment value.
EJL: That’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever said to me.
This isn’t really part of the interview, but if I’m serving milk and cereal for dinner tonight, what do you think would make a good side dish?
Cal: I thought you said you weren’t going to do that anymore.
EJL: Yes, I did say that, didn’t I? We’d better wrap this up then, because I’ve got some microwaving to do. What do you think our family motto should be?
Cal and Harv (at the exact same time, like they rehearsed this shit): Keep it real.
A big shout-out to my family for keeping it real all day, eryday. Thank you for loving me, even when I didn’t love myself.
P.S. I’m so stoked to be a joining Alpha Mom as a monthly contributor! I rarely allow Cal to read anything I write, but she will definitely be keeping up with my new series: “Dear Cal: Advice To My Teenage Daughter.”
P.P.S. For not-seen-on-this-blog pictures, follow along on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress). For (t)hug life thoughts and lots of random shit, like the Flourish in Progress Facebook page. You will probably not be sorry.