Maybe you suck less now

I was thinking about people I’ve cut off, friends and lovers and those in between.

My means of survival is to walk away, shut the door, and keep going forward.

But a pandemic year running smack into a weird year for my personal health and well-being had me wondering about some people out there. Ruminating. Pondering.

Do you gossip less?

Do you cheat less?

Do you tell fewer lies?

Do you value things that can’t be bought?

Do you order the banana split because carpe diem and wear the crazy sweater because you love it and who cares about what anyone else thinks of it?

I’m not ringing those phones, sending those texts, or firing off those emails of inquiry. Just thinking.

I miss the good stuff. I don’t miss the shit show of pain that rained down on me for having some of you in my life for a while. But, yeah, the good was so ridiculously good, wasn’t it?

I had a dream I was calling these people to ask if they loved like I do. In my dream, I was using a flip phone for a while, then a Blackberry. I wanted to know. I want to know. Do you love like I do yet?

Thanksgiving 2016

I was thinking this morning that a year ago, I couldn’t have guessed how different my life would be today.

For my own well-being, I’ve had to cut some important people and things loose in 2016, some for a little while and some for good.  Frankly, that sucked pretty damn hard, but it was necessary so that I had the energy and attention to turn toward the positive things.

I’ve been to a few more funerals than I would’ve liked over the last year.  The desired number of funerals I’d like to attend is zero per year, but that’s not realistic.  That was hard, too, but each was a reminder to live fully.

Every year, I like to think I get closer to living a life that is true to who I am.  I live how I want.  I love how I want.  I don’t give a fuck if you like what I’m wearing or like who I love…ain’t nobody got time for that.  It’s my party, after all, and I am the belle of my ball, y’all.  Be the belle of your own ball as well; it’s pretty great.

I’m thankful for my family and my friends.  I’m grateful for my fur kids, too, who cheer me up on the hardest days and remind me  to get excited about even the tiniest moments.  With the crap that’s fallen apart around me all year long, I have big gratitude for the basics like hot water and hvac, and I appreciate the luxury of having a working dryer and dishwasher.  I’m grateful to have a bed after spending some nights on the floor.  I’m thankful for quiet time spent alone to think and recharge as well as happy time spent with others.

Thinking back over the last year, I’ve been to some great concerts, from dancing my ass off to Duran Duran to being in awe of Ghost’s macabre show.  I’ve made a lot of jewelry that I’m proud of; it’s gotten better with practice.  I’ve written some good stuff and some crappy stuff, too; not every writing session yields gold, but to find the treasure, ya gotta dig.  I’ve seen the kiddo graduate high school early…and looks like she’ll be graduating cosmetology school early, too.  I’ve traveled for work, and I’ve traveled a little for fun, too.  I’ve gotten to see some long lost faces over the last year.  There’s been a lot of sushi and a lot of sake.  I’ve danced to “Cry Little Sister” while dressed as a rogue cowboy, and I’ve played classic video games while laughing about how much I suck since I’m out of practice.  I’ve given some great hugs, and I’ve received some great hugs.

Today there will be turkey and pie and family.  I made breakfast in the pre-dawn darkness for the kiddo working retail on Thanksgiving morning (a travesty that the store is open on Thanksgiving!).  I’ve taken the dogs for a walk, and we gave out dog biscuits to the neighbor dogs on our route.  I’ve sent some texts out to the people I love…I hope they know that text message is love, because that is my intention.  My intention is to give more of my attention to the good stuff, to the good people.  I am thankful for the opportunity to share my words and my love with you.


As I get closer to my birthday each year, I find that I want to reflect more than usual, look back on how I got to this point.

There’s a line in the song “So Far Away” by Staind, “I’m not ashamed to be the person that I am today.” That line is a great summary.

I used to carry around so much shame, guilt, and regret. I regretted things I did as well as things I didn’t choose to do. I felt guilty for not always being the best parent, friend, partner that I could be. I was ashamed that I wasn’t more, whatever more meant.

I dropped those feelings for the most part when I attended the funerals of two of my friends. The loss was a wake up call to notice all the good that is, rather than get sucked into what isn’t going right.

How am I different? I don’t live in fear. I don’t care if you like my job, my clothes, my friends, my lovers, my tats, my kid, my taste in music. I don’t care if you like my words. I do have my moments of feeling low, but I try hard to pull myself back up again quickly because this is it, this moment, this life, this breath…all I have is in this moment so I don’t want to waste it being unhappy.

I was angry and unhappy for years, and to what end? I shoved people away who wanted to love me and I was closed off to new opportunities. That’s not what I would call a win.

Now? I laugh. I write. I flirt. I spend my time with those that bring me joy. It’s not always rainbows and unicorns. Not everyone appreciates my balls to the wall approach. I’ve been told I’m abrasive. I’ve been told I’m as subtle as a chainsaw. I’ve been told my writing sucks. I’ve been rejected for love, and I’ve been rejected for work.

And so fucking what? Every no brings me closer to yes, and yes is abso-fucking-lutely delicious. Yes is a road trip to see an old haunted theme park in the pouring rain with a car full of friends. Yes is seeing my words shared over 12,000 times from a website I adore. Yes is laughing hard over breakfast with my kiddo. Yes is that sixth cup of coffee with girlfriends because we have the best conversations. Yes is a sleepy warm arm draped over my bare hip in the wee hours.

Say yes, friends, to the possibilities. Say yes. Be brave.

Well, that was transparent as hell

I dream in songs all the time…like, all the time. Sometimes, the songs don’t make any sense at all to me when I wake, and sometimes they are super obvious. Last night, it was Duran Duran’s “Is There Anyone Out There,” one of my favorite songs from their first albums. I was singing in an empty stairwell at night in the rain:

“I never found out what made you leave.
And now the day’s over, just an hour to go.
Well I tried to phone last night but you never answered…
Just left me ringing on the line.”

Of course, in my dreams, I can carry a tune. What a transparent tune for all that’s been on my mind. I sang the whole song in my dream in an echoing stairwell, walked down a dark sidewalk alone in the rain, then woke up.



I wrote

This weekend was primarily a writer’s retreat for me.  The idea was to lock myself in a room with pen and paper and work on a story that’s been on my mind…the story in question has been interrupting my sleep with ideas, characters, so I had to give it some attention.

But that’s not what I wrote.

The words on a phone screen pushed me into a new direction, revisiting some feelings I’d shoved down deep.  I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but it was like certain feelings had been stitched up tight for years and the stitches blew out. Much of this was ugly and raw…infected feelings.  There were some sunny rays of light in all that dark mess, but I still haven’t quite corralled the beast I accidentally unleashed and I don’t wanna drag this monster home with me.

The Death of Email?

Photo by Marion Hobbs
Photo by Marion Hobbs

Remember back in the olden days when we used to email each other?  I still pop open my inbox each morning in hopes of a real email.  Usually all I find in there are 15 or so ads from places I only shop once or twice a year, so delete delete delete.  There are a few subscriptions that arrive by email to articles and quotes, and I read those every day.

It’s a rare day to find a personal email, but I still skim the list of new mail, looking for that shiny gold nugget amidst the rubble.

I want to hear your stories.  I want to know the details.  I want to peek behind the scenes, beyond what you post on Facebook and Instagram.  I want to know the real you, not the social media persona.

I miss snail mail, too.  I have a couple friends that still send cards from time to time, and I display those cards for weeks.  I love the effort behind snail mail.  I had a friend who lived a few hours away from me in college, and he would decorate the envelopes before he’d send them, sketching in a little drawing on the back or coloring the entire envelope in a hodgepodge of shades; receiving mail from him was like receiving a gift, a treasure.

I don’t send as many emails and snail mails as I used to write once upon a time.  I suppose in some ways I’m sitting around waiting for an answer to some of the big ones I sent out, or looking for feedback on the 600 zillion blog posts and articles I have floating around the corners of the Internet.  Is silence the answer I’ve been awaiting?  I hope not.  I hope somewhere out there, you’re all coloring envelopes for me with your favorite colored pencils or roaming the aisles at the supermegamondomart, looking for just the right card.  Maybe you have a draft email that you keep coming back to and revising, deleting and adding until it’s just right.

Tell me a secret.  Tell me a joke.  Tell me what your kids did that was awesome or embarrassing or awesomely embarrassing.  Tell me who you have a crush on or why you think that new movie totally sucks.  I want to know more than the character limit on your text message app will allow.  Can we bring one on one communication back into fashion?  Who doesn’t love a note written just to them, just for them?  Status updates are handy and fun, but there’s none of the mystery and excitement of a new message in my email inbox or a hand addressed envelope arriving in with the mix of bills.

Can I challenge you to write an email today or drop someone a snail mail note?  I will be generous in my challenge and say that those messages today don’t even have to be to me…but I want to hear from you soon.  I want to hear all about it, whatever “it” is.

Another Christmas Behind Us…

Another Christmas behind us. Another Yule gone. Santa still sucks as far as I’m concerned…no winter wonderland jewelry commercials came to life, no magical surprises. That bites, ya’ll. I want magic, sprinkles, fairies, dragons, jewels, laughter and amazingness. I want all this and more in 2016. More hammocks. More naps. More books. So let’s make it so.

In 2016, I will have the following amazingness and MORE:

delicious naps with no alarm clock, a great book in hand and another waiting in the wings, intuition on overdrive, coffee with friends, dessert with friends, cuddles with the critters, allowing people to adore me, unexpected opportunities to earn money, wonderful concerts, love letters that arrive via snail mail, snail mail that has happy notes in it, generosity, more of those naps, bubble baths without interruption, time to write, time to craft.

I am ready to let more good stuff in, 2016. Let’s overflow 2016 with awesomeness.

Ever a work in progress

There are days that will not be perfect, and in my book, it’s ok to acknowledge when things are sucky or less than what you want, but it’s critical to shake it off and focus on what you do want.  Give the most energy to where you want to go, not where you’ve been. 

One of the most important things to remember, and I remind myself constantly, and I remind my poor eye-rolling teenager constantly, is that we have zero control over the behavior of others.  All we can do is set our boundaries for what works for us and be the best we know how to be; we can’t change how people around us act, can’t change what they will do or say.  I am ever a work in progress on that point, forever trying to relinquish control over the universe.  It’s hard to let go of the outcomes for other people, especially if their outcomes overlap with your own.

This weekend, I gave up a little of my white knuckle control, and look what happened: the Bee Gees keep reappearing. It’s bizarre. And it’s delightful. Let go.

Memory Lane

I was a few minutes early to drop my car off at the body shop this morning, so I drove around to the street I lived on from first grade to fourth grade.  The neighborhood is nicer now than when I lived there.  Someone has put up a railing around the front porch; that’s good, because I broke my left arm falling off that front porch and onto our woodpile.

I remember…

…my KISS Army poster that hung beside my bed.

…sharing a room with my little brother and how his breathing at night sounded like Darth Vader.

…eating sugary cereal at the neighbor’s house when my mom wouldn’t let us have any at home.

…my black cat.

…finding out that Santa wasn’t real and being so disappointed.

…getting a Farrah Fawcett styling head for Christmas with this weird shiny oily eye shadow.

…soaking in the deep claw-foot bathtub, the earliest beginnings of my love of soaking in the tub nearly every day.

…a birthday cake with plastic amusement park rides on it, very possibly the coolest cake ever.

I wonder if a kid still sleeps in my room.  I wonder if that kid likes music and books and pets.  I wonder how many kids have grown up there, and if they ever drive by.  I hope they grow up and embrace the things they love, not what their parents or peers want them to do or be.  I hope they are happy and loved, for that’s at the core of everything…the quest for happiness and love drives us to do some dumb things and some amazing things, too.