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.

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Shut Up!

I’ve tried to be introspective and quiet and avoid conflict, but for fuck’s sake, SHUT UP! If you are going to gossip about me all around town, it will get back to me, and it did.

Do you feel somehow in the right by talking about me? We’re in this rift because you couldn’t mind your own business. I shared with you, and rather than protect the information shared like the fragile thing it was, you ran to the other side of the issue the very next day…which was the wrong thing to do.

I walked away, thinking that would be a good temporary resolution until I could get a clear perspective and have a calm discussion. No fanfare, no naming of names, I just walked away. No smack talking, no name calling, I just walked away to think.

I’m still not smack talking or name calling or even telling the world your name, as tempting as it might be when I’m so dismayed and frustrated in this moment. You’ve been talking about me BY NAME around town, and it made its way back to me. You’ve been super specific, sharing my business with people who shouldn’t know it at all.

So, hear this: I am a good person, and I have done no willful harm. I shared with you when I didn’t have to (I did NOT have to, really, and maybe I shouldn’t have), but I thought it was the right and proper thing to do…and you scampered right on over to the other side with that info the very next day.

I didn’t choose between you and someone else: I chose not to be gossip fodder…ha ha, the big joke’s on me, I guess, because rather than shut it down, you’re talking about me to whoever will listen now like I did something scandalous and obscene.

I naively believed that walking away to spend some time thinking would shut down the gossip train, but it only fueled it. I’m disappointed. I’m naive, thinking that if I extended respectful silence while I was reflecting, I would get respectful silence in return.

For anyone who reads this and can’t follow along: good. I’m not naming names. I’ll only disclose my disappointment, but no names, no details. This feeling of disappointment is mine to broadcast, and the details are nobody else’s business.

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I Don’t Wanna Give Up

Giving up is not the only option in the face of seeming defeat and frustration.
I don’t want to give up on a job that makes my heart happy.
I don’t want to give up on the idea that I can have the love I want.

Stubborn…yeah, so?

The more I’m told to give up on a job or a person or an idea, the less I want to do that.
Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean I should quit.
Just because none of this shit comes easy doesn’t mean I will quit.

I want what I want.

I want a job that pays my spirit as much as it pays the bills. I want a love that makes me laugh and feels solid.

I sort of have it all for a minute, and then I don’t, slipping through my fingers like sand or like trying to hold onto jello by squeezing it tight. I am not ready to wallow in defeat just yet.

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The Realness

Every time I lose a friend to the Reaper’s scythe, I lose a layer in the walls I put up. I become more real, more open. That is the gift from these losses: the realness, my realness.

The realness is not always comfortable for others; I get that. You were not at all prepared for me to tell you in person over your soup and sandwich earnestly that really, truly, all is forgiven, and that every single day, you are loved. Every single day: believe it.

I won’t ever be ashamed of being real. There’s no shame in giving others love, in telling them they are important.

The rules you toss around…”it’s too soon to tell me that” or “it’s too late to say that to me” or “you can’t say that…” Screw the rules. I will tell you what I want you to know, what I need you to know, and I give zero fucks about the rules that dictate what I “should” say or do.

I will not regret giving love. There is no remorse in being kind.

I can only offer you my love; I can’t make you return it. I can only offer you my hand; I can’t make you take it. As long as it is true, I will offer it, unflinching.

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Shame and Truths: RIP Jennifer

It’s the morning after the election. I scrolled through Facebook, and between the flood of posts from both the gloaters and the weepers, I remember that I lost a friend a week ago…and all your political banter seems like silly fluff to me when I remember she’s gone, exited at her own hand.

I don’t know precisely why she did it, but I do know this: we often carry around our dark secrets, ashamed, sure no one will love us if we come clean. We are sure opening up our suitcase of skeletons will cause us to lose our friends. They’ll think us foolish or weak, or maybe both, so we drag our nasty baggage around with us, hiding it away. The weight of it gets heavier as time goes by, crushing.

I’ve cracked open my baggage a time or two, but mostly I keep it snapped shut. I’ve given close friends a glimpse at what’s inside, and you know what happened? They asked, “Why didn’t you tell me sooner? Why didn’t you let me help?”

Because: I was embarrassed. I felt like a failure. I didn’t want to speak it out loud. I didn’t want anyone to know what was really going on with me because I didn’t want to trouble anyone. I needed to handle it myself. I needed to either overcome it or hide it away, but I didn’t want to advertise it. I am strong and asking for help is weak. I don’t know why. All those reasons and none of those reasons, maybe, and perhaps my friend was struggling with the same.

Let me crack open my baggage a little, just a peek, and see if you turn away…

I’ve been verbally abused and hit by men who claimed to be my husband. I say “claimed to be” because a true partner wouldn’t go there and/or he’d recognize his own problems and get some help. I’ve manage to wed two who did that, and I really don’t think I had a clue either time before the wedding. What does that make me? Blind? Naive? And where does that leave me today in relationships? Running away as fast as I can, or trying to control what can’t be controlled…which ends up in me being alone, which is safer, right?

Still with me?

I suck at adulting. I live paycheck to paycheck, hustling side jobs for any extras. I carry a lot of what I call “survival” debt where credit cards were used for medical, dental, child care, and things like clothes for the kid in the months where no child support came or it came, but there was not enough to cover costs like shoes for growing feet or the summer day camp field trip to Dollywood. I’ve never bought so much as a new couch or a new kitchen table. I’ve watched people build new houses and cart in their new beautiful furnishings and I’ve felt lower than low. I’m happy for them, but I quietly wonder, worry, obsess over what I have done wrong? I don’t get it. I have a wheelbarrow full of college degrees and relevant certifications, and I struggle to buy groceries most months. Sometimes when I have a little extra pocket money, I choose experiences with the people I love over a couch. Do you judge me? Could you tell me how to do it better from your comfy leather sofa?

Anyway. That’s enough for now.

My thought here was to shed some light on the things I carry around, that we all carry around, to maybe give some insight on why someone would give up on this life without us having a clue. The things we drag around fester and get heavier and heavier.

Do you believe in love? Do you believe in shame? If love can conquer all then why do we only feel the pain. We’ll miss you forever and then some, Jennifer.

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I don’t have the words quite yet

I heard the news on Monday, and I don’t quite have the words to assemble my thoughts after hearing a friend took her life on Sunday.

All I know right now is that I never saw it coming, never would’ve guessed it in a million years. She was not an openly sad person, and I didn’t see it coming. We didn’t see it coming.

We’re all shocked and heartbroken: friends scattered all over the US are feeling the loss.

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Not For You

One of the hardest things about sharing anything with the world–my writing, my jewelry, my tarot card readings–is dealing with the haters. The world of social media is now filled with trolls, people who make it their full time job to scroll around and leave hateful feedback everywhere they go.  They are mean.  They are hurtful.

Today, I let myself get frustrated by one of these nitpicky souls who was questioning my use of a specific word, claiming I didn’t even know what it meant.  I countered (I shouldn’t have countered, I know) with my right to use any word creatively in my own writing to create a mood or evoke a feeling.  I felt hurt and embarrassed because there are all those hateful comments out on the world wide web for everyone to read…and then I remembered…

I didn’t write for those haters.  I didn’t write for those trolls.  I didn’t write for those who hide behind their computer screens, waiting to pounce.  I don’t read tarot for them.  I don’t teach for them. I don’t make jewelry them.  All these things I do are for me and also an open invitation for those people I call my tribe, the people who “get” me, to gather ’round and come closer.

If you don’t like it, move on.  I see plenty of political posts, memes, photos, and whatnot that aren’t my cup of tea, but rather than insult the creator, I simply move on to find the things that do appeal to me.

 

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Still laying low

I don’t have to explain shit to anyone, but sometimes I try to explain a little. I’ll try to explain a little now, though I doubt I’ll succeed.

In the last decade or so, I’ve taken multiple Facebook vacations and/or disabled my account. I’ve also fallen off the blogosphere for months at a time. I’ve declined social invitations for months on end. I’ve cancelled plans and trips that I’ve had on my calendar all year long…never did get to take that friggin cruise.

Why?

Pffft. I wish I could say exactly how it is, how it feels sometimes, to walk a proverbial mile in my shoes. I have lines that just can’t be crossed…and once crossed, I’m out. I have to disappear. It’s trendy these days to say it’s a “trigger.” If I’ve been “triggered,” I have to bail for a while. That’s just the way it is, the way I am. I have to keep showing up for work and so I always do, but otherwise, I kinda fade off the radar for a bit.

Do I wish I had these handy dandy coping mechanisms everyone else seems to have (shopping outside their means, binge drinking, adulterous sex drugs–prescription or otherwise–to alter reality)? Yeah, sometimes, because those seem more socially acceptable than disappearing… but I also know my social weirdness fuels my writing. My social weirdness helps me get things done, but it makes me an ass, too, because everyone wonders what the fuck my problem is and I have no clear way to articulate it. I. Just. Disappear.

Then one day, I wake up and I don’t feel so distressed, so burdened, and I reappear. Not everyone hangs around to see me reappear, and that’s to be expected. I look forward to waking up and feeling less distressed sometime soon.

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Not ashamed, but disappointed

I am not ashamed that I retreated for space to think. That is who I am. That is how I am. It is extreme self care.

I will endure irritations and upsets for so very long, years, so long that perhaps people think it’s okay to continue…until one day, a seemingly small line is crossed yet again, and poof, I’m gone because I can’t smile through it anymore. Ask my ex husbands. Ask the lovers I didn’t wed. Ask my employers. One day, I’m just done and have to go. I have to go or I will break down.

I am not ashamed to create this space, this retreat, when I need it. I am disappointed, though, that there was some lashing out toward others who didn’t deserve it. My exit stage left was mine alone. I doubt anyone would guess my true reasons, and the reasons are not at all for public consumption. I am a private person, and there are times where my privacy seems like the only thing I have left…if you try to take that, too, ahhhh…that’s pretty much the final nail in the coffin.

I am not ashamed to create a quiet, safe space to ponder, to lick my wounds. I am disappointed that others got slapped for my need to seek a simple respite. I am dismayed that turning inward for reflection resulted in…the results. That sucks.

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Online dating

Online dating apps are like looping raw sausage links around your neck and swan diving into a gator pit. Ouch.

The things complete strangers will send to me are mortifying. I want to _____ your ______. Your _________ makes me ____________. Mind you, my profile is G-rated, and my photos are ordinary as well.

Other men are pushy. If you reply to their hello, they want to meet up with you today right now this minute despite not even knowing my name. Pushy serial killer much?

Others are so hard to “chat” with…they don’t type much at all so it’s hard to tell if they even want to talk to me or not, so I disappear and get a “where did u go” message like I’m the flake.
Ugg.

Really not what I envisioned for myself, but I’m trying. I work at home alone, so I have to try something to meet people, to make new connections, to practice the niceties of a shared meal without coming across like a half-starved dingo. Think good thoughts for me, folks. This bites.

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