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.

the quest for smittenosity

fine. i did it.  i freakin’ created an online dating profile. i am not going to find a new romance walking around my house in my pajamas, and the men who flit around the edges of my life aren’t taking any action, so fuck it.  let’s do this thing.

it’s mostly gross. men tell me the vulgar things they want to do to assorted parts of my body. they invite me to sext.  it’s way beyond my comfort zone to be on the damn site to begin with, nevermind the inbox full of lewd comments.

there’s one with intriguing potential, and so far, only one…but will an online rapport translate into a real life connection? clearly it’s easier to be who you want to be online–so sayeth the one writing this post and blogging for over a decade, yo.  we can be anyone online, but then in real life, we are our awkward fumbling selves without a backspace button to undo our dorky mistakes.

i want mutual smittenosity. i am confident that “smittenosity” is a word, and i want it. i want someone to look forward to hanging out with me. i want the giddy eager good stuff: the easy laughter, the crazy kisses, the “cmon, please stay” persuasion.

those are all wants.  i don’t believe i “need” anyone to complete me. i’m not desperate, but there are beautiful moonlit nights that i wish i had someone around to smooch under the stars.

What Would My Personal Ad Say?

I haven’t gotten to the point of placing a personal ad, but I’ve considered it.

What would mine say?

Reclusive Introvert Seeks Independent Beau Who Will Mostly Go Away; Preference Given to Men Who Live Far Away, Work Really Long Hours, and/or Train for Marathons.

Pet Mom Seeks Dude Who Will Make Me Laugh Until I Snort Soda Out My Nose.

Halloween Should Be All Year Round; Message Me If You Agree!

Alpha Female; Delicate Souls Need Not Apply. Seriously. I Will Crush Your Spirit.

Here’s My Number, But, Like, Don’t Call Me; I Don’t Use My Phone For That.

I dunno.  I guess I shy away from all that personal ad business because I’m just not sure the people I adore could be summarized in 50 words or less.  I wouldn’t have picked them based on only their hobbies or their line of work.  I’m also highly dubious about selecting people like you would food off a menu.

I like road trips and great food and laughing, but, man, I gotta be by myself often so I don’t flip out.  I’m not one of those people who gets all immersed in coupledom; doesn’t mean I’m not interested or not incredibly loyal, I’m just not cut out to be joined at the hip with anyone 24/7.

Sigh.  Let’s see how the year shakes out.


Tale of a Sports Bra: An Overshare

Let me tell you a little story, a true story.

I decided to go to the gym today.  I’ve been on a little hiatus from the gym after a rough time with the same ol’ bone spurs in my lower back and hip.  I’ve had to break up with crossfit for a little while…sorry, crossfit, it’s not you; it’s me…while I test out some easier workouts.  Today was my first effort at a “normal” gym, as opposed to a “crossfit box.”

I pulled on my spandex pants.  Yay for spandex pants!  Look at how great my butt is in spandex pants! I realized today somehow every single pair of gym pants I own is cropped; how did that happen? Cropped pants were not a good choice for today, but I was not going to be stopped by overly short spandex.

Sports bra time.  I really prefer the sports bras that zip up the front and put everything on lockdown, but I don’t have one that doesn’t sneak itself unzipped mid-workout right now, so I had to go with the backup bra.

I dislike sports bras that pull over my head.  It’s not the pulling them on that gets problematic; it’s the trying to pull a soaking wet bra off post workout that gets a little tricky.  They stick and become unwieldy…and then boom, you’ve smacked yourself in the face with the sweaty thing.  Bleh.

The backup bra is kind of a hybrid deal…pulls on over my head, but does have hooks in the back so it’s not a total Houdini act to remove it after going to the gym.  Not my favorite, but it will have to do, because no excuses: it’s gym day.

Pull it on over my head, and I go to hook the back…and it won’t hook.  I try several times and then the panic kicks in:
Oh hell, have I gained 800 pounds since I stopped crossfit?

I must’ve gained 800 pounds.

I start bargaining with myself and the sports bra as I try to fasten it:
If I can get this thing on, I will do double the workout I’d planned for today.

If I can get this bleeping bra hooked, I will consume only water, air, and celery for the next 2 weeks.

If I can just get dressed and go to the gym, I will never leave the gym since they are open 24 hours…I’ll just stay there until this bra fits better.

The wrestling continued for a few more minutes, so then I dragged the scale out to see what the damage was.  I closed my eyes while the digital scale calculated the big reveal…and then the number popped up.  It’s the same it was, same as it has been…I’m still a delicate flower.  WHAT THE HELL?

If I can’t put on a sports bra, I can’t be trusted at a gym.

If I can’t put on a sports bra, how can I drive a car?

I took a break from the sports bra and put on my socks and shoes, pleased that I could still operate the laces. Pants and shoes: more than halfway there.  Let’s try this one more time.

GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! It will not fasten.  I can’t do this.  Throw the cursed thing on the bathroom floor and glare at it…and I realize…I had it inside out.


Problem solved.

Please ignore all my pleas and sworn oaths related to celery; I was under duress.

The Return of Ghost Cat

photo by Alan Turkus
photo by Alan Turkus


I’m pretty comfortable living in haunted spaces. I’ve had some kooky stuff happen in the houses I’ve lived in over the years. My current house has been pretty quiet, knock wood, except for the stealthy ghost cat.

The very first night I slept in this house over a decade ago, I felt a cat jump up on my bed and curl up by my feet. I am a crazy cat lady, so I know what a cat hopping on the bed feels like, but I try to discourage my cats from sleeping in my room overnight because of my asthma. I assumed one of my kitties had snuck in as I closed my bedroom door, so I felt all around the bed for the naughty feline, and there wasn’t a cat to be found. I turned on the light, and as you might’ve guessed, no cat. This process repeated nightly for about a week, and then the phantom cat came to my bed no more.

One night last week, I climbed into bed so wide awake I worried that I wouldn’t fall asleep in time to get a good rest before work. I was running through my mental to do list in bed, and I felt it: up hopped a cat onto the mattress, curling up in a ball by my feet. My train of thought screeched to a halt as I processed this: I was completely awake, and that was surely a cat. On came the bedside lamp, and nothing to be seen.

The ghost cat has been back every night for the last few nights, but I’ve stopped turning the light on. If a kitty from the great beyond takes comfort in snoozing at my feet, so be it. The Adventures of Kat and Ghost Cat continue…

Birthday Eve Wisdom

Tomorrow, I turn 41. Driving home in the rain this evening, I was trying to decide if I was any wiser than I was on the eve of my last birthday.

In the last year, I’ve had to muster courage, lots of it. I’ve had to ponder what it means to truly forgive, and what is unconditional love and what is real friendship. My decision-making has been much more for me and a lot less for pleasing others: doesn’t always make me popular, but it feels better.

Maybe I’m not wiser, but I am making progress.

For the year ahead, I’d like to keep aiming high for the life I want while enjoying the life I have.

The Damned Angels, Ya’ll

Always proud to support our local music scene, support people doing what they love!
Scotty from the Crank County Daredevils has something new afoot with The Damned Angels. This little ditty Evil will remind CCD fans of the somewhat hypnotic, circular-feeling riff of the CCD’s Hidden Track. Good, good stuff. Find The Damned Angels on Facebook and like them already:

from ashevegas to las vegas

Leaving Ashevegas for a conference in Las Vegas.  Apparently, I’m supposed to be super excited to go, but I’m not.  Looking forward to the content of the conference itself, but not interested in Vegas.  Not interested in casinos or bright lights or noise or crowds…or hookers or strippers.  Las Vegas is on one of those “last place on Earth I’d ever want to go” lists for me.  Not my thing.  I like quiet.  And darkness.  And personal space.  Everyone I’ve mentioned the trip to is all “you’ll love it, what happens in Vegas…” snorty snort  snort laughter.  It just doesn’t sound fun to me, sorry.  Maybe Vegas will win me over with its charms, but I am skeptical.

the final Bele Chere

So…final Bele Chere is coming up. Does anyone care? I don’t. Being an Asheville native, I remember when the festival was small and it had a very local feel to it. My youth orchestra group played on Church Street a couple summers in a row. My friends’ bands played on several stages. The crafters were from western NC. It was an intimate little summer celebration, a fun time to enjoy friends and food and music.
The festival grew over time into a giant beer swilling, funnel cake gorging behemoth as the years went by, attracting crowds of tourists from far away who wanted to party in Asheville. Local bands were replaced with big headliners. Local crafts were replaced with artisans from all over the place with high price tags. There was puke in the streets and people were pushing and shoving each other by 3 PM on the first day of the festival every year, drunk and overcrowded and angry. The festival grew into a sprawl that annoyed the local business owners who couldn’t function with the crowds and the shoplifters and the noise.
I don’t like it. I don’t go. I work downtown and make an effort to take the Friday that Bele Chere starts as a vacation day, and I stay away from downtown Asheville the whole weekend. I won’t regret missing out on the overpriced beer or the smell of urine in the summer heat.
Bye, Bele Chere. I remember when we could see the Urban Spelunkers or The Merle and walk around without worrying about getting mugged or trampled. That was long ago, but thanks for the memories.


no offense to all that love this city, but chicago stinks. no, seriously, it smells bad, like urine, sewer lines and traffic.
i don’t like it. i’m not good with crowds, and this is a crowded city. sidewalks are wide enough to drive on, but there’s still a crush of people. it’s noisy, too, loud at all hours with trains and car horns and sirens. i’m not cut out for big cities.
i think my favorite place i’ve lived was in willis, virginia, twenty-something miles from a taco bell or a shopping mall. i loved stopping by the library in the bigger town on my way home from work for a stack of books to read that weekend because once i got home, i wasn’t going back out anywhere until time for work again. i liked to take naps in the shade on my front porch when the weather was nice.
here, i can’t imagine having a porch large enough for napping. riding the train from the airport, i saw all kinds of neighborhoods…even the nice ones only had yards the size of doormats and the houses were so close you could butter your neighbor’s toast.
asheville is even sometimes too big and bustling for me, too noisy, too crowded in recent years, but it is home, and i can’t wait to get back there tomorrow.