Year of the Blog

Last October I decided to take this blog seriously. As seriously as one can take a blog with 100 followers. (Listen, I’m not being ungrateful. I see you all. And I’m grateful for your readership and friendship, or more likely that my life makes you feel better about your own life. Either way, thanks for the follows, y’all!) So, last October I decided to try to write as much as possible on here. It was more a test. A litmus test, to see if I was even capable of writing everyday. Or every other day. And I’m happy to say that I have been mildly successful. In fact, I realized pretty quickly that if I write, people come to read. Likewise, if I don’t write, people don’t come. It’s all very Field of Dreams-ish round these parts. If you write it, they will come.

So I’ve been writing. Some months are easier than others. This summer was a little slow with all my travels, but my blog has been on an uptick over the last couple of months, both because of my recent publication in an actual fucking poetry collection, and with a very personal blog that resonated with people. And you guys know that is my only goal with my writing, right? That it resonates with people. That people can read what I write and laugh, or smile, or get angry, well that’s all bonus material. What I really need is just one person to read my writing and shake their head in agreement, while they lick the Cheeto dust off their fingers and says, “Mmmhmm, girl, yes! Yes, girl! I have been there too! Thank you!” Which is why I write about things like mental health. Because somewhere, someone sitting in bed, wide-awake at three o’clock in the morning, needs to know they are not alone.

Anywho, this is a thank you post, even though it doesn’t seem like it. Man, I’m bad at this. Thanks for making my year of blogging successful. Thanks for reading my random thoughts and weird-ass stories. Thanks for liking and commenting and sharing. Thanks for, you know, just being there in the ether. I feel y’all. Not in a creepy way. In a real, spiritually-connected way. And I really do hope I make your day better.

As always, take care of yourself and each other.

M.

Look Both Ways

My mom told me a story the other day about the time I was almost hit by a reckless driver. She was dropping me off at school. I must have been a freshman, or maybe it was early sophomore year. That’s when she was still driving me to school everyday, rather than me hitching rides with friends. The street that runs perpendicular to my high school had a stop sign right across from the entrance I used to go into school everyday. So my mom would sort of roll up to the stop sign, and stop long enough for me to hop out, then she’d make sure I got safely across the street before she turned right and headed to work. The whole drop-off probably took less than 30 seconds, on average, because my mom drove an ugly, beat-up 1984 Chevy Nova, with one door that was primed, but not painted. It wasn’t ideal for my teenage psyche to be dropped off each day, so I tried my best to not be seen by anyone.

The street that I had to cross, 10th Avenue, was pretty busy in the morning. 10th Avenue is one of the main arteries that runs through Leavenworth, and it leads all the way from the city limits, to the road that leads to the entrance of Fort Leavenworth. So one can imagine that every school day, in a high school with roughly 1,200 students, it was clogged up a bit there. Sometimes my mom would be waiting to turn long after I had already crossed the street.

This particular day she did her slow roll to a stop. There were several cars behind us, as there usually were, and I hopped out. The road was busy like normal, so I had to stand for a few seconds before I could safely cross. There was no crossing guard at this section of 10th Avenue. Eventually there was a break in the traffic and my mom watched me step out into the street to cross. That’s when a car from the line behind her jetted out of line, cut her off, and turned right, crossing my path at the moment I was starting to take my leave of the corner. I apparently stepped back, a little bewildered, while my mom screamed obscenities. Then I went on about my day.

I do not remember this moment. To be clear when she asked me about it, I was confused. I have no recollection of ever being “almost hit” at high school. I guess it just wasn’t a big deal to me. But to my mother, to any mother, it would be the sort of heart-sinking feeling you don’t forget.

It’s funny what we remember and what we don’t. What sticks with us. What teaches us lessons. I’ve always been careful when crossing a street. And I’ve crossed a lot of streets alone, even as a child. And maybe there was a reason. Maybe this was the reason. I just don’t know.

Remember to look both ways, y’all.

M.

Arizona Time

I’m still on Arizona time, which is three hours behind our time. Which is why I’m wide awake at 2:00 am, contemplating life, as I stare at the light coming through the crack in the curtain. Well, it’s part of the reason. There are other reasons.

Like, my child is going on his first-field trip alone tomorrow. He won’t be alone, alone, just without me. I’ve ALWAYS chaperoned his field trips, but I didn’t this one, and I’m nervous. It’s to the Holocaust Museum at Kennesaw State. I’m not worried about the subject matter (we took him to the Smithsonian one in Washington, DC earlier this year), it’s all the other things that worry me. Will he take the time to stop and eat his lunch? Will he be mindful of his actions? Will he be respectful of the history? Will he ask pointed and thoughtful questions? Will he let his best buddies get him off track? Will the bus be safe on the highway? Will his teacher be nearby if gets sad? I have concerns.

Then there’s all the other things of life. My work I’ve been putting off, with the deadline this week. My mom’s last three days in town with us. Halloween. Spirit Night. Field Day. Husband leaving for another week of work. Dentist appointment. Therapy. It’s all happening this week. And it’s all piling on top of the fact that I was gone for five days. There’s guilt there, right? Even though there shouldn’t be. Even though my husband and son haven’t said anything about it. It’s just there. In my head. Mom guilt.

Today I told my husband I’m always afraid when I leave, that they will realize they get along fine without me. Worst fear, right? That you’re not the glue that holds the family together. He was shocked. He scoffed a little and said, “Yeah, we get by. But that’s all we do. Get by.” Then he hugged me and told me he was glad to have me home. The dog, he informed me, had been depressed. This I could believe.

So yeah. I’m wide awake at 2:00 am. But it’s only 11:00 pm in Tucson. So, it’s not too bad.

M.

Snapshots

Y’all know I take pics. Like I’m addicted to capturing the moment, to the point that I sometimes wonder if I’m missing out on what is actually happening. Let’s just say, I’m aware of my problem. I’m not in denial. I also don’t necessarily see a need to fix it. I’m that girl that loves nothing more than finding an old box of photos and rummaging through them on a cold night in November. Reliving the memories in those photos. Remembering the feelings. It’s a good thing, as Martha would say. A good thing.

And so I live my life in a constant state of wanting to snap a picture, and wanting to live in the moment. I want my son to have tangible memories of me when I’m gone, and I want them of my friends and family when they are gone, or just really far away, which is just how it is. How it has been for over twenty years now. Those closest to me, live the farthest away. And pictures help.

But this week, while visiting one of my oldest and bestest friends in Arizona, I actually, for real, put my phone down. Sure I took some pics, like this one of her four-month-old, Bexley:

Because I wanted to remember how she fell asleep with her “Chuppie” half in and half out. I wanted to remember her stork bite. Her little pink blanket. I wanted to remember the feeling of holding this precious baby. Of her instant love for me, and mine for her. And when it’s January, and I’m having a poop day, and I’m wishing for the warm Arizona sun, this will help. But I took many more mental snapshots this week, than I did actual ones.

Like game night last night. When we introduced Melody’s mom Carla to Cards Against Humanity. (That’s always a crapshoot when you introduce moms to that game!) and Carla kicked our ass. Like had our actual numbers. She played the game, didn’t let the game play her. And at one point, when she played a particular graphic card, and it won (her son-in-law picked the winning card), we all looked at her and she whispered, “Shiiiit” because she had to own up to that card. It sent us all into genuine, hard, belly laughs. And she couldn’t help but smile. Snapshot.

Or this morning, when I had awkward couple of hours before my plane left. Long enough to pack and get clean, but not long enough to go do something fun. I sat on the couch with Miss Bexley, while Melody laid next to us, and I watched Bexley sleep. Because sleeping babies are the best. And when she was sleeping she was dreaming. And smiling. Snapshot.

Yesterday, when Nashville (Mel’s first grader) and I were playing Legos on my bed. I said, “Pretend Emperor Zerg came and he had them under mind control.” Nash said, “Oh I have Emperor Zerg!” And he ran off. I expected him to come back with another little LEGO guy. Instead he walked in the room with a GIANT Emperor Zerg (from Toy Story) and I was shocked, and thought it was hilarious. Snapshot.

And now here I am. Standing in the airport. Waiting to board my flight to Chicago (where I’ll probably take more pictures) and I just snapped an actual picture to remember this moment. But honestly, I didn’t need to. Because there are some trips, some people, some places, we won’t forget.

M.

Thanks for the fun, Arizona. See ya later. ❤️

Traveling Sisterhood

Yesterday I spent the day in Arizona wine country with friends. Turns out that yes, things can grow in the desert. Not just prickly things and snakes. But lovely things, like grapes, and long-distance friendships, and beautiful, blue-eyed baby girls.

Yesterday was one of those days with the ability to save those who need a bit of saving. You know the kinda days I’m talking about: when the stars align, the sisterhood converges, and the desert abides. When the chaos of life slinks off your shoulders. When you find yourself in an unexpected place, with perfectly, imperfect people.

Today I’m thankful for the yesterdays in my life. To the planes that arrived on time. To the cramped cars, and the funny Border Patrol men. To the cough drop talks, and the woman with the sangria from California. For the girl gangs I’m apart of. And the ones I don’t yet know.

Thanks, Universe.

Thanks, friends.

M.





Brains are Funny That Way

I have this friend, I used to consider her a devout Christian, like when she’d say things like, “You can pray the gay away” (I’m paraphrasing), I’d wince a bit, but move on because we all have our unfounded beliefs, that’s how our brains work. This week she shared her belief on social media that good, Jesus-following Christians, should not celebrate Halloween. I pushed back. Because sometimes we all need push back. We all need reminded that just because we think a certain way, because we’ve studied what we think is “the” truth, there are many more “truths” out there. I ended up DMing her, hoping to explain this. Because she kept saying she was sharing “The” truth and I felt compelled to remind her, like all religions, these are beliefs, not truths. But I don’t think she understood.

That’s how our brain works though, y’all. When we believe something and we repeat it over and over again, “Halloween bad,” then our brain starts to go, “Oh yeah, Halloween bad. And people who celebrate Halloween, bad.” And I think I have a good handle on this friend. I think she’s just trying to serve people. I think she has a servant’s heart, for the most part, but she hasn’t yet realized that you can’t “Halloween bad” people into doing things. But, the post she shared came from a preacher, and the one she wrote on the topic was sparked by what she heard a preacher say at his service. Which means brimstone and fire is being pushed from the pulpit. I’ve heard pastors like this. I’ve seen what they do. How they work. These people believe they have Christ on their side and can say and do what they want. But, uh, don’t we all have Jesus on our side? Isn’t that like, his thing? Y’all, I know some of you who hang with me a lot get tired of hearing this, but, Imma say it again, and hope it sticks: Jesus is not a primary source. No one is taking you seriously when you throw down some, “Well Jesus told me…” Well, I guess some people are taking you seriously, that’s how preachers work. And you know what is at the root of that work? Fear.

Back to my friend. What was even more disturbing about this whole conversation with her, was the way she spoke of Halloween. The fear she had of it. She said she puts on an armor, practices “spiritual warfare.” She said this in the same breath (rather paragraph) that she said she doesn’t worry about things because “Jesus is above all of that.” So which is it? Do we have to be suited up, live in a warfare mindset to love Jesus, or do we trust that he’s bigger than any of it? If you ask me, any type of warfare is rooted in fear, and I have enough fear to last me my whole life, I don’t need my religion bogging me down with it too.

But that’s how religion works, right? That’s why our brains love it! Religion eases our fears. It gives us something to believe in, to cling to when life isn’t going so well. Religion explains a lot of shit that our overworked brains just can’t process. The meaning of life. Why we die. Religion can, and does, explain a whole host of uncomfortable topics for us. Hard topics. That we just don’t want to deal with. I mean if you ask me the Greeks did it the best. All those awesome Gods to explain away all the shit they just couldn’t wrap their minds around! Persephone was my favorite, the way she made all the flowers bloom! Girl, you so special!

At one point in our conversation I suggested my friend was a good writer, one who had the capacity to make people feel united. Help isolated mommas who were just trying to find a community, and sometimes a church community is all they have. And I suggested she keep to less trivial topics, least she be part of the cog that is turning young people, young mothers especially, away from church. I was thinking more along the lines of sharing her stories of redemption. The goodness in her church community. Helping to solve hated and bigotry with her words. She said that getting people to see that the celebrating Halloween is not Christ-like is VERY important to her. Right now. I guess I was calling her to something she just isn’t ready for. Spiritually or creatively. Because if celebrating Halloween is one of the worst things that we are doing in our world right now, then well, my friend’s brain is already elsewhere.

M.

Not About a Dead Dear

If you’re reading this right now, I’m alive! Well, maybe not. I wrote this two days before today and that means it’s Sunday. Or is it Monday? No, today is Wednesday, but I wrote this on Sunday. Or Monday. Or at some point when I was not 35,000 feet above the ground, but I planned to post it while I was 35,000 feet above the ground. I did this so that I wouldn’t use my blog as an excuse to write while I was on the plane, because I don’t need to be writing a blog post right now, I mean, not right, right now, but on Wednesday at nine am, because I really, actually need to be working on a project for my friend Megan who I work on projects for sometimes. But it is sort of a boring project (sorry Megan, but you know what I mean), so I have been putting it off all week in lieu of writing blog posts, but not writing actual writing, like that damn essay I’ve been working on for four months now about that time I walked into my Uncle Arthur’s barn and saw a hanging deer bleeding out and then we all ate deer chili. What? What, Missy?

Uhhh. Huh huh.

What, y’all?

Huh?

I don’t know.

I think what I am saying is that I am in a plane, probably above your head, right… right… now! And I am working on some editing, not writing an essay about a dead deer, and even though that is what I need to be doing right… right… then! I am not doing it then, and I am not doing it now.

Hey, do you guys remember Beavis and Butthead? Remember? On MTV? I didn’t watch it a lot because we were poor and didn’t have cable, but sometimes I did get to see it at friends’ houses and they always did this laugh, you know which one I mean: Uhhhh huuuuh huh huh. It was usually right after someone said a word like: Penetration.

Uhhhh. Huuuuuh. Huh huh.

I guess my brain is fried. That happens sometimes. Next stop, California!

Happy Wednesday!

M.