Attn: Facebook Friends

Sometimes when I am in a bad mood I seek out my republican friends and look at stories they have posted. Mostly it’s made-up stories from unreliable sources like, “American Patriot News” and “The Party of ‘We Stand for the Flag’ News”, but every once in awhile they share something from the Post or the Times, an article they haven’t actually read, but the headline has made it appealing to them (on purpose, you’re so clever DC and NY) and then all their friends have commented, also without reading the article, and then I comment and say, “Here is what the article actually says…” 

Then one of their fellow republican friends will try to “debate” me. My friend usually doesn’t get involved because they know. They’re just like, “Shiiiiiit, I forgot I was still friends with Missy…”

I put debate in quotes because 1. They are uneducated on the topic at hand (see above) and 2. They usually lead with calling me a “sheeple” or “snowflake” or “leftist nutcase” (so articulate they are) then they just say a bunch of things about Trump that usually have nothing to do with the article or the topic. They sometimes bring up Hillary or Obama. Seriously. 

Then I continue to explain the article to them. How and what is actually happening. I stay sane and kind, because that’s my truth, for the most part. I don’t live in fear or hate like a lot of these people. Then they go off the deep end. I’m not sure if they don’t like nice people, or they start to realize they are being made to look like the kind of person they actually are. They start telling me that we live in a country being taken over by Communists, or Socialists, or Immigrants. Again, the article is about ohhhh, let’s say taxes. Then I remind them that this is America, and as an American citizen it is our right, nay our duty, to support all Americans and to be kind. We shouldn’t hate anyone unless they have given us a reason. We should meet all new people with open arms, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. 

This is usually when other people start to chime in. Fellow Sane People start to see where I am going and coming from. They try to bring the other person back to the topic, with polite pushes like, “Missy was saying that she doesn’t think trickle down economics is helpful, and you called her an ‘Obama-loving piece of dog shit’ and yelled, “I SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!” Then sometimes, just sometimes, they will calm down and say something unsuspecting like, “I had health insurance for a little while when Obamacare came out. Was able to go to the doctor and get my shoulder worked on.” Then I will ask how they liked that and they will derail again writing in all caps, “IT WILL BE A COLD DAY IN HELL WHEN THE GOVERNMENT TAKES MY GUNS AWAY!” 

Then I thank them for their “debate” and tell them they have added some sort of value to the conversation and to the world, in hopes that maybe they will feel a bit better about themselves in the end. Then they tell me something so totally off the wall, unrelated like, “Hillary Clinton owns a pizza place full of rats and underage hookers!” In hopes, I suppose, to continue the “debate” so they can add devastating blows like, “You probably like AOC, huh?!” 

Listen, that’s my MO. I’m sorry if I have done it to you, and thanks for being smart enough to not get involved. I’ll try to stop doing this. It just makes your friends look like big idiots, and I shouldn’t be preying on the uneducated, I’ll continue to leave that to the republicans.

M.

It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere

It’s 5 o’clock here, in Georgia. Five a.m. to be exact. So I’m not sipping a gin and tonic on the beach. I’m in my warm, cozy bed and I’m awake and staring, once again, at the light coming from the cracks in the curtains. I do this from time to time when I’m stressed and anxious and feeling the weight of all the problems of the world on my shoulders.

Stress manifests itself in bizarre ways with me. First there is the “I can’t sleeps”, then comes the bad dreams. Eventually I wake up with a clenched jaw, clenched gut, and more recently clenched fists. The first time this happened I thought I was developing arthritis. I’d wake up at 3:00 am and my hands would ache. It would hurt at the joints, just to move them. Then one day it was my elbow. Then one day it was my knee.

A couple months later it happened again. Then again. And I started to see the trend. That’s when I realized the ways stress manifests itself into physical pains in my body.

Listen, I’m not too bright. It took me a long time to realize that stress does this. Sure people told me. Doctors told me, therapists told me, that 84-year-old woman at the Kroger check-out told me, but I didn’t listen. The stomach issues, the joint pain, the migraines and cluster headaches, the weight gain, I chalked it all up to other things. But in reality I know what it is. I just don’t know how to stop it. And that stresses me out. It’s cyclic. Duh.

So here I am. In my bed, my husband snoring peacefully along next to me, and I’m thinking about all the things I need to do. All the people I’m probably disappointing, all the ups and downs that will be my next few days, and have been my last few. And I’m warming up my hands for a new day to tackle the tasks.

Don’t get me wrong. Not all days are like this. Not all days, or weeks, or months are spent waking up at odd hours and worrying, but when they are like this, I’m glad I have an outlet to let things float out into the ether. It makes me feel less alone. Because sometimes I need reminded that I am not alone. Maybe you do too.

❤️

M.

Group 9 Kinda Lit

A few months back my husband got a new phone for his new position at work and it came with a brand-new, shiny phone number. It was a Charlotte number, because that is where we lived at the time. He has never had a Charlotte number. I have never had a Charlotte number. We both still have the numbers we got in Missouri back when I was pregnant with Jackson 11 years ago. It was new and exciting, until he got the text.

One day while at work he got a message that his number was added to a group chat. It was a bunch of numbers he did not know. At first he thought it was a work thing, but all the numbers were Charlotte numbers. All the people he was about to work for had numbers from Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and the rest of the southeast. Then the group name appeared: “Group 9 Kinda Lit”. He knew it wasn’t me and my friends, again, because the numbers were from Charlotte. So he was puzzled. He was just about to send a “New numb3r who dis” text when the pictures started to roll in. One by one, pics of large, black penises rolled into his new chat.

That evening when he got home he told me what happened.

“Did you screenshot them for me?” I asked, eagerly.

“No! It’s my damn work phone! I don’t want to be in that group or to have pictures of penis on my phone!”

“Did you give them your personal phone?” I hoped.

“What?! No!” He was getting perturbed. “I don’t want pictures of any penis on my phone.”

“Homophobe,” I concluded.

“What?! No! Jesus…” He took some deep breathes while he looked at me in a mixture of pity and awe. “I deleted the conversation.”

Two hours later his phone lit up again.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

Pause.

DING! DING! DING! DING!

I raced over to the phone and there they were in all their glory.

“Who is it?” he asked.

“Group 9 Kinda Lit,” I said with excitement.

“Shit,” he ran over and stood next to me. “Tell them they have the wrong number.”

“Nooooo!” I pleaded.

“Yes, dude, I can’t have this on my work phone. Get me out of the conversation.”

By this time hook-ups were happening and I really wanted to know who Tyrone had settled on for Thursday morning “fun” at his house. I was invested.

“What if I just say, ‘Hey you guys! This is Missy!’ Then I send a pic of myself? I mean, they probably wanna be my friend.”

“Uh no, dude. Tyrone does not want to be your friend. He only wants to be your friend if you have a penis.”

“So he wants to be your friend.”

“No dude, I think I might have the ‘wrong kinda penis’ for this group. Give me the phone.”

Then he proceeded to block all of the numbers from his phone, while I stood by his side and said nothing.

So why am I telling you all of this today? Well, I read a quote this morning that said, “Your self-worth is not defined by your sacrifice.” And honestly, I felt that. Hard. I felt it hard and I felt it deep. I felt it hard and deep. Because what I did that day, the sacrifice I made, standing idly by as my husband ruined my dream of being a part of Group 9 Kinda Lit, will not define me. I will press on. I will stay strong.

Until we meet again, Group 9 Kinda Lit.

Until we meet again.

M.

1. Title Goes Here

I’ve been really into making lists this week. It’s probably because I’m writing a piece of flash fiction that is just a list of things in a kitchen junk drawer over the course of 70 years because this is what my life had come to. Anyhoo, here is a list of shit I have said, either to myself or someone else, in the past three days. I’m leaving this here for two reasons: 1. Posterity and 2. I just wanted to make another list.

  • Why you gotta have an attitude, Siri?
  • You don’t know who Janie Fricke is?! Janie Fricke is an understated, and often overlooked, country music star from the 1980s who won multiple awards between ’81 and ’86, and you know what, I BELIEVE that if it weren’t for the Neo-traditionlist piece of shit Patty Loveless, Janie Fricke would be a household name today.
  • Do people in Japan use forks?
  • Thomas Jefferson copied the original plans of the White House from a French estate south of Paris called Le Château du Rastignac. I hate Thomas Jefferson.
  • Flights are cheap to the Dominican Republic right now, we should go this weekend.
  • Koala Bears are a breeding ground for Chlamydia, dude.
  • I was wrong, Banana Surprise isn’t a sex pose. It’s a kitchen gadget that allows you to poke out the inside of a banana and fill it with chocolate. I ordered one.
  • Skunks are like cats, I read an article one time.
  • Copyediting is kinda fun.
  • LIAR! Wyatt Earp is buried in Colma, California.
  • Another fucking tropical storm!
  • The average income in North Korea is like $1,500 a year, so I mean, I’d be a really rich person if I moved there.
  • “I think I’m down to my last broken heart…” (Twirling my dog around in my arms)
  • Hey Siri, is Hula Girl a derogatory phrase?
  • Ramen Noodles give me a headache. I dunno, probably ’cause the sodium skyrockets my blood pressure.
  • Next time you go, take a cage with you so you can capture the skunk. Then bring it home and de-skunk it, and a make it a pet, and let it babysit for you whenever you need to.
  • Kansas is so far away!
  • I like Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler together.
  • I would have ABSOLUTELY stolen the money from the freeway had I been behind the bank truck when money was flying out the back of it. Absolutely.
  • Can I get another Bomb Pop?

Things are Going Well

Day two of my child being 700 miles away at grandparent summer camp.

Me: It’s too quiet.

Dog: Shush, I’m napping.

Me: But don’t you miss him?

Dog: Yes, of course, I’m napping.

Me: Ohhhh, Dukers cuddle with me like Jackson would.

Dog: No. Stop it. Get your hands off of me.

Me: You hate me… (crying)

Dog: Jesus. Here let me hop onto your face, does this help?

Me: Get off my face you nutso.

Dog: I don’t get you, I mean honestly.

Me: What is your problem? Get away from me.

Dog: Fine, I’ll just walk over her and nap again.

Me: WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME?!

Dog: …

This Week in Georgia

As y’all probably know I currently live in the Atlanta-metro area (just like Ludacris and Elton John) and today I was thinking since we share a border with Florida, the craziest state in the union, I wonder if weird stuff happens here too? And yeah, it does. Here is a list of shit that happened this week in Georgia. Enjoy!

  • The doors of an armored truck opened on The Perimeter and approx. $175,000 flew out onto the highway
  • I pooped seven or eight times a day, on average
  • A landlord evicted tenants for inviting black friends over, denies claim by saying: “Some of the best friends I got is colored folk.”
  • A Wendy’s was shut down when several employees tested positive for Hep B
  • A woman ordered a “Moana” cake, but her accent was so thick that the baker thought she said “Marijuana” so she got a cake with high My Little Ponies and a huge pot leaf
  • A Bibb County deputy was arrested for leading a racketeering scheme that involved gas station slot machines
  • The man who was accused of killing his mom for “Driving him crazy” was arrested at the ATL Airport
  • I filled up the hot tub with super-cold water and floated around in it while I drank spiked seltzer waters, listened to Adele, and had a very real conversation with an imaginary character in the book I am reading
  • A slow-moving triangular aircraft traveling under the cover of darkness was reported in Marietta
  • It was revealed that the highest number of military enlistees come from Georgia
  • A couple of teenagers staged a kidnapping at a mall for a YouTube video. People thought it was real, chaos ensued.
  • “Hipster Mayor” of Clarkston, Ted Terry, is running for senate (he’s the guy from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” turned mayor, actually, yeah, for real)
  • My neighbor Ginger, tried to give me a sheet cake that someone gave her
  • A homeowner shot a man who was breaking into his house carrying a machete
  • “The Peach Truck” is on sale on Amazon. It is a cookbook made by the guy who drives all over the country selling Georgia peaches from the back of his pick-up
  • A 30-year-old man tossed a 13-year-old girl out of the car window during a low-speed police chase. He met her online for sex. While this happened in South Carolina, the man was from Georgia, so it counts.
  • It was discovered that the Starcourt Mall in Stranger Things 3 (an actual mall in Gwinnett County) may not be around for that much longer. A sports aficionado wants to bulldoze it and turn it into a Cricket stadium with 20,000 seats.
  • The Georgia Poison Control Center says no on essential oils, too dangerous especially for kids under 5. But for real, did you not know that? Put the damn essential oils down, Karen and go to the doctor.
  • Mr. Kim’s cat ran into my backyard and tried to eat peaches from my tree, when I let the dog out to chase the cat away my damn dog didn’t see the cat and the cat froze like a statue and I thought the cat was dead, like terrified straight, then about 14 squirrels who were hiding in the tree came out at once and distracted my damn dog and the cat got away

Give it to Oprah

I already have a topic on deck to discuss with my therapist this week. Is that weird? Probably so, but she has the potential to really help me with one of the two problems plaguing me right now: Trusting my intuition versus listening to my anxiety. My other problem has to do with eating too much pizza last night, and I’m positive she can’t help me with that one, but, eh, it’s worth a shot to ask.

Y’all know I suffer from a myriad of mental health conditions. I have chronic depression, generalized anxiety, a touch of OCD, and probably some personality disorder that has yet to be identified but makes it easy for me to both cry and scream in public bathrooms, then blog about it. That has to have a name. But the important thing about all of this is that I am getting help. I have been on medication for years, and I see a therapist, and a practice mindful breathing, and I write, and I order llama-shaped cookie cutters from Amazon. Which is to say that I have my ways of dealing with things. But sometimes, sometimes, my anxiety reaches a peak and I start to spiral out of control, and that’s what happened this week.

My son is going to the Midwest to spend some time with his grandmas over the next 10 days or so and I am freaking out, y’all, like Karen at a damn taping of the Oprah show in December, freaking out. Losing my mind. Unlike Karen, I am losing my mind from intrusive thoughts brought on by a flare up of anxiety. Not because I just found a ticket under my seat for an all-inclusive trip to the island that P. Diddy owns or keys to my own Chrysler Minivan. Fuck you, Karen.

I’m freaking out because he will not be with me. Plain and simple. I am freaking out because I will not know what he is eating, how he is sleeping, how much tv he will be watching. I will not be there to assess how much fun he is having at any particular outing, to remind him to change his underwear, to take his glasses off before he falls asleep. I will not be there ensure that he is doing what he wants to do, not what someone is making him do. I will not be there to control how people talk, or react, or approach him. He will meet people I do not know and so therefore do not trust. He will be with people I do know and therefore do not trust. What if someone is mean to him? What if he wonders off at the waterpark and he drowns? What is the car he is riding in is hit head-on by a semi-truck? What if this is the week the big one hits Kansas and he is swept away in a tornado? What if he can’t sleep because I am not in the next room? What if he is ignored all week? What if he has a horrible time and never wants to go back? What if he has a great time and realizes he doesn’t need me anymore?

If this all seems really dramatic, it’s because it is. This is anxiety, y’all. Welcome to it.

So last night I was tossing and turning in bed waiting for 6:00 am, when he would pile into my best friend’s car (she has been visiting and is heading back home today so he hitched a ride to his Mama’s house with her) I was thinking about all the bad things that could happen. All the fears I have started to bubble up and I started to worry. What if this is my body’s way of telling me that he shouldn’t go, I thought. What if my intuition is wrestling my anxiety, but I am brushing it all off as anxiety? I actually, for real, 100% Googled How to Tell if it is Anxiety or Intuition. I found a bunch of articles, but none of them helped. I had to talk myself off my own ledge that I created and just trust that all these people, and all these places, and all these moments (like when he threw up in my best friend’s car about two hours into the trip) are not signs that something bad will happen, rather they are ways for him to learn, and grow, and become an independent person in his own right. Even as I type this I am rolling my eyes. He’s 10 years old for crying out loud!

Christ Missy, get it together.

Okay. I do have some ways to combat this. You don’t live this way for this long without picking up a few tricks. I’ve been busy all morning. I’ve been working, and cleaning, and Googling whether or not your therapist charges per “topic” or just “hourly”, but still, there in the back of my mind is all the things. And all the things can really take it out of me. It can take it out of anyone. If I were a religious person this would probably be the time I “give it to God” or whatever. So maybe I will try that. Maybe today I will just “give it to pizza” or “Give it to Oprah” (that sounds dirty) and just see what happens.

Hope you are all coping today too.

M.

Independence Day

The Forth of July is my favorite holiday! And not because it means American independence. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that we have independence, but some days I am not really, Ra, ra, go America! In fact, over the last three years I have been way more, What the actual hell, America? than ra, ra, but I mean come on, man! Trying not to get political here. You get what I mean.

I love the fireworks! There I said it! I love the fireworks, and the swimming holes, and the yummy treats, and the feeling of sweating through your tank-top as you sit in your camping chair and talk to your friends about good times, and watch the kids throw smoke bombs and light sparklers, and eat that cake made with strawberries and blueberries, and listen to Lee Greenwood. It just brings back so many awesome memories. Memories of cook-outs, and summer days on the softball field, and camp-outs in the the backyard, and slumber parties, and that glow that sort of follows you around all summer long. That’s it, probably. The Fourth of July is the epitome of summer and there are the big booms!

So go forth today and have safe and happy fun! Remember what today means to our country, sure. But more importantly, remember to light at least one smoke bomb, just to keep peace with your inner child, or maybe just to keep the ghost of George Washington at bay 🙂 #BoomBoomBoom

M.

Grief

I’m in my bed at half past midnight thinking about grief. I’m not just thinking about grief, I’m trying to somehow quantify it. I’m comparing my grief to other’s. I’m trying, in the strictest sense, to make myself feel bad for grieving. To make myself believe that my grief is silly. My grief doesn’t count. I know this does more harm than good. I know grieving is a process. A journey. With steep mountains and robust valleys. I know you take a couple steps, then you stumble. I know you can stand there, on the side of that mountain for a long time. I know you can wonder, and wish, and hope for an answer. For something to keep you from walking over the edge. I know that grief makes you do crazy things and think crazy thoughts. I know grief can wreck you from the bottom up. From the inside out. But here I am, standing on that mountain, wondering what it would feel like to take the step off. I’ll fall back to sleep soon. I’ll fall back to sleep, then tomorrow I will be okay. Sometimes it’s just the darkness that gets to me. I’m learning. I’m coping. I hope you are okay, friends. I’m wishing you reprieve from the darkness. Your grief is real.

Give yourself time.

Give yourself grace.

Tomorrow is a new day.

M.

Backstreet’s Back, Alright!

When I moved to Atlanta in April I decided to go back to regular therapy. Therapy and I go way back, like the epic battle between Backstreet Boys and N’Sync, we’ve had our beef. The first time I remember going to a therapist I was sixteen. I had been pretty sad and started to skip school in lieu of sleeping all day. My mom was nervous so she took me to a therapist. As I was waiting in the reception area I was reading over a pamphlet that asked: Do You Suffer from Depression? It was a quick little quiz that promised to diagnose a mental health problem if you answered five questions: Are you tired a lot? Do you feel hopeless? Do you have trouble concentrating? Are you irritable or annoyed? Do you suffer from low self-esteem? Looking back now I would say this was just a list of normal teenager behavior, but when I looked at that list I was like, Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! And for the first time ever I had a name to go with how I felt. And it made me feel worse.

The therapist ended up being a real whack-job, and she kept trying to get me to admit to being sexually assaulted or beaten as a child. so I went a couple more times and then quit. Then in my early twenties I went again to a therapist a couple of times, then quit. Then at 27 I had my first child and fell into the biggest bout of depression I had ever experienced. Postpartum Depression is a real fucking horror, y’all. It is nothing to sneeze at. At that time I didn’t have the stamina or the willingness to go to a therapist, but my primary care physician put me on anti-depressants after my six-week postpartum check-up because she could see that I was struggling, and that is when my life changed.

There was always a stigma with pills in my family. I would overhear my mom talk to people about how she was sad or irritable or couldn’t sleep, but pills were never the answer. You just had to pull up your bootstraps and keep on keeping on. But honestly, if my doctor had not recognized what I was going through when I was going through it, things might have ended differently for my baby or for me. I had a total loss of control during those early days. Not to mention a colicky baby and a husband who was just as green as I was. It was touch and go for awhile, but the pills helped me so much, that only six weeks into my antidepressants (which was Wellbutrin, and they are totally kick-ass), I decided that if I had to take a pill everyday for the rest of my life to feel better, I would. And I do. Well, now I take two, and this is only after ten years of trial and error.

Look it, I’ve been on Wellbutrin (awesome-sauce, but it made my blood pressure skyrocket), Prozac (the magic pill for more reasons than one, but it gave me horrible migraines after three years), Buspar (this is an anti-psychotic that they paired with Prozac to help with anxiety after I lost my daughter and now it’s on all my charts as a no-go because it made me suicidal), Celexa (good stuff, but plummeted my libido), Zoloft (made me feel no emotions, like zero emotion, all the time, weird stuff), Lexapro (Celexa’s sister, but the one I am currently on because I finally decided I could deal with the libido and the inability to lose weight like a normal fucking person as long as I have a pill that makes me not sad about those two things very often) there has to be some give and take. Then there are the other pills.

The first time I took a Xanax was the night I was released from the hospital after giving birth to my dead daughter. Yeah, that sounds harsh. Because it was fucking harsh. I was given a prescription for Xanax before I left the hospital and my husband drove to Target to get it filled before we went home just in case, even though I told him there is no way in hell I’d be taking that kind of pill. Stigma, remember? Well, I took that kind of pill (which happens to be a pill in the benzodiazepine class. It also happens to be highly addictive and is a way that a many of lonely housewives made it through the 70s, apparently, Valium is in that class) and I was able to sleep that first night. For a few hours anyway. Until I woke up screaming that I was a baby-murderer and had to take another one. That was eight years ago and I still, to this day, keep a bottle of Xanax next to my bed. I am on the lowest dose possible, and I routinely break it in half. I am prescribed 30 of them to last me for three months and I have never run out of them. Why? Because at this point they are more of a crutch than anything else. Just knowing I have them when a panic attack threatens is good enough for me. But things are changing now.

This new town, new me has me thinking differently. For the first time in two years I am with a therapist on the reg. She is a licensed therapist, so she can’t prescribe drugs, but I still wanted to take the burden off of my PCP, so my therapist told that I could use her offices’ Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for all my mental health medication needs. It was interesting, and a little weird at first, but after our first visit I felt confident that she gets it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my PCP, but she doesn’t specialize in mental health. I mean, when I have lady-garden issues, I go to a lady-garden doctor. When I have tooth pain, I see the dentist. So it makes sense that I would go to a mental health professional for my medication now too. And she is nice, but she is aggressive.

The first thing she did was take me off Xanax. Now remember, I have been on this pill (as needed) for eight years. I was a little nervous, but talk about being on a pill with a stigma. In fact, one of the first things I said to my new pill-lady was, See, see that face you made when I said I take Xanax, I’m tired of that face. There is a stigma attached to this pill and I don’t like it. She smiled and apologized for the face. She gets it though, and then she explained the stigma. It’s a highly addictive pill, with a big street value. I know all this of course. I know it first hand. I have a very close friend who was addicted to them a few years back and I watched her life unravel at an alarming rate. She finally got real help, but at a major cost to her life and to her family. So I get it. I do. But when something works, it is hard to turn your back on it.

Long story short (What do you mean, Missy? You always tell a long-ass story, we know this about you!) Well thanks, but let me get to the point here. Long story short, she put me on a new pill. Not a new anti-depressant (just yet), but a new benzodiazepine. And this new one is old, really old. Maybe you have heard of it, it’s called Klonopin. I had heard of it. In fact, I had heard bad things about it, I guess the sorts of things people hear about Xanax, but this one is supposed to be longer lasting so you don’t have to take as much, meaning it has a lower risk of addiction. Okay, I went with it. Next month we are changing my other pill. Apparently there are new fancy ones with less side effects. I’m game. I always trust the professionals.

So here we are. I came home and started to read all about Klonopin, then got myself so upset by what I was reading that I had to take a damn Klonopin, y’all. I wish I were joking. But, it turned out to be okay. It sort of cleared my mind, a feeling I haven’t had in awhile. And it made me talkative and happy. It made me relax and appreciate the good stuff all around. I might be able to get used to this. Maybe just maybe.

I’m telling you all this today because I have learned over the last few years that the only way to break down a stigma is to talk about it. An open and honest discourse about uncomfortable topics has never let me down. We see very little progress when we keep closed off. When we let other people dictate how we should feel, or act, or get help when we need it. We see very little progress when we feed into those antiquated ideas of what is right and what is good. Because the bottom line is, what is good for me may not be good for you. But we shouldn’t be judging each other when we are just trying to figure it all out.

As always take care of yourself and others.

M.

Broken Record

It’s difficult for me to ask for help when I need it. This is something I am just figuring out about myself well into my thirties. It’s not the only thing I am figuring out well into my thirties, but I suspect prioritizing Adele songs in order of their meaningfulness to my own life isn’t the “ah-ha” moment Oprah wanted for me. It’s difficult for me to ask for help and it is difficult for me to reach out to other people when I am sad, or lonely, or overwhelmed. There, that is out there in the world now, I feel better.

Yesterday I was sad. Christ, Missy we know, tell us something new. I know it seems like I am a broken record, like I’m all, Hey you guys! I’m sad today, boohoo what shall I do? But in all truth the sad days are less and less now, partly because it is summertime and partly because I have a new medication. But yesterday my husband left for a work trip, again, and I realized that I’m not missing him when he goes anymore. Let me back up. I always miss him when he is away, what I mean to say is that there was a time when we were always together, and we had a toddler, and life was chaotic, and the thought of us being separated for a week was painful. He’s my best friend and I need his presence. But yesterday, as I was driving back from the airport listing to sad Adele songs (yeah, I know, shut it) I realized that I have grown accustomed to his absence now. And that made me sad as hell.

So I did what anyone would do, I sat on the couch and cried, until my best friend called me. She was having an off day too and she called to just tell me about it, and we talked for two hours and I felt so much better. So I reached out to more people. People who I adore, people I haven’t talked to in a long time. I sent some silly texts, I asked how days were going, I checked on a VERY pregnant friend just to make sure. And you know what, I felt a hell of a lot better, and I hope they did too.

Is there is a lesson in this? Of course there is. And it is one that our therapists have been screaming into our ears for years. But sometimes it takes a little time, a little age, a little trial and error to really make it click. It clicked for me yesterday. I know, I know I am a broken record. But I am broken. We all are, and sometimes we need to realize, accept, and adapt. It has the capacity to make us feel better.

What do you want from us, Missy? I want you to reach out to people when you need to. Ask for help if you need it. Call your best friend. If you don’t have one, find one. Don’t worry if you think they might be busy. Don’t worry if you think they might be surprised, or caught off guard, or, or, or. Make time. Send a funny email. Dance a little jig in the your kitchen with your dog, or your partner, or your child. Put on Adele and cry a river. Doesn’t matter. Take care of yourself and your people, however and whenever you need to. And remember, I love you.

M.

Accordion Dave and Others

Last Saturday we drove to Charlotte. We hadn’t been back to the city that I love since we moved on April 1st, but we had to go up on Saturday because our very dear friends, David, Beth, and Morgan were packing up their home in Davidson, NC and hitting the road. Much like what we had just been through, Dave’s job took them away from North Carolina, all the way up to Rhode Island. Dave is a college music professor who plays the accordion like one bad MFer, never-mind the baby grand that sits in their living room. (Seriously, never-mind it, he’s good or whatever, but Dave shall henceforth be called Accordion Dave.) So Accordian Dave took a new teaching gig in Rhode Island even though, and this is important, I offered our basement for them to live in while I worked on my first rap album, in exchange for him playing all the instruments in my band. Why he passed that gig up to teach dumb kids is beyond me, but here we are. I’m still looking for a band, and Dave and Beth and Morgan live in fucking Rhode Island. This is all Accordion Dave’s fault.

Annnnnnyway, we spent the day with our three friends. We got to see some other people we hadn’t seen, catch up a bit. We even learned all about camping trailers, Chinese language courses, and the company Honeywell. It’s a long story. We had dinner at the ye old soda fountain in Davidson, you know which one I mean, the cute little Soda Shoppe on Main Street. Right next to the cute little book store and the cute little coffee shop, right across from the cute little library and the cute little college. Ohh, Davidson.

We realized, while we were eating our deep fried green beans (Morgan’s favorite), that this soda shoppe was one of the first places we all hung out together when we both ended up in North Carolina nearly five years ago (we both moved to NC in the summer of 2014 from the Midwest). We were invited to Morgan’s six-and-a-half-birthday back then, and we played at the library, then had shakes at the soda shoppe, then met the husbands for dinner at a little Italian joint that isn’t there anymore. It was what sealed the deal, for us anyway. The Missy, Jerimiah, Jackson, Accordion Dave, Beth, Morgan deal. It’s a good deal.

So while I was in Davidson (forcing Beth to pack her bathroom on my timeline as I shook my head in agreement every time she took a swig from the whiskey bottle and said, this is all fine, this will all be okay) I realized that the very reason I’ve felt so tied to North Carolina all this time was this woman. This woman kneeling in front of her bathroom sink yelling about toothpaste. This lovely, whiskey-drinking, hanging up maps for the movers, making sure everyone was fed lunch, woman. And her accordion playing husband and her magical daughter.

It’s difficult to be away from the people we love. The loyal, honest, lovable, crazy people we call our friends. And I am away from them. ALL OF THEM. I have my very best girls in Kansas (‘sup Rachel and Madison). I have a couple of best girls in Missouri (looking at you Kasey and Erica). I have Melody in Arizona. I have Susie and Camille on Lake Norman. And now I have Beth and Dave and Morgan in Rhode Island. Of course there are a ton of other smart, amazing, people scattered to the wind in between there, but that’s what the are, scattered. And that sometimes makes me very sad.

In the middle of the chaos of sneaking the tequila bottle away from Accordion Dave and Jerimiah, I got a text from Melody, my Tucson bestie. She was in labor! IN LABOR! In labor with her precious daughter Bexley. Her second born. The surprise we have all been patiently waiting for over the last nine months. There it was. Flashing on my screen: Guess who’s in labor? I immediately screamed and yelled the announcement to the whole house. In fact, I was so excited and devoted to reading all her incoming texts, that it took a couple of hours for the sadness to hit. I so wanted to be there with Melody. I so wanted to be one of the first people to hold Bex, to see her little bow on her head, to listen to her Momma recount the horrible labor process. But I was in Charlotte, 2,000 miles away, with a friend who also needed me. A friend that I also wanted to be with at that very moment. The idea of friendship, the loves in my life, the wonderful people I have known but am so very far away from, all came flooding in at one moment. So I did what I usually do, I cried. Only this time I excused myself to “walk the dog” because I didn’t want to cry in front of anyone.

Listen, you know I am not above crying in public, in private, in front of friends, in front of strangers, in front of a mirror while I watch my face contort into ugly shapes and hope that no one is secretly video taping me. But for some reason I just couldn’t be the one to cry that day. In front of those friends. I needed to be strong. And I felt strong, until Beth met me halfway up the street, fell into my arms, and cried too.

We can only hold it together for so long. At some point the weight of whatever has been keeping us down, the feeling, the moment, the event, the person, whatever “it” is, finally makes our knees buckle. And we can only hope someone is there to catch us. I am so glad I was there to catch Beth. For her to catch me. I wish I could be there every time one of my people needs catching. Needs to take a breather. Needs a time-out called. I wish. I wish. I wish.

I think what I want to say today is to hug your people. Be thankful you have them near. If you are like me and they are not near, then call them. Don’t worry if they might be busy, or sideways, or tied up with a screaming newborn. If they are, they will call back. But chances are they will answer. Because chances are they want to hear your voice, or your laugh, or they want to vent about their day to someone who cares. Take the chance. Insert yourself into their life from time to time. Even when things seem like all is well. Even when you haven’t talked in a while. Even, even, even. Your people need you. You need your people. Make it so.

M.

Ps… Had Accordion Dave taken my offer, our first album would have been titled, Me and Accordion Dave Against the World ‘n them Hoes: Here Comes Treble Vol. I

Illegal Truck, Part Two

The following is a transcript of the conversation between me (parked in the crowded lot of the DeKalb County Tag Office on a day that they were unexpectedly closed, and my husband an hour away in his office.) If you have no idea what I am talking about, get yourself up to speed here: https://missygoodnight.com/2019/06/26/illegal-truck-part-one/

Me: What is that supposed to mean?

My Son-of-a-Bitch Husband: It just means that I read something about them being closed today for maintenance, but…

Me: WHAAAAT?!

S-O-B Husband: It said it might be closed on Thursday, it didn’t say for sure and…

Me: Oh well it is one hundred percent closed on Thursday, there is no might to it, and now we can’t drive your truck to Missouri this weekend and how are you going to tow a boat with my car and…

S-O-B: Hold on, hold on. Open the glove compartment and grab the registration.

Me: Okay, what now?

S-O-B: When does it say it expires?

Me: June 15th.

S-O-B: Oh, okay, so we are good we…

Me: ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! I had until June 15th to get this shit done?! I have been running around like a crazy person trying to, OMIGOD, Imma need to let you go…

S-O-B: Babe, listen I…

Click.

So, yeah. The tags had a 15 day grace period because North Carolina is amazing and I love them and what the hell is up with my husband? Piece of shit, ratchet-ass, you know what I’m going to move on.

So, we drive his truck to Missouri and all is well. We plan to get back to Atlanta on the 31st, which means we can go on the first to the only tag office that is open on Saturday and get the tags switched. I breathe a sigh of relief and accept his apology.

On Saturday June 1st we wake up bright and early and head to Gwinnett County to the one open tag office in the state of Georgia. On the way over I say something like, Do you think we have to go to the county we live in to get the tags? And my husband says, No that would be dumb. Mind you, we have to get the tags today because my husband is flying to Baton Rouge on Monday.

When we get there the line is wrapped around the building. There are double drive through lines and it is hot as shit. We stand in the outside line for about twenty minutes, then I am like, you know what, I’m just gonna go call someone and ask about that county thing. So I walk off to investigate the rules (which apparently my husband has already done quote, extensively). My nervousness makes him nervous, so he has Jackson walk up to the door to read the 85 signs plastered on it and one of them says, “You can only buy tags in the county in which you live.”

So thirty minutes later I am eating a taco made of chemically-engineered beef at Del Taco while expertly giving him the stink-eye.

When we get home my husband does some more research and comes up with this plan: On Monday morning, I will drop him off at the airport at 8:00 am, with the kid and dog in tow. Then I will head over to the DeKalb County Tag Office again, this time with my passed emissions test and all my correct paperwork and I will buy the tags. This is fine because I am also on the title. It is an And/Or Title. I agree, but I feel like something isn’t right. I ask him about three more times over the course of the weekend if he is sure I have all I need. Yes, he knows for sure. He has checked. Again.

Monday morning I battle my way through the morning traffic in Atlanta, then back again to my side of town. I get to the Tag Office to a line out the door. It is 8:07 am. I leave the kid and dog in the car with the air on, because once again it is hot as shit, and neither of them want to be where they currently are. Neither do I. I am nervous about leaving them in the car across the street from the county jail, but I push on. Not a lot of options at this point.

I get into the building by 8:35 am. By 8:45 I have a number. M347. They are calling M117. Awesome. For the next hour I pace the floor, peaking out the window to see that my car with child and dog in it are safe and sound, until the police officer tells me, Ma’am you really need to have a seat. I do not have a phone on me, because my son left his phone at home and I left my phone with him so he had one just in case.

At approx. 10:00 am my number is called. Hallelujah! I run up to the window and give the lovely woman all my paperwork, my DL, and a big smile. Though I am not feeling confident.

Lovely Woman: Hello, Mrs. Goodnight. How can I help you today?

Me: I just moved to Georgia and I need to get my tags switched.

Lovely Woman: I can help you with that.

She starts rifling through my paperwork.

Woman: Okay, so in Georgia we require a Title Ad Valorem tax of 7%, are you aware of that?

I tell her I am aware of that, and then I sigh, because this might actually be happening.

Woman: So you will need to pay $700 today in order to get your tags, okay?

Me: Great. (Not really great, but I don’t care anymore.)

Then she starts shuffling papers on her desk, highlighting notes, and clicking on her keys.

Woman: Does anyone have a lien on this vehicle?

Me: Yes, Wells Fargo is our lien holder.

Woman: Okay, so they need to fax a copy of the title over to me. Which isn’t a big deal, it just usually takes a few minutes.

Me: Okay, um, I think my husband filled out the title form, which…

Woman: Nope, still need the title.

Then she looks around me.

Woman: Where is your husband?

Me: Uhh, on a plane, I say.

Woman: Ohhhhh.

Me: Ohhhh?

Woman: Georgia is not an “And/or” state. Georgia is an “And” state. If you want tags today your husband has to be present.

Me: WHAAAA?!

Woman: Unless! You have a power of attorney?

Me: WHAAAA?!

Woman: Okay, Mrs. Goodnight (she starts to hand me all my paperwork back). You need to get a power of attorney and it needs to be notarized and…

She keeps talking but I shut down and have no idea what she is saying. I walk out to the car where I am met with a, Guess what, Mommy! The airport was so crowded this morning with summer travelers that Daddy missed his flight. Haha! That’s pretty funny, huh? Cause he could have come here with us! Anyway, here is your phone back! You were in there for way too long, I’m hungry.

This was June 3rd. Two weeks before tags officially expire. Husband is gone all of that week. On June 8th he comes home for one day. On June 9th we all pile into my car (with valid tags) and drive to Baton Rouge for two weeks. We get home on 23rd. On June 24th I take husband to work and drive back home because I have an appointment. Husband says we will get tags on Wednesday, that is when he has a free morning. On Tuesday he calls Wells Fargo to get a copy go title faxed. They say we should have it by Friday. Le sigh. It is not a ten-minute wait time for title.

And here we are. June 26th? Yeah? I don’t know anymore. We have no tags. No title. No patience. And I am still mad as hell that we have to pay $700 to the state of Georgia, especially because we already paid taxes on this truck.

So what is the point of all of this? There is none. Except maybe don’t move to Georgia? Or maybe don’t put shit off? Or maybe it is possible for your smart, wonderful, husband to be an S-O-B sometimes? Or maybe trust your gut? Or maybe sell all your vehicles and ride your bike everywhere you need to go? Maybe ride your bike up into the Tennessee mountains? Maybe find an abandoned log cabin and start your life anew? Maybe live as a hermit in the Smoky Mountains for the rest of your damn life with 18 feral cats and one goat that thinks you are his mom? Maybe?

M.

Illegal Truck, Part One

My husband’s truck is backed into the driveway with expired tags. This is the first time we’ve ever had expired tags on a vehicle and we are a little paranoid. Kinda like the first time you are pulled over with a dime bag hidden in your center console and you’ve been speeding, but you’re not high, and you keep fidgeting and not making eye contact with the cop while he lectures you on the importance of safety. Then he asks for your registration and for a second you wonder if the dime bag, that you bought for a friend, is actually in your center console, or did you put it in your glove box? Cause you weren’t going that far anyway. I mean, you just have to make it to your friend’s birthday party across town so you can surprise her with the dime bag, and you can both laugh and laugh cause it’s been so long, and then she can roll the joint, and then all fifteen of your closest pals gather around nervously to smoke it, even though you are all well into your 20s now and this sort of thing doesn’t suit you. And if you did put it in your glove box, is it going to fall out when you open it for your registration? Oh no! Oh, whew! It’s not in your glove box.

Let me back up.

My husband’s truck tags expired in the state of North Carolina in June. We moved to Georgia on April 1st, so we decided to wait to switch tags until May since we clearly had the time. I know, I know, you’re supposed to do it within in 30 days. Does anyone actually do that? Anyway, being the good citizens we are (cough) we started looking up what we needed at the beginning of May. First we had to switch our DLs to Georgia. Well I did mine rather quickly because I needed a Georgia DL to get a library card. Also the state of Georgia makes it super easy to get your DL. You do a bunch of pre-registration online, then you show up with your old DL, your passport, and your land deed or lease agreement and boom! Twenty minutes later I was walking out the door with my new DL. So I assumed the car tags would be the same.

First Jerimiah needed to get his DL which is a bit more difficult since he travels a bunch for work, and when he is in town he is at his office from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, which is of course when the DL Office is open. He finally got it done, however, mid-May. Next step was tags. So Jerimiah looked up online what we needed. According to what he read we were missing only one thing: an emissions test. But, wouldn’t you know it, since we had moved into the state his check engine light came on. So, because of the schedule above, I had to take care of the emissions test.

First I go to the parts store to have them run the code. (I’m sorry about the car talk, when you’re married to a car guy and your son wants to be an automotive engineer when he grows up, you pick up a few things you wish you hadn’t.) So they run the code, which just means they can tell me what is triggering the check engine light. Jerimiah had already warned me that it was probably the gas cap. That is what set it off last year too. In any event, I was to buy any part they said I’d need.

The first thing she said was the gas cap. Le sigh. So I bought a new one, and asked her how long I should drive before the light goes off (if your check engine light is on you will not pass an emissions test, FYI). She said 10 miles. For the record, this is very, very wrong. Follow along. So I drove the truck 15 miles and it didn’t go off. I went back and bought the second part on the list which was the Vapor Canister Purge Valve and I went home.

That night Jerimiah and Jackson basically took his truck apart in the driveway to get to the part and still could not. He was frustrated, I was worried, and Jackson was covered in grease, which he totes loved. When I turned the truck on the check engine light was off! Hooray! Except, it was only off because Jerimiah had pulled out the battery to get to the part, which reset the electronic system. This was May 21st, which is important because that meant I still had to get the truck to pass an emissions test, but quickly because we were driving it to Missouri for Memorial Day Weekend that Friday.

So Jerimiah tells me that I probably need to drive it more to see if the light comes back on. I do not heed his advice and go right to the testing place the next morning. I’m on a strict schedule. The truck fails. The inspector tells me I have to drive it like 70 miles in order for the engine to go through all the cycles it needs to go through, which is eight in case you are just really, really interested in this. So, I drive it 70 miles. It fails again. This time right as the inspection place closes. I will have to try again the next day.

Damn it, this is gonna have to be a two-parter. Sorry, y’all. But we all need a breather soon.

So, the next day I pass and run over to the tag office in Decatur. I get there with all my paperwork in a folder and I am met with a policeman at the front door who tells me that this location is closed for Memorial Day. I say, Whaaaa?! Where do I go? He tells me every one of them in the state is closed because maintenance, holiday, blah, blah, blah. I’m pissed. I get into my car and call Jerimiah. I just know that he will flip out and validate all my feelings at this point.

You are not going to believe this… I pause to build suspense. They are closed until the 28th!

Silence for a moment, then…

Oh, yeah, that’s right.

Make a Grid

Mrs. Kim, my lovely neighbor across the way, was very intrigued by the fact that I was power washing my driveway today. So much so that she would sneak glances at me out of her garage window when she thought I wasn’t looking, once every hour or so. Three Mrs. Kim glances later I could tell that her intrigue had turned to concern and it started to infiltrate my psyche. I hadn’t intended to power wash my driveway for three hours today, it just sort of happened, like a lot of things do in my life.

We got home from our two-week trip to Baton Rouge on Friday afternoon. You can read about some of it here https://missygoodnight.com/2019/06/13/deep-deep-south/ though I have to be honest, I have a lot more to say on the trip, just need some time. Anyway, we drove home the eight hours on Friday, then had a good night’s rest in our own bed, then woke up the next day and drove the four hours to Charlotte to say goodbye to our friends Morgan, Beth, and Dave. You see, Morgan, Beth, and Dave packed up and moved to Rhode Island for no reason except to make me sad. Well, Dave got a new job teaching at URI, but that is besides the point. Me. Sad. Important part. We didn’t get back from Charlotte until four am, which means we slept until noon on Sunday, which means we finally got around to getting some of the things done we needed to get done before the week started at nine pm last night. Which was just in time to watch Ralph Wrecks the Internet because Ralph wrecks the internet.

Sigh. That is all to say that we have been busy, busy (and I’ve been a little sad) and today was the first day back in real life and real life looked like this. We woke up sorta late. I had to drive J to work about 30 minutes away (with Jackson and the damn dog) in Atlanta traffic, and then rush home to get ready for my therapy session at 10:00 am. Why did I have to drive J to work? That is a great question and one that I intend to share with you this week if all the components of my life start working again.

So then I go to therapy and cry. I always cry. We don’t even need to talk about like, you know, real shit. We can just talk about the weather and where to get good food (like we did today) and I cry. I really like my therapist. I think she is great in fact. She has a really calming presence, which is probably good for a therapist. She is also wicked funny. She is the kinda lady I wish I had met at Publix in the fruit aisle, and we had bumped carts and I had said, Ope, scuse me, I’ve been drinking! Haha, just kidding I’m not drunk. And she would have said, Me neither, but wanna go get drunk? And then we would be best friends. Except we can’t be friends cause she’s my therapist. Bummer. Anyway, I cried a little and she assured me the world wasn’t ending and I felt better, but also like I needed to do something drastic. I was afraid I would get day drunk and cut my own bangs, so instead I decided to let Jackson wash my car.

Washing my car is something he always asks me to do and I always tell him no because of the hassle of finding the power washer, finding the hose, dragging it all out, then him getting all crazy wet, then other excuse, other excuse, other excuse. Today I thought I’d just let him go to town and get as wet as he wanted. So I let him. He was way excited then (in true Jackson fashion) he washed my car for about five minutes then went back inside. He did offer to clean up the power washer but I was all, nah leave it out I might clean something. And there we are. Three hours later I felt accomplished even though I accomplished the one thing not anywhere near my to-do list today. Not even close.

It is important to note here that I enjoy power washing. I know it sounds weird as shit. But I go to a very zen-like place when I power wash. I sort of process stuff better when I am doing something that I don’t have to think about. I think that is true for a lot of people, probably. Others might crochet, or tinker with cars or electronics, or color or paint. I power wash. I like to take a big surface (like a driveway that is pretty dirty) and split it up into sections, then tackle one section at a time while my mind sort of wanders. I process things I have been putting off, I have conversions with myself, I think about things to write, all while I work my way through the grid I created. It probably has something to do with feeling little accomplishments while you are working. It is like writing a novel and finishing a chapter, or quilting and getting one square done. It’s always easier to take large tasks and break them into smaller ones to tackle. Then you are not so overwhelmed. And I do often get overwhelmed. It’s not unlike when you use your at-home electrolysis kit and you mark on your legs and work small sections. Except with power washing you don’t need to worry about turning the level up too high and getting zapped so hard that you have a series of light seizures.

So, why am I telling you all this? Why do I tell you all anything, Jesus Karen lay off me. I guess because we are in this together you guys. And I know I have been absent, I was a little blue last week. I was overwhelmed. But I think I am back. And I think I have a ton of shit to tell you guys, so let’s get to it!

Happy Monday!

M.