Worth Leavin’

When I was in high school my mom and I moved into an apartment complex with townhouses. This was the biggest, nicest place we had ever lived in, and it was near the high school and near my mom’s work. It had three levels, including an unfinished basement for storage and laundry. The kitchen, living room, and a bathroom were on the main floor, and there were three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. All the bedrooms were roughly the same size, so my mom took a room on one end of the hall and gave me the room on the other end, next to the bathroom. I don’t remember what was in the middle bedroom. It’s possible it was home to my mom’s small china hutch, the one that houses relics from years past. It’s possible it had a dresser for extra clothes, or maybe my mom’s old green rocking chair. I don’t think it had an extra bed. I don’t think we ever had a bed we would consider “extra.”

I might not remember too much about the second bedroom, but I do remember quite a bit about that townhouse, and the years I lived there. I remember the night someone threw a brick into our neighbor’s glass window and stole a bunch of money from him while he slept upstairs. I remember the way the apartment complex gave way to a trailer park, the “good” trailer park. I remember that when the grass got cut the maintenance men did it so fast, that they missed large portions of it. I remember the rollings hills in between the rows of houses. I remember the playground. The basketball court. The laundry room. The dark, poop brown of the cabinets. I remember the small slab of concrete off the back sliding door where we kept an old, unused grill. I remember the constant feeling of being pressed down, while we lived there. What felt like the inability to catch my breath. The thought that this was it. This was as nice as my life was going to get. The concern that I was in this cycle of poverty, and there was no way out.

It’s a nasty feeling, feeling like you are stuck in a place that you don’t want to be. I would take evening walks around the apartment complex, sometimes down through the trailer park and envision what my life might be. Would I live in a trailer one day? Was it bad to live in one? Some of them looked nice. They had fenced yards, and little pop-up pools. Some had add-ons and car ports. Was this my next step? Did I get married, buy a trailer, have a couple of kids, and work my 40 hours a week, while I watched my husband drink beer with the other men in the trailer park on Sunday afternoons? It all seemed too sad. Too real. Much too real.

I remember walking on the other side of the street one day. There was a subdivision on that side that I had never been through before. The street that separated us was a busy five lane road that ran from one side of town, where the cities of Leavenworth and Lansing met, to the other side of town, ending at the Federal Prison. It wasn’t too hopeful for a sad teenage girl, my hometown. The thing I noticed first about this subdivision, was that unlike my apartment complex, they had a wooden privacy fence running the length of their property, shielding their quiet backyards, and their precious children, from the traffic that clogged up that street.

The more I walked, the more I noticed about the people who lived there. Two car garages meant two parents. Two parents meant more income. More income meant treehouses, and soccer teams, and trips to Florida in the summertime, all things I had no idea about. I pieced together what I knew about my friends’ families. The nice houses they had, the way their mother’s were home all day with stews in crockpots, and at the dinner table at night helping with homework. During this time my mother had developed a gambling addiction, and spent most of her evenings at the casinos in Kansas City. So had my sisters and a few close friends. I was alone a lot of the time, but that was okay by me. It gave me time to dream of my leaving. That was the running joke as a teenager in Leavenworth. Wasn’t Leavenworth really just Worth Leavin’?

I’ve come to see that as a critical point in my life. My walking, my meandering around my hometown. Wondering what would happen to me if I left, more importantly, what would happen to me if I stayed. I knew then, on the day that I walked through that subdivision, that I wasn’t going to stick around to find out.

Sometimes I get sad when I think back to the choices I made. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened had I stayed. Sometimes I wish I could help other people leave. Sometimes I just want to tell that younger Missy that it is all okay. That she is different, and a little weird, and yeah, maybe she doesn’t belong there, or anywhere, but that it will all make sense. One day.

M.

Burger King Hysterectomy

I’ve been in a major slump this week. Like major. This time of year always gets to me because this is the time of year I lost my daughter. If you want to get up to speed on that you can read this: https://missygoodnight.com/2019/08/20/august/ or this: http://mudseasonreview.com/author/melissa-goodnight/ and you should be all caught up. But the other day when I was explaining to my husband how I’ve been feeling this week, I used the phrase “profound sadness” and I meant it. I meant it, but I am not sure it explains exactly how I feel, but it is probably pretty close. I started to wonder why this year was hitting me that much harder than other years and, I think, quite simply, that there is something else I haven’t properly dealt with that needs some attention, my decision to have a hysterectomy last year.

Now listen, I won’t go into the nuts and bolts of it. Some of you really don’t care to know all that, but if you do just ask me, I will tell you EVERYTHING, cause I’m that kinda person. But I will say that because of some issues I was having, I was a candidate for a hysterectomy. Not a “Full Hysterectomy,” just a partial, so I elected to have it done. So last May I had my uterus and Fallopian tubes removed. They left my ovaries so I wasn’t a 36-year-old going into menopause (thank you so much for that, doc) but the rest they took out and threw away in a trash can behind the Burger King. Well, maybe not. But in my mind that’s what happened.

My Burger King uterus was a Mess with a capital M, but it had served me well through two pregnancies, so it was a little bit sad. Now, have I enjoyed not having a period since then? Uh yes, absolutely. It’s a new kind of freedom that I haven’t had since I was 12 years old, and I highly recommend the procedure if any of you are considering it. Highly. Recommend. (And if you are in the Charlotte area, I highly recommend you doing it at Novant! I had THE BEST experience there!) But I digress.

The hysterectomy came as a surprise to a lot of people, because for the four years leading up to my decision, Jerimiah and I had been trying to have another baby. We struggled with infertility after we lost Lydia in 2011, and we came to be diagnosed with “Unexplained Secondary Infertility”. In fact, if you go back in this blog, like way back, you will see that my first ever post was the night before I was headed in to have a “procedure” done to start the fertility process. I did have it done. And a couple more procedures. In fact, we got to the point where we had to either go all in, like $50,000 all in, or back off and hope for a miracle. Jerimiah and I both decided at that moment that we would rather spend $50,000 on the adoption process than on trying to get pregnant, so we went with the “trying for a miracle” and well, the miracle never came.

Meanwhile, I was more and more bogged down with all the aforementioned “issues” each month, until I was finally so fed up, fed up with the issues, fed up with my body rebelling against me, fed up with the constant depression every month when I was not pregnant, that I said enough is enough and decided to make a final decision. And boy is it a final decision. In fact, I didn’t realize how final it really is, and now I’m dealing with all these feelings, for the first time, because over the last year I sort of just shoved them down. Hmpf. Way to go, Missy.

I mean, I knew what a hysterectomy was going into it. I had to sign so many papers that my hand cramped. Yes, I get it, I get it, I said to my doctor. No more babies for me. And yes, I did get it. But what I didn’t think about was all the feelings I would have after I could not have any more babies. I know I am not making myself clear here, partly because I am working it out for the first time myself (there will probably be a series of “Burger King Hysterectomy” coming at y’all) and partly because it’s a weird thing to write about, but I will get better.

What I mean to say is that I sometimes want another baby. Bleh. That is hard to admit. But I certainly didn’t want to try to do it the way we were doing it. And I certainly know it isn’t possible anymore, and I am almost certain that I don’t ACTUALLY want another baby. Like, I like this life that I have. I love that we have one. That we can take off and go whenever we want. That we get to travel and experience things, and that we have one kick-ass kid already. But sometimes, when I am already sad, I start to miss Lydia, then I start to think I sold myself short. Myself, my husband, my son. Even though, let me say, everyone was behind my decision, myself included. Gah. It must be the hormones. Maybe I can get someone down at the ‘ol BK to take out my ovaries too?

Well, I’m rambling now. I will keep thinking on this topic, you guys think on it too, and maybe we can come up with a conclusion? And no, not just a Missy is nuts conclusion. We already know this, that is taking the easy way out. Try harder, you guys. I am counting on you.

M.

Grouchy About TP

Why are there ads and commercials for toilet paper? Which adults out there do not have a favorite toilet paper? Why do people need convincing on this topic? Are there people who are still, I dunno in their thirties, and flipping between toilet paper brands? Is it the damn millienials? I can say that now, because apparently I am an Xennial (somewhere between a Gen X-er and a millennial) so I can blame them for things now. Those damn millennials!

As a grown-ass thirty-something adult, I know which brand of toilet paper I like, and I am not changing. I am not looking for coupons. I am not looking for sales or deals or BuY tHiS nOw ads! I am looking for comfort and plush 2-ply, and I have found it, and I don’t want to see bears wiping their asses anymore. Why Charmin? People are already buying you. Why bears wiping their asses?

And stop trying to come up with inventive ways to use toilet paper. Listen, it is for one thing and one thing only. It’s like how Q-tip prints all the ways you can use Q-tips on the back of their packaging. You can use it to clean your keyboard?! Really? Really, Q-tip? Yeah, I know the medical community came out and said, “Don’t stick things in your ears!” but something tells me they meant penis. Like, don’t stick penis in your ear. You know?

I’m sorry you guys.

It’s 7:30 am and I am already off the damn rails.

Maybe I should go back to bed.

Maybe I should roll out my bulk, two-ply and lay on top of it. Cover myself in it like a sleeping bag. Like a cozy, plush, sleeping bag. Until my husband comes home and finds me, takes one look at me, and mumbles something about buying Charmin.

M.

Anthony Elementary School

I Googled my elementary school today. I’m not sure what made me do it. Maybe seeing all the back to school photos of friends’ kids. Maybe dropping my own child at his first day of his last year in elementary school. Maybe I’m feeling sad, nostalgic, old. Either way, I Googled the old girl and was surprised by what I didn’t remember about Anthony Elementary School, and what I did.

Anthony Elementary School in Leavenworth, Kansas was built in 1950*, funded in part, by a grant from the Ford Foundation. It was named after the Daniel Read Anthony family, who first came to Leavenworth from Massachusetts in 1854 with the first Emigrant Aid Company. The First Emigrant Aid Company was responsible for bringing Free State settlers to vote against Kansas becoming a slave state. Daniel R. Anthony may not be as well known outside of Leavenworth, where he was both a conductor of the local Underground Railroad and the owner of the Leavenworth Times (Kansas’ oldest newspaper) but his sister, Susan B. Anthony, might ring a bell. I knew none of this back then. I have a faint memory of learning about Susan B. Anthony and her family. I have an even fainter memory of connecting those dots in my head when I was maybe a second grader. I remember thinking she was pretty and strong. What I did know about my school was that it was a Title I, low-performing elementary school in the 1980s, smack dab in the middle of the “good” side of town and the “not good” side of town, and it brought a lot of different worlds together.

My mother walked me up to the front door of Anthony when I was a very tall five-year-old. Having a September birthday, I would turn six just two weeks after school started, always making me one of the oldest kids in my class. I would be nearly 19 when I graduated high school. But I wasn’t thinking about high school that day, I was thinking about not wrinkling my dress. I was wondering if my mother would stay with me all day. I was sliding around from sweaty feet in slick sandals.

My classroom was brightly colored. It housed a row of cubes where we’d put our Kleenex boxes and paint, wall hooks for backpacks and lunchboxes, and an upright piano. I didn’t have a lunchbox. I was a free-lunch kid. I didn’t know that on my first day of kindergarten, but by middle school this fact would push my head lower and lower down, everyday, as I moved through the hot food line. On my first day of kindergarten, however, my head was high, albeit full of anxiety. I smiled when Mrs. McKim, my very tall, very lovely teacher took my hand and showed me where my desk was. I followed her, looking back a few times to make sure my mom was still there. She was, standing with the other parents at the back of the classroom, much too close to the door for my liking. In my memory this is when things get jumbled, but my mom remembers it pretty clearly. I started to cry. And I didn’t stop crying for three days.

On day two, Mrs. McKim let my mom come inside the classroom again. They tried to console me, to introduce me to new friends, but I couldn’t see anyone through the tears clouding my vision. On day three, Mrs. McKim watched me walk into the classroom, and just when my mom was about to follow, she stopped her, and closed the classroom door. I panicked. I ran to the door to watch the scene unfold. My mother was crying outside the door, I was crying inside the door. Mrs. McKim, her hand on my mother’s shaking shoulder, told her it would be best to leave. Just leave me there, and walk away. I hated Mrs. McKim for this, for much longer than I should have. It wasn’t until my son went to preschool, and his teacher told me to go, while he screamed and groped for me and she held him back, that I realized what Mrs. McKim had done. And how important it was to do.

That day Mrs. McKim switched her tactic with me too. She let me sit at my desk and cry for an hour or so, then she pulled me aside and told me that I was disrupting the class and would have to go sit in the library, right across the hall, all by myself. A few minutes later I was all alone at a desk in the library. The librarian Mrs. Simmons, was busy walking around shelving books, big kids were coming in and out looking oddly at me. I sat, crying, until it felt like I had no more tears to cry. Then Mrs. Simmons walked in with two of my classmates, Robin and Pam. She walked up to my desk and introduced them both. She said they were girls in my class, and that made them my friends. Pam, whose sweet, chubby cheeks shined in the library light, asked me if I would be her friend. I said yes. Then Robin and Pam stood on each side of me and took me back to the classroom, hand in hand. I never cried again in kindergarten.

A few years ago my sweet friend Pam died. An undiagnosed medical condition, if I remember correctly. She never lost her sweetness, though. Not one ounce, even when we drifted apart years later. I can still see her chubby, rosy cheeks. I can still feel her hand in mine. I still remember her earnestness. Her need to be my friend. Her determination to make me feel safe.

It’s been a long time since I stepped foot inside Anthony Elementary School. An even longer time since I have felt that particular pain. The kind that sticks with you. The kind that shapes you. I may have went to a Title I, low-performing school in an economically diverse area of the Midwest, but I never felt underserved or overlooked. I felt lucky. I felt content. And today I am feeling thankful.

Thanks, Anthony Elementary School. For the teachers like Mrs. McKim, Mrs. Coughran, Mrs. Nixon and Mrs. Heim. Thanks for Mrs. Albright, and Mrs. Simmons, and Mrs. Parks. For Coach Hendee and Mr. Parks. Thanks for the lifelong friendships. Thanks for the blacktop and Oregon Trail. Thanks for the Halloween parades and the fifth grade talent show. Thanks for being a safe-haven, for a painfully shy little girl who is the woman she is today because of the foundation you gave her.

M.

*It’s important to note that Anthony has been through a few renovations, including a major overhaul in 2010, and has survived in Leavenworth, where many of the other schools have been vacated, or turned into housing or commercial spaces. I’ve included a current picture below to show the progress.

An Open Letter to the PTA

Good afternoon ladies (and that one weird dad). Let me start off by saying: THANK YOU! You are an amazing bunch, and honestly the school would be in deep doodoo without you. I mean for real. You help raise so much money for this damn school, that it is insane. You support extracurriculars, you help fund teacher’s classrooms, you feed the staff, and spend days getting ready for an event that most of the kids relentlessly make fun of (even when they have a great time)! You are great at all of this because you are mommies. And grand mommies. And that one weird dad. And you are used to doing thankless jobs for no pay. You are used to being yelled at about things that are not your fault. You are used to squeezing the budget as far as it will go and then some. You are used to begging and pleading for people to do one ounce of the work you do, just to keep the wheels in motion. And honestly, most of the time, you are measured not by the good that you do, but rather by the “annoyances” you cause. But I see you. I see you working diligently, and tirelessly, so that your kids and your friends’ kids, and the whole elementary school can have a damn snow-cone maker come field day, And your work does not go unnoticed.

Now, let me get to the heart of the matter, the ways I can help you. First let me say that I have been on both sides of the coin. I was not a member of the PTA, then I was just a “give $10 member,” then I was a committee co-chair, then a co-Vice President, then a committee chair at another school, and now currently I am just a “give $20 member” who has been asked repeatedly to help out whenever I can, and the “whenever I cans” are filling up my calendar. I have been part of three different PTAs, including helping one as it transitioned to a PTO. I have written bi-laws, been in charge of an event, stopped by every single teacher to introduce myself and give them a gift. I have laid mulch and planted flowers, collected money and membership forms, sold t-shirts, and stuffed goody bags. I have given another mom the “stop talking you’re wasting all of our time” look on Friday morning meetings so the President didn’t have to. I have researched grants, and play sets. I have led meetings and worked lunch room duty. Jesus, lunch room duty. I have rallied students with a megaphone, I have hauled screaming kinders out of a quickly deflating bounce house. And the list goes on. I, as you can see, am not afraid to get in there and get my hands dirty. And many, many more moms and dads are the same, but sometimes you don’t give them a chance.

Listen, y’all are seen in a different light because you’re not exactly inclusive. You are not exactly shining rays of light in the hallway. You are not exactly welcoming to new parents, or old parents, or odd parents. And sometimes each other. You have a narrow focus, and tend to keep your friends close, when you should be keeping your enemies closer. You need to remember that the PTA is not a popularity contest. It isn’t part of a social status. It’s work. Hard work and a lot of it. You need help. And dear Baby Jesus, I want to help you set your sights higher! Therefore, we need to take a hard look at your flaws. We need to speak some truth into you. And this is going to be hard, but I have to speak directly to each of you, starting at the top*. Ahem…

President: Hey Karyn, waz up, girl?! Can I grab a sec? Listen, I know you are one busy bee, girlfriend, okay! Aren’t we all (hysterical, sad laughter). But listen, you need to slow down girl, like for real. You need to loosen the reigns and ask for some help. No one is asking you to organize the 5K, the bake sell, the school carnival, the fifth grade dance, and all the teacher breakfasts, okay. You put that on yourself. Why, girl? Cause you’re a little bit of a control freak? Sure, hahahahahaha! We all are! That’s why we’re here, but listen, you’re scaring people. No one wants to join the committees you head because they heard about the spring gala and the shit that went down in the parking lot between you and your co-chair afterward. Did you really pull her weave out? Karyn, did you pay that teenager to key her car at Costco? Be straight with me girl, I won’t tell anyone. Certainly not, Betsy. Eek. But for real, slow down, take a chill pill, smile a little more in the hallway to people who live outside of your subdivision, and learn to use the calendar app, your disorganization is tearing us apart. Okay, love you girl, bye!

Vice-President: Patsy, honey, how are you? I feel like we never get a chance to talk. I saw you sit with your hand raised for fifteen minutes last Friday when the Principal asked for opinions on the food truck, but Karyn would not stop talking long enough for you to say anything. Honestly, we all felt the sting when Karyn reached over and put your hand down for you. I feel like we never get to hear your ideas. But you smile anyway. Although, I did catch that thing you said under your breath to Tina the other day about being “voluntold” to work the Book Fair. Listen honey, Karyn is a bitch. We all know this. We also know we have to keep her happy and that none of this shit would be done, if it weren’t for you. But that day in the cafeteria, when you slammed the tray down on her hand on “accident” girl, you validated a lot of us. Never stop being you. You are the glue to this whole damn thing. And I will respect your wishes and cross your name off the ballot next year. I got your back.

Secretary: Tina, daaayuuum, girl, how long you been doing this? Long time? You have what, seven kids now? Just the other d… uhhh, he spit up a little on you, yeah, right, uhhh, yeah, there, ope you got it. You want me to hold him so you can hold the pen, or, okay, okay, yeah, that works too. Just, I don’t want him to get kicked in the head, uhh, so listen, have you ever considered running for president? I mean, you have the skills for the job, and you’re, umm (motioning to all the toddlers and babies in the room) gonna be around for awhile, so, I think you could make some awesome changes. Oh really? Sure. You could totally start now by um, I think you could start by getting Karyn to be a little more open to new people. To new ideas. Maybe finding a good way to get some kinder moms involved. When I was a kinder mom no one in the PTA spoke to me all year. I really wanted to get involved, but I was painfully shy, and honestly honey, if I would have known what a giant clusterfuck this really is, I would have totally joined up then. Because there I was, thinking you guys all had your shit together, and I was the one who was all messed up, but nah. Nah. Oh, you want me to burp him, okay, sure.

Treasurer: Kevin, hey dude. Listen, I know all the ladies want you to be the treasurer because you are “the man” and well, this is The South, so there is a definite belief ladies can’t do numbers, but, no, no, no, I do not want your job. No, I know. Yes, I understand it is hard. No, thank you. Uh huh. Uh huh. Uh huh. Right. Totally agree. Sure raise ’em up right. Okay, absolutely. Yep. Stop! Stop! Do you see this right here?! You have not let me say a damn word! And maybe it’s because you are a man, but I rather think it’s because you’re an asshole. So shut up sometimes and let other people tell you what they think. And train someone else to do this job. Start now, because I guarantee, your name won’t be on the ballot forever. Also, stop saying your kid is too good for this school. That’s not a thing. No kid is too good for a school and no school is too good for a kid. Period. And one more thing, Kevin, I know you walk around here like your shit don’t stink. But I’ve been in the unisex staff bathroom after you, and well… it does.

Communications Chair: Hey Betsy, so glad I caught you! Listen, I did get your 18 emails last night about the use of the school’s Instagram account, and honestly I’m gonna guess that no, we aren’t breaking Rule XVI, Law i of the school conduct code by using a picture of the janitor hoisting up the flag. Uh, huh. Uh, huh. Oh no, I don’t think the threat of a new civil war in any way impacts what we say on our Facebook page, just because, well, we mainly say things like: “Book Fair, Friday Night!” We aren’t like, you know, getting political. Yes, we can be political people. I know you saw me at that rally and you’re nervous I’m gonna fly off the handle, but um, you did take my Box Top access away, and I really needed to get some templates printed off. How bout this? How bout I promise to not talk about politics ever again with you, and you promise to stop making us all sign releases saying that we won’t share pictures of your child at lunch in a public forum. I really don’t think anyone is doing that, so I feel like it is saving us both some time and energy. No, I did not hear that Patsy wasn’t going to run for president next year. Hmm, that is interesting. No, honey. I think you should take a little more time learning the ropes before you throw your hat in the ring. You’re just, well, annoying.

That One Mom Who Said She Would Help a Ton, But Only Shows Up When It’s Convenient: (Long sigh). Hey, Becca. So, are the third Thursdays on a month ending in -er just the best days for you, or, no? Okay. Sure, I get it. Yeah, yeah, sure. You work full-time, two kids, omigod, I know, I know. But listen, everyone is really tired of your shit. You send these hateful emails about all the things we are doing wrong, then I have to passive-aggressively respond all and remind you that you need to be the change you wish to see, you know. It’s getting old. I hate to be so crass with you, but you know where I’m coming from, it’s shit or get off the pot time, Becca. And the least you could do, on the days you are scheduled to show and you don’t, is text a bitch okay. And you know what, this is one of those times when throwing money at a problem does help. So get your husband to write a fat-ass check to the PTA, and we will see if we can make this all work. Okay, girl. Okay! See you in six weeks.

Beautification Co-Chair: Hey, girl, hey! Listen Rhonda, I’ve heard some murmuring after the meetings lately that people feel like you are a little pushy and maybe some of your ideas are, ummm, unrealistic? Ummm, what would you say… uh huh. Oh no, I’m not saying you’re pushy or unrealistic, I’m just saying that maybe you shouldn’t try to put new siding on the school this year, when we are trying to save for new chrome books for the classrooms. Also, a fifteen foot palm tree flown in from Florida would be amazing! I mean, really. But… I don’t know that our money should go there…right now. I know, I know, you and your husband are paying for half the palm tree, but the other $8,000 seems to be big part of our Chromebook budget. Okay, so you talked to the other school down the road and they are getting two palm trees. Okay. Okay! I see. So maybe, I dunno, I’m spit-balling here, maybe we could wait until one of their palm trees inevitably dies, and get it donated to us? Then we can have a dead palm tree too? No? Okay. Here’s all I’m saying. You tend to do things waaaay big! Like off the charts awesome! Yay! But, you’re scaring the other moms, and making a lot of people feel bad. And I know, I know that is not your intention, it’s really just to seem awesome, probably because you lack self-esteem, we all do, ha! But, I just need you to reel it back a bit, okay. I mean, you know I will keep it real, I always said I’d tell you if people are talking about you behind your back. Hahaha! They are.

And that is a start with you, PTA. That’s a start.

Best,

Missy, the forever PTA Mommy

*These are all fictional people, but you know, very real people.

Dig, Dig, Climax

Last week I walked to my therapy appointment. If you’re keeping up you know I’ve been walking anywhere that is less than two miles or so from my house, because why not? Why not indeed. Anyway, the first words I said to, ohh, let’s call her Eleanor, the first thing I said to Eleanor was, I stink. She laughed and said I didn’t stink, then I explained the walking thing and she was all, good for you, blah, blah, walking is like meditating, blah. That’s not the important bit, but every good story has a lead-up. I’m building a slow climax here, like I do in the bedroom, when I, you know, watch two episodes of Bob’s Burgers before the finale of Broad City.

So there I am, forty-five minutes into my appointment and she’s all, Missy, why did you react that way? And I’m all, Eugene, or, wait, Elle, Eleanor? Eleanor! Eleanor, listen I don’t know, but I want to know. So then Eleanor said something so profound that I can’t stop thinking about it. She said, Missy, a lot of the time when we are upset about something, particularly when it concerns our children, it’s sort of that inner child calling to us. She then told me to always take a step back from my feelings and try to remember what my life was like when I was my son’s age. What was I going through at ten years old? It was sort of an aha moment for me, maybe it’s not for you, but this isn’t your climax. May I suggest the Broad City finale?

Anyway, she also instructed me to ask myself why I allow myself to feel this way. She wanted me to dig deeper. Then I felt stupid, because isn’t that always the answer? Dig deeper. When writing a story you have to dive in, go below the surface. When you’re trying to figure out why someone’s flippant comment made you lose sleep, why them, why you, what did it all mean, just try to dig deeper. When you’ve lost an M&M in the couch cushions and you jam your sticky fingers down, way down where all the crumbs live, and you think you can’t go any further, you gotta dig deeper. Seriously. You will regret melted M&M in between your couch cushions. Trust.

So I dunno, I guess therapy is working. Maybe that is my point here. Or maybe I am really still upset about that one M&M, either way, try to dig deeper in your lives and go forth in prosperity today. I’ll let Ellen know you send your love.

M.

Tech-free Day

Yesterday the boys and I did our first official Tech-free Day! Woohoo! It was Jerimiah’s idea and we weren’t sure how it would go, so we laid some ground rules. Rule #1: Phones away for the day if you are anxious (like yours truly) you can check them a couple of times to see if anyone called because someone may have died. Rule #2: If Morgan can play Minecraft, then Jackson can hop on and play. Morgan is Jackson’s BFF, but she happens to live in Rhode Island, so for now, their playdates have been Minecraft dates with a side Google Hangout video chat. We decided this was okay because they don’t get to do this often, only when all the stars align, and it really is a playdate. Kinda cool that he gets to have one with her when she’s hundreds of miles away. When we lived in Charlotte Morgan was part of one of our tech-free mornings and she didn’t mind, so she knows what’s up. (We’ve been doing tech-free weekend mornings for about a year now, they have been awesome.) Rule #3: Music! We can turn the Apple HomePod on for music. Case closed. Gotta have music.

So what in the hell did we do?! Well, Jackson and Jerimiah let me sleep in, which was nice because I was up all night staring at the ceiling thinking of all the shit I have to do this week. While I slept, Jerimiah taught Jackson how to make eggs with one of those silicone egg shapers we bought him to practice with. That turned into a whole breakfast, of which they surprised me in bed with and then joined me. Honestly, it was past eleven by the time we even got back out of bed from eating, talking, and playing with the damn dog.

Then we cleaned up breakfast and all sat down to write some letters. WHAT?! Like old-fashioned letters?! Yep. Jackson wrote four and a thank-you card for Mr. Charlie, our neighbor who gave up fresh figs on Friday. I wrote a letter to three friends, Jerimiah wrote two, but he did it with his calligraphy pen, so extra points. Then we decorated all the envelopes, pulled out our wax seal with the “G” on it and had fun sealing the envelopes. We are pretty much nerds, did you get that yet?

Then we started on our “projects”. The boys had bought car models to put together and I have been working on my “plates”. Listen, it’s best to not ask about “the plates” just yet, I’ll share when I am all finished. Then we had a late lunch and talked some more. The talking was much needed.

After lunch Jerimiah and played Bunny Kingdom, our favorite board game, but Jackson (who was a little antsy at this point) opted to build Legos and clean his desk. This is also when he realized he missed a call from Morgan about playing Minecraft four hours before! He freaked out a bit and we allowed him to text her to see if she could play, but she couldn’t, so he walked around bummed for a bit while we finished our game.

Jackson cleaned his desk up and organized some Legos, then Jerimiah and him went out to work on the garden while I maid dinner, Jackson’s request: Grilled cheese and tomato soup. We ended the night cleaning the house for about an hour, all hands on deck, emptying trash cans for the week, getting all laundry to the laundry room (it was really nice to not have to do it myself), then we played a game of “cars”, Jackson’s favorite, then ended the evening reading the next chapter in Harry Potter. We are in book six, for those wondering. We’ve been reading the series as a family over the past year.

So, that was that. Not at all bad, and actually a really productive day. We didn’t get any yard work done, but man it was hot, so now we have to work on the yard in the evenings, but it was worth it, trust me.

So here is wishing you all a fun, relaxing day with your families sometimes soon. And if you are up for it, try it tech-free, it might be awesome!

M.

Popsicle Sticks

I started walking to get Jackson from school this week. It is one mile there and one mile back if I take the “long route”. I take the long route because the long route involves a stoplight, whereas the shortcut involves waiting for a break in a busy state highway, in Atlanta, then running like mad across five lanes while you scream “Don’t hit me! Don’t hit me! Don’t hit me!” So I prefer the stoplight.

So this week I walked the two miles every day. By day two I had already developed shin splint. By day three my whole body hurt like I was an active person. But by day four I felt okay. I track my walk with my Apple Watch and my Apple Watch, for usually being a little, whiny bitch, has actually been pretty helpful. Everyday I’d cut my time down by 30 seconds. And by day two, Jackson didn’t even mind the walking. By day four he told me he looked forward to it. Not only is it good, quality time with his mommy (heart swoon), but “walkers” get out ten minutes before “car riders”. Oh, yep. That’s the real reason.

Anyway, on Thursday I couldn’t shake this feeling that I was missing something. But I had my Apple Watch on, and my phone in my hand just in case. So what was it that I needed. Then I realized that I was missing 15 popsicle sticks.

I don’t know if you guys had to do this, or even remember it, but when I was in fifth grade in Kansas there was such a thing as The Presidential Fitness Test. It consisted of a bunch of bullshit, if you were to ask a chubby Little Missy, like the despised “Sit and Reach”, where Mr. Hendee, our beloved, normally very rational and nice P.E. teacher, taped a yard stick to a cardboard box and you had to sit with your legs straight against the box and reach out on the yard stick as far as you could. What was the purpose? Who fucking knows! But it was for sure something we had to do twice a year. Along with “Pull-Ups” which was just us hanging on a bar until our hands gave up. I always lasted about five seconds. Then there were push-ups and sit-ups with your friend sitting on your feet (my BFF LeeAnne was as heavy as a damn stick, and I would just lift her up every time I sat up. She was useless). Then there was the dreaded one-mile run.

The dreaded one-mile run took place in the “soccer field” which was just the bit of grass after the blacktop where the cool boys played soccer at recess. Mr. Hendee set up bright orange cones. Just two. And we had to run around them 16 times. That, as he had equated, was a mile. I dunno how far apart the cones had to be, you do the math.

How did you keep track of your laps? Great question. Every time you passed Mr. Hendee, he handed you a popsicle stick. So by the end of your run you had 15 popsicle sticks in your sweaty, little hands. I often, OFTEN, wondered if they were used popsicle sticks, but never asked. Did I really want to know?

Anyway, one time, on the night before the dreaded one-mile run, I had been playing outside with my friends well into the evening. The street lights had just come on when I heard my mom’s unmistakable whistle that meant it was time for me to come in. As I got on my bike, my foot got tangled up with my pedal and fell, my bike coming down hard on my ankle. Later that night, after some medicine, it was still a little swollen and tender to the touch but it was decided that I would survive. Nothing seemed broken. But just to be safe, my mom would write Mr. Hendee a note to tell him that I was not to run the next day. WHAAAAAA?! I had no idea you could do that! I was amazed with my mom and her powers.

The next day I went to school with very little pain and a normal sized ankle, and the note happily tucked into my backpack. When P.E. time came the pain “suddenly” came back to my ankle. I started limping for effect, and everyone was asking me what was wrong. Ankle. I said. Probably broken. I limped slowly up toward Mr. Hendee when we were still in the gym. He eyed me suspiciously. I handed him the note, then looked pathetically down at my ankle.

“Did your mom take you to the doctor,” he asked, folding the note back up and putting it in his shirt pocket. He always had shirts with pockets.

I shook my head no.

“Okay, he said. You can make it up next week. Let’s go class!”

My mouth sank. Whaaaaaa?! I thought I would be exempt from the whole run, but apparently this was not Mr. Hendee’s first rodeo.

I got to hand out the popsicle sticks that day. One after the other, to sweaty, unwashed, little hands. Then the next week I had to run by myself, around the gym, while everyone else was playing parachute. Hmpf. Ain’t that some shit?

So there you go. I learned my lesson. I never tried to get out of another mile run again. And all this week, going back and forth, the two miles everyday, nothing to hold in my sweaty, unwashed hands, I suddenly missed those damn popsicle sticks to keep me company.

Thanks Mr. Hendee. For calling me out on my bullshit. And for teaching me how to juggle scarves.

M.

Keep it Positive, Y’all

Something funny has occurred on my Facebook feed. Listen, I know I talk about Facebook way too much, but it is in fact how I stay connected to most of my family members, where I share pics of Jackson, and also where I get my news, besides Jerimiah’s weird, but informative podcasts. The funny thing that happened is all my friends and family members who were/are Trump supporters no longer share Trump things. Instead, they share things like recipes, and positive quotes, and a lot of stuff about God. Then they implore all of us on FB to “keep it positive” by not sharing political stuff. Meanwhile, a year ago that is all they shared, hate-fueled, non-factual, political stuff.

So now here I am wondering: Do they still support Trump or are they FINALLY embarrassed about what they have done? I’m also thinking, nah, I won’t be just sharing positive stuff, because we don’t live in a positive world and those Trump supporters are to blame for it. So, they can keep seeing my political/sad stuff or they can unfriend me. Their choice. You don’t get to run your mouth and say mean and hurtful things, then get a pass because you had a “change of heart”. I see you. I know you. And now I know the kind of person you really are.

I’m thinking about all this today because I am wondering about the next election. I am wondering if they will feel compelled enough to not vote the same way again. They got us into this mess, they should be the ones to step up and get us out. But they won’t. We know that. It is up to us, y’all. I am positive about that. We have to keep doing what we are doing. Bringing the injustices to the forefront, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes people feel. It needs to stay fresh in their minds, in our minds, in all of our hearts. This evil that has taken over needs to be remembered come time for elections. We can’t sweep it under the rug, not now, not ever. Something has changed in our country and there is no ignoring it.

The Georgia Democratic Party came to my door yesterday. The representative was a lovely man, with a deep, deep desire to overturn HB 481, Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act; enact which was introduced this session by the following people:

Ed Setzler, 35th district

Jodi Lott, 122nd district

Darlene Taylor, 173rd district

Josh Bonner, 72nd district

Ginny Ehrhart, 36th district

Micah Gravely, 67th district

It’s important to name the enemy of the people.

It’s also important to say that, while Atlanta Metro is a bright blue dot in a red state, the 7th district still has pockets of deep, deep racial divide. Including, but not limited to, the town of Cumming, Ga who up until the 1990s had a sign at their town entrance warning “N-words” to stay away.

I needed this reminder. We all need this reminder. There is nastiness, racism, injustice, hate, and bigotry in our country and it comes from the top. We aren’t bottling it up. We aren’t sweeping over it with recipes and pictures of dogs playing with sticks. This is real. And the people who no longer want to face it are the people who help make it this way. So no, I won’t be “keeping it positive” to make you feel better. This is us now.

Stay strong, y’all. And remember to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

M.

Problems in Houston

Houston, we have a problem. That is what I repeatedly said to my husband and son while on a whirlwind weekend trip to Houston a couple of weeks ago. I said it usually when I had to go to the bathroom. A number two. Somewhere in public. It never got old for my son, but I assume that it did for my husband, particularly when we were at NASA and he said, “You need to see a damn gastroenterologist.” Hmpf.

So yeah, we went to Houston a couple of weeks ago*. We got there on a Friday night and left on a Sunday and honestly, for it being part of Texas, I was pleasantly surprised. Now, would I go again? Uh, probably not. Once you’ve seen that many concrete highways, strip malls, and chain restaurants in one place, you are probably good. But I am glad we went. I am glad my son got to go to Texas (his first time) and I am glad that I gave Texas another shot after the fiasco I had in Amarillo many moons ago. (Let’s save that for another post shall we? Just know, I am not a fan of Texas.)

But Houston felt different. It certainly felt WAY better than anywhere in West Texas, and it certainly smelled better too. My son was slightly disappointed because I had told him that you sorta of know when you cross the Texas state line because you can smell the cow poop. He was sniffing, but there was no cow poop in sight. So that was a plus, but it also made me look like a liar. So now I have to take him to Abilene. Which sucks. There is never a good time to go to Abilene.

Anyway, we went to NASA, toured the Johnson Space Center (until we got rained out and had to take the tram back early causing us to miss Mission Control, #SadFace) then tried some of that awesome chain restaurant food that we have never been to (Chuy’s and Shipley Donuts), stopped in to the Art Car Museum (which was a big hit), and took a stroll to Houston’s own version of Chicago’s “Bean” which is lovingly called, “The Refried Bean”. We even met up with our cousin Britny, and her sweet doggo Willow, who have called Houston home for several years now. It ended up being a nice, little weekend, just jam-packed. Then again that’s how we usually do things.

Anywho, here are some pics for your enjoyment. As always, have a great day and remember, Houston—not bad, Amarillo—very bad. Mkay. Bye.

M.

A Houston Morning (view of downtown)

*This trip was before the sadness and madness that unfolded in El Paso. I feel so sorry for what happened there. And while I am steadfast in my distaste of Texas as a whole, I know there are a lot of good people there, just trying to get by. And a lot of them are immigrants. And that was some crazy, racist-fueled bullshit, and if you want to see how I feel about that you can check out a vlog I made here: https://missygoodnight.com/2019/08/06/right-to-bear-a-tomahawk-thrower/

My Friend Zeke

My mom as a housekeeper when I was a kid. She worked full-time cleaning military barracks at Fort Leavenworth, but she worked part-time (mainly weekends) cleaning private homes. I would often accompany her on her weekend cleanings, where I would mainly sit and wait patiently for her to clean someone else’s house, before she went home and cleaned our own. My mom was well-known around town for being very tidy, punctual, and trustworthy. She also beat most competitor prices, especially those “maid services” that were popping up around that time in the late 80s. Before long she had some clients she preferred more than others, who treated her well (and me), and she was able to cut off a lot of the other ones. One of those such clients were a couple of local doctors who had a beautiful, and quite large, house out in the country, across from a field of horses. They had no family near, they were both from New York, and they were both retired Army, having worked their way through med school while serving. They didn’t have children, but they did have the biggest dog I have ever seen and will probably ever see, his name was Zeke, he was a Great Dane, and for a little while he was my best friend.

Zeke was large and brown and looked exactly like Scooby-Doo. Apparently that is one of the things I first said when I met him. I asked why they didn’t name him Scooby-Doo. Missy, the wife, agreed with me and threw her hand out toward her husband in an exasperated manner saying, “This one doesn’t like Scooby-Doo.” That may be why I never really liked her husband, but that didn’t matter much to me because along with Zeke, they had a grand piano, a pantry full of gourmet snack foods I had never heard of, and an above-ground swimming pool that they allowed me to swim in whenever we came over.

I remember the first time I was alone in the great room. Missy had been home when we got there one Saturday morning, but said she’d be running out for errands in a bit. While my mom immediately started cleaning, I sat up shop at the dining room table, which my mom had picked for me, being what seemed the safest spot for a messy six-year-old, in a room full of antique furniture and family heirlooms. It was a modern, sturdy table and it fit more people than I thought you would ever need to. I swung my feet, too small for them to reach the floor, back and forth and I drew in my notebook that I had brought.

Missy came into the room from the kitchen, her sweats on, her hair pulled back, and her bag slung over her shoulder. She asked what I was doing, and I showed her the picture of the star I was working on. She told me she had a trick to drawing stars, and asked if I wanted to see. I said yes, and she came over and taught me how to draw those stars, you know the ones, made of triangles, where you never lift your pen from the paper. I thought it was magic!

Then she told me that she was leaving, her husband was golfing all day, and the house was mine. She asked me to play ball with Zeke at some point, and she suggested I play the piano as no one had touched it in years. I was amazed, but suppressed the giant smile I felt inside, and waved goodbye. I ran to the window when I heard the garage door open and watched while her small BMW pulled out of the driveway. I listened for my mom, as I slowly walked by the piano and lightly touched the keys, tempting myself to push one down. I heard a vacuum somewhere far away in the house, and I froze. Even though Missy had said I could play it, I knew if my mom heard me she would run downstairs and scold me for touching it. So instead I grabbed the tennis ball from the basket that sat near the front door, and turned to yell for Zeke, but before I could get his name out of my mouth, he came zooming around the side of the stairs so fast that he ran into me and knocked us both down.

“Zeke!” I yelled, in the middle of Great Dane kisses and happy tail wags. I was not experienced with dogs. We never owned one. We were renters, and usually pet deposits were too expensive. Not to mention the cost to feed them, take them to the vet, and what about if they made a big mess or broke something? We simply couldn’t afford a pet, pets were luxuries reserved for rich people. But here I was, face to face with this giant, cuddly guy, who wanted nothing more than to be my best friend. It was the day things changed for me. They day that I started to realize that not all people live like we do. That not all people just have to dream about having a dog that loves them. The day I started to piece together what I wanted my adult life to look like one day.

Zeke and I played ball that day. We played in the backyard, in the front yard. We played in the family room downstairs, until my mom came down to clean and kicked us out. We played every day that I went to Missy’s house after that. When I swam in the pool after my mom finished cleaning, and she sat on the deck talking to Missy, both of them drinking Diet Cokes as Missy’s husband yelled about how bad Diet Coke were for you, Zeke would jump into the pool to chase me. When they went out of town, they asked my mom to house-sit for a week, and they asked me to dog-sit. This happened several times, over many years, and I was always delighted. In those moments I was allowed to fully live out my dream. My big, beautiful house with a master bathroom that had a shower with a built in seat, and a basement with a ping-pong table and a big screen television. But mostly, I was able to lay out in the front yard, with it’s meticulously mowed Kentucky Bluegrass, Zeke next to me, a tennis ball in his mouth, and tell him all my little girl dreams.

Eventually my mom stopped house-sitting and I stopped pet-sitting. Missy and her husband had a couple of kids. Her mother moved to Kansas. Missy got cancer. Her husband got sued. Zeke died. I grew into an angsty teen. I forgot all those little girl dreams. But on certain sunny, summer days, I think about my friend Zeke and our time together. When I am floating in a clear, flat pool, when I see a tennis ball roll from under a couch, when my own dog jumps at me with such force I have to steady myself, on those days I think about Zeke, and I remember those dreams, buried way down inside, and I know those dreams are what is pushing me, driving me to do what I do. Reminding me why my husband and I have made the sacrifices that we have. We might not have a BMW, or a three-level home with a pool, but we climbed from the lives we knew, the lives we were destined for, and we are still climbing, everyday, for us, for our son, for the people who can’t make the climb. And we are so thankful for those people who reached back and pulled us along with them. It reminds us to do the same.

Thanks, Missy, for teaching me to draw stars, so I could cast myself out into the world with them.

Thanks Zeke, for listening and loving, all those years ago. I hope you are somewhere chasing tennis balls all day long.

And thanks, Mom, for letting me tag along all the time, everywhere. Allowing me to have experiences and meet people that other kids like me don’t have the privilege of. And thanks too, for never thinking my big, little dreams were too far off. Who knew we’d make it this far.

M.

PS… This isn’t Zeke, but this is certainly how I remember him. When he would hit you with his tail (from excitement) it would leave a mark!

hello (07734)

Shit, you guys. I am 100% sure that you are tired of my bs. My constant disappearances, followed by lingering, hollow apologies. I’m like that boyfriend you had back in college who stopped showing up to your scheduled make-out sessions on the quad. Then you ran into him in Freshman Psych and he was all, Oh snap, girl! Were we supposed to bump last night? Okay, okay, here’s what happened. I was rappin’ with my boys and lost track of time, then my beeper was busted! Busted, girl! So if you did try to page me, send me a 07734 or a 121, I didn’t even see it. But don’t worry, my beeper is working again now and you can just 406 me and I will know what’s up. Coolio? Yeah, lame as shit. I dig.

But wait, hear me out, baby. I’ve been away. Away from home. Away from my computer. Away from my normal life. My normal schedule, that allows me to sit and drink my coffee in peace each morning. Allows me to think, and write, and complain about thinking and writing. Allows my ego to get so inflated, that I am able to pretend that I have an audience of people who read the shit that I write, and that will miss me dearly if I am away.

So, this one is for you, baby. This post is to tell you that I am alive and well. That I just lost track of time, girl. That my life is a hectic mess right now, but one day, one day real soon, girl, we are gonna be together again. Bumping on the lawn, listening to Cherry Pie by Warrant, and beeping each other. Cause you my 277 4 lyfe.

M.

Beaches/Casinos

I’m back down in the bayou this week (and next) to end summer vacation. This is where we began summer vacation too. You can get yourself up to speed here: https://missygoodnight.com/2019/06/13/deep-deep-south/ Why are you in Baton Rouge so much, Missy? Do you just love it there? Uhh, no. In fact there is not one Dunkin’ Donuts in the whole city. Not kidding. Not exaggerating because the closest one is a ten minute drive, being totally serious here, y’all. And that is just problem number one. (Link to the only thing I have found on the topic: https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/business/article_bf1dec3c-0222-11e8-858d-7f14b7b662c5.html) I’m here because the husband works for the Baton Rouge unit, but in a sick twist of fate, his area makes them work remotely.

Here it is. The husband works his nine to five in Georgia, then once a month he travels down here because this is actually the business unit he supports out of his Georgia office. This is the only area in the company to do it this way and I think they just want to “try it.” But this summer he’s been called longer than one week at a time, therein lies the problem. We don’t mind when he gets on a plane on Monday morning and is home by dinnertime on Friday, but when you throw in a weekend, a Sunday travel day, and two full weeks, well that is when things get a little weird. We are a tight family unit. Too tight? Maybe, but no one is complaining. It works for us. So when Daddy is away, things feel wonky. Throw in the fact that this is Jackson’s last two weeks of summer vacation, and we always plan to squeeze in a little fun there, and you have yourself a problem. So we did what any normal Missy, Jerimiah, or Jackson would do: We changed plans last minute, rented a car, and drove the whole family back down here for the two weeks of work. After all, we sorta all work for the company now. Ehh.

Last time we were here we did all the things. We did New Orleans, we did the airboat tour, we even did LSU, and Mike the Tiger, and fried alligator. We went all out because we suspected Jackson and Duke and I would not be back. Ho hum. So this time I am stretching things a bit for something to do. Yesterday we went shopping for back to school clothes, because that is just a necessity, so we got to see the cool exciting worlds of both Kohls and Old Navy. Ohhhh. Ahhhhh! Okay, now what? You guessed it, Target for school supplies, but let’s leave that excitement for next week shall we?

On the seven hour drive down here, I started frantically looking for things to do that were both fun and educational because school starts in two weeks and I don’t want his first day to go like this:

Teacher: What did you do on summer vacation, Jackson?

Jackson: Listened to my mom complain about the heat in Baton Rouge.

You know, top of mind and what not.

So I started to Google cool things around Baton Rouge. I kept going further and further out, swiping right, yelling, “No! No! No!” Then I ended up in Houston. Whaaaa?! I know what you are thinking now. Missy, you HATE Texas! Yes I do, that part has not changed. BUT, Houston has NASA, and NASA is cool as shit, as long as there is no “Space Force” involved. So I dunno, maybe I will take my kid to Texas this weekend to get a tour of the Johnson Space Center. Should I make him watch Apollo 13 first? Probably. Or maybe I will take him across the street to the Blue Bayou waterpark. Because the only thing left for us to do here is drop a ton of money at a casino. Because that is Louisiana. Beaches and casinos. So, the world may never know what we decide on… Until Friday, I really have to decide by then. Wish me luck!

Have a great week!

M.

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.

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.