Silverware Drawer

I have been plagued, plagued I tell you, by the consistent, oppressive belief that my silverware drawer is out to get me. You read that right. My. Silverware. Drawer. It’s trying to kill me. Let me back up. Have you ever noticed the bits of whosies and whatsies that just like, end up in the silverware drawer? Do your whosies and whatsies end up in your silverware drawer? Am I the only one? You know what, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. No. Maybe you should tell me. Shoot me a DM and tell me. No! Text me! No! Send me a strongly worded, but acutely finessed email about it. No! A carrier pigeon! Send me a carrier pigeon with a list of the whosies and whatsies that have ended up in your silverware drawer without your knowledge or explicit consent.

I’ve got thingamabobs. I’ve got plenty. In my silverware drawer I have: Four corkscrews, seven corn on the cob holders (yeah, that’s not a full set), chopsticks purchased for me as a gift in Hong Kong, chopsticks from Hunan Palace (my local place where the day shift guy, Eddie, yells at me and slaps at my hand when I take too many fortune cookies), my dog’s rabies tag from 2018, plastic straws, silicone straws, metal straws, straws from Cookout and The Varsity, forks, small ones, big ones, one weird salad fork that doesn’t match the rest, butter knives, spoons, big spoons, little spoons, and a tea spoon (like the long one you use for iced tea, but only one and we don’t use it for iced tea, we use it to dig the last remnants of mayo out of the jar), this thing that Jackson made in art class in second grade that I thought was a spoon, but turns out it was a clay replica of his shoe, crumbs (how do the crumbs get in there?!), lids for travel cups we no longer own, at least three sticks of gum, a handful of sugar packets, a cheese-cutting utensil set, a calligraphy pen someone thought was a spoon (??), Crystal Light packets circa 2012, one rubber glove, a meat thermometer that no longer works, and not one, but three popsicle sticks that may or may not be used.

Y’all. You all. My silverware drawer is gonna kill me one day.

Be safe out there.

M.

Dentist Appointment Monday

Headed to the dentist today. A dentist appointment on a Monday morning. Man, I wasn’t thinking. I loathe the dentist. My teeth are not great. Never have been, matter fact. They were crooked as a kid. I had braces for two years, then ever since I’ve had problem after problem. I’ve had five root canals, I have a lovely (incredibly expensive) implant, and countless cavities. My teeth are too big and my mouth is too small. It’s not fun.

Today is just a cleaning though. I’m hoping for good news, but I always expect bad. I wonder if that’s why people fear/loathe the dentist? The bad news? The feeing like everything is okay, then BAM! It’s not. I brush. I floss. I rinse. Still, bad news gets me. I guess it could be the shots too. The reason people don’t like to go to the dentist. Or maybe it’s the expense. Seems I never walk out of there without paying a couple of grand. That’s WITH dental insurance, mind you.

Okay. How about this? How about I hope for good news today. Period. End of sentence. And we will just see what happens. Sure. Yeah. Let’s do that. Wish me luck.

Hope you have a lucky Monday with some good news on the horizon!

M.

It’s Almost Time

My husband’s birthday is approaching. He turns 39 on August 5th, and we absolutely celebrate birthday weeks around here, so technically we start celebrating this week! I am so excited because I have some things cooking (no literally, eww, I hate cooking) and I am hoping it all falls into place. Jackson has been particularly pumped about Daddy’s birthday week, even picking out a few gifts himself, and readying himself to spend some quality time with Daddy, not playing video games, so you know he is serious. Of course this is the last good week of the year for me, so I’m trying to go all out.

August usually creeps up on me from out of nowhere and this year is no different. In fact, it’s really surprising because it just doesn’t feel like it should be August already, but here we are. August starts out great with Jerimiah’s birthday week, but then it goes downhill fast. August is the month that my daughter was born. The month she died. August starts school. Usually I’m sad to send Jackson back. This year of course he isn’t technically leaving me, which is cool, but usually it makes me even more sad. Then comes my birthday, which ehh, it used to be exciting but I turn 39 on September 10th, and for some reason 39 is scaring me, not empowering me. I am working on it.

Then it’s Jackson’s birthday on October 1st, so I get a little excited again, then comes fall. And with fall usually comes a cloudy depression that takes me a few months to get out of. It’s like I have to work so hard to make it from August 6th to October 2nd, that I finally breakdown. Ugh. I know, I know, if you know this Missy then why don’t you take some proactive measures? I do. Trust. This is Missy doing well.

So that’s where we are. Back at the end of July. Back at wondering where our summer went. Where this horrible fucking year went. Knowing as bad as it was, it still wasn’t the worst year I’ve ever had. All that knowing. All that thinking. Well, I’m ready to party for the next week anyway!

Sham on!

M.

Cards! Cards! Cards!

My mother-in-law makes cards. Yes, cards. Like paper cards that you send people. Like the kinda of cards that are legit $8 at the grocery store and you’re like why the hell am I spending $8 on a card to tell someone happy birthday when I could just call them and say it? My husband strongly dislikes store-bought cards. He doesn’t get why people send them, spend so much money on them, etc. He does like homemade cards, however, and it is important to note that for him a homemade card can be a piece of white printer paper folded in half and written on. No class, this man. I like all kinds of cards, but I prefer homemade cards. However, as it sits, I have three store-bought cards decorating my desk at this very moment because of how awesome they are and who sent them to me! Because in reality the card doesn’t so much matter, as what is written on the inside. My husband and I both agree on that part. Look here:

Tell me who doesn’t want to be sent a card that says, “You are a fierce lady-dragon who breathes fire upon trolls, haters, and mansplainers”?! Who doesn’t want that card?! Okay, whew, take some breathes, Lady-Dragon.

So my MIL has a crafting room wherein she sets up shop and makes wonderful, beautiful cards. She has like the dream crafting room, y’all. Like if you have ever thought, hmm, I need a crafting room, it is what you envisioned. Shelves lined with paper, and fabric, every kind of scissor you could need, and several work stations, not to mention a full-size fridge and a television. It’s legit. Anyway, she sits in there and crafts cards. She comes up with ideas and just makes them. They are pretty cool and many of them are quite unique. She also teaches card-making classes via Facebook Live to little old ladies who want to learn the art of card-making. For real, not making any of this up.

So when quarantine started, and we began sending out letters and cards to friends and family on the reg, my MIL signed me up for this card-making kit that is shipped to my house once a month. That way I would always have fresh cards to make. It is very simple, it all comes in one box with instructions, and I can sit down for an hour and end up with 12 cards. It’s a pretty cool deal.

Here’s what it looks like:

Below is a card I made last month with my first “summer” pack. I went rogue on this one, made one that wasn’t in the instructions. I didn’t follow instructions? What? Imagine that. It’s the only one I have left because I sent the rest of them out, they were super cute!

Anyway, this isn’t like an advertisement or anything. I’m not getting paid to write this, in fact my MIL has paid for my subscription, so it’s all free to me, I just wanted to share a thing I do that brings me quiet joy. I like it because I don’t have to be creative. Sometimes I do not feel creative, but I want to be creative, you know? So I can pull out the card box and follow the instructions and voila! I have a stack of cards. Then I can write to my friends and family and they are cute and unique and the whole process was quick and easy.

Jackson also likes to make the cards. He likes to take a lot of liberties with the ones he makes, and he HATES to actually write them to anyone, so it’s usually a battle. But we get it done. I also have postcards for him to send out since they take less time and energy and he can get back to playing Minecraft. (Eye roll).

So if you have received A LOT of cards from me recently, you know why now! I have become dependent on them over the last few months and as soon as I make them I want to send them out. Which led me to the nursing homes that are looking for penpals for their people. What? You haven’t heard of this?! Well then, read this article, then check out Victorian Senior Care on Instagram! You won’t regret it.

Now go forth and do something that makes you happy today, y’all! I will be making cards from my new box.

M.

This month’s box came with some tea light bags. I realized that you could stick any color paper inside though, and send them in the envelopes to whomever you want. You can write on the inside paper, then when they open it they have a tea light bag too. Cute! I was so excited when I figured that out. I’m so fucking basic. SMH. Beware, some of y’all getting these in the mail…

Write, Bitch!

I have a playlist on my computer titled “Write, Bitch!” and its sole purpose is to motivate me to write. Seriously. I’m aggressive toward myself, obviously. I rely a lot on self-shame. Anywho, what’s on your playlist, Missy? Well I’m glad you asked there’s really a little of everything. Some Ani DiFranco, Good Old War, Mumford and Sons… You know what, why I don’t just make a list, y’all know I love a good list. I’ll share some of the songs on my very long playlist that is supposed to shame me into writing and maybe some of the songs (contrary to what you might think, I don’t only listen to Adele and Snoop Dogg) will help you too. Fingers crossed!

Now go forth and listen to some good tunes today, even if they aren’t mine!

M.

Write, Bitch! Playlist

  • White Blank Page by Mumford and Sons
  • Amazing Eyes by Good Old War
  • 32 Flavors by Ani DiFranco
  • Lost Boy by Ruth B.
  • Take Me to Church by Hozier
  • California Stars by Billy Bragg and Wilco
  • Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic Event featuring Calder Quartet
  • Holes by Passenger
  • Flowered Dresses by Slaid Cleaves
  • Down to the River to Pray by Alison Krauss
  • Flowers in Your Hair by The Lumineers
  • Alabama by across Canadian Ragweed
  • Texas and Tennessee by Lucero
  • When the Stars Go by Blue Ryan Adams
  • Talladega by Eric Church
  • Blues in the Night by Katie Melua
  • Same in Any Language by I Nine
  • Grapevine Fires by Death Cab for Cutie
  • The Dark is Rising by Mercury Rev
  • Africa by Weezer
  • Anyone Else But You by The Moldy Peaches
  • Standard Lines by Dashboard Confessional
  • Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson
  • Mexican Moon by Concrete Blonde
  • Twin Falls by Built to Spill
  • River Lea by Adele
  • I and Love and You by The Avett Brothers
  • Who We Are by Ward Thomas
  • Blowing Smoke by Kacey Musgraves
  • Same Drugs by Chance the Rapper
  • Take it All Back 2.0 by Judah & the Lion
  • Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton
  • Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert
  • All of Me by John Legend

Sitting with Anxiety

Patsy asked me to do something yesterday that felt very odd, at first. Patsy is my therapist and I like her a lot, and I was telling her yesterday that I am in a bad place right now. I can’t sleep. I’ve lost motivation. I’m moving quickly toward a bout with depression, and of course I’ve done all I’m supposed to do. I’m working out three to four days a week. I’m taking my pills. I’m eating well. I’m taking walks. I’m trying to write. I have no “real” worries right now. My husband is employed. My son is doing well. But for some reason, I can’t get it together. My anxiety is peaking. Patsy asked me about my anxiety. Why is it bothering you now? She wanted to know. She started talking about my anxiety as it wasn’t a part of me, but rather a separate entity that was preying on me. It felt weird.

Next she asked me to close my eyes and envision the anxiety. What did it look like? What did it sound like? What, most importantly, did it want from me? Of course this was all over Zoom. We still aren’t meeting face to face because Coronavirus, so it wasn’t working as she liked. She instead told me to find a quiet place later and do this activity. Write it down if I needed to. Try to figure out what the anxiety needs. Open a line of communication. It sounded a bit bizarre, but I trust Patsy. Moreover, as soon as she said that looking at your anxiety as a separate entity can sometimes help, without even thinking much about it, this image popped into my head. Like she was still talking about this process. About EMDR, trauma patients, etc, and I was already envisioning the way my anxiety looks, acts, feels, reacts to my questioning.

So later I did what Patsy suggested. I drew a picture of an office chair. Fun and funky. Bright colors and a nifty pattern. I then closed my eyes and envisioned that I asked the Anxiety to come and sit with me. And well, he did.

He’s not very pretty, is he? He’s a he. Of course he is. I can’t really describe him. I tried to describe him to Jerimiah, and the best I could come up with is that he is a blob of chaos. Very dark. Bright eyes. So there he is. He doesn’t have a name, he doesn’t deserve one. He’s just Anxiety, and he’s a real asshole.

Turns out he feeds on worry, uncertainty, and chaos. He gropes me. Attacks me. Latches on to me when things seem to be going okay on the outside. He relies on lies. He relies on uncertainty to get me down. He’s very good at what he does. He is swift. He’s always around waiting to be fed.

I’m sure there is more to this exercise, and once I can get back into the office with Patsy I’ll ask her to walk me through it, but this is as far as I got today. I’m not sure I want to venture further in without her. But I did want to share with you all, because the biggest take away I got from this was that Anxiety comes and goes, but does not define me. He is mean. He is hurtful. He causes chaos, but he is not me. I am not him. And I guess I’ll keep fighting him, probably forever, but at least now I know who I am fighting.

I hope you all know who is with you and against you, today. What is with you, what is against you.

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

Just a List of Beaches

Feeling like I deserve to be on a beach today. Feeling like I want to be on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, or maybe on the rocky shores of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Perhaps walking along the water with my friend Beth in her small town in Rhode Island or laying on a water trampoline off the coast of the British Virgin Isles as my son bounces around me. Yes, any of those would work today. Instead, I wrote my name in the sand on the side of the road, while I walked incredibly close to my neighbor’s sprinkler to get hit in the face, like when the waves come at you out of nowhere. Yeah, that’s a thing I did. So today, in honor of me wanting to be at a beach somewhere, here are a list of beaches I have been to that I would love to go back to again, right now, at this moment. Any of them will work, because at this point, let’s be real…

  • Maho Beach, Sint Maarten
  • Folly Beach, Charleston, South Carolina
  • Lullwater Beach, Panama City, Florida
  • Emerald Isle, Outer Banks, North Carolina
  • E-Beach Little Creek, Norfolk, Virginia
  • Ocean City Beach, Ocean City, Maryland
  • Pitcher Point Beach, Gulfport, Mississippi
  • Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida
  • Huntington City Beach, Huntington Beach, CA
  • Playa Pena, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Juniper Point, Salem, Massachusetts
  • Surfside Beach, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Cable Beach, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Coronado Beach, Coronado, California
  • Whitecap Beach, Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Newport Beach, Newport, California
  • Beavertail State Park, Jamestown, Rhode Island
  • Sandbridge Beach, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Ocracoke, Outer Banks, North Carolina
  • Biloxi Beach, Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Cypremort Point Beach, Cypremort, Louisiana
  • Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington, North Carolina

This is not an exhaustive list. We are beachgoers. Always have been, always will be. So many more to see. So many more to dream about. One day. Where would you go if you could go back to one of your places?

M.

Rant About Iced Tea

This is absolutely a rant about iced tea. I can’t help you at any point after this, I have warned you. I know what you are thinking, Missy this certainly can’t be a whole blog post wherein you rant about iced tea. But you’d be wrong. Very wrong. Or maybe you are right. Because this first part isn’t about tea, it’s about how wrong you are about thinking that I am not able to rant about tea. But in the wisdom of T.I. least I remind you, “Public violations justify public demonstrations,” and what I witnessed today on the Kroger website was nothing short of a public violation.

I like Kroger. I do. I shop there because they are friendly and efficient. They generally have everything I need, they are usually the lowest price around (unless you count Walmart, but I do not), and most importantly they offer free pick-up, which we’ve been relying on since the start of the pandemic. But today, oooohhhh, today I got my feathers all in a tizzy when I tried to order a gallon of unsweetened iced tea.

It seems, on the surface, like a no-brainer. I love iced tea, but I do not enjoy the calories that come in sweet iced tea. Nor can my body tolerate the amount of sugar that one finds in “Southern Sweet Tea.” It’s too much, y’all. I can’t do it. Call me a “Yankee” all you want, I cannot sip on iced sugar with a smattering of tea on the top. I enjoy the flavor of a good store-brand, unsweetened, iced tea. Some things to know: I have a home iced tea brewing machine, however I have not found a tea that I like the taste of when I brew it at home. I also do not like most brands of iced tea. I do not like Lipton or Turkey Hill. I do not like Milo or Pure Leaf. I despise Arizona Tea. I like Red Diamond, but they do not sell it around these here parts. So I usually get a store-brand iced tea because they seem to all taste the same, but I have narrowed my flavor choices down to Publix iced tea and Kroger iced tea. Those are my two favorites if I cannot have Red Diamond. End of story. Periodt.

So, today while I was making my shopping order from Kroger I remembered that I needed a gallon of iced tea. Unsweetened, caffeinated, iced tea. Now you’re like, Missy come on, all tea if caffeinated, that’s nuts. You’re wrong again. Not all tea is caffeinated, and according to Kroger people who want unsweetened tea also want it to be caffeine-free. D’what? You read that correctly: The only kind of unsweetened iced tea that I could order from Kroger, made by Kroger, was also caffeine-free.

(Deep, long sigh).

When I want to sit on my sunporch and enjoy a crisp glass of iced tea with a lemon wedge, I also want to get a little jittery from the amount of caffeine in my glass. I want to find some motivation at the bottom of that glass, ya dig? I only drink two glasses of iced coffee a day, then I drink a can of seltzer water, then I want a damn glass of iced tea in the afternoon for a pick-me-up and WHY CAN I NOT HAVE THAT KROGER?!

(Deep breathing exercises along with some Kegels for good measure).

I don’t want to use the word “persecuted” here, but I feel like, as a person who does not want sweet tea, I am being made to “pay for it.” Am I overreacting? Yes, certainly. But to be honest I haven’t had my afternoon tea, and well, it seems I won’t anytime soon so this is just the new me I guess. I’m sorry, but this is all Kroger’s fault and now I will go write them a strongly-worded email to feel better.

I hope you have a wonderful day. Like really, really good. Like sipping on Kroger, unsweetened, caffeinated, iced tea on your back porch good.

M.

Hidden Waterfall

We decided to take the dogs on a hike on Saturday, our most recent tech-free day, so we headed to a local park. It’s a large park, with soccer fields, and tennis courts, a pond, and several walking trails, but we haven’t even made a scratch in the trails. We parked on the opposite side that we normally park and we’re immediately met with a playground we didn’t even know existed, with a zip line that Jackson loved. It was a pretty cool surprise. After we let him play on it for about ten minutes (we were the only people at the park), we headed down one of the nature trails. The dogs were getting antsy, so we decided to tire them out a bit, then play after the walk.

We decided to walk the “Blue” trail, because Duke and I had done the “White” trail previously and I wanted to try something new. They both link up at different points, but it was nice to see so many options. We made it to the pond, and decided to walk all the way around it, but we got sidetracked about a half mile later with a waterfall! We had no idea it was there, and we thought it was fantastic surprise! The dogs loved it almost as much as Jackson.

The whole walk was really nice, albeit tiring for everyone. We decided the park reminded us of a place we liked to go when we lived in Charlotte called Reedy Creek. It really feels like you’re not in the city when you’re there. And trust, sometimes you just need to feel like you’re not in the city.

I hope you all had a fun, easy, and safe weekend like we did.

M.

Sweeping The South

I’m sitting in my sun porch in Central Georgia, on a humid summer day, drinking a glass of iced tea, re-reading Eudora Welty’s “The Ponder Heart” in preparation for my entrance into Mississippi University for Women’s MFA program in about three weeks, and I can’t help but wonder how a Kansas girl, Midwest born and bred, ended up here, in the Deep South, with a penchant for Mississippi history, iced tea with lemon, hot, pan-fried chicken, and monogrammed towels. When did this happen? How did this happen?

I don’t feel Southern. At least not in the ways that one thinks a “Southerner” should feel, yet I’ve lived in The South for 16 years now. I’m fast approaching that point in my life where I’ve actually lived in The South longer than I was in the Midwest. Kansas is the Midwest, though sometimes it’s just west. It is not part of The South, that we can be sure of, never was. Considered itself a Northern state. Kansas, the Free State, a refuge for the Southern enslaved people. It was just unorganized prairie during the 1850 Compromise. Didn’t even have a name or a state line. Wasn’t born yet. Wild. Scattered. Unexplored. Out West. But it is still really, really close to The South, and by association sometimes lumped in with it.

My son, on the other hand, is the only true Southerner in our family. He was born in Southern Missouri, has lived in both North Carolina and Georgia, and is starting to develop a bit of a drawl, depending on the word and the company. He’s spent his whole life south of the Mason Dixon, but you wouldn’t actually be able to tell, if you didn’t know. He’s all Northern in manner and way of thinking. If we are still prescribing to the ways people in the North and South think. For me it depends, some days I see the differences, some days I don’t.

The biggest lessons for me since living in The South has been the debunking of some long held beliefs I had:

  • Southern hospitality thrives here
  • All Southerners are dumb
  • Racism left with Jim Crow

These are all inaccurate and based on harsh stereotypes, and even harsher realities. I only share them now to let you have a glimpse into what is said about The South from people who have never been here. Those are three popular things.

  • Not everyone in The South is hospitable. And it’s usually the people you would think would be, that in fact, are not.
  • Not everyone in The South is a dumb, uneducated, hillbilly. To be fair, there are far more of them here than anywhere else, but they are not the majority. It is true, however, that the further from civilization you go, the more frequently they surface.
  • Racism is alive and well here. Just like it is everywhere. It never left. You can look it straight in the eye at your neighborhood Winn Dixie, your local YMCA, your kid’s elementary school, your husband’s office. In Atlanta. In Biloxi. In Memphis, and in Orlando. Racism is everywhere, and everyone knows it, but most people just sweep it under the rug.

Which leads me to the biggest lesson of them all: The sweeping.

That’s a truly Southern thing. Sweeping things under the rug. Uncomfortable things you don’t want to deal with. Unsightly things you don’t want to see. Sweep. Sweep. Sweep. We don’t have racism here because we sweep. We don’t have a drug problem here because we sweep. Human trafficking, crimes against children, gangs, and addiction? Not here. Sweep. Sweep. Sweep. Sweep. Here we just have a rowdy history, or “heritage” as the true Southerner has been programmed to call it. I remind my son quite a bit that the history of his home is riddled with hate, addiction, racism, uneducated bullies making a mockery of our country. I want him to know the truth. The harsh, unbridled truth. I want him to learn it, see it, and then grow from it. I don’t want him to get comfortable with the sweeping.

So I guess here I am. Sitting in my sun porch, on a humid Central Georgia day, thinking about how I have navigated the last 16 years. What I have learned, how I have grown. And wondering how to keep learning and growing, in a place that sometimes makes learning and growing hard to do. I’ll do my best. You do the same.

M.

Virgo Rising

Listen, I don’t pay much attention to the zodiac. In fact, outside of those Seventeen magazine horoscopes that I read religiously as a kid, I haven’t done too much looking into how I supposedly “tick” because I was born under a Virgo sun in retrograde. When I think zodiac, my first thought goes to the Zodiac Killer. Wow, what a crazy dude. What’s just as crazy to me is that people spend their lives reading what their stars and signs tell about them, and are fully convinced that they play a role in their life. Well, that did seem crazy, until I read mine…

Listen we are a tactical group, us Virgos. First and foremost we are Virgos comma The Virgins, so I mean, yeah we are very nice and polite and pure. So pure. Haven’t you guys got that fucking pure sorta feeling from me? I hope you have. I hope I rep the Virgos really well.

We fit in between the 150th and 180th degree of the zodiac. (I can’t decide whether that is capitalized or not, certainly when we talk about the Zodiac Killer, proper noun, but what about the zodiac? I mean technically the zodiac here is just an area of the sky, but it is a certain area of the sky. I wish I cared enough to Google it.)

Our symbol, according to the ancient, wise truths of the website Wikipedia, is the maiden. Our element is Earth and apparently our ultimate nemesis is Venus, which seems weird because I thought women were from Venus. I’m confused again. But check out this badass.

Uhh heller, she cool. And not just because that looks like an “M” as in “Missy.” But I mean, that’s cool too.

So why I am talking about this today. Well, have you ever checked out your zodiac sign? I hadn’t really paid much attention to mine and then a friend was all, “Ohhh, you’re a Virgo? Whew.” And I was like what the hell does that mean? And she was all, “That’s why you’re so honest, like, uhh, too honest, Missy.” And I was like ain’t no sign gonna get up in here and tell me how to live my life. So then I started reading about Virgos and Christ, y’all, the zodiac has me pegged (not the killer, thank goodness) starting with the backstory.

Every good sign has an awesome backstory. The Virgo sign involves an oops pregnancy, a murderous/distant father, a very special bottle of wine, and a pig. I know right?! IS THIS MY LIFE?! Here is the story, and for sure I just copy and pasted from the ancient scroll of Wiki, college professors look away:

“In the legend, Parthenos is the daughter of Staphylus and Chrysothemis and sister to Rhoeo and Molpadia. Rhoeo had been impregnated by Apollo but when her father discovered her pregnancy, he assumed it was by a random suitor and was greatly ashamed. As punishment, he locked her in a box and threw her in a river. After the terrible fate of their sister, Parthenos and Molpadia lived in fear of their father’s terrible wrath. One evening, Staphylus left his daughters in charge of a very valuable bottle of wine. When they both accidentally fell asleep, one of their swine broke the bottle. Terrified of their father, the sisters fled to a nearby cliff and threw themselves off. But because of his previous relations with Rhoeo, Apollo saved his two sisters and delivered them to the safety of nearby cities in Cherronseos. Molpadia ended up in Castabus where she changed her name to Hemithea and was worshipped as a local goddess for many years. Parthenos settled in Bubastus where she was also worshipped as a local goddess. According to another story, Parthenos was a daughter of Apollo who made the constellation to commemorate her death at a young age.”

To be fair, it’s a cool backstory that is totally relevant to my life, but it doesn’t explain the “honesty” gene that I inherited from my grandpa Apollo (I obviously don’t know how any of this works). That comes from math, signs, moons in retrograde, and interestingly enough, the exact time I was born.

Horoscope.com, which I have spent way more time on than I’d like to admit since I was told my Virgo Sun rising was the cause of my problems, is pretty adamant about these Virgo truths: My flower is a sunflower (I already knew this as I am a Kansas girl, born and raised). I am supposedly smart, sophisticated, and kind. I think we can all agree on the second one, I drink White Claws. I’m apparently an amazing friend, always there to lend a hand and advice (especially the unwarranted kind). I’m practical, a big-picture thinker, and a little shy when you first meet me. Okay, this is getting creepy. Here are some other apparent traits of mine.

Apparently, I’m a passionate lover.

Apparently, I am Type-A personality.

Apparently, I enjoy digging in deep, getting to the truth of people. It’s apparently the only way I can gain their trust, and let them gain mine.

Apparently, I strive for perfection and make my friends and family suffer when it isn’t attainable.

Apparently, Beyonce is a Virgo.

Damn, I buried my lead.

M.

Know Better, Do Better

It was January 26, 1992. I think. It could have been another day, earlier than that, but in my mind it was January 26, 1992 and the Washington R*dsk*ns were playing the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI in Minneapolis. I feel like it had to be a big game, because there was a lot of commentary. But it could have been years before. It could have been just a regular football game, I’m not quite sure, but as a kid I cared not for any of it. I do recall, however, being at my best friend Rachel’s house and her dad, having grown up in D.C., was a Washington fan, and there was a game on her grandmothers large, floor model television.

Rachel and I were playing in her room when we decided to run out and get snacks. The game hadn’t yet started, but there were some people discussing the name of the football team. It could have been one of the sportscasters, it could have been an old player, maybe it was a Native American advocate, but someone said it was time for Washington to change their name and Rachel’s dad yelled, “Bullshit!” He didn’t want to hear any of that nonsense and he went into some tirade about it. We gathered plates and ran back to Rachel’s room, but I never forgot that moment because I wondered for years why anyone would want to change the name of a football team.

That is one of my “I grew up in white supremacy” stories. I was so sheltered and ignorant that I had no idea, for many, many more years, why that name would upset anyone. Then when I did know I realized there were many other sports teams that used Native Americans as mascots. And I was sickened by it. I knew better, and wanted everyone else to know better, and most importantly to do better.

That was 28 years ago. Twenty-eight years. For twenty-eight years this has been on my radar. I have rolled this idea over and over in my head, and this week, this week the Washington football team finally did something about it. That’s a long, frustrating time for anyone to wait for change. Now imagine how long the Native Americans have been waiting…

Thanks, Washington. I hope you have started a bigger change.

M.

Walking the Boundary Line

Let’s talk about boundaries today, y’all. I am 38 years old and have just realized for the first time that people will do anything they can to overstep your boundaries. Seriously. I know some of you are like, Damn, that is naive Missy, and you are right. How naive of me! I truly used to think that if you set your boundaries and told a normal person, like a family member, someone you love and who loves you, that they will respect those boundaries. They usually didn’t. And when they did not respect them I made excuses for them. Like, Well, they must be going through a lot right now, so I will just pretend like I didn’t set those boundaries and I will just let them mow right through them. Eek. That’s not good.

What are boundaries even? Well, some are just absolute truths about yourself that people should know and respect. One of mine is that I am painfully honest. So if you tell me to be honest with you, I will. You don’t have to force me, or ask me more than once. I am very comfortable in complete honesty. I can sit in truth for long periods of time, even the uncomfortable kind. And if you are new to this, it can be hard to be around me. But it is something that people know about me, it’s a boundary that I have. The particular wording for this boundary might be that I will not accept lies, or half-truths, or bullshit. I did that for too long. I know a few people who have their own, opposite boundaries when it comes to truth, and I try to respect those, but we don’t have the best time together. I will never be fully open with someone who can’t accept my complete truth and the way I approach it. Because truth should be universal, but it isn’t, that’s where my boundary gets tripped up. And I have spent more time than I would like taking shots about telling the truth. Having family members try to shush me. Trying to guilt me one way or another into not telling the truth. Usually they are just afraid I will say something bad about them, but what they don’t get is this is my truth. That’s all I share. If they are in my truth they are in my truth, I can’t photoshop them out of memory. Believe me, I wish some people I could.

Another boundary I have is that I expect kindness. Not niceness. I don’t want to be around someone who is fake and who does things and says things for accolades. I want kind people. The real, salt-of-the-Earth, honest (because that goes hand in hand with kindness) people. I want to surround myself with people who do selfless acts and tell no one. Not a soul. Those my people. It’s like donating to a charity. Jerimiah and I do that regularly, and sometimes I share it online in order to guilt other people into doing it. (Hey, some people only work from a place of shame and guilt, just ask Mama Brene.) But I don’t do it to say, “Look at me! Look what I did!” I don’t need a pat on the back to know I did the right thing, I do the right thing because I know it needs done. And some people can’t respect that. Don’t understand that. And will spend many, many days and nights showing me how they are “nice,” but not kind.

Sometimes boundaries are actual, physical boundaries. Have you ever went in for a hug with someone and they sort of stiffened up? Or backed away? Or put their hand out for a handshake? Take note of that. They are telling you they have a boundary. A physical one. Not me. I’m a hugger. I often want to hug people I have just met if I get a good vibe from them, but that’s weird, and goes against a lot of people’s boundaries, and some social norms, so I don’t. But once I get the go ahead from you, I mean just one hug, that’s it, I’m done. Hugging all the way. But I do know and love people who do not like to be hugged, and I am absolutely aware, and I try to keep the hugging to a minimum. I also know and love people who have a hard time saying, ‘I love you.” Got it, we can do that in other ways too. But I DO LOVE YOU, YOU ASSHOLES!

Boundaries for your kids is nuts. Not boundaries with your kids, that’s a parenting deal, I mean boundaries for your kids. Like when you have a baby and have all these ways you want to raise them and people just won’t shut the fuck up and let you do it that way. Too many opinions. Too much judgement and shaming. Jerimiah and I had THE hardest time getting our parents to understand that we did not want Jackson to have food, actual food, until his first birthday. Only breast milk and formula as needed. It did not compute to them. How could a child not eat food? Well, he was eating food, the right food for him. Seriously, I know that is weird for some people to hear, but babies absolutely do not need to eat anything other than milk for the first year and they are totally okay and living and all the things. It’s just a hard thing to set boundaries for your kids. Another example, I have always told Jackson that he does not have to hug a single person. Not one. He doesn’t even need to hug me if he doesn’t feel like it. I mean I kid him all the time and tell him to come give me a hug, and he does willingly, because we are all huggers (even Jerimiah although he doesn’t look like it), but I was very clear that he need not hug a second-cousin, once removed that he has never met before. And he won’t if he doesn’t want to. And we have gotten some looks from family and all I can say is, it’s called boundaries people. Learn them, live them, respect them.

Anyway, those are just some boundaries I have been thinking about today. Do you know what some of yours are? Do you talk about them with your family and friends? Your therapist? Therapists are awesome at helping you set boundaries, or learning the tools/language you need to set them yourself. And as usual, I’m here to help to, though I am not a trained professional, I can help you find the resources you need.

Sending love and hugs, and wishes that your boundaries are respected today and everyday.

M.

Four Days of Protests

I’ve been trying to write this post for a couple of weeks now, but every time I sit down to write it I get upset and I can’t find the words. The thing is, we are not new to protesting. We are not new to marching for what we think is right, for having counter-protesters scream horrible things at us, but for some reason this time it was harder than before and I couldn’t pinpoint what made it so difficult to stomach.

Last month Jerimiah, Jackson, and I took part in socially-distanced, peaceful protests in our suburban Atlanta town with our friends Kelley and Bella, and it was exactly what we needed to be doing. We met Kelley and Bella through school (Jackson and Bella were in the same class) and immediately felt connected to them. They are cool, too cool for us. They are kind. They are smart, and funny, and socially conscious. We feel so proud to call them friends, which is why the day we drove by (after getting ice cream) and saw them standing on the corner of Lavista and Main Streets with signs supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement, along with about 20 other people, we were like SIGN US UP! That sparked three days in a row of us standing on the same corner with our friends holding homemade signs (that we hastily made from material from The Dollar Tree), as well as taking part in a much larger protest on Saturday, June 6th with about 300 people. It was an amazing learning experience for the kids, for both good reasons and not so good ones.

Of course protests, especially ones in small towns like ours, are sure to bring out the counter-protesters, or simply the mean people who are mad at your very existence. They see protestors as “unsightly,” and of course they feel guilty when they see you out with your “Silence is violence” signs. But I honestly didn’t expect it on that first night we were out there with our signs, and if it weren’t for seeing it with my own eyes I would have not believed how horrible people could be. How filled with hate people are. How angry and afraid full-grown men are, that they feel called to lash out at people, even women and children. I’m not going to talk about them here, because it detracts from what we accomplished, but just know that grown men and women flipped us off, screamed things back at us, and even walked up and down along with us trying to push white supremacy agendas. It was sad and gross, and yes, we let the children watch them, because they need to know that there are people like this in the world.

Meanwhile our kids, our smart, strong, funny, rising 6th graders, smiled at everyone, held their fists up in solidarity, took a knee, not once but twice, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on hot, crowded streets to show their solidarity with George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and people who are like them, and not like them. We were so incredibly proud. They even made up their own chants, and taught them to the other kids. Then they separated themselves in front of what will one day be their high school and chanted IN THE RAIN. For real. Look.

But this was on the second night of protests, the first night was very hot, and a little more crowded, and somewhat chaotic.

The first night of protests (for us) we met with the Mayor who, although I am not a fan, was very polite. He thanked us for what we were doing, and gave the kids a token of appreciation to remember the occasion. It was a coin with out town’s logo on it, and Jackson thought it was pretty cool.

The second night we were rained on a bit, but didn’t mind, it felt nice after the heat. We had police escorts at all protests, thank you DeKalb County Police, and we had city council members, and supporters who honked, honked, honked all night at us in solidarity. Some screamed “Black Lives Matter” out the window, some threw their fists in the air, some just smiled and waved.

The Essentials: Masks, hand sani, signs, and water. Thank goodness for the other protesters who shared with us that first night. We were not prepared!

At one point Kelley and I saw an older man walking his dog in front of the high school. We were a little worried at first, he looked like a lot of the people who were flipping us off, but he walked up behind us smiling and meandered toward us sort of unsure. Kelley, being the outgoing and friendly person she is, said hi to him and told him that his dog was so cute. He smiled and walked a bit closer. He introduced himself as Joe and said that he loved that we were out there. Then he told us to look straight down Main Street. He asked if we knew that yellow building, the one that was a Halal restaurant. “Sure,” we said, “it is called Bombay.” It’s an old building that sits on the corner or Main and Lawrenceville Highway, about half a block from our kids new middle school.

“Well,” said Joe, “did you know that used to be the office of the Grand Wizard of the KKK?” Kelley and I were stunned. No, we didn’t know that. We didn’t realize how close we were to KKK territory. He said this sight, our children protesting on this corner, was just, well, perfect. He told us to keep on keeping on, then Joe and his old doggy walked back home.

The next day Kelley confirmed the story. She had researched it when she went home and found that along with our town once being an epicenter for the KKK, Stone Mountain, yes that Stone Mountain, was also. I mean it makes sense if you’ve ever visited Stone Mountain, but it was new to us since we are still fairly new to this area. If you’d like to read more, check out this article about Stone Mountain, our town is about ten minutes from the mountain.

We protested on this street corner for a few more nights, then we met up on a Saturday for the bigger protest. For a couple of city blocks, people were standing six-feet apart, masked up, with signs, chanting and raising fists. Ten minutes before we left we took a knee. Three hundred or so people taking a knee on the city streets as cars whizzed by honking and waving and yelling, “Thank you!” That was my favorite.

After the protest I asked Jackson what he learned. What new information he gathered from his days of protesting. “Not much,” he said. “I already knew that most people are good, and some people aren’t, and those people will probably never change.” Man, he’s right. I told him so. Then I added that those people aren’t worth your energy to try to change. I reminded him to start with the people who want to listen and work your way out. I told him to always vote. Always speak goodness into existence. Always, always do what is right and true. He shook his head and said, “That’s what we did.” We sure did. I told him more that day, but I think he learned more from my actions than my words.

Thanks, Kelley, and Bella, and Jackson, and Jerimiah. Thanks to those of you all over the world who are striving to do what is true and what is right. We have your back. Always.

M.

The Upcoming School Year

Man, I know as parents we are worried about what this upcoming school year will look like, but I gotta say, some of y’all need to take a step back, do some deep breathing exercises, and maybe take a nip of gin, ya dig? We are going to be okay. Your kids will be okay. This world will be okay. And listen, if it’s not okay, if this world of ours implodes, then let’s be real we will be dead and won’t know what happened anyway, so I mean… Bonus? Okay, this might not be helping. Let me start over.

I know that there are some parents that are totally upset with how the end of last year happened. Count me as one of them! I had a fifth grader in his most favorite class, in his most favorite school, with his most favorite teacher ever. It was a bummer to do a virtual graduation. But that is what needed to happen to keep our kids safe. I had, and still have, faith in the educators, in the administrators, and in the school district. If you live in a place where you don’t have that kind of faith, I’d recommend either finding a new place or getting more involved. Those two things can do wonders for how your child’s education goes, and how you feel about your school district.

I had so many friends with kids who were seniors last year. I was so sad for them, but let’s be real: It’s high school, y’all. Now I get it, if you peaked in high school you might have been extra sad. But most of these kids are going off to college, will get another graduation, more dances, more friends, etc. Cry, be sad for a moment, then realize this situation, this place we find ourselves in today is so much bigger than you, and whether or not your daughter got to go to prom, that you have to know how silly you look. If not, consider this your wake up call. It’s over, stop talking about it. Let’s instead turn our sights on how to help for the upcoming school year, and the first step is to calm the fuck down.

You calm now? No? You just hate me? Cool, stop reading, it won’t change things, but if it makes you feel better I understand. But what can change things is your ability to trust the professionals, understand and communicate with your child about their comfort levels, stay current on the CDC recommendations, talk to other parents in your community, and gin. Did I mention gin before? You should drink more gin.

I already have parents emailing me about homeschooling, and while I appreciate their concern, I have to say, I don’t even know what DeKalb County has decided on yet so I won’t be investigating homeschool until I know that is my last option. In case you don’t know me, or somehow have be pegged wrong, I will NOT be sending my child back to school full-time in the fall. I won’t. So I am crossing my fingers for a virtual option, at least until there is a reputable vaccine. I am tentatively okay with an A/B schedule, but there has to be many precautions put in place, that I can see with my own eyes, before that is to happen.

Some parents are screaming, “Kids need to be back!” Some are parents who need to get back to work because their companies are not taking this seriously either. Some are stay-at-home parents who are just tired. I get it. I do. But is risking the teacher’s lives, livelihood, their families, and most importantly ALL THE KIDS, worth you getting a day of silence? No. That is the only answer. No. Hire a babysitter. Hire a tutor to help.

The thing I can’t get my mind around is that everyone is saying, “Kids are not affected.” Meanwhile, have you seen all the summer camps and daycares that have opened up and have kids that got Covid-19? I have. I’ve been keeping track. Plus, what the hell is Covid Toes?! It’s a thing, Google it. Kids are getting it. They probably just have it a lot less because we STOPPED SCHOOL VERY QUICKLY! Now, when the numbers are skyrocketing you suddenly want school to go back in session. I’m just gonna say it, that’s a bad idea. And I hope against all hope that I am so very wrong, and kids really don’t get it, and teachers won’t pass it around like the damn flu, and have to be out for weeks and infect each other, and students, and their own damn families. Not to mention that I hope teachers are given more sick days, because if they get Covid they have to isolate for at least 14 days, which is ALL the time off they have. Did you know this? Now you do.

I saw a meme the other day that said, “You want schools to control Covid-19? Sure, no problem. Look how well they control head lice outbreaks…”

Take some deep breathes. This will be over one day, but now is not the time to go back to school. It just isn’t. Sorry you don’t want to hear that, but I’ve been listening to you say things like, “Teachers are so lucky they get all summer off…” and other whacked-out shit for too long. Y’all need to get on better terms with some teachers so they can throw some truth at you. I have a few close friends I can send your way if you need a damn wake-up call.

M.

PS… ALWAYS VOTE FOR SCHOOLS AND TEACHER PAY INCREASES, YOU ASSHOLES