Wednesday, April 5, 2017

rebooting is cool, right?

everyone in hollywood is rebooting everything they can now days.

everything is being refreshed, reworked. newer script, better production, bigger budgets.

the stories you love, ENHANCED!

so. basically. i'm super trendy.

reboot: she was a single mom, struggling to get by, stressed out raising teenagers in an ever changing world. she was doing all the things she was "supposed" to do, NOW she's doing the things she WANTS to do.

chaos! drama! tears! painfully deep insights you wish you could pretend you didn't notice! emotional eating to the max! teenage eye rolling SO EXTREME you'll swear his eyes will get stuck in his head!

rated R for language.



well, it's all done. the house has sold, passed inspection, met appraisal value, and it's all over but the signing. 

the apartment is secured, deposit paid, rental insurance acquired.

boxes are packed, furniture sold/given away, rental truck reserved.

HERE WE GO: REBOOT TIME.

the teenager said about six times last night "I can't wait to see the new apartment!"

he's excited. i'm nervous. and sad. and...relieved?

is that the right word?

it's a strange moment for me. moving is nothing new. i've moved 14 times since being out on my own. but this is the longest we've ever stayed anywhere- 6 years. and we *thought* we'd be there forever. our house. OURS. owned outright.

but it just isn't us.

the teenager surprised me the other night- "i'd move all the time if we could."

gypsy blood runs deep.

trust kid- if moving wasn't such a pain in the ass, if jobs weren't required for living, if i could get over my emotional attachment to ridiculously large furniture, i'd move all the time.

living in an airstream and just...going...sounds AMAZING. just GO. throw a dart at a map. it hold a certain appeal for sure.

i'm trying to take the time in all the chaos to appreciate the house for what it's been. i did a final firepit in the back yard this weekend with friends and after everyone left, i took a moment to sit on the back deck and just...look. look at what i'd created, remember the last summer of book club, bbq's, conversations, dinners alfresco with the kiddo. i took the time to appreciate the work that got it to the point of being a place i enjoyed. the twinkle lights, the fire pit area, the calm feeling sitting out there provided. and i KNOW, i know that's not gone forever. i can recreate that wherever i go. yes, it will be smaller, but i can still create a space that has the same feeling, the lights, the calm. it won't be the EXACT SAME, but that's ok.

i took time last night to really appreciate- it's been a good house, despite all the stress and heartache. all the projects that went sideways, all the small things that have been a thorn in my side, all the project that never got started...it was still a damn good house. it was everything i could have ever picked. covered front porch, big back deck, fenced yards, old school architecture, the turret. it is everything. EVERYTHING i could have picked for a house. and it was mine. i got a chance to try it.

remember the honda element? same thing. the car i wanted. i did my research, i picked it out. it was mine. i got a chance to try it.

in the end, neither worked for me, and that's ok. they served their purpose. my dad provided me a chance to TRY. how many people can say that?

i've been through...well...a few emotions. this is the house my dad gave me. this is what i was "supposed" to do. this was the "correct" step. the "adult" decision.

i've battled letting that go. i've battled the guilt and the feelings of failure.

IT'S OK. i didn't fail. i tried. it didn't work for me. that's not a failure. that's learning. that's growing. that's experience. none of that is failure. my dad wouldn't be ashamed or mad. he knew i was a quirky duck. he knew i didn't fit the "supposed to" mold. that's why my brother exists. he's the round peg in the round hole. he knew what career he wanted when he was a kid. he's had his future planned since...forever. he's happy and content in a planned, routine life, structured.

i never fit that. dad wanted me to be a nurse. i can't handle blood. injuries gross me out. do. not. talk to me about surgery unless you want to see what i had for breakfast.

dad wanted me to settle down and have a good corporate career. i don't do well as a cog in a machine. i like a job where i make a difference.

dad was annoyed by tattoos and colored hair.

but, at the end of all of it, he loved me, he respected me decisions, he learned to trust my abilities. he was always nervous seeing what new apartment i had rented, but always came back a few weeks later proud and impressed by how i could make any place home. i scared him, but i think it was more as a parent not wanting harm for his daughter than actual fear of what would happen.

i know right now he'd be shaking his head and asking WHY???? and ARE YOU SURE?? a hundred times, but he'd also be there to help pack the truck and cursing a blue streak helping me assemble new furniture.

*side note* hey dad, i can afford to buy REAL furniture that doesn't need assembled now. no more impossible instruction books and alan wrenches and scraped knuckles.

well...mostly...there may be a few things still in my future...i'll keep my collection of alan wrenches just in case.



SO. here we go. the truck comes tomorrow. well, i go pick up the truck tomorrow.

everything is pared down, packed, ready to go.

here's to the next chapeter.

where did alice go when she left wonderland?

wherever. the. fuck. she. wanted.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

we can't show THAT on television


this is my soap box. i'd stand on it, but that sounds too much like step aerobics and fuck that shit. i'll just casually lean on it, maybe sit down mid rant if i wear myself out.

the big trend right now in...well...fucking EVERYTHING is inclusiveness. media representation of under represented groups.

we need more people of color in the oscars and academy awards.

we need more trans people in tv shows.

we need more women in high power jobs.

we need more plus sized women in fashion.

we need more of...

here's my list: KEEP EXPANDING "NORMAL," THE WORK ISN'T DONE YET.

my teenager went on another rant last night- i'm a bad mom, i'm a sinner, i'm a terrible example. i'm single- why can't i find him a dad? but if i want to have sex i need to rent a hotel room, not do it at home where he might hear. but i shouldn't be having sex with anyone i'm not married to, that's a sin.

then there's my tattoos...one minute he wants to show them off and brag to everyone that i have them, the next minute the old testament is telling him that i need to be stoned to death for "marking my flesh."
 and why does my hair always have to be so weird? why do i have to pick weird cuts and colors?

WHY CAN'T WE BE NORMAL?

aside from the mind boggling amount of shame in those few statements being hurled at me from a fourteen year old, i get the core issue: he wants to be "normal" in his teenage definition of the word.

"normal" is Tool Time- dad, mom, kids, suburban home, yard, everyone clean cut, all problems solved in a half hour. "normal" is the status quo- nothing "unusual," nothing that would make your friends say "it's not like that at our house," or have any reason to tease. "normal" is the cookie cutter...the hollywood casting call: down to the details.
the dad: khaki's, *MAYBE* jeans, tee shirt, no offensive slogans, ever. actually, probably not even a tee shirt. who wears those? polo shirts all the way. sensible, stable job where no one quite knows what he does, but he's gone 8-5, brings home the paycheck, maybe coaches your little league team if there's time. always drives the car when the family goes anywhere, always in control.
the mom: politely dressed, sensible hair cut in a sensible color NEVER from a box or anything outside the standard blonde, brunette, *maybe* a redhead. she might work or talk about "going back to work", but her main job is "domestic engineer" running kids to school and sports and volunteering in the classrooms, always available to drop everything when one of the kids has a crisis.
the kids: probably a boy and a girl, maybe two boys...if you want to be edgy throw a third kid in there. three kids is actually a good split- then you can have the brain, the athletics, the artist. good to keep them all separated. no one has more than one interest. they all have name brand clothes, the latest devices, a large group of friends, a healthy dose of teen angst and "i'm not like you" thrown at the parents before a tidy resolution and hug at the end.

anyone in the real world knows this casting call "normal" doesn't exist outside hollywood and *maybe* a few small towns in kansas.

even hollywood started catching on a long time ago- married with children was not a "normal" house. roseanne had "plus size" before that was an official label. they had poker night and beer and trouble with work. full house pushed the "normal" line with a single parent (even though i never really thought of it as a single parent home with the extra live in help around). grace under fire really pushed the line- a low income single mom who worked, didn't have live in help and even some addiction issues.

"normal" has been pushed.

there is no TV "normal" outside an archaic mindset.

if my teenager bothered to look around himself at church and talk to the other teenagers he would see that probably very few of them have his ideal "normal" house.

and, SPOILER ALERT, "normal" houses still have problems. they have bills to pay. they have bad days. they have arguments and rules. they have addiction problems or cheating scandals or struggle to make ends meet. they have parents telling their teenagers things they don't want to hear. they have fights and grounding and learning curves.

and, hold on to your hats kids, "normal" houses have moms that dye their hair. they have people that get tattoos. they have people that drink. they have people that *GASP* have sex.

OH THE HUMANITY.

i get that my teenager wants to be "normal." he wants his idea of how things are supposed to be and apparently i'm not that. i do curse. i do smoke pot. i do have sex. i do have tattoos.

but, i guess, until they have a prime time must see tv show with a mom like me, it will never be good enough.

dragging around to what started out to be the point: why ISN'T there a mom like me on tv? why are tattoos still so taboo? why is colored hair still so strange? why is being single still a stigma?

i say tattoo, what do you picture? sons of anarchy? biker gang? drug home? why can't there be moms in sitcom television with visible tattoos? have you looked around a middle school soccer game lately? the number of parents without SOME kind of mark or piercing is shrinking rapidly.

why can't there be a mom with non-standard hair? would tool time have been any different if jill had purple hilights? or maybe even an all over mermaid hair color? would modern family be ruined if gloria had a vibrant screaming red hair color? or maybe even claire? whaaaaat??

and yes, plus size is getting more representation, but i have yet to see just a regular mom role that's plus sized that's not frumpy. freaks and geeks- remember when they read the diary about how the mom had just given up? that's what any plus sized mom is seen as- someone that's given up.

you hear single mom and what do you picture? MTV teen moms? a shady run down apartment on the bad side of town? someone working a gas station job becuase they never finished high school? honey boo boo with a mom so desperate to find a husband that she'll date a man who abused her kids?

what if...WHAT IF you had a mom that was an educated, single, plus sized, working, tattooed, home owner?

what if _I_ was on your tv?

i mean, obviously _I_ can't be on your tv. maybe a netflix original where they don't have to worry about language sensors so much.

but why not? i'll tell you a secret...the same shit happens to me that happens to other people. death? not selective. teenager issue? again, not an exclusive club. annoying co-workers? i *think* i've heard a few other people mention they have those. trouble in the dating world? UNDISCOVERED TERRITORY.

funny thing how, despite my tattoos, despite my double digit ass, despite my "not found in nature" hair i'm still pretty...normal.

hit me up hollywood. i've got some killer story lines.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

my dirty, shameful, hidden secret

98% of the time if you hear me talking about dating, romance, marriage, relationships, sex, ANYTHING to do with settling down and finding a life partner you would be listening to tales of horror, regret, mind boggling oddities and general, overall, resounding pessimism and bitterness stronger than the darkest, cream filled, dark chocolate valentines day treat.

if you want to know about a date that went wrong? i've got a veritable catalogue of options for you.

want to hear about a romantic trip around the world to reunite with the one that got away? well, i have something that started out that way.

want to hear about sex that even the most seasoned of provocateurs says WHAT THE FUCK to? i got you covered.

there have been countless train wrecks over the years. remember the time i ended up dating a pimp? remember all the times i didn't actually date anyone because i got stood up 7 times in a row by different guys?

but here, after all this time, is my darkest, dirtiest, most shameful secret:

i am a totally hopeless romantic.

it's out.

the darkness has found the light.

now ya'll know.

i adore romantic movies. i've watched one fine day HUNDREDS of times thinking, you know, maybe that could happen. i mean, I HAVE KIDS, and they get sick, and things happen, and maybe i could meet an adorable george clooney with his own kid and it would be a hot mess that turn out to be wonderful.

IT COULD HAPPEN.

it really could happen to (me) you...if i was ever a waitress, a guy would totally split his lottery ticket winnings with me and leave his hot latina wife to be with a boring white girl. IT COULD TOTALLY HAPPEN TO ME.

i have rows of rom-com movies that i've watched over and over. i have had thousands of imaginary relationships in 5 minutes or less after making eye contact with a stranger in the grocery store. i keep making dating profiles and trying to date in the hopes that MAYBE this time it will work.

i, the person who has never had a relationship longer than 23 months (let's be honest, that ONE was an outlier. the REAL duration is 3 months or less), I STILL BELIEVE.

like the 14 year old that still truly believe in santa clause, i still believe in love.

i've seen it. 

i know it's out there.

and there's this stubborn, determined, completely delusional part of myself that still thinks i'll find it.

eventually.

maybe.

i mean, probably not, but, you know, weirder things have happened.

and what is 2017 if not the year of weirder things?

and so, against reasonable consideration, against any possible logic, against my own deep gut instinct, i'm going to speed dating tonight.

on valentines day.

in a bar.

because...maybe?

i mean, I KNOW. it's not probable. it's not realistic. it's not logical. who actually finds someone to date at a speed dating event?

but...you know...maybe?

and I KNOW. just go. have fun. meet new people. it's out of the house. it's away from real estate stress. it's something new and different. just enjoy the moment for what it is.

but the back of my brain just keeps saying...maybe?

and so i shaved my legs. YES, the post-winter clearcut came early this year.

and i painted my nails.

and i did a face mask.

and i have a gorgeous red dress picked out.

and...maybe?

but i mean, probably not. actually, scratch that. NOT. not likely at all.

but...maybe?





but probably not.

Friday, January 27, 2017

third time's the charm

well, here it is almost february and i'm still trying to recover from the holidays.

i've been in hiding since november-ish and after recently peeking my head out a bit i'm starting to think long term hiding has some serious perks.

the election, of course, was...well...a shit show. i made the choice to step away from several of my core groups as a result. i'm not a political person. i am not nearly educated enough to know the nitty gritty of the actual policies and practices, and i'm not nearly hard line enough one side or the other to be completely unsettled by the results. as the election and the results have continued (and will for some time) to be the primary focus for the world at large, from both directions, i will be hiding in my corner trying to understand the best i can and rewatching old seasons of friends and roseanne and trying to sort out the inner workings of my personal bubble.

but one event alone was not enough to derail the trainwreck of the holiday season. good old fashioned family shit decided to add to the merriment, as is usual for the holidays.

it's been a hard few months. a really hard few months. there's been a hard learning curve, some pretty heavy introspection, and, as a result, some major life changes are happening.

a brief overview: 13 year olds are very impressionable and not equipped with the best communication tools, 18 year olds are angry and use every tool at their disposal to wreak as much havoc and pain as possible, and 60+ year olds are delusional, destructive, and need to just disappear already.

BUT, even in the worst of times, there's an opportunity to learn and grow. and i'm trying. i know it sounds cliche, but damn, weed makes you have some deep thoughts.

i've been attending meditation classes since...i think around september, working through a book learning how to have better compassion for myself and others. between some great strains of 420, some good meditation/teaching, and actually allowing myself (forcing myself) to look at things instead of just stuffing them down inside to stay in survivor mode there's been some really key things that have opened up for me:

teen parenting SUCKS. i did it. i survived. but DAAAAAMN. all the things they prepare you for: being broke, being a statistic, higher probability of minimum wage jobs, higher probability of being on government assistance, higher probability of...fill in the blank. they give you all the statistics. they tell you how hard it will be. they prepare you for dealing with a crying baby and a toddler.

what they DON'T tell you is how to learn how to make mistakes with someone ALWAYS watching. i didn't get my 20's to screw up financially and figure out how to bail myself out without it affecting anyone. if i screwed up financially (which i did, repeatedly) it affected 2 other people. if i miscalculated my checkbook ledger i had to worry about feeding 2 other people until it could get straightened out. if i wanted a night out, i had to budget how it would affect daycare and buying shoes. my kids have had to hear "we can't afford..." more times than any kid should. they've been with me in grocery stores and restaurants when my card didn't go through. they've learned to check your balance before you grocery shop. granted, not all BAD lessons, but not something that kids need to be worrying about.

i didn't get the crappy roommate time in college to learn how to live with someone. i didn't get the wandering from job to job time. i didn't get the crappy relationships, watching friends settle down, wedding season chaos, ANY of the crap you've seen a million times in a million different sitcoms. i had to consider the repercussions of everything. I had to watch for the ripple effect. i made PLENTY of 20-something mistakes. PLENTY of them. but, for me, they weren't just mistakes. they were memories for my kids. they were moments emblazoned into little minds and cemented as mistakes and flaws. my oldest son has a devastatingly low opinion of me, i think partly because he remembers it ALL. he remembers my marriage and divorce. he remembers moving all the time. he remembers all my mistakes and hates me for them. and i know part of that will assuage with time as he grows and makes his own mistakes, but for right now they're weapons. sharp, heavy, devastating weapons.

the hardest part for me is that i'm still making mistakes. i'm still learning. i'm still trying like fuck to figure out this parenting thing. but i don't have anyone to look to for how they did it. i don't have anyone to ask how they handled situations. i don't have parents or grandparents or friends with older kids. the friends i have with similar aged kids are in the same boat trying to figure things out too. and i know there aren't "ANSWERS" to parenting. but there's people that have been through it before. there's people that remember better what it was like for them (i've blocked out probably 75% of my childhood).

and in my learning, and in my mistakes, i'm doing what i can to correct what's happened and prevent what i can going forward.

one of the biggest things that came out of the disaster that was this holiday season was some GREAT (hard) conversations with my 13 year old. we've come up with several things that need worked on. we're learning better ways to talk to each other and be heard. we're working on sorting through actual memories vs things people have told him/are telling him.

one of the biggest things that came out of this is that he doesn't feel safe in our home. there was a litany of reasons, some reasonable, some irrational, but at the end of the day, he doesn't feel safe and that is a HUGE concern. part of it is basic neurosis (which he gets 100% from me): worrying about if there's a fire- there's only one way out: down the stairs. it's like he crawled inside my mind (or maybe i said something once that he heard and hung onto). one of the few things i DO remember from my childhood is laying in bed at night counting the time between the blinks on the smoke detectors. i used to count the flashes and plan over and over and over what i would do if there were a fire, what i would grab, how i would get out. this is, to this day, the reason i will never, ever, no matter what, sleep naked. i am 100% convinced that the ONE TIME i sleep naked the house will burn and i'll be in the streets naked AND homeless. i still lay awake at night and think of how much time i would have to wake up the teenager, how many things i could grab, what's important enough or not to risk grabbing, and how to get outside.

let's not even go into how much of a living nightmare it was to have my dad die in a house fire.

so, i get it. i worry about if someone breaks into the house how would we get away, how would i stop them and protect the kiddo. i worry about...fuck...you name it, i've worried about it.

so, I GET IT. and i thought it was just me. and i can deal with things when it's just me. but when it's my kid? game changer.

so, he finally tells me he feels unsafe in out house.

game changer.

so. time to find a solution: we're selling the house and finding a better, safer feeling place to live.

we've picked out a VERY nice apartment in the valley- closer to work for me, better high school for the kid, all the amenities that you could want, and SAFER. one floor, better exits, better security, newer construction...the list goes on.

we list the house in a week, the last month has been a process of cleaning/purging/repairing/getting ready.

third time's the charm, right?

and, for those playing along at home, yes, i've attempted this before and failed MISERABLY. i've taken that into heavy consideration, and, with the great help of some good 420 and a few quiet evening, have figured out a few things: last time we weren't ready. we didn't have a reason. we didn't have a plan. i didn't get the idea that i don't need to be friends with the realtor, it's a professional relationship. i wanted an ally, someone that was on my side. sure, that would be GREAT, but this is their JOB. this isn't coffee time with a BFF, this is a business transaction. also, they don't need to like my house AS IT IS. sure, it's hard when people look around and criticize paint colors, when they tell me my taste is too eclectic (weird) to sell the house, when they nitpick all the flaws that trust, i'm WELL aware of. they're job is to make it as appealing to as many people as possible. whomever buys it isn't going to live with me. they're not going to keep the same decor. they're not going to get why i think a shower curtain works in a livingroom. and it doesn't matter.

i don't know if the realtor didn't explain it well to me before or if i just didn't listen, but I GET IT NOW. i'm not showing MY house to people, i'm showing A house to people. yeah, a few things up on the walls to make it feel like a HOME are nice, all my knick-knacks and clutter? not so much.

also? this is probably the first time i've really had the time to fully consider a move. we're not moving because we HAVE to. any deadlines are completely mine. i don't have a landlord going into default kicking me out. i don't have a lease expiring, i don't have any of the reasons that we've moved before.

this time WE CHOOSE. we were able to take time, decide what we want in a new place, research, and really, really be picky. i didn't have to take the first thing i found in our price range and make it work. i didn't have to find the only thing affordable in a college town on a single budget. i didn't have to settle in any way. and i'll tell you what, really getting to pick, with no limits on it? WHOLE DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE. also? apartments now are WAY nicer than the last time we looked. the new concept of "communities" is actually really amazing. common spaces, shared gardens, places you can have guests over, allowing painting and decorating and making it your own home...things have really changed. it's pretty amazing.

this is also the first time we haven't been just shoving things in boxes. i'm taking my time really thinning out, deciding what goes and what goes away. i know the floor plan of the new place, the measurements, so i'm able to decorate in my brain and know what will fit and what will make clutter. i'm able to go through cabinets, get rid of things we haven't touched since we moved into this house. i'm able to catalog (dude, there's some AMAZING smart phone apps for cataloging movies and books- do it, even if you're not moving!).

we have been in control of this move from the very first minute. that's a whole new experience for me. deciding IF we wanted to move, picking out where, picking out when...it's been really healthy and therapeutic in so many ways.

i realized the other night that i never really took buying the house and moving seriously before. to me, buying a house was exactly the same as renting an apartment. i looked around, found one that would work that we could afford, signed a few papers, and moved in. i didn't have to do the mortgage, the inspections, the closing issues. i just handed over a check and they handed me keys. that was literally it. and as i've said before, i didn't go into buying a house for the right reasons. i bought it because i was "supposed" to. this time i'm doing the process because we WANT to. that's a whole different ball of wax.

i feel prepared this time. i know this is for sure. this is happening. this is intentional, thought out, planned.

it's a big change. something good is coming out of a LOT of bad. i'm kind of getting to hit the reset button on losing my dad. and i am eternally grateful for the opportunity. i'm getting the chance to make better decisions with what his death entrusted to me. i have better tools for processing all the emotions and experiences. i have a little more distance from the initial ground zero, better perspective.

so.

here we go.

third time's the charm.

*pushing button*


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

the morning after

make america great again!

that's what we keep hearing.

you know what?

COOL.

LET'S DO IT.

america's favorite pass-time is pinterest and upcycling, so let's do it! take the old ideas, our new abilities and knowledge, and let's do this shit.

put wood shop and mechanics back in schools with all the CAD tools and drafting tools. encourage kids to create, build, expand.

make art and band and choir required elements again: help them see the beauty in everything around them with new cameras and drawing pads and use communities as their art canvases. help them find their voices in poetry and sound and share that with the WORLD online and in app stores and viral videos.

teach kids home ec- how to make a nutritious meal, help around the house, be independent. let them search pinterest recipes and craft ideas. let them grow local ingredients together, build their own community garden and learn how to use it.

teach kids to THINK and work instead of how to take tests. make the process and the effort the goal instead of the final score. encourage ALL types of learning. implement all the tools and resources available in the classrooms.

make it so kids who want to can go to affordable college and the ones who don't can still make a good living.

make a living wage so one parent can afford to stay home again.

make block parties and community gatherings regular events. teach people to help their neighbors.

AND HEAR ME:

i didn't say teach the white kids. i didn't say help your straight neighbors. i didn't say teach the kids who we think have a shot at making it further.

I DIDN'T QUALIFY ANYTHING.

there's a reason for that.

HELP. ALL. YOUR. NEIGHBORS.

TEACH. ALL. OUR. CHILDREN.

HELP. EVERYONE. SUCCEED.

we have better tools now. we have better knowledge now. we have experience and things that we know work.

i'm stitting here listening to coworkers gloat over how "that woman" lost and all the bullshit that goes with it.

DON'T LET THAT BE THE VOICE.

band together. help each other. make THAT the voice.

what was the main saying in the election? don't be complacent, go out and VOTE!

there's a reason for that- people get used to it being good. they forget how hard thousands of people worked to make things happen. obama didn't just show up to office with all these ideas in his head that he made happen. people had fought, bled, cried for years to get representatives in the house and senate. they had worked at the lower levels to get ideas and referendums and laws in place to pave the way. obama didn't have a magic wand: he had YEARS of people building a platform for him to stand on.

so let's start building another platform.

when kids have only ever know marriage equality, they are going to forget how hard people worked to make it happen and not be prepared to defend it like we will need to now.

when people are always fed and full they forget the fire that an empty belly can stir.

it. sucks.

we're all tired. we've been working FOREVER. many will want to give up.

but we can't.

make it great again. teach kids. build communities. make families thrive again.

BUT DO IT WITH THE NEW TOOLS AND NEW KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE.

DO IT FOR EVERYONE.

now is the time to band together. now is the time to build a new platform.

start today.

the vanessa behan crisis nursery always needs help.

crosswalk for homeless teens always needs volunteers.

odessey support center for LGBTQ kids will never stop needing allies and love and support.

go out and meet your neighbors.

go out and help someone.

go build a link. a link will be come a section. a section will be come a new platform.

it's 4 years. it's high school again. it's a bad john hughes movies that didn't end the way we wanted it to.

we all survived it before, as much as it sucked.

we can survive it again.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

did i do it rite?

life is full of firsts- first roll over, first tooth, first steps, first words, first haircut, first day of school, first heartbreak, first school dance...all small rites of passage in their own way.

each is a passage way onto becoming something-

when you have your first period you're on your way to becoming a young lady.

when you have sex for the first time, you've transitioned out of childhood.

when you get your first job you're on your way to financial independence.

when you move out of your parents home you're on your way to establishing yourself as a member of society.

all these things. the basis of a thousand cliches, rom-com movies, how to survive raise a teenager self help books.

we need to know the right way to do things, the right way to commemorate, the right way to mark the passage of another milestone on the grand journey of life.

and there are people that are amazing at that. ALWAYS the right card for the occasion. the fully planned celebration. the poignant thing to say to commemorate the perfect photo finish memory.

and then there's the rest of us.

those of us hanging on by the skin of our teeth, no fucking clue what we're doing or how to make the correct scrap book about it.

you know the mom that remembers every school picture day and then makes an 18 year photo album with all the pictures neatly tagged and chronicled?

I'M NOT THAT MOM.

there's a box upstairs in my bedroom- it's full of albums of school pictures, important school papers, report cards, certificates, award. my mum saved them all those years and put them into an album for both my brother and i.
swim certificates, school papers, pictures, trophies...it's all there


i have a box somewhere with i think a *few* of my kids school papers and classroom pictures. maybe a few classroom certificates or awards. i have one of their impossibly tiny baby boy blue "i was born at mount carmel hospital" shirts and socks somewhere.

honestly not sure which of the two it belongs to.


i've never planned the big, themed birthday party. i think i remembered to put their names in their baby books. i make it to almost all their school events but i'll be damned if i can produce a picture of even half of them.

you know the saying: "no one is totally worthless, you can always be held up as the bad example." 

THAT'S ME. as many cliches as there are for the perfect moments, there's also the cliches of the train wreck moments.

THOSE ARE MY MOMENTS.

losing your virginity: it's supposed to be sweet and tender and that moment with the boy you really like that you've been dating forever. It's supposed to be cutely awkward and that moment you're going to remember forever.

oh shit, i remember mine alright.

16, sophmore year, a guy i had a HUGE crush on that intentionally put effort into forgetting i existed. i found out he was moving and thought i'd try one last time to catch his attention.

the whole thing start to finish was maybe 2 minutes and went something like this:
me: so i heard you were moving.
him: yup.
me: well, if you want to have sex before you leave...
him: ok. take your pants off.
*awkward fumbling and removal of just enough clothes*
him: ready?
me: ow, that really hurts.

and i haven't seen him again since.

no cute awkwardness. just awkwardness. no romance. no sweet tender build up. just enough to technically not be a virgin any more.

then there's the first time i *ACTUALLY* had sex.

followed 9 months later by giving birth.



i graduated college twice and didn't walk in either procession.

i got married at a place called "The Hitching Post" by a minister that had ironed on pictures of his grandkids inside his suit jacket.

my divorce was a fairly simple affair (ha ha ha...he had two mistresses.  IT'S FUNNY PEOPLE).

i moved out and took everything that was either mine at the beginning or that i was currently paying for on credit, filed the papers, and 3 months later a judge officially declared me divorced. no war of the roses. no screaming arguments that ended with, "...AND YOU CAN TALK TO MY LAWYER."

i've been through some terrible rites of passage- attending the funeral of your parent before you're 30 is not a moment i would wish on anyone. 

i'm still not sure i did that right.

is making jokes during the hour and a half long procession about stopping for road trip snacks the right way?

DON'T GET YOUR KNICKERS IN A TWIST. we didn't actually stop. too many logistics in stopping a 2 mile long procession for snacks, even if the store was having a 2 for 1 sale on doritos.

besides. we kind of all decided giving a ulogy with dorito dust on our black clothes may be a little uncouth.

we weren't monsters.

well, maybe i'm not a total monster, but i am the person that joked about once and twice baked ashes from the same family being different colors as we spread them in the ocean.
same family, different colored ashes. you can look if you don't believe me.




i don't do things the right way. i never have.

i don't have the cute stories wrapped up in a bow.

i'll be the mom at graduation *just* remembering i forgot to send out senior pictures and announcements.

i'll be the mother-in-law that forgets an heirloom gift for the bride.

i'll probably get my first letter from the AARP and get a paper cut that lands me in the hospital some how ending in a hip replacement.

maybe there is no RIGHT of passage. maybe that's why the spelling is wrong.

back to basics

a few weeks ago the ladies of my book club encouraged me to sign up for a weekly writing prompt.

and so i did (i promise, i'm working on this weeks prompt).

THEN, like the true assholes they are, these amazing women bonded together and signed me up for a winter writing intensive course (be ready for a deluge of posts in december!).

jerks.

WOULD YOU JUST STOP BELIEVING IN ME AND ENCOURAGING ME ALREADY??

they presented me with THE PERFECT CARD:
it is filled with the. most. supportive and AMAZING notes that made me cry and snot all over my self, and they were of course right, it would have been better at the restaurant across the street instead of at the book fandango surrounded by strangers. BUT THERE WERE FREE BOOKS AND A HANDSOME AUTHOR SPEAKING.

SO.

to my ladies: (huh, that sounds creepier than expected)

to the ladies of "read me" (less creepy. better)

i present to you, my first short story. written, illustrated, and bound by yours truly circa 1986.

note the staple marks on the CORRECT side of the pages...well, correct when you're 6 and left handed anyway...


without further ado, The Little Bear, by Sherry Miller


i will have my actual writing assignment up later today.

thank you to all of you who read this weird little corner of the internet. thank you to those who believe in me and encourage me to write. i'm getting there.