To the Women Who Are Just Like Me

I remember being a young mother. I remember the joy, the pride and love I felt so deeply for my kids. Every milestone they reached, every first; first smile, first word, first step, seemed like a sign that I had made the right decision. I remember going to bed late at night, every night, and praying to a God I wanted desperately to believe in. I spent hours begging him to change me. I wanted more than anything to be “normal”. As hard as I tried, I still felt different, so I learned how to fake it. I became the person everyone wanted me to be, my husband, my pastor, my children, and I forgot about the real me. I know you understand what I mean, because you do it too, and that’s why I’m writing to you today. I want you to know I see you, and I understand exactly how you are feeling right now, because I have felt the same way. I know that no matter how many blessings you have in your life, no matter how good things are for you, you always feel like something is missing. I can tell you with certainty, that doesn’t make you bad, or selfish. You deserve to be yourself. You deserve real happiness. You deserve to live, and love on your own terms.

The beginning is scary. Beginnings are hard, at least the important ones are. I know you don’t believe me right now, but the first step is the hardest. Every step after that gets a little easier, but that first step? You will be amazed by how happy you are once you take it. It’s like walking into a well air-conditioned room after spending the day in 106 degree heat, It’s like taking a long drink of really cold water on a hot day. You will feel the relief through your entire body. Saying the words is hard, painful even, but please believe me, you will be so happy you did.

Once you have said the words out loud, it starts to become easier. Your voice will start to sound a little stronger every time, and one day you will say them and you won’t hear even one note of shame. This is a really good thing, because you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. One day soon, you will meet a woman who will make you wonder how you could have ever felt shame to begin with. You will fall in love with everything she is, and she will love you back, the same way. I’m telling you, you do not want to miss out on this! Loving her freely, and honestly, without hiding will feel like nothing you have ever felt before, and it’s nothing I can accurately describe. It has to be experienced first hand and she is waiting for you. So no matter how hard it is right now, no matter how dark the place you are right now is, don’t give up, okay? Don’t miss out on this.

Please know that I am here for you, now and always. Never forget that I am here, I understand, and I really do care.

It Aint for Pu**ies

Sometimes, God, or the Universe, or whatever term you prefer, gives us the exactly right people in our lives. I have many people in my life I know for sure were sent to me purposefully, One of those people is my bestie, Paula.

We have been best friends for over 20 years, and I cherish our friendship more every year. The following is an actual text conversation we had recently that captures our friendship perfectly.

Paula:  Can”t talk, still on this bus.

Me: Ok call when you can. I would have responded to your Snapchat, but my hair is currently in the kitchen sink lol.

Paula: That’s funny! (laughing emoji)

Me: What’s funny is it is soaking in my “conditioner” which you know as Downy.

Paula: That is funny! That’s ok, I soak my teeth in what can also be used to clean toilets, vases, and water bottles lol.

Me: We were destined to be friends! I bought lavender scented this time. Maybe it will make me calmer?

P: Lol. I doubt it.

M: Me too lol

P: That would be ganja scented.

M: How awesome would that be??!!

P: LMAO I really like that wig.

M: Me too!

P: I may have to get my hair cut like it.

M: Or lose it all and buy a wig!

P: Or buy a wig!

P: Fake hair, fake vision, fake teeth, and the piece de resistance……Fake boobs! Add a cup bra!

M: Getting old is hell man. It ain’t for pu**ies.

P: Oh no. Not at all!

M: I feel like I should blog this entire conversation.

P: Lmao. As long as you drink a glass of wine while you do it.

M: I wasn’t aware there was any other way to blog?

P: Just double checking.

 

Seriously, is there another way to blog?

 

 

 

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day.  Statistics say one in four adults will experience mental health difficulties at one time or the other. So many of them will not receive the care they need. I know this, not only because I have read extensively about it, but also because for many years, I was one of the many. For years I suffered in silence, dancing ever closer to the edge- the point at which the black hole of depression becomes permanent, and eternal. This was in great part because I had no insurance, and very little money. The reason doesn’t really matter,.what matters is that too many people face that same edge, and far, far too many fall off.

Today, I have the help of a wonderful and gifted counselor and friend to guide me through my rough patches, when I fall into what S.G. calls my “dark and twisty place”. That is actually a really good description for depression, at least my brand. Depression is different for everyone. For me, it is dark, and cold, and very, very lonely. At its worst, my depression can be suffocating in its alone-ness. What is the same for everyone who suffers is what Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, says so eloquently. Depression lies. Always. Today I want to tell you, and tell myself, that when you feel like you are alone, when you feel like nothing is ever going to be right again, when you feel like noting is ever going to feel good again, that is depression, lying to you. Hold on. Wait it out. It’s hard, and it hurts. Take the meds, go through the therapy, and hold on. It’s going to stop. The light will come back. One day soon. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon. For all of us. And when it does? It is so, so worth it.

Today I Drove to Work

Today I drove to work. Just me, in my car. I listened to the radio station I wanted to listen to, drove to route I wanted to take. All of this sounds ridiculously ordinary, right? Something everyone does, every day. For me, however, it was anything but ordinary. Today was the first time in over 14 years that I was able to do this incredibly ordinary thing.

I got a drivers license today. The reason I haven’t had one in over 14 years is a long and sad story for another time. I don’t want to think about anything sad or unpleasant today. Today is a happy day, one to truly realize how amazingly blessed I am.

I owe all of this to S.G. Not only because she gave me my car, the most amazingly generous gift She could have possibly given me, but because without her support, and encouragement, and unwavering faith in me, I never would have had the courage to try.

For all the years I lived without a car, I worked really hard to convince everyone that I didn’t miss having a car and I was perfectly happy without one. For the most part, I was happy. For most of that time, I lived in Baltimore and I could take a bus anywhere I needed to be. It worked. It meant always being about a half an hour early to work, standing for up to an hour in all types of weather, late at night, early in the morning, at a bus stop. It meant never buying more groceries than I could carry home myself. It meant lots of little inconveniences that I pretty successfully convinced people didn’t matter. Everyone but S.G. She will not hesitate to call me out on my bullshit, and she never bought my act from the day I met her.

Last night, she called me to wish me luck today. When we finished talking and were saying goodbye, she said “Good luck tomorrow. I know you can do this.” I will never be able to describe to anyone, including her, how much that sentence meant to me. I heard it in my head the entire time I was taking my test today, like a mantra. Know what? It worked.

Tonight, I am super tired, and filled with more gratitude than I can explain.Today I drove to work. And it meant everything.

Terrence Crutcher

I have started and deleted this post four times. I know there will be fallout. I know people I love and respect will disagree with me. I don’t really have a problem with that, exactly. I have very strong feelings about a ton of things, and a big mouth to voice those feelings with, so I am pretty used to people disagreeing with me. The thing is, this time, it’s too important. It’s important because people are dying, and it just has to stop.

On Monday, I watched a video of yet another innocent man die in the middle of a street at the hands of people sworn to protect him. He was unarmed, he had his hands in the air, and he was shot and killed. Hands in the air mean surrender. Hands in the air mean I have nothing to hide. Hands in the air mean peace. Terrence Crutcher died because his car broke down. I don’t care about past arrests, I don’t give a shit about prior convictions. An unarmed man had car problems and because of that his children will never see him again and that is horrifying.

I am a pretty blessed woman. I don’t have a lot financially or materially, but I am a white woman, I live in a “desirable zip code”, I have food to eat and clothes to wear. I also have a family. My daughter recently married a black man. They have two children, my grandchildren. I worry about them every day because being a black man in America is apparently punishable by death and I can not see another one of my family members die for no reason. My beautiful grandson Jayden is seven years old now, but one day he will be seventeen, and I don’t want to have to tell him that because of his color, he can’t go to the store dressed in a hoodie and buy a bag of Skittles.

This country collectively lost our shit because of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during our anthem. The thing is, haven’t we always promoted peaceful protest? Isn’t that our right as Americans? Maybe we should stop screaming in outrage and listen to why he is protesting. Maybe we can understand. Maybe we can bring change.

There is an attack on a gay bar, and you feel badly, but you don’t take a stand and fight because you aren’t gay and it doesn’t affect you. Undocumented citizens are sent away to face unspeakable atrocities, and you feel badly, but you don’t take a stand and fight because you aren’t undocumented and it doesn’t affect you. A black man dies at the hands of the police, and you feel badly, but you don’t take a stand and fight, because you aren’t black and it doesn’t affect you. The problem is, one day, the vitriol and violence will be turned on you, aren’t you going to need someone to stand up and fight for you?

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for my meditation practice. When I first started meditating, I honestly didn’t see any difference in my life, but after the first month or so, I really did start to see small changes. Now, almost four months into daily meditation, it has become a vital part of my day. For me, meditation brings peace and balance to my entire day. I don’t get angry as quickly. I don’t respond to people trying to incite anger. I am learning to let things go, to breathe.

I am thankful for Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc  after a long, trying day. Perfect.

I am thankful for Sam, my youngest son, my ride or die, my reason for living. He has been such an amazing blessing to me from the day he was born, and at fifteen, has become a sweet, sensitive, and hilariously funny young man.

I am thankful for my Chloe girl. She is so much more than a dog. She is my confidant, my best friend, my bed partner. She is an awesome dog, and the greatest “person” to come home to!

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OK, yes, she needs a haircut, but seriously? Look at her face!

I am so grateful for my new car! I don’t even have it here in New Jersey yet, not until next week, and I am still beyond excited. Every day, I think of more things that are possible for me now, that never were before. My head is still reeling from the shock! Mostly, I am eternally grateful for the sweetest, most genuine friend I have ever had, who is responsible for all of this excitement. I have learned so much from our friendship, and from her, and she continues to amaze and inspire me more every day. I hope she truly understands how eternally grateful to her I am, not only for the car, but for her friendship which is invaluable and irreplaceable.

The Rules

I love writing, I always have, for as long as I can remember. When I discovered blogs several years ago, I knew I wanted to have one. I didn’t want it for money or fame, I honestly didn’t  think anyone would read it, except for a few of my very closest friends. Surprisingly, some people do, and I am so grateful for my regular readers!  From the very first comment I received, I promised myself I would allow all comments, good or bad, on my page, because someone took the time to not only read what I have to say, but wanted to comment on it as well. I still believe that is the best way for me to run my blog.

This Friday, when I should have been happily preparing to go to Baltimore to visit friends and family, my phone was bombarded with text messages, starting at 12:30 am. Apparently my ex, who has made it made it clear wants nothing to do with me, is one of my readers. She mistakenly believed that I was referring to her when I talked about S.G. and after my post on Friday, it was obvious to her that she is not at all who I am referring to. I felt bad, at first. I apologized for her confusion. The texts didn’t stop.

All. Weekend. Long. While I was with my kids. While I was with S.G.. While I was with other friends. She did not stop. I stopped answering. Nothing stopped them. Finally, by Sunday, I stopped receiving texts, and thought that life was back to normal.

On Monday, I couldn’t wait to post about my phenomenal weekend, and the amazing gift that S.G. surprised me with ( See Weekend Wrap-up). As soon as I posted last night, all Hell broke loose. I had a barrage of vaguely threatening, passive aggressive sub tweets directed to me, and the vitriol and hate in my comments was nothing short of astounding.

Here’s the thing about my blog. As the “owner” and moderator of this blog, I have the right not to allow someone to trash me on these pages. If you want to read my blog, that’s great. Please read as often and as much as you want, and I truly hope you enjoy it. If you don’t want to read it, I’m sorry to see you go. If you have something valid to say, I will absolutely allow that, even if I disagree with what you are saying, but I will not allow you to trash me and try to smear me here or on any social media. That is a dangerous road, and neither one of us will be happy with the outcome.

These are the rules for my blog. Are we agreed? Awesome. Let’s all continue in peace and love.