Take Good Care

save the whales, science says, social awareness, Uncategorized

Humans are funny aren’t we. If you think that you’re more than an ape with a really big head you’re wrong. That doesn’t deny the collective conscious, the magic of this big blue spinning rock growing life. But it does make it awfully inclusive, never forget that you are among your peers just in animal or plant form.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

 

Bandstand 

soulfood, therapy

There are only so many times that I can hear, you don’t matter, before I ask that person to please exit the box seats of my heart and find a spot way in the back. The nose bleeds are a perfect place for people like you. Suddenly, your opinion becomes more and more faint. I will never control what comes out of your mouth but those sounds now are just a whisper lost in the crowd of cheers. Your face just a pixilated blur and I’m tired of squinting to find you. 

I want to tell you

create, Love, soulfood, therapy

Once upon a time there was a little blue eyed baby born in Kansas.

Why the universe decided that this lifetime was to be spent with you people I may never understand.

It is probably for all of the right- hard- reasons
that with time will start looking more and more like a perfectly executed ballet

bad choices and consequences on point, stippling around all of the majestic parts, waving their arms.

I sit down and have breakfast with death every single morning.
It resides in the belly of a man who likes an over easy egg and a piece of toast.
I think about legacy, leaving one, mine, and what that even means.
It feels like the only why,

but then again Walt Disney turned out to be an asshole.

And somehow she lived happily ever after.

The End.

La Vida

Love, soulfood, therapy

Since this year began I have been very much confronted with the reality that all of this, absolutely all of this, is the curriculum of life. 

We have this sense that life happens along a timeline, that it’s linear at worst. The promise of an upward trajectory pinned to the lapel of every kindergartener in America, shoot for the stars lad.

Oh contraire said the universe. Life is at best a pendulum. The more that it reveals it’s truth to me I see that it works the exact same way that a slinky does in any sort of motion: unpredictably and likely to get into a miserable knot that will take you the whole car ride to Grandma’s house to undo. Despite everyone’s best efforts to pry, bend and mold you back to the shape that they think you should be you-I will always have those little bent parts that never go back together quite the same.

So, here we are just space and energy removed from our box marching down the stairs, bringing joy, innocence and the guarantee of frustration to the world. Things will get tangled and there you will be all bent out of shape, mastering your next move. Because that’s what you do- move. 
 

On Being a Bitch

domestication, Love, social awareness, soulfood, therapy

Take a seat, let’s chat about this, it’s long over due.

One of my many muses Erin Brown posted a snippet from her most recent book about not being afraid to embody the word bitch because no one knows what it means any way.

I have had a very different experience with this word. The meaning is always contextual. And I’ve been called it a lot. It comes in two varieties, “You’re being a bitch” and, “You’re a bitch”.

Being a bitch typically comes from those around me who are more emotionally evolved. They distinguish being because they understand that I am a person with a myriad of ways of being, hats I wear, tasks I do, and conversations I have. What they unconsciously know is that being a bitch indicates a behavior or behavior pattern. We are not our behaviors, simple. Our behaviors are our personality, and our personalities are the vehicles for our souls. 

Please consider this next time that you think someone is bitchy or a bitch. Actually they are acting in “that” way. It’s the “that“, that’s subjective.

[Sorry to nitpick the semantics, but words have power.]

So, let’s talk about that.

First we have to understand that our ways of being are adaptive to our environment.  Personalities are the way that we have found that works for us to show up in the world and receive the feedback that we want and need. From this place we can unpack the bitchy behavior.

Yesterday, I was asked to conceptualize my family of origin as a square, and each person in it took up their own organic shape with their personalities (i.e., means to met needs) My shape (and your shape) is thus the negative space. Here’s a little drawing to help illustrate the point:

Today, I wanted to stretch this a little further. Imagine the box as our entire society. Now sprinkle in patriarchy, gender scripts, financial power, politics, our education system, opportunities, shame, sisterhood, joy, race, your neighborhood, your inner dialogue and every single interpersonal relationship that you’ve ever had. Dang that box is crowded.

And where are you? You’re (I’m) that squiggly blue bit trying to make sense of it all, integrating, wanting to be seen or not seen at all. We accommodate and respond to every single thing around us in a fraction of a second always!  You might be going with the flow, you may be making waves and you might be chillin’ under the surface of the water. Or if you’re a human you flex in and out of doing all three.

These are usually unconscious decisions. We’ve laid down these patterns in early childhood, solidified them through our teenage years and are carrying those shells everywhere with us as adults. Seeing that can be insightful, it can be painful, but it can also be liberating.

Here’s what I know to be my truth. Sometimes people perceive me to be a bitch. And that’s their assessment of me that I’m not concerned with changing. Because I know all of me. I know the expansiveness of my soul. I know all of the roles that I step into on a given day and I hold loving space for each of those. So, when the environment is just so and I feel the impulse to express myself in a way that is strong and firmly rooted in what I believe to be true I do so. I step into my power. I’m not afraid of it and I’m not afraid of what “you’ll/they’ll” think of me when I do. 

The goal in life is not to be liked by everyone. I have a laundry list of other goals that will always, always be vastly more important than this one. 

Here’s the second part. Yes, we all wish that our childhoods were more ideal. Wish that our past and current situations demanded less bitch power and more along for the ride. But, you can come to respect that those and this situation were not that.

Many members of my family worked doggedly to break me down. Strip me of my opinions. They were massively confrontational. I spent too many of those formative years at war, screaming, hitting, crying, fighting for my voice and space. Fighting to simply be in a way that aligned with my conscious.

In those early years  I didn’t just learn to fight, I also learned to choose my battles. To be impeccably informed. To spit facts like fire out of my mouth. They taught me to tap into a deep well of inner strength. I also learned a lot of coping strategies that I’m actively dismantling. Yet I respect them, because they got me to where I am now, in tact.

The girl who you may call bitch, know that she is so much more. She is a fortress and a butterfly. She is who she needs her to be. She is perfect. 

Spotify’s Got Me All F**ked Up

silly goose, your body

As many of you know this weekend was a very special weekend. I realized that I had a free Spotify premium membership just waiting for me out in the ethers. I promptly, filled out the necessary information and like the resurrection of Christ himself, the sweet nectar that is my old Spotify playlist has RISEN! Can I get an amen!

[If this is all some foreign tech babble that you don’t understand. You’re life has no meaning. I mean okay, so it probably has meaning but you are barely living. At the very least you need to get the free version of Spotify, which is the Limewire of this decade. I have been trudging though the perils of the free version for the past six months. Six long terrible months. No, I’m not being dramatic.]

Here’s what I wasn’t ready for. The onslaught of songs that have now become so terribly sad because my life circumstances have dramatically changed.

Music that you continually listen to through life changes and expanses of time evolve with you. That smooth love song that you and what’s his face used to grove to in the living room, well now that’s the song that you shake your fine single behind to when making dinner. All is well.

But those songs that you haven’t touched in you don’t know how long, those will jump right out of your ear buds and sucker punch you in the gut. Damn. I would like to send a personal f-you to Damien Rice, Citizen Cope, Bill Withers, Fiest, Paolo Nutini, and Joss Stone herself. You can shove Super Duper Love up your arse.

This isn’t news to any of you who have weathered the storm of heart break or what you thought was heart break in your teenage years, Coldplay knew just how to say it didn’t they. Our brains are hard-wired to connect music with our longterm memory, speaking of being able to recite every Will Smith album ever from heart… adding that to my resume right meow.

The hippocampus (that little bitch) is likely the culprit here. It mediates both memory formation and emotions. So here we are sobbing between Amos Lee songs. I’ve got bad news for those recovering from crushed dreams and the promise of forever love even patients with very advanced Alzheimer’s can go into deep emotional recall at the drop of one Ludacris song. Okay, so What’s Your Fantasy probably isn’t bumpin’ on the dementia wing, but ya know.

 

 

The Only Life Lesson You Need To Know

Love, soulfood

Maybe what you need right now is NOT a motivational speech. Maybe you don’t need an inspirational meme. Maybe you don’t need a Bible quote or the trusty, “Life only gives you as much as you can handle”. Maybe you just need to pat your self on the mofo back. Because: one-you got up this morning, two- you’re personal hygiene is on point, three- you cleaned your entire house today, four- you went to work, five- you read your child a bedtime story, six- you did your homework and, now seven- you’re writing this. That’s seven big things.

That’s a lot. Is it the most productive, the most together, the most thrilling that my life has been before or may be in the future? No.
But it’s honest, it’s good.

I’ve been seeking a lot of big answers lately. The ones that are slippery and elusive. Like why is this happening to me? Where do I go from here? Questioning the feeble nature of life itself. Those extra difficult questions that make you pray for ignorance, why am I behaving like this? What does loyalty mean? Can a selfless act go too far? Is it selfless? What actions will I look back on with pride, which ones will I regret? Can I ever actually know those things?

Today I was yet again pondering a big career question that I’ve been struggling with. For months I’ve reached a conclusion and then immediately reneged on it by the next day. Today, as I reran all of the scenarios I asked myself, is it good? Is it honest? Does it hurt anyone? Subsequently, I think so, yes, no. Litmus test passed.

Here’s the truth, [most] no one cares what you do with your life as long as you aren’t hurting yourself or others. Granted those lines are quite subjective. But if you can honestly answer those three questions satisfactorily, then you’re on the right track or you done good or somethin’. And I think that’s as much as we need to know about it. That is definitely as much as anyone else needs to know about it.

From the hamster wheel of devastating grief and day-to-day reality I have learned that today is day one. And tomorrow is day one. And the day after that: day one. Having these grandiose plans and worse slowing down long enough to realize that it’s ten years later and your plans are all muddled and still very much in progress isn’t serving anyone. Feeling like a failure, just makes you feel like a failure. Never once have I leapt out of bed thinking wow I’ve really derailed my life can’t wait for the next twelve hours of self-judgment and doubt. Or worse having to articulate those shortcomings to people who want to see something go right for me, or for me not to have to go through this.

Sometimes things are just fucked. Yes, perspective is everything. For instance objectively my life is pretty crappy but tonight I read Harry Potter to my baby and then played with her hair until she fell asleep. I was taken away to this divine place of knowing that this child was given to me so that I could know this love. So, that I would not be alone. Those are all very selfish reasons to have a baby, but I didn’t choose to have that baby. That baby choose me. There are those moments that pulse in your blood all day they keep you alive but they don’t change the fact that life is hard and unfair. Or the worst, beyond your control.

That’s why every day is day one. Because you-I- have to stop fighting it. Have to stop rationalizing it. Have to stop plotting the next move and just survive. Do your best. Pour a bowl of cheerios and thank God that the lights are still on. You just keep showing up and figuring out how to be good, honest and not hurt people today. Wash, rinse, repeat. Just let it be simple.

Real Free Christmas Gift Ideas That Don’t Suck

create

Are you B-R-O-K-E and feel like you have been emotionally steam rolled by 2016? Is Christmas a surprisingly pleasant distraction except for the piles of money that you need to have to keep up with the Joneses? Okay the piles of money that you need to not feel like a total failure asshole? Yeah me too.

Thus far my Christmas shopping has entailed picking up a couple of super cheap slightly damaged items from the TJMaxx clearance section for Ev, because she is still the age where quantity is much more important than quality. And I sent out Christmas cards, which suffices because stamps ‘aint free.

But other than that, no one is getting anything that cost money because I have none to spare #reallife.

So I complied a list of gift ideas that don’t suck for my poor comrades and well those of you who don’t want to go into Christmas debt or buy more shit, yay consumerism!

 

First and foremost Regifting:

This gets a little complicated for me because I generally don’t hang on to things that I don’t love for very long because I move every other year and am the purge queen. So here are ideas for gifting things that you actually like, but can live with out that- surprise-someone else will actually like:

-An (alive) plant.

-A favorite mug, dish set, knife set, small kitchen appliance (let’s be real you never
actually use that juicer…. And Ari your Vitamix is actually just taking up room and your friend Reagon would really love one ahhemmm. )

-A winter prep kit, gloves, hat, scarf, window scraper, snow shovel.

-DVDs or CDs that you don’t use anymore because it’s 2016 but your older relatives still think are cool.

-Pass on some jewelry, Okay so you don’t own the Hope diamond or anything
that wasn’t bought at Claire’s but that’s okay. I’ve been wearing one earring all week, please send the bottom of your jewelry box.

-A carefully selected dress, outfit or pair of shoes, from your closet that you know a friend would look great in. I have let friends borrow clothes and inevitably they fall in love with something and I decide you know what keep it, I may wear it once or twice but you love it. Then every time you see them in it, it gives you warm fuzzies. Dawwh.

The absolute laziest free gifts that people will actually love:

-Your password to a subscription service: Netflix, HBO Go, The New Yorker Online, Spotify, the options here are endless.

-A music play list, dare I say a mixed CD if you have a CD burner still I’m jealous.

-A youtube play list of videos, spoken word poems, ted talks, bloopers, what ever floats your boat, and you can email it.

-A piece of art from your wall, will you really miss it that much? Bonus already framed.

-Give away your kids school projects. You know that they came home with 101 Christmas ornaments this month, pay them forward Grandma will think it’s adorable.

-Do you or your kid have a rock obsession? Is it only me who has tons of beautiful stones and rocks lying around their house? I  blame Ever. Sort them into collections, bless them with positive vibes wrap them in a pretty scarf, box or other vessel and give them away.

-Regift some beloved books or unused journals and a nice enough pen.

Free gifts that require you to exert effort: 

-Offer to do some free lawn care, gardening, snow shoveling.

-Offer to babysit, just don’t be an ass and actually never come through.

-Make a funny picture of you and your friend, or your friend and a T-rex. There’s an app for that. Print it, throw it in a frame you have lying around. Or just send it to them digitally, they can set it as their screen saver.

-Offer to take their family photos, I mean we all know that you know that your Instagram is poppin. There’s nothing that a good filter can’t take care of.

Creative gifts that keep on giving:

-Write a thoughtful letter.

-Write 12 nice cards for someone to open every month, put in a box with instructions about opening one a month. I also think it would be cute to do 12 date night envelopes with an idea and a gift card to somewhere but ya know that requires money. 

-Write a poem.

-Make some art, or regift some old art that you made once upon a time.

-Have a bunch of old art supplies laying around, compile them in a box or container and give them as a gift of creative inspiration.

Ideas for kids:

-Have a baby, just re-wrap things from the bottom of the toy box they’ll never know.

-Get on a Mommy board on Facebook or where ever else on the internet people do those things and see if someone is giving away free things or is interested in swapping gently used toys, clothes, gear. Win win.

-Make them non-toxic yummy smelling play-dough. Here’s a recipe for peppermint but one year my mom made a bunch of fruity ones with kool-aid that were amazing. Throw in some cookie cutters and bam.

-DIY mobiles for all ages, these ideas are super crazy cute, just looks like it requires patience. I can’t choose!

-Printables. There are so many great free little paper gifts that you can print on the internet for all ages of children. Here is one of my favorites, printable cards that they can sew with. Include needle and thread, done and done.

DIY super hero costumes from old t-shirts. These totally work for any gender!

-A hand puppet tutorial, print this off, add a flashlight and spend 30 min with your kid. Ev can’t be the only kid obsessed with making shadow puppets.

And those are just the ones off of the top of my head. Happy gifting!

Pivotal Conversations With Women

soulfood, therapy

I sat at her table drinking a cheap glass of wine,
The sweet hum of laughter and old times in the air.
I said, he wrote the most beautiful thing,
Women on both sides of me transfixed by poetry, declarations of love, the promise of commitment

He said, I want to marry you, there is no game, let’s have children.
I watched the long lost sensation of being desired well up in their eyes.
And it was all for me, alas a man who sees clearly.

 My best friend’s mother tempered, girl you’re not going to save him in the eleventh hour.
I swallowed that pit,
From which a sapling of love grew and twisted through my esophagus,
Peaked out of my throat,
Tickled my tongue and bloomed
Bore fruit for three years.

 1,095 nights I feel asleep knowing that I deserved this,
1,095 morning of waking up, reaching, just out of grasp.
The eleventh hour comes with a cold bed and a mounting pile of medical bills,
Overdue.

 We were in the car,
I recounted the inexplicable interactions of the past two days,
But he didn’t even want to have sex with me.
All of these months,
So much tension,
And nothing.

 He called it getting to know you,
Not jumping in,
Being a gentleman.

 

My eyes shellacked rose, maybe this is just different?
Like a good different? Maybe? Please?
The red haired M.D. from the back seat reported a cold hard
Best case scenario someone lives for five years after starting dialysis.
Wow, what a fucking buzz kill.

 

But we were there to celebrate,
And I love a good party.
I rallied. Plastered smiles over my crumbling infrastructure.

 

This reality was best left on the back burner,
Simmering on low for as long as it lasts,
Turn the fire down, pray that the gas doesn’t go out.

 

This woman- this woman, she has great friends,
Friends that withstood the fire, simmer and boil,
Steadfast, a hand placed at the bottom of my spine,
Keep me upright,
Hold me together.

 

I called my soul’s fraternal twin,
A customary, Hi how are you, to be polite and then straight into,
There are no wrong decisions.
You can’t make a wrong choice. What makes sense today may not make sense tomorrow.
And vise-a-versa.

 

She clutters my inbox on every front,
Filled with musings, tangible love, firm advise and big questions.
The woman is a push when I’ve slowed down,
A corset of words lacing me together when my insides have fallen to the floor.

And one day it all clicked.

 “In closing can we both- men and women- stop acting like the bare minimum,
being alive, not being fugly and not being abusive equates a good man.”

 The next day, I sat in a restaurant, lap full of babies,
Over a bowl of soup a waitress named Jessica or Jenny maybe,
She said, I have two boys 3 and 6 and a boyfriend who’s basically a child.
I’m leaving here to go to my third job, thanks I’ll take your check.

And I just couldn’t fucking do it anymore.

 I said, I see you hustling.
I said, I see you.

And I saw me.

 The eleventh hour is a cold bed,
Backseat commentary,
A well placed testimony of your strength,
A timely Instagram caption,
A woman refilling my breadbasket that I’ll probably never see again.

The eleventh hour is an internal hell,
Guilt and self-worth in the balance.
And I’m not going to save him,
I’m going to save me.