Shame Erasers Part One

The ugly truth about writing is that it is not something you choose.

It chooses you.

I have been avoiding this blog like crazy.

Writing is the only way I know how not to lie.

One of my favorite writers said we have no choice to write or not, that inspiration is bullshit. She said you show up, every day, like all other writers, because it is your job, and that is what you do. Fine. But I don’t have to like it.

Shame Erasers Part One….

I wish I could write this in outline, or power point, to make it less blinding.
I need lists to make even grocery stores less frightening.

Its like I have been living with the sound of a dentist drill in my mind,
an irritating awful pierce demanding I sit down and write.
I just want to get under my covers and hide.

A man I have been dating wants to be my boyfriend.

Good God. That statement even looks as dumb as I imagined.

I don’t need to tell anyone I am a free spirit, a boastful pride in the fight I put out for that freedom. I love being and going, free to kiss, flirt, drink, touch, dance, and to be single is bliss. Utopia is Granny panties or lace thongs worn just for me, ice cream out of the box,
a delightful bed with no sweaty needy hairy man waiting on me to get there,
asking where I went, why my cell phone wasn’t charged, or if I knew how dangerous dancing, live music, oh, and the other hairy sweaty sex crazed filthy mind controlling men I hang around are.

These are the men in past I have referred to as boyfriends or husband, and believe me, it never ends well.

It begins with a promise they make after four beers while I am in red heels,
a short black dress revealing cleavage and legs, leaning in with my glass of red wine.
This is not my first rodeo people.
I laugh at the thought of life and cramps on the bathroom floor,
Lola being put in time out for talking about hairy pee pees, Kat irritated Lola stole her label maker.
And so, my response is usually, “Good Luck,” said with ease and flirtation, ending with me in my bed,
my girls safe and snug a room away. Bliss.

And so, today, for my mini series, you understand the pitch I gave, the same one a million times over it feels, but now there is one man who refuses to sign.

He will not budge. The immovable mountain I can not climb, cross, surround, depart from. He has the most annoying response ever to all these questions I spit, like nails, all the time, every hour.

“I want you.”

Seriously? That is not the correct answer.
That is actually kind of stupid.

And he smiles patiently, a man I named THE COLLECTOR, his house full of little groups of old cameras, beautiful treasures in all types of forms, put together like a kid building legos, but with art.
I can’t decide if I am experiencing love, horrific fear, warning signs from God, or intimacy.
He is like a nightmare wrapped up in a teddy bear, the very thing that looks so soft, I am suspicious of how it is stuffed.

Is this what people call love? THIS is the feeling women crave?
I feel like I ate too much beef jerky and got on a six flags ride I can’t get off.
Is this vibe what we are going for on romantic comedy movies,
which are all hired actors by the way, who are divorced three times over,
a side fact for the romantics to chew on.

I must lose him or commit to him, which I think has brought up every issue I have.
He kind of just required it.

How dare he? How dare a hairy sweaty man be so good, so kind, so sweet?
I don’t know how to control this ridiculous man, and I am mad with love and hate over this lack of control, especially in bed, as if every secret I have invites him inside with little thought to what this could become.
There should be prisons for people like him, torture chambers.

I don’t know what is bigger.
To lose something so big it will destroy me and all that I have worked to become.
Or to live in this, this fear, so ridiculous and mind altering, I just can’t do it. I have to get rid of him and fast.
Clyde says that is extreme.
Clyde says the things everyone says, and asks this question, which makes me laugh, for reasons I am so happy he doesn’t understand.


I know this question.
It is designed to see that a simple truth holds the key in hoping that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
I wonder if Clyde as a grown man had been told by his father point blank,
a man he had known and loved his whole life that he was an investment,
a bad one that never paid off. Then stand in the ruins of a life built on lies while the masses poke and smile,
asking for news on the latest man, a humiliation that rubs like a skin burn, a deep pulsing heartache no
words can describe.

I need a shame eraser. I just don’t know where to find a parking lot of them, my shame for watching
this man in his stubborn insistence stay reminds me daily I was not free at all.
I was as sick and chained and controlled in my mind from fear now as I was with the sweaty hairy men.
This is a nail biting mind altering truth to me, MISS OBVIOUS, soaking in single loving bliss.
It is humiliating, scary, and makes me wonder if I might be seriously damaged, like beyond what I could even
exaggerate, so much that I could hurt him, a thought I can’t live with.
What if I were like my Dad?
What if my Dad left for reasons the Collector will find?
What if I trust someone who becomes a mad man, like my Dad, and the girls will have it done to them.
No, no, this is wrong, wrong, wrong. I know who did the crime.
I just can’t justify at the right time if it is him, or me, or both who believes the crime has to be paid.

And so here I am, with a freight train headed, in the complete dark, his mere existence mentioned and teased by well meaning friends makes me want to fall over the edge, my balance knocked, my leg shaking.
The girl with the mouth from the South is in trouble when she can’t talk, not to anyone, not about this.
I have found my personal truth lies within me but in this, in this, I have become the unknown.

Part of me hears Clyde say “Breathe,” and “Go Slow,” but I don’t feel that. I feel betrayal coming like a smoke monster hurling at my door, shadows cast from giant magnifying glasses, my fears coming from the ground whisper I am drowning and the life boat I need, well, he is running out of time.

The saddest part is I don’t know if I’ll drown before I can tell him I want him back.

Hope, a Mid Life Crisis Discussion

I met up with Clyde for dinner last night, had a long talk with my Lovely Phoenix, Melissa Brown, and the theme of the night was heavy, all of us in our own individual ways exploring hope, the loss of it, the desire of it, the sting of having it and losing it.

Clyde talked about the old days, not divorced, debt free, the bitter loss of a dream yet to be discovered.

“Do you know who I used to be, Katie? I mean I was fearless, really fearless,” he said looking into space, his face registering shock at what life once was without the layers of disappointment that have now become part of him.
It broke my heart.

The Phoenix spoke of a spiral, the very bottom, and we finished each other’s words about the climb, the unbearable climb of one foot in front of the next, the daily life of putting one foot in front of the other.

Survival, I was once told, is the way you live a crisis.
It is not the way to live a life.

And so, I look back on my own life, the last ten years marked by excruciating pain, fear, shock, and survival. I feel the tremblings of fear all the time, every day, and I feel the rush of anxiety crushing down, pressing, my heart pounding and the blood rushing to my head as I lay down just to breathe, checking and rechecking my breath, slowly letting air in and out of my lungs.

Those days used to be marked every day, many times a day, and now are so far in between that they annoy me, an awareness something has triggered me, that fear is not even real, that trauma is part of me.
I see it now as my friend asking my help to heal it.
I ask it to look around me, at my girls, my life, my health, my dreams being restored.

And it fights for survival but I eventually win the argument, and when I don’t, I spiral, but I do come back. I always come back.
The only thing we have to fight fear is hope.
I hope for so many things that my heart might burst wide open in the wanting, the beauty, the possibility of what and who I might become.

It is a tricky thing to hope. I have hoped for things that have been harmful for me, the weight of my own lies crashing down on me, on my illusions, on my fear. When you hope to be free, there is usually a door to a long flight of stairs going up wide open and yet my eye is drawn to the blinking exit door to the left, the word EXIT flashing in bright bold colors, tempting and taunting.

I have taken that door and it led to bondage every time, and I am not sure when I decided to take the stairs, my make up smeared, my breath shallow, my body and spirit in pain. I was certain the journey was too far gone and impossible to take, my resources as short as my desire was tall, one more defeat to add to the long accumulating list.

The journey always starts with one step.

Katie and the Tectonic Plates

I have asked Clyde, Divorcee, the Phoenix, and anyone who has been written about to please write a blog about me. I decided this mainly because I recognize how hard it is to be loved by a writer, how intimate and private the issues involving them are, how scary I feel writing and how sadly unfair it is that they do not have a voice in response. I wanted them to write the dirt, or give an argument if they have one, to share a perspective because I never want to be the kind of writer that does not require of my subjects if I am not willing to require the same of myself in response. The phoenix wrote of me and now here is Clyde, sending this to me when I needed it more than ever, to be seen in a dark place, shedding light on me when my face is covered by my hands, walking a new path yet to be seen. This is what he wrote and for the first time, a hilarious irony, I have no words in response. Lightning has more chances of hitting twice than for me to have my mouth open wide, with nothing to say. Leave it to Clyde to leave me for the first time, speechless….

“Katie and the Tectonic Plates”
by my Best Friend, Clyde….

Not all the time, but I’ve often wondered…where would my life be without my current BFF. I only say current, because BFMFF is too damn long. She came to me at a stage of my life filled with sadness only second to my divorce. It was a time that I realized shadows can do more than block light. Before ever meeting Katie I had an idea of who she would be. She’s attractive, blonde, curvy and about as sweet as acid laced sugar.

She says our first meeting was more of an interview, but to be honest I don’t remember much about it. I remember she went to the wrong restaurant, a form of foreshadowing that I should have seen before we ever even met. She says I asked a lot of questions about her…favorite color, best qualities, passions. At the time, I was lucky to lift my head up to even see anyone. We had sushi…talked the night away….laughed at lot, some at each other. As the evening came to a close I do remember hugging her and thinking, this girl is so nice…so real…and as wounded as me. I didn’t realize it then, and we’ve both talked about it a lot since, but we both felt safe in our weakness. She too afraid to even think of dating, just leaving the hibernation of a winter from men, and me getting over losing my soul mate. Tough company…us together.

When leaving dinner, I thought selfishly about how amazing it was to meet someone as fucked up as me in my current state. I didn’t know where we’d go from there, but I felt confident that I’d been lost, but taken the wrong turn in a city of turmoil to find a street sign for the exact highway I was looking for to leave.

Since then…we’ve sort of dated, sort of stopped, gone up…come down forceful on the hard concrete only to dust each other off and look with a “You okay?” look…and go arm in arm on to the next adventure. And every moment spent with Katie Susan Marsh is nothing short of an adventure. She is the girl that comes into a room and everyone stops what they are doing to see what she will say and do next. People gravitate towards her because of her inner beauty, empathy, truth, love and you never know what her brain will concoct. Crazy in a question everything dream big kind of way, always with a plan. To know her is to put to rest whether there is a God as nothing like her comes from chance. Whether you like her at first or not, I’ve seen her take bitter enemies and through only a way she knows…make them fiercely loyal allies. Caesar didn’t have shit on Miss. Obvious.

After 9 months of growth, love and recovery if I had one word to describe her now…it would be fearless. She wasn’t always that way. When I met her, I think she was afraid of her shadow. We’ve talked about her winding story called life and how she got to where she is. I’m continually amazed by single moms and what they overcome on a regular basis. I don’t know that the men I know could do what they do and still be normal, myself included in this company. What she’s been through is….well, bad.

One of the key’s to Katie’s recovery tools have been her blogs. It was the begging of her letting baggage drop by her side with a thump, like someone dropped a lawnmower engine on wood floors. She does things differently than anyone I’ve seen. Instead of hiding things, she pulls it out on the table with blood still dripping on some of the topics. “Here it is, now what?”. The rawness is un-nerving at first, holding your hand up to your eyes with space enough between them to look through. You can’t help but be drawn in, think, sometimes laugh… sometimes wipe your eyes. They ring so true…there are no questions afterwards, only lessons. I used to initially question her on everything, now she just pulls it out before she hits publish.

Katie has a lot of ideas, lots of them. I tease her and say she throws more spaghetti on the wall to see what will stick than an Olive Garden. She links things together that I don’t know how they happen, calling herself a miracle magnet. I don’t know if it’s all an answered prayer or an amazing coincidence…my life is driven by a fine line of logic and karma. My mom doesn’t like art, pets or history. My dad sculpts, sings opera, and has seen more ghosts than Indiana Jones. I try to be the best man I can, but I sometimes fail. Katie calls this spirituality, I call it humanity. We don’t agree on everything…her and me.

One thing we do agree on is that having a shield against the world doesn’t help you. Deep dark places need light more than any others. Dropping your arms…opening them, tilting back so your chest is out does not expose you…it frees you. She has taught me that and it’s because of her that at 40 years old, the Immovable mountain I call myself is now a tectonic plate, shifting. I’m questioning more about myself and life than any time since my early 20’s.

As she moves forward with her new education in photography, her time will get more and more precious. I’ve already seen the fallout in some carnage she’s dropped from her life. She is destined for greatness personally, professionally and spiritually. In the beginning…I questioned her a lot, the questions steering her in a direction leading to her own answers. We’ve both agreed that when talking about her life “What if you do nothing” was the question that rose above all others and became a beacon. As she rises up to her calling now, long weeks with short sleep are in her future there aren’t words in this language I know that can describe how I feel about her in my heart. With all her bravery, she will need support to over come her next few years with what lays in front of her. The pull of motherhood, a grueling school schedule, work, family, life, technology and her new found challenge for a creative person….logic, will all take their toll on her. She is the kind of woman, that if you meet her for five minutes…you’ll route for her like she was your childhood friend. You’d give found money too, even though you needed it. As she’s leaving from a conversation…you’d pull her back and not let her leave without a hug. She needs them, she deserves them…almost as much as you do from her. I love her.

Good night, Mr. Vicodin

After a trip to the dentist, I was sent home with Vicodin. Mr. Vicodin has taught me a lot about myself, mainly how sweet I am, as opposed to real life I suppose, being that with me and Mr. Vicodin, I am extremely complimentary. I told Divorcee a whole bunch of nice things, which he looked at me strangely, blinked a few times, picked up my prescription bottle as if he found the Holy Grail. “Ahhhh…” he says, holding it up, “No wonder.” I reached for Kat and Lola, begging them to cuddle with me, which Lola of course refused, and I even resorted to begging. Kat ran for the seat, jumped next to me, and when I talked funny for a few minutes she said, “Mom, did you get funny gas?” When I said yes, she asked, “Do you know if you have a thumb?” This made me laugh so hard and Divorcee said it was on an Icarly episode. Who knew? I harassed Clyde all day at work sending him texts about having hair on his ass, probably accusing him of being brokeback, and other immature references to him being gay, but this is not unusual behavior for the two of us, sadly. Actually, I feel kind of mature, all righteous and indignant that the principal of the school has STILL not called me back about the episode at school where the little boy pulled out his wee wee and balls in second grade to my precious little girl, who was shocked, and then horrified.
I got a message before she got home that an “incident” had happened, but had been taken care of, and to call him with any questions or concerns. After discussing what I would like to do to HIS ball sack, Divorcee said it was maybe good that he hadn’t called yet, nodding to the table, I suppose to remind me I am all hopped up on pills.
Still, it’s no excuse.
It’s 1:35 a.m. and I am writing about balls and nut sacks, which is making me giggle to myself, the word itself is hilarious, so everything today has made me giggle. Kat was upset they were so wrinkly. Mr. Vicodin explained that to her today, so God help me, what mess will be made to be undone, who knows. A boy from reading my blog has been contacting me regularly, and tonight I decided to be his friend, gave him my number, telling him we could not talk tonight, with me all hopped up on pills. It will probably occur to me tomorrow it were the pills that gave him the number to him in the first place, which I told him, and he said he would like to thank Mr. Vicodin personally. I told him I had not decided if I were taking him out of my computer, where he belonged, if I had room for a friend, or if I should just skip coffee, and make him my lover.
He said for me to close him up, and put him next to me goodnight, probably a sign I am acting a little loopy. Then, it occurred to me that THIS is a hilarious moment, me and Mr. Vicodin, have reached a whole new level, cuddling with machinery, and I am going to bed giggling about it still.
Good night. I have no business being up at 2 a.m. and will have sweet floaty dreams until I wake up tomorrow, forgetting how fun cuddling with strangers in laptops, forming the word ball sac slowly with my mouth, making me giggle all over again.
This blog is going to be ridiculous, especially tomorrow, I just know it.
The funny thing about Mr. Vicodin and me, is that we for some God forbidden reason, don’t care, and I think I shall miss him.

Introducing My Girl, “The Phoenix”

This is my mirror ball friend.
Life gives us sign posts, disguised as people, directing our inner traffic, regardless if we are aware or not. There is a speed dial for all of them, so in honor of the entertainment and growth of this blog, I have linked with a force far greater than me, a woman that I have been so excited to link this blog and write this introduction, but being the crazy neurotic writer that I am, have NOT been able to figure out her blog name. Don’t get me wrong, she has many nicknames, blog names, mostly over how hot or crazy she is, but I won’t have any of it. It has to come from inside of me and really touch that core, a place so deep I thought of naming her “she- she,” since that is what she calls her coochie, seeing as she hates the word vagina.
Just letting you know how deep my thoughts are.
A mirror ball friend is a disco ball on speed, its lights and special effects are spinning in different directions at lightning rates, changing with loud brilliant colors, mirrors blinding you to find yourself one moment in heels on a dance floor, a breath later, to be sobbing over an ex boyfriend, one turn later, laughing over a child horror story, a flash of colors leaving you with 90 day goals, or to be ultimately, humped by strangers, you never know. The ball could reflect greatness, drop and become destruction, but always, for a writer, is a great story.
I called and discussed natural disasters for her name, which I firmly believe there aren’t really enough disasters to name either of us correctly. I asked Clyde and he said I would be a tornado, that goes through a forest fire, picks out a warehouse of supplies, and spits out all the nails on its path. I am sure he meant that in a good way.
So, I then decided she had to be a Goddess, the closest I came to was Hathor, the goddess of dance, joy, and drunken behavior, loved by women and communities. Damn Hathor didn’t seem to have a lot to do with men, which is a total FAIL for a blog name, seeing as the truth of this soul sister, is that she has been on the quest of love her entire life. She is breathtakingly beautiful, has mojo and game I love to watch in action, men drawn to her dangerous magnetic web, which in her eyes is the most disastrous part of her, a dream she can’t wake up from, the place she never can find that peace she so desires.
I am sure many blogs to come will discuss these issues.
It has to help our friendship, a perfect balance, that I love women, but as loud and forward as I am, I don’t like to be the center of the room, swarmed by douche bags, even if they are hot. She does it with charm and flirtation, holding the drinks they bring in her hand, like the lady she is, while I want to hide and watch her from under the table instead. She is my equal in that she is the only woman my AGE who has been through the trials of divorce, has three beautiful kids, one little girl with special needs. She has been on the dating war path, far different yet the same, her stories are as hilarious and unbelievable as my own, something I find astonishing, seeing most people look at me like I have four heads when I tell them I went to Moe’s and a guy bought me a car. With her, she nods with understanding, and tops it, and get this, she is funnier than me. I know, I KNOW, hard to believe, and maybe arguable, not by me, but she is in fact, funny as hell. I fell in love with her though the day I saw she wrote a blog, sometime ago, a writer, not just any writer, but my kind of writer. Her blog had every ugly, scary, real and exposed part of her laid across the page for all to see, for all her destruction, failures, and mistakes. And one day she found my blog, back then unpublished, and she said, “You and I have the same heart, just different words.”
Perhaps it was the first time I felt seen, by a woman, by a writer, my favorite part of her was her gift of imperfection, something I believe to this day is the best gift you can give the world.
How did we meet?
Nothing out of the ordinary, seeing as I was going on a date I believe, asking around for a pair of black boots to my knees, with really high heels, not skanky, but more for the sexy classy stripper look, so on a friend’s page, in two seconds flat, a comment from this unknown girl gave me the perfect boots down to the shoe brand, where to find them, what type leather and color, and pole if I needed, which made me laugh on cue.
Our mutual “friend” said, “Katie meet Melissa. Melissa meet Katie.”
When stripper boots pulled off with class bring you together, only love remains.
What happens when a tornado and a earthquake meet? This is the fluff, the hilarious part of us, which honestly, she she brings out the wildest in me, no matter how determined and usually responsible woman I really am. I don’t do morning hangovers with kids well. I don’t do peer pressure, always leave after a tall blue moon, but I see her, and that bad girl part of me comes out full force, responsibility flies out the window, and in total shock, at four in the morning, I realized it was I that had trusted this woman to be in control of me. She did put me in time out for making out with a stranger at the bar, but had failed to remain sober and not drink jager like she promised, reminding me I got the man with braces, no ordered him, to buy the jager bombs to begin with, so I digress. I have to remain four miles away in distance, or as Clyde says, both of our parole officers will be notified, a joke, of course, I hope. For all of our similarities I have mentioned above, she is my alter ego, polar opposite as well.
She can not stay away from men, usually assholes, for less than 3 seconds flat, and she is the eternal flame for the desire of love, linking in and becoming destroyed over men who make her feel unbearable pain, her heart destroyed, a relationship woman, barely able to pick herself up from the destruction of it. Her grief over one break up nearly broke my heart to watch, so we decided to spend 90 days in recovery, meaning she had to go on man diet. As far as me, for my turn, well shit. Relationships make me want to puke, and I am a single girl at heart, love my freedom, my side of the bed, the fact I don’t owe any man shit, when it comes to where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with. I like to flirt, if I feel it leads nowhere, love sex, if its unattached and safe, with a man I can easily turn into my best friend. I want to dig and know someone deep, and when I have found all there is to know, I lose interest, ready for the next adventure.
No man has met my girls except one, who wouldn’t you know it, lived in Italy, for God’s sake. No wonder I thought he was the “one.” So for my 90 day diet, of course, it was her, who introduced me to Clyde, the only man I have ever met who after months never even tried to sleep with me, infuriating, saw me in the most vulnerable place in my whole life, a scary awful experience that led me to fall so deep and far off the edge of a cliff, but who is now my closest friend in the world because of it. I think it was my first taste of unrequited love, a humility that I needed, brought up all my issues that have changed me, making me realize I had a hard shell that needed to melt, just like she needs to be alone, something I love, easily do. When it comes to men and love, we are on two different quests, but our pain is real, seen, and felt. She also has a posse, and I am serious people, when I tell you I have never seen anything like it. NOTHING like it. The girl is not adored, but worshiped, by a group called the ya yas, women who make me even more bi-hopeful than ever, a name I gave for the hope I will one day meet the perfect woman, become gay, and live happily ever after. People try to steal this hope, shake me out of it, and yes, I do realize boobs and the soft lips of a woman’s kiss make me feel a little nauseated, that a man’s hands and broad chest force me to come out of the closet as a straight woman, but I will never lose hope, not ever.
Her friends throw parties when she leaves for a month, with gifts and themes, and at her “Little Yellow Dress Party,” I actually heard a lady say, “What are we going to do without Hot Melissa Brown for three months?” Seriously? Really? It wasn’t even her birthday people. She was going on a road trip. Another woman replied, “We’ll just have to plan a party for when she gets back.” This is what it is to be my friend, which is what makes her fascinating, complex, fabulous and unique, and I am here for the ride, and for all the people who put her on a pedestal, I do not at all. I see her sensitivity, her desire to live her life to inspire and uplift, and I think she feels a great amount of responsibility, which comes from being so loved. For the ones who see her hit the ground, the pavement, make the same mistakes over and over, who wonder if she will ever learn, I have a message for them. I have decided to name her “The Phoenix,” from a place
where I believe this woman is capable of everything, will overcome the impossible, can be alone, will find the right one, is going to sit in the mud and is going to do it her way, the only way she knows how.
That is why I have decided to name her “The Phoenix.”
I found the facts to support my heart on Wikapedia which states, “The main feature of the Phoenix is that it is reborn through fire: when it gets old it will make a nest (sometimes of myrrh) and set it on fire. The phoenix will be consumed in the flames, but will be reborn out of the ashes. There is only one Phoenix at a time; it lives for many years (accounts vary from 500, 540, 1000 or 1460 years.) No person has ever seen this bird eat, and people would try to throw rocks or shoot arrows to dislodge the nest. Some claim the Phoenix came from the sun, it is the bird that is sent to earth to perform extraordinary works and to help the development of man. It appears in different stages of the world’s progress, and then returns to heaven.”

I feel satisfied now, my search for a name found, and so I hope you embrace her journey as I have, as we blog our lives together, I am certain to watch her burn herself to the ground, only to rise from the ashes, for the development of herself, without an awareness she is here for even a greater purpose, for me, and for you.

From us, a favorite….Oh, and go read her fabulous blog,

Clyde’s 40th Birthday “BEAR HUNT”

I just recently took Lola on her fifth birthday “Bear Hunt,” a term used for waking up, finding out you are going on an adventure, being surprised all day long, notes and clues leading you to magical locations, familiar faces, and unopened treasure. Clyde just turned 40, and he has been taking it pretty rough, his phone calls consisting of deep sighs, his hilarious self barely there, so I decided desperate acts call for desperate measures. It was time for me to kidnap my first adult for a “Bear Hunt.” We were going to walk the edge of darkness into the wilderness of 40, only to return with my best friend laughing, a fact I was determined to make happen, by any force necessary. I suddenly had a realization I was just going to have to make 40 my bitch, but how?
So, during my plotting, I got a call from my mom about this lovely single woman who casually began talking about her love obsession with bees. Are you kidding me?
First of all, Clyde is a bee keeper.
In fact, I got to be the lucky photographer of this lovely picture:

I did not know he was a bee keeper until I was in the position of transporting thousands of bees one Saturday afternoon. We met the bee man, along with his kind, one man in a “LONG LIVE THE QUEEN” t-shirt, all over the age of fifty, from the country, and I’m shocked most of them didn’t need walkers. I had originally thought I was staying in the car only to be taken by complete surprise, the damn bee man kindly offered me up a suit, Clyde laughing at me while I cursed him under my breath, giving him my best “DIE, ASSHOLE, DIE!” stare. The old people talked about the lovely blooming flowers as we came to the the hive where the instructor began smoking bees, to make them less “angry,” repeating warning signs of swarms, aggressive behavior, how to locate your Queen, a very important thing, her tail marked blue or yellow, a detail if you miss, is an instant FAIL. Clyde didn’t seem to worry about any of these details, his mission to make his own honey the driving force behind this insanity.
What kind of nut job brings thousands of bees home?
After seeing them all caged in these trays in wooden boxes, my skin felt like breaking out into hives just listening to them buzz. I suddenly realized I would have rather been transporting Cocaine. I did my breathing exercises as he chattered away about the crazy shit that bees do, the Queen, how they make her exercise, how each bee functions, how no bee is originally from America. That’s great Clyde, bees rock, but I was deep in thought over our smoker not working, which is supposed to make them drowsy, a fact that made me want to smoke myself first, just to make sure.
So, back to Bee Girl.
What kind of nut job says in passing to MY MOM the fact she has always loved bees, wants to know a bee keeper? What if Bee Girl met Clyde on a Bear Hunt? What if Bee Girl were the question and Clyde happened to be the answer? I just happened to stalk her out at my mom’s work, to find with absolute joy that she was a breath of fresh air, beautiful and very natural, her energy kind and authentic, plus she was single, around his age, without kids. I told her about a friend of mine that keeps bees, and her eyes lit up like Lola when she sees lip gloss. She was just like Clyde in her amazement over bees, very much his equal in every area, and I wondered if he knew the Honey Bee was responsible for watermelon. I tucked that fact away for later.
I was beginning to think I found the perfect girl to take back to his hive, which by the way, is a great pick up line, so the Bear Hunt took on a different life, mainly my mom and I orchestrating this crash meeting. They met in the aisle, and my mom and I left for the cafe, him not taking my “out,” too deep into discussing the African bee, and I could tell by his body language, he was in to her. Thirty minutes later he found me, and I was right. He thought she was great, felt a connection, then asked if I was ready to go. “WHAT? Clyde, if you leave, do not get her number or ask her out, she will think you are not in to her.” He tried to argue a case, but I went to the hive of the matter, bees my only resource. “The Rogue Bees, the ones that go out of the hive, the aggressive ones, are what you must be, my friend.” He groaned, threw his hands in the air, shuffled his feet nervously.
I put my drink on the table.
“I’m not leaving until you ask her out.” I put my chin in the air, and he laughed, waited for her to be done with a customer, finally writing her a note, suggesting dinner with his number, my work here finished, and we spent the rest of the day with the maturity levels of maybe a five year old. My mom said when she told Bee Girl about the Bear Hunt, she asked shyly, “They don’t really hunt bears do they?” How adorable, so content I am, that in a first attempt to find Clyde a Queen, I see how the hive only works when everyone involved plays their roles. I wanted him to be happy, feeling him finally ready to be someone’s goodnight kiss, companion, and for the first time in our journey, I saw him open to love, afraid, but most importantly, open. In the hive, he says only female bees help the Queen, the worker bees, doing all the details that allowed her to go out, mate, choosing any bee she wanted. Sigh. I want to be the Queen.
That day will come for me, but this is Clyde’s hive, not mine, and my assignment is in perfect order, the working bee, the female traveling to any length to assign, interview, and tap into all her creative resources the exact formulas that will make the hive successful.
Maybe I’m not even a worker bee. If I assigned all days of adventure and fun the name “BEAR HUNTS,” what are bears known to love more than anything else?
If I am a bear and Clyde is a bee, well lets find him a Queen, and watch them produce some honey.
I can’t wait. I have a big empty jar with my name on it, waiting.
Happy 40th Clyde. I can’t wait to taste what you find in your year ahead, but may it be from the best pollen, and rather you mate with multiple Queens, or be chosen by your Queen at first glance, sweet or sticky, I will be around, most likely in your cupboard, knocking over jars, making a big mess, my scent always leading to great honey or really big trouble.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Father’s Day Player Hater

I have become a Father’s Day player hater. In fact, Baby Bro and I are convinced we could become rich with our own Hallmark line, one dedicated to people like us, if that is even a possible statement one could make. I’ll get to that. I would first like to convey that I believe with all my heart good men are in the world. I see and know beautiful, loving, honest, trustworthy fathers every day. My brothers, my coworkers, bosses, and friends. The people who know me best and love me anyway are and have been male, my ex husband being one I am most proud of.
Okay, okay. You get it. I am not a bitter, male bashing single 32 year old woman, deprived of sex and sleep. Okay, maybe the sex and sleep. Anyways, I marvel at the love I see around me, the importance of good fathers in the world, and I believe to honor them for a day is the least of what they deserve. When I was at M’s party last week, a girl showed me a tattoo of a magnificent tree, her voice choking back tears as she spoke of her father’s recent death, the grief of what Father’s Day would remind her of. The man she loved and missed with every heartbeat. Fathers are fascinating.
I think of my friend, the Mad Scientist, and his love affair with his father, his best friend and hero, who has Alzheimer’s Disease, the tattoo he had on his arm that his father had done to match the other half, so that no matter what, the two of them would recognize love was beyond even our own memories. It links us together, taps our souls and we can fight it, hate it, or love it, but the truth is we belong to someone who brought us here. It is our unique right of passage into this world, and we all have our own story to tell.
Marco speaks of his father like he were talking about an angel, a man so full of wisdom and truth, telling him right and wrong, a man to this day of little words but big heart. He also told me childhood stories of being rushed home to bed, mama telling the kids to not move or make a sound, police lights circling the house, his daddy coming back from burying drugs in the back yard. His father would stash the family rent under the seats of the car, buckling him and his brother on top.
Clyde refers to his dad as the man from the movie, “Big Fish,” the character bigger than life, crazy and genius and loud in the telling of his stories. Clyde is the son, rolling his eyes, loving him with all his heart, and yet, driven absolutely crazy by him, never feeling heard or understood.
My favorite girl, she who owns a sacred part of my heart, in high school, actually finds the woman with red finger nails hiding in her Daddy’s closet, the woman who tore down every dream she and him had built together. Now that we are adults I see those dreams had been real all along, that it took hard work and time for her to see that he was not just her father, but a person. Somehow, through the years, I came to admire what they have because in the good, the ugly, the ups, and downs, it is real.
They have something I dare to call love.
I dare call it love for I have seen that word used by the darkness as well, cloaked in words like forgiveness, healing, scripture, therapy, an energy hungry to destroy the very souls wanting to embrace it. Take Preacher D, who raised the closest father to my heart, to torture him, to yell, run over his bicycle and beat him for leaving it in the driveway. He tormented and starved him, bringing home different mothers, and to this day, Preacher D says he loves his son, and once I met him, just the day of our wedding. He calls every few years, mostly to see how our walk with God is coming along.
I believe we all know a little of this darkness, some much more than others, and I used to believe I could fight it, understand it, change it, overcome it. I now know the only darkness we can heal is that in our own selves, and I have learned that lesson with so much pain, so often, that I have learned never to judge what I do not understand.
It is a humble lesson, one my marriage and my father have taught me well.
We had a little work conversation about what this day, Father’s Day and what it means, and my friend D has eyes light up like Christmas trees when she talks about her dad, a man who lays up all night worrying about her opening her first credit card, who comes in to tip her 30 bucks. He brags about her and she glows, a sight I find breathtaking.
For more of us than I thought, our fathers leave a bitter taste in our mouths, and after many rounds, I found much material Baby Bro and I can add to our growing Hallmark line. It is a dark humored line, not for most, but originates from our hopeless search to find a card to say what we feel on days like this, as if we needed reminding that finding a card for our father is quite frankly, an impossible task. We want to represent those of us who are sick to death of stamping bullshit and sending it, rather than facing the truth of our nonexistent relationships. These infamous holidays seem to be most important for the ones in our lives who need us to validate what they are not, have never been, and if sent by card, email, phone, or skype, damnit, so be it.
These marked holidays are too big for even them to ignore and so for one day a year, they need us to play.
A game I think a lot of us are sick to death of.
We are a dying breed in this huge holiday industry, trying to find cards that speak some element of truth, the least of all blank, much less the cheesy rhyming rose colored glass half full of lies, lies so big the paper smells like gasoline burning the lining of our stomachs.
I don’t know what we would do with cards that said what we felt, the group of us sick of feeling alone and defeated every year in Kroger, exhausted from the lines of poetry written for people we have never known.
How about this? This was collected just from being at work, my attempt to justify this blog, an attempt to research collective souls I see on a daily basis.
“Thanks Dad for stealing my identity and ruining my credit.”
“Dad, I love you but being wasted every day of my life kind of ruined all our memories.”
“Happy Father’s Day. Have we met?”
“If you had money for a boat and a mansion for your wife and two kids, was the child support not really in the mail?”
“Dad, thanks for the phone calls. It did suck you only had time once to visit.”
It went on and on, so much that a few of the regulars cheered, tapping their beers in the air, a high five from across the bar. I hope that all the people that are cloaked in the real meaning of this day are not even around to read this, celebrating by cook outs, kisses, gifts, and cards. I certainly will be. I have a beautiful father of two girls, and my brother D to congratulate and support, off to work to wait tables afterward. I am certain to see full tables of loving fathers being welcomed and kissed, cards lovingly passed, surprise endings, and happy faces.
But, I also have my own truth, and it is my hope to reach out to those of us who are hungry for something we never had, who ache to see it, who cry for longing for it, who lay at a grave for missing it.

For you, Dad.

The Flip, the Switch, and the Crazies.

My intention with this blog was for me to write about my demons, the censored parts of my life that I need to purge to feel healthy, without judgment.

I wanted to be fearless in my writing, to bring all the dark places within me to the light, to throw the f bomb around if needed, to journal my deepest wants and needs, to write about all the people who have blessed, cursed, hurt, contributed, and loved me on the journey.

I’m not so sure it was a good idea to publish it on facebook. And yet, I’m not so sure it isn’t. For one, the blog I wrote titled “The One Who Got Away.” actually ended up being read indeed by “The One Who Got Away.”

I used to call him Hurricane as one of his many nicknames.

He had so much energy and power and enthusiasm for life that it was like he couldn’t help but start electrical storms every where he went. And so, the blog was published on facebook, which he read, and he asked me to please come visit him and he would pay for the plane ticket. I think I am a little bit in shock over this.

What am I going to do? I have no freaking idea.

And of course, there are issues surrounding my father. I want to write about him because he is my ultimate teacher, the catalyst of all that I have learned through pain and destruction, forgiveness, and self awareness.

He has taught me what I am made of, how much I love, how secretly I hurt, how deeply I give. He has forever changed me for the better but in sharing those details, I fear that I will hurt or anger people I love by putting the ugly details of our family’s dirty laundry on public display. I am still working this out by constantly reminding myself to trust the process. I tell myself often to stop asking for the acceptance and validation from people outside of me, to live and speak my own truth and ultimately, to trust that my good intentions do actually matter.

Clyde isn’t even close to being ready for a committed relationship, and on most days I am good with this, enjoying being in the moment with him, our friendship still feels like fresh air, and I am hopeful it always will. We have so much effin fun together.

I knew from the beginning that his heart does not belong to me, but to his ex, and I still find this to be a bitter pill to swallow. Love is absolutely ridiculous and unfair, isn’t it? The love one of us would dream of having another would just give away. He’s trying to let her go and meanwhile, I’m trying to let him go, all the while trying to remain fearless, unguarded, and hopeful. This to me is what I call the flip, the switch, and the crazies. On a high note, photography is coming into focus and I will be finding out soon if I got into the school of my dreams, if waiting tables will soon have its end, if I have the courage to go face everything that makes me weak in the knees and faint at heart. I believe I’m doing well on my 90 day diet to follow my bliss. Some days I think my heart may just break wide open, and what you see come out will look a lot like this: