Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My brain is mush and flying is magic

I haven't written anything in so long that I was starting to wonder if my fingers would remember how to actually type on a keyboard.

I kid.

Sort of.

I've really been slacking at this whole writing thing lately. It's not for lack of desire, truly. It's mostly a complete lack of time, combined with the fact that once I become stationary at night, there's not a whole lot that is going to change that.

I've had my hands fuller than normal these past few months with my homeschooler. It's mostly good in that we are figuring out why things have always been harder for him, addressing them. His general situation is vastly improved...but it also means that I've been fully immersed in that. There's not a whole lot of time left for me to just sit long enough to write anything down.

You all should see the half composed posts that are floating around in my head, though. They're pretty fucking amazing.


I went to Atlanta this past weekend for the Warrior Mom Conference and while I absolutely plan to write about that entire experience at some point, I know that I'm not ready to do that yet. I'm still processing all the sessions and speakers, still speechless about meeting all the people who'd only lived in my computer before last Thursday. That, and I'm still not fully recovered from the asthma attack I totally had Saturday night that left me lying on the bathroom floor with the shower running so I didn't die.


Yeah, that one needed to be in all caps.

I'll get there. I have some profound things to say about the whole experience, some really important information to relay to you all, some important healing I did for myself. All that jazz. And I'll get there. Just not today.

Today, though, since we're here, do you want to read about flying?

Up to you, I suppose, but I'm writing it either way.

I'm terrified of flying. Like scared to death.

I really should be medicated but the truth is that ativan knocks me flat out for too long, longer than the flight lasts and no one wants to drag my half conscious ass anywhere. So, I don't take it. I mean it would help, but I consider my not taking it to be a community service to those around me.

Like, I cannot be held responsible for the things I do or say level of community service.

So, instead I drink.

I know, I know, I know.

It's a really shitty coping mechanism. I'm aware. I'm doing it anyway because without it (or the threat of an impending trip to an out of state ER...more on that in a later post, I am sure), there's no way I'm getting on a plane.

All the nope.

I have raging anxiety issues and am a next level control freak. I drive everywhere. For real, my husband has a chauffeur. He doesn't mind, I get to feel like I have some semblance of control over my fate. It works.

So then you can imagine that flying scares the shit out of me.

It scares me because I don't understand it.

I can explain all the physics involved, sure. I can tell you all you'd need to know about lift and thrust and speed. But none of it holds any weight in my head when the metal tube accelerates enough for the front wheels to lift off and I'm just hoping hoping hoping that science isn't all some terrible lie we've been told while we were paying extra to check a bag.

For my life long love of all things science, I'm still totally convinced that flying is magic.

This is the part where I like to remind people that anxiety and fear of flying isn't rational and that I'm fully aware of the fact that it is not rational and that fear and anxiety aren't rational, so you can point out the fact that I'm far more likely to die on the highway on the way to the airport than I am in the plane, and it won't matter. Not even a little bit.

I am not to be reasoned with.

My flight to Atlanta was early-ish. I had to be at the airport by 9am or so. You'd think that would be too early to drink, but NOPE.

I had a bloody mary with an extra shot of vodka before I got on the plane, which ended up costing more than my food did but I was willing to accept that as a small price to pay for my ability to walk down the ramp and get into the flying metal death trap.

I texted a friend waiting for me on the other end as I was waiting for the check. She knows of my issues. Likes me anyway. The waitress was taking her time getting the check to me and the panic started to set in a little bit, because I knew that I had to go to the bathroom at least three more times before I got on the plane because this digestive system and anxiety do not play nicely together.

No lie, this is the text I sent her.

I'm amazed that people put up with me.

When I got on the plane, I was nervous enough. Because have you met me?

They serve booze on planes for people like me.

And they have bulk discounts.

Also for people like me.

Then a mom with three small kids slid into the row behind me, and I knew that I had to keep my shit together at least marginally because there were kids right there. I can compose myself like a boss when there are children present. When there aren't....well....

The kids did great on the flight, SO MUCH BETTER than the obnoxious woman next to me. Although, truth be told, I think the airplane gods put her beside me on purpose so that I'd be so annoyed that I wouldn't even notice how worried I was that we were going to die.

It worked pretty well.

The best part about that flight was that I was reading Luvvie Ajayi's new book I'm Judging You, and I totally was. If you haven't read it yet, please go get it.

Side eye.

We lived, obvs. I got off the plane and did the things I was supposed to do and didn't make too much of an ass out of myself over the weekend, although my assessment is just that and could totally be wrong and skewed. So, more precisely, no one told me that I was being an ass. So there's that.

I did get this too.

I've wanted this tattoo for YEARS. My name means "Warrior Woman". My superhero patronus is Wonder Woman. I was at the Warrior Mom conference. So, basically the stars aligned and I had no choice in the matter.

I'm madly in love with it.

I love it even more after some rando dude in the airport told me that while he "loved" my tattoo, it was too big and shouldn't be on my arm.


Okay, then.

I didn't realize your opinion meant shit.


***twirls fast pew pew pew***

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Do The Right Thing

There have been several examples this week, both in my personal life and from stories I have seen in the news and online, examples of situations where people had the opportunity to do the right thing.

Some of them chose to do the right thing.

Others chose poorly.

If you really think about it though, in life we're almost constantly presented with opportunities to make ethical choices. Some of them are small and insignificant in the overall scheme of things. Some of them are persistent choices we're faced with and maybe we are comfortable fudging them because we've just always done it that way. Some of them aren't clear cut. There is no easily distinguished delineation of right and wrong, good and evil...but everything muddled in between.

Some of them are huge in your face type moments, where the line between right and wrong is a fairly obvious one.

Those are the ones I've seen a lot of this week, for whatever reason.

I think the current social climate in the country, coupled with this three ring circus of an election is bringing issues to the forefront more frequently.

That, and once you really start to pay attention to the world around you, it rapidly becomes impossible to look away.

Essentially, you woke the fuck up and can't go back to sleep.

Question your motivations for why you do what you do, why you say what you say, why you turn a blind eye to the things you tell yourself you can't be bothered with.


I'm probably making some people uncomfortable again, but that's my bag.

Anyhow, I'm not going to be getting into the specifics of the situations I've personally witnessed or been involved in, mostly because they aren't my stories to tell.

I can tell you this much though....

You cannot rely on other people to do the right thing.

You cannot.

Their position doesn't matter.

Their title doesn't matter.

Their years of experience won't matter.

Even what they tell you they are going to do doesn't always matter.

What matters is what they actually choose to do when they're actually faced with the decision.

Some people, even people that you really want to believe in, are going to bail. They're going to take the easy way out. They're going to look the other way. They're going to choose the path of least resistance. They're going to say one thing and do another. They're going to lie. They're going to go out of their way to silence you.

And some people take the high road, even if that means that there is a rough climb to that ridge, even if it means that there will be falls and stumbles along the way, even if it means that they'll be exposed and vulnerable while they're up there. Even then, some people will choose to do the right thing.

And you know what?

It's really fucking hard to be that person.

I try to be that person every day. I try to teach my children to be those people, the ones willing to stick their necks out to make sure that people do what they are supposed to do, the ones willing to speak up against injustices and unfairness and actually do something about it. I try.

This week showed me that I'm actually kind of kicking ass at that part of parenting, truth be told.

But it isn't accidental, not even a little bit.

I have to model this behavior. I have to walk the walk. I have to demonstrate to my kids that even when there might be consequences, you still have to do the right thing. You're going to piss people off. You're going to make them uncomfortable. You might lose friends. You might deal with terrible things people say to and about you. But, if your conscience tells you something is wrong, there's a reason...and at the end of the day, you have to live with those choices. You have to be able to sleep at night. You have to live knowing which side of the issues you landed on.

And for me, that means that I have to call out injustices. I have to fight. I have to take action to make sure that people are given time and opportunity to have their voices heard. I have to listen. I have to refuse to take no for an answer.

What about you?

Did you do the right thing today?

If not, day ain't over yet...


p.s. Freckles, I'm so proud of you that I could burst right now, but I'll work on containing my loud and obnoxiously proud mom tendencies. Love you.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Dear Voters: This Is Not A Drinking Game

The first Presidential debate of 2016 is tonight.

I'm not entirely sure that the word debate is really going to adequately describe what is about to happen, though.

Mostly, there will be a lot of rambling and interrupting and promises to "Make America Great Again" from one side. The other will, I hope, be the voice of reason that dares not to slip up even one time because we all know damned well that if she does, she'll be eaten alive by the internet and the media, after being ripped to shreds for what she's wearing, her tone and how tired she looks, of course.

One candidate can literally say nothing truthful and his followers shout louder. They don't care about facts or lies, they just like what he says.

The other displays even the tiniest bit of inconsistency and she's condemned for being a liar.

(Among other things...)

I saw my first


bumper sticker this past weekend.

I've seen them online, wanting to believe that they weren't real stickers, that they were just memes created by bored trolls online with nothing better to do than start fights with strangers.


It's totally a real thing.

The fact that it was slapped onto the back of a brand new Porsche??? I'm not sure whether that makes it more laughable or more terrifying.

In the next few hours, you're going to inevitably see about 1/4 of the people you know online share some link with some grid or some set of made up rules that makes the debate into a drinking game.

Normally, I share them too.

There's way too much at stake in this election to be so flippant. Way too much.

Besides which, if you were to actually attempt to play a drinking game during whatever the hell actually happens tonight, you could end up with alcohol poisoning. Seriously, you guys.

This is a hugely important election.

This is not a drinking game.

I repeat, this is not a drinking game.


Please vote.

Please, please, please vote.

Friday, September 23, 2016


I haven't been writing much of late.

Some of my absence is just a by-product of homeschooling and working and having a toddler and living in my car for huge chunks of time each day shuttling kids to and fro.

Some of my absence is absolutely intended.


I'm angry a lot. I'm far more often disappointed.

God, I'm starting to sound like the parent of a teenager...except the target of my most frequent anger and disappointment isn't my children (don't get me wrong, it is sometimes), but instead society. People I've known in some capacity or another who've revealed themselves to be someone I'm utterly disgusted in.

The thing about this election is that it isn't just about political ideology. It's not about some tangential argument about fiscal responsibility or budgetary accountability.


The issues at stake in this election are bigger than that. Humanity seems to be up for negotiation, and far too often people are siding with fear.

Really, so much of the division in this country comes from fear.

That fear - where does it come from?

Ignorance, whether willful or the byproduct of biased education and upbringing, seems to be at the root of so much of it all.

There are large groups of people who rely on that ignorance and the fear it generates. We are witnessing politically what happens when the masses are convinced that they should be afraid.

I spend so very much time trying to unpack my own issues, listening to the experiences of others, honoring their word without questioning it or allowing my own biases to somehow skew what I hear. If more people could just do that, if more people could drop the shield and sit down and listen, things might be so very different.

Might be.

I feel, I truly feel, like we collectively are on the precipice right now. Teetering so very precariously on the edge. So close to outright war with ourselves. All it would take is one swift breeze and we'd be over and on the way down.


This is how change happens.

Change of this variety doesn't come quietly and incrementally. Change of this variety has to be dramatic. It has to be forced and there will always be people who dig in their heels and fight that change because it somehow threatens everything they've ever known.

Fight, if you must, but change is going to come.

I see it in the eyes of my child, the one who refuses to accept that this is the way the world is or should be. The child who vows to do what she can already to ensure that the world her own children will someday occupy will be different than this one. Better.

I see hope there.

I see it there, but we can't wait that long. We can't just educate our children and hope they correct the wrongs we've tolerated. We can't.

It's not enough.

It's not enough because if you believe that it is, privilege is telling you that lie. Just because something doesn't affect you doesn't make it less real, certainly doesn't make it more tolerable. Turning a blind eye to the now, urging the next generation to fix it, it's not enough.

I have been asked increasingly by friends, by fans, what we can do.

There are so many things.

Educate your children, yes. Please. Do this. First educate yourself. Learn something from a new perspective every single day. Refuse to filter what you read with the biases you've been taught. Recognize your own biases, stop insisting that you don't see race. You do, and I promise that it affects how you treat people more than you are comfortable with. Go here. Take the test. 

Speak out when you see or hear or read bias and hate. Use your voice and your privilege to stop it, to call people out, to demand that things change right now.

Listen when people share their experiences. Listen. Do not insert your opinions or what you've experienced into their reality.

Stop elevating your feelings above the lives of other people. Lives matter more than feelings.

Intervene when you see injustice. Be willing to hold that video camera, to insert yourself in situations where you might be able to help.

Write to elected officials. Attend meetings of city councils and school boards and oversight committees. Join advocacy groups. Vote. Donate money if you are able.

Mostly, pay attention. If you're looking for instances of deeply rooted systemic racism, they really are everywhere. Once you start to see them, it quickly becomes impossible to not see them.

When you see them, get angry.

Then do something.

Hell hath no fury like a soccer mom, slightly inconvenienced. 

We need the soccer moms to get pissed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

To the one who is growing up faster...

It's your birthday tomorrow.

Everyone in the house will make more of a fuss over you than they already do, and you'll drink in every ounce of attention more than you already do.

It's hard to believe that there was ever a time when you weren't here. Though you're still so fresh and new, it seems that you've always been here, a part of this family.

I certainly didn't think we'd ever meet, you and I. I longed for the day that I'd have one last chance to do it all over again, but there was a part of me that let go of the hope that it would ever happen.

A bigger part held on to the hope.

Even when that hope didn't make much sense, I held on anyway.

And then one day, as though according to some script hidden and secret, you arrived.

Had you been a little girl, your middle name would have been Grace.

For reasons.

So many reasons.

Instead, here you are, your middle name taken from my father's name. You and he never had the chance to meet in this life, but I have a feeling you'd have gotten on splendidly, the two of you.

There's a devilish naughtiness to your smirk, a coyness to your demeanor, an excitement at new experiences that have so often reminded me of him. Maybe you didn't need to meet him in this life. Maybe you met somewhere else in the realms of the universe that make no sense to those of us here.


I just know that I look at you and I see him far too often for it to be mere genetic coincidence.

You're in a hurry these days to grow up. Faster, stronger, bigger. You see all your siblings and you want so desperately to keep up with them all.

Until you want to crawl up in my lap and rest your little head on my chest.

Part of having done this as many times as I have is that I know what to hang on to longer with you. I know what I'm going to miss. I know that I'll read all the stories you could ever want to listen to and I'll rock you in the chair for as long as you want. I know that someday you won't wake up in the middle of the night anymore wanting me. I know. There's a bittersweetness to it all now, the older you get, the more of those nights you sleep restfully without interruption.

All the rest of the time, there are other people and other things and other needs that need me, but in the small hours of the night, it's just you and me and your little fingers wrapped around mine.

If there was a way to hit pause on life, to keep a moment just so for all of eternity, that's when I would press it.


There isn't.

I know that with absolute certainty.

Life doesn't cooperate with the time frames we would elect in any circumstance, least of all with children.

I can't keep you little no matter how hard I might try, and so I won't.

I'll embrace this new trip around the sun of yours for the journey it is, consider myself lucky for the chance to accompany you.

Never stop being amazed at the beauty in the world.
Sometime in the next few days, there will be a cake and balloons and that song your siblings so often sing to other people will be sang just to you.

It will all be for you.

They really do adore you, those brothers and sisters of yours.

You helped them, you know.

You helped them learn patience.

You helped them learn to appreciate how relentlessly time marches forward.

You helped them learn to slow down, get back on the floor, color.

You remind us all to play.

You remind us all to seek out joy, to witness the beauty in the world, to be amazed and excited about how awesome this world really is, and we get to watch you see it all for the first time.

You helped them be better people, just by being here.

You make me a better person. You challenge me. You make me laugh. You wear me out. You have helped me heal and grow as a woman, as a mother, as a person.

I can't wait to see who you become.

Thanks for completing our family, sweet boy.

I love you.

Happy birthday baby,

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