Makaila holds them in the air confidently and together in unison, “check.”
Lola likes this game, a competitive little thing she spots it under my seat, holds it up and shouts, “GOT IT!”
I feel the anxiety rise, in the form of fearful thoughts as I breathe deep, feeling the weight of that much like an invisible foot, pressing deeply into my chest.
“Where’s my phone?”
“Got it,” Kat says in that snarky preteen way, pulling my iPhone out her back pocket to scroll my apps like a pro.

I live in a world of logic, a place ruled by efficiency and time management.
Twenty years ago, I only had to worry about my alarm in the morning.
Now I hear Lola’s game loudly playing on the iPad coming from the back seat, Kat’s FaceTime phone conversation with Camilla as she adjusts the radio to a higher volume, my hand slapping hers playfully. The sounds of my blinker, Siri telling Kat what day her birthday is, the horn of an angry woman and yelling makes me forget the music volume entirely.
She is screaming at another car like someone just abducted her child, flipping the bird in the air she speeds by me, on her cell phone the entire time.
My GPS begins to talk as I nod acknowledgement to Lola who chatters constantly, not hearing a word she is saying.

It is fifteen minutes of the same red light, cars pumping their breaks in anticipation to pull into the parking lot, where there are more angry people, fighting over what looks like a parking space. I nervously check and recheck their Claire’s gift cards, my Paypal card, which I can’t find at first, so I check faster as I motion to Kat to be patient, shake my finger at Lola who at any minute could be in the middle of the street.

“Found it.” I exhale in relief, the door shutting behind me which I do not lock, just in case.

I have had too many terrifying incidents of locking my keys in the car, dangling in the ignition I see them, just as it is about to rain.
I can’t go through it today.
I do smile at the girls who are the most blessed gifts and reminders to feel the joy in life, who point out the half turned Apple sticker on my car bumper.
It was Kat’s idea to put it there after one night losing my van in a massive outlet store parking lot. She was horrified.
She decided there were way too many grey vehicles in the world so we needed a way to spot it.
“Genius!” I told her, hugging her to try and overcompensate for the guilt I feel.
She only pats these days, a brief pat to the back in no presence of teenagers is all I hope for in recognition that we are okay.
Even then, I suspect she must be in the greatest mood, so I seize the opportunity to lock her in a body tight hug, which she screams, but I don’t care.

Lola thought it was the best thing ever, being driven around by the security guard in a real golf cart, but not Kat.
I wince thinking of how I must affect her, being so much like her Daddy, life makes sense in lists, schedules, routines, and chores.

That was the year she wanted only a label machine so she could nicely line her crayons and pens to label them.
“No toys?” I asked her, Lola and I making astonished eye contact at the thought of the reality one might want a label machine, a bad joke to us.
I knew we were each other’s worst nightmare if not handled sensitively.
So, I let her be the grown up adult she came in the world being, let her be in charge of the things that give her anxiety, like the Apple sticker, which makes her a great problem solver.

“Okay,” I sighed.
“Mom, can I have her toy?” Lola asked, her eyes twinkling in mischief.
So, today I cringe over Kat, her pointing out the genius of her Apple sticker reminds me that I must drive her bonkers.
I was already tired and we hadn’t even crossed one thing off our list.

Living in this world can feel excruciating at times, but it never fails that my perception of the women around me can make it that much worse.
I see a woman with four children and a mountain of items piled neatly, her children in matching boutique clothing, a monogram baby bag hangs off the cart.
“Is she actually wearing lipstick?” I think as I stare, for this to me is a regular epiphany that I am existing on the wrong planet.
Four kids under the age of ten and the fucking woman has on perfect lipstick, manicured feet and probably every item on her list and it isn’t even noon.

“Bitch.” I think in my head and laugh.
If you can’t be one of them, you might as well be in rebellion against them.
Most days I have a sense of humor and love of adventure that drives me through the anxiety, letting me shrug it off, remind Kat that spontaneity isn’t always a bad thing, playing loud music and car dancing to make my point.
Not today.
Today it feels like a heavy blanket of hopelessness, not just guilt for not behaving up to Kat’s expectations but shame, which is much worse than guilt.
Guilt is the feeling of not liking what you do but shame is the feeling of not liking who you are.
The last stop to the QT for gas and I am depleted of all my energy and my head is pounding from the noises, my hands actually hurt from gripping the wheel too tightly.
When it was our time to pay, I realize I left my debit card in the car.
Lola tells the line of people and the lady not to worry, that her mom has “ADULT DISORDER DEFINITELY” or “A.D.D.” and they all laugh hysterically.
Leave it to Lola to play my own coping mechanism perfectly.
Make them laugh, let them believe you’re crazy, making fun of yourself always wins friends and gets you invited back for playdates.
The laugh makes it all okay for her, Kat groans “What now?” and I want to cry.
On good days I have the ability to laugh at myself whole heartedly, but not today.

Today I am dying.

My 36th Birthday with Bethany Mota

ImageI know what I was thinking.

“Who’s Bethany Mota?” 

NOW I know what 6 million you tube subscribers were thinking.

“Who the freak doesn’t know Bethany Mota?”

Seriously, guys. My 36th birthday only happens once and the only way to spend it is with my girls. I wonder if I had been born twelve years ago, like Kat, if I would love Bethany Mota too. An entire day to meeting her at Lenox Mall to be the top 300 to get an autograph and I still have no idea who the hell she is. Yes, I know. I am showing my age.

First of all, it was the first and maybe last time I checked them out to actually ditch school. I secretly thought that was the most exciting part but Kat’s reaction was priceless. She was pale, glaring at Lola to shut her big mouth, whispering to me to meet her outside so she wouldn’t get caught “ditching this prison.”

I am so glad she is my polar opposite. I think I wrote the notes to ditch school in perfect parent handwriting. In fact, I know I did. She reminded me nervously that it was only for emergency, and like always, I tell her to chill out! She would still have her perfect attendance record. 

Along with her best friend, the girls and I ended up in a line HOURS before her appearance, to save our spot in line. I am not a line person, people. I don’t do Black Friday and God knows I don’t do Bethany What’s Her Name Mota. If I could have made my birthday, it would have been in line at a concert, which makes me wonder if I was born 12 years ago, like Kat, would I worship a You Tuber?

I still am clinging to “HELL No.”

I hope just like I wasn’t a boy band groupie, I would maintain my nonconformist self and use school ditching for more rock n roll and less “Selfies” and “Instagram.”

Goodbye 35. You were hard, mean, and life transforming.

I’m creating a colorful year, and about to watch my first Bethany Mota video to prove it.


GCD or “Grown Children of Divorce”

Understanding your negative belief systems, where they came from and why they are formed is never easy.
It is a life long process, the Imagemotherfucking onion of life, peeling away layer after layer.
My mom was always my best friend. She is a delightful person, funny, consoling and kind. She would have and probably did give the shirt off her back if it meant helping me.
I not only love her now, but back then, I adored her.
My Dad and I, back in the day, were never close. It was a methodical relationship with the same questions, forced hugs, and I always thought if it weren’t for my mom, he would not even know me.
So of course I plunged to her behalf, an adult woman gone through divorce herself, was going to protect her best friend and mother. It wasn’t until that one day, months after I left a note asking my Dad to never contact me again, these thoughts would start to irritate me.
Like, why did I get a divorce for my own fucking parents? My mom told me she wanted one and I offered up my services readily. Or did I?
Why did her own best friend tell me I could never have the life of my choosing, that my mother would never have it?
She had said the word free, and that church guy had used, whats that word, oh, codependent?
These were all new revelations that for that the first time, I couldn’t go to her about.
Why was I always protecting her? From who and for what? Wasn’t I the grown child experiencing the heartbreaking gun fire of a divorce the one who needed protecting?
So, why was I intercepting letters so gross and horrendous from my father?
They weren’t written to me. They were written to her. And yet, the entire family would uproot any day she received one, certain she was too weak to handle its content.
Could that be, well sick?
Could my own mother actually not have all the answers? Maybe she was as sick as he was but I was too codependent on her love and affection to see it?
And there, there was the day my mother pivoted from Entity to an actual person.
What does one do with this when the questions don’t stop coming and the answers never seem to show up.
At least, without hurting her or me in the process. I so hated hurting her.
Then, I got to see my father in a clearer light, objectively and as a husband, not a father.
I had not known the difference, my own pain was over issues with him that had occurred in their marriage, not specific to me at all.
It was information no adult child should have ever had, so who did that make me?
The greater the relationship with my father deepened, the more it became real to me, the father away she seemed to be.
I can now see that was the beginning of much needed understanding as to the life I had created and why. It was the first moment of clarity, amongst upheaval, shame and denial when I allowed myself to see what was broken inside of me and why.
It was allowing myself a search all on my own and being without her, the most beloved relationship I ever have had. I couldn’t have both. I had to give up one.
It was a price that nearly killed me.
If I were to tell the truth, the price of not having her is a void I don’t know how to fill, a road map without a destination.
I don’t want you to confuse death as a bad or good thing.
Death is a transformation of its own. I have died again and again and again.
How can I know tomorrow’s chapter if I’m stuck on the page I’m on?
So, you let it die.
You turn the page and before you know it, the person you could feel crying a room away is a stranger, so you must look in the mirror and die.
But, at least its real. I know the reflection, for all the good and bad, there is no longer confusion.
It’s just me.
The reflection is finally a mirror instead of a painting, a portrait of a woman I had only known inside of me, instead of a separate person, an identity entirely separate on its own.
I had for my whole adult life not known the real difference.
And I wonder why I choose codependent relationships, especially with females?
But, oh God how I miss those paintings.

Whack 2013 Moments

imageI was thinking about some of my favorite 2013 moments. I’m not sure I can possibly number them so how about a list? How about……

  • The online date who suggested I bring wine and a fire log wasn’t being a hopeless romantic. He had no heat in his apartment.
  • My ex who I have YET to blog name accused me of being on the dating site “LINKED IN.”
  • Kat, who after seeing Lola cry because a child at school convinced her she was being stalked by a cougar, took it upon herself to find the child’s number and called the parents herself.
  • Lola, from the back seat of the car saying, “Hey mom, you ever heard of Paul Revere? That guy just kills me…..”
  • Finding video footage of Kat convincing Lola to leap off tall furniture in attempts to get more you tube followers.
  • The fact I started a job fooling an entire company of people that I did not in fact, live in my van. I can’t believe I got away with that. Thank God for gym showers and McDonald’s wifi.
  • Lola getting drums for Christmas and nearly fainting on the floor.
  • My father attempting to join UFO conventions.
  • When my ex was told to wait in the emergency room for having a piece of metal stuck in his eye, he called a ambulance himself from the front door with his cell phone to be admitted faster.
  • Actually recruiting for a living, after having made fun of my dad my whole life for being one, I now was embarrassing myself talking into a head set.
  • Kat, a snarky preteen found online what she thinks is the “perfect” family. They are the TURD family and all their kids have TURD in their names to conceal their real identity. There is Baby Turd, Brother Turd, Princess Turd…She told me how she couldn’t imagine having such a great family and her own blog name. I thought about changing her name to Kat TURD, and revealing her in this blog! I’d be mom of the year right? Then I realized she would see how often I curse and use it against me. Then I realized she would one day be able to find this and while Lola beat her drums, I nearly fainted too.

What on earth will 2014 bring?

According to Lola, its already got a bad vibe because a black kid in her class said Martin Luther King wasn’t real. She was very upset by this. “BUT MOM, HE IS BLACK!” It blew her mind. Third grade will do that to you.

2013 sure as hell did.

I’m Not a Fucking Robot

image“I’m Not a Fucking Robot” was a line I used in an email tonight.

I’m feeling stuck in my life right now. I’ve been feeling stuck for awhile..

SO, of course when a certain someone points out the obvious, I don’t mention the “UNSTUCK” app on my IPad.

Seriously, there is an UNSTUCK app guaranteed to help you out of your stuck situation by asking how your feeling in the moments your feeling stuck.

I give it a shitty one star. Actually, I should get the one star for using it a whole two times.

No, I don’t agree, at least not away. I argue. I argue with the certain person, you know the one you always want to see you in the good light you are but never does, cause maybe you aren’t.

I mentioned to this person that they were like a well to me, one I stupidly bring my good intentions to in hopes for validation. Then each time I stupidly walk back empty handed.

“I’m NOT YOUR WELL!” The person said.

It’s true. I shouldn’t need a person outside myself to validate shit. I’m reading ALL ABOUT it in my Codependency books. Here is my question to the Universe. I don’t want any person to be my well nor do they want to be that. I know by my reading what the name is. I know I have it, am it, bring myself to live it, over and over. How do I make it stop? And quickly because for one…I hate it.

For two, it’s making me stuck.

What kind of conundrum is that? And it makes me laugh at myself this “I’m NOT a fucking Robot” statement.

No shit, Miss Obvious. You have clearly never been one of those.

The Worst Drug I Ever Did

imageHe was the most charming man I ever met in my life.

We were moved in by day 7, already professing “I love you” and “Do you love me?” in whispers, on texts, running to him after work like I was in some damn Disney movie I loathe.

I lost my ever loving mind, people.

I know from reading as many self help books as I have that this is the nuclear of red flags, this “Let’s get Married and Fuck Like This Forever” flag.

If it helps you to understand my case, I met him barely a week after my car went in the shop for a new transmission.

“Money?” he said. “Baby I just need a good woman to help manage mine.”

Dear God. I need a blog name for him but it kills me because his nickname is too ironic, too perfect for me to even think up.

I’ll sit on it.

The man whirled me in, took my breath away and I mean literally people, cause I think I just gained consciousness, six long hard months later.

Mr. Hurricane? Nope. Not even that will suffice.

Good night.

Anyone going to bed with “Women who love too much?” or “Codependency No More?”

I couldn’t be the only one but maybe I shouldn’t ask cause the lack of answer may drain the blood out of me tomorrow.


My Night in the Slammer

imageI had never been arrested before.

The police officer validated that what I had told him was true, and so, he asked, “Why had I done this?”

I had been unemployed for months, let go from a job I had liked and was really good at, and the searching for a new one had been excruciating. I was terrified. I had lived in my car a year ago, getting showers at the gym and parking at a 24 hr Walmart to pee. I couldn’t go back. My daily Craig’s list search had been tiring and depressing until one night, late, I saw a posting for a writing position, one clearly above my requirements.

My heart opened up and beat fast as I read its description. I would be paid to learn SEO, to drive up traffic writing blogs, would be connected in a safe and friendly environment of writers, encouraging and pushing each other to our best.

One of the requirements was to enter work published which I cringed, my diary of a broken life was clearly unprofessional. So, I took a risk. I wrote an intro out of left field, meant to charm and if nothing else, make my reader laugh hard enough to want to meet me. It was desperate but so was I.

The next day I got a reply for a meeting on Skype, part one of the hiring process. I was shocked, panicked, and thrilled. The woman on the other end was an entrepreneur, a writer, a blogger, already a mentor. I wanted this job like a dream I never wanted to wake up from, to be a paid author was always what I wanted, since fifth grade.

The final day of the hiring process would be in a sky rise building looking over Atlanta, with clear glass windows and working professionals, and only a day away, I was anxiety ridden.

My demons came up to wrestle me. They taunted me, my worth and abilities, all my failures were thrown at me like dirt.

I looked at this police officer and I realized I had lost to them, that my dream was killed before it ever even started and killed by my own hands. I wanted to scream but instead like more a therapist than a cop, I told him I wanted to just escape them, the pain, the fear, the drowning. I told him through sobbing the truth of how I saw myself, the battle to love myself once again, was over.

I felt his empathy, saw him cringe as he placed handcuffs on me, his eyes avoiding mine as I sobbed, heart breaking sobs of humiliation, failure, loss and self loathing.

I had never been this far removed from my own integrity, the shame was unbearable, and I decided I would stay in jail till I rotted before this shameful day ever became exposed.

The car ride to the jail was dark and it was pouring, the rain pounded my window at the same rhythm my tears pounded my soul. He returned a small part of my dignity, taking the cuffs off, reminding me it was my first offense, telling me he wasn’t even going to pat me down. He even gave me a dixie cup of water.

Then he told me if I called someone, maybe I could be out by morning.

My ego and shame refused him before he could even try to explain. The demons had won. Let them rejoice.

“Well, let’s go meet the ladies,” he said half laughing, directing me to my cell. I started thinking of all the Netflix shows I had watched and my heart started to pound wildly. I thought I was going to fall over, my knees were certainly about to buckle.

Four pairs of eyes stared at me, four pairs of legs took up all the room on the bench so I plopped down on the freezing stone floor. I could see the curiosity so true to my nature, I broke the ice with a joke.

“Y’all in here for murder too?”

Three of them were just babies, the fourth was snoring, obviously bat ass crazy.

The middle two laughed, big mouthy grins showing white teeth next to their dark skin, the one on the end was a little older turned her back to me and faced the wall, kicking her feet in defiance. The old lady snored wildly, her face in between her skinny legs.

The one I nicknamed “Little” for being so young my heart ached for her glared. “Who gave you that water? I ain’t got water and I have high blood pressure.”

“Only serial killers get dixie cups of water,” I explained and offered it to her.

She wrinkled her nose at me while her sister/cousin/friend began to pace, yelling at the guards she wanted her phone call. I was clearly meant to be the group leader, age and mental health claimed it.

I told her to sit down and I would handle it. The yelling was driving me nuts. I had already eyed my easiest target, a young white male without any badge. I pointed at him and summoned him with my finger. “Officer Dan! We need you over here.”

He blushed, mumbled he wasn’t named Dan, and Little made fun of him, which I glared at her for.

“Your doing a great job!” I said sweetly.

And a little chit chat gave Middle a phone call, which I made her thank him for, which she did genuinely.

She came back and hugged Little, telling her that the babies were fine, that social workers hadn’t come and that Little’s baby needed her medicine.

They both started to sob, holding each other, and Little cried, “I want my baby!” over and over. Being a mama this just brought Kat and Lola to my mind and I told them anything that would ease the pain. They had been arrested for stealing diapers from Walmart.

Bat ass crazy lady awakened, mumbling things I couldn’t make out, which made her use the wall to brace herself to walk over to me, handing me two clues. One piece of paper ripped with scratchy writing and one calling card for ten dollars.

“I have cataracts.” she said.

So, taking her cue I used the jail phone to call over and over, punching in the ten digit code till I thought I would go mad. Each time, a recording came on. She was clearly sick, and Little had whispered she got left by a man on the side of the road when she stole a crock pot for her daughter.

She was trembling so hard and now it was almost violent, her legs and arms were involuntarily shaking. She told me she had breast cancer, fourth stage, and they wouldn’t give her the meds she had on her when arrested.

Like hell they wouldn’t. I yelled for a guard, who said basically tough luck and to watch her, that she may need to go to the E.R.

She was a sweet old woman and I told the other girls to help me as we surrounded her, each of us using our body heat and arms to warm her, which worked like a baby being rocked, finally she went back to sleep.

The room now became more like an Oprah show than a jail cell, each of us sobbing over our babies and lives, it was ironic to me we were a supposed risk to society.

Two had stolen diapers for young children, one had stolen a crock pot for her daughter who she felt guilty for having to take care of her sick with cancer, and I had stolen an outfit, for a job I would never make it to.

Or so I thought. The others had told me to call anyone, to not give up, but I couldn’t do it to my Dad, who had helped me so much. They championed me to try and so I was let out, all night of crying and shaking on that stone floor had brought out the survivor in me.

I had time. Not a lot of time but enough to run for my life, take a cab to my car and race to the house to shower, heels in my hand as I flew out the door and somehow, by the grace of the Almighty, got me there to the top floor of a beautiful tower, where lovely sandwiches and gourmet coffee was served.

“Your name tag is on backwards,” one of the writers said laughing, pointing to my chest.

“If you only knew”, I thought, turning it face up, I wanted to cry from a well of gratitude.

Even in the face of my greatest nightmare, I had deserved this. I forgive myself and tell my demons to fuck off, say a prayer for those women, who connected me back to my heart and to life. I hope they are safe and well, wherever they are.

Stay Calm and Twerk On


I feel like I’m back from a long summer, sitting at a wooden school desk with unfamiliar name tags on the surrounding tables, but I can’t read them because my blue coke bottle glasses are in my back pocket.
I’m sitting half on them with my ass positioned to not break them kinda like I’m about to deliver a massive fart. This seems a favorable choice rather than look like a huge nerd terd with glasses on, my first day of school, the year my mom put me back INTO my brothers grade, HALF way through the school year, in MIDDLE SCHOOL for the love of God.

I had straight A’s but she wasn’t ready for High School yet.
I digress.
I’m probably 13.

Perhaps being legally blind and blond worked for me, not being able to see the strange looks and finger pointing helped, although I did have perfect hearing unfortunately.

“Psst. PSST. Where’s your brother? Who are you?”
“Hey. Is he coming back? We have basketball fourth period.”

I told the truth, but as always, a little too loudly.

“He’s going to be much bigger for his grade now, so thank ME when he dunks like Jordan or at least gets off the bench!”

Like now, everyone back then laughed, and like today, I never have any idea why.

I was done with this stupid blog.
Thank God Lola dropped my Macbook, this depressing blog of personal private heart break runs like skid marks across the page, just as embarrassing as what one might discover washing dads stinky underwear.

It sucked, the last few years were painful, plus I have turned a new page, my mothering more alive and healed than ever, Kat and Lola stories are my favorites, so many too tell, plus a new job with colorful hilarious characters.
So, I began to itch to write.

But all the judging voices came to play (Not real ones so sorry to disappoint.)

Then a funny thing happened.
Kat went to fifth grade.

I became her life line for handling mean girls, and seriously, I should be a Middle School life coach.
God, I’ve been dying to write down my true feelings about those little bitches, the things Kat never hears me say.
Yes, I do act like an adult even though I DON’T WANT TO!

Narcissistic mean children with flat chests, cell phones, and clueless parents.
What mean and heinous creatures Middle School girls are!

It is survival 101 and Kat is wide eyed, unsure how to move in their territory.
She has always been highly sensitive and easily hurt, her big and bad attitude a direct front.

And so, I asked myself, how could I teach her to be authentic and real, a girl cool enough to roam the halls her own way with her own style, unaffected by the haters, focused on who she liked and what she thought rather than what others would say…..

If I couldn’t even face my own damn blog?

So for her, I hope to lead with courage, not let others define me or the voices defeat me.

I must be the thing I tell her to go be.

I must be just me, and if I eat alone, get whispered about, get directly bitch slapped or ignored, its gonna be okay.

I may even Twerk just to prove it.


I’m starting to wonder if I was born in the wrong century.

I’m not sure how it began, and yes, I know, trust me, I know, many suggest Adam lost his virginity after losing a rib, which was put into his woman, Eve.

I suppose she was thrilled the only jackass left in the garden was throwing her over his shoulder, so I wonder how she enjoyed it, waking up to a rib, a man, God, and some good old fashioned Garden of Eden humping.

Adam would say it was, “Good,” wouldn’t he?
Don’t they all still say that?

I still don’t understand how they populated the earth.
The lady teaching VBS was certain they weren’t fornicating with each other’s sister or brother, but 20 something years later,
I still have my hand up, not getting called on.

That shit doesn’t even make sense.

Neither does Match and all online dating, believe me, I now see the sense of losing a body organ to get this shit over with.
What a bizarre phenomenon it is to click a small square of someone’s face, and yep, in documented form
here have your potential rib mate who is listing out traits like they came straight off the Kroger lot, stamped, separated and organized by ingredients listing everything from their perfect date to the height and age they want in a man or woman.
It’s kinda creepy.

I think tribal days were at least more relaxing, some body paint, your already naked so you skip that whole nightmare.

Those ladies shake breasts all the way down to the floor with fire, not like Eve who had all the shame of being naked, which is a plus.

Not to mention I bet if you are top contender to the chief, he will pass the pipe, or at least I know my Tribal man would.

Maybe next life but in this one, it goes quite like this.

(A smile or a “Hellllll NOOO” usually fills the silence) and sometimes a call to Thelma to laugh in hysterics at what these men have to say, as I grocery shop on, sampling contenders subject lines, like I’m hungry at Costco or something, but five hours later, still never full.
Shopping for men is way harder than Eve ever knew, considering she had ONE to consider, not 100 Adams,
all using their best sales pitch, bringing on the charm,
as they advertise why you should well, sample their “meat.”

I have 100 blogs saved to entertain you on that alone, but this is about a contender in camo, a dude I shall call “The Soldier” for now, but that still doesn’t sit quite right yet either.

My pointer finger was actually needing cracked from overuse of hitting “Delete” again and again, but I saw him and quite out of my routine frankly, I stopped.

Strange move to make for myself actually, seeing as men in uniform give me that unescapable heart race, not the good kind, but the kind that sends adrenaline telling you to make a mad dash for the bushes and hope to God smeared mascara doesn’t qualify a breathalyzer or even worse, handcuffs.
It’s completely stupid I know, seeing as I haven’t run from the cops since my prom limo caught on fire, CLEARLY not my fault but my drunk ass date, who made no apologies for the fact this event was only happening because of his mom, who without a doubt picked out my rose wrist corsage, now soaked in beer by her belligerent son. I can still picture her pointing to her mouth a lot like Honey Boo Boo’s Mama, with her little digital camera, waving like we were going out at half time during the Rose Bowl.
Tires come hard to find I suppose on white limos, and thank God I didn’t order steak, or I might have had to put out.

I did stare for a minute, unsure how a young man cub who appeared to be riding something like a bob cat, but loaded with Rambo accessories, probably during the George Bush administration, I assumed.
I don’t know why I assumed Georgie Porgie, probably Clinton should be a better choice when I saw what I believed to be the gas mask I had not hit since college, but that mask could clearly kill you from the smell of bong water, no protection from fumes there.

He was stoic, and staring at me.
Kind of a serious face too, and even a little dead or coldness could be felt from his eyes, but he had beautiful big blue eyes, which didn’t seem to fit anything around him.
His expression was a shot I would have liked to claim myself as a Photographer, the one you can’t ever have.
No one can be coached or still for long enough, or that good of an actor. That expression couldn’t be explained but it had it’s own explanation, just the same.
He was just what he was, a baby face with dead gorgeous eyes staring straight thru me, telling me he had the smell of man’s blood right beneath him.

I read people pretty well in photos and in emails so I was instantly curious what the hell this man wanted with me.
I think I said I was the poster child for ADD and liked tube socks and sex on dryers.
Judge me.
I like to keep it light when being added to someone’s grocery dating cart.
I don’t believe I suggested violence, war, mohawks, or stone cold grinless dudes, and what they came packaged with, I had not a clue.

I felt that immediate guilt of being one of those damn U.S.A. “Love the Troops” assholes while privately grinding my teeth at night for all the reasons I did not agree they be dying, something I had no thought of attempting to do myself.
Even more, I would never entertain disrespect of that act of courage and maybe even insanity, a few friends I had that did come back, never did.
How do you see someone you love deteriorate before your eyes and even worse, who do you blame, where and who will pay for the loss, the very brothers cheered by celebrity telethons are left moaning drunken four o clock a.m. horrors, mourning and howling songs of dead children and a weeping so deep and so I ask, who cheers them on now?
I wanted his soul back and I wanted someone to pay.

So, I passed that email, my friend’s memory made my stomach queasy, a little uncomfortable at any forced political polite discussion, certain I would never look back to read the stoic man’s emails, but I did.

I did.

It was long.
It was extremely serious, with many demands, such as “YOU WILL READ” and “YOU WILL SEND” with little commentary as to what he wanted in the first place, any question of such was left with the maddening answer, “I need you to answer some of my questions first,” as if he were on a special part of the Universe the rest of us had to take a “Special” SAT to be considered, his questions only, none of yours seemed important, only what you did not get, understand, or what he would not be tolerant of.
HIs needs were loud and in bold print.

I couldn’t stand the guy.
I wanted the guy.
I couldn’t stand the guy.
I wanted the guy.

I thought I sent out a pretty harsh reaction, certain this was the type who accepted no subordination from anyone, much less a female, the kind he pointed out needed help understanding, the fire within burst into mad scribbling, and the “send” function was in progress way before a real thought, something not usual for me.
I like to put things away, to avoid reactionary statements and hurtful assumptions, but this guy was KILLING me.
I was certain he was done.

And then, a thoughtful and intelligent reply, explaining what can’t be said in a text, words linking before sounds and body mannerisms even put into play make a lover into a fighter, with nothing but a tone to understand the difference.

He was right.
I hate being wrong.
He was right. I had been mistaken so many times through text, with best friends, and so this soldier, one of a billion, just opened the thought that changed my mind.

By this time, men were squirreling into the picture, and yet that heart flop when he was there in the email, suggesting a playlist read NOW sent an irritating thrilling sensation into me, and there was no doubt that fire came from beneath his fingers, wherever he was, for I felt it, a touch delivered through the phenomena of the digital age, it didn’t matter.

I could feel him, everything about him, without any idea of how to understand him, just the same.

That was the most difficult of all.
A few intoxicating conversations drenched in sexual chemistry and hot exchanges right before we met, he left.

He called me at every point, from plane leaving, landing, exchanging, to baggage and back home, even during dinner, his friends from out of town were put on hold, and I was crazy about him, or the idea of him.

I realized I had been hungry for someone on the planet to connect my experiences with, and to be challenged by someone who had shared and seen the loss I had, to give me direction and history of their own path, and just by being alive and awesome, I knew I had fit somewhere no one else could.

That is rare in the world of Soldier and I.

I told him a big secret, one no one, family or friend or journal alike, had known.

I couldn’t believe his reaction, my stomach almost unable to breath from fear, my heart almost muffled his reply, but I stopped and heard laughter and in that deep sexy working class man’s throat, “That’s awesome.”

I am absolutely positive the secret I shall take to God with me is nothing but awesome, but from him, he justified it as such, and I laughed along, certain I had it all wrong until not meeting him.

But, like all people who change us, who teach us, who remind us we are capable of loving like mad wolves unable to be kept caged or controlled, these are always the ones who are the lone wolves, certain to claw the other members of the pack to death, the intention never mattered, only the emotion in the moment, what might be playful could eventually kill us, and as he believes, “Violence is Everything.”
It is just the nature of the beast, and no matter what I say about my love of peace and hatred of war, I am torn from his cloth, and I as well, can not make my heart beat to satisfy his, no matter how he moved my mind in ways others hadn’t touched.

It was in fact, the first realization I was meeting another member of the wild, a lone wolf who decided who and what entered his territory, and as much as I wanted to be that, I could not.
How I wished it different, the intensity of desire lit me from places I forgot were even a part of my body, drenching, begging, asking, teasing.

That is what it is to be from the wild.

It is a lonely, intoxicating and passionate ride.

The day he said he would never contact me, yelled at me and hurt me, a child who accidentally picked up the kitten the wrong way, making it yelp and everyone turned to stare was me, on the other end of the line.
He was the screaming lion, angry at the way he had been tossed about with little respect from the likes of a child, biting his way nastily out of my reach.
Like all children, I cried from confusion and sadness.

The ending came with tears on the very day of a long day at work, long driveways and hills kept me breathing hard and fast, within minutes of our ending, the hurt came, the lone wolf had returned to camp.
Or in my case, human form, no other being like him there to remind me of that wild alive beating lioness inside me.
Now I was just me, a human working, a heart barely feeling, a job just doing.

I heard a child yell up at me, and I turned.

“Miss!!! Watch out! The mean dog is loose!”

I nodded, in this place, a dog lover anyways, plus with a heart burning and beating pain, I shrugged.

“Bring it.” I thought.

And then I saw him.

He was bigger than I had seen, a German Shepherd, trained, and I knew it by his eyes, moving like a human’s would, identifying his prey.
He was smart as hell.
He circled wide parts of the yard, never stopping in, but surveying his options, and I knew I should be scared, but I wasn’t.
I waited, allowed him to see what stepped onto his own, this wolf was of royalty, and I now understood the child.

He would be respected.

I thought it was just him and I, alone, and so I in the most centered place I had ever known so far, spoke aloud.

“Listen, I know this is yours, alright?
I know you own and will use violence and any cost to keep me away.
But, I really want to knock on that door you see and I will just sit here and wait until you say it’s okay.”

I have no idea where this came from, nor the lack of fear, perhaps from losing that fear of death along time ago, I really didn’t give a damn if my last moments alive were being eaten to shreds and posted all over the news.

It sounds gruesome, but in that big yard of woods, he was really beautiful and I knew he had a part to play, just as I did.

He began to circle, fast and loud, so loud my heart pounded at first, in large demands of me, but I just sat and played with a stick.
Then he circled closer, snarling and sniffing, and I almost laughed at his attempt to show teeth, as if a human’s teeth couldn’t destroy his, only humans don’t leave marks. Nor do they kill, but it’s worse, I thought.
You walk the earth wounded and nothing to prove how or why or what happened.
He then stopped, looked, stopped and so I followed, bringing up a few things here and there about the yard needing some service work, and when he brought me up to the door, I knew I had been chosen.

It was one of my most proud moments, even sticking his tongue on a part of my hand, yet not licking as if playing hard to get.
I told him it was ridiculous to have gone through all of that, just for an empty door, but I was allowed to touch him, and to my horror, when I turned, a man was in the yard staring at me like I had a head of fire coming straight at him.

“How the hell did you do that?”
I was confused.
He showed me his taser, explaining the dog’s fearful appearance and the means they would have to take to protect the children, themselves.

In that moment, I was proud, for I had seen them both, my Soldier and my Lone Wolf, and they had chosen me.
I had known my place and in my own Spirit of the pack, I had been motioned forward, something I knew had not been done before or maybe not again.
But, it was the wolf that took away the hurt of the Soldier, the sadness I carried was no longer a weight to carry.
The soldier could tell me but I couldn’t really hear him, my seeing him was justice enough for me, but now I see the lesson.
He had to be this way with me, tasters, violence, judgements and enemies were not waiting for me, just out for a friendly walk.
I had not wanted to see it, the lesson I wanted to believe untrue, for that would mean he and I could never live amongst the fences, with the chatty neighbors, friendly cook outs and big pots of free food.
We couldn’t even live as lone wolves, for it is not in our order, nor our nature.
I had been confused in his hostility, believing I had shown and proved to be part of his pack, knew his language, and wanted him to take me. He had to snap and hurt me, to show me he didn’t have a place with me, not even in the deepest understanding one might have, he had his reasons.
I had not believed, because in seeing him and loving him, just like the wolf, I assumed I saw what they all saw.
I was wrong.
Tazers and Watchings and Warnings and Fences were not for me, but him, and I saw now that he had to be violent to survive, just as he had said, that they saw nothing.
He would never be anything else.
He came with that guard because he was born to be something man can’t grasp or teach, something to fear and hurt, and just because I was welcomed didn’t mean I was one of him.

But it didn’t mean I couldn’t love him from afar, wish I had been feared and hurt so I could be with him and only him, a request only a lone wolf would make, and so I see now.
We may have been torn from the same cloth but his freedom could only be dictated by him, because of this, and for him, which meant his rules would be mine, for by loving him I would seldom roam the yards, free, and he knew this.
Being with him cost something, and he and only he decided what that path would hold.

But, I shall come to his fence and sit, cause even in the lonely hearts of lions and wolves who roam without a pack, there is always room for the unexpected.

And yet, some creatures weren’t born to fall in love.

And yet, I will always wait for him.

“Butterflies Transform, even the Dead Ones”

The truth is my family, maneuvered by my mother didn’t just leave me. The kids woke up ten years of having weekly family events, daily talks and walks with their Nana, and in one phone call, she hasn’t come to see them since. They had aunts and uncles and festivities, Easter egg hunts, birthday cakes, years of hugs and presents in sweetly wrapped bundles to open.
She claims I won’t let them near her and if I thought her so awful, why would I want such an influence on them?
Nothing is uglier or more painful than that lie, the keeping of my babies from anyone’s love for them, and there have been many, many lies.
In the wake of our divorce, I held on to my ex Divorcee, for dear life, wanting so badly to never fear a drop of love missing from their hearts, Daddy’s little cups, I moved us all in together, only hoping they would know love, no matter the cost.
That cost has been mighty for Divorcee and I both, now fully aware of the insanity and sickness two lives denying personal truth, conviction, and potential relationships in the midst of much judgement, some praise, but I didn’t care at the time.
I wasn’t thinking then about what the future would bring.
I was selfish in denying my own pain, not the girls, but mine.
I would live years drenched in the split of my own needs and his and theirs, guilt ridden unhealthy people don’t model more love by both living under one roof.
That choice would merely enforce the reality of both of our fears, that divorce would traumatize me and him, not them, for if we saw the cost of this day, I know we would have chosen differently.
I didn’t believe then I was strong enough without his crutch, that I could handle the ungodliness of not knowing every word they breathed, every fever they would wake from; I chose to selfishly share two broken dreams in attempt to save theirs, a cover up, for me.
I can say I know I made that choice, one of the very few, entirely on my own. I look back now in horror to see I didn’t make any choices in my marriage that my mother was not consulted, included, and her words were straight from God, or so I believed.
I can vividly remember the day she came storming in, eyes lit in passion and motherly outrage, her judgements of him thick and harsh, her intuition correct in many ways, but it was not her place, not like that.
He had adopted her as mother as well, crying in the car on the phone to her, she consoled him, every detail of our marriage was never, not a day, our own.
I found in horror, after the marriage ended that she had read a letter Divorcee had written, a love letter and a open knowledge he intended to love me all his life.
I knew well of that letter, unsurprised I was at such a naive 22, I had bought the dress, the very first one I ever tried on, before he even asked.
We had known each other three months.
What I didn’t know well of was that she sent my father, thousands in hand to pay for a ring, a puppet he was, offered him a dream job in Atlanta working for him, paid for him not to work for months, gave us a car and fully paid Honeymoon and wedding, picked out and rented a home to come to, a block away from them, fully furnished.
He knew he loved me.
He knew it wasn’t right.
He betrayed himself to move me, sobbing the six hours there, my own core sick I had left my home, my beautiful
Charleston dream had crashed.
I begged my mother for more time, that November was too cold, that I wanted to go and finish school and live on Folly Road with three of my best friends.
She knew this was unwise, knowing full well I had only just recently been back in touch, could continue back on a path destructive, but I knew these were her fears.

I knew what I wanted. I wanted Charleston, my best friends and my new boyfriend while I worked and lived in the place I love almost like I am planted there, soul in earth.

She was adamant, so afraid of losing the estranged mother I had so missed and loved, wanting to make my bad choices right to her, I sighed deeply and agreed. I’d put everything off and plan a whole wedding in three short months.
I remember not being able to look in my best friends eyes, one stormed out of the room, my two closest girl friends looked at each other, back and forth, and I knew what they were thinking. I don’t even remember arguing, just delivering the news and a ring he proposed with before I was even awake.
I remember being embarrassed I was too groggy to even hear what he said. It was this gorgeous ring, in a black velvet box that lit like a candle to shine down on the diamond so it didn’t make any sense he was proposing in bright sunlight, before my morning coffee, not at night so it could shine, but why not on one knee?

Char I remember saying, “He doesn’t even know you leave all the cabinets open!”
That gives me a gut laugh thinking of it.
They knew me well, living for most my teen and adult years, right in on next and beside one another, cabinet complaints and all.
And still, they showed up for me, all bridesmaids to the waiting doom I felt so I know they did too.

I felt crucified, not joy at leaving Parker, Char, Allie, Mar, my roomies, Emmy, our friendships had been the best gifts God ever granted me.
Some of them better than others, had to let me go.
The wedding I have heard has been a legend favorite to many, dance and drink and cheese castles with butterflies that symbolically were released and all died.

Seriously. All the butterflies hatched and alive were dead, being tossed about by our guests.

Our band, uncanny as it is, were named “The Secrets.”
I grabbed my childhood mom and begged her to get me out of there, my heart only could see all I was losing, not the man I was marrying.
We can’t even remember, either of us, the song we danced to, the Honeymoon raunch with sickness and drunk fighting, I realized I was paying for the hell I had caused.
This was the hell I deserved and years of announcements on holidays where my brothers were praised for helping her through my drama, my drugs, that I never attended a day of rehab for, a side note after Thelma asked if I was a hard user.
“Uh, don’t you think it strange your whole family is still talking about drugs, like before marriage, in college you never even went to rehab for?”

What the hell? She was right!!
Why had I played this ongoing role like a movie or a story played in my head that I was bad on drugs, had devastated everyone, and now, I remember it was tough, for certain, but I had done it by my sure force of will power, estranged and alone, for myself.

I asked Divorcee not to smoke with me and he agreed, nine years older he was ready.

Why was that brought up again and again?

He would ask me again and again to watch our wedding video, but I would not. I remember so vividly the picture that stabbed my heart, him and his best friend on a bench, stoic and his face ash like a corpse, sitting, silent, together looking toward the water, moments before he met me at the altar.

It was the same face I saw in the restaurant, the one my Dad announced our engagement. Horrified, not having been asked at all, I held a fake rose, plastic in fact, the waitress looked confused as he held it up to the whole restaurant and waved it, congratulating us loud and proudly.
Mortified, and still believing my dad was clueless, I did see Divorcee almost faint, I saw him buckle.

Its amazing the things i look back and see, but never really saw.

He looked sick so I apologized for my Dads humor, not piecing till years and years later, he was sick for far worse betrayal than I, explaining his anger from the day we arrived to our house, opened and greeted by mom sweeping, showing her decorations, the table given, the sweet friends who contributed.

I was sick but his betrayal had been far deeper with guilt, for I had loved him, wanted him, the marriage, the move, even broken, I just wanted to see him happy.
He had a far worse fate.
He lived knowing he married me for reasons his heart had not given, the hard truth is still truth.
I don’t know if he ever loved me, not like a man does who waits and holds the ring, anxious and dreaming of putting that on his girl’s hand.
Would we have been that left alone, to ourselves?
I don’t know.
That truth has been denied me, six months into it, a baby was conceived, ironically on an escape trip to Charleston, where my car spun out of control, my husband drove to pick me up, just me and my Sammy, sitting on a truck bench as if cops were on their way to take us back to our cells.

My mother said it had been God’s protection, six months later, our baby Makaila was conceived the weekend I was supposed to be away.
It brought us closer, Divorcee and I say the strings that tied us for years were nothing to do with husband or wife, our vows were sacred because of our children. We committed all of ourselves to them, for them, hoping to be what they deserved.
And I saw him abandoned, his wife who loved him so truly and purely, had to watch his search for a biological father who made promises, big ones, every day he went to the mailbox, I’d throw myself in the shower and sob, knowing nothing had come, just like the weeks before.

And I was there when he called my mother, the truth out. She had made financial offers to him behind my back, had dinners over her fears of my unhealthy lifestyle, my lack of presence as a mom cloaked in pure melting manipulating shit.
She bought him a car when mine was broken down, a family event it was for him to receive it, in front of me and I snooped and found 1,000 dollars addressed to him, a birthday gift when for me, she bought contacts, all she could do at the time.
“She said she wanted to give me the gift of vision, symbolic Vision.”

More like “Devision” ya think?

I knew all this was spinning out of control, not knowing how or what to believe or why, my urgency to leave school with Thelma was unworldly for us both, hairs standing off our necks, no chairs for just us to sit, my look and hers locked.
“Get out of here with me, Thelma. Something is strange and I’m not coming back.”

We both had months of school already paid for and we fled like we were on fire, only staring scarily at each other, the feelings you just don’t say out loud, not even to a mirror, or even her who was feeling it too, the exact urgency, for what? Thelma is a sane logical person who waves her hands up in playful banter whenever I speak of angels, conspiracy, reincarnation, symbolism. She’s just too private to blab about all that.

But I know she believed that day.

I came home and found out the betrayal, confronting it like the child who knows her parent fights thru anything, always has, unconditionally and for forever.
I was wrong.
I watched Divorcee sob into her voicemail, begging her, reminding her nothing could break us, that we loved her, and he did beg. He begged for her love.
He reminded her she called him her son.
She responded by texting me asking for no more threatening calls or lies, that she was done with our sick drama.
I think it was the first time we both through it all, ten years of pain, were completely dumbfounded.
We handled it differently, of course I just felt bad for him, the kids, my own pain was being preserved by some weird physical coping skill called amnesia.
I got lost and didn’t know it until frantic people searching the entire earth , frantic would find me.

I’d cry so hard and long, minutes were hours, or maybe not, and why was I crying? I was bewildered, lost, completely unattached.
Good old Divorcee responded in the way I admire most, by yelling at her furniture and doing wheelies in the front yard, screaming vulgarity but mostly yelling he didn’t care he was using vulgarity, than yelling the actual vulgarity.

Then when he got deleted off Facebook too, for merely “liking a post,” of my writing, aunts and uncles and all family I knew vanished, along with every holiday and birthday since, Lola asking Santa to make her Nana love her Mommy was a wish not even Santa, or God or Satan, could grant. At this point, what was what?
I knew only one thing.
The two of us were all we had left, and what the hell was even that?
I see clearly today after much grief, beginning with denial to anger and bargaining, that a child as myself in a lifetime codependent relationship who is at once severed, fully without contact of love or hate, but fierce silence causes that child to experience much trauma, trauma bonding I believe is an excellent way to describe it.
And that child during bargaining, not letting go of this mother she can’t explain why or how she can love so deeply, to be slapped with total unattached abandonment at first, can not believe for her own self preservation how this is true, her mother’s fault, for anything is more painful than the actual truth.
No, you and your kids and ex are orphans, alone, unloved, and abandoned, even forgotten. No birthday mail would come, no phone calls and during this time, I believe I truly began to transfer all this blame and pain directly onto
Divorcee, who wasn’t coping either.
It was as if nothing real could be shared, nothing was ever there but this dark sadness and cloud of betrayal, confusion, and just his face could trigger every fear, every delusion.
If this could be possible, what else could be?
A scary slope to dwell, my friends.
It was much safer to believe Divorcee had deliberately done this somehow than to survive on a daily basis coping that your mother could do this, be this, and what did that make you?
No one was there to explain to the girls but me, why not a soul came over or called and every birthday was led by more excruciating answers to tell innocent children, and for what?
A year and a half later and unbelievably, I honestly don’t even know.
But, the saddest to me of all was that our dream, our shattered dream of being that lovey married cozy couple had died, so we built a new dream.

A dream on friendship, trust, and love for the girls over ourselves, the only thing we both stood proud for, was being shaken and eaten alive from beneath us.
We lost sight of who we are, our intentions, our pain and betrayal shut one another out, the only thing I loved more than her was this family unit, my little family I had fought bloody hell to forgive and love were now two screaming adults in a driveway, so blind and lost to one another, to our vows, to our children, it was clearly gone forever.
She couldn’t just destroy me.
She had to take the most precious innocent souls in my life down right with me.

Then, it came.
That voice.
My voice, the one who had decided to never ever be hurt or betrayed again, didn’t like this person she had became. Angry, so angry wanting justice and validity only one person could give, yet everyone else paid because she was never going to give it, not ever.

The final stage of grief is Acceptance.

For me it came as calmly as chaotic the other stages came.

Deep in anger and threatening with our girls caught between, light broke somehow by a power greater than me, that unyielding will broke, and I saw it.

Of course when your own mother leaves you, not as a child but a grown woman, most people would say that’s an unlikely to impossible event to occur in their lives.

For me, it is as real as moving states or dropping eggs or doing laundry. It’s not just possible, it happened.
So my tight angry unforgiving blame around Divorcee was going to promise that from happening to me again, you see.

When I saw yes, it could happen, maybe he could destroy what’s left of all my dreams, poison the children to me, take from me what I coveted to be mine.

And I could stop him?
Did I stop her?
It was a choice all along I see now so clearly, not a feeling. You choose to forgive it all and give God what’s not yours to judge, despite your pain.
It is a choice, this vulnerability, this fountain of hate or love is only made by you, and it has nothing to do with Justice, Love, Pain, or Fear.

What I learned, is that it is the meaning of faith, a word I can’t use words to give justice to its power.

I have for the first time in ages, know faith has returned to me, and this Thanksgiving my Dad, Divorcee, and the girls will be playing my dream right in front of me, a gratitude no special day will be needed to remind me.

I will carry its meaning everywhere I go, and I may be the most blessed woman to ever eat Turkey with her babies, dad and friend.
And I forgive her too, with all I am, finally, I can.

I love you Divorcee.
You have taught me how to have and restore my faith, and that my friend, is one damn awesome gift to receive.

I hope you eat some hell out of peach cobbler and ten years down this hell fire storm, I promise we did good.
Those girls were worth it all, so I toast you, on today, November 13, 5 days before that wretched wedding.

Maybe we should throw dead butterflies to welcome our restoration. If anyone, we deserve it :)