Monday, September 18, 2017

Trusting My Gut...

I had someone I trusted implicitly once tell me I shouldn't trust my gut. He told me that my gut was always wrong. And I, like a fool, believed him. While he meant that I shouldn't trust it in certain areas, I, being the all or nothing girl I am, took it to the ultimate degree. I stopped trusting myself when it came to people, falling in love, my life choices, and my writing.

I've been back in school for a bit over a week now. Let me tell you something amazing: by trusting my own gut, I'm discovering that I'm going to be okay. My math skills aren't exactly perfect, but I'm doing better than I imagined. When the professor writes problems on the board, I know what he's talking about. I'm actually able to help others! It's incredible! For me, the biggest step was raising my hand to answer a question! Omg! I was so proud of myself! The guy sitting next to me, made me laugh when he said "Mhmm, you go girl."

Even my writing is coming back. Slowly. I've been working on little writing prompts I find. This is one I wrote a while ago:

She Wanted Me to Break It...

She wanted me to break it…her heart that is. Hell, she expected me to. From the first day I had said “hello,” the beautiful woman expected the worst. Not because of me per se, but because that is what every man before me had done…broke her heart.
One look in those hazel green eyes of hers and I was lost. I had no intention of breaking her heart, her spirit, or anything else. Instead, I wanted to wrap her up in my arms and give her a safe place to call home.
Tears came to her eyes too easily and that made me believe she was fragile and broken. I vowed to be her defender and friend. Her heart was a mess. Her life was a disaster. But there was something about her. Something that made me want to stand beside her.
For two years, I was the man standing there, holding her hand, supporting her. She told me I was the reason for her smile. That I was the reason her world would spin continuously. But I was a fool.
I left her alone when she needed me the most. I wallowed in my own self-pity instead of allowing her to reciprocate the things I had been doing for her. I withdrew into my own world and rejected the hand she offered me to keep me from becoming the recluse I had been before her.
One day, she looked at me, her eyes alight with love and joy. She told me how she had met a man. A man who loved her and treated her like the queen she was. He told her she was beautiful and sexy. And when he said these words to her, she believed him.
I looked at her as she waited for me to say something…anything. Her face shone like the moon on my darkest night. In the vicinity of the heart I claimed to not have, I felt something shatter. I always imagined she would wait for me to be that man…the one who would make her believe she was beautiful and worthy of being my partner. While I was getting my life together, she gave up on me because I hadn’t shared my true feelings for her.

She wanted me to break it…her heart. Instead, she broke mine.

Here's a second one I wrote just the other day:

And With One Look in His Eyes, She Told Herself, "This is gonna hurt when it's over."

Lost in her own world, music playing her worries away, she almost missed him. That isn’t the truth. Sure music was playing and she was lost in her own world, but she could never have missed him. He wouldn’t allow it. He strolled into that room, bigger than life, with a smile that lit up the darkness. Her anxiety was through the roof because avoiding conversations with complete strangers, even handsome ones, was ingrained in her nature.
He slowly slid into her daily routine. Enough so that she began to look for him and look forward to seeing him. He made her days easier and her nights were limited only by her imagination. Her laughter came slowly with this one. Before long, smiles replaced her anxiety and touches were less painful. Touches became a craving and her comfort with this stranger reached a plateau she never thought she’d reach. After all, men hurt women like her. She was nothing to them. She was easily tossed aside and forgotten like a childhood toy.
There was something different about this one. Something that made her trust him and trust was not an easy thing for her to give away. She felt safe and secure. His hands didn’t mean her harm. In fact, they were gentle in their caressing. His face was a complicated picture of perfection and imperfection. Handsome and beautiful, but not in a traditional sense, but honed to a kind of beauty that could only be seen with the eye of love.
Then, she took a chance one day and looked deep into his eyes. She took a breath and dove into the whiskey-colored pools with firelight flickering in their depths. They peered into her soul and she let down her guard. She forgot to breathe. In that moment, she lost her heart. And with that one look in his eyes, she told herself, “This is gonna hurt when it’s over.”

So, as you can see, my writing is making a comeback, but it is a slow going process. Tell me what you think!

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Little Something I Wrote...

School is back in session and I'm excited to see where this semester goes. Lots of homework and I'm trying to get all of the nonsense into a sensible order. However, I have been doing some writing here and there. Just little snippets to keep the muse satisfied. So, I thought I'd share this piece with you:

Photo by Gemma K. Murray

I Didn’t Mean to Fall in Love…

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
I was at the lowest point of my life. My depression made it hard to breathe. Merely going through the motions, I tried to find myself. My anxiety whispered hateful things. I made myself get out of bed every day, even if it was only for the dog’s sake. I hated myself. I despised my life. I was barely alive.

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
I was determined that if only… If only, I had an education. If only, I could open the car door. If only, I could climb the steps to that classroom.  If only, I could make it through this class. If only, I could find a reason. If only, I remembered to breathe.

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
I was sitting in the dark classroom that September day. I had made the drive. I had opened the car door. I had made the walk to the building. I had climbed the steps to get inside. I sat down in a hard wooden chair. My anxiety was rising higher. I put in my earbuds and turned on some music. I closed my eyes.

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
I felt another presence. I slowly opened my eyes. There you were. You were larger than life. Your smile lit up the darkened room. Your eyes danced. I laughed. I really truly laughed from my soul. I hadn’t laughed like that in a long time. You spoke.

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
I had a focus. If only, I could make it to the next class period. And the next. And the next. You touched me. Repeatedly. I remembered to breathe. My anxiety fell. My depression buried itself. I didn’t hate myself as much. I laughed with you. I smiled sincerely.

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
But there you were. Time and again. We were drawn to each other. We spoke. Memories, family, childhoods, we shared them with each other. I opened my heart to let love peek out. You flung the door wide. I looked into your whiskey-colored eyes.

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
You promised to hold my hand. “If I say ‘Jump,’ then we jump. Okay?” you said. I still don’t know why, but I agreed. I trusted you. I don’t trust easy. I’ve been hurt too often. One moment with you and trust flowed through me.

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
You told me you missed my “beautiful smile.” I’d never been told that before. You focused on one of my biggest flaws. You saw beauty in the brokenness. You hugged me. You held on tighter. You held on longer. You didn’t notice the fat beneath your long fingers. You didn’t notice the bulges beneath your strong hands.

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
I made small changes. You noticed. You flirted. I flirted back. You gave me a nickname. You shared things you read. We spoke of politics. We shared ideas. You walked with me. You put your hand in the small of my back. You waited for me. When you couldn’t, you watched for me. You made sure I was okay. You understood my need.

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
You smashed the records in my head. “You’re too stupid!” “You’re too old!” “You can’t do this!” “You don’t belong here!” You broke them to bits with your soft words. “You’re not stupid,” you told me. “You are like me. You don’t understand.” You took the tears from my eyes. You brought me laughter to replace them.

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
My spirits were lifted. I began to enjoy my life. Things changed for me. I wasn’t hearing the anxiety- fueled messages anymore. I didn’t flinch when you touched me. In fact, I began to crave your hands. You would share my coffee. You were outrageous. You softened my hardened edges.

I didn’t mean to fall in love…
But here I am. Head over heels. Ass over teakettle. Madly. Deeply. Passionately. Crazy about you. Balls deep. Heart wide open. Freely given. Freely accepting. Believing. Dreaming. Tears falling. Breathing. Thriving. In love with you.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Funny Thing About Sisters...

Do you have that one friend who you know will always have your back no matter what? The one who will sit with you in the silence? The one who doesn't care if you speak because they understand your heart without any words being said? I do!

I met my younger "sister" almost 10 years ago when we worked for an online company. I'm not sure how in hell this all even got started, but we began to chat and this friendship emerged. She was simply my person. She kept me sane through the chaos of my life. When I lost my dad, she was online, asking what she could do. When my marriage began to fall apart, the phone calls began. I'm talking 16 hour conversations. I know that sounds like a long time to talk, but those conversations kept me sane. She got me through some long ass nights! Then, when it came time for me to make a decision about ending my marriage, she was the one I talked to. When other people were saying to give my marriage another chance, she told me that I needed to worry about me. She showed me that I was settling for less than I deserved. She was the one who held my hand and helped me do one of the most difficult things I've ever myself. I don't know how I would've made it without her. She keeps me sane and lets me be crazy. She knows my heart better than I know my own some days. When I moved to Wisconsin, she was there. When my ex-friend moved out and left me with no one, she kept me from going so far over the edge that I couldn't get back. When I dated someone who was very toxic for me, she is the one who kept telling me how scared she was that this wasn't going to end well. (She came close to being right on that one.) 

When my world seems to being spinning too fast for me to keep up, she's the one who reminds me to take a deep breath and look at who is making the world spin. It's my world and it will only spin as fast as I allow it. She's also the one who with two words can set me into a fit of laughter that makes my sides hurt! She sends me pins, memes, etc. that have me dissolving into a fit of tears because she knows my twisted sense of humor like no other. She reads my stories and tells me what is working and what isn't. She loves my characters like I do, but she knows when to push and when to lay off. She will interrupt a conversation with "Okay, so off topic for a minute..." and launch into something completely out in left field which leads to nine other strings of conversation only to bring us back to the original topic an hour later. 

Here's the funny and amazing part about us: We've never met! I mean, physically, face to face met. She's a southern girl and I'm northerner. She complains to me about the heat and I share my pictures of my snow with her, listening to her ooh and aah over how nice it must be :) She's an only child and I'm the oldest of two. I remember wanting a little sister when my brother was born. I'm not sure if either one of our mothers could've handled having the both of us as daughters! I'm afraid we would probably have caused more trouble together than we did apart. (I still say I'm the good one! LOL)

As far away as we are from each other, we always message each other "Good morning" to let the other know that we made it through the night and "Good night" to let the other know we've made it through another day. We message (or talk) during the day as time will allow, but we let the other know that we're doing okay. When my ex-friend moved out, I was all alone here. I could've died and the only person who would miss me would be the landlord when rent was due. So, we set up a system to keep each other aware of what was happening. I go out, she knows who I'm going with, where we're going, and what time I should be home. I text her at least once while I'm out so she knows that I'm okay. Even being as far apart as we are, I know that if something happens to me, she'll know before anyone else.

I've always believed that family isn't flesh and blood alone, it's who is there for you when shit hits the fan. That is the perfect example of my little sister! So often I talk about my family, but I neglect to mention the one person who understands my cold, black heart and twisted, tangled mind. I often say "Thanks" to others, but hers is very much a thankless job! 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Little Things

I found this on Pinterest last night. I read it and cried. See, last week I spent a lot of time making memories. My mom came to visit. We shopped. We ate. We went to some of my favorite places. We ate. But it was the little things like sitting in a restaurant for 2-4 hours just talking. It was relating to each other, not as just mother and daughter, but as women. For the first time in my life, I feel like my mother saw me and it was that little thing that meant the most to me.

Some times the little things pass us by because we are waiting for some grand gesture from the universe. It's a dandelion held in a grubby little fist or a smile from a complete stranger or the big furry body that drools on your pillow that shows you what love truly is.

The last couple of days I've been watching someone deal with issues that are beyond their control. Unfortunately, this person is so focused on the past and the grand moments that they've been missing the little things like letters that say "I love you!" Revenge and hatred steals away so many of our daily moments, if we allow it, and makes life so bitter.

I've missed more than my share of little things. I was so busy looking around, waiting for the sky to fall, and I almost missed something special that was happening. Spontaneous hugs, contagious smiles, laughter over stupid jokes, silly stories, conversations that replay in my mind, the mere words "Take care," it was all little things that added up to something incredibly real.

Yesterday I was on my way home. I was questioning my return to school (merely because self-doubt was creeping its way back in). I was driving along and the van in front of me moved over into the left turn lane. I was sitting behind this black Hyundai. I was so lost in my thoughts and I tossed up "God, please...just a sign. It doesn't have to be big, but I need to know if I'm doing the right thing." The stop light was red for far longer than it needed to be. I sighed heavily and glanced again at the car in front of me. Their license plate had a frame around it, stating they were alumni from my university. I laughed out loud and muttered a quick "Thank you!" as the light turned green. It's the little things!

I think of the small moments that have changed my life. If I had chosen a different math class... If I hadn't looked up... If I hadn't smiled back... If I hadn't removed my earbuds... If I hadn't let him hug me... If...

I'm going to leave you with this video from one of my favorite artists, Rob Thomas. Just listen to the words and let them wash over you...don't miss the little wonders...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Returning to the Yellow Brick Road

I've been so busy the last few months. Working as much as possible, planning for my inevitable return to college, re-examining my life. I'd lost sight of a few things.

See, when my former roommate moved out, I kept everything in boxes, scared of making this place a home. I'd been residing here, but not living. I've been searching for a new place where Diesel and I can start over. However, I hadn't truly been "in" this space in a long time. I hadn't made it mine again. Instead, I was trying to find greener pastures. Sometimes finding greener pastures starts by watering and tending to your own.

Not my actual boxes!!
My mom is coming for a visit. Ashamed of how bare my house looked, I unpacked a few boxes. Then, a few more. I spruced up this space in which I reside. I opened curtains and let the sunshine in. I stepped out of my comfort zone and reclaimed this space as mine. I am finished with mourning that which was never meant to be. I've let go of so much baggage (and I don't mean physical shit).

By doing all of these things, I've found myself back on the yellow brick road. With the start of college around the corner, I'm feeling optimistic. This is the first time back on that campus since I started listening to my own heart. It is a whole new chapter! I've felt like I was going around and around in circles on this journey, looking for a lesson or sign. I've been wandering around lost and confused.

These are a bit more to my liking!!
Home isn't a place! It's the people who reside inside the four walls. My house is a home because I make it so. All who enter here should feel welcome and loved. But it all has to start with me! If I don't walk through the door to my own house and feel welcomed and loved, why should anyone else? And I can't find a new place to call home until I learned to define what home truly is! I've written so many posts about my childhood home and how the people who I called family made my home...well, home. The problem is that I forgot I was part of that equation, too. I've been trying so hard to recreate that feeling and I've lost sight of the fact that I helped make that house a home, too.

I've been told so long that my gut is wrong. Guess what? It isn't! I listened to others for far too long and let doubt cloud my reasoning!

Look! Just over the hill! Do you see it? That green glow from below? It's the Emerald City! I'm finally back on the right path!

My journey is far from over. I'm still my own worst enemy. I'm bound to take a bad turn every now and again. The Wicked Witch is still certain to send her flying monkeys after me. Glinda is still being the evasive bitch she has always been. I've still got the Tin Man, Toto, the Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow beside me as my companions. Unfortunately, they have their own lessons to learn as we journey on and won't always be beside me. However, together? Together, we can conquer anything!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Father, Forgive Me...

This is not an easy blog to write. This is a confession and part of me is so ashamed. Unfortunately, it is part of loving someone with PTSD.

I have told you many times about being a Daddy's girl. I was and am. I loved him with every fiber of who I was. Which is why it was hard to watch him suffer. His PTSD was combat induced and he showed signs shortly after returning from Vietnam. "Combat fatigue" was the name used at the time. It wasn't until the Gulf War was in full force that the term PTSD was bandied about. By then, my parents' marriage had been destroyed. I was 18 and living in Oyster Bay, New York. I was horribly homesick and every phone call had me ready to quit my job. Finally, I reached the point where I said "I have to go home." My family was falling apart and being so far away was killing me.

For twenty years, I was my daddy's lifeline. I wish I could tell you the number of times he was ready to end his own life. And the phone calls! Oh dear gods, the phone calls! I can replay each one of them, word for word. For me, it's my Hell. Every time, I was able to either talk him down or get help to him in time. He thanked me profusely. The last time was the exception. He had called to tell me he loved me and to say goodbye. I was in Felton, Pennsylvania and Dad was in Palo Alto, CA. How in hell was I gonna stop my hero from doing this? I called 911 in York, PA, who put me in touch with 911 in Harrisburg, PA, who called San Fran, CA's 911, who put me through to the Palo Alto 911 who connected me with the Palo Alto VA police station. Every one of these operators stayed on the line with me as they tracked him down. They got him safely into the hospital and the first call I got was from a nurse named Jaime who told me to take a shot of whiskey and get some sleep, she had this. The next morning, Dad called to ask why I wouldn't let him die? I decided then and there that I was selfish, but as long as I drew breath, I'd always save him.

It took some time, but he thanked me for making that call. However...I watched him suffer. I could hear it in his voice via the phone calls. When I lived with him, I saw it first hand. My dad had become an alcoholic and no one was trying to help him. His brother is an even bigger alcoholic and enjoyed having someone to drink with. Everyone else thought it was just Dad's way. My dad used to enjoy a beer or two every now and then. Mixed drinks on New Year's Eve. However, it was nothing like what he was doing before he died. His demons were full-blown and he was losing the battle. At this point, he said some very hurtful things to me and after sitting and crying, I began to question the decisions I'd made. Why did I save him? He obviously didn't want to live, yet I kept fighting for him. I felt as if I was the only one fighting for him most days, however, he wouldn't have given up on me so I sure as hell wasn't going to give up on him. I do remember saying the words "My life would be so much easier if he weren't here!" (I live with this every single day!)

Every time he called, my heart would race. His doctors were the first ones to tell me that I had secondary PTSD. I'd lived with dad and his terrors. I'd been his "partner" through this hell on Earth he experienced. I'd sat in on his counseling sessions. I'd held his hands when he cried. I could close my eyes and follow him into the jungles of Vietnam. My nightmares were riddled with gun shots and death. The nightmares are less now. I don't relive them like I used to. But let me tell you, my Women's Studies class at UWO one semester was about the Laotians who assisted our troops in Vietnam. I spent more sick days that semester than I ever had before. I couldn't sit through the film footage. I would sit in class and cry.

At that point, I was still a Psych major with an intent on serving our veterans. I was hell-bent on saving our returning warriors, one at a time, if I needed to. I had to take a step back. My anxiety was through the roof. My depression was worse than ever. My PTSD was rearing it's ugly head. I was losing control of my life. So, I had to admit I just couldn't. As much as I want to save them all, I can't. I do know that my heart will belong to a veteran long after it has stopped beating. My lessons in this journey with Dad have taught me many things and loving a veteran is my destiny.

Again, I say the words, "Father, forgive me...I did my best, but unfortunately, my best wasn't good enough, my love wasn't strong enough, and my will was not great enough. But it doesn't mean that you weren't loved with all that I am."

Saturday, July 15, 2017

If You Could Choose...

I've started binge-watching this show on Netflix. It's an Australian show about this family who has their share of problems. In one episode, the family was asked to bring one object that was an example of who they were to stick in a baby's time capsule. This got me to thinking...what would be the one object that is an example of who I am?

I hate it when these things get stuck in my head. I've been thinking on it for days now. In my Women's Studies classes, we have discussed intersectionality and what it means. I am a woman, but I'm so much more. (I'm white with a Native bloodline. I'm a daughter. I'm a student. I'm a canine mom. I'm an author. I am divorced. I am a friend. I am a lover. And the list goes on.) In a day's time, I wear many hats, so how on earth would I choose one object to define me?

That's when it hit me... a patchwork heart!

Let me explain (Thank you, Dr. A and Audre Lorde!): A patchwork heart is my object because while I am so many things to so many different people, I wouldn't be who I am without the experiences and people who have shaped me. My heart has loved and been loved. It's broke others' hearts and been broken. It's been stitched back together. I've talked about my patchwork heart before. How the beings in my life take a piece of my heart and leave me with a piece of theirs in return. There is no other heart like mine. My heart is unique because of the hearts and lessons that have been part of my life. These are the things that have molded and shaped me into the woman I am, good and bad. Love and loss, happiness and sorrow, suffering and thriving...all these things have left an imprint. With my very unique patchwork heart, the design is ever-changing because I am ever-changing. From the moment I came into this world, ass-backwards and determined to do things my own way, my heart has been evolving. I'm excited to see what changes will be made to it as my life goes on.

Each heart is unique. You may have been loved by the same people, but not in the same way. Your experience may be similar to mine, but nobody's journey is the same. Even within the same family. I look at families and the children within them. There could be five children in the same room at the same time being told the exact same thing. However, there are 5 sets of ears, hearing 5 different things. It amazes me how the heart translates words and shapes us.

I have found my object and why it defines me. Tell me, readers, what would be the one object you would choose to put into a time capsule to let the world know who you were?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Saying Goodbye...

I'm a sappy sort so I needed to write this out. Yesterday was a difficult day for me. Way more emotion than I am used to, but I knew this day was coming. I knew this day was coming since I met this young man 2 years ago. I've known it was a definite thing for a year now.

See, yesterday I said "goodbye" to a soldier. It was the first goodbye I've ever said. Usually, I distance myself from friends who are joining the military so I don't get my heart broke or I become friends with them once they return. I've never stayed for the long haul. Unfortunately, this one is the one that is breaking me into a million little pieces.

I met this young man right around his 16th birthday. We've only gotten to be friends in the last year and a half. He has an easy way about him and the woman with social anxiety appreciates that. His quick smile lights up a room and his laughter brightens my day. He is so easy to joke with, yet isn't so silly that serious conversations aren't a possibility. We have had some great times.

I don't let people get too close, but somehow, he burrowed into my cold black heart and settled in to stay. When he joined the Army, he stated he wanted a party. He, then, asked that I stick around to do shots with him before he left. I honored his wish yesterday. It was hard for me to pour that shot of Jack for each of us because this meant it was real. And trust me, at some point, I was hoping this was all a dream.

In a very short period of time, this young man will be leaving and heading in the direction of his dream. A dream he's held since he was small. So, I ask that you keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he journeys on in this direction.

You'll never see this, Matthew, but know that you are loved and missed with every breath that is taken. Dammit, Kid, you've left big old cowboy boot prints on my heart! Take care and come home! I love you as if you're one of my own! 10 weeks, you said! It's only 10 weeks! I'm crossing off the weeks on a calendar until you come back to us, Kid :)

So for today, (and those who know me understand) I will be:

Love ya, Kid!

Friday, June 23, 2017

I'm Sorry

I had a blogpost written about love, but something happened in my day and I needed to deal with it.

Lately, I feel like I've spent most of my life apologizing. I wasn't the perfect child. Back in the day, words like "introverted", "depression", and "anxiety" weren't used as easily as they are today. It's taken me all my life to find words to explain why I am the way I am.

I wasn't the daughter my parents necessarily wanted. I was mouthy. I had an attitude. I didn't date. I preferred to lock myself in my bedroom. I wasn't the most beautiful girl in my class. I didn't have the most amazing social life. I didn't want to be involved in sports. I was simply me. It was as if I was never satisfied.

I wasn't the most popular girl. I had a few close friends, but that was it. I kept my nose in a book. I wasn't thin by anyone's standards. I was plain in so many ways. I didn't want to be noticed.

I married someone I liked well enough, but that's all that can be said. I tried my best to be a good wife, but, if I listen to him, my best wasn't good enough. There was always something to find fault with.

I am not the best student. I work hard for my grades and they often fall short. It's not because I don't try. I try so hard, but I have professors who tell me I need to try harder. I work 40 hours a week plus go to classes plus have to clean my house, etc. plus a ton of homework to do. When I tell you I'm doing my best, I promise you it is the truth.

I'm a shitty dog mom! I buy Diesel the best food I can afford. He has toys and treats, though the treats are no longer homemade like they used to be. I have time to walk him around the yard and snuggle with him at bedtime, but that's it. We live in a fucked up house with a landlord who refuses to fix things, yet constantly brings up when I fall short of his mark.

Which brings me to: I'm not the best tenant. When I ask you to work with me so I don't have to live in my truck and you say, "Sure, not a problem," I take you at your word. When I have a lawn service all set to mow the grass to keep my end of the month to month lease that was signed (with my former roommate) three years ago and you proceed to mow of your own accord, I think you are doing it to be kind. My yard service cancelled my account because I had to cancel them too many times and now you complain?

I'm not a size 2 or supermodel pretty! I take up space and maybe it is more than I deserve, I don't know. I try to be more than pretty. I try to be kind, supportive, friendly (as I can stand), generous, loving, and happy. I try to make the world a better place every day. You'll never understand what it takes for me to get out of  bed some days.

I'm not writing. Believe me when I say, I try. My characters want their stories told. I've hit a rough patch with the next Cedar River book and I don't want to write what I know must be written. My dragons aren't "dragony" enough. My goal was to write about special people not have them embody their animals. I'm so unsure of myself, my writing, and my life that I have no idea when I'll put cursor to Word again.

In a world gone mad, I know I'm not everyone's cup of tea. That's fine by me! I don't fit into the mold most people have for me. I'm just trying to be the most honest version of me I can be. I'm not one who pretends to be someone I'm not. My house is a mess. I have a laundry basket of dirty clothes. There is a stack of bills that need to be paid. I have boxes that need to be gone through and stuff to get rid of. I need to plug up the mouse holes with steel wool to keep them out of my closet, kitchen, etc. My hair is a mess. My dog needs a bath. My truck needs an oil change and a bath. I'm running on fumes. And I'm tired of apologizing for that! I'm doing my best and that is truthfully all I can do.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Kings and Daddies

There's a meme out there that tell us that you can tell when a man was raised in the arms of a Queen. I was a daughter, raised at the knee of a King.

I've been having a lot of conversations lately about why I am the way I am. I've always been blessed by the men in my life. They are the standard by which I measure the men I date. And trust me when I say that to date me, you've got some pretty high standards to achieve.

To me, my grandpa was Superman! He could do anything! Leap tall buildings in a single bound, save a neighbor girl from certain danger, melt a Tupperware bowl with butter in it on a hot toaster. *G* He and I had such a special bond. I was his only granddaughter.

He was determined that I would grow up to be a lady. He taught me the proper way to hold my silverware and how to wear my hats so I didn't get "cauliflower" ears. If it had an engine, he could fix it. His grease-stained t-shirts and green pants stick in my memory. Every time I had a chance, I'd make him cherry pie and take it to him. It was his favorite. What I wouldn't give to make him one more cherry pie and sit for a Sunday afternoon visit...

Some girls are lucky enough to be raised by their heroes. I know I was. This happy boy in this picture had more demons to deal with than he ever imagined. However, he taught his daughter what it means to be strong and to play the hand that Life deals you.

His teasing ways taught her to take a joke and enjoy the little things in life. He worked hard. I don't remember a time when Dad wasn't busting his ass for something. He, like Grandpa, could fix anything with an engine. He might have to cobble it every now and again, but he'd make it work. I can't begin to count the times when he'd call me and say, "I'm changing oil in the cars today. I may as well do yours while I'm at it." His knuckles were often scraped and bloody, his hands calloused. It couldn't be said he took the easy way out of anything.

And his sense of humor knew no end. One year, he made a "sponge" cake for the minister's wife. He frosted it with Cool Whip and made it quite pretty. We were having a dinner at the church that day and Dad carried it in with pride, telling her how he made it himself. The poor woman felt so bad as she tried cutting it with a butter knife. I remember Dad sitting there laughing so hard with tears streaming down his face. The minister's wife was so relieved to find the sponge under the whipped cream! She didn't want to hurt his feelings. Then, there was the year of the balloon cake. He blew up balloons, coated them with Cool Whip, and refrigerated it for his girlfriend's daughter. He was damn proud of himself! The girl cut into the cake and whipped cream flew everywhere! When it was all over, Dad was on the kitchen floor, laughing so hard he couldn't stand. (Yes, he did clean up the mess!) He loved to make people smile. 

I've been told that I'm a Queen because I was raised at the knee of a King. Actually, I was raised at the knee of a couple of Kings. They were my heroes. They were the center of my world, even when they didn't know it. They were the first men I ever loved. They have both left this earthly realm and I miss them so much! They taught me what it means to be loved and to not accept anything less than I deserve. They were men among men and I am so blessed to be able to call them mine! Happy Father's Day!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Step into the Mind of an Overthinker...

I had a blogpost all set to go entitled "It's Not Easy Being Me...", then I put it aside and thought about it. Okay, I overthought about it and pressed the delete button.

This is my problem: I tend to overthink. Every. Single. Thing. I'm talking about things that happened back in high school. Things that happened 10 years, 10 months, 10 weeks, 10 days, 10 hours, 10 minutes, 10 seconds ago. I replay every little detail and pick it apart, telling myself that I am an idiot for the things that I've done or said.

Truthfully, very few people from high school remember me and those who do only remember the quiet girl who always had her nose in a book. If I knew you 10 years ago, then I am a much different person than I was then. I behaved much differently and was more unhappy than I have ever been. I know people rarely think of the things I've said or done, but the introvert in me believes she is the most awkward person out there.

Let me give you a shining example of my awkwardness: Mr. Charismatic Smile (from my math class?) sat beside me one day and said "I'm not getting this." It was a pretty basic algebra problem so I attempted to explain it. Now, I could have said simply "What you do to one side, you have to do to the other", then showed him the way to do it. Instead, what came out of my mouth haunts me to this day. I said, "Think of the problem as a menage a trois. What you do to one, you have to do to the other." Yup, that's me! Don't ya just love it?

This is what led to this blogpost. I'm an overthinker. I tend to second guess every move I make until the moment has passed. (Now, I can tell you that the above explanation led to a very interesting conversation that went WAY off the algebra trail and probably told Mr. Charismatic Smile more about me than he needed to know, however, I keep thinking that he had to have thought I was an idiot. He didn't, for the record, but still...) 

I have received the rights back to both of the books in the Cedar River series. I've been re-designing the covers myself. (Are they good enough? You aren't talented enough! You're an idiot!) I've been re-reading the books, deciding what needs to be fixed/added/removed. (You're a hack! You'll never make it as an author! Give up the dream!) With the books being removed from the various online book sellers, the reviews have come down. (No one will ever want to review those pieces of trash again. You're lucky they reviewed them the first time! HACK!) I had some very lovely reviews written about these books. I've had one horrible one. Care to guess which one I dwell on? Bingo! The horrible one!

My ability to overthink everything has me second-guessing every move I make, every word I say, and every path I take. I'm beginning to think of this particular "gift" as a talent. I know people who overthink, but to this degree? This has to be a special talent in and of itself.

I try my usual tricks when I can't shut my brain down. I meditate. I burn candles. I light incense. I walk barefoot in the yard (which is dangerous with an English Mastiff). I attempt to write, then delete every word because it isn't good enough. I cry. I rage. I decide to never write again. I open my journal and write it all down, then I cry some more.

Commiserate with me! Are you an overthinker? How do you cope? Any secrets? Better yet...wanna share your awkward moments with me? Let me know that I'm not alone? You can even email them to me. I won't tell a soul, I promise!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Woman of a Certain Age...

This posting was going to be funny and silly, but I've had something on my mind lately. It has to do with age and I'm tired of holding back.

I'm celebrating a birthday this week and it's a milestone. I've fussed over it. I've cried over it, but no matter what, it is going to happen. Honestly, I'd rather have that than the other option! However, someone said something to me the other day and it pissed me off. They hurt my feelings! They said, "Remember how old you are. You aren't 20 anymore!"

You know what? I know that! I look in the mirror every single day and I know I'm not 20! I feel the aches and pains in my joints. I know I'm not 20! I don't need your reminder that I'm older than I want to be!

I was talking to my darling sister the other day and actually said the words, "I thought I'd have more time!" When I was younger, I wasted time. I gave time to people who didn't deserve it. I allowed people to take from me without giving back. I let people take my spirit, steal my thunder, and break me until I was less than I wanted or deserved to be! I made mistakes that cost me more than I should've allowed! And, trust me, I'm paying the price now.

I'm not a woman who regrets the decisions she's made. There's no point because I can't change the past. Every decision has led me to the spot I am now. I was beat down and degraded. I lost my voice. I still have a few issues to work on, but I'm trying. And I love the woman I've found under years of breakage and hurt. People buried my fire until it was almost out. Unfortunately for them, the ember still smoldered. I've been digging through the wreckage of my soul for a while and the fire is back to roaring.

I know I'm not 20! I wouldn't want to be. Being 20 would put me back in a place I wouldn't want to be with people I don't like all that much. I don't have to "act my age" or be reminded that I'm not a teenager. I color my hair whatever fucking color I feel like. I wear whatever fucking clothes I want. I wear as much or as little make-up as I want. Most days, I'm mistaken for 28-35. I'm okay with that! Hell, I'm ecstatic over that! When someone asks me how old I am, I love watching their mouths fall open because they think I'm so much younger. And that's on a college campus! After a lifetime of being the geek who has her nose in a book, I've had some students actually tell me I'm the "coolest chick" they know. I've been told I inspire them.

So here's a piece of advice: The next time you get the urge to remind a woman of their age or say "Well, a woman of a certain age would...", shut your damn mouth and blow your opinion out your ass! Why? Because women of ANY age can do whatever the hell they want and they don't need  your permission to do so!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

"All That is Gold Does Not Glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king."

If you know me at all, then you know this is one of my favorite quotes. It comes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I've had a rough week. Something fell into my lap at the most opportune time, but for what ever reason the universe has, it didn't work out. It would have been a dream come true, but alas, it wasn't mine to have. I fell apart. I posted on my personal wall and got the normal "Keep positive," "When one door closes...," and "It will be alright," from people. The words help because they came from people who care about me and want me to be happy. But the ache in my chest was of sheer disappointment. Truly, I was disappointed in myself. Maybe I said the wrong thing. Maybe I didn't look right. Maybe there is merely something wrong with me. My overthinking was destroying me. So, I paused for some reflection.

I found this quote on the internet one day and it struck me to the very bone.

Then, I remembered Tolkien's words. This fulfillment of my dream glittered like a lake on a sunny day, but it wasn't golden. It wasn't perfect. It merely was. And as lost as I felt, I'm not lost. I'm wandering on my journey. (I'm going to mix my stories here, bear with me.) The yellow brick road is still beneath my feet. Toto is still faithfully by my side. Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow are walking with me, even if it is only in spirit. After all, they have their own journeys to take. The flying monkeys are trying to get to me, but they will only succeed if I allow them.  

This dream is mine and mine alone. The fulfillment will happen when it is supposed to and not a moment before. I need to improve myself and be the best me that I can be so that when the perfect opportunity arrives, I'll be ready. I've got some plans in place and I'm working on what I need to. Unfortunately, it will mean saying my goodbyes to places and people who are a major part of my life. It is time for ME to be the major player for a change. I've let others take over the spotlight so I didn't have to worry about it. I hate being the center of attention, but in my own life? How sad! This is my life and I need to live it for me! Not for my friends and family, a job, or anyone else. I've been so focused on others that I've lost track of myself. I've let others dictate how things are going to work and while I've been so busy helping others with their journeys, I've gotten lost in the shuffle. 

I'm taking time to get things adjusted and to focus on what matters. My passion has been pushed aside to make room for other people and that just isn't right. The smoldering ember is there, I've just got to find it under all of this rubble. Bear with me, please! The phoenix isn't reborn from the ashes into the vision of glorious beauty we envision overnight. It takes time. And time...well, that is the one thing I still have.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Some Days I Open My Mouth and My Mother Comes Out

Have you ever walked past a mirror and catch your reflection out of the corner of your eye? I did that today and I caught a glimpse of my mother. At an earlier point in history, that would have terrified me. But's a badge of honor.

In my last post, I posted some pictures of my mom. One of the comments was how much I look like her. I used to hear that a lot as a teenager. It drove me crazy! Not that I didn't think my mother was beautiful...I just wanted to be seen as my own person and everyone was so busy comparing me to her. "You look just like your mother," I'd hear more often than not. Not "You're so beautiful" or "I love your outfit." Just "You look just like your mother" or even worse "You're just like your mother was at this age."

Not too long ago, I sent my mom a picture of my hand. Never mind why, just that I did. She sent me a picture of hers back with the question "Whose hands do you have?" I had to laugh because aside from some cosmetic things, our hands are identical! But I know those hands of hers. They've held babies, comforted people, worked hard, been cracked open from cold, calloused from carrying buckets and hay bales, kneaded countless batches of bread, made so many cookies, and loved. Mine haven't experienced that much wear and tear, yet I look at our hands side by side and there they are...almost identical.

As I age, I notice more and more of my mom coming out. I opened my mouth to say something to someone just the other day and my mother came shooting out! It happens more and more. It's not always positive. Especially when it comes to my body. I hear her words emerge from my mouth when I tell people how I feel about my curves. I watched my mom struggle with her body issues all of my life. There was no size small enough to make her happy. I remember looking at her stretch marks and thinking they were beautiful because I was one of the reasons she had them. Yet, I look at my own and there hasn't been a person born from these marks. She hated her stretch marks and I, in turn, hate mine. As she's aged, she's become more positive about her body. I've still got a ways to go.

We've had our ups and downs through the years, but when it comes to my mom and all that she's done in her life, I look up to her. She taught me a lot and I'm sure I'll keep learning from her as I go. Hopefully, she can forgive the child I was and see past that to the woman I'm attempting to become.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers! Fur kids, feathered kids, fin kids, scaly kids, or skin kids, you are a mom and you are loved!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

To My Mom...

I've been a bit quiet lately. I had a blogpost all set to go, but it was simply me, standing on my soapbox, wondering where the fuck respect had gone. So, I left it to sit because I don't think anyone else gives a shit like I do. And I can only write so many posts about respect.

So, I'm back and this is more than a bit premature, but after the past few days, I need to make this blogpost. I realize not everyone is as lucky as I am, but I don't feel like it is up to someone else to teach our children how to be good human beings.

Here it goes: 

To my mom:
I don't often take the time to say "thank you" for the small stuff. You know, the stuff like leading by example, teaching me to cook, bake, sew, file taxes, balance a budget, live on a budget, respect (like how I slipped that in there?), compassion, understanding, and love. I realized the other day (after watching a video on FB about how the schools should be teaching our children this stuff) that I learned how to be a woman from you. From putting on my make up and picking an outfit suitable for "going to town" to showing people respect even when they don't deserve it, I learned it all from you. Now, if you saw me today you may doubt you taught me anything (I arrived at work set to clean. I am sporting pigtails, sweats, an old ratty hoodie, and no make up. Then, I was informed I had to make a run to the in go inside and interact with people...sigh).

I was 11 days old here. Those boys would grow up to be the only big brothers I ever knew, even though we were cousins.

You gave me a love of books. Maybe it was by accident because you wanted to have 30 minutes to get ready without a baby crawling up your leg. Maybe it was intentional. However, it was meant, I appreciate it. My love of books led me down the rabbit hole with Alice and stumbling into Wonderland, into the Swiss Alps with Heidi, into Yorkshire with Dr. Herriott, and down the banks of Plum Creek with Laura Ingalls. That love led me to create my own worlds and share them with people around the world! It gave me a dream! While I've stepped back so I don't overwhelm myself, I get to live that dream every time I sit down to my computer.

Your love of cooking and baking has led me down some different culinary paths. I've become quite proficient at Asian cooking. I'm not afraid to try different things because you gave me the basics. I've become more daring in my flavor combinations and am not afraid to combine my savory with my sweets (on occasion you may get a taste of heat from chiles in my chocolate cake or cocoa in my pot of chili, salt in my caramel, black pepper in my pumpkin recipes...). I can make a meal for one or 40. I can make it as fancy or rustic as is proper. You taught me fractions! Oh gods, I thought those things would be the death of me! Now, I do it in my head!

As we've discussed recently, I wasn't an easy child. I had a will of my own and seldom wanted to heed the advice of others. I am impatient and frustrate easily. There are times when I don't follow through on something because I simply get so overwhelmed. I always have more irons in the fire than I can deal with. Finishing one task before starting another is something I never learned. It would be nice to focus on one thing at a time. Unfortunately, my mind doesn't allow it. My teen years were fraught with arguments, but we always worked it out in the end. Mistakes were made on both sides, but by your example, I learned to say the words "I'm sorry!"

You taught me to keep a clean house, though my anal retentivness goes beyond most. You taught me to sew a button at such a young age. I even take the extra buttons and tuck them in a button box for my "just in case" days. You taught me to mend holes in clothing instead of simply tossing the clothes in a rag pile. I remember my first job at the truck stop and having to file taxes. I sat at the dining room table and filled out that 1040EZ asking you about every single line. I was so proud of myself. I now let a company do them, but I fill in the blanks :) You taught me how to grocery shop. There are very few name brand products I purchase. You taught me how to live on a budget and how to save for the important things. Some people in my life (you know who you are) think I'm cheap. I prefer the word "frugal". And on that same topic, you taught me the difference between "I want" and "I need". I will overthink a purchase for months before deciding on making a purchase. (How bad do I need this? If I wait for a bit, will it go on sale? How often will I use it? Will I use this more than once a year? Is it absolutely necessary? Can I use it for more than the one thing it is intended for? Will I be able to find it cheaper somewhere else? Is this something I can find at a discount store/Goodwill/St. Vinny's/Salvation Army/Re-store/ garage sale/ flea market?) In turn, you taught me how to let go of things. You made sure I didn't become a hoarder who holds on to things that she has no use for. I hang onto the things that matter. You taught me how to make a home on the simplest of budgets.

You can't tell where I get my sense of humor, can ya?

For all of these things (plus my goofy sense of humor) and more, Mom, I say "Thank you from the bottom of my heart!" My experiences may have molded me into who I am, but you, YOU, showed me how to handle the shit Life throws at me with grace, faith, and a smile.

Your card is on its way to you. Your gift, I'll save for your visit! However, this is the best gift I can give you for now! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, MOM! I love you so very much!

My silly, goofy mom!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Spring...

It appears as if Spring has finally arrived to stay here in my corner of the world. The grass is growing. Birds are singing. The trees have buds on them. Green shoots are pushing through the dirt. The chipmunks have invaded with a vengeance. Rabbits have overrun my yard.

Yes, you read those last two things right. Let me explain. I love these fuzzy little critters, I really do. But here's my problem: They seem to think that they should be in the house pets. Two times now, a chipmunk has had to be relocated (no, they're not allowed to be killed!) to a pine tree across the street. *hangs head* I may have named him Alvin (Honestly, Simon and Theodore would NEVER get into this kind of trouble!) I have two that live in my garage. My neighbors have got to think I'm insane because I stand in the garage and tell them, "Simon, Theodore, you can stay in the garage and hide from Oreo (my neighbor's cat), but I swear to all that I hold holy, if you get under the hood of my truck and chew on the damn wiring, you're cat food!"

The rabbits have built a den within the walls of my second bedroom. The way that room is laid out, a couple of them have made their way inside. The adult was shooed out fairly easy. The baby, on the other hand, was more difficult. Never mind, that as this is happening, I have 175 lb. dog thinking he needs to get in on the fun which only aggravates the bunnies more! The fact that neither of them had a heart attack impresses me! Now, they've taken to lounging on my front steps. How do I know this? Because there is rabbit shit all over my steps! This is a place where they have to go up three steps to lie down! Nothing like stepping out there in bare feet in the morning and having those little surprises. (I'm usually on autopilot and forget until it's too late. This is pre-caffeination.)

However, I have finally found the way they're getting in the house. Before this is, it was a mystery. Now, to get some wood to board up the hole. Getting the landlord to do it is not an option since he's not reliable on anything except complaining if the lawn isn't mowed on his schedule.

Did I also mention that the damn chipmunks have taken to climbing onto my bedroom window screen to chitter at me at 4 am? And no, they're not singing. If only... Uh huh...I'm thinking these little beasts don't understand the human way of living. Just because the sun is rising doesn't mean this human is getting up...I just need another hour.

Yeah, Spring has arrived and this author's world seems to only get nuttier every time the season changes. Maybe this is what city living does to a country girl! It makes her crazy :) Oh wait, I was already there.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 2, 2017


Today, class, we're going to talk about respect. There are people who just don't understand what respect means.

Respect is defined as: "a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements."

If you've read my blog posts before, you know I am a big believer in respect. I don't care if you are a doctor or the cashier at my gas station, you deserve my respect. Why? Because you are a human being, who is doing their job, which is in some way or other in service to me.

I've been talked down to, made to feel like I was stupid, and treated like a second (in some cases, third) class citizen. For too many years, I was a housewife. I kept our home. I was called "a gold digger", "lazy", "drain on society", etc. I divorced and work in a not so different field these days...I'm a caregiver. I go into people's homes and cook their meals, clean their homes, do their laundry, etc. No matter their difficulties, I always treat my clients with respect. I don't know all of their back stories and how they came to need someone like me, but if they are calling on me for help, their lives took a much different turn than they imagined it would. However...the first time, you talk down to me as if you are more knowledgeable of things or are smarter than me, I will shut you down. I may not have a college degree, but I'm working on it. I may not have a nice house, but I'm working on it. What makes you so much better than me? I'm curious. Because you made all the right decisions and lived life the way you were "supposed to"?

My grandma always told me "People in glass houses shouldn't walk around nude or throw stones." I find that to be true. I have clients who have opened up to me after being very haughty with me. What have I discovered? You, too, hath fucked up! You may not have made the same mistakes I've made, but you have made mistakes that led you to places you never wanted to be.

Do you think I WANTED to be divorced and a college student at my age? Hardly, but I can tell you that I'm happy with my choices. Being in college at my age isn't easy, by any means, but I love it! The introvert in me loves watching the people interact with each other on campus. The student in me feels starved for the education. And the woman in me, well, she loves it when she catches a certain man's eye and he tells her that he thinks she's 10-15 years younger than she is. (What? I'm a bit vain, I'll admit it!) And standing on my own? It's an incredible feeling! I feel empowered for the first time in my life! I don't mind my job, but I don't want to stay in it forever. There's so much more to explore and do!

While respect is something that can be earned, it is also something that should be given. That cashier at the gas station? He may be working on his degree at night while being a single dad. That doctor? She may have worked her butt off to get a 2.0 in her pre-med which barely eked her into the medical program at her college. You don't know the whole story behind why someone is doing the job they're doing. That janitor you made fun of in high school may have owned his own company, but lost it when times got tough. He/She took the only job they could get to put food on their family's table. Let that sink in for a moment. We are all simply one decision away from being at the low end of the totem pole.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: An easy concept to understand; a difficult one to incorporate.

And because this seems to be the appropriate song for this post:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Making the Grade

The other day, I was surfing the net and found a blog post from a mom who was frustrated with her son. There's not much news there, right? What mother doesn't get frustrated with their children? However, this post took me back to a place that I would rather not past. See, this mother and father are upset because they think their teenage son, a senior in high school, is not taking his future seriously. Instead of studying for an upcoming exam, he was more focused on playing video games. They believed their son lacked ambition. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't...the point is that this kid was getting good grades...without studying.

I was that son...okay, I was a daughter, but get my point. I was constantly being reminded that I needed to apply myself and how my grades were more important than having fun with my friends. Now, like the son in the blog post, I made decent grades. I wasn't a straight-A student, but I probably could've been. I worked part-time all through high school and school came easy. I made B's without making an effort. Blowing off homework to have fun with my friends on the weekend was part of my life. My homework always made it in the teachers' hands (and no, I didn't copy off someone else). I can still hear my mom and grandma saying, "If you'd just apply yourself..."

Apply myself to what? The one dream I had was dashed on the rocks before I ever made it to high school. I had no idea what the hell I wanted to be when I grew up. Some days, I still wonder if I'll ever get it all figured out. Anyway, how do you apply yourself to something when you have no clue where you're headed? And what is funny is that no one asked me what I wanted to be. But I wasn't being pushed to go to college. I wasn't being steered in any direction. I don't think anyone ever thought I'd be more than someone's wife and mother.

I've made it to college and I'm working on my degree. I work hard for my grades, but let me share something with you. I've applied myself to the science and math classes because I was working toward my BS. I've failed miserably. I've studied until I cannot see anything except fx(g) or metamorphic vs. sedimentary rocks. What do those things have to do with an English degree? Nothing. Where will I use these things? I won't. However, they are part of the "core requirements" for a BS, so I'm forced to take them. Two semesters I took and retook math and geology in the hopes of getting better grades than the previous semester. Because of my BS, I needed those classes. I grew frustrated and I kept hearing the words, "If only you'd apply're just being lazy." My depression was at an all-time high. I've finally remedied the situation and am working on a BA instead. Still need the math, but I've got the science requirement covered.

I sat in my math class that second semester with Mr. Charismatic Smile from the previous semester and almost lost it when he walked in. He had this huge smile on his face and he sat down with me. Tears filled my eyes when I told him that I felt stupid. (I hate it when people tell me I'm stupid/not smart/unintelligent/lazy/etc.) He squeezed my hand and said, "No, you're not. You're in the same boat as me. This just doesn't make sense to us. But you are NOT stupid. I'm not stupid. We're just not able to comprehend this stuff." In fact not too long ago, he shared this and I cried:

So, here's a little bit of advice: Don't tell your kids that their grades define them, they don't. It doesn't matter if  your kid gets an A or a C on a test. Hell, it doesn't matter if they fail it. You need to ask your kid where they see their life going, who they want to be, where they want to go. Maybe your kid doesn't want to go to college right now. Yes, it would be easier, but in all seriousness, your kid getting a job at a gas station or factory isn't the end of the world. They may just find out who they are. And going to college? It may not be in the cards for your child, at least, not now. But the decision needs to be THEIRS. They're not stupid or lazy because they don't follow the goals YOU laid out for THEM. And teaching your children to stress over getting a B instead of an A, well, that just turns them into people who think they have to please you. Teach them to set goals for themselves and live up to THEIR expectations. And just a little FYI: relaxing in front of a video game or a computer screen or even with a book isn't going to kill your kid. You might be surprised at how much they actually learn...about how to manage stress. Take it from someone is just now learning how to deal with biology, algebra, and English, teaching a child to deal with stress is just as important.

 I've changed my major three times since I started college. I'm finally content on my choice, but that college debt is all mine. I've made mistakes and I own each of them, but you know what? At the end of the day, I took my own path, not the one carved out for me, and I'm so much happier now.

Sure you want Junior to be successful, but what is success really? My definition is this: Success is being happy with your life. It's not about a big house, a fancy car, or a big paycheck. It's about paying your bills, having a roof over your head and food on your table. Success is being able to look at yourself in the mirror and liking the person you see there. Happiness=success and no one can convince me otherwise.