kaleidoscopic

Distracted
Reactive
Didactic
Unattractive

I close my eyes
To listen for your words
They feather down on me
Like a flock of birds

When I find my still
And meditate on choice
I climb through clouds
And hear your voice

My sunglasses sprinkled
With drops of rain
I don’t mind
Transcend this plane

I open my eyes
And see your worlds
Kaleidoscopic prisms
Rainbow swirls

Colorful snowflakes
Buzzing like a hive
Dancing on my vision
Proof that you’re alive

I pray to you
Bring me peace
Only then
Does my calm increase

Thank you
For your amazing display
I am humbled and awed
By your magic every day

#Metoo

Grabbed in a corner.
Held without permission.
I am someone’s daughter,
But you won’t even listen.

I said no!
I don’t want to.
If this was your wife,
What would YOU do?

What turns you on
About fear and disgust?
What about sex
Makes abuse a must?

I don’t like this.
You need to stop!
Touch me again
And YOU’ll need the cop.

#Metoo

Pussytrap.

I was caught in a pussytrap once. That’s what my friend and I called it. We laughed about it later. Because it was so horrific and nothing to be done. No agency to report it to and no officer to tell.

Plus, when you’re young? You think the world is the way it is. And to squawk about it? Is unnecessary and useless. So laugh. So you don’t cry.

My friends and I went to a dance club in a university town. It was on a street with other clubs. Alcohol was served, but only to those with the over-21 stamp. I had the under-21 stamp.

We went to the bar to dance. Not to drink. We loved listening to music, dancing and laughing.

About 20 minutes in, we lined up to use the bathroom. The line stretched back to the bar and two young men started chatting us up.

We were young. Naive. We were friendly, inviting, charming, silly, laughing. We wanted boys to think we were cute. We wanted attention.

After a few moments, the line was going nowhere, and the boys started grabbing. First, my friend.

I was always the protector. The NO-sayer. The “Hey, watch it!” girl. So, I was laughing, but I said, “Hey! No!” Then they grabbed me.

First, my breasts. Quick, pinching, playful swipes and pokes. Then, my crotch. You can imagine that when someone grabs your breasts or tries to, you pull back. But that only presents your lower body for them to grab.

While all this was happening, another young man had positioned himself behind us. He would grab our butts when we tried to move away. Thus, the pussytrap. No way out. A vicious game of unwanted touching.

After a few moments of arms and punches and shuffling and finally just leaving without the use of the bathroom, we got away. We weren’t laughing any more. Just wide eyes and nothing to say.

That was it.

“Hey, why you leavin’?” They called after us.

No one ever taught me to stand up for myself. In fact, the lesson I learned was, “Take it.” But to be fair, my mother didn’t grow up in a time when young men acted this way. She didn’t know. And everyone else acted like it was no big deal. That this behavior was just “boys being boys”. Or locker room antics. Isn’t that what the president said to excuse his own behavior?

That should never happen. To anyone. It’s humilating. Not titillating. It’s meant to objectify and demean. It’s not foreplay. It’s degradation.

Especially to an actress. Especially to anyone who ever worked for or with the current POTUS.

These are your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, your fellow human beings. Your equals. Keep your hands to yourself. Or when we grab you back, you won’t like it.

If any man or boy ever touched my daughter like that, he’d be sorry. So would his balls.

Have I ever told you about the balltrap? LOL I’m older and wiser now.

Do something stupid. Again.

I just wrote an article about doing something stupid a few weeks ago. And I’m about to do another stupid thing.

Deep breath.

I have scheduled an open mic night at the local comedy club down here. No backing out. Nov. 15th.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! What have I done? I can’t not do it now. I’m weak in the knees just thinking about it. Freaking out a little.

I will try and tape it.

I’m sweating. Hard to breathe.

What am I doing??? I’m going to drive myself crazy for the next month. I was just practicing what I would say in the car on the way home.

After thinking about my bucket list (from my article this morning), I said to my husband, “I want to do an open mic night.” He found the website, dialed the number, handed me the phone. What???

OHHH! I can’t believe he did that. But thank you, Guy. I just didn’t expect you to be so spontaneous. I like it. But now I’m scared pantless.

He’s been helping me craft material this morning. EEEEK!

Wish me luck!

Me Questions (If you care. If you don’t, I totally get it.)

The Lupie Momma nominated me for a question/award sesh. I really like these. It’s fun and a great way to know me, see my blog and see other people and what they’re writing about. I’m breaking the rules a bit and just tagging her. Go check out her stuff! Thank you, BTW!! I love these questions!

Here are my answers.

1: Who do you consider a role model (celebrity or not) and why?

Jesus. He’s the only one who got it right. Right?

2: If you only had 1 week to live what would you spend your time doing?

Cleaning. LOL No. I would go lay on the beach and imagine heaven. Which isn’t hard on the beach. So I guess I’m already doing that mostly?

3: What is your guilty pleasure?

21 Pilots. 😀 “…don’t know half of the abuse…”

4: The greatest thing you’ve ever done for someone without them asking?

Giving birth? LOL “I didn’t ask to be born, Mom!” JK She does not say that. She does not say that seriously, I should say. LOL She does say it in a dumb, emo teen voice tho, as a joke.

5: What are the Top 3 things on your bucket list?

Mop, Lysol, rag. Oh, you mean a pre-death wish list…um, Mile High Club?? LOL I would like to go to one of those open outdoor pools that are warm like the thing in Iceland. Is it Iceland? That would be cool. Or go to the Bahamas or some place even more tropical than Florida. I would like to be a missionary before I die.

6: Team Iphone or Team Galaxy?

Team Cheapest Smart Phone-Sunrise LG from Walmart. LOL

7: What is your favorite thing about this time of year?

The beach. 😀 I do miss leaves, warm drinks and the campfires of Missouri. :*

Ghosts of Venice

There are ghosts here in Venice. It’s kinda spooky.

Every morning I take my daughter to school. It’s twilight and difficult to see.

BTW, high schoolers should start school at 9 am for everyone’s sake. Can we just agree on that?

They say the hardest time to see while driving is at dawn and dusk. It’s true.

Very often people (old people) will be out walking or biking at dawn with little or no reflective gear. We are by the coast, so it can get pretty foggy. I almost hit an elderly walker nearly every morning. You can’t see them until you’re right on their geriatric bones.

I almost hit a biker this morning. He was dressed all in black, going against the light.

Lilli and I have started calling them ghosts. You can barely make out their faint images wandering the lonely streets of Venice. Pale skin, white hair, gray shirts, drifting in and out of the fog. Old people are almost ghosts anyway, right? LOL Just kidding.

I think some of these people-ghosts have a death wish. It is pretty scary.

 

My past DOES define me.

I hear the buzz phrase, “Your past does not define you.” Even I thought this sounded like a good mantra. At first. I might have even said it a few times. But, my past DOES define me. For better or worse.

Running from your past is like that old saying, “Going nowhere in a hurry.” You can’t forward your future until you address the past.

I grew up poor. Near a small town, in the country on 20 acres, graduated from a class of 65 people.

Maybe not poor. Maybe just so far in debt that I had to choose between difficult things. And, I didn’t wear name brand clothes. My mom made most of my clothes by hand. That, at least, put me in a different category.

Other category pushers:
My father was emotionally and physically (infrequently) abusive. I was overweight (of course). Often teased. Often at the bottom of some chaotic, emotional barrel of feelings. Struggling to have a voice of any kind in a farm community full of rednecks and intellectual infants. I was (am) a girl/woman (not always a plus).

These things define me. They are my etymological birth. The source of all my words. I can write today because of what happened or didn’t happen in the past. I thank God for my past.

My whole youth can be summed up as the jump ball for the tip off of my adulthood/writing career. A frantic scrambling to find my voice in the elbows and sweaty armpits of rural America.

Now, I am free-throwing and making it swish from the top of the key. Thank God I had to scramble.


I lost my voice, the strength of it anyway, a coupla years ago when I had my thyroid removed. They cut through muscles and nerves to get through to the organ. It can effect your vocal cords. I was hoarse and genteel for months. Totally unlike me.

From a young age, I have been identified as the loud laugher, talker, whiner, live-r. When others tittered, I guffawed. When others whispered, I announced. When others went about their feelings in a shy, reserved way, I emoted all over the place.

So. To be made relatively mute for months on end? THAT was a struggle.

I joined a local community theatre production, even when my voice wasn’t fully healed, to exercise the shit out of said vocal cords. I struggled again, this time for my literal voice.

I honestly thought my voice was ruined. I had no volume and no ability to inflect. But it came. My voice emerged. I rebuilt my annoying, distinctive, loud, full-flavored signature.

But that’s what I was doing all those years ago. Fighting for air, time, attention, my voice. I certainly found it by exercising my mind. Flexing my writing muscles. Clearing my thoughts. Coughing up all the bad stuff to get to the sweet, well-trained music of good writing.

If you met me in person, you might think, she’s pretty tame, dull, quiet, shy. But that’s just the surface. That’s just the public wall that’s been graffiti’d by others. There’s a garden behind those gates. A well-tended garden kept by me. Plunking away at the keyboard, digging out rows, mining for richness, turning up the past. Seeds of words flowering into thoughts, emotions and ideas–volumes of deep-rooted life. This is my courtyard. The sign says WELCOME.

You have to push past that gate. Be patient enough to know me.

Welcome to my past. It defines me. All that you read here is real, honest, beautiful. Though some starts out as dirt, hurt and manure.

Kitchen Detail

Do you have an immaculate, pristine kitchen fit for Better Homes & Gardens magazine? Decked out with island and butler’s pantry?

Or do you have a tiny, functional galley kitchen like mine? Clean, but well-worn?

Or do you have a seething portal to hell with dirty dishes stacked to the ceiling? Crawling with ants? Sticky floors and counters? Mice squatting in the corners? Jelly smeared into a hardened shellac on the floor? <<–(that happened at my former friend’s house, my husband had to wash his sock out, gah!)

What kind of kitchen are you?? If you could equate your kitchen to a celebrity or personality, who/what would it be?

Allegations

Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Louis CK.

All stand accused. Are they all guilty?

For Harvey and Bill, let’s check the Magic 8 Ball–all signs point to yes. For Louis CK, I just don’t know. I really like his truthful, real-life comedy. I hope it’s not true. I would have to stop watching his stuff if it is. But it’s not for me to say in any case. That’s somebody else’s job.

What I do know, not all accused are guilty.


In the early 2000s, my husband and I served on a community theatre board. We were involved in day-to-day operations and acting in shows. We directed, performed, coordinated, sold tickets, designed, painted, printed, anything that needed doing we did. And loved it, mostly.

Our board was a tight-knit group of friends. Every show was just a pretense to hang out, laugh and sing some songs. I would linger long into the night with these people after rehearsal/performance. Talk big about the world, dream big about the future. It was a golden time.

Then the whole thing started to slide off into the ocean. Tremors were rumbling regarding allegations of sexual harassment.

The director of the summer musical was an older man in his 40s. A bachelor. He was a kind man with clear ideas. He was a bit arrogant, but friendly. He was the music and creative director of the show. A large task, but he was more than capable. He actually came to our home, had dinner. I cooked meatloaf. We got to know him. I’m glad.

Late into rehearsals, we had a costume parade 1-2 weeks before opening night. In community theatre, costuming was always a last-minute detail. Usually, each actor must provide the bulk (or lack thereof) of their costume, coordinating with the costumer and other actors to pull of a cohesive theme.

The show was not necessarily risque, but that summer Moulin Rouge had just come out and all the teenage girls in our production aspired to be the best dance hall vixen. Their costume choices reflected that mentality.

During one of our costume parades, the three girls in one of the lead ensembles came out in sparkly, festive, revealing costumes. Everyone reacted. Mostly appropriate reactions. Our director blushed, looked down at the floor and said with a shit-eating grin, “I’m not going to say ANYTHING!” Most everyone laughed.

That’s it.

That night or the next night, I’m standing in a parking lot, in an impromptu board meeting, talking about sexual harassment.

I tried to defend the director. These conversations went on for several weeks. I felt sympathy for the girl making accusations, but knew, for sure, nothing happened.

Should he have kept his mouth shut?
YES

Should he have said, “You look nice.” or “I approve.”
YES

Should he be black-balled and strung up?
Hell to the NO.

It was an awkward fumble. It was not sexual harassment, in my opinion. I was there. My husband was there. We saw it all and witnessed the alleged harassment. Nothing happened.

The loudest torch-carrying villager was a woman who was not even present during the incident. She bullied me for defending the director.

I relay all this, not to excuse the director’s faux pas. Not to excuse Weinstein, Cosby or Louis CK. To illustrate, sometimes there are witch hunts. Sometimes, the accused is just mildly stupid, awkward or mentally disabled, but not guilty. Sometimes, well, all the time, we need to withhold judgment and hear all the facts, first! Especially, if it’s up to you to decide what happens to the alleged creep. Let’s not crucify all men for what a few assholes did.


But. If it is true (and it looks like there’s mounting evidence), why did everyone sweep it under the rug? It’s disgusting!

And Harvey, if you did all this? Karma’s a bitch. That you molested for years. Time to pay.

Guy Maggio (Kacey Moe) said, “He may have been rich and powerful. Now, he’s just rich. But not for long.”

I agree. Taking this man’s power and money and reducing him to just an average toad is a well-deserved punishment. Should he do jail time? Would someone without his power and influence do jail time?

Little Girl

I have a little girl
Who lets me braid her hair
14 (not so little)
But still needs special care

I’m here to show her
How to be Wife and Mom
Or a single, strong-willed Woman
Who can diffuse any bomb

I still have the privilege
Of being asked for my advice
But she makes her own decisions
And can calculate the price

Above all that is important
Teaching reason along with choice
Will allow your child
To strengthen their own voice

If you simply teach a child
To obey without question
You won’t teach them how
To exercise discretion

Most of all
Give them information!
If they don’t have all the numbers
They can’t solve any equation

It might be embarrassing
To talk to them about sex
But would you rather some other person
Tackle something so complex

If you allow children to make mistakes
They learn the art of restoration
Nothing else can give them
Such a firmly-formed foundation

You have to be an example
Be honest about your struggles
They’ll learn when they witness
You conquering your own troubles

We’re not perfect
And neither are they
We should embrace that more
In the message we convey

There might come a day
When she won’t need me any more
But isn’t that the point
Of what Parents are put here for?

To raise a human
To be fully independent
Choosing to, not needing to,
Love you without resentment