UR in Ruin

You’re in ruin.
Not from your doing.
Rejected, brokenhearted, beaten, betrayed
By brutal behavior–reckless and unstaid.

You don’t deserve that.

Rise from your ash.
Emerge from the crash.
Carefully remove the plunged-in knife.
Take control of your internal life.

No one else can.

Dig out the buried artifact
What was your heart, not just an act.
Discover the soul of who you are.
Soon you’ll erase that fading scar.

I believe in you.

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For Anyone Who’s Lonely

Be patient. Take your time.
Good friends are hard to find.
If relationships were easy?
You’d never mine your kind.

I waited a lifetime
To unbury my heart.
Then he came from nowhere.
The whole to my half-a part.

I used to think
I was just a lost cause.
Then along came my mister
Once I settled on who I was.

Then came my daughter.
My very best friend.
We’ll always have each other.
Every day, to the very end.

It’s more important
To know one’s self
Than to put your love
On the lowest shelf.

It’s oftentimes tumultuous–
Sometimes you run aground.
But there is no life-saver.
Everyone will let you drown.

The simple fact is this–
You have to pick your hurt.
Find the friends who deserve
To get everything you’re worth.

People will make a mess.
People will let you fall.
But good friends stitch you up
After toppling off that wall.

Don’t forget.
You’re loyal.
Kind.
Intelligent.
Loving.
Beautiful.
Unique.
Capable.
Worthy.
Valuable.
Patient.

If you give away who you are to the wrong person, the right person will miss you.
Good luck.

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.

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

 

 

Fat

Lost my inflatable armor.
Nothing but skin and bones.
Nothing to protect me now
When they start throwing their stones.

I finally dropped my baggage.
I’m certainly much more thin.
The only problem now?
Unfortunately, so’s my skin.

I built that big wall high.
Tall enough for you.
Only a few who really knew
Could see the courtyard view.

Fat feelings of disappointment
In how I was rejected.
Only accepted when
I embraced what they expected.

I remember who you are.
I never will forget.
Those who leave a scar,
Those who owe a debt.

You pay me back
By feigning love.
One thumb up
From that little white glove.

This may surprise you,
I always deserved your like.
You were hateful and mean,
Only now does sympathy strike.

Outside? I may look tough.
Wrinkly, worn and old.
But this is recycled flesh.
Inside? I’m a newborn soul.

To those few who bothered to know,
They who loved me without fear,
I couldn’t have made it alone alive.
So. Thank you. I’m still here.

Sympathy, But No Admiration

I skimmed an article the other day about a woman with 5 children. It started with her morning routine and I couldn’t make it past bed-making. It looked like an attempt for recognition for her task-filled day as a working mother.

She began with, “After making 5 beds…” She has 5 children and not one of them can make a bed?

I would teach the child to make their own bed. And if they can’t? Unmade beds are the least of your problems.

I would admire you more if you taught your children how to care for themselves rather than ask for attention in doing for your kids. Or you taught them a lesson and one to yourself about leaving and accepting the unmade beds.

“Want a made bed?” I would ask my child. “Let me show you how.”

Yes, sometimes I make my child’s bed. But she’s one child and I’m happy to do it. She works hard at school, makes straight As, and doesn’t always have time. And if it doesn’t get done? That’s ok.

She knows how to make one and can do it if I ask her. One can also just shut the door.

One day your kids will care about the way their room looks and until then, it doesn’t matter. As long as there’s no pizza or soda actively attracting ants under the bed, right??

Joy is found in the wrinkled, wrestled sheets of bedtime tickles and snuggly stories of the day. Don’t sweat the small stuff. You have 5 kids, you should know this.

At the end of your life, do you want to say, “All the beds were made, every day”?

Or do you want your kids to know, “Mom loved me.”


Zen-like enlightenment or peace does not originate from a made bed. If anything, it is the opposite. The acceptance of impermanence. It’s strange that some humans endeavor in a lifelong attempt at domesticating Earth and they made an entire website devoted to it (looking at you, Pinterest). Peace comes at the realization of bed-making futility. The temporal tool of Bed should be put into perspective. It’s for sleeping, not decorating. It can be enjoyed, not fussed over.

It’s also home to several million bed mites. I’m sure they like it neat. The bed mites appreciate your hard work, Mom. LOL


When we wake up, we should greet the day with awe at the rising sun. Not worry about the messy sheets. It’s a process. I get it. I’m talking to myself as much as anyone.

Who makes their kid’s bed? Just curious.

Christ=Love

Philippians 1:9-10 NIV

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,


So our love may abound.

That’s not a selfish love for ourselves. That is love for our neighbor. Fellow man, global partner, friend, boss, co-worker, passerby, merchant, customer, homeless man on the street.

Do u think if you knew why a person was a jerk that you could love them more? If you knew why a man was homeless could you hold his hand? Offer him food? Wash his feet? If you heard his story, could you see his heart?

Our depth of insight is shallow. We don’t care why someone takes advantage of us, we just know that we have to fight for our rights! That is the American way. We were founded on this principle.

The knowledge Christ gives us of human relationship is deep and unending. And Christ asks us to overlook our rights to reach the heart of man. He forfeited his rights on the cross to reach us. Right?


I saw a man on the street holding a sign this week as I made my way to the hospital to drop off my collected labs.

AMERICA NEEDS JESUS CHRIST

We surely do. We need Christ. Christ=Love. Love=Unconditional care. Amen, Brother.

December 11th, 1992

The day I lost my dad.


I am kneeling beside my father. He’s dead.

I look at him for a long time. I’ve never seen a dead body before.

I want to memorize his face and hands before he is in the ground.

His mouth is open. His eyes are fixed and wide. He is frozen with a look of surprise. I reach out to touch the back of his neck. My fingers barely land when I feel the prickle of shorn hair and cold, firm flesh.

I immediately withdraw my hand.

I am devastated that he’s gone. I never thought I would feel bad on this day.

My face is numb and tight from the departed tears that I didn’t bother to stop, catch or dry.

His hair is stiff and sharp. It’s cut so close and damaged from the radiation. It’s seems almost burnt.

His nose is pronounced and pointed. When he was healthy, it was round and red, but he’s lost so much weight. It’s chiseled bare.

His cheeks are waxy melting mounds. Smooth and brown.

His hands are large; dangerous. They are still, yet frightening. The monster strength is gone, but they summon the fear of what was possible, what was done.

He is a mechanic. But he has the cleanest, longest nails I’ve ever seen on a man. The palms are soft and tender, amazingly so.

My hands are close to his. The backs of my hands are rough, pale and dry. White with flakes. My nails are short and torn. Red and sore like my eyes.

I can sense that whatever lights the eye and warms the blood is gone from him. There is no recognition, not even a grimace.

His spirit has sighed away and what is left is just a heap of tumors, bones and bile. He will never talk, kiss, threaten, smoke, curse, drink, hit, hate, love, work, sacrifice, shame or wrestle on this earth again. He can’t hurt any more, but he also can’t fix a thing.

I have lost him. I. Am. Lost.