universal gardens of life.

Well, it’s been a year, 2016. I’ve had some really tremendously great things happen (I get to go do the one kind of teaching I actually really love…though, to be honest? If I could do the REAL kind of teaching I love? We’d sit and read books and stories all day and just talk about them. Maybe draw our feelings and write poetry a bit, too). I submit the following photos as evidence of good things:

when children secretly make you stuff like this and then spring it on you, it will fill your heart right up. and then, getting to listen to them argue about who forgot to make the “i” in birthday will make it even more delightful.


ocean-scented candles, pinot grigio, inspirational things, mexican food dinners, card games, and big-hearted friends = things that will always make me cry. every time!

And it’s been a year (so far) of some really messed up things that have happened. I submit the following photo as one piece of evidence:

…and NO, i do not have apple care. (because that would have required forethought, and planning.)

The other piece of evidence requires taking a picture of the hair I keep finding in my shower. But I was worried you might be eating or something. Also, it seems to have stopped, so I may be okay. I’m going to start popping pre-natal vitamins because last time I did that I ended up with way more hair than I knew what to do with. (I also ended up with way more human being than I knew what to do with, but I’m in a very different phase of life now.)

I have the day off today. I don’t know why, and I’m not going to argue with them about it. I took Miss M out to breakfast. We’ve seen our waitress quite a bit – she’s always super nice. Once, we walked into this restaurant and as they were about to seat us I realized I’d left my wallet at home. I told the waitress I needed to run home and get it, and she insisted we stay and could just pay next time we were in. I ended up running back anyway to get it, but how nice, right?

Today, she waited on us and after I’d paid and we were about to leave, she ran back and said, “I’m so sorry. I don’t want to sound like I’m stalking you or anything, but I see you all here a lot. And I think one time I saw you and your daughter at Steak-n-Shake one night. It’s always just you and your daughter, and I can put two and two together. I have a little boy who’s 3, and he and I are just like you and her. He’s young, but he can hang with big kids. I was wondering if you’d like to go to the Atlanta Fair with us tomorrow, so he can have someone to ride the rides with. And if you can’t go, I can take her and bring her back.”

So here’s my deal, Internet (after aaaallll that I’ve experienced over the last 9 months or so): WHAT THE HELL DO I DO?!?! This is very different from a well-known school friend’s mom taking M somewhere and dropping her off. So obviously, she’s not going unless I’m there, too. But my dilemma with that is this: My heart is crying, Oooh! New friend! Let’s go, Amy! But my brain and my New Life Experience are going, uh, NO. Are you NUTS?! She could be a psychopath!! 

This is what dysfunctional, judgmental, self-righteous, kinda crazy will do to you: make you see monsters lurking all around. She’s probably just looking for mommy friends, and I am, too. But I’m also looking for SANE, positive, stable friends who aren’t emotionally manipulative, and so…I dunno. I’m real tired right now. Been climbing some big mountains, and I’m real tired. And an introvert. So partly it’s life experience but also the thought of having to be “on” all day with someone I don’t know at all, looking for things to talk about, trying to decide what to share and what not to share. When I’d just planned to hang out and read in a quiet living room all day.

Unfortunately, the conversation took place in front of my kid, so you can imagine what I’m dealing with right now. The begging, the anger, the tears, the hope, the promises to be the best daughter in the whole wide world who will follow all the directions for infinity. But now I know. NOW I KNOW. I am currently in an existence without rose-colored illusions. I have to be careful and make sure my girl is safe, that I only expose her to new people and things I’ve vetted and am very sure of.

This is where an introvert raising an extrovert gets super exhausting. Also fear. Fear is exhausting too.

I’ve also been thinking about Karma. I definitely have a belief in something bigger than myself. I call it The Universe, because it is so huge and so encompassing I think it’s really kind of arrogant of us to stick a quaint little label on it. But a lot of times – because I live in the Bible Belt – I’ll just call it “God” and use the pronoun “he” to avoid peculiar looks and holier-than-thou proselytizing. …Although when feeling punchy and ready to put up with the knee jerk reaction and profuse Bible references proving God’s gender, sometimes I do use “she.”

My point is: I think there’s a Something out there. I think it cares, but it does so in a way most human beings don’t really understand. In that most human beings are incredibly codependent and/or have other personality disorders, so they assume that because they view love a certain way, this thing out there they call God or whatever views love exactly the way they do.

But that’s not really love. Codependency is not love. Have you read The Bible? Chockablock full of guilt trips, emotional manipulation, codependency. Clearly written and translated by human beings. And that’s not love. So I kind of think this Thing (if I’m correct and it’s out there) doesn’t love in a way any human being can actually understand. I think there have, occasionally, been some human beings who’ve come close to understanding it, and those human beings usually get assassinated by the other human beings who interpret love very differently.

The kind of love the Universe has to offer is very, very different from what we call love. I think Universe Love is very subtle, very detached love. It’s the kind of Love that comes without any conditions whatsoever; human beings love love looove to talk about unconditional love. Most of us have absolutely no idea what that really even looks or feels like. There is no need for revenge or vindication when love is unconditional; there is no desire to see someone suffer, even if they’ve made you suffer. I don’t think I’ll ever truly get a handle on that kind of agape love; I think the closest I’ll ever get to it is the love I feel for my daughter. Unconditional agape love from the Universe is completely detached, without expectation or hope for anything in return. It already knows who and what you are, what you will and won’t do, and the results from all of your actions. I do think It will intervene if you ask it to, but I think it intervenes in ways that make you work for what you asked for. And I think it conspires to bring you what you want, but only in ways that you need.

So when my phone broke, I was all: oh, ha. Maybe this is Karma for this one thing or that other thing. And then I realized: oh, ha. No. That’s not how Karma works. First off, what goes around doesn’t always come back around, is what I’ve learned from the last many months.

Karma isn’t your bitch that you get to use to throw shade at people with. Karma is simply a process of creating your own heaven or hell on Earth, and most people who throw around the word “karma” have very little understanding of it. What they’re actually talking about is black voodoo magic. So saying “Karma’s a bitch” about someone who’s done you a perceived wrong just says you’re being petty and bitter and holding a grudge about something, and so why not just go get a voodoo doll and start sticking pins in it because that’s actually what you’d like to see happen. Just know that real Karma is actually biting your ass since you’re in hell and they are not. Bitterness and grudges. Nasty little poisonous things. What I’ve learned on my journey the last 9 months:

1-Sometimes good people do bad things, and bad people do good things. Be prepared to meet both types when venturing out into the world.

2-The Universe doesn’t work in ways that will make sense to any of us. It creates good and bad, yin and yang. When I get mad at someone, It doesn’t go: Yeah, Amy! That person is SUCH an asshole! Let me help you smite them! KABLAM!! It goes: Yes, my darling. That was a hard lesson you had to learn. Here is something soothing to help you see Love is still bigger.

3-Everyone we meet is a teacher. Some teach who we want to be, some teach us who we don’t want to be. Some are very confused teachers who couldn’t organize a file cabinet if someone paid them a billion dollars to. But we all learn hard stuff from each other. (And when you learn that someone is dysfunctional ways that are so overwhelming you will only drown if you continue to interact with them, you learn to never ever ever let that person back in again; thank them for the lesson and lock the doors, the windows, and shut the blinds. It is okay to build walls and be completely disinterested in ever dismantling them when it comes to certain people in the world. That’s called boundaries against dysfunctional people, and they’re okay. Promise. Even terrorists deserve to be loved…but you don’t have to have long phone convos or lunch dates with them.)

All you can really do is make your little corner calm and peaceful, with lots of love and positivity. Tend your gardens, pull out the weeds when you find them, feed your little plants with love and kindness, and make sure the entrance has a real good lock on it for emergencies. Learn from the weeds – some will choke and kill your entire garden, but dandelions here and there are pretty nice. Figure out the difference, recognize some poisonous weeds will look like dandelions. Forgive yourself when you don’t see it, thank the Universe for helping you eradicate them just in time when you finally do. In spite of Its detached love, the Universe actually does have your back…just recognize It also has the back of the poisonous nasties. It created both, for a reason.

And I recognize that every single experience being thrown into my path is there to teach me something. Take S from the restaurant; what bravery to ask a complete stranger for their trust…or she’s a psychopath waiting to teach me part of the lesson I flunked. It’s up to me to decide what to do; the Universe just presented the thing to me. It already knows what’s going to happen. Wild and weird, and incredibly annoying.

Trust is tricky. But then there are rainbow letters and inspirational plates. Those are your roses. Grow more of those.

Here. Go listen to this. The refrain is stuck in my head, almost all the time now: