willful tribe members.



So before I begin, the lie from the last post was: I have never met Barack Obama. Everything else: all true. But Barry and I are still strangers, alas.

I did, however, go to a 2007 rally of his when he was campaigning to be the Democratic nominee. You know what was nice about it? No cussing. Nobody walking around with guns. No security removing people because they made a sour face at something Barack said and he saw it. No Klan outfits or bad comb overs or bad tans or egos the size of small galaxies. And not once, not ONCE, did Barack Obama talk about his hands or his penis size. Who knew, back in 2007, we’d all be considering a President based on the length of his man stick? I’m certain George Washington and Thomas Jefferson probably joked about theirs because this is something a lot of boys seemed very preoccupied with, but at least they did it by a cozy fire at Monticello and not in front of whole crowds of people. And that was a time people were hanged and flogged in public. We are a strange species.

Oh, and! I did get to stand about 3 feet from then-future-President Obama as he was leaving. I have stood 3 feet from the President. He is tall and quite handsome in person. And also very calm and polite to women who try to hand him things that look like their underpants. (NO! I did not try to hand the future president of the United States my underpants; the lady in front of me did. He just declined politely and kept walking.) (We are a strange species.)

Moving on.

On the playground yesterday, a friend and I were talking about life and work and all that. We talked about how exhausting single mom-ing can be – she did it with two girls for almost 2 decades, and she really doesn’t know how she survived. Other than she discovered theatre and wine. (Now she directs and acts in live stage productions when not working as a teacher’s aide…and she drinks wine and reads books when not doing that. She has no cable TV or Internet and she is far, FAR happier and less stressed than pretty much everyone who has both of those things, I suspect.)

Miss M and I are struggling, Internet. I love her determined, confident spirit – she is a girl who knows what she likes and what she doesn’t like and isn’t afraid to tell you so. I do not wish to kill this strong spirit of hers; I have been on this stupid planet long enough to know she’s going to need that later. In the meantime, I also need her to pick up after herself, follow directions, and stop using her bossy voice at me. The other night, we had a conversation that went like this:

MISS M: But I don’t WANT to turn off the TV and go to bed!

ME: But it’s 9:00. It’s past your bedtime and you have school tomorrow. So turn off the TV and let’s go.

MISS M: I don’t WANT to go to school tomorrow!

ME: Me neither, but I’m doing it. We all do things we don’t want to do. It’s part of life.


ME: You can turn off the TV or I can. Make a choice.

Miss M made her Offended At Life face and crossed her arms.

So I turned off the TV for her and started using my firm You Will Do This RIGHT Now, M’am voice. And then she started sobbing.

MISS M: Stop talking to me in your mean mommy voice!

ME: This is not my mean mommy voice.


ME: All mommies talk like this to their children when they don’t listen. Your Grammy talked like this to me when I wouldn’t listen. Your Aunt Chele talks like this to your cousins when they don’t listen, and you don’t even want to know what your Uncle Chad sounds like when HE gets mad because he sounds just like your Grandpa Bill and your Grandpa Bill was terrifying when he was mean.

MISS M: Well, then Grammy was a mean mommy and Aunt Chele is a mean mommy and Uncle Chad is a mean DADDY!! You guys are all MEAN!!! Kids are NICE!!!!!

Oh, y’all. I’m so tired. C’s and my marriage death spiraled for many reasons, and my friend P and I talked about that on the playground, too. But I must say that one thing that’s crossed my mind several times is the benefit of getting a break, every other week, from psychological torture at the hands of a willful child.*****

My friend P asked, on the playground, if C has the same issues with Miss M. He does, but the thing about C is two things: (1) he’s far calmer than me – not less dysfunctional, just more rational about it and calmer, and (2) he’s the Daddy. And daddies and their daughters just seem to have a different kind of vibe than mommies and daughters do. Daughters love their daddies on different mountains, at different levels, than they love their mommies. (I am not saying daughters don’t love their mommies – I am just saying it FEELS different.) I mean, even now when my own father has not been on Earth for almost 2 decades, I long for him. I will miss my mom intensely as well, when she is gone. But my dad was my knight in shining armor. (Does that make sense?)

At any rate, P told me about a Native American proverb or saying about fathers and daughters. I combed the Internet for about 2 hours last night trying to find it and couldn’t. She didn’t know which nation of native people this came from or exactly what it was, but they had no other saying like it for mothers and daughters, dads and sons, or mothers and sons. Just a commentary on the magical, special relationship between a father and daughter, because there is no other spiritual relationship like it.

I’m going to keep searching and if I find it, I will bring it forth.

Other than that, life is pretty freaking cool these days. In about 8 weeks summer break will be here and I’ll be poolside with a fruity drink and a book as much as possible. I will be tan again, and will ask my hair dresser for some blonde highlights to celebrate. After 8 weeks, I will be doing the kind of teaching I love the best. And I’m thinking about how to take this passion and my other passion, writing, and combine them so I can end up doing something that sends me into waves of giddy pleasure every time my alarm goes off in the morning (because right now, my alarm goes off and I just feel icky fury). I am surrounded by really, really GOOD friends and family. I am not a person who really needs a whole lot of people or attention; I’m good with a small tribe. I have people in my life I can say: I know who you are, and I want you with me forever. They are not smothering me. They do not judge me. They are love. And, Internet, I cannot even begin to tell you how important love is. Real, authentic, true Love.

Can I give you a life tip? If you ever, at any point, find yourself in the grip of a toxic relationship of any kind, please please do not ever feel guilty about removing yourself from it. Life is too short to be stuck in relationships or ghosts of relationships with people who are not okay. If you are a compassionate, kind person who is full of love, this will be very hard to do. It was extremely difficult for me – I can usually put myself in someone else’s shoes. I can imagine how it must feel to be in that kind of a situation. If I’ve actually experienced it, it’s even worse, because I KNOW.

But there are some people who simply are not okay. They are not just willful children who want to do what they want to do;  they are broken and damaged beyond repair and YOU matter more. Take care of YOU. People who are broken and damaged beyond repair tell lies to themselves or the rest of the world, they use other people as crutches, and they live vicariously through others because they have absolutely no idea how to do it on their own and they’re hoping someone else will do it for them. Which is a lazy way of living a life. But I think the worst thing about people like this is that they take prisoners. Even after you’ve escaped the cage, they’ll continue holding you prisoner because they don’t respect themselves and so they don’t respect others. Don’t ever let anyone make you their prisoner, darlings. You’re a bird, meant to fly and sing, and the people on the ground with their desperate, broken cages trying to convince you to get back in? Forget them and their lies; their wings have been chopped off and they’re broken forever. Fly high and sing loud.

****Internet People. You looooove to be judgmental about things you can’t possibly even know the whole truth to. I am brutally honest in what I say sometimes, because I think honesty matters. I’ve had to deal – for MONTHS – with a pathological liar, and now I know how frustrating those kinds of people are. Honesty’s better, and you’ll respect yourself more because you won’t die a self-righteous hypocrite with no integrity. So when I shared my thought about how exhausting raising a child is, and wrote that a side benefit of separation/divorce is an every other week break from a willful child, you will please understand I was NOT saying Miss M is the reason my marriage ended. My marriage ended for a myriad of reasons, and our child was NOT one of them. 

Cannot even tell you how sad I feel to even have to print that. This is what you’ve brought me to, People of the Broken Cage. You go over there with your loony ass tribe and leave me and my cool tribe alone.


Move forward. Always keep going forward.

America! I mean, seriously.