lists · living out loud


I wish I could be completely transparent on this blog, and just write in great and magnificently fine detail about all that is crapping me the crap out right now. But I can’t. Cuz I got responsibilities and bills and a kid to protect and raise and a life to keep together, however crappy a job I’ve been doing at that lately. But trust: it’s not okay over here. And not just my mental state.

TMI warning: 


I’ve had a period for going on 9 days now. Back in October, my body refused to menstruate and freaked me all kinds of freaks out. Now it won’t shut up. It’s like winter in Georgia: can’t make up it’s stinkin’ mind. Meanwhile, I’m going into debt running to the store for milk and eggs every other week in near-Arctic conditions and in between killing my back to pull out my summer clothes while arguing with my child about why we can’t just go swimming right now even though it’s 85 degrees on January 15. And yes, I’d agree with you that I’m going into menopause or at least peri-menopause except NO. I’m not ready for that. I still have to lose 5000 pounds. THEN I can start hot flashing and being hormonal-psychotic and vaginal dryness and whatever else. (It’s actually not the aging I’m worried about, it’s the vaginal dryness.)

Our weather has been insane. I’m getting a cold and quite frankly I’m not shocked. It’s no wonder the South is full of crazies. Nobody knows what time of year it is let alone why Aunt May Lynne can’t stop pacing the porch like a cat on a hot tin roof (easy: she’s waitin’ for Paw Paw’s moonshine to finish fo-mentin’).

And work is stressful.

And my new upstairs neighbors run – literally RUN – in concrete cement shoes. They run, they use pogo sticks, and they get up to go to the bathroom at least 5 times each night…in concrete, cement shoes. And one of them pees very very very loudly. While lying awake at 3 AM I can hear him. (And yes, I’m being very presumptive using the pronoun “him,” but for real. I’m 110% certain it’s a “him.” Standing 100 feet away from the toilet peeing like a racehorse into it. At 3 AM.)

And Trump is dictator, I mean president.

And I can’t believe how many people I know and love genuinely think he’s making America amazing…after barely a week. (Huh?? Even George Washington needed at least a month.)

Internet, you distress me but I can’t quit you. I need to keep an eye on that lunatic because he’s got Steve Bannon and Steve Bannon is a true American psycho. The press need to behave themselves. I mean, what? What country is this? Late 18th century Russia? (Don’t you roll your eyes at me…we may be headed that route.)

But never mind me. I’m just a namby pamby, whiny liberal who’s sore about a reality TV show host becoming one of the most powerful humans on Earth. (I’m actually not a sore loser…just effing terrified for the future of the planet, let alone my country’s democracy. And a lot of my far right wing conservative friends said they felt the same about Obama, but worried he was going to turn us into a Marxist socialist society…then they relaxed when they realized he just wanted to play basketball and raise healthcare rates.) (Me? I just don’t have the energy to learn Russian or the financial means to flee to Europe, or even Canada. And I’m ruling out Mexico because…well. Irony.)

Okay, I’m done with obsessing about Trump for 3 minutes. Let me write down some things that have been stewing in my brain and in my heart for the last week or so:

1- Honesty. I was hormonal and incredibly unkind to a couple of my relatives. Hurt people hurt people. This is a universal truth. I feel terrible now, a week later. However, not really…on another level. Because I said some real honest truths. Some real honest truths were said to me, and I’m supposed to just sit back and lie down and sheepishly say, “Yes…you’re right.” And I can’t give it back? I don’t think so. I’m not going to work like that anymore. That’s not kind, that’s being a doormat. And if Trump is going to teach me anything, it’s going to be How Not to Be  a Doormat Finally and For Good.

2a- People pleasing. But first, y’all. I have GOT to get over this ridiculous people pleasing crap. I’m so terrified of people being angry at me or not liking me or firing me or whatever, that I’m far too malleable, way too quick to apologize. And I think when you’re dealing with bullies you can’t be like this. Bullies feed off fear; it makes them feel powerful to know you’re afraid of them. It communicates they’re doing something right and they are NOT. They are the worst kinds of humans because they do unto others as they would not want others to do unto them.

2b- okay, fine. Bullies are not the worst kinds of humans. Presidential advisors who proudly compare themselves to Darth Vader are.

3- Kindness and compassion. I think sometimes people don’t deserve this. People who are so far gone they scare the ever-loving feces out of you do not deserve your kindness or compassion. Internet trolls who attempt to psychologically traumatize you do not deserve your kindness or compassion. If you want to give these people your kindness and compassion, then oh my god look at YOU, Mr./Ms. Ghandi/Jesus/Buddha. You go. But me? I extend it to people who are fighting the good fight and not trying to coerce others into submitting to their will.

4- Story and Art. It’s more important now than ever before. Jason Isaacs (hello to him) said in a recent interview I saw on a tweeted link that because we are going to be fed so many lies and “alternative facts” now, ironically fiction will matter now more than ever because fiction is an enjoyable story format that easily communicates universal truths. (I wish I’d been at this interview so I could tell Jason Isaacs that in public schools, which are prooooobably going to be turned over to Betsy DeVos and her grizzly bears to maul into bloody chunks and pieces, are very very focused now on NON-fiction. Gone are the days of just reading to read. Now you gotta compare and contrast, provide text evidence, and prove your thinking.)

5- Analytical thinking. And yet! AND YET. I’m not necessarily opposed now to this. I used to be morally and emphatically upset by this focus. But now I get it…NOOOOW I get it! Some colleagues and I were in a staff development class about the teaching of reading and we were talking about how vital it’s going to be to teach children not just the lower-level task of compare/contrast but to really really dig deeper. How is this information similar to that other information? How is it different? What do you think? WHY do you think that? HOW do you know? Show your evidence. Where does it say that? (Yesterday, on Facebook, a dear friend-slash-gun nut I love with my whole heart was telling me his evidence that Trump has magically fixed America in a mere 5 days is that he can see with his eyes on television the new president signing mandates and executive orders and whatnot. BUT NO TEXT EVIDENCE. Which is what I like to look at. Nowadays.)

6- Balance. I think we need to have a balance now. I want children to be able to escape into the magic of a story, because good lord are they going to need a mental escape route in about a year or so. On the other hand, I do want them to be critical thinkers. I kind of would like to teach them how to do this via fiction. (You can.) But non-fiction, in my new opinion, is going to be so so so so so so so so so so a thousand more so’s important now, simply because we have a man running the country who is contemptuous of Science.

I’ve always loved Art…stories (visual and written), music, poetry, paintings, photography, etc and so forth. And I have always been drawn to the biological Sciences, and in awe of the Astronomical Sciences (and completely confused by Chemical and Physical Sciences because Math). Now I wonder if the Universe was just getting me ready for this era? (That’s very self-centered.)

7- Life. I’m so very grateful for friends and family who’ve been there for me in my darkest times. I’m grateful for financial help. I’m thankful for friends who check on me, who respond to me patiently when I’m at my nuttiest, who love me in spite of me. I try for others, too. Some it’s easier…I don’t know why. Maybe because I feel closer to them? I don’t know. I don’t know why. Some people I’m willing to give many many many chances to, and others I’m just…over this. I don’t understand me, really.

7b- I really, really, really miss my dad. My dad would not have liked Obama. He’d have called him a socialist and pretty much everything bad all the conservatives call him. My dad was very conservative, politically. However, he was also a deep thinker and he liked facts. He liked knowledge, the truth, and facts. And his father’s favorite activity was going into bars and starting arguments with people about politics…even if he agreed with them, my Grandpa could intelligently argue the other side. My father was a lot like that – he didn’t invite bar brawls like my grandfather did, but he’d learned from the best and could always see and understand the other side. Sometimes I forget to do that, in my passion for my side. But I can. I can see the other side’s passion and fears and dreams and wants. I just forget to.

At any rate, pretty sure my dad probably would have voted for Trump but not happily. He’d have been happy a woman was running, but only because I’d have explained to him why he needed to be happy. (Once, my dad and I sat in a restaurant and talked about interracial relationships. He said he disagreed with them because society wasn’t ready for them. I said, “But dad, if no one ever has them, how can society be ready for them?” And I won that argument, Reader/s. You have no idea how big a day that was. I shut my dad DOWN, yo. It was BIGLY.)

I miss him deeply. I want to talk to him about Donald. And Darth Vader aka Steve Bannon. I want to bring my father things and ask him, “Dad, is this normal?” and “Dad, what???” Because my dad went to Vietnam. My dad went to Vietnam after graduating from Pennsylvania Military College as a 2nd Lieutenant or whatever with a degree in Political Science, and he went to Vietnam and worked for Reconnaissance and flew over enemy lines and worked with the very people running that war. My dad was raised by people from the Great Generation, who fought a world war to end tyranny and a madman’s iron fist and murdering. My dad grew up listening to war stories, to stories about some of World War II’s great naval battles by his uncles and his dad, who were there. Who fought for freedom, literal freedom not ideological. My dad was taught over and over: when your country says FIGHT, you don’t question, you FIGHT.

And then my dad went to Vietnam and worked with people who were running that war. And he learned: Nope. Sometimes it’s good to question your country. Sometimes your country wants you to fight wars that aren’t for freedom; they’re for someone’s pockets or, worse, someone’s retention of power. Sometimes it’s okay to ask your government: “And why do you want me to do this thing? Again?”

And thus a liberal (aka, ME) was born. (My dad actually really admired General Colin Powell, whose political views I don’t really agree with; I read his book on leadership and at many points I was all: “Oh, Colin…no, baby, NO.” But his take on what makes a great leader? En pointe. I’d have absolutely no problem voting for a Colin Powell. Or a John McCain, for that matter (minus the crazy Sarah sidekick). These are both men my dad admired tremendously. The very definition of true patriots…not those psychos the alt-right holds up as icons.

I really miss my dad, you guys. Miss him as in, I’m talking to the air, hoping he’s in it, surrounding me with his protection and wisdom and love. I really miss my dad.

i have other things to write about, but my cold-addled brain wants me to stop and go back to vegetating on social media and words with friends and googling random stuff that isn’t going to help better my mental state one single bit.

8- Grizzly bears. I’m thankful for grizzly bear memes. I bet right now Betsy DeVos is wishing she picked a more threatening Wyoming animal, like a turkey vulture. Those things are pretty hideous. Grizzly bears are kinda cute.