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I’m not one to shout any accomplishment I make or even acknowledge that I’ve attempted to do something but…this one feels worth saying something about.

I quit smoking 10 years ago today.

Driving in to work this morning reminded me of the one change in my body that has made the frustration in the process worth it – my voice. I can sing again like I did in choir as a kid. I’m not great, but just that I can do it is enough. There’s always been a stupid hidden power for me in singing to myself in my car, alone in my house, but don’t ever ask me to sing in front of people. Not gonna happen no matter how often I’ve daydreamed about being a badass frontwoman.

I joked in my usual way in an Instagram post this morning that it’s nice to have a reminder now and again that I am capable of change when I actually try.

That’s the kicker though isn’t it? You actually have to try.

Forgiven

You know how us Catholic girls can be
We make up for so much time a little too late
I never forgot it, confusing as it was
No fun with no guilt feelings
The sinners, the saviors, the lover-less priests
I’ll see you next Sunday

We all had our reasons to be there
We all had a thing or two to learn
We all needed something to cling to
So we did

I sang Alleluia in the choir
I confessed my darkest deeds to an envious man
My brothers they never went blind for what they did
But I may as well have
In the name of the Father, the Skeptic and the Son
I had one more stupid question

We all had our reasons to be there
We all had a thing or two to learn
We all needed something to cling to
So we did

What I learned I rejected but I believe again
I will suffer the consequence of this inquisition
If I jump in this fountain, will I be forgiven

We all had our reasons to be there
We all had a thing or two to learn
We all needed something to cling to
So we did

We all had delusions in our head
We all had our minds made up for us
We had to believe in something
So we did

~ Alanis Morissette РJagged Little Pill РForgiven

All by myself

I’m having a week. Thankfully with J @ B’s for the weekend and the fantastic understanding human that is my best friend I am spending this weekend as a hermit to process and try to re-charge myself for the weeks to come.

There have been moments this week where observation has left me really hurting in a way I haven’t felt in a while. I think I’ve spent a good portion of the past four years a bit numbed to everything as a survival mechanism and I’m trying really hard to let myself feel things. The hard thing in that is that I don’t just want to feel them and let them lie there…I feel like I need to SAY something instead of just letting things build to my inevitable volcano that’s become my trademark.

I’m not even sure where to start, because actually being completely real about what I have going on in my sphere rolls into places that are not mine to share. Gone are those days of LJ where I would just spill and apologize for it later (or never). I can say this much, I am feeling some shit and I don’t really know what to do with it. I’m conflicted in a number of ways, enough that I write sentences here and decide not to move forward with them because it still admits too much and I just can’t do it. Not out of fear, but out of empathy.

I’ve spent a lot of time today dicking around the house but also considering where I am, where and who I’ve come from, who I’ve become and who I want to be. Existential crisis? Probably, but TBH I’m probably overdue for this type of shit.

Maybe that’s what’s driving me to want to learn tarot again. Something to give me focus other than on my own insecurities and inevitabilities that I’ll have to face. Trying so hard not to think about the people I’ve disappointed this week, or annoyed just by existing. Feeling the exact things I’ve dreaded coming to fruition.

Think I’ll try to study some of my tarot book before I call it a night. Maybe one more round of Monster Prom.

Personal Projects

Things remain generally awful in that ‘I wish I could take this away for these people I love, but I can’t so I’ll just love them’ kind of way.

In these times, my brain shifts to weird ‘leave your mark, say your piece’ type project ideas. I don’t know why, maybe it’s a brush with someone else’s mortality, fuck if I know. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to say the things to people/about people that you love in a roundabout art way than actually just saying ‘hey man, I love you’ or ‘this is why this stupid inanimate object means so much to me’.

So, projects.

I’ve been telling myself since we bought the house that I should put all my most prized items in a fire/waterproof safe of some kind. Most people would assume such a container would be saved for important papers and things with monetary value. Mine? Aside from some assumed paperwork I have notes, pictures, trinkets and concert tickets that need to be preserved. Those are my prized possessions, above all others the last card I got from my grandmother. These are priceless commodities to this heart. Much as I want to make that shadow box for Aaron, I’m more tempted to put his belongings right in there as well. Squirrel away all the things that once touched a loved one or emotionally touched me.

Part of putting those things away is documenting what they are, how I got them, and why they are important enough to be placed there i the first place.

The other project is not so tangible, but still worth it I think. Hardwick talked on one of the Nerdist casts eons ago about a playlist project he started for himself many years ago and still does. Each New Year’s Day he creates a new playlist and adds to it through the year songs that he found that year that he enjoyed or songs he listened to in general that year that triggered an emotional or memorial response.

I’d like to take that project with my own little spin and make friendlists. Playlists with tunes specifically tailored about or for my homies. They’ll probably end up with more songs than could go on a mixed CD, but fuck it. Someday maybe I’ll share them with them, maybe not.

These have been your random ass thoughts from the resident redhead who’s at hopefully the tail end of a cold and feeling like she needs to channel her nostalgic ass into some sort of tangible result.

The Ballad Of…

I’m aggravated that I can’t remember the name of that song right now. You played it for us one night when the back room was still yours. Ballad of Hollis Brown? Was that it? I can’t remember, but I want to listen to it. I need the notes, something to cling to besides blips of memory.¬†What was that fucking song…?

I hate this. The complete and utter helplessness, uselessness. Wish it could be mine instead. Surprised it’s not mine instead. Weird fucking twist of fate that seems like cosmic dark humor that far surpasses my own. Fate, as always, you’re a raging cunt.

Judgement could fall this family as so little in some people’s eyes but they are so great in mine. A chaotic maelstrom of human emotion constantly holding each other up and keeping each other afloat. Their own little solar system. So much love in that house. So lucky to have it extended to me when I needed it. How often I ran there as a refuge from whatever battle I was waging. How often you accepted me at your doorstep without question (maybe with a dirty joke re: your son, but not so much question).

I’ve always loved the scars in people. The “flaws”.¬†Good people always have a checkered story. Very few really interesting people have squeaky clean floorboards.

I remember going to pick you up in Ann Arbor from treatment. Wish I remembered it more for whatever conversation we had on the way back than I do the moments on our return. Although, I’m not even sure that I remember that afternoon correctly anyway. So many moments jumble into memories turned fuzzy around the edges.

I won’t romanticize you anymore than we do Aaron or I do my Grams. The real person is more than enough to love, I don’t need or want the heroic fairy tale variations people like to eulogize.

Simply, thank you. Thank you for your kindness, candor, and way of being. Thank you for giving me a father figure that doesn’t suck.

What now, don’t know, just wish I could take the burdens off your kid’s shoulders. However, that’s a battle we’ve been waging for way longer than this. Giving is his path; we’re just trying to make sure the destination isn’t a steep cliff. Keep an eye on him from the stars, sure you will, in one way or another.

I fight my battles in the shadows most people step on
A walking stride replaced with a dodge, parry, roll
Answer the questions with just enough to give someone a glimpse
See if they’ll take the bait and ask for another taste, a deeper embrace
Let’s dance with the shadows you and I

You and I

You and Me

I miss you two most desperately

Try, Try, Try

Tomorrow starts my rather belated Winter-een-mas vacation. Usually I take a break between Christmas and New Years from work to not only take in all the festivities of the season with family and friends but to reboot my introverted self back into some semblance of wanting to deal with other humans for another year without going into hermit mode.

With the multitude of things going on in my sphere as of late I struggle greatly with carving out the space I used to have where creativity seemed to blossom, even just for a moment. When a spark hits my nerves and I want to write again, something else inevitably requires the attention that such endeavors deserve.

What I hope for in this week off aside from the rejuvenation I so dire find myself in want of is to rekindle some bit of this part of myself again. Be it here, in actual written form, or just something besides the drivel that seems to escape my lips day to day. I’ll take it.

Where there is desire there will always be a flame.

When?

I have a question.
I don’t have an answer.
I suspect that you won’t either.

When is it acceptable to call attention to an injustice you observe?
When is it acceptable to teach others a new perspective?
When is it acceptable to hold up a sign calling attention to a problem?
When is it acceptable to act vs. observe?

I gather that, despite all the contradictory praise our society wishes to give to those who fight for their beliefs in retrospect, when actually presented with a set of human beings doing so, we shun them. We question their belief structure, humanity, faith, intelligence, pride.

When isn’t it acceptable to call attention to an injustice you observe?
When isn’t it acceptable to teach others a new perspective?
When isn’t it acceptable to hold up a sign calling attention to a problem?
When isn’t it acceptable to act vs. observe?

When?

I think there’s a flaw in my code…

Last day of ‘vacation’. Well feels like half over already last day of ‘vacation’. This is always the day I dread when I take more than one day off. The day I spend flogging myself mentally for all the things I didn’t do or get done in that time frame.

Didn’t even finish one book? Bought 6 more instead? Great, you’re only up to 15 physical books in your backlog and oh don’t even look at your kindle with all the $1.99 books you’ve bought over the past six months. Don’t even touch Comixology and all the graphic novels you’ve bought or borrowed on there. Not to mention the 10+ issues of your series you’ve fallen behind on.

Knitting projects? HA! Started a gift for Jordan you’ll probably finish when her kid starts college. Good job, ace.

A good chunk of this time I’ve contemplated reaching out last time and for once actually be straight forward with the fact that it’s my last time. Didn’t do it. Can’t bring myself to be the one to end anything. That could be my Indian name. Reality though is that I’m tired. Mentally, emotionally, physically. I think about things M has said to me over the years, how much appreciation there is in that friendship and in that there are moments I have the gall to believe that I deserve better than this. Nostalgia only goes so far. I’m fine with friends that I don’t talk to every day or see very often. A great deal of my most prized connections are with those I’m lucky to see physically only once or twice a year if that. Some not at all. Physical space has never been a requirement to be my friend.

I can’t help but feel in my gut that actions taken outside my scope of knowledge are enough to break the chain. And yet. And yet.

I know I can’t always be the buoy or life jacket, hell I can’t even do that for myself…but I keep trying. All I picture when I think about some of my most toxic connections is faces on a shore watching me drown, waving and smiling.

When will that be enough for me to cut the line and safe myself?

The Great Pretender

I think I’ve gotten too good at pretending
Too skilled at playing normal

I don’t reach out when I should, afraid to become a burden. Afraid that he’s been right all along. That reaching makes me selfish. That no one cares. That I’m not worth their time. Every day without a ding of a text proving again and again how little I cross anyone’s mind. Proving again and again that in the end all friendship I have ever had was in my head. Don’t you know they don’t care about you really? They’re just being nice you stupid twat. You think you really matter? Idiot.

This is how my brain works. This is how it speaks. Doesn’t matter if I spend every moment for a week with people I love or have spent a month by myself. All the moments amount to nothing. All the fear of missing out still ultimately leaves me home alone in fear that I’ll waste someone’s time. That my words don’t help. That my actions don’t matter. That all the hours I spend thinking about them aren’t returned even an ounce.

If no one knows you spent three hours trying to craft the perfect message or gif to send them you just seem callous and weird when you finally hit send. Maybe that’s true either way. If they don’t know how often you hear a song or see something and think of them, did it even happen? Do you even feel, bro? If you start bringing these things up now, will they deem you a stalker? Think you’ve gone crackers?

All the dark moments in my life. All the memories I wish I could rid myself of. I can’t. Speak of them in jest. As though they are not crushing your lungs.

You’re doing it again. Making it all about you. Fucking cunt. No wonder they don’t bother with you. Haven’t you got anything new to talk about? Don’t you know they’re tired of your same old shit?

People you used to talk to every day. Share meals with. Share moments. What do you do now? Cower and hide because you know there’s judgement in their eyes. You aren’t worthy. You made poor choices. They don’t trust your decision. Who you love reflects on you. What’s that mean? Know it, accept it. Cry. Who cares if you do? None. Exactly.

Should have been you. That’s what still kills you, isn’t it? Should have been you. You could be lost. You are inconsequential. Try to offer a trade. Dean for Sam. Sam for Dean. Take me instead. Give them back someone useful. Someone worthy.

Be ok. Gotta be ok. Be ok today. Joke. Don’t choke. Put on the mask. Keep walking. Shh, we’ll meet again soon.

For What It’s Worth

I don’t hate you. Hate’s not my jam. Hard to hate someone for doing something they’ve always done, for following the rule book they always have. Some actions no longer surprise when they’ve become someone’s repertoire. That said, it’s a far shittier thing to don your familiar mask against someone who least deserves it. We’re all dark and twisty here, this was the sacred circle after all. If we can’t be 100% who we are with each other, what the fuck are we even doing this for anymore?

We’ve all done shitty things. We’ve all been shitty people. Own and atone, isn’t that what we’ve all been hoping to be strong enough to do all along? Be brave. Live. Flaws and all. Make our own happy, but not at the expense of ourselves or the rest of our flock. That’s the fucked up part. What data am I missing where that part makes any damn sense?

My instinct is to extend empathy and seek to understand, not condemn. Until your actions, or inaction as it were, give me reason do so.

I can’t hate you, but I can question your motives. I can’t hate you, but I wonder what sign I missed? Did I screw up? Did I let you down by not seeing the smoke rings you put out ? Was I too caught up in my own bindings to notice you were drowning too? Has the flawlessly flawed veneer I put on everyone fooled me once again?

I want to give you space to seek me when you are ready, knowing that pursuit often makes you flee. However, just as much of me wants to show up in your life so you can’t avoid me anymore. Wonders why am I being avoided in the first place. What traits have been pinned on me that make me a path of least desire?

I don’t want to yell at you, I don’t even want to judge you. I just want to make sure you’re not bleeding to death in front of our eyes. Whether you stay in this circle or not is on you just as much as it’s on us to let you. Either way, we tried.

Say something, I’m giving up on you

I can forgive anything, but I never forget
The tattered tapestries my tribe wove have
Given me the empathy to accept the twisted
Darkness in anyone and keep moving
What will you do now?
It’s what you do afterwards that counts
That’s when I find out who you really are
Did I romanticize you into a being you can never be?
Do my hopes for the people I love give them impossible standards to reach?
Do you care enough to reach back or
Have I been reaching out into darkness all along?
That’s the thing about humans
They’ll disappoint you

 

Endless hours

I’m compelled to share this entry from Wil for a myriad of reasons. Primarily because I have lived this day. More times than I would wish on anyone. I’ve never been quite able to put into words what it is like. How much I have fought, yelled at doctors on behalf of someone I love dearly. I have questioned, to their faces in some cases, if these medical professionals even cared to save and give a quality of life back to my mother. I have pleaded with them, what if this was your mother, treat her as though she was your mother, please. Years spent waking up in the wee hours to her screaming. Walking up the staircase from my room to ‘hers’ to watch TV, bring her warm rice bags, anything to help ease her pain for a few hours and calm her back to sleep. Moments I don’t talk about, things I don’t share because I don’t want to bring shame to her. Feeling and wondering if anyone would ever love me enough to do those things for me. I am more empathetic to what Wil and Anne have gone through than I will even get into now. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to verbalize in any concise manner how those days have felt. How much armor I feel I have built, preparations in my castle for what will inevitably come, how many times I have thought it was already knocking at our door. For her. For him. I may never really be ready, no matter what my gallows humor would say to the contrary.

eighteen hours

Side Effects

I’ve been fighting a cold, infection, flu, I have no idea for over a week now. I have no idea how this plague has befallen me but I both rue and lament it. Sorry, I fell asleep to Futurama and that was a part of a Fry quote I awoke to this morning.

An only funny to me probably side effect of this is how thin my mental wires are stretched when I’m physically ill. I’m paranoid about everything, I’m even more inclined to believe that everyone would be happier if I were dead and that no one really likes me anyway so who the fuck cares. She’s on fire when the rest of me is too tired to fight her off. She’s ready to pounce and bitch at anyone even if they’re just being kind and trying to help. Takes an odd level of effort to not be that raging cunt. To not let her win, not let her sever all the ties to my sanity and safety.

If I could…

I’m far behind on a great deal of my favorite sites to read again. Result of simply trying to step away from all things informational for the sake of my sanity, yeah, but it’s still a pretty poor excuse.

Something I often find humans saying are sentences¬†starting with “If money were no object”. The sad aspect of that is how often the ending to those sentences fall into realms of physical things or experiences someone wants for themselves, vs actions that could be taken to help others.

This is one of the things I enjoy about sites like UpWorthy. They focus on stories quite often of people that fill in that blank in a more altruistic way.

This article in particular did something for me that many of theirs do. Calls to attention something I had not thought of but makes me want to make change however I can, even if it starts with a simple petition/writing. Very  much like Haven House and their striving to keep families together, I was unaware of the issues within shelters that separate families in the first place. I was equally ignorant until this article of how few shelters are given ability/rights to take pets along with women. In this instance specifically those seeking refuge from domestic abuse.

I imagine quite often pets can be the one things someone fleeing such a situation may be able to hold on to. Having to choose to leave them must be devastating. So I have to ask the question, where could I start seeking change? Can I seek that change state-wide? Can I seek it locally? Time to do some research. If money were no object, I’d like to open one up myself. Might be something worth aiming for. I think so.

http://www.upworthy.com/most-domestic-abuse-shelters-dont-accept-pets-leaving-women-with-a-hard-choice-to-make

 

Just Want to Leave Something

RENT was fantastic as always, but to be entirely honest I’m not up for writing tonight. Not doing so great with this WRITING thing, but at least I’m trying. Gonna go watch some Dooger and call it a night.

Affected

Today was a recording day for Disaster Digital so short on time. So here’s a video for a song by Mama Tonjes that sucks me right back to my twenties.

Whoops

I’m¬†laying in bed, the wrap on my arm from giving blood today itching and remembered I haven’t written today.

Shit.

I gave blood for the second time today. Win!!!

thats all you’re getting, I wanna read some Dune.

Life Support

In 5 short days I will be seeing RENT for the second time live. There’s a part of the stage play in particular that has been hitting me hard this year. During a Life Support meeting one of the members, Gordon, notes that ‘reason says I should have died, three years ago’. That hits hard this year in particular because there are days when it feels like something of me DID die three years ago. Something big that I can’t get back. An A2 poop sized chunk of my heart that I can’t get back no matter how much I want it or how many Spine songs I blare in my car. That reality is something we all face, and if it weren’t for the support we give each other I don’t think I could do it.

Darkly funny that I have come out with strength from something that just as easily rips me apart. I’ve never been very shy about taboo topics of conversation or thoughts that others reply with ‘I don’t want to go there’.

I DO WANT TO GO THERE. ‘There’ is where the best conversations are! That’s something I’ll always miss about Aaron, something I am eternally grateful for with Marty, Brianna, Jess, Brian, and Josh. They let me go to the darkest and weirdest parts of my little wormy brain without (visible) judgement.

I hope I have done the same for you. I’m here for your light, your dark, your shallow and your worm holes. There’s only US. There’s only THIS. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

 

Powerless Again

As much as I like to think we can prepare for the inevitable loss of all breathing things we love, we don’t. We can say we do, we can pretend it’s not a gutting experience, but that’s not true.

Loss is loss no matter what, and what¬†is so frustrating in the process that is simply that you can’t stop it. I couldn’t stop my Grandmother from taking her last breath, I couldn’t stop Aaron from his, and I can’t stop Duke’s last moments from happening. That’s not the power I actually want, it’s the ripple effects, the pain, that comes with those last exhales. The shifts that take place, the moments when you go to say a name and stop yourself because you wonder if it’s ok to utter those words yet. The moments you stop yourself because you remember and your heart breaks into a million little pieces all over again. The seconds when I hear a song and my eyes begin to well and my chest gets tighter. That’s what I’d rather be the consumer of than have to have anyone I care for feel. I’d rather shield and hide the pain in the deep crevices of my black little heart than make anyone else live them. That’s a far reaching statement if ever there was one.

I always think that I’m going to share all my darkest moments at some point, but I don’t. Those little home movies are too much sometimes, burned into my neurons in ways I can’t shake. I’m sorry that you have them too, that you’ll have them in yours. I’ll share them with you whenever you ask, no matter how dark they are. I’ve seen plenty, and there’s only more to be consumed. So it goes.

Let the Notes Do the Talking

I’m still deliciously obsessed with this album. If you don’t have it, you should, it’s fantastic. This song though, hits into some things in me I hadn’t anticipated. The words ‘god damn right you should be scared of me’ has deeper threads to me than it probably does for most. The demons in my life are in many ways always my own, but that hasn’t always been the case. For a long while I’ve simply dealt with someone else’s. A byproduct of addiction, always wanting to protect someone else from the same fate.

Who is in control?