maybe then

In case you missed Zelensky’s speech tonight, here’s a link to it in its entirety. The TLDR appeal to our people and the politicians: be the America you claim to be. You’re not isolated. Your silence won’t save you.

I watched in tears, from the moment I saw him enter that arena of hypocrites and frauds—dressed simply in what he’s worn since this entire thing began: battle fatigues, in a mark of solidarity with his colleagues left risking their lives in his homeland.

I was struck by that, but also his language skills—so far removed from American politicians and reminiscent of my Papa Harr—who was also from the Ukraine. I cried because I was proud. Prouder of that man and his courage, fighting to save his country from a ruthless piece of shit, than I’ve ever been of any American politician who would never in a million years take up battle with basically anyone in his country willing to try. Leaving behind his family to step up for freedoms we say we believe in—mere months after people in this country tried to invade our capital. Only 80-90 of the 218 GOP “leaders” decided listening in person was worth their time. Those who did attend criticized him for his fashion and accent. And I am left with only “how dare you.”

I hope, one day, I will be able to visit the city where my Papa was born. I hope, one day, our leaders will learn from Zelensky what actual leadership and freedom mean. Maybe then I’ll cry when our President walks into a room. Maybe then I’ll be proud.

winter days

It’s been a long, hard year.  This morning, I laid in bed way too long, after waking from a fitful rest that started way too late–as always.  I’ve been wired and defiant these past few days, easily hurt–but knowing the hurt isn’t so much because of any real thing–but just me needing an excuse for whatever it is I’m apt to feel right now.

Every year, I’m confronted with these anniversary days, and every year, I learn something new about it.  This year, I learned something that kinda shocked me–because how the heck did I miss that?

There are some days that are just the most God-awful days–days that have no redemption in them, and no amount of time reduces the suck of their existence. They are often not the obvious days. For me, the worst day of my whole life is one of those days, and today, I learned it coincides with the Winter Solstice. Oddly, I’ve been drawn to learning about the solstice this year–when I never have before. And as I traverse one more shitty anniversary week, I thought, “Of course”–and not in that snarky, bitchy way where I’m a victim.  More like the way the sky opened up and a rainbow appeared when we were searching for a place to spread Mama’s ashes years ago.  Of course–as in–yes, this is true–and it brought me so much comfort.

Winter solstice, for those who don’t know, marks the beginning of a new solar cycle where people in the Northern Hemisphere experience the longest and darkest nights of the year and the shortest of days. It kicks off winter, where everything goes to bed and quiets down–a sacred time of rest and reflection before things reawaken.  It’s a slow journey to brighter days and blooming. It’s a time to go within and be nourished and to deepen.

I am a summer baby, born during a heat wave towards the end of the season.  I do not like snow or true cold–except at a distance.  I’d rather die than put on socks. I like to be barefoot. I have never been one to dry my hair or wear appropriate clothing. I love spices and salads.  And late nights talking about nothing next to a magnificent view, windows always down.  But I’m also a ginger, who burns instantaneously, with freckles galore and an allergy to sweat.  So, while I enjoy my freedom, I also appreciate the shade and don’t mind a few goosebumps.

My Mama was decidedly a winter baby, born a few days before Christmas, in the middle of the coldest of places.  She loved the snow and chill, if not the ice. Loved quiet and books and cozy vibes. She gave me depth and helped me appreciate being uncomfortable.  She helped me persevere when I didn’t want to keep going–gave me a serious work ethic and an intensity others lacked.  Inside became a playground for me because of her.

For the past few years, I’ve leaned heavily into my summer side–chasing all adventures–until I wondered if I was just running away from myself.  This past quarter, the Universe handed me one thud after another, and I finally took the hint to rest.  To stop the adventure and just be with it.  To finally mourn all of it. I’ve mined that space like it was its own rollercoaster ride, and I’m confident to say, I’m not where I began. And that makes me damn proud.

Stillness, often, is a requirement for movement.  In Latin, solstice is the result of two words: sol and sistere.  Sol means sun.  Sistere means “to make stand.”  The Earth pauses, shifts, and then moves in a new direction.  I feel like this time in my life has truly been a sun standing still moment.  No matter how dark it gets, there are always brighter days ahead. But for now, we rest. Still.

the colbert questionnaire

In honor of my Mama’s birthday, I decided to post here, and to tackle the Colbert Questionnaire–which is, oddly, something I’ve never done before. But (!) before I do, I would like to mention a few updates on this here blog and where to find me more often–at least on these interwebs. (Is that still a phrase?).

So, I’ve spoken before about how this whole blogging exercise isn’t something I’m altogether driven to continue long-term–but that writing itself is something I’m driven to engage long-term. (Did I mention that I’ve put my MFA plans on ice for a bit until a new job happens–mostly because I’d like to know what my life will be like before undertaking that expense and schedule. I’ve also decided to recommit to being a therapist, and one day, I might share why. But today isn’t that day).

The blog is not going away just yet because I do still enjoy randomly–sporadically–checking in, and at times, it’s the only place I have to brain-dump in a meaningful way. However, lately, I’ve been sorta micro-blogging on Instagram–mostly in stories, but sometimes in just normal posts. I have a little community there, and it feels a whole lot better to be involved in conversations (albeit mostly privately) about these things rather than just flinging it out into the void. Because blogging, for me, was always meant to be a conversation–a way to feel less alone and a way to help others feel less alone. Especially when it came to difficult things–and to actually talk about the damn difficult things rather than suffer through silently, as I was taught to do.

So, I like my cozy little corner of the socials–for now–and post there pretty much daily. Beware–there is much political snark and opinions happening, but also all the stuff you’re used to and a lot of giggles, weird enneagram and astrological nerdery and random fangirling. It’s a whole lot of what I originally wanted this to be eventually. That said–I think this here blog has a place in my creative sharing–but I’m not exactly sure what it should be. I do know I probably need to figure out the whole bleeding in public thing more–and my Instagram is far less open than this always has been. I think that’s good. So YEA–this place will eventually change–but hopefully, the heart of it will remain the same.

I always feel like I should be apologizing for my absence here–as if there’s ever been regularity–but that’s probably a charming, neurodivergent BLAH I don’t actually need to apologize for. 2022 was probably the 2nd hardest year of my life, and while there’s been LOTS to talk about–there’s been lots to sit with and heal, too. I don’t know that I’ve gotten to the other side of the experiencing part since August was such a damn doozy. I haven’t really even dived into it in therapy–which is a little disconcerting since I talk to my therapist regularly–and while I always find things to talk about–I don’t think we’ve really dug into any of it–mostly because it’s still very much an active trauma. I’m hoping my life will be vastly different in a few months, and I’ll be capable of more unearthing–but for now–this is where we’re at. If I don’t wave hello before then, I hope you all truly have a wonderful everything–and that the new year is kind to all of us–even the shitty people who can’t seem to stop being shitty–if only to make them less miserable and hopefully more sane.

Without further ado…
___

The Colbert Questionnaire

  1. Best sandwich
    • I have a few favorites that I refuse to choose between, mostly because it’s about moods. And also, I must mention that–if you put fries or nachos or mozzarella sticks on subs–I hate you to the core of my being. Cheeseburgers, cheesesteaks, and hot dogs are NOT sandwiches.
      • Egg salad: But not just ANY egg salad–MY egg salad–which is full of pickles and dill. Also lots of sprouts or arugula and lemon-y mayo. Possibly cheese. On WHITE toast.
      • Chicken salad: I hate MOST chicken salad, but again–my chicken salad is the best. I like it with celery leaves and seeds–but not actual celery, lemony mayo, red OR green onion, a crunchy & sweet element such as apples OR dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts. Breast only! Again on toasted WHITE bread with arugula.
      • Roasted turkey breast with bacon, cranberry sauce, smoked gouda, lemony mayo, arugula.
      • Grilled cheese with sourdough and American cheese (not the damn Kraft singles–get the actual deli-sliced American cheese). Do NOT, under ANY circumstance, coat your bread with mayo and crisp it that way. Unsalted butter always. And no tomatoes ever. This is an order.
      • Foccaccia with extra rosemary, preferably homemade; grilled chicken; sun-dried tomato mayo; a tiny bit of pesto (again homemade), a shit ton of either fontina or provolone cheese–grilled on a press.
  2. What’s one thing you own that you really should throw out?
    • SO many things. I would have to say old Fogg medicines are top of the list. I got rid of most of them, but there’s a shelving thing full of stuff from the caregiving years that I haven’t been able to deal with. Losing a pet is hard.
  3. What is the scariest animal?
    • While I think they’re so cute and I have no issue with them in theory, mice scare the absolute shit out of me. It’s mostly because they’re unpredictable, jump, can bite, and are fast. And it’s hard to know where they are. They could be lurking anywhere.
  4. Apples or oranges?
    • Honestly, BOTH. There’s truly nothing like a fresh apple and some cheese or peanut butter for a snack, but I could also eat oranges all day.
  5. Have you ever asked someone for their autograph?
    • Does writing a fan letter count? If so, I wrote to Chad Allen and Wil Wheaton when I was a kid, and both wrote back!
  6. What do you think happens when we die?
    • Have you ever seen Dead Like Me? I think there are dead people who ferry us wherever we need to go. I don’t believe in a Heaven or a Hell, per se, other than the ones we create here on Earth. I also don’t think there is an end or a separation really–just a change in energy. I think troubled souls that did a lot of harm have a chance to do it again. I think those who were mostly good, but still have lots to learn or have unfinished business are in service roles-sorta like the Dead Like Me characters. They can still come to us in dreams and can show up to their loved ones here, if they’re open to it. And then the ones who were pretty good and learned what they needed get an opportunity to continue on in some other energy. Pets go directly there. I don’t think there’s a separation between those souls and the living. It’s just a different energetic form. I think we can still have relationships with them and that they evolve just like if they were living. We just can’t see them.
  7. Favorite action movie?
    • This is such a difficult question for me because I hate action movies! Maybe Iron Man?
  8. Favorite smell?
    • Any kind of citrus
    • Freesia, lilacs, peonies
    • Freshly showered man
    • Fresh laundry
    • Christmas spices
    • Cherry candles
    • Amber-y smells
    • Lollia’s Wish line
    • Tokyo Milk’s Honey & the Moon perfume
    • Baking bread
  9. Least favorite smell
    • Milpitas
    • Swamp gas
    • The chemical smell of burning trash near encampments
    • Burning rubber
    • Burning hair
    • Overly spicy perfume–and way too much of it
  10. Exercise: worth it?
    • Yes–just for the mental benefits alone.
  11. Flat or sparkling?
    • Ice cold, always sparkling
  12. Most used app on your phone?
    • Probably Instagram, other than the text and mail app
  13. You get one song to listen to for the rest of your life. What is it?
    • Deep in Love – Bonny Light Horseman
  14. What number am I thinking of?
    • 18
  15. Describe the rest of your life in 5 words?
    • Surrender, purging, rooted, ease, joy

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the painfully long, and excessively too short, goodbye

Nah–it’s not that kinda blog entry. I’m not going anywhere. This is the one about Twitter.

If you had told me 10+ years ago that I would feel compelled to write one about Twitter, I would have scoffed with disdain and curiosity. But here we are–in some topsy turvy world where a muskrat king ruins all things, but maybe that’s okay. Maybe that–in itself–is an ode to what was.

I’ve already written a goodbye for my Twitter account, posted in screenshots of tweets because my meandering ass couldn’t keep it to one, and Twitter shit the bed once all the engineers quit and wouldn’t let me post my 5 paragraph essay. I reposted it on Instagram, for good measure, because many of my comrades in tweet left months or years ago–abandoning the place I always had trouble quitting–and I guess I wanted them to know what they meant to me. But, of course, that’s hard to do in rapid fire messages–but it’s also the only way you do.

Twitter was–IS–that: contradictions and chaos. I both hated and loved it. In the early days, before it was cool and before it became a true cesspool–it was a sort of Wild West where anyone was welcome and free to be loved or hated or tolerated. You could be anything on Twitter–as long as you knew the cadence.

It was a magical place for a neurodivergent mind–for an orphan who was orphaned a million times by other humans–who was seeking home in an age of MySpazz withdrawal. It was a place to get to know your friends all over again-to meet brand new ones just through their words–to find just about anything. It made me feel adept because I am a person of words. This was my place to be exactly me–24/7–no matter how broken or shattered or angry or high on Skittles and Starbucks. I often traversed its blocks after midnight, when only a few of us delirious night owls remained–and we talked about the nonsensical crap in our heads–along with the shit that kept us all up at night–and our dreams: the shit we hadn’t quite dreamt yet.

There was some kind of home for everyone, and that made it magical and oddly safe.

It was a place that allowed me to be what I couldn’t be at work, in my relationships, or even on Goddamn Facebook. A place where I could show my ass–and take it or leave it–you loved me or thought I was a bit much. I met my roommate there. Heckled an ex about his shitty poetry–just to be mean because I was an asshole. I fell in love with someone I didn’t even know existed–who was in another damn city. I helped someone start a nonprofit and fine-tune business ideas. I got to know my city from its humans, in ways I never expected. I found New York and Canada and all areas in between. I decided I actually liked Boulder. I learned a whole helluva lot about the daily lived experience of people I never got a chance to hug. I broke up with people. I yelled at them. I was outraged for people. I grieved for people. I wrote. I was inspired. I cheerled like my life depended on it. I got people looking at things they never thought about. I advocated. I saw addicts become artists. I witnessed and saw and heard. I was.

That’s my Twitter–the one before orange assholes and evil gazillionaires took over. The one I’ll keep. And like all good love stories, I gloss over the bad bits–like when a racist misogynist got mad at me for calling him out and tried to dox me–and Twitter allowed it–pushing one of my first deleted account middle fingers. Twitter was often a place for trolls and a place I loved to hate. I never understood why there wasn’t an edit button. And all of those things prompted me to lock my account years ago–which meant it was a lot less of what it was at one time. I eventually felt like I was yelling into a very small void–talking just to hear myself say something when I didn’t know what else to do. And the hate for Twitter was often directed at myself–because Twitter, I often said–brought out the worst in me: the petty part of me that liked to shame and overanalyze. Eventually, we all grow up, though.

Truthfully, I’ve been weaning myself away for years–sometimes not tweeting for days–secretly hoping someone would just take it out because I doubted my ability to stay away forever. Parts of me felt like this would be good. But the reality of losing this place has brought up the same feelings I had when Denver started becoming a place I didn’t really know–a place that was no longer mine.

The places where we live evolve–just as we do–for better or worse–and it’s heartbreaking. But without that evolution, there’s no growth–or innovation. It’s like carrying around your dad’s thin pink blanket that’s so threadbare, there are holes. One day, it just disappears–and you have no idea where it even went–lost to one too many prolonged, painful moves–where the noise overwhelmed the nostalgia. We look for things to replace what we’ve lost, but the reality is–we are not the same–so it will never be the same.

When I lost my beloved Fogg in May, a part of me wanted to fill the hole that was the foundation of parts of my life with another warm body–knowing it would be sweet and the distraction my grieving mind and heart and body needed–but also knowing the parts of me that loved her–that fit with her–were long gone–absorbed into some version of what other people call better or more–but that I just call something else.

There is no good nor bad here–just different–like all loss or change or evolution. All of it is part of the story of who we are and the stories of everything we’ll be.

builders

Last night, I was on YouTube–as I often am–and came across this video from this guy who gives people relationship advice. I’ve watched his stuff before, and it’s usually good stuff, so I clicked. All of his stuff is geared toward women like me, and this particular video was on the reasons women get into relationships with emotionally unavailable men.

For those who don’t know, this past week, I broke up with an ex that I gave another chance to this summer. And the reason I did that was because he constantly stonewalled me and just wasn’t there for me in any sense of the word. That said, I gave him another chance because I did–do–love him–so it sucked. And contrary to popular belief, breaking up with someone is maybe way more painful than being the one broken up with–especially when you feel forced to break up with them because of their unwillingness to change.

Now, many of you probably will say that my first mistake was even giving him a chance–and I don’t disagree. I’ve only done it once before in my entire dating history, but there were major extenuating circumstances here that factored into our original breakup–and I felt there was unfinished business with him. I still do, but I guess it’s just going to remain unfinished.

Anyway, the whole emotionally unavailable man thing is kinda a me problem because I keep dating these guys-and no matter how different they seem to be–it’s always the same damn thing. So, I was listening to this video, and he asked us to think about what attracted us to these people.

With my last ex, I think the thing that attracted me was that he was an artist. Once I got to know him, it was his wit. He was fun to talk to. He had interesting opinions.

So, the video guy made a few very interesting points here:

–if you can’t really pinpoint what drew you to the person–ie, there was just something about them–that’s probably very clearly a trauma bond.

–then he mentioned how there were like individual traits that can draw you to someone that indicate actual attraction or interest in them. They’re the traits we should use to gauge if we want to spend time with someone–as in getting to know them as an acquiantance and then a friend and so on.

–but at some point, if you want to see if they’re relationship material, you have to look at them differently.

He likened a romantic relationship beyond a hook-up or FWB situation to a business partnership. There are lots of people that you like as human beings that you don’t mind going to get a drink with who you would never, in a million years, go into business with. Because going into business requires certain skills and compatibilities that just aren’t possible with everyone. Maybe it’s not possible at all for that person, with anyone, or maybe your relationship with them doesn’t support that. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people are terrible choices. It just means you’re trying to make them and the relationship something it isn’t because you like them for things that have nothing to do with partnership.

Which is a big a-ha for me.

So, what does a partnership take to make it work? In my mind, it’s mutual respect, trust, clear communication, humor, fun, willingness to be wrong, investment of time and energy, loyalty, vulnerability, honesty, sacrifice, humility, integrity, empathy, and chemistry. For me, all of these things are bare minimum.

With my last ex, only a couple of those things were ever in place with him where I exhibited all of it for him, even when we were at the height of our anything. So, that–to me–should’ve indicated he was friend material (which, ironically, is what I initially was open to with him). However, I let the me liking him so much part cloud me to the fact that–while he could be a decent friend for me–he was never going to be anything except a frustrating partner for me. Where I was all those things for him, he was always falling short and that’s what he was capable of–expecting more than that was unfair to him and me. I wasn’t a victim. I wasn’t fooled. I just chose to like him and ignore that he wasn’t a builder. Which is fine if you’re not wanting to build something–but I so clearly am.

This little exercise has been helpful in my realizing that I’m not a complete idiot for dating the people I dated. I chose people with many of those qualities I wanted, but the things that mattered were the things that made them not great builders. It’s helping me to see everything a whole lot differently.