Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Saturday morning, Chris's grandfather passed away. 
His funeral is tomorrow, Thursday . . . well, today, I guess, considering that it's midnight.

Funerals are such strange things. An odd attempt to summarize an entire lifetime--a mind, a soul--in an hour. To honor them to tears and sentences that either resonate in your bones or sound so hollow. A light has been snuffed out. How do you put that into words? How do you adequately describe the one you've lost or speak into those left behind?
It doesn't bring them back.
There's forever an empty seat at the table in this life. You won't hear their voice, feel their touch.  An emptiness has been torn open and nothing can repair it. Sometimes you can patch it over time, but, under that band-aid, there is still a void. And you know it. You feel it. Some days it's simply more raw and bleeding than others.

I remember the day of my own grandfather's funeral nearly ten years ago (has it really been so long?). I was not close to my grandfather, though he was a good man. I remember waiting in the back room of the church in skirt I hadn't worn in years but was the only almost-formal, almost-somber thing that still fit (freshman twenty be damned).  My grandmother entered and was immediately enveloped by my aunts and she said, voice quavering, "There was construction on the road today.  They were just building like they've been building for weeks, and I clutched my steering wheel and wanted to scream. Don't they know?! Didn't they know Marvin was gone? Why are they still building?" She shook her fists as if she were fighting an invisible steering wheel. "DIDN'T THEY KNOW!?"

I think of those words, now, whenever my own world aches.
Doesn't it know? Doesn't it know the pain? Why is it still spinning? Why are the birds still singing? Why don't they stop? Don't they know? Don't they know?
But the world doesn't stop. Sometimes, it even seems to go faster, pushing us forward while we desperately try to catch our breath, calloused thing that life is. It doesn't give one stinkin crap about pain. It has things to do, molecules to arrange, seasons to line up. We only try to keep our head above the rising seas.
But doesn't it know?

I barely knew Luther, but the loss of his presence is palpable. The man was a true patriarch, adored by his family--his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren. Patriarch is the best word for him, I think. He led his clan, a solid rock at the head of the table, speaking grace over the holiday meals, watching, teaching. A patriarch.

I wish I had the proper source for this photo, but I know it was from a cousin's wedding a couple years ago.
I thought it summed up Luther and Melanie as beautifully as a picture could.
  I did not know Luther well, but I knew he was a good man. Steady, reliable. You could tell that just by listening to him speak. Even-toned, deep. If he sang, it would have been baritone.  He had a faint accent, just slight. Most Floridians speak like "Yanks"--Notherners--no twang, no drawl, straight with hardly an accent. We're too much of a melting pot to have a distinct manner of speaking like the rest of Southeast. But old Floridians--people with the swampland in their blood, people who have worked the land, breathe the land--they have an accent. It's not as deep as a Southern drawl or Redneck twang. It's subtle, but it's there.  Luther spoke that way.  He was third generation in the family farming business.  His grandfather and father had immigrated from Slovakia and settled in Central Florida, dirt poor, only to create a celery empire. Luther had Florida in his bones, but a piece of his heart was in Africa where he and his wife did ministry for many years.

You ever meet someone who's faith just radiated off of them? You never wondered, never doubted, what they believe? Luther had no fear in sharing his faith. He had no hesitation, no second thoughts. His faith came first, and so he boldly proclaimed the power of God and the need for salvation. The man appeared unshakeable.

His skin was permanently tanned but only faintly lined and his teeth were always shockingly white. 
He and his kin don't age.
Like at all.
Pretty and ageless. It's hard to keep up.
He struck me as a serious man--determined and observant--but not hard.  There was a great deal of warmth there.  He had a ready smile--white, straight teeth flashing--and advice or anyone who asked and some who didn't. He spoke when he felt the words needed to be said--not before.

He had large hands that I'm told were constantly fixing everything. In his spare time.  He built, flew, crashed, and repaired the remote-controlled model airplanes before drones were cool. 

Like I said, I didn't know Luther well. I do not feel the void as Chris feels the void, as his mother does, as his grandmother does.

I knew Luther adored his wife, that he fit her perfectly--it was remarkably obvious but you didn't necessarily notice until it wasn't there; it was as natural as breathing. Do you ever realize how remarkable breathing is? But we never think about it until it's gone. Until that one piece of the puzzle vanishes leaving a hole in the picture that used to be complete. Melanie is vivacious and expressive and loquacious and passionate--the woman is a lovable fireball encased in glitter and glam. Luther was quiet compared to his wife, and he was steady, practical. Where she sparkled in animal print, he wore simple, nondescript polos. Where she rolled with laughter, he had a deep, resonating chuckle that seemed reserved for only the best of jokes.  Fire and earth. For as long as I knew them, they seemed like the ying to the others yang--balanced together. Their passions and convictions, however were matched--you get them talking religion, medicine, healing, or Africa, and they are in line with one another, keeping matching paces in the marathon of conversation. And, oh, the deep, reverberating strength of those convictions.
They were sweethearts since high school, and that kind of bond . . . you meld together. You become a unit--individuals, still yes, but individuals so bonded to one another it's strange to see them apart. To think of one without the other.
Now, it's just Melanie.
Melanie to do alone what they used to do together and to do all the practical, little things Luther used to do. 
You don't realize how much someone does until they can't do them any more, even the tiniest things like charging batteries or rinsing cups.
The void again.
The emptiness.

I can't imagine Chris suddenly not being. Just not. It would be like someone ripping off one arm and one leg and saying, "Now continue walking and doing like you've always done--you're not missing that much." or tearing out my heart and screaming, "NOW LIVE!"
I don't know how I could. I know I must, and, eventually, I would, but, oh, the agony in between. The inability to move, but move you must.
Because it doesn't stop.
It doesn't know.

Still, there is the belief that there is another life, one beyond this one.
That the soul lives on in heaven or hell.
Luther was a believer. A firm, passionate, committed believer in the grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. So we have hope and faith that we will meet again.
That our faces will shine upon each other without any pain or bitterness or the limitations of human flaws. That Luther is now without suffering. After battling multiple myeloma, he is whole in a way he has never before been whole. More whole than we can imagine in this life. There's relief in that, hope, comfort. We cling to that hope in the void.

Because there's always light in the darkness.
There has to be.
The Light knows. It holds, it weeps, it comforts.
This life doesn't know. It doesn't care.
Light does.
Light cares immensely.
And it carries us through the void.

Friday, August 12, 2016


I'm still trying to figure all of this out.

It used to be so easy to write. 
When I was in middle school and high school, I got in trouble for writing my stories when I should have been doing homework. I had written and edited a novel by age sixteen and was working on its sequel.  I was given professional advice to get some experience and rewrite.

So I gained experience: I graduated high school after dual-enrolling, traveled a bit, graduated college with all of the usual and unusual (for me, anyways) misadventures, fell in love, got a job, got married, moved around, had more adventures, felt true heartache, faced uncertainties and fears, even had a couple close brushes with death.

And I have no words.
No brainpower.

I spend my days balancing dishes, laundry, meals, and a toddler.
I count down until the day I meet with my cardiologist to hear the verdict: do I still need heart surgery? How soon?
I find out in a week. Just one more week.
I worry about my husband, with his tinnitus out of control, with his specific environment and dietary needs. I want him to be okay. When he's okay, all of us are okay.  When he's not . . .
One night, Chris and Ronan were playing.  They love to play together. It warms my heart in that bizarre, precious way when you see someone loving your child way, especially when that person is your spouse. Yes, this is how it should be. This is good.
Then Ronan released a shriek of glee.
Chris came running out of the room, fingers in his ears, his face in pain, shoulders hunched defensively.
The air changed, tensed.
And Ronan followed him out, standing still, confused, in his bedroom doorway. "Dada?" Quiet, confused. "Dada?"
And I swept him up and wept.
Chris was in every kind of pain on one end of the house.
My heart twisted and ached on the other end, trying to read a book and distract our toddler who worships the ground Chris walks on.
This isn't how it's supposed to be. And it breaks my heart. I don't ever thing I'll forget that picture. "Dada?"
Chris came back. He mustered his strength and his love for that precocious man cub, and he came back and loved him.
Still, it shouldn't be like this.
We are trying to fix it. We don't know how.  But, my gosh and golly, we are trying.

So I wait for naptime where I can zone out on social media or watch Doctor Who through for this fifth time.
So I wait for bedtime where I can be by myself on the couch and rewatch the adventures of Sam and Dean Winchester or something Whedon-ish and just not think any more. I don't even have to think about what's happening in the episode. I've seen it all before. Like three times. Maybe more. Good TV seems hard to come by, sometimes.

I don't know if I ever knew what I was after high school.
In high school, I had goals and dreams.

Now, it's just kind of about survival.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this.
My life isn't really all that bad. It's just a weird, hard place that we are both stumbling around in. Ronan runs through with joyous, determined abandon. Say what you will about toddlers, but they live passionately. It's a bright light.

I don't really want this to be a "mommy blog."
I don't really feel like a mom.
I feel like me.
But with a kid running around that I'm constantly feeding, entertaining, corralling, and talking to. I schedule my days around naptimes and whether they have a toddler-friendly environment (be that toys or chicken nuggets or whatever).
I'm a mom, and, even with two years of it under my belt, I'm still swallowing that identity.

I want this blog to be funny.
I'm told I'm a funny person. Dry as Nevada and a bit loony, but funny. And young, in a way. I still play video games and get excited about super heroes. I wear tee shirts with TV characters faces on them and prefer Chuck Taylors to high heels.
So I figured I'd do a funny blog about life and fandoms and our little adventures.

But I'm not quite sure I can muster funny right now.
I'm trying.
But I'm tired, and I'm not sure coffee can fix this one.

It's not that life is bad.
It's not, really, in the things that matter. I love my kid and my husband; they love me. It's juggling all of the stresses and unknowns. I don't like unknowns. I like to feel in control--have a plan. I like to feel I've done a lot on my own merit. But this? What exactly can I do? I can't fix my heart or my clotting disorder on my own. I can't control what happens or when it happens. I can't fix Chris's ears. I can't exactly go looking for a job. "Yes, please, hire me. BTDubs, I'm getting open heart surgery at some undetermined date, and I'll need 4-6 weeks off to recover. So shall we discuss salary?"
Yeah, that would go over REAL well.

So I sit.
I mom.
I wife.
I do.
I don't.
I wait.

I pray.
I pray a lot.
God has provided, God has been good. Just when we think we've reached the last shredded stand of rope, we find one more inch. We find a little breathing room. But we aren't healed. We don't have answers. That's okay, really. I wish Chris could get better with all of my heart, but that's not an answer we have right now. So we wait. We trudge on.

And I stare at the blank computer screen and wish I had something more interesting or witty to say.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Word According to Me: Motherhood


noun | moth-er-hood | \'mə-thər-hud\

 Definition of MOTHERHOOD:

A state of being in which .  . .
  • one does not realize she has to pee until she sneezes
  • an animal's identifying sound becomes more important than its genus. 
  • one is constantly late, losing something important, and exhausted . . . basically everyday life but with a tiny, utterly dependent tiny person(s) with extreme communication barriers who either don't want to get in the car or get out at the appropriate times. 
  • one's sense of peace is entirely dependent on the presence of a specially selected toy or blankie that tiny dependent person MUST have in order to function. Seriously, they just can't even. 
  • Mealtimes correspond directly with  times the miniature one is unconscious 
  • one has no memory or evidence of what she did all day, but she knows it was stuff. A whole lot of stuff. Important stuff, too, like washing clothes and dishes and keeping tiny person(s) and pets alive until assistance arrives.  
  • one exists almost entirely on coffee, laughter, tears, and snuggles
  • one cannot figure out why her skinny jeans no longer fit . . . and then she finds a toddler wrapped around her leg, and she remembers. 
  • children films previously enjoyable now bring her to tears.
    <I mean, seriously, An American Tail? They lose their five-year-old OUT AT SEA and then he has to wander around the slums of New York City ALL BY HIMSELF and, oh my gosh, I'm choking up just thinking about it. I can't, I just can't.>
  • tunes from previously stated films fill her brain more than the top radio hits.
    <I honestly have no idea what's popular right now, but I can sing the classic Winnie the Pooh theme frontwards and backwards.> 
  • one is more fascinated by bodily functions and secretions than she ever thought possible, but poop is really, really important and interesting, and why doesn't everyone talk about it? 
  • one spontaneously calls her own mother and apologizes for ever whining or pitching a fit EVER
  • never thought she could be so simultaneously frustrated, proud of, and in love with a totally flawed but totally wonderful tiny human being  . . . who will one day be a big human being . . . but she really hates to think about that . . . like, no, don't even start . . .

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Why Toddlers Shouldn't Be Allowed in Waiting Rooms.

Every waiting room is different and yet exactly the same.

It's not enough that none of them have updated their hold music since the 1980s, but they all hired the exact same decorators and ambiance.
And snifflers.
And coughers.
And that one dude who's super confused by the paperwork (I confess: it's usually me).

I wonder if there's like a design package the doctor chooses or if each office is actually put together individually.

"I want a room where the ill feel hope and encouragement," says the new doc all ready to change the world before he meets his first patient who self-diagnosed on WebMD. 
"Easy. You need eighties florals and burgundy or neutral. Everything neutral. Except the chairs. Those have to be blue or green and pleather so they make fart sounds when patients squirm," replies his designer.
"Really? You sure?"
"Yes.  If you don't want to do landscape or floral paintings, I have several generic abstract artwork that just screams, 'SOMETHING MUST OCCUPY THIS EMPTY WALL SPACE.' You'll love it. Remember: the decor makes you a legitimate physician, not your degree," says the designer who happens to frequents WebMD.  "And, if you have any windows, make sure to have the blinds closed at all times. Sunlight kills hope."

And so every physician's office ever fades into a generic blur of uncomfortable chairs and ridiculous wait times.

 Usually, you can sit in a waiting room bored out of your mind without interacting with anyone.  But, a couple weeks ago, I had to bring the Man Cub to see his pediatrician.
Totally different ball game. They make waiting rooms . . . interesting . . .
  •  They make it hard to get anywhere on time.
    I ran late before having a kid, but I could still make most things on time. After kid? I don't want to talk about it. It's a constant source of stress and mortification.  There is always a missing set of keys, sippy cup, shoe (just one), or a poopy diaper JUST as we absolutely HAVE to walk out the door, and I am just UGH. There's not really an excuse, but it makes me feel better about my state of constant tardiness. The School of Life would totally have suspended me by now.
    As it is, we arrived at our most recent appointment exactly seven minutes late.
    Yes, exactly seven. I keep track because we have a supposed ten minute grace period. I love grace periods. They're like my bread and butter.

  • They may or may not be satisfied with the provided entertainment.
    Toddlers are finnicky about . . . well . . . everything. Sometimes, even their entertainment.
    "The snow glows white on the mountain tonight  . . ."
    Ah, son, look! We will now hear Elsa's impassioned tune of repression and catharsis. We've not heard this a bajillion million times splattered across social media and everywhere else. It just won't die.
    So I pull the little fellow into my lap to see if he is interested in learning about female empowerment from a musical so totally NOT based on Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen (don't get me started).  He's bored before Elsa has shed her restrictive royal gown for a sexy sheathe.
    The females in the room remain transfixed. This, apparently, is their first time experiencing the moody, introverted queen's great release, and their mothers don't yet hate the soundtrack . . . or maybe it's just white noise now . . .
    My kid? He and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi have the same motto: "Run and find out!"
    Sitting still--especially for princess movies--doesn't translate.
. . . That's a version I'd watch over and over again, personally . . .
  • They have no sense of personal space
    You ever notice that toddlers will just like walk up to people and touch them? Talk to them? About everything?
    Ronan has tried to steal discarded playground shoes (the boy has a sense of style, you know . . . . or he may have been trying to return them--he believes feet should always be in shoes) and has reached into purses without hesitation or any remnant of shame.
    He also likes to look--like, just walk right up to people and stare from a safe distance. Unbroken eye contact for an undetermined amount of time. So uncomfortable.
    And this what he does in the pediatrician's office: wandering around just looking at each patient and her parentals, giving them his wide-eyed stare or sheepish smirk. Most times, people smile because they see this:

  • But toddlers' lack of personal space may make them irritating 
    It doesn't take long for him to notice a little girl in a sparkling tutu-style skirt. Frills? Glitter? Minnie Mouse? How utterly mesmerizing. So he gives her this toddler grin and reaches out to touch her hand.
    The boy's smoooooooth, peeps. Real smooth.
    She gives him the side eye and brushes him off.
    "I'm sorry. Ronan come here," I say with a smile and take Man Cub's hand to usher him back to our seats.
    Her mom and sister don't acknowledge us.  I don't know what it is about human nature, but, if we want to be ignored, we don't make eye contact. It's like this "If I can't see them, they can't see me" nonsense.

  • They bring grumps out of hiding
    Again, I redirect Man Cub, but, doggone it, he has his heart set on wooing tutu child. "I am so sorry," I say to her mother, smiling awkwardly as I bring him back to our seat.
    She glances at me, and I suddenly know EXACTLY where her daughter learned the stink eye. "He's not sick, is he?"
    "Oh, no, no, he's just here for his vaccine."
  • Who make you doubt your parenting skills, your child, and pretty much how all of your existence is a failure.
    Okay, maybe it's just me and my all-to-unshakeable self-esteem, but seriously, she might as well have just said, "Get your savage, germ-ridden mini manbest away from my princess, you weakened matriarch!"
    I am suddenly all-too aware that every person in that waiting room refuses to look at us in any way. Not my child as he smiles at them, and not me as I mutter apologies chasing him down.
    Maybe I should control him better.
    Maybe at nineteen months he should be perfectly content siting perfectly still for an hour and a half watching a sparkly movie.  Can they do that under two?
    Maybe I haven't trained him to listen very well, and I'm THAT mom. You know the one: she just keeps calling to her kid to no avail as he runs further and further away, wreaking havoc with every step, as she sits back and calls gently, "Sweetie, please, no thank you."
    Good grief, have I become THAT mother?
    Shiver me timbers.
  • They make time move more slowly.
    We were in the waiting room for nearly an hour and a half total.
    I swear it was more like three days.
  • They make bathroom trips a trek into a bio-hazard zone (you know, more than it already is)
    Of course, by the end of it all, my bladder is screaming, so I am forced to make a decision: take my fearless, investigative child with me to use the toilet OR hold it for approximately forty-five minutes as I drive home.
    Because I'd like to keep that organ from rupturing on the highway, I chose the former.
    They really should make like space shuttle-style chairs for toddlers accompanying their parents into the loo. Strap them in niiiiice and secure.  Otherwise, the kid is all, "WHAT IS THIS MAGICAL PLACE?!?!?! It smells like my diaper pail, and look! Paper! Glorious paper everywhere! And a magical pond that roars when you pull its shiny lever! Oh what delight! What fun!"
    And even non-germophobic parents are having a break down trying not to think of all the YUCK their kids have just rubbed their hands in then licked. Whhhhyyyyyyyyy?!?!
    Little dude was doing surprisingly well listening to me and not touching things.
    And then I went to pull my pants up.
    Sneaky, speedy bugger apparated right behind me and went to PUT HIS HANDS IN THE USED TOILET BOWL.
    Initiate maternal freak out. Heck, initiate any and every freak out.
    Oh, how we washed and washed our hands. So much soap. So much water. So much gross. So much toddler. oh, my gosh, SO MUCH TODDLER.
  • And, by the end of it all, they're so wound up that they refuse to nap. At all. AT. ALL.

That's why they schedule appointments so far apart: it's so you can almost forget how awful waiting with a toddler is.
The face I actually made at the end of that day.
The boob cat hair just makes the pic, right?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

See and Hear

You know, I had a lot of funny posts in the works, but not today.
Not after the madness that was this week.
I just can't.

And I'm not talking about Pokemon GO (totally different post for that later).

No, I'm not at all.

You see, less than a month ago, my hometown experienced its own great tragedy. And, in the days following the largest mass shooting on US soil, I watched my feed light up with fixes: more guns, less guns, more Muslims, less Muslims, all of the fixes. All of the "if we do more of X, then stuff like this won't happen." All of the, "It's THEIR fault--all those crazies who think the opposite than we do. THEY'RE killing our country."
And it made me sick.
Just stop it.
Stop using tragedy for your own bloody soapbox. Lives lost are not bullet points on your debate strategy. Just mourn. We don't want fixes immediately. We want hugs. We want "I'm sorry." We want "How can we help?" We don't want to be a feature in your latest political agenda. Don't take advantage of the hurting like that. It's insensitive and cruel.

Then, this week, five Dallas police officers lost their lives protecting protesters.
Shot down in cold blood like they were less than human.
These were heroes lost. And, yes, I do believe cops are heroes. That they are brave to choose a career of long hours, of blood and sweat, of too much paperwork and too little time, of tears and outrage and fear. Yes, they are human--humans make mistakes and some humans are less than kind. But, on the whole, it is not a career for the weak of heart or spirit. I have profound respect for any human being who chooses a career of serving and protecting complete strangers, sometimes at the cost of his own health, safety, and even life.  That is incredible.
Please remember that I said these things. That I love and respect cops.  That I am the farthest thing from a cop hater.

Source: KVEW-TV

Prior to the death of these officers, two African American men--Alton Sterling and Philando Castile--were shot by police officers despite being unarmed.

Source: The Observer

A couple of my FB friends began posting the video of Castile's murder and commenting that it was just too much.  Otherwise, not a peep.

The next day, my feed EXPLODED with mourning for the Dallas police (as it should), but, still so few of my white friends said anything about Sterling and Castile. My stomach churned. 
I had two African American friends still talking about it--one posting information on other shootings of unarmed African Americans and another a video of a man remarking on how his white friends would rage on gun control or terrorist strikes but they grew remarkably quiet on race issues--not a peep.

And, again, the pit in my stomach.

You see, the cogs in my brain started turning.
  • IF race relations with the police were not a real issues, why was it still a hot topic? Why were so many African Americans still upset? Was it all because of the media? Does the media really control us to that degree?
  • IF this was only a topic in the "ghetto," why was I seeing this topic posted all over the economic board? 
Why wasn't it going away?

And I wondered if, maybe, this wasn't just about sensationalism and the vampire media? If this wasn't just jaded people looking for someone to blame? If this wasn't just the workings of people looking to make money off of pain? What if maybe, just maybe, it wasn't just about these specific killings? What if all of this was about past experiences--past wrongs--and these tragedies (all life lost is a tragedy--deserved or not) were just triggers? What if this was about a great many people collectively shouting, "Me too! It's me, too! Please see me! Please see and know! I'm here, and this is me, too!"

What if they kept screaming because we weren't listening?
Because we were so busy throwing out numbers and statistics and facts and glued to the specific case and not looking at the whole.
I'm not saying facts are bad or they don't have their place. But sometimes that place isn't in the midst of tears.

I know that when I am in the utmost monthly peak of my womanhood (UTERUUUUUUS!!!!), the most random things trigger me, and I may find myself in the midst of an overwhelming, uncontrollable emotional-vomit fit (note: the vomit is purely figurative . . . if I ever gag due to all the feels, I need a serious doctor). When said emotional-vomit-fit has me in its uber-feely, angry, sobbing clutches, my husband sure as CRAP better not hit me with facts (the poor man). I need him to listen and hold me and tell me he's sorry. Then we can dialogue about the facts--facts I may have known the whole time, but I was feeling wounded and I needed that wound to be HEARD.
 It's a lousy, miniscule example, but the reality remains: sometimes the fact to healing is simply listening.

When 50 people lost their lives in a nightclub, Orlando begged people to stop and hear us.
One city in pain from one incident.  And people listened.

We have people in every city around our country wounded from not one but SEVERAL incidents, so many unnoticed, invalidated.  They are hurting.
And we don't want to listen.

It smacked me right in the face and didn't let me go.
Oh, my heart broke.
Somebody, somebody listen.
Somebody feel something.
Somebody stop justifying with cold statistics and assumptions.
Just listen.
Just say, "I'm sorry" and mean it.
Understand that, maybe, as a white person, you may have a difference experience than your African American neighbor. That, yes, all lives matter and we are all human, but the way people perceive you is not the same.

So I posted this, and the debates went flying.

I wasn't trying to make a political statement.
I wasn't trying to ignore the incredible tragedy of the murder of brave, sacrificial public servants--men who put the lives of strangers above their own EVER DAY. It is heart-breaking.
I just . . . I was just tired of keeping quiet. I was tired of ignoring pain. I just wanted to say, "I see you. I am so sorry that you feel unseen."
People I love and respect posted numbers. One in particular lectured and corrected me over and over again, posting details on the case against Castile. She couldn't seem to understand that I was not talking just about the cases in the media--I was not saying that those cases were or were not justified. I was talking about just life.
I wasn't sure how to explain that I was just trying to say "I am sad with you." I know the numbers. I've read them over and over and over again. I know them. We can know them and still feel sorry.

Our country is in so much pain right now.

African Americans don't feel safe. They feel misunderstood, unseen, and unheard. They are wounded and angry at the injustice.
Cops don't feel safe--they people they swore to protect are shooting at them simply because they wear a uniform. They feel misunderstood, unseen, and unheard.  Why even put on the uniform if the media and, it seems, the world hates you just because you wear a badge.

There are good cops and bad cops. There are good and bad people of every race. That's a given.

People are in pain.
Do you know what helps pain? Maybe it doesn't make it go away--not at once--but it begins the healing process.

Hearing someone even if the feelings and memories they reveal bruise our egos, tarnish our view of reality. Even if we don't agree with those feelings.
Feeling something isn't bad--it's not wrong to feel even anger. Did you know that anger is basically an "emotional immune response" to your rights or person being violated? It's a GOOD thing. It's your actions in anger that are right or wrong.
Wounding someone in your anger only throws fuel on the flames, makes the cuts deeper.
Repressed, unfaced anger festers until it's poisoning you and everyone around you.

But listening to someone's pain and anger?
That can be a step in healing for everyone.

Listen to your neighbors, you friends, your relatives--regardless of occupation or race.
Just listen.
Remove your own justifications for a moment and hear their stories. There may be an entire world out there you had no idea existed.

And then mourn with them. Be upset at the injustices, at the name-calling, at the bullying.
Anyone of any age, economic bracket, sexual orientation, race, occupation, sex, anything has been wounded by those around them. Sometimes systemically by society.
Over and over and over again.

We are hurting. Listen to our tears. Listen to their tears. My gosh, listen to the tears of people you don't think should be crying. Yes, yes, they absolutely should.

Listening doesn't mean you give up your values. It doesn't mean you throw away your world view or belief system.
You know what you lose? Ignorance.
You know what you gain? Perspective. Mercy. Maybe even a friend or two. Your opinion on the matter might not change, but maybe, just maybe, the two of you have gained a little understanding.

You've been seen.
You've been heard.

Isn't that what we've all been crying for since the day we woke in this world?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

What's in a Name?

“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 

You know one of the hardest part of creating a blog?
It's not the updates or the creativity (though those certainly aren't a piece of cake).
It's not the photography (how many professional-grade selfies do I have to take again??? for reals?)
It's not even the html coding or design (I'm not even good at that and I STILL have Photoshop Elements stamped on the inside of my eyelids).

It's coming up with a name.
A flippin' name.

You know how Stephen King talks about how the most important part of a novel is the beginning? How the opening lines can make or break a story? 
No pressure or anything, aspiring novelists. Geez. That's totally NOT the reason I've been rewriting my own book for THIRTEEN FLIPPIN YEARS. Beginnings, man.
  • "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much."
  • "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."
  • "Call me Ishmael."
  • “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
  • "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
  • "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." 
  • "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."
See? No pressure.  
But people don't always read your first blog entry. Do you know what they DO read?
The  title and the "About Me" section (don't get me started on "About Me" sections . . . gaaah)

So why The Fugitive Pen

Honestly? The hubs thought it was cool. And it's sentimental, which is always a plus.
Not that I've ever been a fugitive. Or really ever even gotten a speeding ticket. I have, however, seen the movie with Harrison Ford. Highly recommend it, folks. You can't go wrong with Harrison . . . except for that last Indiana Jones flick, but that totally wasn't his fault. (LUUUUCCCAAAAASSSSSSS)

Sorry, rambling. 

ANYWAYS . . . . 

 Once upon a time, when phones were still flipping and just learning to wifi, I had AIM. Anyone remember that? The man who would become "the hubs" (the myth, the legend) and I would message back and forth for HOURS over AIM, the savior of our long-distance relationship (along with free after-hour cell minutes--good Lord, I have totally dated myself). The username we stared at for three years until I actually had my degree and unlimited text messages? FUGITIVEPEN.

And BEHOLD! A blog title was born!

You want to know what this place was ALMOST named?
  • Flibbertigibbet, Inc. 
  • The Claptrap Collective
  • Untidied
  • The Laughing Squid
  • The Laughing Owl
  • I May Be A Platypus and Other True Confessions
Not gonna lie--that last one was SO CLOSE to winning. I still kind of love it. Seriously, I sit here looking at it and wonder, "Oh, man, did I really make the right choice? That's so fun. And random. And . . . well, crap, the URL may even still be available . . . . "

But I've already spent way too much time creating a header and fumbling through design, so I think this is it. The final choice. The grand finale.

Welcome to ......  

-that's totally the Jurassic Park Theme FYI-

(Not that my blog will be ANYWHERE as amazingly and awe-inspiringly EPIC as Jurassic Park, but, you know, it's fun.)

Enjoy your stay!
I'm glad you're here :)