Archive of ‘Am I the only One?’ category

The Real Real Real Real Real Truth

therealtruth-1I got a phone call the other night. I got a phone call I was not at all expecting. The election results were rolling in like tumbleweeds made out of steel wool and I left the TV off to pretend like I couldn’t see what was happening.

I got a phone call.

The phone call was from an ex, a man I saw briefly but fiercely in the midst of my divorce. In all my brokenness, all my confusion and pain, he was a flickering focus. Some days it seemed he’d drive miles for me. Other days I was hardly worth a text message. He came to take from my spirit what his spirit needed without much attempt at returning the favor; and I was perfectly ok with that. I never once disagreed with that logic, or really ever felt badly about it. Even today.
However.
Removing myself from his life as I began to step over the Divorce Mountain into the valley of New World below was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. He’d become a safety rope for me while I climbed. I could always rely on him to not quite be there, making me stronger and stronger to climb alone.

But when I reached the top, I mourned. I felt such emptiness letting go of the rope I never even needed. That rope was my friend. My security blanket. I wanted to climb back down and get it.

My best friend gave me a chip, similar to one you’d get in an AA meeting. She told me that this was my Him Chip. She said that if I called him, texted him, or Facebooked him, I had to give her the chip back and start over.

I didn’t want to give her the chip back.

And I never did. Almost 3 years later I still had the chip up until a few weeks ago when I decided to pass it on to a girlfriend who, herself, needed a Him Chip.

The thoughts raced through my mind faster than I could click the answer button:
He wants me back and I’m happily married so HA!
He’s lonely and hopes we can be friends because he’s finally alienated everyone good in his life.
He needs money.
He is visiting Jacksonville and wants to know a good place to eat?!

I wasn’t sure if this counted as a chip-infraction to my best friend, but I answered the phone. I answered the phone out of curiosity for what he or his unwitting back pocket could possibly have to say to me. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t scared. I was present.

After a few short pleasantries, my Truth Monster came out and blankly asked what in the world he wanted. His answer was something like this:
“I spent a lot of my life engaging in self-serving activities. I used and abused a lot of people in many different ways to get what I thought would make me feel good with no regard for how it made them feel. I focused solely on what I could get out of people, and I think that you may be a person in my past who fell into that category. I wanted to see if this might have been your experience with me and, if it was, I want to apologize.”

Deep breath.

Have you ever felt the simultaneous rise of the consciousness in all people all at once, starting in your lower intestine and moving up through your chest and out of your body like rays of sunshine?
I have.
In that moment, I felt the rays of sunshine truth.

Having a quite human brain, I of course turned my thinking towards a less romantic motivation. I tried to understand why he was saying this, what he wanted. I dug and dug but couldn’t find any secret agenda other than the truest and sincerest of hearts. He spoke, he listened, he apologized. And just like that, the circle was complete.

It is intensely rare to have a moment of completion this complete. I’d stopped chasing completion years ago, and even forgave it for being open-ended. I allowed it to stay that way, all frayed and dirty at the ends, with my blessing. What I remembered during this conversation is that telling the truth, the real real real real real truth, can have dire consequences.
It can also spin a life on a dime. It can close the circle. It can heal where you didn’t even know you needed healing.
“The truth will set you free,” is the greatest cliche on the planet, sitting atop a giant pile of other discarded, over-used cliches that everyone is sick to death of hearing. We tossed it because in hearing the promise of freedom, many of us started spouting our truths. With a goal of freedom, we over-share, we share with an agenda, we share to make ourselves feel better. But sharing the real real real real real real truth isn’t something you can do in a Facebook rant or a single apology sticky note. The truth will only set you free if in so telling the truth you’re authentically ready to clean up your life and take responsibility for its direction. And that’s scary. So many of us (including myself) have tried to outsmart the truth by telling just enough of it to earn the accolades and the Truth Trophy, but not enough to actually achieve the freedom it promises.

Our conversation ended with a nebulous agreement to remain friends, and even an invitation extended towards my husband and me for dinner. When I hung up my phone I literally clung to the pillow and blanket respectively on each side of me and breathed, as if a mighty wind was blowing away beliefs I’d always held. If this broken man can change, literally anyone can change. No one is stuck being the same forever. But if you’re going to make the change, you have take responsibility, move forward, and tell the real real real real real truth. And sometimes fill up a great, big old bucket of full humility…and apologize.

No matter what is happening in your life, in our country, in your relationships, do not underestimate the human capacity for change.
It can happen.
Do your work.
Tell the truth.

A Disjointed, Complete and Total RANT (and not for the reason you think)

dribble_stop_makingI had to turn off my Facebook feed today, and not for the reason you think.
I woke up to the news and also to the hate. Hate coming out of the mouths of people who have been preaching love. Hate for those who voted for Trump. Hate for those who voted for Hillary. Hate for those who voted for a third-party. You blame people. You celebrate by high-fiving people in the face. You grieve by refusing to be friends anymore.

Go ahead. Have your freak out. Be upset. But even my six-year-old is required to use kind words when he loses.
I know you’re scared. I know you’re angry. I know you’re happy. I know you’re celebrating. I know you’re confused. I know that’s where all your reactionary behavior comes from. I get it. But stop it. It’s not helping.

Take. A. Deep. Breath.

Your only option is to love. Truly love yourself. (If you don’t know how to do that, it’s time to learn.) Because it is only in the loving of yourself that you’ll feel safe enough to let other people have opinions different from yours. You’ll feel safe that your lack of control over them or your circumstances does not limit the control you have over your own choices.
You have the choice to be kind.
Opinions and ideas are your right, but if you choose to share them, then you have opened a reciprocal door giving others the same right.
You want to “fight”.
You want to “show them”.
You want to give the middle finger to the other voters.
You want to HATE them.
And you can. You can do all that.
But don’t expect to get love back when that’s what you share. It’s not how Universal Law works.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
I keep seeing people ask, “What will I tell my children?!”
What will you tell your children?!
You will tell them that you love them! You will tell them how to love others! You will tell them everything you were telling them just yesterday. You will tell them that in the wake of your perceived injustice, or your perceived win, you will still choose to be kind. You can still choose love.

Love doesn’t just apply to your opinion.

You are allowed to be angry. You are allowed to be unkind. We live in a country that makes it possible for you to be both of those things, freely. But you cannot expect to be those things and then receive love in return. You won’t.

We live in an amazing country during an amazing time. We are chock full of change-makers and love-givers and progress. They’re all still here. It didn’t suddenly change overnight. The world is the same: some horrors and some miracles, every. single. day.
Yesterday was ok.
Today will be, too.
Be kind.
(I love, accept, and cherish all people and opinions, both those I agree with and those I don’t. I want to understand you. I want to understand where you’re coming from. If you choose to comment with an opinion, I welcome it. But keep your tone gentle, and I will do the same.)

Aaaaand Cancer? – Part 2

“Erin?”
The nurse stood at the end of the waiting room.
I kissed Bear and walked towards a giant set of wooden double-doors.
“We’re going to have you put on a nice cotton shirt and then you can have a seat here by the magazines,” the nurse said as she pointed towards a dressing room and then towards a little waiting room right next door. I put on the cotton shirt and, she was right, it was very nice. Soft.

I walked into the next waiting room with three or four other women, also in nice cotton shirts. One woman was in a lot of pain, as if she’d been in a car accident. She kept moving and groaning and complaining. I felt badly I couldn’t comfort her.
“Diane?”
A woman smiled and stood up. She looked like she was on her lunch break from work.
“Marie?”
Another woman set down a magazine and hurriedly moved towards the next door.
No names for a while. I looked around at the new women coming in and sitting down, wondering if any of them were as scared as me.
“Erin?”
I stood up and tried not to cry as the nurse opened the door for me. She was young, probably my age or younger, and had a very kind smile. “Have you had a mammogram before?” she asked me as she waved her arm towards the room on the right. My eyes filled up with tears.
“No.”
“Oh, no, are you nervous?”
“Terrified.”
She looked at my chart. She set it down and looked into my eyes. “We are going to pray this is a cyst. It happens a lot and that’s what we’re going to pray this is, ok?”
“Ok,” I said.

urlPeople have described mammograms to be before. They told me it’s incredibly painful, smashing your boob between two plates until it’s flatter than you knew was physically possible. But as the nurse moved both boobs in and out and around these plates, climbing under me and reaching over me, nothing hurt. I am still unsure if this was because I was so scared of cancer or because the nature of mammograms has been greatly improved since the 1980s…

“All done!”
“Do I have cancer?” I knew she couldn’t answer me. I felt dumb after I asked.
“We’re going to send this to the radiologist right now who will read it and then let us know if we need to take pictures from other angles. Then he’ll read it to you right away, ok?”
“Ok.”

She walked me back to the waiting room and, within about 10 minutes…
“Erin?”
OMG I’m about to find out if I have cancer…

A new nurse held my chart and the door. “We’re just going to grab one more picture, ok?”
Oh God, they see it and it’s bad and now they need to know how bad…
“Ok.”
“This is normal, ok? We like to be safe.”
I lifted my left arm and prepared for her to take my left boob into her hand like a hamburger, when she said, “No, other one! He needs another picture of the right one.”
“The right one? Are you sure? The lump is in my left one.”
“Yep! I’m sure. It’s the right one.”
Great. Now I have cancer in both boobs…how does this get worse?
Again, she slid below and behind me, positioning my right boob, only this time she smooshed my nipped into the plate by pointing it to the ground and smashing the top plate over me. It didn’t hurt, but it was fairly humiliating to know my boob could even go in that direction.
“All set. Back to that waiting room in case we need more pictures, ok?”
“Can someone call my husband when it’s time to learn the results?”
“Oh yes, we absolutely will…”

Back to the waiting room. A whole new group of women in nice, cotton shirts sat waiting for their turn. Now I had no idea whether the next move would be door #1, more pictures, or door #2, results.

I sat there for almost 20 minutes. No magazine. No iPhone. 20 minutes of thinking.

“Erin?”
A nurse called my name from a second door on the other side of the room.
Door #2.
Results.
I stood up.
“Where is my husband?”
“He’s on his way right now!”
My hands…no…my entire arms were shaking. I was repeating, Please, God. Please, God. Please, God… in my head. I saw Bear come walking down the hall with a big smile on his face. Does he already know the results? Why is he smiling?
“Everything is ok, babe,” he whispered as we walked into a small room with my boobs pictured on a big screen.
“The doctor will be right in!” the nurse said cheerfully.
I stared at them. My boobs. Is that a tumor? Or that? Which one is a milk duct? Do I still have those?
“Do you see anything?” I asked Bear.
“No,” he replied.

“Hellooo, I’m Dr. Barker.” He was short and didn’t make a lot of eye contact. I think his shirt was plaid.
“Hi.” I sat up onto the edge of my seat, holding myself back from flinging my entire body into his and begging him to tell me I was OK.
“So, where did you feel the lump?”
“I…It was here. In my boob,” I pointed and stumbled over my words.
“And you found it or your gynecologist found it?”
“I did. Well, she did. I thought she was feeling something else and then she felt that…”
“Ok I see…Well, what I see here is a deer with long horns and a small puppy eating flowers next to a few grass seeds and a soda machine only containing diet coke and pretzel products. When we move to the left we can feel the car spin and the glass in the drivers’ side window crack and crash and then a strange scraping sound leads to a loud boom before the skidding stops…”

That’s probably not what he said.

But that’s what I heard.

None of it made sense. I stared at him. He stared at me. I wanted to scream, “DO I FUCKING HAVE CANCER OR NOT?”
Bear touched my shoulder.
I looked at him.
“Did you hear him?” he asked me.
“Yes, but I didn’t understand.”
“You’re ok,” Bear said.
I looked back at the doctor. “I’m ok?”
“I see nothing to be concerned about. We’ll keep these pictures on file and in six months, let’s do this again. Then we’ll go back to an as-needed schedule. Sound good?”
“Yes,” I said. I felt numb but happy but mostly numb.

I don’t have cancer. Today, I don’t have cancer. 

“You can go get dressed and we’ll send you these pictures in one to two weeks. And we’ll contact your gynecologist’s office with an update. Have a great day!”

And like that, it was over. I was wearing a nice, cotton shirt in a little room with my boobs on a screen and my husband with the flu.

And I don’t have cancer…

 

Aaaaand Cancer – Part 1

I mentioned in a recent blog that some things went down this past summer that changed me. There were a lot of positive changes, but some others that knocked me completely off my grid.

Contrary to most gynecologists, mine is amazing. She sits down and has normal conversations with me despite my wearing only paper, and while she’s examining me she asks about my son and my family and how writing is going. It’s more like going to see a friend who just happens to own and operate a speculum and stirrups…

I was specifically excited to see her this time because after Bear started his own business, I freaked the heck out. Not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from after getting married several weeks prior only leaves room for stress-eating and chronic bathroom cabinet reorganization. My gyno is always willing to offer me advice on supplements and even Big Pharma, as I’ve been through depression enough times to know when I’m in trouble and I need to head it off at the pass.
We had a nice conversation about it and she suggested some options outside of pharma to start with since we were catching this bought early, but assured me that if I needed an anti-depressant she would gladly prescribe one. She went on with my exam, telling me everything appeared normal and healthy (as it always has). Before she left, she did a quick breast exam, and while she did I told her that my ribs always tripped me up on self-exams. “This side especially…I always feel my rib and think it’s a lump.”
“Where?” she asked me.
“Right here,” I chuckled. “It’s nothing, it’s my rib, but I always freak myself out.”
“Right here?” she asked again. She pushed and poked a few times in the same spot.
No. Not right there.
“Actually, no it’s further back than that…”
“Well, I feel something right here…”
And suddenly, depression became far less of an issue. The room’s corners and edges got all rounded and dark; my gynecologist’s words began streaming at me in a straight line, right between my eyes. My brain repeated, “Lumplumplumplumplump…”
“It’s not an immediate concern, but I do want you to get a mammogram sooner than later.”
A mammogram. I’ve never had one of those. I had an ultrasound once, but never a mammogram. How do I do that where do I do that why do I have to do that.
“I’ll get you a prescription for an ultrasound and once your insurance approves it, you can come back in and they’ll do it in this same building.”
“Same building…”
“It’ll only take about 45 minutes start to finish…”
“Start to finish…”
“I’m not real worried about this, Erin, but I don’t want to miss something…”

I began by telling her my husband started his own business and how worried I was about paying our mortgage and I ended the appointment collecting insurance paperwork and appointment documents to check and see if I had cancer.
From new business to cancer.
Who cares if I can’t pay my mortgage when I’m dead…

Get it?

Get it?

I immediately drove to our local bar and grille where I’d celebrated my best friend’s cancer-free diagnosis almost three years prior (after her own surgery and radiation treatment). We ran around the bar screaming, “Cancer-freeeeee!” and tons of people bought us shots in honor of those they’d lost to cancer. It was the greatest night.
I couldn’t think of where else to go. I ordered a beer and sat outside and texted both her and another friend.
They came running. And I mean literally…running.
One of them immediately raised up my arm in the middle of the bar to feel the lump while the other one looked at me with kind eyes and told me I was going to be ok. (No matter what.) Ironically another girlfriend saw us sitting outside from her car ride home and stopped over, only to have me start weeping while explaining why we were there. She sympathized. More than that, she empathized.
There I sat. Surrounded by people who loved me thinking about how sad it would be to leave them. I couldn’t bare to have a conversation with my husband about it…

Bear texted and I told him I decided to meet friends for a drink. I shared with him what was really going on a few beers in, and then completely fell apart on the bed when I came home at about 9:00 that Monday night. I howled. I screamed. I though of my baby. I thought of my dogs. I thought of my step-son who had JUST gotten used to the idea of me being his mom. I thought of my mom. I thought of my prayer group, my high school friends… I thought a lot in between gulping for air and choking on fear.

Of course, being a Virgo, I began calling the hospital, insurance company, and mammogram office first thing the next morning until someone could assure me that I wouldn’t be waiting a week to come in. I’ve found that kindness and persistence works 100% of the time when in a situation like this, and it worked again. I had an appointment that very afternoon at 1:30pm.

Bear, sick with the flu, insisted that he come with me. This is a man who shows up, every time, everywhere, no matter what. He does what he says he will do. He never leaves me without a partner. I gathered up all my paperwork and prior hospitalization documents and health forms and put them all in a manilla folder. I didn’t label it because…I didn’t know what to write. I held it in my lap and together we drove to the appointment.

The waiting room was full. We arrived nearly an hour early because…well, I don’t know why. I sat next to women in their 80s, black women, asian women, young healthy women, middle-aged women who looked like they’d smoked and drank for the last 40 years. Some of them had husbands or partners. Some of them were there alone. Some were worried. Some were completely calm. And some of us…some of us were going to find out we had cancer that day. And none of us knew which was which yet.

That was maybe the scariest part…

Things That Bother Me

I let my son watch TV.
He watches TV, he has an iPad, he hears bad words, and his parents are divorced. So if you’re already on your tippy toes ready to tell me about how he’s gonna be pregnant by the time he’s 16, stand down. This is how we’re doing life and Imma let you do yours without my judgement, ok?
But here’s where I judge…
Commercials.
They bother me.
My son sees television commercials and he immediately pauses the TV and comes to give me a recreation of the commercial, complete with pros, cons, and comparisons to similar, inferior/superior products. Because he mostly watches Disney and Nick Jr., a majority of these recreations involve toys. And today…I just about told him that I was shutting down all the electronics in the house and never driving past another billboard again because advertising is soul-poison.

66cc7254-8bf4-415a-a81a-389c95ce5874

This. My son told me about this. It is a corset mom or dad puts on so that their children can RIDE them. LIKE HORSES.

I’m going to curse now so stop reading if that offends you or gets your children pregnant at 16.

YOU FUCKING CREATED AND ARE SELLING A SADDLE FOR PARENTS TO WEAR?
And for the low-low price of $24.99, I can walk on my hands and knees with my 45 pound 6-year-old on my back (because I’m assuming my 12-year-old agrees that this is utterly ridiculous) since he put a SADDLE on me. LIKE AN ANIMAL. You realize that this is the perfect physically manifested metaphor for our lives as parents, right? “Here, mommy! Put this on so that I can CRUSH YOU. Just so I can have fun!” We’re already wrestling with our parenting on a daily basis between “don’t watch TV” and “don’t get vaccines” and “only eat organic” and “take showers everyday…” Now we have to literally let our child ride on top of us. Whatever happened to the pony CHAIR or the pony BENCH or the pony JUST FUCKING PRETEND THE PILLOW IS A PONY?!?!
Because of your commercial, with a bunch of people I can only assume are acting their asses off for a paycheck or have never been asked to slowly break their bodies in half by giving “pony rides”, my son thinks your product is a good idea and it is now my job to explain to him why everything on TV is bullshit.
This bothers me.

Like Glennon Doyle Melton.

She bothers me.
I watched her book (Love Warrior) come out and I watched Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert and Oprah and all my favorite women sing her praises and freak out about how amazing she is and I just got more and more pissed off.
Why?

It took me until yesterday, shortly after my son re-created a commercial about “a new kind of playdough that never dries out” (to which I reminded him that I freaking MADE him 6 bags of homemade, colorful, organic playdough that he NEVER PLAYS WITH) to realize why I dislike her so much and don’t want to read her new book…

Because she’s me.

She’s doing and being and EXPERIENCING the life that I set out to live, and when life hit me in the face, I stopped…and she didn’t.
She wrote the blog honestly. She wrote the book openly. She told the truth heroically. She’s still telling it.
And I stopped.
She bothers me because she’s a reminder that I’m not what I thought I’d be at 35, and she’s what I want to be at 40. And that’s only 5 years away.
She bothers me because I feel like I missed the boat. Like I’m unqualified. Like now what I wanted to do has already been done and so I’m going to have to keep writing and working for other people.
She bothers me because she’s me. Little and cute and well-spoken and honest…only she’s on Super Soul Sunday. And littler. And cuter. And honester. And more well-spoken.

I stopped.

I don’t want to stop anymore. I don’t want to think about my books, both written and unwritten, as a “someday” thing. I want them to be a now thing.
I don’t know how to do that.
I don’t know what to do first.
But I know that the signs and people won’t appear on my path unless I start admitting what I want.

Glennon,
I only just started your book, but thank you and I’m sorry. Thank you for reminding me that I can do this. And I’m sorry for letting my own insecurities get in the way of my accepting of you, my fellow woman doing her thang.
Love,
Erin

Nobody can judge me, bother me, or break me better than ME. I’m 35. Maybe it’s time to just go for it so I can’t look back when I’m 45 wishing I’d gone for it.
Good lord it’s terrifying.

 

The Political Post

Here it is. You’ve been WAITING for a political post. It’s election season and there MUST BE POLITICS ON THE BLOG.

Who are you voting for? Who am I voting for?

LITERALLY NO ONE CARES.

Well, that’s not true. Lots of people care. They put tons of energy and woooooords into caring about who they and you and I vote for. And they TELL everyone with memes and clever videos how much they care.
And you care.
You are going to vote and you don’t like some of those memes, damnit! And that video right there isn’t even factually accurate! AND WHY HASN’T ANYONE REPORTED THAT OFFENSIVE MEME AS BEING OFFENSIVE?!?! I need to comment. I need to comment and tell the owner of this Facebook account that the meme is offensive and why it’s offensive and then SUPPORT MY VIEW POINT WITH FACTS. And THEN I need to include a link to more FACTS so that you understand my FACTS are FACTUAL and your meme is therefore factually OFFENSIVE.
WHO MADE THIS GRAPH? This graph is factually unfactual and you’ve offended the immigrant Sikh sheep family that rents my third bedroom and THEY PAY TAXES. Your numbers are made up and I know the truth because I have black/gay/Muslim friends, OK?
Yes, yes, yes, we can both agree that these aren’t the IDEAL candidates, but come on! One of them is CLEARLY less of a criminal/rapist/liar/philanderer/corrupt/ill-equipped EGO-MANIAC! IT’S SO OBVIOUS WHICH ONE I’M TALKING ABOUT HERE!

And therein lies the rub, friends. This election, for a lot of people, comes down to the lesser of two evils. “I’m voting for Clintrumpary because it’s better than the other choice!” Or even more exciting, “I’m voting for a third party candidate because it’s the ONLY WAY to bust up our two-party system!”

It’s not either candidate’s fault. They’re playing a game that was already created before they showed up. A game of money and favors and pinky swears and you know what? House of Cards wasn’t a work of fiction. That’s real shit, everybody. THAT IS HOW IT WORKS. You can keep fighting that one candidate is less corrupt than the other and I will stand way far back out of the way and let you fly your flag because that’s the country we live in: you get to fly whatever flag you damn well please.You get to post your memes and your videos and your long-winded diatribes and then we all get to unfollow you because AMERICA. I won’t even judge you because I know this shit makes people crazy and when it’s all said and done you’ll still be the person I can call/love/hug/eat dinner with/pray for/call when I have a flat tire.

burning-braSo, here’s my vote. I’m not voting to teach our government a lesson about only having two viable parties and I’m not voting based on “the lesser of two evils” because I don’t do that. I have more integrity than choosing between heroine and cocaine. I choose neither. If I want to see a circus I’ll grab tickets to Ringling the next time they come through. I’m not voting to prove a point, I’m not voting because economy, and I’m not voting because FEMINISM. The women in the generations before me wrote letters, staged marches, and burned bras for the RIGHT to cast a vote and their voice is LOUD and HEARD. I love those women for that; seriously LOVE. But I don’t think they ever expected that shit would get this insane, and I feel fairly certain a lot of them would just put their charred bras back on and cross their disapproving mom-arms muttering, “Well, this isn’t what we fucking meant.”

 

It’s a Lot of Curse Words…

1b527e0I saw repeat posts on social media today about a certain celebrity being robbed at gunpoint in Paris. The post was a cartoon man with his middle finger in the air and the words were something like, “I couldn’t care less Kim Kardashian got robbed at gunpoint.” I can’t go back and find the picture to show you because I actually unfriended one of the people who I saw post it.

We weren’t close, anyway.

The other people appear to have already taken the post down and I didn’t want to Google it because what if i die tomorrow and the police search my computer and think I’m the type of person who searched, “I don’t care that Kim Kardashian got robbed” the day before I went…

Look, I don’t care if you’re a celebrity, a philanthropist, or a medical genius who is currently putting the finishing touches on the cure for assholery, you don’t deserve to be robbed. You don’t deserve to have things taken from you. You don’t deserve to be scared. You don’t deserve to be victimized. And if, GOD forbid, that ever happens to you…you sure as hell don’t deserve high school-level cartoons being passed around by millions of people proudly proclaiming they don’t give a rip about you or your situation. (Believe me. I had cartoons about me literally posted around in high school. Like, on walls. It sucked when it was a few hundred kids…I can’t imagine it being the whole free world.)

Piggybacking off my recent acknowledgement of EVERYONE having to find fault in EVERYTHING, I’m also noticing that everyone is an asshole. Everyone. Hop on social media for a minute and you’ll notice that not one single type of person can do anything without someone else diagnosing them as being an asshole and then telling everyone.
You’re an asshole if you make a lot of money.
You’re an asshole if you just HAVE a lot of money.
You’re an asshole if you have any amount of money but you don’t give a bunch of it away.
You’re an asshole if you’re poor and need help (because you should work harder).
You’re an asshole if you have too many cats.
You’re an asshole if you own a gun.
You’re an asshole if you don’t own a gun.
You’re an asshole if you pay someone else to clean your house.
You’re an asshole if your house is messy.
You’re an asshole if you go to church (or temple or synagogue or mosque).
You’re an asshole if you don’t believe in anything.
You’re an asshole if you work out.
You’re an asshole if you’re thin but you don’t work out.
You’re an asshole if you’re fat and you work out.
You’re an asshole if you’re pretty.
You’re an asshole if you try to be pretty.
AND NOW. You’re an asshole if you’re a celebrity who gets robbed at gunpoint and has millions of dollars worth of jewelry stolen.

I just have one question for all the people out in the world who are constantly determining and posting their own latest definition of asshole: why do you have so much spare time?

 

If you don’t like Kim Kardashian, don’t watch her show or buy her products. If you don’t like people who are fat but work out, don’t look at them. If you don’t like people who have money but don’t give any to you, then go make your own money. If you don’t like guns, don’t buy one. Why are people so OBSESSED with critiquing everyone around them into a square so tiny that no one even fits anymore?!

Because they spend too much time thinking about the things they don’t have. That’s why. And in the absence of what they don’t have (and very much want), they find that blame and ridicule feels better than personal responsibility.
Personal responsibility would mean Kim Kardashian is NOT, in fact, to blame for your lack of a Gucci purse and private jet. She is not an asshole for enjoying those things, either, because I bet you’d damn well love a private jet and you’d enjoy the hell out of it if you had one, too. (Even if it was a private jet you didn’t earn but someone gave you.) You may not like the way she lives her life or raises her children or spends her money, but guess what? She hasn’t thought about you once today. Not once. So maybe your energy is better spent thinking about how you could align your own life with the things you really want instead of the things you’ve decided you’re not allowed to have (because having any more things would make you an asshole).

No doubt, I want big diamonds and fancy cars and amazing vacations. And I’m slowly building a life that leaves room for those things. You can do that, too. But I promise you, the Universe matches your every vibration. And when you send blame and ridicule and hate out into the world, the Universe does not send back a private jet.
The Universe unfriends you and moves on.

 

I Love My Husband

This blog is more a survey…a request to gather information from those of you romantically committed to a partner.

Let me start by saying that I love my husband. I went into our marriage knowing that, like all marriages, we would have our ups and downs. A partnership comes in seasons. Sometimes one person is up, the other person is down, and together you work to find a lovely balance that makes for a gentle and pleasant experience.
You know?
So, speaking of up and down, I’d like to know what you do when you set an alarm clock to get up.
Do you set it for the time you need to get up or maybe a little bit earlier so you can room to snooze?
Do you set two alarms?
I’m just asking because…well…
I am not a morning person. I must take my time, have a cup of coffee, do some reading, maybe a little writing and/or meditation, and then I can begin. It’s true. I’m not proud of the fact that I’m not, nor have I ever been, a person who can set an alarm, put both feet on the floor, and begin my day. But this is me. And I accept me.

'He's always doing something to annoy me - like breathing.'

My husband has to get up very early on the mornings he’s working in town. He has to set an alarm for about 6am. Why? Because he has to leave the house by 7am.
Does he take a shower you ask? Not usually.
Are there a lot of tools to prepare? I don’t think so.
Is it important that he have time to mentally plot out his schedule? No.
He sets his alarm clock for 6am so that he can hit the snooze button every ten minutes for 50 minutes and then spend 10 minutes getting his clothes on and leaving the freaking house. And I’d like to share with the entirety of the free world that this is possibly the most irritating thing my husband has or will ever do.
Like I said, seasons.

Granted, he does give me hugs and kisses and snuggles and loves before he leaves every morning. However, by the time he does, I’m so incredibly angry by the amount of times I’ve gently drifted back to sleep and been VIOLENTLY re-woken up by an alarm clock, I don’t exactly receive his love well. (Which doesn’t deter him in the least.) By the time he leaves I’ve been awake-ish for so long that I just go ahead and freaking start my day. There’s no going back to sleep, no gentle awakening to a new, beautiful day. Just 10 alarms and a loss of will to live.

We love our partners, we do. And if they committed true deal-breakers, we’d have girlfriends/guy friends telling us like it is and helping us plan our escape routes. But there is no escaping these teeny, tiny irritants that you have to endure in a relationship. Yes, they can tell you to laugh it off or that it’s “not the worst thing.” No, no, of COURSE it’s not the WORST thing. But it’s PRETTY BAD. Feel free to comment your partner’s biggest irritant if you’d like to join me in this little rant. Except you, Bear. You keep your mouth shut, I’m perfect.

New Draft

I listen to podcasts all day. I love the true crime ones, the “Dear Abby” kinds, psychological thrillers, and the sermons. I was listening to one the other day, a sermon, and the pastor was quoting the news media. The headline read, “A Revival is Coming to Town,” but the pastor said, “I think they have that wrong. I think the revival is ALREADY HERE!!!” (And everyone cheered and shouted, “Amen!”.)

But I thought to myself, Why does everyone argue with everything?!?!

i-disagree-with-youHave you ever seen those recipe videos on Facebook? They’re all like 2 minutes long (and mostly made of vegetables covered in differently melted cheeses). Read the comments. Almost 90% of the comments are people discussing how they hands in the video look, or how it’s not “healthy”, or whether or not they can get that kind of cheese in their local store. Why can’t you just let a video about cheesey zucchini have it’s place in the world?

Or youtube tutorials. I searched, “Eye makeup tutorial” the other day because I’m 35-years-old and I have no idea how to properly apply eye makeup. I watched a decent little 5 minute clip and then read through the comments. If the poor woman in the video hasn’t committed herself I would be surprised…

Lord have mercy on your soul if you read any and all political comments on news websites.

There is a NEED to have a differing opinion in the world right now. Everyone must FIRST disagree before they even considering listening, let alone agreeing. Even a pastor must start a sermon by disagreeing with something.

And that right there is why I stopped blogging.

If a pastor has something negative to say before he even starts sharing the word of God, what does Joe Shmoe who reads my blog have to say?

I can’t tell you how many drafts are sitting in the queue of my blog, half-finished thoughts. Sometimes I would gather up massive momentum, my fingers flipping around the keys like a jazz pianist: This is the one. This is the one I’m going to publish!
But I didn’t.
I never did.
I just kept hitting “New Draft” and hoping that I’d think of something worth publishing tomorrow. Because what if someone read it and said, “She’s so self-involved,” or, “Who’s she trying to be?” or, “I don’t even have that cheese in my supermarket…”

Somewhere between the new life and the old life I started changing, and I was terrified to take people along for that ride because they might not like it.

When I was in my 20s, I was known for being the girl who didn’t give an eff what you thought. And I’d tell ya, too. I’d tell ya drunk, I’d tell ya sober, I’d tell ya at brunch, I’d tell ya in the produce section. I wasn’t mean. I just knew what I liked and what I didn’t like, and people liked that about me. And frankly…I liked that about me. Somewhere along the lines, though, as I got older, I noticed one or two people who didn’t like that about me. And even though it was only one or two, they became the only voices I heard. So I tried my best to mimic them in a great psychological attempt to make them happy and make them love me.
Obviously, I didn’t succumb entirely to Pseudo Erin. I found my way back to her in moments here and there. But not with my blog. Keyboard Quarterbacks are waaaay to loud and waaaay to anonymous, and they’d never actually say it to my face. There’s no way to defend myself. It got too real and too scary.

Why would anyone care what I have to say?

Recently, I’ve decided not to care anymore. There’s a good chance people won’t like what I have to say. There’s a good-er chance people won’t like that I won’t always listen to what they have to say. I don’t care if my shoes don’t match my outfit or if my eye makeup looks like a 4-year-old did it or if people are irritated by my cheerful attitude. So why would I care if I write stuff no one reads or no one likes if it came from my soul?! I’m not going to care anymore.

(But I’d really appreciate it if you only wrote nice things about my blog and also gave me a hint about those wings everybody does with their liner now…)

Sorry I Stopped Blogging for Three Months

“You stopped blogging?!”
I know. I know. Sorry. My brain went on retreat. I had some personal work to do, some freedom to feel, and some focus to refocus. I’m not sure if I’m finished, but I’m a whole lot closer than I was three months ago.
I realized that I was living and re-living the parts of my life I don’t like over and over again. I was giving waaaaay too much attention to the things I didn’t like. I had to let go of “reality” because my claws were in it way too deep. I’ll share more on that whole experience when I’m further away from it, but for now, we’re moving on.

ive

I took the liberty of creating the show’s new promotional poster.

And we’re moving on to fall television.
Last week, I was on my period. (Sorry, gentlemen.) I was crying over EVERYTHING. Abe’s balloon popped. I cried. Bear had a miscommunication with a contractor. I cried. I decided I wanted ice cream for dinner.
Cried.
But let me tell you the very lowest point I’ve hit in a long time…
It’s a little show called, This is Us.
I saw Mandy Moore in the previews and I just adore her, so I recorded it with the expectation that we would have a new grown up show/movie to watch that doesn’t include people being blown up or Kevin Hart. (Those are pretty much Bear’s choices when it comes to entertainment. Did you know that you can make the exact same movie 700 times? Kevin Hart knows…) And so Friday night when the kids were fed and settled in, I hit play.

I was physically weeping from my entire body within 5 minutes.
WHOLE. BODY. CRYING.

Bear smiled and held my hand for a few minutes until he realized that with every new scene, I began a whole new series of hiccups and shaking. So, he did what any man would do.
He opened a bottle of wine.
“Here, baby. I got you a wine prize.” (That’s what we call it.)
Still crying.
Then…I’m not kidding…he got out a bar of chocolate.
“Look, sweetie! Yum!”
Still crying.
Finally, he asked, “Do you want me to…hold you?”
But it didn’t matter what he did. I drank the wine. (Sorry, BillieFBB.) I ate the chocolate. (Again. Sorry.) I curled up in his arms. There was no stopping me. This stupid show apparently required me to be 100% dehydrated by the end.

SPOILER ALERT
I am going to talk about the final scene of the pilot episode of This is Us. Don’t continue reading if you don’t want to know a huge reveal.

The final scene of the show pulled together a number of lives into a single hospital nursery in the 70s. A father who’d just lost his child during childbirth was seemingly gifted another one who’d been given up by drug-addicted parents. It took me up until that moment to move on to a new phase of my own personal grief. It was all coming out at once. This. is. it: I’m past the anger phase.

I’ve moved on to sadness.

I didn’t get angry over my divorce until about a year and a half after it was finalized. Then I got REAL mad. Luckily I’m surrounded by a GENEROUS group of women who encouraged that anger and listened intently every time I lifted my pointer finger and began, “And ANOTHER thing…”
There was never any indication that there would be more grief when I finally woke up one morning no longer feeling angry. I thought I’d finished that chapter. Especially when I got married again!
But as it turns out, a new husband does not eliminate the pain of having an ex-one of those. They aren’t even related topics in life (although many women do tend to see them as being intertwined and I’d like to beg them to stop doing that). Bear proves that to me everyday in the way that he allows me to continue to grieve my last marriage. He really does.

Side note: I don’t even want to call him my ex-husband anymore. He is not an “ex” that left my life. I talk to him all the time. I raise a child with him and his wife. He is my prior husband. The one from before. My before-husband. Let’s try that.

In the last scene of This is Us, we watch a young couple bringing home a baby that quite obviously does not belong to them. And that unlocked the sadness level of our grieving game.
Several weeks after I moved out for good and my before-husband filed for divorce, we got an email.
It was an email from the adoption agency.
I don’t remember his name. They may have mentioned it, and I may have blocked it out. I still have the email and it’s not something I’m willing to go back and open.
We’d already written to them months before explaining that we were separated and no longer candidates to adopt a new baby. They were shocked, very sad, but completely understanding. After months of adoption classes (that I blogged about) and paperwork and home visits trying to get ourselves on that coveted list, we were off the list. Just like that.
I guess one person didn’t get that memo, though, because we received an email with a picture. He was a little boy, blonde with blue eyes. Born addicted (I’m not sure to what), he was only 16 months old and he needed a forever family that could give him an opportunity at a life he wasn’t currently living. And we were the people chosen to give him that.

I know deep in my heart that he has amazing parents now. I saw the other families in those adoptions classes, all salivating over pictures on the foster websites and rushing through to finish certification in an attempt to qualify for “this set of siblings” or “that baby girl who needs the feeding tube.” They were glorious folks vying for the babies other people gave up on. Not good people or better-than-you people, but the right people.

I desperately thought we were the right people, and as I look back and see how things fell apart, I can’t believe the people we turned out to be. To be clear, I regret nothing and neither does my before-husband. He is incredibly happily married and finding his own way with grace and dignity. But we aren’t who I thought we were. And that makes me sad.

He would be 5. That little boy that was chosen for us would be 5 and I am so sorry and so sad I never met him. I am, on the other hand, so grateful I somehow ended up with two sons anyway. Cub is my little gentle soul, making his way through life with so many random, thoughtful comments and interesting perspectives (and a VERY secret new chicken recipe he shared with his Dad and I that I can’t tell you but it’s going to be REALLY good and he’s going to dye the sauce green so you can’t guess what’s in it based on what color it is). Abe is my ham and my BS detector, constantly calling us all on our misalignment in ways we can’t possibly ignore.
I will never know what role 5 would have played in our family. But I’m thinking about him, and praying that he never feels a sense of rejection by the parents who didn’t have their shit well enough together to accept him as a gift at the time he was offered.

Grief can happen overnight, from beginning to end. It can also take as long as the experience itself took. (I’m hoping my process is somewhere in between.) For now, I’m crying at commercials and rainbows and flourishing flowers and dying flowers alike, because for me it’s all representing the next layer I’ve got to shed. Though I might throw a Kevin Hart movie in there sometimes just to lighten shit up…

1 2 3 4 5 23