October 2016 archive

Aaaaand Cancer? – Part 2

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.
A woman smiled and stood up. She looked like she was on her lunch break from work.
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.
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.
“Oh, no, are you nervous?”
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?”

She walked me back to the waiting room and, within about 10 minutes…
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…
“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.

A nurse called my name from a second door on the other side of the room.
Door #2.
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…
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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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?


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.”


I’m That Friend

I traveled Tuesday-Thursday, which means I had no idea what day it was for even one single day this week. I only just realized it’s Friday.

I was thinking on one of the plane rides about what kind of friend I am, mainly because I am so blessed to have so many friends who check on me. I was only traveling for three days, and on the third day I had five text messages checking in on me.
“Hey, are you home yet?”
“You get back safely?”
“Let me know when you get in!”
635959413922308181-1923414383_doryI thought to myself, Self. I fail to remember most major holidays until they’re a week away. How do my friends remember things like my birthday, my anniversary, and the day I’m arriving home from a three-day work trip??
I started feeling like a shitty friend. I don’t buy birthday presents. If I do, I never get a birthday card. I’m terrible at doing nice little things for people like, “I saw this and thought of you so I just had to get it!” I see something in the store and think, “Aw, that reminds me of Allison. She should buy that.”

So, what kind of friend am I? I couldn’t really think of any qualities that make me a good friend until, about three hours before I was due to land back home in Jacksonville, I realized I’d forgotten to schedule myself a ride home from the airport. (Remember when I mentioned before about the whole major holiday thing?) I texted my girlfriend O during my layover in Nashville.
“Hey. You can’t pick me up at the airport at 2, can you?”
“Sure! I’ll work it out. Just text me when you’re taking off so I know you’re on time.”
Just like that, I had a ride.
Would I do that?
Yes. A HA! Yes, I would be that friend who can show up in a bind. I’m the friend who takes your frantic phone call when you need to vent and cry. I’m the friend who responds to your long email with an even longer email. I’m that friend who will play voicemail tag for two years if that’s what it takes, and I won’t care. I will not plan your bridal shower and I will probably forget what day the birthday party I RSVPd “yes” to until the day before. But if you text me, “I need you,” you better believe I’m there. Hands down.

I can work on those other qualities. For sure. But more importantly I’m working on liking and acknowledging the parts of myself that I already know are great. I’m a really good friend. I didn’t remember the wine I told you I was bringing, but I sat at your kitchen table and listened until 2 in the morning because that’s what you needed.
What makes you a good friend? Hint: the traits that make you a good friend probably come the easiest to you. Pat yourself on the back for those!

My ride showed up 10 minutes after I landed and then she went to bootcamp with me. I love her for that. She also consoled me when I found out we lost sweet Alanna this afternoon. Her battle with cancer has ended and now she gets to fly like the glittery angel she’s always been. Talk about a good friend…her Facebook page (hell, my whole feed!) is littered with pictures of her and love for her. Anyway, I thought you should know she cheersing Noel on the other side tonight. Leaving behind the legacy of “amazing friend” is about all anyone could ever ask for.

6 Years – Smile even though it’s breaking…

The “Hurricane Party” is a well-known event in South Florida. I was evacuated nearly every year on my birthday (9/1) growing up. When I got old enough (-ish) to drink, I partied during every hurricane. We got word Hurricane Matthew would likely be the first organized storm to hit Jacksonville in more than half a century, so naturally we stocked up on whiskey.
I received a gabillion texts and phone calls leading up to Matthew’s big punch, all very much concerned that we weren’t evacuating. I got one text from a dear friend who moved to Jax from Ohio about 5 years ago. “Should we be evacuating? I mean, we’ve never done this before.”
“No,” I texted back. “We’re inland. There’s nothing much you can do. It’s why we have hurricane parties. We don’t know if the storm will strengthen and hit us dead on or if it will turn at the last second and sweep out to sea. Instead of worrying and guessing, we just enjoy ourselves.”
And even the most prepared of our friends, complete with an in-ground generator ready to power the house for more than a week, found themselves the only ones on the block without power two days after the storm and…you guessed it…a broken generator.

You can’t predict it and you can’t control it.


Noel having a fancy moment.

Today is six years since Noel died. I write about him every year because his death teaches me a new lesson every year. This year, it started off as a reminder to enjoy the ride. If we’re going down in a hurricane, we might us well bring the Fireball with us (or the Goldschlagger, as he used to have me believing was “good for shots”). He wouldn’t have done a damn thing differently in his life, or in this hurricane, and I don’t recall him ever panicking or worrying about much.
Then, just as I prepared to write his annual blog, I got word about another friend from college…

When she walked into the green room at our theatre for the first time, she looked like a little pink bubble. Petite, blonde, gorgeous smile, infectious joy…I hated her. She was the cuter, kinder, prettier version of me.
I gave up a role for the first time in college to her. I’d literally landed every other role I went out for, but the little pink bubble walked into her audition for 1940’s Radio Hour with a little soft-shoe number she’d choreographed and memorized and her hair curled in a way that I couldn’t dream of replicating. And not only that, she was a better singer. Ace in the hole.
Quite an ego-check for a senior.
Of course, I couldn’t resist her darling charm and nurturing attitude and we became friends. She knew more about makeup than me and helped me a dozen times to do something about my hair. I’m pretty sure we didn’t have a big dramatic goodbye when I graduated, mostly because we weren’t dramatically close friends. But we kept in touch via Facebook when it became popular. She never gave up the performance dream (or the perfect makeup and amazing hair). It was fun to watch her rise.

There was never once a chance we thought she wouldn’t beat cancer when we found out she’d been diagnosed. Never once. “We”, the collective vision of everyone who knows her, just assumed she would fight like a sparkly little warrior and show us all how it’s done in the most adorable way possible. Never a chemo or a surgery without pink lipstick.
She did that. She did fight fucking hard and she wore pink lipstick. And fabulous wigs.

Of course, no one thought we’d lose to Noel to cancer either. If you were going to choose two people from our theatre department at Rollins College who you thought might die from cancer, they wouldn’t be the two.
She’s taken a turn these past few days, and they don’t expect she’ll share our physical planet with us for much longer. Which means Noel is waiting with a shot glass and a bear hug as soon as she decides to fly, and that gives me so much peace.

You can’t predict it and you can’t control it.

You can’t be well-enough prepared for a hurricane, you can’t predict the cancer, you can’t control life. But you can pass out Goldschlagger shots, you can sparkle around every corner, you can have a party in the face of a storm. My tears continue to fall and my chest will ache for a while thinking about how unpredictable life is. And I’ll probably try on some pink lipstick, just to see what it feels like.

Noel, thank you for the annual reminder that we don’t know when or how it’s going to happen so it’s TOTALLY worth two more shots before the cast party starts.
Alanna, you are joy manifested into physical form. When the traffic backs up or the friend cancels dinner plans or the electricity goes out, I’m going to giggle loud like sunshine. For you.

Smile, though your heart is aching.
Smile, even though it’s breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky
you’ll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You’ll see the sun come shining through
for you.

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 wrote my first blog in a while last week, and it was a doozie. I wasn’t nervous, per se, to reveal what I felt like was a pretty personal experience. I was….sad. Embarrassed. And then I was afraid people would think I was writing that blog from a place of, “Hey, look at me!! Look how hard it’s been!” It actually took me a few days to realize I was writing it because sharing my own garbage quiets it down, and also gives other people the chance to look at their own garbage and say, “See?! You’re not so loud, stupid garbage.”
Then, as the Universe would have it, I was almost immediately met with a vibration equal to the one I was practicing when I shared that blog. The very next morning at 7:45am, I got a phone call.
“Hey. Ms. Salem? You’ve been matched.”
No, I have not reapplied to be on “The List.”
But I did forget that three weeks ago, Bear and I applied to be on “A List.” We offically became foster Boxer parents. So that phone call, less than 12 hours after I published a blog revealing my sadness over the little boy that was to be mine, I was gifted another little boy.

His name is Frazier.


The timing was astounding, as timing always is when you let it be. A two-year-old Boxer baby was being surrendered by his owner because he couldn’t keep up with this guy’s energy. I was absolutely thrilled, and so were the boys. A new, albeit temporary, member of our family.

Like every new experience or relationship, it started out roses. We were almost long distance, Frazier and me, exchanging pictures and texts before we first met. Of course, like any intelligent woman in this day in age, I did a background check. No diseases, no aggressive behavior, no past owners dead of “unknown causes.” He was a perfect fit.

Then. He got here. And let’s just say while Frazier and I hit it off quite well, the other two dogs will a little bit pissed.
Charlie, our older Boxer, just stared at me. “Why in the hell would you do this to me?”
Bella, our younger (but still older) Boxer immediately staked her claim and showed Frazier where she kept her teeth.
There was a good bit of running and leaping through the back yard, and a fair amount of Bear pulling Frazier off of one of the other dogs. In total, it was about an hour’s worth of, “What the hell have we done?”

Today, though, he’s been an angel. A wild, bucking, adorable, completely-unaware-he’s-more-than-just-a-head angel. And nothing (major) has been broken. I even got a call today from a prospective family who is looking to adopt him. And who wouldn’t?! Look at that face.


I love that the Universe shows me what life would be like with more moving parts; the moving parts I think I want or think I need to be happy. He shows me and then he creates a way for me to release those moving parts safely and with love in order to dig in deeper to all the gratitude floating around my brain for what’s already here. I am loving having Frazier in this family, but two dogs is probably enough. I know I would have loved the little guy who might have joined my life 3 years ago, but I didn’t know yet that I already had two boys, and two boys is definitely enough and totally awesome. (Besides. I don’t want to have an actual drinking problem…) So here’s to the Universe giving me exactly what I need exactly when I need it, as if to say, “Don’t worry. I’ve got your back. And wait ’till you see what I’ve got up my sleeve next!”

Notice my dogs wont even look at him.

Notice my dogs wont even look at him.