My friend, Chris.

27 Jun

On Monday, I learned that one of my best friends from high school passed away suddenly. I’ve been reminiscing ever since, with a deep sadness in my gut, trying to wrap my head around it.

I just adored the photos he posted of he and his son on Father’s Day only a week ago. How is Chris not living now, nine days later?

I met Chris Smith at Northside High School somewhere between 9th and 10th grade. He lived with his mom in a small house on Sarah Drive.

Chris and I met in an English class, started speaking and immediately hit it off and collected a bunch of inside jokes. He was always such an upbeat guy and wanted everybody else to be upbeat with him.

I knew that Chris had his own issues going on, but he never got deep into them. He was always making a joke, or doing some crazy walk or funny face.. making me laugh.

I loved the way he spoke, because he was from New Jersey and he definitely carried that vibe here with him. He missed New Jersey a lot and would talk about it to me. He would tell me about the sub sandwiches there, that Subway was a joke (of course it is- he was way ahead of me). We went to Baldino’s a couple of times together after he moved on to Belmont Avenue, I believe it was. He told me that Baldino’s was the closest match to New Jersey subs in the south. I believed him.

Chris and I were together a lot after school in the afternoons. His mom worked a lot, so she wasn’t home much. He didn’t have a car, so I would help by taking him to the store or to get food. He was always so considerate when he asked for a favor, always insisting on giving me a few dollars for gas even if I told him not to. If I said no, he’d sit the money in the seat of my car anyway.

I had an ‘84 Reliant that used to run hot all the time. When it did, I remember me and Chris pulling into the American Pride car wash (now closed and disheveled) on Watson Boulevard and spraying my car down with water until it cooled off. We probably did that five or six times.

Chris introduced me to Wu-Tang Clan and … feta cheese. I’d never heard of feta cheese and he always talked about how awesome it was, but I  thought it was strange and stinky. He would eat it whole, taking huge bites. Finally, one day he convinced me to try it and to my surprise, I liked it. Every time I eat feta cheese, I think of Chris devouring jars of it from his fridge.

Chris loved the Wu-Tang Clan and Sublime. We would hang out and listen to this music for hours. I experimented with “shrooms” for the first time with Chris one summer. We sat on his bed and we laughed and laughed until we ached as we listened to Wu-Tang Clan. In time, I’d bought all of their CD’s. I could rap right along with Method Man and ODB. So could Chris.

Chris loved Sheryl Crow, he thought she was the hottest woman on Earth.  He also loved Faygo fruit flavored sodas. I would drink them too, because they were cheap and delicious.

He was like the brother that I never had. He was quirky and fun, he was kind and he was warm. He was tall and lanky, my same height. I was goofy and he was goofy.

It was a good friendship,

He helped me smile when my home life was depressing as hell. Our hangouts distracted me from all that.

Chris loved his mother very much. He lost her several years ago. I remember feeling so sad for him when I heard that she passed because she was all that he really had for many years of his life. His dad wasn’t in the picture, but he only touched on it a few times.

I know that Chris loved his son immensely and I’m very sad that his baby doesn’t get to have his dad around anymore. It is surely devastating.

I keep thinking that I wish I had known exactly what Chris was going through and I wish that I’d had a better intuition that things weren’t okay with him.

I’m still kind of in a state of shock that his passing is real. Mostly, I hope that he knew that I always thought a whole lot of him.

Untitled

14 Apr

keeping this mouth shut never came easy
zipped lips pressing against blades perched on my tongue
cracking a false smile, I swallowed them whole
messy eggshells, sharp and scraping

the secrets kept in there
could throw a villain in jail
they’re gruesome secrets a reality television president keeps

only
I don’t think his are hurting the back of his throat
not the way mine did

oozing through his dragon breath nostrils
coursing towards his smug smile
invisible and recycled bullshit
incriminating dollars and stories as phlegm

savage viral infection

tell us what you’ve done, Mr. Trump
tell me why I gulped down assault charges
throat still sore
as you guys parade the street, my supermarket, the office

with tongues tied

freely guarding your shitty deeds

seems no one demands much
from your kind
not the way your kind demanded of me

 

The fight for women’s rights is still a thing, and I still despise Donald Trump.

23 Jan

I’m going to begin this with a link to a moving, brilliant blog post concerning women in general and women who “don’t need the women’s march”, because it finally lit a fire under my ass to start writing about my feelings on this whole scary Presidency and why I support what I do and am more than proud to be a feminist myself.

I won’t reiterate her valid, factual points– but PLEASE, no matter your views on the march, read them yourself. To Christy on Facebook, who doesn’t need the women’s march.
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On Saturday, I was tending to a sick child and trying to respond to multiple tornado warnings, half panic-half autopilot.

Of course, this on the coattails of inauguration day.  It was a weird, hazy weekend of wanting to block everything on Facebook and the internet as a whole and  and also wanting to see every damn thing women were doing in DC and across this country to stand up together and for one another. Women in Antarctica, for all things holy!

I texted friends, we shared in the equal disgust for the massive blinders that Americans so easily slip on now and during election year.

I saw gorgeous photos popping up as I laid in my bed, sleep-deprived.  I saw men, women, children, marching in solidarity for themselves, or for someone they love and want to see be treated equally and fairly.

Someone I know showed me a photo taken during the women’s march in Pensacola, FL of  a man holding a sign that read “You deserve rape.” If you wanted just one tiny example, that’s why we needed the women’s march.

The women’s march reminds me that there are people who can see outside the frightening boxes, who aren’t capable of wearing the Donald Trump deluxe blinders. I sort of want to coin that term. These are the women and men who are outward thinkers, empathetic souls, fighters, doers, passionate citizens who remember that little thing called humanity.

I kept seeing smart-ass remarks about those participating in the march and inauguration protests “needing a job”, or “must be nice to not have responsibility”. This makes me laugh at ignorance and also cringe at that same ignorance.

Out of the women who I know who participated in marches, wished to have marched, or had craved a spot in a protest group, exactly ALL of those women are highly intelligent, educated, successful, responsible, headstrong citizens with passionate beliefs and actual responsibilities at home, who can handle their shit through planning.  How about the crazy and wild notion that these protesters/marchers took paid or even unpaid time off so that they could participate in something deeply relevant and important to them? Real serious possibility there.

I guess I could go around casting similar judgement upon the vast majority of Trump supporters I’ve come across (trust me, not all Trump supporters are hardworking intelligent folks who aren’t or have never used government assistance).

But, I don’t. Okay, I don’t ALL the time. I do sometimes, because I’m a flawed-ass human being.

I’ve had to unfollow news sites via Facebook or even people, because of vile or poisonous bullshit being spewed. As my friend J says, their posts make me “warm in the neck”. I need less, not more of those moments in my life. This is actually part of my self-care plan.

Instead, about half the time, I have to remind myself that I know, love and think highly of a handful of the people in my daily life who voted for this narcissistic reality TV star who thinks it’s okay to take advantage of women because he’s fucking rich and he can. A man who talks in circles and finds difficulty in explaining himself (I’m curious if there’s anything up there he wants to explain?) and instead just insists he’s “good and can do the things because he just knows he can and it’s gonna be great, he can promise ya that”. A man who perpetuates the notion that women shouldn’t hold control of their reproductive rights by playing the anti-abortion card on religious, guilt-fueled voters.

The same way in which a man shouldn’t expect to walk into a church to be Pastor if he’s a known drug-abusing, adulterer with a sexual assault charge and expect to be highly regarded… this Donald Trump shouldn’t expect to walk into the White House on inauguration day expecting not to sweat and to be highly regarded.

I’m sure this analogy can be proven with both logic, common damn sense, and perhaps even Science.

But I digress. I’m an army of me and I must find comfort where I can.  I find solace in speaking with like-minded women  and men. I find solace through art, writing. I find peace in teaching my two young boys what respect looks like and why kindness and openness is paramount.  I find comfort in my husband, who wants to know what I have to say and supports my passion.

I’m sad that the President of this country represents all of the shitty, sleazeball male cliches that exist.  I’m sad that he’s so minuscule-minded that he mocked a disabled man in front of cameras and a huge group of people.

I’m glad that my children will know that they should represent acceptance and love and that in four years or so, the leader of our nation shall hopefully be a more respectable human being, because this is a great country we live in.

I don’t need a perfect President, but I’d most definitely like a less disgraceful one.

 

 

Image

#endthestigma because it is important.

16 Jan

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2017 Intentions

1 Jan

This year, I would like to take the advice that I give to my friends.

I’d like to rid myself of the shame shield and hesitation when choosing not to censor myself.

I’d like to remain vulnerable and brave, as the two are one in the same. We are only capable of true human connection when our walls are down and our truth is free. A simple phrase has made me feel less alone on many occasions.

I will not underestimate the power of my story.

I’d like to respect myself enough to accept support and love and to be open to asking for these things when I need them, not when I’m crippled with anxiety and depression and have reached the “too late now” phase.

I hope I can cope with difficulty by nurturing myself rather than numbing myself through any means.

I hope that when I have my surgery, that I am able to remember things I am capable of.

I’d like to rid myself of panic and anxiety over things I’m unable to control.

I hope that I can look back at this when I’m feeling lost, defective and scared and that reading it will bring me hope, insight and peace.

 

Early attachment exercise: Therapy afterthoughts

2 Dec

With my trauma therapist, I’ve been working on an early relationship attachment exercise. Today, one of the questions covered was: “Recall an event in which your parent(s) were present physically but not emotionally”.

I began with my dad.  My knee-jerk answer was that his baseline was – always. As in, never did I rely on him emotionally nor did I want to. Never did he take interest in my feelings, emotional well-being or current state. I explained that physically, he stayed in the role of (haha) “protector” and provider. From as early as I can pinpoint, him being emotionally available was nonexistent. No event changed that or made a difference. It just was.

My dad was always physically there for me. He was concerned if I had car trouble, if I got injured, if I needed something repaired or had a question about musicians or songs. I suppose he took heed in my issues which involved his own interests or needs. He didn’t necessarily care about my own thoughts on these needs or issues.

When I was in 5th grade chorus, we put on a Christmas musical. My part was a Christmas tree. We were responsible  for making our own prop/tree costume. My dad worked so hard on my cardboard tree. There was a hole cutout for my head, a tree that spanned probably five feet across and six feet high. It was covered in beautiful glitter, silver and gold on grass-green spray paint. I had the best costume, I stood out.

But did he put in all that effort ‘for’ me? Or was it for his accreditation?  Something tells me the answer is the latter.

When I broke my foot, (also in the 5th grade) my dad ran down to my friend’s house within seconds of the phone call that her mom made to my house alerting them I’d been hurt. He scooped me up, put me in the backseat and rushed me to the ER within minutes. He came to my rescue.

I could count on him to save me if needed. He would rescue me from outside events,  I just couldn’t count on him to protect me from himself.

I remember when I was sixteen, I was on my way to work and agreed that I’d return a movie we’d rented the night before. It was rainy and I was in a rush. When getting out of my car to run the movie inside the store, I accidentally locked my door (it was such habit, a push lock).  Unfortunately, it was while my windshield wipers were on and my car was running. I had to call my parents and have my dad come bring a spare key so I could get to work. Though I was only about a six minute drive from home, I was so scared to call him and anxious about being late to my job. He came to help me, but spent the entire three minutes berating me for making a human error.

It was staggering how much mental abuse he could inflict in such a small window of time. He could take one from feeling average or happy, to feeling like the stupidest, most ridiculous pile of shit in forty seconds flat. His words were so abrasive, demeaning, full of pure hatred. I wondered how he could love or care for me and talk to me like a stranger who’d just done the worst deed in history.

Perhaps my dad traded in his emotional support when he made whatever deal he made with the devil.

 

 

Poem – untitled

21 Oct

I always wondered how

I could have a sunshine heart

with a buried-bones soul

Hard at work among the living

crucifying every rusted penny in my chest

keeping afloat the sing-song vibe

like a graceful performer in a circus

I’d have carried the world for a chance to taste normalcy

and so

when I balance, arms heavy on the beam, my wishes are granted

farce and dank, sparkling quarter-century live play

synopsis foggy

Best case scenario

would be this pool of

self-churned

gut-labratory nurturance

to morph into a pyre of righteous light and fight

divebomb intuition, truth-knowing

unending mission of

guarding

growing

clawing

buried empire rejoicing