On Loyalty

My friends know that my number one thing is loyalty. If you can’t say it to my face, don’t say it behind my back. I will take an ugly truth much better than a pretty lie. Because all lies come to light, the truth eventually comes out, and instead of it just being ugly, it is also now tainted. Trust is the hardest thing to regain. Whereas if it’s something you had enough integrity to tell me to my face, it means you not only respect me, but you trust that I respect you enough to hear what you have to say.

I am selective of my friends. They are aware of this. But I can say without a doubt that my circle will always have my back. That does not mean they always agree, it does not mean they can’t tell me I’m being a dumb ass or that they have to view things the way I do. It means they know they can tell me they disagree and know it’s not going to ruin our friendship. It means that even if I’m being a dumb ass they know they can say it straight to my face and I will take what they say and think about it. It means that even after they tell me, and I have thought about it, they will support me in whatever decision I make in the end.

Loyalty is not blind obedience. Loyalty is trust, honesty, respect, integrity, support. It is having my back whether I witness it or not. It means being real and honest and true, and it’s not hard to do because they have a moral code that meshes with my own. Loyalty is sincere and steadfast. It is a bond that is unbreakable. Which means that if I come to you and you tell me what I don’t want to hear, I will still hear it and we will be okay. It means you aren’t going around behind my back and saying anything, true or not, that you haven’t had the fortitude to tell me straight up. It means a river of trust between us that is ever flowing.

And for those incapable of being loyal… well, I don’t have time for them. Life is too short to suffer fake friends. You don’t deserve me, and I do not deserve you. And that is the awesome part of being a fully grown woman who is capable of making her own decisions… I am fully qualified to decide upon the people I allow in my life. I don’t expect perfection, but I do expect my friends to be real.

Choices

Life surprises you sometimes. It’s all in the choices we make, the paths we take, the choices we don’t make, the paths we ignore. Sometimes we are so caught up in the beauty ahead of us, that we are blinded by the signs next to us. Passing them by without a look or care. Maybe we see it there. On the edge of the periphery. Sometimes we even know what those signs say. But we are so determined to keep staring ahead, at what is almost within our grasp, that we find the road suddenly disappears before us. We tumble over the side of the cliff, knowing we are falling, that rocks wait below to catch us oh so brutally, but we only lament the loss of the view we so desperately wanted. Needed. Desired. Hoped for. Prayed for. Begged for. But that beautiful view had no wish to be obtained completely. Instead, it looks away as those rocks catch you in their embrace. For that is the nature of said beautiful view. It has no desire to be caught, nor does it wish to catch. Hell, it doesn’t even bother to watch you fall. 

On Friendship

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I was very lonely as a child. I was a child of divorce. My parents split when I wasn’t yet 2. I didn’t truly meet my biological father until I was 12. I was the only child they would have together, and the only child my mom would ever have. Of everything people say about growing up with siblings, one thing they don’t seem to understand about being an only is the silence. Total and complete. Nobody to share stories with, talk to late into the night. Nobody that knows what your everyday life was like. Nobody to pretend with, when you’re stuck at home because you’re sick or the weather’s off. And being the only child of a divorced woman in the early 80’s, not easy.

To give you an idea… My mom tried to enroll me into the Girl Scouts in my hometown. I wanted to be a brownie more than anything. Their posters preached sisterhood, sleepovers, friendship. I wanted that more than I could ever possibly explain. I wanted it with every fiber of my little girl being. The women that led the hometown chapter/group/troop refused to let me enter, as I was a “bastard child” what with my parents being divorced and my mom being single and working. I wasn’t one of them.

That was the mentality of the world back then. And believe me when I say, their kids learned their bully skills from the best of the worst. Now throw being poor into the mix. People, be they child or adult, were outright ugly.

Friends didn’t come easily. My circle was incredibly small. And at times, my circle only held me. I met and kept a few gems here and there. But we moved around a lot when I was younger, and with each move came trying to make new friends. New schools. New neighbors. But my truth, my life, my history, my poorness… they never changed. So the mentality about the poor, about divorce, that was always there. I always felt the brunt of it.

With this in mind, read on.

I was desperate for friendship. I was desperate to be included. I was desperate to be on the “inside” of jokes. I would do anything, ANYTHING, to be someone’s friend. Even if it was a way for the kids to be mean to me. Even if it hurt me. I would take all of the hurt, all of the pain, all of the laughter, thrown rocks, jokes about me being a bastard, dish soap in my drinks, push pins in my seat, hair pulls, pinches, pokes, bruises, cuts, bloody noses, punches, kicks, jabs about how skinny I was, stolen lunches, give away any toy I managed to have, threats, hand over rare treats, all of it, any of it… if it gave me a friend for a day. For an hour. For five fucking minutes. It didn’t matter what they threw at me, as long as I got a small wisp of a smile for a brief moment, I would do it, take it, accept it.

I had no self confidence. I had no self worth. I had no idea how to stand up for myself. And for the longest time, I didn’t want to.

I did this up until my teens. Somewhere around 11th grade, something snapped inside of me. Some part of me was done with the bullshit. Something inside of me said I had had enough. I would give back what I was given. I would treat others as they treated me. Suddenly, they were lucky to have me in their circle. That was when I learned how to cut people out. Momentarily in my own head, up to and including completely cutting them from my life. Loyalty. Honesty. Respect. That was my code. That is still my code. If you couldn’t respect the code, you were no longer worthy of my time. My life. Me. Period.

I’ve only forgiven one person for breaking my code since then. And that took a lot of work on both our parts. They know I am forever wary when it comes to them, and they understand why. That code is my self confidence. That code is my self worth. That code is how I stand up for myself. I became my code somewhere along the line.

I will never be that little girl desperate for friends ever again. I am extremely picky about those I allow into my inner circle. I’ve earned that. I don’t trust easily. My past should give you an idea as to why. I will never be or say I am sorry for that choice.

I love who I am. And because it is my code, I return it in abundance. I am one of the most loyal, honest, and respectful people you will ever meet. I will do anything in my power to help someone in my circle. I will fiercely protect those in my circle. And I am very much in that circle. Without me, the circle wouldn’t exist.

As to those I have cut out through the years, I’m sorry you couldn’t be a better person. I hope someday you will be. I hope you never find yourself desperate for a friend. I hope you become, or became, a person worthy of a circle of your own. I hope you find a code that encapsulates beautiful qualities, and keep it.

As to me and my circle? Well, you burned the hell out of that bridge, darlin’. You’re just shadows in the ash.

And to those in the circle with me, I love you, more than anything. I’m here whenever you need me, and honestly, even if you don’t.

On Loss

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I’ve lost a lot in life. My dad. My grandmother. Babies. Friends. Pets. Other family members. Love. Hope. Faith. Friendships. Beliefs. Respect. Innocence.

All of them hurt in their own right. All of them broke me and built me. I still wish I had most of that which I’ve lost. But I also love the person I am. I love who I’ve become because of those losses.

My soul is a litany of scars.

And there are scars from the loss of people I’ve never met. Celebrities. Authors. Soldiers. Strangers.

Those losses leave scars upon me too.

The two deepest ones of this type happened in the last 4 days. David Bowie and Alan Rickman.

I may not have known them as I know my people. But I knew them in times of loss. In times of wanting to give up. In times of wanting to give in. In times when I was searching for the will to keep fighting. I knew them at happy times. I knew them when I needed them. And they helped. Whether they meant to or not. Even though they didn’t know me. They gave me something when nobody else could do it.

And with what I’m dealing with right now, with the worry that is eating away at my mind in my every waking, and a lot of my sleeping, moments, it hurts to know they, my heroes, couldn’t beat the beast that I might be fighting too.

The world lost two amazing, creative, beautiful men. I lost two heroes.

My heart aches at what’s to come. Now every time I see them in a beloved movie, listen to a song they sang, think of a character that they will forever be to me, those things will be a reminder of the loss of them. Those things will not feel quite the same anymore. Those things will be bittersweet.

Which is how it is when you lose someone that you do know.

My world has grown more dim in the last few days. The stars though, they’ve become a bit brighter.

And as with any loss, will I miss them? Always.

Thursday

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11:43am

May I help you?

I have an appointment at 12.

Name?

*typing sounds, phone ringing*

Okay, have a seat, you’ll be called back shortly.

Creak of vinyl. Patients shifting, paperwork being signed.

Check Facebook.

Check Email.

Look around.

Blinds bent. Highway traffic. Train going by. Notice: Microwave and X-Ray in use. No Smoking. Fire Alarm, lift plastic cover, pull down handle. Push to open.

Phone ringing *please hold*

Shift legs. Creaking seat. Traffic sounds. Clouds on the mountains. Check weather app. Look around.

Please no food or drink. The restrooms are for patient use only. Favor de…

*MA to the front for urine drop off*

nervous coughing

The consequences of methamphetamine use. The fake damaged fetus is almost fitting sitting next to random artwork.

The magazines are old and uninteresting drivel about people we’ve made into celebrities. The tv hangs black and silent on the wall.

Watch the semi carry construction trucks down the highway, think of your husband at work, wish he could be here with you. I don’t want to be here either.

*MA to the front PLEASE*

The other receptionist seems desperate to get off the phone. Don’t you know the person on the other side is desperate for answers they don’t really want?

*Dental, line 2*

Look around. Smoke free building. Door opens, don’t stiffen, parent and toddler “I go McDonald’s now?” Remember when mom would take you for ice cream after difficult doctor appointments? I should get ice cream after this.

Indian art. Glass vases. Impressionist figurines. Doped up fake fetus. Notices. Rules. Multiple names, multiple degrees. Copay. Wheel chair storage. Vehicles passing by. Noises getting louder. Lights getting brighter.

Watch other patients get called back. Watch others leave.

12:15 pm

Finally it’s my turn.

Vitals taken. Sit here. Crinkle of paper. This space is so small.

Answer questions. Ask if I need to change into the gown, glance at ceiling in the hopes of distractions for what’s to come.

“Actually, you don’t need to change. The doctor wants to talk to you about your ultrasound results and such.”

Click of the door.

“and such”… don’t panic.

Look around. What you need to know about low blood sugar. Dangers of smoking. Stroke. Understanding arthritis. Pain scale. Six. Please refrain from using mobile devices. Do it for you family! How to read food labels.

Crackle of paper. Clock ticking. Baby crying somewhere down the hall. Nurse laughing. Waiting.

12:37pm

Gauze.

Cotton balls.

Tongue depressors.

Business cards.

Tissues.

Hand sanitizer.

Cholesterol facts.

Knocking!

She looks happy, that’s good right? Right?!

Specialist. Cyst on right ovary. Calcifications. Free flowing fluid. Bleeding. Rupture. Possible torsion. Growth. Size. Numbers. Big words. buzzzzzzz

“But it’s not cancer?”

“We won’t know until the specialist decides to do a biopsy.”

Not the answer I was looking for.

“Once we figure this out, we will work on the other issues. But here’s the referral paperwork for the specialist, call and make an appointment, and call and make an appointment here once the specialist has decided the next course of action and has more answers for us.”

1:16pm

On Being Female

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You’re such a girl. You throw like a girl. Don’t be a pussy. Chicks can’t do that. Men are stronger. You’re so sensitive. Don’t be so emotional. Women aren’t tough. You should do your make-up more often. I hate when chicks always wear make-up. She’s too fat. She’s too skinny. Confident women are sexy. Don’t be so confident, it’s a turn off. Men always have to pay their woman’s way and they hate it. You’ll emasculate him if you pay for yourself. Big boobs are hot. Small boobs are gross, what is she, a man? Why do you always have to wear a bra? Long hair is sexy. Short hair is cute. Why does it take so long for girls to get ready, men can get ready in 5 minutes? You’re just lazy wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Why is she wearing that in public, what, is she homeless? You know she’s trying too hard, why does she always dress up? You should have kids. Why did she have any kids? Why are you constantly dating? You’re a slut. She’s easy. She’s a hardhearted bitch. You should date. You should be single. You should get married. She must be a bitch, she’s divorced. She has kids, why is she working and not home taking care of them? She’s a lazy housewife. Just touch it. What, are your legs glued shut? She must be a virgin. Just let me put it in. Just lick it. Just give it a kiss. You’re such a whore. You’re too chipper. You’re so moody. God, you people cry about everything. Wow, she’s hot. Look at her tits. Look at her ass. Her tits are so perky. Get over it already. Your skirt is too short. Your skirt is too long. Chicks in summer dresses are sexy. She’s a MILF. God she’s such a cougar. You laugh at everything. That was funny, why aren’t you laughing? Her hands aren’t broken, she can open her own car door. You should clean your house better. A woman’s place is in the kitchen. Shave your legs/underarms/arms/crotch. Wax your legs/eyebrows/crotch/mustache. Did you shave your toes!? Dye your hair, your greys are showing. Women that wear heels look sexy. Why don’t you wear heels? Why do your feet always hurt? It’s just blood, why do you bitch about your period so much? She must be pmsing. Girls and their chick flicks. Check your breasts once a month. Gamer girls are hot. Gamer girls must be ugly. Why the cold shoulder? What’s this, the quiet treatment? Girls talk too much. No wonder she got raped. What’s for dinner? You don’t work as hard as men do. What are you crying about now? Moms are supposed to be soft. Women are smarter than men. You’re always doing homework. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Just suck it up and grow a pair. She’s such a dike. She’s a nympho. She never wants to have sex. Jesus, you always have to have foreplay. I’m just looking at her, it’s not like a fucked her. Why are you so paranoid about me cheating? Chicks that dig sports are hot. Paint your nails. Paint your toenails. You never want to do anything I want to do. You’re just like your mother. Men will never understand women. Women always change their minds. Women drive horribly. Bitches are crazy.

Yes, we are. And maybe this gives you an idea as to why.

A few more off the list

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If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, then you are aware that I have a Bucket List that I am constantly adding to. And when I give myself the time to, I also complete a few.

I managed to mark a few off of the list this past year, which felt like a challenge, considering the year I’ve had.

166.) play beer (or wine!) pong

My father passed away 3 days before my birthday, but the night before he passed away he told me that he wanted me to celebrate my birthday, as he didn’t want me to be sad, and he wanted me to celebrate my own life. So with the help of my boyfriend and some amazing friends of mine, I had a great birthday party. This party included my guy and I building a beer pong table, and me marking this off of my list. We built the table using unused sheet rock, a couple of cans of chalkboard spray paint, and a can of glow in the dark spray paint. Once we painted the “table” we used my dads saw horses to put it on. We bought the necessary “parts” and we had a late night full of laughter and semi-drunkenness. Some of the chalk drawings were incredibly lewd and I wish we had taken more pictures! I did have a breakdown at the end of the night, but I had an amazing amount of support to help keep me strong, and to remind me that my dad would have been proud of trying to have fun despite my heartache. My favorite part following this night was having cuddle time the next morning with my guy and one of my best friends, while chilling in bed and sharing music with each other. Open, honest conversations, and a joint effort at breakfast which led to singing, dancing, and laughter. I still feel the echo of the love that filled this house that morning, and will forever be thankful that this bucket list item helped create those moments.

157.) Make crepes

My oldest son and I decided to give this a shot together, a couple of weeks after I left a really stressful job. It was a bonding moment for us, helping us return to a norm we once had, where it was just the two of us trying out something new. We picked the simplest looking recipe we could find, and made strawberry filled crepes. The first few didn’t quite come out the way they should have, so we tinkered with the recipe until they came out perfectly. The littles were more impressed with the whipped cream and strawberries, but the oldest and I enjoying finally having a chance to reconnect after having spent many previous months not having enough time to do much that was fun with each other. That, and od’ing on whipped cream, were the best parts, haha.

131.) learn to play poker, win a game

After dad passed away, mom and I needed distraction from our thoughts. My boyfriend came to the rescue by teaching us how to play poker. (He also taught my oldest.) As seems to be the norm, my oldest caught on the fastest, and repeatedly kicked all of our asses. (This is why I refuse to play monopoly with him anymore, board game or on the Xbox! He’s pure evil, hahaha.) But, one night, I managed to win. Without help, without anyone sharing chips to keep the game going, and with me bluffing more often than not. It was lovely to take my teenager punk down a notch. Granted, I haven’t won any of our games since, but the one time was all I was looking for. I will not try to make a living playing it, that’s for sure.

114.) take a creative writing class

Last spring semester I finally bit the bullet and took the creative writing class my college offers. I wasn’t sure what to expect in all honesty. Maybe writing short stories and reading a lot, but even those were only guesswork on my part. Which we did do. But we also learned about various poem styles. We learned about perspective. We read about other authors, listened to NPR interviews, and read New Yorker articles. We had discussions, group projects, and reflective writing. It was the most writing I had done in quite a while, and it was helpful with stress relief, as I was going through many changes in my life at the time. It reminded me to pursue my passions, and it gave my dad and I several deep conversations before he died. It helped relight the spark I had buried with paying bills, and taking care of my kids, and all of the other speed bumps life throws at us. It reminded me about how much I love poetry, and it gave me an idea about a way to go about writing my next poetry book, that I have every intention of trying within the next few weeks.

71.) learn to make pottery

Last semester I thought I didn’t have enough extracurricular credits to put towards my degree, so I signed up for a ceramics class. A couple of weeks into the semester I found out that some of my social science classes had completed what I needed in that department. I thought about dropping the class as it required me actually going to the college, and I had a pretty full plate at the time anyway. But I talked to my boyfriend and my mom, and they both told me I should keep the class, as it got me out of the house, and may provide me with some stress relief. So I ended up keeping it. There weren’t enough pottery wheels for me to learn pottery in that fashion, but I did learn how to create it by hand-building. It was awesome. I had no idea what to make in most instances, so I just went by blind instinct on most of them. Ironically, the only piece that I had planned out, as I wanted to make it for myself, was also the only piece of mine to be stolen. One of my favorite things about this class was a field trip to Santa Fe, which my boyfriend joined me for. We toured various art galleries for the day, hit up Trader Joe’s (a first for us both), roamed a street market, and had lunch together while talking about art and life. It was a wonderful date that allowed us to get out-of-town and our comfort zone for a bit.

That’s the few that I managed to complete last year, and I still don’t know which ones I will be marking off of my list this year. I guess I will see where life takes me. That’s the fun part of living out loud, I just enjoy the ride.

My Never Ending Bucket List

Some people have New Year’s resolutions, I have this.

Goddess, Living Out Loud

As the title states, this bucket list is never ending, which means I am constantly adding new things to it. As of this moment it has 173 things on it, and some of those numbers have multiple things involved in the one item. Honestly, I will never die at this rate. 😉 When I check something off of it, I will create a link with its item that will lead to a blog about it. Even for ones I have already marked off of the list. There are a few that would make the average person blush to admitting to wanting to do, but I’m a Goddess, so I’m okay with sharing. These are in no particular order, but they are all things I want to try/do/see/experience. Here goes:

1.) Stay the night and do a ghost tour at the Stanley Hotel. Get awesome pictures.
2.) Spend 2 weeks in…

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Breakfast For One

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Every so often I decide to treat myself to something. Sometimes it’s a movie. Sometimes it’s dinner. Sometimes it’s a cup of yum at a coffee shop. Yesterday it was breakfast at IHOP’s.

Every time I do these things, I inevitably receive a look. This look says “You poor thing, all on your own, can’t get anyone to join you.” There is always the question when at an eating establishment, “Just you?” or “Only you?”, and these are always asked in a surprised or pitying voice. It bothers me that we have placed these rules on everyone about how eating out or going to the movies should be done.

If anything, the looks and questions tells me more about them than my choosing to be alone tells them about me. I am in a relationship. A happy one. I also have kids. And friends. And family. But sometimes, I just need time with me.

I go out alone because I like me. I like spending time with myself. I find eating alone to be freeing. I enjoy my own company. I don’t have to depend on other people to have a good time. I am fully capable of having a blast, without needing a witness to it.

Hellooooo, I did go to the Texas Showdown Festival on my own, just so I could see a band I love. Could I have gotten someone to go with me? Certainly. But sometimes, I like to experience the world and its offerings all on my own. I’m perfectly fine with being the only witness to my own happiness.

Maybe this is my independent streak. Maybe it’s my inner rebel raising her fist to the stereotypes that society tries to force upon her.

But it never feels like that to me. To me it feels like spending time on someone who needs my attention the most. Myself. In order to love the way I do, to love the people I do, requires that I also love myself. In turn this requires that I spend time on, and with, myself.

I tend to place myself on the back burner more often than not. Not because it is required of me, not because I am a rug. I will let those in my world heap their troubles onto me, because I know I can take the added weight. And I know I can handle being last in line, and the added weight of my loved ones problems, because I know who I am. I am comfortable in who I am. I love the person I am. And when I need to lay the weight down and move to the front burner, I know I will do it. Then I can pick the weight back up, and it’s not nearly as heavy anymore.

Instead of judging that woman or man for choosing to eat or enjoy a movie on their own, ask yourself why it bothers you so much to see someone else be comfortable enough to do these activities alone. Maybe you’ll learn something about the person you are, and see that maybe you need to spend some time with yourself. Become a witness to your own happiness. Your needs, likes, and desires matter too, and it’s perfectly okay to deliver them to yourself.