Punishment Enough

punishment enough

I have been cursed with a guilty conscience, thanks largely in part to living a lifestyle for many years where I usually was doing something wrong. I mean, nothing major, for the most part, but generally, just the way I lived, it was all very secretive, very sneaky. I got in trouble with people all the time and it was normally very much my own fault, and so…I developed a habit of feeling pretty bad about myself.

This has not changed, despite the fact that I am very much a responsible, productive member of society these days. What it amounts to is that I tend to be a lot more nervous and worried about making mistakes than perhaps your average person- as a matter of fact, I don’t allow myself any room at all for messing up. When it inevitably happens that I do, I am very, very hard on myself. I expect the worst consequences despite the fact that people have almost always been more forgiving of my screw-ups than I anticipate. Basically, what I’m saying is, I’m kind of a wreck. When things are going smoothly, I am okay. But throw one little issue into the pot, and the entire trajectory of my thoughts goes rapidly down hill. I obsess. I am consumed with worry. I feel really, really bad about myself. And I have had it.

I’ve had it with my attitude about myself. I’ve had it with my inability to just let things unfold, and my refusal to have any faith in myself. I’ve had it with my catastrophic thinking, and more than anything else, I have had it with fear. Even as I write this, I have a little thing hanging over my head that is causing a major disturbance in the force, and my poor fear-poisoned body feels tight and uneasy and anxious. I woke up with that old, familiar heaviness, that sense of dread that I know so well. I’ve had enough. I have to let it go. So, here is what I have to say to myself-

Dear Courtney-

Life cannot be lived while curled in the fetal position, not even the figurative fetal position. You don’t have to be afraid. Everything is going to be okay, even if it doesn’t go the way you have planned. You are safe. You can rely on me. I am not going to let you down. You can’t enjoy the awesome adventure of life if you are holding on so tightly to all of this fear. You can put it down. No matter what happens, you will figure out a way to navigate it. You always find the silver lining, always, eventually. Try to remember that. You are a good mother, a good friend, and a good person. The past is over with. You are allowed to leave it there and move on. Your life was punishment enough. Stop beating yourself up for being someone you bear no resemblance to anymore. That girl was sick and sad and desperate for help…and you saved her life. Give yourself credit for how far you have come. You have been through so much. It’s time to start enjoying the life you have managed to create. So hold your head up, and let the chips fall where they may. And never forget that I love you.

Love, me.

I know that got a little weird, but I needed to say those things to myself. Now it’s public, so I can’t take it back. 🙂

Here’s to lighter hearts and lighter loads to carry. I’m ready to leave some of this baggage behind and skip a little bit. Happy Friday!


The Next Right Thing.

next right thing

When I was still in active addiction, my choices in life were pretty limited. As a matter of fact, I came to the conclusion at one point that being an addict is like having a real handicap- you just cannot live a normal life at all. Simple things, like going to the grocery store, are a major life event- there’s a fine balance between being way too high and not high enough, and lets face facts, I was terrible at finding that balance. Of course, it’s all just a bunch of lies that your fiendish mind is feeding you, 24/7, but when you are in it, it seems very, very real. So, if going to the store is a big deal, things like going out to dinner with your family or flying somewhere on a trip out of town are just off the table, pretty much. I mean, unless your drug of choice happens to be alcohol, because that shit is EVERYWHERE. I’m sure that comes with its own set of challenges though- I can only imagine the bargaining and idea of moderating that must go on for alcoholics who are still using. I’ve often said I have a deep respect for alcoholics who can stay sober- I don’t know how in the world I’d stay clean if amphetamines were sold at every 7-11 and Safeway I frequented. As usual, though, I digress. My point is, life is very limited for the addict in active addiction. “Well, what about the choice to just not use?” You might ask. And to that I say- “Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! You don’t get it, do you?”

Not using is less of a choice and more of an event in the life of an addict. It is something we dream about, we begin to think about constantly, it’s a promise we make to ourselves, and it usually goes something like this- “Tomorrow, I am going to stop.” “After this last _____ I am definitely done.” Or, “Just one more, just one more, just one more.” It can seem hopeless, and the more hopeless it seems, the more we obsess over it. For me, personally, I knew that I needed help on many occasions, but I was so scared to ask for the help I needed. I was afraid of losing my daughter. I was afraid of what people would think of me. And later on, when I was well established in my career, I was terrified of losing my job. There is a huge stigma attached to addiction, and this can make it nearly impossible for an addict to reach out for the help they desperately need. I know it did for me. What finally pushed me into getting help the last time was the realization that I better beat “them” (them being HR/ the police/ any and all government agencies that my paranoid brain was living in fear of) to the punch line- if I asked for help FIRST, I was safe, right? Well…actually, kind of, yeah. My addled mind got it sort of right. Had my job intervened on my behalf and sent me in for a friendly pee test, I would probably be writing this from the backseat of the car I live in. Luckily for me, I took some initiative, and despite my overwhelming fear, I faced up to the fact that I couldn’t do it on my own, and checked myself into treatment.

So, what happens when the dust settles, and you find yourself living an entirely different kind of life without drugs? Well, for me, the first two-plus years I spent still dealing with my behavior- the very thing, the impetus really, that drove me to be desperate for help in the first place. I hated myself. I thought if only I could be done with the drugs, I would be back to my “normal” self, and life would be good. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for two things: One, that my brain was truly fucked up- those years of assault with heavy drug use had made a mess of me, and my emotions and thinking were distorted and volatile. Two, I had been using for so long that there was no “normal” me. From the time I smoked my first joint at 13, until the last narcotic entered my bloodstream at 39, with very small stretches of abstinence interspersed throughout, I had missed out on everything. I had no idea how to live like an adult, act like an adult, or even how I was supposed to cope with an adult life.

I spent a good chunk of time just climbing out of the rubble pit of my own mind. Once the residual drama and conflict and chaos of active addiction started to fade, I found myself with So. Many. Choices. Oh my God, you guys, the options I have today! I am not exaggerating when I say that I can do pretty much anything I want to do, within reason, if I so choose. The choices are so varied that it can be downright…paralyzing, if I’m being honest. Where do I want to go? What do I want to do? What kind of person do I want to be? What kind of parent? I basically bulldozed my life and started it over, from the foundation up. It is both incredibly liberating, and terrifying. I don’t generally know what the hell I am doing, and yet I recognize that it is imperative that I make the decisions for myself. I can ask for help and advice from trusted friends and family, but ultimately, I must choose the life that works best for me. And that is so scary, because I could mess up. I could RUIN EVERYTHING. Just look at where I came from! I have no business running ANYTHING.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany. I don’t have to worry about the bigger picture all the time. I just need to have a general idea of where I’d like to be, and in the meantime, in my daily life, here is what I need to do: Act With Love. Choose kindness over impatience, whenever possible. Even in traffic, when half the population of this town appears to be driving with their heads up their asses. Practice the Golden Rule- treat others the way you want to be treated. Will they reciprocate always? Of course not, but I’ll try to do it anyway. It feels good. In NA and AA they often use the saying (among billions of others, trust me) “Do the next right thing” and this is what I am choosing to do- I may not be able to see what lies down the road ahead, but I can figure out the next right thing. I can do that. And yes, I have larger goals and bigger dreams, but…in the day to day struggle just to like myself and feel good about who I am becoming, I think acting with love is a really good place to start from.

**But don’t take my word for it, because I have almost no idea what the hell I am talking about, most of the time. LOL. **

On a Lighter Note

After my rant yesterday, I thought I would just write about a few things that are making me happy this week. I missed my “Three Things” blog completely, so this will be sort of that, but not.

phineas and ferb

First of all, are you an adult that watches cartoons? I have never lost my love for them, and i’m not just talking about adult cartoons (which I also love, mostly) but kids cartoons, as well. Yesterday, I totally binged on Phineas and Ferb, a Disney channel cartoon that is endlessly entertaining. These two brothers, and a small group of friends, come up with wild inventions each day of summer vacation, while their tightly-wound sister, Candace, tries in vain to bust them. I identify so strongly with poor Candace- she is awkward, shrill, misguided, and a massive overthinker who wants desperately to be cool. There is also a whole different story line going on every episode with Perry, the families pet platypus, and Dr. Doofenshmirtz, an evil scientist. It’s kind of hard to explain, but if you’re ever bored, the whole mess of episodes is on Netflix. There are many kids shows I enjoy, and I think it’s just because they are happy, simple and funny, rather than emotionally draining and upsetting, and I appreciate that very much. it’s a nice escape from reality.


Speaking of escaping from reality, another thing I love to do when I am feeling less than thrilled with my current life is going on Zillow. I pick a town where I might like to live, and spend hours just viewing homes, figuring out what I can afford and how it would be to live somewhere else. Last time I went through this phase, I was dead set on moving to Maine, but with the winters we are having now (not that the winters we had before were anything to sneeze at in Maine) with global warming, I am rethinking that dream. Now, I am setting my sights on coastal Oregon, starting with Astoria (thank you, Goonies) and working my way down the coast back towards California. There are some beautiful homes, and many of them are a lot cheaper than my rent is here. Unfortunately, my job is here, so I’m definitely still in the dreaming phase. I really do want to buy a home, though, sooner rather than later. Of course, thanks to all the “Flip this House” type shows I have watched, I’ve grown super picky about things. I’ll look at a house and hear myself say things like “Oh, that’s a total tear-down” or “that whole room needs to be gutted” which is hilarious, considering I have no experience or knowledge about anything renovation related. Nor do I care for any sort of manual labor. So, I guess I should focus on move-in ready homes, or learn how to schmooze a general contractor.


Other than that, the only thing I have to share about my current situation is that I am on day 11 of not eating meat, and while I thought it would be really hard for me, it has been 100% the easiest challenge I have ever given myself. I never, ever thought I would be someone who could give up red meat and poultry, but it hasn’t bothered me in the slightest. As a matter of fact, I may just turn this into a forever thing…or, if not forever, then I will be very selective about when and how I eat meat. The thing is, I really love animals. I don’t want to eat anything with a personality. I mean, I love bacon…but I think I might love pigs a little bit more. Not to mention that it’s just a great idea, health-wise, to steer clear of meat for the most part. If I can get everything I need elsewhere, why not do it? And for the record, I will still eat fish. I’ve never bonded with a shrimp or a salmon. I’m sure they are very nice, but I’m still going to eat them.

My life is pretty boring right now. I’m not feeling quite so down as I was, but I’m definitely not where I’d like to be. I’m trying to practice acceptance, and work with what I have rather than fretting over why I’m feeling the way that I am and being miserable that I’m not somewhere, or something, or even someone else. I have faith that things will right themselves, always. In the meantime, I’ll be watching cartoons, shopping for houses, and eating chickpeas and bananas. It could be worse, right?


Being in Recovery

find yourself.png

Edit: Something I should definitely add, in the interest of not alienating people is this- there is 12-step recovery, and there are other types of recovery, as well. But ALL recovery means DOING THE WORK to be a better person than you were when you were using. If you are not actively engaging in the process of figuring out why and how you wound up where you are, then that is not recovery. If you are still using any substance to change the way you feel (and I’m not talking about anti-depressants here, to be clear), that is definitely not recovery. For ME, that means the traditional NA, AA, twelve step path. For you, it could be faith based or whatever floats your boat. But recovery is a specific thing, and you are either doing it or not. It’s not a halfway thing. THAT is the point I was trying to make.

Something that REALLY bothers me a lot is when people say they are “in recovery” when what they mean is that they stopped using a particular drug. Listen: You are not In Recovery if you stopped using meth or heroin but you still smoke weed or drink. You are not even in recovery if you practice abstinence completely, but you have never been to a meeting. Being in recovery (for me, for instance) means attending 12-step meetings regularly, and working those steps, with a sponsor. You can say you are clean, you are sober, or anything else like that if it pleases you. But don’t say you are in recovery, because you just aren’t.

Listen, I am not trying to downplay what anyone is doing to better their lives. If you can stop using hard drugs and find that you are someone who can drink responsibly, my God, that is GREAT for you, more power to you! But please, don’t confuse that with real recovery. It isn’t. Let me explain to you why that is-

Recovery is a lifestyle. It means committing yourself to something that is serious, time consuming, and really hard at times. My drug of choice was amphetamines. Do you know how often I toy with the idea that, because of that fact, maybe it would be okay if I drank occasionally? It crosses my mind a lot. Despite the fact that I have factual evidence that every single time I have been a responsible drinker it has eventually led me back to drugs at some point, I still continue to battle with these thoughts here and there. Maybe this is not the case for you, and hey, high freaking five on that. But it has been my experience that this is what we call a “yet” situation. I am not prepared to gamble with what I have earned.

Here’s the other thing: through my prolific years of drug use, I learned something really important. Addiction is not just about the drugs, and the shameful things that happen to us and because of us while we are using. It’s really about the people we are, the behavior we exhibit, and the deep seated self-loathing that basically all people with addiction issues have in common. People who have problems with addiction have problems with loving themselves. When you take away the drugs, the problems are still there. The drugs or whatever it is you are using to control the way you feel, and the way you show up in the world, are a symptom, they are not the real problem.

Recovery is how we get to the root of that problem. It’s like manual labor of a the spirit- there’s a lot of heavy lifting and digging, a lot of time spent in the dark with all of the things you fear the most. When you are in recovery, you make a decision to face all of the things you are terrified of looking at, and to do that, you have to dredge shit up, shine light on it, pick it apart, and learn how to dispose of it properly. And you do every bit of it with NOTHING to take the edge off, NOTHING to dull the pain, even when it sounds so good, you could almost cry.


Let me tell you, it’s a struggle sometimes. Do you know how hard it is to date when you are in recovery? I don’t have the option of loosening up with a drink, and thanks to my general anxiety over who I am, this would be welcome on a date, let me tell you. Do you know how much of a weirdo I feel like when I try to lightly gloss over the fact that I don’t drink to a guy who just cannot compute the concept? “But why?” he inevitably asks, or “You don’t drink EVER?” And it feels like I have grown another head, but you definitely don’t want to lead with a horror story of WHY you really don’t drink. And yes, I could just say I’m allergic to alcohol (lies) but, you know, I’d rather just not.

My point is, recovery is a very specific thing. It MEANS something to the people who take it seriously. The ones who are fighting to grasp it, to hold onto it, to incorporate the principles into their everyday lives. We aren’t just trying to stay clean, we are trying to use a set of instructions to become the best people we are capable of being. And it’s HARD, but it is good work, and it has rewards far beyond what I ever expected to receive. So please, respect the word recovery. And now, I shall get down off my soap box. Carry on.

My Girls


One thing in my life that it is never hard for me to be grateful for- even on the very worst days- are my daughters. Man, I hit the jackpot when it comes to kids! My girls couldn’t be more different…not only are they 13 years apart in age, they are just completely different personalities, and yet I relate to them both so much, in separate ways.

Yesterday, my eldest, Aisley, who is beautiful and complicated, came down off the mountain she now lives on for a short visit. She misses me so much now that we aren’t seeing each other every single day, and it’s been hard on her. So when she does get to come into town, she’s so excited to see me- she wants me to write down recipes for her, and she has so many things to show me and share with me. This daughter has always been my uber-affectionate little bear, and she still wants a million hugs and all my attention when she sees me. Yesterday, she planted a little vegetable garden out in front of my house for me. She put in little stakes with labels so that I would know what was what, and she made me promise to remember to water it. She has my dirty sense of humor, and we always make each other laugh, and I am so glad she belongs to me- that I get to be her mom. I’m so happy to call her mine.

And Cammy, my little one…oh, man. She is so smart and independent, with her giant vocabulary and the biggest heart. One of the great joys of my life is waking her up every morning. I always take a minute to watch her sleeping;  mouth open wide, hair in a big old knot on top of her head. She still lets me haul her into my lap for a quick cuddle most days, even though she hangs over both sides of me by quite a bit, and I can barely pick her up. I smiled this morning as I watched her lurch, half asleep, to her waiting bath, like a little drunk person. I know these particular days aren’t going to be around for too much longer…I am acutely aware of the passage of time, having been through this once already.

That’s all, really. I just wanted to take a minute to speak my gratitude for my children out loud to the Universe. I don’t know how I got so lucky- I definitely got so much more from this life than I probably deserved. But I am so in love with those girls, and feel so blessed to be their mom, still the most important woman in their lives. Every day I pray to be worthy of the task, to be the person they need me to be. Some days I fall short of the mark, but miraculously, they love me anyway. I don’t understand how that works, or why it’s true, but I’m sure glad it is.

Have a beautiful day. 🙂

Being Human

being human

Last week was ROUGH. You may have notice my absence here, you may not have. I think I threw out my “Three things” post, and that was about it. I just wasn’t feeling it. I wrote a really angry post on Friday morning, but opted not to publish it, as it just didn’t feel like who I want to show up in the world as. Angry me is not the best me. So I left it. The event that happened to inspire the anger happened, and I can’t change it. Suffice to say that human beings are fickle and misguided sometimes, and they are prone to doing things that will disappoint you. Some humans are more prone to this than others. When you know this about them, it’s kind of on you to proceed accordingly. I forgot that, and I got a solid reminder. I am practicing acceptance, and will try to forgive but stop forgetting. I forget too easily. Sorry for the vagueness- I hate when other people do that shit, and here I am doing it. The sum of the matter is, someone hurt my feelings and went behind my back, and I am trying to deal with the situation with a modicum of dignity and some wisdom, rather than my normal routine of utterly blowing up, seeking revenge, and making everything three thousand times worse. I am trying to change.

In other news, this dance I have been doing with depression- good Lord, it gets old. It’s not bad enough for me to stop showering, but it’s just bad enough where I will skip other little things- I don’t bother putting on lotion, I don’t bother brushing my hair. Rather than dealing with laundry, I’ll just wear the same clothes I had on the day before- it’s not like I did anything, anyway. It’s this weird thing where I am always wondering, am I supposed to lean into it, or do I fight it? Do I let myself feel how I am feeling, or do I “act as if”, plaster a smile on my face, and fake it like crazy? There’s this fear that if I let myself rest here too long, I won’t ever be able to get back up again. It’s hard to know how to care for yourself properly when your instincts are all screwed up, and you aren’t really sure you can trust yourself. So, I have been doing a little bit of both things- resting a little bit more than usual, and as soon as I can, I get up and do as much as I am able to. It seems to be working. I definitely got less than usual done this weekend, but I did get more done than I expected.

I’ve had a chance to talk to a few different people about the way I’ve been feeling and what I’ve been going through, and each one of them confirmed that they know exactly what I am talking about and have found themselves dealing with the same things- if not right now, then recently. What I got out of that is that maybe this is just part of growing up, growing older. You think things will be a certain way, and they aren’t, and it’s hard on our spirits. I think we have this idea that when we reach a certain age, everything evens out and life gets easy- I know I, at least, always sort of pictured life this way when I was younger; “When I accomplish a), b), and c), everything will be just right…” But that isn’t how it works. There are growing pains at every age, and I think they are made harder by the inevitable cynicism we pick up along the way. Call it wisdom or knowledge if that makes you feel more comfortable, but the fact is, as we age, we learn unhappy truths and it can fuck with feelings of hope and happiness. That can be hard to deal with.

So what, then, are we to do? Well, we just keep going, just like I am doing, and try to deal with our uncomfortable feelings the best we can. Try not to let it shut you down completely. If you just can’t do another thing, give yourself a break and binge some Bob’s Burger, for levity, and recharge your battery. “Act as if” a little, and say “Fuck it all” a little. Take as good of care of yourself as you can, and forgive yourself immediately for what you can’t quite do. But definitely do what you can.

Listen, life is hard sometimes, but it is also beautiful- it can be beautiful and hard at the same time, even. You might have to look a little harder to see it, but it’s all still there. Today, my intention is to push myself a little more than I did yesterday because, so far, I am feeling a little better…but that could change, and I am not going to be mad at myself if things don’t go as planned. I’m going to treat myself like a good friend who is going through a rough time (because essentially, that is what I am) and act accordingly. I am going to look for the beauty. And I am going to allow myself to be this weird little human that I am.

Three Things- Welcome, March!

three daffodils

I woke up this morning with the three things I wanted to write about already in my head- unfortunately, as often happens, they have completely disappeared. For all I know, they were stupid things anyway that only seemed to make sense because I was half asleep. That’s kind of how my early morning thoughts generally are- they seem brilliant until I’ve had a cup of coffee, and then I’m like “What the fuck? That is utter nonsense!” Too bad I can’t remember what they were, they might have been good for a laugh. Anyway, I have at least two I can share…maybe the third will reveal itself as I go. Here goes:

  1. Depression. Can we talk about this for a minute? It often feels to me as if I am constantly on the cusp of slipping into depression, or just over the line into it, and struggling to either keep myself away or get myself all the way out. This week has been extra bad in that respect, and I hate it. I wake up every day with the intention of trying harder, doing better, getting more done, but the fact of it is…when you are truly feeling depressed, it’s very hard to accomplish much. Or anything, really. I think…I think I might be dealing with this the wrong way. I want so badly to just snap out of it through exercise or positive thinking, or even desperate prayer. I don’t have TIME to be depressed. I have shit to do. I don’t have any reason to be depressed, either. My life is good. Well guess what? That’s not how depression operates, and it doesn’t care how good your life is, what your schedule looks like, or if you have time. Much as I hate to admit it, it might be time to talk to someone about this. Sorry for being a bummer.
  2. March. It’s freaking MARCH already. I love spring, and would be pretty excited if I wasn’t feeling particularly shitty this morning. Also, it’s pouring down rain here right now, which we need so badly in California, but also, I feel like the weather is mocking me. I’ve decided that for the month of March, I will go mostly meatless. That’s my theme for the month- Mostly Meatless March. I say mostly because I’m scared. I’ve never tried to go without meat for an entire month, and I might forget, or freak out. I’m going to really try, though, to be a vegetarian for a month and see how it feels. Who knows? Maybe I’ll love it! Maybe I’ll lose twenty pounds! Maybe I’ll go vegan, and talk about only that for the rest of my life! (Note: this will never happen. I love butter and cheese WAY too much).
  3. Well, Camryn just gave me my third thing. She just stumbled out of bed, with her hair standing up straight, and her cheeks all flushed. “What are you doing up?” I asked her, looking at the clock which read 5:49, “It’s way too early!” “The cat woke me up.” She said, climbing into my lap.”She had her arms around my neck.” “Oh, she was giving you a hug.” I replied, giving her a hug of my own. “Yeah, or she was trying to secretly strangle me.” I laughed so hard, you guys- this is an ongoing thing in this house. Our girl cat, Rose, adores Camryn, but you know how cats show affection…sometimes they get a little mean about it. They get so wound up when you pet them that they scratch you, or knead you a little too hard. Camryn is convinced that the cat is trying to kill her. Sometimes she’ll scream for me from the other room to help her, and I run in to see what is wrong, expecting blood or broken bones, only to find a little girl with a cat lying peacefully in her lap. “She’s starting to scare me!” Camryn will whisper. Wouldn’t it be awful if the cat really was being a maniac, but every time I walked in the room she acted all sweet and innocent? Maybe I should install cameras. 🙂

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I hope you have the best day possible under whatever circumstances you are dealing with. I certainly intend to. Talk to you soon!


Snapshots of My Life

Here are my favorite photos taken this past week:

This is Camryn, standing on a cliff, high above the beach. Doesn’t it look like she is right on the waters edge? I love this picture!

This one was taken from the balcony of a hotel room in Cannery Row-Aisley, my older daughter, was getting dressed for a modeling shoot and I was visiting with the photographer, Jamie MacIsaacson, a super nice guy, and his wife Amanda.

As an aside, it’s beyond scary to meet with photographers you don’t know for the first time, because…well, people can be weird, and creepers exist. Which is why I tag along to most of Aisley’s shoots, and carry a stun gun in my bag. 😂😂😂 I seriously almost zapped myself digging around in my purse yesterday. Luckily, these people were amazing and operation “yell like banshees and stun anyone who moves” did not have to be initiated. Speaking of Aisley, here’s a photo for you:

It was FREEZING outside, and she did jumping jacks between sets to keep warm. But she never complains, and I am always so proud of her!

The beach down the coast towards Big Sur. It was so windy!

And finally, my favorite, the Calla Lily. This is how you know Spring is here, on the Central Coast. They pop up everywhere and they are so beautiful!

An Uncomfortable Post- I Need Your Advice.


*Although this post does mention I am not a Trump supporter, it is not really about that. Please hang in there. I am super nervous about posting this, but I really need some perspective.

I feel like I need to preface what I am about to say with this- I am about as Liberal as they come. I was one of those that were devastated and flabbergasted by Trump’s election. I don’t even really know what else to say about it, other than I’ve sort of accepted the reality of what is happening, and, finding no other real viable solution, I’ve taken a massive step back from all things politics. I know this is rather cowardly of me, but what the fuck am I supposed to do, when I truly believe nothing I do can have any significant impact at this point? I stay away from the news. I don’t keep up. Every time something filters through to me, it’s awful and goes against what I believe to be the right way, and it’s like a punch in the gut. So I retreat. For now, until I can cast my next vote. So, there you have it.

I understand that I exist in a world where I am going to come into contact with many people, every day, who believe in different things than I do. That is fine. This is America, we still have the freedom of choice. I don’t walk around waving a banner with my political leanings, ethical and moral code, and specific belief system. It’s kind of like the old “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” thing from the military, except not about sexual preference. It’s about not getting into something intense and upsetting in an inappropriate setting. Unfortunately, sometimes this shit comes to you, and no matter how hard you try to sidestep that shit, it keeps coming.

Oh, you guys…listen. I can handle lots of stuff, I really can. But this has got me SO upset. I recently became reacquainted with a guy I knew somewhat, years ago, because our kids are in the same class. There is absolutely NO reason why I should have to know anything about his political belief system, except for he is one of those who REALLY wants to bring me over to the other side. You have to believe me when I say THAT WILL NEVER EVER EVER EVER HAPPEN. And I just don’t think this is something I should have to be subjected to in the few minutes after school, while just waiting for the fucking bell to RING, already. But whatever. I can just deflect, ignore, or even say “Yeah, I don’t support the (insert whatever insane thing it might be), and there isn’t enough time to get into it.

Then, one day, I innocently asked this person how work was going- I thought this was a safe topic, right? I still want to be friendly, I just don’t want to talk about making America great again. And that’s when the first incident happened. He rolled his eyes and said “Pssh, those fucking Mexican’s on that job…I ought to call ICE on them.” And I felt my soul shrivel up inside my body. It was one of those awful moments where I was so shocked by what he had just said, and my eyes darted around to see if any of the other parents milling about had heard him, and I just wanted to stand up and say “I am not that kind of white person! Eject, Eject!” But I didn’t know what to do, so I just said “That is awful!” And then he said, he said!!! “I know, tell me about it!” But I had meant that what he said was awful, not that I was agreeing with him! Oh my God!  But the bell rang, and I high tailed it right the fuck out of there.

Another day, he reported gleefully that ICE was doing raids all over California, deporting illegal immigrants. I just said “Yeah, I don’t support that.” My standard refrain, to which he replied “Why? What about all of us who worked so hard to be here legally?” And I thought ‘who the fuck is he talking about? Did he immigrate here? Am I missing something?’ But again, bell rang, I ran. I mean, this is no way to live, but I guess I was just too chicken shit to stand my ground. Not only was I starting to dread these interactions, but I was growing to loathe myself for being so unable to speak my own truth back at him.

Then, yesterday, something really awful happened. He very kindly, and without me asking him to do this, brought my daughter’s backpack by my house that she’d forgotten at school. His daughter had come here for a birthday party, which is why they knew where I lived. I went outside to say thanks, and out of nowhere, he brought up another little girl in the class who was good friends with his daughter, and how she was Muslim, and he started GOING OFF about Muslim’s and how their “bible” encourages raping white women (I am not making any of this up) and about genital mutilation and on and on…and his daughter was sitting RIGHT THERE. Listening to every word that came out of his mouth. When I looked at her, she looked mortified. I put my hands over her ears and I said, as gently as possible, “Do you really think you should be talking like this in front of her?” He would not be dissuaded. He kept going off. It segued into this whole thing about Trump, and I tried, I really did, to diffuse the situation, but he was kinda freaking out, and I was super caught off guard, and it just wasn’t good.

Listen…I don’t care who you voted for, that’s fine, whatever. But this went into a whole different realm of racism and hatred and ugliness. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise, and every time I tried to say anything, he yelled over me, and finally I just said “Dude, you need to calm down- you’re going to give yourself a heart attack.” I came inside and tried to calm down, and like five minutes later, he called and asked if Cam could come play with his daughter and I SAID YES. What the fuck is wrong with me? I’m telling you guys, the need to be liked is STRONG with me. It’s a real fucking problem. I actually left my kid there for like 30 minutes before I came to my senses and made up some story about forgetting about some prior thing and that I needed to pick her up. That was a super bad call on my part, and I’m just going to own it.

He asked if they could have a play date today. I said maybe. I talked with Cam’s dad last night and explained what had happened, and he (who by the way does not share my political beliefs at all) said absolutely not. He couldn’t believe I let her go over there in the first place. I’m sorry this is so long, but I am almost done. I woke up this morning, and spent a lot of time researching the Muslim faith, just to educate myself in case this came up again- I already knew that what he was talking about was Muslim extremism, and not your everyday, average Muslim, but I wanted to confirm what I thought. I know that the odds are, even if I do have to be subjected to another meltdown like that, I won’t be able to state my point, or I will be so rattled that I won’t be able to formulate an intelligent sentence. So, I did what I do best- I sat down and wrote him a message outlining how he had every right to think however he wanted, but that I thought it was fucked up to say things like that in front of his kid, and I worried about her repeating those things to her Muslim friend at school. And furthermore, I was worried about what he might say in front of my child, if he had no problem speaking that way in front of his own. I said it as nicely as possible, but you and I both know it’s not going to go over well.

My question to any of you who have made it this far is this- do I send the message? Will it even do any good at all, or will it just make life weird for my kid at school, and me every time I see this person? If I don’t speak up, isn’t that being dishonest? Part of me wants to scream back just as vehemently that everything he stands for makes my skin crawl, and part of me fears that will just add fuel to the fire. I don’t know what to do, or how to handle this.  I do know I have handled it incredibly poorly so far. I am seriously in knots over this. Can I also just add, I realize that not all Trump supporters are like this, this is an extreme situation that goes way beyond that. I do not mean to be divisive, I am just truly upset and looking for guidance here.

Thanks. Sorry again that this is so long.

Three Things, Late Again

three flowers

I can see a bad habit emerging here, but I do have an explanation- I just didn’t feel like writing yesterday. I mean, writing a blog. I worked on my novel some, after dealing with some technical issues (mine, not the computer) with Word in the early morning hours. Not only did I not feel like blogging, I didn’t even check my stats compulsively yesterday, or any of that. First time since December that I can recall just checking out of here like that. I needed a break, I guess. But enough of that- here are my final three things for February:

  1. Housework. I have been really, really trying to keep my house picked up lately, and, at the ripe old age of 42 it finally hit me- you have to do this shit every single day, don’t you? Like, if I don’t pick up the house every single day, it looks like hell again. I am both outraged and saddened by this fact- and I know it to be fact, because I didn’t really pick up the living room last night and, even though it was clean in here yesterday morning, it looks pretty messy right now. There is a giant pile of unmatched socks on the coffee table, next to several pieces of sketch paper abandoned by Camryn, a jacket and a pair of Uggs on the floor, and the “couch blanket” half on, half off the couch. There is also an empty laundry basket, a backpack, and a bathrobe on the couch. I was busy working on the kitchen last night, I didn’t quite make it to the living room. Maybe I should just work in the kitchen? But seriously, I went online, searching for a housekeeper yesterday, then realized I could be saving that money for fun stuff if I just managed to keep the house clean on my own. I mean, it’s never happened yet, but people change. Right?
  2. Worry. I don’t mean to brag, but I kind of consider myself a professional worrier. I am so good at it that when I run out of relevant things to stress out about, I am an expert at making up scenarios in my head in which things could theoretically go terribly wrong, and then I worry about those make-believe things. This morning, I found myself worrying that my tax refund would be intercepted by various government agencies that I owe money to, but don’t remember owing money to. Like, what if there are a bunch of things I have forgotten about, and they all take part of my money, and then I am expecting all this money, and I don’t get any of it?! What will I do then? Well, a) that isn’t going to happen, because it’s a made up scenario, and b) even if it did, I would just do what I always do- keep going. Still, it makes me anxious, just thinking about it. That’s how good I am at worrying.
  3. Gratitude. I think a good way to wrap this up is some perspective on all of the stuff I just wrote. How lucky am I to have this messy little house? How awesome is it that I have any house at all? There was once a time when I would have given anything to have even a crappy studio apartment of my own to lay down my head in at night, and now I have a whole house! With two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry room, a big old yard…it might not be fancy, but it’s a lot more than I’ve had before. It’s a lot more than I should have wound up with, considering my former trajectory. And even if the imaginary government agencies take every penny of my tax return, I still have a great career and a paycheck I can depend on. So I need to be be grateful for all the blessings in my life, rather than feeling overwhelmed or worried. I am going to be okay. I am always okay.

And that is the best I can do for today. As always, have a speedy Friday, and may your weekend go by slow as molasses.