Friday, December 15, 2017

On Rituals and Loss

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.


My words were: prison, austerity, lurking, skunk, snuggles.


They were submitted by: http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

_________________________________________

Recently someone very close to me lost his grandmother. I'm certain the whole world felt that loss. She was an amazing lady whose 89 years were filled to the brim with love, warmth, and kindness.

This loss has been hard on him, and I've tried every way possible to be supportive (but to be honest I am just not equipped to be all that great at things like this. Maybe I'm just too dependent on rationalizing things, on throwing out emotion for logic). I did the whole family/visitation/funeral stuff even though I wasn't feeling well and had zero energy to do it, and I tried to provide as much of an emotional shield from it all as I could, but I know it wasn't enough. We sat at the funeral in stony silence as two non-family members took turns talking about generic traits and repeating the same stories over and over again. Despite saying her pastor saying he'd known the woman for over 2 years, he didn't have a clue that her entire family calls her Maw-maw and mispronounced it several more times even after he was corrected. Small town cliches about everyone knowing everyone else are simply that--cliches.

We've talked often since then about how weird our death traditions are and how unsatisfying it was for him to be a part of it. A skunk could have sprayed right on him, and I think it would have been more fulfilling than the things these two men shared about the #1 love of his life. Why let a strangers' broad descriptions be the last memories created about you?

So in the spirit of sharing something more real, I want to share my own Maw-maw story.

Brandon and I had been friends/hetero life mates for a few years before I actually met his grandma. The thought of it alone was extremely intimidating. I knew how much he looked up to her and loved her, and I also knew how most of the rest of his family felt about me--that I was some kind of horribly bad influence with my liberal ideas and tattoos. I certainly wasn't up to many of their perceived social status.

We had been walking the woods on her property looking at some of the outbuildings and enjoying being outside when he asked if I'd like to come in to meet her. It was a hot Georgia evening, and I had on short sleeves. I asked him if he was nuts. There was no way I would meet her without having more of my arms covered. He pulled me toward the house anyway and told me it would be fine.

If I'd known how lovely she would be, I would have met her a lot sooner. She didn't double take or even so much as let her gaze linger on my tattoos. It was like they were just...any other part of me. She talked to me like she had known me for ages, asked about my son who she already adored after just a few meetings, and respected me like she would anyone else. She offered cake and something to drink and to teach me how to sew anytime I wanted. There wasn't so much as a hint of what other family members had been like towards even the idea of me. She was the same every time I saw her. Even sitting around the house in her pjs at 89 years old on her bad days, she was the epitome of beauty, and it absolutely radiated from her. There was no way you could leave a visit with her and not be affected by her, inspired.

That's who she was--an unconditionally loving, nonjudgmental, warm, caring, compassionate, independent (and sometimes stubborn), inspiring woman who was beautiful inside and out, who provided for her family with hard work for years on her own, through easy times and those of austerity. Her faith was strong, but it wasn't the crutch to be judgmental the way so many people seem to use it. And the times she grew up in while so different from the culture in the time in which I knew her were never a prison of excuses to be ugly or spread hate. She was the person to go to if you needed snuggles no questions asked and always had the goods if you needed to eat your feelings. In every possible way, she was good. And she was wholeheartedly loved.

I know with every fiber of my being that she had no lurking doubts about that--about how much love she had felt and shared in her lifetime. Perhaps we all have questions towards the end. Maybe we wonder if we got it all right, if we could have done more or done things differently. Maybe that's a part of it all. But she died the same way she lived--surrounded by love. And that's the best thing any of us could ever hope for.

__________________________________________


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/12/who-you-are-in-january-use-your-words.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2017/12/lost-at-zoo-uyw.html

Friday, December 8, 2017

No Travel, No worry

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 10 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: Planes, trains and automobiles . . . which is your favorite and why?

It was submitted by: https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

__________________________________________

Anxiety is no joke.

You know that feeling when you're watching a horror movie and the music changes? Sometimes it's subtle and builds to a crescendo, and you know a jump scare or some equally fucked up shit is about to go down. Your body tenses, and your heart races, and you feel a little sick knowing it's coming, something bad, but you don't know quite what it is. Your mind is running with the possibilities. You're trying to convince yourself of what the future holds so at least you'll know and can prepare.

Now imagine the thing never comes... the music builds and builds. The tension rises to the point every muscle hurts. Your heart rate is out of control. You're out of control.

That's anxiety.

I don't remember when exactly it started. I know it's partly genetic. I know a few close-together events probably acted as triggers. But the source doesn't really matter as much as dealing with it. Sometimes I deal by avoiding things that make it worse which is, at best, a bandaid, but it certainly makes things easier. Sometimes I do a little self-guided exposure therapy. Sometimes I take supplements to ease it off when I've been stressed and exhausted from other things my body fights with on top of trying to manage something that is often wholly unmanageable.

Being in a rural area like I am means I can avoid so much. I mean, I can go days without seeing anyone else besides those that live in my household. No crowds. No bullshit. Unplug when I need a break from the news. Lose myself in letters and put my passion somewhere at least to keep me from going stir crazy. But that also means getting basic necessities requires, at the very least, a car. There's no public transportation here. The closest store--and it has zero fresh produce or meat--is a 6 mile bike or walk away. To get anything I haven't already bought online, I need to go by car. And cars are kind of a trigger. Fuuuuuuuuuun. I do okay with routes I know well most of the time, but any amount of traffic and I feel that slow burn of panic welling up inside.

And yet...I still love a road trip as long as someone else is driving. Thanks for always keeping it weird, brain.

We don't have trains here. I've never been on one. Flights without drugs are really out of the question. Being locked in a space for however many hours with strangers?! I'd rather pull out my own eyeballs with a dirty spork.

None of the above is really the only answer I can give to this. I might be perfectly fine without ever being in any of the three ever again to be honest and while that's not necessarily feasible or healthy--complete avoidance--it's still.preferable.

_____________________________________

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Never Ever Give Up Hope https://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 10, 2017

Off the Beaten Path

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: cottage ~ divine ~ bluntness ~ sphere ~ red

They were submitted by:http://www.TaylorLife.com

___________

The little white cottage called to her. It wasn't hers. She'd actually never noticed it before on her hikes through these woods, but now it seemed almost like divine intervention for her to spot it. She'd stepped off the path dying to pee, literally in pain and unable to continue the hike, and there it sat just far enough from the path for her to never have noticed before now.

She took a step closer.

The forest floor in this area was pretty overgrown, but the cottage had it's own sphere of existence. It boasted an immaculate, if tiny, lawn. Even from here she could see the detailed statues and bird baths and well-tended flower beds. And maybe it was all in her head but she could swear she smelled freshly baked cookies.

The dividing line of forested chaos and well-tended landscape wasn't a creeping transition. It had a certainty, a bluntness. There was no mistaking where forest and lawn separated. It was almost miraculous. She couldn't help wondering how much work it took to keep that boundary so distinct, and curiosity won out over common sense.

She took another step.

The red windowboxes were filled with multicolored variations of poppies and peonies and flowers she had never seen before anywhere else, and the small chimney in the back puffed a steady stream of smoke. Obviously someone was inside. Maybe they would let her use their bathroom. Mysterious cottage or no, she still had to pee.

Her next steps, tentative as they were, brought her across that line between forest and yard.

The air was different inside the line...heavier, thicker. It smelled like nothing. Not even the smoke from the chimney registered. It was silent, too--not just quiet. Silent. She didn't hear so much as the lone buzzing of an insect much less the usual ruffles and chatter of these woods. It wasn't until she crossed over that threshold that she realized everything was wrong. Something snapped in her brain waking her up from a trance. The peaceful little cottage had cast a spell when she first saw it but now....she had to get away.

She took a step back.

And bumped into a barrier.

What the....

She turned frantically searching but she saw nothing. She could feel it--a solid form beneath her hands--but there was nothing she could see separating her from the forest. She'd come in...why couldn't she get out?

Trying to contain her panic, she made her way around the circular yard hoping, praying, and searching for a break in whatever was holding her in. No luck. When she again reached the front of the house, sweaty and in tears with raw knuckles from beating on something she couldn't even see, she finally heard a sound--a long unbroken creak.

She willed herself not to turn around like a kid hiding under the covers refusing to look at what might be peeking out of the closet. The hair on the back of her neck stood up and made her weak. She turned and found the front door of the place standing wide open and felt her bladder give way. Nothing about this was right.

It would be dark soon. She never had a phone signal out here. She was hungry and soaked with piss and tired.

So she walked in the door. Fuck it, she thought. If I'm going to die let's get the show on the road.

She took a few more steps inside. The cottage was warm and definitely smelled like cookies. "Hello?" she called, but of course there wasn't an answer. There was really only one large room. The logs in the fireplace across the room were smoldering. A couple of highbacked armchairs sat across from it, backs to her. The tiny kitchen was to her left and a small twin sized bed to the right that was perfectly made with a handsome floral quilt. Nothing was out of place, simple as the decor was, and yet....she could feel the anxiety creeping through her chest. Every instinct told her to run, but where could she go?

She took another step inside.

The door slammed shut behind her and a mad cackling filled the room. It seemed to be coming from everywhere all at once. She backed into the front right corner of the room and folded herself into a tiny ball.

The cottage grew cold around her. The temperature had to drop 30 degrees in a matter of seconds. Her body shivered from fear and tension and cold. She tried to yell "STOP." She could see her breath puffing into the room with every effort she made, but it was futile. Not a sound escaped her lips while the cackling turned to howling screams so shrill she thought her ears would burst. She longed for it--deafness--and then the world went black.

When she woke up, there was no cottage, no immaculate lawn. Morning rays were breaking through the misty darkness when she sat up and looked around. The forest was the same chaos of undergrowth she had always remembered it being. Birds were beginning their daylight rituals. Insects buzzed around her.

She blinked rapidly, sat up, and staggered back towards the path. She was literally a few feet from it just like she intended when she went to pee. Confusion set in. Disbelief. Did she pass out? Dream it? Was she losing it?

She turned back towards where the cottage had stood once more and felt a heaviness in her chest, a roiling living thing writhing like a snake. It's just residual fear, she told herself, and turned to go home.

She smelled like cookies and cackled like mad the whole way.
____________________

Here are the links to the other participating blogs!

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

TaylorLife http://www.TaylorLife.com

Friday, November 3, 2017

Food Struggles

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

_______________

Food is a frenemy of mine.

My relationship with food goes far beyond comfort, love, or hate. It's a complex beast, wild and chaotic. Food is shame, rush, art, creation, emptiness, a consolation prize. Sometimes it's the rainbow after a torrential rain. Sometimes it's the rain.

I'm not entirely to blame for this. Family and society did their part, and I have yet to be able to entirely get over it. I can't escape the voices that guilt me over every piece of chocolate I try to enjoy, but I can't stop feeling absolutely elated every time I make a dish I see other people thoroughly enjoy. It's a fucker of a thing loving to cook, loving the art of creating a good recipe, but hating myself for finding solace in the way it tastes.

There is no peace in food, no real comfort without destruction, and it's been that way for most of my life. I wasn't really a big kid until I was maybe 10. I had to wear a bra before then but hormonal body changes made me a little pudgy. Every day at school I walked during p.e. Most days after school I walked around the block at my grandma's to get more exercise. I needed it, she said. I needed to be on a diet, she said. I was fat, my dad would laugh. Fatty, fatty 2x4; can't get through the bathroom door...

I

Was

Just

A

Kid

And so began the complex. My dad died without ever having so much as a half-compliment about how I looked even at my thinnest (which, let's be clear, was never really thin by society's standards given my genes) when I took diet pills and purged and dieted until I made myself sick. I still can't be around my grandmother without waiting for that word, "diet," to trigger a bout of depression and disordered eating. I can't be around her period to be honest. Family or not the damage done is too much to salvage a relationship with someone who was only ever hypercritical, who expected a child to parent her alcoholic, coke-addicted father at 14 and still manage to fit in a size 2 dress.

None of my family was ever thin. So why was I the butt of the joke?

Add to that I didn't grow up in a time when body acceptance was the movement it is today. I didn't have fat icons to look up to. Fat women were always portrayed as gross, desperate, sad, lazy, void of anything worthy. And I internalized the fuck out of those images. It was hard not to when everything I heard at home confirmed them, and I was picked on at school for it just as much. "Fat dyke" was the pretty consistent mantra I heard shuffling hallways to class, and "lardass" or "crisco" followed it at home. Food takes on so much negativity when every bite you take is scrutinized, and a lifetime of relearning can't fully break it.

It's not so simple as whether food makes me happy or unhappy. An umami bomb hitting my tastebuds is likely to give me a rush in the moment, but the blowback shame I feel for letting myself enjoy it muddies the waters. But so few things can match the joy I feel when I taste-test a dish I'm working on in the kitchen and know I nailed it, took a bare bones recipe and made it mine or started out with some random idea I had in the shower and actually brought it to fruition. How do you balance those two worlds--one where creating food is everything and one where enjoying the taste of it can never happen without shame?

It's a war in all honesty. I could wave the white flag and give in to the darkness at any time, but my worth is not my weight. My size is not a problem. And having a damn candy bar shouldn't cause a meltdown. Every meal is no longer a battle (depending on other stresses) which is an improvement, but I can't kid myself into thinking it will be over anytime soon. So, every day I lay on the armor and work on facing those demons head-on. I may lose a fight or two, but this victory will be mine. One day.

_________________

Here are the links to the other submissions:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Never Ever Give Up Hope https://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Part-time Working Hockey Mom https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch

TaylorLife http://www.TaylorLife.com

Friday, October 13, 2017

Me, The Weirdo

So this week's challenge is called use your words. We each get a set of 5-6 words and write our blogs using each word. No one knows who got what words until the big reveal today. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom for the rest.

My words are: massive, awesome, square, thing, contender. They were submitted by: 
https://www.southernbellecharm.com

Also I apologize for any foematting errors. I had to do this on my phone as the lap top is on the fritz. 

___________

I'm a massive square.

My typical weekend nights are usually spent in front of a sewing machine or with sewing needle in hand with the company of my dogs and cats and a little netflix. I'm not complaining. For the most part, I prefer it this way.

It seems the rest of the world has a bigger problem with it than I do.

I socialize with a few awesome people on occasion outside of family, but that list is pretty limited. What I find when I attempt to expand that group and open my life up to others is that I get tired of other people's petty bullshit or awkward no boundaries lifestyle pretty quickly.

I did it recently--opened up my heart and life to folks I really knew deep down I shouldn't have. History repeats itself and all that. I am far too lenient when it comes to giving people the benefit of the doubt and accepting an apology, and ultimately even though I am extremely introverted I still crave human connection. Here lately I've gotten the feeling I should just stick to the Internet, letters, and my usual group.

That's not to say it has all been bad... There were some fun wine-fueled nights, and I truly enjoy having brought someone back into my life that I can share music with (oh how rare that is). There is no better contender for a place in my life than a person capable of introducing me to music that gives me goosebumps. The way I listen, you're forever tied to that band or song, forever a part of my soundtrack.

But truth be told, I would trade a few fun nights for never having to deal with other people's drama 100 times over. I don't do lies or head games. I'm not the friend who tests people or wants to be tested. I don't need attention or to be the center of someone else's world. I don't get the Mean Girls mentality because I'd much rather build someone up than tear them down even though I am more than capable of both. I don't do celebrity gossip or tabloid trash. I want to talk politics not who is fucking around on who. I want to laugh because we speak in movie quotes not laugh at someone else's expense especially someone I don't even know. I don't need to be drunk or high or with my tongue down someone's throat to have a good time and would rather do any of those things in the privacy of my home. It's just how I am. And honestly if it comes down to it, I'd prefer to post 20 thousand vids or pics of my animals and look sad to the outside world than deal with one night of lies and manipulation to put up a smiling face group photo that folks are more inclined to see as "sane."

The thing about me is it takes a lot to pull me out of my own world. I can be sitting right across from you while you're engaged in conversation, but unless I'm needed or unless the topic grabs me, I'm not really there. I don't connect. I don't want to waste my time on idle chit chat. Get real. Be genuine. Be a decent fucking person who left the race, gender, and suicide jokes behind in the edgelord phase of your teens or leave me be.

What people who breeze in and out of my life don't understand, I suppose, is making fun of a person for being content in themselves and how they spend their time is exactly what makes me completely uninterested in their friendship in the first place.

In South Georgia and perhaps everywhere that eliminates a lot of folks, and I know that from the get go. So why do I bother opening things up in the first place?

I suppose you never know until you get there who makes it on the soundtrack and who doesn't.

_____________

Friday, October 6, 2017

See You Next Tuesday

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: You're chosen to create a new superhero. What's the name and powers, his or her arch enemies, and love interest? Are they from D.C. Comics or Marvel? What type of personality do they have?

It was submitted by: http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

After reading this, I think you will understand this character would be neither D.C. nor Marvel. She's kind of her own thing. 

__________________________________________
"Sir?"

President Chezpuf, hunched and defeated like always when alone, turned his gaze from the television and faced his chief of staff, the 30th man to have the job in the last year, Steven Segal, as he walked through the doorway.

"I have the file you requested, Mr. President."

"That's DOCTOR PROFESSOR MISTER PRESIDENT TO YOU, STEFAN."

"Right, sir. My apologies. Here's the file."

Segal moved to sit the file in front of the president, but Chezpuf stopped him with a wave of his hand, "you know I don't read these things. My words are the best words. Tremendous, tremendous words. I'm not reading anyone else's words. Don't make me fire you on Twitter, Stephanie."

"Sir, I told you when you hired me I can't read too good."

"And you think I'm going to listen to this whole thing?"

"Well, sir, it's a pretty detailed report on this woman. I think all this information is probably stuff you need to know to put a stop to it."

"Oh I will put a stop to her. I have a plan, a huge, huge plan. It will be the best plan to...wait, what are we talking about again?"

"...the file, sir. On Thundercunt. You know the woman terrorizing our congressmen, the one we have no plan on how to stop?"

"We don't have a plan, Sherman? Sad! FAKE NEWS."

Steven shook his head slowly. He knew it was bad when he took the job...maybe not this bad.

"Sir? Do you want the file?"

"Just give me the highlights, Sean."

"This woman goes by the name of Thundercunt. Her real name is Jenna McGary. She's 38, no record. She voted...well, she voted for Clint..."

"LOCK HER UP. LOCK HER UP. What would she want to vote for that loser for? I won the election by the biggest margin in our history. I had the best turnouts, the biggest crowds. We won. Does she know that?"

"Well. Yes, sir, she knows that. From what anyone can tell your winning actually fueled a rage in her so strong that it has mutated her cells."

"I won. I don't think she understands. If it wasn't for those 3 million illegal votes, we would have gotten the popular vote. We won. Has anyone tweeted that to her? What a plan. A great plan. Let me get on that right now. What's her twitter? Put this one in the history books. Trump beats the first super villian."

"She doesn't have Twitter. And you should know, sir, that Twitter is calling her a hero."

"For what? We won. She must watch too much fake news."

"Because she's been changing the minds of a lot of our Congressmen on key conservative issues."

"Ol' Killary must have paid her. I love that name. It's tremendous. Killary."

"That's the thing, sir. She wasn't really a Clinton supporter. It's all in the report if you want to read it."

"Smithers, I told you I don't read the son of a bitching reports. I'm a busy man."

Chezpuf grabbed his phone and immediately tweeted out "ISO: new chief of staff. Must be able to read."

...
In a shadowy office on Capital Hill, Thundercunt was waiting for an opportunity to show herself. She knew Senator Zodiac was due to return from a "meeting" (ahem, a tryst with his mistress) any time. She passed the time reading the latest Post article about her.

"Thundercunt and Her Thunder Thighs of Doom Take Down Another Would-be Rapist with a Bright Future"

What a long ass title, she thinks. And a sad one. Bright future? Why should anyone give a shit about a rapist's future?! She feels the rage boiling up inside her again but keeps reading anyway.

"Police found another body in downtown Washington D.C. with an exploded head. Detectives were able to identify the man as 26 year old Jayonnaise Winchester. Winchester, a recent John Hopkins graduate, was about to begin his residency. Friends and family describe him as a bright young man who never met a stranger. His last Facebook update read, 'I. Love. Bitches.'

Witnesses say they walked into an alleyway after hearing a woman scream for help to find Mr. Winchester with his pants around his ankles holding a woman whose name has not been released to the press at this time against the wall. Before these two witnesses could intervene, both described a woman in a blood red and pink suit, a woman we have come to know as Thundercunt, running into the alley.

The witnesses state after pulling Mr. Winchester off the woman, she clapped her legs together near his head as in previous incidents emitting a concentrated sound wave or some kind of sonic boom, and his head exploded.

We will update the public as soon as more details are available."

She smiled to herself. When the system fails, you work outside it, right?

Just then the door opened. She held back despite the disgusting smirk on Senator Zodiac's face waiting until he closed the door and moved forward. He was too weak not to run if he saw her before she could block his path.

He crossed the office in complete security never once looking around to check things out. She waited until he was seated to approach.

"Congressman Zodiac, I don't believe we have had the pleasure of meeting face to face yet."

His head jerked up, and he let out a high pitched squeal not all that different from a frightened piglet. "I-i-i-it's you."

"Gosh, you are so smart. It's no wonder you're sitting here in this office, A congressman. And so ethical, too, what with you being fresh off a woman who isn't your wife who you want to deny birth control to even though I know for a fact you don't wear a condom on your little, and I do mean little, weekly sessions."

"Huhuhuhuhow...," he stammered but recovered quickly. "Get out of my fucking office, whore."

"Now is that any way to speak to a citizen of this great nation? A citizen who has a present for you?"

He tried to run, but she was too fast. One hand flew to her temple, the other low on her abdomen. With her social justice rage welling inside her cells, she pushed out with all her force hitting Senator Zodiac with her vagina-mind beam.

In almost an instant he was writhing on the floor, crying, pleading. "What did you do to me?"

"Oh that? I just sent you my gift--PMS, bloating, menstrual cramps, PCOS symptoms, and endometriosis pain. You don't have the right equipment, but until that wears off in about a month or so, you'll feel exactly what we feel. Every cramp, every stabbing pain, every migraine, i want you to remember birth control helps. Every time a doctor tells you its all in your head, think about the women you fuck over every time you vote. Think about the words preexisting condition. Think about it every time you vote. Or I'm coming back. Oh and by the way...your weekly visit? She's pregnant."

Thundercunt left him weeping on the floor begging for a hot water bottle and some Midol.


a little visual of TC my son and i worked on together

_______________________________________

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/10/murder-by-text-secret-subject-swap.html

Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-tired-worn-broken-aka-victorious.html

The Blogging 911 http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog http://www.thelieberfamily.com/2017/10/head-versus-heart.html

The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/2017/10/no-regerts-secretsubjectswap.html

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dancing in Gray



Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: piano, swap, square dance, pardon, self-improvement
They were submitted by: https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/ 

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Unless you're new to Climaxed or my life in general it won't come as a shock that I've spent 10+ years writing inmates. I started in 2007 diving headfirst into it with a death row inmate who claimed innocence and had spent more than half his lifetime behind bars. It wasn't an easy start; it hasn't been an easy friendship, and it started me on a path volunteering my time that I never really thought I would be on...

Since the first letter was sealed and mailed, I've written a couple dozen people and have managed to help them, legally or emotionally, in whatever way I can manage. Unfortunately what I can manage isn't always enough to save lives from a capital punishment system I passionately disagree with.

It wasn't always that way for me, that passionate disagreement. When I first wrote, I had been a supporter of harsh prison terms and capital punishment. Still reeling from someone I loved dearly being murdered at just 20 years old a few years before this, it was a shock to my system to be introduced in letters to a rather normal guy hellbent on self-improvement, insisting on his innocence, and who had a tragic backstory that would rival those in Lifetime movie specials. I expected a villian, a Black Hat sort of fellow, who would confirm my belief in monsters.

I had a lot of self-improvement and growing up to do myself.

I had to learn and have learned through writing that the world isn't black or white, good or evil. You can be good and still do an evil thing under specific circumstances. You can be good and be at the wrong place at the wrong time and get sentenced for life without parole for a murder committed while you slept, completely unaware. You can be convicted and sentenced for a murder that never even happened wholly undeserving of that sentence but not be by any means what the average person would define as "good." I've met all those people in my time writing. I've pushed for media attention on a case that ultimately got overturned through the efforts of a high-powered probono law firm, and a man waiting to die for a crime that was never committed got to go home to his family. I've helped get a sentence commutation on a felony murder case that started out as life without and ended (so far) with 25 years. And I've written and befriended 3 people who were varying mixes of good and evil who were killed already by the state with my long-time off and on pen pal facing an execution date again in October. There have been wins and losses over the last decade, but I don't know that they really balance each out. The wins never give back the time lost, and the losses...well...the losses are not easy for me. There is such a mixture of emotion facing each one knowing even if the person gets a stay, he'll never get a pardon. 99% of the time this legal square dance will end in state-sanctioned murder, and while I'd never swap my life for theirs or (in most cases) support anything but a lengthy prison term, I still grieve. I still miss them. I still carry a little part of them with me. And I rage about the sociopolitical landscape we live in that demonizes mental illness and addiction and values the dollar over vulnerable populations.

If monsters do exist, we create them.

The morality of this, my writing letters, can also be difficult. I absolutely understand in clear terms what was done or not done and the preciousness of lives lost. I don't *just* sympathize with those I write like some Mistress of Mayhem collecting Murderer edition baseball cards. It takes time and talking and learning about the person to be able to sort through and reconcile what they did with who they have become behind bars. Sometimes I help that process along. Sometimes I am the needed stability that fosters change. Sometimes they help me understand myself more than I help them. And sometimes, sadly, I have to admit it's a lost cause and move on.

Learning to play the piano might have been an easier pasttime than providing support to inmates. As I face this upcoming october execution with a mix of trepidation, grief, and relief tinged with guilt over that relief I'm left evaluating who I am and what I do once again. I'm still grieving from an execution in July and jaded over how badly a man with severe mental illness was failed and all the lives it cost including his own. And here I am again, unsure of what the next few weeks will bring.

Is it worth it?

Mostly that answer is yes. I feel like I am helping people that society has otherwise forgotten. I know the support I give is invaluable and leads to change. I've seen angry, racist misogynists turn it around. I've seen the levels of violence in a subculture that requires violent reactions almost completely stop. I've seen hope grow in a once barren field of fucks to give. It's work and love and understanding and empathy. And it's not all one sided. But there are times when the weight of it is absolutely too much to carry without wondering if I'm absolutely batshit crazy for pushing on. There are times when I think maybe I can't handle the dance anymore, so I stop the music, change the playlist, and find a new way to move.

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Baking In A Tornado http://www.bakinginatornado.com/2017/09/expectorant-expectant-use-your-words.html