Sunday, April 27, 2014

Song and Dance

Once the bass begins to hum across the speakers, the car transforms. It is no longer an automobile capable of getting me from point A to point B.

It is now a mobile stage geared up for my top performance. The acoustics are crystal clear. The steering wheel is my mic and my drums. My air guitar is perfectly tuned.

The car is my place to really belt out my favorites. To grind my hips to the Black Keys while I fantasize about Dan Auerbach and sing along with all the soul I can give.

I think about my life and really apply all my heart to the Alabama Shakes.

I groove like I’ve never grooved before to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.

The Kills and the Deadweather get all my sass, the very best of my sass.

When I need to slow down and nod my head to stoner jams, I play Graveyard.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears get all my smiles.

The worst days, I just play Eyehategod and wail my frustrations into the empty spaces until the appropriate amount of levity has been reached.

Some days I get bluesy with Janis or Buddy Guy. Other days, it’s an air guitar on straightaways with Jimi.

The Sword gets the days when I’m ready to let my brain trip over the notes as they stumble together, and Red Fang is the best choice for stumbling over lyrics and not giving a shit if they’re only half right because they’re distorted and unclear yet begging to be sung.

No matter the tunes I choose to fit my mood, being in the car is my time to shine like no one is fucking watching whether I’m stopped at a red light or driving on a country road, and I’m okay with that. Traveling along at 60 mph while my Lancer transforms into a midnight blue stage and I become the headliner for the evening is the best sort of roadtrip even if it’s just down the block to the store. On longer trips it’s even better. Sometimes on my 13 hour treks to Texas, that stage is the only thing that keeps me awake…

That and the fear I get every time I cross into Louisiana thinking about that time I stopped at a random truck stop to pee and saw two live tigers in cages in the parking lot ready to get rid of any evidence that my body may have been in that area at any time….needless to say I don’t stop in Louisiana for bathroom breaks anymore.

This is part of Sunday Confessions with More than Cheese and Beer. Check out everyone else who linked up today on her blog!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

That's Some Mighty Fine Lemonade

All of a sudden I found myself unwilling to leave the house for more than absolutely necessary errands. I wanted no part of being social. No thrifting trips. No flea market. No farmer’s markets, record hunting adventures, no phone calls. It’s not completely unusual for me to avoid huge social events since I’m extremely introverted, but I stopped doing the things I loved most. Even the thought of trying to navigate through boxes of old, dusty records looking for hidden treasures of 180g classic rock albums for $2 seemed daunting, exhausting, impossible.

That’s when it became obvious that I had let life get me down.

I’m not saying we’re all individually responsible in some way for the circus acts our brains often put us through. Mental illness is a real problem and it often hits people in uncontrollable ways. You can’t really hold the driver responsible if their car were to run into a restaurant due to a complete malfunction in the system or severed brake lines. But, I know the signs of depression pretty well. It’s not a new thing for me, and given the years I’ve spent in grad school studying counseling, I better know. It’s my lifeblood, my passion. So, when I finally had my epiphany and noticed the things that were going on with me and had been going on for some time, I knew it was true—I let the things I’m going through get to me. I wasn’t paying attention to the signs—something that I have to be able to do to prevent getting burned out in my profession.

I also knew, however, that I was not going to let it continue.

I took to Facebook to vent a little about it with friends. I knew that plenty of people on my friends list had their own battles with depression or other mood disorders and would likely be supportive. The first step in tackling my problem was admitting it, and Facebook was a great place to publicly get started. It was like saying, “hey, I’ve got some shit going on but now I recognize it and saying so publicly means I have to work on it.”

It didn’t really work out that way though.

I was told to go outside, to take walks, and that it was all in my head as if, somehow, I wasn’t already getting outside despite having 4 ducks, 5 dogs, 5 cats, and other animals to take care of not to mention a child and other various responsibilities….as if a breath of fresh air can magically make my money problems, unemployment issues, and everything else just go away never to bother me again. It was a bit disheartening to see how quickly people want to dismiss what you’re going through, make assumptions, and tell you what you *should* be doing instead of just giving you a supportive thumbs up or virtual hug.

I let that get to me, too, and argued and advocated for better understanding of what people go through during a depressive episode. I linked to articles of exactly what NOT to say to a friend going through what I was going through—the exact things these friends were saying, and I let it bother me when people claimed to think I was stronger than that…as if even the strongest people aren’t allowed a moment of need. What I should have immediately done was excise those cancerous moles from my existence before their black centers spread outward over me like a dark shroud of people-dread. What's the point of having friends if they're just going to be dickholes?

I’m feeling better for a myriad of reasons that didn’t involve going on brisk walks every morning, and it’s something I will continue to try to work on until I reach 100%.

When life hands you lemons and you’ve forgotten the recipe for making lemonade, don’t fucking let your friends try to tell you that you have to stuff the lemons in a forgotten drawer and get outside more or to pretend the lemons never existed or that you’re lemons aren’t as sour as everyone else’s. The only thing any real friend should say to you is, “hey, need a hand squeezing those lemons?”

Otherwise, fuck ‘em. 

This has been another awesome Sunday Confession with More than Cheese and Beer. Go check out her own post and the posts of all the other bloggers who joined. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Never Time Travel Through Your Vagina

This week's prompt was Lessons. Head over to More Than Cheese And Beer to see the other submissions!

The first time I ever got stoned I didn’t feel much of anything so I pretended to *have* to have skittles and sliced turkey because I thought I had to do something like have the munchies or I would look like a complete goon. I had been hanging out with friends that were much older than me. Friends that were in a band. A high school band. I can’t entirely blame the friends for my partaking in drugs since it was my own dad that sold it to them. That's how I met them.

At the time, I had developed quite a crush on the drummer. He had long hair, and he was in a band. That’s all I can really say. I have no real clear memories about what else was going on that made him so hot. In hindsight, hot is not exactly the word anybody would ever choose for that guy. Seriously. But, I was young and easily impressionable I suppose. I was also trying way too hard, and I was way too young, so it’s no surprise that he didn’t really take my crush seriously and tended, more or less, to find it annoying more than anything.

When I ran into him years later while I was working in a pharmacy, I was a bit surprised. I thought, for sure, that he would have moved on and gone on to greater things.

If drug dealer, AA, terrorizing an ex, and a lengthy probation are great things, then by all means he had definitely seen some success.

Despite all those red flags, though, a 22 year old me decided it was best to finally put some closure on this situation. I had pined for him for years and not so much as gotten a cursory glance, and at that point, he actually seemed to be interested. He would come in some days and purposefully stop by the pharmacy just to chat with me for a bit. All the signs were there, and the younger me that was still hidden away inside was jumping for joy. FINALLY is what that young-me was screaming, and her elation and sense of validation were supremely motivational.

We started hanging out. I mean, AA was only a couple blocks from my house, so it was easy for him to just drive on down afterwards (yes, I know how that sounds). We went to the beach, made out, napped, watched movies. The usual. It wasn’t hot and heavy or extremely passionate, but when he asked me back to his place to spend the night (he had a probation curfew and couldn't stay with me), I agreed. I probably shouldn’t have considering he still lived with his parents, and I had already fulfilled the childish fantasies I had at 13 and 14. The 22 year old me, though, had bigger plans.

Unfortunately, those plans were quite honestly completely pulverized by the events of the evening. I had to sneak in quietly so we wouldn’t wake up his parents. It was awkward to even be there, and when the time came for us to actually, well, you know….it was probably some of the most awful sex I had ever had. Even 10 years later it still ranks in the top 5 worst. At one point, I actually had to tell him that it just wasn’t working for me and left taking my cute little overnight bag with a very disgusted me.


Life lessons number 142 and 143: Leave the past in the past because most of the time the sex isn’t worth it and never have sex with a guy who is on probation and living with his parents.

The combination is about as satisfying as a stale rice cake.

As you see, it is physically impossible to successfully time travel through the vagina.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Revenge Is Golden

I awoke that morning to the sound of little feet running through the house. I bolted up in bed. See, that wasn't the normal wake-up routine. Typically, when my son woke up, he would come straight to my room and stand over me on my side of the bed mouth-breathing heavily, eyes creepily wide, and half toddler-whisper/half pant a "Good morning, Mama...."

It looked a little something like this:

But, on that particular morning there was no toddler creepshow. There was only the sound of feet running which could have meant complete and total destruction would await me when I stepped into the living room. In those first half-asleep moments, I imagined a horrorfest of overturned trash cans, a kitchen full of spilled milk and condiments, and a floor full of legos I would have to cross like hot burning coals in order to stop the little maniac from demolishing the place to the ground. 

When I walked out the bedroom door, however, things were eerily quiet and, at first glance, there was not a single thing out of place nor a child to in sight. 

What. The. Actual. Fuck. is all a mother can think in times like these. When you know how hellbent on destruction your child can be yet he suddenly plays the role of the perfect angel, you have to be skeptical. Giving him the benefit of the doubt has proven you wrong so many times before...

I started looking around the house inspecting everything for any signs of jelly hand prints, chocolate milk spills, hair cut with scissors I certainly don't think I left out but who knows, the candy hidden away in the pantry, poop...something was afoot, and I was determined to track it down. 

It didn't take long. 

After inspecting most of the living room and kitchen, I rounded the corner to check out the pantry and found a huge yellow puddle in  and around the cat's bowl. 

I called to the kid, my wise-cracking 3 year old, and asked what that mess could possibly be. 

Him: Looks like pee. The cat must've done it. 

Me: That's an awful lot of pee. 

Him: He drinks a lot. 

Me: I don't think he could have possibly drank enough to fill up that bowl and get it all over the floor. He's not that big. At that point, I raised my eyebrows and gave him the look. The mom look that says I know some shit just went down that I'm not going to be happy about, and it would be best if he would just tell the truth and get it over with. That look. It almost always worked when he was that age. 

Him: Well, he did it in my bathtub first!

My 3 year old revenge-peed in the cat's bowl. 

This story was part of a link up with Indecisively Blogging! You can find her post and others' here: 

Indecisively Blogging

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Confessions: Time

It's Sunday Confessions time again. Head over to More than Cheese and Beer to read the rest of the contributions!

Time is a relative concept.

To each person, the same 5 minute span will feel differently. And to me, each facet of my life feels differently despite the same amount of years passing. 

In quiet moments at home I watch my son reading a book with his long hair nearly covering his eyes relaxing under a blanket accompanied by at least 2 dogs and 1 cat despite the rising temps in South Georgia and I wonder where the years have gone. It must be that way for every parent. Things will settle down for the day and with one quick glance you realize how much your child has changed in what seems like the blink of an eye. Evan is taller. The roundness of his face has lessened. His fingers no longer have that toddler chubbiness. He has, suddenly it seems, developed his own wise-ass glances that make me squint my eyes in both amusement and exasperation. He's less and less a little version of his father and more a version of his own self. It seems like just a few months ago that he was tired of the alphabet and clumsily instructing me not to antagonize him over his ABCs. But, in reality, that was nearly 5 years ago. Now, at 8, he's reading 5th and 6th grade level books and reading me the passages he thinks are quite humorous. He's obsessed with Star Wars and Adventure Time instead of Zaboomafoo and Curious George. In the blink of an eye, he no longer qualifies as my baby. 

When his dad comes to pick him up, it feels like it has been decades since we were married, ages since we were struggling to make things work and fighting every day over even the most mundane situations. In reality it has been the same 5 years worth of time since I was antagonizing Evan over the alphabet, but the feel of it is entirely different as if it happened in another lifetime to another woman. In many ways, I suppose it did. 

It's something else entirely to think of my friendship with Robert. We've written letters for nearly 7 years. Sometimes it seems like forever or at least forever as I know it. Sometimes it seems like the blink of an eye. With his execution date looming ahead on May 21, every day seems to hurtle closer and closer like a speeding train threatening to barrel into me full speed. But the periods between letters pass excruciatingly slow. I find myself counting down the days between when I can expect the next letter getting frustrated that it has only been 4 or 5 since I last emailed or sent mine out yet each day brings him closer to execution and the overall time seems to pass so quickly. 

We like to think of time as this definitive construct, and indeed, 1 minute on the clock is the same number of seconds every time. But the essence of time, the way it feels to each of us as it passes, the way 4 a.m. all of a sudden appears when we're up late and enjoying ourselves, can't be measured mathematically. It doesn't matter that the same number of seconds, minutes, hours, or days in a stretch because no matter the math, it's going to feel the way it feels. All we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride. 

Evan Timeline 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Secret Subject Swap: April Edition

This is my second time participating in the Secret Subject Swap with Baking in a Tornado. This month 14 different bloggers decided to particpate. We each submit writing prompts that are then swapped and interpreted in our own individual styles then we post them all on the same day at the same time for everyone to enjoy.

My subject was submitted by Dino Hero Mommy.

"As spring approaches what are you impatiently waiting to do? Why?"

...soil caked under my nails and between my toes

...sweat on my brow and soaking through my shirt at the small of my back fingers and broken nails from pulling weeds by hand

...the swaying of tiny seedlings in the summer breeze

...parfum de plant de tomate (tomato plant perfume)

...the first blooms followed by the first pods and fruits

...a pot of green beans on the stove grown from seed to maturity

...squash grilled to perfection

...every meal graced by my own work

Thinking of Spring (which is already arriving here in Climax) brings on images of gardening, and I have been impatiently waiting to get all that started as the throes of winter have clung harder than usual this year in the South. Growing up, I never would have pegged myself to be a gardener, but for 4 years now, it has been the best therapy. Standing between the rows covered in green stains and dirt letting the first ripened cherry tomato of the season burst in my mouth is better than any pill I could ever take.

Perhaps it’s the work involved, the focus on the tasks at hand that keep your mind free from everything else, or maybe it’s the actual enjoyment of the spoils of your labor that does it. Maybe it’s all of the above. No matter what does it, springtime is planting time. It’s time to get dirty, to work my hands into the soil turning it by hand, to water and weed, to love every moment in the sun surrounded by bees and earthy aromas with weeds and dirt clumps stuck in my hair.

Springtime means working for myself and enjoying the fruits of that work rather than working for someone else. Every moment spent laboring in the South Georgia humidity provides my little family with another black eyed pea, another tomato, another green bean or squash. Every moment sustains us, nourishes us. No one reaps the bounty of my work but me and it feels phenomenal. I’m not getting paid by the hour to turn earth and pull weeds just to give the harvest over to a boss or an owner or a CEO or another asshat investor while I barely bring home a handful of beans for myself. It is all mine unless I choose to give it. There are no words to describe the deliciousness that brings to my life.

As Chuck Palahniuk eloquently wrote in Fight Club, “ I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.”

The work I put into my land changes that. It gives me purpose and a desire to be able to truly take care of myself without reliance on a job I hate and shit I don’t really need.

Springtime is revolution time.

Here is the rest of the linkups for this month:                          Baking In A Tornado                                       The Momisodes              Stacy Sews and Schools                        Follow me home . . .                        Someone Else’s Genius                      Confessions of a part-time working mom                                Dribbles and Grits                        Impoverished Vegan                      Spatulas on Parade                                   Dinosaur Superhero Mommy               More Than Cheese and Beer                    Evil Joy Speaks                          Juicebox Confession