Much of the content may be a bit dark, but it is not necessarily in chronological order. There are no dates, because I don't think it matters if I wrote it 3 years ago or yesterday. I decided to write for me and I know most of the time I feel like writing is when I have something I need to process or work through; this is really my only place to come to and release.

I am not miserable, I am just healing.


Many times I have envied those with people close to guide them, but in the end, I am glad my decisions are my own. My mistakes are mine and my successes are in my name. Making choices based on the influence of others is too heavy a burden to carry. One would think it absolves us of responsibility when we let someone else guide our paths, our steps, and our views, but instead it only leaves us with more weight to carry in the end. Failures resting on the choices made based on someone else's directions leave us not only with the need to resolve our disappointment in ourselves for messing up, but trying to navigate the resentment we have for those that have steered us wrong.  Even advice given with the best of intentions holds the ability to aid in the sabotage of the happiness we wish most for those we care about. The best thing you can do for someone you love is to let them know you are there to keep them from falling too far, but let them navigate the road with their own head and heart as their guide. Being true to yourself, and not a follower of what is true to someone else, is one of the hardest parts of learning to be independent and learning who you are. Living with the consequences of well intentioned bad advice is only half of the pain, you still have to wrestle with trying not to carry blame and resentment on top of it, which is much more difficult than making a mistake all your own and laying claim to it as you move on.

You could just as easily say the answer to this is to avoid putting the weight on the counselor in the first place, but that in and of itself becomes a task, trial, and burden, as it is not what comes naturally or simply. When someone tells us to give something up, and we listen, it takes more work to relieve them of our blame for our heartache than it does to relieve ourselves had we just made the choice on our own. Or maybe we wouldn't have given it up at all if that had been the case. Without knowing if that is true, not making our own choice will haunt us for way too long.


I remember thinking, when I was a teenager who was terrified of her first kiss, "I wish I could just skip to the part where I already know what I am doing." It's funny to look back now that something as simple as a kiss is no longer akin to jumping off of a cliff, but at the time it really was something I wished I could just sleep through and wake up on the other side of. Now, I have to say, I wouldn't mind reliving the adrenaline of first kisses again. Hindsight, right? If only I could go back and tell past me that sleeping through life's events means missing out on things we don't even know are miss-worthy yet.

Of course, sometimes we wish we could sleep through or skip parts that are genuinely terrible or hard, but it is because we know we will eventually come out on the other side that we make that wish, which is something to consider. I never wished I could sleep through a stage that I wasn't sure I was going to get through one way or another, so it is a testament to how little faith we have  in ourselves even if we know the mountain we have to climb is one we can tackle. I knew that one day I would be able to kiss someone without feeling like I was going to die of fear, but instead of using that as a source of confidence and encouragement, I spent my energy wishing I could just hop right over the part between start and steady jog. We all do it. I still do it.

Even though I am sure that I will make it to the other end of trials in my life right now, I still wish I could just fast forward though the steps to get there...I wish I could wake up when things are easier and simpler and... allowed. It isn't a matter of not having faith in the ending outcome, because I don't fret over whether it will be. It is completely about the difficulty of the road between now and exhaling. I still tell myself that I don't want to go through it; I want to jump over it... WAY over it.

But I am not sure that is true. Yes, it is hard to not know how long this stage will last. It is disheartening to be delegated to a position that I feel is less than I want to be in with a smaller part than I wish I had. Knowing what is in store eventually does not make not having it now much easier. Because while I wait, there is nothing on pause for me. My heart keeps falling, sinking further and further past the point of detached or anything resembling safety. So, I tell myself I wish I could sleep through it because I know it is hard and getting harder, but I also know that these things we live through are what design us, build us, and keep us standing. If I went to sleep and just woke up when the complications were gone, I wouldn't have built the feelings I am building now, nor would I have as deep an appreciation for finally having what I want if I did not know the struggle it took to get it.

If I skip this part, no matter how hard it seems, I would miss it... as hard as that is to believe. I wouldn't know it, but it would be different. Because the day that I get to be present and important and needed is going to feel so good after knowing what it feels like for that to be impossible no matter who wants it to be the case. I suppose I could step away from everything and say I want to table it until the everything else is handled, so that our start is one that happens without hindrance or opposition, but I want to know the longing... I want to know the sweetness only fleeting moments afford... I want to know what it is to wish for it. Because it is knowing all of that which makes keeping it protected all the more important. You don't take something for granted when you know what it is to hold your breath each minute you are without it.

Kisses are great, but if you skip past the part where you are scared to death to learn how to do it, you don't have the appreciation for how powerful a kiss can be, because only the really good and really important things can make you feel like that.
and never enough.


Sometimes there is a drawback to being strong and independent and hard to rattle...

No one ever worries about me. It just seems normal to assume I have it all under control or that I will figure it out. It is easy to look at me and take for granted that I am doing just fine.

But I am not always confident. Sometimes I am lonely. Sometimes my bad day has worn me down more than I let the average person know. Even I need to have someone call and ask if I am okay when I mention things not going well. When you put off an air of competency and capability, of strength and fortitude, and of resilience and determination... when you smile despite the rain, no one knows that you break down sometimes too. No one thinks you could use encouragement or compassion or concern.

When you find a way to always be okay, it gets really hard to not feel lonely and forgotten when everyone around you assumes you are always okay.

I am always the one telling someone else that it will work out or be okay, trying to make them smile, or trying to help. But not a single soul that knows me, knows that today I feel confused, forgotten, and insecure. I am apparently infallible. If only it were true.
With pain comes wisdom, compassion, and tolerance...
and the opportunity for strength to overshadow fear.

~ a wise and sometimes scared younger me.

Some more heartbreak on paper

Kiss me like love
Hold me like need
Leave me to bleed
Take me now
Keep a piece
My heart on lease
Watch my tears
Admire my pain
Turn your cheek again
Plea indecision
Keep me at bay
Now push me away
Steal my soul
Tear it from me
Your second time trophy

~ a rollercoaster I finally stopped riding, but not before picking up a few scars.

Pieces of History


He's nothing anymore
There's lies and anger
Embedded in his soul
He tries to plant his seeds
In the fertile hearts of others
Like a thorny vine
Twisting, turning, and tunneling
Boaring into the flesh
Of those he is to care for
Extinguishing the light
Of warmth living in us
Replaced it with the heat of hatred
The man who knows no limits
Shreds hope and love
Disregards all faith and sincerity
And tramples all trust
Killing all life
Converts innocence to boiling blood
To fear, and to cries
Listen to the sound of his steps
Hear them in one form
The dreaded screams of a child

~ me, 15 years old.

But Anchors Do Sink...

I will not be broken.

It is etched into my skin just below my collar bone, on the same side as its duplicate which resides on my sister's collar bone. It is my mantra when all hell breaks loose, the tears fall, and the walls come down. It is what helps me get mad when being pissed is useful, and what helps me look passed whatever tragedy that my heart is trudging through at the time. I considered many different phrases and ways of going about this tattoo. I needed one that spoke for both my sister and I, despite our stories being a little different, yet the same. I needed one that put the power in our hands and made life something we were navigating, not something that was navigating us. 

For a while, we both liked the "I refuse to sink" tattoos with the anchor next to it, which can be found on feet, shoulders, arms, and ankles worldwide. It was cute and the phrase meant something. But we couldn't get over the fact that the whole point of an anchor is to sink, so the logic of the pairing bugged us a bit. Also, neither of us gravitate toward things that "everyone else" is doing or buying into. We dye our hair pink or blue because we want to, not because it is the cute thing the girls are doing. We pierce or tattoo things because we felt like it and couldn't give two shits who sees it or what they think about it. If we want to rock neon colors or dance in the grocery store or take our kids into the liquor store at 9am on a Sunday morning so we can have daiquiris with our french toast... well, we damn sure will. And getting tattoos that every 19 year old girl has just kind of speaks of something completely opposite of what we exist as. No offense to those who posses that tattoo; all that matters is that you got it with a truth to yourself in mind. My point is, it wouldn't have been true to us to pick something off the wall or google images and plaster it across our chests.

I also considered something along the lines of "I cannot be broken," but lets face it... I sure as hell can. She can. We both can. It is possible and maybe it has happened before, or maybe I just know what it feels like to come close. But, we sure as hell can be broken if we get hit hard enough in just the right spot. I have been in places in my life where I wasn't sure how I would ever move forward again... or move at all. Moments where I thought I couldn't possibly put the pieces back together, and if I did, there would be no way to do it so that I looked or felt anything like the girl I loved being. My sister and I, we get hit with a lot, all of the time. I needed something that spoke to our resilience and refusal to give up, not something that falsely proclaimed our immunity or invincibility.  In a way, that tattoo would have branded me as something I have fought to not become for my entire life. Implying I cannot be broken would be to imply that there is no pain, no hurt, no loss that could get to me. And the thought of being that person who does not connect, care, and feel the pain is terrifying. I do not want to be someone who "cannot be broken"...because if you cannot be shattered by anything, it is because you do not value anything enough to be destroyed if you lose it. I have many things I value that much, and I would never want my tattoo to imply otherwise.

So, I settled on "I will not be broken." Settled is the wrong word, as it sounds like I resigned to it because I was running out of options. That couldn't be further from the truth. I still had many options! I could have chosen "I like bananas" (this would be a truth, after-all). Or maybe I could have gone with "Animals > People"... or "Bite Here"... so many options. Now that I think about it, a "Bite Here" tattoo sounds kind of awesome. Don't judge me.

We went with "I will not be broken" because it puts the power in our hands. We will not allow it to happen. We cannot stop the things that threaten to crush us, but we can promise to keep going, keep trucking, and keep fighting. We can push when pushing is called for, and hold on when holding is needed. Life can throw everything and anything at us (but seriously, world, it's okay if you don't), and we may cry, get mad, and threaten to walk off into the sunset (that threat is all mine)... we may even be positive there is no way we can claw our way out of each hole we manage to get pushed into (and buried in, with cement, 30 feet down, in the winter, with spiders), but we will not let it break us. We will not give up. We are bad-asses. 

So, to my sister, who finds herself fighting more often than she ever deserved to have to, We. Will Not. Be. Broken.

As for her collar bone... that apparently doesn't fall under the "not broken" directive. 


I don't get mad about much. I just don't. If I am given honesty, I believe I can overcome just about anything. I can see multiple sides of things, so that rush to anger just doesn't happen... because I can imagine what it is like to be the other guy. 

But I am mad that no one asked questions. I'm not mad all of the time, but when I think about it, I am. Family, friends, teachers, you name it... no one stepped in. No one asked why us kids were always miserable. Everyone cites being nervous about how to approach their family member or authorities about it, but no one made a decision to stop it. They saw tears and gave hugs, and for that I am grateful because hugs were not had any other time. But they did not do anything to help make the tears stop. I get mad sometimes, because they could have made it stop.

And in that, I find my own guilt. I also could have made it stop. I could have made a phone call or told someone the details. But I was a child still trapped in the tornado that abuse sweeps children into and convinces them that the debris flying past their heads is normal. I knew unhappiness, but I did not know it was abuse. I did not know it was uncommon. I did not know I was doing damage by not stopping it. Yet, that does not change the fact that I still know I could have stopped it. I was older. I was more aware. I was more insightful and analytical and reflective. I saw the hurt and sadness and hopelessness. But I did not think those things were bad enough.

That was their job; the adults were supposed to see it and question it. They were supposed to ask why I had new scars on my wrist, why I came to school in tears, and why my sister went to school on drugs. They should have asked why my brother was violent and unpredictable, and why the other brother hid away most of the time. Looking back, there was no shortage of times when someone could have decided to figure it all out. But no one did. I told a teacher Bill sexually abused me, and he kept that info to himself until he wanted to use it as ammo when I had been skipping class. At that point, I denied it out of fear of being in trouble with my mother. And every teacher and the principle at that parent meeting took my back-peddling as truth. They contacted no one to look into it, nor questioned me further. They sent me home. My mother sat there and let me tell them I lied, knowing I hadn't.. and they turned their cheek to the possibility that a scared 17 year old girl might need to tell her story to a safe person in a safe setting. 

My family told me once that they thought about taking us kids, but didn't know how to tell a family member that they thought she should give us up. THAT is what came between them changing 4 innocent and crumbling lives... fear of a reaction. 

I had many of my friends' parents offer to take me in, but I had to have my parents' permission. Think about that... They volunteered to save me if I could get the people harming me to let them save me. Saving me would have been calling someone about your daughter's friend and her constant struggle to want to stay alive because her home is a constant emotional and physical warzone. 

I sound bitter. I am not, really. I know it isn't easy to pick up a phone and get involved. I know it isn't easy to make someone else's battle your own. I don't think less of those people I encountered in my life that watched us float by without throwing us a life raft. And I don't stew over it any more than a fraction of a second every million years or so. But sometimes, I still get mad. And that's okay. It's okay to still get mad. But it's not okay to forget that each of those people had their own battles they were fighting, and it might not have been as obvious to them that something was as wrong as it was.

Hell, I didn't even see it.. and I was living it. It is an odd thing to consider when you think about it; how pain can hide in the shadows of the very soul it lives in. It's like living in your own house, but never being able to see yourself in it until you get a chance to leave and look back in.
I have lived through plenty in my life to make anyone scared of others. Problem is, that gives them the power and I am not down with that. If I let what has happened to me turn my life into something I navigate with fear, it is because I gave it up, not because they took it.
- my enlightening facebook wisdom. ;)
i miss you.

Glass Walls

So, I was thinking today about the miracle that is me. I know... so humble. But really, there are a million reasons I should be something other than what I am, and somehow I was able to tell them all to take a running leap off a short bridge. By all rights, I should be a terrible person. I should be a terrible, insecure, and highly dependent person. Who is also manipulative. And mean. And crappy at kids. Whose cooking sucks. Wait... I had a direction I was going here...

In all seriousness, sometimes I do wonder how I made it out with all of my marbles in place, and in a funny way I feel lucky. I would have been luckier to have not needed to overcome bullshit in the first place, but that's neither here nor there, really. Spilt milk, etc, yadda yadda.

Most of the time, it is my ability to be an affectionate and patient mom that baffles me. There seems to be this well of knowledge and compassion and common sense that I draw from and I haven't the slightest idea where the source of the darn thing is. But, I am glad it is there and I am immensely proud that I have been so determined to drink from that well rather than the one I was handed the rope to when I was a kid.

This time, though, it is my lack of fucks to give that I am proud of. Of course, I give lots of them when it comes to caring for people, but I seem to be very low on them when it is in relation to what people think about my actions/looks/dreams/love/everything else. It seems simple, right? Just don't care what people think of you! Yeah! Just don't! Except that goes against everything that was presented as normal to me my entire young life. I, somehow, looked upon a mother that revolved her every decision and judgments around what others would think of her, and instead of needing validation, I couldn't care less if you or anyone else thinks I am doing "it" right. I don't care if you hate my hair or my tattoos. I don't care if you think my significant other is ugly. I don't care if you think I don't discipline my son correctly or spend my money wisely. I am not an asshole... I KNOW that I treat people with respect and kindness (sprinkled with a bit of sarcastic humor if I think you are smart enough to catch it), and I KNOW I am a good person, good friend, good mom, and good lover. Anything beyond that is pretty unimportant.

I have acknowledged many times that "fuggit" is a common go-to resonse for me. It's not that I don't take anything seriously, but in the end there are very few things worth tearing yourself to pieces over. Yes, I watched my mother throw her own children under the bus more times than I can count for the sake of preserving her own image with people who really didn't fucking matter. But I refuse to let what someone might think of me dictate who I am, what kind of person I become, and how I interact with the world. Do I think my shit doesn't stink? Ha! No. I have my insecurities. I have stretchmarks that I hide and my sports abilities are nothing short of humiliating. I have my moments where I can be embarrassed or try to avoid just such an outcome. But for the most part, I came to this point retaining a healthy sense of who I am and how to be okay with it.

Going back to be unaffected, though... this state of comfort with my decisions and my instincts has not always been bubbling over the sides for me. It was a fight. I had all the tools to run with being a carbon copy of a woman who didn't know how to take a step independent of the world's glare around her, and I was walking on wobbly legs for a long time. I wanted her approval. I wanted anyone's approval. Love was good, but validation was the best. I did not come through the other side unaffected. However, a combination of self analysis and taking lots of long looks at the what and why of my history has helped me grow. Stepping outside and looking in is hard. But living your life looking out at everyone else looking at you is harder. I much prefer life as it is now, where I can be confident in where I choose to plant my next step. I don't always know it is the right step, but I know it is my step... and I don't care if you think it is weird that I took it dancing, crawling, or crying. I will not be crippled because I am waiting for someone else to tell me which way to go.

Which brings me to the question of what I fear. If you asked me in person, I would likely retort with a smile, "not much."  It is true, to a somewhat odd degree. But the truth is, I desperately fear being fearful. I don't want to hold back because I am scared. I do not want to live with a glass wall in front of me that I cannot get passed, even if I can see through it just fine. I don't want to be scared to try, to fall, to hurt, to get embarrassed, and to move. Scared to move... THAT is my biggest fear. To be so crippled, whether it is a fear of failure or a fear of others' judgments, that you can't get out of your own head and your own bubble... it's a nightmare. So, I rock my pink hair and my beat up truck and I curse a lot... I admit that I fucked up and I put my feelings out on the table. I try to stay open rather than putting up walls.

I am okay if you can see my inner workings, because I don't care if you think they are put together the right way or if you think they are pretty. And because I don't spend my time worrying about that, I can love without the boundaries that fear builds around us. I can live.

Not Done

Somewhere in the midst of a bottle of Riesling working its way through my system and an ever enlightening walk to campground restrooms, three words came to me. I had been having a conversation with my friend about why I have not written a book yet; as you could imagine, it was an emotional conversation. I usually blame my lack of interest in writing one on the fact that no one really cares what I have dealt with or what I am doing now... I am no one special, after all. But in the clarity that can only happen when your mind gets a little foggy, I realized that it is because I don't feel like I have any standing or right to tell anyone else where to go when I don't feel like I have gotten where I am going yet. So, as I walked back from that bathroom, I repeated those three words over and over so I wouldn't forget them... because we all know I have a tendency to move onto the next thought as if they were just being thrown into my lap to deal with in rapid fire succession.




Those words landed on a random open document I had pulled up in on this laptop in the woods weeks ago and it wasn't until now that I found them. I probably should have followed up with wherever they took me at that moment, but wine and my ability to stay awake are directly related to each other: adversely, unfortunately.

Unanchored. What does that even mean in relation to why I am not writing a bestselling book yet? Well, drunk me probably could have answered that a little better, since she is the one who spit it out in the form of an epiphany... but I will give it a go. Drunk me is still valid me... she usually has her wits about her more than one might expect, so we won't dismiss her. Honestly, how the hell can I tell anyone else how to get from point A to point B if I don't know where the hell my point B is? I have a general picture of where I want to go, but I am not anchored yet, and I have no idea when it will happen. If it will happen. Life is in charge of all that mess, after all. If I was living in a world of stepping stones and paths that I could shine light onto, then maybe I would feel like sharing the directions made sense. But right now, what would I do... point off in the distance and say "go that way over there... maybe"? Or am I supposed to tell people it is okay to treat life like an unwritten story like I do? That could be the opposite of what they need! I do not have an anchor down, how do I show anyone else what it is to not get taken by the storm? I don't feel like I am drifting, by any means... but I don't have any clue how I would tell anyone else how to stop drifting without throwing down anchor. If you ask me, I have no idea how I saved myself... other than maybe winning the genetics lottery that gave me the smarts to process things the way I did.

One might argue that writing is my anchor. I guess it isn't wrong. But it isn't an answer for everyone else, and trying to guide others feels like the blind leading the blind sometimes.

Unsatisfied. This one is sticky. I AM satisfied with who I am, though I hope I keep growing and understanding. I AM satisfied with how far I have placed myself from where I could have been. But I am not satisfied that I have reached a place where I can tell anyone else how to get there. I still want to do so much, be so much, accomplish so much. How can I feel worthy of giving guidance when I feel like I am only a few chapters into my own travels? I look around me and I am just beginning. I have lived so much life... gone through so much and done so much, but it is a drop in the bucket in relation to the shenanigans I have on my list of things to do. I am still working and living paycheck to paycheck (sorta), I still have relationship issues with friends/family/lovers, and I am still mad sometimes.

I guess that flows into Unfinished pretty effortlessly. Truth is, I am not done getting better. Am I a mess? No. Am I bitter? No. But I still get mad sometimes. I still have little bits of hurt and confusion and anger that exist within me... and though I have done amazingly to not let them become me or what I am about, they are there. I cannot smile and tell someone it will be okay, that they should let it all go, and that I figured it out when I am not done figuring it out. I don't know how to evict all of the negative thoughts and shake it all away, because sometimes I still want to shake my mother and punch my adoptive father. Sometimes I still want to scream. Sometimes I still cry... out of no fucking where. Sure, it is like 2% problem at this point, absolutely nowhere near a common occurrence or thought or rumination. But even if it's minute, how can I act like I figured out how to leave it all in the dust when every few months I still wish I could just have a few minutes to tell those people how much they suck?

The friend I was camping with said something that is obviously true... she said "Maybe you aren't supposed to write about how to beat it. Maybe you are supposed to write about how to keep moving through it and survive it"

I know she is probably right. I don't have to wait until my life glistens to talk about finally wading through and out of the muck. But I still feel grossly unqualified to have a single person looking to me for much of anything. Not because I feel that I am not awesome (cause, well, I am most of the time), but because my awesome might be their terrible and that is a lot of responsibility.