Who Are You Wednesday

You guys rock! The first marketing experiment was a resounding success, and I thank you so much! For your next mission, should you choose to accept it, if you’re on Facebook simply go to the left of my page here, where you’ll see a Facebook box. If you’d like to become a fan, just click on the “Like” button. That’s it! You’re done! On the fan page, you’ll receive occasional bits and pieces and breaking news on the writing front. If you don’t mind, please share the page on your Facebook page to spread the word. And thank you, thank you so much! :)

I have met a lot of new people in the last few weeks, and I know some of them have stopped by here to get to know me better. Hell, I’d like to get to know me better, but that’s probably a topic for another post.

I’ll give you the short version, and you can extrapolate the rest.

I was born in California many moons ago (I’m not telling you how many, so don’t even bother asking).

Let's just say it's a lot more than one. A LOT more.

My parents divorced, and my mother, me and my siblings moved to central New York where I lived for most of my life. We moved a lot; I attended seven different schools in seven years. I was the oldest of five. I have been reading voraciously from the time I was three years old. (I was quite precocious, and learned while I was in the hospital with a bout of croup that almost killed me.)

I married, bore three fabulous children, and divorced. That wasn’t a whole lot of fun, but you have to take the good with the bad, right? It was after the divorce I was able to pursue my dream of becoming a self-sustaining writer. At first, my focus was on fiction, namely flash fiction, but it evolved to writing non-fiction in the form of web copy, mostly because it paid better.

I left New York and moved to Kentucky for a few years, then further west to the St. Louis area where I am very comfortable for the first time since I can remember. I returned to Kentucky when my mother was in the end stages of terminal breast cancer; you can read about some of that here or here. Shortly after she passed, my daughter presented me with my first grandbaby, nicknamed “Muffin”.

But eventually, I returned to my beloved Lou.

In my life I’ve completed an LPN program in high school; worked as a dancing hamburger; worked as a shift supervisor in the restaurant business; was employed by a major health insurance company; worked in a urologist’s office where I saw more penises than any woman has a right to see, and served as a reservations manager in a hotel. It has been a very interesting ride.

Yeah. Kinda like this.

My first love is flash fiction. I have released my first collection, titled “Not Nice and Other Understatements” and I self-published for many reasons. I am currently at work on “Athena’s Promise”, an urban fantasy about a hotel run on the edge of Zombie Town (“Z-Town” to the locals) by a demi-goddess and a Gorgon. In the meantime, I write stellar web copy for several private clients, edit novels and craft books, and generally try to cause as much mayhem as I can.

Relax. This is not mayhem. This is just hay.

In pursuing my fondest desire of writing for a living, I have learned and done so many things I never dreamed I would. I learned a lot about marketing, constructing a website, SEO, and social networking. I’ve learned much about myself, as well – that I can be disciplined, I have Mad Research Skillz, and I’m stronger and smarter than I ever thought possible. I’ve worked hard to hone any skill I may have at this writing business because I. Love. It. I never want to do anything else.

Best of all, I have met some absolutely fabulous people along the way, and this has enriched my life immensely.

So, that’s a little bit about me. Welcome to the strange planet inside my head — tell me a little bit about you!

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Ruminations on Grief

There are a few experiences in your life that change you in a fundamental way. There’s no way to predict how much, and even when you are well-prepared, these changes often take you by surprise. For example, when you are expecting a child, it seems like everyone you meet will tell you having a child will change your life. Of course, you nod your head and agree, because you know a child will change your life. But you have no idea, until you have a child, just how much your life will change.

On the other end of the spectrum, the death of a parent will also change your life. And again, no matter how prepared you seem to be, how much you resign yourself to that immutable fact, the truth is you have no idea how this momentous experience will change you. Perhaps it doesn’t change some people, but I can only speak for myself.

Yesterday was the two year anniversary of my momma’s death. I wish I could say it was easier this year than last, but I can’t. In some ways, it was worse. For the last week or so I have been definitely out of sorts, crabby, and prone to uncontrollable bouts of tears. Simple tasks just seem so damned difficult. I see her face everywhere I look. I went to breakfast with my BFF and I was fine until a woman about my age came in with her mother – and I was torn between feeling angry that she still had her mother and feeling a loss so great it literally took my breath away. I felt like I had been gut-shot.

The loss I expected. The anger, I did not.

So, I’m angry with this poor woman who was simply taking her mom to breakfast. I wanted to stand up and say to her, Do you know how fucking lucky you are right now? Do you? You sit there and you’re having a conversation with your mother, and I don’t have mine, I HATE YOU.

That can’t be normal.

And at lunch the other day, the waiter was so damned….ENTHUSIASTIC. I mean, he was like a guy from a Secret Waiter Cult, so over-friendly and insincere I wanted to stab him with a spork. Like, shut up, bring me my sandwich, and shut the fuck up! “Anything you need, just let me know,” he says, and I’m thinking, Can you bring my mother back? No? Then leave me the FUCK alone, but of course I don’t say that. I just imagine him with a spork sticking out of his eye.

That can’t be normal, either.

#

Grief is a really sneaky, slimy buggering bastard. It will come up from behind and breathe down the back of your neck, making every hair on your body stand on end and every nerve tingle as if it’s on fire. Most days leading up to the 22nd I had no emotional control at all. My eyes would start leaking if someone simply said, “How are you today?” So embarrassing when you pump gas, go in to pay, and then start crying when the attendant says something so innocuous. I took to wearing sunglasses at every opportunity, even indoors, even when it was cloudy or getting dark.

So, of course, in this state, I just don’t want to be around people. Not just the poor innocent in restaurants or gas stations who have no idea when they greet me I’m thinking of sharp implements, but the people that know me or see me on a regular basis. I feel a bit guilty feeling so crappy and sad, and I don’t want to make other people feel sad when they look at me, leaking at the eyes from a simple “Hello,” so I try to stay to myself, ignore the phone (not difficult even on the best of days) and just shut down for a while.

#

My momma and I were very close until her drinking affected my children. At that point, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life, and told her I couldn’t have a relationship with her as long as she was a drunk. I can’t tell you how that broke my heart and how I wish I had those eight years back. Still, later she thanked me for doing it, and told me it was the right decision. Was it?

Sometimes, I don’t feel….worthy? I guess? …to be her daughter. She was one incredible woman, let me tell you. Here is just one example: after over forty years of debilitating and destructive alcoholism, she quit drinking and got sober all by herself. Yes, you heard that correctly. She went through detox on her own – and once she decided to get sober, she did it. She went to meetings, but she did it all on her own. If you have any experience or knowledge about alcoholism, you have some idea of how difficult, if not downright impossible, that is to do, and she stayed sober for the rest of her life. We were able to reconnect and get past the pain of the drinking years, recapturing the closeness I remembered as a girl. I know how incredibly lucky I was to get my mother back and I appreciated it Every. Single. Moment.

She was far from perfect, but she was an admirable force of nature, she surely was.

Big shoes. My momma had big shoes.

#

I’m a changed person since Momma died. I didn’t expect that. I have gone through a lot of difficult experiences over the years . Up until Momma passed, I felt as if I had finally recovered and was on my way to becoming the type of person I wanted to be – maybe the kind of person I was meant to be. When Momma died, it just knocked all the pins out from under me. I’m not sure who I am anymore, even two years later.

Then I feel self-indulgent and selfish.

#

Onward. I know Momma would be pissed off if she saw me wallowing like this (and I’m quite sure she can, actually) and so, on with the Big Girl Panties. I will remind myself of the following:

1. I am nowhere near as strong as my mother, but there’s no shame in that. I highly suspect there are very few people as strong as my mother.
2. It’s okay to cry. It’s not weak or stupid.
3. I am going to miss her for the rest of my life, so I might as well get used to it.
4. Stabbing innocent people with sporks is probably illegal and it’s really not socially acceptable.
5. Grief is spectacularly selfish. She’s fine where she is, and probably already running the place.

Am I okay?

Yeah. Not great, but okay. Okay is good enough for rock and roll.

Onward.

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The Pit of Despair

The Princess Bride album cover
Image via Wikipedia

Not having such a good couple of days…I knew the holidays would be tough. I miss my momma very much. I realize it’s only been a few months since her passing, but I guess I expected a little more of myself than I have.

Tonight, one of our favorite movies is on — The Princess Bride. I’m watching it for the second time, through a veil of tears. I miss her so much. And that’s all I really have to say.

“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone telling you differently is selling something.”

Appreciate your loved ones. Even the ones that can be a pain in the ass. Especially your momma.

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Not Here

I thought she would always be here.

She was there in the beginning, teaching me to speak, eat, to potty. She was there through elementary school, through the angst of the teenage years and the rebellion of high school. She was there during the first attempts at self-sustentation; providing advice, support, and a new set of pans from the Salvation Army when I moved in to my first apartment.

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And Where Have You Been, Young Lady?

La fine del giorno
Image by DanielaNob via Flickr

That’s a good question, and I wish I had a good answer.

The truth of the matter is, as some of you might know, I lost my momma in August and the world has not been the same since. I’ve been trying very hard not to fall into the Abyss of Depression, but it’s been a difficult battle. Words don’t come as easily now as they once did, and this causes me no small amount of angst.

I guess everyone deals with a Major Life-Changing Event in their own way, and I have to constantly do a self-check — and I have to stop being so hard on myself. Why is it so difficult to be as kind to myself as I am to other people? Dunno. A Mystery of the Universe, at least for right now, because it’s too damned early in the morning to do an intense self-examination.

****

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Pink

The fabulous Lala has tagged me with the Pink Sisterhood tag. It’s very early in the morning, and after yesterday, I am way too tired to figure out how to post the logo and all that jazz.

I’m tired because yesterday was spent among tears and photos at my sister’s house, where my momma spent the last four years of her life. Three of those years were spent fighting breast cancer. Of course, none of us get out alive, and momma passed on August 22 of this year, less than three weeks before the birth of her first great-grandbaby. She was 71.

****

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Getting On With It *personal*

July 4: Alice/WonderlandImage via Wikipedia

Not unexpected, but I’ve had a rough few days here in Wonderland. I’ve dropped my basket, lost my funny, and have indulged in enough tears to bathe a herd of elephants, and what good does it do? I’m not familiar with the grieving process as it applies to losing a  Major Personage, as my momma was the only parent I had.  I don’t like this part. Nope, not digging it at all.

Still, one foot in front of the other. One tiny step at a time, and then, next thing I know, there will be lots of tiny steps behind me, and things will change. That’s my hope.

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Baby Watch 2008 continues — no baby yet. Today is the due date of my first grandchild, and the Little Mama is looking ready to pop. (I forgot how huge a woman can get during pregnancy! Some memories are best left in the “I’m Never Doing That Again” bin. Heh.) Every time she moves, I’m jumping. It’s quite comical, really, and the Little Mama thinks it’s funny. MackDaddy and I are not so amused.  :)

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Next post will be Flash Friday, and I hope some of you catch the Flash Buzz and play along. Writing and music have always been my drugs of choice, so I’ll post a prompt and roll around in some words…take a trip to somewhere different, and I hope you’ll pack a lunch and come with me.

I’ve got dibs on the bologna sandwich, but I’ll trade you an apple for those chocolate chip cookies….

:)

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*regroup* (personal)

Image via Wikipedia

*This is a cross-post from my personal blog. I plan on returning to regularly scheduled blogging at some point — but I don’t feel I can until I process some of this. Thanks for your patience.

According to the recent reading I’ve done, there are five stages of the grieving process:

• Denial
• Anger
• Bargaining
• Depression
• Acceptance

Another list I found detailed this:

• Numbness
• Disorganization
• Re-organization

I think I relate more to the second list than the first, although I’m not discounting any stage. That would be dangerous.

There is no set time frame, or order to either list. Any one of these things (and probably more that don’t appear on any neat list) can hit at any time. Everyone processes grief their own way and in their own time. In my own particular circumstance, I think the grief is further complicated by the imminent arrival of our most beloved Muffin. It is also common to grieve big changes in our life, to include the loss of a job, a change of environment or any one of a dozen situations.

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this is not an eulogy (personal)

The traditional Chinese character for love (?)...Image via Wikipedia

no matter how prepared you think you are for someone’s passing, you’re not. Momma and i talked about death extensively, through the years, not just when she received her cancer diagnosis. part of that was the nature of our chosen (early) careers — i became an LPN at 18; she went through the same program some 20 years later. the other part was just metaphysical conversation…i know at one point she didn’t feel like she could talk to anyone else without freakouts and tears, etc., so we would chat about death and what we thought and how we felt about it, and in some way, it pulled the fangs from death.

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not good-bye, but see you again

Jardín BotánicoImage by vaca_maldita via Flickr

If Death is Kind

Perhaps if death is kind, and there can be returning,
We will come back to earth some fragrant night,
And take these lanes to find the sea, and bending
Breathe the same honeysuckle, low and white.

We will come down at night to these resounding beaches
And the long gentle thunder of the sea,
Here for a single hour in the wide starlight
We shall be happy, for the dead are free.

~Sara Teasdale

i will miss her more than i can possibly express.

rest in peace, momma. i love you.

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