Adventures of the Un-Martha

Adventures of the Un-Martha

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

She is gone.

I've tried 10+ times already to write this, but just can't seem to get it right, no matter how hard I try. Nothing seems right. Nothing about this situation seems right at all actually. 

She is gone... She sadly she took her own life and she is gone. 

It hurts so much to just even type that out. I feel so detached from that entire statement. "She took her own life." There should be a better way to say something like that. A kinder way. A less painful way to say that statement. SOMETHING should be better than that. She deserved better than that. But I just don't know the words to make it sound less harsh. Less sad and more, I don't know... Just not those words, but I don't have any other words tonight to fix that sentence. At least not right now. Not tonight. 

But I am going to try to do her memory justice and say a few words about her life, even if I can't say the right words about her death. I guess the best place to start is the beginning, right? Well not the beginning for her, of course, but it WAS the beginning of something. Something special that I was so lucky to be a part of... and she was a part of that magical something special too. 

Back in 1998, I met an incredible group of young women, all packed into the all-girls freshman dorm my first year of college. For all of us, this was our first real year away from home and on our own. We quickly bonded in a series of common experiences that were the equivalent of the following unspoken imaginary conversation we were all having together on a regular basis. It all started when one of us would say something like: "Holy hell, what are we doing here? Does anybody know? Seriously, does anybody really know????" And as each one of us looked to another with totally and completely blank stares, we realized we had no idea what was going on or what we were "supposed" to do. We also realized even more quickly that we were in it TOGETHER and somehow that seemed to make it not so scary. And from then on we were thick as thieves and we just muddled through, all of us, together in that first year. 

And those times were crazy. We laughed so very very hard. I mean we laughed just so damn hard it was ridiculous some nights. And when we couldn't figure it out, we blasted our music until we couldn't think and more importantly couldn't remember what the issue was again and then we ended up laughing and dancing... and inevitably laughing and dancing even more. Dancing through the dorm halls and classroom corridors, at clubs and pubs, and just about anywhere you could think of... we just bounced around campus like young fools, laughing and dancing all the way. 

And then there were tears too. Family stuff, bad breakups, stressful midterms and finals and so much more, but what I remember most is there was always so much laughter and so much dancing, even when everything else went to shit. And we always had each other. Consequently there was also so much growing up that happened for all of us in that first year away from home and this group of beautiful souls were like my lighthouse in the storm and I would have been lost to sea without them. Each one of these women also grew to become some of the most wonderful women I have ever known in my life and still know to this day. Those shared experiences helped shape me, for good or for bad, into who I am today. 

And she was one of those souls that shined in the darkness. She was one of them. 

She was feisty and funny and so incredibly smart. She played guitar and sang like an angel. I can't even count how many nights she would come and play her guitar and we gathered around and listened to her sing slow beautiful ballads on that guitar, or even sometimes change the lyrics of a well known song to something totally silly just because it suited her that night. She was just awesome. She was so strong and she was one of the most passionate people I ever knew and she was totally determined to go about fixing the world, one mind at a time, of all the things that were wrong in the world. She was just such a cool chick. And she was an absolute riot and at the time, seemed like she had no problem walking her own path alone. If you didn't want to come along, that was just fine, she would forge her own path and wish you luck and hope she met you somewhere down the line. And that was that. I really admired her. I was nothing like her but I think that is actually what I liked most about her. She was a truth telling bad ass who was compassionate, funny, intelligent, and one of the coolest people I ever did know. 

After school, many of us in that group lost touch for a wide variety of reasons, which all seem really dumb to me now, looking back in the rear view mirror. Some friendships fell apart as we drifted onto new paths. And I freely admit that I walked away from some friendships because after that first year I made a lot of mistakes and I fucked up some things pretty bad and admitting I was an ass was not on the top of my to-dos for many many years. I did reconnect with some and I'm so glad that I did but I always wished I had reconnected with more. But even the ones that I didn't reconnect, I never forgot them. Never ever ever forgot them. Each and every one of them meant something so special to me, but some I just missed the boat. She was one of them that it seems that I missed the boat and the few times I thought about reconnecting with her, I didn't really look that hard if I'm being honest with myself. She was one that drifted and I just assumed someday we would meet again as our paths crossed at a future date. It never really occurred to me that this wouldn't be the case. And it feels wrong that I felt that way at the time and I didn't try harder. And now I will never get a chance to make that wrong, a right. And that just makes me heartbroken.  

Now, I'm not so self-absorbed to think that if ONLY I had reached out to her at some point over these years that somehow that I would have changed anything or made some momentous difference in her life. I'm well aware that I'm not that special or have some amazing changing power, but then again, maybe it would have just helped her to know that there was one more person rooting for her and she wouldn't have felt so alone in this big dark world. The what ifs are the hardest part. 

And now that I'm being truly honest, I feel like I'm not sure I'm even allowed to have the feelings of loss and grief that I am experiencing right now. That my tears are not really appropriate. She was a friend of mine years ago, but we hadn't talked in probably 15 or more years. Why is this hitting me so hard that the waves of grief keep sneaking up on me and before you know it, I'm crying again and can't seem to stop? After trying to pull my shit together so many times today, I still don't know exactly what all is going on here. Am I really allowed to feel this way? When I allowed our paths to go such different directions without any attempt on my part to reach out. 

I'm just really not sure I have any right to be sad. I didn't make any real effort for 15 years but NOW I somehow feel the right to cry tears of regret for being absent? No. I don't get to do that... do I?  Logic and emotion are not on the same wavelength tonight and I keep trying to talk my heart into not feeling this way anymore. But the waves of hurt still come, and it takes my breath away. And I try to snap myself out of it by telling myself that her death is not about me, for god's sake. It is not about anything I did or did not do. So why am I making this once again about myself? I feel selfish, guilty, sad, confused, angry, and heartbroken. But most of all I just feel like all of my insides have been scooped out. And frankly I don't even know what that emotion is called. IS that even an emotion? Or is that just what you get when all of the above get tangled up in a ball that sits in the pit of your stomach? I have no idea. I just know it hurts. 

At this point, I don't care if it is guilt or regret or grief or pain but it's just not right that I didn't tell her so many things like... that she mattered and she was so good and she was worthy and she was loved. And I want to go back in time and tell her ALL the things and hug her and hold her. My head knows I didn't cause this but my heart wants so badly to just have tried harder.  And I just can't reconcile my heart with my head. 

So I guess I will just say the next few words, just for her, and throw it out to the void or wherever she may be now. 

Honey, I'm sorry that I didn't reach out to you. I have no idea why I never told you how much I admired your fire and was amazed by your passion and talent and your wit and all of you. I'm so sorry and I wish I could have taken your pain away. It never occurred to me that you would be hurting so much and I'm so damn mad at myself that I didn't see you. The underneath you that was hurting. I'm sorry for the time that was lost because I thought it was just how things go sometimes and I rationalized all of that bullshit. You deserved a better friend in me and I'm sorry I let you down. And if your soul is floating around some place that you can read or feel any of this, I hope you feel these words more than anything. I don't know what was going in your life, but my god, I wish I could have been a light in your lighthouse during the storm, like you and all those girls were for me so many years ago....You were and ARE STILL loved, you mattered, and you will be so very much missed. 

And now, I won't ever say "she is gone" again because you actually aren't gone at all. You can't be and you never will be. You are so many of my memories, and so you are part of me, and all those other girls too, and you made us and this world a better place. I hope your soul finds joy and love and peace in your next chapter and I hope your spirit runs wild and free just like I knew it would someday. 

In loving memory, LeAnne  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"The Kindness Diaries": what I know....

The Kindness Diaries...

Has anyone been watching this show on Netflix? I have spent 13 episodes (so roughly 6 1/2 hours) watching this man travel the globe with nothing but the clothes on his back and "Kindness One", which is a bright yellow motorbike with a side car and a silent crew to film his journey of living and traveling through some 20 something countries by only relying on the kindness of others. He firmly believes in the kindness of humanity and so he put himself entirely at the mercy of others for food, shelter, and gas for as long as the journey would take him to cross the globe. Could he do it? And was the world indeed as kind as he hoped they would be to him on his journey? I will admit it. I was intrigued... and maybe just a little hopeful that he could indeed make it.

I watched the first episode on my lunch hour when I was just having a shit day and I was convinced the world was full of nothing but awful people. I needed something to remind me that humanity is actually very much... humane. Now let me preface this story that I don't normally even take a lunch break. I normally work through the noon hour, occasionally stuffing my face with a can of microwaved soup, ramen noodles, or whatever leftovers there are from the dinner the night before, while I intermittently tap away on my keyboard and answer emails and set up meetings, all while trying not to spill soup on my mouse pad and kill yet another mouse. I'm an effective mouse killer as it turns out, due to these lunch/work sessions. But that day... I just couldn't do it. I lost an account that morning, my boss was upset with me for one thing or another, and my normally very agreeable colleague and I had a disagreement on the handling of an upcoming event, and we both were not willing to give, not even an inch. We both were convinced we were equally correct and not ready to make up or compromise in the slightest. I was just not in the mood to give two shits about anything anymore.

I grabbed my soup and I looked down as I slid the contents of my knock-ff Progresso Italian Wedding Soup into the mixing bowl that I keep at work. It's the soup with the tiny meatballs, but even tiny delicious meatballs couldn't cheer me up today. I just wanted to go home, pull my covers over my head and just not talk to ALL the people for... oh, I don't know... a day, maybe a week, maybe a year. I hadn't decided. But sitting there looking at my depressing bowl of soup, with 233 emails to be responded, read, or filed away, I just had to step out of myself for a moment. I opened a new tab on my computer to my personal email. I got an email about "What's new on Netflix?" and I clicked on to a blurb about "The Kindness Diaries" and all I could think was... Geez, I could REALLY use some kindness today. Just one tiny fraction of humanity and kindness to remind me that it wasn't all bad out there.

I put on my headphones that I typically reserve for webinars or conference calls or intensive math or spreadsheet work, that require the soothing sounds of James Taylor as my beautiful white noise of choice, just to quiet my brain and focus on the task at hand: mathing. (And don't knock James Taylor. Some "Sweet Baby James" is all you need when the world gets to be too much, just trust me.)  So anyway, I put them on and clicked on Netflix. I NEVER watch TV shows at work, even during a lunch hour and I felt like I was doing something naughty. What a wasteful use of time to watch TV on a lunch hour, but I clicked Episode One anyway...

It started as a simple show that an English guy would ask for help from any random strangers as he traveled. His first random act of kindness was from a man named Dwight that gave him his first tank of gas, leaving Hollywood. It followed him around the first leg of his journey through the US ending in a small town in Colorado to a kind couple that would take him in for the night.

I won't tell you too much more about this episode or any of the others because I want EVERYONE TO WATCH this beautiful show. I WILL tell you however that I ended the first episode 25 minutes later at my desk, dabbing at my eyes and hoping that nobody walked by my office because it was just awesome, and it was like that moment in the Grinch when his heart grew three sizes that day and he just thought it would burst. It was kind of like that moment for me.  When I thought my heart had shriveled and I just couldn't face the world anymore, I realized that I was being too harsh. Too harsh on the people. Too harsh on myself. And I just needed to open back up and the rest.. well it would just work itself out. It always does. Just trust in the ultimate truth of people and the universe will repay you with the same amount of kindness.

I went home that night and flipped on the show while we were eating dinner. I have two kids and normally they just suffer through, when it is mom's choice to choose what to watch and inevitably they would just wander away after the dishes are cleared to go about... whatever they do in their free time. But when watching this show, something different happened. My kids stopped what they were doing. They watched. They listened. My son asked about a homeless man that gives what little he has to help out, which included a sheet and a sad but coveted shared space on a cement slab and two pairs of fresh underwear. It was all the man could spare in his situation, but he wanted to help the traveler in whatever way he could. It was beyond inspiring. My son whispered to me it was the best show he had ever seen, as he snuggled into the crook of my neck before bedtime kisses that night.

By the end of the series (over several nights), my daughter was curled up under my arm in an uncommon gesture of connectedness for her, but all the more welcome to me, due to it's rarity. Maybe she just felt sorry for me as I wept and laughed my way through this series and she thought "Oh, geez! Boy does mom need a hug or what?" which I fully accept it could be, but something in my heart tells me it was more than that and she felt the moment as much as I did and it wasn't just a response to her mother's inability to keep tears contained at everything from a Folgers commercial to the absolute kindness from a stranger in a documentary. As I hugged her goodnight I knew it was true and meaningful and she maybe FELT more than understood, but she ultimately got the gravity of what we experienced together in this show.

My son sat wiping his eyes from the other couch, which he told me repeatedly he wasn't crying, but he was just really happy and "his eyes were tired". He asked me thoughtfully though, "Would you let the traveler come home to our house?" I sat and thought about it and said, "Hmmmm I don't think I would have a couple weeks ago, but maybe now I would. I don't know. I think I would probably buy him a lunch and make sure he wasn't a nutjob before I brought him home (HA!) but yeah, I might just bring him home if I thought he was OK and needed help." He said, "yeah, you gotta make sure he isn't like... a psycho, first... but yeah, I think it would be OK if he wasn't... yknow... a killer." Hahahahahaha. Wise words from a 9 year old, I suppose. I chuckled and he threw his arms around me and said "Mom, you pick good shows. That's my favorite, I think."

And this from a 9 year old with an attention span of a goldfish, but as I sit here tonight I realize we three... had some real conversations over the course of this series... about everything from the homeless man in Pittsburgh and what might have happened to him to the Killing Fields in Vietnam and why that happened and  "What is HIV?" and "why don't those kids have good water?"... and it was serious and sad, but also still so incredibly powerful and even hopeful. So meaningful. So inspiring. My son kept saying. I'm gonna help people like that some day, yknow.

And I hope my kids DO help people like that some day. I hope they invite people into their hearts. Into their shared space. Into their world. And give back in whatever way that they can at that moment. Not because of a show, but because it's the right thing to do, with the faith that in their time of need, someone will do the same for them.

My heart is full tonight. Faith in humanity restored. Belief in truth and kindness is out there. You just must be open to giving of yourself first. It struck me that it was always the ones that had literally the least amount that gave the most and most freely. Perhaps it was their fatal flaw or their most beautiful asset. I truly don't know. I only wish to live my life more open than I did yesterday in whatever capacity I can. No, I can't solve the homelessness crisis, but I can choose kindness and help that one I see in need.

Now for the reality check in me. The cynic. The quiet voice in my head that pushes self preservation above all else. So if you made it this far to read this post, you might think... What a Pollyanna Rosy Tinted Glasses perspective this crazy chick has on life and she is truly nuts if she thinks that everyone has good in mind. Well, maybe you are right. Maybe it's dumb to give when you have nothing. And a little part of me does not discount that without his white skin and gaggle of cameras to legitimize his quest he might have been just another dude on the street that would not have made it to Las Vegas, let alone around the globe. And I recognize that. How many times did those folks in these shows pour out their hearts with nothing repaid to them before this one show? How many people did they not show that just did good, because it was good. Karma is not a short game unfortunately, and there won't always be a white englishman that has a camera crew waiting to showcase your kindness on a show picked up by Netflix, but I still hope that you do good anyway. Even when no one is watching. Even when you are unsure. Do kindness anyway.

I don't know what I will do tomorrow, but I will tell you that I will think twice because maybe he IS just a nice traveler that needs a helping hand and maybe I don't have much, but if I can give him a meal of fish sticks and mac n cheese and a place on our couch, maybe I WOULD do it? I don't know. I guess I won't know til it happens. But I'm certainly more open to it now.

I don't know if I believe in karma or multiple lives or whatever there is out there... but I do believe in goodness. I want to be the goodness. I want to be someone's goodness. And I want to teach my kid's that they are the goodness too. So maybe it is rosy tinted glasses... maybe IT IS. I'm OK with that. I would rather believe in that, than in nothing at all. Do goodness anyway. Believe in kindness anyway. And if it bites you in the ass, well you can go to sleep that night with a good conscious that you did the best you could and I'm OK with that. I did the best I could.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Turning 36....

So yesterday I ushered in a new year. I am now 36 years old. A rather uneventful year marked by a rather unremarkable day and it was everything I hoped it would be... and more.

I woke up to a silly new alarm clock called "The Rock Clock" that I had downloaded the day before. My alarm was a silly song called "Hello Sunshine" sung by none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson that encourages me to get my "candy ass out of bed". I laid in bed with my husband as I belly laughed until my sides hurt and my husband shook his head slowly in resignation. I assume he wondered how we ended up at this point in our life. My arms were wrapped around his barely awake chest as I giggled and shook hysterically to "The Rock" singing for us to get up. My husband eventually smiled and kissed my forehead as he said "Happy Birthday Annie" then worked to finally disentangle himself from the sheets I had kicked off and he eventually had mummified himself in overnight.

And so my day began.

I laid there for awhile longer as I heard hubby work in the kitchen to make waffles for the kids and their friends that had stayed the night before for a sleepover. I perused facebook as the happy birthday messages began to flow in to my newsfeed. I smiled and my husband brought me a mug of coffee with hazelnut cream. I winked and said, sorry I hadn't moved very far, have I? He shrugged and smiled as if he didn't really have much expectation and walked out to attend the kiddos.

After several more minutes of kids screaming and pans clacking I sighed and got up with my travel mug in hand of delicious coffee go-juice. I handled a minor issue with the kids that resulted in unnecessary tears from my son and then ate a waffle that my husband made for me. I noticed he waited until we had all eaten to decide if he needed to make more or if there would be a waffle for him. He eventually ate a cold waffle without complaint or even noting his situation as he sat reading the news on his phone with coffee in hand on the couch without comment or interest. I looked at him and realized he did it for us without hesitancy or commentary. He was just patient and waited to see what was needed of him and went with it.

The kids were wild and crazy and finished with a sticky mess of maple syrup on the table. I shrugged and ignored the mess, took a shower, and sat with the remainder of my coffee mug to start a netflix binge while the kids screamed around me. I'm almost immune to the crazy anymore. I looked up occasionally and listened for tears or ruthless out of control fights, but unless someone is bleeding I really try to just stay out of it. They don't really need or want me to intervene in most scenarios, anymore than I need or want to intervene either... so it works out. They learn to handle issues on their own and I give myself silent applause for my A+ parenting of letting them handle conflict resolution and go back to netflix as all good parents do. (Before you get all judge-y, I DO intervene when necessary as is sometimes the case, but I try to stay out of it unless I hear real issues or someone decides to ask for my intervention.)

The kids from sleepover eventually leave under a flurry of blankets, stuffed animals, hugs, and finding shoes. My own kids retreat to neutral corners as they have spent probably far too much time together the previous day with the kid overload and I look around cautiously and think Hmmmmm guess they don't seem to have any interest in me in today. Cool. I get a glass of lemonade and think maybe I will paint my nails a bright candy colored blue color as I continue my netflix binge until I'm summoned elsewhere.

I decide to move forward and paint my nails and the process goes forward without event. I blow on them cautiously and wait the storm of someone inevitably needing me. It will ruin the paint job but it wasn't very good on my right hand anyway, since my left hand had to do the job and it is always a crap shoot when my left hand is involved. But the inevitable never comes... Hmmmm guess I will just hang out and wait them out.

Season One of "Limitless" proceeds in binge watch fashion. Even hubby sits down with me to watch. He doesn't seem annoyed by my laziness, but I feel weird being so unproductive. I start to fold the 2 baskets of laundry. I mess up the paint job on my right thumb. Damnit... I knew it. But I continue to fold away. I ask the kids to take their clothes and put them away. I fold basket #3 and then sit and watch episode 19 of my binge. No one says a word to me.

I get up and find nail polish remover and repaint my thumb, careful to not to touch it and hope it dries and cures better the 2nd time around. My son comes out and asks for a snack and I point to the kitchen for an apple. He looks at me like, "Isn't this YOUR job?" and I give him the mom look (with eyebrow, mind you...) and he wanders in for a self made snack.

An hour later, my husband starts clanging pans in the kitchen again and I'm remotely aware that he is fixing dinner. I feel momentary guilt but can't bring myself to care TOO much because hey it's my birthday, right? He clangs away. I look busy on my smartphone.

He makes a beautiful steak dinner and after cooking our ribeyes for us (round steak for the kids) he presents the steaks to me and asks which one I would like for my meal. I laugh at the absurdity, because I don't care, I'm just happy I didn't have to cook. He makes the plates for all of us. He presents me with this beautiful steak, ceasar salad with parmesan shards, and steak fries and asks if there is anything else that I want. I smile and shake my head and chuckle. No, I don't need anything else at all. I'm perfectly content.

Truth be told, it is the best steak I have had in years. It's scrumptious and lovely and I have my husband and babies next to me. It's absolutely perfect. We sit and eat in relative content silence as I eat this wonderful meal with the 3 people that I love the most. I am so happy in this moment and I want to freeze frame this beautiful quiet moment. My son smiling, my daughter thoughtfully contemplating conversation, and my husband nodding quiet assent at the ridiculous statement that I just made. It's how I wish to remember every day with this group.

I will of course forget the quiet happy moments later on in my life. The days, hours, and minutes such as these, but I hope that I remember the feeling. It was good. We were good. We were in love and we cared about one another as a family and it was a good and happy moment that was more than I could ever hope for in a series of moments that were a lot of things... but this is what I hope to remember.

I have days that I think how will I ever get through this stupid life? I hate the commotion and the craziness and the everything. I hate being needed constantly. I hate being at the head of this family of constant flux. I just want quiet and then the stars align and I get the beautiful reality of the life I am blessed to live every day. It is good and I sort of step out of myself and think "Wow. I created this life. It is not anything like I expected, but I'm so happy it ended up this way."

At the end of the day, I was washing dishes as my kids were getting ready for bed and they both came into the kitchen to wish me a Happy Birthday before hubby tucked them in for the night. I truly have no idea if my husband told them to tell me Happy Birthday before they went to bed or if they thought of it on their own, but it didn't really matter to me. They each came up and gave me a big hug while I hugged them back with soapy dishsoap arms. They kissed my cheeks and I kissed them and gave raspberries while giving soapy bear hugs, all while pans soaked in the kitchen sink. And it was blissful.


Life should be so simple. Kindness is done for you. Kindness is done in return. Love is felt by all. All parties are given and receive hugs until we all feel that moment of contentment and love and it just is good. That is a life lived well.

I live a life lived well. Thank you to all the persons that sent me notes, calls, texts, IMs, and emails of love for my birthday. I'm completely overwhelmed with all of you. I just... I just... well my cup runneth over and I feel more kindness in my heart that you could ever possibly know. And I'm grateful and thankful for each and every one of your thoughts. Thank you.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Floppy Hats and Wiener Dog Cheeseboards

I took my daughter to a birthday party this afternoon. The location was too far away to justify going home in between drop off and pickup, so I was left with two whole hours to entertain myself. This is not a normal, regular, or natural thing in my life as I soon found out. It turns out I have no idea what to do with myself when left to my own devices.

The birthday party was at a craft store. The girls were going to make a little craft, have cupcakes, open gifts and be on their merry way. I thought well I'm crafty, I can spend some time wandering the craft store aisles looking for artsy type things that might pique my interest. So I walked around aimlessly, as I don't have any current projects that I'm working on or am super interested in right at the moment that could give me some direction. Even the usually tried and true aisle with all the lovely Sharpies wasn't doing it for me. Sidenote: I do love Sharpies. Something about them just makes me happy. But today even the lovely rainbow of colored markers could not hold my attention. In my head I thought well, it's silly to just buy something when it has no purpose. I can't justify the purchase. And then I was even a little disappointed in myself that I couldn't muster any excitement for a new and exciting project. I felt like I was squandering my precious 2 hours away from the mom stuff and wife things and all the other roles in my life. This is MY time. Why am I pissing around feeling yarn and looking at coloring books? I can do better than this, can't I?

I left the store on a quest to find something else to pass the time. I passed a music store that I briefly contemplated wandering around. Recently my tiny family had a jam session of 2 kid guitars, my husband on ukulele and me on my old acoustic, which I never actually properly learned how to play. I remembered how much I wanted to learn to play at that moment, but is this how I want to spend this precious time? Wandering around a store that I wouldn't even know what to say to the clerk if they asked me what I was looking for? Especially considering my response to that question would most likely be something like "ummmm my rebellious teenage angst" or "motivation to stick to a hobby for more than 10 minutes". The blank stares that would be inevitable in this exchange are not what I need right now. In fact, NOONE needs that kind of negativity, man. No, I shook my head. This is not how wanted to spend my 2 hours. Well 1 hour and 40 minutes now... Why is this so hard? My time is slipping away. I realize that during this rare opportunity of two hours to myself that I might actually do nothing that I wanted to do. But I didn't KNOW what I wanted to do. I just knew that it was not that stuff. 

I drove around the mall. I grimaced. I didn't want to shop for clothes. I don't have money in the budget this month for clothes and I'm feeling kinda tubby today anyway. Pass.... *sigh*  

And then I see it. World Market. 

I get the ads in my junk email and I always think Wow. It's like a cheaper Pier One with weirder shit. That sounds right up my alley and I've never actually been into one of the stores. I always think as I'm driving by that I should go in there sometime. I bet there is some good stuff in there to poke around and look at, but I'm always as I said, driving by on my way to someplace else or to do something else. Well today, I have absolutely NOTHING to do. It's fate and today is that day.

I'm actually a bit giddy that I might find a new store that I could spend hours of time and gobs of money that I don't really have, on tchotchkes and placemats. I park and walk in and I immediately see a smallish candy apple red smoker, pretty note cards on a sideboard, and a rack of scarves. Holy God! It's the mothership. It called to me and I AM HOME!!!!! The bohemian bags and glossy books about the 100 ways to make noodles. I want, nay NEED that large floppy hat and the desk with the porcelain rooster hardware on the drawers. I am in heaven and the dopamine levels raise to alarming levels and I tell my brain to calm myself. After the initial shock of my homeland all under one roof, I pick up the large floppy sun hat once again and decide Yes, I am indeed a hat person and I must have this hat at once. It will protect my alabaster skin from the harmful rays of summer. And yes, ok, yes, I know some call it pasty or translucent or albino skin, but I'm sticking with alabaster. That sounds just so much more chic, don't you think? Anyway, I pose with this hat like one of the instagram beauties and imagine myself as one of those bohemian festival it-girls. I AM actually going to my first festival this summer. It has at least 4 bands that I have never heard of before, so I really should look the part, shouldn't I? I gleefully toss the floppy hat in my basket and continue to skip ever so much about the store.

I run my fingers along the tea towels with ironic phrases in bold typography and folk art embroidery as I walk to the kitchen and food section of the store. I pick up a fat book titled "1000 Foods To Eat Before You Die". Oh it looks brilliant and sleek and exactly what I would put on my recipe book shelf and thumb through on Sunday afternoons until I finally end up making something glamorous, sexy, and over the top like hodpodge tacos because I do need to use up the lettuce that is starting to wilt in the crisper. Yes, I love this book. Into the basket it goes.

I continue on my journey through the aisles and come across the one thing that I never knew I needed but it is inconceivable to leave the store without it. It's a beautiful teak cutting board/cheeseboard in the shape of a weiner dog. I literally snorted as I pulled it from the shelves. I imagined the dinner parties I would have and present beautiful exotic cheeses and fruits on this fabulous cheeseboard with silver cheeseknives and tiny signs that say Roquefort and Gouda in fancy script. I envision my guests as they chuckle and compliment my sense of whimsy with this little gem. I imagine that this piece of wood says to my fictional guests... Why YES, I am sophisticated enough to own such a thing as a cheeseboard AND tiny silver cheeseknives, but I'm still playful and fun enough to have the same cheeseboard be in the shape of dachshund. How fun. How droll. Why YES, I am the most interesting hostess in the world. Please let me get you another glass of Pinot Noir and (insert pretentious laugh here) you know I don't always serve wine and cheese, but when I do it's off a funny little weiner dog.

These are all very real thoughts that I have in this store.

I start to chuckle to myself and the chuckle turns into a full on belly laugh that I can't quite stop, all while I'm actually considering this purchase. I realize that I had built an entire imaginary scenario with friends that do NOT exist in my real life about this stupid weiner dog piece of kitchenware for a party that will never ever happen. I laugh and laugh and laugh until I'm church giggling/snorting uncontrollably at how stupid this last 3 minutes have been while I stared at this dumb cheeseboard.

I shake my head and put the weiner dog back for another lovely hipster that actually might fit in that scenario. I'm still giggling as I walk back to the book shelf and put away the book on all the foods that I should eat before I die. If I really want to read it, the library probably has it. It's not worth the 25 dollars just so I can look at for 30 minutes on lazy Sunday afternoons. I make my way back to the hats and I sigh but I am not the Bohemian It-Girl that I imagined earlier either. This one is tougher to put back on the rack, but I'm not that girl. I am going to a festival this summer. That is true. But I will most likely be the one with raccoon eyes from my sunglasses and bitching about the price of water bottles at said festival. That's more me.

I put the empty basket in the place I found it as I exit the store and I sigh. I did piddle away 45 minutes and I guess that is something. I essentially played dress-up and imagined I was someone else for a little while and it did make me belly laugh but I walked away empty handed.

I got in my car and drove to a coffee shop across the street and ordered a mango smoothie and banana bread. I don't even do coffee shops right, I realize as I sat down. I ordered an orange and mango smoothie at a coffee shop. What is that about? But coffee this late in the day makes me anxious and I can't sleep at night. HA! C'est la vie. I pulled out a notebook from my purse and doodled, wrote some notes to myself, and people watched for the remainder of my time alone. It was blissful. This is where I belonged. Quietly sipping fruity drinks with a pen in my messy bun of hair and inkstains on my hands. I smiled. Yes, this is good. This is where I should have spent all of my two hours anyway.

I picked up my daughter at the craft store promptly at 4PM. She smiled and brightly showed me the tiny birdhouse she painted and then labeled as the "DA BIRD AIRPORT" because they DO have to fly in, don't they? She laughed hysterically at her own joke, not caring one bit if I thought it was funny too. I chuckled as I wiped the frosting from her cheek and kissed her forehead. She waved goodbye to her friend and we drove home, jamming to a mish-mash of music ranging from Queen to Taylor Swift to Sir Mix-A-Lot. She awkwardly danced right along with me in the back seat for EVERY song. Yeah, this girl gets me. We are complicated creatures, she and I, and we don't need a floppy hat or fancy cheeseboard to know where we belong. We belong in the moment and it suits both of us just fine. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

But I don't really get it. How do the babies get out?

Whew... here we go kids... So my beautiful amazing son and I had our first discussion about babies tonight... and let's just say it didn't go as I had planned in my head. I promised myself that when this day came, I would use all the anatomically correct words and would handle it with maturity and would be open and answer all questions with an open nature to encourage a healthy discussion about our bodies and the birthing process.

Well that was the plan in theory anyway, but ended with me making a series of impossibly weird and awkward swooping hand/arm gestures from my abdomen to my knees in lieu of really explaining any detail regarding the birthing process and I could not for the life of me, bring myself to even say the word vagina. Because I am obviously not a grown up. I am a 13 year old boy trapped in a 35 year old woman's body. I just wanted to run for the hills and/or give as vague answers as humanly possible but still provide hopefully enough information to just get him to stop asking any more of his incessant questions. I suck at momming tonight. Like total epic failure.... level 9000.

Ok. Let me back up. So Boo Boo, who is 8 now, and I are sitting on the couch, doing our nightly bedtime reading. He brought home a book about Bears. Cool. I love bears. Let's do it! So he starts reading. "Bears have strong jaws. Bears can have black, brown, or cream fur." Awesome. Bears rule. Good job buddy on your reading. You are doing so well.

And then the next page is all "Bears are mammals. All mammals give live birth to their babies." He pauses and looks at me thoughtfully. "So the babies come out of the mom. But I don't really get it. How do the babies get out?"

OH SHIT! Is this really how my Tuesday night is going to go down? Son of a @#$%!

I try to skirt the question while still being accurate and adult about this question.

Me: Well, the babies come out from the mom's belly where she carried it. (Really, did I just say "belly"???)

Boo Boo: Yeah, but how does it get OUT?

I breathe deeply and look in his beautiful quizzical blue eyes. How the hell do I do this? And without getting into this too much... and please dear god, if I tell this child how it gets out... Do NOT let him ask me how it got in there. I can't do this on this Tuesday night from hell after a 11 hour day at work with my boss in town from New York and fighting about budgets and financials for 9 of them. I JUST CAN'T DO IT!!!!!!

Me: (Deep breath again) Well... moms carry the babies in their uterus. (See I can say adult type words, good job!) And then they come out when they are ready, from between their legs (swooping gesture with my hands from abdomen down to my knees in the MOST vague way possible. Any adult points earned with the ability to use the word uterus, were lost in this sweeping gesture.)

He squints and scowls at me in confusion. This may possibly be in my top 10 worst mom-explaining-things moments. Ok. Let's be real. Probably #1. I look over to my husband for help. He puts his hands over his face and I can see he has the church giggles. I hate him. I hate him a lot and he is officially negative amounts of help right now.

Boo Boo: (he's sitting on the couch leaning back and then he lifts his legs up and points between his legs and has the most confused look on his face) IT COMES OUT HERE?!?!?!

I push his legs back down on the couch and take yet another long deep breath.

Me: Well yes, but no. We all pee and poop the same down there, but you know how you have a penis (and then the little boy embarrassed smile is on his face like OH MY GOD! WHERE ARE YOU GOING WITH THIS MOM????? And I rush forward with my explanation as best I can in this totally weird moment). Well you have a penis, but women don't have that. We have different parts down there. (And I make yet another sweeping gesture with my arms. Why am I doing that and why can't I stop? Why the hell is it so freaking hard to say the word VAGINA in this moment? Oh my god. I just want to run away at this point. I put my arms down.) You see, boys have boy parts and girls have girl parts and they both do their own thing and girls can have babies with those special parts.

Utter and total confusion from the boy. Oh my god! Why is this so hard? I thought I would be totally open and honest about this process. I PROMISED myself, damnit! I would totally be OK with this discussion. I'm a totally chill person that can talk about anything TO ANYONE!!!! It's a natural process and should not be anything to be ashamed of and it should NOT be taboo. I silently chastise myself to GROW UP! But the screaming in my head doesn't help or make me more able to answer in the way I planned in this situation. It just doesn't work. I ramble on....and on... and on...

Me: Well girls carry the baby and then the baby comes out of the special girl parts that only girls have in their bodies. Just like you have special parts. Well, I mean, you can have a baby without HAVING a baby though, but girls have the babies. I mean, you can adopt a baby or even two boys could have a baby if they wanted to through a surrogate or something, but it's more complicated because it might actually be THEIR baby but someone else would give birth to the baby, but they are ALL loved and that's all that matters in the grand scheme of things really. And I know this doesn't make much sense, but the actual scientific process is just the girls give actual live birth even if it isn't their own baby and the baby comes out of them. So, there are lots of routes but mammals have babies by the moms that give birth and stuff. (Oh my god, I'm f-ing this conversation up so BAD right now and I can NOT stop this train wreck of a total rambling disaster!... So I just stop talking for a second and breathe and close my eyes for a second trying to regroup. Then open them and look at this poor confused little boy next to me, giving me the "What the hell are you talking about" look)

Boo Boo: (total shock, embarrassment, and confusion is written all over this poor kid's face and he sits thoughtfully to digest all of this information) So moms have the babies in HERE? (He pats his tummy)

Me: Yes. Something like that.

Boo Boo: (Pauses and he is considering all that I've said.) So how do the babies get fed to grow?

Me: (Are you serious, kid? More freaking questions!!!! But at least I feel we are on safer territory.) Ummmmm well, there is a cord that is connected from inside the mommy to the baby called the umbilical cord that brings the nutrients to help the baby grow. (Hey, that sounded OK. Maybe I'm out of the woods and I will make it out of this total catastrophe without any additional problems.)

Boo Boo: WHAT!?!?! There is a cord INSIDE you?

Me: *Sigh*

Hubby (pipes up from the peanut gallery during this whole exchange to totally blow the kids mind): HAHAHA! Lift up your shirt! That's why you have a belly button!

Boo Boo: WHAT???????? (He lifts up his shirt and looks as if he is rediscovering his belly button all over again and his EYES ARE BULGING NOW as to what Dad could possibly mean by this comment. And I'm not sure this is helping this conversation.)

Me: (I point to his belly button, but smile because it WAS kinda funny.) See, this is where the cord was attached to you and food comes in and feeds the baby through this spot through the cord. This is where you and I were connected before you were born. And sidenote dude: You really need to clean that thing out during your shower tomorrow night because that is seriously gross, buddy. (I recoil but close my eyes and try to ignore the small ball of lint and dirt/gross in this kids belly button. Boys are so gross. Why do they refuse to shower properly?) But yes, so when mommy ate a cheeseburger. The cheeseburger went down to my stomach and got broken down into nutrients and then the nutrients traveled through this cord/tube thing to the baby and that is how you were fed inside of me to grow big and strong. And that is why mommies are always so hungry because we are feeding babies too, when they are inside of us.

Boo Boo: (his face is both grossed out and skeptical and then a pause that felt like 3 hours) Hmmmm... So if you girls can have a baby inside, do girls have less intestines than boys? yknow so it all fits inside you?

Me: WHAT?!?! BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Wait...What? (shakes my head trying to follow his train of thought because I didn't see this question coming at all) No. It just gets squished together inside of the mom. But that is a good question. I guess I've never thought about my intestines like that, but no. Boys and girls have the same amount of intestines. We have some differences in our bodies, but that isn't one of them. We all have the same amount of intestines and a heart and lungs and all that kind of stuff.

Boo Boo: Oh like we all have two eyes and a mouth... (stops to ponder) But you know, you can be blind or have stuff that doesn't work like the rest of us, yknow. But I guess we can all stand on two legs.

Me: Well yes, (HOW THE HELL DID WE GET HERE WITH THIS CONVERSATION???) sometimes we all have those things, but sometimes they don't all work the same.

Boo Boo: But we all have two legs to stand on.

Me: Well, sometimes but we all can't stand on two legs. There are people that are born different or have an accident and need wheelchairs and stuff because they can't stand and that's OK too.

Boo Boo: Oh yeah, that is true. But we all crawl at some point.

Me: Well, people come in all different ways. We all just have differences and that's OK. That's what makes all of us special.

Boo Boo: Oh, yeah, I guess that is true. But...

Me: (I interrupt him because I just can't do any more of this conversation. Is that terrible? Probably. But I seriously just couldn't answer any more.) OK. So that was a good book.

Boo Boo: But we aren't done reading it.

Me: I am. I'm done. I'm done with the bears and all the things that are and are not different about boys and girls and people in general. I can't do any more reading tonight. You did a good job. Time for bed.

Boo Boo: Oh Ok. (Smiles and big hugs.)

Me: Yes, please go brush your teeth for bed. Mommy needs to go to sleep.

Boo Boo: OK!

So he brushes his teeth and goes to bed like it this was a totally normal exchange and it is any other night and he is totally oblivious that I'm freaking exhausted by everything right now.

Sidenote: My 10 year old daughter watched from the other couch with a smirk on her face THE ENTIRE TIME, as if relishing how uncomfortable I was through this whole conversation and she was positively gleeful as she went to bed.  I think she could feel my discomfort and thought it was absolutely hysterical that we (and I mean me, because hubby totally crapped out, if you ask me) were in this entire exchange. I'm both disappointed and wildly proud of her for getting so much pleasure out of our discomfort during this scenario because she has a WICKED sense of humor. Rotten wonderful child that she is. ;)

Later I was talking with hubby about this encounter after the kids went to bed and he laughed and reassured me it was all OK and it wasn't that big of a deal. But I don't feel OK. I did however express my gratitude that Boo Boo didn't ask about the process of "making a baby". God, I thought this one was bad but it was pretty tame considering what it could have turned into with the topic. I can just imagine our convo as we reimagined it between hubby and I:

Me: Well when a mommy and daddy love each other...hahahahahahaha
Hubby: Or sometimes they don't but yknow... things happen....BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
Me: Well sometimes in da club... ;)

Sometimes, I can't believe we are considered grown-ups and even worse, we are parents in charge of little people. It's wrong and uncomfortable and quite frankly shocking that we would be allowed to do so.

Now several hours later, I sit back and think.... I wish I could have handled that 20 minutes of my life so much better. And why is it so hard to talk about this kind of stuff? I'm a progressive grown up adult, god damnit. But something about saying the words penis and vagina to an 8 year old... is just weird to me. And then having to talk about all the one off scenarios that may or may not be included with all of that stuff... is just hard. Gah!!!! I am trying to be OK and show it's all OK with so many things but I can't even bring myself to talk about birth and bodies and everything else in a non-weird way, at least not tonight. I suck at this some nights. I just do. I will do better tomorrow. *sigh*

And no, I don't want advice or the 1000 different ways I should have or could have handled it. It's done now and yeah, I got it. There are better ways, but sometimes theory is just not how the reality works out. I'm working on it. I will get there. Just not tonight. Cut my losses and do better next time.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy Mama's Day!

My mom is totally rad. And as much as everybody says that about their own mom. I think my mom is different. I didn't even realize how awesome she was until I became a mom too and then I was like... Holy shit! Momming is really freaking hard some days. I mean yeah it's also totally awesome, but it's also really really really freaking hard some days. My mom made it look like a cake walk. Ok. So I was probably the easiest of us three kids. Hahahahahahhahahahahaha... yeah, I'm sure my mom will laugh, roll her eyes, and guffaw at how ridiculous a statement that one is, but at the time I truly felt I was completely reasonable and she was the crazy one. Now after a long day with my own littles, I have the urge... no... more than that... I have the NEED to call my mom sometimes and just say... "I'm so sorry. I was an asshat. Please tell me that you like me now and I DID grow out of it and these monsters I birthed will become bearable again too someday? Just lie to me if you have to, mom... I just need to hear those words from you, mom." And usually in those moments, she laughs at me. Not in a mean way, but like "See. Karma is a bitch, isn't it, my dear?" kinda way. And then she says something to the effect... Meh, don't worry. I like you most days now. And just think of the bright side, you have a daughter too that will one day say the same thing to you. Her karma will get her too....And then we sing the "Circle of Life". Ok, so no, not really. But maybe we would in the Made-for-TV musical that will one day be made about my life. The best part would be that the soundtrack would basically be a mixed tape of the best of 80s, 90s, and 00s. You're welcome for the future gem. I will keep you posted on when I get the deal for that one.

Wait, what was I talking about... Oh yeah, my mom rules. She has been through some rough shit and no, she didn't always have a smile on her face. She wasn't always positive Suzy Sunshine like some people say of their moms. "Blah Blah Blah. She always had a smile." Screw that. My mom was real. Sure, she laughed sometimes...  a lot even. She laughed even if it was sometimes morbid, inappropriate, or just plain silly to just get through the moment. But she cried sometimes too. She cried when she was sad and also when she was so filled with so much happy she couldn't contain that either. She also raged sometimes too. She fought sometimes when the fight needed to be fought and other times she walked away because she didn't want to say something she might regret. She taught me that all of that is OK. She's passionate and fiery and frankly kind of a bad-ass. The bottom line was that she loves her people with the fiercest kind of love. She would grab my hand and hold it until I looked at her in the eyes and then say something so profound in so few words that it would hit me to my very core. I think I write with a lot of words and ramble on. She says just what she needs to say and it's like POW!!!! I think she might have originated the "Drop Mic" moment.

I remember this one time I was sitting in my car with her and I was having a really rough time with momming and wife-ing and working and life-ing. I tried to stifle my ugly cry tears and push down all the crap I was feeling with pithy one liners like... "What can ya do?" And "I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other." and finally "My kids shouldn't see me like this."....  She took my hand and squeezed as she quietly said "You deserve to be taken care of too sometimes." BOOM! DROP MIC! And then the REAL UGLY CRY started because it was like with that one statement I had permission to totally fall apart and she would have my back, so everything was going to be OK. The irony is (and I didn't even know it at the time), but I frankly couldn't even start to put my shit back together until I totally emptied my heart into a puddle of tears around my gear shift, holding my mom's hand.

See, she has these poignant moments where she fills the space with alternating booming laugh at the absurdity of life and quiet thoughtful listening and then just says or does the one thing totally unexpected to make you completely reframe your perspective. And then she hugs you. Not like a hug hug tap tap, but like a hug that just fills your soul. I cherish those moments. I cherish those fleeting words of encouragement in my ear as she pulls me close and fills me with her strength and goodness.

I was thinking the other night that I'm gonna be sad when my daughter who is now 10, stops snuggling with me. I'm not gonna lie, sometimes I wanna still snuggle my mama. I'm 35 and I find myself sitting on the couch with her sometimes and I just want to lift up her arm, wrap it around my shoulders, and snuggle into her on the couch just like my kiddos do to me right now. Is that weird? I think it might be weird, so I don't, but I want too. But now that I think about it, maybe she would be cool with it because I hope my baby girl always wants to snuggle me. Even when I'm 90. Which I know is weird but I frankly don't care... So fair warning mom. I'm probably gonna snuggle you pretty hard next time we are sitting on the couch, whether you like it or not. But I think she will be cool now and just wrap those arms around me, the more I think on it.

Do you know what else I love? She hates her hands. They are large and she always thinks they are farmer man hands but I LOVE them. I LOVE THOSE HANDS SOOOOO MUCH!!! They have held my hands. They have healed me. They have supported me. They have brushed my hair and rubbed my back when I was sick. They have made me countless dinners and written me a 1000 notes of love and support. It's like love just pours out of those hands. All I see when I look at those hands is hard work and kindness and how much she loves her people. I love those hands and I always think "How can you not see how much those hands have done and how much love has been poured out through the simplest of touches from those fingertips?" I think it's one of the weirdest things that we just don't agree on. I just shake my head because I just can't see anything of what she sees when she looks at those same hands. I just want to put them around my body in a giant bear hug and feel the strength and love that pours out of those beautiful wonderful hands.

So anyway, here I go... rambling on. My mom is awesome and I think it's good to tell her once a year, that she rocks. Can't do it too much, cuz she will just get a big head. BAHAHAHAHAHA and sidenote, I'm sure my sister just forgot to put my name on the card of those flowers she sent you... hahahahahahaha. Ok. I'm too old to even claim that one. But I love you to the moon and back. Mwa! Happy Mama's Day!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dearly beloved We are gathered here today To get through this thing called life

Prince is gone. And I'm actually genuinely and truly sad tonight. I feel empty. I didn't know the man. I never shook his hand or had a cup of coffee with him. I loved his music but I wasn't some sort of crazy super fan. I could sing probably 70% of his music and yes, I would jam harder at a stoplight than the average bear when Let's Go Crazy came on the radio, but I never had posters on my wall or owned all his albums. That being said, there is something about his passing that tugs at me. That makes me feel things that I don't know if I have ever before felt about a musicians' death, which is weird for me. When David Bowie passed I thought oh, that is sad and he was an amazing artist, and that was the end of my thought. (Not to take anything away from David Bowie. Let's give credit where credit is due and he was amazing. No hate mail please.)

But this feels different. This feels personal. This something in me ended with Prince. An era? A piece of my formative years? The tiny secret dream to one day rule the world like he had? I don't know. Or maybe it's just the realization he wasn't actually superhuman as I always thought of him, that has me feeling so vulnerable. The knowledge that after all this, he was just a man, who passed in an elevator of unknown causes, at least as of right now. And that makes me sad. Like the illusion of his superhero persona could be cracked by something so trivial as life. That seems impossible and somehow just wrong. *Sigh* 

Prince was an icon of my childhood and teen years. He was an artist that was so awesome in fact, that he could just wake up one day and tell everyone "So I'm changing my name and I'm NOT changing it to another name, like Fred or Sam. You can just refer to me as this... 

                                                        Image result for prince symbol. 

I mean... come on. Who the hell can do something like that? Nobody. Well nobody, but Prince that is. And the world lost it's mind for all of about 10 minutes. And then after the hoopla calmed down, there was a collective shrug of acceptance from the masses that pretty much said... Well he IS Prince after all, and he can pretty much do whatever the hell he feels like, because he is that damn amazing. If he wants to be a symbol now... ok. Who are we to tell greatness what he can and can't do? And from then on he was "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince."  Well until he reclaimed his name a few years later. Yeah, he changed his mind and was like. Nah, Prince is cool again. Ummm what? Oh my god. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-mazing. The man transcended having a freaking name, people. I am smiling and shaking my head just thinking about how big of balls it takes to do something like that. And it makes me so happy. 

Maybe THAT is why I liked him so much. He just didn't care what other people thought about what he was doing. He knew he was awesome and the people around him were either going to get on the train with him or he would happily wave (or throw the middle finger) as he passed them by, onto whatever he decided was the next thing he was going to do. There is something about the fact that he was just willing to go for it and not give two shits what the haters have to say about it. He was most definitely a weirdo in every sense of the word but he just didn't care and he did it with such gusto. It made every person that didn't fit the mold or didn't WANT to fit the mold have hope that it wasn't for nothing. He was a true original and was ultimately proud to fly that freak flag without hesitation or question. And that was soooooooo awesome. 

It spoke to a generation of confused misfits that were caught between convention and art or something in between. He inspired millions to embrace the weirdo inside themselves in whatever form that meant for them. Own it, believe in it, and just go for it with your entire being... heart, mind, and body. And screw anybody that didn't believe in you. It was such a message of hope AND he introduced a soundtrack to each reinvention of awesome that he took to live his dream, and all of us little freaks lived vicariously through each reincarnation. 

Yeah, it wasn't just about the man, but the soundtrack of the man. The man was WILDLY FREAKING TALENTED!!! And yes, that deserves 3 exclamation points. His music from the late 70s to present has been revolutionary and exceptional in every sense of the word from start to finish. He wasn't just pop, or rock, or jazz, or R&B, or funk. He was ALL OF THEM! He crossed genres and was enigmatic and extraordinary in almost every musical direction he pushed himself. He was universally revered in his field and inspired so many musicians to push themselves to reinvent what music could do for the artists and for the masses. 

And as he became comfortable in his role as a father to a musical generation, he fostered so much creativity and musical talent at Paisley Park right here in Minneapolis. He welcomed so many new and upcoming artists that it saddens me to think that there is no outlet quite the same as there was just a 24 hours ago for this musical creativity. 

So in short, I'm really really sad. And I don't know what to do with it. I just sit here listening to my Prince albums and thinking about what I should or could do. This will be inevitably one of thousands of tributes to the man and the legend and I should probably just bury my head in the sand for someone with far better writing skills to pay homage to him but I would kick myself if I didn't say the words that this has all been leading up to... thank you. 

Maybe that is all that is needed to say. Thank you for allowing a generation of weirdos to express themselves in a way that makes sense for themselves. Thank you for paving the road to allow a generation to love ourselves OUTSIDE the mold and thank you for teaching us to know our worth and life is too short to worry about the small stuff. So I leave you with the prophetic and amazing lyric of the amazing... Prince....

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life

Electric word life
It means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here to tell you
There's something else
The after world

A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything'll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby

'Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You're on your own

And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy, punch a higher floor

If you don't like the world you're living in
Take a look around you
At least you got friends

You see I called my old lady
For a friendly word
She picked up the phone
Dropped it on the floor
(Ah, ah) is all I heard

Are we gonna let the elevator
Bring us down
Oh, no let's go!

Let's go crazy
Let's get nuts
Let's look for the purple banana
'Til they put us in the truck, let's go!

We're all excited
But we don't know why
Maybe it's 'cause
We're all gonna die

And when we do (When we do)
What's it all for (What's it all for)
You better live now
Before the grim reaper come knocking on your door

Tell me, are we gonna let the elevator bring us down
Oh, no let's go!

Let's go crazy
Let's get nuts
Look for the purple banana
'Til they put us in the truck, let's go!

C'mon baby
Let's get nuts

Let's go crazy

Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down
Oh, no let's go!
Go crazy
I said let's go crazy (Go crazy)
Let's go, let's go
Let's go

Dr. Everything'll be alright
Will make everything go wrong
Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill
Hang tough children

He's coming
He's coming

Take me away!