Her Shampoo

There is something about grief that goes against everything I was ever taught, and that is; if you work really hard you can fix something. Or: If you want something bad enough you can get it. Or: Bootstraps bla bla bla. The truth is, is that there is no coming back. The truth is, is that there is nothing to come back to. There are no bootstraps, there is no fixing or filling or striving or commandeering this. It resides in me, it is me, I am bereft, I am hollow, yet I am full, I am a ghost and yet I also chase ghosts. There is nothing to believe in. Eventually I come back into the world in whatever broken way I can because I have bills, but I am never fully back in.

The wind blows through me, no amount of self care in the world can fix this gaping, living, breathing hole that now resides in my heart and eats all of my food. It is like that parasite that lives in clown fish and replaces their tongues  I may curl my hair, wear lipstick, laugh with friends, just like the parasite host; the fish goes about it’s life. Humans put on their human bodies and we participate in the world, but for the grieving one’s, our heart is not in the game. We have loved ones, and we have care and we know survival and all of these things are in picture frames that decorate our lives but we are like a sheet hanging on the line with the breeze blowing through it moving however it likes. That little parasite always visible.

fish

I can understand hoarders now. Watching that show, I used to get so mad at the people wanting to keep old diapers and dried up, dead cats, and mounds of rotten food. All of these people had a common string of loss somewhere in their story. Sometimes it was a divorce, or big a life change and sometimes it actually was a death. Something happened to them that they never came back from the ‘thing’ that broke them. I empathized with this in their stories but I always got so mad that they would rather hang on to that stuff so much so, that their water would be shut off by the city and they’d poop in a bag over moving on. They always kept all the stuff that reminded them of their ‘before’ life. The thing that they ‘missed’. I understand it now.

I have all of Savannah’s things. I don’t have a closet in my studio apartment. There is one little built in cabinet thingy that serves as a closet and me being the master of organization have found a way to keep all of her things and mine in an orderly fashion and still have my apartment space. I have all of her books, clothes, stuffed animals, journals, makeup, hair products, lotions, hair ties and bandannas. I have her shampoo and conditioner. She had just bought colossal sizes of both as she was moving into her own place, but she died. I am to the point now that those things are starting to run out. I am ignoring how much this upsets me.

I know she is dead, I know she is not coming back, I know that if I don’t have these things anymore that all of this will still be happening but I don’t want to run out of the shampoo and conditioner. I don’t want to use all of the lotions. Do I expect to have these things around until I myself die? I don’t know. I am not thinking about the future in any way shape or form, I am just worried about the running out of her things. That’s the other thing grief did to me, it took away my ability to see or care about my future. Funny that that’s what Zen is supposed to be like. The Here and Now of it all.

Given this careless future thingy, I have been going about my life in a sort of fearless manner. Moving to a new city, changing every habit that I’ve ever had, reading voraciously like I did when I was a kid, lying motionless in bed for hours and days sometimes; breaking every rule I’ve ever made for my adult self. Applying for a job I never thought I’d get because it sounded amazing and like I’d be perfect for it. Telling people what I think of things, not giving two fucks if I upset them because I no longer try to guess how they feel. I do not having the capacity to take care of another soul nor worry about if they can take care of mine and this has changed me and the way I am my SELF to others. Getting the job I never thought I’d get. I got it.

I have a salaried job. I can pay my rent. I will be making food for people and running the whole entire kitchen system at a safe-house. I get to take care of people by just being there and helping them feed themselves and by existing in this form, I can help them. I found out my previous frat house job had a GM who was manipulating my position there and thought I was taking advantage of them so he was not giving me the hours I needed. WOW. That’s what prompted this. I refused to beg for hours all summer and thought I’ll just work somewhere else. I fretted and cried and worried and this man shit on this grieving mom for months and looked me in the eye and called himself ‘my family’. Ironically enough, nothing could be more true.

Since I no longer care or need permission to have my feelings, I found all of this out because I spoke up. It got worse and worse; the information I found out. It turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done is stand up and voice myself with no editor or no worry about ‘how I seem’. I didn’t let ‘the men talk’ and I blew everything up in their faces and none of it really matters anyway. It changed my life so drastically for the better; to take these actions, and this call to adventure, that now, I can’t believe I am in the position I am in in this body in my life right now. I want to hoard more shampoo. I always want to have her lotions.

I am breaking out of my life into a life I didn’t even know could be mine. It is not mine. It is the other self’s life. I feel like a cardboard cut out of me is doing all of these things. I am also going after the rehabilitation center where Savannah died. One person against the broken machine of a system who profits from people’s fears and pain. Joining with Shatterproof so I can be an advocate for change. I hate groups, but they have a platform dedicated to this very thing. Right now I am one lady going ballistic online, calling journalists, the DEA, planning a march, calling and writing anyone and any system involved in this same broken system that created it. It’s like watching the beginning of 2001 a Space Odyssey.

The awful evolution, the overacting extras in monkey suits, the beautiful music, all part of the system that we just accept and help create just by being in it. Watching monkey’s and being a monkey. Asking monkey’s for help. Some of the monkey’s are like me and lost in the same system and doing their part to fight back. Given the number of opioid deaths in this country however, this small army is growing, but it is hard to fight things from under grief. Sometimes you just want the monkey’s to have their bones so you can just go back to bed.

My cardboard cutout buys healthy food but my real self doesn’t see the point in living a healthy life. I eat the food. I also sneak away from healthy Judy and buy cake and candy and sugar and beer. So many rules have defined my life that I just can’t bear to stick to any now.

There are nightmares and re-reading of journals and texts and thinking back to when she was three or seven or thirteen and wondering if I could have done something different. How did such a brave, strong, sensible, discreet kid get into heroin? It must have been something done to her or her psyche. Or is it just a shot in the dark that gives us all our lives and demeanor’s and pain and pleasures? Why am I still here when I should have been dead a thousand times already? I picked up hitchhikers. I drove drunk. I let men beat me. Is it like Groundhog Day or Russian Doll where the main character tries to save the life of someone so many different ways only to watch them die anyway? If I went back in time and changed that one day would she have died in another year from a different thing? I would spend a lifetime looking for that day.

Is she mad at me for talking about this? Is she in a better place? Is human life really this stupid?

Even if you shut all of this off; all of this universe crap and ‘better place’ crap, you still have grief. You still have the hole. You can appear in any way shape or form here on this earth and you will always be beside yourself. Literally, you can look over and see yourself standing there. Both of you with the same look on your face.

I can buy more shampoo.

It will always be her shampoo.

New Year, No Gurus

I am finding that I am getting through the day because, well, it is a day that has 24 hours to it (on this planet) and I am alive in it. That’s it. There is no magic spell. There is no Dream It and Make It Happen Genie that grants you anything. I am doing my best. I am spending time alone, I am spending time with friends old and new; these are very genuine and loving relationships. I had a wonderful trip with my son to the beach over Christmas and it was rewarding and beautiful and relaxing and fun.  He is one of the best people I know. I almost didn’t go on the trip because of money and it was so wonderful, I am glad we did it. Good things are happening and I am being in ‘life’ like I am supposed to but I still want to give up every single day.

When Savannah died in April, I wanted to die. People told me not to die. I did not die. I searched for the meaning in life, in my life, in how one stays on the planet after tragedy. I listened to audio meditations, ‘healing’ meditations, I  held fundraisers, I promoted a non profit that fights addiction and raised over $4000, I scoured the internet for grief counseling, wrote in journals, read Savannah’s journals, did my tarot, painted, wrote, went to a bereaved parents group, reached out with all of the reach I had and spent hours and hours researching every single thing I could find on grief and death. I watched tragic, awful stories on Netflix about murder, torture, escape and death to see if there are worse things. (There are plenty.) I had my headphones on most of the time at work or during my time alone listening to self help gurus, meditation music, guided meditations; which for years has gotten me through stuff, until finally I had a breakdown. I ripped my apartment apart; ripped everything from the walls and smashed a lot of stuff. (It was very satisfying and Marie Kondo ain’t got nothing on me.) I scared my family. No one knew what to do with me. This is suicidal depression.

Positive affirmations are so evasive on social media; you can’t get away from memes telling you to BE HAPPY, or BE SAD. Or BE ANXIOUS. Apparently every single emotion and feeling is perfectly fine and absolutely normal and you need to just go about your day. Its mostly the being happy ones, the striving for success ones, the pick yourself up and dust yourself off Memes- I can’t take them anymore. The world in general, wants to swallow these sayings like some big pill, so that they can ‘be positive’ in hopes that some ‘positive magic’ will come in and take over for them. (Like God, but for ‘spiritual not religious’ people. Its a positive affirmation instead of a prayer.) And it does, ‘come in’ for a bit. Reading them and believing in them and using them to motivate me got me this far, but when something horrible actually happened in my life, I quit believing in this ‘positive’ over meme’d magic.

There is no magic. There is no pill. These are lies we tell ourselves so we will get out of bed and keep everything in a friendly, even keeled fog. Even if you get out of bed, there is still the floor you have to walk on. There are clothes you have to wear, bills you have to pay, food you have to ingest. This positive affirmation shit is no longer cutting it for me. I have to pay rent. I have to quit missing work. I could ‘dream big’ and ‘believe’ all I wanted; I was going to get evicted DREAMING about success and money and happiness.

I got to the point where I could no longer ignore the fact that all of these self help coaches and gurus I’ve been listening to, all happen to be multimillionaires. Do you really want to know a good way to be successful and rich? Sell your ‘happy’ ideas to a very vulnerable and semi bourgeois, very WHITE, audience who have a big disposable income and who are suffering from First World miseries who will buy your books and tapes and pay several hundreds of dollars to hear you tell them to ignore reality, get into the ‘vortex’, think and dream big and IT will happen. Meanwhile, doing these things does not pay your bills. If I had listened to this shit for reals, I wouldn’t be here. I couldn’t just dream of money, I had to go make some so I wouldn’t be homeless.

I moved up to Boulder and Savannah died the very next day. I moved here because I was going to do my Reiki and start my business as a healer again but when I got the news, it all seemed a sham. The great healer…couldn’t do a fucking thing about her own daughter. I didn’t get any ‘feelings’ from her the night she died, I had no ‘energy force’ reach me, I couldn’t zap into her body and prevent her from dying from a drug overdose with my Reiki vibes. It’s all part of that magic people want to believe in so desperately that they’ll give you money for it. I don’t believe anymore.

I was faced with making the decision of going back to my apartment in Denver to live with my boyfriend and his three small kids (every weekend) or go for it in the city I had wanted to live in for years and try and make it on my own with every dream dashed and start all over from below zero. I didn’t even have a job. The plan was to work with my friend in her biz and build mine and work somewhere and build build build this ‘healing’ practice. It all dissipated. The help, the friend, the healing idea overall. And I couldn’t go BACK. To anything. My life was forever changed.

I did not have the mental capacity to deal with small kids or present any kind of ‘normal’ to anyone so I could not go back to living with boyfriend.  I did not want to take care of any living souls at all whatsoever in any kind of way, nor was I capable. I don’t have to raise three very young kids who are not mine and I have the piece of mind to know this despite society/ego/self cramming it down women’s throats that we are nurturers. Motherhood is a load of shit and the hardest work you will ever do that there are no rewards for no matter what everyone tells you or what you tell yourself. Children aren’t like puppies, they are human beings that you had sex with someone to make. They come out of you and you raise them and feed them and have fun, memory lasting, good times with them. They become themselves and their own beings and sometimes even after all of that; they die. I simply can’t take on three kids who have a mother and a father already. It’s their job.

Ask any woman in her 50’s (and over), if in her next life, she would have kids. Go ahead. Ask one. A very close friend will tell you NO. No WAY. Your life is on hold as soon as that baby pops out. No matter how cool you think you are; running 5k’s, being in cross fit or starting businesses…oh yes, We may strive, as mothers, we may thrive, but mostly we survive it. We make due. We wait. Look at any famous successful women, I mean REALLY SUCCESSFUL. They either don’t have kids or had the kids and still chose the career and had someone raise the kids and they are forever judged for it. There is no way out of this thing unscathed. Or maybe she chose a job that ‘works around the kids’. Doesn’t count. She had to put off what she wanted. The man just continues on with his day, his job, his life. #metoo will never happen to moms. It will never be EQUAL. Stay at home dads are treated like Gods. Even if a woman has a 6 figure income and she’s an amazing, amazon woman…SHE LEFT HER CHILDREN to be successful. Yeah, next life…no way. This life however, I will continue to fight having to scrape the bottom of the barrel just to pay rent.

Children have minds of their own and you as a parent are not the light of their life past the age of 11. I am lucky enough to have had the pleasure to actually like and enjoy my children immensely. They were and are some of the best, most interesting, and loving, kindest people in the world. My parents did not like me, (you do not HAVE TO like your kids.) I just happen to think very highly of mine and was/still am very proud of them. Savannah put me through the ringer, but she was one of the coolest people I will ever know. I will never be as talented, as good of a writer, as raw and real as her, nor have any minuscule of the fashion sense she had or be as good of a friend as she was. My son is an adult and living his life and we are very close and comfortable together and have fun and laugh and laugh together and we are honest with each other and I couldn’t ask for a more loving soul to call my son.

I am justifying here that I can have these unconventional thoughts on motherhood in general AND still be an empathetic, lighthearted, adventurous, soul who is also a mother, but who can no longer listen to the bullshit of the push for mandatory happiness. Good attitude? I got it. Sure! Laugh more? I definitely work on that by trying to watch less tragedies. I’m too much of a realist to get over this immense pain of losing a daughter by way of meme’s and the law of attraction.

Every time I listened to Abraham Hicks (whom I have been listening to for at least six years now…) I began to wonder if any of the advice she gives would help, say…a mother who’s child has been taken by ICE. If this mother could afford a $250 ticket to a Phoenix speaking engagement perhaps or a possible $14,000 ticket in a high end room on a cruise ship seminar, would this woman, who’s child was locked in a cage in America, who is sad and grieving and worried; would these seminars and Laws of Attraction help her? If she could just ‘imagine’ her child not locked up, not in danger, maybe she could get through this.

Nope. I’m not buying it.

Abraham/Esther speaks about all of her homes and cars and trips non stop. I get it. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our cool stuff and her talking about it helped everyone accept wealth into their ‘vortex’.  A real, ‘If she can do it, gosh darn it, so can I!’ attitude. And more power to her entrepreneurial self for working hard and making all of her money. She had her husband pass away so I was very interested in her teachings getting me through my grief. All I heard now in my new life, that I am forced to lead, was people whining about money and that death wasn’t real because we are all eternal souls. Which is great for the dead person. The living mother that I am now, left behind in this non blissful, painful realm of the human life we lead here on earth, was not BUYING IT. None of this was hitting home anywhere for me and my grief let alone in my job search.

Being in the midst of a real life altering, tragic death, lifted the veil for me. Are people who are starving in the world going to get anything out of these seminars? No. Trump probably listens to them too. He sure believes in himself and thinks everything he wants is possible. He dreams big doesn’t he? He has lots of money. He thinks he’s right about his thoughts and feelings and that he’s just misunderstood. Read ANY MEME now and imagine Trump reading it. It will kill it for you.

Anyway, starving people can’t afford to attend these seminars and doing so won’t feed their families. Why don’t they give this advice for free if they believe in it so much? Why not go to the poorest of poor villages on earth and give free self help seminars? Or just HELP.

Abraham/Esther promotes ignoring reality. Which in theory is beautiful! Don’t get me wrong, I am so annoyed by reality and its relentless ability to set fire to all of my grandiose dreams and desires, believe me, I have created my own little world here in my apartment nest. Especially after I ripped it apart and nailed blackout curtains to the wall. I found this ‘wishful thinking’ and ‘build it and they will come’ type of advice and belief system to be total bullshit. They’ve got this covered too though, by leading you to believe its not working because you don’t believe in it enough. So the six year old with leukemia just doesn’t trust the future enough? Or believe it to be true enough, so they die?

Positive Thinking gives us all a false sense of REWARD. As if we are all entitled to feel better than others because of our amazing attitude that the Debbie Downers just can’t achieve. And along the same lines of this, people who are ‘negative’, are also justly punished under the same veil of falsely accusing themselves of not being ‘strong willed’ enough. So I guess all those sick and dying babies in the world are just not good enough to stay on the planet because they don’t believe.

Again…I am all for having a good attitude. I am a friendly, congenial, compassionate person. I’m just not swallowing the pill of HAPPINESS OR DIE.

So I tried to find gurus who maybe do speak to the poorest of poor. Sadhguru. Again with all the wealth and fame and cars and houses. Dandapani…nope. Took the name of an ancient king, but has a degree in electrical engineering, became a monk, got married, and has cashed IN!! (I’m sure their love is real. Who am I?) Eckhart Tolle! Who wouldn’t love that guy? He has the more nihilistic approach by far, which I like in a guru, but I cannot afford to ever go see him. Even if I could, is he going to make sure I don’t miss any more work because I can’t function or will he pitch in when rent is due? Or do I just close my eyes and stay present? No. No one is going to do that but me. Plenty of people are helping me, have helped me and continue to help me but I have to do the work. It is sucky, awful work and the worst reason imaginable to do the work; my daughter died and I have to carry on because I have a son and CONFESSION: because I kinda want to see what happens.

One day when I was driving I had a ‘Final Destination’ moment. The one where I’m on the highway and a giant truck appears in front of me that is carrying very dangerous metal things on the back of it. I went into my typical fantasy mode which I usually do when I am behind a truck with very dangerous metal things on the back of it; imagining being killed. The best part about this fantasy is that I die but not by way of suicide; something just kills me. I have concluded that it would be so much easier this way and also not my fault. Then I had a revelation.

I had spent so many years doing this, this not wanting to not be alive anymore, that this game was natural and a natural fantasy for me to really ‘feel’ what it would be like to not be here anymore. I could imagine all the ‘feelings’ of disappearing. Imagine people finding me, coming to the hospital, or apartment, or highway roadside. The fantasy usually ended up with imagining my kids getting the news of my death and then being devastated and making those feelings real would usually pull me out of it. Now, I was the devastated one, so there was no stopping me. I imagined being killed in my car by these giant steel tubes and then I imagined seeing Savannah and running up to her and it ‘felt’ great. Then she turned around was was all: ‘What are YOU doing here?’ She was pissed! ‘I missed you!’ I said. ‘I wanted to be with you! I hate this!’ I said. ‘No! No, you can’t be here!’ She told me. I thought she was sad I was dead but it was something totally different. She conveyed to me that she had immense things to learn and that she was busy and didn’t have time to help me with this whole death thing. She was very annoyed. She was in her own experience and it had nothing to do with me. That was a game changer. My death fantasy even got fucked. Nothing works anymore.

A few weeks later I tried the fantasy again and imagined a speeding car hitting me and killing me instantly, this time when I ‘died’ my first ‘feeling’ was ‘NO! WAIT! I HAVE STUFF TO DO!’ This shocked me. The fantasy no longer worked. I wanted to hang out here a bit longer and I was hesitant in the fantasy to ‘die’. I do want to see what’s going to happen. Everything changed.

I was struggling with money and working and not making enough to pay rent and this was only three months after Savannah died. I cried all the time and found it very difficult to work. I went to quit my job, was ready to pack and had two helpers who would move me back to Denver/Boyfriend’s apartment that afternoon. My aunt encouraged me to go into my job and quit in person and not do my regular disappearing act and to just tell them what was going on. She runs a restaurant and she is always willing to help people with work struggles. I took her advice and went in person to quit and got offered my current position and a pay raise. That boggled my mind. I told them everything that was happening. They helped me. So I called off the moving crew. All my typical rugs had been pulled out from under me.

Most recently, I realized I was not getting the hours I needed to make enough to pay my bills. I thought I was doing so good just keeping the job. Still crying…A LOT but I was showing up. So my first thought of a solution was to ‘Dream Big’ and ‘Believe’ that I would have all the money I needed. I love to travel and I thought I’d rent a room, pay less rent this way, live smaller, work my job and try and save money so I could travel more. New idea: DONE. (Still on the Believe It And It Will Come track.)

Then I had my third revelation: The easiest straight line to my money solution would just be: work more. I could simply ask for more hours, put my time in and make it a point to keep my apartment and build my own financial stability from the ground up. Wow. Just work more. Odd concept. No dreamers need apply.

That sounded realistically easier than what I was preparing to do in my new scheme which would have involved ten times more suffering regarding: A) trying to get out of my lease contract B) owing money for breaking my lease C) moving in with people I don’t know D) borrowing money to move in with people I don’t know E) giving up my privacy and alone time F) not having an independent lifestyle and living under someone’s house rules G) never digging in and making my life mine by always relying on someone else to provide the place/roof under which I live. It was so simple when I took dreaming out of the equation. If I just asked for more hours, I could keep my independence which means more to me than almost anything I suppose. Again my boyfriend offered to let me move in with him and not work til I figured this out; DREAM COME TRUE!!!! NOT WORK???? HELL YEAH!!! Honestly. I would be almost 90 steps back if I did that and I don’t want to handle his kids and when would I ever just settle into a life I wanted? Always running, always chasing the Law of Attraction DREAMSCAPE. If you want it it will come to you…

NO. I can’t live like this.

This is the essence of what living big means to me. LIVING. Listening to people. Communicating. Being with real people. Not memes. Hugging strangers and being kind and opening up and making someone else’s world better. Not selling people bullshit. Stepping IN to your LIFE. Saying hi. Shutting off that needy brain. There is no vortex. There’s just YOU.

I asked for more hours.

I got them.

I went on a beach Christmas vacation.

I put my apartment back together.

I have to leave now to go clock in.

I let my landlord know I am catching up and rent will be late. She was wonderful.

I am cutting hair on The Hill for all the college kids I know.

I am planning more trips.

My boyfriend and family and I had the best New Year’s Eve party ever.

I didn’t give anyone any money to figure this out.

fishing

I Can Be This Broke Anywhere

If I’m gonna be broke, I want to be broke all over the world.

And the best way to follow your dreams is start living them in the present moment. I will be a visitor and traveler everywhere I go. I no longer wait for adventures I create them. I have everything to gain. I might just be down the street sometimes but Boulder is a huge destination place and people from all the world come here; and I live here. If I’m going to work and save my money, I’m gonna save it so I can travel around the world.

I did it in my 20s and I have missed it immensely ever since. Back then someone paid my way and now I’m going to do it myself. Especially since a lot of the bloggers and ‘influencers’ (new word) now are very young; when I go out by myself all over town I see women doing the same thing that are my age or older, we want to travel alone too. I want to influence that! An old broad abroad.

Especially now; in this year (months) of grieving so heavily and feeling like I don’t have any fears because the worst thing to happen already took place. Anthony will travel with me sometimes! He’s a great adventurer and will pretty much do anything. And traveling alone is awesome too. I was on a little roll last year and had previously promised myself I would go somewhere every three months and I did it and I miss it and I want it back.

I have a job now that allows me time off when school is out and I would like to work my way into a place to live where I don’t have to pay so much rent and be out of town whenever school is out.

Ideally, Airbnb was awesome but the landlord crashed down pretty hard on that and it got kaboshed. So I will just hang out here until my lease runs out in May then I will figure out what I’m doing (for the rest of my life it seems) and in the meantime, I’ll run around town writing up places I go in Boulder. In December I’ll be in San Diego in March I’m planning a trip, in June I’m planning a trip, in September I’m planning a trip and I’m just gonna stay on this roll in this little bubble of mine where everything I want already exists.❤️😇💛

Living With Sad

You put it in the car with you when you are going to the movies. You tell it:  be quiet now, we are going to have fun it is OK for us to have fun please just sit here I will get back to you later.

You sit across from it while you are eating dinner. You tell it: We are eating dinner now I have to eat. It’s OK for me to enjoy things like cheese sauce and chocolate chips. You are going to have to wait. I cannot cry while I swallow food.

Some days it gets to have all of your time and you cry and cry and cry without a care in the world because no one is around or someone you love very much is around and you both share your time with this Sad and then you get to move on for a moment.

And it is moment by moment like this. You aren’t running from it, you aren’t all consumed by it, it is part of you; it is your partner, it is your new soulmate and it is your new annoying friend because it opens a window for you to see the world so much differently than you ever saw it before.

Photo by Jody Fausett – AMAZING ARTIST!!!

collageart/painting by me💛

Part of Healing

Besides crying everywhere I go in an uncontrollable manner, as if I am so used to it, as if I have allergies, as if like it is just a part of me, as if I have always been this way; I’ve been delving more into art and creativity. The real world is so full of pain, I have created a place of peace and quiet in having peace and quiet.

In this place of peace I have found a strength in Savannah wherein usually resides severe, black, empty sorrow. It just doesn’t feel right to have that energy around her. She did not fill the space of that. Her body did, her suffering did but her soul and the peace she conveyed in living her life did not. Now she has this soft, gentle voice of encouragement and love about her that resonates more deeply with me.

If I go into the past I am in pain. I miss her immensely in this human world. I have my own past of pain, so much so that working through it all, I find that I don’t want to be here most days. My better self keeps me here and keeps me trudging along. My son keeps me here, my friends, my family I have made.

I will be writing more but keeping more private at the same time.

Here are some fresh berries and my morning coffee.

No More ‘At Leasts’

Please read this article by Peg Streep. You Had a Toxic Parent But Your Siblings Say They Didn’t 

It feels so good to know I am not alone. That this is a ‘thing’, a real form of dysfunction and it has been completely crystallized during the most trying time in my life. My mother called me the day Savannah died – did nothing but talk about my siblings and told me ‘everyone is calling (my sister) because they’re so worried about her because she’s pregnant’-(like 4 weeks pregnant btw) (also on this day she decided to tell me this info.) This IS ON THE DAY MY DAUGHTER DIED. (Truly baffling) Not one member of that family called me, ever, and then said only four words to me at the funeral: sorry for your loss. Like strangers; actually strangers have been kinder. But she still wanted to let me know the other sister was getting called and warranted all the concern. I haven’t heard from them since. —-I know I walked away, my children had relationships with these family members, I never cut that off, I did my own thing trying to survive; I just thought the death of my child would open up a little gap of something else to take place in for a little while.

I was wrong.

I am out of shock now, and see this clearly. Most recently my mom informed me she can no longer come to any events regarding Savannah as they are too sad and she has a new grandbaby on the way. -Sick- (This was at the Casa Bonita party which was so fun, but she and stepdad and my ex and his wife sat in a completely different area away from the entire group that was celebrating.)(And yes, my mother has a relationship with my ex husband of 20 years but not with me.)(COOCOO pants anyone???)

Here’s where I get stuck, and where I think I keep falling into this trap.

I can hear that voice of the devil’s advocate, or ego, or that ever strong voice that was programmed into me that made me believe the core root of myself is bad, the one that says: ‘at least they came’ (to the funeral/event/thingy) somehow insinuating that I should be grateful and they did nothing.

WHY DO WE DO THAT TO OURSELVES? That ‘at least’ voice? Why does that part even enter in? It’s from being ingrained into me by narcissistic, toxic parents and spouses, that I inherently know I am bad and because of that I am allowed ZERO feelings. It’s the ego chiming in to make sure I don’t get too far from shame. ‘How dare you speak out against these people!’ The ego says in their defense. ‘AT LEAST THEY CAME/called/bla bla bla’. Savannah’s father SHOOK MY HAND at the event. His wife said nothing and didn’t even look at me or interact with any of Savannah’s group of friends, their parents, ANYONE there…despite the fact that she isn’t quiet and didn’t mind having it announced at the funeral show that I was the ‘biological mother’ and named herself as the parent. (Of four years btw) She’s a real go getter. Real upstanding catholic citizen. But ‘at least’ I should be happy for their appearance?

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The mistake I made, the lesson learned that day was not that I am a victim, let me just make that very clear, it is that I am always on the lookout for what I can learn. Always. Every situation. What did I learn here? That I was feeling like I should invite them so they could participate in this happy thing, so they could share in some good stuff at this awful time, be around young people. To be real honest and dig real deep though, I guess I was probably hoping they would see me as a person. Lesson learned. The act of me inviting them was about getting permission and hoping to be validated by the people who have undermined me my entire life. My entire youth. Say WOW THANKS JUDY THIS WAS NICE.

I was 22 when I got married. —-Savannah’s age. Wow.

How dare these people fuck me over during my most best youth. I refuse to let them keep that. I am a strong, independent person. And I have them to thank for that actually. The lesson here is that I don’t need permission. They can have their own events. I don’t need to invite them into my space during very special and meaningful times.

I conceived of this Casa Bonita party to gather up friends for something other than a funeral. In Savannah’s most favorite place ever. That kid. She loved Casa Bonita. I shouldn’t have made it a Shatterproof event either. I thought I needed something to stand on to get people to come. I also have an overwhelming feeling of Doing Something Good. I want to help other families, somehow, in some way. Shatterproof does that. I don’t know. I’m still navigating this.

I am learning a lot here. Regardless, we ran around that night at Casa Bonita, watched videos, went in Black Bart’s Cave, and I got to share some time with some of Savannah’s closest friends. It was amazing. Nothing will take that away. But the eye opening I had, even after 20 some years, was profound and cemented the deal to myself to be true to my heart. It was my heart’s idea to have this party. I like it when I listen to my heart.

Five years ago there was an ‘at least’ when my mom offered to help with Savannah while she was going to the Eating Disorder Program at Children’s Hospital. I had stepped away from them yet again because of their toxic bullshit. However — on the one morning she drove Savannah to the hospital, my mother asked Savannah how much she weighed. On the way to her OUTPATIENT EATING DISORDER PROGRAM.

I’m done with the justifications. I will burn this shit down. I am going to continue to move on. I’m a little angry that not only do I have to go through the grieving process, I have to recover myself from this toxic family shit. At a time in my life where I have to be stronger than ever and I have to dig really deep to find the strength and I keep coming up with handfuls of this toxic family muck. But watch me. I get to live my full life now. Finally. Its such a mind fuck that this powerful movement of becoming is rising up at a time where I lost my daughter, my soul mate. She was always an advocate for the underdog, as was I. I will not stop that crusade. I will not live without her driving me to strive for the life I want. She always did.

It’s crazy too that right now, at my lowest of lows, I can see so clearly. It’s okay to honor yourself and not let this crap in. Stand by your own guns. I made my move, so to speak, as it is stated in this article, and I made it years ago. This time in my life is just a big shining light on the fact that I am on the correct path regarding fleeing these relationships. I spoke out against someone over 20 years ago as well and paid dearly for that too. I am not a quiet soul.

Savannah’s death has made me more fearless than ever. Meaning: LESS FEARS. Life is fleeting, we have to grab it ALL. I fear less and want more. We have to live big. Nothing shows the true colors of the people around you like a complete tragedy will. My son is being an amazing human being. He is inspiring to me. He hates when I post shit like this, but we let each other lead our unconditional and individual lives. I taught him that. It might bite me in the ass one day but I want him to be happy. He is a rock even though I know he doesn’t feel like one.

I opened up wide and offered gratitude and love to everyone during a time in my life where I was at a loss for anything else. A friend of 20 years has also turned away from me recently. Grief is a crazy, crazy thing. It eats you up and you eat it up and you live and you walk around and you don’t and you do and you don’t and you do. This family dynamic is a crazy fucked up thing and it made me feel like I was crazy and bad and not worthy then I married crazy — and then my family carried on a relationship with my ex-husband but not me. It’s truly baffling and completely understandable why I went into stand up comedy.  Jeeze.

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It has taken me 52 years to realize this is not MY crazy it’s THEIRS. I don’t have to participate in it but I did want to let anyone know who’s going through anything similar to this, that it is real and your feelings are valid and that you matter. At a time in my life where I have been stripped of all protections, all veils, all walls, all anything, and have been left standing to weather the storm completely naked with only myself; was I able to see the reality of this.

Please don’t give up on yourself. You are real. You matter.
And thank you to those who stepped in so I wouldn’t be standing alone. I love you.
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This article is truly the most valid thing I have ever seen.
“Physical distance and deliberate low-contact can keep sibling relationships on a simmer or low-boil for years until one unloved adult child makes a move to redefine her relationship to her mother either by direct accusation, challenge, and establishment of rules or boundaries or by going no contact. (I’ve done all of these, in that order.)  In those families where the mother has orchestrated sibling relationships, this perceived threat to her power and control will usually involve retaliation on the adult who is challenging the status quo and, often, the other adult children in the family are required to pledge their loyalty and fealty to one side and one side only. Most usually allegiance is to Team Mom at her insistence..”

#livebig #staygold #youwillbefound #standupandbecounted #healing #grief #soarabove #beyourownhero #breathe #rebel #takecharge #letitgo #breathe #alwayschallengethestatusquo

Recap on #LiveBig

Trying to tie these two blogs/lives/meanings together/and reach out/live thru words/Do Something Meaningful/Reach People Grieving/change the world/make something of this mess.

This is the first blog I wrote after Savannah died. I was writing in journals, in bits and fits and particles of moments in time. This contains the piece I wrote and read at the memorial (show). Along the lines of a song from Dear Evan Hansen (which I finally got to see last week❤️) titled ‘You Will Be Found’ – I had such a strong sense of so many people in the world feeling so alone, and knowing this through feeling it myself, and knowing it through my experiences with Savannah’s trauma with her eating disorder and addictions and her beautiful amazingness which she had such a hard time wrapping her mind around, and seeing how many people filled that room.

Savannah Changed My World

Go be big. The world needs it.

Live or Die: Part Two

This is how I got through the last 24 hours. This is scattered and un organized. I will write my novel another day. This what strong looks like:

I cried whenever no one was around. I had all these grand schemes to Go Do Something when I got off work and I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I tried to go to a movie and I didn’t have my debit card so I tried to use a gift certificate and it all fell apart. Wrong theater…bla bla bla. I’m so sick of crying in public. I mean, no one really cares…some people smile, some don’t notice, but I’M sick of it. I just didn’t have the wherewithal so I came home. Sometimes to have the sadness full on, full frontal, rip roaring, bawling my eyes out, losing it, attack is all I can do. I cried so hard I made sounds that didn’t sound like me.

I watched a couple of episodes of Sherlock.

I wondered if people who have kids die any other way than from a drug overdose get more support? This is a weird thing to grapple with. It’s messy and ugly and scary to everyone and somehow makes this all ‘nasty. And fuck that. That’s why I worked so hard with Shatterproof. This is gonna be a long road.

I talked to a friend, boyfriend and my aunt on the phone.

I think I did dishes.

I read Savannah’s Instagram from beginning to end. I like to see her be alive. I like to laugh with her, I like to see her moving and talking and being funny and she was so funny. It keeps everything about her not being here anymore NOT ALL ABOUT DRUGS. She was so much more than that and in her videos I can see that. She was so talented. So much stuff on her Instagram I am astounded. And her Twitter and her Vine. All of her creativity is so alive on there. I can see she was at the peak of it when she got to New York for the first time. All of her poetry, her photography, her videos, her writing, so creative and soulful and FUCKING FUNNY and so much love and pain and hope and finding herself. She was 18-20 and really creating so much during that time.

I cried all day today wishing I could have paid for her to be in The American Academy of the Dramatic Arts for four years. She went for a summer program at the school and stayed in NY for three years. She simply loved it there and became herself in that school and with her friends that she made while attending. Surrounded by adult ‘theater kids.’ She was in New York 4 months and got cast in the play ‘Playground’ that ran in NY, London then LA. She found it. She had it. All the ‘it’ a girl needs, she had. She attended Studio 4 after that and always wanted to get back to that.

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I don’t know when the heroin started exactly. Somewhere in there. Maybe before she went to New York. God, I don’t know. I can see when she is clean and I can see when she is not. I’m sure I could pinpoint it if I CSI’d every journal and piece of info that I have here. A lot happened in New York. Good and bad. It was everything that made her happy and everything that ruined her.

She had just left Children’s Hospital Eating Disorder Program..(here’s a blog entry from that time.)graduated high school…and then attended the summer program at AADA then stayed in NY. The eating disorder would never leave her. The damage it does to your psyche never lets up. I’m wondering if this play pushed her over the edge. So much. She loved it, but maybe it was too much. She would go back to eating disorder rehab at The Eating Recovery Center one more time here in Denver, then on to Utah for drug rehab about a year or so later.

Her insight was amazing. What I am reading now in all of her social media, especially Instagram, were things that were helping her recover, and those words are helping me recover right now. Some of the posts brought me to my knees. I was already crumbled up in bed losing my shit but the hits were hard. It’s funny to me how private she was, yet so creative on social media. Her private life tho, was very private.

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I can see now why people choose to not speak of someone after they die. To let it go. Let it pass. Leave it alone. I used to think ‘how could someone do that?’ Now I know. It’s so they can move through the day without wanting to die all the time. It hurts.

I’m trying not to ruminate. I hate that I know that word. I hate that Savannah had so much pain and yet I love that she still offered so much healing to the world. I hate that so many people took advantage of that pain. I couldn’t (wouldn’t?) read into these posts and words and tweets and memes like I can now. I am heartbroken I could not provide more. I am heart broken my son lives so far away. I feel like I shouldn’t waste a minute of my life in sorrow but that is impossible really. I should move closer to him. I don’t know what to do in life. Forever a mom. I spent my young life raising kids trying to have a life and now all I want is that time back.

I hate money. It made me have a hard life with the lack of it. I never really got to be the parent I wanted to be. I was always living just above poverty level in shithole apartments; that I dressed up for us as much as I could. Like in the movies, or in real life perhaps if you’ve ever seen one; how there would be a really old apartment and with old furniture but it is immaculate and everything is shiny and in its place. We didn’t have the best stuff but I kept what we DID have in the best shape. Except that one red couch I bought that felt like the first, living alone, grown up thing I purchased. I drug that around everywhere until I had to move out of an apartment to get away from an abuser and I left it by the dumpster. God I made my life hard. Did it ruin my kids? Can I take all my choices back? This thinking will drive you insane.

I asked my mom then if I could move back home and she said ‘You can sleep in your car before you can come back here.’

I always thought she treated me like a drug addict; or how we are taught to treat drug addicts who steal and lie and scare you. I never did anything to them. I always paid rent when I went home. I cleaned, cooked, helped with the horses, worked, paid back money when they bought tires. I don’t know what I ever did wrong but I finally don’t care. Fuck them for raising a daughter who hates herself.

Then look what I did. Despite everything I did to fight that. All the art, theater, song, and creativity I brought into our home for me and my two kids so we could all have our personalities and lives and no judgments. The three of us were MY FAMILY. I let them have freedom but I kept our computer in the living room out in the open. We had bedtime and rules and homework and stuff like that. We did so many things outside and biked, played roller hockey, hiked, camped, painted, sang, made videos, danced. I was so shut down as a kid when it came to having my own ideas and personality. I vowed to never shut my kids down.

This is so fucked.

So that’s what I did that last 24 hours. My mind went from past to present to my past to Savannah’s past to Anthony’s past. I dredged my brain for the sewage of answers that come up when you try and figure out why your kid died of a heroin overdose in rehab after seven months of living there. It’s a stinky, horrible maze of tunnels and places you don’t want to go.

I’m starting to think rehab in and of itself is a lie. Why would you take a group of people who want nothing more but to belong in a community and who want to be loved and separate them from their family and friends, give them no contact, have them sit and talk every single day about all of the worst things that ever happened to them in their lives over and over and over again, have to present themselves to the group for forgiveness every time they fuck up and then want them to find a life worth living? It’s like if you had to go to work and sit and tell everyone all of your shit, EVERY DAY, then when you fuck up, have to call them all together and announce the fuck up so you can get your constricted privileges back again. How are you supposed to assimilate after that? Just go find your tribe, you have a community, you BELONG, get a good therapist to go to in private, dance more, you are ok. YOU ARE OK. YOU ARE.

Intervention doesn’t work.

Just have them be a part of a community that helps each other and rises together and sings and dances and maybe has medication monitored and SHOW THEM HOW TO LIVE. Show them how to be a community. Show them how to accept, not demean, pick apart, and devour one another.

It’s insanity.

So I spent hours on this topic in my head and crying my guts out. They will still do what they do I suppose. It’s a very hopeless feeling. Figuring out humans.

Then I got up this morning and went to work.  I listened to meditations for four hours while I made breakfast and lunch for the guys. If I unclenched my brain for one minute I cried. I cleaned up. Good zen work. Ate a little food. Cleaned out my car. Now I’m home on my sofa writing this.

Crying.

Wanting so much.

It’s beautiful out.

I need to stay gold.

My son is having his life. I can’t figure this out. I don’t know how he is having it. It’s such a weird blanket grief lays on a family. I have asked him but he has no words to explain.

I’d like to just shut my brain up for one fucking day.

I have champagne in my fridge! I will make a raspberry Bellini.

That is how I am strong.

I go and go and go like a godamned Energizer Crazy Ass Robot Killer Bunny, then I take a break. Sometimes the break is a hike, painting, or watching tv, but today it is champagne.

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Live or Die: Part One

So, people often tell me that I’m being very strong. And I appreciate that, I do not want to take that away from anybody. But the only reason I seem strong is because I keep living. I figure I have two choices: live or die. And with each one of those choices comes the question: well…how? You want to die? Ok, How? You want to live? How? And every time I think I just want to die, I can’t figure out how. I can’t leave my son, that would be the shittiest thing in the world to do to somebody especially right now. I think about just laying in bed and eventually dying but that would take so long and I can’t stand it. Everything else is just too painful i.e. walking into traffic, driving off a cliff. So then I decide to live. And again the question of how comes up.

If I curl up in bed for days; that’s not living. Lately I’ve been coming home from work in the afternoon and going to bed. Again, not living. I keep thinking of Savannah and what she would probably give to still be here and that doing something as simple as walking in the sunshine would be amazing to her. Getting ice cream, being able to call a friend. Sometimes I do those things. But I am still stuck with figuring out how am I supposed to find reasons to live and reasons to find life wonderful at this worst time in my life. I don’t get it. Then there are the thoughts that drive the idea that somehow she has released me more than ever to be able to do just that. How can that be? That sounds terrible. By having the worst thing in the world happen to me I am now left with the least of my fears and worries and cares. When before I was afraid to be kind and gentle and vulnerable, I now walk into it like it’s nothing. I’m not trying to prove myself to anyone when I feel like I spent a lot of time doing that in the past. Why don’t I write a novel? Lead a women’s retreat weekend? Ride my bike for no reason around town listening to music? It’s like everything is possible right now and it doesn’t make sense.

It’s almost like the best thing I can do right now is to not make sense of anything; trying to make sense of this makes things worse. And even in my brain, when I go back in time, looking for when I want to bring Savannah back and when would I do that? I can’t find the time to bring her back into because she would have to be a different person because if I had her come back I would want her to come back without pain; she was in so much pain. I would want her to have different parents and different situations and all the glory she deserved and to be friends with Andrew Rannells. ❤️

I wanted all of that for her in this lifetime.

It wasn’t going to be.

So here I am.

Being strong.

How?

How do I make my life?

How do I make a life worth living? Oh my god that is the fucking question that that drove her in rehab. Make a life worth living. It was their  motto. Ironically.

And now here I am asking myself THAT question.

I’ll tell you how I did it today.

1. I got up early and meditated and cleared my mind.

2. I got dressed I grabbed my books and paints so I can do something after work without going home – so I don’t go to bed.

3. I came to work. I cried.

4. I set up breakfast for the boys. (I cook for a frat house.)  I cried.

5. I made myself a smoothie.

6. I’m writing in this blog. Crying.

7. The boys are coming down and saying ‘Good morning!’. And ‘Thank you’. And ‘Have a good day’. And ‘I’ll see you later Judy’. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

And so I am still here.

I clear my mind and clear my mind and clear my mind. I stay focused on what is right in front of me. I need to plan lunch and organize the kitchen for that. I plan a little bit ahead so I can stay focused on the positive. And as weird as it sounds, Savannah did give this to me. By her living her whole life the way she did, she showed me how to be brave and strong and fight for my dreams. And it’s crazy and it doesn’t make sense and I can’t explain it and I’m mad at her for leaving me here and I’m mad she didn’t accomplish her dreams because she could have.

I’m at the point now where the story could end with: ‘Judy was never the same after her daughter died. I could drink my way into oblivion and just die a lonely, isolated death. I could just keep my head down and work. I could shut off and disappear. It would be very simple. In a way, I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME and that is the crazy gift. I’m just changing who I turn into instead of letting it turn me into something. I was already bitter and angry and drinking and fighting with the world. Now I’m making my world. It blew up in my face and I get to make it whatever the fuck I want right now.

I can’t shake the fact that there’s possibly something bigger at work here. I’m too goddamn stubborn to let it go. Whatever it is. I’m just trying to get out of my own way. This ‘something bigger’ DOES know, so I’ll just ride my bike and hang out.

So, I’m strong, because I’m stubborn.

It’s frustrating. And freeing and insanity.

This is as Doris Day as I’m Gonna Get

For those of you who don’t know who Doris Day is…here. She was a singer and actress from the 50’s & 60’s eras. Fresh faced, blonde, ‘All American Girl Next Door’ type. I was raised watching all of these old movies from the 50’s and Doris Day was the peppiest of peppy. (Besides Debbie Reynolds. This subject might just be another blog…) Just watch this. Que Sera Sera. You’ll see. Now that I hear that song…it does actually work. ‘Whatever will be will be” indeed. Just keep moving along. (That or its just about people who won’t commit to anything.) As a kid, she was always the example to me of putting on a happy face, looking up, moving on.

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Look at baby Doris Day! Awe. Boy, life really spits you out doesn’t it? What a cutie.

“To write is to create something that will have its own life, Audre Lorde thought. A writer needs to hold her nerve, conquer her fears and speak out. Her great mantra – and the title of this Lorde reader, which collects for the first time in a single volume a selection of her poetry and essays – was: “Your silence will not protect you.” (Article found here.)

‘Silence will not protect you’. Hmmmm. True. I made my last post private anyway. As much as I am so angry and so hurt…I don’t want to hurt other people. (I do want the horrible, vindictive person who made sure the priest called me the ‘biological mother’ at my daughter’s funeral that she orchestrated to go to hell tho.)(God I wish I would have stood up and just quietly left.)(Stop ruminating Judy.)

On the other hand, I also get very tired of being vague, and taking the high road. I never learned ‘tact’ in my life. I pretty much just stomp through everything verbally after ruminating over it in my head and KILLING it there. Or I just blurt shit out.

Part of me would like to believe that my writing helps other people. Other people who are angry and sad and hurt and in pain. And that seeing my story, my words, or anyone’s, on the subject, lets them know they are ok. That we all have a right to be fed up. We are not being ‘rude’ or uncaring or mean. Just being female disallows us so many feelings. I know men feel that too. A man can go write a blog about that if he’d like, I’m writing this one.

So I felt like my son would be uncomfortable if he read the blog. How do we write about ourselves? Here is where the battle lies I suppose. My self involves others. My grief and pain involves others. Savannah kept me silent for years from talking about her or my experience I was having as a mother via her. I am lost on this. The more I get out of my head the more I write. So maybe I’ll just keep doing that. Getting out of my head that is.

Today was a good day. I played 80’s jams at work. The day I wrote the last blog I was very, very down, and the grief train seems to be getting worse btw. I am coming out from under the shock and seeing the horror of everything that has taken place in a much clearer light unfortunately. My Aunt called me later that day and invited me over or to go do something fun with her. In my state of mind at the time I could not even make a decision about driving, parking, being in front of any people, the word fun…so she called my boyfriend to come and get me. That man drove over 120 miles to take me out and bring me back home. When I arrived at my Aunt’s, she had birthday cupcakes, a little present, and she made dinner. It was wonderful. I am learning how to be a supportive, amazing person who does little touches like that for other people…cupcakes and champagne? How perfect and easy to give to someone!! I am taking what I learn from the people around me right now who are being so selfless and trying to pass that on. I do have family and I am loved. Welcome to the ride of life that so many of us disallow.

Focus on the positives. They do exist. I tend to blast them all out of my life and brain with a sand blaster…but I do come around. Que Sera Sera y’alls.

The only thing that keeps us from reaching out, going beyond, doing something for others, is FEAR. Fear that we aren’t enough. I know I can say I am afraid I will be embarrassed or that I will put myself out there for someone who will take advantage of me or hurt me in some way.  I was taught this. To not trust. I learned it by being vulnerable and getting my heart and ass handed to me on the reg. So I am going to unlearn it.

This is MY LIFE.

I get to choose.

I can choose to be in my cave or I can choose to come out. I can choose my words. I can release all of my emotions all over the place and smear my heart like jelly all over the world. I can walk with my head up, or I can cry in the car with Ugly Distorted Face, so much so, that if people see me driving like this they are worried that I am behind the wheel.

“How can she even see?”

I can do this how I need to do it.

It’s only been 5 months.

It’s only been 53 years.

It’s only today.

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This is how I would like to do this. For a good cause. (And three feet taller and 50 pounds thinner.) (But I digress.)

 

Death… might be coming quickly,
now, without regard for whether
I had ever spoken what needed to
be said, or had only betrayed myself
into small silences…  I was going to die,
if not sooner then later, whether or not
I had ever spoken myself. My silences
had not protected me. Your silence
will not protect you.

– Audre Lorde