“We have a date!”

favorite childhood toysHere’s how I make tea: I go online and see what teas fix whatever drove me to want tea. I usually find at least three that sound like a good idea. I add all three+ bags to a teacup and fill it with boiling water.  Then I trap the bags under a spoon and let it sit until it’s cold. Finally, I drink it fairly quickly (because I don’t want to move away from the sink with a known stain-causer.) I get the ones that come in a non-bleached, organic pod-shaped bag in variety packs for such occasions.

I know I do it wrong. My only interest is getting the herbs in my belly as efficiently as possible. I was a regular tea drinker for a while. Then I noticed it stained my teeth, and now I only drink it when something hurts, but not severely enough to warrant medical intervention. Then brush immediately after. (I love my baby gap, but I don’t think I can pull it off with yellow teeth.) A little vain, I know. 🤫 I remember when I was younger and spent lots of time and money keeping my hair cute. (Until the day I added up how much I spent since my first weave. 😳) It was a priority after being raised by my mom, who thought scotch-taping a bow or clip to my afro was beautiful. Don’t get me wrong; Heather and I were adorable with our clips, and handmade, matching, ruffled, purple-gingham dresses.

me and Heather as children
Heather (left) was the cutest little sweetheart, baby doll! Also, DIAF, 70’s decor.

Junior High happened. My older sister buzzcut my hair with clippers the day before school started, and I went with a different look. I rolled with it and wore lots of preppy outfits with knit ties, sweater vests, and penny loafers. Heh. I remember a teacher saying I liked a tailored look. I decided it was her way of telling me I had a style going on, and not gently acknowledging I may be queer. (I watched a lot of afterschool specials.)

She was a good teacher. I was the token black kid in a new, much larger school. I lacked the energy to get upset over every little thing. I had far more abstract concerns to keep me occupied, like whether or not my jeans were by Calvin Klein. My mom did some research, found a black person, and acquired the necessary knowledge to care for our hair when we were little.

We had to go to a particular drug store to get our products because no other store sold them in South Dakota back then. (Osco Drug. I’m pretty sure my mom talked to a manager and asked them to stock black hair care products. She was fabulous like that.) Full disclosure: My mom also had a freakin’ cow when Heather and I came home with cornrows in our hair, courtesy of the university students she hired to socialize with us. It was the first time I heard the word, ethnic. Heather, of course, refused to take them out until they began unraveling. I remember thinking she was so cool for doing that. 🤭

my baby sister, Heather
Heather being adorable and happy (just before I accidentally plowed into her on my Big Wheel. 😔)

I took them out immediately because I understood it’s what my mom wanted me to do without her saying it, and I was high on her approval. My mom programmed me to be her spy when I was a kid. That game sucked, and I quit around the time I started caring about Izod Lacoste (they since broke up.) That drug lost its efficacy after my older siblings retaliated enough times for tattling. My buzz-cutting sister likely wishes I got there before she started dating. Oh shit, that’s why she offered to cut my hair. Better let that go. Heh.

Junior High was bliss compared to Elementary School. My brother sat next to me in homeroom, and his locker was beside mine. It was my first time using combination locks, and you wouldn’t believe how much time I wasted the summer before imagining horrific scenarios involving me naked, locked inside, and unable to recall the combination. I cringed every time I saw a firetruck, imagining my humiliating rescue-to-be. It was like the universe said, I know this is scary, but Steve’s here. You’re fine. (He was there for me when I started High School, too.)

original Big Wheel

He failed 2nd grade for two years in a row. The official story states he needed extra help to keep up with his class. The reality; his 2nd-grade teacher was the first who figured out how to teach him, and he didn’t want to move on to the 3rd grade with a new teacher. Thus, I caught up, which rocked. He was my best friend, favorite comedian, and toughest badass who would beat up anyone who made me cry (over the n-word.) I need to write about him as he’s been on my mind a lot lately. It’s difficult because I loved him so much. Some of his mistakes also haunt me.

It will take time to decide if and what to share. I think it’s related to a better understanding of forgiveness. It didn’t seem as significant when I was younger. Now, it looks like a difference between like and love.

 

“I feel bad about what I wrote on the bathroom wall.”

person laughing
Photo by Amanda Cardoso from Pexels

What a week. Oofda, I have so much to tell. I made it to the dentist and was only 30 minutes early this time. I drove myself, so it was easier to arrange. I only nodded off once in the chair, and I’m pretty sure I caught myself immediately. (I don’t sleep the night before appointments because evidently, I like a challenge. 🤪) Oddly, if they’re in the afternoon, I can usually pull it off, but if it’s before 10 AM, forget about it. That’s when my body says I see your appointment, and I raise you a nap. Now. (I don’t understand care enough to understand Pokers. 🤫)

I landed a job in sweatpants. Wait. That sounds Kramer-cool, and this was the opposite. There was a job nobody wanted. I didn’t particularly want it either. However, it needed doing, and the longer it went undone, the more likely I was going to end up fighting with M over why (he thinks) I can’t do it for free. (Ten hours in, it clicked.) I’m fifty. (Picture Molly Shannon because she’s fabulous, and I couldn’t wait to do that kick on my birthday.) I’m a very part-time cleaning person in my apartment complex. (Curtsy. Bow. Curbo. 🙃) My neighbor, who is 20 years older, also accepted the job.

Naturally, I’m quicker and will automatically take the more physically demanding tasks—my neighbor is in great shape, but her body says hell no sometimes. I’m in because it’s a job I can do in sweatpants while listening to podcasts, and did I mention nobody else wants to do it? Sadly, on day three, I had to take a break to rest my left foot. I messed up and let myself drift out of my body while scrubbing yuck. I stood on concrete in improper footwear without taking a break (like a bot.) It’s been numb ever since. It’s slowly self-correcting, and laying in the dental chair helped. Heh.

person entering a body of water purposefully
Photo by Xandro Vandewalle from Pexels

I ordered my first pair of orthopedic shoes. They’ll be here Monday, just in time to resume. I’m confident it’ll heal enough; it won’t cause me to fall (again.) I’m fine. 🤭 (It just breaks my heart that it wasn’t caught on video because it happened in slow motion.) My neighbor needs the money, and I need a mandatory reason to leave my apartment regularly. Granted, I’m not going far. (Anything that requires me to put on enough clothing for a public appearance counts.) It’s also dull and repetitive, which I adore because it’s the on switch for my creativity.

Instead of the typical pacing all night before my appointment, I wrote a rough draft of a short story. Then I imagined Octavia Butler looking mostly unimpressed before asking how many hours I spent writing this week. 🙃 I’m looking forward to editing it this weekend. (Even though I know it will be more like a decent few paragraphs by Monday.) I’m building my vault. When the universe says here’s a path, I want to be ready to go—tick-tock. I haven’t had trouble adjusting to a different schedule. I merely go to bed earlier.

My cat was furious the first day but also adapted. It’s been a long time since she knocked everything off every surface to emphasize her displeasure with my sudden change in behavior. I laughed for like half an hour while picking everything up. She won’t do it again until I make another mistake. Heh. I’m having a blast on Mechagon in World of Warcraft. It’s an island with a bunch of robots and other weird creatures running rampant. I don’t know what’s going on story-wise, but as a tank, I can practically stand still while other players bring me monsters to taunt while they massacre them.

professional cleaner

It’s surprisingly fun. It’s just hard to extract myself when I’d rather do something else. I don’t roll several toons, so I only have a vague notion other (non-tanks) have to run about and pay attention to survive with their weak armor. I can bumble about and not worry about dying unless I fall off a cliff or something. (Over 20 times so far. I can’t see shit. I’m 50!) Sometimes I go to the bathroom while a same-level monster attacks and return before it kills my toon. I love it. I also enjoy always running into the thick of a fight and taunting the biggest bully, so it wastes all it’s efforts on me while much stronger toons destroy it.

I’m going to celebrate my appointment victory by viewing Watchmen this weekend between editing. Thanks, HBO. I’ve only seen previews as I’ve been saving it like bitcoin. I’m off to walk on my Shiatsu mat. 💜✌🏽

p.s. Kid Fury recently made me laugh so hard I threw up a little; (latest episode of The Read podcast ((7th-anniversary live show at the Apollo.)) (!!!) He now shares the title with Wanda Sykes. Yay, and or I’m sorry.

“Jessica, did you just fart?”

person eating cheetos

Some Apologies

I want to kick it off by apologizing to my favorite bloggers. I ghosted for like a month. I was inconsistent, which makes me anxious (so naturally, I assume it makes everyone uneasy.) I’m sorry I did that, and I’m working on not doing it again in the future. Starting today. (Also, I missed you. 🤫)

Next up, podcasters. I made the laziest list of podcasts immediately after telling everyone how much I love you. My bad. I’m working on creating a separate page to reflect my gratitude better. It will include studios, siblings, and a chart to indicate how I discovered you. (Thanks, Fran.) I’ll also design a system to show how friendly they are for neurodivergent people, and why. For example, The Friend Zone is the highest possible score for neurodivergent-friendly podcasting. It’s also an excellent starting podcast. The conversation is entirely spontaneous, yet they give precise instructions on how to do surprisingly useful things (mental wellness skills.)

You can see why elaborating on why I recommend them is helpful. (/over-explanation) I’m also sorry for the probability my writing about depression might invisibility-pinch people with severe depression. My depression is presently manageable (without non-medicinal intervention.) I already had therapy, and this is significant (because I probably whined about it without elaborating); even the *wrong therapist can be helpful.

Focus on the skills they teach and try not to let your ego ruin everything, like raisins. Quit them when you have enough skills to work on things at home. Repeat (with someone else) if/when necessary. (It’s one of the lessons to which I’m referring.) When I’m in crisis, such as during the nightmare preceding my ex-husbands’ (virtually) permanent incarceration, my depression dips low enough to include psychotic episodes.

muscular doll

It makes me seem intellectually challenged based on the feedback I’ve observed. I don’t smear feces on walls, as media portrays. I check out and run on autopilot scripted by dreams, TV shows I watched recently, conversations I overheard, and such with rules loosely similar to Dominoes. It’s like I’m locked in random access memory, and very little of it records onto my hard drive. So it’s possible I smeared feces and don’t remember it, but I have no evidence. Besides, media lies sometimes.

It sucked so much, but I can barely remember it from a non-robotic perspective. When I’m not in crisis, my depression is moderate, with challenging winters. Exercise is my best tool. I do know from experience how low depression can get: where you can’t muster the energy or skills necessary to off yourself, but can’t think of anything else, very slowly, between barely audible, involuntary moans. It’s where I got the saying, stapled to the floor. It’s a tribute to the people enduring severe depression so heroically, they somehow still managed to read my freakin’ blog. I see you. (I was there for a minute, and I’ll never forget.)

Dear comedians,

I’m sorry I tried to glom on to your privilege earned from getting paid to be funny. You are the comedian; I’m part of the audience. I can’t joke about things I know may hurt others because nobody is paying me to be funny. There is no meet-you-halfway bracing in anticipation of my dancing near or crossing the line with wild, professional abandon going on here. I didn’t think it through. I’m in awe of your abilities and much appreciate your healing talent. I’m sorry I overstepped the boundary.

(you know) 🥰

Person facing away

New Rule

Shame is banned. (Possibly canceled, but I’m not sure I understand the culture.) It’s a con against the human condition. I’m not privy to a single example where it was effective in any positive change. All it ever did was hurt people. What a piece of shit, right? Lay by your bowl forever, Shame. If that’s even your real name, (she added, further proving she’s not a comedian by chasing it with a self-inflicted snort.)

Interesting Stuff

Jesus wept is my favorite line in the Holy Bible. It’s my mantra as I exorcise all traces of hypermasculinity out of me. (I hope it’s not cultural appropriation. I’m still playing catch-up.) In some ways, I copy all the teachers who attract my attention. Jesus didn’t let anyone talk him out of being human to feed imaginary pride. Those two words say it so succinctly. 💜✌🏽

*-Wrong such as; the therapist is going through a crisis without heal-thyself abilities, you brought in oversized luggage, inexperience, personality barriers, are ist/ōbic, suck at it, or stuff I haven’t imagined yet.

“The other day I spit my gum out on the carpet.”

light through the forest

Confession: I recently returned from a recreational, medical mini-vacation in Denver. I partook of a new-to-me product that consists of 1:1 CBD and THC (hybrid) via a disposable vape. It was perfect for my body chemistry. I felt terrific without feeling mentally hazy. Two hits every two hours for two days, and now I can hold my head up without crying from the effort required. Yay so hard. I’m free of a challenging round of depression, and I feel like myself again. This round was the creepy kind, where I don’t feel emotional despair, but my body behaves as if I’m completely devastated.

(The despair bit came first, and I got through it before the physical part hit, so it feels wicked out of sync. I can’t even multitask with depression sometimes. At least it’s funny.)

On top of that, the Depression Goggles were stuck on my face, and I couldn’t get them off. Every thought was dripping with negativity. It was so obviously skewed I didn’t fall for the lies, at first. Then they started wearing me down with constant repetition. Yo, Explosive Rage, this is your queue. (I hate that guy.) I caught myself yelling at an app for possessing a bug feature. I’m pretty sure anyone who ever created an app is no longer allowed to personify them to this degree. Sigh. (Okay, dear universe, I see it — red flag.) 🙃

So anyway, that sucked. I feel so much better; I’m giddy. Part of it is because I’m home. It’s astonishing how much I hate leaving my apartment. I recently showed up two hours early (my bad) for a dental appointment. I set a new record for length of time spent in a crowded waiting room with a loud TV and more than one lively conversation taking place. Worse, I sat between a couple who were trying to invite me to join their discussion. I made a valiant effort and hung in there for over an hour. Then I very awkwardly rescheduled and hauled ass out of there before my breathing revealed my leaking panic.

pug peeking

I have to look at it as a heroic attempt and stamina building exercise. It’s a feat of strength every single time I enter the VA building. Instead of feeling shame for wasting an appointment slot, I insist on viewing it as an unscheduled break for my dentist and assistant. (If I spent that much time hustling around between rooms, my feet would cry.) They’re both delightful people with excellent bedside manner. I’ve only had one evil dentist in my entire life. Every other one has been awesome. Yay. I have a long way to go to fix my smile.

When I’m myself, I smile a lot. I smile at everyone I encounter whose energy doesn’t repel me. It’s rare when I feel immediately frightened in someone’s presence, but when I do, I always know which way to run, or what to do if I’m trapped. Thanks, Army. Fair warning: If I encounter any human deliberately harming another human, I will intervene on their behalf with a ferociousness intended to scar. My journey so far has gathered a lot of furies I’m holding in abeyance for just such an opportunity to unleash with wild abandon. Also, I’m convinced this is the strategy of my entire massively intersectional tribe. Step accordingly. 😐

Almost caught up to the present with My Favorite Murder podcast. Do you know how every so often you encounter a person you feel you’ve identified with your entire life? It’s happened to me three times before discovering Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. They’re as different as Beyoncé and Solange, yet both feel like they’ve known me forever. WTF? Whatever, I love it. Karen is a wee bit younger than me, and Georgia a whole lot. I get all Karen’s references, which rocks because she’s so funny. Georgia thinks so quickly; it feels viscerally exciting to listen to her talk. (Like Crissle!)

She processes what Karen says, and begins responding (often hilariously) before I finish hearing. (!!!) I’m usually a moment behind, which makes the humor a surprise I only caught on the second internal pass. It results in that laughter that shoots out of you before you can apply any filters. (Like what Dustin Ross does to The Friend Zone podcast ecosystem every week. 🤭) I’m reasonably sure podcasts are a significant factor in overcoming that last round of depression. Listening as often as I could drown out the negative distortions on repeat in my head. I’m so thankful. 🙃 I’m off to bond with Amelia B and Tallulah. I missed them so much. 💜✌🏽

p.s. Freelance Lover by Syleena Johnson is my new favorite song. (Thanks, Dustin.)

“He eats his yogurt like he’s punishing it for disappointing him.”

red heart inside soap bubble

5 Things (that recently made me dance with joy despite, well, everything.)

  1. Grace and Frankie (season 6) is on Netflix.
  2. Crissle is going back to school to be a therapist.
  3. Conan O’Brien was on an episode of My Favorite Murder podcast. (He’s a Murderino, too!)
  4. Amelia B (my cat) on the daily.
  5. It occurred to me I’m a badass survivor. (Perspective adjustments rock.)