“I feel God in this Chili’s tonight.”

Please take your time. There is much to see.

Welp, it’s time to say goodbye to 2019.  There were some fab experiences and connections made, recovered, maintained, and held onto by a thread (at least in my head.)  The Beyoncè Show was technically in 2018, but it was a bucket list item, so it counts forever.  The same goes for the Fleetwood Mac concert in February.  (Just typing that made me smile.)  It was a therapeutic event at a time when I felt isolated from my (geographical) community.  Witnessing Fleetwood Mac perform in my hometown while surrounded by locals (of Sioux Falls) felt healing on levels I didn’t know existed.

It was a fantastic celebration (after taking the risk and actively doing something to help repair the breach.)  Podcasts became my second favorite infotainment after novels.  (Not thrilled with that word but beggars and all that.)  I can watch non-animated TV again.  I’m delighted I reclaimed this ability while Game of Thrones happened.  I love being alive while people produce excellence together and create something so shiny it moves the world.  I don’t have permission to share things related to (non-famous) people in my world.  Suffice to say; there are people in my tribe who share about themselves things that make me look at them the way I look at Beyoncé. 😆

There was a considerable increase in the number of people I adore.  Cool.  (I think it has something to do with going Full Auntie.)  I learned how to forgive myself and others more effectively.  I’ve (mostly) accepted it’s a necessary and inevitable process that’s not improved by delay.  I’m working on what to do after I’ve forgiven someone who won’t outgrow their offense.  For now, gentle indifference.  I firmly believe in post-mistake recovery.  I can’t believe in throwing people away forever.  Social rules and individuals are both (potentially) fallible and ever-changing.

leaves representing harmony

Figuratively burying outcasts landmines where we all walk is weak.  The Trauma Baton we insist on passing from generation to generation is holding us back as a species in a significant way.  From my viewpoint, it seems we’re finally beginning to address this cycle, which gives me great hope for the future.  I love imagining a world full of emotionally healthy people who aren’t merely surviving or reacting to the past but actively creating the present to support a future in which we can all thrive.  We’ll still have strife and challenges.  They’ll be new, and we’ll figure out how to overcome them, too.  We’re sofa king awesome.  Heh.

I continue to practice being present in my body.  Learning this skill involved acknowledging how much I used to dissociate.  I’m alarmed by how long I lived while not existing in my body, but don’t see any need to delve deeper.  I don’t live that way anymore.  It was something I did to survive, and I’m thankful I had the skill when I needed it.  It feels almost like getting my first 4k HDTV.  Everything looks more honest.  I didn’t know my view was blurry until it wasn’t.  I like it.  The details reveal imperfection and beauty in balance, and now I can believe what I see.  (Shivers while climbing out of my Matrix pod.)   🤭

Next year I’m going to drink more water.  I think I’m getting about half of what I need, which is an improvement over 2018.  Heh.  Pretty sure I’m going to nail it.  I watched episode 10 of The Read TV show.  I laughed so hardCHIKA had me on the floor.  Kid Fury and Crissle do a lot of subtle physical comedy that enhances the hilarious things they say.  When Kid Fury abruptly got up and walked off after Young M.A. cozied up to Crissle, I laughed for like half an hour.  Dear Fuse, (or HBO or Netflix in case Fuse doesn’t like money🙂  I love the show so much, and I need more.  (After they recover, of course.)  I hope everyone knew joy while celebrating holidays (or ignoring them.)  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks. ✌🏽💜

p.s. If the season finds you stapled to the floor by despair, please summon the courage to connect with someone who can help. 💜  International Suicide Hotlines

“I was the youngest pilot in Pan Am history.”

statue of anthropomorphized rabbit holding a pocket watch

I’m late, and I’m sorry.  I wrote a whole post, and then WordPress glitched, and the gremlins deleted every word forever.  Now my thoughts are scattered.  Carrie Fisher was like a goddess who made fun of you if you worshipped her.  My friends smirk at each other every time I mention I’m in a band.  Heh.  I can handle the truth, but I prefer to whine a bit while I do it (slowly.)  I didn’t share anything from my study of Dolly Parton because she values her privacy.  (See: nunya.)

I can tell you this:  I love her.  (This is where you act surprised, and proclaim, ditto.)  🤭 I’m saving Curb Your Enthusiasm for a time when I need it.  I love knowing it’s there.  It allows me to risk trying new stuff, even if I suspect it will result in being stapled to the floor.  (I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.)  I’m having so much fun leveling up to 120 in Warcraft.  Yesterday I accidentally walked in the path of an elite monster two levels higher than me.

Picture it.  Sicily, 1922:  the battle of my toon’s life began.  It took an excruciatingly long time, but I survived, and the monster did not.  I’m a tank, which means if I keep my cool, I’m tough to kill.  (It’s a crapshoot.)  The reward was junk, worth like 15 silver.  (Blizzard is hilarious.)  Then, while I was standing there laughing about the insulting loot, it happened again.  The monster had a freaking sibling.  I ran away and lived to tell this tale.  It chased me for a ridic long time, though.  Blizzard.  🤭

Meth.-Were-On-It.-Images_4
It is real.

M said our safe word the other day, which means freeze, you’re hurting me.  (It’s usually a case of playing too fast and loose with words, requiring a break to think about why you’re an asshole right now.)  I was out of balance.  It happens.  I zoom in on a single area and get my geek on, then neglect other things (because time has us all in a headlock.)  Whoops. I fixed it.  I had the urge to punch someone in the face earlier.  It surprised me because the trigger was someone from Sioux Falls talking shit about Sioux Falls.

First of all, what the hell?  How can you know Sioux Falls and not love it?  Who hurt you?  Of course, my inner adult insisted it was a fix-your-face-and-walk-away situation. (‘Sup, Midwesterners? ✌🏽)  But I’m still a little irked.  I’m pretty sure there’s a law that states if you insult Sioux Falls as an insider, it best be funny, yo.  Breaking it all willy nilly might get you face-punched by a local.  (We all have failed-at-adulting days.) What?

Issa Rae was on The Read TV show on Friday.  Is it ist for me to say she’s breathtakingly beautiful?  I’m putting an Issa Rae not-in-the-same-room restraining order on myself because there’s no way I could be in her presence without staring and not blinking (until someone tells me to snap out of it.)  Heh.  So anyway, she’s fabulous.  I also enjoyed the four wardrobe changes in a single episode — logistics flex, alone.  🤭 I’m off to watch it again (and feel incredibly proud of other people’s kids.)  💜✌🏽

“I’m the valet. You have to give me your car.”

person in bunny suit sitting on a bench

I’ve been reading (audio) books by actors of late.  It started with How to American:  An Immigrants Guide to Disappointing Your Parents, by Jimmy O. Yang.  It was so good I finished in two days.  (I laughed so hard, I don’t recommend listening in public.)  It made me fall in love with America all over again.  If you don’t read it, I feel sorry for you.  Next, I listened to The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide, by Jenna Fischer.  I loved it.

I have no plans of becoming an actor, but she mentioned it on the Office Ladies podcast, and it sounded like useful information regardless.  It turned out to be fascinating.  I learned a lot, and it led to thoughts about defining success, how to recognize it, gather it, and how to continue growing despite it.  Since it means something different to each person, I think Jenna Fischer did a brilliant job of conveying her journey in a manner easily translated to alternate paths.

I loved hearing it in her voice, too.  The authors narrate these books, (and when the reader is an actor, it’s excellent.)  I mean.  Duh.  They’re professional storytellers.  Damn.  I just typed the obvious.  I laughed a lot with this book, too.  (I should probably make a rule about listening to podcasts and audiobooks by funny people in public.)  I’m currently more than halfway through reading The Bassoon King:  Art, Idiocy, and Other Sordid Tales from the Band Room, by Rainn Wilson.

making shadows

I like Rainn Wilson even more than Dwight Schrute.  I saw him on Mom recently playing a therapist.  He was great in that, too.  After reading about how these actors struggled when building their careers, I remember a moment of feeling retro alarmed.  In all three books, they emphasized the significance of seeking out opportunities in areas that correspond to your strengths.  I thought back to when I joined the Army, and how I chose my MOS (military occupational specialty.)

Before joining, everyone takes the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test.  It’s a tool you can use to help choose your job.  I scored well overall, so I picked a job that would help me improve in the area I scored lowest, not a job that required skills I already possessed.  To me, it was the most obvious thing in the world.  And I just found out it’s probably the opposite of what most would decide.  Whoops.

Fortunately, I got to learn some amazing stuff I had no idea even existed.  I also got to help pioneer a new job opened for women in the Army (my ego still appreciates that bit.)  Unfortunately, I loved the training and theory but felt no passion for the job, which mattered because it led to my getting into shenanigans with tearful consequences out of boredom.  So I went back to training and did it again.

cliche fake nose glasses

The second area entailed nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare training.  (sings, hated it.)  I decided if there’s ever a nuclear explosion, to run toward the flash.  I don’t even want to talk about the other two.  Guess what?  I went back and trained again.  They called me The Educated Soldier at one point because I was continually going on TDY for school.  It did help me figure out I was destined to be a chairborne warrior, though.  Anything with a computer was my eventual specialty.  Heh.

I don’t regret taking the scenic route. Skill-building does lovely things for my self-esteem.  I love being more capable than people expect.  I think one of the coolest things I learned is there are all sorts of ways to be intelligent, and most of them don’t include what they claimed in classrooms as kids.  I met soldiers who could talk to engines the way I talk to computers.  They awed me; (aside from that time, they sent me out to fill all the tires on the tracked vehicles.)  I’m off to continue my book.  💜✌🏽

“I have another complaint for Jim’s permanent file.”

decorative toys and stuffies

I had a fun Halloween.  I dressed up as a sloth and passed out candy very slowly to trick-or-treaters.  I suspect some of the kids didn’t recognize I was role-playing and thought I was just old.  Heh.  (A few got impatient and went to another apartment, then returned when I broke character after noticing it only amused me.)  The kids were loud, excited, and adorable.  I liked having their energy breeze through.

I couldn’t figure out how to take a selfie while masked.  🤪  M invited me to join him at a party, but the theme included the word haunted or horror.  We both started laughing after he asked.  I’ve never been wired to appreciate the thrill of being scared.  Epigenetics, yo.  I’m a wee bit jealous of the people who can participate in such things (without crying.) I have my Blu-rays of Us and Get Out that I won’t be watching, ever. (I bought them to support Jordan Peele.)

I haven’t even watched American Horror Story, and Stevie Nicks is in it. (!!!) (M said that alone proves it’s epigenetics.)  😂  My mind is running all over the place.  I’m officially a Lizzo fan.  I loved her immediately.  I find out about new-to-me artists from my favorite podcasts lately.  My introduction to American Griots, by Louis York, was terrific.  They performed a song on The Friend Zone podcast, and it was ear candy.  I preordered the album immediately after.  (It’s so good!)

neon sign stating, it was all a dream

XD, from Jade and XD, created a unisex fragrance, called, D’Leau.  I ordered some, and in the process, created two scents of my own.  Both M and I are in love with D’Leau.  It’s officially my favorite at this time.  However, the ones I created reek.  (It turns out; I suck at it.) Fortunately, I don’t care because I have D’Leau.  😆  I’ve had two people ask me about it so far (and you know I don’t get out much.)  😂

It’s World of Warcraft’s 15th anniversary.  I’ve been playing on and off for eleven years now.  I have no plans of quitting, although I did have an unfortunate incident the other day. I was soloing a dungeon from The Burning Crusade, and some toon assassin appeared from thin air behind me.  It scared the shit out of me, and I nearly had a panic attack.  I took a three-day break, then got right back in there and reran it, this time on the heroic setting.

It still startled me when I triggered the assassin again, but I didn’t panic.  I just stood there and let the bastard try to kill my toon until I got bored, then ended him with nonchalance.  (I’m a level 110 tank, and he was level 80 or something.)  I’m so glad Blizzard allows us to travel back to lower level areas to exact revenge.  I don’t do it often, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis I usually have a blast.  I’m going to upgrade because they’re releasing a new expansion next year.  It’ll probably take me that long to reach level 120.  Heh.  I’m off to play.  💜✌🏽

p.s.  Missy Elliot was on The Read TV show on Fuse!!!

“It’s just noise coming out of an ugly scientist.”

sisters

I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister, Heather, of late.  The anniversary of her passing was in July.  She died the day before her 35th birthday.  She was coming to Sioux Falls to celebrate with me the following day.  I have no idea where I am in the grief process in her regard.  I miss her.

I still ask myself, would it make 7-year-old Heather cry?  If yes, don’t say it.  (A gift from my mom.)  I’ve since changed it to, don’t think it.  (I’m a notorious thought telegrapher.)  My desire to be kind is far stronger than my desire to be funny.  They used to compete.  🤭

When we were little, we had an unspoken alliance as the only black people in our family at the time.  As the older sister, I assumed the role of Heathers’ protector.  If a child hit her on the playground, I would see red and lose it.  As I got older and recognized Heather deliberately antagonized kids to see my response, I learned to relax and assess before attacking.

knight in armor

As a kid, part of me thought Heather was an asshole for doing this, but mostly, I was impressed because it worked.  As an adult, a psychiatrist prompted me to wonder why she behaved this way.  It was the first time I ever looked at it with adult eyes and perspective.  (It also distracted me for a bit when I most needed it.)

I wasn’t affectionate as a child.  Heather needed to know I loved her unconditionally.  So she tested me.  She did this well into adulthood.  I don’t remember ever saying it, (may have screamed it), but I showed her on her terms.  I think my inner warrior originated to protect my little sister.  I’m doing the groundwork (courage mustering) before letting go of that compartmentalization of my mind.

I can laugh about the time I almost went AWOL to (in my head) murder a piece of shit for beating her up.  It would be more efficient for me to surrender at the nearest police station than go through the motions of committing a crime.

Cop:  Did you do this?

Me:  (Long pause while I consciously, agonizingly, make the neurological connections necessary to speak.) Nod.  (Long pause while I debate whether I said it out loud or not.)  Yes.

It’s just not logistically feasible for me to attempt deception.  I mean.  I think there’s a 72-hour time limit to answer questions or something.  I’d need way more time, internet access, improv training, etc.  Just give me the damn jumpsuit.  (In Minority Report, I’d get suspended for murderous thoughts over horrible men who hurt my little sister.)

volcano

Fortunately for that guy, my military training prevailed.  Also, I’ve never managed to hold on to that level of rage for more than an hour, tops.  It’s incredibly draining emotionally.  I firmly believed the punishment for making Heather cry was beheading for about an hour, though.  Then I wept because I knew I couldn’t do that.

It was the last time Heather messed with horrible men.  Our relationship changed a lot after that.  We grew closer.  Listening to me weep over the phone from another country and repeatedly apologize for not being able to avenge her, even though I was a soldier, affected us both in ways I can’t explain.

Perhaps we both grew up a little.  We were honest about our feelings with each other after that.  We talked for hours about our childhood, and how we felt.  It’s when I first understood why Heather changed abruptly as a child.  When she first encountered racism, she was never the same.  She went from being called, Smiley, to an angry little girl who only acted out around me.

monarch

I noticed.  For a large part of my childhood, I hated Heather on some level, because I was the only person who was safe for her to express how she felt.  I’m just now fully grasping this.  The former resentment is now retro-honor.  I’m so glad I was a safe person for my little sister.  She needed me.  🙃

The day Heather graduated from high school, she moved out of state.  The day.  Everything she owned (and everything I didn’t take with me to the Army) was loaded up and ready to go immediately following the party.  (She relocated to the hood in a city large enough to have one.)

I moved out at 16, but only a few blocks away to my brothers’ house.  I couldn’t live with Heather anymore.  I wasn’t equipped to witness (or survive) her transformation from angry little girl to angry teenager.  (I remember crying a lot.)  She knew just what to say to reduce me to tears.  (Not like it’s hard to make a teenager cry; it’s mean.)

I left for basic training before Heather fully got in touch with her anger.  No shame in stating I’m glad.  My mom was an incredible person.  Somehow, their relationship strengthened during that time.  She certainly got over her fear of what the neighbors might think.  (Teenage Heather aimed at that little weakness.)  🤭

sisters

In some ways, I’m glad I was too busy trying to exist in a physically and socially hostile (to me) world to grok subtle racism.  Most of it flew by me unnoticed.  However, I also deliberately surrounded myself with more diversity as soon as I was old enough.  (I think this used to be a symptom of growing up in Sioux Falls in general.  It’s way better now than when I was a kid.)

I think Heather was the big sister when it came to coping with racism.  She was also the little sister; in that, she acted out her rage toward me because she was a child, and that’s how they express hard feelings.  I’m so glad I got to be Heather’s sister.  It was one of my most cherished relationships.

I’m glad I told her how much she hurt me when I was a child, and she listened and apologized.  She told me things I said that hurt her as well, and how those scars affected her choices.  I apologized, and we cried and forgave.  Then she asked me for a hug, and I presume I tensed up because she quickly retracted the request.

Sigh.  And that’s okay because it was my body speaking for me.  Hugging isn’t mandatory.  It’s just one of many ways to express affection.  I didn’t like allowing people to touch my body for most of my life outside of sexual relationships.  I now know it’s because I wasn’t in my body, and that made it a repulsive notion.

My cat forced me to get over this issue.  Weird.  A kid would have done it, too.  I’m just rambling at this point.  Heh.  I’m off to play Warcraft.  ✌💜