Category Archives: vents

While you can

First, there was Mama.



My heart breaks every day, a thousand times a day, because I miss my mama. She was my best friend. She knew everything about me, loved everything about me, was proud of me, helped make me the woman I am today. I miss her so much.

I lost a string of uncles and aunts. I don’t have pictures of them. I wish I did. They look like Grandpa, though. And I miss him, too. He was a wonderful, sweet, wise man.


My big brother’s best friend, Bill, died. He was like a second big brother to me.

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Then, my littlest sister, Melinda, died of heart failure.

Melinda, daughter Aiyaunah, newborn son Alohnzo

Melinda, with her daughter Aiyaunah (March 2010)

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I lost more cousins.

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Today, my cousin Carolyn.


Also included throughout these past few years, I’ve lost more uncles. More aunts. More extended family. More loss. Please excuse me if I haven’t pictured someone or listed someone individually. I’ve been incredibly ill the last few years, and I have lost a lot of people.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

We are all stardust.

Speak your truths to your people now, while you can.

Rebuttal, of sorts

There have been a lot sentiments that baffle me beyond belief, and I’m confounded further by those who own the sentiments. Like those saying about the most recent school shooting:

  1. This would’ve been prevented if people noticed the warning signs sooner & reported them.
    Saying that if people had only reported this guy would have saved the children from being murdered only spreads survivor’s guilt. There’s enough of that to go around already. Also, there aren’t enough resources or recourse for those who do need help, and would benefit by it.
  2. This is the reason we need to arm all teachers & school staff.
    How can we arm all the teachers & school staff if we aren’t even willing to standardize their working conditions, or pay them a living wage? Are we to expect our teachers to be more like first responders now too?
  3. If only we’d do away with all gun restrictions.
    Yes, doing away with all gun restrictions is clearly the solution. Make them even easier to get than mental health care. That’s fucking logical. Your right to bear arms isn’t worth the price of the lives of these children, is it? What a price to pay. Let’s start throwing virgins into volcanoes again, while we’re at it.
  4. This is why public schools aren’t to be trusted. 
    It’s the fault of public schools? Adam Lanza was homeschooled. Education and indoctrination in all matters starts first with the parents. What was Nancy Lanza teaching him? Should she be held accountable for brainwashing him? Does this idea piss off you other homeschoolers? Good.
  5. The media made him do it.
    And the Twinkies. Don’t forget the Twinkies.
  6. The shooter needed more drugs, or less. 
    Let’s not forget that it’s easier to get guns than it is to get mental health care.
  7. This is what happens when you remove god/church/etc. from school/government/whatever.
    Right. Because invoking your god in school would have made those children bulletproof. The separation of church and state must stand.
  8. God made this happen as punishment for legalizing gay marriage.
    If this is the same god that you want to idolize in schools, no thanks. I don’t want my children exposed to such a hateful deity, or its faithful. Keep your stupid to yourself.
  9. It’s Obama’s fault.
    The radical right doesn’t know how, yet, but it must be Obama’s fault, right? Puh-lease.
  10. Any combination of the above, or whatever else I’ve heard and blocked out.
    I’ve heard a lot of bullshit. I just want to focus less on his motivations than on celebrating the lost children. If we can celebrate their short lives and be a comfort to their families, that will be a good start. Preventing this kind of massacre from happening again is necessary, but I don’t have enough faith in our national conscience to accomplish something so grand.

    I want my children to grow up safely, attend school safely, learn, laugh, and love safely.


So I kind of fucked off after the whole days of gratitude thing last month. Life happened, gratefulness was present, Thanksgiving dinner came and went, pumpkin pie was had. We were in a deep freeze for a while, hitting -40F for a little while, and we had an occurrence with our sewer line. It froze; we got a company to come out & thaw the lines. Then snow dumped down on us, leaving over a foot of snow in just about a day. School was canceled Thursday, a snow day. It looked so beautiful outside.

Yesterday, my shoulder blades caught on fire, my back spasmed, my legs went all pins-and-needles. It continued through today. Lots of pain, but pretty typical of how my days go lately.

I contacted some old friends. Some are having a bad time. Some are great. I miss them all, and keep thinking about our times together.

Then this asshole shot up a school today. Murdered 20 children. Children. I have no words for what I feel about that.

We tried to have a coworker/spouse Christmas dinner party tonight. Me, John, three of his coworkers and their wives, we went to The Finish Line, a bar/restaurant inside of Alpine Lodge near the airport in Fairbanks. Quaint little place. One of the wives got a shard of glass in her eye. ER doctor couldn’t find it tonight. Another doctor will be seeing her tomorrow. Hopefully she’ll be seeing too. Ridiculously unsafe situation at The Finish Line. I may have sent information to OSHA and the local food establishment health safety guys. I want my new friend to keep her eye, minus the glass.

We ate with one of the couples at Gallo’s instead. Enjoyably diverting company, pleasant meal, kids behaved well for our sitter/adopted stepdaughter. I don’t venture out often — too much pain, illness, etc. — but was out a good long while tonight. Aside from the massive ocular injury, it was a fairly nice evening.

I’m home now, and I can’t stop looking at coverage from today’s massacre. Between that and flashing back to fond memories of old friends, it’s all mashing up inside my brain, and I’ve got this mixed up, visceral, nauseated ache inside me. For once, I don’t know what to do besides vomit words onto a blank page. I’m purging right now since I’m pretty sure I’ve had every emotion today. My amygdala feels like an overclocked processor.

So, yeah.

There’s the door…

I am a thirty-something woman.  I am a queer woman of color, married to a caucasian man.  I am mother to three beautiful, intelligent, precious, mixed race children.  I am a liberal.  Not long ago in our country’s history, my marriage would have been illegal, my children illegitimate, my voice meaningless and unwelcome.  I wonder sometimes if things truly are so different today.

I have a voice.  I have the right to vote.  I exercise that right every election I am privy to because our political/governmental system is flawed, yet is the only one in place, so I use it.  Governmental regulations of a person’s rights have a direct impact on the quality of life said person/groups of persons can achieve.  Electing people to office who want to limit or deny a person’s rights is tantamount to saying that said persons are lesser individuals.

Come tell me personally that I shouldn’t be allowed to speak my mind.  Come tell me that I’m not as important of a person as you.  Come tell me that a corporation has more rights to personhood than I do.  Stand here, face to face with me, and tell me that you want to officially strip me of my potential, that you want to limit opportunities for my children, or that you want to legalize and standardize your hatred and bigotry.

I am not a second-class citizen because of my race, gender/gender identification, sexual orientation, creed, weight, height, taste in music, or sense of humor.  Except, socially speaking, I kind of am.  I’ve been marginalized and/or stigmatized all my life — because of my gender, my heritage, my childhood neighborhood, my intelligence level, my weight, my appearance, my religion, my lack thereof, my sexual orientation/experiences/history, my right to say no, my right to choose, my belief in evolution, my battles with depression and anxiety, my battles with addiction and alcoholism, my ever-ailing health.

So far, I’ve survived everything people have thrown at me and, more amazingly, everything I’ve done to my own damn self.  I’m still standing (with a cane, but still fucking standing).  I am just as much a person as you are.

If you don’t think so, we can stop being friends.  A while back, I had to face losing “friends” over beliefs.  I’m prepared to lose more.  This tends to happen every election season.  I’ve been bracing for a thinning of the ranks.

I have to lay some groundwork here, I suppose.  For example, if you believe in hell and you believe that I am going to burn eternally in it for who I am and/or what I’ve done, but you want to pretend that you can get past that, we pretty much can’t be friends.  Also, if you believe that I am less of a person, entitled to fewer rights than you, because of who I am and/or what I’ve done, yet you want to pretend that you can breeze over that, we pretty much can’t be friends.

I am not less than you.  And I am not going away.

There’s the door… Please feel free to see yourself the fuck out if you don’t like it.


I wake up to throbbing, burning pain.  I’m stiff when I wake up; every joint feels swollen, every limb feels made of lead, and I’m not always steady on my feet.  I fumble for my cane, put on my bifocals, grab my water bottle and cell phone.  I try to carry as much as I can when I head upstairs since I don’t care to make multiple trips.  Heading up the stairs, I wonder if my legs will obey me and if I can avoid near-syncope.  One of my greatest fears is fainting while I’m on the staircase.  I lose my footing on the stairs often enough as it is. . .

I coffee up, trying to chase away the mental cobwebs that are never fully gone.  I take muscle relaxants, arthritis pills, pain meds.  I chase my three young children around the house, cleaning up their various shenanigans.  I wince every time I lift my 2-year-old onto the changing table.  I can’t lift my arms above my head without excruciating pain.  Come to think of it, I can’t do much of anything without wanting to cry.

I have fibromyalgia and a suspected autoimmune disease.  I’m weak, I tire easily, I’m light/sun-sensitive, and I am always in pain.  If I had to pinpoint its origin, it’s as though there’s a layer between muscle and bone, and that layer constantly feels like it’s on fire.

Sometimes it feels as though people don’t believe my pain exists.  Maybe it’s because they can’t see the problem, or that they just can’t understand the kind of chronic pain I have.  Truth is, sometimes I think I’m just crazy.  If I hadn’t seen the blood test results myself, many times, I might wonder too if what I have is really real.  I’m waiting on more blood tests to come back to see if they can pinpoint what makes me like this.

I fight so hard, take so many measures, take so many pills, just to feel the tiniest bit of relief.  When I do feel better, I often break down sobbing because it’s depressing to fight this hard to still feel so shitty, and think that that’s the best I can hope for most days.  There are more things I can’t do than I can, especially with my kids, and it makes me feel broken.  I feel broken, disabled, less than, unfixable.  I might feel better if I had a diagnosis, if I could point at something and say, “THIS is what’s wrong with me.”  Not knowing makes things worse.

I worry that I’m a burden: to my husband, for having someone so broken to take care of, that I can’t do more; to my children, like I’m cheating them out of having the kind of mother they deserve; even to my doctors, for being so difficult to diagnose.

I’ve seen a neurologist, who felt that my neurological symptoms are secondary to an underlying condition.  I’ve been to a rheumatologist, who believes my underlying condition is most probably an autoimmune disease, but doesn’t know which one.  My urologist, gynecologist, dermatologist, ophthalmologist, internist, and primary feel the same way.  Now, I’ve been referred to another rheumatologist.  If he comes to a dead-end with me too, I’ll be referred out of state.

For the most part, they’ve all said that one of two things could happen: I could get miraculously better, which they all agree is unlikely, or I could get worse enough for something to show up in my blood tests.  This leaves me praying every day that I either get the most unlikely miracle of good health, or that I get worse enough and raise the right antibodies to nail down which disease I have.  In the meantime, I bear the burden of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and constant, disabling, debilitating pain.

I know there are people who have conditions worse than mine, and I don’t want to take anything away from their own ordeals.  I write this because I need an outlet, because people have asked me to share, because it’s one of the only things I can still do.

Many of you are tired of hearing me complain.  Trust me when I say I’m more tired of it than you are.

Marking time

It’s been four years since my Mama died.

Four years ago, my mama spoke her last words to me on Mother’s Day.  I called her hospital room to wish her a happy mother’s day, to tell her how much I loved her, to give her the slightest idea of what she meant to me.  Three weeks before, she wanted me to come see her.  When I got there, she was ill, and I made her go to the hospital.  I didn’t know how bad things were going to get.  She had congestive heart failure, then had a stroke, so she couldn’t speak very long.  She did manage to tell me, “I love you.  Thanks for calling.”

Two days later, she was gone.  I was just a couple hours outside of town.  I didn’t make it there fast enough.  I didn’t know how hard it was going to be.  I just didn’t get there fast enough.

Every single day since then, I’ve missed my mama.  She was my rock.  She was a force of nature.

She knew everything about me, was my closest friend, and loved me more than I can convey.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been four years since she died.  So very much has happened, but it doesn’t feel any easier accepting that she’s really gone.  As a mother, Mother’s Day should be magical for me but, this year, it’s just heartbreaking.  This year, it seems like I’m just marking time.

I’ll do something special with my kids today, tell stories about my mama, try to hold down the fort until John comes home from a long hitch.  It’ll all be bittersweet, though, because I wish she could know my kids.  She got to spend time with JR, but she never got to meet Camilla or River.  I can’t talk to her late at night when neither of us can sleep, I can’t go play bingo with her, I can’t hear her laugh, I can’t hug her, I can’t lay my head in her lap, I can’t be hugged or kissed.  I can’t go back in time and make myself stay at her bedside.  I can’t tell her all the things I hope she knew — how much I miss her, how much she means to me, how much she amazed me, how much I love her.

I tell her these things every day, still, and just hope that she hears it all from wherever she’s resting now.

I love you, Mama.  Always.

Sleep fighting

I don’t know much about dream interpretation. For a couple of weeks now, though, I’ve been having some majorly intense dreams and have found myself longing to know more. Many of them would qualify as nightmares; most, in fact. In these dreams, I’m fighting for my life. The person(s) I’m fighting against always change, as do the environments I’m fighting in, but I have a basic theme: I’m hunted, imprisoned, threatened, doomed. Sometimes I try to covertly escape, other times blatantly rising up against my aggressor. I haven’t been successful yet, I’ve died on a few occasions, and woken up more than once with bruises. Other dreams I’ve been having for the last few months are very pointed in their origin, leaving nothing to question, sometimes leaving me shaking for days. A small handful of dreams are very simple, if not a little chaotic. I’m hoping that if I put this out there, just thinking it through will help it resolve itself.  Have you had sleep fights that seem to stay with you?

Protected: Letter to my biological father

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I used to long to be a published poet.  I’ve been hoarding my writings for years, squirreling them away, waiting until I felt like I had enough for an anthology.  I decided that I want them out in the world, so they’re going up under the Creative Writings tab.  Please, check them out.  Let me know what you think of them.

Daddy dearest…

…or not.

I was adopted at birth by my biological great aunt, Rose, and her husband, Charlie.  I had a good life with them.  A better life than Joanne would have been able to give me.  I’m grateful to her for loving me enough to give me away.

I knew her growing up, but I knew her as my cousin.  I remember feeling connected to her, and seeing her at all the major holidays & family events.  She was there for every birthday.  She was married, had three kids, separated, then dead.  She died of liver failure, having drank herself to death at the age of 30.  I sobbed uncontrollably, and surprisingly, at her funeral.  I was inconsolable and couldn’t figure out why.  Mama and Daddy finally told me the truth about my parentage when I was 13 & 14.

Mama was the best mother I could have asked for.  We were close.  It’s been a little over three years since she died of heart failure, and I miss her immensely.  Daddy was a good provider.  We never had the best relationship, but we’ve definitely made great improvements to that since I married and had kids of my own.

I sought out my biological father, RN, once, several years back.  I corresponded with the man I suspected of DNA contribution.  He was married, with kids, and didn’t want to jeopardize his family life by introducing an adulterous love chlid, so he didn’t want anything to do with me.

I moved out of town, married, had kids.  I also had/have medical problems.  I want to know my parentage, and their medical histories.  I can’t ask Joanne anymore, though I might be able to get her records with my original birth certificate.  I want to ask RN.  Court records show he has since divorced, among other less pedestrian things.

A friend of mine suggested that I list three things I demand to know of him.  I plan on emailing/messaging him when I have something written out.  I want a medical history.  I want pictures of him.  I want to know what he remembers of Joanne.  I have a million other vague questions, but no idea which ones are most pertinent.  I’m curious about any biological siblings that are out there.  I’m not looking for a relationship with him.  I already have a dad.

How do I phrase such a random, awkward letter to him?

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