Battle of the Sexes

I’ve been in a lot of conversations about dating and relationships lately, the silent subtle question beneath the surface being why am I not doing so. Does anyone see where we are right now? How we are to each other? A better question would be to ask why we are not talking about where we are and what we are doing to each other.

Why is there a frantic and desperate silence when the conversation needs to begin?

It looks like the death of masculine and feminine or an overdose of each. Where is the honest celebration of the power each hold and the respect for the other? When did the joy of the dance, the fun of the game and the growth into “more than” turn into a mean-spirited, ball-busting, devaluating competition to rule? Rule what, exactly?

For the most part, we raise men to be this way, women to be that way, and since we can’t find our own damn way we’ve just messed up the gift we were born with and the balance of super powers we all hold from our first breath. Where is the genuine interest in getting to know someone and enjoying the differences in strengths, perspectives and DNA?

We misrepresent ourselves all over the place instead of being who we are becoming all along the way, and it breaks my heart and makes me weary. It doesn’t have to be the conflict, drama and choosing of sides. Neither is it beneficial for male or female to minimize, disrespect or belittle the other by our behavior. Maybe I should say instead, the masculine and feminine, because I’m speaking of what’s inside a person.

As men and women, we are wonderful creatures. We’re walking miracles.

 The masculine and feminine in each of us seeks its balance in another to expand what we’re capable of experiencing as an individual. Why would we want someone to mirror our every thought, feeling and belief when we could learn more, see more and have more than we do alone? I don’t get the hard line push to “be like me, think like me, act like me”.

I’m a female in charge of a predominately male business. My father and brothers are amazing men. My ex-husband is phenomenal and my son is my pride and joy. While I don’t agree with them always, I admire them all for who they are and I’m grateful for what they add to my life. This being said, I don’t hesitate to go toe to toe when need be, nor do I need to flutter my eyelashes to get things done or make my point. It’s simply a willingness to respect myself and the other person that makes everything work. If I don’t get that in return, you’re not in my space for long and it’s a non-issue.

So I wait. I’m in no hurry. There is too much pain and confusion going on and not enough genuine conversation as a whole. We don’t allow ourselves to see the wonder of the other as we should. We don’t see the differences as the spice missing from the mix of things. We foolishly think somebody’s holding us down, or back, when we are the ones doing so.

We don’t need a label-sporting tee shirt, a support group or a battle to define us.

We just need the courage to be who we are and allow others to do the same.

Clear the battlefield.



I wonder how forgiveness can be a noun when it’s an action inspired from a heart bigger than the damage it sustains?  It’s a decision to put our bleeding self in the shoes of the one who caused the blood to flow. It’s the choice to show mercy when none was given. It is the giving of our pardon to the one who often doesn’t desire it to begin with.

A noun is the naming of a class of people, a place, a thing. That would make sense if we were “forgivers” or put ourselves “in a state of forgiveness” or began “laying some forgiveness on somebody”.

Forgiveness is a radical act. It’s bad-ass and it’s fucking hard to do at times.

We say we do so easily, and we sound so noble and compassionate when we offer it, but then what? We continue to bleed and process the bubbling mess of harsh words spoken, careless negligence, lack of respect and being pummeled with neurotic behavior. Sometimes we’re the bearer of the wounds and other times we are the inflictor of them. We say the words to others and we ask for them in turn.

Too often we neglect to ask for absolution for ourselves ~ from ourselves.

True forgiveness is rarely a one shot deal. We may have to repeat it daily, or in some circumstances, moment by moment. It can take a damn long time. We may have to counsel ourselves as memories flare of intentional injury or criminal negligence. We find  that we have to relentlessly re-affirm our commitment to that decision when dealing with long term consequences.

Then comes the inner work, the tougher work, of forgiving ourselves for our choices, our allowing, our aiding and enabling of the offense. We learn the hard way to forgive ourselves for trusting and believing, without falling into the trap of coloring all of humanity with the taint of broken faith.

We redefine ourselves, breaking our hearts into a new way of being open.

Forgiveness isn’t a noun to me. It’s an act of courage, an act of love, an expansion of self. It’s an unclenching of the fist of bitterness and a letting go of the desire for retribution. It’s not an act of piety grudgingly practiced to be worthy of eternal life.

It’s the gift to ourselves of Internal Life.








Sometimes I feel like my head is full of so many things, so much input, that the inside of my skull must look like a radar scan of a hurricane. Everything flying around in there, thoughts bashing against each other, and me standing in the tiny eye of the storm watching ideas, instructions and theories whipping by my astonished eyes. I’m careful not to move much to prevent being beaned by anything that might cause damage.

I like taking a lot in and sorting through it all. I like testing the things I learn on myself to see if it’s true. I love it when something proves true and takes me in the direction I want to go, and I have no trouble kicking aside the things that do me no good.

I consider myself a life experiment.

I love ideas and practices that bring me a new understanding, whether it be of an old behavior or the benefit of a new way of perceiving. I have, many times, gleefully stitched to myself something precious to take the place of thoughts and behaviors I’ve so ruthlessly removed.

I am creating FrankenShell.

Isn’t it strange that, at times, the most major shifts come from the most simple, quiet and repetitive things? I always expect the next epiphany to come with some major experience and great fanfare, but it never does. It is always a soft and constant whisper that I only hear hidden inside the white noise of life jabbering at me.

I’ve taken the time to relax much of what I allowed to puppeteer me, so to speak. I read such a wide variety of genres, I listen to an equal blend of audios and write in whatever mode presents itself to me at any given moment. I suppose I’ve allowed my heart and mind to rejuvenate.

The past two years have battered me with trivial things.

I call it death by paper cuts. Isn’t that how love for anything usually dies? Anais Nin speaks of the negligence, the lack of willingness to see or nurture that which we say we love. We live what others say we should, do what others say we should, try to build someone else’s picture of how we should be.

We lose ourselves in living the picture others have of us.

I am acquainted with a published author whose words are so deliciously woven that it makes my heart smile to read them. I remember when she withdrew from a course that sought to change her voice. I remember how she shared with me that she could not allow that to happen, that she had to remain true to herself in spite of the strong pull of the instructor to replicate itself.

I admire her more than I can say.

Today, something struck my heart with the same velocity a storm force wind can power a fragile piece of straw to impale a wooden post.

I remembered today that I am a teller of stories. I re-read the 54 pages I’ve written and hidden over and over again. I asked myself what I would I love doing even if I knew I would fail. What do I love doing? What makes me happy? What brings me life in technicolor? What will I do even if I never see a single dollar of profit from it?

I am the teller of this story.

I will write until…

The End.

I’m No Pollyanna

Sometimes the struggle is real. You know how it is when you’re supremely pissed or hurt and you have the absolute right to kick ass and take names and then some chirpy-ass ray of sunshine tries to uplift you by meme, or cliche and you have a sudden desire to take them out at the knees?

This is me vs. me some days.

Although I’ve developed a powerful ability to choose what I focus on, there are mornings when I wake up from nightmares hauling in memories that make me want to spew. My heart starts burning with that righteous fire you get when you’re ready to level things down to the foundation of it all, and for a moment or two I damn the consequences of what it would do to who I am. It trembles inside me knowing I have the power to do so.

Then the rest of me wakes up.

Sometimes what I’m feeling is so huge that the only thing I can think of to be grateful for to divert myself in that instant, is so trivial and immediate that it’s like fighting a forest fire with a water pistol. So I have to lie there with my heart blistering while my mind pours out gratitude one thimble-full at a time.

I don’t care for those mornings.

Then, after I’ve come back to my reality and remember where and who I am now, some hapless soul mistakes me for a Pollyanna who is too clueless to see the ugly in the world and that must be why I’m happy. I’m obviously unrealistic in my view of the world and can’t see the ugly. I don’t know the trials and tribulations that are to come. I’m naive and unsuspecting of what people are capable of doing. Maybe I’m just too blind to see what’s right in front of me.

The look on my face ended that conversation abruptly.

I see it with great clarity. I’ve lived what I allowed. I won’t do it again, and I refuse to give it any more of my time. My mistakes will be new ones to carry me forward. I’ll let someone else caterwaul about what’s done.

I’ve got better things to do.

So forgive me, (or not) for my belief in better things, my hope for the future and my ability to decide who I will be and what kind of life I live. I will continue to pummel the righteousness right out of myself until these moments are few and far between.

I’m beginning to really like that about myself.



The Prophet

There is only one

more sorrowful thing

than to love someone living

a self-fulfilling prophesy

of loss and isolation…

only one more

heart-breaking thing

than to bear witness to

a self-destructing


only one more

hopeless thing than

a need to control

so great in its desperation

that life cannot breathe

through it…

If there is only one more


more heart-breaking,

hopeless thing…

it is to be the prophet

refusing to allow






What’s Stopping Me?

How odd and unexpected a gift it was to find that writing for someone else taught me what I was lacking in writing for myself. To hold someone’s original raw thought or emotion and carefully orchestrate a communication that would not misrepresent the intention. To sift and sort words and phrases to respect the teller of the story, to hold true to the voice while removing verbiage that would block those who might receive the message otherwise. To be able to write in such a way that the person you write for says, “YES! Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted to say”.

I didn’t realize I wasn’t doing this for myself.

I pulled out the 53 pages of a book I started 20 years ago, after I’d shoved it in a drawer. I’d revised it again 3 years ago, and shoved it back in the drawer. I read it tonight and a small part of me wondered how it would end if I finished it now. I wondered if I should even try because I am not at all the same woman who wrote these 53 pages, I’ve learned too much in the interim.

A friend of mine said to me today that she wished she could pick me up and lift me away from everything that stopped me from writing like that for myself. That my words make her feel like she’s there in the middle of everything that’s happening. What a wonderful thing to say, and hear.

I know I’m the only one who can do that. I’ve been what’s stopping me.

I’ve got a story to tell…





The Big Show

This week was interesting. It was as if my old and new ways of thinking arm-wrestled inside my head as each challenge offered to stress me out. There were work texts after hours, crabby people, poor planning, discourtesies, getting pulled over, and to top it all off, I did not win the lottery.


Still, I woke up every morning. I kept myself at the edge of appreciation. I recognized when my “Peace on earth, goodwill towards men” was wearing thin. I kept myself out of lock and load mode over those things that have no bearing on, or pose any threat to, my plans to dominate my own world.

What I did note, with relief and gratitude, was that it wasn’t impossible. It wasn’t even that tough to do. I’ve grown strong enough, finally, to maintain my equilibrium when it looks like things are falling to pieces. Usually they’re not, but when they do, I know it’s not permanent. Everything eventually changes.

When shit gets serious, I just do my best and let the good times roll.

I don’t miss what’s missing. I like the calm that comes with knowing my opinion of me matters more than anyone else’s. I enjoy disregarding instructions on how I should be or what I should do. I am not sorry about what I don’t allow in my space. I am happy to retire from performing in anyone else’s circus.

I know I’m on the right track for me when I remember certain things and catch myself whispering “Thank God” to myself, to the pups when I hug them, and in my heart before I fall asleep. I like knowing things will work out for me, that new opportunities will keep laying themselves at my feet, that laughter is always an option.

Might as well relax and enjoy the show.



Soft Focus

Days like today make it easy to be happy. My brother and sister channeled pain into power today, and I know what that feels like. I know what it looks like. I was involved a bit in their gifting of it to members of Congress today, and it was a glorious feeling.

I’ve lived the opposite; I know what that looks like too. It feels like hardship and heartbreak. It feels like loss, and lies. It’s a placing of yourself into circumstances and a way of living and acting because you believe you can make a difference in the world, without taking into consideration that you cannot make choices for anyone but yourself.

We perpetuate our own fractured emotions, crush our own bones and shatter our own beliefs. We teach ourselves to see where we are instead of who we are. We mistakenly focus on how we got here instead of where we’re going next.

What do you choose to see?

We all lose people we love. Some losses are from death, some from dishonor, some from disinterest. We mourn the deaths, we become angry and bitter at times, and sometimes we are grateful for the loss of what we weren’t wise enough to let go of willingly.

This is when we have to make the decision to become less or more than we have been if we don’t want to default  to more of the same. We repeat what we don’t learn from. We can feed the destruction by dwelling on the harm caused, or we can change our direction and perception by focusing on the new reality we decide to create for ourselves.

Look back one more time if you have to. Learn. Let it go.

We can use what hurts us to garner sympathy, as a tool of manipulation, or a weapon to hurt others so that we are not alone in our pain. We can also try our best, as my brother and sister have on this day, to turn it into a laser focus of awareness and change. We can take what we know now to do and be better. We can take the new wisdoms learned and build on them, share them when asked for, re-purpose our pain.

We can use the ugly we see, feel or experience as a GPS of sorts to guide us to its opposite. We can decide to look at it clearly and refuse to give it the power of our attention by focusing on the cure, the answer and the healing of it.

Re-focus. What you take your attention from loses power.

You already know this don’t you? You’re irritated at someone, and the more you think about it, the madder you get. You confabulate conversations and situations in your head that haven’t happened (and may not) and throw yourself into a frenzy. Then much later you find out the facts of the matter, and you don’t have a leg to stand on. But you’ve been angry for days, and now you feel foolish, a little sick of yourself, and exhausted.

We forget to take the time to breathe, relax a little and decide who we will be.

Our circumstances are not who we are. The perception of us that someone else holds is not who we are. We can learn to take back the power over us that we’ve foolishly given away, stand on our own, and decide for ourselves who we are, where we go from here and what we’ll do with the time we’re given.

The better we learn to serve, respect and value ourselves, the more we have to offer ourselves and others. We can be wise enough to quit spreading ourselves so thin, and trying to be all things to all people. We can learn the difference between helping someone who asks and respecting the rights of those who revel in what they’ve got going on for themselves whether we see it as harmful or not.

We are not all-knowing. We can soften our focus. 

Words do not teach. Forced assistance does not promote growth, it promotes resentment. A lesson well-learned exhibited in a life well-lived is a light for others to follow if they choose to. We wake up every morning and by choice or default live a life of happiness or misery, we can be valiant or play victim, be freed from, or slave to, our circumstances.

We can decide to be happy and allow sorrow to ease. We can live in appreciation, focus on the lessons learned from the injuries, re-invent our purpose from the bruises of impact. We can choose to thrive.

And by our example, others are presented with choices they may not have considered.

We can live our lives in such a way.

The Hug Academy

When I meet someone for the first time, I usually shake their hand. There have been a few occasions, when I’ve heard enough about someone ahead of time to “pre-like” them, that I just have to hug them instead. My joy in meeting them exceeds my courtesy of honoring personal space.

I am a serial hugger.

I have no tolerance for fish handshakes and half-assed hugs. Seriously, what’s the point? A good handshake indicates confidence, willingness to connect, a strong intention and presence. A good hug offers affection, welcome, comfort, open heartedness and a sense of belonging. There is an art to a great hug, each unique in its expression.

One of my friends, I will call him Drew to protect his privacy, lights me up the minute I see him. No matter what I’m doing, I drop it and run to hug him. He always laughs and wraps me right up and holds on for a second or two and makes my heart smile. I don’t see him often enough, but he knows coming and going how to give the best hugs. He’s like a second son to me.

I call this hug The Original.

Melanie, who shall remain nameless, has been a sister/friend to me for over 20 years. Every visit together ends, no matter what our topic of conversation, with a head to shoulder hug, resting together for just a few moments. We often joke that we could nap like that, like horses in the field, while we gather strength.

This one is The Restorative.

Kelsey, who I will refer to as Anonymous, prefers knuckles and calling me biznitch to make me laugh. But because she loves me, when the days are extra hard or extra happy, she’ll hug me tight for a second when she’s on her way out.

This is the Hug of Valor.

My invisible friend Ruth Ann is about the size of a #2 pencil, so small that you can barely feel her in all her huggyness. Her tiny and frequent hugs are given super powers from the size of the heart behind them.

These hugs are The Hummingbird.

My Boi, who practices the art of Jaroditzu to blend with his surroundings, is in his own category. No one else qualifies, as I trained him personally from birth. His hugs are joy.

I call this one The Reason.

I hope you have enjoyed this entry level training to The Academy. Should we ever meet in person, you will be tested.

Study up.




How The Light Gets In

My perception of things right now is odd and fascinating to me. I’m not used to not worrying. I no longer need to know the outcome of something before I give it a try. I have no desire to pretend interest where I have none, or allow myself to be led down a side path for the diversion of it when it’s clearly not good for me to do so.

I’m not used to feeling this way, of being rock solid at the roots and flexible in the storms of whatever life blows by me. I don’t have to figure everything out today. I don’t need or want all the answers right now, because what would I have to look forward to then? I don’t have to fix myself or anyone else. There’s nothing I need that I don’t have, and nothing wrong that living won’t fix as it rolls along.

I’m totally good with letting things filter in through the massive cracks I’ve got in my resistance to just living day to day. New opportunities, happy moments, fresh ideas, the beauty of not knowing what could come next. All the new sifting through pushes out the shit I’ve been holding onto for so long. What a relief it is to let it go.

It’s interesting how very little around me has changed, yet I find myself in an entirely different world. I like it. A lot. Circumstances that used to infuriate or devastate me are over so quickly now. I just fix my part of it where possible and drop the rest like hot rocks. And I don’t pick them back up.

The cracks in my walls are getting bigger. Sometimes I face plant into a tough situation, a bad memory, or my own ego and I have  to remind myself to relax, let it go and get out of my own way. Then I have to laugh at myself just a little for trying to make it harder than it has to be. I have always been excellent at doing that.

I will keep breaking it down a little every day. Widening the cracks. Allowing more good things in to push out my “usual” ways of thinking and being that aren’t of service to anyone. A friend of mine said to me recently, half joking, “You’re scaring me. I think you’re losing it”.

I hope so.