Dolls Are For Girls, Arguments Are For The Immature, and The Bible Is For The Non-Religious

I was at a thrift store the other day, buying way too much stuff, and since I kept noticing and going back to pay for more and more, the woman at the register and I got to talking.

We talked about ties, and then the casinos, and then union jobs. Then she mentioned she voted for Trump. I said I didn’t, but I said it with a smile and followed with “but I do hope he does a great job and I support him because I want my country to succeed”.

Then we talked about baby names and she liked Holden and the other two I have picked out and others that are uncommon (she didn’t like “Thor” or “Michael”). Then she mentioned she’s against vaccines and asked if I get my son vaccinated and I said yes, with a smile, and just played it off like I never looked that much into them but made sure to stress that my son shows no signs of any disorder or syndrome or ailment.

Then I bought a chair and she said “This would be a perfect time-out chair and I replied “That’s what I’m going to use it for!”.

Then we talked about kids some more and I don’t remember why but she commented “You never know, by the time he’s 6 he might tell you he’s a girl with the way the world is today” and I said “Down, girl” to myself and “Heh, yeah” to her. I tried to sway the conversation by stating that my son is naturally drawn to both (stereotypically labeled) “girl” and “boy” toys. And she got my hopes up when she remarked that her grandson sometimes plays with dolls and “You shouldn’t tell them it’s wrong” and I cried out “YES!” but before I could add that it teaches them that their natural likes are bad, she continued “You just have to guide them” and at this point I knew it was going downhill so I tried to say that I didn’t mind when my son carried a purse because he was just copying me and hell, he held his own things for once. And she was nice and didn’t argue but I don’t think she was really paying attention because she went on with how she “guides” her grandson by telling him which toys are for boys and which are for girls (which is somehow different from telling him which toys are right and wrong) because “It’s god’s will, it’s natural, god is nature, and you can’t go against the word of god”. I just smiled and pretended to notice a movie for sale and excused myself while she helped another customer (who also voted for Trump and was on the fence about vaccines, I learned).

This story has two points:

1. I managed to control myself, mainly my mouth and attitude, even though I feel VERY strongly against her beliefs and am an advocate for the other side. This is the first time I recall that happening in my life.

Short version: I’m maturing.

2. People need to stop justifying their ignorant beliefs with “it’s what my religion says” when it’s NOT WHAT THEIR RELIGION SAYS. SHOW ME WHERE IN THE DAMN BIBLE IT SAYS BOYS HAVE TO PLAY WITH TRUCKS AND GIRLS HAVE TO PLAY WITH DOLLS. Spoiler, it doesn’t. It says children should obey and honor their parents. It says girls should be trained to be good wives and mothers. It says women should submit to their husbands (which can be interpreted in many different ways) and be silent in church and aren’t allowed to teach. It does not say what children can play with or that certain toys or childhood activities are for specific genders. It does not say that pink is a color solely for girls but it’s okay for girls and boys to like blue. It doesn’t say shit about your child being damaged for life if they don’t follow the fucked up rules 21st century society made up for them (to profit from them, mainly, but that’s another post).

Let your children be children. Let them explore. Let them find their own attractions. Don’t steal their souls because you’re too intolerant to let them be “different”. If we didn’t pigeonhole (“guide”) them into these trite, imaginary labels, they wouldn’t even be different, because plenty of boys and girls would be playing with whatever toy they naturally found appealing.

Short Version: Let kids be kids, read the bible before you preach God’s word.

Living A Nightmare

You might remember Luke, my best friend. I don’t have it in me to link to his name right now, but you can search using the search bar and read more about him.

Only, as per most people on this blog, his name wasn’t really Luke. His name was Rob. And a few days ago he passed away.

This might make no sense because I’m a mess, but a writer needs to write and I guess people need to know I’m okay, even though I’m not.

Rob and I hadn’t talked in about a year. The last time we did was during one of our running crazy phases. We were toxic for each other. We knew we were toxic for each other. So we finally pulled away. And then we got in a fight, only we didn’t even say anything to each other. He had been lying about me to his girlfriend, so as revenge I told the truth about him. The details aren’t important. At the time I thought that’s what had to happen so we could both live better lives.

Now I’m not sure. Nothing makes sense. This is, literally, my biggest fear. To be the last to know of a loved one’s passing. To not be there with them. To be lost.

It doesn’t matter how mad at each other we were, or how long we had gone since speaking, Rob was the very best friend I ever had. I never stopped loving him, and I never will. He was my soulmate, in non-romantic terms.

I guess I’m writing this to make sense of my thoughts. Several people have reached out to me, and for that I’m grateful, but I don’t want to talk to them. I just want it all to go away.

Mike has tried to get me out of the house, but it hurts even more when I do that. How does everyone just keep living? How does the world keep spinning? How does anything matter anymore? Why don’t people know about this devastation? It wouldn’t make sense for them to know, they didn’t know him. But to me, this is a bigger deal than anything. I feel like the whole world should be weeping. And I’m angry that they’re not. I’m angry that his friends are still posting memes on Facebook like nothing happened. I’m angry that they’re not mourning like I am, and that’s not fair. But I don’t care about being fair right now.

Life isn’t fair. Death isn’t fair. Praying does absolutely nothing, so if I wasn’t a non-believer before I definitely am now. Which also hurts, because that means I’ll never see him again.

I know I couldn’t have saved him. I don’t blame myself for that. But for some reason, I feel like I should have been there with him. I feel like he was alone. And I don’t mean physically, I know people who loved him were there. I mean mentally, or emotionally, or whatever. It was always us against the world. If we went out, we were going to go out together. I feel like we should have gone out together. And I know that makes no sense and I know that my son would suffer, but it’s just how I feel. It should have been both of us.

I want to know how he felt. It’s not my business to put the details of his death on my public blog, but I want to do to myself what happened to him so I know how he felt. If you watch Orange Is The New Black, Crazy Eyes does this after someone was suffocated. She keeps trying to pile heavy things on top of herself so she knows what it feels like to stop breathing in that manner. That’s what I want. I want to experience what he did so I know what it felt like. If it hurt. If he was afraid. If it was peaceful. I can’t shake the feeling that it must have been horrible and that makes me feel worse.

I’m angry. I knew something was wrong the night before. I couldn’t sleep and knew something wasn’t right. And then the next day I saw cryptic RIPs on Facebook and people changing their profile picture to him and I reached out (without bothering his family) and no one would tell me. I had to find out through Facebook. Why would no one tell me? Why did they find out before me? That doesn’t even matter but it hurts.

I feel bad for feeling so sad. I didn’t talk to him for a year, maybe I should be handling this better. I should reach out to his family, I should be strong and allow them to fall apart. But I can’t. Maybe I should stay away. I don’t know.

Nothing feels right. This can’t be real.

He was the one person I should have expected this to happen to, but he was the one person I never expected this to happen to.

And I’ll be honest, because no one ever is when it comes to death, he wasn’t the best person. He’s lied and cheated and put himself first far too many times. But his imperfections made him perfect. And even though I don’t know how to go on living, if I do figure it out, I know that my son, his god-son, will know how amazing he was. How creative and determined and caring and charismatic. How much he loved. He was supposed to do things.

Right now it’s hard for me to get out of bed. Sometimes I can’t breathe and others I can’t speak and sometimes I can’t stop crying. Sometimes I just stare. Sometimes I don’t realize I’m crying. Sometimes I’m mad that I can’t cry. So if you want to know how I’m doing, that’s how. I honestly don’t know if I’m okay. But I have no desire to use, so you can stop worrying about that. In fact, don’t worry about me at all. Mike is here and although he struggles with understanding, he’s doing his best and he’s all I need. If anything. So instead, think about Rob. Keep him alive. Don’t mourn for a day and move on. Let the world know what an amazing soul he was, and never, ever let his light die out.

To Star Wars and Back

I’m hesitant to write this post, because lately I’ve been feeling all types of stupid. But, for one, you haven’t read anything from me in a while since my computer is still broken. For two, this is a rare moment in which I have my father’s computer and my son is asleep. And for three, you deserve an explanation as to why I feel so stupid (don’t worry, it’s good). However, since I’ve been feeling like a schoolgirl, please don’t expect much from me. I’ll try, but my normal poetic brain has escaped me and my turmoiled heart is at peace so things may sound generic and cliche and . . . stupid. Fuck it. (Also spellcheck is telling me I just made up the word “turmoiled” and I’m too lazy to look it up so if I am, blame it on the stupid.)

Honestly I don’t even remember where we left off. Around Christmas, I suppose. And before that it had been even longer, since I was running around with people no good for me doing things even worse for me. But alas, that’s history. Thank god.

I also don’t know where to begin. Because there are so many different starting points. Like when I was 14 and went to a social gathering at my friend’s house and kissed a very cute boy. Or when I was 17 and best friends with that boy’s sister and decided, during a sleepover, to knock on his door once everyone was ready for bed. Or how several months ago a man who had the same boy’s name and face messaged me on Facebook. Or even one month ago, on the day I met that man for the first time since I had last seen the boy 10 years ago.

Or maybe it started over 4 years ago when Nate was arrested. Or over 7 years ago when I told Jack to stay far away from me and he didn’t listen. Maybe it was a few weeks ago when I went on the most amazing vacation of my life and finally woke the fuck up. You know what? There could be a million starting points. I could go back to my freaking birth and probably piece this all together. Because it’s all part of the plan, you see. So let’s just get started.

Sometimes, in order to survive your own life (or someone else’s), you convince yourself of things that aren’t true. You want so very badly for them to be true so you believe them with your whole heart. But on the sidelines your brain is whispering “Dude, this isn’t right.” Most of you should know that your heart could easily take on your brain in a karate match, so your brain is silenced while your heart tries to repair the past and keep the future looking positive. Meanwhile your brain is drowning.

That’s one of the things that was happening to me. I think some of you saw it, even though you’ve never even met me. I know a lot of my family and friends saw it, but they know me and they knew I’d figure shit out on my own eventually. And I did. Oh, I did.

Can you tell I’m talking about Nate yet? Because I am. His arrest on December 24th, 2011 changed my life forever. And even though I had been his for 9 fucking years before that, he had only been mine for a short while. So I latched on with everything I had and swore I would make it work. We would make it work.

We didn’t. I didn’t. He tried his ass off, I’ll give him that. Nate has changed into a much better man than he was when he went in. But that just wasn’t enough for me. Some people might say it’s not true love if you can’t wait. But you wait 4 fucking years while looking at another 11+ and then get back to me. I wanted to wait, I really did. I just couldn’t anymore.

I was depressed. I was stupid (and not in the good way). I was a mess, which had become so normal for me throughout my life I didn’t even realize it anymore. I hung on to people who were toxic for me simply because I needed to have a connection with someone. I convinced myself I was getting better when reality was that I was just taking a break from the mayhem. It was going to come back. I know it was. I know it was because without even thinking, I had prepared myself for it.

My house was a disaster, because why should I clean it now if I’m going to have an episode later and be unable to even get off the couch? People should just get used to it now. (Honestly, it’s still pretty bad, but I’ve been working on it.) I kept a stash of needles and other heroin paraphernalia “just in case”. Just in case I relapsed, so I could be safe. That’s what I told myself. That’s what I told the few people who knew about it. I held on to love that either wasn’t real or was faded or jaded or fucking bleeding me dry. I took Suboxone even after I had “officially” stopped so it could be my crutch. I kept people around who I honestly didn’t know how to treat like real people. I used them for my convenience and couldn’t stop. Even though they didn’t make me happy, I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t let go of anything, and every single thing I clutched with my clammy hands was preparing to tear my world apart.

But that didn’t happen. Because before all those aspects of my life could rally against me, I woke the fuck up.

And yeah, it took a man to make that happen. But not just a man. A man and comfort and sunshine and rum and family and adventure and escape and vastness and love. And most importantly, extreme happiness that I haven’t felt in so long, I don’t even remember it anymore.

The first day we saw each other we hugged like old friends and laughed like new lovers and were both super nervous at first but then realized that this time, we were okay. We didn’t plan this. Even on the first day, we didn’t expect it. We cuddled because that’s what we do and we watched TV (because that’s also what we do) and we drove each other a bit crazy, but in a good way. And we shared a moment that no one else can ever have. But we still had no idea what was to come.

On the second day we talked for hours like philosophers and started to feel a spark when we touched. We talked about politics and he gave me a book to read “so we could discuss it later”. I said “If we keep doing this, we’re going to fall for each other again. Or at least one of us is.” And even then I had no idea. He started to figure it out, though.

Then I went on vacation with my family. I flew in to Florida for my aunt’s wedding (that never happened due to the weather), and a whole slew of aunts and uncles and cousins followed me the next day. My first day there I spent with my grandparents and started to realize that Fuck, they are adorable. I want that. Relationship goals, yo.

The next day we all gathered at my aunt’s house and I thought about how she’s no longer with the father of her children, the “love of her life”, and I watched her preparing for her wedding with her fiance whom she’d known from the earlier years of her life and I thought Fuck, they are adorable. I want that. Then I got super wasted with my cousin and texted the man all sorts of feelings and even though I told him he couldn’t hold any drunk texts against me, we both knew they were true.

The third day I woke up hungover and prepared myself for the wedding but my amazing aunt cancelled it because the weather was bad and she didn’t want to inconvenience other people and I thought Fuck, they’re so in love and confident in their relationship and he cares so much about her family that their wedding isn’t even that big of a deal. I want that.

All this time I thought I had that, but then I pictured my future filled with a jailhouse wedding and none of my family there and sleeping alone (or worse, next to someone I didn’t want to be next to) for the next decade and trying to have children and start a whole new life in my 40s. And I started to slowly piece things together.

Then I got on a motherfucking cruise ship headed to the Bahamas, with my family in tow. A cruise ship headed to the Bahamas with my family where I would have no phone service and unlimited booze. Oh hell yes. The first drink I got was something inside a coconut. I don’t even know what it was. But I got it before I went to my room. I got it immediately, and smoked a cigarette in the smoking section next to the pool and across from the pool bar, and took it all in. Cruise ships are obviously heaven, in case you were wondering.

I didn’t even like the coconut concoction, so I threw it away and ordered a pina colada. I explored the ship and ran into random family members and we decided to all meet up for the complimentary dinner every night. I watched over the side from the very highest floor as we ventured into international waters. I took pictures. I left my motherfucking phone on the motherfucking charger in my motherfucking room because I was no longer in the real world. And it was wonderful.

The days kind of blend together, but I think on the first day they had a belly-flop competition. I taped it. One of the other nights I met the champion belly-flopper. His name was Raoul. I have no idea if that’s how he spelled it but that’s how my family’s been spelling it since the cruise so that’s what I’m sticking with. Anyway, there are a lot of stories from this vacation that I could share with you, but that’s not really what this post is about so instead I’m just going to share this one.

I was wasted. My cousins were wasted. And we had been wasted for a couple days. I don’t remember how I met Raoul exactly, I just remember that all of a sudden he was there. It was late at night. Around 3am. My cousins and I had been out partying hard that night, attending parties and going to clubs and dancing our asses off and just being all-around hooligans.

My mom (with whom I was sharing a room) tells me that she woke up at some point, looked at her phone, saw that it was 7am, decided to meet everyone for breakfast, and got up and showered and had coffee and started her day. She then went out to the common area (for lack of a better term) to try to find the rest of the family when she heard a commotion in the elevator and recognized my voice. She ran over as fast as she could but the door closed just as she arrived. Then the door reopened to my beautiful, trashed face. I asked her what in the hell she was doing and she replied “Going to breakfast with my peeps” and I simply started laughing hysterically, pointed at her and said “That’s why I love my mom!” Also I supposedly introduced her to Raoul, told her he was the belly-flop champ, and slapped his stomach, all while she turned her nose down at me for still being drunk and partying at 8am. Then the elevator door closed again and we were on our way. She sat back down on the steps when finally a cruise ship employee informed her that it was actually 3am and sometimes the time on peoples’ phones gets a little wonky.

Up on the top deck, my cousin was having a ball with some guy named Nick (I think) and Raoul started kissing me. But then he got all hot and heavy and I told him to stop. And the first person who popped into my head wasn’t my fiance in prison, it wasn’t the guy I was living with who helped take care of my son, but it was the man I had only hung out with twice since I had last dated him when he was still a boy 10 years ago.

Raoul passed out sitting in a chair overlooking the sea. My cousin and I switched to the other side of the deck and hung out with Nick and his cousin Hugo. We took pictures of and made fun of Raoul, and just as we were about to slap him with my shoe it started to rain and he woke up, so I ran to Hugo and hugged him super tight to hide myself from Raoul. He talked to my cousin for a minute, and then disappeared. We said goodbye to Nick and Hugo, smoked a few more cigarettes, met another guy who tried to shove his tongue down our throats, and finally went to bed. Around 5:30am.

When I got to my room, my mother popped up and scared the shit out of me. Then she proceeded to tell me all about her night (featured above), along with some other tidbits. Fucking Raoul had remembered my room number that I had apparently shouted to anyone who was listening, went down to find me once he woke up in the rain, and found my mom instead. They talked for a while. He told her that he was Cuban but had never been to Cuba (that’s like me introducing myself as German instead of American). Then he said “I’m going to be honest, I really want to do it right now.” My mother, being the fucking perfect specimen she is, quickly came back with “Well I don’t, and Tempest obviously doesn’t either or she wouldn’t have ditched your ass!”

So, to bring it back to the point of this post, there were several people with penises I could have engaged in sexual relations with on the ship. And when I’m drunk, I’m known to be a whore. But I didn’t do anything except kiss one of them. Because someone else was on my mind.

As I stated before, I didn’t get cell service out in the middle of the ocean. Or in the Bahamas. And I was super stoked to have an excuse to avoid nearly everyone. However, the ship did have WiFi and we were welcome to connect to it if we paid a fee every day. I paid the fee. I mean, I do have a child after all, and what if something happened to him? Jack knew he could get in touch with me via Facebook. But he didn’t. I only talked to one person. And when that person started talking about politics (again) and saying perfect things, I literally had to have my cousins take my phone away so I wouldn’t tell him I loved him in a drunken stupor before I knew if I really did or not. They told him that was the reason they took my phone, but still. It’s the thought that counts.

When I was drinking and partying and having a blast, it felt amazing to not have to answer to anyone. I was more happy than I should have been that Nate couldn’t call me to ask what the hell I had been doing. When I was waking up to the most beautiful view I had ever seen and drinking mimosas, it felt so right but at the same time pretty damn lonely. I felt like I should be experiencing it with someone. I posted real-time updates and plenty of photos to Facebook to feel connected, but then I ignored anyone who commented because I didn’t really care about them. When I was on the islands exploring I was exhilarated but also felt like I needed an adventure buddy. I had my family (sometimes, others I was alone), but that vacation was probably the best experience of my life and I wanted to be able to share those moments with someone. Or, actually, I at least wanted the option. If I decided to stay with Nate, that wouldn’t be an option until we were around 55 years old (considering his minimum plus parole). I have too much life between now and then. I shouldn’t have to live it alone. I shouldn’t have to live it for him.

When the cruise was finally over and my exhausted family and I loaded our stuff and ourselves into the van to make the hour-long trip back to my aunt’s house, I was still happy. Ecstatic. I took hungover selfies with my cousins and ate cashews from an unknown origin. Then Nate called and I was visibly annoyed. It had been almost a week since I had spoken to him but I still didn’t want to. I didn’t want to answer his questions. I didn’t want to force stories that I wasn’t ready to share. I didn’t want to hear how he thought I was gorgeous no matter what. I didn’t want to deal with him bugging me about sending him sexy pictures, again, or making me feel bad for being such a flake and never doing anything he asked. I didn’t want to interrupt my time with our time, even though we had so little of it. So I came up with an excuse and got off the phone.

As the day wore on, I got more hungover and more annoyed (and hungry). My aunt, mother, cousins and I finally ventured out to get food and Nate called again. I didn’t answer the first few times, because we were in the car being our silly selves and listening to music, but as usual he wouldn’t give up so I finally accepted the call while I was waiting for my long-awaited greasy death burger. I had just endured a four-day binge, the experience of a lifetime, my crazy fucking family, and the better part of a serious hangover while walking around an unknown town looking for food. I was simply in no mood for anything. So we talked for a little bit but then he got in a weird mood because I was in a weird mood and I realized that he relied on me too much. If I was happy, he was happy. If I was pissed, he was pissed. If I was sad, he was sad. I was his inspiration, his motivation, his everything. He didn’t have himself anymore. That was way too much pressure on me and it was breaking me down. So I got off the phone again. And enjoyed the rest of my day.

During which I told the man that my family wanted to explore but I just wanted to nap and he said “So explore a nap” and that was the first time I told him he was perfect. And I didn’t realize it until later, but I so meant it.

The next day we spent 9 hours on the phone. I think that’s when we realized we loved each other but we were both too cautious to say anything because what if it was just the new romance rush and distance that was giving us all sorts of crazy feelings? So we held off.

I spent the rest of my vacation resting in the sunshine and listening to music that touched my soul and being sober-honest about my feelings.

The man picked me up from the airport when I arrived back home. He hugged me tight for a long, long time. When we stopped to get food he did the same thing. We looked like crazy people and it was awesome.

At that point it had been a week since I had stopped taking Suboxone. But during the trip I had some comfort meds and lots of alcohol. The day I got back was my first real day without anything at all. I felt alright for most of the day, other than having weird body temperature fluctuations, but during the night I got really bad. I was spending the night at the man’s house and he stayed up with me the whole time. He was supportive and caring and non-judgmental. I remember spending a week at Nate’s house when I got off Methadone (and we had a four-month-old baby) and it was nothing like that one night with the man. Not only that, but he woke up (and woke me up) at 7am to make sure I got home in time to get my son to school.

And that’s the day he met my son. And they played and laughed and bonded immediately. And my heart grew ten sizes.

It’s also the day I got rid of all of my “just in case” drug stuff. Because I decided there is no more “just in case”. I don’t need to worry about being safe, because I am safe, because that life is finally behind me for real. And I don’t regret one minute of it, but it feels so good to let it go for something much, much better.

A day later I ended things with Nate. Even when I first answered I still wasn’t sure if it was really going to happen. Because this had happened before, you see. I have loved since he’s been gone. Simon and Jack both asked me to leave him. But that’s the difference, I guess. The man didn’t ask me to do anything. He just let me do whatever was best for myself.

So no, I did not leave Nate for another man. I left him for myself. I left him for our son. I left him for him. But mainly, I left him for life. Life he could not offer me. And I don’t blame him for not being able to offer what I want. I don’t blame myself for wanting more than he could offer. Sometimes life just has other plans, and over the course of the last month I’ve learned to embrace those plans instead of fighting them like I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember.

Yes, Nate made me happy. Sometimes. When we had good phone calls or he wrote me a good letter or I thought about an impossible future. But I deserve to be happy all the time. And I know that’s unrealistic — no one can be happy all the time, especially someone as fucked up as me, but I can (and will) have happiness to come home to, or wake up to, or roll over to, or a text away.

I can look in the man’s eyes and find happiness, and love. But most importantly, I can look in my own and find the same. Before all of this I could find happiness in my smile, but I avoided my eyes. Now they’re full of giant pupils and amazement.

Now we move on to Jack. The day after I got back I asked him when he was moving out.

We’ve been fighting or avoiding each other pretty much nonstop since then. I broke all my own rules and he’s mad about that. I introduced the man to my son very early, before I introduced him to Jack. I had the man come spend the weekend while Jack was visiting his sister. I’ve been being a bitch.

I can admit that. I’ve never treated Jack very well. As much as I complain about him and how he disrespects me, I do the same to him. I don’t know how to treat him anymore. He let me treat him badly for so long that it’s become normal and I can’t find it in myself to respect him. I’ve tried. But I’m a seriously broken individual and there are just some people I don’t know how to treat. I can’t treat Jack right, and I can’t let Luke treat me right (I guess that’s a story for another day). I still care about Jack and want him to be happy, but we’ve become so stuck I think that him hating me is the only way for him to move on with his life and get his shit together. So I’ll play that role.

He spent a few days away. Now he sleeps on the couch. He’s moving to another state in a couple weeks. I’m excited for both of us. We’ve been in this weird on-and-off toxic relationship for 7+ years. And yeah, I’m probably the toxic one. So we both need to get away.

But honestly, I can’t find it within myself to care that much about other people right now. Of course I do, I don’t let go easily. But I don’t care as much as I thought I would. I need this for myself and my life, and that’s what’s important at the moment.

I always thought once I was in love I would never fall out. That’s just how I worked. Nate and Xavier and Jack would permanently be pressed into my heart like dried flowers in a book. But then I told the man I loved him. And he said it back. And I started showering more and cleaning more and realized what type of person I can truly be who I’ve been hiding this whole time and now those flowers are starting to crumble. Actually, I can say with certainty that Xavier and Jack are now simple petals (or maybe thorns); reminders of what was and caring that will never fade, but love? Deep, intense, real love? That’s gone for them. I’m pretty sure it’s on its way out for Nate, too.

I also thought I loved the same. I thought I loved all three of them with everything in me. But they’re all different. Xavier was young love. Young love that I held onto because he was fun and poetic. Young love that was probably gone a while ago but I didn’t want to admit that. Jack was intoxicated love. We started our relationship on drugs and even though we got sober together, it was still a drug-infused relationship. We relapsed together and got help together and relapsed again together. I’m not sure if you can experience the extremes we have and come out of it with the relationship still intact. And Nate, well, Nate was the first love. The one who got away. The babydaddy. Nate was a lot of things, but all of those things were just excuses to never leave. They weren’t reasons.

What I feel for the man is different. It’s real. It’s passion and fire and longing and content. It’s adult. I quite literally didn’t think I could feel like this for another person. That’s not to say that I wasn’t in love with the other three — I was. Just in different ways. Ways that probably wouldn’t have worked out had we tried in the real world. But the man and I are in the real world, and it’s working. I told him I loved him differently. He asked how.

“Better.”

A lot of people will say it’s too serious too soon. A lot of people will be mad at me for being such a flake with Nate, or such an asshole with Jack, or so open with my son. But those people can’t understand what they don’t feel. So I don’t even really have anything to say to them. Because I know what they never could.

And yes, part of me is afraid of him leaving. Part of me is terrified. This feeling is one of those “How did I survive without you?” kinds. But a bigger part knows that I would be just fine. Devastated, of course, but I would pick myself up and keep moving forward. Because he’s awoken something in myself I always knew was there but couldn’t access until now. I don’t even have a word for that something, but it’s motivation and passion and independence and submission and even more all rolled into one. He makes me question almost everything. He makes me realize new things. But it’s me doing those things, and I will be able to do them without him. I don’t want to, ever, but I could if I had to. And isn’t that wonderful?

During the writing of this entire post I’ve been trying to come up with a name for the man. I told him he needed a fake name, like everyone else has here (except myself) and he said “fuck that”. And now I’m realizing, fuck that. He is who he is and I am who I am and we’re more real than anything I’ve ever known. Mostly I give people fake names to either protect them or protect myself, but neither of us needs protecting from the other.

I love you Michael Sloan, to Star Wars and back. And even better, I love myself enough to be the best I can be.

Mike

I’m Still Here

Hey guys. So I know you probably got super excited when I came back and then we’re all “what the hell” when I didn’t post since.. well, my last post. But I promise I’m not leaving again. My laptop broke about two days before Christmas and I simply can’t type a whole post on my phone. Luckily there is still another computer in my house, so I’m not completely lost, but I probably won’t be posting or reading as much until I get mine working again. I do have the WordPress app though, so I’m always available to comment and whatnot.

Also, does anyone know how to remedy error code 0xc000000e? I don’t have a cd drive but I’d be willing to get one because the estimate I got from the manufacturer (asus) was $340 and that’s almost what I paid for the thing in the first place.

Also also, Happy Christmas!

Rules Are Meant To Be Broken

So I broke my own rule this year.

You might remember when I posted about My Christmas last year. And also when I ruined a lot of little boys’ and girls’ dreams when I told them Santa Isn’t Real.

If you’re new here and too lazy to go read those posts, because I totally sympathize with anyone who has the lazy virus (yes, I made it up, but I also think it’s a real thing — upcoming post on that later), in short I explain that I hate Santa. Not really, but I don’t tell my son that Santa is real, Santa doesn’t bring him presents, there is no magic on Christmas other than the real magic of love and family and Momma finding ways to pull money out of thin air because she goes way too overboard with gift-giving.

At least, that’s how it used to be. Until that jolly old bastard forced his way into my life.

Stern Santa

Photo Credit: LadyDragonflyCC – >;< / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 / (cropped)

I have never, not once, not ever, encouraged a belief in Santa. But that bitch is everywhere. Every time anyone talks to my son, they ask him if he’s excited for Santa to bring him presents. They ask him what he wants from Santa. They tell him he better be good or Santa won’t come. They lie, because Santa ain’t bringing shit and Momma is going to get Holden way too many presents no matter how bad he is because she’s a sucker. So I tried not to lie.

I tried not to lie not only for my own selfish reasons (I wanted the credit, I didn’t feel like dealing with my son’s devastation when he found out the truth, etc.) but for the world. I don’t like the concept of Santa for many reasons, but some of them are kind-hearted. I don’t like the concept of Santa because what happens when one kid gets the pony he asked for but another doesn’t even get the pair of socks she wanted? Is Santa mad at her? What happens when rich parents buy their daughter a whole room’s worth of presents but poor parents can’t even afford to give their son a decent meal? Did Santa forget about him? What happens when the really bad kids get all sorts of stuff but the super sweet and kind children get little to nothing? I’ll tell you what happens — the super sweet and kind kids think they weren’t sweet and kind enough and become broken, while the really bad kids realize that they can get away with whatever the hell they want, because Santa is a pushover.

I know there are a lot of systems in place to make sure some of those things don’t happen. Toy drives and food banks and the like. And that’s wonderful, and I’ll talk more about that in a moment. But, what happens when a child’s world is turned so upside down that they don’t want toys or clothes or food? What if they want their sick mother to get better, or their deceased father to come back, or for their brother to stop coming into their room at night, or to have a home bigger than a cardboard box? What does Santa do then? There are some pretty amazing people in the world who have just the right thing to say to these kids to restore their hope, but sadly not every child gets paired up with such a person. Sometimes, kids won’t even tell an adult that these are their wishes so no one even knows, but Santa knows because they wrote a letter to the North Pole. I just think that “Santa” should be more realistic, more attainable. I don’t know how Saint Nick turned into a fat man in a red suit shimmying down chimneys to leave everyone a puppy, but what if Santa was more of an idea than an actual person?

Instead of having that image in their heads, we could tell children that Santa was a helping hand. A kind stranger. A welcomed friend. That family member who took you in for the night so you could have a home-cooked meal and a roof over your head, that’s Santa. That stranger who donated a toy so a needy child somewhere would have something to unwrap on Christmas, that’s Santa. The friend who gives you their kids’ old coats and shoes, that’s Santa. The teacher who takes extra time to really listen and speaks those words I talked about one paragraph up, that’s Santa. Anyone who keeps the hope alive, those people are the Santa I want my son to know about. It doesn’t have to be any less magical just because it’s real. Reality is filled with the best kind of magic, sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find it.

And I did find it this year, which is why my grinch heart grew ten sizes and I broke all the rules I just spent 800 words telling you about.

At first everything was going according to plan. My son and I had a little talk and I was like “You know Santa isn’t real, right? He’s just pretend. But you can’t tell anyone because some people think he’s real, so it’s a secret.” and my son was like “Yeah! Okay!” and everything was good. We went to a Christmas parade later that night with Holden’s best friend and her parents and Santa was there but we didn’t feel like waiting in the ridiculously long line to meet him so while the adults were discussing it Holden mentioned that Santa was just pretend and that Mommy got all his presents and I had to remind him that he had to be quiet about it because Sylvia didn’t know about the secret but thankfully she was far enough away that she didn’t hear anything.

Then the next day I was telling Jack about how proud I was that Holden was so cool with the whole thing, but Jack doesn’t agree with me and wants Holden to believe so he wasn’t convinced and called Holden over to ask him if Santa was real or not. Holden said he was. I was confused. I asked him a few things and did a Homer Simpson’s “Doh!” (which pretty much means I’m so stupid for those of you who have lived on Pluto for the past 20 years) when it became very obvious that there was no way for me to have kept it real. In an above statement I said “that bitch is everywhere” and I was not lying. There are Santa decorations on people’s houses and in stores. There are Santa shows and movies on TV. That fucking elf (which I will have no part of, even if does make me a horrible parent and destroy my son’s sense of wonder) is even in his school, which I think is horrible because what about the other religions? But that can be addressed later. In the end, I came to the conclusion that he really wanted to believe in Santa, so I decided not to be that asshole parent who fights with her kid over his imagination. I decided to let him believe.

I’ve still never uttered the words “Santa is real” and if Holden ever asks me I’m going to tell him the truth. And it was difficult to find some sort of middle ground where I don’t feel like I’m lying to my kid but I’m also letting him relish in these childhood moments that he obviously wants.

I didn’t find it. Over the next week I realized there was no way I couldn’t lie. There’s still a part of me that doesn’t like it, but we’re having fun so I guess it’s okay? I don’t know. I’m still torn. I guess I’m like Darth Vader (speaking of which, STAR WARS amirite?! I haven’t seen it yet but I plan to on Tuesday or Wednesday so SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTHS about anything that happens), because he is good (and realistic) but then he turns to the Dark Side for a long time but he still holds on to some of the light for his son that makes its way through and saves everyone in the end. Except for himself. I hope I don’t have to sacrifice myself when it comes time to stop this charade. I’d be all “Holden, I am your mother. Santa is a ruse. Run child, save yourself!” because obviously all of the elves would be riding the reindeer and shooting candy canes at my Death Star’s hole. That much sugar isn’t good for anyone.

I’ve gotten way off course so let’s bring it back. We left off at Over the next week:
my son decided he wanted to write Santa a letter. So I helped him. He first asked for Santa to bring his friend Sylvia presents, then said he would like a “Transformer Optimus Prime that turns into a truck”. That’s when I knew I’d made the right decision. Because any kid who puts his friends first and only asks for one thing deserves to believe whatever they want. That’s also when I realized I’d have to make another trip to the toystore even though I had previously thought all my shopping was done.

Then my mom wanted to take Holden on The Santa Express, a train in my area that goes 45 minutes in one direction, makes about a 20 minute stop so you can explore, then goes back another 45 minutes in the other direction. Doesn’t sound too exciting but I forgot to mention that Santa himself, and some of his elves, are on the train. Plus it’s an old, cool train. Holden loves trains and Santa and elves and had never ridden a train before or met Santa (except for in those mall pictures I forced him to take) so it seemed pretty freaking perfect, actually. And according to my mother, it was.

Holden brought his letter and they sat in the Cafe car at actual tables in actual chairs and snacked and played with a Christmas Rubik’s cube (that I’ve since hidden because fuck those things). Then Santa and the elves walked down the train and met with, talked to, and spent time with every single person. It wasn’t a quick hi-hello-snap-a-shot-goodbye — “Holly” the elf came first and spent a good long while talking to Holden and waiting him out while his shyness subsided, then Santa sat down with him and read his letter and watched him coloring and talked to him about Christmas, and then my mom took a picture.

Santa and Holly the elf

When I was typing the description for this, I put “Seawhore” instead of “Seashore” and I think that’s what we should call it from now on.

Holden got home and was very excited to tell me all about it. So, I think possibly being attacked by killer candy cane-wielding elves and their reindeer counterparts is worth it.

And over the next week he’d ask me if the elves were done making his present or if Santa had come yet and other various questions that were based on a lie, and I answered them all, according to the lie. (I did not, however, tell him that Santa wouldn’t bring his present if he was bad. I told him I’d beat him with a shoe and lock him in the closet.) (Just kidding, jeez. I told him that I would give his presents to someone else. Even though we all know I won’t. But he already knows I’m a sucker, I don’t want him thinking the same thing about this mythical creature of his.)

You’d think I’d be done by now, but I’m not.

Remember my last two posts talking about the James Garfield Miracle over on The Bloggess? It’s where people who are in need and people who want to make a difference all come together and make magic happen. See, there’s that real magic I was talking about before. The kind people who helped gift I-don’t-even-know-how-many children (and some adults and fur babies) are the real Santas. And the people who were gifted know that. There were so many praises to their “Santas”, “Secret Santas,” “Elves,” and “Angels” it was heartmelting. (That’s my new favorite term, by the way.)

I had originally gone there to tell Jenny (aka The Bloggess) how amazing she was and had hoped to purchase someone a small gift, spend maybe $20 or less. Then I realized my stepkids needed help so I asked for it. Then things turned around and I was blessed (for lack of a better term) to be able to get my stepchildren really cool gifts (not the main, big one they both wanted, but still awesome gifts nonetheless) and give back and help the tribe.

While searching through the lists to figure out exactly who to help and what to get them, I saw a woman post that her son had asked for a Flash costume, but he wasn’t expecting to receive it because “Santa can’t make superheroes”. I had to get it. Not only because it reminded me so much of my son, but because of that word — can’t. I wanted to scream from the rooftops “SANTA CAN DO ANYTHING” and I don’t even believe, or want my child to believe. Where was this coming from?

I got her son the costume and her daughter a poster and added a gift message — “Santa can do anything if you believe. So can Mommy. She’s the real superhero.”

So I broke my own rules. But my son is happy and I am happy and a bunch of other parents are happy and so many kids will be happy on Christmas morning. Love, guys. That’s what Christmas is about. And I love each and every one of you. So if you still believe in Santa, or insist on teaching your kids he’s real, that’s fine with me.