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Tell me when to speak. Please. Otherwise I’ll never know. Said myself never.

I used to play dice games in a virtual world with an older man and some other people. The older man was in what seemed to be a perpetual bad mood. He complained a lot if anyone ever did anything that didn’t follow his script. Everyone had to use voice because he didn’t like to read or type. No one could use gestures because they annoyed him. We played what he wanted when he wanted for as long as he wanted.

I did this for ages. At first, I thought, he’s not so bad, he’s just kinda crabby. People would IM me to complain about him. I made uncomfortable jokes and tried to change the subject because it has been my experience that people who IM to complain about mutual friends tend to IM to complain about all mutual friends with all mutual friends, including myself. Do unto others…and all of that.

At any rate, I found myself walking on eggshells more often than not. I eventually became a nervous wreck dancing around, doing whatever it took to not step on any temperamental landmines and set him off. When I did well, I congratulated myself. Soon enough, I always did well, I played by his rules and only his rules so well that I outlasted everyone else. They gave up or became disgusted and bailed, but I was still standing, hopping around on one foot, one eye closed, one arm behind my back, fingers crossed, breath baited, sweating like a stuffed sow.

I don’t know what put an end to my suffering. Actually, yes I do. It went something like this.


Sir Crotchety: Come and play.

Myself: Okay. 🙂

Sir Crotchety: Are you speaking? Can you speak? I can’t read text. I hate reading text.

Myself: (tiny voice) Yes. I’m here.

–We played. I kept up awkward small talk while he commented minimally until I just plain didn’t want to talk anymore.—

Sir Crotchety: Why aren’t you talking? Come on. It’s nice to hear another voice. I hate reading your text. Stop texting and talk.

Myself: *opens her mouth and scrapes the bottom of her brain’s barrel for something, anything*

Sir Crotchety: Hello? Talk! Speak! (testier, sharper tone now)

Sir Crotchety: HELLO?

Myself: *sweating, anxious, frustrated* (now typing) I know you don’t like to read or type, but I dearly hate talking. If you don’t stop griping at me, I’m going to leave.

Sir Crotchety: Alrighty then…


And that was it. He kept playing. We went through two more games in silence. He announced we’d play another one and then he’d take his leave. I excused myself, thanked him and wished him a warm day….and left on my own terms. Honestly, silly as this is, IT FELT AMAZING.

I don’t know what leads people like Sir Crotchety to believe that other humans are only here for their entertainment, but it did occur to me, maybe I was a big part of the problem. I was catering to him and gladly. The meaner and bossier he became, the more I found myself eager to please the little tyrant. The more I seemed to please him, the better I felt about things. Before I knew it, I was miserable and all in the name of keeping some pixel stranger happy for a couple of hours out of the day, except he wasn’t really happy, was he?! Poor guy, maybe he’s never been. I can’t fix that, though. And for the record, I am happy–even when I’m sad. 😉

The good news is, this situation brought me to the surface in a couple of rather big ways. First of all, I found my voice when I really, really needed to use it. Secondly, (and perhaps more importantly) it made me look at myself and the way I speak to people in my own life, especially someone like my husband who is very gentle and patient with me.

I swear, I could hear myself barking at him about what I considered his shortcomings. You’re messy. You’re chaotic. Why are you never on time? I heard myself barking at him the way the cartoon man barked at me, rattling my walls and actually triggering my anxiety from time to time…and I didn’t like it. In fact I hated it. So I suppose, you might say, I suffered so that now, hopefully, my husband will suffer less.

If that’s a lesson, I’ve learned it—mostly. And I’m thankful.

independence day

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My grandmother, God rest her soul, said to me, “Poetry is ugly. I just don’t like it.”.

My mother said to me, “Kids don’t need art in school. They need to learn life skills.”

Well, I hadn’t the will to tell my grandmother, but…sometimes the subject matter of a poem is ugly, but more important, it’s HONEST–and because of that, poetry can never be ugly, poetry is beautiful because honesty is beautiful. But she did so believe in keeping secrets, sweeping difficult things up under the rug, and lying to herself and everyone else about the less than socially acceptable realities of her narrow little life. I say the word ‘narrow’ because she tended to swim in a very small circle, by choice.

As for the idiotic thing my non-idiotic mother said, well, she was half right. Kids do need to learn life skills, how to balance a checkbook, budget money, so on. But children also need ART–to learn to express themselves in healthy ways. And Momma, if your child hadn’t used her art to express herself, she wouldn’t have ever been able to express herself at all, because of all the lessons she learned from her family, the one best driven home, unfortunately, was–you are to be seen and heard only when asked to do so.

As freeing as putting these thoughts of mine down on digital paper feels, as I’m writing them, I’ve got one pinky over the backspace button because I know that people don’t like for you to point it out when they’ve behaved badly, and sadly, sometimes people don’t realize how badly they’ve behaved until other folks point it out for them. Well, I’m personally not one for pointing fingers, unless I’m looking into the mirror.

It’s one thing to hit your child because she spoke out of turn. It’s another thing to emotionally punish your adult child because she took the mirror in front of her off the wall and turned it toward you…and you didn’t like what you saw. Hypothetically, of course.

And since we’re talking hypotheticals, I think I’d say…

I’m sorry if you didn’t like what you saw.

I’m even sorrier if you did.


Happiest Independence Day! 🙂

my heart

Listening to Mickey Guyton while I write this morning (pulled an all-nighter), which is sometimes hard to do because this woman’s voice will stop you in your tracks. Ouch my heart. It almost hurts to listen. SO beautiful.

ps remember Tristan on Idol? :O Total boohoo fest, but it was awesome. Such a sweet and gifted young woman. click to watch Tristan McIntosh, Why Baby Why on Idol

Back to work. Happy Sunday. 😉

break away from broken things

pretty picture via unsplash
Am I the product of a problem that I couldn’t change?
Got his eyes, got her hair,
so do I get their mistakes?

The first post in my journal says:

I keep dreaming I’m beating the shit out of a vampire with a baseball bat. He won’t ever die. I think I am using the wrong tools. 

For some reason, I felt the need to share that. You are so welcome. 🙂

In other news, I was sitting awake the other night, searching my brain for the slightest inclination as to why I’m writing this stupid story I’m not even into, and as it often does, my messy mind found me somewhere in the middle of a memory from my childhood…and it hit me–I have a story I need to tell. Finally! It’s been a minute. I’ve been hoping and praying for such a sign. Something. Anything. And so it begins, the race to see if my fingers can type the gifts my daydreams have given before my mind forgets them entirely. Wish me luck.


#listeningto Kelsea Ballerini Secondhand Smoke