Category Archives: Personal Encounters

Fuck Laundry

I don’t do my own laundry. I don’t do anyone’s laundry, actually. And, I don’t give a shit if I lose any “mom cred” over it either. Fuck that.

I don’t spend a single Saturday folding little pairs of cheeky undies, hanging up dresses or putting creases in anything. Cries of “None of my socks are clean!” Or “Do you know where my black yoga pants are?” Are generally met with “At the laundromat!” Or “I’ll go see if Gen has washed them!” I love Gen.

I’m terrible at laundry. And by terrible at it, I mean I leave it around and pick through it, because I didn’t put it away after it has been washed and dried and put in a basket. It’s like some kind of amnesia that presents itself when the clothes are done and ready to be put away, and then…nothing. I grew up with a house full of dirty clothes and a mother who was a clothes (and everything else) hoarder. The kind you see on TV crying because the cat they were missing was found flattened and dried up under a pile of who knows what. Piles of clothes make me feel like a terrible person. Even if they’re clean they stress me out. In fact, I think when I’m dropping clothes on the floor I’m punishing myself.

I know how to use the washing machine. And the dryer. I have a small stockpile of HE soap, scent beads, dryer sheets and lavender scented fabric softener. It looks legit.  I do actually wash towels and sheets and shit. But, mostly, I just run an empty wash load so I can put washer cleaner through it so it doesn’t get smelly. That’s normal, right?

I own an iron, but do people actually iron anymore?  Isn’t everything basically wrinkle free or disposable? Mine was purchased mostly for the Girl Scout sash from 5 years ago. Also, because I think grown ups are supposed to have one, so….check! And, maybe one day I’ll decide to actually use it on those no sewing heat activated iron on hem thingers I bought at the fabric store 6 years ago when I bought this house. Aside from that, it’s best purpose is probably a weapon…in case I’m ever attacked in front of my closet.

I have two daughters and between the three of us we average 6 outfits a day.  Six. What the fuck? Our dirty (and sometimes not dirty but definitely “tried on”) clothes decorate our bedrooms, adorn every piece of furniture, and there are approximately zero door knobs on the second floor that aren’t draped with a bra, or seven. Anything that even remotely resembles a knob or hook, like say a bed post, is fair game for clothes and bras.

Gen has been doing my laundry for 6 or 7 years. She knows what not to dry, that everything that fits on a hanger is hung, and she separates my clothes from my daughters. She makes little smiley faces next to my name on my basket, which completely contradict her bad-bitch mean exterior. She calls me out when I bring in clean clothes to be washed, just because I need them to be re-hung. She’s mean to everyone, and she yells at people. Actually yells. But, I kind of love her crazy F word slinging ass because how do you not love the person who folds your underwear?

She recently quit the laundromat. Yeah. She fucking quit. Suddenly, my basement has a pile of clothes I have to walk over right in front of the machines. Some need to be washed. Some were washed, but then I left them in the washer for like two, no three days. And they smelled awful in there so I re-ran the machine and now it’s just a vicious cycle of forgetting and washing. Everything basically fucking sucks since Gen quit her job.

BUT I got a text message from her that said she was coming back one day a week. That was the absolute best day ever.

Things are looking up at my house. Fuck Laundry!


Messy Lessons

I fell in love with a man who broke my heart, again. Everything is all messed up. Our dreams didn’t come true. And our story got ruined. I’m still moving through grief and anger and shock and sadness and hate and jealousy and regret and crazy and mean and lonely. ..I’m still hurting through all of that, but in an attempt to remind myself to keep moving, I captured a few of the lessons I’ve learned from my messy bleeding heart.

I learned I can be hurt and sad and angry, and still compassionately love and hope for wonderful things for him.

I still love him. A stupid amount. I can’t have him back. I can’t imagine ever being over this. He ruined our story and me. And, despite my roller-coaster responses to heartbreak, I’m still capable of love. I’m capable of loving and understanding him while, not after, being so hurt. I don’t want to or need to be his friend. But, having been his friend, and having really loved him, I can acknowledge and accept that what I bring to the table is simply not what nourishes him. I can still feel love for someone, without giving it. I can still hate what someone has done and love that person.


I’ve never been the person who loved more in a relationship, and I don’t want to be again.

I think in every relationship one person always loves one more. That can’t be me. I’m incredibly untrusting and therefor insecure about how people feel about me. I need to know, with all certainty, that I’m the one, always. Then, I need to be reminded often.

Heartache is real. It actually hurts. I can physically feel my heart hurt, ache and get hot, like it burst and is spilling out of me.

When I read the words “I can’t do this” it ached. It felt swollen or bruised.When I listened to Liz Longley’s Goodbye Love I had to hold my chest because it felt like my heart was leaking or falling out. Literally a pouring sensation. When I listened to this song written by Mark Seymour (and performed with Eddie Vedder) I thought of how I never got to hear him sing this one to me at the fire. Losing love hurts.

I learned that if I didn’t try with him, I never would’ve let anyone else in.

It’s true. I would’ve continued comparing everyone to him. I can stop that now, because I know it was our story of us, not us that he loved. If I didn’t take the risk with him, I would’ve been waiting for him to come claim me as his own forever. I would’ve wondered “what if?” I would never allow myself to completely love another man.

My period makes me a psycho. I have extreme PMS. 

Legit psycho. I actually put an entry in my calendar to remind me that the week before my period I’m crazy. I’ve been doing this for more than a few years, but without fail I get my period and think “Oooooh WellThatExpainsALot!” I’m a hateful, mad, dangerous, randomly crying lunatic who loves you, then hates you, then needs you, is hungry but can’t eat Monster.

I am lucky to be surrounded by beautiful fucking people.

I have the love and support of fantastic friends, whether I take them up on it or not. I am able to look up after a few dark days and remind myself that “birds of a feather flock together” applies to me too.  I look around at who I surround myself with, and appreciate that I have a circle of strong, loving, protective and caring people. They’re truly good. Some sent me “You do not have to reply, but I just want you to know…” text messages.  Some left i-love-you voicemails that I was invited to not reply to. One drove 40 minutes to make sure I did yoga, and dedicated a breakfast to dream scheming my next 3-6 months. A few are angry and offered to give him a piece of their mind, I was offered girl-time, alcohol, a date, and other distractions. One offered to come over for the love letter bon-fire that I’m too sentimental to follow-through on. Some sat by me with honesty and told me to my face I could stand to be more open and tolerant. One just said “I’m sorry, because I know you thought he was the one.” They reminded me to write. And sleep. And yoga.  One explicitly reminded me that I am authentically me, that he has known me for 27 years and knows me, and that I haven’t changed. And while me may not be perfect, I never claimed or promised anything that wasn’t me. I don’t know if I picked them or if they picked me, but I’m fucking lucky. When I think of the people around me I love that they’re not pussies, they’re honest, and they have my back.

My children HAVE learned something about love from me.

I have two daughters and I have been a single mom for 23 years. I have always told my girls this…

Relationships must be mutually beneficial. You must be adding value to someone’s life and they must be adding value to yours or it is not healthy.

It must be give with take and take with give. I saw a note to him from my oldest daughter. I wasn’t happy that it happened or when it happened or that he engaged her. But, when I saw my daughter tell him how much I loved him, and how she’d never seen me love anyone except she and her sister like that, I felt happy to know she saw and recognized love from me. I felt a sense of relief. She knows I love her. A lot. And she saw me love someone else just as much. I also felt a sense of pride when I read “My mother is the strongest woman in this world…she raised us to not ever let anyone let us feel that way and I’m beyond mad that you’re doing this to her.” She thinks I’m strong. She saw me be vulnerable, which I wasn’t sure I’d shown, and she showed me that I did teach her not to let people make her feel bad about herself. I was also just proud that she would stick up for me. I think loyalty is gorgeous. I didn’t need it, and she never should’ve been in a situation to have to. But when I read that, I felt some validation. I raised a tough, protective loving girl who recognizes love and loyalty. My 13-year old knows I haven’t felt good. She knows the guy I’ve been loving forever is suddenly absent. She knows his calls have stopped, she doesn’t hear his music, and she has stopped asking where he is and if he’s coming over. From her, I got “Can I sleep in here with you?” And “If you want me to watch The Walking Dead with you, I will.” Not profound, but I fell asleep so still the night she snuggled me.



I have spent a significant amount of time, energy and money to nurture and take care of others. It is time to make a personal investment. 

I do want to do something nice for myself in a lasting way. I’ve always felt that helping or taking care of other people was a personal investment. It’s my way. It’s my default to solve other people’s problems. I want my legacy to be that when you needed something and I could give it to you, you got it. I will help you before you ask. I will surprise you. My thoughts will work for you and wheels will spin for you. I will know you well enough to know what you might need and do it. I don’t regret anything I’ve done for this man because I love him. What I do regret is the amount of energy I took from other spaces in my life to give to him. If I hadn’t, would I feel less shattered today? How different might I be today if 5 years ago I’d started checking things off my own bucket list instead of making “ours”? What if I’d not joined him in prison? If I’d gone to Kripalu for the summers by myself would I be a more peaceful person? If I cared about, or for ,myself more would I have waited for him and risk what feels like my whole future? I can’t answer any. But I fell hard, took risks, spent time, spent money and moved a lot of things around for him because I fell. There is absolutely no reason why I can’t shift all of that to something that makes me more comfortable. I want to fall for myself and see what that teaches me.

What Fine Feels Like: When I’m Afraid of Myself

I wrote this for the people who want to help. Please dont. People wanting to help me, scare me.

I wrote this for the people that worry about me. Please don’t. I worry enough for all of us.

I wrote this to try to describe the dark place that some go when we are hurt, or remember, or are triggered. It’s not a ticket i buy. It’s not an outfit I choose. It’s not a trip I want to take. But I go because I’m already on the train and the only place to go is the next stop. Sometimes I can get off. Sometimes I have to go a few more stops. I always come back. There isn’t an alternative. Perhaps some temptation not to, but I always come back because ther is more to make.

A little sad today. In a bad place. Anxiety attack. A flashback. Feeling crazy. Panic attacks. Coming undone. Whatever I call it-I’m fine-but I’m afraid of myself when it happens.

Perhaps of what I am, or what I think, or what I feel, or who might see, or what I’m capable of…but I’m afraid of myself. And I’m afraid for them…whoever they are.

I’m not out of control. I’m completely aware that I’m struggling. I don’t need help. I don’t want help. I want to dissapear. I know it will be terrifying, briefly, but I know it will pass.

I’m overcome by my own shadow and an overwhelming feeling of alone. My own brand of darkness and I wear it like humidity in August. A gown of grief and rage and sadness. Loose hems have been stitched up with shame over time. Memories heavily adorn the collar and add weight. It sticks uncomfortably to my naked skin. Buttons of anger poke into my bones when I move. 
It’s not an unfamiliar piece. It’s a staple in my wardrobe that I never choose. I wake up wearing it at times like this, and there’s no escape…until I’ve suffered it off.I try to be still, until I can practice the rhythm that brings back some form of peace. It’s a process. Suffering to feel easy. Dehydrated to recognize quenched. Starved to know what full feels like.

There’s a rush of heat in my chest that feels like hot clouds, and they feel nice for a moment, before they get stormy. My heart beat turns from time keeping to heavy, heavy stop-watch. A numb flutter happens under my tongue, and my breathing feels panicky before I take a breath. My first few inhales are fake-just a chest compression. No air comes in. There’s a pain, but it’s deep, and putting my hand on my heart would be a tell.

I’m afraid of something. Seemingly of my own feelings. Of how this dress feels on. I try to be still, because struggling is always worse when you’re stuck…in a web, in quicksand, in life.

My breath gets away from me only momentarily and I wince or quietly groan mostly to bring myself to attention. I breathe. Deep. Slowly. It’s shaky and the hot clouds have turned to water. My slow deep breathing contradicts the quick thumping in my chest and it takes a few minutes for them to come together. I’m holding back tears, and I feel like I’m underwater. As my chest rises and falls more steadily, the corners of my eyes leak. With every extended and forced exhale, salty tears streak down my face and under my earlobes. I taste blood, or metal.

I’m afraid I’m going to break somewhere irrepairably. I’m afraid I already have and don’t know. I’m afraid I might be mad. The only strength I have I use to breathe and sometimes to stay concious as my fingers and toes tingle. I know that oxygen and my blood want to dance, but this dress traps me and my capacity for air and movement is restricted. I’m overcome with a déjà u feeling. I know this exact spot, this exact feeling. There’s a memory I feel but can’t see. It’s something terrible, but I can’t tell myself what it is. It is scary and it is sad.

I’m absent from almost everything, except my immediate and present surroundings and need to stay sane. My sane stays on nearby like a child’s nightlight in the corner of the room. I  try hard to keep myself still. Together. Invisible. Unnoticed. The mute screamer begging not to be noticed.

I’ve met an edge in my sticky and pokey dress, where sanity meets an abyss of something else. Stepping in could be terrible and tangled. But I wonder if it could also stop something terrible. Heartache and worry? Sadness and memories? Shame and  regret?

I’m not sure what’s in there. I don’t know for sure how it could make me feel. It could be freeing, but my instincts keep bringing my face to the light in the corner of the room. Stay here, it reminds me. That in itself makes me wonder if I do the wrong thing by coming back to the light in the corner. Do other people reach this place and step in without contemplation? Do they let go of their mind and breathing and tears and shut off the light? Might that be why other people worry or hurt less? Are they more brave? Are they less crazy? Do they care more?

Pains are coming and going and I feel like a child feels like when she’s awoken, scared, in her bed alone, in the dark, and she’s screaming out for help. The kind of cry that makes a mom jump up and run in to hold her. The kind of scared inflicted by something she can’t remember in a dream, but knows it scared her. It felt real. Even if it wasn’t.

Whatever she feels like is what I feel like. I don’t scream. My cries sound like breaths in and out.  I never cry out. No one ever runs in. No one ever did. I rock myself. And the rhythm helps an adrenaline overdose start to subside.

I’m physically sick. And sore. And tired. I can hide behind that. But, mostly, my heart hurts. It’s not broken. It’s not shattered. It’s something worse. It’s exposed. Leaking. A torrent of something thick and infected is leaking out and can’t be clamped. I shamefully try to push it back in, and it’s like swallowing vomit. My stomach starts to hurt.

Whatever it is…love, regret, happiness, time, memories, fear, madness…I’ll make more, I assure myself. I’ll make more. I rock myself with a foot, with my waist. My breath comes back to me, and my heart relaxes. My stomach and my head hurt.

I could get up and move if I had to, but I want to come into myself physically as much as I do emotionally. I could talk if I had to, but I will avoid any and all chances. They deserve better than this, yet this is the absolute best I can be in this moment. Awake (sometimes) and alive (seemingly). The indignity of regret.

I will make more. And I say “I’m fine” to anyone who notices or suspects. I don’t feel well-but I’m fine. And I don’t, and I am. I will be fine. Unless it happens again in a bit, but right now I’m fine. Everything else is fine. Nothing around me has changed. I didn’t worry anything away. I didn’t fearfully move anything into better. My tears didn’t rust something out of motion. The adrenaline didn’t make the memory more clear. Nothing has changed. So, I’m fine.

Tomorrow I will make more. More love, regret, happiness, time, memories, fear, madness…I’ll make more, I assure myself, and, I assure you. I am scared. Every day. But there is no alternative except to come back.

You Save Me Every Day

There are times when I don’t think I can feel joy.

There are times that I feel things I don’t want to or know how to deal with.

There are moments when I am so crippled by a bad feeling, that it sweeps my emotional legs from beneath me, and I’m simply stuck in it. Emotionally. Sad, or mad, or hurt and stuck there.

There are days that begin badly and ones that end that way. Sometimes it is out of my control. Sometimes I am the reason.

There are times when I go through the promised motions of a day, willing myself to be present and fun. Reminding myself to smile and use inflection in my voice.

There are never days I don’t handle it.

There are never days that I quit.

There are never days that I don’t get through, but some are better than others.

Not figuring it out isn’t an option.

Without exception, I can find something beautiful in every day. Sometimes I have to look for it. Sometimes it whispers to me.

Like everyone, my ability to see the beauty and become “unstuck” varies. Joy doesn’t always feel possible, deserved or welcome. It’s this in between time that we have the opportunity to show who we are. Do we quit? Do we behave badly? Do we listen to the whispers of joy that life is trying to show us?

Sometimes it is the sunrise, the waves, or the sunset. There are days that it is the sound of rain or wind. Sometimes it is the sleepy smile or smell of someone I love.

It’s usually my girls that bring the magic. They usually silently whisper something beautiful-or help the world send me a message when I need it.

My Daughters save me silently everyday, because I need to be everything to them. I’m not. But I try like hell, like its my job, because it’s my job.

I need to be strong but not cruel. Stern but empathetic and compassionate. Rest but don’t be lazy. Work but don’t forget to live. Love and be loved. Keep someone in your life if they bring value-let them go if they don’t. Try really hard, accept what you’re not good at and never stop searching for things you are good at. Read. Don’t depend on other people…financially or for happiness. Be tender and gentle. Set boundaries. Have goals. Make wishes. Be ugly. Cry, but recover. Have self respect, but don’t only care what you looked like. Be kind but not weak. Say what you mean, not what people need to hear. If you mean something someone needs to hear, always say it. Be good. If you’re bad, recover. Make mistakes. Take risks. Be consistent. Always ask how you could be a good friend, and be there when you are needed. Be loyal but know when it’s okay to let go.

I don’t always to a good job. But I’m always trying. And, that…is how they save me. And, they never know it.

Today, it was this moment. A reminder that everything appears dark when the sun is at its back. An absolutely beautiful child feeling proud, having fun, allowing me to witness it, and looking to me for validation of her awesomeness.


One Thousand Wishes:The Perseid Meteor Shower

Wearing the Cap of Darkness, Perseus beheaded the monster Medusa
Last night, I had a thousand wishes.

I laid on a picnic table in my backyard and stared up through swollen eyes. There was only a vestige of light that I could see in side you. The sun was long gone and the light that remained in the sky was of the moon or artificial.

While my world was becoming dark and empty, I tried to be still. I tried to relax, breath and summon some kind of visual focus. My head hurt. My heart hurt. My eyes hurt. But I wasn’t about to miss an opportunity for a thousand wishes. I needed every single on of them and I was certain they were for me.

I was promised an epic outburst at double the normal rate. An epic outburst. One that was said to be beautiful and magical. Touted as a once in a decade event that can’t be missed. I forced myself to blink and free the tears that kept hanging on to the corners of my eyes like little dams.  I needed to focus.

I had wishes to make.

“Where is the beautiful outburst of light?” I thought. I blinked and blinked and tried to be patient knowing it can take some time for my eyes to adjust. I knew the meteor shower was happening, and had been for some time, I just couldn’t see it yet. All I could see was a replay of your outburst. The kind I didn’t think I’d ever see in you…at me. The kind that scared me. The kind that demanded an answer to the question, “Is he even safe?” 

My head drew her sword on my heart, and I knew the answer before my heart raised her shield. I didn’t have the energy for this battle tonight.

I had wishes to make.

Facebook was filled with updates of couples and friends on the beach under blankets or in chairs. Families were circling together. They sat by fires, in good company, waiting for the darkest part of the night. They made plans and followed through with them, in anticipation of sharing and celebrating the celestial magic that was promised.  I was in the darkest part of the night, alone, while you slept. I waited to feel or see the magic that you promised me. I started to forget the promises and reminded myself they’re written down. You wrote them. I started to forget my wishes and needed to re center myself.

I had wishes to make.

I expected thousands of falling stars. Meteors that were hundreds or thousand of years old, that had circled the sun were to be burning through the atmosphere and lighting up our sky. The only thing you were lighting were cigarettes, which smelled like a stain on your skin, set in by humidity. The only burning I could see were the boards on a bridge we spent years building. The only explosions I kept seeing weren’t of light. They weren’t meteors left behind by the tail of a long past comet. They were the explosions of relationship links. One at a time they got hot and weak from the strain and exploded with rage

No loving  or believing or good intention could prevent it. Holding two sides of our chain was hurting, and I had to let go.

I had wishes to make.

I began to think it was too cloudy in the sky, too cloudy in my head, to be able to see the celestial magic that was promised. And as though exhaustion were the trigger, the universe blanketed the early morning hours of today with thousands of wishes. I saw them before the moon even set.

I told you about the meteor shower twice. You didn’t invite me to watch it under a blanket with you. You didn’t insist on coming over for a fire in the back yard. You didn’t have to wake early for work today, and I wondered for a moment if we were both looking at the same sky making wishes, before sadly not finishing the thought. I knew the answer. I knew it never occurred to you.

I had wishes to make.

I started to think through my wishes carefully.

I was wish planning. Wish assessment. Wish analisys. Wish prioritization. Wish paralisys. 

I thought I had wishes to make.

I realized that all of my wishes were for you. Not one was for us. Not one was for me. They were all for you. They were my wishes for you, not your wishes for you.

I sat up and stopped watching. I walked to the driveway as a coyote walked back into the woods. I wondered how long we were in each other’s company.

The universe is filled with meteors and dying stars. It’s filled with galaxies upon galaxies and the scope of the universe is infinite. Everywhere, everyday, every moment is filled with objects hitting our atmosphere. Even when we don’t see them, they’re there.

You deserve to make your own wishes.

I deserve to have my own wishes.




I recently sat across from an Anesthesiologist, during a pre-op visit. I thought I’d be in and out in a few minutes, but I ended up waiting for a bit. We talked about my sensitivity to anesthesia, I explained a past surgery, and we talked about why I was there and what he was going to use.

He went through the list of questions quickly. I drink a few times a year. I don’t use drugs. When it came up, I told him I quit smoking.

“Wow, that’s fantastic. Not easy to do at all! You should be proud of that!” He said this with a big happy grin.

“Is this guy for real?” I thought. It was genuine praise. I think he really meant what he said. I was struck by how encouraging it was. But, come on. Proud? For quitting cigarettes? He’s seriously wanting me to feel proud right now.

I wondered whether or not he’d been a smoker who recently quit. How would he know how hard it was? Why did he think it was that hard?  A doctor who smokes sounds ridiculous in 2016. In any event, I thought it was weird. Nice, but weird. I mean…it was weird that I thought it was weird. I know.

It was a positive response. So, I should be grateful for it, and I am. He could’ve said nothing. He could’ve been an asshole or shamed me for when I did smoke. In fact, I once had a cocky little egomaniac surgeon ask me about smoking a few years ago during a pre-op for a different surgery at Mass Eye and Ear. When I told him I was “more of a social smoker”, he snarked, “Seriously? Social smoking? What are you, a biker?”  Yes, you fuck, I ride a motorcycle and I socially smoke. There’s also social drinking, social fucking, and social skills…which you seem to have misplaced with your professionalism and bedside manner.

Small rant there, sorry. But my point is, this time, I’m sitting across from a smart, smiling and genuinely kind member of the medical community. This guy is dripping kindness, encouragement, and praise…all over a few cigarettes. I swear he could be a middle school principal. I don’t need this brand of happy praise, but a lot of people do.  And, while it felt awkward to me, he meant it. There’s not a question in my mind. Except one. 

One I didn’t ask. Because I was still figuring him out as I walked out to my car.I wonder how he would have answered.

“Do you respond like that if people answer “recently quit” on the drug question?”

Because, today, it seems like most people are quitting heroin by dying.

Raging PMS Mom Avoids Altercations At School

 There was a raging-bitch-face PMS mom at the “Spring Concert”at our school tonight. It was awful!

When adult parents and their children failed to stand OR be quiet for our own country’s National Anthem sung by little ones, less than a week after fucking Memorial Day…she almost lost her shit and couldn’t recover. It was a why-isn’t-she-on-Prozac kind of evening, if I ever saw one.

She spent the evening 1.)shushing people around her without discretion, 2.) being annoyed by the 8th grade boys for being loud and disruptive and rude (read: being 8th grade boys), and 3.)giving the loud-fat-ass-standing-up-in-front of-her parent dirty looks for bad behavior.

I’m home now in my PJs though. No one was choked, no swear words were directed at children or parents, and no one got a throat punch. You’re welcome. Another event without an altercation under my belt. I’m good. 

Shameless: I’m Waving My WIC Flag

There was a recent string of comments on a Facebook group that I belong to. It’s an all women group, and is usually hilarious. I don’t know most of the women, but I scroll by once in a while to read and commiserate or laugh. It’s like any room full of women. Some I relate to, some are hysterical, some are crazy. You can’t be in a room full of women and like (or be like) all of them. I don’t usually post or comment, but on one particular day, I did. And, unfortunately, the string was taken down. I can’t call up the original post, the offending comments, and the responses from some other women.

A nerve was struck when I read a comment in a string about a woman who was not breastfeeding and was on WIC. One person’s comment about this particular woman’s perceived “situation”, and the fact that she was on WIC for formula instead of breastfeeding, sent more than a few women into a tizzy, myself included.

Let me start by saying, my children are 23 and 12. It’s been a long time since I was pregnant, nursed a baby, or had a kid under 5. I’m a pro-breastfeeding even in public, don’t you dare say a word to me about feeding my baby or I’ll throat punch you before you complete your sentence, kind of mom. I stick up for other moms who do, I think it’s beautiful and natural and believe any opposition should be dismissed as crazy. I think our society needs to do a better job promoting, encouraging, and nurturing breastfeeding because I think it makes for healthy babies, healthy moms, and women who understand and care for their own bodies and health better. We can do a lot better in that space….but, I digress. The post I mentioned prompted a reply from me. But it was deleted. The whole string was. I wished I saved it because it was crisp and snarky. 

Here is my long reaction to the woman opposed to her tax-dollars being spent on formula for a woman who chose not to breastfeed. It is also my public thank you to that woman for giving me the charge to remember these details. It is also my public thank you to the people who work at, advocate for and support the Massachusetts Women, Infants & Children Program…

Dear Uninformed,
Shut the fuck up. WIC is a nutritional program you donkey. Before you spout off publicly and negatively about WIC, please do some research. Read. WIC is, in my opinion, one of the most successful public health programs out there. You don’t need to be on public assistance to be eligible for WIC. You can be a working person and be eligible. People who actually plan pregnancies can get WIC, too…while pregnant!

WIC benefits (i.e. FOOD) are also available to families, not just poor mothers, and it directly impacts the health of our children. In addition, both pregnant and breastfeeding moms can be eligible for WIC. How can you be opposed to nutrition and healthy food for families in your own community? And, if you are, are you also opposed to other public health programs?

I had an unplanned pregnancy at the age of 15. I was on WIC. I was on WIC while I was pregnant, going to high school, and working. I was on WIC for the entire 14 months that I was breastfeeding her, still in high school and working. I was on WIC until she was 5. I worked. Two jobs, in fact, and a third that was per-diem.

I was on old school, paper check tearing-separate your groceries-don’t get an ounce over a pound of cheese, WIC. I was on circa 1993-JuicyJuice in a can that I didn’t have an opener for, WIC. I was on vintage Teddy Peanut Butter-original Cheerios-dried beans in a bag that I didn’t know how to cook, WIC.

I was poor, single, able-bodied, working and by all definitions of the state “at-risk.” I was ashamed to use the WIC checks at the grocery store, so I went really late at night. I got hives if someone got in line behind me. I didn’t have a car, so I had to make multiple dreaded trips so that I could carry a gallon of milk, which on some nights felt heavier than my toddler. I could grocery shop for the two of us on $16 a week with the WIC supplement. It was all there was some weeks. I had to walk about three miles pushing the stroller to attend the WIC counseling meetings and get the paper coupon checks.

As a result, I learned that a healthy mom makes health milk. I learned that my daughter’s belly wasn’t bigger than her fist. I learned that milk, cheese, peanut butter, eggs and legumes contained protein, so the inability to afford meat didn’t mean she wasn’t getting any. I learned how to rinse and cook dried beans, which I’d never seen before. I learned the difference between “100% Juice” and “Made with 100% Juice.” I laughed watching my daughter pick Cheerios and Kix up off the table with her tongue. I still buy bags of beans. I will never, ever buy frozen concentrated juice in a can. Ever.

WIC is a great program, offering both food and education. I didn’t ever really reflect on what I learned from the WIC help. I never thanked any one of the women I met with. I feel guilty that I can’t call up the face of a single person I ever met with. Most likely because my own head was hung in shame during the meetings. But, all pride aside, I really needed it and I’m really grateful it was an option for me and my daughter.

So, shut about about your fucking tax dollars.


The almost 40 year old, six-figure earning, mother of a healthy and well fed 23-year-old girl who spent her early years dipping bananas in WIC funded Cheerios washed down with a sippy-cup filled with 100% juice…also provided by WIC.

PS in case you’re wondering what I’ve done to make up for the Massachusetts tax dollars spent helping to feed us during those years, I can assure you that the help I accepted has not been forgotten and was not accepted lightly. I’ve filled many a food pantry shelf. I’ve Walked for Hunger. I’ve organized fundraising and food drive projects and I’ve involved my children. I’ve volunteered and I’ve donated. A lot.

Unicorns & Rainbows: Why Abused Women Stay

During the last week, I’ve mentally toyed with the idea of writing about domestic abuse.  Because some of the stories and comments I read were such harsh triggers for me, I would craft a message, and then shut down.  I made a committment to myself to write about it later, when I felt like I could organize the story chronologically.  Maybe then, I’d be a little stronger, and it would be easier.  I can’t do it.  But I have a few things to say.

This was actually not triggered by the Janay Palmer & Ray Rice story,itself.  It came from how the media spoke about Janay (and others like her) and what people say when they have absolutely no experiences even remotely close to this.

The video was terrible, the story is sad.  But, to be truthful, it didn’t shock anyone who has lived with an abuser longer than the “honeymoon phase” of the relationship.  Part of me wants to tell you it was shocking.  It wasn’t, for me.  I really hope it was for you, but it wasn’t for a lot of women…or men.

Inevitably, right now, every online media outlet is publishing a story about an abuse survivor.  “Experts” are being brought in to uhelp people understand why she stayed, why she married him, why he did it and why she’s defending him.

Then, tonight, I scrolled through my Facebook news feed on my smartphone, and nearly lost my shit when I saw a comment made by someone I know.  He’s not a bad guy.  He’s actually terribly sweet.  The thing is…he has no fucking idea what he’s talking about.  He was saying some shit like the first time she was a victim and the second time she allowed herself to be and then went on a rant about how “these women” should leave.  After I wrote a message, I deleted it.  Then I wrote a comment under the same story and deleted it.  I realized that all of that bullshit would have been obnoxious, and had little chance of changing  anyone’s thoughts about “these women.”

“These women” are sitting right next to you at work.  They’re not all walking around with black eyes and sunglasses.  It’s possible you had a crush on one of “these women”, and you never thought in a million years she would have been beat up. “These women” aren’t all crazy or helpless or weak. “These women” are not all after someone’s paycheck, and I’m willing to bet that many would forgo even NFL money if they could just somehow be allowed to leave, with their children, without fallout, guilt, responsibility or fear.

Why do they stay?  For every woman, there is a different reason.  Sometimes 100 reasons.

“…if she considers herself a victim in this situation…”

Uhmmmm…What?!  Whether SHE considers herself a victim?  hmm.  This is an interesting statement.  Let’s think this through.  What this is, is a society that is afraid to call someone something they don’t want to be called or associated with.  We are now in a place where news anchors are actually afraid to call A woman who was punched out a “victim” unless she identifies with it?  So, follow me here for  a minute.  I’m walking through a department store with my bag over my shoulder.  Someone comes up from behind me, grabs my pocketbook and runs off.  This is all caught on camera.  NOBODY is going to refrain from calling me a victim, just incase I don’t identify with it.   Why the fuck are they so scared to do it in this case.  She was fucking knocked out.  She’s a fucking victim.  I don’t care what she calls herself.  Stop talking nonsense.


“She should just leave.”

No shit, huh?  You think?  That’s an incredibly intelligent solution.  Maye she should get on her unicorn and ride right out on a rainbow.  I’m sure that’s not what people really mean, but leaving is not so easy.  Unfortunately for us, there’s about 85 million other problems and things to consider with that solution.  You see, when you’re getting smacked around at home, there’s a very high likelihood that this is not the only fucked up thing you’re dealing with.  Alcoholism and drug addiction would be a good first guess.  It’s possible the place she has to go back to is actually worse than this.  And, when you’re having your ribs bruised at home, leaving takes a back seat to pretending everything is okay for everyone else.  Mental abuse, isolation, stalking, depression, fear shame and guilt are some other things we’re probably struggling with.  I can’t imagine the thought of having any of those moments video tapped and shared publically.  I was 17, far away from normal.  I didn’t even have  a car to get into.  As far as I was concerned this was a choice I made and I had to figure it out by myself.  There was no place to go and no way to get there.  I wish I had a unicorn.

“She was hitting him, too.”

This one is tricky.  I can see why you’d say that.  I’m going to respond to this one by sharing my own experience, because it’s the only one I know.  You see, when he first started hitting m, I was so shocked (or hurt, or stunned) that I couldn’t respond.  And, in the beginning it was never very violent, compared to how I grew up.  I was snatched up, maybe smacked, pushed or thrown.  These were usually quick, and before my mind could fully grasp what happened, he was immediately “fixing” it.  Usually he cried, apologized and in some twisted way made me “understand” why he did it.  I felt sorry for him.  I did call the police the first time I got hurt.  After getting thrown across a room and smacked, I can guarantee you that the last thing you’re ready to deal with is police lights on your street, officers in your house, and writing statements.  I felt like a loser for being involved.  Then, I felt bad for getting him in trouble.  Plus I was sore, cried out, and tired.  That would be the last time I called the police.  Fast forward three years…he’s a little more comfortable now, and I know it.  When the striking gets stronger, and I know what’s coming, I could respond in kind.  I’ve hit back, pushed, and thrown things.  Sometimes I cowered, if I thought it would be quick and quiet.  Other times I hit back, because I was afraid it wouldn’t be.  The longer it goes on, the worse it gets.  Just because she is hitting back doesn’t mean she wants, or provoked it.  She’s actually in survival mode.  Every day.  Even when she’s not being hit, she is tapping into whatever she has for coping skills, and she doesn’t even know it.

“She knows he hits her and she stays.  At this point she’s just asking for it.”

Oh, boy.  Dumb ass alert.  Actually, what we’re trying to do is keep the situation under control.  It sounds ridicuous..control someone who is out of control, I know.  But, there’s a need to try to limit the damage, not make him upset, sad, jealous or angry.  The last thing we want him to feel is threatened or jealous, and he’s likely very controlling.  If he thinks I’m planning to leave, or that I have someplace to go, it will likely get worse.  Keeping him happy becomes a priority.  No one asks for this.  In fact, I asked for something quite different.  It wasn’t a unicorn, or a rainbow.  If someone had sent me one, I probably wouldn’t have gotten on anyway.


My shit…It wasn’t always bad, we had a lot of great times.   I loved him like crazy.  When it was good it was good, when it was bad it was bad.  I could have told someone.  I could have asked for help.  I didn’t want to be a burden.  I lied about it.   I was ashamed.   I felt responsible.  I was embarrassed.  I was used to being hit by people who loved me.  I thought I provoked it.  I talked back a lot.  I didn’t think I deserved any better.  I believe he loved me.  I loved him a lot.  I was scared he would kill himself if I left.  On more than one occasion I left, and he attempted just that.  He was worthy of love, but needed help.  He did try counseling.  He tried not to drink, sometimes.  I stayed for five years.  Three days after I ended it for the last time, he died of a heart attack.  His family blamed me.  It’s been 16 years and I’m still not over it.

In my own opinion it’s ridiculous to try to use one couple’s story to understand the dynamics of all abusive relationships.  Every one of us has a background, upbringing and story that’s so unique.  These stories have so many knots they’re impossible to untangle. Don’t assume to know, or work too hard to uncover secrets.  Maybe a woman will share her story someday.  And, if she doesn’t, it’s her story to keep not yours to understand.  If you suspect someone you know is being abused at home, ask and listen.  Don’t judge.  Don’t judge even a little.  And, if she talks be prepared to be uncomfortable.  Help her be social, because her “normal” is  probably off a bit.  Remember that you can’t fix it for her.





How to Tell if Your Girlfriends are Keepers

If you say “I think I’m just going to sleep with the first guy who tells me I’m pretty.” And her response is “five. The first five.” This is a non-judgemental friend who is also waiting for the details. Spill ’em, she’s worth it.

If she tells you how pretty you are every time she’s drunk, you love her. She might be saying it to everyone, but she really means it when she says it to you.

The port-o-potty is out of TP at 12 a.m. If she asks a stranger for a piece of paper towel…and tears it in half to share with you, keep her around.

If she can, and will, channel her inner “Family Law Attorney Voice”, and convince your Ex to send a child support payment or face jail, she’s rogue, but a great friend. (I’m sure pretending to be an attorney is super illegal, too, so this law-breaking bitch is a keeper. In this instance, I may have been that bitch. The point here is that no one fucks with my friends)

She questions why you’d keep 24 issues of National Geographic, and doesn’t nominate you for Hoarders when you say “Just incase. I mean. What if someone needs to do a project? This is good reference material.”

When she stops by and finds your keys still hanging from the door lock, she doesn’t have to ask an obvious question like “Did you know your keys are in the door?” Instead, she slides ’em out, throws ’em on the counter, and smiles…because she knows that’s just where you keep them sometimes.

If your daughter’s favorite chicken dies, she gives you three. And she doesn’t even care that your kid nicknamed them “the bad kids”.

If you make her cry during an office April Fool’s Day prank that convinces her she’ll probably be indicted for arson and lose her job…and she’s still your friend, she’s as sick as you are. Keep her.

If she brings her family over and and happily eats chicken nuggets, mac n’ cheese, and some other random leftover…and you then find she’s fallen into your couch for a snuggle, it’s love.

If you pass out early, she’s not bummed. She turns on the Wii and jams to Just Dance until she gets tired…and she does not take pictures of you drooling…only then do you know how awesome she is.

If she comes over to keep you company while you clean, and she ends up matching 742 pairs of fucking tiny mismatched socks, she just might be your fairy-godmother.

If you sign her up for Krav Maga, instead of Beginners Karate (like you told her), and she goes with you for a year, that bitch is hardcore.

If she takes you out after a terrible break-up and you drink Martini’s like water, she doesn’t get mad when you can’t help her get off Cape, because you’re throwing up in the car. (After all, it was your car.) And, if you wake up in your own bed to find her sleeping next to you, with a gallon of water and ibuprofen on the night stand…keep her. She loves you.

When you have your first one-night-stand after 13 years, and you’re still drunk the next morning, she has your dishes done when you get home because she’s awesome like that.

If SHE calls YOU on a work day/school holiday at 6:30 a.m. and says something like “Hey, incase you forgot school’s closed today, bring her here.” …and you DID forget (because you always forget)…not only does she know you like no one else, she is a life-saver. Probably a job-saver.

If she shows up to all your kids birthday parties, and sweats with you as she helps you do hair and make up for 45 kids in a performance of High-School Musical, and she doesn’t even have kids, she’s fucking insane. I mean…she’s a phenomenal friend. You better be babysitting her children for many-a-night-out down the road. Even if they’re bratty, snotty or shitty.

If she helps you pack and move in 7 degree weather, she’s a BFFL. But…if prior to that she helps to secretly label boxes incorrectly as “Office Supplies” so that other people don’t know they’re really filled with 5 years of school papers, bills, ticket stubs, pictures, receipts, school concert programs, and other things you say you’re going to file or put in a scrapbook…keep her forever.

If, hypothetically speaking, during a state-of-emergency snow storm, you wreck 15 cars inside a parking garage (and no one has arrested you), she sends her husband and father of five to pick you up and drive your car home. You two are going to have a lot to say in the nursing home!

Share a best-girlfriend story below in the comments.