Category Archives: life

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts

Let me tell you eleven facts about my drinking history.

1.) I drank (more than a taste) maybe a handful of times before I was legal to, starting at eighteen.

Once on New Years Eve, my senior year with my older boyfriend and his friends ( I believe they brought over wine coolers and beer.  I told my parents I wasn’t drinking but my face and attitude were all bubbly.)

Once at some airmen party my  Air Force boyfriend took me to, I drank a few Apple Pucker/vodka shots.

At, nineteen, I got my first “apartment”, (which was really just a room in a boarding house for women in Berkeley, California) My friend Seth and I christened the room by drinking a horrible bottle of Brass Monkey.

At the age of twenty; a couple of times I snuck into the Crown with some friends.  I would drink Bloody Light Beer and Frog Balls ( Tomato juice in BudLight and green olives) because that is what my friends drank.

Then there were probably a couple of house parties in there where I imbibed.  But never to excess.

2.) I have always enjoyed being in control of myself and my ability to leave; so I would never want to get “drunk.”

I would enjoy the feeling of social lubrication because I would get anxious in social situations with new people.

I enjoyed the way alcohol would lower my inhibitions, so that I felt I could easily talk to strangers, or new people.  I enjoyed the way it got me out of my own head, and into the present moment.

I liked how it “chilled me out”; being sober (to me) meant being hyper in many ways.  Hypercritical; hyper-mental, and hyper-insecure.   When I started drinking, I became less hypercritical of the behavior of others.  I was less inclined to be “judgy” about others drinking.

3.)  I didn’t go through the average path for drinking.

I started drinking later than most people and when I went to a private Christian College for one semester at nineteen;  I didn’t drink at all during that time.  So I never got on that whole “college binge drinking scene.”  I really believed that you shouldn’t do mind altering substances, until your brain had fully developed.

4.)  I have always drank for the taste.

  Every New Years Eve, my parents would give my brother and I maybe a quarter of a champagne flute of champagne, you know, so we could “participate.”  I loved the taste of the bubbly… my brother, not so much.  I would drink mine in one quick gulp, and then his.

When I was about 12 or 13 and my parent’s weren’t around, I would crawl up on the counter top, and visit the “little bottles of booze” in the cabinet above the refrigerator.  I would only take a sip.  The only one I liked was Malibu Rum.  I loved the smell, and sweetness (it reminded me of Mexico.)

I turned twenty-one in San Jose, California.  My boyfriend at the time and his friends, were dare I say it, “Alcohol Snobs.”  They enjoyed elaborate drinks, like flaming Dr. Peppers, and Oatmeal Cookies.  I don’t recall any of them drinking cheap beer.  My vice of choice when going out, would either be a Vodka Cran with Lime, or Long Island Ice Tea.  This is where drinking became a habit and a reward system.  “After a long hard day” my boyfriend and I, and sometimes his mother, would have a few drinks together on an almost nightly basis.

In San Jose, I  would use drinking as an emotional crutch, as I got the feeling his friends didn’t really like me that much, and I didn’t have that many friends of my own in this unfamiliar land.

At the age of twenty two, I started to really get into craft beer.  And, admittedly I became a “beer snob”, you know,  before it was really hip to do.

5.) My unconventional life path, catered to drinking.

Being the type that doesn’t want to get drunk or black out, I know how to pace my drinking.  I have had some very unconventional jobs, where drinking at work is actually encouraged and provided for, the employees.   As you can imagine, not everyone “stays in their body” in those situations.  I have always held pride in keeping my shit together.

My “style of  drinking” is slow, paced.  I can drink through out the day, and not get drunk.  By the time for bed, I would just be tired, and at times maybe irritable.

Some of the jobs I have had, where drinking was acceptable on the job were; working in a dive bar, working for a brewery/ hop farm; farming vegetables/ cannabis, working at a distillery, house sitting, dog sitting, and working as a promotional model.

I am a good worker, and I never let my consumption get in the way of my work performance.

6.)  I made money while drinking.

While I had jobs that paid me, while I was working and drinking; I have also used the social lubricant to help me sell art work.  I have sold more paintings out of pubs, than I have any where else.  I would bring my art supplies, and some finished canvass’, order a craft beer and a double Jameson on the rocks, or maybe a Bloody Mary and get to work on some art.   Eventually some one would come over to see what I was doing, and BAM, I just made an art sale.

People with money, who are drinking, are usually VERY GENEROUS.

7.) I started drinking alone near the beginning of my legal usage of alcohol.

I moved around quite a bit after I left home after High School.  When I moved to Summit County, Colorado at twenty two, I found myself in the closest thing I can relate to what may be the “college party” environment.

I like, many other young mountain residence, sought employment at the  Keystone Ski Resort; cheaply living in a dormitory.  The first few weeks I was there, it was downtime right before the summer season was set to get going.  There weren’t many people around, and I literally lived across the parking lot from a little liquor store.  I would go buy a bottle of Chardonnay, and dance alone while making art work in my room, and then I would go take a hike or maybe clean my room.  Either way, my brain was being triggered by the dopamine, and I was riding off the exhilaration of being able to purchase alcohol on my own, as an adult.  I didn’t have anyone judging me, or telling me “no”.  I was free to do as I pleased.

I have spent many hours and some times days where I am alone.  Drinking was just something I could do that accompanied any of my creative en-devours; be it writing, painting, or dressing up in characters.  It was also something that everyone else was doing socially… so I’ve never really been a binge drinker; just a consistent drinker.

8.)  I took pride in how well versed I became in my knowledge of different liquors and beers.

It’s people like me, who made craft beer the thriving industry it is today.  Every where I would go, I would be educating people on drinks.  I don’t know why this made me feel like I had some sort of upper hand, but it did.  Now I am a little ashamed that I was basically just being an enabler.

9.)  It’s only in the last couple of years that the effects of alcohol, have really started to gross me out.

Be it my own weight gain, or how I see alcohol effect people around me; I’ve gotten really disgusted.  The hardest part is watching the effect of alcohol really turn someone into a nasty little gollum, which is what I have experienced in the last couple of years, second-hand by watching a friend struggle with their addiction.

I don’t get mean when I drink.  I actually stay in a very kind head space.  Occasionally when I am under stress, or near my moon,  I slip and let my deep, hidden emotions out.

Many times in sobriety I have felt misunderstood, or that the people I care about, give no fucks about my internal state of being.  Drinking with people that I care for, has allowed me to purge some emotions that I keep locked inside.  I do have an unspoken expectation, that if they know how I feel, things can change; however, they rarely do.  It really isn’t their responsibility to fix anything in me; namely my own perceptions.

Drinking alone while writing, allowed me to feel the freedom to put those deep emotions down on paper, and many times I would surprise myself with how far I was willing to go down that personal rabbit hole.

10.)  I only recently started judging myself for my solo consumption.

I’ve had so much freedom; free time, and self authority as an adult, that I haven’t been very self critical of my consumption.   It’s just something I can do, because I want to. I still get my work done, and do it well.

I have found that it to be a medicine of sorts because in my youth I felt very structured and controlled.  That structure and control felt like jail.  And though I was thriving in jail, it was partially because I am a mutable personality, and I try and make the best of any situation by conforming just enough to get through with out drama or trouble.  Funny thing is, that DOES actually work in jail.  It’s like some places, it isn’t okay to swear at work, so you even though you may swear like a sailor all the time; but, you reign it in at work because you need to get paid.  It doesn’t mean you lose your sense of humor, or intellect.

Why am I judging myself now?  It all comes down to the lasting effects.  The slow suicide.  The fact that I know I could accomplish so much more without alcohol hanging around all the time.  The fact that, living in the situation I am in, is temporary; and I will be better equipped for the next stage, if I reevaluate my consumption.

11.)  I knew at some point, my mind would just change.

It’s been the case for people in my family.  My grandma use to drink Milwaukee Light, and crap beer like that, and smoke cigarettes all day long through my childhood.   Then one day, she just quit.  When I asked her why she quit, she simply said, “I didn’t like how it was making me feel, anymore.”  And that made sense as a very self aware decision.  Granted, my grandma has had some health conditions that definitely benefit from cutting out beer and cigarettes, but her will to change on a dime, is inspirational in a logical kind of way.

Dry July

Dry July- Day One


Dry July- Day One

Let’s get down to it.

Day One, I didn’t even really think about drinking.  The day before I spent probably a good four hours watching youtube videos of peoples tips, tricks and before/ after pictures of weight loss after stopping alcohol.  I embedded my mind with all the health reasons I’ve been over it for a long time, but negligent to take the next step.

I exercised twice during the day, because I knew that the night time was going to be the hardest for me.  See, if I am sober and listening to my circadian rhythm, I want to go to bed around 9-9:30, but my grandma doesn’t want to go to bed until later.  I never feel good about going to bed, unless I have tucked her in, and know she is in for the night.  Drinking would give me a second wind to stay up later, because I wasn’t drinking just one drink.  Just one drink would probably be enough to exacerbate sleepiness, but it would also lead to sleeping for four hours and waking up wide awake as my body had metabolized the alcohol.

I’ve been self medicating sleep for years, so I know when I take breaks my body is tired, but my already active mind is trying to reboot and rewire.  I was hoping that by over exerting my body, it would be easier to settle to sleep.

Well, that didn’t work.  I was restless.  I used my usual breathing and mental techniques to fall asleep for a sober nap and my body just wasn’t having it.  My mind was in some peak awareness and I could hear the popping of fireworks behind the white noise of my air conditioner.  Usually white noise can be enough to help me sleep, because I am a light sleeper, but the fire work noises sounded like some one periodically knocking on the walls of the house.  Just as I would feel myself slipping toward sleep, another noise would shake me out of it; leaving me to start over from the beginning.  Slowing my heart rate, breathing deep and focusing on that “falling feeling.”

I started my sleep journey around 11:30, tossed and turned until around 6:30, and finally fell into an uncomfortable sleep with uncomfortable and vivid dreams.

In my dream I was staying with this strange older host couple  that had a bunch of  young people staying with them.  The guests were rambunctious, and not very interested in keeping things clean. Especially the bathrooms.

I find myself in one such bathroom, and some one had plugged a toaster in near the toilet.  The counter top was covered in miscellaneous objects.  I accidentally bumped the plugged in toaster, into the toilet, which created a spark… and I freaked out.  (In real life I am intimidated by electricity.)   I approached the hosts and told them what happened and they freaked out, telling me I owe them all this money for damages.  I think to myself, “You are mad about this toaster incident, but you seem unconcerned about the filth and damage all these other people are doing to your home.”

I had to figure out how I was going to make the money to pay for the damage.  I got lost trying to find my car, where I planned on just running away from the situation.  That didn’t work and I was back at the house.  I tried to work out a trade, and I made a really interesting piece of art that stood about six feet tall, and they said, “That’s not enough.”  I began to see that they weren’t a friendly old couple; they were extortionists.  They wanted cold hard cash; which I didn’t have much of.  I handed off $22.00 out of the $72.00 I had in my wallet.  They aren’t satisfied, but I don’t let on I have more, knowing I will need it to get out of this place. 

See what I mean about rebooting and rewiring?

Past insecurities, like dirty bathrooms and electricity, which have played predominate roles in past dreams, rise again to the surface.  Shame, and feeling lost.  Trying to compensate for that shame with external actions attempting to convey worth, are thwarted.  The desire to run away from everything vile, in order to return to something beautiful.  The arduous journey; the internal struggle, the fear of loneliness.

As my body and brain attempt to regain a normal balance, I am sure I am going to have more restless nights.  More latent realizations.

Dry July

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts

Dry July

I am going to take a hint from the Aussies and give my own spin to Dry July.  Dry July is a concept to encourage Aussies to cut out drinking alcohol for the entire month of July, in order to bring awareness and monetary support to those suffering with cancer.  It’s a sort of fund raiser, where you get people to sponsor your sobriety for the month by donating to the Dry July fund.  Those funds are distributed to people suffering from, or care taking people who have cancer to help defer costs, because let’s face it; Cancer is an expensive mistress.

The idea is, “people don’t choose to have cancer, but you choose to drink.”  By taking the month off,  you can focus on your own health and wellness.

Australians, much like Americans, live in a socially acceptable alcohol fueled society; and it can be hard to escape the temptation to drink because it is readily available and legal.

I myself have gotten into a lazy habit of  daily consumption, and not even the stereotypical consumption of social behavior.  In fact, looking at it, has made me redefine social behavior.  See, even though I have sat alone drinking, I am actively being social on the internet or on the phone.  So, even though I am not out at a party or a bar, I’m still engaging in conversation while staying up late and drinking.

Through this month I hope to start some new routines, and set some goals for myself.

I want to redirect my focus on my fitness.  I’ve jumped back into exercise in the last week, and I have dropped around seven pounds.  I know that by cutting out the empty calories of drinking, I will lose that weight much quicker.

I want to start a podcast.  I have wanted to do that for about seven years now, but I didn’t know how to start.  I think that Dry July is the perfect beginning topic, because I don’t expect it to be easy.  I live two blocks away from a bar/ liquor store.  I don’t have any bills or debts, so it’s easy to spend my disposable income there.  Topics that I would like to talk about are the effects of drinking in a sedentary environment, how to stay healthy while being a care taker; and my personal experience of taking a break.

Over the last few days I have been watching many youtube videos of Australians who decided to do Dry July.  I have been finding all the tips and tricks of tackling a sober month.  The consistent point that is expressed is; “What is your personal reason?”  Most people reach a point where they just make the decision because they have a personal epiphany, like how much weight gain they have gained.  Or taking a new look at their societal norms and wanting a break.  Some just want to save some money.  Some people just need the collective energy of a group dynamic to cessate.

For me, it is definitely the weight gain, and the senseless use of money toward something that isn’t going to help me at all in the long run.  In fact, I know it has been suppressing me from my potential; and at 36 years old, I want to see where that potential leads.

If you are interested in taking your own spin on Dry July, and would like some accountability, please feel free to reach out to me.  I know that I will probably need some people to talk me through any urges that may come up.

Dry July- Day One

Dry July- Day 2- Eleven Facts



Uncomfortable Conversations

Just now I slipped into morbidity and thought, maybe my eulogy or my headstone, might say ” She got too mentally involved with shit that didn’t relate to her actual life, and missed out on a shit ton that was awesome.”

I promptly went outside, pulled weeds and watched the sunset… Who the hell does Future Mandie appoint as their sponsored voice in something like a eulogy or a head stone?   Hopefully, they are more poignant than my reckless imagination.

I have been thinking and talking about death quite a bit in the last couple of weeks.  It brings my attention to the ways I avoid administrative type tasks in my adulthood.  The shit no one wants to deal with.

A couple of weeks ago, my uncle forgot to tell me that he would be late coming over in the morning.  He basically has consistent “AM Grandma (or in his case MOM) duty.”  He is single, without kids, and structured, but creative.  He understands I stay up late, to capture some hours with out responsibility.  It works out well.

Anyway, he forgets to tell me he will be late, and at 9:30 am, I walk out into a dark hallway, and hear my grandma’s dog scratching on her door.  I get the dog out to pee, and open the curtains, and immediately ponder why the hell my Uncle isn’t here yet.

He is anal retentive about making sure if one of us has “schedule changes”, that the other one is up to date on what the what is.  So… THE FIRST THING that comes to my mind is ; “How long do you wait to do a welfare check on someone who you see everyday, but lives alone, so far as you know single and basically shares little to nothing about their personal life?”

I mean… “He seems healthy, but what the fuck do I know?”

I tried calling.  I send a couple of text messages.  I got grandma up, and made breakfast… He finally got a hold of me around 11:30, saying he was “on his way.”  I didn’t bring it up.  He didn’t offer to explain.  But, since then, I have been going through some adult administrative mental anxiety starting with that question… how long do you wait to call for welfare checks?

Would one of his friend/bandmates do it before me?

How exactly does he structure his time to commitments?  Who relies on his reliability?  (He is really reliable, but sometimes unexpected.)

Who are his Emergency Contacts?  Should I at least be acquainted to them?

What do I do about……..?

He holds the vault for my grandma both financially and medically…  I buy the groceries, but I am not on the bank account.  I make sure my grandma takes her PM pills, but I don’t know what they are all for.. though I know I could google it easily.  He attends her appointments, and fills prescriptions that don’t arrive by mail.

What if?  What if one day, my Uncle is driving to band practice down the road from Cheyenne, into Colorado, on the highway, and he is in a fatal accident?  Worst-fucking-case-scenario; am I able to step up or in, or do I have to just pass administration over to the last surviving son, who only shows up once a week and never seems to bring anything helpful to the table, when it actually comes to CARE?

Then I think about HAVING to force communication with a person who has no respect for me as a human, and has done just about everything possible in their power to treat me like I don’t exist; all while training his family to act in accordance…. and I damn near shit my pants.

That’s it.  That’s all.

I need to have some serious and uncomfortable conversations with people who avoid conversations like this, at all costs.  Fuck.

Mother Pluckin Mothers Day

I’ve never really thought about being a mother, or what it actually means to be a mother.

I suppose more likely that I have given it some severe criticism over my days.

You know that moment when you just submit to how things are; how you are sure they will always be in the midst of knowing, while STILL trying, somehow,  to make it better – perhaps over compensating in some mentality that had served you for a good long while; but has become such a self identifying characteristic, that letting go is hard, and humbling and tough to move beyond?

Yep.  That is me.

I could blame the anti-mom game on my early life; social programming, feminism, Disney, and the World In General… but I won’t.

I made a choice of self preservation due to trauma in early life… and I have unabashedly  stuck to it.  I empowered myself by it;  I gave it life and definition.  I fed it by ignorantly and fyoulishly adhering to my trauma blinders.

HA!  Like I think I have always known things!

When I was a child, I wanted to be a Grandma, above all…but, I also knew I never wanted to be a mom- so being a grandma, was probably out of the question.

I grew out of attempting to age quickly, and clung to the idea of being “The cool Aunt.”    My tag line is “When you can’t handle the transitions, save your sanity and send them to me.”  I believed I could be the bridging gap between generations, despite being a decade older than my sister.

Somehow, being single and childless, in my mind, equaled freedom which directly translated to “more room to comprehend and connect.”  It also meant “choosing ones own connections” aka “being exclusive and reclusive, mysterious and confused.”   “Appearing more purposeful than I actually feel.”

I have been, successful.

Successful at avoiding certain responsibilities by “opting out.”  Successful at using the word “No”, even when it’s too much, going too far.  Successful at building a very strong fortress around my totality of being-ness.  Successful at giving out selective passage with time limits, to those who dare venture these walls.

But hey, what is your definition of  “Success”? Is it at all defined by your MOM?

Mothers, just…they just aren’t suppose to just leave, ya know?

I don’t know… I mean… based off Disney, they are bound to. Moms exist as a memory with Disney.  Why is it all the girls and boys who love Disney movies the MOST, still have their mom‘s?

Right?!?  They not only HAVE them… they are CLOSE to them…

I guess, I should admit, I never really “bonded with my step mom in a way that  would ever give me a real “Mommy” vibe.  In the same breath, I will admit, I gave that woman hell with solidified child thoughts.


“Why did you choose HER?”

“She WILL NEVER understand me!”

What wasn’t childish, and I didn’t understand back then, was the fact that I was unknowingly competing with an adult woman for my fathers’ attention.

Whoa, right?!?  No one tells you that at 9 years old, even if you are going to a therapist who is SUPPOSE to help you navigate shit exactly like this; why?  Because you are STRONG, you are RESILIENT, you are SMART, and if an adult explains it properly, YOU WILL COMPREHEND AND OUT DO EXPECTATIONS!

On the other hand, you can still carry all those attributes and go on like a bumbling fool because the adults around you are afraid of breaking a child who has already broken.  A child seeking security, and finding everything around themselves a suspect.  A child adapting, but never REALLY feeling like they are trusted or heard.  Ho, Hum.

I don’t blame the effect of this on any one but myself these days.  And, I am hard on myself, so I ask myself things like  “Why didn’t you see this and understand this dynamic earlier?  What is wrong with you?  Why do you continue to fixate on things that are more easily accepted AS IS, instead of ruminating solutions to the past free-will decisions and actions of others?  If that is what they would have thought was best, they would have.  You know they are doing their best just like you, but you STILL SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT and KNOWN.”

UGH.  Someone please bring me a 2×4 to beat my own head in.

That has been my life on repeat in variations for TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS!

Coincidentally, my step mom married my dad at the age of 28, in May, nineteen years ago this year.

I had just finished up my first grade year.  And let me tell you, it was an EPIC year.  I went to Ireland with my grandparents, my brother and my dad.  I felt like I landed in a place made just for me, except for my sensitive stomach.  We traveled in a rented van and stayed at B&B’s and I felt like the magic of my heritage was upon me. During the school year  I had a beautiful and kind first grade teacher, Miss Rolfe, who was super nice and magical.

Then The End of The Year came.  A week before the last day of first grade, I found out my Miss Rolfe was getting married, and on the last day of school we made a celebratory field trip to Brimmer Park, down the road from Baggs Elementary.  I remember my grandma took me to buy  a gift, and I chose two silver candle holders.  I was excited to show her how much I adored her.

We had a child like bridal shower in the park.  We all brought gifts, and over sized white t-shirts for her to sign in magic marker. On mine she drew an eye + heart+ you.  I felt that inscription in my heart.  She was beautiful, she taught with kindness and I thought she would be there forever.

At the end of our picnic park party, Miss Rolfe broke the news; the man she was marrying had something happening in Arizona.  She wouldn’t be at the school the next year; she was moving.

My heart broke, and I am sure my attitude showed it. My grandpa picked me up from school and we walked the three blocks home.  I was miffed.

I remember being home a while and my dad came in.  I was in the kitchen, and he knelled down to me sitting at the table.  He asked me something like “What do you think about me marrying Karen?”

And my heart sunk lower in my chest, but given the opportunity to express, I said “No…No.”

I received an answer that culminated in “It’s too late.”  I had no “real choice” in the matter.

So finding out I was getting a “new mom” with no choice, and realizing I wouldn’t be returning to Baggs Elementary; I was hit with the realization that  I lost a teacher, a school and all my friends; but, hey, I was gaining a step mom and a move to the country west of town, to a new school and house.

I stayed mad for two decades, and anything I deemed my step mothers doing in my misery, went into my brain archive.

How DARE you ask me, what I think and feel, if in the end, it matters, not?

I have always fallen victim to my observations and opinions.

How does one become malleable?  Roll with the punches and keep your mouth shut.  Make up your mind and keep it to yourself.  Suffer in silence.

I looked for my dead mother until I was fifteen; thinking somehow, someway, she could get away faking her death and continue living with another family in the same town.  I looked for her in the aisles of stores, and in the  clouds when I flew on planes.  I thought, in my youth, that you could just put a bouquet of flowers on the roof on birthdays and Mothers day, and she would just float down and get it.  It all continues to give me cognitive dissonance.

But… you know what pulls me out of that dissonance?

I am THIRTY SIX FUCKING YEARS OLD!  This shit is old hat.  I graduated  high school half of my life ago.  Life has moved on.  Everyone is moving on in their own way.

If I am honest with myself and my observations, these truths are undeniable… I have kept myself stuck despite knowing the evolving truths….

My dad has someone who loves him, and her loves her back.

My sister has an attentive mother that adores her, and she deserves that.

They all have done the best they can with me, but I kind of scare them.

Everybody is fighting to comprehend the day to day, and it’s changing swiftly.

My step-mom has always done the best that she can with no guide book, she is brave and resilient; but most like me, adaptable.

I wish I came upon all this alone, but I didn’t.

I have been really blessed in my adulthood to have surrogate mothers.  Women, regardless of age, whose lives seemed to somehow collide into mine.

I haven’t had the same “call and check in every day” or “pop in unexpected” or “care for you when you are sick” kind of relationships; but I have had some eye opening realizations and some heart felt growth.  But honestly, I mean, in my own experience the one thing you have to face about a surrogate is, they will always be there MORE for their own in the most natural and organic way.  You are not really the Fruit of Their Loom, er Womb.

Kind of the same thing with my “step” situation.

She has my sister, and my sister has her; and in no way would I ever wish a woman to grow up motherless. They have a pact I will never truly understand.  And I would never do anything to keep them from it.

I hypothesize that maybe if you have enough surrogate moms, you can actually plan that into your schedule and hug more frequently, and have a reason to make lots of handmade cards?  I don’t know.   What I do know, is, they are there when I need them,most times.  But I don’t ask for, or expect much, and that makes it easier for everyone.  Life is like that.  Sometimes, you have to just figure it out on your own because no one is there to pick up the call or rescue you.. or just soothe you.

And that is okay too.

Some of us have to learn to “Mother” ourselves.

My surrogates and my step mom have taught me more about themselves and myself in regard to the life around me by their unique perspectives and my willingness to listen and observe.  They present perspectives I don’t have on my own, unless I really try.  They DO HAVE birth children! They understand love on a level that I don’t They have  and continue to ride that roller-coaster which may not be ending soon when it comes to life transitions and need.

Rumor has it, “You always want and need your mother… no matter how old you are.”

What do they want in return? These Mothers?  Proof of existence?  Proof that their pain and turmoil and worry isn’t in vain?  Proof that their best attributes can rub off and be impactful and important through progeny?… Justification to a certain degree, that the risk was worth it?  The worry has worth?

Honestly, I don’t fucking know.  I am not even going to pretend right now.  Tell me.

The best I can come up with, is, they are like me; care taking spirits.  I took a different angle, and I know that the out come will be different.  I have no expectation than to have to deal with the most gruesome parts of mortality alone.  They probably expect or at least hope their children will be there to hold their hands through it, when it is their time.

I need to work on honoring this, because quite honestly I have previously just shat upon a Mothers purpose, Their purpose.   We don’t have life without Mothers.  We do not have balance without Women… and care taking humanity would be a lost cause without that energy.

But, I’m not a feminist…?!?

I don’t have to be, because regardless, Mothers gonna keep Mothering.  I apologize if I wasn’t appreciative before.  You all impact the totality of the past,present and future.  We need your love and attentiveness.  We need your kindness and structure.  We need your support, and your presence.  We need your fearless protective nature.

You are a TREASURE.

Thank you.

May all you Mothers, have a Mother Pluckin Mothers Day.

Trials and Tribulations of Being a Single Woman in a Man’s World

It was more than just the nausea. More than indigestion, vomiting and sleeplessness.  It was more than just a time of high energy, in which those who are sensitive (such as myself) may find themselves transmuting what ever the world around them, was unconsciously throwing off.  It was way more intense than any other PMS episode I had ever experienced.

Sore tits.  Constant cramping to high heaven.

It was more than not being able to eat for two weeks; daily emptying my bile reserves.  Food wasn’t staying down, nothing sounded good and weary was I.

Yes, it was more, so much more.

I finally called an emergency trip down the canyon, to Boulder yesterday morning.  After arriving home the night before at 11pm, falling right to sleep, only to awaken at 2 am with previous said symptoms in addition to profuse sweating and dry heaves that kept on until 7:30 am.  At which point, I couldn’t take it any more.

If I wasn’t suffering from ulcers and irregular menstrual cycle again, I would think I was pregnant… but I just bled.  I stayed in bed all of Tuesday, my day off; I stopped bleeding, assuming it was because I was supine all day.  I began bleeding again on Wednesday… I figured I must be in the clear, I mean I am no stranger to morning nausea from the ulcers.  I know I haven’t been eating the best lately, due to stress.

It was the swollen breasts and soreness that was causing the confusion.  My breasts have always felt uncomfortable before and during a moon cycle; but this time, even I noticed I looked more “filled out” in a couple of shirts I normally wear.  My tits looked better than they ever have before.  I needed to know for sure, I wasn’t pregnant.

I found a free clinic that does testing and counseling.  I arrived at 9:36 am, but they were not yet open.  Located in a some what ghetto strip mall, “Real Choices Pregnancy Center” was neighbored by a check cashing/ advance pay check place and a bead store.

As I approached the front door, a white piece of paper attached with scotch tape to the winds announced that Real Choices, would not be open until 9:45 am, today.  “Okay, only nine minutes to go.”  I scramble back to my car as the air is heavy with fog outside, and seemingly more cold than the higher elevation I drove down from.

I feel somewhat unprepared.  I expect this feeling to pass.  It doesn’t.

9:45 comes and goes.  9:56 a silver car pulls next to mine.  A very conservative school secretary type exits the vehicle with a large yellow folder fill with urine sample cups.

I wait three minutes before enter Real Choices.

Mickie, introduces herself and apologizes for running late, I tell her I have nothing but time today… what a long day I am in for.

Mickie sets me up in the restroom with instructions to pee in the dixie cup and bring it to her when I am done.  I have been holding it now for over a half hour, so letting that yellow river flow, seemed quite the relief.

My anxiousness wants results, and I am being less conscious to detail in response to the emotional place I am currently at.  I am distracted by  my own uncertainty.

Mickie invites me to sit, and I am instructed to use a disposable dropper to pick up some urine from the dixie cup and to place a few drops on a pregnancy test result screen.  I do just that and then Mickie asks me some preliminary questions.  Name; date, birth, last period.  I tell her December 19, but that I have had bleeding since then.  I explain how I have had painful and irregular periods for as long as I can remember.   I tell her I had read Black Cohosh can help Amenorrhea ( a period that doesn’t come.)

I explain my cycle is usually waivers between 32-52 days; this cycle was nearing forty-eight, one of my longest ever.  I had no concern of pregnancy.  (Perhaps just my hopeful thinking.)

At this point, Mickie drops the bomb… I am pregnant.  These tests are 97-99% accurate.  My body has enough of a specific hormone to confirm, yes indeed, I am pregnant.

I tell Mickie the truth; I have no desire to have children.  She reflects upon me her beliefs.  At this moment I realize this free pregnancy test and any counselling that they offer at Real Choice, is funded by some Christian organization.

A look of fear and concern crosses over Mickie’s face.

“So you DO believe, at the time of conception, this is the beginning of life, right?” she asks.

“I believe life may have begun, but the soul personality, has yet to be attached.”  I respond.

Mickie casually pull her delicate cross necklace from beneath her collar.  “Well I am the mother of four children, ” she starts in and immediately I zone out.

“She hasn’t a clue!” I think, “She is only a volunteer here.  She is just here to represent her religious organization.  She isn’t some young vagabond in the mountains. She doesn’t exchange hours of her time for room and board from those she works for!  She doesn’t live in this paradigm.  She was probably supported through all of her pregnancies by her God fearing husband… She probably didn’t get pregnant from a random one night stand with a stranger just because she was horny and wanted to get laid, and the situation was there.  She probably never got pregnant from a condom breaking while having sex in her car during a blizzard and a full moon…. or maybe she did.”

At this moment though, that seemed like a very far off reality and since I zoned out most of her story, I guess I couldn’t be certain.  She was now telling me, how she has met “so many women who have chosen abortion” and how they end up feeling so horrible about it for the rest of their lives.

In my mind, I think ” I wouldn’t feel that way.  I know I wouldn’t.  I am so adamant about NOT having a family, unless I feel it is circumstantially ‘right’.  I can’t take nine months to have a kid for someone else, when right now I have to change things within and around me.  Even adoption wouldn’t leave me that choice.”

Mickie and I chat a while longer.  She attempts to get me an appointment at a free clinic for an ultrasound.  I have no money, and no luck.  She offers to take me to the Emergency Room, but her religious organization doesn’t want her to shut down the center for her to escort me. I don’t want to go to the ER with her anyway.

I am shocked.  I am unsure of how to proceed.

Mickie expresses concern that I might have an endoscopic pregnancy because of my bleeding.  She urges me to seek care very soon.

I finally leave; paperwork of confirmation in hand.  I need to smoke a bowl.

I drive back up the mountain in silence.  In my mind I am bargaining with the Universe.  I do not want pregnancy.  If abortion, by means of a tube, being shoved into my uterus, is the only way to go.. I’ll do it.  I don’t know how, because for someone with no money, three hundred or more dollars is expensive.  I feel I am early enough in the game, that there must be another answer.

Perhaps more Black Cohosh?  It could create uterine contractions.  I have more.

I recall hearing about a drug that induces labor in a few minutes by putting it inter-vaginally.  Or, what about self administered tappomant (percussive massage) on the lower abdomen?  Jumping jacks?

I get to my town, and I keep driving.  I need to see friends who understand.  I need to know if my clairvoyant friend senses anything about my situation.  I arrive at their house, but no one is home.

Shit.  I need to talk about this with clear people, NOW!  Finally I call a mutual friend who passes along a cell number for the friend I am looking for.  I call and find out she is over an hour away, and had just arrived at her destination.  It sounds as if she is in a bit of chaos when she picks up the call.  She tells me to give her a couple of minutes so that she can go outside and call me back.

I wait about twenty minutes before she returns my call.  I give her a run down of events, and she offers to drive back up the mountain, to take me back down the canyon to the ER>  It would be over an hour before they would be there.

Sleep and nutrition have been rare for me in the last few weeks.  I decided I would stay, and rest on their couch until they arrive.

I find myself in somewhat of a daze; not asleep, not awake.  I am half way nauseated.  She arrives an hour and a half later.  She walks in with her baby, explaining that her husband is concerned about her unnecessarily taking the baby to the ER, which is bound to be rife with sickness.  Her mother in law will take me alone.

Another hour and half of highways later, we are amidst the smog of Denver.  Lutheran Hospital; unbeknownst to me, one of the busiest ER’s in the the Denver Metro Region.

My stomach is feeling stronger now.  We sit among the sick and injured.  I fill out admittance paperwork.  I get my stats taken.

I wait for six hours in the waiting room.  The TV is tuned to CNN.  I am fully up to date on the Anna Nicole coverage.  I know I am going to have to sit here a longer while, so I eat a Snickers bar.

A man enters and throws a fit about the length of the wait. He is raising his voice.

The ER attendants reaffirms, “There are NO rooms!  There are NO beds!”

The chaotic man seems drunk or drugged, or just damaged.  A breezy Malibu type shirt hangs half open on his beet red chest.  This is not a small man.  The ER staff swiftly admit him.  To where, with the lack of beds?  It’s unknown, or perhaps unspoken that there is always room on the Psych Ward.

Various small dramas proceed with brash interactions, including a bitchy blonde ER nurse and an injured, low-income white guy.  I am among some of Denver’s best and brightest, today.  To each of their benefit, I am certain it is hard to think, when such pain and sickness impede your life…  The ER staff do not have it easy, especially in Denver’s busiest; still, is it really necessary to have such a sassy attitude with those who seek their care?

Six hours later, I receive a gown, a room and a tasty IV with anti-nausea medication.  YAY!  The cool fluid flowing into my arm, is easing away the sickness of reality.  It’s about time to really find out what is going on.  There is yet, more waiting.  I read magazines that I would never purchase.  I breeze through the gossip in regard to Brangelina and Britney… who looks how, in what?

Honestly I don’t fucking care.

They draw my blood, which leads to more waiting.

A silly tech wheels me to radiology for an ultrasound.  We are on the precipice of finding out exactly how far along this train wreck is.  Thank God for pain meds and anti-nausea.

A lubed belly and an ultrasound later, I find out I am eight weeks… TWO MONTHS?!?!  Oh yeah, that broken condom in the car episode.   Brilliant.  Some silly dread who happened to be in town for the weekend, over from Leadville.  Silly.

I endure the ER for another two and a half hours.  Fully re-hydrated and drugged, I am free to leave.  It’s now 11:30pm and everything is closed.  All I want is Chick-Fil-A ( avid pro-life, gay hating chicken.)  Actually, it’s all I have craved for weeks now.

Sleepily I laze in the passenger seat as I am driven back up the mountain.

The next few hours are used in mental formulations.  I will take more Black Cohosh, I will perpetuate my own bleeding.  I will find a loose pill of Misoprostal in the cabinet of my birthing nurse employer.  I will stay with my friends for a couple of days, to ride out the nausea where I am allowed to smoke cannabis.

I arrive home to find a dead cat in my room.  It seems to me, to be a sign of things to come.

I conspire to find and take the Misoprostal vaginally; causing me to bleed chunks later.  I am feeling smart, maybe too smart for my own good, as I am sure this will cause a miscarriage. In my mind, this is decidedly a pregnancy that WILL be terminated, whether by force or effect.  I feel a stress of unknowing, burden my ovaries.  The pain goes through waves of increase.  A sort of feeling, like my uterus is being ripped from me; and yet it stays placed inside, only to be positioned in pain from unknown origin.

I tell myself that this isn’t a “safe” pregnancy.  This is not a “conscious” pregnancy.  This is not a continuing pregnancy.  How am I going to end up paying for all of this; monetarily, physically, spiritually?

Word has it of “Emergency Medicaid,” but no one I talk to has much information.  My circumstances seem applicable, to me.  Will the State of Colorado, agree?  I rationalize that it would cost less for The State to assist in the cost of termination, than it would cost to assist in the long term raising of a child, from a no income young woman.  I learn The State has it’s own ideas as to what It believes our money should be allocated to assist.  Most of it, seem illogical.

A small bit of paperwork for an ongoing, onslaught of more paperwork and phone calls.  I could have allowed myself to be attached to the system for weeks!  Whatever hard earned taxable dollars I had previously earned, were deductible from the over all system; so for those weeks, I could get the best in medical help, if I so choose.

Painful wisdom teeth?  Fuck it!  They will pull them for FREE! (No tip required.)  Just provide proof of pregnancy, and you too, can have a free first class ticket to any medical predicament.

In the right wing tradition of Pro-life, our male dominated system, peeks it’s head into our State and Federal run programs.

Women considered irresponsible for multiple births out of wedlock contributing to our supposed over population are somehow supported… but abortion is only legal in a few states.  Women are demonized for having children out of wed lock, with various men; yet our system is seemingly aligned with the idea that “man SHOULD spread his seed.”

It seems it is economically easier, to live in a life of unwanted, and avoidable circumstances, than it is to independently make a decision for oneself;  to have to  ultimately live in a state of shame perpetuated by a political and religious agendas.

Sure, sometimes men get slammed with child support, but in reality, less than half of them actually pay. Even then, somewhere out there, under the radar; out of the political and religious eyes; we learn that abortion is the most common surgical procedure performed on women in this day and age.

Silently we are speaking back.  This topic will not be spoken about at your local church group, in any light manner.  In fact, the topic will most likely be avoided all together.  The topic is too, taboo… a product of bad taste.  Despite it all; when those groups gather, there will be at least one woman in the group who will have done it, or considered it, depending on their personal beliefs and situations through their life.

Male domination in the world, will cause them to question their choices.It will only be conversations that are whispered among sisters, that they will find commiseration.  Otherwise, they will be left to feel, that they didn’t really have much of a choice in the matter, because  ironically,”Life must go on.”

Weirder yet, conception is another touchy subject especially when it occurs outside prudential expectations..  The way conception unfolds, apparently happens on it’s own terms.  There isn’t always need for attraction or permission.

One in three women will be raped at some point in their lives.  How many of those, become pregnant from the rape?  How does that rock a woman, emotionally; especially when unprepared  and un-wanting for such news?  I have met a man, who is a byproduct of such an event. Conceived from rape. He survives his adulthood caught in child like delinquency.  The man is desperately talented, yet he is lost in a search for something meaningful  in all the wrong places.  You might say he has a lot of loose ends.

His mother committed suicide.  She was never able to cope with the past pain that brought her son into the world.  He was twelve and committed to juvenile hall, when he got the word his mother killed herself.  They wouldn’t let him leave to go to her funeral.  Ten years later, he was dealing with the effects of not being in attendance and the violence of his beginnings.

When is self preservation an act of higher intuition?

My step mother is in disagreement of my choices, yet  I feel confident.  There was a time when, what she thought may have mattered to me, enough to affect my decision making. Not today. Now, it’s all about me.  The question, exactly, is how?  I keep going back to the idea of self preservation.

When we took that drive up the mountain and  I was running groggily through my thoughts.  I was thankful the Vicodin was easing my pain.  I thought about the ultrasound, and how I was able to see the beginnings of a being, forming inside of me.  At eight weeks it was only a grain of sand, only sort of visible in it’s embryonic form.

Seeing the beginnings of life, had changed nothing in my mind.  It had only reaffirmed my self preservation.   This being was bringing my attention to what I have avoided; my own body, my own ability to procreate.   I realize how I had abandoned my own system. Secretly, I felt somewhat cursed from the beginning of my own life.  My pain was likened to the feeling of rotting from the inside out, right through my reproductive organs .  A feeling as thought the ligaments holding everything in place, were being ripped directly from me.

Lately, I feel new to anything feminine.  Maybe it’s been about four years or so, that I have actively tried to assimilate myself to societal ideals of womanhood.  Everyday has been a struggle.  I feel covered in a facade of accessories.  I suppose, I have mainly attempted to be more feminine through ways of appealing to others by physical perception.

If there is one thing I hope to learn from all of these experiences that I have gone through; I hope one day, to find an answer to the question that stands strong for me; “how does one truly become womanly.”

So far, it seems I am finding out first hand, the hard way.  Regardless, I am thankful.

December 8, 2011-Jubal @ Whistlers (Chicken Cordon Bluez)

Often times, when I lived in Nederland, Colorado; I would go out alone, and check out whatever music may be playing, and hang out with friends that were bound to be out.  The night of this show, was a little gathering while I was back in the area in transition; house sitting and dog sitting for local friends.  This is the last time I saw Jubal play.  I am honored to find this in my notebook.  I am glad that I was able to record my perceptions in the moment.  It makes me feel good. I hope it does the same for you.  

The night may be one of those, High Altitude type nights.  The weather is cold, snow is on the ground, and those who choose Whistlers this Thursday, are primarily there for the entertainment and the suspended menu.

Tonight, I have some early bird jitters.  I feel there may be conflict.

The Thursday night football game is on the big screens; Jubal is on guitar and vocals. The audience seems split.  I figure, there must be room for compromise.

Jubal begins his set, almost as a warm up.  He is playing his less played set list. He emanates a desire to own the room with his music.

Jubal, is an inexhaustible well of music, the type of performers most towns wish for.  But, tonight, We, Have Him.  Knowingly in this moment, he has his competition; be it the football or those few patrons who would prefer their Chicken Cordon Blue in silence, he denies them their wish with gritty growling and harmonic strums.

Tonight we are all somehow the embodiment of this well, that Jubal is.  Some may be dry on the surface, but they are rich and deep, below.  The well is not purely a wood base on the ground, or a metal pipe with a pump.

One could consider a tree, a living well; pulling water up from the depths through it’s roots up to the leaves above, into the branches.  This is how Jubal and his music holds some capacity of the humanity around him.  They rise to him to be with each other, seeking some sweet soul nourishment; finding their call is answered.

If one becomes too dry, they turn to dust and fly away.

When one is fertile and hydrated, one grows and shares their steady beauty to those around them.

Sometimes, we become dry; and we don’t know exactly why or how. Was it the weather, or failure in the roots?  Does a tree, or a well, ever ask?

Sometimes, the well is muddy.  You have to drop the bucket through scum to find the spring.  You have to dig deeper for the clarity.

What really matters?  Perhaps in this journalistic opinion; it is the beautiful clarity that serene submersion brings, seeking the purity.  Jubal holds the perfect sound track for this; somehow every song begs the question, “What really matters?”

Is the game more important than the player?  Is the player always the star of the show?

“Perspective.”  A wise woman, once said.

The room is almost full, and it seems we are on some 24 hour precipice of a Full Lunar Eclipse that will be visible locally.  I wonder if the lunacy of the moon tonight, is reflecting back humanities lunacy.  What is the symbolism of it’s momentary shadowing?

I suppose we are all a little creative and crazy; especially when humbled by seeing the shadow of ourselves, in the midst of lunatic confusion,we still have just enough of a grasp on who we want to see within ourselves that we can find some reconciliation.  We find at times, even lunacy can be overshadowed by a strong desire for realization.

Jubal Thompson passed away August 7, 2016. You can read his obituary here Jubal Obituary.  You can check out his original music on Reverbnation here  at Jubal’s Songs .

I dedicate this writing to all of Jubal’s friends, family and musical admirers.  I apologize, if it wasn’t more about him, or his specific music; however I honor the fact he was a strong participant in a community I was apart of and love.  I was honored to spend time and conversation with him, and I feel this piece touches on a deeper part of our understanding each other in friendship.  If you want to do something in Jubal’s honor; buy a kid an instrument and encourage them to express themselves through the tool of music and words.  And always, listen closely to the truths expressed therein.