Farewell Mr. Bourdain

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I am devastated. I am filled with sadness. Rarely does a celebrity death bring me to tears. Bowie was a big one, but I’ve gotta say this is worse.

I always felt like Tony was my kindred spirit. A recovering drug addict that got lucky. He was brilliant, funny, honest, and broken, at least the part of him that most of us saw through his public persona. I believed that was just him. I am not shocked, just devastated.

I want to be angry. I want to say ” How fucking dare you, you have everything, you have a child for fucks sake, you don’t get to off yourself if you have a kid”. It wasn’t that long ago that I convinced myself that my 3 children were better off without me, it wasn’t that long ago that I downed 400 Valium and ended up in the psych ward after thoroughly getting my stomach pumped. I know how you get there. I understand, but goddamn it, I’m gonna miss this guy’s face in my life.

Mr. Bourdain taught me so much about food, our world, culture, humor, fearlessness in being yourself, and so much more..all while wearing a Ramones shirt. He was my punk rock, smart ass, foodie, escape. There are only 3 things that make life bearable as a social akward, agoraphobic… Music, books, and Tony.

I’m sad he was hurting, while only bringing me joy. I’m sad he was helpless while making me laugh, and bringing me hope. I’m sad he saw no other way, while I was encouraged to explore this world and it’s culture.

Today is a sad day.

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On Turning 49.

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My birthday is coming up and it’s nice to spend a bit of time in reflection of my complete screw ups, and what I’ve learned over the last year.

The screw ups teach me more than the times that things are going along grand, I think that is the case for almost everyone.

Maybe focusing on what I’ve learned up to this point is a better plan, when you are only reflecting on a snippet of time, it seems uneventful, slow going.

One thing I’ve learned, especially through this blog is that very few people are going to be interested in what others do and say, and that in writing this at all I am only achieving cathartism for myself. I’m just not that important, In my humble opinion I think realizing that we’re not as important as we think is valuable. Who am I to offer advice, who am I to think I’m more woke than anyone else? We’re just not that special. It may sound self centered, but doing for the sake of doing, for self is all you can really count on, there will be a few that care, or maybe.even one. One is good. One is enough, even if that one is yourself.

My mother gave me the best advice I’ve ever received in telling me: ” you wouldn’t worry so much about what people think of you, if you realized how seldom they actually do”.

So, I’ve learned to do for me and my family, and not to waste any time focusing on others expectations of me, opinions of me, or if they like me or not. It’s none of my business how others feel about me, if I have friends calling wanting to hang out, that is a good indicator that they like me. I hang with those people, I like them too.

Less is more. I can count on one hand the people who are important to me, maybe both hands if I’m adding family. I’m happier now than ever, quality not quantity serves me well. It hasn’t always been that way. It’s better, at least for me.

Learning to say no, and learning to ask for help. I’ve been pretty much on my own in this life. I have been in the self inflicted role of being the ultra responsible one in my family, the drawback of this is that I don’t give myself permission to screw up, I don’t give myself any slack at all, and others have come to expect this of me. In their expectations there are times I’m taken advantage of, I am learning to say no. I am also learning that it doesn’t mean I’m weak to ask for help, people in my life are willing to help me, but are also taken aback when I need something, I’m going to continue to work on both of these things.

Paying no attention to attention, and letting pretty go. This year has been good for me on this one. Everyone needs attention sometimes, I do too, but I’m realizing that as I get older physical attention..just being with others, having fun, means much more than the compliments I’ve searched for in this life. I’m better able to boost myself up through self talk, instead of exterior stimuli. I’m accepting that my body isn’t going to ever work/react/appear like it did when I was 20. I’m ok with this. It’s comforting to feel good in the skin I’m in.

Liking getting older. I don’t think that anyone likes being closer to death, but I am enjoying the freedom and peace that comes with maturity, accepting myself, and not giving two shits about unimportant time wasting things. I like that “stuff” is becoming less important, and love is becoming the center of who I am. Love for family, friends, self.

I made a few glaring missteps this year with finances, I hurt a few people I love with not choosing my words carefully. I have made amends, and working at getting back on track..now to try not to be perfect, and to cut myself a break occasionally, maybe next year I can write about how I’ve accomplished that.

That’s all I’ve got today. Happy 49th to me, I plan on eating whatever I want unapologetically, and being with the people I love. Cheers.

The anxiety of happiness.

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I am just the worst at keeping up with my blog. I’ve been thinking about the reasoning behind this, and it all comes down to happiness.

If you’ve read any of my blogs it is quite obvious that I’ve had a life filled with a lot of turmoil, pain, addiction, death and abuse. The most significant problem with this is that it can tend to become your identity, writing about those things is easy, telling my story is easy, it’s all I’ve ever known.

What happens when you heal? What happens when all the hard work of letting go leads to a life of happiness and peace? What happens when you’ve nothing to prove to anyone?

What do I write about now that I am content and happy, how do I express myself in this new state of mind?

Today I feel like everything is as near what I’ve envisioned for myself as it’s ever been. Naturally this causes me a bit of anxiety. I guess I could search for some underlying turmoil..I could write about how I’ve gained approximately 30 pounds over the winter, I could hate my body, I could loathe the way I look….but I just don’t. I’m good with who I am for the first time in my life. I’ll lose weight, it’s no biggie, in fact nothing seems like a big deal any more.

I’m broke, I’m fat, I’m in the midst of art deadlines, and I’m excited to see what today will bring. I have a handful of people that mean the world to me, my bills are paid, my house is clean, my dogs are amazing and I’m happy to be me and alive. It’s nice.

National Sibling Day.

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I am an only child. I have a sister, but I am alone. I am angry every National Sibling Day. I know, I know…it’s another made up thing to distract us from the futility of life, but still…I get angry that my sister can’t be in my life.

I really loathe addiction. My sister has been lost to it for so long I can’t remember the last time I had a conversation with her that didn’t include her being high.

Worse than being high all the time is what it turns a person into. I don’t know who that heroin addict is, but it’s not my sister. My sister is amazing, she’s funny and beautiful, she’s a hippy at heart, she used to love life, music, family, she used to love.

Addiction is a bitch, and although she no longer asks me for money, or rides, and no longer comes to my home, and I have probably seen her two or three times in several years, it is excruciating to know what she’s doing for drugs, I have jumped every time the phone has rang for the last 15 years, I will get the call…I know I will, and when I do I will be shattered, not for the reasons you’d think, but for all I know she was capable of, for what I wished for, what I know is possible.

I no longer have hope that she’ll be a daughter again, a mother, a sister, a human. I am angry.

Seeing others having lunch with their siblings, hanging out, having fun, makes me happy for them, but sends me into a tailspin of depression. I wish I could be colder, I wish I could quit caring.

I am fortunate to have her son in my life. He is everything. I dislike the heartbreak and questions he asks me, I dislike that I can be a strong influence in his life, and he has his father, but I will never make up for her absence, no one will. He will have to fight in his life to not let abandonment issues eat him alive. He pretends not to care, he acts indifferent, I see it though, and it’s just fuel for my anger..how could she? She’s had hundreds of opportunities to do right by him, more than most of us, yet she chooses the drug time and time again.

I miss her. I have missed having her around to be an Aunt, I miss watching movies together, I miss our secret language, our inside jokes, the way we team up against my mom, and find it hilarious.

How do I find hope? Hope is dangerous, hope is an investment in a future I will probably never see.

There’s a little tiny burning bit, but it continues to die.

I am ok, but I think most people who lose siblings to addiction have a hollow spot that nothing else can fill, sibling relationships are something beyond explanation, and closer than anything else I’ve ever felt.

I miss her. I miss her terribly.

Why We Can’t Leave.

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Travel changes a person. This is a fact.

While I was in Ireland last year I met a man staying at my hotel in Killarney, he was a shuttle driver for a group of famous-ish golfers doing some kind of tournament tour throughout the country. He dragged me to a pub across the way for a Guinness, I’d not had one yet on my trip.

We spoke about politics, health care, taxes, and why in the hell everyone seemed so happy, not just in Killarney, but in all the places I’d visited so far.

He told me how happy he was to pay extra taxes, which shocked me a tad, until he explained how much it meant to him to care for people who might need it and that someday when he needed it his taxes would care for him. He explained that his happiness stemmed from living in a community that cares for one another, and that it was important to live in a country that was healthy and educated.

Ouch.

Camera pans around to yesterday, picking up some vape juice( I know.. nasty, but it’s my jam). I love this little locally owned gas station/ vape shop down the road from my house. The woman who works there knows my name, we always take a moment to chat and laugh at life. Yesterday was different, she told me she’s moving soon, to Mexico to live with family. Dang it, I like her. She explained that most days she feels very unsafe, and for the first time in 10 years of becoming a United States citizen, she fears for her life daily. She is receiving death threats by phone at work with the sickening ” go back to Mexico” shtick. People are gross. She’s had a gun held to her head with the insistence that she reveal what nationality she is. She’s had things thrown at her, because of her accent. I am so hurt that this is happening. I am furious, but most of all I am so frustrated that I can’t get the hell out of here.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard ” If you don’t like it leave”, I could have left already, because that’s what it takes, money and resources that most Americans don’t have, not to mention that gaining citizenship elsewhere is a clusterfuck. Here’s a little tidbit I learned recently: when you move to a different country, you’re still obligated to pay U.S taxes. So let’s pretend I move to Ireland, I’m paying higher taxes there, and still paying taxes here, unless of course I renounce my citizenship alltogether, and then am restrictricted from re-entering to see my family. I am in a middle class income bracket, I own a home with a large chunk of equity, but would still find duel taxes restrictive. I would be worse off by leaving, even if I was able to jump through all the hoops, not to mention that my pets would literally be quarantined for up to two years. It’s not so easy to just leave.

I used to love my country, I believed in it, I thought it was the best in the world, but now understand that all of that patriotic propaganda is designed to silence and oppress people. God forbid you speak up for what is right without being deemed anti-american, god forbid you don’t step in line and simply accept the leadership corruption. It’s not new, it’s just undeniable now.

I’m sad about the blatent racism, I’m disgusted with our politicians, I’m furious over our policies, our educational system, our lack of care for nature and human beings, our treatment of native people, our inability to find common ground, I could go on and on..

So yes, Mr. Internet warrior. I do want to leave. I want to feel safe again, I want to sleep again, I want the boulder in my stomach to roll on off…

There’s gotta be a way to escape this shit show.

Nowhere Girl.

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I’ve been slacking so badly in my writing. It’s been a crazy little few months, my art has been accepted for a couple shows this year and I’m swamped.

I wanted to wait to write until I was in a positive mind frame, but it’s been few and far between of late.

I’m in a shitty space. Positive things are happening but I’m feeling a bit electric and raw over the state of my country, political bullshit is eating my lunch. I can’t recall a time that I felt so sad about people, about life, about humanity in general.

I’m living in a time where I am set to defend the fact that I’m sensitive, why do people think being liberal, open minded and compassionate warrant an apology. Why on Earth would I ever be cold, interested in controlling others, inserting my idea of morality onto others. Why are humans so egotistical?

I feel like we’re just doomed. Humans are so cruel to one another.

The fact that humans will do almost anything to feel superior to others is very discouraging. Religion and political leanings are great examples. The racism that I naively believed had made so much progress was a big fat lie I told myself, it’s worse than ever..I suppose it’s good in some respects that this has been revealed, it’s easy for a middle class white girl to wear blinders, I will do better. I will be a better person, I will not live in the dark any longer. Racism is ego taken to a sickening level. I don’t believe in God, but if I did I would never be able to try to spew out the two narratives I’ve been hearing.. “we are all God’s children, except I’m better than you..”. It’s gross. People are gross.

I am in a constant state of fight or flight. Where do I think I can go where people are kind, people are humble, religion, politics, and racism don’t exist? A cabin in the middle of nowhear Switzerland? Can I just shut it all off, toss my TV, my phone, never read a newspaper… I feel so helpless. I write and write to people who I think can make a difference, and it makes no difference.

Everything is man made bullshit to render control over others. Religion, politics, borders, morality, all made up to render oneself superior.

What a fucking circus. What a shit show.

Lost.

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I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been living. I am lost. Sometimes that happens I hear. I am trying to figure out exactly what I want my life to look like.

On paper it all looks good, and I’m not stupid enough to be ungrateful, however, I am definitely not living according to what is valuable lately.

I am incapable or unwilling to motivate myself , I feel worn out, used up, I’m sure that menopause and the fact that I can’t leave my house lately isn’t helpful.

What is important to me?

Being a good friend. I haven’t been lately.

Eating healthy. Nope..not doing that either.

Being a participant in my children’s lives. I’m isolating instead.

Being active. Not even close.

I’m not sure how I’ve gotten here, it’s been a gradual slide. Am I depressed? Maybe.

I’ve been taking care of others so long that I feel little is left for myself. Add to the fact that this has been a particularly rough month health wise, the stores are depleted.

So how do I get back on track? 

I need to set more boundaries for people who feel that my kindness is worth taking advantage of.

I need to eat in the way my body deserves.

I need to apologise to friends for not being present, and work on nourishing those friendships.

I need to get my body moving again. Period.

I’m not completely inept, I know no one can change things but me…

The thought of how busy the holidays are just makes me want to crawl in a hole.

I am ok. I’m not suicidal or anything, just trying to figure it all out.

Writing feels good, maybe this is a good place to start.

#metoo

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Have ya’all seen this hashtag #metoo? It was started to shed light on the widespread incidents of sexual abuse, and although I rarely repost on trending topics I feel this one is important for obvious and personal reasons. 

Sexual abuse and harassment is never ok, the fact that the majority of my friends, male and female alike have reposted these words is overwhelming.

Did I think I was the only one? No, of course not, did I still carry some shame and self blame for the things that happened to me? I think I did/do.

I have been, like most women, sexually harassed more times than I can count. Cat called, touched, propositioned, I have been the recipient of many over the line advancements and speech.

I think it’s important to share our stories, and although I’ve touched on this subject before, I’m sharing my story again now. I refuse to take blame any longer, and in being vocal I hope to help in some way with the stigma others and myself have carried.

Twice in my life I have been raped. Both happened in my teenage years, and I never told anyone. I never went to the hospital, I never spoke about it at all until last year, I am 48 years old, and have always somehow blamed myself. I was terrified of what my family would think as well.

At a party with a group of friends at the age of 15 I was raped by a friend. I had had too much to drink and decided to go to sleep on a couch in the basement of the house we were at. I passed out under some blankets, to sleep it off. I woke up with someone on top of me, he was shoving my pants down while holding one of his hands around my throat, someone else entered the basement looking for me, he had pulled the covers up over both of us and put his hand over my mouth, telling them he was the only one down there. I was told to shut my mouth and enjoy it. I was raped and strangled for nearly an hour, he was simply stronger  than me. I couldn’t win. Iwas crying and told it wasn’t that bad and that he’d always liked me. When he fell asleep on top of me I wiggled my way out and walked home, I showered and spent the next 30 years asking myself why I didn’t scream(fear) why I got so drunk, why was I alone in the basement, why I didn’t fight, why did I wear that outfit, and a thousand other questions that placed the blame squarely in my lap. 

When this person died I felt secretly happy, and then felt guilty for that. I’ve been telling myself for years what an awful person I am for not feeling sad. I have a lot of the same friends from that time and still can not bring myself to name him for fear of being called a liar, after all he’s not here to defend himself….

The second time I was raped I was slipped something in a drink. I remember nothing of the incident, except waking up naked in this person’s house and being completely disoriented. I asked for a ride home, and later got a call from him asking me out, and telling me what a good time he’d had the night before. I had bruising down the inside of both legs, and on one of my breasts. I again told no one. Why was I drinking? Did I consent while I was out of my mind? I don’t know. I had only had one beer..why can’t I remember anything..I later concluded that I had to have been drugged, it took me several days to even think straight. Being drugged is not consent. 

I regret a lot of things I did when young, I was a mess. I did drugs, I drank, I put myself in a lot of sketchy situations, however, none of that matters..there is no legitimate reason to sexually assault someone. No excuses that hold water.

I hope that in telling this I inspire others to tell their stories, to speak up, to quit any self blame you might carry, in turn I will do the same and continue healing.

How Art Saved My Soul.

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I am an artist. I don’t know why that is hard to say.  How long do you have to paint, or create art of any kind until you earn that label?

I am self taught. I have had zero art training, in fact the only education I have ended around tenth grade. 

A couple years ago I became despondent and depressed, it was around the time my kids all left, I didn’t know what to do with myself.  My husband in his infinite wisdom showed up one day with some paints and canvases: ” You’re a creative person, and you’re not being creative, maybe you could paint something….”. 

My first painting consisted in just spreading paint around and getting the feel of the brush, the canvas, and letting my mind go blank, it is the one at the top of this page.

I love art, I always have, but a lot of the time I always thought, especially with abstracts, hell, I could do that! 

When I started I kind of looked at it like a joke. All these famous artists and it just looked like they dumped a bunch of paint on, smeared it around, and called it a masterpiece. Also this “art” sold for a gazillion bucks. I kept experimenting and found a couple things out.

1. It’s harder than it looks.

2. It felt really good. I was empty, I was profoundly happier when Painting.

3. To my utter amazement, people started buying my stuff.

I spent six months just figuring out how the damn paint works, I was terrified to try to paint people or objects, but really didn’t want to be the girl who painted abstracts because I didn’t take the chance on anything else.

My first self portrait:

Art has saved me in so many ways, I am happier and more content than I’ve ever been in my life. I have created a job that I love. I highly suggest art as an alternative to depression.

A year after I started painting I happened to deliver flowers(my little part time gig for a small shop in town), as unprofessional as I thought it was I asked if the minded if I looked around. The owner asked me if I was an artist… “Uhhh kinda”. I pulled out my phone, pulled up my IG account and handed it to him. I was stunned when he said they were good and that he’d love to represent me. A week later my art was in a gallery. How amazing is that?

I sold my first large Painting exactly a year after I’d started painting, I couldn’t believe what the gallery asked for my art. 

My first sold Painting (the largest one):

I continue to learn, I have made a decent living, dog portraits have been pretty popular lately, I recently submitted several paintings to the gallery that I painted from my photos of Ireland, and will be the featured artist this month at gallery stroll. 

Life is full of unexpected blessings. Most of all I’m happy to not be in my pit of despair any longer. Art is the only therapy that has ever worked for me. I am whole by having this amazing creative outlet. 

Dog portrait:

My most recent works:

What the Frick.

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See this awesomeness? Who wouldn’t wanna hang out with this bastion of style, grace, and humor?

Making friends as an adult (pertaining to me, I use this word loosely) is hard ya’all.

I have a couple really good friends, but they actually have lives and are busy. Maybe I should leave my house more…so, what the frick?

I’ve committed myself to not working really hard to keep in touch with people who don’t make an effort to be in my life, the drawback in that is that they may be thinking the same thing.

I think I’m likable..I think I get along with most people..and I’m pretty sure there is no one out there who wishes me death, but I’m kind of a middle person.

A middle person is someone who is generally liked but not quite enough to miss or want to hang out with. There’s no one out there thinking: “ya know what this party needs? Irish! Let’s call her!”.

I’m not complaining, I have an amazing life, I’m busy, and it’s like my pops used to say ” when you like yourself, you’re always in good company”, but once in awhile I wonder if it’s unhealthy to be this isolated.

People need friends right? Or maybe a better question is, why do people need friends? I’m sure there’s some Harvard study telling everyone that people with a close knit group of friends live longer.

I have amazing people in my life who have supported my art, pitched in when things are hard, and tell me they love me, but we never really get to the doing activities together part.

Before you get all thinky and say “maybe you’re just an asshole!”. I already thought of that, and it’s true, I’m kind of a cynical asshole..but isn’t that part of my charm?

So I’m left asking myself periodically if I shouldn’t have more friends. I don’t know. I’m pretty happy, I’m pretty content. I just occasionally wonder if it’s emotionally healthy to be alone as much as I am. I don’t know. I’m not lonely. I care about a handful of people who make me a better person by knowing them, maybe introverts just attract introverts.

I had lunch with a friend I’m trying to make this week, so progress. 

Today I have the house to myself, so I’m painting, all this thought came from stupid Facebook..people out doing stuff..what a bunch of wierdos.