Every single day – whether we know it or not – we have a chance, an opportunity to support another human. Lift them. Carry them. Inspire them. Encourage them. We get to shine a light on someone else. Every day. And I wanna tell you what I learned years ago, like a thousand years ago, I was going through some real dark shit and as usual, I truly believed that the shit & the darkness would never end. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. It was like a fucking sinkhole. And I picked up a phone and called a friend of mine, a wise man who smoked cigarettes and drank whiskey and loved hanging out in bars and… anyway, I digress … I wept into the phone, sobbing and he listened to me – really listened – and then he said this: call a friend, or a fucking stranger, but call someone who’s also struggling and encourage them – lift them up – it’s gonna change your life.
I did exactly what he said.
I tucked – wedged – my pain into a corner and picked up the phone and called a friend who had just lost her job. I stayed on the phone with her and encouraged her – cheering her on – I got out of my own way – and I could feel and see my shit fading away. She got another job, and my life…well, the darkness lifted and my life changed, really truly changed. I believe that’s called stretching your life, or maybe it’s called stretching your neck. Something like that.
I stopped hoarding my own life that night.
Every single day we get to do something good for another human. We get to be kind. Show compassion. Offer up the goodness. Offer up, love. Whether it’s a virtual cup of coffee or spending an hour on the phone or holding someone’s heart in our hands; helping another person fulfill a dream – we get to hold up another person. It makes our life bigger. And here’s the thing – the whole SHEbang – the clincher: even though we can’t touch each other, or hug each other because of this pandemic – lifting another human doesn’t require touching, it only requires the desire, the deep fucking desire, for others to shine.
And lifting another human makes us taller.
I wish you all love today.
A couple of things on this Tuesday could be Wednesday maybe Sunday: I was interviewed about the Fellowship, and this is what I said: Writing has saved me. It’s where I get to put my feelings down without judgment or criticism because very often – very often – it’s between me and a piece of paper and I know the piece of paper will never spill my secrets, it’s where I get to spill my heart and soul and words out, it’s where I get to share my deepest feelings, my deepest pain, my deepest sorrow, and deepest joy. Women’s voices are so vital in the world – our voices can change the rhythm of the Universe – and it was time for me to put my money where my mouth is and I’m very loud. So, this Fellowship is all about women using their voices for good, for great, for the own lives and for the lives of others; this fellowship is so all women can believe in and awaken to the greatness of their own lives; the mighty #PenSword.
So, there’s that.
And then there is this: today I read that trump was not going to unveil Obama’s portrait in the White House, a tradition that has never changed no matter the political party. This act, this mean-spiritedness, made me sob. I broke down. It hit like a ton of bricks. The amount of mean and cruel and nasty during a time of great pain and uncertainty and self-isolating – not being able to hug another human – was more than my heart could handle this morning. It is so blatant; this coupled with lies being spewed about Joe Biden and the viciousness toward Nancy Pelosi. This man has turned the White House into his bully pulpit. He is literally telling millions & millions of people every single day that it’s okay to be nasty and cruel and vicious, to seek revenge, to harm others, to hurt and bruise and beat and batter people. He is planting perennial seeds of hate & violence and it is up to us to weed that out, to pull that hate out by the roots. Fight for America, she is being abused – we are watching her being abused – we are watching her being beaten and bloodied and mistreated and battered – if she were a friend or relative or co-worker would you turn away? Would you walk away? She is our home – please, don’t look the other way. We must restore decency. We must.
And then there is this: MyKen iKen is having heart surgery on June 2nd. I can’t be with him. I’m not allowed in the Hospital. All I will ask from all of you is to please hold us both tight. He’s gonna need a lot of good loving and kindness, candles lit and prayers up and howling at the moon, and all that good shit that we do for folks who need our love. Me, I’m gonna need you all to keep telling me he’s gonna be okay.
Thanks for indulging me on this day, whatever fucking day it is – I sure hope it’s Tuesday cause that means 403 Tacos!
It seems we’re starving for it. Without it, we’re empty, dull, depleted. Scared. Worried. Anxious. Fearful. I don’t know many folks who can’t live without it. It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. It’s what inspires us. It’s what nurtures us and nourishes us. It can come in really small doses and sustain us, or large doses and fill us to the brim. It gets us motivated, energized, activated. It’s what gets us to say yes to some “thing” – some cause or action or activity – that we’re so fucking scared to do. It gets us to believe in love and goodness and possibility. It is filled with possibilities. The sentiment alone means possibility. It literally lifts us. It can come from a word. A sentence. A piece of art, a movie, a play, a book, an installation, a piece of music. It can come from clapping and ringing bells at seven o’clock. It can arrive unexpectedly. A phone call, a text, a visit, a new pair of shoes. It’s what puts a light in our eyes, ignites our soul. It’s one thing that can inspire the living fuck outta us. Without it we shrink, we cower, we hide, we crawl into balls. Without it we say no, we say I can’t, we say I don’t think so, we say not today. Without it we stagnate. Without it we toss and turn and wonder why we’re so exhausted. Without it we give up, give in. Without it we don’t allow ourselves to dream and we must dream and we must dream big and we must dream big enough so others can also dream and we must help others dream so others dream.
IT is HOPE.
A small mighty word that packs a mighty big punch.
Last night we watched HOPE in action.
We fell in love with it in 2008 for 8 years, let’s bring back HOPE.
Since I’m being monitored for ‘Hate Speech’ on FaceBook, I thought I’d share with you what offends me. Here’s a partial list – a partial list – in no particular order:
Abuse of power
Concentration Camps, here in America, in 2020
Abusing & using & misusing God
Faking benevolence & altruism
White sheets used as a fashion hate statement
The Confederate flag
Best & warm,
This is what I know on Thursday could be Friday could be Monday could be Tuesday: whoever reports me to FaceBook know this: I am not gonna back down, I am not gonna be silent, I am not gonna go quietly into the good night – fuck that shit – I am not gonna cower or hide or slip into a corner. I tried that shit was I was younger and by younger, I mean not that fucking long ago – I tried the ‘pleasing everyone at my own expense’ shit – fuck that noise. I tried being the good girl for a long while and one day I decided to be a Do Good Woman, has a nicer ring to it. I tried the ‘hey, wanna be friends’ while my work was being ripped out from under me – like I said, fuck that noise. I am not gonna slither away not that I could anymore – COVID WEIGHT – but I’m not gonna slither away and disappear. That is just not me. There is too much at stake for any of us to be silent, to not fight with all we have and make sure we don’t lose more than we’ve already lost, and by the loss I mean decency and kindness and empathy. Nope, not gonna slide away. Nope. And while I have you all: a friend of mine had one of her online instructions – no, she is not a writer – ripped off today by a so-called friend and she is devastated and angry and sad and confused by the abuse and thoughtlessness of someone she trusted. Stop this shit. Stop it now. Stop taking what is not yours and then re-making it as if it was yours. No, I am not gonna be silent. I’m gonna fight for you and for you and for you over there in the corner scared to fucking death and I am gonna speak up and shout up and stand up and make a fucking ruckus and I am gonna make sure that the bad guys don’t win because the one thing I fucking know with all of me – and that’s a lot – is that hate has a shelf life, an expiration date; it may seem like it’s oh so big and scary and all-out horrifying but fear crumbles under love because love can weigh fear down, it can beat it down; bullying is the ugly manifestation of all the self-loathing and self-hatred that rumbles and churns inside of a human who has been reminded repeatedly – over and over and over – that their life doesn’t much mean anything. Deep down inside most every bully is a little child shaking, crying, trembling – beaten down, and the only way they know how to survive is to be cruel and nasty and ugly and scary because that is what they were taught – because that is what they were taught and taught and taught – generations of being taught – being shown – anger and rage and cruelty and abuse.
Anger is not power.
Cruelty is not power.
Rage is not power.
Abuse is not power.
All of that goes under the heading: Fear
Kindness is power.
Compassion is power.
Goodness is power.
Passion is power.
Love is power.
Thank you all for the love. I mean that. To know we’re not alone. To know we’re all going through so much sorrow and grief right now: some named, some unnamed.
Sharing this from the anthology I curated/edited – Shades of Blue – to give you an idea of my blues and I know so many suffer from the same color blue – I send YOU all my love:
The balls-out truth about depression.
Yesterday my friend asked me, “Did you ever try it?” Yes, I said, yes, I tried suicide. This was all around the news of Robin Williams & his death.
Yes, I said; I was young, much younger, and so sad, I was so miserable & so unhappy & I felt all alone in the world. I felt like nobody knew what it was like, this damp bleak darkness. Everything was pitch black. There was no color anywhere. It was dark & lonely, and the best way I can describe how I felt at that time in my life was like being in the middle of a forest, and it’s eerily dark, and you don’t know which way to turn and so you take baby steps. Teeny steps because you don’t know where you are, and you can’t see anything, and you don’t know how to find your way out, and you reach out for something to touch, but it’s not there. You fall down, and you don’t know how to get up, so you start by getting up on your knees, and then slowly, very, very slowly, you straighten up, and start to walk through – stumble through – the darkness and you’re not sure you’re gonna make it out, but you silently hope & wish & pray that you do. And I said to her – my friend – you know that saying, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, well, the truth is, there is no tunnel. There is no fucking tunnel in the pitch blackness. Forget about finding the light at the end of it – you can’t even find the fucking tunnel. So, yes, I tried suicide. The pills, the stomach pumped. And all that follows. But I was lucky; fortunate, blessed, whatever you wanna call it because at 19 years old someone wanted to save me, help me, hold me. And then I became a Buddhist, and then I battled my demons & unhappiness & self-hatred every single day. Well, not every day. Some days they got the best of me & I could barely move.
But I fought like a motherfucker; and some days I won, and some days they won, and some days it was a match, and some days I wanted to die, and some days I wanted to not only live, but live with passion & find beauty, and yes, find love.
And then what I found out, I found out that you gotta save your own life, because the person holding your hand, they can get really tired. They hold on so long & so tight that their arm aches. And that’s when I had my epiphany, my breakfast at epiphany moment, my ah-fucking-ha moment: if you really wanna save yourself, you gotta be willing to throw someone else a line, grab onto someone else and save them, help them, hold them. You gotta be willing to see another person’s suffering & pain and look them in the eye and say, I know how you feel, I have your back; I’m gonna hold you and I’m gonna hold you tight. And the truth is – the balls-out truth is this – those of us who suffer from bouts of depression, who don’t believe we’re good enough, who can barely make it out of bed some days, who struggle with self-esteem and the whole concept of self-love – when we use our own pain & suffering so that we can understand another person’s heart – it doesn’t eliminate our pain, or make it vanish, or go pouffff – but, it does make it bigger than ourselves, it makes it worth the struggle.
I look at the folks I know – some very personally, some on the periphery – who have gone through hell & back a million times, and they use their life every single day to inspire, to encourage, to awaken the good & the great in others because they know what it was and is like to be flattened; flat out broken; broken into little pieces.
So, yes, I tried it.
And I’m awfully glad that I didn’t succeed at it. I’m glad, wholly motherfucker glad, that I was a failure at that attempt because I get to rise up every single day and work through my life-stuff, face my own demons, and strut my stuff, and then I get to tell each of you that you are fucking awesome; you are magic & glitter & all that’s extraordinary in the world. Because the truth is – even in our darkest moments, even in our saddest moments, even in our most broken moments – we have magic in us, we have glitter & sparkles; we are Goddesses & Gods, Buddhas & Bodhisattvas, Kings & Queens; SHEroes & Heroes.
And we are amazing beyond belief.
So go on, strut your gorgeous stuff today knowing – absolutely fucking knowing – that you are not alone.
This I know for sure.
This I’d bet my life on.
Another Gem of a Story
“Where’d you learn to love the way you love?” someone messaged me. Good question. Here’s a taste… and a story worth sharing & re-telling & re-posting:
The bag sat on my lap, she told me to hold on to it tight, “Don’t let it spill open,” she said while she chain-smoked.
We pulled into a driveway, the car now in park; a deep breath a deep sigh a deep exhale of cigarette smoke combined. She took the bag off my lap and I watched as she walked up the stoop and rang the doorbell and then she disappeared into the split level. A good forty-five-minute drive from where we lived out on Long Island. I sat, fidgety, minding my own business and everything else from inside the car.
After what felt like forever in little girl years, she came out of the house cradling her purse, the man stood on the porch and waved to me, I waved back. I had no idea who he was, but my mother always reminded me to be nice to her friends.
She placed her purse on the seat between us and while I was concocting a million stories in my head about what happened to the bag that sat on my lap she lit a cigarette, opened the window a crack and then motioned for me to open her purse, and there in her purse was a box, a black box, “Open it,” she said, and I opened it and right there smack in the middle – as if it were standing at attention – was a ring, a man’s pinky ring. Two diamond chips on either side of a tiger eye stone set in platinum. “Where’s your jewelry, Mommy, where?” “Well, I made a trade, I traded some of my jewelry for this, for Daddy’s birthday. It’s a surprise, a secret, so don’t say anything. Cross your heart.”
I crossed my heart.
“… and hope to die?” I asked
“No, no… it’s enough to cross your heart.” She said.
We were broke, struggling, a bad set of circumstances spiraled, setting our lives back and we were barely eeking by.
She threw him a small dinner party at our house with some of their nearest and dearest and after he blew out the candles and made a wish she placed the little black box on the table and when he opened it his eyes filled and my mother leaned in and kissed him – long and hard – and in what seemed like a whisper – stuck, lodged – in her throat she wished him a happy birthday and many more and then he slipped the ring on his pinky and it felt as if he grew an inch or two taller as he stared at this gift, this unexpected gift filled with so much love.
A little over a year later, while our lives were still on hold, slowly but surely regaining some ground, it was my mom’s birthday. He was taking her out to a favorite restaurant of hers and even though it would cost him an arm and a leg he was willing to give up those body parts for her. A giant gift-wrapped box sat on the dining room table, a card leaning up against it; her name Bea written in his impeccable gorgeous handwriting on the envelope. She was dressed to the nines, her hair coiffed, her face made-up. Her lipstick matched her dress, magenta. “Mommy open it open it open it,” I had no idea what it was but I loved gift-wrapped presents. They were filled with hope. My father stood next to the table as she unwrapped the box. A brand new leather jewelry box, three drawers thick, she looked up at him and he nodded and gestured for her to open it. There in the jewelry box were the pieces that she had pawned to buy him the ring – her jewelry polished and shiny and ready to wear.
Years later my Dad told me the story, “A little O’Henry-ish,” I said. Yes, he said, smiling, yes. The jeweler – the nice man I waved to – was a good friend of my dad’s, he owned a jewelry store on West 47th Street – the Jewelry district – and he held on to my mom’s jewelry knowing he would give it back to my dad.
“What do I owe you,” my dad asked his friend.
“The pleasure of your friendship,” he said.
They remained good friends until my dad died.
My dad’s pinky ring along with a few of my mom’s pieces live side-by-side in a jewelry box that Ken gave me.
All this to say:
Please, believe in love & goodness & hope.
Hope, we all need hope.
It’s a little after 1:30 in the morning, and I can’t sleep.
Not a wink.
Tossing and turning and turning and tossing and all I keep thinking about is this: Rising up, using our collective voices – even if our voices are jittery – to stop this god awful hideous mean spirited evil administration. To say what needs to be said even if we’re scared to say it. To disengage from abuse & to cut ties with victimhood. To see ourselves as powerful and owning that power outright. No more leasing our very own lives – our fierce as fuck lives, our mighty as all get out lives. To see ourselves as game-changers. To see ourselves as leaders. To activate our courage and our brave and to know that our flaws – our deepest flaws – are what fills us to the brim with beauty and magic and amazing empathy. To own our stories – every single bit – the ugly pieces, the gorgeous pieces, the jagged edgy cracked broken pieces because those are the stories that connect us all. Thread by thread by thread by thread. To look evil in the eye and say: no, you can’t come back in. To look anger & mean square in the fucking face and say: not this time. To look abuse straight on and say: no fucking more.
We cannot let the bad guys win.
I am not dying on Donald trump’s watch, and neither are you.
Because you know, the anniversary of my mom’s death, and Mother’s Day coming up, I offer you this:
At the end of my mother’s life, she said this, in a moment of absolute utter clarity: “I didn’t want anyone to love you, Amy, I wanted everyone to love me.”
Those were her exact words.
Holy fuck, right?
She had dementia. Dementia grabs you by the fucking throat and doesn’t let you go. But those moments of clarity, those unfiltered moments grab you, take hold, and yes, Goddess yes, the world feels shaky; the foundation cracks; your heart skips a beat or two or three, and you can barely breathe.
For the first time in all the years she’s been gone – all the years – I understood fully, wholly, that I have replicated those very words – that exact thing, that sentiment with other women; the whole crazy-ass scenario. Not many women, but some: two, three. I have allowed myself to shrink and hide and be less than; slink into a corner. I know you’re finding that a bit fucking whacky – but, yes, I have kept myself small(er). I know… I know…I know….right? If I were any louder, bolder, more out there… holy fuck… but, the truth is this: there are pieces of us we keep tucked away, hidden, out of view. There are pieces of us we twist and twirl and turn so others are more content, happy, more at ease with themselves. There are pieces we don’t reveal – don’t expose – so someone else can feel more important, more worthy; more loved. We let other folks get all the attention, all the love. During a reiki session last year, I heard those words again – I heard my mom saying them – during that massage and I decided right then & there to let that shit go.
And go it fucking went.
And I have a few – okay more than a few – grand glorious gorgeous extraordinary women & a few good grand amazing men reminding me every single day that I can be as huge and as gutsy and as big as I need to be, and to shine the fuck up.
Do not keep yourself small for anyone – not one soul is worth the price you pay for that.
Another Post for 5/4/20
Welcome to #PandAMYia part 41:
I’m pretty sure it’s spam, or whatever the fuck it’s called, but I got an email from Get Hard Tonight, yes, that is the email address GetHardTonight about increasing my sex drive, and truth be told my sex drive is in fucking park but when I showed the email to Ken this was our conversation:
Huh… you know… seems… like…
Huh You Know Seems LIKE WHAT KEN? (yes, my voice grew louder)
Well, AMY, don’t take this the wrong way…
Never tell a woman during a pandemic to not take something the wrong way… go on.
Okay, fine… an email like that, how come you got it?
You know what, go out, go… go out…shoo.
No, really, how come I didn’t get that emails?
I’ll forward it to you, but you can’t open it, because if you open it, you’re gonna lose everything… every thing, every fucking thing, your computer is gonna crash, your life is gonna crash, BAM.
Wow. I couldn’t get hard now if Marvin Gaye appeared in our living room.
ALEXA: Shuffling songs by Marvin Gaye on Amazon Music.
And that my #GracebookFriends is the Hokey Fucking Pokey.
Today is the anniversary of my mom’s death.
So, here, a little bit about Beatrice:
She was crazy nuts gorgeous; like wowza beautiful. She could stop traffic & if you stole her parking space out from under her, she would get out of the car and literally stop traffic: “Find your own fucking space, this one has my name on it.”
She was talented. Crazy-ass talented; ceramics, knitting, painting, She would make herself happy & at home in the den, with her easel and paints and wool & knitting needles at the ready, and whip up a painting, or knit me a sweater, or dip her hands in wet clay and mold coffee cups. But you couldn’t get her to make a doily if her life depended on it. She hated doilies.
She was an emotional creature. I learned how to say fuck, fuck you, go fuck yourself in numerous languages, and very often we would toss those fucks back & forth at each other like frisbees.
She loved my father fiercely. Fiercely. Madly. More than life itself. She didn’t wanna have kids, she didn’t want to be saddled down, she didn’t want to live in the suburbs with houses that were exactly the same, and drive an Impala with white walls. She loved bowling with the girls & golfing with the men & going on gambling junkets In Vegas and Puerto Rico & eating out every single Friday night, and would often lose me at the mall, Roosevelt Field, only to find me at Bakers, trying on shoes made of faux leather.
She was difficult & cranky & impatient & had a wicked sense of humor and was wholly competitive and highly volatile and knew how to shimmy like the best of them, and loved being sexy and never left the house without make-up on and on her beauty parlor days she would remind my father that sex was out of the fucking question: ‘fresh hair not fresh men’ was her motto.
And underneath all her bravado and arrogance was a girl who didn’t believe she was enough; never felt worthy; questioned her beauty. She wanted so much out of life & settled for what she believed she could have. She mistook arrogance for confidence and anger for power. She wanted everyone to love her at the expense of other relationships; she pinned folks against each other and often showed hints of sexism, and racism – sprinkled throughout sentences were words that made my, our, skin crawl. She would tell you that wasn’t the truth, that she loved all people. A lie.
She wanted so badly to be a worldly Queen but settled for a Long Island Princess.
But she was my mom, and as the years go by and she’s no longer around, I realize we weren’t so much dysfunctional as we were honest with each other. She allowed me my emotional behavior, and I allowed her hers. When I had the guts to let her into my life, she offered me a shoulder, and would run her long tapered fingers through my hair telling me that the guy wasn’t worth the tears, or the ruining of my mascara; she stood proud when I married Ken, and reminded me that I needed to follow my heart and not just any fad, and more often than not she would tell me I was a beauty, inside & out.
She was tough & cruel and yes, could be nasty & mean as all get out. She taught me that love was messy, but as long as you had a mop or a cleaning person, it would all be okay.
And she was mine.
I hope I’m doing her proud.
It’s Sunday. Could be Monday Tuesday Wednesday. Could be any day.
What I know is this: Barack Obama would have vetted the fuck out of Joe Biden. And no, that is not a pun. He would have vetted the fuck outta him. And Michelle… she would have never stood for it, someone accused of sexual assault being her husband’s Vice President for 8 years. Never.
Here’s my mantra: I believe all women should be heard, but not all women tell the truth.
And that is the truth.
Sheila Weller posted a brilliant piece recently about Carolyn Bryant, who lied about Emmet Till and we all know how that turned out. Or maybe we all don’t. So, let me refresh your memory. She, Carolyn, claimed – testified – that he, Emmett Till, had offended her AND grabbed her waist and made sexually explicit comments towards her; he was beaten and mutilated before being shot in his head, his body and face unrecognizable after, after, it was dragged out from the River. His accusers were acquitted. It was years later – decades – that Carolyn Bryant admitted to fabricating – lying – about Emmett Till touching her and making offensive comments. That’s a story we should repeat on a loop when we make the claim ‘believe all women’ because once again, not all women tell the truth and here’s why: women are human. And with being human comes every single emotion feeling action-reaction that you can name & feel under the sun. Sometimes we lie to get what we want, sometimes we are the predator, sometimes we want revenge, sometimes we steal our friend’s husbands or their wives and sometimes we take what is not ours.
The other thing I know on this SundayMondayCouldBeTuesday is the complete flip side of that: the irrefutable power of women – and yes, a bunch of good men – but let me stick with praising & lifting women right now: women championing women. Supporting women. Women holding women up. I witnessed that full-on, all-in the other day #ThankYouEllenAlexiaErinKathyLindaSandyBlairEtc with you posting and hanging memes out on your page #MemesToo and the power was massively palpable and so deeply profound. It was like that Dove commercial, which now that I think of it, is like a ZOOM cocktail party.
We are so fucking powerful when someone is wronged. We are fierce as all-mighty fuck when someone we love & cherish is damned and dragged through the mud. We find a strength that we never knew we had when someone is mistreated. We are the best of us when the worst happens. Buckle up, the worst is happening, and they are protesting and marching and carrying swastikas and Nazi propaganda and we have a man, I say that lightly, squatting in the White House while his Jewish daughter and his Jewish son-in-law and their Jewish children observe Shabbat and Passover and he says they, the Protestors, are good people and how the fuck does that jive – where is the outrage from Ivanka and Jared and what are they gonna tell their kids when they’re asked, why is this night different from the others?
So, here’s this on a day that could be any day because all days blend now: fight for the truth. Fight for the folks you love. Fight like a motherfucker for the bad violent nasty guys to lose and the good decent flawed imperfect guys/gals to win. Imperfect is way different then indecent. Fight for the friends who hold you tight. Fight for America because she is battered and beaten and bleeding and we do not leave women battered and beaten and bleeding; we bandage them, we clean them up, we take them in, we make sure they do not go back to those who sully them, dirty them, mistreat them.
So, be the kinda women they name hurricanes after and be the kinda men who don’t need capes to be SuperHeroes or #MenschHeroes.
Any human can carry a gun and be a bully – that takes no courage – but it takes extraordinary humans – courageous humans – to carry the torch of truth and wear it & flaunt it & make sure it is heard and repeated, spoken, told, written; to carry and wield a #PenSword – now that takes fucking courage.
And from where I’m sitting, you’re all pretty fucking courageous.
I love you all.
Let’s show the world what we’re made of.
Dear Donald & Mike,
It’s come to America’s attention that you don’t like wearing masks. You do know – don’t you – that masks are the new black…masked faces matter. Uh oh… I see what I did there, I included two words that rub you the wrong way: black & matter – oh, and rubbed. Rubbed, I’m sure, is not a word that Mike is comfortable with. Okay, well, I can’t make everyone happy. I’m gonna keep this brief: leaders lead. Let me repeat that, that might gonna over your head – leaders lead. And some leaders are truly deeply phenomenal – they say two sentences, three sentences and they cut right into your soul and whoa.. SwoonVille is the next stop. For example, Cuomo and Newsom and Inslee – extraordinary humans leading by example. Jacinda Ardem, another great example of leading brilliantly. Women get shit done. But then there’s you: continuously saying and doing such fucking stupid shit, like not wearing masks out in Public, and tweeting out nasty stuff which causes your followers – also known as sheeple – to do the same exact thing. Leaders lead, and to use another example, when you chant Lock Her Up and then all your sheeple scream & chant Lock Her Up, they’re only mimicking you, because they actually don’t know why they’re chanting Lock Her Up. They’re just mimicking you. That is not a leader, that is a bully. A narcissistic bully. You don’t give a shit about the folks at your rallies, you just care that they show up, wearing head-to-toe adoration accessorized by guns and follow you. So, I will leave you with this: contrary to all rumors, masks are not a fashion statement, although truth be told, some are much cuter and sexier then others – what they are is a human statement, they represent compassion and decency and community, they represent respect for oneself and others, and mostly they represent love – for our neighbors, our family, our friends, our co-workers, our health care workers, our essential workers, our fellow humans.
You not wearing a mask, to me, is as disgraceful as you mocking the disabled, rating women from one to ten, declaring you can grab women by their pussy’s, paying hush money to Stormy Daniels and god knows who else, hanging with Jeffrey Epstein and repeatedly saying you didn’t mean what you said – sure you did – you mean what you say, and you say mean crazy-ass bullshit all the time.
Wear a fucking mask, if for no other reason: America, she does not need you breathing down her neck.
Best & warm,
Don’t be that woman.
Don’t ever be that woman.
One of my oldest & closest friends (30 years plus) was completely betrayed by a mutual girlfriend – a really close friend – this evening. The depth of betrayal is heartbreaking and devastating and I was #thisclose #thisfuckingclose to getting in my car and driving into New York City, and I was #thisfuckingclose to spending the week with her. We mutually agreed that this was not a good idea given every reason possible, but good god I wanted to wrap her in my arms and hold her tight. And don’t think for one second that I didn’t pick up the phone and blast the mutual friend a new asshole for hurting her. I know this kinda betrayal. It flattens you. It destroys you. And let me just say this out fucking loud: betrayal – especially by a female friend – is brutal and it is ugly and it wreaks of nasty; stabbing someone in the heart and leaving a scar and a wound that is both gaping and visible: the constant reminder of someone being so utterly cruel and manipulative and cunning.
To rip an opportunity right out from under a friend, to steal an idea and claim it as your own, to not root or support or champion a human who supported and championed you and then make sure that opportunity is lost… oh, fuck you.
Don’t be that woman.
Don’t ever be that woman.
That nasty evil betrayal shit comes back tenfold.
The world is fucking aching, people are falling apart at the seams, humans are depleted and frayed, scared to death: don’t do nasty shit to people you claim you love.
Just fucking don’t.
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I woke up this morning thinking about life after 9/11 – specifically New York City life. We were living in NYC back then. My love affair with New York began when I was a teenager; it was a requited love affair. New York loved me good and loved me back and even when one night stands (yes, plural, many plurals) turned into a Peggy Lee song – Oh God let it be him or I shall die – or something like that – New York City always nurtured me, fed me, made me feel sexy and gutsy and yes, was a true love.
I woke up thinking about 9/11 and that time and now and this memory popped up and it made me believe in goodness – I need to believe in goodness – so I wanna share it with you, because we are made of goodness & kindness and generosity.
On this date, 18 years ago, I decided to open my apartment (in New York City) to women friends & their friends and started what was called DIVA NIGHT.
I believe it was Terri who looked around the room and declared that we were all Diva’s, and not in the entitled sense of the word, but in the good powerful Goddess sense of the word. We were bold and audacious and messy and complicated and determined as all fuck to make the world better after what was the very worst day. ‘We are not women, we are Divas,’ another woman declared, and that was our mantra.
On the very first night, about 25 women showed up. Twenty-five women in my living room – not an inch of space empty. We ordered Chinese and talked for hours about our fears and our worries and the friends & the friends of friends who were lost in the towers, and we listened deep and we held hands and we held hearts and we did this every single week for a year. Diva Night. Every single week. And sometimes it was only a few of us, and sometimes it was like a crowded subway car and all times it was cleansing and cathartic and heart cracking and sometimes we listened as one woman cracked open and spilled what ever needed to spill out and we were there to listen and hold her up and sweep up the pieces and hold her tight.
I opened my door every single week, and these women opened their hearts.
Strangers became friends, some became lovers, stories were shared and became our own; we shed layers of years of unwanted pain that we carried and buried and carved out of shame and guilt and sorrow; and we shared the good stories – the ones filled with love and joy and compassion and yes, happy endings – like fairy tales not massage parlors – and we cried and we laughed and we commiserated and we championed each other and we gave guidance and advice and encouragement and some good and some not so good and no, not all taken; we read quotes from books and sutras and favorite novels and favorite authors that filled us and lifted us and those words would become other daily mantras, and we played music – blasting – and danced & shimmied and would make vows that we would never give up on our dreams or ourselves or each other or the world at large.
Our pain became our passion, our mistakes became our mission, our differences became our hope. We were all looking and searching for community and camaraderie and a safe place to hang our worries and our fears, our hopes and our dreams, our worst days and our best days and all the days that were to come, and all of those women, every single one, made a difference in each of our lives.
The irrefutable power of community.
Here’s to each and all of you on a day 18 years ago when kindness was in full fashion & it was strutting the streets.
I know you all think iKen & I have this super sexy kissy #huggiething going on for 28 years but a little secret, you know what makes us fucking amazing, I mean, super fucking sizzling amazing – we love hard, we fight hard, we make up hard, we respect hard, we dig down hard, deep hard. Our fuck you no no no no… FUCK YOU battles are so filled with raw gutsy grit passion – and let me just say pandemic love – 24 fucking 7 – with anyone no matter how much you love and like that human creature is gonna make you crawl the walls, I mean who needs a manicure when your nails are getting filed scratching the walls?
So, here’s to the folks who can go 10 rounds every so often – with a few knockouts – and wake up in the morning and say: holy fuck, I am so thrilled you’re here with me – by my side – another day – let’s take on this thing called life.
To all of you: I am so thrilled you’re here with me – by my side, taking on this thing called life together.
See you in the morning.
I love finding joy smack dab in the middle of a mess/chaos – on a pandemic Friday.
Here’s to the unexpected: the stuff that stops us in our tracks, that fills our eyes, that remind us of moments when our hearts beat just a bit faster, the diamonds in the rough, the little tear that makes the tee-shirt just slightly sexier, an old pair of well-worn jeans with a folded dollar in the teeny little pocket, the second to last button missing, the perfect frayed heel-hole in a favorite pair of socks, flannels that are so old they feel like cashmere, kisses that taste sugar-dipped, worn-down Frye boot heels that make you wanna slow dance, songs that flood your memory from years ago even before you knew how to slow dance, an earmarked page filled with words that give you goosebumps.
- Love letters.
- One favorite bracelet missing a trinket.
- An old tape filled with the most amazing music – on the label handwritten in faded magic marker: ‘Play when blue, I wanna make you happy.’ (thank you myKen, iKen)
I’m telling you, there is unadulterated joy everywhere even during these days.
These days I send you all extra love.
Someone asked me if I believed in the power of prayer. I didn’t wanna write a flip answer, or respond in a heated moment.
Yes, I do believe in the power of prayer. I believe that human beings are more powerful and more fierce than we even imagine we are. While I am not a religious woman, I am a spiritual woman, and I am a firm believer that prayer comes in many modes and forms. One does not have to get down on their knees to be a person of faith.
I am a true believer in words – when strung together words can very much offer hope & encouragement, inspiration & love – words have phenomenal power, immense power; words spoken, words shared, words written – if repeated enough – sound very much like a prayer for oneself and others. A poem is a prayer. A haiku is a prayer. A love letter is a prayer. A post-it with a few words of kindness is a prayer. Listening to Aretha Franklin singing RESPECT is both a prayer and a full-on Sunday service.
Prayer is not something that happens to us, or is delivered to us Prime; we activate, we manifest, we conjure, we evoke, we summon, we bring forth, we imagine.
Humans can do anything.
Some call it magic, some call it prayer, some call it the Hokey Pokey, some call it nature, many call it love.
I believe that our hearts are the organs – the very muscle – where prayers (any and all) are stored because what is in our heart is what we put out into the universe, the world, and that becomes another type of prayer.
But prayer without action is futile, impotent.
Hoping is not a prayer.
Wishing is not a prayer.
But closing your eyes and making a wish and holding your breath and exhaling and silently asking for another year and blowing out all the candles can very much be a prayer.
And faith, well faith is a whole other ball of wax.
Who was it who said faith is believing when common sense tells you otherwise?
I truly believe that if folks dug deep into their own heart and waged a personal battle – a fierce as fuck battle – against the very demons that moved in to that very muscle, making a home there; demons known as hate and violence and jealousy and racism and antisemitism and sexism and homophobia and xenophobia and white supremacy – and all the phobias that keep us at arms length – coupled with all the self-loathing and the self-hatred and self-annihilation – if folks waged a personal battle of self-awareness and self-awakening and self-reckoning – a whole other type of prayer – and used that to dismantle and destroy and to understand those very fears and hatred and evil – understand where they were born from, born out of; words that in fact were ingrained and taught and repeated incessantly in places of worship on Sunday mornings during sermons and moments of silence we might be on to something if we start listening to our very own weary beaten-down heart and not buy into the sermons that wish for our hearts to stay beaten down.
My fervent prayer, my fierce as fuck prayer, is that we all start believing that we are capable of changing the course of our very own hearts.
Maybe it’s the death of a friend’s husband, maybe it’s I had a bad awful holy shit dream, maybe it’s that today is Monday and when I woke up I had no idea what day it was, maybe it’s that so many humans are hurting the likes of which goes under the heading: unbearable, maybe it’s that some people – yes, those people – his people – are so fucking cruel and vicious and ugly waving confederate flags and Swastikas and screaming Go To China to our brave & heroic health workers, maybe it’s that I so deeply wanna hug my friends and hang out with folks I love and maybe it’s that I see posts that are filled with so much sadness and grief and where oh where do we pack that grief and sadness, and what the fuck is normal and who the fuck wants to go back to what was when we can create something much more extraordinary and maybe maybe maybe it’s that everything is cancelled and people are frightened and maybe it’s that I look at my husband and I think forever is not long enough and maybe just maybe while the tears stream down my face right this minute I’m thinking about a friend who texted me and he wrote: how is it possible for a heart to break so many times and still beat, and maybe maybe maybe I’m thinking about how I want my life to look after this pandemic tornado has come in and ripped it apart and who will I want in my life for the rest of my life and maybe just maybe I’m trying to suppress all the shit that’s bubbling up that I kept neat & tidy tucked away believing it would be kept neat & tidy and die with me instead of unraveling so I get to look at it one more time and maybe just fucking maybe by looking at all of that – that messy ugly shit that was packed neatly away never to be opened again – I get to see in full on technicolor that I have become a woman who I am so fucking proud of, mighty and fierce and kind, and maybe just maybe that’s the whole fucking point: to stop hiding and running from who we were and start thanking our younger messy fucked up selves for having those experiences that make our hearts stronger and more generous and oh so amazingly resilient, resilient as all mighty fuck, and the next time someone decides to throw my past up in my face to try and bully me or stop me or keep me small and invisible I will have the courage and the wear with all to look them in the eye and say: not today, toots, not today, today I’m wearing my scars like stardust and my imperfections like glitter bombs… so go on and shoo, shoo….step the fuck aside, and maybe maybe just maybe it’s time for all of us to forgive our foibles and our flaws and our fuck ups and our fuck downs and stand hard & tough in our glorious stupendous power and weep and grieve and own our lives outright – open carry our lives – and stop living like we are leasing our very own lives – paying our lives off piece by piece month by month – and maybe just maybe this pandemic, this god awful holy fuck crisis, is so we stop allowing others to bully us, abuse us, define us and for us to define who we are and who we love and how we love and shake and rattle the Universe because we are not on this earth to master suffering, we are here to master love.
My heart hurts for every single human who has lost their job, their livelihood and their place in the world. My heart hurts for every human who feels scared & worried and doesn’t know whether to turn left or right and no, fuck no, I don’t mean politically – I mean Humanically. Yes, I just made that word up. Yes. Humanically. My heart hurts for every single human who suffers from depression – any form of depression, every shade of blue – because God knows I suffer from baby blue and not being able to move about the outside world is so deeply hard and painful because yes, we’re in our own head all day long, 24 fucking 7, and those few moments of being out in the world gives us breathing room. Exhale. My heart hurts for every single human who doesn’t know where their next meal will come from because yes yes yes fuck yes I have been there. Scraping by, nickel and diming it. Oh, my heart hurts for you. My heart hurts for everyone who needs a hug, a deep down-home hug, because who the fuck doesn’t need one right about now? My heart hurts for the ones who are looking for sexual physical emotional horrific abuse smack in the eye because yes, I have been there and not being able to leave… holy fuck… holy fuck… holy fuck… my heart hurts for the men and women who are living under the same roof and no longer wanna be under the same roof, and my heart hurts for the elderly who are longing – craving – for someone to visit them because one day I will be that woman. One day I will wish and crave for someone to visit me. My heart hurts for the lovers who just found each other and can’t touch or kiss or be together because there is nothing more glorious and sexy and hopeful than brand new shiny love. My heart hurts for those who never got a chance to say goodbye, who never got to say I love you one more time. One more time. My heart hurts so deeply for those who are so very scared and so filled with unbearable fear because unbearable fear becomes untamed anger and oh my god, oh my god… if we don’t find each other and see each other now and hold each other up now and step into each other’s shoes now just to know for a brief second, a brief second, what it’s like to feel that kinda pain and worry and unbearable fear now – we never will. My heart hurts for those who can’t conjure up and manifest that kinda empathy. Who has not experienced pain? Who has not experienced loss? Who has not experienced sorrow so fucking deep it feels mud deep, dirt deep, down in the Earth deep. Empathy. Much needed empathy. We share this Earth. We share her. Mother Earth. For many, she is the only mother they have ever known. For the sake of all that is holy and good; for the sake of all fucks given, let us not destroy her and let us not destroy each other.
My whole heart to you.
My whole heart to you.
A little #SundayMondayCouldBeTuesday SHErmon:
I was gonna write a whole post about trump and how evil and awful and vile he is. #BullyConMan. But I thought better of it. What I really wanna write about is loving ourselves better, because if we love ourselves better we’re gonna stand up taller, speak up louder, not want our rights taken from us, not allow anyone, not one soul, to diminish us, hurt us, mistreat us. We will fight for what is ours, and this Country is indeed ours.
I was taught to be a pleaser growing up; the good girl, the nice girl; the ‘shirt off my back’ girl.
I thought he’d love me if I gave him everything; I thought she’d like me better if I forgave her cruelty & jealousy and discarding me, I thought they would include me if I always included them, I thought he/her would keep me safe if I stood up for him/her, I thought she would defend me if I came to her defense.
Any of it sound familiar, feel familiar, make you cringe a little?
Yeah, I thought so.
This is what I know:
There are folks who will never – never fucking ever – love you the way you need and want to be loved – so, stop giving away the goods to them, stop giving them gifts and trinkets and pieces of yourself – stop – your love is invaluable, priceless – love the folks who genuinely love you – love them; there are (so called) friends who will never – never fucking ever – reciprocate your friendship the way you need a friend in your life – stop treating them as if they’re gonna come to your rescue when you really need a friend – love the friends who really truly genuinely love you, defend you, hold you in their heart – love them; the folks who don’t include you in their life but who want to always be included in yours – stop bringing them along – they’re not loving you or wanting you or treating you the way you need to be loved and wanted and treated – we all wanna be loved and wanted and included – find the folks who do that for you – love them, love them mightily; the folks who never defend you, never stand up for you, who never make sure you’re given your due – those folks don’t deserve the privilege of you.
Here’s the rub, the whole KENchilada:
You are a privilege.
Kind is way fucking better than nice. Nice is rooted in fear. Kind is rooted in love. Trust me, being the good girl has a limited shelf life, an expiration date… try on being a Do Good Woman – you’ll love the way it fits; and the pleaser…well… that’s a whole other ball of eyebrow wax. Find the folks who see your value, your beauty, your gorgeousness, your heart – those folks – love them. Love them. Hold them tight. Hold them in your palm and in your heart and cherish them. No one needs to be loved conditionally, no one needs to walk on eggshells, no one needs to diminish who they are in the world or shrink or burrow, and here’s something I really know, deeply know: if you find yourself heading back – turning back – to a bad relationship – stop in your tracks – stop walking toward bad – and take a breath and declare with every fiber in your being that you are worth much more than the crumbs being tossed at you, you are worth much more than an occasional phone call or text, that you are worth much more, much more…much much more.
Do not settle for mediocrity.
Do not accept or take less than.
Do not get accustomed to being an afterthought, or a maybe.
Do not stand in the background or out of view.
Do not wait to be called on.
Do not beg or grovel to be seen.
Do not be silent.
Trust me: you’re the whole galaxy.
Shine the fuck up.
A long post but very much worth the read on this #FridaySaturdayCouldBeTuesday pandemic day.
Love to all of you.
Hugging you virtually.
In Webster’s Dictionary, it is defined as an unpleasant feeling of apprehension or distress caused by the presence or anticipation of danger. In the Thesaurus, the word fear is synonymous with terror, dread, horror, fright, panic, alarm, trepidation and apprehension.
Some people wake up with it, some folks go to bed with it, and some of us even carry it around like a handbag – clutching it, holding on to it with every fiber in our being. We are afraid of being abandoned, being disappointed, being left behind, being dismissed, being discarded, being successful, being a failure, being defeated and being forgotten. We’re afraid of being loved, being hated, being recognized, being looked over, being found out, being happy, being depressed. We’re afraid of life, and we’re afraid of death.
We push it down, suppress it, ignore it, transfer it, obliterate it, annihilate it, repeat it, and dismiss it. We give it power, control, time and energy. It keeps us knotted in a ball, our stomachs churning – we become tense and angry, resentful and bitter. It works its way through our bodies like a tapeworm – slipping and sliding through our systems and when it hits a nerve, the nerve – whoa, mother – paralysis. And then what? We try to get rid of the fear. We’re afraid someone’s going to leave us, so we pick up the phone and start calling incessantly. We’re afraid someone won’t like us or love us, so we do everything humanly possible to get that person’s attention. We’re afraid we’re not good enough or worthy enough, so we manipulate or strategize how we can be needed or wanted.
We’re afraid of failure, so we sabotage every opportunity. We’re afraid of our own opinions, so we lie.
We’re afraid of being powerful, so we make ourselves small. We’re afraid of being found out, so we keep ourselves at a distance.
Oh, the list is long.
One way I dealt with my fear was by making it the very foundation of my life – my jumping-off point. The place where I made decisions, made choices, and yes, took action.
While most human beings – at least the ones I know – have a garden variety of fears, I will share one of my very own ‘personal, favorite’ fear story/experiences as an example. For many years, many more than I care to divulge, I dated men who were absolutely 100% toxic. By toxic I mean self-involved, arrogant, insecure, abusive men. And let me just say, as an aside, bad boys are way fucking different than bad men. Bad boys have some charm and often have tattoos and sometimes, but not always, look like Sam Shepherd and/or Viggo Mortensen or Brad Pitt. Bad men lean much more toward nasty and cruel and vicious and ugly. Okay, back to my toxic men – the more they didn’t want me, the more I wanted them. If they didn’t call, I would call them – incessantly I might add – making up excuses as to why I needed to speak with them. If they didn’t show me affection, well, then, I would shower them with affection. Not to mention buying them gifts that ranged from small and cute, to expensive and extravagant. All the while, my insides were desperately churning away. As I write this, the image that comes to mind is a hamster wheel. Yes, a hamster wheel – trying to keep up with the fears that were overpowering and overwhelming me, and all I kept doing was taking what I thought was the appropriate – yeah, right – action, making the appropriate causes – uh, yeah – to have a good, healthy, loving, sexy relationship. But what I was really doing was taking action and making causes to get rid of the fear, and it would just perpetuate: a different man, but, exactly – exactly – the same experience. And like every bad awful scary horror movie, the fucking fear monster would come back: bigger and weirder and more frightening.
A good friend of mine – a spiritual friend, a person who practices what he preaches – told me I needed to understand the fear – the fear of having a healthy, loving, sexy, reciprocal relationship – to look it smack dab in the eye, and understand the root of it. He emphasized the word ROOT. When I rattled off all my fears, alphabetically I might add, he said, “No, no… no… no, it’s just one fucking fear.” Yes, even spiritual folks say fuck.
The concept of getting to the root took on a visual meaning for me: weeds. Weeds, spreading, carelessly, uncontrollably throughout a gorgeous, lush garden. You can’t just deadhead weeds, they’ll grow back even more abundantly, fiercely. You have to pull them by their very roots so that they stop growing, stop spreading.
You gotta rip them the fuck out.
After a few weeks, I became completely focused and obsessed. I was going to absolutely understand with every fiber in my being what it was I was so deeply afraid of.
It finally occurred to me while in the back of a cab, sitting in bumper to bumper traffic – the aha moment, the breakfast at epiphany moment – I was deeply, hugely afraid of being abandoned. It was connected to a childhood trauma, one that I neatly tucked away and conveniently forgot about. As soon as I understood what the fear was, I completely and utterly understood the action(s) I took perfectly matched the fear I was experiencing. I was afraid of being left, so, BING-FUCKING-OH, I did everything humanly possible to hold on to these men. Desperate breeds desperate, and the minute I understood my behavior, it all made messy sense.
Then the gods tested me. I met Ken.
I promised myself that I would no longer be held hostage by my fear. For two weeks every time the fear took hold of me – and trust me, I was in a headlock – I let it run through me like the flu. When I felt the impulse to call him because I hadn’t heard from him, I talked myself out of it. When I felt the urge to buy him a little gift, a little trinket, I bought myself something instead. When I felt the need to spontaneously run into him by driving or walking or jogging around his block seven hundred times I reminded myself that that could also be considered stalking with possible jail time and/or community service attached to that action. Every single day, over and over and over, I reminded myself that if he, Ken, didn’t want to be with me, well then, fuck him, I didn’t want to be with him. No. No. No. No. NO. NO. NO. Period. And yes, God yes, it took everything in my power to control my urges, actions, behavior, impulses. Chasing and wanting bad men had become a self-destructive free-fall.
After two weeks of doing major battle with my own personal boogeyman fear monster, it no longer had power or control over me, and just like that, seriously – just like that – the fear upped and left, and quite naturally Ken took its place at the table.
And he’s been sitting there ever since.
What I knew – understood – the minute you have the courage to look something smack in the eye – whether it’s a person, a challenge, an obstacle, or even the monster boogeyman, the minute you connect with it, the minute you face it, the minute you challenge it – it no longer has any control, any power over you. And that, my friends, is called winning over the fear.
Let’s win over the fear.
(Yes, you may share this post!)
This is what I know.
Post Coffee/Pre Wine
Rise up for those who can’t.
Rise up for those who are beaten and battered, bruised and bloodied.
Rise up for those who can not speak up or stand up, or share their truth.
Rise up for those who are bullied and tormented and shamed.
Rise up for those who hide and cower and shrink and disappear.
Rise up for those who are vilified and ridiculed and disgraced.
Rise up for those who are silenced, shushed, dismissed.
Rise up for those who are unwanted, unloved, discarded; not valued, not noticed, not recognized, not honored, not seen, not heard; those who are different; different shapes, different colors, different sex, different faith, different beliefs; those who have different hopes and different dreams, different wants and desires; those who are not believed when they speak, share, write, shout their truth. for those who are intimidated, scared, frightened; for those who have no where to go; for those who are shunned; outcasts, misfits, others.
Rise for them.
They are the occasion we rise up to
REDEMPTION = PANdemption
So, Teresa Stack and I have reconvened (thru calls & many texts) after self-quarantining, and first of all – upfront: we have missed each other so very, very much… we’re real good friends & this has been mighty hard on us, as we know the same goes for you: not seeing your favorite humans – super fucking hard.
We’ve decided to come back with our PodCast – thank you so much for your patience, Karen Moss Hale – as PANdemption: Stories of Redemption During the Pandemic.
We will be back end of NEXT week with a new episode. Thank you for your generosity and your patience and your Love and sticking by us and with us.
More soon. But please, look forward to #PANdemption
It is personal.
It’s been personal since he mocked disabled people. Flailing his arms, slurring his words. My grandfather was in a wheelchair, yeah, it’s personal. It was way up the personal scale when he started his bullshit crude nasty “Lock Her Up” chant at his rallies – and all his followers started chanting lock her up and that, my friends, was and is very personal for women – LOCK HER UP. Shut her up. Keep her silenced. Hush money is personal. When he claimed that Mexicans were rapists and drug dealers and how he was gonna build a fucking wall to keep out all the undesirables all while Americans were lathering up their bodies with sunscreen and baking under the Acapulco sun because, hello, that’s where folks go on vacation – Punta Punta Cana Cana – yeah, yeah, yeah build a wall, keep out all the undesirables but go to Mexico for Frou-frou drinks – that always sends a good hearty message. We’re gonna fuck you but we’re gonna vacation at your resorts. Yeah, it’s personal. When he told his followers that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not long after another mass shooting occurred and then another one occurred and then another. You bet that’s fucking personal. And it became more and more and more personal when he claimed that he could grab ’em by the pussy. How many women find that horrifically personal? And it stayed personal. Puerto Rico was personal. The Paris Accord was personal. Every single fucking day it gets more and more and more personal. Bullying is personal. Ignorance is personal. Intolerance is wholly personal. Chartlottesville was deeply personal – good people on both sides? Really? Fuck you, that is deeply personal. White Supremacists and antisemitism is personal. Keeping folks unsafe and in harms way is personal. Thousands dying on your watch is personal. Lying incessantly is personal. Kavanaugh was oh so personal. Telling folks the media is fake news, that Journalism is bullshit, yeah, that is very, very fucking personal. Tweeting nasty vile shit that could hurt & destroy millions of humans is so very personal. Every day he does something or tweets something or incites something that hurts human life, human existence, the environment, the planet.
Just like this Coronavirus does not discriminate, doesn’t give a shit who you are, how much you have, the color of your skin, your sexuality…. trust me, you are not immune to his lying calculating nasty cruel bully conman bullshit.
Yeah, you bet it’s fucking personal.
To Amy- As you wrote the passage below I just learned a friend of mine who tested positive for COVID19 a Hospice Care Provider is recovering – However, both of my sons have friends who lost their fathers this weekend one here in Cleveland and the other in Chicago. Just like the beautiful woman you wrote about they passed over without family or friends by their side. Alone for them as well as family…
A friend’s mother died over the weekend. She died from COVID-19. He sent me a private message and shared his pain. Deep awful bone weary horrific pain. The pain of not being able to see her, hold her, touch her, cradle her in his arms, kiss her one more time, hug her one more time, tell her to her beautiful lined-filled face that he loves her loved her will always love her. She was not young, so death was lurking. It could have come any time, any day. But any time and any day is no longer. Now we get to find out that someone we loved died in a four line text. Now we get an email saying that they passed. Now we get a call that a friend succumbed or a family member tested positive and has died in their sleep. Alone. Now is not the time when friends and family gather, reach out, sit and sing a favorite song, or read a favorite passage from a book that was loved and earmarked, or talk about a favorite movie, or a favorite TV series or a favorite recipe; now is not the time to bring food or drink and sit around a table hearing stories that were told year after year after year – told one more time for the last time.
We don’t get to do that now.
Now today is different from the now of two months ago or last year’s now.
So on this day – this rainy, windy, shitty as all get out god-awful pandemic day – I wish you all a hand to hold, a face to touch, a human hug, an embrace. I wish you all a kiss that is filled with magic & the rumbling of the earth, yeah, yeah… that kiss, that kiss that feels as if you waited a lifetime for.
Now feels like a lifetime.
I wish you all the warmth of another human.
I wish you all love and kindness.
I wish it for you now.
Beautiful Words on a Beautiful Day
Okay, it’s #SundayMondayTuesday and yes, I do know it’s Easter and I’m sitting here at my dining room table feeling extremely emotional right now. I’m watching my husband, MyKen iKen – OurKen – bringing in some daffodils from the garden, a garden that he tends to and works at and grows from seed, and I think about how he makes magic because he loves making flowers and vegetables grow and for the longest time I took that for granted – being a Long Island girl and all. We didn’t grow flowers and vegetables. Well, maybe we had a rose bush or two and a weeping willow but not a garden. Vegetables came in cans. My guy, he takes a tiny seed and plants it in soil, soil that he makes, and beauty comes from that. He makes beauty with his hands. Hands that I love deeply. Hands that hold me tight. Beauty pops up and out of the soil and turns into something so gorgeous. Delicious. He makes his own fucking soil. He grows beauty. Today I watched him with both eyes wide open and fell so deeply in love with him because here we are, Velcroed to each other 24 fucking 7 and he fills me with awe. And no, fuck no, he is not perfect; he’s messy and cranky and thinks ZOOM is a Mazda commercial and always forgets his password and he drives too fast on a dirt road and he asks for my advice and doesn’t always take and that just well, you know, irritates the shit outta me and well, you know… and god knows I’m a handful and more of a handful now… but he’s mine and today I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world, and here’s a little secret so don’t tell anyone: when we first got married I thought, yeah yeah this guy is gonna take care of me when I’m struggling, when I’m feeling like I’m not gonna write another word or get hired to write, when I was feeling low and shitty and the covers were my best friend and back then being taken care of was, yes, about money – knowing that he could cover me if I was unable to contribute to making my own living, my own life grow – and today, right now, being taken care of is about love, making a life, making a garden, and yellow daffodils – a color that never looked good on me is now a favorite color.
I’m gonna leave you with this on this Friday morning, this good Friday morning – to answer a wonderful question that was left as a comment on my post, a question about my confidence – do I have a lot of confidence in my writing? Here’s my answer, I hope it inspires all of you:
I don’t wake up with confidence.
And to be blatantly honest I don’t go to bed with confidence. It seems to creep in – during the day – for an hour or two or three. I welcome it with open arms. I’m not naturally or organically confident, and I have confused – mistaken – arrogance with confidence on more than a few occasions, but, please… don’t share that.
I had a brief love affair with screenwriting many years ago. It was brief and sexy and mutual. Consensual. I loved screenwriting and it loved me. Truthfully, it loved me good. And it paid me great. I had co-written a film and it got made and for a few years I had the great good fortune of being a script doctor; I would add dialogue and punch up scenes and add a girl or two – a woman or two or three – to the mix. And then I had the grand fortune of being asked to write another film, which yes, got made. And the best part, the very best part, I did not have to leave my house. I could huddle and hunker in a corner and write and send pages, and no one could see me sweating.
Panicking. Pacing. Worrying.
No one could see me drinking cups of cold coffee, or dropping an occasional Xanax or valium, or back in the day, lighting my way through a pack of Newports. I liked huddling and hunkering. It felt safe. I felt like a complete and utter fraud, truly, but I felt safe. Now, let me just share why the fraud thing used to come up a lot for me, why it reared its ugly little head more times than I care to remember: I dropped out of high school when I was 15, almost 16. I mean, some folks drop out, take a year off, realize it was a huge fucking mistake, go back and then… go on to law or medical school or get their Master’s degree. That was not me. I got my GED. I never went on to college. So, yes, the whole fraud thing haunted me and on occasion, still does. Deeply. I have panic attacks. Massive.
But I did it and I do it anyway.
Walkthrough the fear, people, it’s where you find the magic.
Only Amy Can Tell It This Way
Oh, geez, what happens in 24 hours. Ken woke up with a weird-looking toe AND toenail & now I’ll never have my Barbie Dream Salon. Never. I will never have that fall back career. Well, fuck. Thank god I’m isolating and hunkering because I was on my way to #ManiPediVille. And on top of that crazy disappointing stuff… my Linda Tripp post was nailed – no pun intended – by the FB police and taken down because it went against FaceBook bullshit because someone – someone – decided to go after my badass because a few folks didn’t like that I didn’t and don’t give a shit about her dying. And let me tell you why I didn’t and don’t give a shit about Linda Tripp dying because she was a real bad best girlfriend. The worst kinda best friend. Holy fuck. She was exactly who we all tell each other not to be: the girlfriend who doesn’t keep a secret even when you say, please, not a word to anyone; the girlfriend who fucking ruins your life because she wants to be the crazy-ass popular one, she’s the woman we regret friending because she’s the one who is gonna break our hearts – like smash it to smithereens, yeah, that kinda best girlfriend. She’s the best girlfriend who saddles up next to you and says I have your back all while she’s stabbing you in your heart. Yeah, that type. And maybe Monica Lewinsky can forgive her and tweet kindness toward her … but not me. Women like Tripp scare the fuck outta me. I’ve had women like that in my life – women who tossed me away, spilled my secrets, women who didn’t have my back, women who decided I was a good target because I’m so fucking generous.
I don’t give a shit that Linda Tripp died, actually, I stopped giving a shit about Linda Tripp 30 seconds after I found out that she destroyed her best friend’s life, and that may seem cold and awful to some of you but while I’m home isolating and hunkering and living in my skin and my head 24/7 that shit triggers me. Her betrayal triggered me. It brought me back to moments and places and friends who hurt me so deeply.
So, how about while we’re all hunkering and isolating and feeling scared and feeling shit we haven’t felt in real long time, how about we don’t go on to other folks pages and tell them how fucking awful they are for speaking their truth.
You can disagree with me, you can tell me you don’t share the same opinion but do not come to my page and tell ME to fuck the fuck off.
That is not how this works: my page, I get to tell you to fuck off and then you can tell me to fuck off. My page, I go first.
And that’s the hokey pokey.
On a VERY VERY serious note, UPS just dropped off a package here – just now, and the delivery guy – a swell guy who we’ve seen more than a few times in the past delivering packages – was wearing gloves and had a mask and he was being extremely careful & cautious as he places the box down – when I asked “How you doin’?” he got very, very emotional, and said: People need to know that UPS treats their workers real bad; we’re all trying our best to keep ourselves safe and to keep you safe, and we’re out delivering packages every single day and the guys at the top aren’t taking care of the guys on the bottom.
He told Ken & I that his superior – the guy he works for – doesn’t care that their workspace – the loading space – is filthy and dirty. They just load the trucks. He and his co-workers, scrub the place down.
At another location – not his – one of the loaders tested positive and has been quarantined for two weeks now.
I asked him if he wanted to share his name, and he got very quiet and then said: Please, no, no… I need this job…I need this paycheck, but please…but please…but, please… let folks know that UPS isn’t taking this seriously, let folks know.
So, I’m letting you know, please, let others know.
Pike County folks: GET IN TOUCH WITH UPS AND DEMAND – DEMAND – THAT THEY TAKE THIS VIRUS SERIOUSLY.
And yes, KEN wiped DOWN THE ENTIRE PACKAGE A FEW TIMES and then… threw it into a garbage bin.
It’s The Truth
This is NOT fake news, and this should piss you further off.
The motto and mantra of Donald trump: Taking profit while taking lives.
Hey, pro-lifer’s – this is your fucking leader.
“What do you have to lose?” he asked at a press briefing this week urging those sick with the virus to take the drug
Turns out plenty.
“There could be deaths,” American Medical Association President Dr. Patrice Harris said. “This is a new virus, and so we should not be promoting any medication or drug for any disease that has not been proven and approved by the FDA.”
We all know I always have a cracker or two who shows up on my page giving me shit about something… mostly because I use the word fuck… but not today, today a woman read my post & commented that I’m going to hell… her exact comment: You are going to hell, God is gonna punish you.
My response: Hey toots, you know my mom used to tell me that all the time, that God was gonna punish me, turns out “God” was on the Long Island Rail Railroad, the 7:51 – Bellmore to Penn Station – every single morning playing pinochle with his friends. My mom waited until my father came home from work to tell him that he needed to punish me for some such crazy-ass shit that bothered her that i did. Easy Bake Oven stuff. So, you can’t sell me that line and that bullshit…God does not punish people. People punish people, stop using God as an excuse for your shitty hideous awful bully behavior.
She told me to fuck myself.
I told her that she was going to hell for using the word fuck.
And just like that… just like that… another angel gets her fuck you sexy thang wing.
Someone just posted “this too shall pass,” God will take care of us and we should all pray, prayer will stop this crisis.
For those of us who don’t necessarily go to church or believe in God, or pray in that manner I say to all of us: this too is a motherfucker.
This too is hard and scary and awful. This too is hideous nasty shit and people are panicked and rightfully so. Yeah, this too shall pass but not so fucking fast. So, can we stop with the ‘shhhh don’t worry, get down on your knees and pray this pandemic away – just pray it away’ crazy ness. Let me just say for the record, this is not a case of acne, this shit is not going away with some cover-up cream and a come to Jesus moment; so please, let folks who are scared to death be scared and let the ones who worry (like me) worry and let the ones who need to crawl in a ball crawl in that fucking ball and let’s not let anyone hide their feelings or shove those feelings deep down and choke on them; suppressing the pain and sorrow and fear.
To all the humans who live alone, to all the humans who crave companionship, to all the humans who long to be held tight, to all the humans who hope to never be forgotten, to all the humans who hope to be remembered kindly, to all the humans who wish for a hand to hold, for all the humans who wish for a shoulder to lean on, a cheek to rub up against, a body to be entangled with, an old friend to have coffee with, a lover to sexily spar with, a teacher to learn from, a new friend to gossip with, a hot date to have wine with, girl friends to go to a movie with, boy friends to hang out at a bar with; to all the humans who now visit their elderly parents by touching a glass pane, to all the humans who wish to see their neighbors who they hardly ever saw but would like to see more of, to all the humans who would like to see their favorite bartender pouring their favorite drink, to all the humans who would like to hang out at their favorite joint, restaurant, outdoor cafe, shopping center; to all the humans who would like to kiss their favorite human deep and long until their lips are chapped, to all the humans who would like to walk closer, to touch, to love without fear. To all the humans who have been mourning the loss of a friendship or a family member or members out of estrangement, lost ties, losing touch, life getting in the way…. to all the folks who said, “I’ll call you back” but never did and…holy fuck… seems like years have past and the clock is ticking and no one can remember what fucking day it is cause every single day is blending into the next… oh, yes, yes, holy fuck yes, we all know now how you feel.
We all know how you feel.
Life is short. It goes by in a flash. Don’t kid yourself. Just yesterday I was 23 – sexy, svelte, wearing fuck-me pumps, and chanting hours a day to meet the guy of my dreams. In a flash. Like that. Years pass. So this is what I know. Do your life. Not someone else’s. Do yours. And fuck up & fall down & get up and fall again and make mistakes and make art and make friends and make some more mistakes and kiss all the girls & boys whose lips are sweet and try something once that you always wanted to try and then try something new and take risks and take more risks and say fuck you & say it with meaning and say thank you a lot, a real lot, say thank you every day, and be kind and be generous because that shit comes back a million fold and close your eyes and make a wish and then open your eyes and demand that wish come true and fall down and get up and start over and cry and scream out loud and curse the heavens and make some more mistakes and wear red and purple and strut your sexy as all get out stuff and love better and love more and declutter your life and recycle and re-purpose and make more wishes and stop holding on so tight that your hands hurt and let love find you and let good things come to you and let the Universe open it’s arms & heart to you and let folks take care of you and let the bad ones go and let the good ones in and love yourself so much and so fully and without any reservation and at the end of the day toast yourself – lift a glass and say: Here’s to you.
Because you are fucking awesome.
I know this.
Please, stop what you’re doing, even if what you’re doing is nothing – stop doing nothing right now, because here, this:
Worldwide cases top ONE MILLION.
Over 51,000 HUMANS have died from this virus.
Fifty-One Thousand Humans have died from this virus.
No one is immune. No. One. It doesn’t matter how much you have or don’t have; fancy shoes or Payless. It doesn’t matter your sexual preference, doesn’t care if you’re gay or straight or trans or celibate, doesn’t care if you have seven zeroes in the bank or one…it doesn’t give a shit. It’s not discriminating. It doesn’t care what color you are, it doesn’t care which God you pray to or chant to or dance to. It does not care. It doesn’t care how much you weigh. This motherfucker does not care what you look like. It doesn’t care where you shop, what you drive, or who you know. It does not care. No one is immune.
I’m gonna send you all an extra heaping of love right now because I care that you are still here. I fucking care.
Please stay… and please, stay well.
4/1/20 THIS IS NOT AN APRIL FOOLS JOKE
Okay, folks, I’m gonna try this one more time in Amy speak:
Our country is burning to the fucking ground, and while we’re all self-quarantining and staying away from other humans, I would suggest that we try our best, truly our very best, to make sure that the vile foul conman racist bully bullshit predator who is squatting in the White House, OUR HOUSE, not be tossed or handed four more years because we are eating our own. We are eating our own. Let’s make sure, let’s make fucking sure, we don’t hand him the keys to the White House because if we do we will be handing him our lives come 2020, and none of us will survive that kind of #MANDEMIC
My life depends on who you vote for.
Your life depends on who I vote for.
Let’s make sure we take care of each other.
3/31/20 (Editors note – Amy Ferris does not write or share information that she can not justify and although often felt from her gut, she know what she TALKS ABOUT!)
Of course there would be an awful nasty shitty comment about Al Franken, of course… the woman (who follows me – now blocked) wrote:
“You’re supporting a sexual deviant predator. By posting this, his essay, you are supporting this man. How can you support a man who is a known sexual abuser and predator? Shame on you, Amy. Al Franken should be in jail.”
To that I say: Jail? Really? Fuck you and….
How can anyone support the sexual predator conman liar bully tormentor racist anti-semitic man occupying the Oval Office?
Let’s bring down THAT MAN, that motherfucker, who is destroying and killing all of us with his daily bullshit and hate-filled briefings and lies.
In my world Al Franken would still be in the Senate fighting the fight for all of us. We were lucky we had Al Franken, an imperfect man who wanted to make this world – our world – better.
3/30/20 Amy shares:
Donald trump spoke today at a briefing and said the very words I posted below. Those words came out of his mouth. I suffer from depression; I tried suicide when I was 15 and a few years ago I created and compiled an entire anthology (Thank you Seal Press!) around suicide and depression and thirty-six brave & courageous, bold & fierce as all mighty fuck humans contributed to that anthology – and I will tell you right now that his words, the ones I posted below, do not inspire or encourage or ignite hope. They instill fear and sadness and worry and worse, they instill defeat. If I have said it once, I have said it a million times, he does not deserve to be sitting in the Oval Office. He is not a leader, he is a bully, and fuck him for using the Presidency as a bully pulpit. It is up to each one of us – each and every one of us – to help every single human being who suffers from depilating depression and great sorrow and unbearable worry during this horrific health storm; to help every single human who is falling to their knees out of hopelessness, whether they are in prayer mode or collapsing under the weight of their own pain and worry, it is up to each one of us to help get through this together, and shame on him for not having the decency and humanity to inspire us, to lift us, to help carry us through this horrific and dangerous time.
Here is his briefing from today:
“You’re going to have massive depression, meaning mental depression,” the president says. “You’re going to have depression in the economy, also. You’re going to have large numbers of suicides. Take a look at what happens in a really horrible recession or worse. So you’re going to have tremendous suicides, but you know what you’re going to have more than anything else? Drug addiction. You will see drugs being used like nobody’s ever used them before and people are going to be dying all over the place from drug addiction. Because you would have had a wonderful job at a restaurant or even owned a restaurant … and in one day they have nothing. They’ve gotten wiped out. One day. From our enemy, this invisible, horrible scourge.”
Entertainment Should be Just That Entertainment (thanks Amy!)
How about no more disaster movies or bad reality shows with hosts who become Presidential candidates and decide to march us into hell, how about no more limited TV series that fill folks up with fear & worry & shaking in their boots – keeping humans under the covers for days on end. Please, no more crap about the end of the world and who’s gonna save us – fuck, man, no more of that. Please, no more dreck about millions of folks dying from pandemics and the apocalypse and for the sake of all fuck, no more movies where people are trapped in buildings and elevators and homes and cruise ships for weeks & weeks & weeks on end wishing they could see and touch and hug their loved ones. No more of that shit. No more. No more spending hundreds of millions of dollars on movies and TV series that could be spent on bringing humans joy and love and truth and a few hours of glory and grace into their hearts. There are so many fucking Heroes and SHEroes and Warriors and Goddesses and Mensches and WOmensches in the real world, so many, real ones, humans who put their lives on the line every single fucking day and none of them, not one of them, wears a cape. Those folks are wearing humanity straight out. Make movies about redemption because who the fuck doesn’t need to believe that their mistakes can turn into their mission – who doesn’t need that? Find those folks, make those movies. Make movies about the human condition – folks who scale mountains of rejections and piles of sorrow and make it to the other side and stand up tall and inspire the rest of us that we too can fulfill our dreams. People need to be inspired and encouraged – to believe in beauty and goodness again, to have hope, to find love; folks need to sit in a movie theater – or stare at their massive flat TV screen – and think: holy shit that IS me up there, that IS me. Make movies that fill humans with the belief that they too can change the world not because they need to be SuperHeroes but because they are SuperHearts.
Reality TV gave us trump, dumped him in our living rooms where he was firing folks without even so much a care in the world and look what he’s doing now – the same exact shit except we’re all paying the price of his cruelty and ignorance, and all those disaster movies – look, look… we’re all sitting in our homes wondering who we know who will die next from this horrific unbearable pandemic that is giving us all the heebie fucking jeebies, so how about throwing some compassion & hope our way, some good sexy humor, ROMComs and love stories where yes the people up on the screen are in their 50’s and 60’s and 70’s and the lines on their face are the lines we remember because they are us, how about making movies about the human spirit and the irrefutable magnificent power – the superpower – of humanity.
How about giving us some of that?
Best & warm,
For tonight or tomorrow; Sunday or Sun day whichever you prefer.
We fall. We get up. We fall. We get up. We fall. We get up. We fall. We stay on the floor and think, holy fuck, I can’t keep doing this, I need a sign. Something. Anything. Please. We get up. We’re wobbly. We stand. We get a small sign; a word, a letter, a text. We get a maybe. Maybe is good. It keeps us going. We go a little further. We get a no. We fall. We stay in bed. We think, holy shit, this sucks. This really truly sucks. Fuck them. Fuck them all. Fuck them all hard. We get up. We start over. We’re wobbly. We go on. We get a text. We get a bigger maybe. We get a bigger sign. The Universe likes us. Whew. We get nervous. We get anxious. We take a Xanax. We go from Warrior to Worrier in sixty-seconds flat. We fall. We get up. We fall. We get up. We make coffee, we make phone calls, we make our fears known. We share our worries our doubts our messiness our brokenness our guilt our shame our rejections our pain our sorrow our self-inflicted wounds our scars. We share our lives out-loud. We wobble. We hold on to the railing, the wall, the counter, the doorframe. We hold on tight. We breathe. We breathe again. We let out a sigh that we’ve held on to for what feels like years, decades, eons. We stand up. We stand tall and the very next time we fall…it is in-love – we fall madly in-love – with our own lives; we fall in-love with our own grit, our own beauty, our own determination, our own sassiness, our own greatness, our own stamina, our own resilience, our own power, our own force, our own brilliance, our own grace, our own talent, our own resourcefulness, our own muscle, our own life condition; our own mighty fierce life.
We stop waiting and hoping and wishing for a sign, a text, a message, a phone call; and we give ourselves the life that we want, because, you know, we are just that fucking powerful.
And I’m pretty sure, not 100%, but pretty sure, that is the true meaning of the hokey pokey.
With Open Eyes
Even though I am bone tired, truly bone fucking tired I am thankfully not worrying about iKen today, so thankful that I can put that – worry – into a box & close the lid for the time being – so, I’m gonna try my best to encourage you with some good shit.
Here’s what I know, or more appropriately what I knew when I opened my eyes this morning: for three years plus now fear has been the very foundation of this travesty of a regime led by a fucking bully. The man who lives in the White House has been filling stadiums – rallies – spreading fear & hate, inciting violence, encouraging antisemitism and sexism and misogyny and homophobia, igniting anger and vitriol. For three years he has thrown a match onto the embers and he acts and speaks and tweets with such disdain and such disregard for humanity.
And now here we are – fear manifested: we can’t touch or hug or love each other in person. We can’t visit loved ones who are sick, we can’t fly to see friends who hold our hearts in their hands, we can’t go to concerts or movies or festivals or restaurants. We can’t fall in love and hold that human – who we have waited for – in our arms. We isolate and hibernate and keep a distance. We wear masks and gloves and stand six feet apart and those who are dying from this horrific pandemic are now six feet under. Six feet, how ironic.
Here’s the good shit:
We get to wake the fuck up.
We get to wake up to our own heart, our own desires, our wants and our needs and think about what it is we want this world, our world, to look like – how we want it to look and feel and smell like. Because right now we get to sit with our own lives, our own hearts and souls and decide how we want to live from this moment on. From this moment on. Right now we get to choose a different path, choose a different mate if the one we’re with is causing us grief or abusing us, abusing the privilege of our lives; right now we get to say no, no more, to what and who causes us suffering & unwanted pain, we get to say yes to what and who we have wanted but have been afraid of wanting, right now we get to awaken that very thing that has been laying dormant in our bodies and our souls because other folks didn’t think it or us were good enough. Fuck that. Right now, while we are sitting in our homes or apartments or on a bench outside inhaling some fresh air – isolating, hibernating, keeping the world at bay, at arms length – we get to have personal time to go in deep and excavate and bring out what we have abandoned, what we left for dead, what we gave up on; that dream, that human, that creative path, that piece of writing that needs to be written or rewritten, that canvas that needs some color, the piano that needs tinkling, that song that needs to be written and sung, that dance that needs a bit more choreography, that voice that needs to be heard.
So let’s try to stop worrying incessantly – I know, almost impossible – and let’s put the fear in a corner somewhere for the time being – I know, I know, it’s the “when hell freezes over” concept – but still, let’s try and let’s find the beauty within our own lives and start thinking about who we wanna be and what we want this world to look like and how we want to live and how we wanna love because when this virus slows down and starts to retreat we – we, the humans – get to create a better world for everyone – everyone – and please, for the sake of all fuck, do not let anyone, not one soul, ever tell you again that you can’t do or be what you have dreamed of doing and being your entire life because now, right now, is the opportunity for us to stand in that truth.
The life that you led that you did not like, that no longer fit you, that needed to expand and grow but was kept in a small little box – that life you do not have to go back to; let us all create a bigger and better life because the worst that can happen is that we go back to mediocrity and the fear that is the very foundation of this Presidential regime.
Be fucking huge.
This is what it’s like:
About a month or so ago your husband is told he has to have heart surgery, a valve replacement, medium to serious more leaning toward medium. Yeah, more medium. Your husband is 79 years old and upon hearing the news he starts to have heart palpitations and his breathing becomes labored and well, sure, that goes with the territory. Of course. You hear bad news – it sticks to your bones, or in this case, your heart. And he’s told he’ll have the surgery mid to late April; and because yes, he has heart problems most of his life, problems that lean toward medium they’re gonna keep him in the hospital an extra night or two, you know, just to make sure he’s good to go. Good. Sounds good. The Surgeon is lovely and kind and inspiring and yes, the wife thinks sexy and handsome although the wife doesn’t say that to the husband later that evening when the husband says the Surgeon was good looking she lies and says she didn’t notice and the husband of course doesn’t believe her and anyway, anyway…anyway… the Surgeon gives them good statistics, good odds, real good. Chances of nothing going wrong during surgery is about 90 to 92%. That’s a fucking wow. So, they leave the hospital and since it’s creeping toward five they go out for Sushi at a real groovy sushi place in Morristown, New Jersey and they both say spontaneously ‘Happy Hour’ or maybe the wife says Happy Fucking Hour. Maybe. Probably. Yes. Happy Fucking Hour.
And then a week later the entire world starts to go up in viral flames; the whole entire world. Dire. Horrifying. And the Surgeon calls and says yes, let’s keep the appointment, after all, it’s five weeks away and while the surgery is not life-threatening, it’s sketchy. Heart shit is always fucking sketchy, the wife’s words not the surgeon’s.
And then a few weeks pass and the husband starts feeling sick. Not horribly sick, just… sick. The labored breathing becomes more intense and his throat is scratchy and he starts getting worried and the wife keeps her worrying at bay, at arms length, all so the husband doesn’t get more jittery. The wife tells him he oughta get checked, the husband says nah… nah… nah. The wife drinks a glass of wine, white, cheap white wine and toasts his confidence. His ‘I’m a guy, I’m okay,’ bullshit confidence, but she doesn’t tell him that she thinks he’s full of shit, because it’s a ‘some guy, not all guys’ – thing, this bullshit confidence. And then, lockdown, or so it seems, staying in, staying home, social distancing; they’re watching dreck on TV and some good shit on Netflix and both of them, the husband and the wife, telling trump to go fuck the fuck off you fucking asshole every single time his face or his voice comes on the radio or TV, and the husband feels worse and the wife does not bake cookies or make bread but… learns how to play Solitaire and downloads Hulu and Apple TV and watches a few documentaries that inspire the shit out of her to be a better stronger fiercer mightier woman and the husband starts growing flowers from seeds in the basement since it’s March and it’s time to start growing flowers from little seeds and the husband starts feeling real shitty, achy shitty, and the wife pushes one more time and the husband calls his doctor who recommends he get the COVID 19 test and well…not so fast or easy: three Tri-state hospitals are out of the test and then bingo, or as the wife likes to say Bing Fucking Oh – the local Doctor, yes, a WOMAN DOCTOR, is doing testing, and well, bless her… and so they go to the drive-by testing site and the husband has the test done – the whole shebang – SHEbang – and they’re told the results will be in about five, maybe six, days.
Forget dog years – five maybe six days in girl years is about one hundred & eight years.
That’s. How. Long. It. Fucking. Feels.
Hours go slower, minutes stop, seconds come to a screeching halt. And the wife holds her husband a moment longer than usual,. Hugging him just a little tighter than normal knowing she could get this virus, knowing.
And you think about the folks you love the folks you’ve lost the folks who have been in your life for just a week or two and the ones who hang around for years and years who love you mighty and you love them back and you think about wrongs and rights and fuck ups and fuck downs and how to make the world better. You think about what you wanna write and you resurrect scripts and novella’s from old folders and think, yes, now, now…this is the right time now to do this, finish this, get this out into the world… and you think about the weight you’re gaining because you’re doing nothing which is what you normally do but this feels like extra nothing. Like more nothing. Bigger nothing. You think about life and death and why the fuck people are so god damn cruel in times like these. Why? Why? Why? You think about what you’ve given away, what was taken from you, what you have, what you wish for, what you wish you had just one more time to hold and love and cherish, you think about how you need to stop fucking thinking so much, and let’s not even mention worrying, that shit goes deep and dark and so dank.
And a day feels like a fucking month.
And in the midst, the Hospital calls and says they’re postponing the surgery and the husband lets them know that he’s waiting on the results of the COVID test and they wish him good luck, amazing luck, hold tight luck.
And the wife becomes a champ at Solitaire – playing it in the middle of the night after a round or two of virtual bowling – and she decides when this is all over she is going to Vegas and will no doubt – no doubt – become THE Solitaire champ of the year and yes, fuck yes, she will wear that crown proudly.
And every morning and every night they check the husband’s email to see if something is up or comes up on the health site they were told to download by the doctor’s office which takes them forever – for-fucking-ever – because the husband can not remember his passcode. The wife tells him to write it down. Smartass, he says, Bad-ass, she corrects him
And nothing – not a word – for five days.
And the husband tosses and turns every night and the wife walks the dark rooms and the halls – annoying the shit out of the cat who is practicing social distancing by sleeping in another room – hoping to fucking god that he’ll be okay because in the midst of all of this she falls more and more and more in love, and she realizes, holy shit: it is possible, fully possible, to love more, be more, give more; yes it’s possible, yes.
And then the call comes in at around 9:30 in the morning, this very morning, and the doctor tells the husband that he’s negative, the test is negative, and for the first time in what feels like years – yes, girl years – he lets out a deep long holy shit whoa whoa whoa whoa… sigh of relief.
And the wife says, see, you were worried, and the husband says, no, I wasn’t, and the wife says, fuck off, and the husband says, come here, kiss me.
And they kiss passionately, and no, it doesn’t lead to sex, and no, there is no moral to this story, it’s just one of thousands & thousands of stories of what humans are going through right now in this world.
And maybe, it’s about exhaling.
Yeah, yeah, it’s about love.
It’s always about love.
This is a long post, but an important one, a very raw – dug deep down – post. I hope this creates a dialogue, and more than that goes straight to the heart, the hearts that ARE beating.
Back In 2012, Michelle Bachman gave a speech and here is a portion of what she said:
“Here on our watch we will stand, we will stand for life, we will never forget, we will never give up, and next year we will gather in a day of celebration when we have finally ended abortion in this all important election,” she said. “Join me this year. Choose life.”
I choose life everyday. I do. I am Pro-life, as in: I love my life. Maybe not every single day, some days I wanna crawl into a ball and hide, and stay under the covers, but generally, mostly, pretty consistently, I am pro-life. Fuck yes! I am all for everyone making their own decisions, their own choices for their own life. I don’t wanna make your decisions for you. I don’t wanna pick out your clothes or shoes for you. If you wanna wear pastel colors and look pasty, hey, that’s your problem, not mine.
Let’s talk choices.
Fifty plus years ago I had an abortion. I sat alone in a waiting room with other young women who had also made bad choices, and by bad choices I mean bad boy choices. And because we had made bad boy choices we were now sitting all alone waiting to terminate our unwanted pregnancies.
Let me just – for a second – tell you what that feels like, sitting alone, waiting to be called, to be taken into a room where you’re surrounded by kind strangers, and filled with thoughts of great sadness.
It all begins with wanting someone to love you.
That boy over there. The cute one. You want him to notice you, to love you, to pay attention to you. Good god, you’ll do anything for him. You want him to like you, to love you back. You drink, you smoke, you flirt, you tell him yes yes, please, yes… and then maybe you end up in the back of a car, or in his basement, or in his room, or in the locker room in the gym and you let him have you. Take you. You give yourself away. You think: if i give him this, he’ll want me, love me, want more of me. You don’t think protection, or safety or disease, or pregnancy. You only think “I want you to love me.”
And then you don’t hear from him, he doesn’t call, ever. You sit and wait and he doesn’t call and then you miss your period, and you feel sick and you think it’s the flu, or a cold, or a stomach virus, and then you feel really sick and start to gain a bit of weight, and he doesn’t notice you, he ignores you, and then you go to your doctor, or some doctor with a friend because you can’t tell your folks, and the doctor does a blood test and some urine test and tells you that your pregnant and you’re 15. And the guy that you liked, wanted, loved …doesn’t even care if you’re alive, and God knows he’s not going to want you more because you didn’t care enough about yourself to protect yourself, use a condom, tell him “NO, you can not cum inside of me,” and you find yourself sitting in a clinic with people who are so kind and so loving and brush your hair out of your eyes and say, “You’ll be fine, you’ll be fine,” and you want to believe them, and then someone holds your hand and says count backwards from 100 and the next thing you know that same someone is standing over you with a glass of orange juice, lifting your head ever so slightly, and saying, ‘take a sip, a little sip.”
And then you get dressed and you feel shame and guilt and empty and lonely and you wish that you liked yourself enough to not have let that boy – the one who doesn’t even know you exist, who doesn’t even say hello to you in the hallways, who doesn’t even look at you out of the corner of his eyes – into your heart and soul and into your body.
And you feel dirty, you feel empty and dirty.
And yes, those were my choices: both the bad boy that I wanted and loved madly who didn’t love me back, not one iota, and the abortion… and that choice, the abortion, that one saved my life, and saved that boy’s life.
And then there’s another choice we hardly ever talk about, that hardly gets any press, that is stunningly horrific: there are girls who get pregnant and have babies at 13, 14, and 15 – girls who are forced into having sex; girls who are raped by family members, family friends; assaulted and violated and they have those babies because they come from a pro-life family – a right wing religious family and they are told they must have those babies, those babies were conceived in love they are told. Yes, they’re told that. Because life begins at conception. And those young girls carry those babies, and have those babies and then a year or two later, they are so fucking overwhelmed because those girls can’t even take care of their own lives and then those young girls kill their babies. Murder their child because they’re overwhelmed, and underwater, and life is a fucking burden. Life is heavy and hard and a burden and they’re only 15, 16, 17 years old, and they end up in prison for murder. There are thousands & thousands of young girls in this country who get pregnant, and have those babies, and then abandon those babies, or kill them, or hurt them, or murder them.
And all those lives are ruined and destroyed.
All of those lives.
What kind of choice is that?
Where’s the pro-life in that?
My choice was tragic. It was tragic from the get go. I didn’t know at the age of 15 that I could love me, love myself and that would be okay. More than okay, more than enough. I didn’t know that.
We must teach our girls and our boys to CHOOSE TO LOVE THEIR OWN LIFE.
And that is what PRO-LIFE should be about, not this crap about overturning Roe V. Wade, or closing down abortion clinics or doctors offices, or criminalizing doctors and women, throwing them into jail, or making an eleven year old girl, who was raped and violated, carry a baby full term.
We must educate our boys and girls that they bodies are treasure towers, and no one – not one fucking soul, not one fucking representative – gets to destroy that, or take that from them, or make choices for them, or ruin their lives in the name of right wing christian fundamentalism.
And while I have you: keep your fucking guns out of classrooms – stop murdering & riddling real live healthy children with bullets.
Monday 3/23/20 Feels like a THURSDAY
So, it’s Monday, even though, at this minute, it feels like Thursday because today has been one long day and it’s not even half-way over. A lot of you have been asking how I’m doing since I posted last night asking how you’re all doing… so, I figured one post would suffice.
One post, keep it simple.
I’m doing a lot of thinking and worrying and being scared and feeling glimpses of hope and seeing much beauty in the midst and so much feistiness aka fierce as all mighty fuckness; I’m doing my bit to make the world better and I’m watching so many others doing the same – rising to the occasion which as you all know by now, I believe we ARE the occasion, so yes, I rise up for you #YouAreTheOcassion. I’m taking care of my guy, iKen, MyKen – OurKen as you so lovingly call him – who is both delighted and irritated as all fuck that his heart surgery is postponed but thankfully his heart is beating and pumping and filled with so much goodness and love; he’s a keeper. I’m doing a lot of cleaning house but not a lot of cleaning out, and by cleaning house I don’t mean vacuuming, I mean thinking about what I need, who I need, how much I need and letting go of what makes me unhappy, sad, feeling unwanted & unworthy. And by unhappy and sad and feeling unwanted and unworthy I mean toxic. I’m sure you know what i mean: stuff I’ve held onto that reminds me of the days when I was feeling bad about myself. Who the fuck needs to be reminded of feeling like shit? Oh, I hope that makes sense. Why hold onto to anything that makes you feel bad about yourself. Especially now – in a deep true holy shit profound sense – when we are all we have. And we need to love ourselves more. Truly. That’s a fucking fact. Write that one down: we need to love ourselves more. Waiting for folks to love us, approve of us, give us permission to be mighty and huge and be all out in the world – those days are fucking over. Don’t wait to be huge – be fucking huge. And by not cleaning out I mean I really wanna get rid of shit that no longer fits whether it’s a pair of size 6 CK jeans or humans who hurt the fuck outta me, who’ve demeaned me, who think little of me and some how I keep those folks hanging around – so in this time of self quarantining I’m also doing a ton of self-awareness. I decided a few days ago that I no longer wanna be afraid or scared of saying I’m hurting, or it hurts or you hurt me. I realized that what I’m most afraid of often goes away anyway, disappears: like those relationships we are so afraid to be ourselves in. Those relationships where we say and do shit we don’t really wanna say or do; being afraid to speak our truth means we’re hanging with the wrong folks the wrong crowd, cause eventually those folks leave us, cause you can’t keep betraying your own heart without it breaking on you. Most folks like tidy not messy and a smashed self-inflicted broken heart is real messy. So, we might as well speak up and be loud and speak our truth and make sure our hearts stay powerful and intact.
So on this Monday that feels like a Thursday I hope we all fall madly deeply crazy ass in love with our own lives, with the beauty within us, with the mighty power we have that we sometimes squelch and keep down – keep at bay, that we allow ourselves to be imperfect and make mistakes because that’s what makes us fucking gorgeous – those mistakes, those imperfections are our beauty marks. That we stand up to hate and injustice and behavior that wreaks and smells of the stench called bullying. That we demand more for our lives and the folks we love and stop taking less out of fear someone won’t like or love us. Fuck that shit. That we become the humans we’ve always wanted to be, believed we should be, and that we share the goodie bag.
Always share the goodie bag because the truth is there is much in a goodie bag that you don’t need or want and others might very well need or want what you don’t; so yes, yes…share, be generous – it all comes back a million fold.
Thank you for letting me indulge on this Monday that feels like a Thursday on week that will no doubt feel like a month.
Please forgive all typos.
Perspective while wide awake:
It was only a few weeks ago that some folks, not all but some, were going full-out crazy-ass fucking hellfire nuts about the Super Bowl Halftime show; spewing on & on that their kids were being exposed to ‘indecency’ and JLo & Shakira needed to cover-up their sexy gorgeous mid-life asses and now we’re all hoping to god & the Universe that we weren’t exposed to this horrific virus and we’re wearing masks – unable to touch and hug and be close to the folks we love so very deeply.
Oh My Fucking God:
Let me be really clear about this: this is a Pandemic. China is NOT the cause. Stop spreading that rumor and… this is not the Chinese Flu or the Chinese Virus as so many of you are posting and Donald trump is so casually & horrifically texting.
Not the Chinese Virus or Kung Flu.
Folks cannot get tested. Folks are scared shitless. Folks are dying. Folks are losing their income, their livelihood, their jobs, their confidence … their hope, We don’t have enough tests for folks who are at great risk: like MY HUSBAND who is 79 years old with a heart problem and needs surgery.
PEOPLE are dying. The “squatter conman leader” of this country is actually bullying men & women who are journalists, who are asking about our safety, asking about our worries and he, the President, is fucking bullying people.
And truthfully, while I have you: anyone who thinks his answer was okay: fuck you for thinking his response to a journalist who actually cares that folks are suffering and worried and scared was warranted… fuck you for thinking his response was okay. Leaders inspire people, encourage people, rally folks… they don’t discourage people, they don’t harass people, they don’t use their power to annihilate people’s hope.
That is called abuse of power.
Donald trump’s response to a journalist today was vile & hideous and more than that, more than that: deplorable.
Imagine your sick spouse or your sick child or your sick partner or your sick friend being told:
- Shame on you for asking that question.
- Shame on you for asking about my concern.
- Shame on you. Don’t ask me that.
Imagine your husband or wife or partner or child or friend having cancer or leukemia or dementia or any fatal life threatening disease and the President of the United States said:
- Shame on you for asking that question;
- Shame on you for caring.
People are fucking scared.
People are gonna die.
Chances are folks you know are gonna die.
Chances are folks you love are gonna die.
Chances are folks you just talked to, are yes, gonna die.
This is not the Chinese Virus, this is serious shit.
He is not fit to be sitting in the Oval Office.
Men like him get restraining orders…he should not be allowed to go near the United States of America. He is abusing her, torturing her … violating her… he is KILLING her.
Okay, this is one of my very favorite post coffee, pre wine posts and I’m sharing it again because, well, who the fuck doesn’t need this especially now, especially when we’re all in the midst of huge massive as fuck change and I think you’ll enjoy this piece, and while I have you, I send you all my love, gobs of it, huge motherfucker love:
A few years ago a friend of mine screamed up at the heavens in a very crazy bitter unhappy voice:
I NEED MY FUCKING LIFE TO CHANGE NOW.
RIGHT FUCKING NOW, THIS FUCKING MINUTE.
He was so unhappy.
So fucking miserable.
And then boom, everything – truly – fell apart.
He lost his job.
His partner left him.
His basement flooded.
His car broke down.
His money ran out.
His skin broke out.
He got sick.
He bitched & moaned, moaned & bitched: oh, my fucking god, everything at once. Everything. Falling apart. One thing after another; fucking shit motherfucker.
And so I said to him in my imitable way: but you wanted your life to change, you asked for this. Trust me, that did not inspire or encourage too much love or appreciation. I was given the finger and shown the door; I didn’t leave. I velcroed myself to his barcalounger.
But, but, but – Bingo.
He had an epiphany – a breakfast at epiphany moment: he realized he would have never left the job that he truly deeply hated, he would have never – ever, never – walked out of the bad unfulfilling sexless boring relationship, he would have never poured money into re-doing his basement which was in dire fucking need of repair & new pipes & a paint job, he would have never bought a new car even though he was in an abusive unrequited relationship with his lemon of a Toyota, and he would have saved, socked away, a teeny bit for a rainy day – enough to not worry for a month or two.
He got exactly what he screamed up at the heavens for.
Exactly. His life completely broke open, cracked open; wide open. Split open and spilled and shattered everywhere.
He was in his late 50’s.
Like 56, 57. Maybe 58.
Because he had absolutely nothing to lose, he decided to go all-in balls-out, go for broke; go full in after his long tucked away dreams that he hid in the back of the drawer; he stopped being passive, stopped waiting for shit to come to him, stopped wishing & hoping for more and created bigger and better. He packed up & moved to the very place he always wanted to live. It was bumpy & scary & invigorating & some days he regretted it all, and some days he loved the unknown, and some days he scraped by, and some days he caught himself, covering his mouth, from screaming up to the heavens, and some days he thought holy shit what did I do, and some days he thought holy shit look what I’ve done.
He tucked away his fear & worry & guilt long enough – a day here, a day there, a few hours here, a few moments there, and picked up his pen.
He started writing.
Day in & day out.
He finished his first book.
He got a sassy smart top notch agent.
He started writing another book.
He fell-in-love. Really deeply madly crazy-nuts head over heels in love. He saved a bit here & and a bit there, and socked enough away for a few rainy days, and one or two nor’easters.
He ditched his abusive lemon of a car, gave it a proper burial at the scrap yard, and started taking the bus.
The moral of this post:
Change is what we wish for, hope for, ask for; scream up to the heavens for when our life knows – fucking knows – we deserve better.
3/19/20 _Remember the Date
I’m telling you, in a week from now, we’re not gonna be posting kitty photos and garden pics, we’re gonna be feeling like the walls are closing in & screaming fuck you mighty loud.
This shit is gonna get real fast. And what is also real – truly deeply real – for folks who are not in AA or sober – for folks who go to bars and hang out and drain their wallets because life has not been very kind to them, folks who sit on a barstool in a local joint pouring their heart out to the guy sitting next to them, or to the bartender, or to the girl at the end of the bar leaning up against the wall because that is the only thing holding her up for that hour or two – those folks are gonna be scared to death and petrified and worried sick and angry as all fuck; the humans who are eeking by, paycheck to paycheck, and getting laid off from their hourly jobs – making minimum wage – and wonder where and if they’re gonna get another paycheck…this pandemic is gonna hit them the hardest. So, please, do whatever you can to make life a bit easier for the folks who brought food to your table – served you, who washed your floors – cleaned your house, who took care of your pets, who did handy work.
Folks who have no where to go because even being home pains them.
We are all in this together and some – many – need so much more love & kindness to get through.
On these days when life feels so skittish and scary and oh so worrisome, on these days when our hearts beat & pump faster out of fear and fright, on these days when 24 hours feels like 48 hours, on these days when friends and family are hurting and weeping and humans are cowering and Mother Earth is trying desperately to get our attention because it is way past time that we take better care of ourselves and each other and this precious land we inhabit…
Let’s not forget there are good folks out there, folks who make this world better, bigger, sexier, kinder, and yes, more loving.
- Folks who have our back, hold our hand, love us plenty.
- Folks who offer up their shoulders to both stand up on and lean on.
- Folks who write words that inspire us & move us & ignite our bodies and our minds and our souls and fill us with unlimited boundless joy, songs that make us move & dance and shake and sway, poems that make us feel our very own hearts beating and pulsating and pounding.
- Folks who forgive us our foibles & flaws, our fuck-ups and fuck-downs.
- Folks who love us unconditionally because conditionally is not love.
- Folks who call us out on our shit because they love us enough to do that because goddess knows they want us to be fucking huge & epic and do good, do better.
- Folks who walk the walk and talk the talk and stand up with us, for us, beside us, with us.
- Folks who never let us go no matter how hard we try to sabotage our own lives.
So, today, I toast those humans. The ones who show up – even if they’re a bit late, or stuck in traffic, or are battling their own demons because goddess fucking knows we all have demons we are battling – and make us feel like we swallowed the sun.
Here’s to the good ones.
Here’s to you.
Because forever is not long enough and nothing, nothing beats love – nothing beats love:
iKen: How can you love me with all my faults, with all my short-comings, with all my fucking crap?
Amy: How can I not? I got you tattooed all over my soul. You’re burned – melted – into me.
iKen: I like that. Melted into me. Yeah. Heat. We got that.
Amy: You’re my forever boyfriend.
I love you all. Stay safe. Read books, write books & poetry & movies & plays & music. Make art. Make love. Dance to the beat of your own iPad/Pod. Be kind. Love better. Sprinkle good shit everywhere. Wear a condom. Brush your teeth. Wash your hands. Bake some bread. Share the goodie bag. Share the wealth. There’s enough to go around.
We’re in this together.
Living here in PA, we have tons of folks who are just eeking by – paycheck to paycheck – surviving on tips and the good nature of people; they work in Restaurants and Bars; as servers and bar folks and chefs and sous chefs and wait trailers.
Places we frequent: like Bar Louis and 403 Broad, The Dimmick and John’s of Arthur Avenue (Pizza and Pasta) Chris & Ginas and Faltes and the WaterWheel Cafe just to name a few local places that will be closed because of coronavirus.
In Jersey we’ve all fallen madly crazy ass in love with the Layton Hotel.
Most of these places and the folks who work there are going to suffer greatly; they’ll be doing take-out only – NO SERVICE – just pick ups; a few will deliver within a certain mile range (Layton Hotel will deliver within 15 miles from their restaurant, so you’re good to go in Dingmans) and they need our support.
PLEASE, SUPPORT THESE RESTAURANTS! And leave tips for ANYONE who has served you; handed you your food.
- For many this is their only source of income.
- Order from them. They will make sumptuous meals and be thrilled you called and came and smiled.
- You can grab their menus on FaceBook, on Open Table or google them.
- Please, these folks don’t only offer up meals, they offer up kindness.
When Amy Speaks _ Listen
(Per Amy) Here’s what I know during this pan-fucking-demic:
Getting loved is much sexier than getting laid.
Having a sex life cannot hold a candle to having a love life.
Being kind beats being nice by a mile.
Kindness has no expiration date.
Generosity comes back a million fold.
Lending a hand is called wealth.
Offering a shoulder is called compassion.
Having money doesn’t make you more valuable.
Having empathy makes you a better human.
Sharing the goodie bag opens your soul.
Sharing your truth opens your heart.
Sharing your truth opens another heart.
For goddess sake: open another heart.
We ALL bleed red.
Don’t let anyone treat you unkindly.
Don’t let anyone steal your thunder.
Don’t let anyone discredit you or undercut you.
Don’t let anyone beat the beauty out of you.
Don’t let anyone demean you or discard you or dismiss you.
Don’t let anyone throw you under a bus.
Don’t let anyone take what’s yours.
Don’t let anyone mistreat you.
Don’t let anyone compete with you, keep you small.
Don’t let anyone keep your silent.
Don’t let anyone steal your words.
Don’t let anyone abuse you, use you, misuse you.
Don’t let anyone – not one soul – make you believe for one fucking second that you’re not enough, that you’re not worthy, that you’re not sexy, that you’re not gorgeous, that you’re not lovable, that you’re not likable, that you’re not talented, that you’re not the coolest fucking thing since ice-fucking-cubes, that you’re not electable, that you’re not respectable, that you’re not fierce as all mighty fuck.
Do not let anyone prevent you from awakening to your greatness.
Awaken to your greatness – it is in you, activate it.
I woke up in the middle of the night and I thought about all the times in the past, my past, when folks held me up when I was buckling, all the folks who cheered me on when I was trembling from doubt and fear, all the folks who inspired me and encouraged me and lifted me and said these words: you can do it; I thought of the kindness given, the love shared, the generosity scattered endlessly, the goodness that had no expiration date.
I thought of all the times when I didn’t know whether to turn left or right and undoubtedly someone – or many someones – showed up and grabbed my hand and helped me out of the darkness. I thought of all the times when self-loathing moved in with me and no, it wasn’t paying rent, but it was paying attention to my fears and my worries and my lack of confidence and seeped deep in and wreaked some messy havoc on my sense of self-worth. I thought of the times when life felt so scary, tenuous, out of balance and inevitably folks showed up and breathed life into me.
That’s what we do: we breathe life into each other. We don’t let each other buckle under, we don’t let folks fail, we check in and say, I love you, I miss you, I got you, not letting you go.
We love better, we give more, we scatter generosity and goodness and we hold each other up.
We human creatures are filled with kindness and generosity and goodness and times like these bring out the best of who we are. We hold doors open, we give up seats on subways or buses, we share cabs or Ubers, we let folks get ahead in line, we pay for someone’s lunch, we leave bigger tips and we buy a stranger coffee; we offer up decency and compliments along with a side of hope.
Our compassion is activated, our hearts beat for others, our humanity is ignited.
We are a gracious plenty, and yes, we are fierce as all mighty fuck, and we are the occasion we rise up for.
I love you all and hold you tight.
(From Karen Hale, Please Hold Amy, iKen and the World tight
with love and kindness.)
3/14/20 When You Love Someone Life is BEAUTIFUL!
This is gonna be my last post for a few days. Ken is having heart surgery in the next 2 weeks and I need to get my own heart in shape for this. His heart. His heart beats for me. It does. It beats for me. It grows stronger for me. It expands and pulsates for me. His heart, my heart. I like his heart. I love his heart. I am in awe – in fucking awe – of his heart – the goodness, the kindness, the absolute generosity of his heart. The greatness. The greatness of his heart. His heart. Have you met his heart? It’s so fucking huge. Epic. Massive. Stunning. It is filled with forgiveness. Did you hurt him? He most likely doesn’t remember, but he will inspire you to not hurt anyone, ever. Did you betray him? He will encourage you to love your life more because if you love your life more you won’t betray anyone. Simple. Yes. He taught me that. Did you forget him, not include him? He will remind you that all of us are worthy of being remembered & being included. Did you slight him? Ahhhh… he has no idea you did. Being slighted is not in his heart. His heart. His gorgeous massive stunning fucking extraordinary heart. It has held me & loved me & cradled me for 28 years. It has protected me from mean and ugly and cruel and vicious … and no, not always successfully. His heart. It pulsates for me. I am his heart.
I am his heart.
I need to love him more & better right now.
I love you all deep.
Thank you for loving iKen.
Words posted on March 8, 2020
Today is International Women’s Day.
So, for all my women friends; sisters/sistas, co-conspirators, Goddesses & Goddasses, Buddhas & Bodhisattvas, Queens & Feministas, bad-asses, crazy-asses, SHEroes, Warriors, WOmensches & WOmentors, the fiery & the mighty & the fierce as all fuck – this post is for you.
“Become a woman of unlimited self-esteem.”
That’s what he told me a thousand years ago, he, a spiritual friend/mentor, gave me that gorgeous piece of encouragement – he looked me in the eye and said, I want you to become a woman of unlimited self-esteem. I was going through a complete crisis of faith, complete with all the trimmings. All the self-hatred, and bad boyfriend(s), a hemorrhaging bank account and well, I just felt wholly shitty & lost. Completely. Honestly, I didn’t know whether to turn left or right. I could hardly get out of bed. Self-loathing had become my companion. And truthfully, honestly, seriously, this was not what I expected to hear. I expected to him to tell me to get a job, wake the fuck up, become more serious about my life, about my writing. You know, simple basic get off-your-ass advice, encouragement. Instead, he looked me in the eye & he told me to become of women of unlimited self-esteem.
It became my mantra, my prayer, the words I repeated over & over & over & over until I could feel them, until they became mine. Until I could wear them like a coat. Until I could feel them seep into me, deep into me, inside of me, every pore.
Until I owned those words.
Become a woman of unlimited self-esteem.
Because here’s the thing, the rub, the balls out truth: self-esteem will carry you everywhere. You can do anything, be anything, become anything, achieve anything. Go for the stars & the moon & all that shines & glitters. And “unlimited” well, that means you have some spill over – you are filled with so much grace – a gracious plenty – head-to-toe.
I wish you all unlimited self-esteem.
Unlimited. Boundless. The whole SHEbang & enchilada plus a bag of gluten-free or gluten full chips. The extra oomph, the icing, the extra legroom, the best sweetest softest sexiest kiss, the best and most delicious hug, a stunning perfect breathtaking sunset, the most gorgeous song, a favorite dress, the sassiest haircut, the best compliment – it’s the extra fabulous add-on. the absolute perfect accessory, it’s right up there with pearls. Unlimited. Repeat it like a mantra. Write it down on a card. Play it over & over & over in your head. You are so worthy – so fucking worthy – of being that HUGE, that epic – that much.
I couldn’t live without you, my gorgeous women friends.
You are the occasion I rise up to.
Lots of events are getting cancelled right now; small events, big events, gala’s, lit festivals, film festivals, writing events, music concerts/festivals.
Folks – organizers – are weighing all sides and no one wants anyone to get sick or be fearful, or attend with worry.
So, today, on a day when a friend had to cancel her glorious and beloved Literary Festival, I am making a personal pledge to help support all these folks next year: donate some dough, attend festivals, show support. Let’s make sure that next year when folks look out onto an audience or a crowd or a gathering, they see a full house welcoming them back, they see humans standing up giving them a standing oh, applauding their return.
It often takes being thoughtfully brave to put aside our own desires, our own hopes & dreams and think of others – not everyone does that, not everyone does the right thing.
These are hard days, fearful days, worrisome days. I think it’s safe to say that fear is being piled on top of more fear on top of more fear. Creative decisions are being made so folks can feel less fearful, more at ease.
So I raise my coffee cup and toast the friends and humans who made some hard decisions, painful decisions, decisions that will leave them with a massive financial loss; difficult decisions so others can breathe easier; I toast their compassion and their generosity of spirit and their humanity.
Let us champion them, support them – let us welcome them with wide open arms – when they come roaring back.
(As editor of the Amy’s Website I applaud her for making these statements. We cannot let the world end we must work together in support of these individuals who bring us joy, enlightenment and a sense of loving – on behalf of Amy and her friends I am offering you an opportunity to share your talents with us in newcelvelandradio.net and let’s get the internet world to hear, see and live your accomplishments. Contact Karen _ firstname.lastname@example.org )
Who or What Is iKen?
A couple of folks wanna know how & where “iKen” came about, why I call Ken “iKen”so, here you go: a true & very, very, very, very short story from a very long time ago, four laptops ago:
Ken: You know what I want? I wanna be your computer.
Amy: My computer?
Ken: Yeah, your laptop – your MacBook, your iBook, your eBook.
Amy: My eBook?
Ken: Your, you know… iBook.
Ken: You get into bed, you put it on your lap and it becomes attached to you – it stays there, on your belly.
And I leaned over & I kissed him and he kissed me back and you know, one thing led to another… and Ken became iKen & all the iAngels fucking wept.
Have a grand day, people: love good, do good, be kind, love yourself plenty and take no shit.
The definition of love ranges from an intense feeling of deep affection to a great interest and pleasure in something to feeling a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.
Some people often confuse – mistake – obsession with love, desperation with love, lust for love, and loneliness with love.
It is often said that love makes the world go round, and that love is all you need and that love is a many splendid thing; that love is a battlefield, and love will keep us together and love takes time; we are asked what’s love got to do with it, and told, reminded, that love means never having to say you’re sorry.
Love means never having to say you’re sorry?
Really? Oh, how I beg to differ.
Love is having to say you’re sorry often, and no, that certainly does not include groveling or begging, but saying I’m sorry often and with great humility and great sincerity and it is a much needed response when you hurt someone, say something cruel or cause someone unnecessary pain, treat someone unkindly or unjustly, because love – good love, strong love, lasting love, sexy love, deep love – is often messy and filled with ups and downs, unexpected turns and life’s upheavals.
It can be very complicated – and no, no, not Facebook complicated – but truly deeply fucking complicated, and it is filled with emotion and passion and urges and love is work.
Love is work.
Good, hard work that grows and grows and pays dividends. The title of another song can pretty much sum it up: It Don’t Come Easy. No, it doesn’t. But when loves comes and it’s the real thing, the real deal, our hearts pound and our hearts skip a beat and our hearts pump faster.
We can feel the rush of the blood in our veins and in our arteries, and butterflies appear out of nowhere, and fireworks – whether real or imagined – seem to go off and light up the night sky, and what was once ordinary and routine and day-to-day now feels a bit magical, a bit miraculous.
Special, the word is special. Real love feels special.
We laugh and we smile at the silliest things, we seem to breathe easier, exhale without having to be reminded, we wake up with a song in our heart and a groove, and a beat in our soul, and we can almost feel like we’ve grown a few inches.
That’s what real love can do.
It can make you feel taller; it can make you walk taller.
It can give you an extra bounce, an extra step in your walk.
Love, genuine love, powerful love, unconditional love, can also give you a self-love-boost, a better feeling about yourself, a sense of self-confidence and self-esteem, a sense of self-worth that maybe was lost or maybe misplaced for a while, or maybe, just maybe, it was hidden so deep, deep – down deep – that it felt as if it had completely disappeared, lost in the ether somewhere.
We all hunger, long, for someone to love us with all our imperfections and faults, with all our flaws and all our foibles, what we’ve come to believe are the very worst pieces of us, unattractive and broken pieces, frayed and edgy pieces, cracked pieces, the “all too human” pieces, all of our blemishes and scars and wounds – our impatience, complaining, judging, and self-loathing – can all of a sudden become our friend or our greatest ally, we can now see those imperfections in a different light, from a different angle, from a different lens, because someone came along and loved us just the way we are, to quote another lovely song lyric.
Love isn’t a sport.
It’s not competitive.
It’s not a game.
You don’t win at love.
Love is what and who we are – it is what we’re made of.
We are all made of love. The kind of love that is so desperately needed in the world – our world – right now.
A MESSAGE WORTHY of READING (recommended by Karen Hale website editor -Do Not Toss Amy Ferris under the bus!)
I’m ready to be tossed under a bus today. I am. I’m also ready to stand in my truth, which for some – many – is not their truth. A few weeks back, after being verbally attacked because of a comment I made, I decided that shrinking & cowering doesn’t look good on me. I much prefer standing tall. For myself and others. So, come & get me today, I’m not gonna shrink. A few weeks back, in response to a comment I wrote about survivors of domestic violence, I was taken to task that those who were beaten & battered did not know what it was like to live with the aftermath of being raped, I wrote that I was a victim of Domestic violence myself – to the point where my abuser’s hands were wrapped around my throat in hopes that he would choke me to the point of no more breath – the black and blue marks around my neck and clavicle were my reminders of how I abused the privilege of my own life by staying with a bad violent man, and how leaving him was profoundly difficult. The shame, the guilt, the “I can save him” scenario that plays over & over…I was reminded by many women that my situation was not nearly as bad as being raped. That rape victims live with that experience their whole life. I agreed and agree. They do. But so do victims of domestic violence, and so do victims of sex trafficking, so do victims of gun violence and so do victims of hate crimes and so do victims of racial profiling and so do victims of emotional battering, and so do victims of any god awful horrific experiences that finds a home in the body and rears it’s head when triggered. I find it absolutely horrifying that we compare pain & suffering as if it were a competition, one that’s held up on a scale to see which one weighs more inside someone’s body and heart. Years ago I was at a funeral for a friend who died much too young from an aneurysm, 32 years old, he left a wife and newborn baby. A young teenage girl was in the corner of the room, sitting on a chair, weeping. The wife of the deceased walked over to her and knelt. The young girl was a good friend’s daughter, and through a torrent of tears she, the teenager, apologized – she was not crying because of the death of the young father, she was weeping because her boyfriend, her first love had just broken up with her; the wife of the deceased man said these words: Pain is pain. Your pain right now is not less than my pain. Pain is pain. I know what you feel. Both our hearts are breaking.
To hear that, to witness that, was extraordinary.
That stayed with me, in me. It is where I go when someone is suffering.
No, I may not have been raped, but I do know what it is like to have someone take away my soul and my esteem and my life for a bit. I know what it’s like to shiver and shake.
To all victims of violence and hate filled crimes and unimaginable violations – may you rise and rise and rise and rise … and show the world what you’re made of: courage and beauty and an unstoppable brave.
This is sticking with me tonight, and I need to get it off my chest and out of my body where it will only fester and cause me deep physical harm. Please, do not compare Kobe Bryant to Harvey Weinstein. Harvey Weinstein was a sexual predator, a vile cruel hideous man who used his power to destroy women; their bodies and their souls. His victims, one of which is now my friend, were violated repeatedly. He broke them down and used his power to manipulate and to harm them. They were meat to him. And they paid the price in both their personal life and in their work life. Kobe Bryant’s story is much more complicated than that because he was not a repeat offender. And yes, he admitted in a letter of apology, that he hurt this woman, and he believed it was consensual, and in a civil suit – because she did not want to stand trial, and YES, THAT IS A FACT – he paid her handsomely. She received millions of dollars. His apology is both public and filled with remorse. Consensual sex is murky in situations like that. Very murky. Kobe Bryant did not assault or attack another woman after that event in 2003. It has been told, through numerous accounts, that he knew he had to become a better man, a better husband. A good father. He sought counseling and redemption. Seventeen years ago, Kobe Bryant made a hideous and life altering mistake; he hurt someone, a woman, and he vowed to never do that again. And he stood by his word. And his word was deeply engraved. And for the remainder of his life he took that event and transformed his life and subsequently the lives of many others around him.
If we cannot look at someone like Kobe, and praise his humanity, and see how one man can lift himself up, then please, for the sake of all that is good in the world, do not go around being holier than thou and saying you believe in redemption. Redemption is a day to day occurrence. It happens by doing small things that in turn become bigger things. It isn’t a TV movie. No nice bows tied up. This is real life, and real life is fraught with messiness, fraught with wrong turns, fraught with ugly dark secrets. And Real life is filled with magic. And magic, real magic, comes from standing in the darkness and declaring that you will use EVERY BIT of your life to make this world better. Harvey Weinstein used his position in life to intimidate and manipulate and destroy; men like Harvey believed and believe they are above the law and never apologize because they project themselves as victims. men like Kobe stand up, and declare that he would become the man he wanted his wife and children to be proud of.
Let us be the kind of humans who can embrace another human’s desire to be better, to do better, to show up and love better.
After all, the best of the human race is made up of misfits and deeply flawed and fucked-up messy complicated people who pulled themselves up from the depths and wiped the dirt off and decided to show the world how one can shine up even – even – when no one, not one soul, wanted to hold a light on them.
Because this post fills me with a ton of sexy & grand hope.
In 65 years I’ve had my heart ripped to shreds, broken into pieces and crazy-glued back together. I dropped out of high school, tried suicide and spent some time on a commune. I was thrown out for shaving my legs. True story. I got my GED at 17 and never went on to college. I filled my body with enough drugs to open a pharmacy and I slept with a gazillion wrong men whose first name was either Joe or David or I’ll call ya. I fell down, I got up, I fell down, I got up, I fell down. I got up. I spent all the money I made as a waitress & temp worker on fast food and rent and useless dreck, and then I started making a ton of dough as a writer. I wrote a couple of groovy movies that got made into groovy films and have had more than a few books published. I have loved bad men and cruel men and married the coolest guy on the fucking planet. I’ve been betrayed and hurt and cracked wide open by women friends and you’ll still get me to love you and champion you and toss you a line. I lost my mom to dementia and I lost my dad to a heart attack and my family unraveled into a million estranged threads. I don’t believe in God but I do I believe we are all capable of being God/Goddess-like: kind, good, loving and compassionate. And I do believe if there is a God it is a woman. I think Colin Kaepernick is a SUPER HERO and men who abuse their power are insecure and small little fucked up slimy creeps. I believe in redemption with my whole entire heart and soul and I believe it’s one of the most underrated & necessary issues that we don’t talk about enough. I wanna talk about it. I believe in second chances and I believe that the third time is in fact a charm. I believe there is nothing more glorious than a human who can stand in their own power and be comfortable in their own skin and own their beauty and their greatness. I can safely say that yes I have made it to that place. I believe getting loved is way, way better than getting laid but getting laid beats phone sex by a good mile. But nothing beats self-love – nothing. I know for a fact that kind is way better than nice and the Verizon friends and family plan is pretty bogus. I recommend we put a fast halt on being needed and pump the motherfucker gas on being wanted. I feel strongly about inequality and injustice and that poverty destroys and kills more lives than we care to admit. I know for a fact that depression comes in waves & tsunamis and dementia grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let you go. I know that money doesn’t buy happiness or friendship or love but having some cash sure the fuck makes you less worried. I learned a long time ago that marrying well can’t hold a candle to marrying good and if you can’t find a light at the end of a tunnel you’re in the wrong fucking tunnel. There is always a light somewhere. In ten days I’m gonna be 65. I love that my life is made up of broken edgy frayed magnificent glorious sexy gooey messy amazing life-pieces; I am so proud of who I have become because I gotta say for a while it was touch & fucking go. Thrilled to be here. Absolutely thrilled to be here.
Yes, I will vote #BlueNoMatterWho, and yes, as someone delightfully pointed out on the thread last night I am married to an older white man, yes, and he’s pretty fucking groovy. But he’s not running for President and if by some weird strange mental impairment he wanted to run, I would make sure there were enough edibles within reach for him to keep that fueled fantasy internalized.
But I digress… my Sunday thoughts:
I think, just as folks were reamed and reminded about Hero Worship a few weeks back (referring to celebrities & Sports legends), I think we need to stop putting Politicians on Pedestals – which is not, as far as I know – and should not be – a new reality show. It sounds a little like Tots in Tiara’s. Both very bad concepts. Politicians are not Guru’s, they’re not magicians, and they’re not God. They’re human, and some of those humans have no business running for Office – some have no business running for a bus – but back to the idea of human Politicians: which means that they will make mistakes, make promises that can’t be kept, plans that can’t be brought to fruition.
And more than that, they work for us.
We’re their bosses.
We are all mortified & sickened that Mr. trump’s followers appear very cult like. And that’s dangerous. Cults are dangerous. There is bullying and brainwashing and bloated egos at work; folks making sure that their followers stay in line, toe the line and worse: never veer from that line. Maybe for many folks it’s easier to be told what to do and how to react and where to stand and cheer/chant/repeat ad nauseam slogans and sayings that are fear filled and ugly and cruel. And none of that, not one bit of that is what makes a country great, or a job great, or a marriage great, or a friendship great. It makes it bland, boring, horrifying and keeps humans small and invisible.
I think I speak for many when I say that a Bernie Sanders nomination, which yes, could very well happen, seems to be filled with the same angry fury as a trump re-election. There have been many ‘Bernie or Bust’ posts and comments and that’s very shitty. I read a thread the other day that if Bernie is not the nominee many of his followers will sit the election out. “Not gonna vote,” someone wrote. My fucking god, that should send shivers up and down our spines. That’s absolutely devastating; tossing us straight into hell, four more years of trump, and that should be criminal – THAT right there, that is intimidation, manipulation… abuse of power.
If Bernie is smart and he happens to be fortunate enough to be the nominee, I hope he chooses a running mate that softens him – yes, softens him, and I don’t mean in a cashmere wrapped kinda way, I mean someone who can bring him down to earth, less ego more humane. We’re being trampled on, flattened, by ego & arrogance & righteousness from the right – the Republicans.
Our world is hurting, our country is bleeding, we are at each other’s throats every single day. Maybe if we all treat each other a bit kinder – more considerate – the folks who are running – in hopes of getting the nomination – will also feel less heat and cool down a bit. Let us remind them that anger is not power, blaming others is not power, pointing and wagging fingers is not power, dragging others through the mud or coals is not only not powerful is no longer feasible, tossing – throwing – others under a bus only causes accidents and pile-ups and… a madman is loose in The White House.
Let’s place our Politicians down to Earth, in the soil; let’s stop making them God’s & Guru’s – another concept that should never be green lit @ Bravo Television – and let’s rally behind each other, have each others back, hold each other up – and let’s make sure who every gets the nomination takes down this fascist evil regime.
Today would have been my Mom & Dad’s anniversary – they were married on February 22nd, 1942.
On their 20th anniversary, they were victims of gun violence and yes, they survived, and yes, yes, it’s a love story.
I’ve shared this story before, so I hope you don’t mind indulging me. Here goes:
It had been imbedded in the palm of his hand. They had to pry his hand open, and remove it.
It was their 20th anniversary, and life had not been overly kind to my mom and dad. A set of circumstances spiraled and set them back, and back then, and back some more, and in the 1960’s, you kept secrets along with some memories – some trinkets, a diary – hidden deep in the back of the drawer next to a pack of Kent’s, or Marlboro’s that you didn’t want anyone to know you were smoking.
It was a little after six.
The doorbell rang, and my father opened the door. Two men stood with a huge cake box from the local bakery, wishing my father a happy anniversary, and asking where the lady of the house was. My father turned from the front door for maybe, maybe a split second – calling for my mom: a cake from Bambi’s, he yelled up to their room – when the two men pushed their way into our home, and pulled out two fully loaded guns from the cake box; with two more pistols remaining inside the box. Pointing one gun directly at my dad’s face, demanding everything. Every. Thing. My mother was upstairs, getting ready for a dinner party – an anniversary party at a very favorite restaurant with twenty-five friends and relatives – because, well, twenty-years was a milestone, a big deal. It was to be celebrated until the wee hours. My mother stepped out from the bedroom, wearing a favorite housecoat and full make-up, and hurried downstairs where she was expecting a celebratory cake and congratulations, not a loaded gun pointed directly at her. The second man demanding everything. Give us everything. Off came the jewelry, and the watch, and her wedding band that she couldn’t get off her finger and he, the man, demanded the ring or he would cut her finger off. Now, right now. She licked and licked her ring finger – soaking it with her own spit and saliva – until it felt like the skin was coming off along with her diamond wedding band. A simple eternity band.
They led my father and mother upstairs, to their bedroom.
That’s where they wreaked havoc. All drawers were pulled out, and everything was thrown, scattered on the floor. Everything. Where? Where? There, my father gestured, there – the sock drawer. Socks were unrolled, and cash flew out. Antique piggy banks were smashed to bits, and coins spilled everywhere. Jewelry boxes were flipped over and all and everything scooped up and tossed into the pillow cases that were ripped from the pillows – one extra soft, one extra hard – from the king size bed – that was really truly two single beds pushed together. Wedded together. Perfectly and beautifully made, bedspread and all. One mattress shredded to pieces with a box cutter. Everything ripped a part. My father stood and watched helpless – mortified and horrified – as my mother’s wrists and ankles were being tied and bound; her mouth silenced with duck tape. Or maybe it was masking tape. His heart racing and pounding to the point of breaking and cracking – as he tip-toed – tip-toed a few inches backwards – maybe three, four inches – to the bedroom door, where his sports coat hung over the door knob, and as he held his breath, and silently prayed – he prayed for their lives, he prayed to be given more years, he prayed for them to not hurt her sully her dirty her rape her; he prayed like we all pray when we don’t believe in God but we have no where else to turn – and he reached deep into the pocket of his sports coat and grabbed it and clinched his fist with every ounce of strength. Every single ounce he had in him, and kept his fist clinched for what must have felt like forever. And then they turned to him, the two men, and it was his turn – his arms and ankles bound, spinning and rotating the tape around his ankles and feet until his toes bled – but he was not gagged, they did not gag him – and from what was told to the police officers later that night – they smacked him with the butt of the gun at the side of his head – his temple. Not pistol whipped, No. No. Smacked.
The bruise lasted months and months and months; the fear forever.
And then he stumbled to the floor, and they rummaged through everything.
Everything. Every single drawer, closets, medicine cabinets, book shelves; my room, my brother’s room, the hallway linen closet, the bathrooms. removing paintings from the walls, and throwing them on to the wall-to-wall carpet. the noise, my mother later said, was unbearable. They rummaged and stole and grabbed and tossed everything into a pillow case and piled the cash in their pockets, and my mother, curled in the corner, kept her eyes closed because she couldn’t bear the sight and sound and loss. My father was trembling on the ground. His hands clinched. Frozen. His knuckles white. Pure white. And then the two men left. The front door slamming shut, and they could hear the car revving up. They could hear the car drive away. And then did nothing for what felt like months and months, my mother later told the police. And then, when all seemed quiet and safe, my father crawled to my mother, on his elbows and knees, and he ripped, yanked, the tape off her mouth with his teeth and he kissed her – long and hard and caught her tears – and she crawled to the phone, and managed to dial O on the rotary phone with the tip of her nose because her determination outweighed her fear, and she could hear the operator, and my mother screamed – howled – into the receiver: Help us. Help us. Help us. Help us.
And the police came and barged into the house and they removed the tape from my mom’s ankles and wrists; and my dad’s ankles and calves and arms and he screamed – an angry bitter fuck you fuck you fuck you guttural scream – as the hair from his legs was ripped from his skin, and then they pried his hands open, and there it was.
In the left palm. Embedded.
The diamond brooch.
Each diamond – round and perfect – that he had saved every single penny for. That he borrowed money for. The diamond brooch he had begged the jeweler, his friend on west 47th street, to give him the best deal imaginable for the girl of his dreams. The diamond brooch that he designed for her, wanted her to have, to own, because he loved her with every fiber in his being and was willing to die for her. The diamond brooch that she never wore. Never. Not once. She could never bring herself to wear it. She kept it hidden in the back of the drawer, deep in, next to the pack of marlboros, the too small french lingerie, the love notes and love poems he wrote to her while he was in the army, the cachet that smelled like lilac, the samples of perfume like Chanel #5, the little bottles of liquor from Pan Am and TWA, and the one charm – a favorite charm – that had fallen off the charm bracelet that she had planned on wearing that night, along with the diamond brooch that my father had planned on giving her with a handwritten note that read:
“Hey monkey, Whatdya say, 100 more? I love you, Sammy”
She gave me that brooch when I got engaged to Ken, placing it in the palm of my hand, “This is all you need to know about love.”
“We wobble between faith and fear every single day.” Henriette Ivanans-McIntyre.
Cannot wait to share our 2nd PODCAST episode with you (yes, soon!): REDEMPTION: Not All Mistakes Are Equal.
Teresa Stack & I are so very thrilled to be putting this out in the world, this conversation/dialogue about redemption is so very important. So necessary.
Thank you once again, Karen Moss Hale for loving us.
Please buy & read Henriette Ivanans-McIntyre‘s memoir:
In Pillness and In Health
It is so raw & real and so very exquisite.
I like her grit and her guts and I think she’d make a mighty good President. I like her style and her heart and the way she’s not afraid to call someone out on their shit and look them in the eye when she does it. That makes her human and brave. I like her brave. She wears it well. I like her soul. I like her compassion. I like that she’s imperfect, and she can own that with grace. Imperfection is sexy and bold. I like her mind, it’s sharp and witty and from what I can see, she’s kind. I’m married to an older white guy, who – whom – I happen to adore, so I’m not gonna disparage old white men, but I think we oughta stand up and stand behind and applaud women and support women and champion women especially women who stand out and stand up and stand tall for us – who want all of us to live a better life, live up to our true potential; reclaim our dignity and our decency.
I’m all in for Elizabeth Warren.
To the men who refuse to share their tax returns & their medical records here is my answer: you can’t have mine either. Stay the fuck outta my business.
People – who are running for office, in office, have aspirations for office – who refuse to show their records, whatever those records may be, have something to hide. Period. “None of your business” is not an appropriate answer when you’re asking humans to put their faith in you at the polls. We all know trump is a conman & a thief & an evil human who now wants to have a dictatorship instead of a democracy, and his refusal to show his tax returns over the years is just one of numerous & hideous stains on his being, but when someone like Bernie Sanders, who is hoping to occupy the White House, flat out refuses to show his medical records, and says flat out NO when asked, well, that’s a shitty thing. It’s shitty and it’s arrogant and the American people deserve to know how healthy or… unhealthy he may or may not be. If any of the women running did that, refused to show her medical records or tax returns, there would be hell to pay. And you know that’s the fucking truth. How Sanders is dealing with his medical records is no fucking different than how trump dealt with – and deals with – his tax returns.
If Bernie Sanders ends up being the nominee come November – and yes, I will cast my vote for him – he better fucking show us his medical records. Period.
And let me just end with this: women’s rights – reproductive rights – are once again on the line, on the chopping block; men wanna have a say when it comes to women’s bodies, women’s choices, overturning Roe V. Wade – well, it seems only fair that women have a say about men’s bodies and men’s health, so pony up your fucking medical records guys. Pony them the fuck up.
End of Wednesday’s rant.
Although written in the past, on this Monday morning it is worth every F-ing letter Amy wrote. (K Hale, editor) 2/17/20
so iKen & i had a wicked fight today – wicked – culminating in his telling me to my face, ‘hey, babe, didn’t realize menopause was gonna be a fucking life-sentence …for ME.’
HELLO. really, BABE? a life-sentence for you? try being the only one in a crowded restaurant sweating like a human BBQ and you’re asking the waitress in a hush voice – a whisper – if she can open a window because you are on fucking fire. try going through so many mood swings in a two hour period you need a GPS just to get through the morning. try being the one who asks the grocery store manager/clerk if they carry lactaid milk – 2% – and she looks you up and down, and asks you with a straight face if you’re breast feeding? don’t even get me started on that crazy-ass wacky question. breast feeding?
Suffice it to say, i just wanted to smash his face against the windshield. Nancy Isola is my witness to my rage-filled crazy-ass moment.
But, BUT… instead of spewing more shit his way, i decided: who can i love better? who can i love more today? who can i be generous with? and my gorgeous goddess friend-sister-SHEro came to mind. and i decided to take my own post coffee advice, and do something kind, an act of kindness, and the minute i offered up a special gift for her – honest to goddess – i just wanted to love iKen better. it filled me with goodness. or as she texted me: turning the wicked to kind.
okay, let’s make this world better.
A repost today 2/16/20
This piece – which I wrote last year – was dedicated to the launch of THE OVARY OFFICE – a series, which I enthusiastically created, in collaboration with Women’s eNews & the glorious Lori Sokol.
Ovary Office will be up & running (no pun intended) very soon with new interviews.
I’m reposting this piece because it’s well worth the few minutes to read:
THIS IS NO TIME FOR POLITE
Women have been told to sit down and keep quiet, to stand off to the side and stay out of view.
In other words: Be Polite.
We have witnessed and watched, with absolute disgust and horror, how women who have run for office have been dragged through the mud, hung out to dry, vilified, verbally and emotionally assaulted and put in their “place”—that “place” being a corner—or shushed, told to stand in the background, or ordered to stand behind because we all know that old saying: Behind every great man…is a woman, being told to be polite.
To say that women are judged unfairly is an understatement. We are judged from every single angle: from the way we talk, to the way we dress, to the way we wear our hair, to the shoes on our feet, to the clothes on our back. We are judged for being strong, being determined, being smart, being gutsy, and being persistent.
Nevertheless, We Run!
Women candidates are put under a different microscope than their male counterparts are; women candidates are pulled apart at the seams and admonished for emotional outbreaks, instead of being hailed for their passion and compassion and empathy, which are qualities women have in abundance. Our anger is equated with hormonal imbalance, not inequality, and our frustration, we are told ad nauseam, comes from either menstruation or menopause—period. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, is one of the six Democratic women who have stepped into the Democratic presidential ring, all knowing beforehand that they will get pummeled many times, got into a bit of verbal tussle with Chris Wallace at a FOX News town hall meeting where he reminded her that she had been invited and she needed to be a bit more polite.
When is the last time you heard someone tell a male candidate to be more polite? Let me tell you what being polite does. It shrinks our soul, diminishes our shine, and it keeps us wedged—tucked—into a corner. We can’t ride a wave because being polite would prevent us from making waves. It keeps us fresh and tidy, discouraged from speaking our truth or declaring our truth, because if we speak our truth or declare our truth and someone gets offended…and we all know someone is bound to get offended when a woman speaks her mind.
“Mind Your Business“ is what we’re told.
Being polite is agreeing and acquiescing when every fiber in our being is shouting and screaming, “Do not agree and do not acquiesce.” It keeps us quiet and in the background, preventing us from being seen, being heard, and being loud.
It is waiting until everyone else gets served, waiting until everyone else is seated even if it means sitting on the floor. It is letting so much crap eat away at us—at our soul, at our heart, at our spirit, at our life force—allowing others to make claims on what is ours, allowing others to cut ahead in line, allowing others to steal our thunder. Polite is risk free, no sharp edges, no noticeable scars; blemish free.
It is trying to be perfect.
It is tasteless and bland.
Polite is a first cousin to being nice; both are rooted in fear and worry, preventing us from standing tall, standing up and standing for who and what we believe in, allowing others to get ahead at our expense. Polite may give us the shirt off its back, but it will never allow us to stand on it, and it most certainly won’t have ours. Polite will never have our back.
Now is not the time for women to be POLITE.
Now is the time for women to be POLITICAL.
I have read close to forty different FaceBook pages this evening out of curiosity, Ken is fast asleep and I’m not in the mood to play Solitaire…so, yeah, scrolling pages: folks I don’t know, folks who are on my friend list, some followers, some real life friends, and just by reading the comments, the demeaning snarky answers, scrolling the threads … the deep anger and righteousness seeping onto the pages…I can tell you this: Donald trump will get re-elected.
The amount of vitriol and nastiness and name-calling and spewing within our own party, our own party, and the darts being thrown at Democratic contenders is absolutely horrifying.
- People being trashed because they don’t like someone’s choice.
- People being bashed to bits because they have a different opinion.
- People being ridiculed because they’re making a strong case for the person, candidate, they like.
While everyone’s screaming about fascism and the end of democracy, seems a whole lot of folks are wiling to put a fucking bullet in it – it being democracy – and meanwhile…meanwhile… trump is running fucking amok, a serial violent creature.
If you really don’t want trump getting re-elected in 2020, if you really want the motherfucker out of the White House, then please, stop being so fucking cavalier, stop pushing folks away, stop with the arrogance and the entitlement and the bullshit – stop with the bullying, aren’t we being bullied enough by the creature from the trump lagoon?
- Let’s get him the fuck out.
- Let’s get them all the fuck out.
- What’s at stake?
- Every fucking thing is at stake.
I feel compelled to write this post, and then I am going to the Dr. to pick up some meds for this crappy cold, and yes, I am okay & I am good – just a bit under the weather, and most everyone I know is feeling shitty one way or another, and so, I send you all my love… big huge massive messy love, and now for my little rant:
In 1963 President John F. Kennedy established the Presidential Medal of Freedom – an award, a distinction, given by the President of the United States acknowledging & recognizing folks who have made, “An especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, culture or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Let’s read that again, all together now: “An especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, culture or other significant public or private endeavors.”
This week, Rush Limbaugh ripped Pete Buttigieg to shreds, saying America will be disgusted and repulsed seeing two men kissing, and then he went on to demean gay life, spewing all sorts of homophobic crap. Ugly mean crap.
See, this shit gets my blood boiling, and I can’t afford my blood to boil, not while I am on antibiotics.
At the State of the Union, The Presidential Medal of Freedom was draped around Mr. Limbaugh’s neck as if it were a piece jewelry by another occupant of the White House, Mrs. Trump, who more than likely will be wearing a replica of the Medal of Freedom in the not too far future – made of diamonds and rubies and emeralds and a thick gold chain, and no doubt she will accessorize that big bauble with a coat embroidered with the words: I don’t care.
But I care.
I care that an honor like this was bestowed on a man who does not represent the true and extraordinary intent of the award; that he is crude and nasty and vulgar and homophobic and spews gross comments about girls and women and Muslims and Immigrants and Others and now is a recipient of an honor that was given to humans who fought for Freedom, who stood up to hate and evil, who created masterpieces out of their own blood and sweat, who survived the worst of humanity only to inspire us to be the best of humanity.
Someone recently commented on another post, and no, it was not directed to me, it was in a thread: I bet you wish Rush dead now that he has cancer.
I didn’t respond on that post but I will here:
No, I don’t wish him dead – cancer is painful and hideous, and that is what he has to live with right now – the pain, the suffering, the unbearable fear and the ravaging of his body and the days he has left which are less and less – what I wish for is this: that men like Rush Limbaugh are never awarded or honored with a medal that is meant for folks who run into the fire, not for folks who ignite it, folks who stand up for the less fortunate, who use their voice so others can speak, folks who are courageous and brave and mighty and fierce in the fight called Freedom and justice for all, men like Rush Limbaugh do not deserve medals with the word Freedom on it because he does not believe all humans have a right to that.
America is most certainly ready for men like Mayor Pete Buttigieg, men kissing and holding hands and showing affection and being out and about – dancing and strutting and being bold and audacious and fierce as all-mighty fuck – because love has no expiration date, it does not go out of style, it can be accessorized with anything, love is every color every shape every size every faith, love is shiny and sexy and messy, love is soft and tiny, love is grand and gutsy, love is men and women, women and men, men and men, women and women.
Love is, and it is what keeps us all believing, hoping, holding on on the days when holding on seems so scary.
Beginning of story.
Here’s a piece of beauty in the middle of all this God awful crazy ugly, Happy Birthday Mom:
Assisted Loving|We find her on the floor. She is sleeping. I am scared. She is snoring. I bend down, “Ma. Ma. Wake up.”
“You’re so tall,” she says as she looks up at me.
“Ma, you’re on the floor, “ I say.
“Oh, really? The floor?”
“How’d I get here?” She asks.
I tell her I have no idea. I ask if she knows. “I don’t remember,” she says, “I. Don’t. Remember.”
Her eyes are empty. Blank. They have been empty, blank for some time now.
My mother had been diagnosed with moderate stage dementia months earlier. For those of you who know nothing about dementia let me tell you this: it strips you completely bare. It is a destroyer of hope and faith and goodness. If you don’t believe much in God, dementia will certainly push you further away.
I tuck her in and lay down next to her. She is old. Frail. She smells old and frail. I stay with her until she falls asleep. This is not the mom I remember who wore Pleasures by Estee Lauder, whose hair was perfectly coiffed, whose eyebrows were arched and tweezed. This mom has replaced her beloved perfume with three or four days of not bathing, her soft brown eyebrow pencil with a purple sharpie pen, and most of her starched white garments with the forever stain of L’Oreal beige #3 makeup on the collar.
- There were many incidents that began piling up, one after another.
- Driving straight into a fire hydrant.
- Driving into the closed garage doors. Burning the bagels and toast.
- Not remembering lunch dates and dinner dates with friends.
- Panic phone calls at three, four in the morning.
- Once-fresh flowers left in a vase for so long the water had evaporated, replacing the scent of freesia with the smell of mildew.
- She too had once been a fresh flower.
It was a hot day in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she was now living in an assisted-living facility. She had a view of the mountains. She didn’t care much for mountains, but it was a much better view than a stucco wall. Both were choices. I went to visit her for a week. She had turned up the thermometer to well over 90 degrees in her apartment. I was irritated and impatient and lacked any generosity what-so-ever in that particular moment. I was in the throws of menopause, and if I tell you that 90 degrees felt like a thousand degrees, I would not be exaggerating.
I told her that it was so hot in her apartment that I was having a heat stroke just watching television. She yelled at me that she wasn’t hot. “I have a chill, I’m Goddamn freezing,” she screamed, and I proceeded to yell back at her, asking her how could she possibly have a Goddamn chill when it was almost 100 degrees in her apartment.
“I don’t feel hot. If you make it colder, I’ll hate you. I’ll hate you. I will never talk to you again,” her voice shrieking. “Fine, Ma, hate me,” I replied calmly.
This was not unchartered or new territory: the yelling and the screaming and the chorus of “I’ll never talk to you again and I hate you.” This was not new, or unexpected.
Those incidents I can toss aside – fan away – as if an annoying fly buzzing my head.
But not this one, this one I can’t toss aside.
My mother stood in the hallway between her bedroom and the living room, the pee dripping down her leg soaking into the wall-to-wall carpeting. She covered her mouth. Mortified. And then she said through a wave of unstoppable tears, “I have no control.”
Had she been much younger and in therapy this would be a moment of enlightenment. A revelation. But this was not that kind of moment. It was terrifying; and all and everything became crystal clear to me. My mother, my feisty, angry, emotional, strong-willed, gorgeous, sexy mother was no longer.
She stood, drenched in her own urine, her fragile hands (hands that once sported perfectly manicured nails) covering her mouth, tears falling from her eyes (eyes that were once filled with passion), her body small and slight (a body that was once strong and stunning and oh so, sexy), and that all she had been, was completely gone.
I closed my eyes, and I silently prayed to any and all the Gods throughout the universe, any and all, that I could remember by first name. Please don’t let her remember what happened, please don’t let her, because it will fill her with such great humiliation and embarrassment and disgrace, and oh God, such deep shame.
I prayed, asked, pleaded, bartered.
I didn’t want my mother to feel shame or embarrassment.
I didn’t want her to remember that moment.
I cleaned up the pee, and I washed her housecoat, and I dressed her, and I kept the heat where she was comfortable: 94 degrees. I sat with her on the couch, and was sweating profusely as we held hands and watched TV, cartoons.
She held my hand and I looked down – stared down – at her chipped nails.
I was reminded of a previous visit, months earlier when she still lived in Florida. She wanted to desperately get her hair and nails done. She had a bit more spunk, enough spunk to tell me that having her hair and nails done would make her feel beautiful. I drove her to the local salon where we were greeted with so much enthusiasm you would have thought we owned the joint. My mom and I both got manicures, and my mom got her hair curled. The manicurist freshened my mom’s make-up; adding just a hint of blush, plus perfectly lined (and colored in) lips.
My mom stared at herself in the mirror.
She touched, and smoothed her hair with the palm of her hand, so not to smudge her perfectly manicured pink sparkly nails. And then she said for everyone to hear, “I feel brand new.” She turned to me, and said, “Thank you. I will never forget the sparkly nail color. I feel so beautiful. ”
I stared at her chipped nails. Her eyes are glued to the TV. I ask her if she’d like to go out, go to a salon … you know, ma, like old times. She squeezed my hand as if she never wanted to let go, “I wanna feel brand new.”|
I could barely swallow when she said those words, I wanna feel brand new.
She sat across from the manicurist: a young, sassy, vibrant woman whose extra poundage only made her more beautiful.
My mom leaned in, and in a whisper only meant for long-held secrets, she said to the manicurist, “I don’t remember very much anymore.” And then the manicurist leaned in, and said to my mom with complete and utter authority: “Honey, not forgetting is so much better than not remembering.”
And just like that – my mom laid her hands on the table and said, “Sparkly, pink sparkly, please, I want to feel beautiful.”
A small, gorgeous, perfect miracle.
Imagine she’s your friend: she’s being lied to, disgraced, demeaned, mistreated; imagine she’s your sister: she’s being sullied, soiled, laughed at, mocked; imagine she’s your daughter: she’s being abused, mistreated, assaulted; imagine she’s your mother: she’s being battered, beaten, brought to her knees; imagine she’s your co-worker: she’s being demoted, dismissed, ignored, silenced; imagine she’s your neighbor: she’s being harassed, taunted, bullied, spit on, shamed.
- You wouldn’t stay silent or sit back or allow anyone you love or care about or treasure being mistreated, hurt, devalued, destroyed, gutted – right?
- You would speak up, fight up, show up, stand up – right?
- Now imagine that SHE is America: she’s being disgraced, demeaned, battered, bloodied, mocked, abused, assaulted, silenced, bullied, brought to her knees.
- Let’s stop fighting over Bernie over Mike over Liz over Amy over Mayor
- Pete over Biden and fight for her life.
Fight for HER life.
Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. She was feisty & complicated, messy and beautiful – sexy as all get out. She loved art & painting & ceramics & knitting, she loved books and reading and doing crossword puzzles in blue ink but more than anything she loved my dad – theirs was a mad love affair; ours wasn’t an easy mother/daughter relationship. At the end of her life, after visiting her in the assisted living facility, I came to the profound realization that I had become the woman she always wanted to be and that realization filled me with compassion and so much love for her. My mom suppressed & repressed much of her creative life, her creative desires and lived a life expected of her, and that filled with her sorrow and rage and closeted untapped possibility.
But she was mine and I’m gonna start celebrating this gorgeous badass today.
2/9/20 This is a bit of a rant and I would like very much if you could/would bear with me.
I was having a conversation with a girlfriend and yes, she is a real life girlfriend of 20 plus years, and for whatever reason I brought up abortion and pro-choice and the absolute need for women to fight for their lives and to not have Roe V Wade overturned – and her response shocked the fuck out of me.
Basically she said that she didn’t care one iota about Roe v. Wade because she was beyond the years of ever having a child. “Not my problem, I don’t really give shit,” she said.
You can imagine where my mouth went and the size of the truck that would have been able to drive through it. “Seriously?” I asked. “You don’t care because you’re beyond the age of being able to have kids?”
“That’s not my issue, not my problem… I don’t care.”
I’m gonna save you all the back & forth from that point, but let me just say this without sounding like a woman with a bone, or a dead horse that I’m beating:
YOU HAVE TO CARE.
You. Have. To. Care.
You have to care.
You may be sitting in your cushy big house with everything you ever dreamed of having – fancy cars, fancy kitchens, all the best appliances, a big motherfucker OLED TV – but there are millions & millions & millions of humans on this earth who can’t fucking rub two nickels together and you better care about their lives. Yes, you better care. You may be making a high six figure income and traveling first class and asking the flight attendant to pour you another glass of champagne but most of the folks in the cabin behind you – a good 80% of those folks – had to scrimp and save to take a vacation and you need to care about their lives and their struggles because all of this can go in a flash. All of it. Cushy jobs are disappearing. Folks are getting fired.
Humility needs to come back into fashion because arrogance wears real fucking thin.
Care about the issues that may not touch you personally. Care deeply. If you don’t care about them then you don’t care about your friends or your neighbors or the humans who are eking & squeaking by and in deep pain. Care about women, care about men, care about children, care about the LGBTQ community, care about immigrants, care about health costs, care about gun laws, care about Muslims, care about Black lives and brown lives and care about what you don’t know about because knowing about it will make you a better human.
The next time you find yourself screaming and hollering about a 50 year old women pole dancing you might wanna stop and think about getting yourself to the polls and voting for women’s rights and women’s choices because that affects us all, the next time you find yourself pointing fingers at and judging folks who are using their lives to make the world better because they made some choices that set them back think about getting yourself to the polls and voting for human rights and human dignity and the decriminalization of stigmas that no doubt someone near and dear to you struggles with. The next time you shame a person for their battle with depression get yourself to the polls and vote for mental health initiates that might just save a life or two or three.
Unless we start caring about humankind – all of humankind – we will not be the kind of humans this world needs to become kinder.
Thank you for letting me rant & spew.
The President of the United Staes has decided to be revengeful and mean and nasty and ugly and hideously vile after his impeachment trial. Not so shocking. People show us who they are, we oughta believe ’em. Firing two men & many more to come. The President of the United States is a pitiful man, a small man, a man whose ego matches his penis, tiny & insignificant but in need of constant stroking so it can expand and grow. He wasn’t exonerated. He, like others impeached before him, will always carry that word: impeachment. And his vulgar nasty ugly followers will have to live with their cult mentality and their complicit-ness. Ah, but they don’t care.
Donald trump is a liar and a cheat and scoundrel and a mob boss at best & a dictator at worst and fascism is where we’re heading. Look after the ones you love, they may not be here next week. Yes, he’s that revengeful. He doesn’t give a shit about humanity or your jobs or your health or your struggles; he draped the highest honor one can receive around the neck of a racist and a bigot and an abuser – a disgraceful man whose lung cancer nabbed him an award, he spoke at a prayer breakfast & demeaned the men and women who serve this country – he called bullshit and no one blinked an eye – see, that’s what happens when you’re in a cult – you follow the person not that the law or the party and the hate is palpable. It sneaks and creeps and seeps into everything.
And here’s a truth – Donald trump doesn’t give a shit that folks can’t make ends meet, he doesn’t give a shit about pre-existing conditions, he doesn’t give a shit that you served this country. While you’re wondering if you’re gonna get that job back working in the coal mine, he’s making millions supporting his lies and abuse. Those jobs are not coming back. A pack of lies. He’s not gonna fund the Arts. A man who built much of his wealth being on a TV show isn’t gonna fund the arts.
He’s removing Global entry so folks can’t get into NY.
Your guns aren’t gonna be taken away from you, don’t worry about that… but your child may very well die execution style in his or her school because he doesn’t give a fuck about gun safety – he’s got the NRA in his pocket; no one is gonna take away your bible but they may very well take your life while you’re praying in Church or in a Synagogue, you’re so fucking angry that Colin Kaepernick knelt during a football game but kneeling on Sundays and hating your neighbors on Monday is okay with you. Yeah, you read the Bible…do unto…
Yeah yeah yeah… keep on keeping on.
The man is a fraud, but fraud’s & conmen and bullshit artists have always – always – sold us cars and insurance and shit we don’t need – we call 800 numbers; being sold a bill of goods – and we buy a bunch of crap we don’t need and have no room for.
Donald trump is a two bit scam artist.
Fight for your life.
Seriously, fight for your life and then… fight for those you love.
I’m taking a break from writing to address something that is very important to me: on my page, my posts, I take a lot of shit. I expect it. I expect to be dragged through the mud, vilified, and tossed on a junk heap – I write my truth and my truth doesn’t always jive with others; I try very hard to keep to my truth and not sway with the wind; I am not one of those people who tries to be PC for the fuck of it. I don’t wanna be that kind of person. And yes, I defend myself if I’m being tormented or pummeled, or I block the asshole who won’t let the conversation go or… I try to engage best I can. Life is too short, and none of us should apologize for our truth, our feelings, our hard-earned lives. But on my page, on my posts, I would prefer if people who come on to my page to express themselves aren’t shamed, or dragged through the mud or vilified. I have read & re-read numerous comments – both about Kobe Bryant and now about the half-time show – and I will say this: everyone is entitled to an opinion – and no, we don’t have to agree, but we do need to stop from humiliating folks, or belittling them for having a reaction that isn’t the same as ours. if it’s civil it becomes a dialogue, a conversation – something, a word or two or three that can open a closed heart or enlighten another human – and that’s a good thing. A really good thing. Conversations, dialogues. A give and take. But we seem to think shaming others is a groovy thing to do nowadays. I abhor bullying. I despise it. We have a bully in the White House and every day he says or does something that is cringe-worthy. You bet we’re better than that, than him, than his nasty fucking bullshit. So, I expect to be dragged through the mud because of what I put out in the world – if everyone liked me or thought I was some word guru it would be boring and it would be a lie. We learn from folks who are different, who don’t share our opinions, we can crack open our own hearts and souls if we’re smart. I have been called every name under the sun, and I could go alphabetical, but one word I absolutely know I am – through and through – is kind. So, here on my page, go ahead disagree, share your opinions, but offer up a heaping side of kindness in the midst of your outrage; the world is in pain, it is bleeding and it is hurting and we’re feeling it deep – let’s make it better, after all, we are all we have. Let’s find those common threads in the heat of a moment- let’s pull at them – and let’s do what we do best: shake and rattle the universe – and if it happens to be with our asses – let’s applaud those who can still do it, and let me just say being a badass is just as fucking sexy.
Here’s a partial list – a partial list – of what offends me, in no particular order:
Abuse of power
Concentration Camps, here in America, in 2020
Abusing & using & misusing God
Faking benevolence & altruism
White sheets used as a fashion hate statement
The Confederate flag
A Commentary on:
Oh my fucking God, 22 men are tackling each over a fucking ball and folks are arguing back & forth over too much crotch & tits during the halftime show and no one – NO ONE – is talking about the fact that they actually had performers in cages on the stage to make a statement about the children in cages at the border.
Can we please, for one moment, give it up for these amazing women who had the fucking courage to do that?
My god, what they were showing us on that stage is what we should be talking about.
You wanna know what almost got me thrown in FB jail yet again – this here:
Hey, Lisa Murkowski, it’s “COUNTRY tis of thee” not “CUNTRY tis of thee” – women like you shouldn’t be making decisions for women like me; you’re siding with a conman predator who doesn’t give a shit about Alaska, stop kissing his ass, you don’t have enough chapstick. Never again say you care about America when you have the fucking audacity to kick her down and bring her to her knees; destroying our Democracy.
I’m pretty sure it was the CUNTRY that did me in not the kissing ass that tossed me in a cell for a few hours.
Keep on writing & speaking & living your truth people, YOUR TRUTH, it’s our only hope – ass kissing is so unattractive.
Pleasant dreams & dream fucking big.
The United States of America is going to be sold out by a bunch of cruel & vicious entitled men & women – individuals – who are in the Republican Party. Afraid to dig deep into their hearts and souls because a bully predator sits in the White House, threatening people, tweeting nasty vile disgusting shit out into the world and Mitch McConnell has a tight grip of cruelty. I don’t know how any of these folks can sleep at night, or look themselves in a mirror when they shave or put on make-up. But sleep and shave and apply cover-up they do. Men and women who have put trump before truth, who have put their party before humanity, who have sworn on bibles to uphold the constitution and have decided to trash all it stands for. Donald Trump should have never been elected President, he has no business sitting in the Oval Office; he’s a creep of a guy and he doesn’t give one fuck about America, he gives many fucks about his own wealth and ego. A two-bit reality star who brought in two-bit lawyers to defend him, men who have a history of supporting pedophilia and murder and making a living off of other men who are murderers and rapists, men like Jeffrey Epstein and Claus Von Bulow and OJ Fucking Simpson. America is not a reality show, and yes, she is getting raped every single day by the men and women who are sitting in their cushy political positions because they don’t care about our lives or our rights. They demand women carry an unwanted child to term and then put those children in cages, where they are sleeping on concrete floors and covered in aluminum foil screaming for their mommy’s and daddy’s and being groomed to become hateful vicious humans because that is all they will know while they are caged liked animals. Oh, pro-life my ass.
And here is a real hard motherfucker truth: we – we, the people – have become meaner and nastier toward each other. We throw darts at folks who have a different opinion, we slander and belittle each other for liking a certain candidate, we rip each other to shreds over not being politically correct enough, we destroy and annihilate each other, we shame each other, we destroy someone’s self-esteem over words spoken and written and shared, nowadays we stab each other in the heart not just talk behind each other’s back, and no you don’t need to come out and shame me for writing the truth. I’ve been shamed quite enough the past week over my feelings about Kobe, for my exposing my own shame-filled filthy past, for words I’ve written and friends I’ve supported and humans I deeply love and champion. Put through the wringer because that’s what we do now to each other, and it saddens me and disheartens me and it hurts me that we lash out and beat each other up and react before we think.
What I know on this last Friday in January at around noon-ish, if we don’t start holding each other tight, loving each other better, allowing each other feelings and thoughts, seeing that we’re not all that fucking different when we strip away some of the privileges we were born into and with and by privilege, yes, I mean the skin we wear; if we were all lying in a pool of blood, no one would be able to tell whose blood we were soaking in and drowning in. America is being bludgeoned to death right now and if we don’t come together for the stake of humanity, we will be in that pool of blood.
Hold someone tight today, forgive someone their flaws today, understand another heart today, hear someone’s pain today, reflect on your own mistakes today, be kind to a stranger today, look into your child’s heart today, see yourself through someone else’s eyes today, put yourself in someone else’s shoes today, and start thinking of taking back your country today – put yourself in her soul, in the very soul and heart of our democracy – America is being attacked by predatory men, and grit-less women, abusing their power, grabbing at her, destroying her, wanting her to stay silent – you would demand justice done, demand it for her.
#aMEricaTOO people, #aMEricaTOO
We do not have to live the words we inherit.
I had just moved into my new apartment on the Upper Westside. It was my first grown-up apartment.
It was January 1990.
I walked into my building, got into the elevator, and before the doors closed, two huge black men got into the elevator with me. And, all I thought was: “Holy shit, oh my God, I’m gonna be raped.”
Let me fill you in, and please… bear with me:
I grew up in a family where the word ‘schvartza’ was sprinkled in sentences as frequently, and as often, as salt & pepper were sprinkled on steak. If there was an abandoned car on the side of the L.I.E – with all the tires stripped – my mother would declare, “schvartzas.” If there was a robbery, or a break-in, in our all-white neighborhood, “schvartzas,” and anything – anything at all – that had the stench of bad or rotten – no doubt, a schvartza did it, or at the very least, was involved.
Schvartza, not an uncommon word used in my house. Passed down generation to generation to generation to generation; just like an inheritance. Rumor has it, and this is not a good rumor when a black person got up from their seat on a bus, my grandmother would take her perfectly ironed cotton handkerchief and wipe the seat down.
My parents socialized often; they had gay friends, non-Jewish friends, Christian friends; dinner parties, nights on the town, cocktail parties, soirees. But, the truth, the painful deep ugly truth, there was always a blatant, underlying unease, feelings of superiority coupled with an unconscious (or probably not) fear that seeped out without any thought what-so-ever toward their colored friends, and yes, back then in the ’60s, they were colored. Both my brother and I, on more than one occasion, were mortified at what came out of our mother’s and father’s mouth. An off-color joke here, a nasty remark there, a little dig here, a bigger dig there. My mother often said that if I dated a black man she would disown me, and I would often respond with, “Well, what about sleeping with one?” She would laugh. Or maybe, maybe, it was an uneasy chuckle. I had, and have, many friends who are black.
But, I grew up with that awful, ugly, derogatory word embedded, like a chip – and I would wager I’m not sharing anything new, and I would wager that many of you – okay, some of you – reading this grew up in a home not unlike mine.
And no, this is not something I feel good admitting, not one fucking bit.
Back to the elevator.
There I was standing in the back of the elevator, convinced that these two men – both at least 6’7” – were going to hurt me. Rape me. Kill me. I heard the word schvartza playing over and over and over in my head. I heard my mother saying it, I heard my grandmother saying it. I heard all my relatives saying it.
I knew I was afraid.
I knew I was petrified.
My heart, pounding out of my chest, was the give-a-way.
I also knew it was the night of the Cooney/Forman fight, a big night in boxing. One of the guys asked me, “You like boxing?” I said, “Yeah, oh, yeah.” “Really?” he asked, “Who you betting on to win?” Without blinking, I said, “I’m betting on the Black guy.”
They both laughed.
It turned out one of the guys lived in my building, in the penthouse. He was a professional basketball player; he played for the New Jersey Nets. He was throwing a party that night – a Cooney/Forman party – and right there in the elevator, invited me to come, as his guest.
I asked if there would be any food.
“Yeah,” he said, “we’re gonna roast the white guy.”
I lost every bit of color I had regained. He looked at me and saw how scared I was. “Hey,” he said, “I’m jokin’. Really. Cooney’s gonna lose, Forman’s gonna knock him out in the first round. Please, come on up… we’re ordering Chinese. You like Chinese?” “Yeah, I like Chinese,” I said.
I was the only white person in a sea of black people watching Forman punch the shit out of Cooney in the second round.
At the end of the evening, my new friend made sure I got home to my apartment safe and sound – just two floors below him – and thanked me for coming to his party. He was gracious and kind and funny as all get out, and he and I remained friends, good neighbor-friends. He would bring me soup when I was sick, and I would send him champagne on his winning days. He moved out of the building a couple of years later; traded to another team, and moved to another city.
We lost touch, but he touched me deeply.
As I think about all the shit that’s happening in this country, ugly hateful vile shit – irrefutable horror – and the tapes that play over and over and over again in someone’s head; words that are embedded, phrases that stick, stories repeated; the hatred and the violence circulating like bad air; the ugly and the nasty: the faggot, the homo, the goy, the kike, the Jew, the spic, the n*gger, the queer – the schvartza – the words that we hear in our heads that are spoken in other voices; parents grandparents siblings friends neighbors spouses lovers co-workers.
Words are spoken and tweeted daily by the man living in the White House, the president of the United States of America.
I think about that night, in that elevator, and that bet that I made, and I never thought that years later in 2008 and again in 2012, that I would say, “I’m betting on the black guy,” out of complete love and respect, out of appreciation and gratitude, out of joy and hope and not one ounce – not one ounce – of fear.
We do not have to be the words that we heard & inherited, we do not have to recycle hate & violence & fear.
We do not have to live those words.
*As website manager for Post Coffee-Pre Wine, I am committed to commenting on this election pulled from Amy’s Facebook Page. Whether you agree with her thoughts or not, please take a read, because we, the people, are the ones that must change the course we are on… (Karen Hale)
It’s is time to do the right thing for self and others
Last week, or maybe it was the week before, I decided to take a much-needed mini-break – a two-day break – from Facebook. I was, for lack of a better word, depleted.
Actually, you know what, I was fucking depleted. Empty. The tank was empty.
But truth be told, it wasn’t Facebook that was depleting me, it was life. The news, the crazy motherfucker in the White House, the bad shit circulating; the too many things I was squeezing into too few hours. Not taking care of my own precious life, and yes, dismissing Ken, and our life.
And I know some of you are gonna say, don’t listen to the news, don’t pay attention to the crazy motherfucker, squeeze in less, put time aside… but it’s not that easy. I smoked cigarettes for 32 years, quitting almost did me in. It’s not easy being addicted, whether it’s the news or crack cocaine or a bad hairdresser. We do bad shit because we wanna belong, we can’t say no, we don’t wanna hurt someone’s feelings, we wanna be numb and stay numb and not face the world, we don’t wanna miss out on anything, we keep folks at arms length, we keep ourselves small & tidy and insulated.
Addiction isn’t about always about getting high, or being included or wanting to belong – it’s about fear. And if we don’t look at what we’re afraid of, we hang on to the bad shit. And then well, it’s a vicious cycle.
I’m gonna tell you what I found out being away from FaceBook for a teeny bit of time.
FaceBook is not bad shit.
I found out this here, right here, is a community, and we all long for community. We’re all searching for folks who see us, hear us, miss us when we’re gone. We long for a place to share our beliefs and frustrations and pain and sorrow and yes, our joy. And it’s here, on this platform, that many of us are learning how to finally stand up for ourselves, speak our truth, offer up our beliefs. We get to fall in love with folks whose opinions and voices are triumphant and magnificent. Life-altering. We get to unfriend and block folks who treat us – and other friends – like shit, with disrespect and disdain; their meanness is too much to bear. We get to say – with just a click, a swipe – no more of this shit, no more of you. We get to shut off and shut down the bullies.
And what this community brings, really brings, is love. And who the fuck doesn’t need to be loved? I have seen more beauty and read more beauty and witnessed more camaraderie and selflessness and compassion and companionship; Activism and ARTism and Humanism; humans who came out of their shell and shared their works in progress. I’ve seen friends share the grief, their unbearable pain and the humans who gathered around them and held them virtually and wouldn’t let them go or fall. It was here on Facebook that I found out about old friends whose live’s were cut short by their own hand, and folks who I hadn’t seen in years who passed away from diseases that eat away at us, and how I wished – when I read of their deaths – how a door had not closed by one or both of us. I needed to see that not very attractive piece of me, the one that can easily walk away over something petty, a thread that becomes more frayed over time, and I needed to offer up the very same compassion to my very own life that I offer up to others.
Self-compassion is vital.
I needed to take care of myself.
Stop neglecting my own life.
I live in Pennsylvania, and here we have to fill our own gas tanks. For lack of a better example: I needed to fill my own tank. I needed to not depend on anyone to fill it for me. I was taught at a very young age to put other folks first. That’s how you get to be loved, and if you do that, they’ll take care of you. Until you do something they don’t like, then you gotta start all over from scratch to get their love. Conditional love sucks, it rips the life out of you. So, here’s what I absolutely fucking know: no one, not one soul, needs to be loved conditionally. Conditional love has too high a price. So, no more of that. We all need to step away from the folks who love us conditionally. That’s also an awful addiction. The crawling back, the begging for more, the promise that we won’t rock the boat or shake up shit. We spend an awful lot of time on folks who will never love us the way we need and want to be loved. We need to spend more time, give more time, to the folks who love us plenty, who love us good, who love us no matter what. Those folks are the ones who make our hearts beat. The next time I go through hoops it’ll be on a basketball court. Unconditional love, now that’s the cats fucking meow.
So, I am here to say, you are all my community.
This is where we get to champion each other, lift each other, share our deepest shit and our greatest joy.
This is where we get to come and visit and tap on someone’s page – a drive-by – and leave a Facebook ‘post-it’ saying I love you.
This is where we get to offer up ideas and opinions and toss butter patties on the proverbial ceiling and see what sticks, see what doesn’t.
This is where we get to decide, on a moments notice sometimes, to be brave, and fierce, and mighty and wear our courage out-loud.
I took the time to nurture my life, to fill my empty tank, to witness my own beauty and my own glorious girl power, and I missed you all – okay, okay, most of you, many of you, a ton of you – for the right reasons: you have become my chosen family and I am ever grateful.
life is short.
we don’t think it is, but it is.
on a dime, it changes.
live your LIFE, not someone else’s.
LIVE YOUR LIFE FULLY.
don’t take shit from anyone.
declare your worth.
know your value.
YOU ARE INVALUABLE.
say it out loud.
believe it in your soul.
YOU ARE INVALUABLE.
and please, if you wear your heart on your sleeve, accessorize accordingly.
This Facebook memory popped up from January 19, 2015 – and it’s making me weep, and I just love it, so I’m gonna share it. Here’s to wearing our scars like stardust, our lives out-loud, and being women they name hurricanes after, and men, who yes, have climbed – and continue to climb – to the mountaintop. I toast you.
This is what I know
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
It’s not just a holiday.
It’s something enormous.
It’s about making a ruckus.
Putting your life on the line so other folks can stand tall.
It’s about giving a voice to the voiceless.
It’s about dignity & respect & integrity & courage.
It’s about decency.
It’s about making waves and riding those fucking waves.
It’s about brotherhood & sisterhood & and no, no, not the blood kind.
And so today, while I’m honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., I’m also gonna honor every single extraordinary, stunning, courageous African American man & woman whose backs we stand on – and don’t kid yourself, we do stand on their strong, glorious magnificent backs. They didn’t just stand up from shackles & slavery for segregation & apartheid, for civil & human & women’s rights for their own good, they stood up so that we – each of us – could have those freedoms.
Freedom of choice, freedom of speech.
Look at Rosa Parks. Look at Frederick Douglas. Look at Medger Evans. Look at Nelson Mandela. Look at Harriet Tubman & Sojourner Truth & Jackie Robinson & Jesse Owens & Paul Robeson & Fanny Hamer & Shirley Chisholm & Angela Davis & Marion Wright Edelman. Look at John Lewis. Look at Elijah Cummings. Look at Barack Obama & Michelle Obama.
My god…the list is endless.
Look at all the men & women whose music & songs & voices get us up on the dance floor – songs we sway to, make love to; look at the men & women whose words – books & plays & poetry – have stirred our souls, our lives so deeply, so profoundly; look at the men & women whose art has created revolutions & cultural change; look at the men & women whose films & television & documentaries make us wanna be better humans. And look at the men & women who play sports and get us up off our feet cheering, rooting for the home team.
Today is a day I’m gonna honor the limitless power of the human spirit, and to say thank you for making me know that massive courage, epic courage, comes from standing in front of fear & hate, and saying out fucking loud: please, step aside, I have a dream that I need to share, so others can dream.
Wear kindness today.
This is a really great story, so please, bear with me.
Back in December 2018 Lisa Sharkey (HarperCollins Publisher) reached out to me & asked if I would be interested in co-authoring a book on Love.
Lisa, for those who don’t know her, is a very passionate and enthusiastic and gloriously wonderful human being and publishing maven. Her passion is absolutely contagious.
She had followed me on FaceBook and we got to know each other and she loved how I loved – she loved how I wrote about love and you can’t get a better compliment than that. Harper’s had a bought a book idea called Old School Love from Rev Run of Run DMC fame.
Now here’s where I get to be really truly holy shit honest: I had no fucking idea who they were, I mean, yes, I had heard of Run DMC and more than likely I probably heard their music and yes, fuck yes, I did know ‘Walk This Way’ with Aerosmith, but I’m not a big Aerosmith fan – I’m a Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, Doobie Brothers, Garland Jeffries, Springsteen, Clapton, Ginger Baker, Commander Cody kinda rock n’ roll girl with a huge massive love for soul music and a huge massive love for Laura Nyro and Carole King and Joni and Carly and Pat Benatar… and Ricki Lee Jones – gimme girl groups & soul and Rock n’ Roll and I’m gonna dance and sway and make-believe that I’m one of the back-up singers.
I’ll give you Eminem.
I like him.
So, a meeting was set up. Me and Rev Run and Justine Simmons to see if we get along if this is a good match. And just to be on the safe side, I watched a YouTube of Walk This Way, and Run DMC getting inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of fame.
I go to Jersey to meet them at their house and I get lost, driving around a town I have never been to and all the time I’m thinking: don’t bullshit, don’t pretend, don’t say you love Rap music… just be you, Amy.
Just be you.
I finally get to his gorgeous home a few minutes late and he greets me at the door.
Rev Run takes one look at me and tells me I’m an angel.
Those were his exact words: “You are an angel. God sent you to me. You are an angel from God. I know it. I know it. God sent you and you are an angel, and you look like an angel.”
And I said: I’m an angel who doesn’t know a whole lot about Rap but I know a whole lot about love.
He was beaming.
And that was the beginning of our working together, co-authoring this book called Old School Love.
I brought Ken with me a few times and they all fell crazy nuts for each other – instant love. Rev even named him Rev Ken and on one occasion when Ken wasn’t feeling well at their house, they took amazing care of him. Amazing care.
I learned a lot about Rap Music, I learned about faith from Rev and Justine’s amazing passion and commitment to their God, and I learned that while I knew a whole lot about love, there was room in my life to learn much more.
My heart grew – expanded – working on this book with them.
Rev and Justine are going out on tour with the book in two weeks – they’re gonna be on talk shows and radio shows and signing books all over the country, and I’m as proud as can be to have shared many many days and many many meals and many many stories with them.
I know you all love me and appreciate me and you come by here on my page and you root me on every single day without fail.
Please, root them on, would ya, and cheer them on and go to their book signings if they’re in your town and catch them on TV and know – just know – that they’re out in the world spreading their old school love and it’s a beautiful thing to witness.
There is always one crazy-ass broad who decides to take me into the ring & tries to pummel me in three rounds – this one was about my post, she PM’d me and wrote: I’m just letting you know if Bernie isn’t the nominee I’m not voting for anyone. It’s Bernie or bust. I wrote back and asked her why she didn’t post that comment on the thread, she came back with: you think I wanna get my head handed to me? To which I wrote: If it’s Bernie or bust for you then you deserve to get your head handed to you. One more exchange and then Fuck You was my last response, and I unfriended her and blocked her. I have no idea who she was or is but what I do know is she despises trump and rants on & on about him.
You can’t rant on & on about trump and then say it’s Bernie or no one, or Biden or no one, or Amy or no one, or Warren or no one because then all your fucking ranting is for nothing – for no one.
This is not a fucking reality show. This is not season three of The Trumpano’s, this is not Survivor or The Housewives of DC. This is real fucking life and there is a real bad man sitting in the Oval Office, a man who once said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still get elected – this is a man who is shooting lies at us every single day, shooting his mouth off every single day, shooting fear into the crowds at his rallies, shooting hatred and cruelty into the streets and in his tweets; he’s a bully and his cult base spray Swastikas on subway cars in NYC, defacing synagogues and churches and carrying tiki torches and AR-15’s because they are willing to march into hell for him.
Hold your nose if you have to, wear fucking gloves if you don’t wanna touch that lever at the voting booth, but pull that lever you must come November because someone you may not be crazy nuts in-love with might just get the nomination and four more years of Trump Mobsters is un-fucking-acceptable.
Here’s the thing: when you say you’d never vote for Pete, or never vote for Warren or never vote for… Biden or Bernie or Amy… how about putting this in perspective: you’re not marrying any of these folks, you don’t even have to have a meal with any of them, all you have to do is remind yourself that what is at stake is humanity and decency and our democracy; this isn’t a dating site or a dating app – we’re already getting fucked every single day by a man millions & millions & millions of us wouldn’t let into our home unless he was wearing an ankle monitor AND accompanied by a Police chaperone; so, it’s simple: if we don’t unite & rally around saving our Country from thugs and conmen and white supremacists and white nationalists and anti-semites and the ugly blatant evil & hatred that is seeping into the very fabric of our daily lives we will die, maybe not all at once, but our hearts and our hope will start to atrophy and give way and I for one refuse to let that happen.
We just picked up Bella’s body from the Vet. They took her paw print & gave us a few gifts to remind us of her good love. We are sad & heartbroken but so very grateful that the humans who work at the hospital are filled with kindness & generosity & massive goodness. Bella died in her sleep; the Vet said she was sassy to the very end.
Twelve years ago we brought her home in a carrier case, today we bring her home in a box with her name & a heart engraved in magic marker; she was filled with magic & always brought us love.
I promised I wouldn’t share her name. Pinky swear. But I received this email this morning & she wanted me to share this letter on Facebook and so I will, and yes, it can be shared.
I sat in a corner and you brought me coffee and asked me if I wanted sugar or sweetener to go with it. Milk, you asked? I shook my head, no. You touched, not grabbed, you touched my hand and gently squeezed it and you said these words: you are safe here, I promise. I sat and I listened as the group of women, thirteen women I believe, shared stories that seemed far worse than my story. I told you that my story was stuck in my throat, you whispered in my ear: I think it’s stuck in many parts of your body. Again, you were so kind, so compassionate, so loving. Where do you get that compassion? Someday you’ll tell me. You asked me if I wanted to read. I shook my head, no. We broke for a few minutes and while everyone wandered about, I stayed in the corner. Trying. Crying. Sobbing. You stayed with me. You came over to me. I asked you if you would read what I had written aloud because I knew I would choke and cry and not be able to. You skimmed the piece and your eyes welled up and you gave me the greatest hug I ever got from anyone in my entire life. I felt like your hug put all the loose and broken pieces of me back together and then your eyes, your gorgeous penetrating eyes, you looked right into me and at me and said, yes, I will read this for you. You asked me to sit next to you so you could hold my hand, a gesture that felt like a life jacket and the women came back into the room and I sat down next to you and you read the words that were on the lined paper that I had written, that I was so afraid to write and as you read the words I could feel my life coming back to me. I don’t think I can ever thank you enough for that day and the days that followed that you kept in touch and then completely unexpectedly you sent me back the money from the workshop with a handwritten note saying please buy yourself something wonderful or take yourself for a grand epic dinner (I love how you use the word epic even for a meal) or get a spa treatment. You changed my life. No, really, you changed my entire life. Your heart and your compassion and your truth and I can go on. I am able to reclaim my life now because you told me I was brave and beautiful and ‘sexy as all get out’ and I wasn’t feeling any of those things for so long. I stood behind a wall of women at the courthouse this week and I could feel you holding my back up.
Thank you for being that woman, that woman you put out into the world every single day, so real and so true.
Sending you sisterhood love,
I’m gonna leave you with this.
Sick as a fucking dog, no seriously, I can barely lift my head, this flu & the coughing & laryngitis – I sound like Brenda Vaccaro – has left me somewhat debilitated, not fully, just a bit. And truth be told, a few folks down here are suffering from the same flu/cold. Must be traveling around the country.
And while I still have you where did ‘sick as a dog’ come from? Why sick as a dog?
As always, I digress.
So, here I am in Paradise. Seriously: paradise.
A small sexy hotel: houses & cottages and a very groovy tiki bar and a great farm-to-table restaurant and a swell spa all stretched out on the luscious beach. Ken’s forever birthday get-a-way.
The ocean this evening – pounding, whipping waves, high tide.
The most ferocious the ocean had been, they said, the owners said.
I sat on the end of the dock – dangling my feet – and watched and witnessed as the waves pounded and twirled and climbed and soaked me and retreated and pounded and twirled and soaked me and climbed and swept in and holy shit the ferocity and the power and the relentlessness and the unabashed and the undeterred and the sheer beauty the shear glory the sheer audacity, the fierceness and the connection and the magnificence, the boldness and the perfect rhythm – nothing could stop the magnificence of the waves. rolling together.
We are those waves, you know.
We are that fucking fierce and that powerful and that relentless and that audacious and that stunning and that ferocious and that determined and that glorious and that bold… and yes, fuck yes let’s remove the vile ugly mean vicious conman liar bullyman squatter from the White House, OUR house.
Let’s make sure the likes of him – his ilk – leaves & never returns.
We can do this.
Lounging here in gorgeous Jamaica at a real groovy joint hotel – Jakes – where we are now considered family because, well, six years in a row – and between Bella dying and waking up with a horrific cold/flu, I’m just letting all of this crap sickness go through me. Water is healing.
Folks here are taking good care of me; bringing me all kinds of concoctions – herbs – to ease the coughing & phlegm.
Folks here are taking good care of me; bringing me all kinds of concoctions – herbs – to ease the coughing & phlegm.
Being so loved helps the healing.
Life is fragile, don’t kid yourself. It’s fragile and messy and complicated and magnificent and all of the shit and pain and suffering we go through is to understand another heart, other hearts. To have empathy. To have compassion. All the struggles, the climbing up massive fucking hills and mountains and digging our way out of tunnels is what makes us so fucking extraordinary and brave and courageous. All the no’s that got us to that one yes and that one yes always seems so fucking perfect. All the rejection that brings us the right human who brushes the hair out of our eyes, who holds us up, who has our back – who loves us the way we hoped & prayed & wished to be loved … all the times we wanted to give up because some fool said we weren’t good enough or worthy and then we decide to ditch that advice & all that bullshit and prove just how fucking enough we are; all the times we wept by a phone waiting for it to ring only to find out the human we were waiting for wasn’t good enough for us anyway. All the times we were this close, this close to tossing our work into a pile and the phone rang or a letter came or a text came filled with praise that lifted our spirits and made us believe in magic.
Even in my heightened flu-ish state, I believe we are powerful beyond belief, we are more glorious & more extraordinary than we even imagine; we are magnificent creatures capable of anything & everything we set our minds to.
Set your minds to epic and bold and audacious.
Ignore the naysayers, ignore the haters, ignore the bad press, ignore the folks who want you to be unhappy because they’re unhappy; ignore the folks who keep you small, ignore the folks who don’t include you or acknowledge you. Ignore the folks who make you feel like shit. They’re not worth your time or the privilege of you.
Life is messy, fucking messy, and where I’m sitting right now, messy is mighty stunning.
Trust me, when the sun hits – shines down on all the pieces that are you – the broken, edgy, flawed, cracked, ripped, frayed, sharp pieces that are you, there is nothing more breathtaking.
This is so worth re-posting because
A) we’re down in Jamaica, and
B) it’s one of my all-time favorite posts ever.
Okay, so, here I am in Jamaica for a week. It’s one of those: take me away Calgon experiences. Down to a little bird that chirps whenever I do something a bit out of the box. By out of the box I mean drinking frou-frou drinks (I’m a white wine girl), getting wet sand stuck between my toes (contrary to all & any rumors, I’m not a beach girl, although I am a sunset/sunrise over the beach girl) & putting on a bathing suit, and by bathing suit, I mean a black one-piece with white piping.
Before you go all WTF on me – hear me out.
Years & years ago I was thin & lean & slinky and I would wear mini skirts & thigh high boots & high heels & little white V-neck t’s with great pizzazz (and no, had nothing to do with my (one) topless dancing experience) and I would strut with the best of them. I was filled with an energy sorta kinda like an ever-ready-battery. I also smoked a pack a day. That & coffee kept me going & thin. And then I gave up smoking and menopause hit like a ton of fucking bricks and depression set in. I traded in sexy black Levi jeans for long, black comfy sweaters & Eileen Fisher. Thigh-high boots & heels for my old reliable Frye boots, sexy white Barneys NY V-neck’s for Hanes v-neck’s, and truth be told, I sorta kinda – okay, most definitely – cocooned. And by cocoon I mean I drank tons of coffee, wishing I had one or two packs of Newports stashed away, stayed home & mostly sat at my desk or on the couch or in bed writing. Day in and day out.
Or more honestly, making believe I was writing.
The sitting part I can’t make up.
And my lean, slinky, thin body grew. Expanded. And then one day I went to Woodbury Commons to buy a bathing suit for yes, vacations/holidays/celebrations like these, and I had a complete & utter meltdown in the dressing room. Holy shit, where the fuck did my body go I asked out-loud – or maybe I was wailing – as if the salesgirl would be able to find it and bring it back to me.
And now. Here. Jamaica. The bird.
I’m watching as a woman struts down to the pool. She’s a large woman, and by large, I mean large. And she is filled with pure absolute joy. Not fake joy. Not bullshit joy. Not, ‘I just smoked a joint and i don’t feel any pain’ joy. A pure absolute joy. And I’m watching some of the men looking over at her, and a few of the women looking over at her, and one or two kids looking over at her, and some of the staff looking over at her, and she takes off her beach cover-up and BOOM: she is a full-bodied, magnificent, big, gorgeous woman. She’s wearing a turquoise one piece. Not a color I would choose, but, hey, we all have our fashion causalities. She eases herself into the pool and disappears under the water and then comes back up & shakes her short hair, and it’s just like a commercial, except this woman is fucking real. And by real I mean no airbrushing, no slimming down, no faux-removal of cellulite, and all I keep thinking as i watch her: I wanna be her. She’s confident & sexy & gorgeous and she owns her body. Owns her beauty and maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t like the color of her bathing suit, but no one would know that. And I went into my room, and slipped on the black with white piping one piece and went down to the pool and eased myself into the water. And I understood with every fiber in my being that sexy has nothing to do with weight.
I’m finding – reclaiming – my sexy in Jamaica.
Thanks to a woman whose name I may never know, and a little bird who thinks I’m the cats fucking meow.
Many of you know about iken, myKen through me, my eyes, my words. What you may not see or feel or witness is his gorgeous pounding luscious delicious sexy heart. It is such a grand heart, filled to the brim with goodness & generosity & a deep love for what is right. He has witnessed so much in his 79 years beginning with the sadness & pain & humiliation of his mother at the hands of her husband, his father. He – Ken – wanted so badly to help her, save her often; to be the hero, the superman, the guy who came in and swept his mom away from all the bad nasty, cruel moments. But very often he would just hide, or cower, he was, after all, a little tiny boy. But as he told me one day, “I was glad that I wanted to save her, help her when he was mean, I was glad I even thought like that.” He did once get in the middle and the push he got and the fall he took is what he mostly remembers. He swore & promised himself that he would never be like his dad, and I can tell you straight up, balls-out, that he has kept that promise tenfold. He sure did. He learned who he didn’t want to be through his dad’s example. He chose to be the opposite of that. He cultivated a deep & glorious admiration for women & girls. He is a champion for all & everything women-centric. He even helped create a ballet company in NYC – New York Theatre Ballet – (many, many years ago) with his delightful & brilliant ex-wife (she was a ballerina) for underprivileged boys & girls so they could learn the beauty & power of dance. He is a true blue friend and mentor. He raised many folks up in the film business & he did it without even realizing it. He just, you know, showed up with a desire to make the best films and wanted all the folks he worked with to be oh so proud of the work they were doing. Mentoring came as an accident. Truthfully, it’s not really his thing, but he’s just so fucking good at it, you hardly even know he’s given you an opportunity that will change your life forever. He’s a grand cheerleader. He’s subtle and loves watching folks rise up. Boy, does he love watching folks rise up – it brings him immense joy. He hasn’t always been the very best guy or the best human or the best husband (I am number 3 after all) and he can be as imperfect as they next imperfectly perfect creature. he’s not always good with money, but what he lacks in funds he makes up for in kindness & goodness. He despises injustice, any and all kinds of injustice. He’s a silent activist, but an activist all the same. He is a gardener, a nester, a home builder, a fire maker and yes, a retired cameraman. He has made some gorgeous films in his lifetime and I know he has tremendous pride for being able to have done that.
He has lived and worn his life well.
So today is his day, his 79th year on this planet, his birthday.
I will make sure that it is filled with beauty, kindness, love, good food, many hugs, massive kisses, much appreciation, a massage, and my personal favorite: a wish for 79 more.
It’s on days like this when I know – I just fucking know – that forever isn’t long enough, but hey a girl can dream, and I am convinced – thoroughly convinced – that I possess some very sexy & powerful magic.
Thank you all from the b bottom of my heart for loving & appreciating myKen iKen.
It means the world to me.
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
– written by the Ocean, the Ocean which no doubt – no doubt – is filled with many human tears:
My greatest fear was that her biological mother would come looking for her, come back for her.
She was a sexy tough feisty sassy smart little pussy.
She would sit & look up at us – staring – with those gorgeous eyes of hers and she would purr as if to say: hold me love me feed me pet me. Gimme me. And don’t be stingy. Don’t be fucking stingy, fill the bowl. She stayed with Ken through his surgeries, two knees, and one ankle – she literally velcroed herself to him for six weeks. She was his girl on those days, taking care of him. She weathered some bad bad storms – literally & figuratively – a few major snowstorms and Quinn, a storm that rocked the East Coast, taking down most of the trees in our area and decimating our parks; and then two days later her best friend & partner Lotus died suddenly; she grieved & mourned Lotus, and we took Bella to the Hotel Fauchere for 4 nights because we had no power and it was there, in a gorgeous room filled with sunlight and two brand new kitty bowls, that she started to heal herself, and yes, she even wrote a review for the hotel. When we brought Molly into our lives, into the house, she treated her as an intruder for a bit and then she slowly & gradually grew to trust her and love her – letting Molly take care of her. No doubt, Molly is now mourning the death of her friend & confidante.
Bella was brave & beautiful and never settled for anything. Not food or humans. She was not a hunter. I like to think of her as a humane feline. She would play with mice, push ’em around and toss ’em a bit, but she never killed them. Never. Unusual, I know. I know. But that was Bella. She was named after Bella Abzug because, well, she was one fierce as all fuck kitty chick.
And she loved us mightily.
And we loved her mightily.
She was our baby girl.
Friday, January 3, 2020
Please share your abortion story here.
Let’s make sure Roe V Wade does not get overturned, and please please… let’s make sure that Planned Parenthood is not called a SLAUGHTERHOUSE.
My bad choice – my god awful choice – was the boy I slept with when I was 15 who left me high & dry. Yes, 15, and pregnant, and he wanted nothing to do with me. An abortion saved my life.
Thursday, January 2, 2020
We can never run out of courage.
It’s unlimited and for many of us, most of us, courage requires a rooting section – a cheering section – plus a ton of fucking practice because it is always, undoubtedly, accompanied by fear, and sometimes – not always – crippling fear and horrific guilt and yes, unbearable shame.
Courage comes from pushing, with both hands and both feet and sometimes a shove so hard the earth shakes – pushing all that shit – all that fear & guilt & shame – aside; and courage comes from folks championing us, supporting us, loving us.
So, let’s root for each other.
Champion each other.
Lift each other.
Encourage and inspire and hold each other fucking tight; love each other good.
Courage and goodness and empathy, these are all life accessories that we own, they are ours for the taking. We get to try them on and wear them when times are tough, hard, brutal, unbearable – holy motherfucker unkind.
So, you and you and you over there in the corner and you and you and you…and yes you hiding behind the computer screen, and you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you… and you gorgeous creature you… you are all filled with mighty courage; gorgeous boundless unlimited sexy-as-all-get-out courage.
Wear your scars like stardust.
WE are the people, and WE are extraordinary, and WE will not be quiet.
(Thank you Diana Hartman for posting the original and giving me the opportunity to tweak this just a bit. Thank you so much, my friend!)
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Five years ago I held a two-day writing workshop in NYC, there were 18 women in the room; many were not writers, most had a story they needed to share, spill. Stories we kept tucked away. Deep in. In the back of a drawer next to stale cigarettes. Out of shame and guilt and fear. We all became friends, sisters. Secrets were spilled. We made sure we would protect each other. Pinky swear. Some of the stories were harrowing and god fucking awful, some were sweet and lovely – so very heartwarming and some were devastating to the core and bone and so fucking chilling.
Some stories were going into memoirs, some were going into anthologies, some were being tucked away.
One was a story about a sexual predator.
A famous man.
A name was not mentioned, but the story was familiar. She wept & wept & wept while reading it aloud, and we cheered her on; we cheered her on.
She gave us courage.
We gave her courage.
That story, her story, is one of the stories that brought down Harvey Weinstein.
His trial begins on the 6th.
I will be forever grateful that she felt safe enough to share her words with us, in that room, in my workshop.
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Here’s my New Years’ resolution, and I never make a New Years’ resolution but this year… this year:
We women need to stop being full of shit when it comes to other women who we love & admire – who we claim are our friends. And by not being full of shit, I mean: we need to protect and stand up for the women we love, who love us.
If you hear a woman talking bad about a friend of yours: STOP HER IN HER TRACKS.
If you hear someone say something awful about a woman you love & admire: STOP HER or HIM.
If you witness a woman denigrating a woman who has supported you, loved you, championed you: STOP THE DENIGRATION.
The only way we will ever be trusted is if we stop the bullshit said and perpetuated about women we like and love; stand up for those women, defend those women, hold those women in the highest esteem.
Be the woman who stops another woman from saying awful shit about a woman you like & love; a woman who has been a friend to you; who has supported you, loved you, stood up for you.
Be THAT woman.