The Proof

I don’t know how this is going to come out. I’m not sure what I’m going to say. I’ve been holding back. I haven’t been honest. What is this story about? The truth, just the truth, no matter what it says. So I keep telling myself.

Here’s one truth I know: I am ashamed of grieving and hurting on a public forum, yet here I am again. I shrink, want to vomit and think of myself as pathetic when I look back at some of the things I’ve written over the years.

But I also know it was/is necessary.

However, doing so—baring my chapped ass–is also what has prevented me from writing about my current relationship (until now). Yes, I have found love again. I didn’t write about it in the early stages because I was afraid. I already felt like such a fool for having yet another failed relationship—and writing about it–that I didn’t want to make myself vulnerable again. I wanted to wait until I had proof that it was going to last. You hear me? I wanted proof. Hmm.


We just got to truth 2. I also didn’t want my ex to hear about my happiness. I wanted her to suffer. I #thought she would agonize more about our breakup if she thought I was miserable. Wow. Now that is demented, and egotistical. Even I surprise myself with my own sickness. As if I was that important and powerful. That was just a low way of trying to hurt her. That was a classic example of what she used to call my tactics of manipulation, “Going in the backdoor.”

But I have compassion for myself. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time. I only know this in retrospect. Which also means I’m aware of my behavior and thereby able to make changes.

Quick history, it’s all in the blog if you want more: {I had a lot riding on my past relationship. I ended my marriage with my children’s father to be with her (she was the spark I needed to cremate the dead, but still, there was guilt, on both our parts.) By God, this shit better work, but it didn’t. And if that wasn’t enough, it was my first real girl-on-girl relationship. The stakes were high. Truth 3. I felt like I had something to prove which is why it probably lasted as long as it did, my guilt was like a cruel set handcuffs.}

And then life happened: A divorce, a move, an ex-husband, the stress of raising children alone; and the resurgence of my childhood memories, and the carnage of my innocence. I was still who I am–queer or straight–my problems followed me into the relationship and I couldn’t stop the flow of their destruction. Four years later it ended.

I spent the next eight months bruised, grieving and reeling from the breakup; and writing about my experience until one day I stopped.

(Cue the Texan)

I knew something the day we met. The first time I saw her, she was walking towards me, hot asphalt, slow motion, sun glasses, boots, and I thought to myself, oh no, here we go again. My ribs ached. It was home at first sight. She felt familiar, my next opportunity for growth. Fuck yeah, just what I needed, another reason to hurt. No, thank you.

But I stayed for the fun of it, the intrigue. It wasn’t supposed to last very long. I just wanted to be entertained. She quickly became the funniest person I had ever met, she had this way of making fun of me in a way that made me see myself as adorable. I don’t think she expected much more out of the situation either. She later confessed that she had a nickname she called me when talking to her guy friends. I had my own name for her, too, boy-toy. She was my boy-toy. (I almost feel guilty about calling her that, almost.)

Besides amusing each other we also found that we shared something in common, grief. We were both still grieving our past relationships; and we had both lost other people in our lives too, over the year. We bonded over our shared experiences. She was actually someone I could date and talk to about my lost-love, depression and human-errors. I held nothing back because I didn’t know that I was falling for her. I was still convinced that we weren’t going anywhere that we were just for play.

However, that was not the plan. Something happened between us. We accepted each other as is, at our worst, like dented cans, and decided that we could possibly become better people together. That was a year and a half ago.

Which brings me to today and the real reason, truth 4. Why I’m writing. I’m not writing to impress you with our awkward love story,but eventually I will, or to turn you on, although that is fun, but what I really have to say must wait.



Posted in change, crossing boundaries, Divorce, grief, growth, in love with a woman, Lesbian, Lesbian Marriage, love, painful childhood memories | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ways Of Love

I don’t know about you but I have a hard time accepting love. I don’t trust it. People give and receive love in all sorts of ways, and people take their love away, be it an hour at a time or for forever, either way it can vanish. I’m suspicious of it. I have to look closely for love when it’s not given to me the way I want it. I want love to be tangible and secure. This is impossible. Love can’t be held, I can’t manipulate it in my hands, it has no form and yet it’s strong. I am not comfortable knowing that I can’t possess it, I can’t control it or find a way to keep myself safe.

A friend told me, “Love people and trust God.”

Hmm. Hold that thought.

So this has me thinking about my mother. When I was ten she told me, in her third person version and baby pout, “Shannon, Momma’s going to have a baaaby. Isn’t this wonderful?” Her eyes were wild, fake smile.

No, this was not good news to me at the time.

She became pregnant with my middle sister from a different father. Even from a child’s perspective the relationship was anything but healthy. He was never home and when he was they were always fighting. There were many tears, moans in the night and of course, bags of cocaine and bottles of blue pills. The extreme ups and the low downs.

She cleaned up (a little,) for a while during and after the pregnancy. She didn’t seek help from a mental health facility or from a support group but what she did find was Jesus. And Satan. (She was really afraid of that guy.)

She loved watching the charismatic Jimmy Swaggart; the crying sweat-drenched Jesus lover; and The Baker’s, the notorious evangelical couple from the 80’s. (TV ministry became almost as big as MTV during that decade; those guys were like mega-stars on the Christian Circuit, famous and tight with the banks.)

I would often come home from school to find her anointing the corners of our house with demon-repellent oil she had received from mail order, or praying over rice packets in a—what I considered to be a made up—foreign language, she and her people called, “Speaking in tongue.”
(Still to this day I don’t know what the rice packets symbolized, but Tammy Faye told her from the screen-of the thick and bulbous television set-that she needed them, she listened. She bought everything they were selling, from potions and cassette tapes to books.)

My mother became as addicted to religion as any heroin addict was to their needle. It was scary. She would hit me in the forward with the palm of her to “Rebuke Satan” when I was doing something unsavory. She learned about this parenting tactic from the preacher man himself. Needless to say I wasn’t buying it. Even at eleven I could see through it, but in a weird way it did help her some. She was more functional. She was cleaning the house and waving at the neighbors. I was hesitant.

There was still a lot of crying and cover girl running down her face. She had the same frosted, big hot-rolled hair as Tammy and wore thick clumps of mascara. She talked out loud to Jesus, non-stop. I felt put upon and still burdened by her problems. I was held captive by her constant neediness of her Savior. When she talked to him I felt like my life force was being drained, like I was supposed to rescue her but I couldn’t.

I hated her for this.

I hated her for everything she said in front of me.

During this time she tried to do a better job loving me but I couldn’t accept it. By that time I already had an imprint of her, an impression that she wasn’t to be trusted. I had developed fears and coping mechanisms of my own. I was just as incapable of receiving her as she was of giving me what I needed.

This doesn’t mean that she didn’t love me and that I didn’t love her, we just couldn’t find our way to each other. She loved me all along, from the time I grew in her belly to infinity, but God I felt so betrayed by her. I couldn’t feel her love through the sickness of addiction, and I couldn’t hear it through the words of her religion.

So I too became sick with an illness that I’m still healing from today.
I created an idea of love in my head. I knew what it looked like. How it should feel. And I refused anything that wasn’t what I thought it should be; I wanted proof, empirical evidence of love.

For me that meant all of my insecurities would disappear, that the missing attachment void would be mended by that one human connection. In sum, I have been waiting to go back to my childhood to be loved again. I’ve hoped for a second chance.

But I’m still waiting.

So in the meantime I put my trust in people and lacked faith in God, or for me, love.

When I put all my faith in people I am disappointed, and when I don’t trust God, or the flow of love, or waves of life, the uncertainty feels terrifying.

My fears around lack of love and wanting to own it and pin it down are the side effects of my disease and I have the cure.

The one and only love I can touch, hold, and control is the love that’s inside, the part of me that is connected to the source. I have to give myself another childhood, re-parent myself in a satisfying way.

I have to grab my own little cherub face, holding my own gaze and tell myself all the things I longed to here like:

Oh Dear Sweet Shannon,

I am so sorry you didn’t get what you needed darlin but I am here for you now. I love you so much, sweetheart, more than you’ll ever know, more than you’ll ever need or desire. You are such a treat to this world. You make me so proud. You are a bright spirit in our lives and I am eternally grateful for you. My love for you will never die, it can’t be taken away because we are one and can’t be separated, know this baby, know this in the depths of your soul and the corners of your heart. I love you then, now and always, you are never alone.

Healing, this is what healing looks and feels like.

Do you remember what my friend said, “Love people and Trust God?”

When I trust life, my path, I have an easier time loving people even if that means I don’t understand their love, and when if it feels like their love leaves when they exit my life. Trusting in love means believing love never really goes away. It may blur or be taken away but that doesn’t mean it’s gone or never existed. Knowing this makes it easier for me to give and receive love.

Loving, for me, is a practice.



Posted in addicition, Affliction, Alanon, alcoholism, Breaking Patterns, Child-birth, Confidence, Core Wounds, God, grief, Groans, Healing, Heartburn, hope, Jesus, loss, love, Mending A Broken Heart, painful childhood memories, parenting, The Universe, Unconditional love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Come To Me

I want the words to come. I don’t know how to make them take shape to form what I’m trying to say. I want them to be good, impressive even. I need you to think I’m interesting, that I have something to offer.

And this is a problem.

Your opinion of me is more important to me than my own feelings about myself.

And this too is an unfortunate situation.

These thoughts have prevented me from writing. I’ve been too afraid to fail. When I’m silent I’m safe. When I write I feel exposed like raw meat on display.

I fear your silence. I await your response. I have stage fright. I’m so insecure. Don’t you see it? I try hiding behind pictures, vague gestures, and made-up words to make myself sound smart, profound and enlightened, when really I’m just shame-filled and full of self-doubt.

I hesitate to post on social media. What if I don’t get any “likes”? What will that say about me? What if I only get twelve but my beautiful “friend” gets forty-three? Or what if my smart friend gets sixty-seven? Where does that leave me? Well, Unloved, unimportant and of course, un-liked, right? You can see right through me, so I stay quiet.

I don’t engage.

Jealousy, envy and suspicion are the most disgusting and repulsive of all my lesser qualities. My friend told me, “ I once had an ex-girlfriend who said she would rather vomit than feel the pangs of jealousy. It’s that gross.”

I look through the pages and posts and feel the sickness rising with thoughts like, she’s so lucky, she doesn’t have to work, and Why does she get to drive a nice car? I point out our differences, she’s funnier than I, and that one over there, her body is more cut than mine, and Oh and what about her? Her words more poetic, her politics more defined. And yes, yes, yes, that mom, she’s got it together, but I’m just an amateur, a poser; a forgettable fuck, a master of nothing. I don’t stand out, so I stand still.



There is more to this story.

This is complete horse shit, fresh horse shit I tell you, steaming, thick and from the bowels.

This stuff isn’t true; it’s the waste of my mind. It’s everything I’m discarding. It’s not the light of my being; it’s the devil’s manipulation, the thoughts and fears that pull me away from my highest self. It’s the seductress that calls my name with her ovulating-wet-urgency, “ My sweet, come, be my victim. I will give you something important.”

Oohh, it’s so alluring. It tells me that being and feeling less than somehow gives me a warped sense of worthiness. Do you get it?

So it looks like this: If I am a victim it means I’m something, hurt has to happen to something. It doesn’t happen to nothing. I feel alive, relevant and comfortable when I’m hurting. Did you read what I just wrote? Now that’s a hard-line, dick up. I don’t know how to feel lovable without the pain. This is a learned response. I didn’t get here on my own. Momma and Daddy raised me right. They didn’t mean to but it happened that way.

But fuck that noise.

I am a little dumpling now, always have been, just didn’t know how scrumptious I really was and I intend on continuing to grow in this cush space. Sometimes I forget how adorable and lovable I am, and how I don’t need anyone else to believe it to make it true.

I mean listen, just yesterday my girl-boyfriend told me she loves me because I ask questions she doesn’t have the answers to, now she meant this as a Texan style smart-ass comment, but it carried weight. I know I am an expert–to put it nicely–information gatherer. And today my children’s grandmother told me I must have been doing something right, that my children were well received everywhere they went while they stayed with her for a week. She said people commented on their manners and social-skills, (Which is hard for me to believe, you should see and hear these little heathens at the kitchen table. And the mouth on the little one sounds as bold and brazen as any precocious Disney-diva.)

So you see, I am indeed a little lamb chop in the window. I think the above said qualifiers are impressive. I feel proud that I’m able to ask hard questions. And I feel honored and humbled by my little minnows. They are by far the best of my positives.

I guess the words came to me, and I like what I had to say.

This is what I have to offer. I don’t feel safe anymore, but I am buzzing and bright. I have a smile on my face, and my eyes are smirking with a secret knowing that I did good work.

Smooch, SJ

Posted in Affliction, Authentic Self, Awareness, Confidence, crafts, crossing boundaries, love, painful childhood memories, parenting, writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

One With You

I once dated someone who didn’t agree with gay marriage. She said, “Marriage isn’t for me. Why would I want to be part of something that doesn’t recognize me anyway? Marriage is for straight people. I don’t need to join an institution that doesn’t want me.” She felt separate.

This just didn’t make any sense to me. It was like saying, “Oh, at one point society didn’t want women to vote, so I just shouldn’t vote.”

To hell with that and back. I want it out of spite. If I accept my fate I’m just agreeing that my queer-love isn’t as important as the next. I want to be able to marry a woman because I want the same rights and freedoms as everyone else. Besides, I don’t like being told what to do–especially if I’m not hurting anyone–and on that note, I want to do it even more just because society tells me I can’t. I want it even if it’s not recognized as a legal. Don’t oppress me and expect me to stay down. I will always find a way.

Alabama tried to keep the gay away, but bravo, the Supreme Court uncorked the old girl, strong armed her into the present. Look out Georgia, Nebraska, and North Dakota, the Court is coming to pinch your tight asses next. But seriously people, I mean honestly, Alabama legalized “the freedom for ALL people to marry” before Georgia? I guess payback is hell. Georgia is going to get her’s. I suppose the insulated gay-friendly community within the city limits of Atlanta doesn’t speak for the state as a whole. I would love to shove a lipstick-gay marriage license in the face of the haters.

As it stands now, Georgia will be one of the last states to legalize–assuming it will eventually pass–which is sad.

(Take a look at the map to see where each state stands by clicking the link below.)

On principle alone I would move out of Georgia to a state that recognizes equal rights for all people if it weren’t for my children. Their father lives here so I have to stay put. My love for them is stronger than my conviction. This makes me think of the extreme sacrifices other women and men have made–most notably people of color (a term I just learned to use, I don’t like it, it feels,boozhee, but I’m working on being more sensitive) and of non-Christian religions–for their children, lovers, families, and even for their own safety.

Let me make one thing very clear: I’m not in ANY way suggesting my inability to marry can be compared to genocide or slavery. My life is not in danger, but at one point in time it might have had I been open about my sexuality. I’m speaking from my own–small in comparison–personal experience with discrimination, which causes me to question my attitudes and beliefs. I never really understood,in my heart–still don’t–the struggle of others. It is only through experience do I even begin to understand–in the most rudimentary ways–the suffering of others. And this is true with most other things in life. “Great Spirit, help me never judge another until I have walked in his moccasins.” (American Indian Proverb) I can’t possibly understand what another person is feeling unless I’ve been there myself, and even then I still don’t really know because I’m saturated in my own self-biases.

I’m a cute, middle-class, white girl. Before identifying as LBGT, I had never known or felt much discrimination, other than the more subtle, like the smell after rain, discrimination against women. It was something I had to pay attention to, this discrete truth needling through my life. It wasn’t overt, nor did it really, that I know of, prevent me from doing anything big like marrying. But here I stand today unable to marry. It feels weird, like I’m denying it to be true because I find it so ridiculous. I can’t believe it’s illegal for me to get married to another woman. Tell me why? No. Tell me the real down-home reason why? Wait, I think I know. The answer is FEAR. Why else would people be so opposed to it? Why else would anyone put so much time and energy worrying about the wedding vows of my vagina ?

I don’t have the freedom to get all fancied up in pumps and a tight dress and go down to the courthouse with my boy-toy and ask a judge in Atlanta for a certificate of marriage. I could pull out cash, legal proof of residency, and my 1099 from 2013 to prove that I had indeed paid taxes in the state of Georgia, but I would be rejected. My request would be denied because my boyfriend’s birth certificate says she’s a girl.

This is annoying to me. I’m not outraged, yet, but I’m not happy about it. I feel fortunate that I’m not in a position of having to marry someone because of healthcare laws or because I need to be considered immediate family with someone in a medical situation. This would be beyond painful. I don’t want to even go there, I don’t want to imagine would that would be like to have someone I love die without me because of discrimination.

And yet that happened in history and it’s still happening today, and worse. There are still people dying in this country because of racism and bigotry. I have no idea what it’s like to be under an extreme form of inequity. I can’t fairly judge the actions of those (like the rioters in Ferguson) people who are still under a gross form of disguised-repression. It’s impossible, all I can do is speculate what it’s like to be them.

I’m angry because I can’t get married?

Watch me if you kill my child as he says, “I can’t breathe.”

I would do the unthinkable. Others have and I don’t blame them.

But damn where I have a hard time finding compassion is for the oppressors and the racists; jaded gays, and my own narrow-minded family members. God it’s hard. But I If I don’t want to be judged, then how can I judge them? I have no idea what it’s like to be a racist. I can’t even begin to grasp the hearts of men with that much fear, shame and guilt. Their ignorance is to be pitied. And I have no concept of what it’s like to be a grudge-holding-gay, a gay from another time and place where it really wasn’t ok to be queer. I haven’t ever had to hide my sexual proclivities, nor was I ever made to feel shame or guilt because of them either. However, there is place in me that wonders how certain family members feel about me given their xenophobe attitudes.

This is hard to admit, but You know, in a disgusting place, in the risidual from my upbringing there is racism. It was bred in my being like mannerisms. It’s painful and embarrassing, old and outdated, but I sometimes catch myself engaging in rhetoric or thoughts based on prejudices. But I know better, and I make conscious decisions on a daily basis to overcome those learned tendencies. My soul knows the truth and the truth/love does’t keep us separate, it unites.

It’s a matter of choice. I choose to feel or think a certain way.

It is my highest spiritual aim to see and feel all people as equal, no matter. I may not be successful, but I try.

I’m flawed, oh fuck me I’m human. I still have my own prejudices, I’m not sure how to go about life without them other than by having more awareness. Or sometimes life does it for me. Now that I’m personally being exposed to a certain type of intolerance, I find it easier, more natural to be empathetic. I’m more thoughtful about the plight of other people.

The more I focus on my similarities with others the more I’m able to connect. This is true for my personal relationships as well. When I seek, with courage and exact honesty, to understand the position of another person I find we are more alike than different.

Difference is the enemy, sameness, the savior. I am the same as you, we are one, a marriage, a union of two becomes one, the union of humankind becomes one, when we search for the truth we find ourselves in each other. I want good things for myself, including equal rights, and I also want them for you. Anything I want I must also be wiling to give you. Anything I want to take from you I must also be willing to have removed from my life.

And this is how we become one: It’s a decision.

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Attention Whore

I want more.

I hear the dryer going off, one more load to fold. I can’t possibly let it sit there. It’s warm and soft and I need to touch it. It’s a solid distraction. I grab my bundle, thankful for the escape and start folding, noticing my girlfriend’s jeans and t-shirt in the mix. I fold them with a sense of pleasure remembering something she said. She told her guy friends, “Dating a mom has its perks, clean laundry just seems to appear when I stay at her house.” Smiling, thinking about the way she bragged made me feel satisfied. I take pride in my mad-laundry skills. And it pleases me knowing I’m a good caregiver. I don’t recognize how much of a “Domestic” I really am. I didn’t want this for myself. I wanted more out of life. I wanted adventure, life dripping with quality drama, rich with haunting sex, expensive entertainment, interesting creatures, exotic foods, and all things indulgent. In sum, I wanted a fantasy.

I press the pant legs of her jeans together smoothing them out and think about something else she said. Valentine’s Day night, wet skin, whispering to each other in the dark I told her, “I love you, and not just because you fuck me so well but because you make me laugh, and I love you for your mind and how you are with me.” And then I had to ask, “Tell me why you love me?” She rubbed my elbow and said, “I love you because you’re fun, and I love that you’re a good mom. It’s endearing.” This was surprising to me. For one, I never knew she saw me that way, and two, I’m always somewhat shocked when someone tells me I’m a good mom. Not because I think I’m a bad mom. I just forget it’s who I am. It’s my identity although I don’t own up to it very often. I don’t see myself as a mom’s mom. Why? See above.

I still see myself as a rebellious girl with a quixotic outlook. I think I’m unique in my weirdness, unwholesome and un-motherly in my tastes for the flavorful. That my inner-life (and the inner-life I share) don’t t align with car-pool and fabric softener. And yet I secretly (somewhere) enjoy knowing that I’m of high quality housewife and mothering material. I’m just a precocious little girl who grew up to be a complicated woman. I’m not special in my complication, I’m just more vocal about it, and possibly, I struggle with finding the balance more than others.

I fight to keep crazy alive. There’s no attention in the mundane. How will anyone ever notice me if I just give in to the complacency of being a domestic?
It’s not exciting. It’s not sexy or smart and it’s definitely not interesting. Yawn.
But ironically, it’s how I get noticed. Hmm.

(And what I want most out of life is to be noticed. That’s pathetic. But honestly, it’s the truth, has been since I was in the first grade. I even pretended not to be able to pronounce certain words just so my teacher would pull me in her lap and give me extra attention. Oh, I was such a sweet thing.)

So what do I do about this? How do I reconcile the life I have—domestic–and the life I think I want–attention grabber? You know, like the cliché of the phone-sex chick, the woman in her bathrobe and period-panties with a soft, dick-sucking voice. Can I be like her? Can I be who I am and what I want without losing myself? The answer is yes.

The two are not mutually exclusive. However, I’m not taking full advantage of all the ways I could be receiving validation. I’m not properly capitalizing on how I can get (You, the plural You) to notice me. I live my life as momma without giving myself enough credit for the legitimate job I do raising my minions, and I don’t allow myself to really get lost and write about the constant dramatic-mini-series dialoging in my head. It may seem like I do, but trust me, there is so much more I would love to be doing, hamming it up for you all, but I’m working on humility, you know as to receive more accolades for being such a humble and enlightened soul.

Let’s face it. I’m just a whore. Any and everything I do and don’t do are all motivated by that one driving force: attention. It’s the essence of my unsavory darkness. But fo sho ya’ll, that filthy whore part of my persona is alive and motivated; and like every Happy Hooker deep down she’s fighting for her life.

My inner slut is a liar. She’s a junkie and an addict, convincing, and so full of pain and need that she manipulates me into believing I’m a victim to get her fill. But I’m on to her. She uses my imagination as a band around my veins, exposing my shame and feelings of unworthiness, which is why she never gets enough. The story isn’t real.

Instead of directing my vast creative powers towards productive outlets, I often use them in negative ways that get me in trouble and cause a lot of emotional pain. My desire for fantasy and my addiction to being seen, plus my raw ingenuity are the perfect cast for acting out false and mostly fear-based scenarios I make-up and apply to my real life. In these scenes I’m the victim or the damsel in distress, and there’s always someone else to blame. In these stories I’m the protagonist, and each character that comes along becomes my antagonist. The faces and names change but their part remains the same. At some point in this redundant play I came to realize that the pain I was experiencing over and over again was familiar, and yet I was the only person who remained the same character as the set changed. I was the problem. Being the whore, in my greedy desire for recognition, even being noticed as such made me important.

What I’m trying to say here is this: I didn’t believe I was worthwhile and lovable on my own so I made up stories–for years, my entire life–that made me out to be the victim, because at least being the victim gave me my identity. I was important. You saw me because you hurt me. And if you hurt me well then that means you saw me. I meant something. There isn’t a perpetrator without a victim. I played a vital role, or so I thought.

However, now I know better, so in fact I have it all. I have the awareness of my inner-vixen, that she’s an illusion, and the reality of actually being a domestic-Goddess, of sorts. (I get to call myself this. I know where to find the missing socks.) This means I can sit home in my fresh sheets and clean underwear and harness the energy of the tramp to create all the drama, excitement, and made for phone sex-fun I want; and in the process I’m being noticed by the person who counts the most: I, I count the most. When I’m being real honest with myself I’m able to admit that the only way I’m content is when I’m creating a fantasy.

The best part about creating a false reality is that it doesn’t disrupt my real life. I have learned to value the black magic of homemaking; I know how to make people feel loved and cared for in my space. The foundation and structure of my life is grounded in mothering my children, they give me reason without searching, but yet I will go on inventing and crafting because I need attention. I may be more aware of who I am but I will always be me.

And I want more.

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The Consummation

She is already in my bed, body deep beneath the covers, stark hair against the pillow, interested eyes watching me. I undress down to skin.
I look at her, smile, and turn off the lamp. I have to ask her something but I don’t want her to see the bashful, yet, “I’m up to something” look on my face. I want my playful embarrassment, my nerve, my, “I’m going to ask you a question but if you tell me, “No” I’m going to figure out how to get around it–face” to be concealed.

But she sees me. And it’s (I think) one of the things she loves about me, my cunning innocence. To some it may come across as pure manipulation in the raw, but she knows better. She understands that it’s just who I am: a sincere charmer. And this is how we work. She’s charmed but not unarmed, she knows exactly how I operate and it seems, for now, to amuse her. And in this way she tells me “You’re so pretty.” When I’m playing naïve. And she tells me, “You pretend not to know how to do things. But you just choose not to.” Oh how this tickles me so. She lets me get away with things without really letting me get away with anything. And I can’t think of anything sexier.

I slink into bed next to her knowing full well that I’m about to deal a new game, hands reaching for her thigh, my body on-top, hands moving her knee to make room for mine. We are situated. I snuggle in for a second before I start combing through her hair, touching her face, I pause and say, “ I need to ask you something,” and let out a nervous little laugh. She smirks, unsurprised. “Let’s have it?”

My heart rate has increased, breath, a little shallow, I begin, “ So you know I’m a writer, right?” (As if this is something she may have forgotten.) Her eyes flicker, she’s on to me. “We’ve been dating for more than eight months and I’ve been very quiet about you, but it is time. I write about my life and you’re a big part of it. I want to write about you.” I’ve made her uncomfortable. Her hands are touching her face, it’s a dead give away. I’m squirming now, almost giggling, satisfied that I’ve made her nervous, yet also anxious that she might pronounce an absolute, “No!” So I wait, petting her, staring with my pleading eyes. But I’m impatient, “It won’t really be about you, it’s always about me.”

She growls, and then sort of sighs and moves around under me. “Do I get first rights?” I blink, not wanting that for a second. She recants. “Just write it. I don’t want to censor you.” I try soothing her, “I promise it’s about me, but you’re in the story. I don’t want to write about you without your permission?” But it’s a lie, oh I do, I want to write about her and she knows it. “ I won’t write about anything too personal. I’ll be respectful,” I say, as I flash her a hopeful look.
My standard for what’s personal tends to be a bit more lax, by definition, than others.

She says again, “Just write. I trust you. I’m not comfortable but I know I don’t really have a choice.” Grumbling she says, “You’ll just do it anyway calling it’ “Fiction.” I love her for this. She lets me be who I am and knows that I’ll do what I want (and with her, never have to apologize later,) which is why she has won my affection.

I laugh at her grumpiness with me, and the way she gives in, I kiss her round lips and smile, pleased with myself for a job well done. I roll off of her and onto my back, feeling like a couple of teenagers sticky from awkward sex. I am both proud of my performance and feel as though we had just consummated something very special.

It’s official, we’re going steady. I just wrote about her.

Posted in crossing boundaries | 2 Comments

A Cry For Help

I’m the loneliest girl in the world in the most dramatic sense. I’m looking over the ledge of a hotel room balcony, twenty-three floors up, night has taken the sky, the wind blows my hair across my face, I can taste it in my mouth. I want to be lifeless in my pretty dress. Whether real or imagined, it’s mine–the loneliness–to hold, examine, live with and accept. It comes from a story that sits in the shadows of my bedside like an old book, the pages tell me I’ve been disregarded, that I’m weightless and insignificant; the story is traumatic, but I keep reliving it because it feels important, it’s a demented concept of having value, negative attention is still attention.

(There’s something in me that wants to get up right now and run from this blog. I want to get out of my seat, grab some chocolate, put in the laundry, walk the house, do anything else but this, do anything other than sit with myself and all the noise. It’s chaotic in here-inside my head–it’s loud and painful, disgusting and embarrassing.)

I haven’t wanted to write. I’ve wanted to write. I’ve been ashamed. Friends have said, “You don’t have to publish everything you write.” But that isn’t the case for me. My ego (I) would never allow something to sit around unread, unseen. I get off–in a sick sort of way–on exploiting my private thoughts, there’s just some smooth satisfaction in it for me that comes from nothing else.(Again with the attention, I guess.) But I haven’t written because I needed to be strong enough first to give life to what’s been on my mind. I wasn’t able to by-pass my secrets by writing about something else. I need to write about this first before I can go any further.

I felt suicidal in late winter/early spring of 2014.

It was a dangerous blend, a transformative time of grief, pain, and a lack of vitamin D. I don’t suffer from clinical depression, like many others, however I did have situational depression along with seasonal depression.

It was at the tail-end of an uncharacteristic winter in Atlanta. It was colder, bleaker, and more storm-filled with ice and snow and wind and rain than any winter I can recall. And I was just the same. My insides felt like the weather outside, an internal freeze. Everything felt saturated with wet-bone-cold or solid like stubborn ice, including time. It seemed to last forever.

I was Miserable. I was still holding onto something that wasn’t good for me, clinging to an idea that never materialized. I wanted to reconcile with a former love but it didn’t happen, and once I realized that her desired communications with me was based on wanting a friendship it felt like losing her all over again. My pain was so great. I couldn’t bare anymore. I knew that any continued contact with her would be like an extreme form of emotional torture. I was that girl, the one I’ve always been, the girl who kept signing up for more suffering, yet blaming other people. I didn’t want to be her anymore. I had a choice. I could keep taking it or I could make a change. So I decided to stand for myself, and the way to do that was to block my ex from my life.

I went through great lengths, made a lot of changes, rearranged my life just to feel safe. She didn’t want to end the communications, but it was necessary for my emotional and mental health. She would send texts, “I want to talk to you.” And then the next day would apologize, saying, “I know these things take time.” Each and every single word was like a drop of acid eating away flesh from the damage. She couldn’t do anything right, like an extremity with gangrene, there was no blood supply between us, it needed to come off. I amputated it by cutting myself out of the situation.

But I wasn’t ready for what happened next. I never imagined the guttural sickness and literal heart-ache that came from having to deliberately remove myself from someone I loved so much. The most shocking thought was this: The person I love causes me so much pain that they can no longer be in my life in any capacity. And fuck me sideways that was a sobering thought. It was devastating and cruel and went against all logic, but all my smarts and wits could not reconcile this fact, and God did it hurt, it hurt so much but I didn’t have a choice.

I knew I was never going to heal and move on from this love if I didn’t protect myself from the injury of it in a significant way. I can remember being in bed at night and actually feeling my heart aching like the feel of any other pulled muscle. It was torn at the fibers and I could feel every pull for her but I knew within the deeper chambers that more of the same–an initial soothing, followed by the tearing wasn’t going to heal my whole heart. My connection to her was going to keep opening and closing the hole, and I just couldn’t do that to myself.

I went through withdrawals the way I assume an alcoholic or addict experiences them: I had a physical, mental, spiritual and an emotional desire to contact her, to get that one little hit but I knew it would only perpetuate the problem. As a friend said, “She can’t be the problem and the solution.” She was all I wanted. She was the last thing I needed. It went like that over and over again. And with it came a deeper level of awareness and a willful struggle with acceptance.

By admitting to myself and (really) understanding that having any communications with her wasn’t in my best interest somehow forced me to surrender, the acceptance of reality: It Was Over. I had never allowed myself to believe this before, and with it I was overcome by my grief and sadness.

The loss of her felt like a violent crime had been committed against my entire being. This feeling came on as spring approached, but winter still clung like old claws, bitter and fighting. The pain felt intolerable, the sky seemed like the grayness of God’s betrayal. I pleaded with God, “Why? And What is the lesson? And where is the sun?” I needed something.

I didn’t want to feel anymore. It had been with me for too long. I had lost ten pounds (which is a lot on my frame) from the sickness of grief. I had been cooped up in the house for months, a friend suddenly passed away in a tragic car accident, and then I caught a wicked virus that kept me in bed and weak for days. And that’s when I started having what a friend told me is called, “Suicidal Ideation,” concerns or thoughts about suicide.

I would imagine this dark, lovely, old-Hollywood-glam version of my suicide. Of course I was beautiful, because I’m still insecure even in death, my white dress was pressed just so against my wet body as I lay stretched out in the bathtub. My lips were made shiny and my hair fell like the feathers of a sparrow around my collar bone, soft, touchable and delicate. And then there was the water, a monochromatic rainbow of reds, the color deepening closer to my wrists.

But I knew better. I took this story to a few of my friends, knowing how ridiculous it sounded. It was my call for help. Whether or not I needed help, I needed help. It was my way of saying, “I’m scared. I’m scared shitless of my feelings.” And then a friend told me, “Yeah, you won’t be so beautiful after you die and shit the water.” We both laughed, this moment of truth and lightless broke my seriousness. But then she became serious again, looked me in the eye and asked, “Do I need to be worried about you?”

“No,” I said. “I go through this and (other hotel balcony stories) in my head and at the end I always see my children’s faces. I would never hurt them in that way. I would never leave them with that type of scar. They are what keep me going.” And this is where more pain and shame come in, that I could’ve even had suicidal thoughts but at times my pain felt unshakable. Even in those moments of weakness and despair I knew that if I really felt hopeless that I would get help. There were a few times I considered telling my children’s father that I needed help but that idea scared me straight. I never wanted to think about losing my kids. The thought of them always brought me back to sanity.

(I have always held a firm stance against being anything like my mother, or making some of the same parenting mistakes, (in my opinion) she made. I always felt like she put too much on me, or leaned on me too much for emotional support. She often brought her complex adult problems to my childhood, these were things I didn’t understand, which meant I didn’t have answers for her, I couldn’t make her better. My late grandmother, Maw-Maw, once told me, “Shannon, we never took you from your mother because you were the only thing she had. We were afraid of what she would’ve done without you. We could’t do that to her.”

I didn’t rely on my children for emotional support, nor did I give them my problems to solve, but they did give me strength, and a lot to love; and they did give me support even when I resisted it, and they did know what was going on because I don’t lie. I did my best to keep things at their level, and I tried my hardest not to lean on them too much. If I’m at fault of anything it’s pushing them away too much during this time as a way to protect them, but even that was wrong. Damn I tried, I tried to be as present with them as I could, and I worked on showing them the healthiest ways to deal with life.

During the nightmare of my sadness I kept my sights on those two little lights. They saved me, the way I saved my mother. I know how things occurred but I still have some guilt, I know it’s not real, it’s just fear of hurting them in some way.That even my grief injured them, but I know no matter how hard I try I will hurt them in some way. I’m human, it’s what I do, I inadvertently hurt the people I love. It’s almost too much to write about, but it’s important that I do since I’m resisting it, which by definition for me means it needs to be said. I’m also aware that I am doing my absolute best at every given turn. I make a deliberate and conscious effort every day of my life to be better than I was the day before. I tell you, I am worth fighting for, I am worth showing up as my best-self.

A friend said, “She learned how to love herself and forgave God,” and well, that sums it up. I’ve learned how to love myself and I have forgiven God. It was the turning the point.

It happened a few weeks into spring. I was twelve again (or so it seemed). I was home alone on my yoga mat kneeling on my forearms and knees, I was sobbing, wailing with my whole body, shaking. I pounded my fists on the ground and demanded of God, “Really? Is this really what you want for me? Why? You tell me why? Why did you take her from me? You better have a good reason. I am so angry. I want to die. I hate this feeling, please God, take it away. Take this from me. I can’t do it anymore. Fine. You must have a reason.” I cried hard, and then something happened. My tears changed shape.

I understood, it came to me, “Ohhhhh. I can’t give her any more of my attention because all of my love and attention needs to be right here, it’s for my children and me. This is why. This is why I’ve suffered so much. I’m learning how love myself.” I was laughing and crying, both tears of sadness, relief and surrender. I had finally let go and handed it over to God, and I had finally understood that sometimes doing the hardest, most painful thing can be the best thing for me.

I’ve it heard it said, “Courage is Fear that has said its prayers.” Unknown

“But in the end, one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.” Albert Camus

Thank you for reading.

With much love, humility and gratitude,


(Throughout this process a friend helped me see that I did’t really want to die, more so that there was a part of me that needed to die so that my whole-self could live. The part of me that needed to die was that particular “story”. But the real story continues, it just keeps changing.)

Posted in Affliction, crossing boundaries, Expectations, faith, Lesbian, Lesbian Break-up, Lesbian Partnership, Lesbian's and their Ex, loss, love, painful childhood memories, parenting, savior, second chances, Self-love, Self-talk, Starting over, sudden death, suicide, tragic death, Unconditional love, Wound Care | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment