Category Archives: four letter words

Fork, yeah!

thvtmdn5vdI swear. A lot. I didn’t always have a filthy mouth, but, once I started, I swore loudly and often (my parents were so proud). My favorite word started with an f and ended in a k. It wasn’t “fork”, but that’s the word I will use in this post, because I am trying to beat my addiction. I’ve even started a 12 step program. Hello, my name is Tracey, and I’m addicted to four letter words. Like most 12 step programs, the first step is admitting you have a problem and that you’re powerless to stop. The second step is to believe that a power greater than yourself can help you stop (Yeah, right. Even the power of parenthood couldn’t stop me. My daughter’s first sentence was “Bite me jackass”). The third step is…ummm..fuck if I know. Dammit. Back to day one. Hello, my name is Tracey, and I’m addicted to four letter words….

My husband hoped that becoming an accidental mother would change me. After all, mothers are sweet and kind, loving and gentle. Evidently I didn’t get the memo, because the only thing that changed was that I went from being a wife that swore to a mother with a dirty mouth. The good news is that, when people would “slip” and swear in front of my tweenager, she would just shrug and roll her eyes when they apologized (“I’ve heard worse”).

I know, I know, women shouldn’t swear/it’s not ladylike. TBH I don’t know what the big deal is. Studies have shown that swearing is good for you and reduces pain. Just recently I posted a popular FB meme as my status. I’ll share it here, ICYMI

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image courtesy of imgarcade.com

There are issues when you’re a woman who loves to swear. Nineteen of them have been identified by the awesome Erin La Rosa from Buzzfeed. Being far from “normal” (FYI normal is just a setting on the dryer), my issue wasn’t one of them. Using the “f-word” was cathartic at first, but, like most gateway drugs, one day it stopped giving me the rush I craved. I tried using other words, but they didn’t have the punch I needed. The logical next step in my progression (regression?) was to link them together in strange and unusual ways, but”I’ll see you next Tuesday you cat-faced mother forking son of a female dog” took too damn long. In searching for a new/better four letter word (one that will express my frustration with my current situation and the increasingly dark and dismaying world climate) I found the perfect word.

HOPE

(hōp)

v. hoped, hop·ing, hopes
v.intr.

1. To wish for a particular event that one considers possible: We are hoping for more financial support.
2. Archaic To have confidence; trust.
v.tr.

To desire and consider possible: I hope that you will join us for dinner. We hope to buy a house in the spring. See Synonyms at expect.

I’ve spoken about hope before. One of my first posts talked about losing and finding hope. the other one talked about fear and the power of Hope. When I picture Hope, I see a rare and delicate flower. It’s a fragile thing, easily lost and hard to find when life gets rough. The good news is that Hope is bioluminescent, allowing you to find it even on the darkest of nights. With a little love and a lot of TLC it will blossom, bloom and grow. I believe the best way to feed Hope is by sharing and spreading love, which is how I came up with an acronym –

Help

One

Person

Every

Day**

Look, it’s getting scary out there. It’s too much. Too much anger. Too much hate. Let’s see if there’s such a thing as too much love**. Hold the door for someone, share a smile, compliment a stranger. Be kind to each other. Play nicely in the sandbox.

And on those days where life beats you down and everyone is being an asshat, swear like a sailor like a woman who loves to curse. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

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image courtesy of gurl.com

 

I have a couple of questions (take out your #2 pencils):

  1. Do you swear, and (if so) what’s your favorite four letter word?
  2. What is your favorite story of hope?
  3. How do you “pay it forward“?

*Oops, that’s “HOPED” not “HOPE”. Dammit, I was hoping that this post would be perfect 😉

**there is, and it causes chafing, but that’s a topic for a different post

How to Adult

14322559_10208457641376300_3302490184261649212_n1 I don’t know what a dult is, or why anyone would want to be one, but welcome to lesson#1 of an occasional series

My coworker just insulted me. She called me a four letter word, and it pissed me off, but I’m pretty sure the HR director would laugh if I filed a complaint.

She said I was “nice”. If that’s not an insult, I don’t know what is.

I am not a nice girl. For one, at (mumbles quickly) years of age, I am no longer a “girl”, no matter how bad your vision or how low the lighting. And as far as “nice” goes, I am many things (smart, funny, sarcastic, cynical, bitchy and brutally honest*) but I am not nice, no matter what people say.

All of my life people have said “you’re so NICE”.  I’m usually quick to respond with “No, not really”.  What I am is polite. My mother was from the south, and it appears that her southern manners have rubbed off on me. She taught me how to behave in public – to be kind to strangers as well as friends, to say “please” and “thank you”, to hold doors open, and to respect my elders (yeah, that last one didn’t stick). I may know how to behave, but I have always been more Disney Villain than Disney Princess.

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image credit to Hayden Williams

I know what you’re thinking (I do. It’s because I’m psychic. Or psychotic. I always get those two confused) – what’s wrong with being nice? Let’s start by looking at the definition, from Miriam Webster:

adjective \ˈnīs\

Popularity: Top 40% of words

Simple Definition of nice

  1. giving pleasure or joy : good and enjoyable
  2. : attractive or of good quality
  1. : kind, polite, and friendly

adjective po·lite \pə-ˈlīt\

There are, obviously, worse things to be called (I’ve been called those things too, usually by people who have issues with strong, independent, opinionated women). I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with being “nice”. What bothers me is the fact that being kind and polite has become so rare that people assume that someone exhibiting those qualities is a nice person**. I am not one of them. I’ve met some genuinely nice people – their kindness is not tinged with any sarcasm or cynicism. It’s weird.

Over the past week (hell, over the past year) it’s become apparent that we need to be kind. We need to treat each other with, at the very least, respect and dignity. We need to stop focusing on our differences and find some commonalities. We need to be less angry and more forgiving. We need to be nice to each other.

Yeah. I said it.

We need to be nice. Especially with Black Friday coming up next week. Trust me, there are worse things you could be.

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*Seeing that I’ve made more than one person cry when I was “just being honest”, I’ve come to the conclusion that honesty is NOT always the best policy

** There’s also this:

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And now I miss my mom, and my Okie relatives:

Hope

 

OnceYouChooseHope[1]It’s been a rough week – on top of everything else, my poor little limping-along Volvo went to the scrapyard in the sky (well, not literally – today it’s sitting in my driveway, like a giant paperweight or car shaped sculpture).

I came across this reminder (huge shout out to Livehappy.com), and wanted to send it out to all who are feeling hopeless this week. Sending love and light your way –

Life! Some things bring you closer & some tear you apart. I've been there, i've walked through the storm. Hope & Love made this Life Stronger than it has been in a long time.  Follow: https://www.pinterest.com/recoveryexpert/:

 

The Game of Life

th5I’ve done it again – allowed the four letter word known as Life to knock me off the writing track. It’s not that Life is a bitch (and not just in a strong, intelligent independent way), or that she cheats when we play her game. Life is a rollercoaster, and getting off track can be bad. Nobody wants to ride the coaster off the rails, especially when you’re rounding the top corner.

My life has been busy, and uneven, but no more so than usual – so why did I stop writing? (And, right on cue, the EIC pipes up with “Because you’re lazy!” Thank you so very little, Evil Inner Critic).

I blame S&H*. Stress and hormones melted my brain and kept new ideas at bay, caused me to lose sleep (boo!) weight (yay!) and hair (boo!). They also caused me to crave beer, salt and sugar, but that’s neither here nor there. Whatever the cause, I found myself spiraling, once again, into the pit of despair.

I spent a long time trying to figure out what “caused” my depression, and then it hit me. My life hasn’t changed, but our world has. I know that change is inevitable, but things do not appear to be changing for the better. This election (don’t forget to vote!) has brought out a level of hostility, racism and sexism that knocked me so far off track I thought I’d woken up in the past and found myself trying to collect green stamps again.

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I used to say that I was raised to be color blind. I’ve been assured by several people that “color blindness” is just not possible, so I won’t say that, but I’m not sure what else to say. I was raised by parents who chose to focus less on the external (race/sex/sexual orientation/religion/career) and more on what type of person the individual was. I was raised to believe that every person is entitled to an opinion, and that everyone’s opinion is valid, even if it differs from mine. I was raised to believe that we should be able to discuss and debate our opinions in a respectful manner. Yes, the debate might get heated, but it should never get ugly.

And it has. Our world has become an ugly place, filled with ugly people saying ugly things to each other. It breaks my heart. I could blame the media – in the race for ratings, they have chosen to focus on images of violence and hatred. I could blame the election – this race this year has been particularly nasty. I know that politicians are human (although it’s entirely possible that they’ve been replaced by the aliens from They Live), but I believe they should be held to a higher standard than most. The name calling and chants of “Make American Great Again” or (mockingly) “Make America Hate Again” do not inspire respect for either candidate. Mostly I blame myself. I blame myself for being naïve.

My parents raised me to believe that the world was becoming a better place – that people were overcoming their perceived differences and uniting in a way that gave me hope. Hope that my mixed-race daughter wouldn’t have to deal with the hatred my mother witnessed as a teen in the south (please note – my mother was Caucasian, so racism didn’t necessarily have a direct impact on her life). The violence and hatred she saw caused her to caution me against having children. I assured her that I had no intention of having children, but that, if I changed my mind, racism was “a thing of the past”.

I am no longer naïve. I am broken hearted, angry and sad, but not naive. The hatred/anger/prejudice that I believed was long dead is alive and kicking, like a cockroach that somehow managed to survive a visit from the exterminator.

Make America Great Again? I agree with Amanda Blanc – Let’s try making America kind again instead (image credit to Amanda Blanc)

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*Stress and Hormones, not the green stamps we collected in the 60’s

So tell me – how do you write when your brain has melted or is filled with fog?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Other “Other F-word”

 

imagespnibp0jmI had a point when I warned you posted about my return to blogging.  My brain, however, is filled with the dust  of disuse (and cobwebs of confusion), and I missed it. I meant to tell you that it’s important that choose your F-words carefully.

When I was diagnosed with PVCs, I panicked. Part of it was due to my overactive imagination, part of it was due to the fact that my brain was overloaded with the pain and adrenaline that came with being in the emergency room with excruciating jaw pain, but most of it was because my mother had a massive heart attack at the age of 57. The closer I’ve gotten to the “magic number”, the more certain I’ve become that I would do the same.

My cardiologist ran a whole slew of tests, which showed that my heart is, in fact, pretty darn close to perfect (which makes the Mary Poppins in me very happy). He also assured me that PVCs are fairly common (around one in 20 normal people will have at least one PVC on a two-minute ECG strip, and a much higher percentage will have PVCs on 24-hour Holter monitoring) and that, as long as I wasn’t having any symptoms, it wasn’t something that needed to be treated with medication.

The incident made me realize that I have spent far too much time letting fear stop me from doing things. I should know better – after all, I read Dune when I was in college.* Even 20+ years later I can hear Frank Herbert’s Bene Gesserit reminding me that “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration….” I know that I’m supposed to “Feel the Fear and do it Anyway” and I’ve been told (more than once) that FEAR is nothing more than False Expectations Appearing Real.

I should know better, but I’ve found that knowing something intellectually doesn’t necessarily mean that you KNOW it (if you know what I mean). I spent time pondering the problem, wondering what it would take for me to let go of fear, and then I realized that all it takes is another F-word. To let go of fear, we must have faith Don’t worry, I’m not going to show up at your door asking if you’ve been “saved” –  I’m talking about the secular definition.

From Miriam-Webster dictionary:

Faith

[fāTH]

NOUN

complete trust or confidence in someone or something:

“this restores one’s faith in politicians”

synonyms: trust · belief · confidence · conviction · optimism ·

Middle English: from Old French feid, from Latin fides.

Fear screams at us to stop before we start, to hide under the covers from the monsters in the dark. Faith whispers that the monsters exist only in our imagination, and that, with trust and a little bit of pixie dust, we can fly.

Today’s F-word is Faith.

F-k

Anxiety

Initiate

Trust and

Hope

 

*I saw the movie, too. Please don’t.

P.S. In an amazing bit of synchronicity, today’s email from DailyOM was “Overcoming Fear & more courses.” In the course description Debbie Ford says that we can learn from fear. I’m not sure what lesson I’m supposed to learn, but I’m open to the possibilities.

So tell me – what has fear taught you?

In case of Emergency….

imagesCAO5Z6TQMy girlfriend is going through a really sucky period right now. REALLY sucky. If the situation were reversed,  I would be curled up in a ball under my bed, which would be difficult since it’s on the floor. She posted this yesterday, and I had to share. Because she’s awesome, and is handling this with sense of humor intact. Plus her post has some really good advice. I hope that you never need it, but just in case you do….

The Foulest Four Letter Word I Know

thFOZVIT6EWednesday’s post quieted my muse, albeit briefly.

You should write.

I wrote Wednesday

Doesn’t count – you wrote about nothing.

Seinfeld was a show about nothing

You are not Jerry Seinfeld

I’m not an old Jewish man? Good to know. You are my muse. You’re supposed to give me ideas.

I do. You don’t listen.

…..

Write!Write!Writewritewrite!

O

M

G

Please shut up. I would write, if I could think of anything to write about, and if I could find the time.

Ah. There’s the rub. And the topic.

Time.

It’s a four letter word, and out of all of them, it’s the nastiest. It stretches and bends, twists and turns, slows down and speeds up at random.  It slows when you want it to move quickly (during the last hour of work on a Friday, the 5 minutes before the school bell rings, and any amount of time at any mandatory meeting) and flies by in the blink of an eye.

The speed of life gave me whiplash last week, when my baby girl had another birthday. Her birthdays affect me more than my own do. I am able to ignore the grey hairs and the “life lines” in the face in the mirror (mostly because I don’t look), but I can’t deny the fact that my girl is no longer a baby – or a toddler.

My life changed when I became an accidental mother. I had just started a career in the entertainment industry (no, not THAT one) when the girl came into our lives. I told my manager that I would take “maybe a year off” to spend time with the baby.

That was 16 years ago.

It doesn’t’ seem possible. The past 14 years have been a blur. It could be because I’ve been juggling work/school/household chores, because I’m sleep deprived*, or because I’m a character in a movie montage – but I’m pretty sure it’s because Momtime is different than real time. Mom years are inversed dog years. 1 mom year = 7 real years.

Or perhaps it’s because I’ve been wasting Time. I should have listened to the Mad Hatter when he warned Alice about the perils of pissing him off.

“Alice sighed wearily. ‘I think you might do something better with the time,’ she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.’ `If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, `you wouldn’t talk about wasting it. It’s him.’ `I don’t know what you mean,’ said Alice. `Of course you don’t!’ the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’ `Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’ `Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. `He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o’clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you’d only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!”Lewis Carroll

My daughter’s birthday wasn’t my first reminder that time is fleeting. I have lost too many people in the past few years. Their deaths reminded me that we need to spend less time doing the “Have Tos” and more time doing the “Want Tos”. We need to spend less time making money and spend more time doing what we love. We need to waste less time visiting with acquaintances on social media, and make more time to see those we love “IRL.”

Life is short – eat dessert first.

And whatever you do, don’t blink (and not just because there are Weeping Angels)

bigchiefstudios-weepingangel[1]

 

So – if you could spend the day doing whatever you’d like with whomever you want, how would you spend it?

*Despite what friends/family/doctors tell you, parenthood induced sleep deprivation does not disappear once your baby sleeps through the night. The sound of my daughter’s  cough, gasp, or moan of a nightmare rouses me from the deepest sleep

 

 

Help me help you

10310622_10202638688706120_4691273213818244861_n[1]One of my New Year’s resolutions was to write 2-3 times/week. As with most of my resolutions (diet, exercise regularly,  call my mother*), I have failed. I started out fairly strongly, but I’ve managed to get derailed by grief and writer’s block. Today’s daily prompt from The Daily Post “Help” didn’t knock the block down, but it tried.

When I saw today’s prompt, I thought “I can’t write, but at least I can re-blog one of my older posts. I know I just wrote about the importance of asking for and accepting help.”

“Cheater!” screamed the EIC (He’s gotten louder now that I’m not writing).

“STFU.” (He may be getting louder, but I’ve learned not to listen).

I was surprised  to find that the post I had in mind was written in 2015. I know that time is a big ball of wibbly wobbly..timey wimey stuff**, but I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I wrote about hitting rock bottom and learning to ask for help.

I think the post is still relevant. We are taught that help is a four letter word. We think that we should be able to do it all, and do it all well, and that we should be able to get it all done yesterday, if not sooner. We need to learn that not all four letter words are dirty, and that asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

More importantly, we need to learn to offer to help before anyone asks. Don’t get me wrong – this doesn’t mean you should try to “help” when you think someone is doing something “wrong.”

“You’re folding the socks wrong, let me help” isn’t helpful in the least, and it usually results in nobody ever folding the socks again (and the socks get mad, and run away, usually in different directions. One of them ends up in the dryer and the other one in the bottom of the toy box). I’m saying that, when we see others struggling, we should offer to help – and not the way WE want to help. We need to be willing to give them the help they want.

Which is a really longwinded way of saying that telling someone “I’m here if you need anything” is the best way to offer help. Sometimes knowing that help is close is all that we need.

* In my defense, my mom died in 1995, so I can’t just pick up the phone and dial

** For the Doctor Who fans in the audience:

 

 

 

I Don’t Want to Talk About It

th[9]I spent Saturday morning at a memorial service – my second in less than a month. If you ask me, that’s two too many. I realize that nobody asked me, but it’s my blog, and I’m talking about it anyway (which is HUGE. In many circles, Death is a bigger taboo than sex).

People have different ideas about why we’re here. Some say we come out of dust, and to dust we return. Some say we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. I believe that we are here to learn something. It could be patience, it could be love, or it could be statistics and probabilities (ugh!). Once we’ve learned our lesson, it’s time for us to move on.

I refuse to learn, which means I’ll live forever.*

Here’s what I’ve learned about death and other losses:

Life may be a bitch, but Loss is a nasty, low down, evil snake in the grass (no disrespect to snakes. I like them – they’re like legless lizards). She fights dirty.

Sometimes she carries a sledgehammer – and she will beat you with it until you are nothing but a quivering mass of jelly. The good news is that broken bones heal, scar tissue is stronger than unscarred tissue, and laying around on the ground gives you a good excuse to rest. Plus you can spend the “downtime” observing the cosmos and figuring out why you’re here (see above).

Sometimes she morphs into a pack of howling, snarling fears which chase you through the darkness, snapping at your heels, and nipping your fingers and toes. The good news is that feardogs, like nightmares and vampires, disappear at first light.

Sometimes she whispers to you through the grey haze of despair, leading you gently to the precipice and then poking at you with the sharp pointy stick of self-doubt until you jump. The good news is that it gets better. Tired and cliché, but true. Trust me. I’ve been there. I went through a series of losses (one after another) that left me sobbing on the floor of my car, certain that things would be better if I just gave up and quit.

As strange as it sounds, I owe Loss a debt of gratitude. It’s taken a long time, but I’ve learned from Loss. I’ve learned:

  • to spend more time with loved ones, doing things that I want to do, rather than things that Need Doing. Life is too short to spend your time dusting.
  • to ask for (and accept) help. Asking for help does not mean that you are weak. It means you are smart enough to know that you can’t do it all yourself, all the time, every day.
  • the value of Mother’s Little Helpers. I’m not a huge fan of western medicine, but sometimes they get it right.
  • that talking to a professional can help. No, not just any professional. I don’t think telling the bank teller about your dead mother is very helpful. Talking to a professional therapist is like taking a pill. They don’t help everyone, and they may not help right away, but there are good ones out there.
  • that loss is a part of life, and that healing from any loss (whether the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job) comes in stages
  • that it gets better, even when it seems like it won’t. Trust me.

Or don’t. Trust these people instead:

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

*JK – I’ve managed to learn a few things (including what “jk” means – yes, I have a teen).

P.S. You people need to stop dying. I know that Neil Gaiman makes Death look like a seductive little goth girl Death_(DC_Comics)[1]

 

 

 

and that Brad Pitt’s Joe Black  made death look tempting (hey, I’d die for him), but all these losses are making me cranky, and it’s all about me.

And for those of you who saw my blog title and were hoping to see a youtube video, here you go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Loss and roses

Broken_heart.svg[1]I lost a coworker today. Well, I didn’t lose her. It’s not like she’s an extra sock or a misplaced set of housekeys, a little tchotchke that will show up when I least expect it (although she may come visit – we already have at least one ghost in the office). She was my coworker, but, more importantly, she was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Ugh. my lame attempts at humor are irritating me today (note to defensive mechanism – take a break). I was going to write on life and loss and grief and hope, but the words won’t come. Instead I will leave you with The Rose Beyond the Wall, by A.L. Frink. It gave me hope when my mother died. Hope that I’ll see her again, on the other side of the wall.

The Rose Beyond The Wall

The Rose Beyond The Wall – A. L. Frink

Near a shady wall a rose once grew,
Budded and blossomed in God’s free light,
Watered and fed by the morning dew,
Shedding it’s sweetness day and night.

As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
Slowly rising to loftier height,
It came to a crevice in the wall
Through which there shone a beam of light.

Onward it crept with added strength
With never a thought of fear or pride,
It followed the light through the crevice’s length
And unfolded itself on the other side.

The light, the dew, the broadening view
Were found the same as they were before,
And it lost itself in beauties new,
Breathing it’s fragrance more and more.

Shall claim of death cause us to grieve
And make our courage faint and fall?
Nay! Let us faith and hope receive–
The rose still grows beyond the wall,

Scattering fragrance far and wide
Just as it did in days of yore,
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will forever-more.

A. L. Frink

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