Monday, August 5, 2019

August 5, 2019

There are baby pictures on the wall 
Of a house made for a family
One lives here now
Held together with so much love, globs of toothpaste
and shoes everywhere
fighting over the dishes and hugging in the kitchen all the time

A fifteen year old boy slips quietly in the shadows 
through the night when we're asleep
No one to ask him questions
No one to have to give an answer to
Polite, distant, disinterested and distracted
in the way 15 year old boys are

No one calls me Mom
It's likely no one ever will
I've moved on from pity 
to acceptance
Of low egg counts and hormones bottomed out
rendering it nearly impossible

I did this to myself 
I say to my soon to be husband
(can i really be a person who will have a husband?)
It was my fault for not doing it earlier
For not figuring it out sooner
For not being a different person before

He doesn't understand
Can't understand the hormones of womanhood and the
constant need to nurture that spills out
even when there is no one to nurture

I'm 38.  

Has anyone ever been so old?

my family members have all been stagnant ages
my mother, father, aunts, uncles, steady constant
through all my stages
all the world's a stage and I was the only one with a part

Now I see the toll of time 
and i can't believe i am here
Wishing for the clock to have turned back around
knowing too, nothing would change even if it did

I am who i am and I was what I was

I was a 25 year old with crippling anxiety 
I was a 28 year old who was unstable
A 30 year old who self medicated
A 32 year old who found her way back
A 36 year old who fell in love 
Who went to therapy
Who got her shit together

A 37 year old with a ring on her finger

And now i am 38
With baby pictures on my wall
pictures that i didn't take
of children I didn't make

dreaming of babies floating to the bottom of the water
and me, swimming down after them
trying to see their faces 
so I could just know what they would have looked like
before i wake up

to hug in the kitchen
and live a life that i never dreamed could be mine
with a ring on my finger
and him

always him

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Home Is Wherever I'm With You

For some reason this week, I’ve been having more “one year ago today, I was doing XYZ” moments.  I think I’m trying to impress upon myself the significance of where I am in my life right now, because I’ve had no real time to absorb how many changes have taken place. 

One year ago today, I would be five days away from talking to my soulmate for the first time.  Not my only, first or possibly even last soulmate (I believe we have dozens, if we’re lucky, of all forms).  But my heart would grow several sizes, very soon, one year ago today and I had no idea.  It happens when you least expect it, right?  No longer expecting anything was an understatement for me, I was honestly thinking that love would never find me.  A cliché statement, but a true one.  I still have a hard time believing that a man loves me.  I am someone’s best person in the world.  I have never known this feeling before, and yet I’ve slipped into it like sliding into a warm bath – effortlessly and easily, and with a peace of mind that truly surprises me.

I’ve learned so much.  I didn’t know how to be with a man so comfortably.  I have always been a bit intimidated of men, and a little unsure of what to say.  I didn’t know I had the ability to have a man as my best friend, lover, heart connection, best thought. 

I also thought I knew about how to live and love with someone’s faults.  But I really didn’t.  I also am still a bit amazed that someone can love MY faults and weird flaws so much.  And here’s something I also find amusing – I’m still me.  I didn’t have to become a different person or version of myself, my job still sucks and my family is still crazy, and I’ve gained a few pounds and he still looks at me like he just took a drink of water on a hot day.

We are moving in together, to that house up there, with the actual white picket fence ;)

 He'll be moving in in a couple of weeks.  I move in September 1.  We are combining households, having talks about whose coffee table should go where, which room should his son have, where should the litter box be?  We have a new rug, a new couch.  We’re deliciously excited to finally be together every single day without it requiring logistics of driving from one’s home to another.  We’re together more than we’re apart anyway, although I know this is going to give us a new layer of learning about each other.  The only thing I’m a bit worried about is my occasional need for alone time.  I don’t have a ton of need for down time with him because being with him is like being with myself.  His skin feels like my skin; we begin and end with each other most days.   It’s taken a lot of work, but not at all, at the same time.

We’ll be in our home just before our one-year anniversary.  I swear to you…I didn’t see any of this happening in my wildest, weirdest, wonderful dreams. 

The couple we are renting from is about my parents age, and one is an author.  For a housewarming, he gave us a copy of his book – he wrote inside, “To Corey and Stephanie.  Life has many adventures; I hope you enjoy this one.”

Off we go, honeybunny.  You’re the best part of all my days.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Six Months

Six months ago we had our first date. 

Six months ago I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to have good sex. Six months ago I didn’t know what it was like to be adored.  I didn’t know what it was like to cook dinner with someone every night and cuddle on the couch. 

didn’t know about having the hard conversations that would make me panic afterwards at how close we came sometimes to deciding to go our separate ways.

I didn’t know what it was like to keep holding hands after those hard conversations.

I told him the other day – you know you flipped my world upside down and inside out. In a good way, but still.  I don’t know how to do relationships that are loving, equally, with a future on the horizon if I want it. 

I am learning how to be someone’s girlfriend.  

Learning how to be someone’s dad’s girlfriend

Six Month Snapshots

*We stopped to see my grandmother and aunt on our way back from our first weekend trip away together, and had lunch with them. He’d never met my grandmother, and he slipped his credit card to me for me to go pay for everyone’s food even though money is very tight for him right now.   I walked back to the table, and see him helping my grandmother into her bright red coat as she leaned on her cane.  Heart, stomach, swoop.

*Walking into the living room to see him outside on my balcony with a stolen cigarette, holding his arm at an odd outstretched angle and bending down.  Looked closer to see he was holding smoke away from Allie (my cat), and gently brushing her.

*That vulnerable, almost sheepish look and small tentative smile when he got in the shower with me for the first time.  The awkward way we stood for a moment, looking at each other in fluorescent unforgiving light and smiling like idiots and pretending not to notice the significance of the moment.

*Gently brushing hands through my hair and over my skin, stroking me gently to sleep every night we’re together which is more often than not these days. 

(Blog-friends, I’m still here, still reading, still loving all of you)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Mama, He’s Crazy

Mercury is in retrograde.  The sky is red, the ocean is white, birds fly backwards.  I’m falling in love.

Everything I ever thought about relationships, my ability to be loved, my ability to love back, my ability to trust and let myself be trusted, has been turned around upside down and all around.  It’s the easiest thing in the world and yet for me, this is entirely new and unchartered.  I feel like this wonderful man has been handed a feral cat that’s been occasionally touched and fed but bolts if you reach to lift it.  He says he’s got nothing but time. He’s here. I can tell him anything.  He wants to know what happened to “hurt you so bad.”

Last night, I was laying in his arms on the couch, while he kissed my face all over and rubbed my back.  This is our normal.  We are officially Those People that are in constant contact, and sit on the same side of the table at restaurants.  I got fixated in his eyes and I kept staring into them thinking how unfair it is to him that he’s going to have to learn about my past.  He’s going to have to navigate me slowly, and know why I might tense up.  I wish I could spare him that.  I wish this wasn’t on the horizon.  He furrowed his brow and asked what the face I was making meant. “What are you thinking? Something’s turning up there, Beautiful.”  I said nothing, and tried to dismiss it but it was such an incredibly lame attempt at dismissal that we both ignored it.  

He said to me very seriously “you can talk to me about anything.”  I buried my face into his neck and held on tight.  Tight enough to make him stay.  I kept squeezing him, and my breath shook.  He ran his hands up and down my sides for a long while, letting me.  He finally whispered “you just want my piece of pumpkin pie. You don’t have to be so dramatic about it.”  I laughed so hard I started choking.  He’s just so damn sweet. I don’t know if it will last.

I think it will. In my deepest heart, I know it will (if I let it).  I’m afraid though; I don’t know how to do this.  I don’t know how to say “you have to take it slow with me, because I was raped five years ago and I haven’t been the same since.”   

I don’t know how to say that to him, place that at his feet, and make him have to figure out how to navigate me in this new normal.  I don’t want him to be afraid to touch me. But I owe it to myself to tell this man everything, and put the wall down, and just…leap.

Birds are flying backwards and so am I, up and over the moon, into universes unseen.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Traitorous Treachery

I've been listening to the soundtrack of the Broadway play "Hamilton" for the last several weeks. I LOVE IT. One of the songs keeps playing on a loop in my brain this weekend, as shame and guilt floods me knowing that tomorrow afternoon, one of my staff is going to be laid off.

I've mentored this girl (inherited by me in a bad situation with another manager) carefully and I feel 100% better that she'll be better poised to go forward from here after the last 8/9 months under me. I took a skittish, quiet girl afraid of her own shadow and slowly gave her the tools to rebuild her own confidence.

I'm feeling a lot of things tonight--guilty about all of it, guilty about not being able to stop the corporate wheel from turning, accepting that I may well be next.

History Has Its Eyes On You (Hamilton)

I was younger than you are now when I was given my first command
I led my men straight into a massacre
I witnessed their deaths firsthand
I made every mistake
And felt the shame rise in me and even now I lie awake
Knowing history has its eyes on me.

I don't have the eyes of the nation on me, a mid-level manager mid-level through life. Nor the state, nor the city.

Just the big eyes of young woman, who laughs easily now and has picked up my quick wit. "You make me want to think big," she said to me once.

Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story."

She has a trusting look on her face every time she looks at me.

Monday, March 14, 2016


*I've been writing a lot lately, essay-style, mainly. All for myself, not for consumption yet. I wanted to share this one with the blog-world though, for my few but beloved readers, who have watched me reach this point all these years. I'm writing poetry, lyrical things that are different for me. I'm kind of loving it. I'm in a good place, in general, all the way around.

I'm going off to find myself, some will say. I'm going off to blind myself, be kind to myself, unwind myself on a beach or the woods or a mountain far away. Climb, swim, move, be, stop, think, go, be still. Still. Still you're lost until you're found, looking in the mirror on a Tuesday with red eyes. Hello, you say, touching your lips: I've been waiting for so long.

"If you have kids, you'll see that....." Her laughing voice keeps speaking though for me it's become little more than white noise. That filtered air that cycles through an airplane, humming in your ears, as you try to not let your arm touch the stranger beside you. I'm sure I kept smiling and nodding. I'm sure I said the right things back.
As my 34th year comes to a close, and I still don't have my proverbial shit together (or do I?), the If's keep coming. 

To be fair, I started using the "If's" first. This was mostly a defense mechanism, to tell myself that hey man, it's cool. Things happen or they don't. I'm a survivor. I don't need anyone or anything--and IF things go my way or they don't, I'll land on my feet. And what is "my way" for that matter, anyway?
2007: "Just wait, when you have kids you'll learn" as I looked in half horror/half intrigue at the ice pack compartment in my sister's underwear after she gave birth. "Can I have these sexy things when you're done?" I say to her laughing and she glared at me and declared them "fucking wonderful."
In 2007, everything was still a When. I was in my twenties, and there was still a list in my childhood toy box of the names--first and middle--I'd assigned my ten (!) children. I used to dream of them--dreamed of the family I would have. Everyone got along. The husband in these scenarios was always faceless, nameless and pretty much irrelevant to this love-fest I was having with my quiver of children. 

Even as a child, I knew that was weird.
As an adult, here in 2016, that list is long gone. The conversations around this particular topic have become less sure and more urgent at the same time. The high chair is still in my parents' kitchen, even though the babies in our family have outgrown it and there'll be no more unless they come from me. If they don't, well. That high chair, and the Pack n' Play and extra sippies will join the yard sale assembly line some distant summer, where they'll trade ten dollars for the end of an era.
Two letters. There's no "I" in Team but there sure as hell is an "I" in If and I alone am the holder of answer on if I'll add a teammate, if you will. The days keep coming and the snow falls and the snow melts and spring creeps in.
I overheard a conversation in Panera once, standing in line before work one morning. Two women, late forties/early fifties. One casually said to the other, "You know, I was telling So-and-So the other day...Sometimes my greatest regret is never having children, and yet some of the best, most meaningful things in my life came from not having them." "Ma'am. Ma'am!"  I was rooted in place, reeling on a regular day, staring after them.

What if these babies don't actually happen....and if another world opens? I'd genuinely never considered the possibility of an alternative until now that time has forced me to do so. And what if it's....great?
When has become If and my world has gotten a whole lot less certain.
It feels jarringly, unexpectedly, free.


Thursday, November 5, 2015


I have had a backwards kind of day today
not ever knowing what to do or say.
I've twisted everything around
have YOU ever acted in this way?

Said, ' I would like a hup of cot chocolate'
'pace my capers on my desk'
I was trying not to backwards things
I was trying really to do my best!

I promise to turn this day around
but I can't seem to find my way.
For I've made a mess on my desk
in a backwards kind of way

-Linda Winchell

Sometimes you start a blog when you’re 24, and you write entries about learning to parallel park and how you’ve just figured out how to make iced tea and how you threw up against the side of the Treasury Building after a drunken night with your other 24 year old friends. You write that blog sitting at a desktop computer that in tiny apartment—the first you’ve lived without roommates—and reruns of Dawson’s Creek are in the background and you’re lonely but you like it that way.

And then you close that blog, and move away. Then you move again, and you start a new blog. You’re 26 and sitting in the university library where you’re supposed to be studying for grad school. You meet all of you.

Then almost decade passes, and you’ve moved and moved on and your writing languishes because life overwhelms. You drive to work in the morning, swallowing the Zoloft at a stoplight and washing it down with a McDonalds Diet Coke because this is America, dammit. All you need is a cigarette to throw out the window.

You’re 34 and just were prescribed your first blood pressure medicine. HBP and it’s kissing cousin Anxiety are handed down your maternal family line as if we passed down a quilt that we sometimes like to throw over our heads.


I accepted my current job from my office telephone, on November 4, 2014. 11/4/14. I’ve written here before about the significance of the numbers 4/11 in my life, and nearly everything about my move somehow incorporated those numbers. I felt like it was meant to be. Even if it’s still hard and strange (doing different kind of work completely) and nothing I really like enough to write home about, it’s a good job. I’m learning a lot. Yesterday, November 4, 2015, everything flipped. I woke up to find that my state had elected Matt Bevin (an uber right wing republican) who has vowed repeatedly to unroll elements of the Affordable Care Act. If those provisions go….well….I’m not sure what my future holds. Ironically, also yesterday, I met the woman who is going to become my new boss.

What’s she like? Oh, she’s exactly like me. Exactly. Personality, background, even looks. And we’re the same age. Naturally, my hackles went up immediately and they’re still up. I told a friend—I’m trying hard to avoid my natural tendency when encountering new people: eyeing them with suspicion. ;) 

It doesn't help that I've had a couple of fuck-up's this week too at work, which makes me feel about two inches tall. It's not like me. But it is on Backwards Day in Backwards Week.

So. That’s been my week. What’s the last year or so been like? Oh, you know, fine. Great at times, actually. I love being back closer to my family although of course a part of me misses DC. I’ll always miss that city the way I’ll always miss my hometown. It’s just part of me; my DNA. My mom was in a very serious car accident almost one year ago today. It was two days after I accepted this job, and she broke her pelvis, every rib and her collarbone. She’s made a pretty damn miraculous recovery, truly. I know she loves me being back. My nieces and nephews do too, although my two younger nephews and my sister moved to California earlier this year. I can’t believe they’re really gone—it is so strange to be in Kentucky, being left. I’m the one always doing the leaving in the family.

Hello from the Other Side. I’ll be back soon J