Daddy Knows Best.

It’s been a minute since I could ask my dad for advice. Actually, it’s been 11,037,600 minutes, give or take a minute or two…I think about him everyday. This time of year, it’s more. I guess that’s expected.

Dad taught me many things; how to love, how to work hard, how to take care of everyone, how to dream and how to forgive. There’s many lessons I learned, either through his words or by his example.

“Have no regrets, only lessons learned.”

“Don’t judge a book by its cover, some beauty isn’t on the outside. Get to know someone. You’ll always be surprised. “

“Take care of those who need it most. “

“Say your prayers.”

“Give all your love, you’ll get it back”

“Always use your manners. Say please, thank you and bless you.”

“Remember I always love you.”

Then there are the lessons I learned from his example. When he thought I wasn’t watching him, I was. And I learned about the kind of person I wanted to be. And many of these lessons didn’t impact me until later in life. And once they hit me, he wasn’t here for me to tell him…dad, you were right and I hope you are proud.

Work hard, then work harder. This man had three jobs. THREE. to raise two girls almost completely on his own. The sacrifices he made are staggering. I see them now and they make me ache. I’m ashamed for how petulant I was, or how I took it for granted. As a parent, I get it, but damn…I get it.

Never stop learning. When I was young, he went to night school to better himself. He used to take me with him. I’m contemplating this path, heading back to school to better myself. I don’t have young children at home like he did, and I’m still hesitant. He wasn’t. He always wanted to be better. I wish he knew that he was the best.

Home isn’t a place, it’s the people. Dad moved us around a lot. And each place was home because of him. It was the love that he brought to those four walls. It was the genuine happiness that he felt because he loved us. He was happy to be around us. That’s all that mattered.

Be a lady. Act like you think you should be treated and don’t let anyone treat you like less. Leave something to the imagination and don’t be a whore.

When you find your love and passion in life, hang on tight. This one, he taught me, only it wasn’t because that’s what he did…it’s the opposite of what he did. He let the love of his life slip out of his life because he put me and my sister ahead of her. He thought they’d make it, but they didn’t. And when he died, he died loving her from afar. He died alone. And this hurts me in my soul. Because he was “Daddy” all the time, he lost who the man was, he lost the focus on the future, of who would be with him when we grew up and got our own lives. Who would hold his hand in his golden years. I will NEVER forgive myself for taking that from him. Yes, I was young, but fuck…we knew better. I knew better.

Dad, I know I’m not living the life you saw for me. I know you would be shaking your head, smiling and shrugging your shoulders, but you would be proud of me. Things would be so different and yet, the same as they are. I wish you were here with me now, so I could tell you, so you could share this with me. So I could take care of you, just like you took care of me. So I could tell you I love you and I’m sorry.

I get it. I see it. I heed your advice and know how right you were. I miss you. I’m trying like hell to be the woman, the person, you thought I would be. I stumble, but I do what you taught me, I pick myself up and try again.

I am my fathers daughter. Proudly and unapologetically.

Wanted: Common Decency

The holidays are hard on many different people for many different reasons. It’s not mine to judge, nor is it yours. I want one thing this year from folks, it costs nothing, it’s easy to come by and you don’t end up hurting someone else or in the long run, yourself.

I want common decency.

In a year that has seen the politicians and religious folks reign down all kinds of BS on us, to a year that has seen more hate, more derision, more discourse. A year that has folks alienating those dearest for desperately held opinions. A year that has honestly brought the absolute worst out in many of those I know and have held in high regard. I no longer think of many in the same positive light that I used to. This hurts me to my core.

I want common decency.

In a year that has seen the #metoo movement go from something protective and supportive of those hurt in unimaginable ways, to something that is incendiary and damaging without fairness. Not that anything about it has ever been fair for the person that has had their life destroyed, but it has certainly turned into something obscene and unjust. There’s no justice for someone who is telling the truth and there is no justice for someone accused of actions that may not have happened. We’ve become people who believe the worst thing said, without stepping back and giving people a chance. As a survivor, it hurts to see how people have taken this movement, this platform from survivors to use it for their own agendas.

I want common decency.

There are no winners in this day…we hurt each other, without thought to consequences. Without warning, without provocation, folks will hurl accusations at one another. Over BBQ’s, over swimming pools, over parking spots, all of it…nonsense.

We have taken the worst of humanity and elected it into powerful positions, we have legitimized the hate and the hurt. We have applauded bad manners, uneducated information and power hungry people who honestly don’t care about you or me. Or our needs.

When I say “we,” I mean ALL OF US. To some degree, we all are responsible for where we are. None of us are innocent in perpetuating the ill feelings, the hurt, the anger. We scream to rise up and resist, we scream things are great, we scream that it’s God’s law, martial law, anarchy, etc…

No one gets it.

Yes, resist what is unjust, resist what is hateful. Remember that as you resist, as you speak against it, you need to do so with love. Without love, your speech is no better than the person you are fighting against, because you are both fighting from hate.

Find passion in your beliefs, stand tall for your beliefs, but do it from a place of decency and love. Show folks that you are better than the hate, that you are better than the pettiness and the finger pointing. Just be better.

I want common decency.

Treat everyone like you wish to be treated, speak with respect and speak honesty. Don’t buy into the negativity, shower folks with smiles, with positivity. You want to win, prove you aren’t like every other screaming jerk with an agenda. Be the example. LEAD by example.

In the end, light always beats out the dark. Every time.

*steps off soapbox*

Basically, stop being an asshole.

There.

Just in time for the holidays.

So, it’s been a minute, hasn’t it? After allowing anything and everyone dictate my life for the last few, I’ve decided to knock the dust off this ol’ bloggy thing and emote.

Aren’t you the luckiest?

Let’s see…

Still gay.
Still a democrat.
Still a control freak, barely hanging on.
Still working at self care and love.
Still crazy, probably crazier.

However,

Stronger than I’ve ever been.
No longer dependent on anyone.
Smaller tribe, more quality.
Learned hard lessons. About me, about others.
Allowing myself to feel all the feels.
Peaceful, righteous, angry, sad.

Yep. I love writing, the creative stuff that goes on in my head. The joy I get from sharing my thoughts, my adventures. THE RULES. All of it. Not for any reason other than this saves me tons on therapy that I, probably, definitely, need.

I used to dream of writing a book, to see something bound and on a shelf. I got really close to it, to getting it all in one cohesive place. Then my life took a deep dive and I pushed it so far into the back of my mind, I can’t access it right now, so this will have to do. Maybe someday, somehow, I’ll get inspired, but now, I just opened this back up. Baby steps.

It’s coming up to the holidays. These days are alternately lovely and heartbreaking. I love the holidays, the joy I see, the energy in the air. The lights, the music, the goodwill we all seem to find. I miss my loved ones and drown myself in my memories. They make me smile, they make me cry. I’m going to be okay.

I’m in charge of me. Just me. We are all adults here. No one gets out of this experience alive and it’s up to each of us to live our best lives. If folks don’t want to share that with you, then you pray they live their best lives and experience love and joy each and every day.

Love out loud. Forgive daily. Yourself and others. As my father taught me, have no regrets, just lessons learned. And to love unconditionally.

That’s good emoting, right?

Go out, create joy, love and laughter. I wish this for each of you.

These Dreams. 

I don’t know how to interpret dreams, I suppose it’s for the best most times…then there are these…
We are moving my sister (again. lol), I don’t know where from or where to…I just know she’s moving.   Kris and I decide while we wait for my ever-late sister, we are going to go get donuts. 

On the way back, baby sister calls and says she’s on her way.  We get back to wherever we are supppsed to be and see my sister carrying the front end of a dresser. Kris pulls forward to park and as I glance out the window I see…him.

My dad.  Carrying the other end of the dresser.

My.dad.

“Kris! Kris!!!! Stop, stop!!!”

I get out of our vehicle after fighting with my seatbelt, I run to him. My dad.  

My.dad.

I grab him around the neck, I’m hugging, I’m crying.  I’m never wanting to let go.  

“Dad! I’m sorry, it’s been so long!  I miss you, I love you!”

He hugs back, I can smell his cologne.  I can feel his big warm hug.

“Hello baby, it’s okay.  I love you.  I miss you.  It’s gonna be okay, it’s gonna be okay.  I love you.”

And just like that, I wake up. 

I alternately love and hate my dreams. 

Birthday Wish

It’s my birthday.  47. When I was a child, this age was ancient.  I mean cryptkeeper old.  

Now, I’m the best me I’ve ever been.   

I have had some of the worst experiences of my life in 2017 to be tempered by some of the best.  I have been in the darkest place of my life and am slowly, SLOWLY coming out of it.  It’s been months of soul searching and hard truths.  It’s been months of realizing I’m not all the horrible things I have been told that I am and realizing that my life has value.  That through the tears and anger, I also have laughter and love.  Lots of love.  

Yes, I’m 47.  I am an adult child of a mother that doesn’t give up.  She has taught me we all make mistakes and we have to stand against the roar of negativity and find joy. 

Yes, I’m 47.  I am the adult big sister to a baby sister that has fallen down more than most and has shown me that she will persevere, she will get up, be humble and learn the lesson in her own time.  

Yes, I’m 47. I am the mother to two adult children.  Two children that I love with every fiber of my being.  Two people that I grew, delivered, nursed and nurtured.  I taught them to read, their phone number and how to tie their shoes. (The most painful lesson ever!). They look like me, have my stubborn streak and sharp tongue and wit.  I hope, with my last breath, they remember I taught them unconditional love and forgiveness.  

Yes, I’m 47.  I am the wife of the most incredible woman to walk this rock.   She has taken care of me and my family without a second thought and very few thank yous.  This woman, makes my days better and makes me safer than I can put into words.  To say it is an honor to be loved by her is an understatement.  To share my life, my days and nights with her is a gift. She will be next to me when I take my last breath and that gives me comfort. 

In forty six years, I have loved and lost.  I have made mistakes and reached for the stars.  I have laughed and I have cried.  I have sinned and I have been forgiven.  

I have lost amazing people that I carry in my heart everyday.  That have given me a taste of morality.  I have to embrace every day.  To honor them.  To honor me.  

I have reconnected with people I thought were lost to me.  And that is a gift greater than words express.  

I have embraced people in my world that have become part of my chosen family and they are irreplaceable in my heart and part of my soul. 

Yes, I’m 47.  My birthday wish to love, to laugh, to remember my history, to honor myself and to live everyday to the best that I can.  

I’m going to spend my days and years, finding a blessing in each day.  

My birthday wish…to find joy.  

At the end of the world.

I shall post this and step away from my social media for a few days. To say I am sad is an understatement. I feel a tremendous amount of loss today. I have for months and now, it’s present in such a way…it’s hard to explain. 
I mourn the loss of hope, of belief in the greater good and that we are truly our brothers keeper. I no longer believe our government is the voice of the people, they no longer have me or my best interests at heart. I am not alone. 

I do not think that the incoming “regime” actually has the interest of anyone other than themselves or their like minded people at heart.  This causes distress simply because the people who VOTED for this shithead are not the people he has in his sights.  His choices for his cabinet prove that over and over.  And I shake my head in bewilderment that the hard working people STILL defend him.  

I seriously need to shake them, to scream in their faces because they still.don’t.get.it. 

I don’t know if Hilary would have been a better choice and I’m not here to defend her. I’m not here to discuss war, religion, or hell, even politics.  I’m not here to discuss Benghazi,  the Clinton Foundation, his affairs, or her handling of the women.  I’m not going to discuss the Trump University, the multiple bankruptcies, his affair or multiple marriages. 

What I mourn is the loss of what seems to be the last of the innocence.  We had hope, we had power, there was strength and there was faith in better days.  That’s gone from what appears to be most people. 

There’s a sad arrogant pride in the folks that voted for him. This blind stupid pride that doesn’t make sense to me.  These people, people I call friends, voted for a man that denegrates women and the disabled.  He feuds with Alec Baldwin on Twitter and shows bad sportsmanship every chance he gets.  The only thing worse than a sore loser is a sore winner.   And these friends of mine defend this over and over.  

No, I don’t think if the shoe was on the other foot, that Democrats would be acting in such a classless and vulgar manner.  At least the ones I know wouldn’t.  I know this because she Obama beat McCain, I did not see the vitriolic hate that I bear witness to now. My heart hurts and my head can’t make sense. 

There isn’t a debate here.  She won the popular vote.   Which means he isn’t the President Elect of MOST people.  I don’t understand how we got this so wrong.  

For my friends, my family…know you are in my heart.   My hurt, scared, a little less hopeful heart.  Be gentle with me for the next four years.  

It’s all the rage.

I’m having a hard time expressing myself lately.  Actually, I’ve had a hard time expressing myself for the better part of 2016 and it seems to be rolling into 2017.

I could blame Trump and the rabid close-minded shrewish Republicans, but I don’t think it’s all them.  I mean, it’s mostly a general sadness that has enveloped me since November and I am to this moment, STILL trying to wrap my head around anyone actually justifying how he is the right choice.  I am trying to STILL wrap my head around the fact that I have family that voted for him.  VOTED.FOR.HIM.  my family/in-laws/cousins/folks close to me.  yup.  I’m gay, married and they voted for someone so vile and hateful.   I’m obviously not over it, I’m obviously hurt and stunned.  AND that sonofabitch got a mention in a holiday prayer I was involved in.  Good.times.

Nope, it’s not all Trump.  And it’s not all sadness.  There is a distinct air of rage that is right under my edges.  I feel it, like an extra 10 pounds on my frame.  It just sits there.  It’s been there so long, I feel lost if it goes away for a moment.  Isn’t that strange?  I feel lonely without my rage?

I have, for so long, allowed everyone and everything to overtake me.  To come first.  It’s been my life for as long as I have known it.  When my dad made me promise to look after my family before he died, I promised and I meant it.  Right now, I could punch him in the nose.

How dare he strap me down to people!!!  Does he think that I would be strong enough to do this and not have it exhaust me?  Did he not think me taking care of people would extend past my natural family and include my friends and sometimes complete strangers?  He knew how literal I would take this and I have.  To the point that I am pissed at everyone all the time.

All because I rescue.  Because I try to be the bigger person and look past the bullshit.  Because I have kept my opinions to myself for so long, they no longer matter or are relevant.

I had a friend tell me I needed to desperately get some therapy for myself.  I agreed, the wife agreed…then people happened.  I had things and folks pop up in front of me that needed my attention more than I needed it for myself.  At least that’s what I am telling me.

I think my rage is this…I have allowed others to make their issues and problems more important than my own happiness.  I have allowed every other person around me to demand my attention and use it all up so I have nothing left for me.

I rage because I am held responsible for other folks, for decision made that don’t include me.  I’m responsible for the happiness of friends and family and I can’t tell you one person that actually gives a complete shit about my happiness.  INCLUDING me.  what the f*ck is that??!!?

I rage because for years, I have heard “you’ve changed.”  Yes.  I.  Have.  you say it like it’s a bad thing…but what anyone who says that fails to realize is because YOU have abused my good nature, my trust, my friendship, my loyalty…YOU CHANGED ME.  and then you blame me for not being the same person before you sucked the life out of me.  SO congratulations…I am who I am because of YOU.

I’m thisclose to a nervous breakdown and that pisses me off.

I firmly point that pissed off finger at myself.  I’ve done this.  Now I have to figure out how to get out of it.  I know, as this process starts, I’m gonna hurt a lot of folks because they aren’t used to be not being this way…this “fix it” person.  Folks, you are on your own.

I talk a good game, about being different.  I don’t know HOW to be different and I have to figure out how to be.  That’s where I guess the therapy is gonna come in.  I’m going to have to pay someone to teach me how to put me first. 

That is the stupidest sentence I have ever heard/read/written.

So, Future Stephanie
*will no longer be dealing with your shit.  You screwed it up, YOU fix it.  She’s out of the repair business.
*will no longer care about people who have shown her over and over they do not care about her.
*will no longer put anyone else’s needs before her own.
*will eat ice cream for dinner.  and go to bed at 7:00 PM if she wants.
*will wear white after Labor day.
*will spend a ridiculous amount of money on foundation and not be sorry.
*will order dessert or shoes with no guilt that she is  not taking care of something/someone.
*will no longer apologize for who she loves or how she loves
*will no longer make excuses for who she is friends with nor will she hide that fact.
*will no longer, never ever, walk on eggshells to spare feelings when hers are never spared.
*will apparently speak of herself in third person…which is funny…she thinks.

Seems like 2017 is gonna be the year of the Golden Rule.

This could be fun.  This could be a bunch of hot air.  I hope not.  I could stand to lose 10 pounds.