For I am just human

For I am human,
She said, with sadness.
Hands twisting hands,
Confused, mad mess.

What do I know of this?
Tumbling, falling blindly;
Is it a swing and miss?
Broken, hands hang idly.

I was slow, she said,
I was unsure, scared.
It took time, she said,
With a push, I dared.

You’re human too;
Mistakes are made.
Forgive in lieu,
Of anger & pain.

But I need love, she said,
And you are a true man.
Attention, touch, she said,
For I am just human.

I have something to say and you may not like it

A couple years ago I went to the gynecologist for the first time in 5 years. There were two reasons (TMI alert!):

  1. My periods had become heavier, longer, and I sometimes had debilitating cramps that radiated throughout my mid-section and caused digestion distress as well;
  2. I wanted to get cancer screened.

My doctor recommended putting me on birth control pills (BCP). Hmmm. I hadn’t taken those in 10-11 years, but if it helped I figured I’d try it out.

Tangent: calling them birth control pills is a bit of a misnomer because they actually help with so many other medical issues. Maybe if we called them them something like “hormone therapy,” regardless of the reproductive side effect, then we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in today.

Can I just tell you what a Godsend those pills have been? No cramps. None. Lighter periods. No IBS-type of distress at the same time as having a heavy flow and awful mid-section pain. I can’t tell you how much those pills improved my quality of life one week a month. (That’s huge! 25% of my time?? Incredible!)

The added bonus was improving my skin significantly. I used to get a cystic pimple every month around my cycle. I haven’t had a single one since I started the pill. Lifesaver!!

From a pharmacy perspective, I pick up 5 prescriptions a month for my kiddos. My pharmacist’s assistant knows me, my name, my kids’ names and even has a nickname for me. Prescriptions are a budgeted expense at my house. Imagine my surprise when I picked up my first month of pills and the ‘script was FREE!! Free, free, free. The only ‘script I’ve ever gotten for free. Thank goodness for insurance.

(Of course, it’s not really free – a buttload of cashola comes out of my paycheck every month for my insurance premiums, and I’m fully cognizant of that offset).

But you know what’s weird? I felt guilty. Because I could pay for them. I could cover that co-pay … but I know there are a lot of women out there who can’t afford it – either because they don’t have insurance or their insurance doesn’t cover BCP. I felt guilty.

When Obamacare went through I was so pleased to know that other women will have the ability to get on the pill regardless of finances – whether for medical reasons or birth control. It felt like the right to control & fix our bodies was in our hands again, something to be discussed with our doctors rather than bureaucrats. Every woman should have access to the relief I felt from taking those pills. Every woman should also be able to prevent pregnancy through whichever type of birth control they and their doctor agree is best for their bodies.

Every person, man or woman, should be deeply disturbed by the SCOTUS ruling allowing employers to pick & choose their medical coverage due to their religious leanings. Everyone. If we opt-in for insurance – through private pay or working for an employer who offers health benefits – then we should be able to have the medical coverage we need. Period. Regardless of your opinion, or yours, or yours, or yours.

I need allergy medicine so I can breathe, I need prescription eyeglasses (and sunglasses) so I can see, I need prescription cream so my Herpes Simplex 1 sores go away more quickly (cold sores, if you didn’t know), and I need hormone therapy (BCP) for my menstruation. These are my medical needs. Why would medical insurance only cover 3 out of 4 of my medical needs?

I’m so sorry that we, as a country, cannot pull our heads out of our asses long enough to figure out when we do or do not want big government dictating our lives. It seems that both the left & right use big government to suit their needs – regulating guns, abortions, birth control, marriage, etc – but then other times we get on our lofty high-horse and eschew big government in favor of self-autonomy. At some point we need to agree when and where big government is relevant and where it’s not. Hint: it’s not welcome in my vagina!

Bye bye Hobby Lobby.  I have to do my small part to protest your hypocrisy. If you’re willing to let your employees suffer over your claimed beliefs then I’m willing to stop buying your made in China (a country who sanctions, nay, dictates, abortions) crafty, knick-knacky crap.

I am just livid.

-Stef

It’s Independence Day, indeed

Warning: I wrote the poem below a few months ago when I was feeling particularly saucy and there is excessive use of foul language. I just don’t think the point would have been quite as punctuated without it! If you don’t think you’ll like it then, please, don’t read it!

So, in honor if Independence Day, I’m sharing the sassiest, most assertive poem that I’ve ever written:

Stronger

Stronger, wiser, tougher.
You bet your ass, sir;
I’m like fucking alabaster.

Stronger, like titanium.
I can withstand any blast;
Don’t think I can’t fucking last.

Stronger, I’ll survive longer.
Don’t you even doubt;
I’m too fucking smart to pout.

Stronger, just watch me rise.
I’ll double-time up that ladder;
See how much you don’t fucking matter?

Stronger, I’m not going to cry.
You go find your own corner;
I’m so fucking done being a mourner.

Stronger, wiser, tougher.
You can kiss my ass, sir.
You’re no longer my master.

Happy Independence Day!

XOXO,

Stef

I’m bringing sassy back

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I am sick & tired of feeling sad, bad & mad! I’m not going to do it anymore. I’m not.

I tried so hard but things just didn’t work out as I thought and hoped they would. Acceptance comes in waves, but I’m tired of waiting for it, dammit. At some point you just have to say, hey, this is my life now and it’s not that bad, comparatively, and I’m going to survive & thrive. Even be abso-fucking-lutely happy. Because it’s my life, and I have the ability to choose my state of mind.

Man, seriously, what have I got to be sad about? We’re healthy, I have a great job that’s moving along on a good trajectory, I have a house, a car, and all those little material things we get to make our lives more comfy. So I think it’s time I stopped bitchin’ & cryin’ and started accepting and living!

I was recently told that I was “the whole package” and when I jokingly responded with, “you mean I’m a catch?” The response I got was, “no, Stef, you’re the catch.” My goodness, do you know how that feels? Do you know how that feels . . . after seeing your estranged husband driving around with his girlfriend? Well, if you don’t, it feels damn good. For my worth to not only be recognized but valued as well. Isn’t that incredible?

And, dammit, I am a catch. First and foremost, I’m a warm, loving, touchy-feely mom. I like to do things with my kids. Explore. Go on adventures. Or just have our Friday night movie nights. Second, I like to cook & take care of my people. I’m a nurturer. Maybe too much so, but it’s just because I care. Third, I kick-ass at my job. I manage a team and I’ve found I like nurturing my team members but in a way that will help them grow. Fourth, and completely unrelated to the third, I like sex! (Please, God, don’t let my dad read this).

Plus, the other minor shit that I think are pluses – I bathe (mostly) daily, I don’t wear patchouli, I keep a somewhat tidy house (no white gloves, please) that I think has a bit of charm to it, I pay most of my bills on time, I know how to laugh & cry mostly at appropriate times & I’m a pretty strong, independent woman. I travel by myself regularly. Dine by myself. I don’t feel the need to hide my aloneness from others because being alone does not equate to being lonely.

Maybe I AM a catch!?!? Damn right, I am! For the right person and at the right point in time.

I believe in intersections of time & growth & space. What may have been right at one time possibly isn’t right down the road – where there’s been an element of growth & space that’s shifted things.

So this is the thing – it’s time to get off the mat. It’s time to get up and be happy and proud and thankful for all that I do have. It’s time to forgive those who have hurt me because, though I thought so at the time, those people aren’t my destiny. They aren’t where I belong right now, at this time. They served their purpose in my life and for that I want to just be grateful.

Stop the badness, madness & sadness. It’s time to embrace love and laughter and life again. It’s time to be me! To bring sassy, smart, sexy, shy/not shy, smiley ME back. And I will!!

All my love,

Stef

Here is what you do when you are grieving

Yesterday, as I was getting ready for bed, bone-tired, I absentmindedly scrolled through Facebook one last time before sleep (because, you know, what if a catastrophe happened and I didn’t know for 6 hours?) As I scrolled, the title of a Huffpost article caught my eye: Here Is What You Do When You Are Grieving.

I’ve read lots of grieving articles. They’re usually about death rather than heartbreak, however heartbreak is very much like something is dying.

In my sleepy haze I clicked, what the hell, and decided to read a few lines. Then a few more. This was not like the other articles. OMG. But … but … but that’s how I felt! That’s what I went through! It’s was my very actions, my very thoughts & feelings, my coping. It was as if the words came from my mind – however I’m not nearly as good of a writer to have stepped outside myself to portray my heartbroken grief so accurately.

I was in tears, bursting out, audible sobs. This, yes, this. Somebody else felt this too. They knew this pain. It was a humanizing experience. I was not alone in this grief.

I can’t just say all that and not share it with you, right? So this is shared without permission but I’ll take it down if requested. But these words should be shared. Everybody should understand the death that comes with heartbreak; the mind-numbing grief.

Read these words:

Here Is What You Do When You Are Grieving
by Katherine Fritz

You spend some time curled into tiny spaces. They are useful for this. Big, open rooms give you too much space for your wild thoughts to tangle and knot. If you curl yourself into a small place and sit there, you will ultimately feel cramped or foolish or angry enough to leave and make yourself a cup of tea.

You make yourself a cup of tea. Even if you don’t particularly like tea. Warm liquids are good when the back of your throat is burning like you’ve smoked a thousand rotten cigarettes and you can feel the weight of your mistakes trickling down into your fibers and your muscles and burrowing underneath your eyes, your breasts, your heart, your bones. You wrap your hands around the cup and you press your cheek and your eyelids to the side of the porcelain mug and you focus on what warm feels like, you remember the word ‘warm,’ you think it to yourself, quietly, because small thoughts are useful right now.

You learn to trust who you talk to. The best ones will comfort and pretend to understand even if they don’t. The best ones will understand if you want to be alone, and will understand if you change your mind about what you want. The best ones will not make you feel foolish for appearing vulnerable and weak.

Weakness and vulnerability are not the same. In case you’d forgotten. It is sometimes helpful to remember this.

You spend some time with distractions. I like drinking, and I like television, and I like sex, although that can be tricky because it is easy to mistake one particular kind of intimacy for another. Distractions are useful. Most people like distractions. Many people spend their entire lives with such beautiful, such glowing distractions. I can see why.

You think about soft things, like cotton sweatpants, and fleece blankets, and flannel sheets, and creamy pasta. You indulge. People who are grieving do not want to put on high-heeled shoes and mascara. They do not want to wear tummy-slimming pantyhose. They do not want to order salads.

You turn your brain into a film projector. You replay the movie you’ve unwittingly starred in, again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again until you think you might understand the sequence of events, if not the meaning. You replay it endlessly, at night, at breakfast, while reading, on the phone, while looking at the Internet, while picking at your nails, while shopping for toilet paper, again and again and again and again.

You remind yourself how breathing works, how sleeping works, how going to work works. You teach yourself basic lessons as if you were a child: It is time to clean up after yourself, time to take a shower, time to behave, time to leave the house today. You notice the circles under your eyes, and you buy some makeup in an inexpensive mirrored compact, and although you do not think anything of it at the time, it feels significant, when you reflect upon it later.

If you are phenomenally lucky, and I know that I am, you wake up one day to discover that you very much feel like moving your legs off the bed and placing them on the floor. You feel like lifting your head from the pillow and swiveling your torso and moving to an upright position and maybe even splashing some water on your face and brewing some coffee. You notice that you want to wear a brightly-colored sundress because it will look pretty on your skin; you discover on your commute that there are windows and doors and telephone wires and flowerpots and building placards and crumbling sidewalks that you’ve seen a thousand times but never really noticed. You watch a family in a park and you think you might start to cry, but not for any reason that can be explained, and then you are not crying, you are smiling, or maybe you are doing both, and then and then and then in a sudden release, you start to notice everything. You notice your fingertips. You notice your heartbeat. You notice your body and it all feels like your own. You notice other people. You notice everything. You wonder how you’ve never seemed to notice just how big everything is.

You start to think it is all so impossible. You start to think it’s all incredibly possible.

You start to think that maybe you’re okay.

Thank God for words. For wordsmiths. For poets. For lyricists. Thank you, Katherine Fritz.

ETA: I found the original blogger and blog! So, giving credit where due, here’s her blog and this posting: http://iambeggingmymothernottoreadthisblog.com/2014/06/25/here-is-what-you-do-when-you-are-grieving/.

Remember, you are not alone.

All my love,
Stef

This ain’t your mama’s broken heart

Oh my lord, I wish I had been familiar with this song earlier in my own grieving process. But, still, some of the sentiments hit pretty close to home! Luckily my crazy is pretty well contained in my head, other than the odd messaging impulse now and then, and thankfully my crazy has absolutely nothing to do with matches.

“Mama’s Broken Heart”

I cut my bangs with some rusty kitchen scissors
I screamed his name ‘til the neighbors called the cops
I numbed the pain at the expense of my liver
Don’t know what I did next, all I know I couldn’t stop

Word got around to the barflies and the baptists
My mama’s phone started ringin’ off the hook
I can hear her now sayin’ she ain’t gonna have it
Don’t matter how you feel, it only matters how you look

Go and fix your make up, girl, it’s just a break up
Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady
‘Cause I raised you better, gotta keep it together
Even when you fall apart
But this ain’t my mama’s broken heart

Wish I could be just a little less dramatic
Like a Kennedy when Camelot went down in flames
Leave it to me to be holdin’ the matches
When the fire trucks show up and there’s nobody else to blame

Can’t get revenge and keep a spotless reputation
Sometimes revenge is a choice you gotta make
My mama came from a softer generation
Where you get a grip and bite your lip just to save a little face

Go and fix your make up, girl, it’s just a break up
Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady
‘Cause I raised you better, gotta keep it together
Even when you fall apart
But this ain’t my mama’s broken heart

Powder your nose, paint your toes
Line your lips and keep ‘em closed
Cross your legs, dot your eyes
And never let ‘em see you cry

Go and fix your make up, well it’s just a break up
Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady
‘Cause I raised you better, gotta keep it together
Even when you fall apart
But this ain’t my mama’s broken heart

In craziness,

Stef