Free Will


I have been working, oh so hard.  Emotions are complicated things, you see, and I have so many of them.

Betrayal for the fact that you poisoned what was left.  Fear at the thought of losing my most precious gift.  Anger at the way you so deftly twist my words.  Desperation and the need to make you pay.

You deserve to suffer for what you’ve done.  You deserve to be held accountable for the pain you have caused.  You deserve to be made to own up to your responsibilities; every single one.

But that is a deep dark hole of ilk and negativity and I will not let you drag me into it.  None of it will get me to my goal; what is best for her, what is best for me.

I will keep doing the hard work.  I can overcome the hatred.  I am more powerful than your betrayal.

It is a choice to walk into the light.  Free will is a beautiful thing.



I have lived my life in a tunnel.  Focused on fitting in; morphing to fit where I thought I should.

In junior high and high school, navigating friend groups so tenuously, never really convinced I belonged.

In college, becoming more free on one hand, yet tethering myself to a relationship I lost so much of myself to on the other.  I was convinced my savior would be for him to love me, and lost so many years chasing something that didn’t exist.

Later on, throwing myself headfirst into step-motherhood.  I loved those boys fiercely and crafted a family, solving crises and saving everyone but myself.  I over-achieved and succeeded in every way except my own.  I came out of it lost and broken, looking for solace and healing in the most desperate way.

What now?  Where has that focus and drive gone?  I float from day to day, issue to issue, still expertly solving and managing my professional and personal world.  But I’m still sacrificing; I’m still tunnel focused on everything but my own gifts, and where best to apply them.

Maybe it’s about time I kick the shit out of my coping skills, turn the mirror as inward as possible, and shake that brilliant girl upside down until she agrees to come out of that tunnel and conquer.  Her time has come; I just need to get over my own bullshit (fear of failure) and be brave enough to take her hand.



It was a hard day.  A HARD day.  Impulsivity was high.  Many missteps at school forced my hand.  Rules broken equals consequences.  Serious ones.  No TV, no computer and, in particular, no phone.  That one is the hardest: it is her source of information, her distraction salve, her lifeline to all of those that are important to her.  But it was necessary.

She was furious.  Yelling, lashing out, stomping and slamming.  But I stood my ground; I am the Mom, after all.  She accused me of being mean; I countered that I was being fair.  She retreated; locked door, silent treatment.  I gave her some much needed space.

She came out once briefly, peeking around the door while getting something to eat.  Not quite ready, but testing the waters.  I waved; was rebuffed.  I understood.

Later, she set up camp on the bicycle one room over.  Not together, but in view.  Reconnecting, in her own way.  Needing space and closeness, simultaneously.  Thawing slowly through the previous chill.

Working through her frustration, she pedaled and sketched for some time.  Snippets of conversation.  Occasionally a smile.  Finding calmness in her focus.  By bedtime, a whole different child.

She is an ever-changing contradiction.  Static and motion.  Anger and love.  Boldness and uncertainty.  Finding her way, on her terms.

How lucky I am to be a witness as she changes; I am astonished every day at who she is to become.


High school.  Senior year.  Everything was set.  Friend groups, cliques, who was cool, who was not.  The order of things was already in place.

I trusted you.  With my friendship, with my secrets, with my heart.  That must have made it so easy.

No warning; complete blindside.  One morning: silence.  From all three of you, simultaneously.  I was invisible.  I was not even worthy of an explanation.  I was now outside the circle.  I had no idea why.

I had to cover; save face.  I couldn’t react, not in public.  I cried in private instead.  I kept my head up.  Came to school every day.  Pretended I could cope.  Eventually, found a new order of things to exist in.

Little did I know you weren’t done yet; the silence was only the beginning.  Then came the side glances followed by whispers and laughter.  The prank calls.  The crude writing on the side of my car — at my work.  Eventually, it stopped.  But not until you’d left your mark.

It was one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me.  Damaged me then, damaged me later.

To this day, I still don’t know the reason why you did it.  I do know that I don’t trust women easily, even now.  I can count on one hand the number of female friends I have actually let in.  I am cautious with my heart, with my secrets, with my friendship.  I learned.

I learned to protect myself.  I learned to keep my head up.  I learned to rely solely on my own power of will that I could make it through the next hour.  The next day.  The next week.  I learned to be strong.

You did not break me.  You did not win.

What Do You Do?

What do you do — when your child is hurting, but you don’t know why, or how to help?

What do you do — when her eyes plead “help me“, but her mouth screams “GET AWAY! DON’T TALK TO ME! LEAVE ME ALONE!

What do you do — when the girl you carried is now taller and stronger than you may ever be?

What do you do — when your solutions fail you, when your words are not enough, when you feel like an impostor in maternal skin?

What do you do — when the path is unclear, when the road signs vanish, when you both are so lost and can’t find your way out?

Love.  You love.  That is what you do.  You love, and try, and fall, and get back up, and love, and try again.

A Moment

GirlShe held my hand today.  We were hugging and being silly, then she held my hand as we walked into the kitchen.  This closeness is a rarity; a gift.

Often she is aloof; too busy becoming the teenage version of herself.  She is occupied with friends and music and YouTube shows and sketching and anime.  She is focused on feeling empowered; being the ‘funny’ one; sharing secrets and texts and songs.

She is my little girl long gone; she is my adolescent wonder.  She is more familiar to me than my own heartbeat, and yet an ever changing creature I must meet anew each day.

She is my heart.  And today, she held my hand.


If I should be short on words, And long on things to say 

Could you crawl into my world, And take me worlds away 

Sonic imagery.  So vivid.  It pulled me in long ago, and kept its hold for years.  The timbre of his voice and intricately crafted lyrics soothed my heartbreaks; salved my rage; sparked me to live at my highest octave, full of life and energy and sound and light.  He had a knack for laying his struggles and imperfections out bare; I could listen to his words and voice and identify my own labor and loss in life.  It made me feel less lonely; less weird and fucked up.  I had a companion in my pain and struggle, with whom I could sing and wail at the top of my lungs out loud about all of it.

His music was the catalyst for many significant events of my life.  Meeting people that shifted my world; my way of thinking.  Introducing me to other artists who, quite literally, changed my soul.  Leading me, eventually, to the man I would marry; through whom I gave and received love, including three amazing stepsons and the creation of an extraordinary daughter.  And afterward, softened the blow of an unexpected path taken that led to new chapters.

His imprint on my world, like his music, will remain; in my heart, in the fabric of who I am.  I will miss what could have come next.

Why doesn’t anyone believe, In loneliness

Stand up and everyone will see, Your holiness