Dancing in the Light of Dark

Wednesday was my dad’s birthday. He would be 72 years old. Exactly 2 weeks from his birthday is the anniversary of his emancipation from a body that couldn’t keep up with him. This year will mark 3 years that he’s been free. I wouldn’t take that from him, but some days are harder than others 🙂

I still find it super difficult to talk about my feelings – my real ones, anyway, ha 🙂 But I can sing them, so that’s what I usually do.

This one’s for the birthday boy…

I wish you and yours a wonderful weekend! xoxo- K

 

Cultivating A Plague of Thieves

Designer Kate Spade’s tragic exit from this world is a public reminder that money and success don’t mean happiness is guaranteed. What we see on the outside of situations is rarely ever the whole truth.

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In this day and age of social media, I think we too easily forget that what we see on Facebook or Instagram is a scripted truth, someone’s “life selfie” that’s been put through an unknown amount of filters and photoshopped until it looked like what that person wanted you to see. That’s usually not what actually IS. Image result for realityImage result for reality

I can only shake my head at a culture in which a person or brand is required to have an Instagram following of at least 500,000 devoted voyeurs (I made this number up, FYI) in order to be considered successful. And wait, that’s not even the stupidest thing about it, oh no. Nowadays, people or companies with the most followers are suddenly EXPERTS on things that are absolutely subjective but pandered as universal. It’s fucken ridiculous.

Why? Because even though I know that much of what I see is crafted and even though I tell myself not to look or compare my real self to the photoshopped, filtered whatever or whoever I see on the web or on TV or on that billboard, I still do it, mostly subconsciously. It still leaves a shadow that makes me feel like I should do more and be more and weigh less and have more followers. And I think that’s how we all are.

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Even worse is that it is poisoning the minds of the future. Here’s a study that was done in the UK that concludes that social media hubs like Instagram that were supposedly intended to connect people are creating a widespread epidemic of narcissism and delusion. Ok, I added that last part, but it’s true.

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What that does to us individually isn’t something I can or would generalize, but what that subconscious inclusion of fake shit in our self analysis does is universal- it has made anxiety and narcissism dinner table themes. WTF?

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I also think that the internet has made us absurdly ambitious. Now that you can click and see these manufactured images and the accompanying stories, all of a sudden, that thing you were so proud of looks like a 2nd grade science project. Or a beginner’s whatever it is. All of a sudden you’re not good enough for yourself. And that is Grade A Top Tier, Steaming Bullshit. If you put your heart and your soul into something, it is beautiful, no matter what anyone else says. Don’t ever forget that.

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I think most people have heard that saying that “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Don’t let anyone or anything steal your joy.  You wanna know the best way to cultivate joy and keep it warm and shiny and bright? It’s a secret.  Kidding! Of course I’ll tell you, we’re buds!! Ready? The best way to keep and multiply your joy is by sharing it with others. Share your smile, your kindness, your love, and your time with others. The feeling I get when I make someone else smile, laugh, and forget about all the shitty things that life can sometimes hand us, that feeling is one of the best things I know.

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You are your own awesomely unique kind of special. Own it. No one else has to agree with you to make it true and no one’s disagreement with that makes it false.

 

XOXO – K

Rule #86: Not Every Person You Meet Will Speak Butterfly.

I can’t fricken remember where I first heard about “speaking butterfly.” So, OBVI, I just googled it and, Sweet Baby Jesus, I love Google. So, there’s no conclusive agreement on who should get credit for this piece of art I’m about to lay at your feet, errr- eyes, but that’s okay, whoever you were, 2 big high fives and a chee huu to you!!

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Now, obviously, as a piece of art, this is open to your own individual interpretation. As it is mine. And since this is my blog, guess who’s interpretation we’re going to talk about? Bingo!Ha!

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Now, all kidding aside, this is such a simple statement that seems so whimsical that if you’re not really paying attention, you could miss how deep it is. Thankfully for you, I’m the most analytical person I know, so it did not escape my scrutiny.

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I’ve been talking to a bunch of various folks about the aftermath of being with a narcissist and that butterfly language quote is one of the things that I credit with the slap in the face I needed when I was in the throes. See, one of the things that makes life so difficult when you’re with a narcissist is that they complain about everything you do, creating this symbiotic bubble of “you’re pathetic and can’t do anything right” in your head. They never SAY THAT exactly, but it’s what’s obviously implied – well, obvious once you’re able to pop that bubble.

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Anyway, part of this mental tyranny includes the fact that everything is based on the narcissist’s interpretation, memory or how they want it to be on record. None of those things have to be close to the truth. And if you’re someone that tries to play fair and be honest, you’ll be banging your head bloody against the outrageous bullshit that spews with no qualms and never a retraction. Sure, you get an “I’m sorry.” Even, “I don’t know why I say those things.” But never an “I’m sorry for fabricating the basis upon which I terrorized you the other day, it won’t happen again.” Which is really the only thing they should say.

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Now I know you’re wondering how the eff this has to do with the butterfly language. Calm down! I’m almost there. Sheezus.

Narcissists and other types of abusive people are very good at PRETENDING to change. Pretending to morph over their lifetime – and hey, some are successful with it. But sadly, I’d say most are not. What they’re successful at is either downright fooling the people in their life whom they choose to dupe (usually for their purposes) or convincing people that they’re so wrong or bad or lacking that that person doesn’t even think of looking at the stacks of lacks in and around the abuser. Deflection at its most grotesque.

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For a long time, I refused to believe that the situation was that bad – that he was a narcissist, then I’d find myself standing in the shower with blood mixing in with the water and I’d just cry. I know why people stay with abusers.

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This was totally me and him – me being the empath, just in case you weren’t sure (insert smirk here).

Well, I know some of the parts of the reasons. Everyone’s combination is different. For me, it was a combination of self esteem that had already been lacking, a stupid mindset that said “but we’ve already put so much effort, maybe it’s right around the corner,” and exhaustion.

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Oh yeah, and of course, the lovely fact that I was without real hope for something more – because I had been groomed to think I didn’t really deserve that.

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Abusers don’t change. They usually have their own cocktail of whys but it boils down to them thinking nothing is their fault, therefore no change is necessary.

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Abusers are caterpillars that will always be caterpillars. They don’t speak butterfly, and most of them never will. They’ll do their best – or, rather, their worst – to convince you that you’re not butterfly material and that being a butterfly is either way out of your reach or not what you’d want anyway. And they’re real good at that bullshit.

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I’m not gonna lie and say that it’s easy, but you just need to stop listening to that muthafucker’s death siren (their voice) and listen to the one in your heart that our Higher Power leaves in there as an emergency escape hatch. Use it.

Also try repeating this simple sentence to yourself, until you believe it with all your heart.

“Stop trying to explain yourself to stupid people – you’re not The Jack Ass Whisperer.”

(Hahaha! Look, I had to, it was getting too hot for me in here. Seriously, I’m sitting here in tears just having skimmed over the shit again. But it’ll be worth it if you’re reading this and it helps you. YOU ARE WORTH IT.)

Then there’s nothing that fatheaded caterpillar can do to stop you from opening your beautiful wings and getting the fuck out of there.

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REMEMBER: YOU ARE WORTH IT!!

And their inability to speak your language is THEIR problem, not yours.

XOXO -K

Freeing Speech

So I recently went down an internet rabbit hole of ridiculousness with regard to what the author or someone they had interviewed kept referring to as “free speech.” In most contexts, this reference to “free speech” operated as an excuse for allowing hateful trolls to continue to be hateful.

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Look, I am all about free speech, but I think more people need to be educated as to what “free speech” is intended to represent because hateful trolls who torment others is not the intended beneficiary.

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My understanding and a much more palatable definition of “free speech” is a term that represents oppressed persons and parties that were or are persecuted for speaking their truths. There’s the key word – TRUTHS. truth-2069846__340I know there are those who say that we can’t say it’s not okay for anyone to say anything because that’s just the gateway drug to us becoming North Korea. That’s bullshit. Allowing people to hate on others FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN BECAUSE THEY DECIDED TO FUCKEN HAVE AN OPINION ON SOMETHING THAT THEY HAVE NO REAL AND RELEVANT CONCERN ABOUT OR DANGER OF BEING AFFECTED BY is beyond ludicrous. And what’s worse is that we allow these fuckheads to do it ANONYMOUSLY!! Related image

These trolls feel entitled to add hateful comments on other people’s posts or pictures, leaving a trail of hate where they weren’t asked to tread. I wonder how many of them would still do that if a universal law was passed that required that they use their whole name, include a picture and their physical location, in order to post a hateful comment? I think we’d see a huge decrease in the number of trolls. Why? Because trolls are internet bullies, plain and simple, and bullies are fucken cowards. If you have psychological issues that you need to work out, do it on your own time, not at the expense of another person’s feelings.

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I sincerely doubt that any of the people who took a stand for this liberty would appreciate it being invoked by cowardly internet trolls who comment just for attention. “Free speech” is intended for people like those in Venezuela who are actively punished by their government if they speak out about the devastating effect that they are experiencing because of the mismanagement and tyrannical ideology and actions of said government. THEY should be allowed to speak about their TRUTH.

And here’s my message to all the internet trolls, listen up, bitches:

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Yes, A Purple Fedora.

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*After finishing this little piece of posting, I couldn’t let it fly without saying that any venom perceived herein is intended as the opposite, you know, like a vaccine, where the thing being vaccinated against is injected to build up your immune system towards it or something like that.

Truth is, I’m not even the slightest bit inclined to persecution or tyranny or any of that bullshit. That’s really the point. So if you are offended by anything I’ve written here, please know that that was not my intention. BUT…maybe you should think about why it is you feel offended. Everything happens for a reason. EVERY thing. Even being offended. ♥♥♥

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Respectfully, I don’t subscribe to any of the infinite scores of “organized religions.” Not because I’m an atheist or agnostic, quite the opposite. The simple reason is that I haven’t found one that doesn’t include prejudice on its menu to some varying degree, whether it be not allowing a woman to hold a priesthood position or condemning people for a sexual preference that doesn’t have anything to do with procreation, or any of the millions of minute and not so minute ways in which we use something like religion as a divisive element and something to hide behind as we cast stones from our glass houses. Sometimes we don’t even realize that division is the ultimate result of our actions…and sometimes it was the intent all along. Now that there is a cavernous spectrum complete with the slipperiest slope imaginable. It’s amazing how some of the little nuances manifest themselves. Ahem….

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Said slip-n’-slide is one of the main reasons I typically avoid conversations with anyone I sense may be even slightly inclined toward over-the-top-zealousness in the religious department. I’ve already ranted about my other main reason, one that I hadn’t realized WAS a reason until recently (here), so I won’t beat that dead donkey. Moving on.

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Please understand that my tendency to skirt the issue is in no way indicative of an uncertainty or lack of faith on my part. See, it’s just that I respect everyone’s God-given right to free will and the choices that they make for themselves. Unfortunately, in my experience, many fellow walkers of this planet that subscribe to one of the countless religious factions available, don’t share my view on things like that. This has resulted in situations where I’ve gotten my dander up and my claws out because such a person or persons attempted to shove their choices down my throat.

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Kerissa no likey that shit. Homie don’t play dat and homie won’t play dat, and if you don’t want homie to hand you the offering plate you cruised in on with your ass in tow, you should mind your manners and keep your sermon where it belongs. Where’s that, you ask? Oh, you know, that day and time when people gather with shared purpose, on purpose? I think you call it church? There you go, that’s where it belongs.

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Or, hey, it also has a place in a conversation where you’re asked a question like, “hey, if you were God, how would you judge me and why?” I mean, that is a totally appropriate context in which to pull out your index and get jiggy with it. Otherwise? It’s just inappropriate and disrespectful.

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Keep it in your coozie, Suzie. You too, Steve. In fact, Steve, I think you should be more concerned with all those hateful people who keep talking about “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Or is this your attempt at deflection? I see. Good luck with that.

P.S. – I’m on your side, bro, check this out:

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Sorry for the detour (you knew it would happen, this is me we’re talking about here), let’s take the next left off of Memory Lane and get back on the Main Reason Freeway.

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The main reason I pulled out my soapbox and the ghosts of my claws, is that I’m officially throwing my Fedora in the ring. To be clear, I still have no intention of shoving my personal relationship with God, as I know and love Him, down anyone’s throat. No, my intention is NOT to remain silent when others inevitably try to do so and, especially, when the way they choose to do so is in direct violation or obstruction of someone else’s God given right to choose their own path. My spirituality and my understanding thereof are personal and I won’t participate in some gunslinger session where bible verses are the bullets, but I will be accepting any perceived invitation to remind people that their choices are just that — THEIRS. But in the nicest possible way, for as long as it’s possible.

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Anyone who believes in a God or Higher Power that would encourage them to harass, ostracize, humiliate — you see where I’m going with this — let’s just stack all that shit under “HURT,” now where was I? Right. Anyone who believes in a Higher Power that would encourage them to HURT others through religious or other unprovoked persecution is not someone I want to know. However, such a person IS someone I’d love to be put in a locked room with.

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That was a joke – a little frost breaker, sheeez. Calm down, I am not suggesting violence, come on now! A locked room in which I would be giving the person the presentation of a lifetime. THEIR lifetime. You know, like the Scrooge story, Ghosts of Religious Terrorism Past. But I would make it like an IMAX version on steroids because the person would be hooked up to leads that were connected to all the appropriate nerves and parts of the brain that would allow them to experience what their words and actions felt like for the person they directed them at. I truly think that’s the only way in which the lesson would be effective and learning would follow.

To be fair, I would totally include any, if any, good ones, too. Fair is fair. And it would come with one of, if not THE, Greatest Pieces of Cheese. Win-win.

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That said, my fervent wish and hope is that people run this little IMAX experience for themselves each time they feel the urge to crack their judgment whip and let their beliefs flog the spirit of a fellow child of God. The scars that you can’t see, are always the deepest and the ugliest. Do you really want to be part of that kind of pain? I hope not. I don’t. And I know, with all of my heart, soul, hair, claws, everything, that God wouldn’t want you to be either.

No matter how good you thought your intentions were, the root of that intent is your misplaced, uninvited and inappropriate choice to pass judgment on another child of God. What do you think that says to God? Don’t you think He can do his own job? If not, you should really speak with Him about it. I’m sure He’s got a grievance procedure and would prefer that you not take it upon yourself to overrule His authority. What do you think? Image result for cartoon god quotes

We’re human and we have opinions, some of us more forcefully expressed than others, but all within our rights. The line is crossed when your opinion becomes action. Know your role and your rights and respect those of others. Easy peasy.

Okay, that’s enough for now. I’ll slide my claws back in and comb back my mane. For now.

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Stay True to You, Boo-boos.

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XOXO – K

 

 

 

 

I’m the Boss of Me, Biatch

So back the fuck up and check yourself before you wreck yourself.

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Oh, not you, sorry! You’re fabulous! No, I’m talking to the negativity within me and all the bitches that have ever fed that black hole of bastard-liness, including me.

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In a surprising turn of events, it was made very clear to me that I can’t work for anyone else anymore. That tugboat has been decommissioned and sold for parts. I wasn’t even aware of how strongly I felt about the way I think things should run until I ran straight into the walls of ignorance and self-importance recently. Not mine and for the last time from that side of things.  No, my ignorance is mainly limited to continually giving people too much credit.

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But this time, this time I’m not waiting 5 or 10 years to call “Bullshit,” this time I’m throwing the shit at the fan and walking away.

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I know, I know, this is so cryptic, right?! My bad. But you know what? None of the rest of it matters. I’ve got a message for the negativity and fear and self-deprecating tendencies inside of me. Listen up, bitches:

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I’m terrified and exhilarated and my brain hurts. I really didn’t seriously consider going for real solo. I mean, it seemed like a cute dream, you know what I mean? But I can’t turn back. That road isn’t for me. Never really was, but I know I had shit to learn.

√ LEARNED SHIT  – checkity check check check

I don’t know what I’m going to do and I’ve almost depleted my sabbatical savings, but I have faith in myself and whatever purpose God has for me – I know I’m running a little late in the grand scheme of things, but what’s new? Haha!!

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I talk smack about it and I mean that smack, too, but I have to admit that my anxiety has been the catalyst for so many amazing happenings in my life, especially in the last few years.  What else can I say but that this just circles back to my belief that everything happens for a reason! Even your fucken excessive anxiety. So stay tuned for the next season!! Hahaha 🙂

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And I’ll leave you with this…

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XOXO – K

 

 

Standing By Your Strengths

I can be a real asshole to myself, big time. I am definitely my worst critic — by a longshot, and I know that plays a huge part in my overactive anxiety issues. BUT…I still haven’t found a way to consistently keep myself from being such a bitch to me.

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Okay, okay, in all honesty, I really haven’t spent much time working on this particular part of my healing. BUT – I have recently done quite a bit of thinking about it (okay, like 4 days ago – and today!) and I think I know why I’m so hard on myself… *deep breath* So that no one else can hurt me. There. I said it. It’s like I prepare myself for the worst so that no one else can do the worst. Unfortunately, it’s not proven to be a very effective shield.

In fact…it’s gotten pretty ugly on occasion. I mean, parts of me have often lobbied for my  removal and a restraining order…

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Now, before I go on, my pride is insisting that I also tell you that I take “constructive criticism” fairly well. Problem with that is that I really don’t think most people understand how to effectively give “constructive criticism.”

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In fact, I think the term, itself, is fucken stupid.

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Criticism is never constructive by itself, if at all. I mean, maybe it works for some people, but I’d bet my left brain that most people would prefer and respond much more positively and productively if the term and the idea were changed to “supportive suggestions.” But that’s another post, don’t let me get carried away on a tangent! Anyway, I can take “constructive criticism” if I can see how it’s been arrived at, and since I’m a hard-ass to myself, if there’s even  a remote possibility of critique, I’ve seen and explored it, therefore, I can take the hit. But I never considered the long term effects. I really didn’t realize there would be any. OH, but there are.

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Back to the self-abuse. Okay, so now that I’ve admitted and acknowledged the root of this piece of my issues, I’ve got to address it appropriately. But how?

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It took me a few hours and 3 loads of laundry till it hit me — balance! DUH! I’m always giving myself shit about not doing things perfectly but I know there are things that I’m pretty awesome at. So, I’ve made a pact with myself; for every criticism I slap myself with, I will hand myself an equally positive affirmation or compliment.

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If you have a similar self-punishing program that you’re trying to drop, I think you should try this, too! I mean, the worst that could happen is that you go to the opposite extreme and become some vapid narcissist that no one can stand to be around, right?

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Now, me being me, I decided that I better prepare a list of things or topics to pick my positive stuff from – at least, for now, while I’m getting into the groove.

 

It’s like how people on diets prep their meals, this is like prepping my happy meals, hahaha! Whether you’re a self-beater like me or not, I think it’s a great idea to take inventory of all the wonders of you, at least, annually.

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In fact, right now, let’s do it! Let’s all write down 5 things about ourselves that we like or that we think we do well.  Here are mine:

  1. Duh, I’m seriously hilarious. HA! Okay, okay, to myself, but I count!
  2. Making people feel comfortable and understood.
  3. Spreadsheets.
  4. Spelling.
  5. Breakfast. Making it, to be specific. I rock with AM grub.

I reeeeeallly, REEEALLY hope that you’re doing this and that you keep going past the fifth one. I bet there are millions of wonderful things about you. I hope you know that.

 

Take care and remember:

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XOXO- K

Please Say It’s Pulp Fiction

This morning I got a text from one of my sisters that totally put me on my ass. It was a line right out of a Quentin Tarantino flick, you know one of those lines in his films that you had never expected, that had never even crossed your mind. Not about that particular subject, anyway. Her text message relayed the heartbreaking news that Chris, my cousin, and his wife, were gone. Just like that. Gone.

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Chris is one of my oldest cousins, and up until the tragic events of yesterday, served his community as a police officer. A huge Steelers fan – he even had a Steelers motorcycle – and the entire garage looked like a bumble bee had exploded in it – all black and yellow.  Soft-spoken but it didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to see the terrifying possibilities that seemed to lurk just behind that kind face. A well-informed warning to any who might take his kindness for a weakness, like a churning undercurrent waiting for a blowhole. Yes, what I now lovingly think of as a hallmark of the men and women from the South Pacific side of my family tree.

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This morning, after getting this message, my mind furiously picked up and rejected pairs of possibilities as to the reason why someone so…good and so sweet and someone who was always so protective and kind– why would he take such drastic measures? What could make someone of his ilk and character do such a thing? We’ll never know. Well, not in this lifetime.

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I’ve been thinking about it all day. And about his kids, who are all adults now, but I know from personal experience that being an adult doesn’t make it easier to deal with. When you lose a parent, that’s like one of your roots dying. One of your BIG roots.

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One of the roots that planted you and kept you from blowing away with one of the hurricanes that life brought breezing through on occasion. One of the roots that has been not just a root, not just a bridge, not just shelter…one of the roots that is Home.

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Without that root, you lose your balance. You feel like you can’t stand. Like you don’t want to. Like how could you, without that root?

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I think being an adult makes it worse because you’re expected to be an adult, and even though you just want to curl up in a ball, pull a blanket over your head, and pretend that it’s just a bad dream that you’ll wake up from in the morning, you have to talk about funerals and burials and tombstones and who’s talking and who’s holding the box. It’s a devastating experience that just feels like it will never end. And then it does and you’re left with this hole where the root was. And you try to fill that hole with any number of things, none of which will ever do the trick. Roots aren’t like gecko tails. They don’t grow back.

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I think about my Aunty, my dad’s sister, and my cousin’s mom. As a parent I’m sure the last thing you ever want and one of the biggest fears you live with every day is having to plan or even just attend your child’s funeral. My Aunty is a tough lady that scares many people with her family je nai se quoi. She used to scare me before I knew what color her heart glowed in. I’ll tell you what – I would much rather revert back to being scared of her, than watch her go through The Parent’s Worst Nightmare. If that trade was acceptable, I’d stock up on some adult diapers and smile.

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I think about my cousins, my cousin’s siblings. One of whom is already fighting an epic battle with some physical demons that have rendered him not himself. And I think of their sister, my cousin, who fought her way to a master’s degree and still worked 3 jobs to care for her family. Who moved all the way out to Mormon Land to be closer to her kids – not even that long ago – and I think of the weight that must be pulling at her heart. I’m scared to think on it for too long because it feels too eerily familiar.

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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve not become more afraid of my own death, it’s the death of those I love that can send me into an inconsolable state of black. It’s that fear that makes me curl up into a ball inside myself, afraid to touch anything, for fear I might love that thing or, worse, that person- and add another portrait to my wall of Please Don’t Take Them.

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*Sigh* Yes, I know this post has been particularly sappy and I’ve waxed especially poetic. I’m not sorry. But I’m so sad. And so…yeah.

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I love you, Chris. I’ll never know why this became the path you least resisted, and I’ll never ask anyone else to speculate. Your reasons are your own and, if you feel like it, one day we’ll talk about it. You’ve got a whole lotta family waiting for you, so I’m thinking that’s a pretty big party, eh? And just think, you can eat whatever you want – you never have to worry about these stubborn Samoan genes that make it so we smell a cheeseburger and gain 5 pounds. HA! I hope you find your smile again there.

Fa Soifua, toe feiloa’i…alofa ia te oe. XOXO Rissa