Kick. Push.

over the last few weeks i’ve been bathing in disappointment in some form or another; quasi-unrequited love, abandonment issues, re-hashing of and working through extremely  difficult childhood experiences, and three grad school rejections. i feel like shit.  i wanna bust out windows. scream. yell. lay up in my bed with the heat set to  under blankets eating fudge stripes, popcorn, and white castles , watching valley of the dolls. ok so that  was my actual day yesterday. i’m not ashamed. i’d start breaking shit too if i didn’t already know what the inside of the city jail  looked like.

i’m gonna allow myself to fester, too. i’m gonna wail like mahalia. write angry letters i have no intention of sending to the admission offices of each rejecting institution and let them know how bad they done fucked themselves by not accepting me. i’m gonna screech bloody murder to the roof tops at those who chose to bastardize my childhood. i’m gonna throw celie shade on the romantic futures of every man that EVER trifled with my emotions. fuck each and every last one of y’all! and i’m going to do all these things for exactly 4 and 20 hours. anything beyond that, would be embracing misery.

As bad as I want to stay longer, I know I have a choice.  I have infinitely broad base of  people to  reach out to, things to do, and a life to live. I don’t have time to wallow in this. Wallowing never gets me anything but miserable, and most of the time even worse. So I’ll push through. Cycle through my “self-esteem” playlist for the thousandth time. Call my peeps. Cry. Laugh. Be. Then, before I know it, I’ll be sitting pretty on the other side with a brand new set of experiences to lend. All this begins AFTER 2pm tomorrow (exactly 4 and 20 hours after the camel’s back snapped.)

for now, i’m off to count imaginary slashed tires until i lapse into a prostrate coma.

Rosie.

Someone to watch over me.

Yesterday I spent most of the beautiful 75 degree day in my bedroom tearing it apart in order to reorganize.  I do this mainly when I’m wrestling with emotions and I don’t want my mind to eat itself.   Fast forward to 11pm last night, not much but the destruction part had  been done as I’d left my house at 2pm intending to get food and ended up staying gone for the rest of the day. As I stood looking at the remnants of my space and thought about the monumental task of putting it all back together again, I began to cry.

This wasn’t a regular cry. This was one for the record books. Huge crocodile tears filled my eyes and plopped down to the floor. One of those Viola Davis Doubt*, streams of snot ran down my nose.  My body shook.  I even got those crying kid hiccups, you know the ones they always try to talk through but end up sounding like they have a severe stutter. I was deeply sad, and I let myself be there until I could figure out why. My eyes were  just at swelling, and my gullet jam packed with Mike and Ikes when it occurred to me that in that moment, I wanted someone to take care of me. I wanted a male somebody to come in and make this shit right. I then did the other thing I do when faced with an internal crisis (I mean beside glutting myself with dime store candy), I wrote.

My writing put me in touch with something I didn’t know was there.  I’m tired of being the strong, smart, independent one.  The one that puts things together, or figures things out. Compound that with me not being one of these dainty little women that men tend to want to take care of and on most days I feel like a female Grizzly Adams.  I didn’t have a father, while I love my brothers dearly they are fairly useless in the area of handy-mandom, my romantic relationship … what romantic relationship? Anyway, the bottom line is that the times in my life when I felt protected and cared for by a man were few and far between.

So I stewed for a bit, swallowed the sticky wad of Mike and Ikes and tried to “activate my faith” (phrases like that tickle me ^_^).  I thought about times that I had been loved and supported specifically by men, in ways that were non-sexual. What I discovered is while those times are scattered, they are there. I have been loved and wonderfully cared for by men in my romantic relationships (even the sucky ones) – in my family (my Grand Pa always came through with a happy meal when I needed it most and my brothers  effectively kept me dateless through my teens for my own safety.) –and in my male friendships (these are men who have “dated” me, danced and laughed with me, given me emotional and financial support without  any expectations).

The more I wrote and thought and cried and chewed, the more I realized how skewed my perspective is. There is nothing I can do about my past life experience. Nothing. So there is no need to let it make my current existence  miserable. My history with men is just that, HISTORY.  I can make new choices, shift my perspective,  find new mistakes to make and  new lessons to learn. I can only do these things if I choose not to fall back into old patterns, which is what I was avoiding by destroying my bedroom in the first place. See. Full circle. Don’t you love how life works? I know I do.

Rosie.

*the magic happens at 1:11.

Of Duty.

After hearing of the recent death of reporter Marie Colvin, the extent of who’s noble work I’d only heard of upon her death, I became overwhelmed with a sense of duty to carry out whatever I have been placed here to do.  At the foundation I believe it to be writing. I may find it’s something else later, but I’ll focus my intention and let life take care of the rest.  The truth (at least in my mind) is that all people are instilled with a particular “duty”; that certain something that they are put here to do in only the way they are meant to do it. That thing may be just to live  simply and well; a calling that sometimes I wish I had.

Being a woman of duty can be particularly sticky. For me that stickiness presents its self in the conflicting need to be engaged in the romance of a life-time while at the same time saving the world with my pen. Blame it on the excessive number of Hollywood Golden Age films I watched as a kid, my sometimes diminished self worth, but no matter the source I wish like hell it would go away. I get stuck in these hopeless “relationship” cycles with essentially the same guy in different skin. Never asking for what I really want or need afraid that he’ll “go away”.  In the end, he always does. That’s when I look up and months or even years have passed, and my life is a mess. Never mind any overall duty, the BASICS aren’t even done.

A dear, and I dare to say clairvoyant friend of mine sent me this note of inspiration that arrived as most inspiring things in my life do – just when I needed it.

“It’s not a matter of whether or not you have enough time. It is more a matter of timing. That anxious feeling you have may cause you to want to rush or force the process. Please don’t. You are so deeply and richly gifted that we cannot afford to have any part of what you are diluted.

Keep your vision as sharp as possible. Resist the urge to return to any vice that clouds your judgement and KNOW this like you know your own name: YOU WILL COMPLETE YOUR DESTINY. Remember, timing is more important than time.”

Oh, how I love you dear Stacey. I love your candor and your energy and that you fight tooth and nail for humanity. That’s who you are. You bring the future here by not letting the rest of us forget the past, all while living in the present. Not an easy assignment my Dear. However, you are not among the faint of heart. You are equipped for your calling.

I was amazed and honored by what she shared with me. They are things that I instinctively know but often forget. I forget that it’s not all about me and my desires. It’s how to serve others by being the best person  I can using the abilities and talents I was given. Corny, but true. I strive believe that my needs and some of my wants will get met, if only I do the next right thing for the right reasons.

Living a principled and meaningful life isn’t easy. I have and  will again stumble, but I will never fail to keep trying because the world is relying on me ;).

Rosie.

The things we forget.

Yesterday morning was warmish, about 60 or so degrees. It was clear and the sky was as beautiful as always.  A photographer friend and I had decided the evening before that we’d follow through that morning on a shoot that I’d committed to a while back. We’d be shooting in the forest. I’d be being shot in the nude. Being far from the “model type” the idea frightened but excited me at the same time. I was ready. I was ready to feel empowered and sexy in my own skin.

The hardest part, as I had already been told by others, was getting the clothes off; followed closely getting acclimated to being naked outside (burr).  It wasn’t long though before I was chatting casually with him about mortality, artistic relevance, and other shit artsy nerds talk about as he snapped away giving minimal direction. Even sitting on the cold and moldy log in the middle of the forest (or as much forest as one can get our quickly developing city), I was notaware of my body. I  felt the cold, the wet of the ground, but I could not see myself in that world.

It wasn’t until we’d gotten back to Starbucks and he’d began to load the photos on to his computer that I actually got to see myself.  It was odd initially.  It’s very hard for me to look at myself in pictures. After awhile though, thanks to his magnificent talent  for capturing beauty exactly has he sees it, I began to see myself. I saw myself as a part of that world and a part of the world; a beautiful extension of all that was around me. Then I’d began to see bits of me that I glance over on a daily basis, but never really look at.  Like a scratch that lives on my left knee.

I’d gotten that scratch while doing what I did best as a child, trying to keep up with my older brother.  We were wild ghetto chaps, jumping up and down on a mattress that had seen its better days. After one particularly profound leap into the atmosphere I landed with substantial force on a spring that had escaped the holding of the mattress. I remembered being so shocked that I didn’t cry.  I just glared at the ever swelling bloody crescent shaped scar forming on my knee, and thought about how disappointed my Nana would be with me for damaging my skin. She had a thing about my skin, me being light skinned, and preserving the integrity of it 😦 .

Anyway, in the noticing of that scar I once again felt the  exhilaration of being light (in body) and tiny propelling myself in the air as if by magic.  It’s funny what photos can do.  They grab you, hold you and put you in touch with that which you’d forgotten to remember.  I’m truly grateful for that experience, and cannot wait to get butt naked in from of a camera again ;).

Rosie.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the extraordinary eye of Sr. CHD:WCK!

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The “Wrong Side” of 30

I am 36 years old today. I will not now nor ever be one of those people who run from my age.  I earned every damn second of this life I have. I won’t discredit it by monkeying with the numbers.  Notice I did not say that I wouldn’t have my yearly ceremonial breakdown.  It usually has something to do with not being betrothed and knowing that the possibility of another child is ebbing out to sea. Who am I kidding? Do I really want another kid? (See: all posts labeled The Zion Chronicles) Am I really ready for a committed relationship? (See: Living like a wife, Loving like a mistress)

My requisite breakdown is probably based on that universal sense that we should have done abc by xyz, and is based in nothing relevant to my actual life situation.  My life is pretty awesome.  I have a lot to be grateful for, and have lived through things that have killed countless others. It’s those things I focus on when in I’m in the bowels of despair leaning into my friend’s bosoms and adding the salt of my tears to the fried pickles on the table. As to being on the “wrong side” of any age, the only wrong side is the side that equates to me not being alive. As long as I have another day, I have another day to craft the tale.

Here’s to the next 365! Forty, I’m coming for you bitch, and it won’t be pretty!

Rosie.

And remember kiddies … Always stay young at heart!

Living like a wife, Loving like a mistress

Upon rising from my daily routine of prayer, meditation, and letting the screeching cat through my closed bedroom door, I was hit by a lightening bolt of insight. I have been living my life with the beauty, humility, and grace of a woman any man would be lucky to be coupled with but loving as if I only deserved to be a mistress.  Taking the miniscule bits of affection I could get, swallowing every compliment, kiss, phone call, and  text message as an unholy communion. Ignoring grave inadequacies of the relationship for fear I would lose the scraps I was getting, even when I was married. I have been living like a wife, but loving like a mistress.

First off let me say that I don’t view marriage as the ultimate yard stick by which one can measure the degree of soundness of a romantic relationship. See: The Real Housewives of (insert city here). I do believe in marriage as a symbol of commitment to a life with someone else based in non-material reciprocity.  Marriage, for me, stripped of all it’s culturally conceived glitz is simply saying ‘I do’ vow to go through all of life’s bullshit with you. To try not to hate you when you get on my damn nerves, and to while doing all this, love you for exactly who you are, as is. A simple but tall order. One that I have at one end or the other struggled with for most of my life.

I have given an over abundance of myself to people who either couldn’t or wouldn’t reciprocate. I have given with self centered expectation and been hurt when I didn’t receive the expected results. The relationship ground on which I walk on is pretty shaky but better than it used to be because I am now aware. Once I became aware, I couldn’t not become unaware which makes it that much harder to practice the behaviors I used to.

Love in abundance is coming. I don’t have to fight for it. Scrap, beg or borrow. I just have to be patient and honor the lessons I’ve already learned.

❤ Rosie

Hello, My name is Stacey and I’m an addict.

I have officially broken my own anonymity per the 12th tradition of all 12 step programs. I broke it for the need to speak freely about what addiction is and isn’t and what recovery is and isn’t per my own experience.  Clearly I’m writing this because of the recent passing of Whitney Houston, but it’s been bubbling up in me since the passing of Amy Winehouse.  It nags the shit out me to see the joke addiction is made out to be in this society, as if it is some signifier of inferiority that only the weakest of society are afflicted with.

Guess what? That man negotiating million dollar deals on the 54th floor of your nearest sky scraper, is smoking crack in his office after board meetings cause he can’t take the pressure.  Your son’s 3rd grade teacher that is always so great with getting him to do his daily reading, is tweaking meth while her class is on the playground. Not convinced?  Sigmund Freud was a damn coke head! Addicts are everywhere and the sooner we start acknowledging addiction as a disease like diabetes or heart disease, the better off we’ll be as a society.

For starters, addiction has more to do with obsession and compulsion than sheer sloth. It is a disorder of the brain, and it’s treatment often consists of a multifold approach.  My own course of treatment has included: outpatient rehab, 12 steps, meetings, prayer, meditation, and therapy (and that’s not even everything.)  You see, contrary to popular belief one does not pop into rehab, pop out after 28 days and go on living their lives normally. Recovery from addiction takes work  and a lifetime of work at that. How is it then that we expect people who are in the lime light to “get their shit together”. I can barely shuffle my shit into the same building much less get it together after two years clean, but I’m getting better :).

When I heard of Whitney’s death, I was in a room full of recovering addicts. We talked, some cracked inappropriate jokes ( laughter being the 2nd cousin of fear), some sang songs, but the sentiment was the same: She was one of us, and she never “got” it. It saddens me when I see the requisite apathetic tweets and facebook updates after tragedies like these. “She/He brought it on her/hisself” or “Yeah, but A MILLION people are dead in (place 3rd world country here)”. I challenge these types of people to take a good look at what addiction has done and is doing in THIS country. Incidents like these are opportunities for us to take our own inventories, not platforms for self righteousness.

Ain’t it the American/Human way. We dress people up, call them our “darlings” and when they stray from our expectations of them we seek their complete annihilation.  Fame is so dangerous in that way.  Just for today, I’m good with being regular assed Stacey R. from Elizabeth, NJ trying to piece together this thing called life with a lil’ help from my friends. If any good can be said to come from the recent deaths of Amy, Etta (the wear and tear on her body was drug related y’all), and now Whitney is my resolve to stay and live clean, is  that much stronger.

Stacey R.

11/10/09