Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I am technically homeless at the moment. I mean, it's not dire. I have a roof over my head, and I move into my new place soon, but for practical purposes? I don't have an address. I don't have most of my stuff -- it's all in storage.

It's very weird.

And if not for the kindness of my friends, I don't know where I would be.

However, I'm lucky because my friends are kind, so instead of being in dire circumstances, I am in a pretty room with a comfy bed, snuggled up with Bean (who, by the way, just looked at me adoringly and then sneezed on me). It's all good.

It might not have been.

But it is.

So I don't feel homeless. I feel blessed. The path that brought me here was twisty and cold, but the one that's bringing me out is warm and sure.

Warm, sure, and occupied by a sneezy Beansie, which makes it a kind of home.

Monday, July 29, 2013

All Good Gifts

Once upon a time, there was a woman who loved to do things for other people, but who didn't know how to let people do things for her. She was stubborn, this one. Stubborn and independent and, to be honest, a little bossy. As a result, she didn't really understand that not letting the people she loved help her was a little insulting to them -- but they continued to love her anyway, in spite of her silliness.

Our heroine fell on some hard times. As usual, she didn't want to ask for help.

Her friends saw that she was in trouble. Big trouble. Bad trouble.

They didn't wait for her to ask for help, because they knew she wouldn't. They also didn't ask her if she needed help, because they knew she'd say no. Instead, they just banded together and helped. They told her: "We are helping you. If you love us? You will let us do this for you, because we love you and want to do it."

So she did. Because she realized that love? Is a two way street, one where you give and accept. She finally understood that reaching out to someone meant that they could reach back to her.

It was hard. It was uncomfortable at times as she learned to accept help and to ask for it when she needed it. It made her feel a little weird.

But it also let her understand that she is loved.

So all of the lessons and all of the hardships? They were good gifts.


I owe some people tremendous thanks right now. I can never repay any of you for your kindness and generosity with me of late, but I would like to publicly acknowledge you here, in no particular order:
Matt, Vanessa, Neha, Kristen, Dan, Jesse, the Voses, Heather F, Heather S, Shana, Krista, Jenn, Amber, Dot, Regan, Mr (or Ms) Anonymous, Shilo, Ben, Adam, Annie, Jared, Josh, Jamie, Tess and Katie, Fran, Tom and Kelly, my mom and dad, and everyone else who has gone out of his or her way to offer me support, love, a place to stay, a strong back, a tissue, or a shoulder to cry on. I owe you all so much and I love you.

When the book is finished? It's being dedicated to you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Randoms


"It's, like, 85% humidity right now."

"Dear God. You're practically underwater. You need to swim to your car."


"I'm not trying to be snarky? But she annoys me."

"So it only counts as snark if you're TRYING?"

"Something like that."


"So listen. I know you're having a hard time? But people love you. Like, some people go their whole lives without this kind of love. So stop crying."

"I'm so sad and happy at the same time that I can't help it."



"You ever ask yourself, 'Self, what the fuck am I doing' and realize you don't even know?"

"Um. No?"

"When you do, we'll resume this conversation."


"Thank you for calling Danielle's desk, where miracles are performed daily and despair is a fleeting emotion."

"... What?"

"Don't worry, I only answer the phone like that when I know who's calling. Mostly because the miracles are really every other day and false advertising is just wrong."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's Past, and Passing, and Yet to Come

You may have noticed that something ... Less than ideal... Has been going on in Yellieland.

I didn't want to talk about it.

I DON'T want to talk about it.


To refuse to speak of something gives it weight -- perhaps more than it deserves. Think of it as the Voldemort Principle, if you're a Harry Potter geek. Calling something by its name -- acknowledging what IS -- takes away its power and relevance.


Several months ago, a friend needed help. I offered him my home, support. I helped him to find a job.  When he wanted to bring his girlfriend along, I said okay. 

I didn't ask for anything in return. When you help someone, you don't do it so they'll repay you; you do it because we're all down here on this earth and we need each other.

Then we decided that, after they moved out, we should continue to be roommates. Because bills split three ways are cheaper than bills split one way. So I broke my lease and moved into the place they'd rented. It was a greater distance from work, and I didn't want to live in that town, but what the heck, it was only a year.

Or, you know, two weeks.

Because that was how long I was there before it all went to hell.

To paraphrase: they loved me? And they appreciated me. But they were moving to the Midwest and I was now on the verge of being homeless.

It sucked. 

It sucked OUT LOUD.

And I felt like an idiot.

I felt like an idiot because I firmly believe that people are good, but if that was true, than what did any of this mean? I was broke, I felt betrayed,  and I was -- very literally -- on the edge of financial ruin and homelessness.

There was a lot of crying. In the arms of friends. On the phone. At Target (okay, that was just once). While composing emails.

But something else happened as well. Something amazing. The people I love banded together. I found myself with a plan, and a place to stay, and strong arms to carry me and hold me up and help me move. 

I set out to help someone. It didn't work out.

But in a way, that's okay. I have been shown, again and again, that my family and friends are amazing. I have been reminded again and again that love is the most important thing, that generosity is boundless, and that kindness can never, ever be overrated.

Because of those truths, Bean and I have a safe place to stay. We have a roof over our heads -- in fact, we have been offered multiple roofs -- and a soft bed and warm food. We have been shown the love and sweetness that I was beginning to doubt still existed.  We have been packed, moved, hosted, fed, and loved.

I can never repay these debts that I owe. Never. Not in a million years.

Today, Bean and I found and were approved for an apartment I love in the town I adore. We'll have an address again. We'll have a place that is safe and where all of the people who got us here will bs welcome whenever, wherever.

I have been frightened and on the edge, but my friends and family have made sure that I know -- really know -- that I am not alone.

And that? Is priceless.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Errors in Execution

I have made mistakes. It's important, I think, when you're assessing where your life is at, to own the fact that you got yourself to where you are. You walked yourself there. Life is an event in which you participate. Own your part.

I have recently made some, um, big assed mistakes.

These mistakes, like the successes in my life, are mine. They belong to me. I can't let go of them -- I am still dealing with the ramifications and fallout of them -- and I continue to do the mental equivalent of weighing them in the palm of my hand because of the kind of mistakes they are.

Which is to say: I went about something with good intentions and an open heart and ... Well. To say it backfired would be a gross understatement. To say it nearly left me homeless would NOT be a gross overstatement.

I've aged about five years in the last two weeks.

And yet.

Mistakes are often gifted with an imperfect beauty. If I err, and suffer for it, my suffering is balanced out with tremendous joy. I have been struggling with the ramifications of my choices, it's true, but I have also been shown how much love I have in my life. While I have been reeling, I have also had many hands reach out to catch me before I could fall. When I have said that I am scared, I have had amazing people reach out to hold me. When I have said that the world has seemed dark, an endless number of friends lit candles to help me find my way.

I have been worried, frightened, and stressed.

But I have also been blessed.

So I own my mistakes. I own the fact that I got myself here through a series poor judgement calls -- ones that were made with the best of intentions, but were made nonetheless.  I own them and I keep moving forward with the knowledge that I will make more errors in life, but that no error would be so great as to fail to learn and love.

Friday, July 19, 2013

This Is The Picture, Part Three: Forgiving Is Not Forgetting

I was standing outside, watching the fireflies dance in the tall grass, when suddenly my ex-husband came to mind. I flashed back to sitting beside a campfire with him on a hot summer night in Bethel, Maine, leaning back in a chair, drinking a beer, and watching shooting stars streak across the sky. Their light was just as improbably magical to me as the winking fireflies and in that moment, I felt a rush of love for the people we were once upon a time.

I thought, not for the first time and likely not for the last, "I forgive you."

But for the first time, I also thought, "I hope he can forgive me."

We all need forgiveness. We all make mistakes. We are all human, flawed, and weak in some ways. We blaze brightly and flash across the night sky and are easily mistaken for someone other than who we really are.

It's easy to dole out punishment for that. To others -- why weren't you who I thought you were? -- and to ourselves -- how is it that I am not who I wanted to be?

It's harder to forgive. It's challenging to say, I understand that you are human, and imperfect, and I accept who you are. It's more difficult still to look in the mirror and say those words to yourself. However, at times it is necessary.

I am choosing to forgive the people in my life who have caused me pain. I am also choosing to forgive myself for being flawed and foolish.


Forgiving is not forgetting.

Forgiving IS agreeing not to throw someone's transgressions in her or his face at every opportunity . Forgiving is not "I now take this opportunity to punish you every time we have an argument." That's not forgiveness; that is a guillotine blade poised to strike every time the going gets tough.

Forgiving is remembering. Forgiving is holding on to the lesson. It's storing a map of what got you to this place in your memory. It's carving the memory of this moment into your heart so you don't find yourself precisely here again.

It's learning. About yourself. About the people you need to forgive. It's placing your expectations on a scale opposite reality and understanding the balance that evens the two out, and not holding the a grudge to counterbalance the scales.

That's forgiving. Rather than forgive and forget? Forgive and remember. Remember that those who hurt you are just doing their best, and that sometimes their best, like yours, is a jacked-up catastrophe.

But other times, it is as beautiful as a field full of fireflies, or a meteor shower in the summer sky.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

This Is The Picture, Part Two: Own It

My sister once said to me, gravely, "I think it's time you accept responsibility for your accidents."

At the time, I thought this was a ridiculous statement. She was talking about car accidents, and though I'd been involved in an accident or two, they were documented as not my fault. She insisted, though, that I needed to own my role in them. I considered this -- how could I have avoided them? Should I not have been driving to work? Should I have left the house earlier? Later? And then mostly let it go.

But I'm thinking about it now. I'm thinking about it now because I think she had a point. I didn't cause the car accident(s) I was involved in, but they were a literal result of being in a certain place on a certain road. I may not have intended to be in an accident at that moment, but my life and my choices brought me to that space and time in which I intersected with another vehicle in a mess of broken glass and twisted steel.

I may not have intended for my life to be at the crossroads at which I now find myself, but I need  own my responsibility for it. My feet brought me here. I can be sad and scared and angry about the fact that I am struggling, and I can say that this is not what I thought would happen or what I wanted to happen, but I still have to recognize that I drove myself to this intersection at this time.

It's not about fault. This is not an actual car accident and there is no insurance company, no police to assess the damage.

It's about seeing the road and recognizing it as the one I was choosing -- right or wrong -- to follow. And just like it was natural that I would be driving to work on the days I was in my car accidents, it was natural for me to find myself on the path that brought me to this difficult moment in my life. The highs and lows are a result of being on a journey. You walk yourself to them both, so you have to embrace them both: the good and the bad. The easy and the difficult. They all belong to you.

So take responsibility for your joys. Own them. Take responsibility for your accidents, too, because they are just as valuable a part of you.

And love the road that gets you there.

Monday, July 15, 2013

This Is The Picture, Part One

"Your problem," she said, "is that you believe everyone is as good as you. They're not. But you believe that they are."

I think... I'm pretty sure...this was and is a compliment.

I think.

But when I found myself on the verge of being homeless, the meaning behind her words didn't matter   all that much.

When you follow your heart, you bumble. You don't march. You become John Cusack in "Say Anything", standing outside a window with a boom box in hand, blasting Peter Gabriel into the night because you believe more than anything else that it is the proper thing to do, even if nearly everyone else in the world wouldn't understand it. You ARE Lloyd Dobler. You won't buy anything bought, sold, or processed, you believe you can choose to be happy and that after that it really IS easy, and you kind of think that kickboxing is the sport of the future, which is all just another way of saying that your intentions are pure and that you think the best of everyone.

Unfortunately, this may mean that people take advantage of you.

Sometimes, this doesn't matter too much.

Other times, it is disastrous.


I believe that allowing hard situations to make you hard is not the proper response.

I believe that looking away from what is hurting you and seeing the miracle that is love and kindness takes enormous effort.

I believe that the effort inherent in seeing love and kindness is the point. It's the reason behind the struggle. It's the tune inside the boom box, the one you're holding but that you maybe forgot to listen to in your struggle and misery.

But it's important.

It's so important.


It's true. I expect everyone to act the way I act in any given situation. I expect hearts to be open, hands to be reached out, and love and kindness to be guiding forces in human behaviors. The fact that this sometimes doesn't happen? I am realizing right now, this minute, that this is not a failing in ME.

This is important, because I have been feing dumb, duped. And used. But I am none of those things. I am a person who made a mistake because I believed in someone, and who thought that because I believed in that person and trusted him, than those things would be mirrored back to me.

I was wrong.

It may be wrong for me to say that I would make that mistake again, but I would, consequences be damned. I would because I think I was right to do what I did, and to believe in the best of people, and to come from a place of love and good intentions. I'd rather be burned for that one thousand times than be spared the pain once and miss the opporumoty to live and love honestly once.

That's what I believe. That's what I know.

And I'm done feeling like an idiot about it.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013


The house is full of photos I have taken and framed. Most of them are from North Carolina -- I realized this today and, to be honest, it startled me a little because if you asked me about living in North Carolina, I'd tell you that I didn't love it. But if that's true, why surround myself with these images?

Maybe I don't know myself that well.

Because the truth is that I've been thinking of going back. I never thought this would happen. But then, I didn't realize how hard it would be to be separated from my family for this length of time. Voluntary exile is still exile even if you signed up for it.

And yet. I love New England. I love being with my friends.

So I have these pictures. The morning glories that grow wild in fields and ditches glow a brilliant purple against my pale walls. Wisteria drips from tree branches above my bed. In the living room, orange and yellow mums fiercely guard a copper garden lantern. I remember taking each one, standing. Snapping. Being present in that moment.

And I think, how I want to go back.

I know, though, that this is the trick of photographs -- the trick and the lie. Because they contain all of the beauty and none of the loneliness. They remind me of lovely, perfect moments and hide all of the flawed ones. That's what they're for. It's what they do.

So I surround myself with images of North Carolina, and sometimes I dream of it, the autumn fields outside of Hinnant, the cornstalks covered with flowers, wild red, purple, pink, white, blue. Winter rye rippling in the wind. Cotton bursting white against the ground. And I stay here, where the fall will blaze with colour and the snow will fall all too long, where I can stand by the sea and dream of other times than these.

And where I can take more pictures that I will carry with me if I choose to go.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lost. Found.

When I was a junior in college, my grandfather died. I can't say that this event messed me up, as I was already an anxiety riddled, depressed, anorexic disaster of a human being. What I can say is this: it showed me that there is not nearly enough safety in the world.

Subsequent events have only reinforced that fact.

Subsequent events have also served to reinforce to me that I have not done a stellar job of taking the kind of care that would allow me to establish safe places for myself. Added to the fact that I make it a point to fight with or drive away people who try to take care of me... Well. I'm a prickly little pear, and I've not pretended to be otherwise.

But. Sometimes, you reach a point where you need help. Even if saying the words "I need help" go against everything you believe in. Even if you don't really know how to ask for help because you pride yourself on giving it and not receiving it.

I've been absent from this space, and it's been because I had to take some time to rearrange my living situation. Which is to say: I had to ask for help. 

I didn't like it. I don't like it. I will confess that I feel like a failure and a moron, and that confessing that I have struggled, that I am struggling, strikes me as shameful. Even though I love my new place and I adore my roommate and believe that the choices I have made of late are good and necessary.

And even though there is safety here.

Because I think that the other thing I have come to realize -- and I think that this is one of the things that causes me to be a bit of mess -- is this: since I know that safety is both fleeting and scarce, I fear it. I know it's not lasting, and I don't know how to trust it.

But I'm trying. 

I'm also trying to be honest -- more honest -- from here on out, because I think that I'm not the only one. I know I'm not. It's a tough old world out there, and I don't believe for an instant that I'm the only one fighting harder than I thought would be necessary to make my way in it, to find my place. To find some peace.

I've been lost. I'm beginning to figure out how to be found, and how to allows myself to say that I'm lost, and to ask for help when I need it.

As always, I owe an enormous amount to everyone who reads this, and who has checked in and asked  around and offered assistance and love. The world may be short on safety, but you remind me that love is ample and endless.  Hugs and love to all of y'all. I'm back, and I'm staying.