Not only did I fly to California last month for a comedy contest at the Ice House – my dream club by the way – I flew there with a 24 hour old brand new hair style. That’s huge for a control freak like me, who has to look perfect at all times.
My girlfriend gave me dreads.
You read that right. Dreadlocks.
I know right? I’m still in shock.
Now, I do not have your typical home grown variety that takes years to grow, but rather the woven with a crochet hook and added extensions variety. In other words I cheated. It took 19 hours in all to go from a redhead with many bands and shades of red and gray, to a blonde with super long dreads. I might have cheated, but I’m okay with that. Yes, I do wash them. I use Castille Soap and I keep them rinsed, they just take 8 hours to dry. And I’m still figuring out the style.
This particular hairstyle speaks a courage that I am still growing into. This is definitely one of those take action and the courage will follow ideas. I’m getting there.
The upside my guitar-player husband is now suddenly married to a blonde with dreads. He is beside himself giddy.
I’ll post pics of the contest later this week. But for now, check out the hair.
I am sometimes accused of only posting fun and exciting adventures on Facebook and Instagram and it can (I suppose) give people the impression that I lead a charmed life, which I don’t. It’s just that when I do post things it’s usually about my comedy adventures or stuff with my church. I leave out the stuff that really should go to my therapist because I don’t want to traumatize anyone.
Well, let me tell you about the day I fell on my butt in front of a woman I admire greatly and just met.
Spoiler alert: We aren’t going to be friends. Ever. Nope. Not gonna happen. I’m pretty sure of that one. I’m not going to be friends with anyone on her team either.
I had this really exciting weekend planned where I was going to hostess a speaking team from California for a woman’s conference for the whole weekend and I was excited. I love her work. I’ve taken women to places just to see her. I guess I’m a bit of a fan girl, without wanting to seem like one perhaps. I’m not sure.
And besides, I rock at this, really I do. I’ve been taking care of speakers since the 90s. Now granted, this is the first time I’ve done that since Mom passed, but no biggie, right? I mean what would be the harm. Going to a woman’s conference the same week that I put Mom’s house on the market and did my final walk through. Oh did I mention we just found out that Dad has leukemia?
Surely, I’ll be fine.
We found out last minute that there would be four people arriving instead of the normal two, so our director put two of us together to work with the team. That seemed fair. I arrived at the airport early to pick up “Pepper” and when a tall male walked up and introduced himself, I almost didn’t believe him.
Being me, I said out loud, “Oh wow! I was expecting a woman.” I tried to save it with “well, it’s a woman’s conference and all.. I am so sorry.”
He just smiled.
I insulted her director, right out of the gate. Isn’t that awesome?
It just went downhill from there. Really it did. A comedy of errors. Everything I tried to put my hands on fell apart. I wish I was exaggerating. Fortunately for them, there were two hostesses assigned to this team and my counterpart rocked. She’s wonderwoman on steroids. She’s also about 15 years younger than me and can fly around that arena like she’s on roller skates. (I tend to hobble)
When I sat in the stadium waiting to hear my speaker get up and do her thing, I was feeling a little shaky. This first few speakers really get your heart. But I told myself “I got this. It’s going to be okay.” Big deep, calming breaths.
My speaker is a dramatist and she did this sketch that I’ve seen half a dozen times before and I thought nothing of it, until she takes this left turn at the end and her character confronts her alcoholic mother with all the things she wishes she could have said.
I never saw the sucker punch coming. One minute I’m enjoying the sketch, the next I am on the floor sobbing and cannot pull it together.
Thus ending my awesome chance at hostessing one of my favorite speakers.
I turned over the reigns to my counterpart and hid for the rest of the day until it was time to take them back to the hotel. They hid from me as well, so it was a mutual avoidance thing.
I mean really, she’s in a new town, starting a new tour with an event she’s never performed at before. This was the first stop, and she gets the sniveling-grief-stricken-hostess who’s phone texting system isn’t even working correctly and who chose to take offense at something a pastor said to her (he compared me to a rich white party girl from his college) which caused another crying jag (only that one outside).
Can you blame her?
I would have done the same thing.
And I don’t know if they thought I bailed because I was lazy or what, but I didn’t care.
Grief is a rude child and demands attention when it demands attention. It’s just a weekend. It’s just grief and not the end of the world. And if this speaker and her team thinks I’m a train wreck, then they think I’m a train wreck. Most likely though — they haven’t given me another thought since they left for the next gig.
I’m much better now. I no longer want to crawl under a rock. But there it is.. I blew that gasket every way possible. And I didn’t die.
And if you are grieving or know someone who is, be compassionate with yourself and with others. It takes time and it’s not a race.
I recently spent a week in Tampa Florida, doing a Clean Comedy Show at Coconuts Club on St Pete Beech with friends. We had a four day run and after that, Joby, Michelle and I performed at the Ale and the Witch at St Pete Mall. Oh what an incredible week.
I have great memories of St Pete. My in-laws used to live there so we visited quite a bit. That and my youngest was conceived there years ago.
It turns out those “cute name” little drinks they serve on the Tiki Hut bars become verbs instead of nouns if you have enough of them.
Yes my mother in law did that math, giving her second reason for hating me.
Do you know her first reason?
I married her son.
Back to my story.
Someone told me recently that they wish God had given them a gift that allowed them to travel. I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled and hugged her. She’s in the middle of young child season and i miss those days. I could try and explain that, or tell her how i woke up one day, my kids we’re grown and the career i had before I became a stay home mom no longer exists and cutting my husbands meat really isnt an option, but she wouldn’t understand.
I could tell her don’t rush this season, it’ll end soon enough, cherish those days. I could tell her that all I really know how to do is be a wife (its all I’ve done for 25 years)and while that isn’t a bad thing really, I’m in a new season with no clue how this is going to turn out. Not better or worse, just new. And that’s okay.
Besides, it’s not like God said to me, “Go! Though shalt now be a comic.” It’s was more like a whispered, “follow me.”
So I follow the whisper.
How did I get here? This place where I can travel with friends and tell jokes. I still think it’s a dream some days.
Truth is though, I can sum it up in one word: FAILURE.
That and of course GRACE.
So I guess that makes two words really. I never was good at math.Which really messes with my name it claim it friends who want blessings in return for right behavior.
Yes, hard work, faith, and other things come into play here. But there is really more than that going on in my life right now.
I can still remember my lowest point ever in my life. My dream of working in a church fell to pieces around me due to spiritual warfare. And the Non Profit I worked for closed it’s doors. I stood on the precipice of “now what” and shook in my boots.I also went on meds and spent three years in therapy, so you know. I wasn’t firing on all cylinders for a while. My hobbies back then included wrapping myself in a blanket, chain smoking and staring out into the abyss that is my back yard.
I LOVED that life. I didn’t want to let it go.
The pre therapy one I mean not the abyss. That would just be weird. And sad.
As much as I hated that time, and as painful as it was – the most amazing blessings have unfolded as a result. A stranger came along, grabbed my hand and put me to work for her promoting her events. I took one small step after the other until I learned how to breathe again. I went from there working larger events and helping plant a church. Each step, each choice to say yes beget more things and more opportunities. And so, I pulled up my bootstraps, leaned into God with everything I had, put one quivering foot in front of the other, and with the help of a delightful mentor I learned to say yes to the Holy Spirit.
Didn’t realize I was saying no until she pointed that out. Note: Never use the words “I could never do what you do, I’m just happy to be here” to a Spirit Filled woman – she will start praying over you and well — you’re toast.
She suggested an experiment – she wanted me to spend one year only saying yes to where I am invited. Don’t knock on a single door and then watch God work. Let’s see what He thinks about these so called limitations you think you have.Now I don’t always recommend that because we can get too complacent sitting around waiting for God to move. I still moved – I said yes to things I never would have said yes to before because I was so busy. And I learned to say no to the things and places I didn’t belong.
I started writing again and I remember wanting to write a series about life after kids and pondered her advice to say yes to everything I was invited to even if it made me throw up from fear. The result? I made amazing new friends, learned that I can too stand up for myself after all, that fame means nothing to me (Hey my husband AKA “Guitar man” opened for Mitch McVicker remember? Cool yes, but Mitch isn’t a rock star and never wants to be – best lesson ever), worked production for some amazing christian artists who aren’t rock stars either. I’ve even invited a few of them to come to my church and perform. I also rode a horse through the jungles of Belize, swam with sharks, and started doing stand-up (which is a huge stretch for a story teller like myself.)
Every single thing a blessing. I’m not a name it claim it girl. I don’t throw God’s promises back in his face, rather I thank him for today and go on. Now some people are really good at reminding God his promises. It’s just not my way. it’s not our relationship. It’s not a theology I understand even though it is a popular one.I wouldn’t go around demanding my parents, family, or friends do really spectacular things for me just because I’m so awesome. They’d call me an entitled brat if I did that. So, I don’t treat God that way either.
The only way I can describe the past few years is it feels like I’m in the middle of this passionate love affair with a God who’s yes trumps every no I’ve ever been told in my life.
No you can’t join this church, you’re just a kid.
No you can’t be on the this board, it’s already full with charter members.
No you can’t be a deaconess (I don’t care if you took the classes already) you weren’t raised Lutheran.
No. No. No. No.
Here bring cookies to the funeral.
Jesus didn’t die for me – or you – to be relegated to sitting in a pew on Sundays and being told that’s all you deserve because you are an adult convert. Which is a common occurrence in some older churches. I know this: Jesus lives so that you can have abundant life.
God’s YES will ALWAYS triumph a world full of nos.
That is pretty cool.And if someone is telling you otherwise – they are lying. So when somebody asked what I did to deserve this or that event, (and they usually do) I honestly answer “Nothing.” I tell the truth about who I am and what my accomplishments are – and my goals. I don’t embellish (because getting found out is easier than people realize) and I trust God with the journey. I could run around and “work” my connections and strive to arrive more quickly, but that’s exhausting. I’d rather take my time, make friends and learn. I’m enjoying the journey.It doesn’t matter what any of us do for a living really. No one is “more called” than some one else. No job is more important than the other. The hand is just as important as the foot.
Remember Mitch? – That man travels to small churches, cut up blue jeans, shirt, bare feet (much like Rich) and plays his heart out for God – not stadiums. I LOVE that. And even so – his job isn’t any more important that the janitor who takes time to talk to troubled teens, or the gal at the check out counter who smiles every day – or the corporate executive — They all matter to God. We’re all called to live life by a God who adores us not for our “here is how I’m going to bless you today Lord” lists quickly followed by an open hand wanting something back as if he were a vending machine – but because He created us and he’s mad about us. Oh that we could love him back not because he’s Santa handing out wishes and accolades based on our own perceptions of righteousness and entitlement, but because he’s God. Would that not just be the bees knees right there?
NOTE: No clue why my formatting is messed up. But thank you for reading. Have a great day peeps.
If you’ve ever seen those flashbacks on TV or the movies where someone flashes a mental picture of them hurling said irritant out the window and then you come back and see calm composure – that would be me. When I’m mad my insides explode and my outside get’s calmer. Dead almost. Or I just get a goofy ass grin and go blonde. Either way.
There is a part of me that truly envies women who can express anger openly. I wasn’t raised to do that, so for me it is very foreign.
Truth is, I have a horrific temper, I just don’t allow myself to express it, even in healthy ways like saying “I’m really angry right now, let me cool off and get back to you.” — I never get back. Most of the time, I rarely even let on that I’m mad.
I actually fired someone years ago over anger/hurt feelings and they have no idea I fired them.
I can still remember the trigger and the rage. I wasn’t just mad by what happened, I was deeply hurt and I wanted to inflict bodily harm. I wanted to create a scene. I remember visualizing bodily harm and a multitude of cuss words, throwing things (I cannot tell you how badly I wanted to throw something at that man’s head) and in your face so theres.
I didn’t do any of that. I left with a goofy smile and see you tomorrow, and I just never came back.
Well that’s partly true anyway. Once i cooled off I went back to talk, but they weren’t available, and they stayed unavailable. Guess they have the same issues.. avoidance. It’s just as well really – if I can’t be honest, maybe we shouldn’t be doing business together. Or be friends.
The kind of anger that is triggered during those moments usually involve personal shame, history and fear and I really do want to lash out with emotional violence. Not doing that is healthy, not addressing that at all however, is not.
To this day this man has NO idea how deeply hurt I was by his words – or by the fact he had someone on speaker phone when he said them and I knew it. I just avoid his area of business and his circles.
I live in a small town ya’ll. Reckoning day will eventually arrive. Not just for that relationship, but the countless others in my past that have fallen by the way side because of unresolved and unaddressed feelings. Anger or otherwise.
I’m not alone either.
I once polled my Facebook tribe and asked “What would you do if fear was not an issue.” I got the typical responses like skydiving, comedy, write a book, but then one response stood out.
“I’d give myself permission to express my anger.”
That came from someone I admire a whole lot and it hit me square between the eyes.
I’m not alone.
I’m not the only person who plays dumb in the face of anger because I’m afraid.
Anger is one emotion I’m very familiar with but really struggle with expressing. I’d rather stuff it, deal with it in private (my shower or journal) and leave you out of it than risk vulnerability, embarrassment, physical harm, shame or worse – abandonment. I never had permission to express anger growing up or as an adult with some extended family members. It was always a get over it or leave kind of environment. Avoidance is the motto and key to getting along. Stuff it and smile.
Or how did Miranda put it? Oh yeah, “Hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.”
I’ve only met a few men (or women for that matter) in my life that I trust enough to go toe to toe with. One of them happened to be on our church plant team years ago – oh man it was awesome. There was no fear of abandonment, physical harm or shame. He knew how to fight and I enjoyed the freedom of being able to do that with him. Neither of us took offense, and neither of us liked to lose which was a problem. So we dropped the ball.
It wasn’t a healthy expression of anger, but it was refreshing to know that I can express my personal anger full on and be taken seriously, not have it held against me, and move on. Somewhere in all of this is balance.
Wish I had an “in conclusion” to give here – with some great sage words of wisdom about speaker/listener technique or “I feel statements” but I really don’t right now. Yes, all of that is good, but when I’m blindsided by anger I still struggle. Maybe for me a good baby step is learning words like “ouch” and “I don’t know how to take that.” and start from there.
She was an alcoholic who left recovery after ten years of sobriety to return home and do it on her own. That was the biggest mistake she ever made in my opinion.She never took another drink, but I wouldn’t call what she lived, sobriety.
Mom suffered from severe depression on and off for most of her life. This blog post is not intended to tarnish her memory. Nor is it intended to trash AA, it’s a wonderful program. Mom was an amazing women. A force to behold most days.
She is my beloved. The bravest women I know.
I will always be thankful for her.
I spent three months with her before she passed and as crazy hard as those days were, I am eternally grateful for that time.
Nothing was left unsaid.
Our last words to each other were “I love you.” and “I love you too.”
I have peace knowing that my mother loved me and knowing that she knew she was forgiven by me and that I loved her as well. Not many people have that. What a gift.
Mom was laid to rest on August 22, 2015 after a long 15 year battle with COPD and severe depression and anxiety.
May she finally be at peace.
I grieved for three years as she died piece by piece. And I grieve now, not so much always for what we had, but for what we missed.
When she was happy she was a screaming riot, full of life and humor. Manic almost in her pursuit of joy, gardening and art. She would work around the clock creating beauty. I loved those moments as a child, even if I couldn’t keep up. Those were the best moments really. Baking cookies in the middle of the night. Painting ornaments. Creating jelly. Mom on a manic was fun, if not exhausting.
In those moments she was wildly creative and wildly beautiful.
But when she wasn’t happy, she was a force to be reckoned with, a storm with no warning and no chance of surviving. She was brutal, cutting, and fierce to anyone and every one.
She was, in those moments, my greatest source of pain.
There was a lot of anger in her depression and those closest to her were her best targets; a sister, a daughter, a niece, a nephew, a friend, it really didn’t matter. She became cold, uncaring almost. Her body would clench up and her eyes would fill with tears as she spoke of those who had inflicted wounds in her life.
Were they real or perceived?
I’ll never know.
It was too much to bear really.
For me anyway.
The suicide attempts or threats.
The threats of abandonment.
There were countless times I’d speak to her on the phone or visit during one of her “moods” and I’d wind up in the hospital or back in therapy sifting for the truth.
One time, my doctor told me to either have her committed or walk away to save my own life.
I was willing to do neither and chose rather to weather the storm, come what may and find a way to love her in a way that she could recognize. I eventually did towards the end and I have no regrets.
Someone in AA told her that she could not take meds and be “sober.” They said Bipolar disorder was a “lie and an excuse.”
What a load of BS. AA itself does not have opinions on outside issues, but people do and she listened to the wrong ones.
That little pill would have changed both of our worlds for the better, but she wouldn’t take it because AA told her not to.
So who do I be mad at?
A 12 step program that saved my life and sanity through Alanon? That’s not fair.
Should I be mad at her? After all it was her choice not to take meds.
The doctors who didn’t tell her the truth?
No one I guess.
I can’t afford it.
If I spend my days finding someone to be mad at, I’ll never heal.
I’ll spend my life like she did.
She’s at peace now.
It’s time for me to be the same.
Breathe Darlin’. It’s going to be okay. And if it’s not okay – hold my hand. Let’s walk this together.