This Time Next Year

I bought this cool little journal. It’s titled “This Time Next Year~365 Days of Exploration”  by Cynthia Scher. It’s this neat little set up that is full of prompts that move you through this look into yourself and different pieces of you each day.


The funny thing about me grabbing this book is the only thing I think I ever constantly done for 365 days straight is breathe. I’m trying to think of another thing. Right now, I got nothing. Maybe we will come back to that.


But I am in the middle of a divorce so I think I am going to give this a real shot. This next year is going to be a life changing one. I think I kind of owe it to myself to pay a little closer attention.

The first day is supposed to be kinda easy. I am always kinda suspect of any writing idea that appears on the surface to be easy. But who am I to borrow trouble…



My name is ~ April Kekuewa Groves

The story behind my name is ~ See, not easy. My name is about as story filled as it gets. So I am going to make a long story short and make a note to myself to come back to this later if I run out of time this  morning (this is in honor of my commitment to write everyday, whether I can publish it or not, whether I complete it or not, whether I delete it or not). April just is as far as I know. Kekuewa was the name of my paternal great grandmother (story goes my name was decreed, not suggested). Groves is the last name of one of the best families I’ve ever known and given to me by a young man who rode in on a white horse (that looked a lot like a pickup truck) almost 20 years ago.

Your nickname is ~ Momma? People typically just call me “April.” I had a nickname once many moons ago. Honey. That’s a cute story all its own as well and the face of the sweet little toddler that gave it to me is still fresh in my brain.

The story behind your nickname is ~ Guess I got ahead of myself up there 😀

Your secret name that you you wish you had ~ Ummmmm? I dunno. Siri calls me Queen Bee. My oldest spawn has me saved as “Giver of Life” in her phone. Since this is my journal, I guess that counts.

The story behind that name is ~ My kid is super funny and creative. I heard the Lordes lyric “You can call me Queen Bee” and loved it.

You are a (quick what pops into your mind ~ whole person. Yet another thing I’m going to have to come back and expand on.

The most important thing anyone should know about you is ~ That I am a whole person. A sum greater than the parts. Some of them match, some of them contradict, some are static, others always changing. If you don’t know me today, all you really know about me is who I was yesterday.

You are passionate about ~ Words and food. Both matter.  Both convey emotion. Both provide connection, community, opportunity. Words and food. So many possibilities in those two little things.


Pinterest Fail

I have recently rediscovered Pinterest. And by rediscovered, I mean become obsessed with.

Am I late to the game? No, no I am not. I was down with Pinterest shortly after the late 2011 explosion. However, it took me very little time to realize that the main push of the site, at that time, was not really my jam. Let me go ahead and tell those of you who don’t already know. I am not crafty. At all. Like zero. I am not a good accessorize-er. I don’t do funky scarves without looking a wreck. I cannot elegantly frost a cake.  I don’t know how to pull colors together in a room with properly shaped and proportioned throw pillows. My “DIY a weekend project” is most likely going to result in calling a contractor (and probably my homeowners insurance company) to fix the big mess of shit I got myself into.

In short, I, and my kindred out there, am the reason #pinterestfail is even a thing.

However, like all things, functions and offerings ebb and flow and pinterest and I have found our way back to each other. She with her witty offers of animal memes and insightful quotes on writing. Me with my understanding that I do not need to pin the “Justice League cupcake party in 5 easy steps” pin as it will only jack up my “picked for you” suggestions and seriously, what do I really need that for anyway?

Pinterest has offered quite the plethora of writing inspiration lately. And as I was going through the pins from the weekend road trip, this was how two of my recent pins appeared on my screen…

Opposite Pins


As I scrolled through, this particular juxtaposition caught me as extremely interesting. These pins were saved relatively close together in time as they are close to each other in my pin feed. I saved them both to the same board – it’s labeled “Truth” and houses those pins that I find I relate to on a real level. Nearly same time, nearly same resonance , pretty different sentiments. The law of noncontradiction starts tugging some where in my brain but no where in my spirit and that is always a feeling that needs to pondered a while.

And I think about myself and what I am learning here. It also called to mind a few journal ideas I had over the weekend while on a mini outing with the children to Wild Adventures. I won’t get into those here, but suffice it to say that they too dealt with contending thoughts in the same head space. And I thought about The Many. And I thought about my tendency to roll depressive and roll manic. And I thought about all the differences in all the places of my personality that I know, have known, and are still discovering.

And it occurs to me that this cute little war of the spirit is probably pretty damn common. It is more than likely more common that not. I am thinking that the desire to be true and authentic without regards to the limits placed by others, while battling the need for approval and positive acceptance is simultaneously both the single biggest hurdle that most people face in their day to day lives, and the one denied the most.

I am also thinking that if none of that last paragraph is true for another single person, it is wholly true for me.

Even right. This. Second. I am editing what I say next as to not offend or upset. Why? Because I don’t want to upset. I am often taken as irreverent and say what I think. Why? Mainly I think it’s because I have no problem using the work “fuck” and publishing some of what I think. But the truth is, fuck is just a word I think has a particularly nice mouth feel so I use it and I probably publish less that 1% of what I actually think.

The truth is I have spent nearly my whole life caring an awful lot about what an awful lot of people think. You can call that whatever you want and I’ve already read the millions of articles about how that makes me a lesser person. How I am weak because what people think affects me. How I am a lesser brand of woman because I seek attention and approval. How I warp the ideas of my true self because I place stock in the ideas of others as it pertains to my person hood.

An interesting note about that. Older folks are right. You eventually hit an age where the noise that goes on around you becomes less of a thing. You eventually start giving less fucks about the bloviating others and more about your own bloviating. It looks like mine is 40.

What I mean to say is you can think whatever you want about the way I’m wired. The collective they has been getting on my nerves for a super long time any way. The bumper sticker writers, the “10 ways to be a” authors, the “must stop doing” hacks – the folks that take base emotion, add to it some cement character trait, and then pedestal it as some keystone of personhood – yeah, no.

And before this post comes off as incredibly salty (because it is starting to feel that way and that is certainly not how I feel and not what I intended when I started touching the keys this morning), let me let you in on a little bit of how I decide what the 1% of, “yes I should publish that” is. If I think I have identified in myself an emotion, thought, idea, struggle, that is uncomfortable to me because I feel it makes me less than the awesome person I know I am, and if I think I am wrong about feeling less than, and if I think that there are other folks feeling less than when they are not, I like to publish the thought. Because when we realize we are not alone, shame has a harder time living where we are (thanks Brene!)

The truth in the pins for me is I am still really hard on myself. Some of that is warranted. Some Most of it is bullshit put into my head by the ideas of others. That me that I am really hard on is flawed and not really fit for public consumption. I would prefer that wasn’t the me you see. It’s not my finest hour.

I am also fully aware that, while I have (and if I am lucky will always have) room to grow and get better, much of me that I am really hard on doesn’t really deserve the abuse I put on her.  And if she doesn’t deserve the abuse I put on her, the person that loves her the most in the whole world, then she damn sure doesn’t deserve abuse from anyone else.

So I would rather you not see the me pieces that I see, those I know that I am working on and feeling out and maybe haven’t smoothed the edges yet. But I have also found some edges that I think I’d like to keep, and I’ve decided I don’t really give a fuck what others think about that.

And the jury is still out on whether or not I will consider this a #pinterestfail redemption. I’m thinking I might 🙂

It’s Not The Piece, but it is A Piece

I have fallen into a pattern over the years where I have a certain time of the day I like to write. It started, I think, because the super early mornings are the quietest time in my house. Everyone is asleep. There is nothing to distract, there are no people to entertain, there is no guilt about other things I could be doing…I just write.

The hours of writing are pretty rigid. 0400 until about 0800 is it. If I am up any earlier than that, I use that time to do whatever until 0400 because seriously, I cannot reward getting up earlier than four in the morning with extra writing time. It would seriously get out of hand. After 0800, the guilt starts to creep in around the other stuff that I should be doing. I fall straight into “oh my god you big piece of shit you aren’t even getting paid to do this so get up off your ass and wash a dish, cook a meal, pick up a sock, or something productive” mode.

While this time frame has served me well, there are some real drawbacks to it.

First, the obvious. Sleep. I like laying around in the bed as much as anyone else. I have to make the choice. Sleep or write. When I started running, the choices became even harder – sleep, run, write. It becomes pretty daunting to a schedule when three wonderful things are all fighting for the same time slot.

Second, I have a lot of unfinished stuff. Worse, I have stuff I just say fuck it and delete. The time slot feels like a deadline. If I can’t produce in the amount of time given to me, it just isn’t there (or so I have conditioned myself to think). Usually I just hit delete. Sometimes I will save it, but honestly, I rarely go back to any of it. I write in the moment so often, it is hard to put it down and go back to it later.No greater agony

The third thing is akin to the second. I don’t have a large project and I would really like to. But I never feel like I have the appropriate time to devote to a larger writing project. I also am afraid to commit to a theme that I feel today but won’t feel tomorrow and then what am I supposed to do with that? It’s almost the same way I feel when I am registering for a long race. This is so far out in the future. How will I ever be able to plan for this? What if something happens? Can I really be ready? What if I spend this money and then I just can’t get there? Won’t that be a waste? Won’t that make me feel like a failure?

Let me tell you that all those things happen in the brain of writers and runners. It really does provide a compelling argument to choose sleep.

writing garbage

Finally (at least for right now) is I think I have the misfortune of conditioning myself to both writing at this time,  and also to ONLY write at this time. If I don’t make those hours for whatever reason, I’m not writing. Even if I really need to. This is not productive. If an idea comes up outside of those hours, it gets very little attention paid to it. I don’t even make a note of it. I have become so accustomed to the time parameters that I have justified in my brain that all worthy ideas will happen during those times and any ideas outside of that time will not be worthy once I get around to them. I then further conclude that because those things are true, I am only creating mess and clutter by attempting to preserve these snipets of worthless thoughts and really, who needs that in their life?

Me. I need that in my life. I need to be more open to the words that come into my head, the ideas that rattle around in my brain.

Me. I need to be more flexible with my reception to ideas and times to just put words on paper. So writing at night feels different than writing in the morning. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe there is something there I have never discovered, a groove I’ve never explored because I have convinced myself that it just isn’t “the way I’m wired” or whatever.

write it down

Me. I need sticky notes every where. Journal pages scribbled on. Every where. Half formed ideas and snippets of thought snatched from a moment of time to be revisited later when their full worth or lack thereof can be better measured. My ideas, my thoughts, while not all spectacular, are at least worth more than a passing throw off because the timing wasn’t optimal.

Write for yourself

Me, I need bravery in the process. That it won’t all be good and that’s okay. That it won’t all feel good and that’s okay. That it won’t all be true and that’s okay. That it won’t all be my voice rather another that I am trying on because I have never walked that way before and how can I explore all the pieces of the world if I only take the same trips over and over again?



Tennessee Williams Quote

Tennessee Williams Quote

Writing, Running, not pushing Post

The last few months have been pretty interesting for me. I spent a good bit of time nursing a running injury. The injury, which I have struggled with before, took way more time to heal than I originally anticipated. The rehab process, while doing much better now, was slow going. An unintended result of the extended timeline was a whole lot of time to consider my injury in a broader sense – were there underlying causes, what do I need to do differently, is it a natural consequence of age, is all this running just fucking crazy, should I hang up my shoes?

I came to a few conclusions. I have a very limited idea where this is going this morning so my conclusions maybe in some kind of cohesive flow and you may just have to shake and shimmy through them just like I am 🙂

writing monster

I run for the same reason I write. It keeps me sane. I have a tendency to pull towards the high and low extremes emotionally. When that happens, my brain tangles up and ideas get hitched. I am not always really sure what I think. When I am, I am not sure that I really think that. Maybe one day I will be able to explain that better, but for today, that’s just going to have to do.  For a while in the beginning, we worked on bringing that back towards the middle with meds. I won’t go into all that here, but suffice to say it was not optimal.  If fact, it became so counter productive that I ceased taking anything at all.

Writing has always been a great untangler of the brain snakes. I think we’ve discussed before the therapeutic benefits I experience in putting words on paper so I can consider whether or not they are mine.

answers four hour run

Running has the same untangling effect. Christopher McDougall has a great quote. “If you don’t have the answer to your problems after a four hour run, you ain’t getting them.” Folks have often asked me if I get a runner’s high. I don’t. I do get a runner’s level which, for me, is even better. Because I have high/low tendencies, running is a perfect tool. The endorphins keep my low end elevated and the run burns off the energy at the high end. It is a beautiful thing.

I have also fallen into the same mistakes running as I do writing. Most notably is ancillary work, consistency, and common sense activity.

I know I should stretch more. I know I should read more. I know I should should should….but I don’t. If it isn’t writing exactly, if it isn’t running exactly, it’s placement on my priority list goes way down. In case you were wondering, this is probably the worst idea ever. Okay, so maybe that’s overstated just a bit, but it’s a bad idea. Writing is hard. It is an emotional endeavor that leads to places I am not always ready to go and it changes me every time I do. As I look at that last sentence I realize I can say the exact same thing about running. It’s hard. It takes you places. It changes you. Shoring that up with the ancillary activities that support and care for that is important – maybe most important because it allows me to keep doing the main things longer with more effectiveness.

writing ink blood

I know I should be more consistent. I will go months without writing a word. Weeks without running a mile. Then I will explode into the gotta write every day and I gotta run 20 miles this week. This doesn’t work. The mind doesn’t function that way. The body sure as hell doesn’t function that way. It needs some warm up, it needs training. It needs consistency. Otherwise, the dormant / balls to the wall flip flop causes substandard performance with counter productive results.

I know that doing something, anything, is better than doing nothing. I know that. I know that. But I don’t always know that. I’ll look at my 20 minute training run and think, “Why in Sam’s hell am I even getting out of bed for 20 minutes?” Or I’ll look at the available time I have to write and think,  “There isn’t enough time to get this whole thought out and formatted. I just won’t write.” Or even worse is the, “I can’t post that so I won’t write.”

That’s probably the worst – I can’t do what I think is the natural outcome so I won’t start the journey. Maybe I can’t finish the race. Maybe that piece of writing will get too personal, too convoluted that I can’t publish it. So I don’t. The problem with that way of thinking is I never start and therefore never know what could have been…that’s no way to be.

Bubble Poppers

Unless you have been hanging out in Siberia (and maybe not even there), Pokemon Go has come into your field of vision. To say that it has been popular is an understatement. Since it’s July 6th release, the augmented reality game has boosted Nintendo’s shares by over 50% with $9 BILLION boost in value – in about a week. Reports show that hunting little Picachu is more popular right now than Tinder and Twitter. It would appear that catching them all is more important than trolling and sex. Who knew?

I was born in 1976 – I am not the target Pokemon demographic. However, when my two older (read “love the wifi”) children and their friends (read “also love the wifi”) asked if they could borrow a cooler to pack drinks and snacks because they had plans to spend the entire day walking around outside in downtown Savannah (GTFOH!), I became curious. I downloaded the app, and while it isn’t my thing, I can definitely see the appeal.

I caught my first Pokemon and texted the screenshot to my daughter. I was an instant rockstar. She wanted to text, talk, and damn near sit in my lap when she saw me. I’ve since deleted the app (like I said, not my thing) and she still loves me. She’s a little disappointed, but she has assured me that her love is unconditional and she is sure we can get over this little hiccup in our relationship. After all, I did birth her and she is responsible for my very first stretch marks so that has to count for something, right?

Evidently I was not the only parent experiencing this phenomenon of sunshine deprived couch children suddenly emerging from the basements and bonus rooms equipped with long distance hiking travel supplies.

Suddenly, there were people…everywhere. Walking around, exploring new places, talking to each other, interacting…everywhere.

And it took exactly from Saturday to Tuesday for the bubble poppers to show up in my social media sphere.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not talking about the funny meme folks. I am not a humorless twit. Some stuff, while snarky, is funny.

Batman Pokemon

I am talking about the assholes. The ones who don’t play, don’t care, don’t know, don’t have any skin in the game at all – except when it comes to popping your bubbles.

Bubble poppers have come into my field of vision lately. I can’t quite put my finger on how the idea gained solidarity in my brain, but it’s there. I have vague recollections of watching children blow bubbles, having that create immense happiness, watching a bubble pop, and the look changing from delight to crestfallen.

Something about that recollection at some point was triggered when I experienced this played out in real life. I can’t remember when or how. I can’t even tell you if it was me.

But I can tell you I’ve seen it, I’ve felt it, and, admittedly, I have been guilty of doing it.

Bubble popping – that moment when a thing is bringing you utter joy and someone decides to just stick a finger in it and deflate the whole experience.

Understandably, in the real world, there are some ideas and situations that need to be attended to. Not all happys are healthy and sometimes you need a little poke of reality in the midst of the joy. Admittedly there are real issues with Pokemon Go frenzy. Safety needs to be discussed. Personal space needs to be remembered. Respect for where you are and the people around you does not take a back seat catching them all.

But haphazard bubble popping is a bullshit move.

However, I am adult enough to know that this phenomenon is not going away. Bubble poppers either don’t know or don’t care that they are being assholes. Or maybe popping bubbles is their bubble and this will pop their bubble. I dunno. And frankly, I’ve decided I don’t care.

What I do care about is learning to better protect my bubble.


Tennessee Williams Quote

Tennessee Williams Quote

Defining Truth (ish)

One of my favorite byproducts of regular writing is the exercise I get in the word department. I love words. I love discovering what they mean and how that can be the same or different from what people mean when they say them.

This has proven exceptionally important when attempting to answer the question, “What is your truth?” This is a concept that has eluded me for quite sometime. The idea is just too big and small and squirrelly and hard. And then I am convinced I must be “doing it” wrong because if I was being my “authentic” self then I would just “know” and my “truth” would “resonate in my being.”

There’s enough trigger in that statement that I need a shot in my coffee now. Honestly I am a tad disgusted with myself that I just used the word “trigger.” I’m sorry for that. But here’s what I think. I think I am not the only one who has been completely overfuckingwhelmed by all of that. I think that this idea of discovering truth has become One. More. Fucking. Thing. that we are dying to make folks feel inferior at. Motherhood anyone? Work Life Balance folks? Yeah, you hear me.

However, just like raising my children and figuring out the work:play ratio that suits my life, having some idea of my truth is necessary. The older I get, the more I feel the call of adventure and life. The fact that our days are very, very limited grows more apparent to me every day and has created in me a desire to explore all the things. But maybe not ALL the things. Maybe just MY things. But what are MY things? Is that an okay MY thing? Or is that YOUR thing that I want to be MY thing? Is that a socially acceptable thing? Do I care? Who the hell decides anyway?

And four days later when I am able to get out of bed from the complete crisis of life and introspection, I am still no closer to scratching this itch that is nagging my spirit. So I go where I always go – to the words…

Truth ~

~ fidelity, constancy
~ sincerity in action, character, and utterance
~ the state of being the case…fact
~ the body of real things, events, and fact…actuality
~ often capitalized…a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality
~ judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true
~ the body of true statements and propositions

There is a lot here in this singular word. When I turn that around and attempt to decide how that applies to the way I see myself, it is damn near paralyzing and I think maybe I’m just gonna go back to bed…until I hit that very last point…

The body of true statements and propositions

In other words, to me, a person’s truth, my truth, is pretty flexible. It is not a limited scope of ideas, but a body of work. And while there are some steadfast ideas (true statements), there is also my beloved wiggle room.

Proposition ~

~ a statement or assertion that expresses a judgment or opinion
~ a suggested scheme or plan of action

And there it is…opinion, suggestion…which I totally translate in this context into adventure!

My truth is that I am a constantly evolving creature. I have always known this. But I assumed that this was too simple, too small, and too obvious. I am learning that maybe it isn’t so much. There are those who are more steadfast and constant. I think I have always admired that. I think there has been a part of me who has always tried to be that. I think I am not so much that. And I think I am okay with that.

To flesh out a different way, I think I have always judged harshly my inner gypsy. I have always assumed that tendency suggested flaky, untrustworthy, irresponsible and, therefore, undesirable and unacceptable. I have been really ugly to her. I have been unfair. I judged her without really getting to know her. She is honest and true because she is me. She’s simply a bit more free spirited than the other Many. That doesn’t make her wrong, it just makes her different.

My truth is I am rooted in adoration. It is my base point. I prefer to adore and be adored. So it’s no wonder my spirit is consistently unsettled around this idea of personal truth. My adoration circle conflicted directly with my self scourging of my gypsy circle. There is no Venn.

If I had treated somebody this way, I would owe them an apology. Today I apologize to me. I am sure I will be abusive to myself again. Unfortunately it is a habit at this point. It’s just going to take some time to change. But I love me and I have patience with me. I have the amazing good fortune of knowing my intentions for myself. I have forgiven others more while knowing less. I can afford to offer the same to The Many…to the Me.

Brene Brown

The forgiveness and acceptance of self is so important. There is more truth there, just like the gypsy, looking to be accepted and appreciated. There are all the adventures. There is adoration in all the things…

This is not the post I set out to write, but it is what was birthed. So, again, I am left with no bow, no witty wrap up…just a burning house.

Holy Shit, I’m 40!

My eyes popped open at 0208. I tried until 0256 to go back to sleep. I just couldn’t. It feels like Christmas. And High School graduation. And getting ready for deployment. And heading to the delivery room. And waiting for the test results. All rolled up into one.


Let me go ahead and acknowledge the fact that I totally get that some folks may think I have put way too much emphasis, both publicly and privately, on my 40th birthday. Let me be clear and with all the love I can muster for those who try and pop the bubbles of others – this is an opinion I do not give a fuck about. This is not your birthday, this is not your journey. You are more than welcome to celebrate with me and travel this way on the party bus. You are also completely within your right to stay the fuck home. The choice is yours. I respect it either way. I will now continue with my choice – celebrating and sucking every bit of life out of this milestone that is particularly important to me.

If you would have asked me what 40 looked like 20 years ago, I would have had an amazingly enlightened answer gleaned from the vast knowledge of the world I possessed when I was 20.

As an aside, there is a serious need for a sarcasm font. I think that’s a good fit for Comic Sans. I may try and start that trend. But I probably won’t.

20 year old me, surprisingly enough, would have been wrong. I would have never, ever described 40 this way. It is far more complex, simple, daunting, easy, exciting, scary, humbling, sexy, fun than I would have ever imagined.


I have said over and over again these past few months that I don’t feel 40. I was wrong. I do feel 40 because I am 40. The truth is 40 just doesn’t feel like I expected it to. And honestly, I have no idea why I expected it to feel less than what I feel now. To clarify, I feel great. Why I wasted time assuming that there was a point in my life where I would feel less than is beyond me. I am sure there will come a day where I cannot do what I do now, but what if there isn’t? Moreover, why carry tomorrow’s baggage today? Why weigh down myself with things that have happened or will happen at the expense of what is happening?

Fuck that.

In fact, I think that’s where the root of the midlife crisis lives – holding on to so much “why did/n’t I” and “what if” baggage that our truth is crushed under the weight. It has been my experience that truth is not coal and does not, therefore, turn into diamonds under intense pressure. It is more akin to combustible gas that explodes when the pressure release valve is faulty. There are all these voices, ideas, personalities, opportunities, desires, thoughts that are routinely suppressed in our everyday lives because of our own shoulds, oughts, safety mechanisms. The younger we are, the more capable we are to ignore it or justify the hold down because we have “plenty of time” for that later. But you hit a certain age and that gets harder to believe because time just is what it is.

Then you just have to either shut it down and get old, or work it out and keep journeying. I choose, obviously, the latter.


So here’s to living a life of badassery. Here is to the continued exploration of truth. Here is to leaving it all on the field and appreciating the feeling of exhaustion created in the wake of the good work. Here’s to feeling your age and appreciating what that feels like, even when it isn’t what you expected. Here’s to flipping the idea “I do (insert whatever here) so I am a good person” into “I am a good person so I can explore new things without fear.” Here’s to #teamunicorn 🙂

Here’s to Club 40.


Chair Life

I live in my Thinking Chair.

I don’t mean, obviously, that I am confined to or spend all my time in said chair. 

So, I just gooogled “live” in preparation for my next sentence after the crossed out one above. Funny how concentrating on semantics will lead you to a really neat insight. This. This is why I love to write.


I remain alive in my Thinking Chair.

Nearly my whole life I have desired a space, a corner, a chair. It would be only mine and it would be a safe haven for those things that restored my heart. It would be uniquely me with purpose and obvious function and feeling. It would remind me of those great movie scenes where the self assured, self confident, successful woman wore her too large, off the shoulder knit sweater that still made her look amazing and not frumpy, with her piping hot coffee sending steam in front of a beautiful non makeuped face and impossibly put together bed head, as she settled in to her well deserved Sunday morning in her space. I don’t even know if that’s a real movie or one I created. I’ve played it so often in my head it’s hard to tell at this point.

In this, the last year of my 30’s, I got my space. I got my Thinking Chair.

The search for the chair started out as a hunt for a reading chair. I wanted something that would fit nicely in the empty bedroom corner and was designed for long periods of comfortable book snuggles. I had a decent budget. So I started sitting in chairs. My older children joined in the hunt. The giggles at mom as she sat, lounged, floundered, threw legs over chair arms in the middle of furniture stores were plenty.

“Mom, seriously?”
“She has to make sure it’s comfortable!”

I indeed did.

Let me tell you there are some beautiful reading chairs out there. Round ones that swivel. Super soft ones that recline. Convertible ones that turn into a bed. And I loved many of them.

But I couldn’t pick one. While they were all within the budget, they were the whole budget. And while they were all beautiful, they all felt manufactured. It’s weird trying to describe this inanimate object as lacking because I felt it had no heart, but that’s exactly what was going on. I couldn’t find a chair with personality. I have a hard time spending time with people without personality. I guess that spills over into my chair preference as well.

Declaring the search over for the day, we stopped by the mall on the way home so the girls could get some craft stuff. I rarely find myself at the mall, so I had no idea that a large, second hand shop had opened up there.

And there it was. My chair.

I sat, laid, lounged, curled. I asked the associate if it was new as it looked like it had never been touched. She said technically no as it had come from an estate sale. However, I pulled cushions and unzipped covers; the thing looked brand new.

“Momma! It’s the Thinking Chair!”

The Thinking Chair

Madison was absolutely right although I had not noticed originally. But her childhood nostalgia registered the similarity to the famous Blue’s Clues staple immediately.

And now, the Thinking Chair helps me put my clues together.

In this space I have my space. Just sitting in it suggests that I have made time for my soul and that is good. Being here gives encourages freedom from responsibility, permission to let my mind wander, safety to let my thoughts roam, comfort for the exercise of The Many.

I remain alive in my Thinking Chair.

Effective Goal Setting for The Many

Alrighty Rockstars. We are talking about goal setting. Why? Because it’s what’s on deck in the book. Will the writing always be led by the book? Well, let’s see if that’s one of the goals! (Hint: If you know me at all, you probably already know the answer to this one)

The Writers Daily Companion W1D2

Every single leadership, professional development, personal life management, everything ever since everything has emphasized goal setting.  Evidently, my new little book is no different. So, I consider this sage art. Again. With good intentions. Again.

Amy says decide what you want and then write them down. In fact, most every version of effective goal setting I have ever seen begins with some version of determine and scrawl.

And that’s where my train jumps the fucking tracks. Before I even get out of the crazy train station,

If we are friends in real life, on Facebook, or have had even a cursory encounter with me, you are probably aware of “The Many.” If you are not familiar, here’s a great recap.

The Many


Now often I have wished for a clone – more hours in the day, more hands, help with all the various things I am responsible for…The Many is not that. The Many are a bat shit crazy cornicopia of chicks living in my headspace. I have never been on a subway but I have been backstage at a strip club, lived in military quarters, and spend a good deal of time in beauty salons. I imagine if these locations mated together and had a baby, that’s what The Many would look like.

So take the folks from the subway, strip club, Navy, and the beauty salon into a confined space. Pass around the refreshments and encourage them to make a cohesive set of goals. Go ahead and do it. I’ll wait.

See my dilemma?

When I sit down to do any type of goal planning it always ends up the same…

I want all the things. All. Of. Them.

Even the things I don’t want, I want. I do not want to skydive. That shit totally freaks me out. But, I want to WANT to skydive. It’s fucking insanity.

I want:

  • attention while being a person who doesn’t want attention
  • to be a person who works 80 hours a week while having all the time in the world to do 100 other things
  • to party like a rockstar until 0400 and be up for the 0600 workout looking like Paige Hathaway
  • to push publish on every single thing I write and not be completely freaked the fuck out about how much you know about me
  • to eat donuts, pad thai, BBQ, pasta, and all the cheeses, while drinking copious amounts of not light beer while maintaining 14% body fat and “I hate her” abs
  • a closet full of clothes that make me feel awesome without ever having to shop again
  • to attend 0800 Mass on Sunday while lounging around on lazy Sundays until noon
  • to speak my mind with confidence
  • to run the Keys 100
  • to be the Mother of Dragons
  • put together a novel plot line that doesn’t make me feel like I’m a complete poser
  • to live life on a regular basis not feeling like a poser
  • to win the lotto without ever spending money on the lotto

At this point the whiteboard in the room is currently being wielded by one of The Many in a wide, erratic circle daring a bitch to come at her. Tables have been flipped, flasks have been pulled, and some are hiding in the broom closet waiting for the dust to settle. Which it won’t.

Coach that, badass.

Because Fear

I once heard Oprah say that she believed there were only two base emotions – fear and love. All other emotions, in her estimation, grow out of those root two.

While I didn’t know it at the time, that statement fundamentally changed the way I viewed damn near everything. I considered for a long time the validity of the statement. That it resonated deep within me was true. But if that resonation warranted root or to be dismissed as a superficial feel good was something I had to ponder. It wasn’t until years later, after countless episodes of employing this “love/fear” filter, that I realized understanding this concept made me a better person. It fostered growth as a better listener, friend, thought sharer, problem solver, empathy giver, and communicator.

It also allows, when I can stomach it, a deeper ability for self discovery. To understand better, I am a person who really, really, REALLY loves self discovery – in theory. In practice, it routinely makes me want to vomit. A lot. The work creates the best/worst versions of nearly every aspect of my character (and there are a lot of them). Whether I come out on the other side a rising sun of badass warriorness or reduced to a quivering paralytic ball is really 50/50.

I used to take that chance, in small doses. However, this toe dipping rarely allowed for any real discovery and still had the same 50/50 outcome. The bang for the buck sucked. So, I hit the pause button and called that “being comfortable where I am” or “settled in my own skin.” Which is all total bullshit. I am built for journey and growth. I am built for movement and dynamic shuffling of all my voices. Stunting that, interestingly enough, creates the exact same 50/50.

So I don’t write, I don’t interact well with others, I don’t grow professionally, my energy lags, my health suffers, my brain tangles up, my heart hurts, my family misses out, my surrounding reflect the mess that is my spirit. I don’t write.

Because fear.

When this gets completely oppressive, I have a few band-aids to get me through. One of my favorite is the bookstore. I have found that I get nearly the same brain yum when I walk into the bookstore as when I am in the presence of big water; my brain calms down, my soul gets big, and my heart opens up. Incidentally, I have a lot of books. This is my newest one, The Writer’s Daily Companion by Amy Peters.

The Writers Daily Companion

The Writers Daily Companion

I love writing prompts. I love books on sale. This was both. But I have thrown enough money at useless drivel to know that not all prompt providers are the same. So I put down my 10,000 calorie, $155 Starbucks latte to investigate it a little further.

Writers Daily Companion Day 1

Writers Daily Companion Day 1

I didn’t really look any further in the book. It was going home with me and we both knew it.

Flannery O’Connor once said, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” Writers do write for those who don’t have words of their own. Sometimes, that includes the writer herself.

Because fear.

The book sat next to the Thinking Chair for weeks. I realize I have neglected this journal for sometime and have not properly introduced you to the Thinking Chair. I apologize. I will. So it sat among the stacks of Thinking Chair hopefuls. Picking it up meant writing. Writing could mean anything. I am not always ready for anything.

As fate would have it, two girlfriends (both exceptional writers themselves – coincidence?) posted this Tennessee Williams quote. (Full disclosure I spent about two minutes vetting the source of the quote and could not find anything concrete, so I went with Mr. Williams)

Tennessee Williams Quote

Tennessee Williams Quote

And I cried.

Yes, I do that. More often than I care for anyone to know for reasons I am not always proud of.

Now what Mr. Williams said, while beautiful and currently being committed to my memory, is not actually what I heard. What I heard was…

Fear is everywhere and will eat you dead. Love is the only liberator. You are compelled to live your love. Write or the body burns down.

It took me another 12 hours to touch the keys. Another hour of fucking around before I made the first word.

Because fear.

Maybe I’ll work it out. Maybe it’ll be another 18 months before I come here again. Who knows. I do know this is the point in my posts where I typically wrap it up real cute like and put a little bow on the idea. I don’t have a bow. I have a burning house.