Thursday, October 25, 2018

Now what (part one of a lifetime)

What do you do when somebody dies? Wallow, wail, wait, wonder? Puke? Scream? Throw things?

Where is the handbook for this shit?

He was my brother, a son, a friend, an uncle, an adventurer, truly one-of-a-kind.

So now what the fuck do we do?

Now.

What.

***

The second-to-last time I saw E, he was across the street, messing with his truck in the middle of the night (because of course he was.) I had this intense urge to holler, "I love you!"

What if you never get a chance to say it again? You never know, I thought.

Foreshadowing is great in fiction and bullshit in real life.

I yelled it, and he yelled it back, and damn, I'm glad I did.

***

It's been three weeks and two days, just long enough for the shock to wear off, according to the books. I see him everywhere. The long street that was our childhood route home from elementary school. Standing in my doorway with his arms crossed, surveying the insanity of my life. Sitting on the couch with all my munchkins clustered around him as they eagerly wait for a spider to crawl out of his dreadlocks.

And there's the memories, a lifetime. They swirl in a painful eddy when I'm trying to sleep, eat, drive, walk, live. He's always there, sometimes in the background, sometimes taking center stage, but present.

Except, now he's not. I feel like I've fallen into some sort of hideous parallel universe. Surely this can't be happening to my brother, my family.

But it can, and it did. I think I'm going to be trying to swallow that bitter pill for the rest of my life.

***

Once, E and I decided to hike to a lake upriver. It was my idea, but afraid to venture forth into the forest because #bears, I asked my savvy survivalist brother to come along. It's a long, steep and difficult hike, and we left later than we should have. We had made it about halfway when afternoon storms started to roll in, so instead of continuing on, we decided to eat lunch and turn around. We found a cliff overlooking the White River Valley, and comfortable in trash bag ponchos, we ate uncooked Ramen noodles and talked about philosophy. The only other thing I remember is the brilliant rainbow that appeared as we started to head back down the mountain.

We never made it to our intended destination, but the experience was perfect anyway.

I feel somewhat the same way now. I never expected to be instantly bereft of the comfortable knowledge that somewhere, my brother was living and breathing and adventuring.

"This is not the intended destination!" I want to scream.

I have to find meaning in it, though, if I want to survive.

I'm waiting for a rainbow.

***

Sibling loss is classified as a "disenfranchised loss" because society expects you to expect it. It doesn't go against the laws of nature nearly so much as losing a child. It's not supposed to break you, and you should move on relatively quickly.

Of course, you're not "supposed to" lose a sibling when you're in your 20s, but still.

What even is this concept of supposed to, though? I'm supposed to be able to tell people I have three brothers without a stab in the gut. I'm supposed to have an excuse to make nine pies at Thanksgiving because they're E's favorite. I'm supposed to have a lot more years of yelling "I love you!" across the street in the middle of the night. I'm supposed to be able to enjoy my childhood memories without collapsing.

I'm NOT supposed to be giving a goddamn mother-fucking eulogy for my little brother.

Supposed to is bullshit.

Of course, Ethan knew that already. He had the art of giving no fucks down to a science. Supposed to was the opposite of everything he did.

Maybe my rainbow is learning how to give less fucks. Maybe it's learning how to live more like he did.

***

I Googled how to write a decent eulogy because being Type A is fun. My favorite piece of advice was, "if you can't think of anything interesting about the person, try to at least remember a funny story."

If you can't think of anything interesting ... well, that's not going to be a problem, oh dreadlocked, pierced, tattooed, sword-swallowing, fire-breathing, adventure-addicted brother of mine.

The premise of my speech ends up going back to the idea of living more like he did, of keeping his spirit alive even after he's gone. WWED: What Would Ethan Do?

(Also, I called him an asshole. Because he is one.)

***

I only remember bits and pieces of the rest of the memorial service. The heat of the sun on my back. My shaking hands. Trying not to fall over my black velvet cape (cue The Incredible's Edna: NO CAPES!) A kid asking for water every thirty seconds.

Hugs, so many hugs.

It's supposed to bring closure, but I mostly just feel trapped in a bubble of numbness.

"Not BubbleYum, BubbleNumb!" I sob to my husband while taking pulls straight from a bottle of whiskey after the service.

My husband is kind of a saint.

***

Now what?

I still don't know, other than that I need to ignore society's stupid ideas about death and grieving.

What does that mean? Well, talking about it. Writing about it. Going to work and the grocery store and the playground even if it means I'll be crying ugly tears in public. Honoring the process. Feeling it, the "BubbleNumb," the uncontrollable urge to scream and punch things, the suffocating squeeze of grief, the jagged edges of my childhood memories.

And if all that makes people uncomfortable? Good.

We should all be forced to face the ridiculous fragility of our existence. We should all give less fucks (and redistribute the remainder towards things that actually matter.)

Because what else can you do in the face of death, really, but live?

(to be continued)
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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Tales from a Two Party Dystopia



*Profanity warning: this one is particularly colorful in language. Avert sensitive eyes.*

Listen my children and I’ll tell you a tale of absolute fuckery and all sorts of fail.

THE SCENE: a bitter battle over the appointment of a Supreme Court nominee in the United States of Americs. Brett Kavanaugh is a “Republican” with all the bullshit that entails. (Don’t get cocky, Democrats. You have your own massive piles of crap to deal with.) 

Lauded by the prez as pretty much the greatest guy ever, Kavanaugh’s road to the bench has been rather rocky.

Wait a second, say the two people who actually remember civics class … why does it matter that he’s a Republican? 

Well, my dears, because for some stupid fucking reason, people have forgotten all about the checks and balances that are supposed to keep political agendas OUT of the highest court in the land. 

“Republican” judges and “Democrat” judges ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A THING.

And yet, here we are.

Kavanaugh stands accused of some fucked-up shit from his time at notorious party school Georgetown Prep. And, because literally everything goes back to MFing political parties these days, some “Republicans” are bashing his accusers and making up all kinds of really reallllllllly bad excuses to ram Kavanaugh through to confirmation no matter what.

You see, there's an election coming up, and the window for another slam dunk bred-to-be-red judge on the bench is closing fast.

On the flip side, Democrats are calling for Kavanaugh to be burned at the stake, whether the facts back up the accusations or not.

... also because there's an election coming up, and their window to stave off a Republican majority on the Supreme Court bench (AGAIN, NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A THING) is closing fast.

(Side note: it's supremely difficult to determine how many assault allegations are false, in part due to massive underreporting, but generally it's accepted to be between two and eight percent. Source: https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/Publications_NSVRC_Overview_False-Reporting.pdf)

The majority of our nation, like the responsible little brainwashed idiots they are, have aligned themselves with their chosen political party and are lobbing memes, insults, “alternative facts” and other miscellaneous crap at each other like there’s no tomorrow.

*ducks as middle finger emojis fly across screen*

And then, AND THEN, we have the usual assortment of talking heads spoon-feeding diarrhetic pseudo-news into the minds of their moronic followers, which they in turn vomit all over social media, share, reshare and share some more. 

Thus, the cycle continues.

No one in their right mind wants a sexual predator sitting in the Supreme Court. OBVIOUSLY. 

WHY IS THIS A THING WE HAVE TO SAY?

And yet, as our forefathers foretold (FORE!) - not even kidding, look up George Washington's farewell address - the good ole' two party system has swooped in to once again cause mass fuckery. 

The founding fathers put it more poetically, but you get the idea.

*IF* this guy is a douche canoe to the nth degree, we should proooooobably know about it *before* giving him one of the most powerful roles in government. And yet, we have nothing more than a he said, she said situation (remember now, time is of the essence.)

If he’s not? Then he’s not. 

This is, of course, entirely too centrist and does not generate mass consternation or play into the partisan stranglehold on our nation, so out the window it goes.

And America fractures further down the dividing line of party politics on the way to its own ugly demise.

The End



... wait, you want to do something about it, you say?

1) If you blindly align with a specific political party, GO LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU'VE DONE. Now make a decision to make your own decisions, dammit. Don't be a pawn in this horribly corrupt mess of a political system.

2) Check your mother-fucking facts. It's called a search engine and my seven year old is a pro at it, so you can be, too. If you post blatantly slanted or false information, you are part of the problem. (And if the information you post is found to be incorrect after further research, OWN TF UP.)

3) "Train up your children in the way they should go." Teach your little humans to respect each other and themselves regardless of gender, race, etc. Love your neighbor >>> it's called the "golden rule" for a reason.

4) Take the time to research and understand the massive problem of sexual assault outside the scope of party politics. It does exist, it is a problem, and the havoc it wreaks on a person's life should not be disregarded, ever.

5) Cupholders ... "because we're gonna die. So, drinks!"


via GIPHY

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Praying

You guys watch the Grammys?

Me neither. (Seriously, though, ask me for a detailed breakdown of the plot of the latest Paw Patrol. I will DELIVER.)

I heard about it, though, for two reasons.

The first was Kesha's performance.

I've never been a Kesha fan. For one, we were so soooooooo not allowed to listen to anything remotely resembling her music during our psycho-Christian days (have I written about this? I should write about this.) I'm pretty sure we would have been handed a "GO DIRECTLY TO HELL. DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT COLLECT $200" card.

Whatever, at least we were hardcore about SOMETHING.

Secondly, I'm not a huge rap fan. Dr. Seuss is about as rap as I get.

But this song, man. It's been on repeat at my house.

It's written in that perfect key that makes you tear up and the lyrics are fanTASTic.

So that's the first thing Grammy-wise.

The second thing? How the stars were dressed, of course.

But it wasn't the usual best/worst dressed lists, oh no. Those I can handle. If I was getting paid six or eight figures a year, I'd wear literally WHATEVER I wanted. Fuck those guys and their lists.

I'M NOT A HUGGER OKAY

According to sizzling social media reports (because, don't you know, our opinions are now #FACT since we can post them on the interwebz), the stars were dressed "trashy" and "R-rated" and looked like "porn stars."

And because of that, some argued, they were minimizing the "womens rights" and "equality" movements (snippy quotations marks theirs, y'all.)

Now, at first glance, these comments didn't really bother me all that much (thanksabunch, strict Christian upbringing.)

And then I thought about it. I thought about the hypocrisy of an assault survivor being brave enough to tell her story while the women around her, supporting her, are being criticized for wearing clothing that "asks for it."

I'm only going to say this once.

No matter what you wear (or don't wear) or do (or don't do), you do not deserve to be abused or assaulted.

It's pretty fucking simple. And yet, somehow, a shit ton of us are still going on about how women are "asking for it" because they're wearing something revealing ... or not watching their drink at a party ... or trusting some asshole who will take advantage of them ... or walking down the goddamn street.

This. is. not. right.

FOR REAL. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.

So ... what can I do about it? I always come back to this question when I see something in society that makes me want to throat punch ALL OF SOCIETY.

First, and most importantly, I can support survivors.

Second, I can not be an asshole on social media about the lady wearing snow fence and only snow fence as a dress. To each their own, DAMMIT.

Third, you can bet your boat I'm teaching my boys to respect women, and not just the ones wearing "appropriate clothing."

And fourth, you can bet your other boat I'm teaching my daughter that she is not a possession or a plaything for any man, ever.

To all the beautiful, amazing women out there who've lived through the story this song tells, I want to remind you that whatever happened to you is not and never will be your fault.

Keep being amazing. I love you.

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