From the Archive: Five Years Ago

Where did you go, you know, the person?  Not the one we see but the you inside.

Where did you go?  You let them strip you of your joy,  your energy, your light.

Lose who you are and you become a collage of everything and everyone else.


Feeling some sort of way that I can’t define. Is it depression? Frustration? Inertia? My writer’s brain says “caged” but that’s a bit dramatic. It’s a long story that I suppose my conscience has nudged me about before. Something has been trying to tell me something for years.

So when do you say, enough is enough? When do you just…free fall? Is there anything besides concrete down there when I jump?

The abridged version of this story is that the current circumstances aren’t working, at all. However, being the overly cautious thinker I am, I’m reluctant to just open a window and plummet.  It seems impractical to starve while happy, and yet it’s crazy to make money while sacrificing one’s self, family, and sanity. Tis the world we live in. We learn to become collages.

I eventually retired from retail in 2012 due to health issues and a couple of surgeries, one of which didn’t go well.  Now, because of more life changes, I find myself at yet another crossroad.

True, I’ve enjoyed the freedom of being fully present when it comes to family. And in hindsight, things happened that I don’t know if I could’ve dealt with while working full-time–serious illnesses, the death of my father, marital separation.

It baffles me that I got more writing done while working thirty to forty hours, with two small children, than I do without a binding schedule and with kids old enough to occupy themselves. I’ve enjoyed watching them grow, I’ve also missed the security of steady paychecks.  I’m saying this to say that happiness doesn’t come from circumstance. Happiness is a state of mind, period.  But we have to figure out who we are, what we want, and how we’ll balance our true callings with the titles society places upon us.

Who are you? Where did you go? Lose who you are and you become a collage of everything and everyone else.


Your turn:

In definition of “inner calling” how would you define yourself?

In terms of societal titles, name at least three that describe you.

If you’re not being true to yourself, what’s the reason?

Map out a way to get back to the real you 😉



In definition of inner calling, I’d define myself as: a writer, an empath, a peacemaker

In terms of societal titles, I’d describe myself as: a mother,  an estranged spouse, an introvert who knows how to play it off when necessary

I’m not true to myself because: I’m not a fan of failure, abstract ideas, or what-ifs

And yes, I’m mapping out a way of getting back to the real me 🙂












Untitled, September 2016

this is a comfortable life,
the repeating of words
did you brush your teeth?
please pick up your shoes
the toilet’s still broken
please, pick up your shoes!
tasks and outcomes
faucet still leaking
more piles to pick up
it’s fine, really
we take on titles
our names irrelevant
with each metamorphosis

this is a satisfying life,
the repeating of words
why don’t you buy a wallet?
please fix the gazebo
the wipers are broken
seriously! pick up your shoes
plausible outcomes
brake-fluid still leaking
more hats to pile on
we take on roles
our names irrelevant
with each version
of ourselves

SmS aka Whatevertheyaint 9-2016

April, 2016 Untitled

I looked for you in faces and towns
lyrics and dreams, landlines acquaintances birthdays

Across miles and states you said you
searched for me, too–
issuing missing person reports to anyone who’d listen:
knee high, brown, baby face
Special. Very special

Inquiries dismissed by busy co-workers,
messages that never made it from their lips to my ears
A hastily written number that failed to reach my hands

Now you say, now you tell me…you came here once(twice)
For me
You. Came. Here.
For me

Fate crazy late, irony right on time
Like calendars flipped back,images still the same
Hearing you as clear as our first hello

You and Me,
similar spirits,in spite of paths chosen
Very special


sms aka whatevertheyaint
april 11 2016

“Ode to the Liquor Store Lady” by M.D. /Writers I Like

I wonder sometimes if she sees their pain …all of our pain. What kind of job it must be to hand out the poison that ruins every other patron. Is she a home-wrecker? A murderer? An abuser? She’s just doing her job. We are the ones so willing to walk through her doors & waste away an entire paycheck on that sweet nectar that rots our minds. The housewife with her Sunday wine. The college kids with their vodka & Redbull. The awkward first-timer perusing the wares. The homeless man counting his pennies for some gin. Everyone has their story, why they’re here. Why they can’t look her in the eye. I’d like to blame her for all the misery. ‘Why do you do this to me?’ when I really want to ask ‘Why do i do this to myself?’ That must be one of the worst jobs in the world. To see the best of people with the worst of intentions go in & out – in & out – day after day, week after week … until one day they don’t show up anymore. Jail, rehab, death? Where did they go? What path did you lead them down? – the drunks, with their pursed lips & dry hands. The ones who are too weak or too strong to make it through their days. How many families have you ruined? How many hearts have you broken? Jaws have you broken? Cars wrecked? Thank you for your services, liquor store lady. You are the kindest of doctors. The sweetest of anesthesia. The warmest of fires & the Queen of the Drunks.


sometimes snipping cuts the pain away,

caresses the ego of a lover scorned

makes the heart more hopeful and the bruise hurt less

as you attempt to heal from an incision so deep

takes as long to mend as locks to grow

you sit in the chair, hold back the torrent

try not to think of the ex-boyfriend

as you attempt to reinvent and reconstruct

a broken heart

sms aka WTA

I Have Come to These Conclusions: Lost in the Shuffle

For a person whose, according to a recent sleep study, “brain never shuts down, even after six hours of supposed sleep”, the bed looks inviting this morning. However, I’ve learned that if I don’t grab the day by the minute hand as soon as I open my eyes, all is lost. So after a quick caffeine and chocolate fix (Shame! I was doing so well 😦 , I mentally vow to get things off to the right start instead of crawling beneath the covers in my mix-match jammies and fuzzy socks.

In goes Classical Stretch into the DVD player, pop goes my shoulders and knees, and I hear a crunch…somewhere. But that’s okay.  On this Friday, March 21st, 2014, my joints and body parts will bend at my command, I shall emerge from the next fourteen hours relaxed, refreshed;  and when I waltz into the local massage parlor at 1 p.m., they will not compare my muscles to “brick walls” (seriously, she did); and nothing bad will happen upon leaving the parlor–unlike the first time when a man’s brakes went out, resulting in a four-car accident, which included my mom and myself; or the following month when  my car broke down a couple hours later. Nope, this time will be great! I am in control of myself and my anatomy.

After getting warmed up, I’m amped and grinning. If I hurry, I figure I might get in another shower and a quick shampoo, maybe even some writing before the phone rings, or a mini-emergency strikes, or a monkey wrench gets thrown into the schedule.

But dog darn the phone vibrates, and I’m inclined to answer because I have this thing;  I find it nearly impossible to lie, and I’ve always imagined the person on the other end as some omnipotent being who knows I’m purposely ignoring the phone. The woman in yoga pants instructing me to stand tall with tail bone tucked and back straight is put on pause.

Other titles take over just as I am leaning into a forward stretch. You know the ones—mentor, sales consultant, mommy (Thing 2, who is barely out of preschool, decided she wanted purple contacts, which lasted all of four hours before she demanded her glasses again, which means a trip to the eye clinic, again. And so on and so forth. And that is life…

I have learned that sometimes that part of you that you identify with most gets lost in the shuffle of every day life.

And, finally, what NOT to say or do when one loses a loved one…

I promised to write this post. We’ll consider it a public announcement in…bereavement etiquette?  I can’t believe some of the things that have been said, done, requested in the past month, but I am learning that my philosophy of people and personalities is true: We’re all crazy, some just camouflage it better than others.  Please don’t be offended, this is as much for my therapy as it is to inform. See, I have issues with saying “NO” and voicing what’s truly on my mind, not to mention setting boundaries, which leaves me feeling like

which often causes .

Of course, I have coping mechanisms: (writing about imaginary retreats. fyi: I need a REAL one!) and

But, this post is about common sense and consideration when dealing with the bereaved, so let’s continue. Here we go, things NOT to do/say:

1.  “Where’s the funeral? Have ya’ll come up with a time?” (Three hours after you’ve left hospital, 20 minutes after you’ve finally drifted to sleep)

2.  “You’ve never done this? Oh, well now’s a good time to learn.”

3.  “Services are Wednesday.” (Just b/c you aren’t satisfied with actual day and therefore decide to create your own.)

4. “We’re coming over anyway…”

5. “What was her name?” (When you’re married to the son of the deceased mother you’re inquiring about. It’s self-explanatory. After several years of being married to the son, you should know the deceased mother’s name.)

6. “Can you do {this, that} then go {here, there}. Do you have any {insert this, that}.  (On day of funeral, when it is irrelevant to occasion and inappropriate to ask on such occasion.) Ex: find me some end tables, etc.

7. “Make my sister-in-law a copy of that write-up in the paper. You know the one: Man Hit by Train. Oh, yeah, I need two of them.”

8. “Well what about { insert inappropriate/completely none of your biz questions here}.”

9.  “Hey….you don’t remember me? I’m your fifth cuz on your auntie’s uncle’s nephew’s side. Listen….{insert ridiculous request here}.”

10.  Any comment or remark you wouldn’t want someone saying to you if your father abruptly and accidentally passed away.

Bonus:   Nah, I won’t even put that one. It’s too wild, straight over the top I-know-she-didn’t. But this one comes to a close second: “Well I bought ya’ll a flower. So I should be able to get THAT flower.” (Stepping into the family circle and taking plant out of the back seat, a huge green foliage ten times the size of the one she bought. I have yet to know who woman really is. Wasn’t fam.)


PLEASE don’t do these things:

1. Insist on coming over next day and writing a novel-length obituary, listing every deceased aunt and uncle ever alive, while leaving out the grandchildren and /or taking under the consideration the exhaustion of those who’ve only had three hours of sleep. Better yet, don’t take over the obituary, period.

2. Insist on extras to fit your taste when you’re not immediate family and refuse to contribute to said extras.

3. Come completely undone at family hour, causing  daughter of deceased to have to comfort you instead of other way around. (Sometimes this happens. You are forgiven, but only if it doesn’t happen, like, all the time. Either way, this is negotiable.)

4. Call at all hours of day and night for crazy stuff that doesn’t pertain to concern, condolence, or funeral arrangements.

5. Put rumors out that aren’t true.

6. Take photos and then post them on social networks without permission, or at the very least, a warning!

7. Just…don’t post dead pics, period.

8.  Bait the grandchildren to acquire info that doesn’t pertain to you.

9. Whisper behind the bereaved’s back so loudly  they hear you.

10. Do anything you wouldn’t want done during your time of grief.

Bonus: Make me go into aunt’s house, take five cater size pans out, and put them in car because they don’t belong at her house, they belong at mine. (Not my idea, the idea of a very good cook who loved my sister and me so much she cooked enough for a party of 30. A very enjoyable meal after the embarrassment of removing it from aunt’s kitchen counter.)

This public service announcement was brought to you by, S, better known as Whatevertheyaint.