And then love happened.

Hand on mouse, fingers hovering over a keyboard. Ready. Waiting. Ideas tumble out of my brain. Vortices of possibility twirl towards the 4am sky. 80 words to go. Will that be enough? This morning my thoughts have tuned to love and in my core, at the very base of me, I know that not any amount of words or finely tweaked sentences will be enough to bring these thoughts to fruition.

Devotion is an enigma wrapped neatly in decorative papers of blue and gold.  We tie bows around love like it is a package that once passed along will provide some predestined shroud of unending happiness. The very idea of falling in love encapsulates us. It is somehow protective simply in its impression. Let us fall. Fall from where? Fall from one intended to another? Fall from a tall building and have hope that the recipient of our ultimate adoration feels that same way we do. Heroically coming to save us from our plummet.

Some of us do get lucky. Some of us, somehow, in the cosmic wilderness of modern day romance find the love we had sought out for. It begins with shyness. Everything does. The coy wariness of perfect strangers meant for something more. Lightly fingering our way through the idle and awkward moments of the first few years of the togetherness. We will whisper wants to one another. Furtively, with a nonchalant air about our words because God forbid our new and shiny dearest thinks us odd.

We silently chant mantras of normalcy and routine ourselves. We are super-human people with no foibles or flaws because that could be undesirable and if even one of these idiosyncrasies flops to the surface, this tentative thing, this love thing, will surely wither and die. It is a wonder any of us survive the initial staging process. However, after an undetermined amount of days, weeks, years, millennia moves past we become easier, more ourselves. The weirdness leaks out onto the floor whether we like it or not. And the floor hasn’t been mopped up in days. The cautious stroking of yesteryear has evolved into a weighty hand on familiar skin. A comforting presence among the constant chaos of the everyday.

This love will manifest itself in the tiny places we never think about. It is the intense light between the bulb and the shade, only those inside the lamp’s protective cover can understand its brilliance. It is brown leaves pressed delicately between the softened pages of an ageing book. It is a blanket placed over chilled shoulders, a promise of warmth when the room seems subzero.

Love is not grand and glorious. It does not lift us up out of the depths of depression or carry us over the puddles of sadness which accumulate over a lifetime. It is not like the songs say. It does not fix our worries but usually causes us more worries to worry about. It is not magical or almighty.

Love is small and sacred. It is to be nourished. Grown from nothing over a lifetime of trial and error and strife and hardness. Love makes the difficult certainties of life a bit easier to live with. Love gives us the courage to try the new things. Love holds us tight when the new things do not work out as we had planned. Love comforts. Love soothes. Love does not define who we are but grows alongside us as we determine our unique paths in life.

Love is not our life preserver but the warm cup of coffee after we’ve fought off the flood. And if you should be lucky enough to find this sort of love, do not take your fortune lightly. Know that it is delicate and rare and beautiful. Hold it carefully and cherish it always. And in turn, it will have you too.

 

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Being human is a strange and scary thing

 

Everyone wants to be just a little bit freer. Free of the worries which cloud over us like rising waves out of a stock still sea. Free of the pain and the sorrow which soars inches above our head allowing us to believe we have just barely dodged it. It circles round. Free of the tiny things, the ones we do not know are doing us harm. The head in the sand things. The turn your gaze to another things.

We want to be taken as well. Take your freedom and stuff it, says us. Roll it away to darkened corners. We do not want the heavy weight of decision-making upon us. We do not want to create or to resolve or to amend. Life has an abundance of idea-men already and autonomy is far too overrated.

We want to be in charge. We want the reigns.  The power, the prominence. We want, we want, we want too many materials to name. Want becomes need because the line here is thin. It is emaciated from eons of manipulation.

We want love. Light, luscious, luminescent love. Take you away from your own personal horror love. Save you love. We bargain for this love in friends, fans, mistresses, men and children. Dogs. Especially dogs. Dogs are not truth tellers—this is why we love them so.

We are all experts, yearning for a pat on the back. We know it all. We do it best. We say it perfectly. We are always right. If we are not, we will die. This is obvious from the strong personal vigils we stand yelling about our ultimate rightness to all those who will listen.

We are humble. We want to be humble. So fucking badly. We want to stand in a public square, baring our soul to those who seek it. Allowing strangers to touch our tarnished humanity, let go of the fear which holds us back. We want to be okay. We want the other people to see that we are okay. There goes the humility.

We want faith if it comes with statistics. We want happiness if it comes with a bit of pain. (Not too much pain because that would hurt.) We could use a little more sadness if it comes with tactful sexual allure. And we want it now, but only in small slices because we cannot handle a lot of anything at once.

We want our mothers, without their philosophies. We want fame without talent. Prestige without having done anything at all. We want blood while keeping our hands clean. Beautiful smiles which obscure the malice that lies beneath. We want strength without training. Exploration without danger. To experience life without living.

And each day we grapple with these morbid thoughts of want versus need. We jumble them, mix them into a giant bowl of universal subject matter. As we lay them out to dry, frightened for what we might discover, we forget that this is our impermanence we organise so deftly within our imagination stations. We look it over. We stare into its abyss wondering how to work it all out. How to consolidate this mass of mess in just the perfect way so it will come out inline with what all the other humans are doing.

So it will be undetectable. Desirable. So we will fit in. So we can simply be.

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The Plight of the Sensitive Smeller

 

The smell of grease fat lingers this morning from the previous night’s feast of fish and chips. Tiny whiffs of scent hang in the air like the surprise fun-bags you find at novelty shops. Except rather than discovering fanciful prizes upon opening them, these sacks contain a swift punch to the nostrils. A walloping of the senses.

I hate weird smells. Can you tell? I’m so anal about it. My roommates (and by “roommates” I mean my kids, husband and sister in law) must get SO annoyed with me. I am forever asking, “What is that disgusting smell?” or yelling in top rage mode, “WHY DOES THIS HOUSE STINK ALL OF THE TIME?!”

Sometimes I wonder if it is me that smells. I will slink away to the bathroom and attempt to check my various body parts for ill-smelling indicators but that never works. If the horrendous smells were in fact coming from my person I’d never be able to tell. I would have already become accustomed to my reek. The ripened aroma would have already amalgamated with my skin follicles. I would wear it like a child wears her favorite Halloween costume, for days and remorselessly. I would bathe happily in my stench never quite accepting the dismay I was putting those I love through by simply standing next to them.

This revelation leads me to believe that there still must be something extra that is stinking up my home because I can in fact smell it. I will begin rooting around under furniture, behind tables, like a hog roots for truffles. I am on a quest to find the sought after tang of insubordination. For one beautiful moment I believe the smell might have dissipated. I have opened the windows and currently all I can detect is an unsoiled breeze blowing in. My heart is aflutter by the seemingly mystical properties which have vanquished the horrendous odour from my abode. A single tear drops from my eye. I am free.

However my happiness is in vain. Somewhere in the depth of my senses there is a tingling. It lazily alerts my brain that the smell has not truly left but lays in wait. There is rests. “Soon” it teases as the plot of this ever thickening joke on my senses evolves.

Alas my friends, this is the plight of the sensitive smeller. It is a sad and pathetic tale but one which must be told. So next time you encounter someone whose nose is particularly in tune with their surroundings, remember these words. Have sympathy. Agree that, yes, there definitely is a revolting stink in here. And most of all assist them in their hunt for the aroma in question because, as our sacred scent-detecting mantra goes: A smellers search is never through until the smell is found.

 

Another post on writing and junk, you’d think we were all writers or something around here…weird.

 

The power in our small bi-level home surges as I hit the SUBMIT button. Wait, was that a sign? A message sent from the great beyond? My skin turns to gooseflesh. I think of Grampa Bert, my all-time favourite storyteller. Maybe? Bah! Hogwash. It’s an old house and the electrical in this bitch sucks. I guess it is more likely that my brain, the soft part that need constant reassurance, is really just teeming with anxiety over the new flood of rejection messages I will be receiving in two to eight weeks. Prepare yourself, rejection is coming.

Side note: there is a fly in this room right now. A FLY IN DECEMBER! Its buzzing is infuriating not only for the distraction but for the sheer perplexity of its existence.

I’ve begun sending out stories, essays, blurbs and whatever else a publisher may want to take a look at. I’m like a teeny-bopper clad in fluorescent pink and the personality to match—look at me, pay the attention to this gal over here!

A few days ago my sister-in-law asked me why I write online. Well she didn’t come out and literally ask me. We were talking about writing and I naturally assumed she wanted to know every possible detail of my writing career so I willingly divulged my secrets…that are no more secret than my dirty erotica writing forays.

I told her that I write to obviously become rich and famous because, you know, that’s what all art is about. Duh. But as a secondary motive I write to simply tell the stories that are buzzing around (like this damn December fly) in my brain. It seems as soon as I drag one out and place it to word processing document another one begins to unfold into reality.  The more I write, the more stories are waiting to be written.

I think about reading stories that stick with me for days, weeks, hell years afterwards. I will remember images or a plot twist or the simple construction of the first sentence, the hook, and I realise how essential the written word can be. Stories entangle our imaginary lives with reality giving us the perfect amount of unrealistic expectations to keep us moving forward and striving on. They feed our waning imaginations. The older we grow the more fiction we must consume to keep our brains hale and hearty.

Great literature from the past, blogs posts, short stories, online magazines, a funny Facebook post; we read and write to connect with one another.

The idea that something I’ve written could affect someone like this intoxicates me. I could be like an imagination doctor! To think one story, one sentence even will stop the reader and make him say, “Hey, I never thought of it that way.” It is a mesmerising goal to reach for. If I can write one blog post that someone reads and thinks, “That is exactly how I feel too sometimes, at least I’m not alone.” I’ve scored the big one.

I’m a peopley person. What can I say, I love them humans. And I’ve obsessed over writing since the beginning of time, my beginning at least. Writing and the human condition fit hand in hand. Or existential crisis in existential crisis. I guess it depends on how you’re looking at it, where you’re positivity meter stands at the moment.

So I’m going to keep on writing, keep on submitting my work and rejection messages be dammed! I’ll wear them down eventually…or I’ll get better I suppose. Whichever comes first.

I’ll show ‘em, I’ll show ‘em all! One day you’re gunna see my name in lights!

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The shiny things have distracted me again.

My eyes part to the sound of an energetic whirring that is coming from my right. The sound seems to be magnified in the otherwise dead quiet of our bedroom. It drones merrily, LLLLLIIIIIIIIIINNNNNDDDDDSSSSSSAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY (but not really because in the morning ones imagination is soft and pliable, it will believe anything). It nearly jumps from the ledge of my bedside table.

I wish I was the kind of person who did not need an alarm clock. You know the type. Those people who boast that they are so in tune with their own body, the internal clock which lives somewhere in their brain—or maybe it’s their foot, you know, to get them moving—anyways, it wakes them without incident every single morning. Yeah, I wish I was like that.

Alas I’m still using my trusty cell phone (like a sucker) perched to the side of my bed with a message splayed across it saying, “GOOD MORNING!!!” in what I have come to believe is a seriously passive aggressive pre-dawn text revulsion.

The street is speckled with hundreds of tiny multi-colored lights. Cheer bottled-up into filaments the size of a cat’s claw. The radio serenades me with Jingle Bell Rock and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus because it knows that is what I want to hear this fine and frosty morning. Obviously.

I had toyed with the idea of writing something profound this morning. Wowing you with my inexorable insight, my glass-windowed vision. I imagined exhibiting my heartache, my unrequited culpability, up like a farmer does his heifer for market. I would try to sell it to you, get it into your brain and out of mine. Pass the pain along. Share it among the healthy folk. Or, perhaps, the unhealthy ones. They will gobble it up faster. No questions asked.

I was thinking of showing you the guilt that sometimes claws its way to the surface and spills over the top (because it is over the top) in ill at ease times of aforementioned heartache. The times I let down those I love and those I do not love in a cataclysmic foray of disappointment. The times I must deliver the bad news, the stuff of plugged ears and dull faces.

I could have wrote, this morning about misery and mountaineering. I could have turned it all around and shone some upbeat and blinding light of positivity into the murky thoughts that sometimes cloud my better judgment. I could explain (in my very best self-help voice) that if we shoot for the sky we will reach the stars.

I might have slid words together like children gliding down an icy knoll. Content with jibber jabber and momentary answers to questions never asked, at least not by me. My prophet days are probably still ahead of me, oh how I will profit one day.

I could have carved it all out upon this word document and felt lighter in the end. I should have tossed it down intending to leave it where it lay. Rid myself of the word plague I struggle against everyday. Instead the flicker of pink and green and red and blue lights dance just off the flank of my vision. It distracts me for the times being, it is shiny and bright. Familiarity hugs me, and what kind of monster fights against hugs? I guess the lights will do for now. I’ll preach tomorrow.

 

FEAR

 

Some days I am afraid. I am afraid to start writing each morning for fear of discovering I no longer fall fast and deeply in love when placing pen to paper, finger to key, idea to world.

Some days I am afraid. Most days in honesty, panic strikes long and unabashed as I ready the babes for their school time escapades. Am I enough?  Can I do right by them? Will my guiding hand be strong and kind enough to chaperone them around life’s sadness and hurdles?

Some days I am afraid. Afraid of the tiny soloist who lives in the deep of my character and sings stridently about wasted opportunities. Rejections. The awkward moments and the ill-advised decisions. He will remind me of former days and he does not quiet. He does not calm.

Today I wake with a different type of fear dripping from my better judgment. Afraid that the fear which drives, the fear which pushes me to places I once imagined never gracing, will leave me lonely and lackluster.

For it is not the fear that holds us back—that keeps us indolent. It is a lack thereof. It is an emptiness in that place that gives us butterflies when dreaming of future days. It is a hole in the fabric that weaves together our motivation in all things seemingly impossible. It is a gap in the driving force that gives us grounds to reach into the farthest depths of our will for the people we love. It is desolation upon our plain of imagination.

It is this loss of motivation, this loss of fear that scares me most of all.

We tell ourselves that the fear is what we should fight against. The fear of this and the fear of that is what is holding us back. I have come to disagree. It is the fear that keeps us going. It is the fear that tells us we will never be good enough. Never be strong enough or smart enough or happy enough. It is this terror of “not enough” that keeps us striving. It keeps us living.

I suspect the fear will forever live somewhere just beneath the surface, and in hopes of eradication it will remain just out of reach. But close enough to keep me lively. Incentives towards growth. An aid in personal evolution. So I will hold my fear close at hand and continue to do the things which scare me.

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I’m just a rambling (wo)man.

 

I grab my phone and punch the Facebook icon for the twentieth time this morning. What am I looking for? I have recently come to learn that I am addicted to Facebook. I use it as a substitute for food and cigarettes (my last two addictions) when I am in need of some sort of security blanket consoling. A melancholy gloom hangs precariously above my head. At least the coffee is strong this chilly December morning.

The hymn of the worry wort has sprung forth in my brain and it rages methodically for a tune to harmonize with.  I have learnt over the years how to calm this beast with writing and visualization techniques. I visualize myself stomping, setting aflame then doing the Salsa upon the grave of my worrying tendencies.

What I really find works though, is the innate knowledge that I am smart, resourceful and confident enough to get through whatever it is which is causing me concern. This works fine, when it is controlled variables that are directly affected by my actions. Making money and career advancement for example. My theory does not work as well when it comes to human beings. We are a fickle bunch you know.

I find my uncertainties blossom into thousands of rampant eddies of thought and anxiety when people pleasing comes to mind. People Pleasing: my kryptonite. I’ve gotten better over the years at saying no to those I love. I have come to understand as I grow older that the happiness of others does not solely rest in my hands. Even if I wanted to, it would be impossible to make everyone happy. It simply cannot be done leading me to believe, in some twisted way, that I am a failure. This is the vicious circle of People Pleasing.

Yet even as I type these words there is a minute inkling in the deep of my soul that says this is an untruth. Beyond all of my better judgement, the hundreds of self-help books I’ve scoured and the confidence building courses I’ve endured, I still feel the innate urge to fall down flat so those I love can walk over me towards their happiness.

What a convoluted thing to write, I know.

Look guys, I know it seems like I have it all figured out here on this blog where I write slick sentences and pretty poetries but I’m just trying to unravel the mysteries of life too. I suspect that this is pretty much what every other messed up human onboard this ship is driving for as well.

We all have our foibles that make us “not perfect” and I would like to believe that most of us work tirelessly towards a healthy future. But until then, I think it is important that we give ourselves a millisecond to sit back and enjoy the journey.

Sometimes life can feel like a rambling blog post (much like this one I’m constructing right now) it keeps moving erratically and is impossible to organise. It will feel like you are running out of time to wrap things up into the neat and tidy bow you’ve imagined for it. I think it is important to remember that not everything can be tied up tidy every single time. Not every problem has a straightforward answer. Often when we sit back and leave it lay how it has fallen, these are the moments we can truly appreciate the truth in what we’ve created.

 

Progressing is key, it is time to delve into the deep.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”
― Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

If I could choose just one quote to love more than any others it would be this one. If there was one group of words which summed up how I usually feel or at least how I want to feel about life as a writer, this group would be it.

Unfortunately (or I suppose fortunately) for me there are far too many astounding humans quoted every damn day to choose just one as a favourite.

As I meander once again through the shallow waters of script and sonnet I can feel myself wading dangerously close to the deep end.  Currently I splash cheerily, absent-minded, in superficial thoughts. Words flow easily over my toes and out into the beyond. I think little of these sentences I scroll because little thought is required. It is all rhetoric. Pretty prose echoed agreeably as I spill it from my soul. Thoughts on life and love and being human. These are the easy things to write. They are safe but with little substance.

My words today will not strike any profound cords in those who read them. They will not rummage up memories which have been tucked away for safekeeping. These sentences are not dangerous. They will not provoke any deeper wondering or wake the harboured yearnings of moments lost to oblivion. They do not strip away the beautiful fluff we humans shield ourselves with to protect against anything weightier than the daily grind. Instead my words today will gently settle down upon you, resting easy while a war still rages beneath the surface.

There is an itching in my brain and it is growing stronger as my confidence as a writer ripens. I know it is not feasible to continue to write from this comfort state in which I currently live. To grow we must go out on a limb. We must use our doubt as a parachute and fall into the unknown with the tools and the belief that we will thrive against all odds. If we stay in this place of ease, the art of the matter will halt and nothing new will emerge.

There are many projects, ideas and visions I can so clearly see in my minds-eye. They will require hard work, resolve and a promise to write real and true – which is sometimes the most difficult requirement of all.

It is just a matter of finding the resolve to shut my eyes tight and jump, without reservations, into the deep.

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I nearly broke my perfect streak!

I tried to cheat this morning. *Sigh* I tried to cheat and hide it from you guys. I tried to hide it from myself – mumbling under my breath that it would be okay if I did it just this once. I had justification. Ugh I disgust myself.

Moments ago I found myself surfing through my Google Docs. I was looking for something that hadn’t been published that I could pass off as my daily post. I was literally about the CHEAT! I’m having a bit of a panic attack here. Well not really, it’s actually more of an attention attack so you’ll just have to excuse me while I let this pass.

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Okay, so why did I almost do it?

Well like I said I had justification. Since starting this writing project I’ve mustered up the wherewithal to take a look at some of my unfinished projects. And some of them (not all of them, let’s not go crazy here) are actually pretty good. They need some spit shining and a few rewrites but I want to try submitting to a few publishers. Again. This is actually a big deal because the mental and emotional trauma a writer endures while submitting their work to hundreds of publishers only to get rejected over and over again is pretty heavy stuff to say the least man.

So my plan was to sluff off my daily post and work on more pressing matters. But isn’t that sort of defeating the purpose Lindsay? *She types to herself in a borderline psychotic break sort of way.

The entire point of this thing is to warm up my writing skills. Isn’t getting this inspiration/guts to delve into the publishing world again only proving that my new writing habit is working. Why would I stop now?

Plus, 100 words a day isn’t difficult. Look, I’ve just got down over 300 in the few minutes I’ve been mulling this over!

Thanks writing friends, you guys are sure swell to talk to.

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Do you ever feel the pressure of waiting projects and overlook the process? Tell me what helps keep you on track and maybe I can adopt some new methods so I don’t try to cheat again!

 

 

It is Sunday and I’m Writing Stuff Down

A steaming cup of coffee sits to my left and just like that I am rejuvenated. A bit of this has to do with the coffee (well, maybe more than a bit. Coffee is life.) But more so it is a feeling of reemergence that is warming my heart this early Sunday morning. It has been exactly six days of writing at least 100 words a day and despite my misgivings about this project in the beginning I can already feel the difference in this once-weary writer’s soul.

Ideas are springing up seemingly out of nowhere. A newfound verve for unfinished projects has encapsulated me. Any spare moment I have I find myself meandering through writing projects I haven’t glanced at for years.

I no longer have that hardening feeling of it all being much too much. That overwhelming pressure when looking at all of the unfinished projects on my computer. The desperate feeling of inadequacy which ultimately stopped me dead in my tracks and inhibited me from pressing forward at all.

By writing every day and having the knowledge that I will continue to write every day I am reminded about how much I purely love to write. It is not about the end result yet. It is about the forming of sentences, the formulating of stories. It is about writing my truth down and knowing that I am doing this simply to improve and strengthen my craft. It is about growth as a writer and the growth of becoming my own human being.

What comes from that is yet to be determined and I’ve decided that that is alright by me. I have learnt that looking too far into the future is detrimental to my own creative process. So for now I will not take this writing time for granted but instead celebrate in the muse I have been so fortunate to once again find.

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Just get the hell on with it why don’t you!

 

I look at the day ahead. I am reeling with anxiety. Timelines and schedules disco-hop through my mind’s eye in a fashion that leads me to believe that my brain has an evil ulterior motive. My hands quiver as I type and I have to wonder if I should even be taking this time to type at all because, damn, I just have so much to do today.

I am the sort of person who gets overwhelmed easily. Can you tell? I have a very difficult time dealing with too many responsibilities over one 24 hour time period. For example, raising children isn’t a stress factor (well it is, but not in the same way) because this endeavour spans an entire lifetime. If I want to feed them popcorn for dinner or skip homework one night  it’s going to be okay because I have a plethora of child-rearing days to make up for the misstep. Having three business meetings, a large quantity order going out during the lunch rush and having to do it all before 3pm when I pick the kids up from school…that gives me the spine chills.  These are the days I am an anxious ball of pent up stress that is undoubtedly radiating a gross amount of sweat and negative energy. An absolute treat to be around I’m sure.

And yes, oh yes, I’ve tried about every possible remedy for this fretful behaviour. From calming teas to lavender oil…to actually attempting to will away the busy onset of events—nothing seems to work.

Except there is actually one thing.

And that is, simply getting on with it. Just doing the shitty, stressful, wholly unwanted thing with a smile on your face and a can-do attitude in your heart. Yeah, yeah, lamest thing I’ve ever written. I know guys, but the truth of it is this is life man.

Sometimes we must simply get into the car and drive to the place we’ve never been. Despite the worry about getting lost and the stress of not knowing anybody there. Sometimes there is no simpler solution than to just do.

I find when managing my time efficiently and using up the leisure time I do have with productive ventures such as reading and writing I am more willing to participate in the tougher stuff with a positive attitude. As a general rule, a can-do ‘tude is one of the best qualities one can have…even if you are feeling the shit storm of obligation encompassing you like that mighty claws of a great griffon, sometimes you just gotta smack that griffon on the talon and say, “let’s fuckin’ do this!”

We humans are resilient and we typically thrive in high pressure situations, revealing to ourselves and others how remarkable we truly are. As we continue to “just get on with it” each time this feeling of conquering the beast becomes easier and easier to overcome.

We do not have the ability to learn or live well without experiencing a little trepidation in our lives. Anything worth doing is going to cause stress because it is new and unknown. In most instances, we must just get on with it or else life will get on without us.

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I Want To Write Poetry…Sometimes.

 

I wanted to write poetry this morning.

Mourning how many months, years, millennia

It has been since verse has scrawled across this screen.

I wanted to write beautifully

Words that scratch some surface

Suitably.

I wanted to write about appetite:

Strange passions.

Outrageous actions.

Famous fashions.

These moments-

They sometimes consume me.

Entangling me in yet-to-be-made memories.

Seeds for tomorrow days

Unmade ways

Ablaze with stories running with haste

In my brain.

I wanted to write something truthful

It seems.

I wanted to explain the emotions

Which reign.

I wanted to share pain,

Releasing and freeing. I wanted to freeze

This feeling of wellbeing

And peace.

To paper, to screen

To forever be seen.

I wanted to write poetry this morning.

Not only to mourn over time mislaid and misplaced

But to celebrate what life and writing has

Forever encased.

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Feeding the ego – one of the best ways to self sabotage.

 

Yesterday I mentioned ego and how we often tend to use technology to feed that ego in today’s society. I have several friends on my Facebook who use the motto “there is no such thing as bad press” to a fault. They air their dirty laundry as though it had been sitting in a pile of cow shit for days. Breakups, makeups, gripes and grimaces everything goes published in the land of Facebook statuses.

Random Facebook Status: ugh I love it when people stick their noses into my life without even knowing what is going on.

Comment 1: Don’t worry about those losers, you’re awesome!

Comment 2: *hugs*

Comment 3: People are so just jealous of you. You keep doing you babe!

This randomly generated Facebook status is a prime example of how easy it is to feed the ego in today’s tech driven world. The ability to boost ourselves up with a false sense-of-self from a list of randos who we have not seen or spoke to “IRL” in YEARS is literally at our fingertips. We are connected by this amazing technology that has the ability to do so much good in our lives and yet we squander its wonders with worrying relentlessly over how many “likes” we’ve received on our last profile pic update.

 

For so long I wrote for not myself nor those wanting to read my writing. I wrote for the likes. I wrote for the shares and the “wow you’re a really good writer” and the “oh my gosh you’re so funny!”

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I wrote for the sheer high it gave me to hit the publish button and watch the ego feeding frenzy come rolling in. I didn’t care about the content. It did not matter to me if I was writing true or not. I was simply looking for anyone to tell me I was good enough.

The problem was, eventually the “likes” and the shares stopped coming. The posts I was producing had become rushed and sloppy. The content was, in all honesty, shit. Running loops around pointless subjects that in the end, nobody cared to read about.

And this my friends is where the problem lies when seeking out self-aggrandizing methods upon social media platforms. Eventually, people catch on to your sly ways. They begin to see through the bullshit and your audience gets bored.

I no longer cared about the writing itself or who was reading it. I only cared about the number of views I received and how far my writing had travelled. The stories meant nothing to me, in all honesty the stories had all been done before. I wasn’t even trying anymore. It was the numbers that had somehow moved into the priority spot in my brain.

And as a writer, when the numbers takes precedence over the words…you know there is a bit of a problem.

So like all mentally healthy individuals, I threw my hands up in the air and said, “fuck it! I’m done with writing. I’m not getting the views and feedback I want so that equates to me not being good enough to carry on. Obvs.”

It took about six months of me subconsciously stewing over my writing to realise what had been happening. Yeah I know, that’s a long time to take to comprehend something so obvious.

So now I am back. No Facebook, no more feeding the ego. Just writing. It is time to get back to the words. To sling sentences and once again fall in love with the wholeness of writing something well. It is time to starve a little for my craft.

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Facebook is weird, but so is everything.

 

The harsh glow of this screen is straining my eyes as I try to think of the exact words that will explain how I feel this morning.  In the next minute I drop everything to google a few hilarious birthday memes and put them on my brother’s wall. It’s his birthday and memes are life. What the hell did I use to do before the internet? Be forced to call someone on the phone on their birthday? Human interaction? Ew gross.

Ugh what kind of social media monster have I become? Time after time I have seen this magnificent thing called Facebook work wonders for my professional life. It has helped me advertise our current business virtually for free. It has given me the ability to write and be read by hundreds of people who would have never seen my work otherwise.

However for a time, it also alienated me. It tucked me into a place where social interaction was solely taken through screen time and conversation was rather typed than spoken. It made face to face interactions odd and unkemptly, as though somewhere in the back of my brain I was thinking this socializing thing might just be easier if I wasn’t here at all. The protection of a screen had become everything.

Then we opened a business where speaking to people became our way of earning money. Everyday different humans walk into our shop and I am forced to converse with them. It is actually the best thing that could have ever happened to me. While we all know that socialization is important, I think we sometimes forget how detrimental physical human interaction actually is to our mental health.

It can get very lonely sitting behind a screen simply feeding ones ego with “likes” and “shares”.  It can become a hard habit to break. How easy it has become to feel as though we are living grandly in the imaginary frontier of the information superstation. How simple it is to believe that all of those friends and followers truly care about what and where and why and how we are living.

These sites that were crafted to connect us to each other have achieved to such an extent that they have disconnected us from everyday physical and emotional experiences. And although they create optimal and vast opportunities for professional growth they seem to be stifling our personal and emotional wellbeing. Simply put, those who cannot sort out the good and helpful aspects from the social media garbage are being left behind to wander aimlessly. They are searching for a false gratification that can never truly be achieved in that kind of a place, only hoped for under grossly false pretenses of grandeur and greatness.

I’ve come to enjoy talking and interacting with people again. I have learnt to appreciate different people’s foibles and intricacies. It is what makes us human and the main thing we try to hide when living behind a screen. In real life I seek these flaws out and remind myself to appreciate them in all of the people I meet because it means we are living, it means we are still trying to connect.

At times I still have to remind myself that there is nothing opulent about my social media sites. They are not there to make me rich nor famous but to simply allow me to stay in touch with those I do not see every day. These sites are not a substitution for connection but instead an extension for when there is no other option.

With that said, I’ll be signing off for now. I think it’s about time I call my brother and wish him a happy birthday.

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They Are The Reason

As my word processing program boots up and blinks back into existence it scowls at me. It’s been a while old friend, I quietly say, as I am hesitant to let people know that I talk to inanimate objects.

It’s been over a month to be precise. But when I say things have been busy, I mean it literally.

The shop is getting busier and busier as the days go by. I’m not complaining because just between you and me I like money. I like it a lot. What I am complaining about is the achy feet, the stiff joints (because apparently I’m 279 years old these days) and the reeling to-do list which accosts the tiny bits of relief that momentarily surface in my brain. Oh the joys of being alive!

This last week however Jamie and I have got a bit of reprieve from the daily grind.  We shipped the small humans up to my parents house to stay with them for the week and by the looks of the photos I’ve been getting they are in their glory. And James and I have gotten a small taste of what it’s like to run a business without having tiny people in tow.

So, I’m just going to throw this out there guys…All of you humans that have no kids, um, what are you doing? Why aren’t you ruling the world right now? How are we, the exhausted parents, not your underlings yet? You are clearly the dominant species and should be prevailing over all civilisation. You surely have the energy for it!

Maybe that’s going a little far but after experiencing this last week, I have a newfound appreciation for ‘the working parent’ that’s for damn sure!

After dropping the babes off and heading back to Lethbridge we were solemn and sad, wondering how we could possibly stand this week without our darling littles.

After day one back to The Hot Wire there we were counting our float with huge grins on our faces, signing;

 

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For the next week we got up early to prep and stayed open late when the customers just kept on rolling in. We seemed to have endless energy! The work we got accomplished was unprecedented. We felt like we had the world by the small and curlies and there wasn’t anything or anyone holding us back.

Now as I am writing all of this there is a tiny screaming voice in the back of my thoughts saying, “there is a special place in hell for people like you Lindsay!” Because really, who actually talks about how much easier and more productive life is without children? It’s fucking blasphemy. It’s despicable. Its ludicrous!

But it is also the truth.

This morning I was in the shower, enjoying the uninterrupted cleansing time thinking about all of this. I thought about how productive life has been these last six days and how thankful I felt that our business was doing well.

And then just like that, discreet images of my two favourite people started nonchalantly dancing around in my memories.  Sophie mopping the floor at the shop while giving me her famous “Sophie look”. Lars, sitting at the table across from the till playing Uno like a pro. The hilarious things they say and the weirdo stuff they do flooded my brain and  it occurred to me that these two small humans ARE the shop.

They are the reason we started this thing up. They are the reason we work so hard to make it successful. Their smiles brighten the place on Saturdays and their presence gives us the drive to keep on going even when things seem impossible.

Yes a week here or there is nice to catch up on the little stuff. We all (including the kids) need a break from the routine now and then. But as I sit here typing my gaze continues to drift towards the clock and I find myself anxious to go pick them up.

Because as fancy-free as life was without them, the real adventure is experiencing the growth and evolution of our beautiful family together. They are the reason for everything we do and I don’t think I will ever be able to thank them enough for that.

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Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down

 

Wow! Two posts in one week? What kind of bizarro land is this? Man alive how things have changed! I remember a time when I would write two posts in one day. Man I was egotistical and obnoxious. Thanks for hanging in there you guys. Because now, now my friends I am the most self-adjusted, well-rounded, down-to-earth person I know. I’m so awesome.

So I’m not even exaggerating here when I say that I had THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE yesterday. Sure nobody died. And yeah I went to bed with a roof over my head, warm socks on my feet (yes I’m the wierdo who sleep with socks on) and a belly full of a delicious dinner digesting ever so happily in my stomach. But either way, it was THE WORST DAY EVER.

It wasn’t the face that I had been painting the office at work all day that got me down. Even though that is a bitch of a job and nobody in their right mind should want to partake in such activities. And it wasn’t the raging customers that seemed to continue to stroll through the doors yesterday either. It wasn’t even that one guy who kept comparing us to Subway and asking why we didn’t have certain menu items that they did. Despite the annoying eye twitch in the corner of my right eye, this was just another day at the grind.

The real problem was the furious case of mom-guilt that had slowly been inching its way up the back of my spine and burrowing itself deep into the back of my brain.

I should have seen it coming. I should have known that it would be on the brink of my psyche any day now. The signs were all there. I had been so busy with work. My spirits had been way up. I was actually feeling pretty damn good. The mom-guilt is there to knock you back down to size.

All day long this skulking just under my skull was telling me that I could do better. That I must read more with Lars. That I must listen to his long and drawn out stories of Super Mario Brothers more intently than the mere nod of a head and smile I usually offer.

This thing that was wrapping its long, antiquated talons around all that is good in my memory was reminding me that I must spend more time with Sophie. I must get her into the singing lessons she so desperately wants to be in and what about those art lessons she was asking about last month?

The mom-guilt had broken me and by midday I was nothing but a withering urchin shirking my obligations as an operational human being of society. Where is that dark hole and how long can I hide there?

Perhaps it had had enough of telling me how terrible of a mother I was because soon after lunchtime it began in on the other aspects of my life. The mom-guilt never straight up tells you you’re doing a shitty job. It just gives you a little nudge in the right direction. Hints, if you will.

*Boy oh boy, Jamie sure does work a lot harder than you.

*Oh look, that mom can handle her kid having a temper tantrum in public without totally losing her cool, why can’t you?

*Just a reminder friend, you have guests coming to visit next week and you’re home is literally the most squalid habitat on the face of the planet.

That evening when I drearily trudged into the house, I told the kids to play quietly downstairs. Meanwhile the mom-guilt laughed excitedly at how easily I had dismissed the homework portion of our routine. I ran a bath and sobbed; desperately trying to drown away this teeming culpability that had been building up inside of me all day long.

After I hugged and kissed my kids goodnight I too retired to my bed. I didn’t think about much. I literally zoned out on Gilmore Girls and wondered what it would be like to live in the magical hamlet of Stars Hollow. I needed sleep.

This morning I found the mom-guilt had disappeared, gone for now but certainly not forgotten.

Maybe it wasn’t the absolute “worst day of my life”. Probably not even in the top ten. But what I do know, is that the mom-guilt is real and when it takes holds it can be a hassle to break free from. For a long time I used to think it was just me, that I was just the worst mom ever, I was letting the mom-guilt win.

Now I look at it in a different way. I take what it so very subtly tells me, mull it over to see if any of it is viable information (mostly it’s not) and then quietly and matter-of-factly tell it to fuck right off.

And then I go back to being awesome.

So when I use this idiom, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” I mean the mom-guilt. Don’t let the mom-guilt grind you down friends. Because we all know how much of a raging bitch she can be sometimes.

The Expo

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I haven’t told you guys about the expo yet. The expo. THE EXPO. This thing is what our life is revolving around right now. It’s official name is the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo and The Hot Wire Panini Café is in it. This is not an event to enter into lightly my friends. They are estimating around 6000 people to be in attendance and an average of 600 patrons to visit each booth. Don’t quote me on these numbers, they are just what my frazzled mind picked up when we were going over the details with Chris. He’s the mastermind of this beautiful thing.

Four months ago when Jamie and I were approached about buying a booth we were thrilled! The Hot Wire Panini’s name had travelled far enough for an actual real live food expo to seek us out and ask if we wanted to join. It was flattering and gave us just a big enough boost of confidence to believe that we could pull this off. No problem-o, was probably my naive reaction at the time. However presently, as the expo draws nearer we have begun to feel the pressure.

Here we are, just the two of us running this entire place by ourselves. We eat, sleep, and breathe The Hot Wire Panini and that definitely cuts in to our socialising time. When we told Chris that it would probably just be the two of us working the expo he actually LOL’d. “Sorry guys, there is no way just two of you will be able to do it alone. You’ve got to get some help.” He said after the awkward realisation that we weren’t in fact pulling his leg came to pass.

So this is our first quandary. We need help for this expo that is taking place in two weeks from now and are not 100% sure that we will be able to get it. We’ve lined up a few of Jamie’s chef friends from back home but that is a four hour drive away and we all know how quickly Alberta roads can turn on a person in the mid-January weather. So who knows if they will even be able to make it? We can’t afford to hire anyone, that thought is actually laughable. And we aren’t close enough to anyone here who would be willing to work for the prestigious payment of beers at our place afterwards. So it comes down to one thing, hoping to the good baby Jeebus that the weather is on our side.

Second issue, the small humans. Oh how (hashtag)adorbs it would be to have the wee panini pipsqueaks running around selling paninis to all of the people at the expo, alas, NO MINORS ALLOWED. So now I have the pleasure of attempting to find a babysitter for a 12 hour timespan. No problem-o my ass.

Then comes the prep work of feeding 5-6 hundred bitesize panini samples to prospective customers. Finding all of the necessary decor to make our booth look inviting—alluring if you will. All the while running the shop during its regular hours.

Wowza, by this point you must be thinking that Jamie and I are gluttons for punishment. We’re not, we swear. We just really get off on the onset of regular anxiety attacks.

They say that owning your own business takes everything you have in you. That’s a lie. It takes more than everything. It takes resourcefulness. So much resourcefulness in fact that you must reserve your resourcefulness to uncover more resourcefulness. It takes having the nerve to try new things and pick yourself up off the floor when they fall flat.  It takes so much risk that sometimes you just crave a boring, dreary kind of day. It takes patients. Patients with yourself because everything you do is a trail run and 50% of it isn’t going to work out the way you intended. It takes the ability to make a botched attempt into a new opportunity. And enough confidence to know that all of this pressure and fear and failure and heaviness in your heart will eventually be worth it. It takes the optimism to glance contently into the future. Many of these qualities I didn’t know I possessed until we started really getting into the nitty gritty of entrepreneurship. Perhaps they were born out of necessity.

This expo is a fantastic way to get The Hot Wire’s name out there. We know our product is good. The reviews speak for themselves. Now it is time to showcase our panini perfection in one convenient location for all to enjoy. It isn’t that the shop is doing poorly. Our numbers are good. But we do have our slow days, sometimes even slow weeks. These are the days when it is a struggle to find a positive outlook on things. These are the moments when the fear creeps in and we have to will it away with thoughts of what tomorrow might bring.

It is a terrifying business to be in, but a thrilling and challenging one too. And the only way to achieve our goals is to work hard, takes chances and get the word out. The panini word. The Alberta Food and Beverage Expo is our golden ticket and there is no way we are about to squander that.

With a bit of planning, a little luck and a lot of culinary craftiness I’m confident we will get through it. We’ll make our impression on this city of Lethbridge and they will be talking about that one time The Hot Wire Panini rocked the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo for years to come!

And that, my friends, is what this whole shebang is all about.

Grab a ticket and hop on

I’m sitting at this computer, a coffee to my left and a pile of Hot Wire paperwork to my, er, further left. Don’t you know, coffee always takes precedence.  I am looking at this keyboard and thinking, “it’s been a while old friend.” I’m feeling a little dramatic because a life without embellishment would result in me withering away into an endless black hole of worthlessness. And that would be a bummer man.

It’s been weeks, month’s maybe since I last sat down and wrote. Sure, I spew a few lines here and there. When I do write, as I’m sure my long-time Mama readers will vouch, it’s a little on the fatalistic side. I swear, I’m not as angry and disgruntled as my latest writings would suggest. It’s just what seems to be spilling out at the moment, and as they say, you can’t argue with art.

Every week or so I horde a little time to scour through some of my old Me Plus Tree columns or pull out a few Blogging Mama bits and revel in all of the time I used to have for writing these long drawn out blurbs of hilarity. As you also know, I am horribly, dreadfully, without even a little bit of shame one of the vainest human beings I know when it comes to my writing. I literally laugh out loud at my own work. Perhaps I shall seek help one day about this.

The kids have done a 360 on their blogging position and now are loving the fact that I have a treasure trove of funny stories involving them. Some of the more appropriate tales have come to be their bedtime stories and they laugh and laugh as I recite these babblings to them in loud and outlandish voices. This arrangement works well in the fact that we can achieve our nighttime routine and my need to satisfy the teeming narcissism in my soul at one convenient time.

It’s pretty great and I must admit I love being able to make these stories what they were always intended to be; a journal for my kids. Rereading these moments helps remind us all where we’ve come from and how far we’ve journeyed. And that is a really cool thing.

Last night I spun a well-known tale for them about a wee girl hiding under the computer desk with shitty pants and a mischievous twinkle in her eye. They laughed and my heart swelled at the sounds of their giggles over a story I crafted so many years ago. That life seems like it is so far away now and I’m so thankful I have these writings to keep us connected with that time in my young family’s lives.

It got me to thinking. There are so many things happening right now. Amazing, tough, terrifying and thought provoking things and…I’M NOT DOCUMENTING ANY OF IT!!!

Of course there is the fact that we are running a business, working at that business full time, bringing up babes and trying to find a life somewhere in-between all of that too. Where do I find the time to write? I’m sure all of the great story tellers of our time found themselves asking the exact same question. And the answer? Well, I guess the answer is, I have to just find the time. Whether it be a break at work or early in the morning hours or long after the kids are snug in their beds at night.

I could probably just stop binge watching Gilmore Girls a few nights a week and all of my writing quandaries would be solved. Ah! But they are just so saucy, who couldn’t love that quirky mother/daughter duo?!

My coffee has stopped steaming and the pile of paperwork is still staring at me relentlessly so I suppose it is time to start the day. However today I will go about my work, with a contentedness I haven’t had in some time. I’ve wrote. Perhaps it wasn’t the start of a great novel or a short fiction story that really makes you think, but it was something. Something my children will one day rummage up and begin to read, reminding them of our adventures on this wild ride we call life.

Self Love

There is a lot of talk these days about self love. Now I`m not really sure if in fact when people use this phrase they are talking about, you know, feelings and confidence and inner happiness and junk…Or, if they are talking about getting freaky with yo` bad self.

I`m cool with both options A and B.

However I`m especially talented at reminding myself how indeed awesome I am. And when I say awesome, I literally mean awe inspiring (probably just to myself, but a win’s a win in my books). So like, deadly awesome.

I mean, I sat down to the computer the other day with a bowl of popcorn, logged onto Facebook and scrolled MY OWN FACEBOOK WALL because I find myself so fucking interesting. And I laughed and laughed at my own clever posts and status updates.

I don`t know guys, I might have a problem. Can there be too much self love? Well obviously the answer to that question is yes because of the unfortunate reality of chaffing.

But when it comes to inner love, I don’t think you can over do it. Sure people may think you are self involved and kind of obsessively vain, but, I’m pretty sure there are worse things to be in this life.

Example: a killer clown who roams dark streets harassing innocent humans who are simply trying to go out on a goddamned jog because they are feeling a little bloaty that day.

**As a side note, regarding the newfound phenomenon of these stupid ass clowns – I will run a face-painted bitch DOWN if I happenchance upon one. I don’t care how scary it is or how fast the bastard is coming up on me, my first instinct is to eradicate the danger. Henceforth go even more psycho on said danger and terrify the living beejesus out of it. Like, probably start singing Adele’s “Hello” in some sort of indistinguishable accent while crab walking towards him with the toothiest smile I can muster across my face. That’s survival right there people.

But this clown conversation is clearly meant for my latter post (Rage Demons) and is feeling a little out of place with all of this self love talk. So I digress…Just, be careful out there friends.

Anyhoo, as I was saying, it’s okay to love who you are and what you got. It’s actually great to do so! Maybe balance it out with some occasional self loathing over awkward teenage memories and the constant worry about a looming apocalyptic future; because we can’t be happy ALL THE TIME that is an outrageous thing to ask of anyone.

That’s why the clowns have all gone cray.

UGH so much more to talk about when it comes to self love! I could go on and on and on and on. But I think you guys get it. I think you feel me when I say go forth and love inwards with fervour and the pure intensity that your bitchin’ self deserves.

And if anyone tries to tell you that you’re a “sociopath” or have a “narcissistic personality disorder” don’t worry about them, they’re probably just a psychotic clown in their off time anyways.

Rage Demons Unite

Have you ever been so angry that you were shaking? Have you ever been so incredibly pissed off that tears streamed down your face and you couldn’t do a damn thing about it? Have you ever felt the intense power of fury rise up from your gut and envelope your being whole?

If so, did you sort of like it?

I was having a good ole chitty chatty with a girlfriend the other day (who I won’t name because I don’t want to inadvertently out her as a Rage Demon, like myself) and we were talking about this mysterious emotion which has recently befallen our everyday lives.

The smallest thing can set it off. There I was trying to get the kids set up online with their schools absentee website. I was attempting to download the app…because as we all know, there’s an app for that and everything else these days and the damn thing kept locking me out. Each time the error screen popped up after entering in the six digit code that they sent me a little inkling of rage would wriggle its way deeper into my better judgement.

“I know right!” My friend said as I told her the story, “and I’ve tried to do things about it. I’ve tried EVERYTHING! Meditation, healthy lifestyle, the works!” She explained.

Now this is where my friend and I differ. Yeah yeah, I try to control my rage because I don’t want the general populous to think I’m bat-shit or anything but there is a little part of me that kind of likes it. The rage, I mean. Like, okay I know how that sounds, totally demented right? It’s just that sometimes when the wrath unleashes and ferocity courses through my body I feel…weirdly at home.

It makes it even better (or worse, depending on how you are looking at this bitch) when someone close to you, perhaps a parent or a spouse, tells you to “calm down” or “take a breather.” Like, please, I beg of you, do not attempt to manhandle my emotions. However I can take a message and get back to you as soon as I’m done completely throwing a fit over whatever it is that has set me off this time. But if you push it and continue to tell me how to feel, unfortunately, I will be forced to be 100% the worst human being on the face of the planet to you. So, just leave a damn message.

As I am throwing my hands up in the air and summoning the deep guttural moans of a manic zoo gorilla enraged by captivity (Not Harambe, NEVER HARAMBE.) I guess I just kind of adore that feeling of pure vitality that rushes over my person. It’s like, “wow Lindsay, you are so out of control right now. It is impressive.” It’s almost as though I have an out of body experience and all I can say as I’m watching myself yell words that aren’t words at all but just offensive slurs and stomp around while the other humans in my midst literally dive out of my line of fire, “Bravo you beautiful bastard, you’re doing this thing right.”

Now I know what you are thinking as you read this. How can she make temper tantrums look so cool?

It’s a gift.

Of course there is always the problematic issues of loss of relationships, high blood pressure and shortened life span when it comes to routine rage’n.  Perhaps that is just the price one pays for such thrills.

Who knows! Ahh the mysteries of life.

Still haven’t downloaded the absentee app, if you were wondering. But I’m saving that baby for next time I have a hankering for a frenzied rage sesh.

So, moral of this blog post….

Hahaha I’m just kidding, there is absolutely no moral here my friends, not even if you dig really really deep.

Let’s Share!

If you are a fellow Rage Demon like me, what are some of your triggers? Here’s a few of mine!

-People who whisper when partaking in non-whispering conversation.

-When the last of the school designated snacks have been devoured without me knowing and I have to use my creativity to pack lunches ten minutes before school.

-When two minutes after scrubbing the bathroom someone takes a shit and leaves streak marks of their bowel movement behind for proof.

-technology of any sort at any given moment.

-When anyone tells me to do anything that is not on my current agenda.

-People who disregard all forms of punctuality.

-People who take blog posts seriously.

(except for this one…this one is totally serious.)