Bill Cosby once said, “My children love my mother and I tell my children, “That is NOT the same woman I grew up with, that is an old woman trying to get into heaven now.”
I remember my great grandmother as a soft spoken lady who always ate the strawberry portion of the Neapolitan ice cream that was kept in the freezer for when the kids in family came to visit. I also knew that my mom had described her grandmother as being formidable with a no nonsense tone that was similar to Maleficent the villain in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. It wasn’t until after she passed that I realized that the person I remembered and the intimidating relative my mother had told me about were actually the same person. At some point before I was born she had two heart attacks which mellowed her a lit. Who knew?
I am a name nerd. I’ve had a fascination with names since grade school. My mom is a name nerd too, it just might be genetic. I have only one sibling but you’d never guess that if the only thing you saw were the number of name books on our shelves. In all of my the time I lived with my folks I can count on both hands the number of times we gave an animal a pet or animal something you’d expect to hear. I remember one spring when all the new baby goats had the names of ice cream flavors.. One year I named a pair of boy/girl goat twins FDR and Elanor. I have had dogs named Travis, Portia( when we named her I was thinking of the Shakespeare character however almost anybody outside of my family who hears her name assumes we meant to name her for a car) Lola, Rosie(female terrier mix) Roosevelt (male lab mix) Honey, Spice, Buster Caylee and Nora. My current dog a Golden Retriever is named Gideon. Yes I know Gideon is a biblical name but in my case its a pop culture reference to Criminal Minds. It was a coin toss between Gideon and Reid
I’m also a fiction writer and so I use name books and websites to name characters. Nameberry.com has lists upon lists of names. You can search name by gender meaning, sound, popularity or any combination thereof. The site also has a forum for writers to brainstorm possible character names. It is definitely worth a look around., especially if your characters are anything like mine and makr you guess their names like Rumpelstiltskin.
I used to think that if I wished hard enough that was enough….it isn’y at twenty six I decided to change the game. Most of the people I know probably thought I’d live with my folks for most of my life..I moved out of state a week before my last birthday. I’m scared but I’m here. When I was fifteen I said I was going to write a book and ten years later the book still isn’t in print , I refuse to let another year pass without progress. I didn’t get a college the first time around because I didn’t care about what a degree meant, because most of the people who seemed to be pushing a degree on me never never quite got it. I don’t care if I personally have to eat Ramen noodles every day for the rest of my life fine If the world is made better by the dash in between the dates on my marker or memorial then that is enough, money was never the point.
I think I was born a crusader. Even if I wasn’t born one, my parents raised one. I’ve had this one dream over and over the past several years.. I’m running barefoot, chasing something. I was running barefoot, tripping and falling and bleeding and bruised because even in this dream the disability is still there. I run and fall and bleed and get back up. I’ve woke up with sore muscles sore, eyes stinging. I sed to think the work behind a college degree was a waste for me because I hadn’t found what I wanted. So what if it means extra classes and computer programming classes? So what? I beat my demons once before, I will do again. I’ll lose sleep to learn the math and the programming and the two or three or five or six languages it takes to put me ahead of the able bodied person who it would be easier for them to hire.
All these things I’ve listed will probably push me to tears and past that but I will succeed because Ir refuse to accept the assistance of a reality in which I could fail;
My parents taught me to swear, sort of. To be completely accurate they taught me the more or less appropriate times to swear. I say more or less because in my grandmother’s opinion there is absolutely no situations in which cursing or swearing (pick whichever word works for you) is appropriate. However I was taught a slightly different definitions of “bad words” them a lot of kids. My sister and I were not allowed to use any form of racial slur. I remember asking mom what somebody meant when they used the term faggot, she told me that it was an ugly slang term used for homosexuals and that the non slang meaning was kindling for a fire. I was confused as to how a word that meant firewood could have anything to do with a gay person. She went on to explain that when burning at the stake was an acceptable form of the death penalty for crimes such as heresy and witchcraft men who were guilty of homosexuality were tied to wood stacked around the state of the convicted witch or heretic and burned with them. I think I was seven or eight years old when I was told that. I have never used that word to mean anything other than firewood in my whole life.
We were never allowed to swear gratuitously and our everyday speech didn’t contain them but we were allowed to swear in extraordinary circumstance. For example my parents never blinked or chastised me when I swore because the anesthetic from a surgery caused me to throw up or because of pain associated with surgery. Also when a very good family friend was murdered while eating in a restaurant when I was nine and I screamed and cursed a blue streak at the universe for several hours.
My parents taught me that words are much like firearms and knives. Words are tools which can have just as much impact as a gum or knife , to not only use my words but choose them careful because you never know what lasting effect they have.
Some call grief a process but that word implies that grieving is finite and has a definitive end. In my experience grief (specifically from the death of a close friend or family member) tends to behave more like a shadow. Some days it is bigger and more noticeable than others but once felt it is always there. It is that song on the radio that you either can’t stand to hear or almost break the speakers listening to as loud as possible. It is the book that goes unread on the shelf but woe unto the person who suggests giving it away. It is the quirky things you insist on doing or knowing that surprise other people. For instance I lost a good friend to leukemia, he wore a hat constantly to hide the damage chemotherapy had done to his hair. Now whenever my hair is long enough I don’t get a professional hair cut and donate my hair to a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients. Recently a friend of mine who had a long list of food allergies died (from something totally unrelated). Since I met him I noticed that I became more likely to remember if people around me had an allergy of any sort. Also if I know someone is going camping etc.: I always make sure they are aware of the warning signs which herald Lyme disease. If I can’t make the shadows that follow me go away I can at least make them smaller.