My Golden Boy!

This past weekend my Golden Boy has his bi-annual piano recital.  This was the first time he played the piano while he sung a song and I was way impressed.  Like...WHOA.

This kid is going far in life but he will never, ever, ever be cooler than his T-Monnie no matter how hard he tries to look in pictures.  LOL!  

A Love Note to My Best Girlfriend

I haven't been in a good place for a while now even though I've been trying to power through it.  Those who truly love me know this and have been being patient with me and my shit.  I can't explain what it's like being around me when I'm not me you know?  See...being me is this powerful ball of energy and light.  I can always find the best of it all and have a good time no matter what.  When you have access to me regularly you kinda get used to that so being around the absolute opposite spectrum of that for months on end can take a toll on you.  You can start forgetting the good bits of me because they are so far from the surface.  When I'm quiet it can be a struggle to find words to fill in the gaps and, those I love love me for all the right reasons.  Not because of what I have done or can do for them.  Not because of people I know or places I go.  Not for anything other than the feelings they get being around me.  The love they know I willingly share and can sometimes cloak them with.

Christmas Eve arrived with my not having purchased a single thing for anyone or even food for the dinner party we were hosting.  I kept meaning to start.  I kept picking up my keys, my wallet...I kept being inactive.  Robby decided that he'd go with me to help make it all happen and we did so even after having a family emergency health scare.  

I'd made lists of what I wanted to do and of what I had every intention of doing but lists mean nothing on Christmas Eve when the lines are long the shopping scare because of location and because the rest of the world has completed their lists and have their fabulous gifts wrapped under the trees waiting to exchange their thoughtfulness with those who deserve their thoughtfulness.

Me?  I did what I could knowing that we had guests arriving at 6:30pm and my menu consisted of standing prime rib roast, a natural ham and all the trimmings and fixings and Lord...all I truly wanted was my mommy and my daddy and my brothers and tree with trimmings and blue and silver decorations and noise and noise and noise and hustling, bustling and noise, noise, sweet glorious noise of happy and excited children and parents.

I craved noise in the silence of our life.  In a life without chaos.  With complete order around me at all times.

The pace I set for myself on Christmas Eve was crazy and only a crazy person would do it but I didn't want to let anyone down so I made it all happen and it was good.  It was a good thing.  We ate, we drank, we were merry.  I snuck away to wrap gifts for those in attendance.  Gifts my depression forced me to make do with and they all smiled politely and oohed and ahhed properly because that's what people who love you do.  They look at you knowing the truth of who you want to be.  Who you would be if you could just push past it all.  All the demons and disappointments you've allowed to heap on you and beat you down into a tiny bit of the tiniest of all you are and you smile with them knowing that this is the greatest gift they could ever give you.  That they could see through it down into the heart of who you are and not judge  you solely on today and not take it personally and not make your shit about them.

Because it's your shit.  It's my shit.

And it's only about me.

And you use that to do things that would be humiliating to some with your stats because you know it will always be a struggle to do what you love.  But you do it with a smile and a pleasant attitude so you're unthreatening.  So you can have access to those you need to have access to in order to get to that next step.

Depression can fuck up so much and sometimes I wonder if it's really the thing that gets you or...is it the circumstances of it all that brings the depression to you.  And that makes me think too deeply about the cause of it all.

My best girlfriend is one of God's most precious gifts to me.  For Christmas, she gave me the most awesome of the awesome things.  A box of them really.  A box of awesome that seemed to never stop.  Everything was magical.  One thing after the other.  Thoughtful things that she hoped, wish and probably prayed would get me back to being me.  The kind of stuff others would never get me because well...they don't GET me.  

A box filled with relaxation, good sleep, warm feelings and guilty pleasures.  

Her gifts are always so amazing and why I will always buy her things for no reason...just because I saw it and thought of her.

Last night, after a long four days, I used one of the gifts and took a hot bath.  I got into bed with the television on a thirty minute timer and I snuggled up next to my Robinator.  I was asleep within 5 minutes.  A deep, relaxing almost comatose sleep.  Satisfying.

When I got up this morning, I stretched languorously and felt the power I often feel flowing through my body as I'm planning out my next steps and moves.  As I'm shaking off that doubt that shows up sometimes even though I know perfectly well what I'm capable of.  I laughed at the things that happened this week.  The nail in my tire.  My husband in the driveway at 5:00am in the morning changing the tire.  My pumping gas in the dark standing there with cold rain sliding down my face making the cold colder.  The makeup I don't wear breaking me out.  My hair being damaged by someone who doesn't know how or care how to be gentle with my hair.  The noise, the noise, the noise.  The constant back-and-forth reaching out for something I know I can see.  The lines when I DON'T.DO.LINES.

On this day I'm so grateful for my best girlfriend.  That she GETS me even when the knowledge of who I am at that exact moment makes her want to strangle the shit out of me.  I'm grateful she knows that when I'm lost...I haven't forgotten who I am...I'm just struggling to get back there.

I'm grateful that I have no ego about many things others would have.

I'm grateful that I know how to use my resources, even the simple one of being a cute girl, properly.

I'm grateful for my husband, the perfection that is truly him as he props me up, no matter what, with his strong shoulders and pushes me outside my comfort zone so he can watch me, once again, fly.

I'm grateful for all those who love me.  The ones who aren't put off by the unanswered phone calls, texts and emails.  The ones who don't take it personally.  The ones who don't try to make my shit...about them.

Because it's not.

I love you.

I love yall.

Sometimes, however...I have to tuck in and rebuild and that's hard to do.  So very, very hard.

Thanksgiving Family Dinner Survival Tips

My family is not perfect.  No where next to near.  I've developed survival tips over the years.  Hopefully your family is closer to perfect and you won't need to employ any of these methods.

1.     Men...if you want to be left alone to watch games while prep work and cooking is being done...show up wearing some good smelling smell good. We never follow through with threats against a good smelling man.

2.     Unless you were INVITED to cook in someone's kitchen do NOT show up with something that needs to go in the oven. People will be using their ovens. And their stovetop. And don't send those dang tall fruit bouquets that take up room in the fridge either. We got ish in there that needs to stay cold so we can't be rearranging stuff for flower shaped pineapples on a stick.

3.     Don't go in nobody's pot without washing your hands. You will be called nasty and talked about by every woman at the house over the age of 17 if you do. And then they are going to call people who aren't even there to talk about you some more.

4.     If you are trusted to fix your own bowl of gumbo do NOT keep digging around trying to get all the sausage and shrimp. I mean really. Act like you been somewhere hell. Other people like sausage and shrimp too and don't make us count it! Anything over 5 pieces of sausage might be a deliberate act of treason. WALK THE PLANK!

5.     Don't be the drunk Uncle. Or Aunt. Or cousin, brother, sister, friend of Ricky's, etc. Drunk and family don't mix. Somebody always spills secrets or sling fighting words they didn't mean to.

6.     You know your kids act bad when your eyes aren't on them. Keep ya eyes on your kids. Last year they broke Mimi's candy dish. You know...the one with the candy stuck together that she thought the little one broke when we all know it was your kid who broke it. The little one couldn't even pick it up good.

7.     This Thanksgiving might NOT be the best time to spring your brand new interracial relationship on your family if you know good and well some of the racist family members are going to be there. 'SPECIALLY if your cousins stocked the bar something good.  Wait til' 'round 'bout say...Easter.

8.     If there is a bottle of some expensive something, let the person who bought the expensive something pour you a glass cuz if you pour it yourself...no matter how much you actually poured, the story is going to be that you drank up all the good ish same as yo' daddy used to do knowing he brought over a bottle of wine he picked up at the corner gas station.

9.     If your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you pile your plate with too much ham knowing it's one of them expensive azz honey baked hams that Nadine 'nem drove over from Atlanta with and you end up having to throw it away...LAWD HELP YOU CUZ BAAAAAAAABY...they 'gon git you. Yo azz is grass.

10.   If you know THAT cousin is going to be there...just lock your purse up in your trunk and keep your car keys in your pocket. I ain't saying he still be stealing but hey...why take the chance?

11.   You know that cousin who used to be a hellion and put the entire family through hell and back again? Well...if you heard they just got saved 6 weeks ago...steer clear of them. You ain't living NEARLY right enough for the newly saved and sanctified religious gospel.

12.   The man who owns the house should be the only man with his hand wrapped around the remote UNLESS the man of the house hands the remote to you. If he does...use that power wisely. If he comes back and you've let some whippersnapper convince you to put it on the po-rade...well...guess whose name is mud duck from now on?

13.   Don't even try to commit the name of the woman with the too short skirt your slick cousin, Rayban brings with him. You know she won't last the year.

14.   Do NOT under any circumstances bring up or even HINT AT the money a relative owes you even if they just walked in flaunting or talking about the new 80 inch flat screen tv they just bought knowing good and well your big tv is only 40 inches. Bringing it up at Thanksgiving will force Grandmother to fake a "spell" and the last time she did that she bumped her head for real when she miscalculated her faint and James didn't catch her before she hit the floor.

15.   NOTICE! THANKSGIVING IS NOT THE TIME FOR YOU TO BE IN THE KITCHEN WITH THE COOKS LEARNING HOW TO COOK! THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS GOING ON! THE SUPER BOWL OF FOOD! GO SITCHO BEHIND DOWN WITH A POTATO PEELER AND PEEL SOME POTATOES! GRAB A TERRY CLOTH TOWEL AND WIPE A BROW OR TWO! STAY OUT THE WAY AND DON'T.GET.CUT!

16.   If you know your people funny acting don't be trying to bring new people around without giving them the Cliff Notes version of who's who and what to expect. If you tell your gorgeous girlfriend with the short afro that your shade throwing Aunt will tell her that she's "...so pretty to wear your hair like a boy..." then it won't be as much of a shock when your Aunt says it.

Cuz you know GOOD AND WELL SHE WILL! She's been funny acting about hair since that perm took her hair out back in 1969.

WARN.YOUR.FRIENDS! It's the right thing to do.

17.   If you have food allergies and issues, I suggest you eat before you arrive and don't make a big deal out of what you can and cannot eat. It will be the equivalent of growing a second head and styling the hair differently on both heads. Just put what you can on your plate and tell them you got food poisoning the night before so your stomach is still all messed up and you don't want to rock the boat. EVERYONE understands the misery of "bubble guts" and they won't press you. Someone might even get up and fix you a pot of hot green tea just like you like it with some local honey they bought at the farmer's market.

Sometimes ya just gotta lie.

18.   If you have it to give...get a few hundred dollars in $20's and keep in your wallet. If cornered and asked for a "few dollars" give some of what you brought with you. Hell...it's Thanksgiving. Be thankful you have it to give.

If you don't have it to give simply say..."Man...I was just about to ask you for _____ (double the amount they asked you for)."

Watch how fast they move on to the next one.

19.   Be careful who you bring home for the first time. Nobody cares much for the new person who talks too damn much.

20.   Be prepared for SOMEBODY to accuse you of thinking you're better than them. Combat this by running to the store right quick for your favorite Aunt. You know she's outta smokes and yes...you'll still be better than them. Buy some chatzky while at the convenience store and pass it out like candy when you return. This is the equivalent of "Yeah...I'm bad" in the "better than" world.

21.  If you didn't bring anything but are leaving with more than one plate of leftovers you are clearly the person they give a pass to because they all know you're "special."

You don't wanna be that kinda "special."

22.   What NOT to Wear!

a. Mini skirts - You will be sitting down the majority of the time. Too much leg for family dinner man. TOO.MUCH.LEG!

b. Wool sweaters - The house will get hot with a crowd of folks in there. Trustme. 

c. White clothes - One word. Gravy.

d. Tight skinny jeans / dresses / tops, etc. - Your after turkey bloat will make you miserable.

e. Heels - Seriously...why? To Thanksgiving dinner? You're going to sit, eat, drink, talk ish, watch football or play games. #GIRLBYE 

f. Hoodies - You can't relax in the haze of the itus on the sofa with a hoodie unless you put the hood on. Don't put the hood on inside.

g. Super short shorts - o_0

h. Leggings - LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS!!!!!!!!!

i. Crop tops - Um...turkey bloat is deep and it's real.

j. Low cut blouses - Um...your Grandmother doesn't need to see all that. She has seen boobs and is probably over them by now.

Me? I'm wearing some version of one of these pics. LOL!

The most important thing when it comes to surviving family is to remember that you're FAMILY.  There is no need for competition, snide remarks or ugliness in any way.  Smile, be lovely and keep it moving.  Thanksgiving is to remember what we have to be thankful for and family is a MAJOR reason.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Love,

Monnie, Robby & Jaru