Paper Flower

Shortly before the fugue state, my mother told K that she wanted to take us to the Botanical Gardens. Buffalo has a amazing domed greenhouse placed amongst its even more amazing Parks System, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the early 1900s. One time, when the kids were smaller, we took them sledding on the slope in front of the Garden. I remember K asking if we could go inside, and I sadly had to tell her we could not, since we didn’t have any money. Anyway, I forgot both these things, but she apparently did not.

So on Saturday morning, when she came into my bedroom and asked me what we were doing for the day, I was a little dismayed because I had made no plans. That is a difficult thing to do in the dead of winter in Buffalo- we can’t do any of our outdoorsy stuff that we do the rest of the year. I was thinking of “outdoors” when I mentioned the Botanical Gardens offhand, and she immediately wanted to go, reminding me that my mom was supposed to take us. I panicked, because I don’t have any “going to the Gardens” money, but K saved up some of hers for just such an occasion. I thought it was truly sweet of her, and I also appreciate that she would rather spend her money on an experience with her stepmother then on some Dollar Store crap like I would have when I was her age. I was very proud of her, and graciously accepted her offer.

We drove there and I could tell she was a little worried we wouldn’t get tickets because the website suggested you buy them online, and she, of course, does not have a debit card. It was pleasantly empty however, except for a baby shower happening in one of the greenhouses. When we arrived, the cashier looked to me for information and money, and was surprised when K stepped forward to ask for two tickets. She then handed us a flyer with nine flowers on it that were all pink. They were scattered about the gardens, and there was a special Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt for them. If you found them all, you won a prize! K and I spent the next 2 hours wandering around the greenhouses, looking for pink flowers. I showed her some of my favorite bits- like the koi pond, the corpse plants, and the Venus fly trap. She enjoyed all the fish, and the cactus room. And in the end, after half an hour of searching the Palm Room for a plant we walked by maybe six times, we completed the scavenger hunt! We went out to the cashier and told her, and she gave us stickers with pictures of the front of the Garden building. It was a little bit of a lame prize, but it was definitely a beautiful time. K went to look around the gift shop, and when we got back to the car she handed me a candle that she saw me admiring.  Again, I, myself, at 13 years old, was far too selfish to think to do such kindness for my elders. My heart swelled once more.

This is pretty much just a K appreciation post, I guess. I wrote one about E once, so I guess K is definitely due for it. She is growing into such a lovely and special young woman, and I am very proud of her. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in the future.


Zombie Apocolypse

When M was little we talked often about apocalyptic survival. He thought he’d fare quite well, particularly against zombies. I told him he best just leave my dead weight behind, to which he devised many plans to keep me alive, even insofar as suggesting I used a mallet or bat for combat, given my strregth abilities. I thought this was adorable, but told him it would all be over the second I lost my glasses.

Then I had eye surgery last year, so I can’t use that excuse anymore. I also used to argue that I would need meds, but the obvious solution to M was that we raid the pharmacy on the corner first. So considerate, the child was. He also recommended I keep the croquet mallets I had by the door handy. Resourceful child, also. 

Anyway, I’m still not living through the apocalypse. 

I love end of the world stories. Maybe it’s my deep-seated morbidity, but alas, I love to watch hypothetical endings of a great civilization.  Give me your disasters, your diseases, your mutations! I shall indulge in them all..  but when the time comes…brother, I am OUT.

Mark and I have been watching The Last of Us on HBO.  We just finished episode 3, a beautiful love story about a doomsday prepper who falls for a random who wanders onto his property. I understand how Bill, the prepper, made it through the end times…he had every intention. His partner, Frank, is more my speed, though…he was taken by surprise, ran off on his own, and found himself trapped and left for dead. That’s me, folks, except some burly homesteader isn’t going to find my sorry self.

I do not believe I will be sticking around for any end of the world scenario. And I know I’m not prepared at all, you see. Just Monday, we here in Buffalo NY had a flippin’ earthquake. Did we take shelter in doorways and bathtubs and check on neighbors after? No- we ran directly to the window while checking our Twitter feeds. Guys…we are not cut out for the apocalypse. I mean, perhaps if it comes in snow form, our Buffalonian stock could make it for a bit, but that’s still unlikely.   Especially if you add zombies to the mix.

So glasses and meds aside, I’m not gonna make it. I don’t have the physical or mental capabilities. I am no proponent of suicide, of course, but that’s probably one of two circumstances where I would swallow a bottle of pills (the other circumstance is terminal illness, just fyi.) Although, provided M really did manage to take over the pharmacy. I might knock down a zombie or two on my way out, but I’m not trying to apocalypse, folks.

Then the little voice in my brain whispers: “Liar! You know the inherent desire for life that humans possess! You will do whatever it takes.”  Yeah, probably.  Stupid instinct…ah well.  Guess I SHOULD keep those croquet mallets by the door, just in case.

Notes on Deconstruction

When I was a child, I had a few favorite little games. One was making stews. I would get a bowl and fill it with outdoor things and imagine I was feeding my creations to animal folk or faries or whatnot.  Another game I played was ‘”hospital,” where I’d create medicines and bandages from plants and mud and patch up my sick dolls. And then there were the damn rocks. I collected rocks like a starving child in an apple orchard. I hoarded them like money. They were….my precious.

And then at age 4, I watched The Worst Witch on free Disney weekend, which became my favorite flick for many years, despite its terrifying first impression of Tim Curry, kicking off a lifelong hate-affair with the man. Still, I watched that and was like “oh hey, I’m a witch!”  Then they marched me through the front doors of a religious institution that not only prohibited but villianized witchcraft, and I was all “oh hey, I’m screwed!”

Enter then 20+ years of indoctrination into a manufactured monotheistic reality, and what you spit out at age 30 is a very confused, very much religiously traumatized individual who then eschews all religions and Judeo-Christian beliefs structures and develops a fascination with cults and paganism. That’s what you get, Catholic school.

Fast forward. I know now I was doing all that weird witchy play stuff before I started school. I also know I was talking to spirits of some sort at the same age. I also know I always have KNOWN things, starting at age 4 when I found my parent’s stolen car.  I have also been lectured by seers more than once about wasting my inherent ability. And still, it took until damn near 40 for me to once again think “oh hey, I’m a witch!”

So, Bernadette and I went to the Psychic Fair over the weekend. I bought a book, and I got some gemstones that took me back to a simpler time…the time of my rock collections. I bought a rose quartz, which is often used for love both between others and also self- but all I remember is that it was my favorite as a small child. I liked quartz in general, and we had tons lining the edge of our pool, but none were the smoky pink of a rose quartz. I also got a little protection wreath for my altar, and found some cool candles I want in the future. It was a nice little morning, and it triggered all those aforementioned early year’s memories. That little rock sent me reeling back in time, to before the introduction of my small self to “the one true God,” when all was still visible to me. I am trying to harness that feeling, and live with that intention, as opposed to the one forced on me by a generational curse.

The moral of the story is that religious deconstruction is not for the faint of heart, and I completely understand why some folk just say screw it and go with God.  I got home from the fair and felt very peaceful after, and very much like I was on the right path, which is a foreign feeling I’ve only been receiving since the Salem trip. But I don’t often feel that way, spiritually. I try to, but mono-god is still up there, stuck in my brain like slime.  And all I want is my pretty rocks. 

Wind, Work, and Writing

As I sit here, I can hear the wind howling outside. My phone tells me it is 7 degrees Fahrenheit, and -15 is the “feels like” temperature. I spent the morning mostly outdoors, safely bundled but wishing I had put on a third layer because it was certainly colder than I expected. It wasn’t, however, as hard as I expected to work in the cold, and at one point I did think to myself that if it were a nice summer day it would be an enjoyable morning of work. Really though, it was an enjoyable morning of work. I can’t really explain to you why I like working at Avis, because you would probably find it to be a slightly dull job. But, I suppose it is more exciting then sitting at a desk and working on a computer or answering the phone, or sitting on a factory line, or maybe for me, sitting is just the equivalent of dullness. Anyway, I am almost always on the move at Avis, even more so than I am at the school job. So it was easy for me to keep warm despite the frigid temperatures coming off Lake Erie.

After I got home, I sat down to write but nothing really came up. I was going to do a poem about the cold and the weather, but no new words seemed to needed to be said about the subject. Then I realized I updated the blog on Wednesday, which means it’s due to be updated today, if I want to keep up with my twice a week postings. And since I am doing a terrible job of sticking to Tuesday and Thursday as planned, I am insisting upon myself to at least keep the numbers up. So I tried to write this blog, but nothing really came up again, and so that led me to organizing the files that are saved to my phone.

I edited three poems, and put them together as the beginning of a submission packet. I haven’t sent out a packet in over a year; in fact I haven’t sent out much of anything in over a year. That’s not to say that work has not been produced (you can find everything new on Patreon on Wednesdays…hint.) However, I have not find tuned anything and presented it for reading in quite some time. So today, I started to work on that.

I need a publication. Even if it’s just a tiny poem in an obscure journal, it would be a delight- simply because I haven’t had anything out in a while and I could use a little boost of serotonin. See, I am still very stressed out about a certain mini-chap that should have gone to press over a year ago. I still do not know what is happening with it, and have been completely unable to contact anybody. I am about to take it elsewhere, because I think I could find another home for it- I just really loved what this press had planned. It’s just a disappointment, and frankly I am not in the mood for anymore of those.

So here we are, on a day where I don’t really have anything to write about, but I feel like I have to write, anyway. I guess I just take a minute to write about writing? I have some big writing goals this year, and a month has already disappeared in a blink. So, I guess I need to get myself organized again. Wish me luck, and happy Friday.

Boot and Rally

Of course, it has been a few quiet months so my stupid stomach decided to make an appearance. It started by ruining a girl’s night in Erie PA with Sahar. She ended up driving me to the hospital in Buffalo, and as I threw up in a little blue baggie she wheeled me into the emergency room. Then, this saint of a woman, drove my father down to Pennsylvania to pick up his car that I left there. I was angry, because I missed work, and I was pretty sure at the time that it was related to the meal I had eaten the night before, and not actually gastroparesis. But then, I was sick for the next 3 days.

Monday morning found me feeling significantly better, which was a blessing because I HAD to go to work.  I had just missed several days, and the bills don’t care if you get sick. On the way to work, I was giving myself a pep talk, trying to rally myself to have a good day. I thought of the term “boot and rally,” the origins of which I am not sure, but refers to when, after a night of drinking, one then vomits, and then returns to the drinking. Seriously, this may be just a Buffalo thing, I have no idea, but it is definitely something we have all done. I feel like on Sunday and Monday I did the Supreme Boot and Rally, having been terribly sick on Sunday and managing by the grace of God to accomplish everything that needed to be accomplished on Monday. I say by the grace of God because it was no picnic. It was the most “Monday” Monday I’ve ever had in my life, where everything went wrong from spilling my coffee on myself to falling flat on my face on some ice. Alas, I soldiered on.

And do you know what kept me going? Maureen would have been proud of me. My mother would have been cheering me on all day, telling me I could do the hard things. Every time I accomplished something, I said “Mom would have been proud of me today.” That is what got me through Monday. But then came Tuesday, and a couple of overcrowded hospitals.

After I drive by both, and find long lines at both, I decided I would tough it out at home. I took every medication has ever been prescribed to me for my stomach, and I laid on the couch and waited for several hours, until finally I could not take it anymore. I had dad drive me out to St Joe’s, and waited about an hour to be put in a room, and weirdly by that time the vomiting had subsided. However, I knew that I was deeply dehydrated, so the best course of action would be for me to stay and get an IV…but my arms were so bruised from the past few days that they had to put it in my neck, which was scary and painful. They gave me some medication, which knocked me out, and I awoke around 1:00 a.m. thirsty but feeling good. When they let me have a glass of water, I felt even better. Then they sent me home, where I got a few hours of sleep, which brings us to now when I feel perfectly fine. And that is the problem.

One day I feel perfectly fine, like I can do anything, like I can take on anything that the world throws at me. And then I go to sleep every night worried that when I wake up I won’t have that perfectly fine day in the morning. I have an appointment with my physician early in the morning tomorrow, another with my surgeon at the end of the month, and a couple other appointments I need to make today. I am just so sick of being sick.. and it is threatening my livelihood again. I am going to have to consider making some big changes, which will be hard but worth it in the long run. At least, if it helps. I have to try anything that might help. I like the way my life is going, and I am not willing to lose it the way I have lost it before. All because of a digestive system that has betrayed me my whole life.  And still…I rally.

Just Block Me.

Listen, I’ve said it on Facebook, and I’ve said it on Twitter, and I’m pretty sure I mentioned it at least once in this blog, but you had to block me. You see, there are people I follow on social media that are not necessarily MY people. They’re the people of those I love- former friends, ex’s of all sorts, employers gone awry- those are the people who I do not block. Ergo, you have to block me.

First, I will tell you why I won’t block you, and then I will explain why you should block me. See, I will continue to follow you, not because I necessarily care for your well-being, although I can say with confidence most of the people I am speaking of are folks that I called friend at one point. What I do care about is your influence on people who remain dear to my heart. Here’s one super vague situation: my sister has a person who over the past year has been trying to violate the boundary that she has set to preserve her emotional health. This human follows me on all the socials, even likes to interact sometimes. I don’t block them, because I am petty.

Usually, people have a lot of trouble admitting their flaws, but I’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years, given immense amounts of therapy and introspective thought. I have no problem telling you the things I need to work on, and me holding the grudge on behalf of others is one of those things. Although, we are talking about my sister here, so I will probably go to the grave with this one. I’m fine with it, truly.

Anyway, I don’t block anyone I want to keep an eye on. Know thy enemy, and all that jazz. Which is why people really need to block me.  Don’t make me hold a grudge against you! If our lives no longer make a Venn diagram because of a person that we mutually know, feel free to drop me like a hot potato! Because I will absolutely report back every stupid or mean or idiotic thing I see you do on social media. It is a flaw, I am working on it, and I am asking you to help me. No, ex-boyfriend of my good friend, you do not want me to see the new tattoo or car or haircut you got. No, former boss of more than one person I care about, I do not need to know about your new job that is a clear step down from your previous one. And for the love of god, former friend of sister, accept the damn break up, because every time you like my shit, I immediately let her know. I am not an excellent person in this regard, and so I ask for your help. Block me. Help me to help you.

Anyway, this is just a semi-silly little post with something that’s been on my mind the past couple of days because of the aforementioned friend of sister. The point of it is that my fierce loyalty often gets me in trouble. But if I’m honest, I really don’t care. The people I love in life I love very hard, and I take threats to them as personal affronts to myself. If that’s a flaw, that’s one I’m not trying to change.

The Letdown

Let’s talk about some mental health shall we?

One of the things that really bothers me is what I like to call “the letdown.” I’ve been feeling this emotion quite a bit lately, so I’d like to talk about it with you. Now, we all know, or at least the common reader does, that I live with obsessive compulsive disorder, severe anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorder. That’s a lot of disorders – and I have written about all of them. But something I have only ever touched on is the letdown. The letdown comes after any attack from those three foes of mine. Yesterday, all three were at play, ergo all three caused a letdown situation.

First, there is the general depression that I am feeling which has been heightened by recent traumas regarding the death of my mother. I started the day already feeling depressed about my circumstance, which immediately led to a mild letdown, and caused me to sit on the sofa for several hours feeling frozen and angry at myself. I used my coping mechanisms to push myself to do something that would make me happy-so I decided to make pancakes. When I got to the kitchen, I discovered I have three boxes of pancake mix and they were all past their expiration date. When I got to the refrigerator, I found that the milk had spoiled. I then spilled rotten milk and pancake mix all over the floor. That is when the OCD part of me jumped out and stormed out of the room. I had to sit down and take deep breaths in an effort not to launch into a panic attack. When I did finally call myself down, I had a mess to clean up and a lot of regret for yelling at my husband.  The letdown, again.

Then I went to work, which was a good day, and I would have thought I’d have been fine- until I got to the car after and started to cry. I don’t know why, probably my mother, but whatever it was caused a large amount of anxiety to well up inside me. I really wanted to go to that workshop, but I couldn’t. Instead, I drove to my sister’s house and sat on her futon and tried not to cry more. Then, came the letdown. This one was worse than the others, because this one affected my life in a way that I do not have control over. Yes, I could have forced myself at work to go do that workshop, but I might not have absorbed anything since I was not in my right frame of mind. Instead, I chose the self-care option, which is what I know I am supposed to do. Still, I have regrets. I am disappointed. I have a feeling like I am not good enough, like I am broken in some way and unable to do the things I want to do. This, this is the letdown. So how does one get out of it? Earlier, I tried to make pancakes. When that didn’t work, I tried meditation and deep breathing. And then, like building blocks, I found myself feeling even more let down at the end of the day, unsure how to rattle myself out of these feelings. Now it is the next morning, and I am still feeling disappointed in myself, even though my logical brain knows I made the right choice for me at the time. But sometimes the right choice is not the choice we wish to make. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. Sometimes it means it definitely should. So I tell myself that I made the right decision, and I hope that my feeling of failure fades. Maybe by tomorrow.

Anyhoo. The big workshop starts next week. I will start psyching myself up for that one now. Happy Thursday.


It’s been 23 days since I lost my voice.  I’m still not sure what happened, but I am pretty certain that it has to do with Mom’s passing. When dad told me, there was quite a bit of screaming. The next morning, my voice was completely gone. After a week, I went to the doctor, who told me he didn’t see any inflammation, and I did not appear to be sick in anyway. He told me to drink tea and try not to use my voice so much I guess, but that was two weeks ago now. I still sound terrible, and it is starting to effect my life in ways that I do not like- I had to miss a couple of days of work because I had absolutely no voice, and tonight there is a poetry workshop that I really want to go to and don’t know if I’m going because I cannot speak, ergo I cannot read.

On top of that, I am actually dictating part of this blog because my fingers are too numb at the moment to type. So really, I am already using my voice limit for the day. I spoke with my therapist, and she thinks it may be psychosomatic, which would of course not surprise me in the least. I mean, yes, I was screaming the night mom died, but there have been many nights I have screamed and I never ended up losing my voice for over a fortnight. Right now it is low and gravely, which is the only way I can get the words out. If I speak in my normal register, it sounds like a whisper. Frankly, I think I will be calling my doctor today to see if there is anything else they can do. I don’t know if any antibiotic would help, probably not, but I have tried every homeopathic remedy under the sun and I am running out of options. I need my voice back – I work in education and customer service. How am I supposed to help customers or teach children if they can’t hear the words coming out of my mouth?

I feel silenced – which is one of my least favorite feelings, let me tell you. Thank God I can still type, although maybe not at the moment because of the numb fingers, which only makes me feel more voiceless. Today, I have to go to work and struggle through speech to small ones. Then I will probably still go to that poetry workshop, because it is hosted by a performer I like, and worst case scenario is that I can pick up a few performance tips. Even though, and I’m very sad about this, I don’t think I’ll be able to read the poem I wanted to. Or maybe I can, maybe that room full of poets will bear with my gravelly voice. One can dream, can’t one? In the meantime, I will drink my tea and use my throat lozenges, and hope for the best. Laryngitis is no joke.

Time is Nothing

I guess we ought to talk about Momma. My therapist said it was the healthy thing to do…::eyeroll::

I mentioned in a news flash blog that my mother passed away on Christmas night. My father called me, and made noises that I never heard him make before, and once I figured out what was going on I joined him in the howling at the universe. When done, I made some phone calls, alerting the troops, if unable to rally them due to a snowstorm thqt was described as “once in a generation.” And it was. You get a lot of talk from the elders about the Blizzard of ’77 around here, and someday I will be telling my grandchildren about the Blizzard of ’22. Except for me, my story will be very sad. Time lost all meaning  the week after Christmas, much more than it usually does. I honestly can’t tell you what day it was that I made it to my father’s house- I think it was the 26th, but I could be wrong. It must have been, because I can’t imagine I went a whole 24 hours without seeing him after getting the call.

Everything was horrible, but I went to his house, trekking through feet of snow, and we did Christmas. It was weird, mostly because I think we were all still in shock. There was a week of time, more maybe, again as I said it’s all meaningless. We saw the family, which was a sad occasion but also made me feel better. My family is very big, and full of lots of very strong personalities, so sometimes it gets a little rambunctious, but there was no one I wanted more than them when everything went to hell. It was good to see them, and feel comforted by them. You see, all of my family is on my father’s side. My mother was the last McDonald.

Eventually time continued some more, and I called my boss at school and told her that I would not be coming in. It was simply too hard. I did do a shift at Avis, and it was agony. And then Saturday again, the 7th now, and we are laying my mother to rest.

Somewhere in the nothingness of time, we made all the plans for her funeral. My mother was unique in that she wrote her funeral 30 years ago. She spent a great portion of her life as a devoted Catholic, and so she requested a full Catholic Mass for her funeral, followed by a party of some sort. Probably my favorite part of the funeral was when they offered gluten-free Eucharist. Apparently, though I could not see them, a few of my friends had a really hard time not laughing. Which is fine, because my dad got up to receive communion, and when he turned around he noticed that everyone in the rows behind them was still sitting. He laughed at that. (He did receive the gluten-free Jesus that day.)

It was Sunday when time became real again. I didn’t have anything to do except go to work Avis and it was an okay morning even if I felt a little rusty at the wheel. Monday came, and it was back on schedule again. I went to Avis, and I went to work at the school, and I even came home and made dinner. Then, I cried a while. It would seem that now I have to allow a certain portion of my day to crying.  Anyway, that is what happened from my hazy perspective. Again, time is nothing.

Also, as a fun little treat, I have had laryngitis for over 2 weeks. Apparently I am not sick as per my doctor, and I feel fine, I can just barely talk. Which is super helpful when you are in both the education and customer service industries. The other day I saw a tweet by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They said “retweet if you’re taking it day by day.” Wow, that seems ambitious. Day by day, as opposed to hour by hour, or minute by minute. Mostly I am just taking it in moments, because time is nothing.

I am sure I will write much more about Momma in the future, but for today the best I can do is a play-by-play of what went down, at least what I can remember right now. But, oh boy, will there be blog entries! And oh, will there be poems! I dedicated A Lovely Wreckage to her, and I am very glad she saw that go to print, and saw her name on the dedication page. But the truth is, it wasn’t just that little chapbook that was for her- it’s all of it. I lost my biggest fan, and that kind of hurts, too.

Smart Went Crazy

There is this song that has been playing in my head for over a week now. It is a rap song buy a group I am not super familiar with, and I am not sure how I came upon the song. It just showed up in a playlist one day, got my head bopping and my toes tapping, and I have had it on repeat ever since. It is called Smart Went Crazy by Atmosphere. Now, a lot of the lyrics speak to me and some of them don’t make a lot of sense, but the beat is infectious, and the title, well, you can see that it meant something if I am here writing a blog using it.

Here are some things you will find on my Tik-Tok algorithm: witchy stuff, funny cows, liberalisms, corny jokes, and a ridiculous amount of neurodiversity videos. The latter is what I will be writing about today.

When I was a small child, I was very gifted at reading and writing. I went into kindergarten already doing both, while my peers were still learning the alphabet. Nowadays, most kids go to kindergarten already knowing these things, but back in the ’80s, it was not normal for a 4 year old to already be able to write their name, and certainly not with the penmanship of someone who had practice for q year already. I don’t remember not knowing the alphabet, but I do remember the first time I sat down with a pen in my hand and a piece of paper and my grandmother Lois asked me to write her a story. I was three, so of course I wasn’t going to actually write anything. Instead I made loop-de-loops on the paper to mimic Gran’s cursive handwriting. Then came the library, which I have written about, and which opened the doors of reading for me. It was a secret code that only adults knew, and I was no child in my mind. I figured that code out as soon as I could and I used it to break down the doors at school.

By the time I was in second grade they wanted to put me in the Gifted and Talented program. I was light years ahead in reading, and able to do the simple math in my head- mostly because my memorization skills were really good, and this was long before New Math. My parents did not put me in the program however; my mom told me once that it had something to do with them not wanting me to feel different than the other kids. I remember her saying that and me thinking “but Ma…I AM different than the other kids!”

Anyway, with the exception of the more difficult math as time went on, as well as a Spanish class that was forced upon me, I did bizarrely well in grade school. Then I got to high school, where I was told I was now a little fish in a big pond. Instead of me trying to fight for food to become a bigger fish, I just adapted to little fish life and made a lot of little fish friends. I spent more time with my fish friends than I did on the food fight, and nobody thought I was gifted and talented anymore. What they didn’t realize is that I was glad to have found people that I could relate to, finally. I knew that relationships were more important than grades from the get-go, so I chose to work on something I have for the rest of my life instead of something that went away when I graduated. The best part of my high school experience is the people I shared it with, and yes, I went to a really good school and I got a really good education that I did struggle for at points- particularly that math. It was hard for me to reconcile that at one point I had been years ahead of my peers, and now I was falling behind, but I didn’t feel bad about it because of the relationships I was forming

So, the point of me telling you all of this is so that you are aware that my brain advanced early. As I age, some things that would qualify as intellect dulled, but other aspects have ramped up significantly. For instance, there was the day that we went to the football game and I had explained that my shoes were too hot. That was the moment that it occurred to me that my brain was a little spicy, and not just in that Mental Health way. I know a little bit about Autism, but when I was working with kids it was still a very new diagnosis. I worked with a few kids who had Asperger’s Syndrome, and they really reminded me of myself at their age…except for the fact that they were all boys. Then, neurodivergency in general became a topic, and I started to see signs that maybe my brain did a few loop-de-loops just like the cursive I was trying to mimic at age 3. I spoke on this with my sister and cousin, who both firmly believe that most of our family is neurodivergent, and the more I think about it the more I believe it, too. The more TikToks that fall on my page, the more I say “I do that! Or Bernie does that! Or dad does that!” Here’s an example: last night my father said that he couldn’t eat yogurt because he had a problem with eating live bacteria. Which is a weird thing…but then, he is talking to a girl who once said she couldn’t eat a sausage patty because it tasted too “green.” Do you see what I’m saying? That’s not normal brain behavior. Like, typical people don’t think like that.

Anyway, I started out telling you about this song because the title of it is Smart Went Crazy, and that is how I feel about myself. I don’t want you to think that I mean that in a bad way though, because I fully embrace the title of crazy and wear it is a badge of honor. I’m just saying that my smart little kid brain went a little crazy in her teen years, and it took until she was nearly 40 to realize that she was still both of those things- smart and crazy, I’m proud of it.

Smart went crazy, the rubber band went snap,
This goes to those that hold it down ’til I get back-
Hold on to me, grow along with me,
I don’t know where I’m goin’ but I’ll end up in your arms.