BodyPump: It's Not What You Think. Or, Maybe It Is.

You know your cute, fit friends are tired of your bitching and moaning about your weight and deteriorating health when one of them claims to need a workout buddy to stay motivated and to be accountable for sticking to an exercise plan. C'mon, man. I know YOU don't need ME to keep you accountable! Motivated? Maybe. Because if my spaghetti arms, large ass, and backfat aren't enough to motivate you to not become me, then, hell yeah, I'm motivation personified!

Don't get me wrong, I love my friend. I know her intentions are good. And, it was a pretty nice way of saying "you need to get off your ass" without making me cry. 

But, working out hurts, y'all.

BodyPump is not a creative new kama sutra position. Just so we're clear.

BodyPump is an intense cardio workout with WEIGHTS. 

Me (day before first class): Wait. What did you sign me up for again? Yoga?

Well-intentioned friend: It's just a workout class. Don't worry, it'll be so much fun!

Me: Girl. I just watched a sample video of the class. Are you trying to lure me to my death?!

Well-intentioned friend: Hahaha! Calm down. You'll do great!

I show the video to Hubber who suggested maybe I start with something a little more "entry level." But the level of "entry level" workout classes for people who have zero muscles and lots of extra poundage just don't exist at this particular gym. 

Since Hubber didn't really help to calm my nervous, I cried to my sister about it.

Me: I'm kinda nervous that I'll be the fattest person in the class.

Sis: What? Nah. That's dumb. There are all shapes and sizes of people at the gym.

Me: But, what if I walk in and everyone stares at me? What if they're all skinny and fit and I stroll in like Jaba the Hut?

Sis: Jaba the Hut doesn't stroll. 

Me: How'd you know that?

Sis: Please. I've seen Star Trek!

Me: You mean Star Wars?

Sis: Whatever. You'll be fine. Great, even!

Hubber (overhearing the convo): Wait. Did you just get a Star Wars reference correct?!

So, I psych myself into thinking I just joined the fat girl club and I make my way into the gym... which is in fact full of sporty-fit beautiful people. I haven't felt that out of place since that one time I stumbled upon a nudist colony in Austin. 

And, I WAS the fattest person in class. Thank you very much.

Ten minutes into the class, my heart exploded. 20 minutes later, my legs turned to jelly. It was when my chest froze, and I stopped breathing that I died. Twice. 

How am I even alive? It's a mystery.

What sadist designed a cardio workout class that lasts 60 minutes?

Anyway. It's been 5 weeks and I'm still at it. Unfortunately, I still haven't learned how to "engage my core" - whatever the fuck that means. And, I can't do a proper lunge without tipping over. And, I still do push-ups with my knees on the ground. And, don't even get me started on planks. When the class does planks, my fat ass is flat on the ground taking a nap. Fuck that.

But, on the brighter side.... I haven't given up. And, unlike that Jazzercize stint 15 years ago, I don't drive thru for a Wendy's Frostie after class. Because I am literally DEAD after each class. It's all I can do to slither into my car, drive home, and collapse. 

10 things I hope to be remembered for…

When I’m gone, I want people to remember me fondly. Which they will, I’m sure… because I’ve never been a tyrant or mass murderer or anything extremely evil like that. Those guys always get a bad rap after death.  Obviously.  But, they also become infamous. That kind of sucks.

There are also many assholes who fly under the radar.  I’ve known a few myself.  You know, those people who are complete assholes, treating people like shit, beating their wives, abandoning their children and generally pissing people off their entire lives… and when they’re dead, people say, “Oh, no!  He’s gone?  Oh, he was a nice guy.”  

Uhm.  No, he wasn’t it.  He was a prick.  You don’t have to say nice things about him just because he’s dead.  He was an asshole, he treated you like shit and you’ve never had one nice thing to say about him until now!  Let’s be glad he’s dead!  Because, he wasn’t ever NICE!

Anyway.  Luckily, I’m not one of those assholes.  I’ve lived a generally good life and plan to continue doing so until I can’t anymore.  I have made an effort to NOT be an asshole when being one could have been a lot easier.  So, hopefully, when I’m gone, people remember that about me.  And, these things, too:
  1. She believed in “giving back” and helping, mentoring and counseling others.
  2. She was half-blind, but she never let that stop her from seeing the bright side of things!
  3. In a world of idiots, she had a lot of common sense.
  4. She told it like it is and people appreciated her for her frank and open, deep conversations. (I think that’s a song, but whatever.)
  5. She was knowledgeable.  And, what she didn’t know, she simply faked.  That took balls.
  6. Her family was the butt of many jokes and crazy stories, but she loved THEM more than life.
  7. She wasn’t that great of a mother, but she was better than many and she did her best to give her kids a good, fun and memorable life.
  8. No one really knows WHY her husband loved her so much, rumor has it she doused him in magical fairy dust. Also, she had the operatic voice of an angel. Duh.
  9. She learned early in life that things were just THINGS… they didn’t define who she was; and living up to society’s ideas of what makes a person seem “successful” was total bullshit.  She minimized her life, reduced stress, shot the proverbial finger at the judgey assholes who mistook her for a failure, and she really lived happily ever after.
  10. She loved beaches and fruity adult beverages more than any other person I know.  Hopefully she passed away at an old age on a beach, in a hammock with a piña colada in hand.

The Dreaded "What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?" Question

Listing your greatest strengths is almost as tough as listing your weaknesses because you walk a fine line between being perceived as a total douche bag and Mother Teresa.  I could go on and how about how I’m patient, caring, funny, smart, approachable, empathetic and humble (see the irony here?). 

Some of those would even be accurate.  But, I’m not a saint… but I’m normally not an arrogant prick, either.  So, I’ll do my best to list strengths that reflect who I am in the most realistic sense:

  1. I don’t beat around the bush.  And I’m not talking about THAT kind of bush! (Although, I don’t beat around that one, either!)  I’m talking about the fact that when I’m trying to convey a message, I get to the point as quickly as possible.  Unless I have a lot to say.  In which case, I like to fluff things up a bit.  But, not in a bushy way.
  2. I get shit done.  I am pretty calculated about getting things done.  I pride myself on finding efficient ways of getting to the end goal.  I sometimes step on toes along the way; but it’s like having casualties of war.  It ain’t pretty, but it happens.  And, at the end, I get shit done. Unless we're talking about household shit. I don't get any of that done!
  3. I usually learn from my mistakes.  And, when I’m lucky, I learn from the mistakes of others – which has saved me from having to go through my own personal pain and misery.
  4. I’m competitive.  Unless it has something to do with exercising and/or sports.  I’m ok losing at that stuff.  I think my kids have inherited this strength.  They just haven’t learned how to properly handle it.  They’re both very sore winners. And, one of them is a very sore loser – I won’t name any names, but he’s the shortest person in my house and his name rhymes with Wessy.  Word to the wise: do not EVER play battleship or miniature golf with this person.  EVER. You have been warned.
  5. I am a multi-tasking queen.  This is why I own a tiara and wear it often and proudly.  On a daily basis, I have no fewer than 456 balls in the air.  And I never drop a ball.  Well… I rarely drop a ball.  The point is, I can juggle a bunch of stuff all at once without going insane.  Insanity strikes only when other people start jumping into my ball air.  That’s no good.  As my favorite former boss used to say, “…we all know how much you love your balls!”  Love might be a strong word; but I’ll go with it.
My greatest weakness is the fact that I can never think of any weaknesses whenever I’m asked this question. 

For the record, “What is your greatest weakness?” is the WORST job interview question EVER.  Can I add that to my list of pet peeves?  As a person who has done A LOT of recruiting, I have always made it a point NOT to ask this jacked up trick question.  We all know that weaknesses can be presented as strengths and strengths can be presented as weaknesses.  It’s all in how you word your response.

For instance, someone can say that their greatest weakness is that she/he is a workaholic.  Saying this “tricks” the employer into thinking that he/she will be a hard-working, loyal addition to the team.  But, really, this “workaholic” is probably a person who has to work double hard to get their job done and often finds him/herself working long hours because he/she is incompetent.  Same goes for the person who claims to be a “perfectionist to a fault”.  I call bullshit on that one, too.

If I were interviewing for a job, and the interviewer pulled this lame ass question on me, here’s how I’d love to respond:

Interviewer: What is your greatest weakness?

Me: Honesty.

Interviewer: I don’t think honesty is a weakness.

Me: I don’t give a shit what you think!

But, alas, honesty is not really one of my weaknesses when it pertains to landing a job that pays in actual U.S. currency.   So, without further ado, I’ll play along.  Here are a few of my weaknesses.

  1. French fries.  They do a number on the waistline.
  2. Kryptonite.  And bullets.  And ninja swords.
  3. Vodka and clear Rum.  As I age and struggle with having (or not having) a healthy lifestyle, I have come to the conclusion that my formally favorite adult beverages (sweet wine, pina coladas, mai thais, fruity margaritas, etc.) are now causing ridiculous headaches and leg swells and should be avoided if at all possible. HOWEVER, on the bright side, my friends, Vodka and Rum, when simply mixed with diet soda or bubbly water, give me the stress relief I need without all the side effects.   YAY for science experiments!
  4. Spaghetti Arms.  I can’t lift shit, ya’ll.  That’s why I married a really strong man. 
  5. I project self-expectations.  Because I hold myself to high expectations (and standards), I tend to hold those around me to the same.  So, as a potential manager of a group of idiots, I may not be a good fit if they’re used to being coddled.  And as a parent, I expect my children to be courteous, independent thinkers who show responsibility and make well thought-out choices.  I’m failing at all this shit.

Spankings - Not the Kinky Kind

When I was around three years old, my brother and cousins loved to run around teasing my great-great-aunt.  By this time, my Tia Julia was mostly sedentary, living under the care of my grandmother (Mimo). She would sit in a wicker chair by the front door with a rolled-up newspaper in her hand ready to swat any kid that got too close to her.  The thing is, she’d fall asleep in that chair and the big kids thought it was awesome fun to taunt her while she slept. She couldn’t swat us in her sleep.  

I was terrified of that lady. One day, my brother, feeling extra brave during one of Tia Julia's naps, jumped around in front of her, stuck his tongue out at her, and made the “na-na-na-na-boo-boo” sign with his hands.  And, I’ll be damned if that heifer’s eyes didn’t pop right open!  My brother and cousins took off, but I was stunned with fear!  My brain screamed RUN, but my legs didn't register.  She grabbed my arm with one hand and spanked the crap out of me with the other. I can vividly remember the sound of the newspaper cracking, whop-whop-whop, on the back of my legs. She hollered, “¡pos que fregados! …¡pinches niños, agradecidos!” (Roughly translated: "What the fuck! You fucking ungrateful little kids!") The other kids laughed and laughed, pointing at me in gleeful hysterics from a safe distance.  

I was traumatized for life.

I’m not gonna lie, ya’ll… I had nightmares about Tia Julia throughout my childhood.  I had this one recurring nightmare where we’re back at Mimo’s old house and I have a very strong urge to pee… I can smell her even before I open the door to the restroom; a perfume of dust, mold, and ivory soap. Without even touching it, the door creaks open.  I find that Tia Julia’s severed head is sitting on the counter… her eyes fling open and her lips tighten into a smirk!  Then, she says, “Andale , entra mijitia…no te voy a hacer daño,” (Roughly translated: "Come on in, darling, I won't hurt you.") as black drool seeps from cracked lips in Stephen King-style glory.  But, hell no, I don’t go in!  Instead, I pee myself.  

After that incident, I learned to take joy in witnessing other kids getting ass-whoopings!  I spent the majority of my childhood trying my best to fly under the radar to avoid spankings. My brothers, however, were idiots. Which pleased me greatly, I must admit. 

After belts no longer seemed to impress my brothers during their regular disciplines, my dad crafted a long, wooden paddle, designed for maximum pain. He painted it black, drilled holes into it and wrapped the handle meticulously in black electrical tape and leather.  It sat on a hook just inside our parents' bedroom door; a constant reminder that poor behavior had dire consequences. Everything about that damn paddle was menacing.  But, the boys didn’t give a shit.  Even after Mom's threats of brutal beatings, they’d continue being their little assholey selves all the live-long day.  “Quit that shit now or I will tell your father when he gets home!” she'd warn. But they wouldn’t quit. Testing her boundaries was their god-given right and daily mission. 

They knew that sometimes she didn't follow through with her threats. I think part of her felt sorry for them. But by the end of many days, Mom would be so fed up with those boys that Dad could spot it on her face.  “Who’s first?!” he’d ask them without even checking with her to see if they had behaved themselves.  When neither one of them offered to go first, he’d flip a coin and get to swatting. Only three swings of the paddle if they were lucky.  My sister and I would peek around the corner and snicker at them. Deep down, I felt it was payback for the Tia Julia incident.

But my dad and Tia Julia weren't the only ones who took pleasure in inflicting pain on children as punishment for their wrong-doings. If there were Academy Awards for spankings, Grandpa Lonnie, I think, would have been the reigning champion in Louisiana from 1975-1992. I wouldn't wish the wrath of Grandpa Lonnie on my worst enemy. 

Our parents shipped us off to Grandpa Lonnie’s ranch in Louisiana for a few weeks each summer until I was 9 years old (that's when an "incident" occurred that resulted in us never seeing Grandpa Lonnie again; I'll save that for another post.) Jonathan was the last of Grandpa Lonnie's kids still living at home; he was the same age as my brothers. I think I've blocked out a lot of my experiences at that ranch. I remember we went to church a lot. I remember Big Mama produced very elaborate country-cooking spreads for every meal. I remember there were cows... and chickens... and lots of boat rides through the swamp for catfishing. There was also a lot of screaming.  

One of the daily chores at the ranch was to close the gate at the end of the long driveway each day before supper. Most days the boys would ride their bikes down there to do it. But, sometimes Grandpa Lonnie would treat them to a tailgate ride if he had trash to dump or whatnot. On these rare occasions, Grandpa Lonnie warned those fools not to let their feet drag on the ground while he was driving. And, of course, they never listened. All three of them dragged their damn feet every time. One time in particular, though, Jonathan's shoe caught on a rock and he tumbled right out of the truck. His legs and arms got tore up pretty bad on that fall. 

But, what did Grandpa Lonnie do when this happened?  Did he hurry and tend to his dumbass son and offer medical assistance or at the very least, fatherly love?  No, he did not!  He pulled the truck over, yanked Jonathan up onto his feet and beat the living shit out of him with his fists. “I told you not to drag your feet, boy!  You think that fall hurts?  This spanking is gonna hurt worse!” 

To be fair, it was more than a spanking. It was a beating. By the end of it, his face was bloody, too. And, he couldn't walk. Grandpa Lonnie tossed him like a rag doll into the back of the truck and headed back up the driveway as if nothing happened. I don't know what ever became of Jonathan. Grandpa Lonnie is dead now. 

Unlike the boys, I learned quickly how to behave myself to avoid spankings.  There was nothing my brothers could entice me to do that I’d risk a beating for.  Nothing.

Brain-Dead Mothers. It's a Thing.

My life can be defined by BEFORE KIDS (BK) and AFTER KIDS (AK). In my BK days, many parts of my body were smaller. I can't blame my weight on my kids, although sometimes it's fun to make them feel guilty about it. What I can blame them for are my enlarged feet. After the first kid, my feet grew half a size; and after the second kid, they bumped up another half size. I'm really not sure how the science works with feet, but that shit is fucked up. Do you know how hard it is to find cute 9.5-10 sized shoes? It's almost as hard as finding plus-sized clothing that doesn't include moo-moos, frocks, and tunics (which, let's be real, are just fucking frocks with a cuter name). 

Also, BK, my hair was thick and lush and brown. AK it became thin and grey and lifeless. And, when I'm stressed, it falls out in clumps. It ain't pretty when a woman loses her hair. Not pretty at all. And, I don't wanna hear all the men out there crying about how their receding hairlines have ruined their lives. Men don't know shit about the mental damage that women endure when losing hair. Not one tiny turd. 

I think it's funny how men are always so dramatic about their pains and woes. 

Hubber: I've got this excruciating pain in my stomach. This must be what child birth feels like!
Me: .... 
<giving the are-you-fucking-kidding-me-right-now face>
Hubber: What? You think you're the authority on all things painful?
Me: Yes. I do. I'mma need you to try squeezing a watermelon out of your pee hole before you compare any fucking thing to child birth. 


The other thing that happened AK is that I lost brain cells. Most idiots can blame cool shit like LSD, crack, moonshine, and marijuana for their dumbassery. Not me! I blame parenthood. Again, I'm not a scientist, but I'm pretty sure that when you get pregnant, brain cells dislodge and travel down into your womb. I think it's safe to estimate that the average mother loses 10 brain cells a day during that time. And, I carried my kids TO TERM. That's 40 long weeks of brain cell loss. If I were good at math, I'd tell you exactly how many cells that is and how many I have left. But, I'm not good at math; and you know why.

Kids are natural born thieves, y'all. And, they make you dumb. There should be severe consequences for their actions! I demand justice! Time for reparations!


It should come as no surprise that the brain cells you use to perform mathematical computations are the first to go. I'm living proof of that. I'm currently taking a Business Analysis class that is kicking my ass. Why? Because I can't process the logic behind testing statistic hypotheses. P-values? Z-test? Null Hypothesis? Critical Value? Square roots, n to the power of 6, degrees of freedom! WTF is this shit? And, why can't I get it to stay in my head? Why! I'll tell you why. Because my kids stole the necessary brain cells needed to compute. 

And since depleting me of my brain cells isn't quite enough, my kids have also stolen vital nutrients necessary to function on this planet. Did I have seasonal allergies before I was a mom? No. I did not. Did I have high blood pressure? No. Was I able to quickly metabolize crappy food? Yes. Can I do that now? No. 

Basically, children have literally sucked the life out of me and have left in their wake, an over-sized, middle-aged, wild-haired, blob whose ultimate goal in life is to end up laid out on a beach somewhere with a perpetual piña colada in hand.

Hobbies During Quarantine?

Like many people these pandemic-days, we find ourselves in quarantine. For an introvert, at first, being home all the time was paradise. It was all smiles, daytime booze, and no pants! But, it didn't take long for me to start feeling like maybe I was being a little complacent; and dare I say it: lazy. Like, I could be exercising. Or, I could be cleaning. Or, I could be painting the hallway. Or, I could be providing upcycled-t-shirt-facemasks and sack lunches to the homeless.

A friend suggested I work on my "hobbies."

Hobbies? Hahahahaha! 

Yeah, thanks, "friend". Way to make me feel like a total loser. 

Turns out I don't have many “hobbies” in the conventional sense – due to the fact that they require an abundance of time, nerd-ery, energy and dedication….all qualities in which I am highly lacking.

Over the years, I tried to pick up some hobbies.  I learned to sew.  Kinda.  I learned to quilt. Kinda.  I started collecting mounted jackalope heads (still only have the one).  I learned to make jewelry.  I took up photography.  I learned to knit.  Kinda.  I learned to crochet.  Kinda.  I made my own laundry detergent (that counts, right?).  I made toilet paper roll art.  I painted.  I drew. 

And there was this one time when I decided to collect beer bottle caps!  Oh, yeah.  It was a brilliant endeavor that cost me nearly nothing because I employed (without pay, of course) others to collect them for me.  I currently have 1,568,265 (or so) in my possession.  Someday, I’m actually going to use them to refinish table tops and make millions of dollars!  (Just like I planned to do 5 years ago.)

I think I've digressed, as usual. Let's get back on track...

I started ghost hunting. I practiced yoga. I learned how to read palms…and tarot cards. I became one with nature, and crystals, and herbs, and moon phases. 

The list goes on, people.

After a little contemplation, and just as my brain started to shut down... it hit me.

Maybe my hobby is finding hobbies.  Or, maybe my hobby is starting seemingly creative shit and never finishing it. It’s a process, people. 

I’d like to be able to say that my hobbies include hiking mountains, scuba diving, robbing banks and other exhilarating activities.  But, alas… I am one boring-ass mofo.  Suffice it to say, I don’t really have any "hobbies".  However, there are some things I love to do and can probably manage to spend my quarantine time more wisely on:

  1. Reading. I learned to love reading from an early age.  Growing up, my mom took us to the public library every week. And while my brothers were busy catching up on MAD Magazine and my sister would opt for the picture books and puzzles, I would find a quiet corner and get lost in another world.  When I was about 10 years old, I picked up my mom’s copy of Gone with the Wind and I never stopped reading novels since.  
  2. Traveling.  It seems like forever since we really, truly traveled. Back when we had the RV, we tooled all over there place; albeit sometimes the accommodations were a little crowded and the shared toilet resulted in the feeling of too much togetherness. For the most part, traveling for pleasure is wonderful!  I love being a tourist… visiting new places and learning local cultures. 
  3. Loafing.  As in lounging – not making bread. (Although, I do love a nice, fresh loaf of french bread, too.)  I like to veg-out in front of the TV… or in bed with a good book… or on the beach with a piña colada.  Or on my backyard patio with a refreshing iced coconut-rum-and-water. You get the gist. 
  4. Floating. I love feeling weightless.  So, when I’m in the pool, I will float and float and float.  And, I’ll ask Hubber to carry me like a newlywed because I’m so light and dainty!
  5. Eating.  That’s why I’m soft around the edges.  I will try anything once.  Except for insects, dung, dolphins, dogs, cats, rodents, skunks and buzzards. (I reserve the right to add to this list in the future; even big girls have standards.) If quarantine has taught me anything, it's that you can make goulash out of pretty much any kind of leftover. And, don't let your Hubber try to tell you that what you made is not goulash. He doesn't know shit about goulash. 
  6. Gardening. This might be a true and actual hobby, y'all! I started a veggie/fruit garden a few years ago and have since added a butterfly garden, a few rose bushes, hibiscus, and other wonderful stuff! I guess I'm proud to say that I'm making real inroads in this area. :)

 I was going to add mixology to this list so that I could sound like a sophisticated barista/barwench. But, I thought twice because it might make me seem more like a lush. Which I am not. Usually. 

Feast your eyes on some gorgeous shit from my quarantine-era-garden below. Enjoy.




Hypothetical Dinner with Famous Dead Person

Random question my friend had to answer on a pre-employment screening questionnaire: If you could have dinner with any deceased person from history, who would it be?

They're getting pretty creative with this stuff, y'all. But, this one I wouldn't mind answering. I like thought-provoking questions so long as I'm not being timed to answer and it's not a question thrown at me in an interview where I have no time to ponder. "Gandhi!" I would blurt without thinking. Or, "Mother Teresa!" Because these are people who were truly selfless in their plight to change the world. But, give me a few minutes to noodle on it, and well, neither would be my answer. Why? Because, let's face it, I'm not that fucking deep.

If I had dinner with Gandhi or Mother Teresa, we’d be drinking poop water and eating al dente grains of rice with our hands or...  toasted crickets, gah! – so, I’m definitely gonna pass on those guys.  Then there’s Margaret Thatcher who would most surely have me over for tea and crumpets at high noon.  Needless to say, she’s out, too.  I’m not a proper Englishwoman with manners and whatnot. And, where I'm from, cookies are not biscuits. And while I like a good cup of Earl Gray as much as the next gal, strong coffee loaded with cream and sugar is more my forte. 

I could consider Elvis – who will serenade me and feed me grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  Not bad, but will the conversation be stimulating enough for me? I don't know shit about Tupelo, Mississippi or mediocre acting. And, after a few Love me Tenders, that little lip curl will start to irk me. 

Maybe Emily Dickinson.... "I'm nobody, who are you?" Or, Sylvia Plath... "I think I made you up inside my head." Nah. Both too profound and serious. Surely they'd serve vegan dishes and cornucopias of self loathing. No, thanks.

What about Catherine the Great... Wasn't she the one who lined up all her husbands and screamed, "Off With Their Heads!" and then used their decapitated heads as soccer balls? Oh, wait. I think that was the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and it wasn't soccer, it was croquet. Never mind. 

So, [although the question wasn't even meant for me,] after much contemplation, I have settled on Oscar Wilde. Good ol’ Oscar will surely provide a feast of all things yummy and delicious.  The spread will include roast beef with all the fixings and baked goods to my heart’s content.  We’ll sip on sweet, iced champagne, his favorite – and now mine! He’ll tell me all about the Importance of Being Earnest and the Portrait of Dorian Gray.  And we’ll talk smack about the Queen and all the rubbish that goes on within the royal family. We’ll slander the name of the Marques of Queensbury for having been the cause of Oscar’s imprisonment and early death... and we’ll make voodoo dolls of all our sworn enemies.   

Then, we’ll get serious, and he’ll give me tips on living life without a care in the world and how best to be shameless and daring – his early philosophy of pleasure. Definitely a worthy dead person dinner guest selection.

The End. 

“How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being.” 
“Women are made to be loved, not understood.” 
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever then go.” 
“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I’m saying.” 
“True friends stab you in the front.” 
“Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much.” 
“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” 
“I love talking about nothing.  It is the only thing I know anything about.”

Fears - The Legitimate and The Irrational

According to numerous scientific studies, the number one fear of most humans is public speaking. I have no source to site here, but I know I read it somewhere; in numerous, very well-renowned publications. And, while public speaking is not my favorite activity (it's not even in my list of top 100 things to do), it's not one of the things I fear the most.

The other day, after proclaiming that I'm one bad mother fucker who isn't afraid of shit, Hubber began ticking off on fingers and toes all the things I'm "afraid" of. His list was quite extensive, and mostly wrong and ridiculous, so I won't bore you with it here. But, after threatening to kick him in the penis if he didn't stop, I got to thinking. 


I may look like a tough heifer... and I may act like a tough heifer, but deep down, I’m crazy scared! I live inside my head A LOT. What if this... what if that... until I work myself up into a frenzy and new fears rattle around in there taunting me. Now, are they all LEGITIMATE fears? I don’t know.  I guess it depends on your definition of LEGITIMATE.  

So, to help me understand, I looked up the word LEGITIMATE and according to Merriam-Webster, the nerd of all words, it means:

  • allowed according to rules or laws;
  • real, accepted, or official;
  • fair or reasonable.

And, because I thought all those definitions seemed pretty dull and boring, I decided to see what Urban Dictionary had to say.  Here’s what the word on the street is:

  • Lawfully correct, legal;
  • Justified, not un-called for;
  • Something very, very true;
  • used to describe something in the utmost of truthiness or maybe something SO FRIKKIN DAMN AWESOME, see also: sick, sweet, telk, or godly.

“…the utmost of truthiness”?  Ok… I can do this.

My fear of a home invasion

After a very disturbing experience as a young, single mother, I became increasingly afraid for the safety of my child.  In the early years, I locked, double-locked and triple-locked all doors and windows.  And when I couldn’t afford a security alarm, I set up booby-traps near possible entrances so that if I were sleeping and an intruder tried to creep in, he’d knock over a mountain of Legos and it’d wake me up.  I didn’t have a gun, so I kept a metal bat next to my bed so that I could go to town on that mofo when he got in!  I checked on the bat before bed every night. I did other things, too, but I’ll stop there before I get labeled with OCD.  

After I got married, Hubber became my security system.  It wasn't something he was prepared for. But, y'all know Hubber... he's a real trooper! Of course he questioned my logic at first, but when I explained all the violent scenarios that run through my head in bloody detail, he backed off and let me go through my nightly motions of safe guarding the house before bed each night. It wasn't long before he started to help. He'd even stay up in order to be the last one asleep (he still does that, all these years later). 

When you're a little nuts, you run the risk of rubbing off on people. And, so it was Hubber's fate that he "inherited" some of my crazy. Now, while we no longer set booby traps, we still have our nightly lock-up rituals…and instead of a metal bat next to MY side of the bed, Hubber keeps a freshly sharpened ninja sword next to his.  True story.

Back door isn't quite secure enough, so I put a heavy chair in front of it. If someone breaks in, it will wake us up. Bats and swords will come beware, home invaders!

My fear of wide-open and enclosed spaces/crowds (and sometimes just people in general):

I have high anxiety, y’all.  I’m not medicated for it anymore, but it rears its ugly head in dark, narrow stairwells, big, sweaty crowds, and also when I'm in a wide-open space with no crowd - but I start thinking, "what if a crowd forms around me? what if people start walking close to me and start breathing the air that was meant for me...and then I won't have any air to breathe... and what if I start to suffocate? What if a homicidal maniac is in this room? What if someone bars those closed doors from the outside like in the movie Carrie and I get trampled when people rush the doors to get out? What if I blink and suddenly people are huddled around me asking me for directions, or money, or to complete a 60-second survey related to my current cell phone carrier?!" What if!! 

It's not fun inside my head, y'all. But, these are the things that create literal tunnel-vision and make my head dizzy, my knees weak, and my breath short. There is no rational explanation for said anxiety...and there is no method to the madness. It just happens randomly. That little brain trigger that sparks the crazy just decides to flip at the most inopportune times. One minute I'm perfectly fine in the long line for "It's a Small World" at Disney World. And then, BOOM. I gotta get the fuck outta there stat lest I explode into a million tiny pieces. Or worse, stab someone in the eye with the Mickey spork I squirreled away in my pocket for just an occasion (or for extra frozen soft-serve ice cream; either way, sporks always come in handy).  

My fear of judgement and failure:

These two concepts, although seemingly unrelated, go hand-in-hand for me. Sure, most people worry about what people think of them... so they pile on the makeup, curl their hair, buy handbags they can't afford and high-heeled shoes that wreck their feet... but, those aren't the things I do to avoid judgement. I work harder to prove myself worthy. I go above and beyond to learn things that improve my standing with people. I learn to work efficiently, effectively with little direction because I want to be seen as competent; someone who can be trusted to "take the lead". 

This is starting to sound like a resume pitch! 

Seriously, though, I work hard because I work in a man's world where women are seen as inferior until they prove themselves capable (at least 348,000 times). And, even then, EVEN THEN, they aren't quite good enough. It's a tough world to live in when you're headstrong and stubborn like I am. I don't walk around oblivious and complacent. I want more. I strive for more. When I fear I'm being judged, instead of kicking it up a notch, I have a tendency to become lax, risking failure. 

I also fear that I'm getting a little too old for this game. I fear I might become irrelevant. 

P.S. My resume is ready to go.

What do you know about walking a tightrope?

Being a tightrope-walker takes a lot of skill, balance, patience, and fearlessness.

You climb the ladder. With each step, the crowd cheers you on. You can do it! When you reach the top, you scan the crowd below. All those tiny, insignificant faces staring up at you in awe. It feels good to be at the top. All the hushed voices below, waiting for you to take a step onto the rope. Two arms out, to keep your balance, you step onto the platform. The next step you take is onto the rope. You tighten your core, close your eyes, and keep going. You pretend no one is watching you, but you can feel their eyes boring holes into the depths of your soul. With each step, you squeeze your feet tightly around the rope. Halfway across, you open your eyes. You lose your balance. Your right foot slips out from under you and before you fall, you try to grasp the rope with your hands. But, it’s no use. You can’t hang on. You hear the crowd below gasping. They’re waiting to see if you’ll have the strength to pull yourself up. You do not. You decide that letting go beats ripping your hands to shreds. So, you freefall. The net below envelopes you like the sweet, secure arms of a new mother. You didn’t make it across the rope that time, but you’ll get up and do it all again as the crowd cheers you on.

Being a tightrope-walker is like being a habitual dieter.

Everyone is watching you.  They stare in amazement and they cheer you on; but deep down inside, they’re just waiting for you to fail. They don’t want you to succeed because it’s more fun to watch you fall. Will the net below be able to hold your weight? No worries, tightrope dieter! Slip off the narrow course before you, and you crash land into a safety net full of warm bread, pasta, and ice cream. All the gawkers pat themselves on the back because they knew your mission was impossible. They were right all along. You don’t have what it takes. So, you muddle around through the net, lapping up all the deliciousness while you try to make sense of your life choices. Soon, you forget how hard it was to walk that rope, so you work your way back to the ladder that leads you up to the diet platform; where you repeat the process through infinity.

Being a tightrope-walker is like being a pregnant woman.

Everyone is watching you. They stare in amazement and they cheer you on; but deep down inside, they’re just waiting for you to fail. They watch your stomach expand, wondering if you’re eating responsibly. Are you drinking alcohol? Was that a tuna sushi roll you’re shoving into your mouth thinking no one noticed? Who cares. You keep going, step by step across the rope. Your plan for a natural childbirth is intricately laid out before you. You’re almost there. But, that’s when the pains of labor begin. Your insides are on fire; your baby has razor claws for arms and a bowling ball head… tearing you up while pressing hard against your will to live. The pain is so excruciating that you begin to slip off the rope. All eyes on you. You close your eyes and decide falling is a better fate than the agony coursing through you to the core. You take the shot. You fall off the tightrope and into the blissful, ecstasy of the safety net that is an epidural - numbness from the waist down. With baby in tow, you stumble out of the safety net. In time, you forget the pain and are ready to do it all over again.

Being a tightrope-walker is like being a woman in business.

Everyone is watching you. They stare in amazement and they cheer you on; but deep down inside, they're just waiting for you to fail.You climb the ladder... higher and higher until you reach the top. Now, the only thing to do to get your dream job, is to walk the interview tightrope. Hooray! Look at her go! They all exclaim. With arms outstretched, you soak in all mentoring thrown your way. You take step after step, doing all the things the crowd below is telling you to do. Headstrong and full of excitement, you let your integrity lead the way. You've worked all your life to get to this point. Unlike other tightropes you've encountered, on this tightrope you don't slip. But, this tightrope is rigged. A strong hand pushes you off and you fall, further and further until you land in a deep pool of the blood of many women before you. You are not alone. A few of them lift you up and carry you to shore where you crawl on wounded knees and aching heart... back to the ladder. You put your tired hands on the bottom rung and start climbing again.

The drain in my bathroom sink is a living nightmare.

I’m not saying it’s literally living. But, I’m also not saying that it’s not. Literally. Living. The jury is still out.  Ya'll tell me this shit does not look like that girl’s black hole drain hole in the remake of “IT” where it’s clogged with hair that comes alive and races out from the hole full of bloody goo and strangles her… to almost DEATH:

Am I right? I am right. Thank you very much. Here's what I'm thinking is going to happen one day if we don't cover that big black hole:

Me: Well. Bad news, Hub. It looks like we’re going to have to rip out our entire bathroom now and start all over from scratch.

Hubber: What are you talking about? All we need to do is update the counter top and…

Me: No, sir. If we don’t demo the entire thing, Pennywise will come slithering outta our drain hole. And, you KNOW how much I hate that fucking clown.

Hubber: You need to quit thinking what happens in movies is real life shit.

Me: First of all, it was in the book. So, there's that. Also, let us not forget that movies are based on real life shit, Hubber! And, it’s not just movies… the fucking Simpsons have predicted the future more times than we can ever count! And, don’t even get me started on La Llorona and Amityville Horror! Oh, and South Park. Do not even forget friggen SOUTH PARK, man!

Hubber: Fine. I can honestly see all the hair coming to life. That's a nightmare I can relate to.  So, I'll give you that much.

Me: So we can bulldoze the bathroom?

Hubber: No. But, you can start throwing your hair in the trashcan instead of washing it down the drain. It amazes me that there is still actual hair on your head. Does it grow 12 inches every night to replenish the 3 pounds that fall out every day?

Me: That's just mean. And, quit changing the subject. Pennywise. Bathroom demo. I'm sure Homer Simpson predicted this shit. That's what I'm here about right now.

I'm not sure if that's around the time he walked away or fell asleep on me.

But, it doesn't matter because I know that shit was working its way around in his brain for the next few days. That's how the transfer of paranoia works, y'all. It has to simmer and ferment in the brain juices for awhile. He has to imagine a hairy bloodbath in his mind every time he goes into the bathroom until it becomes a problem. And, believe me, he visits that room often.

It's not easy for Hubber to admit that my paranoia has taken root in his mind. He is torn between understanding that the paranoia is completely irrational while contemplating the possibility that in some weird other-worldly-dimension (possibly in the "upside-down") shit like this can actually happen.

Also, in the book, Pennywise was a spider. Y'all know I tossed that little nugget in his pipe for smoking. And, we all know how much Hubber fears spiders.

Next thing I know, the black hole looks like this:

And, while it's not exactly the sledgehammering and complete re-do I was looking for, it's probably something I can live with.

For now.

My life is like a country song.

No, really. It is. Here’s how it goes:

My oldest spawn left for college. My dog died. I bought a pickup truck. My youngest is a ukulele prodigy. I blew out my favorite flip flops. I shook my groove thang on the Flora-Bama line. We chopped down a dead sycamore tree. My job doesn’t pay enough. It took two years to settle my mother-in-law’s estate and she didn’t own shit except the property we now live on which was falling apart. That being sad…

Hubber is renovating our house. I lost 20 pounds. I can now shoot a 9mm and an AR15. We’ve misplaced the keys to the gun safe twice because we put them in a spot where no one could find them but us. Turned out we’re better hiders than we thought we were. We now have two cats. I gained 20 pounds.

My mom learned tarot and “the good kind” of voodoo. She can also do your numerology… in case you need a life plan. My peach tree died. The high school in my neighborhood looks like a prison, complete with barred windows, barbed wire fencing, and armed guards. My new neighbors blast Spanish reggae music in their backyard every Saturday night. I lost 20 pounds again.

We survived a few mental breakdowns. Stray cats shit in my garden… Hubber is trying to use them for bb-gun target practice now. My sofa is gone so we sit on camp chairs in the living room. I learned how to smoke meat on my new pellet grill. (Smoke meat. That's what she said. Heh.)  I still have no swimming pool and summer is almost over. I bought too many plants to fill empty pots, so now I have to buy more pots, but I’ll probably get too many, so I’ll need to buy more plants. It’s a delicate science I haven’t quite mastered.

I twisted my ankle three different times while sitting. I have started plucking white eyebrow hairs. White.  I won a calla lily plant as a door prize at my first neighborhood civic club meeting… I was so happy I forgot I was there to complain about my neighbors.  I have a self-diagnosed gluten allergy. My sister got married in Vegas and I wasn’t there. My house was haunted, but we cleaned that bitch out.

Hubber falls asleep when I’m talking to him and sometimes while driving – especially if he’s loaded up on carbs. He’s like that guy from that movie who fell asleep in that car that was going over a bridge and he just floated around and didn’t break any bones because he was all relaxed and asleep. WTF was the name of that movie? My boyfriend Robert Downey, Jr. is in it.

Turns out the spaghetti squash I planted is a honey dew melon. The tax man calleth. Twice.

My oldest is a grown-ass woman… but she’s not… but she is… or, maybe not… we’re all still very confused. My parents are falling apart. I tinkle a bit if I laugh too hard… or sneeze… or cough. I tried to quit blessing people when they sneeze, but I kept forgetting to stop, so I just gave in to the madness and resigned myself to my inevitable sainthood. My alcohol threshold is not what it used to be. Alien bugs that won’t die (no matter how hard you smash, zap, or stomp on them) sneak into my house to plot the destruction of mankind.

Put some music to that shit, Blake Shelton!

And, I better get royalties.