Laughter is

I lay here, effortlessly folded into the big spoon of you, caressing the lines proudly displayed beside the mesmerizing kaleidoscope of blue-gray splashed with gold. The ridges have casually been formed, slowly, over time, by your unbridled laughter. The distinct sound of that laughter makes my belly flutter in pleasure. It leads my ears, my senses, to come alive. The warmth of your laughter quickly fills the hole that just yesterday I was unaware of. My once unknown crevices are now overflowing with happiness. and peace. You question the expression on my face, mistake it for worry. I assure you, that what it is I’m actually wearing has nothing to do with discomfort and everything to do with wonder. I marvel at the sound of you. The stories etched into your skin are the ones I want to discover and rediscover until there are no more days left to explore. The lines in your face are a privilege, my privilege. You are my laughter filled gift.

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I Survived.

Cyclops forcefully took a piece of my soul. He creeped in stealthily, but not quite enough, while my instincts screamed out at me in shushed horror. “Do I or don’t I? Oh fuck it, I will.”, as I bent down to look out of the bathroom’s old keyhole. He quickly scattered and walked away with a shame filled visual memory, with thoughts of distress. I walked away with my safety stolen. I lost my protector. I lost myself. Cyclops was the man I called daddy, and he’d taken the key.

My first love was heady. It was passion filled and full of exploration! We learned together about cravings. Lessons. Love. I learned I wasn’t enough. Another piece of my soul walked out with his departure.

My second love was intoxicating. He was running, as was I. We ran together. In avoidance. In cahoots. We ran to survive. The beginning of the end was the lack of communication. Apathy silently smothered the life out of us both. When my best friend left me and our daughter, I stuffed gauze into the gaping hole of my sadness, and I prayed for the strength to survive once again.

My third love was confusion. It was spiritual. Enlightening. frenzied. Consuming. It was gaslighting, second guessing, and isolation. Our love was a fairy tale story without the happy ending. Raising children alone and dishonesty stole most of what was left of my already damaged soul.

Survival taught me what a book never could. Survival taught me about boundaries, comfort levels and fucked up traumas left over from childhood. Survival taught me not to settle on men who bruise or their nasty ass bandaids. Survival taught me that when you fall down seven times, you get up eight. Survival taught me that I am enough.

My tattered soul was worth surviving for. I traveled a very long way to find and glue back together those displaced pieces. I am lopsided and scarred, but I am whole. The tattoos of the lives I once lived are innately scripted, layer by intimate layer within the depths of my soul.

I think Gambit may have stumbled across the stolen key. Together, we’re learning how to unlock the mysteries within me.

The Rabbit Hole of Porn

Forewarning: there is a word or two, or ok, maybe 10 used in this piece that contains language that is not palatable for everyone. I am confident with my usage, and the dialect will not change.

Adult Me FULLY believes that two consenting adults can do whatever the hell they want to do, as long as they are not consciously hurting another in the process.

Nineteen year old Miranda was unconsciously recovering from being raised in a slightly judgmental, conservative Christian household. I was insecure and jealous, and I certainly could not understand how my then boyfriend was so very into looking at these figure perfect women, women whom I knew I could never attain to be.

I don’t share any of this to demonize anyone. I know there are grown adults who willingly and conscientiously choose to be sex workers, to empower and bring joy to themselves and others. I also realize there are sexual wants and urges by people who also have feelings semi filled with shame and excitement.

I currently have mixed feelings about porn, and none of my “negative” views have anything to do with the Christian tinged criticism left over from early childhood or my doe eyed, insecurity filled, young adult years.

One of my friends is a survivor of sex trafficking. A large percentage of porn/sex workers come from abused homes and/or trafficking(which almost always includes addiction in one way or another). When you get past the BEAUTIFUL naked women, at the touch of a button, you start to hear their stories…

Porn uses young, attractive women who have as close to society’s idea of “perfect” bodies (depending on the movie’s criteria and cost) as possible. I believe most boys and men are raised by fathers, even mothers, who either lead their children to believe porn is normal, maybe habitual, or more commonly, the topic is left dangerously unspoken, which translates to little boys(and girls) with raging hormones discovering the nuances of their budding sexualities.

This is such a hard, varied and complex topic, because (here’s over simplified and sexist comments) while guys are thinking, “Fuck she’s hot. Must imagine boning her now.”. Girls are thinking, “Oh my god. That looks like it hurts. That sounds like it hurts. That’s not how a clitoris works!!!!!!! Ew. Yuck. Nice boner. But omg ow.”. When does our society learn how to treat both our boys and girls(who become the men and women) with repect, kindness, attentiveness, and even love?

I am literally trying to figure out how to teach my children about sensuality, sexuality, and vulnerability, while not having it shamed, ridiculed or as easily found at the touch of a button.

How do I teach them that these women are(or can be) emotionally sound, intelligent, confident, sensual, and sexual beings?

I guess I start by teaching them these sinuous women are more than the skin they show. I guess I start by teaching body autonomy and boundaries and consent as early as infancy. I guess I start by not feeling shame about my natural body and not shaming them for their natural curiosities. I guess it starts with frank honesty about urges and needs and self worth. I pray my daughter doesn’t repeat my mistakes and find herself at 16 in the passenger seat of a too small car to please a boy who doesn’t know how to return the gesture, because of CURIOSITY that was never intimately discussed. I don’t want my daughter bleeding in the car owned by a boy who doesn’t know her middle name. I don’t want my son having sex with girls he barely knows. But at the same time, if my hormone filled children choose to explore their sexualities when they’re coming of age, I want them to know that I have their back. I will take them to get on birth control. I will teach them about safe sex and the health of their reproductive systems. I want them to know that I remember, I understand, and I am their person when needed.

I am beyond jealousy. Girl, You GO ON with yo bad ass, fit self! You GO ON with yo bad ass sexy self! You GO ON with yo bad ass funny/witty/intelligent/*insert any appropriate compliment to suit your story here* self! I will be your biggest cheerleader, rooting you on from behind the scenes. And when someone chooses to attempt to make you feel small because you’re using your sexuality as a gift rather than a curse, I hope I will have the courage to be a voice for the voiceless, and have the knowledge to know when to pass the mic.

Sex is everything. It is fulfilling and fun and so very, intimately pleasurable. Sex comes with consequences. Emotionally, physically, mentally AND spiritually. I believe we need to figure out as a culture how to have these difficult and vulnerable conversations that include both sensuality and sexuality. These characteristics are simply minute parts of who we are as a whole, but they’re vital. Vital parts of our complete selves. How do we have these dynamic conversations when porn is equally both taboo and normalized in our society? We find the courage to openly discuss these intimate topics.

Today’s Title

Spring peeked out juuust enough today, to gift me happiness, warmth, and hope for my frigid filled tomorrows. Winter can be hard for me. I thrive on sunshine kissed farmer’s tans, itchy grass tickles, and the sounds of my children cackling while flinging shovel fulls out of their sandbox. Continue reading

Wish You Were Here

I find it a little funny that I didn’t find out You were such a  connoisseur of grungy hipster tunes, classic rock, and cringe worthy rap songs…until your funeral. Though we could have been white girl laughing and dancing it … Continue reading

Culture Tells Us

Our culture is so busy directing every single step we take, from the clothes we purchase (Did you buy that on clearance with the ultimate bargain coupon from a U.S. approved, higher class accepted clothing line?) to the laundry detergent we use (Is it free from every chemical that could potentially harm an innocent ant, but ALSO, does it smell breathtakingly amazing enough to capture your newest love interest, but deter that awkwardly smelling guy who won’t stop sitting next to you at Starbucks?) that it’s hard to sit back and just let life…come. 
Culture defines how we, as a whole, see beauty. 
Culture defines how you see me, and how I see you.
What if I told Culture, to sit one out? What if I said I was willing to look outside the perfectly manicured, Christmas light adorned box it had presented to me?
I am a single mom of not one, not two, but THREE beautiful little humanoids. I know them better than they likely know themselves. I am their person, and they are mine. They know how to irritate me quicker than anyone else on the planet. They also know how to heal my “off” days. Gentle face coddles and long, heart invested hugs heal my wounded soul with impeccable speed. We are a package that society sells at a veeeery discounted price. We’re on that clearance rack at an auction in the middle of bum fuck Egypt, tucked securely underneath the coolest and best fitting jeans of your life. If you happen to stroll into the third aisle and somehow not be mesmerized by the kickass vase with the intricate color scheme, I’m still here, hiding under the ass pleasing jeans.
That is the epitome of our culture. 
If you somehow were to make it out of your ordinary, you’d be sure to pick the beautiful accessory that caught your eye or the jeans that fit so snug, it makes you scream out in pleasure. 
Why on earth would you be searching for the well worn pair of jeans? The ones with the story written where the material that kissed my thighs used to be. They have splatters of paint from impromptu art projects and stains you forgot to wash out because you were all too busy not giving a fuck, or rather giving a very good one. Those well worn holes by the knee are Sunday kickball game badges from two eternity filled summers ago. These jeans, they’re too big for your tiny stature. But the jeans you didn’t give a second glance to, tell a long, intimate journey filled with heart shattering failures and cup overflowing successes. 
This, is our culture. I wear scars of who I was. I wear scars of who I culturally learned to be. I can never be Barbie or captain of your high school cheerleading squad Tina. I can be not quite middle aged Randa, with the proverbial messy home, and an abundance of hugs and coffee available at any hour. I give really good hugs and serve a mediocre cup of Joe. I’m the woman who’ll see you in your sadness and hold space for you to return to the light. 
Our culture tells you I should seek a big, burly gentleman with complimentary baggage of his own. Or that I should lose weight…
Our culture has a hard time seeing outside skin color, class, age, and circumstance. 
What if my “Til Death” looked a little bit older than my realm of comfort? Am I willing to push back against society’s standard of norm? What if your “Til Death” challenged you like you’d never been challenged before, but wore a handicap in her gait? Would you be willing to look past the fear of not playing your favorite sport with her or running marathons with her and instead trade that in for a lifetime of laughter? What if your “Til Death” looked different than what society deemed acceptable for you? Skin tone vastly different, social economic background an eery horror, or what if your she was actually a he?
I’m trying very hard to look outside the box. My future partner, who may not look like the picture perfect portrait Culture painted for me, deserves that. I hope my future Love also has that same openness, to meet and receive people who will likely be just outside of their comfort zone. Maybe we can hold hands as we tiptoe around the corner, together

Netflix & Chill

*diiiiiiingdooooong*

 

I quickly assessed myself in my bedroom mirror: sucked in my gut, rearranged my dress, evaluated my jaw line and light make-up, turned this way and that, made sure the curls were behaving as well as I could manage, and with a heavy breath full of nervous energy and half confidence, I sauntered down my stairs to open my door.

 

I greeted my guest with a sexy smile, locked eye contact, and an open door invitation. Once you entered my home, I shakily repeated my practiced line, “Netflix is upstairs, but I’m right here.”. *insert long awkward pause* With a half hidden giggle full of tension, I offered, “Would you like a drink?”. “Yes!”, you exclaimed, “Aaaand possibly a smoke?”. We scrambled to the kitchen. You took a beer. We walked out my backdoor to visit the choir of loud nightlife, while we attempted to gather our swirling thoughts.

 
“I don’t really do this.”, I breathed. “Invite strange men into my home…only to partake in small talk on my back porch.” We shared an intense moment of silence between us. With a questioning and bold glance coming from me, I feel as if my saucy wit kind of saved the day, because you put your cigarette out, opened the backdoor, and then reached down for me. I accepted your gesture, and allowed you to lead me into my own kitchen.

 
With roles reversed again, I wordlessly commanded a swig of your beer and placed it upon the kitchen table. I took your hand in mine and silently led the way upstairs to my room. Once we walked in, I turned and closed the door to leave us alone in my candle lit fantasy. I pivoted to find your face alight with the subdued lighting and your soul piercing eyes glued to my every movement. With my half made bed as a centerpiece behind you, and the Netflix paused tv glowing in front of you, I found the courage to step forward.
I “fixed” your half untucked shirtails in record time. Your under shirt acted as an iron clad barrier to the enticing warmth of what was hidden beneath. Slowly, I managed to break your prisoned shirt from its previously kept cell. Once free, the billowing shirt was no match for my inept fingers. My mirrored hands gently scraped the taut skin on the sides of your abdomen. You rapidly breathed the chill of my touch in, and your body found immediate height. Once you warmed to my offerings, your gaze became even more striking. I chose to do what I’d been dreaming about for far too long. I traveled my hands up your stomach with more force than the tickles of the afore mentioned practice. My nose followed suit starting with your chest. Your shirt clad body stood no match to the hungry tigress within grasp. I nuzzled your neck, inhaling the wanton smell of male. I nipped. I nibbled. I licked and I sucked. Once I took your earlobe into my mouth, I heard your sharp intake of breathe and felt your body still. I took the moment to override your senses with pleasure. With my hands surrounding your face, and my mouth locked on your jaw line, I gently applied pressure, and we cascaded onto my bed.

 
We kissed. We explored. We tumbled and we paused. And during a particularly intense moment full of crossed boundaries, you literally flipped me over, with one knee held snug in between my thighs, and the other parading just along the outside. You nuzzled my chest so that I was whimpering and gasping for more. In that moment, you reached far above my left shoulder, grasped what you were searching for, and with remote in hand, gyrated into me while gruffly asking me, “What’s good on TV?”.

 
If looks could kill…

 
You laughed. Harder and more genuine than I’ve ever seen manifest from you.
And then you ravished me. Over and over and over again.

13

I was gloriously, stupendously, tremendously fine. Fine, I tell you. Fine!!! No tears. No emotions. Just lil ol’ me with your average, everyday, boring work flow. Until my friend shared beautiful moments of synchronicity within her own life regarding possible messages from beyond our scope of reality, messages from beyond the grave. It was then that I turned into my normal, weepy, hot mess of Mirandom. I went inward and thought of a plethora of possible life outcomes. Scary shit. Relatable shit. Death. Continue reading

Another Me. 

Not too very long ago, I was in a very different spot. Emotionally, physically, mentally, financially, and even spiritually.

I was drowning. I was fully dependent. I was fearful. I was lost…with nowhere to go. Imagine that feeling, the persistent anxiety with the breath stealing heavy chest. You’re lost, but you have no destination. No funds, no village, drowning.

I was and still am a single mom. I raise two toddlers full time and one eight going on thirty year old part-time.

I made a whirlwind of choices, and each of them had effects. I quit my full time job that was no longer nourishing my soul. I traveled. I saw the exact spot where my mom died. I walked into my biological father’s home (I’ve still yet to meet him.). I took pictures of my sweet baby girl with a giant corn cob. I realized some of my daughter’s magical gifts, and we shared them with strangers. Have you ever been gifted art from a young child you’ve never before set your eyes on, who is insistent that you are indeed the recipient of her pure love? She, in turn, has been gifted hugs, treasures, and bouquets of flowers. And I was her mom. I am her mom. She is mine, and I am hers. 

And then, I changed. 

She went to live with her dad long term for the first time in her life. The first amount of time was supposed to be two months. During those 2 months, Mommy got to road trip and see amazing things. I’d been a single parent for 3 years. With my parents deceased, close family thousands of miles away, I, unfortunately, was the epitome of parenting alone. She was safe and in a loving environment, and I needed to be Miranda Rose, a woman, not only a mom, for just a tiny fraction of time. When my car broke down and I no longer had extra funds to rely on, two months turned into five. I cried. She cried. We. Cried. She is my family. My home. My heart. 

I got my shit together. I found a beautiful roommate with a heart full of gold. Her son filled my void until I found the perfect job making it possible to bring my own baby back into my world.

During this time away from my daughter, I fell head over heels in love. It was a captivating love. He brought me gifts and ravaged me. He sought me, encouraged me. He filled my cup. 

And then he drained my cup. Drop, by soul crushing drop. He played with me. My body, my mind, my emotions. He ignited me. He fueled my every thought. I found myself second guessing everything. Why would someone who said you were their soul mate be going on other dates, be ignoring you, and tell you all the ways you were imperfect? I was addicted to both his kindness and his shame, and it was incredibly unhealthy.

I had two children with the man whose love I longed for. It left me broken, financially spent, homeless, and raising three children, alone.

It’s taken me three years to climb out of that hot mess. Most of it was timing. I had to wait. It’s hard to wait when you’re drowning. I had to live with my abusive ex’s parents for almost three years. 3 years of someone always second guessing every decision I tried to make for my intimate family. 3 years of anxiety induced fear, not ever knowing my ex’s next damaging step. Almost 4 years of not enough sleep(full time breast feeding mom to two children). Diapers, tantrums, in sickness and in health, only I was there.

I used to beg for child support. Beg. BEG. I needed diapers, gas, and food. The state of Illinois had me backed into a corner where I could work all day long, morning and night, and not see my children ever, or I could work enough hours to make $500/month in order to still qualify for a childcare subsidy. With the child support that eventually got settled in court in addition to $500/month I still would not have made enough to survive on. Raising my babies instead of paying someone else to do it was incredibly important to me. I will never be able to rewind their infancy. So I survived with food stamps. With a part time nanny job. With a $900 car that lasted me 2 moves and a year of driving 10 hours every other weekend. I was isolated in a town knowing noone but my childrens’ family, but I made it.

I scoured Craigslist and the local online ads daily. My children finally were old enough to be away from my breast, literally. My youngest wouldn’t take a bottle. She was completely dependent on me. I was depleted. I found an ad looking for kitchen help from a local restaurant I’d always felt attracted to. I replied with my own job offer. After email tag and phone interviews, I landed a face to face interview with the owner of a local farm to table restaurant. I was hired on the spot. 
On the way to my second day of work, my $900 car shot the shit. I didn’t have local daycare. They were all full or out of my price range. I went in the red driving over two hours a day for two months, dropping my children off at one of my only two local friends’. I had to borrow cars and feel even more indebted to those already giving me a home and place to lie my head. So much guilt, and still yet, no way out.

I fell in love all over again. With gardening. With finally seeing and interacting with other adults, again! With the beauty that manifests in flower bouquets, and watching people’s faces light up as I tell them an intimate story or fill their palate and plate with fresh farm food. I was able to fill my cup by being away from my children, and in turn, fill theirs because I am finally able to be more present for them now, because more of my needs are being met. 

I live in my own home. I pay my own bills. I worked my way up the ladder, and I now have a living wage. I love my job, and I love my life. I’m human with human needs. I often get lonely with no other adult to share my life with, but I’m not the same Miranda I was three years ago, and I’m damn proud of who I’m continuing to learn to be. 

Father’s Day

Today, has been a day of reflection. 

I woke up early (because toddler) after going to bed too late (no naps for the chitlens yesterday, means after they passed out, I. did. me.). My youngest is potty training. She’s doing really good with the occasional accident. As I was dying my hair last night, she woke up because she wet the bed. My bed. Towels. I grabbed towels, and put a diaper on her. She had a restless night…

I have age appropriate snacks at their level in the kitchen, so I was woken up this morning by being asked to open an apple sauce pouch and to put Daniel Tiger on the tv. 

Today, is, was, Father’s Day.

I saw beautiful posts of acknowledgement of amazing men on social media. I reflected on those I know personally who are the real deal fathers. I thought off and on about the men in my life who’ve been father figures. I asked my children if they wanted to call their own father. My 4 year old had no interest, but my 2 year old did. The timing wasn’t ever quite right. I have to hold the phone for her and help translate. I debated on calling my oldest child (who currently lives with her dad), but again, the timing was never quite right (toddler potty accidents, hangry toddlers, driving).

We visited with my babies’ paternal grandparents for a bit.

I saw posts on FB regarding single moms not being fathers, reminding us this day was for the dads. I saw posts thanking dads…and single moms. I saw posts of people checking out, because Father’s Day was too much for them to emotionally bear. I saw the unseen. The posts that were half saved and never posted, because the emotional baggage was too heavy to carry to destination. I know there are daddies not being acknowledged because they’ve lost their children way too early to unfair death. There are families morning the unborn. There are those of us who’ve been abandoned by the men we wanted to call, “Dad”. There are those of us who long to have one last sit-down with our fathers.

Together, separately, we mourn. We reflect. We cry. We carry on. 

We smile, because you are able to have a beautiful relationship with your father. You can still hug him. You can still call him. You can depend on him. We smile for you. 

And we’re slightly jealous. 

Those of us with less than or non existent fathers, grew up having pretend conversations with pretend people. 

Those of us raising children with part time fathers are left resenting the art work that comes home for the absentee parent for the hallmark holiday.

I was very bitter 2 years ago. I’ve come a very long way since then. 

On Mother’s Day, my childrens’ father was in town. I didn’t berate him or my sweet babies for having to share time on “my day”.

If I were to have seen a post acknowledging a single father for raising babies alone due to death or abandonment, I would have cheered him and his on wholeheartedly.

I’ve lived with uncertainty, with abandonment, with death. I alone made decisions that resulted in having children with men not ready to effectively coparent alongside me. I fully realize my decisions have impacted my childrens’ qualities of life. 

With these realizations, comes more reflection. Boundaries.

Everyone is entitled to their own point of view. 

Today, I won’t post the long, sappy, heart tugging post that I did one year ago, stating how I saw the single mom, doing it all.

Just know, I walked on my couch today absorbing/cleaning up a potty accident. I had conversations with toddlers about tight rope walking and secret gardens. We discussed the neighbors, and we tried catching lightening bugs. It was my babies and me. There was no dad. That doesn’t take away from your partner or your dad who was and chooses to be present. I pray for someone to be present. I long for that. I celebrate the men in your lives who are worthy to be called, “Dad”.

I also have zero shame in congratulating and acknowledging the women who do it all. 2 days of acknowledgement in a year are ok in my book. 

Happy Father’s Day, indeed.