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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Whomever it is who I haven’t met just quite yet… Or is it we’ve met, but in a blink’s passing, just barely? Was that me who was comically entertaining my tot? Did you accidentally catch a glimpse of my normal, my zany? Of me making silly faces whilst at the gas pump? Was it you who drove by ever so slowly, scribbled directions in hand, trying to figure out how to navigate towards your next biggest adventure? Were you also trying not to drive over my stumbling toddler’s ganter? Did you miss your turn and stumble upon the scarcely populated town found somewhere midstate, with not much to notate except the laughable Effing name and that dauntingly huge cross?
Maybe we’ve never exchanged glances from across a bustling supermarket, because you were racing to get spark plugs, and me, sour cream. Maybe you’ve dreamt of me. Or maybe you’ve imagined my exact brain and emotions packed inside a tiny, fierce blonde.
I ponder whether or not you’re tow headed, dark, or ginger. I wonder if you’re bald, curly haired, or if you’ve have had an uncontrollable cowlick coming straight out of the top of your head since infancy. Is your baldness genetic or a lasting memory from a postmortem crash? Is your crisp, curly hair from your mom or your great Italian grandma who now lives in Spain?
Are you bronze skinned? Pale? Or does your skin resemble the darkest of nights blanketing the moon kissed sky?
Are you kind? If you are, is it because of circumstance? Would you like 16 year old you?
Questions. I have ever so many questions.
I also have answers.
When you come intimately to me for sensory filled comfort, I will be there. I will palm your face in a gentle embrace, cradled, to my womb. Our worries will disintegrate and our trust will unfold. It is here in our most vulnerable where you will find me, and I, You.
I imagine playful banter, feet high upon the wall, curls cascading down off the bed, laughter filled room, all while outlining make believe characters found within the naturally born artistry of the wallpapered room.
Where you seek solace, and I my joy.
Together, we fit. My partner in crime. My partner through time.
I am the woman who impatiently mutters, “Hurry the fuck up.” to a slow poke crawling below the speed limit. I am also the woman who almost always instantly realizes that I’m actually frustrated, because I’m running late to wherever it is I’m trying to be on time for, because I suck at time management. I can blame my poor time management skills on a plethora of different reasons. ADHD/OCD/anxiety type symptoms, single mommying two toddlers, sleep deprivation, physical pain, emotional stresses, blahdy-dee fucking blah. They’re all just glorified excuses. I don’t get to bed on time, wake up feeling semi-refreshed, and then lay in bed ignoring reality to play on Facebook to purposely be late for work. That’s stupid, and trust me when I say that right now, I’m incredibly hyper aware of leaving on time every morning, even if that means someone’s hair doesn’t get brushed or another toddler has to be insulted by the fact that mommy grabbed applesauce and not a granola bar for the car ride into town.
Perspective. I don’t want someone to believe my lack of time management skills means my job isn’t incredibly important to me. I need to re-earn their respect in that specific area. I’m genuinely working on it.
I’m 32 years old, and I’m still learning.
My heart still breaks, and then is glued, sometimes poorly taped, back together on an almost daily basis.
I’m mesmerized by owls that fly almost directly into my car. I find magic in authentic conversations. When someone smiles at me, and their entire body language screams that they are tuned into me and my needs, my mind goes into a fury of mixed signals wanting to smile in joy, sigh in relief, hug it out, jump up and down in excitement, and cry because someone sees. me. I debate with myself on a multitude of yes, no, maybe so’s, and then push forward to offer a sincere hug or a simple, “Hello, my name is Miranda.” served with a half smile and a genuine want to meet someone where they are. Sometimes, keeping eye contact is incredibly hard for me when I’m living in my head. If I’ve recently made a mistake or am vigilantly fighting the anxiety demons in my head, I don’t want to look at anyone. I feel like they can read my failures a mile away. Other times, I’m on fire and seek to see all of everyone. I notice the way other people walk, talk, and bullshit. Some people are great story tellers. They live to tell stories, but more often than not, it’s other people’s stories. It’s a way to get the lime light off of the intimacy that truly pierces their own souls.
Apathy can sting so much harsher than any criticism ever could. They’re fighting their own demons…
I feel like every person I come into contact with is basically different versions of me. Head Centered Randa vs Fire Randa. I don’t mean that selfishly, like I know that I have no idea about the struggles of a physically disabled person or your curly haired, sweet natured mama who grew up down the road. I mean it in the sense that I’m incredibly empathic, and even though I get pissed off or upset like everyone everywhere, I can normally (although not always in the moment) put myself in their metaphorical shoes to view the world from their vantage point.
I realized 6 hours too late that I forgot to do something for a customer. Then it clicked into place that I received a 10% tip because of my own doing. I recognized the awkward facial expression exchange at the table, but I had no idea what was going on, because my customer’s request had slipped my mind. I learned a lesson. In efficiency. And in time management. To slow down and pay attention to detail in the moment.
The same could be said for the puzzle that is our lives. You could be in my metaphorical shoes. Please don’t forget the blinging socks. Anyway, me…longing for intimate connections everywhere, uninterested with small talk, striving to do better, finding happiness in joy, in simplicity, and even acknowledging a little sadness, because it feels like life is somehow always missing that crucial spark that a life partner could possibly bring.
Would you get all of that by glancing my way? If I were in my head, and you were in a hurry, your thought process would probably be, “Oh, Miranda’s in a mood. Stay away from her.”. So basically, we’d both still be in our heads, needs left unmet.
I have friends with terminal illnesses fighting. to. live.
I have friends who look normal to the untrained eye, who long. to. die.
I have married friends who worry about their partner’s fidelity.
I have friends who are married who openly engage outside of their partner’s comfort zones.
I have friends living with invisible illnesses.
I have friends who live life blissfully unaware of life outside their privilege filled upbringing.
Have you ever tried to shove a puzzle piece into place not realizing at first that it didn’t actually fit? That’s life. We all have our place, but sometimes we try really hard to blend into color schemes that don’t quite match. You can turn the piece around, or keep it in your hand for safe keeping. Truthfully, often, the confusion needs to be put aside. Pieces interlock accordingly, not always chronologically or even logically. Mystical sea creatures found only within the clouds and the canvas the volcano’s fiery depths portray are different views of the very same scene.
Sometimes, loneliness doesn’t come in the form of your overly awkward coworker who still lives at home with mommy.
Sometimes, loneliness comes in the form of unanswered text messages.
Sometimes, loneliness comes in the form of kind smiles amidst a room full of chattering people, yet noone to talk to.
Sometimes, loneliness comes in the form of your life love(s) anchoring you to the fine line between drowning, gasping, and reaching for what’s just beyond your grasp.
Sometimes, loneliness comes in the form of endless Facebook scrolling.
Sometimes, loneliness comes in the form of pillow tossing, Netflix binging insomnia.
Sometimes, loneliness comes in the form of one drink too many to shut the voice of longing up.
Sometimes, loneliness comes in the form of bond forming memories continuously bruising.
Sometimes, loneliness comes in the form of wanting the hug that fills your cup instead of depleting your soul.
Sometimes, loneliness comes in the form of your smiling friend asking you an authentic question, because your response gives them life…