I made it to 48 yo 9.10.19

My girls. Or, as I was calling them last night, my wives. Hearts of pure gold, these two.  At first, I didn’t like that there was a shadow on my face in this photo. But now? I think it says a lot. I will always have a shadow looming over me. It’s just how it is, and I have to make peace with it.

My girls. Or, as I was calling them last night, my wives. Hearts of pure gold, these two.

At first, I didn’t like that there was a shadow on my face in this photo. But now? I think it says a lot. I will always have a shadow looming over me. It’s just how it is, and I have to make peace with it.

It was a good birthday. Better than I thought it would be. Though I had to sleep most of Sunday and yesterday to recover from the trip. Still recovering.

I knew that would be the deal. Sacrifice is part of living in this body now. I have to trade food for sleep. Energy for mental health boosts.

So much sacrifice.

Many Americans don’t really understand sacrifice. How to navigate limited resources. What is more precious than the other, and which one to prioritize at different times.

Too many still don’t see it. Where we’re headed.

Delay of long-term gratification, is not in style. Instead: it’s want, and want and want. Right away. Amazon spoiling us all. Inst-photos, insta-hook up buddies, insta-meals, insta everything.

I feel different. More peaceful. Something major shifted while I was up north. I’m still un-earthing it, still kind of in awe of where I am now.

Not afraid. I’m still afraid of lots of things.

But finally.

48 years later, I’m not afraid of being my real self out in the world.

If the young people are good with it, then I’m good with it. I have no more patience anymore for indulgent luddites.

As I message with two non-luddite dudes, encouraging them to get together. It’s making me think about how to encourage more men to get together, find ways to bond beyond the surface topics. I want the boys to grow up in a world where there is more of that, more connection, more structure and encouragement for men to have real conversations with each other. I have some ideas brewing.

I always have ideas brewing.

I have another story. Damn it, they drive me batty. This one came to me last night as I was reading.

Did you note that? I was READING a non-fiction BOOK. I felt the bookstore calling to me on my trip - it’s super cute - so I stopped in and a book by this author, Yuval Noah Harari caught my eye. I wanted to read Sapiens, but I chose the more relevant one called 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.

My mind was blown by page eight. The fact that I could calm my mind, and my nervous system and whatever else is always at a frenetic pace inside of me, enough to absorb his content is saying a lot about how much I’ve shifted.

Here I am, procrastinating the story. The book caught my eye because the name of the author was so large. And I knew how the story had to start, even though it’s a bit embarrassing. Well, the whole thing is embarrassing. Surprisingly more embarrassing than many of the other things I’ve disclosed in here.

As I did my routine after my birthday get together - my friends were so sweet and didn’t order dinner for themselves with me, instead getting dessert along with me, the only food I could eat was the sorbet and some ice cream, which weirdly didn’t hurt my stomach too bad. It was a very small portion, and I wonder if my gut has adjusted to the cow’s milk. That, or I just got lucky. I HAD to do it because I hadn’t done one the night before, I slept instead, so much sleeping, I had a dream that I saw the one surgeon in the area that works on tricky guts walk out of the room yesterday during my nap, I’m taking that as a sign that he isn’t the one to trust, which should come as no surprise because he was an asshole to me when we met a couple of years ago and told me he wouldn’t operate on me, my nap time dreams have been intense, the story kept pushing at my brain.

Ugh. Then the story starts coming to me, then it reminds me of another story, which doesn’t necessarily want out, but I had to remember it as well, and feel ashamed and stupid about that one too.

Ugh again.

I wanted to explore the world! I wanted to become sophisticated enough to handle my shit in whatever situation arose. I wanted to be able to walk into any room, with any demographic and feel like I could interact at the top of my game.

Well, there was a price to pay for that skill set.

Embarrassment about how I arrived here. I still get nervous in the really upper class. In the situations like my chef friend’s book party where Harry Connick Jr. showed up with his former model wife - I thought I shared that story, but now I don’t know, usually I can remember these things, my memory so poor, but I remember the stories I share, so strange - it was in Connecticut and I was in awe. Though, at this point, after being gutted and left for dead, rising up from the ashes of a fire that I started to burn the old me down, I think it wouldn’t intimidate me so much.

It’s hard for me to be intimidated now.

Whatchu got? I think.

WHATCHU got?

I too have that weird seductive charm thing, the thing I’ve been baffled by my entire life, the thing I was tormented for at times, dismissed, kicked out, treated suspiciously housed inside a body with double D breasts (no longer! Need new a new bra, even the one, the only one, from a couple of years ago no longer fits, fine by me, I just hate bra shopping, more than bathing suit shopping, no idea why, but I hate it, I see why a certain female begged me to buy new ones in the 90s, as I look through old photos, my goodness, what was I thinking wearing terrible stretched out ones for so long, now it’s just a matter of finding time, not a high priority) with long red hair, no chance of hiding from the world.

No chance of ever hiding from the world.

I hated it, whatever it is. Hated how it altered friendships, made people weird around me.

It’s only when I reveal things in my podcast or here that I see things more clearly. I suppose that makes sense but it’s frustrating that I’ve had to wait so long to SEE things.

Of course women have been suspicious of me. Of course, they get nervous when I laugh with their husbands at a party for too long. It’s only after listening to my own podcast, spend so much time in this altered mind state, and honestly share here that I start to see what THEY see when they look at me.

That strange gift of mine. A blessing and a curse.

But now. Now, I’ll use it but only for the greater good. I’ll need to hone it after years of stifling it.

One time, I was good friends with a wife and the husband. The husband and I, both drunks together, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that eventually things soured. One time, sober, at an event, he came up and started touching my hair, in public! We did not have that kind of friendship! I looked over at our friend, horrified, like get him away from me. At another party, where I was with a date, that French asshole with the name that I will no longer ever date again, repeating names, that’s for another day, and the husband grabbed my arm, nearly hurting me, drunk that time, pissed that I dared to show up at a party at his house with a date, even though there was nothing of the sort going on between us.

It’s been such a source of frustration and struggle and consternation, that I really did try to turn myself into Daphne from Scooby Doo, darkened my hair, started wearing glasses (that was also because I started going far-sighted long before my friends, these eyes of mine, never working properly since childhood).

Didn’t work.

I still hate it. I still long to be like a regular person.

We always want what we don’t have right? Sometimes, the kitties will have the same food in their bowls, and still try to eat out of each other’s anyway. Part of the deal, I suppose. Part of the deal.

Damn this story wants out, even though I’m doing my best to talk around it.

Just in case I sound braggy, let me be clear. I’ve been rejected a lot. So many times, I couldn’t even count. For every one that was drawn to me, others would be repelled, put off, thrown off, irritated, so it’s not like it worked on everyone. Far from it.

It’s just when it did happen, it was strong. Sometimes I’d get caught up in it too, or confusing what was happening, thinking it was a real connection, when really it was something else, something I still don’t know how to identify.

So I need to go easier on the ladies. They’re only doing what they’re doing out of protection. It makes sense. I just wish they could see that I don’t like it either.

Another time, I was also friends with both wife and husband. He and I would have long talks about politics and the world, my usual favorite conversation pieces. It was after a major heartbreak. He felt safe, married with a small child, another one on the way. I was very young then, my long hair beautiful, I’m sure my heartbrokenness was attractive in it’s own way. Heartbreak can do that, when we aren’t really looking for anything, and missing someone.

I came over to drop a birthday present for her, a fellow Virgo. Her birthday was at the end of August though - how I remember this, I have no idea - and they all kissed on the lips in that family, which I found a little disconcerting. He answered the door that time, and gave me a kiss right on the lips. I was smitten with him of course. A few years older, smart, worldly, totally safe in my eyes. Always that safety. So many triangulations littering my past, that I could probably tell stories of them all day long in here and still not cover them all.

(Be careful how you raise your kids, peeps, that shit can last a lifetime, unless the toxic patterns are interrupted, always my goal.)

He and I started in on our usual banter, debating something or another. I was excited to give her my gift. I can still see it in my mind - a book on herbal medicine, something I’ve always wanted to study, I met with my new chef person yesterday and told her I want to get into more herbal teas, she is totally down, she is worried about me eating too much sugar and wants to focus on savory meals, essentially a stranger, more worried about my sugar intake and what I’m consuming than….

Anyway, she went off, on him, but kind of also on me. They were a bit older, nearly 30? Or maybe she was turning 30 years old, I can’t remember. I don’t remember the full rant but I remember her calling me a whipper snapper (she was not from America, neither was he, lending that worldly air about him), essentially chewing us both out for our friendship and the way we easily slid into our usual banter.

That was probably the first time. The first of many. I was horrified. I felt terrible. I got up soon after and left. He and I wisely not talking much at gatherings in the future - they were part of my friend group, though I’m sure I had to slowly fade away, again first of many - my friendship with him didn’t survive that chew out.

I guess they’re smart these women. They’re still together. That tiny child of theirs now in her twenties. Such a cute kid.

I forget about these things. I have an idea of what I’ll share in here, but then all this other crap comes out, I’m literally discovering what I’ll write in real time. it’s so strange. I used to tell stories to the big kids when they were small. I’d have them decide on the characters and basic things like, they’re in a candied forest or a little girl with a magic box, always some sort of sci fi or magic in the story, of course, I can’t help it and they love it, and I’d just start talking, a story coming out of me, without me knowing what would come next. They’d beg and beg: tell us more stories.

But like in here, it would tire me, wear me out. The channeling of the words, exhausts me.

Now, they spend so much time looking at their phones, I have to insist they put them away since my time with them is always too short, so precious now, as they grow into their adult selves. I miss the days where they’d sit in my lap, still, looking up at me with such adoration, and beg for another story.

One kid sat on my lap this past weekend, and I knew that time was over. I’m too small now, her too big. She’ll pass me by soon enough, they don’t understand yet that their little auntie is the size of an adolescent girl now, not hard to pass on by. I used to joke with one of the 10 year olds and say: when you’re ten, you’ll probably be my size!

And lo and behold.

Time.

Such a strange thing.

Really, that’s the most precious resource of all. Money. I see now, unless, we really work at it, money can make us weak. Afraid. Allows us to hide.

There’s a scene in Mr. Robot - which I really enjoyed until I don’t know what happened but I stopped watching dark shows like that. I think when my life entered so much darkness, I didn’t find anything entertaining and fun about dark shows - where the main character, what an amazing actor he is, I still haven’t seen Bohemian Rhapsody dang those are hard to spell, long movies like that have been hard for me like books, I should try again, I’m determined to force my brain to take on longer forms of media now, especially books, I’m too curious about too many topics and I can’t take the break from books any longer, my longest love, my books, the thing that’s gotten me through so many hard times, being an avid book reader has always made me feel safe in a complicated world, I’d get lost in the stories, now I get lost in my own stories, I suppose that was always the goal… - and he meets with a Chinese hacker.

The hacker puts out a timer and says he has only so many minutes, because he wisely understood that time is the most precious commodity.

And yet people waste mine all of the time, even though I likely have far less minutes than them on this planet. Expecting me to do so much, too much, in a broken body, because I’m disabled and weak, and don’t have a pile of money in the bank.

Baffling.

So many people at the top of the food chain baffle me.

They think I’m so weird and I’m always thinking: i’m not the weird one here but ok.

(Julie, you do know you can’t get sucked in a computer right? If i didn’t adore him so much, I might have responded and said really slowly: you do realize I’m not the one who sounds stupid in this conversation, right? RIGHT? Him, brilliant, of course, too bright sometimes for the regular workings of the world. Forgot my birthday yesterday, I can’t ever stay mad at him, I found a photo when we were small recently, we look the same age, though we’re not, smushed up against each other, our hands on top of each other, and I smiled, because I know why I can’t stay mad at him, that sweet smile of his, always squashing whatever frustration I feel, because he never, ever intends to hurt, he is just living so much in his head, that mind of his, I understand all too well, because it’s so similar to mine.)

The story. Ugh.

I saw the author’s name on the book in the book store and the first line of the story came to me, so crude, look away p, you won’t like this one.

I fucked a guy named Yuval once.

He had long wavy hair, some of it bleached blond by the sun. He was a foreigner, my crack for many years, but now, much less so. Too many tries that failed, I steer clear most of the time. No offense to my foreign friends, but I made too many mistakes.

We had what should have been a one-night stand, and here is the braggy part, the reason why women have every right to be irritated with me, after a lifetime of feeling baffled, I feel stupid now, realizing how I must have appeared to so many, though again, I hated it, I wanted only to be like everyone else.

I rarely did that. Slept with someone right away. I know some will find that hard to believe. Though if you look at my fertile family and understand my issue around germs, it should be easier to understand and believe.

I didn’t want any diseases or a baby with a rando.

I don’t think THAT should be hard to believe.

He was a friend of a friend, visiting from another country in New York City. I couldn’t remember when this happened at first, but as the details started surfacing last night, as I walked on the treadmill and read my new book - something I’m good at because I used to read on the treadmill at that old JCC job, so that’s five years of practicing reading on a treadmill, even running! People would comment on it: how can you read and run at the same time?

I’d shrug and say, I don’t know, it’s like my body can do one task and my eyes and brain can do another. That Marv gene strong, stronger than people have ever realized.

Hell stronger than I realized until I find myself doing strange exercises at midnight in the kitchen as I consume more fluids in an hour than most people drink in several days. I’ve learned now that if food feels stuck, I just need to keep drinking, a LOT, the fluid connection to my gut still a mystery to me, I’ll discover it eventually, I must, but until then I just do what works. I really do need to keep a lab book and record my discoveries.

When I dance now…well, let’s just say even I’m surprised by what I can do, how my body can bend, it’s never been this limber before. I tried doing the splits in high school, I’d practice every night, I wanted to be on drill team so badly, but failed at the two try outs my first two years of high school.

I’ve never been able to memorize another person’s dance moves very well.

Plus, the hair.

I didn’t fit in, was what I told myself, but who knows.

It was for the best, that path, with the popular girls, wasn’t for me.

But I wanted it badly enough that I’d try to do the splits for a very long time.

I’m still at that point now that I could never get past, but I try. Mostly because it feels good. But also, because I’d like to do some ballerina moves.

Ugh, I’m putting off my story.

So we had an amazing night. Like really amazing.

He left, I went on with my life.

My friend that I met him through - in that Guinness group - said he was back in town.

I remember being super nervous, of course. I can’t remember if there was weirdness because of my strange thing with Guinness. It was only as I started letting the story re-surface last night that I pegged the time.

It must have been August, 2004.

I remember because my sister was going through chemotherapy back in Seattle for colon cancer.

She was only 27 years old and I was a mess about it. I ran like a demon on the treadmill that entire period. And took boxing classes, a healthy way to handle my angst.

And of course, I drank.

Not so healthy.

Nobody warned me that he’d cut his hair. I’d only met him one night! Oh, I should disclose why I’ve only had one official one night stand in my life.

They’d come back.

I know I know. But they did! The only time I was successful at it, I didn’t tell him my last name, it must have been around the same time, or I guess the year before. I met that one the night I sang karaoke in Orange County, visiting friends. I remember how old I was because when I got on stage, I said loudly into the microphone: I’m 32 years old and I’m a karaoke virgin!

The whole bar cheered and I made my friend Jen get on stage and sing Me and Bobby McGee together. I met my only real one-night stand at the bar, when he turned and said: karaoke virgin, huh? And gave me a sly smile. He wasn’t hot by any means, I remember he had big ears, totally typical dude. He sold, I think, air conditioning vents and was in town on business. Damn I didn’t know this would come out, geezus, why is ALL THIS SHIT COMING OUT NOW. His name was Doug and it was a fun night.

Never mattered to me if they were traditionally cute or anything. It was all in the smile and the chemistry.

He was so cute about it, he wanted to see me again! I wouldn’t give him any info.

So back to Yuval. Which I think is safe to share his name, i couldn’t find him in my friend’s FB list, though I’m ashamed to admit, I don’t quite remember what he looked like, which we’ll get to. Plus Yuval is a very common name in his home country. Akin to Steve or Joe.

He came back through town with his hair cut short! But there was ANOTHER guy at the party/gathering - I don’t know where Guinness was, I don’t remember him being there, but he technically should have been, this was at the end of my time in this group so maybe he wisely stayed at school after our disastrous whatever it was, ending I suppose - a random guy, that had long hair!!!! And I got all confused.

Ends up Yuval had cut his hair super short, was wearing a black button down and taken a job in the tech industry - I think he was also a musician, so best possible combo for me, creative and tech smart - he’d rented an apartment nearby. He made it pretty clear he wanted to start hanging out. I think my friend told me that as well, though there was interference again, some manipulation if you will, that set off a cascade of events that I’m embarrassed to share.

I was scared, and confused. So I started drinking! I remember what I was wearing - clothes I’d bought in Brazil where I’d gone earlier in the year. I was super fit, probably looked hot because I was running and boxing so much, but felt like a mess. I was terrified for my sister, I felt guilty for not being at home with her, though we’d all decided there was no point in me giving up my culinary director job to go home and watch her go through this, but I still felt bad.

I don’t remember all of the details. I just remember that we all ended up at a bar, and someone whispered something to me that freaked me out. I got mad. And I did something that I still feel bad about.

I’m not a violent person. I’d never, ever hurt anyone intentionally (unless consented I suppose, I should add that caveat and get woke about that) and in the grand scheme of things, this was nothing. As far as I know, this was the only time I used my strength. I bumped his shoulder on the way out of the bar, hard. Those boxing shoulders. My five foot tall boxing shoulders.

I think he came out after me and asked what was going on. I can’t remember what was whispered to me that made me so mad!

I think he revealed - and I could have this wrong, so forgive me - that he kind of was hoping we’d get together that night, and I think implied that he wanted to date me. He mentioned this nice apartment he now had. OMG. I was such a mess that this terrified me, of course.

See, I was hung up on someone else from his country. Someone I’d met when I was there - the last time I visited there was 2004 so it all came to me last night - a total dick. The guy that I had the sex dungeon dream about!

The one that was just using me for hooking up.

So of course, I got hung up on him, and fucked up the possibility of being with this sweet guy who I had amazing chemistry with, in and out of the bedroom.

I never saw him again. I think I stalked off.

I didn’t hang out with that group anymore. I quit drinking for awhile. Threw myself into my work. I think this must have been around the time that I started using work as my way to hide from the world, hide from my feelings. Work or alcohol. Those were my addictions.

I’ll admit it now.

Addiction, for me, was a way to hide, to deal with the feelings I couldn’t handle.

If I was wearing that shirt from Brazil and in really good shape, then it must have also been around the time that I went on that weird date with the old guy friend who brought the other girl along. That was my uniform for that year.

So I was burned out on dudes - not the first time in my life, that’s for sure - and I just hid.

I never saw or heard from Yuval again. There was no texting then, or it was brand new, there was no Whatsapp, or Instagram or Facebook or a million ways to contact someone and say: hey I’m so sorry I fucked up, can I take you to coffee and apologize? And explain what’s going on in my family so that you can better understand why I’m a bit of a mess?

I doubt I’d be that mature even if I’d had a way to contact him.

Mortified. That’s how I feel remembering all of this.

Mortification. Shame. Embarrassment.

Such a sweet dude, that one. I don’t remember having feelings or anything but that makes sense given the short amount of time I knew him.

But there could have been, I suppose.

He probably met some other woman, someone who wasn’t a mess, wasn’t an alcoholic - I should just admit this here and now, right, I should say it out loud because that’s what I was in those years, just because I could quit easily and didn’t need to join a group or say it out loud in order to get clean doesn’t mean that’s not what I was so I have to own that, maybe that’s why the stories are coming out, maybe that’s why this era keeps tugging at me, driving me batty until I’ll confess the words, spitting them up, at this awkward angle in my bed because my elderly cat insists on sitting on my lap and how can I deny him the comfort of my body when it also brings me comfort and I have no idea how long I have left with him, now he’s moved and wants attention, he never used to be so needy, but that’s what happens when our bodies break down, when we know our time might be coming to an end, my dad let me fuss over him at the end, in a way that he wouldn’t have before, letting me make him tea even when he’d never been a tea drinker. I broke down crying for him last night, stretching in the living room, on my 48th birthday, with just the photo of him at the warehouse staring down at me, and his obituary which sits right next to it on the mantle, in front of the mirror still. I think my mom likes having it there, as do I.

He’s still in the living room that way.

I don’t know. I don’t know anything. Have I just admitted I had some alcoholic years? Have I just admitted that I’ve had only one night stand in my life?

People have made so many assumptions about me and my sex life for years - it wasn’t that hard, I’m sure, since the “single woman” has so many tropes working against her, and being a sex maniac is one of them, when really I was this shy, insecure woman that would read romance novels, straight boring romance novels that took place in the past so I could get some history lessons (I realized later that calling myself a “ninny” was kind of a give away).

I still miss my dad. He should have been around these past couple of days, giving me his awkward side dad hug, wishing me a happy birthday. Glad that gene hadn’t killed me off yet.

But instead it killed him off instead.

And me, worn thin, from so many hits, sitting alone in the living room, stretching, because I’d given up the opportunity to have a wild night out by going out of town last week, I knew this, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

I should be more embarrassed by all these confessions. Ones that I don’t see myself deleting.

I’ve been feeling stronger than I have in awhile, but now, I just let the tears roll down my face, as I share these mortifications. These stories that won’t let me sleep peacefully, an elderly cat yowling at the foot of my bed, hungry and confused. He gets so confused these days.

Like my dad those last months.

We think something might have happened last summer. I remember being confused by his confusion, around this time. The cancer growing in his lungs, but we didn’t know it. There was a spot in his brain too - that we never had time to explore, so many other things happening.

Who knows. Who knows how it could have played out differently if I hadn’t gotten so sick in the winter. If I’d had more help, and didn’t get so weak that I couldn’t go to doctor appointments with him. Or use whatever it is that I’d used in the past (MOM YOU WILL LIVE, DAD YOU WILL LIVE).

The new chef person yesterday said: you’re so strong for what you’ve gone through!

I said: I didn’t look like this a few months ago. I was pale, and my weight was lower, only by a little on the scale, but it was apparent on my small frame.

I look at the photo I put up for my birthday and I see my much smaller hips and I think: dang, this is me UP on my weight, before my trip. This is me round and curvy in this iteration. And still so sleight.

I started doing my arm weights again last night and my leg lifts too, even some sit ups with my 8 pound medicine ball. I used to use that 8 pound medicine ball, over and over and over at the JCC gym. Gd I was so freaking strong back then. I hate that I did that shoulder thing - it’s the only time I’ve ever used physical strength against a guy, and I feel such shame around it now. I doubt he even remembers it, but I hate that I did it. Drunk and mad and confused, even then, I’d never do that sort of thing. Never raised a hand against any child, ever.

I guess this is my confessional in here.

A place to unload these mortifications, to make sense of it all.

My new chef is determined to get me better calories. I have a list of things for C, the woman who will come more frequently, she’s on her way now to help me unpack and do laundry. I was so relieved when I realized she could help me do that. I already didn’t go to bed until 2am. Normally, I would have stayed up even later doing those tasks.

If I do something like go to dessert for the evening - something able bodied people do without a thought - it pushes back my whole schedule, and means I have to do basic household tasks at 3am, because my body was too tired to get up and take care of it during the day time.

I feel so strange admitting all of these things. I worry that the kind one will stumble across what I wrote and think I’m bananas. I worry that my old friend, who has been so sweet, will realize I mentioned those things that happened in her apartment with the guys, I worry about these things.

But then, this new version of me is like fuck it. If I want to be this rock and roll version, I can’t worry about those things. I can’t worry that sharing these things will impact whatever. The words want out, and like I’ve said so many times, they hold me hostage until I release them.

Maybe I am bananas. Maybe that’s what I’ve been working toward my whole life, is becoming that eccentric artist punk rock self that says bold things, and confesses addictions, and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Who wants a perfectly curated feed anymore? Not me.

It’s harder than I thought, though, becoming this version of me. Each layer of my facade being peeled back, hurts like fucking hell, stripping those zombie bandages off my body, the ones that hid my true self, which hurts in other ways, but not like revealing these things for the first time.

I almost always feel relief later. Once it’s out, once that new part of my body is exposed, my real skin, my real feelings, my real thoughts, my real way of thinking and talking in my head, out in the world.

But the skin is soft now, pale, veal-like, with a tenderness that isn’t quite ready for the onslaught of love and hate, and how do we have a fucking d-bag in the Whitehouse who says things about a lovely human being like Chrissy Tiegen?

It’s not like the old days, where you become big, and are somewhat inoculated from the hatred. Only if the paparazzi caught you doing something, then and only then.

Now.

All of you have to do is just be a woman with a following and the courage to speak up, and you’ll be hated by so many.

I follow a woman, Melissa Blake, I met her in a writer’s Facebook group and loved her writing and her wit, and her energy - all of it. She has a physical disability - which means the rest of the world doesn’t “get” her shell. I find this so odd, still. Don’t they read what she is saying? Her thoughts on the world? She is so fucking cool!!! SO FUCKING COOL!

Well, she shared some awesome selfies on Twitter after someone said she was so ugly, she shouldn’t post photos.

Her following grew by the thousands overnight.

It is time. Finally. For the bullied to grow into their superhero selves. For the marginalized to step into leadership. For the downtrodden to get their day in the sun.

I see her and I’m so fucking proud to be part of the disabled community. Honored. Humbled. So humbled.

How can I ever be that brave, I wonder? I’ve been blessed with so much. I’ve got so many advantages.

How can I keep myself small?

Brene Brown said that in her first, and most famous, TED Talk.

Why am I keeping myself and my work small? she asked herself.

Why indeed.

I was given this shell, this stupid annoying shell, that “looks” a certain way. I’ve taken very, very good care of it, and that’s something. But really, it was just the luck of the genetic draw. Both the good and the bad, this shell.

People are listening now. If Melissa’s following grew by like 30,000 overnight, or something crazy like that, then there is a hunger for realness, for honesty, for authenticity. She got a call from a book publisher and BBC for that post!

Bravery and boldness is often rewarded.

But the hate and the struggle and the pain that one must endure to arrive at that place of bravery and boldness is not so easy.

How many dragons must one slay? How many climbs up a windy mountain alone? How many arrows shot?

Before they can find their hero within.

So many beautiful people I know have tried. Tried and failed. To get what Melissa got because of her courage and boldness.

They thought they deserved it. They thought they wouldn’t have to work that hard for it.

They thought they were entitled to it.

Because they were blessed by a beautiful shell and an easy comfortable life with financial security beyond.

They all failed.

Because they were unwilling to work that hard. To sweat. To endure. To be trolled to the point that Melissa clearly didn’t give a fuck anymore, and just went for it.

Courage.

Boldness.

Stamina.

So rare. So hard to find in ourselves. Even when we want it so badly.

Not the followers.

The true courage. I fake mine all of the time.

I don’t want to fake it anymore. I want to FEEL courageous. I want to FEEL bold. I want to FEEL strong enough to endure whatever is coming next.

What happened to her is both my greatest fear and my greatest wish. One story, one post, one video, can catapult you to another level that was not possible 10, 20 years ago. There were so many hoops. So many people stopping marginalized and women, and so many from sharing their true selves.

Now.

We can say anything at any time.

And anything can result from it.

I must go. I have a hungry yowling cat and C about to arrive.

I’m an old lady now that has to have help doing laundry. I must make peace with that.

I’m probably a recovering alcoholic. There I said it out loud.

I’m probably a lot of things that I would not admit for so many years.

I guess I discover myself in this blog.

Who’d thunk when I started it in February. Scared out of my mind, the mottling and my dad’s cough, still un-discovered.

That this would be where I’d find myself. Even the parts of me that I wish I didn’t have to find.

The only way out is through.

The only way to where I need to go - whatever it is, and believe me when I say I’m perfectly fine if nothing comes of any of this, if my following stays in this range, and I get to be a regular human being and eventually find a way to settle up north, with a small garden, and maybe a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Or both. Who knows.

I know nothing.

I had to write in a fucking blog to figure out that I was an alcoholic, and had mean years, and who I loved, and who I struggle with, and what I am, in the dark places in my mind and heart.

But it’s real, at least. Everything here is real. It’s hard to face so many things about myself that I’m not proud of, even harder to recognize that the sum of all these stories is how I ended up here, living in this space, laying in this bed. Maybe. Maybe I would have still ended up here, I really think I would have because I do feel this is my dharma in so many ways, me looking at myself in the mirror now, unrecognizable even to myself.

Who is this slight woman with the mohawk staring back at me?

Which version is the real me? That other woman I was before?

Or is this the truer self? The badass self, the lonely self, the regretful self, all of it.

The good, the bad, the ugly.

I’ll say what needs to be say.

Always, the designated asshole.

Let’s see if I can manage this next chapter without losing my mind. I have no idea how I still have it now.

My new chef said: your mind, you have such an amazing mind.

I’d known her in person for roughly an hour when she said that.

She also said: you are alive because your WILL to live is so strong.

I said: thank you! Thank you for recognizing that, for acknowledging that.

I am alive because I’ve decided to live.

What comes next, I don’t know.

But I think I’m about ready for it.

Your embarrassed friend,

Jules

No time to edit today. It goes up without it, raw and real, just me and my weird ass writing.