Never Let Them See You Sweat

Yesterday, I was checking out at Barnes and Noble, excited to be getting a “real” book, when the clerk and I saw a little boy walking up to the register. When the clerk asked him how she could help him, his face crumpled , tears rolled down his chubby cheeks and he blurted out “I can’t find my Mom.” Would you rip my heart out and stomp on it please? There was no preamble, no careful choosing of words. He was terrified, but was able to supply his Mom’s first name, so the clerk used the P.A. “Brittany, please come to the front of the store.” Mom appeared very quickly and he ran to her, getting the hug he so desperately needed. Mom did not discount his fear and just said “Oh honey , I was just over there, I’m so sorry.” Good Mom. Later I thought that the clerk had been very perceptive and never used the word lost. She could have said “We have a lost little boy up front, looking for his Mom, Brittany.” The little boy was not “lost”, he didn’t need a map, he wanted his Mom.

I cried when I got to my car. After Roger died, I remembered how many times I cried and wanted my Roger. I knew he would not magically appear and hug me, or say “Oh honey, I was just over there.” I still look for Roger, every day. Adults are supposed to “filter” what we say, and control ourselves. My grief is messy, raw and can’t be filtered, and my rage needs lots of expletives to express it. My unsocial and naked feelings sometimes escape, but l try to rein them back in. Maybe instead of reining in my feelings, I need to run the horse until we are both sweaty and tired.

There are so many rules about looking like we have it all under control. Be cool and chill out, and never let them see you sweat! We even created a new word, chillax, which combines chill and relax. In the seventies, we were told to “Let it all hang out.”, and reveal our feelings. Remember Primal Scream therapy? I liked the “idea” of being real with all of my feelings, but I didn’t really live it. I didn’t let it all hang out, and I don’t think my screams qualified as primal.

When I cry, I almost always apologize for being out of control and so obviously sad. I cry when I am angry too.Tears are a one size fits all response to any out of control emotions I have. Why do so many women apologize for crying? Are we hurting anyone? Are we care taking even as we cry? Please don’t be upset, or I don’t want my tears to make you feel uncomfortable. Just a little crazy-masking ….  Men do not want to be called a “pussy” or be “pussy-whipped”, which translates to “Don’t be like a woman!” We all know this reference is not about felines. Men do not fret and they are absolutely never “aflutter”. Men are calm, cool and collected. I need a good cry…

In just a few years, the authentic little boy who cried and showed fear, will say ” I know where I am going, I am not lost and I don’t need a stupid map.” He will be the keeper of the remote because the shows you like to watch are all “stupid” and All Star Wrestling ” is a learning experience. He may even say “Please don’t cry.”

Winning is not Everything

Success is based upon a spiritual quality, a power to inspire others. Vince Lombardi
It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you played the game. Grantland Rice
Oscar Wilde: It’s not whether you win or lose, its who you can blame. (Good old Oscar)

I love to win. I want to raise my fist in the air and shout “Yes!” as many times as I can. Winning feels good, and losing not so good. I care as much about winning an argument as I care about winning a sport or game. Actually I get more satisfaction from winning an argument or a war of words. I am my intellect. I think . Descartes and I never met but I know he was talking about ME when he said “I think, therefore I am.” I wish I could get my “score” every day. How am I doing? The announcer says “Danita is sitting in second place, when will she make her move?”

Currently I am engaged in war with the board of my homeowner association. I think they are not worthy opponents, but they do have power,and I want to be the most powerful person on earth and especially in my neighborhood. I shoot my word weapons and hope for a direct hit that disables their side. I am right damnit! I want to hear them say it. I will make them dizzy with my sarcastic wit. Take that! And that! Soon they will have to admit that I am the winner of this little war. Victory will come?

As I read over what I have written, I realize that as I have aged, the”fight” in me is retreating. Victory is not as satisfying when it is celebrated alone. Who are my enemies? Being vulnerable is the real victory, and requires more courage than reacting with rage. I am Tom Cruises’ character in “Born on the 4th of July”, who returns from Vietnam a paraplegic. Lying in bed, with tears in his eyes, he asks his father “Who’s gonna love me?”. I want to hug the child I was,wipe her tears, and tell her many times she is loved and does not need to earn love. Would I have been able to hear? I probably would have struggled away from the hug, and the wise words, and went back out to the arena of life even more determined to win at all costs. After all, I had everything to lose. Who would love me if I didn’t win?

If /then- (my son is a logics instructor)- If I win, then I will be loved. Love is a result of winning anything,everything,and everywhere, all the time. “Staying Alive” is on the radio, maybe it’s the white suit that made the difference. If you don’t get this reference, then….just forget it. What I know for sure is that no one wins every time. We can withhold love from ourselves even if we are victorious and the crowd is cheering us. Maybe winning or losing is not a variable in the love equation. Love is given and received freely, or not at all . It starts with ME and grows with WE.

Stone Soup

This last Sunday May 1, was six months since Roger died on November 1, 2015. I’m  fine, really I’m fine. Just a little angry. Well to tell the truth, more than just a little angry. I want to punch walls and smug faces. If my words could be lethal weapons, that would be great too. It would be best if you didn’t tell me that I’m angry because Roger left me all alone to deal with this messy life. I will deny any connection between my rage, and Rogers’ death. People just really piss me off right now. See, I went from anger to rage in just this paragraph, and now I am crying too. This calls for some poetry.
I Hate You, Thank You

You are the perfect target
For my Rage.
A poor excuse for a man,
Or a hissing reptile
And easy to hate.
Your mouth opens only
To vomit lies and arrogance.
I will find a way, will find a way
To bring you down.
I rehearse my sarcastic comebacks
And make plans to attack.
Directing my rage, at You.
For now you are a perfect target
For my grief/ rage.
Thank you


There is a moment
when a tear fills an eye,
and the eye shimmers.
Looking out those
tear-filled eyes
my beads shimmer too.
Their roundness is blurred,
But their colors break into prisms.
I wipe my eyes,
Sure that I can see clearly now.
For awhile I miss the tears
I miss the beauty they bring
To my beads.