All of Us, Together

WHAT. THE. FUCK. 2020?

How hard can a year be? We’re not halfway through this one and wow. Just a gigantic motherfucking wow…for all of us.

I mean, peeps all over the world are having to be reminded to wash their hands, (that we were taught to do as wee lads, so a major fail on the adults in this world) as well as a reminder in the harshest way to treat others the way you want to be treated (as we were also taught as kids, shame the fuck on us).

Wash your hands. Live by the Golden Rule.

Some of you didn’t watch this as a kid and it shows.

Collectively, the world is mourning what was life before fucking Rona. There is going to be a before Rona and after Rona. Whether you want it to or not, your life will never be the same. That’s a grieving process and it’s really fucking difficult to grieve something that is still alive. No matter your thoughts on the pandemic – whether you are practicing wise caution, freaked the fuck out or carrying on as nothing is going on around you.

Maybe you know someone who died from COVID. Maybe you contracted COVID and will have lasting aftermath in your body forever. Maybe you lost your livelihood, your business, your house, some relationships, missed prom, rescheduled your wedding, virtually graduated from school, or/and lost your goddamn mind.

This pandemic is real whether you know someone who has been touched by it or not.

RIP Lindsey. 11/23/87 – 3/23/20

Whatever the case may be, When All This Is Over (WATIO) there will be a new normal. Folks may be wearing masks in public forever.

Protection from a pandemic. But make it fashion.

Restaurants and businesses may not be at full capacity for a while. The hard part of this process is the unknown. And lack of leadership in this country. But know that whatever and however you feel Rona is being handled in America, you’re processing some sort of grief about it.

Hello yes, this is Karen. I would like to speak with a manager about the new fucking normal. Thanks.

While America was still thick in the adjustment of Rona, a Black man by the name of George Floyd was murdered on Memorial Day by a Minneapolis police officer.

This injustice at the hands of authority sent should have set your stomach on fire. And yet, Black men being killed by law enforcement is not new and we Americans know that. Fuck, the entire world knows it.

America started that week with New York City resident Amy Cooper, a White woman, calling the cops after a bird watching Christian Cooper (not related) asked her to put her dog on a leash. In Central Park, where leashes on dogs are required (and we all know how I fucking feel about dogs not on leashes). Her exact words to Christian Cooper, who was videoing the episode for his own protection, no doubt:

“I’m taking a picture and calling the cops,” Amy Cooper is heard saying in the video. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”

HE ASKED HER TO LEASH HER FUCKING DOG IN A PARK WHERE IT’S REQUIRED.

What a fucking ass clown.

How many times have White people called the cops on Black people for mundane, ordinary things? It is fucking outrageous.

America started the week with Amy Cooper. America ended that week with police officer Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd over a $20 bill, coming freshly off murders of Ahmad Arbery while jogging in broad daylight to Breonna Taylor being shot eight times in her own home.

I believe that when George Floyd called out for his mama in his dying breaths, it was instinctual because his mother had died a few years prior. He wanted her comfort. I think all of us who have a mama want her when we’re sick, scared, vulnerable, dying.

While I haven’t carried a child in my own belly, I have maternal instincts. I know that I love with my entire being, unconditionally. We are all aware that I love my fur babies as if I had birthed them myself and I would honestly, die for them.

But there are also two little kids that my world revolve around and I couldn’t live without either one of them in my life. I would burn the entire world to ashes if anything resembling a George Floyd situation happened to them and lay my life down to protect them from growing up in fear of their lives for daily tasks. I assume you would do the same for your children no matter what the color of their skin.

Can you, as a White person reading this, imagine telling your five-year-old that when they see a police officer they should immediately put their hands up? No. Because as White children, we are told to go to a police officer for help or if we see something bad happening for our protection.

Three years from learning to put their hands up if a police officer approaches them.

When does this little boy become a threat to society in America?

Too cute?

When is it not safe for him to jog on his own?

Still too cute?

What if he has his ball cap on the wrong way?

What about now?

What about her?

Will she always be safe in her own home?

Racism is real, obviously alive, rampant, and raging in America – even if you are not a racist. My eyes were forced open to my own ignorance of it being ever-present since 2017. When my sister called to tell me that White frat boys in khaki shorts and golf shirts were marching with the KKK in Charlottesville, VA, I first thought the images my brain was trying to absorb must be scenes from another country.

White privilege is real. And if you’re a White person in America, you are privileged simply by the color of your skin. It doesn’t mean you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth or didn’t work your ass off to get where you are today or have unspeakable shit happen to you. It just means that you had a leg up. History has just shown us that the system is a hell of a lot more flawed in favor of White privilege when it comes to police officers, law enforcement in general, and the judicial system.

Because I am White I can do the following without fear of being killed:

This is especially true if you are a White man in America.

The Constitution was written by White men, for White men with no consideration of any other race or sex in 1789. It doesn’t mean it hasn’t been amended and adapted over time of course but that’s where our country as we know it began. It aided America’s history of systemic racism.

Police brutality is real even though you and I both know outstanding police officers. Stand up citizens serving their communities. I have the utmost and mad respect for people who choose to be a cop. But that still doesn’t mean there aren’t bad ones that make horrible choices and as we are finding out, have had disciplinary problems, yet still allowed to work and end up killing innocent people ( Breonna Taylor officer Brett Hankison was and still currently accused in an ongoing civil lawsuit in federal court regarding harassment and George Floyd’s murderer had 17 misconduct complaints and still at work). What kind of system allows behavioral misconduct where you can still carry a gun and work the streets? I have three write-ups and I’m out at an office desk job.

I have heard a lot of my friends say “I just don’t pay attention to it,” regarding the Black Lives Matter movement in America and that is unacceptable. Because it is White people who have the most to learn and comprehend. Education is where we can start. Uncomfortable conversations will be required to move forward. And that’s all OK. This doesn’t mean you are a racist.

It’s imperative that we listen. We learn. We absorb. We educate ourselves and others. Because when it boils down to it, this is a very black and white matter. You are racist or you are not.

White Americans can and must do better. Show the fuck up for one another. To live by the simplest of all – the Golden Rule. How and why is that so fucking hard?

See something, say something.

This isn’t the kind of country in which any kid should grow up.

@repvaldemings

We can do better. We must do better. We owe it to our future generations to be better.

It’s going to take all of us, together.

Black Lives Matter.

CBXB
CBXB!

 

 

 

 

Buy Me a Drink

 

 

The Before and After of Rape

Today is the four year anniversary of my rape – a rapeversary if you will. Even as I try to forget, my body and mind are constant companions leading up to this dreaded fucking day, kicking my PTSD into the highest of all gears. I wish there was a WD-40 for the body.

******************************************************************

One thousand, four hundred and sixty days ago, as I sat with my ass cheeks on thin paper, protecting me from any other prior ass cheeks that unfortunately found themselves sitting on the same exam table in the rape kit performance room, the overwhelming fumes of bleach almost resurrected me from the protective shock in which my body had retreated.

“Do you want a rape advocate?” Detective Stupka (soon-to-be renamed Cuntka) questioned me after she recorded my statement of the illegal, intrusive sexual assault that took place hours earlier on my best friend’s couch. I couldn’t recall Shane the Rapist’s last name (that was listed in my phone, which was dead from being at the hospital waiting for eight hours), how was I able to know if I needed an advocate? What was an advocate? Did I need one? Detective Soon-to-Be Cuntka said she could not advise me and I somehow communicated that I did, in fact, want an advocate.

Does this look like the face of a person who knows what they need?

When Barbie the advocate tenderly walked into the room, careful not to touch me (when I just wanted her to sweep me up in her arms and tell me everything was gonna be OK – although that would have been a disservice on her part because nothing about being raped is ever OK, so, therefore, no hug took place). She spoke with the same amount of tenderness she used when she was inching toward me.

Barbie resembled more of a Skipper than the actual Barbie doll with a petite frame, carrying a Louis Vuitton bag (that naturally, I admired and wondered if she had a phone charger tucked inside I could use) and was so nice in a day full of shit. After a few minutes of fill-in-what-horrible-thing happened to you, she looked at me straight in the eye and said, “Honey, there is going to be a before rape and an after rape moving forward in your life.”

It was one of those moments that you just know what’s being said is true, no matter how much you want it to be a lie.

Immediate thoughts on life after rape.

Barbie left the room to sit with Dada CBXB who was most likely wondering how in the fuck his Friday turned out so inexplicable. I sat ass cheeks to thin paper, waiting for the rape kit exam to commence after yet again being hazy on decision making when asked, “Do you want the Plan B pill? Did he wear a condom? Do you want to take the HIV preventative even though it will rob you of 30 days of your life since its effects are so brutal? Do you want to be tested for every STD in which science is aware? Have you eaten anything today? Here are crackers to take with the handful of pills we are giving you.”

I seriously cannot compute.

Upon completion of my rape kit, I was handed a folder of information, with numbers to national hotlines I could call, pamphlets of what to expect in the coming days, and instructions of when to take the next round of pills to rid my body of any other foreign substance left behind when Shane the Rapist raped me.

My life after rape began.

I had no inkling of what the fuck I was up against.

Yes, hello. I’m calling from the shitter because my world is about to become a literal shit show. I would like to exchange my life, please.

Nobody wants to be in this club. Nobody wants to be an expert on matters in which we never want to be associated. But rape happens. And there I was and here I am.

I miss my pre-rape life in the way your heart breaks when someone your world revolved around dies. The me I’d always known, died on January 29, 2016, and I had no idea how to bring myself back to life. Thing is, I was still breathing. I wasn’t dead. I just had no feeling left inside, which made me feel like a shell. Hollow, empty and alone.

A fucking road map would be nice.

Friends that I thought would be by my side scattered. Jdub, whose boyfriend raped me, believed him. I stopped hearing from friends that were also friends with Jdub. A shell – feeling hollow, empty, alone.

Thanks for believing me.

The sex crimes department was supposed to be working for me, the victim of a rape. Detective Cuntka told me on March 7, 2016 over the phone that I was one of 29 other cases she was working on. This was a he said/she said case so not much will come of it. Oh sorry, this is my first time being raped and dealing with anything that accompanies. Please excuse my incessant questions about how this shit works – why are my pajamas I was raped in still at my Mini Mase? Have you talked to my ex-friend Jdub? Have you talked to Shane the Rapist? Why do you want me to try to reach out and call Shane the Rapist? Can you give me any idea or information as to how this process is conducted? The constant follow up left me a shell – hollow, empty, alone.

Daily routines ceased existing. Brushing my chompers was a chore. Washing my hair happened if I found a living creature (other than a cat) in it. No more wearing make up. No lipstick. No polish on my talons.

This is my version of silent screams for help.

No more hot yoga. No more running. No activities where I was alone with my own thoughts. I couldn’t get off of the couch and into my bed for six months to sleep, which is still a hard audience for my body to captivate, further exacerbating the endless cycle of depression, anxiety, nerves, and self-loathing empty, hollow shell of what I once was.

Get back on the bench, Bitch.

Therapy has given me life-saving coping mechanisms. Medicines have made my daily life manageable. The kindness of human beings has been astounding and reinstated the belief that simple acts and words of love can do some serious healing. The outpouring of support once I was able to openly talk about my rape case after the grand jury found insufficient evidence to take Shane the Rapist to trial was astonishing.

No shame in my pill game.

Now more than ever, I understand that we all carry invisible things. Others can’t see your shame.

Others can’t see your guilt.  Did I somehow ask for it?

Others can’t see the blame you put on yourself every single second, minute, hour, day, month, year.

Others can’t see mental anguish caused by society and the normalcy of rape culture.

Judgment is a fucking beast and after rape, it becomes an unwanted daily acquaintance at your breakfast, lunch, and supper table.

One thing I know to be true is that people who love you – really love you for you, don’t waiver. It’s been my family, my rock-solid friends, the folks who have come to my rescue via virtual friendships, the people who have re-entered my life to lift me up when I was sure I was going to drown…that all exists.

Reminders on therapy Thursday.

Here I am four years later, my heart beating the last 1,460 days, feeling alive again.

I did not understand that grief is an emotion that exists even when life still is within. I died but I lived.

Daily reading on my bathroom mirror.

When I think about the people I love and the fur babies I’ve lost, I choose to celebrate them. Drink their favorite drinks, watch a favorite movie, look at photos, read old cards, love on my current Pussy Posse, share fucking funny stories with others that loved them, too. After forfuckingever four years, I am ready to start celebrating myself again.

I’m declaring January 29th the official International Day of the Badass who is making all things related to rape her bitch.

“I won’t back down. I will stand my ground.” – Tom Petty

Who wants to join this bitch in the aftermath?

Happy International Day of the Badass.

CBXB

Too In Love to Let It Go

It’s fucking insane that my kick ass Aunt Crazy Pants has been partying up above for over 700 days now. This weekend, it will be two years since she went to bicker with her mother up above (They seriously used to keep track of who called who last – and reported it to me every time I spoke to either one of them. Thinking about it now, I should have just conducted a three way call and then they would have been even.)

No shit. Eleven days since you last spoke? Did you know the phone works both ways?

I still forget and go to pick up the phone to text or call and then remember I can only communicate via the red bird, a cardinal.  I think about ACP every day (I mean, I do have her signature tattooed on my wrist) but I especially think about her during my beloved Iowa State Fair, which just took place at the beginning of August. After my folks moved to Nashville, ACP would always be my state fair side kick unabashedly wearing fucking Crocs (so called “shoes” that I hate with a passion) on her feet while she humored me on my yearly 12 hour day of fair festivities (present when the cannon goes off in the morning until the fireworks boom after the nightly concert at the Grandstand).

She also poured water over her head when she was hot.

I haven’t been back to the Iowa State Fair since ACP passed and it will be bittersweet when I get to go again. But she relayed the torch to R. Nasty who was keen to accompany ACP and me to the fair in past years even though it was most likely the worst days of his life. Now, he gets me all to himself as I force him to eat everything in sight, ride the death traps carnies assemble (although they took the double ferris wheel away and I AM NOT OK WITH IT) and visit every.single.livestock barn.

Two peas in a forced fair pod.

I’ve really been missing her beyond lately. It’s comforting to a degree knowing that she’s with her folks, other family members and all of my fur balls (who are most likely mauling her) that passed before ACP. While our family celebrates her life while we’re still living on, it doesn’t make the void any less painful. I miss the cards she used to mail me. I miss her texts that made no fucking sense (so I’d end up having to call her anyway to find out what the fuck she was talking about). I miss cheering her up on what she called her ‘blue’ days. I miss making her laugh until she pissed her pants (super easy). I miss her Christmas Village she set up every year that was literally the size of a small town. I miss laughing with her. She was my second mom.

Whenever I hear the song “Fix You” by Coldplay from their X&Y album, I think of ACP and the fucking cancer that stole her life waaaaaaaaay too soon (the chicks on her side of the family easily live to at least 90 years young. This means I’m going to need a helluva lotta Botox). If you haven’t heard the song or need a refresher, stop what you’re doing and go listen to it or click on the highlighted Fix You words above for a link to the video. I’ve always loved the song but it’s taken on a new meaning for me since ACP passed.

When she received her unfuckingfair diagnosis, her peeps rallied and while we couldn’t fix or take the pain away from her, we could provide happy experiences for her remaining time and and memories for her to leave with us. She tried her best to stay as long as she could here because she was insanely in love with her kids, grandkids, family, friends and was at a point in life where she was positively starting over.

Positive pants.

In honor of Aunt Crazy Pants, turn your radio (or really these days, your iPhone) up, raise those gin rickey’s (or Black Velvet and Diet 7Up, whichever you’re feeling) high in the air, as we celebrate how much we miss her and hate the fuck out of cancer in my mixed lyric rendition of the song.

Fix You

When you try your best

But you don’t succeed

When you get what you want

But not what you need

When you feel so tired

But you can’t sleep

Stuck in reverse

And high up above

Or down below

When you’re too in love

To let it go

But if you never try

You’ll never know

Just what you’re worth

Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And we did try to fix you

Tears stream

Down your face

When you lose something you cannot replace

Tears stream

Down your face

When you lose something you can’t replace

Tears stream

 Down your face

When you lose something you cannot replace

Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And we don’t have to fix you

Love you Aunt Nancy.

Weekend Winks – Losses, Lounging and Little Things

We all know life isn’t fucking fair. There are constant small reminders of the good, fabulous, bad and ugly.

Current life status via photo.

But then there are the gigantic catastrophes that just take your breath away. Last week, with extreme suddenness, a friend, former colleague, father of three, stand up, bad ass, nicest kinda guy you know passed away. While twists and turns are inevitable, I can never fathom why bad shit happens to good people. But it does. Big Al, you will be missed beyond measure. We love you.

Support your peeps at all times, friends.

As we also all know, life moves on just as quickly as it changes. I’ve started a side hustle, pet sitting, dog walking and basically loving on all fur balls. I was beyond thankful to have a fucking cute client (I’d like to kidnap) at the mini manse for some playful diversion. He seems to take after my beloved Teddy Bear, by killing tampons and presenting them to me as presents.

Tampon terror.

The Pussy Posse is less than thrilled with some visitors but on the plus side, they can climb away from the mini manse menace.

Shedding on the clean, black laundry, avoiding tampon time. And yes, I see the typo – it’s slowly driving me crazy.

I also welcomed family into town and as I do with all visitors, being that I reside in the Bible Belt, I took him right to church.

Just kidding.

I showed him the alley door from the world-famous Ryman Auditorium (the old Grand Old Opry) where the performers used to leave the stage and head straight to the bars without being bothered by fans. Funny how I know that…

Back alley church.

We also headed to Bailey’s bar downtown Nashville to watch my Hawkeyes football with the Nashville Iowa Club.

Glitter for game day.

Touchdown tradition shots ensued – even though Dada CBXB wasn’t present, with some technology we were able to cheers together. But, it just wasn’t enough. My Hawks lost to a last second field goal scored by the Purdue Boilermakers.

Family Tradition FaceTime Fail.

So, we went to eat our emotions at Outback, a restaurant not found in small town Iowa.

We’re sorry, not sorry Sherri!

With a busy Saturday under our belts, we hung around the mini manse and enjoyed the fall weather Sunday.

Venturing out for some brunch at a new spot that I fell in love with (due to their availability of gluten free bread – what? what?!), Wild Eggs. The buffalo chicken omelette didn’t suck either.

Food coma fabulousness.

A final wine(d) down on the weekend includes bubbles and vino via lavender candlelight, as always.

Sudsy self-care Sunday.

Sometimes, it really is the little things that keep the wheels turning.

CBXB

CBXB!

 

 

 

The Lights That Guide You Home

It’s fucking insane that my kick ass Aunt Crazy Pants has been partying up above for nearly 365 days. Some moments, it feels like two years ago but mostly I still forget and think to pick up the phone to text or call and then remember I can only communicate via the red bird, a cardinal.

A song s-t-u-c-k in my brain like a worm the last couple of days has been “Fix You” by Coldplay from their X&Y album (if you haven’t heard it, stop what you’re doing and go download it or,  for those of you a tad more technologically challenged, click on the pink “Fix You” words above for a link to the video – you’re welcome. Now listen to it before reading the rest of this post).

I’ll wait.

Still waiting. (Uncle Toddy, have Gma’s second favorite grandchild help you. Mama CBXB, I will help you. Uncle Lew, you’re fucked unless Aunt Patti knows how to do it.)

OK, then.

In honor of Aunt Crazy Pants, raise those gin rickey’s (or Black Velvet and Diet 7Up, whichever you’re feeling) high in the air, as we celebrate how much we miss her and hate the fuck out of cancer in my mixed lyric rendition of the song.

Fix You

When you try your best

But you don’t succeed

When you get what you want

But not what you need

When you feel so tired

But you can’t sleep

Stuck in reverse

And high up above

Or down below

When you’re too in love

To let it go

But if you never try

You’ll never know

Just what you’re worth

Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And we did try to fix you

Tears stream

Down your face

When you lose something you cannot replace

Tears stream

Down your face

When you lose something you can’t replace

Tears stream

 Down your face

When you lose something you cannot replace

Lights will guide you home

And ignite your bones

And we don’t have to fix you

CBXB