Love Ya, Mean It

Ah, Valentine’s Day.

Who love me? My pussies. My pussies looooooove me.

The day of love so many tend to loathe while others welcome the warm fuzzies with gigantic appetites that rival my admiration for wine and Skinny Pirates.

The feel of Love Day for certain peeps.

As a kid, I carefully crafted a Valentine’s Day mailbox for school every year (you know, back when you could celebrate shit in school without the worry of the teeniest tiniest chance of offending someone). Students weren’t required to participate but I can’t remember when a kid didn’t. Everyone in class gave everyone a Valentine. If a kid didn’t have a box my teacher (shout out to my first grade teacher, Mrs. Shawler who reads this blog!) had an extra shoebox or two wrapped in red paper. No one was left out.

Will you be mine?

I was always lucky that I had a family who liked to celebrate everything, so no holiday was ignored. Not even one that I now often hear claims that it’s “made up” for people to get gifts. (Well peeps, if you treated your loved ones “special” all the time, grand gesture days wouldn’t be needed, now would they? You could simply just get a well-meaning card or write a note from the heart any day of the year but I digress). My sister and I’d wake up at home to little Valentines on our chairs at the kitchen table, maybe along with a small box of chocolates. We were always excited for the party to take place that day at school.

Fast forward to high school when the day of admiration became a sport of sorts.

If this high school Glamour Shot doesn’t make you want to be mine, I don’t know what fucking will.

The Honor Society sold carnations to fellow students for a dollar every Valentine’s week and the members would drop the flower off to your designated recipient anonymously. Some peeps had armloads. Some had none. I just wanted a pink one.

Some girls got called to the office and paraded delivered – delivered in a vase and everything – flowers around school. It didn’t matter if it was from their dad, grandparents or boyfriend. I was one jealous bitch. Then, in an instant, that all changed.

Because I became that girl one year.

Oh hi. I got the flowers…and then some.

The Honor Society members delivered carnations during first period. I was in concert band every morning with my sweet silver Doc Severinsen trumpet at my side. My sophomore year, the doors flung open and the band instructor stopped our warm-up. A group of kids came in hauling carnations in large buckets for their soon-to-be owners. While I was hoping to get a flower or two, my eyes laid sight on the mother of all Valentine’s day hauls. A gigantic, white stuffed teddy bear with a red bow around its neck, holding a bag of Hershey’s Kisses. So enormous, you couldn’t see the person transporting it.

About as big as this dog I gifted Princess B a few years back.

I think I literally turned green with envy at whoever was going to be the recipient of this stuffed animal. I mean, I thought I would get a flower or two because my girlfriends and I always sent them back and forth. But this, this shit was different. This was the stuff that warm and fuzzy, cheesy as fuck Valentine’s memories were crafted.

Being in the brass of the band, I sat in the last row of the room. And I’ll be damned if that fucking bear didn’t inch its way closer and closer. I kept thinking…which girl had a boyfriend that sat near me? I couldn’t wait to see who was going to get the pristine bear.

As the hidden stuffed animal transporter walked behind me, I almost gave myself whiplash looking to my left. But to my unabashed chagrin, that motherfucker was lifted over my head and sat into my lap. Hershey’s fucking kisses and all. To this day, that is one of my best Valentine’s Days (which may seem a little sad since my day of love peaked in high school but I mean, it’s true).

This moment of sweetness it didn’t come from a love interest. It came from a friend. From a best friend who (although didn’t take me to his senior prom and I will never, ever let him forget it) remains a bestie to this day.

Oh the bangs. On both of us.

The teddy bear came from Scooby.

We share a love of stuffed animals. Obvies.

Relationship game still on point today.

This gesture seemed like the grandest of all gestures in the universe at the time. All of these years later, it still does. My gay best friend delivered my grandest Valentine’s Day memory. Why was this so significant? Because he didn’t have to do anything. But he loved me and wanted me to know. Isn’t that just a simple thing to do?

Scooby was celebrating Galentine’s Day with me before Galentine’s Day was a thing.

Galentine’s Day started about a decade ago on the TV show, Parks and Recreation by Amy Poehler’s character to celebrate “ovaries before brovaries”. It was about women celebrating female friendship.

Now, Galentine’s is a nonofficial holiday celebrating all things love without romance.

Grand gestures aren’t needed (but if any of you have a Louis Vuitton en route for delivery today, professing your love for me, I am not going to turn it down). A single flower is nice. A card will do. A simple text message. A smile, a hug, a thank you. Whether it’s love or like in today’s climate, bringing happiness to any and all of those around us isn’t really that hard. We just have to be kind to let one another know that we like – or even love – them.

Finding yourself in a non-traditional Valentine’s day sitch? You aren’t alone. You do have love in your life.

Maybe we are madly in love with our offspring and the kids around us…

Maybe we are in love with our partner who we married on Valentine’s Day…

Maybe we are madly in love with our careers, jobs, work pals….

Maybe we are madly in love with our parents and write them letters to them when they’re away…

Maybe we are madly in love with extended family…

Maybe we are madly in love with our fur babies (which you all know I’m bat shit about mine and is honestly the greatest love in the entire universe)…

Maybe we are madly in love with thoughts of yesteryear…

Maybe we are madly in love with our sibling…

Maybe we are madly in love with our friends…

Regardless of what it is in your life that you love, be madly in love with your own authentic self first.

Yep. This about sums it up for me.

If you don’t love (let alone like) yourself as your own #1, no one will love the true you who is meant to be loved.

Be your own damn Valentine. Because whether you realize it or not, there is some sort of love in your life worth celebrating (even if that deep, deep love is for binge watching Netflix).

Make some snacks.

Toast to yourself.

Johnny always shows his love.

Whatever it may be, treat yourself to your version of my stuffed teddy bear this Valentine’s Day.

Heart heels – my updated stuffed animal.

After spreading some love around the office today, I’m mauling my fur babies and then taking myself out with First Mate. The same as we did last Galentine’s Day and the year prior- to not only toast to our love of one another but also to how badass we both are in our own right.

Last day of love we went to Sperry’s – an old school steak house where the same patrons have been visiting during the restaurant’s 45-year existence. First Mate and I felt like runway supermodels surrounded by folks in their eighth decade of life and said yes to the complimentary dessert and adult beverages that headed our way.

So fancy in 2019.

Now go be the love of your own damn life. If you need inspiration, please think of me.

Love ya, mean it.

CBXB

CBXB!

 

 

 

 

Yule Be Bowled Over

Holy shit the holiday season crept up and is flying out faster than a fad diet at the beginning of a new year.

This season not only marked Prissy’s first Christmas with me and The Pussy Posse, it also was our premiere road trip together.

One of us was embarrassed of a hotel lobby selfie. One of us was clearly not.

Dada CBXB is not known for his speedy lead foot. If anything, when we are on a road trip to Iowa, the texts I usually get from family go a little something like, “see you next week” when it’s simply a day’s drive. However on this trip, Dada CBXB splurged and got a hotel room in St. Louis, the mid-way point between destinations. He very cleverly booked us at a place that featured three free cocktails per guest, along with snacks until 7pm. We arrived at 6:30.

Will speed for free booze.

After chugging, we wound down catching former Hawkeye, George Kittle kill it on the field with the San Francisco 49ers. Always a way with a nickname, Dad called our usual night caps, “Kittle Kaps” and well, that’s what it shall be named from here on out.

Kittle Kaps all around.

Not only was this first holiday road trip for Priss, this was also her introduction to the twins. I was slightly worried I may not get to take her back to Music City with me once the duo of cuteness got their paws on her.

Prissy, the instant hit.

One of the reasons Prissy is enviable to the twins is her size as my dogphew, Spike, can’t sit on laps and be carried around on a hip easily. But boy can he snuggle like nobody’s business.

You can totes see the family resemblance, right?

It was new hair dos all around for the big man in red.

Hair envy, anyone?

What would a Christmas be without a sugar cookie fest for my pie hole? Sister CBXB had three pounds of buttercream frosting that may or may not all be sitting on my hips at the moment.

Cookies more delish than they appear.

When the wee ones wondered to bed my BIL (also known as Dr. Cocktail) whipped up some of his finest drunk mixes. One round was vaguely familiar and it inspired me to start watching Sex and the City on my next TV binge.

Carrie Bradshaw style Christmas Cosmopolitan.

Prissy couldn’t decide if she’s a Carrie or a Charlotte. Jury’s still out.

After matching cosmos, we kept up the sister game by sporting matching sequined Santa starter jackets because why the fuck not?

Holla Ho!

The following evening we were treated to a snazzy seasonal supper complete with place cards created by the twins. They somehow managed to set their own cards at the heads of the table. Clever little fucks.

Supper is served.

Soon after our bellies were full, it was time for the slumber before Santa’s visit.

The calm before the Christmas tsunami.

HE CAME.

Our day was filled with stockings, sugar cookies, mimosas, coffee, sugar cookies, mimosas, presents, dogs, kids, mayhem, mimosas, movies, naps, a fire pit, sugar cookies, pizzas, wine and fun.

Fucking crazy for Christmas.

The holiday went off without a hitch and I’m pretty sure the blood pumping through my veins is still straight saccharine.

Prissy and the Princess.

The Christmas stimulation proved to be tiring to my pooch who typically acts as if she’s on some sort of canine cocaine on the daily. She spent most of the nine hour sleigh ride back to Nashville the next day with her eyes shut.

Sleeping ’til 2020.

While I was trying to pry my eyes open with toothpicks for work back in Nashville, the twins were partying with tacos and Mama CBXB.

Taco time.

With Christmas falling in the middle of the work week combined with two travel days in a car, my body didn’t know up from fucking down. I was able to muster a work outfit together on Friday, which felt like a Monday and then felt like a Saturday because the Iowa Hawkeyes were playing in a bowl game that night, when they usually play on Saturday day. See the difficulty for me?

Be bold, wear gold. And sequins. Lots of sequins.

A mix of emotions for the last game until next August. The horror.

It was quite fitting the Iowa Hawkeyes played in the Holiday Bowl against USC this year. Our long time beloved coach, Hayden Fry, passed away earlier in the month. When he was coaching, this bowl was one of his favorites, so winning it would be extra special. Dada CBXB and I weren’t sure what to make of Iowa scoring on their first drive, even though we were favored to win by two points.

Naturally, we did the typical Family Tradition…times fucking seven. Yes, SEVEN.

Touchdown #1!

Touchdown #2!

Touchdown #3!

Touchdown #4!

Touchdown #5!

Touchdown #6!

Touchdown #7!

It’s been forever since we needed two hands for counting shots so we were a tad out of practice. We also had to get really crafty with our picture props, as the Hawks kept scoring TDs. The final victorious score was 49 – 24, making Iowa’s overall record this year 10-3.

If that’s not a way to end a season, I don’t know what is. ON IOWA!

High five to a new decade.

I was certainly feeling bowled over the next day…with no complaints.

Cheers to the last few days before a new year!

CBXB!

Christmas Memories Worth Repeating

Christmases of yesteryear brought endless glee because I was surrounded by so much family.

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Opening packages would have been such a bore,

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If I wasn’t encircled by cousins galore.

Christmas chaos.

A lonely gal Christmas sock affair,

Image 6

Until I got to hang stockings by the chimney with double the care.

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All dressed up with somewhere to go,

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And I always tried to be THE star of a great big family show.

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Christmas pageants with one were so annoying,

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But with two, the show got much more enjoying.

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Lonely lonely would Christmas celebrating be,

Without the decades of fun with family.

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From past to present with futures near,

Hold those who are dear with your heart full of cheer because you never know when they may not be here.

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Cheers to keeping the memories and spirits of Christmases past alive and kickin’ while embracing new traditions with the best kind of family additions.

No matter if you love your given family, choose to embrace love of friends like family or enjoy solitude, I hope you’re filled with happy holiday gratitude. The time we have is so fleeting, cheers to being kind, coexisting and making memories worth repeating.

Happy Everything!

CBXB

CBXB!

Spooky Sidekicks

Oh Halloween, how I’ve always loved thee. The 31st day of October was – and still remains – the kick-off to a long-awaited holiday season for me.

I'll cut a bitch

I’d still cut a bitch.

With an assist from my dad.

Letting Dada CBXB (you know, the guy who dresses up like Pam Anderson) do all of the carving work because even way back my nails were “jewels, not tools”.

In a small Iowa town where I was raised, we had costume parties at school and church (when you used to be able to call it a Halloween party complete with witches and bats, instead of a fucking bland Fall Festival with scarecrows and hay bales – why are there fun haters? Why?), parades to prance proudly down our eight block Main Street (where every single one of the 1,200 citizens showed up) and so much trick-or-treating mania, I’d have to come home halfway through the evening just to dump my candy (hiding it all from my dad in the dryer or it’d be gone by morning) because my pumpkin got so overloaded, it was too heavy for me to carry.

hall

Forget my adorableness for one second – what about the clown behind #165?

ped

A spectator sport for the entire town where I could show off my killer cookie wheels.

In my younger years, I carried the burden of celebrating Halloween by myself and being a lone Cookie Monster got frustrating.

Ho Hum

One is the loneliest number.

Begging my parents to procreate, I was presented with Sister CBXB (you know, the one who called my dad a goddamn son of a bitch at the age of four) who was immediately awarded with side kickin’ it as my lifetime partner-in-crime (lucky her). If I was going to be dressing up (oftentimes making an ass out of myself in later years) she was going to be doing it too, by god (town parades included).

In the beginning of our twosome, we were all about cutesy costumes.

Sugar'n' Spice

The rock star and Raggedy Ann. A little sugar for my spice.

The ‘cute’ theme seemed to carry on in our early years.  Except for the tilt in our heads…and the fog in the background…and the overall sinisterness of this photo.

Creepy Hollow

Cute masked crusaders in Creepy Hollow.

As we grew older, I wanted a little edge (well as much edge as an elementary kid and toddler could muster) to our giddy ups. I let my young inner badass out, as my sister scared the pants off no one as a two-headed monster, um, farmer?

very busy

That’s right. I was hardcore even in elementary school.

We slid slightly into the ghoulish department as my side kick joined me in grade school.

Scardey Crow

Scaredy crow and premature mini old man. Almost spine-chilling. Almost.

Then I graduated to truly frightening and fearful territory as I crept toward junior high.  Pebbles was not impressed.

Pebs

I’m also starting to wonder if there was any other color of hair paint than green, since that tends to be a trend here.

When we thought we were oh so grown up, our costumes reflected our mature attitudes.

Lady and the Tramp.

Lady and the Tramp. Or Princess and Sock Hop Girl…however you want to see it.

We were reminded in following years just how far from adults we were…especially yours truly. A recycled mask and costume from a previous Halloween hid my “I’m way too old for this shit” attitude toward trick-or-treating when I was forced to go with my younger sister in the eighth grade.

Barley a Boo

I can’t tell who’s more excited – the monster or the witch.

And being older we’re not so much cute, cuddly or even scary creatures…we’re just mostly cocktailed.

bl

The odd couple. Pocahontas and Kid Rock.

Now that we’re miles apart during the costuming time of year, it’s fun to look back at our sisterly ghosts of Halloweens past. But what’s even more fun is seeing her twin goblins growing to love the holidays as much as she and I did as kids.

Scary season #1.

As

Permanent partners-in-crime.

Scary season #2.

I know, I know. The cutest fucking dog and cat you've ever seen.

I know, I know.
The cutest fucking cat and dog you’ve ever seen.

Scary season #3.

Princess Leah and Yoda

Star Wars at its silliest.

Scary season #4.

A mermaid with her super hero.

Scary season #5.

Captain America and a Princess Peacock.

Scary Season #6.

Lloyd the LEGO ninja and a bitchin’ witch.

No matter how you choose to spend Halloween, here’s to having a side kickin’ ghoul for your spooky festivities.

Happy Haunting!

CBXB

CBXB!

Badass Family Therapy

I’m in the middle of EMDR therapy and it’s hard.as.fuck.

My family is joining me in this therapy ride, whether they like (or know) it or not.

Cry Baby

Thoughts on therapy.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy is an interactive psychotherapy technique used to relieve psychological stress. It’s often used to treat trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which I’ve had for over three years thanks to Rapegate.

This poop emoji raft really “gets” me. I want to float on it every Thursday after therapy.

PTSD doesn’t necessarily last forever – but it can linger. It’s just the fucking hardest thing to describe a disorder that is invisible. It’s like having a ghost live within you and it comes out to haunt your body where its housed anytime it motherfucking pleases. Just like no two rapes are the same, no two pregnancies are the same, no two diagnosis of PTSD are the same.

I need a tank that reads “Surprise! It’s PTSD!”

So, there are obviously different treatment approaches depending on the person, the therapist, the situation. I started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Rationally, I knew it wasn’t my fault I was raped. But I could not help but feel that I let it happen to me. I was my own worst enemy, standing in the way of my recovery process due to my black and white thinking. I still wrestle with this after three years of therapy but CBT helps you become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking so you can view challenging situations more clearly and respond to them in a more effective way. Coping mechanisms are put into place and for me, mine is – ‘would you talk to a friend like this?’ Fuck no I wouldn’t, so quit talking to yourself this way.

We can be our own worst enemy.  CBT helps anyone learn how to better manage stressful life situations.

Jazz hands also help.

Starting EMDR with my therapist, Superhero Sheila, I was told to think of a happy, relaxing, real life place. Somewhere I’ve experienced first hand, where I felt safe. It took me a minute but I thought about water. I thought about laughing. I thought about what I loved in my life. Maybe it’s the time of year, but my safe place is memories of time spent at the Lake of the Ozarks with my family every Fourth of July.

Family

Clan

We kinda had some fun there over the years.

From wapatoolies, to aqua bars, to tattoos, to boys against girls Trivial Pursuit games (pretty sure the chicks won more), I can envision this place and be at ease. Hearing the boat motors, my family’s belly laughing, smelling the lake water, my uncle ‘washing’ his hair in the lake (true Griswolds move right here), the relentless teasing, remembering my sister getting hit in the face with a can of Budweiser thrown from the boat to the water (ah, memories).

Aqua Bar

Aqua bar doubling as a life saving device.

Tattoo

Tattoo Ted performing his kind of adequate skills on Aunt Crazy Pants.

Winners!

Trivial Pursuit Chicks rule. Dudes drool.

The first thing for me to tackle in EMDR was the exit off of the interstate which leads to the house where I was raped. My ex friend’s house. I pass by that exit almost every day. And every.single.time I think, “oh, that leads to Ex Friend’s house where I was raped.” It doesn’t ruin my day. I don’t ruminate over it. But it’s a thought that pops in my head and can causes anxiety that sometimes spills into my daily life.

To tackle this, Superhero Sheila hands me a device with two knobs – one for each hand. They vibrate, alternating, then at the same time, then alternating, using both your right and left sides of the brain to re-train your thoughts.

“Close your eyes.”

“You’re driving on Interstate I40, coming up to the exit. You see it through the windshield.”

*feel pang in my stomach, think of safe place*

Driving a boat at Lake of the Ozarks.

Party Chick

“You are getting closer to the exit, what are you feeling.”

*pang in belly, think of safe place*

Oh hello boozy party cove.

Party Girl

“Are you going to pass the exit or get off?”

*if I get off here now in my thoughts, it will take me to the place where I was raped…think of safe place*

Laughing with family.

Cousins

All day laughing with family.

The Griswolds

Family laughing all day with help from Jell-O shots…

Jell-O

…and whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

“You are going to pass by the exit. What are you thinking?”

*why are there tears starting to roll down my face..stop it…think happy place*

Lake of the Ozark patio karaoke nights.

Mic Fight

With a microphone hog.

Karoake King

 “Are you OK? Do you want to keep going?”

*yes…even though a river of snot is now accompanying the stream of tears down my neck*

“Take a deep breath in. Take a deep breath out. Think of your safe place.”

After boating pool dunks while our moms fixed supper.

Dunk

“You’re now passing the exit. You’re past the exit. Take inventory of your body. Do you feel anxiety anywhere?”

*a small pang remains in my stomach but it doesn’t ache*

“How do you want to feel?”

*more tears, happy place, happy place*

Drunken dancers around a hunk.

Hunk

*I want to stay afloat, I don’t want to cry, where’s the goddamned aqua bar when I need it*

Floater

 “Deep breath in, deep breath out. How do you want to feel – how do you see yourself?”

I see me cooling off with a refreshing beverage.

Beerpoo

“How do you see yourself?”

*I’m strong but I’m crying*

“You are not alone. Emotions don’t equate weakness. Feel them. Sit with them. Think about your happy place.”

Better together.

Muscles

*I feel strong. I feel like a badass. I am a badass*

“Know that this exit, this representation has a beginning, a middle and an end. You’re OK. How do you feel?”

*I feel…better…no dull ache in my body but what do I do when I drive by the exit…fucking christ, how will I feel then…*

“You will go to your secure place. You will use your coping tools. Now open your eyes. How do you feel?”

I feel safe. I feel happy.

Fam

Therapy of any kind is fucking hard. The interstate exit is the smallest of my issues that root in my Rapegate anxiety but, as with anything, sticking to it is a gigantic key to my recovery process. No matter how much I want to quit. No matter how many fucking tears I shed. No matter what. It’s my key to carrying on.

Here’s hoping you have a secure and favorable place to go in your mind, whenever you need.

Be your own badass – with as much help as you need. Thanks to my own version of the Griswolds family, I am…how bad can that be?!

Happy Fourth!

CBXB

CBXB!