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I’ve been crying since I was eight years old. Blame Lurlene McDaniel. I do.

In the summer of 1987, I found death on a shelf at the Lee County Library in Sanford, North Carolina. I had been looking for those pre-teen romance novels, the ones where boys didn’t have naughty intentions and girls said no to drugs even in the midst of the popular kids. I had devoured these sorts of books all summer and had finally exhausted the library’s moderate selection. So, as any other little girl would do, I began perusing books for the coolest, hippest teenage girls on the cover, the girls I wanted to be.

It was time to go and I was desperate to find something to read. By chance (or was it?), I saw a really pretty blond girl, whose hair was crimped and massive, sitting with her mother. I hastily picked up the book and ran to the check out.

Later, I examined the book more closely. The book was called Mother, Please Don’t Die. Which, of course, meant Mother was, in fact, going to die (but I wasn’t a savvy reader back then so I held out hope things would end well). The book followed a girl’s journey through her mother’s dying and her own grief as well as the difficult transition from being a little girl to being a teenager. Megan made sense of her mom’s worsening symptoms as best she could as a young girl; she told me about the terrible pressure and the anger bubbled to the surface at baseball practice, resulting in her consequent suspension. After her sister’s wedding, Megan sat with her mother and they had the first truly frank conversation about death that I had ever read; Mother was not going to be there for Megan’s wedding. She was dying.

And when she did die, my heart was shattered and I sobbed out loud. I’ve been reading and sobbing ever since. I developed a voracious appetite for the dying genre. Through my middle and high school years, I learned about living with diabetes, juvenile arthritis, kidney failure, and AIDs. I felt enlightened with each page. I groped for all the empathetic artifacts in the words that were written. I began to live with all of these hardships. I felt I knew what it was like.

The year before, 1986, had been a bad year. In January, my grandfather died of lung cancer. It was the first death I’d experienced. It was scary flying from North Carolina to Arkansas, only to see a dead body, dressed in blue and not breathing in a wooden bed. Two weeks later, I sat forward with the rest of my class, eyes glued to the television as the Challenger exploded and everyone on board was killed. They sent school counselors around to speak to us about dying and grief. I felt terrible for the teacher on the Challenger, but I cried terrible, painful tears for my grandfather.

Weeks later, I randomly asked my mother if she had had any other children before my brother and me one night before our bath. She hesitated and told us she had given birth to a little girl when she had been previously married, but the girl had died when she was a toddler from cancer. I nodded and soon forgot about it, as children will. It wasn’t long before my subconscious mind kicked in and I began to wonder if I had cancer, too, and asked my mother if I was going to die. Months I asked her and for months I must have drove a stake in her heart.

Little girls don’t understand these sorts of things. I didn’t. By the time I held a copy of Mother, Please Don’t Die in my hands, I needed to read about grief. The only problem is I never stopped grieving. The reading and the grieving is a question of insignificance; no matter if the chicken came before the egg, the chicken and the egg exist.

When I was eighteen, a very receptive former teacher gave me Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt as a graduation gift. Since then, it’s the real stories of laughter and pain that have touched me the most. Into Thin Air. Devil’s Knot. Young Men and Fire. Books about the Holocaust, 9/11, surviving freak accidents, OCD, alcoholism, depression. The stories are compelling but they are most important to me as conduits for processing my own life (and grief).

In a nutshell, I read books that are too sad for other people. A book is deemed good if I cry. It is deemed brilliant if I can still sob thinking about it a year later. There are many brilliant writers out there.

Right now, The Dark Tower: the Gunslinger is impatiently waiting on my bedside stand for me to finish it. The sojourn will be short and I will soon return to form. Stacked in the corner are my standard fair, books about the Taliban, mental illness, murder, the Mormon lifestyle…all await me. I can only think greedily of the sobs I am soon to cry.

I can’t help but think I’ve made Lurlene proud.

Here’s a technique they use: In a perfect world, what would happiness, togetherness, the best date ever, etc. look like? Maybe the question helps some people, but it pisses me off.

1) Before I can even begin to answer the question, I have to imagine a perfect world, which is such a huge issue I am paralyzed. What would a perfect world look like? Fuck if I know and I hate being tied to that question because it makes me think of moldy crackers and teardrops and regular soda that has zero calories and would that really be perfect, is that really a world. World. It pisses me off to think big thoughts, that is why I am so content being wholly self-absorbed.

2) If I had ever experienced the perfect date or happiness, I could certainly answer that question. The point is that I have not experienced such a thing. I can tell you what it doesn’t look like with a Shamdog, an Air Force John, or a guy who plays with his food. But then I think, well, maybe the situation was perfect and I need a different guy. How can you imagine what happiness looks like if you don’t know the color of his eyes and his exact height? If you don’t know if he’s a drug dealer or a Republican?

I met him at the Waffle House, which was even cooler than saying
I met him on the internet
He was cute
though for a moment as I was walking up
I wasn’t sure
He had stunning blue eyes
usually I go for brown
but he was all smiles and there was little awkwardness
I think I’d finally found my stride
not thinking twice about the fact I remembered nothing from his profile
He wore a sports jacket while I wore a slinky top
encouraging him to check out my rack—he did several times
I felt a rush of adrenaline
He kept smiling

Seriously.

They. All. Come. Back.

The last two days have brought greetings from two former men who sinned against me. Greetings that were happy and affable, old friends saying hello. Fucking Air Force men. The guy who left the country without telling me IMed me out of the blue yesterday. He’s leaving Japan, but he’s not coming my way. He’s going to the one place he most dreaded going and he’ll be there for at least 3 years. And so I smiled as I chatted back because they always come back and when they do, fuck them. Air Force John, oh Air Force John with all his cuddling and fake girlfriends and shit wants to befriend me online. Coward. He wants to know how life is. I am formulating an appropriate response to convey my own heartfelt greetings to him. (Growl.)

He summons me on stage
Let’s do a runthrough
He welcomes my impromptus
the dancing grooves of my pulsing neurons that say
YES, YES, YES
with good humor
a sort of warm embrace if we embraced
co-mingled with the excitement of the next best show
coming to town
he know he’ll be in the front row
free VIP just because he knows me
always cheering at the end
pitying me at the end
wanting an encore.

I’m happy to oblige.

Found a new calorie calculator online. The computer calculated. I need to reduce my intake to 1759 cal or 1421 (without exercise) in order to lose weight. I recalculated. I know better than to starve myself but alas, it’s 5 p.m. and my calorie count of the day is 535. My head aches and I feel a little light-headed. So, I am going to eat chicken for dinner. 400 calories worth. I am going to drink myself into a Coke Zero oblivion and you, dear reader, can’t stop me.

Rating: Success (At least I’m not binging and purging)

Eating French Fries
1. Always eat fries in pairs of two, who are very close to identical length. Do not eat one, four, seven, or eleven fries at one time. Only two. Think French fry twins.
2. If you get to the end of your fries, and you discover a single fry left, you should tear said fry in have and eat it as two fries. This is not the ideal situation since they are not true pairs, but in a bind, this works.

Losing a Man
1. Tell him you want to spend loads more time with him.
2. Tell him you want to be exclusive.
3. Give him an old-school casual greeting.
4. Mention your favorite color is red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, white or black.

Hemming Your Pants—N/A. Leave well enough alone and contact your mother.

Adopting a Pet
1. Take him/her to the vet immediately.
2. Have vet remove all cancerous cells promptly.
3. Constantly worry that he/she has cancer.

Dating
1. Do not do anything I have done.
2. Do not do anything I have done.
3. Do not do anything I have done.

Taking Pain Relievers
1. Keep well stocked at all times in every situation. Work, home, car, purse.
2. Do not buy two bottles of Ibuprofen and accidentally take both bottles home when you meant to have a bottle at work because then you’ll be in pain without relief.

Cooking
1. Invite someone over, preferably a hottie.
2. Tell him/her you have lots of kitchen items to cook things in.
3. Tell him/her to have at it because you ain’t cook.

I’ve never met this guy and I never will. He offends me to the core. Repusively country. When a dating service asks you what your interests are, they mean what interests do you have that you can share with your future beloved. They do not mean, do you like to go muddin and huntin and fishin with your children/friends. They mean, you are looking for a date, right? One is supposed to announce that one loves movies, games, have a drink here and there, art, watching martial arts. When a dating service asks you to introduce yourself, they do not mean tell us about how you’re a laid-back guy, looking for a nice woman, who likes, for the record, muddin and huntin and fishin. They do not mean for you to repeat your interests in two different sections of your profile. They do not mean that you need to announce that describing yourself is hard to do but you’ll give it a try. One is supposed to say that one is funny, has a great sense of humor, is responsible, and would like a woman that is the same. I’ve never met this guy and I never will. For all his profile transgressions, there is one I can never ever forgive: his height at 5’4. No need to comment on my stuck-up-ness. I’m mean.

Tiny snowflake tears make me want to vomit joy.

That’s close to a pleasant thought I had the other day.

Dear readers, I have missed you. I’m not feeling profound or witty or particularly inspired, but Bryan says the show must go on.

I will give you tidbits of information because I know you enjoy bulleted lists as much as I do:
• I have a partner in instability and to that person I say, stability is soooo passé.
• I’m back to reading Stephen King because he’s very comforting to me. The Dark Tower: the Gunslinger.
• I wear a black toboggan with a snowflake puff on the top both indoors and outdoors these days. Keeps my crazy contained. It’s also cold as fuck.
• I met a guy who was PERFECT for me. Until I said Howdy-do. But then he came back around. I didn’t answer one phone call and he blocked me from texting him. So I’m back to keeping myself occupied with men who are not perfect for me in any way.
• 31 seems like a good age to be. 30 was not. 2009 was not a good year.

SOB with me

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