Deconstructing a Relationship

Two people meet.

Two people meet and like each other.

Two people meet, like each other, and begin dating.

Two people meet, like each other, begin dating, and get engaged.

Two people meet, like each other, begin dating, get engaged, and get married.


One person becomes unsatisfied.

One person becomes unsatisfied and wants control.

One person becomes unsatisfied, wants control, and starts to get angry.

One person becomes unsatisfied, wants control, starts to get angry, and verbally abuses her.

One person becomes unsatisfied, wants control, starts to get angry, verbally abuses her, and wrecks the house.


One person cries.

One person cries and wonders what she did wrong.

One person cries, wonders what she did wrong, and tries to fix it.

One person cries, wonders what she did wrong, tries to fix it, and gets hurt again.

One person cries, wonders what she did wrong, tries to fix it, gets hurt again, and realizes he is the problem…not her.

And finally…

One person throws him out.

One person throws him out and tries to move on.

One person throws him out, tries to move on, and gets drawn back in.

One person throws him out, tries to move on, gets drawn back in, and gets hurt again.

One person throws him out, tries to move on, gets drawn back in, gets hurt again, and files for divorce.

And now…

One person is happy again.

One person is happy again and finding her voice.

One person is happy again, finding her voice, and thinking about the future.

One person is happy again, finding her voice, thinking about the future, and looking forward to something new.

One person is happy again, finding her voice, thinking of the future, looking forward to something new, and writing this poem.


One person….can breathe. She is free.



Striving for a Life of Discontent

I am a writer. I think you all probably know that by now. However, did you know that I am a write that feeds off of negative emotion, drama, and discontent? When things are quiet, I have a hard time writing (at least, writing creatively). You will see big swaths of time in the past where I haven’t written a blog. Why? Because I am numb and content with being numb. Everything is going okay in my life (I have shelter, a job, healthy kids, etc), I’m not fighting a cause, and there’s no drama. So, what in the hell am I going to write about?

That is probably my downfall. I can write fiction, but I haven’t done it in years. Everything has either been poetry or nonfiction. My poetry is fairly abstract, and my nonfiction is about me…and I’ve become pretty boring.

I mean, the last two years….whew!…there was some drama and discontent. I went through the whole getting married thing, and then I went through losing my sister, and I went through the breakup of my marriage — all in two years. But, now…as I near the one year anniversary of my sister’s death, things have settled down tremendously in my life.

And how do I know they have settled down tremendously? Because I’m thinking of a way to shake things up again. I want to move to a different state. I want to become a nomad. I want to pull my kids out of traditional schooling and travel the country living in my car. I want to put my hand in the fire — something to make things different and interesting. I want to do something that causes me to feel something again. Anything.

Ever since my sister passed away, I feel like all of the emotion has been sucked out of life, and I have become this numb person. Not really happy, but not really sad. Just existing, and fairly content with that existence. This contentment with being numb is not something I want to continue. I want to begin to feel again, even if those feelings are negative. And somehow, some way, I will live my erratic life of discontent again. It will mean I am moving forward. It will mean I can write again. It will mean that I am no longer stuck.

It will just take time.

Suave Sixteen

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” ― Anne Frank

It started with a visit to the doctor’s office at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 27, 1999. A half an hour later, the pain began, and it ended at 11:10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 28, 1999 with a healthy 7 lb 11 oz baby boy. Now, 16 years later, I sit here and marvel at how fast the time has gone by.

Jason Toddler 2

That chubby little boy, with his bright blue-green eyes and his golden brown, curly hair has grown into someone who is lanky, awkward, and taller than his mother (which isn’t exactly hard…I’m only 5’6″). He loves video games, he loves to talk, and he doesn’t love school. Life hasn’t been easy for him, by any stretch of imagination. But, unlike some kids his age who are running after girls or running after drugs, he likes to sit in his room and play his games, listen to music, watch YouTube videos, and build things with his large collection of Legos and other various building materials.

Jason 2013

While Jason does have some rough edges (what teenage boy doesn’t?), he has a huge heart. He loves his sister, his mom, his Gammy and Papaw, his cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. I think, like most kids his age, he doesn’t feel like he belongs anywhere. But, most of the great ones don’t…and I believe that he is poised for greatness.

Jason 2009


Jason and his sister have an interesting relationship. They are best friends, and sometimes worst enemies (much like any sibling pair). They fight like cats and dogs, but she is the best friend he has ever had, especially as a child who doesn’t have the easiest time making friends. He also has an interesting relationship with me as well. Usually, he will sit there and talk my ear off about video games, but in the last year or two, we have started to bond over pop culture. We’ll watch American Horror Story, Grey’s Anatomy, and even Law and Order: SVU together. During that time, we’ll talk, laugh, etc. He shares my love of horror movies, but not my fear of them. He thinks they are great. He does what he can around the house, albeit at his own slow pace, but he will help out when Momma needs him.

IMG_0220 Jay and Tay

Sixteen years old…almost a man. Or, as he tells it, a “pre-adult”. The best thing about him is his intuitive understanding of life, and his ability to be compassionate. He doesn’t ask for lavish, overpriced things. What does he want today? He wants a day with Mom. He wants to go to a movie and lunch with me. He wants to have dinner and cake at Gammy’s house tonight. Does he care that the cake is going to be homemade? No. Actually, I think he almost prefers it.

Jason HairJason Haircut


My amazing, intelligent, 16-year-old may need to learn a sense of urgency (and how to effectively clean his room), but overall, he is developing a character and heart that will take him far in his life, and for that I am very proud of him. Happy 16th Birthday, Jason! I love you very much!


Moving On

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.” ― C. JoyBell C.

It has been one hell of a year, hasn’t it? In a little more than a month, it will be a year since my sister passed away. Just beyond that is the one year anniversary of my failed marriage. So, what have I learned during this year of loss? I’ve learned when to let go and when to hold on.

I hold tightly to the memories of my beautiful sister, and I see her reflected through the faces and actions of her children. I loved her very much, and there will always be an emptiness in our family without her. But, being able to put down the mantle of grief, and move forward, trying to ensure this tragedy doesn’t happen to others…that is how I am making my way through the sadness of this loss every day. I will never forget her. I will never stop missing her. I will never stop loving her. I will always hold on to her memory.

Now, let’s move on to the things to let go, the things that I do not need to be sentimental about — namely, my soon-to-be ex-husband. This is someone who clung to me with every fiber of his being. Without me, he had no money, no home, etc. This is someone I had to completely cut loose to begin moving forward. But, since I made those cuts, I am happier. I feel lighter than ever before.

While letting go can be scary, because it means change, it also opens you up to an entire world of possibilities. Recently, I’ve even gotten back out into the dating world and met someone. It’s way too early to speculate what may happen between us, but finding evidence that nice, respectful men actually exist? Well, that is starting to restore my faith in humanity.  And just having the possibility of being able to find my person one day? That possibility is delicious and exciting.

It really gives me hope. :)


Changing the Game

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.” ― Joseph Campbell


You know, I have spent many years wishing I was a thinner, happier woman. I always thought that if I was a size 2, I would magically be happy. Entering my 35th year of life, I realize that is a crock of shit (pardon my language). While it may be hard to support the Health at Every Size idea (because being extremely morbidly obese or extremely underweight is not healthy, I’m sorry), I think that I can support the idea of Happiness at Every Size. So, that is my goal for the new year — Happiness every day. I want to spend every day doing what I can to improve my life, and here are a few of the ways I am going to start:

1. Having a set work schedule, so I am not working every single day

2. Spending more time with my kids in the evenings and on weekends, instead of all of us scattering when we’re in the house

3. Only eating take out twice a month – giving me more money to spend/save and allowing me to cook healthier for all of us

4. This is the year without soda – in the year 2015, I will not buy soda, and I will not have any soda in my house. I’ve done it before, and I can do it again

5. Taking a break from dating sites for at least six months – There is no point, and I have too many other things in my life right now. Sorry boys!

6. Never speaking the name of or bringing up the ex again. I will get my last name back in 2015, and there is no reason to disgrace any conversation with his name again

7. Taking time for myself – whether it is 4 days a week at the gym, my excursion to Texas in June, or just an hour to read a book, I want to take time to do something that is not related to typing on this computer or taking care of day-to-day responsibilities

8. Cutting the cord on people who are no longer relevant to my life – not bad people, just no longer relevant

9. Spending at least one evening a week with a friend or loved one (other than my kids)

10. Being more open to ideas that I may not fully understand

Day One

Changing the Game; Day One – Tabs, 11:32pm, 12.31.2014

I think that is the main list for now. Some of these may sound odd to you, but I know they are the best ways for me to really begin airing out my life and starting over the way I need to. 2014 has been a craptastic year for me. There are very few things that could have made it worse. I am entering 2015 with perfect love, free of the negativity that has been burying me.

Am I doing the whole “Weight Loss” goal thing this year? Of course I am, but you can read about that on my weight loss blog, From Flabby Tabby to Fab Tabs. But honestly, it’s not about the pounds that are gone or the pounds I still have. It is about being happy. It is time to change the game, and really start the life I was meant to live.

Paralleling Little Women

We’ll always fight, but we’ll always make up as well. That’s what sisters do: we argue, we point out each other’s frailties, mistakes, and bad judgment, we flash the insecurities we’ve had since childhood, and then we come back together. Until the next time. ”
― Lisa See, Shanghai Girls


See those girls up there? That’s us — Me (the fluffy one on the left side) and my three beautiful sisters. In this picture, we are arranged by birth order, from left to right. I am the oldest in our clan, and I am not even close to being the mature one. I guess that means I am older in chronology alone. That beautiful lady next to me is Jen, or Jen-Jen, as she was known when we were little. It was even on the back of her little lavender and white ride-along toy she had as a toddler. The next beaming graduate in the picture is Becky, my sister who passed away in May. Becky was one of the middle children, silly and yet serious in her own way. I think that she and Jennifer both had a seriousness about them all through their lives because they were middle children. I was the quirky one, Jen and Becky were the serious ones, but, they still knew how to cut loose. Then comes Kimmy — the baby of the group, with her adorable pose. I really do think she is the prettiest sister I have, which sometimes makes me green with envy (I wish I was that photogenic!!)…but of course I still love her! ;)

As I get older, memories of my childhood with these wonderful women keep slipping away, and I fear that one day they will be gone. I remember how we used to sit around and sing, sometimes with mom and sometimes by ourselves, and we would record it. We even used to have a “radio show,” and my DJ name was “Flabby Tabby,” which we all still laugh about even now. Honestly, if I ever went into radio, I think that would be a great name.

Another thing I remember is that we all adored the remake of the movie Little Women, the one with Winona Ryder. It was funny, but even back then, I always likened the four of us to the March sisters, except I changed the order around a bit. Jennifer, though younger than me by four years, has always been the older, more mature sister, and my protector, so my mind always cast her as Meg. I, as a writer, of course saw myself in Jo March, while Becky was similar to Beth in her generosity and love for her family, and Kimmy was a ringer for Amy. I remember that after seeing that movie the first time in 1991, I really wanted us to organize our own little newspaper, much like the Pickwick Papers, but we never really got it off the ground.

We had a lot of ambitions back then. But, in a few years, I started going to high school and hanging out with my younger sisters less and less. When I moved away from Marion in August 1999, Jennifer was 15, Becky was 13 and Kimmy was 11. I missed the bulk of their teen years, and when I returned to Ohio for good in November 2005, they were grown women. It never felt the same as it did when we were kids, though I don’t know if it ever does. I think sisters are great because you have all of these women with different personalities who are thrust together by blood lines and a little bit of chance – women who probably would not be friends if they were not related. And yet, at least in our case, we love each other unconditionally. Do we fight? No doubt. Do we get annoyed with each other? Yep. Do we talk about each other to Momma? Oh you have no idea! But, we always come back together when we need to — when times get really hard.

It wasn’t until I sat in that hospital room with Becky seven months ago that I realize how much our lives resembled that of the March sisters. I thought of a scene from the movie we loved so much as I stood there by her bed:

Beth: If God wants me with Him, there is none who will stop Him. I don’t mind. I was never like the rest of you… making plans about the great things I’d do. I never saw myself as anything much. Not a great writer like you.

Jo: Beth, I’m not a great writer.

Beth: But you will be. Oh, Jo, I’ve missed you so. Why does everyone want to go away? I love being home. But I don’t like being left behind. Now I am the one going ahead. I am not afraid. I can be brave like you.

That was Becky, except she did make great plans, and she worked to follow through with many of them. But, she loved being at home, and I believe she resides there still in some ways. She loved her sisters, and she believed in our dreams as well. I think she knew that if I worked at it, I would someday be a great writer (I’m still working on it). She knew Jen and Kim could accomplish their dreams and goals as well. We loved (and still love) her very much. I think we will always feel that loss because she has went on ahead of us, quite a bit sooner than she should have, leaving us with a hole in our sister pictures and our hearts. There has always been four, and even though she has gone ahead of us, we will one day catch up to her, and we will become four again.

I dedicate this blog to Jenny, Becky and Kimmy – three women I never got to choose, but wouldn’t trade for anything. I love you very much!

The Birth of Joy

I have two children. Today, my youngest, my baby, my little Tay Tay turns 14 years old.


Tay Tay, 2014


I’m not exactly sure where the time goes. It may sound cliché, but it really does feel like she was just a little two-year old, toddling around the house on her fat little legs. I think now of how she would get into trouble with her brother, who is only 18 months older than her. She would follow him around as his sidekick — getting in trouble right along with him.



Cheesing for the camera, circa 2002


At 5:26pm on Nov 2, 2000 in the delivery room of the Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital, Taylor came into the world, pink and screaming her head off. Taylor has been a quirky, loving child ever since. She loves to read, especially the Dork Diaries series of books. She likes magazines, and she loves to listen to music, watch videos and play games on her iPhone. She and her brother are still the fearsome twosome, best friends and worst enemies, depending on the day.



Having dinner at O’Charley’s, 2012


Taylor loves her family — especially her cousins. She spends part of the week with my mother, babysitting her younger cousins, and she loves every minute she gets to spend over there. She and her brother spent a lot of time at my mom’s house when they were growing up, and we lived there for a while after my divorce, so I feel like she will always see that as home, especially since we have moved around so much during her life. That house is her touchstone — she feels safe there, much in the same way that I do.



Face painting with Kaitlynn and Aleck, 2012


Taylor has been the joy in my life since the day she was born. We have been through a lot of ups and downs, especially when the teen years hit. She is unique — she has this unmatched charm and love of humanity, but it causes her to struggle to find a place in the world. She will continue to search for that for years, and if she doesn’t find it, I hope she has the strength to carve out her own place…just like her mom did.



Peace! 2013


Where does she fit in? With her brother and I, of course! She is an integral part of our personal three musketeers. She is always ready to give Mommy a hug and a smile. She can light up a room with her infectious smile. Her uniqueness and sense of humor are able to pick me up when I am at my lowest point. She shows her love through her actions. Ever since my separation from my second husband, she has started to check on me regularly — making sure that Mom is okay. And as long as she is smiling, I am. :)



Mom and Tay, 2013


I have never met a child with such a sweet innocence and unmarred outlook on the world, especially at the age of 14. I have high hopes for her. She loves art and is creating her own comic book. I could easily see her graduating from high school and going on to study art and animation. But, she also loves science, especially geology. So, she may go the science route and become a geologist. I hope she finds love in her future, and if she wants to get married and have children, I hope she is able to do that too. I want Taylor to be able to achieve everything she wants in life.



Stylin’, 2013


And right now? Well, right now, I want her to be able to enjoy her pumpkin cake and her birthday party with her family today! Happy Birthday, Taylor. I love you!


Tay Tay 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake at California Pizza Kitchen, 11.01.14