exhausted and okay.

My first art purchase. Just because it seemed
like good advice.
I think I said I'd write something happier in my next blog post. Here is my happier:

We are moved in, the apartment is a mess but beginning to feel more like "home." And there's a pool. Also, I haven't bounced any checks yet. 

Miss M has decided we need to call this place The Flat. Since that's what English people call apartments, and Harry Styles is from England. And so we call it "the flat." As in: "Our flat is the most lovely of all the flats here." We say it with a faux British accent, too. (Anglophiles are a UK person's version of a gnat, I bet. Kind of like going on a date with someone who's very nice but you feel no connection but they immediately want to sleep with you because you remind them of their first sexual conquest and you're all: Ew, NO! but they won't take the hint and then you have to roll your eyes a lot and avoid their phone calls. Kind of like that. Is what I'd imagine being a UK person dealing with an American anglophile is like.)

At any rate. I'm still on edge. Mostly because I'm exhausted, I think. Wiped out. Empty. I have ZERO patience for the following: incompetence, jackassery, dickheads, and the needy. God help you if you're a needy, incompetent dickhead spewing jackassery around me. I cannot and will not tolerate it. I simply don't have time for you--I still need to hang curtains and buy more spoons. Get over yourself.

I've met some very, very kind people along the way. And re-discovered how important it is to ask for help when you need it, and how really important it is to have a help network. Family means everything to me right now--I come from good people, who've married good people. Even though one of these people keeps trying to rearrange my living room furniture by moving one chair half a centimeter to the left because it "just FEELS better" until I scream "JESUS GOD MOM!!! Stop it!!!" (Hi, mom! I love you! Also: this is how Miss M talks to me, exactly how. Karma.)

I'm slightly worried about Miss M. I think what she's feeling is normal, but I monitor her closely, taking nervous temperature gauges but trying adeptly not to let her know that's what I'm doing. She varies between just fine and normal to very somber and sad. She misses her dad. But she's worried about missing me when she's with her dad. This is where the moments of "Did I do the right thing?" come in. And then I have moments when I feel like I did, because even though I'm tense right now, I can see this won't last forever and I'll get a handle on things and it'll be okay. Until there's another moment in a restaurant on Father's Day where I see her watching a family near us and I ask her if she's wondering why that man has an oxygen tank with him and she starts to cry and says, "No. I was thinking: why can't we be like that family? All together?" 

That's when I know there will always be a need for therapists in the world. 

I have a stomper above me. I knew this would happen--I would hear other people, and I would need to get used to it. But honestly, why is he stomping? I've been walking across my floor to see if it's just me being picky--maybe if I were up there, the mere act of walking in these apartments flats would make a stomping sound. But nope. I'm pretty sure there's no stomping with just normal walking. So I've been telling myself he wants to be Monty Python, and is up there inventing walks for the Ministry of Silly Walks

The man down the hall has left his dirty shoes outside his door for well over 72 hours. If they're out there more than a week, I'm either donating them to the Ministry of Silly Walks stomper above me or putting them in the trash compactor. There should be apartment hallway standards. 

There's a barky dog down the hall. We finally met her today: an angry, overprotective miniature dachsund. I knew it! I told M it was going to be one of those annoying little ones that sound bigger than they are but you can really take them down with just a good, nasty stare. We don't like the angry dachsund. We do, however, like the yellow striped cat next door who uses the pine straw as his personal litter box and stares at people from the one window, assessing all who pass by in a really "I seriously don't give a shit" kind of way. He's pretty friendly, and also now Miss M and I know: don't walk on that patch of grass and/or pine straw in bare feet. 

There are friendly children here at the pool...M can usually find someone to play with when we go there. But they're only visible at the pool--there's a small playground here, but no one plays on it. It's become apparent to me that Miss M actually would have made an excellent older (bossy) sibling. She's dying for someone to be a big sister to. If you have a small child who needs a bossy big foster sister, please let me know. We'll babysit them for free--take them swimming, introduce them to an angry miniature dachsund and have our upstairs neighbor teach them some silly walks. (Of course, you'll babysit Miss M for free, too, because that's pretty exhausting work, taking care of multiple children, and so I'll need some breaks myself. I know it's why I went into to teaching--who doesn't love taking care of multiple children by themselves? It's so awesome!) (Why are kids so frickin' exhausting? And LOUD. And messy. And bossy. And dysfunctionally needy?)

I am exhausted, is what I'm saying. Tapped out. Done for. I got nothing. So please don't come to me with your a-hole behavior because I will bite off your head. And please don't come to me with your needy behavior, because I will get really snippy with you because there IS no more money in this ATM, what do you not understand about that. But my last post apparently worried people about me, so I wanted to come here and say: I am okay. We are okay. Everything is both sad and exciting and happy and scary all at once. But I haven't bounced a check yet or forgotten a bill, and that's good. And so overall, we are all going to be okay. I think.

Here. This is what I've been doing:

Now I just need curtains. And a rich benefactor to pay off my credit card.


the memory of homes.

It's 1:00 AM, the last night in my house. I have resolved to write something that is not about this very sad life upheaval I am experiencing. 

But tonight will not be that writing. 

Tonight (rather, this morning), I'm going to write about saying good-bye, about memories. 

I just finished sifting through memories. Literally. Sifting. Through tons of memories. I've packed up my glasses and dishes and towels and utensils and clothes and other important things one must have to basically operate a household and life, but then I remembered that one cabinet in the dining room I meant to go through but forgot to. And so I sat and pulled out...stuff. Stuff that has been sitting in this cabinet for almost 7 years, if not more. 

And what I found were memories. Mostly in the form of pictures, but also other memories. Memories I haven't remembered for a very long time.

I found tons of love notes from my very first boyfriend, Sam Harder, who also gave me my very first kiss (in the back of my dad's car...WHILE MY DAD WAS DRIVING) (Sam Harder lacked important social skills and suaveness, but I'm going to forgive him because he was 14 and he wrote me those notes that were folded up intricately like origami, and at the end of his love notes he always--seriously, every single one and I have about 25--signed off: LOVE, SAM HARDER. He was also a semi-orphan; I say semi- because his mother was still alive. She just didn't want him. At the age of 10, he'd been dumped by her into the foster care system and was living in a home with other boys who'd also been dumped into the system by their parents. I remember one time Sam came to our house for dinner and my brother and I argued about something trivial and Sam quietly let us know we shouldn't argue like that about such trivial things because at least we had each other...some people didn't have anybody. I remember that. 

At the time, I was too busy being stupid and 14 to really get what Sam was saying, and also I'd already decided to break up with Sam because he'd--HORRORS--kissed me on the lips in the back of my dad's car WHILE MY DAD WAS DRIVING and who the hell DOES crap like that?? But now, as a 43 year old mother who's leaving her marriage with a very sad-yet-not-sad 6 year old in tow, I get it: don't argue about trivial things so much; be thankful there's someone there who cares enough to talk to you.)

And I found love emails and poetry from a New Jersey boy who'd loved me a lot...I was in Arizona, he was in New York. His name was Vincent, and he made movies. He wrote scripts, got his friends to act in them, and shot them all over Manhattan and Hoboken. He loved that I wrote, and I still have a book about writing he gave me one Christmas, in which he wrote a sweet note, encouraging me to follow my dreams and hone my talents. I remember, to get to where he worked, he took the train from Hoboken into New York City, right into one of the World Trade Centers. I visited Vincent once, and he took me to the top of the World Trade Center--when I went back to New York City years later, I stood for a long time, staring from my hotel room's window at the two bright spotlights that shine where the towers stood and I remembered standing at the very top of them. And I wondered: how many memories are up there now, in that spot in the sky, of people standing at the top of the World Trade Center in awe, or just of people working there. And dying.

Tonight I thought about Vincent, and hoped, for the billionth time, he didn't take the train into Manhattan on September 11, 2001. (On September 12, 2001, I emailed Vincent at the last email address I had for him...and got no response. And so I hope you are out there still and okay, Vincent Rodriguez. I hope.)

I found postcards from Holland my dad sent me when he went there on a business trip (it rained...THE WHOLE TIME). I found a letter my family wrote me when I was 12, away at Girl Scout Horse Camp for a week (my mom wrote that they saw Star Trek III without me and planned to see GREMLINS next, my dad wrote he was sad to only have my brother to yell at, and my brother called me a butthead. Such was my family in the 1980s). I found my autographed Skid Row and Ricky Martin posters--two slightly separate eras, two very different Amys. I found a postcard from my old friend Kirstie, from Danville, Kentucky, who used to write plays in the backyard with me and then we'd coerce my little brother and his friends into acting in them with us...she wrote that she missed watching GENERAL HOSPITAL with me. 

I found an essay I wrote about my mom, in which I noted that some moms do really great things like find the cure for cancer or run their own business and make lots of money...not my mom. Nope, mine was just an ordinary, plain old mom. And those are probably the best kinds of moms to have. (Seriously, who wants an exciting mom? CIA operative mom? Psh. Always snooping into your private business. NASA rocket scientist mom? No way! Always talking programming code. Just give me a mom who reads books, cleans haphazardly, takes an excruciatingly long time in stores, and watches a lot of Lifetime TV. Just give me one of those...their homemade birthday cakes and spaghetti taste better anyway.)

I found a poem I wrote for my mom, about two little angels who were friends in Heaven. God tells one of the angels: you have an assignment on Earth--get down there! The other little angel begs God to go with her friend but God says nope. I need you here. The little angel is sad, sad, sad. Then, one day God says: you have an assignment on Earth--get down there! The little angel is hopeful that she'll maybe see her friend somewhere. To her great surprise, when she gets down there? Her little angel friend turns out to be her mother--God moved mountains and oceans and all the stuff that God likes to move, JUST so those two little angel friends could be together again...as mother and daughter. (Even as a child, I got it: the Universe is just one gigantic Trickster.)

And I found an essay I wrote when we had to leave one of my childhood homes--all about how houses become homes when memories seep into their walls, corners, floors. I have always been sentimental about homes, it appears. 

So it explains why, after taping the last box and then getting Miss M to sleep, I just...sat. I sat by the window and listened to the cacophony going on outside. I've never been sure what these tree frogs do all night throughout June, but I suspect there's a gigantic tree frog orgy going on in the bushes out there. They become particularly randy after a big rainstorm, which we had earlier. Seriously, it was so loud if you'd been sitting and chatting with me, we'd have had to shout at one another. Get a room, tree frogs.

I sat for a very long time in my living room, just remembering all the things that have happened there, the people who've visited that space. The good energy, the sad energy. This house saw me get my master's degree. It watched C and me get really unhappy and briefly separated, then make up and get married. It's where C and I got incredibly unhappy and separated for 7 months, then made up and got pregnant. This house is where my sweet old cat Tasha died in my arms. This was the house I walked a 3 day old Miss M around, showing her every single thing, overstimulating her beyond belief and freaking myself out that I'd not had her home 10 minutes and had already broken her--were there newborn infant psychotherapists? This is where Miss M and I sat for long, long periods...first with her growing inside of me, then nursing from me, then rocking, then crawling, then walking and talking and throwing lots and lots of indignant temper tantrums because demands for more "yawyee-pops" were denied.

This is where many Fourth of July barbecues were had. And where friends came and laughed...and sometimes cried. This is the house that some Caucasian crackheads broke into and robbed, teaching me police officers have really macabre senses of humor about stuff like that and other Caucasians will automatically assume, when you tell them you were robbed, that the thieves were black or Mexican. This is the house C and I painted together. This is the house I chose light fixtures for. This is the house we ripped up the carpeting in and replaced with wood floors and now I never want to live with carpet ever again. This is the house I fell in love with. My very first house. 

It sounds like I'm more heartbroken over leaving the house, I know. But really what I'm heartbroken about right now are the memories I'm leaving behind me. Houses are just wood and plaster and brick or stone that will  one day either be torn down or lost to ruins. Memories are what make leaving the wood and bricks and stone very hard. You hope the people who buy the wood and bricks and stone are gentle with their memories, and you wonder what kinds of memories they will add. For C and me, I know I'll come back and visit this house a lot. But I'll be a visitor now, and so I hope the memories don't forget me.

Before C went to bed, he gave me a long hug. We both stood in our house, the house we built together, and cried for a long, long time. "We had a good run," he said. "We tried very hard," I said. 

And so now, I guess, that's part of this house's memories, too. I find memories both comforting and haunting, all at once. 


10 billion swear words.

I had a frustrating day, reader(s). Do you want to read about it? Are you busy? If you are, don't read this...it'll just stress you out and overwhelm you. Come back when you're drunk and/or Zen to be amused.

1-What is up with grown up women calling their boyfriends/husbands/crushes "Daddy?" When did this start? WHY did this start? It's really freaking the crap out of me. I can't decide which is worse: a 30- or 40-something woman calling her romantic partner "Daddy"... or a teenager or 20-something with a crush on an older man telling him how hot he is, letting him know she'd like to date and sleep with him, and then using the word "Dad" or "Daddy." 

No. Ladies, NO! This is all kinds of messed up. And totally, totally gross. It's like mass pedophilia, in which the victims are convinced they like it, and I won't have it. I won't have it! We've been downtrodden long enough, fellow females. Once you're 18, I guess it's cute to always love your daddy...but to want to have sex with someone who reminds you of him? Mon Dieu, NO. (Also: clearly I need a Twitter break. I'm noticing this trend because of Twitter. This is how many women speak to many men there, and it's giving me the mads AND the sads...this is 2015, not 1915. Lands, Humanity. Pull. It. Together.)

2-Speaking of Humanity Updating itself, let's talk about the frustrations of moving into an apartment that LOOKS up-to-date, but finding out (the long and hard way, on an afternoon with temperatures of 100+ degrees Fahrenheit) the technology in the apartment is NOT up-to-date. No AT&T U-verse available, not even DSL available, and the position of the apartment porch will not pick up any satellites in the area. AND THERE ARE ONLY TEN BILLION SATELLITES IN THE AREA. 

Seriously, the Direct TV guy showed me his gadget--10 billion pinpoints representing 10 billion satellites, up in outer space, directly over where I live...none of which are aimed in MY direction. 

These two experiences told me two things: one, we are not only polluting our planet--friends, we're polluting all the OTHER planets and the space around them. And two, we can put a man on the moon, create computers that fit in our pockets, and pollute the ENTIRE Solar System with our technology, yet we can't update ourselves underneath all that. ...I suspect this has something to do with over-testing in public schools, but I'm too busy to further research it.

And if I thought you had the time and the patience for it, I'd recreate here all the swear words I've uttered today. This would take up 10 pages. I even said the C-word. Yes! That one. The word for ladies' privates that starts with the letter "C," that always makes people gasp and then giggle nervously. Especially if they're American, because we're very repressed.

At any rate. It's fixed now. I have had to go with a cable/internet company I positively hate, but my apartment complex clearly has some kind of "understanding" with, since they even have a direct phone line to a particular service rep. Who was very nice, but kept talking to me like I was either 10 years old or 90, I couldn't decide which. At one point, I just stopped him and said, "Bob (not his real name), I'm sorry. I'm having a really frustrating afternoon. I know what a wireless router is, I know where to find them, and I have people who can help me hook it up if I can't follow the directions that come with it. I'm good with the Silver Package for cable, and sure, I'll take the landline if it'll save me a penny and earn you some salesperson points. How fast can we get a service technician here to get me online so I'm not running through my mobile data and my kid can watch JESSIE and DOG WITH A BLOG again? I promise I've done this before, I just need technology that actually works." **

O. M. G., Internet! My nerves are officially frayed. At some point, I just know Humanity will pull itself together and stop infantilizing one another, clean up our need to pollute everything, AND come up with a cable/internet/landline/mobile phone system that not only can be bundled with one company to save hundreds of dollars each month but can also be set up with one, single, easy button push. Kind of like one-click ordering on amazon.com and then your package arrives at your doorstep 10 minutes later. 

...although, now that I think of it? Maybe the reason I dropped so many f-bombs today and took both God and Jesus' names in vain sometimes at the same time and followed by several f-bombs AND the C-word, is precisely because of companies like amazon.com. They're making things way too easy for us, and now we're all just a bunch of rats pressing the pellet button again and again, then going into complete psychotic meltdowns when a pellet stops appearing instantly. Completely dependent and codependent, just the way Corporate America prefers us.

We are our own worst enemies.

I did figure out my new toilet, but not before I called the apartment office ladies to add that to my "And This Doesn't Work Properly Either What The Hell Is Wrong With This Friggin' Apartment Complex I Thought I Was Renting Somewhere Awesome??" list I'm in the process of compiling for them. Tomorrow, I'll call them and let them know they can take that one off my list, but save a spot because I'm sure I'll call back with something else--I'm in the midst of a separation/divorce, and I'm on edge. ON EDGE. To calm down, I just need Netflix and my toilet to flush. I don't think it's too much to ask.

They do have a really nice pool, though. Miss M and I will hang out there tomorrow and I'll pretend to be completely together and totally sane. (I hope I didn't interrupt something important you were doing--unless it was enjoying one of Humanity's 10 billion outer space satellites in some manner, and then good. GOOD! Now you know how I feel. Enjoy the rest of your night/day.)

**Bob was a real sweetheart, and possibly about 90 years old himself. He was actually very helpful and I was kind and patient with him, I promise. I was also very kind and sweet to the apartment office ladies. It's not Bob's or their fault that this complex is 10,000 years behind technologically. To rectify THAT, I'm placing a curse, a 10,000 year curse, on the management company that owns the place.**


breathe...and release.

Hiya, Internet. How are things? I've been maintaining. Maintaining, as in: swinging between being very very busy and on top of things...to being absolutely fucking paralyzed and taking naps as a defense mechanism. My sweet friend Becky tells me this is completely normal. That I will have up days and down days. And some days I will feel sideways, which I think means: surreal. Grey. Out of body. Ish. (At least, that was me at 3 PM yesterday.)

Mostly, what I'm doing right now is scheduling a lot of things: movers, cable, internet, insurance. I did get a new phone when C and I separated that account. And since it's turning out to just be that kind of year, I went to the dark side. The dark side of an apple.

That's right, World Wide Web: I'm an iPhone user now. Crap, it's heaven. I used to enjoy making fun of iPhone/Apple geeks so much. Seriously, you don't even know. But now I get it: THIS shit is why they stand in line, in the rain or snow or crammed together like dead sardines in tin cans in an Apple store, wallowing in pools of their own urine and excrement, for days on end, waiting to buy the newest iPhone update. (I will never, ever understand the Apple watch, though. Sorry. I think it's just one step closer to Apple implanting microbes in our brains.) (And don't you tell me that hasn't crossed your minds, too, you Apple geeks! You know they're working on a prototype, and don't even act like you're not cool with it...be honest: You. Can't. Wait.)

And Miss M is hanging out there with me, on the Apple dark side. Mostly because she's in love with Siri. Who couldn't friggin' care less about what Miss M has to say. They spend a lot of time arguing, and it goes like this:

M: Will you be my friend?
Siri: That's nice. I'd like to be your friend.
M: Will you have a slumber party with me?
Siri: I've never really thought about it.
M: Do you like me? 
Siri: Of course I'm your friend.
M: Will you play with me?
Siri: OK. Playing your music. <starts playing You Belong to Me by Carly Simon>
M: NOOOO!!!! Not THAT kind of playing!!!
Siri: I'm not sure I understand.

M: I MEANT come to my house!
Siri: I don't understand "I meant come to my house." But I could search the web for it.

M: You're not listening to me!
Siri: My apologies.

M: You're FIRED!!
Siri: After all I've done for you?
Siri: I'm doing my best.
M: Okay, I'm sorry, Siri.
Siri: No need to apologize.
M: You apologize too!
Siri: Is that so?

....so on, and so forth. FOREVER. (Apple, you are diabolical.)

I am also spending a lot of time with memories. Another sweet friend of mine once told me that, when you are faced with the letting go of something or someone very very dear and precious to you, this is what you should do: take the memory, embrace it, love it, and then....release and let go. It's this last part I'm having a hard time with. Last night, for instance, I sat in M's room, sobbing, with the memories of all the rocking we did in that one corner when she was a baby. And I realized, today, that next week I'd be taking my last shower in this bathroom. And the other night I sat on the porch in tears, knowing how much I'll miss sitting on it with coffee in the morning and listening to the tree frogs at night. 

This is the hardest part for me, saying good-bye. Even when the good-bye is for the best. Good-byes are my nemesis. Change is not my favorite. It's part of life, but it is not my favorite. 

Side story: once, when I was nine, my mother made my bed. She changed the way the bedspread went on. And did the pillows all wrong. And she changed how I lined up my stuffed animals. So I wrote her an angry, HOW DARE YOU, MOTHER!!! note with a lot of misspellings and bad grammar, and a set of THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE MY BED snobby instructions. Which she still has somewhere, I think, saving it to embarrass me when we are somewhere important with important people some day. At any rate, after that, she never made my bed again, ever. And then I had Miss M, who writes me scathing, irate notes like this all the time, about everything, except she's only 6. No, seriously: EVERYTHING. Take note, dear reader(s): whoever said 'Karma's a bitch' was a mother. I promise.

I'm not sure how I'll coordinate everything next week. Things will become ludicrously busy on the 16th when the cable/internet people come all at once. And I'll have no furniture in the apartment on the 16th because the movers don't come til the 19th. By the 20th, I'll be on my own, though. Which, I'm assuming, is when all the real fun begins.

This weekend, C and I are telling Miss M what is about to happen. We will make it positive and fun (you get to have TWO bedrooms! and TWO kitchens! and TWO bathrooms! and there's a POOL!), but I am worried about her because she's a lot like me in regards to sentimentality and letting go. I have a child psychologist lined up if I need her. (I sense I will need her.)

Speaking of psychologically traumatic hot messes, on a happy note? I'm going to be slightly distracted from my own because I'll be reviewing the show EXTANT starting July 1. It's a show on CBS (Wednesdays 10/9 Central) starring Halle Berry, who plays Molly, an astronaut who comes back to Earth mysteriously pregnant after a 13 month mission in outer space (gah! I hate when that happens!). At any rate, not only does Molly not remember how she got a baby in her womb or who did it, but also she and her husband John have struggled with getting pregnant for years and years...so nope! John ain't the baby daddy. However, John's a smarty pants scientist who just went ahead and created their own kid, Ethan. And Molly and John love him to pieces. Except Ethan is AI (artificial intelligence). He looks real and feels real and sounds real...but he's not actually human. (But theeeennn, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...does it really matter if it's a cow? In the grand scheme of things.) I've watched some clips from last season, and am currently trying to lay hands on full episodes so I won't sound like a hack. (I'm actually okay sounding like a hack--I do it all the time here, but on threeifbyspace's website, I promise to be professional, with only slight moments of brief hackery.) It looks like a fascinating story, actually, with moments that will have me in tears. Which I like. I like being in tears. Tears are my trademark. I shed them all the time.

So, look for some things about that show next month--I'll mostly post my thoughts about it on threeifbyspace.net, but I may go into further detail here about some episodes if it's very, very well-written and well-done. (Though, I will admit: after the DIG roller coaster, all future TV shows have some big shoes to fill for this Southern Yankee gal.) I will tell you up front: Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a new cast member for Season 2. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was in P.S. I LOVE YOU with Hilary Swank, and that's...listen, Internet: Jeffrey Dean Morgan is most delightful. I'll most definitely be writing here about any Jeffrey Dean Morgan moments on EXTANT that cause me to reach for my smelling salts. While in tears.

Otherwise, I'll be here. In Georgia. Packing. Moving. Mourning. Taking deep belly breaths. Breathing in, letting go. Questioning every thought, word, movement and then second guessing myself after every single decision. Spending a lot of time trying to create memories in a new home that doesn't look or feel like my old home (creating memories is harder to do in an apartment, I learned last time--it does not belong to you...I think that's why).

....Do I sound conflicted? Kind of all over the place? I think I sound conflicted and all over the place about what's about to happen. I'm told this is also normal. That any feeling I have, actually, is normal. Right now, Internet, I'm just very very sad. I don't know if you've ever done this or not. If you have, then you know: this is a very, very, deeply, immensely hard and sad thing to do. If you haven't, then now you that, too. This is why I always say kindness is important...somebody honked their horn at me really mean yesterday morning, and it sent me into a fit of tears. Be kind to each other--we're all dealing with difficult things.

Maybe not as hard as an alien impregnating you. But still very, very difficult.


social media thoughts, part 2: connections

Yesterday, we talked about the bad parts of social media: the narcissistic quality to it, Humanity's inability to Just Say No, small children getting adults put on Watch Lists and stuff. I will also confess to you social media is one of the (myriad of) reasons my marriage went into a death spiral. Nothing I said or did on social media; just the fact I'm on it. And C is not. And C does not approve of social media or me being on social media. And I no longer wish to do things or not do things solely based on gaining someone else's approval, no matter how much I love them. This has been a point of contention, for a long time. 

So social media is a tricky rope to tightwalk, yes.

But it does have its good points. For example, Connections. When I think of the good aspects of the power of social media, the one that immediately jumps into my mind is connections. Here is how connections on social media work: When Jason Isaacs retweeted a link to this blog's DIG page, I met some nice, new people and got a few nice, new readers because he did that. When I started attempting to live tweet DIG, I met a very good new friend who eventually helped get me a writing job on threeifbyspace.net. When I go to a discussion forum on the Internet about anything, I try to be very nice and kind and honest and just be myself and whenever I do this, I usually come away with some sweet new contacts, which occasionally evolve into real friendships. 

On this blog, I write a lot about my life--good and bad things I'm going through, life experiences...and I have always done this when writing blogs, as well as on any social media I'm on. I open myself up and make myself vulnerable to other people not because I'm desperate for attention and validation (okay, fine. I actually am) but because I know how important it is to know: you are not alone. Other people go through this. Other people feel like this. We are all in this together, sweet readers. Life is tricky. 

I can't tell you how many times since I've started blogging I've heard from people--family, friends, complete strangers--who let me know they, too, went through what I wrote about or said. Or: thank you for writing that, because I agree. Or: thank you for saying that, because me too. 

Do you know that's why we're all here, why we're navigating through the Milky Way on this gravity-filled rock? We're here to meet each other half way, to connect, to support, to lift up, to cry on shoulders, to be cried on. I cannot stress enough how important it is to feel connected. To feel heard, to feel understood, to feel loved. And, for some people, social media is how they meet those needs. For some people, it fills a void they can't fill offline. 

Somebody out there will read that and go: well, Amy, that's pathetic. Those people are pathetic and need to get a life. And if you are one of those people? With all due respect, fuck you. How dare you judge someone else's approach to life so harshly? How dare you have an opinion about someone else's methods of connection. 

That's the positive aspect to social media. (That, and maybe being told by a stranger on the internet to eff off for being so judgmental; that's nice, too.)

It's also excellent for getting the news out. I don't know about you, but I can't read or listen to the News news anymore. My head says: Oh, you must. You need to know what's happening out there, Amy! But then my heart whispers, oh please. Please, don't. I find Twitter is excellent for knowing what matters most to the world--trending hash tags and all that without too many gory details or misleading company-bought news articles. And Facebook. I have a lot of very right wing friends/family, so I always get to see what matters to the right wingers thanks to what shows up in my Facebook news feed. It depresses me, and sometimes I end up saying something to a family member that blacklists me from future family reunion invites, but I always know what crap FOX "News" is feeding them now. 

And if you're a creative of any kind, social media has become essential to connecting with your audience. Which, one hopes, will sell more of whatever you've created. Doesn't always work out, but that's true even offline. Who knows why some things just resonate with lots and lots of people and other things don't? Social media is one very powerful aspect of maybe hitting the soft spot that will resonate with many, many people. Which, if you're a creative, is hopefully why you're creating--to connect to others (as opposed to becoming rich and famous or just rich or just famous) (because if you're creating art for fame or money, stop now--you're doing it wrong). 

Speaking of creatives and positive connections and spreading the word, guess who I'm going to connect you with right now, via social media aka this blog? Cas Anvar. Do you know of him? I heart him. He's swarthily good-looking and excessively talented, but more than that he's super duper NICE. What ultimately made me love Cas, though, is when I found an article he wrote for a blog called THE IRANIAN, about a mistaken identity thing he went through regarding a role he played in a movie called SHATTERED GLASS. Not only did it clue me in on what a great writer he is (gets you in good with me every! time!), he handled a really sticky situation with such humbleness, aplomb, honesty, and graciousness. I've written here before about how I have a list of criteria I consult before placing someone on any heroes/favorites list; this article he wrote got him on my list, like, immediately. Plus, he's another actor who talks storytelling in ways that make me happy. 

So! If you want to interact with a swarthily good-looking, talented, supremely nice actor, you should go visit Cas on Twitter. He's been in a lot of things you've probably seen: ARGO, LOST, 24, MEDIUM, NCIS, the movie SHATTERED GLASS (about journalist Stephen Glass' plagiarism), DIANA (he played Dodi Fayed to Naomi Watts' Diana, and was most excellent in this--I was surprised to find out Cas isn't British, he was THAT good in this), and currently he's starring as Xerxes on SyFy's OLYMPUS (a most excellent show--I just caught up on most of the previously aired episodes. Like Greek mythology? Like intrigue and double crossing? Like watching ancient Greeks have steamy sex? This show is for you!), and in December I'll get to review his work in THE EXPANSE as Alex Kamal (THE EXPANSE is based on a series of books by James S.A. Corey--I've started reading LEVIATHAN AWAKES and I assure you, it's super awesome and well-written...and this is coming from a girl who usually reads books from the high brow Literature sections of libraries). 

So I connected to Cas via Twitter, and let him know: I think you're rad. And Cas (super sweet, super friendly Cas) let me know: Thanks! That means a lot to me! 

And herein lies the power of social media: I connected to DIG via Jason Isaacs' tweets about it, I connected to a new very dear friend via DIG's tweets, I connected to threeifbyspace.net via a new very dear friend, I connected to THE EXPANSE via threeifbyspace.net, I connected to Cas Anvar via THE EXPANSE, now guess what? YOU'RE connected to Cas Anvar via Amy! Go learn about him and be amazed. Find him on social media and tell him he rocks, and let's all have a storytelling love fest. Okay? 

But do it all on social media. So I can keep this blog on topic and we can inject some positivity into an Internet sphere which can be terribly fraught with the opposite of peace, love, and happiness (if you do social media of any kind, I sense you know exactly what I'm talking about). 


social media thoughts, part 1: the insane stuff.

Hi, Internet! How are you since I last talked at You? 

So, today I discovered Periscope. It was Jason Isaacs' fault. He tweeted about watching Andy Dick eat cheese puffs on it, and I saw it in my general Twitter feed when I logged on in the morning. I had no idea what the heck he was talking about, so I Googled it. 

I ran away! Because no. NO! Stop this insanity, Social Media! Jesus God stop it!! Stop giving human beings one more excuse to be narcissists! I can barely keep track of all the social media I do use as it is. Are not Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, About.me, Flickr, Google+, Snapchat, Vine, LinkedIn, Meetup.com, wordpress, blogspot, vox, typepad, and Pinterest quite enough for the world?????? 

At some point, this has got to go like the housing bubble did and just blow up and ooze pus everywhere. Right? How much more can our limited brains handle? And so now there is Periscope, which connects to your Twitter account, which lets you live stream (as long as you like, I think) video of yourself talking and/or putzing about, or be an amateur Reality TV show producer/director/camera person and video stream live events as they happen around you. Meanwhile, people who are watching--random, total, COMPLETE strangers--can just pop in and sit and watch. And if they're so inclined, they can comment, live, on your life as it happens. 

Bizarre. Freaky! What the hell is going ON with us, Humanity?!?! We are so desperate for validation.

But then, being infinitely curious and always full of WHAT? and WHY??, I downloaded the app. I missed Andy Dick eating cheese puffs, but was able to sit (for 35 minutes!) on this app and watch a really lovely trio of musicians play live music outside a cafe in Birmingham, Alabama; a friendly, outgoing girl who looked slightly like Mila Kunis just sit and talk at various strangers saying hello to her and leaving her comments while she ate donuts; I watched someone in Africa at work--rather, I watched their desk computer; I watched someone else just sit. Thirty-five minutes later, I shut it off. Because I have a life to live: I needed to shower and get dressed, the kitchen was a disaster, and my child had put eye shadow on her to make it look as if someone had punched her. And she had done this on purpose, and was in the process of adding in a bloody lip. And demanding I take her out in public like this.

Speaking of my child and social media: Miss M, 6 years old, has discovered texting. And leaving comments on YouTube. I think the YouTube comments are scariest. First, because, well...my name is attached. The comments are not being posted as a 6 year old crazy girl from Georgia, they're coming in as a 43 year old crazy woman from Georgia. I'm sure Matty B., the teen YouTube rap sensation, and all his little pre-teen friends don't find that freakishly alarming at all. Second, I caught her trying to leave Matty B. and his friends OUR HOME ADDRESS.

So we had to have The Internet Talk. Which is far more frustrating to have with a 6 year old than the Birds & Bees Talk, please know. Listen to me: if you need to speak to a child about delicate Life matters, I promise you want to talk about sex. Not the Internet; this is a labyrinth you'll never figure your way out of, trust me.

Because it's very hard to explain to an egocentric, concrete thinker about all the baddies out there. And also about how Matty B. doesn't know her, and she doesn't know him. (Because, in her brain, Matty B. is her very best friend--he's cute, he's talented, he's seems so! friendly! Clearly, he wants to be her boyfriend and come have a sleepover at her house. This Friday! Right? Right!) 

Totally very frustrating.

So I told her my story, the one about how this one time a bad guy stalked me on the Internet because of a blog I wrote, and how scary that was. Didn't move her. Because Matty B. IS HER FRIEND. 

And we talked about stranger danger. Didn't move her. Because Matty B. IS NOT A STRANGER. 

And we talked about how you can't leave Matty B. comment after comment after comment until he answers you. Because I'm sure Matty B. has seen your comments (which he thinks are from your 43 year old Mommy) and now his parents are warily watching you (i.e., me). 

I said that part of our talk to her, studiously ignoring how many famous people I regularly leave tweets for who probably have me on some Internet Watch List as well. (But it's different! It's different! Because those famous people and I are all adults. And THEY know I'm just gently joking with them online because I admire them and want them to know they're loved, even if we don't actually know each other. And also..........okay, fine. Fine! It's not very different. I'm sure I'm on a Twitter Watch List or something.)

At any rate, I've had to institute a No Comments Without Parental Permission and Approval policy on my YouTube account. And now I have to regularly monitor what she's watching (which isn't hard on YouTube, because you watch one thing, and suddenly they make 10,000 similar suggestions...for awhile, I was getting a lot of anime videos of voluptuous cartoon ladies giving birth. And so then we had the Where Do Babies Come From? talk. Lands. Child rearing in the 21st century is exhausting, y'all. EXHAUSTING. And also: Damn it, YouTube! Get a parental password protect option!)

We also have had to implement a No Texting Without Parental Permission and Approval policy. That started when C was off on his fishing trip last week--texting is a quick, excellent way to keep in touch with someone who refuses to do social media and also likes to take fishing trips to places near Canada that are practically off the grid. However, she left him bizarre text messages like: 

Daddy, Mommy is being mean to me. (insert 10,000 angry emojis here)

Daddy, I really think I'm going to cry!!!!!!!! (insert 10,000 sad emojis here)

Daddy, Mommy bought me a lot of make up and I'm on YouTube doing videos! (insert 10,000 random emojis here)

Daddy, I hate Mommy!!! (insert 10,000 devil emojis here)

And so on and so forth. Sometimes, they would just be whatever popped up randomly in autocorrect. I don't know if you've ever visited damnyouautocorrect.com, but if you have, I'm sure you can imagine what those read like.

Then she moved on from Daddy to Grammy. And then random people in my contacts list. Two people were worried about me. So now I've had to pre-emptively apologize for weird texts or facebook posts from me, because these are NOT from me. They are from a nutty little person posing as me. 

In addition, now I'm terrified M is going to say something bizarre to some famous person I follow on Twitter or Instagram and then I really WILL get put on a Twitter Watch List of some sort, or banned. So I'm mulling over making that my next pinned tweet on my Twitter page: bizarre tweets with emojis are not from me; they're from my zany, wayward 6 year old. Because the clue will be that her bizarre tweets will include 10,000 emojis because she knows where to find those on my phone and I don't since technologically I'm obviously about 190 years old.

This is the end of Part 1. 

Tomorrow, come back, because I'm going to talk about social media, part 2: the good stuff. There is good stuff to social media. For example, once I downloaded Periscope, I could see its value--imagine if something horrible is occuring...oh, say, some crazed racist cop going to town on a 12 year old unarmed black boy or something. Periscope = excellent to get the word out about that, in conjunction with Twitter's rapid fire information dissemination. 

Really, true Villains of the world should be terrified at the moment; there will be nowhere to hide their evil doings, eventually. 

(The frustrating, sad part is I know they aren't...they're in a dank, dark cave somewhere trying to figure out how to work this to their advantage. Thus, Sons/Daughters of Light continue to the fight the good fight.)


hopeful freaks.

I took Miss M to see TOMORROWLAND today. OMG, Internet! Please go see this movie! Particularly if you are a parent of daughters. This movie was Sci-Fi, but it had HEART. It wasn't just about technology and science and gadgetry; it was about Hope and Possibility. And more important than that? Girls kicked ASS in it. And I cried THREE times. It's one of my favorite movies now. When M is older, we're going to watch it again...when she's not prone to wandering the theater (it was pretty empty so I let her...normally I'd be hissing through clenched teeth: Sit! DOWN! You. Are. EMBARRASSING ME.) Also, for some reason, it gave her the idea she was born a spy. And now she's a spy. There were no spies anywhere in this movie. But it must have had a spy "feel" to it, and now we're fighting espionage at our house. (Espionage is exhausting, if you must know. I recommend avoiding it.)

Speaking of Hope and Possibility, I'd also like to add a rant addendum to what I just posted above. I'm posting this HERE because if I post it on Facebook, my mom (hi, Mom!) is going to call me and go, "Amy! STOP embarrassing me on social media! I want to go to family reunions and look people in the eyes!" And then my mom and I are probably going to get into a political discussion about other things we disagree on, and I'm going to have to add a sad chapter to my Mommy Dearest book. (I'm joking, Mom.) At any rate, I'm putting it here to vent my spleen, because I think the only family members who read this blog are my Mom, my sister in law, and some of my dad's relatives. (Hi everybody!) Who may or may not agree with me, but don't post crazy ass things on their social media all the time that make me say out loud: WTF?! This is incredibly the OPPOSITE of what you just said about yourself! And it's hurtful. And prejudiced. (I made a promise to myself a long time ago to always, ALWAYS speak up when I see or read prejudice, no matter who it's from.)

Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce). Is she freaky? I don't think so. I don't think anyone who's figured themselves out after half their life has passed is freakish at all; I think they're simply a human being. Can we at least agree that ALL human beings deserve our love, compassion, and understanding, whether or not you agree or understand them? Can we agree that judging someone else's choices as "freakish" or "sinful" or "disgusting," and spewing that negativity out into the Ethos is incredibly harmful to their souls, and therefore yours as well? What you do to one of us, you do to all. I think this would be a good starting point to building world peace, to agree to that. At the very least. 

I also think that Caitlyn Jenner is incredibly brave. Caitlyn Jenner could have just quietly faded off into a faraway tropical island to transform into her Real Self, never to be seen or heard from again. Instead, she chose to stay in her life, and be proud, and take the flogging from a media and a public that just loooooves to judge, condemn, and generally be dickheads.

More than that, I think science and medicine and technology are gifts to us from the Ethos, the Great Spirit, YHWH, God, Allah, Osiris, Poseidon, Ganesha, or Humanity...whatever you choose to insist is driving this gigantic ship we're all navigating through the cosmos on. Together. Completely dependent upon one another, for kindness, love, food, health care, entertainment, parenting, financial aid, compassion. And if science, medicine, and technology have found a way to change a human body to a form that fits the one who dwells within it more comfortably, then your opinion(s) about that matter this much in the grand scheme of things: 0. Oh, you're very welcome to your opinions (as always), but then that makes you open to being welcome to my opinions about your opinions. And so on and so forth. We can do this all day if you'd like. Because when you're out of breath, and I'm out of breath, and we've exhausted ourselves into a fit of self-righteous, indignant exhaustion? Your opinion and my opinion about what ANYBODY does with their life still only matters exactly this much: 0. It's been this way to the Universe since the dawn of time, and it will continue long after you and I and ten generations of our descendants are little more than ashes and dust.

Also, and further, I think that whenever (EVERY TIME) someone starts a sentence with a phrase like the following:

"I'm not prejudiced, but..." or "I'm open minded, but..." or "I believe in equality, but..." or "I don't hate anyone, but..." (so on and so forth), then that someone is about to say something the very opposite of whatever they just said they are or aren't. Right? It's the "but" that gives them away. Followed of course by their prejudiced, narrow-minded, unequal, hateful viewpoints. The negativity they choose to evacuate from their insides to our world. If you have to let people know you're not prejudiced, guess what? You're probably prejudiced. If you feel compelled to make sure people know you're open-minded, guess what? You probably aren't. Whatever you want to make sure people know you are or aren't, if you tag on the word "but" to it, then guess what? You aren't. Or you are. You're actually whatever it is that follows the word "but." (I have heard the opposite of this from people, and it's always delightful: "I'm a Christian, but..." or "I'm usually angry, but..." or "I don't like homosexuality, but..." Because these are honest people, who are acknowledging another's right to just BE. In this instance the word "but" is a good thing.)

So have your opinions about whatever you like (I'm giving you mine right now), but just know: in the grand scheme of things, we are mere specks of dust in a Universe that could be just one of many Universes. There are stars out there in Outer Space that are bigger than our entire galaxy...we are tiny fractions of what the Universe has had to deal with for gabillions of mind blowing millenia. And yet It puts up with us. Probably for the sheer entertainment value.

Think about that next time you want to judge someone for who they want to sleep with or marry. Think about that next time you want to pass judgement on someone else for being freakish (to YOU). We're all freaks, babies. Just yesterday, for example, I googled "zero gravity sex in a time warp." Just because I'm going to be reviewing The Expanse in December, this is part of the show (one teensy tinsy part of the show), and I'm freakishly consumed with learning more about it. So I can be obsessed with it. God knows, what would I be without a few freakish obsessions? Don't judge--you know you've got yours. And if you don't? That's freakish, too.

We are ALL freaks.