Why aren’t we talking about parenting teenagers? I’m lost AF.

by renegademama

Can somebody please explain to me why we aren’t supporting the hell out of parents of teenagers?

We have pregnancy groups, newborn groups, baby groups, toddler groups. All the mommy groups. Of course, who knows if those are good for much beyond increasing insecurity and vague shame, but whatever. At least there’s a place to go to meet other parents sitting on the outside of the group wondering what the hell is going on.

There are endless articles and forums – again, most of which are useless – but still, they offer a sense of everyone going through the same shit.

I have a teenager and a near-teenager and I’m going to say something really loud so it’s really clear: Parenting a teenager is the hardest, loneliest, most emotionally trying phase I’ve ever experienced as a mother, and by far puts the biggest strain on my marriage, and our family as a whole.

There. I said it.

And it’s LONELY. Did I mention that? Because there seems to be an expectation or idea that the kid is “already raised,” that they’re “done.” That since they can bathe and dress and feed themselves, parenting them isn’t as difficult as caring for a newborn.

Of course this isn’t Parenting Struggle Olympics, but I have to say, in my experience, newborns don’t have shit on teenagers. Okay, they may literally have shit, and newborns are physically more exhausting, but when it comes to emotional and mental toil, teenagers have proven significantly more trying than those tiny bundles of squishy milk breath.

And here’s why: Setting aside postpartum depression and anxiety, newborns are relatively simple. They’re difficult, but overall, kind of simple. They need clothing, holding, feeding, changing, bathing. It’s an incredible amount of work, but it’s a clean difficulty, a straightforward work, and if we surrender, and stop trying to control the little monsters every waking moment to FIT INTO OUR EXCEL SPREADSHEET OF BABY, we settle into a little groove.

And oh, they offer so much in return, and so immediately: Smiles, coos, new developments every damn week. Baby breath. Chubby thighs. Their little bottoms in the air when they sleep. Omg I want another baby.

And babies, well, they tend to not go for the jugular.

I can’t recall a single time my infant said a thing that touched my deepest insecurity as a parent, a personality trait I’m ashamed of, a real flaw I have that is suddenly being held against me by a human whose cell phone bill I pay for.

I can’t remember a time when my newborn pushed my button so hard I texted her father and said, “I’m kicking your child out of the house today, so say goodbye.”

They are complicated, these teens. They are mercurial things with a sense of what about me that defies all reason. Your whole day can revolve around a teenager’s activities, needs, and wants, and at the end of it, if somebody does something that doesn’t align perfectly with the teen’s idea of what he’s owed, he’ll look at you and scream: YOU DON’T EVEN CARE ABOUT ME and slam the bedroom door.

Leaving you wondering what, exactly, you just did all day if not demonstrating my care for you.


Even when they’re in a good mood, they’re a lot. Talking constantly about themselves, or not at all. The former is exhausting. The latter causes great worry that they’re smoking meth under a bridge while selling illegal porn to minors.


Teenagers can clear a room in 30 seconds with their attitudes. And about the most immature shit. They look so much like regular humans, but then you see them entitled and arguing with a 7-year-old or toddler or getting pissed because the family movie isn’t the one they wanted and you’re like: Would you please make a decision: Are you 16 or five?

Yes, these teenagers are going to need you like no kid has ever needed you, and they’re going to need you no matter what else you have going on that day, or how badly you need to get out the door, or how many other kids need you.

Sometimes, I spend so much on my teenagers, I have nothing left for my other kids. My husband and I fight. The little kids get forgotten. There’s a lot of guilt there, for me. The teenager tantrums fill the house with a gray, heavy angst. We all feel it.

And then, when you try to point this out to said teenager, they defend themselves with their last breath and just can’t see their own attitude while they roll their eyes and talk to you like a rat the cat just dragged in. It’s dizzying, and you wonder if you seriously fucked up somewhere.


But that’s not all, and this is the part that makes the whole thing so excruciating: They are these soaring, powerful creatures who you look at sometimes and cannot believe they’ve grown so strong, so whole, so complete in themselves. You see them standing against a wall, doing nothing, and the way their body holds their fire – you can feel it, the way it fills space in the room, pushes against the world with all the hope and newness and life you once had.

They are your past, and they are your future, and the days are so numbered. A glimpse of your own mortality. A glimpse of what you could have done at their age, when the world was yours to conquer.

The pain I feel looking at my child and knowing she’ll be gone in a couple of years, that the magical “eighteen” is right around the corner, the one I saw when she was a newborn as a distant fantasy that could never possibly come – when I held her in the crook of my arm and she seemed she’d always be mine – yeah, well, it’s almost here.

She’s pulling away, and walking away, and the end is right there.

We text. We talk shit. We send messages to each other on Instagram. She legitimately makes me roar in laughter and beam in pride. These kids are remaking the world. They’re loud, critical, politically informed, and know how to use the motherfucking internet. Their voices are roaring and they will be heard.

And…one of them just screamed at me for requesting they do the dishes.

I don’t know how to parent teenagers. I don’t know how to hold myself up in the face of their scorn – some of which, let’s be real, is valid. It’s a swallowing of my pride when I know they’re right, when they point out my own hypocrisy or irrationality, and I owe it to them to say, alright, you’re right. And I owe it to them to stand my fucking ground when they are wrong, and to try again and again and again and again to address the character flaws in them I know will cause them pain, to smash the entitlement, to teach them to work. To teach them to love. To teach them never to leave the house without saying “I love you.”

This is the complexity that sits in me and I feel alone. To shift from a rage I never knew was possible toward one’s own kid to a sadness so deep my bones ache at the thought of her leaving – once again, nobody prepared me for this shit.

And I suppose that’s really it, what feels so different about this stage: That when they’re newborns, we look ahead and we see so much to come. We see toddlers and preschool and grammar school. We see so much time.

But now, I look ahead and I see an end I never want to arrive. I wonder if it’s already here. I wonder where the time went, beg for it back, and watch her move through the world with a power I recall from when it was mine.

I suppose the answer, again, is in the surrender, and I suppose I’ll find it, again, because there is no choice, and ultimately the mother’s job is in the letting go.


a scratched-up photo of my first kid and me, when there was more time




Super-top-secret content coming soon. We’re gettin’ fancy over here.

Get into it.

After 16 years as a mother, I’ve learned they all lied.

by renegademama

They are a bunch of liars.


You know, “they.” The ubiquitous “they.”

The ones who “wrote the book” on parenting literally and figuratively, whose narratives we repeat like mantras though perhaps we aren’t totally sure why, or from whence they came, or whether or not they’re true. The ones who tell us what to do and how to do it and what will happen if we don’t, but somehow remain faceless, nameless – although there’s always that one in mom groups and internet threads who appears to be their proud spokesperson.

I’ve been a mother for sixteen years to four children, and what I’ve learned above all is that they fucking lie.

They told me if I keep my baby in my bed, he’ll never get out. They said he’ll grow so dependent on me he’ll pretty much literally never leave the crook of my arm.

Well, let me tell you something: Last week, my three-year-old looked me in the eyes and announced that he would like to “sleep in his room with the other kids” and now, sure as shit, the little fucker abandoned me. My last baby.

Even naps.

You think I want him out of my bed? Of course I do.

Until now that he’s out. Now my bed feels empty and I miss his sweaty little head and somehow his absence reminds me of my own aging body and the fact that it’s all going to end and also I’m going to die and my spring chicken baby birthing days are over and I WANTED MORE TIME. Perhaps I’m taking this a little far.

Nonetheless, my plan was to have him in there next to me until whenever the fuck he wants because he is my last baby, and all of my babies (okay fine, except George because she hates human near her at night) have been tucked against me at night, and I loved it, and I hated it, but this one? This one I was never kicking out, so I just let him be there, unquestionably, and now he’s moved out before he can thoroughly wipe his own ass.

They lied. Goddamn scam artists.

They lied about having 18 years with kids. You don’t get 18 years. You get like 12 years – or maybe nine years – because they change, okay? They CHANGE. They become these weird, somewhat distant hormone people who don’t play on the beach anymore. They sit on their phones and eat Doritos and complain about your parenting.

Another lie.

They promised if we did right by our kids we could save them from becoming self-centered, myopic teenagers who think they know every goddamn thing even though they’ve never paid a bill and somehow can never, ever, find the motherfucking cheese in the cheese drawer or remember to pack a toothbrush.

Wait. Maybe I invented that.

At any rate, that too is a lie. Even the really fucking good kids (as opposed to, say, me as a teenager) turn into know-it-all specimens of glory who occasionally run like tornadoes through the house, sucking the life out of all humans around them while you write a check for their iPhone bill.

They’re there in body, but gone in so many child ways – and it’s exactly as it should be, and it’s fucking excruciating.

I also seem to recall them promising that the difficulty of teenagers will result in everyone feeling totally ready for said teenager to move out. I don’t want her to go. She’s “supposed” to go in less than two years. (Who made that rule? Is that a lie, too? Probably.)

The concept of her departure feels like getting my teeth yanked out of my head without anesthetic. Or somebody removing my lung for no apparent reason. I liked that lung, alright, assholes?

Until those tornadoes happen, and I look at Mac and say, “Imma kill your kid.” But mostly, I lie awake at 2am thinking about two years. Two years. Two years. And I think my heart may shred into oblivion.

She looked at us on New Year’s Eve and said, “I can’t ever be away from you guys. How will I ever be away from my family?”


Oh, it feels like lies. All of those rules and stories and guidelines. It all feels like a wilting Band-Aid over a gaping wound, a pathetic attempt to contain the un-containable, and I don’t believe them any more.

Did I ever?

Maybe I did. I used to have these voices in my head: Don’t use bottles. Don’t strictly breastfeed. Don’t introduce more than one food a week. Don’t pick them up whenever they cry. Don’t hold them constantly. Don’t yell. Don’t hide your feelings.

Don’t be the broken human you definitely are.

I did all those things, and didn’t do many more things, and with every child, it changes, and I change, and I don’t change at all – and they still, no matter what, leave my bed and then, I guess, my home.

I wish I could hold the faces of every woman just becoming a mother and look them straight in the eyes and say: “They lie. Do motherhood the way you do motherhood. THEY. DON’T. KNOW. YOU.”

You don’t have to kick them out of your bed. You don’t have to not hold them. You don’t have to sleep train or not sleep train and you don’t have to nurse or not nurse (on a schedule!) and you can do the Santa thing or not and still, always, you’ll find yourself face-to-face with the weirdness and glory of your own little family and the way it keeps going and going into tomorrow.

Your fucked up ways. Your perfection. Your destruction.

I suppose I always knew they were full of shit, because though their voices whispered to me, I ultimately did whatever I felt deep in my bones was right for us. I noticed quite quickly that the entire game of parenthood changes depending on who you’re talking to, and it isn’t a matter of truth or rightness, it’s a matter of, um, who you are talking to.

I was told I had to have an epidural because I was “too young to handle that pain,” and couldn’t nurse on demand or co-sleep or hold them literally all the fucking time because I want to – because I would “spoil them” and “make them dependent” and now, funny thing, everyone tells me how “independent” my kids are – but that’s not why I’m glad I did it.

I’m not glad because it is right or true or good, but because it was in my heart to mother that way – because it was how I was mothered – because it was how my husband fathers, and it turns out “they” were wrong anyway.

My way isn’t right, but it’s mine. And your way is yours.

So can we all, please, for the love of god, just trust that? On the day their fuzzy heads fall on pillows in another room, or another house, it feels good to know you led them there with your heart, with all you ever had, not as the best mother, but as the mother you are.

In a world of screaming demands, it’s a powerful thing to simply be who we are, to let the whole of our lives drive the show – everything we want, value, challenge and know.

And to my friends about to have babies: I trust you.

(They’re just trying to sell us shit anyway.)

Fuck ‘em. All of them. Those kids aren’t in your family for nothin’. We get to be the beautiful freaks we were meant to be. It feels, at the last, like truth.





Sorry for yelling, but want to join me in September on Cortes Island in British Columbia for a writing retreat? Of course you do. I am absolutely delighted and honored to have been invited to teach at the wonderful non-profit Hollyhock.

We’ll be staying four days together in a house on the ocean, eating food grown right there on the island, spending our days talking about writing, walking in nature (the co-founder of Hollyhock was also a founder of Greenpeace, largely inspired by this land), and doing yoga, if you’re into that sort of thing – maybe this will the be the year I become a yogi. Ha.

I’ve been told it’s like standing on the edge of the world. Maybe it’s heaven.

Also, please note that scholarships are available.



39 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | January 4, 2018

2017 is over and I’m still confused

by renegademama

I’ve tried six times to write something to you today. Something about 2017. Something funny, maybe. Or something heartfelt. You know, all deep and hopeful and shit. But it all felt wrong.

Everything I wrote felt wrong—an infuriating feeling—when words simply cannot say a goddamn thing and it all feels forced and pathetic. The humor feels flat. The depth, fake.

Nothing but frustration. Nothing but irritation. Nothing but wanting to walk away.

Eventually, I did walk away, and went about my day, finally realizing hours later: “Confusion, Janelle. That’s what you feel. That’s why you can’t write about 2017. Because 2017 was a year of confusion. So of course you’re confused trying to write about it now.” Fucking confusion.

That was 2017 for me.

Mind-numbing, dizzying, whiplash days of utter confusion. It isn’t spectacular for the creative process, I’ll tell you that much. I try not to write unless I have something to say (weird, I know), but 2017 was characterized by a million attempts to contain the incomprehensible, by the feeling of “tomorrow, maybe tomorrow something will make sense,” only to find in tomorrow a bigger hit than today’s.

Back into the maelstrom of where the fuck am I?


2017 began for me with a tragedy that felt like the cruelest, most unnecessary slam against my family – like a kick straight to the jaw when you’re already bleeding on the ground.

I woke on January 1 to my husband standing in my bedroom doorway, saying, “Janelle! I went into Ava’s room and Laser is dead in there.” Our five-year-old Labrador died on New Year’s Eve during the night by suffocating in an insulated lunch bag that had a single candy wrapper in it.

A fucking lunch bag killed my dog.


Beyond the cruelty of the death of our pup was its timing. It happened six weeks after my grandmother was murdered by my cousin, which happened five weeks after the natural death of my grandfather.

My grandmother. Stabbed. Gone. She was old, but she wasn’t done.

Everything I thought I knew of my family, of safety, of living on earth, was gone. Between moments of terror and crushing grief, I felt confusion.

How? Why? HOW?

The year of confusion.

I spent the first day of 2017 pacing my house almost in a fugue, repeating the words, “Not our dog, too…not our dog, too…”

I knew then 2017 was going to be bullshit.

But I didn’t need the death of my pup to know that. I knew Trump was coming, and I knew it would be horrendous. And it was. It is.


Watching a man that evil run our country – a racist, misogynistic, ignorant, compulsively lying bully – but even worse, watching people support him. Watching the sycophantic GOP kiss his ass to make sure their tax scam passed, watching them fall in line through all his juvenile, dangerous, insane tweets and attacks of the free press – the sacred America institution of the motherfucking free press. His obvious guilt. His ignorance. His manipulation. His obvious racism and misogyny and threats to democracy.

He claims absolute right over our judicial system.

And they do nothing.


Money. Oligarchy. Here we are. I want to scream HOW DO YOU NOT SEE? WHY DON’T YOU CARE?

I get why the GOP doesn’t care, but what about everyday people? Family members. Trump supporters I know.

How do they not see?


Dizzying, mind-numbing, stunning confusion. How. Where. What. No.

I watch women and men fight and fight and kick and scream and call and write their representatives. Nothing. They don’t give a fuck. We have no power. We have no power. Why do we try.


I watch my hope dwindle. I watch it fade into damn near nothing. I wonder if I care anymore.

I read James Baldwin’s words on hope. I feel the weight of my own pathetic nature. I don’t even remember what he said. I only recall how his words made me feel.

White middle-class woman with healthcare in California. Oh, get over your fucking self, Janelle. Who are you to get all despondent? Who are you to lose hope?

But what do I do?


My words were gone.

And yet, they weren’t. I wrote a whole goddamn book in 2017. I wrote 320 pages of sentences. I wrote them one word at a time, for hours, weeks, months at a time. Rewrote them twenty times. Wrote them again. I wrote a book I had in me for eight years.

I’d rent a motel room for the weekend and write for 18 hours. That was how I did it. That was how I wrote. I left my family. I left it all. I hid out. It felt weird and wrong and wonderful. It was joy and excitement and creation.

And that, too, was confusing. Because here I am in hell living my goddamn dream. Here I am in hell with a pocket of heaven carved out just for me. A book? Fuck. Nah, not me. Not my life.

And yet, there I was. Here I am. All at the same damn time.


But a book is different from a blog. I got lost in my book, in the story, in the sentences fading to the next, in the tinkering of the grammar, the arc of the narrative, the woven themes and the problems I just cannot figure out. I could hide there. I could forget I was even on earth.

But the blog? Shit. That’s a conversation. That’s what’s going on right now, each day, and all I had for that was confusion.

And I still don’t have anything funny to say, anything profound or helpful about 2017. It was a bullshit year, but I learned some things.

I learned I can write through unimaginable pain. I learned meaning is not “found,” it is created. It doesn’t drop from the cosmos in one glorious bubble. It is sculpted and molded with our hands, maybe because we’ll die if we don’t make something out of the seemingly meaningless pain of our lives.

I suppose, too, what I learned is that there are times in life when your footing is removed, when the path is obliterated, when your feet can hardly see where to land at all – and shit gets weird there. It gets tense and terrifying and exhausting, but goddamnit it gets wild, it gets creative, it gets resistant and pissed off and somehow, through the din of the lies and basest nature of humanity, rises the sound of a few million people making meaning, looking to tomorrow, refusing to accept the confusion is for nothing.

So Happy Fucking New Year, friends. Good Riddance, you piece of shit, 2017, and while the pain may be our confusion, it will never be our undoing.

And that’s something almost like hope.

Mac and I saw this a couple weeks ago on our 17th wedding anniversary. It didn’t suck.

12 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | December 31, 2017

What six years of blogging has taught me about handling trolls

by renegademama

A writer recently asked me how I handle assholes on the internet.

And I’m really glad she asked, because after six (nearly seven!) years of blogging, I have finally perfected the craft of polite, professional maturity in the face of trolls who don’t read the post then call me “fat and ugly” just to be safe.

Or, do read the post and call me a “sad specimen of goat feces” who they hope “gets eaten by vultures.” Vultures don’t even eat feces, you fucking moron.

Sorry. Lost my maturity there for a second. This rarely happens.

Anyway, generally when I come across a comment that sends my blood rushing to the top of my head, where it swirls in incredulous shock and malaise, I click off of it and tell myself I shall ignore it like a mature professional adult.

I remind myself of all the other bloggers on the internet who get eaten alive by comments and don’t respond at all and I tell myself “You can be like them, too, Janelle!” You can do it! You’re a real grown-up now.

Then I click back over to the comment and reply, “I hope you die in a fire.”

After that, I may delete it but I don’t edit it because I don’t want the commenter to know how much their comment bothers me. If it’s been more than five minutes, I don’t delete it because then the commenter will know I wrote something then deleted it, which means I don’t stand by my word and am weak and afraid. Or maybe they’ll call me out on deleted comments, which means they got the better of me.

Then I remind myself that the commenter HAS ALREADY IN FACT GOTTEN THE FUCKING BETTER OF ME BECAUSE I AM SITTING HERE OBSESSING OVER HOW TO RESPOND TO A COMMENT THAT SAYS, “I’m glad California is burning because of all the gays and I hope they learns and than stop blocking Trump from MAGA!!!!!!”

If I leave the comment, I swear I won’t return because now I have re-doubled my maturity efforts and I’m sure they’ll work this time.

I take a screenshot and send it to 2-17 friends.

Then I go about my life until a few hours later, when I see a notification from Captain MAGA. I think No don’t look.

Then I look.

At that point, I either:

  1. Ignore it (this happens twice a year);
  2. Respond with a GIF which satisfies a little bit of my desire to have the last word while also allowing me to bow out of the conversation; or
  3. Actually attempt words, then regret it immediately.

Sometimes, when I’m really feeling on top of my game, I unfriend and block the person then tell myself “I really should be more mature about thing,” and remind myself that someday I’m going to be 90 years old (hopefully), and I will most likely look back at the whole days irate at some stranger in Idaho as something along the lines of “a waste of time.”

Not that I spend whole days irate.

I definitely do that.

But I’ve come super far, guys. When I first started blogging, I used to spend 13 hours carefully crafting the perfect rebuttal to trolls, and I’d keep riding that train for hours or days, way beyond the point at which it became clear this person and I were FOR SURE NOT GETTING ANYWHERE EVER.

No worries. I would not be deterred. I was a motherfucking keyboard warrior.

It would end when I blocked them because I’d be like “This is my blog and YOU LOSE!”

Then I’d go back to wishing I were a real adult.

I was so ridiculous about it, I even had older, more seasoned writers EMAIL ME OUT OF THE BLUE to let me know that instead of responding to 37 randoms on the internet who hate me, perhaps I should just move on to my next writing project.

You know, for funsies.

I literally had a “talking to” by writers I know. GO TEAM.

After that, I only spent one hour shit-slinging with trolls I’ll never meet.

And now, I’m down to like fifteen minutes, and sometimes even respond to asshole comments with a semblance of patience and tolerance.

That also happens twice a year.

You know what we call that, people? Motherfucking progress.

Baby steps to maturity.

Also known as, who fucking cares. 

Speaking of maturity, I just spent 45 minutes making an infographic.

Have a nice day.

Super Scientific Maturity Data Analysis

P.S. Fine. What I’ve actually learned after all these years is that the only thing that matters is that we keep going. With our words, our work, our art. And that, I fucking mean. 


Check out sponsor Meg Worden. She says cannabis is the new kale.

Perhaps that would help my maturity.

25 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | November 16, 2017

Do you ever wonder why the hell we trust people?

by renegademama

Just sometimes, ya know? Like when somebody you absolutely knew was trustworthy – somebody you considered family, somebody you invited into all areas of your life, somebody you would have sworn felt the same about you – turns out to be a goddamn liar without any particular capacity for, oh, you know, integrity?

It’s impossible to write this post without being annoyingly vague, but that is the burden we must bear, for this isn’t a story I can detail. I can, however, tell you this: A person my entire family loved like a fucking brother – a non-blood relative each of my kids called “uncle” – betrayed the shit out of us, lied about it, kept lying about it, lied some more about just in case there were some lies left untold, and then, just when we were about to open conversation with him in the hope of some reconciliation, re-engaged unapologetically in the same shit that ended our friendship in the first place.

But the details are unimportant.

The point is, and the thing Mac and I have been asking ourselves since this happened a couple of months ago, after all the tears and rage and confusion – is how difficult it is to not simply shut down the entire friend division of life.

After a loss and betrayal like this, the feeling of “How could I be so wrong about a person?” is overwhelming, and I question my ability to assess character, morality, integrity.

And in the pain and confusion, there’s a side of Mac and me that never wants to open up to anybody again, never wants a new friend, never wants to let anyone come over on motherfucking Christmas.

As in, friendship closed for business until further notice.


Because truly, how can you love somebody so much and have them throw ya away for nothing?

For real, how can we be so goddamn wrong about people? 

That’s the thing, you know? That feeling of having been hoodwinked, played, taken for the ultimate heart ride. But this time, we included our children. This motherfucker caused serious emotional pain for our children.

And I had to navigate that, answer their questions about why he doesn’t come around anymore, and how much they miss him, and I had to come up with something to say beyond: “Some people are fucking assholes.”

Because that wouldn’t have been entirely true anyway, though I wanted to say it in the heat of my sadness. I wanted to rail and scream and tell them we were simply wrong about this person and fuck him and the boat he rode in on.

But that ain’t true, and I know it. And they need to know it.

Instead, I told them, “Well, he made some decisions that make it impossible for us to be friends, but we loved him, and he loved us, and we had some great times together, but sometimes love isn’t enough.”

Sometimes love isn’t enough. Sometimes it isn’t enough to counteract the brokenness and imperfections of a person, their inability to show honesty or decency or maturity, and you have to let both parts stand. Sometimes you have to accept a person is just too fucked up to trust.

Even though you want to.

I know, I know. “We don’t harm people we love.”

And to that I say, Lolllllllllll. That’s a good one. Either we do harm people we love, or no human on the planet knows how to love, because come the fuck on. Seems to me we harm the people we love often.

I’ve been harmed by AND harmed every single person I love most on this earth.

Seems to me we have love and we have all this other shit inside of us too, parts that do harm, and the people around us feel both.

But with most people, the people we keep in our lives, the support and love and devotion and service is way bigger than the harm, so we can tolerate a person’s humanity, their brokenness.

There’s a difference between imperfect and FUCKING TOXIC AS FUCK.

We gotta let the toxic ones go.


But then we’re left with all the love we shared and nowhere to put it. We’re left with memories of the pain and the friendship, and the confusion of where the fuck it all went wrong.

Part of me wants to shut off, shut down, shove everyone away. Mac and I took turns saying, “I’m never trusting anyone again.” We were joking, sort of. We were being dramatic, sort of. And yet, I see people who do exactly that. I see people hurt by the inevitable betrayal of humans, by the imperfections of those around them, and turning themselves into impenetrable fortresses.

I get it. We have to survive somehow. And honestly, in moments, it’s rather appealing.

But this isn’t a threat to my continued survival, and as such, it’s something that simply hurts, a lot, and makes me question what I thought I knew of people. Makes me wonder what I could have learned, and should learn, and will learn. I look for my part in all this: Where were the signs? What could I have done better? It’s all we can do, I guess. Try to gain some wisdom while also recognizing that sometimes there is nothing we can do, nothing to foresee, and people are just goddamn WEIRD.

I know in my heart that “never loving a new person again” is not the solution. I know that openness to deep friendship is not the solution. But goddamnit, I would have staked my life on this fool.


I suppose I find myself making the ultimate choice again, to let the fucked up nature of humans exist alongside their exquisite beauty, and holding so damn close the friends who’ve stuck around, the family by my side—to remind me not only of the fleeting nature of connection, but the sacredness of the threads that remain.

I have never felt more grateful for the friends in my life who exist like rocks, have withstood the test of years. If nothing else, I see that, and it’s blinding in its brilliance.

So here’s to more ridiculous loving.

Mac gave me this card a few months ago, and it feels so right.


Join me in January

for the first workshop in my series, and then write with me ALL YEAR. 

Write Anyway” is for the person who:

  • has a nagging question or persistent feeling of “You should write this,” but isn’t;
  • can’t decide what to write about;
  • constantly hears the “you suck why are you even trying?” voice when she sits down to write;
  • is too afraid to write what they’re really feeling/thinking/experiencing;
  • is agonizing over what people will think;
  • is obsessing over perfection; and/or
  • getting bent out of shape for 3 days over assholes on the internet criticizing in ways that hurt (and somehow they always hit where it hurts). Insulting intelligence. Name-calling. Making fun. Crafting Reddit threads against you.