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Prince Saved My Life

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Prince Rogers Nelson, that purple-loving pint-sized bundle of musical virtuosity, died today. As with the rest of the world I mourn his passing. His music was the soundtrack to my first year of college. My college friend, Amy, and I would sit in my room at our small Southern liberal arts women’s college listening to his albums over and over and over – dapurplerain_124pyxurzncing and singing and feeling ever so naughty (have you ever READ some of his lyrics? Sex. Sex. Sex.) Together, she and I must have seen his movie Purple Rain about 20 times in the theatre. Amy even had her hair cut in that curly asymmetrical style he rocked in the movie. I practically lived in a black cape, like the one his love interest in the film wore. For two girls who felt out-of-place in that small Southern town, he gave us some weird sort of strength. Well, at least for me there was a reason for the strength he gave me.

You see, a few weeks before I left for college and met Amy, Prince indirectly saved my life.

As I have written before, in my senior year of high school I was in a terrible, horrible, emotionally abusive relationship. He kept me under his thumb by making threats as to what he would do to himself if I ever left. And because of some odd sense of responsibility for his well-being, I put up with it all and I stayed. I felt so small. So helpless. So powerless. But, that’s how those kinds of relationships work, isn’t it? There is always one with all the power and one with none.

But, despite all the emotional turmoil he put me through on a daily basis, he hadn’t hit me. That’s what I told myself on a daily basis to justify his behavior. It could be worse. He could have hit me.

In late July 1984, just a few short weeks before I was to leave for college, Purple Rain hit the theaters. Opening weekend, the abusive jerk and I went to see it (I had to pay because, well, I had to pay for everything because the idiot couldn’t hold a job, but I digress). He didn’t want to go, but I somehow convinced him, and as long as I was paying, he grudgingly agreed.  I loved the movie. Oh, sure, the acting isn’t the best. And the story is weak. But, the music. THE MUSIC! Amazing. BTW – the abusive jerk hated it. Quelle suprise.

About half way through the movie, there is a scene when “The Kid” (Prince himself) slaps his girlfriend, Apollonia, to the ground.

A shock ran through me. I had an epiphany. Right there, in the middle of the movie, I turned to my abuser and said, “If you ever hit me, even once, I will leave you. I promise I will.” Of course, he said he wouldn’t. And a small part of me wanted to believe him. Really. I did.

It wasn’t long – a week maybe – until he backhanded me, sent me backwards into a bathtub where I whacked the back of my head, and passed out for a moment. When my vision cleared, I climbed out of the tub, gathered my things, and walked out the door. Never to look back again.

You see, I made a promise – to myself and to him – that I would never let that happen. So, I left.

Even now, thirty-two years later, I am positive that if I had not made that promise and if I had not walked out, I probably would have died in that relationship.

I am still not sure what gave me the courage to look at my abuser in the middle of that movie and draw my line in the sand, but I did.

Maybe I was caught up in the music.

So, thank you, Prince. Thank you for the music. Thank you for the memories. But, most of all, thank you for saving my life.

Rest in peace, our sweet Prince. See you in that world of never ending happiness – the after world.

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The Most Terrifying Words in the English Language


I have just discovered the nine most terrifying words in the English language…

“I should send you the link to my blog”

I guess I should clarify that.  Those are the nine most terrifying words in the English language when spoken to someone you are getting to know,

Particularly with my blog.

As we have discussed before, dear readers, my blog was formed almost a year ago as a way for me to express all those things going through my head after my break-up with my former love.  In the year since, it has become an outlet – a sort of therapy session.  I will write about just about anything that pops into my head.  And honestly, that is how I write – it just pops in there.

I have shared my inner most pain.  I have bared my soul to all of you.  None of what I have written has been fiction.  Everything has been based on the reality that is my life.

Some of you only know me through my writings.  Some of you have known me for years.  And I am glad I have affected you all in some way.

But, there is something about sending someone new – where we are still “feeling each other out” – over to read my random musings.

The words were out of my mouth (or in this case, off my fingers, as it was written in a text) before I knew what I was doing.  And once I had sent the link, suddenly, I felt naked.  I had just given access to all my innermost thoughts and fears and anger and pain to someone I haven’t even MET yet.  Oy.

You may ask, why am I able to throw these words out into cyberspace and not have a neurotic panic attack?  Hells if I know.  But, I do know that the anger and the pain don’t  fester in my heart any longer.   And yes, it has been because I have had a place to put it all.

I guess all I can do it breathe, and hope that I don’t come off as TOO crazy.

Just the right amount of crazy.

Drowning in the Dating Pool

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Now that I have poked my big toe back into dating pool to test the waters, I have just one reaction.

I hate dating.

There I’ve said it.

I mean I reeeeaaaaallllllyyyyy hate it.

I never was very good at it.  And, unlike a fine wine, it hasn’t gotten any better with age.

The whole process is nerve-wracking.  I meet someone.  We chat on-line.  We text all day.  We talk for hours on the phone.  I am witty.  I am charming.   Everything in going swimmingly.  Everything is clicking.   We decide to meet in person.

*gulp*

The big day arrives.  We text about how nervous we are.  How excited.

And it goes beautifully.  I am witty.  I am charming.

“You are so amazing!  Why are you still single?,” I am asked.

“Such a good question,” I reply as I flash my brightest smile.

The evening ends.  Things feel kinda good.  My head is above water.  I’ve learned to not get my hopes up, but…

More texting.

Discussions about meeting again.  We try to work around kid schedules.

Texts start to get farther and farther apart.

And eventually nothing.

And I know I am about to have to go through this all over again.

This is my cycle.

And frankly it makes me want to get as far away from the dating pool as possible.

It is exhausting to have to go through it over and over and over again.  My psyche is blue and shivering, longing for a thick warm towel to wrap around my shoulders.

I know several people who do not know how to swim, and don’t care to learn.  So, they just avoid any situation where they might be surrounded by water.

So, to continue my metaphor, perhaps I should just remove myself from the pool.  Get far far away.  After all, I can’t drown in the dating pool if I don’t get in.  But, I am not sure that is how I want to live my life.

I’ve already learned to ease my way into the water.  I no longer cannonball off the edge.

Maybe it’s just that I have forgotten how to swim and I need to put back on my floaties.  Or, get a swim instructor.  Or find a new pool.

Somethin’.

Because right now, I hate dating.

Really I do.

In Search of a Land of Happy Monkeys…

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As I am sure many of my fellow bloggers can attest, I am addicted to the stats page for Happy Monkey Land.  You know.  The one that tells you how many views you’ve had in a day, which countries they hail from, and how – exactly – they managed to stumble upon your ramblings.

I am particularly fascinated by the search terms that are typed in to various search engines that somehow manage to lure a reader to my musings.   Not because I want to “tailor” my writing so as to draw in more folks – but, because some of them are down right funny.  Hysterical, even.

Here is a sampling of my favorites –

Dysfunction monkey.  Sounds kinda like Conjunction Junction.  “Dysfunction monkey, what’s your function?”

4 letter word for “without change.”  Me thinks someone was trying to cheat on a crossword…

Monkey writing good words peam.  Nope.  Not a typo on my part.  What in the hell is a peam?

What are the swirly vortexes in candy crush saga?  I kid you not.  Maybe that reader could tell me how to beat the level on which I am currently stuck.

My kids love happy monkey.  Well, yes.  Yes they do.  Particularly a happy Mommy Monkey.

Guess the word bungee cord 4 letters.  Again…CHEATERS!  Figure it out for yourself, why don’t ya!?!

Could picking off shingles scab cause a rehash of shingles.  I do hope that reader figured out my blog is not a place to go to look for medical advice.  I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.

But perhaps my all time favorite is one that popped up today.  This phrase, unbeknownst to the searcher, pretty much sums up life here in Happy Monkey Land…

Monkey that gets distracted by shiny objects.  Well, in our house it is actually FOUR monkeys that get distracted by shiny objects (that don’t even really have to be all that shiny to serve as a distraction… SQUIRREL!).  The Three Monkeys thought it to be tres funny.

I did my own search to see which post would come up.  Turns out it was The Cleaning Bug, written about The Girl Child and the cleaning jag she has been on.  When I informed her thusly, she proclaimed, “YES!  The post about ME came up!  I’m FAMOUS!” (Drama queen, anyone?)

Poor little thing.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that one of the posts about her brothers, My Little Bronies:  Brotherhood is Magic, had by far the most search terms linked to it.  Who knew so many people were searching for all things My Little Pony?  Not I.

Hey!  Know what this has put me in the mood for?

Popping on to my favorite search engine (that would be Bing, my friends) and just start typing in random strings of words.  Just to see what pops up.

But, no matter what I find, I am sure it will not be any where NEARLY as awesome as life here in Happy Monkey Land.

Happy searching!

Crash! Bang! BOOOOOM!

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Not my picture – thank you Bing…

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

I may look all calm and cool on the outside.  But, thunderstorms make me a nervous mass of goo.

I know that sounds a little strange coming from someone who spent the first 25 years of her life in South Florida.  I mean, in the summer, you can virtually set your watch to the 3:30 thunderstorms that roll through town.  There are horrible booming bursts of thunder and about a billion gallons of water falling from the sky for about 15 minutes, and then as quickly as they came – they are gone – and the sky goes back to the bright blue and everything becomes even stickier from the humidity left behind.  Ah!  Nothing like feeling as if you have just stepped out of the shower and into your steamy bathroom – but, you are standing outside and you are fully clothed.  It is sooooo refreshing (cue eye-roll).

I don’t know why I get so nervous.  It’s not like I have been struck by lightning or something.   Although, there was this one time when I was in junior high school (Go, Conniston Blue Devils!), that a lightning bolt hit the ground about 20 feet away from the portable classroom I was holed up in.  Talk about scary!

Maybe it is a sensory overload thing.  My ADHD makes me pretty sensitive to LOUD noises.  Particularly unexpected ones.

Maybe it is that lack of control thing.  Not that I am a control-freak (STOP LAUGHING!  I’m not!  I swear!), I just hate situations when I feel completely out of control.  And that happens during thunderstorms.  I don’t know what is happening – or what will happen – or for how long it will be happening.  Everything is left up to the weather gods.  Or Mother Nature.  Or that damn water cycle.

Maybe it is that my father will send me messages saying, “Bad weather coming your way.”  Keep in mind Daddy still lives in Florida.  He goes on-line and checks the weather up here.  Not that he notifies me of EVERY storm, but if he does, it is generally a doozie.

Maybe it is that I am worried that the storm will knock down one of the trees in my yard and it will fall on my house.  Although, come to think of it – that might solve A LOT of my problems with my house!  Heh heh… (Be gone before someone drops a house – er, um, a tree – on you, too.)

This afternoon brought one of those everything turns black and buckets of rain cascade from the sky and the thunder doesn’t just boom it BBBBOOOOOOOMMMMMMSSSSS!!! storms to the Atlanta area.  The Monkeys are at the Monkey Daddy’s, so I had to brave it alone.  That’s one nice thing about having children.  You can disguise your own dislike of thunderstorms by pretending that you are cuddling with them to keep them from being afraid.  So, I curled up with my laptop (which I remembered to unplug…like I need to be electrocuted by my laptop), played games on Facebook, and tried to not obsessively watch The Weather Channel.  In about 45 minutes, the worst had passed – although, I can still hear thunder rumbling in the distance.

Another thunderstorm faced by Susan the Destroyer…

Uh oh – the sky is getting pretty dark again… more bad weather is on its way…

Gulp…did I just hear thunder?

 

 

Weeds Never Die – Or Life Lessons Learned From My Yard

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As I posted yesterday, I have a love/hate relationship with my yard.  I am constantly fighting with SOMETHING growing in my yard.  Those damn weeds are the most resilient things!!  It seems like no matter what I do, they keep coming back!

I can dig them up.

Pour full-strength professional grade weed killer directly on the roots.

Sprinkle them with “pre-emerge.”

Mow over them.

Fertilize the grass so it will grow and choke out the weeds.

But, NOTHING stops them from coming back.

I wish I was as resilient as those damn weeds.

I wish that no matter how many times some one attempted to destroy me by pulling me out by my roots, that I could continue to come back…just as strong as before.

I wish that no matter how much poison is poured on me that I could continue to not have it kill me. (Metaphorically, of course).

I wish that no matter how many times some one cuts me to the quick, that I could continue to grow.

I wish I could live my life like NOTHING could stop me.

It’s hard for me to hate the weeds.  After all, they are only quite literally fighting for their lives.  It is survival of the fittest.  They are bigger and stronger and more resilient than the grass.  It is their nature.  They were here first.

Why. then, can’t that be my nature, too?

It’s an interesting thought.

So, dear readers, before I leave you to continue my attempt to exert my dominance over the weeds in my life, I leave you with this quote:

“You fight dandelions all weekend, and late Monday afternoon there they are, pert as all get out, in full and gorgeous bloom, pretty as can be, thriving as only dandelions can in the face of adversity.”
–  Hal Borland

I should learn from the dandelions (and poke berry and mimosa and privet and ivy) in my yard, and thrive in the face of any and all adversity.

But, I still don’t want them living in my yard…

 

 

Homeownership vs. Dating…

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I have had a love/hate relationship with my house since the summer after we moved in.  Ten years ago.

My ex-husband and I bought the house when The Middle Monkey was just about a year old.  We were living in a two bedroom/one bath/1,000 square foot house.  It was cute, and it was on almost half an acre.  But, let’s face it – it was a TINY house.  So, we figured we had two choices.  1.) build on to the existing house, or 2.) buy a new one.  We decided that since we had an infant and a not-quite-3-year-old, it made more sense to buy a new one.

So, we put the house on the market.  THEN we started looking for a new house.

We looked for MONTHS.  And nothing was “perfect.”  But, we thought we had time.

That is, until an offer was made on our house and we had a month to vacate.  Suddenly, we had to find something new AND FAST!

When we toured this house, we fell in love instantly.  Four bedrooms (sure one is really closet sized, but we only had two children at the time), two and a half baths, big fenced yard (necessary as Duffey was still around).  Perfect!  Oh sure, it needed some work.  But, it didn’t seem like things I couldn’t handle.  (I love my ex-husband with all my heart, but a handy man he is not.)  Oh and, sure it had been a rental property for eight years.  No problem!  This was it.  Our HOME.

We moved in on a cold February day.  It was during the school year, so I didn’t have time to really work on it.  Until summer rolled around.  I decided to tackle the yard.  The huge mess of a yard.  And I have been working on the house and the yard ever since.

As I have been tearing up the yard, it occurred to me that the lessons I have learned about owning a home, I could apply to dating.  No, really.  Just stick with me here.

So here they are, Susan’s Lessons on Homeownership and Dating…

  1. Beware of love at first sight.  As I said, it was love at first sight with the house.  And love at first sight usually means you are not thinking rationally – and you are seeing things with rose-colored glasses.  Had we REALLY looked at the house, we might have seen the problems.  The same holds true with dating.  ‘Nuff said about that…
  2. Watch out for “fixer-uppers.”  Yes, I knew the house needed work.  But, my thought was, “with a little bit of elbow grease, it will be FINE!  I can make it PERFECT!”  Ok, now, ladies and gentlemen, let’s admit it.  We’ve ALL said that about someone we have been interested in.  Every last one of us.  And what happens when we can’t “fix” them?  Or they don’t WANT to be fixed…
  3. Bigger is not necessarily better.  My house sits on a BIG corner lot.  I have a front yard, a big side yard, and a back yard.  It’s like a yard and a half.  Seriously.  Oh, sure.  It LOOKS good.  And it really seemed like an ideal situation.  Lots of room.  But, really.  It is just a whole lot of work.  Smaller would be easier.  And how does this fit in with the whole dating thing?  Well, ladies…I am sure you get my meaning behind it.  And gentlemen?  Think about it.  😉
  4. Things may look great on the outside, but watch out for hidden problems.  Jumping right in on the dating part here.  Haven’t we ALL dated someone who on the outside looked PERFECT?  And WAS perfect.  For a while.  Until the CRAZIES come out.   Same with the house.
  5. Problems that you THOUGHT were taken care of, may come back to haunt you.  When we moved into the house, the whole backyard was COVERED in English ivy.  It slopes and until we took out 5 trees, it was very shady.  Our first summer here, I started pulling out the ivy BY HAND.  Yanking it out of the ground.  It was backbreaking work.  And you know what?  It STILL COMES BACK!  I am still pulling up ivy from the yard.  I hate that freakin’ ivy.  And in relationships, haven’t we all had to deal with a re-visited issue?  (“Yes, damn it!  I got upset when you said we were just having fun.  I had been drinking.  Let it go!”)
  6. Just below the surface there are roots to some long dead things that is damn hard to get rid of.  In preparing the backyard to seed with grass, I have been clearing out a bunch of stuff.   Digging in the dirt.  Smoothing things out.  I’ll dig down just a bit, and find a root.  To what?  I have no idea.  There is nothing near it.  Absolutely nothing.  So, I start pulling up the root.  And pulling.  And pulling.  And pulling.  And the next thing I know, I have pulled out an inch thick, 12-foot long root.  Oh – and there’s another one.  And another one.  What the hell?!?  I have dated men like that.  Scratch the surface and there is a loooooooonnnnnnnggggg root to some long dead relationship.  Whomever messed them up REALLY did a job on them.  And no matter how much I try to pull out that damn root, there’s another one I have to contend with.  It is unending.
  7. If you aren’t willing to put in the work, you might as well just walk away.  Homeownership and relationships are both HARD WORK.  You really have to work at it.  Period.
  8. Once you have everything just right, you have to make sure you maintain it, or everything will fall apart.  I hate cleaning my house.  I really do.  With a passion.  It never fails, I ignore it for a bit, and all hell breaks loose and I have to spend DAYS cleaning it again.  Ugh.  Same with the yard.  Relationships also need maintaining.  When things are going smoothly, we tend to slack off.  Next thing we know, someone feels neglected.  And you start arguing.  And well, all hell breaks loose.

And while my house makes me nuts, and I hate it at times (like now…my hot water heater just died), I continue to have faith that ONE DAY it will be exactly what I want it to be.  Kinda like the hope I have that ONE DAY, I will find a relationship that is exactly what I want it to be.

Optimist or delusional?

You be the judge.