50 at 50: Idealistic Me

I went to bed last night with a heavy heart, with another mass shooting in our nation. I woke to the news of another mass shooting. I'm lost somewhere between numb and angry -- I'm not numb to the pain, just numbed by the idea of "how many more lives must be lost?" And damn right I'm angry. I'm pissed beyond all hell that as a nation, we have turned one piece of a 225-plus-year-old document into a mantra, something that has been placed on an altar where inanimate objects of death and destruction are worshipped as an inviolable right, while the lives they have taken are treated as casual losses, just part of the collateral damage of the business.

God help us all. Not by some magical immediate end to all the evil in the world (let's face it, ain't happening) but by changing our minds and hearts.

I firmly admit that I'm an old idealistic sort. I believe in the power of love and in hope and in real prayer to change things. I believe prayer changes th…

50 at 50: Shades of Grey

Sometime when I was in my late 20s or early 30s (there were a few years that were indistinguishable), I overheard a contemporary say, "The older I get, the more clear everything becomes.... just BAM! there it is, laid out in black and white, right and wrong." She isn't all that much older than me, but boy, she was so incredibly sure of her words.She left, and I turned to my friend who was there and said, "Did I hear her correctly? Because I can guarantee the older I get, nothing is clear. It all gets fuzzier to me." My friend assured me that my view was probably closer to reality for most people.

It's been about 20 years and I am almost proud to say that I am even less sure of anything than I've ever been. There is almost nothing that's black-and-white, and every shade of grey I thought I knew then has mutated into a thousand microshades. Every time I think I am close to an absolute, something comes along to make me see that there is another aspect …

50 at 50: The Angry Season

It started in about 10 days, maybe 2 weeks ago, and it will keep going for another week or so. The relentless guilt trip that is Mother's Day.

My friends know that I've always had an ambivalent relationship with Mother's Day, maybe due to my imperfect relationship with my mom. In my 20's, it was a consistent reminder that my mom and I were often at odds, and we would never reach a point of seeing eye-to-eye. We lived a quasi-awkward detente for so many years. It was also a reminder that the idea that I would one day be a mom was slipping away. Don't ask how I knew this in my 20's -- some things you just know in your marrow so deeply that it's how you cope with a reality not-yet-real. Sure enough, my thirties rolled around, and I cared less how it affected me as a childless person. By that time, I came to realize that so many of my friends also had conflicted relationships with their mothers -- like attracting like, I suppose.

There's something about it …

50 at 50: Soul Sisters

I've never seen a truer sentiment than this:

If there is anything I've learned in my nearly 50 trips around the sun, it's that you find your tribe and you love them hard. Your girlfriends are there for you when shoes and hearts break. They're there for you when you have buried your mama and your dog in the same year. They're there for you when you get the promotion -- and when you get passed over.

In my life, I've noticed that a good many of my girlfriends all share either being a oldest child who happens to be a daughter, or an only child who's a daughter. I think we vibe to each other because we know what it is (especially by now) to care for a sibling and later a parent. Often we've parented those siblings and sometimes those parents (even in younger years). We know how hard it is to make your way in the world in a culture that still treasures boy-children as kings just because of their anatomical makeup, and expects us girls to adjust accordingly.


50 At 50: Real

I think that as I age, one of the compliments of the highest degree that I could ever hope to hear is "she's real."

It wasn't always thus. Not that I was false, more that I wasn't truly real.

I am a people-pleaser to the core. I'm not sure why, or what drove that instinct in me, but the need to please and to fit in was so incredibly overpowering. For much of the first portion of my life, I was a chameleon. I could adapt and blend in and everything was malleable and up for debate. It was kind of like Julia Roberts' Maggie in The Runaway Bride: with every new boyfriend came a new favorite type of egg dish. Finally, she realized her own favorite was Eggs Benedict. She'd been so busy trying to be perfect to please someone else that she didn't know her own life.

Hello? Hand raised?

Yep. If we hung out long enough and you decided you didn't like Italian food.... okay, that might be a deal breaker. But let's say you decided CCR was the worst band…

50 At 50: Looking Forward

This has been a difficult week in Cerveau de Moi. There has been a lot of upheaval, a lot of wistfulness and sadness, and yet some good in it as well. It gave me reason to reflect, and as I am wont to do, I meandered down a few paths.

It is still mind-boggling to think I am going to be 50 in about 7 months. For a couple of decades now, I've been 27 in my brain. There's always been this disconnect with my age and me -- as a kid, I was the little old lady in the bunch. Too serious, too mature. Now that I'm middle-aged, I don't feel it -- I feel much less serious. My body tells a different story, too many years of wear and tear and so so many years of fighting myself. I think I've moved myself up to a mental age of about 33 now.

When I was in my 20s, OH THE ANGST! OH THE EXISTENTIAL CRISIS! OH THE MELODRAMA!! To think of that time in my life, I'm actually quite sad at how much energy I expended in navel-gazing, and about things that weren't worth my time. I re…

Forgive me if.....

Forgive me if I’m not myself over the next few days. This is probably my hardest week of the year, because so many things hit at once.

Today is March 4, 2019.... 3 years since the last time I saw my mom alive. Correction: since I saw her existing. She was on so much pain medication that she was out for all but about 10 minutes of the time I spent with her. I sang to her that day, and the songs “Given to Fly” and “I Am Mine” and “Scar on the Sky” still hold a very sweet place in my heart. They always will.

Tomorrow marks three years since that phone call .... 6:04 am. She’d passed at 5:55. I knew what it was when they wouldn’t speak to me but wanted to speak to Daddy. The resignation of “what time?” and knowing for sure. Dealing with things I never imagined — waiting on the mortuary, figuring out clothes to cremate her in (like it mattered but it was for us to see the body one last time.

The next day (March 6) will be both joyful and weirdly somber — Ash Wednesday and Daddy’s 75th birt…