These all happened in the past few days.  You should be proud I'm sharing my awkwardness and my hilarious friends.  Cause we all rule.

Me: I didn't know Mormons bowl.
Devin: Everyone bowls. Mormons are just the only ones who do it sober.


Me: So I've finished the sketch of Kate Winslet. And now I'm sketching out Leo DiCaprio's face and am thinking of the part in Titanic where he's sketching out Kate Winslet's face and I want to make an Inception joke sooo bad.

Nate: (on being a veteran) I've been stop lossed and reassigned to the special hobo ops division.  They've issued me a change cup with a TO on how to jack off into it and throw it at people on the street. My PT test is just an endurance test of how long I can stand outside Wal-Mart with a Cash-For-Gold sign.  Our mission: avoid cochlea and Bonnaroo staff as they attempt to capture us and tie wi-fi hot spots around our necks for the concert goers.


Derik: The raptors were making like, bird noises.
Me: Well, birds are our only living descendants of vampires. 


Tobias:  I have a broad taste in women. Sometimes you want the nice dinner with steak and red wine. Other times you just want the sleazy pizza.
Me:  I hope I'm steak and red wine.  I'm probably more like.... miso soup, LSD, and princesscake.


Madi: If trying again is what you feel like you have to do, make sure he's into it too...let him know you are willing and you want to, but he needs to be on board (he'll like that cuz it's a boat pun). Good luck, and don't put all your eggs in one basket (you'll like that cuz you had chickens).

To all followers:

So, apparently those of you who were following me are telling me I disappeared from your feed.  This happened when I went to a .com address, and I have nooo idea why.  And being non-overly-web-techy I've done a few things like set up a Feedburner url, but I still don't know if that corrected the problem.  I set up a new Bloglovin' too...I just don't know if that did any good either.  I can't see things from the other side.  If anyone has any tips, please let me know!  Re-following me in GFC has seemed to work for a few people as well.

But, realizing that my url has changed, I figured I needed to update my buttons since they still go to the unused Blogger url.  So if you have my button in the sidebar, the link probably isn't any good.  I'm so sorry about all this! Trust me it was unplanned and spur of the moment, I never had any moment to make a smooth transition.  However, what I DID do was make entirely too many buttons for you to choose from!!! So take your pick, or if you need a different size/image/whatever let me know! Obviously I have no problem making them, blah!

Sorry to everyone again.  It's very frustrating to know I kind of disappeared from everyone's feed.  I AM FOREVER ALONE.

Dear bloggers.

Dear Bloggers.

I don't care about what time you woke up this morning or how badly your ankles are swollen from being preggers. 

 I don't need to know you ate yogurt to kickstart your morning protein intake. 

I'm not interested in following you because you got a shitload of things given to you by Modcloth and Jeffery Campbell and you want to tell me how great and wonderful these fucking clothes are. 

I honestly don't even care about your makeup routine or how much you're loving color blocking CUZ ITS SOOOOO TRENDEH!!! 

Yes, you were on Pinterest this morning.  No shit.  

We know. You love Ian Somerhalder (nobody loves him like I do.)

No offense ladies, but I don't give a blue fuck in hell.

Vällingby, Stockholm Castle Garden

Tell me what's on your mind.  The deep stuff.  Tell me your hopes and your fears.  Show me why you're a special, deserving, real woman who I should read about, tell me what gets you up in the morning and what keeps you up at night.

Stockholm Pub

If you're going to talk about food, drink, fornication, or family, please make it interesting.  Don't just post a recipe you found online.  Tell me what made it worthwhile and throw in your obvious passion for creation.  You have it.  Why not be proud of it?

Gamla Stan, Sweden

Or show me something you made.  Show me how you braved the lonesome world and made it your own.  Show me your favorite hiding spot or your beloved relaxation place, even if it's just your own backyard.  I want to know where it is you place your peacefulness.  And where your heart is.

Flying over Salt Lake City, Utah

I don't want to know about nanny reviews and copied wiki articles.  I want to see women expressing things that mean a lot to them.  It doesn't always have to be happy (and please for the love of pete don't make it a cheery atomic age kind of happy) but the reason we all take so many pictures, the reason we write so much, is because we feel like there's something TO us.  Or about us, that makes us special.  So, share that.  Not the pinning and not the thrifty coupons.  Share you.  Share your life.  Imagine one day decades from now your great-great-great grandaughter stumbles on this archaic thing known as an "internet blog."  What would you want her to know about your life? About life in general? About love, passion, dreams, goals, family, friends?


May Foster Care Challenge: Day 8

Day Eight: Your Favorite Caseworker

Oh man I am excited to write about this one.  So much gloom and doom: shitty parents, shitty foster parents, shitty foster homes, shitty teenage years...who needs em? I found a friend in what seems to be the most unlikely place for a foster kid: my caseworker.  

For those of you unlearned in the foster care terminology, a "caseworker" is one's legal representative of that mystical magical invisible guardian called "The State."   A caseworker has sway over you that foster parents don't have.  They can make the calls foster parents can't make.  They are a weird sort of mix of a lawyer, a caregiver, and (in foster youths' eyes) a disciplinarian.  My first caseworker was a woman named Barbara who had a nice, loud, sassy mouth that I loved.  I got transferred to this other caseworker; he was a guy, and he was new, and he was way too passive for me.   I'm sure he meant well, but his indecisiveness and his blatant dislike of being around me and my foster parents (who the hell could blame him?) made me really detest him when I was a mean little sixteen year old.  

Then, Annie happened. 

For awhile, Annie wasn't even my caseworker.  She sort of butted in when my doofus caseworker dropped the ball all over town (which was often.)  She came to pick me up for random appointments to doctors and dentists.  At first, as with most other adults and people in the DFS office, I had no idea what to think of her. She seemed pleasant, but my guard was up; I'm sure I was a brat those first few three hour long drives to and from my appointments.  The more she came around and showed her willingness to help, the more I found myself opening up to her.

You have to remember, at this time I had nobody.  No friends in contact other than letters.  No sister; she was back at home with my parents.  No parents, because they were douchebags.  My foster parents always thought I was going to cast an evil spell on them, and when I moved in with my nutcase aunt, it only got worse.  I literally had no one to talk to.  And Annie was there.  

She knew about my parents, she knew the foster parents in the area.  She had all the know-how of the "system" and that is priceless to anyone going through such a horrific time in their life.  She also had really good taste in music and she actually recognized me as not only a human being with feelings, but a teenager who felt normal teenager things, like having crushes on boys and wanting to wear cute clothes.  It was super weird for me.  My birth parents thought I was a retard, and my foster parents thought I was the spawn of Satan.  Here was an adult who thought neither.  

So, in a very short time period considering all that I had to go through, Annie and I got ridiculously close.  The system and its asinine workings became a series of inside jokes with us.  She was basically my therapist; I'd update her on everything going on with my foster parents, birth parents, foster sisters, and boyfriend(s).  (I know, I'm a tramp.  Leave me alone, I was 17.)  And as supportive as Annie was, she never shyed away from giving me real talk--something I think I sorely needed but didn't appreciate at the time.  I was transferred to a LOT of foster homes because of "incompatibility"....more so than other teenage girls.  But Annie always did her best to make sure that the place I was going toward was better than the place I left behind.  She also seemed to share my criticism in the nature of foster parents and their ambitions.  In other words, she was protective.  That meant the world, too.

A lot of people think when you have abusive parents, the best thing to do is cut all ties and brainwash you into forgetting them or turning them into monsters.  Foster parents did this to me, and it backfired terribly for them.  My aunt tried it too.  She threw a vase at my head and when I laughed at her, she screeched, "YOU LOOK JUST LIKE RICK!" (Rick=my dad, her brother, who had choked her at one point.)  My reply was, "GOOD, I'M ABOUT TO CHOKE THE SHIT OUT OF YOU JUST LIKE HE DID TOO!" 

My point with the hilarity is that while maybe these people meant well and maybe they were just horrified of my parents, trying to convince me to do anything without my own consent was a terrible method.  It always is.  It just doesn't work.  Annie never failed to comment on the ridiculousness of my father and mother, but she drove me out to the boonies of Tennessee to visit them anyway.  She didn't have to do that.  She could've said no.  But she didn't.  And she stayed there to supervise while I spent a little while with my very broken and damaged family.  And after the visits she was there to support me too.

When my mother had to have emergency heart surgery in 2006, Annie was there again, giving me a ride to the hospital several cities over.  I was out of foster care by that time.  I was an adult (albeit a crying blabbering heartbroken adult because I was terrified for my mother's life...imagine that) and she had no obligation to help me.  But she did anyway.  It was because of her that I was able to see my Mom before she went off to open heart surgery.  Comfort her and offer support.  No one else came to the hospital to see Mom...not even my father.  Not until days after the surgery.  If it wasn't for me, she would've had to face that alone, and if it wasn't for Annie, I wouldn't have been there.  

I'm sure I frustrated the fuck out of this woman.  I fought tooth and nail against any help and against any friends.  So do all foster youth.  They either cling with the desperation of a three-year-old, or they clam up and resist any bond-making at all.  I'm sure she was used to it.  I'm sure she was also used to the disappointments of foster youth.  A lot of us are fucking stupid.  We end up on drugs or with too many babies or in abusive relationships or going back home to our terrible parents.  Just to be a caseworker entails a lot of guts--to try and get close to these miserable teenagers takes a lot more.  

I guess I knew the day would come when I would leave, and have to say goodbye.  And though that day has long since came, I am still so proud and happy to know Annie.  She is a friend like no other ever was or could be at that time in my life.  She's just one of the very special people who really was there for me all those years I thought I was alone.  It's pretty liberating to be able to look back on all that and know I had someone fighting for me on the inside of the "system." 

I love you Annie!!! I can't wait to hang out again the next time I visit Tennessee!!!!

On the Past.

So, I'm back from Virginia; more photos and details on that in a later post.  I kind of wanted to give a small update and then as usual, a long-winded probably pointless rant on my thoughts/feelings on life.  But this one is a really good one! I think so anyway.  But before I do that: the blog is for the most part up-to-date.  I really like my little category pictures to the right of the page.  I worked on them really hard.  Maybe you can tell.  Also, I added/changed a few blog buttons since other people have updated their blogs too! 

Also, if you remember from this blog entry I recently started talking to my friend Madi again; we've been friends since 2008 but it feels like I've known her years before that.  Either way, she has a blog! Go check her out and give her support and call her a ginger.  Especially the 'call her a ginger' part.  :)

And now, the real purpose of this entry; a patented Patricia rant.  

On the Past

May's writing challenge really hit me out of nowhere.  I had no idea I would get a lot of these really random memories surfacing up, and there was more than one night that I sat there bawling in front of the screen either during or after I'd finished my entry.  I feel like I live in the past sometimes, and delving into those scenarios was kind of a mental overload as I'm sure anyone could imagine.  

But it also confused me.  What percentage of living in the past is "acceptable"? What part of having memories and being unable to shake them is productive? Most of the time, I feel like I'd rather be brainwashed into forgetting.  Most of the time I'd give anything to not know about my past.  Then I feel obligated to, to be thankful for my present and all that other stuff.  I also feel that my past is a driving force in my life right now, though again to what extent, I'm confused.  

Then, I read this great analogy.  Imagine you're in a boat, rowing along.  Behind you, you can see the wake--the trail of moving water caused by the boat's motion.  In rowing toward your future, all of the effort and force (the rowing of the boat) happens in the present.  The wake has absolutely nothing to do with the energy.  You can look at it, you can see it, but it changes or creates nothing.  For someone who is almost desperate for success, that's a great analogy.  I don't have any power to change my past.  The effort of my present is what matters.  

I don't think writing about foster care was a bad idea.  I think that continuing to write about foster care is a bad idea.  I think writing about anything in my past unless it's just a random vent, is a bad idea.  I don't want to be that person who feels that their unjust past fuels them.  I don't think that has anything to do with me being who I am.  I've always had fire and the will to succeed and become something special, even when I was going through all that.  Like I said, if anything, remembering my past drags me down and feels too weighty to consider.  That's why I'd forget it if I could.

Not to say that I am ungrateful for the life experience, or anything like that.  I also have the knowledge every day that I made really hard choices and lived through really hard times and came through it okay.  In short, I know that I'm strong, even if I don't feel like it sometimes.  I don't want to try and turn the past into fuel for my success, whether it's writing, traveling, painting, or whatever.  I'd rather just be me, and keep making me a better me, and leave my past behind.  If at all possible, without any bitterness or resentment.  And the only times I really feel emotion like that is when I go over memories more closely--in other words, when I dwell.

I think that analogy of the boat, the moving oars, and the wake really gave me insight.  I'm thankful for it.  

image by sleena


Instagram Friday [8]

What a strange week. And it's not anywhere near over.  Road trip this weekend!!!! I haven't been posting (well at all really) but I meant, I haven't been continuing my Foster Care Challenge. I'll get to that next week, during the last few days of the month.

Pre-Rammstein jitters.


...and then I went and saw the Avengers for the fourth time....

Then, I had a really horrible Wednesday, and yesterday (the 24th) I came to Virginia, where I am now!


Some thoughts on love.

(Picture is unrelated, but hilarious.)

So, this is going to sound whiny. Somehow my blog went from being a random conglomerate of stupid shit to being this ultra-mega-serious place where I'm overly-depressing.  It's dumb, because this is seriously the best year of my life and my blog should be a vomit of rainbow glitter, but I like writing about the things in my head so that I can look back on them and see my perception on things...maybe as a way to see growth, or a way to reminisce, or both.  Either way trust me when I say I'm not whining, I'm actually very happy with most things in my life, but stagnancy and contentment signifies the end of learning and growing, so I'm never completely satisfied.  

Enough with the disclaimers.  Onto my thoughts.  Now, one thing I'd like to mention pertaining to this is the fact that I've learned "reality" means nothing from one person to the next.  We all live in very different realities and that's fine, it's unavoidable seeing as how culturally we're all so different.  Sadly some people's reality is waking up and fighting for food, every single day.  I don't expect other people to have the family stigma I do, or the outlook on love that I do.  Had things happened differently to me, I wouldn't feel this way, but this is my life, so here are my thoughts on love.

My current thought process covers two things: one, what love actually means (in a relationship kind of way) and two, the way I react to perceived love.  I'll tackle them one at a time.  Here's where I sound whiny.  After years of consideration and my own relationships, I've decided that my real, true belief in "true love" is waning if not nonexistent.  Like other things I looked forward to and dreamed about in youth like having children, the older I get the less it seems plausible that things like this will make me happy.  I used to watch Disney movies with all the conviction of other girls, but again---my reality involves the lack of ultimate love and trust.  In my reality I trust someone as far as I can throw them, MAYBE.  And I don't have a desire to trust or love more than I already do.  I have great friends.  Great bonds.  I've been burned in love like everyone else and maybe I'm just bitter, but I don't think that the kind of love other people have found in marriage and whatnot, exists for me.

And I'm just now getting sad over it, because I find that I'm lonely.  I travel a lot...alone.  I explore, alone.  I paint, alone.  I listen to music, alone.  I'm so introverted that it's usually not a problem, but lately it's been really getting me down that I don't connect totally to anyone.  I don't know if this is a real problem, or if it's a passing phase of the once-belief in true love that I harbored for years.  The desire for a family is at the moment anyway, a billion light years away.  The thought of children mortifies me.  Getting a house stresses me out.  All of it just seems terrible and horrible.  (lol, Avengers.  Dr. Banner: "well, this...all...seems horrible." Anyone? Anyone? I love that movie...)

Picture actually has SOME relevance...check out the portrait in the background.  Self-portrait.....

And the second part.  My evil half.  I shouldn't say evil.  Though I guess it is evil.  It's my alter-ego, the protective bitch that makes me punch people in the face.  The part of me that is a cold hard survivor.  If you've ever seen the Star Trek episode where Kirk's barbarian side splits from his personality, that's kind of what it's like.  Kirk can't function without that side of himself and almost loses control of the ship thanks to his indecisiveness.  The point being that I NEED that evil side of me, even if it's only in emergency situations. With a career in the Emergency Medical Response field, you HAVE to be quick, instinctive, and in fight-or-flight mode a lot.  Even while helping people, your life is still priority.  You're no use to anyone dead.  So yeah.

But the problem is that I'm so good at cutting people out, it's no wonder my poor old heart is giving up on the idea of love.  Nobody ever said love is easy on any end but it's even harder when you consider the kind of emotional abuse I had to go through at a pretty young age.  I don't have the support that others do (family, siblings, home life, etc) so I'm seriously on my own when it comes to this.  Even friends who would normally help and give advice can't properly do so; how do you give advice to someone like me? It's hard.  I don't fault anyone for trying and I love hearing my friends' opinions, but we both know that practical advice on something as ridiculous as love and relationships from people who have never lived my life has no real solid grounds for being accurate.

And I hate this.  I hate losing friends and people I love because that bitch side of me says "you're too involved, back out now."  Like a damn two year old I listen, instead of being brave and facing these deepening relationships.  I never give myself to anyone.  It's no wonder every relationship I'm in has crashed and burned, some of them before they ever even took off.  Not that I'm at fault for everything...I do try.  Sometimes.  But I don't put everything in it.  I don't see the practicality and I feel that I'm not worth loving and being loved a hundred percent anyway.

The result? A deep, gnawing loneliness that I've noticed worsening in the past month or so, and that bitch side of me working even harder to push people away, because obviously being lonely is a sign of weakness that must be corrected the hard way.

Does anyone else have these fucked up mental problems? Just wondering....


My Mother's Secret.

(I got to looking at my blog design and realized that it imitates the design of those trendy, DIY, crafty ladies who I don't necessarily blog like.  I have nothing against that style of blog, it's just not my style, and I had unintentionally mimicked the design.  In an effort to make my blog more "writer/artsy" and less "crafty/cutesy" I've changed it up.  Suggestions and feedback are appreciated.  The design is still in progress so some links won't work.  Patience please!) 

2012 sure is a strange year.  I needed something amazing to happen.  I decided that I would make sure that even one week was better than my horrible year of 2011.  So far, every detail of 2012 has been amazing and fulfilling.  Even the hard parts have their redemption, which is hard to say for years past.  I keep getting surprises about things, and Sunday May 20 was no exception.

I hate my mother.  

Let me just say it.  There. I hate her.  She was always a crappy parent to me.  She went out of her way to belittle me and make me feel unwanted.  She also used me for manipulation, lying to my dad about my brother molesting me so that she could kick him out.  We can all agree that someone who lies about their stepson molesting their own daughter is wacked in the head.  Mom was married at 15 and had my sister Amanda, in Germany, at 16, so I always attributed some of her childishness to the fact that she was deprived of a normal life--being in another country, having a kid while she was a kid.  It was a breeding ground for immaturity later in life.

It bothers me that I feel such hatred for her.  Some days it's so strong I can barely contain it.  I will literally shake with anger.  I don't hate anyone else like this, not even my dad.  For as mean and horrible as he was to me, he was also loving.  We had our good days and I'm not really fishing for approval when I say I feel in my heart that he cared about me.  I was his little girl, and maybe somewhere in his heart I still am.  My mother had no such redeeming love.  Her way of talking to me about the "facts of life" were to print off pages from a science book and send me to my Nonna's house for a week.  I was mortified when I found the diagram of a penis in my backpack.

She never went to her mother's funeral.  Or her sister's.  My mom also wouldn't let me go.  She tried to convince me how horrible those two women were; two women who loved her and tried to keep in contact with her until they both died.  I never saw my Nonna after my Dad held a gun up to her, and I watched my aunt die a very slow and painful death while my mom turned the cold shoulder and pretended they meant nothing to her.  I was so furious, most days I wished it was my mother who had died instead of my aunt.

Some days I still do wish it was her.

It's so hard to fathom that I hate my mother.  She had to push me so hard to get to this point.  I have a bad memory and just about any crime against me will be forgiven, by anybody.  Friends know I'm easy to rile up and still, easy to calm down.  They know that I do care even if it seems like I don't.  But this is different, this is hate, and it's unhealthy, and I never dreamed there would come a day when what's been building up inside me for years was released suddenly.

In short: I found out that when she was fourteen, before she ever married or had my sister, my mother got pregnant and had an abortion.  My Nonna was adamant about this--obviously back in the 70's a teen mother had way more stigma than it does now, and they were a conservative and upper-class family in their day.  My Grandfather was dying and to see his baby girl pregnant would have probably killed him for sure.  So, with my mother bawling her eyes out for days, and god knows what kind of shady horrible operation, she had the abortion and it was never spoken of again, until I found out about it.

This news affected me more strongly than I would've thought.  I bawled my eyes out.  Despite everything that she's said and done to me I felt horrible for my mother.  It was a really crazy experience, feeling pity for someone I felt nothing but disgust for, for years.  I immediately thought that I should call her and apologize for this.  Not that it was my fault or anything, but I'm sure Mom never had anyone apologize for what she'd gone through or anybody to even care.  I'm not saying getting an abortion was a bad thing--who knows what I would've done to my fourteen year old, probably just killed them--but it obviously affected her so negatively that she ran away at fifteen to get married and now decades later despises everything about her mother, much like I do mine.

So, I consulted a few people, picked up the phone, and called.  It was awkward timing because Ariel just had her baby and I figure they were waiting on me to ring them up and beg to see it.  Luckily it's impossible to tell anyone in our family apart by voice (of the women that is) so Mom answered and thought I was Ariel. We talked in a cheery upbeat tone for a few moments and then I said it, "I know what happened, before Amanda.   I just wanted to say I'm sorry.  I really am.  I don't know if anyone's ever said it to you...but I'm sorry, Mom."

Her reply, "Well.  I guess everybody has their secrets."

That was the only moment in the conversation where she sounded like she had any emotion whatsoever, so I took advantage of it and told her I loved her.  The worst part of that, was that it was a lie.  I've told stuffed animals I loved them with more conviction.   But I felt the need to say it, because maybe she needed to hear it.  She told me she loved me too.  But I didn't believe it.

The rest of the three minute conversation consisted of her hinting that I was mentally insane and suggesting I get professional help.  I got tired of that real quick and hung up shortly thereafter.  And here's the part where I get to brag.

I have the best friends on the goddamn planet.

I definitely don't deserve them.  At all.  For as big of a bitch as I've been they're always there.
The moment I got off the phone I knew I needed to talk to someone, but the problem was that it was retardedly early in the morning, like 6 or 7 am.  After consulting my contact list and trying to decide who would hate me the least I called Brad, infamous Brad of Lagoon day.  It was a good choice, despite the fact that the phone call literally consisted of me blubbering out a stupid version of the above story while crying like a baby and not letting him get a word in edgewise.  Tell me he's not a good friend for listening to that monstrosity and consoling me afterward.  I DARE YOU.

Then there was Derik.  It was his idea that I call her in the first place.  We both used the excuse that I was going to see Rammstein that night and nothing was going to get me down.  My mother could go donkey kong and kill everyone in the family and it wouldn't matter.  Still, after I blubbered to Brad, Derik took the cue and made me waffles, eggs, and sausage for breakfast.  So I laid on the couch dejectedly all morning with a full stomach thanks to him. It was such a sweet gesture.

During the post-Denver flight and sitting outside in the sun waiting for Rammstein, I texted my super-best friend Madi about the whole situation and we talked about it briefly.  It's amazing that I have a friend I hadn't spoken to in months and then when something went down with my family, she was right there listening and talking about it with me.  It made me feel really thankful to have her in my life, yet again.  And though it was nothing but a text conversation it really helped me get through those otherwise hard hours--no food, no water, no Rammstein, no nothing except sitting around in line and thinking of my mother.

So, to all these amazing people, thank you.  You kick ass.

As far as the situation with my mother goes, I don't expect miracles to happen overnight and I don't expect to feel one way for the rest of my life.  Who knows what I'll think of her in five years or even two.  I have no idea and I try not to stress about it.  Just the fact that I cried and felt compelled to tell my Mom I was sorry for her past, is miles and miles ahead of where I'd usually be (ready to spit on her grave.)  So, perhaps this is the beginning of some closure as to why she's as terrible as she is.  Maybe it's nothing at all.

but the fact that this happened on the same day as Rammstein seems pretty meaningful.

Post-Rammstein haze.

Last night I was deafened by Till's bass voice, the ridiculous speakers of the Denver Coliseum, and the sound of my own dreams coming true at a rate more rapid than machine-gun fire.  Before I explode into the mouth glitter that is my Rammstein experience, I'm going to Till-spam.  Enjoy, and get ready for a creepy stalker rant if you make it through all of these stunningly gorgeous pictures.

The show was AMAZING.  It was everything I'd ever dreamed. It shattered my dreams and then made me new dreams from the broken mind-fucked pieces of dreams I had before.  I used to think that Till Lindemann was this crazy man-god who put on a show for his fans.  I still think he's a man-god, but that was so much more than a show.  What I can do with writing, Rammstein can do with everything else: acting, costumes, singing, musical instruments, pyrotechnics....everything.

One of the great parts of this show that had nothing to do directly was the band was the people there.  There were some with tattoos of the band logo, some dressed as Butcher Till.  Some of them looked like you'd expect a German Dance Metal band fan to look like: pierced full of holes and tattooed all over.  Others looked like they'd just gotten out of biology class, or off a cross-country trip with their family.  Oddly enough I ran into a couple from Ogden, Utah, and a mother of two from Sandy, Utah.  (Both towns next door to me!) In the parking lot, people blared Rammstein.  Everyone was giddy.  Everyone knew their old stuff.  Their new stuff.  These aren't the people who know "Du Hast" (and think it means "you hate" which it doesn't, by the way) These are the people who follow this band with all their heart, like me.  I felt so at home.  It was a beautiful thing.  Music can really, really unite people.

We heard them doing sound check all afternoon.  Blasts of sound from inside.  It rained for several minutes; a rainbow appeared.  Seven o'clock signaled a madhouse when we all bolted for the doors.  Naturally I was at the front of the line and reached the railing before the thousands of people behind me.  When the band walked out I cried and screamed (and continued to scream for the next four hours, seriously) and enjoyed a large dose of twenty-foot flames in my face, several hundred pounds of confetti blasted out of a canon, music so loud I literally had a hard time breathing due to the bass pumping against my throat, and of course, Till.

Thanks to concert footage I've seen before plus the countless photos, I've always thought Till to have a very prominent silly side to complement his serious side.  On the contrary, he was all business.  Even the exaggerated and almost hilarious faces he makes--funny when in pictures--are maddening or heartbreaking in person.  He's a master of emulating the saddest and most desperate emotions of humankind.  At times I couldn't even fully enjoy myself because I felt this wave of depression; Mutter was an example of a song that made me pause.

When he wasn't being serious, he was being sexual.  I couldn't count the crotch grabs or hip thrusts or other wonderful and explicit motions he went through, but I could literally feel the egg detaching from the ovaries and running down to the uterus as soon as possible because my body was like THIS IS IT, YOU NEED TO GET PREGNANT RIGHT NOW, THIS IS THE PRIME MALE SPECIMEN, GET HIS SEED.  

Starting with their very first album, Rammstein's sexual songs have all been about domination in some variation.  And since Till was the one singing, I was led to believe had a dominant personality.  Not only that; LOOK at the guy!! And the whole wearing a strap-on and faking sodomy with Flake kind of gave the "I like to dominate" impression.

But nope.  He purposefully stood under a rain of sparks just to get cut up.  He slammed the mic into his head more than once.  Not three songs in he was already bleeding in several spots.  He looked like he thoroughly enjoyed being whipped by Schneider and led along on a dog leash (yes, this happened, lol) and other submissive acts.  I believe it was Schneider himself who said of Till's pyrotechnics: "Till gets burned a lot, but he likes the pain."  Since I don't frequent BDSM clubs or ever consider myself a dominatrix, this was a whole new experience that I fucking loved.  Connecting music, fire, and sex--three of my favorite things--and doing it in such a theatrically appropriate way was fucking amazing.

So my perception of my favorite human ever has been slightly altered; from what I thought was a dominant and sometimes silly guy, to a completely serious and very vulnerable artist.  I love him even more for it, naturally.  Till Lindemann is one thing for certain; enigmatic. And it serves him well.

And now that you're thoroughly creeped out by my adoration of a stranger, have a good day!


Insta-Friday. A GREAT week.

Whoa, this week was SUPER weird. I was soooo stressed about my first week of school, it was ridiculous. I was shaking, I forgot to eat for days at a time. And naturally it wasn't even that big of a deal when I got there. I love learning. Still, by mid-week I was already clocked out of May. It's been a hard month, and what was supposed to be breakfast with my friend Brad. kind of turned into an awesome "we're going to laze around and be awesome together" two days.  Plus, Rammstein tomorrow.  This may just be the best week so far of the best year so far of my life so far.

1. PSET, aka my school.  2. College work for the first time since 2006. 

1. Walking to the bus stop. 2. Clearfield Frontrunner Station

No makeup, no sleep, no food for over eight hours.  Nice. 

Brad picked me up in his 'Stang, we ate at Denny's, then went to a park and amazingly, napped for a few hours.  (Neither of us had slept the night before.)  Afterward, we went to visit his mother.  She was a total sweetheart, and hilarious: we looked through two boxes brimming with Brad's baby pictures.  Afterward, we drove around Eagle Mountain at night.  It was stormy and beautiful.  I haven't had that much fun just hanging out with someone in forever. Much needed.

The night ended with us watching Repo.  A fucking AMAZING musical.  The next day we fed ducks at Sugar House park, and I saw Moulin Rouge for the first time.  What the fuck why is that movie so sad Jesus Christ.



Today was the first day I went to school in almost seven years.  But I'll get to that in a minute; I want to explain myself.  

2011 was a horrible year for me.  My aunt died, my sisters and I got into WWE-style brawls, my marriage ended up not being what it was supposed to be.  I came back to Salt Lake City with a heart full of fear, head full of nothing, and felt like I had to start over from scratch.  Had anyone read my tarot cards it would've been death, death, death and more death.  Last year was without a doubt the worst year of my life.

I decided 2012 was going to be different.  It was going to be MY year and damn anyone who got in my path.  Since I love to travel so much, I booked trips from the get-go.  Starting with a road trip in January I went a little crazy with traveling.  Sweden saw me for the second time.  I regained a lot of lost confidence while on the road; I always do.  I enrolled in school, I did yoga, I ignored my family as hard as it was for me.  

I hate when people compare humans lives' and changes to butterflies.  A butterfly goes from being a fluffy bug to being a pretty delicate thing that dies within days, after one huge life-changing transformation.  Humans are more like hermit crabs.  We grow and grow, and eventually get too big for our exoskeletons, so we have to dig underground and shed our skin, eat it for sustenance, and we re-emerge larger.  And this happens over and over to us throughout our lives.  

Believing such, I am always looking for ways to improve on myself.  To help myself grow out of my shell.   I think once you stop growing you stop living.  You become stagnant, you're a waste.  Nobody is ever perfect and if one gives up on that growing process, there's nothing left for you to do.  And the world will go on without you, because the world has no place for people who don't grow.  Sometimes it sucks, because I get comfortable and don't want to move.  Most of my life and last year in particular, I had no room to grow.  I was too busy surviving.

And surviving gets you in trouble when you don't need to do it anymore.  Surviving is something I'm comfortable with.  I'm great at it.  I can grit my teeth and get through shit better than people twice my age with ten times my resources.  Growing up in poverty and growing up ignored makes a person strong, but there's a fine line between strong and jaded.  Only so many slaps in the face before you start to distrust people.

My therapist was in a conundrum the other day (and yes, I see a therapist.  Trust me, I need to.)  She felt that I needed to slip out of this defensive shell I've trained myself to use over the years, but she stated that "what makes you, YOU" is my opinions, my strength, my "badass" side that I'm so well-known for.  We tried to think of methods to retain my essence--a fierce and loving bitch--without all of the venom and "backed into a corner" reactions I typically display to the world.  I'm not backed in a corner anymore.  It's hard to believe, but it's true.

That's where I'm lost.  I don't have to survive anymore, I don't have to push people away.  The people who hurt me are long gone, and they're not coming back.  I have real friends, people I consider family who make me feel happy to be alive.  It struck me that I've been living lately.  True living, with nothing holding me back.  Even with a marriage that doesn't make sense and a wavering sense of self-esteem as far as writing is concerned...I'm still living, and doing it happily.  True to fashion I am overloading myself with things to do, but that's just my perfectionist side doing its job.

The thing is that this scares me more than anything.  I've spent so long in armor, fighting for a free world for myself and the people who deserve it.  Now I'm here, the world is here, and I don't know what to do.  I've been very afraid of this vulnerability.  My abrasiveness is brushing off bit by bit, and I feel naked.  I have no intention of being a smiling vibrant optimist, I have no intention of living life as if it's not a tough battle every day.  I know the dark side of it and I know others go through it, and I'll never turn a blind eye to that in any way.  I don't want to be the fighter anymore though; I want to be me, the person making life a wonderful adventure, the person I always dreamed I would become.  But you can't just take Mowgli out of the jungle and expect him to be a gentleman.  And the worst part is that again, I'm doing this alone.  I'm learning how to change and adapt, alone.  It terrifies me.  I wake up scared and I go to sleep scared.

Monday, May 14, I woke up even more scared.  At 4 am no less.  After having some noodles I spent most of the day crying, writing my blog entry from yesterday, and trying to fight through my fear to get to that first day at school.  And as everyone told me, and as I had tried to tell myself over and over again: it wasn't that bad.  I'm excited to learn.  I want to be perfect at this.  It shocked me to realize how I felt all during the lecture.  
Being an EMT was a choice that happened randomly in a dark point in my life, after I'd quit teaching and for a minute there, had no real purpose.  I wasn't changing, I wasn't improving, I was failing at life, and I saw a fire truck responding to an incident.  It lit a fire (no pun intended) in me that hasn't gone down.  I thought of helping people, and  I thought how practical it would be to work in a field where bravery and quick thinking--two very common traits of a survivor--would be a necessity.  Friends who knew me nodded in approval; this was definitely a job for strong-stomached Alex.

But it was so strange for me to sit in the classroom and tune out the lecturer long enough to realize that this is what I want.  This is what drives me, apart from writing.  To help other people, to help even strangers.  To do difficult things in order to save their lives.  Even if they just overdosed on a drug, or if they caused a car accident due to drinking.  A rescuer has to be blind to the people they rescue every hour of every day .  I've started maturing out of survivor and fighter mode only to choose a career that throws me right back in the middle of it, but I don't mind, because it isn't about me.  A job is a job, but to feel fulfilled I have to offer a service in some way.

Sometimes the childish (read: lazy) side of me gets frustrated, tired, sad with all the responsibility on my shoulders.  But I'm the one who puts it there, and there's really no greater feeling....this is the freedom I've been fighting for.  The freedom to help others in need at a moment's notice.  


May Foster Care Challenge: Day 7.

Yeah, it's "Day 7" of the challenge and the actual date is May 14....oh well. I can use the productive excuse.  And plus, writing about this shit is hard. Waaaay harder than I thought.  A lot of it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  I almost feel bad doing it, because I feel like focusing on it makes me negative...but the truth is that I NEVER talk about my past to this extent.  I don't expect to, ever again.  Even in the therapist's office it's more of a debriefing.  Anyway, here we go with Day 7, enjoy.

The Court Date

Every foster child or ex-foster child knows what I'm talking about when I say "THE" court date.  Truth is, anyone who is in foster care will probably go to court no less than five times, but the longer you're in, the more you go.  For a freak of nature like me who was in the system with no long-term plan, I have had more court dates than a lot o felons.  Just fyi, going to court as a teenager does nothing for one's self esteem.  Everyone assumes you're in trouble; you're not.  Court is the closest you ever come to meeting that mysterious guardian called "The State."  

But I'm getting ahead of myself; THE court date is the day you become a foster child.  It's the day legal papers are signed and everyone testifies for or against you and the judge decides what the fuck to do with you as in, are you going home or not.  For me, since the situation was so dangerous, my little sister Ariel and I were put in emergency foster care for a week before my court date.  We were taken to a city 50 miles away to live in the care of strangers with seven days to sit around and do nothing, because we didn't know what would happen.  Would we go back home? Would the State find a relative willing to care for us? Would we become orphans?

Ariel and I in 2011

Emergency Foster Care--The Week Before

Ariel was eleven years old; I was fifteen.  I was so overprotective of her that week.  It was the only time I've ever spent around my baby sister without my parents around; I felt horrible for her being dragged into this situation.  At the same time, I didn't want her to stay: should she live through the terrors I had? It only got worse as I'd gotten older.  I didn't know what was right.  But she was livid with me.  Being alone, she was too scared to show it and clung to me the way an eleven year old does, but as the years went by her anger seemed to manifest itself in obvious ways.  

Still, at the time, I did what I could to be there for her.  To argue with her and try and reason with her that our life wasn't normal.  Living in a shack, starving, manual labor, it wasn't normal.  Being humiliated and defamed and beaten wasn't normal.  She didn't compute this, and spent the week before the court date talking on the phone with my parents, who promised her a new bike the moment she returned to them.

They never asked to speak to me, or I to them.  

Meeting with the DA

For some reason or another we had a pre-meeting with an attorney, my caseworker, and my parents.  Praise Talos, Ariel wasn't in that meeting room.  It was a windowless, gray area where we sat at a long table, just the five of us: Mom, Dad, Me, Caseworker, Attorney.  The questions that were asked have long since left my memory.  The attorney seemed stressed; she sighed a lot. 

I teared up at one point, I don't remember why.  I remember looking over at my parents, the people who were supposed to protect me and abandoned me instead, abused me, tried their hardest to make me one of their broken little vessels of anger and ignorance.  Mom had gotten her slimy hands on one of my diaries and tried to use it as fuel.  She cried crocodile tears when she said she read about how I "hated" her.  Well mom, join the ranks of mothers everywhere whose teenage daughters hate them.  At least I had a reason to write it.

Dad of course didn't talk much.  His intimidating stares and quietness and tools that he used to manipulate people worked just as usual; nobody really knew what to say, everyone treated him like a ticking time bomb.  I just stared at him with disappointment.  I loved my Daddy.  He was the man who taught me to be strong, who taught me to fight.  That backfired in the end, because I had to fight him for my freedom.  

Valentine's Day

The morning of court was spent, for me, in a cubicle at the Polk County DFS office, with a bunch of social workers and a hacking disgusting cough.  I distinctly remember a lawyer in a suit leaving to buy me a bottle of cough syrup to get through court with; I chugged half of it the moment I got it.  Everyone joked that laying on firewood during a sleet storm (when I ran away from home) had given me pneumonia.  I would've laughed more had it not been for the coughing.  There was nothing to do but joke about my circumstances.

I had been in a courtroom before, as a child.  It was always for some random legal thing or another, nothing serious that I recall, despite the fact that my dad went in and out of jail as often as I go to the thrift store each week.  Anyway, the point is, I had never been in court BECAUSE of me.  For a very long time, that's the mindset I had.  I kind of still do.  This was all because of me.  Because I opened my mouth.  Everyone's morning was going to get rough, everybody in the DFS office had to deal with the monstrosity of my parents, because of me. 

My parents and I were kept from each other.  Probably due to our mutual disgust for each other as well as the threat of my dad and I getting into a physical fight, extra policemen were stationed around the room and kept them in a waiting room nearby while Ariel and I, DFS, and all my lawyers went into the courtroom.  It was sunny and warm despite being February.  Everything was bland as you'd expect from a courtroom.  The judge was a well-known nemesis of my Dad's--not sure if that was a good or a bad sign for me, his daughter.

Mrs. Montgomery appeared for a split second.  She had already testified before I got there, and had to leave immediately.  We hugged, she gave me a letter, and left.  I wouldn't find out until about seven years later that she felt guilty for not being able to take care of me.  I never understood why she didn't, either, until recently. At that point though, I was just a lonely scared kid who felt even worse about testifying knowing that the one person who I thought would help me, had just left.  

I was called to the stand, and stood in front of a podium with a tape recorder.  To this day I have no idea if my parents testified before or after me.  It's really a blur.  I remember staring down that tape recorder and answering every question with brutal honesty.  I held nothing back. Why should I? The truth was the only thing I had left. I was already losing my sanity, losing my family, losing any hope for a future beyond some unknown "foster care life."   I couldn't bring to mind a single question the judge or interrogators asked me if you paid me for it.  I remember telling them all that I wouldn't go back.  I would run away again and again.  Unless I was dead, I would be running.  

When I sat down, Ariel was called up and asked to testify.  I remember her tiny little voice.  She was horrified.  She did as my parents instructed: denied being hit, denied being yelled at and starved and dragged around the house.  She denied ever seeing anything happen to me.  I guess I could've felt indignant and betrayed but at that point I didn't feel anything.  I just sat there.  It wasn't like I wondered or cared who the judge believed.  He spoke of being "old-fashioned"...how parents sometimes reprimanded their children by striking them, and that he himself was both hit, and hit his children on occasion.  

I won't get into what I believe about child abuse versus child punishment, that's another rant, but just the fact that this judge was trying to make me see that it was okay that my Dad hit me, that he ignored the police reports and the lawyers for that five minutes to give me a "talking to" about discipline, made me want to slam his goddamn head onto his desk repeatedly.  This was a man of the law, a man who had risen to judge, who was supposed to represent justice and humanity, and he was lecturing me on old-fashioned child discipline and telling me I needed to learn to accept that that's "the way things are around here."

Then again, this is a man my Dad has openly threatened before.  My aunt found out years before the incident that my Dad and other illegal cockfighters in the area had paid off most of the cops in the county.  So, local help at least, was out of the question.  I just stayed silently appalled and in that "you don't know what the fuck you're talking about bro" attitude that has remained with me into my adult life.  

Anyway, that's about it.  That's where my memory fades.  I don't know who told me I'd be leaving my family and my sister to go alone into foster care.  Back to Athens.  To a new school.  New "parents".  I remember crying, I remember my parents coming into the courtroom and triumphantly hugging Ariel as though they'd won everything.  I sat there, ducked my head, and cried.  I was probably told to leave by several people but I just cried, not looking at anyone, and my Dad came up behind me, patted me on the shoulder, and gave me six dollars.  He was talking to me in that soft voice he so rarely used, and only used with me.  Even to this day he never speaks to anyone else in that uncharacteristic voice.  I don't remember what he said.  I liked to pretend later on that he said he loved me and that they were working on getting me out of the system. 

But, that never happened.

And they left, Ariel and my mother not speaking a word.  They left together as a reunited family, and I left as a foster child, to go forward on my own path.