Friday, May 12, 2023

Home, Unmourned

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

many ~ miracles ~ mayonnaise ~ monetary ~ munching ~ Michigan

It was submitted by:


I grew up thinking the same way a lot of weird, gay kids do that grow up in rural areas especially the South--that all my problems were about where I was not that I was having issues thar people the world over even in large cities have. I thought running away and starting over would be the ticket. That everything could just be so different if I wasn't here.

I think it took a lot longer to appreciate where I am than some because of the stigma of the south but I finally got to this part. The love for the place I've called home my entire life has only grown exponentially since I realized most of my problems would be the same anywhere else I live but at least here I have a little peace and quiet and very few worries about other people.

I think the naivety that comes with youth no matter how traumatic it was always tends to paint the grass greener somewhere else. We can visually see people in our age group all over the world now and still our problems get boiled down to location, location, location. People cheat everywhere. The pay is miserable everywhere. Opportunity sucks kind of everywhere because there may not be many jobs in the sticks but there are also fewer folks competing for them. Monetary troubles exist everywhere...even when the pay is better so is the cost of living. That's not to say a change of scenery can't be good for some folks, but I think there's an understanding that can only come with age about how little location can actually be blamed for.

I mean, could I move to Michigan? Sure. But why would I? I can't even get the right mayonnaise there. I could move to California but where in that state do I get to watch love bugs landing in Spanish moss on 100 year old live oaks?

Why would I move somewhere with at least as many problems (minus some of the gerrymandering) when I could just stay here with so much culture and diversity and amazing food? Why go have some weird regional chip in Nevada when I could be in a place that feels like home munching on salt and vinegar boiled peanuts?

Life is full of tiny miracles, and I think one of mine is coming to the realization that the South is home. It's home in a way nowhere else could even begin to touch. It's beautiful in a way nothing else could be for me. It's comforting and mysterious and did I mention the food? Greens and BBQ and grits and black eye peas and cornbread and peach cobbler and sweet tea? The diversity? The south has more of that than any other region. We're gayer than any other region. And maybe we fight harder than any others to be better even while the rest of the country puts so much of this country's issues at our feet alone. We laugh along with the jokes about deserving to die in hurricanes and go back to work while everyone else pretends racism is an us problem. I love that I can look around me and see people who've grown into a similar love for their home and our accents and our ways and fight like hell to prove it's beauty to everyone. It's worth it.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Vows, undeserved

So, we usually do Secret Subject Swap where we each get a prompt someone else submitted and no one knows who got what until the day we publish. It's been a blast writing and reading so many different perspectives, but it's been a lot of years now, and most people have sort of fallen off doing these challenges. I've kept going even with intense insomnia that keeps me from writing as well as I used to in part because this has been such a big part of my life for so long and because I know having a deadline keeps me writing. But mostly I just wasn't ready to say goodbye to people whose only real connection to me is these posts. But for the second time in just a couple years, one of the few regulars passed away. Today, our post is about her. Every prompt is hers, a memorial post from everyone in a way, and honestly probably one of our last as a group. It's been rad, y'all. I might still be here righting but I'm just not sure right now.

My “Secret Subject” is:

What is the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you in public? Tell us about it.


I've never had a soul crushingly embarrassing experience that I can reflect back on and still think was as mortifying as it appeared at the time. There have been little things here or there. There were times in my childhood that I thought I'd never be free of the weight of but looking back now I wonder what the big deal even was. Nothing that seemed soul crushingly embarrassing at the time has remained so. Does it count if it wasn't necessarily embarrassing at the time and just increasingly got worse?

Because I was married to a dumb asshole. And I married that dumbasshole in front of dozens of people who knew he was a dumbasshole and couldn't for the life of them get me to see it and he turned into an even bigger dumbasshole than even any of them could have predicted.

And I think about it with the complicated lenses of present me and it is fucking mortifying how naive I was and God all of it is just so goddamn sad.

I married someone who wasn't even an adult yet. For that matter neither was I. We weren't even 25 when we got together and moved in together. We weren't even 25 when we got married a year later. I had a kid at 25. With that dumbasshole. And instead of growing up together, he just seemed to constantly reverse. Every step forward he might make would come crashing to a halt then he backpedaled. He lied. About everything all the time. And when he got caught I was the bad guy for accusing him. He spent money like he actually had the ability to keep a full time job. He refused to learn how to do even the easiest of tasks and once just before I found out I was pregnant he let his still teenaged best friend pull him around the yard with the lawnmower and ended up in the emergency room. He gaslit me and punched holes in things. He drank too much too often He cheated at the end. It was so many things that left me looking like an absolute fool.

And the worst is when I tried talking to my friends or my mom, it was "well told you so" from them and "you expect too much out of men" from her. Maybe I do but I don't think that means stick with someone that makes me hate myself.

We split and he put every woman he ever dated above my kid for years. He wouldn't pay child support. He left me all the bills then begged me for a place to stay with one of his girlfriends or they'd be homeless but wouldn't pay rent and left me sitting with her many nights while he went out cheating on her so I had to be the one to comfort my ex's newbie. He constantly stole money out of my checking account and laughed about it to our friends who laughed at me with him especially when he'd insist I was just the crazy ex who'd die alone. He has a kid with one of these women that he's never seen. He's never paid her a dime. And then he knocked someone up who demanded he marry her or not see his kid again so he did and for a few years he really gave it a half hearted effort. He had kid after kid with this woman that he admitted in private he couldn't stand. He asked me to give her makeup tips. And fashion advice. He let her treat my kid like shit and they both made him uncomfortable with the way they talked about him. He didn't even have so much as a toothbrush at their house and when he eventually asked to not be treated that way and to have things there like he was part of their family too, they stopped speaking to him. Right after he came out of the closet and endured many a gay joke and being called princess all the time.

He hasn't spoken to his own kid in years. He missed every single bit of his own child's teens because he's a dumbasshole and I just keep being increasingly mortified that I was ever so fucking stupid.

Forever, every single time I hear the name Erik, I'm going to be embarrassed. But Im absolutely over the moon about the fact that he ended up with the life he deserves stuck with someone he doesn't like with kids he didn't plan on and absolutely fucking miserable. Good job, buddy. Karma got you.