drips and drabs

For some reason, I still feel the need to not shit talk the people around me who have recently shown their true colors.

I think I’m doing it out of integrity, but who knows. Maybe I’m doing it out of fear – fear that these people won’t like me?

That would be stupid given the circumstances.

And not out of the realm of possibility

I do know, and I used to tell my ex-husband this all of the time, if you don’t want people to know what you are doing, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

Or, “Don’t give me so much to write about.”

All I know is that there is a major storm raining down and if I am to be honest about my life, I have to share a few little bits – drips and drabs so to speak – primarily for my readers’ understanding.

So here goes:

The person who said, “I’m not your person,” when I called from the hospital.

The friend that dropped me like a hot potato to pursue MXB so immediately after the breakup that he and I were still sharing a bed.

The friend who comes in to my work and instead of saying hi, skulks out without making eye contact.

Or the friend, whose first words upon hearing of my son’s accident were “He’d better have learned his lesson,” not “Holy shit, poor kid, I can’t imagine what he’s going through right now.”

As if my son doesn’t care one whit about what happened and how fortunate they all are.

And let’s not forget the good friends from whom I have not heard one single word since all of this began.

One might say to me, “This is about them, not you.”

A person might also say, “Get over it, you’ve got much bigger things to deal with.”

Or, “Those people don’t matter, you know who your real friends are.”

Or, “You are so loved, don’t let any of that shit get in your way.”

Or my kids might (did) say, “Those people are not your community, Mom. You’re a real member of the real Mancos. We know how to treat our neighbors.”

And yes, I can hear all of those things, and on a good day, I can see all of those truths.

But those people and their actions have hurt me so deeply; have made this breakup, loss of a life built together, loss of stability, giardia starvation, and accident thing a whole lot more difficult.

Needlessly.

I have felt pain in my very core.

And the worst part is that all of the comments, actions, and inactions, have also hurt my children; they too are being shut out and unsupported.

And, it’s given them yet another reason, like they needed more, to worry about their mother.

I know that festering and harboring resentments and taking everything personally isn’t helping the situation. I am trying my damnedest to find compassion and forgiveness; it’s hard.

I can also admit that probably no one has done anything to intentionally hurt me or the boys, but there is a careless, insensitive, lack of integrity that abounds here that just doesn’t work for me or my family.

So, now that that little bit is out there, I feel like I will be able to share, more openly and honestly, a little more of who I am at this moment.

 

 

 

 

Coming out of the closet

I’ve been struggling to write.  I haven’t been especially inspired.  Really it all began with the shutting down of Single in the Southwest.

That was my choice – yes it was, in many ways – but to be totally honest, I hated ending that blog. It still exists, it’s just that I don’t write there any more and no one has access to it unless I allow it.

My Ex, T-dub, hated Single. Vehemently.

And I sort of can’t blame him, yet I repeatedly explained the math to him – stop giving me so much to write about and I will quit publicly raking you over the coals. I thought it was simple, yet apparently he didn’t see it that way.

In a moment of, I’m not sure what, frustration? indignation? I got so sick of him and his oh poor me I am such a victim of her writing act that I decided to rid the world of Single in the Southwest.

I understand why I did it and in the moment it seemed like the right thing to do – for the children.

Not that I believe the children were being hurt by anything I had to say – they didn’t even care about the blog – but T said that he would cooperate and be respectful if the blog was gone so poof! gone.

And I called his bluff. He “spoke” to me one time after that – ONE TIME.

And that was via text and just enough to inform me that no, he would not be paying his portion of the kids medical bills.

That was a year ago.

Could I have had my First Amendment Rights upheld in a court room? Probably. I certainly wasn’t writing anything that wasn’t true.images-2

I didn’t lie about him calling me a whore. I didn’t lie about him dying his chest hair. I didn’t make it up when he threatened me in public – in front of the kids and their entire football team – screaming that I had failed my children.

I also didn’t only write about him. There was a series on vibrators, quite a bit about parenting teenagers, and the one about work that almost cost me my job. And yet, he thought it was all about him.

Typical.

So yes, there was a good chance that I could have kept on typing away but I grew tired of the fight.

I also had a lot of fear. What if a Judge saw me as a bad parent because I wrote the things that I wrote? What if we stood in a courtroom and the Judge agreed that I was harming the children with my words? What if the judge called me a whore?

Then, the moment preceding the moment where I threw my hands up in the air yelling “I give up,” T was in the middle of insisting that of course, the blog could stay, but that he would be able to determine if anything that I wrote was suitable or acceptable.

In other words he believed that he should have final editorial approval before I hit “Publish.”

C.E.N.S.O.R.S.H.I.P.

Fuck that noise.

So, Blog – Gone.

Writer’s block – here for the long haul.

One of my greatest sadnesses when I look back over the years is realizing just how much of my life has been run by fear – primarily fear of him.

I have this deep anxiety-producing paranoia of getting in trouble which most likely started when, surprise surprise, I was a young kid and didn’t want to get in trouble.

Unfortunately I lived my marriage in a way that created the same dynamic. And then it showed up in a few other areas of my world, like work, and suddenly it became crippling.

I’d like to say that it became the litmus test for all decisions that I made, but the truth is, it didn’t.

I’m still independent and feisty enough to not let anyone else tell me what I can and cannot do.

I just suffered the consequences afterwards. In other words, I got in trouble.

So with my kids’ well-being at stake, I cowered in the face of fear and shut my trouble making mouth.

And in the process, shut myself right down.

But things are shifting for me. Or I actually need them to shift and so here is a step that will hopefully take me in that direction.

Over the last couple of years and the last few court hearings, I have come out on top – way on top. I have seen that the court system may be really flawed, but if you get a wise judge who is also a parent, sometimes things work out the way that they should; the way that is actually best for the children and…fair.

With the freedom of a few wins and watching a judge put him in his place and validate that I am a good mother, I am able to shed some of my fears.

So today, I am taking a monumental step. I am coming out of hiding.

Have I thought this through?

Probably not thoroughly enough, but I tend to be impulsive anyway.

I’m sick of the fear. I am sick of hiding. Sick to death of handing my power over to him. And living in secrecy has been doing just that.

So, today, I will link HDD to my own Facebook page.

And right here, right now I will say:

I , Suzanne Strazza, am High Desert Darlin, the artist formerly known as Single in the Southwest.

And I am a writer, a mother, a lover.

I am exercising my First Amendment rights.

And I am free.

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Just sayin’

What I DO say:

Run

Give me your phone

Run

Put the snow down

Run

Do not lie down on the track

Get off the football equipment

Do you think I can’t see you behind the bleachers?

Run

You get a zero for the day

For someone who thinks he’s such a great athlete…I’m not seeing it

I can (will) write you up

Run. NOW.

What I DON’T say:

Run you little bastard

Go ahead and listen to your shitty music

You have no friends

You’re a puss

I’d put money on you being knocked up by 11th grade

And you, you’re going to be the baby daddy

Exactly what is it that makes you think you’re cool?

No, your 13 year old biceps are not a turn on for me

I hope you fall down

Your very bad grammar

I’ve been so good.

I’ve been totally behaving myself.

I haven’t ranted or raved or made fun of them for quite some time.

I’m really trying to just ignore them completely.

But I just can’t help myself – they’re too easy. It’s like they are begging for ridicule…

…or at least a hearty smack down by the Grammar Police.

First, the overuse of the word “rather” – 3 times, 2 sentences.

Then, “diseased” instead of “deceased” – Wow. Just. Wow.

But this:

I understand that the complexities of two-syllable words might just be too much but seriously, can’t you figure out “I” versus “Me”???????????????????

Come on, Grammar 101, folks.

The day I’ve been waiting for all of my life

Or at least as long as I have been evolved enough to appreciate the genius of David Sedaris.

I’ll admit, the first time I heard his voice on NPR, I hit scan. It was nasally and effeminate and what I perceived as a tiny bit whiney.

Then, one day I heard him talking about living in France and missing hearing English and the highlight of his day being when he tuned into NPR and heard Terry Gross say “Fresh Air,” and I was hooked.

And for all I know, it didn’t happen that way and he said he couldn’t stand Terry Gross and maybe it wasn’t even David Sedaris, but this is how it has played in out my mind over and over, so now it’s truth.

And I have no idea how I came across “Me Talk Pretty One Day” – maybe it was on the new release shelf at the library, maybe I heard Terry Gross talking about it, maybe Scott Simon. I’ll never remember, which is somewhat sad because it was a pivotal moment in my life and  I like to remember those moments that changed my existence forever.

Shit. I had a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old when it was published. I honestly can’t believe I found time to read.

But that was at the time in my life when I would announce to the entire household, “Mamma has to poo,” and then run into our tiny bathroom where I could sit on the pot and rest my head on the edge of the sink and breathe, trying to remember that I liked my family. Occasionally I did some reading in there too so that could be how I found time for Talking Pretty.

I actually hardly ever pooed

I was enjoyed it from the get-go, but when I got to the story about Easter and the Flying Bell…

Changed perspective on the world.

And, this is when I decided that I would become the Female David Sedaris.

If you have not read Jesus Shaves, you must.

I have since devoured, multiple times, every word that he has produced.  I have come to find great comfort in his snarky little voice; his brilliance has become my guiding light.

I want to live in France.

I want Hugh.

Once, I was asked to teach a writing class for teenagers. My first class was awkward, as always; angsty teenage girls (only girls, as no teenage boy would EVER sign up for a writing class, after school, for no credit) many of them homeschooled, so incredibly uncomfortable in an 8×8 room with other people, then Breakfast Club Ally Sheedy was in there as well as the two besties who wrote “fiction” about each other’s love lives.

I began the class by talking about “Voice” and finding one’s own voice in writing. I read several bits from different authors not only as examples, but as eye-openers into a world of stories that didn’t involve blood-sucking, glitter-glued vampires.

I saved my favorite for last: Jesus Shaves.

Again, a must-read. At least watch the video.

In brief, the story is about French class, in France, with people whose only thing in common was that they all had other languages as firsts and were trying to communicate in a second one about, Easter.

I won’t say anything to ruin it for you, but I will say that if someone was Jesus-sensitive, it could be a bit offensive.

Which is what I began to think, about 1/2 way through my reading, and watching the faces of the sisters-with-religious-hair go from timid smiles, to shock, to horror, to “You’re going to burn in Hell, Teacher.”

And I didn’t know what to do.

It was like that time I was waiting tables and I was really stoned and for the first time in my service career, I carried four water glasses, instead of the inconvenient three, in my diminutive hands to a table of thirsty middle-aged vacationers.  I was so excited that I began telling them about my tiny hands handicap and how it’s been plaguing me for years. Half way through that, the part of my brain that wasn’t connected to my mouth said, “Honey, they know you’re stoned. You should stop.”

But the problem was, I couldn’t. To do so would have been even more awkward that the rambling telling of the victory.

So I finished my litany and skulked away to the kitchen to do a bong hit.

And that’s how I felt with the ass-length braids staring up at me. What was I to say, “Oh my, have I offended thee?”

So I rambled on, rushing through, just to end this torturous moment. But then I got to the bit about the bell and I couldn’t contain myself. It began as a giggle and soon became a cackle, then a roar. I tried to contain it, but then snot came out of my nose, so I gave up.

Fuck the Bible Sisters. Fuck Ally Sheedy. Fuck the latent lesbians.

Fuck teenage girls.

So years later, here I am, bouncing in my seat because in just 11 hours and 7 minutes, I will be sitting in my front row seat (because I did buy the first two tickets sold) gazing adoringly, and listening raptly to this man who is my soulmate. I know, too, that he is going to look at me and think “I’ll be she’s funny – I want to be her friend. She’s probably a brilliant writer too.” and after the show, he will ask me to be pen pals so we can exchange witty observations on humanity and he will offer to introduce me to Scott Simon, then suggest that we read together on Weekend Edition, just wouldn’t that be a hoot.

I am so excited about tonight, and have been since I first heard of his appearance, that I am am actually becoming a tiny bit sad because it’s almost over.

And I have so much angst about meeting and him not having the space to really to know me until it’s too late and he’s back in his hotel room missing out. Or worse, not meeting him at all.

MyAdorablyCuteBoyfriend is a saint because he is acting very enthusiastic about this night but when I said, “You might not like him,” he responded, “I already figure that I won’t,” but he’s going with me anyway and might even wear a bow-tie.

So now I am down to 10 hours and 59 minutes and I’m thinking that I better stop writing and go scour my closet so I can find just the right attire to meet the coolest uncool man I’ll ever know.

 

Total Overwhelm

I am truly a pinhead when it comes to social networking.

With my last blog and a basic Facebook page, I was able to Write. Publish. Automatically post on FB. View.

It took me about a year and half to figure out all of that. Thing is, I wasn’t trying to keep anything secret, so my friends were my blog audience and faithful readers and I could contact anyone I wanted through the blog or Facebook because there was no masking my identity. My print by-line even gave the web address.

And look at where that got me… Divorce and Custody Court.

It also almost got me fired because I mentioned that talking to a certain client got me wet.

So, there is definitely an upside to anonymity.

The downside all revolves around reaching readers.

At first I thought that if I just built it they would come.

That didn’t happen.

Then I thought that if High Desert Darlin’ had her own Facebook page, that people would stumble across it and congratulate themselves on their discovery.

Didn’t happen either.

Also had to come up with another name because I couldn’t figure out how to get around the fake name filter.

So then someone  suggested a secret group on Facebook through my real Facebook page, which I have created.

I only included a few folks who I can totally totally trust. A couple of them seemed thrilled, others haven’t even acknowledged their special status.

But beyond sending out invitations, I can’t figure out anything else. My biggest struggle is how to get my posts from here to show up for the secret group without showing up for all the world to see.

Part of the problem is that I have terrible ADD and once something gets even the tiniest bit frustrating, I move on.

So, to be quite honest, I have 4 Facebook pages, 3 separate blogs and 2 twitter accounts. I spend a lot of time signing into Facebook as one person so that I can see what shows up on another identity’s public page.  Yesterday I friended and unfriended myself 7 times and logged in and out at least 22 times.

This is fucking ridiculous.

The Bee across the street seems to be able to help – if I can only find the time to get over there.

I want so badly to figure this out and feel like a totally hipster writer. I also want, so badly, to be able to write as just little ol’ me without having to worry about the repercussions.

I really just want to twitch my nose and fix all of this.

Elizabeth-as-Samantha-Bewitched-elizabeth-montgomery-7324100-500-376

 

I guess it’s really happening

The cat’s out of the bag. Sort of.

I have now told exactly 6 people about this blog – 6 people who I trust with my life.

I need to be extra super cautious so that I don’t find myself back in the courtroom. I’m getting really fucking tired of it.

So I reached out to these six people asking them to be my friend on my brand spanking new Facebook page. Who knows if they’ll accept my requests given that they have no clue as to who I am.

But the Facebook page is the link between this page and the world at large.

I’m really just building the Facebook page.  I haven’t even put information such as my hometown in there because the damn system won’t let me be vague. You should have seen me trying to put my fake name on the page – Facebook is smarter than I would have thought and I’ve spent a fair amount of time recently telling Mark Zuckerberg to bugger off.

But I can totally make up an identity – completely recreate me. I can like whomever I want and admit to reading the stupidest books in the world and confess that I can’t get enough of Blood, Sweat, and Tears.

Yes, I have seen them in concert – white jumpsuit and all – rocked my world.

Anyway, I can be tall, blond, sexy, intelligent, a concert pianist and a fabulous pie maker – anything I want – I can make it all up.  I could even act well-bred and my readers would be nonethewiser.

Until someone actually reads what I’ve written.

But the biggest thing is that I have been dabbling in starting a new blog and it really has been just that, dabbling. I’ve started probably 4 or 5 and then given up on them because they weren’t “quite right.” But truth be told, I need to write for an audience. If I’m just writing from myself, I do that in my journal or on little scraps of paper that I keep in the bull-shaped tea-pot in my office.

A blog, or an article, or a column, is for public consumption and therefore forces me to write as if someone is going to read it. I try to be a little more succinct, more particular about my word choice and certainly a bit more humorous.  At the very least, I will correct my spelling and grammar.

So, from the day that I shut down my last blog until I sent out those 6 invitations today, I’ve been nothing more than a journaler, but those six people, especially if they accept my friend requests, will transform me back into a WRITER.

So then, people might have expectations that I will actually write something, so then I actually have to do just that and then it becomes habit (a habit that I have missed) and something that I do.

6 puncey invitations just put me back into the seat in front of the typewriter.  It’s quite nerve-wracking actually, but also so goddamn exciting.

I’m back.  Whomever I decide to be is yet to be determined, but the bottom line is that I am writing again.

First Post

dscn0269Wow, what do I say for my first post?

It’s important – it’s a first impression – and you only have one shot at a first impression.

So here I am blabbing about instead of saying anything that will make you want to keep reading.

Who is High Desert Darlin’?

You will definitely have to read more to figure out the answer to that one – I’m not about to give it away.

I’ll give you a few tidbits:

Single-ish.

Mother of three teenage boys – Bobby, Peter and Greg.

I paint my fingernails.

Almost 50.

I live in a really small town in the really rural west – Mayberry is rockin’ in comparison.

Lake Woebegone’s got nothing on us.

I chose to live here because Here has mountains, rivers, and the desert.

I am a bleeding hearted liberal who sometimes shoots things just for fun.

If I didn’t write, my brain would shrivel up and die.

And I have great legs.

So let’s start here.  This is not my first rodeo. I have had a blog before. My name was on it. It got me in trouble. I shut it down.  The problem is, that I can’t stand not writing, so it has been torturous lately.

The reason I shut it down was because there was an attempt to censor me – a person who shall remain unnamed (but thank god I am rid of him) felt that he had the right to tell me what I could and couldn’t discuss. Each post was subject to his approval or disapproval.

Fuck that.

So I went into hiding for a while and now I am emerging, not new, but definitely improved and ready for a fresh identity.

So High Desert Darlin’ has been born.