“Touch me again and I’ll drown you, you bastard” Mrs. Doubtfire

Got an email today from one of my cabaret ladies that upset me to the point of ruin. I think we managed to hash it out but it’s still clings to me. When did I become the bitch that nobody likes? Most of my life I was a people pleaser, how can I help? That burden looks heavy, here let me carry that for you… And then a few years ago I realized but the people I thought where my friends at the time absolutely drained me and couldn’t even remember my birthday even when we shared it. The birthday is not important but the fact that it was a one-sided relationship. I had a lot of friends but when I took inventory of who would step up in my time of need should I need anyone, my answer was crickets. So I began doing things by myself and for myself. Now I have a small cultivated, tolerant handful of friends. I’m not mean. I just put myself first more than I used to.

But this email made me realize that the alienation I’ve been feeling was not entirely in my head. People were put off by my sullen attitude but rather than asking what was wrong, and I may or may not have admitted to anything, they just kept letting it rub them the wrong way until I was alone in a corner at rehearsals and the last show. Again, I think with a bit of communication on all of our parts, we can get past this but it still ruined my day.

No, more than ruined my day. Left me sick to my stomach wondering if I should quit. Maybe they wanted me to. Maybe everyone would breathe a little easier if I tapped out. I was going down that rabbit hole. And of all people, Robin Williams popped into my head. Now aside from the clinical depression, I don’t for a minute draw a personal comparison to the humor and talent that man had but my point is, here is a man who is successful, and beloved by most of the world. And he killed himself. We assume often I think that someone kills themself because they are lonely. True, it’s difficult to connect. But I think there is an irrational voice that tries to convince us not only that we are not loved but worse, we are not LIKED.

It’s difficult when you feel like you have no one close enough to talk to, and if you did they wouldn’t understand, or there are certain aspects of your job and the day to day war that you can’t discuss. I met with my VA psychiatrist for a biannual follow up a couple of months ago right after C was killed and she asked if I needed to speak to someone and I combusted and nodded. She said she would put in a referral to the social worker. That was two months ago and I’ve heard nothing. But I even suspect the VA social worker is too burned out to give a damn about my problems. And I’m probably not high-risk enough to warrant a speedy appointment. But really, I don’t want to talk to someone that I feel can’t relate. Or worse, doesn’t LIKE me.

Back to war tomorrow. Next weekend I will be punishing my body in an attempt to heal my spirit hiking a few days around the Cascades. I’ll be with retired Army and retired Marines. And there probably won’t be a single war story between us. I’m looking forward to it.

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“The older the fiddle, the finer the tune” ~ M

Awful nightmare during an attempted mid-afternoon nap yesterday. I don’t think I was truly asleep but I was trapped. My nightmare revolved around a thought that nags me when I’m awake: I’m single with no children. My mother is all I have left and when she’s gone, I’ll truly be alone. In my nightmare, my mother had passed and I felt so alone, I killed myself.


Burned sage around the bedroom and the house to try and shake off the funk. I remember something “L” told me: talk to your past, tell it you are breaking those contracts of regret and resentment and you want to clear your name with your enemies. Bring on the peace. Slept better last night but anxiety set in again as the next day wore on and my weekend ran out.

First weekend out of the boot and I put an insane amount of pressure on myself to get out and dance. Showed up to train for Diavolo on Saturday but they were working on another piece I wasn’t in so training canceled. And next weekend because of Labor day, they decided. Too many people out of town. I should have been one of them.

Sunday, I went to an Afro Cuban dance class but it was more Bomba than Afro. I couldn’t see the footwork under the skirts, understood only every fifth word, and felt like my soul never left the bed today. I used the foot to excuse myself 40 minutes into the class.

I called a friend and said last chance to dance this weekend, let’s hit Sunday Sabrosura! But that event is crazy crowded and if you don’t get there early to make friends and find a place to throw your purse, you’ll spend the entire time painting the wall with your backside. She wasn’t up for that.

So two middle-aged, divorced dancers headed to the waterfront to drink and poke fun of the men our aged, trying to pick up on the women half our age. But truth is, around here, a drink and a box of “touch of grey” beardcolor and they get those onesie-wearing 20 somethings. Can’t really blame them. I might have had a daddy complex at that age too. But now I’m 43 and my friend is turning 60. Good dancers, decent shape for our age, career women, low-maintenance…but men around here don’t go for “age appropriate”.


What helped was calling another friend, “S”.  Divorced and in dating-hell as well but on the opposite coast. I told him he’d have much more luck fishing here. We should trade. We chatted about my birthday hiking trip which got postponed when I broke my foot. He’ll be joining me in a few weeks on a fast, exhausting trip around Mt. Ranier. Somehow we got to chatting about another friend of mine who lives a few hours away near Portland. Well, that is, I consider him a friend. We all served in the same Battalion but different Companies. Plus, “M” and I went through AIT together so I knew “M” a bit better than “S” did. Still, “S” being a good wingman mentioned: “If you told him you were coming here, he would make the drive, I’m sure of it”.

“M” was one of those people you (Okay, I) meet and think, he’s a good person, we get on well, he’s into me and he’s not hard to look at… So what’s the problem? Chemistry.

Ten years ago, I cited lack of chemistry. He poured his heart out to me and I was flattered but also crushing on a former sniper turned philanthropist and a year later, a former Jesuit priest turned sniper. You might say I have a type. M particularly hated the Priest. M also never made a move on me so who’s to say a firm hand in my hair and mouth crushing kiss wouldn’t have gotten my attention?


I vaguely recall an article based on some supposed scientific study years ago about how we are instinctually attracted to people with symmetric features.  M is asymmetric in a John Wayne meets Daniel Craig sort of mash up. It’s been more than 10 years now since I’ve seen him in person but in a recent photo, on the day of his military retirement, he is reclining, foot propped on an ammo can, thumbs hooked in his belt loops and squinting into the sun. I think “Lookin good, old man” and I know he would reply “The older the fiddle, the finer the tune”. 

I usually hike solo but I’m staying with “S” and he’s taking time off to hike with me. Would S want to share our time together? I think not but again, I assume he’s just being a dutiful wingman suggesting I mention it to “M”. But it got me thinking.

So I text M. Said it was only three days, I was staying with S, understood it was a far drive…he text back immediately “Shoot, it’s only a three hour drive. I’m down for a hike and a drink.”

I panicked a little then and laid the groundwork of expectations: “I’m fat and slow now so don’t judge.”

He replied “I’ll leave it to the Christians to do the judging.”

I said “Great! Can’t wait to pee in the woods with you next month”.

“That’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever said to me” he text back.


Maybe he wont be able to make it, I think. Maybe I don’t want him to. I don’t have any mojo currently. Especially after Friday night’s costuming attempt at home that became a private humiliation, discovering I couldn’t squeeze into pre-laced corsets that I fit just two months ago. I was big then and I’m even bigger now.

So there I was: Prancing around feeling like I was caught in a giant Chinese finger trap, singing “Look ma! I’m a sausage!” and wondering if I was going to have to call for backup before I finally Hulked and ripped the zipper clean off. Fuck, that was my leather Gamora / BDSM corset too.

Meanwhile, M looks the same. And I’m obsessing “Maybe he wont come. Maybe he wont want me anymore. Maybe I wont want him. Maybe he will want me but still won’t make a move. Maybe his dick doesn’t work either, I mean, he is ten years older than me…maybe I should just stick to hiking alone. And don’t nap in the afternoon. And for g-d’s sake, don’t wear that tunic with those pants anymore…”

Another blogger I follow just posted this:

“Until the new moon in Virgo on Friday, we stand in the liminal darkness of the waning Moon, the dark of the Moon. Slowdown your pace, reflect, contemplate, clean, cleanse, purge, stretch, create space for the wisdom to enter, collect the strength from the Earth, lay low.”

But I’ve been “laying low” for 7 weeks while my foot healed. But if this weekend proves anything, it’s that Something or Someone is still holding my arms and trying to tell me “pace, reflect, cleanse”. Heal. Create space for wisdom to enter. These thoughts racing through my head this weekend do not come from a place of wisdom. Okay, okay…I’ll try to do better.

“In the Summertime, when it’s hot outside, and the streets are bare, there’s no one there” ~Black Keys

 I skipped sitting on the sidelines of Cabaret rehearsal to follow the
excited advice of a nurse: Go to the ER now! I napped on a hospital bed
while a retired Colonel ran tests on my heart. My ticker is great to my
relief. It’s something else. What that is, no one knows yet but it’s not my
heart so that’s all I needed to hear. 
. How many times did they ask me “Do you have anyone here with you? Do you want us to call someone?” Nope. And Nope. I know in a worst case scenario, CK would come swiflty. But I don’t want him. I note the absence of a ring on my doctor’s hand as we trade a couple of war stories. He’s too old for me, complete with wooden cane, but he’s funny and his cane adds to his austere image the way a pair of glasses makes people look “smart”. HOw did you break your foot, he asked? Living like I’m still 23 instead of 43. He laughed and said “right on”.
Cabaret presses on like I’m not there and not coming back. New choreography without me. New dancers. Even a new singer to create competition in the one market I had cornered. 
Three weeks until my podiatrist follow up and I still feel the break in my
foot. But three weeks more is all you get, I silently tell No One. Then I
need to dance. I need to train. I logged back into Crackbook briefly to view
dance events coming up at the end of the month, when I hopefully get the
green light from the doctor. Nothing looks particularly inspiring. Or maybe
that’s my state of mind grumbling. 
I’ve gone from panicked “WTF do I DO with myself?!?!?!” to “I don’t want to
do anything”. 

Feverish planets, climate crisis, and the now-public sweeping under the rug
of military sex-crimes have fired up the nightmare machine again. Plus I
still think of “C” unbidden. His name popped up in a spam email this week
and I wondered if he was reaching out to me from the grave or if it was
something more malevolent and real. Times like this, I do wish I wasn’t so
isolated. 

My breath catches and chest tightens but not like “false alarm” heart attack
of yesterday. No, this is just despair. My headphones are on at work but I’m
not listening to anything. I don’t know what is more distracting: the
converastions around me or the music that I’m not feeling.

And I could lie, say I like it like that, like it like that ~ Billie Eilish

One of my sisters recommended the Patti Smith autobiography “Just kids”. I put it off because we don’t have the same taste in a lot of things. But foot being in a cast and on crutches, my calendar is suddenly clear for the next 6 weeks or so. That means I have more time to catch up on reading. Time but not necessarily the attention span.

It was an insanely busy day at work for reasons I can’t say here but I was grateful for the distraction. Otherwise I would be mooning about not being on Mount Rainier right now.

I was impressed by the family and friends that remembered it was my birthday even without a Facebook prompt. CK rememberd and wished me a ‘happy birthday’ which I expected. Even as I mourn the death of C, I wish I could find words to tell CK how much I did and still do appreciate him for being better to me than anyone, but I don’t know how to say it without leading him on.

My mother called to wish me a ‘happy birthday’ as well but the phone kept disconnecting probably due to the weather. Neither my mother nor I enjoy talking on the phone much so she was probably relieved that it disconnected so soon into the conversation and I did her a favor and didn’t try to call back. We live 40 miles away and communicate mostly by email just as we did when we were continents away. Still, she’s my best friend and my last surviving life line. She’s not in good health either so I’ve spent the better part of the last 10 years in a mild panic over what I will do without her. I’ll have no one. It sucks when family that you love deeply passes away as everyone does, but the pain is usually more bearable when you have a partner to lean on.

Ihave no one. No one but my mother. She talked me down from the ledge when C died. She took me to the hospital years ago when I decided death was starting to look attractive.

A broken foot doesn’t make me suicidal. Just bummed out as fuck.

So I make the effort to do something for myself, whip up a homemade spicy pasta on which I overindulge and two glasses of red. I’ll need to head out in a few minutes to a cabaret rehearsal, just to show face. I will tap out when the girls start dancing without me. Or when I feel like I can no longer keep my attitude in check, whichever comes first.

“If you can’t hold on, hold on” ~The Killers

I told my family I loved and appreciated them. I don’t say it enough even
though they occupy the first row of my mind. I’m nearly 43 and my mother
still covers me with a blanket. I fear the day she’s no longer here. I’ll be
alone and that’s a fact.
Last night, I was dry-eyed as I moved a few pictures of “C” to a folder
where they would be out of sight but not deleted. Even the picture of the
apple and honey as he observed Yom Kippur with me long distance.
I’m compartmentalizing, I think.
Although as I nurse my forsaken body from a the most punishing training in
years, the grief creeps into the stillness. Of all feelings, there is an
intense loneliness that I havent felt in years. Back when I used to think I
would die alone and cry myself to sleep barricaded by pillows at night.
Well, I still believe I will die alone but I had reached a space where I was
okay with that. Now, I’m back to wishing I had someone that I could call
just to come over and “distract” me for an hour or two. Take the edge off.
Touch me. But it can’t be just anyone. Who do I even want? Who even wants
me? Both faces are necessary to make a coin so I’m flat broke as ever.
Thirteen days, I’ll be another year older and had plans to again, again, to summit
mountains. One of my few friends will be with me this time and as honest as
we have always been with each other, I’m afraid he will mistake my
loneliness as an invitation. I don’t know if I’m physically capable of doing
10+ miles a day on a mountain right now with my knees and feet swollen and
taped. I don’t know if I’m up for conversation either.
During a round of acupuncture at a community clinic, I watched him through
my eyelashes: former Cavalry, Afghanistan vet, a humanitarian, a healer,
married with two kids. Two fat tears leaked out and I was grateful for the
darkness. All the good ones are gone. Or their dick doesn’t work.
Or they didn’t pick me.
That’s something my mother gently reminded me of. Maybe that’s not THE point
she was trying to make as the only person I’ve discussed the death of “C”
with. But that was my take-away and maybe what helps me cope when the image
of him unstaring, with a bullet hole in his head comes unbidden to mind.
“You offered him a better life, and he didn’t take it,” she said. Reminding
me, he didn’t choose me. If I hadnt completely moved on, I must now. That
business will have to remain unfinished. It was finished to him. I thought I
could “save” him but he didn’t want to be saved. How often do we do that to
ourselves? Cling, thinking we will be the unshakeable force of change in
someone’s life?
And I’m back to wondering if G-d exists, if there is a “plan”, if I have a
“purpose”, if I will die alone…

Later. X-rays confirm one of my feet is broken. Mountaineering is off. Well, postponed until September. I ate the plane tickets. I’ll be at work on my birthday but the worst part is my coping mechanism, dancing, is off the table for six to eight weeks.

“My name is Might’ve Been” ~Hole

It’s the “here we go again” 70 page background check and polygraph prep: Recall my mailing address two decades ago in South Korea? Nope. My ex-husband’s social security number? Nope. His current mailing address? Definitely not. Have I ever allowed recreational marijuana use in my home? Define “allowed”. Have I ever worked at a job where alcohol consumption on duty was allowed? Yes, in fact, it was encouraged. It’s called “radio”. Ever blog about porn? Guilty! Oh wait, that’s not one of the questions. Wheew!

I’d rather be bedazzling on this Friday night. My grandmother was a costume designer in the golden age of Vaudeville in Miami and she made it look so easy, affixing rhinestones armed with nothing but a metal nail file and her own acrylic tipped fingernails.

I just returned from a few (too few) days in the woods with my dog. We were along the GA/SC border and it was cold! I’m part lizard so I’m always cold but even my wanna-be mountain dog didn’t want to get out of the car on Day 2 after traipsing (more like tripping) 8 miles through the hills the day prior in 30 degrees. Probably spent more time on the road than in the woods, I simply didn’t have much PTO to spare.

But road trips are a game of Name That Roadkill, of signs warning me that Judgement Day is coming, and old trucks on the side of the road that I salivate over the idea of buying and busting my knuckles on, , singing to my dog for 10 hours, choreographing dance and comedy routines in my head, wishing I’d thought to be a Park Ranger when I grew up, and overthinking in general.

Thinking about random shite. Like…

And so it begins again, New Year, New You. The usual suspects on my social media checking in to their gyms and taking pictures of their salads as if NOT doing this would negate any benefits of their temporary new routines and diets.

If I had a New Year’s resolution it might be to run (okay, slow jog, ie: “Slog”) every day (yes EVERY day) and replace wine with tea.

Then I think about these studies that say running is NOT the best form of exercise and I think “Those are conducted by people that sincerely hate running”. And I eat them up like gospel because I sincerely hate running. But the fact in my experience remains that I do not know a single sincere runner in bad shape. Even those like me with bad backs, knees, etc…their conditions improved with running (ie: losing weight). When I ruck 15 miles carrying an extra 50lbs, I hurt the next day. But I’m carrying an extra 50lbs all over my body EVERY day. So I hurt. Dur.

I still don’t want to run.

And I think I’ll stick to the state highways and off the interstate as much as possible in the future. On these now “back-roads”, there’s less traffic and I don’t have the peer pressure of keeping up with the speeding flow or avoiding leapfrogging semi-trucks or impatient assholes psychically nudging my bumper to force me to drive even faster than the 20 over I’m already traveling (by the way, Bitch, I can pit you. Back. Off.)

And I think about CK and his love of museums. I told him the only museums I enjoyed were the Smithsonian in DC and…I think I’ve been to the Louvre but that year was a blur for me. “Where is the Mona Lisa?” I asked. The Louvre, he answered. Then yes, I’ve been to the Louvre because I remember her. I don’t enjoy the Ringling museum but there are two pieces I like, the portrait of Salome and the three muses: spinning, measuring and cutting. I’m particularly drawn to the one that cuts.

But back to CK, the man who loves museums and spends Friday nights organizing his desk drawer and kitchen cupboards for the 5th time this year. I told him he is a prime candidate for the Dull Men’s Club and should apply. They’d send him a certificate that he can frame for his office and everything.

Miss Congeniality

Bored of the sex blogs; the crudest, most poetic descriptions of fucking. I’m critical of the Selfish Suicidal even as I daydream, “hypothetically” blowing my brains out while doing dishes. I wonder if my military career is really over, like falling just short of reaching the summit of Mt. NORQUAY so I don’t buy the t-shirt. No retirement, no celebratory t-shirt. But if you’re “out-out” you can apply for medical marijuana and live pain free, I tell myself. And sleep without pills and booze. I hate every picture of me. I’ve hated every picture of me for years but now I REALLY hate them. And video is worse. I entered an impromptu swing dance competition at a rockabilly party last weekend and lost. I didnt expect to win (maybe I expected to place) but the assurances of “Oh it was close! We loved your attitude”. Yeah, I got the ‘tude going for me. Miss Congeniality. I dcowled watching the videos afterwards – my terrible posture, hunched shoulders, jutting chin…FAT. off balance too. Couldn’t even get a basic tandem Charleston right, so out of practice. If I ever said I could dance, watching the videos, I take that back. And I untagged myself.
But I got the tattoo for my deceased dance partner, “DOMB” last Friday night. He wasnt selfish. He was in pain, losing a battle and decided to end it on his terms. I blamed my temporary departure from dance on grad school, then the after-work-job-hunting then the yo-yo’ing health but fact is, I lost my enthusiasm for it when DOMB died. Corny as it is, that Wham song plays in my head when I think of him. CK has zero interest in dancing and I won’t force him. “You’re not Alice anymore. You’ve lost your muchness”. I know that movie got terrible reviews but I rather liked it. First one anyway. Well, this is a fizzle drizzle end but I’ve got nuthin…

“I don’t pop my cork for every guy I see” ~Sweet Charity

That title is a lie. These days, I do. Everyone except the one I’m with.

Surrounded by people in the office and feel like typing helps…sane as long as I’m typing, like a shark that can’t stop swimming lest they die.

Havent slept in two nights, I was late to work both days, took sick leave to cover my butt but I still burn all my leave as fast as I earn it for bullshit like that. I’ll never get more than an extended weekend at this rate. In 10 months of employment here, I still can’t bring myself to the commitment that a signature block signifies but perhaps something along the lines of “Over-educated, executive-level-manager-turned-desk-monkey”. Today, one of the letters from another department gets kicked back for bad grammar and punctuation. I fixed it -simple-and sent it back but the response was “The Director’s office will wait for review by the Coaches”. Right. Because correcting grammatical errors in reports is above my pay grade these days.

I was happily hacking down trees on my mom’s property in the woods two weekends ago. Too bad park rangers make $26-28k annually. Loves the woods! Handy with a chainsaw! PR experience a plus! Cant live off that check though.

Had a meeting with my Army career manager yesterday. First face to face in a year and admit that I was sucking in HARD (#gradschoolgut). I agreed to consider deploying again with SOCOM and fought back a cold sweat. I swear, if the Air Force would take me back, I’d celebrate. Did I ever tell you about that rainbow I saw on the flight line at Patrick AFB when I went out there three years ago to interview with the C-130 CSAR unit? Oh man, I was CONVINCED that was a sign! I KNEW in my heart that I would retire there, back in a blue uniform (or green flight suit). What the fck happened to that? Nothing good has come from my Army experience.

Cant talk to CK right now either. Eleven months now without orgasm. Frustration elevated back to DEFCON 10. He was crying about how while doing his Jane Fonda stretches this morning, he lost his balance and bumped his shoulder. I found his weakness unattractive. And hate myself for feeling that way. And for fantasizing about the guy at work that “offered” me his fully functioning c*ck (and no, I didnt take him up on it).

How ‘bout this for a signature block?

“Bitch, BA, MBA, Executive-level-manager-turned-minimum-wage-desk-monkey”

“…Our flag was still there”

Given the choice, I sing the national anthem acapella. No hiding behind background music. When my voice cracks with emotion, you hear it. I want you to feel it the way I feel it. The way I wish I could still feel the presence of G-d.

I’m not nervous behind a microphone, on stage, singing or dancing… unless I’m singing the Star Spangled Banner. There’s a chance I’ll cry. Pass out gasping for air between belted and whispered notes. Because if there’s any song I give a damn about, it’s that one. Because it’s an honor and privilege to sing it. Because friends and family, known and unknown, enlightened or misguided, died for it.

I’m not out to flex my vocal chops and earn your praise. It’s not about the singer: I don’t give a damn who you are. Sing it straight with respect. Sing it from the corners of your soul, joy and mourning, proud and ashamed of what it represents and has cost us.

“I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, John…”

“…but did you have to stick your finger up my ass?” (Let’s Go to Prison)

Too late to take an Ambien, no Xanax to be had, Pinterest pictures of nail polish and funny cat memes weren’t doing the trick to decompress and disconnect. The rest of the world was asleep and I was having a meltdown. So I text the Veteran’s Crisis Line.

I wasn’t suicidal. Just desperately, at that moment, needed a live person to pop a mental zit. Shhhhhh! But Don’t tell my Uncle Sam!

My dancer’s legs are scarred with what look like mosquito bites but they are from my fingernails digging into my flesh. It’s a nervous habit. I used to pick at my face and pluck out my eyelashes like some people gnaw at their fingers. Still do sometimes. But I retrained and redirected my attention to my exposed legs. My face healed up but I wonder if my legs ever will.

Sometimes you pick a path because it’s familiar only to rediscover it’s a dead end. As I got turned around on my way from work to class, I wondered if that was foreshadowing my career choices. I’m flirting with returning to the organization and the job that I left last year. I’m told the regime has changed, “the bad guys are gone” but I’ve heard that before. In my experience, they can return just like I can. And what happens in a year when the regime changes again?

Like my experience with the Army, I’m not making a blanket statement that “the Army sucks”. My command sucked. It was corrupt all the way to the uppermost level of leadership. And while the VA may be a worthy mission and I know many folks who love their jobs, I suspect the regional office where I was recently hired may represent everything that’s wrong with the Department. From the attitudes – “What’s in it for me?” and “That ain’t my job” – to emphasis of quantity over quality and underwhelming leadership. I expected the inefficiencies and bureaucracy but this place may be a repository for the intellectually and socially inept.

I’m reminded of something another blogger wrote, A Fractured Faith, who admitted recently that “I am a Christian, but I don’t like people”. Me neither! I don’t dislike ALL of them but I dislike most of them. Those few that I do like, the few that came in with bright ideas and sincere smiles, are no longer smiling.

But the stable job is a prison sentence and going back to my “ex” feels like defeat.

Am I a failure if I go back? Am I a quitter if I don’t stay here?