Pssst. You're using IE 8. My site is going to look like crap nuggets for you. There's a better way. You'll thank me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Delicious Oatmeal That Might Have Been: Carreon vs. Inman Continues

UPDATE: Hell yeah! We did it! $1,000 in under 3 days! You guys are amazing. Anything from this point out is just icing on the snarky cake. The campaign will remain open for donations until Friday July 6th at midnight. I will post the receipts from the donations to Electronic Frontier Foundation and Americans for the Arts as soon as the funds are transferred from IndieGoGo! SQUEEEEEEE! :D


Image by EmmaDiscovery
Well the Bear Love Campaign has ended and much remains uncertain about what will happen to the money that Matthew Inman has raised.  Charles Carreon, refusing to be swayed by common decency nor by the rocky ground on which his license to practice law now precariously rests, is determined to sue the charities that are to receive the money...

...so that he may ensure that they receive the money.

He is truly a leader among asshats.

Not only is our God-given right to donate our money out of spite in order to prove an undebatable point under attack, but there are many unnamed individuals under the threat of Carreon's barrage of butthurt.  Those who would help us cope with the sobering fact that we must, indeed, share oxygen with a man as loathsome as Charles Carreon, through the use of parody and satire, are being Doe Hunted by Charles and his wife Tara, as we speak.

As you may or may not be aware, I myself came under the attack of the Carreons.  Tara not only posted my picture and referred to me as a "lying little bitch," but attempted to hush me with the threat of becoming a named defendant in the suit.  She even insinuated I may not even be a "girl".

That really hurt my vagina's feelings.

And my vagina is not quick to forgive.

It's hard to believe that a just and loving God would allow such egregious behavior to continue, or allow a money changer like Carreon to linger in the temple of all that is hilarious and good in this world.

Perhaps there is no God.

Or perhaps we just need to turn to other great teachers of spiritual enlightenment for answers.

Carreon himself writes, in his description of the tenth principle of his completely manufactured religion that he sees no reason to follow himself:

"The avenue of fulfillment goes in the other direction — outward, along the vector of expanding benefit. A creative person is like a tree, that grows larger and larger, sheltering ever more creatures in its branches, casting shade and preserving water in the earth, purifying the air, and dropping fruit that is eaten by creatures that transport the seeds far and wide, growing more trees in other places.

We may wonder what such generosity will bring us in return, on a personal level. No one can answer that with predictive precision, but when good deeds are done, someone benefits, and when bad deeds are done, someone suffers. Nor can we predict who that someone will be."

However rarely, when you are right, you are right, Charles Carreon.

The Internet, in all its infinite wisdom and disorder, has delivered unto us a glorious tree of creativity who is sheltering us from your malice and legal weaponry through humor and grace.

Matthew Inman is that tree.

And I?

I am but the seed that has been crapped out by the creature eating his delicious fruit.

Charles Carreon's bad deeds have caused many to suffer the last couple of weeks, but there is still hope that good deeds will prevail, so that more will benefit than have suffered under the pathetic tantrum he is currently throwing.

Matthew Inman wrote:

"Previously I stated that because the amount raised was so much larger than expected I was going to divide the money into four charities instead of two, but unfortunately Carreon's lawsuit claims that I'm holding an "illicit fundraiser" and not donating money where I said I would. To avoid further litigation with him, I decided to split the money between the original two charities. If Carreon wanted a minor victory, he got one here."

That simply won't do.

I have started my own fundraiser called "LLB's Delicious Oatmeal That Might Have Been". 

Its goal is simple: to raise money for two additional charities who might have received funds if Charles Carreon were not so utterly selfish.  I do not know Matthew Inman, nor am I presumptuous enough to think he would respond to an e-mail I might send, out of, I'm sure, the thousands of other e-mails of support he is getting.  So I have chosen two charities, I believe will help prevent this travesty of the legal system from happening again.

The first is Americans for the Arts.  Hopefully, by increasing the number of arts programs available to kids, the world can look forward to more Matthew Inmans, who use humor and creativity to fight battles, in lieu of litigiousness and bullying.

The second, is the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  I think it goes without saying the importance of the work this group is doing, to preserve the first amendment rights of bloggers, satirists, and web users everywhere.

The goal is much more modest than Mr. Inman's: $1000. If every person who donated to Matt's cause donated just $1, we would have more than 14 times that amount.

Even if my little fundraiser doesn't come near its goal, its mere existence is a victory in the face of someone who is self righteous enough to believe it is his job to police the intentions of our charitable giving.

So, who is with me?



Friday, June 22, 2012

Delusions of Grandeur - Charles Carreon has Eaten All the Clothespins

UPDATE: After this blog post went *slightly* viral, it was brought to my attention that Mrs. Carreon had...um...taken exception to my commentary on her husband's behavior. You can see her reaction here, or here and here if the Carreons decide to initiate what @WillRossWriter refers to as "Code DFE" (Delete Fucking Everything). Rest assured, this "lying little bitch" is in no way fazed by Mrs. Carreon's threats, and I will continue to write as this saga unfolds. Enjoy the blog post. More to come.

UPDATE: For the latest on the Bear Love Campaign and to find out how you can help protest Charles Carreon's despicable lawsuit, go here

neon clothespins
Image courtesy of tauntingpanda. Jelly beans courtesy of Channone.
When I was in elementary school, I was the good kid. I was friendly, smart, helpful, and obedient. Teachers loved having me in their classes and fellow students wanted to be my friend. As a reward for my excellent behavior and good grades, I was compensated year after year in the same way. I was made to sit by the worst kid in class, so that I could “be a good influence on them.”

For a sensitive kid, with a major failure complex and crippling anxiety, this was a perennial nightmare. I could not abide other kids who were just bad for seemingly no reason, other than personal amusement. By fifth grade, I had had enough. As I walked around the room looking for my desk on the first day of school, I found my name placard neatly taped to a desk near the windows, underneath the clothesline where the teacher would hang students’ artwork with bright, neon, plastic clothespins. To my horror, the placard taped to the desk next to it read:

Brandon

Brandon was indubitably the worst kid that has ever attended elementary school in any country at any point in history. Some of his claims to fame included nearly concussing himself by banging his head against cement walls, screaming bloody murder randomly throughout the day with no provocation, and urinating in his chair on purpose when a teacher would not let him get up and walk around the classroom.

“No. No effing way,” thought tiny Ann Bransom.

When Brandon entered the room, he didn’t even have to look around to find his seat, because when he made eye contact with me a huge Cheshire cat grin spread across his face. He could tell by the look on my face, exactly where his seat was.

When he sat down next to me, I leaned over to him, and in a hushed and stern voice said, “Look. You cannot be insane this year. So here’s what you are going to do. You are going to come in every day, sit down, shut up, and not screw up, because I am NOT going to get in trouble, because you are acting like an idiot. Tell me you understand the words I am saying to you.”

Brandon sat looking at me for a moment with his newly buzzed hair, meticulously teased out rat tail, and big blue watery eyes…

Then he got up and ate one of the plastic clothespins, metal springs and all.

Throughout history, teachers have struggled with how to maintain order in the classroom. Disciplinary tactics have ranged from bare-bottom birchings to non-verbal cues and humanistic i-messaging. In my opinion, the tactic that has historically been the most effective is the following:

“If one more person acts up, then no recess for anyone.”

The Brandons of the world could not be controlled by the fear of a teacher doling out a solitary punishment, or even the influence of sitting next to a good kid. But the fear of TWENTY good kids ready to murder him if they could not run around outside for thirty minutes like a gang of maniacs…

That gives one the pause necessary to reflect upon whether or not the behavior is worth the consequence.

Charles Carreon has eaten all the clothespins.

He has also threatened to burn the playground to the ground, gag the teacher, and hold us all at gunpoint with a water pistol.

The internet has rightly responded by saying, “Sit down, shut up, and quit being insane.”

I do not advocate the majority having the right to silence the minority. I think everyone’s voice has a right to be heard, Charles Carreon’s and his family’s included. That said, there is a reason that the audience was right 91% of the time on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, or that the oft repeated Jelly Bean counting studies have proven that while individuals are miserably bad at guessing, as a group we are frighteningly accurate. We may disagree on which jelly bean tastes the best, and this disagreement is what leads to innovation and growth, which is a very good thing. But the number of jelly beans in the jar is not open to debate, and as a group we are very good at assessing what the facts are.

The rage that Charles Carreon is enduring is not born, necessarily, out of a disagreement over moral ambiguities like who was the bigger asshole, Inman or FunnyJunk. It is born of his stubborn refusal to accept facts as they exist, and understand that the entire rest of the world is not going to suffer gladly one individual’s litigious revenge for being butthurt. Moreover, the entire rest of the world is not going to suffer gladly, one person’s antics threatening our recess, or in this case, our ability to speak our opinions, share our frustrations and criticisms, and openly debate controversial issues without fear of costly, time consuming abuses of our legal system.

The time has come for Charles Carreon to accept how many jelly beans are in the jars. Here is the official count for each jar of cray:

“My haters have delusions of grandeur - they think 'they are the Internet' and their opinions matter to someone besides themselves.” 

Grandiose delusions or delusions of grandeur are a very real symptom of a mental disorder. If Charles Carreon were to seek professional help, and I believe he absolutely should, I am completely confident that any mental health professional would qualify starting one’s own religion, crusading against the “unwashed masses” with no support from anyone other than one’s own equally mentally disordered family members, and being legitimately surprised when corporations as large as Google do not personally respond to you or "pull the switch or click the box", as clear indicators of disordered thinking.

Also, point of order, we are the internet and our opinions do matter to others besides ourselves. That is why the internet exists.

In response to being questioned over the discrepancy between his claim of always using “tempered speech” and his categorically NOT tempered speech on his innumerable websites where he and his wife photoshop people they don’t like into sexual situations, rant on ad nauseum about the conspiracies that these people are no doubt a part of, and habitually refer to detractors and critics as “retards” and other less savory terms: “I am not a politician. I have not deceived anyone. I am not able to stand armies. It is entirely distinct. The grounds for engaging in savage satire of people who are murderers [is a] completely different situation. That’s like comparing touch football with warfare.” 

I’m pretty sure that (NSFW) Matthew Inman and (NSFW) Kathleen Parker do not have “armies” at their disposal to “stand”. What this boils down to is simply the delusional, wildly immature belief of a covert (and not even very covert) narcissist, in which “It’s not offensive if I do it, because…um…I’m the one doing it. And I’m special.”

Charles Carreon is not special, and neither is anyone of us. If I do something offensive on this blog, I have to own the consequences. Sometimes that means admitting when I’m wrong, exercising self-deprecation where appropriate, or simply enduring the criticism of those who oppose my beliefs. That is one of the many things Carreon doesn’t understand. No one is saying he is not allowed to be offended, or even believe and write about all the schizophrenic madness to which he and his wife subscribe. On the contrary, what we are saying is that he is not allowed to exercise that right, and then try to deny it to someone else under a veiled and tasteless attempt to hush them by fucking up their day with a lawsuit.

When asked if he will pursue his hopeless search for the people currently impersonating him online, his response: "Of course I will: Doe 1 in the Complaint becomes named defendant after Twitter and Ars Technica answer subpoena." 

This is yet another example of the disproportionate response of someone who has apparently been living under a rock for the last five years of social media evolution. If someone impersonates you on Twitter, and does not make it clear that it is a parody, you have every right to expect that account to be shut down. So you report the account to Twitter.

The end.

Twitter took the account down as soon as it was reported. Subpoenaing Twitter and Ars is like trying to put out a candle with a fire house, and only someone with a pathological amount of self-importance would send a subpoena to Twitter and expect anything besides the response of FOAD.

“I win by making the world a place where the law of charitable giving, wisely enacted over fifty years ago by the California legislature, will secure the rights of genuine charitable fundraisers to not have to compete with false advertising and unregistered charitable fundraisers who can take the money and vamoose, as so many have done.” 

Right now the only thing that two genuine charitable fundraisers are having to compete with, is an asinine attorney forcing them to spend money that might go to help animals or cure cancer, and instead give it to other attorneys who will have to use that money to teach Mr. Carreon how to read. The statute he cites as his basis for suing Inman, IndieGoGo, the National Wildlife Federation, and the American Cancer Society does not apply in this situation.

1. Inman is not a fundraiser. He is an individual raising money for charity.
2. IndieGoGo is not a fundraiser. It is web platform that allows users to set up fundraisers and/or donate to fundraisers. They are entitled to compensation for those services, just as porta potty companies are entitled for compensation for providing a hundred places for participants to take a dump at every charity walk/run in the country. Fundraising has overhead. That doesn’t mean that every service provider becomes a “fundraiser” themselves. Furthermore, they make that compensation structure perfectly clear in their terms of use policy easily located on any page of their website.
3. The National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society are not and should not be held liable for every dollar raised in their names, because the cost of hiring hundreds of psychics to know whenever a lemonade stand or paypal donor account is setup would be too cost prohibitive for them to help anyone.

I could go on labeling all the other jars of cray, but really why bother? Foaming at the mouth with the desire to prove just how hypocritical, greedy, self-involved, and insane Charles Carreon is is an understandable response to this cluster of a lawsuit, but given the fact that although there has been a modicum of support emerging for FunnyJunk’s part to play in this saga, I would challenge anyone to show me A SINGLE COMMENT in support of Charles Carreon that cannot be attributed to him, his wife, or his two daughters. Fred Phelps has more supporters outside of his own family than Charles Carreon does. I’m not sure that can be said about anyone else in the history of the Internet. So the only people we are really trying to convince are Charles Carreon (who can’t be convinced for this reason), Tara Carreon (who can’t be convinced for this reason), and his two daughters (who can’t be convinced for this reason).

Our new focus should be highlighting the legal aspects of this case by sharing the awesome analysis of the Carreon vs. Inman Lawsuit that is being done by the likes of Pope Hat, The Legal Satyricon, and Lowering the Bar. As social media users and bloggers, we need to become better versed in copyright and trademark law, so we can protect ourselves against those who would censor us for any reason, and, also to know when we have crossed the line and need to edit ourselves. Because that is what Mr. Carreon is the most unwilling to accept.

Integrity is not measured by our refusal to bend, redact, or edit ourselves, nor is it measured by our ability to draft and mail legal documents and pay court fees.

It is measured by our ability to hear other people’s points of view, temper those views with our own principles, admit when we are wrong, and stand up for what is good for everyone, not just ourselves.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bear Love, the Streisand Effect, and Charles Carreon's Self-Inflicted Demise

UPDATE: For the latest on the Bear Love Campaign and to find out how you can help protest Charles Carreon's despicable lawsuit, go here

Photo Credit: Wikipedia. Hilarious My Daily Lie Meme courtesy of The Oatmeal.

For the last several days, epic PR fails, clueless z-list weblebrities, astounding abuses of First Amendment rights, copyright mayhem, and...um...bears... all converged into the most delicious Ann Sandwich that the Internet Gods could have ever piled together and topped with a slab of bacon for me.

Great holy mother of scumbag douche fountains.

What a week.

If you have presumably been trapped in a well for the past week, you need to fill yourself in on The Oatmeal versus Charles Carreon versus Funny Junk versus Bears versus Cancer versus the entire Internet scandal.

Here it is in a nutshell:

Hilarious web comic, The Oatmeal, tells content aggregating pit of despair FunnyJunk to stop allowing users to post his comics without attribution or back links, while FunnyJunk rakes in advertising dollars from those posts.  Pretty please with a cherry on top.

FunnyJunk acts afool, but The Oatmeal drops the issue because it's not worth the legal hassle.

A year later, FunnyJunk says "YOU WILL HAVE LEGAL HASSLE ANYWAY!!!!" and hires the attorney who successfully litigated the Sex.com domain name fraud case, Charles Carreon, to send Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal) a letter, wherein he accuses Inman of defamation, false advertising, and commits extortion demands that he submit a check for $20,000 OR ELSE.

The Oatmeal decides to raise the $20,000, take a picture of it, send the picture along with a picture of FunnyJunk's mother seducing a Kodiak bear, and donate the money to the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society.

The Oatmeal raises $20,000 in 64 minutes and has since raised over $180,000.

Shamed and ridiculed scumbag lawyer gets butthurt and sues Inman, the charity fundraising site, and wait for it.... ALSO SUES THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION AND THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY.

Take a minute while all of that sinks in.  I'll wait.


........


I know, right???!!!

Let's just go ahead and get the blatant ridiculousness out of the way.  To summarize why the initial legal threat is absurd, I turn to my legal/common sense correspondent, Frassy, my six year old niece.  Here is a transcript of my exclusive interview with her on why FunnyJunk's case and their attorney's general point of view on life are disgusting, litigious, greedy, and deserving of an unbridled shame fest:

Aunt Ann: How old are you?

Frassy: Six

Aunt Ann: And what grade are you going to be in this year?

Frassy: First grade.

Aunt Ann: First grade.  Do you like to color pictures?  Draw things?

Frassy:  Yes.

Aunt Ann: What kinds of things do you like to draw pictures of?

Frassy:  Fireflies.

Aunt Ann: Fireflies?  Those are good.  Now, Frassy, what would you do if there was a kid at school and they took your pictures and they hung them up and didn't tell the teacher that you were the one who drew them and they let everyone think they were the one who drew them?  How would that make you feel?

Frassy: Sad.

Aunt Ann: Sad?

Frassy: Yes.

Aunt Ann: Do you think the other kids at school would think they had drawn the pictures instead of you?

Frassy: Yeah.

Aunt Ann: Yeah. What if you asked them to stop hanging up the pictures without your permission?  What do you think they would say?

Frassy: Uh....I don't know.

Aunt Ann: What if they said, "You're mean to say that I stole your pictures, so you have to give me $20 or I'll tell the teacher that you called me a thief?" What would you say then?

Frassy: I would tell the teacher, and then the teacher would put them in time out!

Aunt Ann: Frassy, do you know what a lawyer is?

Frassy: No.

Aunt Ann: No.  What do you want to be when you grow up?

Frassy: A teacher.


I think that pretty well sums it up, but if you insist on having a member of the bar's assessment of their threats, read Inman's attorney's response.  Had I been on the receiving end of this letter, I would be pooping my proverbial pants.

So, naturally, the angry villagers descended on Carreon and FunnyJunk like a school of piranha on bath salts.  The internet, in general, does not take kindly to censorship and bullying.  Carreon is the bottom of the loathsome barrel for taking the case and advising FunnyJunk to sue, let alone demand $20,000 in exchange for not pursuing the lawsuit.  All of the ire and indignation and various incarnations of douche [random noun] name-calling, were justly deserved.

As with any internet shit storm, there were the gratuitous twitter impersonations, contact form spamming, e-mail porn bombing, and adolescent threats of bodily harm from the safe harbor of a bean bag chair in Mommy's basement.  All of these activities are as abhorrent as what Carreon and FunnyJunk are trying to pull, and should be condemned, if for no other reason, than for the fact that they distract from the real issues and lend sympathy to the real asshats in the situation.

Had I been advising Carreon or FunnyJunk in a PR capacity it would be to drop the issue, give no comments, and stay off the radar.  The whole thing would be over in a week.  So I was a little surprised when the self described "Internet Lawyer" actually gave a response to Inman's comic and posting of his letter and seemed to be genuinely surprised that his violating an artist's first amendment rights had made people angry.  I thought, "Huh. Not what I would have done. Oh well.  Maybe this is a shrewd legal tactic.  Act offended to make Inman look like the barbarian.  Nobody really believes that the lawyer who litigated the sex.com case is actually offended by what some internet comedian thinks about him."

HOLY SHIT. THE LAWYER WHO LITIGATED THE SEX.COM CASE IS ACTUALLY OFFENDED BY WHAT SOME INTERNET COMEDIAN THINKS ABOUT HIM.

Charles Carreon wrote a rap about Matthew Inman.

A rap.

Since Inman's post, not only has the full force of Charles Carreon's cray and hypocrisy come screaming into view, but also that of his family members, via rambling conspiracy theory posts on various news article comment sections and Twitter arguments with Carreon's many critics. Carreon and his wife Tara's website American-Buddha is a cacophony of hate speech, stolen artwork, books copied and pasted in their entirety, and disgusting photoshopped pictures of various politicians and government figures that they believe were sent here from outer space to kill us all disagree with. Yet, Carreon and his family have the stugots to act butthurt over Inman's response?  Even to the point of Godwin's law, comparing Inman's comics to Walt Disney's racist charactures of Japanese people and alluding to that being the reason the bomb was dropped?

This is where it stopped being funny.

Charles Carreon is suing Matthew Inman for making fun of him, IndieGoGo for letting someone raise money for bears and cancer research, the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society for not having a crystal ball and policing every dollar that is raised for their organizations without their knowledge, and Does 1-Infinity (people that have yet to be identified, but no doubt encompass every reader of The Oatmeal) for also making fun of him and pointing out what an awe-inspiring horse's ass he really is.  This herp on the ball sack of humanity went so far as to DONATE TO THE FUNDRAISER HIMSELF just so he could sue it.

I am simultaneously fascinated by his astounding levels of stupidity and ignorance of a technology he claims to specialize in, and equally repulsed by his absolute embodiment of narcissistic personality disorder, with a side of paranoid delusions.  Not only is he now robbing cancer patients of funds needed to cure cancer, and bears of whatever bear funds pay for, by forcing these two completely innocent and probably unaware charitable organizations to pay for legal representation, but he is pissing in the face of every blogger on the web with his litigious fear urine.

I am an attorney. 


If you say something I don't like, I will sue you.


Even though I might (will probably) lose, you will still have to pay someone to respond to my threats.


Suck it.

That is what I have gleaned from this scenario.  This crazy, greedy bastard:



need only write and mail me a letter, and I will have to dig into my wallet and shell out money to an attorney to tell him about the constitution that I would like to think he had read before passing the bar exam.

What kind of a system is that?  And what can we do about it?

I am reading all I can about this case, and you should too.  Here are some action items that everyone should do, TODAY.

1.  Donate to Matthew Inman's campaign to raise money for these charitable organizations.  If The Oatmeal is not your style, then just donate directly to the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society.  They need our help now more than ever, to deal with this moron's threats expediently and thoroughly.

2.  Read up on the legal aspects of this case.  Pope Hat and Lowering the Bar are too awesome sites that I have been following as a result of this case.  It is funny, but very informative ongoing commentary on this case and others like it.  Go. Now.

3.  DO NOT THREATEN THE CARREONS.  It is your First Amendment right to give your opinion, even if that opinion is that this guy is an ego-maniacal donkey fart.  That does not give you the right to commit criminal acts or make threats.  That only helps his cause and feeds into his conspiracy addled brain.

The only way I can stomach living in a world where this man is allowed to practice law, is if every writer, blogger, artist, and person with an opinion is able to share their thoughts without fear of costly, empty threats and frivolous litigation.  Share your opinion on this and show Mr. Carreon, Esq that he can't get away with censorship and bullying just because he has a license to practice law.

For now.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Make Me a Day

Baker, Baker,
Baking a cake
Make me a day
Make me whole again

Don't know if anyone actually knows that the title of my blog comes from the Tori Amos song "Baker Baker".  In fact, I am now positive that no one knows that is where the title of my blog comes from, because, until this moment, I have never told anyone that.  It's pretty obvious why the song speaks to me.

Firstly, there's cake.

So there's that.

There is a girl full of regret and concern over the past.

There's that too.

But then there's this hope.  The hope that if she can make just one, beautiful, delicious day, she might be whole again.

And that's me.

And I wonder
What's in a day
What's in your cake this time

 I've been making days lately.  Carefully crafted, purposeful days.

Playing with water barefoot.
Over the last week, I have been fully confronted with the reality that I have not been actually living in reality.  I have been living in a watered down, heavily edited, largely apologetic version of the life that I could be living.  Not for no good reason though.

I guess you heard
He's gone to LA
He says that behind
my eyes I'm hiding
And he tells me I pushed him away
That my hearts been hard to find

I recently asked people to share the first word they thought of when they thought of me.  

Writer.
Creative.
Mother.
Hilarious.

These were great words, and I was very humbled by what people thought of me.  Then someone who knows me better than anyone, for longer than anyone, told me they had a confession.  The word they gave was not the first word they actually thought.  What WAS the first word they actually thought?

Tortured.

Here there must be something
Here there must be something here here

I am a tortured.

When we are young and tortured it isn't our fault.  We are victims.  We don't get to pick our set of circumstances.  We just have to learn to cope with our circumstances as best we can.

Uh oh. First Spaghetti O's.

The trouble is that if we are tortured for long enough, we become too good at coping.  We make a choice and it is a simple but effective one.

If I have to choose between feeling this or feeling nothing...I choose feeling nothing.

Baker Baker can you explain
If truly his heart
Was made of icing
And I wonder
How mine could taste
Maybe we could change his mind


Once I became an adult, I was no longer a victim.  I could choose to put down the lidocaine and dare to feel.  Dare to feel the heartache of losing someone who was a very worthwhile person, just not right for me.  Dare to feel the pain of failing at something I really loved to do.  Dare to feel lonely, while I waited for all the love that may come my way.

But no one told me that.

So I continued to make sure I would feel nothing.

I know you're late
For your next parade
You came to make sure
That I'm not running
Well I ran from him
In all kinds of ways
Guess it was his turn this time

Started doing Yoga and have become obsessed. HJ wants to help.

If you always pick abusers, you never have to be sad when they are gone.  If you never try anything new, then you can never end up loving something and then failing at it.  If you surround yourself with enough people and noise, as toxic as that noise may be, you never have to feel lonely.

You just get to be numb.  Not joyful.  Not ecstatic.  Not heartbroken. Not disillusioned. Not curious.  Not thoughtful.  Just numb.

Feeling numb is torture.

And I have been tortured.

Still working toward that half marathon.  Maybe Iron Horse?  Please Please Please Iron Horse?
I came face to face with the voice of my jailor this week.  The voice that tells me it is better to feel nothing than to feel pain.  I saw the words spelled out on paper, pouring out of my own pen, the voice that has kept a thick layer of insulation between me and the world for almost thirty years.

It was terrifying.  Horror movie, metallic, adrenaline-soaked tongue terrifying.

Then I realized it was my own voice.

It was my own words.

And that meant I could change them.

Time thought I'd made friends with time
Thought we'd be flying
Maybe not this time

Running through the sprinkler

I don't know what life has in store for me.  I don't know if or when my circumstances will change or if I'll be dealt a new hand or how everything will pan out.  By most people's standards, I shouldn't even be here right  now.  Able to talk.  Able to type.  Able to breathe.  I don't know what tomorrow is going to bring or if tomorrow is even going to come at all.  But I do know one thing.

I want to feel today.

National Runner's Day at the Arboretum with HJ. Jogging stroller becoming a permanent fixture.
I've been on hiatus from social media this week.  I have still been on FB and Twitter periodically, and I've answered a couple of messages, but for the most part I'm on radio silence.  I'm not withdrawing.  Quite the opposite.  I'm feeling.  I'm trying to be present in my reality.  As scary as that reality is and as much as it hurts in some ways.

I can't believe how much better it is to feel.

First lightning bugs.
I have been making days this week.

And they have been delicious.

When I get into conversations with people who are unsure of whether or not they want to have kids, I always tell them the story of Hannah and the pop up toy.  There are these toys that have little creatures that pop up when you push buttons and pull levers and turn a key.

That damn key.

They look like this.

Pop up toy with the damn key.

When HJ was little, I spent weeks showing her how to play with this toy.  She picked up on the buttons and knobs and levers really quickly and squealed as the animals popped up and delightedly smacked them back down again.

But that damn key.

No matter how hard I tried to show her, even taking her tiny hand and twisting the key with her fingers, she just could not get the concept. That bastard lion remained ever elusive, and I started to lose hope that my child was every going to be able to unlock a door or cabinet in her life.

One day, she sat playing with the toy, pushing all the buttons and playing with all the animals but one.  I stared bitterly at that teal square.  I hated that lion.  But not as much as I hated that key.  Then I saw her tiny fingers reach down...grab the key... and twist.

POP!

Just like that.  Like she'd been doing it her whole life.  I grabbed her and screamed and twirled her around and burst into tears. She laughed loudly, probably completely unaware of why we were twirling, just thrilled to be her mommy's arms, spinning through the air.  I graduated from college Summa Cum Laude, received the Dean's Award at my graduation, eloped and got married on a beach at sunrise, pushed a human being out of my body, and I don't think I had ever been as happy as I was in that moment.  And that is when it hit me.

This is what joy is.

It's the turning of a key.

Some people get the concept on their own.  They either have something innately or have had life experiences that have revealed the truth about happiness.  Happiness isn't something you wait for.  It is learning to make joy wherever you are in whatever circumstances you are in.  Bankruptcy, abuse, divorce, failure, job loss, breakups, makeups, loneliness, hopelessness.  They don't keep the key from turning.

Not showing up keeps the key from turning.

If you can't understand that on your own, I strongly recommend having a Hannah in your life to turn keys and chase lightning bugs and lead expeditions through "the jungle" from her jogging stroller at the arboretum.  Or an Emma to remind you how fun splashing is or how amazing tasting new foods can be or how fun big sisters are no matter how much you annoy them.

I am not going to turn into a bucket lister.  I think it's morbid and exhausting to try and cram as much joy into every second of every day as humanly possible.

But I am going to show up.  I'm going to show up for myself and my girls.  I am going to feel this whole damn thing. The good, the bad, the excruciating, and the exhilarating.

I'm going to make me a day.

Because that's all we're promised anyway.

Baker Baker
Baking a cake
Make me a day
Make me whole again
And I wonder
If he's ok
If you see him say hi