My Mid-life Smackdown

Scenes from My Full-Frontal Midlife Smack Down

She wanted to believe…


heroine of her own life

This one is for the new year.

I feel like Lemony Snicket’s been to visit and through a series of unfortunate events (a.k.a. life) my awe and wonder quotient is a little low these days.  Or rather I should say, my wondering about awful quotient is too high.

There’s actually lots of magic in my life at the moment.  I just need to be willing to look past some of the darker bits and let myself be blown away again by the wonder of it all.  But I think I’m like a kid who discovered when she put on Super Man’s Cape at Halloween she couldn’t actually fly.  She suspected it all along. It wasn’t really much of a tragedy to her overall being, but it was a GIANT loss of innocence. We need to grieve our losses of innocence or we get stuck hanging on to false hope or we give up all hope.  Neither is a very good space in which to operate.

My wish for me in 2014 is to walk through my own gateway to awe and wonder again and claim my spot as the heroine of my own my life story.  My wish for you is… for you to know exactly what you are wishing for.


~the mess

She wanted to believe that she could find the awe and wonder in life again and not just wonder about the awful. She didn’t like admitting it, but she wanted a superhero to rescue her. Today she realized it was time to rewrite the script.  Enter a new character…She decided to cast herself as the heroine of her own life.

  Who is She?

Music That Moves

What My Holiday Greeting Letter Would Have Said

…a video blog

Seriously… I’m just way too wacky at this time of year to figure out how to sit down and get my thoughts together and write anything more coherent than a poster.  For me, video blogging is perfect when I’ve got stuff swirling around in my brain that I want to share with you, but just don’t have time to type and edit and make it all pretty.

I hope you enjoy this one.  I’m pretty darned sure you’ll relate!


~the mess

holiday video blog from The Mess on Vimeo.

She’d never known such happiness.


happy goodbye

There is a vast difference between being willing to die for love and wanting to die because of love. I know. I’ve felt both. There is no shame in getting the help you need when love (or its absence) makes you feel like dying. And sadly… ever so sadly… the people closest to us are often the worst people to turn to at times like this. It’s not because they don’t care. Mostly, it’s because they care so much that they forget what it’s like to want to die rather than say goodbye. As they watch us slip into grief’s depression, they get scared and anger masks their helplessness. That’s when they say and do really stupid shit.

Sure I get pissed off when the people I love, don’t “get” me as I am swimming in the inky black waters of depression. But somewhere deep inside, I remember that the mini-mess had dreams. She wanted to grow up and live a big life. She had a bucket list long before she knew what the fuck that even meant. And taking me out would mean taking her out too… and that’s where shit gets real. She’s endured way too much tragedy in her life to have me abandon her in that way.  So I make the choice to find a way to take one more breath. So far so good. One breath at a time, I’ve survived every goodbye life has handed me. And for now. That’s all I need to know.

~the mess

She’d never known such happiness.  But she’d never known such misery either. The heartache out weighed the joy. That told her exactly what she needed to know. Now all she had to do was summon the courage to say goodbye.

  Who is She?

About Grief and Milk

left by love

I’ve heard it said “we grieve to the extent we love”. There are  times when I wish I didn’t love so fiercely. Times when I wish I could forget about my love and grief as easily as I forget about why I walked into a room or what I was about to say.

~the mess

When we are left by love, even in the rush hour’s cold rain, the heart remembers without a list while the milk remains on the grocer’s shelf.



Music that Moves

Stop it!!

Do these pants make my butt look big?

I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but somewhere along my messy way I gave up body loathing. Don’t get me wrong, if you asked for a show of hands of who loved their body, both of my arms would remain firmly stuck to my sides. I don’t think that’s the right answer, but it’s a truthful answer.

stop hating your bodyTo say that I was obsessed with the size of ass and thighs, when I was younger, would be an understatement. I remember the day The Man resigned from the “does this make my butt look big” routine. He looked at me and said “I’m not getting involved in this today.”  He walked out the bedroom.  I was shocked. But I knew he was right. There was no way for him (or me) to win that game. I can’t remember if I wore those pants out that night or not. I do know his resignation stung. Sometimes the truth is like a wasp.

Today I was swimming with some of the grand mini-messes.  Pumpkin is 5 and adores me.  She has nothing but love and joy in her heart when it comes to hanging out with her Gigi (a.k.a. Double G).  She was paddling back and forth between me and the steps when it happened.  I was using my thigh as a backstop for her.  I’d lift up my leg and she would grab my thigh when she couldn’t reach the side of the pool.  She looked up at me with her gorgeous blue eyes and blond curls.  “Gigi (giant smile) your thigh is BIG.”

Yikes.  Internal sting immediately followed by the knowing that my thigh is indeed BIG/HUGE compared to her darling little 5-year-old thigh. She was merely stating a fact. And in that moment I knew it was true. I no longer hated my body.  My day wasn’t ruined. No tears were shed. Our game continued. My BIG thighs were even coming in handy!

Rather than making the quantum leap to LOVING those BIG thighs, I had only stopped hating them. I can even find gratitude for the multitude of things my thighs allow me to do (like serve as a bumper for newbie swimmer Pumpkin.)


If you ask me how one learns to love herself, I would tell you that I don’t really know.   But I would have a suggestion (or two). Quit being cruel to yourself.  Follow the “if I wouldn’t say it to my best friend, I can’t say it to myself” rule.  Each time a hateful thought runs through your mind, find something about that part of your body to be grateful for and move on. Practice this over and over and over and over and over and over again – and presto – one day you’ll get there.  And please don’t make your partner responsible for your body image.  It’s YOUR body image we are talking about – not theirs. You may never have the love affair with yourself that Oscar Wilde speaks of, but you can quit being a hater.  And for now that’s enough.

complete you