Day 95

Day 95 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.

There is a mixer game where you have a group of people all take their shoes off and put them into a pile.  Everybody reaches in and grabs a shoe and tries to find it’s owner and introduce themselves. Or, you can break into two teams, tie the shoes together in random pairs and then let one guest find their shoes. Then the owners of the attached shoes untie them and find their other one, etc. in a kind of relay to see which team gets properly shod first. This year has felt to me like an ongoing shoe game. I started off the year in what I thought were the perfect shoes. I was comfortable and I thought they looked great. What I didn’t know is that they were falling apart. The lining and the soles had disintegrated completely.

I’m looking for new shoes. Its time change it up, try something new. But somehow every time I go looking I keep getting drawn back to the same ones; the same color, style, shape. It’s a difficult task to change ourselves or allow change to be wrought upon us even though the prospect of reinventing ourselves feels titillating, exciting.

Here I stand on the edge of the next step of a million, my bare feet hanging over the edge.   Is that weird sensation euphoria or fear?


Day 94

Day 94 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.

So much irony. They took my running shorts and tennis shoes because I might try and strangulate myself. And then they gave me my lanyard with a name tag to hang around my neck. There was no bathtub drain to ensure that I wouldn’t drown myself. However, one tuck and roll down the hill is all I needed If I wanted to drown myself in the outdoor pool.

A mental hospital is no joke. The staff ratios are incredibly high, meaning everywhere someone was watching.  No conversation, interaction, book store spending, eating, joking, exercising, recreation etc. went unnoticed or undocumented. The therapist with their wizard like instincts and spying eyes would put meaning to every activity. “I see you have been watching football with the men a lot. Why is that?” “Because the men are actually unimaginative boys who won’t share the TV and don’t know that box shows anything but sports. I just sit there waiting to pounce and change the channel to Clueless or Legally Blond just to see if their anger management class is working.” 

“You’ve been skipping 12 step meetings a lot. Why?” “Because they are so boring I think they just might drive me to drink.”

“You overslept your first meeting. Are you wanting to get up today?” “Clearly, I’m not.”

“What do you have to look forward to today?” “More gas from the sugar substitute you put in the food.”

“What do you have to look forward to when you leave here.” “Hmmmmm, NOT being HERE.”


And they saved my life. 


Day 93

Day 93 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.

My house has been filled with beautiful young ladies for the past two weeks.  Their beauty supplies are every where. EVERY WHERE. Ulta and Sephora got nothing on the Riley house this week.  The girls spend countless hours on their makeup and on their eye shadow.They appear to be having so much fun. So I got inspired.  I went to the store. A misplaced Australian gal sat me in a chair and showed me some “simple” eye makeup techniques.  While it looked simple. My first solo flight proved  this is harder than one might think. Miss Australia might as well have been giving me instructions on how to rebuild an engine. The result was not great. I think all the parts and pieces ended up being used in the wrong places and, reminiscent of my mommy lego building career, there were several unused parts at the end of the build.  Sigh.  

This isn’t my first rodeo with makeup.  Right before I got married I went to a makeup counter in Seattle and asked a gal to show me some “pretty asian eye” looks.  Girlfriend mistook me for a Cirque Du Soleil performer or something. She immediately deemed me “exotic” and dug into her blue eye shadow and sparkles.  She turned me into a glorious peacock. Needless to say she and I didn’t have a long term relationship.  What IS it about people and colored girls with makeup?  Just because we’re  brown, red or yellow does not mean we’re exotic. Gurl! I’m about as exotic as a goldfish –  kind of bright but not too flashy.  

Anyway, I have tried eye makeup on now for three days. I’m trying to “play” and “enjoy” myself. “There are no mistakes” said the clearly drunk Australian . . . So I play. I experiment. I’m Picasso. I’m Bob Ross. Broad strokes, fine lines. I paint. Happy little trees for days. Did I take a wrong turn here?

I have several friends who sell makeup for a living. There are relatives who are beautiful and appear to know what to do with these brushes and colors. Perhaps one of them should save me from myself. I have even watched tutorials on Youtube. Sorcery. All of it.

In the mean time, if you see a new me walking through your door please refrain from bursting out laughing.  Cause then I would laugh. Laughter causes tears and then the artistry would be ruined.  Or helped.  Nobody knows. Either way this exotic bird is one makeup swipe away from extinction. 


Day 92

Day 92 of 100 intentional, reflective steps

I have posted my space heater as guard, sequestering myself into my desk corner. I am hoping the wall of heat and coziness will act like a barrier and keep me in my seat for a while.  Today is not only the start of a new year, which brings with it all the shiny possibilities of setting new goals for life but also the 11th hour of a writing deadline. Must. Work. Today.  

As the new year looms it is a blank slate of possibility. Last year has been colored on, spilled on, shrunk in the dryer and spoiled. Luckily the new year is a brand new white board, a bowling game with 10 empty frames, a fresh box of crayons, an unspoiled innocent new life and its mine for the taking.

I love calendars and journal books. They thrill me down to my calloused toes. I also find them paralyzing. At some point I have to commit, make my mark, mark my territory. No, I don’t pee on them. I write my name. But somehow there is something in me that is never happy with how that first mark looks but I have to live with it none the less. It’s mine. I have claimed it. Let the messing up of it begin.

That same kind of “I don’t want to ruin it” angst looms in these first hours of the new year. I want this year to be better than the last. So, I make unrealistic rules and guidelines for myself so that the year will remain unspoiled. These rules are like new car promises. We swear we won’t eat in them, spill coffee or let so much as a bug fart, so as to preserve the new smell and dignity of the car.  Six months down the road we are kicking french fries under the seat so they won’t get ground into the floor mats. We know it is going to happen but we can’t help ourselves from making promises.

So, this year I’m going to lose 60 lbs. by never cheating on my diet, read my Bible every day and talk to Jesus nicely. I will write everyday before I look at Facebook and never look at Facebook on my phone while on the toilet. I’m going to work out every single day and drink my body weight in water to make sure that  am properly internally cleansed. I will plan ahead, not procrastinate and meet every single deadline. I will not fight with my husband or frustrate my children and sun is going to shine out of both my ass and my smile 365 days this year. 

Clearly, I need realistic goals and dreams. I just don’t know how to set my intentions honestly without perjuring myself in the process. I wish I could find one person who meets their new years resolutions every year and learn from them. Maybe they could teach me how to create a big enough bucket to hold our expectations but small enough to not overwhelm me. In the meantime I’m still going to take my shot at accomplishing world peace and the Miss America crown.


Day 91

Day 91 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.

Just before the ball dropped the world stopped. Just for a minute but it stopped. Two years ago at 11:50 the phone call that I had expected for 10 years arrived from Texas. My sister, emaciated, sick, drug addicted, had succumbed to death. Dead. She was dead. In fact she had been dead for hours. Those hours while we celebrated the ending of the year and anticipated the next she was dying. Alone and dying, just as I always suspected she would be. The years of her illness and addiction had hammered hope out of me that she would die of natural causes. I never imagined that she would die with friends and family by her side. I had resigned myself to the knowledge that she would alone and desperate in her death. And there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. And here we were. 

I miss her terribly. But the truth is I began accepting her death years ago when it became obvious how ill she was.  She rejected the people who really loved her and wanted to help her heal; physically, emotionally, and mentally. She built imaginary family who accepted her addictions and rejected reality of those who loved her.  Her new, imaginary life shrouded, embalmed her from real feelings and from truth. 

My reality is that I have no sister and except in the case of my catastrophic demise, I will be the last of my family alive. Sobering. Real. Truth. Sometimes I hate the truth.