Wild Hairs

When I was little, my hair was more like my Mom’s.  Her Thai hair was mainly thick and straight and had a bounce if you did the right things at the right time.  She used to Dutch Braid it every day until she started cutting it really short and perming it.  My hair was thinner than hers but straight and a bit stringy and also good at showing everyone what a bad hair day looked like.  I would spend summers in the sun and the black would lighten a few shades to red and brown.  The heat of the day would gather in my hair, holding it like a fiery curtain of dark brown embers.  I took it for granted and as I got older, the kinky curls in my Dad’s genes began to take over. Now it’s generally curly.  I have to style it when it’s wet or accept that I will have a massive cloud of big hair.  When I was younger I was teased by being called Chewbacca and later Lion Lady, but I liked that name. I’m learning to love my curls, and imagine being painted like a Botticelli angel. One day I’ll be someone’s muse.

When I was little,  I was fascinated with the biblical story of Samson and Delilah.  It’s amazing what you hear about the bible when you don’t actually read it.  (I’ve since read it and can go into the bible lesson, but I doubt that’s what you’re here for.) I heard the story of a man who let a pretty girl cut his hair and take his strength.  Part of me wanted to be Delilah.  Seriously.

Delilah was so beautiful, sensual, amazing that this man would spend the night with her, tell her what would make him weak, see it happen the very next morning, then go right back to her for more.  “Gee babe, what would make you weak and average?  How can I make you less than you are?   . . . Is that all? Good night, love.” Morning comes, and the exact thing he told her would make him weak has happened and she blames it on the Philistines.  And he believes her!

  1. Tie him up with seven new bowstrings that haven’t been dried.
  2. Tie him up with brand new ropes that have never been used.
  3. Weave the seven braids of his hair into the fabric on her loom.

So maybe he just wanted her to tie him up in some kind of fantasy role play, but he believes her when she blames it on Philistines and then eventually tells her the truth. Well, the third thing with his hair . . . I love having my hair touched and brushed.  I get that.  He then tells the truth that she needs to cut his hair and she shaves his head.  Surprise! She does what she’s been doing, because she’s going to try to make him weak like she had already tried three times before.  She has him captured, and he’s blinded and she gets away with her shenanigans.  I won’t say she’s the original gold digger because she did it for money and it was like a job.  That’s not what I wanted, but she had major allure, and I wanted that.

My hair is currently covering my upper back but it’s not long enough to cover my boobs. I’m growing it out again.  I have part of it dyed purple but that happened in 2014 before it really became a thing.  I saw a woman in Target with a swath of blue hair and it wasn’t in my face.  It was more like something that caught my attention as we were passing each other and I turned to get a better look.   I wanted that, but in green because it’s my favorite color.  The hairdresser that did it convinced me green wouldn’t be as amazing as purple.  Really, I thought about chlorinated blondes and that didn’t sound terrific either, so it’s been purple, but only the bottom layer at the nape of my neck and it’s usually not noticed.

I’ve gone short.  Not pixie cut short, but I’ve bobbed it off.  My hair is full and curls and it tends to make me feel like a fluffy poodle in shorter lengths.  That feeling isn’t a good one, yet I’ve done it over and over.  When I think about it, I avoid that in between phase where it’s too short to put in a ponytail, but too long to be comfortable with it falling in my face and making me feel hot.

There’s something so liberating about a haircut.  My world can be spinning out of control and a few moments in a hair salon can feel like control and that is a heady feeling.  I’ve had moments where I’ve considered having it all shaved off.  Actually, in the 7th grade I had an unsupervised evening where I started shaving my legs, and arms, and ended up shaving part of my head.  I wore scarves for a while.  It was bad.  I’ve learned my lesson and stick to bikini lines, armpits and legs.  I’m not the only one that sees the liberation in lobbing off hair.  Britney Spears did it.  If you don’t remember, there’s a story about it here. I hated her early music because I couldn’t relate to it.  Give her too much to handle.  Let her fall apart a bit and take it back through sexual empowerment and I get and love her.

I don’t have gray hair on my head.  I’m constantly looking for them though.  I’m old enough.  I’m willing and ready for it. I have had one or two but my ex pulled them out.  I didn’t want him to.  I loved those strands.  They were faded into spun gold and they were mine and beautiful.  I plan to go gray and let it happen naturally.  I think the look of gray hair is dignified, but it’s also really sexy to me.  I was 18 the first time I saw a doctor with salt and pepper hair and shocking blue eyes.  I remember thinking for the first time that a man could be beautiful.  I’ve known some fiercely beautiful women that let their hair naturally fade into hues of spun gold and shimmering silver and I want that.

I used to love boys with long hair.  I love running my fingers through silky strands because the pads of my fingers are really sensitive and I enjoy that sort of thing.  I’ve met enough men with those silky locks to now understand it’s work to get it perfect and they rarely will allow me to touch it.  It then occurred to me, it’s not the hair but the man it belongs to.  Finding beauty when it’s right in front of me is a gift.


I like bald heads.  I’m learning that most men don’t like going bald and found this article if you’re curious about a perspective that isn’t mine. I’m more likely going to be able to touch them.  I was talking to a man with a beautiful bald head yesterday.  Part of his hair still grows and he keeps it pretty closely cut. There was something about the change from new growth to smooth skin that I really wanted to touch.  Well, in fairness, all of him is attractive, but I had a moment of being stuck in sensory wonder and it felt really good.  Don’t worry, I used self control.

Online dating is unique in the way where men expect to know and share more than you would ever disclose in person.  Again, hiding behind a keyboard affords bravery and shields you from social responsibility and common sense manners.  I met men that wanted to know what my private parts look like in terms of the hair down there.  That wasn’t so disturbing. I know the ideals that porn suggests and I’ve seen it.  What I never expected were all of the men that shave their private regions.  I’ve always preferred the natural hairy look of a male body and that was just disturbing.  But then, it might just be me.


Practice Like You Mean It

In 1993 I was in large military Drill Team.  I was actually the last or second to the last alternate and barely made it.  Practice was for a few hours after school and we wore uniforms for competition and spirit week.  It’s all fun and games until you grow into old lady knees that suffered too many practices with forgotten knee pads.

During practice, we were often exhausted and I was always so irritated by the coach, captain and co-captains that would stress that we had to practice like it was performance.  We had to practice like we meant it.  Going through the motions in rehearsal means you will go through the motions during performance.  Muscle memory takes over. Everything becomes automatic. You want your automatic to be amazing.

That lesson came back with laughter tonight.  I drive around with my windows up, music loud and singing.  I will also say “hi” to cute men, or “thank you” to one that is cute and exercising.  It’s a public service, really. I say it loudly with windows up and it makes me laugh because they can’t hear my catcalls.  Today I was doing the same as usual with the music slightly lowered because it was around dusk when the sky was blushing in farewell to a fading sun  and I wanted to feel the breeze of the evening air. There was a man running in the direction I was driving and I yelled my “thank you” like I meant it. He flinched with a faltering few steps and I realized how far my voice carries when windows aren’t in my way.  I forgot the windows were down, and drove off in laughter.

Fiction: Huntress on the Prowl

Kneeling before the porcelain goddess, Liz took pleasure in the waiting line behind her as she purged her sins of the night in heaves of mislaid regret. Throbbing bass pulsed in her chest in time to the tapping impatience of her best friend’s right foot, rabbiting in opposition to a stiff left side and jutting hip as she examined her manicure with open indifference to the bowl worship as she stood sentry outside the door.  The nicotine cloud was still in her clothes and hair and the revulsion of smell, sight and sound reached deep in retching to void the abyss of anger and doubt that had Liz in this position.

Stumbling through the crowd, Liz followed Mags through a maze of undulating bodies with spinning thoughts that raced blurred vision in circles that danced in dizzying images of boys and booze and bad choices that felt good.  She was so focused on her next step she didn’t care how high her dress crept or that so many were reaching out to touch her body. She was hot and then cold and the cold outside was a reprieve that was suddenly too cold for the flesh that barely covered her bones.

Mags was always sober and her strut placed one foot in front of the other, hips leading and swaying to the authority of her sex and the power of her gaze.  She could undress a man with one look and strip him bare.  There was no gray area for Mags.  The men loved or feared her, and anyone caught in her seduction wanted her or to be her. She was a vixen but shared her knowing smile with anyone brave enough to openly stare at her. She knew she would be fuel for a few fantasies that night and she was confident in her gifts. Her barter was attention and she had enough of what she craved to last for days just on the way to her car.

Outside of the club, the clacking chant of sling back heels was punctuated by the stumbling stomp of patent leather stilettos on the ground that seemed to shift below Liz.  Mags stopped just feet from her car while reaching into the right front pocket of her skinny jeans for her keys while her off shoulder top slid further down her arm.  She was still tender in this position from her last hike and she loved the feel of sore muscles and the stretch that pulled in tight agony. She pivoted on the ball of her foot to size Liz up.  She was wearing a silver wrap dress that was revealing enough to show off the Daddy issues she had inked all over her body.  Her hair was a tangled mass from fingers running through it all night. It stuck to her neck in sweat and framed her face in damp tendrils that started to curl.  Her makeup was starting to melt in the sheen of sweat. The stench of bile mingled with cigarette smoke and stale perfume.  Mags wasn’t letting that mess in her car.

“I told Danny I’d meet him at the pier.  I’ll app you a ride,” she half lied.  Liz’s pout is always worth a laugh but in her current state, that would probably make her cry. Instead Mags tilted her head into compassion and continued, “I’ll wait with you until the Uber driver gets here,” sealing it with a soft smile that never really reached her eyes.

“Thank you Mags.  You really do love me, don’t you,” she said between burps that tasted like the cognac she thought she could handle. Liz realized talking made the spinning worse so she swayed in silence and tried to focus on Mags and her pretty hair.

Mags nodded as noncommittally as she could and said, “always love.”  She then reached into Liz’s bra to retrieve her phone and arranged the ride she had no intention of paying for.

Mags snapped a picture of the car and license that arrived, then watched Liz leave as brake lights glared and the car slowed on the corner .  Then she headed to her own car, stopping at the trunk to rescue her purse and change into her Ugg boots.  She thought about seeing Danny with his blue eyes, soft hair and tender lips but he had so much hate and anger that she always left with more rage than she cared for.  His emotional needs weren’t worth his talented touch.  She considered Alessandro with the dark hair.  She loved his thick accent and his need for physical touch but he was a sensitive one and she wasn’t in the mood to be his shoulder to cry on.  She considered Tom.  She could tell that he partied too hard at one point and knew all of the neighborhood drug dealers which wasn’t her brand of partying but his solid muscles always made her smile. The thought of all of them made her bored and she wasn’t in the mood for them. They were all very cute and really dumb. She wore her men like warm socks and decided she wanted to be barefoot for the rest of the night.

Mags pulled into the 7-Eleven parking lot for a bottle of coconut water and almost walked past the glorious specimen of a man reaching for a couple of bananas.  He was tall and lean and he worshipped the sun as much as she did.  He wore running shorts and a t-shirt that clung to his solid chest and grazed his stomach.  He looked at her and flashed a smile that was mainly confident, but betrayed his fear of her rejection in his quick glance away and the slight bounce of excitable energy in his legs.  She stood beside him, examining bananas and him with her peripheral vision.  Mags was on the prowl. She waited for him to look back at her.  She waited for him to say something because in his moment of fear, she could feel his need to prove his dominance in being the first to speak to her. She picked a banana and began to turn when he said, “you know, if you get two it’s cheaper.”

Mags turned and gave him her full smile.  It’s the one that will make you want her or fear her and she knew it was a gamble.  “Thanks for the tip.  I might actually be in the mood for coffee.”

“This late?” He looked at her in shock and wonder, and she knew the iron was hot.

“Well, I’m open to tea and thought you might want to join me.” She adjusted her smile into demure interest and waited to see how spontaneous he was.

Glancing at his watch, he looked into her eyes with regret etched into the lines of his face. “I have a deadline and I can’t, but I’d love a rain check.”

She masked her disappointment in a search for the steno pad and pen she kept in her purse.  She scribbled her number and ripped the page out of the notebook before  she folded it and placed it in his hand, holding it until his warmth sent shivers up her spine with a flush that started in her chest and raced up her face.   In that moment she saw their tomorrow and a series of his needs being her desires. She knew his inability to jump at her suggestion made him unworthy of her attention when there were so many options available.

She left him with the memory of swaying hips and a knowing smile, not knowing she had a growing reverse harem and he was her latest addition.

Open Wounds

There was blood on the floor from the gash gaping gore

Licking the edges itchy with healing

tang of salted copper pennies

Bite of flesh digging deeper in rage lust vengeance

I want to feel what I need to inflict

Anger angst apathetic vices

you are full of fire and cold embering flames

expired heat and disgust replaced desire

Wrath lashes through dull warm beer haze

And I spit with spite at the little bitch you’ve become

Washing hands clean

scalding boil of lye and fat

scraping remnants of memories to clear away the decay of your existence

leaving gone and still going

And I call your name one last time


Unringing the Bell

Sometimes it would be amazing to unhear or unsee something.  A chance at a do-over is the stuff of great novels and daydreams.  We all want to take something back and start over.  Sometimes it’s impossible.  Sometimes you can use the point where it all fell apart as a launch pad for something new and deeper.

The devastation I felt when my husband left me was traumatic but there is value in it.  I have learned so much about myself and I have found true joy in who I am.  There was a cost but I didn’t expect the payout to touch so many various areas of my life in such a ginormous and beautiful way.

In 2012 I was hospitalized with my last surrogate pregnancy for about a month.  At 25 weeks gestation, a regular check up with the neonatologist showed that my cervix started funneling and the twins were trying to come out. Well, more like my body wanted to force an eviction. I’ve always been blessed with fairly easy pregnancies and contractions I couldn’t feel until I was about ready to push. Why else would I be willing to be pregnant 6 times? I was planning a pedicure and Target trip that day but I was told to head straight to the emergency room. I couldn’t stop at home for my laptop or Kindle or even extra panties.  I was in a hospital bed from week 25 until week 29 when they were born.  They eventually left the hospital and then the country.  During that time I was on complete and total bedrest, and allowed to take one 5-minute timed shower while sitting.  The rest of the time I was stuck having nurses give me bed baths, and I spent a week in the trendelenburg position.  This means my bed was tilted so I was laying upside down at a 45 degree angle to keep gravity from doing what is natural.  I will always feel like I could have done things a little differently to keep them in longer and give them a stronger start in life.  I can see most would imagine I did enough, but believing there is always more to do and that I could do a better job is just who I am. I deal with it.  You should too.

This time of being forced away from my family reset things for me.  It gave me a do over. I realized that motherhood was a gift I was squandering in superficial ideals of what I should do and what I should be while my kids suffered my short temper because I couldn’t possibly do it all and be happy about it at the same time.  I came home and things changed.  I decided I would be the mother my children deserved, rather than the mother I wanted to be. I started putting their needs ahead of mine and the desire to whine about it settled into a version of peace for me.  I stopped feeling defeated because I felt what it was like to not be able to sleep with my kids near me and steal random hugs whenever I felt son sick and needed a refill.  I never imagined it as preparation for shared custody.  I saw it as patience when I needed it and compassion when they did.

In 2005, my oldest was 4 years old and nonverbal.  His pediatrician with too many letters behind her name told me he would talk when he was ready.  At the time I was a teacher’s aide at an elementary school and had a friendship with a speech therapist.  She suggested I ask the school district for an assessment.  His assessment was the same day as his first IEP.  I took him for the appointment and the team asked me to come back in a few hours and bring the whole family.

A few hours later I was there with the ex and our two boys.  They psychologist played with our kids on the floor while the rest of the team explained what autism is and that it was in our home.  They explained the characteristics to us and I right away made the connection that they were describing everything Kid2 does as well.  From the floor, the psychologist told us that in her professional opinion, Kid2 was also on the spectrum and his characteristics were more severe than Kid1.  Kid2 was still 2 years old and an official diagnosis wouldn’t come until later. Autism spectrum disorders can often look like normal toddler behavior and while it may seem like everyone has autism through some sort of connection, they really don’t like to hand out labels unless they have to.

My emotions were swiftly all over the place.  Before I left that meeting, I had cycled through the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression) and I was at acceptance. Every thought and action for the next few years became, “But how do I help my boys?” I had to field the questions from family, making them feel better about what it was like for me to raise special needs kids because somehow the stigma affected them even though I was the one dealing with meltdowns and being a bad mother in the eyes of everyone around me.  It was a long time before I allowed myself to mourn the loss of expectations that were born with my kids and died in that meeting.  I would deny myself the freedom to revisit those stages and emotions because it wasn’t productive.  I would instead go through a moment of sensory integration messes like poopy painting on the walls and floor and beg others to envy me in snark and frustration, not realizing that there really are women that would give anything for the work I faced in place of the grief they felt.

There are fewer expectations and more pleasant surprises. I was told my middle son would never even say, “Mom.” I smile when he has long conversations about Nintendo or tells me how loved he feels.

My boys are still autistic.  That doesn’t go away or fade into the background.  It’s in our face with meltdowns from time to time. We do our part to make others autism aware, it just doesn’t look like stickers and ribbons.  I’m usually good at knowing where their limits are but I constantly remind them that they need to communicate their needs.  I don’t mind cutting a day short, but I mind knowing they pushed through a day of torture because they felt my needs were more important than theirs. I will always run the risk of a total melt down with violence if I try to change routines too drastically without plenty of warning and coaching along the way. The difference is they have learned ways to regulate how they feel and they have learned how they are expected to behave in society.  It’s not a perfect formula but it’s one we have all learned to work with.  At the same time, I am at peace with the idea that they prefer to be home at all times because it’s a routine they can predict.  It’s structure they crave and when they are calm, we all have peace.  That is until Kid3 has a meltdown. He doesn’t understand he’s not capable of competing with what his brothers have already done before he was born and the part of me he is poking with a stick has long since been broken and looks at him with pity and amusement.

Would I ever unring this bell?  Probably not.  Of course I’m Mom and would love to protect my children from every moment of suffering.  The reality is they are often blessedly oblivious to most social slights. I’m the one that sees more than I should and I may or may not have wanted to cut a kid because of it.

There are things about being a special needs mom I would never give up.  I’m an advocate.  I know how to fight for my kids.  I have.  I’ve won.  Fighting Like a Girl and Pulling Punches is all about what my kids have taught me. It has made me grow in patience and empathy.  I’m the person that won’t judge the mom with the crying child in a grocery store because I know that child is probably hungry, tired, uncomfortable and bored. I know that parent has been doing all they can think of to do for their children while doing what they need to do in order to take care of themselves and be the parents they want to be.  We all try to do what we think is best for our kids.   Being an autism mom has made me an optimist.  I will always look out for the best in a bad situation and find the silver lining because that is a necessity in the life we get to live.  We have to stay positive because it’s not just our joy on the line, but that of the children we are blessed with.  Their peace and sense of self comes from me.  I’m responsible for the inner voice that I’ve helped shape from their infancy. I’m responsible for their ability to navigate the world outside of our home and the thickness of skin that protects them from discrimination and aggression.

As for Kid1, he has the ability to see the world with a fresh perspective that takes each part separately and examines it carefully before putting it all back together.  He has a gift for art that is detailed because one of his superpower characteristics is to fixate on one thing to the point of mastery.  He amazes me with how he sees things and the specific diction with which he describes things.  One of his loves is my mashed potatoes.  He’s always called them “smashed potatoes” because that is what I’m doing when I make them.  (Not much in my kitchen came out of a box until recent months.)

Kid2 is completely guileless.  While he would love to lie, he’s often incapable of it. He has an open appreciation for affection.  He understands the value of a great big hug and snuggles that hold you up and together. He loves video games and will research and obsess over them. He’s passionate.  He will have moments of joy and laughter and moments of rage.  The only times he is apathetic is when he is experiencing a sensory overload and needs to reset with hugs, and a calming routine. Or when he’s being affectionate.

I’ve heard some lines about special needs parents being chosen.  I call BS on that.  The learning curve has been sharp for all of us, and we haven’t quit or died trying, so we’re doing okay.  But we’re far from the saintly.  We know how to live on call every moment and know that an emergency is seconds away at any given time.  We’ve been judged for our parenting and had our instincts go against professional opinions and we’ve been right. Given true respite where someone we trust has our kids, we can let loose and party harder than the average parent.  We know how to accept a break when it’s offered and we trust the person that has our kids.  At the same time, not everyone is trusted with our kids.  We’re not magical or unicorns, but we learn to choose our battles and let the small stuff slide.  The big stuff will be a bigger battle than you could imagine trying to bargain for.

Right now this first draft is being written with 9 year old Kid3 having a tantrum because I won’t allow him to eat Funyuns in my bed.  It’s been about an hour of crying, throwing things and slamming doors.  It’s part of his fallout when transitions between houses gets to him.  I’m at peace and ignoring him, except when he calms himself enough to talk clearly.  I respond calmly and talk to him at his level while speaking slightly lower than he does until he has begun to calm his voice.  I wouldn’t unring this bell.

The Siri Call

I called in a moment of Siri stupidity.  How “Sears” could sound like his name . . . That beautiful name that is born in my heart and melts on my lips.  That name that invokes so much for so little.  Siri wonders why I would save a number that I would never use.  I wonder how to check her hearing.

In a slap happy panic I tap and jab at the phone to stop the call because while I think of him all the time, only Siri knows this and she’s a rotten little brat for putting our secrets out into his phone.  She’s put my name and face right in front of him because she wants him to think I want to talk to him instead of obsessively think about what he’s up to. Unless his Siri talks to my Siri and they know what we’ve only wondered . . .

I hear the ring on my end before I’m able to end the call and I hang up to wait.  Did he hear my call? Was he going to ignore it? Does he think of me with wonder or trepidation? Will he call me back and force me to use my words on him?!?

I’m a missed call but he’s been missed too and my phone knows this.  She conspires with me to search for his social media footprints.  I can trust her with my credit cards but in matters of my heart, she’s a minx and into mischief.

I wait for him to not return my call and decide Siri is an idiot and I’m glad I don’t pay her to be my matchmaker.

My moments and emotions.

In moments of anger  I feel searing bile rise and burn my throat. I feel tears start as a sting in my nose and release a silent stream that trails shackles of heartache that throb in my mind as thoughts lash aggressively.  I want to rail at the injustice of why I would be treated this way, and the rage bubbles like thick phlegm because I know I’ve probably allowed and authorized it. It’s taking for granted the kindness and generosity that are offered.


The Hammer

In moments of disgust I’m often looking in the mirror.  I’ve taken responsibility for my anger and I see my pettiness.  I see my judgements and preconceived ideas that are clouded in someone else’s perceptions.  I hear years of what was said shape my boys into feeling a lie is safer than the truth because they have been taught that what parents feel holds more value than what they feel.  They learned my example of being less so I could make someone else more.


The Hammer

In my weakest moments there is fear.  There are lies of inadequacy that circle and hound each ounce of security that is normally a solid blanket around me.  Cloistered in my comfort zone, the tendrils of failure lace around me quietly in a safe seduction until the air I need is stolen, one breath at a time and unnoticed until I begin panting. I don’t fear the world about me, but the darkness inside of me. It’s the lisping sigmatism of the sibilant hiss of words.  Weaknesses surge through shushing motions because yeses are so much easier than no.  img_0457-1

In happiness there is peace and contentment.  There’s a warmth that feels magical. It bubbles and blooms from within.  It feels like warm sunshine and wonder at things that fly whether it’s birds, bees, butterflies or bubbles.  It’s alliteration that focuses on the letter B. In my moments of strength, I feel empowered.  I feel beautiful and strong and intelligent.  I feel graceful and anointed in a balm of favor. I feel the envy of others, although I am happy to share in what I have because we can all be made of amazing. I smile at open stares. It’s a thick soapy lather and rinse of hands in hot water. It’s the luxury of time. It’s purple and royal and duty and honor.


The Hammer

In sadness I feel a melancholy pall that falls on my shoulders and presses in softly, solidly.  I reminisce on times of laughter and joy and wonder where I could have done something differently, refusing to believe that change is often for my benefit and the cost is minimal compared to the expense of continuing on a path of destruction. It’s lips stained in red lipstick and rejection because I wear it and walk through it, shaping a new meaning for the past and my present. It’s a prowl of defiance because here is where I find my hunter instincts and play in manipulation. It’s down time and feeling unneeded. I’m unnecessary.

In surprise there are moments that help me stretch who I was into who I am becoming.  It is becoming more than I thought I had a right to be.  It’s seeing a smile and a perspective that looks better than mine and wanting to share in someone else’s magic and mystery.  It’s the flight path of a soaring bird or the silly way their legs flap against tail feathers.  It’s an art exhibit that walks through faded history but awakens ancient desires and emotions in a universal ocean of timeless beauty. It’s reality that is better than the expectation.