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A symbiotic survival guide

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

A couple of years ago, I began putting together an electronic chronicle of thoughts I had on experiences I lived. It never really dawned on me to share it with anyone because of their personal nature but also because I thought who the hell would want to hear the weird things that enter and (stay) my mind?

I recently saw some schmeezy meme that said something along the lines of your story could be someone else's survival guide. It got me thinking of all the memoirists, authors, and friends who, with the simple act of sharing their thoughts, have become guideposts during some of the most harrowing times of my journey thus far. Like signs that point you in the right direction- they don't do the hard work for you, and they can't save you from the danger or shit storm you find yourself in, but they can at least usher you to the next phase, the clearer path or the places to avoid. As I've dug deeper into the darker corners of myself, it's interesting that some of the most illuminating lessons have come from other's experiences- like a shared symbiotic survival guide.

I have thoughts, many of them, and at times I feel like I could burst with them contained inside. Writing has always been a way to break down and parse out my life, to make sense of otherwise vastly overwhelming concepts of love, loss, and self in a story that feels like it has meaning. Perhaps my thoughts are less a survival guide and more of a cautionary tale. Reader beware.

A few points of clarification:

1. I don't pretend to be a good or eloquent writer. What you see is what you get. However, part of this experiment is to give it a try and see how I grow. These entries are glimpses of my own grappling with life's bigger concepts, sometimes in real-time and without a filter or editor to say... don't write that! or what the hell are you thinking? Or have you perhaps considered this...

2. I sometimes refer to people who are and once were near and dear to me, and I feel the need to be abundantly clear that the people that I speak of are good people who are attempting to live their lives, grow, and learn just like me. Relationships are hard and important. Heartbreak and challenge are the buy-ins, and you have to pay to play. I have learned only recently that owning your own shit, baggage, and reaction to conflict is crucial to your healing. I have a long, long way to go. I have not always been kind or humble and have at times processed my experiences in ways that are not only unhelpful but also hurtful to those around me. By writing about the complexities of love, I hope that I can attempt to shed light on the darker areas and harder truths about myself to help illuminate them so I can be a better mother, friend, partner, citizen, and human.

3. Many of the entries were written during earlier times and reference events that may have taken place a while ago. They are as I remembered them, so they can more or less be relied upon as fact. It's funny how the mind turns stories over and over until, like a rock worn down by touch, it bevels the sharp edge of details. I've been accused of not telling the truth and exaggerating. What I've realized over the years is that the way we perceive life is based upon the vantage of lived experience. The facts and intricacies relevant and important to one person may be lost or completely hidden to another. Like two people looking at a number on the ground- one sees a six while the other sees a nine, both are wrong and right at the same time. Part of doing this experiment is to figuratively draw a square that I can stand in until I learn something new and be willing to adjust. I speak my truth as I see it until I can come around to see it from a different vantage.

4. The saying it will never be clean not only applies to my kitchen, my bathroom, and my house in general, it also applies to my language. I've always believed in the power of the well-placed f-bomb. I've been told that swearing makes me sound less educated than I am. And while I agree that there is a time and place, sometimes there isn't a better word to communicate what I feel inside. I'll commit to cleaning up my language the same way I commit to keeping my house clean- constantly but ineffectively. In the meantime, I offer my apologies to those that are offended.

5. I am grateful for your eyes and ears but also your compassion. One of my favorite song's chorus goes... "we're all in this together, as we all fall apart, we're swapping little pieces of our broken little hearts." I hope that in swapping these pieces of our hearts and lives, we individually and collectively become whole.

So dear friend, foe, or simple reader. I invite you to join me on the journey through my mind. May God help you and me alike.


Listening to: Jackie Wants a Black Eye, Dr. Dog, Shame Shame, 2010.

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