The Butt of All Jokes

We’ve touched on quite a few difficult and taboo topics here at STMND. As a group, we understand the majority of those subjects can sometimes be a bit of a downer. Some folks reading may feel triggered or become upset afterward.

Today we are choosing to break up the monotony. It was discussed among us that we add some happiness here too. This, by no means is intended to downgrade or discard the seriousness of our other posts or guest writers. We simply would like to offer you more than “touchy topics” and we believe that was also one of the goals of our founder, Rarasaur.

We still encourage you to send in your stories of all types. No subject is taboo. As long as we clear it as acceptable material, we urge you to share it with us.

With all that said, I’m going to share a funny story with you today. I think it will fit well here. It too is another Story That Must Not Die.

_____________________________________

Some teenagers make a sport out of impressing one another. I was no different. At fourteen going on fifteen, I was a sight to behold. Friends of mine would tell you I was as animated as a Disney family movie. Grace has never been one of my strong suits. It turns out clumsiness combined with an outgoing disposition makes for some embarrassing (yet hilarious) moments.

It was a Friday after school. We’d all meet up at my friend’s house because his mother wasn’t home until later at night. It was our little dwelling spot because, well, we were bad kids sometimes. For two guys and two girls, we managed to make a ton of noise. Thankfully, no one ever called the cops.

We were blasting music for the better portion of the afternoon. A conversation began on the latest dance moves. I thought, oh, I’ve got this.

I went into full, loud, proud character. Full of ego, I started busting out this impossible dance that involved dipping way down to the floor.

If this were a play, this would be the part where the main character steps out of the scene and the lights dim while they address the audience.

Even as a child, I’ve been well-endowed in the posterior area. In other words, I have a big ass for a white girl. I was thin as a rail back then but, my bottom was still pretty large. I wore skin tight jeans often. On this particular occasion, maybe that wasn’t such a grand idea.

Back to that silly dance.

I was fired up. I dipped way down to the floor. An obnoxiously loud ripping sound followed. No, I didn’t fart. My boyfriend at the time immediately burst into tremendous machine gun turrets of laughter. I had torn my pants clear up the back.

It was incredibly embarrassing. They ripped completely up the butt crack area and I was wearing thong panties that day. My big, chalky white ass was completely showing.

Remember before when I described that outgoing personality? Yeah, I was secretly shy. My shyness was even greater when it had anything to do about my lady bits. It was only a butt. Still, I’d rather not have it openly displayed to a room full of laughing teenagers.

I was mortified. My face turned completely tomato red. Somehow, in that huge moment of embarrassment, I did manage to also realize how funny it was. One of my friends remarked “Damn girl! That thing is bigger than I thought!” I couldn’t help but let out a chuckle.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Eyes-On-Fire-Remixes

Burn It All

Editor’s Note: This post was submitted anonymously.


Donald ‘Shadow’ Rimgale: [at Ronald's parole hearing] What about the world, Ronald? What would you like to do to the whole world?

Ronald Bartel: Burn it all.

 – Robert De Niro and Donald Sutherland in Backdraft (1991)


The first and only time my dad called me an asshole, I punched a hole in the dry wall where I was standing as I eavesdropped on the conversation he was having with my mom.  I can still vividly remember how it felt as my hand broke through the thin layer and then slid back out, scratching my flesh.  It hurt.  It was worth it.  I was embarrassed and righteous in my anger at the same time.  As my parent he was supposed to hold himself to a higher standard than resorting to name calling even though, as I later realized, I had acted like an asshole.  He was failing me.  He had become one with the bullies who tormented me on a daily basis.  That’s how I saw it at the time, and punching the wall was the outlet for my disappointment and angst induced rage.

When I calmed down, I helped patch the wall and cover the blemish with paint and vowed to never do that again…

That vow didn’t last very long.

Cleaning up the messes of my anger over the years that followed always ended up taking a lot of time and being a lot of work.  I kicked a hole in the wooden garage door.  I split my knuckles punching a decorative stucco wall that lined our front porch.  I kicked new holes in the dry wall.  Sometimes I would be so upset my body would become too weak to lash out and I would tumble into a sobbing mess instead.  My body would quiver and the tears would pour from my eyes.

Were those times better?  Was letting the rage flow out of me that way better than the times I punched and kicked the walls, the garage, the stucco?  Was that a more constructive outlet for my pain because it wasn’t actively destroying anything?  The opposite of destructive is constructive?

But, it was still destructive.  It killed my confidence and self-esteem.  How could I ever become a functioning member of society if I couldn’t control my emotions?  Each time I physically manifested my anger, through tears or punches, that anger would cycle back around to myself with rising amounts of fury.  I was worthless.  I was the problem.

When I left home for college, I tried to reinvent myself.  I became a free spirit, easy-going, letting everything roll off my back.  I cared more about making good impressions and making good peer relationships than I did about anything else, including my health, my grades, my future.  And for a time, becoming this new person worked and I managed to keep my rage in check.

Then one day a small flash of the hurt within my slipped free and I found myself choking one of my friends.  With my forearm against his neck, my full weight pushing him down, I had him pinned to the wall behind the couch we shared in our dorm commons.  I quickly backed off and laughed it off as just messing around, joking with him, … but we both knew there was more to it than that.  He could recognize the anger burning inside me because he had a bit of the same within him.  He let it drop for the time, though, and our friendship did not suffer.  I forced the rage deeper and grabbed my new persona more fiercely.

That worked for two years.  Then one day, while arguing with my live-in girlfriend, soon to be fiancé, I punched the heavy wood that lined our front door.  I didn’t want to damage the dry wall because we were renting the place and I didn’t want to have to pay for the damages or do the work to patch the hole.  I knew the doorway would take my attack without any obvious signs of wear and tear.  The same could not be said for my knuckles, of course, but those consequences never factored into my anger fueled considerations.

The next two years saw escalating cycles of punching things around the house and crying fits, until we broke our engagement and went our separate ways.  I was no longer in college.  I was no longer defined by any of the ideals I had put in place when I redefined myself as a freshman.  I was adrift in freedom to become, once again, whoever I wanted to be, and I eventually found peace.

Several years have passed in that calm.  My life has moved on.

But, I can feel that anger bubbling up under the surface again.  I can feel it taking over in my day-to-day actions when I find myself wanting to lash out.  The idiot drivers around me not using turn signals, cutting me off, driving too slow, driving recklessly, running lights.  The politicians on both sides of the divide arguing their points but never resolving anything other than making sure they continue to get paid.  The people who don’t recognize their own hypocrisy.  The media capitalizing on the misery of others.  The nonsensical doling of pain across the world.  I want to see them all burn.  I want to burn it all.

I haven’t damaged anything yet.

I haven’t hurt myself yet.

Is it only a matter of time?  Will I once again fall into that cycle?  Is there no way to escape it?


Featured Image Credit: silencenogood.net

Abuse is Abuse!

The following is a story from Serins. Please see more of what she has to offer at Serins Sphere.


Her innocent blue-green eyes shined had a sad painted look on them.   Ten year old Serins stared at her mother who was taking a gulp of beer.  The both of them were sitting on the veranda.
The fights had gone on for as long as Serins could remember, but had intensified a year ago when her parents had announced that they were going to get a divorce.  Always the screaming!  And always the feeling in the pit of her stomach that this was somehow her fault.  Why she should never have been born at all.  Her parents already had the girl and boy who made up a perfect family of four.  Serins was just the fifth wheel and did not fit.  But her mother claimed to love her dearly.  The baby!
Mama was quite upset.  What could a good daughter do?  She really just wanted her mother to smile again.  To just be a little happy.  To spend some time at home.  Mostly she wanted her parents to make up and to stop fighting.    They surely loved each other.
These days the fights were mostly about money and custody of the three children.
So Serins and her mother talked about the impending divorce when her mother said:  “If you don’t come and live with me, I WILL KILL MYSELF” Devastation crossed the child’s face.  “No!  Mama, I love you.  Please you know I will choose you!”
The following Monday, when Serins and her older brother were alone, they had some freight.  He was stronger and overpowered her.  Eventually she just lay in the foetal position on the floor and endured the kicks he lashed out at her.  She hated him.  She would never go anywhere where he would.    He chose his father.  So she chose her mother.  Anything just be away from him.
When the parents finally separated a few years had passed.  She had to endure the same scenario every other day.  And while her mother always claimed to love her, the mother remained depressive and manipulative.


I wish I could tell you that this is some fiction I made up.  It is not.  It is the story I had to endure.  My mother emotionally blackmailed me for many years.  The blackmail endured it’s peak the year I turned 19.  She had lost her job and I had just gotten my first one.  I took care of her.  Paid the rent, utilities and groceries.  I was never allowed to be a carefree young person or college student.
And while I was a depressed child and teenager – I think it is at this point that my depression turned into a severe depression, which I am still struggling to break free from.  I had it somewhat under control by suppressing all my memories; by not thinking about all the shit that happened.
Eventually though shit started to surface and the depression started to backlash.  By not dealing with my issues I had unintentionally made them worse.  Now I suffer from suicidal thoughts.  Believe me; this is not funny.  It is a daily struggle, for which I have recently started seeking help.
I have recently come to realise that emotional blackmail is a form of abuse.  Having had to endure it for such a long time and during such formative years of my growing up process, I am finding it incredibly difficult to forgive or forget.  This person is my own mother.  I have hardly spoken a word with her in the last five years.  I have never told her that I have found her behaviour abusive.  I could never do such a thing, because she is still depressive!  I don’t know how she would handle a confrontation on the matter.  I do love her.  I don’t want her to kill herself over me.
But at the end of the day Abuse is Abuse.
If I am going to get past this, I need to forgive.  Forgiveness is not something you do for the abuser it is something you do for yourself.  Because un-forgiveness is something you carry in your own heart.  But how do I move past this?  How do I forgive, without making myself vulnerable towards future abuse?
It frightens me.  When I look into the mirror I see her face.  We look so much alike.  And like her I suffer from depression.  But I don’t want to be anything like her.  I don’t ever want to put my own daughter through the same suffering.  Because so help me God, if I ever turn into my own mother – an emotionally manipulative person – I will take a gun and blow my brains out!  That is never going to be me!  My daughter would be much better off without a mother than to have to endure the guilt and the trying, trying to make things better when nothing is ever good enough.
But for me, for my daughter and for my husband I need to forgive and I need to somehow move passed this.  I do want to live after all.  I want to see her grow up and become a happy, wonderful woman who I know she can be.
And after all at some point my mother cleaned my diapers. She never let me go hungry.  She never let me stay dirty. She took care of me when as a small child I was forever sick.  I do believe that she does love me.  And I do love her.  I just need to find a way to forgive her.

Butterfly

Butterfly

Editor’s Note: This post was submitted anonymously.


I woke, just a short while ago, to a magic day.  Everyone has seen beautiful days, but I see today as if with new eyes.

Metaphorically speaking, today is the last day of my life.  Each year, the energies astrologically present at the moment of our birth settle into that same exact pattern that was present on our birth-date.  Same pattern at the same moment.  They call it a solar return.  I call my tomorrow birthday Rebirth.

Despair would settle in.  I’d struggle, anxiously grasping for something worthwhile.  I’d find it and slowly crawl back out.  The pattern repeated throughout my life.  The last despair was different.  It was a monster that ate every notion of why I thought life was worthwhile.  It seemed to grow stronger rather than dissipate over time.  I asked for simple things to come to me.  They didn’t.  In panic, I asked for anything to show me what worthwhile is.  Nothing was coming.  Now I understand that I was slowly being stripped of every false belief about myself.  But at the time, I cowered at life.

I understand Robin Williams.  I’d find myself in reveries about leaving this life.  It was the only moments of peace I would feel.  When you think you have nothing left, it becomes very attractive.  It has to.  Those who succumb have to justify overcoming our strongest drive; to remain alive.  Peace must outweigh life for such drastic measures.

I began to not care about anything anymore.  Nothing ever “worked” so why bother?  But it wasn’t the freedom of accepting life, it was the slurred surrender of a patient to anesthesia.

Last year I had trained for a position called reverse logistics.  You process the incoming freight from outside vendors on these antiquated 1994 personal computing, brick-heavy, donkeys.  If you don’t do the process exactly, it just sits there.  Very user unfriendly.  My trainer and I agreed that it would take two weeks of training to just be competent.  I was trained for three days.  I soon forgot about reverse logistics.
Very soon after the trauma of my foot being crushed, I was checking the two-week advance schedule.  My usual “unload/flow” department was replaced by “reverse logistics.”  For two weeks.  “I know you’ve only had a little training, but we’re thinking of bringing in back-up from another store.  We’ll get through it.”  Fuck.  I know that tone.  It means, “We’re throwing you in the fire, someone has to.  You’re on your own.”  The day came, no back-up.

It all came to a collision that morning.  My so-thought futile efforts and abilities, useless against a situation I did not want to be in.  I didn’t care.  If they didn’t why should I?  The first vendor came in and I fruitlessly punched in a nuclear strike code of senseless number sequences.  Another vendor came in.  Then another.  Panic started to cloud what little presence I had.  Out of nowhere, a manager appeared at my isolated post.  He happened to know how to handle the operation.  I was rescued for the moment.

Something important happened.  I looked onto the process and something clicked.  I wasn’t going to be humiliated.  I grabbed my old notes and a manual and began to understand what I needed to do.  The rest of the day and the two weeks flew by.  I was being forced to be fully present.  And rather than not caring, I was stoked to prove to myself that I could handle it.  And I did.  Last week I trained on another job.  Clear mind, absorbed what I needed, asked questions until it was clear.  I cared.

I understood that panic is the fatal denial of our abilities just when they’re most needed.  Self-humiliation and denial.  And in vowing not to feel it again, I vowed to believe in myself.  I care for my Self.  Who I Am.  And in caring for myself, I’m finding that my interaction with life and people is becoming more meaningful than not, more often than not.  Times of feeling softer, more gentle, more real.  I like what is unfolding.

My totem or consciousness of the South; the direction of child-like innocence and joy, is the butterfly.  Of course, butterflies are famous for their transformation from something utterly different.  Ground-bound to flight.

In the early hours of tomorrow morning I’ll be another step closer to what I always was.  Strange that transformation returns us to Who We Are and always were.

Happy Birth Day, C.


If you feel you need help, please don’t hesitate to talk to someone. Ask.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – (800) 273-8255


*Featured Image Credit: walltor.com

happy

I’m That Kind of Girl

I’m the kind of girl who will give you a handshake when you go in for a hug and give you a hug when you reach out for a handshake.  

It doesn’t stop there.  

I’m the kind of girl who will somehow miss your hand when going for the handshake and accidentally stare at your groin, not because I’m penile obsessed but only because I’m not supposed to stare at your groin.  You’ll catch me.  

When I hug you, it’s a side-hug so that my boobs don’t touch you or so that I don’t accidentally kiss you when going in for a hug.  Why would I fear an accidental kiss?  Because don’t underestimate that it would happen to me.  Right on the lips.  Maybe I’d have an epileptic seizure and accidentally tongue kiss you, too.  I’ve never had one, but there’s always the possibility.

Bridget Jones was cute when she had verbal diarrhea.  Why can’t I embrace my incurable awkwardness?

***

I stood behind him because there was no other place to stand.  He left no room beside him, which was typical.  Behind him, I was not in his circle of friends, but I was directly outside of it, still visible through human crevices.  I didn’t feel left out.  In fact, I felt a part of it.  His guy friends were talking to me.  The other girlfriends were all sitting along the wall discussing their bracelet-ed arms, a.k.a. arm parties, and the possibilities of near-future frozen yogurt.  It’s not that I didn’t want to be a part of it, but I felt more at home laughing with the guys around the bar.  It was more natural to me.  I didn’t even think twice about me being the only girl who apparently didn’t know “my place.”  I grew up having several guys as my best friends.  There has never been a preference of gender, it just happened that way.

On the way home, his careful demeanor changed, and he said, “Why are you so awkward?  It’s honestly really embarrassing.”

Immediately, my skin turned pale and my heart beat so hard that my chest lost the space it needed to breathe properly.  How could this person I held up so high on a pedestal think so low of me?  I had to ask.

“Do I disgust you?  Because you are leaving the impression that I disgust you.”

“Yes, I have to say that you do.  Why can’t you just be like the other girls?”

And that’s when I should have realized that maybe I wasn’t like those girls, at least not in the way he wanted me to be, and the right guy would appreciate me for me, but he didn’t.  I was an embarrassment to him.  Instead, my thoughts turned to shame.  Why didn’t I have an arm party to share with them, too?  Why did I not choose to sit next to them?  They must think I’m a bitch and that I don’t like them.  My main concern became whether I was the right kind of girl for him or the right kind of girl to have a plethora of girlfriends, and I decided I had to be both.  I vowed to make more of an effort the next time.

I tried to convince him that I truly liked those girls and was sorry if he felt like I was ignoring them, but that it was just that I was honestly enjoying myself in the moment, but all he could focus on was that I had stood awkwardly outside of his circle.

The more he mentioned this, the larger that gap grew between me and the circle of men.  In my mind, the room became a commons, my heartbeats creating echoes in the small space I fashioned for myself.  A single dot, not a part of his geometry.  Had I known I looked this way, I would have pushed my way through to form something more friendly to a growing circumference.

This awkward didn’t feel cute.  It felt devastating.  I was a leper to the man I admired — the man who was supposed to protect me and make me feel as though I was perfect for him just the way I am, but challenge me softly to want to do better for myself without criticism.

After turning out the lights, I lay my head on his chest and suggested a desire with my hands on his body to alter the tone.  He brushed me off.  I thought if I just tried harder… I kissed him and removed his shirt.  He grabbed his shirt and slapped me with it repeatedly until I was breathless like the relentless rib fingering of a cousin that felt more like torture than it was meant to tickle.  It didn’t hurt.  It was fabric, but I’ll never forget the pain.

And that’s the very moment I gave him all the power.  I remember it like I had seen a ghost, and all I thought I knew in life would be different from then on.

Justification comes in many forms when someone has power over you.  It wasn’t the first time he had touched me in a way that was meant to hurt, but he hadn’t hit me.  Not with his fists.  I convinced myself I wasn’t in an abusive relationship.  No fist contact, I had brains, I came from a good family with good morals who had many conversations about how difficult it was to understand why any person would stay in an abusive relationship.  So it wasn’t happening to me.

The first and only time his fist hit my body, it wasn’t me who left.  It was him.  I never got the opportunity to raise my chin, take a stand, and walk away.  Instead, he told me that he was leaving because he was afraid of what he might do if he stayed.

It took years to rebuild my confidence to where it was before I met him, to release myself from the shame.  It didn’t take me as long to again find solace in another man’s arms but the shame was still there.

After my most recent break up, I’ve realized the solace I find will not be in the arms of another man.  The solace I find is right in my very own, fumbling, awkward arms.  I love those arms.  And yes, it may be that one day a man will be the Mark Darcy to my Bridget Jones, but for now I’m keeping my own company.

I realized that every time I tell myself not to be awkward, I am continuing to give power to a man who is not in my life anymore.

Only he’s still there, lingering.  He’s present in my negative self-talk.  I would never abuse someone else, so why would I abuse myself?  I want to take back my moment, the moment I so wished I would have taken before he walked away from me first. With readers as my witness, I’m walking away from him now.  This is my chin-up-moment.

I may not be the kind of girl who talks arm parties in the corner of a party.  I may not have an easily penetrable, predictable bubble.  And I may often make mistakes.  But I like myself.  I’m that kind of girl.

I measure my happiness by comparing it to the time I accepted myself the most.  I was eighteen, and it felt as though anything in the world was at finger-tips’ length.  My confidence had never been higher, and it attracted more friends than I knew what to do with.  They loved me for who I was because they saw that I had loved me for who I was.  Even if it were for no other reason, I was comfortable with that.  There were no apologies.  I was known as the girl who was always smiling for no reason at all because I relied on no one else to give me a reason.

Again, at this juncture, I find myself a solitary dot, outside of a circle.  But the gap between me and the circle doesn’t exist this time.  In fact, it never did exist.  Those people that matter, they are beside me, no matter of whether I’m able to step inside the circle or not.  Self-love is my main companion, and anyone who comes into my life will have to share that love.  Today, my smile is wide, and sometimes it’s there with no reason at all.

I’m a happy girl.  The only thing that matters is, I’m that kind of girl.


Photo on 6-13-14 at 6.02 PM - Version 2Lauren a.k.a. Darlin’ teaches prepubescents how to read, write, choose kind over wrong or right, and to laugh at her lame jokes.  She hopes to inspire her readers to make the most of what they have without settling for less than desired, all the while convincing herself to do the same.  She currently makes mistakes in Austin, TX.

 


If you would like to catch more from Lauren a.k.a. Darlin’ check out her weekly 7 for Seven each Monday at keyandarrow.com, among many other great reasons to read.

 

Kicking and Screaming

I recently said goodbye to something that had long since run its course. Like bad milk you let sit in the fridge and accidentally drink in a sleepy haze, it continually left a bad taste in my mouth. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, and I definitely had a case of The Crazies.

In the aftermath, I’m struggling with a host of emotions. I pollute my mind with the play-by-play of the situation until my brain floods with questions, and 1 a.m. has turned into 3 a.m.

Historically, I have not had an easy time letting go. I’m not a person who invests herself in things very often, but when I do, I’m all in. Whether it is in my personal life (family, friends, romantic partners, projects), or my professional life, I find it incredibly difficult to walk away from my emotional investments.

There are three types of letting go: the kind you willingly do, the kind you’re forced to do, and the kind that happens naturally. I would say that I used to typically fall somewhere between “kicking and screaming” and “I’ll die before I let this go.”

I believed that forgiveness was an absolution of sins, and even worse, it meant that I condoned bad behavior. By not forgiving someone, I was sending the message that they couldn’t get away with what they had done to me.

I let regret, disappointment, and anger fester in the recesses of my mind over the years. Unbeknownst to me, they were influencing every thought I had, every decision I made, and every fiber of my existence. By not allowing myself to release these feelings into the ether, I was giving myself the poison that was slowly killing the best parts of me.

It wasn’t until I was well into my journey of self-improvement that I realized forgiveness and letting go weren’t for the other person; no, they were for me. I deserved to free myself from the suffering I was keeping tucked away inside of me. What happens to the other person in life was never up to me, and was always up to them.

That thought was very freeing. I looked back on every hurtful experience I was still holding on to, and slowly began cleaning out my emotional closet. The bullies in school. The boyfriends who wronged me. The friends who were less than friendly. It all came flooding back to me, but I didn’t drown.

For so long I was sure I’d be handing them a “get out of jail free” card; instead, I was the one who would be on the receiving end of it. I learned that the only person holding me to the pain of the past was me. I gave myself the card, and looked to the future.

Letting go is an art form, and I am practicing it every day. I’m beginning to comprehend that bad people do bad things, and good people do bad things. I now know that forgiveness is truly one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

I will eventually let go of the Bad Milk Situation. I don’t know if it will be today, tomorrow, or even in a week’s time. I just know that this time I won’t go kicking and screaming.


unnamedJen and Tonic enjoys wearing pants with elastic in the waist, arm wrestling small children, and skinny dipping in her neighbors’ bathtubs when they’re not home. When she’s not seeking therapy for her Xenuphobia (extreme fear of Tom Cruise) she’s curating the world’s most amazing David Hasselhoff fan site.


To check out more of what Jen has to offer please stop by sipsofjenandtonic.com.

We thank her for sharing this story. If you have a story to share please visit our Contact page.

#RawrLove for Rara

Today is Rara’s Birthday. The team here at STMND decided to put up a little post telling her happy birthday, and we decided to add a contact form so others could send in their birthday messages as well. The outpouring of love and support is so very monumental that we’ve decided to share those messages with you, before we send them to Rara.

First, here are some numbers that we’ve amassed because of this post, and indirectly, because of Rara. (All numbers are at time of posting and will be updated.)

“Likes” for the Birthday post – 66 79

Page views – 201 210 (new record!)

Countries that have visited – 16

United States, Canada, United Kingdom, India, Australia, South Africa, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Philippines, Germany, Hungary, Namibia, Trinidad and Tobago, France, Malaysia, Ireland

Reblogs – 10

Today we also hit our 100th “Like”. We are very excited and very thankful for all the support and #RawrLove for Rara.

Now, here are the messages we’ve received thus far. (These will also be updated as they come in)

Happy Birthday Rara! There is a world of blogging love that is being sent to you today because you deserve every single bit of it. Your presence has been missed. You are an inspiring and imaginative blogger. I mean, who can beat how you revived Carmen Sandiego for the blogging world? And then took a debate idea and turned it into an online Tug of War? Seriously, I was in disbelief at how you even come up with these ideas. You are outstanding and I’m sending all the positive vibes and thoughts to you possible, as I’m sure many other bloggers are. ~ Kim


Happy Birthday, Rara ! =)
Your blog brought a smile to my face every single time I visited and you always had kind words to share with us all !
You are such an amazing woman, fantastically talented writer and friend to all who are lucky enough to have been graced by your presence…
Be safe, be well and know that not a day goes by that all your friends are eagerly awaiting your life to once again become wholly yours.
Much love… ~ Tish =)


happy birthday sweet rara! you reached out to me in the blog world and really helped me feel connected. a little over a year ago you send me a friendship bracelet in the mail. i tied it on my ankle that day and it is still there! i think of you each time i glance that way, and send a little positive energy into the universe for you. i really enjoyed writing to you, and look forward to getting your new address so that we can continue our correspondence. i miss you! much love on your birthday!

Laura (aka phrogmom)


The interwebs is not the same without you! Happy birthday Rara! ~ The Vanilla Housewife


Happy Birthday my dear Rara!

As you celebrate in some small ways, as I know you will, I know you will feel the love, admiration and acceptance flowing your way from all your dear friends in the blogging world.

I remember when I first started following you. I was a late comer to the rara party, but you were always so welcoming to me. We became fast friends just through comments and the odd email.

You called me your little dragon sister, because we all know dragons are just dino’s with wings.
I miss and love you my sister. Stay strong. Feel the love. ~ JackieP


The first blog post that I read from you was comparing the reader writer relationship to the vampire blood donor one. I was like, wow, this girl is Crazy. I never missed another post of yours after that. Everything you were doing was so original, and so kind. I remember a time that you invited all your readers to leave the links of their favorite posts from their own blogs in your comment section so that we could see each others best material. I was floored by your reinventing the way that we relate to each other in the blogosphere. I admit that with every post that I put up I always looked to see if your dinosaur face appeared and that one like would define for me the success of the post. Thanks so much for being there for all of us. Can’t wait until your back, bringing your magic to our world again.

Too much love, Sreejit


Rara, you were one of the first people I ever followed, many moons ago. Your unfailing positivity, creativity, generosity and sheer energy never fails to impress me. We’ll see you soon back where you belong and I’m thinking of you.

Happy birthday, little Dino.

Love, drali.


Rara,

You are the only blogger that has ever had patience with my many blogging identities. You embraced me no matter what name I was currently wearing. I appreciate that more than you know.
You are such a role model as a person. You really embrace all walks of life and I have never seen you have a moment where you have lost touch in your blogging fame. You keep it real, and fun and beautiful and that is a rare gift, my friend.
I really look forward to your return. I miss you. And Happy Birthday!!
xoxo,
Sarah aka CombatBabe


Happy Birthday Rara, i am sending my hopes out there that you can get into a work release program. Without your light… the blogoshere is a darker place. We think of you daily. Sending hugs and love. xo ~ Dani Heart


Dear Rara,

Unlike everybody else, I don’t quite recall when we met. But I was always amazed by your ability to be so very many things in the ‘sphere. You blogged about everything from friendship to technical advice to silly stories. And we all loved learning about and from you. And we all fell for your gentleness, your positive nature. Your goodness.
May you soon get the birthday wish that we all have for you — freedom!
Much love and peace to you,
Elyse


Hi, Rara,

We’ve never met in person and had a very brief discussion about flossing…. and it was lovely.
So many people think of you and will be waiting for you to come back to the sphere and beyond. Happy Birthday. I look forward to meeting you in person. Your shiny light makes me want to shine, too.
Eva


Every eejit needs a little green friend, and considering I hail from the Emerald Isle you would think it would be a leprechaun right?! But no I found a Rarasaur with a world full of wonderful stories and creativity.

Always smiling and always welcoming, that’s what I like about you.
Happy birthday Rara, hopefully we’ll be seeing you soon :) x ~ Eeijit


Happy Birthday Rara, I wish the best for you. Irene


Happy Birthday. Light will ALWAYS triumph over darkness.

Sending you light and Aussie ancient magic from Australia.
Aunt Sharon.


Dear Rara

Happy Birthday, such as it can be. I hope that all the messages from your dear friends serve to help bring some cheer.
And let me add mine – a small message from a stranger; I’m still gutted about that…selfishly, for I’m sure you, of all people, would rather things were different. But I just want to say how much I enjoyed meeting you, very briefly, just before this awful thing happened and you were shut away. I very, very much hope you make your way back.
But in the meantime, it matters to me – you matter to me – and it was a genuine pleasure to catch even a glimpse of your incredible spirit just before your light got hidden under a bushel, and I still think of you.
The other reason I’m so glad of you – even if it’s mostly in a second-hand manner – is Samara, who talks of you often; of your magic, your generosity, your indomitabilty, your reading and reading and reading, and the way in which you had time (and gentleness) for everyone. You have made a deep and wonderful impression on her, and in the time I have become friends with her, she has been kind enough to try to teach me some of the lessons she’s learned from you.
I’m a slow learner, I’m afraid, but she’s bearing with me. I think it bears saying that you have something *incredible* about you to have gathered so many stellar people around you, and to have made such meaningful, genuine friendships. You are an inspiration, and like a pebble thrown into a still pool, your impact ripples ever onward and outwards.
Sending prayers and wishes for ‘medium’ for you.
Lizzi (The Considerer) x


Rara, I think of you often. You are a shining light in a dark and weary world. Happy Birthday, and stay strong! Deb


Rawr,

Take care of your sweet self and hope they take good care of you inside. I’m sure you have infected people with your zest and positive attitude. We will be here and Kozo will keep us up to date.
BTW, Greenland do exists and i have it on my map. And I manage to get one from China. That was a tough one. Woo hoo…
Perpetua aka Seeker.


Rara, here’s to another Birthday wish from me to you.
Happy Birthday Rara :) You are beautiful, you are wonderful and you are loved as how you always love those around you. May your angels, guides and the light and love of all those who have you in their thoughts and prayers be with you always :) And may the sparkling light that is within you always shine bright even when things appear dark. *hugs* ~ shreejacob


I’m not sure who found who. But that little Rarasaur showing up in my emails with a post or a comment always made me smile. There is something reassuring about her presence. Kindness and acceptance and encouragement all wrapped up in a beautiful soul. Thank you Rara’s parents for the gift of your child to us! Happy Birthday Rara!!!! ~ Chatter Master


I actually just found out about Rara’s imprisonment the other day. I had my head in a hole these last months, and when I read her husband’s post I started crying. I barely know Rara, but I was in awe of her – all that she did as a blogger in such a short time. Brilliant and shiny, that’s how I think of her. Too bright for bars. May you have a wonderful birthday and feel all the love coming your way.

Much love and peace to you,
Sharon


I happened by a blog one day and saw a link to “Rarasaur.” The name stuck and I hopped over.
Loved. It.
When Rara started “Prompts for the Promptless,” I was hooked! Her wit and brilliance always brings a smile to my face. I miss her regular web presence for sure, but imagine her bringing smiles to those around her.
Happiest and most blessed of birthdays to my favorite Dino-chick. Keep your head up. We await your return. For now, I hope you feel us sending hugs from afar…
AR Neal


While it may be difficult for you to really ‘celebrate’…never-the-less I do wish you a Happy Blessed Birthday and that you may realize there are many who are thinking of you today… that you are special and this is your special day…. Diane


Dear Rara,
I love you. I hope you have occasion to smile today, at least once. It’s easy to forget to smile – in the throes of thought, in a moment of despair, during a rainstorm – but do remember to do so as much as possible (even if you do not feel like it; that is when it’s most important to do so). It is how sunshine gets into our souls.

You matter, my dear. You are loved.

Melanie (Isy & Niko, too)


 

 

rawrlove

big_green_baby_dinosaur_poster-d2283152213265648328phc_500

Happy Birthday Little Dinosaur

We are patiently waiting for you to come out of your cave. While we wait we’ve decided to celebrate your birthday with some Stories about you that will live on forever.


One day, a dinosaur appeared in my fishbowl. She was wildly drawn and breathing fire, but I wasn’t afraid. She dropped an insightful comment and left. I poked my head into her domain and found a wondrous world full of creative and awesome things. I followed her immediately.

A few months after we met, she asked me to guest post on her blog. It was my first guest post. I was nervous as hell, even though, at that point, I didn’t realize what a blogging celebrity she was. I posted what, in all honestly, is one of my most half-assed posts since I had the flu at the time, but her audience was kind, just like Rara.

For the very first FOG Mad Lib contest, I had only a few entries until she wrote about it on her blog. Suddenly, the entries poured in. I met quite a few people who are still my bloggy friends that way.

Rarasaur, my brilliant friend, you are the most selflessly thoughtful and genuinely nice person I’ve met online. You radiate guileless wonder with a sense of playful mischief. You bring joy to the world in a way Santa Claus wishes he could. You are unique, brilliant, funny and terribly missed.

I miss reading your blog. I miss seeing your little dinosaur on mine. I hate that this is the kind of world where someone like you is visited by injustices like mine. I want to protect you from all that in the way a mother wants to protect her child; not because it’s her duty, but because she wants to see that innocent beauty shine unfettered. There should be more of that in the world.

Happy birthday, my dino friend. Here’s hoping next year will free you from the bad birthday club. ~Goldfish


I saw Rara (you) before I started blogging.  You sent TwinDaddy a blogcard for Holiday 2012.  I was intrigued.  As I read you, I was inspired by your positivity.  TD posted the Lemonade post and the Jealous Blogger post.  The latter made me furious because you were a bright spot in the blogsphere and people were going to be mean?  I read your BBW post and thought that it was gutsy…I most remember one of your last posts.  You said it was inspired by Samara.  It was a lesson that I will never forget.  I hope you come home soon.  Happy Birthday, Rara. ~ 1Jaded1


Rara, I thought you were a guy. For some reason, I see Godzilla as a male, so when I saw your avatar, I assumed you were a male. When you finally posted a picture I was shocked that you were a beautiful woman of color. Half-Latina, Half-South Asian, Artist, Nerd, Blogger. You are still one of the most unique souls I have ever met. Over the next year and a half, I fell in love with you, your family, your cats, your husband, and your spirit. I am so grateful for the day you were born. Happy Birthday, my dear friend. Love, Kozo.


I hope you have a Happy Birthday, my friend.  I can’t imagine that “happy” is often a word associated with time in jail, but for every bit of sorrow I feel for your current situation, for how dark our world here is without you shining your brilliant light, I know that you are still shining that light, you are still the amazing you and spreading your frightfully wondrous brand of knowledge and joy to those fortunate enough to share not just your birthday, but every day of the next year (or so) with you.  I wish you all the bloggy love I can muster.  I wish you all the RawrLove we can conjure out of the blogosphere and send your way, and, because I know you wouldn’t want it all for yourself, to everyone around you as well.  I wish you peace.

When our families find each other again, we will swap stories, laughs, and tears, we will celebrate your birthday, your freedom, your life.  Until then, know that there is a whole world of people who love you and sending happy thoughts and positive energy to you on your birthday and every day.  Because you deserve it.

Happy Birthday, Rara.  – Matticus


Happy birthday, chica!

I hit my blog-a-versary recently, which means we have been friends for two years now.  We “met” when you wrote a post about video games and love (or something) and I knew I had found my quirky,proud to be dorky, soul sister.  I couldn’t hit “follow” fast enough.  Since that initial discussion about gaming and guys, we have formed bonds over aura and color, grief and isolation, haircuts and self-confidence, legos and dorkiness, insomnia and awareness and so much more.

That list is only going to get longer too, as the years continue to bring us closer together.    You brought sunshine to me in some of my darker hours.  Actually, some days you still do as I look back over our emails.  I hope to always be able to return that favor and be there when you need it, even as the darkness fades and you emerge back into the world that seems so much more colorful because of you.

Love to you my dear friend.  I hope to see you soon, on or offline.

Your Slightly* Older Sister-in-Spirit,

NAPR

*hey, I had to make you laugh somehow, right?


It wasn’t an accident that you were my first blogger in the Year of Bloggers this year, at least I don’t believe it was. Something prompted me to choose you as the first, and those prompts were confirmed as magical after you read the post. The scripture that I decided to add, 2 Samuel 23: 4, is the same one that is engraved on your favorite bookmark, which come to find out I reckon you use it quite often. I especially love that scripture. It reads ~ And (s)he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. ~ I added the (s) because I know this is talking about you. You are the light for each of us, and especially for those around you now.  The day when we meet face to face will be one of the happiest of my life. Enjoy this day and remember, no matter what – I’ll always be older than you.

Love, BroJo


My little dinosaur friend is one of the most special and rare people on this Earth.
When my little castle first started stacking its cards, there was a small but loyal following. No one really said much, but that was soon about to change.

One day, a bright, vibrant, little creature popped into my puffy, clouded world. During that moment, something magnificent took place. Someone that is quiet, a bit shy at times, and not always the friendliest, made a friend. I was amazed by her genuine kindness. The tiny dinosaur with a huge heart told me how my artwork made her smile. She spoke of another peaceful land how this art would fit perfectly there. It was then that I met Kozo, another one of her fantastic friends that welcomed me into his world with open, loving arms. It wasn’t long after she pointed me in the direction of many wonderful others, including a golden fish who’s pain was so similar to my own, but yet so beautiful.

My little dinosaur showed me it’s okay to let people in again. I’m forever grateful that we have crossed paths.

Happy Birthday, you magical being. As I told you before, this is just another tiny adventure.

Love Always,
Daydreams


Rara-

On my very first blog post your little dinosaur gravatar appeared and left a page long comment! You were a blogging superstar, and I had just written my first post. How did you ever find me?

It was fate. That’s how. You doing that for someone you didn’t even know is just part of the Magic that is Rara. And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship as you helped me navigate my way through the blogosphere. You had so many beloved friends in your life, yet you made room for one more. I never saw someone give so unselfishly of themselves before. Everyone in the ‘sphere seemed to turn to you for love and support, and you never ceased to come through.

You, with your crazy hours and your California time zone, were an East Coast insomniac’s dream come true! You stayed up all night with me on more than one occasion. Those middle of the night talks bonded me to you in ways only we know about. Thank you for being my friend when things were at their absolute bleakest.

Happy Birthday, Rara. You embody all that is good in people. You are Unconditional Love, with room in your heart for everyone. I have been inspired by you to be the best version of myself I can be.

I miss you. Please come home to us as soon as you can.

Love, Samara


If you would like to share a thought, story or anecdote about Rara please fill in the form below. We will do our best to make sure she sees it.

***Sorry For Any Confusion*** 

If you use the contact form below your comment will NOT show up in the comments of this blog. It will be emailed to us, ensuring that all of them are together, making it easier for us to keep track of them to present to Rara. 

Impending Loss

Editor’s Note: This post was submitted anonymously

————————————————————————————————————–

 

Hardwired Heart Hand

I think most people will agree that the Blogosphere’s a wonderful place to connect and discover like-minded people. Few who read this will dispute that the relationships which can be formed online are anything less than real. The friendships which can evolve, either through sudden, thrilling eruption, or a slower-blooming-but-equally-sweet manner, are as real as the friendships of the offline world.

In fact there are those who would subscribe to the idea that the friendships here can (in ways) be more real. They are unfettered by physicality and the need to undergo the minutiae of a person In Real Life; rather they allow bared souls to form bonds without the requirement for things like watching someone eat, noticing their hairstyle or discovering that their tuneless whistling annoys you.

And that’s where, on occasion, problems arise.

When your real-life friend has a crisis or hurts themselves or needs you, you can be there. You can go to them and look after them – do what needs doing, be it hugs or housework or bringing them a meal or offering them sanctuary – you have the privilege of being the actual, physical shoulder they cry on and lean on, and you can help them back to a place where the world is shiny and good (or at least, as much as it’s possible to be).

When your online friend, with whom you’ve bonded and built a friendship, has a crisis or a problem…you’re stuck. You got nothing. You’re a lump of useless at the end of the screen, unable to offer anything more constructive than pixelated encouragement and a figurative listening ear (unless you’ve got WhatsApp or Skype or whatever – then you can talk, but you’re still a million miles away and can DO nothing).

And that hurts. Sometimes more than is bearable.

So here’s the thing – I’ve fallen in friends with someone wonderful. She’s funny and sparky and makes me laugh with the way she pronounces words. She’s a deep thinker with a wonderful mind. She’s had an incredible life, she writes poetry and can talk about philosophy and dog poop in the same breath. She’s incredible. She also has end-stage cancer.

She had it when I first got to know her – in fact, she’s had the cancer for most of her life, and considers herself lucky to be alive. She wrote recently about how the slower-moving, less destructive form of the cancer she has, had upped its game and turned nasty. It turned nasty about a year ago. I plucked up the courage once, to ask her how long end-stage lasts.

My heart went cold when I read her response. Apparently the doctors give two years as an outside estimate. Which means we’re halfway through. Or further.

Her poetry more frequently reflects her weariness with treatments; her anger at her disease; her exhaustion.

She’s not around as much as she used to be.

She has ‘good days’, where before, the state of the day never needed to be mentioned.

She once wrote a beautiful and utterly heartbreaking poem about how sick she was of being sick. How much pain she was in. How difficult each day was to face. It sounded as though she were at death’s door, and I immediately fired off an email to her to check in. Then spent an hour or two with tears pouring down my face, re-reading her poem and talking to other mutual (internet) friends about how terrified I was that she wasn’t responding, and we all agreed that for THIS, the internet sucks.

Eventually she checked in.

But I know that at some point, the emails and messages will stop. Her blog will go to seed. There will be no more responses on WhatsApp. No further replies.

Ever.

I will be faced with the undeniable truth that she’s gone…

…and I don’t know how to handle that.

I am an unseasoned survivor; ill-equipped to handle the grief of losing someone who sent me a photo of my name in a heart in the palm of her hand in response to the one I sent her. By the time I hear about her funeral, it will likely be over and done with. I have no framework for this. No former experience to draw upon. It will be deep pain of a cruel and isolated kind.

Herein lies the folly (and wonder) of allowing yourself to care for people so far removed. And even as I sit, choked, trying not to imagine the agony of that day, I can’t help but marvel at the innate and incredible determination of the human spirit to build connections and forge warm relationships, with utter disregard for geography and the thousands of miles in between friends.

So in spite of the distance, I know that she’s right here in my heart – which one day soon will be broken.

 

 

The Unseasoned Survivor

 

I fell and grazed my hand today.

Gauged striped across the palm

Where sits your name

Still inscribed

In faded, hardwired heart.

 

And as I wiped the blood

And washed my wound with tears

I trembled and hoped for no omens;

No portent in this circumstance.

 

And yet I know

That portent or not

The day is coming

(The time so precariously borrowed)

And the axe on its horsehair

Begins to look heavy

I see you quaver

Stumble

Try once again

To lift your head and face life

As you usually do.

 

And suddenly, I am swept away

By the raging of my impotent, unseasoned-survivor soul

As it tries to break the world with keening cry

Of twisted, deepest anguish: “Please don’t…”

 

I

 

…realise I can’t even say the word

 

That hateful word

(Though it belongs to us all

Someday)

Of shattered heart.

Of loss.

Of lives undone by grief.

Of us – the survivors -

Learning to continue

Too soon.

 

And so I sit

With tears wrenched forth

From bitter soul

And know that once you’re gone

My world, no longer whole

Will carry on.

No travesty intended

Yet ever changed

For knowing –

And missing –

You.

where-there-is-love-there-is-pain

The Worst Pain

I’ve stubbed my toe on the couch, end tables, walls, door jambs, appliances and even shoes. Once, I went floating down the Comal River with my brother and some of his friends, the end result causing me to have to wear sandals to work for a full week because of the sunburn on my feet. This was an office job. Speaking of the office, I mustn’t fail to mention all the paper cuts.

Growing up I would often suffer from migraine headaches, usually causing me to become sick. Later on in life alcohol would cause me to be sick, then lead to headaches. A hangover headache can be pretty severe all over, but especially behind the eyes.

In my advanced age I take naps regularly. Seldom do I come out of these midday slumbers unscathed. Crick in my neck? Yep. Stiff ankle? Sure thing. Frozen back? Why not. A pain in my knees and elbows that makes me wish they would fall off? Good. Night.

At the tinder age of twenty-one I developed kidney stones. It started with a slight discomfort, like I had to use the restroom. Over the next hour if moved from discomfort to totally unbearable. I ended up driving to my mom’s house and having her take me to the emergency room. Looking back it would’ve been quicker to go myself, but I’d never been through anything like this before. I couldn’t stand, sit or lie down, nothing made it better. It’s the worst pain I’d felt, up until then.

Pain is a tricky thing. It’s inevitable, necessary,  essential, imminent and unavoidable. Pain isn’t always bad. Without pain we wouldn’t know what pleasure is. Every yin must have its yang. This doesn’t keep it from hurting us though. I could take all the instances of pain listed above and put them in order from least to worst, but the list wouldn’t be complete. Nothing would come out on top as The. Worst. Pain. That’s because The. Worst. Pain. is Love.

Love comes in all different shapes, sizes and categories. Here are some of my love-pains.

A grandfather who will never make the greatest tasting spaghetti sauce, ever again.

An aunt who is slipping further and further into dementia.

The brother who has PTSD, and knows it, but still might need some help.

A grandmother who will never comb and braid her very long, grey hair again.

The buddy who definitely has PTSD, and almost ended it all.

The girl who lived happily ever after, with someone else.

There are many more, too many to list. The thing is, I’m still here. I’m still alive, I’m still moving forward.

The pain hurts, but it passes.

As Shawn Mullins would say – Everything’s Gonna be Alright, Rockabye.


*Featured Imagine Credit: The image was taken from a blog site that is no longer in existence. If you know where credit should go please say so.