Holy Sh*tballs

Yesterday, writers were submitting pitches on Twitter with the hopes that an agent / agency liked their tweet. It aligns a writer’s manuscript with an interested agent versus having to research hundreds of agents to see which ones would like your story. I was up early… too early, and I scheduled my pitches to hit at certain times throughout the day. Then, I started my normal workday.

Mid-morning, I took a break, stalked the Twitter feed, and I had a like on my pitch. I clicked on it, expecting to find someone other than an agent / agency had liked it.

It. Was. An. Agency. 

Almost hyperventilated. I took a few deep breaths… then I stalked them. Creepy, right? IDGAF. I legit read every word written on their site. As I determined they were an actual, reputable agency, I sat back, glanced over at my dog, and my heart stopped. His mouth’s open and closing, no sound’s escaping, and there’s terror in his dark eyes as he stares at me. He’s choking.

I jumped up, dropped my laptop, picked him up. I’m looking into his mouth, I don’t see anything, but he can’t breathe. A million thoughts fly through my mind. How do I help him? What do I need to do?

 I turn him upside down, pull him back up, look into his mouth, and swipe my finger from one side to the next to see if I can feel anything and dislodge it. Nada, and… he still can’t breathe. I compress his abdomen. Nothing’s working. 

Seconds feel like minutes.

My dog’s going to die in my arms. Looking at me for help. To save him. And… I’m flaking. I place him on the ground between my legs, pound between his shoulder blades. Mascara’s straight runnin’ down my face, blending in with my snot. I didn’t care. Nothing else mattered. Nothing but him.

Then, I hear him gasp. His chest expands as he takes a breath, and I motherf*ckn ball like a baby. I pull him to me, hugging him. Afraid to let go. We sat there on the floor. More than a human and a dog. We’re a family. And I almost lost him.

Today, I saved a member of my family. That’s all that matters.

The rest of the afternoon belonged to him – car rides & snuggles with Papa. Life is good.

~Tiff~

Optimism Fairy BS

Sometimes, I make really dumb decisions. I blame it on the optimism fairy that sits on my shoulder whispering about rainbows, sunshine, chocolate cake… you know, all the stuff you want to hear. So, I eat the freakin’ cake, which is delicious while I am eating the entire thing. Then, I walk into the bathroom, stare at the tiny black object that is going to flash red numbers at me, and I knew I shouldn’t have listened to her. Once again, she sucked me in, and I caved. #easilypersuadedwithchocolate

            Most of the time, it’s just little things I can frown about, mumble a few choice words on, then press forward. Not this time. Nope.

            The optimism fairy, that I’ve named Sharon, had the bright idea to let my eighteen-year-old son stay home alone at my house for three days. You won’t have to board the dogs, she said. He can take care of them, she said. Easy task, she said. He’s an adult, she said. And, what did I do? I listened to Sharon. 

            After being gone a few days, I opened my door, and the smell smacked me in the face. I gagged. Almost vomited. I dropped my bags on the porch, and tip-toed in, afraid of what I might step in. Sure enough… there’s dried puddles of piss on my dining room floor. A blanket with dog feces on it. A big red stain is smiling at me from my kitchen table. There are dried dog feces on my living room floor.

            Sounds like a lovely way to arrive home after being on the road for over nine hours, right? Oh, it gets worse. I walk down the hall, peek my head in my youngest son’s room and there is dog shit on his motherf*n bed. Like, what, the what? Seriously? I lost my shit, which I thought went well with the theme of my new home design.

            My eighteen-year-old arrived home a little while later, and my eyes were buggin’, y’all. My arms were flailing, I was stomping my feet to put emphasis on my words, and I saw red. My husband… he was the smartest one in the house. He kept his head down, avoided eye contact, and stayed quiet. 

            My child… this wannabe adult… made excuses.

Bearded man-child / Gremlin

            “It must’ve happened within the last three hours,” he said. “It wasn’t like that when I left this morning.”

            My head snapped, and a storm of words flew from my mouth, lashing at him. The dog piss was caked on my floor. That doesn’t happen in a few hours.

            Well, fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck, Sharon, and her fairy optimism. If you have an optimism fairy, please be aware that the b*tch will burn you at times, and you will go down in flames… or you just might swim in the smell of dog urine and feces. 

            Just sayin’!

~Tiffany~

Shattered Dreams

There’s a voice within each of us that feeds us negative thoughts. Maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe I’ll never meet my goals. Maybe I’ll never turn my dreams into reality.The same sentences whisper over and over, turning optimism into dust as pessimism takes control.

It’s not the voices and opinions of others that shake you. That weighs you down. Those are not the ones that make you pause. Instead, it is the one that sounds eerily like your own that takes a hammer to your dreams, and it can be immobilizing at times. Fear of never doing enough… never being enough… of failing…

Whenever you finish something that contains a portion of your heart and soul, there’s a fear of rejection. You want to hug it to you, keep it hidden for fear of what others will think. It takes courage to push it out into the world, hoping that this time, it will be enough.

Chasing dreams takes work. It takes perseverance. There will be doors that will never open simply because it wasn’t time for them to open. You must put in the work, effort and leave your heart lying on the table. You need to use every moment of defeat as a springboard to hit it even harder the next time. Learn from your mistakes and find strength in those hard life lessons. Eat defeat and make that shit taste like cake. Chocolate cake. Strawberry cake. Whatever tickles your fancy.

Many dreams are shattered simply due to people listening to their own negative voices. Put that b*tch where she belongs.

Lock her up.

Gag her.

Extinguish her.

You are enough. I am enough. Dreams are meant to be chased, so tie up your shoelaces, and run after them. The only person stopping you is…you.

Tiff

Love Chooses Me

It’s so easy to get lost in the negativity of the world that we can lose sight of what’s right in front of us. I listen to the news or scroll through social media and there’s so much anger and hatred pouring out that I wonder what life will be like for my children when they’re paving their way through life as adults. It seems like the world thrives off of division instead of unity. Every application defines us by our gender, our race, and sometimes even our socioeconomic status. All I see is an application that divides us and judges us by what box we check.

            I can’t control what’s happening in the world, but I can control what kind of person I am. There’s good people in every race, in every career field, in every city and rural community. There’s bad people as well. We have a tendency to let a few bad apples define a group as a whole, and we cast judgement on them. I refuse to choose the toxic web of hatred. I refuse to judge anyone based on what box they check on an application. You’re either a good person … or you’re not. Your wealth doesn’t make you a good person, the color of your skin does not make you a good person, your title does not make you a good person – the only thing that determines that is you and the actions you conscientiously take every single day of your life.

            As the world is in turmoil and chaos, I opened my mailbox this afternoon to find a package from my husband. It isn’t my birthday. There’s nothing significant about today at all. But, this man, sent me a gift just because. An ordinary day turned significant in mere minutes because of a simple act. An act that conveyed love and brought joy to my heart. Every single day my husband chooses me. His love chooses me. And I wonder what the world would be like if we ignored the news media, stayed off social media and just focused on doing one small act of kindness each day. We can cling to the darkness and be swallowed by it, or we can choose to be a beacon of light, keeping the darkness at bay.

            I married a man because he was a good human being who loved my child as if he were his own. If your vehicle is stuck in the snow, he’s going to stop and check on you, and pull your vehicle out. If you’re stranded on a lake in a boat with a useless motor, he is going to check on you and tow you back in. That’s just who he is. That’s why I married him.

            As we go through life, there will always be struggles and adversity. Nothing is perfect. No one is perfect. Finding someone who accepts you for who you are, cheers you on no matter what and is a steady hand reaching out for you when the ground is shaking beneath you, is life changing. There’s ugliness in the world. But there’s beauty too. Today and always, I choose love over hate. I choose kindness over indifference. I hope you do as well.

~ Ms. Write Life ~

Keep the Baggage, Douche & Douchette

Baggage … we all have a little we carry around with us. We have past experiences that can create a little baggage, it helps mold us and define us – sometimes, for the worst and sometimes, for the better. But I watch the world go on around me, and I sometimes wonder why both women and men put themselves through the ringer with a prospect that has a consistent history of being unreliable, unfaithful, and a leech. Yeah, maybe said prospect is freakin’ smokin’ and hilarious, but underneath those layers, the prospect reeks of douchery. If there’s a trend of wreckage left behind them from their past relationships, run for the mother lovin’ hills, people. It’s not worth it.

Maybe I’m a little old school because I believe in love that is good and pure. Love that builds you up and allows you the freedom to chase your dreams. Love that doesn’t merely use you for a roof over their head. If you can be married and in love with someone one minute, then two weeks later ‘love’ someone else, then we do not have the same definition of love. Life is too short to get wrapped up in words that don’t have the same meaning for you and your love interest. Sometimes, I think we get it in our head that we can just magically fix people. Make them better. Make them whole. The reality is the other party needs to be willing to be helped and really look at themselves to evaluate that maybe the problem wasn’t just everyone else, but they were part of the problem. If they don’t see an issue with rolling over people and leaving a wake behind them, then is that something you really want to take on?

Marriage takes a ton of love, trust and work. You have to be willing to compromise. Sometimes, it’s not about being right or coming out the winner. It’s realizing that you’re in this thing together and you have to be willing to bend. Every relationship is different. What works for some may not work for others. One thing I was never willing to do was start a relationship with someone who was still married. Personally, I feel like love is created and founded on trust. If you have someone who hopped from their wife’s house straight to your house, I wouldn’t be the type of person to believe the BS they’re poppin’ off with. They would speak, and I would smell shit.  

So, if you’re just getting out of a crappy relationship, and the douche / douchette has somehow managed to move on at warp speed, let them.  The douche / douchette can keep their baggage and drag it off to someone else. Preferably, to someone at the same level of douchery. That would only seem fitting.

~Tiff~

Roaring Women

The world is always changing folks, but sometimes, there are people who do not change with it. It isn’t always a bad thing. I personally think we are entitled to our beliefs, our thoughts and our feelings as long as we are not leaving a wake of damaged souls behind us. I was raised to think for myself. To be independent. To chase after my dreams – no matter how crazy they seem. I needed a man at my side who was willing to be my partner. My equal in all things. A man who wasn’t afraid to let me dream and to let me chase those dreams. A man who supported my decisions, even if others thought they were completely insane. Women are roaring, ladies and gents. We are in the music industry, entertainment industry, the corporate world, and so many other places. And guess what? We’re here to stay.

As a woman, I am proud of how far we have come. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a stay at home mom and taking care of your children. That’s a choice we now have the ability to make instead of it being made for us. If that’s what makes you happy, then I am happy for you. I watch strong women making their mark on music, and my heart soars. Sometimes we have to be loud in our actions because the business world can be a cutthroat business. Taylor Swift stood up for herself. I don’t know all the details. I guess no one really does besides Taylor and her former label, but there are still some men out there who want to put women under their thumb. We are not here to be controlled and tamed, and we have a right to take a stand for ourselves.

I read an article about the movie Hustlers where all of the producers and people involved were all women. I haven’t seen the movie, but I respect the fact that there are women paving a way for themselves in an industry where they didn’t always have control or equality.

Then, there is the corporate world of business where women are becoming owners, CEOs, and rising into leadership positions. Climbing that ladder isn’t easy. It takes a ton of work and a strong backbone. I have seen a select few men still try to bully women into their way of thinking because they had an issue with a woman being their boss. I have been there and dealt with it as well. Part of me was kind of naïve and shocked when it occurred because I didn’t think there were still men lingering around that thought that way. I like to think most men are willing to treat women as equals.

At the end of the day, whatever a woman chooses to do with her life at least it is her choice. We are not put in a box with our life path already defined for us based solely on our gender.

Cheers to the roaring women out there. I see you. I hear you. I am proud of you.

~Tiff~

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Straight Up Sucka

Y’all want to know something about me that I’m just kind of accepting about myself? I’m a straight up sucka when it comes to furry little creatures and kids selling random junk. I. Can’t. Say. No. It’s a serious problem that I’m unable to correct. You’d think my husband would help curb it. He doesn’t it. He just looks at me and smiles because he knows what’s coming.

My entire life I’ve been a dog person. They’re my spirit animal. They’re the blackberry jelly to my biscuit. They bring me happiness, and I enjoy having them around. Maybe part of it is because I get to be the leader of a pack. Makes me feel a like badass for a few seconds, then it sinks in that I have Shih Tzus and my badass meter drops down to zero. They’re happy balls of fur. If someone came into my house, they would be attacked by tongues…that’s about it. Fierce little creatures, right? So, when a kitten showed up on my deck one day, I stared at it in a stupor. What is this thing? Why is it here?

I immediately went to social media and posted a picture of the critter. Lost a kitten? Want a kitten? Come get ‘er. Right. Now. And…zero response. I live in an area where houses are not stacked one on top of the other. I live in cow country. Fields and cows with a house here and there. That’s pretty much it. I told my youngest gremlin not to touch the kitten, not to look at the kitten, do not talk to the kitten – ignore it and it will go away. Great advice, right? Well, guess what? That shit did not work. She stayed, and my heart wept a little as I heard her poor, pitiful meows. I caved. Completely, utterly freakin’ caved. I fed her. I gave her water. That pretty much sealed the deal.

A few weeks passed by, and we bought her a house. Then treats, toys, a scratching post, other senseless things. Catch a glimpse of the intruder here:

Yeah, she got me. She’s now been vaccinated, and I just had her spayed this week. I’ve never been a cat person, but this kitten pushed her way into my life, and I bowed to her wishes. The thoughts of her never finding a home or being euthanized ran rampant in my mind, and I ended up taking on the responsibility of caring for another animal. Maybe that’s why I have dogs that try to follow me home after going for a run? It’s like they have a sucka meter ingrained in them that points directly at me.

I am a straight up sucka, y’all. When there are kids standing outside of a store selling awful popcorn, I shove my money at them and tell them to keep the popcorn for themselves. They receive so many noes from people that I can’t be another. They’re putting themselves out there, and I think we should encourage them. Lift them up. So on and so forth. You get the picture.

So, I now have a cat and less money. See – furry little creatures & kids = Tiff’s weaknesses.

~Tiff, AKA Straight Up Sucka ~

Slipping Time

Most days, I feel young. Like run across a field, dance in the flowers, young. That wasn’t the case yesterday. My eldest offspring, the eldest of my Gremlins, turned seventeen. He probably thought his mom was back to being a whack job as I stared at him with a mixed look of love and trepidation. I know he doesn’t get it but some of y’all might as I tell you what was going through this lovely brain of mine.

At first, I thought about the first moment I held him at the ripe ol’ age of nineteen. I knew I was going to do whatever I needed to do to create a life this mewling, scrunched-up face baby deserved. It was a pivotal moment in my life. That’s the moment I began to learn what it meant to love someone unconditionally. As a later-in-life Christian, I’ve heard the preaching about being gay is a sin and all that jazz, but you know what? If my son told me he was gay, I wouldn’t banish him from my home. I wouldn’t stop loving him. I would hug him and be the mom he needs me to be. Who am I to judge? I’ll leave that for our Father when the time comes. There is enough hate and judgement in the world that I’m not going to cast any stones. I don’t believe that’s why we’re here. How can we preach to people about the gospel in one breath, then spew judgement and hate in the next? It doesn’t align, folks. It. Just. Doesn’t.

I learned to love because of my child. It made me re-evaluate every decision in my life. I was with a man who didn’t value me. Who made me feel small and question my self-worth. Did I really want to raise my child with the relationship I was in as an example of what people in ‘love’ looked like? I didn’t. Maybe some people judged me for walking away, but as I sit here typing sixteen years later – it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I met a man who valued what I had to say, who treated me like I was worth more than what I even thought I was worth, and he treated my child like he was his own. We’ve been married fourteen years, and we’re still going strong. Our house is filled with laughter and love, which is how it should be. I may fail at everything else in life, but my family life isn’t one of them.

So, that’s why I had the silly, love look on my face before it turned to trepidation. Trepidation because the thoughts started flying through my mind of what I was doing when I was seventeen. Man, we’re so dumb at that age. We think we have life figured out when the reality is we don’t have the first clue. Next year, he’ll be stepping into this vast world as an adult, paving his own way through life. That is scary.

I thought about my children growing up. I thought about how fast time slipped past me like a thief in the night. I’m trying to soak in every single moment with my kids before they leave my nest to create their own. We can chase the dream of rising to the top of a corporate ladder or of building an empire, but no matter how much money you make, you can’t buy back time. You can’t buy back the moments you missed while you were traversing across the country for your job. Moments are precious. Cherish them. Always.

~Tiff~

Raising Gremlins

Right now, school is out due to the flu running rampant, so the gremlins are at home. I opened my teenager’s door to make sure he was doing his schoolwork for the day, and y’all, I almost died. Breath knocked out of me, fell to the ground and grabbed my chest, kind of died. The smell of sweat mixed with something akin to crushed corn chips and other gross odors didn’t just slap me in the face, it gut-punched me. My hand shook a little as I managed to grab the handle and shut the door.

Seriously, what is wrong with boys? I mean, I’m appreciative of the fact my teenager bathes daily, but the smell coming out of his room is straight up gag worthy. He doesn’t smell bad, so what’s up with his room? It has probably seeped into the paint and flooring. Might have to condemn it. IDK. Whatever. I’ll be mean and let my husband pop his head in there later when he gets home from work because I’m sweet like that. Happy Valentine’s Day, baby. Bwah ha ha.

I then staggered my way to the bathroom to wash my face and my singed nose hairs, and I turned on the light to find this:

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Seriously, y’all, why can’t boys hit the laundry basket? They spend their entire lives learning to aim their ‘toys’ at the hole in the toilet bowl and successfully discharge urine into it, but they can’t manage to get a t-shirt into a massive rectangle? C’mon, man. C’mon.

To add salt to the open, putrid wound … I went to move the shower curtain, and I picked up one of their shampoo bottles off the rim of the tub and guess what … it’s empty. I grab another one … it’s empty. I almost lost my shit as I jerked them up and tossed them into the bathroom trashcan that’s literally two feet away from it.

I washed and dried my face, did a cycle of the Navage to rinse the stench out of my nose and moved on. As I entered the living room, still mumbling to myself about how lucky I was to be the mother of gremlins, when I stubbed my pinky toe on a shoe. I turned on the light and there’s a trail of shoes to the shoe rack by the front door. You see this?

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It’s a shoe rack. Do you notice all of the girly shoes that are placed on the so-called shoe rack? Those are mine. The only female in this household.

So, dearest future significant others of these gremlins, please know that their momma tried, and is continuing to try, to turn them into a mogwai (Gizmo).

~Tiff~

Friendships & Aging – Marine Corps Style

As some of you may know, I come from a military family. I spent my life as a child moving from one place to the next every few years. I absolutely hated it at that time in my life. It isn’t easy saying good-bye to friends, then starting all over again. It might be hard for some to believe that I used to be a shy kid. It’s not really a characteristic I enjoyed having because by the time I was finally comfortable, found my place in a new school and made a few friends, we were starting to pack boxes. It sucked.

In my early twenties, I met a nice guy when I was out one night. It turned out he was in the Marine Corps, which would’ve usually had me running the other way since I was tired of moving, and I wanted to have roots for once in my life … but I gave him my number when he asked for it. Needless to say, it was the best decision I could have made in my life. In him, I finally found my home, and we forged friendships that have lasted outside of the Marine Corps.

One of the greatest things about the military is the bonds that are created between soldiers that is different than any other friendship. You have people from all walks of life – who would never give each other a second thought in normal circumstances – that become not only friends, but brothers and sisters. Every time we meet up with our friends from the Corps, it is like not a moment has passed since we had seen each other last. The walls and barriers we sometimes create in life come down, and we can be ourselves without judgement or persecution. No matter what our background or beliefs are, we are accepted and loved.

We spent this past weekend on the outskirts of Nashville with a couple of friends from the Corps, and we had a blast. I think sometimes we forget we are not in our twenties anymore when we first get together. Then the next morning, we are reminded of our age.

We were missing a few of our Corps friends this weekend, and they were sorely missed. When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate what the military gave me. I see people as just people. If you’re a jerk, you’re a jerk. If you’re a good person, you’re a good person. It’s that simple with how I see someone. It’s not that way with everyone, but the military was a melting pot of people and us DoD kids just saw each other for who we were, not what color our skin happened to be.

Today, I am grateful for the friendships the Marine Corps has blessed us with. No matter what happens or what we face, our friends from the Corps are there for life. We are aging, the next day might suck, but we wouldn’t change it for anything. Oorah, Marines. Until we see each other again.

~Tiff~

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