😱 Fear Fighters 🤺

The world is a big place. Fear of the unknown can be debilitating. It can wrap you in its dark web and kill your dreams faster than anything, or anyone, else can.

But the best things come from the moments when we’re scared.

From the moments when we’re afraid of rejection. From the moments when we’re unsure of what’s next.

Fear can cripple you, or it can feed you: it’s your choice.

Fear-wrapped dreams are not uncommon. Aspiring singers, actors, authors—all their goals are wrapped in fear. But each day, they choose to go out and conquer their fear. They decide to try again no matter how many times they’re rejected. With each rejection, there’s knowledge gained. There’s an innate desire to become better, to do better, that drives the dreamers. 

Life is about growing; it’s about learning; it’s about perseverance. 

Be better. 

Do better. 

Fall, then get back up.

Face your fears and let your worries fuel your desire to overcome your obstacles. Breakthrough the fear and become the person you’re destined to be.

Don’t be afraid to take chances. Don’t be afraid to reach for the impossible. Don’t be afraid of rejection. We all take chances that bear no fruit. We all run for the impossible and fail. We all face rejection in our lives. 

That’s okay.

It’s what we do afterward that matters.

❤️ Ms. Write Life 👩‍💻

🍷Alcoholism’s Collateral Damage❤️‍🩹

One bottle after the next is knocked back. Roaring laughter, wide smiles, glazed eyes. Amber liquid sloshes onto the stained carpet, blending in with urine, vomit, and feces. Feet shuffle toward the kitchen. The room tilts, a shoulder slams into the wall. Fingers claw for something. Anything. But there’s nothing. 

Nothing but darkness as everything else fades away.

The next afternoon, the scrawny man with white stubble on his chin lays splayed out on the dirt-stained floor. Someone knocks on the door. No answer. Someone knocks again. Bottles rattle as they skitter across the floor. 

The door cracks open. 

A naked father, covered in nothing but his bodily fluids, shades his red-rimmed eyes with his hand. A son, with his wife and small children walking up behind him, blocks their view.

A planned barbeque destroyed. Family bonds strained. Disappointment clouds the once bright day.  

A decade passes. A decade filled with driving a father to and from work since he can’t drive himself thanks to a DUI. A decade filled with trying to cook for a father who’d only show up drunk. A decade filled with a father asking for money. A decade filled with a father trying to light up a cigarette in his daughter’s car with his grandchild in the backseat. A decade filled with reaching out, with trying to save him, with offering help. But no one can save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.

Time goes on. A grandfather can’t spell his grandson’s name. A grandfather who doesn’t know what his granddaughter likes or dislikes. The grandchildren don’t know him, either. They call him by his given name, because he’s nothing more than a stranger.

A father who calls his grown children – not to see how they’re doing. Not to tell them he loves them. Simply because he needs something.

Alcoholism isn’t victimless. Its dark web entangles its victim as it promises nothing more than a good time. Alcoholism is a jealous mistress who doesn’t like to share. She doesn’t just destroy the poor soul who lives and breathes for the next sip of her nectar. She destroys families.

It’s easy to judge from the outside. To judge the kids for not calling their parent. To judge the kids for not visiting their parent. But when you fight to save a parent who doesn’t want to be saved, there’s collateral damage. Good, kind hearts are hurt over and over again to the point they become numb.

This is what comes with alcoholism. It’s ugly, cold, hurtful. The family members caught in the path deserve compassion and kindness, not judgement and hate.

This is reality.

Ms. Write Life

Bearded Man-Child 🧔

Green-blue eyes sparkle with mischievousness as freckled arms wrap around me, a wiry tawny beard jabs my hair, and my body stiffens. 

“Hug me,” he demands.

 I pat his arm with one hand. 

“That’s not a hug,” he scoffs. “Both hands.”

My arms hang loosely around him as he declares, “You suck at giving hugs.”

I snorted. “I’d give better hugs if you didn’t shit yourself every time you hugged me.”

That’s just a snippet of one of the conversations my eighteen-year-old son and I have. He hugs at home, leaving silent-but-deadly presents that linger like a dead carcass on the side of the road on a mid-July afternoon. He thinks it’s hilarious. I don’t. 

But to be fair – he gets it honest.

My dad’s the epitome of professionalism when he’s at work. The man is a hazard with any tools, can’t change a tire, struggles tying on a fishing lure. He can, however, leave a trail of deadly fumes in his wake. Something he enjoys doing in his own home as he passes by an unexpecting victim. 

My son learned from the expert crop duster, dropping gas like farmers drop pesticides. But when you fight your way out of the fumes, the bearded man-child has a softer side.

Professional Crop Dusters

He called me yesterday morning asking if I wanted anything to eat. I wasn’t even hungry, but I ordered a sausage biscuit. If my kid offers to pick me up something to eat, and he’s paying for it, I’m ordering something. I don’t care if I vomit afterward. He doesn’t usually buy me breakfast.

Maybe it’s because he walks across the stage this week. Maybe the spokes are turning in his brain, and he’s realizing life’s about to change. He’s no longer a toddler who can hold my hand as he stumbles through life. It’s his life. His choices. There will be mistakes. There will be failures. There will be disappointment. There will be tears. There will be storms. But in the midst of all that, he has an anchor. He has his family.

One thing I’ve tried to instill in my son is that family is forever. There will be people who walk into his life that he thinks will always be there, and they’ll eventually fade out of his life. But… he will always have a home to go to. He will always have an ear to listen to his woes. He will always have his family. When chaos ensues, we will be his anchor.

Today, I’ve been rambling around my house, straightening up, cleaning anything that catches my eye. Pictures hang on my walls. Pictures of my son as a toddler, as a child, as a teenager, as a bearded man-child. Tears prick the back of my eyelids. I scrub the granite countertop, avoiding his face smiling at me through the years.

He’ll walk across the stage tonight, grab the diploma held out to him, and he’ll slide the green-gold tassel dangling from his cap from one side to the other. I’ll paint my face, adding a dash of blush, eyeliner, mascara, knowing that I’ll not make it through the ceremony without crying.

I’ve barely avoided crying as I’ve walked around my home. The ghost of memories cling to every corner, hang from every wall.

Today… I’m a wreck. Tonight… I’ll still be a wreck.

Part of my heart, part of my hopes and dreams, part of my soul is venturing into the world. May he spread his wings and soar. May he fight for the impossible and make it possible. May he stand for what he believes in, even if it means standing alone. May he find joy, love, and peace as he branches off on his own.

More than anything, may he always find his way home.

~Tiff~

To My Son on Graduation Day

It’s hard to believe it’s here already. Graduation. When I first held you, eighteen years seemed so far away. Then, I blinked and my baby boy turned into a full-bearded young man.

Parenting doesn’t mean perfect. I didn’t always get everything right. But one thing I did get right was you. Even at nineteen-years-old and scared out of my mind, I never regretted having you. I regretted my choices that would negatively impact you. My boy. My innocent child. I was young, dumb, and didn’t have a clue. Until you were placed into my arms.

I am the woman I am today because of you. One look into your eyes lit a fire inside my soul. I wanted more for you than I wanted for myself. I stopped walking down deadend streets. I reflected on my actions. On my life. And I changed. For you. Because of you.

 Love doesn’t mean perfect, baby. It’s a flawed, beautiful thing wrapped in emotional highs and lows. But family is everything. When it feels like everything you’ve worked for is crashing down around you, your family will be there to hold you up. They will be your rock. Your encouragement. Family first. Always.

Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. Don’t be afraid to fail. But most of all, don’t be afraid to love. If I fail at everything else in life, I will take my last breath knowing that I never failed at loving you or your brother.

 I have so many hopes for you. But no matter what path you take, no matter how many times you stumble, I will be here to cheer you on or pick you up. Love you. Always and forever.

Baby Blues (J’s Song)

            ~❤️ Mama~

 

🤬Quitting Chocolate🍫

My partner in crime, my incognito redneck husband, decided to quit smoking. Great, right? Suuure, it is. Don’t let Sharon – AKA the optimism fairy – fool you. It sounds great. Fantabulous, even. But this chick isn’t holding her breath. Not this time. Sharon’s gonna have to sprinkle her optimism fairy dust on some other fool. ✨

As he’s splayed out on the recliner, peering down his phone while he lines up his next shot on some game he’s playing, he casually mentions he hasn’t smoked in three days. My mind races as I do a play-by-play of the last few days, and I can’t recall him rambling to the front porch light one up. Maybe he hasn’t smoked in a few days. But instead of encouraging him, I snorted in disbelief. 

I didn’t mean to… the sh*t just came out. Before you write me off, just stay with me for a minute. 

Several years ago, the man quit smoking and hadn’t smoked a single cigarette for two weeks, then he told me he needed to wean off of them instead of quitting cold turkey. You wanna know what happened? He weaned right back on them. He made up for the two weeks he didn’t smoke in one day. Not. Even. Kidding.

Anyway, he glances over at me, and the honest fairy 🧚‍♀️, Ruth, flutters on my shoulder, whispering in my ear, and the hard, ugly truth vomits from my mouth. Fairies are evil little b*tches. Don’t listen to them. Ever.

My sexy, patient husband listens to me as I smile sweetly at him, and I point out the cold, hard facts from the past. That’s right, gents. Us women, we remember everything… until the last breath rattles from our body. Tread lightly.

Two weeks pass, and the man still hasn’t smoked a cigarette. He hasn’t been a grumbling bear tearing through the house as the nicotine withdrawals hit him. I’m a bit shocked, and I now tell him how proud I am of his accomplishment. He mentions buying himself something as a reward, which I whole-heartedly agree to. He discusses how much money we’re saving a year, what others things we can buy or go do with the cost savings, and I’m beaming at him, nodding my head, eyes are sparkly and sh*t. Then he drops the mother luvin’ bomb on me…

Think of how much money we’d save if you gave up chocolate.

I blink once. 

Twice. 

My smile falters as I scan his face. This fool is serious. I stomped one foot like an angry toddler as I told him it’d never happen. I need chocolate. Hormones are angry, vicious monsters that need to be fed from time to time. It’s safer for everyone in our household.

He held up his hands, backed up a step, and agreed.

His life almost ended, and he knew it. Smart man.

Y’all didn’t read the title and really think I was quitting 🍫, did you? Blasphemy. It shall never happen. Ever. BFFs for life.

~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 ~

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