〰A Non-Linear Life〰

I’ve been in this weird period of my life where I’ve been reflecting on everything. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. It’s exhausting. But I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I’m just getting older, my kids are growing up, and when I look around me, my eyes turn into leaky faucets. Because regardless of the moments of chaos in my life, I know I’m beyond lucky.

Not only do I have two great kids (who sometimes get on my last nerve), but I have two parents who love me, a brother and a sister who think I rock the world, and an amazing partner that I get to tackle life with. A life that has been full of twists and turns.

And yet, there are people who think life is a linear line. You’re born, you live, you die. Start at point A, end at point B.

But life isn’t a linear line.

It’s full of ups, downs, and curves.

And there are times when you stop and wonder if you will ever get ahead.

It can be frustrating, maddening, and a host of other negative emotions to where you want nothing more than to throw yourself down and have a good tantrum. But listen, I’ll let you in on a little secret—we all have those moments.

Moments of despair.

Moments of defeat.

Moments of failure.

But when shit gets hard, it is the people who you surround yourself with that will be there to lean on. Choose the people who choose you. If there’s someone in your circle who isn’t present, cut the tie and let them go. Don’t fight for someone who isn’t willing to fight for you. You deserve more than that.

What I have learned during the course of my life is that there are constants holding me up during the darkest of storms. My best friend. My other half. My ride or die. My life partner. He is one of those constants. Whenever the wind goes out of my sails, he blows the wind right back into them. There have been so many moments I wanted to give up. Call it quits. But my husband was beside me, encouraging me. He believed in my dreams, no matter how crazy or impossible they seemed.

Never once did I rise from the ashes of defeat on my own. I had help. Which maybe that sounds crazy, but it’s true. The positive reinforcement I received from my circle, that’s what saved me. I came back swinging because I had people I loved who were cheering me on. They were my inspiration. They were my fuel. And I love them all the more for it.

If you don’t have that in your life, I hope you find it. Life is too short to be surrounded by negativity. It’s okay to choose you, to choose your own happiness, and to find a circle that brings light into your life. Because life isn’t a linear line, it’s a non-linear line. So find the people that will ride that rollercoaster with you.

I promise, it’ll be worth it.

~ Ms. Write Life~

 

🏘 Small Town, Big Dreams 🎇

Living your truth isn’t easy. It’s an internal battle, a fight to be who you are, regardless of what others think. As a young person, it’s daunting to come out as what others perceive as different, as a pariah, and voicing your dreams that are bigger than the town you live in can lead to ridicule, taunting, and words whispered that you’ll never make it.

But as you get older, as you become wiser, you realize that you can live your truth and be loved for who you are. You can chase your dreams, even when others say it’s impossible. And anyone who doesn’t support your truth, your dreams, is nothing more than a tiny speedbump on the road of life and not worth fretting over.

Blake Henry is living his truth and chasing his dreams, and his road to National Showman has been paved with obstacles, but through hard work, determination, and perseverance, he is inching closer to walking across that stage.

This is his story. This is his truth.

How was it growing up in a small community, where your dreams are bigger than the small town you come from?

Growing up here in a small town was actually great in ways. I feel it taught me to love and trust people and not take things for granted. But it was also challenging to be who I truly was living in a small country town. I had seen people before me that came out that we’re treated so badly just because they were gay and it caused them to leave town. When I finally came out it was because I wanted to live my truth and be who I actually was and not live a fake life. I was always the same person but I felt like I was lying to myself and everyone else.

When I came out I was 17 years old my friends had taken me to a club called The Connection in Louisville I obviously had to sneak in cause I was too young. That is when I first saw the art of Drag. I saw queens such as Terri Vanessa Coleman, Hurricane Summers, Syimone, and Vanessa Demornay. There were also male entertainers Landy Saavedra and Mykul Jay Valentine. I used to say someday I want to do that but never thought I actually would.

As far as dreams, I always wanted to do something bigger. I knew there was more in life for me besides growing up here in Greensburg and living a traditional life. I knew that simply wasn’t for me. I had many dreams. The first thing I wanted was to be a parent. In 2014, I moved from Greensburg to Indianapolis to improve my career as a restaurant manager because I wanted to bring in enough income to eventually start a family. Things didn’t go as planned but it did happen in 2016 after I moved to Louisville. 2016 was a big year for me – I started performing and soon as I got my feet wet performing, I found out Zaidyn was coming along. Other dreams I had were to make a difference not only in the LGBTQIA+ community but my local community. Back when I first came out as gay, the gay clubs and bars were about making people feel welcomed and like family but now it’s just not the same. I strive to use the platform I have to make people feel like they have someone. It’s not easy being a part of our community. Many of us lose our blood family because they don’t agree with our lives. Many people of the LGBTQIA+ community commit suicide because of how they are treated for being who they are or because they don’t feel comfortable coming out or because they think bad about themselves because sometimes that’s what society puts in our heads. If I can make a few people feel better about themselves, I might encounter someone and it saves their life.

What has it taken to get to Nationals?


As far as Nationals it’s taken A LOT to get to this point. When I started performing I didn’t think I would get into pageants and I did. Pageants are very expensive and after winning two pageants – Mr. Bar Complex and Mr. Lexington Pride – I finally decided I wanted to do a National pageant. The National Showman pageant stuck out to me because it’s about costumes, rhinestones, furs, jewelry, etc. and that’s a lot of the things my stage persona presents. I’ve been preparing for this pageant for about 2 years it’s been very time-consuming and of course, not one thing has gone how I planned. It’s been very stressful but pageants teach performers discipline, endurance, and professionalism.

What does winning the title mean for you?

Winning this title means a lot to me. It will give me a platform in my community. I want to bridge the gap between the “gay” and “straight” community. I want people to see us for who we are as individuals not just our sexuality. Winning this title will help me grow further as a performer and travel and become the face of business for the system. Reigning as a National titleholder is a big responsibility. You have to be approachable and social, but also helpful and have skills to grow a business because that’s what pageantry is.

What’s it like being a single parent while chasing your dreams?

Being a single parent while chasing my dreams is very hard. Anyone that is a single parent has it hard. It’s a challenge. I have to juggle my time and be able to switch between tasks like crazy. Having a 4-year-old that’s very demanding while preparing for shows or pageants is tough. When you are performing people see you on stage for 5-8 minutes or so at a time. What they don’t see is how it took 2 weeks to rhinestone the costume you are wearing, or how long it took to pick the perfect costume for the number you are doing, or even how long it took you to present the performance you want to give for the number exactly how you want it received. I have to be able to do all those things plus take care of my child. I find myself constantly having a project to work on in my free time so when he is occupied doing something I can take a few moments to work on something. Or I just stay up most of the night if I’m pushing a time limit. I wouldn’t change it for the world though.

You can support Blake and his dream of becoming the next National Showman by sending donations to him through:

CashApp: $RomanYoung2005

Venmo: @RomanYoung2005

PayPal: bhenry05@hotmail.com

 

💍 Family by Marriage, Sisters by Choice ❤️

Family isn’t defined by blood. It’s defined by the people in a person’s life that care about them. That are invested in them. That wish for their happiness. That cheer them on. That cheer them up. It’s the people that are there when the storms blow in and the waters are rough. We became family through marriage, but we are sisters by choice.

Throughout the years, I’ve seen your struggles, your heartache, your darkest moments. I’ve seen you define your self-worth by a man that never deserved you. Anyone can find a leech to stick to their right ass cheek. But you deserve more than that. Expect rainbows, sunshine, laughter, love, and acceptance. That’s the least you deserve. And if a man doesn’t give it to you, don’t just walk away… run.

Giving everything you have – your heart, your home, your joy – to someone who didn’t appreciate it is in the past.  Leave it in the past.

You are strong. You are beautiful. You are funny. You are a hard worker. You are a great mom. You deserve the best. 

Believe it.

No man or person should treat you as an option. As someone to call when he or she needs or wants something. As someone to run to when he or she chooses to.

That’s not love. That’s not friendship. 

Love and friendship should be reciprocal. It isn’t always one person picking up a phone to call the other. It isn’t always one person making an effort while the other stands idly by. If it isn’t reciprocal, if there isn’t any effort made by the other person, you don’t need it.

We are family by marriage, but we became sisters by choice. Ride or die. Someone to call that won’t talk you out of a bad idea, but will promise to bail you out of jail. Someone who will stand by with the camera ready to roll as a woman rudely blocks an entire aisle in Wal-Mart. Someone who will dive into a pool, chest flop, and come up smiling, just to see you do it. 

Life’s meant to be filled with laughter. To be enjoyed. To be treasured.

I wish that for you.

Always. 💕

Tiff

💥Crashing & Burning🔥 Hello, Thirties

If you’re in your twenties, enjoy your youthful looks and resilient body, because one day, that shit’s gonna be gone, and no matter how much you fight to get it back, your metabolism, AKA Beth, is gonna straight up laugh in your face and add a flab of fat underneath your neck and give you a whole new perspective on the word ‘jowl’. To add icing to that ham-hock neck of yours, if you try to run like you used to, your once-upon-a-time resilient muscles, AKA Jane, is gonna make you think you have it in you, then she’s gonna shred your muscles like it’s pulled pork, and you’ll be out of commission for weeks… if not months.

Getting older is painful. Beth and Jane don’t cooperate like they used to. If you even look at a cupcake Beth slows down, pops five pounds on your right ass cheek, and wipes the sweat off her forehead like she performed some great mission that saved mankind. Jane isn’t much better. If you lift your leg in an attempt to use a stepstool, Jane freaks the f*ck out, and yanks on your hamstring. You land with a resounding thud on your derriere as you scream like a toddler clinging to a toy they can’t have. 

Shit gets real when you creep toward your forties. 

Your medicine cabinet, the one you barely used, gets crammed with medicines and ointments you’d never heard of before. The Pepto commercials you laughed at… that pink shit’s now your right hand girl. Tums turns into a nightly event. Bengay becomes a new, smelly friend you use like deodorant. 

The funny thing is… if you’re reading this and you’re in your twenties… you think it’ll never happen to you. 

You run five miles a day. 

You eat healthy.

You drink water.

You’re invincible. 

Bwah ha ha ha…saddle up, cowgirl. 

I used to be you. Then Beth and Jane showed up and showed out. Now, I’m hitting up a swimming pool to avoid Jane rupturing my muscles. I’m eating Built Bars and tracking my food on an app as I try to out maneuver Beth’s fat-adding wand that she swishes around like it’s magic fairy dust.

Your thirties are the years you began crashing and burning. You realize how frail you truly are. You’ll have dumb nights where you think you can drink like you did in your early twenties, then Ronda shows up and smacks the shit out of you, giving you a hangover like you’d never had before. Your stomach’s on fire and churns twenty-four hours later, your head pounds, your freakin’ eyeballs hurt. 

So, I’m going to enjoy the last few years of my thirties with Beth, Jane, and Ronda as I try to mentally prepare myself for what’s to come in my forties. 

If you’re in your twenties, live it up, y’all.

~Ms. Write Life~

Follow me on:

Twitter – @mswritelife05

TikTok – @mswritelife05

Instagram – @mswritelife05

Glam On

Growing up, I had a rockin’ Grams who had a bright, beautiful soul that radiated kindness. She was unabashedly who she was, and she accepted people for who they were. There are so many instances that I remember her going into a store, seeing an employee who was having a bad day, and she made it her mission to cheer them up. Her bright blue eyes twinkled, she smiled, and her cheerful British accent floated throughout the store. She could call someone a dickhead and make it sound nice. She was an unconventional grandma, but she was absolute perfection.

 It wasn’t abnormal for her to tease a family member and call them a ‘bloody bastard’, which would be appalling by some community standards, but it incited laughter and love. She was the one person that we could all go to, leave our souls bared, and she would love us regardless of how many poor decisions we made. That’s love in its purest form. 

As human beings, we put so many restrictions on others around us – how they should act, what they should say, what they shouldn’t say, how they should look, how they shouldn’t look – and it’s absolutely exhausting. I’m at the point in my life where I’m stripping away the layers of who everyone else thinks I should be or need to be. I’m going to do me. Be me. Accept it… or leave it. 

 I live in a small community, and yes, there are a few people with small minds. But… there’s a whole lotta good people, and sometimes, it is easy to let those few small minds cast stones that stick with us for longer than they should. I personally believe that if someone is gay, transgender, or… whatever they are, they should be treated the same as everyone else. They are not pariahs or outcasts. If a young girl isn’t married, and she has a kid, it isn’t the end of the world, and she doesn’t need criticism and judgement. She needs encouragement and love. If there’s a mixed kid, they don’t need to be ostracized or made to feel like they are less simply due to their skin tone. Their mom and dad are free to love each other – regardless of what race they are. When you see a kid’s surname, do not write them off, and label them based on the actions of other people in their family. See past all the bias. Just live and love. It’s that simple. 

I also don’t believe women should cater to men simply because they feel obligated to. We are no longer staying at home and solely taking care of our families. We are in the workforce, and bringing home the bacon, so why should we have to cook and serve a man? It’s just not in me, y’all. My gram’s blood runs thick in my veins, and I just can’t do it. My marriage is a partnership, and I have a sexy @$$ husband who isn’t afraid to wash clothes or load the dishwasher. You want to get laid by your wife? Keep the roses, and wash the mother*ckn dishes, bruh. 

#micdrop

I’m choosing to live my life according to my own rules. My grams was unconventional, but she was freakin’ awesome, and she’s glammin’ her angel wings. Now, I have one of the last voicemails she left me embedded in a sign on my wall. I can listen to it by simply scanning the QR code. How freakin’ cool is that?

To those feeling suffocated… stop being oppressed by people who will never be part of your life, anyway. Be you. Do you. You’re beautiful. You’re enough. If you’ve experienced feeling judged or have been treated inferior, feel free to drop into the comment section. I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences.

And, if you need some awesome jewelry to go with your bad@$$ self, check out Unique Twist Jewelry here:

https://uniquetwistjewelry.com

~Tiff~

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~

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

The Dying Town’s Future

Within a few months’ time, everything has changed. Several businesses were forced to close their doors as COVID-19 infiltrated not only the cities but the rural communities as well. There will most likely be some businesses that never open their doors back up in the big cities of Louisville, Kentucky or Washington D.C., but I wonder how many will keep their doors closed in Green County, Kentucky.

Over the last year or so, there have been a few new businesses come in – Green River Live, The Caterpillar Crossing, Rock Bottom Wholesale – but there have been several that closed as well, including IGA. One business opens, another closes – that seems to be the pattern. There are fields of rubble that were once factories … most of them closed their doors and headed overseas for cheaper labor. Most people drive by the fields and probably don’t pay much attention to them because it’s just part of the scenery they have come accustomed to. To me, it’s a cemetery of lost hope. A field of lost dreams. A place where people lost their livelihoods.

There’s some people who are afraid of growth in these communities, because they are afraid of what it will bring. In some ways, I can understand that. Some see increased crime rates, drugs, alcohol and all of the flaws a city might have. Right now, when I look at these communities, I love the people and sense of fellowship, but I hate knowing that my children will have to move away in order to find a decent job and gain some experience. We’re so used to working in factories and being paid so little with crappy benefits that we forget there’s a world out there with jobs that don’t require us to sacrifice our health and well-being for a little bit of money. There are jobs where we don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. Maybe some people will think it’s just fed from greed, but I disagree. We have one life to live, so why are we choosing to be prisoners tied with constraints of minimum wage jobs with benefits that are a joke? Life is short. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. We just need to decide to break the bonds that are holding us back.

As the economy is allowed to open back up, I will shop the small businesses in Green County as well as the surrounding counties because I know they will need all of my support along with the support of our communities. The owners of these businesses have poured their lifesavings into opening their doors. They pour a ton of time, effort and energy into them with the hope they will succeed. Every time a new business opens, I hold that hope in my heart for them as well. You see, they were brave enough to chase their dreams and believed in our community enough to start a business. We can take our hard-earned money and spend it in bigger chain stores and restaurants as we pass by the places in our own community, but we are failing the small towns we love.

Maybe you read this and think you can’t make a difference … you’re just one person … one family. Maybe so … but, in order to keep breathing life into our town, it takes each of us doing our part … including you. Individually we are small, but together we are big enough to make a difference in the lives of the small businesses who need us. Maybe the thought has flitted through your mind that it’s not going to help you out, so why bother? That might be true, but I’m not thinking about the right now … this very second … I’m thinking about the future. The future of these towns for your children, my children … our grandchildren. Think bigger than I or me. We don’t get up and go to work every single day for ourselves. We do it for the people we love. You can make a difference. You just have to choose to.

~Tiff~

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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~

Write On

Listen, y’all, have been in a little bit of a funk over the last few weeks. The cold – it slices right through me, and I just want to burrow under a blanket while ignoring the outside world. Don’t get me wrong. I like people. Ok, ok … stop laughing. I’ll change the sentence. I like most people. With that being said, I’m just not one of those folks that adores winter and dreams in snowflakes. Spring and summer are my jelly. Yeah, equivalent to blackberry jelly. If you haven’t had decent blackberry jelly, I’ll send a prayer your way. You haven’t lived until that sweet deliciousness has hit your tongue. Just sayin’.

Even though I’m wrapping myself in a million soft, fuzzy blankets with hideous designs and staying mostly inside, I am still managing to click away on the keyboard. I’m still sending queries out for my latest novel. It’s not a fast process. It’s a slow, methodical process. Being in a corporate environment where everything is moving at lightning speed, I can imagine what literary agents face every time they open their inbox, and personally, I don’t envy them. It has to be tough because every rejection they send out is dashing someone’s dream and quite possibly ruining their day.

As a writer, I try not to let the querying process get to me. For the literary agents, a rejection isn’t sent out to hurt someone. It’s just a business and they can’t accept every query they receive. Use those rejections as a motivator to learn more and become even better. Life is a journey, y’all. We need to continue to learn from our mistakes and grow as human beings.

I have also officially started outlining my next novel, so I probably won’t be sleeping as well until I have it completely hammered out. Once it’s in my head, it takes over. So, I plan on being done with the outline over the next month, then finish my first draft by June. For me, it helps to have a goal. Once I start writing, I keep a running record of what my wordcount is each day. I try to range between 1,200 and 1,500 per day, but I don’t beat myself up if one day is shorter or if I miss a day because I know there will be days where my brain is like a brand new machine and I’m churning out more than my goal.

If you’re feeling deflated as a rejection enters your inbox, don’t let it get you down. Chin up, ladies and gents, and write on. Greatness rises from rejections.

~Tiff~

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