Category Archives: going rogue

30 Days of Brené Brown — Day 24: #truth #real #gifts #providence


Welcome to Day 24 of “30 Days of Brené Brown”!!

MERRRRRRY CHRISTMAS!!! I hope you are reading this in a nice and cozy blanket. It’s a good one and it unwraps before our eyes.

As a gift to me and to you, I’m going to make this one brief. Here is the quote:

Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Yup. Here is an excerpt from my post yesterday, which explains this better than anything I feel like putting together right now because I will own this: I’m just not in it at the moment. I’ve been writing these posts days in advance (my today is the 21st) so that I can travel this weekend to see my cousins and visit Mom’s grave site.

It’s like the post I wrote last Saturday, about nostalgia and how I found my mother’s notebook and the comment in her handwriting, block letters in fact, about me being “a bad kid.” (Please click here for that post as context helps.)

I was looking for something totally different. I was looking for comments about me in a loving way; about something that showed I was more than a one-dimensional figure (which is how I felt a lot of the time) in her life; that I was more than a foe of her lifestyle and a dependent “ingrate” (which is something I was termed as well) who stood in the way between her and her peace.

What I got was something TOTALLY different. I know Mom would do her best to explain the notes. I know I would’t accept it. Because she is most definitely NOT here, I have to do that for myself. I have to grow up. I have to allow her to be real if I am going to allow myself to be real. Even if her “real” does not align with my “real.” Who am I to say what is right or wrong? Y’dig? (I think I finally do.) 

That’s right: I’ve hit a new desperate low by quoting myself.

What I mean by those last words, “I think I finally do” is that it hit me, at that moment when I wrote it, that I was probably quite wrong, when I felt all those years and decades and moments that my mom was not being real. That any affectations, air, pretense or defense mechanism was Quite Real — it was how she coped, and that just because her behavior didn’t align with conventional parenting, it didn’t make her any less real of a human being.

This is heavy and big for me. This is my gift to myself, several days early, but which you get to open, of Christmas.

We have no right.

We have no right to decide if someone is not being real. For years, I considered her a fake, and I even confronted her with it: “It’s hard to believe anything you say in moments like these; it feels like you’re just giving me what you think I want instead of what you’re really feeling! It’s soul stealing!” I would say, torn and riveted at the same time, my eyes and heart searching for something with friction to hold on to. I feel like she looked into my eyes to find it too.

Am I being cruel to her memory? Am I being unkind toward the dead? My mother? I can’t worry about that. She was a trained actress, she was an accomplished theater director, she knew intellectually how to drive a scene, position characters, create conflict, build a climax and how to blow minds. Sometimes she would weep during these moments of ours (boo! hoo! hoo! >look around, see if anyone is wondering< bew hew hew…) and it would sound so saccharine, it would feel so exploitative.

Because it was. But also, because it wasn’t. Who knows what was going on in her… I spent decades wondering. Perhaps her fear of being real WAS her Being Real.

We are all flawed, experience moments of insecurity, we might feel “damaged” or completely lost. Does that devalue our humanity? No. Doing so, walking in that air of devaluing others is judgment and it separates.

She was being real through all of it. It’s just that we didn’t like it. It made us feel less-than. It made us feel insignificant and puny. That’s when the claws came out.

This is big. It’s going to change my approach to my memoir in a profound way. I am so grateful for it. It means I can be fairer to us both; that even through my hurt and disappointment I can extend to her a baseline for her.

I feel like freakin’ Ebenezer Scrooge today. (And I’m still several days early!)

“I don’t know what to do!” cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoön of himself with his stockings. “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”
― Charles DickensA Christmas Carol

look closely at what's in the middle of that wreath.

look closely at what’s in the middle of that wreath.

She was not perfect. I need to get over that. I so SO need to let that expectation go. I don’t know when I will. She was my mother; as I’ve said before: hers was the first and most melodious voice I ever heard. The secrets I must’ve heard, the joys she shared with me and the woes, worries and anxieties… Good Lord, this puts it ALL in a totally new perspective.

Who are we?! This is what comes of opening up and following the feelings.

Give yourself the gift today of feeling that — that liberty of granting someone else no expectations and moving on with whatever bullshit you’ve put in your and their way. I need a few moments to process this.

So yeah, go connect.

Thank you.

ps – so much for not being “in it at the moment.” yikes. this stuff just comes out whenever it wants.




What might be a weed to my neighbors is a gift to me.

I have these lovely little hearty violets dotting my lawn. They never die, they come back every spring.

They remind me that what might be a nuisance to others is an opportunity to me.

Life is like that sometimes always.

Things are seldom what they seem.

Slow down, think again, see the flower instead of a weed. See the standout from the crowd.

In all the millions of blades of verdant, straight and narrow grass, this little guy, despite all the odds against him (or her), comes out and says, “Here I am! Work around me! If you pluck me and kill me, that’s about you, not me.”

Thank you

This is How I Roll: Some Parents Need to Grow Up


Look, I’m not going to sugar coat this: I’m grossed out by people who think it’s funny to have kids and then bitch about them, or habitually talk about needing booze, or a line, or a joint or a valium or whatever to get through the day.

It’s all over the Internet. Apparently it’s what sells. “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”- Henry Mencken. I prefer to not engage with the “foolish consistencies [which] are the hobgoblins of little minds.” -Emerson. I guess I will never hit it big. That’s OK, drunk people can’t read very well.

What those people need is a few moments alone and several deep breaths. That’s all. Oh, and likely therapy, which they are probably avoiding.

Ask anyone who knows me or who has interacted with me, and they will tell you, I’ve got a sense of humor, I am resilient, I can roll with punches. But just not this one. Not about parents who get their drink/joint/whatever on to cope with their holes, fears, inadequacy issues, mommy issues, daddy issues, shitty childhoods or whatever that are being activated by triggers that parenthood presents. I’m not talking anxiety, we all have that. I’m talking deep, real, soul-wrenching stuff. Oh, and regarding those who habitually make jokes about it? Grow up.


So, here’s the deal: I grew up with crap like that happening to me. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “You drive me to drink” as a kid. It’s sick as hell. Those days, and my decisions to talk about them are prickly. It’s partly my story to tell, in terms of how it affected me, but I can tell you this: if you need a drink, or think it’s funny to crack wise about being a mom or a dad who needs *needs* NEEDS something to “get through your day” I have a proposal for you: get fixed.

No, not with a shrink, that’s later, but tie your tubes, clip the lines, get your act together before you victimize your kids with your so-called, “I was just kidding” banter and jokes and Facebook groups and blog titles, and all that stuff. Because what you do to your kids, in the end, when they’re like me: 45 and wondering where the hell you were all their life, it’s not gonna be so funny then. You will be “Granny needs a drink” then. And that’s even sicker.

This is real. Kids are not saints, they are micro versions of me and you, and they have memories, and they have feelings and they have access to the Internet. If you find yourself turned off by their behavior, I have a suggestion: look around and look in the mirror. They learn from us, peers, teachers, siblings, but mostly from us, their parents, who appear godlike in their eyes. They believe everything we say, they don’t understand sarcasm until they’re about 15, despite our insistence that they get it beforehand. We are their go-to resource, unless we are half in the bag, spending the night at the office, on a little yellow pill, or pulling a toke.

But I’m just joking. Right? Because we all are. We’re all just trying to loosen up, have a little fun, don’t be such a stiff, Mol…

This isn’t our second shot at being in the cool group in high school or being popular with the pretty people. If you (like just about everyone) have some weird torch you’re holding for the glory days of your youth and you’re pinning your hopes on your kid to Make It this time… Wake up and smell the music. It’s pathetic. Get your act together and behave.

Maybe if you’re lucky, when you’re old and decrepit they will just feel sorry for you. Maybe if when they’re in a state where you will need them, when they have to take care of you, they will do the right, honorable and human thing: respect you and help you age and eventually die well. Or maybe they’ll get drunk and make jokes about it. You know, because it’s all in good fun, right?, crapping on the concept of being there for people who need our help. Or maybe they won’t resent the hell out of you for putting yourself first all. the. time. Or maybe they will do their best, numbly go through the motions, but be unable to give back what wasn’t given to them.

As a parent, I’m all for cutting loose and having fun, but not as a brand, not as an identity, and certainly not as a thematic function for who I am. Life’s hard enough sober and single. Marriage adds a whole new dimension. And then kids?! Innocent people who are legitimately needy and completely dependent on us for everything until they aren’t anymore?! Holy cow… I can’t imagine life drunk and with kids. And I certainly can’t imagine it being clever or glib or witty to make jokes about needing a mind-numbing substance to get through the day.

I can’t stand that stuff, it makes my blood boil. I have moments, trust me, of when I wish I could run away, or of when I wish I could be more resilient, more aloof, but no… This is life. When you get it on and make a baby, it’s not only all about you anymore. It’s about doing your best, everyday showing up mentally and physically and doing two very simple things on paper, but hard as hell to practice at times: love them with all your might and protect them. Love and protect. That’s all.

Therapy is cheap compared to how our glibness affects our children.

I’m dealing with my own set of challenges: I’m the PB&J in my family sandwich. My parents are getting reeeeally old and my kids are almost all teenagers. I will need every ounce of presence and sanity to navigate these waters. I could do the easy thing, do what my parents did: get drunk and avoid my responsibilities, but that’s not who I am.

If I’ve pissed you off, it’s okay. We aren’t right for each other. Just being real.

Thank you.

It Was the Year 2013 When Molly…


I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions; they’re gimmicky to me. I started this blog on 1/3/11 because of that.

I am however, giving myself license to do something I’ve never done: plan goals for the next year.

I typically shy away from such commitments because they’re … HELLO!… commitments.

But it’s a new me, fresh out of the box because I’ve had a couple epiphanies and they feel right.

The first epiphany is that I am hereby making myself eat crow: I’m going to go ahead and read / edit / and work my posterior off on my book that I started wrote over the summer during “Camp NaNoWriMo.” I recounted my dilemma with NOvels in my Peevish Penman about NaNoWriMo post: I have a pedantic fixation with the fact that NOvels are supposed to be fiction but I lamented that my first NOvel end up being a thinly veiled memoir and that’s not a NOvel despite the truth that most fiction has some basis in actual events. To add pine needles on a campfire, the plot thickened when my latent issue with memoirs cum NOvel was bolstered by two conversations I had after finishing the book.

The first chat left me feeling like a piece of fake moss (that’s pretty bad). Nuances of that conversation can be found here in the post I wrote called “Fear: Eff It.” The second chat revolved around the correct suggestion that most financially successful  memoirs are written by famous people and so why should I bother writing a memoir if I’m not famous? Well? Why should I?

Fake (Kate) Moss

Fake (Kate) Moss; man I love the internet…

Back to effing the fear… I have re-read the following paragraph more than a few times and I wonder why I am writing this and I realize that it’s not really for me anymore, because I’ve decided. I think I’m writing it for anyone reading this who might need a nudge to keep going.

To all of this I say, “why not?” Who’s life is this? Mine. Who’s book is this? Mine. Is it all fiction? No. Does that matter? No. Is it insightful? HECK to the YEAH. I have things to say and share them in a detached, experienced and observant way that might help a reader shine a light on their own woes, maybe provide that “aha!” moment. Is this asking too much? Lots of people have told me that the candid stuff I write resonates with them and the funny stuff entertains. My writing is “me on paper.” So I’m moving forward.

I hadn’t moved forward until now because I was afraid of failure and I’ve allowed some really crappy excuses (plus some really awesome fake ones too: I’m a cryptologist and a neurosurgeon and I just don’t have time; I am an international secret double agent pirate who needs to drive all her Indy cars to make sure they stay in tip-top shape; all my gold records need to be cataloged for insurance purposes) to get in my way.

I’ve got my own definition of “successful memoir”: one that’s finished. More about the failure thing: I’ve got nothing to lose. I have a great life, husband, kids, home, gig. Will it all suddenly vanish if I resume work on this tome? No. So the exercise for me must be to see it all the way through. It’s about growing the heck up and following through on a plan fercripessakes.  I mean c’mon: who writes 75,000 words and does nothing with them? (Uh… well, I didn’t …)

>cue “Battle Hymn of the Republic”<

Well, that’s not who I am. Anymore. I’m a finisher and a recovering people pleaser and that’s why I’m moving forward. I stopped before because I listened to some people who shared their unsolicited thoughts.

>stop bagpipes. cue silence. cue crickets. cue silent crickets.<

The inverse of those comments were proffered over Thanksgiving, first by my nephew who asked me almost immediately upon seeing me, “Hey Mol, how’s your book coming?” (WHA-??) and some other peeps who asked me, “C’mon: who writes 75,000 words and does nothing with them?! Get on it!” And they got me thinking, and I’m sure the champagne didn’t hurt either, but I countered, “Well, it’s a thinly veiled memoir… and I’m not famous, so why bother … ” and before they could reply, I immediately turned to stick my head in the oven, but the turkey was in the way.

My friend said, “Molly, it’s a different world now; publishing has changed, people are much more candid and open and it’s OK; you don’t have to be a burnt-out rehabbed movie star with a ghost writer to have a fascinating memoir. People need to hear your story, trust me. That’s why it’s telling itself through you…. come out, the oven’s electric.”

Fear. NnnnnNnnnn.

My fear has been about putting myself out there but it’s been muted a little through this tiny blog. Trust me: opening this blog two years ago was a Big Deal for me. I’ve grown through it, I’ve ‘met’ some awesome people through it, I’m really grateful for it and it’s shown me that I’ve got more to offer than 600-3,000 word bits of myself. When 2012 is over, I will have likely almost 10,000 viewings (including the Russian mobsters, Nigerian princes, penile implant dealers and their bots) since I started here on WordPress in May.  That’s a long time. I love it, but it’s time to evolve. To my point, I just read a great post about writing and something called the “pivot point.” I think I’m there.

I’m on the pivot point precipice: I’m ready to go back? jump and look at the stuff I wrote in June and cry over it. My oven is electric too. I am COMMITTED to this and it might take a long time. That’s ok. Nothing good every happened overnight. I just read a great post about not giving up.

The second epiphany is more of a sub-epiphany: I’m not sure I’m a good blogger; well, that sounds like a pity party whose invitations are about to be returned… all this means is that I’m not a successful and super-popular blogger and while I whine and moan about that privately to my shoes, I also thank GOD that I’m not super popular because that’s a lot of pressure. A lot of the more happenin’ female bloggers are savvy on current events; others write wildly about their lady parts, shoes, feminism, parenthood or shoes (always with the shoes – hey, I wrote a snarky post about shoes – when I was 5 I was in a fashion show…) and they stick with it.

de pain! de pain!

de pain! de pain!

I chatted about this at the end of October (what is it about the end of months?) because I was gearing up for NaNoWriMo, which I bailed on because of a raging sinus infection (I thought the vise-like headaches were a sign from Mercury). I’ll still blog. I dig you guys. I have a lovely and reliable following of people who I think are getting it: I write entertaining random stuff.

Despite my cleaving, like a capuchin monkey, to the random idea, I know I have a formula and a voice. Everything I write is introspective and humorous as is the tone of my book (which is totally marketable because Mr. Big Bear and Miss Kitty said they’d buy it last week during our tea party under the dining room table as did some people I met on the street [which was probably a way to get me to put down the gun]). But I actually wrote a bit of it with marketing in mind because I know that books need a hook to get published and sell. I’m thinking I could market it through Hay House. (Check me out bein’ all brash and already talking about publishers an’ whatnot…Cedric! hold all my calls!

So not surprisingly, the second? third epiphany is that I’m funny and mindful. I’m not funny-slapstick-laugh-off-your-fanny funny. I’m witty (it’s a curse, believe me), I fancy Tom Wolfe, Dorothy Parker, PJ O’Rourke. I’m Irish and I’m a writer and this is how it’s gonna be. So I’m in… d’ya feel me?

OK OK… stop asking… keep your squirrel pants on.

we can't see his pants.

we can’t see his pants.

The book: It’s about a woman who learns, through the work with her therapist, that she’s the one who has to get her act together and move on. As an adult, while she’s free of  her chaotic childhood, she reacts to very primitive and deep triggers that make her hang on to anger and resentments and maintain maladaptive behaviors and toxic relationships. It’s one thing for her to be in the dark about her stuff and not correct it; it’s quite another for her to have to take ownership of her life and fix it. Once she is aware of her patterns, her interest in growth is fierce but the fight is harder: for the anger and resentments are her reliable friends: they enable her prejudices, to stay the victim and to breed reactivity based on deep fears. All the tools she crafted in her youth (wit, sarcasm, anger, tenacity, brutal honesty, the ability to eat raw meat – just checking to see if you’re still with me) served to seemingly protect her and help her not self-destruct (in the physical sense). But those feelings are prickly vestiges and in order to grow, she has to open her eyes and let some things move through her.  She doesn’t hate her parents anymore, but she  wishes they’d been better parents and her hanging on to that wish is what kept her angry. For my protagonist, being mindful as a mother who grew up with such lacking examples of coping and nurturing left her with no direction. She was “asleep” for many years … this book is about her awakening and recovery.

It’s all fiction. It has nothing to do with my life, see?

So I’m moving forward with the book. And then I’ll write a scathing tell-all about the people who tell people not to follow their dreams. Then I’ll write another one, which is not about therapy and more funny and that will be good too. It doesn’t matter if I doesn’t sell a bazillion copies. It just matters that I do it. If it sold a bazillion dollars worth, maybe I could meet my beloved Vincent D’Onofrio… have him wear a kilt and him do a reading of my scathing tell-all, falsetto. Wow…

I am also hereby avowing to become certified to teach yoga in 2013. I’ve been at this gig for almost 14 years. I created a 31-Day Sun Salute Challenge over on Facebook if you’re game – come join us:

And…. I am going to run jog in a public 5k. I run jog 5ks as a regular distance when I run jog, but I don’t like to do them with other people because of that whole commitment thing. I need to get over that. So I am getting over that.

What do you all have in store for 2013? Or… what does 2013 have in store for you?

Thank you.