When You’re Dead.

I have always bought purses and bags from retail stores, never spending more than $40 for a bag. The people who can go out and spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for a purse baffle me. It seems like such a frivolous thing to do, especially knowing that these purses will be used for a while, then the owner will get tired of it, or demand the latest version to keep up with the ever-evolving world of fashion.

I, on the other hand, hold on to them for years. I’m not saying I don’t have several, because I do, but I often give them a rotation and use them until they are tattered, worn, and filthy and have seen far better days. I’m rough on my bags; they are with me every day and I stuff them to the gills with the odd assortment of items: at least four tubes of chapstick or lip balms (I have a problem); a small makeup bag with toothpaste and toothbrush and a small container of wax for my braces (when you have braces as an adult, you learn quickly to always carry this stuff with you); whatever book I’m pretending to read at the moment (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. I don’t like it much); and the usual suspects–billfold (or wallet or pocketbook or whatever your regional dialect prefers), a pen or two because you are never sure if you have a pen or not, so you toss one in just in case, and keys. Recently, I found a Fruit Roll-Up at the bottom of my bag. I am still unsure how that got in there, but it made me happy to discover it because hey, Fruit Roll-up.

These bags get tossed around and beaten up. The lining of the one I’m currently reusing is shot. The seams have all ripped open and anything that was once nestled safely in a pocket is now stuck in the purgatory that is between the liner and outer shell of the purse. Nothing makes you more crazy than absolutely knowing for a fact that you have a certain item with you but cannot find it and end up dumping the contents out on a table to rummage through it, angry and annoyed.

It’s a treat when I decide to exchange bags, as I always find something I had been looking for in it, couldn’t find it, so dubbed it missing without hope of return. So that’s where that went! Welcome back, old friend! Favorite shades of lipstick reunited, favorite pens found again. It’s heartwarming, really.

Lately, the bag I’ve been using has definitely seen better days. It’s faux-leather, and the edges around the opening and long shoulder strap are wearing out and the once lovely tan color is allowing the ugly fabric to show through. This particular bag in question is also the one that keeps eating my things into its belly. I decided I needed to get a new one when I reached into a pocket to retrieve something and instead of what I was looking for, came up with fingers covered in an odd black, grainy substance. There was glitter thrown in there, too. Again, I have no idea what this was or how it got there. Perhaps my bags are going out on adventures when I’m sleeping, like Toy Story, but with bags. Oh, the stories they could tell each other. Oh god, remember that time she stuffed her underwear in here and forgot about it until she got to work? Well, I do now, bag. Thanks.

Several weeks ago at a meeting, a guy I know was carrying an absolutely incredible leather briefcase but it also had the long crossbody strap I covet in all my bags. His bag was gorgeous. A dark caramel and just enough scuffing and blemishes on the grain to give it character. If that thing could talk, I imagine it would sound just like the actor Sam Elliott. Gruff but soothing, a deep baritone of a voice with a flowing cadence. I asked him where he got it and how much it set him back, because I knew that thing had to have been expensive. It reeked of leather. I put my nose close to it and took a deep inhale, the neurons in my brain completely freaking out at the surge of serotonin breathing that amazing scent in does to a person. The smell is your father’s trusty old leather work boots, tarnished and worn from years outside. It smells like general stores, which is kind of odd because you’re a 36 year old woman who has never set foot in a general store, unless the one inside Cracker Barrel counts, which it probably doesn’t. It’s a masculine smell, and soothing. I had to have one of my own.

A few days ago during a lull at work, I brought up the website and browsed the bags and the other items for sale. My hunch was also correct: the bag my friend has was $600. Mother Mary of God. Never in my life have I spent that kind of money for an accessory. My mind went to those women carrying Coach bags, and I was torn: buy it or no. Knowing my ability to hold onto these things for decades, I knew it would be a sound investment. I’d never have to buy another bag ever again! I say that because this company boasts a 100 year guarantee–if something you buy from them fails in any way, shape, or form, they’ll replace it, no questions asked. They mean business. I looked at various styles and sizes and opted for the satchel they were selling. The dimensions were exact to the bag I am using now, so I knew it would suit my purposes. The shoulder strap was long and there’s this nifty thing where you can convert the shoulder strap method to a backpack and well, gosh dang if that isn’t the neatest thing ever. I clicked the button to add it to my cart, my heart speeding up at the price tag–not $600, but still ten times more than I’ve ever spent on a bag. I shared my story to Facebook, and my trusty companion told me to take the plunge and buy it. I snorted to myself, still unsure of the spendy purchase. After mulling it over all afternoon, I finally hit the “checkout” button, entered my information in, and hit “submit.” If you don’t think I didn’t have a mini panic attack about it, brothers and sisters, you’re wrong and don’t know me at all.

It arrived today. I got the email earlier this afternoon from UPS saying my package had been dropped off on the front porch. Oh my goodness. Holy cow. I opened up the box and there it was, even more spectacular than I imagined. That deep golden brown color I love and bright silver buckles. They were not messing around making this and I want to thank the cow who sacrificed itself in order to become this beautiful specimen. Thank you, cow.

But then, I noticed a cardboard tag attached to the strap with a piece of twine. They’ll fight over it when you’re dead it says. They being your family and friends, when you’re dead because as I mentioned earlier, it’s guaranteed for a century.

For some reason, this got to me. It made me sad, in a way. As it stands, I am not a “typical woman,” and never had kids. Both medical reasons and personal ones prevented this from happening. I like kids enough; they can be a hoot when they aren’t throwing tantrums and ruining your lives. Kids say the darnedest things! But I don’t have any, so who in the fuck is going to get this bag when I shed this mortal coil? Is it just going to sit abandoned in my house until someone not related to me sees it and decides to keep it? Will whomever cleans my house when I die keep it for themselves? Will looters break into my place, see it sitting and take it and try to get money for it from a pawn shop?

This isn’t “oh gosh, I regret not having kids!” This is just a weird little thing I think about from time-to-time. As it stands, I’m The Last Hoffmeyer, as in I’m the only product of the union between my mother and father. My dad’s older brother never had kids…that we know of, at least…and my mom had my older brother already when our parents married, so I am literally it. It’s just me left that’s riddled with Hoffmeyer genes, like big noses, a mess of thick hair, a giant German head, a propensity for severe depression, and cancer. I never regret not having kids, trust me. I just regret not having someone else to carry on the Hoffmeyer name and legacy, which is really ridiculous because that would mean having kids. And that’s awfully egotistical of me, as well. What makes us so great we need to keep going for generations? Um…nothing? The greatest thing I’ve ever done was not laugh when I was at work at a gastroenterologist’s office helping perform a colonoscopy and the patient farted as the scope was violating their anus. That’s it. That’s my short list of accomplishments in 36 years. Here lies Erin Elizabeth Hoffmeyer, July 4, 1981. She didn’t laugh when someone ripped ass that one time. Rest In Peace.

It’s amazing to me what arbitrary things will send you on a tangent like that. It’s a bag, for crissakes. A bag. A really incredible, finely-crafted bag, but a bag nonetheless. I am not a failure for failing to spread my genetic code. Trust me; that’s a blessing.

I just hope whoever ends up with this thing enjoys it as much as I am going to.

January 14, 2018

Well, hello there. Greetings from the frozen landscape that is currently looming outside the window of my office. Never being one to miss an opportunity to display a vaguely romantic way of thinking, it’s actually rather nice to look out and see a thin covering of snow and light grey skies. I have a large cup of cream with a splash of coffee at my side, and wrapped up in my fuzzy robe. This is how I picture what all legitimate writers do on their Sunday mornings.

I have two things I want to address today, but knowing me, I’ll end up discussing several other things because that is how my brain works. I’ll try to keep it on track and not flip around a lot, but again, it’s me and that’s cute of me to think I can actually do that.

First up, I’d like to make a statement that will be of no major surprise to anyone but it’s one of those things that I know about myself, but never really want to cop to: I am impulsive. Sometimes, that’s a neat characteristic of mine. Feel like going for a long drive on a day where I don’t have any solid plans and just want to stare out the windshield of my vehicle, having a personal karaoke day as I warble along to the music playing far too loud? Well, by golly, put some damn pants on and drive, lady!

Sometimes, the impulsivity is bad, usually when it comes to fairly major decisions. For example, last year at this time, I was looking for a place to live. I did the prerequisite searching various sites offering places for rent, set up a handful of appointments to view said places, quickly became annoyed with the process and how much rent was for some places that definitely were not worth that amount, and by the third showing I went to, I said, “fuck this!” and put in my offer. Don’t get me wrong; the townhouse I live in is nice. It’s in a good neighborhood. I have a lot of space for myself and was able to purchase furniture and whatnot that I wanted in an effort to make it my home. So, what’s wrong? The goddamn rent is too damn high! A year ago, suffering horrible credit and having had an experience where I was denied living at a place that ran my credit and said, “lol nope,” in order to assure I could live here, I brazenly offered a full year’s rent up front. That remains one of the funniest things that has ever happened to me because I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on the woman’s face when I said that. Her eyes got huge and I could actually see money signs in them and heard a faint ka-ching sound. But, it guaranteed my spot and avoided the dreaded credit check, so whatever, man.

Flash forward a year. My lease will be up at the end of February and I am entering panic mode. I’m stressin’ out! While this place is nice, it’s served me well for the last eleven months, as I mentioned, the rent is…high. Not to appear boastful, but it costs $1300/month. To those potentially reading this who do not live in Nebraska, I’m sure you’re all salivating at that number. $1300 for a 3 bedroom, 2.75 bath, 1.5 stall garage in a good area?!?! Shit!! I pay that much for a shitty one bedroom apartment and pretty sure some dude got shot out front of the building yesterday! As we are all painfully aware, the real estate market is, in a word, fucked. What I consider high rent is a goddamn bargain to others.

Not only is the rent situation a factor, but also my neighbors. Now, I realize The Perfect Neighbor is rare. You’re goddamn lucky to find yourself next-door to people who don’t ever need to give you shit about anything you do. How these townhouses are set up is there are four in a unit. I’m sandwiched between two, so I share walls. I don’t often hear the neighbors, save the gal on my right side who loves to bang round her kitchen cabinets, but other than that, nada. I’m actually the “problem neighbor” to these people. As you may know, I love music. Love it. To reflect my love, I happen to have 4′ tall speakers and a decent subwoofer. When springtime hit last year and I got myself some patio furniture, a favorite activity of mine is to open up the backdoor, crank up the tunes, and sit outside while enjoying a refreshing beverage. It’s ideal…for me, at least. The lady next door didn’t find it as great as I do and approached me several times to ask me to turn my music down. Now, granted, a few times, the music was loud. I’m not that big of an asshole to where I won’t admit I am in the wrong, because those times she did come over to ask for us to shut up, she was totally in her scope to do so. My only argument agains that is that every time she did, it was during early-to-mid evening hours. I am also not that big of an asshole to be blaring music at 11:30pm on a Tuesday night. No. She would fuss at like, 7:00pm on a Saturday night. There’s an unspoken law with people that noise complaints are totally valid after 10:00pm any day of the week. If you bitch any time before that, you’re just being a dick and a fun hater. Life is short: buy the Corvette and play loud music when it’s polite to do so.

The neighbor on the left side has taken to pounding on my walls, too, which is a treat. Again, I will admit it when I’m wrong, and the first time he pounded the wall was when I was watching There Will Be Blood and the subwoofer got a little hot and I”m sure the poor guy thought his place was crashing down, so that time was valid. Sorry, man. The other two times, I was like, “alright, dude. Really? Get your bloomers out of your butt. You’re fine, I’m fine, quit being a fuckface, fuckface.”

Anyway, I’m thinking about moving, not because of my neighbors, but the rent thing. I’ve been putting into this perspective: I could be putting the money I’m paying for rent into the down payment on a house and my mortgage will be hundreds of dollars less than renting this place for longer. I’m tweaking out because I’m thinking of my money situation and doing the math in my head, I’m just nervous about the whole thing. Again, not to be a braggart, I do have enough for a down payment and still be okay-ish afterwards. I’m factoring in other things like continuing going to school and paying for my old student loans, which is when I get all nervous. That’s when the money starts disappearing quickly and that freaks me out and then I convince myself I’m going to end up where I started and have to live with someone in their basement because I’m broke and I’ve seen too many E! True Hollywood Stories to know that is a very real possibility. I’m convinced I’m going to end up selling my car and everything else I have and living with my mom. I have x amount of dollars and I”m trying to be smart about those dollars, which is completely new and different for me.

On the one hand, staying here while I go to school makes sense to me. I’m a renter, so if something major fails, like the AC or the dishwasher floods or the hot water heater goes out, I just call up my landlords and they’re responsible for it. If I have my own house, that’s on me and I might as well light a pile of money on fire now as a symbol of how that will make me feel. On the other hand, what I would spend for two years more of living here is a goddamn down payment for a house. My own house. I can do what I want to the place. My sense of accomplishment would be overwhelming. This is mine. BUT…I’m worried about being able to qualify for a home loan. I’ve been able to improve my credit quite a bit over the last year, thanks to my dead father still looking out for me from beyond the Thunderdome, but it still isn’t the best. Ideally, in a perfect world, I’d want to keep working on the credit situation to hopefully raise it to a place where I won’t get fucked dry by a high APR or some shit.

As you can tell, I’m at odds. I’m stressing out. When I get stressed out, I tend to shut down and try to ignore the problem because it’s too hard and waaaa I don’t wanna. But I gotta. But I don’t wanna. I gotta, though. But still don’t wanna. And Jesus Christ, I should be grateful I’m even in this position to begin with. Oh, you poor baby! You were given this wonderful gift from your father and you’re whining about if you should buy a house or not while you go to school! Shut the fuck up. Good idea. I will.

Next up on the bitching agenda is the topic of friends. This has been weighing heavily on my addled mind for a while. In general, I am not good at making friends. I’m awkward and weird and crass and vulgar and clingy and not always the best person to be around. I also get easily annoyed by other people and being a master introvert, I need time for myself often as if I’m in a social situation, the effort I exert in trying to be a normal human being zaps all the energy from me. I’m a real treat, lemme tell ya what.

But here’s the shit of that: this is also the first time in my life I’ve lived by myself and while mostly great, I also get very lonely and bored. Half of the time, I can find things to do to occupy my time and mind so I don’t have to think about how lonely and bored I am, but the other half, as I sit in my living room constantly refreshing my Facebook news feed, I think to myself, “man, I need another person right now.”

Now, before you say it, I’m going to stop you right here. I bet you’re thinking to yourselves, “Erin, the solution to both problems you have laid out is simple: get a roommate. You can stay at your place, save money by splitting costs with someone else, and have an insta-friend!” That’s adorable, really. Don’t think I haven’t thought about that, because I have. But because it’s me, let me tell you some of the reasons why this won’t work for me.

While often lonely and bored, I don’t mind it that much, despite my bitching that I do. See? A real treat of a woman. I like my space now. I like how I have my place set up. I like that I can do what I want, when I want and not have to worry about interrupting another person’s routine or annoying them. Do you see the problem here? Aside from me, that is.

Anyway, the friend thing. As I said, I’m bad at making and keeping friends. I’m very selective about who gets my time and energy, but once I find those people, you’re fuckin’ stuck with me, man. So sorry. I’m not saying I don’t have friends, because I most certainly do, it’s just that these friends aren’t always available and that bums me out. They either live states away or have families and are busy with them, and that’s totally cool. I get it; life happens. Another thing is that because of who I am as a person, whenever someone asks me to do something, I’m usually not in the mood or something, so I miss a chance to hang out with people, which just annoys the fuck out of me about myself. Or if I’m the one wanting to hang out, I’ll talk myself out of asking because I assume my friends hate me? And don’t want to be around me? Which I mean, valid. So, here I sit.

And then there’s the friends I have had that we aren’t close anymore, which also bums be out, but that’s the ebb and flow of human interactions. I don’t know why that gets to me so badly when it happens, but it does. I should be used to it by now, considering I’m divorced. I lived with my best friend for years, but then oopsies, even he got tired of me and bailed. Oh well. That’s probably the root of my issues, which big wow, what a revelation, Erin. Of course it is. Divorce totally fucks a person up, y’all. My logic is apparently to never get close to anyone because I’ll end up doing something to push them away, so save yourself the heartache and avoid everyone. Or if I do get close to someone, which I have and my feelings for this person scares the shit out of me, but I am also fucking that up by being aloof and distant because oh ho ho, don’t get too close! I’ll ruin your life, I promise! Don’t believe me? Well, stick around and it’ll happen, guaranteed! Or as that delightful Cajun chef dude Justin Wilson used to say, “I gay-rone-tee!”

Oh, another reason I am bad at relationships is probably because instead of reaching out to someone to express my concerns and fears, I pull this shit and write about it instead! Terrific!

Well, isn’t this a fun, self-deprecating post? Golly. I need to chill, I think.

I’ve run out of steam now, thank god, so I’ll stop. Thank you for humoring me and letting me get some shit off my chest. I’m slightly embarrassed by this post, to be honest, but as always, thanks for reading it.



August 28, 2017

Good evening, friends.

I had started writing a post to FB, decided it was getting too “I want attention-y,” so I decided like every normal person who thinks they are engaging in sometimes harmful attention-seeking behaviors to head over to my blog because no one uses their blogs for this kind of shit. Nope. Not at all. Having said that, read about me and then comment on FB when this gets shared to my page as a passive-aggressive way to seek attention but doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it, m’kay? M’kay.

It’s tremendously fun to be a constant ball of emotions but try desperately to not let any of those slip out. Like, so fun; the funnest thing I’ve ever done in my 36 years and I hope I keep doing it for 36 more years. And I wonder why people tend to pull away from me. What do you mean they can’t read my mind and act accordingly to what they read in my mind? Jesus, it’s 2017. Way to not be telepathic, you fuckin’ slackers. What is this? Amateur hour at the Apollo Theatre? You expect me to be open and honest and communicate? Oh, fuck that noise.

Would it blow your tits clean off to know that communication–or rather, lack thereof–was the number one cause of the demise of my marriage? Well, hold on to your tits, because it was.

I suck at talking. I’ve written about my inability to talk many, many times and yes, writing the line “I’ve written about my inability to talk” made me chuckle at the irony and stupidity of it.

I’ve tried to pinpoint the cause of this disgusting habit, and I’m coming up empty. I’ve always been like this. Ask my mother, whose tactic to getting me to talk to her was get me in the car and drive because she knew she had me held hostage. Eventually, I would open my gob and speak. Thinking about it now, that’s probably why I don’t speak–because I’m a passive-aggressive, stubborn asshole.

Allow me to explain: as a kid, my parents took a shine to walking around the house bare-ass naked. I apologize for this visual, but if I had to live with it for 19 years, you can suffer a moment of brief discomfort. Seeing them in their birthday suits constantly made me extremely self-conscious and prudish and “I am never going to be like my exhibitionist parents and wear clothes all the goddamn time!” I did, too. When I first moved into my current dwelling, so many people told me, “oh my gosh, you can walk around nakey whenever you want now!” Ha ha ha! Can I? Probably not. I do admit I’ve become much more comfortable doing that in my old age, and do sleep in the buff a lot now, but it has only become more of a thing for me to do within the last 5 years or so.

And hence why it’s hard to talk. Ma would corner me, I’d feel threatened or whatever, then shut up, taking the stubborn stance. I ain’t never talking as much as she does! Also, oddly enough and also ironic as all fucking get-out, in order to ever speak to my ex-husband, I’d employ my mother’s tactic and get him into the car and drive. Like a dog in a shock collar who got tired of getting buzzed, he wised up and learned to never go anywhere with me, ever. Shit. Foiled!

Dad, on the other hand, wasn’t a big talker, either. He and I are very much similar in many ways, which is both wonderful and are you fucking kidding me right now? I swear that when my parents were married, Dad hardly ever talked to me just to chat. There was always a reason to chat. I liked that I didn’t have to talk to him about stuff I didn’t want to. I had Mom to hassle me, so to have a “safe” parent was glorious.

Then, Ma and Pa got a one-way ticket to Splitsville and then suddenly my dad turned into a goddamn Chatty McChatterson. It was all about talking about feelings and he started to openly cry in front of me, which is also something he never, ever did growing up. For the record, I do not see that as a sign of weakness or being a sissy or any other derogatory thing people equate expressing emotions with. I admire people who wear their hearts on their sleeves like that. It’s a quality I posses only to myself, so to know there are people who unabashedly bawl at commercials or seeing a soft, fluffy puppy or hearing a song that slaps you across the face with its lyrics… I wish I had that. I wish I had zero filter with my emotions to be able to do that, as well. But, here I am.

Getting back to Dad, though…this sudden, flagrant display of emotions was jarring to me. Like…I’ve known you my entire life and never saw you like this up until now. What the fuck gives, old man? Did you get hit in the head and it jostled loose your ability to express yourself? It was seriously bizarre to me and I shamefully admit it made me pull away from him more because now this goofy motherfucker was going to start asking me about feelings and want to talk about them and hell no. Good day to you, sir. If I had a dollar for every time I left my father feeling exasperated with me, well, I’d have quite a lot of dollars.

But that definitely plays a factor in why I am the way I am for sure.

And let me address my former husband again, if I may. As I mentioned, we had the communication skills of two people who were under the impression that being open with your spouse was in violation of some sort of secret code. Oddly enough, I tried to talk to him, I really did. It was painful as fuck for me, but goddamn it, I tried. I recall vividly a point in time early in our marriage that we needed to have a Serious Adult Discussion about something; I think it was job-related to me. I had been working at Walmart and absolutely hated it and wanted to quit in the worst possible way, but wanted to get his say in the matter because that would mean he would be supporting us while I looked for a new job. This was extremely laborious for me to have to initiate, but I knew it had to be done. I recall laying on the bed with him because I guess I wanted a place that was comfortable for us both and it got rid of the confrontational aspect of it–we were in neutral territory or whatever. So, I began my talk. When I try to talk about something heavy, my words fail me. I take great pauses to gather my thoughts and force them out of my brain. I can fully understand how engaging in this type of conversation with me can be mentally taxing on a person because I can feel the other person’s intense exasperation and frustration with me to just. fucking. spit. it. out. already. god. damn. it. Needless to say, my darling husband ended up falling asleep during this, snoring and all. I was absolutely crushed and devastated by this. Incredulous, awestruck, furious, you have an adjective to express how flabbergasted I was, I experienced it. That was also the first time I ever truly became so blind with rage at the man, I was glad he was sawing logs because I thought I was going to kill him. I left his snoring ass and went to the living room couch to bawl my eyes out. I felt so betrayed and just…like he found me so skull-numbingly boring that his only defense mechanism was to pass out. In retrospect, that should have been a massive warning sign back then, but we were young and stupid and all that happy shit.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t an isolated incident. He never fell asleep on me again, lucky for him, but every time we had to have another Serious Adult Discussion or I was feeling frisky and uncharacteristically chatty (it happens on occasion), unless the conversation was specifically related to him, was about something he took an interest in, or pertained to him in any way, shape, or form, he’d ignore me. He’d focus on what he was doing and give me an occasional “yep” or “uh huh” and nod, but other than that, I was talking to a six foot tall brick wall with curly hair and a gap between its two front teeth. Eventually, I learned to not talk to him at all. Something needed done, I’d do it or ask Dad for help. Hard to believe we got divorced, isn’t it? I mean, golly. What a gold star relationship that was! But I was with the man for a total of ten years and that’s a long time to get used to not talking to someone. You’d think that after being ignored for 10 years, I’d be itching to talk peoples’ ears off, but nope. Why? Because that would mean I’d be like my dad and what do we feel about being like our fathers? That’s right! Fuck that noise!

I also hate talking because in a fair majority of any conversation I’ve ever had, there is always going to be someone who demands to be heard above everyone else and feel that what they have to say is the most amazing, interesting thing in the history of the universe and they will only be concerned about what they are saying. When you try to speak, they talk over you or try to bring the conversation back to them and let me tell you what: aside from arrogance, that is my #1 pet peeve. I detest people who constantly interrupt and/or just impatiently wait for their turn to talk without listening to a goddamn thing you have to say. My god, even writing about it fires me up. Fucking a. And they always talk about the same shit, like a broken, self-involved record. When this happens, guess what? I refuse to talk because what’s the fucking point? My thoughts won’t be validated or acknowledged, nor will I have a chance to even speak anyway, so fuck it. This is why I kind of don’t like being in a large group of people: too many conversations to keep track of, too many opportunities to be ignored, too many people who will think that what you have to say is stupid anyway. It makes me weary down to my bones, I swear. And there is always the inevitable “gosh, you’re sure quiet. You’re so different in person than you are online!” Yeah, okay, person who always takes selfies while holding their phone directly above their head as to diminish the 4 chins you have. Please tell me more about how I portray myself as something different online as compared to in person. Fuck me.

And that’s another thing I know about myself and have also written about to death: my writing is not only how I prefer to communicate, but I also like to think of it as how I would speak in public if I didn’t have so many goddamn hangups about it. I write in a funny way; it’s more conversational than informational, if that makes sense. It’s open and candid and I like to think not at all tedious to muddle through. It reads like a carefree talk with a close friend or something. Or I’m full of shit, which is entirely possible.

There is a way to get me to talk your ear off, and that is called alcohol and I am fully aware of how messed up that is. It’s the whole letting my inhibitions go and being able to remove that pesky brain-to-mouth filter I have. It also means I get really loud and will slur my words because alcohol, and it’s still highly frowned upon in our society to be shitfaced constantly. Oh, and it’s like, a terrible coping mechanism or whatever. *eyeroll*

If I had my way, I’d write all the time. Maybe I should fake being mute in order to achieve this. Come up with some sort of tragic backstory that has rendered me speechless and I can only communicate via writing and oh, that poor, precious woman! Here, give her a pen and paper and let her write! You write, darling! Write!

While that seems perfect to me, I also realize the absurdity of that and how I need to grow a pair of ovaries and just fucking talk. It’s goddamned agonizing for me sometimes, though. Okay–most of the time. A solid eighty percent, as least. Like I said, though–there are times when I get moved by the spirit and I do feel like jabbering away, but those are rare occasions and usually when that happens, I feel like I’d be bothering people, so I keep it to myself. Chalk that up to another nasty habit picked up in marriage: feeling like what I have to say is inconsequential and no one would care anyway.

Gosh, I’m a mess. I know I’m a mess. I’m trying to be less of a mess, I promise. Because I also realize how motherfucking infuriating it is to be with someone like me who can’t speak. It makes people feel like I don’t trust them, or that they don’t matter enough to me to open up and be vulnerable with. That breaks my heart because that is as far from the truth as it can be. I also tend to have a quiet speaking voice, and if someone doesn’t hear me right away, I get embarrassed and refuse to repeat myself because I am also the literal worst. (insert Jean-Ralphio “she’s the wooooooorrrrrssssttttt!” here)

For example, I recently spent the weekend with someone whom I have nothing but love for, but do you think I was able to hold any meaningful conversations with them? Of course not! Why would I go and do a silly thing like that! That’s preposterous! I laugh in your face! I’m sure they loved that, too! Oh goody! Over two days with someone who can’t talk their way out of a wet paper bag! This’ll be a goddamn hoot!

I know I write about this so much; it’s probably my second favorite topic. Depression would be the first, followed by my zany adventures in quitting smoking (not a smoke since July 18th, thankyouverymuch). I like to think the fact that I do write about it proves that a) it fucking bothers me tremendously and 2) by writing about it, maybe I’ll eventually finally realize how asinine it is of me to be so friggin stubborn about it and learn to talk. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m an optimist.

I started seeing Therapist again after a several month hiatus, and she asked me last time we met how my “self talk” has been. Yes, she’s kind of a hippie therapist, but not in the moon crystals and menstrual cycles sort of way, but the cool, eccentric English teacher sort of way. She also says “fuck” the same amount as I do, so we get along famously. Anyway, she asked me how I have been talking to myself, and I ell oh ell’ed at her to mock her silly question. I’m an asshole to myself. She was unfazed by this dazzling admission of guilt. She also then mocked me mocking myself and that one of the funniest things anyone has ever done to me, and again, why I adore this gal.

However, while I am a massive jerk to myself, I do it in a loving way. Let me explain: when I start getting down on myself for whatever reason, I say to myself, “you dumb bitch, it’s okay. Just keep at it. You fucked up, but it’s fine. At least you know you did and can fix it.” Take today, for instance. Today, I was getting on my own ass about  school. I’m kind of struggling to pay attention and with procrastinating with assignments. Goddamn it, Erin. If you would take the time to goddamn study at night instead of playing around on your goddamn phone, maybe more of this shit would make some goddamn sense to you. Realizing I was in full asshole mode, I then rebutted with: Erin, you’ve been out of school for twelve goddamn years. It’s going to take time to get back into the swing of things. Take it easy on yourself and yes, you do need to study more, but you can do that tonight after work. You’ll get there again, just cut yourself some goddamn slack, goddamn it. 

See? I am the nicest cunt to myself! Or maybe I’m truly bipolar because I don’t know if having these types of two-sided conversations with yourself is entirely the stuff of a person without a mental illness, but that’s okay. We are all painfully aware the neurons between my ears aren’t always on their best behavior. And yes, Therapist has mentioned in nearly every single session we have had in the last year about my tendencies to be highly self-deprecating, but she also enables it because she tells me it’s hilarious when I do it because I make it funny, so it’s her fault. So there.

I hope I’ve shed some light on me. If not, well, I’m sorry. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll freaking write about it again soon, so maybe then it’ll click.

I do want whomever is still reading to know that I am trying to get better; I really am. I mentioned Therapist and I had been on a hiatus–most of that was due to our schedules never matching up, the rest is that I got all cocky and thought that I had a pretty good grip on things after seeing her for a few months and I was well-equipped to go out into the world with my newly gained knowledge and dazzle the pants off everyone with my newfound confidence and willingness to work on myself. I did well with that for like, a month, then ttthhhbbbffftttt. My depression and anxiety have been kicking into overdrive as of late and I felt myself falling face first into my old ways again, so after several weeks of thinking I could kick these feelings in the crotch like I had been able to before, I finally conceded and contacted her. Yay me.

And there it is. I think I’ve prattled on long enough, and don’t think I’m not having a small panic attack about what I’ve just written and how much I’ve written and how easy it was for me to write and how I should take this same energy and focus and passion for writing and fucking somehow channel that into working on how to speak like an adult to other other adults, because Jack, I most certainly am freaking out about it. It’s just a joy and honor to be me, lemme tell you what.

I’m done now, I swear. As always, thank you from the bottom of my weird little heart to those who have stuck through all 3,200 words. You’re the real heroes. God bless.

Thank you for reading.


July 13, 2017

I honestly have no idea when the last time I wrote was. I hate that I’ve let something that I once loved and absolutely enjoyed doing fall by the wayside. Six years ago, I could be found hunched over the keyboard of my broke-ass laptop I got after my divorce at Wal-Mart for $250, my fingers tapping away diligently on the keyboard (that I fucked up by trying to clean out all of the dog hair; I pried half of the keys off before I realized a person could just unhinge them. I couldn’t get the ones I had ripped off back on, so I got an external keyboard and felt like a goddamn hobo whenever I used it. Classy, no?), the words flowing from my fingertips.

Ah. Those were the days.

Now? It’s been months since I’ve attempted to write; even longer for anything that resembled a fictional short story. I feel that when we were dealing with my father’s grim prognosis and death, I decided that is when nothing in my warped mind could possibly hold a candle to the fucked-up reality that was before me, so I stopped writing short stories.

And here we are tonight. I was rather taken aback by the long forgotten but still familiar tug at my brain to write something. Anything. A goddamn recipe would suffice, for crissakes. A friggin’ to-do list, anything that gets me in front of the soft glow of my computer screen. I recently started taking classes at my friendly local community college and have found myself plastered in front of the screen a few* hours a night, but we all know that isn’t the same.

*Six. Six hours a day because it’s been a miserable amount of time since I’ve attended academia and this bitch is rustier than a trombone. And I’m only taking two classes. God help me if/when I get into nursing school and have to learn how to not kill people and shit.

So, what should I discuss this evening? We all know the world is fucked right now, thanks to the pathetic excuse of a human being that barely resembles the president of the United States. (Fun aside: I took espanol in high school and it always delighted me to say the Spanish name for United States: Estados Unidos. It rolls off the tongue so fluidly. I love it. Te llamo Erin, soy de los Estados Unidos. Goddamn, that’s good).

I could prattle on about depression, like the sad little broken record I am.

Okay, I will for a second because goddamn depression and anxiety. I haven’t been on medications since the first of the year because I decided that having tried 11 different ones in the span of a few years was a wee bit excessive and to have maybe one work-ish wasn’t worth the hassle or the fabulous side effects of said medications, so I have been pharmaceutical-free for the last five months. In general, I applaud this decision. Don’t get me wrong; psych meds work wonders for many people. I just happen to not be one of those people, which is neato. I don’t make enough serotonin, but once you introduce an SSRI to me, I develop symptoms of serotonin syndrome, which is a hoot and a holler.

For the most part, I manage fairly well without medications. But then, and I should really start keeping track of this, but then every other month or so, I just lose it. I fall into a depression, my anxiety skyrockets to impressive heights, and I bury myself into reclusion. I know I should reach out to people who seem to genuinely care about my wellbeing and express to them, “hey, not doing so hot at the mo’,” but in lieu of serotonin, I seem to have a surplus of stubborn, and I opt to wallow in silent misery alone until I snap out of it and go into remission for a bit, only to have the vicious cycle start over again, which truth be told, is the reason I felt compelled to write this evening: I’m also notorious for having the worst communication skills in the state of Nebraska, and my go-to line for whenever anyone asks me how I’m doing is to plaster a fake smile on my chubby cheeks and say through clenched teeth, “fine! Thanks for asking! More importantly, how are you doing?

I’m a treat, lemme tell ya.

Why am I in my regularly schedule funk? Well, that’s a good question and I’m glad I asked it for you and am going to reply to myself/you via this blog post:

As I mentioned earlier, I started taking classes. I started the day before yesterday, actually. Microbiology and an online math refresher course, to be exact. The math is going to kill me, if I may be overdramatic for a minute, please. I suck at math. My brain does not compute math. I can squeak by with the basic fundamentals of arithmetic, but once you throw in exponents and square roots or anything over a 5th grade comprehension level, my eyes glaze over in dazed confusion and I forget what 2 + 2 is (x to the 5th, apparently). I’ve been out of school for about 11 years and obviously, have gotten rusty in the ol’ maths department, so in order for me to enroll for classes, I had to take a placement test. As expected, I scored abysmally low in the math department, which baffles me because when I was a student in 2005, I got asked to be a math tutor. Either I’ve gotten way more idiotic over the last 11 years, or that math class was ridiculously easy. Anyway, low score, but the college offers this neat program where you can do online self-study in math in an effort to prepare you to take the placement test again and hopefully score higher, meaning you can potentially skip a class or two. I hope all the fundamentals come back to me in a great big sweep of recollection and I test out of two classes, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m not denigrating myself; it’s the gosh honest truth: I was created with a more…not math-y brain. Math and fire baaaaaaad!!

Apologies for the sidetrack. Back on course now-isa. Anyway, as mentioned twice, I started classes. My ultimate goal, which hopefully comes sooner than later, is to apply for the nursing program and get my RN degree. People seem to think I have the tools necessary to cut the mustard for this advancement in my career, and I hope to shit y’all are right. I’m a flurry of emotions about this because it’s me and of course I am.

  1. Many late night thoughts of “what the motherfuck am I doing? What. Am. I. Doing.”
  2. I don’t need student loans this time around, thanks to my father. Granted, I’m still in debt from previous student loans, but as least I don’t have to add to that staggering amount this time around. Also: why in the fuck didn’t we elect Bernie Sanders and everyone can have free college tuition? Why? Oh, that’s right: we all suck assholes, that’s why.
  3. Because I am doing this finally…when I probably should have done this from the get go, but I’ve always been a slow learner. Why, people tell me things and I choose to ignore them until I’m ready accept it! What fun!
  4. My goddamn dad, man. All throughout his ordeal with colon cancer, he praised me and my knowledge of the medical field and expressed his desires for me to further my education and go back to school to become a nurse. I’d explain his labs to him (your LFTs are a little high, Dad. Your white count looks great this time, Dad! Silly stuff like that), and in return, he’d gush about how I need to get back to school and well, while stubborn and slow, I do eventually listen kinda, and here I am. I also might add that my mother and my sister-in-law have been verbally harassing me for the last 9 months about it, so I hope they kindly shut their damn faces now.
  5. I’m not old by conventional standards, but in college standards, I am old as eff. I fully understand that non-traditional students make up a large majority of the school place, but I’ll be goddamned if it still isn’t intimidating as fuck to see 18 year old babies crawling the halls of the school, which is also super dumb because I work with college kids at my job, and I guess I’ll never get used to the precious angels.

I’m overwhelmed, for real. I’m sure I need time to acclimate myself back to the flow of school, because it’s only been two days, but if you haven’t noticed, I can be bit difficult on myself and expect some semblance of perfection and when I’m a far cry from that, I get a bit pissy with myself.

So, school is stressing me out. Life is stressing me out. Relationships are stressing me out. Being stressed out is stressing me out. It’s been fabulous.

A life aspect is my uncle. Dude has smoked for around 40 years and this is probably a direct correlation to this, but the veins in his legs are just shot to shit and he had to have vein bypass surgery on his leg a week ago and he had a huge, gangrenous ulcer on the bottom of his foot due to the shitty circulation in his legs, and my mom lectured both my brother and me about quitting and while I saw my uncle’s wound up close and personal, I’m still like, “puff puff, baby! I hope I lose my right leg to shitty circulation, too, because that’s my bad knee leg and two birds, one stone!” I am so stupid, it causes me physical pain. While Ma was politely yelling at me to quit this past weekend, I did have the stronger than usual urge to quit. I had a pack left and I was giving myself mini pep talks that once that pack was done, I was done. Oh, ho ho ho. Precious Erin, you are such a delightful, foolish imp of a woman. So I guess the fact that a 3 inch patch of full-thickness dead tissue on the bottom of a foot due to years of smoking isn’t enough to snap me out of my goddamn stupidity. Cool. I hope I can do some sweet beat-boxing with my voice box when I have my goddamn tracheotomy in a few years. I. Am. A. Robot. Beep. Boop. Beep. And then I’ll fuckin’ inhale a cigarette through the stoma in my neck and scare little kids. It’ll be hilarious.

All I will say about relationships of any sort is that I am glad I am in school because now I have a valid excuse to hide out and hopefully people will take the hint that I am a rotten friends and slowly realize that I am not worth the time, energy, and effort it takes to remain in my life and they bail on their own accords. I won’t be upset or anything. My theory is that all of my friends have been looking for an easy out for years anyway, so I have provided them with the perfect opportunity to do just that: get out while you can! Save yourselves! Oh god!

Fun part of depression is the self-deprecation.

I should probably give Therapist a buzz here soon because whatever wonderful voodoo magic she sprinkled on me has worn off and I feel myself slipping into the bad habits of before, and I had come such an admirable length before I stopped going to see her. Damn it.

In summation, while this isn’t a short story, it isn’t fictitious in any way, shape, or form, nor does it start with a clear beginning or finish strong at the end, I goddamn wrote something and just remember that new mothers applaud when their kids can hold their giant bobble heads up for the first time, so don’t you judge me, Martha. I, too, am I giant bobble head baby.

That’s all for tonight. May your roads be straight and your days be short, and in the words of the immortal Red Green: “keep your stick on the ice.”

As usual and always, thank you for reading (mom).


May The Force Be With You

Good evening. It’s been a while…and a massive “eff you” to the band Staind for ruining that phrase for me, much like no one can resist yelling “YOU’RE AN ALL-STAR!!!1!!1!” whenever you say “hey now!” Goddamn shitty bands, I swear. 

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything, and I feel bad about that. Writing used to be my go-to outlet for expressing myself, but I haven’t picked up my laptop in many months; since December 2016, to be exact. Damn near five months. Sad! 

I felt compelled to dust off my fingers and muddle through a post tonight, though, and once you get to reading, you’ll all collectively nod your heads in understanding. I’m very transparent that way. I can be read like a book! Or blog post, as it were. But I’m going to take my time with this one, as I like to tease before I get straight to the deed. 

In general, I have a love/hate relationship with the “On This Day” feature on Facebook. The years 2009 to mid-2012 are just atrocious to read. I was dealing with infidelity, separation, divorce, and exploits in returning to the dating game. My posts during that time are god awful and weird (even for me), as I was obviously going through a bizarre “who the fuck am I now?” phase. Divorce is great. It doesn’t mess with your head at all. My entire body physically goes into a spasm whenever I scroll down to those years. Yes, I know I can hide them, but I’m a) dumb and can’t figure out how to do it, and 2) I am a punishment glutton and make myself read them. 

Oddly enough, it’s actually a bit comforting to do so; not because I find solace in them, but rather, Seven Years Ago Erin™ is wildly different than Current Erin™, and that, my friends, is a very good thing. Trust me on this one. 2009-2012 Erin was not dealing with the aforementioned troubles in her life very well and acting out in pretty ridiculous ways. Hey! Let’s get a DUI just for funsies! Let’s be wildly irresponsible with money and take advantage of your roommates! Let’s date total fuckface dickwads! Okay! Yay! 

I often joke that I am now the world’s oldest 35-year-old woman, but I’ve done some shit in my younger years that justifies this behavior now. I’m in bed at a reasonable hour, whereas before, I’d be out drinking until all hours of the night–on a school night, to boot! I also don’t drink nearly as much as I used to. I still drink, but not daily and not to dangerous levels of drunkenness. Now, it’s more like a couple times a month, and I can wake up in the morning bright-tailed and bushy-eyed* and not wish for a swift death due to hangovers. 

*Intentional mixup of expression for comedic value. I’m appearing on Jimmy Kimmel later next week. 

As you can see, time did me some changin’, thank goodness. 

That is the hate part of “On This Day.” 

The love comes from being shown genuinely good memories. Life seemed to start coming together while I did my time in Texas, and while 2013 to present day has seen its share of “Jesus fucking Christ, Erin…” moments, they’ve mostly been pleasant and I am grateful I have progressed to this point, and in an odd burst of enthusiastic optimism, I hope that trend continues upwards. 

Lately, however, Facebook has been bringing up things I would give up everything to never have to repeat in my mind. 

Tomorrow is May 4th. To the geek community, people stir in anticipation to post at 12:01am, “May The Fourth Be With You!” My timeline will be inundated with memes from my beloved Star Wars. Normally, I’d delight in this, but the day has taken on a new meaning to me: 

It marks the first 365 days without my dad. 

I know this is cliché as all fuck, but where did the time go? Why does it sometimes feel like he died only a few weeks ago, and others, like it has been years? 

I also didn’t realize how actively I’ve been trying to block all the painful events of late April to early May 2016 out of my head. 

Every morning, I go about my daily ritual which is get up at 5am, trudge downstairs to make a pot of coffee, and browse Facebook for the six minutes it takes to brew. I catch up on missed notifications from the night before, scroll through my timeline offering likes or hearts or comments, and when I’m finished with that, I go to “On This Day.” This fucking feature has been a thorn in my side since April 17th. This is when I started reading more posts about Dad’s rapidly declining health, my shenanigans involving his also rapidly changing mental status thanks to doping the poor bastard up with gallons of liquid morphine, and the days and hours leading up to his death. 

Yesterday’s memory really got to me, as I had shared about our failed attempt to “snow” Dad. He was becoming increasingly agitated and uncharacteristically aggressive to us, so it was suggested we just sedate the fuck out of him with pain medication and benzodiazepines. Instead of drift off into a controlled substance la-la land, that fucker did the opposite. If anyone has the gall to tell me my father wasn’t a fighter and probably too passive of a man, I would love to pull a time travel trip out of my hat and make you watch how he was towards the end. As I also had shared a year ago, “I have called my dad a motherfucker about 6 times in my life, and all of those times have been today.” 

And it isn’t just Facebook that’s bringing up all these things; shocking to no one I’m sure, my own brain is also conspiring against me. Hey, you’re having a pretty decent day today, Erin. Why dontcha think about how blotchy purple Dad’s feet got the day he died? And how the tube from his catheter to the collection bag at the foot of his bed turned red with blood, then to thick pink pus? 

I really fucking hate my brain sometimes. Super helpful, brain! Thanks! 

Ever have to pretend all is fine and dandy and put on a smile and joke around with your coworkers or friends when in reality, your mind’s eye is replaying scenes from your father’s death? If not, you are an innocent and must be spared these terrible things and protected at all costs. 

I’ve been dreading tomorrow for a while now, which is silly if you think about it. I don’t know why it’s silly, but I think I’m trying to be very nonchalant about it in an attempt to try to get through it. I’ll let you all know how well that works out for me later. Spoiler alert: I don’t think that’s going to go well. 


May 4, 2017

Good morning. I had to stop writing last night because I was getting emotional, which is dumb because pretty sure the first thing I did this morning–after I made myself some coffee…I think I’m an addict…anyway, the second thing I did was get emotional. Cool. 

It’ll be fine. If I burst into tears at any given moment, so be it. If not, that’s fine, too. 

I don’t have anything wise or profound to say. Words escape me for once. 

I do know that I miss my dad daily, and would give up all the things I have now to have him back. Well, almost all…if I can keep my record player and records and speakers because my god, these speakers…I think even Dad would be all, “yeah, no, totally keep that stuff.” 

Thank you for reading, thank you for allowing me to write, and thank you for everything in between. 

May the Force be with you. 


As if people really needed another reason to not like the holiday season, I bring this evidence to the table:

I have known three (3) dogs in my life that had to be put to sleep in December.

Exhibit A is my first dog, Gus.

Gus was part German Shepherd, part Saint Bernard, and one big, fuzzy mass of black fur. He looked intimidating as hell because ohmygod there’s a black wolf coming at me! But one of my earliest and fondest memories was being about 3 or 4 years old and opening the gate to Gus’s outdoor cage and crawling inside his dog house with him to lay on the hay that was inside. This visually ferocious beast was nothing but a tender mass of love (much like myself, I might add). I had a friend (!!) in grade school whose elderly grandparents lived next door to us and this girl would scream bloody murder every time Gus tried to follow me over there as she was deathly afraid of this monster, when in reality, he was anything but.

It was December 11, 1991 or 1992, I don’t quite remember. My brother still lived at home, so it wasn’t 1993. Anyway, the year is moot, it’s the time of year that matters. The few days prior to December 11, it had been rainy and cold and sleeting. Gus would usually trudge his massive body through the backyard to take shelter in his dog house when it got too wet/cold outside for him to lounge around outside in the sun. His favorite spot was in front of our front door. Nothing like trying to shove 100 pounds of dog away from the front door when trying to get outside. At the first nudge of the metal screen door on his butt, he’d look over his shoulder at you with cold, brown eyes as if to say, “really? You couldn’t have gone out the back door instead?” But begrudgingly, he’d heave himself up, walk two steps to the left, and hunker down again with a great, heaving sigh of exasperation.

That day, though…Gus didn’t move. He was caked with icicles that matted his glorious black coat down. By that year, Gus was a crotchety old man of fifteen years old, so half of his face was silver and sparkling as the ice that formed around it. I knew Dad was going to take Gus to the vet to see what was wrong with him, aside from old age. I couldn’t wait to get off the school bus that afternoon to find out how our dog was.

I need to stop here and say this: this is one of those defining moments in a kid’s childhood where they can without a question pinpoint a moment that irreparably fucked them up. This is my moment, and also when I learned to recognize when my father was about to share some not good news with people.

I had a school band concert that night, so my mom and I were busy getting ourselves ready. We had been gone for a bit after school to get things we needed and when we got home, all the lights in the house were out, save the twinkling Christmas tree. Dad had a thing for Manheim Steamroller and his music was all that played during Christmas. Not this night. This night was some very somber, mellow, New Age radio station he listened to on occasion from the NPR station in Salina, Kansas. Something told me to look at the Christmas tree, so I did. Displayed prominently in the middle, carefully tucked between pine branches was my dad’s favorite picture of Gus and a blue handkerchief.

I was only 10 or 11, but I immediately knew what that mean and remember running to my room and crying. Points to Dad for some quality use of props to tug at the heartstrings more. Kudos, old man.

Losing a dog at motherfucking Christmas is a torture unlike no other.

Exhibit 2 isn’t actually my dog, but I lived with Steve and Larcy for over 2 years, so in a way, their little cow dog Rhane became my own, as well.

She was short, fat, and looked like a cow. When I met her, she was already a cranky old bitch, but then again, anyone would be a cranky old bitch if you had to deal with Daxhole the Asshole Husky for a canine brother.  (Author’s note: I still fucking hate that goddamn husky.)

Rhane ended up with poor eyesight, and even worse bladder control, as it was a morning ritual to come out to the kitchen barefoot (or socked, if the winter was among us), sleepily staggering around to multitask letting the dogs outside and make a pot a coffee, and oh…step in a fresh–or not so fresh–pile of Rhane pee. Every. God. Damn. Morning. Sometimes two or three piles off pee, depending on if Rhane was feeling extra saucy that day or not.

It didn’t matter if you had taken her outside two minutes before and she whined at the door to be let back in, giving you the false assurance that yes, she had done her business, only to be betrayed by getting your cotton Fruit of the Looms crew socks saturated in urine. You couldn’t get too mad at her, the poor little sausage. She was old and riddled with arthritis and tiny little stumper legs. But really, Rhane? Every goddamn time. Everygoddamntime.

She also decided it was too much fun being here with us silly humans, so last year in December, she got taken for a good walk, was given tons of kisses and hugs, and told what a good, good girl she was for one last time.

Fucking dogs, man. It’s hard to type and cry at the same time.

Exhibit 3. Depending on who you ask what his name is, my version is Blue Barry Hoffmeyer, aka Blueber, but you have to pronounce the “L” as a “W,” so it’s actually “Bwueber.”

If you asked my mom, his name is Blue Barry, or Blue Baby. Keith, my mom’s husband, would just yell “BLUEEE!!” in a surprisingly high falsetto for a man.

Here is Blue’s origin story, like he’s some unknown X-Men or something:

Keith got Blue as a puppy to give to his oldest granddaughter, who I believe was quickly approaching 2 years old or was already 2. A two year old girl’s favorite thing in the world aside from mommy and daddy and whatever the hell else babies like is Blue’s Clues. This is where our hero, very much an Australian Red Heeler, got to be named Blue.

Then, another baby came into the household, and our boy Blue apparently didn’t realize little girls are not cattle and shouldn’t be wrangled like the livestock he was bred to herd. His bad. Sorry. After that incident, Blue was given back to Keith where he remained for a few years.

Then…then there’s THIS bitch (hint: me) who comes along and is immediately infatuated with this ginger and white speckled dummy and I think I all but begged Keith and Mom to let me have Blue. They resisted at first, but eventually, the ol’ Hoffmeyer Charm corrodes away at your psyche like battery acid and I was rewarded him as my payoff for more torture.

I was a nervous first-time mom with Blue. He came to me wearing a metal collar. I had set up his food and water dish in the kitchen and nearly killed my then-husband from screaming so loud because at 3am, this dog decided it was the perfect time to a keg stand on his water dish and the sound of the chain hitting the bowl or, rather, just that sound at 3am in general was awfully disconcerting because I apparently had forgotten we now had a dog in the apartment. Needless to say, early the next morning, that collar was removed and a nice, quiet nylon one was purchased.

Blue was my companion for the next four years, as he always seemed to take to me more than Jason (good boy, Blue). I was the more cuddly/snuggly/lemme bury my face in your neck fur/sleep on Jason’s side of the bed because I like you more than him one. And Blue devoured it. He was so well-behaved, for the most part. He did have his “fuck you, dog” moments, but all dogs do.

Perhaps the most memorable was when over my old sister-in-law’s house—who just happened to have a greyhound. It was wildly entertaining to see this sleek, beautiful greyhound running literal circles around my stout, scrappy dog until! Until, my friends, millions of years of evolution kicked in and you could hear the synapse in Blue’s head fire that finally connected the “dude, you’re a cattle herding dog, not a chase a goddamn greyhound in circles dog” thing and one thing you knew, Blue was getting his ass kicked by a greyhound, then Blue stopped mid-run, eyeballed Mo the Greyhound, calculated his next move and shot out after him, cutting him off. It was the most science-y thing I’ve ever seen. I loved it.

Blue also earned the nickname “John Lithgow” from Chad and myself. Why is this, you ask? Was Blue in “Third Rock From the Sun”? Did Blue express an affinity for acting a wide range of characters?

No. Blue got himself this name because we discovered one evening while dancing to whatever the hell kind of music dorks like Chad and I listen to, Blue did not cotton to dancing and tried to bite our heels to keep us from dancing.

In other words, Blue was like John Lithgow from the wildly popular ‘80s movie “Footloose” where John Lithgow plays the small town preacher man who bans dancing because it is evil. Oh sure, sounds hilarious, but until you’ve had a few cubic meters of pressure from a goddamn cattle dog just aching to snap your Achilles tendon in twain, it really isn’t all that comical. It’s quite dangerous. I’m amazed we all survived.

It was me and Blue, Blue and me, and that’s the way it should always be.

And it was, until life changed and Blue got sent back to live with Ma and Keith. I looked for that dog for an entire week after I gave him back. I was living in the basement of a friend’s house and had to keep Blue away because there was a kitty at the new place and if there’s one thing ol’ Blue hates more than dancin’, it’s them kitties.

It was rough, of course. But he was back where he belonged and that was good enough for me…even though my mom got him fat off ice cream and Keith liked to feed him M&M’s and I know…I know…

In retrospect, Blue led a pretty wonderful existence. Mom and Keith say I spoiled him by letting him crawl up on furniture and give out puppy kisses and his always constant need to be within a few feet of his people or he feels like he isn’t doing his job properly.
I say Ma and Keith spoiled him with the aforementioned snacks and also letting him up on the furniture but always blaming that bad habit on me.

And now for some truth, and this is going to make me sound absolutely batshit.

Blue’s death is really hitting me far, far harder than I ever expected it would. Dogs have a short lifespan. Years of overbreeding or trying to engineer the perfect dog has mutated these beasts to snorting, flat-nosed, weak hipped, arthritic sacks of fur and we’re sad when something we’ve genetically tinkered with dies? And at a supposed rate 7 times our own (still the best joke to make to your dog, though: “Wayland, you’re 3 years old now. You’re a man. It’s time to get yourself a goddamn job! Quit scratching yourself and get a girlfriend!” Anthropomorphizing animals is fun.

(Here’s the crazy) Blue here, well, he was really the only “man” I could trust and who loved me when I got angry at him or forgot to feed him or walk him. He would greet me the same way every night I got home from work. He would still run up to me, digging his claws into my hips, me grabbing his front paws, and we’d dance around for a few seconds—until he’d jump down and try to chomp my heels apart. Aside from that, his love was unconditional even when there were times I absolutely did not deserve to have him hold me in such high regard: when I yelled at him for getting into the outside garbage can, or for constantly barking at the squirrels in the tree he would no way ever catch, or for his whining.

With Blue dying, I’m finally getting to understand these people who think they’ve suffered some great cataclysmic loss in their lives and had their guts ripped out absolutely refuse to move on from it. “I’ll never love again,” would always make me roll my eyes and mutter, “oh, shut the fuck up, you fuckin’ goomba” under my breath, but no…I understand it now. Over a goddamn dog. Humans are so goddamn wrapped up in their own problems that they forget others around them can be suffering some sort of loss or loneliness but be too self-absorbed to know it or just don’t know how to do anything to help, or feel like they’re bothering you if you try to offer meager help. Anxiety gets in our way. The fear of…whatever gets in our way.

Animals can see your hurt and even though all they can do it stick out their tongue and lick your eyeball, or put their wet noses in your ear and snort, that’s sometimes more love and affection people show each other, so I fully understand wanting to build up that goddamn wall to ward all those who dare be stupid enough to enter. Dogs are fucking smart. People are not.

My advice? Be more like a dog.

Yes, even if that means licking your own butt.

Okay, maybe not, but do all that other crap about unconditional love and if you really have to be weird about it, lick an eyeball, but that’s it.

December 7, 2016

I need to preface this by saying I am an asshole. I am not being denigrating. I am being factual. Eighty percent of the time, I am sweet and friendly, but the other twenty percent of the time, I can be a real rotten bitch, and I have been stewing over something all day that has raised my aggression a few notches, and because I want to get this shit out of my head, I’m going to write about it. If you don’t feel like reading this, I totally get it and no hard feelings, I promise.

And away we go!

A casual stroll through my previous posts on this here blog will affirm that I suffer from depression. I’ve written about this countless times. Second most frequent posts are about quitting smoking (which I’m revving up for again. I discovered I have two boxes of nicotine patches in the bathroom closet and I was all “huh.” If I’m anything, I’m consistent in my attempts).

I wasn’t always depressed. I lived a fair chunk of my life happy-go-lucky. I wasn’t a depressed teenager or anything like that. I remember the D word being uttered probably ten years ago when I went to have my yearly pap smear. The doctor was chatting with me and one thing led to another and next thing I knew, I had a prescription for Cymbalta in my little hands. I hated the stuff as it made me feel like nothing. Not joyful when I needed to be, not sad when I needed to be, just…flat. It’s such a bizarre feeling to know you should be expressing some sort of emotions but are physically incapable of doing so. That was my brief stint in psychopathy, I think. Needless to say, I quit that medication and honestly don’t recall if I ever took anything after that. I don’t think so. I think it was more of a “well, that didn’t work out, did it?” and I managed to go a few years drug-free. I can see now that I was getting depressed, but I guess just thought I could handle it.

The next time depression was seriously brought up was in 2010 and going through the hell that was the decline of my marriage. Lacking coping skills, I turned to getting drunk nightly and a bevy of other questionable activities. Nothing like drugs or that, but having an emotional affair with a guy, and honestly, I’m not sure if that’s any better.

I could tell I was heading down a bad path and sought help through the employee assistance program at work. These services are great for the most part, but I was only allowed 5 visits with the therapist and wasn’t too keen on having to find another one and start over from scratch with someone else, but I did eventually. I then had my little mental breakdown in July 2010 which landed me at Bryan West in the Effective Disorders unit and spent a fun-filled 3 days being doped to the gills and having to participate in group therapy and color mandalas. It was wild. I highly don’t recommend it.

On release, I was under the care of a wacky psychiatrist named Raphael Tatay. He was five feet tall and Spanish and had a rich Spanish accent that made it difficult to understand him at times. He pronounced my name “Air-leen” and would sing me weird little songs he made up, like “zee fay-moos Air-leen Zook-ooskee!” He saw me while in the hospital, started me on drugs to help me sleep, for anxiety, and depression. He diagnosed me with PTSD caused by my divorce, and would see me every three months for three minutes so I could get refills. I went through two therapists in that time. One gal was at his office and had some sort of eye disorder that she literally could not make eye contact with you when you spoke to her. Not to be an ass, but that was distracting as all hell. I found myself trying to position my head to look at her, but that didn’t work. Also, we didn’t have good rapport, which happens.

The next gal I saw had her office out of her home and I remember two things about this woman: she had a giant black dog who would wander around, and she always wore the same outfit whenever we met. For whatever reason, that was a deal breaker for me. Well, that and the expense of her visits got to be too much to handle, so I stopped going.

In 2012, I switched my care to a different psychiatrist and this is the guy who “diagnosed” me with bipolar 2. I feel good about placing the sarcastic quotes around “diagnosed” because his super thorough diagnostic tool was a single page with ten questions. He took one look, said, “yep. Bipolar 2,” and put me on different medications. Neat.

Oddly enough, I got put on Abilify and it was helpful. Abilify is for bipolar disorders. Abilify is also close to $1,000 a month, but ONLY $600 with insurance and a prescription assistance card! Hey now! Seeing as I couldn’t even begin to pay for that, I got switched to lamictal, the drug I am/was currently on/stopped taking. I didn’t last long on that because I ended up in Texas a few months later, losing my health insurance, so I couldn’t afford prescriptions.

Until early this year, I wasn’t taking anything, so I managed almost a solid three years, save the weird fiasco after my hysterectomy in 2014 where I got put on some medications which was a nightmare, but whatever.

The thing with antidepressants/antipsychotics is this: they are a straight up crapshoot. They aren’t like beta blockers or diuretics for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Psych meds are notorious for being consistently inconsistent from person to person. Abilify may help some people, or it could totally fuck with your program. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the medications I’ve been on in ten years:

Trazodone, Remeron, Geodon, Ativan, Cymbalta, Abilify, Lamictal, Effextor, Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Wellbutrin again, Ativan again, Trintellix, and Lamictal again.

Impressive, no? And the shit of it is, there’s more I can try still! Lots more! Based on my recent assessment and getting a more definitive diagnosis of major depression and generalized anxiety, there’s a whole slew of antidepressants I could take! Zoloft! Paxil! Effexor again, but in a much higher dose! Buspar! So many others! Terrific!

I don’t know if I want to take medication right now, and based on my list, I don’t think I could be blamed for that. That’s a lotta failed medications for one woman. I also know it’s still going to be a shot in the dark with finding a good one for me, too, obviously since I compiled quite the listy-list. It’s fucking frustrating and exhausting and sometimes sucks physically (looking at you, Trintellix and Lamictal).

There’s a big “but” coming here and why I declared myself an asshole earlier.

But. I know I lack some of the necessary components to functioning normally, a wildly subjective term, but just go with me here. My brain mishandles serotonin for whatever goofy reason…genetics, mostly. Thanks, Ma and Pa! I don’t have enough of the stuff, unfortunately. I am in therapy again and adore my Therapist as she’s teaching this old dog some new tricks, but again, that isn’t enough, I don’t think. I need to find the sweet spot between learning coping mechanisms, an effective medication, and to get regular exercise, as I know for a goddamn fact this power trio will get me to a good place.

As you can tell, it’s been an interesting ten years for Ol’ Grey Eyes here (my super cool nickname for myself).

And now for being an a-hole!

Obviously, I’ve been through some stuff personally during this time. Divorce, being in a verbally and emotionally abusive “relationship” with an alcoholic, unemployed for ten months, two major surgeries, dealing with my father’s cancer and recent death, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Yet, despite all this, I somehow have maintained a fairly decent outlook on life. The eternal optimist, I guess. I could absolutely give the world a double-barreled middle finger salute and choose to wallow in pity and despair because I think I’ve earned that chance to do so, but I don’t wanna. Yes, I’ve had some setbacks (Chantix-induced meltdown, anyone?), but I keep fighting to get back.

Depression gets to people in different ways. There is no right or wrong way to express your mental illness. Perhaps I’m more of a high functioning depressive than I realize, but for the most part, I do fairly okay-ish. For having a major depressive disorder, I’m still weirdly optimistic about life and what I can do with mine. That’s not to say I am 1000% happy and content in it because I most certainly am not. Mounting debt, not having a place to call my own, general discontent with my career status and wanting to further my education but lacking the funds to pursue it further, dealing with sometimes crippling grief…none of this is a goddamn picnic.

There are days when I let depression and anxiety run my life. There are days when I truly and honestly wish I wasn’t alive anymore so I didn’t have to deal with any of this. There are days when I eye my bottle of Ativan and think what a good idea it would be to take the entire bottle and hopefully go to sleep and hopefully never wake up. There are days where I am so goddamn angry at certain people in my life, I physically start shaking and it feels like every muscle in my body is being wound up into a hate ball until there will be too much tension and I’ll fucking snap. There are days were grief kicks me squarely in my face and it feels like I lost Dad a few hours ago instead of seven months ago.

But then, there are days when I wake up a different person. I feel good. I think I even look good. I smile at myself in the bathroom mirror and go, “you’re alright, Hoffmeyer.” I feel like I’m a good person. I feel like I am loved and treasured. I look back to days where I wish myself dead and think, “my god, woman! Really? Why would you ever have such wicked thoughts about yourself?”

I mentioned a paragraph ago that depression gets to people differently, and that’s true. It certainly does.

People also deal with their depression in different ways, too. I like to think I’m doing it right, and by that I mean I’m still kicking around despite how irritatingly difficult it’s been as of late. Again, I could very well throw in the towel and give up, letting depression win.

I’m going to be brutally honest and perhaps a hypocrite here, but that’s not new to me, so here goes: I cannot tolerate people who let their depression get the best of them in the way that they give up on themselves. I realize how stupid this is because that’s kind of the definition of having depression…but I hope some sense is made from what I’m trying (poorly) to say. And here’s the dickhead in me shining through:

You have your depressed folks that are fighting for their lives even when they have days when they don’t want to.

Then, you have your depressed folks that wallow in their own misery, throw pity parties for themselves constantly, and don’t make any effort to get better. They are perfectly content to being a victim to their illness.

I hate that shit so much. I hate when people throw their own flags in the ring. I hate when people choose to throw their fights.

I’m not entirely sure depression is their underlying cause for this attitude, though. Again, despite my depression, I am weirdly optimistic in general. I like to shine the silver linings to my clouds. I think the frames of my rose-colored glasses compliment my cheekbones well.

I think if you’re a negative person, you might have a tougher time dealing with your depression. They get the “what’s the fucking point?” mentality that isn’t depression-related, but being a miserable person in general related.

And there are two things in this world I despise. 1) Arrogance. 2) Negative fucking people. 3) People who can’t count and make lame jokes about counting things. Get out of my goddamn face, the both of yas.

I have an aunt who is the latter. She’s a miserable fucking human being. I do not get along well with this woman because of this. I bet if you were to pit the two of us together and we were to compare our mental illnesses, we’d be fairly on par diagnosis wise. But if you were to ask her, she would genuinely think she’s the only person in the entire history of the universe who has had it as bad as she has. Her struggle is the epitome of struggle. She should be martyred.

There are no words biting, cutting, or that express the amount of utter disgust and contempt I have for people like this.

Fuck me, now I’m all pissed off again. I had worked myself into a terrific tizzy earlier today thinking about something similar and man alive, was I ever angry! And how!

But do you get what I mean? I’m not saying I am free from being a detestable cow, but I snap the fuck out of it! I go, “okay, Erin. That’s quite enough of this.” And I stop!

Goddamn, seriously.

I’m all flustered and lost my steam and I’m hungry, so perhaps this is a good stopping point.

To reiterate, I don’t always love my life or what I’ve done/haven’t done with it, but I don’t let that get me down much. I don’t cotton to “everything happens for a reason,” either. Sometimes, it just isn’t the right time for things to fall into place, you know? I know.

Alright, 2,400 words is enough for one evening. I’m glad I was able to write tonight because this is the shit I had trouble remembering yesterday, so perhaps my brain isn’t totally fucked after all! Yay!

Before I go for realsies, know this: depression is an asshole. Do not let it tear you down to its level. Do whatever it takes to make you feel like your life matters and that you matter to people, because you fucking do. I don’t mince words like that, especially when it comes to this topic. You fucking fight, and you fucking fight like hell. I promise you it’s worth it.

As always, thank you for reading.