Inspiration where are you?

I often think of writing. I day dream of how therapeutic it is to run my fingers over the keys and have something pour on the screen that is not foreign to my soul. It is not work.  It is not a copy of someone or something else. The words belong to me and me alone. It is my perception of art and mine alone. It is snarky comments and love letters and tales of comic mischief. It is a work of love and passion and inspiration.

So why is it so very hard to connect to the inspiration? My life is certainly not dull. I am part of my very own love story, my offspring challenge my every breath and our travels are nothing if not worthy of a wordy tribute. Yet my collection sits stagnant.

I may seek the answer for as long as the heart seeks the definition of perfection. That ever evasive, constantly changing kaleidoscope of beauty and mercy.

I crave inspiration.

I want to hear the click clack of the keys and see the stark white screen disappear.

So where is it? Where is my muse? Why can’t I just find the magic that makes me move to the nearest electronic and tell my tales? If you’ve found the secret I beg you to share.

I promise not to tell.

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The Family Tree of Life … wait, what?

The Family Tree or The Tree of Life … whatever you call it the symbol is deeply embedded in religious and spiritual beliefs. You will find it popular for genealogy and history buffs, elementary school home projects and with artists of all kinds.

The definition is as wildly varied as is each tree. Rarely depicted in exact form or feature. A basic Google search brought me the following definition:

“In this way, the tree of life is a symbol of a fresh start on life, positive energy, good health and a bright future. As a symbol of immortality. A tree grows old, yet it bears seeds that contain its very essence and in this way, the tree becomes immortal. As a symbol of growth and strength.” unknown

I’m sure you have heard the joke about the family tree being full of nuts. It’s generally the absolute truth and is especially for my own. A few weeks before my epic trip up north my mom sent me photo which would make a permanent mark on us all, literally.

My phone was blinking with a message waiting as it often does, only this time it was my mother. Some people might roll their eyes or sigh seeing another text from mom but not me. I love them. I guess after years of not speaking little blinking lights seem to have the positive power to keep all the old darkness away.

This time she sent a photo.

She had found a piece of jewelry online, or I think that was what it was. I have since lost the texts, little did I know such a simple thing would turn into a worthy story. I don’t remember the words but I complimented the piece. I had just purchased something similar while on vacation. I had hung it in my kitchen window days before our conversation. An interesting coincidence. The symbol she shared was a Triple Tree of Life design.

Whether it was she or I who decided it would look amazing as a tattoo I do not recall. I will give her credit as she is the visionary among us.

She decided we should all get this tattoo of 3 trees and set about to sketch it. She proclaimed her tree to be the middle and my sister and I would be to the left and to the right. Her image came to live in a circle and she began to add leaves separating each mature trunk and expansive branches. She asked what leaf shape I preferred and I chose the hearts. My sister would be assigned the scroll shape leaves.

And so it was shared and agreed, we would get these trees symbolically tattooed to our individual bodies to represent the true roots and togetherness despite growing into separate entities.

That would be that except for the fact that now we needed an artist willing to do the same design on separate occasions and for a reasonable price. Oh, and a tiny detail, I happen to live in another state, they each in separate cities. I was going to be in town for a short window so my appointment had to be scheduled in advance.

Like a true champ mom had her appointment first. I wish I could have been there but alas the miles add up and I wouldn’t be there for weeks.

Second my sister got hers, a little larger than ours, much as she does everything. She laughs louder, is a little taller, and has bigger chickens. (It’s not a competition, sis.)

When it was finally my turn I hobbled in, limping on a broken foot with the fam. Mom, Dad and my sweetheart in tow. For the record I didn’t know the foot was broken at the time, not that it would have slowed me down any more than it did. I didn’t need the entire clan for support either but I won’t lie … I did enjoy the entourage.

Mom introduced me to the artist as the daughter from out-of-state and reminded him she promised to bring me in. Now here I was. She was so excited, proud even to be presenting her family to the man with the needle gun.

It’s a special gift she has, to walk into an establishment and become the official honorary host. She takes charge in the mom-est way ever and she does it so well. She shows us off and takes ownership even though we are moms ourselves and tower over her in height.

It might also be a red-head thing. It’s sort of endearing.

I was invited into the artists chair and I happily plopped down, arm up on the rest and head back taking it all in. There was a glass case to the left against the wall with piercing jewelry in it. On top of the case was an entire brown bear skin with yellowed teeth and claws. The bear skin seemed shockingly out-of-place yet so at home there perched menacingly about 8 feet in the air. I didn’t ask about the bear but may next time.

My eyes shifted to a back room which I suspect was the piercing room. I suggested mom get her nose pierced. She didn’t miss a beat and declined. It was hard to rattle her.

We continued to chit-chat with the artist about my current ink, where I got it and that it was unique. My mom, from her seat in the corner, pipes up with a question. Asks what the oldest person the artist had ever tattooed.

Good question.

Guy covered in ink and wearing purple gloves continues to gently press into the skin on my arm and pauses before he shares his reply.

He begins the story with how he had to help an elderly lady into the tattoo chair. A frail, tiny old woman. He might have said she had an oxygen tank or a walker or something, painted the picture of tiny sweet grey hair granny type. He got her into the chair and she advised she wanted a touch up tattoo. Not kidding. She wanted to touch up the roses on her earlobe. He described being scared to break her, being so gentle as to not hurt her.

She was a champ.

I can only hope to be that bad-ass someday.

Mom was intrigued. She asks if it is harder to tattoo old people skin (yep, said that) and she mentions something about being worried she might be too old for tattoos. It is possible I guess she was fishing for a compliment. I don’t know. Forgive me, Ma, if the words are wrong there but this story is as I recall it. Also it happened.

She got good news however you look at it, she wasn’t the oldest he had ever tattooed (he laughed at her for that) and she was in the fairly young range of people who come in for ink. I think she blushed but it was hard to tell from the reflection in the glass case. I was still concentrating on the insanely large teeth on that bear skin.

He went on to say with plenty of moisture skin will be good for tattooing for a long time to come. She is probably sitting somewhere with some Skin So Soft right now. I know I have upped my moisture game. Old lady skin be damned.

It was over quickly and I marveled at how beautiful my new tattoo was. We paid and tipped well and made our way back for the party that afternoon.

We ate and drank and took pictures and ate some more. We showed off our new ink in singles and in triple to anyone willing to smile and nod.

Our tattoos are a symbol of who we are. Joined at the root but each branched to our own. My mother with her leaves, which symbolize for me life and change. My sisters scrolls symbolizing what I see in her as great wisdom, boundless intelligence and strength. Lastly my hearts, which for me represent love unconditional with a notation on some limbs a barren place for broken hearts for which I am grateful to never forget.

*Thank you to my mother for designing such a beautiful tribute to family, forgiveness and bond. Also for feeding us constantly when we visit. Those baked beans though … yum.

*Thank you to my dad who has kept us safe since we were wee girls. That’s what dads do. They also make safety videos so you don’t hurt yourself playing in the yard.

*Thank you to my sister for being ever-present in my life even when we don’t speak. Also for the moonshine that tasted like paint thinner. You’re the best sister I’ve ever had.

Another lesbian love letter … happy birthday my love

My one, my truth, my reason for idiotic bliss. I cherish this, your birthday as I have the others who have come before with as much awe and honor as I ever have.

You never cease to amaze me as we grow older, year by year and side by side.

The first birthday we shared I brought you the wrong gift but with all the right intention. You were so sweet about it all, I was embarrassed but glad to be with you.

My crush weighed so heavily on my brain I could barely remember to wrap your gifts.

Since your last birthday we never spent a night alone. You were next to me for cake and ice cream, for laughing until we cried and for beer on beaches. For every sweet moment in between.

My crush still weighs heavily and at times I can barely speak.

Sometimes it is all I can do, I stare in wonder and amazement that you are here with me. No miles to distance us. No goodbye need ever be long.

I am honored to spend this day, the birthdays previous and the days to come celebrating you. Your laugh and your smile. Your kindness and your generosity. Your strength and your courage. I admire you.

I am in awe of your ability to tackle anything that comes our way with strength and wisdom. You surprise me each passing year with your passion and commitment to our little family. I am moved by your beautiful gaze and am transported by your touch.

 

 

My pride, my lover, my best friend and my destiny. I have never been more grateful to be in your company.

Happy 41st my love, my gorgeous. My darling wife.

I adore you more than words will ever say.

 

 

 

Real marriage advice – life, love and not speaking to each other

It has taken me awhile but I think I have learned a little about relationships, marriages in particular. It can be such a beautiful thing, hand in hand with the intention of growing old together, raising your children and retiring to rocking chairs on the front porch. Then there are days where you can barely stand the sound your phone makes when they send you yet another text message, to which you will also be ignoring.

I have put together 7 age old ridiculous tips and some alternative real life advice from an actual married person.  Actual advice for us long term ball and chain type couples; the gay, the straight, the somewhere in between  … because we all at some point need to step back and just laugh at ourselves.

Never go to bed angry.  Seriously? Who is this helping if you stay up way past your working adult bedtime?

SHUT THE HELL UP AND GO TO BED. Your co-workers will thank me for this tip in the morning. You can hash out whose turn it is to clean the bathroom another time.

Always compliment your lover. I only agree with half of this. Do not throw around over used, thoughtless words you think she wants to hear.  She doesn’t. She will stop buying into your lip service pretty quick. That is no good for her self esteem. All you are doing is encouraging your partner to not believe anything you say. Ever.

Always be sincere. If she is looking hella hot in that dress, by all means tell her so.

**I use the pronoun “she” here but this applies to everyone. Keeping in mind this is  written by a woman who is married to a woman … I use the feminine for everything. This advice could easily be just as good for that gorgeous hunk of a man in your life.

Be reasonable in your expectations. I don’t even know what this means. What exactly is a reasonable expectation? This varies wildly. If you were raised outside of the jungle you know how to behave in society and with other people. Don’t stress about what you are expected to do as long as you aren’t being an asshole.

Real advice: No really. Just don’t be an asshole. The only expectation should be that you are kind to one another and expect that no day is ever the exact same as the one before. Roll with it together.

Trust each other. This is a hard one for me personally. Do I trust she won’t leave one day with our dogs in the passenger seat and a trail of dust behind her? Sure. Do I trust she won’t drink the last of the wine or eat all the fancy ice cream? No.

Real advice: Don’t cheat on her or eat all her ice cream. Done.

Figure out your finances before you tie the knot. Uhh, we have been married awhile and we still havn’t figured this out.

Real advice: You are on your own here. I have no advice. We make the money, we spend the money.

Be affectionate as much as possible. For the sake of everyone around you, please, we beg of you do not do this. It is rude and we will tell you to get a damn room.

Real advice: In the confines of your home or around a private corner in public places by all means grab a quick feel or smooch like teenagers. All is well and good until you are holding up the line at Target looking deeply into each others eyes.

Handle your disagreements in a healthy way. We all know that couple that breaks up and makes up all the freakin’ time. Stop it. Don’t break dishes, don’t drive off squealing tires, don’t call names and never, ever tell them you don’t love them. There is no glue to mend that kind of thing and spray paint and ribbons are not a fancy fix all. No matter what you read on Pinterest.

Real advice: Be honest, take time if you need it before you respond, use your best inside voice. We learned about not throwing tantrums and using inside voices in preschool yet sometimes we forget as grown adults.

The very best advice I have ever been given was to learn from successful couples who have amazing, healthy, happy marriages. Learn from those who know they are not perfect but they keep working on it anyway, those people are the successful ones.

Most of all be willing to laugh at yourself. It’s a lot better than being laughed at.

Leave me your best marriage advice in the comments below, I would love to hear your best “real” advice!

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