Happy to help!

I want my children to grow up to live a life that fills their spirit with bliss. I want them to walk with purpose and offer compassion in their own unique way. I want them to wake up every morning with a fire in their belly for social justice.

I’m not going to lie to you. I want my children to be activists.

You wanna be a lawyer? Oooh, how about immigration law or The Innocence Project.

You wanna be a doctor? I hear there are kids with cleft palates who could use someone like you. Have you ever heard of Patch Adams?

You wanna be a fireman? Do it. Saving lives, protecting families is an honorable gig. Be safe. Bring me stories.

This probably doesn’t surprise you. It shouldn’t. Conversations in our home revolve around the celebration of their interests and guidance towards how they might use their day job to serve others.

I will admit that I’ve also told them to make it so mommy doesn’t have to work. I recognize that these are conflicting instructions but I figure either way, I CAN’T LOSE!

Real talk. Nobody saving the world is rolling in bank but they are rolling deep in the good.

My kids watch me. As they all do. They 11136651_10152893200734022_8788192720637140555_ncome to the events, they sit through the meetings, they help their momma empty the car after the latest event. They know my elation and exhaustion. They know my successes and my frustrations. They get to witness it all.

Should make for a great book someday.

Lord, help me.

I often worry that it’s all too much. That I do too much. I worry, like mothers do.

And then, I get an email like this:

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Have any brochures coming up that I can help with? If so, let me know.

He ends his email in the same way I do.

Happy to help!

It’s never too early to learn grassroots organizing. #amiright

As a side note: that’s my best friend’s face making a cameo appearance. Hey girl, hey!

So, my son is sitting on the Teen Yoga Committee for my foundation. He is the brother of the founder of the Dog Olympics. I’m thinking, he will be learning some communications this summer. And the best part?

It’s all because he’s happy to help.

My children will be who they are meant to be. I enjoy watching them change, grow and become more and more independent of me. Different than each other and bringing their own brand of amazing into my life and the lives of others. It is a remarkable privilege to give my children the room they need to be who they are and then watch the magic happen.

Wouldn’t you agree?

May the life I give my sons now, lead them towards their own bliss. Amen.

Love,

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A Chorus of You Are Worthy

Yesterday found me climbing the stairs of the MSU Union with a heavy box and an umbrella. It was raining and I had about 5 minutes to get myself to the room filled with about 25 people who registered for my Militant Self-Care Workshop.

By the time I got there, I was sweaty and breathing heavy. Lord. I burst through the doors at the top of the stairs to see a crowd waiting for me.

“Be cool, FC.”

I was not cool. I was hot as hell. Heat rises and that 3rd floor stairwell was baking. I was on time. Thankfully because in a superior moment of unrealistic expectations, I told everyone else:

“Our time together is precious and irreplaceable. Be on time. You can’t make this up.”

Guys. I am ALWAYS struggling to be on time. What was I even thinking?

I set an intention and I met it but man, that was a serious gamble against my natural tardy inclinations.

Anyhow, I made it and set up with help from some angels. Lydia, Lysne and Miranda – to be exact. I was nervous and shaky. I’d never done this particular workshop before but when have I ever let that stop me? I asked Miranda to open the doors and start checking people in. Lunch was offered because “eating is good self-care.” and we were off.

First of all, let me tell you that my PowerPoint was top notch and hilarious. Check Yourself.

Not only did Ice Cube make an appearance but so did the Phoenix. If people weren’t sure when to laugh, I helped them because I cracked myself up. I am my own laugh track.

Once we got into a groove, we had a beautiful conversation. I could see wheels turning. I could hear in the voices the absolute need for the song I was singin’ and then it happened.

A hand was raised. Timidly. I nodded, smiling. I was ready. Give it to me. Then she hit me with the question.

“What if you are not in a place where you feel like you are worthy of love yet?

Instantly my eyes welled up with tears and my chest tightened up. I knew that question. I’ve asked it before. Haven’t you?

Tell me about it. Join the conversation here.

The answer she was looking for was not one I could give. You can say the words but you can’t make someone feel worthy. I took a deep breath and decided to try anyway.

“You are worthy of love.”

She shrugged and nodded that she knew. It was the kind of knowing that comes without believing. I struggled to find the words. I choked them out.

“I think you are worthy. I can’t make you hear that. I can’t make you believe that. I wish I could but I can’t. You are brave for asking that question. That makes me love you. I can also tell you that there’s a room full of people here that agree with me. You are worthy.”

Then it happened. The room erupted into a symphony of you are worthies. Different voices, different words all formed in a sort of chorus singing to a broken heart.

Darling, you are worthy.

It was one of those moments that breaks one piece of your heart off while stitching another piece together. My spirit just stopped and said, “Yes, girl. This is it.”

There have been a lot of kind things said about me in the past 24 hours but I think the best testimonial I could give you happened in that room. It happened in the symphony I was able to conduct. Can you hear it?

You are worthy.10996165_10153101408618588_3173392778831113365_n

Love and big fences,

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PS – Check out what other people are saying below OR search the hashtag #militantselfcare on Instagram and Twitter.  Get ready to have your heart warmed.

Productivity Does Not Equal Worthiness

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. today singing like a lark. I hopped out of bed, washed dishes, folded laundry and baked a quiche.Shocked

I know. I am as shocked as you are.

As I was headed upstairs to put clean towels into the bathroom, my husband asked me what smelled so good. I said, “I baked a quiche.”

He said, “What the fuck?”

He could not believe what was happening.

Dexter was not impressed.
Dexter was not impressed.

I have always struggled with mornings. I have come to realize that I need more time and quiet than my life can provide without getting up super early. I am stuck between a rock and my alarm clock.

I don’t even believe in alarm clocks.

That’s obviously not true but I hate them so much. Like deep, deep disdain.

Today is different somehow. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and my mind went to work straight away as it always does. Two meetings, a press interview, workshop preparation, donations to count and most importantly, people to thank. Typically, I roll over and fight by body for more blessed, blessed sleep. Today, I took advantage of my strange good nature and got up.

You guys, it’s quiet here when everyone is asleep.

I made room for my brain to have it’s thoughts. I brought out my list of to dos. I didn’t plan to DO anything yet. I practiced mindfulness and added things to my list as they floated over folded towels and whisking eggs. I made my cup of tea and listened to my favorite creative podcast. I had ideas as I used colored pencils to fill in flowers and leaves on a notecard.

I found space in my day for the quiet beginnings my brain seems to need these days.

I’ve been straight up preaching #militantselfcare and my focus has been learning about how I roll in the world. I’m actually giving a workshop on it in a few days. My new found meditation practice has offered me mindfulness that I can take into my day and just discover the way I move with gentleness and without judgment.

As a side note: my first thoughts while coloring today were related to staying in the lines, picking the right colors and doing it RIGHT. I giggled at myself, shook my head and just picked up a damn pencil. No judgment just release. It felt good.

I suppose this wakefulness probably has something to do with the amazing sleep I got last night. I did this weird thing. I went to bed when I was tired. I didn’t play a rousing game of Candy Crush, I didn’t watch two episodes of not much on Netflix. I didn’t kill time by trying to steal it back from the clutches of a busy day. I curled up next to my guy with hair still damp from the shower and fell asleep.

Oh heaven.

I have had some trouble concentrating lately. The spaces between sentences in books are filled with things I should be doing. I can’t seem to decide where to start my day and so I attack it mindlessly hoping that at the end of the day my wild swinging will amount to a knock out.

I’m feeling dissatisfied and a little lost. I’m not entirely sure why.

I’ve been trying a few new things and I’ve been forced into new environments. Change is not my favorite. Neither is uncertainty. Wouldn’t you agree?

I think most would.

My office is between moves. My brand is being built. My book is being researched.

Oh. And my children are home for spring break this week which adds a layer of disorganization that I cannot even explain in words. And by disorganization, I mean that I intentionally didn’t sign them up for any camps, events, activities because I realized I missed them. We’re spending time together. For better or for worse (but mostly for better).

I am feeling unsettled but after last night’s amazing rest. I have to say, I think I was largely just feeling tired. Turns out, they’ve actually discovered the cure for that.

Sleep.

On a certain day, a few weeks ago, I wrote down that I desired to feel productive above all else and then I went to work. I plowed through. I focused. I pushed. I ignored speed bumps, distractions, hunger pains, thirst and rest. I was a raging, maniac of productivity. I got shit done.

I was productive. I just wasn’t very happy. These new boundaries and militant self-care principles are lending me lessons in what feels good. Being productive is my way of feeling really worthy but I’ve discovered it is not my way of being truly happy.

Productivity is my addiction.

I get into these grooves of productivity and it’s like a drug. My brain starts to get all hype and starts saying things like:

Look at you slicing and dicing in that inbox. Ooh, man. You are so good at this. Wow. I wonder what else we can pull off today. Forget about that drink. You’re only thirst is for success. You are just so organized and smart. Don’t let that email slip by unnoticed. You are a magician. You’re not hungry. You’re busy. Keep it up. Ignore that cramp in your foot. Keep typing. Keep building. Slam that leftover cake slice if you have to but get this shit done.

I am not made worthy because I work. I am worthy because I am here. That’s it.

Today, I have been productive and now, I am going to go be happy. I am choosing to be satisfied with what I’ve done and release what I have not. I am setting down my addiction to productivity one mindful day at a time. I am blowing the whistle that ends this shift. For now, rest. It cures what ails ya.

Wishing you sweet dreams,10422206_10153223997448588_38878537589826032_n

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PS – I’m probably napping right now.

The Girl Who Got Up

Everyone, I’ve been brooding.

It has not been pretty. It’s been days of unwashed hair, regular napping and whining about the things I need to do but haven’t actually done when I should really just admit that I have no intention of accomplishing anything more than this run on sentence.

In an advanced move of mental health, I decided that meditation was a step in the right direction.

I can’t even recall why, other than to say that I have been really working on creating a lovely start to my day. It’s a part of my regimen of self-love.

Oh. You don’t have one of those? Weird.

I work hard. As I am sure you do. I’ve noticed since the launch of The Firecracker Foundation I was born that I have an issue with riding the waves of adrenaline like it’s not a tsunami of disorganization, deprivation and denial. Dishes stack up, bills go unpaid, and relationships suffer because I have the gift of single focus.

If in the first semester of the year I came home with a low grade in a class (Math. It was always in math class.), I would spend the next grading period going to tutoring, studying, taking crazy good notes and not failing. To no one’s surprise but my own, that grade would go up and inevitably, other grades would go down.

Laser focus.

I can rock a set of blinders like no one else.download

On the exterior, things go very well. I meet goals and exceed expectations. I accomplish something I’ve set out to do. I let nothing stand in my way.

Nothing. Not a solid night of much needed sleep. Not a single plate of breakfast food. Not an hour to myself or a clean load of warm laundry. Not a fucking thing because who needs rest, sustenance and good hygiene?

Not a person who’s working on something so STOP INTERRUPTING ME!

If you haven’t noticed yet, this is going to be one of those posts that feels like a rant until about the end when my emotions cool off. If you are not comfortable in the inner sanctum of my brain, I would like to direct you to the upper right hand corner red X. That is your escape hatch. Bon Voyage!

I decided about a month ago to delve into militant self-care. Some may call this discipline and boundaries but I don’t like people who use bad language. I decided that I needed to learn to nurture my laser focus with compassion for my mind, body and spirit.

Things like reading for leisure, midday yoga and meditation.

(A point of personal clarification: Facebook doesn’t count, day drinking is not yoga and napping is not meditation)

I honed in on what I would consider a regimen of self-love for the thing I struggle with the most right now.

Mornings.

They are just the worst. I hate their sunshiny faces. I hate waking up and I hate being woken up. I don’t want to rush off anywhere. I want coffee in bed and a good book to read. I want to write. I want to cuddle. I want quiet.

All things I can have.

With the exception of not waking up – hopefully, because I would be dead if I didn’t – I can make all of these things happen. I can require more quiet in my home. I can have coffee in bed. I can read, write and cuddle with my little dog if I just acknowledge that I need to wake up a little earlier to have it.

I choose. Or not.

I mapped out my office hours and started counting down the hours I was giving to the foundation. I had set out with a goal of 30 hours per week and I was exceeding it by  a few hours every week. I have placed margins around my meetings for preparation and follow through.

I made choices that felt like risks.

If I don’t respond to my constantly dinging notifications, will I still be able to coax success out of the foundation. If I’m not always right there, in the thick of it all, will it still be okay? It comes down to a simple reflection of ego. Do I really believe that I have to be in control of it all and if I do, what does that say about the people who work with me?

There is a culture that I set out to create. Who better to lead by example than me?

My life has begun to resemble that of a quirky, professional adult and I dig it.

Annd then the shoe dropped. Suddenly, the meditation practice I had welcomed into my life began to start grating on me. It itched. I didn’t want to sit. I started avoiding the comfortable spot in the corner of my sectional. I started to let the time slip by. I was having a full on, physical and emotional reaction to the very idea of sitting still and breathing.

What. The. Fuck.

I started to panic. I am trying to accomplish something here. I need peace. Why won’t my body let me have it? What kind of shit is this? What kind of person has an allergic reaction to mediation?

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This person.

I started calling on the friends who knew something about meditation. Friends who teach yoga and meditation in their daily lives started getting messages from me like:

Hi there! I am having an allergic reaction to meditation. Is that a thing?

And then I went to therapy.

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I sat in a comfy chair and regaled my therapist with all of the amazing ways I was taking care of myself. I rambled on and on about how good I was feeling about it even if it wasn’t perfect. I shared that my handy meditation app reports I’ve meditated for 3.5 hours. Even though I didn’t do it every day and I didn’t have a perfect system down, I felt like I was making progress. I told her that I loved the quiet space I was carving out for myself when my boys weren’t home but I hadn’t found a perfect way to protect that peace when they came home.

My boys + Quiet = not a thing.

I then expressed my concern with the physical rejection I felt towards the meditation I had been enjoying. 3.5 hours worth of enjoyment and suddenly my body was all – this is dumb and I don’t want to do it anymore.

After some discussion, she asked me if I noticed how many times I’d used the phrase “not perfect”.

The discussion led me to a memory.

He used to knock me out of my chair. I would be sitting at the table eating dinner and then I wouldn’t be. I’d be on the floor. Sometimes the chair would land next to me and other times, the strike would come so fast the chair would sit unaffected by its loss of me. It was like one of those magic acts where the table cloth is pulled out from underneath all of the dishes with dramatic flare.

I would find myself on the floor with a stinging cheek and hurt pride. The table would be awkwardly silent. Violence has a funny way of inviting silence. I would slowly gather myself up on little legs, right my chair and sit back down at the table.

This time I would be better. This time I would stay focused on what mattered. This time I would chew with my mouth tightly closed and then I would be worthy to stay at the table.

But I would forget. My mind would dance around with the happy thoughts of the day or I’d get squirmy as 7 year olds do. I’d dig my fork into another bite only to find myself on the floor again with a stinging cheek and a fallen chair.

And I would get up again. Usually it only took two solid smacks out of my chair before I remembered that my mouth was meant to be closed.

After my father died, my mother took me to a dentist to have my teeth checked and I was diagnosed with a cross-bite and an overbite. It was a feat of physical control for me to close my mouth when I ate.

Single goddamned focus.

I was reminded by my therapist that meditation is creating new neurological pathways in a brain told a violently reinforced lesson: You are not worthy to sit at this table.

And every time I settle into my couch for meditation, it is the equivalent of me getting up off the floor and saying, “Yes, I fucking am.”

Love from the girl who got up,

PS – I’ll have more on what I’ve learned about mediation in my next Open Letter.

PPS – Click here to Vote for The Firecracker Foundation in the Big Bang-quet Challenge!

This is my difficult.

My grandmother approached the topic like an airplane coming in for a landing. She circled the point with a story about a talk show episode she’d seen. As I listened, I met a friend at the door and silently motioned for her to come in.

Fridays have become an experiment of accountability at my place.

I’ve created a writers group of sorts. I’ve set aside a large window of time and offered an open invitation to some friends that I deem “writerly”. I’ve promised free wifi, hot water for tea, coffee and at least one clean bathroom. Aside from the recent string of snow days to have hit the Torok household, it is going well. I use the time to write and when necessary, to do some research.

On this day, I had called my grandmother to ask her about who my father was. This month is all about building his personality profile.

  • Who did my family think he was?
  • What does it mean to be a pedophile vs. a perpetrator? Which was he?
  • Was I his only victim?
  • What did he like to do?
  • Where did he like to go?

You get it.

To tell a better story, to understand him, I need to think about who he was beyond my abuser.

Yes, to answer the questions rolling around in your head, this is creepy. No, it is not fun. Yes, I do think it’s necessary. My mother says my dad* is worried about me, which in our family is a sign that you may be going to far. I’ve added some #militantselfcare to my life and I’m okay.

Dad, if you’re reading this, I promise.

My grandmother told me that she had been watching Maury Povich the other day. Their was a little girl on the show talking about a man who touched her private area. I wasn’t sure where this was going and then she landed.

“I’ve never asked because I didn’t want to bring it up,” she said. ” But is that what your father did to you? Did he just touch you or what happened?”

This is what happened in my head.

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Shit just got real. I turned on my heel to head upstairs and away from my guests. In that moment, I realized we’d never talked about this before. When I was 21 years old, I told her that my father had sexually abused me. Most people who knew me, knew this to be true but because of distance and a bit of a strain on our relationship since my father died, she didn’t know and neither did any of my father’s family.

If you were to ask me now, I would tell you that using terms like sexually abused or molested are correct and socially acceptable but they don’t define an experience. Those terms don’t tell the whole story. How could they?

When I was 21, I chose to tell my grandmother because I realized that I could never be fully me if she didn’t know. I realized that if I truly believed that the abuse was not my fault then I deserved to live shame free and in the truth.

CAN I LIVE?

Damn straight I can.

So sitting on my little stoop, sunning my legs, I nervously told her the truth. Only after she very directly told me to get on with it. She knew something terrible was on its way and she wanted me to let her face it head on.

Once the words tumbled out, she was sorry for me. She told me that she wished that she could have been there for me. There were probably more words that I can’t recall now and then I quickly got off the phone to escape the awkwardness of telling your father’s mother that he was a child molester. Because good times, am I right?

Now she asked for the details and I found myself saying, “Grandma, he raped me. Often and repeatedly.”

She said, “Didn’t he hurt you? How could that have happened? Weren’t you such a little girl?”

“Yes, grandma. I was six. The only thing I can say is that it must’ve happened so often that it didn’t hurt anymore. I think it probably started happening before I could remember.”

I was reporting. These were facts. The hard kind but the kind I know as my past. This is my story and I am, not comfortable but accustomed to the truth of it.

She is not. This was the first time she’d heard it. These truths were landing around her for the first time and I could almost hear them shatter as they hit her skin and fell to the ground. There was the sound of anger and pain in her voice.

“He would have gone to jail,” she raged. “Grandma would’ve seen to it.”

And it was those words, spoken to me as if I were still a little girl that broke my heart again.

Just this week, I spoke to a class of sociology students at Michigan State University and one of them asked me if I had forgiven my father. This topic comes up a lot. We know that forgiveness can offer healing. We are told that it is about you not the person who hurt you. I believe those things to be true.

However, painful, brokenhearted moments like this one is why I also believe that forgiveness is not a one act play. It’s a long running series. Forgiveness is kind of like the never-ending run of those tragic daytime soap operas that we have only recently given up.

Unless you have the Soap Opera Network. In which case, #neverforget.

Forgiveness for me has had to be approached with the acceptance that it is a process for repeated, long term injuries.

When my children offer to include my father in the list of the dead they want to pray for, forgiveness prevents me from screaming that he doesn’t deserve their prayers. It allows me to sit back and recognize that if there’s any one soul in need of prayer in the afterlife, it’s probably my father’s. I can’t imagine there’s much peace or rest for him.

Forgiveness is not pity or absolution. It does not mean there are no consequences. It just means that I forgive. Rage, sorrow, relief – everything else is still on the table.

Grandma, cannot see to anything in the past. I can tell you that her assurances that she would have seen to it if given the opportunity, spoke such kindness to the little girl in me. There’s some comfort in the idea of my grandmother pursuing justice on my behalf.

I never imagined that she would choose me over her son. Before I told her my story, it was the burden that weighed the heaviest on my heart.

Why would my father’s family trust me? Why would they choose me?

As we begin to end our phone call, I headed down the stairs and towards my friends.

“You call me anytime. I know that what happened was horrible but I love you. Please don’t shut me out.”

And there is the answer to it all.

The answer to who I am, how I have survived and why anyone would believe me. The answer to why I do what I do and go where I go is in those words.

I am tremendously loved.

I have called her anytime. I have chosen not to shut her out. I have chosen to pull the tentacles of darkness that have seeped from my father’s legacy out of the relationship that I have with his family because to forget him, I have to forget them. That would be my easy. To remember him, is to remember where he came from. That is my difficult.

“Goodbye, Grandma. I won’t. I love you.”

I sat down at my desk, turned to my friends and said, “Guys. My grandmother just asked me what happened for the first time.”

Stunned I murmured, “I guess I’m not the only one asking the difficult questions around here.”10996165_10153101408618588_3173392778831113365_n

Sincerely,

PS – I know I opened lots of room for discussion in this one. It’s only going to get deeper. Hit me up in the comments.

* For clarity here, I will admit that the man I call dad now is my stepfather. He will hate reading this. (Hi dad. I know I’m your baby girl. Pretend like you didn’t see this!)

Admit it.

Two lines in my rough draft are giving me a stomach ache.

Two truths. Two unabashed, unapologetic admissions.

I have peeled it way back to the major organ. My heart is beating in the wind. It is visible. You can see the guilt, the delight and the guilt for the delight being pushed outwards into other organs.

Unlike sleeping naked between soft sheets, it is naked uncomfortable.

I was not sorry my father died. Sure. From where you’re standing in your adult skin, that doesn’t surprise you. You probably don’t blame me.

What if I told you I killed him?

No. I didn’t cause his brain aneurysm. I didn’t kill him in a physical sense.

He made me pray. He made me pray to make him stop.

As an 8-year-old girl, I got down on my knees and prayed to God that my father would stop abusing me. Of course, we only prayed after the latest abuse, not before it happened again. In that moment, I knelt in the middle of my Christian home, in the Bible Belt of West Texas and I asked our God to help me.

I was not excited about the promises from my father. I was unmoved by his fervent prayers. I had no faith.

Here it is:

God had no business with me.

If he existed, he did not exist for me. He sat on his golden throne with his son at his side and watched it all go down. There were no red seas parted, no water turned to wine, no miraculous healings and, more to the point, no evil spirits cast out.

Until he died.

As I consoled my mother, I thought maybe. Maybe like the Jews lost and wandering in the desert, it was my time to find the promise land. Maybe Ruth had finally found her Naomi. It was possible to suffer like Job and eventually be redeemed.

Maybe my prayers had killed my father.

The place where sadness could have been was preoccupied with hyper-spiritualized worry for my eternal soul. What kind of kid prays and her father dies? What kind of kid doesn’t mourn her father’s death?

Many answers: A kid attune with the divine. A kid with superpowers.A kid who’s father deserved to die. A super fucking lucky kid. A victimized, confused kid left alone with a devastating secret.

Yeah. That last one.

My mother and aunt tell me that it was as I remembered it: I did not cry. I was stoic. I was brave. I tried with little arms to hold them all together.

“Don’t cry, momma. It will be okay.”

There it is again.

My 8-year-old self believed: I killed my father and that is fine by me.

Following that, crowded rooms of people mourning that man were tortuous to me. I bore them. I carried his secret and protected his reputation. I fell into an extended period of what seems to me like shock. I hid a celebration that was dying to explode from my soul. I wanted to scream at them all,”We are saved

The way we honor the dead is deeply related to what we believe awaits them in the afterlife.

While my family had visions of pearly gates, I saw nothing on the other side. Sadly, there was so much darkness for such a little, little girl.

Sorry, I’m unable to offer any giggles. There’s nothing funny about what I found at the end of this chapter. No laughter. Only jaw clenching silence, small arms holding grown up things together and deep, intolerable loneliness for a small, cafe au lait girl in pig tails and her Sunday’s best.

I’m going to go remind myself of the beautiful here and now that I live in.10931517_10153064639923588_846065092442124449_o

I suggest you do the same.

XO,

PS – My brother-in-law once made me laugh at a funeral by saying, “You can’t spell funeral without F-U-N.”

There’s our inappropriate giggle.

Dear love, favor me.

Good afternoon Ms. Torok,

I don’t always have success when searching our archives, but was able to locate your father’s obituary. It published Oct. 18, 1988 and I have attached a screen shot of the page. I hope this helps.

My father’s funeral was on a Wednesday afternoon. I didn’t know that. This is not exactly headline news but I enjoy the details. Our family greeted visitors between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. After nap time but before dinner. I wonder if that was a consideration.

 

He was addressed as Sgt. and I was called Tashmica. That seems formal for a time when everyone called me ‘Tasha’. A little girl nickname for a little girl.
 
There’s more. Names I recognize and a few that I don’t. The name of the jump school where he died. The information about military services performed and by whom.

 
Every sentence, a snapshot of our lives at the time.
 
I didn’t think I would be able to get this information. I don’t know if you guys know this but, it is now the year 2015. Why in the world do they even keep this stuff?
 
Answer: People like me.
 
People who make the phone calls to ask the questions that may lead people to laugh at your foolishness. Turns out, no one laughed. Not the obituary staffer and not the funeral home representative.
 
They went to work. They did some research and now I have more answers that inspire even more questions. As a matter of fact, I have strong indications that a gentlemen may be searching a secondary location’s files to help me answer questions I never mentioned to him.
 
Curiosity. Gratitude. Progress.
 
Although I am a little disappointed that I won’t live up to the romantic image of visiting some library basement and sifting through microfiche to find clues about who my father was.
 

Oct. 18, 1988 pg 2 clip

 
I am processing the information. I’m thinking about the leaves in October and the dirt road that led us from my grandmother’s house to the funeral home. I’m hearing the gun salute that shook my mother into tears and the flag folded in her lap. I am also wondering how many other clues will be so easily uncovered.
 
“Love, like Fortune, favours the bold.”
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
 
Dear love, favor me.
 

 

 PS – New mantra: Your addiction of choice is boldness.