I curse a little (okay, I’m lying, I swear a lot). I am human. I am not perfect. My flaws announce the truths that live within the imperfections that many consider sinful. Do your flaws entertain or disturb others? And why do Christians’ (some not all) act as if they have never sinned? I am a work in progress making no progress (yes, I got issues, don’t we all), and I am willing to stand before the world and shout it from the rooftop. And I won’t end the conversation with, “have a blessed day.” No use fronting like I gives a damn when I don’t. You are the so-called reformed whores, and I’m the no bull-shit realist. We each have our demons that need to be acknowledged then banished. I know the church is for sinners, not saints. Still, I prefer dwelling among the heathens who won’t step foot in a church but know that God is everywhere and loves us all than be in church with those who think just because they attend church and misquote the Bible that’s their passport to heaven and everyone else is bound to burn in hell. The Bible has been rewritten, misquoted, and wrongly translated by heathens and sanctimonious hypocrites since before I was born. “God doesn’t make mistakes,” Chuɹɔh folks are quick to say this. Praising his name and giving glory to all he does. The same people are quick to say, “God loves all his children.” And then they call me an abomination.
Stop preaching positivity then underhandedly belittling people and talking about them behind their backs. Stop saying one thing while doing another; looking down your nose thinking you’re better than people just because you go to church. Stop asking people to come as they are then when they arrive you are judging as if you are Christ. You know like I do that you are lower and dirtier than the sinners you claim to help find Christ. And for the record, Christ is not lost… we are. Quiet as it has been kept, I, too, sometimes ain’t got the sense God gave dirt. I’m four quarters short of a dollar and don’t give a fuck. Nobody is perfect. We are all a work in progress. Many Christians think they are perfect, and everyone else needs a cleansing of their sins. The casinos have more windows than any Church has true Christians. I wake each morning asking for strength and an extra dose of common sense. Why lie about who you are and what you do when your lies pretty much announce your truths? ¿Can I get an Amen?
I’m not crazy. Just different and I like me that way. I used to do stupid things to get peoples’ attention, but no more. My friend DJ was different too. We would do things like eating apple pie sprinkled with ants from the backyard that we covered with hot chocolate. He is no longer my friend, and I am to blame. Losing his friendship has affected me deeply, that is why I see Dr. Better. Dr. Better is my psychiatrist. She always smiles when I walk into her office. She is one of the few people who smile when they see me. She has asked that I keep a journal to release my thoughts on paper when she is not available. I’ve noticed a change in myself since I started “Mastering My Thoughts” (my journal) and I write in my journal daily, several times a day sometimes. “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man is blaring from the speakers (only because I’m home alone). I just cleaned my room (don’t want to hear mom bitch about she’s my mom, not my maid). It’s time to start “Mastering My Thoughts.” For some odd reason, I write best when the music is loud, and the words of the song are saying something meaningful. I have a mixed variety of songs on my media player like “Smiling Faces” by Undisputed Truth, “River” by Bishop Briggs, “Legendary” by Welshly Arms and John P Kee’s “Lily in the Valley.”
MASTERING MY THOUGHTS My name is Cree. I am lost and not sure if anyone is looking for me (not even myself). One day I’m seeking help and the next I am running from the support offered. The voices in my head are making me afraid, and the medication I should be taking tend to make the voices in my head mad. My mind is running a marathon while my body is stiff from confusion. I’m writing to relax and release. If you can help, I am deeply indebted to you. If not, your prayers will do. If you think you are better than me, well, THINK AGAIN!!! If you have nothing to offer, you should continue to read, and soon you too will be “¿making sense of nonsense?” May 17 Today’s quote: “Life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.” No straightjacket can comfort me. No painkiller can ease my pain. I can’t undo what I’ve done, and I can’t un-see what I’ve seen or un-hear the screams of that night. Pieces of me are scattered abroad, and there is no return. My soul is asleep, and I’m at a loss in my mind, where smiles are frowns turned upside down, where my friends’ laughter becomes screams. Where roses are black, and the kiss of death is real. When common sense is forgotten, the law does not exist. Six months ago today, on my 17th birthday I stole my mothers’ car, picked up DJ and we just drove around town listening to music and drinking the Hennessy he stole from his father’s liquor cabinet. I knew not to drink and drive but did so anyway. I lost control of the car as I increased the speed and the car crashed into a tree. DJ was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected and killed instantly. I sustained minor injuries, physically… but mentally I’ll never be the same. May 18 Today’s quote: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Vehicular homicide is a serious crime. DJ’s death was my fault, and people are saying I should suffer for taking his life. I’m scared and talking to Dr. Better doesn’t help. I did wrong and must suffer the consequences. I do regret the decision I made, but that doesn’t bring DJ back. I know that my choice to enjoy my birthday while drinking and driving with my best friend has changed the lives of so many people and I am remorseful. Some look at me with disgust and others treat me as if I don’t exist. His parents have forgiven me and have asked that I forgive myself. That’s hard to do because I am my worst critic. May 19 Today’s quote: “Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” The voices in my head are saying shit like, “Why are you here? You should be dead.” and “DJ’s dead because of you.” My response is, “DJ stole the Hennessy, not me.” But then, I think… he didn’t put a gun to my head and make me drink it. Maybe I should… but that will only cause my Moms pain. I would like to see DJ again. Does DJ want to see me? MAY 20 Today’s quote: “Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.” Today I meet with my lawyers. Don’t ask me how I knew but I woke this morning knowing that something good was going to happen. Some life-changing shit. It’s 7:00 am, and as I get dressed, I hear DJ’s parents’ talking to Moms. I thank the Higher Powers That Be that the Jenkin’s are well known and respected people in Ayúdame, Georgia and am grateful they knew DJ and I were good friends. If I could, I would take his place, because the thought of being locked up weighs heavy on me. I sit on the edge of my bed eavesdropping on the conversation the adults are having and realize that they are waiting for me. May 21 Today’s quote: “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” Long story short: The Jenkins used their influence within the community, and I can rest assured that the charge of vehicular homicide is no longer a threat. They asked that I honor my friendship with DJ by living my best life. And today I made several promises… to myself and The Jenkins. Promise to DJ and his parents: I will live my best life and vow to make a difference by also taking every opportunity to speak to my peers about drinking and driving. Promise to myself: I will forget my past mistakes but not the lessons learned from the mistakes. I will pursue my dreams. I will appreciate and celebrate the life I have. I will live my best life and make a difference in doing so. May 22 Today’s quote: “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” I am a work in progress looking to empower myself and those around me. Healing from within and moving forward will help me continue on the right path. I take one day at a time and set reachable goals. And I will keep reaching for the stars. DJ and I made plans to hike Mount Cambio Positivo this summer. I will honor our friendship and climb by myself. Doing so will give me the opportunity to reflect on past experiences, plan life, let go and surrender to the Higher Powers That Be. THIS IS NOT THE END
The most powerful drug I know, words. Say what you feel, mean what you say, say it loudly and proudly. People tend to think I’m writing about myself. There are bits and pieces of me in some of my writings. Some days I sit and type, others I put pen to paper, and the voices in my head are running a marathon that has yet to end. I can only hope that my writings resonate or entertain someone. Writing is like good sex; if you do it right, they’ll be back for more.
My motto: I trust everybody and nobody while giving the benefit of the doubt to anybody because I have to start with somebody. My reality: I trust no one, not even myself.
The daughter, granddaughter, niece, sibling, cousin, aunt, wife, mother, and friend in me is very apologetic for any turmoil I will have caused in your life by taking mine. There is no need to be angry or question what could have been done to stop what you did not know.
DAY 7 It’s been seven days and I wake up each morning and must adjust to living without you. I want to cook your morning breakfast of chicken fried steak smothered in sautéed onions and gravy with grits and buttermilk biscuits, but you aren’t here. Your morning paper is waiting on the doorsteps, and I know my life will never be the same without you. I’ve always imagined us dying simultaneously of old age. Fifty-four years of marriage to the love of my life and now I’m alone. You were more than my husband you were my friend. I sit here heartbroken as I wait for Julia to arrive. I let her talk me into getting out of the house, and I have no idea where she’s taking me. I think I hear her pulling up in her car… you were right she needs to replace the muffler on Old Betsy. DAY 8 Julia and I went shopping yesterday. Well, she shopped I just browsed the stores. I have always been one to get what I need and leave. She tried on several outfits each store and didn’t always purchase from the store. We ate dinner afterward, and I was ready to be in the comforts of my home. DAY 9 It’s raining, the sun is out, and I hear birds chirping. Just like you liked it. As the days pass, I’m finding that each day is better than the last and I know you wouldn’t want me drowning in misery. Kev called today, said he and the kids would stop by and spend time with me this weekend since I would not agree to go to Disney World with them. I look forward to seeing them. KJ and Waycross are growing so fast. Waycross took your death the hardest. He inspired me to start this journal. Said he wrote you letters and placed them in your casket after the funeral (unbeknownst to Kev or me). DAY 10 I find myself staring out the window deep in thought. I’m thinking about everything yet nothing at all. My life without you is lonely. DAY 11 Kev, KJ, and Waycross arrived this morning. Waycross is taller than Kev and KJ. Only fourteen years old and standing six feet tall, he’s taller than you. I like being surrounded by my family, and I love cooking for more than one person. They enjoyed the meals, and there were no leftovers. KJ and Waycross made lava cake in the microwave for dessert. The house is full of conversations and laughter. DAY 12 The smell of pancakes and bacon awakened me. Kev and the boys decided they would cater to me today. I didn’t put up a fuss; I was flattered. It reminded me of my birthdays when you served me breakfast. I learned that KJ could cook. He cooked Sunday dinner, and it was delicious. Even you would’ve eaten it and possibly asked for a second plate. He’s a senior in high school and does not know what he wants to do with his life. He recalls you saying “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Kev’s not putting any pressure on him, says he’ll let him figure it out. Waycross talked about you the whole weekend. He and KJ found the family photo album and sat reminiscing like long lost friends about the weekends they spent fishing with you and Kev. Kev and his boys left before it got dark. The only thing missing from this weekend was you.
DAY 13 I’m thinking about joining a club or something. Julia belongs to this book club, but I may try something else. Maybe I’ll volunteer at the hospital’s nursery. You said I needed to broaden my horizons… well, I will. Right now I need to get groceries, and I don’t feel like shopping. I wrote a grocery list that consisted mostly of items you liked. Learning to live without you is hard. DAY 14 Julia is stopping by today. I’m making her favorite…chicken teriyaki sushi. She is always checking in on me and wanted to take me out again, but when I offered to make sushi, she just asked me what time was a good time to come by. I know she means well, but I prefer to stay close to home. An occasional night out, once or twice a year and I’m fine. We talked about everything under the sun when she arrived, and I’m certain she expects me to go off the deep end, but I assured her that I’m okay and will not need a straight jacket. DAY 15 I have no choice and must move on without you and to do so I will begin by cleaning the house. There is no right or wrong way or time to do this. I’ve set aside items (watches, cuff-links, fishing poles, etc.) for Kev and the boys, but I will be giving all your clothing and shoes to the Salvation Army. As I’m clearing the closet of your clothes, I’m seeing the man I married, just as smooth a dresser as you were a talker. I need no picture to appreciate what your memories have ingrained in my mind… all of five feet and ten inches tall with your slim build dressed in your favorite white two-piece linen pant set, white snakeskin loafers, salt and pepper hair, the smell of sandalwood with a hint of frankincense and myrrh fading in and out, looking dapper as ever and better than any GQ model I’ve ever seen. DAY 16 What I loved… sorry; what I love about you remains the same after sixty years of knowing you. You were from day one of meeting you until your dying day a GOD FEARING MAN. I thank you for the good times and bad, yes the bad, because without them I would not have grown into the woman I am today. I’m becoming independent… I find myself feeling like a teenager trapped inside an older woman’s body. And the girl inside is ready to explore this world. The older woman isn’t far behind, surveying what is before her and realizing it won’t hurt to “step out on faith” as you would often say. DAY 17 Memories of you fill my heart, but this house is empty without you. Your smile, laughter, and smell continue to linger. As time passes, I think I’ll come out of retirement to teach again. If I’m going to go back to work, I want to do what I love. And I truly enjoyed teaching at Reidsville Head Start. Helping the little ones learn, seeing them blossom and feed their thirst for knowledge is what I need to move on and continue living. DAY 18 Kev and the boys came by today, and they were thrilled to receive your keepsakes, especially the fishing poles. Waycross and KJ are planning a weekend of fishing in your honor. Kev suggested your favorite spot, Indian River Lagoon. DAY 19 Mary, My Mother, Queen of Peace, all Angels and Saints, please help me move on. I am having dreams I can’t remember when I awake. But last night I swear when I woke I heard you call my name. I was not scared just concerned for you. Your untimely death came as a surprise to us all. I expected we would die of old age, but someone’s foolishness took you. I have forgiven the young lady who was texting while driving, but I’ll never forget what or who she took from me. She has robbed me of our dinners, your hugs, your kisses, our walks in the park, our conversations, your laughter that filled the room, and my confidant. DAY 20 I, Lily Elise Goldstein, woke this morning with a smile on my face and singing your name, Gordon Eli Goldstein. Last night was wonderful. I enjoyed your company and conversation. I was glad to have the last date night with you, even if it was just a dream. As usual, you came when I needed you. It’s going to take a while to get used to this house and life without you. Pieces of you are forever embedded in my mind: your brown eyes, your smile, the curl pattern of your hair, the smell of sandalwood on your skin, your laughter, your kiss, even your touch. I MISS YOU.
Who am I to care what one feels, says, or thinks about me? Whose life are you living? Whose household are you running? Are you paying my mortgage, my bills, putting food on my table? Did I give birth to you? Marry you? Give you any inclination that I gave a damn about you?