JANUARY 11, 2022: “The Time Of My Life” …

TIME OF MY LIFE

I’ve been waiting for my dreams to turn into something I could believe in and looking for that magic rainbow on the horizon. I couldn’t see it until I let go, gave into love, and watched all the bitterness burn. Now I’m coming alive, body and soul, feelin’ my world start to turn. And I’ll taste every moment and live it out loud. I know this is the time – this is the time to be more than a name or a face in the crowd. I know this is the time – this is the time of my life. The time of my life. Holding onto things that vanished into the air left me in pieces. But now I’m rising from the ashes, finding my wings, and all that I needed was there all along within my reach as close as the beat of my heart. So I’ll taste every moment and live it out loud. I know this is the time – this is the time to be more than a name or a face in the crowd. I know this is the time – this is the time of my life. The time of my life.And I’m out on the edge of forever ready to run. I’m keeping my feet on the ground, my arms open wide, my face to the Sun. I’ll taste every moment and live it out loud. I know this is the time – this is the time to be more than a name or a face in the crowd. I know this is the time of my life! {David Cook}

I wasn’t exactly in the best state of mind when I first heard this song back in 2008. I was only months away from a total nervous breakdown, living a life of farce, being hunted by a dragon, and literally begging God to just wave His magic wand:

God? I need to talk to You. Or rather, I have some questions, so please just be perfectly honest. You’re not done with me, are You? Is my bright destiny just up ahead? Is it happening even as I write this? The future’s gonna be good, right? Things are gonna start getting better? Those two babies you sent need their mom to be okay so that I can help them reach their own destinies, so can’t You just wave Your magic wand?

Do You ever hear me crying, and if so, does it even bother You? And what about that “Sea Of Forgetfulness”? The one where YOU forgive and WE forget then move on about our way. It’s just not working with all these ghosts inside my head. Can’t You just make them go away? That memory of me on the front bench of that old truck? The smell of the beer on his breath? Can’t You just erase it? Or how about that boy who hit the wall and cracked his skull open? I could definitely do without THAT one. And what about the day You dropped that tiny girl in the palm of my hands JUST so I could watch her suffocate? You know? That same tiny girl who TRIED to hold my hand, but couldn’t even grasp my finger. I’m NOT loving that. It’s not working for me at all! I get it, she’s gone. I was there, don’t You know? Help me understand why I had to give her back. It’s just not natural. That’s NOT how it’s supposed to go. MOMMIES AREN’T SUPPOSED TO BURY THEIR BABIES! It’s enough. I’VE HAD ENOUGH! Please can You take this away?

Am I still Your daughter, or did You forget me? Surely You remember how it felt to watch Your Son die? Well, I’m dying, too, and I’ve had ALL that I can handle. PLEASE won’t You help me? You’re God. You can fix anything! Are You mad at me? What did I do? Oh, wait, I think I know. Well, can’t You just forgive me for that now?

{“Away From The Sun“}

“Time Of My Life” had a much different meaning to me way back then and hearing it only crushed my spirit. I’d been aching for my hopes and dreams to turn into something I could believe in and longing for a magic rainbow. No, God couldn’t just “zap” it all away, and no, time didn’t heal my wounds. It’s what I’ve done with all the time that I’ve been blessed enough to be alive that worked the “magic”. If only I’d known that a song that once made me cry was actually foreshadowing all the bittersweet but beautiful times of my life that were then and still are yet to come, perhaps I wouldn’t have spent so many tears and hopeless prayers just waiting for “time” to mend my broken heart. You see, not only did He know things that I didn’t back then, but He also still knows things that I don’t about a future I no longer need to understand.

From the moment I was born, God has been preparing me to fly over the fires that were only ever meant to raise my wings and lead me back home to my soul. Time doesn’t even exist in the space where I dwell with Him … only unconditional love and the peaceful bliss that carries me through all the times of my life.

It’s been 6,567 days since the day she was born, and if God is the God I blindly believe He is, she’ll be waiting on the brighter side of grey with Zack when it’s time for me to finally cross over. Today is her 18th birthday, and this is her birthday basket, because even though it really was one of the hardest days of my life, it’s a day that is truly worth celebrating. The once gaping wound her footprints left across my heart has healed and is PROOF that what I’ve done with my time is “the magic”. Believe it or not, Gina Marie is one of the best parts of my story and a precious reminder of all the extraordinary things I’ve gotten to hold on to that have vanished but not left me in pieces. When I take this basket to her grave later on, I’ll keep my face to the Sun, let the shadows fall behind me, and know her death was nothing at all.

JANUARY 6, 2022: “The Tragic Truth Revisited” …

Today marks an incredibly powerful day in the Five Finger Death Punch family with the release of the official “Tragic Truth” video:

We wrote “Tragic Truth” in 2011 for the “American Capitalist” album, but it simply wasn’t finished by the manufacturing deadline. Since the song was very important to us, we didn’t want to wait and hold it until the following album, so it was added as a bonus track to the digital edition.

Consequently, it never really got the attention we intended for it and a lot of our fans are not even aware of its existence. It’s been a conversation for years to somehow circle back to this song, and we felt right now, on Ivan’s birthday, and two months from his 4th sober anniversary it is probably as good of an occasion as it can be to release this music video; as it is a visual journal of our story …

The battle with addiction … the pain … the chaos … life and even death. A celebration of a victory, Ivan’s rebirth into a new life. It is also a message for those who are battling addiction right now: you are more than your addiction, and you are never alone. Seek help, fight back, it’s never too late… Ivan came back from the dead, literally. He was so far gone, if he can do it – you can do it. Let this be a testament to that.

So, with that said, Happy Birthday Ivan! Congratulations on your new lease on life. And thank YOU to all the fans who stood by us all these years, supported us, supported him, and have been the catalyst of his recovery.

{Five Finger Death Punch YouTube}

As for me? Of the now 466 entries published in this Diary, “The Cosmic, NOT Tragic Truth” is one of my personal favorites. The cryptic role it played in my healing from and making peace with Zack’s suicide literally defies conception:

All I can tell you is that my intersection with the Cosmos this morning was EVERYTHING to me. Even as I write this, I’m smiling yet again, because while on the surface it may appear that the demons that devoured him won, nothing could be farther from the truth.

The rare few of us who really knew him and were honored to both love and be loved by him know a “truth” that is much more beautiful than tragic: HE’S HOME NOW! I just know it. No more sorrow. No more pain. No more tears. No more aching for the “family” who abandoned the “Zack Of Shit”. NO MORE VOICES SCREAMING IN HIS HEAD!

{“The Cosmic, NOT Tragic Truth“}

After seeing it for the first time tonight, I keep watching it over and over. The more I watch it, the more my heart aches, and I know exactly why I’m doing it. It’s cathartic, it’s what I need, and PS, IT’S ALLOWED! I’m emotionally cutting myself because there are clearly some feelings about the last months of Zack’s life that I’ve still yet to fully bleed out.

I cannot tell you how many times in the last 870 days I’ve had random flashes of the MANY times I saw Zack literally holding his head in his hands the way Ivan does in the video. He was desperately trying to quiet all those voices screaming inside it and shake off the DEMONS that were devouring him. I kept asking him what was wrong, or if his head hurt, or his ears hurt, and for God’s sake why was he covering his ears that way. His response was always the same: “They keep screaming at me, Catherine, and I can’t make them stop! I DON’T KNOW HOW TO MAKE THEM STOP!” His words in those moments and the helpless looks upon his face may haunt me for the rest of my life.

If you haven’t heard the song yet, I’m telling you – YOU SHOULD! Especially if you or someone you love has ever struggled with an addiction or mental illness. Please always remember that not everyone survives the “tragic truths” of their journey, so we must celebrate the lives of all the PHOENIXES who do and support them in their flight. The wings that we fly with were forged in a fire that not everyone makes it out of alive, and we had to actually die first to live.

JANUARY 5, 2022: “Things That Matter” …

So, Cat, what do you think is worse, being terminally ill, or so poor that your almost homeless?

What’s worse than either of these awful scenarios is being fiscally “rich” under any circumstance, yet still being mentally poor. No matter the size of the roof over your head, or even a lack thereof, being mentally vanquished is often a terminal illness. This is not to say that homelessness can’t be either caused by or the catalyst of a decline in mental “wealth”. Fortunately, homelessness isn’t always permanent.

Sadly, I can think of an extremely personal example of this plight :: That “poor man” I married who ended up dying a KING, with a roof atop his castle that most people could never conceptualize. Yet even still, he left this world emotionally bankrupt and void of any fortitude or psychological well-being. At the end of the day, the wisest of us already know that while being financially wealthy can’t fix or cure anything, being mentally wealthy CAN!

JANUARY 1, 2022: “New Year. Duller Scissors.” …

It took me a literal HELL of a long time to finally figure out that one of my most self-sabotaging traits has always been the desire to carry the load for the people in my life at any cost, up to and including my own preservation. There have been far too many times that I’ve tried to protect the people I’ve cared about from the consequences of their poor choices and behaviors, when in fact what I should have been doing is letting them feel every scrape and cut from the sharp edges of those consequences so they could figure out their own survival.

For too many years to count, it was incredibly difficult for me to “love from a distance”, pray for the best outcomes, and save my precious energy for my survival. But here’s the deal folks, sometimes you have to learn to say these most IMPECCABLE words out loud, as painful as it may be to “cut them” loose:

I AM NO ONE’S SAVIOR!

Holy SHIT! I think I just had another epiphany after having written the word “SAVIOR” in bold letters! Is this how it feels for God to have to sit back and watch all of us scraping and cutting ourselves on the sharp edges of our poor choices and behaviors? I mean, He clearly has the power to “force” or “control” us to do anything, but instead He gives us the free will to either choose or not choose to both discover and respect His many laws and “wisdoms”. We were given the responsibility for the choices we make, up to and including any less than optimal consequences.

“Sow” this is how a person, and especially a parent, allows someone to learn the often bloody hard way that while we can indeed choose to sow whatever we want, we cannot choose what we will reap. WOW! Just when I thought I had the nuts and bolts of this thing figured out – MY MIND IS OFFICIALLY NUMB AGAIN!

My Dearest Cat:

Listen up, you divine apostrophe! No, you are NOT God, and no, you really CAN’T save people, you can ONLY love them. As selfish as it seems, you MUST continue to keep on choosing YOU, because, umm, what the hell use are you to any of us if your wings break again and you can’t keep touching that beautiful sky? So, put down everyone ELSE’S scissors and just keep shining your Light for the people in your life who need to see it, regardless of whether they even know they need it. In the meantime, when you feel helpless as you’re watching the people you love running with sharp objects, try and remember all the times God saw YOU running with scissors and how helpless He must have felt, too. If that Man has any actual hair on his head, surely YOU’RE the one who turned it grey. Yet, here you still are alive and well with scarred up cuts that are now your survival to tell. Yes, you fell down, but you’ve lived and have learned, what didn’t kill you DID make you stronger, and He HAD to let you do it. None of these seeds you’re still desperately trying to plant will take root otherwise.

Love ~ ME!

Happy New Year to all you beautiful people, and NOPE, this isn’t just another one of those cliche “resolutions”. It’s just an impeccable promise to myself not to fall apart when I see people running with scissors, not to run with scissors myself, and just keep being what I’m being: Jean Claude Van DAMN Iridescent!

SHARP EDGES

Mama always told me don’t you run – don’t you run with scissors, son. You’re gonna hurt someone. Mama told me look before you leap – always think before you speak, and watch the friends you keep. Stay along the beaten path. Never listened when she said, “Sharp edges have consequences.” I guess that I had to find out for myself. Sharp edges have consequences. Now every scar is a story I can tell. Should’ve played it safer from the start – loved you like a house of cards. I let it fall apart. But all the things I couldn’t understand – I never could’ve planned – they made me who I am. Put your nose on paperbacks instead of smoking cigarettes. These years you’re never getting back. Stay along the beaten path. Never listened when she said, “Sharp edges have consequences.” I guess that I had to find out for myself. Sharp edges have consequences. Now every scar is a story I can tell. We all fall down. We live somehow. We learn what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. {Linkin’ Park}

DECEMBER 29, 2021: “Under Pressure” …

… but OMG, why does life have to be so hard, Cat?

Well I’ll tell ya!

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING extraordinary is ever born without pressure. It’s one of life’s greatest paradoxes that life gets harder when you try to make it “easier” …

Speaking up for yourself is hard, but living a voiceless life is even harder.

Standing up for yourself is hard, but being a pushover is even harder.

Erecting boundaries is hard, but becoming a fucking DOORMAT is even harder.

Losing people we love is hard, but not accepting “loss” is even harder.

Living a healthy lifestyle is hard, but the consequences of not advocating for your health are even harder.

Being alone is hard, even when you’re not “lonely”, but being surrounded by people who make you feel lonely is even harder.

Living life on your own terms is hard, but living life as a prisoner of what’s “best” for everyone else is even harder.

Being a piece of coal subjected to unfathomable pressure and temperatures for upwards of 3 billion years is hard, but not becoming the diamond you were truly intended to become, is, well …

YOU KNOW THE REST!

My point is this: DO THE HARD STUFF MY FRIENDS, because sometimes the easy way out can actually cost you EVERYTHING! Hmm. Now that I think of it, maybe this is why I’ve always been FASCINATED by diamonds. As it turns out, I was a fuckin’ 5 carat, D-color, FLAWLESS and PRICELESS one all along, it just took me a damn long pressurized minute to figure it out!

In closing, and as cliche as it may be, as are many of the songs I pick to go along with my Diary entries, in the words of the illustrious Freddie Mercury …

Insanity laughs under pressure. We’re breaking! Can’t we give ourselves one more chance … and love (people on streets) dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves. This is our last dance! This is our last dance! This is ourselves – under pressure.

EXACTLY! Love … no, wait! SELF LOVE and caring is the only way to keep our dance card going and our fingers, toes, and heads encrusted with the diamonds of our life! This truly is QUEEN stuff my friends. Just sayin’!

DECEMBER 28, 2021: “Looking Through My Eyes” …

“Apparently” my Lock Screen is an extraction from a personal inscription from one of my favorite people in this entire world. It makes me so happy every time I see it to know that not only have I made friends with a ROCK STAR, said rock star correlates ME to “power and grace”! It’s the ULTIMATE compliment, because the last time I checked there are almost 8 billion people on this Earth, and not everyone has “power and grace”!

“Apparently” my Home Screen is very organized, purposeful, and practical. PS, there are only twelve other app buttons on the next page over. Yup, I’m a Virgo who “apparently” can’t stand clutter or chaos of any proportion. This is how my house looks, too, by the way. VERY neat, orderly, OCD, and “ahhhhh”.

“Apparently” my Insta Exploration is pretty much ALWAYS in the greys, the forests, the woods, and the cookies. Welcome to all the places I really want to go and the sugar I’m either proudly or not proudly addicted to!

“Apparently” I have no interest in “Pinterest”! Lol, there are enough random thoughts and ideas running around this crazy little head of mine during the waking hours, and sometimes even while I sleep, so if I need to be reminded of the many things I “like” or have an interest in, I just say my prayers, tuck myself in to bed, fall asleep, and BOOM there it all is in my dreams!

“Apparently” I listened to The Brighter Side Of Grey again last night. WOW! Isn’t THAT a shocker! Umm, in case you didn’t know this, I listen to it at least once a day, and it’s usually the last thing I hear every night after I’ve written in this Diary, which in keeping with the song, and in case you didn’t know, is an extremely long love note and legacy to my kids, and THEIR kids, and even THEIR kids and THEIR kids. It’s the song of my life, and by the way, if you haven’t ever heard it yet, you need to at least once before you cross over.

“Apparently” I don’t keep a lot of pictures on my phone. Again, I DON’T LIKE CLUTTER! Unlike the countless people I’ve known who keep literally hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures stored on their phone. You see, once I’ve sent the pictures I’ve taken to the people or places they need to go, I delete them. It’s par for the course with another disorder I’ve coined that runs in tangent with my “OCD”. It’s my “ECD”, or “Electronic Clutter Dysfunction”, ’cause NOPE, I can’t have any “virtual” clutter floating around my atmosphere either. Wait! Did I just digress again? Wow! GO FIGURE! Umm, have ya read the other four hundred sixty-something entries in this Diary? Anyway, and as I was saying, I’m one of those silly people who’s doing everything I can to live IN all my moments now and not behind a camera as I watch everyone else LIVING in them.

I’m not gonna lie, folks, this fun little “InstaVibe” game was not only fun, but also very telling. Seeing this “Cat’s eye” view of my overall “vibe” in life was not too awful or wretched! Looking through my eyes at the way my mind spends energy just reminded me that I’m Jean Claude Van DAMN amazing woman. It’s no wonder that I’m my own best friend, ‘cuz I freaking LOVE all the things that I “like”.

Goodnight everyone, and might I suggest that you, too, take a look at your “vibe” through your own eyes! You may just discover that YOU are an incredibly amazing person, also! Just sayin’.

LOOK THROUGH MY EYES

There are things in life you’ll learn and, oh, in time you’ll see. ‘Cause out there somewhere it’s all waiting, if you keep believing. So don’t run, don’t hide, it will be all right. You’ll see, trust me, I’ll be there watching over you. Just take a look through my eyes. There’s a better place somewhere out there. Ooh, just take a look through my eyes (Look through my eyes). Everything changes, you’ll be amazed what you’ll find. If you look through my eyes. There will be times on this journey. All you see is darkness, but out there somewhere daylight finds you if you keep believing. So don’t run, don’t hide, it will be all right, you’ll see. Trust me, I’ll be there watching over you. Just take a look through my eyes. If you look through my eyes, all the things that you can change. There’s a meaning in everything, and you will find all you need. There’s so much to understand. Take a look through my eyes. There’s a better place somewhere out there. {Phil Collins}

DECEMBER 25, 2021: “The GIFT Tag” …

I had no idea how I’d memorialize this holiday when I woke up today, until, that is, I’d grabbed a few things from my gift-wrapping stash to dress up a few last presents. THEN IT HAPPENED!

In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge proponent of recycling seemingly useless things that some people would throw away, especially inasmuch as I very much consider my life to be a repurposed work of art. Now that I think of it, it’s all the recycled and repurposed people I’ve crossed paths with thus far who’ve found their way closest to my heart. Meanwhile, and as such, each year after the Santa extravaganza is over and the ground below the tree is buried in crumpled up paper, ribbons, bows, and tags, it’s not uncommon to find me rooting through the aftermath like a packrat for bits and pieces of anything that can be used again next season.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I reached into my “‘little drawer of tags” only to find this one from the very last Christmas present Gia would ever give Zack on his last one with us in 2018. Although it’s true that he took endless pieces of my heart with him when he left, as I sit here writing this I am staring at a tag that in a perfect world would have been hanging on a gift for him and smiling from ear to ear.

I cannot tell you how many times I wandered back to where I’d left it this morning, picked it up, and literally held it to my heart because this silly little thing means that he was here with us in the first place. I will cherish this unexpected treasure for as long as I’m alive and eventually pass it back to Gia, who I know will also cherish it for the same reasons I do. Despite all the pain, heartache and sorrow he brought into our world at the end, the decade that proceeded his insanity that we had him whole and healthy was one of the greatest gifts of our lives.

If there is just one wisdom I’ve acquired on my journey thus far that I could gift to all of you, it’s that grieving the deaths of the people we’ve loved and lost is one of the highest honors and utmost triumphs of our existence. To have loved and been loved by those we were connected to enough to grieve is a privilege that not everyone gets to have. The abundance of true joy that I’m feeling right now is proof positive of what I’ve long known to be true, that “Death Is Nothing At All” and I am still the most blessed living queen that has ever reigned on this Earth.

Said goodbye, turned around, and you were gone, gone, gone. Faded into the setting sun – slipped away. But I won’t cry, ’cause I know I’ll never be lonely, for you are the stars to me. You are the light I follow.

{“See You Again” … Carrie Underwood}

Merry Christmas to all you beautiful people who took the time to read this Diary entry. If, like me, you celebrated Jesus’s birthday with a person missing from your table, know that they’re sitting at the table with our Lord and Savior saving our seat for eternity. Until that day comes, try and remember that although the bodies that packaged their souls were only ever meant for us to borrow, the precious love and memories they left behind are ours to keep forever. Just as this tag found it’s way back to me in the unexpected way that it did, someday those borrowed gifts we had to give back temporarily will find there way back to us when we finally get to see them again.

DECEMBER 19, 2021: “NO! The Defense Is WRONG!” …

This Diary entry doesn’t really need a whole lot of interpretation, as the definitions of “history” and “insanity”, as carefully verified and researched by both the internet and Albert Einstein, kinda speak for themselves. So, I heretofore encourage you ALL to throw that old adage in the garbage can straight away and replace it with this new and improved adage:

History, does NOT, repeat itself …

WE DO!

Let’s all just stop questioning our own sanity! Let’s all just stop being “insane” in the first place! Let’s all just stop repeating the same mistakes, choices, and behaviors over and over and over! If, by definition, “history is the study of the past, particularly in human affairs”, then by choosing not to make different choices, we have failed miserably in our life studies, and there is no respect to be found in such self-sabotage.

Lookit, not everyone can be a genius like the illustrious Albert Einstein, but we can at least not be frigging IDIOTS! There is no defense to the “situational insanity” that many of us choose to live in by choosing not to make different choices. So, with that, in the words of one of my favorite movie characters EVER …

REPEAT OFFENDER

Where do I turn? I’m always questioning my own sanity. Will I ever learn? I have always stolen my identity. Anyone forgive – anyone forget. I don’t want a life without respect – life without respect. Feel there is nowhere that I fit – nowhere that I fit. I am a repeat offender. I will live with this forever. I am a repeat offender. I am a repeat offender! You have my word – there are only lies in my sincerity. I live in a world that gives no meaning to integrity. Anyone forgive – anyone forget. I don’t want a life without respect – life without respect. Feel there is nowhere that I fit – nowhere that I fit. I am a repeat offender. I will live with this forever. I am a repeat offender. I am a repeat offender! Someone take these handcuffs off my wrists and break the chain of habit! Someone take these handcuffs off my wrists and break the chain of habit! I don’t want to life without respect. {Trapt}

DECEMBER 18, 2021: “The Panic Chair That Lit The Darkness” …

Wait! WHAT? “The Panic Chair That Lit The Darkness”? Before you watch the Instagram video below, go back and refer to this Diary entry I wrote last year and “the panic chair” situation will all make sense:

If you’ve ever seen The Blind Side, you know exactly what I’m talking about. (PS. It’s one of the top 10 favorite movies of my life!) It was that moment in the movie right after she finds out Michael had never had a bed of his own and became overwhelmed with emotions that she didn’t want him to see, at which point she had to go to her room, sit quietly in her chair, and just “allow herself to cry for a minute”. For all all her seemingly endless and stoic strength, even she realized the importance of “allowing herself” whatever self-care was necessary to enable her to take care of her family. The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize I was “doing this chair thing” until he began noticing that whenever I was “flooding” with emotions I would disappear back into our room then reappear a few minutes later. One night when we were watching the movie for like, the umteenth time in our decade together, he finally pointed it out: “You know honey, you do that too — the sitting in a chair thing!

{“Blindsided With Rhapsody” … October 11, 2020}

DECEMBER 14, 2021: “The Christianwolf” …

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful son, the one we now call “The Christianwolf”. He’s a college graduate, a self-taught machinist and racing engine builder, the first prince to have ever stolen my heart, and yes, he is also a model. I couldn’t be any prouder of this guy who’s usually covered in transmission fluid and engine grease from head to toe, but Jean Claude Van DAMNIT he sure cleans up nice!

I love you kiddo …

“To The Moon And Back”!

“BMITW”

DECEMBER 9, 2021: “The Sea Of Madness” …

Who is making the world so crazy some times? Why is it so?

{“The Quora Question”}

HUMAN BEINGS ARE WHO MAKE THE WORLD CRAZY! Why is that so? Read these poignant and powerful lyrics to one of my favorite songs of all times by one of my favorite bands of all times:

Out in the street somebody’s crying. Out in the night the fires burn. Maybe tonight somebody’s crying – reached the point of no return. Oh, my eyes they see but I can’t believe. Oh, my heart is heavy as I turn my back and leave. Like the eagle and the dove, fly so high on wings above when all you see can only bring you sadness. Like a river we will flow. On towards the sea we go when all you do can only bring you sadness out on the sea of madness. Somewhere I hear a voice that’s calling. Out in the dark there burns a dream. You got to hope when you are falling to find the world that you have seen. Oh, my eyes they see but I can’t believe. Oh, my heart is heavy as I turn my back and leave. It’s madness! The sun don’t shine out the sea of madness. There ain’t no wind to fill your sails. Madness!

It’s the darkest, most twisted and tragic truth of all. This world we live in can indeed drive even the best us to literal insanity. The best that we can do is just “the best that we can do” while trying to keep our mind and not our eyes focused on what lies beyond the vail.

Let’s be honest people – humanity is not for the faint of heart, and only the strongest survive it unscathed with their heart and soul in the one cohesive unit from whence they first began. Don’t get me wrong, the hope is still very much here, it’s just this fucking WORLD and all the people in it that destroy our vision of eternity and desecrate our spirit.

As for me? I keep my mind’s eye focused on The Cross to keep from drowning in the sea of madness. These days I see myself as an actual risen phoenix ever soaring above it all. My gravity defying steel wings may be invisible, but trust me when I say they’re behind me. I’m forged of fire and Light, and power and grace, all of which are impermeable and infinite.

As and aside, I find it no coincidence that the day I saw this question posed on Quora, I’d had just spent the morning drive to school with my daughter listening to this song, because that’s how my beautiful life works. I was explaining to her how when I was just about her age and first stumbled upon this song, every time I’d listen to it I would literally close my eyes and imagine that I was an albatross flying high above the water. But then she quickly stopped me and said:

No, momma, you are not an albatross. You’re something much better than an albatross.

Little did she know that not two minutes after she got out of the car, I had to pull into a parking lot near her school to contemplate the magnitude of what she’d said. Based upon the fact that after she’d spoke those beautiful words I was immediately flooded with emotions, I knew I needed to stop somewhere and sit with my thoughts so that perhaps they’d come full circle. So, I googled the word “albatross” and this is something I found:

If you describe something or someone as an albatross around your neck, you mean that they cause you great problems from which you cannot escape, or they prevent you from doing what you want to do.

Wow! Just WOW! When I think of all those years gone by that I pictured myself as that spectacular bird just soaring across that ocean, I am actually astonished. Up until today, it was a correlation that I was proud of, but how could I have been so wrong? Although an albatross is indeed a formidable creature, it’s life isn’t exactly the stuff of fantastical dream. Sure, they can ride the wind for hours on end with neither rest nor flap of wing and can go years without ever touching solid ground, but they’re also very lonely, are constantly in a state of survival, and never really find a stable place to call home.

Truth being told, I suppose I was an albatross for way too many years to count, so perhaps that’s why I never realized that such a connotation about myself was negative. Even more truth being told, in so many ways I used to be the albatross around my own neck. Until I found a better set of wings, I am the one who prevented me from doing all of the things I wanted to do. But that was then, this is now, and good GRIEF was my daughter ever right when she said I was “something much better than an albatross”. I’m a fucking risen QUEEN, my wings are now made of FIRE, and although as my “phoenixing above all this madness” does keep me afloat more so than not, my metaphorical feet are always on the ground now at the place where I call home: ME.

DECEMBER 5, 2021: “Just Take The Damn Trip!” …

I have had the extremely good fortune and pleasure of having traveled both completely alone and with Zachariah. As you may or not already know by now, depending on how closely you’ve been following this Diary, I’m was so beyond blessed that making sure both Gia and I had as many “adventures ” as he could possibly make happen for us was always amongst his top priorities.

That being said, while traveling with someone is almost always preferable to me, the times I’ve traveled on my own have been some of the most freeing, exuberant, and “mentally wealthy” moments of my life. I believe that traveling alone one of the best forms of self-love, self-care, self-confidence, and self-esteem enrichment that there is, which doesn’t just apply to leisurely travel by the way – it applies to “traveling in life” all the more. As far as I’m concerned, “alone, NOT lonely ” is the ultimate benchmark of human survival and achievement. But in true Real Cat style, I have once again digressed …

As some of you may also know by now, again, depending on how closely you’ve been following along here, there was a time in the not-so-distant past that I was sickly and deeply emmeshed in a twisted, entangled, suffocative, and TOXIC familial system wherein “autonomy and freedom” were not only frowned upon, but punished. Those were my “Venom suit days”, and I wore that web of farce on my soul for far too many years to count. That fucking thing almost choked me to death and sent me to an early grave:

“The suit”, however, does to me represent the dark alter ego of Spider-Man. It’s a thick, black, suffocative web of enmeshed and entangled emotions that overtakes and chokes the life out of its host, much like the one I fought so desperately to get the HELL off of me for more than forty years, the one my son still wears, and the one my beautiful husband was wearing as he slipped away into the abyss. “The Greatest Battle Lies Within” and the accompanying “Venom of it all” are so much more than words and comic book movie characters to me.

{“Closer To The Heart ”}

It took me “running away to France ” to finally begin the process of shedding that God-forsaken suit to realize that what I really needed the most in this life was to find a way back to ME so that not only could I stay alive, but even more importantly, start living a REAL life I could be proud of and become a healthier mom for my kids. Keep in mind that although I wasn’t physically “alone” on that trip abroad, I metaphorically was. Up until that point, I’d been trapped inside a mental prison wherein, although my physical body was present on so many of life’s occasions, myself was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, fast forward from France to just a handful of rocky months later when I was really “all alone” out there on the open road for what ended up being one of the richest years of my life.

I spent so many days nights alone on out the open road just driving, crying, laughing, talking to myself, and praying to God. I’d stop in as many small towns as I could along the way in the quietest corners of “anywhere but home” and try to find as many quant cafes and stops as I could find so I could where I could just sit with some coffee and listen, observe, and absorb as many “outside my bubble” experiences as I could. That job was one of the best things I’ve ever done, had, or enjoyed, and I swear that I wouldn’t be here right now if not for it.

{“No Reins“}

The great Muhammad Ali really hit that nail hard when he said, “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.” With that, if the views of the world that I’ve been wise enough to amass in my many travels thus far have taught me anything whatsoever, it’s that as separated as I was from myself during what I thought were only wasted years, the only person who was ever going to be able put “me and me” back together was ME. Now that I’ve rejoined myself and am embracing the apostrophe of my divinely appointed soul, I refuse to waste a single one of my days left here in this space not living every one my dreams in these hard-earned “Golden Years” of mine. Trust me when I tell you, I’m gonna do, see, and experience all of it, from the abandoned castles to the sleepy seaside towns with the lighthouses calling through the fog in the distance. Whether I’m on my own, with my children, or with that “one last king” who could be awaiting me, this life is too damn short not to take all those trips however I’m meant to take them.

So, with that, I now challenge every one of you: If there’s “some place” you’ve been meaning to go in this lifetime but are perhaps just waiting on someone to go with you … JUST TAKE THE DAMN TRIP! You can do it! YOU’RE ALLOWED! You’ll never know how it feels to be that fucking brave and connected to yourself unless and until you just do it! C’est la vie!

Oh, and one last thing: YES, this song is another one of those beauties that merited another appearance in my Diary. “Ewwe! No way, Cat! Iron Maiden? THERE TOO MUCH!” Hey, don’t knock ’em until you’ve tried ’em. Just listen to the words … they’re as beautiful, well-traveled, and courageous as your soul is beckoning you to be.

THE WASTED YEARS

From the coast of gold, across the seven seas. I’m travelin’ on far and wide. But now it seems I’m just a stranger to myself, and all the things I sometimes do – it isn’t me but someone else. I close my eyes and I think of home. Another city goes by in the night. Ain’t it funny how it is? You never miss it til’ it’s gone away. And my heart is lying there, and will be ’til my dying day. So, understand! Don’t waste your time always searching for those wasted years. Face up! Make your stand and realize you’re living in the golden years. Too much time on my hands, I got you on my mind. Can’t ease this pain so easily. When you can’t find the words to say, hard to make it through another day, and it makes me wanna cry, and throw my hands up to the sky. So understand! Don’t waste your time always searching for those wasted years. {Iron Maiden}

DECEMBER 1, 2021: “UNO Momento Por Favor!” …

So here’s a fun idea for all of you “social media trendy” wives out there …

How about instead of just, “Ha ha, hee hee, it’s all in good fun!” poking at what an epic disappointment your broke ass, one-abbed “frog” gone wrong” of a husband is, maybe you should just start posting pics of his umm, YOU KNOW, “little guy”, too?

EMASCULATION!

It’s what’s for breakfast, and lunch, and dinner, and it’s gross, aaand I’m certain that if a buncha “Tik-Tok” husbands out there doing the “for the sake of likes and clicks” dealio got together and started another VIRAL trend where they show the whole entire world, “Ha ha, hee hee, it’s all in good fun – but just look what a lazy, smelly, PIG the sweet little princess I thought I was marrying turned out to be!”, there’d be some damn “Tik-Tok” hate crimes and murders.

Umm, so here’s another “dealio” – I hate to tell ya, but behind every “joke” there IS a bit of truth. I know it. You know it. THE ENTIRE FUCKIN’ WORLD KNOWS IT! The new friend and social media influencer I’m now following, Man Elik, smashed this nail right on the head. Women, we do SUCK as much as men, and yes, we CAN be as toxic in more than a million different ways. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

Anything MEN can fuck up, we can fuck up BETTER!

{Mama’s Boys}

Sorry, NOT sorry, but ours are the arms that were meant to embrace the world, up to and even more so including the men that BUILD IT for us. Sorry, NOT sorry once again. Lemme ask you this: So, when’s the last time you drove by a construction site, road crew, or farm that was chock full of women? Nope! I’m not even sitting here trying to say that never in the history of the world has there been a construction site, road crew, or FARM without a “Rosie The Riveter” blood, sweat and tears WOMAN working on it. But don’t be foolish, ladies, we COULD NOT live without them, and YUP that’s the Jean Claude Van DAMN hard truth!

Let’s all just “normalize” emasculation!

Yah! That’ll be fun! By the way, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’M AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY ABUSER! I don’t think ANYONE – man OR woman – should be throwing their one-abbed spouses under the marriage joke bus. But hey, what do I know, right? My GOSH, people, it’s hard enough for anyone out there to fight the good and valiant fight when the world at large just wants to rip the people livin’ in it apart. C’mon ladies, indeed it is true that if you don’t “crown” him, pick him up and value him, who else in this jacked up world will? PROTECT THE SANCTITY OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP! Marriage is hard. Being a HUMAN is hard. “Ha ha, hee hee – my significant other is a failure! Oh, but no, I’m just kidding! I’m only doing this for LIKES and CLICKS.”

GROSS!

Hi everyone, it’s me, CAT, and I’m only ever here to keep it REAL. Some things are funny. Some things are not. Love me or hate me and call me the party poopin’ FUN POLICE, but SOME things just ain’t right! Publicly shaming and disrespecting your FAT and BROKE spouse is one of them!

NOVEMBER 26, 2021: “The Zephyr In Their Sky!” …

Although I have had the awful displeasure of watching a short handful of the human souls I’ve been the most connected dying right before my eyes, not the least of which was my daughter, perhaps the saddest and most painful moment of my life was the day my two surviving children had to watch their own mother having an actual nervous breakdown and being hauled off to a psych ward over a thousand miles from home:

They literally had to peel my son from my body so that I could get into the car. He too was sobbing and I’d never seen him cry so much or so hard. And Gia? She looked so lost, like a little puppy that just wanted someone to pick her up and hold her.

{“Speaking Of Faith And Crowns“}

Even now, as resilient as I’ve truly become, when I flash back to “the day on the driveway” and remember everything they had to see, it breaks my heart all over again knowing how their hearts got broken going through that kind of trauma. No child should ever have to witness such a thing!

All that being said, and regardless of how horrifying so many of the moments in all our lives have been, I wouldn’t change a single step of this dance we’ve been sashaying through together. Through it all, I can only hope that they’ll have learned that the pain has been a gift, death is nothing at all, and that win, lose, or draw, they’re gonna be okay BECAUSE THEY GOT ME FOR A MOTHER!

I’m an epic masterpiece of magnanimous proportion, and after I’ve made it to The Brighter Side Of Grey, both they and their kids are gonna look back at this painting I’ve been faithfully working on and say,

DAMN! She was OUR mother!” She was nothing short of magic, because despite her many circumstances, she rose up like a phoenix to spread her light, her love, her truths, and her warmth from the fire that burned in her soul.

Then I’ll be that beautiful warm breeze that lands softly on on their shoulders and whispers hope into their ears, and every ray of light that sparkles in their eyes as they bask in the legacy I’m leaving behind.

Oh, don’t you worry my friends, despite the seemingly macabre tone of this entry, I’m not planning on going anywhere anytime soon. Although it is true that I’m fully prepared for what I know is coming next, I’m in love with my existence in this space and still have so much to do and see. I’m just thinking wide out loud right now, because this song I’ve loved since I was not quite 30 years old found it’s way to the cue on my stereo this morning. Back then, it was just a song to me with a upbeat mood and vibrant tone, and never in a million years would I have thunk that I’d be the ray of light in those words, but here I am lighting it all up from my very own little piece of Heaven from here until eternity. I am SUCH a lucky woman, and I cannot say it enough. I am power, and grace, and a divinely appointed apostrophe punctuating peoples’ lives with my glow. I will never be ashamed of all the pain that I have carried – it’s what forged me into the steel fortress that I am.

RAY OF LIGHT

Zephyr in the sky at night – I wonder – do my tears of mourning sink beneath the Sun? She’s got herself a universe gone quickly. For the call of thunder threatens everyone. And I feel like I just got home. And I feel. And I feel like I just got home. And I feel. Faster than the speed of light – she’s flying – trying to remember where it all began. She’s got herself a little piece of Heaven, waiting for the time when Earth shall be as one. And I feel like I just got home. And I feel. And I feel like I just got home. And I feel. Quicker than a ray of light. Quicker than a ray of light. Quicker than a ray of light – then gone – for Someone else will be there. {Madonna}

NOVEMBER 25, 2021: “The Gauntlet” …

… because sometimes you have to choose to protect your own “mental wealth” over showing up at the obligatory NOT so “family meal” for the sake of everyone else’s feelings or “doing the right thing”. Is it selfish? Umm … YAH! Guess what people?

BEING SELFISH IS ALLOWED!

The holidays are meant for going home and spending time with family, but let’s face it, not everyone has a family to go home to – OR – whereas their “family” might physically exist, it’s just not a safe place to go back to.

THAT BEING SAID …

We all have a HOME when “home” is wherever WE are! My true HOME is with ME, and here with ME there is no medieval torture “gauntlet” to run through :: No toxicity. No hatred. No judgment. No guilt. No shame. No yelling. No screaming. No anxiety. No nausea. No cringing. No crying. No suffering! NO HAVING TO TAKE YOURSELF OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM TO BE MEDICATED AFTER HAVING A PANIC ATTACK AT “FAMILY DINNER”!

It took me fifty something years to finally figure out that there are no rules to this game, so stop playing by everyone ELSE’S rules if they make you physically ILL!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating this beautiful American holiday, especially the “alone but NOT lonely” like me. For the record, I am so beyond thankful that I have arrived at this place in life where I can choose to allow myself every bit of the power, grace, and unconditionally safe love I want to receive from this cosmos. If, like me, “going home” literally feels like walking on not just eggshells, but razor blades, nails, glass, quicksand, land mines AND eggshells … then just chose YOU and STAY “HOME“! Your family is YOU and the ONE parent who will NEVER forsake you … God. These days when I sing this song, it’s HIM who I am singing it to.

HOME

I’m staring out into the night, trying to hide the pain. I’m going to the place where love and feeling good don’t ever cost a thing and the pain you feel’s a different kind of pain. Well, I’m going home, back to the place where I belong, and where your love has always been enough for me. I’m not running from, no, I think you got me all wrong. I don’t regret this life I chose for me, but these places and these faces are getting old. So I’m going home, well I’m going home. The miles are getting longer it seems, the closer I get to you. I’ve not always been the best man or friend for you, but your love remains true and I don’t know why. You always seem to give me another try. So I’m going home, back to the place where I belong, and where your love has always been enough for me. I’m not running from, no, I think you got me all wrong. I don’t regret this life I chose for me, but these places and these faces are getting old. Be careful what you wish for ’cause you just might get it all. You just might get it all and then some you don’t want. Be careful what you wish for ’cause you just might get it all. You just might get it all, yeah. Oh, well I’m going home, back to the place where I belong and where your love has always been enough for me. {Daughtry}

NOVEMBER 23, 2021: “Rise Up To YOU!” …

You.

IT’S ONLY YOU! It’s only YOU who can fill those cracks in your broken heart with the most magical “healing compound” of them all: YOU! No, I take that back. What I meant to say is YOU AND GOD! Not you and someone else. Not you and somewhere else. Not you and strangers, or money, or fame, or fortune, or stuff. Just you, yourself, and that beautiful reflection standing in your mirror that you’ve been refusing to make peace with and fall in love the way that God fell in love with you about two billions eons before you were even born. He never meant for us to seek the pleasures of this world … that’s the trick the devil did. God wants to be the One to bring you happiness and peace, because if anyone besides us knows how this world keeps on disappointing us, it’s Him. He wants us to turn to HIM, and then back to ourselves, so that we don’t hurt US or anyone else anymore.

Let’s face it folks, there’s always gonna be some kind of darkness lying in wait just ahead of us. I mean, ‘cmon, have you seen this world we’re living in? No matter how bright the artificial lights we flip on and off to navigate ourselves through it all, or how many steps ahead of all the bullshit we try to stay, there’s always gonna be a bottomless pit of EMPTY just waiting to swallow us alive. Guess what? That internal spotlight we often hide from is the exact same one that emits the true power and grace from our soul that allows us to see the beauty of our own reflection.

The more we stray, the less we fear, and the more we reach, the more we fade away.

Umm, can’t you just smell the paradox? This whole self-love dealio seems to contradict itself, does it not? We need to find our light. We were meant to find our light. Our light is both ourselves and God. You know? GOD – the One Who is to be feared and not feared all at once? He WANTS us to shine that light on ourselves – SHINE HIS LIGHT ON OURSELVES – but that light can be super scary. “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Now those are some scary words, too. Truth be told, some people don’t want the responsibility that comes with such a powerful force, so they opt for the easy way out of all they were meant to be, leave themselves behind, head into the world to find themselves in “someone or something else”, then wonder why they feel so lost, and empty, and lonely.

Unless and until you take hold of all that power and wield it like a beacon in the night, you will always be hoping for “other indications” of who you really are and seeking “higher elevations” from the outside world you were never meant to seek. Trust me when I say this, ’cause I’ve been there and done that, but if you aren’t capable of being at absolute peace in the company of your own solitude, any other person, place, or thing you attempt to have a relationship with is nothing more than a cruel trick that you’re playing on yourself to avoid facing the gaping hole in your heart left by this world. Just rise up, STAY RISEN, and go back home to YOU!

RISE UP!

I was hoping for an indication. I was seeking higher elevation. I’ve been shaken, waking in the night light. I’ve been breaking, hiding from the spotlight. The more I stray, the less I fear, and the more I reach, the more I fade away. The darkness right in front of me. Oh, it’s calling out and I won’t walk away. I would always open up the door. Always looking up at higher floors. Want to see it all give me more. I was always up for making changes. Walking down the street meeting strangers. Flipping through my life turning pages. Like a prayer that only needs a reason. Like a hunter waiting for the season. I was there, but I was always leaving. I’ve been living, but I was never breathing. Flipping through my life turning pages. I’m bursting like the fourth of July, so color me and blow me away. I’m broken in the prime of my life, so embrace it and leave me to stray. I would always open up the door. Always looking up at higher floors. Want to see it all give me more. {Imagine Dragons}

NOVEMBER 19, 2021: “Le Symbolique” …

If you’ve ever lost someone that you love, regardless of the “how, when, and why”, you know that sometimes it’s the most beautiful memories of life with that now missing person that can hurt you the very most.

So, you’d be 2,000% okay going without dad?

Oh, Mom, when we finally do go back, trust me – HE’LL BE WITH US!

If you knew anything about him, you know that Disney World was one of Zack’s favorite places of all. With that in mind, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again … If indeed he can still see us, and I know in my heart that he can, he would be devastated beyond conception if we let the possibility of too many “flashbacks and memories” keep us from going to one of “our places”. So, here’s what I’m thinking … Rather than let the flashbacks and memories make us want to cry, we’ll just go back to all those places again and laugh!

Meanwhile, so now what’s the dealio with this “Le Symbolique”? Well, I’ll tell ya! First of all, take look at the definition …

So, with that, not only is this beautiful instrumental by one of our favorite bands one of our favorite and most uplifting musical gifts, this first trip back to one of the truly most MAGICAL places on Earth is “Le Symbolique” of not just our journey going forward without him, but all the love, laughter, and truly MAGIC adventures we ever had got to have with him in the first place. Even more so than that, because of my deep love of France and the “symbolique-ism” of what my very first trip there ever meant, one of the sweetest things that man would ever do for me as soon as we’d step foot into “the kingdom” is make it a point to see to it that we went straight to the “France” in Epcot and sit down for a croissant. That, my friends, may very well be amongst the most bittersweet “flashbacks and memories” we will be sure to LAUGH our way back to magic when we get there!

NOVEMBER 17, 2021: “It’s GOOD To Be Alive” …

… because for every time I, myself, was my very own worst enemy, “hammer in hand” and all, having to just sit back now and watch helplessly as one of the very few human beings I’ve ever truly loved wields that same familiar hammer is all but fucking devouring me! That Godforsaken mallet has been smashing the hearts, minds, and souls of everyone whose ever touched it for only GOD knows how long. In the meantime …

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. As for me and mine? It’s SO GOOD to be alive!

TO BE ALIVE

I know you don’t believe it like I believe it. Oh no, it’s not your fault – you sit alone inside a room – wait for the world to come to you. They never do. It must be something that you can’t let go. It hurts that you won’t let me know. Every time you want to, any time I touch you, I can’t help to be myself. I hold on to this moment – any time is right to be alive. And then in conversation, I love the way you mention, “nothing’s ever gone your way” with a hammer in your hand. You spell out a master plan. You never learn. It must be somebody holding your heart. Something that tears us apart. Every time you want to, any time I touch you, I can’t help to be myself. I hold on to this moment – any time is right to be alive. And I don’t think that it’s right to let love pass by. Any time of life, it’s good to be alive. {Def Leppard}

NOVEMBER 14, 2021: “The Sun WILL Rise” …

For every other person who “shows the world” nothin’ but the lollipops and rainbows in their lives, there’s the ones like me who are here to keep things REAL! Yup, I hit the ground this weekend and leveled the YEARS of blood, sweat, tears, and toil slaying my dragon. Literally, and not metaphorically, all that hard work went in the fucking toilet.

Yes, my friends, even phoenixes crash and burn, especially when what’s “eating her alive” the most are things out of her control such as crocodiles and spider webs that want to devour her babies alive. For now, I’ll just have to forgive myself with all of the power and grace that I am, get the crown back up on my head, pick up my sword, and put the fucking CREATURE to sleep once again. I am only as weak as my very worst enemy, which at the moment has just became me. This too shall pass. “Just for today, I will try to live through THIS day only.” But here’s what else I’m telling you all … I will not REST until the day that FUCKING Venom suit is finally off my kid’s body. In the meantime …

MY DEAREST CAT:

I can see the weight there in your eyes. I can feel the thorn in your side. Your knuckles are bruised from a losing fight (again). The road we’re on’s not a dead-end street, even with the glass broken underneath our feet. You KNOW the day will break this Sunless night. THE SUN WILL RISE! You haven’t lost your Light – THE SUN WILL RISE! YOU’LL BE ALRIGHT! You’ve been stuck in a storm like this before and felt the wind raging at your door. We couldn’t move, we couldn’t breathe, we couldn’t find a way out. Still those clouds all disappeared and you and I finally made it here, maybe just so you could hear me say: THE SUN WILL RISE! YOU’LL BE ALRIGHT! I already know that you can see it, even though it’s so hard to believe it. It’s times like now you just need to hold on to your faith. YOU are the answer to our prayer, and I swear when TOMORROW comes … THE SUN WILL RISE. IT’LL BE ALRIGHT!

Love you FOREVER … “ME”

{Adaptation from “The Sun Will Rise” by Kelly Clarkson}

NOVEMBER 12, 2021: “Like I Am” …

“The Cheeseburger & Tears Text”

At this point in my life, I have become a staunch proponent of leaving the past in the past, because looking in the rearview mirror can do much more harm than good if you haven’t reached that threshold yet where even beautiful memories can level you. That being said, I am also wise enough to know that sometimes you really do have to look backwards in order to keep moving forward. Not only is studying the past the best way to either repeat or not repeat certain cycles, mistakes, triumphs and even people, it can also be where the most authentic looks at ourselves can be found.

For example, the famous “Cheeseburger & Tears” text between Christian and Zack from November 12, 1996, that I recently saw on his phone again. Trust me when I tell you that everything in my soul wanted to burst into tears when I saw it, but then something prolific just washed right over my heart and stopped the tears that were filling my eyes literally dead in their tracks. It was a poignant look at myself through another person’s eyes and words:

I have my own major flaws that your mom doesn’t talk about because she always thinks the best of everyone.

Indeed, it’s true. I really do always think the best of everyone. Well, at least I try to that is. It’s both a major character flaw and a major character perk, depending on “what” or who is on the receiving end of my seemingly bottomless pit of forgiveness. Even now with my boundaries as firmly BOUND and in place as possible, my heart is as ever more marshmallow than steel. I mean, don’t get me wrong, a fortress I truly am, especially when it comes to “peopling“, and as a living queen, I accept nothing less than everything.

At the end of the day, though, as I was sitting with Zack’s phone in my hand trying to decide whether to cry or smile, it was the latter of the two that won the prize. This “Cheeseburger & Tears” text reminded me once again of not just who I am, but that I was truly and unconditionally loved just like I am, which as we all know is one of the many reasons I’m still sitting here at all with the insurmountable and unconditional love I now have for myself.

Inasmuch as I’ve come to adore Rascal Flatts over the years, of course they were the background music for our many road trip adventures. With that, I cannot tell you how many times this song must have cued up, at which point we’d always lock hands (if they weren’t already locked) and I’d get the “three squeeze I love you“. So, today as I’m listening to it, I’m tweaking the words and singing it to him out loud:

Lying here without you, I know you watch me sleep. The dawn is closing in with every breath I breathe. I can feel the change – the change you made in me. And now I truly see all the things you saw in me. When you said that I was one of a kind. Baby, I couldn’t see it, but you believed that I’m so strong and true. I promise you – I’ll always be this kind of girl, because loved me like I am.

Okay, and just for the record, NOW I’m actually crying my eyes out. Good grief. It’s okay. They’re happy tears, not sad ones. Well, maybe just a little sad. Okay, I’m done.

NOVEMBER 10, 2021: “Birds” …

… because after all this time becoming “the crazy bird lady” but not being quite sure why, every one of their beautiful wings just delivered me full circle with an answer from The Cosmos that I simply cannot explain. Some day when the time is right and the seasons have come and gone enough such that she can finally read this Diary, only my Mona Lisa will fully understand the magnitude of the moments behind this entry.

Gia, my muse, I’m sobbing as I’m writing this to you, but my tears are only filled with gratitude and joy. “When the moon is lookin’ down shinin’ light upon your ground, I too will be flyin’ up to let you see that the shadow cast is me.” Looks like I got that answer we were talking about, and actually so did you. God is so good, as are all these messages, and these BIRDS will just keep speaking the truth. I love you daughter, and YES, we really are okay!

BIRDS

Two hearts, one valve. Pumpin’ the blood, we were the flood, we were the body and – two lives, one life, stickin’ it out, lettin’ you down, makin’ it right. Seasons, they will change. Life will make you grow. Dreams will make you cry, cry, cry. Everything is temporary. Everything will slide. Love will never die, die, die. I know that ooh, birds fly in different directions. Ooh, I hope to see you again. Sunsets, sunrises. Livin’ the dream, watchin’ the leaves changin’ the seasons. Some nights I think of you, relivin’ the past, wishin’ it’d last – wishin’ and dreamin’. Seasons, they will change. Life will make you grow. Death can make you hard, hard, hard. Everything is temporary. Everything will slide. Love will never die, die, die. I know that ooh, birds fly in different directions. Ooh, I hope to see you again. Ooh, birds fly in every direction. Ooh, so fly high, so fly high. When the moon is lookin’ down shinin’ light upon your ground, I’m flyin’ up to let you see that the shadow cast is me. {Imagine Dragons}

NOVEMBER 4, 2021: “The Bullshit On Your Driveway” …

Wait! NO! Not “what if” I told you … THIS IS ME TELLING YOU! It’s not always easy to see through all the BULLSHIT piling up in front of you, especially when it’s being shoveled directly to you from your “family, friends, and loved ones”. This I know too well! But hey, wait! Lemme ask you this

Was there ever a time that you could define? Tell me was there ever a time that you could refine what was boiling deep inside you? What was building up inside you? So what’ll you do when none of it’s true? Ya gonna go and break the mirror you thought was you while it’s coming down around you? It’s all falling down around you! If I took away your one excuse? Helped you down and cut the noose? Would you leave it all behind you? Could you leave this all behind you? If you tore away the tourniquet and put yourself in front of it? Could you leave this all behind you? Would you leave this all behind you? Tell me was there ever a way, ever a day, you could have simply walked away or talked your way out of what was changing deep inside you? Rearranging what’s inside you? While you’re lookin’ around for someone to blame, I hear that you been running around dropping my name while the ship you’re on is sinking. What the fuck have you been thinking?

{“Leave It All Behind” … Five Finger Death Punch}

Look, you DO have to forgive them for all the mounds of stinking bullshit on your driveway. ALL OF IT! EVERY PIECE OF IT! If not for them – FOR YOU! And no, I’m not saying that you have to leave your loved ones completely in your dust in order to get to the other side of the mountain. Well, at least not always that is, because, umm, let’s face it – SOMETIMES YOU ACTUALLY DO – but that’s a different story for a totally different time. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, blood may be thicker than water, but if it’s either too thick or too thin it can literally be a death sentence, and life is too short to die of blood diseases that can be treated. At the end of the day, whether it’s driving away and never looking back, or driving away to just a safe enough distance, the very first step to leaving anything behind is simply turning the key, starting the engine, putting your foot on the pedal and DRIVING!

OCTOBER 31, 2021: “Good GOODBYE!” …

No, but seriously though …

“Hi everyone, it’s me, Cat! Yes, I’m on a wicked house cleaning tangent these days, ’cause even Lights in the dark have their limits. BOUNDARIES! They’re what’s for breakfast, and lunch, and dinner, and midnight frigging snacks. I wasted far too many years of my life and far too much of my precious life energy not understanding that the people who were meant to be in my life would only be sticking around if I say so. I am power, grace, and beauty forever rising, and even though I will always love human beings with warm blood running through their veins, holding space in my almost bottomless heart for those who can’t hold the same space for me is just not in my wheelhouse. I gotta shiny Queendom I’m runnin’ over here with just enough people who do hold space for me, and I no longer accept scraps and bullshit from anyone. In the meantime, the happy, smiley, nicest bitch EVER landlord is here and the rent is way past due. So say goodbye and hit the road – pack it up and disappear! You better have some place to go, ’cause you can’t come back around here.

GOOD GOOBYE!

OCTOBER 30, 2021: “The REAL Homecoming Queen” …

… because unless you know where my “homecoming queen” has already been and the battles she’s fought and won by now, you just can’t understand how truly powerful this picture of her really is. But seriously though, someday we’ll sit back and laugh as all those silly haters that just ain’t her and won’t ever be her are choking on the ashes from her fire.

OCTOBER 24, 2021: “Who I Am” …

WHO AM I?

I’m Cat Williamson. The REAL Cat Williamson, not the fake one! I’m the Queen of the world who has crossed over to the upside of everything, yet I’m the most wretched but not God-forsaken woman in all the land. I am big. I am small. I am nothing. I am everything. I’m an oxymoron. I’m an APOSTROPHE. I am perfect. I’m am FLAWED! I’m a pebble skipped across a pond who is valueless and valued the same. I truly am power, grace, and beauty rising“. I have the world’s biggest ego and the confidence of a lioness, yet I am humbled by my literal insignificance. Perhaps, however, the most IMPORTANT thing I am is “God’s favorite daughter”, and actually, so are all of you “God’s favorite children”, but yet again, I’ve digressed.

Look at me … I’m really am like the Sun. I’ll blind your eyes and get under your skin then blow out your eardrums with my words. I SPEAK THE TRUTH DAMNIT, love me or hate me, ’cause I don’t really care. Nothing about me is anyone else’s concern, unless I so choose it to be, just as NOTHING anyone thinks about me is mine. I’m the FIRST of me, and the last of me, ’cause there’s never gonna be another one like me, and I’m still the luckiest girl on this planet.

THAT is who I am.

THIS is who I am …

WHO I AM

Look at me, I am the Sun – I’ll blind your eyes, the only one. Look at me, when night sings blues – I’m the only one, yes I’m your muse. Look at me, make no mistake – Fashioned with earth, molded with clay. I’ll tell you how I face the day – LIVE LIFE, RAISE HELL, LEFT NOTHING UNDONE. Who I am? Who am I to you? You know, dammit, I SPEAK THE TRUTH TO YOU! Who I am? Who am I to you? Why can’t I be who I am? Look at me – I’m not like you. I’m number one, not number two. Look at me – a pride and joy. I came to win. I came to destroy! Look at me. Look in my eyes. Heart of a lion. I’ll fight till I die! Life’s too short to expect less. Even when I fall, I get up swinging. Who I am, who am I to you? You know, dammit, I SPEAK THE TRUTH TO YOU! Who I am? Who am I to you? Why can’t I be who I am? Who I am? Who am I to me? You know, dammit, I SPEAK THE TRUTH! You see ho I am! Who am I to me? I just wanna be who I am … {Scott Stapp}

OCTOBER 21, 2021: “Inside Of Me” …

The truth is, I spent more than 40 years living trapped inside my own mind. Then I escaped it, only to find out that it wasn’t so bad in there after all. It just took me a minute to make peace with my own chaos, which as it turns out, had more to do with my environment and not what was “inside my mind”. Once I changed my scenery and the majority of the people in it, I found that my mind is an entire fucking UNIVERSE of power and grace, love and beauty, creativity, whimsy, empathy, and blind faith that not everyone was apt to appreciate or handle. Lol. THEIR LOSS, NOT MINE!

Not gonna lie folks, once I made peace with myself and my truly ethereal mind, I stopped trying to run away from it, moved back IN to it, took a few pictures down, hung a few back up, and now I rarely ever leave it. Sounds kinda crazy, right? Indeed I know this – but it doesn’t make it any less true.

…but loving in hindsight – that won’t work for my life. Let me forget all that went wrong.

Oh, yah, and about that “loving in hindsight not working for my life”? That was the old meTHIS IS THE NEW ME – and new me is okay with whatever, however, and whenever it takes to understand – or NOT understand – why certain things and people happen in my life. After all is said and done – IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER – ‘cuz the proverbial shit in life is always gonna hit the fan, but this road I’m on is still rollin’. As long as it takes me “anywhere”, anywhere is better than nowhere, and Imma just figure it all out as I go the way I always do. I’m not just a Cat, I’m a REAL cat my friends, and cats always land on their feet!

INSIDE OF ME

Always waiting for something – searching for one thing – and I know it has to be there somewhere. On this show without knowing the way this is going, as long as it takes me anywhere. There’s life and there’s one dance – and there’s fate and there’s one chance – to find out who I wanna be, and I know it’s inside of me. I look to the far side – searching for daylight – something that is mine, all my own. But loving in hindsight – that won’t work for my life – let me forget all that went wrong. There’s life and there’s one dance – and there’s fate and there’s one chance – to find out who I wanna be, and I know it’s inside of me. There’s love and so much more that waits behind that door. There’s so much that I wanna see, and I know it’s inside of me. {3 Doors Down}

OCTOBER 20, 2021: “The Bucket List Item I Never Knew I Needed” …

Yesterday afternoon, one of my “life partners” of sorts, who has now become a dear friend, called me up and basically insisted that I “find myself a cocktail dress, slap on some make up, and get to downtown Dallas” for a once in a lifetime chance to see an actual living masterpiece, Andrea Bocelli. As I had adamantly planned not to see any post pandemic concerts until it could be Ivan Moody and Five Finger Death Punch, I almost backed out after I’d already agreed to go, because I didn’t want to break the deal I’d made with myself to hold out for Death Punch with both the kids so that hopefully they’d finally get to hear “The Brighter Side Of Grey” live on stage.

In being honest, even as much as I love all genres of music, opera has never really been my thing – but – it was Zack’s, and seeing Bocelli in concert had long been on his Bucket List before he left. Knowing him the way that I did, if he were still alive, we’d have had front row center seats at any cost, because that’s how much he loved Andrea Bocelli. Meanwhile, I did decide to go after all – not for me but more so to honor one of his dreams. I’M SO GLAD I DIDN’T BAIL!

I cried most of the night, all but lost it at Amazing Grace, and I’ll never be the same again after this night. Of note, when Andrea and his daughter sang Ave Maria, my friend turned me and said, “Cat, Zack is here right now. Can’t explain it. I just know it and feel it in my soul. I believe in my heart of hearts that she was right.

Let’s face it – not many people will ever have the chance to see a true “living masterpiece” in concert, and I am firmly convinced that I was very much supposed to be at that performance. Hearing Andrea Bocelli tonight was no different to me than if I had been given the chance to sit down beside Leonardo DaVinci while he was giving birth to the Mona Lisa.

Once again, I am blessed beyond words, thankful beyond thankfulness, and forever changed for the better. How could I have possibly known that within the course of less than 36 hours I’d be adding then scratching off an item from my own Bucket List that I never even knew was meant to be on it? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I truly am God’s own favorite daughter and the luckiest queen on the face of this entire planet.

OCTOBER 15, 2021: “THIS Me & THAT Me” …

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m an avid “Quora” writer. As such, I recently saw this question posted, to which was my honest answer was THIS:

Once upon a time, I was a train wreck of a woman, mentally ill, with a victim mentality, MUCH too comfortable living in my own toxicity, and far too weak and scared to begin the painful and arduous process of pulling my own damn broken head out of my ass and fighting my way out of the FARCE of a life I was living.

Then something changed … I OPENED UP MY EYES AND TOOK A COLD, HARD LOOK IN THE MIRROR. The person I saw standing there was the girl who was too blame for the beginning of her self destruction. So, I decided to become the beginning of my self belief and QUEENDOM.

While I was “that me”, I ruined a lot of things I loved. I RUINED A LOT OF PEOPLE I LOVED! Way too many to count. Mostly though? I RUINED MYSELF! THEN I WOKE UP! Now I’m “this me”, who is MUCH much better, and although I’m extremely thankful for all the SHIT I put my own self through and all the pain and suffering I endured in the process, I wouldn’t want to be “that me” ever again, and never will.

Hi! My name is The REAL Cat Williamson. I’m a warrior, motivator, and a SURVIVOR! The biggest challenge I have survived is MYSELF. For the record, I’m not “bragging” about all the things and people I ruined. I’m just being honest. Brutal honesty about myself and WITH myself was the first step to becoming “this me”.

DEAR YOUNGER ME

Dear younger me: Where do I start? If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far, then you could be one step ahead of all the painful memories still running thru my head. I wonder how much different things would be. Dear younger me, dear younger me: I cannot decide. Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life, or do I go deep and try to change the choices that you’ll make, ’cause they’re choices that made me. Even though I love this crazy life, sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride dear younger me. Dear younger me: If I knew then what I know now, condemnation would’ve had no power. My joy, my pain, would’ve never been my worth. If I knew then what I know now, it would’ve not been hard to figure out what I would’ve changed if I had heard – “Dear younger me: It’s not your fault. You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross. Dear younger me: You are holy. You are righteous. You are one of the redeemed, set apart, a brand new heart – you are free indeed. Every mountain, every valley, thru each heartache you will see that every moment brings you closer to who you were meant to be, dear younger me. {Mercy Me}

OCTOBER 8, 2021: “At Home In The Queendom” …

Hi everyone, it’s me – CAT!

So, take a wild guess what the best thing I possess is? If you guessed, “Free reign over the truly divine peace in my soul and the most beautiful Queendom a mortal woman could possibly reign over”, you would be correct!

I mean, don’t get me wrong – GOD owns my soul, and Jesus paid for it’s salvation, but the Holy Spirit brought the kingdom to dwell here right inside my body, which makes ME the safest fortress I’ve ever had, ever will have, and the LUCKIEST queen in the history of mankind! As it turns out, it was me, and only ever me, who my soul was meant to return to. I am my own home, and the fire in my soul is the centerpiece.

I’M MY TRUE HOME.

Wherever I am …

Wherever I go …

I’m the safest place I can be!

I promise I’m not bragging, but it’s SUCH a spectacular Queendom I reign in. Alone, not lonely. Just me and my two best friends, “Jesus and ME”. Yup, I’m a Jesus freak with a divine soul that’s on FIRE, and I wouldn’t want to be any other way. Gotta tell ya … it’s pretty frigging awesome being God’s actual favorite daughter!

OCTOBER 5, 2021: “The Freedom” …

And yet another bittersweet “October 5th” is here. His birthday. At first I was at a loss for what to write about this morning, but after having drafted another “Quora Answer” that I wasn’t sure when I wanted to post, it struck me that TODAY was the day …

WHAT DOES “TRUE FREEDOM” MEAN TO YOU?

To me, true freedom is having made peace with not only his death, but death in general, because most assuredly I say to you: DEATH HAPPENS! No one’s getting out of here alive, and as hard as it is to live on this Earth without our loved ones who have moved on, being able to release them from the mortal shackles they wore (and yes, we ALL wear mortal shackles) is, perhaps, one of the kindest, bravest, and selfless things we can do, not only ourselves, but their dearly departed souls. When a person has reached a point in their life where they no longer suffer through the experience of death, living in the moment becomes second nature, because they live in constant awareness that “the present” is all that really matters.

True freedom is having arrived at place where your happiness and self-worth aren’t derived solely from achieving every pleasure, dream, or wish you’ve ever had, or having every “thing” you thought you needed. It’s closing your eyes at night then waking up the next morning with total clarity and peace in your heart, not always “needing more”, and fully capable of living in each moment as it is.

True freedom is understanding that some things just aren’t meant to be understood, because they’re NOT, and that having blind faith in all the things we can’t know isn’t as scary it seems. Even if we’re wrong about the things we deaf, dumb, and BLINDLY believe, we’re still “halfway right”. As far as I’m concerned, “halfway right” is still a 50/50 odd, and I will gladly bet on it.

Last, but certainly not least, true FREEDOM is finally realizing that YOU are the only mortal person you can count on to survive this game with ’til the end, YOU are worthy of being your own best friend, biggest fan, and most loyal supporter, and YOU should be the greatest love story of your life! That’s when you’ve found your real home, by the way, and for the record, none of this “freedom”, or the peace of mind that comes with it, costs a single dime. Money is good to have, don’t get me wrong, but ZERO amounts of money can buy these freedoms for you. Only YOU can secure them for yourself.

I’m so thankful that I have achieved true freedom. I’ll close my eyes tonight knowing in my heart that I did the very best I could in everything I did, and that I’ve left no stone unturned. If I don’t wake up tomorrow? Imma be alright, ’cause I know what’s coming next and I’m not afraid. Now that I think of it? I think I’m starting to understand why I’m so fascinated by birds and anything with wings. Not only can they fly, but even more so than that, they always find the right place to call home. They’re beautiful, and free, and independent spirits, and anywhere they land can be their home. I guess in many ways I am like a bird. Sometimes I just watch them, because maybe I’m a little envious of all the ways they are free than I can only dream of. Then again, that’s probably how some people feel about me, so they watch me with envy, too, because I am free in all of the ways that they can only dream of. Maybe someday they will learn to just let go and GET HOME like me.

Happy Birthday and Godspeed Zachariah. Here’s hoping you are “Home” enjoying your eternal FREEDOM. I miss you, will always love you, and yes, you are still forgiven.

FREEDOM OF THE SEA

Standing on the shoreline, looking out to sea at oceans of Your hopes for me, just beyond my reach. I’ve been here on this island for way too many years, a prisoner of my comfort, a slave to my own fears. Doubt is saying, “got to stay”. Faith is saying, “sail away”! I know it’s safe here on the shore, but freedom is worth dying for. Liberation comes to those who hear the truth and sail with you. I’ll go where You are calling me. I’ll be what You meant me to be. I know the risk is real, but I wanna feel the freedom of the sea! With eyes to the horizon, mist against my face, I’ll leave behind this island in Your abounding grace. With Your word as my compass, I’ll chase my destiny. For I know the words of Your will can set my spirit free. Doubt is saying, “got to stay”, but I’m taking up the anchor! Faith is saying, “sail away”, and I’m heading for the deep! {Phillips, Craig & Dean}

OCTOBER 1, 2021: “I’ve Got His Six!” …

… because sometimes you do have to die inside a little in order to be reborn into the strongest, wisest, most authentic version of yourself so you can leave this world a little better than you found it. For the record, and for those of you who care to know, this guy really did die once upon a time, only to be reborn into the living phoenix he truly is. Soul of my soul is what Ivan Moody is to me, and I’ll forever be grateful for all the ways both his music and his “phoenix” changed my life for the better.

Hi everyone, it’s me, Cat! I’m Fifty-TWO-Good-To-Be-True, a divine apostrophe, a giant mystery, and myself a living phoenix. Good GRIEF, how in actual Heaven will any of you people ever be able to make a single bit of sense out of me? Not gonna lie, seeing this gift I had made for one of my favorite ghosts of all resting on that spot behind him literally made my day. I’ve kinda got Ivan’s six. I’VE TOTALLY GOT HIS SIX!

Phoenixes don’t fall – WE RISE – and we always stick together, even when we’re flying solo!

OCTOBER 1, 2021: “Hoovery McHooverson” …

228. The exact number of days since the last time Hoovery McHooverson, a/k/a the actual devil incarnate, reached out to but never heard back from me in yet another failed attempt to feed his little man ego. All I can do is laugh:

“Hey you! I was just thumbing through my text stream and realized that my text to you this morning was green, and I’m like “did you block me” and then I went straight to your voicemail when calling, so … did you block me before or after I sent you that text? And hey, I would REALLY value a conversation. Umm, I’m kind of at a loss. I got your texts, and I know your grappling with some things, but I’d really enjoy and value the opportunity to visit with you, so, please call me. I hope you’re well. Thinking about you. Bye bye.”

You were just “thumbing through your text stream”, huh? No, little man McHoovy Hoove, you were checking your old supply! We all know that little narcissist boys just don’t like being bored or alone, and I Jean Claude Van DAMN bet that you’d REALLY “value” a conversation. What’s the matter McHoovy? Are ya feeling unadored? Well now, ain’t that a kick in the go take a dirt nap ya purely evil munchkin bastard!

ZERO amounts of manipulation or charming ever again shall there be, and ZERO are the chances that I’ll be rooked back into your snake pit. Wow! I guess I really do win, ’cause you very much McLOSE! Now go on and slither back to that empty chasm you call yourself and kinda McHoovy GO FUCK YOURSELF! And now, in closing, I once again say this …

Unaffected. Unimpressed. Laughing my ass off yet again. This little man just doesn’t get it! With that, if you know this Diary at all, you know there’s a song for almost every chapter. Nope. Not this time. Music is my therapy. My happy place. MY EVERYTHING! All that remains for “this thing” that was once in my life are these five final words: STARVE LITTLE NARCISSIST! STARVE!

{“Starving A Narcissist“}

SEPTEMBER 29, 2021: “I Know” …

Today is one of those days when my own words wouldn’t do a bit of justice to the message I’m urgently trying to convey. Except, that is, to say that the best day of my life so far really was that day I finally understood that there are some things I will never need to understand and even more things I don’t care to “know”. Once I stopped trying to figure all this stuff out and trying to outthink all the things I cannot possibly ever fathom, I became as deaf, dumb, and blind as a bat, but as wise as the wisest sage. “All I know” is “what I know“. The rest of the details I’m just leaving up to Him.

Where do I begin with what to say? I’ve played this conversation in my head so many times. I’m certainly not claiming to know everything, but what I do will save your life. I know, I know that God is able. I know, I know that He still reigns. I know, I know that Love has found a way. No matter what it is you’re going through – even if you think you’re far beyond where hope can see. I know there is a hand that’s reaching out for you – because He did the same for me. I know, I know that God is able. I know, I know that He still reigns. I know, I know that Love has found a way. It wasn’t that long ago when my own world fell apart, and everything inside of me said to let go … I found myself crying out to the One who knows my heart … and holding tight to the few things that I know. I know …

{“I Know” ~ Mercy Me}

SEPTEMBER 17, 2021: “A Love Note To My Body!” …

DEAR “ME”:

Today is your birthday – “Fifty-TWO-Good-To-True” – so, what better way to celebrate the insanely beautiful life you still get to live than to read this “love letter” to the body you still get to occupy despite your best attempts to ever so passively, yet ever so aggressively murder it for too many years to count?

When you saw this woman’s words posted on social media recently, they leveled you in the most bittersweet ways. Since that day, you’ve read them to yourself over and over and over again, and knowing you the way I do, I suspect you’ll continue to do so for the remainder of your journey here on Earth. They’re impeccable and powerful to us both!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU once again, thank you JESUS, and Amen! Indeed, you ARE “The REAL Cat Williamson” … a Warrior, Motivator, Survivor, and CREATURE SLAYING QUEEN!

~ Love, “ME”

To anyone reading this, yes, this is one of those songs that has impacted my life in such a profound way that it’s earned a repost in my Diary. Only this time I’ve changed up the words:

Never again! Never give in! Never give in! I wouldn’t have wished that on just anyone, but she seemed to share my impulse. I wouldn’t have taken that from just anyone, but she seemed to like the result. So, I connected the dots and I told her when to stop. I chose to keep on going rather and NOT be something that I’m not. We were creatures of habit. We couldn’t live without it. We didn’t have to answer to anyone. We were chasing the rabbit, like creatures of habit, and no one else knew where we were coming from. And everything has changed, ’cause I didn’t fucking run away. There’s no need to panic, ’cause it’s no longer tragic.

{ Adapted from “Creatures” ~ by Shinedown}

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction of any sort, PLEASE pick up your sword and fight your way out of that darkness. Both you AND YOUR BODY deserve so much fucking better than “creatures” trying to destroy you.

AUGUST 28, 2021: “But What If I Stumble?” …

Someone recently asked me if I thought that I could go to Hell for all the cursing I do, which of course gave me some serious pause for thought, because, umm, oh good GRIEF have you met me? I’m a sailor without a ship total potty mouth kinda woman, and yes, I’m well aware of the fact that some of the truly well intended thoughts and messages I’ve spoken or written have been delivered out of both sides of my proverbial mouth.

The Bible says that anyone born again by the Holy Spirit is saved eternally (John 10:28), not temporarily. However, the Bible also strongly warns against apostasy, which can lead to doubt about “eternal security”. If, by command, we “can’t be unborn and lose our salvation”, why are we warned against apostasy? Well, first, you have to know what “apostasy” means.

Simply stated in the best “Jesus For Dummies” way that I know how, an apostate is someone who abandons their faith. The Bible makes many references to people who only “professed their faith”, but never never genuinely received Jesus. “Pretenders.” “Actors.” APOSTATES! In other words, “apostatizers” were never really “saved and born again” in the first place.

That being said, if as Christians we truly believed in our hearts the words we spoke when we professed our faith (and only God and us know whether that is true), we are commanded to “walk the walk and talk the talk”, because in the famous words of Billy Graham:

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle.

So, although true salvation is eternal and therefore can’t be undone, “Christians who curse” are definitely not optimal. As for me? I am an admittedly offending Christian who curses way too damn much. See? I just did it again! OMG! I know it. I’m ashamed of it. I APOLOGIZE FOR IT EVERY TIME! The words that sometimes come out of my mouth are DISGUSTING and not a good look or advertisement for the true and sincere profession of my own faith and salvation.

The bottom line here is this: Just because my salvation can’t be undone, neither I or anyone else shouldn’t use it as a “get out of Hell free card” for bad behavior. Doing so neither honors God, or me, or the rest of the believing world who are doing much better at this “walking the walk” game than I am. The “unbelieving world” is always watching “the believers” for evidence to justify their disbelief, and I don’t want to be the reason someone refuses to believe in something they cannot see. So, with that …

MY DEAREST JESUS:

What if I stumble? What if I fall? Is this one for the people? Is this one for the Lord? Or do I simply serenade for things I must afford? You can jumble them together – my conflict still remains. Holiness is callin’ in the midst of courting fame. ‘Cause I see the trust in their eyes though the sky is fallin’. They need Your love in their lives – compromise is callin’. What if I stumble? What if I fall? What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all? Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl? What if I stumble, and what if I fall? What if I stumble? What if I fall? Oh Lord! You never turn in the heat of it all! What if I stumble? What if I fall? Father, please forgive me, for I cannot compose the fear that lives within me or the rate at which it grows. If struggle has a purpose on the narrow road You carved, why do I dread my trespasses will leave a deadly scar? Did they see the fear in my eyes? Are they so revealin’? This time I cannot disguise all the doubt I’m feelin’. What if I stumble? What if I fall? What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all? Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl? What if I stumble, and what if I fall? What if I stumble? Everyone’s got to crawl when you know that you’re up against the wall – it’s about to fall! Everyone’s got to crawl when you know that … yeah. I hear You whispering my name. You said, “My love for you will never change.” What if I stumble? What if I fall? What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?

I know! I know! I’M WORKING ON IT! I PROMISE! I don’t want to let You down, I don’t want to let myself down, and I desperately don’t want to be a big ole “Jesus hypocrite” billboard for Your cause. I wholeheartedly believe that the deeply abysmal guilt I feel every time I drop an eff bomb is Your Holy Spirit telling me STOP, so as with everything else in my often crooked life, I am ever a work in progress. Please forgive me, once again, even though I know You already have, but oh, em, gee, what am I gonna have to do with myself? Eat a bar of soap? Guess I’ll just keep trying. Really REALLY trying. I love you, Jesus! ~ C

FEBRUARY 15, 2021: “Power, Grace, And Beauty Rising” …

WHO AM I?

I am me. I’m my very own best friend, and the one person in my life I know will never let me down. I’m the person I get to be with until I take my last breath and set my eyes upon the The Brighter Side Of Grey, and the only one I can count on when all my cards are down, come Hell or the highest of waters.

I’m the Queen Of The World who has crossed on over to the upside of just about everything, yet I’m the most wretched in all the land. Love me or hate me, I DON’T CARE, ’cause at least I know it’s true! I have the world’s biggest ego and the confidence of a lion, yet I’m humbled by the power of my insignificance. I am big. I am small. I’m a pebble skipped across the ocean. I’M A DIVINELY APPOINTED APOSTROPHE THAT PUNCTUATES THE WORLD WHO IS VALULESS AND VALUED BOTH THE SAME AND I AM GOD’S ACTUAL FAVORITE DAUGHTER!

I am NOTHING.

I am EVERYTHING.

I’m an oxymoron.

I am power, grace, and beauty rising.

(… and guess, what? SO ARE YOU!)

BEAUTY WILL RISE

It was the day the world went wrong. I screamed ’til my voice was gone and watched through the tears as everything came crashing down. Slowly panic turns to pain as we awake to what remains and sift through the ashes that are left. But buried deep beneath all our broken dreams we have this hope. Out of these ashes, beauty will rise, and we will dance among the ruins. We will see Him with our own eyes. Out of these ashes, beauty will rise. For we know joy is coming in the morning. In the morning, beauty will rise. So take another breath for now, and let the tears come washing down. And if you can’t believe, I will believe for you. ‘Cause I have seen the signs of spring! Just watch and see! Out of these ashes, beauty will rise, and we will dance among the ruins. We will see Him with our own eyes. Out of these ashes, beauty will rise. For we know joy is coming in the morning. In the morning. I can hear it in the distance … and it’s not too far away. It’s the music and the laughter of a wedding and a feast. I can almost feel the hand of God reaching for my face to wipe the tears away and say, “It’s time to make everything new.” “Make it all new”. This is our hope. This is the promise. That it would take our breath away to see the beauty that’s been made out of the ashes. {Steven Curtis Chapman}

FEBRUARY 16, 2021: “The True Colors Of Us” …

Tonight I watched an episode of “This Is Us” that took me all the way down to the ground again, then all the way back up, within a very short emotional roller course of less than sixty minutes. Not only was it one of our favorite shows to watch together, but for so many reasons that are far too complicated to explain, just as so many other people who have watched this series, we were both connected to several of it’s characters in so many different ways. This scene though? IT SUCKER PUNCHED ME in every best and worst way possible, but it really had me at …

They don’t wanna hang out with us anymore. It’s moving really fast. … We only have a few more years together under the same roof … a few more years where we get to be a part of their daily lives. And then what? They’re gonna move out.

And therein lied the problem, that again is far too complicated for me to explain, but sufficed to say that the mere thought of “losing” Gia permanently is what really started pushing him over the edge.

As you may know, long before August 22, 2019 when Zack turned our world upside down with the most egregious exit possible, Gia had been on a downward descent of her own for several years. Someday I will revisit in greater detail that sobering night in November 2018 when during a random a spot check of her phone after she’d gone to sleep, Zack walked into our room with a look of doom, dread, fear and panic on his face like nothing I’d ever seen. He’d found that she had searched “I don’t want to live anymore” and “I think I want to kill myself”. Our world came to a frozen halt.

{“Fight On Fighter“}

Zack had always said he didn’t think he could survive losing either one of us after having been abandoned by not just his mother, but virtually everyone he’d ever loved in his life. I suppose I never realized that he really meant what he was saying when we’d had those many conversations.

But now let’s back up to yet another “moment on a screen” that we’d shared together as a family just a few years earlier and how this song from that moment ties in to this Diary entry. The movie was Trolls, which was one of Zack’s absolute favorites, and it was the water-color handprint picture hanging on the cabin wall that set the whole tone for the “This Is Us” scene that immediately brought me back to the day that we saw Trolls. If you’ve ever seen it, you know that it ends with this song, and just as probably so many other families who watched it together have, the three of us just sat there hand in hand and sobbing as it played. All I could think of was my seemingly impermeable “tower of strength” husband being reduced to rivers of tears at a children’s movie. I saw his true colors, shining through. I saw his true colors, and that’s why I loved him.

TRUE COLORS

You with the sad eyes – don’t be discouraged. Oh I realize it’s hard to take courage. In a world full of people you can lose sight of it all. The darkness inside you can make you feel so small. Show me a smile, then don’t don’t be unhappy. Can’t remember when I last saw you laughing. This world makes you crazy, and you’ve taken all you can bear. Just call me up ’cause I will always be there. And I see your true colors shining through. I see your true colors, and that’s why I love you. So don’t be afraid to let them show. Your true colors – true colors – are beautiful. I see your true colors shining through! I see your true colors, and that’s why I love you. So don’t be afraid to let them show. Your true colors – true colors are beautiful – like a rainbow! Oh! I can’t remember when I last saw you laughing. This world makes you crazy, and you’ve taken all you can bear. Just call me up, ’cause I will always be there. And I see your true colors shining through. I see your true colors, and that’s why I love you. So don’t be afraid to let them show. Your true colors – true colors – are beautiful – like a rainbow. {Justin Timberlake & Anna Kendrick}

FEBRUARY 11, 2021: “Right NOW!” …

… aaaaaand, all I have to say TODAY, is … best damn quote I’ve INVENTED heard in a long damn time! Just sayin’!

RIGHT NOW

Don’t wanna wait ’til tomorrow. Why put it off another day? One by one, little problems build up and stand in our way. Oh! One step ahead, one step behind it. Now you gotta run to get even. Make future plans – I’ll dream about yesterday. Hey! Come on turn, turn this thing around. (Right now!) Hey – it’s your tomorrow. (Right now!) Come on, it’s everything! (Right now!) Catch your magic moment. Do it right here and now. It means everything! Miss a beat, you lose the rhythm, and nothin’ falls into place. Aah! Only missed by a fraction. Slipped a little off your pace. Oh! The more things you get, the more you want. Just trade in one for another. Workin’ so hard to make it easy. Whoa! Got to turn! Come on! Turn this thing around! (Right now.) Hey – it’s your tomorrow. (Right now!) Come on, it’s everything! (Right now!) Catch your magic moment. Do it right here and now. It means everything! It’s enlightened me – right now! WHAT ARE YOU WAITIN’ FOR? {Van Halen}

FEBRUARY 8, 2021: “O’er Field & Fodder” …

FODDER:

Indeed it is true that the “I got my heart broken and now I’m afraid to love” struggle is up close, personal and very real! But here’s what I’ve been tryin’ to tell ya folks AND PLEASE HEAR ME LOUD AND CLEAR! If I hadn’t truly believed in the existence and power of REAL LOVE all the while … and even though some of the most “forgettable” people almost destroyed me (one of whom actually leveled me SO badly that I tried to kill myself) …

I WOULD NEVER HAVE MET THE TWO LOVES OF MY LIFE!

That’s right my friends! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I have been truly and deeply loved by TWO KINGS in this lifetime. Not one – TWO! How many women can say that? While unfortunately their fates had to take them Home too soon, the love each of them gave me was enough to last me a lifetime if that is to be MY fate. Nonetheless it remains … TRUE LOVE IS VERY REAL … and the people that hurt you but the FODDER beneath your feet who prepared you for the greener pastures yet to come …

… meaning …

You will never be able to to recognize or appreciate your real king or a queen unless you’ve spent time in the company of an asshole! So, just keep stepping over all that fodder as you walk through to greener pastures towards the Light! Take it from me – the grass really is better on this side! AND FOR THE RECORD: YES, I still love Corey Hart, and YES I still listen to this song AND sing out loud with it weekly! It’s beautiful, and powerful, and if you’ve never heard it before … LISTEN TO THE WORDS!

TAKE MY HEART

Take me to the top again. Take me to the high road shining – ’cause you know I never seen the world like that! You take me to the top again. You take me where it’s slow and easy – ’cause you know I never dream inside like that. I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know. Won’t you take my heart? Don’t leave me here standin’! Take my heart where only you can. Take my heart – there is no resistance. I can only go as far as you can. Yeah, through the leaves of grass I search – and I follow like a soldier, where the battle rages on. Reveal what’s true. And I call to open skies – and I call to high plains driftin’ through the wintertime the Earth shall feed my soul. Discover borderlands that we have yet to run … and you can search forever never reach the Sun. And I can go on tryin’. And I can go on cryin’. Won’t you take my heart … where only you can? {Corey Hart}