JANUARY 1, 2021: “Twenty-Twenty-ONE-Derful!” …

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

500. The number of days that have passed since Destiny took me by the hand and started leading me down a path I never saw coming. With that in mind, and in keeping with my “Fifty-ONE-Derful” years of life thus far, I have dubbed today as January 1st, “Twenty-Twenty-ONE-Derful”! Realizing, of course, that I am blessed beyond measure to find myself in a place that while on the surface seems dark and tragic, at it’s roots is nothing short of a miracle, wrapped in iridescence, and adorned with the most beautiful crown a queen could wear.

I once heard it said that fifty is the beginning of our golden years. As such, I find no coincidence with regard to the fact that as I’ve walked through the fog to the Brighter Side Of Grey, I’ve also managed to stumble upon The Golden Circle. Indeed I’ve come to bittersweet, endearing terms with “my why“, so from this point forward it’s just a matter of discovering “how” and “what”.

If I could have one wish right now, it would be that I really could just zap you all with “this thing” that’s coursing through my veins. It’s my super power, my ultimate peace, and absolute euphoria! It’s the simple yet overwhelming joy in finally realizing that not everything is about me, because I am nothing, which is why I am everything. The paradigm has shifted. The cycle is broken.

It is not in my nature to ask for anything from anyone, especially inasmuch as I not only have every “thing” a woman could ever want, likewise I have everything a human being will ever need. Still, here I am asking. First and foremost, if there is ever an opportunity for you share something poignant I’ve said or written that has touched you, will you please share it so that perhaps some of these pebbles I’m skipping across the pond can radiate even further? Second, sit with this beautiful song I love so much and really let it sink in. Let the words wash you clean, lift you up, and encourage you. Let them help you cry if you need to. Let them validate and give you the permission you may have been searching for to let go of some of your burdens and cut yourself some slack so that you too can discover “your why” and become an iridescent Light unto the masses. And last but not least, make it a beautiful, powerful, and epically life-changing year my friends …

“Twenty-Twenty-ONE-Derful!”

IRIDESCENT

When you were standing in the wake of devastation. When you were waiting on the edge of the unknown. And with the cataclysm raining down, insides crying, “Save me now”, you were there, impossibly alone. Do you feel cold and lost in desperation? You build up hope, but failure’s all you’ve known. Remember all the sadness and frustration – and let it go. Let it go. And in a burst of Light that blinded every angel, as if the sky had blown the heavens into stars. You felt the gravity of tempered grace falling into empty space. No one there to catch you in their arms. Do you feel cold and lost in desperation? You build up hope, but failure’s all you’ve known. Remember all the sadness and frustration – and let it go. Let it go! {Linkin’ Park}

DECEMBER 24, 2020: “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” …

… and all through the land, every creature was patiently awaiting the band …

A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO MY AMAZING KNUCKLEHEAD FAMILY AROUND THE GLOBE … not the least of which is Ivan Moody, Chris Kael, Zoltan Bathory, Charlie Engen and Andy James. 2020 wasn’t half as bad as I suppose it could have been because of all of you! Wishing you all so much love and a POWERFUL 2021!

NOVEMBER 25, 2020: “Will The Sun Rise?”…

PERSPECTIVE.

After a deep and meaningful heartfelt intersection with my MUSE last night, or rather should I say, “a 4am meeting of the masterminds” (because after all, isn’t “4am when most masterminds do their best work), I’ve decided this needs to be said …

This song? It’s a favorite of mine! I still love Dokken very, very much, and still listen to them ALL the time. (“Under Lock And Key” is one of my lifetime favorite albums.)

“Will The Sun Rise?”

As I told my muse, the meaning of this song used to go RIGHT over my hairspray encrusted head. But now when I hear it, it wants to make me sad. I’m a grown up now. I’m a mother now. If I’m lucky? I’LL BE A GRANDMA ONE DAY … a “Crazy Grandma Cat“! These days we are living in, where it seems that Atlas really is falling?

The contemplation of “the Sun rising of it all” does tend to give cause for a fair amount of panic. But then I stop and think for a minute about everything I know to be true, and my perspective instantly shifts!

“Will the Sun rise? Yes! It will! I’ve “gotten to learn this” the very beautifully hard way. The lights go on. Then they go off. The dark of night comes. Then so does the Sun, to reveal the Brighter Side Of Grey.

Meanwhile …

Now is the time to share this song with your still impressionable teen. Have them listen and tell you how it makes them feel. The words to this beautiful, 35 year old melody have never been more relevant, and sharing them with a young person in your atmosphere could be a great opportunity to start a “music therapy conversation“.

I’m STILL the most blessed woman that I know!

If you look closely at the image on which I’ve put the lyrics to this song, you will see that it’s the “negative perspective” of a sketch I made from my father’s cigarette ashes years ago. But look below now to my “brighter side perspective” today. It’s my truth in my grey and it’s EVERYTHING! And, with that, I once again leave you with this …

NOVEMBER 1, 2020: “Crossing Over” …

CROSSING OVER

All perched alone he sits there broken. An eldered man with storm clouds setting in his eyes. He counts the sands of time – remembering day’s gone by. It seemed like yesterday before it washed away. Hey, don’t wait for me there – just find your own way. Hey, don’t wait for me there – ’cause I’ll be there soon enough. The widow’s life ticks out like clockwork. A thousand tears she’s cried a hundred time’s before. But now that he is gone, she’s ready to move on. It all just fell away – it seems like yesterday. {Five Finger Death Punch}

Some days I rise with all the words I need to say just pouring out of my soul, and often it’s because of a dream. Like today, which would have been our 10th wedding anniversary. It’s been just over a year of bittersweet healing on this road I never planned to travel, and though I knew it was fast approaching, I also knew it would be a major turning point in my final ascent out of the darkness and into The Light. So, with that, let me tell you how my beautifully shattered life works

To begin, indeed I dreamt last night, but not before closing my eyes to the sound of the Halloween shenanigans of my daughter and her crew. (PS) Did I ever tell you that the one design flaw with Williamson Manor is that her theatre room and living area are directly above the master? Yup! They are! As it turns out, however, it’s not a flaw at all! Believe it or not, especially in this last 438 days, those echoes of stomping, laughing and chaos into the wee hours of so many nights are a lullaby to me. It’s why he built this home “from the ground up” and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Knowing she’s here, and happy, safe and whole, is one of the truths that comforts me the most. But damnit, I’ve digressed!

Where was I? Oh yes … my dream! I was front row center at a Five Finger Death Punch show, but instead of a mainstream concert venue, it was a very intimate gathering where Ivan was singing to me:

The widow’s life ticks out like clockwork … a thousand tears she’s cried a hundred times before. But now that he is gone, she’s ready to move on …

As he was singing he reached out his hand and a tear rolled down his cheek. But it wasn’t Ivan’s face! It was Zack’s face, on Ivan’s body, holding that legendary, spike-encrusted mic stand in one hand while reaching out the other to me like a muse. It was the most beautiful insanity imaginable! In the dream, I was thinking, “This means something. What does this mean?” Then I woke up and I knew.

In order to fully appreciate where I’m going with this, you must understand that I am led solely by intuition and feelings. Call me spiritualist. Call me a “good witch”. Call me whatever the hell you want. It’s my truth just the same and it’s never gonna change!

In every thing there is a meaning, in every moment a message, and something means everything, even if it’s nothing!

This is what I believe! Am I crazy? Out of touch? Insane? Delusional? Perhaps! But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, and let me tell you why: What if I’m RIGHT? What if it’s true? What if the Cosmos really is trying to speak to me. What if it really is him “communicating with us” through the fog and the crows and the lights in our bathroom? That, my friends, is the “crazy” blind faith that costs me nothing but gains me everything. Sooner or later I too will cross over, and either I’m right or I am wrong. Meanwhile, directly after waking this morning from that most ethereal dream, this was at the foot of my bed. It’s nothing, really. Nothing at all. Just one of the girls’ bracelets that either Good Cat or Bad Cat must have found and deposited at the exact spot my foot was supposed to hit the ground. “C’mon Cat, it’s just a bracelet.” Well duh, I already know that! But why did it show up in the endless twist of “F8” this way? Hmmmm. I think I kinda know …

IN CLOSING …

Ten years ago I kissed a frog who turned into a king. Five years ago today that same king turned me into a princess. Last night I had a dream, then woke up “on the edge of eternity”, at which point I was then was reminded of the pure and endless joy he brought into my life that I get to keep until it’s my time to touch The Brighter Side Of Grey. In the meantime, today marks the day. It’s time for me to move on, whatever that actually means, and I’ve asked God to show me what’s next. Sufficed to say, my heart is completely open to anything and everything … but this is the beautiful picture of the me I’m always going to be … thanks to him …

Happy Anniversary Williamson!

I don’t mind you hanging with us as long as you feel it’s necessary, but hey – don’t wait for me here. I’ll be there soon enough.

OCTOBER 28, 2020: “Because Jekyll NEVER Hides” …

In order to love who you are, you CANNOT hate the choices you have made. LET THAT SHIT GO!

WORDS TO LIVE BY.

Words to die by.

Words that just NEEDED to be strung together!

Whatever sins from your past are holding you back from rising so far above yourself that even you can’t stop your ascent … LET THEM DIE WHEN YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES THIS NIGHT! No one is perfect. We’ve ALL fucked up! Some of us more than others. Guess what? That’s what grace is for, and you deserve better than the guilt, shame and self-degradation causes from EVERYTHING you refuse to release yourself from.

AUGUST 10, 2020: “A Tree For All Seasons” …

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DEAR CAT:

Let me remind you of the words to that song he would sing to you:

“There’s a light in you that tears me down to nothing. There’s an angel in your eyes. There’s a hope inside that you can make it better. You see right through my disguise. When it rains it pours, and everybody stumbles. I won’t let them bring you down. I won’t let you down when the seasons change. I won’t go down. I’ll fight through the pain. I’ll be there right by your side. I’ll never let them bring you down when the seasons change. There’s a hope in me that I will die for something. Was the fire in my eyes? All this pain inside. Will it be this way forever? I can run but I can’t hide. When it rains it pours, and everybody stumbles. I won’t let them bring you down. When the seasons change and we’re in for colder weather look for me on The Divide. {Five Finger Death Punch}

You see? None of this is about you.

It has NEVER been about you.

IT’S ABOUT THEM!

Not just your babies …

… all the lives you’ll have touched before your time is done … if only for a season.

Your greatest treasure and greatest triumph are in knowing just how insignificant you really are in the bigger scheme of things.

Your “valuelessness” is your greatest value!

Your “powerlessness” is your greatest power!

YOU ARE REACHING NIRVANA!

You are EVERYTHING!

Because you are NOTHING!

You’re NOTHING but a pebble, to be dropped into your ocean, making ripples and waves of outward change for everyone whose path you cross on your journey.

Your purpose is to keep working the roots of this new and healthy family tree you’re now growing — free from the black toxicity that suffocated and broke all the branches of the tree that we came from.

KEEP CHANGING THE STORY!

THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU!

Your children’s children may never get to meet you, their “Crazy Grandma Cat“, but your legacy will live on through them! HIS legacy will live on through all of you!

Keep working.

Keep sowing.  

You’re doing a good job.

… and (PS) …

I love you! We got this! I WON’T LET YOU DOWN AS THE SEASONS CHANGE!

~ Me

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JULY 3, 2020: “Lucky Charms Moments” …

JUNE 8, 2020: “Imma Little Bit Off Today” …

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Last night while the unsuspecting world was either peacefully sleeping or maybe even wresting with the Devil, something cool happened in the subculture I live in called “Knucklehead” – the official video release for one of my other favorite songs, “A Little Bit Off”. I just woke up to Christmas in June and couldn’t be any more stoked! PICTURE IT: An almost “fifty ONE-derful”, seemingly “normal” woman sitting in bed singing along to a ridiculous music video, swaying back and forth and waving her fist in the air! THAT. SO. HAPPENED!

IMG_2912If you haven’t figured it out by now, much like the leader of this crazy Pride I’m in, I too am an “oxymoron”, and in being honest, my Knucklehead card is one of the most powerful things I own. “THE REAL CAT WILLIAMSON”: Loves “people”. Hates “humanity”. Loves “Light”. Hates “dark”. Loves “love”. Hates “hate”. Loves being “broken”. Loves “being whole”. LOVES JESUS! Loves Five Finger Death Punch! And yup, there are MANY days I just wake up feeling “a little bit off”, and guess what? THAT’S OKAY! I spent nearly an entire lifetime being ashamed of the train wreck I’ve emerged from BUT NOW I FUCKING EMBRACE IT! Leave it to this gang of creatively genius, beautifully DISASTROUS “oxymoronical” MANIACS to help me finally figure out that not only is it okay for me to be a jacked up effing mess some times, it’s also okay for me to yell, scream and holler it ANY DAMN TIME I WANT! So, with that, make it a great day everyone! Here’s to hoping YOU can embrace your “little bit off” days too!

… {PS} …

If you really want to know more about me and what goes on inside my crazy little head? Listen to the words of this song! Then if you really, REALLY want to know what goes on inside my crazy little head? The Charlie “The Engine” drums at :55, 1:39 and 2:30 manifest actual metal butterflies inside my heart that give me flipping chill bumps. No, really!

THIS IS ME: “A Little Bit Off!”

Would you have me ANY other way?

MAY 15, 2020: “Back To The Castle” …

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Okay people, I’ve been SHOOKEN by a “Ghost” again in ALL the most beautiful ways …

IvanYou see this guy? He’s Ivan Greening, some know him as Ivan Moody, but his people call him “The Ghost”. He’s the lead vocalist and MANIAC for the band of my life … and PLEASE say you already know this … Five Finger Death Punch. Ivan’s not quite your “traditional” man, and to some he may be downright scary. Not only is he a recovering alcoholic with a somewhat colorful rap sheet, he’s also covered from head to toe in an array of tattoos and his voice is as ominous as thunder. Most of the time he rages and screams, but sometimes he serenades us from the most tender depths of his soul. He’s the living embodiment of the word “oxymoron” and actually one of my heroes! King Ivan takes “Phoenix” to an entirely different level if you’ll look past the scars on his inked-up, fleshen sleeves. “What you see is what you get.” With this guy? Not so much! He’s a completely open book and a total mystery, as on one hand he seems to be telling us everything about himself, while on the other no one really knows him. That’s how I feel about myself by the way, but where in the HELL was I going with this? It seems I’ve run amuck with yet another of my digressions as my “thought chaos” leads me to somewhere.

Ah, yes, “the video”. Earlier this week he posted a clip of himself “TikTok-ing” with his daughter which immediately struck my heart in a brand new place I never knew was broken. It was one of the sweetest things I think I’ve ever seen, while also one of the saddest. You see, I am a daughter who cannot help but wonder, “What could have been if my larger than life dad had danced with me in the living room”?

HERE’S THE THING: He’s probably worth a gazillion bucks and has a cult-like following worldwide. But when the lights go down at his final show and he reaches the end of the road? What do you think that little girl of his will tell her own kids about her daddy? “Grandpa Ivan was a rock and roll star” or “Grandpa Ivan danced with me in the living room”? I’m fairly certain, as hopefully you are too, that it’s going to be the latter.

HEY DADS …

Now about that legacy you’ll be leaving behind … WHAT’S IT GONNA BE? You may not be perfect, because no one ever is, and there’s NO such “perfect parent”. But trust me when I tell you that it’s NEVER too late to change the ending of a story. This, my friends, is what us “knuckleheads” call “The Brighter Side Of Grey“, and I’m here to tell you IT’S EVERYTHING! Despite the mottled undertones here of the struggles with my father, I really want to end this now with a “brighter side” I’ve found …

My daughter had two dads to take her to the balls, which I find rather amazing. My husband escorted her in many of those carriages while her real dad escorted her in others. Neither of them was perfect and each of them hurt her in extremely complicated ways, but at the end of the day I just know in my heart that she’ll treasure their dancing days forever! She’s an incredibly lucky girl, but I’m an even luckier mom, so beyond thankful for both of the Princes who danced with their Cinderella!

MARCH 20, 2020: “Outlaws & Outsiders” …

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If you know me well you know that my history with musicality is, like me, “oxymoronical” at best. Movie soundtrack orchestrals to death metal and everything in between. Well, almost everything. There are some genres of “music” I just can’t. But I’ve digressed, again, as usual. Go figure. Five Finger Death Punch is one of my all time favorite bands. It’s a little rough around the edges folks, not gonna lie, and definitely not for the faint of heart. But behind every raging scream, pounding fist and stomping foot are the tears and still beating hearts of real life Phoenixes. Their brokeness. Darkness. Sadness. Rage. Regret. Vindication. Introspect, and yes, even the distant Lights of their Salvation (if you know where to really look for it deep beneath the surface). It sounds like “hate”, but it’s really “hurt”. It’s the very tragic truth and everything that comes after finding it! This morning I posted this on one of the private pages I follow:

Hello tribesmen. Hope you’re all faring well in this COVID operation. Meanwhile, I’m sitting here locked in my house with only my German Shepherd and my thoughts. When I posted this on my blog today, I went back to read it then closed my eyes and had THE best imaginary scenario about me and ALL OF YOU …

It’s two months from now. The pandemic has desecrated the earth. People are literally insane, like, real life “Walking Dead” martial law civilian chaos. But MY TRIBE is thousands of fed up, pissed off, “not right in the head” but actually VERY RIGHT IN THE HEAD, well-prepared, “life’s been priming us for this shit since the day we were born – how YOU doin” inked up, leather clad, metal in their faces, weapons-ready warriors and bullet-proof phoenixes that the world once thought were just a bunch of angry freaks, losers, weirdos and assholes grinding their axes for NOTHING! Then? We take over the world! It was THE best mini-movie I’ve ever watched in my mind! 

Let’s be ready to pick up our axes and start swinging, and this can be our fight song! Happy Friday everyone. Love all of you angry freaks and weirdos. No, really! 

So, here’s my vibe today: “Outlaws & Outsiders”! It’s this ridiculous life thing for me and yes it’s oh so beautiful! Some day I’m going to meet this band, I’m telling you right now. I’m extremely stubborn this way and when I put my mind to something, well, you can pretty much count on it happening. Ivan Greening (a/k/a “Ivan Moody’) is the leader of “The Pride” (a literal pack of animals) and although he too is EXTREMELY rough around the edges, he likens himself a Phoenix, which to me is beyond relatable and “human”.

If “Coronapocalypse 2020” is really coming for us all, trust me when I say that you’ll find me and both my kids living in this rogue society. Nothing like an army of once voiceless, broken, set aside, forgotten, hated, misunderstood, shame-filled “less thans” whose lives have been preparing them for “social distancing” from the moment they were born. The best way to survive if the end of the world is really coming is to go find all the other survivors waving their giant axes in the air. Because some of us once lived underneath a rock for this very reason. Just sayin’ …

OUTLAWS & OUTSIDERS

“Got a gypsy soul. I’m a rebel and rogue and I’m always on the run. With a fire inside, I ain’t ever gonna die. I’m a locked and loaded gun. When the matches strike and the gasoline lights, it’s only just begun. One thing I learned, is you can watch it all burn, but the flame ain’t ever done! Ooh … Raise ’em up a little higher, your lighters, outlaws and outsiders! Ooh … Some call me a renegade. The enemy. Throw your hands up if you feel the same. Whoa, living life at the edge. Just say what you wanna say, or walk away! I’ll stand tall when there’s hell to pay! Ain’t no power higher. We’re the outlaws and outsiders! Mm, yeah.

I was born in the dark with a fearless heart and a taste for the other side. I was a crazy-ass kid. All the shit I did. I’m amazed that I’m still alive. They thought I’d change with a little bit of age, but you know I never will. Takes too much time to walk a straight line and I don’t have time to kill. Ooh … Raise your fists up higher, you fighters, outlaws and outsiders! Ooh … Some call me a renegade. The enemy. Throw your hands up if you feel the same. Whoa, living life at the edge. Just say what you wanna say, or walk away. I’ll stand tall when there’s hell to pay! Ain’t no power higher. WE’RE THE OUTLAWS AND OUTSIDERS!

~ Cory Marks (with Ivan Moody, Travis Tritt & Mick Mars)

Knucklehead

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MARCH 18, 2020: “Just Living The Dream” …

6ff7a7bd-c566-4984-9047-585bac6ede2eLIVING THE DREAM

Captain America, are you off to fight the bad guys? Hey, mighty Superman, can you save us from ourselves? Hey, Mr. Universe, can you lift us up above this? ‘Cause I’m just Iron Man, I’m a ghost within a shell. Take a look around. Just look around. They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Why did they never mention what’s real and in between? It seems the path we’re on was paved with blood and sorrow. No thought about tomorrow. Just part of the machine or so it seems. Yeah, so it seems. We’re all living the dream. We’re all living the dream. Hey there, Your Majesty, is there anyone above you? It must be lonely when you’re up there looking down. Hey, Lady Amnesty, there’s no one that can judge you. We’re all just broken toys beneath your crooked crown. Take a look around. Just look around. They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Why did they never mention what’s real and in between? It seems the path we’re on was paved with blood and sorrow. No thought about tomorrow. Just part of the machine or so it seems. Yeah, so it seems. {Five Finger Death Punch}

NOTE TO SELF:

Life is not a game my dear, it’s only just a song, so be mindful and intentional in all you do or say. If indeed you get to see the miracle of tomorrow, do everything you can to make it the most powerful “I’ve got another shot at this” kind of day ever! You’re sitting here writing this, which means you’re still alive, so keep “living the dream” well my little warrior Phoenix friend, taking NOTHING and NO ONE for granted.

(PS) YOU GOT THIS!

MARCH 8, 2020: “The Brighter Side Of Grey” …

img_8259TO MY KIDS …

I’m writing this in case I’m gone tomorrow. I’m writing this in case I’ve moved along. There’s something that I hope you’ll remember: That life is not a game, it’s a song. So take the best parts of me, locked away without the keys, and know that I’m forever by your side. When the lights go down, know that I am never far away. When the Sun burns out, I’ll be waiting on the brighter side of grey. If you’re reading this, I know you’re feeling sorrow. If you’re hearing this, I know you’re probably scared. Just know that all the things you want are borrowed, and all you get to keep is all you’ve shared. So wipe away the tears for me, know that we’ve made history. Remember no one ever really dies.  When the lights go down, know that I am never far away. When the Sun burns out, I’ll be waiting on the brighter side of grey. {Five Finger Death Punch}

THIS PICTURE. One I sketched in my early 20’s using the literal ashes from both my father’s and His ashtrays. At the time I had no idea the impact this or any of my 32 Sketches would have on me down the road, yet as I look at them now I can’t help but notice that although I was in very dark place when they were born, something inside me was distantly hopeful. Still, this one. It begs the younger me to stay focused on the very bright future I couldn’t see through the fog I was in, yet was patiently waiting for and calling to me all the while.

If you know me well, you know that grey is my favorite color, which is evident in my predominately “black and white” or grey artwork. What’s interesting about this one is how poignantly it reflects upon the mental illness I fought so hard to overcome for the better part of my life and long before it was diagnosed. My illness imprisoned me in the dichotomy of “black and white thinking” and held me for ransom inside the compartmentalized boxes in my mind where I stored all my feelings, pain and trauma. Before I put my disease into remission, I was unable to accept people, situations, emotions, or behaviors as anything other than “good or bad”, “right or wrong”, or “one way or the other”. MY ENTIRE WORLD WAS BLACK AND WHITE AND THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR THE GREY! I had a defensive view of both the positive and negative qualities of myself and everyone else and there was no way for my broken psyche to allow anything in between to exist in one cohesive space. How did this happen? The general consensus is that my “splitting” was the result of severe emotional and psychological abuse from my childhood, and I do tend to agree. I was raised in an environment of conditionally based reward, praise, affection and acceptance. If I was “good”, I was praised, affirmed and rewarded. If I was “bad”, I was admonished, punished and rejected. They “washed their hands” of me too many times to count whenever I screwed up or simply failed to follow “the rules” and ZERO was the validation or consideration of my feelings. My mind would “split” as I desperately attempted to shield myself from the constant fear of being abandoned, betrayed or eviscerated by anyone who claimed to love me. For the record, I do not believe that these traumas were visited on me purposefully or with the intent to murder my soul, but the trauma indeed was real, as was the effect it had on my damaged psyche. For so many years in the wake of not only my broken childhood, but as much so in the wake of my own self-inflicted destruction and imprisonment, I felt alone and voiceless, regardless of the people who “appeared” to be standing beside me. At this point it is no longer a secret that I myself attempted suicide on November 8, 1996, but thankfully survived to tell about it.  But I’ve digressed …

Music of all genres has been an integral part of my mental health journey and recovery, but one of my favorite bands, Five Finger Death Punch, has been at the forefront of it all. Their songs have not only helped identify some of my lost and broken feelings, but have also given my former “voiceless self” permission to either cry my feelings to the surface or YELL AND SCREAM THEM OUT LOUD! Several months ago I pre-ordered their new album and had been counting the days until it was released. I was stoked when it finally hit my library and just started from the beginning as I headed out for my day. Meanwhile, when THIS SONG cued up I literally had to pull my car into the breakdown lane on the highway as the words began to cut me in all the most bittersweet ways. I couldn’t stop the tears or the physical heartache and I literally couldn’t breathe. It was one of the most cathartic, awful and beautiful moments of my life and it was as if he were singing it to me himself. To me. To her. To Christian. To the very few people he left behind that he truly loved and let into his very private world and who loved him just the same. Someday when it’s time for her to read “the letter he wrote but never gave her I will play this song for her. Knowing God the way I do, when she’s finally able to receive these most beautiful lyrics of both our lives in conjunction with the most beautiful words a secretly dying father could have possibly written to his daughter, they will become as significant a part of her healing and journey going forward as they have been to mine.

HERE’S THE THING: Grey is not just a color to me. It’s everything in between! It’s the “grey-ce” I’ve received that is so undeserved yet given to me anyway by The One who has never loved me with black and white conditions. He “takes the best parts of me and locks them away without the key” and I know He is never far away. He’s the Light that shines ahead of my journey and dilutes the blackness of the abyss into the most beautiful shades of grey. For more than four decades I lived a “black and white life” with no room for the grey I knew I needed so much but didn’t know how to connect with. So, as I look back at this picture now I am filled with the most unbelievable hope, peace, balance and inspiration you can imagine. It reminds me of just how far I’ve come, that it was always supposed to be this way, and there is always a “Brighter Side Of Grey”. I’m not gonna lie … it is now my final wish that when it’s time for me to move along, this is the last song I hear as they say farewell. It means everything to me. Literally, everything

Them

DECEMBER 16, 2019: “Born To Battle” …

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~ by The Phoenix Collaborative Project ~

BORN TO BATTLE

“A blazing flame slowly dies in a night as cold as snow. From the ashes a Phoenix will rise – it will spread it’s wings and blaze again and the world will watch in terror.

A tree stands tall, unshakeable in disaster, with leaves that feed and a trunk that houses things that are large and small, from the lions resting in it’s leaves to the mice that every bird is after, and thorns that wrap around this tree as it loves and must protect it all. The tree that has been through storm and fire will watch as it stops danger in his tracks and fill the forest with powerful laughter.

A tidal wave races to land as anger from the broken earth surges through the city in it’s wake. Salty water fills what once was home to a beach pristine with it’s white sand. Concrete jungle, horrible and strong, your walls are beginning to break. The creatures that destroy it’s castle are now drowning in it’s tears. Water will heal if you show it respect, but woe it brings in oppression.

A wind from four corners will push on still – tornadoes and hurricanes do not stop for lesser things. You can track and prepare but you cannot break it’s unstoppable iron will. Yet only days before, a soft breeze gently embraced the leaves and refuse from the Sun’s sting. It is no fault but their own, taking for granted and taking advantage of something they do not know – of something they will fail to control. So the wind sounds a warning of a storm on the roll.

A roar charges through a burning world as a warrior departs. The pounding of horses running and the power of thunder rumbling. Rubber on asphalt spins and burns as those four doors carry weary hearts, heavy. Hearts that move, hearts that love and hearts that have been through too much. This world hurts what is afraid of, yet the strong ones have made struggle an art. So, bring on what you have – just try and stop them. When you push them they will be ready!”

~ Gia Embach

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OCTOBER 3, 2019: “The Agony Of Regret” …

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Dearest Cat: If he were still here and standing right in front of you right now, what would he be saying? Wouldn’t it probably have sounded a little something like this? Couldn’t have this could have been his song?

SO HERE’S MY DAILY PSA TO ME AND ANYONE READING THIS:

Don’t ever look back in the agony of regret of any kind, as not a single good thing can be gained from it. Sift through your wreckage in search of only the gifts, beauty and strengths you “got to earn” (not “had to learn”) from being hurt, broken, let down and disappointed in even the most egregious ways. The best day in your life will be when you finally look up and thank God for all of it – most ESPECIALLY all the bad stuff. Trust me when I tell you that the taller the shadow of devastation that looms behind you the more powerful and precious even the smallest of shiny treasures waiting on the road ahead of you will be! 

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SEPTEMBER 12, 2019: “Still So Far From Home” …

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FAR FROM HOME

Another day in this carnival of souls. Another nights end ends as quickly as it goes. The memories are shadows, ink on the page. And I can’t seem to find my way home. And it’s almost like. Your heaven’s trying everything. Your heaven’s trying everything to keep me out. All the places I’ve been and things I’ve seen. A million stories that made up a million shattered dreams. The faces of people I’ll never see again and I can’t seem to find my way home.’Cause it’s almost like your heaven’s trying everything to break me down. ‘Cause it’s almost like your heaven’s trying everything to keep me out. To break me down.{Five Finger Death Punch}

Dear “Brother”:

I understand that you are upset right now and maybe a little with me too. All I am asking you at this point for HIS sake and for the sake of all that he went through while he was here on this Earth is that you please try to come to terms with his truths. His realities. His last wishes and decisions. That note he left us was a gift. IT WAS FOR US, NOT FOR THEM! You, me, Gia and Rick? We were “his family”! No one else! Those words he wrote in his suicide note were not intended for either the general public, the world at large and most ESPECIALLY the “family” that threw him away like garbage! I will always consider you my family D. And in my journey to speak his truths I will never fail to credit you for being the only brother he had because that is how he saw it! That’s how he spoke of you and that’s what he made painfully clear to anyone that paid attention. He always felt that you were “caught in a void” between “all of them and the truth” because maybe copping to the sobering facts was going to be as painful for you to bear as it was for him. When Zack made the decision to excise them and the “thought of them” from his heart it was a bittersweet and painful gift to unto himself.

So that’s all there is to it. Rick and I are here for you when you’re ready to talk true facts. I truly hope you can be well someday. He worried about you incessantly and I cannot say it enough! It always bothered the fuck out of him how you let them treat you like a revolving door, only using you as they needed you, in and out, in and out, and there was nothing he could do or say to convince you to stand up for yourself and say ENOUGH and walk away like he did! He kept praying you’d find a family of your own one day, a nice, safe, loving woman to finally give you a real home and some joy and healing and peace so that you’d finally “not need to accept their bullshit scraps and leftovers”. Your brother’s legacy “before he got sick” will carry on somehow – I’LL MAKE SURE OF IT! You need to do everything you can to honor him and all that has happened here and start finding a way to, in fact, say the words: NO MORE SCRAPS AND LEFTOVERS!

And for the record, regardless of how it appears on the surface there is no “hatred” in my heart for anyone involved here. I feel nothing for the people that destroyed my beautiful husband from the cradle to the grave! Nothing! Absolutely NOTHING! They aren’t worth my energy! If anything, I feel sorry for them all because they missed out on REALLY knowing one THE BEST human souls that ever walked this planet. They missed out on his “best 10 years” and getting to see him flourish. Smile. Succeed. Grow. Be fearless. Courageous. Change. Become self-aware and strong (much stronger than he even knew). Experience joy. Laughter. Happiness. They missed out on getting to know what an amazing human being, husband, brother, friend and DAD he was to Gia! We got the BEST of him. Everything good he ever did, was or could have possibly been, WE GOT TO HAVE AND WITNESS IT. He was a fucking miracle and you can’t not know it’s true. With all the odds stacked against him, statistically the last 10 years should probably have never happened. He was the frog who turned into a prince and then eventually into a king – he just needed love, and a home and a family to get there. And? HE FINALLY HAD IT! It’s just that the holes your mother left inside his broken heart were deeper than any of us know and he couldn’t find his way out of them anymore. He got too tired and fell. THEY ALL FAILED HIM MISERABLY AND YOU KNOW IT! I’m sorry if this upsets you. I just want you to help me honor, validate and hold ALL his many painful truths and realities up to the light. It’s the right thing to do and I WILL NOT HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY!

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NOTE: As of the night I posted this entry, December 28, 2019, neither of the only two “blood family” he’d ever believed he could rely on to be there when his cards were down bothered to “come and get him”! These are the keepsake urns that Rick and I had made for each of them, somehow foolishly believing that for once in his life OR his death they would FINALLY JUST SHOW UP FOR HIM! “Taking him home” is no longer an option for either of them at this point as I would rather spread these ashes amongst the footsteps of his ancestors in all the places he dreamed of going than to let ANYONE ever treat him as “scrap” again!

AUGUST 22, 2019 (Sometime Between 8PM And 11:30): “He Refused” …

I REFUSE

I don’t wanna die alone. I don’t wanna live forsaken. I refuse to let this go. Because my soul is breaking. I don’t wanna let you know that my heart is just so jaded. I refuse to let it show. I refuse to let it go. Wake me up when this is over. I’m tired of living life like it’s a dream. Please wake me up when it’s all over. I’m tired of living right here in between I refuse. I’ve always walked alone. I chose the path less taken. I refuse to let you win. Life’s a bitch and I’ve been shaken. It’s not a joke at all. Inside my spirits fading. I refuse to take the fall ’cause no one cares at all. Wake me up when this is over. I’m tired of living life like it’s a dream. Please wake me up when it’s all over. I’m tired of living right here in between. I refuse. ‘Cause at the end of the day I’m not you. I refuse. Wake me up when this is over. I’m tired of living life like it’s a dream. Please wake me up when it’s all over. I’m tired of living right here in between. Wake me up when this is over. I’m tired of living life like it’s a dream. Please wake me up when it’s all over. I’m tired of living right here in between. {Five Finger Death Punch}

Zack

AUGUST 20, 2019: “The King Who Questioned Everything” …

IMG_0028He lives in darkness. There is no progress. He knows his demons – that lie within him. He has no vision. He has no sight. He hates perfection – it isn’t right. Who cares anymore, who’s there anymore? HE’S THE ME I WAS BEFORE HE HELPED ME BECOME WHO I AM HE QUESTIONS EVERYTHING! He lives behind a lie. He is so ashamed. He keeps insisting that he’s the one to blame. He cares no more. He can bare no more. He’ll say no more. He can’t give us anymore. HE QUESTIONS EVERYTHING. And we’re losing him.

JANUARY 1, 2017: “When The Seasons Change” …

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WHEN THE SEASONS CHANGE

There’s a light in you that tears me down to nothing, there’s an angel in your eyes. There’s a hope inside that you can make it better. You see right through my disguise. When it rains it pours, and everybody stumbles. I won’t let them bring you down. I won’t let you down when the seasons change. I won’t go down. I’ll fight through the pain. I’ll be there right by your side. I’ll never let them bring you down when the seasons change. There’s a hope in me that I will die for something. Was the fire in my eyes? All this pain inside – will it be this way forever? I can run but I can’t hide. When it rains it pours, and everybody stumbles. I won’t let them bring me down. I won’t let you down when the seasons change. I won’t go down. I’ll fight through the pain. I’ll be there right by your side. I’ll never let them bring you down when the seasons change. When the seasons change and we’re in for colder weather, look for me on the divide. I won’t let you down when the seasons change. I won’t go down. I’ll fight through the pain. I’ll be there right by your side. I’ll never let them bring you down. I won’t let you down. When the seasons change. {Five Finger Death Punch}

My Dearest Catherine,

From the moment I met you I knew you were special I just did not know HOW special you were and how special and important you would become to me. I can honestly say that you have shown me the best that life has to offer despite our problems, issues we have had had and things we have done and said. I know it can get even better than it has ever been.

I know I don’t verbalize it enough but I really do think overall that you are an incredible wife, friend and mother to OUR kids. You are more thoughtful, forgiving and caring than anyone I have ever met or anything I could aspire to be. I truly envy that about you. You are also a gorgeous woman. Your inner beauty has always been the biggest draw from me and it is the reason that I married you and the reason I love you so much.

I know I have not always led you to believe this but I also love to hear you talk and I do enjoy talking to you. You are the only person in my life I feel that I can truly confide in and not be judged. You know more about me than any other person on this planet and I know that goes both ways. You are a very passionate speaker and you always do your best and take the extra time/effort to help someone understand your point or feelings. I love that about you and it is one of your greatest strengths in my opinion so long as you are tactful and light handed with criticism. Please don’t ever feel that you talk to much or that you are a bad person for speaking your feelings/thoughts so long as you know in your heart that you are coming from a good place and do you best to be constructive which you usually do.

I have done, said and thought so many things to/about you that I am not proud of and I am deeply sorry for. I know that 2017 really can be the best year of our lives, that this year we can really start over and get back to the place where we truly love, honor and cherish each other with no regrets, bitterness or anger in our hearts towards each other or anyone else for that matter. You are the reason for my happiness and confidence. You built me up when no one else would, picked me up when I fell, held me when I cried, celebrated with I thought I had done nothing spectacular, kicked me in the butt when you knew I needed to get over myself and believed in me when I did not even believe in myself. You ARE the light and the love that has filled my soul all along. You are the reason that I am the father, husband and human being I am today. You have taught me more than I ever thought I could learn from a person and challenged me to do things that I never ever thought I could do and more. We met for a reason and we are together for a reason that was always meant to be. We love each other, feed off each other, mend each other’s wounds and fill in each other’s cracks. We must continue to do so because we will break without each other. We have to stay together even when we don’t think we can and give each other no reason to like the other or be likable to the other.

I know we will grow from everything that has happened this past year and that things have gotten better already and will continue to do so even if they get worse for a time. Our pain and suffering is temporary but our love and connection is literally eternal. I am sorry I forget that sometimes.

Happy 2017 Baby! I love you and I know you love me. It’s time to truly enjoy life TOGETHER and make this relationship we have better than it ever has been. I Love and adore you Catherine Williamson and I always will. Thank you for being my wife and thank you for being you.

With all my heart

Zachariah Lucas Williamson

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