DECEMBER 7, 2022: “Those Little Toy Guns!” …

I saw a question posted on my Quora forum the other day, that said, “How can imprisonment for insults be justified, considering no one has ever been killed by words, and no words can force somebody else to choose to do harm?”

With that, and in honor of the anniversary of “The Four Agreements” I adore so very much having first been published on this day in 1997, let’s go over “words” once again by reading through my response to that lovely Quora Question:

Oh, but you COULDN’T be more wrong if you tried! Someone “ever” HAS been killed by words, let me just assure you of that. While words themselves cannot physically force somebody else to choose to do harm, they can, indeed be the cause. Both the spoken and written word are a womb from which all good things are born and a sword upon which many tragic tales and endings can be incited and thus cause death. This is why every “word” should be chosen impeccably, and why, yes, some insults are deserving of prison. If the words one speaks can metaphorically “imprison” the person on the end of their receipt to internal turmoil and HELL, so too, should the words of a person who incites such trauma be imprisonable!

Long story short? Be sure to watch your mouth, my friends, lest you end up literally choking on the very same poison you spew into another person’s atmosphere.

By the way, this is especially important when it comes to the words we speak into the ears of children, be them our own children or anyone else’s. Many are the children whose bodies physically grew into adulthood, but whose heart, spirit, and fledgling wings were MANGLED at the receiving end of careless “words”.

{“The Real Cat Williamson on Quora“}

The song I’ve paired with this entry is from the perspective of a child who hid in closets while their mom and dad were not just murdering each other with “words”, BUT THEM AS WELL! Been there. Done that. Yes, it’s true that I am brave enough to admit that not only was I one of those kids hiding in the closet, but I later grew up to be one of “those moms and dads” who ashamedly let my babies be caught in the “war of words” between their dad and I. So, whereas my Quora answer is obviously about the danger of not speaking impeccably in general, likewise are children MANGLED in the mere presence and crossfire of “words”.

Are we clear now, people? Good enough! In the meantime, make it a powerful “Four Agreements” kind of day, and for God’s sake PLEASE be impeccable with your words. They are not … I repeat – NOT … just “little toy guns”.

LITTLE TOY GUNS

In between the coats in the closet, she held on to that heart shaped locket. Staring at a family flawless … but it ain’t a pretty picture tonight. Mom and daddy just won’t stop it. Fightin’ at the drop of the faucet. Cuts through the walls catastrophic. She’s caught in the crossfire. Puts her hands over her ears … starts talking through the tears … she’s saying … she’s praying. I wish words were like little toy guns. No sting, no hurt no one. Just a bang bang rolling off your tongue. (I wish words were like little toy guns.) Yeah. No smoke. No bullets. No kick from the trigger when you pull it. No pain. No damage done. (I wish words were like little toy guns.) Wish there was a white flag waving, or that they were both just faking, and it was just a game they were playing, like shoot’em up cowboys. Leave the plastic pistols in the front yard, throw away the score card, and just turn off all the noise. I wish words were like little toy guns. Oh, I wish they didn’t cut like a knife. I wish they didn’t break you inside. I wish they didn’t bang bang make you wanna run, yeah. {Carrie Underwood}

DECEMBER 3, 2022: “47 Seconds” …

… and just like that, a very short but powerful 47 second speech by Tyler Perry that I just happened to stumble across tonight became a part of my life story via this Diary because it IS the very short but powerful story of all the bittersweet and beautiful seasons of my extraordinary life.

… and thus, the fourth but probably not last appearance of one of my ultimate “Death Punches” to the heart life songs which is the very first thing that came to my mind when I was listening to this 47 seconds of greatness. For those of you who haven’t heart this beautiful speech yet, know that the “less than a minute” you’ll spend listening to it will be more than worth your investment. ENJOY!

NOVEMBER 16, 2022: “The Hampton Inn, Peanut Butter Cups & Something REALLY Beautiful!” …

Dearest ME,

Will you know if it’s happiness you see? Will you feel a different side of me? And if you let it go, would you come back to haunt me? Are you doing the best that you can? We can wait here for tomorrow, or we can find ourselves right now. Think about all that we’ve wasted trying to figure all this out. I know it’s not too late to turn it all into something beautiful.

Can you see The Light still needs to shine inside of you through the windows you can’t find? Will you let me go? I’m tired of hiding. I’m trying to find my way. We can wait here for tomorrow, or we can find ourselves right now. Think about all that we’ve wasted trying to figure all this out. I know it’s not too late to turn it all into something beautiful.

All you need is a chance to believe.

{Words Adapted by The Real Cat Williamson}

~ Me

Well, yeah, Me. The Light still does shine inside of me … and no, I will never let you go. We’re The REAL Cat Williamson … “Warrior. Motivator. SURVIVOR;”. WE GOT THIS!

NOVEMBER 12, 2022: “It Felt Like Today That It’s Time To Start Moving On” …

I’m alright, thanks for asking.”

No, it didn’t kill me. It only make me stronger. I really would rather capsize than chase an old horizon, because the old one’s are behind me, and looking back at them will never allow me to continue growing forward and cross over.

I cannot tell you how thankful I was for the multitude of texts, phone calls, and messages I received after posting this live video moment of real “real”. It meant more to me than anyone could know. It wasn’t until I picked up my phone during a respite on the floor of his closet and saw all the supportive messages that I realized how much I really do “need people” after all. In being honest, at this stage in my life, sometimes I think I don’t. I went to sleep literally “feeling” the love and vibes that had been flowing my way tugging at my soul strings throughout the process all day.

Meanwhile, yes, I really did “punch today in the face”, so, wearing this shirt out tonight was epic! Wait! What’s that you say? “Cat, what does that even MEAN?” Oh, yah! “Punching today in the face” is a “Wheelchair Dad thing. I won’t go much into it, as I really want you to just click on the link and find out what it means for yourself. Sufficed to say, though, Dan and Andrea Kotter and their six beautiful babies who I recently stumbled across have managed to truly “punctuate” and inspire me in a profound way. I cannot tell you how proud I was to ROCK this hoodie while out with my family last night after all was said and done. I’m even prouder of the fact that I even went out in the first place. There was time in my life when treading water with such heavy emotions would have not only drowned me, but found me locked inside my room for the days and even weeks to follow.

Truth being told, while I’d always heard that going through and finally letting go of your deceased loved one’s belongings was one of the, if not the hardest part of the whole grief process, it wasn’t until I was sitting on the floor of “the king’s closet” that I realized just how true it really is. It was like he’d just just died all over again, except that parting with his things made the reality more real. No, he’s never coming home again.

My kids felt this “second death”, too, in a way, so, having them so close to my heart all day added even more diamonds to my tiara. The one “at my six” in the picture above? She’s the girl who’s stolen my son’s heart once and for all. Trust me when I say that she has his six, too, and getting go watch all the ways that she was there for him, not just today, but as usual, made my triumph in this even sweeter.

Perhaps the biggest irony in all of this was that years ago when it was time for me to let go of The Blaze Of Glory’s things, it was Zack who was there with me physically and emotionally. God, Himself, knows that at that juncture I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone. Just look at me know, though, with all this strength both the kings of my heart helped me find, “power and gracing” my way through it all like the true and living queen they left behind.

Just pick one thing, honey … the one thing that reminds you of him the most … and give it a place of honor …

… which is exactly why the do-rag you see hanging on the little cabinet in the video is also the first thing you see in this Diary entry. Of Ghosts, And Kings, And Three“. It looks like it’s time for me to really start moving on, which is why I’m dropping both of these most powerful songs of my life in this entry.

NOVEMBER 7, 2022: “Type ‘O’, Here We Are Again!” …

That’s right, folks … “O” here we really are again. I’ve fallen UP in the fog once more as the great alchemy of music stepped in with its magic when I least expected it to wrap me in the most beautiful “grey high” blanket of rhapsody I never saw coming.

So, I’ve cancelled all my plans for the day, decided to just schlub in the castle in one of the king’s favorite yummy grey sweaters, and put on a pot of soup so can just bask in the blissful solitude of my “Nothing. Everything. ALL OF IT!” divinely appointed existence.

The songs that my son sends to me to tell me how he’s feeling are the diary of HIS perfection and they’re one of my most precious things in my life.

As I’ve already told my him, I love him more than words can say, and knowing that I’m his “Nettie” is amongst one of my utmost diamond encrusted treasures in this world. Today, as always, I’m thanking GOD for the literal hell that both he and his sister and I have all walked through and SURVIVED together, because without it, I’d have never be able to see the miracle I see through all this fog.

NOVEMBER 4, 2022: “My Diamond Encrusted Tiaras” …

I’ve long said that I’m an actual queen, because I truly am. But if history has taught me anything, it’s that a queen is only as powerful as the legacy she leaves, not the tiara that adorns her head. My children are my tiara, regardless of whether you can see it. Likewise, are they every “FL colorless” diamond that encrusts it. They’re the echo of my voice that will surely linger on as my utmost contribution to this world.

Take for instance this email I got today amidst an actual storm that was brewing in the atmosphere about something Gia had written to recognize and nominate one of her favorite teachers for an “Honored” teaching award:

Mike Rock is a counselor for students with learning disabilities or other struggles in their studies. For example, I have ADHD, and I get this class to get extra support with my schoolwork. Since the very beginning, Mr. Rock has gone above and beyond to help students in his class. Every class, he stands outside his door and greets each student personally, and asks how their day has been going, and tells them how happy he is that they are doing well, or that they are there that day. And always with a bright smile and kind voice, too. He is beyond patient, always remaining calm and kind even through the multitude of meltdowns and anger-outbursts that students have thrown at him because of their frustrations. He is deeply concerned with the wellbeing of his students. He remembers things that they say, be it a concert they are excited to go to, or that they have a loved one struggling. He doesn’t just stop at helping his students with their schoolwork. He is a teacher as much as he is a trusted friend. He talks with us about struggles we have and shows interest in the things we enjoy. One particular action stands out. On Friday, November 4th, there was a threat for severe weather in our area. School let out early, and as I was walking to leave the building, I caught Mr. Rock. He greeted me with a warm “Hello Gia!” (My nickname) and a smile. We were making small talk as we left, and I was talking about how my dad was picking me up, since I didn’t drive to school because my dad didn’t want me driving in the heavy rain. I complained about how despite my dad telling me that morning to bring an umbrella, I didn’t, and it was raining in sheets. As I was about to go out into the rain, he pulls out his umbrella and tells me he is going to walk me out to my dad. The umbrella is only big enough for one person, so I refused, saying “thank you so much! But you don’t have to do that. He is parked kind of far away!”. He insisted, so I let him (I really didn’t want to get soaked in the rain anyway. It was cold and windy. The entire way to my dad’s car, he held the umbrella over me while he got rained on. Out of his way, and in the pouring rain, he still made sure I got to my dad’s car safe and dry. When I got to the car, Mr. Rock told me to be safe, and I told him the same. My dad drove off. Mr. Rock’s car was in the opposite direction that I needed to go. This isn’t the only time that Mr. Rock has gone out of his way to be kind and considerate. He regularly supplies his classroom with students’ favorite candies, mints, and even fidget toys. All on his own, and without being asked. One time, he was gifted a box of expensive chocolate from the Ukraine from a friend. He took the box of chocolate and shared it with us. (It is a very small class. There’s only about 10 students). Teachers like Mr. Rock are few and far between. He brightens our days and is someone we can always count on to have a kind word to say, or just a positive, friendly attitude. He is truly an amazing teacher (He has single handedly raised student’s grades with his tutoring, support, and encouragement), and an admirable and good person. I know he deserves to be recognized.

My Mona Lisa couldn’t stop making me smile if she tried! She’s lifting others with her “beautiful infection”, and like her brother, never ceases to amaze me. If only you knew what she’s really been through, you, too, would fail to understand why she’s not a jaded teenager just looking for an excuse to become a toxic adult. She makes me proud every day, and it’s moments like these that are why.

There is no lie in her words about “Mr. Rock”. If only I could properly credit not just him, but the many other teachers and mentors that have supported and led her through the proverbial storm she’s been walking through since losing her dad and having to go through high school without him. Each one is a beacon of hope and a restoration of faith in humanity to not just her, but this widowed, single mom, as well. I literally cried my eyes out at the thought of this man walking my kid to the car with his umbrella over her head while he was getting soaked.

Gia, my princess, when the time finally comes for you to start reading this Diary, know that you truly are everything I hope to be when I grow up. No, you’re not perfect … you’re just a flesh and blood mortal like the rest of us. Besides, “perfection” would be boring, anyway. Still, sometimes I wonder if you really are from another planet, because the last time I checked, there seems to be a shortage of kids like you running around on this one. Lol, and you think that I’m the real Wonder Woman? That’s funny, because I actually think it’s you!

If, as we both suspect, Dad really is watching all of this as you live out this dream he had for your life, surely he was beaming with pride today, too, as you “lit a fire” with your impeccable words. Please listen to this song again, because it was the first thing that came to my mind after I got the email from your school today. I love you, “Three”! ~ Mama

OCTOBER 31, 2022: “The Arsonist’s Lullaby” …

• Jason Archer @archinorn

The more perfect a person is on the outside, the more demons they have on the inside.

{Sigmund Freud}

Indeed, dear ole Mr. Freud nailed that one right on the head! Might I add, though, that we should never try to outrun our own dark shadow, because that’s where our demons live. Believe it or not, sometimes we actually need those little fuckers around, for without them our egos truly would be the dark and tragic end of us. HELLO? Haven’t you ever watched Star Wars? Never mind. I’ve digressed.

Okay, where was I? Our demons are there to balance us; to challenge, humanize, and perfect us … not to be cast out to the abyss. They keep us honest, keep us real, and keep us on our toes. Those nasty little dark siders that ride around on our shoulders are there as a point of reference for the light and dark.

So, with that, I’m just thinking that what we really need to do is just tame them, train them, leash them, and maybe even give them a little space to do what they need to do from time to time in order to bring our souls full circle.

I thought it ended when I knew love’s perfect ache, but my peace has always depended on all the ashes in my wake.

The only way you can really fly is with the power and grace of a phoenix rising from its own ashes. If that means you have to become the arsonist who sets fire to the safety of your oh so sweetly delusional lullaby, so be it. You’ll be alright … I PROMISE!

In the meantime, HAPPY HALLOWEEN to all you beautifully imperfect twisted ones like me out there who have truly made peace with your “little pets”. Tonight of all nights, be sure to let them trick OR treat, depending on their mood. “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”, ya know what I’m sayin’?

ARSONIST’S LULLABYE

When I was a child, I heard voices. Some would sing and some would scream. You soon find you have few choices. I learned the voices died with me. When I was a child, I’d sit for hours staring into open flame. Something in it had a power. Could barely tear my eyes away. All you have is your fire and the place you need to reach. Don’t you ever tame your demons, but always keep ’em on a leash. When I was 16, my senses fooled me. Thought gasoline was on my clothes. I knew that something would always rule me. I knew the scent was mine alone. All you have is your fire and the place you need to reach. Don’t you ever tame your demons, but always keep ’em on a leash. When I was a man, I thought it ended when I knew love’s perfect ache, but my peace has always depended on all the ashes in my wake. All you have is your fire and the place you need to reach. Don’t you ever tame your demons, but always keep ’em on a leash. {Hozier}

~ The Phoenix Art Project ~

OCTOBER 24, 2022: “Dodging The Devil’s Boomerang” …

Does someone really suffer when we wish bad for them?

{“The Quora Question“}

NO! NO THEY DON’T! The only person who suffers when we wish bad for others is the “wisher”, not the “other”. Regardless of the crime that reduces a victim to thoughts of retribution, by speaking ill will over another into the Universe you join the factions of pathetic people who drink from the same cup from which the poison they’re serving first came.

There’s an unspoken kismet law about malice, which is that once you receive it, you either rise above it or become it. In my opinion, malevolence is a “karmic boomerang”, in that once it’s tossed out into the wind, it always finds it’s way back to the sender and never misses its chance to return a favor.

Although the people who refuse to give in to their own darkness appear to be weak and cowardly, in reality it’s the evil things that walk amongst us that are the truly feeble. Even a toddler can than throw a stones at someone, but it takes an immense amount of strength, courage, and resilience to just stand there and let them hit you.

If, as I suspect, the reason we exist here is to choose between The Light and the dark, don’t be a fool and repay evil with evil. Vengeance is the Lord’s, and only the Lord’s alone, and you ARE NOT “The Punisher“! Besides, getting hit in the face with a boomerang can’t be all that fun, ya know what I’m sayin’?

Don’t get me wrong, I have been that “karmic boomeranger” in days gone by. There was a time in my life when I all but drove to New Orleans in the wee hours of the night to get an actual West African voodoo doll in which to stick my pins of vengeance into those who have wronged me or mine. And Jean-Claude Van DAMN, don’t even get me started when it comes to those who have brought harm to my kids … up to and including other kids! Taming the momma animal in me has been a work in progress over the years, but thankfully I’ve slayed that beast and sent it back down to hell where it belongs.

These days, I don’t dare spend my precious energy on the “THINGS” that will surely face the cosmic dragons they’ve unleashed unto themselves before it’s all said and done. Instead, I opt only to focus on the positive things and people in my atmosphere and not let all the devils I’ve had to dance with unleash the devil inside of me.

THE DEVIL INSIDE

Make me believe I’m human. Make me believe I’m not the voice in my mind. I don’t believe all the wrong I’ve done is forgiven. Make me believe I’m living. Make me believe I’m not the face that I hide. I don’t believe another day I can breathe so forsaken. Can you see my disease? Cannot hide what’s inside. I’m moving paralyzed and living hypnotized, hit right between the eyes, living with the Devil inside. I’m moving paralyzed and living hypnotized, hit right between the eyes. Living with the Devil inside. Can you see my disease? Meet the Devil inside of me. Is this the fate I’ve been given? I hear it calling in the dead of the night. I don’t believe I can ever be free of this hell that lives inside of me. Can you see my disease? Cannot hide what’s inside. I’m moving paralyzed and living hypnotized, hit right between the eyes, living with the Devil inside. {Like A Storm}

OCTOBER 15, 2022: “The Man, The Myth, The Legend!” …

I can’t recall when a morning news story ever made me so fucking happy. I literally cried tears of joy for this man and his family when I heard these words from his mouth:

So, I made them a deal today, and I’m gonna stick to it. After this year, I am going to make one more Five Finger Death Punch album and then I am retiring from heavy metal.

{Five Finger Death Punch On YouTube}

The Alchemistwill be leaving the building. The FUCKER I love the most who has inspired so many of us to dig deep into our souls and unearth the sobering reality of our own tragic truths, turn ourselves inside out, make peace with our demons, and find our “power and grace“, is dimming the lights.

A dear friend and highly intuitive Death Punch sister I was talking to this morning said that lately she’d been sensing a sort of “death” with him. In fact, we’d both been feeling that something’s been a little bit off in his world, though not necessarily in a bad way, but neither of us could put our finger on it. Well, there we have it! As it turns out, the death she’d been sensing was a metaphor for an ending. The “death” of this chapter of his beautifully dirty, poetic life, and the birth of an entirely new one.

It’s “phoenixry” at it’s finest!

As I’ve been scouring through this news today, I read, “Well, let’s just hope that the next 5FDP album will come as late as possible”. Yah, yah, I get it. We’re gonna miss him. But I couldn’t disagree more. For as much as I have come to love, respect, and adore him, not as a “rock star”, but a human fucking being, it’s only right to let him go in peace without a fight.

Nothing would make me happier then to never see his face again, be it on a stage or social media where we’ve all relished being a part of his “family” if that meant he was riding off into the sunset and sanctuary of his truly personal life and endeavors. No man is more deserving of the next rebirth that will surely come from fading the bright lights that have both propelled and devoured him, into the quieter lights of his real family’s hearts and eyes. After all the tiny pieces of his broken, risen, but probably exhausted phoenix soul that he’s literally bled out to the masses, no man has earned the right to finally rest his wings and fly back home to the ones he fought so hard to keep living for. C’mon, people! Those bright lights almost fucking blinded him, and I know for a fact that he’s given the actual shirt off his back to some of us. Also? Let’s face it. Not everyone has been so grateful for his contributions to both the arts and humanity. So, he’s damned if he does and damned if he don’t. Still, the vultures have picked at his living carcass enough, don’t ya think?

There’s a song I’ve always loved and have listened to for years by another band, Cold. The poignant words are clearly written from the perspective of a weary musician:

Whatever you became, blame it on my fame. Always away from you … sold my life for a song. Whatever you feel, I take it on my stage. I sing to the world for you … and I’m always alone.

{“Whatever You Became” by Cold”}

These days, I think about him when I hear this song. I say to myself, “Damnit, Ivan, we love you! We ALL mother fucking LOVE you! But haven’t you’ve spent way more than your fair share of all of your power and grace on us? Just free yourself and go home.”

This life we’re living really is just a blip, and yes, the lights will go down. Do everything within your power to ensure that when your door closes for the very last time you leave your light on for the people you’ve left behind and not just a darkened void. It’s how you’ll become “nothing, everything, and ALL of it” and leave this place better than you found it.

{“The Grey High“}

Well, guess what, Fucker? I’m saying “job well done”! While I realize this process isn’t going to happen overnight and we’ll still have some good times to share with you, know that when the last of those lights on your stage go down, the one you’ll have left behind for all of us will keep on burning bright through that void.

Those of us who’ve been paying attention know that aside from your family, there are still many gifts and contributions you’re working on leaving behind for the cause you’re so fucking passionate about. And hey, who knows? Maybe you’ll even find a true and proper queen to ride off into that sunset with. You deserve that, too, my friend, and I’m praying that you’ll find her!

~ The Phoenix Rests ~
(A “Midjourney” Creation By @archinorn)

SEPTEMBER 17, 2022: “How To Talk To THE Girl” …

For The Girl Who Seems To Have Stolen My Son’s Heart:

I’ve given a lot of thought to the thought of “you” since the day he entered my world, and as the years have passed, I must say I’ve been a little anxious, because it’s kind of scary the way that some little girls are being raised these days. Actually, it’s a crying shame.

I’ve prayed incessantly for the moment I would be at peace with the thought of no longer being the number one woman in his life, and yes, “you” have always been at the forefront of my MOST important prayers:

Please, God, PLEASE! Please let her momma be raising someone precious and perfect for my son. No, I’m not asking for her to BE perfect. Just let her be the perfect one for HIM.

Some years ago I found this excerpt from prayer some man wrote to God about his own sons, and I’d been keeping it tucked safely in the “drafts” file of this Diary for the day he’d finally found someone who I believe was worthy of sharing it with. It had something to do with Princess Katherine, who as you know just became The Princess Of Whales:

And so I pray … for a princess that realizes she is the daughter of the King of Heaven and Earth … for a Princess clothed in humility and grace (rather than the latest must-have fashions and trends) … for a princess with hands that will get dirty for the sake of serving others and with feet willing to walk the extra mile (rather than one that demands manicures and pedicures by age seven) … for a princess whose “adornment” is not merely outward (arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel), but rather, let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is “very precious in the sight of God.” {1 Peter 3:3-5} … for a princess who loves unconditionally and forever, and doesn’t run out when her prince falls off his royal horse and isn’t as charming as she dreamed (because it WILL happen). Amen.

It wasn’t that long ago when I wrote these words in this Diary after first hearing this powerful song that I love:

Now, fast forward to “here we are” fifteen long years later, and I’m sitting here literally praying that he’s finally learning how to talk to girls, because God Himself knows he didn’t always have the best examples of that. When Zack came along, he literally flipped the game board of our lives upside down for the better, “talking to girls” took on a whole different meaning, and Christian finally had a good example.

{“How To Talk To Girls“}

Meanwhile, it looks like even I still have some work to do in the “talking to THE girl” department. You have no idea how many times I’ve had to turn off the radio when this song hits my cue, because all I can think about is how much it kills me that no man ever taught my son how to talk to girls until his stepdad came along. It kills me even more that he after the way he left us, he may have undone all those “man lessons” he spent so much time teaching Christian.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALEXANDRA! Happy birthday to us BOTH! Yes, we all love you and care about you very much. Yes, I do believe with everything in my heart that you are the princess that was meant for my son. Yes, your momma did raise someone precious.

If, indeed, you are “the one”, none of us could be prouder of the true princess he’s seemingly found in you. Of course there will always be bumps on this road. We’re only human, after all. Please just know that I will always be for you, never against you, because NO, my son isn’t always “right”, and NO, he doesn’t quite know all the best ways to talk to girls.

HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS

Yeah, I remember yes or no, or how to ask her to prom. Then it was a pickup line … somethin’ you’d say inside a bar. Quick on the draw, good at the game, but the game just changed, ’cause I got this ring and I’m on one knee, and now I’m drawin’ a blank. ‘Cause this angel hangs on every word I say. She’s gettin’ so much more from me than my last name … everything … and I can’t hide it. She’s got me at a loss for words. I guess I’m still learnin’ how to talk to girls. And I remember two pink lines … ready or not … she’s on her way. Yeah, she got her momma’s eyes. Well, I hope she don’t act like me. You know they say you pay for your raisin’. I’m tryin’ to raise her. But what do you say when you can’t tell her no? Well, I can’t even think about down the road. What about sixteen? What about God? What about big dreams? And oh my God, what about boys? The bad ones? Will she find out her momma has one? Damn! {Brantley Gilbert}

SEPTEMBER 17, 2022: “Life’s Been Good To Me” …

I know, I know! Yet another love letter to myself. Still, its kinda crazy how fitting and relatable both the words above and the words below are to me. Despite some appearances, life truly has been good to me so far. So, I’m not writing anything else today, but this

“Fifty-THREE-

It’s-GOOD-To-Be-Me!

“Fifty-THREE-It’s-SO-Good-To-Be-ME”

Why, yes. Yes, it is! It’s so Jean-Claude Van DAMN good to be me! With that, here’s to everything and nothing that has made me who I am today, and what will hopefully be yet another 365 beautiful trips around the equally beautiful Sun!

SEPTEMBER 4, 2022: “The Day Of The S & H Greenstamps Tattoo” …

It’s no longer a big secret that I had a twisted and dysfunctional childhood, and also no secret that some of my mental pictures aren’t so homespun and stellar …

… BUT …

… I very much DO also have some precious and beautiful memories seared so deeply into the skin of all my days gone by that they’re a virtual tattoo inside my mind.

It’s raining, grey, and what some might consider miserable here in Dallas this afternoon, but as I walked into the kitchen just now and saw my favorite “Mindset Is Everything” coffee mug sitting on the table amidst a pile of skeletons and spookiness I’m about to HAUNT The Williamson Manor with, I literally snapped back in time to the MANY “Sundays” with my mom and HER coffee cup sitting around our often very rainy, New England kitchen table.

You see, Sundays were ALWAYS our “Green Stamp” days, and I fondly remember the countless hours she would spend with us at our tiny wooden table as she’d bust out all the stamps she’d collected for that week and let me and my sister help her put them in her books. We’d sit around that table drawing circles in “the catalog” around all the treasures we were saving for while having our little mother daughter chit chats about life.

For God’s sake, I even smelled the giant pot of scratch made Italian “gravy” that was ALWAYS simmering in the background while we were stamping our fingers to the bone, and how as all this was happening on those cozy afternoons, there was the best anxiety EVER simmering in my gut because I knew that soon my beloved Grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins would all be coming over for our weekly “family dinnuh”!

Jean-Claude Van DAMN I’m so proud to be turning “Fifty-THREE-It’s-SO-Good-To-Be-ME” next week, and while I do so adore all you young ones out there, grab a pen and paper and take NOTES from ALL of s “OMG, they’re like, SO old” ones, ’cause we know EXACTLY how to keep on keepin’ it REAL!

Meanwhile, as I’m writing this, my girls are upstairs all hunkered down in their fluffy pajamas and blankets as the storms are moving in while I’m downstairs just doing the mom thing. I’m overwhelmed with joy and an abundance of gratitude that I not only do I get to live this ethereal existence, but that my heart has been broken and put back together well enough to know that even when I’m not sifting through the ashes of my life, there is still so much beauty to be found in them that it just shows up during the storms like a ray of light shining through my soul. I am blessed.

… and THIS, my friends, is yet another “Grey HIGH” moment from my virtually tattooed heart and love-filled Williamson Castle to yours. Oh, and (PS) … there’s something that I’ll hope you’ll remember …

All you get to keep is all you’ve shared.

{“The Brighter Side Of Grey” … by Five Finger Death Punch}

~ REAL Cat 🖤

AUGUST 30, 2022: “Dear Pain & Suffering” …

To My Dearest Pain, Suffering, Agony, Regret, Misery, Defeat, and Sadness:

It’s been just over three years since the love of my life stopped not just his own world, but all of ours as well, in the most egregious, abysmal, and literally psychotic course of events that any of us could have possibly foreseen or imagined. With all of that in mind, I have an extra special message for all of you:

I win!

You lose!

In case you haven’t noticed by now, despite all heaping piles of BULLSHIT every one of you mother fuckers dumped upon my shoulders and how hard you all tried to break my spirit, my heart, and steal my beautiful soul

I’M STILL HERE!

Sure, I mostly do stand “alone”, but guess what? I’m NEVER lonely, ’cause the one thing you couldn’t take from me is ME! The last time I checked, I’M STILL STANDING UPRIGHT, I’m STILL God’s favorite daughter, and even IF my body leaves this place tomorrow, it’s heading somewhere NONE of you will be.

If I’ve learned anything in this last fifty something years, it’s that the only person who ever had the power to destroy me was ME, and the only person who was ever meant to save me was ME. In many ways, I’ve been both my own Judas and my own Jesus, so nope … there’s NO denying it … YOU NEVER HAD CONTROL! So, you can wipe them away, all those silly fuckin’ grins, ’cause I’m so DONE listening to your mother fucking’ side!

Oh, and one more thing. Be sure and tell your little friend Irony that they can go and SUCK IT, ’cause the very things that were intended to blind me from The Light, burn my fucking wings off, and turn me inside out, ONLY helped me see better, fly stronger, and turn me into an actualrisen from ashes” QUEEN!

So, with that, I’ve really gotta run. I have the concert of my lifetime awaiting me and mine in just a few hours this beautiful night and I’m not letting ANY of you douches kill my buzz. Actually, and now that I think of it? It looks like I made the entire lot of you my little bitch!

~ Queen Catherine

INSIDE OUT

Take it, I don’t need it. I don’t wanna hear your mother fuckin’ side. You can love it, or you can leave it, because nothing I say and nothing I feel is right. Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t understand. While I’m sitting up here dying, you’re just holding out your hand. And even if I wanted to, I couldn’t have explained, ’cause you don’t know the difference between violence and pain. There’s no denying it, you’ve never had control! I stand alone. Guess I knew it all along. Yes, I knew that you were wrong, how you left when I was down. I want you to say it was never really me. You just turned and walked away! How you turned me inside out! Inside out! I’m not a dog. I’m not a slave. It doesn’t matter how much money I get paid. I give a shit. I never did. So, you can wipe it away, that silly fuckin’ grin! If I wrote it down for you, could you ever see it clear? Or would it go straight through your soul and come right out your ear? If I slowed it down for you, would you think me insincere? Cause in the end I’ll never bend, I’ll never shed a tear! There’s no denying it, I’ve always had control. {Five Finger Death Punch}

AUGUST 23,2022: “I’m Alright, Thanks For Asking.” …

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Three years ago this hour, the police chief of my town walked into the hospital where my broken daughter was laying to tell me they’d found my husband dead in his car courtesy of the hollow point he’d put in his own head.

No, I don’t think God was laughing that day or that He laughs on any of the days we spend facing the wrath of His angels. In fact, I’m certain that He was on that hospital floor wailing with me and holding me tight as every shred of what I’d come to believe as truth turned out to be the devil’s lie. God DID give me wings, but it was MY job to learn to fly. I had to face not just Zack’s, but my own “devil in the mirror” before I could ascend to the sky.

Yes, the end IS coming, and no, I don’t think I mind. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again … as hard as this “living” thing can be, I have no intention of dying unless and until HE says it’s my time. In the meantime, imma stick around here as long as I’m allowed as the UNBREAKABLE risen QUEEN I was born to be.

As for the devil? Come for me mother fucker! In case you haven’t noticed, my soul is already spoken for, and PS, you’re NOT not the one who gets it! That’s not a challenge … IT’S FACT!

Wow! I guess that wasn’t too graceful, now was it? If you’ve been around this Diary long enough you know damn good and well that sometimes I’m Heaven, sometimes I’m hell, and sometimes I really can’t tell which is which. Through it all, though, I always did know it would come to this, my “roll, roll, roll … I’m movin’ ahead”. THIS living queen who “rolls” as God’s favorite daughter is NOT gonna sleep ’til she’s dead! I’ve got punctuating to do and phoenixes to raise, so, I have no other choice but to be alright.

THANKS FOR ASKING

‘Cause I’m alright. Thanks for asking. There’s a million things I’d love to say, but you don’t wanna hear. Yeah, it’s alright. I don’t need your blessings. I’d rather face the wrath of angels than the devil in the mirror. I don’t think God is listening. She told us to follow, but left us behind. I’ve never seen an angel, but I know the Devil, and he told me I’m fine. “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.” That’s what everyone keeps telling me. I’d rather capsize than chase an old horizon. Throw me back into the deadest of seas. I know that God is laughing. She gave us our wings, but never taught us to fly. They say the end is coming, and if that’s true, well, I don’t think I mind. Heaven or hell? I can’t tell which is which. I always knew it would come to this. Roll, roll, roll … I’m movin’ ahead. Roll, roll, roll … guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead. {Five Finger Death Punch}

AUGUST 22, 2022: “The VERY Unpopular Monster!” …

~ the Bug ~
{by Gia “Khaos” Embach}

In keeping with the metamorphosis of my journey, this day memorializes two profound occasions in my life. You see, not only is this my 500TH DIARY ENTRY, but it’s the three year anniversary of my husband’s suicide at “just before midnight” on August 22, 2019.

With that, it seems only fitting that I pay tribute to one of my very few muses, Franz Kafka, the surrealistic writer from Prague whose inspired work left a tail on the fire of his words that it still burns bright in me a century later.

Much like my husband, Kafka left this world tragically unaware of how powerful his legacy would be, much less that he would eventually be regarded as one of the most prolific literary figures of the 20th-century. He only ever published a hand full of his work while he was alive because he didn’t believe it worthy. It was his dear friend, Max Brod, who as the executor of his estate blatantly disregarded the directive that his unfinished works be destroyed and published them. Be it not for the fact that Brod betrayed a dying man’s final wishes, the trajectory and longevity of Kafka’s legacy may not have been fully realized.

To say something is “Kafkaesque” is to infer that something is absurd and surreal, if not nightmarish and disorienting, all of which words in so many ways define my own seemingly absurd and surreal existence. Meanwhile, I could wax on poetically about everything “Kafka”, but perhaps the words that I believe sum him up the best are these:

Franz Kafka is regarded as one of the greatest literary figures in recent history. He is known for his uniquely dark, disorienting, and surreal writing style, a style and quality so particular to him, that anything that resembles it has come to be known and referred to as “Kafkaesque”.

{“What Is Kafkaesque?” ~ The Philosophy Of Franz Kafka” … The Pursuit Of Wonder”}

Most people will never know what really happened in our home in the months before Zack’s suicide. To say that unfathomable insanity, if not purely demonic evil besieged us would not give credence to the monster that took up residency in his mind and all but devoured my daughter as well during its reign of unholy terror. She ended up hitting a major wall in the wake of everything that happened two weeks before her sophomore year end, so much so that the school decided to release her earlier and excuse her from final exams so that we could tend to her fragile mental health.

In lieu of finals, her literature teacher had asked her to write a personal memoir without fully knowing why the school had negated her exams. Upon becoming aware that writing a memoir might be the worst possible thing for her under the circumstances, she opted to have her write an essay about her favorite book by her favorite author instead.

~ Zack’s Last Audible Read ~

Unbeknownst to me, Gia had read “The Metamorphosis” several times since Zack’s suicide, having done so because not only was she aware that Kafka was my favorite writer, she knew that it was the last book Zack had listened to nineteen days before he left. She was trying desperately to make sense out of her parents. Again unbeknownst to me, she wrote her essay about “the invisible monster”:

How Do You Fight an Invisible Enemy?

YOU GIVE IT A FACE!

(Written By Gia Embach)

Since the beginning of time or existence itself, for living things big or small, life is marked with a common anguish: To live is to suffer. Over time, however, as humanity has specifically thrust itself into problems of its own device, it’s tried desperately to put incomprehensible ideas or situations into a box so as to minimize the pain and anxiety that fester in the face of the unknown or difficult.

Anguish was arguably never more prevalent than throughout the duration of World War I. The largest, bloodiest, most destructive war the world had yet seen, with such horrors as to reduce the social order and beliefs to rubble in a similar manner to the physical world around people all over the world. During the uneasy postwar years, this society of confused and angry people confided in Czech-born writer Franz Kafka.

His stories almost always depict characters who are in eerie situations they can neither comprehend nor escape from. While this idea of using the imagination to comprehend the uncomfortable and incomprehensible world of emotions and psychology was precious to those living during the postwar years, his message still rings true today, as people still find the comprehension of the human mind to be incredibly difficult and laborious. Through allegorical works of literature and art, artists and writers allow others, and themselves, to understand feelings and situations that would otherwise be terrifying or unfathomable to bring comfort that stems from a shared discomfort.

The Metamorphosis begins with Gregor Samsa awaking in his bed only to find himself transformed into a large cockroach or other bug-like vermin. Gregor becomes increasingly dreary after looking out the window to all the rain and darkness and decides to give in to the pull of sleep calling to him. His new body, however, won’t let him lay comfortably, so he tries desperately to fling himself on his side to rest, only to fall on his armored back, forced to look at his grotesque abdomen and thin, scrambling legs. His mind then drifts to the dread he feels for his stressful job, the importance of sleep, so he begins focusing on the mundane issues in his life that still take precedence over his terrifying condition. His family worriedly knock on his door attempting to converse with him and wondering what the matter is, as Gregor has always been a dutiful worker and had never missed a day of work in his life. Gregor comes to find that he is unable to communicate with human speech and struggles to converse with his worried family on the other side of the wooden door which he soon finds he is unable to open, only doing so after great difficulty.

Emerging from his room, his family and the Chief Clerc are shocked by his appearance and he is soundly scolded by the Chief Clerk. Gregor retreats to his room, injuring himself in the process, and remains isolated inside. He comes to find that his little sister, Grete, attentively looks after him, bringing him fresh food that is unappealing to Gregor despite his hunger. The next morning, he is brought rotting food which he devours ravenously. From his room, Gregor overhears his family’s troubles. His guilt and shame only grow as he listens to his family try to figure out how they will make enough money to support each other, as Gregor is unable to provide for them now. Overwhelmed with sadness and guilt, he returns to his isolation for a few weeks, and Grete slowly but surely becomes less caring for Gregor, and increasingly upset and impatient at her brother’s need for care. When he finally gets enough courage to leave his room, his sister finds him in the kitchen, disturbed. A month later, his mother offers to take the furniture out of his room, so he can crawl more comfortably in his room, however Gregor wishes to hold on to the furniture, keeping himself connected to his humanity, to the familiarity of the Gregor before he woke up that fateful morning as a giant bug. Gregor eventually puts himself upside down on his ceiling, above a painting in his room, the sight of which causes his mother to faint, and his father returns home to find Gregor outside his room once again, only to pelt him with apples, seriously injuring him as he flees back to his room. Gregor takes another month to heal. His family has become exhausted from working and decide to house some loggers for extra income. Later, as Gregor is drawn out by the beautiful sound of a violin, the sight of him disgusts the loggers, causing them to leave without paying rent, so his once gentle and compassionate sister now states that the bug is not really Gregor and has ruined their lives. Returning to his room, he thinks fondly of his family before he dies. His body is found, and his family carries on happily without him as they discuss their plans for the future.

Although there are many interpretations of this eerie tale, I believe it is an allegory for depression and the damage it causes to not only the one who suffers from it, but also those around them. The first time I read it, I was immediately fond of Gregor. In him, I found that sense of comfort that I had mentioned before. Comparing his experience with depression to mine allowed me to feel less alone. Like me, even simple tasks for him such as getting out of bed or talking became excruciatingly difficult and it exhausted him to venture from the safety of the safe, cold comfort and isolation of his room Thinking that someone who was alive over 100 years ago had the same exact feelings that I’ve had made me feel less ashamed of my illness.

In another mirror of my mind, Gregor’s mind drifts to his worries and anxieties about the future and all the little things that could go wrong. Been there! Done that! No matter how long you have depression or how “well” you handle it, there are always things on your mind. They’re like an invisible bag of rocks dragging behind your feet that make your legs tire quickly and your entire body feel incredibly heavy. Each time Gregor tried to reach out and become himself again, he was treated with disgust, disdain, and impatience, reminding him time and again why he had hidden himself away in the first place. To those living in a world outside of a disease festering inside one’s brain, there are no rocks and no issues, there’s just laziness and distraction. “They’re not trying enough” or “They’re being dramatic”.

Grete, who at first gave Gregor aid with love, soon drifted away. When you suffer from depression, it can be hard for others to love and care for you, so when you are living as a creature you yourself can hardly look at without disgust, how COULD you accept any help? Depression tells you that you aren’t worth it and you don’t deserve it. If your symptoms themselves don’t push people away, you will. Giving yourself excuses to be alone, hoping that if you sabotage the good things enough, you might begin to feel like your feelings are valid, but that is a rare thing to come to believe. Then, just like Gregor, you soon find that reaching out only gets you hurt again, and you fully realize all that you no longer have. At this point, a person with depression will respond in a variety of ways. Some seethe with a burning anger, others protect themselves with an icy numbness, and others drown themselves in tears. In other cases, like Gregor, he simply allows himself to fade away. He felt ashamed, guilty, impossible to deal with. The harsh words of others twisting the steel blade he had dug into his chest deeper. He thinks of those who shunned him with love, understanding that nobody could love a monster. He thinks of them and dies, utterly and completely alone.

The Metamorphosis was the last thing my father read before he lost his battle with his own invisible enemy … his “bug”. While literature like Kafka’s does indeed offer comfort, nothing can cover the harsh and bitter reality of mental illness. Only the luckiest ones, and these warriors are far and few between, survive the battle against the hidden enemy. Many, like Gregor and my father, slowly fade away, isolating themselves until death to keep those they love from the harm they know they cause.

The truth of the matter is this: human beings are far from being able to comprehend the human mind in its best form and are further still from understanding a mind that is damaged. However, through people like Kafka, who cut these incredible issues into tiny, more manageable pieces, we can all come to understand it a little better. Those who suffer, can come to understand their suffering. Those who don’t share that same, complex kind of pain, come to understand it. When people understand something so horrible and terrifying, it slowly falls apart as it’s being chipped away like a block of marble until something beautiful and heroic remains.

In closing, I feel it is imperative to appreciate the gift that art can give to humanity: the ability to comprehend the incomprehensible, the ability to look at ourselves as works in progress rather than vermin, and the ability to unite people of all walks of life together in an often-forgotten fact. Once we strip away our flesh and everything of this Earth, each of us has a soul that is broken, and each of our souls, whether we acknowledge it or not, has a burning desire to be loved. That fact can only be nurtured and accepted through people like Kafka who aren’t afraid to brave the nightmares of existing, people who shine lights in darkness so others can see light.

Of all the things she could have written about, and this despite the fact that she had been excused from writing a personal memoir, in many ways she did write a personal memoir. Can you FEEL the ABSURDITY? Can you FATHOM the SURREALNESS? Can you appreciate this cosmic kick in the face of that elusive demon bug that has infested the minds of too many Gregors to count?

FUCK YOU “popular monster”! You may have obliterated, disintegrated, and annihilated my husband, but you will NOT feast upon another carcass in my divinely punctuated halo if takes my very last breath to keep you under foot. I’ve FOUND my way out of your web you fucking LIAR and miserable CHEATER.

I’ve fallen IN LOVE

with NOT falling apart!

HAPPY 500TH DIARY ENTRY TO ME! May you rest eternally Zachariah and Franz, two of the few mortal men who were able to reach the depths of my soul. You may be gone, but you’ll never be forgotten, nor the countless ways you both inspired my metamorphosis.

Last, but not least, THANK YOU from my bursting heart to my Mona Lisa daughter for helping me finally find the words I’d long been searching for to honor my favorite beetle.

If you or someone you love is battling an “invisible monster”, PLEASE reach out for help! The “SAMHSA National Helpline” is a FREEE, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. Always … Keep … FIGHTING!

AUGUST 19, 2022: “The Great Alchemy” …

The new album dropped at midnight and it’s mind blowing, but I got stuck on this one particular song, “All I Know”. Meanwhile, while we were on a live chat with him in the wee hours of the morning, Ivan was saying that the whistling we hear at the intro just came to him one night while he was at his cabin in Wyoming. He said he’d been laying in bed, heard whistling outside of his window, then just woke up and started writing.

Now, here’s where this “Death Punch” Diary entry may throw some of you for a loop, ’cause I’m about to go somewhere some of you want nothing to do with. Those who know me best know that I fiercely believe in the higher power that’s running this whole “greatest show on Earth” gig who I by the name of God. As far as I’m concerned, creation itself is a musical composition straight from His hand, and the humans He has specifically chosen to make music of every kind are His tuning forks:

“But now bring me a musician.” Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him. [2 Kings 3:15 NKJV]

Here’s the deal, folks: Zack used to whistle and hum all the fucking time, so, before I heard Ivan talking about it, I’d already been captured by that whistling and listening to the song over and over. It was one of the most ethereal moments I’ve ever experienced in my life. “From Zack’s soul, to God’s ears, to Ivan’s mouth”, then POOF! “A seemingly magical process of transformation” through the creation of the hauntingly beautiful whistle at the beginning of a song that echoed to me just like the many other voices from my past that I believe are trying to send me messages:

Somehow, the haunting intro to this song with its echoes of what seem like my ancestors calling to me, channeled me back to either the wild, wild west or some ancient arena in Spain where kill or be killed was the fucking assignment, much like it is today during “times like these” when we’re all just fighting not only to survive, but fighting for the will to survive.

{“Times Like These“}

Much like my “Brighter Side Of Grey” moment back in March of 2020, I believe that Zack needed me to take note of the powerful message in this song, so he had God use Ivan’s whistling to do it. That’s right folks, love it or hate it, and as impossible as it may seem for some people to conceptualize, as far as I’m concerned, Ivan is not just some heavy metal rock star with a colorful past, present, and future, whose job is to jump around on stages worldwide and entertain the masses. His purpose here is so much fucking bigger than perhaps even he will ever be able to fully conceptualize. He’s a “universal elixir” and tuning fork that God is using to perpetuate His greatest alchemy of all … MUSIC!

Have I ever told any of you that I’m the luckiest human woman alive? Have I told you that I’m God’s actual favorite daughter? Have I told you how thankful I am to be sitting in all these truths and realities that are truly “all I know”, many of which I don’t even really understand, AND THAT’S OKAY? Well, if not, I’m telling you right now. Yes, I am. I am God’s favorite daughter and His divine apostrophe!

ALL I KNOW

I don’t think that I’m crazy. Yeah, but how would I know, when the voices remind me that it’s all just for show. Well, I thought I had answers, but the questions have changed. It’s so hard to feel anything when I’ve only known pain. Pain. You can cast me out and dig my hole. Spit on my grave. Curse my soul. You can hold me down and not let go, but the devil you fear is all I know. And the road that’s less traveled, well, it’s all that I’ve known. Every time I look backwards, there’s still so far to go. If I’m born to be broken … cold, bloody, and numb … tell me, why am I running? What am I running from? From? As I sit here in silence, all alone in myself … who the hell would believe me? Better yet, who would I tell? I can’t tell. {Five Finger Death Punch}

JULY 11, 2022: “It’s Times Like These” …

Although it dropped a few days ago and I’d already given it a couple spins, because I’ve been preoccupied and unable to really dig into it the way I prefer when any new Death Punch drops, it wasn’t until today while answering a Quora question about mental illness that I really sat down and dug:

It’s nights like this, under a harvest moon. It came too fast and it’s gone too soon. A wilted rose and a frozen tomb. A memory for the wind.

Anyway …

Does anybody notice that the sky is falling? Are we all just happy in the rain? Am I the only one who hears the sirens calling? Am I the only one who feels the pain?

I read all the pages from the left to right. I took one in the morning and one at night. The fire still burns, but it’s cold inside. It’s all that I can do.

Anyway …

No one wants to talk about the end is coming. Pointing fingers, handing out the blame. If I gave you answers to all your questions, could you change, or would you stay the same?

It’s times like these when the sorrow shadows all the laughter.

It’s times like these when the hurt goes on and on forever. It’s times like these I wanna fade away.

It’s times like these when left is right and forward’s backwards.

It’s times like these when days and nights just roll together.

It’s times like these I wanna fade away.

{“Times Like These” by Five Finger Death Punch}

WOW! Just WOW! How the fuck does he manage to do this? Just like clockwork and always right on cue, that FUCKER I love so very much managed to find an unexpressed storm of thoughts in my head that I didn’t even know existed and pull them out of me for reckoning.

Trust me, I get it. I totally fucking do! I’ve had a front row seat to the SHIT SHOW for the majority of my life and know exactly how it feels to want to fade away. Been there. Done that. I’ve got the proverbial straight jacket and yet the softest, most tender, stitched together, steel-encrusted heart to prove it, not to mention the unfortunate privilege of having to watch the dying soul of a person I loved literally fade away.

But let me ask you this

If you could have all the answers to your questions, would you really change or would you stay the same? And what if I told you that the truth of the matter is that some questions just aren’t meant to be answered? What if our “assignment” is to simply roll with all these fucking punches, win, lose, or draw, and go screeching into the bull pen more like Ferdinand the flower smeller than Bodacious with his reign of destruction and terror?

But Cat, how the FUCK did you hear this song and end up standing at a bullfight?

Somehow, the haunting intro to this song with its echoes of what seem like my ancestors calling to me, channeled me back to either the wild, wild west or some ancient arena in Spain where kill or be killed was the fucking assignment, much like it is today during “times like these” when we’re all just fighting not only to survive, but fighting for the will to survive.

The late, great French philosopher, Albert Camus, who is one of my favorite “absurdists“, once said these most powerful words:

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.

Well, I am here to tell you he was dead on giant BULL BALLS accurate! Happiness is what we make of it, even in the midst of falling skies. Pray GOD we all make it to the finish line in one piece with the power and grace of a Ferdinand and as many roses that we can possibly gather, wilted as some of them may be, and not like a Bodacious standing before a frozen tomb full of regret, disdain, and misery.

As and aside, I think I’m finally beginning to understand why I’m obsessed with grey skies and stormy weather. They’re a constant reminder that even though the sky falls from time to time, as if to scream at me in rage and provocation, at the end of the day I’m always gonna be okay, because it’s times like these that made me who I am.

Left, right, forwards, backwards, inside or fucking OUT, the fact of the matter is that these SHIT STORMS are gonna keep coming. So, I’ll just keep myself buckled up for the most epic ride of my life while I’m hunting for roses and laughing as often I can. I’ll make my own happiness on my own fucking terms while screaming back at the falling sky, “Guess what, Bodacious? I’m still here riding! You lose! I WIN!”

APRIL 4, 2022: “The Grey High” …

Ain’t it funny how things happen? I mean, c’mon people … do any of you still only believe in random coincidence? As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m yummily wrapped up in one of the king’s grey sweaters that on any other given Monday would have traveled in Gia’s backpack to her dad’s house. But for the fact that I just happened to be doing laundry last night instead of on my regularly scheduled Sunday, it wouldn’t have been here to greet me this morning when I decided to just make it a “grey day” and stay home to enjoy the peaceful oblivion of my happily solitary existence. Hell, I wasn’t even done reveling in and relishing the last four beautiful days I had of time spent with my precious kids and family, the message I got from Skid Row, and that fucking EPIC German schnitzel sandwich situation. I mean, BRING IT you badass fucking Cosmos

I HEAR YOU LOUD AND CLEAR!

Meanwhile, I popped on to the Instagram earlier today only to find that while I was busy “queening” around the castle in one of the best “grey highs” I’ve had in months, that today marked yet another powerful Death Punch moment. It was the release of the official “Brighter Side Of Grey” video:

It’s hard to believe that our last record “F8” came out over 2 years ago in the beginning of 2020, born into the whirlwind of events that dominated our lives and will echo into the rest of our history. Those of you intimately familiar with that album, now know how some of F8’s dystopian lyrics became rather prophetic. Brighter Side of Grey was an important song on that record, but especially personal to Ivan (who’s the only parent in the band). It is a more than fitting commentary to what’s going on in the world that probably needs a good reminder right about now that we are here only for second, a tiny blip on the flow of time… not just as individuals but as an entire species. It took a trillion conditions to be just right for human life to exist in this Universe, yet it takes just one to go terribly wrong and make it all disappear. This song also serves as the perfect bridge to our new album we just finished this week, which generally revolves around similar existential questions. It’s incredible how much we don’t understand about our own existence, yet everyone’s relationship with the concept of death permeates, even orients their entire lives. Can’t wait to share it… enjoy this video and stay tuned for new music and big tour announcements in the very near future!

{FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH YOUTUBE}

In case you didn’t get the memo yet, this isn’t just another song and grey isn’t just a color. “The Brighter Side Of Grey” is an entire mindset and way of life for me:

Grey is not just a color to me – IT’S EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN! It’s the grace 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 that 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 existence with no room for the forlorn grey I knew I needed but didn’t know how to connect with. As I look back at this picture now, I’m filled with the most unbelievable solace you can imagine. It reminds me of just how far I’ve comethat 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 bid me farewell.

{“The Brighter Side Of Grey“}

I could keep going on about the “grey” of it all, but honestly, I’m so done writing about it. Now, I just want to live in it! I want to sit back, relax, and inhale all my life nuggets of goodness.

Today is a good day in the music world, people. Not just for the factions of knuckleheads like me who’ve been anxiously waiting for this video, but likewise for anyone who sees it, hears the words, and really bites in to its sobering and bittersweet message.

This life we’re living really is just a blip, and yes, the lights will go down. So, do everything in your power to ensure that when that door closes behind you for the very last time, you leave a light on for your people and not just a darkened void. It’s how you’ll become “nothing, everything, and ALL of it” and leave this place better than you found it.

MARCH 13, 2022: “Like Water In A Cup” …

… that moment she sends you the screen shots of a conversation she had with a friend who’s in the midst of a struggle with her truly and insidiously toxic mother, only to read it and discover once again that yes, she really is listening to you, and yes, your dream for her really is coming true.

If you’ve been around this Diary long enough, by now you know I have a song for every moment, and in every one of my moments there’s a song. If I had a dollar for the countless number of times I’ve listened to and belted this one out loud to myself as a battle cry to remind me of exactly what I’m fighting for, then I’d could feed the world.

Do you want me to just listen, give you my thoughts, or offer advice? What would help you the most right now?

Pray GOD, how many times have I said those very words to her?

Everyone’s love is like water in a cup. The water in their cup is what they have to give …

And how many times have I said those exact words to her, too? I’m not gonna lie, folks, not 2.5 milliseconds after reading those words, “like water in a cup”, the waterworks began and I swear to HEAVEN that the first thought that came to my mind was the “the dream” in the words of this song.

My Mona Lisa made very much made me smile today, because after all that has been said and done, it’s becoming clearer to me each day that everything I’ve been praying for, fighting for, and dreaming about for her is coming to fruition.

As and aside, my daughter is far from perfect, just like her perfectly imperfect mom, and by no means am I attempting to canonize her into sainthood. She’s a normal and hormonal teenage girl, my friends, and truth being told, there are days when that little brat takes me toe to toe and drives me up literal walls. But if only you knew just exactly what she has been through in this lifetime thus far, and the actual demons she’s had to slay, you, like me, would be more inclined to expect that she’d have not only become a demon herself by now, but an extra cold and black one at that. She’s been broken in ways that no women should ever be broken, yet here she is spewing love, light, empathy, patience, understanding, and validation for another human being’s condition instead of the jaded toxicity that often accompanies the victims of the unfathomable crimes against her.

Likewise, by no means am a perfect parent. I have admittedly made way more than my fair share of mistakes, fails, and blunders. But this girl? My masterpiece? Although I have often felt that I don’t deserve her, evidently God believed I did, so, he charged me with her care even despite myself. She is every diamond in my jewel encrusted crown and exactly who I hope to be if and when I grow up. The more time passes, the more I can’t help but wonder whether my single greatest purpose and contribution to this world isn’t something I’m gonna do, but the children that I am raising.

SHE is my utmost achievement. SHE is the voice that will surely linger on as she continues lighting fires of her own with not just my words, but the brave and wise words of her own. SHE is the living expression of my life’s every song, and I am so blessed to call her my daughter. Today, as always, my “cup” truly runneth over.

TO MY DAUGHTER,

If you wanna lead, be a leader. If you wanna dream, be a dreamer. Climb to the top of that mountain and SCREAM IT, but, remember when you get to the top … everything you say is gonna matter … everything you do is gonna add up. It’s what I’ve asked for. So, don’t lose heart when it’s not what you thought. Careful now, girl – avoid those Jezebel ways. Don’t wear a crown on your head, but be a queen of clichés. Soon you’ll be playing with the big girls, so make sure that you’re ready when it comes around!

If you wanna preach, be a preacher. If you wanna teach, be a teacher. Remember that the footprints you’re leaving will tell us all who you really are. Never forget to remember your worth … instead of spreading your legs, please just use your words. Character is shown by the things that we do. The one thing you’re never gonna hide is the truth. ‘Cause anyone can sell when they’re selling out, and anyone can fly when they’re falling down.

I had a dream that YOU were born a generation to behold! Lighting fires with your words instead of useless smoke that blurs the lines of right and wrong; expression that lives on; my army with a song that will linger when I’m gone. I had a dream!

{Adaptation of “I Had A Dream” by Kelly Clarkson}

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 the first time, I kept watching it over and over. The more I watched, the more I ached, and I know exactly why I was so compelled to just keep on watching it. It’s a catharsis I needed, so, I was emotionally cutting myself because there are clearly some feelings about the last months of his 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 countless times I saw Zack literally holding his head in his hands the way that Ivan does in the video. He was desperately trying to quiet all the voices that were screaming inside his mind and shake off the demons that were devouring him. I kept asking him what was wrong, or if his head 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. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO MAKE THEM STOP!

I’m not gonna lie, but his words in those moments and the helpless looks upon his face may haunt me for the rest of my life.

As for me? Although I’m not an alcoholic, I have suffered and am in recovery from both an addiction “creature” of my own and a complicated mental illness. For that reason, I made the personal decision to lead a sober as FUCK lifestyle, and had my last drop of alcohol on March 26, 2021, at 4:40pm. Yes, I know that was the exact date and time because I have proof via a credit card charge from “The Shot Lady” in Nashville, Tennessee. My decision was made in support of not just Ivan’s “SOBER AS FUCK” journey and platform, but anyone else who is fighting that fight, not the least of which is someone very close to me who has yet to recognize his own tragic truths.

If you haven’t heard this song yet, YOU SHOULD! Especially if you or someone you love has ever struggled with addiction or mental illness. Always remember that not everyone survives the “tragic truth” of their journey, so we must truly celebrate the lives of every phoenix who does and support them in their flight. The wings a recovery warrior flies with were forged in a fire that not everyone makes it out of alive, and some of us had to actually die first to live.

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 intended to become, is an actual living tragedy.

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. They’re tactile proof that behind most every beautiful thing were unspeakable amounts of pain, pressure, and toil. As it turns out, I was a fuckin’ 5 carat, D-color, FLAWLESS and PRICELESS solitaire all along, it just took me a long HOT 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 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 Santapalooza is over and the ground below the tree is buried in crumpled up paper, ribbons, bows, and tags, it’s not at all 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 I’m 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 exact 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 that 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 truth of the matter is that when we get to the very end of the road with those we’ve loved and lost, the only “gifts” that will have really mattered is knowing that that WE HAD THEM and THEY HAD US! 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 saving you a seat at the table where we will dine with our Lord and Savior eternally. 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 will find there way back to us when we finally get to see them again.

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.

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.

OCTOBER 31, 2021: “Good GOODBYE!” …

No, but seriously …

I’m on a wicked house cleaning tangent these days, ’cause even us Lights in the dark have their limits. I mean, c’mon, I may be a queen, but I’m only a mortal one, so, Jean-Claude Van DAMN thank you …

BOUNDARIES!

They’re what’s for breakfast, and for lunch and dinner, and for midnight frigging snacks. I wasted far too many years and far too much of my precious 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 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. As you may have heard me say in the past if you’ve been paying enough attention in here, I have had to the devil himself for crimes against me and mine that should NEVER have been forgiven. My point being that at this juncture on my journey, although I may often and even quickly extend grace and forgiveness to the sometimes undeserving masses, I don’t really spend much time waiting around for people to change. I have no time for toxic human wastelands and the negative energy that emits from their bubble.

Hi everyone, it’s me, CAT! I am THE nicest BITCH you’ll ever wanna know, but these drinking straws of mine are PRICELESS. So, if you really, REALLY want one of ’em, you best bring your A-Game for me, ’cause momma ain’t playin’ around no MO! I’m in this to WIN it, and lions don’t associate with sheep. Unless, of course, they’re having them for dinner! But hey, THAT’S a different story for another day!

(“Drinking Straw Parasites“)

I gotta big ole shiny Queendom I’m runnin’ over here with just enough people in it who do hold space for me/ So, I no longer accept scraps, bullshit, or anything less than what I bring to the table from anyone. For those truly unfortunates people who don’t end up making the cut? Well, I’m sorry, but I’m NOT sorry ’boutcha. The happiest, smiliest, 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 21, 2021: “Inside Of Me” …

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 either appreciate or handle.

THEIR LOSS, NOT MINE!

I’m not gonna lie folks. Once I made peace with myself and truly ethereal space between my ears, I stopped trying to run away from it, moved the HELL back in, 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 either 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 11, 2021: “Let ‘Em Go” …

Fade it out into the light. All these years we never get it right. I need to let it go. I need to let it go. I NEED TO LET IT GO!

‘Cause, sometimes it’s just like that, and guess what? THAT’S OKAY! Indeed, it’s true: “Your life is YOUR life”! We only get one spin around this globe each day, and we don’t know when that last spin’s coming. Life’s too fucking precious to let anyone or anything “club you into dank submission” and steal your fucking Light. So?

Just … Say … NO!

LET … IT … GO!

Never feel bad for not feeling bad when the people, places, and even some memories don’t make the final cut. You’re allowed to be happy, at peace, and free from the deadweight of all those toxic and sometimes parasite infested fronds. The past is only a point of reference, my friends, not a place to hang pictures and call home. Besides, you can’t grow any new leaves without losing the dead ones first.

The garden of your life has been patiently waiting for you, my friends, and it needs you to help it become healthier and more fruitful. GET TO PRUNING! While you’re busy trimming it up and clearing out the weeds, here’s another one of those songs you can sing to yourself as you’re practicing the ultimate self love and letting some of them dead leaves go.

LET IT GO

Wait it out ’til the light. Take a breathe, say good night, but don’t ever go away. Wait around to find the time. Only you can take what’s mine, but don’t ever go away. I’ll be waiting’. I need to let it go. Fade it out into the light. All these years we never get it right. I need to let it go. No more reasons to deny that I believed that you were mine. I need to let it go. I need to let it go. I NEED TO LET IT GO! A chance to change or stay the same. One night without the blame that’ll never go away. Only you can make it right – to walk away and have no fight – but don’t ever go away. I’ll be waiting. I need to let it go. Fade it out into the light. All these years we never get it right. I need to let it go. I need to let it go. I NEED TO LET IT GO! No more reasons to deny that I believed that you were mine. I NEED TO LET IT GO! {Cavo}

OCTOBER 10, 2021: “That Music Thing” …

When my son was a teenager, he started sending me songs to communicate his feelings, often in the wee hours of the night. Until then, because of the trauma he’d experienced in his fucked up, toxic, and beyond dysfunctional “childhood” courtesy of his dad and me, he’d been keeping his broken feelings buried and was unable to verbally express the depth of his jaded emotions.

The first song he ever sent me was at age 16, not long after I’d moved out of our family home for the third and final time just days before my nervous breakdown. The song was “Remember Everything” by Five Finger Death Punch, who of course are now my favorite band (and Ivan one of my favorite humans and friends), but until I got that “text heard ’round the world”, I’d never even heard of them. The text came through without any words … just the link to the song … BUT … there were no words necessary. Once I’d listened to it, I knew exactly what he was trying to tell me:

Mom, I love you, but I need you to know – I REMEMBER EVERYTHING!

He remembers? Remembers EVERYTHING? What the FUCK have I done to my only son?

I’m not gonna lie, folks, THAT was one literal and not metaphorical hell of a rough night for me. If you’ve ever listened to that song before, I’m certain you’ll understand why, and just for the record, if you’ve never heard that song before and have a history of childhood trauma, listen to it and you’ll understand why! Nevertheless, sending me that poignant and cryptic message at 3 o’clock in the morning was probably one of the best ways he could have possibly ever expressed exactly what he was feeling in the midst of all the undeserved wreckage and chaos that had become his life.

Needless to say, it was a pivotal moment in all our lives during a massive season of change, but hearing those words as they swept through my ears and washed over my own broken mind was an actual five finger death punch right through my fucking soul. Not only did it remind me of the countless ways I’d failed him, it also reminded me of the many things, I, too, “remembered” about my own dysfunctional childhood and how history was now repeating itself. It was devastating, but necessary, because as most of us know all too well, sometimes the truth has to hurt us before it can change us for the better.

Thereafter, if became a thing with us, and even to this day he lets me know what’s going on in his heart and mind with his random musical messages. Although some of the messages have been heavier than others, and some have been mind-numbingly ethereal, others have just been pure and simple love songs to let me know I’m still his best momma.

“That music thing” has now morphed into much more than just me and him communicating. These days, it’s also about me communicating with myself. Singing myself love songs is one of my favorite mental wealth hacks of all, and has now become a powerful way to not only love myself back to life unconditionally, but keep myself loved eternally.

“When The Seasons Change” is one of my life songs, of course by 5FDP, and as such, has made an appearance in this Diary more than a couple of times. It has truly been applicable to all the most important people, places, and seasons of my life, so, yes, I belt it out loud to myself all the time. Sometimes I have to tweak the words to my “love songs” to make them more applicable to me, as in the case below. Lol, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, life here in my Queendom moves to a rhythm of it’s very own, but hey, it’s all good. A queen’s gotta do what a queen’s gotta do … especially when the seasons are changing!

There’s a light in ME that tears me down to nothing. There’s an angel in MY eyes. There’s a hope inside THAT I CAN MAKE IT BETTER – I see right through MY disguise. When it rains it pours, and everybody stumbles. I won’t let them bring ME down. There’s a hope in ME that I will die for something. Was there fire in MY eyes? All this pain inside – Will it be this way forever? I can run but I can’t hide. When the seasons change … and I’M in for colder weather – look for ME on the divide … {Five Finger Death Punch}

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

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 woman could possibly reign over”, you would be correct!

I once heard it said that everything feels like home when you fall in love with someone who loves you back, and knowing what I know about life, love, and everything in between now, I’ve found that nothing could be further from the truth. As it turned out, the most important person I could ever have fallen in love with is was myself.

I promise I’m not bragging, but it’s a pretty spectacular Queendom in which I reign … “alone, NOT lonely” … just me and my other best friend, Jesus. That’s right, people, I’m a Jesus loving FREAK with a divinely punctuated soul that’s on FIRE literally every single day of my life.

Please don’t get me wrong, though. GOD owns my soul, Jesus paid for it’s salvation, and the Holy Spirit brought the kingdom to dwell inside my body. As far as I’m concerned, that makes ME the safest fortress I’ve ever had, the most blessed woman on the face of this Earth, and God’s ACTUAL favorite daughter. It was me, and ONLY me, to whom my soul was meant to return. Wherever I am and wherever I go, I’M the best place that I can be, because I am my own true home, and the fire in my soul is the hearth that keeps the Lights on.

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!” …

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I had to learn the bittersweet lesson that sometimes you actually do have to die inside a little (and sometimes even a lot) 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 as any good and loyal knucklehead already knows, this guy really DID die “once upon a time”, only to be reborn into the living phoenix he truly is. It’s the poignant yet beautiful tragedy of his truth that has led so many of us to find the brighter side of all our greys. The soul of my soul is what Ivan 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 also 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? Meanwhile, I’m 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 GOT IVAN’S SIX!

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

SEPTEMBER 20, 2021: “As They Are” …

I ran across a conversation amongst some parents on social media the other day about “how they were dealing with the fact that their children didn’t turn out as they’d hoped”. It was perplexing and after reading the various insights, I had to take a moment and pause. So, I asked myself that question, and here is where I landed:

I have had three babies.

One of them is already in Heaven, which of course is not what I’d “hoped” for her. Although I was only blessed with her physical presence for a literal handful of fleeting hours (“handful” meaning that she literally fit in the palm of my hand), there have been moments that I’ve actually thanked God for getting her out of this wretched mortal world the rest of us are shackled too sooner rather than later. Let’s be honest folks – regardless of the hope, joy, beauty and laughter there truly are to be found in this temporary Earthly home, “humanity” is not for the faint of heart and it takes an immense amount of courage, faith, and suffering to survive it.

So, yes, I’m thankful she never had to endure the gauntlet of simply existing. I know where she is now. She’s safe, loved, and treasured beyond comprehension by a Love even greater than mine, and for that I am truly grateful. I believe that when I myself get to the brighter side of all this grey, she’ll be there waiting for me right beside my husband, who too is eternally safe and free from the suffering he knew here on Earth.

Then, there are the two still here with me. If I’ve learned anything in my journey thus far, it’s that as their mom, nothing is more crucial for their mental wealth then my unconditional love and acceptance of them just as they are and just as they aren’t.

Due in part to the extreme dysfunction of my own childhood, wherein my parents (who were also raised in dysfunction) perpetuated the “works and deeds” system of parenting cyclically bequeathed them, I spent the first 39 years of my life void of a reflection in the mirror. “Love, affection, praise, and reward” were earned, not freely given, and even the smallest perceived failure or disappointment in their eyes would often cost me everything.

I cannot tell you how many times they “washed their hands of me” over the years for screwing things up and falling short of their expectations. I was guilted and shamed for “not being good” too many times to count, which eventually cost me my sanity, and almost cost me my life. Meanwhile, here I am. I’ve made peace with my past, my present, and my future, and am fully connected back to that elusive younger me who was missing from the mirror all those years.

This is how I deal with the fact that my children aren’t turning out “as I’d hoped”: I DON’T, BECAUSE THEY ARE! Their mental health and happiness are all I ever hope for. Their lives are their lives, and the only human beings they need to be accountable to when setting their personal achievement bars is themselves! No matter how high or low they set them, they will never be failures in my eyes. If they want to grow up and sell lemonade from a bus, so be it, as long as they’re selling the BEST damn lemonade they can possibly sell and they sleep peacefully at night after doing so.

I believe with every shred of my being that the moment these kids became a part of my blood and bones, my job as the mother who was blessed enough to be blessed by their presence on my path was to relearn and reteach “life” according to their own unique terms and being and to prepare them for flight on their own unique paths – not mine!

My kids don’t owe me a single thing – not even love and respect. Do they love and respect me? Indeed, I think they do. Yet, as oxymoronical as it seems, both love and respect are the consequence of free will and cannot be forced or commanded. My babies are not extensions of me – they’re their own, autonomous beings. I want them to love and respect me because they want to love and respect me, not because I demand it. They ‘re people, not machines, with thoughts and feelings of their own. The best that I can do is to keep freely giving what I “hope” to receive in return, regardless of their reciprocation.

There is nothing they can do or say that will keep me from being proud of them, and all I ever ask for is their best in all they do, that they grow from their mistakes, learn from all of mine, and treat themselves and others kindly. Neither of them is perfect, and each has had some challenges courtesy of their own dysfunctional childhood and me. It took me a minute to pull my head out of my own ass, get the help I needed to become whole, and stop acting like the consummate victim. But I did, and they know it, and we are all in this thing together separately.

At the end of the day, my job as their mom will be a true success if they learn to see themselves in their mirrors as the impeccably flawed masterpieces they are – lemonade stands and all. My son is a KING in the making, and my daughter a warrior QUEEN just like me. All three of us are battle born SURVIVORS who’ve “gotten” to learn the hard way that nothing here matters without true and unconditional love and acceptance, which they will always have from their mom, and we ALL have from our God. I will always love them as they are – nothing more, nothing less.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2021: “With Love From My Dark Side” …

… because just as sure as this Marianne Williamson quote that has long been a favorite of mine is so very true, it only recently dawned on me that it applies to ourselves as well. So, I tweaked it up a bit, “Real Cat” style …

But why would we even want to embrace our dark side? I believe it’s our subconscious need for self-love, acceptance, and connection to our higher power. For me? That “higher power” is God. Look, even the brightest stars can’t shine without the black of night, so sometimes you have to go DEEP into the abyss to find out what you’re really made of and come back out carrying the torch for others.

Everybody’s got a dark side. Do you love me? Can you love mine?

I am so beyond thankful for the small handful of people who have indeed been brave enough to love me unconditionally, even despite my very dark side, not the least of whom is God Himself. I’m even more thankful that I have reached a place in my journey where I, too, am now able to truly make peace with and embrace other people’s dark side if that’s what I need to do.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again … Zachariah went zero dark hour in the months before he left. It’s the sobering, tragic truth. The things he did to me and my daughter would literally blow your mind. Yes, I have truly forgiven him, and yes, I still feel love for him despite the devastating horror his “dark side” brought into our lives in the end.

SEPTEMBER 12, 2021: “Who’s They?” …

Are humans supposed to be normal or abnormal?

{The “Quora Question“}

Umm, hi! So, I believe that humans are “supposed to be” the most authentic version of what and who they are, whether that be “normal”, or “abnormal”. As and aside, I personally believe that both those words, “normal” and “abnormal”, are much too subjective to be used as a baseline for humanity. Who exactly sets the standard, and what exactly entitled them to do so?

WHO’S “THEY”?

They say we need to be a certain way to fit the mold, or so they say, but who’s they? How can we pretend to care and bend because we’re told we’re not okay? Who’s they? We can’t go wrong when we all stand tall and we sing the same song. We’ll find it hard not to get along. La da da da da da. La da da da da da. La da da da da da. We’ll find it hard not to sing along.

{“Who’s They” … by Daughtry}

In my journey, it’s God who’s “they”. It’s God who sets the standard for everything human, and even that is subjective, as the personal lens through which I see, understand, and relate to Him is based solely on my unique life experiences thus far. For as much as I believe my conscious is the mode through which God speaks directly to me, I haven’t yet had the chance to sit down and have a conversation with Him about everything He intended to be “standard” for creation:

… lest you remember that although not a single one of them damn peoples’ nasty, misperceived opinions of you matters, YOUR SELF-REFLECTION DOES! In being honest and taking this even a step further, for me, personally, it’s only my self-reflection through God’s eyes that matters to me. But hey, you know what? My faith journey is my faith journey, and although I do so wish you ALL well on your own faith journeys, that’s a totally different Diary entry for another day. In the meantime, you just do whatever it takes to make friends with that person you see standing in the mirror, because like it or not, that beautiful creature looking back at you is your ride or die from this day ’til eternity! How you feel and what you think of YOU is EVERYTHING …

{“The Stranger In The Mirror“}

So, with that, I really don’t think there’s a viable answer to this question. What’s “normal” to some may be “abnormal” to others. Thus, the human experience, for which I say to “they”: To EACH – His OWN! So, if you don’t like the standards and norms that “he” owns, maybe you should spend a little more time worrying about why you even care in the first place and a little more time worrying about the standards and norms that YOU OWN!

JULY 26, 2021: “The Divine Apostrophe” …

She had come to believe that it was the dark days of the past that had made her impossibly strong. It was years until she realized she was wrong. She was forged from steel at the onset of His design. “Strong” is what she was. “Light” is who she’d be. The darkness merely forced her to prove it.

As she was pulled towards her destiny with a blind faith that swathed her in power and grace, her “should have been” broken soul remained unbroken. She never stopped believing in God and love, and refused to be a jaded victim. She was the girl who smiled when it rained, danced as her life unraveled, and rejected the devil’s lie that life was not worth living. Then, right on cue, the vividly colored palette she’d been handed by The Master began morphing into the grey that infused her canvas.

She would have to rewrite her fairytale an infinite number of times, but never once did she cower at the thought of starting over. Deep in her heart, she believed that she was only ever sent here to master the art of diving deep into her own soul and embracing the love and magic that had been waiting to meet her there all along. She’d somehow always known that every ending was just a beginning, and even the most beautiful seasons had to change.

Each time the devil tried to steal the crown from her head, she’d adapt, survive, and emerge from her cocoon the ungroundable Phoenix she was. She was a creation of Light that couldn’t be dimmed … God’s very favorite daughter and divinely appointed “apostrophe”:

I’m an apostrophe. I’m just a symbol to remind you that there’s more to see. I’m just a product of the system. A catastrophe, and yet a masterpiece, and yet I’m half diseased. And when I am deceased, at least I’ll go down to the grave and die happily. Leave the body and my soul to be a part of thee. I’ll do what it takes.

{“Whatever It Takes” … Imagine Dragons}

“She” is me!

“She” can be YOU!

If you are stumbling in a darkness of your own, please let me to encourage you to pick up the crown that the world kicked off your head and put it right back where it belongs. Not just for you, but for all the others who are standing beside you. Even as you read this, your name is being mentioned in rooms behind closed doors that you haven’t even walked through yet, and the plans that are being drawn up by The Powers That Be are especially for you!

As for me?

Just like all the stars in the sky that punctuate this world with their halo, I will continue to beam through the infinite abyss that would love nothing better than to swallow me alive. I’ll keep reminding myself that my soul is ablaze with all the mysterious and illustrious things that dying eyes desperately need to see to help them find their way back home.

We were all created from perfection! We were all divinely inspired! We are all a product of the Light that all the darkness in this world wants to extinguish, and all God’s “favorite” children.

MAY 17, 2021: “Into The Mystery I Slide” …

There was no-one like him. I’d lived in a world of black and white, and he was the only one in color.

… but then again …

There’ll be NO one like him. Into the mystery I slide. I’m hoping he’ll keep it all uncovered.

Kinda cryptic, right? Only God knows what the future holds for me. It’s either “been there, done that” alone, but not lonely, for the rest of my days on this Earth …

… or …

There is one last king preparing himself for ME somewhere out there in this realm.

Admittedly, I won’t be an easy catch. If and when he either does or doesn’t show up, he’ll be a TRUE “alpha man” to the core, who will easily win the privilege and HONOR of taking and RULING my heart and seeing “all of me“.

But wait, Cat! Didn’t you just say you won’t be an easy catch? That seems so contradictory!

Correct! I won’t be an easy catch. But you see, if “he” is who he’ll need to be to even capture my attention in the first place, it will be easy for him to catch me. It’ll be a cosmic clash of two titans on Earth, and that’s just the way it’s gonna be! I will only do this one more time, by the way, so if I do, he’ll be playing for keeps.

This is me speaking into the Cosmos that I’m open to what and “if” is or is NOT meant to be. It’s called “Queen-Speak“.

IT IS SPOKEN!

MARCH 27, 2021: “Starving A Narcissist” …

… but even THEN, it sometimes takes a hot minute to send them packing for their next kill!

In November of 1996, I “got to learn” the very hard way what really lied beneath the surface of the most narcissistic, evil man I’ve ever had the misfortune of crossing paths with …

… and his name was John.

Note that as I wrote “man”, I literally and not metaphorically laughed my fucking ass off! I’ve since been enlightened as to the true measure of a man, and “man” gives him way more credit than what his very SMALL affect truly is (and I do mean SMALL in every way). He’s a hoovering narcissist. Nothing more and nothing less.

Narcissists begin hoovering when they want something from you such as attention, validation, money or sex. But the deepest reason why narcissists hoover is because they are completely internally empty. They have a pathological fear of feeling insignificant, unlovable, alone or worthless, so they do whatever they can to fill this empty void and sustain their false self-image. Narcissists are fundamentally addicted to the attention of others. Without attention and control, they starve. When their reservoirs of narcissistic supply run out, they seek to prey off the old “meat” they managed to catch in the past – and that means you. This also means that they usually have many “backups” (e.g. other exes) to feed off when they begin to feel hungry again. Like predators, a narcissist knows how to manipulate the weaknesses of those they have preyed on before. They will try to entice you through random texts, apologies, declarations of undying love, and “repentant” gestures which try to convince you how much they have “changed” and “care” for you.

{Alethia Luna ~ “8 Signs You’re The Victim Of An Abusive Hoovering Narcissist“}

As par for the course over the past 20 years, John has never fully left my atmosphere since our near fateful departure. Not long after he and Angie leveled me to the point of almost no return, he showed up at my home to deliver a stack of Christmas presents and a little somethin’ else. Keep in mind that he was already engaged to Angie at the time, and although NOTHING happened between “us”, something indeed happened between “him and himself” right there on my bed! It was one of the most twisted things I’d ever witnessed in my life, which is saying a lot. After having admittedly driven my own self crazy and spending time in a couple of “facilities”, trust me when I tell you – I’VE WITNESSED SOME TWISTED SHIT!

At first he tried gaslighting it back to my insanity, but a friend hooked my phone up to a recording device so I could try to lure the truth out of him in what he thought was a private conversation, WHICH HE DID! I then proceeded to take said recording to Angie’s family and play it for them out loud! Yup! That happened. That really fucking happened! Sounds far fetched, I know, but let me assure you that the people who helped me bust “Hoovery McNarcissit” at his very best game EVER are all still alive to tell about it!

Meanwhile, some years later, in the irony of all ironies, despite the fact that he had always chastised the “pompous affluence” in the small town where I lived, guess which “pompous and affluent” town John and his now ex-wife chose to build their home in? Ding, ding, ding, ding ding! OUR TOWN! In fact, they built said home in the subdivision that abutted the one where my parents still live today, which is across the street from where my ex-husband and I used to live. So, imagine my surprise years later when I walked a then baby Gia to the park across the street from my home, only to find John’s wife and daughter playing there as well! I’m not gonna lie, I have long since wondered whether there was really any irony in that at all. But I’ve digressed.

Very long and sordid tale short, they eventually began working out at the Lifetime Fitness Center that was our “gym home” (and is still mine), and we would see them there often. At a certain point, in being polite, formal introductions were made, and my husband (who’s physical presence over-powered him by at least a half a foot and a hundred pounds) had even shaken his hand once. But trust me when I tell you, Zack knew ALL about “John and Angie”, and every time he saw me politely engaging John’s cordial conversations, he literally wanted to slit his throat. Both Zack and Gia had always said he looked like an actual snake (and now that I think of it, he really kinda does), and whenever Gia sees him, she shudders with physical chills. AND GET THIS: Despite the fact that Angie and John had parted ways, such that he had married the blonde girl I ran into at the park, she too became a member at that gym. So, I saw them both there all the fucking time. But in my mind, bygones were now bygones, soo …

In his defense, I must admit that I brought his last round of bullshit on myself. Not because I’m weak – BECAUSE I’M FORGIVING! He’d reached out to me not too long after Zack died, and I’d even agreed to meet him for dinner because I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe he’d somehow changed. Said dinner didn’t end well, and perhaps someday I’ll tell you why. As for now, I’ll reveal how this drama finally played out by showing you! If you pay close attention to the dates and times, you will clearly see it! Texting. Double-texting. “Feigned concern”.

MARCH 27, 2020

APRIL 5, 2020

APRIL 6, 2020

APRIL 12, 2020

APRIL 29, 2020

APRIL 30, 2020

MAY 10, 2020

MAY 24, 2020

JUNE 13, 2020

AUGUST 13 & 14, 2020

THE END!

Well, kind of! On Tuesday, February 16th, he texted me again. Then again. Then again.

To which my final response is this:

Unaffected, unimpressed, and laughing my ass off yet again. Meanwhile, if you know this Diary at all, you know I have a song for almost every entry. Nope. Not this one. Music is my therapy … my happy place … MY EVERYTHING! That being said, though, as I finish this up, I can’t help but remember that night many years ago when I first journaled about “that night” I discovered what really lied beneath two of the most pathetic excuses for “spawn” masquerading as human beings, I wrote these words:

How very starved these two pathetic creatures posing as human beings must have been that my heart became meals for his very small affect and her insignificant, insecure, and insincere ego.

{“What Lied Beneath“}

So, in keeping with that train of thought, and instead of my usual “song”, I suppose all that really remains for “this thing” that was once in my life are these five final words:

Starve LITTLE narcissist boy. STARVE!

MARCH 23, 2021: “Taking The Crown” …

Just sending out a smoke signals out to all my fellow kings and queens! In case no one has told you this today …

You,

Are,

AMAZING!

“Let’s state the obvious right now”, you’ll be victorious! You’ll take the crown (just like you’ve always done before). Keep digging in, THEY’LL STEP AROUND, ’cause in the end you will stand your ground!

And remember …

It’s okay to scream out loud that you are WAY TOO GOOD for assholes and their toxic bullshit! It doesn’t make you egotistical – it makes you SELF-RESPECTFUL! If you are in my “virtual circle” and therefore reading this right now, chances are that you too are a badass in your own right, otherwise we wouldn’t be virtually connected. DON’T LET ANYONE LOWER YOU TO THEIR “SURFACE LEVEL”. Make them rise to you, OR LEAVE THEM DOWN AT THE BOTTOM!

Rise up. Fly high. Advocate for yourself in everything you do and don’t accept anything that’s not EVERYTHING! Keep your chin up, knuckles out, and head WAY up above the clouds! Trust me when I tell you, the oxygen is MUCH better here – especially when you’ve taken the crown!

MARCH 17, 2021: “The Hidden Message” …

… because maybe sometimes the meaning behind the message the Cosmos is trying to send us can only be received when we’re actually ready to hear them.

I’ve watched the “Bubbikins” episode of The Crown more than a dozen times, and if you’ve read my “Speaking Of Faith And Crowns” blog, you know it was a huge catalyst in connecting with the many messages my God has been sending me every step of the way. But did you know that I didn’t know there was, perhaps, a more important message in it that I’d missed entirely? I’d been watching it again on Friday night when Christian called me in tears saying, “Momma, PLEASE forgive Grandpa“? THEN I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and wrote “Desperado“. THEN “the message hidden in the message” literally HIT ME like a ton an actual ton of bricks:

What if everything we think we’ve known isn’t really what it was at all? Just as I pray that what ultimately awaits me on The Brighter Side Of Grey is my own children’s understanding of what was really happening on “the day of The Circadian“, even more so do I pray that I remain steadfast in my conviction that indeed, it is true, that “HURT people hurt PEOPLE”, and sometimes grace is the only big picture we were ever meant to understand.

… and, with that, I am STILL the luckiest Queen on the face of this beautiful planet, STILL God’s favorite daughter, and STILL blessed far beyond anything my MANY sins of the past should have allowed. I love you, too, God. THANK YOU – for EVERYTHING! Your not-so-hidden hidden messages are coming through louder and clearer every step of the way.