MARCH 27, 2023: “I’m HERE Again” …

I’m here again … but NOT a thousand miles away from You. No, I can’t do this on my own (nor would I want to). Since I’ve seen Your face, I’ve known that I was Yours and found everything I thought I lost before. When You call my name, You make me into one whole piece in Your eye.
{“God’s Favorite Daughter“)

Meanwhile …

I’m STILL standing strong amidst a lifetime of shards and pieces that I suppose should have actually killed me by now, but instead, have only helped me find God’s face and voice within myself. I’ll never be broken and alone in silent darkness with all these shards and pieces again.
{“The Silent Pieces Of My Memories“}

MARCH 23, 2023: “Bring It!” …

Some years ago, an extremely powerful song was born from one of my favorite albums. That Said song has since become one of my utmost battle cries to the devil:

I’m gonna hit you right where it hurts. I’m gonna give you everything that you deserve. If you need attention … something to say … let’s hear your confession. I am just too hard to break! Your words are reckless … delusional! Inside you’re helpless … far from who you say you are. You try to push me over the edge. I won’t let you pull me down to your level again! And now you’re here to stare me down. And now you’re here to stand your ground. I’ll knock you down … I’ll drag you out … no mercy! How do you like it now?

Bring it! Bring it! I’m still right here undefeated! Say whatever you want … it really don’t mean anything.

Bring it! Bring it! If there’s no fear let me see it! There is nothing you got that will ever get to me!

Guess what, though? Today that song just became one of my utmost battle cries to myself. I didn’t let my anger get the best of me. I kicked my ego’s ass, rose above the hostile, albeit well-deserved feelings I have towards my husband’s THING of a “brother”, and remembered who ABOVE the hell I am! I’m the risen and reigning queen that the “Zack Of Shit” he couldn’t be bothered with left behind.

Very long, complicated, and sometimes ugly story short? Hey, Devil? I WIN! YOU LOSE! The same goes for you, “brother THING”! why don’t you hit me up whenever you need that hundred bucks. It’ll be waiting in my wallet! And by the way, not only is your police pants blue Porsche ASS ugly, you barely fucking fit in it, little big man. Lol! Something tells me that see you next Tuesday Meggy is the one that unfortunate decision for you, kinda like the even more unfortunate one she made for you to piss away your baby brother.

MARCH 23, 2023: “Welcome To The Pride!” …

“I will not be forgotten! This is my time to shine! I’ve got the scars to prove it … only the strong survive! I’m not afraid of dying! Everyone has their time! Life never favored weakness!


They say that perseverance will always lead to victory, and indeed I believe that’s true. Quite sadly, however, it is also true that life never has favored weakness, everyone does have their time, and (ps), you have to be willing to die! No, I’m not just talking about LITERALLY dying. I mean that sometimes you have to be willing to metaphorically die … to YOURSELF … by killing your ego.

The real trick is knowing what’s worth fighting for in the first place and knowing what TRUE victory looks like. Sometimes, LOSING is actually WINNING. See, that’s where the ego death comes into play. Some of the bloodiest battles and wars were started by man’s insufferable ego … and some of the most epic victories were found at the losing end of “man versus himself”. Remember:

Your ego wants you to win so you feel good about yourself. Yet it’s exactly the ego itself that’s sabotaging you from winning. The paradox… Killing the ego before it becomes big is a great way to sustain a happy life … because once it gets enough power, you’ll start to beat yourself up for small stuff. It’s a guaranteed way to cripple yourself.
(“Inside Out Mastery” by Mick De Boers)

Sounds complicated, right? Well, it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. If laying low in an almost perpetual state of rest to the point of appearing lazy is a good enough survival tactic on the pride lands, it’s good enough for all of us, too. A lion’s victories in war are only as good as the energy it’s conserved for only the most necessary of primal battles. So, too, is it with we human animals. Just sayin’!

MARCH 11, 2023: “Say Their Name!” …

On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon exactly one year ago today, “the music wheel of destiny” stopped my world, and my heart, and sent me straight into the breakdown lane of one of the busiest highways in Dallas so that I could literally “cry my eyes out”. It was as if Zack were singing this beautifully haunting melody to me, my daughter, and my son in a message from “The Brighter Side Of Grey“, where in our hearts we know he finally is. If you haven’t ever heard this song, I cannot urge you enough to listen to it, especially if you are at odds with yourself over the legacy you are going to be leaving behind for your own children and loved ones.
(“My Grey-Aversary“)

So, with that, Happy THREE YEAR Grey-Aversary to me and anyone else who’s riding this beautiful “grey high” train with me to the brighter side of everything you’re painting your legacy with! If you, like many of us, are grieving the loss of someone who you loved … WAIT! NO! … someone who you still love, no matter how long ago it has been, do me a favor and SAY THEIR NAME today!

And remember …

Death Is NOTHING At All“. I mean, does it HURT that they aren’t still physically “here” with us? HELLO? Of course it does! All of this grief we share is our infinite and unexpressed love for them. They are still here, though … just slipped into the next room … watching, listening, and absorbing all of this through their telescopes. When we say their names, they can hear us, I promise, promise, PROMISE! In the meantime, just keep it GREY today, and don’t forget to listen to our song …

MARCH 5, 2023: “Hey! Look At Me!” …

Yes, Miss Maggie (may you truly be resting in peace), you really nailed this one on the head!

For all those times I’ve ever wondered if anyone really “see me” (especially my babies), all it took was a few truly impeccable words to drive those silly doubts out of the darkness my mind still occasionally wanders through. Even her Dad is “seeing” how hard I’m working to cultivate a bright future for our masterpiece.

Don’t get me wrong, folks. I don’t do things for anyone from a selfish place. The altruistic soul my skin adorns refuses to give of myself for personal gain. I do what I do for the people in my halo (and sometimes even strangers) from a place of unbridled love and passion for pebble-skipping and wave-making, regardless of whether I’ll ever see the tsunami of fruit from the gifts of my heart and hands. I truly don’t need to be “seen, heard, or appreciated”. It literally sets my soul on fire to at least try to make all the people, places, and things I’ve touched better than I found them, and that feeling is reward enough for me … BUT … I’m not gonna lie, folks … I don’t hate it, either!

With that, I am blasted right back to the past to one of my favorite “oldies but goodies”, Circa 1999, which I am now blasting back out to my babies, my God, and even myself:

Hey, look at me, living life for you. When it’s good. When it’s hard. You know me. You know my heart. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I give up anything at all when You call. All I know … it’s worth it all!
{Michael W. Smith}

Make it a powerful Monday, friends! If there’s someone in YOUR life whose works and deeds have made it better, but perhaps you haven’t told them yet, SAY THE WORDS that tell them.

FEBRUARY 14, 2023: “Say The Words” …

Solomon once wrote:

Better is open rebuke than hidden love.

{PROVERBS 27:5-6}

With that, perhaps we should consider “the words” to a song that may be an oldie, but it’s still a damn goodie, that I listen to all the time:

Silence is golden but these are the words that the world needs to hear. Terms of compassion will cause a reaction as love drives them near. But still we choose to hide behind the face of pride, pretending we are blind to the calling. This is my point and case, if hate can be erased with such a simple phrase, why are we stalling? 
Some just assume we already know of the love that they feel. Some have a heartfelt emotion, but never the words to reveal. I think we all relate, so why are we afraid to let our hearts convey what we’re feeling? There is a world in need with hungry souls to feed, and love can intercede if we’re willing.
So, say the words, say the words, say “I love you”. Say the words I long to hear. Say the words, say the words, say “I love you”. Say the words I long to hear.  Ya gotta say it. Ya gotta say it. SAY IT!
{DC Talk}

By the way, “saying the words” doesn’t just apply to romantic partners. It means speaking words of love, kindness, and caring that your children and even friends or strangers may need to hear. Don’t just assume that your people know the beautiful things you feel for them in your heart. I mean, let’s face it … NONE OF US ARE MIND-READERS! Also, there are many people in this world, and maybe even some of your people, whose love language is words of affirmation. Meaning, the only way they really “hear” the words “I love you” is by really hearing the words “I love you.”

Do they make you smile when they walk into the room? Does their smile brighten the darkest of spaces? Do they inspire you? Encourage you? Make you want to be a better person? Do they make everything about your existence in what can seem like a dreadful existence more enjoyable, comfortable, and “worth it all”? TELL THEM! Tell them they’re beautiful! Tell them they’re smart! Tell them you have faith in them, that your proud of them, and proud to even know them!

Always remember that every word you speak into someone’s ears or The Cosmos itself can either sow a garden or destroy a crop. So, yes, SAY THE WORDS, but make them IMPECCABLE!

I can end life. I can give life. I bring truth. I bring lies. I am heard … but not seen. Who am I? I AM WORDS!

(“Little Toy Guns“)

My valentine may be elsewhere now, but I will revel in all the sweet words I’ll share with all my valentines on Earth today … not the least of which is the very recently broken, not so golden silence between me and my Dad. These texts between he and I may seem a bit silly to the rest of the world, but to me, they are my case in point that hate really can be erased by SAYING THE WORDS!

FEBRUARY 9, 2023: “Mirror On The Wall” …

Dear Younger Me,

With everything happening today, you don’t know whether you’re coming or going, but you think that you’re on your way. Life lined up on the mirror … don’t blow it. Look at me when I’m talkin’ to you! You looking at me – but I’m lookin’ through you. I see the blood in your eyes. I see the love in disguise. I see the pain hidden in your pride. I see you’re not satisfied, and I don’t see nobody else. I see myself. I’m looking at the mirror on the wall. Here we are again. Through my rise and fall, you’ve been my only friend. You told me that they can’t understand the man I am. So, why are we here talkin’ to each other again?
Uh, I see the truth in your lies. I see nobody by your side. But I’m with you when you’re all alone, and you correct me when I’m lookin’ wrong. I see that guilt beneath the shame. I see your soul through your window pane. I see the scars that remain. I see YOU! I’m looking at the mirror on the wall. Here we are again. Through my rise and fall, you’ve been my only friend. You told me that they can’t understand the man I am. So, why are we here talkin’ to each other again?
Lookin at me now I can see my past. Damn, I look just like my f-ckin dad. Light it up, that smoke and mirrors. I even look good in the broken mirror. I see my momma smile … thats a blessin’. I see the change. I see the message, and no message could been any clearer, so, I’m startin’ with the man in the mirror on the wall.
(‘Lil Wayne ft. Bruno Mars)

So? Why am I here talking to you again? Oh, that’s right! It’s because I needed to remind you of just how far you’re going to rise above all the bullshit that got dumped on the driveway of your childhood that started breaking you in the first place. I know it’s hard to see right now through all the cracks and smoke in your mirrors, but you’re gonna be alright. You’re a queen rising to her own reflection! I love you, younger me. I’ll be here waiting for you until the not so bitter end.

~ Me

FEBRUARY 1, 2023: “Calm The Fire” …

… that moment you’re in the middle of what should have been a happy family text about the first-class, luxury vacation he had offered to send us all away on, but instead, you are cold-cocked in the face with the reality that it wasn’t just “dear ole Dad” who was the primary poisoner and “root cause” of the damage to your family tree. I mean, I’d always known that she, too, played her part in our family’s disintegration, but it wasn’t until tonight that I really understood the depth of that damage:

Mom, I’m going to say something and then shut my phone off for the day because I am REALLY upset about what you just did to Dad on that “family text”. It triggered me back to my childhood AND early adulthood when you would constantly say things like: “Just stop feeling sorry for yourself.” “Other people have it worse than you.” “There are children STARVING in Biafra.” “Think about all the people who have no arms and legs.” “You should be ashamed of yourself for all that self-pity.”
No more! It’s gross! It was emotionally abusive, invalidating, ABUSIVE, and a good part of the reason I started torturing myself both mentally and physically because I couldn’t just “be grateful enough” to NOT be devastated by all the REAL trauma I have gone through. You sent a subliminal message to me that I wasn’t allowed to “feel too bad” about ANYTHING because “others had it worse”. Meanwhile, you have ALSO been doing that to Dad literally ALL the years I can remember, and I can’t even begin to count all the times I heard you tell HIM: “Oh, stop feeling sorry for yourself! Just look at your beautiful family.” Trauma shaming and trauma comparing are cruel, Mom. Can’t you understand that?
Yes, I know that we have ALL had “beautiful houses, cars, clothes, and plenty of food to eat”, but that doesn’t erase all the HELL some of us have been through. That includes Dad, too. How would YOU like it if EVERY single time you let us know how badly your RA is making you feel, we said, “Just get the fuck over yourself, mom! There are children starving in Africa!” Does the fact that there are, indeed, “starving, homeless, sick people in the world” change the fact that your illness REALLY does make your body ache? No, it doesn’t! Both things can be true at the same time.
What upsets me the most about that text this morning is that here he FINALLY is after all these years REALLY trying to do something nice for this family, but you had to go and bitch slap him and shame him that way – AND – it was for NOTHING – because he wasn’t being self-pitiful, he was making a JOKE! That was pretty gross, mom. You should probably think about that for a minute. What the hell is wrong with you? “Virtue signaling” is a sign of narcissism, you do know that, right? From now on, when you tell us ANYTHING about your disease, we should all accuse you of self-pity? No! No, we shouldn’t.
Please don’t do that to ANY of us anymore. We’ve all had about enough of your “holier than thought” GUILTING and SHAMING us for having REAL feelings for our various trips to “hell”. It caused me a lot of psychological damage over the years, and probably Dad, too. IT’S ENOUGH!

I think I’ve finally had enough of this! I didn’t come this far to have to keep on choking and burning on ashes I never asked to rise above. For God’s sake, people, it really isn’t a competition, and YES, we’ve ALL been broken. Haven’t we suffered enough yet? It’s time to heal? Can’t we all just lay down the guns and calm this fire that never seems to stop burning? Even a phoenix has its limits and gets tired of choking on ashes!


Calm the fire. Do not fight anymore. They don’t know what they’re saying. They don’t know anything at all. For all that matters is you know that this is not their fault. There are places we should never go. Lost between the cracks something wicked waits below, and all I’m saying there are some things better left unseen at all. It’s been so long, it’s tearing me apart. I cannot understand or comprehend where we went wrong. Now we’ve come so far … the madness in our hearts will never end … ’cause I’ve seen it all. I can’t fight it anymore. If fire burns forevermore, is there nothing left to save, ’cause now more than ever, what we need is love to replace all the obscene. Something good, and something beautiful. If only we could see that now more than ever what we need is a little love. Is there no more? Have we gone too far? There’s nothing I can do to make you sway … to see the blood running through our hearts … no different from the blood we’ve come to hate. (Alter Bridge)

JANUARY 26, 2023: “Feel What YOU Feel!” …

Now then,

read that again!

On second thought, get it etched on the inside of your forearm where my favorite “Secrets Make You Sick” tattoo is so you’ll see it 24/7.

So, let’s think this through …

Close your eyes for a minute and think about something you don’t like. It can be anything from a person, place, or thing, to a fresh hot steamin’ bowl of lima beans (the mere sight of which make me PUKE). Now that you have that “thing” in the forefront of your mind,

I want you to LOVE IT!

Well? Did you do it? Do you “love it” now? Hmm. Why not? Let’s try this again. I am heretofore demanding that you

LOVE that thing you HATE … NOW!

Did it work? Do you love it now? Umm, no! NO, YOU DON’T! No one can MAKE you “feel” anything unless we want to. It’s one of the perks of being a sentient being. There is freedom within within the confines of our own minds to do, say, think, and FEEL whatever the FUCK we want to. It’s our “this is where I END and YOU BEGIN” autonomy!

I personally have a first-hand perspective of having been programmed from birth to adhere to the thoughts, rules, and pathways that the “powers that be” tried to indoctrinate me with. Even so, there is a POWER within and available to us all to FEEL what we feel, and NOT feel what we DON’T. That POWER is mine! That POWER is yours! NO ONE CAN TAKE IT AWAY FROM US! So, why do we just GIVE it away? No one, and I mean NO ONE, can MAKE you “feel inferior” unless you LET them!

If someone is trying to make you FEEL “inferior”, well, that’s about them, not about you, and, umm, it’s prolly ’cause that’s how they FEEL about themselves. The only way a person who “FEELS inferior” can make themselves feel “not inferior”, is to either deal with themselves and take back their own power, or unleash the ill-perceived “strength” they find in their own deflection try to take someone else’s.

Don’t you DARE let me find out that you are one of my people out there running around letting other people bring you down. You are SO much better than that! I PROMISE! Know who you are, own what you feel, and although you certainly don’t have to be a Jean-Claude Van Damn asshole about it, learn to say, “No, THANK YOU!” when it comes to protecting the boundaries around your FEELINGS!

What I love about song by Rascal Flatts is that while it was obviously meant to be about LOVING who you love, you can replace the word love with “FEEL” throughout and still be empowered by it. Make it a great day, my friends, and FEEL what YOU feel, no matter what!

I guess I’ll never understand it. Why do we take it all for granted until it’s gone. FEEL what YOU feel with all that you have, and don’t waste the time that flies so fast. FEEL what YOU feel, and say that you do. Yeah, with every single breath you’re breathing … FEEL what YOU feel! FEEL what YOU feel … again and again and again and again.
{“Love Who You Love” by Rascal Flatts … Words Adapted}

JANUARY 8, 2023: “Life After You” …

Ten miles from town, and I didn’t break down, and there wasn’t any smoke on the side of the road. I’m here on my own … but I’m not alone … ’cause wherever I am is my home. All that I’m after is a life full of laughter, and although I won’t be laughing with you, I know that all that still matters is love ever after after the life went through. Yes, there’s still life after you.

The Frog may be gone, the Butterfly he left behind still flitters and flutters with reckless abandon through the skies with a tail fire that rivals even the brightest shooting stars.

Some day, God willing, I’ll drive my grandkids back to this place and tell them all about how everyone thought that Crazy Grandma Cat’s husband was nothin’ but a loser who was gonna have us all living under a bridge.

Though my dwellings have morphed over the years, it’s not where I live or the things I have that define me. My true home is the soul beneath my skin, which I suppose now makes me a turtle, because my “castle” goes with me everywhere. In the meantime, I will never forget where our story began and smile from ear to ear every time I drive by our even think about our little apartment.

Hey, ladies? Never forget that Prince Charming doesn’t always ride up on a white horse with a sword. Sometimes he rolls in with an ass ugly Ford truck, a giant heart, and a pocket full of dreams. Dig for the gold that you find in their heart … NOT the gold in their wallet. Just have unconditional love for and faith in him, support hisdreams in every way possible, don’t bust his balls while he’s busting his own balls trying to get you that tiara, and just see what might could happen!

JANUARY 1, 2023: “Carry Me Down” …

It’s New Years Day again, and thus another 365 days are now waiting ahead for me to take another trip around the The Sun, God willing. Meanwhile, ten days from now will commemorate my Gina Marie’s 19th birthday. You see, in case you didn’t know yet because you’re new around this Diary, I am a mother whose womb has known both life and death.

Believe it or not, though, this most tragic of truths is one of my highest honors and privileges. Why is that? Because you can’t have one without the other – life and death, that is – and losing the daughter I literally prayed for on my knees was one of the most bittersweet catalysts to everything I now understand about the brevity of existence:

Happy 19th birthday, my tiny Gina Marie. I, too, realize just how lucky I am to have been there when you drifted into my life, and then again when you drifted out. We may have only crossed paths here for that handful of fleeting hours, but I was honored to be the one to have both carried you here AND sent you right back Home. It truly WAS the most precious moment of my life.
{“The Steel Magnolia, The Butterfly & The Stars“}

I believe that I was specifically chosen to bear the burden of this twisted sorority I’m in so that I could become a living example of crazy blind faith in a God and His choices that are otherwise unnatural and unfathomable.

As most grieving parents would likely agree, outliving our children and having to survive “here” with the parts of our hearts and souls they took with them isn’t for the faint of heart, and something I would never wish upon another parent. Pray GOD that I don’t ever have to bury another child, because they are my only Achilles’ tendon.

With that, I am reminded of one of those Quora questions that I love to hate so much, and WOW did it end up being the most perfectly timed pairing for my thoughts:

If, indeed, I knew I only had 10 minutes until I died, the FIRST thing I’d do is reach out to my surviving kids and let them know that:

Although I certainly won’t be excited at the news of my death, I am, as they know, ready for what comes next, and have been for quite some time. I know without a doubt what lies beyond “those stained glass doors” and am not afraid.

Though my body will be gone, I’ll be the zephyr in their skies that brushes their cheeks and whispers in their ears, and will be watching them through my telescope.

Because I’m only human, I I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes as a mom, but did my best to account for, apologize, and validate the wounds I inflicted upon their souls, right the wrongs I could, and become the best version of myself possible – for them.

They were the literal beats of my heart, every breathe that I took, the two greatest treasures of my life, and in the forefront of my mind during every battle I fought, war I survived, and generational cycle I broke so that they could carry on building healthier branches on our plagued family tree.

When it’s finally time for them to read this Diary and watch all my crazy videos, they know that every one of the “secrets” I couldn’t keep anymore were very much my truths, and despite some bumps in the road along my journey, I did my best to create a legacy for them and theirs that would read more as virtual love letter and not a tragedy. Then, I’d beg them one last time to please take only the best parts of me into their lives going forward and leave out all the rest.

Sure, it may be sad at first, but my death will be nothing at all, and I’ll want them to smile when it’s time to bid me adieu knowing that despite the many circumstances that seemed contrary, I had the BEST life ever, was THE happiest queen alive, and they made me so fucking proud just as they were, simply because they were mine!

I’ll be waiting for them with their sister, their stepdad, and the rest of “us” over on The Brighter Side Of Grey.

Yes, I know that’s a lot to relay in less than ten minutes, which is why I already have some things prepared for my crossing over when it’s time for them to carry me down the aisle.

All that being said, the SECOND thing I would do is just close my eyes, make the sign of The Cross, and tell Jesus that His absolute favorite daughter and most divine apostrophe of all is on her way Home and that I literally CANNOT wait to meet Him in person.

Meanwhile, here I am crying my damn eyes out after having written this. No, I’m not afraid of dying, but I know that when it’s time, my kids will be traumatized, and the thought of them amidst another heartache breaks me into pieces. Their pain is my pain. Their tears and my tears. My kids have both already suffered so much on this Earth, but if I’ve done my job well and have planted enough faith seeds for them, “Crazy Momma Cat’s” kids are gonna be alright.

With that, and in honor of not only a new year filled with infinite possibilities, I challenge every one of you to make the next 365 days really count!

This song is beyond special to me, by the way. Zack used to sing it to me, as it was one of his favorite songs of all. It was, therefore, the very last song he heard me play for him as I carried him down that proverbial aisle.


And if you see me losing ground, don’t be afraid to lie. I know the pain inside my heart can’t break the fear inside of yours. And if you see me losing faith in what it means to die, don’t let me leave before I know what lies behind the stained-glass doors. Save sorrow for the souls in doubt. Bleed every care out. Will you carry me down the aisle that final day? With your tears and cold hands shaking from the weight. When you lower me down beneath that sky of gray, let the rain fall down and wash away your pain. For every word we never spoke, we have a tear to cry. For every silence like a wall between a better you and I. So if you see me losing sight of all the death in life, you’ll find the peace in every time I failed to see the death in mine. Let all the fear inside you drown. Tear out the blade and lay it down. Save sorrow for the souls in doubt. Bleed every care out. Will you carry me down the aisle that final day? With your tears and cold hands shaking from the weight? When you lower me down beneath that sky of gray, let the rain fall down and wash away your pain. Oh, the blood is rushing out. Oh, I’m better off without. Oh, the walls are closing in. Oh, sing for me again. {Demon Hunter}

DECEMBER 26, 2022: “The Little White Balloon Girl” …

I can end life. I can bring life. I bring truth. I bring lies. I am heard … but not seen. Who am I? I AM WORDS.

(“Little Toy Guns“)

… and after having read through the many beautiful and powerful Christmas weekend “words” via cards and messages from not just my kids, but many dear friends and followers on my various different social media platforms, knowing MY words are enabling some other people to find a way to let go of some of the really heavy stuff that is anchoring them to either the past, the present, or even the bottom of an abyss has been my greatest gift and treasure. Lol, I even got a heartfelt virtual message from one of my favorite phoenixes of all, the wordsmith of all wordsmiths, Mr. Moody! Ask me if I was mad about it? Nope! I kinda wasn’t!

After having gone back and watched my own live video message excerpt this morning above, and especially after having heard myself refer to “feeling as light as a balloon”, I immediately remembered some “words” I’d once written to myself, my God, and my family:

I’m holding on to white balloons up against a sky of doom. Tell me you see them … ’cause what’s inside of me is invisible to most … even in clear view. I’m sending out a signal to the possibility of you … ‘cause right at this moment I know you are connected to a part of me that I don’t even know myself. The changes in me are likely to be like the weather … stormy and clear … strength into fear bound together. But I’ll break my silence if I believe that you and me could ever be more than just what’s been behind us. I desperately want to learn how to live in the rest of every moment I’m lucky enough to have here on this Earth until the day finally comes, hopefully many years from now, I can move on ahead to what is undoubtedly going to be the most peaceful place of all with a soul that is as light and free as a fistful of white balloons.
{“The White Balloons“}

… and just like that, I have once again come full circle with my beautifully broken reality over a decade after having put such powerful “words” out into the Cosmos. And thus is the story of my life. Yes, I did send out a signal to my husband, my children, my God, and MYSELF, because I knew that I was connected to a part of all of them, all of this, and all of YOU in ways that I have still yet to understand. “Nothing. Everything. ALL OF IT!” … and now, HERE I AM! Has the weather been stormy and clear often both at once? Jean-Claude Van DAMN it has! Have I broken my silence and finally come to believe that I really am so much more than just what’s been behind me? YOU BETCHA!

~ by Gia Embach~

Love me or or hate me, laugh at or mock me, “divinely punctuating” the world is aside from being a mom, my truest joy. Thank you so much to all of you who are on this wordsmithing journey of my own. If only I had a real magic wand, trust me when I say that I would run around POOFING as many of you as I possibly can into the “little white balloon girl” that I am. I just want to be as much of Light in all of this darkness that I can, so, I’ll keep holding on to all my white balloons and praying that not only can some of you can see them, but that one day you’ll be bopping around throughout eternity with a fistful of white balloons of your own.

~ Christmas Eve Words Of
Affirmation From THE Wordsmith ~

DECEMBER 25, 2022: “My NOT So Bitter End” …

So, it’s Christmas 2022, and here I am thanking my Lord and Savior, JESUS yet again for my abundant undeserved blessings and gifts, not the least of which is HIS birthday today. Might I just add to the mountain of intangible treasures under my proverbial tree that I did NOT receive or “become” after the actual storms of HELL I’ve had to walk through?

Bitter • Angry • Sad • Lonely

Depressed • Regretful • Remorseful

Cold • Mean • Jaded • Toxic

Hateful • Hopeless • Lost • Desperate

Stunted • Scared • Faithless • Flightless

• Sightless •

☠️ DEAD ☠️

Am I a little bit annoying at times? YUP! Have I lost my filter? Ya think? Do I still curse like an effing sailor? I hereby invoke The Fifth Amendment! Am I a whack-a-doodle at times? HELLO? Have you read a single thing in this Diary? I’m as certifiably WHACK-A-DOO as they come! But am I a still a shining Light in the dark, God’s actual favorite daughter, and an apostrophe punctuating the pages as as many other lives as I can? Yer Jean-Claude Van DAMN straight I am!

Hi everyone! It’s me, the REAL Cat Williamson, not the FAKE one! All this pain and suffering have been my greatest gifts! The bitter end WILL come in time, but the joy I have found in the sweet here and now keeps me alive!

Merry Christmas to you all, and here’s hoping that you, too, will sift through your own piles of unwrappable but invaluable gifts today, not the least of which are all the things that YOU, too, have NOT become, despite any less than optimal circumstances that should have led to down the road to a bitter end.


I’ve walked every road and turned every corner. Searched high and low where I did not belong. Adrift with the tide, always hungry and yearning. If only I’d known that the answer was here all along. The bitter end will come in time, but the joy I have found in the sweet here and now keeps me alive! I’ve kissed the lips of an angel in waiting. Devil in kind, I’ve been lost and deceived. The thrill had to fade in this world for the taking. Once I woke up to what mattered, then I could see. The bitter end will come in time, but the joy I have found in the sweet here and now keeps me alive! We’re lost on a road where all we can find are just the remnants of hope that somehow we leave far behind. But this much I know … somehow we’ll be alright, ’cause it’s never too late to learn how to start living right. The bitter end will come in time, but the joy I have found in the sweet here and now keeps me alive! {Alter Bridge}

DECEMBER 20, 2023: “When The Sun Is Hard To Find” …

… and above all things, don’t forget to SHINE YOUR LIGHT and SPREAD YOUR INFECTION today! This world needs ALL the little nuggets, glimmers, and beacons of of hope and Light it can get. Nope, God has NOT forsaken us … even though, YUP, it can sure as HELL feel that way at times. I get it – I do! Even still, the choice is yours to wake up each day and DECIDE to be a Light in SOMEONE else’s darkness, no matter what less than optimal circumstances and storms are befuddling you. Let these words be the song your soul sings to the people in your direct line of FIRE:

When The Sun is hard to find … when it’s raining in your eyes … when the shadows block those pretty little blue skies living inside you. When the falling of your tears, makes a candle disappear … when you just can’t see The Light, baby I’ll find a way to shine. I’ll find a way to shine!
(“Shine” by Keith Urban)

By the way, don’t you dare forget that you can and should sing those beautiful words to YOURSELF every day, as well. Jean-Claude Van Damn, YUP, I sure as HEAVEN do belt this one out loud to ME quite often! After all, I am my own greatest love story, so, why shouldn’t I sing love songs to myself? Alrighty then! Now, snap to it people! Go on and SHINE for someone today. You just never know if someone who’s in your path might really need you to.

DECEMBER 14, 2022: “There’s No Present Like The Time” …

Well, good morning my handsome prince! Here’s hoping this is the best day EVER! Please do me a favor and listen to this new song I found, and listen to it REAL good. It’s special. Yes, it “might” make you cry … BUT … it might also help remind you why we are BOTH doing everything in our power to CHANGE the broken cycle in this family.
I believe with every shred of my being that you do now have ALL the pieces of the puzzle in your hand, not the LEAST of which is “the girl”. Christian, I just know that she is the one God made for YOU. Neither one of you is “perfect”, son. NONE OF US ARE! But trust me when I say that I know your heart better than anyone else in this world. I mean, DUH, I’m the QUEEN who made it. I also know how that vast wonderland of a mind of yours works, too. IT’S JUST LIKE MINE! That’s how I KNOW that you two were made “perfect for EACH OTHER”.
This next season of your life is probably when all the good stuff is REALLY gonna start happening, not the LEAST of which is raising a little family, which is why you NEED to absorb EVERY word in this powerful song. Let it be a song you listen to every day to remind you that there really IS no “present” like “the time”. Just think about the “season” we all had Zack in our lives, and how he changed EVERYTHING for ALL of us. It may have only been “a little more than a decade”, but the truest gift he left behind for all of us was THE TIME.
{Text on December 2, 2022}


Exactly thirty years ago this minute, at 4:50pm, you made your appearance and changed the trajectory of my life forever. Know that I’m writing this that I’m literally crying my eyes out, because I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by. With that, and as you prepare for the first trip of what will hopefully be a lifetime together with our girl, aside from the trip itself, my gift to you is just these “words”. Only, this time, they’re the borrowed words to that Jay Allen song I sent last week.

This morning, I said an extra prayer in addition to my usual ones. I asked God that if any of the words I’ve ever said to you in our last three decades together land and stick to the inner most places of your broken but healing heart and soul, it’s these most powerful ones of all:

Take a picture. Take a chance. Chase a dream. Chase a girl. Say a prayer. Take a trip. Don’t hold your breath. Hold your kids before they’re too big. Help a stranger. Help yourself. Pull that Bible off that shelf. Open it up with your mind. See the world through His eyes. Make the most of what matters the most in this life. ‘Cause it can fade in a minute, no matter how you spin it. That clock keeps ticking. It can stop on a dime. Be careful how you spend it. In a blink, it’s gone, goodbye. ‘Cause there’s no time like the present. Oh, there’s no time like the present. And there’s no present like the time. It’s a gift. It’s all you get. Make a friend. Make amends. Make a call. Tell the truth. Say I love you.

I love you, Christian Peter, “to The Moon and back”, then back again to eternity. Enjoy your trip to Aspen and allow yourself the much needed time to just relax, have fun, cut loose, cut up, and gear up for what I believe is this next most important decade of your life. It’s time for you to start rising above all the ashes we all left you in throughout these bittersweet years, and planting the roots of a much healthier family tree of your own. Please let our many mistakes and failures be the springboard from which you really start “stealing the Sun” and flying from the inside.

Most importantly, though, please take good care of that girl, and remember: “That angel hangs on every word you say”. Always be mindful of how to talk to her. She’s someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, will hopefully be someone’s momma and entire world one day, and she’s the daughter of God who I believe He made perfect just for YOU! No, son, I don’t think she’s perfect” … none of us are … and also, “perfect” would just be boring. But yes, she’s perfect for you. I know with every single fiber of my being that she’s the one I’ve been praying for incessantly since the day that YOU were born exactly thirty years ago. BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDS! They’re not just little toy guns, but they are, in fact, like toothpaste: Once you put them out there, you can’t but them back in the tube.

Well, that’s it, then. Another decade is in the books! Here’s to another STELLAR one filled with love, laughter, and every possible brighter side of all the beautiful GREY that is our lives. Although the world may see you as a man, I will only ever see you as the first boy who stole and captured my heart eternally.

Oh, and one last thing. Never forget that Zack is still watching all of this from his telescope in the sky. Keep on making him prouder than he already was and still is after seeing all the growth in you since he’s been gone. I love you to The Moon and back …


DECEMBER 10, 2022: “Infectious DISEASE Control!” …

Three total strangers at the restaurant where we had my son’s birthday dinner tonight said I had “a really infectious energy”, and as we were leaving, one of our waitstaff quickly pulled me aside and said, “You have such a happy spirit, girl. You make me smile!” I almost cried! So, on the drive home alone, I shut off my radio and allowed myself the safe and quiet space to think out loud and just talk to myself. Lol! Yes, I even answered myself back!

How, Catherine? HOW? How in the actual ‘you’ve survived HELL‘ are you not a miserable, jaded, toxic fucking bitch? How do you still smile? How do you still laugh? How are you still so happy? How do you always manage to turn shit storms into sunshine and chaos into creation?
Umm, DUH! Have you MET you? You’re a positively infectious QUEEN, not just because you CHOOSE to be, but because you’re a gift from God to the masses. THIS is How He’s using you … it’s your purpose and highest calling!

Indeed, this was the conversation “me and me” had. Guess what? IT’S TRUE! I do have a genuinely happy spirit. I own it, cherish it, revel in, and embrace it! Meanwhile, if you could be inside my skin and feel how I feel right now, you would think I just won Miss Universe.

If I’m not meant to “walk on” through another 86,400 seconds tomorrow, knowing I’ve made some people in my path feel “positively infected” means I’m living a life of use to others. What if someone who crossed my path tonight is barely hanging on and my “infection” was a glimmer of Light in their darkness? What if one of them really needed smile?

Beauty fades – AND IT WILL – but not only does the energy we send into the atmosphere not fade away, it will linger on infinitely long after our mortal bodies are but ashes returned to the Earth. Thank you, Jesus, that I finally got my energy right, ’cause being a “good infection” in a all too often toxic world is all really want to be. I want to leave this place and the people I meet along the way better than I found them.

Although I had already used this song that has infected my soul since first hearing it twenty years ago, it wasn’t until my drive home last night that one of the lines literally crawled up my spine in every best way possible, and fully circled its way back around to me:

You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been … a place that has to be believed to be seen. You could have flown away, a singing bird in an open cage who will only fly, only fly for freedom. What you got you can’t deny it, can’t sell it or buy it. Walk on!

Little did I know that one day I’d look back and understand that the reason I loved it in the first place was because someday I would actually be the little bird in the song. What I’ve got, I can’t deny it, can’t sell it, or buy it. All I can do is just keep walking on in all my inner beauty, power, and grace, always flying Home to the freedom I’ve found in my infectious soul and blinding everyone around me with my Light.

Tonight, I’ll sleep in peaceful bliss as the most blessed queen of the world. Kinda like “Glinda The GOOD Witch”, but instead, I’m “REAL Cat The Beautifully INFECTIOUS Bitch!” Besides, “all I get to KEEP is all I share“, so, I’m just gonna stay contagious!

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 18, 2022: “Dolly WOULD” …

… ’cause if someone where to ask me, “Cat, if you could only pick ONE legacy to leave behind one day, what would it be?”, THIS would be what it would be:

When the lights go down, the last curtain has dropped, and I’ve taken my final bow, I hope they’ll all say that the ONLY thing I ever wanted to keep was everything I shared, and that when they speak of me, ‘because of Mama I have a good heart’ will be my legacy. “But above all things, I would want them to know that I will ALWAYS love them”.

By the way, if you don’t already know that I was crying my fucking eyes out as I wrote those powerful words, well, then you don’t know me that well at all. Meanwhile, if you know anything of the true and living QUEEN on Earth LEGEND that Dolly Parton is, and that it’s not her gazillion dollar music empire, badass fucking theme park, or the world class resort that’s literally up the street from the SHACK where HER Mama built the legacy that earned them BOTH the crown. It’s her heart!

In being honest, although I do like her music, I’d be lying my ass off if I said I was a true, blue, hardcore fan. I am not. I am, however, a HUGE fan of her kind heart and the magic of her philanthropy. That woman would probably give the tiny little shirt off her back to someone who needed it, which is ironic, since another celebrity I love, respect, and adore who ALSO happens to love Miss Dolly, would likewise give the shirt right off his tattooed back to someone who needed or even just wanted it. In fact, he’s actually done it before. But I’ve digressed. It’s not what you have, my friends … it’s WHO you are and the goodness in your heart that builds a legacy. “To Whom Much Is Given”

Drop the mic!

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 7, 2022: “Those Little Toy Guns!” …

I saw a question posted on my Quora forum recently that asked: “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 love so much having first been published on this day in 1997, let’s go over “words” by reading through my response to that question:

Oh, but you couldn’t be more wrong, my friend. Someone “ever” HAS been killed by words, let me assure you of that. While words themselves cannot physically force someone to choose to do harm, they can, indeed, incite it. Both the spoken and written word are the womb from which good things are born, and the sword upon which many tragic tales have fallen. This is why every “word” should be chosen impeccably, and why, yes, some insults are, indeed, deserving of imprisonment. If the words one speaks can metaphorically imprison the person receiving them in internal turmoil and ACTUAL hell, and thus potentially even cause their death, so, too, should the person who speaks such such words be imprisoned.
Long story short?
Be sure to watch your mouth, lest you end up choking on the very same poison you spew into the 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 someone else’s. Many are the children whose bodies physically grew into adulthood, but whose hearts, minds, spirits, and fledgling wings were physically MANGLED at the receiving end of careless “words”. How do I know this? I AM ONE OF THEM!
{“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, and I am brave enough to admit that not only was I, too, that kid hiding in the closet from sparring parents, but I later grew up to be one of those parents who ashamedly let subjected my babies to 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 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”.


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}

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, despite it being invisible. 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 gift 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, too, was beaming with pride today 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’?


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.


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)

OCTOBER 1, 2022: “Old MacHOOVER Had A Farm” …

e, i, e, i, EWWWW!

… and on that farm he had some BULLSHIT

e, i, e, i, NO!

I see you’ve got me blocked for some reason. I’d love to know more about that.

Lol! I BET you would!

I was just strollin’ through my calendar, and uh, you probably realize, but it was on this specific date on 1995 when you and I met …

Umm? NO, I didn’t realize!

Crazy, isn’t it? Oh my gosh! 1995. It’s been a minute.

YAH think?

The irony in this actual bottle of douche using the word “crazy” in a sentence is how in the aftermath of the nightmare he put me through, he tried convincing everyone, including me, that I was effing “crazy”.

Meanwhile, guess who’s still calling who after 23 fucking years, still keeping our “special dates” on his calendar, and still thinking of ME when he sees a a drop dead gorgeous woman on social media. Although, I must admit that he was dead-on, tiny balls accurate in that correlation, ’cause, umm, for a “fifty-THREE-it’s-SO-good-to-be-ME” year old biotch, I STILL look pretty good. Hey, MacHeebieJeebie?


If you don’t know what “hoovering” is, it’s a narcissist’s strategy to manipulate IT’S (not “their”) victim and either keep them or suck them back in as “supply“. They use this emotionally abusive tactic when they realize their victim is trying to untangle themselves from their toxic web and get the FUCK away.

For those of you concerned that my Diary entries about him are somehow playing with fire, if MacNumNuts had any sincere interest in me aside from his pathetic desperation, he’d have likely read them by now. Clearly, he has not, because not only does his self-grandiosity and delusion make any attempts at sincerity impossible, if he had read anything about himself here, he’d most likely have slithered back under his rock.

So, with that, I’m MacMOOVING right along now. For the record, the reason I’m publishing this today and not back on April 22nd when the voicemail was sent is because I only recently found both these gems in my blocked contact trash. As I’ve said before, I only ever go digging through the garbage hunting for things that are truly worth my time and attention for repurposing into treasures.

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


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

To 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.


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 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” …

Pain has a way of clipping our wings and keeping us from being able to fly, and if left unresolved, you can almost forget that you were ever created to cry in the first place.

{WM Paul Young … Author Of “The Shack“}

Dear 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.

But you see, in case you haven’t noticed, despite all the heaping piles of BULLSHIT every one of you mother fuckers dumped on my shoulders and how hard you tried to break my spirit, my heart, and steal my beautiful soul



Yup! 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 fuckers 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, and 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! Please be sure and tell your friend Irony to actually go and SUCK IT, ’cause the very things that were meant to steal my Light, clip my wings, and turn me inside out, ONLY helped me see better, fly stronger, and elevate me.

So, with that, I’ve really gotta run. I have the concert of my lifetime awaiting me and mine, and I’m not letting ANY of you kill my buzz. I made the entire lot of you my mother fucking bitches, and now I’m just so over it!

~ Queen Catherine


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.


‘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?


(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 song, “All I Know”. Meanwhile, while we were on a live chat with him in the wee hours of the morning, Ivan said that the whistling 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 that 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 call 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, God used Ivan’s whistling to do it. That’s right folks, love it or hate it, and as impossible as it may be for some to conceptualize, as far as I’m concerned, Ivan is not just some 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!


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


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!

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.


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 watched it over and over. The more I watched, the more I ached, and I know exactly why I was so compelled to keep torturing myself with 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 days since he left us that 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 fend off the demons that were devouring him. I kept asking him what was wrong, or if his head hurt, or 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 sobering 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 with and am in recovery from both a “creature” of my own and a complicated mental illness. For that reason, I made the personal decision to lead a sober lifestyle, and had my last drop of alcohol on March 26, 2021, at 4:40pm. Yes, I know 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, and yet another who already has.

If you haven’t heard this song yet, YOU SHOULD! Especially if you or someone you love has ever struggled with an 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 before we could 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:


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!


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}