death

Grief Police | Buttercup of Doom ep 25

BODep25-griefpoliceAvailable FREE on: Project iRadioiTunesStitcherAndroidTune-In

This Week’s Rating: PG13 buttercup ratings system info here

A funny thing happened on the way to David Bowie’s funeral… the internet turned into a bunch of stupid! Let’s talk about it. Celebrity deaths: should you mourn, can you mourn an intangible connection, how you mourn. Death in general, from the coffin floppers to characters to the black humor we lean on to survive.

Sponsors: Project iRadio’s *new* Patron Page | Kelli Owen PatronArm Cast

Suggestions/Requests none this week (to suggest/request, use the form here)

Mentions/Shoutouts and Linky-Links: The Dead Guy Interviews, by Michael Stusser | Six Days, by Kelli Owen | Horror Show with Brian Keene | “scandals” with *gate as a suffix | Doug Metherell (Buddha Buddha Music Man) |

Hashtag Hell: @michaelstusser @nikkisixx @MrTommyLand @aerosmith @IamStevenT @gunsnroses #death #funeral #blackhumor #davidbowie #goblinking #thecure #motleycrue #aerosmith #tommylee #nikkisixx #lemmy #glennfrey #robertsmith #eagles #supertramp #randyrhoads #ozzy #cliffburton #metallica #elvis #johnlennon #gnr #harrypotter #alanrickman #fuckcancer #robertford #kardashian  #facebook #twitter #instagram #projectiradio #buttercupofdoom #podcast #kelliowen

And don’t forget — for advertising inquiries, contact me at buttercup@kelliowen.com

Paper Dolls

paperdollToo much death lately.

First it was my nana. Nana was tough. Is still tough some days. Then we lost a women I once called Ma who’s son I never married but who’s grandchildren I used to plan in swirling hearts on school notebooks—I still don’t know what to call her twenty-five years after her son and I broke up. (What the hell do you call the mother of your first love, whose house you basically lived in for several years? I haven’t even seen her since we unexpectedly buried one of the gang fifteen years ago.) And now…now my aunt Jean.

They come in threes. I can be done now, right?

I told you about Nana. I started a blog about Ma B, but I can’t figure out what to feel, let alone say. My aunt, though? Shock. Tears… followed by the numbness of denial, then on to anger, and back to tears, all happened in the span of the phone call from my mother Saturday. I spent the rest of the day just trying to absorb the reality, bombarded with memories.

As I sit here, in the stillness of insomnia’s hours, I am realizing now how lucky I was to spend as much time with family as I did when I was growing up. I had sleepovers with Aunt Jean much like I did Nana. And the strongest memories of her and Uncle Jim are from those times, not just the visits. While there are many memories, there’s one that seems to jump up and yell for attention, repeatedly haunting me throughout the weekend. The paper dolls.

See, my aunt gave my sister and I paper dolls to play with. For those who don’t remember or just don’t know, these are thin cardboard cut-out figures in underwear with tabbed clothes you hang on the body (see picture). My first attempt to over-analyze why this memory seemed so needy was the innocence of it. We used to actually play with paper. No cell phones, iPads, Xbox or internet. Paper. There’s something about generational innocence there that seems to want to be said, but doesn’t really need to be, because everyone knows it, gets it, sees it. It just is. Times change, entertainment changes, blah blah change. So I let that analysis fade away and went back to the memory itself.

My aunt didn’t just hand them to us and walk away. They weren’t something to occupy us. They were something to do with us, to broaden our imagination, and explore our artistic side. She gave us the dolls and clothes, but then she pulled out paper, and colored pencils (I remember her having to sharpen those over and over with a knife—ah the old days), and sat with us. She showed us how to make our own tabbed wardrobes. We spent hours doing this, on many sleepovers, for several years. I remember thinking how artistic we were for getting to use the colored pencils instead of crayons. I remember tracing the dolls and designing—from clothes to shoes to even the hair, we could dress them up fancy or down to earth, give them blond hair or brunette, hanging down, in a pony or under a hat. We could change their appearance, and with it, the two dimensional illusion of personality, wants, desires, hobbies and habits.

And that’s where the little analyst in my head jumped on board and latched on.

Paper dolls were an introduction to the various masks we would wear throughout our life. We were just learning to put them on something else first, before testing the waters with our own naked selves. As we grow and evolve, our fashion changes, our outward appearance changes, our public attitude and persona change. What we show the world is nothing more than a tabbed piece of paper, lovingly cut out of our imagination and hung precariously from our shoulders. Some outfits we keep until they yellow with age or get torn or lost in the mix of things. Others we try out and shed as quickly as a new divorcee plays dress-up to find herself in the lost pieces of wardrobe. But they’re all just that, outward appearance. The paper doll underneath remains naked, fragile, vulnerable to the elements of time.

I’m going to miss my aunt horribly. For so many reasons. She was the record keeper for our lineage (the last blood gypsy of her generation), the maker of paper dolls and sharpener of colored pencils, and a champion of the arts (she was a rosemaling master, and her eldest an artist). And as is with all who pass on, I will cherish the memories, and take from them the lessons they offer…

Which, in this case, means I need to make new outfits for my paper doll self. I need a knife to sharpen the colored pencils, and with that, maybe a band-aid.

 

Adventures in Time

mammoth2Faith and doubt both are needed—not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve.
~Lillian Smith

I clearly remember waking up freezing under, not one but, three heavy quilts on that fateful December morning in Wisconsin and mentally saying shouting, “Enough!” But, being the over-analyzing soul I am, I asked my parents to be my rock, my logic, and tell me why I shouldn’t move. They said no such thing. Instead, mom said, “Go! Go while you have the fire. Go before you wake up at sixty-five, still live here, and still hate it.”

Five years ago today I shoved everything I owned, two kids, and a cat into a huge u-haul with a mammoth on the side of it. I turned in my apartment keys, and handed the keys of the mammoth to my best friend (volunteered to drive the u-haul). I watched the sun set at a gas station near Ed Gein’s, said good-bye to my Wisconsin residency, and began the next adventure…

It’s been an interesting five years.

My kids have grown and flown the coop. The best cat ever, Chaos, ran away. I’ve loved and lost. I’ve made new friends and lost old. I’ve hit writing deadlines and missed life goals. I’ve learned. I’ve grown. I’ve aged. I’ve changed.

Life has offered challenges and provided pitfalls. Time has both slowed and sped up. The universe has played yo-yo with my emotions, suggesting I run while begging me to stay. I’ve seen divorces and marriages, births and funerals. I gained a new title, wear a new hat, gotten new ink, earned new scars—physical and emotional. And in the end, I’m glad I listened to my mom and took the plunge.

Because life is an adventure. All of it. Period.

Whether it’s going to the grocery store, or sitting on the porch, or hopping in the car and driving until you find a beach. It’s all unwritten. Merely outlined. And attitude is half the battle. I was raised by a crazy woman who blessed me with the right attitude—enjoy the little things, make memories, accept the adventure, and make it in the mundane.

So, happy anniversary Pennsylvania. Thank you for the much warmer winters, four actual seasons, and flowers on my birthdays instead of blizzards. I’ve finally realigned my brain to your night sky and get that even if he’s in the wrong spot, Orion is still Orion. I’ve loathed and loved, laughed and cried, but it all goes into who I am and who I become and how well I pack for the next adventure.

Though I really do miss that cat.

Intrinsic Value of the Existential You

pennyjarSelf-worth comes from one thing—
thinking that you are worthy.
~ Wayne Dyer

Have a yard* sale and you’ll find yourself putting little tags on everything—giving reduced value to things you once thought worth much more than you’re now willing to accept for them. At the end of the day, you’ll count the change you’ve received, the crumpled bills, and the smattering of things even the scavengers didn’t want. And you’ll be richer for it. For the items traded, for the people spoken to, and for the time, entertainment and adventure you put into the day—because life is an adventure with the right attitude.

I’m turning 45 this month. And it’s been an adventure all right. While I’m usually not one to evaluate my life on every birthday or New Year, I find I am this time. I’m divorced. My kids are gone. And I’m not where I thought I would be in this lifetime…at all, on any level. For a while, those thoughts made me feel very alone in the world. So I faced it.

I woke up that way a couple weeks ago as I said goodbye to an era—alone, in a motel room, absorbing my aloneness. And I found something rather strange in the quiet. Me. I remembered not everything that breaks is broken—you have to break a glo-stick for it to glow, you have to break a fortune cookie to get the fortune. And upon breaking me, I found me. Hi world! Welcome to the second half of me.

But the alone continued to sit at the edge of my mind for some time. I felt a little lost, a little scared. The screaming had subsided and the silence was a bit too much. Then a whisper started in the darkness. “Why don’t you do this…?” “Why don’t you do that…?” And I realized I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t old. I wasn’t done. I had just finally matured to the me-portion of my life.

I don’t have kids to worry about on a daily basis. I don’t have a partner to please. I just have me. I can stay in my pj’s all day and write on the weekend if I want to. I can play with my herbs and oils, research the family lineage, read a biography, blow bubbles at WalMart, whatever. I can eat nothing but salads for a week and no one can complain. I can come and go as I please. I can go places I’m interested in without worrying about it being entertaining to others in my life. And I can enjoy myself, alone or in a crowd—with friends, with strangers, or with nobody.

In the quiet, I remembered life is a giant yard sale. Things come and go. People come and go. Sometimes you’re the seller, sometimes you’re the buyer. But you are the only one who can put value on you. No one else gives you worth, only you do. Sure, for a the first portion I was being guided by parents, and the second portion I was guiding others and not worrying about me. But eventually there’s quiet. Eventually, there was just me.

I know my worth. I’m a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a colleague. I’m a concert-giving rockstar in the shower, a dancing queen while cooking, a 12-year old laying in the grass talking to bugs, an old woman conversing with the moon, a mermaid in the water, a gypsy, a writer, and just a girl. My value is a jar of pennies. Some are shiny, some dull. Some are new, some old.  Some worth a penny, some much more. I’ve spent a lifetime filling that jar. I don’t need to count the pennies or show them to anyone, I just need to smile and know I’ve got them. I paid my dues. I’ve earned me-time. And it’s time for the true adventures to begin…

 

*Garage sale, yard sale, rummage sale… what the heck is wrong with this country that we need 3 different way of saying “buy this crap I don’t want anymore”? And thanks to those on twitter who helped** me decide which to use.

**And by “help” I mean told. Told with force and a waving fist. #loveyamouse!

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