the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A Winged Victory for the Sullen

I have to remind everyone before I say anything about THIS THING THAT IS HAPPENING TO ME ALL CAPS that I left the LDS Church and all religion period because a linguistics professor at BYU made me deconstruct an essay about Ebonics. If you don’t know what that word refers to your skin is probably unblemished and you have no wrinkles under or around your eyes. But yet, you’re also probably saddled with student debt that amounts to something close to a mortgage in Manhattan and can’t plan for a family because of that bullshit. I guess we’re even? But we are not.

My generation does not have it nearly as bad as yours.

Do we have some twisted shit going on because we were born when we were born? Of course. We do and always have. But now that we’re adults and living on a planet THAT STILL EXISTS IN THE UNIVERSE I can’t say that we have it all that bad.

We didn’t cause this climate crisis, so don’t scream that at me LETA, but we sure haven’t done nearly enough about it and are leaving you with a world that may not survive you and your children. And I cannot apologize enough. I’m so sorry.

And now.

Meditation.

How was that segue?

What total and utter bullshit is meditation, right? Can I get you to stand up and applaud my skepticism? Like, full on ovation while you are shouting, “AMEN!” Because who believes in this whaaa whaaa whaaa. Let me lick on an eggplant suggestively for ten minutes while you meditate, Punkin Short Sport Pants. Like, full on tongue. THIS IS NOT SUITED FOR KIDS. Stop them from reading my website because they will ask you why I put the whole eggplant in my mouth STOP THEM NOW IT JUST GOT REALLY LEWD, OOPS, YOUR KID IS NOW SCARRED FOREVER. The whole short sport pant is in my mouth.

It would never work for me. Meditation.

Sucking on an eggplant? Easy peasy. Just plop it in.

Who can empty their mind? Who? WHO? WHO? You know who? A certain president. Notice I did not capitalize that word. He has not earned a capital P. The dude just goes blank in the head. Dead blank. Because he has shit for brains and apparently has no issues with constipation. Sorry, Mom. You know he’s scum of the earth. He is what bottom feeders won’t eat because he’s that repugnant. Worse, even. He’s the exact opposite of everything I was taught BY YOU that a human being should stand and live for. But Mormons — and yes I am generalizing which I should not do but oh my god they are so upset with Mitt Romney after believing in 2012 that he was going to fulfill a church prophecy revealed to an apostle named Bruce R. McConkie I DID JUST DROP THAT MORMON REFERENCE COME AT ME — they cannot admit this because then their chosen political party is an obvious and objective sham.

I COULD WRITE A THESIS.

But I can’t and I won’t because it would end my relationship with my family. This makes me so sad. And when people tell me that I have to go to Thanksgiving Dinner and confront my family I feel like there is a silent army of us who would love nothing more and we’d show up in lingerie that is cut so that our nipples are framed and on point because of the positioning of the straps, or we’d dress head-to-toe in camouflage while carrying a gun with a daisy sticking out of the muzzle. And in the background we’d have the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “Angels We Have Heard on High”.

And then we’d start with, “Jesus. Our Lord and Savior. The Only Begotten of the Father. The Lamb of God. Like, let’s start with kids in cages. Shall we open your book of scripture? Because I have it right here. Will you read from it? Please tell me how you reconcile the way he lived and what he wanted to teach us with the hateful and belligerent rodent you so ardently support.”

But of course we wouldn’t dare. We have to be as amenable to them as they need us to be, and they need us being amenable. Because they will not budge or listen to what it means to be a human in the context of supporting a racist asshole who has openly bragged about sexually assaulting women, who routinely mocks the disabled and violates every standard that they have to meet in order to qualify for a temple recommend. Don’t know what that is? Go here and read all about it. AND THIS MENTALITY IS SCARY, NO DUH. Any and all statements of fact, of proof of just how odious he is to the fabric of humanity would be met with, “He’s doing what’s best for the country.”

All caps rant ahoy: MORMONS PRACTICED SOCIALISM IN THE 1830s AND THAT IS THEIR ULTIMATE GOAL. SEE: THE LAW OF CONSECRATION.

So stop it with “BUT COMMUNISM” because your morally corrupt president is sticking his dick inside the butt of Russia, y’all make no sense whatsoever my god the more I write the more I realize that Mormons have “pretzeled” themselves into supporting the Antichrist.

If we were not amenable many of us would lose the members of our families who watch our children. Our children would lose their cousins. Any help we can get as single parents we often get through our local families. I get what you want us to do, I do. I UNDERSTAND. But some of us are desperately in need of help and our family, whom we love dearly, is it. It’s the only help. They are all we have. Are we selfish? Well, we’re trying to work and raise kids.

Go step into the shoes of a single mother for one fucking day and get back to me.

Also. I love my mother more than anyone in the world. I love my kids, of course. They are the most important thing in my life. I love Pete more than I have ever loved a man. He is everything to me. Everything. But my mom? When she dies I will probably die within hours of her passing. Coco is trying to teach me how to prevent this from happening. I am not joking around when I say that.

Remember that linguistics professor I referenced in the first paragraph? She opened my eyes to the fact that I had been brainwashed. Boop. I said it. Out loud.

I was part of a cult.

There it is. BOOP.

She helped me realize that I was so totally gone that I had not ever realized it. My family is reading this and are hating that they are reading this. I am writing it out and it is me. And they are mortified. And they hate this.

Hi.

This is me. I am Heather.

Heather Brooke.

I love my family. I love them so dearly. But I don’t believe in the terrorizing doctrine that debases women or punishes anyone who is born to love someone who is the same gender or feels at their core that they are living inside the wrong body.

Anyone who supports Trump has joined a cult. And cults do not like to be challenged. Try joining the LDS Church and asking a probing question. See how they respond. Their PR lately has been on point because they know it has to be. Kids aren’t tolerating this hostile bullshit so they are scrambling to appeal to the kids. And yet, all of it still doesn’t negate the fact that it’s a cult. An lo, the lengths they will go to tell you they are not a cult. I used to do it. I know the language. I know the thinking. I lived and breathed it. I was the valedictorian of it.

Was that a tangent? Not necessarily.

I have tried and tried and tried meditation. An app here, a YouTube video there. Friend’s recommendations everywhere. And each time it made me so angry. I could never get my mind to stop racing and racing and RACING. All I wanted was for it to be over. Like, make this shit stop. If you’ve read my book I call it All of The Things Needing To Get Done. It would scroll through my head the moment I closed my eyes and I tried to empty it to concentrate on whatever it is they (a “guided” meditation) wanted me to concentrate on. And not even 20 seconds into a guided meditation I was making the jerk-off motion. MAKE IT STOP I HAVE ERRANDS TO RUN AND A KID WHO CAN’T BRUSH HER OWN HAIR.

Enter Pete Ashdown. He came into my life.

Go ahead. Google his name. Please do. You’ll find out all about us. It’s all out there… I’ll wait…waiting… waiting… you caught up? Did you find the gossip? No? Go back and google harder. That gossip is some tasty shit.

I am a raging bitch when you read what they have to say, am I not. Yes. Yes, I am. Do not deny me my Raging Bitchy-ness. I glory in it! Everything I have ever done over the last 20 years has been deliberately misinterpreted and twisted into something gross and disfigured and what a ride to live this life. Honestly. Honestly.

My wikipedia page was recently edited by some random dude who does not know me from Adam and he cherry-picked quotes and details from interviews that were published during my book release last year to make me seem like the craziest motherfucker who ever had access to a computer. For over a decade that wikipedia page was maybe 20 sentences long. Now? That page is over 20 paragraphs long.

I suppose I’m still important. Who knew.

I will take a moment to veer off into a tangent, and I will be soft and gentle with this tangent because I am in tears thinking about where I have been and who I have met and the things I have accomplished over these years. I could have never imagined. No one could have. I won’t get into any specifics other than to say: I saw an elephant. It was ten feet away from me and I will not ever forget what the rush of that did to my body. My blog allowed me to see an elephant, so thank god for my blog. I love you, blog, and you who have read it and supported me. You’re as amazing a rush as that elephant.

Pete Ashdown came into my life. We’re back on track.

I don’t think I can tell the story behind Jumping Over Joleen just yet because I think it requires a kind of love for Pete and a love for me that I don’t want twisted into something unrecognizable by those who wish me dead. But it’s an anniversary that we celebrate on January 10th, the day before his birthday.

On January 10th, 2018, I knew I would spend the rest of my life with Pete Ashdown. That is the day he jumped over Joleen. Coco told me — SHE TOLD ME, REMEMBER I DO NOT BELIEVE IN THIS WHAAA WHAAA WHAA — that she held on until that specific day in 2020 to say to me, “Do not fuck this up.”

She chose that day. She told me. Remember, I left religion in 1995 in a linguistics class at Brigham Young University. This whaaa whaaa whaaa crap usually makes me leave a room while making vulgar sexual gestures.

Yes, she did say to me, “Please tell me you’ve got this.” And I assured her I did. But, and but… and but…

Is this long enough? Do you need a drink of water? Go hydrate because I’m only kind of getting started. I would say, “Sorry, not sorry.” But a dear friend of mine hates this phrase and so I have purposefully avoided it, always. But, Sarah. Hi, Sarah! Today? Sorry, not sorry.

What does January 10th and Jumping over Joleen and Coco’s death have anything to do with meditation? So, so, so, so much. How does someone who has made a career out of exaggeration emphasize something? UM.

Hmmm.

Um.

Hmm.

IT IS THE ENTIRE FUCKING REASON.

I am trying to be brief, trust me, no one wants to read a long blog post anymore. Where is the Pinterest board about chocolate ice cream cake with pictures of a gorgeous woman about to take a bite that she will never take because those liars don’t ever eat those things. They might dip their finger into the icing on a donut, but that’s the extent of it. Do not fall for that, okay? END RANT.

I had intended to start meditating at the beginning of 2020 much like I had intended to start doing a dozen other things. But. Then. MY DOG DIED. I know. That was a bit of a shout but maybe this will get it across more acutely:

MY FUCKING DOG DIED SHE DIED AND I FUCKING WANTED TO DIE WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK.

My entire life veered sideways and I had no idea what was going on. I did not understand it. I stopped sleeping. She came to me in dreams — she still does, every single night, every single night, still — and told me to let go, to stop feeling guilt. All caps ahoy: I FEEL SO MUCH GUILT AND I WILL EVENTUALLY LET GO OF IT BUT RIGHT NOW I HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS TELLING ME. Since her death I have been sleeping in 20 to 30 minutes increments, at most. Soon after her death I told Pete I wanted to try meditation.

UGH. Wait one minute… I want to throw up having written that sentence. GAG. VOMIT. TOSS MY COOKIES.

I am writing this after having gone an entire week without sleep. You probably can’t tell!

Pete Ashdown asked me within a week of meeting me if I’d ever tried yoga or meditation. And I am sure I was sexy as hell when I was like that is all bullshit. But then he got me to try hot yoga (a week ago we were able to start hot yoga again after 18 months and if I type too much about it I will cry and have to stop because MY FEET HEALED! MY FEET HEALED!) and meditation, well, fuck no.

FUCK NO.

But then my dog died, did I mention this? Yep! She died. And I asked Pete if he would join me in daily meditation. Meaning, I desperately needed his help because I knew I’d want to scream or itch the skin off of my body if he wasn’t there to keep me calm. And he was circumspect enough to say, “Let’s not use an app. Let’s not subscribe to any service.” He wanted to keep it informal. Casual. Comfortable. Because otherwise meditation would become a transaction. Welp! Gotta meditate because I’m paying $15 a month! That won’t make me WANT TO SCREAM AT ALL.

So we set our alarms a half hour earlier than we usually do — this is more than you need to know, but when have I not overshared? NAME A SINGLE TIME! His alarm goes off first and then we know we have 15 minutes to gradually escape sleep until mine goes off 15 minutes later. Also, PRO TIP: Scratch his back, ladies. Scratch. His. Back. Lightly and delicately. You’re going to thank me for this, I promise.

For seven straight days he found a five-minute guided mediation on YouTube and we’d sit up in bed, hold hands, and well, meditate? If that’s what you want to call it? My mind was all over the place. Skitter and scatter and zoom zoom zoom. I’d listen to the voice and try to “feel my body” as I sat on that mattress and I was successful a couple of times, but usually I was just thinking TRASH TRASH TRASH MY DOG DIED. Someone on twitter found the positive side of this and told me to make this my mantra. And not to give away the ending, but at first I was moaning that through gritted teeth throughout the day.

Now? Now I sing it. Like Mary Fucking Poppins.

And then… I don’t know what happened. I cannot explain what happened. That eighth time. That eighth time, something somewhere in my brain whispered, “Lean back.” And I knew exactly what it meant. I don’t know where that directive came from, but I released the tension in my shoulders and in my brain I fell backwards. I saw my body falling backwards. I saw my whole body enter a black and calm and vast expanse that was not here and I could feel myself floating. It was transcendental. I remember looking back up to find my eyes from wherever I was and I could see the back of my eyelids. They looked like waves washing up on a beach at night.

It was so calm there. It is so calm there. I can go there now whenever I need to. In fact, I started to get angry at something very stupid the other night and because we stopped using guided meditation and are now using music alone, I sat on the floor in the kitchen, turned on the music that I know will facilitate that calm, and I meditated for almost 30 minutes.

30 minutes. You’re checking your browser to see if you’re reading the right website. Except you know you are because ALL CAPS EVERYWHERE.

I didn’t even know it had been that long and I was so under? Is that the word? That when Pete tapped me on the knee I opened my eyes and realized I’d been sitting there for almost a half hour. And he tapped me right as the brightest light I have ever seen was lifting me gently into the sky.

What is this crazy bullshit. I mean, what on Earth. Shut up, you dumb bitch.

First, he told me that I’d scared the kids because they thought I’d passed out and I was like, if I’d been passed out I would have been prostrate on the floor, my tongue hanging out of my mouth, my face covered in drool. WHEN MEDITATION CALLS I AM NOT ARGUING WITH IT. Don’t tell me to go sit on the couch when meditation says, “Sit your ass down.” Because I was no longer angry at that stupid thing. That stupid thing was just a stupid thing. And I laughed.

Second, I am starting to journal the visions I’m having. And, yes. I would call them visions. These are not things I am putting into my brain. They just… appear. I see landscapes and colors and formations that are filled to the brim with symbolism. I see figures of chaos and stress that transform into glorious, luminous clouds which then flow up and through my body. And I feel it enter through my feet and flow in the most tranquil stream up my entire body and out through the very top of my head.

WHO IS WRITING THIS WHAT IS HAPPENING.

I have seen so many things. So many things. Such beautiful things. And it has completely changed the way I react to life. Yes, I still get stressed. Of course. In fact, I have started going into meditation with the idea that I want to be less angry if not completely okay with the fact that I might not sleep at night. Insomnia terrorizes me. It’s the reason I ended up in the hospital after Leta was born. It’s at the core of the 18 months I endured suicidal ideation. I won’t get too specific, but when I am wide awake after having slept only 30 minutes my brain has been conditioned after years of trauma to tell me that I am going to die.

But that’s another post for another day.

Because now. Today. During the day. Even when I have not slept. I laugh. I suddenly found myself lost in the pet aisle of the grocery store, an aisle I would have avoided like the plague a month ago, and I laughed. Yesterday I dropped my very expensive case of eye shadow into the bathroom sink and every single part of it shattered. And I laughed. The other day Leta talked to me in a not so subtle way as to suggest that I am the cause of every problem in the world, and instead of absorbing it and letting it wreck my body — literally, my physical body has been wrecked by teenage indignation and you don’t even want to know what Coco’s death did to my weight and blood pressure — I told her to hold on one second. I then went into our bedroom and said, “Pete, I need backup.”

And he backed me up.

No, I am not joining any religion or going back to church. I am not going to start posting inspirational quotes about sunsets or waxing poetic about fields of grass. I will tell you this, though:

I did not believe I could do it. I was certain of this. And look at how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time. I did not believe it would work and in less than six weeks it has changed my entire life.

If you feel like I did, start with a guided meditation on YouTube. Five minutes tops. Give it at least a week. AT LEAST. British accents soothe me, so if that works for you seek those out. If it doesn’t kick in after a week, give it another week. Five minutes. If it does kick in? Here’s a good band if you want to try unguided meditation. NOTE: I do not recommend them lightly, please understand this. My life and my relationships have been reshaped by this music and I don’t know how I will ever be able to repay this band for the peace and calm they have brought to me and thus to my kids.

Finally. Mom, I love you. Please don’t be angry about my rant above. A part of my brain has been broken wide open and I had to say what I had to say. I couldn’t write this post without saying it.

I love all of you. You out there, you strangers who are so kind to me. I do. That’s the stupidest thing to say, but good god. Do I ever feel it.

And thank you, Pete Ashdown. For the music, for holding my hands every morning as I fall back into that expanse. Thank you for jumping over Joleen.

I feel safe with you.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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