Rambo Number Five

 

We visited Mount Rainier National Park, Washington for our 11 year dating anniversary October 13th.

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Within the first 24 hours, I had an incredible life epiphany involving the movie Rambo First Blood, which is filmed in Washington (and Canada, let’s be honest).

 

By the time we arrived at our cabin, it was dark and our son was already asleep, so after unpacking the car and tucking him into his bunk bed, my husband and I got to just sit out on the back deck, relax, and enjoy the woods. My husband and I kept remarking to each other how happy we were that it smelled like autumn. We are both from Western New York (AKA the 716) and LOVE everything about the fall. It is so hard to live in a desert when you love the fall.

 

As we were sitting, we both found ourselves smiling to hear that old familiar sound of an autumn leaf falling from its tree. I kept getting excited, straining my eyes into the darkness beyond the deck trying to see an elk. Over and over again, I found myself holding my breath and straining to hear what I hoped to be the sound of hooves walking on top of autumn leaves and branches. But something was not right.

 

It actually was not familiar. The sound. I couldn’t understand why it seemed like an animal was getting involved with the leaf as it fell from the tree when there ended up being no animal follow up sounds whatsoever. It was weird. Anticlimactic.

 

The next morning, we bundled ourselves up to explore the backyard in the daylight with our boy and I could not believe how beautiful it was.

 

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As I was standing here taking in this moment I saw, for the first time, what my husband and I had been listening to last night. The noise started so high, I had to totally lift my face up to the sky to see what was going on. One huge leaf falling from the top of a 100 year old tree and hitting hundreds of branches on its lengthy descent to the forest floor.

 

Obviously that’s when it hit me. Rambo. As I have mentioned before in previous blog entries, Rambo First Blood is the greatest PTSD story ever told. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that my brothers and I watched it nearly every day of our lives as we navigated a horrifically abusive and neglectful upbringing. Since I was too young to be watching it, let alone memorizing it, many moments from that movie have stuck with me. Haunted me.

 

It was in this moment of watching the leaf fall that I finally understood what was so bad about the scene where Rambo jumps off the cliff and is badly injured, as he hits many tree branches before hitting the ground. Rambo wasn’t falling through upstate New York trees, he was falling through Old Growth, which means he had to hit MANY branches in order to reach the ground. More than I ever even knew about. Until just now in this moment.

 

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Oh man. Rambo. It was worse than I thought.

 

I was so struck by this information that I began to excitedly point out the great distance the leaves were falling to my husband and son. I had this feeling of weird validation flowing through me because it now suddenly makes so much more sense that I would be haunted by the imagery of a human being falling through an old growth tree. But even as I was saying out loud to my family, “look at how many branches that leaf is hitting,” I became overwhelmed with a totally new idea:

 

That’s life.

 

WHAT?!

 

In response to my question my brain showed me the other moment from Rambo First Blood that haunts me: in the scene shortly after Rambo falls through the trees, a police officer falls from the helicopter straight to the ground, landing face down on rocks. It is just horrific. The surprised sound of his scream as he falls. You can tell it was blunt force trauma that killed him when Rambo grabs him by the jacket and flips him over, revealing his smashed in dead face.

 

WHY ARE YOU SHOWING ME THIS?!

 

That’s life.

 

Oh. OH! OMG!!

 

That’s life. Who do you want to be? Rambo, the hero who hits every single branch before hitting the ground, who then is mercilessly shot at until he has to throw a rock to successfully defend himself so that he can stitch up his own wound in peace.

 

What’s the alternative?

 

The dirty cop that tries to murder Rambo in an insane abuse of power play who falls from the helicopter all the way to the ground and dies instantly.

 

Um. Rambo. Everytime.

 

This story resonates with me because 2014 has been packed with punches; loss, grief, hurdles, mind fucking power plays, you name it. I am tired.

 

Hey, also though, 2014 has been full of AMAZING gains emotionally, creatively, spiritually, personally and collectively. I love my journey. I am just getting started.

 

Do I hit a branch every damn day?

 

Almost.

 

But at least I don’t fall all the way to the ground and die.

 

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XO

~Rachel

The Yoke Epiphany

Originally posted on Kindness Blog:

The Yoke Epiphany

by Rachel

On my vacation last week to Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, I drove by a huge statue depicting 2 oxen wearing a yoke with a man standing next to them, holding a bar, guiding the oxen I guess…

statue(photo by Steve Leake http://www.steveleakeimages.com/gallery.html?gallery=The+Pacific+Northwest&folio=Galleries&vimeoUserID=&vimeoAlbumID=#/21)

I didn’t like it. My brain spun into a train of very important thinking, as it often does, and now I feel compelled to share my epiphany:

In the beginning, animals put on the first yokes and harnesses out of love. Animals love. Animals love that humans love. Animals love that humans will sometimes feed and water them, even talk to and pet them. Animals understand that their humans need shelter, food and water, too. Out of love, reciprocity, and an innate ability to understand human limitations, those animals put on the first harnesses and yokes to help their human friend(s) survive.

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The time I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award

I am incredibly GRATEFUL to Midnight Blahs for nominating my blog “Oh, Brother…” for the One Lovely Blog Award.

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The One Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by fellow bloggers for those newer and up-and-coming bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and also to help the new blogger to reach more viewers. It also recognizes blogs that are considered to be “LOVELY” by the fellow bloggers who choose them. This award recognizes bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a beautiful manner to CONNECT with viewers and followers. In order to “accept” the award the nominated blogger must follow several guidelines:

 

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.

  • Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.

  • Share 7 facts or things about yourself.

  • Nominate 15 or more bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog.

 

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Gratitude surrounds her.” Thank you Midnight Blahs for truly seeing me. I think YOUR blog is lovely :)

 

7 facts about me

  1. In college my comedic timing was compared to the great Gilda Radner’s.
  2. When I was 8 years old I dressed up as my hero, Carol Burnett, for Halloween.
  3. I will work Rambo First Blood into any conversation.
  4. Things got out of hand between me and a giant stuffed panda bear on YouTube this summer.
  5. My mouth gets me into trouble all the time (INFJ problems).
  6. I have been a volunteer activist for V-Day Until the Violence Stops since 2002.
  7. Lately, I have been expressing myself more and more through the ancient art of Haiku.

 

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photo by @true_heart_jamila on Instagram

It is my pleasure to announce the following One Lovely Blog Award Nominees:

  1. Small Act of Kindness
  2. Basically Beyond Basic
  3. Kindness Blog
  4. Robin, Rach & Joe!
  5. Creating Your Life Journey
  6. I Love to go a Gardening
  7. Adventures of the Vay Jay Brigade
  8. Of Means and Ends
  9. Welcome to my Little Piece of Quiet
  10. Quiet Mammal
  11. INFJ Searcher
  12. Sensitive New World
  13. The Child Philosopher
  14. Uncomfortably Honest and Honestly Uncomfortable
  15. Libby Schug

 

If you enjoy my blog, please check out the above list for your reading pleasure.

 

XO

~Rachel

Oh, Brother…

 

I want to talk about my brother, Jody.

 

I call him my brother because he literally embodied the definition of the word for me at a time when I was very confused about its meaning.

 

Brother.

 

I always had them. I am the youngest of three children and the only girl. Divorce and remarriage changed all that. In so many ways.

 

My oldest brother (by 5 years) did not speak to me from age 11 through 18. We never discussed why when we spoke from age 18 through 22 but it was always assumed that it was not my older brother’s fault at all, even though we lived in a small town of almost 2000 people. Even though I was just a little girl. I won’t ask him now, since he hasn’t spoken to me from age 22 through the present (age 32) and because I don’t care to hear the answer, I already know.

 

My other older brother (by 18 months) was the kind of best friend who, it was understood, would rather be with our older brother if he could, but since he can’t right at this particular moment, then we could be best friends as consolation. The kind of best friend who allows you to sit at his cool kids lunch table in high school but doesn’t say a word to you for that lunch hour every day for a year. WHY??? I don’t know, I always assumed it was because I was worthless, but I asked him recently and it seems to be simple high school survival behavior he deeply regrets.

 

The combination of the above two paragraphs left me in a weird spot in high school with regard to the word “brother.”

 

When I was 14 my mom and I went to go live with her boyfriend who later became my stepfather. My stepfather also had 2 sons and a youngest daughter, just like my family. Jody was 5 years older than me, like my brother Kevin, and I fell in love with him immediately. It was embarrassing. I knew we were now family, even though it would be 2 more years before our parents officially married each other; I knew it would not be appropriate to be IN LOVE with my future step-brother.

 

Sometimes I would make him food. He was so skinny. Unlike me or my brothers, Jody could eat anything and it never showed. He admitted to me a decade later that he always had to secretly throw away more than half of his plate that I prepared because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings that he couldn’t eat all of it.

 

He didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

 

I could tell. He was doing what I was doing: we were watching each other. He read, understood who I was, and he wanted to protect me. The more we got to know each other, the more clear it became that we truly understood and practiced loyalty.

 

Loyalty.

 

That word has always been among my top 5 personality traits. That word has also always haunted me. Why??? Because I was giving it and not getting it, the loyalty was not always reciprocal. I used to think that’s what drew Jody and I together: our understanding of, appreciation, and yearning for reciprocal loyalty.

 

I understand now that it’s much more than that.

 

I remember the last conversation Jody and I had together, 6 years ago now. We hadn’t seen each other in awhile and he was skinnier than ever. He lit up when he saw me. I know he lit up because not only did I see it with my own eyes, but it also reflected back into me and I actually felt warm and loved.

 

He was telling me he received my wedding save the date. I rolled my eyes like: oh that old thing and told him all discouraged that I wanted it to have been much more creative but I’m not good at that stuff so my save the date is actually kind of boring compared to what I’ve been receiving in the mail from more artistically inclined friends. Blah Blah Blah. Boring.

 

Jody shook his head slightly, smiling, and told me he had never even seen a wedding save the date that was a magnet, he described how excited he was to open my mail and be reminded that I was going to marry Chris. How he loves to see it on his fridge every day. His sincerity was so calming to me; his support was palpable.

 

Jody was always a fan of Chris. I remember when Chris and I hosted our first Thanksgiving together at our first apartment in Buffalo. For a variety of reasons, that holiday meal was extremely stressful to prepare (I won’t go into that here) but, long story short, the combination of our divorced families and the tardiness of the meal resulted in a miscalculation of wine intake and a pass (out) on dinner.

 

What I’m saying is: by the time the food finally made it to the table, Chris had to excuse himself from the table and literally never came back; therefore, I hosted our divorced families for the first time by myself.

 

If you know me, you can look right at me and know what I’m thinking. My face is very expressive. Jody watched the tension in me rise to a boiling point. He smiled at me. He told me the food was excellent. He told me he was having a great time. It was right around his Birthday so I made him a cherry cheesecake pie, a new recipe. I had asked him what he wanted for his Birthday cake and was startled when he told me no one had ever asked him that before. Cheesecake. I had never made one, but I bake pies so I made that for him special and was so worried it would be a flop.

 

We sang Happy Birthday to Jody, his son blew out the candles and, even though he was so full from dinner, he ate his entire huge piece of cheesecake. His Birthday cake. He hugged me so hard. He loved his cake! I found my smile again.

 

Jody

 

Before he left my apartment that evening Jody told me: don’t give Chris a hard time. I looked at Jody sideways, he never told me what to do before, but Jody just smiled at me until I smiled back and said: ok.

 

That really blew me away at the time because I was like, why shouldn’t I give him a hard time?! What’s the big deal, why do you care what happens to him? Because I know Jody, I already knew the answer. Just like me, Jody could read people, and, just like me, Jody decided immediately he loved Chris.

 

 

Jody Card

 

 

This is the Christmas card Jody handed us just a couple weeks later. Jody was excellent at picking out greeting cards. They were never random. The card says:

 

“For You, Sister, and your family. Your home is a happy and welcoming place where there’s love in the air and a smile on each face…”

 

I cried when I opened this card. I cried because the one thing I have ever wanted my entire life was a family of my own and I knew Jody was right: me and Chris were a family now. I cried because Jody was being my brother and I needed it. I cried because Jody’s heart was so big.

 

Chris and I always talk about the time Jody lent us his boat. It was a disaster. Something happened and the boat kept filling up with water?! We were super concerned that we were going to sink his boat and that he would be angry thinking the boat was filling up with water because of something we may have done. When we got home, Jody just laughed and said: I’m sorry that happened! He was smiling while we explained how worried we were that we had done something wrong. Jody was not at all concerned. He shrugged and said it’s ok, he would fix it. No big deal.

 

Jody could fix any boat, he was a real genius at it. Most people would at least tease the person who almost sunk their boat, but not Jody. He was very careful with my emotions. Probably why he didn’t tease me and say: blah blah blah, when I shot down his compliment of my wedding save the date magnet.

 

9-19-09. That was my save the date. It used to haunt me. I mean, who sends out a save the date over a year in advance and then dares not to get married that day? Me. Some of my friends still have that magnet on their fridge and I used to look at it as a symbol of my failure and be like: why are you doing this to me, take that thing down at once!!!

 

I don’t see 9-19-09 like that anymore. Ever since I started to embrace the grieving process, I also started to see 9-19-09 as an inevitable part of my journey. That actually did have to happen that way. I didn’t make a mistake. Not at all.

 

Today I allow myself to say: I am that person who rescheduled their wedding date due to grief. If Jody wasn’t doing 9-19-09 then neither were we. I planned a totally different wedding that did take place on 5-8-10 because life happened and I adapted. I honor my body and I do what feels right when it feels right.

 

My brother Jody is with me all the time. Even so, I still feel his absence and I still mourn our connection on this earth. I wish we could spend this Thanksgiving together and our Birthdays and Christmas. Anything.

 

I’m not done talking about my brother Jody and I never will be.

 

XO

~Rachel

 

PS: Full Disclosure: while writing this blog, I cried the whole time…on a spectrum ranging from silent stream of tears to scream sobbing; I also used my shirt as a tissue after the box of Kleenex next to me ran out.

Come As You Are

I have a dream.

I dream of a world where human beings are not defined by their gender.

There I said it.

Feels good to get that out. I get in trouble a lot for saying these things. I actually have been randomly receiving a lot of hate for BEING a feminist. There is this “anti-feminist” movement online that has been following me pretty aggressively and, as you can see by their title, they are “anti-ME.”

That hurts.

I know it shouldn’t but…

I mean come on! It’s not ok to be a part of a group that is anti or against a group of human beings. As a feminist, I am a human being and I am not against a group of other human beings. Contrary to “anti-feminist” rhetoric, feminists don’t hate men. That’s absurd. I am married to a man and I made a son. I love these men. I would give my life up for them without hesitation. It wouldn’t even occur to me to pile up men into a group and then express hatred toward that group; that has a very nazi prison camp feel to me. Nazis hate a big group of people, too. The KKK hates a big group of people. Anti-feminists hate a big group of people. That’s unsettling.

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Took my son to the park this weekend and posted this picture of us on Instagram. This is the comment I provoke:

“Feminism is a sign of being weak. Your weakness will be used against you. You have been selected to be on trial of committing acts of treason if found guilty your instagram account will be band {ha ha} by reports of over 300 jurors in our internet trial court.”

I added the “ha ha” to the quote above because I think nafu_1st_ar meant to say “banned” instead of “band.”  Not because I am in any way laughing at the person who uses a nazi flag for their profile pic. That’s not funny.

I am going to be me no matter what. Even if your end game is to line up all feminists into a gas chamber, I won’t betray who I am. I am GRATEFUL to the feminists (men and women) who fought for my RIGHT to vote from 1777-1920. I will continue to express gratitude for that. Many lives were lost so that women could vote and I am grateful. If you think that I should die for that, bring it. Until then, as a sociologist and lawyer, I will use all my resources to undo the legal mess that took place between 1777-2014 as a result of REAL OPPRESSION. If you want to stop me, good luck. I don’t hate you. I’m not against human beings.

Come as you are.

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But don’t bring me your hate, I won’t carry that weight.

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SERIOUSLY.

Instead of coming onto my page and muddying up beautiful family time park pictures, explaining how I am “weak,” just keep moving along, you don’t have to bother with me.  Obviously, if I’m so “weak,” right?  What’s the point?

LOVE always wins.

XO

~Rachel

An INFJ / Empath goes to the Park

 

What’s it like to be an empath?

 

No one has ever asked me.

 

 

em·path
ˈempaTH/
noun
a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.

 

 

Whoa–that’s interesting…then what’s it like to be an INFJ / empath???

 

Wow, another great question I have never been asked before…

 

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This Haiku/Meme I made and included in my previous blog post is probably only understandable if you are an empath/INFJ, so I will explain the answer to this long overdue question with an example from this weekend:

 

Weekends are for family time. My husband and I took our toddler to the Paseos Park on Saturday for a change of pace and to check out the cool water feature. Ah, leaving the house…here we go…

 

The moment we approached the water area, my emotional space was invaded by a little boy of about 9 years old. He was running with his 3 little friends, slipped on the water and hit his head HARD on the concrete right at my feet. 

 

The sound his head made…a human being should not hit their head that hard.

 

The moment he fell it was like he physically jumped inside my body and I felt his fear, his confusion and his pain. My eyes went WILD, scanning the park for his mother, his father, someone who looked startled that he had fallen. No one would look at me. His three friends stared at him wide eyed as he slowly got up, in a daze and put his pudgy little hand to his head. I already knew what would happen and it was painful to watch. The little boy fought a difficult inner battle and lost to his tears; he was disappointed in himself for breaking down and crying.

 

About three seconds had gone by and that was way too long for me. I reached my arms out to the wet, topless, unknown 9 year old boy and said, “come here, sweetie.” 

 

That’s right, I hugged a stranger–a wet, topless stranger.  I mentioned in one of my YouTube videos that I am empathetic and will hold anyone’s hand who needs it. Well, when it comes to children, I up the ante and will hold you to my bosom.

 

He didn’t even fight it. He allowed me to gently pull him in, place his injured head against my chest and rub/pat combo his naked wet back while I told him: “I am so sorry that happened to you, you hit your head really hard and I’m so sorry that happened to you.”

 

While I did this, I continued to scan the f***ing park for his parents. No one will look at me. One of the boy’s three friends, the smallest one, finally asks: “should I get his dad?”

 

YES! I say way too exasperatedly to the small child, like what is wrong with you?!  

 

That child never comes back and eventually the little boy pulls out of my hug and goes to sit down. In the middle of the water park. Alone. 

 

I go over to a park bench. EXHAUSTED. My son, stands in between my legs resting his head on my right knee, hugging my leg, looks up at me and says “I love my mommy.”

 

I can see it in his eyes, my son really loves me. 

 

I pick my boy up for a big hug and kiss and tell him his mantra; the one I tell him at least 100 times per day:

 

I love you, Jackson, you are my son, I am your mommy, I take care of you, you are a good boy, kind, smart, angel I love you.

 

My son repeats these words back to me as I whisper them into his ear, all the while I am staring at the little tear-stained 9 year old boy all by himself in the middle of the water park and wondering why why why why WHY has no one come for him?

 

It gets worse.

 

As I sit on the bench, my husband and son venture into the water area and play for about 15 minutes. I am still scanning with my wild eyes for this boy’s guardians when a very large professional bouncer type guy walks by me super close. So close, I thought he was going to talk to me, but he didn’t even look at me. Instead, he very slowly walked toward the injured boy, his son, and sat down next to him WITHOUT MAKING EYE CONTACT. You better believe I watched the whole exchange–I felt it. The huge man sat down next to the tear stained boy and did not look at him. The little boy did not speak. At all. Still, without looking, the huge man extended his fist toward the little boy, who very quickly returned the fist bump to his father. 

 

That’s it. The huge man then got up and walked away. No conversation, no examination of injury, no eye contact, no body scan, no hug, no kiss, no I love you. The little boy had snot running down his nose and began to gather it in both hands. That got his Dad’s attention: “GO TO THE BATHROOM AND CLEAN YOURSELF UP,” his huge voice boomed from 10 feet away. Without looking back, the boy slowly walked toward the bathrooms with his head down. His injured head. 

 

The huge man then walked super close to me AGAIN and did not look at me. He was about to walk over to the pavilion he came from when my husband, god bless him, very kindly advised: “your son took a pretty bad fall, hit his head pretty hard.”

 

“I saw…my younger son is tougher.”

 

My sweet husband then took our son’s hand and walked away.

 

He knew. He saw the whole thing. He was sitting 20 feet away from his son, saw his son fall, saw a strange woman hold and comfort his own son and just sat there. I wonder if my hugging the boy angered his father somehow, violated some masculine rules of their household. That would explain walking SUPER close to me twice and NOT looking at me (that’s weird!). It was ok for the huge man to speak to my husband, but he had no intention of looking at me, the one who held his wet topless son.

 

Therefore, his son knew. That’s why the little boy didn’t walk 20 feet over to his dad to say: I’m hurt, dad. That little boy knew his dad was aware, knew his dad was not coming and knew that he was in trouble for crying. So he just sat down in the middle of the water park. And broke my heart.

 

NEGLECT

 

Like a lightning bolt–NEGLECT!–this is the word that I feel, see and hear the whole time. I am furious, I truly cannot tolerate child abuse or neglect. 

 

I know, I know…it’s like some kind of cool new parenting trend to let your kids fall down and cry it out without the parents every reacting and what not. Well that’s not what I’m doing in my house. If you get hurt, I acknowledge it. If you are sad, I acknowledge it. Any feeling you have, I acknowledge it. I’m pretty sure that acknowledging reality will translate into a healthy well adjusted adult, as opposed to living in la la land where I don’t see your tears. Mommy cares.

 

Mommy still cares. That incident was two days ago and I still care. I am now burdened with the task of separating out which emotions were really mine and which were the little boy’s. Empath. I am now burdened with the task of making global connections between everything I have ever experienced and what happened at the park. INFJ. Exhausting.

 

Writing this blog has helped. 

 

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XO

~Rachel

 

 

Joan Rivers + Robin Williams = my new angels

 

Ever since Robin Williams went home, I have been thinking about loss (of strangers) like a gain (of angels).

 

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I wrote this haiku for Robin Williams because I was so sad to lose him and suddenly reminded of what he taught me:

 

ROBIN WILLIAMS’ MORK

ALLOWED ME TO BE MYSELF

NEVER FORGET THAT

 

What does that mean? Well, if you’re not INFJ like me and Robin, you probably won’t understand, but I have always felt very much like an alien. Like I’m not supposed to be here. I guess that’s how Robin Williams felt, too.

 

INFJ I see fake people

 

I felt stronger having gained Robin Williams as a guardian angel, like I AM supposed to be here. Yesterday when we lost Joan Rivers, I basically grew a pair of brass balls.

 

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Joan Rivers was not a perfect person, but for me she is a symbol of ferocious tenacity. I was born in 1981 and watched Valerie get replaced by Sandy Duncan on her own show because she dared ask for a raise. I watched Roseanne get crucified for daring to demand she be properly credited as the creator of her own show. I watched very intently to see what happened to women who spoke up. I still do.

 

I very angrily explained to my sweet husband last night that Joan Rivers did have the CLASS to only speak highly of Johnny Carson when she appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon after nearly three decades of being banned from NBC. Johnny Carson was so angry at his protégé for daring to accept the offer of her own show with a different network (after guest appearing on his show for nearly 20 years without being offered her own show by that network) that he BANNED HER from NBC for life and now Jimmy Fallon is some hero for undoing that shortly before Joan Rivers’ death.

 

Hero. A hero to me is someone who will open their mouth and say what is going on regardless of the repercussions. Joan Rivers was not politically correct and she was often TRYING to shock and offend people with her outrageous comedy style, but she said what she felt and that inspires me. Too many girls and women are stifled. Oppression is stifling and often leads to depression. In order to work through my grief, I made a Joan Rivers Tribute YouTube video for my dear friend, Libby Schug. In it you will see a young Joan Rivers do stand up for Johnny Carson, a more seasoned Joan Rivers being interviewed by Larry King, and finally Anderson Cooper reading an excerpt from Joan Rivers’ book, “I Hate Everyone Starting With Me,” about her outrageous funeral arrangement expectations imposed on her daughter, Melissa Rivers. I hope you enjoy it and, more importantly, I hope you feel inspired to speak your own truth.

 

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(I MADE this Meme AND wrote the Haiku–do you LOVE it??)

 

XO

~Rachel

This Woman’s Work: The Blue Lagoon music video

 

 

Do you remember the movie The Blue Lagoon starring Brooke Shields?

 

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This movie was made in 1980, a year before I was born. I watched it on television all the time growing up. To me, it symbolizes LOVE in the most pure and natural sense.

 

Beautiful naked bodies running around a picturesque stranded island together.

 

When things get too complicated, I close my eyes and picture The Blue Lagoon.

 

When my dear friend Libby Schug sent me her song This Woman’s Work, I nearly died.

 

This Woman’s Work?!

 

Do you remember the movie She’s Having a Baby starring Kevin Bacon??

 

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The scene in She’s Having a Baby where they use the song This Woman’s Work has HAUNTED me for my whole life. In fact, I used the song as a sound cue for my one act play “Women & Wallace” that I directed in college and almost suffocated the entire audience from the sheer emotional beauty.

 

My mind went spinning in a few directions artistically but I could not commit to a music video theme for Libby so I asked her for input.

 

Beach lovers.

 

Enter The Blue Lagoon. Most beautiful beach lovers of all time.

 

Leave it to Rey Divine to have the right words to bridge the gap between the two concepts:

 

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I hope you enjoy This Woman’s Work sung by Libby Schug!

 

 

XO

~Rachel

PTSD & Rage: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry

 

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…

 

The story of the Incredible Hulk really affected me. David Banner was such a kind person until the incident that caused him to radically transform…into a monster. But David Banner, even when he was the monstrous Incredible Hulk, was actually a hero; he stopped the bad guys with his anger.

 

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The Incredible Hulk never hurt anyone who was innocent, only the bad guys. Even as a child in the 1980’s I knew that was an incredible mental fete, as David Banner was the victim of a scientific experiment gone very wrong and was often totally out of control.

 

Control. I’ve always wanted it. Obviously my little girl body could not transform into the Incredible Hulk, but there was always hope. Thanks to Stephen King and Drew Barrymore.

 

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Firestarter. Due to a scientific experiment gone wrong in both her parents, when this little girl gets angry, she starts fire with her eyes…fascinating. I practiced my glare for the rest of the 1980’s.

 

But glaring is not the same as the Incredible Hulk, I still felt too small…things were still out of control.

 

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Thank god the lady from Splash got angry and transformed into a 50-foot giantess in the early ’90’s. I needed that.

 

By the time the early ’90’s rolled around, I was feeling totally powerless. Couple that with all the hormones and emotions of becoming a woman and understand that I felt very much like a freak.

 

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Like Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf…before he realizes he is good at basketball.

 

So much hair…

 

Were it not for movies like these growing up, I probably never would have had my latest epiphany:

 

It’s ok to get angry.

 

It’s normal.

 

For many years, I got into a very nasty habit of telling myself that “I don’t get angry.” That was stupid. Of course I get angry, I am a human being; a very passionate human being. I am an empath, I am INFJ and not allowing myself to embrace my angry feelings actually made me very sick.

 

I’m not doing that anymore.

 

I made a YouTube video about PTSD & Rage. Apparently the two go hand in hand. Like peas and carrots.

 

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As long as you do something constructive with your anger, it’s ok. Recognizing anger for what it is, enables you to choose NOT to do something destructive with your anger.  My new mantra about anger?

 

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It just doesn’t matter. Thank you Bill Murray. Thank you Meatballs. It just doesn’t matter.

 

This is my story. It’s mine to tell.

 

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I hope you enjoy my new YouTube video!

 

 

XO

 

~Rachel

 

p.s. ~ follow @rey_divine on Instagram and Soundcloud

Godspell & Grieving: Oh God I’m Bleeding

 

When I was in middle school, Lake Shore High School put on the best production of Godspell ever. I have never seen another version. No need.

 

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I’ve been thinking about that musical A LOT over the past year.

 

Specifically, the part where Jesus is crucified.

 

Oh God I’m Dying…

 

I’ve been singing it to myself for at least a year…

 

I have a story to tell.

 

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So I made a YouTube video called Godspell & Grieving: Oh God I’m Bleeding.

 

WHY?

 

Because I had to. I had to shut this song up, that’s enough. I’m not dying.

 

I’m grieving.

 

Feels similar, I imagine, if your death were as slow and painful as possible.

 

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In the video I describe toxic relationships using my favorite television series: Arrested Development.

 

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I also act out the 5 stages of grief in a loop 3 times in a row…there is a giant stuffed panda bear involved. Totally normal stuff.

 

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I know that this story has to be told because it is haunting both my days and my nights. I’m done. If you don’t have 6 minutes to invest then hear me now:

 

–SPOILER ALERT–

Set boundaries that honor your personal limits and have the integrity to keep your own promises. This is life. It can be whatever you make it. Make it as kind and loving as possible.

 

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Please let me know what you guys think of my new video and please subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss out on my next special delivery ;)

 

XO

~Rachel

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