Love Letters From Mom: Learning The Truth Part 1

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”
― C.S. Lewis

Love Letters From Mom: Learning The Truth (Part 1)

If I never learned how to read the written word, I wouldn’t know my mom.  Not the way I know her today.  I don’t remember the first exact moment I realized my mother was crazy.  The thought seems to have no beginning to me.  It’s as though I’ve always perceived her the same way that I do at this very moment: eloquent, vindictive, incredulous, hateful, passive-aggressive, resourceful.  But before I hit middle school, she was kind enough to leave me with some rather fond memories of the mom I long for today: the mom who surprised me with playing hookie from school; the mom that playfully danced around the house in her lingerie; the mom that cloaked our apartment in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, with green tinsel and lights when we returned from Dad’s.  Beautiful, witty, and strong.  That’s the kind of woman people see when they meet my mom, before they get to know her.  But the Michele that I know cannot been seen.  She can only be read.

My mom, the wordsmith.  I truly believe I have her to thank for my ability to craft words.   (With proper motivation, that is.)  She loves to write.  The folder in my Yahoo email, marked Love Letters from Mom, remains a poignant reminder of her innate-self, and my way of making light of it.  I don’t open the folder.  But I add to it.  If I opened the folder, the emails would date back to 2002—the year I left home and moved to New Jersey.  They would reveal a steady pattern of her volatile nature.  But the physical folder, an envelope, actually, before email was a thing to me, dates back much further.

The letters in the envelope come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some missing a section where tape once attached it to my bedroom door; others are small, just a corner of her scratch paper ripped off probably in a hurry.  I don’t want to open the envelope.  I imagine I will one day after she dies.  But that’s jumping too far ahead.  My first significant encounter with the written word might be the catalyst of the tumultuous relationship I have with the written word.  That goes back when we all lived together, my two sisters, myself, and Mom.

As far back as I can remember, the written word, to me, was the form in which my mom used to communicate the things she did not have the courage to say to our face.  If she said them to our face, she would essentially have to come face-to-face with the part of her that we presume to be unknown to her.  She seemed to leave her letters—always in a white business envelope and addressed to the proper child—at the worst time.  She knew it.  It was on purpose, to add the pain waiting inside.  I was probably about 11 years-old when I received my first correspondence.  I can’t recall all of the words, but I can still feel the way they stabbed through my core taking a piece of my heart with it as I read her valediction, “Love, Mom.”

Inside that lost piece of my heart was complete love for my mother, the love that comes built inside all babies. It encompasses the safety, the trust, the unwavering love that a child has for its mother before they’re even born and that can be taken away anytime after that. Love, Mom…a trick. A facade of the mom I lost that day, if she ever existed in the first place. A betrayal in my backpack. I could pronounce “I-N-G-R-A-T-E,” but I wasn’t sure what it meant to be one. I waved down the lunchroom attendant and he seemed happy to help me out, until I pointed to the word. He didn’t even have to say a thing. The pale shade his face became was all I needed; and my heart sank. That would be just one of the many times I had to suffer through the rest of the day pretending I was “normal” underneath my hovering little black cloud that nobody could see but me. She could have said something to me in the morning or on the way to school, I remember thinking, jaw-dropped, in awe, Did she really need to leave a letter in my lunch? Yes. And the more she taught me about her, the more I understood why she did.

She liked to tell us stories about her childhood.  Wonderful bedtime stories about the way my grandma abused her.  Mom wasn’t physically abusive to us all the time; she prefers to write letters.  The beatings were few and far between, about every three months or so, but always by surprise. Like the time I entered the hallway fresh out the shower; Mom came out of her room, phone tight between her ear and shoulder chatting away as she beelined toward me.  I knew to brace myself, though unsure of why she was coming at me.  Then everything went black.

Each thump on my head came accompanied by a spectacle of lights flashing on a black canvas. I squeezed my eyes shut tighter and tighter, as if it would help in some way. I guess she stopped when she felt satisfied. Even after what she had just done, it was her diction—calm and graceful—that terrified me. She is a master of disguise, I thought to myself, still managing to hold my towel somewhat closed, hair matted and damp. Not only did she decide to beat me on my head for no apparent reason, she stayed in character, offering a swift reply to the person on the other end at every chance as she strolled back to her room like she never left.

Every year I grew older, the more numb to her ways became.  The daggers she left in flawless cursive were still just as sharp, if not more, but experiencing my mother in real life, off paper, had undoubtedly helped warm me up to the letters I would get as an adult.

(to be continued…..)

Personification of The Written Word

By: NJ

If I could personify the written word, it would be God. I say that because when I hear the phrase The Written Word, the Bible immediately comes to mind.  However, understanding what the term means to a literate, I would personify the written word as a lover, but a lover who sometimes despises me.  A lover who doesn’t love me the way I love “it.”

I’ll tell you why.

My journey as an entrepreneur started because of my love for writing.  As I mentioned in an earlier journal entry, I was a freelance writer.  That quickly turned into running my own content marketing business.  I loved it.  I loved it because my job consisted primarily of researching, reading, writing, and a little bit of digital design.  Every day for work I got to do the things I enjoy most, and make money doing it.  But since then, my business evolved into a web marketing service primarily for large companies.  The joy and excitement that once ignited my desire to work in the mornings can now be summed up as stress.

Passion doesn’t ignite me, stress does.  Albeit “big” joys, the only work-related joy I experience anymore is when a client raises in search engines, when my email alerts me that a purchase has been made on a client’s website, etc.  My “Why” has vanished in less than two-years.  Other than the fact that now I have to hire most of my writing out because I simply do not have the time, the writing has changed.

For example, take a client who we get ranking first in Google.  So we are getting him or her a lot of increased website traffic, but only 2% of them are converting.  A likely next step would be newsletters, probably social media ads.  Well that writing is called copywriting.  And the copy is vital to our desired end result.  Copywriting is also my nemesis.  Copywriting is still writing, just in (not so rare) form.

He’s my lover when my lover can’t even stand to look at me.  And now, something that I once felt I had mastered, has left me feeling like a pipe-dreamer who’s been living in fantasyland.  My thoughts to myself are often, “you totally suck at writing anything anyone wants to read.”

That’s the reason I’m taking an exploratory writing course.  Not to learn copy (I bought a book for that), but to discover myself again.

Myself as a writer.

Absolute Worst Things To Do On A First Date

Online dating is high stakes gambling at its finest.  Yet nothing is more dicey than the first date…and that’s where the best dating horror stories are born. This particular real life example was the ultimate first date fail.  However, it is chock-full of lessons for both men and women.  If you want to avoid complete online first date failure, read on.  If nothing else, it makes for pretty awesome lunch-break entertainment.

What not to do (ever) on a First Date:

These moves don’t work.  They just don’tthey never will.  These things that every online dating article make no mention of, at all.  On the contrary, the guy in this story followed every single step that he read in every Men’s Health Dating Tips article.  How do I know?  He told me.

Never Trust An Antique Dealer

After 10-months of solitude spent recovering from the total destruction of my heart and mind, I joined the lonely ones online hoping for a miracle, expecting only to waste my time.

What I never expected was what I got on my first venture.

It started with the incoming texts.  This guy apparently thought I was the most beautiful of beings ever to grace the planet.  Nice and all, but, c’mon…at this point they were just pictures, which for all he knew, weren’t even of me.  He asked my preferences, my likes, my tastes, my hates.  Still put-off, I went along and agreed to meet him.  For all I knew this was normal online dating etiquette and I just needed to adapt.  The few images he had boasted a tattooed, well-built, clean-shaven bad-boy.  A bad boy who happened to own an antique shop. Though not one for tattoos, and full sleeves at that, I admit the combination intrigued me.

If they arrive first, don’t let them come out to greet you

Finding a spot to park was a challenge. Luckily the owner of the small swanky Scottsdale restaurant himself led me up to the side of the building. Before I could get out of my car to thank him, an overjoyed little man with a beaming grin and sparkling eyes still had me a little confused – until I saw the tattoos.

Please no…

Yep. Clearly though, this man was no taller than 5’5″.  In a stupefied daze I followed him to our table. He gifted me on the spot with a dozen roses.  On my seat, a Queen of Hearts playing card. Engraved with Sharpie read the words…

“Our First Date – 10/15/2015”.

Do NOT ask him to explain the meaning behind his tattoos

Hoping for a miracle…still, I asked him about his antique shop. He told me about the junkyard he helped run with his dad. I asked about the winged markings on his forearm to which he raise his arms and screamed a crazy chant of protection.  “Oh, okay, I get it, I get it,” I lied.  A text from my best friend lit up my phone.  I nonchalantly took it to my lap and replied “He’s crazy…I need to get away ASAP.”  He inquired about the text.  “Oh, nothing…just my friend checking on me.”

“What did you say?”

“Uh, I told her everything was fine.”

“Just Fine?!”

Umm, is this really happening to me??

I said I had to use the bathroom. In a rush, I grabbed my purse, went in the bathroom and immediately searched through it for my phone. I forgot it at the table!! Keys in hand, I headed back to the horror show. He was standing in front of my seat…holding my phone. “I’m crazy?! You said I’m crazy?! You lied to her!!”

I asked for my phone back—comforted only by the fact that we were surrounded by a good 50 people,   He gave it to me. I ran to my car. After 30-minutes of driving around I was pretty sure he wasn’t following me.  It was safe to return home.


These are the absolute worst moves you can make. Whether your him, or her…Don’t do them. Ever.  If you are dating online, or agreeing to a blind date, you need to understand one key thing before you agree to meet your first time candidate: Some people try to pull some seriously desperate moves just to get that first chance to meet with you in person.  Be careful, listen to your instinct.  It’s there for a reason.

The Two Best Kept Secrets to a Happy Relationship

The Two Best Kept Secrets to a Happy Relationship

  After almost 40 years on this Earth and many disastrous, failed relationships I’d like to think that I’ve finally uncovered the perfect recipe for a happy relationship. In my youth I was selfish and quite self-centered.  I seldom took responsibility for my unhappy unions, and, although my boyfriends were without a doubt some of the bigger losers you could ever run across, it was only with maturity that I realized that MORE than half of the responsibility belonged to ME, not them. I can already see many of you shaking your head and I’m getting ahead of myself; so please stay with me and I promise I will explain the secrets to unlock the happiness you have been searching for all of these years.

    You see, the secrets are not as much of a secret as they are thoughts that you have just never had. The logic is simple and can be practiced by even the most unsuccessful in love types of people. You do not have to purchase anything, attend any type of class or seminar, or seek any type of magic. This thought you must adhere to in order to find true relationship happiness is that YOUR PARTNER DOES NOT HAVE TO TAKE PART IN ANY OF IT! Well, besides sharing in the glow of your new-found love story, that is. Continue reading The Two Best Kept Secrets to a Happy Relationship

Abandonment – Life Lessons Learned from Dad

To those who feel that their lives were diminished as the result of the abandonment of a parent.

I suggest  to them that the opposite may be more true.

Life Lessons Learned from Dad

Nearing fatigue from the lengthy and slow paced stroll to each of the numerous exhibits within the museum, I visited the gift shop and simply bought “the book”, then headed downstairs to the snack shop.  Settling in comfortably with water and nourishment to replenish myself, I propped open the book by tucking its edge under my plate.  It would be so much easier to take in what the museum had to offer while using all my senses.  

The table I had chosen was next to man with his pre-teen aged son and daughter.  As he explained the exhibits they had just viewed, I observed.  This man was so interesting to listen to.  To further clarify certain pieces of art, he pointed out what ideologies may have been in play to have inspired each type.  He was in no hurry to be done and on his way; he answered their questions and sought their understanding. Continue reading Abandonment – Life Lessons Learned from Dad