Archives for February 2013

Monday Dare: C.R.E.A.M. aka Cash Rules Everything Around Me


Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or to learn more about its origin.

This week: Spend wisely

Between 7:46-7:49 every Tuesday and Friday evening, I cycle through intense waves of disappointment and depression as I digest the fact that I have, YET AGAIN,  been passed over by the California Mega Millions Lottery. It used to take a lot longer for the tightness in my chest to subside, but I’ve condensed the grieving process down to less than five minutes these days. I guess that’s what happens when something as fragile as hope is sullied over and over again. It becomes hard and ugly, and each new assault is less apparent.

Harv will rub my back and say some bullshit about how I have to buy a lottery ticket in order to win. “The lottery is a ‘pay to play’ deal. That’s how they get the jackpot in the first place. How do you expect to win if you don’t even have any numbers to match?”

This “pay to play” idea scares me. It’s not that I’m unwilling to fork over one whole dollar twice a week. I just don’t trust myself when it comes to making solid decisions about my dolla dolla billz.

Money, or rather, the lack thereof, ruled my life for a long time. Whoever is going around perpetuating the myth that money doesn’t buy happiness is either really rich and doesn’t give a shit or really poor and self-soothing. Being poor is fucking miserable. Working a series of low-paying, soul-sucking jobs colored every decision I made.

Cash ruled everything around me.

When Cal was five, a young photographer offered to do a Mother and Daughter photo session for $75. I was working the front end at a dry cleaner, settling tabs, rifling through pockets, and noting stains for $8 an hour before taxes, and the thought of wasting two days’ wages on something we couldn’t eat or put on our backs seemed ridiculous and unnecessary. I didn’t even give the offer a second thought.

A friend who had taken advantage of the photographer’s offer challenged my decision. This homegirl’s background in advertising really helped as she campaigned for me to change my mind, unafraid to mention that I would regret not having “nice pictures” someday.

My hands shook a little as I wrote the $75 check, mostly because I was afraid it wasn’t going to clear, but also because I was mentally scrolling through everything I would have to give up for the next few weeks to make those stupid pictures happen.

When it came time to order pictures, I passed on most of them, ordering just a handful in 5×7.

What I didn’t realize then…What I know now, is that I should have been glad to sift through dirty suit pockets, extracting crumpled receipts and used condoms (come on guys, what the fuck compels you to put these back in your pocket?) for the chance to capture this slice of time with my kid.

My favorite 5×7 is clipped to a floral pinboard, and each day, when I’m looking around my office instead of doing real work, my eyes land on it. I am reminded of the time when it was just the two of us.

When I got married, I let cash rule my life again. I suddenly had more. And I was determined to spend the shit out of my newfound cash flow. I didn’t even know what I was buying most of the time, but damn, it just felt good to buy it. YES, I WILL TAKE THAT CAFTAN IN EVERY SINGLE COLOR. Do I wear caftans? Fuck no. But I have ’em, just in case.

I am now coming to a middle place. A middle place where I know the real value of a dollar fluctuates, determined by the experiences I trade it in for. I emailed that photographer. I hope she still has our pictures on file. I plan to buy the biggest fucking size of every single shot.

View more slices of life like the Mother/Daughter picture above on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress).
Get connected on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page for (t)hug life thoughts and random shit.

Monday Dare: That’s mine, motherfucker


Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or to learn more about its origin.

This week: Own it

This occurred to me very recently: I have the power to make my life easy or difficult.

It seems like such a simple thing. If something can be distilled down into just a few words, it has to be easy, yes?

Yes. I mean, sort of. Only “sort of” because now, to do this supposedly simple thing, I have to go around collecting my power from the people I’ve been giving it to since…forever.

There’s not much left in my own reserve. So little, in fact, that I’m reminded of all the times I’ve been too lazy to turn the near-empty bottle of hair conditioner upside-down before I step out of the shower. Then, of course, the next time I’m washing up, I have neither the time nor the patience to flip the bottle on its head and wait while the remainder pools near the opening. I open the lid, swish a little water around, and pour the watered-down contents onto my head.

“Fuck it. This diluted shit is good enough,” I tell myself.

The diluted shit has always been good enough for me.

I’ve been giving away my power for so long, to so many people who didn’t even really deserve it in the first place, that I’ve had to make do with the dregs of what’s left for most of my adult life. 

It is only now that I understand what a profound impact this has had on my development and my happiness. My broken memories are populated by broken people with either too much power or not enough power.

Almost every time I venture out of the house lately, I bump into someone I so willingly handed my power to back in the day. I am reminded of the things they used to say to me. I am reminded of how I stayed silent during all of it.

Your ass is too flat. You have a little girl’s body. I don’t like it when your hair is up. I don’t like it when your hair is down. You swear too much. You’re not friendly enough. Your laugh is too loud. You laugh too much. You talk too much. You’re not really the kind of girl I can bring home to my parents. You dress like a sa mo neem (pastor’s wife). You dress like a hooker. You’re not very smart. You’re too smart. Your cooking tastes like shit. You’re a piece of shit. You’re a whore. You’re a waste of time. 

FUCK YOU. I’M AWESOME. That flat ass? Mine, motherfucker. I own it. I love it. That laugh? Mine. I love it. My clothes? That’s my style, fucker. I love it.


“There is a crack in everything. That is how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen.

As I become brave enough to OWN ME, and as I allow my cracks to grow longer and wider, the light grows brighter, highlighting all of my dark secrets and ugly imperfections.

All things, even ugly things, take on radiance in the light.
That Tupac shirt? I “borrowed” it from my kid. More pictures on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress). And I’ll be announcing some exciting news on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page this week. Let’s get connected.

WINNERS of last week’s Wallflower giveaway: 1. M (you have the word “fair” in your email address), 2. Kristyn (“80” in your email), 3. Amy (“79” in your email), 4. Corin (“cb” are the first two letters in your email). Please drop me a line at flourishinprogress at gmail dot com with your address.