Month: December 2017

The Best Year


I was playing guitar and singing backing vocals in an all-girl grungy pop-rock band in Warrensburg, Missouri, where we all attended college.

I never fit into the band.

The other three girls were smokers who liked junk food, staying up late drinking beer, and sleeping in.

I was a non-smoking natural early-riser who liked to run to the gym in the mornings, lift weights for an hour or so, and ate healthfully. I was so very not rock and roll.

One night, I let the girls talk me into coming with them to a local bar. This was before indoor cigarettes were banned, so the air was gross and my eyes were burning. I halfheartedly had a beer and left amid protests and playful mockery.

I felt like a loser for not wanting to hang with my band-mates, but smoky bars just weren’t my scene. And no matter how late I stay up, I wake at the crack of sparrow fart, so late nights mean painful mornings. I still do this. Naps are my friends. (Yes, naps, plural. I love every single one of those beautiful little bastards.)

I lived within a mile or so of the downtown area, so I walked home in the dark, alone. This was probably not the best idea, as despite being a 5’8″/5’9″/tallish girl I weighed about 110-115 at the time. I would have been easier to abduct then than I would be now. (Did I just find a bright side to gaining weight with age? Fuck YEAH, I did. Less abduct-able! You’re welcome, everybody.)

I was looking at the stars, like I do, and the moon was shining brightly enough to light the sidewalks. I wasn’t afraid for my personal safety, but I felt trepidation about the future. The band and I didn’t make it, and I think this was an early moment of clarity for me, realizing that our group wasn’t a personality or lifestyle match.

Bands are like having a relationship with all of the people in them, in case you’ve never experienced the phenomenon. It’s like asexually dating a group of people, and if there are personality conflicts, the whole group suffers. Very odd and potentially uncomfortable situation.

I liked the music we were making and was enjoying the creative outlet immensely, but all of the girls came from money and were being supported by their parents, and I’d been on my own since barely 17. We had very different worldviews and coping mechanisms. I didn’t understand their easy existences, and they didn’t understand my neuroses.

You grow into a very different person when you have no parachute to pull on should you suddenly fall down out of the sky.

I didn’t fit in. And you know, honestly–I never do–so this wasn’t surprising. But as I walked home, I looked up at the big, glowing moon and the galaxy of stars, and silently asked the universe (or my guardian angels or whatever I liked to pretend was watching over me at the time to feel less alone) what I was supposed to be doing. What should my next move be?

I wrote the song below in my head as I walked. Upon arriving home, I immediately scribbled down the words, and found the guitar chords via vocal melody line.

Later, my boyfriend, who was a talented recording engineer, was kind enough to immortalize it for me. I’m so grateful for this, still. Having your song recorded is like possessing an auditory snapshot from your life that will never disappear or fade away.

I like to share this song on New Year’s Day because it reminds me that I was once a hopeful 20-something with possibilities, and a seemingly endless future ahead. We don’t get to feel that way our entire lives–opportunities stolen or lost fill in the cracks, escape hatches close, and paths are taken that can’t be undone–so it’s a bittersweet remembrance.

But we have smaller versions of these large choices throughout our lives, regardless of age. It’s important to remember every year we still have futures, possibilities, and opportunities, and paths to walk, even if they don’t loom quite so long and uncertainly ahead of us anymore.

I hope your New Year is the best year you’ve ever had in your whole life.


Look at my confused-yet-optimistic 20s represented lyrically below, you guys. Awwww.

I asked the moon tonight for the answers that the stars won’t give me. She said there’s nothing left that I don’t know that she could teach me. This one will be the best year I’ve ever had in my whole life. This one will be the best year, and if it’s not, at least I’ll know I tried. I tried. I know that I can answer my own questions if I only look inside. Sometimes I see the angels protecting me in the corner of my eye. This one will be the best year I’ve ever had in my whole life. This one will be the best year, and if it’s not, at least I’ll know I tried. I tried. So now I look up to the sky and everything is clear. It’s like the light from all the stars has burned away the fear. This one will be the best year I’ve ever had in my whole life. This one will be the best year, and if it’s not, at least I’ll know I tried. I tried. I tried.


The Old Grey Matter, She Ain’t What She Used to Be



Hello, Imaginary Reader.

You may have noticed I forgot to write yesterday. That’s right. Forgot.

Not only did I forget, but I even got on the laptop, which I don’t really do as often as I used to now that I can watch the world implode in real time on my small rectangle of doom.

Not only did I forget, and get on my laptop, but while I was on the laptop, my son said, “Don’t forget to write, Mom. You promised yourself every day.” Yet I still forgot.

Jesus. My brain fog has brain fog.

I got sucked into Facebook, dicked around there for too long (LIKE I DO), and decided a nap sounded good. Then a shower. Then dinner at closest, dearest friend’s who conveniently also happens to be our next door neighbor. Then a backyard fire pit and some red wine happened.

I had no idea ten years ago I’d become a fire and red wine girl, but here I am. That’s pretty much a perfect night for me at this point. Absolutely¬†loving the fire pit nights. There’s something so primal and soothing about sitting around a fire in the dark instead of staring at a screen. I mean, we have music playing on a little speaker, and occasionally we each take a moment to look at a phone message, but for the most part, it’s as close to “old school” hang-out time as a person can get nowadays without going completely off the grid.

I like it.

I like off the grid. I like alone. But I do I get lonely because I’m isolated and know very few adult people. I have never talked to myself as much as I do now, and I’m pretty sure this is a sign I’m reaching new and not exciting levels of loneliness. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy my conversations. I get a little tired of the lack of spontaneity, however. My answers are so predictable.

So the fire pit nights are giving me life, as the kids say. Even as a total introvert, I recognize I currently desperately need more adult conversation in my life.

I am a non-church-going liberal-minded person, if liberal-minded is interpreted as believing all people deserve the same human rights, that kindness and empathy for others is good, but also, that if you can work for a living and be a productive member of society, you should do so, rather than sponging off everybody else.

But I am unfortunately located in a state where people are very conservative, if conservative is interpreted as only caring about your piece of the pie, lacking compassion for others, and negatively, hypocritically judging people you assume don’t follow the same moral tenets you claim to believe in–yet don’t emulate or demonstrate within many realms of your existence–simply because they don’t go stand in the same crowded influenza room with you once a week to eat Jesus crackers.

Short version: The first question I’m always asked by another mom since moving here has been, “Which church do you go to?” to which I reply, “I haven’t found one I like yet.” This isn’t technically a lie. It’s mostly a really polite way to say: “I don’t go to church, but hey, if it makes you happy, I want you to have it. To each his or her own.”

And then they try to get me to join their church, or write me off as a human. Or both. The end.

Yay, people!

My son suffers because of this, and it pisses me off. Religion and spirituality are very personal, and the way people here use it as a conversational opener is nothing short of bizarre and rude. You might as well ask me how much my family makes per year. Want to talk about how and when I lost my virginity, too?*

People in my neighborhood with kids have also pulled the “drop-by unannounced” maneuver more times than I can count, which has made me pull away from all attempts at friendship. It fucking freaks me out. My house is my safe space. Do not invade my safe space with your children on a whim because little Connor or Raegan got bored and you’ve decided my child is the solution, thanks.

Am I the only one who understands how rude this is? I may curse like a Quentin Tarantino film character, and prefer to relax at home on Sundays–but I won’t ever pop by your house without calling and setting up a mutually agreed-upon time.


I’m feeling a bit grumpy. Sorry. I’d normally call it hormones or allergies because those are the easiest go-to ailments to blame for shitty behavior we don’t want to own, but this time I’m griping and feeling a bit dark inside because a close family member has cancer.

Fuck cancer fuck cancer fuck cancer fuck cancer fuck cancer. Seriously. Cancer, if you’re reading this, go fuck yourself with every metal rod in the world and all the shovels and rakes and every other painfully hard and too-large thing I can think of off the top of my foggy brain. Fuck yourself hard and long, and then walk of shame your sorry ass right back to the depths of hell from whence you came because I’m sick and fucking tired of you coming for so many good people I love.

It’s affecting the person with the cancer, obviously. He’s hurting and I hate it. I want to make it go away and I can’t and this is some bullshit. It’s affecting all of the other people who love him because they also want to fix it, but cancer runs the show. You can’t control a damned thing when it comes to cancer, nor can you predict a damned thing–it can literally go in any direction very fast, very slow, or anything in the middle. Everything is a question mark that starts with the Big C right now, and it’s the shittiest purgatory ever. Dante forgot a level.

So there’s that.


A commercial on television in the next room just used the exclamation “Voila!” except the actress pronounced it as “Wa-la!” and I’m pretty sure the person who story-boarded the dialogue probably wrote it as “Walla!” which is a huge pet peeve of mine. So that’s bugging me now.

See? Grumpy.

I should probably go to bed.

Before I go, here’s an animal nerd fact pulled from my childhood spent reading animal encyclopedias for fun:

The horse in the picture at the top of this rambling mess is technically grey/gray (I prefer the “grey” spelling; both are accepted as correct), even though it looks white. The only horses officially considered white are albinos. See the dark eyes and dark muzzle coloration on the otherwise white horse in the picture? That classifies it as a grey horse.

Stop being so fascinated, damn it. At least I kept my promise and wrote something today.

Goodnight, Imaginary Reader.



*Actually I love talking about sex stuff. I lost it on a bunch of pillows on the floor of the bedroom of the guy I had a mad crush on all through high school who was voted “Most Attractive” by his classmates, age 14. I started kindergarten at 4, so I was a really young freshman and he was a senior–don’t be freaked out. I got my period and boobs at 11 and looked like a woman at 14. Full consent. Also, it hurt really badly and I bled everywhere. Sleep well!




Nobody Here But Us Chickens



Hi, person I imagine reading this. Imaginary Reader. Stephen King calls his fans Constant Reader (a tribute to Dorothy Parker, perhaps?), so I’m going with Imaginary Reader, because he’s Stephen King, and I’m some weird lady living in the Great Plains of America nobody has ever heard of, currently babbling on the internet. Seems appropriate.

I feel the need to apologize, Imaginary Reader, for I have been remiss. I maintain and pay a small fee for this site, yet I stopped updating it at some point. I have not felt like writing here, or occasionally have felt like it, but haven’t been able to move from the “I kind of feel like like doing this” to the “actually doing this” part for a long time. This disconnect has become a constant source of frustration for me, and I’m trying to do something about it.

I went from writing multiple articles a day for an online company for very decent money, to going down a deep, dark rabbit hole when my mom was fighting Stage 4 cancer. I got out of the writing habit, and never managed to come back from it.

In addition to anxiety, depression, and hypothyroidism (which renders one’s metabolism null and void, making one feel like one has a low-grade flu that never ends, with the “one” in this scenario being ME), I have also developed a frustrating case of the “Why should anybody give a shit what I think?”s that has been keeping me from writing.

My last entry was so emo I cringed re-reading it. Ugh. No, actually, scratch that. I mocked myself in my head for a little while, made poor widdle baby pouty faces at myself, and then I cringed. Poor you and your First World problems, Tawni. Poor you. Your life is so hard. Would you like some French cries with your wahhhmburger?

See how mean I am to me? I don’t feel that way when other people write. I like reading other people’s thoughts. I enjoy their writings, emo or otherwise, so I don’t understand why I’m harder on myself than I am on anyone in the whole wide world. I wish I could figure out how to knock that shit off, because it’s really harshing my mellow, Imaginary Reader.

But are middle-aged people even allowed to be emo? (Bonus: You can tell I’m middle-aged because I’m using the word “emo.”) I once knew a woman 5+ years older than me on Facebook who used to constantly post vague-bookish statuses that read like the pubescent poetry section from Seventeen Magazine, and I always thought upon reading them, Please don’t let me ever be the middle-aged lady posting emo statuses.

So I’ll do it here instead! Hahahahahahahahahahaha! *sobs*

As a person I enjoy recently said on Twitter:

Screenshot (322)

(Follow @MollySneed. She’s funny. You like funny.)

Because seriously. This site/blog feels so Dear Diary-ish and lame to me sometimes, and I get embarrassed and insecure. I used to just fucking write. I’d just shit the words out of my brain via keyboard and not worry about it. But now I do. I worry. I feel uncomfortable right now. And scared. I hate this.

I don’t know when or why I became self-conscious, but here it is, and it’s really starting to piss me off, so I’m writing, damn it. And I’m not going to take it down. I’M NOT.

I have never in my life cared what anyone thought of my creative output, and it’s stupid for me to start now. I’m getting back up on that old inner horse named FuckThem that I used to ride onto a stage when I played guitar and sang in bands. When I was the misfit kid in high school voted “Most Revolutionary” at the end of senior year. When I used to write a dumb piece like this, and post it, and move on. I am creative for me, and nobody else. That’s how creativity works, damn it. So away we go, FuckThem. Off into the motherfucking sunset with us, old girl.

Oh, I’m not worrying about cursing anymore either. Did I mention that? I kind of tried to clean things up around here for a while, and it felt weird. False. I am not for polite company. Deal with it. Or don’t… no hard feelings. But I’m sassy. And I like my sass.

I recently got a bit too drunk after a wine tasting, because I have the alcohol/medication/drug tolerance of an 11-year-old girl (natural redhead), and I didn’t remember what I said the next day. I was horrified by this. I hate feeling out of control. Hate hate hate it.

When asked how I behaved whilst off my tits, which is always a not-humiliating-at-all question for a middle-aged woman to ask of the person who tucked her drunken ass into bed the night before, my husband said, “You seemed happy, funny, and every other word out of your mouth was ‘fuck’ or ‘fucking.'”

I was mortified at first. But then I thought about it, and I don’t know if my true self is happy or funny, but it sure as fuck has a potty mouth. So back to the docks with me.


I used to write songs for years in a city where my guy musician friends would tell me about how other guy musicians made fun of me and my simple little pop rock songs.

But I didn’t know how to write any other way, and most importantly, I wasn’t writing music for anyone else–I was getting things off my soul, and writing for me–so I didn’t care. I honestly didn’t. The songwriting was cathartic and came from my heart, and as long as I was being true to myself, I was proud of what I did. The end. No shame in the earnest game, man.

So I need to find that version of me again. To attempt this, I’m forcing myself to write every day.

No, wait. Not forcing. That makes me psychologically balk. I have a bad habit of doing the opposite when told what I’m going to do, so let me put it differently; I’m challenging myself to write daily. Yes, that’s better. Challenging. A competition with me. (It’s me versus me! Only one can win! Go… me!)

I may write fiction. I may write old-timey Seventeen Magazine puberty poetry. I may write interesting facts about a topic of interest. (Nerd alert: I absolutely love researching and writing about things that fascinate me.) I might review a book I’ve read recently. Open letters are a favorite. Lists are fun. I might share a song I wrote in my younger days and tell you the story behind it like a boring old aunt reliving her glory days. I could even use a random writing prompt of some sort and go all stream-of-consciousness on your ass. But I’m going to write something here every day. Because I need to get back into the daily writing habit and find the self-discipline I’ve lost.

Please bear with me while I bare with me, Imaginary Reader.

(See what I did there?)

(Sorry. I’ll try harder.)

(That’s what she said.)

(Help. I’m addicted to parentheses.)

(I don’t know how to end this.)

(I know! Here’s a picture of a chicken who’s tired of my shit. Perfect.)


World weary, wrinkly, and full of eggs. I know how you feel, side-eye chicken. I know.