Category Archives: more than meets the eye

Women Who are Ambivalent about Women Against Women Against Feminism

So...yeah.  Right now there’s a lot of talk about a tumblr called WomenAgainstFeminism.  It’s just pictures of some women holding up handwritten signs entitled “I don’t need feminism because...”  Some of the reasons they give for not needing feminism almost seem like a parody (“How the fuck am I suppose to open jars and lift heavy things without my husband?”) and some (“I don’t need to grow out my body hair to prove I’m equal to men”) just make me wonder where in the world they got their definition of feminism.

At first I considered starting my own “I Don’t Need _____ Because” tumblr with people holding equally baffling signs.  Signs like:

I don’t need books because YOU KNOW WHO WROTE BOOKS?  HITLER.  HITLER WROTE A BOOK.  NO THANK YOU, NAZIS.

I don’t need money BECAUSE I HAVE A CHECKBOOK, ASSHOLE.

I don’t need air because LOTS OF IT IS FARTS.  I’M NOT BREATHING FARTS.  YOU BREATHE FARTS.

But then I remembered that I’m too lazy to make a tumblr and that this whole thing was a bit ridiculous. Here’s the thing:  Do you think men and women should have equal rights politically, socially and economically?  Then you’re probably a feminist.  There are a million tiny aspects of this to break off into and I get it.  It’s complicated.  There’s not just one type of feminist, just as there’s not just one type of Christian or Muslim, or man or woman.  Hell, there’s not even just one type of shark.  Some are non-threatening and friendly.  Some get sucked up into tornadoes and viciously chew off people’s faces until that guy from 90210 stops the weather with bombs.  (Spoiler alert.)    The point is that sharks, much like feminists, are awesome, and beneficial, and the world would be a worse place without them.  Plus, they’re incredibly entertaining and even if you sometimes think they’re dicks for eating cute seals you still yell “HOLYSHITLOOKATTHAT!” when Shark Week comes on.  I think this is a bad analogy.  Lemme try again.

Feminists are like bees.  They are adorable and fuzzy but people run away from them because they don’t understand that they just want to make things good.  We’d be fucked without bees.  Seriously.  And yes, some bees are assholes and maybe one killed your great-uncle and there are some that you give the side-eye to when they start acting crazy but eventually you realize that you have to take the good bees with the bad bees and maybe just be picky about what honey you choose to eat.  Eat the raw honey, by the way.  It’s way healthier.  That last part isn’t part of the analogy.  It’s just good advice from my great-grandfather (beekeeper).  Also, like bees, feminists secrete a non-edible wax and are easily distracted by smoke.

I’ve lost my point.

Wait, no.  I’ve got it again.

Feminism is inherently good.  It’s not even close to perfect and still needs lots of work and sometimes it gets all fucked up and backward and awful but that doesn’t mean it’s not still worth fighting for.  Now go back and replace “Feminism” with “The human race”.  It works, right?.  That’s because feminists are made of human.  Men and women.  In fact, one of my favorite feminists is Sir Patrick Stewart.

Patrick Stewart, feminist. His mother made 3 pounds 10 shillings for working a forty hour week in a weaving shed. She was also an abuse victim and he’s an anti-domestic violence advocate.

Patrick Stewart, feminist. His mother made 3 pounds 10 shillings for working a forty hour week in a weaving shed. She was also an abuse victim and he’s an anti-domestic violence advocate.  More at the bottom.

I’m not saying you can’t choose to not be a feminist but know what you’re choosing.  Don’t make a decision about a group based on the most radical beliefs of a group.  Don’t get defensive if you get deeper and are exposed to difficult ideas about intersectionality and race and gender and colonialism and patriarchy and male liberation.  Just listen.  Some of it will make sense.  Some of it won’t.  Some of it will later when you’re a different person.  Some of it you’ll change your mind about throughout your life and the world will change too.  Some of it is bullshit.  Some of it is truth.  All of it is worth listening to.

And now you get to decide.  Are you a feminist?  Yes?  No?  Well, don’t worry because tomorrow you get to choose again.  And that keeps happening every day for the rest of your life.

As for me, I am a feminist (among so, so many other things).  I believe in equality and I think we still have work to do.  I’m thankful to the men and women who worked to give me the freedom and rights I have today and I am proud to be a part of a movement that I hope will make the world better and safer for my daughter (and for the men and women she’ll share that world with).  I’m happy we’ve come so far and I’m glad that we’re becoming more aware of feminist issues that don’t just focus on straight, white women, even though confronting those issues is sometimes painful. And I’m happy that the womenagainstfeminism tumblr exists.  Because even though I disagree with most of them I’m glad that those women have a platform on which to speak, and also because if we know what the arguments or misperceptions are against feminism then we can better address them.  Or agree with them.  Or ignore them.  Or discuss them with our sons and daughters so they can make informed decisions for themselves.  It’s up to you.

We’re all equally deserving to express our opinion.  After all, that’s what feminism is all about.*

*Or maybe not.  I got kinda confused after the shark analogy went sideways.

And that’s why I’ll never leave twitter

Sometimes people ask me why I’m on twitter:

twitter

Also, notifications like this:

punted cunt tornado

I want this on a t-shirt.

Unrelated, but something I probably need to address anyway…this morning I wrote about my last book being translated into several different language and a ton of you are like, “Where is your next book?  Why are you making me wait?  Look at your life.  Look at your choices.”  And honestly the next book is coming but it’s really, really fucking hard.  Writing always is for me.  It’s something I’ve always done and will always do but I rewrite and rewrite and look at a blank page for days and feel like my head is constipated with thoughts I can’t write properly until suddenly it all comes together and I end up with one perfect page that took 2 weeks.  I want it to be perfect because a ton of it is about mental illness and that’s a subject I can’t half-ass because it’s that damn important.  Additionally I want it to be insanely funny, and surprisingly mental illness doesn’t easily lend itself to quick and dirty hilarity.  It’s coming along and some parts I’m incredibly proud of and some parts I’m struggling with because I want it to be brilliant for you.  I want people who suffer from mental illness to say “YES.  THAT’S IT.  I’M NOT ALONE.”  I want people who love people with mental illness to read it and say “Oh.  I think I understand a little better now.  I never knew how important I was to those who struggle.”  I want people who are undiagnosed to read it and think “Holy shit.  This is girl is insane but she makes sense so maybe it’s not such a big deal to get tested and treated just in case.”  I want people to say “WTF.  That couldn’t have possible be true because OHMYGODTHEREAREPICTURES” and then get kicked off planes for laughing hysterically.  And I want people who are never touched by mental illness to read it and laugh at the insane stories I’ve collected over the past couple of years and recognize all the little flaws that make us human and special and brilliant.  I could have turned something in last year that would have probably sold well and I would have liked it, but I just want this to be perfect so please know that the time spent waiting is time spent making it better and shinier and funnier and more real because once it’s out there I can’t get it back.  So many people were touched by my first book and in turn they touched me right back (not that way) and I don’t want to let you down.  I have a giant manuscript filled with post-it notes in the shape of Daleks and self-made notes in margins reading “EXTERMINATE THIS.  MAKE IT BETTER.  MAKE IT STRONGER.  MAKE ME A COCKTAIL.  WHO ATE ALL THE BANANAS?  FIND BETTER PICTURES OF ANGRY POSSUMS.”  It’s getting thicker every day and that’s a good thing.

What I can tell you is that the very few wonderful (and painfully honest) people I’ve let read my drafts think it’s some of the best work I’ve done and they keep me from throwing it all in the fire when I feel like a failure, and I hope that you’ll still be here to read it whenever I finish it.  It won’t be long in the scheme of things.

It’s coming.  I promise.  I hope I can make you proud.

And for those of you struggling with your own writing, a few bits of advice that help me to remember that good writing doesn’t always come easy:

I hate writing.  I love having written. ~ Dorothy Parker

There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ~ Hemingway

Writing is like driving at night in the fog.  You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. E. L. Doctorow

What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Hunter S. Thompson attacking writer’s block:

hst

I don’t blame him.

There’s a moment.

Several weeks ago I had surgery to stitch up a hernia in my stomach.  It was supposed to be very simple but the recovery for me was horrific.  Worse than labor, or gallbladder surgery, or stepping on a floor made of loose LEGOs.  I had complications and developed a seroma, which is a “tumor-like collection of serum from damaged blood and lymphatic vessels after significant tissue disruption or trauma.”  It sounds worse than it is but it hurts like a bastard and I’d end each day exhausted and teary and unable to take complete breaths without flinching.  I might need more work done to fix it but they often go away on their own so my doctor decided to wait.  So we’ve been waiting.  And this weekend I was able to walk around and leave the house.  And Monday I could sit up from laying down without wanting to scream.  And Tuesday I felt almost normal for several minutes at a time.  And today, if I’m not moving, I feel good.  Really good.

The point is…today I feel okay for the first time in what feels like ages, because time – when coupled with pain – drags by so slowly.  I still hurt, but more like someone punched me, or like other people probably feel when they do too many sit-ups.  I can finally sleep without waking myself up thinking I’m being stabbed, and I can completely forget the pain for several minutes at a time.  That sounds small, but if you’ve ever pushed through pain that doesn’t stop for weeks at a time then you know the blinding relief that comes with a few minutes of peace that doesn’t accompany the nauseous dizziness of narcotics.  There’s a moment when you feel aware of the absence of pain, and that simple moment is such a wonder that it’s practically euphoric.  And you remember what it’s like to not hurt.  What it’s like to live.  And it is so beautiful there aren’t words for it.  It’s so incredibly easy to forget what it’s like to breathe when you’ve been holding your breath for so long.

It’s the same thing that happens when I come out of a rheumatoid arthritis flair-up that puts me in the hospital.  It’s the same relief I feel when I pull myself out of a depression that lasts longer than a week.  After a while you forget exactly what it’s like to feel good again, but then when you come out the other side, it’s dazzling.

I’m writing this to remind myself of the light.  Of the dazzle.  Of the fact that it’s worth trudging through the muck because the way out is so much better than you can remember.  It’s like the first shower after a week in the woods, or the sun on your skin after a month of night.  I’m writing this because I know I’ll be in dark places again and I’ll forget how wonderful it is to emerge.  I’m writing to remind you that if you’re struggling now, it will be good again.  It will be so much better than your lying, forgetful brain remembers.  And I’m writing to tell you that if – right this moment – you are healthy and well then you should stand up and do something wonderful to celebrate it.  Go walk barefoot on the grass.  Treat yourself to a good book.  Call or visit someone you love.  Make plans for a trip.  Eat a chocolate ice cream bar.  Enjoy the sun.

And if you don’t see the sun right now, keep trudging.  It’s there.  It’s blindingly magnificent.  And we’re waiting for you.  Promise.

Just remind me of this the next time pain or depression lies to me.

Deal?

The (Oxymoronic) Blue Bird of Happiness

A few months ago I mentioned that my friend, Brooke Shaden, came to my house to shoot my portrait.  We climbed down into the nearby swamp and I dressed up in a bunch of thrift store clothes that wouldn’t even zip up over my chest and I only fell into the swamp twice.  And we climbed trees and baffled hikers and laughed, and Victor and Hailey and Maile were there to help and it was amazing.

brooke

It was especially wonderful because I’ve been putting this photo session off for over a year because my anxiety disorder makes me continually postpone trips since I hate to travel and finally Brooke just said, “You’re weird.  I’m coming to you.”  I’m paraphrasing.  She said it much nicer.  But she understood.

She wandered through my house before the shoot and I had to explain my propensity for collecting the empty bird cages that hang all over my house.  They’re old and battered, but beautiful and unique, and I explained that whenever I get too overwhelmed I picture myself tucked behind those same bars…safe from worry and people and the terror of real life.  In some ways my house has become my own little cage…one that I love, but one that I retreat to perhaps more than a “normal” person might say is healthy.  I told Brooke that I feel bad about turning down so many meetings and trips and opportunities that some people would kill for but that I know that sometimes saying “no” is the only way to protect myself from the exhaustion that comes afterward.  But I still push myself out of my cage when I can.  Sometimes it’s just a few steps.  Sometimes I fly.  Sometimes I fall.  Mostly I sit inside and quietly watch, but that gives me the opportunity to view and study human nature in a way few get to observe.  It gives me insight and it helps me be a better writer and (I hope) a better person.

And then Brooke looked at my favorite birdcage thoughtfully and nodded to herself and began taking it apart to drag it into the swamp with us because she had a vision.  I didn’t entirely know what she was doing, but I went with it.

(by Maile Wilson)

(Behind the scenes, by Maile Wilson)

And today Brooke sent me my portrait.

It’s me, as the Blue (in every sense of the word) Bird of Happiness.

thebloggessandbrookeshaden

I love it.

Sometimes cages can be surprisingly freeing.


 

PS. I just looked up “bluebird behavior” and turns out that they’re usually timid, gentle and unaggressive, unless you cross them and then they will cut you.  It’s sort of scary just how accurate that is.

PPS.  In the morning I’m going to see the surgeon about removing that Who in my stomach.  Wish me luck.

UPDATED:  Surgery will be Friday.  Robots will be involved.  More later…

Thank you.

I’m incredibly lucky to have an amazing group of people in this tribe who are so supportive and lovely and wonderful to me and to each other.  Even when I get critical comments or emails they’re mostly things like,

“I like you a lot, but you’re sort of stupid.  But I still like you.  And maybe you know you’re stupid and that makes you smart and I’m stupid for not getting it.  You’ve given me a headache.  Hugs.”

or

“You are very funny, but if you don’t stop putting two spaces at the end of each sentence I will hunt you down and set fire to your cats.  Have a blessed day.”

or

“Women like you should be forcibly stoned.”

I agree with the last one, but I might be misunderstanding the intent.  On the second, I can’t stop with the two spaces after a sentence.  I wrote on an old-fashioned type-writer (the kind that has its own suitcase) for years before word processors became popular and I’m stuck in my old ways.  At this point you’re lucky I don’t use white-out to correct my posts.  The first critique is very flattering, as Edith Bunker and Gracie Allen are great heroes of mine and I do try to emulate them at times, and it’s also nice because when I unintentionally say something incredibly stupid (quite often) people just dismiss it as being part of my satirical hyperbole instead of me actually being stupid.  Do not be fooled.  I’m actually very stupid.  But I’m aware of it and I think that’s what makes me vaguely entertaining.  I can say illogical, ridiculous things and people will laugh at me (and with me) because most people are just as illogical and ridiculous as I am, but they try to hide it in the real world and they find great relief in finding like-minded, happy and self-aware stupid people here on this blog.  Some are doctors, engineers, astronomers, even a large number of rocket scientists, and they are all happily stupid.  Which is lovely because the wisest people you’ll ever meet are those who know that they know nothing.  Someone said that once.  I’m pretty sure it was Edith Bunker.

I don’t have good way to end this.  I just wanted to say thanks.  This last month has been difficult.  I had a cancer scare, found out I was sicker than I thought, had to go on narcolepsy meds, missed out on a family trip to Japan because my anxiety flared up, and spent much of the last 6 weeks helping with Victor’s meemaw, who hasn’t left the hospital since February.  The good news is that I don’t have cancer, I got meds for my sickness (more on that when I feel like I can talk about it), Victor and Hailey went to Japan together and had fabulous bonding time, and meemaw was moved to rehab today and looks 100% better and we might get to bring her back home in another week.

Things are looking up.  Thanks for looking out for me when they were down, even if you didn’t know about it.  It makes a difference.  You make a difference.  I love your stupid faces.

Strange and beautiful.

I don’t know if it’s the planets or the meds or the darkness of winter, but this week I’ve been a bit down in the hole and I suspect I’m not the only one.  Then I heard this song that I’ve loved and forgotten and it saved me a little bit.  Little things save me from myself all the time.  Sometimes it’s music, and sometimes it’s words from writers who’ve been dead for years, and sometimes it’s you.

If you’re sad or lonely or feeling like you’re one of the misfit toys, know that you are part of us.  And remember that those misfit toys were always far more interesting than the normal ones.

Tell someone that you love them, or that they’re important.  And tell yourself.  Because it’s true.

PS. I wrote this last night but I was too mentally exhausted to publish it, and this morning I looked out and saw a mostly full moon and realized that’s probably partially to blame.  It sounds insane and vaguely werewolfy to blame the moon, but I know that weeks with full moons are worse for me.  My shrink says that full moons and increased mental illness has never been entirely proven yet, but that studies have shown an increased correlation between full moons and human sleep quality.  In particular, delta activity (deep sleep) decreased by 30%.  I already have sleep problems and when I did I sleep study last year they found that I had severe alpha-intrusion, which means that my mind is awake while my body is paralyzed and asleep, and that I get almost no delta sleep.  There’s no real cure, but my doctor told me that it’s commonly found with people who have intractable pain and depression.  No idea if one causes the other or vice-versa, but it was nice to have someone who knew nothing about me look at the scientific printouts and say “You probably have depression don’t you?  You’re in pain.  I bet you’re exhausted.”  Somehow it made it feel better to have someone nod and knowingly say, “It’s not all just in your head.”  Except that it is just in my head.  But it’s real.  And it’s something I fight against, and something I continue to win against every day I’m alive.  And if you’re reading this then you’re winning too, even if you don’t feel like it.  Am I rambling?  My guess is probably and I blame the moon and the fact that lack of sleep puts my ADD into overdrive and makes me question every single thing I do and say and write.  So today I up my drugs until things feel better, and I wait until it lifts and then suddenly I remember what it’s like to feel again.  Because I know it will come.  I know depression lies.  I know that mental illness is a small part of me that makes me who I am.  I tell myself that when this lifts I will feel again and that it will be amazing.  I don’t “know” it because my mental illness also causes illogical doubt, but I know that I’ve been in this hole hundreds of times before and that every time I come out with a few more tricks on how to deal, so mathematically the odds are in my favor.  And they’re in your favor too.  You just have to trust me on this one.

PPS. When I’m in the hole I find it difficult to help others because I’m so focused on fighting my own battle and that sucks.  I’m sorry.  But I’ll give you a few tricks I’ve learned and maybe you can share some of yours.  Or maybe you can include your twitter ID here in the comments if you want to offer support or need to find a buddy who deals with the same thing you’re dealing with so you can talk to them.  It’s amazing how much this can help.  Here are a few tricks I’ve learned that help (off and on):

  • Sunlight.  Take vitamin D.  Sit near a window.  Buy a sunlight.  When things are very bad I go to a tanning salon for five minutes.  It’s not super healthy, but it helps me.
  • Exercise to increase endorphins.  This is only good when you’re not at that uber-fatigued level of depression.
  • Rest.  Watch funny shows and uplifting drivel.  Something you don’t have to think about or keep up with.  I recommend something like Little Britain or The Mitchell and Webb Show.
  • Give yourself permission to be sick.  Mental illness is just as dangerous and real as any other disease.  If you need to take a day off to take care of yourself, do it without guilt.
  • Read things that make you realize you’re not alone.  Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and Half is good for this.  Here’s her website if you can’t afford the book.  Boggle, the owl, is also quite nice.
  • If you have self-harm issues, snap a rubber band across wherever you usually hurt yourself.  It’s just as painful and releases the same chemicals but less likely to give you an infection or scars.  Also clench ice in your fists until they hurt like hell and you want to cry.  You get the same pain-rush but without any long-term damage.  If you pull out your hair or scratch yourself, smear coconut oil all over your hair or wherever you normally hurt yourself.  It makes you more cognizant of when you’re doing it since many of us do it without thinking.
  • Have someone you can tell so they can watch over you.  There’s something very freeing about sharing your struggle and having someone else be available to call when things are at their worse.  It feels bad to have to share the load with someone you love, but I guarantee you that they want to know so they can help.
  • See a shrink.  Adjust your meds as needed.  Sometimes I need antipsychotics and sometimes I don’t.  My chemistry changes and I have to keep up with those changes.  Drugs sometimes work and then stop working and you have to manage them, which sucks when you have depression because you’re often too tired to fight for yourself, but you need those drugs just as much as someone with diabetes needs insulin.  There’s nothing to be ashamed about.  Ask a family member for help in making appointments and remembering to pick up refills if you can’t do it alone.  Remember that it’s hard as hell to get the help you need when you’re mentally ill but that’s not a sign that you’re not worth it or that you should give up.  I’ve had to switch doctors before and I’ve had to demand to be seen on numerous occasions.  Not every shrink works for every person.  It can take time to find the one who fits with you.  It’s not your fault if you don’t mesh well with your shrink.  Keep looking until you find someone you trust.  The right one is out there for you.
  • Call the suicide hotline if you need to.  They’re there to help and they have fabulous tips and resources.  It’s free, you can’t call them too many times, and no one there will laugh at you.  You can stay anonymous and they’re happy to just listen to even the craziest things you have to say.  Many of them are volunteers because they too have called and been saved by someone on the other end of the phone.  I’ve called myself (even though I’m not suicidal) and some of these tips came from the amazing people on the other line.  They can also often help you find a good doctor for your specific needs.  Just google “suicide hotline” and your local one will pop up.  There are also sites like “To Write Love On Her Arms” and Mind Your Mind, which can help.
  • Remember that 25-50% of all people will experience mental illness at some point, so you are not alone.  I’m a successful writer with a wonderful family, but I also have numerous personality disorders, some that even my closest friends don’t understand.  You can be mentally ill and still be a good person.  I have to remind myself of that sometimes, but it’s true.
  • Do what feels right for you.  Dance in your room.  Meditate.  Read silly quotes.  Be unreasonably angry at strangers on the internet and scream at the computer screen from the safety of your home.  Make balloon animals, or knit, or project a paint-by-numbers picture on the wall and paint a giant mural, or adopt a bunch of cats and dress them up like little people.
  • Laugh.  This one seems insane, but sometimes in the middle of one of my lowest points I’ll find something ridiculous and it’ll make me laugh and I’ll suddenly remember what that feels like to smile and it’s like a lifeline to remind me that I’m going to feel good things again soon.  Laughing isn’t proof that mental illness isn’t real.  It’s a sign that you’re stronger than your mental illness even when it has hold of you.  For instance, while I was writing this, I googled “how many people will experience mental illness” and google decided to “help” and instead suggested I look up these two things:
really google

Who is googling this? Also, the second one is just awesome because when I first looked at it I thought it meant that people had turkey butlers who cooked food for them and I felt a little jealous.  Then I felt stupid.  Then I laughed.  Then I wrote “Get a turkey-butler” on my to-do list.

  • And lastly, know that this struggle makes you special.  It might not be a struggle you’d have chosen for yourself, but it’s one that can make you stronger in the end, and more sensitive and compassionate and empathetic to others.  It’s one that will help you help others.  And there’s something unique about the people who see the world from the bottom of the hole.  We have different eyes when we come up and different ways to seize those moments of joy that we know are so important and rare.  And that’s a gift.  A terrible and wonderful one.  You aren’t alone.  You are wanted.  You are good.  And you will get through this.  I promise.  And when you doubt your worth, imagine your younger sister or your best friend or your child having these same doubts and realize that that same sense of angry disbelief that the world would ever be better without them is the exact same disbelief that your friends and family would feel if they lost you.  You are as special and irreplaceable as the people you love most.  Your differentness makes you unique.  I makes you who you are. It makes you part of our tribe.  It makes you flat on your back one day, and it makes you dress like a circus performer the next.  It makes you grab hold of life when it comes back around.  It makes you crazy.  But that’s not always bad.
(photo by Maile Wilson)

(photo of me by Maile Wilson)

If you have tips, tricks, or want to share your twitter handle or email to offer an ear, or to ask for one, feel free to do it in the comments.  Or just listen and know that you’re  going to be okay.  There is an incredible community here built from people just like you.  We’re all in this together.

The meemaw effect

This isn’t a real post but I just wanted to share.  I don’t usually get into family details on my blog but I’m making an exception today.

The last decade has been tough for Victor’s meemaw.  Her husband (and Victor’s idol) died, then her daughter died, she lost much of her sight, and she realized she was going to lose the tiny garage apartment she was living in near Dallas.  Last week Victor and I were able to get her a pretty, one-bedroom apartment down the street from us, furnish it and replace her broken appliances, and move her where she’ll be safe and secure and closer to family.  When she saw the apartment she cried because she told us she never thought she’d ever live anywhere so nice.

We are so incredibly lucky to be able to do this for her, and it would not have been possible without you.  In the last few years if you read this blog, or advertised on it, or visited the sponsors, or bought my book, or purchased something from my shop you’ve helped me.  You helped me to be someone I never thought I could be.  You helped me have faith in myself.  You helped me help other people who then helped others.  I know that everything in life moves in ripples and that we affect each other all of the time, but I want you to know that I can see it so clearly today.  You’ve helped me.  I can never thank you enough for the changes you’ve made in so many people’s lives, but I can thank you for the wonderful things you’ve brought to mine.  Thank you.  There aren’t words big enough to say it as strongly as you deserve to hear it.

Never doubt that you make a difference…one so much larger than you could ever know.

PS. In a perfect world I would thank you with a sweet picture of meemaw right here, but I can’t find a good one so instead I’m using this:

He might also be slow-dancing with an invisible lizard. Hard to tell with that cat.