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“Dear Samara,

Would you mind masturbating and mailing me your panties?”

Sincerely,
Franklin Horshucer, Serial Killer

I could hear his heavy breathing. He sounded like Darth Vader with a sinus infection.

 

—-

I had another blog before this one. I didn’t write anything on it. Me and writing – we don’t mix.

When I write, bad things happen. I get addicted to heroin. Stuff like that.

 

I did leave lots of comments, and started receiving emails from bloggers. How the hell did they get my email address?

Most of the emails were creepy. I ignored them.

Wait. What’s this?

“Dear Samara,

May I email you privately? Only if you don’t mind. If you do, I promise never to bother you again. But I am a Nice Guy and I do not breathe like Darth Vader.”

Signed,

Nice Guy

 

I liked him. He was a good writer, and so sweet. The one time I actually wrote something, he told me I was “brilliant.”

His email I answered.

 

We emailed back and forth constantly, all day.

I had a new friend. Someone who considered me a REAL WRITER, a moniker I hadn’t felt entitled to in two decades.

My entire life changed.

I was energized.

The Ex’s ongoing battle for alimony, my bankruptcy, my best friend with cancer, my son’s draining special needs…

I felt like I could conquer anything. After 20 years, I was a writer again!

And then –

Abruptly, radio silence. After a month of 50-plus emails a day.

I panicked. What had I done wrong?

 

 

I realized how lonely I was.

I never thought of myself that way. Constantly surrounded by people, I craved more alone time than I got.

What I didn’t know was how much I needed to connect deeply with another human being; to feel special and important. All this attention lavished on me brought something dead inside me back to life.

And this fierce longing for connection, awoken and now unfulfilled –  was brutal.

 

—-

In 3 days I was headed to Boston to take care of my best friend, my old college roommate, after her mastectomy. Just before I left, my cousin called me with tragic news.

My favorite uncle was dead. And I would have to miss his funeral, to take care of my friend.

My uncle. The only connection I ever had to my father.

I was unabashedly his favorite niece. He never tired of bragging about me.

For 40 years, my uncle fed me anecdotes of his beloved older brother – the father I never really knew.

Now, there would be no more stories of him, ever. All that remained of him was buried under 6 feet of cold earth.

At a funeral I wasn’t even able to attend.

 

—-

 

From Boston, I emailed Nice Guy. I was desperate to have my writing friend back.

A day went by. Two. Three days later, he sent me a brief, dismissive email

I never heard from him again.

—-

 

Home.

Exhausted. Confused. Grief stricken.

I was fragmenting. My past and present were colliding.

I checked in on Nice Guy’s blog. He’d found new favorites to fawn over.

I racked my brains to understand why I’d been discarded, until I realized –

He had found out

the truth.

I was no writer. I couldn’t even sustain his interest for more than a month. .

It was 1994 all over again.

I relived the horrendous mess I’d made of my life. I stopped sleeping. Judged myself ruthlessly.

I spent my days drifting through “The Land Of Horrible Ways I’d Fucked Up My Life.”

Welcome back. So good to see you again.

Would you like some drugs?

—-

 

My best friend got the pathology report back from her surgery.

“What do you mean, Stage 3 aggressive? You said Stage 1!”

She answered me patiently, as though I were the sick one. “Yes. But there was another lump in the lump they removed.”

“What does that even MEAN?”

It just meant she was much, much sicker than we thought.

—-

 

I came home one afternoon to find Little Dude crying bitterly. The Ex had kicked him.

My son’s favorite hobby is torturing us. But-

DO. NOT. HIT. MY. CHILD. 

 

During a session with Little Dude’s absurdly overpriced ADHD therapist, I suggested to my husband that he learn to cope with our son without putting a foot up his ass.

Dr. Interloper said, “You kicked your son?”

“Yes.”

“I’m going to have to report you to Child Protection Services.”

The Ex handled it well. Shouted that I was a cunt, flung the car keys at me and stormed out of the room.

I waited for the inevitable fallout, walking around with a bruise on my cheek from where the keys had landed.

Just like old times.

—-

 

The next night two social workers appeared in my driveway. We passed inspection with flying colors.

A few days later, the call came.

I was under investigation.

 

They’d asked if there had ever been any domestic abuse in our home.

I lied and said there hadn’t been. I didn’t think it through. I couldn’t think straight about much at all. Sleep deprived and depressed, I was too busy floating around in my failed past.

CPS found police records of emergency room visits and a restraining order.

What else had I lied about?

They informed me that, for the time being, he could stay in my custody.

 

I stopped breathing when they said those words.

 

This isn’t happening.

Please tell me this isn’t happening.

 

They arranged to interview his teacher.

The guidance counselor.

His pediatrician.

His dentist.

His motherfucking dentist.

I wondered how far back they would investigate. Dear God, the things they could find if they poked around enough.

 

 

I called the case worker. I groveled. Where my kid is concerned, I’m not above groveling.

I dialed her office. “I was the Class Mom 2 years in a row.”

Called again. “Did I tell you I run the PTO Trunk or Treat every year?”

I stayed up all night, searching through boxes of photos. Tears streamed down my face as I looked for evidence that I was a worthy mom.

I found pictures of the party we threw when my son started kindergarten. We had invited 22 kids we never met, and their parents, to our home for a “Welcome to Kindergarten Party.”

Little Dude and I had painted a banner that read:

WELCOME CLASS OF 2022!

welcome 2022

At 2 am I texted the case worker the picture.

It was an office number and it didn’t go through.

I texted it over and over again, all night, anyway.

—-

 

I had constant pain in my chest. I was sure it was my heart breaking.

It turned out to be bronchitis.

 

The investigation continued.

I was reliving the past, only the nightmarish version where you lose your child, instead of your self-respect.

One night I had such stabbing pains in my chest, they shot all the way through to my back. I couldn’t breathe.

I thought, “This is what Kurt Cobain must have felt like right before he shot himself. Utter heartbreak.”

And then I fainted outside the supermarket, and the shopping cart kid called an ambulance.

 

The stabbing pain was pneumonia.

I spent 4 days in the hospital.

I missed my son’s 10th birthday.

 

Despite that, my kid still thinks I’m pretty great. He’s upstairs, sleeping.

I’m going to go up and kiss his sleepy little head when I finish this.

CPS decided I was an okay mom, after all.

 

—-

A fleeting cyberspace connection. Meaningless.
But what if you’re brand new to the online world?
And you naively assume every virtual friendship is as valuable as its real life analogue?

On each end of the wires is a living, breathing human being with a past and a present. And an ill-timed “meaningless” encounter might shake something frighteningly loose. Something that rolls around inside of you like a stray bullet, and damages a vital organ.

Your heart, maybe.

And you bleed out.

 

 

The Internet is a Rogue’s Paradise. People act without consequence, because they can.

I shut down that blog. I wanted no part of it.

 

Obviously, this wasn’t the end of my story.

To Be Continued…

 

Have you ever had an online experience like that? Do people treat online friends differently?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter .

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Uber

 

My BFF Troublemaker and I spend way too much time talking about sex.

We have pretty much the same issues regarding the procurement of it. We’re both single moms, who do NOT want to be in any kind of committed relationship.

Which is not to say that we want cheap meaningless sex with randos, although that is surprisingly difficult to find in the suburbs.

We’re also not into online hookups, since neither of us wants to end up with a serial killer who has oral sex with our severed heads.

But we know lots of single chicks who have all the zany exploits we used to once have.

When she told me the story of her girlfriend who gave the Uber driver a handjob, I laughed like a hyena. I thought it made a great title for a story, even though it wasn’t mine. As a matter of fact, this was supposed to be published HOURS ago, but every time I try to proofread it, I look at the post image and start laughing till I cry.

It’s click-baity. I’m well aware of that.

 

A recent story went viral, a story whose title implied that a woman divorced her husband because he left dishes in the sink. Because I’ve read this blog before, there was nothing very interesting about it. It’s pretty much the same story this blogger has been writing for years.

It’s all about how men are the real reason marriages fail; stupid, stupid men who just don’t understand that women want, no NEED, you to put your dirty clothes in the hamper in order to keep our marriages alive.

The title was total click bait. He admits that isn’t why his wife left him.

Kind of like me titling this story “I Gave My Uber Driver a Hand Job” when that never happened.

 

The blogger purports himself to be some kind of self appointed expert on how to help people not get divorced.

Yes, I know he is preaching from his exalted place of “now enlightened” male. What’s REALLY interesting about this story, is the way he behaves in his comment section. EVERY differing opinion sends him in a tail spin of page long responses defending his position, insisting that he is RIGHT. That leads me to speculate about the person he is in a relationship.

And then, in a ploy to come off self-aware and oh-so-endearing, he even admits to being incredibly self defensive. It’s the relationship version of an Escher painting. You go round and round until you finally just hang a tire around your neck, fill it with gasoline, and light yourself on fire.

Men. WE DON’T CARE HOW AWARE YOU ARE OF ALL THE STUPID SHIT YOU DO.

WE NEED YOU TO STOP DOING IT.

You know. BE THE CHANGE.

Otherwise, you’re just going to spend the next decade driving some poor women insane, by acting like an asshole and THEN owning up to it.

 

I also completely disagree with the premise of the article. I’m not going to comment on his blog because I don’t want THE WRATH OF BLOG unleashed at me. If I want to engage in pointless debates, I’ll call my Ex husband.

I personally am guilty of doing things that drove my Ex nuts; would, in fact, drive many partners nuts. For example, I often forgot to check in with him if I wasn’t coming home after work.

It drove him crazy. It often worried him. And I TRIED to remember to text him and let him know. The fact that it was super important to him should have motivated me to remember.

But I live in my head. I get so absent-minded, that try as I might, I STILL sometimes forgot. It was NOT a symptom of my lack of devotion to the marriage. It was more about the fact that I’m a space cadet, combined with how independent I was used to being, prior to the marriage.

Life is much too precious and complicated for people to view dishes as a symptom of deeper issues. The sink’s dishes are the sink’s problem.

WE INTERRUPT THIS STORY FOR A MOMENT OF FULL DISCLOSURE

I’m the first one to admit, always have, that who I am in my blog is not 100% who I am in real life.

Let me state for the record: The Samara on this blog is a version of me. It’s not fully who I am. I have met many, many online people in real life, who can attest to the fact that I am only part bad ass. In fact, I intend to write a story soon that reveals some of my worst flaws.

HOWEVER. I do not devote my blog to “How to Dress like a Grown Up.”  “How To Raise Your Tween Without Calling Him a Douchebag.”

I know not of these things.

 

The most interesting thing about his article was a comment someone left. She wrote that not only was it a click-baity title but also, the author knows his audience and it was an article designed to make women swoon.

YES SO MUCH THIS. The blogging world is filled with the walking wounded, most of them women. And when you finally find a man who writes all about how stupid men are, how culpable they are in divorce, it’s swoon-worthy material.

Girls – read the comment section! That’s who you’re going to be fighting with at Olive Garden.

 

 

I love click-baity titles. I try to use titles that will draw people in.  No, I DID not give an Uber driver a hand job. The only time I ever used Uber, I was in Portland with my 12-year-old. That would have been fucking awkward, as well as scarring him for life.

 

 

However, Troublemaker’s friend DID give HER Uber driver a handjob. It was quite the story.

Sorry, pervs. It’s not that kind of blog.

What do you think of click bait titles?

Is leaving dishes in the sink sometimes just LEAVING DISHES IN THE SINK?

Did you ever give an Uber driver a hand job?
Talk to me, I’m listening.
Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so I can have friends without leaving the house.

tiger mom

By the time he was seven, my kid would tell his little friends “I do homework in the summer because when I grow up, my mom wants me to be able to compete in a global economy.”

I’m THAT mom, the one who questions her kid as to why he got that one A, when all the rest of his grades were A pluses.

 

I grew up in one of the worst housing projects in NYC. I’ve been able to forge ahead partly because of my intelligence and sense of humor, but undeniably because of my project girl survival skills.

My kid is soft. Thank God, he’s a soft suburban kid who never has to worry about gunshots in the playground. He lacks survival instincts because he doesn’t NEED them.

What if life takes a giant dump on him?

I can’t give him street smarts by dropping him off in my old neighborhood, like a Hunger Games arena, and see if he’s still alive at the end of the day.

I have no way to prepare him for emotional trauma or tremendous adversity.  But ONE THING I can give him – I can teach him to EXCEL at everything he does, particularly academics.

To help him establish himself in a career, I can prepare him to KNOCK OUT ALL THE COMPETITION.

I want him to be THE BEST.

Not just HIS best. THE best.

 

 

I taught him to read early, so he entered kindergarten already reading.  Around that age, I introduced him to numbers. By first grade, I was quizzing him on his time tables while we drove places.

Like most children, my kid initially balked at homework. But I reinforced in him the notion that homework is a priority. At 12, he’s internalized this voice to the point where he does his weekend homework on Friday – so he can enjoy the rest of the weekend.

I make my kid do homework in the summer. I buy him workbooks in math and language arts for the grade he’s entering, and he has to spend a half hour a day on each of them.

There is a documented loss of academic skills in children over the summer. Knowing that, why would I want such an easily preventable thing to happen? Yes, I KNOW summers are for lazy days of barbecues and swimming. I’m not forcing my kid to kneel on rice. It’s an hour a day, people.

 

I’m not a full throttle Tiger Mom, as in the woman who coined the phrase in her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Amy Chua’s memoir of raising her two daughters chronicled daily hours of forced music practice, severe restrictions on extracurriculars, bans on social activities like sleepovers, and punishment and shaming if her children failed to achieve her high expectations.

My parenting style is somewhere in the gray area, between “tiger” and “dolphin,” albeit much closer to tiger. I’m a single working mom with sole custody of my son. Dolphin parenting advocates disciplining your child with “creativity and fun.” Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Furthermore, films of dolphins show them ramming baby porpoises to death. Probably because they snapped after trying to “have fun” disciplining their children.

The public loves to rip Amy Chua apart. I think it’s her combative, holier-than-thou attitude, and offensively pretentious tone she assumes in her book. She’s the Asian Ann Coulter, and it’s stylish Left liberalism to hate her. Her exaggerated version of Tiger Mom is more is an example of narcissistic personality disorder. I would never make my son practice his instrument relentlessly for hours, without bathroom or food breaks.

BUT. I did insist he LEARN an instrument, when in fact, he strongly resisted it. Playing an instrument has been shown to have real impact on cognitive abilities.

I also totally dig music, came from a family of musicians, and most importantly, need someone to jam with.

 

I was raised dirt poor; the kind of poor where I feared feeling my feet pressing the inside of my shoes. We couldn’t afford new shoes.
I’m better off than that, but not the kind of success I want for my child.

It’s simple Parenting 101. I want him to have a better life than the one I currently provide for him. He’s already having a better childhood, one that includes love, safety, security, encouragement, attention, real family time and memory-making adventures.

But achieving a higher standard of living than the generation that came before is nowhere NEAR the slam dunk it once was. So, I’m looking to hone his competitive edge.

Yes, he’s smart. Natural talent and innate intelligence, past a certain point, won’t take you far enough without a strong work ethic. At some point the ability to persevere is more important.

 

In America, the idea seems to be that we live in a land of opportunity and if you just follow your dreams everything will turn out wonderful in the end.

Not really.

The world is a hard place. Democracy is a sham and equality of opportunity is a myth. However, if you work hard to distinguish yourself among the pack, you have a better chance of clawing your way into the privileged class of people who can afford to not be enslaved by a soul crushing daily grind to make ends meet.

A lot of money does NOT equal a LOT of  happiness – but SOME money equals SOME happiness. No matter what your values are, being financially comfortable gives you the freedom to do things that struggling financially simply does not.

The problem with all the critiques of the tiger mom parenting style is that they feel Tiger Mom-ing only yields a socially constructed notion of material success. These critics fail to acknowledge “success” by a more accurate definition: growing up to be adults with power of self-determination. This is what money gives you. So deriding the single-minded focus towards “material success” as if it’s inherently wrong is just fashionable new age ethos.

When I came home with phenomenal grades, my mother ONLY looked at the one 97, demanding, “Why is this not 100?” I do not do that. I first congratulate my son on his A pluses. THEN I point to the one A, and demand,”Why isn’t this an A plus?”

That's what I call Fucking A

That’s what I call Fucking A

 

Unlike Amy Chua I never make my kid feel bad when he doesn’t 100% succeed, because learning to fail is just as important as learning to succeed. I do not want to raise a worker bee who is unable to fix situations that go wrong.

 

 

American parents use the emotional well-being of the child as an excuse for their own laziness in enforcing any sort of discipline and work ethic.

They assume fragility in our children, instead of strength.

My kid is loaded up like a pack mule on the days he has band practice. He has to carry his backpack, laptop, lunch bag and saxophone. Initially, he wanted me to walk him to the bus stop and carry his sax, because that’s what ALL the moms do.

Guess what? Who’s going to be at the other end of the ride, helping him drag all that stuff off the bus, and through the hallways? NO ONE.

So I refused. Instead, I helped him figure out the best way to juggle everything. He feels empowered.

 

And I don’t have to put on pants at 7:10 am. It’s s a win-win.

 

What is your parenting style? Are you a tiger, dolphin, kangaroo? Aardvark?
What do you think of the Tiger Mom style? 
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so I can have friends without leaving the house.

My friend Dawn, who writes the blog Tales from the Motherland, invited me to a big blog party where we all flood the Interwebs with happiness and gratitude.

I met Dawn when I went to BlogHer. It was a magical meeting – we recognized one another in the lobby of the Hilton and screamed like hyenas. So, in honor of that cacaphonous connection, I’m writing this post.

The catch: We are supposed to come up with 50 things in 10 minutes.

People who read my blog know that even writing a post in one hour was hugely challenging. But I got amped up on caffeine and decided to Just Do It.

Here are 50 things that made me happy in 2015:

 

1. My kid, Little Dude. He’s a great big funny soul with a lion heart.

2. Music. I’m married to writing but I cheat with music.

3. My Brooklyn baseball hat.

FullSizeRender (3)

 

4. A great shade of red lipstick that doesn’t make me look like a deranged old lady.

5. This laptop. My partner in crime.

6. Writing. If I didn’t write my soul would implode.

7. BOOKS.

8. Books.

9. Did I say books?

10. Colors. Especially purple, but all of them. They make life interesting.

11. Patti Smith. She was a skinny, picked-on outcast who reinvented herself as something else. That sounds familiar…

12. My Guardian Angel. Bless.

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13. Eminem

14. M&M’s.

15. The incredible birthday mixtape blog hop that Lizzi created for my birthday this year.

16. Good hair days.

18. The fact that I can be rebellious and defiant and skip a number if I want to. Freedom. Fuck you, #17.

19. Laughing. I do it frequently. It fights aging.

20. Orgasms. Ditto.

21. Flirting. Especially at a red light. Long enough to be fun, short enough to make a clean getaway with no complications.

22. Math. This year and every year. Give me a complex math problem and my brain lights up like a pinball machine.

23. My rock tee collection.

IMG_7162

 

 

24. Weight gain. Which is also something I loathe, but with it came breasts. I’m a REALLY late bloomer.

25. Blanket forts. My kid is King of the Blanket Forts.

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26. Lenny Kravitz. Still. Always

27. New York City. I had way too much fun there this year.

28. That my kid fell in love with art this year. A pivotal experience.

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29. Libraries. Nerd Central. Liking Star Wars doesn’t make you a nerd. Hanging out at the library does.

30. WordPress. They make me feel like a rock star. They recently included me in a New Year’s Blog resolution round up. 

31. Spotify. Whatever music I want, where I want it.

32. My new car – a Nissan Rogue. I know nothing about cars, and I totally I bought it because I like the name “Rogue.”

33. My guitar.

IMG_6577

 

34. The high school kids who recently let me join their band.

35. Roku. I may never leave the house again.

36. The fact that nerd culture is now cool. It wasn’t always.

37. Superhero pajamas.

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38. A black slouchy beanie that my kid says makes me look like one of the Seven Dwarves but is incredibly warm.

39. Kurt Cobain. Specifically, a documentary about him called Montage of Heck.

40. The kind of movie that you get a movie hangover from. See number 39.

41. I’m grateful for teenagers, and for being emotionally stunted enough to still feel like one.

42. The fact that my kid has not found me on the Internet. When he does, I’m fucked. For now, I can say whatever the hell I want on my blog and Facebook page, and I do.

43. French fries. One of the true great vehicles for ketchup.

44. Green drinks. They taste like swamp in a cup but I feel pretty great after I drink them.

45. Jason Bateman. He’s handsome, hilarious, and twisted.

46. The Sisterwives meetup in Dallas.

47. The fact that people READ WHAT I WRITE. And comment. Thank you.

48. Travel. That I live in a world where I can do it freely. This year I went to Nashville, Dallas, and am about to leave for Portland, Oregon for the holidays.

49. My mistakes. Holy shit, I made some HUGE ones this year. But the upside is, I won’t be making those again. And they give me something to write about. People love a good debacle not of their own making.

50. This song. Chills.

 

What things were you happy about in 2015? 
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

 

Join me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house. 

 

 

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list (the timer doesn’t matter for filling in the instructions, intro, etc). The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful!

When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join us for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours). Click on the link below to join the party. 

Share your happy thoughts, your gratitude; help us flood the blogosphere with both!

 

Linkey thing here: http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=592585

I’M ON THE NEWS!!

December 16, 2015

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WordPress News, that is.

 

The editors at WordPress asked 7 bloggers what their blogging goals were for 2016. I paid off an editor

curled up in the fetal position and cried outside their office

gave them my kid to do yard work

was legitimately asked to be a part of this!!

I’d love it if you come and check it out. Because guess what? I mention all of YOU.

 

Here’s the link: What Are Your Blogging Goals for 2016? 

I’m super excited I was asked to be a part of this, and totally grateful to WordPress for the opportunity. They ROCK!

I’m going to close comments here, so you’ll comment over there, if you are so inclined.

 

I love you guys. Thanks for reading.

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