I started blogging in 2004 when Moses was my classmate and I wrote a wee dinosaur to school. A Mushroom Print – for those not in the know – is a dick-smack, and that was precisely what my co-blogger Pashmina and I fully intended our blog to be. A verbal dick-smack.
My first post was something about a) pubic hair or 2) my vagina, something I know because that was generally what we wrote about. You take two youngish-twenty-somethings and you put them together, and you’d expect to hear about how we were trying to be Carrie Bradshaw or something.
Not so, Little Grasshopper, not so. We deliberately wrote about things no hot young thang would, in her right mind, put out there.
Some of the stuff has made it’s way over here, the rest was deleted when I reinvented Mushroom Printing as a snarky group blog for us Pranksters.
In 2007, I started Mommy Wants Vodka*, my less-snarky site. It was here that I wrote my heart out. Turns out, those who want to read about your vagina may NOT want to read about your colicky baby. The name was a deliberate poke at the other mom blogs who seemed to exist in a dream world, where everything was perfect all the time.
Because I am many things, Pranksters, but I am most decidedly NOT perfect. None of us are. Okay, maybe you are. But I’m sure as shit not.
It took me ages to write about the really hard shit. Sure, my kid was colicky and yeah, I never slept, but the first post I recall writing about something a) deep or 2) meaningful was when I wrote about how much I hated Mother’s Day. I wrote my heart out.
It was probably not good, but it was real and it was mine. Which is the only thing I’d tell anyone who “wants to increase their blog traffic.” Write honestly and from the heart and for god’s sake, do it in your own way.
ANYWAY. I digress.
Rather than eschew me for being unfunny that day, I had a number of people who spoke up and said, “you know what? ME TOO. Here’s why:” and they told their stories.
That was the moment that I realized we all had stories.
When Stef died, I wrote about my grief, albeit badly. I’ve never been properly able to write about her, although not for lack of trying. I’ve deleted thousands of words because they weren’t enough.
But once again, my Pranksters spoke up and told me their stories. In comments, in emails, in other posts, I read about how you, too, had lost someone you loved and how it changed you. Your stories made me laugh, they made me cry, and they sparked an idea in the back of my very tiny head.
Then my daughter was born, and she was so, so ill. You’ve all prayed with me, you’ve watched her grow from a very sick girl to Amelia, Princess of the Motherfucking Bells. You’ve told me your stories in emails, blog posts, comments and phone calls. I have an email folder specifically for your stories, did you know that? I read them sometimes and am reminded of how lucky I truly am.
Because I know you all. My Pranksters, I am so fucking lucky to know you.
I launched Band Back Together in September, a place that I envisioned like a library of stories, complete with resources to accompany them. I knew in time, we could fill all those empty shelves and we have. And more.
Yesterday, National CASA posted about Band Back Together. If you don’t know CASA, you should.
I was reminded of the immense power we have. Blogging has turned from a “hobby” into something that means something. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: our words have power. The power to connect, the power to unify, the power to change.
Alone, we may be small blogs, letting others into our lives, glimpse by glimpse, but when we unite, we have the power to change. I’ve learned so much from you, my Pranksters. Stories I’d never have been told on the street, things no one else may know about you, but things I do. Because you were brave enough to sit down in front of a computer screen and type out your words.
That is an act of bravery, you know. Every time you sit down in front of a computer and type out your words, that is brave. No. Let’s try that again, this time for Stef: it’s MOTHERFUCKING brave.
So I, once again, invite you into Band Back Together, a site I run, but a site that is owned by many, to share your stories, let others into your world and tell your truth. To commit an act of bravery.
If we can unite, tell the world we exist, put our stories together and demand change, we can achieve it. That’s not a question.
I look forward to your stories.
Each and every one of them.
And I hope that we can work with other organizations, like CASA**, to show the world that we are unafraid, that our stories matter, that we matter.
Because we do. From the biggest blogger to the person who’s never written a single word, we all matter.
So let’s act like it.
*The original concept was “Mommy Wants Bourbon” but it didn’t roll off the tongue the same way “Mommy Wants Vodka” does.
**if you work with a site like CASA or another blog doing Good in the blog world, we’d love to work with you on The Band. Email me at becky (dot) harks (at) gmail.com and we’ll chat.
***or, if you’d like to work behind the scenes with us at The Band, we’d also love you to do so. Email me. We’ll chatty-chat.
I didn’t know Amy Winehouse.
I never called her on the phone and said, “What’s up SLUT?” like I do my best friends. I’d never been to see her play in concert and I never said the one thing I always wanted to: “eat a fucking sandwich.” These are all things I’d lovingly say to my bestest of friends.
I never knew Corey Haim, either.
I’m barely up on whatever Hollywood is doing this week, if it doesn’t involve my television husbands, Dexter or Dr. House. And even those two, I couldn’t tell you where they lunch or who they’re dating (besides me obvs) because I don’t much care. I was a strict Corey Feldman fan myself – if I had to choose – and the only reason I knew much about him was through his television show, The Two Coreys.
And yet, when they died, I was gutted. On the floor and weeping like they were my very closest friends.
But I knew those two had once had something special: a sparkle. A shine. Something that set them apart from the rest of us shmos, trudging along in the dirt, eking out a living.
And I also know someone else who died who bore the very same sparkle like a noose around her neck. Someone who I’d watched drown that sparkle in the bottle, unable to find her happyiness in this world. Someone else found dead in her bed. Another star snuffed out.
Now, I know addicts. My parents are in recovery now, but I grew up like so many of us did, in the shadow of that bottle. I know the hunger, the itching deep within the bones only tamed by the bottle or the pill. I understand.
Perhaps it is because of this that I never blamed myself for her death. I knew better. An addict is an addict and sobriety is a choice. Not the kind of choice that someone else can make for you. But that doesn’t stop me from weeping into my coffee cup, gutted by the loss of someone that sparkled. It hits too close to home, perhaps, or maybe I’m just getting soft in my old age.
If I’ve learned nothing of addiction beyond a jaw-grind disposition to a panic attack, I’ve learned this: those whom you love – those who love you back – they are a part of you. Always. And however corny it may sound, life is precious. No, that’s not right. Life is FUCKING precious. Wait, let me try that again, just for Stef: Life is MOTHERFUCKING precious.
I’ve also learned this: born of tragedy, sometimes that too, can be magical.
On Monday, the UPS guy came to my house. Generally, that signifies something a) FULL of the awesome or b) mind-numbingly boring, but this week, I hadn’t ordered anything. So I figured it was probably the dyslexic UPS guy delivering something for my neighbor. Which is option three, I guess.
However, the package was addressed to me and it weighed approximately 600 pounds. That had to be good, right?
(I learned one year, after my brother wrapped up a small book in a large television box that size really doesn’t matter)
But heaviness? WIN.
Eagerly I tore into it, confused as to who had sent me anything – forgetting it had just been my birthday – and came to a nicely wrapped box from my friend Crystal.
In it, I found this:
Six motherfucking cans of Spam.
While I do admit to an unnatural love of encased meat products, my love does not and has never involved Spam. Especially Spam with bacon. There’s just something so terribly wrong with this.
I gagged as I neatly placed them in my china cabinet, next to the Cock Soup another Prankster sent me, and realized precisely what this Spam needed.
Fucking cats with fucking laser beams coming out of their heads.
I have the best Pranksters ever.