Tag Archives: fear

White Knuckled Decisions: It’s not my job to teach other people lessons.

but why?

The Kid (formerly known as The Tot).

I’m a new mom. Newish.

I’ve held this position for the last 3 and a quarter years now and every day seems to bring a whole new set of rules.

I like it. I’m one of those odd people who enjoy a good shake up every now and then.

Yesterday, I was chest deep in a very awkward and potentially damaging situation where I had to either choose what I wanted to do OR choose what was best for my little hazel-eyed, curly, blonde-haired, 3 year old daughter.

I picked up my daughter from school and wanted to treat her to her favorite meal. She usually goes for shrimp and crab but the budget for the day only allowed for shrimp and we pulled into the local Sam’s Seafood and Eatery.   As I’m getting The Kid (formerly known as The Tot) out of the car, I hear a man shout from the curb and ask me if I had any money.  “Sorry man, I don’t have any cash” is what I shouted back at this tattered homeless man…and then…my mouth opened back up.  “Are you hungry?”  I asked him.

Of course he answered with yes and I motioned for him to come into the restaurant with us. As he met us inside, I asked him for his order and get it to go.  Then I ordered for The Kid and me.

The three of us make it over to a table and sit down. Not much chit chat.  Our server brings our meals out at the same time.  Ours for here; His to go.  He decides to stay and eat dinner with us.  At this point in time, I realize that my daughter is in for more than I bargained for…

She sits across the table from him in her little 3 year old frame…wide-eyed and silent. I look at him as he looks at her.  No sense in trying to side-step the inevitable.  The man, who later became known as Isaac, has a black eye patch that covers his left eye.  He has a scar that runs from the top edge of his hairline, through his eyebrow and left eye down to his left cheek.  There is another deep scar that runs from his right ear across his face to his lips.  His top lip has been smashed too many times and lies much differently than most upper lips.  His arms are also covered in numerous marks and scars. Finally, I say to her, “Are you afraid to talk to him because of the eye patch?”

“No, Momma.”

I explain to her that he looks differently than she is used to but that he has 2 arms and 2 legs just like she does and that he is a just a normal person that has had an accident (or 2 or 6).

Photo: Jake Warga“Why is he eating with us, Mom?” As I explained that Isaac doesn’t have a home and that he was hungry, I told her that sometimes people need help and that if we can help them, then we try to help them.  Isaac nodded his head in agreement and said thank you.  The Kid eyeballed him nearly the entire time we ate.  And I was fine with that.  Isaac tried to carry on a conversation with her but she was content with nodding and didn’t need any other interaction.  And I was fine with that.

As we started to wrap up our meal, Isaac pulled out his Gatorade bottle half full of his drug of choice. I asked him if he preferred whiskey or rum.  He quickly shoved his bottle back into his bag.  “It’s whiskey.  I have a drinking problem.” he said.  “We all have our problems.” I replied.

**Enter the SHAKE UP**

“Yeah…I know. I tried to share a 40 with this woman earlier and she told me she was bisexual.  I don’t like that.  I don’t care for those homosexuals.  They’re disgusting.  Then she said that she was going to go down to that Equality Center and I said that I don’t want to be around those fags.  She got mad at me then and I had to get out of there.  They can keep all of those faggots over there, I don’t want nothin’ to do with them.” he said.

They can keep all of those faggots over there, I don’t want nothin’ to do with them.

At this point, I look at my daughter and look back at him. I tell him that I understand why that woman got upset with him.  I ask the server to bring some boxes so we could box up our leftovers.  “It’s time for us to go.” I say to him.

I could feel two versions of myself fighting each other on the inside of me. One was telling me to breathe while the other had firmly planted her feet and slung out a healthy, “THIS FAGGOT JUST FED YOU DINNER”.

I wanted so badly to “teach him a lesson”. To let him know what he’d done…that he walk away from this place knowing how rude and awful he was.

And then I looked back at my daughter. This was her time.  She had a brief glimpse of what it’s like to help someone in need.  She didn’t need to know the ugly side of it.

I needed to walk away.  I scooped up my little baby girl and we left Isaac sitting at the restaurant.

Now I am white knuckled, trying to decipher if I did the right thing or not.  She’s really quiet but breaks the silence by asking me if I’m ok.  I nodded and smiled big at her, “I’m ok, sweetie”.  As I’m getting buckled into my seat, I ask her what she thought about eating dinner with Isaac.  Normally my 3 year old likes to give her opinion with gusto.  However, after asking her about dinner, she just looked at me through the rear view mirror.  “Were you scared?”  She just looked at me.  “Are you thinking about Isaac?”  She just looked at me.  Trying to think like a 3 year old, I asked her, “was he a good guy or a bad guy?”

She looked out the window and then back at me. Furrowing her eyebrows and tilting her head sideways, she said, “I think that he is good guy AND a bad guy.”

She already knows that there can be an ugly side.

Not everyone is open hearted.  There are people everywhere who misunderstand other people unlike themselves.  Some even wish that the other didn’t even exist.  Gays, Straights, Christians, Muslims, Religious, Non-Religious, War-mongers, Peacemakers, Atheists, Hungry, Homeless, Rich, and Poor.

Since that moment, I have reconciled that it’s not my job to “teach other people lessons” when they offend me. My job is to work at being an amazing mom to my daughter and this particular lesson was for me…to help when I can and walk away when necessary.

For more information about the Equality Center, an amazing resource for the Tulsa area, click here.

For information on a very easy way you can help the homeless in the Tulsa area, click here.

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My name is Angel…not Anger.

Rage and Anger

Today, I am struggling with anger.  Something with which my Mom has said I have always struggled.  I am angry that in true Adams fashion, we have swept so many things under the rug that I may never know why I’ve been angry for so long.  Sure, I can pin point certain instances and situations that foster anger but what happened when I was so very young can only be speculated.

Today, I am angry at my job.  I am grateful that I even have one but after working there for 13 years, it is on it’s last leg and we’ve been in talks of closing down for good.  I’m angry about watching my team work diligently to keep things alive and feeling like they will never be compensated for their loyalty and effort.  I’m angry about the stress that it has dropped on our COO, my brother in law.  I am angry about the stress it has dropped on my spouse.  I’m angry.

I’m angry for being so scatterbrained.  I’m angry for trusting the wrong people.  I’m angry for having to be patient.

I’m angry because my songs still sit on paper. I’m angry because I am not confident to do things myself. I’m angry because I have to rely on people.

Relationships, family, home, petty petty things…

I am angry.

I Play Sudoku.

I have tried typing my name a few times today…just working on different projects…and each time I accidentally typed Anger instead of Angel.

I figured that I needed to get some of the infection out so…I write.

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Oscar’s statue of frozen vulnerability.

SO…I’m sitting here at midnight on a Tuesday evening watching the Oscars on Hulu Plus.  Congratulations to Hulu for creating such urgency for me to sit here and watch the awards show in it’s entirety simply because you said “only one day left for viewing”.

Well, here I am blubbering and smiling for all the winners.  I do this because for me, all awards shows bring such inspiration.  I love these shows.  Even the ones with terrible hosts, technical difficulties, and… when my favorites don’t win.

I’ve been beaming for Adele.  It’s not because I think that her song Skyfall is the best song ever written.  Nor is it because I think that she is the greatest singer.  Although, I can say without a doubt that I really appreciate the gift of her voice.  She is remarkable.  What I saw tonight was a young woman who stepped out and took a chance to follow what her heart was leading her to do.

I gotta say…I, at different times tonight, went from elated to super pissy.  I was so inspired to write and sing and compose that I got all excited and anxious.  And then…it started to spiral.

I’m just going to throw this out there. I’m really frustrated that I haven’t put any music out in a record or single or even freaking cassette tape.  I’m frustrated that I feel like I’m waiting. And waiting. And waiting.  I’m frustrated that I see so many of my musician friends recording all the time.  HOW DO THEY DO THAT?  How are they able to get the people together to learn the music, to go to the studio, to do their part.  How come I can’t seem to pull my shit together enough to make this thing happen.  For crying out loud, I don’t want to be a superstar.  I just want to write songs and let other people sing them and become superstars.  I’m angry.

Then it hit me.

People might crap all over what I have stressed over and poured over and cried over and shared from my guts.  And then I tried crawling back in my shell.  What the hell.  I realize that this is just a stream of thought but follow me.

It’s not about people not liking my music, my voice, or my songs.  I already know that not everyone is going to like my stuff.  Every time I try to write or sing, I hear the voice of a childhood friend tell me that I “shouldn’t quit my day job”.  I know that even some my closest friends aren’t going to like it.  It’s just the way things are and I’m really okay with that.IMG_7202

It’s about where these things come from….my life, my experiences, my emotion.  Raw and  visceral.  By sharing any part of yourself, whether it be acting, music, writing, painting, blogging, you name it …when you choose to share this part of you, you lift a veil.  You lift a veil that so perfectly encompasses your ugly, dark, beautiful, and bright self.  You are no longer protected by what shields you.  This scares the shit out of me.  And I mean this in every sense of the phrase.

Vulnerability.  Being vulnerable.  What a tragically horrifying and beautiful thing.

So, Mr. Oscar, you are a statue of sweat, tears, triumph and vulnerability and if I ever get to place my hands on you, may it be because you have frozen my very self into your being.

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Sure, I’ll jump off this cliff…and hope I make it.


Allow me to define it for you.

yes – adv. : It is so; as you say or ask. Used to express affirmation, agreement, positive confirmation, or consent.

1. An affirmative or consenting reply. 2. An affirmative vote or voter. tr.v. yessed, yes·sing, yes·es  To give an affirmative reply to. interj. Used to express great satisfaction, approval, or happiness.

Here’s my thought:  I’ve been knocking around the idea of new ventures for years now but I’ve become quite complacent with my job and content with the security that comes with it.  Back in the day, I thought that I was a super hero of sorts and because of that, took on adventure after adventure without ever having blinked an eye.  I thrived on adrenaline and the “sport” of travel.  Before I was 25, I had discovered 13 countries for myself and lapped up every cultural morsel the world had to offer.

Here I am at 19, traveling on a train somewhere between Minsk, Belarus and Moscow, Russia…some 5600 miles or so from home.

After returning to America, I took on my first dream job and worked as a minister for 4 years (I know, I know…I was a Rev. and some of you are giggling).  After realizing that I didn’t fit into the ministry culture, I resigned that position to work at my next dream job…graphic designer.  Here’s the dealio, I’ve been doing graphic art for 12 years and moved into an Art Director position 8 years ago.  I freaking love it.  In the midst of doing this graphic design stuff, I became a member of an indie rock band called Eric and the Adams. That was four years of adventure, travel and creativity all wrapped into one.  Crazy town.

The last 6 years of my life, I have become happily engaged, bought a home, was the drummer in a rock band, had a child, raised money (not because I’m amazing but because my friends are) for a solo album, worked on tour with a phenomenal musician – learning the hard work of a stage hand, and now….

Well.  Now what?

The message of what I’m trying to convey is that all these humbling opportunities came to me and I had to make a decision.  What do I say?

“Angel, would you like to travel all over the world?”

“Angel,  would you like to come work for me as a graphic artist?”

“Angel, would you like to be the drummer in my new band?”

“Angel, will you record your music?”

“Angel, will you marry me?”

YES!  I said, “Yes.”
Things have been a little strapped because of the way the economy has fallen and I have found myself scrambling to make ends meet.  With that and the very real fact that I mentioned earlier that I just don’t fit the culture of where I am. I realize more everyday that I don’t fit into the traditional role that a patriarchal socially structured environment would want me.  I need to redirect my path.

I have been looking for a way to open doors for myself so that I can step into a new phase of life.

Not too long ago, I was given an opportunity to take a class at a community college here in Tulsa.  It was a radio class.  The class was paid for…all I would have to do is enroll and show up.  If any of you have known me for long, you know that I really enjoy entertaining (when I was younger, I would practice my award speeches out in the yard – I’ve accepted countless Emmys, Tonys, Oscars, and Grammys).  Here’s the sad part…I got wrapped up with too many things that don’t matter, instead of focusing on the stuff that will get me on track.  I didn’t say, “Yes”.  This class would have gotten me on track.  It was my next step and I missed it.  Have you ever done that before…a few weeks later you wish you could go back in time and slap yourself out of your slumber?  Things change for me when I say yes.  No more missed opportunities…

SO, I’m in full preparation of a new chapter…a new “dream job”.  I’ll work diligently at my 9-5er until I can fully step out on my own but let me tell you this…it is not without fear, anxiety, adrenaline, and hope.

photo credit: Stuart Anthony

My partner and I have a running joke from a familiar cliché.

The cliché?  “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”.  Our variation?  “We’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.”

I’m lucky to have a partner who supports my ever growing need to push the boundary, break the glass ceiling, smash socioeconomic class, and jar the mindset of poverty.  I’ll happily jump off this cliff.  I’ve jumped off of so many and it has taken me to places I’ve never dreamed.  My way of opening doors for myself is to say, “Yes”.

SO, I say yes to the things ahead.

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