“Ms. Alexis Simpson has left a will clearly stating what she wanted to go to whom.”

This is ridiculous, I think, looking from the lawyer to my sister, but I say nothing. This is apparently what Mom wanted, even if it would have been much simpler to just leave it with me and Lexie. Or, better yet, me. I am the one that lived with her and took care of her up until the end after all. Lexie couldn’t be bothered as it was “too sad.” Yeah, no kidding it was sad, I had to stay there and watch our mother die while Lexie got to live her life.

“She has left all of her clothing, including the dresser they are kept in to her eldest daughter, Alexis Cromack.”

Okay, that makes sense. Let’s just say I inherited Dad’s “big bones” as Mom liked to say. Not that I will ever know, so I guess I’ll just have to believe her.

“The bookcase, along with all of the books will go to her youngest daughter, Elizabeth Simpson.” Again, that made sense. The only use Lexie would have for books would be to hold something up.

We continued to go through all of the things that mom owned; her knick knack collection, the jewelry she had accrued over the years, and other odds and ends. And I couldn’t help but think that we were each receiving a portion of her life; a portion of the things that made her who she was.

Finally, it came down to the big one. Mom left a quarter of her bank account (which had about ten thousand dollars saved up) to Lexie, and the rest to me. She also left the entire house and nearly ten acres of land to me, and me alone.

I look up at Lexie, who is trying very hard not to lose her temper. This just makes me angry, knowing that this meeting was just her recieving a bunch of free stuff. I hadn’t seen her cry once since I told her Mom had passed away, and not for years prior to that either. This house was the only one I had known my entire life, but she just saw it as a paycheck. Well, too bad for her because I am going to do everything I can to keep it.



I always wanted to be buff

Like all of  the guys on TV
Why does it have to be so tough

Why is it only about what we see?

No one cares if you’re kind or mean

As long as you look like an actor

No one cares about the things unseen

Our feelings are never even a factor.

People try to hold onto hope

But they cannot let it show

Vulnerability is a slippery slope

One where no one wants to go.

To do that would be to risk

The strength you try to convey

Your image would snap like a disc

And the damage is there to stay.

We feel like we have to be strong

To not let our “weaknesses” show

But I think that is wrong

These feelings allow us to grow.

So go ahead and cry
Shout out your frustrations

Do not wonder why

You have no obligations.

A friend will never leave you

Despite how you may be feeling

Just be yourself, be true

And finally start the healing.


How to survive in a preschool classroom.


Go to a heavy metal concert. Do not wear earplugs. Be ready to not understand anything you hear, and not being able to hear anything directly around you.

Initiate a fist fight but do not hit back. Be ready to have bruises all over your body, half the time not knowing what they are from.

Plan your whole day out step by step. Watch it all go to hell. Be ready to not get to the majority of your intended plans.

Go to the zoo. Yell at the monkeys for being monkeys. I dare you not to get frustrated.

Get a recording of multiple questions and put it on repeat. Get ready to answer the same questions over and over again.

Actual Classroom Participation:

The first that hits you will be the sound. There can be up to twenty small children all talking at once, and it can be overwhelming. Remember your training.

Then, you will be bombarded by all sorts of questions, from seemingly innocent faces.

They will all ask you multiple questions, and most of them will be repeated for each child.

The longer you are there, the more you will see that they are actually monsters, tiny, adorable monsters. They may yell, spit, bite, and cuss, and you are expected to help protect them, as well as those around them during these moments. It will be hard. It will be stressful. But you can do it.

You will quickly discover that these little monsters also have huge hearts, and you will quickly fall in love with them all. They, in return, will love you, and let you know all the time. They have an uncanny ability to sense when you are upset, and they are often more willing to give hugs and affection during this time (though sometimes they go the other way and are exceptionally difficult).

Slowly, you will come to realize that even the challenges are tolerable when you get to work with such young, creative minds. You will look forward to the questions, and each hug will give you a newfound strength that you didn’t know you had. Every. Single. Day.


I have been staring at it for hours, but it just keeps getting more and more hideous. I am beginning to question my wife’s sanity, or at the very least her eyesight, for she says she likes it. How? Not only is it an awful shade of yellow and green barf, and it’s covered in pictures of babies being tortured. My wife insists that the babies are indeed laughing, but she’s insane and/or blind. These barf-shaded babies are clearly pained and uncomfortable, not at all smiling. I don’t care what she says, these babies need to be put out of their misery.

* * *

“Ummm… Honey?”

Okay, i admit, I may have looked a little crazy. I was shredding paper off of the wall, probably grinning wildly as I did so. “Sorry Hun, but it had to go. I’ll have this all cleaned up when I’m done.”

She walked away with a roll of her eyes, and I whistled as I ripped.

* * *

It may have taken the better part of a week, but our living room is now a peaceful pale peach color, and I can finally relax. I rein at the trash bag in the corner as I sink into the couch.


I am stuck. In my head. Or heart. I’m not really sure. All I know that it has gotten to the point where I am imagining crazy circumstances where I will finally be successful and happy.

I have been in a relationship for three months, and I really want it to keep going, but I don’t know how to make that happen.  Let me rephrase that… I know what I have to do, but I can’t make my body do it.

So far my best solution is to imagine my mental/emotional block as a literal wall. A very solid wall. I was that, no matter how hard I try, I cannot just hammer through it. I have tried, believe me, I’ve tried. I have gone through so many internal dialogues about how everything will be fine and it’s really not that big of a deal, but a giant wall certainly seems like a big deal.

My internal wall-fighter has decided that the only way to do it is to build a giant catapult and fling myself over. I clearly cannot fight the wall; me vs it and it will win every time. But… if there is some way to not have to interact with the wall… then, I might have a chance.

So, there’s my inner me, building and crafting this giant device while, in reality, I am trying to figure out a way that I can actually throw myself over this wall. The easiest thing would be to just get drunk and text him, but I know that is not smart. Plus, I don’t like being drunk, so that really doesn’t work as an option.

I need something similar. Some way to start a conversation without overthinking everything. Is it bad to confess your love through text? Probably, but it would be so much easier! I could figure out what I want to say and, as long as I can get nerve for a second, once I hit the send button that’s it. There’s no changing my mind after that…

I can see my inner self-launching herself through the air, soaring flawlessly over that dang wall, landing perfectly in her lover’s arms. He loves her, clearly, and she knows she loves him, too. So why all the trouble?


“Okay,” I tell myself, taking a deep breath. “Here you go. You’ve got this.” I take one step before the grumbling below begins. “It’s just the heater,” I repeat to myself, hoping that one of these times I’ll believe it.

I take another deep breath. “Come on, Bethany, pull yourself together.”

I take three more steps before there was a noise like a whining squeak. “Just a squeaky step, just a squeaky step,” I chant, continuing to descend.

“Beth, Beth, Beth.” It starts as barely more than a whisper, but it gets louder the further down I go. “It’s just the washing machine,” I try to convince myself.

I don’t know what it was that caused this fear, but I am done fighting with it. I will no longer let this control me. No time like the present, right?

That’s what I thought a few minutes ago, and I am beginning to deeply regret it. I don’t even have a motive to be down there, other than my stupid nonsensical response to basements.

I’ve made it this far though, I might as well finish. The sooner I get down, the sooner I can run back up.

So I close my eyes, I cover my ears with my hands, and I make my way down. The uncomfortable feeling when you step where there isn’t a stair is much easier to deal with than the things I’ll see and hear because of my phobia.

After the sudden no-stair jolt I stop and take a deep breath. I did it. I made it all the way down. I turn to the stairs, not quite ready to face poking around the basement, and open my eyes. My foot is already raised to go back up when I see that the stairs are gone.

Instead, there is just a red creature standing there with an unsettling smile. “Welcome to Hell!”