When Karma Comes A Knockin’.

I’m absolutely heartbroken right now. Like my heart is LITERALLY in pieces. Amanda, my aunt/biological sister/fucking-demon-spawn-bitch (oh, I can go on and on) took the girls, Emma and Ava. It’s only been 2 days, but it feels like longer. It feels like forever.


We knew it was coming. The day that she’d take the girls…we knew it was coming. It’s that simple…and yet it’s really not. It’s really complicated, so I’ll just start somewhere near the beginning. So Amanda is the biological mother of my two nieces, Emma and Ava…but she’s no mother. What she IS however is a narcissistic, heartless, self-centered BITCH. That’s Amanda.


Her oldest daughter, my niece Emma, will be 10 in November and is Special Needs. She was a preemie and has a genetic/chromosomal condition that causes developmental delays, in addition to her having epilepsy and a range of other medical issues. Since she came home from the hospital, my grams –Amanda’s adopted mother (my grandmother and grandfather adopted her when my mother wanted to give her up) –like I said, it’s complicated–anyhow, my grams has been her (Emma’s) primary caretaker. She was the one that got up during the night with Emma for feedings and diaper changes. She’s the one that’s taken Emma to all her appointments with the pediatrician and the specialists. Because of Emma’s epilepsy, Emma sleeps in my grams’ room…basically so my grams can monitor her. Which is a good thing because Emma will literally spike a fever in minutes, out of absolutely nowhere, and go into a seizure without any real warning whatsoever. And it’s happened–the seizures–many, many times that I couldn’t even give you a number if I tried. But what I do know is that for a good 95% of the seizures she’s had, Amanda–her “mother”–wasn’t even home at the time. I can’t tell you how many times we’d call her with an emergency and she’d be elsewhere, usually with her phone off, or she’ll simply just ignore the call–even when we leave messages telling her it’s an emergency. And why is that? Because she doesn’t care. It’s really that simple. She doesn’t care. Not about Emma, not about Ava…not about anyone but herself. And she’s proven that multiple times over.


Emma, who is literally one of the sweetest little human beings you could ever hope to meet–who has been through so much in her short life already–can also be really, really difficult behavior-wise. She’s not your typical 9 year old. For starters, she’s the size of a kindergartener. Secondly, she’s got the intellect of a pre-schooler and zero safety-awareness. You can tell her she’s doing something wrong, but she doesn’t understand it. Not really. She just thinks it’s a game. And Amanda can’t handle her. At all. She’ll just yell and swear and rough-handle her to get her to do what she wants her to do. Emma takes a lot–A LOT–of patience. And she can drive you up the wall, let me tell you. But she’s just a little girl. A little girl that because of her condition, allows for her mother to receive a disability check every month to do with as she pleases. And that’s all Emma is to her. A check every month. She doesn’t care about Emma. She doesn’t love her. She loves the money. All the new clothes and shoes and designer purses and manicures and weekend getaways…that’s what Emma is to Amanda. That’s what Amanda loves. Not the little girl behind the dollar signs…the little girl that doesn’t see a cent of that money.


And it’s the same thing with her youngest, Ava…who just turned five this past week. Ava’s a bright, beautiful little girl with the sweetest personality and the biggest heart…and her mother has just as much disregard for her as she does for her sister. But unlike Emma, Ava understands what’s going on. She understands all of it.


Ava’s birthday was this week…and that’s when it all went down. Amanda–who hasn’t been living at the house and pretty much moved out and into her new boyfriend’s place–this guy that she’s been seeing for a year despite the fact that her divorce from Emma and Ava’s father was only JUST finalized this month–was at the house for Ava’s birthday. My mother and I had just gotten home after hours in the ER because of one of my headache spells and the second my mother walked in the door, Amanda was in her face telling her that “she’d see her in court…that she had the messages…blah blah…” Yeah. Apparently Amanda had gone through my mother’s phone while we were gone and taken pictures of text messages between my mother and the girls’ father. I don’t know what all was said in the messages or what–and I really don’t care–but that’s what started it all. Naturally, my mother was livid that she’d gone in her phone without her permission. As she should be. So my mother being well…her…called up the cops to see if there was anything illegal in what Amanda had done. They apparently told her there was nothing she could do and she was about to hang up when Amanda went out on the front porch where my mother had gone and starting yelling and swearing. Ava had followed her out and was crying, upset and begging her mother to stop fighting. The officer on the other end of the phone heard the commotion and said they were sending a car right over. My mother filled out a complaint, the cops left, and then Amanda went crazy. She started throwing the girls things into a garbage bag, telling the girls she was taking them–so of course they were both crying and hysterical because they didn’t want to leave. Then Amanda went out in the kitchen with my grams and tried taking Emma’s meds out of the fridge. My grams tried to stop her from taking the wrong meds and Amanda went psycho on my grams, hitting and shoving her. My brother and I were right in the next room and we both jumped up…my brother ran out to the kitchen and literally had to pull Amanda off of my grams, whereas I ran outside and informed the others what was going on. My mother, aunt, and the girls’ father ran back in the house and I had to corral a sobbing, screaming Ava–the birthday girl that hadn’t even had a chance yet to blow out her candles or open her gifts. After that, Amanda tried to get the girls to leave with her, but they refused to go, so she ended up leaving, threatening that she’d be back with “help”.


She never came back. Not that night, nor the next. It wasn’t until yesterday–two days later–when we got the phone call out at my sister’s where we’d gone with the girls to spend some time in the pool that Amanda had gone down to family court and was up to something. I’d already put together the statement for my grams’ custody petition for the girls, so my grams and I left and headed straight back and down to family court. But of course, the judge refused an emergency hearing. We had no choice but to give up the girls to their piece-of-shit mother who’d waited until she knew we were gone to pull her crap and go in the house and pack the girls things–95% of which she hadn’t even bought. But because she’s their “mother” and has custody, we had to give her the girls. Which is total bullshit because she doesn’t want them. She doesn’t give a damn about them. Only herself. And her doing what she did, taking them–she didn’t do it for them or because she thinks they’re better off with her. She knows damn well they’re not. She did them for the simple fact that she wanted to spite us. Because she knows now that no one gives a damn about her–and that its the kids we care about. And because of that, she hit us right where she knew it would hurt the most. The girls. Those two beautiful little souls that deserve far better than her.


As I said earlier, it’s not like we didn’t know this was coming. We knew. She’d been threatening for years to take the kids. She’s used them as leverage for years, holding them over my grams’ head to get what she wants. It doesn’t matter what it is. She wanted a new car and needed my grams’ to co-sign, so she used the girls to get it. She promised my grams that if she co-signed for her, she wouldn’t take the girls from her. Yeah…talk about a piece of shit. Who does that? Seriously, who uses a 9 year old and a 5 year old as leverage for a goddamn car? It’s fucked up. Plain and simple. It’s FUCKED up. And my grams has tried. She’s contacted the fraud department for the SSI I don’t know how many times to inform them that Amanda isn’t using that check for Emma on Emma at all, only to be told that there’s nothing they are going to do because apparently she doesn’t have to account for where the money is going. Talk about fucked up…that right there is prime example of how screwed up this government of ours is. RIGHT THERE. But that’s not even the half of it. We’ve tried calling CPS on Amanda…we’ve talked to the police…we’ve consulted with family law attorneys…and they’ve all told us the same thing. That there’s nothing we can do because even though she’s a shitty mother and she’s essentially left the kids with my grams’ to take care of 24/7 while she goes out and lives her life…she’s their mother and she has custody. And technically, it’s not considered abandonment or neglect because the kids ARE being taken care of…even though she’s NOT the one caring for them…my grams is the one that’s caring for them. It’s like saying “yeah, you’ve raised these kids since they were born, you’ve been there and she hasn’t–but she has the legal right to do whatever she wants with them”. And that’s exactly it. That’s what we keep getting told.


But we’re going to fight. She wanted a war and now, now she’s definitely going to get one. And it’s not like we’re making this shit up. She has NEVER been there. Never! And everyone who really knows her and knows the situation–they know. The doctors, the school, Emmie’s teachers…the neighbors…everyone knows. But the thing is–Amanda is a pathological liar. It’s a real thing and she is. Honestly, I think she’s gotten so good at telling her lies that she actually believes them herself. It’s sick. She’s sick. And while she may be blood–she means absolutely nothing to me. It’s a horrible thing to say, but if it came down to her or the kids, it’d be the girls 100 percent, all the way. And I wouldn’t feel the least bit guilty for the choice. I don’t know who or what she thinks she is, but she’s screwed up. We were all raised in the same house by the same people and I just can’t understand how she could be so selfish–and so spiteful to the people that have been RAISING her children FOR her, without protest and with pleasure. I don’t get it. How can you be that cruel to people who have done so much for you…and moreover–how can you do that to your own children–your own flesh and blood? To take them screaming and crying out of the only home they’ve ever known and bring them to a place (we aren’t even allowed to know where she took them–talk about fucked up) they don’t know and leave them with absolute strangers? How does a mother do that to her own children? I don’t get it.


We tried today…we tried again to get the judge to grant us an emergency hearing (especially when going through Amanda’s room last night for my headphones I came across a bag that smelled like weed, told my mother, and the cops came and confiscated a bowl and grinder–so we had the police report and everything…but he still wouldn’t give us even 5 goddamn minutes. Nope. It was the same judge that I’d dealt with before with that one ex years ago and then again with my bitch-ass aunt when she decided to shove me around. For some reason, the guy doesn’t like me and it’s obvious. But whatever…that’s not his job. And he doesn’t have to like me or my family to hear a petition that involves the welfare of two little girls. It’s his job to protect those who can’t protect themselves…not to take the law into his own hands and play on some little power trip. It’s corruption and it’s bullshit and I know it’s just this fucked up legal system that this country thinks is so great…but it’s wrong, it’s just so wrong. And in this little county, there’s really nothing we can do about it. We tried talking to the police. They just tell us there’s nothing we can do…that we have to contact CPS and go down to family court. And we tried that. In the past and again with everything recently. But CPS says they can’t do anything and family court claims its up to CPS to launch an investigation and it’s a game of passing the buck. No one cares and no one wants to do anything. We can’t request a new judge–that is, we could, but I doubt we’d get one I should say–so we’re stuck, unable to do anything but wait until the court date when the judge is going to hear all the petitions on the 5th. So in the meantime, those girls are stuck with a mother who doesn’t give a damn about them and complete strangers in a strange home for, at the very least, another 5 days.


I can just picture Avie. She’s not good with strangers and god only knows how they’re being treated. She’s probably been crying and begging to come home and it’s just not fair. It’s just not. She and Emma are the ones that are suffering here and it breaks my heart into a million little pieces. And I’m scared to death of what’s going to happen in court on Wednesday. I mean, god forbid that judge plays into her little game and lets her keep those girls…I don’t know what we’ll do. If she keeps custody, we’ll never see those girls again. And just knowing that could happen…it’d break us all. It’d kill my grams…that much I do know. She’s 74 years old and though you wouldn’t know it from looking at her,  57 years of raising kids has taken a toll on her. And those two girls have been her whole world for the past 9 years. It’d kill her…and if anything were to happen to my grams…I can damn well guarantee there won’t be a hole where Amanda can hide to protect her from the backlash of this family’s wrath if anything like that were to ever happen. She started World War III here and I don’t think she has a clue the hell she’s just unleashed. If she thinks we’re just going to sit back and watch her destroy the lives of those two girls…she’s got another thing coming. As we all know…you reap what you sow. And Karma. Is. A. Bitch.


I’m not the praying type, but I really do pray that if there’s a God, he’ll do the right thing and give us back these girls. That everything will go our way on Wednesday and we’ll get them back. I don’t care what it takes. I just want them back. Safe.




She’s Five.

Wishing a very Happy 5th Birthday to my Avie J today!!

“I love you to the Moon and Back.

I love you the most-est.

I love you too much.”

(As Ava and I always say)


avie fbook bday collage 7.28.15 - 5yrs old

I’m Still Here.

It’s been awhile, so I figured I’d post a little update.  It’s been a crazy, hectic past couple of weeks. I’m back in New York. Yep, drove up last week to try and get these headaches taken care of. I can’t help but notice the blatant irony in that I had to drive 900 something miles to see doctors and specialists about an injury sustained in a CAR ACCIDENT. Talk about illogical. It makes no sense to me. I mean, the accident happened in Tennessee…and the insurance 100 perfect willing to pay all the medical bills, yet the specialists in Tennessee wouldn’t see me. I don’t get it. It’s a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit, if you ask me. And it’s not like I didn’t try. Hell, I must have called a dozen different places–that’s not including the places and specialists each ER referred me to–and nothing. I got absolutely nowhere. I did manage to get into this one family clinic back in Nashville, but the visit wasn’t very productive. The doctor basically just gave me a quick exam, asked me a bunch of questions, and sent me on my way with a couple of new headache prescriptions and the same old “referral to a neurologist” advice.

Now that I’m back up in New York, I had an appointment the other day with my primary care doctor so that she could refer me to a neurologist…which didn’t exactly go to well. And by that I mean I didn’t at all like what she had to say. For starters, she informed me that the reason I was having all these issues with these meds not working for the headaches is because the meds the other doctors down in Tennessee prescribed me were all for migraines…and that it’s not migraines that I’m having…they’re concussion headaches. Apparently there’s a difference. Yeah. So obviously, after she told me that, I asked her why they kept giving me meds for migraines then and she literally just shrugged and said that it’s probably because I was in pain and they were trying to help–and that they probably didn’t want to tell me that there was nothing they could do for me. Wonderful right? So they knew there was nothing they could do…yet they gave me meds after meds that didn’t help and in some cases actually made the headaches worse. Yeah…’cause that’s not messed up or anything. Ridiculous.

So anyhow, I asked her what I was supposed to do if there was apparently nothing that could be done for the headaches medication-wise. Brain rest, was her answer. Meaning no bright lights or being out in the sun for any length of time, no flashing lights, no loud noises, no focusing or concentrating on the computer screen…etc. You get the point. So basically I’m supposed to shut myself in a dark room and do nothing but sleep. She prescribed a few meds, one of which is supposed to at least help me sleep…and it does for a bit, but it does nothing for the headaches. And in the morning I just feel so groggy–i hate it. She also wants me to be seen at the Concussion Clinic in Syracuse and an ENT if the nosebleeds don’t let up. Maybe I’ll get some answers from one of those. All things considered, I highly doubt that’ll happen. But who knows?

Yeah…like that’s going to happen. I’m a photographer, I have editing to do with the computer. And right now, things are absolutely crazy with the film blowing up like it is. I’m in charge of the blog and the production company website in addition to having just designed the theatrical/promotional posters for the film because the graphic designer Alan hired submitted crap designs. I didn’t really plan on doing the posters, but I got tired of writing code for the website and was fooling around a bit in Photoshop. I figured what the hell and sent him the poster…and he loved it. Then he got back to me and asked me to do another one…so I did. So yeah, I’ve been busy.

*3BB's Theatrical Poster*
*3BB’s Theatrical Poster*

And it’s bound to get busier. But in an exciting, awesome, great sort of way! When I said the film was blowing up…I wasn’t kidding. It’s insane how much attention it’s gotten. And it’s official, the film’s World Premiere will be in Atlanta in October. Then there’s a few other festivals…Charleston, Chicago, and some festival in Minnesota I believe. But that’s not even the most exciting part. It gets even better. We got an invitation from Berlin’s (that’s Germany, folks!) International Film Festival next year to attend. With that invitation, we’re automatically entered into Sundance, Toronto, and Cannes (France) –the 4 biggest International film festivals. How incredible is that? And just last week when I stopped by Alan’s to grab something I’d left at his house before I left for NY, he shared the news that he’d just gotten another festival invitation–to ROME, ITALY!!! I heard that and I immediately went, “Yep, I’m definitely getting a passport now…” lol. It’s mind-blowing how much attention and acclaim this film has gotten…and a little overwhelming, the fact that I actually had a part in this film, this great project. I’m so grateful and unbelievably proud of everyone involved. This is truly an opportunity of a lifetime and I’m taking it…hell, I’m grabbing it with both hands!

Now if I could just get rid of these headaches, it’d be absolute BLISS!



So I ticked off a few family members last night. And I can’t, in all honestly, say that I’m sorry for it. Because I’m not. NOT AT ALL.


It’s their own doing…you would think by now that people would have common sense when they go about posting certain things to Facebook. I mean, come on. But no. People don’t learn. And they don’t care. Especially my uncle/cousin and his wife. Those two are—they’re unbelievable. To describe them in one word. Un-f**king-believable.


They posted a picture of the brand new car they’d bought for their teenage daughter and I saw it and of course, got annoyed. Just like I have with all the photos and posts in the past that they’ve shared of all these new vehicles, 4-wheelers, snowmobiles, Disney trips, concerts with VIP access—the list is literally endless. And it’s not about being jealous. It’s about being pissed. Pissed because they flaunt these material things around—despite the fact that they have yet to pay back my mother and grandmother the thousands of dollars they’ve borrowed from them over the years. When they got married, they used my grandmother to buy furniture that was well above what they could afford…promising to pay it in full…and didn’t pay her a cent. Then there’s my mother—who took out a loan for them so they could give their children an amazing, exorbitant Christmas one year. Yeah, she never saw a penny from them for that either. And it doesn’t end there. In fact, it gets worse. Much, much worse. And by that I’m referring to the little fundraising debacle several years back. My uncle was in charge of hosting a car raffle for his wife’s sister’s little girl, the proceeds of which were meant to help offset the costs of her CANCER treatments and hospital bills. However, they didn’t sell all the raffles and therefore no raffle was actually held. Instead of returning the money or telling those that contributed that no raffle would be taking place, him and his wife spent most of the money. Of course, in their defense, part of the money the little girl’s own mother and her NEW husband used to fund their expensive honeymoon cruise…so they weren’t completely to blame. Still. Apparently word got out and there was talk of my uncle being arrested for essentially STEALING the money by defrauding people—which is EXACTLY what they did. So naturally…my uncle went running to my mother, who couldn’t stand the thought of seeing her little “brother” locked up. So she took money out of her own 401K to return the funds in exchange my uncle skipping the fraud charges. And not a penny of that was ever seen or repaid either.


And when my mother’s company downsized and she was out of a job…she went to them. Not to ask for their help or anything of that sort, but to ask them to please pay back the loans she’d taken out for them (on the expressed agreement that they’d repay) so she would have a couple less bills and creditors to worry about at that already financially difficult time. And they rebuked her every attempt to contact them. They refused her calls, ignored her messages, stopped coming around in any form because they felt “uncomfortable” about the situation. Uncomfortable? They should feel uncomfortable. Hell, they should feel ashamed of themselves. My mother and grandmother have bailed them out of their financial holes so many times over the years that it’s hard to even keep count—and they repay them by flaunting their 30,000 home improvements and interior designing and their trips and new purchases every chance they get. They should feel like shit. Because that’s what they are.


So with all that in mind, I said something. My mother had commented on the photo of the car about how she didn’t want to sound negative, but couldn’t help but feel like it was another slap in the face—all things considered. My uncle’s wife replied back with a warning that if people felt the need to leave negative comments, she’d be deleting them. So I spoke up. Maybe I shouldn’t have…I don’t care. But I did. And I’m not the least bit sorry that I did. I’m sick of everyone in my family keeping their mouths shut where those two are concerned because 1) they know it’s useless and 2) because they don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. Well, sorry…but neither of those settle very well with me. I have no filter. Never have. Never will. And while I may not be perfect and my relationship with my mother hasn’t always been the best of ones—she’s still my mother. And she was right. It was a slap in the face to her. My mother has bent over backwards for the two of them. She’s struggled and gone without, had her credit tarnished because of their refusal to repay the loans they asked her to take out in their stead…and for what? To have to see them flaunting around their so-called wealth on social media in their need to come across to the world as these well-off, great people/parents that work like hell to provide their children with everything they could need and/or want? It’s bullshit. And I called them out on it.


I was just being honest. And I was clear in my statement. I pointed out that I was going to spare them the trouble of deleting me, by deleting them from my friend list. Which I did, by the way. But I also wasn’t going to let my post just wither away into cyberspace oblivion, so I was going to copy and post it on my own page, with their names so everyone knew exactly who the post was in reference to. Which, I also did. Maybe it was brash…but I don’t care. I really and truly don’t. Every word in the post is the truth. And if they don’t like that, well that’s not my problem.


Anyhow, today their daughter—the lucky owner of the brand new vehicle in question—decided to post a comment on that post of mine on my wall, essentially defending her parents and telling me it was none of my business and to shut my mouth…basically. Now, as much I would have loved to go all #nofilter on her and let her know exactly WHO she was defending—as I’m sure she doesn’t know the half of it—I kept my restraint. And that was merely for the fact that she’s a child. She’s a 16 year old who really needs to learn who to pick her battles with—but a child, none the less. I’m not going to fight or argue with a child. It’s just not right and it’s not worth the expenditure of energy, for that matter. And since I know that everything I said was the truth, I have nothing to defend. I stand by every word I wrote in that post. And while she and her parents might not like the world knowing just how materialistic, selfish, and pathetic they truly are—that too is not my problem. There’s a little thing called the 1st Amendment which gives me the freedom to say whatever I so choose. Not only that, but the post is on MY social media page. It’s completely up to them what is posted on their page and allowed to remain posted—and I’m sure that had I not deleted and added them to my lengthy list of blocked individuals—they’d have deleted me as quickly as their thumbs could swipe…just as they made sure to delete the post in itself shortly after my comment went live on it. That, like I said, is completely up to their discretion. What I post on MY social media page, however displeasing to their fake-ass personas and damaging to their all-too important image, is completely at MY discretion. And I choose to post the truth, to defend my mother and grandmother who have been treated like dirt because I know damn well they don’t have the heart or the nerve to stand up and speak out against two people that in reality, could care less about anyone other than themselves.


So, I’m burning bridges. And I don’t care. I really and truly don’t. And I’ll keep on burning as many as I have to, if that’s what it takes to do the right thing and call people out on their betrayals and greed and utter disrespect for those that helped them when they were at their lowest. I may not always like my family. Or agree with them. But on this, I will defend them. Whether people like it or not. So let the bridges burn and wither to ashes. In short-hand, IDGAF. I just don’t. And I’m not sorry for that. I’m just not.




Happy Birthday ‘Merica.

So yesterday was my first (of hopefully many) 4th of July celebration here in Nashville. Honestly–I think I’m still a little shell-shocked–but in a good/giddy-like sort of way–about just being here…let alone all the opportunities I’ve been given. I  can’t believe I’ve been here for seven months now. It just seems so surreal…all of it. I keep thinking someone is going to pinch me and I’m going to wake up and all of this will have just been a dream. It’s crazy. Still, I have to admit, these past seven months have been the best seven months of my life. Truly. It’s hard to find just one adjective to describe my experience here so far, but I think I’ll go with a combination of AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, WONDERFUL…to start. It’s pretty amazing–and ironic-considering that I walked into this move seven months ago with no expectations. It probably doesn’t say much for the faith and confidence I have in myself, but I really didn’t think it’d stick, me moving down here. It wasn’t so much about the move itself that I had doubted…I knew I’d follow through with it. If for no other reason than to prove everyone wrong. It’s probably so wrong of me to say, but I just wanted (and needed) that selfish satisfaction of knowing that I’d surprised the hell out of everyone. I mean, I’ve done some pretty crazy things over the years…but this–this was in a level all its own. This was major. Even so, I never thought I’d truly see it through…that I’d stay. I didn’t think I’d make it. In fact, I would have bet money on it. That I’d give up and go running back to New York and my family before the semester had even finished. I never in a million years expected this–that I’d love it like I do. And I do. I love it here. I love this beautiful, amazing city and the beautiful people in it. It’s everything I’d secretly harbored hope that it’d be…and so much more. It’s hard to explain, but somehow being here just makes me feel good about myself, my life…my future. I feel like ME, you know? Like I finally be the person that I’ve always to be…the person that I’m MEANT to be. Without all the pretense and the issues and baggage. Being here is like coming up for a breath of fresh air (and yes, I stole that from Grey’s–but it’s a good analogy) after being submerged for such a long time. I feel free–freer that I’ve ever felt. Maybe it’s the distance, maybe it’s the people–I don’t know–but it feels good. It feels really, really good.


And on that note–FREEDOM–I celebrated in true #Nashie spirit. I braved the pouring rain and a crowd in excess of 300,000 people and went downtown for the fireworks. It was absolutely crazy down there, but it was completely worth it. I managed to get close enough to the stage set up on Broadway to see Martina McBride perform a few songs–which I’ve got to give the lady big props for because she literally had to perform in the POURING RAIN– and had a great view of the fireworks show. Which was fantastic, I might add. Not that I’m at all surprised–it was slated to be the largest fireworks display in the whole nation–topping even that of NYC’s. It was an incredible show–and most definitely worth getting soaked and being crammed into one street with that huge of a crowd. Even worth the shoe that I lost somewhere on Broadway–in my defense, it was pouring rain, there was a puddle, and well…I don’t know how to walk–and the hour or so it took just to get out of downtown. Definitely, definitely worth it. I’m so glad I went. So grateful to be here in this amazing city for one of the biggest holiday celebrations of the year.


Despite the pouring rain on my lens, I managed to get some–what I think are pretty awesome–pics. (**See Below**)


Happy Belated Birthday America!!



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**My Personal Favorite Of The Bunch**


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And some live video from the show…

(** P.S. Sorry for the shakiness…I’m a photographer, not a videographer. 🙂 **)







Singing Those Small Town Blues.

So, I seem to be on a bit of  a lyric kick this week…[ in case you haven’t noticed from recent posts 🙂 ]



Today’s lyric pick is one from the one-and-only, incredibly musically-inclined, (and so damn gorgeous, to boot) emerging artist otherwise known as SAM HUNT. I just love everything about his songs. The lyrics of which are absolute perfection. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to have missed his performance at the CMAFest last month. But lesson learned : buy festival tickets early in advance next time. Anyhow, the particular song that happens to be my muse for today’s post is called “Breakup In A Small Town”. With everything that’s been going on with the Bestie and her significant other these past couple of weeks–and my own not-so-pleasant past experiences–it seems fitting to share this track.



My favorite part of the song–the chorus :



I guess that’s just how it goes
When you break up in a small town
I see our friends and they put on a show
Like they don’t want me to know
So they give me the go-around

But there’s only so many streets, so many lights
I swear it’s like I can’t even leave my house
I should’ve known all along
You gotta move or move on
When you break up in a small town


As with every small town, there are both advantages and disadvantages to living in one. In spite of all the time growing up that I spent resenting my boring,  Upstate New York little hometown, I’m grateful and glad that I grew up in a small town. There’s just something about the dynamic of a small town that will outshine and rival that of a city any day, in my book. The pace is slower, people are nicer and more aware of their fellow citizens/neighbors. And as hard as it is to believe, there’s actually a perk or two about everyone knowing everyone and everything. People look out for one another more…people care. And when push comes to shove–most of the time–they’ll have your back. It’s a comforting thing…knowing you’re not alone…having that figurative safety net.

But what goes up, must come down…and there’s two sides to everything. Small-town folks are fickle people. They’ll just as soon stab you in the back and turn on you as they will come to your defense.  It’s a double-sided sword…this whole “everyone knows everyone” deal. When it’s good, it’s great. But when it’s not–well…then you best run and take cover–that’s all I’m saying. Breaking up in a small town can be just as ugly as one might probably imagine…and that’s putting it nicely.  It sucks to indefinite proportions. And it’s not fair–but that’s just how it goes. That’s life in a small town.

Distance is what typically heals a breakup. And let’s face it–in a small town–there’s no such thing. A breakup is difficult enough on its own, without having to run into or see him/her all the time, every day. Of course, the small-town gossip mill doesn’t help the situation any. People–oh how they love to talk and make up stories and spread rumors–usually with complete disregard for how their words might effect the other person. Simply put, people don’t care. Not one bit. If it’s interesting and newsworthy, they’ll run with it–despite only having half the facts–if any–about it. Nobody thinks about or cares that their lies–big or small–can ruin a person’s life. Or destroy a person’s reputation, damaging it permanently. No one cares about the consequences of their actions, or the level of hurt and pain their words can bring. People are bullies…tearing down others in order to build themselves up, and to make themselves feel good about their miserable excuse for an existence. People don’t consider the person behind the lies and the rumors–or that he/she has the same feelings as anyone else.

I hate it, but I’ve seen it first-hand. I’ve seen how cruel people can be. How resentful and vindictive and destructive some can be. But I’ve seen it happen; I’ve felt it. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to be afraid to leave your house or go out with friends for fear of who you might run into or see out. I know what’s it like to not want to feed into the rumors and the bullshit, even though it’s killing you to remain silent and you want so badly to stand up and defend yourself–but can’t because doing so will only make it worse. I know what it’s like to drive past a place that holds so many painful, lost memories to the extent that even the few good memories are overshadowed by the bad. All those places…the bar where it all began, the beautiful, grassy knoll where many a secret rendezvous took place, the alley where it all finally ended…all those places, permanently marred by all the pain.

I know what’s it like to be alone in a town full of people, to feel the betrayal of those you once considered a friend. I know what it’s like to carry the burden of guilt and shame everywhere you go. To hear the whispers, see the looks, and know there’s not a damn thing you can say to get them to listen to you, to hear your side of it–to hear the truth. I know how bad it feels and to be so desperate that you’d pretty much do anything to make it stop…to make them stop. I know what it’s like to be accused and found guilty of something you’re completely innocent of.

Most importantly, I know what it’s like to be driven and run out of the place and town you once called home. To feel like you have no other choice but to go because there’s nothing left for you, and because you know you’ll never be happy there…you’ll never belong. I know what it’s like to want to turn back the clock, to make things right. But you can’t because what’s done is done and you can’t fix damage that’s irreversible, no matter how hard you might try, and no matter how badly you might want to.

I know what it’s like to feel trapped. But on the upside, I also now know what it’s like to be free from it all–from everything and everyone that had a role–minor or otherwise–in all your misery. I’m not proud of the fact that I let certain people get the best of me, so much so that–at least in part–they ended up driving me 900 miles away. But I’m not sorry, either. It might have started out with me running away from certain people and situations…but somewhere along the way these past 7 months…I changed direction. I no longer see my moving here to Nashville as me running away from something…but rather, I see it as me running towards something. My dreams, my goals, my future…and my own life that’s good. It may not seem like much–this freedom–but it’s enough. For now.


Oh, What A Beautiful Life.

Was stopped at a red light earlier, distracted by the pretty sight of someone launching fireworks over Murfreesboro, and then this great song came over the radio…instant lyric love.



It’s called “Beautiful Life”, and it’s performed by the musical/melody genius, Nick Fradiani.




These days
Well, they’re looking up
We got so much to say
We got someone to love
We got good friends
They’re so good to us
And haters can hate
And fakers can front

So we try to live
Like it’s all we’ve got
Cause for all we know

This could be the last night of our lives
Gonna chase down our every desire
We blaze the night
With all we’ve been waiting for
All this time
Reaches such great heights
Gives us just one perfect night
To say “oh, what a beautiful life”
“Oh, what a beautiful life”

Comes out of the dark
We got nothing to fear
We got nothing but heart
Can’t just wait here to see what it brings
We got too many hopes
We got too many dreams

So we try to live
Like it’s all we’ve got
Cause for all we know

This could be the last night of our lives
Gonna chase down our every desire
We blaze the night
With all we’ve been waiting for
All this time
Reaches such great heights
Gives us just one perfect night
To say “oh, what a beautiful life”
“Oh, what a beautiful life”


Such a great song. It really makes you take a step back and take a good, long look at your life, doesn’t it?

I think it’s safe to say that the past few weeks haven’t been the greatest for me. Or the easiest. It’s been a long, chaotic mess of a month and I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve stopped and just asked myself “what–what in the hell am I doing?”  I mean, seriously…what am I doing? What am I doing here–in Tennessee–hundreds of miles away from everything and everyone that I love and care about? Am I really doing this–this permanent thing…making a life for myself down here…a decision that will effectively and permanently change the entire dynamic of the relationships I have with my family and friends back home? Am I doing it for the right reasons? Or have I fooled myself into thinking that I’m doing this for reasons that aren’t truly what they seem? I know that a big part of what brought me here is that I was running away–trying to put some distance between my troubled past and all the mistakes I made. I thought that if I reinvented myself here–far enough away from it all–that I’d be okay. That I’d be happy and satisfied…and whole. But I’m not satisfied. And there’s this hollow, emptiness that I can’t seem to shake. I miss my family. I miss the little ones. I miss my friends. I miss so much. And there’s no real solution for it. No compromise or middle ground. My family’s never going to leave New York, no matter how badly I wish they would or how desperately I beg them to. They won’t. And I feel so detached from them…and like an outcast because I’ll never be able to make them understand how I could want to be here–without them. I feel so guilty for the choices I’ve made that have brought me here. Sometimes I just want so badly to have the chance to go back to those moments, to reverse those mistakes that set in motion the events that led me down this path that I’m on. It makes me sad…and angry. Angry at the individuals that pushed me to that breaking point that sent me running down here…the ones that were so determined to destroy my life and–in some ways–were successful in doing exactly that. I’m trying so hard to keep the faith here. To just trust my instincts and hold on to the belief that everything happens for a reason and in time, that reason will come to light. That in time, all of this will make sense. Because right now–it just doesn’t. I don’t understand any of it.  I don’t understand how I could be so naive and foolish when I damn well knew better. I don’t know how I could have strayed as far off course as I did…how I could let things go so far. I don’t understand how cruel and vindictive people can be. Or how I could be so fucking wrong about well…everything. I just don’t understand.

These doubts aside, I know I have so much to be grateful for. I really and truly do. I have a good life, for the most part. I do. I have family and so many great friends, both in New York and down here in Nashville. People that are truly amazing and inspiring…and just the best kinds of people to have in your life. I’m blessed to have met the people I have down here…beautiful, genuine, and just so unbelievably talented people. I’ve been given so many opportunities here. My friend’s film, for example. To be a part of something so incredible and worthy and relevant…a project with a message that will–at least, that’s the hope–touch upon and make an impact on so many lives…and to help tell a story that will speak to so many people on so many levels. I’m just so overwhelmingly grateful because I know that no matter what happens down the road–if I stay or if I go–I’ll have made and forged these friendships and relationships that will–there’s not a doubt in my mind–last and carry on. These memories and experiences are ones that I’ll cherish and carry with me for the rest of my life. I may not be sure about many things, but of that I’m certain.

I may not have it all figured out just yet, but I will. I believe that in time, I will. And maybe Nashville will turn out to the be the place where I’m supposed to be…where I’m meant to be. And maybe someday, everything will all make sense. The past, the present…I’ll figure it all out at some point. I think my biggest hindrance is that I’ve been focusing too much on the future…and not paying enough attention on the present, on what is happening and what matters NOW. Right here, right now, in this moment. After all, today is guaranteed, while tomorrow is not. I’m sick and tired of living in the past…and of running from it. I’m tired of feeling guilty and of jinxing my own happiness. I think we all take this life and so much of it for granted. We’re so busy running from point A to point B; starving and working ourselves to death to achieve an impossible ideal and level of success that simply does NOT exist. We fail to realize that this technological world we live in has become little more than a smokescreen…a distraction from what actually is. And from what actually matters. We’re so out of touch with one another and ourselves that it’s a wonder that we’re still even capable of having–let alone actually sustaining–relationships of any kind. But we do, and they make it all worth it.

It may not be easy. It maybe not be perfect. It may not make sense. But this life of mine…it’s beautiful, nonetheless.


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