Saying Goodbye

July 31, 2015

My father died.

I could go on and tell you about illnesses and reasons and say all the things one typically says when someone dies. But it really doesn’t matter. My father is dead and I have to learn how to be Ava-whose-father-died. How do I learn to live with a void? I know I can. I know I will. It just fucking sucks that I have to.

For clarity’s sake I should say that Angel M Lebron was technically my stepfather.

My stepsister asked if I’d give a eulogy for our father at the wake. I said yes and she helped me write it. The last 4 or 5 lines are completely her work. I don’t have the words to express my thanks for her help and for asking me to do this for our father. Anyway, here is what I said at the wake:

For those who don’t know me, my name is Ava. I’m one of Angel’s step-daughters. But that’s a word we never really used, the “step” part I mean…

When I was around 4 or 5, Angel had been living with us for a while. He was picking us up from our grandmother’s house and I remember turning to my sister and saying, “Daddy’s home.” Shortly after that I remember asking him if we could call him Dad. He, being the loving man that he was, said, “If that’s what you want, it’s alright with me.” From that moment on, Angel became my Daddy.

When I think about what I loved most and probably what I’ll miss the most about him is his love of knowledge. He was the most intelligent man I’ve ever known. My childhood was spent eavesdropping on conversations my father would have about current events, politics, economics, sports. He taught me to question everything, to analyze, to ask why, even with him. He taught me that knowledge is a commodity. He told me knowledge is one of the only things that can’t be taken away from you. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine and others were a familiar thing in his car.

Daddy’s strong character was something he never negotiated. Even at the end he was still strong. Saying goodbye is never an easy thing, so today we can say until we meet again…

What I didn’t  say in the eulogy (well…there was a lot I didn’t say) was that I seek out people who have that same love of knowledge. I’m friends with people who can have deep, fascinating conversations. They are also people who love a good fart joke, and my father was like that as well. He was a goofball. I’ll miss his sarcastic smile and his teasing and his laugh… He was an imperfect man. He had skeletons a mile high in his closet. From that I learned how to accept people for who they are and not who I hope them to be…

But he was my Daddy and I loved him.

I am an atheist. I don’t think I’ll ever see my father again. But I think I’m allowed the smallest glimmer of hope that some part of whatever my father was still exists in the universe. And if he is somewhere, floating past supernovas and hitching rides on comet tales, I hope he knows.

I hope he knows.

Goodbye, Daddy.


For Poetic Blue

May 30, 2015

A very good friend of mine posted something on Facebook that I thought I could use as a way to start flexing the old writing muscles again. Let’s see what happens, shall we?

My friend’s BCM name is Poetic Blue. She’s an awesome writer, an activist focusing mainly on disability rights, a mom and a decent drinking buddy. You can check out her work here and find out what her actual name is.

Here’s what she posted that prompted this post:
I just don’t understand why folks keep telling me desexualization and sexualization are different sides of the same coin…Both make a woman into an object, but the former is an erased, ignored object… the latter is a shiny, pretty, sexy object. It’s that, in essence, a validation? It may not be the validation you want but it’s still a validation which is the opposite of erasure… what do you think?

I can’t speak on desexualization so much. Though now that I’m overweight I am desexualized to an extent, I don’t think it’s the same as what people with disabilities experience. It would feel like an appropriation of someone else’s cultural struggle to say “well, yeah but ME TOO!” I’m just not cool with that sort of thing.

I can say this:
when I was thinner I never felt like a shiny, pretty, sexy object when I was harassed on the street. I’ve thought a lot about this and I think the simplest, most accurate description of how I felt would be I felt like prey. Not like a piece of meat but like an animal being constantly pursued. It never felt good. It felt like my body was in danger. I didn’t feel any sort of validation from those encounters. I didn’t feel like an empowered, sensual, sexual woman. Validation comes when I find out someone is attracted to me, when someone sees the essence of Blue Collar Mamma, and not just a pair of tits with legs. I think Poetic Blue has a somewhat romanticized view of what it’s like to be objectified. So, if we’re looking at this in the context of dehumanization, I’d say it is two sides of the same coin. Because I’m pretty sure if you stuck 2 tits on a pair of legs they wouldn’t magically transform into a walking, talking human being with feelings like some sort of horrible/wonderful interpretation of Pinocchio (someone please make this movie happen).

Having said all that, I have to say I do agree with Poetic Blue if we’re looking at this in the context of sexuality/sensuality. In that sense they are two separate and shitty situations to be in for very different reasons.

To say that one side of the coin is an overabundance of sexualization and the other is a lack of sexualization is an oversimplification at best. At worst, it is wading into ableist territory. It’s not only arguing from a privileged position, it’s completely dismissive of what Poetic Blue calls “erasure.” It ignores just how much people with disabilities are marginalized and excluded in all aspects of society. We can’t have a real discussion about objectification without including the desexualization and infantilization of people with disabilities. It is oppressive. It is sexual ableism. And it’s tacky as fuck.

Very Important Research

April 7, 2014

OMFG! I’m still alive! And so are you! AWESOMESAUCE! OK, now let’s move on.

Yesterday was the anniversary of Mr. Blue Collar and me deciding to put up with each other’s shit for the foreseeable future. We’ve put up with each other for 14 years now. And we’ve also decided to bring a third person onto our relationship…Uncle Sam! That’s right, I’m hopping back on the grid and gettin’ hitched to my main squeeze next year.

I have to say, one of my few super girly guilty pleasures is I love weddings. Despite that fact, I’m not the kind of person who has been planning my wedding since I was 5. I honestly never really thought I’d get married. So I’m having fun trying to plan the most inexpensive yet fun wedding shindig possible while still capturing the awesomeness that is our Blue Collar relationship.

I’ll write more about the ridiculousness of wedding planning in the future. Today, I want to talk about the most important research I’ve done so far. And that is…trying to find the corniest, cheesiest, most annoying love song possible. While searching for a craptastic song I could dedicate to the love of my life, I realized that the list could go on for pages BUT there are definitely 3 songs that everyone loves to hate when it comes to this genre.

I checked 10 (American) lists and this song was on 8 of them

I was like 10 when this song came out, and I LOVE THE SHIT OUT OF IT, YOU JERKS! Don’t judge me. I still know all the words. I still am jealous of their sweet hairstyles. I still don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. So what?! It is magic.

This one showed up on 9 of the lists

I tried coming up with something witty for this, but there’s really nothing funny about that NSync song. I think I intentionally blocked the memory of that song’s existence from my mind. I hate it. I hate it like poison. Let us never speak of it again.

Finally, we have the one song that showed up on every single list that I checked. That’s right. 10 out of 10 people who make arbitrary lists of shitty love songs agree, this is the worst love song, EVAR!

You know what that video needs? More people wearing turtle necks under leather jackets.

Anyway, this post and that last craptastic song are dedicated to you, Mr. Blue Collar! I don’t want to stand with you on a mountain, cuz I’m afraid of heights. I don’t want to bathe with you in the sea because jellyfish. Also, that’s where marine life poops. But I do want to be with you for, like, a really long time.

I love you more than hipsters love skinny jeans and irony.


Writer’s Block Can Suck It

August 26, 2013

(for #njpoet)

It seems like over the course of the past 2 months, every time I’ve opened WordPress my brain has been cock-blocked. I’ll click on “Add New Post” and get as far as writing a title and then…nothing. There was one day where I got about 2 paragraphs in on a Secular Whatever-the-F***-Day-it-is Silliness post. It was gonna be a good one about the Prancercise Goddess and her cameltoe of wonder (seriously, go back and look. But remember, what’s seen cannot be unseen). But then Lil Blue and Mr. Blue Collar both interrupted me with back-to-back “can you use your psychic powers to find the shit I’m looking for” requests. I know it’s hard to believe, but Secular Silliness is work. If I’m interrupted mid-silliness, the flow is gone and I give up.

Well, the part about nothing happening isn’t entirely true. I say my brain has been cock-blocked but it’s really just me blocking myself, isn’t it? That’s probably closer to the truth. It starts with me forgetting that I shouldn’t evaluate my self-worth based on whether or not I can pay my phone bill this month. I get anxiety because I have no phone and one less connection to people around me. Planning our days becomes more difficult. I have to tell people my phone isn’t on so they don’t think I’m ignoring them. Usually, I’m not embarrassed by saying I’m broke. But this time it’s different.

Because it isn’t really about not being able to pay my phone bill. It’s about whether or not I feel successful. It’s about whether or not I can call myself a writer.

I want to say here that I’m not looking for validation from you all right now. This isn’t about whether any of you think I’m any good at stringing words together in a way you find entertaining or informative. I know some of you like what I do and that is ridiculously flattering, encouraging, and humbling. I also know some of you think my writing and/or opinions are shit. I appreciate that, too, in a very special way.

When people ask me what I do, I usually just say I’m a stay at home mom. Now that I’ve been writing for The BQ Brew, I’ll pause and then say something like I’ve been doing a little bit of writing here and there. I’ve never just immediately said, “I’m a writer.”

I tell myself things like, “When I see my name in print, then I’ll feel like a REAL WRITER.” The feeling doesn’t come. Then I say, “When I get paid to write something, then I’ll be a REAL WRITER.” Still nothing. Because I don’t think I’m good enough.

My friends are some of the greatest writers I’ve ever read. And they’re just genuinely intelligent, decent, kind people. They’re awesome in the truest sense of the word. When I’m around them I feel like a kid being allowed to sit at the grownup’s table for the first time at Xmas. Most of the time this is inspiring and pushes me to move forward and try harder. But other times, I feel inexperienced, naive, tiny. Childish. This is not their fault. They encourage me to believe in myself. Hmmm…

I believe I have the ability to read more, know more and do more. I believe I can try harder. I believe I can be more consistent and less selfish (because my bad thoughts are really just me feeling sorry for myself, and that’s what selfishness is, in the end). I believe that I’ll always have kind people around who will give me a boost when I need it most.

Maybe most importantly, I believe that someday I might be able to think of myself as a REAL WRITER. Maybe even a decent one. For now, I’m going to be happy with “Trying To Be A Writer” as a job description.

I Don’t Have A Real Job

May 8, 2013

Being Blue Collar Mamma.

It means unclogging the toilet every day, twice a day. That’s 14 times a week. Sometimes it takes 2 minutes, other times 10 to 15 minutes. So on average, I spend at least an hour a week, 4 hours a month, 48 hours a year plunging a toilet.

It means I wash the dishes every day. Every goddamned day, I wash them. And every goddamn time it’s like I blink and the sink is full again. I can’t tell you how much I hate doing the goddamned dishes. I’d rather scrub the toilet that never fucking flushes right.

It means I like my kitchen table to be as clean as possible. So, naturally, my kitchen table is the collection point for everything in the apartment. Homework, food, toys, mail, clothes, wallets, keys, books, electronics, receipts, cats…everything but shoes. Shoes are never ever allowed on the table. Because that’s gross.

It means having to know where everyone’s shit is at all times. Haven’t seen it in months? Didn’t see where the owner of the thing put it? TOUGH SHIT! You better believe I still have to know where that shit is. And you know what the sad part is? 75% of the time, I DO know where everyone’s shit is.

It means having to stick to a weekly budget and having to make it stretch further and further every week. I consider myself lucky, though, because I have 3 small supermarkets within walking distance from my house. So, every week I get the circulars from all 3 and make trips to each so I can get the most for our money. But still, sometimes my budget isn’t enough and I have to ask Mr. BC for more. And I hate it.

It means being the personal assistant to the other 2 people who live here. I have to schedule everyone’s time appropriately. Play dates, after school, activities, family time, appointments, all of it. Sometimes there are schedule conflicts. They are always my fault.

It means trying to find a job that will allow me to be home everyday by 3pm so I can be there for my Lil Blue. It means being unsuccessful at finding such a job.

It means making time for everyone. Wanting to hang out with loved ones. Craving interaction with people I care about. Making plans, having people cancel on you, and having to be OK with it. It means scheduling the next cancellation. Rejection is a rule, not an exception.

It means knowing that starting every sentence the same way is probably annoying the shit out of you.

It means not recognizing myself in the mirror anymore. I’ve gained weight. My skin is weirder than it used to be. My hair is turning grey. My tits are starting to sag and I have stretch marks. And I’m kind of OK with everything but the condition of my skin.

It means that I have been writing different versions of this in my head for months. Revising it. Changing the tone to fit my mood. Trying to make it into some great piece of insight. Knowing it isn’t and accepting that failure. Acknowledging that for a long time I didn’t have the balls to say half of this stuff out loud. It means knowing I will be judged and only giving the tiniest of fucks about that.

WTF Is Wrong With My Brain?!

February 15, 2013

What I’m about to describe to you, my lovelies, is a dream I had the other night. I must warn you, it is full of “huh?” and “what the hell is wrong with you?” moments. It’s not x-rated or anything, so you prudes don’t have to worry.

I don’t know why or how, but my family gets invited over to Angelina Jolie’s house. Yup. That’s how it starts. My subconscious is lazy as fuck. Anyway, we get there via private jet courtesy of the Jolie-Pitts. When we arrive we learn that Brad won’t be there because he’s on location filming a movie. That’s probably why this dream is not x-rated. (Seriously, wtf brain?!) Jolie invites us in, and i remember feeling instantly disgusted by everything. My face looked like this the whole time. For some reason, Brangelina’s house was gaudy as hell. I mean so GAUDY Liberace didn’t have shit on them. I don’t know why, because I’d assumed that they had a more cool style. Not that I care, but i remember thinking that in my dream. The part I remember most about the interior of the house was the bathroom. It was as big as my apartment. Mostly, it was normal. It was off white and had a light colored Italian marble tile on the walls. The vivid part was the bathtub. It wasn’t the tub so much as what they used for privacy. Instead of doors or a shower curtain, there was a 8ft tall sculptural monstrosity. It was very similar to this dolphin figurine but the glaze was more opalescent, there were more waves in the background and the dolphins were smiling. In my dream, i walked in to the bathroom, saw this thing, said WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!, said I’ll just hold it and walked right back out.

The next thing I remember is going outside. Their lawn was AstroTurf green and was devoid of any other kind of plant life. It was like being in a surreal painting. Intense blue sky, vivid green lawn, stark white house with giant white marble sculptures at the front and rear entrances. And in the middle of the lawn, there sat a 10 foot deep above ground swimming pool made of seamless glass. Again, i made a face. I didn’t go in at first because i was too busy judging the hell out of these people. I thought, all this money and that’s what you put in your backyard? And how the hell are the kids supposed to play in that shit? She needs to get her ass to a public pool and see how family fun is done! I looked up and remember seeing feet and bathing suit covered crotch. I shook my head and went to try to have fun.

I remember trying to dive in the pool. I stood on the edge and jumped so high i started passing through clouds. my face was getting cold. I distinctly recall telling myself STOP! You don’t like flying dreams, remember dumbass? So I land in the pool, hang on to the sides for a bit. then get out.

When leaving, Jolie asks us how we enjoyed our time and I just let loose on her. I start reprimanding her for her tackiness, her unsafe pool, asking her where her kids are (not one kid in the whole dream). She stands there with a blank look in her eyes and a half smile on her face, unblinking. Suddenly I see a thin line forming diagonally across her forehead. Then another across her cheek. On her chin. Til there are dozens. She continues looking me right in the eye. She spreads her arms slowly, as though she wants to embrace me. I stare at her half expecting what comes next. She inhales deeply and, opening her mouth impossibly wide, she screams and explodes into a multitude of tiny fragments…and i wake up.

How’s that for a tall glass of what-in-the-hell-are-you-smoking?


January 25, 2013

I updated my wordpress app. Usually “updating an app” is code for “i thought I’d go ahead and mess all my shit up today.”

Anyway, I have to test this shit to see if it still works. Bear with me, fuckers!


Here’s a pic of some of my cats to make this experience less unpleasant for you. Also, this