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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Finding My Way

A lot of the time I want to reach up with both hands, curl my fingers around a handful of collar bone and just start ripping. Calmly tear my body wide open until you can see my heart pumping violently, the smooth, white xylophone of rib cage, miles of glistening intestine, the giant wad of panic forever lodged in my esophagus. Don't look away. Here it is: the blood and guts of humanity. It's great and it's terrible and awesome and unspeakably tragic. Look at it.

I wrote that paragraph a year or so ago and I find it's one of maybe five specific word groupings I've ever written that comes back to me again and again.

It's been a black week. Not in a run of the mill depression kind of way. There have been pin pricks of extraordinary light shining through the darkness only an intense audit of one's life can bring.

Am I where I should be?

Am I doing the right thing?

Am I being fair to those I love the most?

Am I valuing the important things?

Am I on autopilot?

If the answer to any of the above strays into negative territory and you really care about leading a life worth living... A paralyzing blackness descends as you contemplate your next move. And finding your way in the dark is difficult, at best.

I am feeling too much and I don't want all this emotion. It's strangling me. Autopilot is so much more comfortable.

I realize all this is very vague and if you're still reading here you may find that annoying but, frankly, I ain't writing this for you. Or you. But maybe you.

Blogs are weird things and mine is no exception. It has meant many things to me over the years but I no longer have any illusions about any of it. I could disappear tomorrow and that would be fine. Maybe that's what keeps me coming back; the notion that a few keystrokes could end the whole thing. It's a very liberating thought. That and the fact that I actually feel like I'm writing in a journal when I come here now. That's a nice feeling too.

Sometimes I find myself thinking about all the things I "need." A new bed for the kids, a stool for the art deco vanity I bought off Craigslist, a new car... Except I don't need them, I just want them. It's easy to confuse the two. Or convince yourself that a want is a need. It's also a slippery slope into focusing on the tangible things you "need" in lieu of the spiritual stuff you really need.

I lost my way for a while. Actually, I don't know if I ever really knew the way. Regardless, I'm trying to find my way now. The hard part is figuring out what I want vs. what I really need and combining that with what's best for the people I love the most. Is it even possible? I don't know.

Guide To A Successful Thanksgiving

"Obviously, you are one of the nation's most revered 'foodies' and many, many people all over the globe love to tune in to see the wildly colorful photos of the most wonderful street food finds (a Lebanese food truck in Oklahoma City??!!) that you post on your Twitter or wherever. Congratulations ... you've arrived. Yet, unless you're the person who prepared most of the food spread out before you on Thanksgiving, by all means keep your highly valued thoughts about the gravy needing more salt to yourself. No one likes a know-it-all foodie. Not even other know-it-all-foodies. So, when you find yourself glancing at the turkey, and you begin to ask,"Is this a heritage hen?" do the right thing and just punch yourself in the cheek."

15 Conversation Topics To Avoid at Thanksgiving Dinner

"Look, when you're talking about cashing in on deeply discounted merchandise and there isn't enough for everyone, the harsh reality is that some people are going to go down. It's just a fact of life. Bodies will litter the proverbial highway upon the journey to the Checkout Kingdom. If you want to stop and help pick them up, you know, so they aren't trampled by the ruthless masses, then be my guest. But don't expect anyone to think much about your actions since there will be no witnesses at all. Everyone else will either be on their way to filling their carts or they'll be unconscious, knocked under a rack of Duck Dynasty nightgowns."

16 Tips For Black Friday Domination

Open Wide

It's like I was driving nonchalantly beneath a blue dome of sky and suddenly noticed a zipper. It'd been there all along, the zipper. I just hadn't had the presence of mind to really see it. And then one day I did. So I casually reached out and unzipped the whole fucking sky.

As the zipper teeth yawned wide I spotted the entire universe behind them. Planets, entire solar systems, asteroids, shooting stars all spilling out from behind the blue dome I've spent years looking at... but never beyond. But it was all there the whole time.

Autopilot. It's great for airplanes but when you flip it on in life it's bad news. One minute you're at attention; steering the wheel, handling the throttle like a fucking boss, all while expertly observing everything in front of you and making split second decisions - speed up, slow down, change lanes, flip the bird, courtesy wave...Other times you start awake and find your jaw on your chest and drool dribbling down your chin as you realize you've been sleeping at the wheel for hours while the plane was on autopilot. A tricky bastard, that autopilot.

I'm awake. I see the big picture. Or as much of the picture as I'm meant to see for now. It'll keep yawning wider and wider until I'm on my death bed, I guess, and only then will I truly see the 'big picture.' Then I'll reach up and unzip the universe in hopes of an even bigger view.

No, I haven't been smoking pot, you asshole. I'm seven months pregnant. I'd like a joint right about now, though. It's been years. Ain't nothin' wrong with a little weed every now and again so long as you don't also happen to be simultaneously creating life. It does the world good. All things in moderation, mis queridos amigos.

So, no pot, just thoughts. About me. Where I've been, where I am and where I'm going. And despite the universe revealing itself so sexily to me, I don't have any answers. In fact, I have more questions than I had before ever laying a hand on that beautiful zipper.



Get A Card, Jack!

The brilliant-ness you are about to behold is sponsored by the good folks at Hallmark whose way with words is almost as magical as mine.

How many ways can your 1,500 Facebook friends tell you Happy Birthday? About two, as it turns out. You've got your standard HAPPY BIRTHDAY and the more casual HOPE IT'S A GOOD ONE! That's right. Your brother's manifesto on the evils of Obamacare is clearly way more important than your special day. So is a photo (Hipstamatic Robot Glitter lens!) of his dinner including a detailed description of what he's about to ingest. Also? It's November so he's going to hammer you with updates that include everything he's most thankful for:

Day 7 of thankfulness: and my college Fantasy Football team. Football season almost over. The world will be a little less happy Sunday morning for me...Praying BYU can give me an early Christmas present and take down the Irish! Rise up Cougar Nation. It’s game day, and not just any game, this is the Holy War. Time for Taysom and the Cougs to shut down the Irish. #theholywar #taysomforheisman #taysomishandsome #iamahugedork #ihavenolife #stillwetthebed!!!

War, passion, love, hate, happiness and depression for Taysom Hill and his "Cougs" but for you? On the day you were born? Three words: Happy Birthday, bro.


I'm not saying your Facebook messages aren't special! I know Facebook reminded you that it was my birthday and it took you three - maybe four - seconds to type your missive but dammit Grandma! I thought I meant more to you than that? And who taught you Facebook?

Facebook birthday wishes are fantastic, especially if you wouldn't have acknowledged that particular person's birthday otherwise. But seriously, Grandma! What's happening to you? No longer do I get to look forward to a mailbox full of cards including the one card with Grandma's special old lady cursive scrawled across the front with the card inside that reads the same every year: Grandpa and Grandma loves you darlin. To be fair, that's because Grandma died years ago and if I got a card from her this year that really would be something special, but it's also because the Internet is killing sentimentality. I mean, I'm not asking you to dip your feathered quill into a bottle of ink and pen me an electrifying epistle, but a funny card? Maybe with Phil Robertson on the front and Benjamin Franklin inside? That would make me happy, happy, happy.

Speaking of Ben Franklin and his presidential posse, it's not just that Facebook has stolen my special birthday mail, it has stolen the twenty bucks Aunt Sherry used to send every year. Now Aunt Sherry posts a casual HOPE IT'S A GOOD ONE on my wall.

I want my twenty-dollars, Aunt Sherry! Resting delicately inside a card with a couple lines on what a delight I am penned inside. Sure the card was the crappy part when you were among the five and under crowd. Card schmard, let me open my gift! But around about the age of six, once you realized that those cards could also contain money, it was all about the card. And once you grow up, move out and comprehend that mail is a veritable smorgasbord of depression in the form of bills you finally understand that the sweet card (that Grandma spent an hour picking out while Grandpa grumbled under his breath and checked his watch) containing the scrawly cursive you can barely read is worth even more than the twenty dollars she's still sticking inside. I mean, seriously, Grandma, it's called inflation. You're on Facebook now, GET WITH THE PROGRAM.

And no, MOM. A birthday text is what they call a #birthdayfail.

You too, Dad.

What better way to say I love you than with the inimitable Uncle Si Robertson? Actually, I can think of a better way: just send Jase Robertson and his sexy beard right on over. With cake. Jase and cake. Happy Birthday, indeed.

ARE YOU LISTENING, AUNT SHERRY? CAKE, JASE, CARD AND $20. It's how civilized family members say I love you and Happy Birthday.

This post is sponsored by Hallmark. All opinions, as usual, are mine. Click the logo to see more of the very handsome Jase Robertson as well as a bunch of funny birthday fails.

Is This His Magical Way of Saying I'm Bossy?

Everyone should have a Serge around to write such nice things about them.

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