life lessons…on repeat

You know that life lesson that you are faced with again and again and again; that painful experiece that you keep reliving over and over; those karmic messages that you just don’t seem to get; the recurring themes of your life that make you bang your head against the wall screaming, “Fuck. Not again.”????

Mine is about feeling like an outsider in friendships, work relationships, family, social gatherings, sitting home alone.

My mom’s theory about why I am so different from the rest of the family is that I was hatched under a rock. It’s her loving way of saying “one of these things is not like the other.” I don’t mind when she says it – there is so much love attached and a little bit of humor on both of our parts.

I do mind that my brother thinks the same thought without the attached fondness.

Regardless, it was clear from the day that egg hatched that I was different

When I scour memories of my youth to try to understand this square peg feeling, I see the common thread winding its way from nursery school to today; I just don’t fit. Not quite.

From preschool to 8th grade, I attended the public school in our town. I had good friends. Monday through Friday.

My parents’ friends’ kids, who were the people we spent weekends and vacations with, received their educations elsewhere: first elite day school then off to boarding school. When they all were shipped off to the superior education centers of the Northeast, I went to an all-girls prep school.

I didn’t fit with those folks because I wasn’t sent away, I lost the closeness of my kindergarten friends because I was no longer in math class with them, and I never quite settled into my high school because of various reasons, one of the primary ones being that I didn’t play Lacrosse.

My attentions were spread out over varying groups of people. One way to view this was “How great, you have so many friends.” Another way, the way that it felt, was “You’re not quite one of us.”

Plus, although unable to put words to it in the moment, I was never destined to be a part of the elite.

Westward Ho!

Thank fucking God.

But I packed up this odd man out and brought her with me to Utah, California, and back to Colorado.

I remember a moment at Outward Bound, a meeting with many of the social misfits with whom I worked. There was a point in our conversation when I realized, “I have found my people.” These were the folks that, like me, weren’t mainstream “normal”; they thought outside of the box, they lived outside of the box. The weirdos, the quirky ones, the loners, the independent thinkers, the beat of their own drum marchers.

30 years later and I still feel a kinship with those friends that includes acceptance and understanding. I feel like I belong. And yet, those friends are scattered far and wide, leaving me forced to navigate relationships closer to home.

I’ve moved so often. I’ve changed jobs so often. I’ve led a transient lifestyle that isn’t conducive to long term comraderie. I am terrible about keeping in touch.

Although out of sight is never ever out of mind.

I was married to an abuser who cut me off from many people. Many people cut us out of society because no one liked him or wanted him around. I’ve been the gal who put a boy before her friends. I’ve held people to extremely high standards and cut people out because they didn’t live up to those standards.

Have I set the bar unreasonably high? Unrealistically high? Have I been unforgiving?

I don’t know.

Years ago I had a friend who sucked me dry. Our relationship became very one-sided and exhausting. Someone said to me, “If a friendship isn’t feeding you any more, it’s okay to let go.”

So I did. And it was a relief at the time. Now that friend is gone. There will be no opportunity to mend that relationship. And I have regrets. What did I miss out on? Did I cut off my nose to spite my face? And yet distance seemed imperative at the time.

In hindsight, did I do the right thing? Should I have had more compassion? Was I self-righteous or was I protecting my sanity?

Where are the lines between judgment, forgiveness, and healthy boundaries?

During the eruption of my world, I lost an entire group of “friends.” Some right away, some took me a lot longer to release. Much of it still pains me to think about.

I also had die-hards that came out of the woodwork to support me.

Much of the agony from that time stemmed from me trying to navigate the gray area between forgiveness and standards. I tried desperately to work around betrayal because I wondered if I had unrealistic ideals about what friendship means in the midst of turmoil in a small community.

When I returned to my values and let go of those relationships, it was ugly and icky and so so lonely. It has taken several years to feel solid in my stance, but solid I feel.

Does knowing I did the best thing for me ease the loneliness? Does it make me feel like less of an outsider since I am outside of a group of people who don’t move through the world with my idea of integrity?

Nope. I couldn’t have felt more lonley than I did in that aftermath. I still feel twinges of FOMO.

And because of immersing myself in that clique (I can now see that for what it was) I let other friendships become less of a priority. But, would I have let those wane if I’d already felt more of a sense of belonging.

Did I try to create a new posse because I felt outside of any and all others?

And now, I have no posse.

I have TAM and Elvis and Joey. I have a couple of loyal friends but they are not really connected to each other in many ways. I value these relationships more than you can imagine, but there is not a “them” of which I am one.

And maybe this is the way that I am destined to go through the world.

I do find that every time I try to fit into a group of people, a community of folks that are intimate, always on the invite list, and have pot-lucks, I end up getting hurt because I feel left out.

Do I create this because of my quirky, independent, introverted nature? Or, does this happen because I am quirky, independent, and introverted and therefore I don’t make it high on the priority-friendship list?

In high school I used to joke that I was often included in gatherings because of my entertainment value. It was an easy way to deflect the hurt that came with being on the fringe of the mainstream.

I can accept and feel a sense of pride that I am not cliquey; that I don’t ever want to be a part of a group that leaves others out. But there is a difference between a clique and a tight-knit group of people who love and care about each other and share values and laughs and love.

That is what is so elusive to me. It’s something that I see other people, my friends, create, maintain, and enjoy. From the outside looking in, it looks like so much fun, and yet, I can’t quite manage to create that for myself without discord and feelings of rejection.

And when I feel that, back into my lonely cave I crawl.

I know my introversion and my inability to answer the phone doesn’t help any situation, but I do have friends who know, love, and accept this about me. As much as I recognize that this is who I am, and I understand that sometimes this quality of mine can really impact the quality of a relationship, it doesn’t mean that I don’t want and need those relationships that include love, laughter, tears, and a sense of belonging.

So my dilemma is what do I do?

Do I truly want what I think I want? If I do, wouldn’t I have figured out a way to create that by the tender age of 55+50 weeks?

Maybe I’ll have an answer by the time I turn 56.

PLEASE READ THIS

This is an email I received today from one of my clients.

For those of you who don’t know what I do, I investigate wrongful conviction claims for the purpose of exonerating innocent men and women trapped within our prison systems.

He is 32. He has been imprisoned for 9 years so far. He was convicted alongside a co-defendent whom he had never met. There was ZERO evidence against him.

He’s poor, uneducated, black.

If your heart doesn’t break then you don’t have one.

First of all i wanna say happy easter then thanx for allowin me to be me. i wanted to be respectful an not use curse words it was hard lol.. the number (witness) gave me before is off now it was so long ago, i tried recently and it was doconnected. sorry. trust i want to locate him as bad as anybody but he did say that he was goin to help me and i only want to prove my innocence you know. I HOPE you can find them cause you cant imagine. i mean i know i tell you how much this shit pains me but i cant stand being here especially cause i never been on the innocent side of this situation an fightin for my life just the thought of that HURTS so fuckin bad feel me. Everyday bullshit irritation, like fuck why i just cant wake up from dis bad ass dream but the only thing keep me goin is knowin you on the other side of the gate workin to help free me. I tried to call but i had the last 2 numbers messed up lol… But have a nice day an when you write please send a pre-paid stamp always i only get 11 dollars a month so its tight for me being that im all i got you know but have a nice day and hope to hear from you soon.

how’d it happen

During this visit I have:

taken the kids on a tour of my un-landscaped, dusty, goathead-filled yard naming all of the non-existent plants that will live here some day

taken the kids on a tour of my bird-feeders identifying each species along with it’s seed preferences

shared innumerable tales about Elvis the Wonder Corgi, the most amazing and cutest dog ever

squished onto the couch with them to peruse through every. single. photo that I’ve saved in Rubbermaids over the last 25 years

forced them to ooh and aah over as many photos of Elvis as I have of them

followed them around the house trying to set up a schedule for the day

gone to bed while they are just getting going for the evening…9:00

I’ve turned into my GRANDMOTHER!!!!!!!!!!

A plea to my friends who are not creatures of the desert

To all of you who have not experienced the magic and wonder of Southern Utah,

First: Stay home. We have too many people here already

Second: Take my word for it, this place needs protecting

Third: Speak up and Speak out

As many of my readers know, the wide open spaces just to my west are the places that feed my soul.

What many of you don’t know is that they are under attack and we, thanks to our new administration and especially Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, have hope for the first time in 4 years.

Grand Staircase Escalante (created by Clinton) and Bears Ears (Obama) are National Monuments that not only encompass some of the most stunning and fragile landscapes in the world, but they also contain a rich cultural and spiritual history that needs to be protected along with the spadefoot toads and the claret cup cactus.

These started out as NOT our lands to protect; these are native lands. Sacred Lands. Lands that have provided well-being on all levels to many Native American tribes for generations.

Now they are OUR responsibility because we fucked it up for them.

Thoughtless, heartless, money grubbers want to drill for oil and gas. They want to develop hotels and recreational byways. They want to create access for every kind of motorized vehicle ever built. They want to chip away at every inch of cryptobiotic soil that bravely holds it all together.

They want to risk the destruction of ancient archeaological sites that provide us the opportunity to look deep into the past.

There is no other place like this on the planet. Presidents Clinton and Obama knew this and did something about it. Our most recent administration tore it to bits.

Now we have Deb Haaland, badass, who is taking a look around. She is walking the lands. She is talking to the invested parties. She is listening to the voices of her ancestors. She is weighing out the value of these two monuments and the cost of relinquishing their safety and security.

Repairing what was undone in the last four years will ensure that these sacred lands are available for both traditional usage and the enjoyment of newcomers.

Allowing drilling and development and motorized recreation will ensure that the rich history, the culture, the beauty, the sacred significance, will blow away as sand particles in the wind.

Please, educate yourself. Speak up. You may not have personal experience with or investment in what exists within the boundaries of these two National Monuments, but it is important, imperative, that what is here remains here.

If we can all jump on board to worry about the Amazon rainforests, then we need to jump on board to save the deserts of our own nation. You don’t need to go there to understand the need for protection.

Do it for you. Do it for the planet. Do it for future generations.

Do it for my sanity.

Please.

Grand Staircase Escalante
Bears Ears

Where are we now

As spring rolls into the canyon, or actually tears through on hurricane-force winds, it brings change, rebirth, joy, a little bit of sadness, and hope.

Anticipation of things that are good.

I am vaccinated. That fact alone brings relief, a sense of expanding my lungs to breathe more freely.

I have seen my mother. She has been so godawful lonely that I have been reduced to tears. I went just to visit; not because we had to move, not because someone was in the hospital, not because someone was dying; it was actually just a vacation and my mom was happy.

So I was happy.

TAM’s 9-year-old came for a week. Just a sweet, pleasant, do fun things, kind of visit. We laughed and snuggled and saw friends and had adventures. We camped in the mountains. We camped amongst the saguaros. We rescued some dumbass teenagers who haven’t yet figured out driving a 4-wheeler. We counted stars and played backgammon and drank cocktails made with fresh grapefruit from the Florida excursion.

He will return for the entire summer. More adventure, more snuggles.

More grapefruit cocktails.

TAM’s other child and her partner are considering a return to the motherland from the tropics of the fiftieth state.

My chickadees are getting ready to fledge; a moment in our lives that delivers excitement and dread in the same package.

Two things that I told my kids throughout their entire upbringing:

  1. Don’t ever drink and drive. You can ALWAYS call me and I will pick you up. No questions asked.
  2. If you choose to spend your life in Montezuma County, make it a choice. Go out, see the world, experience new places, new people, new things. Then, if you want to come back, great. But let it be a conscious decision, not a default.

Apparently my first message didn’t sink in.

Which left me wondering if the second one would.

It has.

Careful what you ask for, Mama.

One of them leaves this weekend. He’s moving to Idaho. To a place that, until this week, he has never seen. He goes with all of the confidence particular to a 23-year-old man in love. He has a light in his eyes and dreams of changing the world, one river at a time.

Number 2 leaves in a couple of months. He is moving to a city. He’s a kid that should live in a city – at least for a while. He too goes with the support of a great love and a need to stretch his wings that have been clipped for so many years. He dreams of expanding his mind, his possibilities.

Number 3 will be entirely on his own for the first time, without either of his brothers next door keeping an eye on things. For the average 25 year old, this may be normal or past due, but not for this gentle soul. The first in his family of origin to graduate high school, to get a degree, to stay out of prison. He too is venturing into new territory and standing on his own two feet.

We will have a gathering this week, a final evening of togetherness before everyone goes off in their own direction. TAM will be here for that because he is family.

This time, these changes and moves and girlfriends and boyfriends, we are in a transition: a reshaping, rearranging of what the Strazza family looks like.

As a unit, we were so broken. There was so much hardship and pain that we endured, both together and individually. We each had to fumble our way through the muck.

We relied on each other while at the same time needing to separate from each other to find our own unique footing.

We had to need each other in ways that were bigger than the damage. We needed to find love and support and vitality outside of our little cluster.

And then, to truly begin to heal, we needed to bring what we found back to Us.

My family never looked traditional. We are mixed – mixed histories, mixed bloodlines, mixed skin colors, mixed world views. We are connected by tragedy and resiliency. We are living proof that what creates family isn’t necessarily having the same DNA.

What is in our hearts is what connects us.

I love this hodgepodge.

I love that there is an ebb and flow, some coming, some going. I love that I live somwhere that will always feel like home to everyone. A place that can hold all of us and provide a sense of security to those who are scattered far and wide.

I love that my chicks are heading out, exploring the world and themselves. They are persuing dreams and making shit happen. I love that TAM’s kiddos may all be here.

The change is difficult, no doubt. I have been so spoiled to have my children here, within visiting distance. I can stop in and have lunch or drop off boating gear.

To not have them close by will be shocking and painful. I will hate that I can’t just stop by to lecture someone on the importance of Thank You letters.

I don’t know when we will all be together again. It grieves me to no end. But, my babies are doing exactly what I hoped for them to do.

My dream, as their mom, is to see them pursue their dreams.

Which they are doing.

With great aplomb.

I am so proud. So excited. So thrilled.

The transforming spring winds are here and with a full heart I will welcome them.

I just had a shitty experience

I’m driving home from TAM’s this morning and it’s dumping snow and the plows aren’t out yet.

My road is notoriously bad: windy and curvy and narrow and never sees the light of day. The drop-offs are deadly. Although it’s a well-used road, technically you could call it an Interstate, CDOT often puts it low on the priority list because bigger roads get more attention.

I put the truck in 4WD and begin the 11-mile crawl home. The speed limit is 40 mph; on a snowy day, I fly down the road at a brisk 20mph. The road is so bad that even in 4WD, with sandbags in back, I’m still sliding.

About a mile into my journey a big Dodge pulling an empty trailer creeps up behind me and starts riding my ass, brights on, I am assuming, telling me to go faster.

There’s no shoulder to pull over to let him pass.

The radio is off so I can concentrate, and the running mantra in my head is, “Don’t let him pressure you.”

I ignore him for as long as I can and finally, 9 miles in, he’s so close that I’m scared. I finally find a place where I can get a little bit off the road; there’s no one coming in the other direction so he can blow by me.

But instead, he stops right behind me, climbs out of his extra-large truck, and approaches. Cowboy. White guy. His truck is extra-large, but he’s not. Probably not much taller than I am. But he’s got a big hat and big boots to compensate.

He’s probably also got at least one big shotgun in that truck.

I roll down my window as he approaches, prepared with, “I’m fine, thanks. Just pulling over so you can pass.”

But before I can speak he yells, YELLS, “Thanks a lot for spraying all that water in my face!”

I think, “What???????????????”

Then, before I can utter a response, he continues, “Yeah, you threw all that water at me and it went all over my windshield and into my truck through my open window.”

I couldn’t think of anything to say but, “Well, you don’t have to be an asshole about it.”

All the while thinking, “What the fuck is he talking about? Did I throw my cold coffee out the window?”

And, “Do I have any ‘liberal’ stickers on my truck?”

He screams, “FUCK YOU”

And I realize that I might be in serious trouble here, if not actual danger. So I roll up my window while he’s still going off on me and I try to peel out, but of course, I kind of slide sideways back onto the road at a snail’s pace while my right rear tire is spinning in the muck.

Not quite the empowered exit I would have hopped for but…

I’ve got 2 miles left and I got a bit of a head start but he ran back to his truck and caught up pretty quickly.

My mantra has now become, “Don’t let it get to you. You didn’t do anything.”

Mixed in with, “If you weren’t riding my ass, DUDE, my spray wouldn’t have come in your window.”

And, “What idiot has his window open in the midst of a blizzard.”

Oh, the idiot behind me.

I pull into my driveway. I don’t stop to check the mail because I was afraid he too will stop.

Instead, he guns it and flips me the bird.

Total assholery.

gratitude

Every day I am grateful for:

My weird house

Elvis…

My weird dog

My boys. Their partners. Their happiness. Their resiliency. Their pursuit of their dreams. My heart nearly explodes with joy and love

Jay. Jay. Jay…

and all that he brings. All that he is. All the love that he showers on me.

Friendships. You know how every break-up or rough time, has, in hindsight, a theme; the lessons that you learn from that particular crisis tend to all be in the same general arena? This last go-’round was all about friendships – I learned a shit-ton the really hard way. I lost so many, gained some incredible new ones, and re-connected with some of the best people I have ever known. Then the pandemic moved in, I stopped working in public, I moved way out of town, and we weren’t allowed to see each other…

That seriously weeded out any of the fringe elements. I got weeded out of some too. It’s okay. But, those who remain have made this past year manageable. The humor and love and support have been sanity-sustaining.

I am over-the-top grateful for my sexy new firepan. Valentine’s Day gift. New boating gear is always fun but even more spectacular when it can be used at home for a backyard fire around which you can safely sit with a couple of those incredible friends.

And IT’S SO NICE!

Thank the heavens above for rivers.

For landscapes of stone.

For hot springs at 9000 ft after skiing in the mountains.

I’m super appreciative that my truck is still running with 230,000 miles on it. Well, kind of running. My friend’s Toyota has 340,000 miles on it, so, fingers crossed.

My new skis bring me all sorts of joy.

He’s a really good gift-giver.

The blue of the sky over the cliffs of red rock that I see out my window fills my soul.

I have the freedom to walk into that blue any time I want.

That is sanity-saving.

I love my mommy. Y’all know that. She and I have spoken nearly every day of this Pandemic. She’s a keeper.

I love my birds.

Jay’s home has big birds. Raptors. Big birds. I love his birds too.

That sounds kind of dirty doesn’t it?

I have songbirds: Juncos and Finches, and Chickadees, and Towhees, and Titmouse(s?) (Titmice?). I have Quail. Quail. They are the best. I could watch them all day with their little head accessories bobbing in synch with their scampering feet. They bring me so much joy.

A male Meadowlark just arrived this week. In the snow. He’s gorgeous. I think he’s looking for a place to put down roots; he’s got marriage and children on his mind. I hope he moves into the neighborhood. I’ve been feeding my birds special treats like kibble and brown rice to entice them to settle in.

Yesterday a juvenile Northern Harrier flew around my tree. I don’t have birds of prey here. I barely even have Ravens. Yet here he is.

There is magic in this canyon.

My life is just grand.

Rough

I’m having a shit day. It’s been building over the last few days – 5 to be exact.

Five days of Impeachment Hearings.

I tried to write a lengthy, eloquent piece that sounded intelligent and unemotional, but here’s the reality…

I am TRIGGERED beyond imagination. Hugely so. Hide under the covers all day so.

Because I am reliving my ten-year divorce by watching a narcissistic sociopath get away with bullying, manipulation, dishonesty, and abuse, yet again.

I am angry and frustrated and disheartened. It hurts so badly.

I had hope when we won the election. And I am grateful that we did. But it doesn’t matter right now. That doesn’t erase the despondency that is taking over my heart and soul.

Because a win here and there doesn’t last. It doesn’t mean that anything will change. In my experience, it only amps things up, makes the sociopath that much more determined to get his way.

Regardless of who is destroyed in the process.

My children.

It makes them more determined to crush the opponent.

Me.

I spent thousands of dollars (many of them my father’s dollars) trying to get him to play by the rules. THREE different attorneys, TEN separate court hearings…post-divorce.

Boxes upon boxes of paperwork: beligerent emails, threatening texts, personal attacks, blatent lies, contradictions, disregard for the rules.

He was found guilty of comtempt of court on three counts and only got a “Mr. X, you really shouldn’t do that.”

No matter how much proof I had, no matter how many bleeding battle scars I showed, no matter how much he pissed off the judge in the courtroom, no matter how many court orders were in place,

he still did exactly what he wanted.

AND GOT AWAY WITH IT.

Over and over.

One of the things I hated was some of the blind loyalty to him that I saw. Hearing, “Aw, he’s not such a bad guy…” or worse, “He only wants what’s best for his children…” sent me into apoplectic shutdown.

My world was under constant attack. My mental and physical well-being were threatened. Always. My children were being hurt in ways too big to accept.

I was fighting for peace and my sanity and safety for my children. I was fighting to breathe.

I experienced the hatred and insanity and self-serving cruelty that this man was gleefully choosing to inflict upon me and my boys…with absolutely no repercussions except for a slap on the wrist and a court order giving me full custody which he promptly ignored.

Rules never applied to him. At one point in our relationship I thought that was exciting and edgy. Stupid me.

The few battles that I did win – like full time residence and 100% decision making – made me feel hopeful in the moment, but what does a piece of paper mean to someone who would use it to wipe their ass rather than adhere to it?

He just chose different battles, different tactics, different, more elaborate attacks.

The dread I feel, the anxiety, the grief, when I am listening to the impeachment arguments presented brings about one thought, “It doesn’t matter what the proof, what horrors we have all experienced, how blatant his actions, how absolutely WRONG this all is,

Because he’s going to get away with it.

Again.”

And I am sickened and scared and so so sad and desperately hopeless.

Again.

Living through the years of torture and abuse nearly broke me. I suffered such deep trauma and pain and fear. Facing it now, along with millions of people who are also suffering the abuse and the lies and the total disregard for human decency, feels so final because I understand the futility of fighting against it.

If the judge had brought the hammer down on my ex’s head and made him pay some sort of price for his contempt, it may have changed things for me and for my children. But the judge letting him get away with that gave him the green light to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, knowing that he could.

He continued to abuse and torment and manipulate and FUCK WITH us for years. In reality, he still does, because he’s never been told he can’t. Because no one ever stood up to him but me.

And we all saw how well that worked.

I’m sorry, this isn’t written well.

I am a wreck.

walking in terror

The other day I went for a hike in my backyard. I was traveling along what remains of an old dirt road that follows the creek, through the willows, into a narrow canyon the top of which was my destination.

I rounded a corner and there, as fresh as fresh could be, were these:

For my city dwelling readers, these are mountain lion tracks. Big feet. Big cat.

I kept to my path. I told myself that I always travel in mountain lion country as soon as I leave my fenced yard.

This is not an exaggeration.

Anyway, the hair on the back of my neck was standing up. My heart rate tripled. My legs became shaky. I made myself dizzy swinging my head around looking for danger behind every bush, branch, and boulder. I was in the woods, literally and figuratively; my sense of impending doom slowing my every step.

I imagined worst-case scenarios. I questioned whether or not Elvis would leave my half-eaten side to run for help if I were to be attacked. I wondered if I would let the cat go in peace if she had Elvis trapped between her jaws.

After trying and failing to convince myself that we were safe. I turned around.

I firmly believe that I am alive today because I listen to and act upon my intuitive sense of impending doom. If you’ve ever traveled in mountain lion country, you just know when there is a kitty nearby.

I continued my hike in an area that was more open, in the clear, away from the creek – the drinking hole. I began to relax; my breathing and heart rate returned to normal; I thought that I was out of danger and that everything would be okay.

Then, I rounded a corner and came upon more tracks; same cat, only this time there were kitten tracks next to them.

Fuck me.

When I got back home and was safe and secure inside of my house, some chamomile and indica coursing through my veins, I realized that I had been totally terrified.

And super exhilarated. I love me a mountain lion. I love being in a place that is so wild that I might actually get eaten. That feeling of holy terror is fun.

At least in the aftermath.

Now, let’s compare that to the holy terror I am feeling as I wake up and read the news today.

The Impeachment news.

Because I am terrified.

My sense of impending doom is off the charts.

Our democracy is me, in the woods, being stalked, in imminent danger, not knowing where the attack will come from or if I will survive it.

This heart-pounding fear is what I experienced in November. The election was the thing that made my heart race, made me plea to the powers that be to get out of the danger zone intact.

We won the election. I breathed a sigh of relief; there was a collective sigh of relief. We turned away from the direction in which we were heading and made a better choice; a choice to remain safe in our democracy. A choice of self-preservation.

I thought we were out of the woods.

Then, we rounded a corner and more tracks, more threats, more reasons to feel utterly panicked. Only we can’t turn tail and run home to safety; we have to fight the beast.

The solace I felt after the election allowed me to sleep at night, my stress-zits cleared up, my legs stopped quivering. I was filled with hope and elation.

The fear I am experiencing around this Impeachment (and I say “this” because, well, you know, we have to differentiate) is the same as then, but currently even more consuming because the results of this one will again determine if our democracy will remain alive and kicking or if it will be charged, pounced upon, chowed down on, and left to bleed out somewhere along the trail.

With none of the exhilaration I feel when being watched by a big cat.

Our democracy and lives are totally dependent on the outcome of this trial. When I hike, I am choosing the risk, the potential danger, the heart-pounding, wobbly-legged, fight or flight response. It’s thrilling.

This trial…

Not thrilling.

Scary.

Give me eaten-by-wild-animal over eaten-by-politician any day.