25 February 2014


the more i try to figure stuff out, the more muddled it all gets. take this blog for instance. whatthehellamidoing? would the responsible adult please stand up? crickets chirp.

i was writing to a friend today catching her up on our life in the wild ass monkey house. 

i auditioned for a reading part this past weekend. two words: lead. balloon. good thing i don't take my writing seriously cause if that was all i had going for me, well, i'd have to find a new dog and pony show. 

i wrote to her about the boys and their particularly pertinent places in their lives right now. one is moving about life at an alarmingly great clip, one is getting his ass handed to him-every day. one is forgetting the difference between solving for pi and solving for area. one still wants to be cradled like a bebe. lawd have mercy. it's a rocky ship over here, dear ones. and i am feeling very seasick. 

yesterday, i met with one of my boys' teachers. i passed her in the hall. a casual meet up. she asked, "how are you doing?" i said, "okay. not great. just okay." she mentioned that our boy had written her a note that said, "i am trying to do the right thing, but sometimes i want to explode." she was very touched with his honesty. i am grateful he has a confidant in his teachers as well as his coaches. 

it's a rocky road, sweet ones. never promised to be lined with pine needles and lavender the way i would want. but so filled with promise. i've started my own #seegood campaign to combat all of the #shit brokenness. i go about seeing good and documenting it, noting it to myself and instagram. i am reminded when i watch one of my boys play basketball (play is open to interpretation) with his teammates. there is so much wasted opportunity. the kids fight. the coach is practically blind (literally). the sportsmanship is toxic. it's been a giant waste of time. or has it? 

when the boy comes to us and says, "b threw a ball at t and really hurt her all because he got angry." and we say, "b is not the enemy. he is looking for boundaries. but he is not the enemy." 

or when another boy says he is being made fun of and the mister very perceptively says, "those boys are angry. they need to hit a reset button before they are on a path that leads to prison." 

we talk through words like fuck {ewwwww} and locker room etiquette {ewwwww}. the mister is even more leery of what goes on when there are no adults around to observe the tomfoolery. he reminded the boy, "you have one enemy. keep your eyes open. you are not these boys' parent. you are not there to parent them. you are not there to set them straight. you are at school to learn. but keep your eyes open. getting angry and fighting only tells the boys they have control over your emotions. and they don't. you are not being bullied. you are being abused. take it out into the light. confront them firmly in front of a teacher. don't go to the teacher. go to the kid-in front of the teacher. and use their words back at them. if they call you 'f-hole' again. go in front of the teacher and say, 'stop calling me 'fuck hole'."

i am reminded of how out of control life can feel when i am driving a carload of middle schoolers. they ask me questions like, "why are some kids so mean?" and i reply honestly, "because they do not know they are loved, really loved. if you feel love, you are compelled to show that love (kindness) to others." like begets like.

that's my story and i'm sticking to it. and yesterday as i drove, these precious boys chatted for an hour NONSTOP about how much they hated their fathers, hated their sisters, hated their brothers. they autocorrected one another. "bro, don't be so negative. that's not good to hate. the bible says to love and stuff." i sat as quiet as a leaf as they bantered. i was in a sacred spot. i only spoke when i was spoken to. but i listened intently. so much hurt. so much trust. so much hope. 

my boy's favorite school chum confessed, "i felt abandoned when i found out my stepfather wasn't my real father, like i had been tricked. but my stepfather is the only father i have known so he is like my real father. is that possible, mrs. utley?" yes, darling boy. that is possible. 

another said he has 11 sisters. i joked, "goodness what is THAT like?" he says, "i have no idea. you gotta blame my father. he's the one who is responsible." come to find out those 11 girls live in mexico-and have never met the little brother they have. the one who was riding in my car.

so muddled and full of hope and sincerely trying to #seegood all the while engaging this wonderful, wacky world around me. 

before i forget, how are things in your neck of the woods? i hope you are hearing a lot less f-words. sorry. just reporting the news. and if you step outside your door for more than five minutes, it's likely you are seeing and hearing things as unsavory.

but in case you didn't know-you are loved! like ridiculously so. more than you can ever imagine. by a creator who is so taken with you that he gave you your own fingerprint and personality {swear words and all}. so go get 'em tiger. risk big. love bigger. and never stop doing stuff that seems hilarious and uncomfortable. you'll be better for it. swing for the fence, sweetums.