When did I become so cynical?


Have you ever said something to someone, an off the cuff comment, and later wondered if you actually believed it?  I did this the other day.  I made a comment about love and later really began to think about whether I was speaking my truth or coming from an emotional place.

I have never been a fan of fairy tales.  I never wanted my kids to watch Disney Princess movies.  When my oldest was six, I took her to see the local high school’s production of Cinderella.  When we left, I told her two things:

(1) Never kiss a boy when you don’t know their name.

(2) Everything you just saw was a lie.

A little harsh.  I get it.  It’s the way I feel…or felt.  Jury is undecided.

But am I throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Am I dismissing the idea of a great, passionate, all consuming love?  Am I teaching my girls that they should not be swept off of their feet by a man or woman, if they choose?

Love is not a fairy tale.  Love is hard.  Marriage is even harder. If you are lucky, you will love each other intensely.  If you are lucky, you will fight with each other intensely.  This has been a hard concept for me to understand.  

I’ve always thought love should be really easy. No fuss.  No mess. But when you think about it, what is the opposite of love?  Guess what, it’s not hate. It’s indifference.  Hate means you are still invested.  Still care. When you stop feeling these things, it might be too late.

I’m certainly not advocating a life with someone who abuses you, emotionally or physically.  I’m advocating for a life with someone who makes you feel things.  Good things. Bad things.  Just feel.  Someone who makes you believe that the mad, passionate, all consuming love is out there.

So, don’t settle for mediocre in life.  Really don’t settle for mediocre love.  Love should be passionate and drive you crazy.  Maybe it should be Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.  The end is just the beginning.  

Cinderella might be sitting in her castle right now; pissed that her Prince didn’t put his dishes in the sink.  But the next time she passes by the kitchen and sees them in there she probably gets the same rush she did when he put the slipper on her foot.

Beast might have gone out last night, had too much to drink, turned back into an animal and shed all over Belle’s yellow dress. But when he comes up behind her later to say he’s sorry, I bet they have the best make up sex ever.

Lesson of the day for my girls:  Don’t settle for less than the person that makes the mundane moments of life something you look forward to with a passionate heart. Find the person you can talk to for hours, argue with for hours, make love to for hours.  

It won’t be roses and wine for the majority of your lives together, but you should always want them to be the one carrying the rose between their teeth and uncorking the wine for you before you even ask.

So, I’m going to try and say goodbye to my cynical definition of love.  Try to embrace my new definition and teach my children it’s all right to want crazy, mad and passionate.


Another year

Four years ago, if I had sat down to write a blog about the new year, it would have been full of silly notions of what I wanted to accomplish.  That changed three years ago.  My education in suicide began on December 30, 2012.

I was on the outskirts of the first suicide that impacted my life.  It was happening to people I knew.  People I loved.  Friends.  I didn’t know him.  I knew what he meant to those that I cared about. I knew enough about him from those that loved him to know that he was kind and loving. A son.  A grandson.  A friend.

What I didn’t know on December 30th was that my experience with suicide was not over.  I didn’t know that on the day I returned from the funeral of that kind boy I would be thrust from the outskirts to the center.  The man who took his own life on the day I watched my friends bury their son was my friend.  I knew him.  I knew what he meant to those who loved and cared about him because I loved and cared for him.

Since that day, I have thought of suicide more than most of the population.  I think about it more than someone who has never known someone who completed suicide.  I think about it less than those who have lost a child, a husband, any family member to it.

I’ve learned from my experiences.  And this is what I want to share as we begin another year.  Or you begin even another day.  

Those that suffer from depression and mental health issues are not weak.  They have a disease that can be treated.  If you have a “gut feeling” that someone you know may be struggling, speak up.  Don’t be under the mistaken impression that they would never attempt suicide. Let them know that there is help available. Let them know that they matter.  Don’t ignore what you are feeling.  Don’t hesitate to feel like a fool suggesting to them that they need help.  

I’ve learned that suicide is not about being selfish.  It’s not about taking the easy way out.  Suicidal depression is about trying to make the pain and the hurt go away.  You want to end what you are feeling and you want to ease the lives of those around you because you think you are a burden.

Since the beginning of the new year, I have already learned of one suicide from a friend.  It is January 6th.  My only resolution for this year is to spread the word that suicide is preventable and it is my business.  It is everyone’s business.

How do you say crossroads in Spanish?




I don’t think there is enough adequate warning for how random my thoughts are going to be today.  It all began last night when I started watching Spanglish and ended this afternoon as I sat in Panera trying to work on a way to incorporate juggling, ball walking, sword swallowing, and contortionists into a dance number.  

Let’s get going.  I have an attraction to Adam Sandler which for the most part leaves my friends completely confounded.  I don’t blame them for not understanding.  I don’t really understand to tell you the truth.  In his more serious roles, he has a vulnerability that I appreciate.

So, last night I got on Netflix and turned on one of my favorites, Spanglish.  How cute is he in this?  Doting, devoted dad who is also a chef.  I can’t take it.  My love for Adam Sandler is not the point of my story.  He says something to Flor. Something that stuck with me.

And it was not that beautifully written monologue where he tells Flor of his feelings.  No, he says to her….if someone like you thinks that you are at a crossroads, then you are.  Or something like that.

Do we recognize when we are at a crossroads in our life?  I can think of only two times I really found myself questioning and wondering what I was doing and where my life was headed.  First, after college.  That’s a given.  You’ve spent 18 or so years with your parents, 4 years with your friends and now you are an adult.  Really, on your own.  You’ve chosen a career, hopefully, and just praying that somehow you haven’t fucked up every decision that has led you to adulthood.

The second was after my divorce.  Husbandless, childless, creeping towards 30.  Enough said.

Lately though, I find myself on the brink of something.  My husband might call it insanity.  Truth be told, I call him crazy for putting up with me.  I think it is a combination of events that has led me here.  To the proverbial fork in the road.  

Without a doubt turning 40 confused me.  I’m not calling myself old.  I am just not as young as I once was.  When you realize that both your 20s and 30s are over, it can be a little….jolting.   Combine that with the fact that my kids are also getting older.  Now, before the mommies out there start harping on the fact that my kids need me more than ever, let me say….I know that.  I’m not all suggesting that I’ve stopped parenting because they are more self sufficient.  I am simply saying that I have more free time these days because they don’t need me to do every little thing for them.

Hell, my 11 year old cooks dinner for us.  I am not constantly running after little children making sure they are not going to hurt themselves.  I field questions like can I go there?  Can she come over here?  Why isn’t the wifi working? All while eating homemade vegetable lo mein that the redhead has whipped up after school.

I have time.  My kids go to school full time.  I’m at home.  Now, I work.  I have three very random jobs and they keep me occupied most of the time.  But can I tell you what it’s like to be a writer?  Lonely.  Except for the conversations I have with the characters in my head I don’t likely speak to another person for 8 hours a day.  It’s isolating and can cause you to really examine your life.

All of this ran through my head this morning before I got out of bed all because I watched Spanglish.  And to really rub salt in the wounds I had a dream last night that I was making out with Ryan Seacrest underneath is radio dj desk thing.  I didn’t even dream of Adam….Sandler or Levine…doesn’t matter to me.

Ready for the next random part of my story?  I came to Panera this afternoon to eat soup and work on the next musical I am choreographing.  As I sat there, sipping and thinking about if I could find someone to juggle while walking on giant balls, I began to think about the crossroads Adam Sandler spoke of.

I am standing.  In the road.  In front of the fork.  Part of me just wants to turn around and go back the way I came. The rational part knows that can’t happen.  Life keeps moving forward.  The problem I’m having is knowing what lies on each path.  I don’t know.  Does anyone?  Probably not unless they are trying to decide on something specific….job choice, marriage, etc.

As I was contemplating this thought, I was brought back to reality by an older couple praying over their lunch.  They held hands, said their prayer and ate in companionable silence.  It wasn’t awkward.  It wasn’t that they had nothing to talk about it.  It was that they chose to sit and eat.  It blew me away. I don’t even pee anymore without checking my phone.

At the end of the day, end of the month, end of the year, end of my life I want to sit with people who love me. In silence if I choose.  In loud obnoxious laughter. I want to watch sunsets and sunrises.  I want to travel. I want to listen to really good music.  I want to watch my kids be happy in life.  I want to be content.  
So, my point if I have one, which is looking doubtful, is that does it matter which path I choose as long as I meet the right people along the way?

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Yesterday, I did what I do every two weeks; I went to the nail salon and got a manicure.  I’ve been doing this, fairly regularly, for the last 4 or 5 years.  And for all of those years, I have seen one technician.  For the first few years, I didn’t know his name.  I sat in the chair, played on my phone, texted, talked to the people next to me.  We would smile at each other.  Never really speaking.  Other than the obligatory hello, thank you and goodbye.

About a year ago, I brought my girls in to get their nails painted and he was wonderful with them.  I asked if he had children and he told me had two sons.  From then on, I learned more about him each visit.  His wife works with him.  They like to take the kids to the beach.

Now when I go in we talk the whole time.  Asking each other about our lives, the holidays, the weather. Normal, polite, chit chat.

Until yesterday. I sat down in his chair utterly defeated.  For reasons, I don’t even want to get into, I am defeated right now.  Tired, grumpy, irritable, blah.  A product of my own doing.

He began his usual routine and when I looked up at him, he asked me, “What do you want for Christmas?”

“Peace,” I answered truthfully.

“A quiet day?” he asked.

“No. Peace inside,” I said.

He thought this over for a minute and said to me, “I stopped picking up my phone when I was bored.  I have peace.”

I sat staring at him, speechless.  Wondering what prompted him to share this with me.  And then I realized that he sees me every few weeks, come in, pick up my phone, waste my time, and all the while looking exhausted and defeated when I get off of the phone.

He asked if I had ever delted social media and I told him I had for a few months a few years ago.  “What did you do instead of picking up your phone,” he said.

I remembered back to those few months and answered, “I prayed.”

“How did you feel?”

“Peaceful,” I said.

I left feeling like I had just been through an hour of therapy except I saved a couple hundred dollars and my nails looked fabulous to boot.

I can’t delete social media these days. Future book sales depend on it. I have to cultivate a base of support before publishing houses will even look at me.

But it makes me wonder what it would be like if I could go back again. Delete it all. I would miss my friends that I do not speak to on a regular basis. Miss seeing what they are doing.  I would miss….ummm….give me a minute. I’ll think of something else.

If I took away all the distraction, what would I discover about myself?  Would I fall back in love with this life I created?  Would I feel rested?  Secure?  Confident?  Peaceful?

Or would I come to admit that when all the noise is gone, I’m not the person I should be?  Would I have to face my flaws? Could I handle the silence?silence

Food for thought this Tuesday morning.











I stumbled across this on Instagram the other day.  No idea who authored it.  Only 17 words and 3 puncuation marks and yet it made enough of an impact on me to save it, ponder it and, now, write about it.

The first two words jumped off my screen; capturing my attention immediately.  Your mission.  My first thoughts….my mission?  I have a mission.  I have a mission?  Do I have a mission?  I don’t think I have a mission.  I don’t have a mission, do I?  I don’t have a mission.  No mission for me.  Nope. <Anyone who knows me well knows this is how fast my brain works all the damn time>

Be so busy.  Next thought…nailed it.  I couldn’t get any busier if I tried and, trust me when I tell you, I’ve tried.  One husband, two kids, one dog, 11 chickens, two rabbits, two cats, three jobs, one blog, one obsession for poetry writing, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Had to throw in a Christmas reference. Sorry and let me issue this warning now…a Christmas blog is coming.

I barely have time most days to sit and just be.  Without thinking. Without wondering what else I could be doing or should be doing.  So I’ve nailed the “being so busy” part.

Loving your life.  Oh….be so busy loving your life.  Had to stop and think about that one.  I do love my life.  I have been blessed with incredible people to love, a roof over my head, food on my table, coffee at the ready, dancing, writing. I could go on. And on. And on.  I’m grateful.

But, what stopped me in my tracks, what made me sit and think about this picture, was the the next thought that entered my mind.  Am I so busy loving my life?  Or am I so busy doing other things that I fail to appreciate all the little wonders that appear before me every day?

Shit.  There’s a real possibiltity that the question I asked myself could be answered with a resounding yes.  When was the last time, I woke up in the morning, sat on the couch, coffeee in hand and enjoyed the fire in front of me.   Can’t remember.

When was the last time I walked along the trail and stopped to take in the sights, smells, and sounds.  Well, let’s see.  There was that one time…no…wait.  Just the other day I stopped and…nope.  I’m usually thinking aobut how I should be running or should be home doing something else.

So far, I’m failing.  Mission – nope.  Busy – yes.  Busy loving your life – nope.  Fuck.  Sorry.  I really try not to curse but I can’t help it.  I’m never good at editing myself in person and even though when I write I possess the power to backspace and delete, I don’t.  It’s me.  Get over it.

Moving on….you have no time for hate, regret or fear.  I don’t hate.  I used to.  I hated people and certain situations.  It took getting older and wiser to realize that having hate inside of you only does damage to your internal happiness not to anyone externally.

Regret.  Double edged sword for me. I try to live my life without feeling regret.  And I can say that I rarely ever regret my actions.  I act on my gut. In the moment.  Doing what feels right.  Trying to experience everything that is put in my path.

What I do regret is how my actions affect others. Or is it effect.  As long as I live I will never get those two right.  I do regret when I’ve hurt others because I haven’t thought about how my regret free actions impact those who have chosen to love me.

Fear.  Yikes.  I fear.  I fear all the time.  I fear the tangible. Heights. Bugs. Birds.  I fear what I cannot touch.  I fear failing.  I fear being hurt.  Hurting others.  I’m a walking contradicition, I know.  I fear letting people in who can change my life.  I fear change.

I’m all right with all of this because I try not to let the fear stop me.  That’s where the no regrets part comes in.  My desire to live life without regret outweighs my fears.

At the end of the day, I’m not nailing this mission.  Yes, I’ve made it my mission. I’m doing the best I can.  I am a work in progress.  I’m okay with that.

It’s a beautiful madness.  And it’s all mine.


I have for a long time written personal essays. Never really choosing to attempt anything new. Staying in my comfort zone.

I hate my comfort zone. It keeps me sane but very bored. I’ll never know what’s out there waiting for me if I don’t jump into the unknown.

So, I’m a poet. It may not be your cup of tea but I write for me. I enjoy when others enjoy it but it is for me.

I feel a lot. I think a lot. I write a lot. So if you feel inclined, follow me on Instagram at michellepjoyce. 


Childing 101


I love that we have begun using “adult” as a verb.  Take note of this definition from Urban Dictionary:

Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.

Used in a sentence: Jane is adulting quite well today as she is on time for work promptly at 8am and appears well groomed.

Here’s the thing:  I think I’m actually moving backwards. Regressing.  Retreating.  Re…childing.  Is that a thing?  Maybe I’m not adulting anymore.  Maybe I’m childing.  I feel more like a child today than I ever have.  As the old saying goes…the proof is in the pudding.

Here’s my pudding.

College Michelle – worked full time, didn’t drink, didn’t sleep around, was in a serious, committed relationship, managed a 4.0 most of the time, had an apartment, a car payment and a dog, showed up for my 8 am classes smelling and looking good

“Adult” Michelle – works random part time jobs, drinks a little most times, drinks a lot sometimes, flirts all the time (my husband is aware), doesn’t really pay any bills, spends her time writing angry poetry, spends her time working on a novel, goes to the bus stop in pajamas with crazy bed head and is obsessed with running

What the hell happened?  Did I adult too young?  I think the answer is yes.  I didn’t have the typical college experience. Not to say that everyone has to go out and get rowdy to have a good time in college, but, the truth of the matter is, I love to get rowdy.  So why didn’t I?  I don’t know how to answer that.

Why have I reverted now?  Well, I’m sure that question is best answered by my therapist, but maybe I feel like I missed out on something.  I didn’t indulge in the selfish behavior one is supposed to indulge in during their 20s so they can get it out of their system.

Perhaps my “childing” is a result of feeling like I never got to be selfish.  The problem is….I have kids, and a husband.  I really can’t afford to be really selfish.  So, I take my selfishness where I can get it.  I write, I run, I drink, I flirt.  And I try to balance it all with taking care of my family.

These are all total random thoughts brought on by a conversation I had with a friend this morning about sleeping in. They said,”I had my fair share of sleeping in days.”  My first thought was I didn’t.  I never did.  I was responsible.  So, today perhaps I will lay in bed, watch movies, nap, eat nachos.

That would be childing 101….hiding in bed to avoid whatever it is I’m trying to avoid.  Alas, there are things to be done. So maybe I will write and lay in bed before I run.

I need a new verb.  I’m not adulting yet I can’t fully child. Any suggestions?