Ain’t nobody fresher than my muthafuckin clique

Hitting people became a “necessary” tool because I couldn’t string together six words to form pithy and biting comebacks. The right response usually manifested 45 minutes too late so I did a lot of smacking back in the day to compensate. The privilege of growing older has brought clarity. Not wisdom, just clarity. I still lack the ability to understand the gravity of a moment as it is happening.

After years of going through weird shit, my head no longer allows my heart to feel grief. This coping mechanism turns my insides blank. I’m familiar with every dark corner when I stumble into Rage. The doorman and I have become pretty friendly at Happiness, so I kick it there as much as I can because he lets me in without all the posturing I had to do as an infrequent visitor.

Grief is, like, way on the other side of town. Fuck that shit. I ain’t got that kind of time.

Then, someone asked me, “Where would you go if you got into trouble?”

I didn’t understand the question. My first thought was “jail,” but that probably wasn’t what he was asking. Plus, I would do my best to avoid incarceration by running away from home and deleting my Instagram account so I wouldn’t accidentally give away identifying details that I was hiding in Dalworthington Gardens, Texas.

“I mean, if every single thing in your life fell apart, where would you go? Most people could just go back to their parents’ home and start over. Take some time to recuperate. But you don’t really have that.”

“Yeah, I don’t really have a home to go back to. I couldn’t just act like someone’s child for a while.” I understood the question. I did not understand the gravity. I felt blank as I said it.

I thought about this exchange as I unballed dirty socks several days later.

My childhood family, while broken, has given me a mother that loves and mostly accepts me, even if she can’t take care of me anymore. When Harv adopted Cal several years ago, I realized that where we start is our biology and the road we travel is our biography.

A happy family now is enough. This my biography. I don’t need refuge anywhere because I am a grown-up and I am a mother. Mothers don’t get to be children too. 

I…really, really wish my childhood belongings weren’t locked away in a storage unit. I wish I could go back home again. 

When I let the full size of that truth unfurl inside, it filled my chest and neck and cheeks and came out of my eyes and nose and mouth. I just sat down on the floor in front of the washing machine and let myself cry about this thing that I didn’t even know I wanted, but then felt undone after realizing it would never be mine.

It bit into me so hard. The grief I had carefully sealed shut for twenty years tumbled out, and it was messy. For-fucking-reals messy.

I’ve been spending a lot of time inside Grief- eating meals by myself, making my bed on its hard floor, playing a little (shit, fine, a LOT) of Candy Crush. I’m allowing myself not to be happy for just a little bit. And I’m also giving myself a free pass not to feel guilty about it.

I know that grieving will not fix any of my broken past, but it will allow me to appreciate the family I have now…my clique. My ride or dies. My heart.

Ain’t nobody fresher than my muthafuckin clique. :)
For updates on my Quest to be the Candy Crush Champion of the Whole Entire World and some other stuff that’s not as important, “like” the Flourish in Progress Facebook page. Also, I’m on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress). I don’t post pictures of me crying in front of the laundry machine or anything. I SWEAR TO GOD.

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  • Kim’s Kitchen Sink

    This was wonderful, lady. Beautiful, beautiful words.


    Wow. I guess I don’t want to sound melodramatic – but I had a dramatic shift from happy, carefree to lost in a matter of a few minutes as a tween, and once I realized I needed to mourn the childhood I would never have again I finally started becoming able to find myself. Welcome back.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Not melodramatic at all. I used to (okay, I’ll be real…I STILL) go from one end of the spectrum to the other and it was only recently that I realized it was because I didn’t allow myself the “luxury” of fully processing pain. I’m glad you had the balls to do it. Welcome back.

  • Miss Britt

    Grief isn’t pretty at first, but it’s so, so important. I’m really impressed you were able to get past the Blank.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      So, SO unpretty, for sure. Thanks for the support, homette.

  • Misty

    I’ve been hanging out with Grief quite a bit myself lately. We’ve become intimately acquainted. But we’ve seem to come to an understanding, at this point. I’m not gonna visit as often, and He won’t show up randomly at unexpected times and places. Sitting in my office is not a good time for a visit, dude!

    My ride or dies are helping me by allowing me to hang with them more, or just have that time to myself if that’s what needed. I’m glad you have your own who are supporting you and keeping Grief across town.

    Much love from the East Sahd!!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I’m not a fan of random Grief visits and when i see him approaching, I run faster than fuck. Or, at least, i used to.

      I’m grateful to the people who can bring me back from the dark places and remind me that everything is going to be all right.

      Much love from the WESSSTSIDDDE.

  • Tottums

    Much love to you, homette. And if Harv won’t give you money to feed your Candy Crush therapy – you know where to find me. xoxo

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Good friends enable…I mean, support…each other’s addictions….I mean, passions.


  • missermaerma

    Grief is a bitch, but it’s okay to feel it once in a while because you’ll feel a little better after the ugly cry. And I appreciate your family too. Harv and Cal are diamonds. Listen, I’m here for you. If you need more Candy Crush lives, send the requests my way. I’ll never get mad if you need to an extra 10 lives every day.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh girl, I once caught myself in the mirror during an ugly cry and scared the shit out of myself. I know now that it is a private activity. =)

      Damn, you so generous. And kind. Always kind.

  • Gowri Roy
  • alexandra

    I know what you mean, and how hard it is to look at the real of what makes our life. Like anything, we all walk our own path. There is joy there is beauty in the sorrow.. if only for how it brings us back to ourselves. I think of you, and I understand. xo *I love when bloggers throw away their fucking masks, and just be real* Thank you.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Being real is, like, scary as fuck sometimes.

      But it’s a lot harder to walk around as a Fake.

  • mommyonthespot

    This post is heart breakingly beautiful. Much love to you, my friend.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Much love to YOU for making me feel so whole during out time together in Chicago. Gave me the boost I needed to write this.

  • Lauren

    Grieving is a part of healing and Candy Crush is a great distraction, when it is all too much. Do what you need to do, Homegirl. xoxo

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I told myself for a long time that I EARNED the right to be angry or sad or vengeful or whatever negative emotion I was feeling. But what I know now is that I have earned and DESERVE peace…even if the road there is awkward and difficult.

  • Jordie V

    It’s amazing how seemingly innocuous questions can leave us reeling days (okay, sometimes weeks…or years…later, isn’t it? I’m definitely one of those who likes to pretend that it doesn’t bother me when relationships end, when hurtful things happen, and I’m constantly amazed at how much easier it is to move on to healing/appreciate the new chapters in my life after I’ve had my cry and made my peace about the old chapters. Here’s to brighter days ahead! :)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I used to think sadness made me weak and that tears were an outward indicator that I didn’t have strength.

      Clearly, I was an idiot.

      May goodness surround you and sadness forget you.

  • Jen Reinmuth

    I’m surprised I haven’t seen you in Grief because I’ve been kickin’ it in that ‘hood for a long time. I’m kind of a “big deal” over there. You will never be alone. You will always have your tribe. xoxo

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Every time I get to kick it with you, you show me what it looks like not to let Grief knock you down, to rise above it, to conquer it, and to show that motherfucker who’s boss.

      You’re a boss.

  • v

    This was beautifully written and such an emotional impact on me. I haven’t had time to read a lot of the blogs I follow lately. This morning I took a few minutes to read this one and I’m glad I did. It hit home.
    I’ve been going through a tough state of mind lately, grieving my childhood, twenties and regrets that greatly affected me and my son. A few years ago I ended a turbulent relationship of nearly 6 years. He was great to my son but we were a horrible mess together. Now he’s married and expecting his first child… with someone else. Needless to say, I want to punch every Adele song in the face.
    But, you’re right, there is no going back. It’s not there anymore… I have to come to terms with my choices, my present and a different future. I have to be… (and this is where my Buddhist upbringing come in handy) indifferent and ok with the world as it is.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      That Adele homegirl totally tilts me every time I accidentally listen to her (like, in places I can’t escape: in the middle of a restaurant meal, in a cab, at the mall)

      I used to give a lot more credit and patience to men who were great to Cal but not so great with me. I thought that was enough…for my child to feel love and acceptance, because as a mother, I should put her before me and not care so much about myself. But, I realized that children can sense things, even if they can’t quite put their finger on it or verbalize it, and it made me know that the best thing I could ever do for my child was to be in a solid, happy relationship, so that she could use it as a benchmark for the kind of love she should experience when she is a woman.

      I’m glad to hear that you aren’t mired in horrible messiness anymore. We all deserve peace and a “clean” place.

  • Victor

    I’m a guy. Married to a wonderful woman, mother of a teenager.
    We have much fun, fight -even with our cat – to death, and have even more fun.

    Everytime I read you… I remembert not to take for granted what I live and have.
    Not to fuck it up, but be grateful and “responsible”; specially with our kid.

    Really, Liz. Thank you for helping me keep it real.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I wish more men felt this kind of commitment and responsibility. I know a few who have mad husbanding (is this a word? maybe not but let’s pretend) and fathering skillz like you, but I also know a lot who don’t give a fuck about fucking up.

      Thank YOU for keeping it real.

  • kimchi_mom

    Beautifully written. I read it several times over.

    My favorite: “When I let the full size of that truth unfurl inside, it filled my chest and neck and cheeks and came out of my eyes and nose and mouth.”

    I totally felt that.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thank you. xo

      I felt silly about writing that. Being vulnerable makes me feel silly. But then I felt dumb for feeling silly. Why do I gotz to have so many goddamn feelings?

  • BleepBleeper

    Thank you for not just allowing yourself to feel this but also sharing it with us. I haven’t gotten to the point where I can visit that hood yet. Your words give me a little more strength to make that journey.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      If you need a pep talk before you take a walk around a block in that hood, holler at me. Much love.

  • l.c.

    This is amazing; it made me cry. And I’m a heartless bastard. Go get it, girl.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      This touched me and made me laugh at the same time. I wish more heartless bastards had that effect. ;) xo

  • Aaron Blue

    The wife just said to me, “go over and read Liz’s latest post and comment because you are really good at being encouraging and you guys are little bit friends.”

    So here I am, the ever obedient husband, reading your post and thinking, “this little homette is solid, I mean, possibly more solid than she has ever been before, she is gettin shit done and gettin full power. She doesn’t need encouragement, she needs a high-five and a strong party drink.”

    So here it is from the other side of the world, from someone who, though I haven’t walked your patch of it, is walking the same path of healing and growth, well done, I am happy to have such quality as company.

    And also here is some contraband, however, this link is to this page but after it is translated into ghetto speak:

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Just a little bit friends? If you didn’t live on the other side of the globe, it would be so much easier to remedy that. I adore your wife and she senses things that I try to keep hidden even from myself.

      Thank you for being such solid company during this walk. No matter what we feel about ourselves, it is amazing to me how goodness reveals itself and refuses to go away..even when we think we don’t deserve any of it.

      I asked Harv to try out that page and he said he didn’t notice any change at all. lolol.

  • Work in Progress

    Again, you leave me speechless and moved … with that ability that you have to accept vulnerability as an inherent path to peace, growth, and, most importantly, authenticity. For those of us that have been walking with pebbles in our shoes for what seems like a fucking eternity, those moments of clarity, albeit pretty debilitating, provide the path to walking with dignity and hope. You keep on writing Girl … keep on writing. We’re better and deeper for it.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Girl, sit down. Lemme help you take that pebble out.

      I hope your work and progress bring you light and peace and light and when you feel those things, I really, really hope you know that you are worthy beyond measure and deserve every bit of it.

  • Meredith

    What I have learned about grief since my father died: You can ignore it for awhile, maybe stuff it way way down … but that just makes it come roaring back all scary and big and pissed off.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I pushed things down because it brought about a kind of forced silence that I needed just to survive. But, goddamn, you are so right. When it comes roaring back….it comes back big.

      Wishing you love and peace.

  • Karin Antal

    Love and light, Liz. xoxo

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Much, much love to you, K. And to you….love and light.

  • Marissa

    Those feelings can be awful….but this is the most beautiful and sincere admission of grief that I think I have ever read. And I admire the way you have dealt with it, because as messy and ugly as it seems, there are much messier and uglier ways of handling it. And there are plenty of neurosurgeons and astrophysicists who have a Candy Crush passion too, so I expect you’re in good company in that regard!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thank you so much for the kind words.

      I tried the messier and uglier ways for a long time. If my dealer wasn’t in prison, his number might still be on my speed dial.

      • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

        Damn, I really need to work on that “sharing everything” problem I seem to have.

  • christina

    you make your tribe…there are times everyone you wish would join have made fucked up choices that prevent you from giving them entry. cuz you have to protect your heart to keep it a functioning support for those in the tribe. been fighting cancer and parents havnt been there for me. have a wonderful husband and a gift of a kid but it was a LOSS to realize parents couldnt get their heads out their asses when i really needed them. Feel blessed to have health, my fam I made, my choices…they have served me better than what my parents would have chosen.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Girl, I wish technology had advanced enough for me to reach through and give you both a hug and a fist bump.

      I’m so goddamn happy that the family you ended up making by choice loves and supports you.

      You deserve every bit of it.

  • christina

    oh and I love your voice in your writing. youve got mad skillz yo’

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress


  • shuggilippo

    Got. Damn. Woman. Thank you so much for writing this post. Seriously there’s not a line that I didn’t do that approving, agreeable frowny-face nod combo to.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Ain’t gonna lie. I had to do this for myself with the instructions provided and when I realized what gesture it was, it warmed my heart. Because I only do that shit when I’m really feelin something.

      • shuggilippo

        And then I twerked and it looked terrible. But only to people who don’t respect a good twerking in the grocery store by a white girl.

        • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          Can you teach me how to twerk. I’m going to Rock the Bells next month, and I feel like it’s kind of important. Not having an ass seems to work against me in the twerking dept.

  • Heather Ryan For real. I have a tendency to rationalize the pain/lack of grieving. You know, the whole “I am stronger for it; won’t be a victim” bullshit. Which isn’t a completely wrong attitude, but without spending a little time with Grief, that attitude tends to be a little hollow. Thanks for your words.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Gotta know the dark to see the light. Thank you for your kind words. xo

  • HL

    I love this post so much. My parents loved me but loved me in a fucked up abusive way. I have spent hours in therapy feeling this intense grief. I haven’t wholly let myself feel it because I feel it would make me explode from the inside and I may never be whole again but I know I need to one day. Thanks for sharing!

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I spent a long time thinking that as long as I believed someone “loved” me, it didn’t matter the manner in which they expressed that love…jealousy, rage, anger. But I know now that love actually has a pretty stringent borders. If it hurts and makes you feel like shit, maybe….not love. I wish wholeness for you.