I can remember sitting on the phone at night with friends. Cackling about the days’ events. A simpler time. A simpler life. Do you long for it? I do. Do you remember what it was like before your ear was attached to a computer?

I feel the need for more human contact lately. We’re such a cold society. Dating apps via the phone, swipe this way, pray they swipe the other. Will I get the call? Will that job be mine? It’s all too fast these days. Too easy to say no to someone, or to say yes without really having meant it. There’s no thought process given to our answers anymore. So, that yes texted too quickly, means we may have to come up with an excuse as to why we can’t make it.

I don’t do that. I don’t play those games. If I call you, I want to chat. I want to hear about the news in your life. I hope you want to know mine.

When I’m talking to someone I’m not worrying about their plan minutes. Damn it, you should have all that figured out before you’ve picked up that call. We’ve become so attached to our little machines, that we can’t do anything without thinking about our mind numbing little security blankets.

They’ve invaded the way we tell time. Your kids are screaming while you check to see if you got a text before you see what they need. Parenting isn’t evolving. It’s just become more cold. Is there an app for that? Word for parents. Double score using the word love. Triple score of you can use it in a relevant sentence.

I long for the days when we’d run to see who was on the phone because to get a call was something special. Usually a grandparent checking on how we all were. Or to make plans for a free weekend. I wouldn’t call it innocence, I’d call it owning the times within which we live.

We do that now. It’s just that they’ve become timus interruptus machines. We all sit in a room not talking. Check email, FB, Twitter, Instagram, Instastories, FB Live, Snapchat (not so much), Tinder, Grindr, and all other timesuck apps that take us away from the one thing we need. Each other.

We text each other to come over so we can sit and not talk about what it was we forgot we wanted to chat about in the first place.

Do you need to talk? I’m here for you. If you need me, just buzz me.

All bullshit phrases these days. In translation, just text me and maybe I’ll get back to you because your time is obviously more important than mine to actually pick up the phone.

Well, fuck that. I am here. I DO listen. And I actually pick up the phone. I give what I want in return.

I don’t understand the cold connections of the heart these days. Was I born too soon? Too late? In the wrong century? I long for letters written in cursive writing and the ones that still smell of real ink.

I can remember my first Montblanc pen. Which means there was more than one. I treasured them like I did a gift that for a special occasion. I signed important papers with them. Cards and important checks.

Come to think of it though, I never wrote a love letter with one. Times evolved too quickly.

Damn. I never wrote a love letter with my Montblanc pen. $500 later I rarely take out my baby. It sleeps in its case. And I’m writing this blog on my phone. Not in longhand. Suddenly a rush of shame comes over me. I’m who I write about.

I gotta go return a call. Text me later?

I’m home now having lived through another surgery. Grateful to be here. I’ve survived being cut in half again. I’m beginning to feel like a Vegas magician’s assistant, without the tickets or the revenue.

Seems like my reward is to live to see another day and a few Vicodin pills to rid my body of the pain.

Not that I’m complaining. Another day is what I ask for before I close my eyes at night.

It’s Sunday night. It’s quiet in the house. Sleep is all around me. The quiet murmur of purring and snoring. In between the sound of good sleep, the thoughts of fear keep slipping into my brain.

In three days, I will undergo another operation to repair some of the damage my original cancer operation caused.

There’s no way to go into something like this without a hint of fear. It would be inhuman to think that someone is so brave that fear does. not touch them. Fear can motivate. In fact, in my case it’s causing me to remember to live in the moment. To say I love you. To show appreciation for kindness shown with no expectation.

Everyone is going through something. I’ve heard some awfully sad things this week from my friends and those are the times when you feel helpless. You can’t change someone else’s pain. You can only offer your wishes of a better time and give them love.

My first instinct is to always ask what I can do. Truth is, in some cases there’s just nothing you can do. But I know that at least the offer is on the table, with the hope that they know I’m here to listen if need be. I call. Leave a loving message and hope they feel my love.

We never know what someone else is going through on any given day. And we’ve become a society that doesn’t ask. We text, we FB message, we email, and we disconnect from the reality of relationships.

I love nothing more than a great chat on the phone. It reminds me of late nights as a teen talking away about life with my friends. Making a real connection. Hearing the tone of another person’s voice is so important. Today we don’t hear tone anymore. Because we don’t use our phones to talk. We use them to avoid the deeper connection we should be having.

So, if you’re a good friend of mine and want to know how my operation goes, pick up the phone.

And listen to my voice.

When I think of you, I think of a woman who for decades, I wanted to be. And wanted nothing more than to fill your shoes. To be THAT talented, beautiful AND smart, was all I dreamed of. Your beautiful soul just added to the package. Would I ever measure up?

Then we come to the full bodied, silky toned voice. Yeah, I put that voice in as many spots as I could. Sometimes I put you last at an audition, so I could catch up on your most recent activities. You’re busy. Kids, working, love, I get it. But I’d at least have those few minutes to drink in your thing.

It’s important to tell people how you feel. I’ve been up all night and this morning you happen to be my target. You’re as incredible as they come. You have the magical phenomenon of not seeing your own gift.

But knowing enough to have fought for it to be your livelihood and your joy. Your award winning and validated gift.

You’ve directed theatre works as well. Faced the fear of telling your fellow actors what to do and how to do it. It’s got to be like looking in a mirror and criticizing yourself to get the best out of you.

I’m trying to think of three words to end this post with. You are : unbreakable, sensitive, and more than anything else self-aware. Oh, you tend to keep that to herself. But you, Lia know yourself. And I’m so lucky to say I not only know you, but that I love who you are, too.

You’re the gold that flows in every fleck of your twinkling eyes.

You are a special person. Filled with beauty and flaws. Flaws are perfection in their imperfection. So let imperfection help you understand the moments you live.

Because you’re meant to live baby. Yes. Live.

Photos by Joe Mazza/Brave Lux

There’s a beautiful thing that happens after major surgery. You don’t remember very much. That’s why it’s good to have someone to take notes to repeat back to you, so you know what happened. Remind them to repeat it several times over the span of, let’s say maybe a year at the very least. Because you, as the patient, aren’t meant to recall.

Keeping that fact in mind, I didn’t remember that when I originally had cancer in 2017, that a piece of my rib was removed to gain access to the tumor. I was also recently reminded, that I was in a very weird position on the operating table. Also to be able to gain access.

In my mind, I feel like I was Dolly Parton having a rib removed while doing a ballet move under anesthesia. Too much to fathom for this uncoordinated advertising producer. I can be creative in my mind. But on the operating table while asleep? Not so much. I should’ve been awarded a gold medal for table gymnastics.

But I digress. So, back to the rib removal. It is the possible cause of a hernia to develop a few months after surgery. It didn’t bother me too much. But I kept having constant pain especially after this Summer’s car accident. I wonder if that indeed had any affect on my insides as I was tossed around. Even though I was belted in, it’s still a crash and you’re tossed around.

For the next six months, the pain has grown to the point of being uncontrollable. Add in a knee replacement surgery, which was definitely caused by the car accident, and you have quite a pain party. What number is it? Well, let’s say it’s an eleven.

After meeting with my surgeon, and awaiting during his thirty minute radiology consult, he walked back in the exam room to explain how surgery would be my only chance at pain relief for the hernia. Seems counterintuitive to cut someone open to get pain relief, but since I know way too much about medicine, I had to agree.

I’m not saying I didn’t immediately start crying at the thought of being at risk once again, because I definitely cried. But I knew I had no choice. I have to try and come back to life. A full life. A quality life. I may not be able to work a desk job for quite some time, if ever. But I have to try to regain some of the quality I’ve lost. There’s no life in watching daytime television everyday.

So, it’s one more time on the table for me. Check, please!

Until last week, I was a member of Girlsday and all of the affiliate groups that spring from the original group. I believed and still do in what they’re doing. Providing a safe space for woman to express themselves.

Unfortunately, the leader of the group does not allow room for other opinions. Whether in a post, an email or any other form of communication. She has a tendency to have knee jerk reactions if she disagrees with you. This has also been confirmed by others who work along side her and others who know her. We disagreed. Her knee jerk reaction? She kicked me out of all of her groups and blocked me on Twitter, FB and probably instagram too. The dreaded social media rejection. My response in my head is, who cares? The arrogance of someone like that is laughable. I never followed her on Twitter or Instagram. She’s important enough to my life to follow her every waking moment.

This is a creative who never once worked at with my company and many times asked for favors for which I had to say no. Because there was never any sign of reciprocity on the horizon. When I pointed that out in a private message, she got seriously angry. Too close to the truth I guess.

Funny thing is, I was warned about her behavior before I joined. Personally, I believe the growth of this much needed group has gone to her head. She’s a bad moderator at best. Only posting what she agrees with. Confirmed by other members as well. Rejecting posts with no explanation until you ask why.

I’ve tried to reach out as I believe this is an infantile display of the behavior. But she didn’t read my email for six days! Six days! And then blames for for wondering about whether my posts would be used against me.

It’s a private group, where I’ve posted private things. She had already violated that trust by sending my posts to a different social media platform. To get those posts down, I had to send that platform an email with my lawyer cc’d to get them to delete it as there was never permission granted to share from a private group. There is a reasonable expectation of protection when you post in a private group.

I find her actions to be vindictive and without thought. But I do understand why she doesn’t work much, as she’s told me before.

If this is how you treat your colleagues, you must piss off a lot of people.

Now, because she kicked me out of the private group, I can’t see if she’s taken down my posts in the group. It’s petty. Someone else in the group remarked, when I asked for advice about what to do. I apologized for my part in the misunderstanding. No answer. It’s pretty much her way or the highway.

Add her to my list of toxic people who are gone from my life. If someone asks about her, I’ll tell them the truth privately. Which is more than I can say for her disrespect of her own private group.

Hey all you women executives, she’s coming for you too. You’ve done her wrong. She wrote in private messages about the ‘berating’ she took. I wrote my feelings in response. Tried to be supportive. None of that mattered. She resorted to speaking about looks and how this person got to where they were because they were pretty. I was shocked. But because I feared her repeating my private remarks, I played along.

She represents the worst of who we want to be. She’s heading up a group fighting the exact behavior she just displayed. There’s no internet HR person. So I have to speak here.

She’s a women on the attack with a vengeful, shallow heart. Don’t ever cross her. You’ll be blocked on FB. Which we all know is worse punishment than Guantanimo Bay. Lighten up lady. You ain’t all that.

You’re as big a bully as the ones you’re trying to expose. You called me names when I copied my lawyer on an email. Did that scare you? It should have. You were completely in the wrong.

Remember, it was your actions that made me need to have protection.

I hope you’ve learned a damn good lesson here. You’re not anonymous behind your computer. And I will protect my rights harder than you’ll ever protect yours.

The shame of all this is I support what the core beliefs of the group were and I hope still are. The leadership needs to change. Before a good thing goes bad.

5/21/18 Update:

I received a scathing email today six weeks after my last communication from her! Six weeks from the subject of this piece. I repeat, of this is how quickly she returns an email, it’s no wonder she doesn’t work much.

Everything I believed to be true was doubled down in her email today. It’s all about her and her previous ego.

I forgave her. Because people like that need to be let go of with forgiveness. One day they’ll come across someone they’ve wronged and that forgiveness won’t be there.

Accused of liable with my blog post, I’m waiting for the lawsuit. Honey, if I published your psychotically written email, you’d be laughed out of any court and the ad business.

This is who the movement chooses to help lead them. May I suggest a new leader without the baggage attached to this woman’s behavior? The accusations she threw at me were all things she did to me. It’s utterly laughable. It makes me so happy I’ll never have to cross paths with her.

I’d never work with her for any amount of money. This person is ill on so many levels. The worst kind of creative person in the community. Someone who believes they’re entitled to gifts, to break their own rules, and more importantly, treating a person with complete and utter disrespect and lies.

Oh your are quite stoppable my dear. Your own words and actions will stop you. FYI- you do not own people in this town. And quite frankly your work sucks. I’d put my cabinet of awards against your crap any day. Damn, you give me the creeps. I won’t repeat your name to anyone. But you should hope to god no one asks me how I feel about you. And no I won’t take my blog down. Good to know you read it though. Stalker.

5/22/18 Update:

I received information today that I’m not the only one this person has done this too. How many more will I hear about? I don’t know. But I posted these thoughts on Instagram:

Not everyone involved in this group has the group’s best interests at heart. I beg the true leadership to make the hard choice and get rid of the rogue voice leading you astray. Most of you are great people. One voice can ruin and disrupt a movement. Want to be taken seriously? Remove the unstable people who are not in control of their words. It’s only artwork. It’s not the essence of what the group is about. Maybe the leadership doesn’t care. If not, I assure you, all will be exposed in time and your group will be dishonored by who you choose to associate with. What happened to me is not exclusive. You have an unstable person in your midst. Sometimes the solution seems difficult and like limb amputation. I guarantee you it won’t be as painful to sever it now as it may be down the road. Threats to me of libel have to be proven as untruths. Show me the untruths and I’ll show you the facts.

When I had cancer surgery thirteen months ago, no one told me what to anticipate afterwards. I was scared beyond belief. It’s been quite a fight to keep that feeling at bay.

So when I found out I didn’t need chemotherapy, I felt ecstatic. It meant everything you’d think that means. I’d get to keep my hair, not barf my guts up, and I’d not have to be strapped to an IV poll for treatments.

I wake up every morning with this pain filled body, with a dark, little creature filled with fear sitting on my shoulder everyday. It’s there until I proverbially knock it off, and wonder what I’ll do with my day.

Who could known that this past year would also include; operations, endless scans, blood tests, a car accident, a knee replacement, doctor visits, and lots of family drama with my siblings.

So on this day, who’ll call? Probably no one. Who’ll visit? For sure, no one. I feel so alone sometimes in this journey, that there’s not enough light in this world to bring me back from the dark. Then I remember I’m alive. It’s a pretty profound reason to get pulled into the light.

I’m not really working at all now. I’ve taken a couple of gigs, just to help out here and there. Work I can do from home. I’m pretty much free all day. Free. Now there’s a word. Free from fear? No. Free from worry? No. Free from heartbreak? No. I’ve lost a lot of my family due to starting this blog. And writing my truth. But my truth it is. Maybe if they’d have kept in contact, they’d know.

The one thing I’ve learned from being sick, is who is left around to be in the picture of the remnants of who I am, is who will be there no matter what.

The things is, I’m who I always was. I’m just that person who’s free of toxic people and relationships now. I’m finally free to be that, I give zero f***ks kind of person I’ve always been, but had to hold at bay. Because I’m a people pleaser to add to the stupidity of it all. I no longer have time for that kind of BS.

I’ve beaten the grim reaper enough times, to understand that you best get to the business of living in the now. That’s all we’ve got and all we’ve ever have. So I flick that dark motherfucker off my shoulder and get back to being free.

I have a war to win against cancer. I want to see a cure in my lifetime. I raise money for treatments and wellness programs. I want my life to mean something. I want YOUR life to mean something.

Do you understand it yet? Now. It’s all you’ve got. We’re not promised tomorrow or the next hour or the next minute. We’ve got now. Let me ask you, are you free?