boom. boom. explosions everywhere.

straight from the sandy beaches of north palm: relaxed, a little tanned, my pockets filled with the greens, blues & browns of the sea glass i love to search for, i was peaceful for what only seemed like a fleeting moment. and then like clockwork: BOOM. BOOM. explosions everywhere.

i was unpacking my suitcase when i reached in and was treated to a soft, silky, handful of shampoo. oh, come onnn. what the f*ckkkkk. it was everywhere. on my sunglasses. in my journal. dripping down the inside of my new running shoes. for the love, why did i not pack it in a ziploc?? ey. as i started removing each item from my suitcase, my phone rang for the fourth time. arghhh. with a palmful of herbal essences, i couldn't quite pick up the first few times but when the voicemail icon suddenly popped onto the screen, i decided to play it as background to my cleaning escapades. not such a great idea.

"erin, it's your aunt jean. i'm going to leave a message because i have tried to call four times (this was said with annoyance, sorry aunt jean, i'm not always available) and i wanted to share my thoughts. i just read your blog from last week. honey, i'm not sure you should be writing all that. i think some people might be, well, how do i say this (then she paused for ten or twelve seconds to decide how to say what no one asked her) 'PUT OFF'

(i could envision the air quotes) by hearing all that. no one really wants to hear about other peoples troubles i don't think. so i know you are having a tough time, but really, i think it would be better for your whole family, if you just kept that to yourself. take care though okay? and if you need me, just shout." oh, i need you alright. i need you to mind ya business and keep your opinion to yourself aunt jean.

i'm not sure which little explosion annoyed me more. a handful of 2-in-1 conditioner or someone poking their nose into my life. i'm gonna say it was a straight-up tie.

you see, i'm a big believer in people being entitled to their opinions. you have a FaceBook page and want to spout on about trump being the next coming. go right ahead. it's a free country, no one should stop you. you want to post 12,000 pictures of your baby in her 47 outfits sitting, sleeping, standing. knock yourself out. that's the beauty of america. it's a free country. you are allowed to be just whatever the hell you want to be. again: AMERICA, SUPER LUCKY.

me? i am having a shitty few months. this blog? my space. the one that has always afforded me enormous leeway to work through whatever madness races around my wacky little head. sometimes it's all happiness about my kids and their kickass achievements. other times, it includes (possibly too many) cool pictures snapped of my catering events where my team of people dazzles guests at their christmases, weddings or first communions. and other times (like now aunt jean), it's where i share how tremendously awful it feels to be sitting in a broken marriage while trying to keep four kids excited about the holidays as their world comes tumbling around them. without judgment. my blog is where i am free to be me: it took me 45 years to get to that place of not giving a crap what others think so thanks for your opinion aunt jean, but no thanks. we are like planet fitness over here: THIS IS THE NO JUDGEMENT ZONE.

so just a holiday disclaimer from someone who's been there, if you have an opinion of someone, perhaps wait to share it. because you never know. someone, somewhere may be having a really tough time and however that presents itself to you, while maybe not the way you might handle it, is saving them just a little bit that day.

go easy on everyone this holiday season folks. this time of year can be tricky whether you are happy as a clam or down in the dumps. and if you need cheering up, plan a party and order some tasty candy bacon. i can't promise anything, oh, wait - YES I CAN. that sh*t will change your life.