Saturday, April 28, 2012

salons are filled with girls,
overflowing with lipstick and backcombing
and cleavage and heels
now is the time to be completely real.
overwhelmingly comfortable in my skin,
combat boots and tights,
v-neck shirts and minimalist makeup.
i will not be eaten alive by the salon vixens.
i'll be too tough to chew.


April 24th.
My mom got remarried.
I was 16.
I don't know why but all I can think about on 4-24 is numbers. Lots of 4s.
I don't even like numbers.

Monday, April 23, 2012


today was oklahoma travel,
cut and color workshop
that set the ants free in my pants,
contemplation, motivation,
back seat naps and saving the day
with insect-in-cleavage removal.
today was a mulberry honeysuckle bike ride
to our tree spot downtown,
fuchsia stained fingers
and wine-lips to match.
it was downhill dark ride home,
pizza and pepsi with a side of film.
warm lamplight, evening books and cuddle cat.
talking of travel and roots, of life and death.
the soul of this monday
was a sweet kiss from sunday.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


earth day

if you haven't yet today, go stick your hands in the Earth.
everything in it is working for you, for life. don't resist it, don't hinder or smother it.
dig it up, sow in it, plant your roots deep where others cannot touch.
befriend the red worm and lift your leaves toward the rain. we are as much living and dying as the crop we tend.


puke-bombs on the rugs
litter box changes
yowling in the mornings
white fur on all my black clothing
pleading for attention when i'm already running late
food disappearance that seems impossible for a little 6-lb feline
welcoming you back after a long, shitty day
fur reminders that a kitty can't wait for you to get home
lavishing attention when you're feeling down
at least never pees outside the box
tries to cover his messes and
stares at you with those helpless eyes

My Frankie is pure white, fur as pure as his soul. His bright blue almonds break their doteful gaze from me for only three things: food, napping, flies.
He'll eat an insect in one swoop and swallow. Attack strings, buttons, zippers, necklaces, and rub his saber-tooth fangs on the corners of your jeans.
Open closets are fair game for exploration, and he doesn't particularly mind if he gets locked in.
His wispy tail explodes into a fuzzy pipe-cleaner when he's extra happy (e.g. when Rae and I are both home at the same time and we all cuddle together.)
He loves sleeping in armpits and warming laps, making sure whatever happens during the day we know that we're still his favorite people.

I think it's probably true, that things about cats lowering your blood pressure. But I see it more as a roller-coaster, a give and take of sorts. It's true no matter how many times I have to wash the same rug in a week, my little guy is loved.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I remember when I was 20,
I think.
Yeah, I do. I was living on McElroy Street in Stillwater.
"MACK-el-roy" was the correct pronunciation according to my roomie, the English major. But most people in town said "Mick-EL-roy." I said both depending on who I was talking to. (...I just took a short moment to reflect on what that might mean in regards to my personal interactions...)

Our house was old, wood frame and white. A cute front porch and a decent sized backyard that was covered in poison ivy and honeysuckle. Bittersweet. A garage filled with things that were not ours, except for storage of our bikes.
I was working on my Bachelor of Science in Psychology and running 60-70 miles/week on the cross-country/track team. I allowed myself afternoon naps and began to realize my need for organization when it came to my living space.

20 was a launching point. The beginning of the decade where everything changed, and changed again, and again. I felt as though I was standing in a door frame, with a wildly rushing river beneath, and I was getting ready to jump in, and I nearly felt it physically when I did. My seams were bulging and ripping. College, rent houses, roommates, cross country trips, life changes, graduation, tuition repayment, marriage, big kid jobs, bill-paying, travel, first drunken nights, stagnancy then movement, tearing down and rebuilding, promising myself the world.
I feel another doorway, another river with a passionate undertow. I recognize the current and effect of the seasons. Sweet, scary motion.


April 19th
Unforgettable for the Oklahoman
I remember every year.
I was in seventh grade at the time, 1995.
I was small and young,
but angry, sad about the loss,
wishing I could just get in past the yellow tape
and help someone.
Something, anything.
A piece of rubble from the building still sits in my apartment, a token of remembrance. A chunk of stone can mean so much more, from one second to the next.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Ode to Chores, On a Sick Day

Oh, To-Do list,
How I wish I could attack you.
Cleaning the bathroom sink
Scooping the cat litter
Finding a vet for Frankie
Getting the oil changed in my car
Burning all those backup photo cds.
except lay here drifting in and out
of feverish sleep.
Staring into the wall
for unknown amounts of time.
Body ache and radiating heat
I will trade you for chores.
I will set aside my procrastination
for a whole day if you will leave me be.

Yours Involuntarily,
Sick Self.


I remember the day my grandpa picked me up from school.
I was in kindergarten. We were learning our letters via goofy "letter people." That day was "G" - for Gooey Gum. The teacher gave us gum to really bring it home. It worked on me, obviously.
We were all standing in the front hallway waiting for our rides, and I had apparently slipped into gummy oblivion. It was that really yummy tangy pink gum, not the normal sugar-free crap your parents give you. But the super soft kind that was nearly gooey out of the wrapper and had a bit of zing to it even after you'd been chewing a while. I don't think they make it anymore. But it was so good.
"Tap tap!"
I come out of my gum-session and look up to see my grandpa face to face with me on the other side of the window. He waves and smiles, obviously amused that he had to reel me down to earth. He took me home.
I don't remember why that memory is still so vivid. I have so many like these. I like to think that at 5 years old, 8, 13, etc, I was aware that every little thing is precious. Every memory worth keeping in priceless.


He said he wanted to lie down in his backyard,
cover himself up with his soil
and die.
This seemed to roll off everyone's back
but mine.
He began slipping as soon as she had passed.
Occupied at first by clearance,
tending to organization
and purging.
Until the house was nearly rid of her,
until maybe he felt nearly rid of her,
or the need for her.

The sun set on the half-acre of soil
where those lives buzzed for so long.
Emptiness ensued,
purposeless, he surrendered.
His soul stayed on that land, in that house
when the rest of him was being tended
on an hourly basis.
Until he finally caught up with himself
and with her.

He's a shadow in all my photographs,
the sweetness in the carrots I harvested
a month after he'd passed.
He is nuts and bolts and old tools
and electrical wiring hanging from ceilings.
He is a radio wave, a channel,
a signal I constantly hear in the wind.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Artifacts from a former life.

(-) Addicted to wearing a watch. Sports watch, to be more specific. And they're all so fucking ugly. Miniature 1990s-spaceage-time-tracking wrist-things with bright colors, ear-piercing beeps and boasting the fact that you need your device to be waterproof (because you sweat like a man.)

(-) Addicted to time-tracking (directly related to watch-wearing.) Keen sense of current time, past time, and elapsed time between. Don't even try to argue about time. A bit obsessive, although you'd never think due to consistent tardiness.

(-) Tendency to refer to distance in meters, and no one in the United States understand what you're speaking of.

(-) Contempt for gyms and "unnatural" avenues of working out.

(-) Very unnecessary collection of old running shoes. Still perfectly good for walking, biking, or general rough wear, therefore cannot be (logically) thrown away. (My collection has finally dwindled to 3 pair. Ok....4 pair.)

(+) Pretty badass cardio endurance, even when out of shape. Wondering how long this will actually last...

(+) Leg muscles.

(+) Amazing water-drinking abilities.

Considering that my (-) outnumber my (+) I think I'll stick with my sedentary ways. Just for now.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


"Bette Bea"
1925, Clinton, Oklahoma
7th of 9 children
Photographer, sister, wife & mother, kind neighbor and favorite aunt, the most loving and generous person I have ever known.

This would have been Happy Birthday to my sweet Grandma.
Miss you, love you, carry you everywhere.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Friday 13th, I laugh in your general direction.
I laugh in the face of the color process that took me
I laugh at the power outage at school, the storm sirens
and the faculty rushing us all into the bathrooms for shelter.
I laugh because I haven't heard so much boo-hooing, bawling
and "in the name of Jesus"-ing all at once in a long time.
Or ever maybe!
I laugh at washing out hair bleach in the dark with cold water and flashlights,
in a hurry to hide for the next siren sounding.
I laugh (sort of) at the creepy feeling I got approaching the darkened dispense room
where I could feel something milling around unseen.
I laugh because I ran later for dinner
and stained my hands with green while refreshing my haircolor.
Friday 13th, you tried hard, but I liked you anyway.


Tax Filing
   and the inner monologue

April 12, 2012
   Filing taxes.

   Whew! Close.

Marital Status - Single
 still feels a little odd. its been nearly two, but last year we filed together. single. according to the states.

Full Name - Sharalee R. Stephens
   'R' is all you're gonna get, bitcheeeessss!!  wait. they wanna know my marital status before my name?  ohhh, government, sillies.

Birthdate - 03/31/1982
   Born procrastinator, i.e. the reason this is being filled out a couple days before the deadline.


  Well, this year I got paid to be single, out of work, and a student.

Next year it'll be students loans, the payback of such, the taking on of a (possibly) commission salon job and then (hopefully) a booth-rent situation. And maybe some photography work too?  *left right up down.*  I'm not even Catholic but I'll give what I can in prayer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Today is your birthday.
31 years.
Fellow Aries
from a different universe.
You were 29 when I saw you last,
visiting town,
dropping by to see your cat
who wouldn't come to your call anymore.
You left in a hurry,
about like I did to you.

One day you called
just to say Hey!
We talked phone plans?
or maybe it was life plans.
You sounded great.
I knew you would be.
After all those broken pieces
we managed to come out alive,
or at least with enough left to regenerate.

My fingers will begin to spread
with the expanse between each letter.
Room for remembrance.
These are the first words I've written
about a partnership spanning
the 20s of two lives.
A small worded beginning
about the end
of a beginning.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


   Today at school we have a guest speaker. We're learning about prom up-dos from a bald man with goatee curls 6 inches long.
    If I didn't know better, if I didn't know myself, I would think I'm in the wrong place. Manicures and makeup. Shelves and shelves of hairspray, every sort. Blow dryers, curling irons, full-length mirrors for puckering and primping.
   My breed of "girliness" has always been camouflaged by rambunctious-barefoot-tree-climbing-shorts-wearing-runner-sweating sort of things. I fully felt my edges in contrast to other girls' soft lines. I heaved my proud flat chest with a proclamation of rebellion from the feminine way. Fuck what girls "should" be!
As Patti Smith put it - "I protested vehemently that I was never going to become anything but myself..."
    Acceptance can be salty, but it enriches every flavor. I found balance between my feminine and masculine, an ever-moving cursor sliding left and right on the scale. Only then could I embark on something so pegged as cosmetology school.
    I shuffle into class with my trashed boots, tights and a t-shirt. Hair freshly clippered above the ear and mohawk lying limp across my forehead. This day I decided to wear eyeliner.

I am a teenage boy with hips and a B-cup. Raging hormones and gutter humor.
I'm a girl playing with G.I. Joes in the mud after my nail polish has dried.
I am a woman with a grasp on the multitude of identities housed within these flesh walls.

I wield my new pink hair dryer with vigor and command your tresses to obey. My favorite sidekick in my back pocket - my razor, a testament. I am not afraid.

i had to get a photo...for effect, you know.
(i won it today)


As I sat in class today I realized I had forgotten some all-time besties. So here they are...

Phrases Most Commonly Uttered/Heard at Cosmetology School  - PART II
(imagine - Paul Mitchell school, to be more specific)

"Uuum, this is the FIRST time I've ever seen this!" (In all actuality, they were just skipping school the last 4 times we went over it)

"Who did your hair?"

"Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!" (usually everyone talking decides its too lout at the same time, and busts out with this little number)

"I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING SHE'S SAYING BECAUSE EVERYONE IS TALKING!" (shouts above class, to where I can't hear anything either)

"That's crae!"

p.s. I'm ready to graduate.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Location le Sigh

California - first love because of Full House. Not too proud to admit it. I've wanted to live in a San Franciscan row house for about 18 years now. Ocean, hills, split level houses with glorious steps up to the porch....*sigh.*  I drew row houses with little girls like me looking out the windows, the bridge in the background. This was the beginning.

Washington (more specifically Seattle) - second love because of the movie Man of the House. Yep, JTT, baby! Farrah Fawcett, Chevy Chase, Enigma's "Return to Innocence." *sigh* again. And again, the ocean, the city, the buildings, the trees. I was 13, and it was love.

New York - third. I can't even remember where this desire originated, other than my want for the busy-ness and city life. Subways and trains, tiny local grocers and espresso nooks. Originality, individualism. No one I know wanted to live there, save myself.

Ireland - when my significant other visited without me I stole my mother's copy of Matchmaker, a random Janeane Garofalo flick where she is planted into Western Ireland for research. Love, yet again. The years passed, I wasn't cured. And then I visited in 2008. My heart will forever be done for. Inishmoor in October, cliffs barely visible in ocean spray. The food, the grey, the green. I have never been the same.

India - colors and smells and sounds I still have yet to hear. The richness of this culture, the tradition, the struggles. 

Small town, USA - when my life changed drastically from married to single, outward to inward, I scurried into the sticks like a wild mouse. Small towns were nothing like I ever wanted, which is why I could hide there, away from movement. Good for a while, but only that.

Birthplace/Originating Home - Norman and Oklahoma City cradled me in rebirth. My grandparent's home, the only place I've ever stayed for more than a couple weeks that didn't leave me wanting. I rested and readied myself for the next.

So the cycle begins again...

geez. i published this blog then went and found this video. wanderlust = fueled


I wonder if, while cooking, a parent thinks only about the cooking - the tenderness of the carrots or the temperature of the meat. I wonder if parents think of more, in relation. Like how the buttery snap of a snap pea cooked just right might instill within their child a certain wisdom for life. The foresight steamed chard will infuse into their little bodies. A noodle's malty thickness imparting some truth about love or acceptance.
I wonder if there are parents that think of both, or neither. I'm sure many do wish to manifest these supernatural gifts of sustenance, even if subconsciously.
One day, for me, it will be conscious. I'll consider the snap peas and their wisdom, the chard's foresight and the love in noodles. I'll watch them consume the well wishes I have for them each day after hard play. One of these days.


Phrases Most Commonly Uttered/Heard at Cosmetology School
(imagine - Paul Mitchell school, to be more specific)

"I need a margarita."

"Do you have a lighter?"

"I'm sooo not in the mood today!"

"I'm 'bout to punch somebody." (it has actually happened)

"I'll cut you!" (still not sure whether this is joking or not, we do carry razors around)

"Don't even worry about it!" (As in, "you're hair is gonna look great, don't even worry about it!")

"I'm just gonna mind my own business!" (as they continue to do the exact opposite, of course)

"I haven't learned anything here!!!" (these people usually drop out and keep waiting tables)

"I have (fill in blank) days left until I get out of this place!"

"I did NOT come to hair school to do pedicures!"

"That's reeaaal cute!"

"That's so presch!"


"Yeah, girl!"



"Just sayin'!" (this phrase can be and is added to nearly every statement above)


You are my lifelong friend and comfort
But you have never been my lover.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


love-lacking pub

i love love love.
i love everyone.
i especially love the elderly or handicapped or disadvantage.
every day my heart swells with compassion and tenderness.
until i walk into James E. McNellie's public house, where I wait tables.

i do not love getting paid $2.15/hour with a 10% tip to get you full and tipsy.
or cleaning up the sugar packets you wadded up and crammed into the brick wall.
i do not love paying for your dinner when you get "forgetful" and walk out.
or scraping the gum off the underside of the bar (yep, the bar where you have to be at least 21 to sit).
or giving you samples of beer after beer after beer only to put in your order for "something normal like Bud Light."

i will love again as soon as i clock out.


the Easter I remember...

the dress was huge.
pale lavender chiffon with a split in the front where lace flowed out like a waterfall from my crotch. puffy sleeves, lace-trim neck, a flower or two adorning the waste. my mom spared me the lace-ruffled socks for being such a good sport about wearing this frilly birthday gift.
as i walked down the isle at church (that one day of the year when everyone is at church) my only prayer was that my face would communicate utter contempt and therefore win me some mercy from the congregation. 
i was not a voluntary dress-wearer.
i had just turned 12.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


June 26, 2011
Gay Pride OKC

Even here. It doesn't quite fit. Rainbows and butch girls and mohawks.  I'm more than this. Masculinity, femininity, sexuality. It's more. It's compassion and and love and blurred barriers.  With you I just exist.

April and 1/30

So I just found out April is National Poetry Writing Month!  I've never considered myself a writer, and definitely not a poet! But my desire to express is getting the better of me. Photography is my go-to form, of course, but since Rae has begun painting I'm finding an urge to tackle the harder forms of expression that I gave up a long time ago. This is primarily writing, maybe some painting later too. Music?! Verdict is still out on that one.
I realize and accept that I will not be good at everything, maybe even none of them. But I'll do this for me. One poem/writing per day for the month of April. Thirty days...which is the other half of the reason I'm doing this. My reflection of my little life thus far. I know I'm a week late (it wouldn't be me if I wasn't late, really), so I'll start with 1 and catch up.

And I'll go ahead and call this morning's facebook post (and root of my last blog title) my 1/30...

 you should see the way the morning light melts through this dusty broken window pane.  you should see the birds crossing from my building to the next, the trees across the way busting with green. you should feel the things housed in this small ribcage, each flexible bone being tested with the pulse. full of everything from loss to love. colors of rust and tart as grapefruit on your tongue.

colors of rust and tart as grapefruit

A random title for a random heart.

March was sort of a blur. A good blur, with a concrete ending. I turned 30. No big deal, really. I'm feeling great about myself and my age, especially since I'm consistently perceived as a 23-year old. I'm exactly where I want to be. I keep busy, eyes on the goal, living a life that I love. But now that my decade calendar has clicked over to "30s" I find myself feeling all my years. All that I've felt before is filtering through this chest again. Maybe its a reckoning of all that I've left undone, unprocessed in my hurry. Maybe this means I'll be more conscious.

Anyway, March was...
 standing up for women's rights

 walks in our neighborhood


manicures and gardening

 community gardening


greening :)

Welcome, new decade.
Welcome, life.
Welcome, self, to everything that you are, can, and will be.