I’ve confessed to you before, Dear Reader, that I have a mouth full of sass at times. This is not news to literally anyone who knows me. Or reads anything I write. Or follows me on social media. Or has encountered me while I pick Middle up from school. Anyone familiar with me, even in the slightest, is aware of my mouth full of sass and while I should probably get a handle on it, after 38 years of knowing myself I’m pretty confident that this is part of who I am at this point and I need to just love myself through it.

A few months ago I came upon the most glorious word and have adopted it into my vernacular because I love a good play on words. The word I love so dearly is sass-hole. It’s become one of my favorite words to describe people, especially in my own family when they’re being, well, a sass-hole. I’m self-aware enough to turn this on myself when needed and while it evokes a giggle for me at times, it also is real talk in my personal opinion. Sometimes my sass makes me a little too big for my britches and I become a sass hole and have to gear down. Do I always do a good job of self-assessing to identify when I’m being a sass hole? No. But do I always reign it in quickly once I’ve identified my sass-hole-ness (nothing to see here, just making up words) or someone has “lovingly” (lookin’ at you, Hubs) pointed it out to me? Also, no.

If I’m honest, sometimes I blow right past sass-hole and head straight for my stable of high horses or, when I’m really passionate, I dust off my soap box and climb right on top of it. Sometimes this process goes slowly, where I graduate from one step to another.

It looks like this:

I’m passionate about something –>  I get a mouth full of sass and make a joke –>  I become a sass hole because I’ve learned more information and my sass + my southern “mama don’t play that” attitude combines –> I read something about said subject that is a whole lot of wrong and my brain may explode so I climb aboard the high horse to assess from higher ground–> my brain actually explodes and I climb off of the high horse and onto my soap box where everyone in the land is gonna hear what I have to say about all of the things. Bless my heart, y’all. I’ve tried to control it. I’ve tried to contain it. I’ve tried to learn new coping mechanisms so that the high horses and soap boxes stay in their respective places. Alas, I have some more personal growth work (see also: therapy)  to do because not only does the above scenario happen, sometimes the sass-hole-ness and high horses are skipped entirely and I go from sassy to soap box in 2.7 seconds. I’m like the freaking Fast and the Furious over here.

This process looks like this:

I’m passionate about something –> my brain explodes –> I do not pass go, or collect $200, I climb up on my soap box and everyone who knows me braces for impact. Especially, especially, the dear soul I’m married to because we’ve been together for 15 years at this point and he’s seen this movie to the end more than a few times.

I’m a passionate person by nature. I just am. My spiritual gift is the gift of mercy and I simply can’t stay quiet if I see something happening that breaks my heart. After Caleb died, my anger is what drove my “passion”; l would rarely, if ever, self-assess to ensure I was creating a logical, sound, argument for what I was feeling or seeing. I just lost my shit and it was basically shock and awe when I was done. And not, necessarily, in a good way. I thought of it as righteous anger but when I look back I see less righteousness and mostly anger. When I saw a grieving parent being treated poorly, or my babies not being recognized the way I felt they should, or someone telling me they would grieve along with me for exactly one year, no more, I felt justified in my soap boxing and didn’t give a damn what anyone had to say about it. My viewpoint was this: you did or said something that pissed me off à you’re an asshole à I’m going to tell you you’re an asshole along with many other, impassioned, words to describe why you suck à I feel vindicated, you feel like the anger bus just laid your ass out. And ran you over with it a few more times.

Aren’t you excited you knew me back then, if you did? I was peachy. Sorry, Friends.

I’ve talked before about how I was (and am still recovering from being) a people pleaser; for the bulk of my life I was hamstrung by what other people thought and said about me. It paralyzed me for an embarrassing amount of years and caused shameful, destructive, behavior that continued until I was in my mid-twenties. Y’all – that’s an insane amount of time to be shackled to other people’s opinions and act out in destructive ways.

After Caleb died, I refused to operate under anyone else’s assumption of how I should do grief and adopted the adage of “Caleb made me brave”.  While my destructive streak had come to an end years prior to his death, that line of demarcation – life before Caleb died, and life after Caleb died – allowed me to let go of being paralyzed by how other people assessed my grief and gave me permission to grieve in the ways that felt best for me. Were those ways always the healthiest? Nope. Hence my sass, high horse and soap box. But as my grief journey progressed, I plugged into the pregnancy and infant loss community and I did my grief work; I learned better ways. I found joy and hope and cultivated beautiful scars. I learned to better assess what constitutes righteous anger and I don’t get offended for the sake of being offended, despite the “outrage culture” we live in today. My anger, along with my grief, has softened.

I would LOVE to tell you, Grief Warriors, that since I’ve learned better ways of doing grief and my anger has softened, my sass, high horse, and soap box are neatly tucked away and have acquired a thick layer of dust, proving they haven’t been used in a long time. Alas, some Senator made a dumb comment about nurses last week and out the soap box came because, screw her, nurses are awesome and work unbelievably hard. Also when some idiot makes sexist statements about women, my high horses come right out of that stable and I’m all up on them. Or when someone complains that a grieving parent is “stuck” and not “moving on” from their loss, my sass-hole-ness comes out in spades because, screw them, it’s not their life they have to live without their baby. Look at all that growth! (insert sarcasm here)

I will always speak up for things I believe in. Things that pull at my gift of mercy or people who are marginalized. There are things that are sacred to me and requires the use of my sass, high horse, and soap box. I work hard to reign it in; to hear the other side, to understand people who don’t see things the way I do. I’m a work in progress, y’all. I don’t do this perfectly. And if you come at my kids, my husband, my grief warriors, my friends, my family… there’s a good chance you’re going to run into my sass-hole-ness, high horse and soap box. But for the most part, I feel like I’m a lovely person who attempts to bring warmth and compassion to this world, albeit in a funny/sassy/sweary way. And if you don’t agree, that’s just fine. Your opinion is none of my business.