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Dying to do it again

May 26, 2017

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I’m a writer!

A very open, honest writer.

So, I basically share everything.

I write about suicide, sexual assault, how I am well aware that I can be a major butt-faced miscreant, and recently, I wrote about how I planned to attend mortuary school.

Yes! Planned is the key word in the above sentence.

As we all know, well made plans are created with positive intentions and disintegrate because of happenstance. Or in this case, embalming fluid.

A month ago, I decided to quit traditional mortuary school for myriad reasons. But if I’m being honest, the main reason was embalming fluid.

I can’t sell it. Don’t like it. But totally respect people who can use it and make the dead look great.

After dropping out of school, I felt flighty. Like a total loser who couldn’t commit to anything. An old loser. I also felt like a total dick.

I took a month or so to recover. I slept for 12 hours a day! I went to a lot of happy hours! And I’ve got to say: Since a month has passed, I’ve been reborn. Or in my worldview, I’m not as dead as I once was. Basically, I’ve only got one toe in the coffin. Not an entire leg.

I recently landed an insanely cool gig at YNOTCam, a site dedicated to helping cam girls survive and thrive. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to have two pieces published. One piece is about a money app, and the other is about protecting trans women of color who work in the sex industry.

And although I’m going to have to find more work in a week when I return from my honeymoon, I have a solid freelance client list that’s keeping me afloat.

But even though I was totally turned off by some of the traditional death industry, I realize that I can still help people shuffle off this planet without traditional training. That’s why I’m hoping to become a death midwife and home funeral advocate.

Yes, you read that right. I’m going to help people die with dignity at home, and become one with the Earth.

Yeah, this won’t be easy, either, but I’ve already met one amazing person who is practicing, and let me tell you—this person’s work is very appealing. To me, at least.

In the next year, I hope to practice soul and body work, and become respected enough for people to allow me in their homes and help them enter their grave in a peaceful, natural way.

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Not OK

January 29, 2017

 

I don’t know what else to do on a Saturday night to express my concern, so I wrote some of my elected officials. I hope this country can heal…

I’m not a republican but I hope that you see that Donald Trump is tearing America apart.

These are my concerns:

Health

I’m scared I won’t be able to afford birth control pills—something I’ve taken since I was a 16 year old because I didn’t want to get pregnant and it helped calm my terrible periods—because the ACA may disappear.

Don’t get me wrong—it needs to be tweaked (right now, my husband can’t afford one of his medications that helps his crippling anxiety and I can barely afford an inhaler. I’m scared my antidepressant may be too expensive this year, too. I need this medication because I was raped when I was a teenager and have PTSD)—but removing it is unacceptable and politicians know that.

Do not let this man say “I’ve got something great” to replace the ACA with. He doesn’t. Americans know it. Do NOT act until you have a good fix, an update, a solution.

On that note: I’m sure you don’t think abortion should be legal. Apologies if I’m wrong in my assumption… But here’s my point. I’m not asking you to have an abortion. Or even to tell a woman she should have one. I am asking that you realize that this is a medical procedure and has absolutely no place in the political realm. Abortion is a medical choice. A personal choice. NOT YOUR CHOICE.

Hate

The president is destroying this country’s reputation and tearing it apart from the inside out. Banning Muslims entry? Are you kidding me? Just because someone enters our country from a supposed “dangerous” zone doesn’t mean that person is a killer. If we really want to stop mass shootings, why don’t we ban white males who have untreated mental illness who can easily obtain guns… oh, wait—we can’t because this country has a terrible health system and gun control is a joke.

This past week was so frightening and I’m white. Can you even imagine how terrifying it is to be a person of color in this country right now? You are an elected official and you have to represent all people. That includes people of color. Please make it known to this administration that any racist rhetoric is not tolerated. The president needs to speak out against the alt-right and decry any violence carried out by this hate group.

In addition to alt right hate and ignoring POC’s concerns, you also need to support LGBTQ people. I fear that any person who is considered “different”—aka not a straight, white male—is in danger under this president’s rule.

In addition to all the above concerns, I am worried about this president’s possible relationship Putin. It’s obvious that he does not view this man for what he is—a cold-hearted killer—and that is incredibly worrisome.

Oh, and let’s not forget climate change. It is real. Humans are making it worse. Why is this still up for debate? This country needs to invest in alternative energy and educate people how to work in the field. Create new jobs while saving energy. Yes, it’s not that simple, but any other option will surely lead to the death of this planet.

Please, if you have a heart, you will make it known that the president’s actions are not OK. Please help this country mend itself rather than allowing it to become further divided. I’m scared for this country and for the world.

Best,

Abbie Stutzer

This. Is. Real.

Just today, I heard a man talking to a friend about how he was scared that his work visa would not be renewed because he’s “from one of those countries–” his words, not mine.

“I couldn’t sleep last night. I just don’t know,” he said.

He was helping a friend study. They were talking about their education, their future.

He’s not the only one. I could list off at least three other similar conversations I’ve been part of, or heard, in the past month.

This isn’t OK. We must act and speak out against hate and ignorance.

Make America Dead Again

January 8, 2017

Let’s be honest. 2016 was rough for most people. It all started with David Bowie, a human I truly look at as an oracle, dying. And the hits just kept coming. Prince’s death, the U.S. election, Donald Trump… the go ahead for people to grab others by the pussy…

Although my personal life was pretty killer this year (I got married to an amazing person who really loves me, something I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before), I did suffer a big, ol’ setback in mid-July: I got drugged at a bar.

Although nothing physically happened that experience derailed my life more than I care to admit. All my previously healed emotional scars from my rapes, abuse, etc.,  became raw. Then, I basically gave up on my self. I planned to go to school this coming year for social work or mortuary science, but that goal seemed utterly unattainable after this simple, no good experience.

So, instead of applying for school, I got a full-time job and moved on. Or at least I thought I did.

Turns out, I was just biding time. Waiting to feel normal again without doing the work. I was blind to this until Halloween. When Paul and I got married, and I had some much needed time off, I began to think about all the things that scared, excited and interested me. That’s when I remembered how ready I was for change. Then, sadly, thanks to the recent American election, I became angry. REALLY ANGRY.

I got back in touch with my cunt feminist roots, my perpetual activist tendencies and decided to raise hell.

So, here I am, two or so months later, 10 tattoos in, totally broke, enrolled in 13 credit hours, and incredibly happy.

I am going back to school for mortuary science. Yes, that’s correct. I want to prepare bodies for their ultimate destination. But I want to do more than that.

I want to help people who know they are going to die come to a peaceful end.

I want to help families keep their loved ones in their home while bodies are prepared for burial.

And I want to provide different burial options that are safer for morticians, and the environment.

Go ahead. Call me crazy. And believe me. I know this is going to be difficult. Hell, I haven’t taken a math or science class since I was 20. I am now almost 34… But all this fear is invigorating. I know I’ll be an amazing student and, sorry, a killer mortician because I am older and I’ve lived. A LOT. I also know that I want to be that one funeral home worker who made someone’s death more peaceful, and the burial process better.

I hope I have the time to keep up with my writing during this time because, seriously, I’m going to have to vent.

So, until next time… Stay chill and don’t die until I’m ready to help your body and family through all that shit.

We’re All Going to Die

February 4, 2016

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Recently, things have been quite strange in my little corner of the world. Rad, but strange.

On January 9th, my awesome boyfriend asked me to marry him. The proposal was simple and cool — he did it in front of our pets, all four of them — and gave me a ring from a local thrift shop. And don’t think he’s cheap — that’s what I wanted. My request was for him to purchase a ring that was once owned by a bad-ass bitch who lived a life I could envy. And from the look of this ring, I’d say he did well.

After the proposal, I placed my aunt’s deceased mother’s wedding ring on top of the ring he gave me because 1. I love my aunt and want to honor her mother, 2. the ring Paul gave me was too big (sorry, Paul), 3. I love pre-owned jewelry. Why? Well, that’s complicated… I’ve always been intrigued by death, and for good reason…

When I was three years old, I “died” in surgery. I vomited in my anesthesia mask and, basically, choked on my own puke.

Hot!

The only reason I’m still here is because someone in the room heard me gurgle.

My physical recovery from the experience went well, but the mental one was complicated. For months my parents had to help me through night terrors, etc. I eventually worked my way through that trauma and lived a pretty normal life.

Many people may think my interest in death comes from that experience. Hardly. It’s the other things I’ve gone through; the traumas, deaths, sexual assaults, suicides, relationships, loves, life, personal experiences, illnesses, that have fed the connection I have with people who are no longer here.

Everyone turns to something, or someone, when they are trying to figure out life and death. While, yes, I did go to church as a child and do continue to hold some religious beliefs, I tend to lean toward a more spiritual belief system. Don’t ask me to explain it because it’s complicated and only works for me. But the basic gist of it is this: while other people go to church to talk to their god, I go into nature and visit the cemetery. These are the places I feel most at home because they are physical and remind me that I am mortal, and could die, like, now, so I may as well do the best with what I have.

Cemeteries and nature are equally sad and beautiful, and that’s why I want to have my wedding ceremony in a cemetery — which is, technically, in nature — so I could be in my church and celebrate my life, and my love’s life while we both have it.

Now, I understand that there are quite a few people who think my “cemetery wedding” idea seems disrespectful to the dead. To each their own — I certainly would never try to tell someone their opinion or feelings are wrong. We all experience life and death in different ways.

But I can’t help that I think cemeteries are awesome and the ultimate place to celebrate life. Now, I’m not saying that people should be dancing on graves all willy-nilly, but if, say, a couple does want to get married in a quiet manner at a cemetery, in an area that has no graves, why not let these people go for it?

After all, the cemetery residents would enjoy the show and perhaps get a bit of existential joy from the happy tears shed.

Image via Adrian Scottow

It’s Fall: Pumpkin Beer Chili and Banana Bread (Recipes)

August 24, 2015

This weekend has been ovaries-out amazing. It’s the first weekend that I’ve technically had off (freelancer translation: I am short on assignments and need to find some new clients) since the epic second move of the year. While the weekend was incredibly chill, it also was cool. Like, not “oh, cool, there’s free beer,” but chilly temperature cool.

Overnight temperatures in Kansas are slowly beginning to descend into the upper 50s. And while the daytime temps aren’t exactly cold, it didn’t get over 80 on Sunday. That cool morning breeze had me craving chili and banana bread.

So, of course I pulled out the crock-pot (and called Paul over — he’s the banana bread master) to make dinner.

Pumpkin chili

The chili — I’ll call it “Holy Hell, I Love Pumpkin” Chili — contained the following:

  • Two cans of garbanzo beans
  • A can of black beans
  • Half a cup of spinach
  • A cup of kale
  • A can of pumpkin
  • A can of lentil soup
  • A can of pumpkin beer
  • Tomato paste
  • A can of tomatoes
  • Chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, and pepper to taste

I cooked the concoction on the pot’s high setting for four hours.

Banana bread

The banana bread recipe came from Food.com. The only replacements: we subbed applesauce for the oil, and soy milk for the milk — we also added a dash of cloves and cinnamon.

Halloween wine glass

All in all, it was a damn good meal. And! I washed it all down with some box wine in the snazzy glass Paul bought me over the weekend — I can’t wait until Halloween, people.

Do you have any favorite fall recipes? If so, share ’em.

Witches Don’t Cry

August 20, 2015

Bell, Book, and Candle, Kim Novak

Autumn weather is here… for a day, at least.

August is balls hot here is Kansas, and I am ready to be done with it. I hate heat, dislike summer, and just want to cover my body up and start the chili cooking, bread baking, hibernation process, thank you very much. Why am I so psyched about this weather? BECAUSE THE NEW HOUSE I MOVED INTO IS SO NICE IN COOL WEATHER.

Home with Halloween decorations.

In this place, I actually: 1. Get sunlight 2. Don’t have a landlord that comes by unannounced 3. Have windows that provide air flow.

It’s pretty great, really, and it makes working from home so much more enjoyable. Also: It’s close to downtown! That makes going out for drinks, food, and other Lawrence, Kan. downtown festivals much easier.

So, as I mentioned last time, I’m trying to compile 10 Halloween costume ideas before the first day of fall. Since last here, I’ve thought of one more costume…

Kim Novak in “Bell, Book, and Candle”

I’ve cut and bleached my hair (for fashion reasons, not costume reasons), so, I could easily pull off the cool, cold witch Novak plays in this classic film.

If you haven’t seen the film, here’s one of my favorite scenes.

Have any of you thought up any Halloween costumes since I last wrote?

It’s Halloween Season

July 25, 2015

Many people think Christmas starts in mid-October. Others think that Valentine’s Day should be celebrated all February. And then there are folks who start preparing for Halloween in August. Well, I take it one step further and start in July.

While I’ve yet to start pulling out my Halloween decorations (I don’t have many in storage, but those will start going up in August after I move), I began planning my 2015 costume after July 4th — like any good American.

The following are my top 3 ideas so far. I hope to have at least 7 more before mid-September — when things get real.

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Blue-Velvet

Woman Dancing on Car in “Blue Velvet

So, to achieve this look, I’ll just need a cheap blonde wig (unless my hair has grown out a bit by then), a pink skirt, and some iron on letters that spell out “In Dreams.” I believe I have the shoes already (but will have to check). So, all that leaves is some makeup and some solid dance moves. I’m sure no one will know who I am, but to me, that’s not the mark of a bad costume — it’s a sign that too few people have seen “Blue Velvet.”

whywolfWhywolf

My second idea is the Whywolf from “Adventure Time.” That will call for an over-sized coat, wolf ears, tiny glasses, and a pipe that blows bubbles — that last item makes me happier than I care to admit.

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Peachfuzz

Third idea is Peachfuzz from “Creep.” This will require a killer wolf mask and a slick track suit, but I think I’m up for the challenge.

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I’ll keep you updated on my ideas. But in the meantime, I want to know what you die-hard Halloween lovers are planning for this year. Do you have a costume idea already? How are you going to decorate your house? I’m thinking about going full-on Lynch and doing a recreation of the “Blue Velvet” yard (severed ear and all).

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