Wednesday, July 28, 2010

MESSAGES FROM THE CAVE

So I confessed to being an emotional cutter/love bulimic...yep, that's me! But what do I do with this juicy tidbit? I think by embracing the reality of who and what I am, I can and will go on like I always do. Does this mean I'm doomed to wander throughout life being alone? Possibly! But I can look back and I can truthfully say I had a ball making the mistakes I made. There's not much I would change...

Where do I go from here? I think what I need to do is turn the VACANCY sign back on and just be Karen. I think I need to go for the gusto any chance I get and live life like there's no tomorrow. If I burn out, so be it! At least I burn out being happy and not stuck away in my cave, being afraid of getting hurt. To hell with pain! Pain is mother nature's way of letting us know we are still alive...

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for being alive!

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

MEDICATION TIME

I'm a cross between an emotional cutter and a love bulimic. I perk along just fine for awhile. My life is serene (I've been in "time-out for 5 years) and then something happens...it always does! My poor impulse control kicks in and before I know it I've ripped opened one of my many battle scars to fester and ooze again and to go through a very painful slow healing process. I've often wondered why I participate in such self destructive behaviors, but like a cutter, I emotionally cut for the same reason. I cut to make myself feel better. I cut to test myself. I cut to feel alive! I often wonder how many times the same wound can be reopened before it just doesn't ever heal...and then what? Amputation?

The other day, I did something very bad. It all snowballed so quickly that it surprised even me. A friend of mine mentioned reading something from her News Feed on Facebook written by the wife of an ex lover of mine ("the Anti-Christ" as I so affectionately call him). She wondered how she got that message when she isn't "friends" with the his wife. Well folks, it's a small world indeed and if you're a friend of a friend of a friend, everyone gets to view what you write on your Facebook page. Yes, there are security settings that prevent this sort of thing from happening, BUT if you put a technologically challenged person on a site like Facebook, nine times out of ten, they'll end up embarassing themselves and others by writing things that they think are private.

The chain reaction went something like this in a matter of about 30 minutes: The wife's name is mentioned to me--> the scar is located instantly even though it's barely visible after 20 years--> I search through her friends list on Facebook (he's not there) --> which brings me to her childrens' friends list --> Bingo! Which brings me to HIM--> OH NO, YOU DIDN'T!--> OH YES, I DID!--> I send him a private message--> Does he respond? --> You know he did!

A love bulimic is a person who binges with someone who is totally wrong for them and when they bounce to the opposite extreme, they purge into troglodytic hermitism. Love bulimics retreat into their safe caves for an indefinite period until they are ready to resurface. Is there a cure for love bulimia? Sure, finding the right diet of being loved and cared for brings a love bulimic out of the perils of relationship hell into the glory of finally knowing what love really feels like. Do I know what love is? Nope! I'm clueless! I'm too busy cutting and binging and purging to notice anything healthy and wholesome.

Gratitude statement: Are you kidding me? Check back tomorrow!

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

NO MORE FALSE ALARMS - FALSE ALARM #4

Many years after all those false alarms, I was challenged to apply to the local fire department to become a firefighter. Because the South (I lived in a small, rural Gulf Coast county) is known for its "good ole boy" mentality, I was told that I would never be accepted if I applied. Telling me that was a definite dare and something I just couldn't walk away from! Whether it was something I really wanted to do or not, the challenge sealed the deal and made me go for it with a vengeance.

I put great thought in filling out the application. Everything was worded just so. The person who put me up to applying was surprised when I was contacted to go before the interviewing committee. Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck because at this point I had to decide whether or not I really wanted to go for it and if I did go for it and get accepted, that meant I would be a firefighter.

When the day of my interview came, I decided just to be myself and answer the questions as truthfully as I could. I knew I'd be looked over thoroughly and questioned heavily by each of the five people on the committee, but I felt prepared for whatever I was facing. Much to everyone's surprise, I was accepted as the first woman firefighter in that county. Part of me was proud and part of me was scared. That meant I’d have to step up to the plate and do a job better than my male counterparts because all eyes would be on me.

As soon as I had been accepted, I went from being "Karen" to being "that woman" overnight. The wives and girlfriends of the male firefighters would always ask, "did "that woman" go out on the fire last night?" Although this disturbed me because I wondered what they though I was doing while I was out on a fire, I knew that in time it would pass when they saw I wasn't chasing after their husbands and boyfriends. I even got amused as I tried to envision doing some dirty little sexual act while engaged in the act of putting out a fire! I guess that was one way to kill two birds with one stone! I often invited the other ladies to join, but no one took me up on my offer. It took about a year for me to regain my name, but when I did, it came with a certain respect that I had never had before.

I was treated as an equal by the other members and always treated with respect (except for that one time and that's another story for another time). On my first fire, the path was paved for the direction in which I would be treated. After putting out the fire, like all the other firefighters, I started peeling off my gear. Carrying 50 lbs. of gear gets extremely hot quickly. I flipped my helmet off my head and my long hair came tumbling down over my shoulders. When I did that, the deputy who was also on the site of the fire, eased his way over to the assistant fire chief. He looked puzzled and said, "Did you know you have a woman out here?" The asst. chief smiled and said, "no we have a lady out here!" Everyone seemed amused by the thought that perhaps they had smuggled a woman out here to fight fires...or to do whatever!

As I drove home later that night, I thought of my father. If people have guardian angels, I believe he was with me each time I was called out to a fire. Somehow, I knew if he could see me now, he would have been proud of the transformation his daughter had undergone since her tumultuous childhood. Who would have thought that scrawny, long-legged girl who ran from that false alarm years before would grow up to be a firefighter! It just goes to prove how strange life can be at times.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful somewhere along the way, I learned to roll with the punches.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

FOR THE CAUSE - FALSE ALARM #3

There was a time when living on the streets was fashionable. People panhandled and helped each other out. Hippies became "freaks" and the freaks lived on the streets. For many, the streets had become a giant commune and the street people belonged to a large close knit family. Being 15 had its advantages...people had a natural urge to protect me and others wanted to be near me to take advantage of me, but whatever their motive, I always seemed to be "taken care of" and I was smart enough to play the game the right way. Yes, being 15 had its advantages!

My time on the streets educated me and also led me on many adventures. One road trip I took was to Washington D.C. to attend MayDay 1971. The purpose of MayDay was to protest the war and to also act as a three day festival in West Potomac Park. We camped out until the camping permit was revoked. Things quickly turned ugly. The National Guard was called out, tear gas was used and riots erupted. 8,000 thousand people were arrested and placed in RFK Stadium as a makeshift jail.

I was one of the lucky ones when the chaos began. Although I had been separated from the other people I had traveled from Boston to D.C. with, I had not gotten arrested, I had only mildly felt the effects of tear gas and I hadn't been caught in any major violence. I roamed the streets looking for my friends. I was amazed at how something so peaceful can turn violent so suddenly. I saw how divided our country was on so many things. I wondered as a walked the streets if life would ever regain any sense of normalcy. But what was normal?

As I contemplated life, the thought of the power the people held in their grasp rang loud in my head. As I walked from block to block I started pulling as many false alarms as I could to add to the overall chaos. I reflected back to that day being brought to the fire station while my father was at work. I knew today wouldn't be that way. Today, those alarms rang for the soldiers who gave their lives and the alarms cried ironically for an end to the violence. Today, I wouldn't see my father's disapproving face or be a victim of circumstance.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for the passion I possess.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Friday, July 23, 2010

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE, THERE'S FIRE - FALSE ALARM #2

Sometime during Jr. High School or Middle School depending on what part of the country you live in, I knew school and I weren't meant for each other. I frequently skipped school, cut classes and stayed high most of the time. When I reached high school (appropriately named in my case) I rarely attended classes. I might go to school, but my days consisted of sitting in the smoking lounges in the restrooms and "smoking" or doing whatever I felt like doing. Going to class was rarely on my itinerary!

One day after Christmas vacation, I had a terminal case of the munchies. Cafeteria food was pretty disgusting even to someone with the munchies, so I decided to hike down the street to the golden arches. After going to my locker to get my coat, I figured going out the front entrance of the school would give me the best chance of not being stopped upon leaving. Just as I was about to leave, the fire alarms went off in the school. Immediately, 2000 bitching kids emptied outside in the bitter cold.

The bitch fest about being outside in the cold grew pretty loud until little by little it finally quieted to complete silence. When I realized why everyone had gotten silent, I felt a hand on my arm. The principal said, "Come with me!" Out of 2000 people, I was the only one wearing a coat.

I tried explaining I was just cutting school to go get something to eat and didn't have anything to do with the false alarm, but the principal didn't seem interested in hearing my story. He poked me in the records room and told me he'd be back in a few minutes to deal with me. I was pretty pissed off and decided this would be a perfect opportunity to get even. I opened the file cabinets holding school records, grabbed some files and then went to the window. After opening the window, I liberated the records by tossing them outside into the snow. I repeated this until the file cabinets were empty. I shut the window and sat patiently in the chair waiting for the principal to return.

Once in his office, I didn't get much of an opportunity to speak. He expelled me from school, yet told me I had to finish out the day and return the next morning with my parents. WTF, no time off??? I marched out of his office and straight to the smoking room where I remained for the rest of the day. At the end of the day, when I was leaving school I walked by his office and noticed no one was in there. I slipped in and out quickly leaving him a present. As I walked out of the building, I had a smile on my face. I knew how rattled he'd be when he returned to his office and sat down at his desk to see a joint staring at him.

Of course the next day, I was questioned about the school records and the present. What school records? No witnesses, no proof...so what if they had put me in that room! I bet they wouldn't make that mistake again. And as for alleged present, I certainly wouldn't waste a joint on a straight person...that is, if I did drugs! I often wondered if they recovered all the records or how many the wind scattered into no man's land. Unfortunately mine stayed intact and contains my colorful history of being oppositionally defiant. I know that principal was glad the next month when I overdosed, was brought to the ER and never returned to school. False alarm? I don't think so! I just don't think anyone was really paying attention or knew where the real fire was!

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for the nine lives I apparently have!

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A COKE AND A SMILE - FALSE ALARM #1

Memories of my father are vague. In hindsight, he was merely the man who lived at my house... a non-participating parent. He was a stereotypical drunken Irishman. This tradition was unfortunately passed down throughout the generations and even reared its ugly head in the generation of his offspring. Three of his four children grew up to have substance abuse problems.

My mother was the "head" of the family and dished out the discipline in the family as we needed it usually in a very democratic way. If one of us did something, we all got in trouble! She never had the patience to investigate a wrongdoing and found punishing all of us was the easiest way of punishing the guilty party. My only memory of my father disciplining me was over an incident that happened while I was in 6th grade. This one time my three older brothers had nothing to worry about because I was the held accountable for my own actions. Any day now, I should be getting off restriction!

The neighborhood I grew up in was like many of that era. Generations lived in those neighborhoods without ever leaving. Each neighborhood had several features in common: a family-owned store (forerunner to a convenience store), a neighborhood bar, a local hang-out for the kids and teenagers (usually a pizza parlor with pinball machines) and a park. The young people of each neighborhood were very loyal to their "gang" of friends and mostly mingled only within the group they were born into until a little later in life when it was acceptable to have "outsiders" as friends. A definite code of silence was learned at a very young age and the rite of passage was simply acquired by showing loyalty when a situation arose requiring it.

One afternoon, 4 of us were out taking a walk. Before we knew it we were in the next neighborhood over from the one in which 3 of us lived. My 3 friends were thirsty and wanted to stop at the corner store for a Coke. While they were inside, I remained outside watching the world go by. My back was to the store, so as they exited from the store, I wasn't aware that they had come back outside. All of a sudden I heard a fire alarm go off and my natural "fight or flight" instinct put wings on my feet and I flew away from that location ASAP. Behind me were my 3 friends, laughing, running, and talking about pulling a false alarm.

When the fire trucks arrived and found no fire, they returned to the fire station, but the police scoured the neighborhood for the 4 girls who had fled. When they found us, we were brought to the police station and then subjected to a lecture about being responsible citizens. One by one, each of us were asked our names and addresses. One by one, each one of us were taken home in disgrace to face our families. I was the last one of the group to be questioned. When I revealed my name, the captain of the police department smiled and told me I wasn't going to go home. Instead, I was brought to the fire department where my father was working and had just gone out on a false alarm.

Gratitude statement: Forty-three years later, I am truly thankful to still be friends with the three bad influences mentioned in this post.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I MAY BE A COW, BUT I'M NOT PART OF THE HERD

For me, religion and spirituality are separated by an abyss. While religion is man made and may very well be fabricated with the purpose of being an "opium" to many, spirituality is something I believe we are born with and which leads people into an open-minded exploration. As children, we experience the greatness of the world around us and are in awe of its many mysteries. As we explore and learn, many find a need to explain those mysteries while others simply say they are acts of their higher power.

Yes, God has many faces and has many names throughout the world. Regardless of where we live or whether we worship God or not, we all recognize some force greater than ourselves. Many people believe we are part of some master plan. Those people embrace life by accepting things are what they are and happen as acts of destiny or fate. Others believe in a chaotic universe where everything that happens are random acts that are not guided by some supreme being but by the actions and reactions of physical world around us. Ultimately, we all believe what makes us most comfortable.

I believe the more open-minded a person is the more apt they are to question the world around them and be less satisfied with a catch all answer to everything. The more open-minded a person is the more likely they are to explore the outer boundaries of everything before forming a conclusion. I'm not saying closed-minded people are not capable of deep thought. What I am saying is people with closed minds are more likely to be satisfied with being pigeon holed into a herd mentality and thus, toe the line regarding their beliefs while open-minded people test the limits. Guilt is a powerful enforcer and many fear taking a chance of eternal damnation by questioning God. Socrates once said, "an unexamined life is not worth living". I say each of us has a duty to question whether the beliefs we carry with us are really ours as a result of a close, thorough examination or as a result of a simple herd mentality.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful that before I ever drink any kool-aid, I always know all the ingredients first.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

AS THE WORLD TURNS

In a few weeks, I'll be in Maine amongst old friends and family being a bonafide Maineiac while eating "lobstah", whoopie pies and groovin' on the vibes that always seem the most familiar to me. On the Maine itinerary this year are two reunions... one for the people who grew up in or around my old neighborhood. To date there will about 50-60 people there...just a small and hopefully, sinfully decadent shindig and the second reunion is one that moves to different locales each year. The reunions for this exclusive bunch of people are generally small, but people always have a great time being together again and catching up. To date reunions have taken place in Woodstock, NY, Williams Lake, NY (upstate near Woodstock), St Pete Beach, FL and Jackman, Maine) This reunion is for former residents and staff members of a drug rehab I was in for 2 years. I always shake my head when I have to write or say "two years" because drug rehabs of that era were so much different than the ones of today. My two years were spent "drinking the kool-aid" so I would be deemed ready to join the real world again.

These remaining weeks before I go "home" normally would be spent putting the finishing touches on the two events I'm hosting and planning other activities, but my heart is heavy because I have one friend who was put on hospice care yesterday and was given 2-8 weeks. I hope I'll be able to see him while I'm in Maine and not have to attend a funeral while I'm home. My heart also aches for the son of a close friend of mine who was stabbed and left to bleed to death in the middle of the street. Fortunately, a kind stranger decided to do the right thing by calling 911, so Jason was rushed to the hospital, patched up and put in ICU. While the meth head who stabbed him is already out on bail, Jason is sentenced to the excruciating pain of recovering from his injuries.

Gratitude statement: Life is really fragile and short! The trick is not to take anything or anyone for granted for they may not be here tomorrow.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Friday, July 09, 2010

FEATURED YOYO

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

~Robert Frost~

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful I have no gratitude statement today. Today, I think therefore I am!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I'm one of those people who give my 150% in anything I do, but have felt at times my giving nature has set me up to be used. Since I don't know how to be any other way and have no desire to alter who I am, I'm left with the question of when is enough really enough? If survival of the fittest decides who actually will inherit the earth, is it the emotional vampires (people who drain us completely dry) who will reign supreme or will it be the do-gooders and hermits who rise above the rest?

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for having the strength remain true to myself and to remain compassionate to others even when I'm in jeopardy of being hurt.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

CONFESSIONS OF A SAUCY TART

I often wonder if my sexual inhibitions developed as a result of my experiences as a child. I also wonder if that's true, what exactly makes one woman a saucy tart and another woman an ice queen if they both share similar experiences. One thing I did learn early on was the art of communication and how crucial it is in bed. I really believe great sex has as much to do with how a person communicates what they want in bed or the shower or in a tent out in the middle of nowhere as it does with sexual technique. Expressing what you want sexually at the right time can be very erotic. What you say or don't say also can be very damaging to your partner's ego.

We also have to keep in mind that since the two sexes come equipped with different tools, it's hard to gauge what feels best when we have no idea how what we're doing actually feels like to our partner. The exception to that is homosexual sex, but the fact of the matter is EVERYONE deserves a little positive feedback when the time is right! "God, that feels great...don't stop what you're doing!" or "Do that harder and faster...or "slower and tease me with your tongue a little" may be like giving your partner a gold star for job well done. Whatever it is you like, speak up and let your partner know. True intimacy starts with the ability to open up and trust your partner and grows with a willingness to try new things to please each other. However, if recreational sex or a one night stand is on the menu then remember more often than not you'll get the equivalent to a fast food meal rather than a 5 course meal. It might be satisfying at the moment, but it's rarely very memorable.

Gratitude statement: Although I've spent the last 5 years celibate, I'm thankful for some very fond memories!

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

Friday, July 02, 2010

10 REASONS TO RIDE THE BUS

1. Because you can!

2. To see who will ride with you (Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. ~Oprah Winfrey~)

3. It's a cheaper form of transportation.

4. It's a safer way to ride (less fatalities than auto accidents).

5. You never know who will be on the bus.

6. Call it an educational experience, especially if you've never done it before.

7. Call it a refresher course if it's been a long time since you've done it.

8. You can read, study, text or do whatever while someone else drives (multitasking).

9. You can see life from a different perspective.

10. Because bus drivers like to see new faces (this is just pure speculation on my part).

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for being able to embrace my insanity!

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.