Sunday, December 09, 2012

A LIFE INTERRUPTED

The act of dying and how it affects friends and loved ones is difficult at any time of the year, but during the Christmas season it seems to intensify by a hundredfold. Many times in the past month during moments of silent lucidity, I've found myself lost in deep thought and when the realization that most of what happens in life are things meant for people to just accept without question, I struggle desperately with that acceptance especially when it involves the untimely death of a kind, gentle soul.

I know we all live and eventually die. The end unfortunately will come like an unwelcome visitor that we cannot avoid. As the end grows near, the ability to see a clear light at the end of the tunnel no longer exists. A new light emerges within us and we are able to let go of all we have known and loved as the light illuminates the pathway we all must take. That old phrase "and this too shall pass..." has vanished into some dark, abyss and what we are faced with is a journey into the true unknown.

The process of our final decline is a difficult process for all involved. We not only shutdown physically, but often times, we shutdown emotionally as well. At that point, hindsight and foresight become one very narrow view and a social death often times precedes the actually physical death we will experience. For many of us, we enter and exit life the same way...alone! Yet, how uplifting an experience it is to witness a family come together and rally around a loved one to make their transition easier. In the past month, I have seen courage as I have never seen it before. I know I have been in the presence of true love and amazing grace.

Each time throughout my life when death has called, I've asked myself what is death? Is it the end or a beginning somewhere beyond our comprehension? I know religious people can quote many passages from the Bible depicting how the afterlife will be. But can the afterlife really be a state of perfection for such imperfect beings? And how are we imperfect beings supposed to adjust to all that perfection? Won't all the harp playing and singing become deafening and maddening? Won't it make those blissful souls seated in such angelic dwellings wish for something a little more "earthly" or less perfect? A road less traveled, perhaps? I've never been one to go quietly into the night! The norm has always bothered me and as I get older, I find myself asking "why" a lot more often than I did during my defiant youth. For now, I smile knowing that I'll always sing a little off key and forget the lyrics from time to time no matter where I am or who I'm singing with.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

THE THINGS MONEY CAN'T BUY

I've decided 2013 is going to be a banner year for me. Why? Well, why the hell not? I've decided to cast aside my health problems and other woes and either sink or swim. Yep, I'm going to finish out this bitch of a year and dare the next one not to yield some great stuff for me. I'm going to end this year not by making a list of foolish resolutions that I can't or won't keep, but by simply allowing myself to experience some much needed joy and even some decadent pleasure here and there instead.

I sometimes write questions in my posts and more often than not the questions aren't aimed at reflecting how I personally feel about something, but as a question just thrown out in cyberspace hoping for some light to be shed on a topic by others wishing to leave their imprint upon this empty vessel. I like when people interact and share what's inside (that's something there should be more of in the world instead of bitching and not listening to one another).

I've always been a people watcher and make a plethora of observations. I have to admit the conclusions I form from my observations are entirely based from a single-minded way of looking at things. I've always prided myself in being an open-minded individual, but how open minded are any of us when the only way we can see things is through our own eyes? Perhaps, next year will be different!

Sometimes I sit in a restaurant and see those around me not interacting with each other and I wonder how two people could possibly sit and eat a meal and not have anything to say to each other. Maybe silence is golden and mostly likely what I think I see isn't how things really are. Perhaps the anger, the frustration and the silence I think I see is really something else...perhaps indigestion, the flu or a work-related headache?

One person claims to hear the voice of God and who am I to say that God has not spoken to that person or that God doesn't exist? Oh yes, I can claim the person is mentally ill or explain what they claim to hear or see by using good old rational thinking and logic, but to that person who heard the voice or saw a vision, wasn't it real? How about a person who is a true visionary, someone ahead of their time and a great leader or on the other end of the spectrum a tyrannical dictator? Both see things in a way that others can't or won't. They set out to change the world one person at a time by trying to alter others perceptions of reality. A skeptical person has a hard time taking a leap of faith, but it does happen. When skeptics leap, they do it with their eyes wide open. Just look at history and just ask yourself how logical or rational life really is!

And for those doubting that the spirit of Christmas really exists, all they need to do is open their heart and reach out to someone in need. What better way of saying "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" than by giving to someone else and not expecting anything in return? What better way to keep the Christmas spirit alive all year long than by stepping outside yourself and paying it forward wherever and whenever you can? Things that might not mean much to you when given to someone else might be the miracle they've been waiting for or the spark that might ignite a chain reaction of giving and not taking. Good will might be as infectious as the flu and just might change things one person at a time! So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I hope everyone who stops by has the same type of awakening in the new year that I intend to have.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

THE HOUSE WITH PEACOCK CURTAINS

The year was 1974. I remember eating a lot of bologna sandwiches and actually liking them. Sometimes those bologna sandwiches were washed down with mushroom tea. I guess when you’re young and perpetually high, eating anything tastes great even the putrid tasting tea cut with kool-aid in attempt to hide the horrid "earthy" taste.

We lived in a small 2 bedroom house on Highway 90 in Chipley, Florida (population: approximately 3,000). My bedroom had peacock curtains. Looking back, I really think those curtains were symbolic of my life and times…loud, proud and wowed. We would fell asleep each night listening to Lynard Skynard’s Free Bird and would awake to Bad Company’s Feel Like Making Love. And in between there was sex, sex, sex…lots of drugs and a few bologna sandwiches to keep our strength up for those midnight rodeos.

We were 3 females (Carol, Theresa and I) who lived together, worked together and played hard together. Of the three of us, I was the only one who stupidly got pregnant during that era. I had a beautiful baby girl, but my life was meant for anything, but travelling down some conventional avenue. I was on the fringe teetering gracefully on the edge and there I have remained doing my own thing whatever and wherever that thing has been over the years.

Those days seem like so long ago, yet when I get together with Theresa or any old friend it all seems like just yesterday. Our lives have changed immensely over the years, but I think the more things change the more they ultimately remain the same. So in remembrance of those good old days and the people who imprinted themselves upon my life, I flick my Bic and inhale slowly…deeply until my smile glows from within and the memories warm my chilly heart.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

YIKES! I'M REALLY HAVING A BAD YEAR



I know my posts have been few and far between. My only excuse for my blatent neglect is the turmoil associated with having neck surgery (scheduled on my birthday, September 5th) to remove whatever is protruding into my spinal cord and adding yet another ailment to my growing list. My liver biopsy revealed I have autoimmune hepatitis. Nothing contagious, but it does have the potential to lead to a liver transplant. My doctor is sending me to Oschner's Clinic in New Orleans where all the liver gurus around these parts hang out. After I heal from surgery, I'll start treatment here, but since I have diabetes, the drug therapy will be a little more tricky. The standard treatment used I can't do...hopefully, the back up plan will put me in remission. They say what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger...we'll see if that's true. On the bright side, I'm still managing to paint (slower and with alot more breaks because I have mind-blowing periods of no feeling in my arms). Just typing this has taken me about 30 minutes.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

THIS CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LIFE

The last few months have been hectic to say the least. The blur starts with many trips to the doctor in the ongoing pursuit of trying to regulate my blood sugar combined with a fun-filled road trip to Maine. I took the plunge this year and drove instead of flying. One can really get a deep appreciation for our crumbling infastructure during a long distance road trip. What stands out most in my mind is how horrible the rest areas in the state of Connecticut are. It would be an vast improvement if the buildings were bulldozed in and replaced with portable toilets or old fashioned outhouses accompanied by a spigot or two to wash your hands, water your dogs and rinse those swollen feet. Seriously! Who would have thought Connecticut would be so nasty? Or maybe there's "secret" bathrooms that require a special handshake that I'm just not privy to because my car has Florida tags. Oh by the way, some of the interstates were horrible also, but the multitude of daylilies planted throughout North Carolina along the interstates almost made all the bad points and eye sores along the way pale in comparison.

Tomorrow I see a neurosurgeon because the problems with my neck have gotten bad enough to make me retract the "I'll NEVER have another neck surgery" statement I made almost 10 years ago. No feeling in my arms most of the time and when I do have feeling, they hurt like hell. Slice me! Dice me! At this point I just don't care. Then on Tuesday morning bright and early I have a liver biopsy scheduled. As I see it, I have a pretty good lead on the falling apart process. In between all the medical hoopla and my aimless wanderings, I've managed to keep on painting... I've found it's a great way to stay distracted.

My latest "masterpiece":

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

WALMART AT 2 A.M.

Everywhere I've gone this past week duck tape seems to be required for something. Here in the sunny South, they claim if you can't duck it, fuck it. In honor of that wise and timeless quote, I decided to repost something I wrote years ago because it combines my hatred of Walmart with my love of duck tape. [shaking my head in disbelief] I do really wonder about myself sometimes!

The original post was titled EROTICISM AND THE WALMART SHOPPER:

I hate crowds! I also hate shopping! I guess that not only makes me unAmerican, but also the atypical female. Sometimes I used to go grocery shopping late at night to avoid the crowds. Very late one night, I went to Walmart where I encountered a middle-aged couple ahead of me in the checkout line purchasing 3 items. I made the following observations about the couple:

1. They were a well-dressed, affluent, middle-aged couple.
2. They were obviously enamored with each other because they made frequent public displays of affection (PDA)

My smile turned to utter delight as I became mentally captivated by the 3 items they purchased. To this day I often wonder why any couple would come to Walmart at 2 a.m. to buy a roll of duck tape, a reclining lawn chair and a can of whipped cream! No, I didn't follow them home, but I have to admit I was tempted!

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for having a keen power of observation and enough sense to know when to leave well enough alone!

Do any of you remember when I used to write gratitude statements? It seems so long ago and like something I should still do from time to time now because if I'm not grateful for anything then what's the point to this topsy turvy ratrace I call life?

Food for thought: I wonder if there's some creative use for duck tape.

Friday, June 01, 2012

A PITSTOP FOR THE MORALLY BANKRUPT

[RANT ON]
As I surf around the internet and read new blogs, it always amazes me why some people feel the need to slither around cyberspace attempting to discover where the morally corrupt are hiding. [Oh no! I think that morality train makes a pitstop here every now and then on its way to Sodom and Gomorrah] Their mission, in part, is to locate blogs void of decency, then they quickly report the blog to the powers that be, but only after repeatedly sharing their ignorance in the comment sections of the blogs they find distasteful. From there the cyber police step in and investigate the complaint.

Needless to say, cybersnakes are one-dimensional, narrow-minded creatures in dire need of a cobectomy (removal of the corn cob) which clouds their vision, distorts their judgment and gives them hemorrhoids the size of boulders. No wonder they have a bad attitude! I’m almost certain that cybersnakes lack a sense of humor. I bet they view all comedians as sick, twisted, vulgar, amoral cynics and people like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly as godlike and wise beyond their years. What a sense of power cybersnakes feel they have! Obviously, these slimy, slithering serpents haven't a clue as to what the First Amendment is all about and feel the overwhelming need to dictate morality [theirs]to others wherever and whenever they can. I wonder if any of them know the meaning of the words "sarcasm", “parody”, “satire”, "individuality" "humor" and "freedom". Perhaps, they should look up the definitions in the dictionary before they jump on the morality express.

What's posted on anyone's blog is a matter of preference and nothing more right down to the fonts we choose and the templates we use. Who cares if one person uses red where black might look better or if someone uses profanity to get a point across to their readers? These troublemakers are worse than Big Brother himself because they are one of us. They too are bloggers, but they feel the need to dictate what we post! They purposely and repeatedly visit blogs they find distasteful. Do they really feel it's their duty to thrust their strict moral code and self-righteous opinions upon others? Do they think everyone here in the blogosphere is in need of a little moral tweaking Now that sounds rather kinky to me. Please baby, tweak my morals! Faster! harder! Oh yeah! That's how I like it!

Cybersnakes lack what the rest of us seem to have... a simpler and much nicer "live and let live" philosophy. We are if nothing else are a band of brothers and sisters who seem to realize that blogging is much like real life where people with diverse lifestyles and interests co-exist. They don't see or appreciate that each blog is the product of an individual's creativity and imagination. They quickly deem anything "different" as being amoral and offensive thus worthy of reporting and deletion. For all my fellow bloggers who may blog on the fringe of what may be deemed as acceptable... keep on blogging! Dare to be different! Dare to exercise your right to express yourself! Let your creativity live and breathe in whatever form it wants to take. As long as it isn't killing people and maiming intellects, then blog on and stay strong!

Food for thought: Are the cybersnakes the same people who were tattletales and bullies when they were children? Or are they just living out a fantasy that they don't have the balls to live out in real life?
[RANT OFF]

Thursday, May 31, 2012

UNPHONETICALLY CONNECTED

Getting a true sense of who a person is out here in the blogosphere can be both an easy task or one that's quite difficult at times. People like me who lay it all out there for everyone to scrutinize are probably fairly easy to "read" and get to know. I think most people see me as someone who doesn't feel the need to pretty anything up before throwing it out here to get chewed on awhile before it gets digested and finds its finally resting place in the great blogging outhouse. I think people see that I'm comfortable whether I'm disclosing something highly personal about myself or if I'm just sharing an opinion. But not everyone out here plays by the same rules I do nor do they share the same purpose or motivation for blogging as I have. Some people misuse and abuse this venue as a way to play head games or to be someone they aren't or can’t be in real life. While some of us come across as genuine and sincere, others are anything, but real. Usually after reading a few posts on a blog we deem as worthy to read and revisit, it's easy to be sucked into that person's world. You may even begin to feel as if you really know the person and at times, you can relate to them on many levels through the words they write.

I started blogging on MSN Spaces when Spaces was first created back in 2004. I've seen many people come and go...several will always remain with me and I feel in awe of them and the plethora of talents they openly and eagerly display. Those are the people who have permanently branded themselves into many people’s hearts and minds. I can think of two examples of blogs and their authors who were at opposite ends of the spectrum and who became like the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s of Spaces. Some thought the two were actually one person, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the true dichotomy of man, but on closer inspection one was sometimes in need of a little of Mildred’s special medication while the other needed something a little stronger…restraints and a few good shock treatments.

Spaces was never quite the same the day Jnuts (a name I gave jockfullonuts because his screen name always seemed too long to me) went in search of greener pastures. His special way of spinning a tale often left his readers laughing so hard they felt they might wet themselves or feeling some other emotion equally as intense as the laughter he often caused. Jnuts seductively enticed emotions from each of his readers as he introduced them to his topsy-turvy life in Arizona. He was one of those special people who have many talents...art, photography, writing, just to name a few and he has spent the last several years of his life sharing those talents with all of us. [a heartfelt thank you] He did it all and he did it like no other...well, maybe no other except his archenemy and greatest tormentor, Psychedelic Pariah. I'm sorry Jnuts that I mentioned "the beast". Please forgive me! I almost feel like he may reappear at any moment if I suddenly say his name out loud three times. [PARIAH, PARIAH, PARIAH] Can you see the monstrosity reemerging from his venomous slumber? I can! He sits waiting...waiting...waiting somewhere out here amongst the lurkers and jerks.

Simply saying Psychedelic Pariah was an enigma was like stating the sky is blue. He was a mystery to most and created a persona people loved to hate. The tales he would tell left people in breathless anticipation...always wanting more even when they felt totally disgusted with what they had read. People hated the intricate mind games he played and his lack of needing anyone’s acceptance, yet they still came and read every word he wrote. As his tales grew wilder and more bizarre, people wondered where fantasy ended and reality began. Unlike him, Jnuts didn't push people to the point of insanity. He didn't reel people in only to slap them in the face and throw them back out into the blogosphere dazed and confused to do over and over again. PP was a master at the art of how to properly conduct an abusive relationship and he practiced it every chance he got out with people he felt worthy of his time, effort and attention. Egomaniac? Sure! But every word he wrote was brilliant and I felt a certain perverse void when he disappeared.

There were others...many others and each brings a smile to my face, but not one of these people is someone I actually know in the real world, the blogging neutral zone. Unfortunately, I only see my blogging buddies through their written words. Do their words allow me to see the real person they are? Does each of us see the same thing as we read each other’s words? I suppose I can answer that by asking myself how real any of us are when we share something about ourselves on our blogs. How much of ourselves do we filter into the text we share with others? Is this who we really are? I often wonder if my words give any of you a sense of who I really am?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

STAYING ALIVE

While many people participated in the Disco Era, I was someplace else altogether. I was actually as the song says "staying alive" (Ah, ha, ha, ha, staying alive, staying alive Ah, ha, ha, ha, staying alive...) I do however, remember the music well and now, I have to admit when I hear all the pulsating melodies, it makes me want to shake a tail feather (do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight, get down tonight). Back then, the music seemed so disconnected from where I came and from where I was headed. I now wonder if Donna Summer or Robin Gibb reside in the great hereafter along side all the other great and legendary singers and musicians who are gone, but not forgotten? It makes me wonder where John Travolta would be today without disco. Would he have forever remained just Vinnie Barbarino?

You know, sometimes I really wish I had faith and the same spiritual connection everyone else I know seems to have. Sometimes I want so much to believe as they do and wonder why my thoughts...my heart...my compass keeps me from seeing and feeling what they do where God is concerned. I don't fear death nor do I welcome it, but somehow I'm left out of the loop when it comes to believing that the hereafter is some grand reunion where all things are made infinitely perfect and we miraculously are reunited with one another. Wow! That's just way beyond my comprehension and paygrade. My beliefs seem rather sedate and quite boring compared to that. I think I'll stick to simpler things like hating Walmart. Yes, there I admitted it. I HATE WALMART! I guess that makes me among other things simply and utterly unAmerican.

I really believe if Christians want to find the true Anti-Christ, they need not look any further than their local Walmart Superstore. Who else, but the Devil Himself would coerce an innocent shopper into spending $200 when all they needed was a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread? Who else, but Satan would stock a store that prides itself on being the all-American dream corporation with goods primarily made in China? Yessiree, I think Walmart is one of the greatest clusterfucks on Earth ranking right up there with Logan Airport and driving Interstate 95 between Boston and Richmond (I'm sure other parts of the country have comparable versions of my all time favorite things). Now, that I've gotten that out of my system, I can go about my merry way and prepare for my drive to North Carolina on Thursday. Oh boy, I get to drive through Atlanta and if I'm really lucky I can hit rush hour traffic both going there and coming back.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW

Isn't it funny how sometimes the smallest of things provoke the deepest of thoughts? Yesterday, just one word, a name from my past made me sad for a moment until I allowed myself the luxury of basking in the reality that I survived. My road may be a bumpy one and many times, it's a road less traveled, but there's one thing in which I have 100% confidence. I'm strong even in the presence of the greatest of pain. That name that brought me a moment of sadness yesterday also taught me some of the most valuable lessons I learned in life. While wallowing in the foulest of places, I remember writing the following words long ago:
The only person I hate more than you is me for ever loving you.
Many years later, I feel a sense of overwhelming relief that I no longer feel that way. Sometimes without even trying we're able to look back and smile when we see how far we've allowed ourselves to come. Somehow we always get through the hardest of times no matter how horrendous they may seem at the time and sometimes a name that can still bring a moment of sadness can also bring a profound sense of well-being.

When it's over, it's over! Except for the person who was left in the dark wondering what went wrong and asking, "did I miss something?" Break ups are never easy even under the best of circumstances, but under the normal run-of-the-mill circumstances that make you want to claw eyes out and construct life-like voodoo dolls to ravage with a plethera of painful pinpricks, they're gut wrenching! We, the survivors of a broken heart know intimately how it feels to live a complete lie. We feel as if our hearts have been ripped from our chests and then crammed back in sideways never to be the same. Where love once lived now hate, bitterness and resentment festers. Where dreams once lived now dwell a bruised ego and battered heart. Where hope once lived now is devoured by despair and loneliness.

Often times we quickly rebound into a new relationship only to drag all our hostility and hatred with us. What happens frequently is that our new love interest ends up living with all our ghosts/demons and they pay for the things someone else has done to us. The new person drowns in a sea polluted with our excess baggage and our distorted memory of the Camelot-like life that once was. In reality, Camelot always had some serious problems, but love is blind and sometimes deaf and very dumb, also.

Because we fear change and the unknown, we may become consumed with trying to make something work that is doomed to fail and was never meant to be. We may beg, plead and demean ourselves in so many ways. And for what? For love? What kind of love is worth that pain? What kind of love requires total sacrifice? And if the person who broke our heart was to suddenly do an about face, would we really want to have them back? The thought of revenge may bring a fleeting sense of joy, but why not go that extra mile and feel real lasting joy? Why not start believing that the loss was not ours, but theirs? Losing us was their biggest mistake and something they will have to live with always!

Sometimes there's a very fine line between love and hate. Both possess an all-consuming passion and are easily crossed between in certain circumstances, but hatred is never a sign of successfully ending a relationship. It simply is the same "hook" turned inside out that keeps us emotionally paralyzed and imprisoned in the past. Accept the fact that sometimes we make mistakes and give our hearts to the wrong person. Forgiveness is the only key that will open that cold, hard prison door. Remember hindsight is always 20/20 and everything will be much clearer in the future when our vision is no longer clouded by negativity and a toxic relationships. When pain no longer infiltrates our every thought and we stop believing life is always unfair, the light at the end of the tunnel will finally be within our grasp.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

LIFE CHANGING DECISIONS

December 7, 1996 at precisely 8am was the last time I smoked a cigarette. I have to admit quitting that nasty habit was one of the better things I've done for myself during my lifetime, but like with so many other things in life the good comes with some bad things attached. I've often wondered why so many things in life are defined by that infamous double-edged sword. Why is nothing just sheer bliss and harmony?

Within months of quitting I noticed my clothes were becoming snug. I hadn't replaced cigarettes with food so the weight gain was a bit of a mystery to me. My first thought was to wonder if my crappy gene pool had finally caught up with me. Was I developing diabetes? Off I went to the doctor to solve the mystery. After lots of blood tests to rule out the obvious things that might cause an unexpected weight gain, my doctor reported back to me that I was as healthy as a horse. That news didn't make me want to whinny, but left me with the question of WTF was happening to my body. My doctor quickly cleared up the mystery for me by informing me that I was battling the same thing he was. He had stopped smoking also and had started to gain weight. He told me that once a person stops smoking their metabolism slows down and even though nothing else changes, due to that slowing down process pounds will slowly start to pad their once slim physiques.

He advised me to increase my activity level and to cut back on my calorie consumption. Like everything else in life, I didn't heed what he was telling me. I was hell bent on doing it the Mildred Ratched method. I immediately thought he was crazy if he thought after working outside all day long in the brutal Florida heat and humidity that I was going to come home and then go to a gym for a nice little workout for an hour or so. What was he thinking by telling me to cutback back on my food consumption? I don't eat breakfast. I rarely eat lunch. I didn't snack on junk all day. Dinner was my only meal most of the time. Was he telling me just to starve myself? Sure thing, Doc! Consider food off my daily routine!

By the time I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes six years later, I had gained about 10 pounds per year. After the diabetes came an avalanche of other diagnoses until reality started slapping me in the face. Now I have to admit I'm going to die at a young age unless I do something to change my deteriorating health. After much deliberation and careful thought which by the way is totally unlike me because I like to live in the moment and make impulsive decisions, I have decided to start the rather lengthy process of having gastric bypass surgery.

For those not familiar with how health insurance companies work, let me tell you that they truly dictate what your doctor can and cannot do. They deny coverage of medicines that are prescribed simply because they're expensive. I do understand that they are a business and the bottom line is to make a profit, but their bottom line affects people health and lives. In order to have gastric bypass surgery the insurance company requires a 6 month process before the surgery will be approved which includes seeing a psychologist, a specialized bariatric nutritionist, being on a 6-month supervised diet, going to support group meetings and various other educational seminars along with of course, seeing a bariatric surgeon. Usually, by the time people have gotten to the point of deciding to undergo gastric bypass surgery diets, both supervised and unsupervised, have been tried many, many times with no real success.

Most people simply view obesity as someone with no willpower and no self-esteem PERIOD, but actually under all that fat are problems far greater than simple willpower or self-esteem problems.
Willpower? For Christ sakes, I stopped doing drugs! I stopped smoking! I have willpower! And as for self-esteem, I think I'm a pretty amazing woman. I'm intelligent. I'm witty and on a good day with a little make-up and the right pair of shoes, I can be rather stunning. The only missing ingredient is good health and that I've decided to work towards accomplishing. Hopefully, the people who have stuck by me through thick and thin and those of you who have listened to me whine and rant via this blog, will support me throughout my transformation where I will reemerge a glorious butterfly ready to fly away into a world of good health and dreams fulfilled.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

THE GIRL MILDRED BUILT

As far back as I can remember I felt awkward and self conscious over everything...the way I talked, the way I walked, the way I looked, the way I thought. When I was a child, it wasn't fashionable for women to be tall. I had to buy boy's Levi's so the legs would be long enough to cover my lanky gams. Wearing Levi's spared me from looking like I was getting ready for the Great flood. Yes, I was tall. In fact, I was always the tallest in my class until I reached Jr. High School/ Middle School and the boys had a chance to catch up with me. I was tall and didn't have any hips until sometime after I started having children. I think one of the most damaging things my mother did to my feminine psyche as a child was when she made me get all my hair cut off into the new "Twiggy" look. All that accomplished was to make me look more like a boy. Maybe if she had followed up my new look with showing me the virtues of make-up and how tall, thin brunettes could be as stunning as their short, curvy counterparts my struggling ego would have had a chance to develop a positive "hey, look at me" attitude instead of the negative "fuck it" attitude I did develop.

I was tall, wore glasses and was kind of nerdy without even knowing it. Instead of just accepting who I was and making the best of what I had to work with, I over compensated for all those things I deemed as imperfections and flaws by never letting anyone see how vunerable and self conscious I really was. I was the class clown. I was the first to do anything and everything. I had no fear...no regard for my personal safety. I wanted to fit in and be noticed. I just wanted to be loved. I overkilled everything I did until I woke up one day and I really was what I tried so hard to be. I was that cool kid who had friends from all socioeconomic back grounds. I didn't judge people by the standards most people were judged by. I tried very hard to look inside and as I came so very close to being what my heart ached to be, I started to gradually shutdown. The horrors of life, my life could no longer be kept at bay. Those addiction demons found me. I no longer could hide from them so I started to run. I run fast and furious to a place I felt safe. It was a place no one could touch me or hurt me. It was that place all addicts become familiar with as they become comfortably numb.

When I emerged unprepared many years later, I looked at myself in a new way, but instead of a real change I simply traded drugs for other addictions. Yes, life was nothing more than a huge, confusing barter system with many interesting trade-offs along the way. My metamorphosis had truly begun and I once again spun out of control. I allowed the slow road of self destruction to mold every aspect of my life. As I aged I grew weary and my body started to breakdown. Years of abuse had finally caught up with me. I was no longer that skinny, self-conscious girl who just wanted to be loved. Instead of choosing to find love and happiness, I chose the path of chaotic, unhealthy, drama-filled relationships that never had any chance of succeeding. I chose a road that would only bring me misery and despair.

I sit here now wondering why I felt I needed to punish myself so severely for such a long time. I wonder why I was always able to forgive others, but never myself. I sit here now afraid of what the future will bring and want so desperately to change the road I chose so many years ago. I wonder if all the harm I've done to myself in so many ways can be reversed. I wonder if I can heal and finally feel the peace there must be in being healthy. Have I waited too long? Sometimes a change in course takes drastic measures. Yes, my health is bad, but I have taken the necessary first steps in attempting to correct the ills that have ravaged my body for the past decade. Those steps I'm sure may be viewed as being drastic measures, but anyone who knows me wouldn't expect any less from me than a new journey started via drastic measures and the tenacity of a hard-headed Irish lass.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A TOUCH OF SPRING FEVER

I always come to the same conclusion about love and relationships. That same lightbulb goes off over and over again telling me actions really do speak louder than words. Words are easy and often times cheap and meaningless! If someone isn’t willing to back up all their verbal sunshine and roses with stepping up to the plate when it really counts then why do so many of us feel the need to make excuses for their stupidity? Why do we waste our time on people who don’t call us when they say they will, who always are too busy unless they want something from us and who never want to put our needs first? Doesn’t spending time and energy on something that we get nothing from in return become more damaging than being alone? Why do we let ourselves love someone who isn't capable of reciprocating that love?

When I start thinking about what a great catch I am I can smile now instead of feeling rejected, neglected and confused. I no longer beat myself up over anyone's inability to love me. I like myself and just don’t want or need the aggravation of headgames and evasive tactics...either you’re with me or you’re not!!! It’s as simple as that. No shades of gray this time...it’s all clearly black and white. I don’t want or need someone who’s not physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually ready for whatever lies ahead. My babysitting, coaxing and coercing days are behind me. If it takes that much work then I don’t want the job! What I do want sometime in the future is that when the time is right and I reach out again in search of an emotional connection what I grasp is a hand and heart reaching out for me.

MSN SPACES ALUMNI ON FACEBOOK

For anyone who was part of the insanity on MS Spaces, there's now a group on Facebook for old blogging buddies to reunite.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

THE SPIDER AND THE FLY

I'll be the first to admit that at times I can be a real cold, calculating, conniving bitch. On occasion, my claws come out and I aim for the throat. I guess that doesn't paint me as being the kind of person I strive to be most of the time. What it does show is a side of me that emerges at times when I feel threatened, insecure or angry. That ugly side is the side that most of us try to avoid confronting and when it does raise its ferocious head we try to rationalize it away as being human nature and nothing more.

At my age I really do know where not to tread, yet sometimes I find myself going there anyway. Perhaps it's nothing more than old bad behavior which is a hard habit to break. Like an addict who "slips" every now and then, I sometimes allow myself the luxury of exploring my dark side. I always hate what I see and vow I'll never go there again. HUH! Not until next time! I don't strive for perfection. I strive to understand myself and to love the person I am. In order to do that I have to embrace and forgive that dark side because it too is a part of me.

I've been single since the late 90's and in "time out" for almost 7 years. Sometimes I think this self imposed hibernation is just another act of being self destructive. In 7 years I have become a well established troglodyte with having only a few moments of contemplating a return to relationship insanity. Those moments I have discovered are as self destructive as anything else I have done in my lifetime. During my last blast of irrational thinking I seriously considered getting back together with my ex-husband. Admitting that makes me shudder and I am truly thankful that the tangled web I was weaving went no further than just talk! After dancing with the notion for awhile, I decided that my ex is as big a player as he always was and that I couldn't allow myself be sucked back into his glorious madness again. Time, distance and age hasn't cured his mental illness. Nothing will and I've always known that but somehow I jumped into an emotional tag of war and like most women caught up in an emotional triangle, I aimed all my negativity at the wrong person.

Below is a message I recently sent to his present significant other:
Jan,
I'd like to make a long overdue apology for the rude, unkind and unnecessary comments I've written in the past. I won't attempt to make any excuses for what I wrote because there is no excuse for my negative behavior. I do want you to know that during the time Jim and you have been together, our relationship has been strictly platonic. What Jim and I had is in the past. We've both moved on and all I want is for him is to find the happiness and stability that he so desperately seeks. Jim has many wonderful qualities, yet it's his illness driven behaviors that seem to dominate his life much of the time and keep him from maintaining the status quo that most people seem to be able to achieve. I know you must love him as I once did. Please know I only want the best for both of you and that I really am not the horrid person I came off sounding like by attacking you. I'm sorry and I hope you can forgive me.

Sincerely,
Karen

I received no response and that's okay because I know I ultimately did the right thing.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT

The night was laden with the unseasonably warm Gulf of Mexico air. As I lay awake listening to the symphony of sounds winding down into its usual nightly slumber, I was suddenly startled by the blinding light that filled my bedroom. My eyes widened as the outline of several figures drifted slowly towards me. Fleeing became impossible because my limbs had become paralyzed with some unexplained fear of the unknown. The relentless void finally engulfed me. When I opened my eyes, I was in a parking lot. The engine of the car I had obviously been driving was still idling and waiting to be turned off.

As I became oddly familiarized with my surroundings I realized I was at school. Beside me was someone I hadn't seen in years, but how could that be? Feeling the need to leave, I threw the car into reverse and quickly departed freeing that parking spot for the next in line. When I realized I was driving in reverse with ease, I stopped. Confusion and frustration filled me when I tried shifting gears, but the only direction my car seemed to want to go was backwards. So backwards it went, but I knew I needed help when I was unable to leave the parking lot. The number I dialed tugged at my heart. As I looked at the display on my cellphone, a familiar voice answered. I had called my ex-husband begging him for help.

He quickly came to my rescue, but when he arrived in the medium blue Ford F150 truck he once drove many years ago the obvious question of why my son and his wife were with him wasn't what I wanted to know. I wanted and needed to know was why he was driving that truck. With no real explanation, they quickly rushed me to a location I called "Sanctuary" so the surgeon I once worked with could alleviate the excruciating pain in my lower back. I hobbled around Sanctuary trying to find Dr. Rubey to no avail. Each door I opened was the wrong one. I found no offices or waiting rooms. All paths in Sanctuary were a circuitous route back to the ornate entrance where the receptionist sat poised and ready help anyone who entered the facility. She greeted me once again with a radiantly artificial smile. She paged Dr. Rubey and sent a runner to find him. Why are doctors never on time for their appointments? Don't they know I too have places to go? People to see? And things to do? The thought of having to wait once again for something that wouldn't help me annoyed me.

I shut my eyes and rubbed my brow. All optimism silently fled Sanctuary and when I opened my eyes again the room was dark. I was alone. The clock boldly displayed 3:36. As usual I got a few hours of sleep before waking in pain, but what was different about this time was that I had dreamed and the dream was as lifelike and vivid as being there in person. But wasn't I there in person? I found Sanctuary or it had found me, but Sanctuary was like life...optimism was bountiful, but fleeting. I never dream or I guess I should say I rarely dream. REM sleep where dreams are made is a place I rarely visit.

When I repositioned my body and found a spot that slightly eased my deep, consuming pain, that spot immediately secured my place on The Sleep Express. Destination: a huge outdoor market where hundreds of merchants were selling jewelry. A wide cuffed bracelet caught my eye. The fine Mosaic pattern of large flowers outlined with silver brought a smile to my face. It looked right and felt right on my wrist as I admired its beauty and superb craftsmanship. I knew that bracelet was meant to be mine and so did the merchant. After he refused my money, I gently kissed his cheek and I whispered, "thank you". Ah! Sanctuary once again!

I gazed out the sliding glass doors onto the beach where the waves had begun to gain momentum as they crashed onto the shoreline. The book I had been reading about ancient Egyptian artifacts laid open at the section showing bracelets the Pharaohs had once lavished on their favorite concubines. There it was! There in all its glory was my bracelet. The gift from a Pharaoh from long ago. How could I not smile? Naturally, I called Jim to let him know the storm was strengthening. The waves were now starting to reach the doors. He entered the room just as a huge wave crashed into the house completely submerging it underwater.

I awoke struggling to breathe. Sleep apnea sometimes does that to me, but tomorrow I receive a new CPAP machine which I know I NEED to use. No more lame excuses! My latest sleep study revealed I stopped breathing 55.9 times per hour during apnea related episodes. My lowest oxygen level was 73%. Ooops! My bad! Normal levels should be 95-100% with anything under 90% is considered being in respiratory distress. My doctor was amazed that I haven't had a heart attack or a stroke in my sleep. He also was amazed that I can function during the day after having been deprived of oxygen all night long night after night. Is "functioning" what this is called? If he only knew!

Friday, January 06, 2012

MY DOCTOR'S BEDSIDE MANNER

I was at one of my doctors yesterday for a follow-up (the list seems to be growing longer each day) when my doctor felt the need to tell me an off color joke. He asked me what were the 3 words a woman hates to hear during sex. As he's asking me this I'm thinking, "WTF! Why is he telling me a joke?" I shrugged my shoulders as an indicator to show him I'm pretty clueless. I barely even remember the last time I had sex let alone what I might have hated to hear in the throes of passion. Enlighten me, doctor...PLEASE! QUICKLY! The suspense was killing me! When he said, "Honey, I'm home!" followed by telling me he works til 10 some nights and rarely sees his wife, I really thought WTF. I left his office wondering if I had just been hit on or if it was just his style to break the ice in this peculiar manner. Next time I see him, I'll ask him if he knows why women have such problems with depth perception. When he looks as puzzled as I must have looked, I'll smile sweetly as I tell him, "It's because they've always been told this much |____________________________| is 6 inches!" And for all those who might be wondering....no, he isn't my gynecologist!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

TRIPPIN' DOWN THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD

Wimpy Daughter gave me a gentle nudge today as I began to "work" the waiting room at the yoyo inspector's office while waiting for the empty pod (my mother) to reemerge. What better place to start up a conversation with strangers than at a therapist's office? Wimpy Daughter simply reminded me Mildred has not written very much lately. When I tried running the excuse that I haven't been in the right frame of mind to write, she gave me "the look". Okay Wimpy, here I am! In between listening to a man tell us how in his youth women used to be shy and reserved and knew how to dress and act like ladies, I scanned the room for interesting architectural details. I like to multitask and realized I must have been skipping school the day they taught all that being a lady stuff since being shy and reserved is definitely not my forte!

He went on to tell us that in those days men didn't chase after women to get into their pants! REALLY??? It must have been due to all the saltpeter their mothers sprinkled on their Wheaties every morning. The climax to his dissertation about women was when he revealed the fall of womankind happened as a result of the drug revolution. I immediately jumped to my feet, threw my arms stretched upward to the heavens and hollered, "HALLELUJAH!" Not really, but as his wife was ushered into see her therapist, I wondered what being married to someone that narrow would be like. Missionary style sex for 40 something years must be as inspiring as his dissertation was. I know it made me hot...and moist in just the right places! As we left the office, Wimpy Daughter later told me that she had forgotten how people always just seem to open up and talk to me wherever I am. Lucky me to be cursed like that!

And now for the rest of the story: Yesterday morning I got a phonecall just after 8am from my primary care doctor's office to let me know my mammogram came back with abnormal results (again). It's difficult to keep going through this each year and feeling like I'm a timebomb just waiting to go off. So far each time I've rolled the dice, luck has been with me. This time I was immediately referred to a surgeon who I see on the 10th. I've been struggling since yesterday to remain positive. Hopefully, it'll be nothing, but I have to admit I'm tired of those people who have been through previous abnormal mammograms and breast biopsies who have reduced my situation to being "nothing to worry about". Hey, guys it is something to worry about and minimizing it doesn't make me have any less anxiety especially when my mother is a breast cancer survivor and one of my closest friends is going through chemo now after having a mastectomy. I know whatever happens next week, I'll handle it because what other choice do I have? So instead of being off to see the wizard this year, I'm off to see the surgeon! The way I see it is that starting the year off badly is much better than starting it on a good note because the only direction I can go is up! So that's my story and I'm sticking to it...at least for a day or two! You know how pathological liars are!