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.