Faith, Fairness, and the Mysterious Mating Habits of Humans

zephyrliving

Sunday evening was a lovely time when I was young. We had our main meal at noon after church–usually pot roast, roasted potatoes, a rich onion gravy, and some type of vegetables. Come evening we had family time. We watched movies on television, had a lot of fried egg sandwiches and popcorn in front of the tv, and played board games.

That was when I was really little. When I was older and we lived in Iowa, my father would often leave Sunday evening so he could have an early start at whatever store he was visiting on Monday morning. Once we moved, it seemed like fun didn’t come naturally anymore.

I have been thinking this past week about life lessons my parents taught me while growing up, and one lesson in particular. I’ve told you previously that in my household we father-worshipped. I don’t mean that sacrilegiously. I just…

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Eau de Forest Fire

It is hot in this desert. We haven’t hit the triple digits yet in the northern part of the state, but four forest fires burn– the Whitewater-Baldy in the Gila, the Little Bear Fire in the White Mountain Wilderness Area of  Lincoln National Forest, La Cejita near Taos, and the Jemez Ranger District near Santa Fé.

Forrest mismanagement, drought, electrical storms, and wind are the culprits. There is no taming mother nature.  She will do what she will. Someone once said, “The thing that a lot of people cannot comprehend is that Mother Nature doesn’t have a bullet with your name on it, she has millions of bullets inscribed with ‘to whom it may concern‘.” She is the great leveler–of age, of income bracket, of race. Our rains, which New Mexicans drolly call “monsoons,” will not arrive until July which leaves 1,500 forest fire fighters in the midst of these blazes. 200,000 acres have burned in the Whitewater-Baldy fire alone. Year after year I wonder how we recover. That’s one of the ignominious wonders of news reporting–one day hundreds of thousands of acres are burning and the next? A mystery because we’ve gone on to the next sensational tidbit, leaving behind the hundreds of people and animals whose lives have been unilaterally and permanently transformed or even lost.

My heart goes out to those who are affected by the fires. My gratitude lies with:

1.) Firefighters in New Mexico and all over the world. Thank you.

2.) My children, whose hearts are moved by the devastation. You are amazing, wonderful human beings.

3.) Having never been victim of fire.

4.) SCI of New Mexico

5.) My faith in my fellow human beings.

Peace, T.

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Donkey Years it was Since She Wrote…

In the days beyond recall, I used to write a blog. Humans make plans and the Keebler Elves laugh. It’s been such a very long time ago that I last wrote. I honestly don’t know the last time was. What I do know is this: I was home dicking around knowing that I needed to do something, something productive, ANYTHING other than sit around obsessing about needing to do something and I couldn’t come up with anything–clean just a corner of my bedroom? Too much. Go to the law library and work on my bankruptcy paperwork? Way too much. Do some laundry? Again, no. All completely and totally overwhelming. Then a tiny voice piped up and said, “Write a blog post.”  Ah, sweet relief! That I could do. That I wanted to do. That would somehow help me out of the miasma I’ve been floating in since I returned from Iowa. 

I went home to Iowa to help my parents. My father had surgery scheduled to remove a cancerous growth in his left cheek–the parotid gland to be precise. My parents are nearly 80 and for whatever reasons my sister and brother, who live closer, couldn’t attend. I could buy (though not afford) a ticket and I could give a week to help them traverse the huge university hospital system where the surgeon would dissect the tumor and the gland from the nerve that serves everything on the left side of the face from his eye to mouth. He would even remove a patch of skin giving my father a mini-facelift on the left side (though I would be negotiating for fair treatment of the right side were I the patient).

I had a lot of anxiety about this trip because I really couldn’t afford it financially or time-wise, but my parents needed me and I couldn’t really say it was impossible to go and I truly wanted to be there for them.  I hadn’t seen my folks in two years and those two years have been really tough ones for all of us. I recently read Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. She really touched me when she wrote about her elderly parents and how she had never gotten the chance to say how sorry she was for how age diminished them–how their bodies and their minds and sometimes those around them continually betray them and they lose control of their lives and choices.  I wanted to go home and tell my parents how sorry I am for what they’re going through and most of all, as my father and I haven’t gotten along all that well in recent years, I wanted–NO…I NEEDED to go home and tell him I loved him before he had surgery. And I admit that I wanted to be again the good and helpful daughter for a change instead of the one always bringing trouble to their doorstep–different, difficult, troubled.

I really had no idea how much change two years could bring. My father was letting the assisted living people do all kinds of things he would normally consider his job–from changing lightbulbs to making appointments. And relatives had used the word “dementia” in reference to my mother’s mental state which felt like fighting words. I couldn’t deny anymore that at least for the first week, those words applied. I wanted to know what people had done with my mom. I used to put everything my mother was going through mentally in the depression basket. And I believe that prolonged depression has taken a huge toll on her mental acuity. But there’s more to the story now.

My father, my sister, me, and my materal grandmother

My father’s surgery went very well. Dr. Rodrigo Bayon is an excellent surgeon. My father recovered well in the hospital and when we arrived home. My mother was a total basket case. I don’t really know where she was in her head most of the time. She is a retired RN, and she’s usually interested in the process in a way I’m not. She’s usually overseeing that everyone is doing the right thing about her family member patient’s care. That mom was underground. She talked about how afraid my father was which I couldn’t see at all. I think she was projecting her fear. Aunts and Cousins came the day of the surgery and it really put her mind at ease and distracted her. That was great because I had to move our things from the hotel down the road to the hospital guest rooms. Later in the week cousin Kathy came and that meant so much to all of us. I think Kathy saw a bit of what had been going on with Mom. It was like she would duck out on herself.  She never could remember what floor dad was on or what floor we were on. I wheeled her in a wheelchair all over that hospital and my glutes are in pretty good shape.

We ran into problems after we returned home. The rents were down at dinner one evening (I declined to go because I was having my own mini-meltdown). My father’s jaw began to swell and before long he looked like something out of a science-gone-wrong movie. We took him to the emergency room and they sent him by ambulance back to the university hospital. By the time the doctors made that decision it was 9:00 p.m. Mom and I chose to go in the morning for many reasons. We had to pack and I was going to have to drive on unfamiliar roads at night and I don’t drive well at night. We also had to kennel the dog in the morning.

When we arrived, Dad had been through surgery–the moment he arrived they took him in. He had a huge hematoma and they removed the blood. They couldn’t see anything that had caused it, but in the end decided to take him off coumadin. The surgery and the pressure of the hematoma on his throat made it swell and they couldn’t get the breathing tube out for two days, so he was sedated and lost two days. Mom, amazingly enough, was completely in her right mind for this surgery. Dad was weak as a kitten and I actually was afraid leaving him, but I left the day after we took Dad home. He was pale and weak, but since then, I hear in his voice he’s doing better and better.

My parents have always been my safety net, and seeing something tumble my very strong–both in character and health–father, was so difficult.  I think about being little and how easy it was then, or so it seemed, to be a “good girl.” And every time I think this surgery is about my father, and it is, I am also reminded how much this is about us and our father-daughter relationship. I remember vividly being small and wanting to help my father polish his shoes before work and waiting for the day I could grow up and be a man.  I wish it could have stayed that simple but that is not the nature of life. And whomever it was who designed this life cycle? WTF!?!? I need another lifetime to give to my parents all I wish I’d given them in this lifetime. The roles have switched and and even though I still need so much help, it’s my time to help them.

I think I’ve probably avoided quite a bit writing about what’s going on with me now by writing about what happened with my father, but hey, with my life I have plenty to write about on a different day and I didn’t know until I began writing how very much I needed to get this out. It’s been weeks since I’ve had my head shrunk because of the trip. But we can get to why I’m procrastinating later ;).

Gratitudes

1.) For my children, amazing loving beings.

2.) For my family members who constantly provide me with opportunities to grow.

3.) For Kathy, for getting me back home and being there for me.

4.) For Peter, for preparing the way for me to see my parents as elderly.

5.) For my dogs, for being there when I got home and for Joseph and Gris for taking such good care of them.

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  ~  Albert Einstein.

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Runs with Scissors Seeks Doesn’t Play Well with Others and Doesn’t Use her Inside Voice for Conversation, Laughter, and Good Times

Yesterday I spent nearly the whole day writing. I wrote my heart and soul out. Onto pieces of lined school paper (narrow-ruled, of course). Two letters. One to my love Trey*, who is no longer speaking to me. One to my friend H*, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude and a thank you letter. Numerous emails, texts, and Facebook posts. I should be all out of words, but I’m not, interestingly enough. I’m full of them. Writing has been for me like pulling teeth of late. I haven’t been able to concentrate, and now I find that the words are spilling out of me. It’s like they’ve been blocked, like my feelings have been locked up, like they’ve been stuck–caged with no place to go but inward.

No one carries the blame for that. I guess it’s my disease. I never know when I’m stuck in it and when I’m me–what is it and what is me. And I have to find that distinction. I’ve driven Trey away. I really must learn this lesson before I lose someone else who is dear to me, though there is truly no one dearer than he. And I don’t mean to disrespect my other loved ones, all of you live in the same place in my heart with Trey. But when I’m angry, when I have a gripe, I lose all sense of perspective. I’m like a fucking pit bull with a bone. I really don’t understand it. I’ve worked so hard on letting go. Obviously not hard enough.

I’ve been working on this rut and this feeling for a while. I guessed it started at the time Trey left and my new job started. Damn though, if life isn’t strange. The day after I put my foot in my mouth so deeply it takes the jaws  of life to get it out, my friend Zelda* calls and we have a three-hour conversation. That was a friendship I had simply left alone, because it wasn’t working. How freaky is that?

I’m reminded that I simply have to work harder than the average person in every area. I can’t slack when dealing with my mental illness. And I’ve been slacking for months. Well, for a while, I didn’t have enough money to get my medications when I needed them and sometimes I had to wait a few days before I could get refills. That has to have driven my system totally wonky. I’ve realize that writing this blog is more of an intellectual examination my illness, it doesn’t seem to help me with my feelings, and what helps with my feelings is to write in my journal. I haven’t exactly been seeing the marvelous Dr. M. on a regular basis either. So, yeah, my disease has taken over. Fuck–I let it take over. The number one thing on my list of tools is  my medication.

For months now, things weren’t going well with Trey. After he left, they went downhill fast. The change in him was abrupt and painful. And our relationship, to me, was ambiguous. It wasn’t what it was. It was nothing close to what it was. And as I’ve mentioned it, I ended it several times, and then he said he couldn’t do it, and wanted to be friends. That was the middle of March. I said I’d try, but it wasn’t something I could do. I’m not really good at crossing those lines between romantic relationship and friendship. I’m sure we were both hurting a lot at that particular point. I regret having been very selfish and thinking about my feelings much more than his, and not having been able to be there for him during a difficult time. My feelings got in the way. I felt that then, I feel it now. I’m sure there was something we could have done differently, but at this particular point, it’s water under the bridge.

I’ve told him a bunch of times I couldn’t do this anymore, and “this” meant hurt the way I was hurting. He finally got tired of me telling him that, and the way I told him that. Of all things, this all took place in typeface–on Yahoo Messenger, over e-mail, and through text. I’ve been hurt and apparently incredibly angry about the things that have happened between us. Because I do not get mad at the drop of a hat. But when I do get angry, it burns hard, fierce, fast, and hot. I am completely caustic. And I’m learning that a person needs to take time with it. I know that intellectually. I simply don’t apply it. For whatever reason, I carry things with me for long periods of time. Do I want to be this way? No. And so, I’m going to  have to take steps not to be this way.

But here’s how things transpired the other night. We were actually talking! For the first time in a long time. I hadn’t wanted to talk to him because it was just too hard. I had wished him a happy birthday and he wished me a happy Mother’s Day via text. We exchanged some more texts over the next day. We emailed, or rather, I emailed. He thought, after reading my post Driving Miss T. that perhaps I would be ready to be his friend. I don’t have our texts, and I suppose that’s not a bad thing, but here is an email I wrote. The reason I do this is to deconstruct what happened. So I can see the places I went wrong and hope that I can keep it from happening again. To get the sequence straight in my mind and not blame myself for what I am not responsible for (some portions deleted to protect privacy). Previous to this, it’s good to remember our last conversation, which was also in typeface, about me “clocking” him on Facebook, which was infuriating because we weren’t even Facebook friends at the time,

Trey,
You should always let a woman have the last word. No, Tracy, I’m in no shape for a relationship at the moment. Yes, we live 2,000 miles apart. You don’t know what you’re going to do with your life. I don’t know what I’m going to do with mine.
I don’t know how to be your friend, Tracy, I’m sorry. It hurts. It keeps me from progressing. I’m not like you.
I love you from the bottom of my heart. I promised to come get you in September if you weren’t already here. I know enough about you to know that I want you here. That I can be faithful to you if we have a plan.  I am committed to you. I don’t give my heart lightly, Tracy. Were we kidding ourselves? No. If following your heart is something impractical, something to scoff at, then scoff all you need to, but I won’t join you.
I can change that and be only your friend. But I don’t want to. I’m going to hold out hope that some time in the not too distant future, you will decide you still want to be with me. Or you may not. Till then, till one of those two things holds true, I’m hanging on, from a distance.
I don’t need to talk to you to maintain my love for you. Love is a choice, an action. Would I rather talk to you? Yes, of course I would. But you feel whatever it is you feel. I understand you need time alone, and I’m giving it to you. It may not be in the form that you hoped for, but it is in the form that I can handle.
I don’t know how I can give you what you want, Tracy, without being wounded more.
If you have ideas, I’m always willing to hear them, my door is always open to you. We’re not on the same page, though, love.
Peace, T.
And then another (can we say compulsive?)
       I have to work very hard every night not to call you, but I still sleep with the phone on my chest. Sappy, I know.
       My post today and yesterday? They were about coming out of the place I was. I don’t need for you to agree with me to know that you told me about that sister of a friend working out with you. I’m still disturbed by you not admitting even to the possibility of having said it, but I’m not going to let that get in the way.
I’m going to bed in about an hour. I’m willing to give being friends another try, if you’ll stop talking about the fact that we’re only friends. I want to refuse to let go of you, even if it means we are just friends. But I feel like you’re playing with my feelings for you, sometimes. I know you aren’t. I know you wouldn’t do that purposefully, just as I hope you know that I’m not playing games with you by saying you know where I live. And I guess I really think that no contact is the best solution to the problem for me. If you love me and want to be with me, you’ll tell me. If you don’t, you won’t. At some point in time I will be in a better place. And I will want a close, healthy, loving, strong, intimate relationship. I want to have that with you. I realize you don’t have that to give right now and neither do I. That you’re not saying you will never be able to, you’re just not in that place now. But I’m saying I’m willing to work towards it, and you aren’t.
I would love to be there for you when you need a shoulder. I also know you have all of your brothers and sisters and mentor and the like, and that you really don’t need me. It seems to me that it matters little to you whether we talk or not.
My post was about a lot of things, and one of the first things I wanted to do after I came to the realization about the place I was in was to call you and tell you that I’m sorry for having been such an ass. I think about you with a lot of love always, regardless of where my head is.
You say that it’s hard to care for someone if you can’t talk to them. Yes, that is true. Because caring implies acting. At the very least the act of listening.
So, I propose this. For today, and I don’t know about tomorrow, because I’m not like you, I have my ebb and flow, today, if you wish, call me when you are going to sleep. We don’t have to talk, or you can talk to me, and I will just listen. Today, tonight, I know that I can have a conversation with you without being hurt and angry.
If that works for you, or if it doesn’t, please let me know now. Otherwise, I’ll assume we’re still on the path of not talking. That’s the best I can do today, Tracy. I’m sorry if it’s not good enough.
Love, T
We texted that night, I believe. And I said I wanted to go to sleep with him. What I meant was, we used to go to sleep with our phones on. One of us would wake the other with snoring, or the phone would disconnect after 2 hours, 3 minutes and 16 seconds. Okay, call it sappy if you want to, but it made me feel so comforted. We had a misunderstanding about what kind of sleeping together we were talking about. I’m pretty sure this made me pretty mad. It felt like a purposeful misunderstanding on his part, that he wanted what he wanted and inserted it into my innocent idea. Okay. I’m not a young girl and I am nowhere close to innocent, but my desire for comfort was. And even if he did try to turn  my desire into his, I have a choice, right? I’m not as casual about sex as many people are. But I still felt disrespected. So yet another email from me (rolling eyes at self),
       You got some sleep.
I’m going to share my thoughts with you this morning. I didn’t sleep. Not because of anything we said, but because I need to pick up my sleep medication. Urgh.
It seems to me, Tracy, that we’re both trying to take care of ourselves. One of the ways you’re trying to do that is to be friends with me because my friendship adds value to your life. Or it did. Our friendship was always based in a working towards something more vein. It wasn’t ever just purely friendship, except maybe at the very beginning.
You need to take care of yourself first and I need to do the same. If there’s anything leftover after that, then we have something to give to each other.
Please know this…I cannot see wanting a phone bone with you at any point in the near future. I’m not a sex outside of a relationship person. Please understand and respect that.
       What I’ve been trying to tell you is, if you are ever interested in picking up where we left off, you know where to find me. If you really need to talk to someone, call me. But I’m not interested in a comfortable friendship with you. Like I said, that’s your happy place, that’s what you want and need. It’s not what I want or need.
I’ll be there for you if you need me. I won’t be proud if I need you. But I’m not likely to call you for a casual chat. I’m sorry I can’t be what you want me to be. I won’t close the door, but I’m not likely to step through it either. That’s the best I can do for today. I’m sorry I can’t be consistent.
T.

We talked, then we were chatting on Yahoo Messenger. He said something that was hurtful, and I let it hurt me. He had been stingy with me, emotionally, which is his prerogative. I could have ended the conversation, if it wasn’t pleasing me. When I complained about what he said, he told me to get of the fucking pity pot. That’s when I ended the conversation. It was like a matador had waved a red cape in front of my face. I said I was out, but with a lighted fuse. Trey, who has always been gentle and tactful, gave me another shovelful after I had asked for some affirmation of care. I asked him why he wanted to talk to me. What he said was, why wouldn’t he want to talk to me. I wasn’t a negative. I said okay…and something else like glad to know how important I am to you…and that’s when I got the pity pot comment. Not just the pity pot comment, the fucking pity pot comment. I was crazy hurt and then I got crazy mad. To me, Trey had just taken the gloves off, just hit below the belt. If I’m talking about the weather and it’s hideous, I feel okay about using profanity. But in a disagreement between me and someone else? Profanity is abusive. It means we’re  on.

I called him when I got home, and asked what the rant was about. He said it wasn’t a rant, he was just expressing how he felt at the time. I then saw an offline message he sent,

Look, If u didn’t matter to me…..DO U REALLY THINK I WOULD BE GOING THROUGH ALL OF THIS???? Let me help u with that……………..HELL FUCKING NO!!! I don’t have the time to waste on people I dont give a shit about!!

Then he sent an email,

My friends tell me what I NEED to hear, not always what I WANT to hear, & I, in turn. try to do the same! I AM NOT GOING TO TIPPY TOE, OR EGG SHELL IT WITH U, I JUST CAN’T.

More profanity. I’m pretty sure this is when I let it rip,

       You go on being who you are, saying what you please however you please, and not taking responsibility for the hurt you cause, okay? When you get out of your “it’s all about me and how I feel and I know best phase” let me know. Meanwhile, I’m busy taking care of my stuff and working through my mom’s cancer.
I have my own shit to deal with and I don’t need you bringing me down in the name of what you think I need to hear and your abusive way of putting it.
Fuck you!

And again,

       According to you, it just happened. I asked you why you still wanted to talk to me and you told me I wasn’t a negative, why wouldn’t you talk to me. Am I supposed to apologize to you because you said something hurtful to me, then on top of it, you tell me to get off my fucking pity pot and then I should be grateful that you’re giving me this great advice because if you didn’t care about me, you wouldn’t be wasting your time with me?

What kind of delusional trip are you on?

But no, it was just something that happened, right? You were just expressing yourself. So that’s what you’re like when you’re not tippy toeing? Not walking on eggshells?  Thanks, you can keep your sage advice to yourself. There is no cause and effect there. Going from A) asking for an answer to why you’re talking to me to B) Get off your pity pot is not a direct correlation.

Or have you just been masking your  kindness and judgmentalness all along? “People who are brutally honest get more satisfaction out of the brutality than out of the honesty.” – Richard Needham

Along with some really great texts, I was really on a roll,

Me: I am tired. I have had a very long day and tmw will be the same. My mom is in a lot of pain and it’s breaking my heart. I wanted to talk to you but you are not available. Good night.

Trey: I AM NOT DOING THIS!!!! One minute u tell me to go f myself & then u want to talk!! No, not happening! I’m sorry 2 hear about ur mom! She’s in my prayers.

Me: No problem.

Trey: U can just leave my self-righteous, opinionated, know it all ass by myself, I cant give u comfort. I wont b answering any future communication. Take care.

Trey stopped here, but I was just warming up,

Me: No problem.

Me: I asked you for comfort yesterday and you gave me shit instead. Not likely to ask anything from you again, am I?

Me: You’re being enormously hypocritical, which of course, is your prerogative.

Me: But that’s okay when it’s you doing it, isn’t it?

Me: I thought you were a better person than this. Ego and pride and fooling yourself are what I see now. You’ve earned the right to say what you want however you want, is that it? And lord help anyone who calls you on it. You can do that to others, but to have it back? Oh, no.

Me: Don’t answer your messages. It’s not a problem. But if the Trey I love ever makes a reappearance, I’ll still be here to welcome him with open arms. And I will talk to this Trey that I don’t know.

Me: I love you and want to be with you. That isn’t  likely to change any time soon even if you are doing the male version of menopause.

Me:I will still be here if you want to talk or need me. Take me up on it or don’t. You can’t make me go away tho you see to be trying awfully hard. :p

Me: Pennie says he loves u 2 and damn it Thomas is calling again. I want u here but am happy to wait til  ur impersonation of a donkey has run its course.

Me: Perhaps for Halloween we should dress up as the main characters from dumb and dumber. Guess which u get to be? for fighting. Dumb and dumber. Instead of loving which is all I really want to do when it comes to you. Sigh.

Me: Waiting for my love to come down off his high horse. I knew u Taurian were being particularly stubborn of late.

Me: I suppose if you don’t ever return to the Tracy I fell in love with and I never do hear from you again, I’ll know that you weren’t the person I thought you were. But I will have faith that kindness, compassion, tolerance, and being loving and fair and rational are attributes you possess.

Me: And I of course will be introspective and tote up my sins and apologize for them. I not only can admit when I am wrong, but I don’t mind looking at events to see where I went wrong and what my part was…and apologizing. Not too proud, not too sure I’m right and it’s pretty valuable if I learn from it.

Once I’m wound up, it takes me a long time to come down, obviously. That was the 18th in the wee hours of the morning. When I got up, I wasn’t particularly angry anymore. I was incredibly sad. I spent yesterday and today beating myself up for this. I guess what is true about this situation is this: Trey said things that were unkind. One could use the words cruel and abusive too. They certainly didn’t follow from the question I asked him. And my response, saying “Fuck  you!” was probably disproportionate, though it didn’t seem so to me at the time. I said things that were unkind, and one can use the words cruel and abusive too. I could have left it there, but Trey continued it with his texts. I carried it through the goal post, down to the locker room, and out of the stadium. We both could have disengaged at any point before saying hurtful things, but we didn’t. We’re both human beings.

I have apologized many times since to silence, and that’s okay. I have no expectations of hearing from Trey again. That’s not okay with me, but I have no control over it. I will say it here, I apologize, Trey! And I really mean it! I have done as much as I can. Time to stop beating myself up. Time to stop being angry, because actually, writing this down just made me angry all over again. Time to forgive myself. Time to forgive Trey. As H* said yesterday, all I can do is leave the door open to him and live my life. That is exactly what I intend to do.

I have just a few more thoughts about this matter at this moment. One is about  how the ego, superego, and id were in my thought process yesterday. Swirling through my mind were what I wanted, which was just to be with Trey, in his arms, no need to use words to express feeling, so that’s the workings of id. Then there was all of this thought about what I needed to do to take care of my part in this matter and take care of myself. That would be the ego, trying to take care of what is truly important. And then there’s the superego, or the parent, and I hate that voice with a passion. That is my raven voice, the voice that tells me that no matter what I do, no matter how I do it, I will never ever do anything right, I’ve ruined my last chance at a relationship, I’ve totally fucked  up my life, and so on. Gotta love Freud.

I also thought about this with regard to my family history, my history with anger, and my illness. Anger was a frowned-upon emotion in our household, in some respects. It was a “shit rolls down the hill” emotion. My father could get mad at my mother, but mom couldn’t get mad at dad. Mom and Dad could get mad at us, but we couldn’t get mad at either of them. And we siblings could practically murder each other, so long as no one was looking.

I stuffed and stuffed and stuffed my anger. Being nice was important in a girl, I got that. I never really truly blew my top until I was 33. I remember the day clearly. I was eight months pregnant with my son and MCF was going to India. I really wanted him to go. His family was unhappy about us getting married, and he was going to calm the waters there. I encouraged him to go and I helped him prepare. Then on the morning he was to leave and we were doing the final packing, I blew up (for me, at that period in time, that involved saying I was angry). All of the sudden I was so enormously pissed he was leaving me all alone in my eighth month of pregnancy. I was as shocked about it as he was. Then later in the day, the dogs had been out in the mud and they came inside and one jumped on my new bedspread, and I screamed. I haven’t been the same since.

I wonder, what is my relationship with anger these days? I thought that in therapy I was getting to a place where I could focus on myself and leave what others do behind. I guess I was wrong. I realize I have a lot more work to do. And then, there’s my illness. What is its contribution? I believe that my relationship with anger is at issue here. Histrionic Personality Disorder means I frequently have turbulent relationships. I imagine that combined with OCD, the impact is fairly significant. I have been working on not letting what I perceive as injustices derail me. I have been working on not letting what other people do sabotage my efforts. What I do know is clearly I wasn’t in a place to be able to handle a relationship that hit a rough patch. It was fantastic when it was going well. But the minute it wasn’t, all I wanted to do was escape the pain. Ambiguity is very painful for me, and from my point of view, what Trey felt for me had to be in question because he was behaving so differently. I know that is OCD. Uncertainty is to someone with OCD what kryptonite is to Superman. I wonder if wanting to let go of the relationship when things were not going well was the equivalent of an OCD handwasher trying to get rid of the germs (obsession) by washing hands (compulsion)? I’m sure that when I see Dr. M. on Monday, she will help me decode my illness’ contribution to this mess.

On the one hand, I felt relief yesterday. Being in conflict is very difficult for me, and our relationship not being in a place that felt good to me caused me a lot of anxiety. I feel relief from being someone who I don’t want to be, a contentious bitch. I feel like an animal which has had its paw caught in a trap and gnawed it off at the joint to get out of the trap. Better an amputated limb that can heal than in pain in a trap with a damaged. Let me make it clear that Trey was not the trap, but the place I was in with my brain and this relationship. But more than that, I feel like I have lost my best friend. Because in essence, I have lost my best friend. And not just my best friend, but a really wonderful man with whom I hoped to have a future. Because above all, Tracy has been wonderful. Sure, he’s made mistakes, but we are human.

Whew. Enough for now. I’ve not run out of words, I never do, but stick a fork in me, I’m done for today. Time to get ready for the pre-Rapture orgy. Hmmm. I wonder what I should wear? (for all you humor-challenged folks, that was a joke).

Gratitudes:

1.) My lovely children, there are no children more beloved on this planet.

2.) Trey*, I do love you , I apologize, and “lo siento.”

3.) H* for talking me through this yesterday. Thank you for your care and tact.

4.) For Peppermint Patty, and she knows why.  Thank you.

5.) For Lady and Pennie, who will undoubtedly be my comfort from here on out.

“Forgiveness entails the authentic acceptance of our own worthiness as human beings, the understanding that mistakes are opportunities for growth, awareness and the cultivation of compassion, and the realization that the extension of love to ourselves and others is the glue that holds the universe together. Forgiveness…is not a set of behaviors, but an attitude.”

“Love yourself–accept  yourself–forgive yourself–and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

“Don’t allow your self-forgiveness to be contingent upon somebody else’s readiness or willingness to forgive you. They may get something out of holding on to anger that they aren’t ready to let go of. They may be too frightened or wounded to let go of their anger. Feeling angry may be an important part of their healing process at this time. Allow others to be where they are. Respect their right to feel the way they feel.”

“Forgiveness is the only way to break the cycle of blame–and pain–in a relationship…It does not settle all questions of blame and justice and fairness…But it does allow relationships to start over. In that way, said Solzhenitsyn, we differ from all animals. It is not our capacity to think that makes us different, but our capacity to repent, and to forgive.” ~ Philip Yancey – The Unnatural Act (article, Christianity Today, April 8, 1991)

“The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.” ~ Deepak Chopra

“Genuine forgiveness does not deny anger but faces it head-on.” ~ Alice Walker

“Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time.” ~ Sara Paddison


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Driving Miss T.

There are times when my illness takes over. What is so insidious, is that I can’t tell the difference between those times and the others, when I am in control. There is such fluidity between the two, that I don’t know when I’m moving from me to not me. And then, something happens and I am jolted back to being only me, and I understand I have been in the realm of the other.

I know this is important. I know that I must hang on to this. What is strange is that I am never so much the other that I am unrecognizable. I think that I’m being myself. Then something occurs and shows me I have not. My mad self isn’t such a terrible self. But it’s so unlike me that I shudder at what I do when I’m in that space. Contentious. Needing to be right as opposed to happy. Not looking for the best in people. This is my dance with histrionic personality disorder. It has little to do with OCD.

I have an overarching personality that has allowed me to survive and which has pushed my illness into a back seat. Every so often, it insists on driving. Unfortunately, it’s a really lousy driver. It does not take me where I want to go. OCD and histrionic personality disorder share a symptom of avoidance. So when the HPD is operating, I have a double dose of avoidance. I stop calling people. I stop reaching out. I’m aggressive. Pugilistic. Paranoid. Selfish. Stubborn. Exhibit the decision-making skills of a teenager. Ugh.

I don’t really know when this episode started or what triggered it. Stress brings it into the driving seat. I don’t know if it was starting the job at the gym? The one co-worker who pushed my buttons? Trey* coming? Going? Am I really that fragile? I would have to say, “Yes.” All I know is that when I’m in the thick of it, everything is a struggle. I get angry with people easily, mostly because they aren’t behaving the way I want them to (smile). I can’t tolerate even the slightest ambiguity or uncertainty and certainly not being ignored. I don’t like that the rest of the time either, but I can understand why someone would want to tune me out when I’m in this space.

When I am myself? I am soft. Looking for good. Loving. Funny. Calm. Purposeful. Insightful. Intelligent. Empathic. You know what’s odd? In the past couple of months, I have had trouble READING. That has never before in all my life happened. I couldn’t lose myself in the words. I couldn’t write either. I kept trying to find my center, get into a loving space, and I couldn’t, or if I managed to do so, I couldn’t maintain it.

I used to feel this when I’d get PMSy. Maybe I’m peri-menopausal? Is it my illness or is it my hormones? I don’t know, but some how, some way, I have to find a way to hang on to myself. I hate losing myself. And especially to what I become when I am lost.

I’ve been seeing some clues that I have been lost. Wondering where my empathy went. But I didn’t have enough clues to put it together, because when I am in that space, everyone else is wrong. I am right. Everyone else is behaving badly, never me. When speaking with my mother the other day, she told me that my brother and my sister-in-law are breaking up. I sat down to write after that conversation, and this is what I wrote.

I didn’t ask for particulars. I didn’t say, “What took her so long?” I merely said, “That’s too bad,” and didn’t take the bait, if it was bait, when my mother told me how broken up my brother is about it. Let me be honest, what is an enemy? Merriam-Webster.com defines it as such:

1
: one that is antagonistic to another; especially: one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent
2
: something harmful or deadly <alcohol was his greatestenemy>
3
a: a military adversary
I would say that my brother has behaved in such a way that I could call him my enemy. He has sought to injure me and indeed has injured me, he has been antagonistic, hurtful, and more. So what should I feel now that he is hurting? Should I be glad or gleeful? Smug? Should I be filled with self-righteous anger? So far, I’m holding steady at indifferent. I hurt for him in the way I would hurt for any unknown person going through such circumstances. Maybe even a little less. I closed the door on my brother, and I am choosing not to open it again. I believe my mom was finagling for a little show of care. I don’t think that I can, even if I weren’t refusing to allow myself to do so. I still haven’t forgiven him. I don’t feel bad about that. It doesn’t interfere with my life. I don’t hate him. I just refuse to feel or to think more than this tiny bit of introspection.
We all know what it is to lose someone very close to us. It sucks ass. And then there is the opposite side of loss–opportunity. Transitions are opportunities to grow if one chooses. What is amazing is how many people want to live looking backward instead of what is ahead. Opportunity is what one makes after slogging through grief.
I noticed when I was writing it that I was merely intellectualizing it all. I didn’t really feel much of anything. Somewhere in my head a little voice was appalled that I couldn’t summon up any more feeling that a little bit of vicious glee that he’s hurting. Ugh. Even if he doesn’t deserve any sympathetic cooing from me, he certainly doesn’t deserve me doing a victory dance in my head that karma has prevailed. I noticed that I stopped writing my Gratitudes when I did post at all. I don’t know how to head this off when it starts in on me, to stop it before it takes over.
I’m tired and disgusted and frightened right now. I want me in the driver’s seat. It’s interesting, the closest I feel to myself is when I’m with others I choose to be with (i.e. with my kids or friends, not at work) and when I was making that photo album on Facebook of images and when I’ve been exercising. Always back to the basics. If y’all could tell me when you see me sliding in that direction, I’d appreciate a heads-up.
Some day I’ll lick this thing.
“But what is madness, if not being able to control your own mind?” –Victoria Leatham, Bloodletting: A Memoir of Secrets, Self-Harm, and Survival

Gratitudes:
1.) My children, loves of my life, always.
2.) For P. especially, thank you for your help through this time.
3.) For me, the me I am when I get to choose.
4.) For others who have been down this path and leave trails for us to follow out of the darkness.
5.) For Pennie and Lady, who have never, ever deserted me.
Peace, T.
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Rockin’ my “I-Don’t-Give-a-Damn” Tutu

Sometimes I wonder what I have done with my time. I seem, at times,  to exist in an alternate universe or on two planes at once, and I never really know what I’m doing on either one. Time passes quickly by, and what do I have to show for it? It’s been two weeks since I last blogged, and I’m wondering why. What have I done that was so pressing that I couldn’t sit down to write?

I  suppose the answer is that I have been working quite a bit at home. I designed the newsletter for the gym. I got hit with it at the last-minute, and I’ve been learning on the fly how to use GIMP in order to put out something decent. It isn’t a perfect effort, but I did what I could, and it was a huge improvement on the previous design. My style is clean and elegant. A little playful. Not only did I have to design it, I had to write it. Normally, I wouldn’t mind at all. But I don’t particularly like to be rushed, especially when writing. Overall, I’m dissatisfied with the whole thing. And that needs to stop. 1.) I completed it; 2.) I looks pretty damn good; 3.) I’m trying to be proud of my effort. What more is there? “Good enough” is damn well good enough. Perfection is subjective and perfectionism is not my friend.

Who is my friend? I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships lately. When my grandmother died, my mom lost her only true friend. Friendships have always confounded me. They are not easy to traverse. They seem to be full of booby traps and pitfalls and pratfalls. I am confounded by people. One moment everything seems so clear, and the next it is as murky as a riverbed churned by a cattle drive.

The amazing Dr. M. did give me some advice, although it’s difficult for me to apply it to my life. As always, I was asking her about her relationship, and what she does when she’s disappointed with her husband. I believe I mentioned before that she lets herself feel whatever it is she’s feeling–disappointment or anger. But before acting, she waits.

That’s the difficult part for me. I need resolution so desperately, my anxiety level is so high, I feel I need to act immediately. It feels like if I don’t do something, I’ll explode–whether it’s talking about my feelings or deciding that you can’t bear the hurt I am feeling. So I eject people from my life, never really knowing if it’s the best thing to do–only knowing that at the moment, it feels like the only thing I can do. Makes relationships a bit stormy.  Everything is sunny and wonderful when it’s going well. When it’s not, it’s fairly intolerable.

What are good boundaries to set with people? Certainly I don’t want people in my life who behave in a judgmental way. That is one of my issues. I CAN’T STAND that. I don’t want people in my life who mock or ridicule me. I do want people who are loving and kind and open. I want people who like to laugh and who I can make laugh and vice versa. I want people as willing to help me as I am them. I want people who want me because I am someone they don’t want to let go of. I want people who are thoughtful and want to spend time with me. I suppose that everyone’s ability to be this way will be sometimes compromised by life, as it often is with me. Sigh. Why does it have to be so hard? Why is so easy for some people? And why do I agonize over people who aren’t agonizing over me?

“When it seems that everything you do is wrong and everyone is against you–it is the most opportune time to wear your ‘I-don’t-give-a-damn’ tutu and glide gleefully on the dance floor of ‘this is me and my life.'” ~ Dodinsky’s Garden of Thoughts.

Jane Bluestein, a PhD with a web page (obviously I didn’t take the time to find out more about her), divides people into bulldozers and doormats. she writes,

“’Bulldozers’ may appear to take care of themselves, but their version of self-care does not take other people’s needs into consideration. Bulldozers need to win, to have their needs taken care of, and feel entitled to do so at the expense of the other person.

“This is not boundary-setting. Boundary-setting considers the needs of the other person, although it does not always accommodate them. In other words, ‘My way or the highway’ is bulldozing, not boundary-setting.

“‘Doormats function as though they had no boundaries. They are agreeable, nice, FINE. (At least until their resentment builds up to one nasty tolerance break, after which they can make the meanest Bulldozer look pretty tame.) Doormats are terribly accommodating, but do so at the expense of their own needs. They tend to be on the losing end of most conflicts. However, by not sticking up for themselves, they can not only avoid many conflicts, but they also get to ‘look good,’ be self-righteous, and validate a self-perception of helplessness and victimization. So when you think about it, there’s a great payoff for being a Doormat, but there’s also a high price to pay in the loss of one’s self.

“Clearly, these patterns have nothing to do with boundary-setting, although Doormats often function in the hope that being ‘nice’ enough will inspire the people around them to figure out and accommodate their needs. Boundary-setting always takes one’s own needs into account and relies on honest and direct communication, (rather than manipulation and clairvoyance).

“Growing up with either or both of these models, we receive a number of messages that present obstacles when we attempt to take care of ourselves in relationships with others, messages that connect our worth and loveable-ness to our ability to please others. If most of the people in our lives operated on some form of win-lose method of conflict resolution, either by violating and disempowering (as a Bulldozer) or by self-abandoning (as a Doormat), it can be hard to imagine win-win solutions that consider the needs of all parties involved.”

Huh. Food for thought. Well, I’m going to take a page from the empowered standpoint and ask all of you to call me. Please. I’m feeling quite lonely, and I need a friend or two or ten. How’s that for honest and direct communication?

I have been completely emo for the last few weeks. I suppose that’s understandable. Things aren’t exactly going my way, and my female parts are in an uproar. But yeah, I’ve been having a hard time finding my center since I was sick a couple of weeks back. I need to use my toolkit. I always have to remind myself, and find it all over again. When I’m upset, I need to exercise. I need to use EFT. I need to make sure I’m taking my medications regularly. I need to eat well. I need to journal, meditate, blog, and see my therapist. It all boils down to those very simple things–using what you’ve got to get you through whatever is going on with you.

I spent some time last night putting together a new photo album on Facebook. It’s called “Please End the Hate.”  It’s groupings of photographs and images and the theme is love, beauty, and peace and end to hatred. Beautiful flowers, quirky animals, people bereaved over the loss of loved ones in the war, people protesting, tolerance. It’s something I felt compelled to do and some of the images are breathtaking. I needed a cohesive sense of what is important to me, and the only thing missing are pictures of my loved ones. Take a slide show tour of it if you like. I’ll give you a sample here. Much love and joy to you all.

Oh, how I wish we could end war.

Gratitudes:

1.) My children, always. ❤

2.) My friends and family who love me. I love you back. ❤

3.) My little job. ❤

4.) My furry babies. ❤

5.) Words. ❤

Area Bird Creeped Out by Bird Watcher

http://www.theonion.com/articles/area-bird-creeped-out-by-bird-watcher,10145/

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Mixed Blessings and Maxed Out Glutes

Mixed blessings. Life is full of them, isn’t it? I believe I recall a sententia about the supreme being–god, goddess, spirits, whatever you might believe in–giving with one hand and taking away with the other? I’m not connected to the net currently (gasp!) or I’d check out the accuracy of that particular gem.

I have light! Woot! Thanks to my dear friend P.*, I now am once again amongst the illuminated and have been since Friday. P. put me in touch with someone at PNM who could do more than toe the company line. The sainted Annie waived the turn on fees, and we’re not worrying about the deposit right now. The remainder of my past due balance is hanging suspended by a thin wire while I go to other charities for help. If I can’t get any other assistance, then they will spread the balance out over so many months–how many I don’t know. The Salvation Army, who administers the PNM Good Neighbor fund (a charity to which I used to regularly contribute, ironically enough) paid part of my bill. Then I had to come up with a payment on my own of at least $50.00, for which I also give thanks to P. (thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!).

So I sit in my wonderfully illuminated bedroom. A little chilly at the present moment, as we have had cool temperatures and high winds…I think it’s about 52° F in my house right now. But I am under the covers and Pennie is keeping my feet warm. I wish we had warmth instead of wind, but, compared to the rest of the country who would envy us our irritating wind, I’ll stick with what we have and be thankful it’s not of tornado intensity.

The bad stuff, in not any particular order, and there’s plenty of it. I guess what’s bothering me the very most at this moment is I’m tired. Tired to the bone. I don’t feel like trying. I wish that I had a beautiful hotel room—the most beautiful I recall staying in was The Fairmont in San Jose, California, when I attended the National Association of Chicano Studies conference way back when I worked for the UNMP. It was huge, gorgeous, and pristine. There would be a lush, soft terry cloth bathrobe just waiting for me when I got out of the bath. And it would be warm. An escape fantasy. Yep, I sure as shit have them. I believe they help people in grim circumstances, if they don’t take over. A balance between retreat and restoration and chipping away at the problems seems to be essential. While at P’s we were going to plan a battle campaign, but I just wasn’t able to focus on that whilst being sick. Don’t get me wrong, I am much better. My fever abated on Friday and while I’m still a bit weak, I’m otherwise okay. I need to increase my emotional and physical stamina.

That brings me to my current physical difficulty. Any men reading this blog will most definitely want to skip this paragraph and go on to the next. If you don’t and are grossed out, I’ll be right there at the end to say I told you so. From about 2005-2008 I had female problems. For some reason never really explained, I stopped having regular periods and just bled out three weeks out of four. I know, one week is bad enough, but three? And we’re not talking light periods. We’re talking heavy stuff. A couple of times it became so bad I couldn’t go to class (I was taking classes at UNM) because I couldn’t make it through a one hour period,  armed with all the female protection possible, without having break through bleeding. The docs would give me hormones to settle me down for a while, and I would slowly build up to that point again. I was chronically anemic not to mention broke–if only I had bought stock in the companies that make sanitary napkins. Miracle of all miracles, when I finally got some insurance in 2007 (SCI—thank you Governor Richardson) and was able to see a doctor regularly and he finally recommended an endometrial ablation. I jumped at the opportunity. What would it mean to me? No more standing in line at the grocery store, and suddenly, out of the blue, having to leave my cart standing while I raced off to the bathroom with blood running down my legs. I know, I said it was gross. No more bleeding through my mattress in my sleep. I couldn’t keep up with my laundry because who has enough clothes to endure that type of siege? I felt utterly defeated by my own body. But I realize I am one of the lucky ones. I had a problem that could be fixed. Kind of.

The endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure sometimes done in a doctor’s office. We tried to do it in the doctor’s office, but it didn’t work for me. Basically the doctor sticks an instrument through your cervix (yes, ouch) and freeze dries your endometrial lining. And then, because you have no more endometrial lining, you no longer have periods. Of course, it’s common for a little to be left. So forever after, usually, you have some occasional spotting. And for more than two years, that’s what happened to me. I believe that in the two years following my procedure, I had two periods. I could handle that. But, I’ve had two periods in 2011. And they have not been light. My doctor has talked about sending me to the gynecologist’s office to have a look-see at my uterus. Oh, joyous day! Another foreign object through my cervix. I don’t recall what he said would happen after that. Something about a band (not the rock kind). And who knows what after that. Of course I’ll do it. I myself am really exceptionally grossed out by my body. I feel betrayed, if that makes sense. And I can only imagine what’s going on with me hormonally. I have been so angry over little things I’ve been shaking. I’ve been weepy. And I have little energy to do what I need to do. I know this isn’t going to be forever. But I’m just barely hanging on.

My next significant problem has to do with–surprise–l’argent! As if I didn’t have enough riding on my tiny little paycheck, I now have to take care of something I should have taken care of last fall. This is pretty embarrassing. Remember the speeding ticket I got going to Dixon’s Orchards in the fall? Yeah, well, I pretty much tried to forget about it too. Now it’s haunting me and I have to take care of it. Ninety-one dollars and apparently my license was suspended. I have to go to DMV and pay the ticket and I believe another $25 to activate my license, or unsuspend it whatever the terminology is. And I have to do this by the 19th of May when I have to go in front of a judge about it. Never mind that my current money situation is, if anything, even more pathetic than it was in the fall. Never mind that my check is currently around $150 for two weeks of work. FML!

So that’s what I’m dealing with at the current moment. And not a whole lot of emotional wherewithal to deal with it. Could it be worse? Sure. Absolutely. I don’t know how, but it could.

If you don’t mind, I’ll dispense with being cheery in this post. I could try to find the silver lining or the bright side, but I really don’t feel like trying right now. I know that I have been working hard to set things in motion so that my life will be different, and I will not stop doing that. But today is Sunday. There isn’t a whole lot to do, and even if there were, I’m just not up to it.

It’s a little later. I have abandoned the home front, temporarily, and come to PJ&L’s house. The foothills have snow, and it is 40°. The skies are partly gray, partly that beautiful blue unique to New Mexico. It was 50°F in my house when I left. Thank the gods that Tuesday we will start seeing 70s and 80s again.

Love is strong yet delicate. It can be broken. To truly love is to understand this. To be in love is to respect this. ~ Stephen Packer ~

Peace, T.

And because I just can’t help but leave you with a little something, butt implants gone bad…I was tempted to photoshop nipples onto those cheeks *grin*

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God Hates Religious Extremists–My Beau, Mr. Biko Concurs

I’m having a very un-PC day today. That’s rather unusual for me–I’ll blame it on being ill. That’s what I get for reading Facebook posts in the morning. When I get a big dose of bullshit in the morning, it tends to color the day. Religious fanatics scare the shit out of me. And deservedly so. God has been the cause of more death than any other single source aside from natural causes. As George Carlin said, it’s all about “My God has a bigger dick than your God. A friend of mine shared this comedy routine with me via Facebook. Watch if you like, and remember, Carlin is not PC. But damn it! As much respect as I have for others and their differing points of view, sometimes you just have to call bullshit.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/embed/AvF1Q3UidWM“>

I’m staying at my friends’ PJ&L’s house. I became violently ill last yesterday at work. It started the day before. I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me. I was weepy. Not that I don’t have my weepy times, especially when I’m hormonal. But I also get weepy when I’m getting sick. I couldn’t seem to concentrate at work, and then I was worshipping the porcelain goddess, emptying the contents of my stomach as well as bile from the upper intestinal tract. Needless to say, I went home. I slept a bit, alternately shivering and overheated, feverish and a bit frantic, and at 9:00 P* came and scooped me up and took me to their house, where I remain. Food is staying down, the fever has lessened, and I’m snuggled up with Azizi and Biko, alternately napping and reading and writing.

Food is staying down, and I had salsa on my quesadilla this morning. It burned but hey, I’m a New Mexican. My system craves the stuff. There I was eating my quesadilla this morning and I came upon a post that one of my cousins shared. I love my family. I love this cousin very much. Our beliefs systems are wildly opposite. And if she’s reading this, my intent is not to belittle her. But what she wrote upset and frightened me so much, I think it shocked me into this un-PC place. I don’t feel like being PC today. I really don’t. This is what she wrote.

I am not here to judge our President on his religious affiliations, and he did attend church services on Easter, as well as hosting the egg roll and reading a story. I celebrated the Resurrection of my Lord and Savior, who died for my sins… to bridge the gap and make a way to the Father, Almighty God. No mention of the true meaning of Easter was made by our President. I just have to agree that it is very strange that our President acknowledges and celebrates each Muslim holiday while never giving the same attention to Christian holidays. The National Day of Prayer has never had mention since he took office and the White House no longer participates in it. Our country was founded on Christian beliefs and values, and our Constitution was written by God-fearing men that believed the Bible to be the basis for the law of the land and that all our individual rights came from our Creator, the one and only Almighty God. Anyone who strays from this is principle, is going down the wrong path and needs to be called on it.
Whoa. What first comes to mind when you read this? The Bible the basis for the law of the land? Whose Bible? The Jeffersonian Bible? The people who first settled in the East of our country were Pilgrims fleeing from religious oppression. The Pilgrims wanted to practice religion as they saw fit, but oppressed anyone who didn’t practice as they did. Our founding fathers were deists, not necessarily Christians, who believe people should practice religion as they believed in it, and believed wholly in the separation of church and state. They believed that religious beliefs were private. One god? Sure! Every religion believes its god to be supreme. Who’s right? No one! OMG! Can you see why I’m so upset? What the fuck? I thank the Keebler Elves and goddess and god and spirits that I’m not the only person who believes as I do. To be oppressed by the religious right (or any other religious zealots) that from which our founding fathers were trying to protect our country and its citizens. And I am so grateful for their foresight in including into our constitution a separation of church and state. I love you, cousin. Your beliefs are deadly.

Big sigh. Sade has begun her concert tour and I will not see her. It breaks my heart, it truly does. It was on my bucket list, but it is not to be. She doesn’t tour often. That’s an understatement.

Last night I had this revelation. No, not religious. Every day at the gym where I work, we are supposed to update the Facebook page. I know there must be so much information about the 400 children and their families who take classes and are on the competitive teams, but I am not plugged in enough to know yet. So L*, who trained me, told me that I should check the USAG website and fitness sites and also this site that lists odd holidays. So about a week and half ago I was out of ideas and went to the bizarre holiday website. That day was “Weed Appreciation Day.” Okay. I thought it was hysterical because all my brain could come up with were yard invaders. Then last night we were talking about weed and it suddenly hit me that it was WEED Appreciation Day, not Weed Appreciation Day. Fanatical laughter ensued. Now I understand why my probation officer, when he was doing my intake, couldn’t keep a straight face when he had to ask me in I had any affiliation. I said, “What kind of affiliation? I’m a member of the Albuquerque Mediation Association and The Association for Conflict Resolution and I’m a member of NAMI.” He indicated, when he finally stopped choking with laughter, that he was referring to gang affiliations. Oh. Hahahahaha. Fuck me for a fool. : )

I wanted so badly these past several days to call Trey*, and then, I thought, to what end? First of all, he would simply ignore me, so why waste my breath? Why give my energy to someone who won’t reciprocate? Indeed, why give the gift of what I am and who I am, or attempt to give it, to someone who will not reciprocate? No. Absolutely not. Been there, done that, done with that.

For quite some time he was my comfort. He made everything better, everything seem salvageable–he was my hope. And at times, I still hope that perhaps when we find our ways separately, there will come a time when we find our way back to each other. Yep. Hopeless romantic, that’s me. My friend Gris always told me that someone would come along who would make me say, “Thomas who?” Why is it so hard to find someone who wants to give you what you want? I don’t mean in monetary terms. It’s my responsibility to make my way in the world. I’m not doing very well at it at the moment, but I’m working on it.

No, what I mean is someone who gives. We are all who we are and hopefully when we fall in love, we fall in love because the object of our affections has so much of what we like, it’s impossible not to become enchanted. And hopefully who that person is remains consistent over time. That person’s basic values don’t change. Their way of being in the world doesn’t change. The ability to keep an open heart doesn’t change.

I ask the marvelous Dr. M. about her relationship all the time. I asked her lately about disappointments, specifically, if her husband disappoints her. She said, “Of course, all the time.” I asked her how she dealt with those disappointments. She told me that she allows herself to feel and be with that disappointment. She gives herself time before saying or doing anything. But she always communicates her disappointment, because holding it in causes resentment and resentment is the killer in a relationship. I asked her if she ever felt so upset she closed her heart. Her answer fascinates me. She said that she promised herself when she got married she would never allow anyone to do that to her, there would never be a person who would take that from her. And I will never allow that to happen to me. The way I love myself best is when I am loving and giving, no matter who to whom I am giving.

“It’s brutally unfair to toy with the heart of this girl, because she will love, honor, obey and nag you a little with sincere devotion. Why encourage such rare love unless you mean to reciprocate with equal ardor? Remember her tenacity. You may only be flirting lightly, but you’ll have a hard time calling the end of the inning. She won’t hear the whistle. There’s nothing shallow or superficial about the sentiments of this woman. When she owns a man or a teacup, it’s hers forever.”

Linda Goodman, Love Signs but I could be the poster child for Cancerian astrological beliefs. I tell myself that someday I’ll have what I want. And I will be the person that someone wants, just as I am. I hope that’s true. There are lots of people who are alone out there. It may be what I need and want right now. But surely there’s one man on the planet that can not only put up with me, but who wants to put up with me and vice versa.

Meanwhile, the sensual Mr. Biko loves wet hair and rubbed against mine last night after I got out of J’s gargantuan bath tub. This morning it was still a bit damp, and he rolled in it again. He, Azizi, and I napped together and I indulged in something I don’t usually allow myself because it’s too painful–memories and fantasies. Trey was so comfortable to me in every way–emotionally and physically and intellectually. We largely have the same belief system.  But we didn’t have the same physical approach. I’m a complete and total sensualist, like Mr. Biko. Touch is so important to me, in any kind of relationship. In a physical relationship, I’m a greedy little bugger. I want be attendant to every nuance and possibility…every nook and cranny and sensitive spot. Trey? He seemed to be focused on the spots that get one from A to Z. Perhaps we would have met in the middle at some point in time. Undoubtedly, we’d have had a good time getting there. Not enough time. But then, there is never enough time. I’ll put those thoughts back in my little jar of hopes, and feed them occasionally, and hope for the best, whatever that may be.

Gratitudes:

1.) My children, always.

2.) PJ&L, thank you for everything.

3.) Trey, may you be happy and fulfilled.

4.) Furry children, Pennie and Lady, Azizi and Biko, my boyfriend.

5.) Love in all its forms.

6.) Flies by David Padilla.

Peace, T.

Posted in Uncategorized

State of the Union, Isle of Tam, April 2011

Do you know, so many people click on my blog posts to find out how to use the female condom (they search for women’s condom), I feel like I need to use part of this blog post as a public service announcement educating the masses on how to use one properly. I mentioned in a PoWM post that I nearly went to WalMart in a t-shirt that advertised the female condom, but caught myself just in time! Thank the Keebler Elves I wasn’t made famous and immortalized as “that female condom lady on PoWM!” That I’ve never used one is just an insignificant little detail. I got the t-shirt from a women’s health conference.

But I take all of my responsibilities very seriously, and in the interests of educating women and men about protection from sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs and STIs) and unwanted pregnancies, and because I’m a strong advocate of Planned Parenthood, I’m sharing this video from their site on how to use a female condom. As a side note, they’re freakin’ expensive! $2-4 bucks a shot, no pun intended! You can get them at Planned Parenthood. I read that you can sometimes get them in a bag of freebies, so try that route.

<a href=”http://http://www.youtube.com/embed/OOfZ6VfmQ_s“>

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I’m writing to you courtesy of P&J. My friends P&J have lent me their cute little laptop notebook thingee so I can blog and stay connected with the world. Of course, now I only have to find a place with free wi-fi and electricity! Dunkin’ Donuts on Central, the Flying Star, and the UNM Student Union Building are a few. Dunkin’ Donuts is NOT a good option because I have to buy something to hang out there and all they have is doughnuts! And my budget makes the Flying Star unfeasible except for the occasional cup of tea. But that’s okay, where this is a will, there is a way. Oh, right…the public library! D’oh.

A quick update…working on the charitable organizations that help with utilities. I’m still camping out in my home–light-less and gas-less. During the day I switch the batteries from the camping lantern to the radio so I can listen to NPR. It’s all pretty much impossible. All I can do is persevere, and I’ve been through way too much to give up now. I’m still at my little job at the gym. My last day of probation is May 2nd. L* had her baby, little Aidan was born on April 19th weighing in at 7lbs and 4oz. So my schedule has changed a bit. I’m still going in two mornings a week to stretch and jump on the trampoline and do some strength training. My right knee doth protest. Quite a bit in fact. But it will not stop me either. I just wait until the pain subsides and resume my activities.

I’m waiting, waiting on a few things/people and I’m not fond of waiting. No one is. I don’t know what’s going on with my attorney. His secretary/legal assistant is out. She was in an accident. I hope for her speedy recovery both for her sake and the office’s. Things have slowed to a crawl there and it will take them weeks to recover. And I’m waiting on the federal government, and we all know how responsive the federal government is. Sigh. Meanwhile, I’m doing all I can to help myself.

Dependent upon the moment, my spirits raise and plummet. But again, the lithium has boosted the antidepressants–Cymbalta and Trazodone–and I’m grateful for all the strength it gives me.

Since being indoors is no fun, I’ve spent a lot of time out-of-doors cleaning up the yard and planting. It’s spring and I’m missing not having hens. This is the first year in six I haven’t had hens. Pennie makes it impossible to have them unless the fence were electrified, and aside from there being no juice currently (pun intended), I can’t afford to electrify the fence. So the end has come to Mavis and Friends Excellent Egg Company and Mavis’s Cackle Castle (the coop). Or at least a temporary lull. Perhaps birds will nest in the coop in the egg boxes. That would be sweet. Mavis was our hen matriarch and mascot. She survived the hen massacre (we took in a friend’s dog for a while and he decimated our first hen population). Mavis survived by hiding in the dryer. Smart girl.

The planet has rotated enough times on its axis that we have come to Easter again. I suppose that is part of what is making me so nostalgic for the girls. I love hens. Especially the Buff Orpingtons. They’re so gentle and they coo instead of squawk. I don’t really celebrate Easter except in a culinary way. And give my kids Easter baskets. Ham, potatoes au gratin, asparagus, strawberry pie, sometimes lamb. But I ran across these evil Easter bunnies on www.funnyordie.com and I couldn’t resist. Take your kids for pictures with these and you guarantee them nightmares for life.

I wish I had better news. I wish I didn’t have to report that I’m living like an animal in a cave. But that’s where I am at the moment. I feel a lot of anger and frustration and pain. But that doesn’t keep me from appreciating what is good in my life, when I’m not crying over my present circumstances.

I wrote the above a couple of days ago…on to the present. I trundled around town today and talked to the juice people on the phone. They will turn my lights on if I give them $50.oo and they will give me a deferred payment plan for the rest and waive the reconnect fee. Not a lot of money but $50.00 more than I have. The phone bill is due tomorrow–$40.00–so that will go also. Today was, understandably, mostly a crying day. There are days when, once I get started, I just don’t stop.

Tonight hasn’t ended, but something happened and I don’t know what to do with it, where to put it. I was at the park close to my house, reading a book and catching the last of the sun before it set. Not too far in the distance, there was a red mini SUV and a young man and woman, and another person…smaller so I figured it was a woman. I don’t know what was happening with them, but I had a bad feeling about it. I didn’t have my glasses on…and the bad feeling hadn’t really coalesced. I grew up very sheltered, and in some ways, I remain very sheltered from street life. I went back to my book and the next time I looked up, the smaller person was walking down the street and seemed to be having difficulty walking. I got in my car and drove to what turned out to be a woman and asked her if she needed help. I asked her three times and she didn’t answer. So I parked and got out of the car and went to her. She was obviously inebriated and she said she had been beaten so I dialed 911. I waited with her until the police arrived. They said they would call an ambulance for her. We talked a little, she and I. She told me she’s an alcoholic. She is one of the vulnerable people. And it broke my heart. She’s one of society’s throwaways. And my position at the moment isn’t so different from hers. I know, though, that my troubles are temporary. I hope hers are too.

I may be in trouble but I have a family that loves me, two beautiful children who love me and I love more than life, my house, my dogs, my friends, my stuff. I have my  wonderful little job and a great boss and coworkers. I have my fantastic ideas and my energy and writing. And it’s a good thing I love candlelight. Prayers are always welcome as well as well wishes. I send them out to y’all all of the time. And I feel yours as they come to me.

Wishing you hope and happiness, love and friendship.

Gratitudes:

1.) My children, always ❤

2.) My friends and family who love me, and who allow me to love them ❤

3.) Creative energy.

4.) Moxie.

5.) Lady and Pennie, best dogs on the planet.

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.” ~ Ivan Panin

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The Once and Future Gardener

Be still my heart! The weather cooperated today! It usually does in Albuquerque, if hot and dry are what you have in mind. Today it was 82, and I believe I am really comfortable for the first time in a month. Not only that, but also seeds can be placed lovingly in the ground now and will germinate. Plants can be transplanted to pots outside without danger of them freezing. This is my favorite season. And the fact that my house may sell is not going to keep me from putting something in the ground. Beans to climb up on trellises made from twine on the patio to provide shade and sustenance. Flowers in every pot I can gather up. One of my favorite books that I used to read my children was called The Gardener by Sarah Stewart with illustrations by David Small. It’s the story of a young girl who has to go live with her aunt and uncle in the city. She doesn’t want to because she loves the country and growing flowers. So she asks her mother to send her more and more seeds. Pretty soon not only are there window boxes on every window sill, but there are pots and pots of flowers and she secretly creates a rooftop garden and surprises her uncle and aunt with it. She makes their corner beautiful and magical and imparts beauty to everyone’s life.

I’ve always been compelled by stories that have an element of magic in them. Not necessarily the Disney/Cinderella sort of magic, but more like the Juliette Binoche/Chocolat sort of magic–where one person makes magic in the lives of many. If I could make chocolate that would put romance back into long-married couple’s lives, I’d be one happy chocolatier.

I’m looking to make a little magic this summer. I have three-four weeks of summer camp to get planned, with two field trips per week. I’m a little daunted, but mostly excited. There are only so many canned field trips in Albuquerque, and the rest you have to create. So I’m busy creating and trying to find people to collaborate. To think that they do this over and over again every summer. It’s a little overwhelming when I think about it that way. But I bet my weeks are going to rock! My original idea was to have themes such as “A Week in the Life of a Photographer/Chef/Anthropologist/etc.” But of course there are others working on summer camp and they need to do their themes as well. So I will integrate my ideas in wherever I can. And…one of the owner’s ideas had to do with puzzles and I just found a site for labyrinth’s in New Mexico. Who knew? Organizing this type of thing is in my genes. Making magic is in my genes, in some respects. I have a healthy admiration for the magical in nearly everything, and a solid appreciation for those who bring magic to my life.

And then there are those other people. I’m back to twice weekly therapy appointments, and this is a really good move. I feel so much pressure right now I’m about to burst. I need to deal with it as intelligently as I can. I can’t retreat and hide my head in the sand. And I can’t do everything that everyone is asking of me. I need a lot of support, and have zero tolerance for unnecessary bullshit and frustration. Uncertainty for someone with OCD is torturous under normal circumstances, and these aren’t normal circumstances. Anyone not on board with me is getting tossed over and I sure hope they can swim! I never need anyone making my life harder. I especially don’t need that now. So of course, people are being hideously frustrating. Sigh.

“Most species do their own evolving, making it up as they go along, which is the way Nature intended. And this is all very natural and organic and in tune with mysterious cycles of the cosmos, which believes that there’s nothing like millions of years of really frustrating trial and error to give a species moral fiber and, in some cases, backbone.” ~ Terry Pratchett

Just what we all need, more opportunities that test us! That old saying about that which does not kill us makes us stronger? I think we should do a complete wipe of that phrase from every cultural reference and mind possible. Nothing pisses me off more than when people pull out that one. And then I think about the experiences of people in war-torn countries, and realize it can always be worse. Of course, the most impoverished parts of our nation are war-torn. Bullets flying and not enough to eat, crushing poverty, fear, and hardships I’ve never experienced are the stuff of the daily lives of many.

I was glued to a couple of the kids’ books this past week. Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games trilogy, had me enthralled. I’ve read the first and second in the series, and the kids tell me the last is anti-climactic. Apparently the author’s intent was to show what it’s like to live in a nation at war, and the war is on in earnest in the last book. My daughter didn’t finish it and asked my son to reveal the ending. Collins had them (and me) hooked with the first two, and she lost them in the last one. It sounds like a case of preaching a message rather than writing a story? But I’ll find out when I read it myself. I asked my daughter why the president’s breath smells like blood and roses, and all she would say is, “Read it yourself.” Ha ha! Funny kid!

I’ve got my agenda for tomorrow. It’s impossible, I’ve scheduled way too much, but I’ll cull it down. I most assuredly need to add beauty to my life right now, and have meaningful pleasurable experiences. Today I sat out on the patio and gave myself a pedicure. I cut myself with a new blade on my wicked Credo callous scraper thingee. I probably shouldn’t use it. They’ve been outlawed in the salons. By the time you realize you’re pressing too hard, it’s too late.  Tomorrow, some planting…morning glories by the front door, beans off the patio. It’s going to be grand. Maybe even magical.

Gratitudes:

1.) My children, always. Thanks for being kids and letting me enter and be a part of your world.

2.) Friends, especially P., for your kitchen, your encouragement, and your concern.

3.) Fluffy buddies, Lady and Pennie.

4.) Great ideas, mine or someone else’s.

5.) The magic that lies in the tiny green bit that becomes a tomato, or in the seed that becomes a beanstalk. It’s this kind of magic that keeps me enchanted with the world.

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