Monthly Archives: April 2014

Some Days Are For Wising Up

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I’m just going to come out and say it- yesterday was tough. The previous two days, Saturday and Sunday, were a blissed out, low frequency hum, slow and indulgent. All about naps and walks and peace and quiet. Then, Sunday evening, all hell broke loose…oh, brother, my inability to be less than honest will not allow me to stick by those words. The truth is, two things happened: 1) my older daughter went behind my back and obtained a Chihuahua with issues off of Craigslist- after months of arguing, I might add, because I could not imagine yet another pet underfoot, here. Especially a neurotic, yapping, nervous wreck of an animal like a Chihuahua. I mean, step on Lucy, my Black Lab, and you move on with life; step on a Chihuahua, you’re a murderer. Then, Camryn came home. I was already kind of freaked out about the new dog (her name is Honey Bee, by the way), now imagine the sound of a very excited three year old hyped up on junk food and just released from a car after driving for three hours. Imagine that, mingled with a nervous puppy, a very excited lab who thinks she is the same size as the Chihuahua, an irritable teenager, an upset mom, and a very angry, overweight house cat. Yeah.

So, we went from the slow, indulgent, low frequency hum to a discordant death-metal riff screaming through really good amps in like an hour. I’d hoped that the next day (yesterday) would be better. But instead, I woke up to about three minutes of privacy. Both of my kids were up and about. All of the animals were running around. I didn’t get to meditate, I wrote something half assed, I never went for my morning walk. This was not a good way for my day to start.  Then I remembered that my daughter had an appointment with her probation officer (don’t ask), and my little one wasn’t feeling great…So, off we all went, to the courthouse, at seven a.m.

I was in a less than sparkly mood. I was rude to the lady at Juvenile Probation, to the point that she actually asked me if I was sick! I snapped at my daughter’s intolerance of her little sister, then I snapped at my little daughter for being a pest. On the way home, I bought donuts, thinking that would somehow make things better…it didn’t. Crappy food is like putting a used band-aid over a new cut- a recipe for disaster. 

Things didn’t get better from there…the poor little dog my kid brought home had been weaned early from her puppies (she, at ten months, is still a pup herself) and her teats were terribly engorged. By yesterday, they were much worse. I had already called in at work because my little one was feeling sick, so I took the puppy down to my vet. The bottom line? Honey Bee needs surgery this Thursday, period. So that’s what we are going to do.

The rest of the day just carried on in the same fashion. Lots of noise, lots of snapping at each other, even meanness coming out that had been absent for so long. I felt full of shame at my impatience and inability to take any of this in stride. Not only was I not happy, I couldn’t even fake like I was. It felt really, really bad. By 6:30 in the evening, I was so wiped out, my three year old and I lay down to watch cartoons, and both of us just passed out.

This morning, I woke up feeling nervous and angry about the previous day. I have worked so hard to get to a spot where I am okay, that I am afraid of losing it. The truth is, if I have to be angry, fearful AND clean…I wasn’t sure I could do it. Then, while I was trying to figure out how to write about all of this, this morning, a pattern emerged. And it hit me: Yesterday hadn’t been about me helping me. It had been about me being there for others-others who really needed me. 

Think about it- This little dog, she needed a loving home, and people who could give her the love and help she needed. Without us, she would have gone to the pound, and very likely been put to sleep. As a matter of fact, the lady at my vets office made a point of telling us “You have saved this dog.” And my older daughter, who is asleep right now, cuddled up with her new pet, maybe she needs this little girl, more than I realized. Also, I told her she has GOT to get a job now, if she wants to keep her dog, because I simply cannot afford to care for another pet. My daughter is painfully shy, but she pushed through that yesterday to go check back on an application she put in at a restaurant down the street. The look of pride on her face when she came outside, just because she had overcome her anxiety to accomplish something, was priceless. 

The moral here is this: Yes, it is important that I take care of me- every day, I know what to do to make sure I am okay. It is my job to find a way to squeeze that stuff in with whatever time I have. But not every day is about me taking care of me. Perhaps the Universe has decided I am well enough now to start giving back a little of the love it has shown me. My job is to do this as graciously as possible. Yesterday, I fell a little bit short. I forgive me. Today, I understand- challenge accepted. I am a work in progress, for sure. But I know I am up to the task of sharing some of what I have with whoever needs it. I know I am.

Now, it is time for my walk. I don’t want to take any chances.

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Why I Write

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I woke up a few minutes ago, and did what I always do- started my coffee, grabbed a cigarette (I know, I know, I’m working on it…), and went out and set down on my front step with my phone. I checked Facebook (that evil time eater), then I checked my WordPress account. I had an overnight “like”, so I did what I always do again, and checked out their blog. It was a photography blog, but I only saw one picture, which was very good, by the way. What I did see was a letter she’d written to her husband or lover or whatever. It was very sweet and heartfelt, and told me a lot about the person who wrote it. It also reminded me of words my grandmother might have written, or thought at least, about my grandfather. 

What in the world, you may be wondering, does this have to do with why I write? Well, when I read those words, I was so reminded of my grandmother, Eileen, that I wanted to write down the story of my feelings for her- that she was so beautiful on the inside I could not have told you if she was truly as beautiful on the outside as she seemed to me. I was blinded at birth by her inner beauty. I know she had pouffy white hair, green eyes, huge boobs and tiny, beautiful hands. I know she loved children more than anything in the world, except for my grandpa, who was the center of her universe. I wanted to find a way to tell you that she lived a life that most of the world knew nothing about, but to me, she was an anchor in a stormy sea. When she died, I lost the last piece of my true home, the tiny corner of the planet where I could still be a child, and feel safe. 

Everybody has something they are talented at, feel passionately about, are very interested in. If they are lucky, maybe all three. I am not going to try to guess here how talented I am, but I can tell you this- writing is my passion, my interest in it has never flagged. Well, maybe briefly, but never for very long. I told my mom yesterday how I knew that what I wanted to do more than anything (still) was to write- I told her, if I were to lose my job tomorrow, that would suck…but I would get another job. If someone told me tomorrow that I could never write again…I wouldn’t know how to go on. Writing is that important to me. 

There are a million stories inside me, all the time, clamoring to be written down, wanting to come out. There are moments like this morning when I felt compelled to come in here and tell you a little about my grandmother, Eileen. Some of my blogs are like that- the best ones, the ones that people love the most. Those tell themselves. I always joke that when I am writing my best, it’s like I’m just dictating for some invisible entity speaking through me. I can hardly keep up. 

I can’t imagine my life without this love affair with words. It is who I am, a huge, natural part of me. Maybe even the best part. Happy Monday (whatever that means. 🙂 ) See you back here soon.

You Are Right Where You Are Supposed To Be.

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You may absolutely disagree with me. You may think- “You don’t even know me! This is not where I am supposed to be! This is not at all where my life was supposed to end up! I don’t even know how the hell this happened to me! Shut up!”

My annoying response is this- “I don’t have to know you, I promise you it is, you would know if you took a minute to think it over, and you better figure it out because time is a-movin’ along. Oh, and NO. I won’t shut up. This is my blog, I can say whatever I want to.”

Seriously, though, the way I look at it, there are no mistakes. Wait, scratch that…yes, we humans make mistakes, but are they REALLY? I mean, look back at your life, especially at the worst, most awful, gut-wrenching things. I don’t know about you, but it was those times specifically that lead to the greatest changes for the better. Romantic train wrecks made me so much wiser about love…losing friends and loved ones to the great big eraser in the sky made me appreciate the ones who were still around, or even my own life a little more. Health scares, both real and imagined, made me take better care of myself. We grow because of our trials and tribulations. My theory is, trials and tribulations are the precise reason we are here.

Right now, I am in a great phase of my life. Two months ago, that was not the case. Two months ago, I would have just as soon not read any cheery, spiritual drivel such as this- and I would not have hesitated to tell you exactly where you could go, and how you could fuck yourself, thank you very much. I was not feeling very in touch with my spiritual side…except, of course, during those two a.m. prayers of desperation to God (they call those “foxhole prayers” for a reason) when I was fairly certain I was going to die, go to jail, lose my job, or rather spectacularly, all three, in whatever order was most humiliating. I am smart enough to understand that I will encounter periods of unrest again, in the future. What I am learning, though, is I do have a little control over just how bad things get.

What I believe to be more true than anything else, and only because I have seen it proved to me, time after time, is this: You may not like where you are at. You may think it is unfair, unwarranted, unbelievable, even. But you are exactly where you need to be right now, in order to get to the fantastic place the Universe is hoping to take you- now whether or not you arrive there at all depends more on you and the choices you make than anything else. Just because the Universe WANTS the best for you does not mean it can control what path you take…my goodness, I hope this makes sense. 

Here’s the deal: If you sit back on your ass and do nothing but cry all day, only God himself could scoop you up and sit you in the good and happy life that is your birthright. Trust me, God has got his hands full with far more pressing things than whether or not your lazy, whiny behind makes it to the house with the white picket fence.And if he did, do you think you would really be happy? Isn’t part of the joy of getting somewhere or achieving something, the work it took to get there? You need to earn it to appreciate it, right? There are all kinds of forces at work, cheering you on, loving you, protecting you, wanting the best for you. BUT YOU HAVE TO WANT IT TOO! There is work to be done. There are no shortcuts, man. Get up, get busy, get moving- see what is out there waiting for you. Wherever you are, however far astray you have gone, you can turn it around.

Now excuse me, would you? I am on my way to another big adventure…actually, I just need to wash my dog, but that sounds so boring after my big speech, doesn’t it? Hahaha! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Directions to Happiness, Part II

 

I promised to finish up my Map to Happiness from yesterday, and I intend to…the only problem is, my internet is down, so I am going to do my part and hope that the internet Deities are kind and I am able to post this before I have to scurry off to my place of employment. So, yesterday, I believe I said – 1) Must make up your mind to be happy. 2) Must get rid of the things keeping you from being happy, 3.) Rest, but do not Languish. 4.) Take walks, & 5.) Think about what you are putting in your mouth, right? I think that was the way I had it all…(you’ll have to forgive me, I am writing this in Microsoft Word, can’t even get a little online)

The following five things are possibly a little more complex, depending on your level of readiness. The next one took me YEARS to finally get serious about, and I wish I had not been so stubborn and resistant because it may just be the catalyst that has helped me maintain this wonderful, formerly elusive, happiness that I am now so wonderfully afflicted with ( J ).

6.) Meditate. My mother must have said the words “I wish you would learn to meditate.” Forty seven thousand, two hundred and thirteen times to me over the past several years. Which probably has a lot to do with why I wouldn’t. I realize now how childish that is, but also, there was definitely a part of me that just wasn’t ready yet to let go of my misery. And remember, that is number one and number two of the formula that works for me- the decision to no longer be miserable, and the action of letting go. If you are anything at all like I was before I found a way to help myself learn how to do it, meditation seems like a cruel joke- a sort of magnifying glass for all your anxiety and neuroses. Who knew it could be so goddamned hard to just sit still for five minutes and NOT THINK?

Well, here’s the deal-you can stop worrying about not thinking, because you are always going to have thoughts- that’s just part of being a living human being. The minute I realized that I could stop tensely slapping my thoughts away (which is kind of contrary to the whole process, right?) and that I didn’t have to be a bouncer in my own head, I did relax, marginally. What helped me more than anything else, though? A really good guided meditation app that is now my favorite IPhone app. The one I use is called “Simply Being”, I’m pretty sure it was free, but it gives you options to do 5,10,15 or 20 minute meditations, and a woman with a wonderful, soothing voice, not to mention gorgeous background music, really helps you figure it out. All my previous attempts to do even a five minute meditation were nearly unbearable. Now, I can do fifteen easily…and I feel like I could even do it without the “guide” part. Well, almost. So, don’t be afraid to try meditation, even if you have not had a lot of success in the past. I understand now why they call it a “Practice”. Because that is what you have to do to get better at it.

7.) Deal with the things that are causing you fear and worry. This one is also huge! I have a lot of financial problems which I decided to ignore rather than deal with…which, of course, only lead me to worse financial problems and lots and lots of fear and anxiety. I wouldn’t open my mail. Every time my phone would ring, my stomach would clench, knowing it was probably yet another bill collector. Over the past month or so, I have started to communicate with people, set up payment plans, and take care of what I am able to. Now, when my phone rings, even if it is a weird 800 number, I am not afraid to answer and at least try to come up with a solution. Whatever your fears are, dealing with them will bring a deep measure of peace. The unknown is always going to be worse.

8.) Have gratitude. Your attitude is more important than any other thing I have mentioned so far. If you are negative and cannot find one good thing in your life, you have already lost before you have even started. You have got to figure out what is great about your life and build on it- even if you feel like you have NOTHING to be glad about or grateful for. If you need to get a notebook and write down five things every day that you can be grateful for, even if those things are- 1) I’m not dead yet, 2) I can still hold this pen in spite of the frostbite 3) At least the nice lady at Starbucks lets me take a sponge bath in the sink when its slow, 4) The new graveyard prison guard is not a total monster…Okay, I think you get my point. Your life CANNOT BE ALL BAD. You may have a bad habit of only seeing the down side, however. I am telling you now that until you can find a better perspective, nothing is going to improve. If you really can’t think of anything good on your own, ask someone else to help you. Another person will be able to tell you five good things about yourself- your job is to believe them.

9) Be kind. Kindness perpetuates all sorts of warm, fluffy, embarrassingly good feelings inside of you. It snowballs more quickly than anything else, it benefits both the giver and the receiver, and it is highly contagious. No one is really immune to kindness, and everyone always needs it. There is nothing better for my spirit than when I can give someone a little more kindness than they are expecting, wherever I am, whatever it may be. People are so touched when you take an extra minute to hold a door, or even notice their two items to your fifteen in line at the grocery store and ask them to please go ahead of you…Be kind whenever the opportunity presents itself. Be kind in action and be kind with your words- resist even saying an unkind thing about someone. Eventually, you will find yourself in the habit of being this way, and it will feel SO GOOD.

10.) Finally, have a sense of humor about all of it. Life is funny, even when it sucks, and you have to shrug it off, laugh at the ridiculousness, not take it personally. Don’t be one of those people who are so “spiritually evolved”, and get up on your high horse of happiness- that is the quickest way to find yourself on your butt, and fast. Live down among the earthlings, your flawed brothers and sisters, and love the shit out of them. Laugh at their jokes, hug them, love them, be part of their lives. And always, always, always see the humor in even the most awful things.

So, this is the recipe for Happiness that I use. I am always willing to try new things, however, and add new ingredients- if you have any suggestions, I sure would like to hear them!

Directions To Happiness

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Yesterday, I ended my blog by saying something like “If I figure out the directions to being present, I will definitely share them”. Well, I woke up this morning and started really thinking about how I got here, to this place of real happiness, in such a relatively rapid manner. I mean, lets face it- just two months ago, I was a pinched face ball of tension and misery. Now, I wake up every single day feeling like the possibilities are pretty much endless, and even if NOTHING exciting happens, I am good. There’s a weird part of me that is almost a little embarrassed by this, like maybe I am really just having a bipolar manic episode, and everything really still sucks…but, I’m pretty sure that isn’t it. I haven’t decided to go jogging naked or spent my whole paycheck on Coach bags, nor have I started an inappropriate affair with the mailman (Yet, hahaha!). So, I am operating on the assumption that this is my new reality. 

As much as it may feel like I sort of stumbled into it, looking back, I do see that I have done some specific things that have helped me get to this point. A lot of it was just instinctual, and when you are on the right path, it’s like your spirit will pull you towards the things that are best for you, I swear. I know how hokey that sounds, but I think that is one of the catches- you have to have an open mind. So, here are my personal directions to the approximate location of happiness. You may have to tweak it a little to find your best neighborhood. 🙂

1.) You have to decide that you want to be happy. For me, it was more like I was so insanely sick of being miserable…but I did often say the words “I just want to be happy.”. Saying this is not the same thing as making the decision to be happy. We say a lot of things, all the time, and do nothing. This happens inside- it’s a commitment that you make to yourself when you are really ready for change, and usually, things have to suck pretty bad to get there. For me, at least. You may be smart enough to feel some minor discomfort and go ahead and turn it around. I could learn a few things from you, if that’s the case.

2.) Once you make up your mind, you have to stop doing all of the things that are making you miserable. For me, as you probably know, there were drugs, and a really unhappy relationship. You just have to let go of that stuff. I had to do both in order to make any progress- I had tried just giving up the drugs and then just giving up the relationship, but nothing worked until I let go of both. It was hard, and sad, but I was ready.

3.) Definitely Rest, but don’t Languish…does that make sense? What I mean is, yes, you do need some time to recover from the “surgery” (whatever piece of yourself you just had removed, or reconstructed), but don’t just sit around waiting to heal. When my last baby was born, I had to have an emergency C-section. The nurses told me to walk around as soon as I could, that it would really help. I thought they were insane- HELLO? From what I understood, certain vital organs of mine had been PLACED ON TOP OF MY STOMACH to get to my child before being thrown back in…you want me to do what, now? But they were right. It kept me from getting all stiff and full of scar tissue or something, I guess. Same principle, here. You need to keep moving forward. You gave enough time to whatever misery you are escaping.

4.) Take walks. I had put “exercise”, which is also really important, but it isn’t the same thing for me as walking. I get something different out of my morning walks than I do from a trip to the gym. I get to see the world around me in a different way, and I just sort of meander around, doing what feels good to me. So try taking a walk every day, see if it helps.

5.) Think about what you are putting in your mouth. The way I eat has so much to do with the way I feel, it is crazy. If I eat lots of red meat or fast food, I feel sluggish and awful. If I eat food that I cook at home, and lots of salads and fruit, so on, I feel better. Not just in my body, but in general. I am not saying cut out everything you love to eat, just think about what you are eating. Lots of times, i realize I don’t really even want something when it comes right down to it.

Well, I feel really bad about this, but I am going to have to finish this tomorrow! Time got away from me, and I have to head out for my walk or I will miss it, and…well, see number 4. That would just never do!  Have a great day, and I will talk to you tomorrow, I promise.

The Odd, Wonderful, Sensation of Being Present

 

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A new level of reality has been coming over me in gentle waves, lately. One I have to admit I have never noticed before. You know how there is all this talk about “Mindfulness”, being “In the Moment”, “Living in the Present”? Well, I don’t know about you, but this has always been baffling to me. I mean, where the hell else can one be? I realize that my head is always going a million miles a minute, that I am often sort of transported, mentally, into things I want to do later, items I need to pick up from the grocery store, phone calls I need to return. The truth is, it has been so common for me to live my life in this state of distraction, I wasn’t even aware that I wasn’t really EVER present for what was before me.

Suddenly, without any conscious effort on my part, there have been these times, more and more often, when I am right where I am. That I am actually seeing the world in front of me, around me, without any distraction or intrusion from the past or the future. When I am out on my walks in the morning, and the air is so bracing when I first step outside, and the way I warm up within a block or so. The rhythmic sound of my feet as I walk is like a mantra that focuses me. Sometimes, I round a corner, look up, and like this morning, I see this incredible sun rising up over the bay, and the water looks like liquid gold, like a melted trail of the sun itself. This morning, as I ran down the hill with Lucy pulling me in her overzealous wake, I felt so alive. I realized I had this big ridiculous grin on my face, and that anyone who saw me would think I was nuts, but I really didn’t care.

I stop a lot to take pictures. I walk when I feel like it, and I run when the mood strikes me. But it isn’t just happening when I am alone. The other day, my older daughter came outside to talk to me, and as I looked up at her, I was struck by her appearance. It was like I was seeing this nearly grown, beautiful young woman for the very first time. Her loveliness took my breath away. It was as if I had been walking around with some weird buffer around me, keeping me disconnected from my own eyes. “Why are you looking at me like that?” She asked. “Like what?” I bluffed, pretending like there was nothing different about anything. But everything is different. At least in flashes.

Camryn, too. As I gave her a bath the other night, like I do every night, I actually tuned in and participated (earnestly, not in the placating way that I usually do) in her joyful, non-stop banter. I realized what a wonderful, bright, sunny little human being I had been blessed with, out of the blue. I was so grateful for her guileless, un-jaded happiness…so glad that it had not been disturbed yet by whatever nonsense the world eventually heaps upon us. I am so glad I got to witness it for at least one unhurried moment.

It’s happening all the time, and it seems like the more I notice it, the more it happens. Maybe it is because I am alone, and I am free of all of the push and pull that goes on in a romantic relationship. That tends to take up a lot of head space, at least for me. Maybe it is because I have finally given myself full permission to live my life the way that I, and no one else, sees fit. That the rules I am following today are MINE. The truth is, this has brought me more peace than I have ever before known. Maybe it is the absence of fear in my life. I don’t know.

What I do know is that being present, really, fully, totally present…it truly is a gift. If I figure out how I am getting there, I will be sure to share the directions. 

Starting Again

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There is a little plaque hanging on my kitchen wall that says “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”. This is a sentiment that resonates with me, especially because, looking back at my life, I see that my guilt and shame over how I had chosen to live the perfect, blessed life I was lucky enough to be born into, kept me sick for a lot longer than necessary. Ironic, right? I felt so bad about my choices that I chose to continue making poor choices. You know, thinking about all of that, it makes me tired, and it makes me sad, and it makes me feel yucky. It’s a feeling I’d like to wash off of me forever.

But it’s a part of who I am, and if I ever forget, (as if that were possible) I’d be in danger of repeating those mistakes, I think. That is one thing I can say about my life, at least. Once I got clean the first time, through all the relapses that eventually followed, I never made the same mistakes. I did the same drugs, and I lived the life sort of, with one foot in and one foot out the door. I literally lead a double life. I kept my job and tried to maintain the facade of a “normal” life. What I learned there was that, for me, the misery created by living a lie was even greater than just being an all out, bottom of the barrel, dope fiend.

Eventually, I reached the point we all have to reach before we decide that a change is worth making. Usually, it is when everything becomes so painful that we cannot make it through a day without crying like a baby. I have been there many, many times. I don’t want to go there again, but if and when I do, I really hope it is for some other reason. If I have to be miserable, let it be a new misery. I know that if I am clean, I will be able to deal with it so much more capably.

The first part of this “return to earth” is intense. Our bodies are depleted, and our souls are just overflowing with the feelings we have been busily anesthetizing for…way too long. We are tired and frazzled, moody, and terribly afraid. I am thinking of my little brother who is in treatment now, as I write this. He has had such a hard time. When he called to tell me he was headed off to rehab a week or so ago, I was so proud of him. It is so goddamned hard to admit that we need help, especially if it isn’t the first time. May you never know the way that feels. I was too afraid, myself, but boy did I need help. I was afraid of losing my job, my kids, my house. I didn’t want anyone to know what a spectacular failure I was. I was so concerned with how I looked to the world that I actually preferred to continue killing myself rather than surrender, to admit that I was not doing well.

Thankfully, it has worked out alright. I have so much gratitude for everything good in my life right now. I want so much for everyone I know, and everyone I don’t know, even, who is caught up in the the madness of this spirit consuming disease to find what I have found. Some of them definitely will. Some of them won’t, not ever. And that is their own personal path, I know that. I understand that some people I can love, but I have to do it at a distance. I have finally learned that in this way, I must put my own best interests first. It is an incredibly delicate balance.

It is 6:22 in the morning, and I have been up since a little before five, like I am almost every day now. I am close enough to my latest disasters to still feel overjoyed by my relatively unscathed escape. I regret being angry zombie mom to my kids, angry asshole daughter to my mom, angry negative Facebook poster to my friends. I regret being a fake ass liar to the people at work. I am sad that I can’t really even tell them the truth now, and ask them to forgive me. All I can do is be this girl, today, and make a silent amends…make my life an amends, even, by being the best I can be at all times.

And when I mess up, I start over. Mess up, start over. It doesn’t have to be a backslide or a disaster, another sad chapter in my life. It’s just a little misstep, and then a correction. Have a beautiful day.

PMS: The Innocent Bystanders Survival Guide

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Mother Nature has a weird sense of humor. This year, my kids are getting a visit from the Easter Bunny, while I got a visit from HER…actually, she’s been hanging around, slowly increasing her presence for what seems like an awfully long time now. That’s kind of how it seems to be working for me, now, as I’ve gotten older. I don’t always get a hormone surge capable of launching me into psychosis, but when I do…it’s EPIC. So, like once every three or four months, rather than the average little grouchy mood and perhaps an annoying twinge in my abdomen signalling (*WARNING* I am about to discuss my PERIOD. If you are a man, or my mother, look away) the arrival of the nightmare in my southern hemisphere, I get a full scale metamorphosis- we’re talking Jekyll and Hyde, here- like an all out battle between good and evil, taking place throughout my body.

My boobs hurt so bad I am afraid to remove my bra because gravity is ACTUALLY PAINFUL. My body begins sucking calories out of the food other people are eating, and I bloat up like someone has been inflating me with a bicycle pump while I sleep. In reaction to this, I begin aggressively eating things I would not touch with a ten foot pole at any other time of my life. I have eaten McDonald’s twice in the past twenty four hours, not to mention all the candy I could pilfer from my toddlers Easter egg hunt winnings yesterday. And some ice cream. And perhaps some candy I found on the floor of my car. It would behoove you, however, not to mention this to me, as I am prone to violent, and totally unpredictable outbursts that may or may not escalate into physical altercations. I know, it surprises me as much as anyone. Still. And I have been going through this shit for YEARS. Here is an example of a hypothetical conversation between myself and my toddler that could have occurred, say, yesterday, for example:

Her: “Mommy, what are you doing.”

Me: “I’m watching this show.”

Her: “You really like this show, huh, mommy?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s why I’m watching it.”

Her: “Is it your favorite show?”

Me: “I don’t know…”

Her: “What…what…what’s this show about?”

Me: “I HAVE NO IDEA, YOU WON’T STOP TALKING LONG ENOUGH FOR ME TO WATCH THE FRIGGING THING!!”

Silence.

Me: Sigh. “I’m sorry, honey, I’m not mad at you.”

Her: “Are you a good monster, or a bad monster?”

Oh, if only I knew. My best tip to everyone is to not make eye contact with me, or say anything that may be considered “inflammatory”. unfortunately for you, nothing falls into that category, including utter silence. Yes, I can even turn that into an argument.

In my defense, and in the defense of all of the women in the universe who have ever suffered from this very same hormonal disadvantage…it is not our fault. There is literally some chemical madness going on in our bodies that even we don’t totally understand. There is always that one annoying chick out there who “doesn’t get PMS”, and to her I say: Suck it. The rest of us hate you.

This morning I woke up in a state of seething annoyance, hating everything about my house. I predict that this will progress, by mid-day, into utter self loathing, reaching a peek around two o’clock when i try to fit into a pair of jeans I know FOR A FACT will button, but not zip, at which time I will dramatically collapse onto the floor, sobbing, and dream about smashing everything in the house. Tomorrow, my period will arrive, and I will just feel silly about the whole thing. I mean, what the heck was THAT all about? Yep, this is the routine, for me. I just feel lucky it doesn’t happen every time.

Oh, and as for surviving it as an innocent bystander? You kind of can’t. If you are a man, just resign yourself to saying the wrong thing, no matter what you say, and perhaps threats of divorce or imminent relocation. If you can, maybe just plan to be off fishing, or at a religious retreat or something. If you are a child, pretend you are trying to get in the Guinness World book of Records for hide and seek, and HIDE. Speak when spoken to. Tell your mother she is pretty, and if she asks if you mean it. for Gods sake, do NOT snicker when you say yes. This is all I can arm you with. Good luck.

Happy Easter.

Withdrawals

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I am no stranger to withdrawals. I have been through them in a multitude of ways, on many occasions- I’ve been through                       methamphetamine withdrawals, both as a snorter AND a smoker (up yours if you think they aren’t different, and double up yours to the powers that decided that meth has no “physical withdrawal symptoms”…anyone who smoked long enough knows the feeling of getting hit with a low voltage cattle prod, repeatedly, throughout the day). I have gone through nicotine withdrawals. I even had a slight, perplexing, little bout with mild alcohol withdrawal, in my early twenties, when I worked at Viva’s, the dive bar on Alvarado street in downtown Monterey. Yeah, we drank quite a bit, before, after…okay, and DURING work. We were freaking twenty somethings with unlimited free access to alcohol. How could you expect anything less? I have suffered through withdrawals of all kinds, up to and including terrible love withdrawals, and really unwise bank withdrawals, even (sorry, i had to throw that in there somewhere). But this is the weirdest one, ever. My friend, i am going through Facebook withdrawals.

Yesterday, out of nowhere, I just decided to ban myself from Facebook for the weekend. Friday night to Monday morning. No big deal, right? WRONG. I find myself composing status updates in my head as I am driving, clever little blurbs about…well, Facebook withdrawals, which I cannot write about because I am NOT using Facebook. Just for today. Well, and also, tomorrow. I actually almost had to remove the icon on my IPhone, the compulsion to click that hypnotic little blue “F”  was so strong. So far, I’ve been able to resist. Just barely.

What’s the big deal, right? I mean, can Facebook really be harmful? Well, I think it has the potential to be, for some people. I am one of those people. I have a tendency to overdo things, anyway. I am also a bit of a narcissist, a show off, and a blabber mouth. I really like attention. I like to make people laugh. I have an opinion about all kinds of things. And I really don’t like to miss an opportunity to put my two cents in. (reminder to myself- include this paragraph when and if you get to your sixth step, regarding character defects). So for me, it was becoming yet another thing I was going overboard on. I found myself checking my page first thing in the morning, right before bed, and posting billions of times a day. Or what seemed like it anyway. 

The thing is, it was starting to feel a little overwhelming for me. I don’t really need to say so much, nor do I need to see or know so much. I don’t really need to post fifteen little clever memes a day, or twenty three inspirational quotes…or as my good friend, Robert, pointed out, tips on how best to clean your fruit. Up yours, too, Robert. LOL. So I am doing a two day Facebook cleanse. I have a feeling it won’t kill me.

Now the tricky part will be figuring out if this links correctly to my Facebook when I post it. Oh well. Even that will just have to work itself out. 

 

Simple Pleasures

 

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When I started this blog, I thought that it would be about a woman (me) on a quest to better herself, to stave off the BS that is aging, and how she (I) learned to be, or to stay, beautiful…Man, I could never have guessed how right I was, in some respects, and how misguided I was, in others. I had no idea the battle that lay ahead, that I would be swept back up, on several occasions, pinned back down beneath the tsunami of my own addiction. I could not have guessed that, by the time I got here, to this day, I would be far less interested in the state of my appearance than I was in the state of my spirit. That my crows feet would not even place on the top ten list of my current concerns.

I know I talk about my struggle with drugs a lot, and if that bothers you, I highly encourage you to find another blog to read…because drugs are a huge part of my story, a major contributing factor in the making of me as you know me, a curse and also a blessing. ‘How in the world can you call it a blessing ?’ You might be asking yourself…well, let me explain, would you?

If it weren’t for the drugs, that revealed my illness, that caused all the struggle, the hardship, the bullshit…I would never have known the joy of overcoming all of it. I would never have gotten through it and looked back and thought, ‘Man, you made it out alive, through all of THAT?’ . There are things I will keep to myself, that I will never write about in this blog, or tell my mother, or share with most people, because they just don’t need to know. But rest assured, when I tell you that my life was hard, and sad, brutal and depraved, even- you can trust that I am telling you the truth. I wasted a lot of years on what amounted to very little.

But I learned from it. And because of all of that, my appreciation for what I have in my life today, the simple, little, common pleasures are profound. Last night, I made dinner and watched Matilda with both of my daughters and my older daughters boyfriend, and I realized that even a month ago, I would not have found myself there. No one wanted to be around me, and that was fine, because I didn’t want to be around them either. Now, it is the best part of my day, spending time with people I love. Actually, the whole day is the best part of my day, because at every turn, I am filled with gratitude. And that is why I can tell you that my illness is also a blessing- because the flip side of the coin is a wonderful way to be.

In the past month, i have done more than I have done in the past year, and I am not kidding you. I got my nose pierced with my daughter, I went to the boardwalk, I went to the mall. My sister came to visit me for three days, and I got to show her around town. I went to the lighthouse here for the first time ever. I went to a family barbecue in Palo Colorado Canyon. I painted with my toddler. I went to the library, twice. I read a book, I started writing a book, I wrote a couple of good blogs. I started exercising. I took a Zumba class, and pilates, and body sculpting. I lost five pounds. I hung out with old friends. I booked a vacation. I planned a day trip with some other friends. I went to a street festival. I went to some meetings. I called my mother- a lot. I talked to every person I love, at least one time. And that is just in the last MONTH. My life is so full of good, I can’t really describe it.

So…if you are out there, right in the middle of your own self imposed prison sentence, can you try to put yourself in my place? I am telling you, right now, you can start to turn it all around, you are just like me. Everyone who loves you still loves you. You can have back everything you had in your life…or nearly everything, and what you can’t have will be replaced by something just as good…maybe even better. Just think about it. And that is all I have to say today. :)addic