Posted in advice, aging, family, humor, kids, Life, Musings, People

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.

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Posted in Uncategorized

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. 

 

Posted in Addiction, advice, Blogging, family, friendship, Goals, inner peace, Life, People

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

 

 

Posted in advice, aging, beauty, family, friendship, humor, inner peace, Learning, Life, People

Growing Up.

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I have spent most of my life terrified of being a grown up. I thought that it would be boring, depressing, lame and embarrassing. If you asked me, the ONLY benefit of being an adult was getting to eat ice cream for breakfast…and maybe the idea that you could have a kitten without begging your mother first. Also, when I still got a tax return, I kind of liked that. Oh yeah, and I did like the whole concept of having a home of my own in which to have sex…not that NOT having one ever did much to slow me down.

I was scared of becoming irrelevant, fat, unattractive, and being forced to drive a mini-van around while young people in Miata’s drove by laughing at my sloppy middle aged pathetic ass. I mean, I thought that just naturally happened when you hit a certain age. Now, here I sit, 38- nearly 39, and it occurred to me yesterday that A) I am an adult, and have been for quite some time, B) Being an adult without being a grown up is at least as sad as driving around in a mini-van, and C) I think I am finally growing up. And I really like it.

Here are a few reasons why I think I may be growing up:

It hit me that the whole purpose of working at a job is SO THAT YOU CAN PAY FOR THINGS LIKE BILLS. I mean, obviously, the hope is that you can get to a spot where you can also buy cute shoes, go out to dinner, and maybe take a vacation once in a while. But when you are a grown up, you pay your bills first and then see what is left. Hopefully, something. Maybe you sock some away into a savings account, maybe not ( I said I was growing up, I didn’t say I was all the way there yet, cut me some slack!). But you don’t go buy the shoes, go out to dinner, and then see what you can to about paying some bills. If you do it that way, you are adding a whole lot of stress to your life. By paying bills first, at least you know that even if you hate your shoes, you’ll have light to glare at them with.  This was a big breakthrough for me.

Another thing- It can take years to reach your limit with misery. My threshold has proven to be extraordinarily high. But once you reach it, maybe go a little beyond it, then finally get the hell out of it…Well, you realize that happiness, YOUR own, personal, happiness in life is THE MOST PRECIOUS thing you have. When I am not happy, there is no way I can make my kids happy, no way I can run my life with any hope for success. So I have become as protective of this happiness as I would if it WERE one of my children. I am not willing to make the kind of decisions I have in the past that led me to misery. I just won’t do it. Which leads me to this:

As a grown up, you learn that you can trust your gut instincts. Looking back over my life, the times I did not do this, things have never gone well. I promised myself a long time ago that once I was free of my last relationship, I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever go against my gut, not ever again. Last week, I chose to honor that promise, and I have no regrets. I am not going to complicate my life until I really think it is worth it, and I am not there right now.

Most wonderful of all of my discoveries, however, is this- Being a grown up can be amazingly fun, and really liberating. You know what? I have gotten a little fat, and I don’t turn heads the way I once did. Big fucking deal! Who needs that kind of scrutiny, anyway? It really bothered me for a while, but (thank GOD) I am so okay with all of it now. I had all that, for a long time, and now it is a younger generations turn. In the meantime, I am getting down to meat and potatoes of life- connecting with friends, taking care of myself, mentally, spiritually, physically, and with great affection and care. I don’t have to spend the time I once did wondering how I looked to everyone else. And I spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about that shit.

I love the knowledge gained with age- that we really are all going to look like idiots at times, and that can be part of the fun. I love finding that growing up can exist harmoniously with having a young, fun spirit. I really love the realization that this world is so big, there are no limits on the adventures and experiences we can choose to have…the only problem I can see now is how there will ever be enough TIME. But I will cross that bridge when i get to it. 

Posted in Addiction, family, Goals, inner peace, Learning, Life, People

Rediscovering Hope

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My cat does this thing where she meows pitifully to come in, then, when I open the door, she just looks nervously in as if a pack of wolves could be standing just beyond her sight, and hesitates until I get impatient and shut the door in her face. Why, you may wonder, do I not just scoop her up and make her come in? Well, because if I do, she will just stand there looking terrified and cry until I let her back out again. Then she runs away and won’t come back until way later, even though she is probably starving to death.

This is a really good analogy for my behavior over the past…oh, Jesus, entire adulthood, I guess. Specifically, me in my addiction. There I am, at the door of everything beautiful in life, whining and crying for Gods help…for him to please let me IN. Except that He is always there for me, always opening the door, His patience is eternal. But I hesitate at the entrance, and for all of my howling, I am not really ready to come in. I perceive that the door is shut, but it is always open. I stand there, terrified when I can see that it is open, and heartbroken when I think it is closed, and I struggle to take that first step in. And God, or whatever power you choose to believe in- the Universe, lets say- knows better than to scoop me up and bring me in before I am ready, because I will bolt, and it may be a really long time before I come back to that doorstep.

I have spent months agonizing at this doorway, scared to death to let go of my misery and see what was on the other side. There are a million reasons I used to keep myself sick, most of them somehow relating to how sick I would be ( the irony here does not escape me) before I was better. Well, I am here to tell you, if you are using that excuse yourself, it’s bullshit. Sorry to ruin it for you. At the MOST, we are talking about a little discomfort, a little yuckiness…but here is the caveat- it is discomfort mixed with an amazing dollop of hope that things are about to improve, finally.

As long as you are using, there is no hope that things are going to improve, none. I am not talking about you guys who smoke weed and are okay with it. You know, I am not talking about anything at all that you are totally fine with- if you are really, truly fine with whatever you are doing, then it isn’t a problem for you. It may be a problem for everyone around you, and there’s a decent chance that you are totally lying to yourself, but I am talking specifically about those of us entrenched in our addiction who despise it, despise ourselves, and feel totally beaten, desperate and paralyzed. Scared to death at the thought that we must save ourselves FROM ourselves…I mean, how the hell does that work?

It works when you are ready for it to work, and not a minute sooner. When you are ready, you can do it. That is the truth. Here is another truth- I have memory problems. In my lifetime, I have observed that I am very similar to every other human being in most basic ways, so you may have memory problems too. I forget, over and over, who I am and what my life can be like. So there may be times of forgetfulness and backslide. I have tricked myself into believing that I was well, that I was different, that I had figured out some magic way to avoid getting caught up in the grip of my disease. I am just admitting to this in case you feel like an idiot because this has happened to you, or in case it does.

A few weeks ago, I just changed my mind. I decided I had been terrified and miserable for long enough. I missed my family and friends, I missed ME,  and I was willing to brave the yuckiness to get back to them. And you know what? It wasn’t that big of a deal. Because in the midst of it, I rediscovered hope, and hope makes everything easier to bear. A few weeks ago, I felt like life was closed off to me, and now, literally DAYS later, every door seems open, or at least approachable…and I don’t have to sit outside crying to get in.

Yesterday, I was scolding myself for something I did ( yes, I talk to myself) and I was unable to call myself “stupid”…how do you like that? I was like, “Good one, st…silly.” , and it was so funny, because it was REAL. This morning I woke up, saw myself in the bathroom mirror, and grinned. “I LIKE that girl.” I thought. These are not small things. All I can say is, it’s about time. I wish every one of you the same.