Squishing About in My Brain

Posted on: April 17, 2016

Getting Old…and Maybe Smooshy Inside

Yesterday was my birthday. I am in my mid-forties now. I do not like saying the number right now, because it doesn’t feel like my age. It sounds obscenely old when compared to how I feel as I move through my life. This is not a new feeling; I have felt this way for a lot of years now, and it never seems to resolve itself.

Every year on and around my birthday, a deep and merciless depression takes over and kicks my ass, looking at the lack in my life, the mistakes, the misery I feel, the life that I am not enjoying and do not feel like I am truly living, the life I have not created that would make me happy and content. This year, I seemed to have fought it off. I woke up yesterday happy and calm, went to work and stayed in a good mood, enjoyed the birthday decorations, appreciation of my coworkers, and the mounds of delicious food. I stayed happy all day, and came home and remained joyous and relaxed, until I got tired and fell asleep, with lovely 69 degree weather, windows open, at peace.

I slept until I woke up naturally today. That literally never happens. A good start.

I went shopping with my daughter today. We met my mom for dinner. It was wonderful and stress-free. We came home and had champagne cake that my mom got to celebrate me, and even though my dad was being his depressive, narcissist self, and whining and then silently pouting when we refused to give him a full quarter of this rich, sweet cake (by the way: HE IS DIABETIC), it was nice family time; another thing that rarely happens with us.

But now, looking at what a miserable human my father is all the time, how he lashes out at others and is only interested in being a victim of things of his own making with no accountability, even on someone else’s special day, I feel the annual black cloud encroaching on my mind.

It almost seems to be taunting me, like it is letting me know I cannot escape it with mere will power and daily drugs, no matter how old I get, or how hard I try; no matter how much love and compassion and joy I try to put out into the lives of others, into the world; no matter how hard I try to be the best me I can.

To fight it off, I decide to go outside and have sometime to myself, to cleanse myself from the constant thick, suffocating air of negativity in this house. I find it is still beautiful outside, so I put on shorts, take off shoes, and settle myself on the deck with a very interesting book I am reading, trying to rekindle the feeling blessed emotion I had earlier.

As dusk falls, trees black against the perfect blue-grey transitioning sky, moon already up and shining beautifully, I sit listening to the birds sing, the lovely breeze sigh, joyfully  watching the bats chase and catch their supper…a perfect spring evening.

And it suddenly hits me.

It is times like these, and tonight this exact moment in time, when I feel the most grateful, and love this city the most. And it makes me weepy.

Happily and spontaneously weepy.

Suddenly, being by myself in perfect oncoming night, watching things unfold as they may, is a moment I ask the universe to let me remember on my deathbed.

This perfect, unhurried, unmoving, unthinking moment.

For a few minutes, there is no worry, no stress, no negative thoughts, no dwelling on how fucked up things are in my life, how far I fall from the bar in other people’s judgements of my life, how far I am from where I know in my heart I need to be to make me able to be calm and full of joy, no have-tos or shoulds.

There is just an unbelievable complete adoration of the world and bursting joy watching bats careen around like untethered free spirits in my parents’ backyard, where I grew up to be exactly who I am. Exactly who I should be.

This is a moment I need to draw on when my depression monster jumps me and cuts off my breath, circumvents my momentum, leadens my movements, stops me in my tracks, makes me small and weak and afraid and falling.

This is a moment when everything is just as it should be.

I need it.

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So, here’s an oldie for you. Although you never got to read it, so I guess technically it still counts as new.

Back in May of 2013, I got riled up over people getting riled up. So I sat down and vomited all that rile and bile into a blog.

Which you never saw.

Here it is:

 

May 14, 2013

So, Angelina has no more breasts. She chose to cut them off, even though they were not cancerous. And she had the unmitigated gall to TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT! OMG, what an attention whore!

Bullpuckey.

I find myself feeling like I have to title this “Why I Have to Defend Angelina Jolie”, even though she certainly doe snot need me, or for that matter, ANY OF US, to either defend or castigate her.

And here’s why: she has already made one of the hardest decisions a woman could have to make.

As a boob-carrying woman (I have the membership card and the backache to prove it), I cannot imagie life without them, no matter how cumbersome they are. No woman rushes into a decision about excising part of her body.

A pro/con list doesn’t cut it. A snap decision it it ain’t, folks. Regardlessof which  choice gets made, it is a heart-rending, mind-bending, psyche-fucking trip.

Amongst those I know (and/or social-medially know), there were two generalcategoris of response:

1. “How brave and heroic of her to make this decision and then TELL people for the betterment of women faced with the chance of breast cancer!” (which is, actually,anyone with breasts),

and

2. “Hero,my ass!Fuckingattention whore! She’s not a hero, she;s a homewrecking whore!”

I know scapegoating and a witch hunt when I see it,people, so here are:

MY REBUTTALS TO ALL YOU PEOPLE WHO CANNOT SHUT UP ABOUT THIS:

1. Brave, sure, but also, I think, necessary. Since society is not about to leaveher alone and let her experience be a personal, private thing in he rlife, what choice had she, honestly?

2. …Really? A woman our society has made a “star” (don’t get e started about celebrity worship—that is a whoooole othe blog!), and continually harrasses and stalks, has undergone a major, terrifying life experience, and you are still holding on to your “TEAM JEN” standing?! First—TOTALY FUCKING IRRELEVANT! It wasn’t even relevantwhen it first cameout.  Second, you fucking hyocrite. Third, in a celcbrity marriage, AS IN ANY MARRIAGE!, NO ONE KNOWS WHAT REALLY AHPPENS IN ANY DAMN RELATIONSHIP EXCEPT THE PEOPLE DIRECTLY INVOLVED: that would be Aniston, Pitt, and Jolie…PERIOD. And the thig about that, besides it being no one else’s fuckig business, is that when things tank in a relaitonship, no one involved is CAPABLE of being totally circumspect and honest aou ttheir actions/involvements/fuckups. As humans, we are both self-centered andprone tomartyrdom, and haveautomatic blinders on to OUR part in the destruction.WE are emotional creatures, , people, and emotions are messy, ilogical, and skew the truth when in the midst of uch matter, and it echoes through our lives.

Alos, feeding Jen;s pain and suffering by making her a “team” only mad eher stay mired in her breakup shit longer than she needed to be, and kept her from grieving, healing, and getting on with her life as she needed to do.

How dare I? How do I know? We ALL know. It happens to every one in a breakup.

The problem with fame is that people get moreconcerned with celebrities providing entertqinment and cannon fodder with their lives than actually being compassionate and concerned with them as POEPLE.

And yes, I took no sides in that bullshit (tee shirts? Really? You assholes.) , but I wouldve had to go with Jolie when I saw how much Jen was eing encouraged to walloow in her vengeful grief, and not heal, and how it all landed at Jolie’s feet.  You didnt do Jen any favors, people. That wasnt support, that was SPORT. Jennifer Anniston was imprisoned in the tar pits of her pain by people “supporting” er.

Firswt rule of friendship: help, don’t harm

My response is always that noneof know what happenedin those relaitonships . We can;tknow, so we have no right to judge. We should fuck off and mind our own business.

 

I found there were very few “who truly gives a shit” responses.

Here is  mine.

First off, know this: I have breasts.

Secondly, I have relatives woh havebattled cancer of various kinds, breast incuded. (She’s fie now, thanks for asking.)

Therefore, I could very well be oneof those women whom Angelina’s honesty could help.

I don’t dither about big decisions (only little ones, and then I dither teh shit out of them until I am running about like the White Rabbit.) It took me all of three seconds to know it would be very, very difficult for me to choose to be wothout my breasts. We are very close, and froma young age (I developed at ten and they just kept on going!), a lot of my self-esteem was largely dependent on them.

(No, you don’t get to say, “Your silly slef-esteem problemsareirrelevant!” Self esteem is ALWAYS relevant.)

Breasts are an intrinsic part of womanhood, and we live in asociety in love with breasts, and not afraid to reinforce it to every girlchild, in a million ways, every day. (Quit faking naivete. It’s a fact.)

My breasts have pleased menandwomen, fed my child, made me both ashamed and proud (sometimesin the same situation), have been my blessingand my bane for three and ahalf decades ow.Nwo that I am secure in myself apart from my physicality, I love them. They’ve served me well. I can’timagine not having them. It would be heartrending to try to decide to take themoff if they WERE cancerous, let laone if they only had a high probablity of becoming so.

So, my dmastectomy opinion is the same as my abortion opinion (which I was  faced with 20 years ago): it’s up to the individual and I would never judge; I just couldn’t do it myself.

So, here is my opinion of Angelina Jolie’s “breast removal coming out”:

1. That is a HORRIBLE decision to have to make. I can only imagine how wrenching it was to contemplate, let alone ctualy go through.

2. The way she is stalked, it is not like she COULD just keep quiet. We would;ve gotten tabloids andpeople who think they are real journalists,screaming :Angie chops off own breasts in mentla breakdown!” or some equally ridiculous shit.

So, 3. Way to go, trying tocircumvent some pain and shame for yourself and other women,Angie.

Thsi does not make her a media-hungry attention whore; it makes her a woman who had a terrifying experienceand hopes to, at the very least, let other women knwo they aren’t alone

 

By theway, there are a lot of ways to be heroic in our world. We all generally concur that military servicemen and women, and people who risk their lives to save others from burning buildings/ mass shootings/ natural disasters/terroriust attacks are heroes. But here is the thing, the important grassroots thingof it: heroism doesnt have to be loud. If you can do somehting to alleviate the suffering of others, to  make someone else’s life less harrowing, to help someoneelse see how much light and hipe and support is to be had in this fucked up world, THAT COUNTS. It counts because we ned each other, people. Less judgement, more joy. We are all in this together.You can be a hero to someone just as you are, by sharing your experiences and giving HOPE.

And that is what Angelina Jolie did—she shared, so others could take strength from a painful human exoperience. So, while I don;t think she needs kudos for talking abou tit, do think she deserves thanks.Thanks, Angelina Jolie, for adding to the collective strength and resilience  of women. I am sure your honesty will help women faced with their own potential health crises to amke their decisoins without shame or self-persecution. Gods know, we get enough of that from others who think they know what we should be doing with ourselves, our  bodies, and our lives as it is.

 

 

 

 

I was talking to a coworker today while we did our relatively autopilot job, and as I told him about my college years, and it hit me that what I ended up majoring in was not at all what I planned on doing when I went to college. “They” say that college freshmen end up changing their majors on an average of five times before graduation anyway, but I went knowing what I wanted to do: I wanted to write. Period. Plain and simple. I knew I could, would, and should be a writer. I knew I had books in me.

 

So I entered college at the good ole University of Northern Iowa (which was the cheapest state college at the time, which is why I chose it. My parents agreed to pay for it, as they had been saving for it since my birth, but my Mensa brother was going to get to go to an expensive college the next year, so I purposefully went with UNI—I suppose I thought I was helping the family somehow. I also had a friend who went to school there and was all hyped to room with me, but she joined a sorority the semester before I got there, i.e. screwed me, and left me to the dorm wolves instead.)

I digress, as usual.

 

I was excited to go to college. Freedom AND knowledge? WOOHOO! I diligently signed up for classes, not caring that I had to take all of those crappy general education requirements; I had picked pretty good courses anyhow. I was most excited to get started on my lit courses. They were why I was there; my reason for bothering with higher education.

 

When I landed Native American Lit with Robert Gish, I got REALLY excited, and stayed that way, as both the literature and the teaching were excellent and interesting. But then there was my American Lit course. The professor was also my advisor, and the head of the department. I thought, “This will be great! He will actually KNOW me when he advises me. This cannot be bad!”

 

Now, understand, I went into college with an above-average vocabulary. I’d always loved words, and I had been reading since what seems like nigh on toddlerhood. And I’d been writing since I was seven. I wasn’t some grammarless hick who could not communicate or needed to larn me some letters.

 

I worked hard in American Lit. I read, I listened, I took notes, even though it was hard not to doze off sometimes; the delivery was sometimes a bit narcoticizing.  Not just for me, by the way. But I wanted to do well. There were a couple of older male students in my class (juniors or seniors, I believe), who were already pretty buddy-buddy with the professor, and while I didn’t think I could compete with them, I was certain I wanted to end up with that easy professorial banter someday as well. I was basically shy as a freshman, so I didn’t kiss ass, but I was ready to be buds, an occurrence which I was sure would begin once he had a chance to read my papers and see that I was an intelligent and capable writer, someone who would flourish under his tutelage.

 

We didn’t have our first actual advising meeting for awhile, and when I went to it, I had to tell him I was in his class. Okay, I could give him that; he had a lot of students to keep track of, and soon enough he would know me by name and help me onto a clear educational path that would help me arrive at my dreams of being a writer.

 

I am going to skip right to the chase on this advising: I was cooperative and engaged and full of verve for my path, even the crappy gen-ed requirements, and I was cheerful about accepting my lot in that area; he was not encouraging, was dismissive, was completely unhelpful and did not appreciate that I knew what I wanted to do. And that was only the first meeting. (Later, when I dropped a math course to take an easier one, he made facial expressions and sounds that I would have expected my parent to make as they wrote me out of the will.)

 

Things were also not going well for me in his class. (Although I was kicking ass in Native American Lit, where I felt both encouraged AND got positive feedback—and good grades—on my papers and tests.) So I did the correct good-student thing: I talked to him after class as he had told us to do…and basically got blown off. I made appointments with him, and pretty much got the same. I never got told WHY my writing was bad, as it obviously had to be, since he couldn’t be bothered to give me any encouragement or even point out my errors.  If I asked him directly what I could do to improve, I got nothing, and once he even said he just “had no time for” me.

 

And, understand, as a freshman, I was a Pleaser. I tried to please people, I tried to do what they wanted to make things better, I was completely willing to take their advice and desires to heart! (Yeah…I’m over that now.)

 

I just could not make him give a shit.

 

To this day, I do not know WHY this professor disliked me. And I assure you, he disliked me. He did, I had noticed, seem to favor the male students over we women, and joked with them and talked to them as equals, but it felt much more personal than that, and as far as my education went, it WAS. When I asked him questions, I got looks that made me feel stupid, as if I had just asked him which end of my pen was the writing end, and why wouldn’t it erase. When I wrote papers that seemed intelligent and well structured, (and had received the “attagirl” from the senior English major friend across the hall), he red-penned them without really saying WHY my grade was so low. Same with exams. There were a lot of Cs and a few Bs, which was hard on a girl who had been getting As in her advanced, college-prep English courses in high school until a mere three months before, and had been writing since she was a single-digit.

 

By second semester, I was frustrated and haggard with worry whenever I went to his class or was forced to get a signature from him. And he was dismissive, and sometimes incredibly snarky, for the entire time he was my advisor. Which really wasn’t long—one semester, I believe—as he had me transferred to another professor for advising; I wasn’t worth his time.

 

I got out of that class, the first course in my chosen major, the road to my bright, Holy Grail of a future…with a C. And also a complete and heartfelt knowledge that I could not ever take another course from this man, while at the same time knowing that I was going to have to do just that, multiple times. And I seriously doubted the results would be any different than that first attempt.

 

It was, you will excuse me, fucking depressing.

College is hard enough without having your advisor dislike you, and it is even heavier when he teaches courses you will be required to take to earn an English degree…which is all you have ever wanted. NOT encouraging, since my degree rather hinged on the HEAD OF THE DAMN DEPARTMENT ACCEPTING ME, starting with PASSING me in his courses!

 

So, you may be wondering, what did poor pleaser punkin do when faced with the denigrating feeling that her degree in lit was never going to manifest?

She fretted. And smoked Marlboro Reds. A LOT. And she took all the courses she could that were NOT taught by her advisor. But by the end of her freshman year, she had no idea how she was going to manage to make it through and earn her English degree.

 

The saving grace, as I think of it now, was those pesky gen-ed electives. Enter Intro to Theatre, where you had to put in lab time in one of the shops to get your credit. Other students were always trying to get out of the lab portion, from the first day Lorraine mentioned it. Literally, after she said it the first day of the course, we sat through over fifteen minutes of people saying, “But what if [A, B, C]…then would we get to skip that requirement?”

But I was not one of those silly, lazy fools. I loved plays and musicals as much as I loved books, so I was ready, able, and completely willing to check this out.

(What I did not expect was to fall madly in love with my scene shop lab. Seriously:  deeply, completely in love. Turning tools and sawdust and stinky-ass slop paint into a world of its own?…awesome!)

 

So I signed up for more theatre electives, and less English ones. That seemed to calm my nerves and my sense of impending educational doom somewhat. I believe I thought if I could just back off the English department a little, that the next year, things would be different, that maybe he just hated freshmen.

 

By mid-first-semester of my sophomore year (if I remember correctly), I was walking into my advisor’s office to get his signature on my change-of-major form so I could go be a theatre techie. The Me I am now would have had PLENTY to say to him about my reasons, and gone ahead and said it. I do not remember what I DID say, but I know it wasn’t much, although I DO think I mentioned the head of the department disliking me, in some way or other.

 

It wasn’t until much later, after talking to older, wiser others, that I realized a few things, like a bolt of lightning upside the head.

One, that my prof was completely testosterone-centric. I had seen it but not recognized it. Several female students had stories similar to mine. One senior woman actually said, “Oh yeah. He’s famous for hating women. It’s like we shouldn’t be in higher education at all.” Wow. NOT what I was expecting from my higher education.

Secondly, and this after cobbling together in my mind both conversations with other professors and students and those with him: he just DID NOT LIKE MY WRITING STYLE. It wasn’t the content, it was the style. It was the way I thought and put thoughts together. It was words I chose. It was the way I viewed things. It was, in short, everything about my writing, my voice…and probably my mind. No, he never flat-out said this to me. He was much more subtle as he destroyed me. It probably wasn’t even a challenge for him. But he did it, and did it well.

 

All I wanted to do was write. I was brought up to desire higher education, to want to go to college and get a degree in English to lend credence to my writing. It sounds dramatic, but it is honestly this simple: that ONE professor KILLED THAT IN ME. He undermined not only my dream, but my BELIEF IN MYSELF. And THAT was not his job, was not his place to do, was not his right.

 

Nowadays, I can accept that there was much wrong in that situation, and not be as distressed about it. Being a theatre major was a good path for me. I made lifelong friends without whom I cannot imagine being on this journey. I learned that I am an artist, and a natural painter. I learned that I love paint and color and sharing my work with an audience. I got my daughter as a direct result of that change in major. In short, much good came of that veering of my path.

 

But it was still cruel to kill that passion in an eighteen year old girl with a dream, to snuff that fire by deliberately pulling out the fuel a bit at a time, to refuse to help rather than to encourage…or at least humor.

 

I did not tell you all this to get a “oh, poor girl!” reaction. So, here is the point of Story Hour with Chelle: It is incredibly easy, and I believe inherently WRONG, to crush someone’s hopes and dreams, especially if you know you are in a position where you can do so. This goes for children, teenagers, or adults; anyone with a passion. If you are in a position to help someone with their dreams, even if just to encourage them to reach for those aspirations, you should. At the very least, you should refrain from making a negative contribution. Each of us has the potential to make a huge difference in someone’s life…for good or evil. We should choose the good, because here’s the core of the matter: if someone isn’t suited for their dream, if they are not qualified or not talented enough to pull it off, THEY WILL FIGURE IT OUT. It will “come out in the wash” of their lives, sooner or later. To strangle someone else’s dream in its infancy, just because YOU do not think they can or should make it, is horribly arrogant and an awful abuse of their trust, and possibly your position. It is THEIR dream, not yours. You are not the master of their fate, THEY are…but you may have the power to crush said aspirations to death, slowly or quickly, and IT IS NOT YOUR PLACE TO DO SO.

 neg

Go forth and be GOOD to each other, in every possible way.

My 25th high school reunion was last weekend.

Yep, that’s what I said. Twenty-five big uns since I was an insecure, lonely little harbinger of doom for the future.

Naturally, this milestone dredged up a lot of crapola for me, as big-number anniversaries are wont to do, especially for a girl who never went through therapy. Enough for multiple posts, to be honest. But today I am sticking to one particular topic, as it has been haunting me all day.

This is the first reunion I have attended. Of any sort. For the most part, I just flat out was not interested in going. At all. It was not a matter of still holding grudges or still hating the people who were evil to me in high school (and there were a couple who were unforgettable, but have probably forgotten).  It wasn’t a matter of not liking them. It wasn’t a matter of not giving a shit about any of them; although I kept telling myself I didn’t care, I still read about them on Facebook, so that was just me justifying to myself.

Of course I am curious about these people with whom I shared a childhood.

As every reunion year rolled around, I kept telling myself that there was no reason to go backward, and that no one there had any part in my life, and the ones I still speak to, whom I consider friends, were in touch with me anyway and no one else would give a shit anyhow.

While this is kind of true, it is faulty reasoning at the very least.

Truth be told, I have been through a ton of pretty difficult shit in the last 25 years, enough to choke the proverbial horse, and while none of it is anything so disreputable or illegal that I should be ashamed of my choices, I still didn’t want a) to be judged for it or b) hear and see other people’s happy life stories, in contrast to mine.

It’ been a difficult couple of years. Okay, a difficult 18 years, but the last ten have been a hang-on-by-my-nails kind of ride for the most part. Between parenting stress, poor person stress, who-the-fuck-am-I stress and health problems, I’ve spent most of the last year or so in my house. Not constantly; I was not  a shut-in, but given a choice I almost always chose to stay home and be lethargic, alone, and/or depressed. (Quite like high school, now that I think about it; just with different motivations, and finally a physical and explainable one added on.)

My attitude, she sucked. Big. She had some reasons, but she was fucking stuck.

There’s your overview.

Here’s your specific.

Thanks to the benevolence of others, I signed up for some reunion fun.

I got my ass prettied up, ignored my insecurity about what’s going on with my body and health, and went. For the most part, I had fun. I had some moments of sadness about where I am in my life, a little despair and, yes, some outright envy, and some moments of “I just fucking wanna go home”, but I had fun, too. I made myself do things I never do, with people I never really knew; I forced myself out of my comfort zone multiple times, and it wasn’t ALL thanks to the gin I imbibed. (But the barefoot dancing was allll about the free wine.)

By Friday night, having spoken to many people, I realized that whenever someone asked what I do, I was repeatedly saying, “Nothing.”

Really? Nothing?

Or I would make sure I said I USED TO work for a computer company in California, but then moved back here and was now just doing “nothing”.

Finally, someone called me on it: “No, really, what do you do?” Part of me wanted to cry, and get really fucking drunk on someone else’s booze, and part wanted to tell her I was wasting both my education and my life, and a tiny sliver wanted to banshee-scream at her and then melt away into goo.

I do something. I work a somewhat menial, not-high-paying job that I am VERY good at, and am respected for in my workplace, and have managed to keep my car so far, with a lot of help from my parents, especially the first year. In a recession.

It is not a job that requires a college degree, which I have. It is not a job that uses my brain to capacity. It is not a job that will make me rich and secure, nor is it a job that has unlimited potential. It is not a job in which I will be plucked from obscurity and set atop the pinnacle of fame or fortune.

But it is a job with pretty much no stress. And I am very, very good at it.

Believe me, I have gotten the “wasted your college education” spiel multiple times (sometimes on a daily basis), sometimes blatantly, sometimes just in a changed, but obviously so, attitude towards me. The “you need/should want to make more money” judgement?…oh, hayl yes. To the point where people with this outlook have gotten downright angry with me for not being that rah-rah show-me-the-money person.

I was brought up by a man who values money above all. That is who he is. It is who his mother was. It is absolutely NOT who I am. I never have been. I pretended to be for awhile, but I AM JUST NOT. I know this is a huge detriment in a capitalist society; I KNOW. And the older I have gotten, the more I have realized that I just can’t fake it anymore. I just do not value money above all things. And if I hate something, I am no longer a good faker.

So, at 41, I decided to stop faking it. Yes, this is not considered the brightest choice to make in a recession, but it became a matter of my sanity. I can’t work a high-paying, stressful job anymore. I just can’t.

I have nothing to be ashamed of. I work. I have goals. I am doing my best as often as possible, complete with setbacks and bad days, like every other damn day in every other damn person’s life.

So I took a job I am good at, and that gives me a workout, with plans to start selling my art,which is what I really love, and what I “really want to do with my life”.
Do my choices have consequences? Of course they do. Immediate ones, sometimes. Am I scared? Hell yes. Almost every fucking day! Do I spend a lot of time feeling worthless for not meeting other people’s expectations, and shame myself for not making enough money, and living under the aegis of my parents? Of course I do. And, yes, sometimes it freezes me in place. Solid.

Do I feel that I am seriously lacking, at 43?

Obviously I do, seeing how I answered the question all weekend.

But the thing is…I may be considered a failure at making money…but I am very much NOT a failure in life.

I know this. I often forget to acknowledge it,but I KNOW it.

I never got married, so never had that kind of two-income household. I still raised two daughters on my own, for the most part, and they are still alive as adults, and all in all, good people.

Was it a huge fucking struggle the whole fucking time, making the choices I did?  You bet your ass.

BUT I FUCKING DID IT.

Did I go without and do things I didn’t want to do to make it happen? Yes, of course I did. Sometimes shit is just NECESSARY. You have to keep moving, like a shark. Stop, and wither and die.

But here’s the thing I have forgotten so many times over the last 18 years, and obviously forgot last weekend: I am intelligent. I have a huge heart. I can find the best in people almost immediately. I am passionate. I am compassionate, even to people I do not know. I can see humor in anything, and that has the power to keep people moving, and living, and happy. I care about people—yes, more than I care about money, BUT THAT IS NOT A BAD THING.

I am a good person. I am worthy of respect and love, and I deserve to be proud of what I HAVE achieved in life rather than ashamed about what I have not; about who I AM rather than who I am not.

And last weekend, I should not have been ashamed to say that I quit a good job, moved back to my hometown during a recession, have been working part time jobs, and that I do not WANT to live the way most other people live; that I want to make art, and make a difference to people, and not work my life away for money, and admit that I am not a capitalist, and that I STILL LIKE MYSELF for doing it this way, even though it isn’t common, or considered smart, or possibly even American. Regardless of my setbacks, and my freezes, and my despair…I know I am doing the right thing. I know this is part of my path.

Would I like to be less of a financial burden to my retired parents? Absolutely. Could I use a life coach sometimes? Yep. A sugar-spouse? That would ease things, yes. Someone to remind me to do a step at a time, just one thing, and be proud of it, and then plan another step for tomorrow? Of course, I could use the help. Someone to encourage the hell outta me when I cannot do it for myself? Lovely.

But, all in all, I am still moving forward. I am still living my life as best as I can, the way I am supposed to live it. I am still a fucking lioness. I am still fine just the way I am.

And I do not have one thing to be ashamed of. Not ONE.

…(Okay, maybe one, but not about THIS.) ;P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, I need to ease my ass into regular writing. I tend to go full bore into something and then go back to something else. This last couple of weeks, it was making jewelry and planning my etsy.com debut. Stay tuned; that will still happen.

But yesterday, I thought, wow, I seem to be getting a lot of nothing accomplished; maybe I could tell people about all my nothing!

So, here is my yesterday:

  • Woke up late since the alarm didn’t go off. Had ten minutes to get to work, and made it. However, I didn’t get any caffeine or food as I dashed out the door. Nor did the dogs get taken out. Which explains the pee in my bed. (The pug can’t jump off the bed.)
  • Worked four hours. It only took 1.5 hours for the headache to start.
  • After work, drank two HUGE cups of Macadamia Cookie coffee. (Thanks, Gina Velez, for the Keurig coffee brewer! ) Y’know what I love? That no matter how much Truvia and creamer you add, the caffeine level of coffee never lessens. It’s a beautiful, and necessary, miracle of the cosmos. Lovely!
  • Cleaned out over 500 emails. I even read some of them first. (yes, of COURSE I read YOURS! I would never delete YOURS without reading it!)
  • Learned how to create the perfect red lip with Kiss and Makeup’s Lucy Freeman. Creating the Perfect Red Lip To be honest, she didn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know after 43 years on this planet, but even stuff you already know sounds better when the makeup artist has an accent, I think. And she made me want to buy more red lipstick, like I needed THAT.
  • Successfully fought off a migraine. (see above: drank two huge cups of coffee…) I was left with “just a headache” instead, which was more bearable. If I had managed another HUGE cup of coffee, even that may have gone away, but even I know better than to over-caffeinate myself THAT much.
  • Posted on hippymom.com. It’s a great place, where happyhappyjoyjoy abounds, and they don’t mind if you vent on occasion. Also peopled by a helluva great group of really funny grrrls. Hippies Do It Better- GO NOW!
  • Beat on PsychoKitty. Don’t look at me like that! SHE LIKES IT!

(The sick bitch)

 

 

 

 

 

  • Browsed pink, and then purple, balls on bowlingball.com “It’s Where Bowlers Go” . I still want my own ball…and someone with whom to bowl.
  • Attempted to load About.com Paranormal Phenomena’s Ghost in the Hallway video. Ghost in the Hallway Spent a lot of time waiting, as the laptop was fighting me on it the whole way, which is par for the course with the relationship the laptop and I have, and it never DID download, so I cannot tell you if I believe it was real or faked. Maybe you could let me know.
  • Stretched. Hey, it is a step closer to actually exercising than I usually get!
  • Made and devoured a goodly portion of a DiGiorno Italian Meatball pizza, which I usually do not like. I’m not a real fan of meat pizza. But yesterday, I was. Thanks, Aunt Flo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Was quiet and mindless…er, MINDFUL!…for a good ten minutes. Hey, it’s a step closer to learning to meditate. Quiet mind is most definitely NOT a natural state for me.
  • Read the article The Wreck of the Mermaid in the Sept/Oct 2008 issue of Archaeology magazine, about the wreck of the “Russalka, the Czar’s Lost Ironclad”. <SPOILER ALERT: THEY FOUND IT!> Yes, I do have these kinds of things just laying around sometimes for the moments when I am forced to wait for the l’ordinateur portable schizophrène (thanks, babelfish.com !) to reload, which it does about every 20-30 minutes.) And, yes, that does also mean it took me five years to actually read that particular issue. That would be why I do not subscribe to magazines very often. But please note, when I DO, I read interesting things…as compared to the latest “news” on the Kardashians or whatever other people are wont to read.
  • Drank SIX GLASSES OF WATER! (Did SO, disbelievers!) Thanks, Brita!
  • Went to the big computer in the basement, and worked on my farms in FarmVille. Yeah, you heard me; I fake-farm. And now I know I have to defend myself, so here it is: I like FarmVille for one simple reason: IT’S CUTE. The graphics are freaking cute. Yep, that is why. CUTE. And to any of you who have seen my account on Pinterest, you know I am a SUCKER FOR THE CUTE!  Besides, some days the mindless pursuit of FarmVille is all that keeps people from dying bloody deaths at my hands. So keep that in mind the next time you bitch about FarmVille. IT SAVES LIVES, PEOPLE!
  • Watched two back episodes of The New Girl. Thanks, http://www.hulu.com, whose link I cannot access from the library, where I am typing this!
  • Washed, brushed, stripped, brought the dog to bed (those last two were in reverse order, I assure you), read The Fox and the Flies : The Secret Life of a Grotesque Master Criminal for awhile (hey, look! you can get it on ebook! If I were you, I’d get it on audio and listen to it in the car…it’s frickin looooong!), and then went to bed, eventually falling asleep to the snores of an old lady cat, an overweight cat, and a pug: the perfect Squishy bedtime trifecta.

I know, my life looks so incredibly thrilling if this is my typical, doesn’t it? Let’s not call it typical. Let’s just call it relaxed. A relaxed day. Yeah. That. In my defense, you have no idea how much time I spend waiting on the stupid computer to do it’s job. I spend a great deal of time bad-mouthing it to it’s screen, too. I know it can hear me.

So, your reward for getting through this day with me without quickly reversing from my page is this: ask me questions in the comments. About anything. ANY QUESTIONS. (And multiple questions,since there are only about five of you reading this.) I will answer them in a future blog. Yep, no matter what they are. But keep in mind that, like God, there is a chance that the answer is just NO.

Yes, I used the plural form of crisis. In some things, I am an overachiever.

So, lemme tell you about today.

Ate, napped twice (unintentionally), finished a library book so I could take it back.

And then, I went spiraling down the rabbit hole. Over nothing.

Over an assumption made by someone I know, about someone neither of us know, with absolutely nothing to do with me personally.

Nothing. Nada. Zilcho contento for me.

Had nothing to do with me in any way.

But over the next 45 minute period of time, my negative thoughts became a swirling typhoon that plummeted me into the depths of blackness, and left me contemplating my current life status.

And suddenly I wanted to weep. Copiously. And rent my clothes in public and wail as in mourning, for all I do not have and am not and may never have. For just being a single, 42-year-old, never-married woman who has no prospects at all, who hasn’t ever had a relationship that even got that serious and lasted long enough for marriage and was still sustainable in any way, and will probably never have such a thing at this point.

At the library, I found myself surrounded and inundated with romance novels disguised as “new fiction”, “new mysteries”, “new fantasy” and even “new sci fi”. This did not help at all.

So I decided to look up midlife crisis at the library. Know what I found? Almost all the books are written about men’s midlife crises, including one for women who are having to watch their man go through one.

Do not even get me started on that last one.

And then I went and looked at the few that were about women, and was repeatedly informed that midlife is 50.

Thus, I am not old enough to have a midlife crisis, so I must be mistaken.

Well, great. Guess any old anti-psychotic on the market should fix me right up then, right?

Thanks. Bastards.

But I thought I’d look at them anyway, so I randomly opened each and read a page (this is a great indicator and I do it before all book purchases or checkouts: crap writing can be quickly assessed before you bother to take a book home at all) and found that ALL of them were written for 50-something women who are financially independent and financially secure enough to pay for whatever vacations or classes or communes they need to make them feel fulfilled, without any lack or loss.

So now I am also too poor for a midlife crisis. Too young, too poor.

It isn’t just the lack of husband or wife. I just want someone who wants me, and wants just me, and wants a life together with me. And there is none of that on the horizon, and has not been any on the horizon in a long time.

It isn’t just my stifling and totally unexpected feeling-trapped-in living situation at the age of 42.

It isn’t just that I am creatively stifled and emotionally exhausted and tired of being a wage slave who can’t make a decent living in anything that I enjoy.

It isn’t just that I am surrounded every day by negative, bitchy people who do not know or understand me at all.

It isn’t just the lack of financial security, which I have had my entire adult life (you would think you would get used to it, it would become your status quo and you would be able to adjust to it, but one does not, believe you me.)

Even my mother admits the path of my life has not been normal or typical, although confirmation of that fact is no consolation. Helps not at all to be told that your adult life HAS been a difficult, and fucked up, one.

So, it isn’t just any one of those. It is all of them together, and probably more that I stifle so that my mind won’t melt, making me check myself into scary Broadlawns hospital, since I no longer have health insurance either. (And how I can suddenly, with less pay than at Christmas, make too much money to keep my Medicaid now, I have no idea.) 

But thank fucking god that it can’t be a midlife crisis.

 

 

P.S. To support my point, I Googled “midlife crisis-women”, which they suggested as a choice, and I found no relevant pics except THIS one:

Image

 

P.P.S. I wrote this entire blog, and then WordPress magically made it disappear before publishing. Nothing saved, poof into the webspace of Hell, so I got to do it allll over again. After I cried. And guess what? The first one was better.

THAT did not help my emotional stability either.

I am done with today.

 

HAPPY TUESDAY!

I know what you all expect of me. You expect to show up here and be delighted and somewhat disquieted by my rant against Valentine’s Day, especially if you know anything about my “romantic” history, and expect to leave murmuring (after you are done giggling, and being impressed by my vocabulary), “Oh, poor dear, not only is she a tad crazy, but she is so, SO bitter inside. It’s such a shame…”

I love you, my people. I appreciate your loyalty, your support, those endearing qualities called “they keep coming back to read more” and “sometimes they even comment”…

And I have PLENTY to say about the inherent cruelty of this holiday, most of which is probably pretty obvious, and  mostly shared by all the single ladies (all the single ladies!…sing it, Beyonce!) I know.

But y’know what?

I’m not going to do it.

Nope. Not gonna.

You heard me correctly. Stop shaking your head and checking your ears. It isn’t your ears, or a sudden-onset neurological problem. I said it.

I AM NOT GOING TO DO IT.

I know. I shock myself as well, believe me.

Instead, I am going to stay with the holiday color scheme and talk about…menstrual cycles.

Yes, I said it. It’s time to talk periods.

Get back here; you KNOW I can make period woes funny. Probably.

Come back here, boys…I promise it won’t be a graphic representation.

Since my period chose to flow forth this morning in some evil accordance with the “Even if you could be gettin’ some, you ain’t gettin’ some!” aspect of the holiday, it’s been on my mind. (This also explains why I detested everyone who came near me yesterday, regardless of blood ties or generally genial standing in my life normally. But you didn’t know I hated your guts, so…bygones, I say.)

I’m aging. I am not yet getting wrinkly, but I am aging. My joints are like rabid snarling beasts, especially during the winter.

And, like all women through the ages, I am finding my cycle is…changing.

It’s less (pro), it’s shorter (pro), the cramps come harder (con) and go quicker (pro)…OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO BE INFERTILE AND I ONLY HAD ONE BABY AND I WANTED THREE AND I’VE NEVER EVEN BEEN CLOSE TO HAVING A RELATIONSHIP THAT COULD WEATHER A YEAR, LET ALONE A MARRIAGE OR A PREGNANCY AND EVERYONE WHO HAS SOMEONE IS GETTING PRESENTS AND LOVE AND MAYBE HAVING SEX AND I DON’T EVEN HAVE SOMEONE FOR THAT, EVEN FOR ONE DAY…! (con).

It isn’t just that stupid Cupid who makes me connect these thoughts to Valentine’s Day. And it isn’t just my period. There is SO much about both the holiday AND bodily functions that contribute.

We’re just SURROUNDED. INNUNDATED. I almost broke down in the V-Day aisles at Walmart, I shit you not. I weathered it to get the Kid a gift and the parents a card, but damn, was it difficult not to bawl. And I had to buy myself candy to give myself will to make it through. (Coupled with ibuprofen, it’s a lifesaving miracle drug cocktail, I tell ya.)

Actually, it’s all in a great big, loud, messy mosh pit in my mind:

{V-Day, so much fucking “oops, gotta make up for being a douche all year” shopping frenzy; so much fucking red and all these damn hearts—hearts don’t look anything like this shit, anyway, they’re all mushy and bloody and covered in yellow fat and blue veins and shit, what’s so fucking romantic THERE?!—

 and fucking flying fat smiley BABIES!; suck ups in relationships; some of them will actually get laid (but not you, Dad, sorry); I never get laid, and now it’s almost too late to get laid and have babies cuz my ovaries are getting ready to punch their final damn time clock and retire; stupid holiday just reminds me that other people get some and get babies and families and don’t go without sex for years at a time unless they aren’t ballsy enough to fricking ask their spouses/lovers/girl or boyfriends/others for some and make an effort to please someone besides themselves; I’m a good lover, I might even rate great once I got the hang of it again, I deserve some lovin’, I’m excellent with skin and I love it so; I deserved a loving spousal unit and more babies; now I can’t even get laid, let alone have what all these complainy people have while they spend too much money on one day for no reason…}

And round and round we go, where we’ll land, nobody knows…

Actually, it always lands in the same place, thudding down with my esteem and mood, landing like the damn house in the Wizard of Oz, with me underneath.

And although I may cop to being a witch, I don’t have pretty enough shoes for this particular scene!

Please note: I am not talking out my ass in the following discussion. I have had relationships. I was engaged twice. I was also dumped on Valentine’s Day in college, scarring me for life, even though the man that did it ended up being the one I almost married. The last serious relationship I had was with a man who showed up on Valentine’s Day for a movie, with no thought of it being special; I had made a card and gotten him a gift. All in all, that was okay, as his divorce just never QUITE became final, and I had to end it after a year+. God, I loved him. That also made me hate the holiday. And I had relationships that were angry and bitter and emotionally abusive all the time, barring February 14th itself. That was a nasty lesson. Each time. And the last one? Well…he liked me, but I just didn’t matter THAT much. *shrug*

So, I am not some cloistered, born-again virgin who longs for the fairy tale she just KNOWS can be. That ain’t me at all. I am remarkably practical in this arena, through personal experience.  Really, you would not believe the shit I’ve lived through; not braggin’, just sayin’.

A relationship: You work it, or it works you over.

So, on we go.

I have personal knowledge of, i.e. am in personal relationships/contact with, about…five happily married, well-matched couples.

I know a lot of people, people. But, off hand, I can name FIVE. That’s ONE hand, folks.

That’s sad.

I find it even sadder that on this holiday, THIS ONE FUCKING DAY, all the OTHER couples are spending their time getting sucked into the maelstrom of this marketing-motivated holiday, in hopes that for one day, their significant others will produce self-generated amnesia, and forget how much they fight or ignore each other or disrespect each other or abuse or use each other every other damn day of the year, mostly in the hopes that at least TONIGHT they can get some nookie, or maybe even just a peaceful evening with no bickering.

And it makes me sad that all the single people are led to believe that there is something wrong with them (us!) because they are not doing exactly this. And we are believing it, on some level.

There is no maybe about it; this holiday markets to everyone’s insecurities and makes single people think they suck in some way because they don’t have someone to whom they need to suck up once a year.

And it hurts the couples, because all of a sudden, their lives with another person are being judged and possibly found wanting, all because of one lousy day in one cold month of an entire year they are together.

This makes me sad. Not only for myself (I am not in pity mode this year, actually. Not today anyway…not yet), but for everyone who is busting their asses to try to make this holiday like a perfect, softly-lit scene from some fricking romance novel (and do not get me started on the impossibile standards set by this particular genre of book, either!), or some heard-third-person tale or trillionth-heard fable of someone else’s pukingly perfect Valentine’s Day experience!

THEY DO NOT EXIST. YOU ARE CHASING A UNICORN.  And like unicorns (unless someone can prove otherwise; I’ll gladly accept proof), you believe because you want to, and your belief strengthens the impossible story and gives it life and credibility it never had on its own.

So…married people.

I watch them.

Yep. I note their moves; their conversations; how they speak to each other about every single thing, large or small; the way they talk about each other when the other is not around; how they react when they are unhappy with the other, privately or publicly; I watch how they interact in both large and small moments. I listen carefully and watch it all closely. I read their faces; I am good at that.

Yes, my married friends. I stalk your asses for grist for my mind-mill, churning out its relationship do-n-don’ts. 

You, too, strangers. I watch your asses. I listen. Sometimes I judge you. I cannot tell you how many times I hear one of the voices in my head (heh heh) saying, “Oh hayl no. If I was him/her, no fucking way would I be putting up with THAT shit. UH UH.”

You would think it would make me feel better about being single. But it doesn’t, because I’ve been indoctrinated with this holiday my whole life, too. What it does is make me sad that two people who are obviously unhappy have each other, when I, who know I am a loving, giving, and generally compassionate significant other, have no one with whom to share the insanity of the day.

So, back to those five couples.

Here’s what I see in them, in a general lump:

Respect for each other and themselves. Happiness in being together; they want to be there, with each other. Supportive language, not snippy or demeaning comments. A sense of humor. Letting a little irritation be little, and leaving it once they admit to be irritated. Security, knowing that their other is there, period; there will be no threats of abandonment; COUPLED.

And y’know what? Everyday is Valentine’s Day for these people, generally speaking. Not Buy-Lots-of-Trite-Shit Day—they have I-Love-You-Every-Day Day.

Because even when they are pissed off at each other, they still LOVE each other and behave accordingly; they both know they aren’t going anywhere, and no one is thinking of betrayal because they are angry, and no one says something they absolutely cannot take back, nothing scarring to the psyche. They treat each other like best friends, and they try to do and say what a best friend would.

I see way too many people in the world who are living in their own relationship Hells every goddamn day, year in and year out.

Maybe that is why the color of the day is in-your-face red. Maybe today is actually to remind people that they have created this standard of daily living that requires a red letter, national holiday to make them realize how hurtful and petty and in Hell they are all the time, and how it is of their own making. Maybe today has to be a bold-colored, over the top festival of angst, just to remind us all to simply have a heart in our dealings with each other. In a relationship or not. One nation or not.

Maybe that is what all this Valentine’s Day bullshit is really about, underneath. Maybe we need to finally change our behavior and change our lives and change our off-kilter, fucked-up world.  Change is slow, and so is self-awareness, so perhaps it just takes a lot of red and pink and fat damned winged babies and chocolate and sadness and bother to inch us forward into understanding. And once a year, we get reminded to MAKE A FUCKING EFFORT in this life.

From the bottom of my heart—and all the ventricles and fat deposits and valves—Happy Valentine’s Day. To us all.

(admit it…that is not what you thought was going to come out of my mouth)

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