Feasting on Thoughts and Prayers

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I’ve come to that realization that my empathy pores are too large. I absorb whatever emotion is around me, and I feel it too intensely. Like way too intensely. If your dog is missing, then suddenly it feels like my dog is missing. I can swing the other way, and feel as much happiness and giddiness that a bride feels. And during tragedy, I go into overdrive.

I drown at times in the sadness. I feel it weigh down my chest. My mind cannot stop the images of fear, sadness and loss.  I’ve been this way for as far back as I can remember, but it hasn’t been until the past ten years or so that it truly affects me. My sleep especially. I can find ways to try and get my mind off of it when I am awake, but my sleep can’t run from the thoughts and images it has been force fed, and my dreams morph into nightmares of gloom. My blood pressure increases because my anger increases. It’s easy to bait me into arguments online. My mood turns sad and sour, like milk left in the sun too long.

I’d like to blame the internet and my frenzied feeding of any news cycle that is going through, but ultimately it’s me who turns the TV on, or reads every news article there is. I immerse my brain into the details, trying to understand from every facet, until I hit overload and am left an angry weeping bitter mess.

When the news of yesterday’s shooting in a Florida High School came in, a small part of me went “Oh no, here we go again” and I almost stopped myself from reading further. My mood was already tainted by an internet troll on a friend’s Facebook page who tried (and had some partial success – shame on me) to bait me into ridiculous arguments about rape statistics and how men are victimized as much as women. I walked right into the trap looking at the rope dangling around my foot, until common sense showed me his arguments were SO off-the-charts that he was either mentally deficient, or purposely trying to bait me. I slipped the trap off my foot and backed out the door quickly.

Less than an hour later I read of the school shooting and I felt sick. Like literally sick. My empathy pores started to slowly open – only this time, perhaps because I was already a tad saturated with anger from the above mentioned, it wasn’t sadness that was the only emotion overwhelming me. It was anger too.

I felt like I had stepped back in time – a week, a month, a year, ten years? And I could predict each movement that would be made. Prayers, first and foremost. I don’t know why that angers me so much. I think because it feels so insincere from so many. It’s that go-to thing to say, that with all due respect to those who pray, don’t fix a damn thing in these situations. If praying makes YOU feel better, all the more power to you. But stop offering them to these victims that needed change in gun laws years before. Your prayers today still won’t stop the carnage tomorrow if something isn’t done by Congress. My spirituality doesn’t really call for it, so when people ask for prayers, I tend to simply turn a mental corner. Do I hope that the families find an ounce of solace somewhere, sometime? Absolutely. But throwing out that prayer lifeline is so stale to me, so overdone, over asked – it’s like throwing droplets of holy water on a raging fire.

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Let’s tack on the hypocrisy of the statement coming from a leader, who has shown he didn’t have a holy bone in his body prior to his run for election. It feels false, hypocritical and just out right fake. “Our thoughts and prayers …” “Our hearts and prayers …” same old story that does nothing to shield the next fallen children from tragedy. That pisses me off, because I know, the real issue – the accused killer and most of all, his means of killing, will be ignored.

Next will come the arguments. I don’t claim the throne of empathy. There are scores of people out there who feel just as much as I do. Some, their thoughts follow along with mine, and we can commiserate through liked Meme’s and social commentaries. Others, whose ideals might be opposite of mine will still feel in the same way I do, but their social purposes are usually going against the grain of mine. This is where friendships with different social ideals can be a slippery slope. It’s hard not to call out to those who arguments are so fiercely opposite of mine, to just fuck off. “I’m right and you’re a douche”, I think, while common sense and the healer in me, understands that this argument has two sides and both afford the right to be heard.

Guns. The arguments is Guns. It’s Second Amendment that tells us “”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Some feel this amendment should never change. Some people feel this amendment should be abolished. Some don’t know the amendment can be tweaked. It was for example, in 1939 when brought in front of the Supreme a case regarding sawed-off shotguns. A definitive resolution could not be made, but they did decide that the Second Amendment did not guarantee the right to bear certain arms. Or to quote them directly “..we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.” (The issue was sawed off shot-guns). My point on this will come later.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been a fence sitter on this issue for as long as I can recall. My reasoning has really been about the government stepping into yet another role of big brother. I hate the government being involved in my day-to-day life, and if that includes my right to own a gun, then so be it. Step off Big Brother.

I’ve never wanted to be that person. The one that gun owners, lovers and lobbyists fear. Hate. The ones you picture prying your guns out of your cold dead hands. I have no dog in this fight was my thought. I don’t hate guns. I don’t love them either. I respect them. I fear them, but I know the fear is based on a lack of knowledge. It’s the way I fear a pit bull dog. Until I know that particular dog is on some sort of lock down, by a responsible owner who can confirm he is of no risk, I want to be careful around them. I understand they can kill when held in the hand of the wrong individual.

I was raised by a gun lover. I didn’t know that growing up. It was a different generation. People didn’t talk about guns as freely as they do now. At least not in my burg. If she had a gun when I was a child she hid it VERY well, because I was a very snoopy child. But that’s a story for another time.

No, it wasn’t until I was an adult and was bringing my own children into her home that she told me. I don’t think she did it as a courtesy for me to make a decision on whether I wanted my own children around it. I think we might have been talking politics, or we might have been discussing a gun she inherited. Irrelevant. She just made it clear she had a gun. Maybe more. I was a bit stunned. But only a bit. She made it very clear that it was nowhere where my girls would come across it, and to be honest I never worried about it.

My point is that I haven’t hated guns for a lifetime. I haven’t even hated them for five minutes. Guns are like that friend of a friend. You know of them. You might even know a lot about them, but you don’t claim them as your friend. As well, you don’t claim them as your enemy.

I have dated men who liked guns. I have friends who are gun owners. I even have friends who are very accomplished shooters. Is that even the right word? Someone who gets certificated and awards for their advanced ability to shoot.

I have even contemplated owning one myself, and for the same exact reason 95% of Americans want one. Home protection. Security for that off-chance that a person could break into my home and I could protect myself. I used to joke that I wanted a little pink polished Derringer. That statement was more playful than anything. A, “Look at how cute this is!”, without taking the reality of the weapon into consideration. Nothing that kills, should ever be placed in the hands of someone who treats it like a toy poodle, and I get that. I really was trying to convey that because of fear, I wanted something small. As well, one of those friends I mentioned above told me in a serious tone how errant they are at hitting the target, and she started to explain to me which gun I should own, and while at the time I was very interested in what she had to say, I can’t recall the details now.

That’s my point about owning one. I want to own one in theory. I know, for me, I’d have to be educated before I’d allow one to live in my home. There I go, speaking of them as if they were a roommate. Like I need to show them some space, and some respect. But I look at a gun as a purpose for one thing. To kill. A knife, you can kill someone with, but it’s also used to cut meat. Vegetables. Bread. Boxes. It’s inherit purpose in life isn’t to kill. As neither is a fist, or a rope, or any other number of items one could use in a form of murder.

But a gun? One purpose. You don’t buy a gun to learn how to shoot a person’s kneecap off (unless there is a job for that, that I am totally unaware of). You buy it to kill. To protect yourself. Your loved ones. Perhaps kill an animal if you’re that sort. And if your loved one or yourself is being threatened, you don’t think, I’m just going to shoot him in the pinky, to scare him off. You shoot to kill. Yes, you might take the gun out to a range, or to the desert and do target shooting, but ultimately you are practicing for that one night the intruder comes in.

I don’t know anyone who has had to shoot an intruder. I don’t even know anyone who knows someone who had to shoot an intruder. On the other hand I do know several people who were involved with the Las Vegas Massacre. I also know of someone who was victimized in the San Bernardino shooting, although I have to say I wasn’t personal friends with him. I just read on Facebook of someone’s child who used to go to the school in Florida that was just shot up.

My point is – it seems like these six degrees of Massacres are playing very close to me — yet, the reason we all claim we want the guns – I’m not hearing about those. I will. The NRA will start up the well placed articles and tidbits that commend another hero who was able to (fill in the blank) because of his gun ownership.

What I do know from unbiased research is that in just the past six weeks, we have had eleven school shootings. ELEVEN.

Think about that. This is just in 2018. 46 days of the new year. Roughly one shooting every 4 days.

Let that sink in for a moment. Every four days, a gun has gone off in a child’s school.

Has the President announced an epidemic on this? I’d say it is. No other Nation in the world has those statistics. Furthermore as of this morning, has he offered anything but – say it with me now folks, thoughts and prayers — of course not.

Now I’ll be fair and state I haven’t been able to see what type of guns were used in all of these school shootings. And while I think even one shooting at a school is a monstrosity, I’m not about grabbing my pitchfork and lantern and scouring the countryside in a wide rabid berth to confiscate firearms.

I have but one question: Why the fuck is it necessary for anyone outside of the military to need a semi-automatic rifle that fires 13 rounds per second?

I’ve heard your arguments. Defense against home intruders. Defense against an uprising of corrupt government. Give me five statistics where these were used  — wait, where those were needed, for either of these defensives. Because guess what? I can easily give you five statistics where these were used to gun down innocent lives.

Now here is how I see it:

While we protect our homes from these armed invaders that never appear, a different kind of invader is showing up at our schools and our concerts venues and our movie theaters.

I hear you all say to be you want to be armed and ready for when they attack you, but you don’t stop and think how they are already armed and ready to attack; your children as students. Your parents as teachers and administrators. Your Spouses, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Neighbors and Friends who were just heading out for some social fun.

How are your guns, kept put away so safely for your use later, helping today?

I’m not here to bang the gong and pry your guns out of your hands. I’m not even here to ask you to give them up, because I know the only thing that comes between a gun lover and his gun, is the person stupid enough to step in front of that muzzle.

I just want – no wait, I DEMAND something more than thoughts and prayers to keep my children, and my grandchildren safe. I don’t want studies about how medications are the issues. How mental deficiencies are the issues. That’s a given. A normal, sane person does not think “Hey I think I’ll go shoot up a school today.”

We know that mental illness is the core issue. Perhaps bad parenting could be another. Perhaps inadequate or incorrect prescription drugs are another. Perhaps desensitized video games. Bullying. There is a slew of reasons. These all add up to a perfect storm, but to bake this cake of tragedy we need one main ingredient, and that is a weapon. If the weapon of choice is a handgun, or a rifle, there will still be carnage, which is wickedly horrible. But if the weapon of choice is a high powered semi-automatic assault rifle, designed for the use as a military style weapon, the numbers go much higher. What might be 1-2 victims turns into sadly 17.

You tell me which you’d rather bet on for survival. For your child’s survival. A person with dead intent on killing with a handgun, or with a gun that fires 5x the bullets that handgun can?

In ending I hope for once societies anger doesn’t dissipate as this story fades into the foreground of society. I hope we stay amped up enough to make a difference. To get those answers. To demand changes in gun laws, and remove things like bump stocks, and question the validity and necessity of owning military style weapons for the average citizen.

I guess if I had hopes and prayers, that’s what this would be for.

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Where a lot of Frustrated F*cks are Bandied About.

 

I am battling innate frustration, co-mingled with a slight case of the blues and sprinkled with inner anger. It’s embarrassing to me, not because frustration or depression is something to be ashamed of. It’s because I feel like I am sitting here watching my life lit on fire, and I am mesmerized by the flames.

I am a procrastinator. I mean a real, true, by-the-book, “why put off today what can be done tomorrow”, procrastinator. It’s not just my Ego that knows if a vote was held in an imaginary Procrastinators Club, I would be called out to lead. President. No, wait — Queen. Wait — Emperor. It’s a fact. I have this down baby.

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I am fueled in this procrastination by fear or anything that makes me uncomfortable. If I were in the animal kingdom, there is no doubt I would be the first animal eaten by the lions. While the rest of the gazelle or zebra would be screaming “Lion, Lion!” and running at full speed, I would be that one dumb one standing there, eyes as round as saucers, mouth agape with drool and grass hanging out the side, thinking “Stay very still and do nothing, and hopefully the Lion wo—….ACCCK!” <insert chomping, slurping, eating sounds of lions here>

The hardest part is knowing that this issue with procrastination is not done because it’s easier, or makes my life more bearable. It’s quite the opposite.

When I do self-analysis on myself (which I do quite often. I think the narcissist in me is absolutely fascinated on how I manage to even get up in the morning, so Myself is sometimes my favorite subject to study) I wonder where this came from. I know that most of our habits, are learned, and the rest are usually formed through a means to survival. Which is this? Is it neither? Is it inherent laziness to move from the lion, or is it fear if I move too fast he will see me?

One of the first issues in my poker hand of frustration is food. Damnit I love food, and while I can be very disciplined when I want to, I like knowing there can be a cheat day or a slip-up with little to no repercussions. Weight Watchers gets to save up their points so they can have that binge. Maybe that thought process isn’t very adult of me, but I know a lot of people who would co-sign this for me.

You know what diabetics get? To live. That’s it. I am so fucking frustrated with this diabetes.

I walked through the store today at lunch and briefly saw they were selling freshly packaged raised donuts (not the cakey kind which hold … limited power over me) and it dawned on me, I will never get to eat one of those again. I didn’t even get a farewell donut. I didn’t get to savor that one last one. It was simply CHOP! CHOP! and WHOOSH! — donuts were cut out of my life. I didn’t get to say my proper goodbyes for fucks sake!

It makes me want to cry. Real Homer Simpson tears. (is that statement in itself an oxymoron?)

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Is my frustration really with the donut? Well a tiny part yes, and a large part no. I am frustrated because despite my very well intentions, and my mostly good behavior, every slip up is registered so fucking huge, that it negates every good thing I do. Like I want my body to say, “You’ve done really well, so that slip up? We are only going to take -1/2 point off for that.”

I want my diabetes to be graded on the average.

For instance last night I had fish and cauliflower for dinner. My BS was actually low when I ate. Dinner was at best – decent. But not fulfilling.

I am tired of no fulfillment from food. I get no fucking joy from fucking cauliflower, I don’t care how much cheese I’m allowed to put on it. FFS, it’s still CAULIFLOWER! So afterwards, I indulged in some low sugar vanilla ice cream afterwards. Vanilla, people. Not pecan praline like I want. Not Ben & Jerry’s “Everything But the Kitchen Sink, like I crave. Simple low-sugar vanilla.

Now did I scoop it out, well measured like a good little diabetic? Of course not. This is me. I live alone, and no one else is going to eat out of this blue container of wannbe decent dessert food. Did I perhaps eat more than the cupful, or whatever the recommended serving was? Yeah, probably. I kept saying, “One more bite.” Like it was that last-donut-ever I never got. But I did not glutton it up. It was, probably a normal adult size serving. Plus maybe a bite more.

I go to check the BS two hours after eating like recommended and it’s sky high. 220. 220!!!???!! The last time it was that high I had pizza. PIZZA. I was very new with the diagnosis, and was playing the game of “How Do We Get Around Not Being Able To Eat Gina’s Favorite Food?” — and while the high number scared the bejebus out of me, at least I had enjoyed the dinner somewhat.

This time, I get a 220 from fucking cauliflower, fish and diet vanilla ice cream.

FUCK ME.

The night before I had come home very hungry, and while dinner was cooking I munched on popcorn. I had worked a super long day – 11 hours, and probably had my sugars too low, so I snarfled up white cheddar popcorn while dinner was cooking. I made egg sammiches because I was so hungry, and probably – well, no probably, I definitely went over the meal carb with those in wheat English muffins, but I was so hungry! – but maybe by 10 carbs. Again, I measure my BS later, and it too is over 200.

I didn’t take it as hard, because well – white cheddar popcorn is not like a salad. But to come home the next day and try and do good, and still fail?

I want one of those good participant medals that they give kids now, just for showing up damnit.

In the midst of real middle class, middle age, white women problems my scale decides to fuck with me. I look at this as the universes way of fucking with me. Like the Gods getting together, and saying. “Hey guys, come watch this….” and giggling.

I will admit that in trying to find a silver lining on this regiment with food (Not like living or anything is the silver lining), I am a bit obsessed with my weight. I think it boils down to the need an immediate gratification silver lining. I weigh myself sometimes daily. Before you go there — Don’t. I know you shouldn’t. Just don’t.

Anyway, I am not concerned with losing, as much as not gaining. I’ve been really good on that count. It’s just been this trickle down of pounds. I don’t have a certain number I am heading towards. Any loss is a good loss.

Until two days ago when I see this immediate 2 pound gain. Not a huge deal, except that it put me over a number I had recently gotten under. Anyone who has ever battled weight knows you make these deals with yourself, that you’ll be happy with whatever number you have, as long as it doesn’t go back over this number (fill in the blank). This number did and I was PISSED.

Ironically speaking of which, I had to pee soon after this horrifying weigh-in. My cock-eyed brain said, “Hey, maybe you should weigh yourself after peeing. Maybe that was the extra pound.” Now realistically I know that’s complete horseshit, but if you haven’t figured out the mind games I play to please myself, you haven’t been following this blog for very long. I get on the scale (which in itself is comical, because without my eyeballs [read: glasses or contacts] I cannot read the scale numbers. So I have to wait until I vaguely see the digital scale blink three times to tell me it will hold the number for me – and then get off and pick the scale up and bring it up so I read it. – Instead of course just wearing my glasses, because I don’t know how to do things the easy way!) and VOILA. In 20 seconds I have peed SIX POUNDS away. I blink. I get back on the scale, and VOILA, in 15 seconds I have put three of those pounds back on.

My scale needs a new battery.

So these issues you can see are fairly minor, but they add up. They are the sprinkles of gas thrown towards the pyre, in what has been a testing couple of years.

Adding onto this are all these issues I have going on with my financial life. This is the real darkness. This where the smoke from the fire I am so mesmerized by, is thick and black, and chokes you.

I’m frustrated and angry and embarrassed and frightened and sick to death sometimes of doing this alone. Anger begets sorrow, which sort of feeds right back into anger and throws a lot of meat towards pity, who sits there wide-eyed in the corner, knowing they weren’t invited, nor are they wanted, at this emotional fuck-fest. I think of the tight friendship lost because they couldn’t understand the financial strain I was already in a year ago, and how it would have been for me to add to that, with a flight to attend their wedding. I get angry all over again. Justifiable anger. Then the rational part of me says just like a good mother would, “Do you really want or need friends like that in your life? That would so easily walk away from you the way they did?” and I slam my inner emotional door, throwing myself onto a pillow sobbing, because sometimes what is correct, doesn’t lessen the pain.

I have ideas that give me temporary solace, and sometimes they work and sometimes I’m too scared to put them into action. Again this fucking frustration of always going it alone hits me, until hot tears well up in the back of my eyes, threatening to spill out at the most inconvenient moments.

Yet I know that until I get this part of my life situated, I don’t want to be – I CANNOT be involved with anyone, so it becomes this vicious circle. Sometimes I’m not certain if my thought process is starved of melty cheesy crunchy goodness, that impairs my judgement.

My friends are my winning glory and in moments like these I don’t always let them know. I mean I DO, but not like I should. Because even though there are days like this that are painted in murky shades of grey and blue, this silly part of me is still able to crack jokes and make light of things. I know there are yellow and pink days ahead. I also know that if I keep running from the choking smoke, it’ll get me. It always does.

But mostly I know that – I hate to say it – but it could be worse.

Now excuse me while I go and lead the chorus of “The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow” …. 😉

Oh Daddy Dear

0FC18719-9293-4B6D-A6C9-620B392023ABI read this horrible story this morning about a Texas man who was receiving the death penalty for the revenge murder of his two young daughters and how he taunted his ex-wife moments before his execution. He had shot the 9 and 6-year old a total of eight times while his ex-wife listened helplessly on the other end of the phone. When asked before execution if he had any last words, he said no, only to quickly change his mind moments later and reach out to his ex-wife who was there to witness, with a smile and hello.

That is simply put: Pure Evil.

You can read the full story here.

Needless to say the story sickened and angered me. And it triggered a lot of relative anxiety. As a mother of two daughters, as a an ex of someone abusive (never to that degree, thank the Gods) and as a daughter of a mean, abusive man I realized that for there for the Grace of God and all that happy horseshit.

My dad has been the topic of conversation for the past twelve hours in my family. I don’t really write about him, because I don’t like to give him that much headspace, or recognition. With the exception of the genes he passed down to my brother and I, mostly bad ones at that – he is really nothing more than a label to me. My memories of him are so vague, they are almost dream-like. I have them categorized into two specific moments, like a cluster of corner pieces to a puzzle that you’ve lost all of the rest of the pieces to.

I’ll admit I harbor negative feelings about him now. As a kid, and a very young adult I think I romanticized him, which was probably better than being angry. (Ignorance is bliss for a reason) My mother, who didn’t have a huge amount of redeeming qualities as a parent (as a person absolutely, as a mother – maybe not so much) did carry the healthy philosophy that you don’t badmouth the absent parent to a child, because it can damage their own self-esteem. The good part of that was I only heard good things about my dad. Vaguely good things. Nothing heroic. The bad part was I internalized some fantasy-story blame towards my mother (every story needs a villain). The worst part was when I finally found out the truth about him, it shattered me. My mother had already died, and I could never apologize to her for carrying around that fantasy. Nor could I ever thank her for saving both my brother and I, from a life I had a small window into and was Hell at it’s best.

My dad was simply put two things. A womanizer and abusive. He procreated all over the place, spreading his seed around like an errant farmer. When I was young, and asking a lot of questions as children are apt to do, my mother told me of a family that he had before us. She told me that she wasn’t certain, but she thought there were three boys and a girl. She ashamedly admitted that she thought he might have left this family destitute and didn’t contribute to their care. I think she shouldered some of the guilt and blame there. I didn’t get a lot of details, whether that was based on her lack of knowledge, and her unwillingness to share.

Secretly I loved the idea I had a big sister out there.

I mentioned the two pocket memories I had of my dad. They were weirdly two opposite sides of the spectrum, and why my memory grabbed these two and immortalized them I’m not sure. One is my dad briefly taking me to a bar (I found out he worked there- Jack of All Trades, Master of None as my grandmother would accurately report on him) and sitting me on a red leather barstool, while he went behind it and made me a Shirley Temple. We weren’t there long and soon afterward we went somewhere (a birthday party perhaps) where I played musical chairs and won. (But of course I recall winning!). I won a nurse doll. It was this fantastical memory that I kept shiny and clean and in a special memory box. It felt loving.

The second memory was darker. My mother was sitting at a formica table in the kitchen of our San Francisco apartment. We had two entrances to that kitchen, one led to the living room, and the other into a hallway that connected the bedrooms. I must have woken up late from the noise, but I came out quietly and stood at the darkened hallway to kitchen entrance. I recalled four distinct things. My mother crying. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. A tattoo my father had on his forearm. And his yelling.

As a kid that memory was stronger to me because of recalling the layout of the apartment. We only lived there til I was about 3 or 4, and I confirmed it with my mom a lot. Like there was a prize I should win for my detailed memory. I asked about the beer brand. I asked about the tattoo. I never asked about the crying.

Over the years I would take these tidbits of information and try and fill in the murkier pieces of the puzzle. I knew he was a voracious eater, and that my brother had inherited his appetite. I knew he loved “bread & milk”, which was a dish usually only Southerner’s ate. I loved it too. And I loved that my father and I shared this love over something so delicious. Delicious being up for grabs. It consisted of white junk break broken into pieces in a bowl and slathered with milk. Call it the poor mans breakfast cereal. The last time I had it was my 5th birthday dinner, when I requested and was met with “This is the last time I’m fixing it for you ….”, followed by a repugnant look on my mother’s face. It was too deep a reminder of the man she had fled not long before. True to her word, I never had it again. I don’t think I could stomach it now.

When I was a little older, my Aunt told me a story that fed into my romantic notion of a father ripped away from his children. Desperate to see them, to be with them, he stealthily crept into the house in the dark of the night and stole them from the wicked mother who held them captive.

Of course the story that was really told was slightly less romantic. He did break into the apartment and he did steal his two kids. But where is romance there? My mother had thrown him out and for reasons of control, and revenge he used two babies as ammunition. Similar, but fortunately for yours truly, not as horrid as the man mentioned in the first paragraph.

For reasons I never really captured, he called my mother to tell her he had the kids; maybe as a taunt? As it was, her older sister (the Aunt telling this story) happened to be in town. She told me how frightened she was, and how she bluffed her way into telling him he had better get his kids back to their home before all hell broke loose. I suspect it worked because a). he didn’t really want us and b). he was terrified of my mother’s family. Her father (my beloved grandfather) especially so. Nevertheless we were back home before dawn that morning.

To the child me, it cemented how much he loved me. I actually envisioned him climbing a balcony and then back down with these two children in his arms. Yes, I realize the logistics of him climbing down carrying two children doesn’t make sense. Tell that to a nine-year old.

To the adult me, it cemented how much he could terrorize my mother, and how very different that scenario could have played out if my mother’s wonderful sister wasn’t there to grab hold of the reins of the situation.

As for that other family, I couldn’t get them out of my head. I had other brothers and a sister somewhere out there. A child thinks when she hears of another family left behind about how wonderful it is that she has these other siblings, and how maybe someday they will all be reunited.

An adult realizes the character of a man who could so coldly leave one family behind, only to start a new one. Over and over again. When I state leave a family behind, I don’t mean him walking out either. He married women he could bully and beat, but he didn’t realize he also married women who at the core had a steely strength and would kick him to the curb, sheltering their children from the beast he became.

My mother rarely spoke of my father, or the damage that marriage did to her. She didn’t have to. As the years, passed – her silence, her actions, they spoke volumes, but only if you really paid attention. Most parents admonish their children for getting overly physical with one another, but my mother? If my brother laid a finger on me, she went ballistic. “You do not hit girls!” she would yell at him. (His response was always, “But she’s not a girl, she’s my sister!”) I never got that lecture, even though I was two years older, and for most of our childhood bigger than he was. *I* wasn’t the victim most of the time, he was. But it was imperative to her that she pound the rule in his head that hitting girls – women – wives, was taboo. I’m certain it terrified her that it could be genetic.

She also refused to remarry. Marriage was almost a dirty word in our house, and it leeched onto the psyche of both my brother and I like a predisposed gene. She denied it later, but my brother and I recalled how often she would say “You don’t have to get married.” (In my case she’d also add, that it’s just as easy to love a rich man, as it is a poor man.) Twenty-years and hundreds of proposals from her live-in didn’t budge her attitude.

My father’s pseudo-kidnapping of his children wasn’t romantic. His kidnapping was a last ditch attempt to control a woman who said, “Enough!”.

We were lucky that he didn’t own a gun. We were lucky that he didn’t decide to punish my mother, or my half-siblings mother’s by destroying what was most precious to them; their children. Because I think to him they were the mother’s children. Until he got old and was about to die. Then they meant the world to him.

Excuse me while I throw-up in my mouth a little over here.

Ok, so I’ve painted the story of how it all went down as a child. Fast forward a few years later – my mother had probably died a year or two prior and I had gotten into genealogy. In posting a question on an ancestry site about my dad’s side of the family, who pops up? One of those children mentioned from the previous marriage. The floodgates opened, and boom, there they all were.

My half-sister, who had been raised for a slightly longer portion with the man we now refer to by his first name only, was the one who filled me in on the most. I already knew he had died about 12 years prior. She was the one who told me before his death he had tried to make amends with most of his children. He was successful with some.. She also filled me in on what I might have suspected but refused to really confront. That there was a dark ugliness about him, that my mother kept from me. He drank, she said, a lot. He beat his wives a lot when he drank. Lastly, he came after the children when they got old enough to take a beating. I felt sick.

The total count on children was my brother and I, plus the four of them,  and there was one more – bringing the total to 7. Another girl. The boys won 4-3. This youngest  was the only one raised from birth to adulthood by him. He apparently finally found a wife who would put up with his ways. It’s my understanding that the only one he had a hand in helping raise has had the most adult issues.

Our mothers escapes were in essence our own freedoms, while the last wife’s attempt at keeping her marriage intact I suspect, was paid for by both her and the daughter. My other half-sister. This is the prison we could have all been raised in.

The light bulb clicked on with glaring starkness  when I heard the story of how he was with wife #1 (who we later find out was really wife #2) – everything clicked into place. Everything made sense, from the memory of tears at the kitchen table. The beer having such a lasting imprint. The fleeing San Francisco so quickly. Her instilling so strongly that her son never raise his fist to a female. The adamant attitude she had over never wanting him to have a thing to do with us. The underlining question of why she almost seemed to hate men.

I never understood any of that, and while I don’t berate myself for not knowing, The guilt really comes from all those childhood memories where I silently painted her as the villain. It’s mock guilt, that has no substance. I suspect it’s just more sympathy for what her very young self must have gone through and how hard it must have been.

Later we found another sibling. Much older than most of us. This brought the count to 8 siblings total. It also added and shifted the wives. My mom became wife #3. The story was the same – married, beaten – only this one ran quickly, having been pregnant and fearful for her unborn child. She was ironically helped by her own mother-in-law. I don’t think the marriage lasted a year.

A few years later the story of a  9th sibling came out of the woodwork. Another female, which now places us in the lead 5-4. At least word of her did. His half-brother, a judge in Mississippi told the story of his brother’s hit-and-run pregnancy. By then, I, along with most of the siblings I suspect was over the idea of all of these children. These faceless brothers and sisters, coming out of the woodwork. My own brother had no interest in any of them. I was good with the original four, which had sadly dwindled down to 3 with the death of the eldest decades earlier. I met two. The youngest brother, closest to my age, and finally that sister I had always wanted. I still haven’t met my other brother, who I understood was as gun-shy as my own brother is about all this new family. I’m good with that. We know of each one another. He even accepted a Facebook request from me a couple of years back. I felt that said enough.

So with all these siblings – nine total, one deceased, and one unconfirmed – my own daughter comes to me last night with a bit of news. Her boyfriend had recently bought her the DNA testing from 23 and Me and her results came in. We laughed over how the results could know she preferred salty over sweet, and that her ring finger was longer than her index. But then she received another surprise.

A maternal 1st cousin. A female. Which means the child of one her mother’s siblings. All she had was a name and the fact that it was a child of my sibling. But which sibling?

Her immediate thought was her Uncle; my one full-blooded brother. He has never married and never had children, and I think we like to envision a slightly risque secret lifestyle about him. On the other hand, my first thought was – “Oh good Lord, another half-sibling, who probably doesn’t even know they have all these other half-siblings.” I do a mental count to run through all of the ones that I know and their own children, and no unaccounted for female children. I pulled my sister in and asked her if she recognized the name or if she could account for any kids I didn’t know. She told me of her deceased brother’s daughter, someone I wasn’t aware of, but the names didn.t match.

Next I texted my brother and gave him the good news of his possible pending fatherhood and asked if the surname sounded familiar (understanding it could be a married name at this point) and it did, but only because it’s a common name.

Having hit brick walls at every turn we ultimately realized that the likelihood that could best explain all of this, is the one I came up with. There is another freaking sibling of mine out there somewhere in this vast world, that we don’t know about. Yet. We are waiting for the gal to respond to my daughters message asking about her parentage.

In the meantime, I guess I can get used to saying I’ve always wanted to be from a family of 10 children.

38 Minutes

I Love Lucy

When I read on a friend’s Facebook over the weekend how her heart was with the residents of Hawaii, and how thankful she was, you could have painted me covered with question marks. I hadn’t a clue on what she was talking about.

There are times when I’ve gotten my breaking news stories from friends on Facebook. Not so much the details, as the headlines themselves, but this time it was cryptic. I puzzled over it, and quickly perused my Facebook for other mentions, before  toggling over to Safari and typing in “Hawaii News”. My first thoughts were earthquake or tsunami, which are fearful, but nothing like what I actually found.

I wasn’t prepared to read that an Emergency Alert had been texted to the residents, advising them that a ballistic missile was coming inbound to Hawaii and stressing that this was not a drill.

What. The. Fuck.

My heart sank, not because of fear of the missile. Quick headlines showed that the “This is not a Drill” portion of the statement by now, was a misnomer. Technically it wasn’t a drill either, but a mistake made by human error of one employee.  No, my heart sank at the adrenalin pumping fear that the residents of Hawaii must have felt.

In situations like this I immediately ask myself what would I do? How would I react? Would I be calm, or would I panic? When the fires hit so severely a hundred miles north of me a few weeks back, I wondered would I be prepared to grab what I needed in a matter of minutes if I was ever evacuated?

When I was a kid one of my favorite TV shows was I Love Lucy. I probably reach back to run parallels in my blogs about that show a little too much. I can’t help it, it’s who I am. Lucy and her world represented everything to me. Ultimately everything in life I can relate to a good old 30 minute rendering of comedy, as portrayed by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Anyway, pulling up panic, and cross-referencing it to ILL, I think of the episode where Ricky, Fred and Ethel are doing dry runs in preparation of Little Ricky’s birth. They are so calm when they place a jacket around the pretend Lucy’s shoulder’s, while one coolly picks up her suitcase, and the other places the call to the hospital to advise they are on their way. I can even picture Ethel’s voice with a slight British twang to it, informing the mock hospital operator that Mrs. Ricardo is on her way.

Of course Lucy goes into labor soon after and bedlam ensues. Panicked, screaming, — I think they even leave the house, forgetting Lucy behind. It’s funny how the calm portion is so imprinted on my memory, but the chaos is a little sketchy.

I don’t like chaos. It makes me nervous. Even pretend chaos in small comedic bursts.

I know that imagining myself given a mere five minutes to grab my belongings and I too come off as cool as a cucumber. Heading to the important drawer for those papers and then gently picking up my equally calm cat and placing her in her carrier before heading out the door. Reality could be closer to confusion, where I grab one of my mom’s art pieces, more likely the one closest to me, and hastily wrap my now yowling confused cat in a towel, as I run out of the house in my underwear and bare feet.

I actually did get a banging on the door like that once. A neighbor’s bathroom was on fire, and she had been instructed by the fire department to bang on the four doors of the master unit we all shared and announce “Fire!” I had enough time to grab those most important things, but the severity of the fire seemed small, so  what I felt was important, and left everything else to fate. My sleeping kid and my purse. (I had no pets at the time, so don’t think that Purse > Pet) Even the contents of the purse were replaceable. I stood out there on the cold grass at midnight, wrapped in my thick robe, arm around my kid as we waited for the fire department to arrive and then give us the green light to head back in.

Fortunately there hadn’t been much damage to her unit, let alone the neighboring three. I think the worst was a  slight lingering odor of fire.

I guess my point is, we can have drills – physically or mentally, and then we can have reality. I was a bit calm when the neighbor pounded. But how many of us in reality know what to do in a nuclear warning situation?

One of the reasons I cannot watch the POTUS on the news anymore is because he just stresses me out. I won’t go on and make this political, because I’d need chapters to hit on everything, and one of my New Year’s Resolutions (so to speak) was to stop getting so worked up about things I cannot make a change with. One of the stressors I had to come to grips with, (and was surprisingly shocked more people weren’t concerned with) was if this clown had the actual ability to throw us into a nuclear situation in a pissing contest with North Korea. They are both as ego-maniacal to consider the other would lose. I seriously haven’t worried about anything like that since probably childhood. As American’s, especially of the last couple of generations, I think we’ve gotten a little relaxed, and dare I say it, complacent in our fears of nuclear wars.

Lucky us.

While I won’t say that Trump cost me lost sleep, the combination of everything was so toxic, and for the first time since I was little and barely worried/wondered ever-so-slightly about the Russians, here were possible real nuclear threats. I came to the conclusion that whatever will be, will be (Que Sera Sera) and all the worrying in the world can’t and wouldn’t change the fates to end up the way they will. Do I want to go up in a nuclear cloud of smoke? No. But I don’t want a bus to hit me, a shark to eat me, or have a strike of lightning take me out either. We can’t all die in our sleep however, so I think coming to peace with who you are takes a lot of the fear of death away from me. I mean ultimately are we afraid of dying or simply not living anymore? I think for me it’s the latter, and when I’m dead, I won’t care that I’m not living anymore, so scratching that from the equation helps a lot.

There is really only one arena that unsettles me about the possibility of tragedy, and that is My Kids. And THAT my friends, in the long drawn out version of this post, is where I went when I thought of these ordinary citizens, these happy-go-lucky island vacationers. What the fuck are they doing about the kids.

I imagine I am sent a message basically stating “Yup, you’re probably going to die. – I’m not kidding, it’s happening” and I have to have the forethought of handling my children, without possibly panicking them. Protecting them, but how? It was my understanding that there wasn’t exactly shelters available. Some were hunkering down in bathrooms. Hotel lobbies. Some were lifting manholes and placing their children underground. Some were running around in a panic. Others were reaching out to loved ones, to let them know they loved them.

And then waiting. And wondering. Will you hear it? Will you feel it? Will your children feel it? Will it be quick? Will you survive it? Will your children survive it?

Waiting 38 fucking minutes until the government sent a new message that essentially said “Whoops. We fucked up. So very sorry about that.<insert sheepish looking emoji>” – I think the relief would be so strong, that a hysterical euphoria would hit me at that point.

But prior to?

WWGD? What would Gina do? Well assuming I’m on the island and my kids weren’t, obviously reach out to them. Hopefully by voice, but if at worst by text. Tell them how goddamn much I loved every ounce of them. How my best years alive on this earth were the ones I spent caring for them. God forbid they were with me, because I would simple love every fiber, every being of them. I’d probably suffocate them with every ounce of love I could squeeze from my body.

Because, like I’ve said it’s not the dying that scares me. It’s the Not-Living. Some say live like today is your last day. Well that would really require me to quit my job, and I really do need that. I know – I HOPE – my kids are already aware of how deep their mother’s love for them both goes. So I hate to tempt the fates, but technically, if that was my last worry – that leaves me worriless doesn’t it?

38 minutes is a long time to look at your life. To ponder on decisions made, opportunities won and lost. I wonder how many lives were changed after that? I wonder, how many lives were created in that 38 minutes? 😉

First Quarter Blues

I started to think about how sucky January is in general. I’ve written on this topic before, because for me it’s really strong. It simply represents loss to me in too many ways.

The holidays are over with, and replaced with the twinkly colorful merriment of the Christmas décor that I love SO much, is murky grey weather. Even if the sun is out, the overall general feeling is grey mush. My door needs a wreath, but in January I don’t have an applicable one. I have wreaths for every season, or holiday, but nothing for January. So I come home to the staleness of a simple white door, until I can appropriately hang my Valentine’s Day sparkly wreath, oh so briefly.

Money is tight. I’ve overspent like mad the previous months, and now I am shopping, not nilly willy – but with precision, to make the bucks last longer. Add to that, this is the Year-Of-No-Shopping, which in title isn’t as bleak as it sounds; I am allowed to buy what I need, but in theory it’s horrible because I am not allowed to buy simply just what I want.

Right before I sat down to write this blog, having the heaviness weighing on me, I thought “I’d sure like a new white cardigan. I wonder if The Gap has any sales going on?” and immediately this small wave of pleasure passed through me when I thought of online shopping for my lunch hour. No sooner did the warm wave hit, then the gasping stinging cold bucket of reality hit me with YEAR-OF-NO-SHOPPING.

Yes it’s self-imposed, and I could break the rule (which is what my inner shopping freak reminded me of), but just like dieting and then binging on eating a large pizza alone (like I’d ever do that!) I’m just going to feel icky afterwards. Plus I have to bring the credit card debt down. That is non-negotiable.

Fuck First Quarter Blues.

It’s the last paid holiday until May for me. I look at these next months as a Sahara of Work, where I have to parcel out my vacation days carefully. Much like one might limit their sips of canteen water while trekking across a dry hot desert. No three-day weekends on the company’s budget. Nothing for 134 more days, weekends included.

These are all murky pull-up-your-big-boy-pants kind of complaints. I know that, and I rub them off of me more like pesky flies than anything. If anyone else were bitching about this with this much intensity I’d be rolling my eyes by now.

But then the big one sits there like an overfed drooling lump of a baby in soiled diapers. Kurt’s birthday. For the next couple of months, it feels like a Kurt-athon of hellacious reminders. Born In January. Relinquished in February. Died in March. January. February. March. Bam. Bam. Bam.

I had to do the math to realize he would be 35 next week. DAMN.

Hellacious First Quarter. It’s why January no longer takes the brunt of things. It gets spread over a three month period, where profits are not expected to be high, but we hold on knowing the remainder of the calendar year will be better.

I’ll give February a break really. It just happens to be sandwiched in between two awful months. Plus as sappy as it is, I am a fan of Valentine’s Day, even when I’m single. I love the hearts and the reds and pinks, and the happiness (and exasperation by those non-romantics) it brings. I think any holiday that makes people happy, generally speaking makes me happy. Except if there is a National Eat Your Dog Day, celebrated in some remote country that brings salivating good happiness to their countrymen. That happiness won’t carryover to me.

Jesus Christ. You can see where my current darkness is just in that statement alone. My mind comes up with Dog-Eating when tasked with imagining something unhappy. Fucking DOG eating? I almost make myself giggle in my madness.

Now stay with me, because this is going to seem random. I live in a little bubble of a community really. The largest complaint that set the city afire with rage was our notorious Tire-Slasher. Some random weird guy who really got his kicks out of slashing people’s tires. He unfortunately pegged my daughter’s boyfriends car at one point. That was as close as he got to affecting me personally. But man oh man, did he set the community social pages afire with his crimes.

For the record he was apprehended. I am surprised my town didn’t have a parade for that to be honest. We are pretty crime free. Well we were.

A couple of weeks – actually less than that – a local college aged boy went missing. Weird circumstances, where he left the house with none of his belongings, and simply disappeared without a trace. You just felt something bad was going to come of it, while you hoped beyond hope you were wrong.

Yesterday they announced his body had been located in the remote park he was last seen in. At first sadness for his parents set in. The heartbreak they must have felt getting the news. As I was driving home, the sadness seemed to envelope me a lot stronger than what tragic news about a family I didn’t even know should feel like. I mean I tend to think I am a bit more empathetic than maybe the population in general, but this – this felt that sadness that makes you want to throw up. Haunting in an emotional sense. I absolutely couldn’t shake it. Not through happy-go-spritely-texts with friends, nothing. I couldn’t exactly explain how I was feeling really fucked up about this news story, because I wasn’t going to make my point. I mean I would have had to really pounded home the point that I felt REALLY fucked up about this, and I didn’t know why.

Then, as it usually does, the lightbulb went off, — or on. I think the lightbulb goes “ON!” as in an idea. Duh. Whatever. Everything fell into place, and I looked at the calendar, and saw it was almost the 19th. I wanted to wryly chuckle at my subconscious, but instead I was pissed.

I really would have preferred to convince myself my grief at this terrible loss was my empathetic self, feeling for a family one town over that I’ve only seen in the news. I would have preferred to think that was ALL my grief was calling out for. But my subconscious instead sat there like a grinning dog, waiting for me to get it. “I brought you this information, you might have lost…” it seemed to say. I’m supposed to say “Thank you. Thank you for painful reminder.” I’m supposed to say it with grace, as I gear up to face the next eight weeks stoically.

But see, I want to say, “This is how I operate best. Surprise me. Let the 19th guide by with a whisper, nary a sound behind my back as I frolic with friends oblivious, and thankful my aging memory fails me. Let the fucking first week of March show up on my door with birthday balloons in hand for my grandson and my youngest wee babe. On say the fifth of March or so, bang a pot or something and remind me that I missed the date. Let me wallow for a moment in the reminders and memories. It’s how you’ve let me deal with my mother’s death, these 18 years and counting.”

I know with time all things heal. I am a living embodiment of this saying. I know as my mother would say, “This too shall pass.”, but I feel like a woman with a stomach virus. I cannot foresee the future because my head is in the toilet. I cannot hear the sage words of comfort very well, over the retching sounds I make. I know this won’t kill me, but I do know that it feels like it could.

That’s the hardest part of the First Quarter Blues. Knowing you will live through it, only to repeat it again next year.

That’s the extent of my whining. I hear my mother’s voice calling out to me, asking me if I want an award for my dramatics. So this once a year show will be closing its curtains. Instead I’ll leave you with this GIF of Krusty the Clown juggling on a unicycle to cleanse the palette of sadness. *cue circus music*

krusty-juggling-d-build

One Pill Makes You Larger and One Pill Makes You Small …

pills

Jefferson Starship’s “White Rabbit” is probably one of those songs that makes my absolute Top Ten of favorite songs ever. I hear those first few bass chords that start the song, and my heart gets all happy. Outside of the header of this blog, and that brief statement, this blog piece doesn’t have a thing to do with my love of music or that song.

It centers around my distaste of medications. And — when I think of meds, I think of that line from “White Rabbit”.

Now I’m not one of those who is adamant about not taking a pill. I’m probably more middle ground. I don’t shy away, but I’m also not “give me a pill every time I sneeze” either. For the most part, I really just want to know what this pill does, and how the side effects are. I trust my doctor per say, but coming from a family background that taught you doctors are just a bunch of drug-pushing sycophants, you also have this nagging feeling in the back of your mind that questions how much the medical community is merely the puppet for the pharmaceutical companies.

I also know my doctor has the slightest of tendencies to shove a pill down my throat for most everything. Which works wonderfully when I want my Xanax prescription refilled. (Chill, — it takes me more than a year to go through a sixty day supply) But, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it worries me at times that he relies on pharmaceuticals so quickly. I really have to balance my trust of him (I’ve been his patient for nearly two decades now)) and my distrust of pills in general.

Years ago I opted out from seeing my oh-so-busy regular doc, and started to see his new PA. I forget what I actually went in for — something minor — but he noticed my BP was higher than normal. I pooh-poohed it, because my BP has always run a little on the higher end. But he was one of those super involved PA’s that took his patients health seriously and involved himself in seeing things through. I actually really liked him. He gave me the attention I think as patients we all wish our doctors would. I mean seriously there have been a couple of times I am in and out of seeing my doctor in less than five minutes. I appreciated how the PA on the other hand, sort of fawned over me and took what appeared to be a genuine interest.  Anyway, we played around with a couple of the meds, increased this one, added that one, and had him monitor me for a couple of months, until we came up with this perfect cocktail that I take daily. Two HUGE in the morn’ (includes my vitamin) and two tiny in the evening (includes my melatonin). They seem to work like they should, and I’m adjusted and happy with just these two.

Time fast forwards and next thing I know, that damn sugar disease steps in and of course the first thing they want to do is stick a couple more pills down my throat. I’ll be honest. The diagnosis scared the shit out of me, and had they said they wanted to inject me with bee serum in my left nostril daily, I’d have said “Sounds great!”. I think that’s what some of us do. Follow the directions out of fear of the initial diagnosis and just do whatever they instruct.

Of course me being me, I immediately went home and read up on the side effects of the diabetes meds and didn’t see anything too alarming. For the most part, I am lucky to be one of those who rarely has issues with the side effects. The only time I did have an issue was with Wellbutrin years ago. I took it to stop smoking, because I had heard ALL these wonderful things about it, and how easy it was, and sunshine and lollipops, blah blah blah – Except for me. A couple of days into it I thought I was losing my mind, when I literally wanted to peel my skin suit off. I found out quickly that those of us who suffer from high anxiety should take very low doses of that med, or it can set your soul on fire. I stopped taking it immediately.

Anyway six, seven weeks into the diabetes diagnosis, I’m getting used to taking yet another set of meds (I’ll be honest I have forgotten from time to time. This one is having a hard time imprinting on my memory) when I notice a missed call on my cell. Voice mail indicates it’s someone from my drs office advising that my doctor thinks there is one more med I need to be on.

I went back and forth between being irritated, and flattered. I mean, I don’t know what a medical office is like behind the scenes. I don’t know how they can suddenly be reminded to call any patient for whatever reason. My paranoia and ego battle it out that there are one of two scenarios: They are simply pushing the Pill of the Week, versus my ego fantasy that yes I really am that special.

I know realistically he probably has a reminder set up for new patients with this or that. Maybe a bulletin went out that stated those with diabetes really are in danger of strokes and heart attacks, so he has his office round up those patients and voila, the calls go out. I just like to entertain myself with the paranoid and egotistical storylines.

Of course I do what I do when I hear what drug it is. A Statin. Hmmm, haven’t I heard negative things about Statin’s? So I Google it. Good news! Bad news! No defining news! Seems everyone has a horror story, or a life-saving story with that med. I read how it can cause diabetes, but nothing about taking it as a diabetic. Finally I do find some information, but by now my brain is a tangled mess from being pulled left and right. I decide to take the concerns and call my doctor in the morning. In the meantime I post on social media, and basically get a more personalized view of the same stuff I found on Google. Those who think the pharmaceutical companies are the devil, those who swear by it, and most who just find problems with it.

I also recall that in my Diabetes Education classes they were very unbiased when it came to new information. They conceded that doctors don’t always know what’s the best treatment for diabetes. The class preached caution and education. I figure if I am going to get an unbiased answer out of anyone, it’s going to be them.

By now my doctor has called back (well someone on his staff) and said in a nutshell, “You’ll be fine, just take the damn pill.” – I have a few more questions, like liver damage and the mere fact that I am taking a med that actually increases my blood sugar, and isn’t that counter-intuitive to the fact I freaking have high blood sugar? His office calls back once again, this time elevating it to his assistant, who I really have an affinity for – but her response is basically, “Take it or don’t take it. But if you don’t take it, you better be exercising and dieting like crazy or you’re going to die.”

I’m still at an absolute crossroads. One moment I am certain you will never be able to pry my mouth open to get that pill down my throat. Some more of the side effects are weight gain, and I have done so well to lose weight to begin with that it makes me want to cry to think that a fucking pill could change all of that. I have the absolute same feelings when it comes to the sugars, because I really am doing so well to bring those down.

The next moment I think how I don’t want to die quite yet and I am like a baby bird, mouth agape, waiting for you to drop whatever pill you have down my throat.

Finally after two days, the Diabetes Education Center gets back to me. I feel like I am about to open the Secret of Life, and I read it so fast that I have to go back and make sure I am reading it again. The educator assures me that she understands my concerns, and lets me know that it’s quite common for diabetics to get prescribed a statin. Of course without my lab work, it’s hard for her to give me with certainty the correct answer, but informs me that blood sugars inflame blood vessels, making them very prone to plaquing. In a nutshell she believes the pros outweigh the cons. Take the pill. Give it a try. She gives me more information, but it was honestly that line above that sold me. With bad blood flow not only is heart attack and stroke feasible, but organ failure as well.

Seriously? This makes total sense. Maybe it was the information coming from them, an unbiased source. Maybe it was the actual explanation other than “Diabetics are more prone to heart attacks and strokes”, but the relief of simply knowing has lifted this enormous weight off my shoulders.

I hate feeling old before my time. I hate knowing that between genetics and fast, hard, devil-may-care attitude of living, that I am paying the price now. I can’t help but wonder at times, if knowing what I know now, would I have changed things before.

Perhaps slightly, but let’s be honest here. Probably not much. Instead I’ve made room in my little old lady daily pill box for one more med to fit in.

 

Solitaire

IMG_0181

Alzheimer’s runs in my family fierce like. Well along with a handful of other diseases, like cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, — suffice to say when hereditary diseases were being passed out, my family was first in line.

Anyway, I’m vastly aware that there is at this present time, no sure fire cure for Alzheimer’s. All I can do, is to hope, pray and do everything I can to not kill off the brain cells I didn’t destroy in my teens and twenties. Oh who am I kidding? Let’s add our thirties in there too.

So one of the things I do to keep my mind sharp is to play Solitaire. Simple enough. It’s never the same game, so I’m doing repetitive action, and I’m forcing myself to be logical, and think a few steps ahead of the game.

The online version I play has a daily challenge; it’s absolutely winnable, but it’s up to you to figure out how. A lot of the time, the cards simply fall into place. 1-2-3, and boom easy win. Sometimes it’s a bit more challenging, and other times I am at a standstill, where I can’t figure out the win to save my life.

I hadn’t played in a few weeks, so today I had a handful of games to catch up on. I’m quite competitive, so winning every single day’s game is pretty important to me. While I was winning some, and getting stumped on others, I had this very sophomoric ephiphany that life in itself is so much like these hands of solitaire.

Some of us, are handed these super easy wins. Everything just falls into place. We are born into a secure and safe path. Two parents, no upheaval. No drama, or addictions. There are bumps, but we manage to follow the main road — happy childhood, good marriage, healthy children, and a nice easy slide into death.

Others, well we are presented the challenging hands. Sometimes we have to play the same hand over and over, trying to figure out how to move that 8 of hearts off of our deck. We might replay, choosing the same moves, over and over, until we understand the move made three turns ago was the wrong one. It’s frustrating, and at times, its beyond challenging. Sometimes I have to walk away from these hands, and decide to figure it out later, only to be met with this astounding moment of awareness that tells me not to make the move three cards ago.

I would like to have had a less challenging life. I would like to have had a normal childhood, where the cards were turned at the right succession, to land perfectly where they should have. I’m not certain why circumstance beyond my control were laid out to be what they were for me. I do know that the cards I chose to play once control was mine, weren’t the correct ones all of the time. That I’ve had to play the same game, over and over again until I get it right.

I wish I could say with all certainty that clarity has been bestowed upon me with age, and that at this age, I’m constantly turning the correct card, but that’s not who I am. That’s not the life I’m meant to live.

I think some of us were born to meet life’s challenges in a different manner. I’m not all cosmic and karmic, but the truth is, without these wrong cards, these incorrect moves, I wouldn’t have experiences, the relationships and the children that make me who I am today. Yes, I’m having to replay the game over and over again. Deciding not to turn this card, but to turn that one. I have to constantly fight the urge to do what appears easiest. If there was a way to cheat at this, I can’t say there wouldn’t be times it would be easier to take that path.

My deck may be a little worn. The cards a little bent and chewed up on the edges. But damnit, I win every single hand given to me, and that’s quite a feat.

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