That’s a Pretty Big Matzah Ball

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This post isn’t so much about relationships as it is about love. You know, that thing that is on the tip of Cupid’s arrow. That gushy, heart pounding, mind-melting pheromone that initially makes you do crazy things. Or want to do crazy things. It’s that thing that eventually settles into something a little more manageable; more realistic. That thing we all hope will stay with us, with this partner that we have bestowed this feeling upon.

And it starts with three little words: I Love You.

It’s a statement that should be taken seriously. It’s a branding of sorts, that in many cases leads to a lifetime of commitments. The words I Am Hungry, don’t pack that same punch. Neither does You Are Funky. But say I Love You, and you’ll usually get one of two reactions; the return, or the run. In some cases, as you’ll see below, you get the awkward silence too.

I have told four men over my lifetime that I loved them. As in, the big I Love You.

The first was my first love; The High School Sweetheart – he was the first one I ever said the words out loud to, and the first one who said them out loud to me. Previously I had dated a boy who drew me a picture that said I Love You, but I don’t think that counted, and I remember being confused at how he could love me so quickly. I soon realized that “I Love You” to him was tantamount to “You should have sex with me”. Strangely it worked and I lost my virginity to him. Apparently, I’ve been a sucker for the written word since I was a kid.

But the boy from high school – that really was love. I loved him as intensely as teen love can. Fiery Romeo and Juliet love. Soul crushing love. He loved me back with the same intensity, which my soul lapped up like a starving dog. We were this team, that couldn’t get enough of one another. Then one day, maybe 18 months later, I woke up, and doubt had sprouted this tiny ugly weed in my soul. Maybe I didn’t love him as much today. And every day thereafter, that love ebbed further and further from me, as the weed sort of choked the love out of me. He didn’t do anything wrong, I just ended up outgrowing him as teenagers do. But my I Love You to him, was deep and sincere.

Another, I said the words because I think circumstances told me it must be love. I was having his baby after all. Isn’t that how the song went? “First comes Love, then comes Marriage, then comes Baby in a baby carriage?” We skipped step two, but of all the people in your life, shouldn’t you love the one you’re committed to raising a child with? But the ferocity with which we fought with, both when we were together and most certainly when we weren’t, shows there couldn’t have been love for one another there. Love isn’t cruel and cutting and all destroying. My memories of him all these years later, are so marred by the ugliness we showed one another, I can barely recall any of the good times. That’s definitely not love.

The one I regret with all my heart is mostly because I never meant it. I knew it then, and I know it now. I said it because I felt like I had to. Like he needed to hear it, and then it became habit. Like “Good Morning” or “Hello”. It was just a form of communication. The worst part was the first time I heard it from him, it made me sort of sick inside. I lay there with my back to him thinking, “Oh shit. No, no no no no NO. Can I just ignore this? What do I do?” I hesitated for a moment and he repeated himself, so I said “Thank you”.  He should have ran then. He should have known, but he held out, telling me that it was okay if I didn’t reciprocate immediately. I knew I wasn’t ready to hear it from him, and it felt confining; almost like a death sentence.

To be honest, unless I was absolutely 100% was certain of the reciprocated outcome, I cannot fathom why a person would say those three little words.

Jerry Seinfeld once told George Costanza that saying “I love you” without a return was a pretty big matzah ball hanging out there. After a while my Matzah Ball was just a reminder that he was waiting, so one day I said it in return.

Jerry I Love You

I convinced myself that maybe I did sort of love him. Or maybe one day I really would mean it.I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is.

The last one I told I love you to, I did in two different time frames; I was two different people when I said it to him; the first time a still screwed up teenager, albeit already an adult. The second time was decades later. I had my emotional shit together and he was kind of the mess. Both times I fell equally hard for him. Both times he eventually broke me. Both times I healed into stronger better versions of myself.

So half of the men I have muttered those words to, I shouldn’t have. 50%. Wow, that’s a pretty large percentage.  If I met a man who told me that half the women he ever said I love you too, he realized he didn’t mean it, I’d probably run for the hills.

Let’s complicate things further by adding in that, two other men I may have been in love with, never heard those words from me. I say I may have been in love with, because even today I’m not quite sure. I think one I loved for who I thought he was, and later I realized he wasn’t that person. I don’t think, — wait I KNOW, I couldn’t ever fall in love with who I know him to be today, but back then? Yeah it felt that way. Love can color your perception. The other one? That’s the one I question the most. I know that it was damn close at one point.  I was certainly walking that fine line of love with them. So six men; six major relationships, albeit it one in high school, so it doesn’t really count as an adult relationship. Nevertheless, one third of them got a true I Love You. One third got a false I Love You, and one third got nothing, when the feeling was probably maybe sorta there.

I think this sums up my love life perfectly. It’s a sometimes great and sometimes a really fucked up mess, and 100% due to the person running it. Me. Maybe now it’s a bit clearer why I have stayed single for so long.

Even though the above would suggest otherwise, I don’t usually throw the words around lightly. As shown by the two who never heard those words from me. Add to that the fact that, I’m a proud vixen, who would never utter those words to someone I didn’t think would reciprocate them. I’ve never expressed them first.

The truth is, as much as I am creature who loves to be in love, deep down, I’m really wary of it. I want to trust it. I want to pet it, and love on it, but a lot of the time, it scares the crap out of me. Half the time I’m afraid it’s going to bite me if I look it in the eye.

Today I view love differently. Which is why I think I can objectively look at those that I said I love you to, and know which ones were real and which ones were not. I think like everything in life, love changes as we get older. Love used to be something that was so passionate and fiery. It’s fire burned intensely, and for me, what burns hot and bright, generally burns out. Which means I equated short intense relationships closer to love than the ones that simmer quietly, keeping you warm without burning you.

I GET now, that love should be closer to that last statement. That you learn to keep love on simmer, keeping an eye on it, and making certain it doesn’t boil over, and worse yet burn off. I feel like I have the ingredients for love, I just don’t have the tools completely. Time has been my tool. I think my last relationship, the one I mourned for so long, and the one I know see so much more objectively for what it really was – I think that was pretty much as close as I’ve gotten for myself to perfecting what love is. I remember the feeling of sacrifice and compromise. Of having such joy in making him happy. And damnit, I know he was the same in return because he was so generous and giving in return. Remembering all that is also the reason that I shy from it so much. If I could get that close to perfect love, and still not have it work out – then am I meant to really have it?

I think I am.

The truth is, I miss having romantic love in my life. I juggle and weigh the pros and cons of having a relationship versus staying safely tucked away in my cocoon. I have done enough self-exploration to realize that all my self-bravado about being single; my Katherine Hepburn ways so to speak,  are more of a shield because it’s safer with just me and my cat. No judgement. No fear. No matzoh balls hanging out there.

But the want – it’s tugging a little stronger at the reins lately. I can’t say how, or when it will happen, but I suspect that I might have one more sincere, all giving I Love You left in me.

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First Betrayal

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You know I have half a dozen beginning drafts of subjects to write on, but none of them really spur me on into finishing them. When that happens, I realize I’m writing more for the sake of writing, than to say something. My mother used to say I did that as a kid. Talked for the sake of talking, not because I had something to say. Then again, my mother was never one for childhood chatter.

Lately, I’ve been listening to podcasts on my drive home. It’s a good distraction from the traffic (which to be fair, for Southern California I am damn lucky about the limited traffic I sit in, but I also pay for it. Literally; Toll roads) and is a breath of fresh air from the usual negative political conversation found on most talk radio or NPR. I love music, but sometimes it’s a tad jarring for me after a long day. Listening to a podcast is a bit more soothing and it completely takes my mind off of whatever buzz is going through my head at that moment.

I’ve finished a couple of series and am onto a new one that’s completely different than what I usually pick. For whatever odd reasons, my choices previously all have something to do with Crime. Old criminal cases, introspect to the criminal mind, and even podcasts from inside prisons. I’ve been a bit of an odd duck when it comes to serial killers and their thought processes. I love books about them, movies – hell maybe I was one in a previous life. It’s funny how every single bump in the night jolts me with spark of paranoid and imaginative fear, but I can read and listen about the killers themselves for hours.

This newer podcast though; it’s a beautiful story about a the pain the pain of a breakup of a marriage. Betrayal. Moving on. Being stuck. When I say beautiful, I mean as beautiful as looking at a sad painting that is meant to expose love on one side, and the dark underbelly of pain on the other side. The woman who does the podcast, also wrote it. You feel her love when she talks about meeting the husband, and you feel her pain when she talks about his betrayal to her. Throughout everything she says,  I relate so strong to all of it and each time I think this is what I should be writing about. Love and it’s sweet intricacies. Betrayal and the pain it brings. Everything in between.

That’s what this blog started off as. I titled it Single File Dating, as a truthful joke, that my relationships have been a single file of men and as soon as one rolls out, the next one rolls in.

Very early on, I realized that more often than not, it’s easier not to write about these glaring subjects, because too often they are a reminder of the past. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t look at my past as something that should be avoided, but when I started this blog, I think I was still coming out of a state of shock over the last relationship ending. Once the shock started to alleviate, I realized relationships were the last thing I wanted to write about, think about, or even be in.

Fast forward a few years. Shock has been gone for a long time. Healing has been done for a very long time. Yet I still don’t write, or talk about relationships, outside of friendships. Which I write A LOT about.

In the meantime though, this podcast has my mind running around like a puppy hyped up on garbage discovered coffee grounds. I’m excited and all over the place. The part I think I like the most, is that for the first time in a while, I feel a tad more on track with the theme of the blog, so here goes. It contradicts the notion that I can’t write about the past, because the past created the path to the future. In other words, there is a method to this madness.

Starting with betrayal seems odd, but it’s where my heart took me first. The word itself is strange. It has this flair of the dramatic. It conjures up images of dark medieval castle rooms where someone is about to be beheaded for their actions against the crown. But the reality is, handing trust over to someone and having them break that bond is simple betrayal. It can be in a friendship, a family, or as in this particular case a romantic relationship.

I think the first time it happens, it’s jarring. Like the first time you’re ever slapped across the face. It comes fast and hard and usually unexpected and it leaves you wide eyed, slack-jawed and in pain. I was 15 years old, which is amazingly old for never having experienced betrayal. Not in general but as a girl who had been boy crazy since the 6th grade, and had a boyfriend of sorts all of the time. I was trading in (and let’s be honest, being traded-in myself) for new and upcoming relationships for years. So, if you played Vegas odds, this should have happened much earlier than 15.  Don’t let heartbreak and betrayal confuse you. I had experienced the former before. Several times.  But I hadn’t felt the dagger that sticks in your back when you find out you’ve been lied to. Played. Deceived.

I was dating a boy named Dave. My off & on best friend had introduced us, and he and I immediately clicked upon meeting. Heavy mutual attraction, and just this sweetness between the two of us from the get-go. He was absolutely beautiful to me. Thick blonde wavy hair that ran a little past his shoulders, tanned and with these grey-green eyes that when added all together gave him this lion cub look. He was slight in build, but all sinewy, with broad shoulders; muscular from daily surfing. I will admit, I was pretty smitten. So was he, or so he told me. He found the same beauty in me, in the opposite way I found it in him. My dark against his light. We seemed to gel perfectly together, and he was one of the few boys I dated with no drama. He didn’t spur it in me, and he didn’t bring it with him. Neither of us were the jealous type, and in stead he was sweet and genuinely caring. While neither of us knew it, he was something I desperately needed at that time.

I wonder if at times, Destiny places people in our lives that have a purpose far more reaching than what it seems like. Dave was one of a large number of boys I would date, and while he did deceive me and got stuck with the moniker of the first, he wouldn’t be the last. But his impact on me was great, and surprisingly not in a bitter negative way. I recall his actions in a contradiction of being both a blur, and in great sharp detail. Part of that is due to age I assume. Partially to the importance to the overall picture of my life.

When I say he came into my life at a time I needed it, it’s true. It had been a rough emotional upheaval for quite a few months. Issues at home. A general unease. That outside connection, that lack of drama and sense of safety that I got from him, even for a brief 8 or 10 weeks was so very healing.

The friend who had introduced us was dating his best friend also a Dave, and it seemed perfect that four of us would hang out. We spent countless hours, I have to admit many of them stoned, with the four of us listening to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. When we weren’t at Dave #1’s house (hers), we were at Dave #2’s place(mine). Lastly, when we weren’t at either, we were at our happy place; the beach.

Neither of us drove, and we didn’t go to the same high school, so weekends were our thing. Being in those early stages of teen romance, we rarely went a weekend without seeing one another. So suffice to say I was bummed the weekend he told me he was heading for Catalina with his dad on a turn-around sailing trip. I was still at the age, where unblemished by lies, or betrayal, I took boys at their word. If he said he was sailing, why would I question otherwise?

With him not around, I had relatively nothing to do that weekend so I was able to answer the phone on the first ring when the call came through in the very early afternoon. It was the friend who had introduced us. She hemmed and hawed for a bit, and then asked me, “Did I know where Dave was?”. “Sure, he was sailing with his dad.”, I explained. “He was expected back later that day”, I continued. Her exact words escape me all these years later, but she got to the point. He had never had a sailing trip planned. Instead he was spending the time with another girl.

He was cheating on me.

All these years later, I remember that feeling of my heart vacillating between pounding and dropping. I didn’t want to believe this friend. But I also knew if anyone would know about this, it would be the girlfriend of his best friend. I ended the call, and immediately phoned his house, certain no one would answer, because they were sailing. They weren’t home. They. Were. Sailing.

Except they were home. My mind was still trying to formulate why he would answer the phone when he did. Surprised to hear my voice on the other end, because surely I knew he wouldn’t be there – why would I call? I was nonchalant in tone, but my heart ached with the possibility of this new truth. I asked how his trip went, not to trip him up, but to convince me that what I had heard was a lie. He explained they had come back early for some reason that is irrelevant nearly forty years later.

Weirdly after all these years, I remember so clearly that it was 1 o’clock and I knew they couldn’t have made it to Catalina and back again, and had him home safe and sound this early.

Was he with another girl? Was the sailing trip a ruse to give him time with her? I outright asked him.

He faltered initially, and finally – I like to imagine that maybe there was shame in his tone, he quietly admitted the truth. I am pretty certain she was there while I was on the phone with him. My pounding dropping heart splintered a little bit at that moment, as hot tears welled up and I hung up on him. No screaming at him. No outward dramatics. It wasn’t our style. My style. I didn’t even know what my style was at betrayal, because this was the first time this had happened to me. Inside me, a thousand raging battles were going on, but outwardly I was a controlled tempest.   This wasn’t that slow pain of realizing you were being dumped, or broken up. This was quick slashing unexplained pain that you were too slow to defend yourself from. My stomach and heart switched positions, while my head thumped with the razor sharp reality of the demise of our relationship. I went into the hallway of our three-bedroom apartment and quietly cried while softly bumping my forehead over and over and over again against the wall. The disbelief was overwhelming me. How? Why? WHY?

My mother finally intervened between me and the wall, and just held me while I cried. She rocked me in that dark hallway, just telling me in soothing tones that everything was going to be all right.

It’s so weird to me that of all things I can recall that day still with such vividness. I feel so sad for that young girl. I know my emotional state was still in a fragile place at that time and I am shocked I overcame this without intense bitterness. Recalling my mother being there for me with such quiet warmth, and me allowing it – it bridged this temporary truce between the constant fighting relationship that we always seemed to be enduring during that time frame.

I’ll give him this much, he tried to woe me back. He called back after I hung up on him but I wouldn’t take his call. When I finally was willing to speak to him, he apologized sincerely. At least I recall it as being sincere. He swore nothing happened and that nothing like this would ever happen again. He asked to see me, and I hesitated, only to give in and meet up.  I met up with him – once. I don’t recall the meeting in detail, except that I knew something had changed. I saw him differently. It was like his outer shell was made of beautiful carved ice, and he was melting right there in front of me. My fickle heart which had beat so strongly for him just weeks prior was questioning the thump-ity thump it usually felt. Ultimately – No. No this wasn’t going to work for me. My trust had been breached and even with all that emotional immaturity coursing through my veins, I knew I deserved better. I looked at him and realized that all those feelings, were dissipating at a rapid pace, and I didn’t trust him. This wasn’t fixable. His beauty, his sweet way with me, the way my heart would flutter and literally smile when I was around him, it didn’t diminish the fact that he was capable of wielding great pain to me so easily.

As for the friend? They always blame the messenger in these scenario’s. The innocent bystander who simply does the right thing by delivering the horrible news. We lash out at them, because we need to hurt someone, anyone. The child in us sees that if the one delivering the bad news hadn’t done this, we wouldn’t be feeling the pain we are.

Only I didn’t initially do that. After all she was the one who saved me from additional humiliation and pain and further betrayal. She was my friend.

But my mother, was a little wiser. When things calmed down the day of the phone call, she started to question how I got my information. I was feeling numb and a little bit destroyed, and told her which friend it had come from, and how if anyone would know it would be her. My mother had already distinguished that this friend of mine was a ball of toxicity years prior, and she prodded a little more. You know how mother’s just know this? I knew the good friends from the bad ones with my own kids, even when they couldn’t see it. But how did she know when he was with her, my mother asked. Specifically. I didn’t get where the question was going.

I learned a lot of good and a small part of bad about friendships through my mother. I think the loyalty that runs so strong in me, came from her. Girl code, weirdly came from her. High expectations also come from her, along with the slightly bad “Off with their heads!” mentality. She rarely forgave a friend who did her wrong, and it could be part of the reason she didn’t have a lot of female friends. I’m not sure. In this situation she smelled a rat in this little mouse of a friend. But she was smart. She planted the seed of doubt in my head and let it run loose.

After a bit, like 99% of every female who has been cheated on, I had to know the details. I think we need to punish ourselves in some sort of cathartic way, with this blade of truth that will slice up and down our emotional bodies. I think that’s why I saw him that last time. I had to know what happened. Maybe it was his hope that by being truthful, I would forgive him – but he told me everything. How my best friend had introduced them and how he swore nothing physical happened between them and  — wait, what?

My best friend introduced them. A week prior.

Yup. The little mouse, truly was a little rat. She introduced them, knowing he had a girlfriend, and the introduction was with motive. The fact that she and I were supposed to be best friends was a moot point. She knew they were together that Saturday, because she had helped orchestrate the date. Did it absolve him of blame? Absolutely not. He knew that and I did.

There were rumors and theories on why such a good friend would do this. Jealousy. It’s the go-to of every teenage girl’s excuse for a wrong doing. Dave and I really did have a sweet relationship, and I really was happy with him. She had one of those a-typical little drama filled relationships that was break-up every other day. Plus her Dave wasn’t nearly the eye-candy my Dave was. Was she bringing me down a notch or two? Showing me how she could wield her power? Was there truth behind the theories of this messed up jealous kid? Who knows. Kids, teens specifically are a messed up lot in general, and they do things sometimes with malice and motive and sometimes because they are just a messed up lot. This little chick-a-dee of a friend was already seriously screwed up emotionally before this all happened. My mom wasn’t stupid either. She knew something was up with that phone call, and probably figured while I was chasing the rat with a torch, why not take down the whole nasty barn?

I look back on 15-year old me at this time, and I’m thankful my mom was there for me. I also think “You go girl!” in how I handled things. I didn’t permit this behavior in my life. I didn’t start my relationship path with men who were full of second chances, although I suspect that wasn’t so much a sense of woman empowerment as it was the fact that my eye wandered a lot. Maybe I already had someone else in mind as soon as my heart slowed down. Regardless,  I didn’t let it make me bitter, although I can’t say that it didn’t make me a little wary at times.  I don’t look back on this guy Dave; who strangely enough I never saw again after our last meet-up — and think horrible thoughts.

I know my path wasn’t much different than most girls my age. Or guys. Like I said teens can be a rotten lot, as a skin bag of raging hormones taking them from point a. to point b.  – But then sometimes they are lucky enough to get those hormones on path, and truly fall in love. And what is sweeter than first love?

I’ll save that for next time.

Fake Knews

Dewey

Let me preface this with the fact that if you’re a Trump fan or supporter you might want to skip this blog. Oh don’t worry, I’m sticking with my anti-rhetoric stance on his politics for the most part. Or on most all politics in general. But I might be writing about his fans a little bit, which is more of a social commentary than a political one.

I’ve surprised myself in sticking to my guns regarding politics. I’ve even patted myself on the back for breaking up two political conversations recently for being the wrong topic at the wrong time. I mean here I had my chance to jump into a pool I neither dug, nor filled, and instead I blew the political whistle I wear around my neck and screamed, “Everyone out of the damn pool!”.

I felt so damn adult. And badass.

I deleted about a year’s worth of missives, meme’s, opinions and articles that were political in nature from my FB. I don’t get kudo’s for being PC in doing that. It’s mostly because I don’t want them coming up a year or two or three, from now, reminding me – poking the political bear and possibly waking her. It’s also partially because I realized if I died tomorrow and someone came across my page unlocked and wanted to get an idea of who I was, I didn’t want to be painted in remembrance as this very angry woman.

No, I don’t plan on dying tomorrow, and for the most part, if I am dead I wouldn’t care what a stranger thought of me. Hell living, I don’t really care what a stranger would think of me. But my page, was angry. *I* was angry. Am I still? No, I think I’m a bit more resigned to it. All that emotion; bitterness, anger, intolerance, puzzlement — it wasn’t feeding my soul what I needed on a daily basis. So I erased and adopted a more laid back style. I infused a little more humor, and brought back the parts of me that *I* enjoy. Painted a new picture so to speak.

Fake it til you make it someone once told me.

In doing these things, I’m sleeping better at night. I’m not pissing people off. Even better, people aren’t pissing me off. I read the big news, more so to get my fill of what’s happening. That will never change. I bypass 99% of the information that I would have normally read two months ago; the stuff that fed the political vampire (it shares sleeping space with the political bear and lives somewhere inside of me too, but it’s very unhealthy because it would just as soon live off of political arguments, and articles and lots of cigarettes and coffee).

I’ve rethought my news media sources as well.

Along with Fox News, I’ve pretty much banished the Washington Post. It was hard, because for a while there I felt that me and TWP were tight buds, but as my emotions were spiraling out of control towards the latter part of this first quarter, I realized that the Post was sort of feeding into my anxieties with absolutely no benefits. It was that friend who reminds you all the time what an asshole your ex was. You get it, You don’t need the reminder fifteen times a day. Although I tell ya, their news team can write one hell of a grabber headline. I actually laughed the other day to read the spin between what TWP and Fox were both trying to say. I ended up reading the same article written by a tad bit more of a middle ground and wasn’t grinding my teeth when it was said and done.

I still scan headlines, and once in a blue moon, like the sometimes cheating diabetic I can be – I’ll click on a story I shouldn’t. It’s so hard otherwise; their headlines play upon my fasting brain, in the same manner the smell of pizza plays upon my nostrils and saliva ducts. I know how bad it is for me, but until I see the bad effects once or twice I convince myself I can handle it.

The closest I came in screwing things up, was on my recent vacation when I almost asked a new friend about her political stance. She and I got along really, really well, and the old me was clamoring to know this information. Cement things in a new friendship? Destroy things in a new friendship? I think I just wanted a political fix. But I realized, I like this new friend. She is someone I could see remaining friends with beyond this vacation. Do I really want to open up that box that would immediately paint her, hell paint me for that matter, if she told me she was a full blown supporter of him? And I realized it didn’t matter. I actually didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to give myself that moment to judge (or be judged).

That’s freaking growth people!!!!! I’m telling you where are the Brownie points when you deserve them?

Plus to be honest. I was terrified she might be. And I really, really didn’t want to know. I didn’t trust myself enough to not allow some form of snark to slip through. I didn’t trust myself enough to stop a super fast spoken agenda to be thrust upon her, before I could apologize for getting too political. “Howcanyousupportamanwho (fill in the blank)” I didn’t trust that I wouldn’t give this fledging new friendship the chance it deserved based on merits of every other aspect of personality. After all, I have friends I still like, who didn’t vote like me. Lots of them. For that matter I have family who didn’t vote like me. And a lot of them didn’t vote like me before, and a lot of them won’t vote like me in the future. So what was my point in finding out if she preferred red or blue hats? Plus, I sort of suspected on this vacation I was in shark territory as it was. Well I say shark territory, but in all fairness I understand that the other side views my kind, (you know the humankind ..BA DUM BUM! Oh shit, did I let my outside voice say that?) with as much —– here is my chance to be thoughtful — views my kind, as misunderstood, as I view them. Now I made my little joke, but more so because the wording was so set up for it. I am not using this as my moment to demean, or insult those who don’t agree with me politically. I wouldn’t take that moment. I don’t consider myself that intolerant. I used the word misunderstood with purpose, because for the life of me, I cannot understand a lot of their stances and they cannot understand mine.

More specifically though, the ones that baffle the living shit out of me, are those who believe words like “Fake News” to be anything other than “News we don’t like”.

I get it when we can all agree that the media blitz is a complete shit show. So many factions running to be the first to release a story without checking the facts. Running horrible news for 24 hours, until our emotions are a limp as a wet paper bag. I think most everyone can agree there. But to claim real media – real reporting is fake news because we don’t like the facts dredged up? Can they be biased? I don’t know let’s check with Fox News. Hell yes, they can be biased. They always have been. For as long as I can recall, newspapers actually endorse candidates. Do I think it’s right? No, report the news, good or bad and stop picking a team. Because all this Fake News bullshit is being said loud enough and often enough some people are starting to buy into it.  It’s catching like this horrible virus; like a virus that convinces us reality TV is real, and real reporting is fake.

I feel like a part of the nation, is playing a really bad game of hide and seek with the President and the Press. The Press is saying, “He hides horribly and is awful at this game.” He in turn responds, “I do not, you’re all liars. You’re fake news! I hide wonderfully, ask my supporters”. Then he hides behind the curtains with his black shoes clearly in view and half of America, (and Kanye) says, “Wheeeeere’s Donny? I can’t find him, where could he be? He such a good hider!”, while they wink at one another. Donny is behind the curtain snickering, and clearly believing he is Master of Hide & Seek.  In the meantime the press is screaming, “He’s right there you blind idiots, you can’t miss him!” – Half of America is mad because the press called him out. Donny is mad because the press called him out. So to make this better, this same half closes their eyes and pretends the press is one huge lump of poop. Except Fox and Friends. They never lie, and they’re the best.

And Fake News is born.

I was recently told by a mid-western friend that I don’t get how much support he has. That outside the west and east coasts the inner America really loves him. That would make some sense in the fact that I’ve had to hide nearly every friend I had in Missouri. (To explain that, I used to think Missouri was smack dead center in the middle of America, but truth be told I haven’t found a Missourian who didn’t vote for him, so I’m kind of right)  When she said this it almost looked like her eyes were burning red embers and that her grin stretched from ear to ear in a very wicked manner, or it could be the copious amounts of vodka I drank. “Fake News!” I wanted to scream at her, my eyes bleary and welled up with tears while a trickle of snot ran down my nose.

Instead I took a deep breath and told her I didn’t get it. Truth be told, my eyes did well up a bit. And my voice cracked, while a tear or two tricked down. (For the record there was no snot) The idea of more animals being taken off of endangered species lists so that people could hunt them, along with the protected lands being opened up for drilling or commercial projects, saddened me beyond belief. As did our education and veterans systems being run into the ground by lobbyists or people who donated just the right amount to get the job. But explaining this wasn’t going to get through to her. We didn’t speak the same language. I knew that much. I speak Snowflake, or so I’ve been accused of.

Instead I did that — thing —- I’ve been talking about. Where I respect her opinion, and am polite and stuff. It hurt. It felt like it did when my cousin told me Santa wasn’t real. I wanted to be angry, but she, both my cousin and my friend, were simply telling me the same truth. I couldn’t call Fake News, like one calls Time Out! I swallowed hard. I teared up a bit at the sadness of it all, (and the copious amounts of vodka, let’s not forget that) and understood, it is what it is.

Life may remain the way it is for the next few years. Maybe it won’t. Politicians come and they go. Americans I hope, find a way to bridge this gap that grows. That someone — middle ground or otherwise figures out a way to knit things back together.

I’d better wrap this up because political bear is opening one drowsy eye, and sniffing the air as the aroma of politics tickles her nostrils. I hope this post didn’t insult anyone. Especially anyone from Missouri. I really am trying, and like many of my posts, tongue-in-cheek people, tongue-in-cheek. Don’t take it too serious.

And remember I think I’m pretty damn funny. Sometimes I just need to let the beast in me write it all out.

I Am a Freaking Good Friend

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I’ve been volleying this issue I had over a recently ended friendship. I call it an issue, because for most people the friendship ends, they move on, and that is life. Chapter closed. I’d like for it to be that way, but as I mentioned in my last blog, I dream the hell out of things, and this particular issue decided to visit me in my mind last night (along with a weird foot cramp, but I digress) in the form of a horrible haunting nightmare.

The details of the nightmare are a moot point, but the fact that this is still somehow an issue for me troubles me. “Why?”, my Therapist Mind asks me. “Why do you place so much importance on this?”. I had to think for a moment on this one, but with defining amount of clarity it came through:  “Because I am a damn good friend, and I don’t hand out friendship cards willy-nilly”, I retort. You may not realize this, but it’s a privilege to be my friend. I know,—  it sounds self-centered as all get-up to state it, but in falling in love with myself, I realize it’s a quality about me I’m very proud of.

I am a freaking good friend. And if I were selling myself to the public on this (which apparently I am doing now) this would be my list of attributes.

  • I’m funny.
  • I’m smart.
  • I’m always there to listen to you and usually make you laugh.
  • I will defend you to the end of the world and back again.
  • I am so fiercely loyal, it can be and has been detrimental to myself*.
  • I’ve got a great ear for music.
  • I give damn good advice.
  • I’m a great hostess, and love having you over my house.
  • I can put a Halloween costume together faster than MacGyver.
  • I’ll never post a bad selfie of you, just because it looks good of me. And if I do, it’s because I honestly thought you looked cute too, but I’ll immediately take it down if it bothers you that much.
  • I take pretty good pics of my friends, which means most of the selfies don’t fall into the above mentioned category.
  • I can usually pace myself drinking with you, which means you can occasionally let loose and not have to worry about the both of us being so trashed we get into trouble.
  • On the flip side of that, If you want to get in trouble, I am a great amigo to go along with your crazy shenanigans.
  • I’ll never throw you over for a guy.
  • I’ve got great taste in shoes and clothes, and will always lend you whatever you need. Unless you’re really skinny with a narrow foot, and in that case, chances are we’re probably not that good of friends anyway. (It’s not a preference, just an observation)

The downsides are – well they are downsides for God’s sake. They call them that, because they aren’t the good sides of life, or people.

  • I’m possessive. (see below – this was just added)
  • I’m hypersensitive and get my feelings hurt quite easily.
  • I’m cranky when I’m hungry or tired.
  • I’m a tad controlling. I think when I was little, they called that bossy.
  • I like to play my music, because well let’s face it; I have a pretty good selection of music. And that controlling thing.
  • Have I mentioned how sensitive I am?
  • I prefer us playing at my house, versus yours usually.
  • Have I mentioned I am a tad controlling?
  • I’m terrible at buying the perfect card for your special event. Birthdays, Sympathies, Anniversaries. They all seem to be the wrong card.
  • I tend to speak my mind without always thinking things through, and things can get lost in translation, causing your feelings to get hurt, which makes me feel horrible and I will overcompensate with too many apologies.
  • I mull things over – TO DEATH.
  • I’m stubborn as a mule when my feelings are hurt.

I think I’ve written on the subject of friendship more than anything else on this blog.  That’s how important I take my friendships. For as long as I can recall I’ve taken a lot of my friendships – well I assume, — I take them a lot more serious than most. Not in a crazy way, just in a more … committed manner.

On the outside at the start of our friendship, I am the cool cucumber, chilling about the possibility of us being friends. But if you fit my friendship criteria, inwardly my emotions are closer to a Midwest housewife who just hit her first big jackpot playing slots. I amistock_000057960836_medium-945x630 all over the place with giddiness.  For as much as I grew later to love being in-love, it started with me love finding that friend. The one you just click with perfectly. If we ever drink together and you’re the kind of friend I just described? I’ll let you know. Trust me. 😉

 

The problem when I was little was, it was like I was entering this super serious relationships after two dates. Emotionally I didn’t really know how to have that chill factor. I didn’t get big groups of friends, which could be pretty suffocating for a six year old. And for a 12 year old. And a 53 year old. I prefer smaller groups of people. I just get lost in the mix of those huge girl gangs.

But smaller also means more intimate, emotionally of course and for those who have the penchant for widespread friends it could be overwhelming I imagine.

A typical scene at 6 could have played out like this:

Her: “Hey man, this is great and all, but I really just wanted someone to play hopscotch with a few days a week during recess. Maybe get a juice box with during snack. This is getting really intense. Like, your freaking out about me playing Barbie’s with Millie after school was completely off the charts. I’m thinking that maybe we need to take a few steps back on this friendship….”

Me: Silent, with the big brown melting eyes, slowly filling up with hot salty liquid, palming the anniversary gift of our two week friend-aversary behind my back, not understanding what just happened. Again.

OK, so the dramatic license was used in that scene a teensy bit, but realistically that’s how it felt to me at six-years old. I was possessive (let me add that to my list of Cons. There, done.) and while I never had a friend ditch me with a “can’t we just be (less than) friends” speech, it felt like that to my dramatic little self.

Over time, and I’ll be honest here it took quite some time – I learned that while I was what I perceived as a great friend to have, I also had a very high level of expectation for my own friends. So inevitably, I’d get angry, take my proverbial and sometimes literal ball, and go home. Later I would calm down, and wonder why when I had cooled off, you, the friend had already moved on.

You were supposed to be pining for our friendship! Thinking about what you did wrong! – Why are you playing with her now?! I didn’t want this friendship anyway!”

While that didn’t exactly happen, in examining my early friendships I did have a couple of situations that were similar to this. One was a friend in fifth grade, and if there was ever a heartbreak over a friendship, that one was it. I honestly don’t recall what happened with us, but something in the back of my brain tickles with a scenario that fits the above mentioned. I also had a couple of those After School Special saga’s where you go away for the summer and you come home to find the best friend has moved on without you. Not literally moved, just decided to be best friends with someone else. While I can joke about it here, tongue-in-cheek, I do think it made me a lot more weary of friends.

I imagine with my being so very single now, I am back at that place, where I rest a lot of importance on friendships once again. In my previous relationships, my SO is generally speaking my best friend, so it takes up a big space, and probably a little of heat off the current stable of friends. It would make sense that if these (as I spread hands out in a very Jesus-like manner to all you friends) are my world, then losing one of them would be like losing a little part of me.

Take that, Therapist Mind.

This also doesn’t mean that I don’t have those friendships that are a little less serious. While I’m still not good with the gaggle of tight friendships, I am getting quite adept at following my chill factor and having these non-possessive friendships. I like to call them my Friendship-Light. They taste great, but they are definitely less filling.

In closing, this afternoon I was telling my youngest the story of the nightmare, and she asked why I thought I might be harboring these feelings. As we bantered back and forth on the subject she mentioned that her cold heart said good riddance to the situation. Her stating she had a cold heart was what caught my attention, and I asked in seriousness where it could come from. She’s the warmest person I know.

She answered me back with:

It’s because I’m the most fiercely loyal person in the world. So if anyone even remotely hurts your feelings, my gigantic heart wraps its arms around you in protection and then gut-kicks anyone in your direction.

*Kick* BACK OFF, DIS MAH MOMMA, BACK UP *Kick* EVERYONE BACK UP *Kick* *Kick* *Kick*

And I realized, OMG, it’s genetic.

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*For the record: I’ve gotten myself into a lot of situations defending friends from assholes. They didn’t necessarily ask me to defend them, but I think I suffer from White-Knight-Syndrome, and feel like I have to come to the rescue of anyone who does someone I care about wrong. Some of the time this can be done rationally. But more often than not, it plays itself out like a really bad, really predictable sitcom. I have control over the volley of insults being lobbed, being cheered on (sometimes just in my head) and feeling great about putting someone in their place, until ultimately I get too cocky or sloppy or maybe things were just misunderstood, and in slow motion you can see the “Oooooooooooohhhh nnnnoooooooo!” moment as it happens and I trip up, usually making the situation worse. By now all cockiness is gone, and I am babbling an apology, or just trying to retreat and it’s all like melted ice cream with me sliding all over the place, while everyone rolls their eyes in slow motion, and trying to look away from the verbal carnage.

 

The Head versus The Heart

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I’ve been going through a very heavy dream cycle lately. I think it’s genetic; those of us who are vivid heavy dreamers and those of us who aren’t. For some odd reason a lot of the women in our family inherited this quality, while the men – they dream, but no more or less than the average person.

While I’m never quite sure what spurs these phases on, I cannot deny that they are a combination of entertaining, insightful, exhausting and most of all introspective. Sometimes the emotions are so strong in the dreams, I carry them with me for a good portion of the day. Sometimes I wake in a puddle of tears, and sometimes I want to murmur No, No, No, because I wasn’t finished in what adventure my brain took me on. I try to fall back into it, but at best you fall into an alternative form of it, that never has the same scope of emotion the original did.

Lately I’ve been having my own spell of Ghosts from Relationships Past sort of trail through my dreams. Of course being a recovering serial monogamist in the past, this can be quite a show, full of a HUGE array of characters.

Ok, that sounds like slut-shaming. Let’s say a delightful handful of charismatic men. 😉

This morning I didn’t recall the last bit of dreaming as much as I recalled the feeling. I think I miss that the most about being single. The combined feeling of giddiness mixed with hope. It’s like that perfect moment after the first or second cocktail hits. You’ve reached the stage where the world has this giggling perfect glow, an almost invisible haze that envelopes you with laughter and happiness. It’s addicting and we sometimes do what we feel is necessary to keep that feeling going, even at the expense of our emotional health down the road.

It’s also a great feeling to wake up to, but almost intermingled with sadness because while I am never in danger of heartbreak, I am also never going to feel that high while I remain single.

I got into the shower this morning feeling a sort of thoughtful melancholy, and because of the dreams, immediately thought of the three big relationships that seemed to have the happiest (and most hurtful) impact on me. I wondered where things really went wrong, and noticed that in each of these relationships at one point or another I let The Heart take over the wheel and guide things, while I kept The Head – held hostage somewhere. Tied up and gagged. I completely drowned out the warnings and cries with the loud thumping music only The Heart knows how to play.

Sometimes the strongest of us, the ones with the most inherent common sense can meet a person – or three, (who are we to judge, am I right?) who are absolute Kryptonite to The Head. They leave us breathless and unable to make the rational decisions that we might make in other situations.

In the first situation, I caught him cheating. Not literally, walk in the door catch. I’ve been lucky enough to never had that happen, and I can’t say for certain how I would react. No, in this situation I happened to be at his house solo, when his phone rang and the answering machine went off with volume turned to full level. After the beep, a sweet message of thanks for the wonderful weekend poured through, and my heart stopped, while my head pounded. I think at this point I actually felt a piece of my heart break off. He lied when confronted (I didn’t initially tell him how I knew) and then – well to be honest it happened so long ago, I don’t recall the exact words he used to weasel his way out of things except to say on my part I hated that this happened, and I didn’t want things to end, so I accepted whatever means of explanation he was willing to offer.

That’s the key right there. When we don’t want it to end, so we take whatever flimsy excuse is offered, in the hopes this was a one-time hit and run.

In the second situation I was truly crazy about this guy and had every reason to feel the same in return, but he battled a lot of demons; an ex he could never get over, manic displays of emotions – super high one day, and depressingly low the next. One day during a conversation he told me simply and frankly: I wasn’t the one. When someone you feel is the one, tells you that you are not the one, why would you stick around?

I don’t know, but I did, Things were never the same. Ever. I enjoyed him, but I have to wonder if I truly liked him. I apparently didn’t respect me, and with all that in common, I couldn’t possibly show this relationship the respect I normally would. Eventually he was replaced and I moved on.

I asked myself; what would I have told my daughters to do if they presented me with the HUGE warning signs that two of these men did? Besides the obvious “run for the hills!”?

I would have told them they needed to show themselves more R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Aretha said it best, when she said, find out what it means to me. More care.  Definitely more LOVE. I would have told them that they needed to throw as much into themselves as they were throwing into these men.

I’d explain to them that I understood it was not easy. It’s never easy when you’re taken off the field in mid-play. When you’re having the time of your life, and things come to a jarring, screeching, halt and you theoretically have two options; brush yourself off, and head home. Care for your wounds until you heal, and most of all remove the bad. Don’t take the excuses, because in these cases – if they can’t be adults who care for you now, how are things going to be down the line when the shiny newness wears off?

Or – you stick it out. You swallow every ounce of self-respect, pretend things are the way they were. Pretend this was just a mistake, not an assessment of his character and that it will never happen again – or maybe like in my second scenario, pretend it never happened at all. And live the lie happily ever after. Ever after being until it happens again (because it will) or you finally have the strength to move forward.

Speaking for myself, when these warning bells went off, my heart immediately took over and made excuses because I didn’t want things to end.  My heart was the kid at the amusement park that didn’t want to go home, while my head said this isn’t healthy to only eat cotton candy and go on spinning rides until you’re about to puke. Repeatedly. I think maturity follows the advice of The Head, and immaturity is The Heart that stays at the amusement park past closing.

My oldest daughter was involved in a very unhealthy relationship for a number of years and I could only watch as she mimicked the words I wanted to hear, but how she always headed back. My heart broke countless times, because I wanted so desperately for her to be happy, but I knew this was her journey. She had to decide when enough was enough. Fortunately one day she did.

By the time my third mistake came along, I really really thought I had my emotional shit together. I had previously cut clean and swift a relationship that showed the signs of cheating. No ifs, ands or buts, just a quick clean slice. It hurt, but it really showed growth on my part. Quite often we think we are the badasses of emotion. With our friends we might state, “I’d never put up with any of that shit. I’d be gone so fast it would make your head spin!”, and truthfully I think we all believe it as we say it. But it’s one thing to imagine what you might do when no emotions are involved, and another to act on them when the emotions are in full swing. We cannot always predict what the heart will do.

In the third relationship I had so many warning signs, it was tantamount to walking into nuclear plant. Very early on, there were suspicions he might have cheated on me, possibly even with a friend. Then later there was clear evidence he definitely considered cheating on me. Then – he cheated on me. SURPRISE!  Bite me once, shame on you. Bite me 25 times, shame, shame, SHAME on me. Each time I believed his excuses with my heart because I wanted to. Damn I wanted to so badly. He was the proverbial nice guy, and I enjoyed him so damn much. Add onto that everyone loved him.

Right before I took him back after the cheating scandal – I had this moment of clarity. All of this information came flooding into me, and I knew If you take him back, you will never ever be able to trust him again. I knew how important trust was. I knew I couldn’t be that girlfriend who had to check up on him (I became her), I knew I couldn’t be that girlfriend who second guessed him (I did), and I knew that I couldn’t be that girlfriend who damned her own respect, ignored her own head, to follow her heart. That last one was an obvious, I did.

I was close with this one. My growth was there. It was this little sprout, that I had watered with love and self-assurance and this was my chance to do the right thing by me. But the timing was off. There was a wedding, there would be questions, and damnit — my Heart reminded me how much I loved him. He promised it wouldn’t happen again, and I wanted to believe it enough to put more years into things. Guess what? I suspect he did do it to me again (I can’t say with absolutel truth, but there was enough evidence to support it could have happened a couple more times), but by the time I figured it out, I wasn’t emotionally invested in things like I had been. I hate to say it, but outside of my ego, I don’t think I really gave a damn. Today – he is someone else’s problem.

Weirdly enough, I am not bitter about these three men. While I don’t shoulder the blame for their actions, I was the one who stuck around after the game should have been called. FOUL tweeted the ref, and that was my cue to go.  I was the one who didn’t have the resolve to say, “Hey it’s been great, but I need to leave before this gets uglier or more complicated than it currently is” – that statement for the record should have gone to my Heart, not to the men in question.

Later down the road I was able to see how unhealthy these three relationships were, waaaaaay before the big bang hit. Emotional manipulation was a big thing, by all three of them. But you know what? They were a helluva lot of fun, and I wouldn’t have not entered these relationships if given another chance. I would just have hoped that when the landmine went off, I had the emotional intelligence to get out.

I wrote a couple of years ago this semi tongue-in-cheek blog about how I was going to get involved in this relationship with myself. Date myself. Travel with myself. Hang out, and do the things I wanted to do, even if that meant being a motionless slug on a Sunday. It’s been a slow relationship between me and myself, but I think it’s been a lot more honest than anything I’ve ever had. I don’t get those butterfly highs except in my dreams. I don’t get those heartbreaking tears, except on occasion in my nightmares. But I’ve travelled and had more experiences in life than with any other relationship. I’ve forged new friendships, and strengthened old ones. I’ve ended bad ones. I’m protective of my heart, without boxing it up in an impenetrable box.

It’s very easy to be the Monday morning quarterback and sit on the sidelines stating what you would have done. It’s another to actually get out there and play in the game. I hope that if the day ever comes that I am ready to re-enter the relationship arena, I will truly have learned that my Head deserves as much respect and love as my Heart.

Until then, I’ll float off in my Melatonin laced dreamland and see what adventures my very weird-ass subconscious has created for me this time.

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Traveling and the Diabetic Girl

So anyone who has been reading this blog for a bit, understands that the new(ish) Type II diagnosis slammed on me the latter part of last year had really thrown me for a loop.

Like most things that I throw myself into, I threw myself into this diagnosis with the initial intensity to do it right. Not a little right, a LOT right. It reminded me of when I first got involved in Job’s Daughters (a Masonic sponsored organization for tween-teen girls) as a 12-year old and we were taught to walk these soldier’s corners. One would have thought I was young Rolfe joining the Nazi Youth Movement in the Sound of Music. I took that shit seriously, and you could have sliced bread on the sharpness of those corners I turned. I absolutely beamed when I was told more than once how sharp and well my corners were taken. Of course after a while that grew stale, and while I still did a good corner, I didn’t quite take it that serious.

Story of my life. I want to do it right and I will do it right, and then I will get bored doing it right and start to do it my way. Not that my way is wrong, it just doesn’t have the ferocity of rightness that RIGHT does to me initially.

Of course once my fears of death, and dismemberment subsided about Diabetes, my rigor about the disease relaxed a little bit too. I now entered what I liked to think of as my Bambi Legs phase, where I used good judgement (most of time) along with testing and tweaked the areas that I had hoped for (wrong, you cannot have real pizza or any kind of breakfast cereal) and adopted the behaviors that were foreign to me (veggies daily? WTF!). I’m not a great candidate for how I treat my diabetes (I really could use to exercise more), but I do take it pretty seriously and about 98.9% of the time make correct food choices.

All of this is of course in a controlled environment. I shop for my food, I rarely eat out, and I’m a creature of habit. I can literally take the same shopping list to the store weekly and just re-load. Dannon’s Light & Fit Yogurt, Dave’s Killer Bread, Fresh Turkey, Green Giant Steamer Veggies … I mean I throw a little bit of variety in there, but for the most part, it’s something the blind could handle. On those occasions I do eat out, I’ve learned to ask what substitutes they have for their carb laden sides (most places will gladly sub you out something healthier) and to stick with items I’m pretty certain I can figure the carb count on. Always bypass dessert, and drink plenty of water.

Easy peasy, nice and sleazy.

But what about those learned tactics in a not-so-controlled environment? Like travel. Like vacation travel. Think you can do that? Now let’s up the ante here, and place you on a cruise ship no less.

For those of you who travel by cruise, you can see where this is going. For those of you who don’t or haven’t yet – one of the first things the cruise ship will attempt to sell once you board, you is a fruity, sweet, slushy, alcoholic libation. The second thing they’ll do is guide you over to their carbohydrate enriched bounty of a buffet. Rinse, lather, repeat on these actions for seven days and see where your glucose readings might be.umbrella-drink-770

This is probably about my 8th cruise, but the first as a diabetic. I was spending pre-cruise time in Puerto Rico, which let me tell you isn’t exactly the easiest of places to begin this kind of journey.

I was smart this time traveling. Having flown to San Juan a year ago, and nearly starving to death because neither of my flights were equipped for a meal, I packed a few protein and TSA friendly snacks with me this time. Fortunately I did a red-eye on these flights, so a good portion of my time flying was spent sleeping. I am still really fearful of glucose drops, having had one or two that really smacked me proverbially on the back of the head – so along with the glucose tablets, I try and always carry a small protein bar, or bag of nuts with me.

I’m also pretty careful about what alcohol I drink. Or at least I try. I stay away from the obvious sugary stuff – as well as those that can turn sugary like rums. I try and drink wheat based vodkas over potato ones when I can. Beers are a luxury for me, and three are my limit, except when they aren’t. Which actually only happened in San Juan ironically – but in my defense, they were the local beer and LIGHT at that. Medalla. medallaSo freaking yummy. Also going grocery shopping and staying holed up in the condo for a day or two made food choices easier too. So I guess technically PR wasn’t a good example of hard choices.

But soon after that – damn, that was hard. The worst part is you’re given a drink package when you buy onto the cruise. It’s like free alcohol. Wait, it’s not like free alcohol, it IS free alcohol.

As I said above, no sooner are you aboard the ship, then someone is coming by with pre-made cocktails with names like Bushwhackers, Bahama Mama’s and Dirty Monkeys. Chocolate, coconut, strawberry, and banana flavors are swirling around like an adult version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Juices like Pineapple, Orange, and Cranberry, laden with natural sugars are begging to be added to your adult beverages. And I wanted them. All of them. I wanted the creamy cold sweetness, but I stuck to my guns.

I first tried a light beer. Amstel I think. It was doable. Barely. I mean I couldn’t have done a week’s worth. Even pre-diabetic, I couldn’t do a week’s worth of just beer. So I went with old faithful, Grey Goose and Tonic. Now I knew they wouldn’t have diet tonic, which is what I usually (read: now) drink. I just figured I’d go easy on the drinks in general. Or switch to vodka on the rocks when needed. Ironic, how I put my liver through the pain, to save my pancreas, when in reality this will affect both either way.

Eh, I digress.

One day – maybe the second or third day in, the waiter or bartender got my order wrong and brought me back a fizzy GG, but not with that sweetness that the tonic offers. I was about to send it back when I asked him what it was, and he said quizzically (because recall, he thought this was what I ordered), “Grey Goose & Soda…”. And the lightbulb went off. Soda water is just fizzy water, and no sugar! That became my drink of the week. One would think it’s kind of weird to order Grey Goose and Soda at 11 AM, but it’s no weirder than a Bloody Mary. I’m just switching out the tomato juice for the soda water.

There were those occasions where I would have champagne (I really wanted a mimosa, especially the way my friend Donna was drinking them; with pineapple juice) and a couple of evenings I really pushed the envelope and had a chocolate martini. No excuses there. I’m not going to pretend it was diet chocolate. It probably had more sugar in one drink than I am supposed to have in a day, but sue me. I didn’t say I was doing this perfectly.

Which leads me to food choices. Breakfast has been a challenge for me in general. I’m not a wake-up-and-eat kinda gal, but I’m required to get something in me within a couple of hours (max) of being up. I can’t run into the buffet and grab a pastry and a coffee and call it a meal any longer. Noooo, I have to balance things and trust me, while they have a tremendous amount of options, carb-free isn’t a huge one. The mornings I had time (no excursions) I would give the omelette bar a try. Otherwise I’d stick with eggs, bacon and cottage cheese. Maybe a slice of bread or a half of a hash brown. That’s the only time I would do the buffet. The other times were too trying. I found the grill around the corner to be a fast and easy option. See, even on a cruise ship I can create the habits of food gathering that I do at home. Those afternoons I knew I wouldn’t last til 8:45 for dinner? Burger, no fries. Well once I had a sausage, no fries. I’m not that rigid.

Dining options were pretty easy. I mean I knew when I was doing a little bit of a blow-it. But as much as I wanted to order spaghetti, I didn’t. I mostly stuck with a lot of appetizers and a part of dinner. I think the worst thing I ate was one night a few forkfuls of gnoochi. I didn’t even want to look up what the carb count in that could have been. I LOVED the fact the menu offered sugar free dessert options every night, and I made sure to order one each time. Only once was I disappointed.

The ports were more challenging, but fortunately I wasn’t there for the food. The one planned excursion, the one in Antigua had the all-too-famous Excursion punch. Some call it Pirate Punch. Some call it Rum Punch. They are all the same. Fruit juice and cheap ass rum. Even when sugar wasn’t an obstacle I didn’t like those. Now it was more important than ever that I not be juiced up on cheap rum. So when I went to buy my beers and they offered me my two free shots of rum, I declined. They gave me a free beer instead. The ladies ladling out the food at lunch thought I was crazy when I had to pass up the pineapple rice they were serving, and I told them as much as I wanted it, could I have a little bit of extra salad instead?

Who the f*ck is this girl? Passing up pineapple rice for SALAD?

By the last day, my taste buds were up in arms over the frozen drinks. My brain had convinced my taste buds that they were being totally shafted in the deliciousness department. I was mentally up in arms over how my two second drink had to wait in line behind the colorful array of creamy concoctions to be made. I did a bar run more than once, and everyone was having one. My FOMO was kicking it up into high gear. I had to have one. So I asked a friend who was a nurse what she thought, and as anyone with sense she said one wasn’t going to hurt me.

I felt like Charlie Bucket with his new found dollar bill, his mouth watering at the candy counter, trying to decide what to have. Bushwhacker? Painkiller? Miami Vice? The options were killing me. I scanned the crowd around the bar, trying to get a feel for what appeared to be the most enjoyable. Soon it was my turn, the bartender came up and asked me what I wanted, and I blurted out, “I’ll have a Grey Goose and Soda, please.”

Some might think FAIL – but honestly at that moment I think more than a sweet concoction I wanted the freedom to make the choice. I wanted for someone to say, “Hey it’s okay for you to plan a slip here and there if you’re making healthy choices the rest of the time”, and I got that. The drink? It was just the reward I didn’t need.

Plus I made up for it. All those cheeseburgers, sans fries? I threw caution to the wind that afternoon and had FOUR fries with my burger that afternoon. Four of the hottest, tastiest, saltiest, crunchiest deep fried goodness I had eaten in more than six months — I mean I can’t even tell you how happy those four fries made me. Intensely more than anything a Painkiller would have.

HA! Don’t tell me as a Diabetic I don’t know how to live on the edge.

balancing on the edge

Boys-4 / Girls-5

Jackie-Mitchell-631

The few times I have written about my father, I don’t do it in any sort of positive light. I don’t hold an ounce of respect for him, neither as a man, a father, or even a memory. Truth be told it’s hard for me to find a single redeeming quality about the man.  This was the last post I wrote about him which explains a lot.

No the only things I do know about him are ugly and dark. I don’t ever think of him in endearing terms like “Daddy”.  I do recall when I was little I did miss having someone to call that. It’s a sweet term. He was not a sweet man. When I speak of him to others (mostly half-siblings) I refer to him by his first name. I remember the rare times when my brother and I would talk about him, saying words like, “Our Dad”, or “Our Father” almost had to be choked out. It felt so foreign and weird.

I mentioned in the post from February about the half-sibling that none of us had made contact with. I reached out to her a couple of weeks back, having come across her name from Michele. Of course my timing couldn’t have been worse or better, depending on how you look at it. Her daughter had just given birth to her first grandchild.  We talked for a few hours through Facebook Messenger. She seems very nice, and I was happy to talk to her. She had already had a telling day with the birth, and now this little sister (it always feels weird to call myself that – I am someone’s BIG sister. My brother’s big sister, but in reality, I am also someone’s little sister too.) reaches out to her the same day. It’s like who left the family flood gates open?! It’s strange to think there is yet another one running around with this shared bloodline, and here we are in our latter years of life, just meeting up.

I tallied the count Boys-4 / Girls-4 now. We gained a confirmed new team member.

To my knowledge, my brother and I are two of the last three children he sired. There is a sister who is younger than me that I know about, but honestly at this stage have no desire to interact with (long story) and of course my sister Michele. We didn’t connect until about 18 years ago, and while we’ve only met face to face once, there is that sister connection for me. I wrote about her in that above mentioned post too.

The DNA movement whether it be Ancestry DNA or 23 and Me are uncovering all sorts of truths. Really laying open the fact that the generation before mine wasn’t as innocent as they all claimed. Just in the past couple of months it seems everyone has a story to share about discovering a big family secret.  I’ve heard stories laid open about finding that your father wasn’t really your father. That your father had an affair and has another child. It’s all coming out now. That maternal cousin of my daughters? She never did answer the request for contact. I find it strange to put your name out there for family to contact you, and then do nothing about it. But it’s her choice. The mystery will remain, and both my brother and that unknown sibling are still on the hook until then. 😉

This past weekend I came home from vacation to find another sister. Seriously. Not like a puppy on the doorstep. No, my sister Michele texted me a “Guess what?” text, which should just be code for “There’s another one out there” at this point. I think the only time she says that is when we find out about a new sibling. And sure enough, this one was located through a DNA testing site –her story to tell, but that’s one I think even ol’ Uncle Linford didn’t know about.

So I reached out to her too. I figured the last name would explain who the friend request was from, and then we talked on Messenger for a while on Sunday. I was still exhausted from travel, but it was super interesting and meaningful for both of us I suspect. Strange to think she never knew about us. And we never knew about her. Heck, another sister, who’da thunk it?

Boys-4/Girls-5. We’re winning boys. You better step up your game. Now to figure out what to call the baseball team.

On a sadder note though; Nine children. Nine effing children and counting, and you raised but one of them. Eight children who didn’t know you, or worst yet, did. The feminist in me? The single mother who struggled? That woman is pissed. Words like Piece of Shit, and Keep it Your Pants go through my mind. I can’t help but wonder what the commonality is between these five women. I know my mom was young. Was that her excuse, or did he have charisma flowing from him like the fountain of youth? Was he her escape like he appeared to be to others?

These are questions that will never be answered, because the major players aren’t around anymore to fill us in.

Until then, I’ll just wait for that “Guess what” text from Michele to fill in anymore holes. 😉