10 Dec

…seems to be the hardest word. (Elton John)

The opening lines from that song says, “What’ve I gotta do to make you love me? What’ve I gotta do to make you care?” That’s where I stand. In the middle of an ocean, alone and paddling like mad to keep my head above water. I’ve said “I’m sorry” so many times it means absolutely nothing. My actions have spoken louder than my words. As they should.

When you’ve hurt someone to the point they see you as an obstacle to their happiness, where your mere words set them on edge, how can “I’m sorry” possibly do any good?

I’m empty. I’ve used up my bag of sorries. Tossing it aside, my empty bag sits at my feet to remind me how crude I can be, how inappropriate, how unkind I am. My empty heart searches for a new word to say, but nothing comes out. Only the echo of “I’m sorry,” and nothing more.

And we all know THAT doesn’t do anything for me. Not anymore.


Just a spoonful of sugar…

3 Dec

…helps the medicine go down.

It doesn’t, however, help me lose weight or keep friends or maintain a positive attitude.

No amount of sugar will fix my situation. No cookies, no candy, no soda, no alcohol. Yes. I said it. No alcohol. I am an alcoholic. I drink to numb myself from the pressures of everyday life. From Catie’s health, to my health; from our financial woes, to loneliness. It doesn’t help friendships, but instead destroys them.

I lost another friend on Facebook this past week. I obviously wrote them while under the influence and they blocked me. They’d had enough. I don’t have to exist in their Facebook world, and, alas, they won’t exist in mine.

Alcohol makes me open up beyond control to certain people, to say things I should keep to myself. I don’t blame them for blocking me. I would, too.

It’s been three days since I had a drink. Three long, aggravating days. And tonight, it will be four.

One day at a time, right?

Is all that we see or seem…

20 Mar

…But a dream within a dream? (Edgar Allan Poe, “A Dream Within a Dream”)

I have vivid dreams. Dreams of terror and of fear.

In most of these dreams, I am being attacked, chased, or amid demonic beings. And I can’t scream. I try to, but my throat is constricted, and nothing comes out.

Tonight was one of those. Two men broke into the garage, and attempted to gain access to the house. I attempted to hit the alarm, but it wouldn’t go off. They grabbed me, and spoke of raping and murdering me. I tried to scream for Bob, for help. And nothing came out. My voice was gone. Laryngitis, or something like that.

They say the difficulty to shout during dreams symbolizes feelings of being left alone to deal with a serious problem, and wishing someone would hear your cry and give you a hand.

It would be selfish to think my problems are worse than any others. But indeed, I do have unresolved issues. Duh!

Other times, I’ve had episodes where I believe I’m awake but can’t move. And I’m in the presence of demonic characters. It’s terribly frightening. It’s called Sleep Paralysis. It’s caused by a disturbed REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle, where the brain – normally – paralyzes the muscles, but the person is awake, or half awake, aware they cannot move. It’s a transition state between being awake and asleep. Bizarre as it sounds, it’s connected with narcolepsy, where there ‘s an imbalance of neural and serotonergic populations.

I guess my neurons are out of whack. Come to think of it, I guess my life is out of whack.

I’m not a huge believer in dream analysis (sorry Doctor Freud), but it surely makes me wonder. Are my dreams sending me a signal? Is my body showcasing the fact I have physical issues to address?

When I feel blue in the night And Ii need you to hold me tight

Whenever I want you, all I have to do is dream (Everly Brothers, Dream)

I’ll go to bed tonight, hoping the dreams I have are pleasant… and peaceful.

Turn your frown…

6 Mar

…upside down.

I’m listening to Moshe Kasher. He’s a pretty funny comedian. He’s reading off comments to one of his YouTube videos. People are bizarre. They are arguing religious beliefs, rather than appreciating his comedic talent.

And it hits me…

People are bizarre. They’re like that. They don’t see you for you… but for how you affect them.

We are little more than an instantaneous moment in the life of another.

Sounds belittling?  Perhaps.

I suppose I could get all wispy and whiny, cleaving to the frailty of my existence. Or I could be freed from the necessity of seeking approval.

A Facebook friend de-friended me this week. Normally, I would get out of sorts, wondering what I’d done to cause such an action. But then again, I remember: it’s not about me. It’s about her. It’s about her interest in me, in her choice, how she decides she needs me in her life.

She didn’t need me. And that’s not my problem.

I’ve got enough issues to deal with this week to ignore the fact she decided I wasn’t necessary in her life. My roof needs repair from the latest wind storm, my daughter is still struggling with pain, my son is unable to connect to me. The fact this “friend” found me of no use seems trivial.

And I’m actually proud of myself for understanding that.

If people are unable to accept that, or find it lacking, it’s not my fault. It falls on them.

That goes for “friends”, companions, or family. I can only give my best. I have to be content with the fact I’ve given all I can.

So I turn my frown upside down. And I move on.

Shower the people you love with love…

31 Jan

…Show them the way that you feel. (James Taylor, “Shower the People)



Last night, someone from high school messaged me on Facebook. (If she doesn’t mind, I’ll quote from her messages) It started with, “Do you remember when we first met?” She continued with a story from our young age, when we were in swimming lessons together. Although, admittedly, I didn’t remember, she told me, “I was so afraid of the water, and you were my happiness.” She told me I had left an impression on her… that we were friends.

I got choked up reading her message, “You walked me home, you talked to me, you were my friend, and thank you.”

Here in my adult life, it never occurred to me that someone would tell me that, that I had made a positive impression on them. I’d burned so many bridges in my day that it was just assumed that’s what I’d be remembered for.

I’m so grateful for that interaction. For all the self-deprecating thoughts that ramble through my head, that moment I was encouraged. My heart was indebted to her. The oppressive, negative view of myself was lightened, even if just a little.

One of the things I try to do is let people know how appreciative I am for their friendship, for their acts of kindness. But sometimes it comes across as patronizing or theatrical; I guess I have to run the risk of appearing synthetic. What else can I do?

I feel I need to let you know just how you’ve played a part

How each and every thing you’ve done has comforted my heart

 My life’s enriched by every word or deed or gentle touch

Allow me to express my thanks – your friendship means so much

I think…

3 Jan

…therefore I am.  (René Descartes)

I’m on hiatus from Facebook. I needed to take a break. It seems I am too emotional lately, overreacting to the comments of others – or, as was the case, the actions of others.

I know I’m hyper-sensitive. I make no bones about that. I’ve mentioned in the past I struggle with the inability to stop worrying what others think of me. So when someone shuns me, ignores me, or passes me off as insignificant, I hurt. I’m transparent, and that will be my eventual demise.

“A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It’s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.”  (Stephen Pressfield)

If I could change one thing – just one thing – about myself, it would be this. I would be less emotional. I would be an emotional hard-ass. I wouldn’t give a crap what others think. I would speak my mind and not care the fallout.

But that one thing won’t change. I can pretend it does, but it won’t. I’m an ’emotional dwarf’ (I was called that by a pastor many years ago).  My emotional state is pretty set in stone by now. I’m 50 years old – how can I change at this stage in the game?

Perhaps I need to take this new year to stop over-thinking. I’ve signed up to volunteer at the homeless shelter downtown, and a recurring spot at the local food bank. Perhaps if I spend my day caring for others, I’ll stop thinking about myself. It can only do me good.

So I’m taking a break from Facebook, so I don’t have to risk being hurt. So I don’t have to risk being exposed as an ’emotional dwarf.’ So I can face my demons, the demon of over-emotion, the demon of over-sensitivity, the demon of transparency, after facing the challenges other face first. Perspective can be a healing thing.

I over-think, therefore I over-am. Knock it off, woman… and get over yourself.

And in the end…

30 Dec

…the love you take is equal to the love you make. (Lennon-McCartney, The Beatles)

Wow. Just about another year down. What have I done with myself to improve? Let’s see…

* Lost weight (22# at present)

* Started running (ran my first 5k)

* Read more

* Asked forgiveness from those I’ve wronged (some even forgave me!)

* Called my parents more

Anything else?

* Doubted myself

* Became highly critical (of myself and others)

* Dwelt on failures (relationships, educational goals, employment)

* Failed to learn some important lessons

* Sabotaged opportunities for success

Oh yeah… the list could go on and on, if I felt like it. But one thing’s for certain: it’s easy for me to dwell on the bad stuff. I think most people are like that. If I try, I can beat myself into a pulp and give up. There’s a line in the movie “Pretty Woman”: “The bad stuff is easier to believe.” That’s me… not that it should be.

It’s almost a new year. What am I going to do with it?

Here’s an idea: Stop beating myself up. Yes, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve burned bridges, I’ve failed to reach goals. But I’ve also learned who my friends are, and who aren’t. I’ve learned that I can’t depend on others, but I have to put on those ‘big girl panties’ and take care of things myself. Seeking approval from others only leads to disappointment. No one’s going to get me out of a slump except myself. No one is responsible for my happiness. Just me.

New Year is a good time to start something. It’s a gigantic do-over. And it’s a perfect time to teach myself to give  without expecting a return. I can seek happiness from within. Peace. Love. Those precious commodities that only come when one is willing to trudge forward and get dirty.

I know this sounds hokey, but it’s been rattling around my brain for days. Perhaps by writing it out, I’ll be better able to focus on my goals for personal improvement.

A good friend used a term the other day I thought was fantastic: GPS to Depression. While it sounded funny, it caused me to think: Am I guilty of that? Have I been to quick to see the glass half-empty?

I don’t want to be that way. And New Years is a my do-over. Watch me!

Not knowing anything…

26 Nov

…is the sweetest life. (Sophocles)

Sorry, Soph ol’ boy. Can’t say I agree. Not knowing is bitter, it’s hard, sometimes tortuous.

Over four years ago, I received a call from the school nurse, informing me Catie had doubled over in pain during class and had to be assisted to the health office. No one knew why. No one had an answer. And thereafter, we went from doctor to doctor, seeking answers.

Every conceivable test, any lab analysis.

It wasn’t until a friend brought up the idea of endometriosis that a trip to the gynocologist followed. Three surgeries later, the pain ensued. While the diagnosis had been correct, it was only a partial answer. There had to be something more causing her pain.

God bless Dr. Bilica! She told us this was beyond her scope, that a visit to see a specialist was in order. There are but a handful of endometriosis specialists, and we were fortunate that one, with international renown, practiced in Houston. Dr. Mangal had a hunch he knew the issue, and sent us to see a neuro-gastroenterologist (yeah, I’d never heard of that one either).

An answer. Intestinal epilepsy, diagnosed to but 34 persons in the last year.

Enter a special, hyper-restrictive diet, new meds… and hope. We had hope.

Jump to this morning. Here we sit once more, having tests. A glucose tolerance test (at Dr. Matthias’ request).

But we have hope. And no five-hour test can detract from seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

And so, Sophocles, waiting is sweet… except when you really need an answer, when quality of life depends on it. And the answer to this four-year-long journey is imminent.


A time to build up…

16 Nov

…A time to break down. (The Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn”)

Sometimes I think I’m psychotic. Volatile emotions cause me to swing one way to the other at the drop of a hat. Each day brings the unknown, transmuting reactions which affect the relationship to stimuli, both material and immaterial. People can say or do something, and I may or may not go ballistic. Weather may or may not put me in a funk. What’s the deal?

I’m going through menopause, a hormonal change in women between 45 and 55, where estrogen wanes and body and mind flip out. I can’t decide if I’m hot or cold, irritable or peaceful, healthy or ill. It’s a mystery I’ve not been able to grasp. Researching this “change of life” taught me to expect the symptoms, but when they’ve demonstrated, I’m surprised. My response is contrary to everything I hoped. Resistance is futile (oh no! It’s the Borg!)

Over the past few years, I’ve gained weight and been diagnosed with immune disorders. I’ve lost interest in things I formerly enjoyed. I’m emotionally weak. I’m unable to focus or complete tasks. It’s no wonder I’ve alienated friends.

If you’re one of those people who’ve been hurt or repelled, please forgive me. I know not what I do (actually, I do know what I do, but can’t seem to manage it).

Wait… you know what? Now that I think of it, I’ve been this way all my life. Perhaps I am psychotic. Thank God some people have toughed it out and remained at my side. Behavior modification has enabled me to grow as an individual in spite of it all. Traumatic life episodes haven’t crushed me completely.

All in all, though, the polar shifts have given me an empathetic cognizance of others’ struggles. I believe I’m able to analyze the actions of acquaintances or strangers and see beyond the two-dimensional. To a degree, of course.

I’m not perfect. I’m certainly not the example of a successful life. I’m more the archetype of an inefficacious individual.

But I’m not boring. True?

You can either surf…

10 Nov

…or you can fight. (Apocalypse Now)

Pema Chödrön has a great quote, which really hit home tonight:

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”

I pulled a muscle in my leg over a week ago. It hurts like a bitch, and I actually had to relinquish driving to my daughter today, it hurt so bad. I’m not sure what happened, but I’m thinking it may have been overextending myself during morning yoga.

Needless to say, the thought of driving to Houston tomorrow – a three- to four-hour drive – is going to be a challenge.

So here’s the deal.

I can whine about my pain… or I can push through it and get there for my daughter’s sake. (She has an appointment Monday morning with a specialist there)

Words fail when it comes to taking action. And Facebook is notorious for throwing out perfect words, perfect quotes, even perfect profile pictures. It’s the ability to lie to the faces of those whose faces you’ve never seen.

Words fail when we refuse to be open and honest with others… and with ourselves.

What better venue than Facebook, to expose oneself, knowing the outcry is from those who’ve never seen you?

In an effort to remain therapeutic about things, to be encouraged that my outpouring of words gives me an ability to see past the insecurities, past the fear, past the unknown… I started this blog. Some of you can appreciate it, as it resonates with you. Most, though, won’t understand, and can’t relate.

I tell myself I do this for me… and if you find it ridiculous, unintelligible or boring, you’re free to express your opinions. Because, after all, I’m expressing mine.

Given the choice to surf or fight, I choose to fight. I’m writing.