Slow Death

 

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I have swallowed dirt

As you have drug me

Down this road called DIVORCE

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I have eaten pain

Which is razor-sharp

For Breakfast

Lunch

And Dinner

Stabbing and slicing

My mouth bloody, gums raw

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I have swallowed my pride

As I have attempted

To be that confident 20 something woman

I once was but am no longer

The one who gave you fireworks with each kiss

But now just lights an occasional Sparkler

Which burns out

Just a fast as a child’s temper tantrum

In the face of a Hershey’s kiss

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I have drunk in the distaste

You have for me

Like vomit…

It stinks and is rancid

Eating up my insides

As it slithers down into my gut

Which now lives in perpetual

Anxiety

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I have tasted your anger

For past deeds done to you

That I had no idea hurt

Because you were never truthful

About the feelings you had

That are now erupting from you

Like all the acid ash released from a volcano

That covers me with sadness, distaste and dislike

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I have choked on all that you expected of me

The changes you wish for

That smother my free spirit

And are against all I stand for

Things I cannot agree to

No matter what

You still feast upon my body

And soul

Saying you have no passion

Which strips away my dignity

And tears my confidence to shreds

Right now you have the power

But slowly I am beginning to grab mine back

And when I do

The Phoenix that rises from the ashes

Will breathe fire

As I claim all I am

All that I hope to be

And leave you will the shell

Of that person you destroyed

I will then be whole

And you will be left with my dust/bones

To bury inside your unconscious mind

And it will be too late

To make up for all you have done

While creating something

So much stronger

Than you

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Control…Do We Ever Really Have It? Or Raw II

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You ask me why I have a need to control things. The short answer would be my sister’s severe illness when I was such a young child.  A young child whose parents thought she was too young to know all that our family was facing. I remember being snuck into the hospital (back then siblings were not allowed in) and seeing my sister, after many months of absence, now reduced to a human skeleton, not the happy normal-sized kid I was used to seeing. The guilt I felt was tremendous because I did not understand the situation. I was not told. I guessed a lot and interpreted things wrong. Guilt at wondering why bags of presents were being delivered to our home for her and not understanding why I was not thought of which in my young mind =not loved and not noticed. And how, I wondered even then, could I feel that sense of hurt and jealousy when she looked like death. There was also the guilt at hearing her scream when her shunt was cleaned daily and knowing I was okay. And even all these years later that guilt that rears its head in my professional life and makes me pass out on the floor when I hear a patient scream. I can look at anything but don’t let me hear the pain or I am a goner.  In my book guilt can sometimes=need for control= if I am in control less chance of guilt/suffering/pain. I know its wrong but sometimes my mind still takes me back to that little lost/confused and sad child.

I remember during this time of sickness and confusion, being moved from place to place while my parents sat a bedside vigil. That sense of unconnectedness does things to you. I understand the need to do that now…as a parent…but I didn’t as a child. Yes, my parents were sure I was in good hands. I knew most of the people I was with but some were strangers. It made me scared because back then I didn’t know for sure what was happening and no one thought to tell me. And being left and having no control in where you are going invoked feelings of jealousy that made me wonder why my sister was so special and I was not. Everyone knew where she was…did anyone know about me?

Being so aware of death/illness makes you acutely aware of the little control you actually have so I guess I have spent my years trying to control all aspects of my life which we all know is an exercise in futility.  Some people handle it by drinking. Others have sex with strangers trying to make a connection that somehow they feel they missed.  Others drive too fast, take too many pills or eat too much. Others show no obvious issues with it at all. Mine is control. And control, and the lack of it I feel in our relationship, makes me frightened to death and sometimes I push for a resolution because I feel like that little girl again. Her world chaotic. Her world upside dow. Her world with no forthcoming answers. Her world in control of others and now the master controller is B. And I feel like 1,000 little scattered pieces laying about, disorganized, without the glue of control to hold me together.

You wonder why I feel the need for control.

I watched my parents divorce. All the heartache and stress that went along with a cheating husband. My mother’s pain written in a note I have to this day. And then they divorced and within three years my mother was dead at 50, killed, I believe rightly, by all the stress which took her, a non-smoker, in the form of lung cancer. And I look like her. I have the same moles. I have the same body type. The same nose. And I don’t want to become a statistic like her. Illogical I know. But still dead after all this upheaval… after all the pain none of which was her doing…though that is not the case with me. I have caused some of my own pain. But this I know: stress kills and I am sure it is killing me. Maybe like it did her.

I have enough stress with two children who have significant challenges in their lives. Autism = stress. And now my marriage teetering on the edge of HWY 1 with no guardrail and a 1,000 ft drop to the ocean below. And sometimes I wonder if I will just drop dead of a heart attack or will it be a slower more painful way to contemplate the end of life as I know it because this much stress is like a IV drip of poison creeping into my veins. And so I want to take back control from B in a misguided attempt to avert what was my mother’s fate and not have it be my own. Because I want to live free of heartache, being responsible as much as humanly possible for my own pain, when I must endure it, and not have it foisted on me like a drunken sailor grabbing me from behind and taking what is not his to take.

The mind is a funny thing. We know that what we may be thinking is be wrong.Screwy thoughts  that we recognize as inaccurate.  But those feelings are what trip us up and make us believe things that we know in our heads don’t make sense but to our hearts don’t matter. Our hearts often have a mind of their own, too busy working to keep the blood flowing, rather than worry about correctness of how it is being done. Yet, my heart hears unsaid words. It sees hidden emotions on a persons face. My heart squeezes the truth that goes coarsing through my veins and it ignores the science of it all. My heart stings. It whispers with every whoosh. And for the past few days, I would bet my bottom dollar that it has cracked in two, blood leaking into my drowning sticky soul.

You ask me why I feel the need for control. It’s because I no longer trust you to take care of my heart and the love that it holds. You have held my heart in your hands and you have not been gentle with it. You have treated it as callously as a hooker treats her next trick.I no longer trust you to take care of me the way I felt I was not taken care of  when I was a child. I no longer trust that my pain is just pain and not leading to something more deadly as in the case of my mother. I no longer trust your words or your actions because you don’t love me and trust is the glue that holds love together.

You wonder why I feel the need for control? Because parts of that little girl remain behind and while I may be a very strong and capable woman sometimes that little girl is stronger when she faces what she perceives to be danger. And she tantrums and pushes for resolution while trying to gain control. Because she is unsure. Scared. Feels unloveable. And somehow she incorrectly believes that control will give it back to her and make her feel whole again. Strong again. Capable once more.

Someday I hope that someone somewhere will take that little girl her by the hand, thrust a mangy stuffed gray much loved puppy into her empty arms, and along with a great hug; tell her that it will all be okay. And maybe someday she will understand in her heart of hearts that control is an illusion and that the only thing she really ever controlled was herself and, finally, that will be enough and she can just let go and get on with living and playing hopscotch again.

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Conquering Fears

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Today I did something that made me uncomfortable and in the process  I semi-conquered two of my fears. If we measure our days by doing things that provoke discomfort by intentionally facing down our fears; then there are very few precious days during our lives that we get to experience the elation that comes when we find that our fears really weren’t so scary after all. Oh, the power we give to things that don’t deserve it!

All my life I have been afraid of two things…heights and relinquishing control to others. Both make me break out in a sweat and I have spent way too much time giving these fears too big of a place in my life. I have avoided, rejected, over-analyzed and spent time over- compensating for those things (fear,control) that have had me tied up in knots.But not this afternoon. Today I made a change.

After spending eight hours visiting  and cooperating with a doctor, I promised my son that he could do something special. Turns out the thing he wanted to do was indoor skydiving. Frankly, it sent shivers up my spine and after his broken ankle this summer I feared a repeat. I really wanted to say NO but didn’t.

Yet, once inside the facility something strange came over me. I decided that I WOULD FLY too, come hell or high water. After all, I rationalized, it would kill two fears with one stone…flying HIGH and RELINQUISHING CONTROL of my body to someone else. And even through it was expensive, I found I could justify it by invoking  rule #378 from the Book of Life “Do it if the price of a shrink will cost you more.”

Now, usually I deny myself these “opportunities” to stare down my fears in a multitude of ways. Lifetime favorites include:

  1. I say we can’t afford it and “save” money by siting on the sidelines watching everyone else partake.
  2. I believe my kids should have these types of opportunities and deny them to myself because … (go back to #1)
  3. I convince myself I am too fat, too skinny, too uncoordinated, too old, too young…or any other such thing that would cause the idea to come to a screeching halt.
  4. Hey, someone has to take the pictures… don’t they? Damn straight and I am the perfect person to do it!

So instead of “listening” to my usual playbook of excuses I plunked down my Visa and before I knew it the time came to suit up. This didn’t mean that there were not plenty of anxious moments in between. As I watched members of the group ahead of us fly I began to list all the reasons I shouldn’t be doing this in my head. This included such things as:

  1. At my age, all my wrinkles would be pushed back into my face and with little bit of collagen I have left… they just might become permanent.
  2. That money thing again.
  3. Broken bones scare me along with signing release of liability forms which emphasize dislocated shoulders and other rather painful injuries that may occur should I be stupid enough to do this.
  4. The thought that wetting my pants could cause a floating vortex of pee spinning around me and the instructor was terrifying. I mean at least in a swimming pool no one knows but this could prove problematic and I knew that should it happen it would be up on YOUTUBE in 2.4 seconds!
  5. I might kick the instructor unconscious and slam my body all the way up the glass only to be stuck at the top of the tunnel… kind of like Charlie of the Chocolate Factory fame.

Then, just as I was about to go and ask for my money back, Paul with all the exuberance of an 8 week-old puppy said, “Mom, I am so glad you are doing this with me. We will have so many memories of this time together that we can share for the rest of our lives!”

And that was when I had my AHH-HAA MOMENT. That is when I realized just how much I had let my fears hold me back from more than just myself but I had let them hold me back from creating memories with the people I love the most. And so I did it! I got in that flight suit, I put on those goggles, I put in the ear plugs and I strapped on that helmet….and I had a blast!  And for several minutes I didn’t care how high I went, if I broke something, or if I should have bought  Depends…I let myself be free and I willingly let someone else take over.

Now this doesn’t mean that I have entirely conquered my fears but I have got them roped and tied. From now on am going to make a conscious effort to get into the Game of Life and not just watch from the sidelines. I have vowed that once a year I will actively work to decrease the amount of influence a fear has on me. And who knows, maybe even sometime in the future I may just decide to jump out of a airplane …according to my 28 year-old Aussie accented instructor I am a natural at this sort of thing and I wouldn’t want to let him down!

 

Mom Revenge

After I had children I began to understand why some animals eat their young. Those animals are smart creatures because they know that one day their offspring will grow up to become a mouthy, sulky, nasty, mean, cranky, selfish, thoughtless and reckless teenager; so they nip that problem in the bud.

Teenagers breed contempt. They make you question your sanity. And there is nothing worse on God’s green earth than a snotty-know-it-all sixteen-year-old.

Last Saturday evening, after a particularily difficult week with our collective teens, my girlfriends and I got together for a drink…or two. I am not sure where the idea came from nor the precise number of drinks that been downed but suddenly we were compiling a list which we have decided to use against our offspring to teach them a lesson should the need arise. We called it MOM REVENGE and does it ever feel sweet. And since we are all in this together I thought I would share.

    MOM REVENGE

  1. When you drop your kid off at school yell out the window “And if you don’t pee your bed again tonight I will give you another dollar.”
  2. Fill your son’s bed with stuffed animals just before his friends arrive
  3. Pack a sippy cup in your sweetie’s lunch box
  4. Post naked baby pictures on their Facebook page
  5. Yell out the car window “Remember the babysitter will be at the house waiting for you when you get home from school.”
  6. Text your teen “Honey, you forgot your blankie. Do you want me to bring it to school for you?”
  7. When your teen’s friends are over come downstairs with a box of head lice killer and tell your daughter that the salon called and wanted to let her know she has lice.
  8. Download ice cream truck music on your cell phone and blast it on your stereo as you pass their high school.
  9. Put a Barbie doll in your teens backpack.
  10. Buy a recordable card and record your own personalized message that awaits in their lunch box.

Doughnut Daze

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There are times in life in which you want to just down a couple painkillers, get back into bed and drift off to sleep. This is one of those times.

Saturday night while minding my dreams and sleeping peacefully; I was awakened by someone screaming. Turns out that person was me. For as I was dreaming away, my knee locked; and when I moved it something very bad happened but what that very bad thing that happened is; I will not know until Tuesday when I see the doc. Getting old sucks.Period.End of story.

In the meantime I am laying here, half-conscious, in pain, and worried about how this is going to play out weight-wise. Because I have lost twenty pounds in the past two months by going to Pilates and walking with L in the morning and B and night. And I am finding I love to do these things. But no walking for me yesterday or today and when I stepped on the scale this morning it was up THREE F****** POUNDS. That’s right…not one…not two…but three…all in one day which according to my calculations means that in precisely one week I will have gained back every pound I have lost… and then some.

So after this morning’s fiasco on the scale I realize I need more than I originally anticipated.images-1

I need a greater number of painkillers along with something for depression if I am going to make it through the day. And a doughnut…definitely a maple creme one. SIGH.

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Brain where social behavior occurs is different for those with High Functioning Autism

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In a new study released yesterday, researchers at UCLA determined that areas in the brain that are associated with social behavior were less developed and lacked sufficient networking in high functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) individuals as compared to their neurotypical peers.

The study noted that ASD subjects showed an increased blood flow in the frontal areas of the brain which is linked to higher oxygen metabolism in those parts of the brain that are used to navigate social situations. This is opposite of individuals not on the spectrum whose blood flow is reduced as they mature. According to scientists increased blood flow suggests that in persons with ASD there is delayed neurodevelopment in these front areas of the brain that are responsible for social-emotional cognition. The study is consistent with MRI findings of enlarged brain size due to a lack of pruning as the brain develops.

The study also found a lack of long-range connections between the front of the brain and the back. This apparent lack of connectivity means that information is impaired between distant areas of the brain leading to a decreased social responsiveness in persons with ASD.

Researchers hope that in utilizing information gleaned from this study that in the future scientists may contribute to developing an even earlier way to diagnosis and perhaps treatment ASD. And that would be great for families who have young children and are just starting down this long and often challenging road. Because if I am completely honest, and I could have given my sons pills to alter their autism so that social-emotional dealings would have been easier for them their entire life; I would have done it in a minute. For as a mother you don’t like to see your child suffer by being the outcast, being teased, being rejected and being bullied day in and day out. Sometimes the lengths to which people will go to hurt and embarrass others are just mind-blowing. Never mind having to fit in with the other kids, ASD kids often are surrounded by adults who unintentionally/intentionally contribute to their ostracism and loss of self-esteem leading to a high rate of suicide in this segment of the population.

Yet, at some point as people with ASD mature they come to recognize what is unique and wonderful within themselves and these future “treatments” no longer appear to be the miracles that they might be considered to be when a child is two years old. Both of my sons say they are happy being who they are, autism and all. Both do not see a “miracle” pill being part of their lives. And I am happy that they feel that way but as their mother also know that no child or family should have to go through what they have gone through to get where they are now. I find nothing noble in suffering and my children were not put on this earth to be the moral compass and recipients of those without ASD practicing their seven virtues to buy their way into heaven. So while I welcome advances in ASD medicine, I will do so on the side lines. But I will cheer on and support those parents of the future who may be presented with opportunities to change the lives of their children in ways that are most likely for the better. For everyone deserves to be able to reach their full-potential which is something many with ASD are denied.

Limitations We Place On Ourselves…309 Days To Fix This

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I’m not a half-full or half-empty glass kind of girl. I go flowing between the two like water washing over coarse sand as my moods dictate. In stormy weather my glass tends to be half-empty while a walk on the beach on a sunny day makes that half-full glass appear to be the size of a champagne magnum. In this vein, I recently saw a video on Facebook that showed a grandson talking about visiting his grandfather who had just lost his wife of 65+ years. As the old man relates to his grandson the changes he is going through with this wife’s passing, his grandson replies, “Grandpa you always make me see the glass as half-full.” And his grandfather replied, “It is a beautiful glass.”

It was in that moment that I realized that I want to be the person who sees the beauty of the glass itself and not the person who sees the limitations of the vessel and what it can hold. As I reflect over my life a see a person who thought she had to choose between the half-full half-empty scenario and I grew up believing those two ideas (half-full and half-empty) were the only choices available to me. Now I see that there are more options than I ever dreamed possible.

I want to wake up everyday seeing possibilities not possible problems, sunshine not clouds but mostly I want to appreciate the beauty of the glass as it reflects my life within it, including the good the bad and the ugly. I think it is important to realize that there is value in all that makes up this reflection of myself even if the glass sometimes distorts and twists what I see.

The beauty of the glass is really what is important so make it be the glass you want to see with your favorite colors, phrases and shapes. Enjoying the beauty of the glass is what we should strive for while we try to put away the notion that we have to determine whether it is half-full or half-empty. In the end, it doesn’t matter anyway because the glass was always beautiful and what it was holding was irrelevant… unless it was a superb 40-year-old Tawny Port….in which case I would need to empty the glass to see it’s true beauty.

(somehow this post has gone from a life affirming one to a narrative about booze. The hell with the glass…let’s contemplate the bottle!)

https://www.facebook.com/humanthemovie/videos/468301476675049/?pnref=story