My site ate my homework.

Have you ever worked on a blog only to find it just disappeared? Like, poof. No blog. No words. Naddafingah.

I am so pissed. Pissed. I poured my heart out in that thing. But you know what? Maybe it wasn’t meant to be read. Maybe pouring one’s heart out on one’s birthday is not the sort of thing one will look back fondly upon.

I’m not doing anything for my birthday. It truly does become “just another day” after a certain age. It’s wonderful to be remembered, and kind words are felt right in the beating muscle in my chest. I had a rough, physical week. I need a day of rest. That it falls upon my birthday is fortuitous for me, but others might be puzzled. No cake? Nope, because I’d have to bake it myself and I can’t be arsed. No celebration? No. There’s no one to celebrate with, because many of my family members are at work, and others are too far away. I feel their love. It is enough, more than enough, to sustain me. Just no. No….nothing?

Yep.

Today, I am reminded that life ends in one second. The bulk of my life is over, and the seconds from here on really DO count. I can spend those seconds being afraid or looking back in regret, or I can live them. That single second that snuffs it all out is coming. Any second. 2016 has been an ass rape where my inspirations, idols, and influences have been concerned. Barely a ragged breath has been taken before another punch in the gut happens. Words escape me. But pictures explain it perfectly.

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Lemmy Kilmister

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David Bowie

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Alan Rickman

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Prince

It’s time to party like it’s 1999. Will you join me?

Oh Lord, I can’t even.

I didn’t  sleep well last night because I knew I needed to be up at the butt crack of dawn to go to my first day of work. Which deserves a blog of its own, trust me. Things that have been seen cannot be unseen, and my OCD tendencies are going into hyperdrive right now at the prospect of a typical day at the place of my employment, which shall be called “The Retail Monster That Must Not be Named”  from this day forward. Better yet, let’s just go ahead and call it Voldemort, shall we? Because anonymity assures my ass not being fired if I say anything derogatory.  Not that I’m going to, because after only one day, I certainly cannot form an opinion. Except that many close family members make their bread and butter there too, and so I cannot be expected to be totally objective. I’m just covering all my bases, okay?

So yeah. I’m fried tonight, but I did manage to pull out some more poetry, which I feel the need to publish here for prosperity.  Or in case my tablet dies or Facebook somehow goes tits-up because Zuckerberg realizes that Jesse Eisenberg was The Worst Lex Luthor Ever and, since they look alike and Jesse Eisenberg did, in fact play Zuckerberg in The Social Network, he decides to eschew social media and move to a private, desert island to avoid the comparisons that will undoubtedly be made. I’m rambling with exhaustion now, and Leo Thomas McGarry Kitten

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has decided that I am not allowed to type anymore. And with that face looking at me, why would I even want to?

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Sweet dreams to all. And to all a good night.

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Liebster Questions…..Part Two of my very important award.

A short while back, I was nominated for a Liebster Award for best new blogs by my partner in excellent blogness, Karen. Her blog, http://www.kayrayiam.wordpress.com/, is fabulous and thoroughly enjoyable and she had been quite appropriately nominated herself. She bequeathed this honor on me, and there are many rules to follow when accepting such an award. Rules. I suck hard at rules. I will follow them, but usually while muttering about them under my breath. These rules, thankfully, are easy to follow, but multi-faceted. There are steps to take.  I completed the first one, which is a shout-out to the one who nominated me, in my blog (known heretofore as “My Acceptance Speech”).

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Here is the second step….questions put to me by Karen. As with rules, I hate tests. Tests tend to come in question form. Hence my hesitation. But these? Easy-peasy!

What or who inspired you to write a blog?

Oh, I’ve been attempting this for years now, ever since MySpace. Remember MySpace? Oh come on, admit it! You do!  I used to blog on that and I had a lot of followers!  And then Facebook happened and I lost the password to MySpace, hereby abandoning some REALLY. GOOD. WRITING.  It’s floating out in cyberspace, y’all. Orphan gems of prose. Literary masterpieces. I am such a twit for not saving those blogs elsewhere. I suck. I really do.

How long have you been blogging?

See above. Like….forever, if you count my diaries when I was a kid and my journals when I was a young, frustrated mom. Because aren’t those really like blogs?

What do you do, or did you do in your life as a job?

I have done a lot of things. Seen a lot of shit. I am good at so many things but a master of none. Made pizzas. Answered phones. Made Zippo lighters. Worked in healthcare. Been an executive assistant to a douchebag who made me walk his dog, ship his golf clubs to Florida, and find an elusive watch for his wife’s birthday THE NEXT DAY that wasn’t available anywhere but in some shop in Cleveland. I sent a driver to pick it up. Yay me. Currently, I am embarking on a job at a very large, completely reviled retail store because the pay is better than the nursing home job I accepted two weeks ago. I am a whore for money. I understand and accept this about myself. But money will pay the bills and send me to phlebotomy school and afford me the opportunity to write, which is the REAL endgame here.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

It’s a song by my favorite band, KISS. And it’s my mantra about everything, because come hell or high water, I am going to survive and become good at life until I die.

What are your hobbies?

Well, I write. I rescue cats. I create art of many kinds. I remodel my old house. I listen to and worship all kinds of music, but principally, hard rock and heavy metal. And I read. Tons.

What is your favorite song ever, and why?

This is impossible to answer. It truly changes constantly. I feel music so deeply. I’m the kind of girl who attaches songs to life, lyrics to moments. You know my type, and you probably avoid her. There is a running soundtrack in my brain all the time. At this moment, everything that Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters sing is relevant and important to me. I suppose that the first KISS song I ever heard, because KISS saved my life….would have to suffice for the purpose of answering this question. That would be “Detroit Rock City”.

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Which do you prefer dogs or cats?

Cats. Always. At one time, I had 30 rescues. They’ve since been rehomed. I love dogs, really do, but the cat is my spirit animal.

Where are you originally from and where do you live now?

I am from Bradford, Pennsylvania and except for a few brief forays away….I am still here. And trust me, I’m not pleased.

If you had only 3 wishes what would you wish for?

Financial security for my whole family.
That the world would just become kinder.
To not suffer from Depression.

What is your addiction?(Mines Cheerwine, by the way. No, it’s not alcoholic. It’s a soft drink. It’s a Salisbury thing, you wouldn’t understand.)

Coffee. Really good coffee. Specifically, a Large Tim Horton’s double single.

Who is your favorite blogger and why?

This changes a lot, too. I love to read people. I love to experience life from the perspective of others. Bill Maher blogs extremely well. Jenny Lawson, of course. But right now? I’m loving everyone who is not afraid to be fearless with their words.

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My third step in this process will be to nominate some new bloggers for the Liebster. This is not as easy as it seems. Because so many of you are FABULOUS. Research must be completed. It is a task that I am happy to take on. Results to follow!

Oh, the butthurts.

I’m wondering, is “butthurt” an approved word in the dictionary? If it isn’t,  it should be. Is there any other word that describes more completely the social outrages we see these days?  I must admit, this blog is coming from a place of butthurt. My butthurt. About – you guessed it – all of the other butthurts. It’s infernally irritating to see that just about EVERYTHING is a bone of contention to someone. And if one someone makes their butthurt public, chances are that there are hundreds and even thousands of others clamoring on to agree that yes, this butthurt really does hurt. Them. Personally.

You don’t  need to look too deeply into social networks to find various and sundry butthurts. You can stand in a line at any store, sporting event, or public gathering and listen firsthand to examples of butthurts. People are vocal about their butthurts. They want you to know, in as plainspeak as possible, that XYZ fucking pisses them off!

Stand around with other mothers at a school just before dismissal. Listen to the butthurts flow freely:

“So I told Mrs. Franklin that it was not appropriate for her to ask Blossom why her bangs are crooked in front of the rest of the class! She came home in tears! I mean, geez, she feels bad enough about trying to cut her own hair, and I don’t see how it is going to help her through this if the other kids know all about it. I was SO pissed off.”

“Allison Johnson needs to stop parking like that. Her car is crooked! I have to watch really closely when I pass by, and I shouldn’t have to, you know? They ought to have aides out here to manage traffic.”

“That bus driver is really asking for it. Yelling at the kids to sit in their seats or he’s gonna suspend them ? What gives him the right to yell at my kid? Doesn’t  he get paid to do his job? I mean, they’re cooped up in school all day long and of course they need to blow off some steam! It’s his job to get them home safely, not to discipline them. I’m calling the superintendent and complaining. No one yells at my kid but me.”

Yeah. I could list so many more, but my eyes rolled back into my head at the first one. Butthurts galore. They are permeating society. Here are two examples that defy even my skewered sensibilities :

1. Weight butthurts. You know, “It’s not my fault that I’m thin/fat. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. So quit telling me to go eat a steak/salad.”

Okay, so maybe it isn’t your fault. Maybe you have a disease or a metabolism issue. I  understand the frustration. I’m a size 14 only on a really good day, so I tend to commiserate with the heavier population and envy the thin people. But Jesus, people, it’s everywhere now! We’re “giving kids bad self-images” with our focus on weight issues. Lots of things cause obesity in kids; bad things, like the amounts of additives in food, all the chemical engineering and manipulation. It’s a serious problem. But you know what? So is XBox. And a television in every room. And fast food in the place of a home-cooked meal because you couldn’t find time to go to the grocery store. And the fact that the streets, and yards, and parks are devoid of the laughter and play of children. Because they’re all inside. Sitting on their butts. Because parents either “don’t have time” to supervise them or just want them pliant and sedentary so they don’t have to do anything. As for the thin people? Seriously…your “thing” is not a thing. We’re envious. So we kid. Unless you look like an emaciated, starving person, we’re truly kidding.  STFU and go have a meal. And if you do look like an emaciated, starving person, then take our words as they are intended: we’re concerned!  Sincerely.

2. It is the most insensitive thing in the world to post that you are pregnant when you really aren’t on April Fools Day. There are countless women out there who can’t  have babies and who do you think you are, making a joke at their expense?

Three words: April. Fools. Day. You know, the stupidest day on the planet. The day when the most assinine, outrageous things are claimed. Gone are the days of “Your shoe is untied” and “Your fly is down”. People have evolved and gone on to concoct elaborate schemes to fool others. Look at any website or newspaper on this vile day and read that one unbelievable article about something that would never, ever happen. Tell me, if saying you’re  pregnant when you aren’t is so bad, where are all the angry unmarried people who find it traumatic to read a false “marriage announcement” on April Fools Day? Where are the people who are “recovering” from the traumatic experience of (insert ANY joke that has been played on you)? Are there legions of people who are waiting to rise up because they were convinced that there was something in their teeth and (GASP) they went to a mirror and looked? The shame. The horror. Here’s a bit of a news flash: women who can’t  have babies on April Fools Day also can’t have babies on Christmas. Should we downplay the birth of Jesus in order to spare their feelings? If you answered yes to that, then I have to suggest that you might possibly be reading the wrong blog. Women who can’t have babies live that reality every single day, and they are reminded of it every single day, and somehow, life goes on. Their friends, family, coworkers have babies. Are we suggesting that a joke played on a stupid day is going to be their emotional and mental undoing? I really hope not. But as with butthurts, someone thinks, and hopes, that it will. 

There are, in my opinion,  genuinely valid butthurts. I am painfully butthurt about all the photos of abused animals and children on social media. I am butthurt about the memes with awful grammatical errors, the actual posts by people who didn’t pay a single moment’s worth of attention in English class, and the general under-education in the subject of spelling.

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I am butthurt about how we, as a nation, can’t  reach across the aisle and solve the country’s problems without fighting about our political affiliations. I am butthurt about the fact that we can’t come to an agreement that the minimum wage should better reflect the cost of living today. I am butthurt that Marijuana is not legal in all 50 states so that science can really start discovering the amazing medical uses for it. Oh, and tax it to pay for infrastructure. I am butthurt that the Kardashians still make the news for every single thing they say or do.

Oh yeah, and there’s this: Clancy, my beautiful rescue baby, is butthurt that Mama starts her new job tomorrow and won’t be available to love on him and his brothers and sisters as much anymore. Okay, maybe his butthurt doesn’t extend to mutual outrage on behalf of his brothers and sisters, but THIS FACE.

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Coming up for air

Being depressed feels like so many things. We have all read the articles and the information from help sites. If you’ve been in treatment, like me, you’ve got books and worksheets and lists of tasks to complete that help you to understand your blue funkiness and to try and push through the murk.

Except that it’s never that easy, is it?

Depression can take you down into the depths of a cold ocean that feels like it has no bottom. The silt and the lack of light that encloses you once you do stop sinking makes it impossible to see anything. That’s why it’s so easy to feel only the numbing cold of medication and the sense of despair and hopelessness that accompanies a truly bad episode. You’re down there, uttlerly alone, lower than low. That’s what I call them in my head – Low times – and it pisses me off that I don’t realize that they’re creeping up on me until my ass settles at the bottom of the ocean and the deafening silence consumes me. I always feel like I might have been able to “head this one off”, or better yet, understand with full clarity that if I stop taking that unassuming little white pill, it’ll be a quick trip to the bottom of the sea for me, where there are no mermaids to fill my lungs with air until they can help me rise to the surface. There are menaces in the form of octopuses (memories) and sharks (self-destructive actions) and there is seaweed (hopelessness) and if I am not careful, they will win someday.

I was under for a relatively short period this time. I’m finally getting the hang of the whole “just because you feel okay doesn’t mean you are” reality that is mine. The medication takes away so many things! I hate that. Too much of it and all the joy that I find in this life completely recedes and there is only the buoyancy of the life preserver that’s allowing me to float along the surface of the ocean. I don’t want to merely float, you see. I want to be a dolphin! I want to jump out of the water and to expose my belly to the sunshine and bask in the pleasure of life. Through trial and error, I have discovered ways to find that joy and to keep it within reach, but it still means medication. I know what an unmedicated high time feels like and a medicated to a lesser degree high time feels like. Unmedicated has come to feel wrong. This has finally clicked somewhere inside of my head. It’s remarkable that at nearly 49 years of age, I am still capable of learning. Unmedicated high times are scary. Even while I’m reveling in music and crying during emotional movies and thinking that I might split in two like a supernova and that stars will burst out of my body because Oh my GOD my husband knows every inch of my body and what to do to it to make me feel good…..in the back of my mind, there’s a voice. No, not like that Inner Goddess bullshit in those completely awful Fifty Shades of Grey books that made me question my ability to just say no to commercialism,  but a quiet, calm, reasonable voice.

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A voice that says to me, “What the fuck are you doing? This is great, yeah. But you know there’s gonna be a price. You’re too loud. Too bright. You’re TOO EVERYTHING. It’s gonna go bad. You can’t swim, remember? Quit being a stupid bitch.”

That voice preaches moderation. Moderation makes perfect sense.  But moderation does not run in my family, you see. I come from a long line of idiots who could do nothing in moderation, and so they all flamed out before their time, tragic tales of alcoholism and sloth and excess. But in a world where there has been so much darkness, I have not been able to exercise moderation. I feel SO much. I’m an artist. I create. I am so right-brained that it’s as if the left side never existed for me. And to stifle those inclinations and desires and sudden, clear pictures of beauty that my hands can make is to put out the flame that burns within the very center of my being. Like a stubborn child, I have not wanted to figure out how to save some embers to burn an eternal votive inside my soul. It’s been “all or nothing”. Until this time. This time, the gears clicked into place and something aligned itself and I can’t explain it any better than that. Have you ever seen the amazing film, Love Actually? The part where Andrew Lincoln, he of The Walking Dead fame,  appears at Keira Knightley’s door and professes his love with placards and a boom box, and then, as he departs, says, “Enough. Enough.”

That’s what it felt like this time. I know that, if 50mg of the drug stifles me to the point of totally disappearing, then 40mg might allow me to feel a little.  25mg might be too little to stop the sinking, but 30mg might restore nearly everything to a moderate level that allows for a quiet sense of contentment. This is what I’ve learned, during the moments when the panic has been quashed by another drug and a tiny pinhole of light has shone down upon me at the bottom of the ocean. Take the full pill in order to rise, and then work to find the happy medium that enables both the ability to float and to feel. Then?  Just quit being a dumb bitch who needs to feel everything clearly. Because it’s like alcoholism, depression is…..you don’t know you’re dying until you are, in fact, dead.

This message has been brought to you by The Reasonable Bitch who exists in the quiet recesses of my brain. Thank God she doesn’t  have depression.

It’s Friday and I feel fine.

Okay, you’re going to have to get used to the quasi-schizo way that I write. I promised to do a follow-up to my Liebster nomination and I promise that I will, but the last few days have just been too interesting to not chronicle in some way.  I simply must get this down before it ceases to become relevant. Of course, relevance is up to the reader. Let me just say that I think it’s relevant.

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On the day when the Male Sibling Unit and I made our trek to the Social Insecurity Office (it earned that title and I will explain that later) I had just interviewed for a job. I have not worked in the community for 18 months now, and the events that led up to my not working contributed to my not wanting actually be a part of the community. Or part of anything but my warm, comfy bed with my kitties snuggled up against me. Those of you with the big D know what I mean. Prior to 18 months ago, I always worked. From the age of 13, when my mother said, “If you want school clothes you need to get a job because I’m not buying them” I worked. At first, it was just babysitting. I was a pro at that by the age of 12, but by the time I was legally allowed to work in the private sector, I held summer jobs and babysat in tandem. I was a working fool, because clothes weren’t cheap if you wanted to fit in with everyone in high school, and all the extras that came along with being a teenager (class trips, yearbooks, school pictures, etc) were expensive, too. College applications were expensive, buying gifts for family on special occasions was expensive….you get the point. I had a roof over my head and food to eat, courtesy of the US Government,  but everything else, I paid for myself. Throughout the following 30-odd years, I would work wherever I could, in fast food joints, factories, customer service, and then administrative assistant jobs. I worked while having three children and raising a total of five, through having grandkids living in my home and through a divorce and a remarriage. I worked. It was What I Did.

When my mother died in 2012, I experienced a broad spectrum of emotions. The grief process was especially difficult for me. I had quit The Job In Hell  after 5 years at a car dealership a mere 4 months before my mom had died. You know all those terrible cliché things you hear about with regard to car dealerships? Well, I’m here to tell you that they’re all true, every single one, and if you begin a job at one with a soul, you’ll leave thinking you don’t possess one. Suffice it to say that, five years to the day after I started my glorious career as a catch-all administrative assistant there, I found myself flat on my back in a heart catheterization lab as my cardiologist held my hand. “My Dear,” he said kindly, “we can fix this with medicine, but can I tell you? No job is worth dying for.”  I wrote my letter of resignation the next day.

While I  took some time to recuperate and decide what was next, a miracle occurred : my mom and I began to talk. Really talk. With honesty and humility. I got her to admit that I was a massive disappointment to her, and that she didn’t know why that was. I got her to admit that maybe…possibly….she might have been a little harsh. Baby steps, Grasshopper. We were making progress, after 44 years of pain and anger and emotional abandonment, which led to all of the stupid, misguided, desperate choices I’d made. We were talking and I was taking charge of her health issues and she was actually improving, after years of neglecting her CHF and diabetes. Things were looking up.

And then she got pneumonia. And her body’s systems shut down, one by one. After 3 days in ICU, her doctor asked me to make the worst decision a child has to make for a parent. She had no living will or advanced directives. She never liked making those decisions, and so, she hadn’t. She left it all up to me. Of course. Not only had I ruined her life, but now I was charged with ending it.

No wonder I am such a fucking mess, right?

In the days following her death, I cried more tears than I had ever thought possible for someone who I was never quite sure really loved me. I was consoled by the well-meaning words of others, who assured me that of course she loved you so much! I got down to the business of sorting her affairs. She had never wanted a funeral, only cremation, but there was a bill to be paid there. Over the years, she had assured me that she had enough insurance to “take care of everything”. I found all the documents, made the phone calls, and found out that not only was there not enough to take care of everything, but that there was nothing. Nada. Zilch. She’d allowed everything to lapse at about the same time she had decided she was terrified of living in her house and moved into an adjoining apartment in my house. After she moved in, I asked, numerous times, and was always told, “It’s all taken care of. It will all be in my metal strong box. Now I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”  Those words were final. You did not argue with my mother. You would be shut down, and then she’d tell all of her friends how horrible you were. I learned to pick my battles over many years of war.

There was no life insurance.  Yep, this was it, her final “Fuck you”.There was a mortgage on a house going into default. There were tax bills. And there was me.  *Sound the trumpets!*  Her heir. The Executor of her “estate”. I needed to get back to work. I knew I did not want to work in an office (shudder). I applied at a big chain department store, got hired, and then got a call from a personal care facility that I’d applied to work at on a whim. All of a sudden, it seemed like that was what I needed to do. Be of service to the elderly, care for them, in the way my mother never let me for her. Look, in hindsight I know this was another episode of poor decision-making on my part, but you will find that this is a running theme in my life. I was sad. Those old people made me happy. Made me feel relevant. I could look upward and say, “See, Mom? They like me. I am important to them. Fuck you, Mom.” I was a working fool once again. I volunteered for all the overtime. 12 hour days were normal. I loved my job, because it made me feel cloistered within a group of people who didn’t see how broken I was inside.

It lasted almost two years before the ulcers started, my weight plummeted, and my doctor diagnosed me with Depression and Panic Disorder. Then I made the mistake of thinking that I was safe because I always did my job and never got into trouble and never missed time. There were big changes going on in Administration, and people were making noises. I won’t  go into deets here because I  still believe in the rules of HIPAA and I  wouldn’t want to call a cutthroat bitch by name, but I operated a piece of office equipment (to make a copy of my pay stub) without “the expressed consent of Administration” , which is a breech of conduct. I was called into a “meeting” where I was humiliated, insulted, and then suspended. A day later, I was told I was terminated. Sounds, well, extreme, doesn’t  it? It was. But somebody didn’t like me. And two weeks later, my boss, who was also very efficient, lost her job, too. To say that this was a cataclysmic event for me is an understatement. I had never, ever been fired before. I nearly committed suicide. I lost 10 more pounds. I was sick, both physically and mentally, and it was very easy for me to submerge myself within all of this and just give up. And I did, for a long time.

And then, there was some light. I began therapy. And therapy, very quickly, led straight to the root of my problems. And guess what (who) that was?  You get 10 Starburst jellybeans if you guessed my mom. Send me your address and I’ll mail them. I always stock up over Easter.

I have been working my way back to gainful employment ever since. I may be a writer, but it does not yet pay the bills, and I’m going to have to contribute in a meaningful way if I want to continue the 40 year plan the husband and I have for renovating our 148 year-old house, because that shit is not cheap. I also want to go to school and get a phlebotomy license, because then the bills will be paid even easier. The idea of poking people for a living is strangely appealing. I have always enjoyed having to get my blood taken.  *I love it when the red water comes!*  Yes, you can tell me that I am a vampire-in-waiting.  And so, I am proud to announce that baby steps have been taken, and I have accepted a job at another senior care facility, and this time, I am doing it for the right reasons, and not to shake my fist at a dead person who didn’t really care when she was alive, and likely didn’t give a crap once she was dead. I will need to be around people again, and I will need to curb my habit of speaking inappropriately because these are real humans and not my cats. I will have to be social, and civil, but I know that I can do it because I have learned to be brave.

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Finally, I can stop saying, “Fuck you, Mom.”