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Friday, October 31, 2008

Last Sunday

I'm on my way to the bathroom as Tabitha hurls herself into the house screaming, "Mom! I'm bleeding! You have to come look!" I look longingly at the bathroom and tell her I'm coming.

I walk upstairs, look at the amount of blood, assume since it's gushing from her foot in copious amounts that we'll probably need stitches and tell her I'll take her to the emergency room right after I take care of my own emergency. I relieve myself, walk back upstairs, grab another towel, and load my daughter into my arms. By the way, her 85 pounds is quickly approaching my own weight, so I stagger a bit as I carry her to the car and set her in the passenger seat.

Tabitha (wailing): I need Adam!
Me: Since when?
Tabitha: Mom!! He's like my best friend in the whole world! I need him!
Me: You two fight all the time.
Tabitha: I know! But I need him!
Me (sighing): Okay, I'll ask him to come, but he might say no, and you can't pitch a fit if he does. You'll get blood all over my car.
Tabitha: He'll say yes. He loves me.

I roll my eyes, dreading Adam's refusal to come and Tabitha's inevitable temper tantrum. I notice Adam standing by the window.

Me: Adam, Tabitha wants to know if you'll come with us.

Within ten seconds Adam is in the back seat--belted in. I'm a bit confused, but I head for the emergency room.

We arrive at our destination to find it filled with a motley crew of injured and sick patients. One woman thrashes and screams in the corner. Some very large women look at Tabitha in concern and ask what happened (very large = the thigh of one of these women is larger than I am in girth--I am unable to describe any more of the giant people). Tabitha, now that Adam is with her, has become quite chatty and tells everyone in the room about her accident. An asthma-man from Bangladesh talks with her. They can't understand each other. This does not seem to be a deterrent to conversation.

The thrashing, screaming woman emerges from triage with a teabag in her mouth. She lurches to an occupied couch and lies down on the occupants who slide from beneath her and look for another place to sit. Adam looks at me, wide-eyed. I whisper, "I'm glad she chose their couch." He nods. 

We go to triage. Tabitha is treated to a wheelchair ride. Our admitting nurse is the mother of a couple of my former piano students. We have a lovely chat. Nurse makes Tabitha laugh when she checks the cut and deadpans, "Eeeewwww! That's gross! Blood makes me want to throw up." Adam looks concerned. I whisper that she's joking. Nurse giggles.

We return to the crowded waiting room. Adam chooses to sit by a very quiet older woman. She doesn't seem to be breathing. Pretty soon he leans over and whispers, "Mom, what's that smell." I whisper back, "Your quiet neighbor there is very, very drunk." "Ohhhh." Adam glances at her curiously. She stares straight ahead and drools.

Thrashing, screaming woman is now quiet as she lies on her commandeered couch. Her male companion, however, seems to be upset about something. He's quietly yelling at her. He threatens to check her into the mental ward of the hospital. He tells her she's misbehaving. We stare at him. She's quiet--why is he upset? In a few moments they get up and leave the hospital. Five minutes later a nurse comes looking for them. It's their turn for treatment. Nurse looks confused when we tell her they've gone, shrugs, and admits Tabitha instead.

Nurse Practitioner (NP) examines the wound. Adam says it looks like it hurts. Tabitha says it does. NP says she'll be numbing the cut, some orderlies will be cleaning it, then she'll come stitch it. Tabitha looks scared. Adam tells her not to hide in the bathroom because they can unlock it from the outside. Tabitha rolls her eyes at him and says, "Like I'd even do that! Then everything just takes longer." Adam looks embarrassed and admits she makes a very good point.

The numbing process begins. Tabitha begins to cry a little. Adam looks frustrated. I hold Tabitha's hand, tell her it's okay to cry because I know it hurts. NP says there will be four more pokes, but they'll be fast. Tabitha holds still and whimpers. When it's done, I hug her and NP calls her a trooper. Adam whispers to me, "Man! She's really tough!" Yeah, she is.

Tabitha relaxes and chats with the orderlies as they clean the cut. Adam watches in awe. NP comes back and begins to cut off damaged skin. Adam looks sick. NP explains that the skin won't heal--it's already dead--and will leave a rough scar if she doesn't take it off. Adam looks relieved. Tabitha is now talking non-stop. NP knows her entire life story before the last stitch has been knotted. Good thing Tabitha has only lived 13 years. We might have been there much longer.

Interestingly, since Tabitha declared Adam as her "best friend in the whole world," they haven't been fighting. I'm wondering how long it will last. In the meantime, Tabitha is, of course, showing her stitches to any who will look, and recounting her story to any who will listen. If you catch her online, be sure to give her the opportunity to tell you about it. At this point in time, it's probably been embellished to the point that it could entertain small audiences. Enjoy!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Plan

Ultimately, of course, it's to learn how to have emotions and manage them. I'm working on it.

In the meantime, the weather is incredible right now--I could run outside all day.

But I know that's probably not the best idea I've ever had, so I'll wear my red shoes and capris instead. 

Completely unrelated conversation with DJ:

DJ: Mom! Adam keeps wearing my shirts!
Me: I know.
DJ: Make him stop!
Me: What do you think I should do to make him stop?
DJ: I don't know--ground him!!
Me: DJ, what would have happened if, when you were almost 15 years old, I grounded you when you did something  you knew you weren't supposed to do?
DJ: Uhh...I'd probably still do it. And I'd be really mad at you.
Me: Still want me to ground him?
DJ: I don't know. I just want him to stop!
Me: He will. He's testing limits right now, seeing how far he can push everyone. There are consequences you're not seeing--and I won't be sharing them with you because Adam is allowed to have some privacy when it comes to the discipline he's learning. For now, it might be a good idea if you take care of your laundry rather than leaving it on the couch. It's less accessible in your room.
DJ: Even if I leave it on the couch, he shouldn't steal my shirt!
Me: I'll tell you what, if you don't like the way I parent, when you're a parent you can choose how you'll deal with your teenagers borrowing clothes without permission. And I won't criticise. In fact, if your solution is better than mine, I'll be thrilled.

Long pause...

DJ: I'm not sure what I'll do.
Me: No. It's a tough call.
DJ: But, judging by how great I've turned out, I guess I'll have to trust that you know what you're doing. But I was never as bad as Adam is.
Me: You had your own unique set of challenges.
DJ: I was still better than Adam.
Me: If you say so.
DJ: I didn't steal my brother's shirts!
Me: Your brother's shirts have always been too small. But I seem to remember your dad, yesterday, grumbling about someone stealing his pants. 
DJ: Well, I needed them.
Me: I don't doubt it.

Long pause...

DJ: Okay, you made your point. 
Me: I wasn't making any points. Just mentioning things I've noticed.
DJ: Very funny, Mom. I don't think you know how to lose an argument.
Me: Were we arguing?
DJ: See what I mean?
Me: Not really, no.
DJ: So, if I stop stealing Dad's pants, will you make Adam stop taking my shirts?
Me: I rarely make anyone do anything.
DJ: Maybe you could guilt him into not stealing?
Me: Not my style.
DJ: Maybe I should take care of my laundry?
Me: That sounds like a good idea. There are consequences for Adam taking things from your room, but not really any for him rescuing things from the couch. 
DJ: Fine.
Me: Thanks, I appreciate your help.
DJ: I'm a little old for you to keep doing that parenting thing on me, you know. 
Me: Yes.
DJ: You're still going to do it, aren't you.
Me: Yes.
DJ: I guess, since there's nothing I can do about it, it will have to be okay.
Me: Want to go out to lunch with me today?
DJ: Yeah.
Me: Okay, let's go. You drive.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Seriously, I really don't spend every moment of my day feeling sorry for myself.

Today I had my first medical exam in eight years. 

After Tabitha was born, my anxiety about physicals had increased to the point where I just couldn't go anymore. I felt terrible guilt, because you know we females are supposed to get "checked" annually--which means a breast exam, weight, general physical, internal vaginal exam and pap smear. All things which cause me incredible stress. I went back when Tabitha was five--to alleviate the guilt--and have not been back since.

But since I'm a million years old, it's a good idea for me to have an exam. So last month while Adam pitched his fit about having to get shots at his physical, I walked to the reception area and scheduled my appointment. It's not unusual for me to schedule appointments. It's just unusual for me to actually keep them. I told Therapist I wasn't canceling this one--and I didn't.

On the mountain of paperwork, I wrote a note on the "Other" section. I said: 

Dear Doctor-person-who-will-be-touching-me-in-a-few-moments, 
I have PTSD. Please talk with me about this before the exam takes place. 

So--Nurse checked me in and told me my weight was delightful and mentioned I've grown a quarter of an inch since my last exam--she measured me twice. I've been a solid 5-feet, 2-inches since my Freshman year of high school. I have no idea where the extra growth came from . Then Nurse checked my birthdate and mentioned she'd never known anyone to grow when they were a million years old. Then she said I didn't look a million years old. Nurse is very nice (cute, too! Yay!). Then Nurse took my blood pressure. And she took it again. And she looked alarmed.

Nurse asked if high blood pressure is present in my family. It is. So she asked what mine normally is. I told her 128 over 74. Today it was 164 over 110. So I confessed to being more nervous that I should be, and also confessed to wanting to throw up. I explained my situation and she said, "Well, I'll take your blood pressure again after the exam. It should be lower then." I tried to tell her it wouldn't be, but she was sure.

So Doctor came to see me. And we talked. And I told him about my past in four sentences.
1. I have PTSD.
2. This is because when I was eleven, an older cousin raped me repeatedly over a period of three months.
3. I haven't been able to have an exam because as I've gotten older my stress has increased to the point where I could no longer block it out nor tolerate it.
4. I'm currently in therapy and know I need to have an exam and I think I can do it today but I'm really, really, really terrified.

Doctor asked me what terrifies me. I told him that this is a logical trigger for a flashback. He asked what happens when I have a flashback. I explained that probably all he'd see was me shaking uncontrollably and I might yell. He said he though he could help me through that--but he had that deer-in-the-headlights look. 

So Doctor left and I took off my clothes and put on the paper gown thingies. He came in and did a breast exam (minor flashback with mild nausea and tremors), then he did a pap smear (big flashback, but still only minor tremors), and a vaginal exam (no flashback). Then he told me I was very healthy, and said I'll have the pap smear results in two weeks--and I could get dressed.

Nurse and Doctor left the room and I dressed as fast as I could (and folded the silly paper gown thingies--really--why???), then I sat in the chair and cried. Nurse came back (during a lull in the crying--thank goodness) and took my blood pressure again. 174 over 118. She looked alarmed and said if I had any headaches that wouldn't go away or felt other symptoms which I can't remember now, to be sure to call the office or go to the emergency room. I smiled and told her I would.

And then I got in my car and cried all the way home. I texted a couple of friends, thinking if I talked about the weather with them I might gain some composure. But they were busy and didn't reply. It's just as well, really. I couldn't have talked to them. I lose the power of speech when I'm sobbing. And I would have felt more stupid. Honestly--who cries over a routine physical??? I'm pathetic beyond belief. 

So, here I am blogging. Because I have to get this out somehow. 

And I think I should probably be celebrating, because I did it! But I still can't stop crying. And it sucks.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It is my most deeply held belief...

...that every once in awhile one should allow a day in which only chocolate chip cookies are eaten.

That's all.

(p.s. I'll eat real food for dinner tonight. I promise.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Winnie the Pooh knows more than I do

(Note: I posted this yesterday, then took it down because I wanted to think about it some more--my apologies if it appeared on your Reader again. I assume you know where the delete button is...)

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”

~Winnie the Pooh

I'm finally beginning to understand. Love is an interesting phenomenon. It begins with an intensity which makes us wish to physically hold the object of our affection--be it live or inanimate. In time we become accustomed to the people and things we love and the intensity wanes. Sometimes boredom replaces delight and we search for new desires and loves that we might continue to resurrect, somehow, the potent emotions which bring such enjoyment and temporary attachment.

There are probably some for whom the attachment lasts longer, some who accumulate new attachments while retaining the old ones, and some who use and discard. There are also people like me who rarely form attachments at all--but when we do, it's confusing and overwhelming, while still being joyful. 

I'm the type of person who wants to know the outcome of every situation in advance. I'd like to sit down with each person I love and give them a "what if" test. But then I would wish to hold them to their answers, and the truth is--there really are no answers. I have lived long enough to  know what I will do in most situations, and those that surprise me eventually evolve into events I understand and can manage. Most situations...keywords here...

The cerebral part of me has watched my children grow from infancy. I know they will leave me. I expect that. I have raised them to be independent and self-reliant. They don't need me. At this point I serve as a check to their youthful exuberance, and as a cheerleader (not a role I fit well). One day they will go away, find residences of their own, call every three months to let me know they're not dead, and wonder how they ever spent 18 years of their lives with me. That's how it's supposed to be. 

But every once in awhile, DJ kisses my cheek, Adam sits close to me and tells me he loves me, and Tabitha takes my hand while we're walking, and I wonder, when they're living their expected independent lives, where will I fit? Because I can't stop wondering about them, worrying about them...I know...I can't tuck them in bed every night forever. 

People offer me plentiful advice on the subjects of love, emotions, friendship, and family. I listen to it all. I might not agree, but I still consider what they say because, obviously, they get it and I don't.

"You can't expect other people to feel the same way you do." I have reiterated this tidbit from Tolkien Boy several times because I realized a few months back, when people do share the same feelings and emotions it's incredibly joyful. Even on a small scale (like discovering someone feels passion about the same music or poetry) it still feels like a bonding moment. And I want people to feel the same way I do, sometimes. Especially when it involves my feelings for another person. It would be really nice to know that person feels the same way about me. 

I remember the day I realized I loved Darrin so much I wanted to be with him every day for the rest of my life. I thought about it for awhile, recognized there was no way he would want the same thing, made a list of things I would do to get over the hurt when he told me I was a good friend, but probably contact every other day would be adequate. But when I broached the subject with him, he agreed that living with each other would be really fun, and thought it would be a good idea to get married. In spite of my reservations about certain parts of marriage, I couldn't help but feel it was miraculous that he felt the same way about me as I felt about him. 

I remember when DJ was about three years old. He was adorable. He smiled constantly, talked incessantly, and drove me nuts with knock-knock jokes. To circumvent the endless stream of jokes, I allowed him to tell me one, then took this approach:
DJ: Knock-knock, Mom.
Me: Knock-knock who?
DJ: No, Mom. You're supposed to say "Who's there?"
Me: Oh. Sorry.
DJ: Knock-knock, Mom.
Me: Who's there?
DJ: Batman.
Me: Who's there?
DJ: Batman.
Me: Who's there?
DJ: Batman.
Me: Who's there?
DJ: MOM!! You're supposed to say, "Batman, who?"
Me: Oh. I thought I was supposed to say, "Who's there?"
DJ: No. You're supposed to say, "Batman, who?"
Me: Okay.
DJ: Knock-knock, Mom.
Me: Batman, who?

...long pause....

DJ: You're just not very good at knock-knock jokes, are you.
Me: I guess not. Maybe we can do something else?
DJ: Okay.

I loved DJ so much it hurt sometimes. I had never imagined I could love someone in quite that way. I couldn't imagine anyone loving me in that way. But one day I was in the kitchen making dinner. I was singing as I worked and became distracted by a sniffle. I looked up and saw my three-year-old DJ in tears. He said, "Don't sing anymore, okay, Mom?" Trying not to be insulted at his suggestion, I said, "Okay. Want to tell me why you're crying?" He ran to me and hugged my knees, sobbing. I bent down and asked him what was wrong. He said, "Mom, it hurts when you sing. It's pretty, and it makes me hurt right here," and he reached up and pounded on his chest. I hugged him and kissed him and said sometimes it's okay to feel those things. He whispered, "Sometimes, when I'm loving you, it hurts like that, too." Yeah. I knew exactly what he was talking about. Finding out that he loved me with a childlike depth which overwhelmed him was a surprise to me. It made me love him even more.

I'm thinking about this, I suppose, because some of the greatest joy I've experienced has come when I have discovered that some people really do feel the same way I do. It's always unexpected, always surprising to me, because I believe Tolkien Boy's words: "You can't expect other people to feel the same way you do." No, I can't expect it--and I never do--but sometimes I wish for it. Especially in the realms of love and friendship. 

But in that same vein, I realized this past month that just as I prepare my children for the time when they will no longer live with me, I seem to be trying to prepare my friends for the time when we will no longer be close. There is a part of me which will not be ignored, which tells me that in time the desire for closeness will wane and the people who are important to me now will move on to others who more adequately meet their needs, perhaps because they share more common ground, or are closer in age or proximity. 

But maybe that doesn't have to be? Another part of me insists that some people remain friends for very long periods of time. It reminds me that Darrin still likes living with me every day, and tells me that I don't really know how often my children will want to be in contact with me when they leave home. It's possible they'll call more often than every three months--they might even chat with me online occasionally--or perhaps visit in person. It could happen.

A good friend reminded me last month that even though we've only met in person once, we still enjoy talking regularly and frequently--and we've been friends for more than two years now. I'm not sure anymore, what that means, but I think it means that there are some times when people connect and they don't allow the bond to weaken. They...keyword here...

So maybe it's a group effort? I can't keep a friendship or love bond intact no matter how much I try, but with the other interested party the bond can be strengthened indefinitely? I'm not magic by myself, but if I join with others, magic can happen? 

GAH!!! Seriously, who thinks about this stuff??? 

I need to load my dishwasher.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

For Fun

It's October--the month for interesting, odd, spooky, unusual stories. So, I wrote one.


"There's something about living near mountains that gets under your skin."

Bill had spoken those words as he tried to convince Gail it was time to move. For three months she had resisted, listing all the reasons to stay in their comfortable, small-town home. During that time she had shown him all the beauties of nature in their neighborhood, scheduled lunches and social events with their circle of friends and family, planned activities for just the two of them...still, in the lag time Bill stood at the window, staring at nothing, or sat in his chair memorizing the placement of each tiny hair on the backs of his downy hands. Newspapers were impatiently scanned and tossed away in an inelegant heap. Gail sighed as she straightened them, knowing that she would soon capitulate. Bill was bored and he had decided. They were moving to the mountains.

Three months turned into three weeks of packing, discarding, and garage sales. Gail wandered through the rapidly emptying rooms of her home, wondering why, at their age, the move was happening. We should go on a cruise, she thought, enjoy the Bahamas, sit in the sand, sleep under a palm tree. But the move went forward despite her reservations and soon she and Bill sat in a moving van grumbling its way toward mountains.

The new home was nice enough. Gail rather fell in love with it. She and Bill had purchased it outright through a friend who was traveling through the area. The friend had promised the home was structurally sound with a lovely interior, and the price had been right. Still, the nearest neighbor was found ten miles away, and only sporadically throughout the year, in a summer cottage. As Gail stood on the porch of her new home, loneliness throbbed in her stomach. She walked inside to look for Bill.

"In the fishing room." Gail shuddered at Bill's muffled reply to her inquiry as to his whereabouts. "Why do you need a fishing room?" she had asked him as he packed his special boxes marked with those words into the moving van. "I just need it," Bill answered, shrugging. "You can choose a room and call it what you'd like," he offered in a sudden spurt of generosity. "We have four bedrooms, and I'm not expecting many guests. I'll have my fishing room, and you can have your..." Uncertainty colored his voice as Bill wrinkled his forehead. He peered at Gail as if for the first time. "What is it you like to do?" he asked, looking confused and embarrassed. "It's okay," Gail answered, "I don't need a room."

As she walked away from him, Gail realized she was moving to an isolated new home with a man who knew nothing about her. It seemed an odd contrast that she knew each of her husband's habits. She could predict his sleep, hunger, and sexual arousal patterns. She knew what he wished to eat, favorite television programs, most preferred shirt. His whistling tune circled in her head before the actual notes left his mouth. How could he know so little about a woman he had lived with more than forty-five years?

Gail was brought up short by the woman staring at her from the mirror in her new front hall. She looked critically at the deep crevices lining her blue eyes, then surveyed the network of lighter wrinkles on her cheeks as she listened to thuds and banging issuing from Bill's fishing room. She thought about going to look at the coveted room, unpacking boxes, or starting dinner, and opted instead for an afternoon walk. She called to Bill, letting him know she was leaving for awhile. His muffled reply gave no hint of understanding.

Sweet air filled her nostrils as Gail passed evergreens and wildflowers. She began to empathize with Bill's obsession for mountains. The stillness was fraught with noise, actively peaceful. Gail watched birds startle into flight in her wake. She observed busy insects and swatted the one trying to feed on her blood. Aspens seethed with life. Pieces of blue sky cut through the green canopy of perpetual movement above her. Wondering how far their property line stretched, Gail looked about for a fence warning her not to stray from her new home. No boundary came into view.

Gail paused beside a small creek. Silvery liquid spilled over colorful flat rocks lining the bed. Overpowering thirst suddenly made itself known. Gail moved her tongue over a fuzzy inner cheek. She knew all the reasons one should not drink "wilderness water", as Bill called it. But home seemed far away and Gail could think of no reason the pristine water would harm her. Compulsively, she knelt and put her hand into the creek, withdrawing it immediately at the frigid shock, only to plunge the hand back, cupped this time, joined by the other, to pull out a mouthful of refreshment. Unable to stop, Gail continued to drink until her desire subsided. Satisfied, she stared into the sparkling depths of the limpid stream for a moment, then continued her journey.

Without the annoyance of thirst, Gail began to enjoy the tranquility of her solitude. She circled back and began her downhill return, feeling again the overwhelming sensation of being assaulted by color. Green framed spots of brilliant purple, red, and white, with occasional blue as wildflowers nodded at her passing. Orange, black, and indigo lent color to an abundance of butterflies paying homage to the wildflowers. As Gail neared the house a sudden reluctance stopped her progress. She sat on a nearby fallen log and gazed at the back of her new home, still a quarter mile distant. Evening was falling. A solitary light illuminated one window. the fishing room. Gail rested a moment longer, then slowly walked the remainder of the distance to her back door. Shrouded in dusk, she fumbled with the handle, then let herself into the kitchen.

Artificial light flooded the room with yellowed brightness as Gail flipped the switch. Grimacing at the clean lines and sterile walls, she walked to the pantry to find dinner. Moments later, Bill joined her, driven from his room by the odor of frying potatoes. "What are we having?" he inquired. Gail glanced at him. She had only gotten as far as the potatoes and a salad. Nothing else appealed. "Shall I make the steaks?" Bill had located the thawed meat in a refrigerator drawer. Nonplussed, Gail stared at the steaks, now sitting on a cutting board on her counter. She couldn't remember taking them from the freezer to thaw. Accepting her silence as affirmation, Bill turned to seasoning and broiling, allowing his tuneless whistle to fill the space created by lack of conversation.

Hours later, Gail watched her husband sleep. Bill's heavy jaw gaped open to allow jagged snores to rip the silence. It seemed an act of sacrilege to disturb the smooth stillness with such stridence. Turning from him, Gail stared at the ceiling, wondering when sleep would come. Finally, she wandered to their living room, new walls filled with familiar furniture. Walking to the bookcase, Gail found a worn, dogeared book, wrapped herself in the softness of a down comforter, and relaxed against the pillows on the couch. Lulled by oft-read words, she gradually fell asleep.

Gail awoke to the sound of nothing. Incredible stillness echoed loudly as she struggled to orient herself with her surroundings. Gradually, memory returned, allowing her to relax again as she gazed about the new room. It was common for Gail to read in a different room as Bill slept. It was unusual, however, for her not to join him as sleep became inevitable. She had never slept through the night on the couch. If she fell asleep, Bill would wake, find her gone, and prod her back to bed. Deciding he had been too tired to notice her absence from the bed, Gail went upstairs to see how he had slept. She found the room empty.

Bill was not an early riser. The glaring red numbers on the alarm clock announced that it was not quite 6:00 a.m. Squelching her nervousness, Gail called Bill's name, listening for his answer. It didn't come. She walked through the house, wondering what would cause him to wake so early in the morning. He wasn't there. Pulling on a sweatshirt and sneakers, Gail walked outside, ignoring the heavy dew soaking through the canvas covering her feet. She called Bill's name several times. There was no answer. Finally, in a panic, Gail ran back to the house, stumbling through the kitchen door.

"Well, good morning, Sunshine!" Bill was grinning at her from the kitchen sink. "Where were you?" Gail could not keep the accusation from her tone. Sensing it, Bill turned toward her. "I left you a note." He indicated a square of blue paper beneath a magnet on the white refrigerator door. Gail walked to the note, suddenly aware of the overpowering smell of fish, realizing where Bill had been. "I'm just cleaning my catch for the freezer," he told her, "then we'll have some for breakfast." Relief and anger warred within her. "Next time," she gritted, "please wake me before you leave. I was worried. And I'll pass on the fish for breakfast." "Gail, are you okay?" Bill peered at her momentarily before returning to the carcasses in the sink. "Fine," she answered shortly. "I'll go shower."

Days stretched into nights. Gail marked each morning as Bill arose to go fishing, returned home to clean his catch, showered, and spent the rest of the day in his fishing room. Gail waited each morning for the dew to evaporate, then escaped into the mountains to her sparkling stream. She became fond of the water. One day she brought a few empty bottles with her, filled them from the stream and took them home. Bill wondered why she no longer drank tap water. Gail couldn't explain. Mealtimes were stories of Bill's fishing adventures, while Gail nodded and looked attentive, longing for an escape back into the wooded hills she could see from her windows.

One morning Gail awoke to find Bill still in bed. He wasn't asleep, but lying quietly, watching her. Uncomfortable beneath his gaze, Gail arose and went to the shower. She dressed hurriedly in layers, eager to go walking. Opening the bathroom door, she once again encountered Bill. "Do you know you haven't talked for over three days?" his eyes shone with confusion and concern. Gail smiled, "That's nonsense. You've just been busy talking about fish. You didn't notice." But her voice felt uncomfortable and unfamiliar, each word an effort. "Gail, I'm not kidding. Why haven't you been talking?" Bill shifted nervously as he spoke. "I'm talking now. We can talk when I get home from my walk." Gail pulled on her shoes and began to leave the room. "May I come with you?" The question took Gail by surprise, leaving her breathless and stammering. "I...but this is my...umm....I don't know...maybe another time?" She didn't meet his eyes, knowing they would mirror hurt stemming from the rejection. She felt Bill's hand on her arm. "Let me come with you." "I can't!" Until the words were out, Gail had no idea how potently she felt them. He was not to come with her. She had to go alone. This was her walk, her woods, her mountains. He was not allowed there. Gail shook Bill's hand from her arm and rushed out of the house.

Checking repeatedly to be certain he had not followed, Gail varied her path, circling back, walking in new directions, careful not to reveal her intended destination. When she finally reached the stream, she lay flat on her stomach on the bank, immersing her face in the icy water, drinking deeply. Peace flooded through her body relaxing the tense muscles. Gail looked about, noticing the brilliant color on each leaf, wondering when autumn had crept in. Suddenly overcome with fatigue, Gail stretched the length of her body on the lumpy creek bank, and fell asleep.

Midday sun awoke her. Gail stretched, grateful for its warmth, and turned onto her side. A tiny squirrel, disturbed by her movement, chattered at her, then drew closer. Gail remained motionless, allowing the rodent to approach her. To her surprise, the animal slowly crawled to her thigh, sniffed the denim covering her leg, then curled up next to it. The squirrel seemed oblivious to the fact that the leg belonged to a human torso, and remained still, basking in the sunlight. Silently, Gail watched its tiny body breathe rhythmically, until she, too, returned to sleep.

It was night. New sounds, new creatures scurried through the black-blue expanse. Gail wondered briefly why she was not cold, then gazed about her in delight. A night bird paused in its flight and lit on her shoulder. Amazed at the audacity of the bird, Gail allowed it to perch lightly, balancing with tiny feet. The bird gazed about until alert eyes caught movement unseen by Gail and her companion startled into flight. A bat flew in crazy loops, following an insect for its supper. Gail realized it had been a very long time since an insect had bitten her. She couldn't remember it happening after her first walk in her beloved woods. She wondered if she ought to return to the house, but couldn't bear the thought of facing Bill, of talking to him.

Gail sat up slowly, leaning her back against a rock. It seemed to conform to her shape, supporting her comfortably. Curious lethargy filled her, combined with content. Inhaling deeply, Gail sat on the forest floor gazing up at her mountains. Time seemed accelerated. She was aware of sunrises and sunsets, of the stretches of brightness and velvet blackness in between. Various woodland creatures lent her company. Joy coursed through her. For the first time, Gail felt completely alive.

In one moment, toward the end of a brilliant sunset, a foreign creature approached her. Unfamiliar sounds assailed her ears. To her surprise, Gail was able to discern words. "Gail, honey, come home. I've missed you. Look at you--you're all covered in slimy moss. You hate being dirty. Let's go home. You can have a nice shower. We can move back to town if you want--have dinner with friends--go shopping. Please. Please. Come with me. I've been looking all over for you."

Gail blinked at the man without recognition, and pressed herself more firmly into her rock. This was home. She would not leave. He continued to talk, but the words no longer registered. She closed her eyes and slept.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sometimes I just can't let things die

Every year I plant tomatoes. I usually harvest a few before the frost kills the plants. The night before the first frost I cut all the green tomatoes from the plants and leave them on ther vines in a cardboard box. The theory is that they'll continue to ripen on the vines and one can enjoy the tomatoes for anothe couple of weeks. What actually happens is that about half of the tomatoes shrivel and die, and those which ripen develop a mealy texture. Not delicious.

This year I stood and looked at my tomatoes and fresh herbs and thought, I don't want them to die. So I went to the store and bought boxes to plant them in, came home and transplanted the mature plants. I know the risks of doing this, but if they died from shock I'd be no worse off than if I left them for the frost to kill. What I didn't realize was that the plants had already been nipped, so they had a multitude of dead/dying leaves. I also had no idea how large the plants actually were.

Regardless, I tranplanted and transported my tomatoes and herbs into my house. Everything is thriving except for the purple basil. I'm not sure how long everything will live, but I think we'll have tomatoes well into November, and herbs indefinitely. Darrin's hoping for an early plant demise so we'll have more space, but he never did love tomatoes. The rest of us, however, are very pleased that we don't have to try to salvage mealy tomatoes from a box.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

And now that you know me...

Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear ... and the acceptance of love back in our hearts.

~Marianne Williamson

Yes, I know this has been my posted quote for more than a month now. Probably it will stay there for another month. 

This is my current challenge:
I can be loved by others. I can accept love from others. It is healthy and positive for me to recognize that other people can love me back. There is nothing special about me which disqualifies me from being a lovable human being. 

I realized three years ago that someday I would have to confront the stigma I have which precludes me from being completely lovable. I have always held to these simple core beliefs:
1. Being loved is nice, but not necessary.
2. I can be loved if I'm smart, cute, and funny.
3. People will love me if I don't tell them the bad things.
4. People do not really love me, but rather, the idea of me that I present to them.
5. It is not possible to love the real person, Samantha, but it is possible to love portions of her.
6. The intense love I feel for other people is unnatural and should never be expressed or revealed.
7. No one can feel that same intensity of emotion for me on any level.
8. Darrin loves me, but I don't know why.

Naturally, these are not things I have admitted to feeling until recently. They sound...unhealthy. Unfortunately, in my quest for truth, I had to acknowledge that this is how I feel.

I've been pondering these beliefs for more than a year now. When I try to challenge or change them, I feel real physical pain, even to the point of nausea. It's stressful, to say the least. I've tried using examples. I've tried soliciting love responses from people closest to me. I've tried to change my thought patterns and emotional responses. Nothing works, and everything seems to bring some sort of painful response.

I think, though, I've finally figured out the origins of my beliefs and how they have been reinforced throughout my life. And I realize that most of this began long ago when I was a child and I truly believed that I was not loved or wanted--nor was it possible for me to be so.

I believe most people on some level believe that human love is conditional. We try not to do this, but when we feel most vulnerable, we return to that belief. I think about Sully sometimes, when I'm trying to figure this out. 

Two years ago he was in my seminary class. I know him very well, and over a period of about five weeks I could see that something important was taking place inside of him. I probed a bit, and for the first time in two years, he put me off. He would answer, but I knew he wasn't telling me what was happening. Finally, after seminary one day I said, "Sully, are you ever going to talk to me about what's going on?" At that point I was pretty certain I knew, but he still hadn't told me. He looked at me almost in a panic, opened his mouth to speak, closed it again, then said without meeting my eyes, "I don't think I can to talk to you about this."

I was stunned. We had talked about nearly everything imaginable for two years. Sully said he had to go, gave me a hug and left the room. I went home and emailed him. I told him what I believed was going on in his life. I expressed that what he was choosing was in conflict with my beliefs--and then I promised him that this was all right. It was important for him to think and believe independently and I was proud of him for being courageous enough to choose for himself--even if his choices did not align with my own. 

I have known Sully since he was seven or eight years old. I fell in love with him as I sat behind his family in church and watched the quiet boy with the unruly dark hair read or color or cuddle with his mom. I loved him as he turned into an awkward Junior High student whose bright smile broke my heart because I could read unhappiness in it. I loved him when I saw his eyes wander to other boys, oblivious of the young women who were watching him. I loved him when I knew he was cutting, when I suspected he was experiencing pain I understood. I loved him so much that when he was sixteen I could stand to watch him no longer, and regardless of the fact that I must step out of my comfort zone to do so, I confronted him and asked him to let me into his life, told him what I knew about him, and promised that I would help him in any way that I could. 

A few days after our conversation in seminary, Sully came to talk with me. He talked about how fearful he was that I would stop loving him if he left the church and maintained a different belief system. I told him it was not possible for me to stop loving him. He said he didn't know how to believe that. We talked for a very long time about what it means to really love a person, and how true love is never based on what a person believes, or how he acts, or what he says. Real love continues in any instance and is not swayed by life events, but instead is increased over the passage of time. Today, I think Sully understands that my love for him was never based on his talent, or personality, or faith in God, but stemmed from a soul connection. I know of no other way to describe it.

I have had this type of experience with more than one person in my life. And yet, somehow, I have never been able accept that the experience is/can be reciprocated. Part of that, I believe, stems from the fact that I hide so much that I feel is unacceptable about me from others. 

I think about the ways that I have loved Sully throughout his life, and I recognize that I wish, somehow, someone could love me in the same way. I wish someone could fall in love with the curly haired toddler who could not sit still and loved to giggle. I long for someone to love:
-the kindergartner who loved to read but couldn't color inside the lines, 
-the seven-year-old who didn't know how to connect with other children because they played games she didn't understand, 
-the nine-year-old who loved snakes and collected friends who looked sad or left out because she understood how that felt, 
-the ten-year-old who discovered one could lose herself in music as she practiced the piano for hours,
-the twelve-year-old who forgot how to laugh and lived in a world of pain and lost her innocence to someone who took it forcibly without her permission, 
-the fifteen-year-old who had spent three years learning about gods and religions and atheism and agnosticism and hated the Christian God who allowed her to be molested in nearly every possible way, 
-the seventeen-year-old who felt that she had slept in the bedroom where she had been raped, and lived in the the home where she had been abused quite long enough so she left to live in the real world which, she felt, couldn't possibly be any worse,
-the adult who got married and had children and became a musician and countless other things, but who still loved snakes and giggling, and who still wished to love people who were sad and alone because she hadn't forgotten how that feels...

Back in the days when he actually read blogs and commented, and before I knew him, Tolkien Boy once left this on one of my blog posts: It's possible to love someone...even if you don't know them.

I wonder, sometimes, if that's true. I wonder if it's possible for someone to love the Samantha they never met. I want it to be true. Now that we have met and we know each other well, Tolkien Boy has reiterated that idea more than once--in fact he has told me he loves the little girl who was lonely and confused. But I don't understand how that can happen, and I don't know how to believe him. And I'm only now coming to realize that I love her, myself. 

I need to think about this some more. 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"At some point you become yourself and make no more apologies."

I'm quoting myself. I've told this to a number of people I love as I've watched them grow and mature. And I believe it passionately. For most of my life I've lived according to that adage. But for most of my life I've not cared what anyone thought of me. Preserving and nurturing relationships was never a priority. I said and did whatever I thought was appropriate--and I didn't apologize.

I'm guessing my actions have hurt someone's feelings more than once. Now that I'm trying to become a real girl, I find that regrettable. At the same time, it has never been my aim to hurt anyone. I just have difficulty remembering that the things that are trivial to me are sometimes monumental to another. I forget that I haven't always shown gratitude for things I felt were "givens"--sort of like saying thanks to a rock for not being in my shoe. 

When I began exploring who I am, looking at my past experiences, and learning to have intimate friendships, suddenly I found myself making excuses for who I am. I began repeatedly apologizing for being me--as though I was some sort of anathema. The former self-confidence and self-acceptance was gone. 

I'm not sure why this happened. I believe it came to pass because suddenly I cared what others thought about me, and I was certain I could never measure up to their expectations. Also, it was the first time I had interacted with people who knew intimate details of my life. That was a novelty I had never before experienced. Regardless, it has been a rapid journey into the bowels of self-loathing, and I've been wallowing there for more time than I care to admit.

In the past few months, however, certain experiences have caused me to reevaluate my visit into wretchedness, and to remember why I used to say the title of this blog post. 

Experience One: Sister Four visited with Brother Two and told him she believed I was making up most of my life story. She wasn't sure I'd been raped--perhaps just fondled a bit--and I was exaggerating the details (which I find interesting since, outside of this blog, which Sister Four has never read, I've not expressed the details, indeed, even the bare-bones story, to anyone). She said our mother has never misused any of her children--again, I was exaggerating deserved discipline for my egregious acts as a child. And finally, I was not gay, obviously, since I'm married and have children. If my children were adopted my story might be more plausible, but since Darrin and I have had sex three times, I must be attracted to him and therefore, not attracted to women. 

Brother Two disclosed to me the conversation he had with Sister Four. He was uncomfortable because he felt he should defend me, but had no idea how to do so. I told him firmly that he was never to defend me in this type of situation. I had done nothing wrong, and therefore had nothing to argue or defend. I then emailed Sister Four and asked what drugs she was on. If I wanted attention I had many better ways to get it than to tell lies about myself. She admitted the cousin rape story might be true. She admitted that there probably was a little abuse in my life from my mother. But she said straight up that she didn't want me to be gay. She didn't want it to be true. And in the process of explaining that, she let her homophobia be seen. 

I realized as I read her response that I had no use for a person who will allow one aspect of my personality to color her opinion of ME. I think girls are beautiful. That doesn't change the fact that I'm funny and delightful. It doesn't make me less intelligent or talented. It doesn't effect my ability to be married to Darrin or parent my children. It doesn't lower my salary, destroy my relationship with God, or make me a terrible housekeeper. It doesn't cause me to have heart disease or short, it is such a minute portion of my entirety that I have difficulty understanding how it could mean anything to anyone outside of myself. 

I told Sister Four to let me know when she wanted to visit in person or on the phone, and we could talk more about it. Then I asked her to limit her conversations about me to the two of us--not to gossip about me with my siblings, and left the ball in her court. She hasn't contacted me for more than a month. I don't expect her to do so for a very long time. Truthfully, I'm okay with that. Once again, I am becoming myself--and I make no excuses for who I am.

Experience Two: Tabitha has had a close friend for the past three years. They've spent lots of time together and genuinely care for each other. Sleep-overs in my home have been a rare occurrence because of the stress they cause me based on my past. However, for this young lady I have made an exception. I have allowed Tabitha to be in the friend's home overnight, and we have reciprocated the gesture. In truth, it's been good for me because the friend's parents are aware of my sexuality and I felt that they trusted me.

However, tonight Friend called Tabitha to let her know that her parents felt that after the age of thirteen, overnight stays were no longer acceptable. Tabitha said, "That's the lamest excuse for not letting your daughter spend the night with someone I've every heard!" Tabitha forgets her mother is a lesbian. She doesn't understand the suspicions aimed at me. She cannot see that I could be considered a threat to anyone. I, on the other hand, heard the message loud and clear. 

I told Tabitha it was important to honor Friend's parents' wishes, and said we could still have her over for dinner and to spend some time on weekends when they would allow it. Tabitha pouted at me and said it didn't make sense. I smiled and said I was sure they knew what was best for their daughter. Tabitha stomped about the house for a few minutes, then said it still didn't make sense. I said, in time things would feel better. Tabitha said, "Yeah, but it still doesn't make sense."

But it makes complete sense to me. Friend is becoming a young woman. Friend's parents would like her to stay away from dangerous me...because, you know, I'm in the habit of seducing young teen girls...

I suppose if I was afraid Friend's father would molest Tabitha, this whole thing might make more sense. And one can always assume that it really is their family rule that sleepovers cease after age 13--except I know this family. Friend is not their oldest child. If it's a family rule, it just barely became one.

In the process of talking this out with Tabitha, I realized once again that I have nothing to apologize for. I cannot take responsibility for someone else's inability to have faith in my integrity. I cannot be blamed for the bigotry or intolerance I continually encounter. 

In short, I am becoming myself, once again. I will make no apologies for that. Anyone who cannot accept me for who I am, warts and all, will miss out on a joyful wealth of experiences that only I can supply. This is not conceit. This is Samantha in all her glory. Make no mistake--I will never become what someone else wishes me to be. Nor will I allow myself to be reduced by their inability to see who I truly am. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I try to avoid this type of post--this time I feel compelled to share (probably because Darrin is gone this week and can't see his children's bad manners).

Tabitha has always put her brothers to shame when it comes to pure volume involved in passing gas. They often marvel at how such loud sounds can issue from such a tiny body. Rather than feeling embarrassment, Tabitha sits and giggles. Last night at the dinner table she chose to regale us with her unique symphony.

DJ: That's sick!

Tabitha: You just wish you could do it, too.

DJ: I don't either!

Tabitha begins giggling.

DJ: At least you could excuse yourself and go to the stairwell...(his voice trails of as he catches my eye and he finishes weakly) to do that. (to me) What!? You didn't really think I'd go all the way up to the bathroom, did you? Besides, no one stays in the stairwell for very long and it echoes better.

At this point, both Tabitha and Adam are laughing hysterically and DJ's on the verge of joining them.

DJ: You should see how big your eyes are, Mom.

He gives up and joins his siblings in the giggling. I give up and leave the table.

I just want to say that I taught them better. The rule is that such bodily functions belong in the bathroom whenever possible. I have no idea when Tabitha decided her special talent must be shared with her brothers, but no doubt, with the reinforcement she just received, I'm fighting a losing battle here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

And now we will find out exactly how much Therapist loves me back.

I just sent Therapist a homework assignment to complete before our next appointment.

This makes me giggle.

And if he actually does the homework, he might be my one true love forever. 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Life is pain...Anyone who says differently is selling something..."

In the past few years of searching for answers, I have discovered many things about myself. Most of them I'd rather not know, but one can't really unlearn things, and trying to do so  only serves to cement the uncomfortable facts more firmly in the mind. Remember that next time you study for a test. Spend some time trying to forget everything you've learned...

I have come to understand that I have spent my life in a duck-and-run form of love and friendship. I connect with people, make sure everyone around me is happy--and then I disappear. I've discussed this before, but I've finally recognized why I do this. 

I've always felt that being with me for a prolonged period of time is not healthy. Even for Darrin, I plan breaks from me. Sometimes I'll see people online, but no matter how much I'd like to chat, if I feel they've had too much Samantha time, I'll stay silent. Also, if I see a couple of mutual friends online at the same time, I'll probably not say anything to either one, assuming they're talking to each other, which is so much better for them than talking to me. Of course this is utter nonsense and a product of my subconscious memories of abuse, which doesn't change the fact that I still feel this way.

I've been working on allowing myself to accept love from others. Part of my personal belief system has been that it's okay for others to be loved by me (in small doses, naturally), but it's not possible for them to love me back. Sort of insulting to those who call me friend, but there it is. So I've been trying to work through those feelings, recognize they aren't representative of what is true, and learn to accept mutual love, respect, and affection in my life and you know what? It HURTS!!!

I'm not kidding. I find this physically, mentally, and emotionally painful. When the impulse to disappear hits, and I force myself to go BE with someone, it feels painful in every way. When someone tell me he/she loves me, and I try to believe their words, it aches inside. When someone expresses a desire to be with me, and I attempt to imagine what it might feel like to miss me a little (which simply feels impossible), it hurts. 

I'm trying to figure out why all this is so distressing. It's not the same as when I had to accept that I'd been raped (that hurt, for sure) and I couldn't change that fact. This is a positive acceptance--something good and helpful and strengthening. But in some ways it's more painful than accepting the negatives in my life. 

And all this sounds crazy--like always. 

My subconscious is having a heyday with all this misery. I've been having dreams which, in dreamland make complete sense, but when I wake, leave me feeling terribly confused. Don't get me wrong--it's better than watching memories while I sleep, but still, the dreams are odd. 

For example:
1. Jason contacted me and told me he'd sent the latest batch of papers for me to though I graded them all the time. I said that was fine, and started to chat with him. He said, "Remember, Sam, the only reason we're friends is because I can use your help with all this paperwork. We don't really talk, so I'd rather not waste time with  you." I answered, "Oh, yes. I had forgotten. Sorry." 
2. Darrin asked me if I'd make some of "that really great focaccia bread for my girlfriend and I." I said of course. He said he'd be bringing her by to meet the kids, so it would be nice if I could have dinner ready on time. My answer, "Oh, that would be lovely to meet her. I was wondering when you'd introduce us." He said, "Well, I'm pretty sure she'll be interested in the kids, but you can go somewhere else." I said, "That makes sense. Will you be sleeping at home tonight?" Darrin said he wasn't sure.
3. I caught Edgy online when I was very distressed about something and asked if he had a minute. He said, "Are you going to whine?" I said, "Probably." He said, "You know Sam, we're only friends because I like to have lunch with different people occasionally. I don't really want to hear your latest trivial emotional 'thing.'"  I said I hadn't really thought about that from his perspective, said it made complete sense, and hoped I hadn't bothered him. He said I had, but it was okay this time--but not to let it happen again. I promised I wouldn't.
4. I was at a party of some sort with Tolkien Boy. He said he had something to talk to me about. We went to a nearby corner, where he said, "We won't be meeting like this anymore. You remember, right?" No, I'd forgotten. He reminded me that he could only be my friend until Melyngoch returned from her mission, at which point he had no need or desire for my friendship. I responded, "Oh yes, you were very clear about that from the outset. It won't be a problem." Once again, it made complete sense in the dream. We continued to enjoy the party and the people there, then I drove TB home. He got out of the car, reminded me not to contact him again, and left.

So--the dreams are fairly emotionless and they feel completely logical. But when I wake and try to imagine anyone in my life being so callous--it's unfathomable. 

Okay, I'm not analyzing anything else tonight. Obviously, my brain and emotions are all messed up right now. I'm going to go to bed and remember the following:
1.  Jason writes me beautiful emails to remind me that he's a wonderful friend.
2. When I go to bed in a few moments, Darrin will be waiting for me (not for anyone else). He'll hold me and remind me that being in bed with me is his favorite place.
3. Edgy says he loves me.
4. When I left him at his home last time, TB did not say to stop bugging him, but kissed me on the cheek and thanked me for spending time with him.

And I'm going to ignore the fact that remembering those things brings me unexplained pain, and I'm going to pretend, instead that they just make me happy--because I think they do, really, I'm just distracted by something else, maybe.

And if by some miracle, someone can tell me why something so wonderful is causing me so much distress, please share. I'd love some answers.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Giant = Giant

We ate at McAlister's Deli last night. Not having been there before, I was happy to see several vegetarian options on the menu. Normally I would opt for the veggie sandwich, but I've been unable to maintain warmth in my body lately (stupid being sick!), so I wanted something warm. 

I ordered the Spud Ole (baked potato with vegetarian chili, cheese, jalapeno peppers). Unfortunately, I didn't see the part about the potatoes being "Giant". The split potato, seriously, was the size of a large dinner plate. I usually eat one about 1/5 that size. I think there was a pound of cheese on it, which I scraped off and Tabitha dumped into her mashed potatoes (I'm not a huge fan of abundant cheddar and Swiss). And it came with butter. I don't know why. 

I spent most of dinner just looking at the potato. DJ had ordered the same thing. He ate nearly all of his. Darrin assured me that everyone would help with mine--but they had enough food with their own orders. I suggested next time we come, we all just share one potato. It's that big.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I don't understand him, but he makes me giggle.

Darrin hates the red glare from his digital alarm clock. I don't like the glare, either, but I just turn my clock toward the wall. Actually, I never really use an alarm. I'm up by 5:30 every morning. But Darrin doesn't want to be bothered with having to manually turn the clock to look at it, and he needs an alarm because his internal clock wakes him at 1:30 p.m. Not good if you're supposed to be at work by 8:00 a.m. 

Not long ago I found Darrin destroying an old pair of sunglasses. It's not unusual to see him tinkering--but it usually means he has to "fix" something, which drives me crazy. Sometimes things are fine the way they are! However, I've learned to say nothing, and he's learned not to fix my stuff, so we get on very well.

I watched as he cut out the lenses of the glasses, then proceeded to measure those and cut some more. Soon he disappeared into the bedroom and emerged with super glue (his favorite thing in the world) and his alarm clock. He then glued the newly cut sunglasses lenses to the display of his clock. It looks stupid.

However, it seems to have taken care of the problem. No more complaints about red numbers boring through his eyelids, which means his snoring will be completely uninterrupted...sigh...

I think I might be the only person in the world who has an alarm clock which wears sunglasses. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I don't remember the last time I was really sick. Consequently, this kicked in without me even knowing what was happening. I started feeling unusual last Thursday. I thought it was a blood sugar thing, which was probably part of the whole. I've been trying to run since them, but can't seem to get past three miles without feeling faint and nauseated. Today I got up, put on my running clothes, sat on my bed and fell asleep...sitting up. I woke in time to shower and go to my first rehearsal.

After rehearsal I tried to go for a walk with a friend. We made it to the two mile mark and I told her I just had to go home. When we got to my house she said, "Take your temperature. You don't look well." So I did...102 degrees...I think that means I'm probably sick. 

I took some pain killer, worked for awhile, then went back to bed and slept till Darrin got home. I made dinner, and went back to work. But now I feel too tired to do anything and I think I need to go to sleep again. Sleep is good when you're sick, right?

The thing is, my only symptoms are achiness, fatigue, fever, and occasional nausea. I don't have anything going on with my throat or sinuses (I don't know that I've ever had a stuffy nose), and I can't honestly say where it hurts. It's very odd.

I've decided I'm going to blame the past three weeks of emotional stress on my body preparing to be sick. And when I'm physically better, I expect to be emotionally better, as well. And less cranky. And able to run again.

Okay. Going to bed. But I just have to say, even though today was kind of awful, I think things are getting better, even though Therapist says I have to reschedule my appointment with him and that makes me stressed because I can't handle it when I have everything figured out and something happens that changes everything. Well, it was just one thing, but it feels like everything. Edgy knows what I'm talking about, right? 

My eyelids feel too large.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Still trying. I don't think I know how to give up. 

I had a friend when I was growing up. Her family raised sheep. I was visiting one day and she showed me her special project. A small lamb--all bandaged up. I asked what had happened to the animal. The lamb had been free ranging since birth and followed my friend everywhere. It would wait patiently while my friend was inside her house, and keep her company once again when my friend came back outside. When school began in the fall, the lamb was penned. It watched as the bus drove my friend to school, then began throwing itself at the barbed wire surrounding the pen. My friend's father didn't notice the lamb's behavior for nearly five hours. When he rescued the bleeding animal it was still trying to escape from the enclosure so it could find my friend. Sometimes I think I'm like that lamb. I recognize I'm bloody and tired, but I don't know how to stop hurling myself at the barbed wire. My common sense seems to flee when it comes to finishing what I start.

Regardless, I'm doing everything I can to stay involved with people, especially Darrin and the kids. Adam seems to be aware that something is different with me. He wanted to spend lots of time with me this weekend, ditching his new laptop to work on a jigsaw puzzle with me for a couple of hours. 

Sully came over last night. We made dinner, then went for a walk in the dark. It was raining lightly, but not cold. I ended up word vomiting for nearly an hour and a half. That doesn't happen very often. Poor Sully. 

Sully often teases me that I should have opened a restaurant or tried for my own cooking show because I love making food. I never could do anything like that--even if I wanted to:
1. When I cook, it's generally driven by a whim. I decide what I'll make while I'm actually in the process of making it.
2. I like to cook because food is pretty. I'm guessing most successful chefs have a better reason than that.
3. I'm almost exclusively vegetarian and cooking with meat grosses me out. That would reduce clientele significantly.
4. I never use recipes. Sometimes I look at them, but before I'm finished, I've always altered it in some way. It's just more fun.
5. I don't measure. Measuring reduces the element of surprise. I just put everything together and if it tastes good, I'm as delighted as everyone else. And if it tastes nasty (although I've only experienced this once, when I was making chili while talking on the phone, and I added a mystery ingredient which ruined it--I still don't have a clue what was added), I can blame my non-measuring/non-recipe habits.
6. I don't want to cook for people I don't love. And if I cook for you, I make you help me. I'm guessing that wouldn't fly with the health inspector at a restaurant. 
7. I don't believe the things I make are any better than average--just more unusual. And I fool people into believing the food is wonderful by making sure they notice how pretty it is--before it's cooked, as well as after. 
8. Except for my sour cream chocolate cake. It's amazing. I made it last night. 

Sully admits, however, that it has only been in my home that he's enjoyed eating food he doesn't usually like. Even watermelon. But I don't like watermelon, either, unless it's been frozen and made into a smoothie. That tastes nice. Sully agrees with me. He also gave my avocado milkshakes a thumbs up. 

And now that I have demonstrated how infinitely unfocused I am today--I must go to a rehearsal.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Still Waiting

Something's wrong. I know this. The disconnect is still happening, and I'm going into week four. 

Please understand. This is not something I want. My head is screaming at me that I need to feel differently. That's not helpful at all. 

I'm hoping this is some sort of defense mechanism triggered by something I have yet to discover. Because then, when I do discover it, I can let everything go. I'm hoping this is happening because I've been working incessantly for more than three years, and maybe I'm just tired. Because then I can get some rest and it will all go away.

My friend came to see me a couple of days ago.
Friend: When I was at your house earlier this week you seemed anxious.

I seemed anxious...because I was.

Friend: Have I done something to hurt you? Is there something wrong? It felt like you wanted me to leave.

No, you've done nothing to hurt me. Yes, something is horribly wrong. How do I tell you that, indeed, I desperately wanted you to leave?

Friend: Is this a bad time? Would you rather not talk about it?

No. I need to talk about it. I just don't know how without making me look like some psycho-weird-person, and the additional chance that I'll hurt your feelings.

I took a chance on my friend. I explained what was happening--and how it was killing me because for the first time all this "stuff" was including Darrin and my kids. That's never happened before. I told her I was afraid, and yes, I wanted her to leave, and I was feeling anxious, but it had nothing to do with our friendship--just a symptom of something I haven't yet learned how to manage. I said I was sorry. She said it was okay.

But it's not okay. Thursday I got up and went for a long run--getting home just in time to shower and dress so I could leave for a rehearsal. But I had forgotten that the lot in which I usually park was closed. I remembered, while in the shower, that I would be walking that day. In my rush I forgot to eat. I walked three miles to the rehearsal. That made my mileage for the day 10. On the three mile walk home, my blood sugar reminded me that I hadn't eaten for awhile--none that day, and little the day before, I don't know how much the day before get the idea--by causing me a bit of  equilibrium problem. By the time I got home I was feeling too ill to do much of anything. 

I canceled my afternoon rehearsals, and did pretty much nothing the rest of the afternoon. But yesterday, my ability to control emotions was non-existent. The thought of being with anyone was not something I could deal with. I canceled work and rehearsals and played sick. I called my friend and told her I couldn't make it to our scheduled work-out. Then I stayed home and waited. Sure enough, by 10:00 the random crying jags were in full swing. I had lovely online chats with people, short ones with Ambrosia and AtP and a longer one with Tolkien Boy, while I sobbed about absolutely nothing. Thankfully, my family wasn't home to witness my embarrassing loss of control. Ugh.

The point of all this is that, in spite of my impulse to be alone, I'm trying to stay in contact with people. I walk away from those interactions, certain that I'm that odd friend everyone is nice to, because she's mentally unstable, and no one wants to be the one to tell her to go away. Then I remind myself that these are people who have said they love me--and I'm fairly certain no one paid them to say that. Most of them hug me and want to spend time with me. Tolkien Boy has even had prolonged exposure to me, one on one, including extended physical contact, and seems none the worse for it. Ugh, again.

Okay, I have to go to bed. My nightmares lately are odd beyond belief, but not scary. They leave me unsettled and always seem to involve people I love in unusual situations, or saying things completely out of character. I'm not loving sleep lately. However, I also understand that staying up is not helping any of this...situation, nor is it helping me manage the symptoms which feel completely out of control.

I'm seeing Therapist in a couple of weeks. Perhaps he can help me figure this out. 

Okay, end of self-indulgent post. Just as a teaser, I haven't written for a couple of days because I've been researching something--and as usual, I get a little bit rabid about tracking down information when I think I've found pertinent data. I'm working on a post to explain what I've found and what it means to me--but that last part keeps changing, which is a bit of a challenge. So, more on that later.

I told Tolkien Boy, either yesterday or today, I'm not sure which, that I don't know how to ask for what I need. But I think I've figured it out, finally. Until I'm able to get a grip, here is what I would ask:
1. Please don't attribute the things I'm currently feeling to who I am. Those of you who know me--I'm not different--I'm just having a difficult time.
2. If you talk to me and you're someone who loves me, remind me? Please don't let me talk myself out of accepting that people genuinely care about me. 
3. If you happen upon me and I'm crying like an idiot--don't notice, okay? It's not something I have any control over right now, and it feels as embarrassing as being incontinent. But it's okay if you hand me a tissue, because I probably won't have one with me.
4. Remind me that real friends stay--because that's what I keep telling myself. No one is going anywhere. I've worked very hard to get where I am, to find friends at every level, and to accept love and support from them. Remind me that I need to accept that love and support even when I feel this way--especially when I feel this way.

This will pass, right? And if it doesn't, I'll learn to manage it in such a way that it no longer interferes with me, right? Right?

I hate this so much.