Sunday, August 13, 2017

Twelve Days Until TARDIS

Twelve days until Wizard Con and my friend Nikki Styx will be here to help me celebrate.  Well, I'm actually helping her celebrate, because it's her birthday, and it was her idea that we should go, and her idea won over my anxiety.  And I said yes.  Yes to the crowds of strangers,  the fact that they are geeks and nerds like me is what makes me ok with this.  Because in eleven days I'm going, by myself to the venue, after work, and checking in.  All alone.  At my first con, with my anxiety held before me like a giant shield against the world.  The reason I want to check in on Thursday night is because I work on Friday too and they aren't open for check in by the time I'd get there; and I'd have to wait until Saturday morning, which will be crowded with others that waited.  So less crowds, get my swag and checked in early, and make my anxiety shut the fuck up! 

When I was younger I never felt like this.  Prior to the rapes I never was afraid of crowds or people.  I'm sure its how my PTSD from the events, presents itself.  As long as I'm with one other person, I'm fine.  And my daughter doesn't understand why I talk to strangers, when I'm alone.  When the situation is new, It's become a comfort to me to make a friend on the train, or bus.  Just to feel less alone and invisible.  Less afraid of the men.  My goal is to beat my anxiety to the ground until it no longer is a control over my social life. 

I have everything I need for the con, and I'm super excited to meet David Tennant (got his VIP package, before they added a Doctor Who Gold with Alex Kingston also John Barrowman, Kate Tate and Jenna Coleman packages)  SO we got a photo shoot with John and autograph session with Alex.  They added a lot of talent, TWD, and Firefly and Stranger Things, even Gene Simmons of KISS and John Cusack.  Here's a link for any of you that are just curious or might like to come along.

Needless to say I Can't Wait!  And my first con to boot.  My costume is mostly borrowed from Nikki's amazing seamstress friend.  I have my own boots, River's journal and sonic screwdriver and of course handcuffs.  I'm even debating on curling my hair the night before so it's super curly like River Songs' (not River from case there was any confusion among my fandoms)  I wish I could afford to meet them all.  But Doctor number 10 won.  Now if they get Smith and Capaldi too...i might have to spend too much. 


Sunday, August 6, 2017

I Feel Like Fate (TRIGGER ALERT)

I talked to the mirror yesterday.  Really looked at myself and talked about the past.  Talked about the rapes and how they really effected my choice in men.  From my husbands to relationships to just sex partners.  I was brutal about the lessons each had to teach me about the rapes.  But I was honest.  Honest with myself about what I learned and forgave myself for the necessity of having to learn anything about experiences that are so hard to revisit.

And I realized why I'm so scared to try again.

The last lessons, with Mr. Charisma and the final endings of Mr. Hopeful, this year (my New Years resolutions two years running) and Mr. Practical seven years ago, were personal worst moments for me.  And that's not their fault.  The last lessons are the hardest. 

But if these were personal lows, the 'married men stage'.  I don't want to know what comes after that.  It can't be good.  And I personally don't want to know anything worse than being a mistress.  Secret love is not sexier its just secret.  You can't be seen together so you can't do anything in the light of day or even the dark of night, in public.  It's stressful.  SO STRESSFUL.  Not worth the payoff.  If you get my meaning.  Because no matter how much you don't want to admit it, you're just sex if they don't chose you.  And that being said and not being chosen and finally seeing the line they use, "You deserve so much more" as truth... well, you have to end it then.  Right?  And in each situation when I saw that, I did.  I had rebuilt my pride enough to say, "You're right." and leave.  Now in two of those situations, I didn't realize it first so it was so much more painful not being chosen.  Mr. Hopeful still contacts me once a month, as a friend.  And Mr. Practical and I are writing again, and good friends.  And while I trust the friendship part I am equally glad both are long distance.  I am not ready to trust male friends very far.  This is probably because we don't marry strangers do we? 

Let me tell you about what you do to yourself when you choose to be a mistress, or are made a mistress, if you don't know they are otherwise taken, you lose your identity.  Being a mistress kind of overtakes who you are and slowly erases you.  You become cliche and it take a lot of will to rebuild yourself after one experience.  But I do things in threes, always have.  Three marriages, three kids (two living), and Three major career changes, Clerical, Sales, and Service and Three chances at Mistress.  Maiden, Mother, Crone. No wonder I feel like Fate. 

Now I know what some of you will say, you deserve to feel bad about making that choice, but I'm not so sure I do.  As intelligent as I believe myself to be I'm also very gullible, and especially when in love, I tend to believe what I'm being told.  Its really unfortunate.  I should know better.  But perhaps it's because I try to be an honest person with everyone when I start out with them.  I just assume they are being honest with me as well.  To find out that a prospective love is suddenly engaged or worse yet married, is a heart-breaker.  But to know that a lost love, who comes back and still doesn't choose to have a real second chance with you is devastating to your delusions.  For that's what this kind of thinking really is.  Delusional.  Re-watch When Harry Met Sally, because it's true what Carrie Fisher's character says over and over in that film, as she's learning her hard life lesson as a mistress, "He's never going to leave her." 

I'm not proud of most of my past decisions where men are concerned.  I know I chose some of my husbands because they reminded me of my father who wasn't there, and they loved me and would protect me from the men who raped me.  Like my father couldn't, in his absence.  I know that the men I chose to have affairs with were more like the men that raped me sexually.  That's a hard thing to admit, but not all rapes are violent, as Oprah has reviled from her past experiences.  And my sexual awakening came too young and was neither violent or unpleasant in it's actual act.  Was I forced?  Yes.  But because I was twelve you might say I was tenderly lead, and groomed not to tell.  In an forced, sexy playtime kind of act.  I became a young fantasy for my rapist and well on my way to being groomed into a damaged little stripper.  Perhaps this is why I don't trust older men and feel sorry for strippers, seeing most of them as damaged as I am.

I am scared to try again with any man, because I don't know a good man when I have one.  Since I had no good men in my youth or childhood to look up to and how a caring and giving marriage to plays out.  I know all about bad marriages having witnessed my mothers and my own.  I'm not saying the men I chose to marry were bad men, but they were bad choices for me, because I was trying to find protection, rather than marrying someone I loved deeply.  Probably the best choice I made was my second husband, but because I didn't know what a good man was, I thought he was boring.  How wrong I was.  When I tried to find that friend ship again in life I screwed it up again and let him try to help me make it more.  Fortunately Mr. Practical and I got smart quicker than any of my failed experiences and it's not painful at all anymore.  In fact I feel quite sorry for my very brief affair with him.  It will always be that thing we did that was both wonderful and such a bad choice, hanging quietly over our heads.  I still wish Mr. Hopeful the best and hope he will leave me alone.  For him not choosing me is the most painful in my life.  And Mr. Charisma I don't think of at all, much like my first and third husbands.  While we had a lot of geek stuff in common, the hurt they put me through, saying they loved me when they really just were using me for whatever they needed from me, was eye opening.  The children I got out of those marriages and the growth were the good things that came from those experiences.  I wish I'd had the children without the marriages.  I never should have married anyone until I could face my own past pain and heal through it. 

Facing pain is not easy.  It also is not quick.  We think we are growing with every experience, and for the most part we are, but what we are really doing is facing demons and trying on lifestyles.  Shedding old ideas for new and hopefully learning from mistakes. 

Should I try again?  I don't think so.  Am I sad about this revelation?  Not really.  I'm relieved.  For I finally understand that I will not only feel any more pain, but I will cause none either. 


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Reverse Prejudice Does Not Exist

Have rhetorical questions gone out of style?  Rhetorical questions in my status on Facebook has caused me to unfriend two very specific people, and because they were acquaintances and not close family or friends, I decided to get rid of a lot of 'friends of friends' as well.  Just in case my style of expression is out of their cultural experience or at worst, goes over their heads.  These two people in question I felt were and are very woke to today's issues.  As people of color they have been woke far longer than I.  BUT they are not woke to how I express myself as a writer or a human, and grossly misunderstood a post I had shared about a young black man trying to play the race card on me, as prejudice.  I had mentioned in the post 'the readers digest' version of the events, knowing that most of the people that know me would know that I am first and foremost an ally.  Of many if not all of the groups of people that have, in this country, been abused, jailed, beat up, and murdered for expressing their God given rights to civil rights.  Yes it's a God given or whatever you believe runs the universe, right.  It's not a law, it's a basic human right.  And in this young man's situation I believe he had/has a problem with authority, not the fact that I'm a woman and he's a man or the fact that I'm white and he's black.  ANYONE that would have turned him in on the train for breaking the rules and being loud enough to be disturbing, he would have come down on.  And when HE tried to play the race card with me, by accusing me of it being 'personal' well, I laughed.  Out loud.  In shock.  No one had ever accused me of that, and I was at a loss for words for a moment.  His using this lame excuse to try to get out of breaking posted rules and being rude and uncaring, (a statement that he said, "I don't care." over and over to anything I asked) was probably what pushed me over the edge. 

I posted the event, and at the end closed with three RHETORICAL questions.  Here they are, as well as I can remember: "As he left he turned it back up and called me an ugly bitch.  Was I an ugly bitch because I'm white and he's black?  Or was it because I'm a woman telling a man what to do?  Or was it because he was young and I'm older?  We may never know."  These are rhetorical questions.  Not meant for information or needing an answer but just posted to make my readers think.  And perhaps to stop the mansplaining before it starts.   As a woman I find that over explaining things helps with that, sometimes.  So I've gotten in the habit of it. 

After these two people, one a man and one a woman of color, jumped on me about my post saying that if I wasn't trying to claim reverse prejudice why would I even mention race?  Did not understand that since he tried to play that card, not I, that it was important to the story.  I tried to explain to which the man then said, I don't even know why this is a status just delete it.  So I did.  I actually deleted it because they asked me own words, about my own experience, on my own wall.  And all my friends responses.  I honestly think she was more upset that I didn't call out my 'mostly white audience', as she put it, for expressing and sharing their personal stories of similar things happening to them, by people of color.  They weren't trying to bash people of color, they were trying to make me feel like I wasn't alone.  You know. Like friends do.  It's not my fault what my friends choose to say to me.  And in all honesty, I didn't even notice.  And this is where I was wrong.  I didn't notice.

I should have.  It's a subtle way of allowing negative talk about people of color, on a mostly white wall.  And this is an area where I need to be woke more.  It's very subtle.  Like a headline I read on this topic recently on my feed.  Where it said, "We don't even realize the racial profiling that is going on around us because it's so subtle, but once you see it you can't unsee it.  For example:  The shooter was a white male, a loner, or mentally ill.  Where the same situation if a person of color did the murder would be, The killer was a black male, or the thug, or terrorist."  Notice how not just the descriptive word of the suspect is much more of an attack and 'fake news' but the verb...shooter vs killer.  The media does this on purpose to keep us scared of each other.  White murder is mentally ill while a black one is just a terrorist.  Doesn't make sense to me.  And that's just the tip of the ice burg.  Most of the murders in this country are mentally ill.  I don't care what your color is.  If you take someones life that isn't attacking you, you are crazy.  Not a terrorist, not a thug not a loner (how lame is loner as an excuse??) You're crazy.  Period.

So now I'm back to posting my blog every week, and perhaps NOTHING else on my wall.  Because I don't want to risk upsetting the fragile people out there that look to me for compassion and understanding.  Has the Facebook world shut me up?  Nope.  They just proved their level of ability to deserve my complete thoughts. 


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Poilsh Wedding of The Year!

Rachel and Ross's wedding was so beautiful and surreal I felt like I was in a movie.  There was a video camera and two major photographers, dressed in black and trying to be invisible but among all the ivory, pink and grey they stood out more than they intended. 

The church was a catholic one so it was resplendent in gold, marble and immense stained glass.  Everything was polished to a sheen and the large TV screen for full Sunday Mass, seemed small and almost hidden within the full sized statues and praying alcoves of Mary and five other saints I would never have been able to guess.  The crucified Jesus was enormous at the end behind the communion alter, and of course the church was decorated for a wedding so you might say it had it's 'Sunday best' on.  Speaking of Sunday best the Mother and Father of the bride, as well as the musicians, were wearing their traditional Polish wedding outfits from who knows how many generations.  Very hot and humid day and I'm sure they were exhausted in them, but love and tradition.  They of course changed for the reception into beautiful evening attire, but I really admired their traditions.  I wish I could have understood what they were saying.

But the part that made me really feel like I was in a scene from the Godfather was that the entire service, with the exception of one reading, was all in polish.  I know the Godfather was Italian, for all you mansplainers out there, but I don't know either language so I was just as lost.  But listening and trying to understand was exhausting.  I also felt like it was a beautiful service even if I couldn't understand it.  I've been to church enough to get the gist. 

After the ceremony we went to her mother's house for food for about another 45 minutes until the reception began.  And there were a lot of polish foods to try and I tried many of them and loved them all.  Hoping to discuss the wedding and find out some of what was said in their traditions, I quickly found out that most of her relatives don't speak English.  So I ate, smiled a lot and tried to communicate without words.  Which worked much as you would expect, only when something funny happened around me with one of the kids.  I was hoping there would be more friends like me at the reception that spoke English.  Her mom had had me ride with her to her house from the church and one of her cousins took me to the reception.  "You need not take a bus.  Momento."  And 'poof' a ride was provided.  Better than Uber.  Which I'll get to later. 

The reception was also a fun time for everyone, and I generated to the table with the only people of color and I don't mean just skin, one gal had red hair as red as mine is blue.  And I was right this was the cool table.  Unfortunately it was also the young table.  Not as in children, they were too busy dancing to be at a boring table anyway, but about mid to late twenties.  And not as cool as my First Daughter or her friends, but cool enough for me.  And they spoke English.  A language I could understand.  I wished the people there my age spoke English or wanted to speak it with me, for some spoke some, but it was a family gathering and I was a stranger to everyone there except the bride and groom.  So I tried to let my personality shine and make some connections but they seemed to be more interested in going outside to smoke cigarettes or take many, many more shots at the open bar then I felt inclined to do.  After all I was in a west-side neighborhood I didn't know, and had to get myself home on the two buses I had used to arrive.  I needed to keep my head.  Now the wedding started at 3 and the reception at 6.  I left around 10 and got home by 11.  So I had felt that I had made a strong appearance for someone who knew no one and spend the majority of the time just listening to a language I didn't understand.  And polish is not like French or Spanish where even uncultured American's can pick out a word here and there.  It's more like a German/Czechoslovakian mash up to my ear.  Beautifully full of hard consonants and round vowels.  I was tied and alone most of the time at my table, and while the bride did come by once or twice to check up on me, I certainly didn't expect that.  But she's a dear.  And was disappointed that I was the first to leave.  But I assured her that I'd had a good time that I was just bored and tired and I felt like I should get home before it got too late, and then was when I found out my table thought I was cool and they had liked me, as a few of them who were outside smoking anyway, decided to wait with the bride for my first ever Uber ride home.  (who got lost on the way, and called me for directions in a neighborhood I had only been in once before with Rachel two weeks prior.  But he made up for it and was a safe and and reassuring ride home.  I gave him five stars)  I even had to download the app and get started which I did before all the drinks.  I sampled the homemade lemon drink the father and mother of the bride warned me to sip, which I did, out of a shot glass.  I sipped three of them and boy were they strong.  Then a red label whiskey with the kids.  Ouch that stuff is harsh.  And I settled on red wine the rest of the night.  Not hung over this morning, but I did drink a lot of water.  

All and all I'm very glad I attended and got to see them exchange their vows, (That part was in English and I recorded it hoping it would be) and very honored to be included in such a close knit family and friends event. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Another Birthday Gone

Well, constant readers I'm a year older.  And all in all it was a very good birthday.  I didn't hear from my son for the first time ever, and it made me just a little sad to realize it, until First Daughter said that she didn't think it meant anything since he never celebrates his own birthday, it just doesn't mean anything to him.  And I know she's right.  After all, you get to a certain age and it really is just another day.  But what a great day I had.  So many of my friends and family reached out over facebook to wish me a happy day.  And in person. 

The wee ones finger painted me two masterpieces, and gave me the most yummy red velvet cheese cake.  I don't how they kept it a secret but they did!  :)  And first daughter called and texted more than once which was wonderful.  And Second Daughter took me out to dinner at my favorite English Pub and brought me a bottle of wine and made me my favorite lemon cupcakes.  And Rachel and Ross gave me surprise Krispy Kremes.  It continues to be a treat filled weekend.  You have to understand with my kids living in a different city I never expect anything on my birthday.  And I feel very loved a blessed.  I heard from almost everyone. 

The ones I didn't hear from always make me a little sad, until I realize that it's probably because they just forgot or they have drifted so far from my life that perhaps it doesn't matter.  And with my birthday being on Friday the wishes are still rolling in late.  Better late than never I always say.  :)


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer Fun!

I had the most fun yesterday running around with...,hum... lets call them Rachel and Ross, and planning their wedding.  We had a makeup trial that Rachel hired even though she wasn't as experienced as we would have liked.  We could tell she knew her stuff but as Rachel put it, "Some things will have to change by wedding day..."  so we'll see.  And two weeks before her wedding the photographer cancels on her?!  How unprofessional.  She's hoping she'll see her deposit back.  But my friends on Facebook came to her rescue and suggested over six different photographers and one I know for sure is available and they have already talked and are continuing to discuss.  Fingers crossed for her.  It was a very stressful day for her and I was glad I could be a calming effect for her and help her with her littlest one.  We even had time to stop at Ulta and get my makeup collection a much needed update.  I even have blue lipstick and mascara for Wizard Con with Nikki Sweat in August.  I shall be a Tardis blue vision.  lol  I can't wait!

I even got to meet her parents and see her old neighborhood, "We are in the hood now, girl!  You can tell everyone you spent the day in the hood!"We wedding shopped at this little shop and stopped for lunch at McDees.  Nothing like drive through to quiet little ones.   they invited me to a birthday bbq for one of their friends but I was feeling like I'd had enough people so I took my swag and stayed home.  It was a very pleasant day, and I'm really looking forward to their wedding in two weeks.

It reminded me of the time that She of Little Combat Boots and Mr. Myah got married and I was maid of honor.  All the things that went wrong at the last minute and how we got them all fixed.  I knew everything would come together, it always does.  But the memory made me miss them and their little family even more.  Hopefully we shall be able to see each other soon.  I hear there is rumor she might be coming to Chicago for a conference in October and saying with me.  Fingers crossed again.

I also might be going home to see First Daughter and First Son and Only Daughter-In-Law over Labor Day which I'm also looking forward to. 

What a difference a day makes.  Last week I was feeling sorry for myself and had the blues over a date in personal history that always makes me sad, and this week I'm looking forward to future events with none of my past invading.  I like it like this so much better than being chained to the past either with bad memories or toxic current reminders.  Some people just can't leave me alone, and one day I may have to just stop responding.  Oh for the strength!  But I am weak in this one area.  And always have been.  I chalk that up to my childhood.  It was lonely and quiet, as my adulthood has become.  And I longed for a sibling or a best friend to relate to.  But my father moved us around so much that I never had that until high school.  And didn't really have a best friend then.  Only thought I did.  I was always the third wheel.  It wasn't until my early thirties that I found She of Little Combat Boots, and she has been my best friend for over twenty years now.  Good things do come to those who wait.  But that doesn't mean to shut yourself up and remain alone.  Unless being alone is what you desire. 

Remember to live your life for you and not for anyone else.  Even if that means you have to be a little cruel to be kind to yourself.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

You're Own Worst Enemy

It will be the fourth of July soon.  A traditionally explosive time of year for me personally.  Pun intended.   And one, that since my move to Chicago, has been put to rest.   Which I'm happy and grateful for.  Most people have a time of year that is hard for them.  Could be because of a tragedy that they could not control, or maybe even an act of God that changes their life forever.   But for me it was a powder-keg of a situation, that in my youth and selfish pride, I had to light a match to.  And in the end broke not only my own heart but three others.  Yep three.  Just over thirty years ago I made some rash choices, mostly out of fear and regrets, that set me on a path of discovery.   That path has not been easy and for most of it, with the exception of my wonderful children, it's been alone.  Oh I've had relationships.  Bad ones.   And I've had times when I thought Fate was on my side.   But I was wrong.  Knowing what I know now I'd do it all again to have my kids just the way they are, but that's not what this blog is about.  If you know me at all, you know that already.

No.  This is about me trying to do what most of my friends would say is 'Get over it.  It's been thirty years'.

Not saying they are wrong. Just that they have had a different journey, perhaps.

For you see, to them I'm a nice, older woman, who seems to have lived a great life full of experiences and always has an opinion on what to do.

Not saying they are wrong.  For I changed so much in that time.

Karma is an interesting event to watch unfold.   I'm sure you've had your share of cheering silently in your mind or out loud when someone, like me, has hurt you and gotten what they rightfully deserved. And it's true what they say about evil coming back on you ten fold.  For in the thirty years since that fateful day, when I hurt the young heart, too inexperienced to love me in the way he believed he did; and I hurt the more experienced heart that truly loved me.  (Thank the fates that he found real and true happiness in my wake). But, I eventually was the architect of my own karma. By choosing, once again, the worst choice of the three before me.  (This has been my life curse.  To always be part of a triangle of love and pick the person most like me.  The most broken.  Instead of the strongest.  I guess birds of a feather really do flock together, even if the best for you, is the opposite that attracts.).

But as I said, I would do it again, because not to would erase one of my children. And I couldn't EVER want that.

So here I sit.   Wondering when the fates will stop putting this choice before me.  And I believe, since my move away from any possible temptations and my self imposed exile to solitude, I have finally beaten her.   If I can't make the right choice, I shall remove all choices from me.

It's always best, in the end, to dungeon up the real monsters.  Because then they can't hurt anyone else.  And truth be told, I'm much happier without the guilt or the temptation to give into my own selfish needs.  While I grow and learn from my mistakes in life, I can't help but wonder, if they wonder, if I've had enough bad karma; or if they truly still wish in their heart of hearts that I still suffer as they did.

Since I still hope the worst for all the men that came after, that did to me what I did to the three of them, I can only say that my real test of karma is forgiveness.   Well, it's easy to forgive some of them.  But painfully hard for me, to this day, to forgive them all.  Completely.  Two or three are still chained up in my mind being slowly tortured by life.  And, much like you, if you're reading this and I happened to have hurt you in the past, I secretly enjoy their 'bad luck'. As I'm sure you enjoy mine.  And hope that as they experience their own karma, from my hurt, that it lessens my own bad luck.

I know.  I know.  "Karma doesn't work like that." I can hear you already saying it to me.  But you know what?  We make our own reality.  And in mine, it does work like that.  The more good choices I make the better my life has become.  And I can't ignore that fact, when I compare my past to my present. 

I hope this fourth of July won't find me in the company of any of my past.  Either on line, in life or in my head.  That last one is the hardest to control, for my head is always buzzing.  Anxiety sucks.  But if you have to have it, I guess I'm glad that mine manifests itself with rage instead of being paralyzed with fear, or unable to get out of bed and do my work.  You see I get angry.  I plot revenge.  And I leave your life.  I don't forget.  And sometimes, I don't forgive either. 

This is the real problem.  Because if I can't forgive you, how can I forgive myself? 

Cheers, and Happy Fourth.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Did You Know You're My Hero

Every Sunday I get up, and I make some coffee and I open up my blog and look at the white page before me and wonder 'What should I talk about this week?' 

There always will be political issues that effect our human rights, or terrible disasters both man made and not, to debate or discuss.  But I become exhausted quickly, and not just by the thought of the naysayers, but with trying to get all my thoughts wrapped around all the 'evidence' coming from the media.  I know giving up is just what they want us to do, but sometimes it's just too much to sort through, and even in some cases believe.  Watching my country quickly change after decades of warnings from Martin, Robert and John.  It really does seem like our hope for a better future for all of us, and our innocence died with them.  But the more I think about the Big Money that has controlled our country and has our poverty and working poor in a death grip, while the middle class has joined the ranks of paycheck to paycheck living, the more angry I get.  This is not the world my parents wanted to bring me into, and it's not the life I wanted for my kids either, but here we go.  Third generation working poor.  Had the Kennedy's and King lived I wonder if we would be any better off, or if our blind following of such charismatic leaders would have doomed us to an even scarier unforeseen fate.  Who knows.  But it's interesting to debate.

Unfortunately, the internet is not the place for intelligent debate.  How sad.  We are connected by the most ingenious world wide web of information and what do we use it for?  Most of us don't use it for the information.  I have three Facebook friends that actually use it to try to educate, with their hobbies.  Two are married to each other (Darth Vader and his wife) and post many articles on their SCA events and interests in that time period and the other is my best friend (She of Little Combat Boots) and she posts about food nutrition which is a passion of hers.  And what do I do with my big brain?  Post cute pictures of the kids I nanny for and update friends on what I'm's enlightening. 

Why am I not using my Facebook and my blog only for the things that I'm passionate about?  I guess in a way I am.  Sometimes when I blog and I'm free writing like now, I'll stumble upon an idea and run with it.  When it touches a friend personally, and they reach out to me and thank me for it, my heart swells when that happens.  I feel less alone in the world and happy that what I hope is a positive and uplifting blog, helped someone else.  It's hard to be positive and uplifting when your passion is about surviving rape and abuse and how it has effected every choice in your life.  But I do try.  Because I have survived and for those still struggling, I need to help them know they are not alone in what they are feeling and that they are not crazy.  Or broken.  As I have so often been accused of by men who were quite broken themselves. 

So when I sit here and write I'm writing to you.  Because you are my hero.  You got out of bed this morning, no matter how hard that was, and you are trying to overcome all the demons and voices that tell you you can't.  And you are beating them.  You beat them every time you get out of bed.  You beat them every time you go to work or get your house cleaned or do you chores.  You beat them every time you don't reach for that pipe or that drink or whatever it is that you think helps you get through the night, or day.  It's all a crutch.  Now I'm not saying you can't have some social fun, but there is a big difference between social fun and waking up every morning to a pipe or a bottle. 

For me, if you can, today, try it without anything to numb yourself.  Unless it's a prescription and you're under a doctors care, let it go.  I'm a big believer in psychiatry and learning coping skills, because it helped me.  And meds to help you curb your anxiety or depression also helped, but they are temporary.  Sooner or later you do have to learn how to do it without the pills, in most cases.  Those of you that know you will be on meds for life know who you are and can ignore that part.  We are all so lucky that we can afford our meds.  So far.  I see so many homeless and for most of them, they just need meds and they could be a functioning part of society.  And I shudder at how close I could have been had I not had state assisted insurance during my break down. 

Just try to remember to look outside.  Look up.  Keep your eyes open and breathe.  The easiest things can be the hardest when you are dealing with PTSD or any fear and flight triggers.  Most of what we fear isn't real in the moment.  And once you can get past the fear you can control it.  Don't let it control you.  Cheers.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Self Talk Works.

Have you ever been so content with your life that you started to wonder what was going to go wrong?  I do that all the time.  Creating my own stress is what my mother used to call it, being a worrywort.   I try to quiet my thoughts, but I usually have to distract myself with a good book or movie or TV series.   Maybe a video game.  They usually work too.  Wine is good. But too much of that and I'm left in a fog of comfortable numbness.  Not a completely undesirable state and certainly not the most productive.   I'm not one of those people that can function under any influence.

But some days you just need to relax.  Learning how to quiet my mind without drink or prescription drugs took me many years.  And many failures in life.  And one breakdown.   I come back to my breakdown quite often in this blog because it's something many people with depression and anxiety worry about.  Having a complete breakdown.  The self talk goes something like this:  "I can't lose it!  Who will take care of my family?  What if I lose my job?  What will everyone think? ".  Sound familiar?   You're not alone.   I still sometimes worry about these things but not nearly as much since I let it go and fought down the inner demons that were chasing me.   The ones I'd hidden from in my youth.   The ones that plagued me throughout my young adulthood and made it next to impossible for me to have a lasting trusting relationship with any man.  Because in my fractured mind men were a dangerous species that if you didn't do what they said and be a good girl, rape was the punishment.

Some of us are submissive by desire other by design.  I was not by choice.   But learned how to avert my eyes, walk quietly but quickly, become invisible and not say what's really in my mind.   Because I spent many years trying to fit into an unnatrual mold as a scared and confused child, I can recognize almost instantly, a child in an unhappy life.   And I also speak my mind too much as an adult.  As if since the breakdown I've discovered that I can disagree and wont be "punished" for that.  You have to understand that when the punishment is something unthinkable, losing a friend over a disagreement is nothing in comparison.  People think I have a hard heart because I can let go of relationships that have lost their meaning or give me nothing in return, and maybe my past has given me that strength to walk away from anything that isn't causing me joy.  I mean what other power do we really have as adults with each other?  You can't change anyone else.  So the most you can do is have the strength to walk away if you aren't happy, right?   And you only have that power as an adult.    Children can't run away because when they do its usually into an entire world of more scary problems.

The best self talk sounds the most cliché.   But it's true.   You have to believe in yourself.  However you do that.  Weather it's through the belief in a God or just in yourself.   You have to be able to believe your inner voice of reason.  The breakdown's come when you can't believe it, hear it or even say it to yourself anymore.  Those are the times when we can't even reach out for help.  Often I'll see a post from a friend of a friend about being lost or scared or alone and I'll always comment with something positive but secretly I'm happy they can still reach out.  You see this is why suicide is so surprising to the loved ones.   Because when people are deciding to do it, they get really happy right before because they know their problems are almost finished.  Because once they are dead the problems stop.  And if they have come to grips with death and aren't afraid of it, or are planning it, they become at peace.  The people that discuss it often are still ok, but need help.  You see they are still deciding.  And want to be talked out of it.   So please if you have a friend who is quite often depressed or even chatty and they become quiet, check on them.   Force them to talk.   You may be the one person that changes their minds.  For me it was Mr. Practicle and Mr. Hopeful that listened to my mind as it snapped and was glued back together.  And even though to some extent they represent poor choices for love, for me, they have become good friends and life savers.

Friends ask me why I even talk to them anymore and this is why.   Not just because of history or friendship but because in my darkest moments they were still here.  Listening.  And trying to understand and help me keep it together.   Sometimes your best counselors are the ones you've disagreed with the most.    Maybe it's because we've seen each other in our best and worst times.  That we understand who we really are.  We see past each other's demons.   Even the ones we may still be fighting.  And those friends you hold on too.  Even if it's sometimes painful.  Life is pain.  So is love.  But without love life is meaningless.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Stop The World I Want To Get Off!

What if you could just stop the world?   Stop the responsibilities.   Stop the pressure to fit in with your daily people.  You know the ones you work with.  The ones you did not choose to spend a third of your life with, but do.  Hopefully not the ones you chose, I've been in marriages that started off beyond my wildest dreams and ended up an impossible nightmare. 

My mom was full of advise, but the best advise she gave me was this,
"You spend a third of your life working, and a third of your life sleeping and a third of your life with yourself.  So you better love your job, and the person you are sleeping with and yourself,  because if you don't you're gonna hate your life.   And you only get one."  
And I used to think wow, really a whole third with just me doing just what I want?!  It sure doesn't seem like the math works.  I mean I see where she came up with it.   Eight hours sleeping and with an eight hour work day leaves eight hours for me.   But for me it works out to more like seven hours sleeping, ten to eleven hours working which leaves six hours for me.  But I have a 45 minute commute, one way, every work day, on a train.  So also with people I didn't choose.  Subtract two hours from my time, leaving me with four.   Four hours out of twenty-four to do exactly what I want.  Doesn't seem fair that we work so hard for so little down time.   So little time to express ourselves or enjoy our favorite people when we are awake.  When you do the math its not hard to see who loves you the most or misses you because they fit you in, they remember you, they miss you and make time for you.   I have always felt honored and loved when any of my family or friends chooses to spend time with me because it is so precious.  And when a favorite person who lives far away, and almost all my loved ones are, it's even more precious, because it's harder to remember to tell someone far away what's going on in your life daily.  And those are the relationship building moments.  The great days, and horrible ones, that we experience as we are going through it.  It's the people you surround yourself with when you're on top of the the wheel of life and on the bottom, that really count to you. 

I know everyone's life is busy, most people's are much busier than mine.  I used to live in the rat race, and I chose to slow down when I shrunk down all my possessions and moved to the big big city.  And while it has been much quieter here in Chicago, that is by my own choosing.  I don't reach out or make plans unless I really want to see you because that four hours a day, (sixteen on my days off) are precious to me.  Beyond words precious.

Because I'm one of those ambiverts.   And it takes all my practiced copping skills make it around so many people on a daily basis without running and screaming from either the size of the crowds, the fear of strangers eyeing me, or the sheer mountainous amounts of stupidity I encounter just watching and listening to my fellow man.  And I'm not talking about the wee ones here, I'm talking about full grown adults.  Children are never stupid.  BUT OMG some of us really grow into stupid adults.  The things you hear on a train or bus!  I mean as a writer, the character stream is endless.  My new favorite game on the train is to guess which one is the serial killer.  Or, which one will never be married.  Or which one is cheating.  Or who is the Trump supporter. 

That one is getting scary.  I sat next to a guy on the bus.  Old.  White.  Poor.  With a Trump button from his campaign, on his baseball cap.  I hadn't noticed it before I sat down, as my arms were full of three-year-old.  I felt embarrassed for him.  He didn't speak any politics, he didn't have to.  His hat was YELLING it for him.  He seemed nice enough, just like any other kid friendly person around me when I have my arms stuffed with three-year-old.  I don't know what I was expecting.  Perhaps a pedophile.  It reminded me about the majority of his supporters are the disappearing white middle class and poor uneducated white poverty class in this country.  The ones that wanted so much to believe his lies.  And before when I felt only anger at the betrayal of these people, now I feel only pity for them because now I know it was a mistake.  They wanted to believe.  And voted with trust.  Some still do.  And I have to respect their choice, because I know in time they will come to see what I, and half the nation saw, all along. 

Historically, its usually a religion or a moral ideal that gets a revolution going, and boy we have a lot of them now.  I wonder if these old, set in their ways, white, people with guns and little education, are the right people to piss off though.   Angry because their industry isn't back, and their health care is not better, but gone, and their benefits or social security are also gone.  I mean Trump is playing with fire if he thinks these people wont turn on him and these people, when pissed off, are scary.  I just don't see these people who are quick to judge and quick to anger, sitting still for him going back on his promises to give them something magical and impossible.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Happy Birthday! To Us Both

Today my first born turns 35.    As I look at pictures of him on my walls I find it hard to believe that he's that grown up.   And that our lives have taken us in such different directions.  Its hard for me to believe that we don't still live in the same sleepy town or that I would ever choose a path that would take me away from him.  After all, 34 years ago I fought in court to keep him.   And made a silent promise to him that I'd be the parent that would stick it out.  That I wouldn't leave.    But three years ago I did.   And even though he was all grown up then with a life of his own, I could still see the disbelief in his eyes, when I told him I was moving to Chicago.

It takes some getting used to, this aging process.   We used to spend every day together.  He was one of my best friends and toughest challenges.   We grew up together and the temptation to make him an equal instead of disciplining him like a child was strong.  Especially when he seemed to love to just hang out with mom and watch movies.  As he grew and developed into the kind of man I was proud to have raised, I watched us grow apart.  A time I both knew would happen and never believed would come.  I wish somehow we were closer like my daughter and. I. But he is as distant and as much of a loner as I am.   And while I don't like it I completely understand it.   And so do his best friends, much in the same way mine do.

I have a birthday tradition I started with them both, from the day they were born.  The first thing I said to them both, the first thing they heard their mother say outside the womb, was,"Welcome little one.  You are alive.".   And then it would grow from there.   When they were young, I'd repeat what their year taught them, their accomplishments, how proud I was of them.   Then as they grew up it was a consistent, stop whatever you are doing for your birthday wish from mom.   It always came at the very time of their birth.  And I knew that no matter where their lives took them we would at least be able to call each other on that special day.  Because their birthdays are as special to me as they are to them.   Most of us don't know or don't remember that our own parents feel the same way about our birthdays.  

So if you are luckier than I and your parents still are living, call them.   Call them often because someday you'll wish they were here.   Call them or reach out on your birthday.   Because it's the day they gave you life.    And its the day their life changed forever, for the better.   The day they finally knew what it was all about.  And how it felt to know there was finally something in this world not only worth living for but willing to die to protect.    You don't just forget that day.  


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Going To Hate To Leave Tomorrow

What a great vacation!  So far exactly what I wanted.  Quality time alone with my daughter.  Check.  Quality time alone with my son.  Check.  Tons of fun time with them both and my daughter-in-law check.  Good meals together. Check. Catching up with old friends. Check.  Late night gaming session with my oldest friend.  Check. And even a surprise Pat McCurdy concert and friends I haven't seen in over three years.  There was dancing and singing and so much joy yelling out lyrics and teaching virgins 'stupid dance' steps.  Always a fun time if you know his songs and if you don't the crowd that does, is part of the show.   I have brunch plans later with another friend and my daughter and then checking on a sick friend.   And possibly one more late night gaming session before I leave tomorrow.  I'm slightly hungover and tired but happy.   I may need a nap later.   I'm glad I have Tuesday off to rest from my vacation.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Why Would I Do That To Myself?

So remember those times when your mom or dad used to say to you "If you're best friend jumped off a cliff would you do it too?"  Or the ever popular "What?!  Are you gonna do everything everybody else does?"  Remember hearing Vive La Difference for the first time and wondering not only what it means but how to spell it?   And then remember when you were just small and being taught how to be tolerant of people different from you?  I must confess my parents were very prejudice people.  I am not. I was taught tolerance by my most favorite baby sitter, and her perfect,  to my four and five year old eyes, family; Carol.  Hearing someone say "Wouldn't it be boring if the world was full of only people like you?"  And to hear the answer 'Of course.' Ring out inside your head along side another voice that whispers, 'would it?  would it Really?'  I haven't always liked myself enough to answer "No. I don't think it would be that boring at all. In fact I quite think it might be a perfect world if everyone in it were like me.  I'd never be bored or feel out of place anymore.  Nor would I find it difficult to make friends.  And I know for sure that there would be no suffering in the world because I would never want to hurt myself like that.

And then it hit me.

Like a switch going off inside my brain followed by a computerized voice saying "LEVEL ACHIEVED".   That's why the world is so fucked up.  We all say the right words but no one is actually doing them. We aren't following another one of those important phrases from our parents, and our clergy; or in my case both, "Practice what you preach".  And boy does it show in the way we treat our homeless and working poor.  And it's made itself perfectly clear in the type of people we rally behind in the political arenas.  And the ones we don't and why.  Our country is as divided over the class that needs help and protection against the class that has everything.  This, historically speaking is a growing pain.  We are still a very young country, globally speaking, and this separation of class has always been here.  It's just that this time the Roosevelt's didn't win. This time, Hitler won.  And I get to watch it all happen again.  Watch democracy fail.  Why does it not feel like the first time I've witnessed this?   Oh I know. Because I remember my parents talking about World War Two, or WW2.  As my uncles called it. The stories they would tell me of heroism were always edited for young ears; and even in my wide eyed interest, they managed to impress upon me how horrible and scary it all was. But in their eyes it was also necessary.  For each side truly believed in what they were fighting for. Just like now.  Humans are fighting for their lives not only a lifestyle but a way of life and basic human rights which are protected by our constitution.


Let that sink in.  Just let it soak in your brain a minute.  While you realize on every level of government this president and his cabinet are destroying and dismantling our basic human rights; while we march and yell carrying signs of physical and mental frustration.  Our fear turning to anger will only ignite flames of an already volatile situation. Or as that famous generation that is almost gone from our planet, would say "Like a match to a powder keg."

Something's gonna blow!  You can feel it in the air.  There's an extra electrical tinge in the air.   As if the very trees are holding their breath.  As if all the humans emotions are so high you can actually feel the tension in the air when we gather together in groups.  As if the earth itself, were waiting to exhale.  I find the times I live in to be both fascinating to my observation skills, and  horrifyingly real to my heart everyday. I feel more paranoid regarding my fellow man than ever in my entire life. And at the same time more desirous of wanting to help who I can, as not only a lifetime member of the working poor, but a human.  I was taught that we are all humans.  All connected.  All made of stardust.  All created in his image out of clay.  Or dirt.   By his breath.  Yes I was BUTB. (Cue RUSH song). I was taught a simple golden rule, and I bet most of you were too. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Seems legit.  Seems like just a good way to be.  And the only way to really have it is if everyone were like me.  But that's impossible.  Right?

So what's the next best thing?

To really look at each other as if we were looking at ourselves.  How would we want to be treated?  Judged, or accepted?

I know I'd rather be accepted.  Cheers. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Life Leads On And I Stumble To Catch Up

I skip one day of allergy meds and I sound like I'm dying.  Not happy that I've grown into such horrible allergies.  Couldn't I grow into thin thighs, or a flat tummy?!  I had that once, when I was young.  Thought I was fat then.  BOY you just don't know what menopause is gonna give you.  At least I still have a waist.

My bad knee, the left one, always pops and cracks and tells me in no uncertain terms, when its going to rain or if the barometric pressure is right for a storm.  The more the precipitation the more it hurts.  The right knee hurts too now, but I think that's because I've been favoring the left one up and down the 17 flights of stairs I walk (I walk the escalators too) every day just to get to work and home.  Two trains have lots of stairs and my apartment building is half of it.  Its either that or a tumor. 

Some weeks my back screams at me from my daily back packs to work and back, and some weeks its all good.  But the way my body feels past fifty is not the way my body felt past forty.  And I get why older people get angry at their bodies lack of performance.  The mind might still be sharp as a tack but the body slows down, even when you use it and are super fit.  Which I am not, and if I can't breathe any better than this, never will be.  Asthma sucks.  And that is something else I've grown into.  Instead of thin thighs or a flat tummy. 

But with all my physical flaws, I can still look in the mirror and like most of what I see.  If I concentrate from the waist up.  And only my legs.  Just skip that tummy part.   Or only check out myself walking away.  Which is just impossible!  Believe me I've tried.  I've been told I have a pleasing backside.  But damned if I can see it! 

Don't you wish, sometimes, that the you you see in your head, when you envision yourself, is the you that the rest of the world sees?

I didn't used to, because I used to hate myself.  I used to blame myself for what had happened to me.  If I hadn't smiled at him.  If I wasn't wearing shorts.  If I hadn't let him hold my hand.  If I hadn't innocently asked for company when grieving.  Maybe I can prevent it from ever happening again if I get fat.  If I dress like a boy.  If I stop flirting.  If I stop being vocal and intelligent.  If I carry my straight supporter umbrella EVERY time it rains. . .

SIDE NOTE:  Its amazing to me how EVERYONE leaves me alone when I carry it.  It's like they are afraid of rainbows.  So the more afraid they are the more I want it to rain.  And Beatle Boy and Flower Girl LOVE my rainbow umbrella and they say "It's God's promise."  outta the mouths of babes.  You see why I love being around children as opposed to adults?

. . .Maybe if I become invisible. 

After decades of doing that, and being mostly happy raising my kids, mostly alone.  (I miss you mom, everyday not just today.)  I'm tired of doing that, and have recently stopped caring if I ever meet Mr. Right.  Or if Mr. Hopeful ever leaves his wife.  Or if I ever meet any friends in Chicago.  Or of most anything except my own company.  I wrapped myself into an emotional cocoon and healed as best I could from my pain and karma circa 1985-1995. The decade of epic breakups.  All meant to wake me up, which it did.  But it also caused me to hide for 15 years and focus on kids and career.  Did so much better with kids that it became my career.  Life leads on and I stumble to catch up.  But the minute that I stopped caring, I found friends in Chicago.  And that's a step in the right direction. 


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Find Something You Are Passionate About And Do That

In a past life I must have been one of idle rich and childless. . . and hated it.  For in this life I have been showered with children to love and raise and had to work for everything I have.  And I love it.  I wouldn't trade it.  Not a single day of the satisfaction that I feel after juggling a months pay to cover everything and still have food to eat.  Of knowing that I can face the challenge, alone, and succeed, something the privileged rich never feel.  Not a single day of the little giggles and wide-eyed explanations of something they just figured out.  Or the endless stories or performances they put on for me.  Not a single minute.

The children I've been blessed to raise, both born of my body and all the godchildren and ones I've nannied for, or just loved because they love me, are the bright lights in my world.  I feel most comfortable and at home with them.  They don't lie to me and they don't have ulterior motives for being nice to me.  They love without prejudice and without judgement.  And their quick minds, full of questions, keep me young.  They have all kept me moving in my life when I might have just stopped and given up.

To all my children everywhere both little still and grown, I know you are the future and the saving of this world.  And I'm honored to have helped mold more than one generation on this planet.  To introduce you to the books and movies that will spark your imagination.  And the games that will challenge your logic and thinking outside the box (D&D anyone?) To nurture the interests you find on your own and discover a whole new world of things I never might have tried.  I hope to be able to do what I love, raise children, for many more years before my body won't allow me to try.

Yesterday I had the honor to experience with Beatle Boy and his mom, the matinee performance of his very first musical, Cinderella.  And it was the most joyous thing I have done in months.  It brought tears to my eyes, and I'm sure his mom is grateful to know that they chose a nanny that loves their children as her own.  He was wonderful.  He stayed in character, until he saw me, then he smiled a little, but covered quick.  And didn't look over at us again until he was taking his bows.  A real professional, knowing he'd smile he just took the temptation away.  Smart kid.  And one of only three kindergartners in the show.  He had two parts, 'little boy' and 'horse'.  He had the only spoken funny line in the opening song, and he was a very focused horse.  He was the only one that did all of the choreography, and didn't mouth the other persons lines.  A hard thing at 6.  I was so proud.  And I can't wait to see what he and his little sister show me as they grow up.  I know I wont be with them for too many more years, perhaps one and a half more before they may not need me full time.  I've watched them grow for the last three years now into respectful and polite children.  But I try not to think about the time we might have left and experience every day.  And I try to stay confident that when it's time to move on, much like Nanny McVee, or Mary Poppins, I'll find another family that needs me as much as I need them.

"Hey! Miss Jill, Who's the greatest Nanny in the world?"
"I don't know, Jude, Mary Poppins?"
"Um...Nanny McVee?"
"Maria from the Sound of Music?"
"NOOO.  YOU!" 
"Awe...thanks, Jude."

I am so blessed.  And apparently the greatest nanny in the world. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

You Are Never Really Alone Unless You Want To Be

Here I sit on a rainy Sunday morning, with my coffee in hand and winning a week long battle with my bronchitis.  Did I tell you I have the best doctor.  She knows my condition so well now after two years of treating me, that she just calls in an antibiotic when I tell her my symptoms.  Like the old days.  I really appreciate that she respects my time is as precious as hers.  Having to leave work when I'm sick is bad enough, but having to take time off to see my doctor is worse.  And nanny guilt is the worse guilt.  They aren't our kids, but we treat them like they are, and we feel just as guilty when we can't take care of them as the parents would.  After all, how many times did I take care of my own kids when I was sick? I almost always had some help from a husband or my mom when that happened.  So rarely.  But in any case with only one day left of my antibiotics I'm feeling much better. 

I'm not sure there must be something in the air.  Are we in a retrograde?  My life feels like it's in a holding pattern.  Have you ever felt that?  That things were chugging along pretty well.  No scary ups or downs just pretty even plodding along.  Not a rut exactly, but if a rut a comfortable one.  Now I'm a worry wort, so obviously I'm on the look out for what is going to happen to rock my boat. 

I feel pretty confident in my abilities to keep my job or find another one if something unforeseen happens, so I don't think it's work.  And I'm pretty good at sticking to a budget although I am having buyers remorse from my recent Ipad purchase.  Not because I don't LOVE it, but because I never feel I'm deserving of expensive things.   In fact the only time I don't feel guilty spending money these days is at the grocery store.  So I don't think it's financial.  That leaves the pillar of love and relationships.  You know they say that you never have all three pillars in line.  That if your successful in your career and relationships you have money issues.  And if you are secure in your debts and relationships its a job concern.  I can't remember a time in my life where I was happy in all three aspects at the same time.  And when torn between say a long distance romance or my job, well I'm going to pick my job every time. 

And while there is still no one special in my life I can truly call my own, my heart does soften occasionally, well always, for Mr. Hopeful when he gets in that mood of his.  That mood I've come to call 'the roller coaster'.  It usually starts off slow, when he's been alone too long without any family or friends around to boost his ego or make him feel special enough.  Then it builds into a mutual reminiscing of the past both specific and general of what 'could have been' or the mistakes we made.  Then when it reaches the top its a free for all of emotional ups and downs as he tries to wrestle with his heart, mind and conscience.  Most of the time this is filled with promises to see me that he will cancel when his mind wins.  Until finally it stops and all is calm until the next ride.  I go along for the ride because I love him.  But I also have some earlier experience with this ride.

My first husband who was also an alcoholic at that time in our lives, was the same way.  Up and down.  In my twenties it was sometimes exciting, always a worry, and eventually why we spit up.  Couldn't raise our son in an environment of drugs and booze and when I say he was a functioning drunk, let me amend that after we left, he clinically drank himself to death, at 24, and was zapped back to life at an ER.   He's 10,000 days sober now, and I couldn't be happier for his life outcome. 

Last night I was watching The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, on HBO Now or Go or whatever it's called when you have HBO.  So you can pause it and watch what you want when you want.  I was going to watch all by myself when I get a mysterious text from my third ex husband Mr. Selfish asking if I'd seen it yet. Crazy.  So he kept me company as I watched some of our favorite old bands get inducted.  Yes and ELO were the ones that hit the hardest and we found ourselves reminiscing in a comfortable merry-go-round kind of way and both of us missing Darth Vader, my second husband, very much.  And the times we had as kids in high school together cruising to ELO and Rush in the Green Dragon.  Darth's car.  Then out of the blue Mr. Hopeful shows up and I can't wait to share with him Rush inducting Yes into the Hall as well,  but by the time Pearl Jam came up that was more about Mr. Hopeful's times, than Mr. Selfish.  And then Mr. Practical shows up and I'm sharing the same Yes moments with him, in a Tilt-A-Whirl stream of data that makes his head spin.  So maybe this is the the universe or Fates little push to show me that its the relationship pillar that is going to rock my boat.  But the jokes on her.  All of them are ex's and you can't go back.  So for me, while I'm very comfortable FINALLY reminiscing about the past and not letting it depress me or make me feel guilty or not know why it makes me sad, I wonder if they are. 

I think because they all care about me and don't want to hurt me or wish me any ill will they are afraid that I'll get hurt if they have too much fun on the ride, or get too serious about it.  So rather than explore any real feelings because you can't change your life anyway, right?  They don't.  And I try not to either, because I don't want to lead them on or hurt them either.  Sometimes I think people who aren't happy alone, or who are in happy relationships can't understand it when someone is actually happy and quite fulfilled alone.  I don't think I would be without my adult children, or the wee ones I nanny for.  But I am truly happy and doing well.  So far.  Alone.  But last night felt pretty good to be so popular all at once.  And reminded me that I'm never really alone unless I want to be. 


Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Balls In Your Court

I was hoping to write today, but the blank page of my blog this morning seems daunting.  Perhaps I'll still be able to edit.  I'll start there after I accomplish something on this page.  Something worth reading about feelings.  Feelings suck.  It's why I try not to feel them.  HA.  Of course that road never really works with me.  I'm one of the most caring people you'll ever meet, but sometimes there are situations in my life where it's better if I try not to feel.  Or at least try not to express what I'm feeling.  Which goes against my nature.  I was taught to express my emotions and not keep them bottled up inside.  But life has taught me that many times you have to do just that to survive.  As humans its better if we don't act on every emotion we feel, because the consequences could be disastrous.  

Of course I'm sure you already know that, as you've probably acted on emotions that you shouldn't have and the end result wasn't perhaps what you'd expected.  So having learned that lesson, countless times in the past, here I sit.  Wondering if I should act or not.  Knowing I shouldn't and believing I wont are very different levels.  This is a test.  Truth be told I like tests, and life, at least my life, has been full of them. 

If I told you my life story you might think I failed on most of my tests, but I don't see it that way.  I think I'm right where I should be.  And I've always felt that way, no matter where I was in my life.  Each time I married or divorced, I felt it was the right thing to do at the time.  Its funny how some people will comment on my marriages with "Well I married for life."  So did I.  Every time.  But see life is the test.  It throws you curve balls and demands that you react to them.  You can't ignore your life.  Even if you try that's a decision.  And keeps the ball rolling.  Or as my friend and constant temptation, Mr. Hopeful would say, "The balls in their court now."  How true for every relationship in your life.  Every moment of meeting and point of departure its always about the ball being in someone's court. 

But you know, if we all believe that once we serve that ball, then it's the other persons turn to respond, and we wait...
and wait...
and sometimes wait....
and maybe wait too long...
and maybe try to serve many balls to get their attention....
When we finally get a response it's too late.

And our hearts and minds may have already moved on.  Already judged you not worthy of our time or continued attempts at being involved in your lives.  Or including you in ours.  You see when you lose me as a friend you lose everything attached to me too.  Because I'm very good at disappearing if I really want to be gone from your life, I'll just walk away and you'll never hear from me again.  You might forever live in a part of my mind and heart that I keep locked away, in a box or an envelope or an iron bound chest, but locked away you'll be.  For my preservation.  For my well being.  Because you see, I can't afford to care about you if you don't care back.  I have no more time in my life for fake people or people that only want to use me when they need a lift and are oblivious to my times of darkness. 

No, for me it's always been better to make a clean break.  Be called heartless or shallow, fickle or a slut, than to endure relationships where I do all the work.  All the attempts to keep us close and bombard you with many unreturned serves.  I, the anxious one, the mountains out of mole hill woman, have learned to stop trying.  To just let everyone go and see who can't stay away.  I've never had the strength of character to do that before.  I always chased, sometimes even heartbroken I found a way to chase what I thought I wanted, or what I knew I wanted.  But hiding my emotions has never been easy for me, and it never will be.  And in the end, I guess, I have to be ok with that.  Because I've discovered I'd rather feel something.  Than nothing.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

It's The Sins We Do In Secret That Are The Worst

Welcome to my last day of vacation or what is more commonly known as Easter.  What a relaxing vacation it has been, and I can tell I needed some time to just be me, in my little space in the world, doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, and not having to answer to anyone except myself.

Sometimes being an adult isn't hard.  Sometimes it's exactly what we deserve.  This time of year is always a bit more difficult because it's the time mom died.  Easter came early that year.  And my life forever changed when she died.  I think she'd be proud of who I am now, but I know she wouldn't be proud of who I was when I was grieving her death.  I made a lot of mistakes then, out of fear and loneliness and utter despair in my grieving.  Destroyed more than one friendship when  I starting drinking too much once the numbness wore off.  And trying to hide my fears in a bravado of going out and getting further in debt.  Eventually I allowed a married man who I thought was a good friend, take advantage of my vulnerability, and instead of thinking about how his wife might feel, I allowed myself to be treated in a way that I didn't deserve.  But you see I wanted to feel something.  I was still numb.  And the love of my life was strangely absent having found the love of his life he was on a road to marriage and kids that now he . . .well that's his story isn't it?  That's his right to say how he's feeling and he does, to me, as often as I let him.  Grief at losing all we love and cherish can make us try to do stupid things.  Sometimes it can make us feel like cheating with someone we know or a complete stranger will make us feel better about ourselves, or make us feel  something.  But it's a trap.  And not for the first time, in the decades I've know him, I turned him down. 

At first his offer to come and see him, I'm assuming on his dime, made me feel something.  It was that spark of love and excitement that he used to give me when he looked into my eyes.  It was that hopeful little girl of ten or eleven that still believes her prince will come.  It was that sigh or relief that maybe this time he means it.  Maybe this time he really wants to choose me.  (that was Freudian....that last sentence.  Hugely so I'll leave it.  but what I meant to say, was:  Maybe this time he really will chose me. )  But fortunately for me, even at the late hour with little sleep and after a day of good times with friends; I still found the strong willed woman I know my mother raised, to say no.  Somehow, no matter how my heart feels, or what it may think it wants, I found the strength to say, "No.  That's not what this is about."  Because it isn't.  He doesn't want me or love me, he wants to use me again, to make himself feel better about his wife cheating on him.  Again. 

I can't say much for other peoples love lives.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I can say a lot but it might not mean anything to anyone but me.  And it might  not be true, because we can only guess at others lives even with the information they give us.   But I can speak to what I've lived.  And while I believe in giving loved ones a second chance, there comes a time after repeated betrayal, where we have to have a line that has been crossed.  A straw that breaks the camels back, if you will.  And the amount of self respect speaks to where that line is.  In times when I have hated myself that line was so blurred that it didn't even really exist.  But now in my life, where I've started to really heal from the rapes and the poor choices in partners, (for me, not for the ones they actually are happy with now), and the guilt at the mistakes I've made or the people I've hurt, even if they don't know I've hurt them.  It's the sins we do in secret that are the worse.  Even now, when I like myself much more than I used to, I found myself tempted by his offer.  And I'm not proud of that.  But I am proud that I refused.  Lets just say a larger part of me is proud.  There is a part of me, that is curled up in a ball in the back of my brain, holding herself and hoping that it all goes away, while she wants to run into his arms.  But, see she's young and hopeful and believes the lies of the heart he's telling.  She doesn't think about the reality of life or situations, or families broken apart.  Hell, she's the part of me that still misses her mom and doesn't believe she can do it alone.  She's the little girl I promised in the "Letter to My Twelve Year Old Self" that I would protect and never let feel hurt again.  And she's the one that usually runs headlong into that hurt.

Not today, dear one.  I will save you from yourself.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

It's PJ's Sunday!

Are you like me? Do you work hard all year and when it's time for vacation you get sick?  That happens to me a lot.  But, so far, not this year.  Not sure how I am going to fill up all the time, and that's the best feeling in the world.

No schedules to keep, no trains to catch, no errands that all have to be done in a small two day weekend.  Just well earned time to do what ever I want.  And I live in Chicago so the possibilities are endless.  And I can skip the weekend crush of people and go downtown to shop on a weekday.  Like the 'women who lunch' do.  Maybe I'll even lunch. 

Of course I have some specific things I'm getting done just because it's convenient.  Like a check up with my doctor and coloring my hair.  (pictures will follow)  Spring cleaning and going out for walks instead of playing at the park with the little ones.  And a Murder Tour of Chicago showing some of the major spots where some of the major players in the field of serial killing did their deeds.  Like H.H. Holmes (The Devil in the White City) and the Killer Clown John Wayne Gacy.  There is a separate tour that covers all the mob murders like St. Valentines Day Massacre.  But I booked this one for two reasons.  One First Daughter and her friend love true crime stories and I loved the Devil in the White City book and took the 1893 Worlds Fair Tour last summer for my birthday.  It was so interesting to see the outside and inside of the beautiful buildings that were built before that famous Worlds Fair, and see some that had survived the great Chicago Fire.  This tour will fill in some of the blanks of that one and focus specifically on H.H. Holmes and his murder house.  (pictures will follow)

Initially I was very disappointed that my First Daughter and her friend were not coming for the tour and Easter weekend.  I miss her.  And I was stuck with these two tickets I didn't want to go to waste.  They don't refund.  But I managed to sell them to a friend and her husband who will be coming with me.  So I still get to go and not alone.  Which is always better for me.  I hate to do things alone.  Actually I should clarify that.  I hate to do things alone in public.  That sounds strange doesn't it?

I mean if you enjoy your own company, and I say I do.  Then why wouldn't I enjoy my own company among company?  Doesn't make sense does it?  I mean I know I can fake being an extrovert, I have some qualities, but for the most part I am an introvert.  Or as I quoted a few blogs ago and many times before an ambivert.  A person who has parts of both.  So this vacation, without First Daughter, will be interesting to see how much I actually do get out. 

I'm hoping I at least go for a walk everyday.  And I'm already trying to figure out how to justify staying in bed with my tech toys all day.  Maybe just one day in my PJs all day is warranted.   What better attire to write in, than your PJs.  Here's to day two of vacation, which I proclaim to be PJ's Sunday.  Take the PJ's Sunday Challenge and don't get dressed. 


Sunday, April 2, 2017

A New Reflection

They say soul mates aren't really the loves of your life, but rather a mirror that holds up a part of who you are, and reflects it back.  There are many reasons for this unique meeting and you will find your soul mates throughout life are quite different from each other but they all reflect a vision of you.  I've never had much luck bringing my soul mates together because they are usually extreme versions of myself.  For example I am friends with my introvert side, my reckless party girl side, my hopeless romantic side, my rape survivor side, my neglected in childhood side, my geeky side.  I'd give you their nicknames but I think it's fun to guess. 

Well, I connected with an acquaintance yesterday, who over the last year has slowly become a friend, and who yesterday called ME, HER  soul mate.  And she's not wrong.  She's young enough to be my daughter and yet nothing like my daughter.  Except in the speed in which she can speak.  We discovered that we can both talk a bloody blue stream, and still not only understand what each other had said while we spoke but continue to discuss topics we both talked over.  It occurred to me that watching us talk or listening to us would play very well on film or stage.  What an original odd couple indeed.  However this trait is certainly not an advantage in any of my personal relationships as I'm sure it's not with her either.  Guess why we met?  Probably for both of us to see two things, 1. that we're not crazy or alone. and 2. how to help each other get better about not talking over, except with each other of course.  :D

Soul mates are not there to show only negative things, and of course we have one, at least, other fantastic saving grace, that is similar.  Our sense of humor.  How refreshing to find someone where I don't have to say, "just kidding" after a joke or explain it.  Rather, she not only laughed but followed up.  Excellent.  I may have found my first real friend beyond acquaintance, here in Chicago. 

We have some serious things in common, abuse, and failed relationships.  Painful emotions of where I am decades past her in some of my reflections and she decades past me in others.   I don't know if you can ever rate the severity of any rape or say one is more horrific than the other but as a rape victim I can say my experiences in it I believe to be much less severe than hers.  And I am amazed at her ability to be strong and discuss painful memories with me, and know she was in a safe place.

I look for that in all my relationships, friends, lovers, and whatever is in-between.  If can't tell a friend anything and still be loved as a friend, what's the point in telling them anything?  What's the point in going beyond acquaintance?  Over the years I've had to admit to myself that friends I considered family were really no more than friends or acquaintances after all.  Having to come to these realizations, was not only painful but typical in my life.  And I'm so sick of it.  I'm sick of picking the wrong people to be close to.  People that disappear.  I know nothing is forever, and I know that distance makes it hard.  But I have a best friend that's been my loyal best friend for over twenty years, and She of Little Combat Boots lives many miles from me.  I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I don't feel like I'm making the wrong choice with Miss Soul.  I think she fits in with my very best long distance soul mates, but I think she's here to help me learn how to 'live' in Chicago.  Not just exist.  The acquaintances I have here have taught me that.  Now it's time to really experience what my city has to offer and not just when friends come to see me.  I'm excited that I had such a good time out with all the people, and we didn't go down town and still complained about the shoppers ahead of us in almost every situation.  It felt good to hear her complain as I would and did.  I felt like everyone that met us must have assumed she was my daughter.  Which of course made me think of First Daughter even more and be super excited for her visit in two weeks.

I guess it's time to try to admit that I'm happy in my single life, and while this blog was started many years ago as a way to try and heal a broken heart, I'm happy it's becoming more of a journal about trying to live.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Survivor To Survivor - (trigger warning)

Yesterday I looked in the mirror.  I had a long discussion, out loud, alone in my room.  A face to face realization about the lessons the rapes taught me and what those actual lessons were, and I wrote about it this morning.

I got three paragraphs written down, and it's good. 

But its too personal to share.

So, I'm writing this disclaimer to share instead.

I promise you it was necessary, and I promise you it was not a pleasant conversation.  But I can also promise you that it was very, very honest and very liberating.  On the other side of this attitude change in me, I can also promise you it's better, I'm better, and closer to the person I see myself being than I have been in twenty years. 

The work I still have to do is scary, but also necessary.  But all true inner workings on your ego and id are painful.  So this is another curve or hill on my trail.  Another obstacle in the road to navigate around.  We all have them and we all figure out, each in our own way, how to do just that  Every Single Day.  And for some of us it's every minute of every day but they are the ones in chronic pain.  My pains so far are the result of self infliction caused by child molestation.  It is very difficult to type those words.  Those are the first time I've used them in association with myself.  And that felt profound.  I am one of the many, many outcomes of being abused as a child.  Forgiving yourself of the blame you carry for being raped is hard enough, without having to try to forget the memory of it.  And of forever associating sex of any kind, with it.  It's not like most of your first times, that you fondly cringe about when asked, "What was your first time like, or Who took your virginity?"  Actual questions people (men mostly) have asked me.  No my cringes at this question are because the rapist did. 

In fact the only reason I blog about it ever is in the hopes that if someone else out there is going through it too, that they know they are not alone.  Stats say one in five of us will be raped in our lifetime.  I got that in three's too (see unposted blog above), so I've got two of you covered if it never happens to you.  You're Welcome.  The only reason I share at all, is to let other survivors know what they are feeling is not abnormal.  While our stories will be different, our pain is similar.  The guilt, the shame, the vengeance, is all very familiar.  So much so that between us, we nod in recognition without ever knowing details.  Only that we're survivors.  And we will continue to survive rather than let the rapist win.  See losing ourselves, losing our identity, losing our ability to love or let someone in, is letting the rapist win.  I'm trying so hard not to let that happen, but I find myself slipping away into electronic only relationships. 

This might be exactly what my internet play needs.  Not a happy ending, but an invisible one.  From life, once again, comes inspiration. 


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunrise Sunset

Sunrise in the city is not like sunrise in the country.  I remember living and visiting family in Nebraska when a young child and preteen, the sunrise and sunsets were brilliant orbs of red or gold that sat on the flat lands.  The sky a rainbow of color behind it as it rose.  Then as a teenager and young woman Pikes Peak was the back drop for that sunset making the mountain a silhouette, but the sunrise made them a breathtaking pink and orange with the reflection of the snow.  I missed the orb but was awed by the rosy range.  Now in the Windy City the buildings take up so much of the sky, that you only see the yellow glow when it peeks in between the skyscrapers, like a shy child playing hide n seek. The sky slowly grows light without an orb or reflection and, I find I miss the dawn of the mountains. 

Life is like that. 

You miss what you have only after it is gone.  And you look back on it with a fondness that kindles a desire to return to see it.  But when you do, you find it either unchanged or completely unrecognizable due to growth.  And you then you long for what you left behind again. 

People are like that. 

The memory we have of our lost loves or friends can range from poignant to affectionate.  And yet they are changed either from lack of growth or growth in a completely different direction from yours.  Such is life.  If we are lucky we are continually changing, hopefully for the better but not always.  We go through change so quickly and yet it seems like it can take forever for real change to occur.  That is until you wake up and realize the change is compete.  Then it's like a switch going off inside you and you know something is different.  It might be a change in a long believed outlook or a change of heart, but the change is real and once it flips you can't undo it. 

You really can't go back.

I know some hopeless romantics out there will argue.  Believe me I was one for thirty years.  But life taught me one thing after all the regret, and bitterness and anger were lifted.  Every sunrise is a chance at making my world and me a better version.  And every sunrise is different and beautiful in its own way.  Just like people.  Just like life.  Even when you are down, you know you will be up again as along as you never give up.  As the dawn breaks here I look upon my blue gray and pink sky and wonder how many of the ones I left behind or left me behind see their sky and think of what happened between us?  What really went wrong?  How could I have changed it?  Would I?  And I know they do.  But we are smarter than that. We know you can't go back.  So we go forward.  Life is waiting, and you must live it.  Or it will pass you by.  Of course if you're like me and you are tired of life and its drama and excitement, by all means have another cup of coffee and move when you're sure.  You can't force life, or change.  You can only accept it.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

When Life Puts The Breaks On Your Life

The struggles I have found with finishing my novel have been so many that they might be a new novel.  And once I get this one back from my editor I just might try it.  After all my screen play was about my twenties, maybe It's time for a novel about my forties. 

The last seven years have been full of ups and downs romantically, three men have come into my life and left.  Mr. Practical, Mr. Hopeful and Mr. Charisma.  Mr. Practical and I are still very close friends and writing partners, he really is a treasure.  And Mr. Hopeful and I are working on a friendship, if he can avoid his jealous streak.  Mr. Charisma, I hope falls off a cliff.  Learning that "I love you" usually means "I lust you" and rarely means what you think it means, unless said by children. 

A huge move from a medium sized city of Oktoberfest lovers to the Windy City, in my fifties.  A population shock reversal from leaving the city at the foot of Pikes Peak for a town that love the Rutabaga, almost thirty years ago.

A life style and life changing career.  After tying on many jobs in clerical and sales industry and hating almost all of them I stumbled into something that I not only love but am very, very good at.  With the right minded parents, which is vital as a nanny.

Oh and the 'big change' which gave me twenty pounds and the ability to not really care what anyone thinks anymore and really cool blue and purple hair.  Thanks menopause.   So I think the weight gain is worth it.  Besides I can lose the weight.  I don't want to lose the perception. 

The mental breakthrough (breakdown?) I needed to face the work I've done, and will continue to do which has brought about the end to depression and much more controllable anxiety. 

Really learning to enjoy my own company, not just saying it.  And embrace the half of my personality that is introvert while occasionally letting out my extrovert.  I believe the new term for that is ambivert.  But whatever.  

And the ability to juggle money the way a clown juggles balls.  With practiced expertise and the knowledge of one thing going wrong and the whole thing falls apart.  Like knitting. Which I also learned how to do. 

I wrote one screenplay and submitted it to project Green Light, making the last cut from over 5000 entries before finally cut myself in the last 100.  A play which I'm not very happy with except for a few concepts and maybe a character or two.  So not.  And a fantasy novel which I'm very proud of from a story of a long time ago in my head.  Which many of you heard while I was kicking around ideas and which none of those made it to the actual story.  The way it goes in a writers head. 

And finally how to be a really good friend and sometimes tell my friends the truth or 'no' and not change myself to 'buy' their affections, but rather cut them lose and find friends that accept me for who I am.  Not who they want me to be or to use.  This goes for romance as well.  Which was a very hard lesson to learn, and took me three divorces and three failed romances to figure out.  Or at least admit.  Going back to the 'enjoying my own company' bit, but sometimes we think we need someone to complete us.  Or make us a better person.  Or make life worth living because you have someone to share it with.  All of this may be true for us as humans.  I believe you do need physical hugs to be happy, but I don't believe I need a man to complete me or make me a better person or make my experiences worth something because of a witness.  I used to use these excuses when depressed about being single.  "If only I had someone to share it with" or "He makes me want to be a better me." or "We're like one person or halves of the same identity."  YUCK.  Kind of makes me sick now to think how hopeless a romantic I was.  And to understand that alone, I'm not only more successful financially but way more emotionally.

Sometimes we need to learn to stop chasing society imprinted dreams.  And really delve into our own personalities to know ourselves enough chase our own dreams.  And then make them reality.  Did the drama of my life so far, stop my writing?  No, but it sure slowed it down until I started to really see who I had become and not liking her, change.  Seven years of waking up and trying on hats.  Hats that didn't always fit, but were awfully pretty in the window.  Now my hat is of my own design and I'm a better person for it.  Being able to write again after decades of not even thinking of myself as a writer anymore, has been a great gift.  And one I hope will never again be suffocated by what everyone expects of me.  But made to grow now that it's what I expect of me.  And my opinion of myself is all that matters.

Just like for you.