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.