Monday, July 27, 2009


Because sometimes we can't say what we need to... and sometimes even when we can, the right person doesn't hear it.

by Alanis Morrisette

Dear Matthew,
I like you a lot.

I realize you're in a relationship with someone right now,
and I respect that.

I would like you to know that if you're ever single in the future,
and want to come visit me in California,
I would be open to spending time with you

and finding out how old you were when you wrote your first song.

Dear Jonathan,
I liked you too much.

I used to be attracted to boys who would lie to me
and think solely about themselves.

And you were plenty self-destructive for my taste at the time -
I used to say the more tragic the better.
The truth is, whenever I think of the early 90's, your face comes up with a vengeance
like it was yesterday.

Dear Terrance,
I love you muchly.

You've been nothing but open hearted and emotionally available
and supportive and nurturing and consummately there for me.
I kept drawing you in
and pushing you away...

I remember how beautiful it was to fall asleep on your couch
and cry in front of you for the first time.
You were the best platform from which to jump beyond myself...
What was wrong with me?

Dear Marcus,
You rocked my world.

You had a charismatic way about you with the women
and you got me seriously thinking about spirituality.
And you wouldn't let me get away with kicking my own ass,

but I never really felt relaxed enough to fall around you though.
And that stopped us from going any further than we did...
and it's kinda too bad because we could've had much more fun.

Dear Lou,
We learned so much.

I realize we won't be able to talk for some time
and I understand that as I do you.
The long distance thing was the hardest and we did as well as we could.
We were together during a very tumultuous time in our lives.
I will always have your back
and be curious about you...
about your career, your whereabouts...

To the one I still see in my dreams,

We were so young and I loved you so.
I never took the opportunity to apologize when I could have.
Then the option was taken from me forever.
Until the day we might meet again, I will continue to hope
you somehow know.

To Mr. Right Now (but not Mr. Right),

You saved me.
During a time that was dark, you gave me light,
and a direction to follow when I was lost.
I know there was imbalance - and I never could have loved you as you needed me to.
But thank you for loving me
as much as I would allow you to.

To the friend I will not forget,

There were always too many words misunderstood between us.
“Love” was just one among many.
There was room for that love in my life,
as love takes so many forms...
but the same wasn't true for you.
My life is emptier without you, but I doubt you have noticed my absence in yours.

To the one who got away,

I am glad now, that you did.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fire bad. Tree pretty.

I have a friend - who shall remain nameless, for my protection, not his - to whom I am constantly giving shit. For many things, actually, but in this case in particular, because he’s the type who likes to talk about things he wants to do, or plans to do, or thinks would be funny to do - and then never does them. To the point where, I have mercilessly teased him about how, in his world, just thinking about something is the same as doing it. Wanna try a new restaurant for dinner? Poof, in insert-name-here’s world, it’s already done.

How was the steak?

Obviously, the reason I don’t mention he-who-must-not-be-named is simply because should he ever read this (which is highly unlikely anyway, as he’d likely say he would, which means he already has, and thus doesn’t have to actually do it) I don’t want him calling me out on this. Because, simply put? I kinda do the same damn thing.

And I just realized it recently.

And now I must take great lengths to make that NOT the case.

In a former post, I mentioned how there are things that I want to do that I have always put off doing - and now I want to do them. Enough thinking about it. Enough talking about it. Time to just do it.

(ah, Nike would be so proud...)

One thing I have talked about for years, and have never actually done, is to learn some sort of martial art. You know, karate or some such shit like that. And I don’t want to end up the only 30-something in a class of 5 year olds... mostly because, let’s be honest here, who wants to put the smack down on a 5 year old?

(and who would potentially want smacketh laid down upon them by a 5 year old? Um, yeah, not me.)

So I have to give some serious consideration and research to where I want to “train”... just that word sounds funny to me... “train”... yes, some one please make me a killing machine... LOL. But in discussing this with someone (because yes, occasionally I do speak to actual people as opposed to just “talking” to myself in these rambling posts), the question was raised, “what sort of martial art are you considering?”

Um.... what, you mean I need to know what kind I want to learn? Are there like 32 flavors or something? Where's a menu?

I have no idea. Clearly. I just want the ability to kick some ass and inflict serious damage with my bare hands. And I want to look good doing it. And I don’t want to grunt and yell out weird non-words while doing so.

Really? I want to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

(the Sarah Michelle Gellar version, not Kristy Swanson, thank you very much.)

Sure, she was constantly being hunted by every badass demon/vampire/creepy-crawlie to ever populate the hellmouth, but damn, she kicked some serious ass. And looked good doing it. And got to fall in love with not one, but two vampires-with-a-soul. What’s not to like?

Okay, I recognize that's all a little ridiculous. I mean, who’s ever going to believe there are two vampires with souls, right? Psh.

But seriously? In my head, I can already throw a roundhouse kick that would send a vampire through a wall. In a pair of fabulous 4-inch heels, no less.

Guess it’s time to stop thinking and start doing, right?


Monday, July 13, 2009

The dreamless sleep of the medicated.

I haven’t been sleeping well recently. For the last week, at least. To be fair, though, I rarely sleep well. I have a hard time falling asleep and sometimes staying asleep. Most times, I’m tired, but almost never sleepy and that sucks. But this last week has been especially tough.

Last night I finally gave in and took two Unisom to try to put myself out. This, after a weekend of near nervous breakdown. I don’t know why it happens, but when I reach the point of utter exhaustion - still without sleep coming - I just get overly emotional. And by overly emotional? I mean out of control emotional. Like crying - all. day. long. Lashing out at every little thing. It sucks. It’s like there’s this little part of my mind that is still aware that my behavior is irrational and wants to stop - but that part is unable to reason with the rest of me.

So I took the meds.

I hate sleep medication.

Normal sleep for me - or, what passes for “normal” these days - is usually filled with dreams. And I enjoy that. I don’t know how it is for everyone else, but for me, my dreams are vivid. Sometimes bizarre. Sometimes profound. But always interesting. And I’ve come to enjoy that. There are even “places” I frequent in my dreams that I’ve visited numerous times, though they’re not places I’ve been in real life. I have no reason to believe they actually exist, clearly, but I’ve been there many times over the years. I like that. I like that my subconscious mind has created a whole landscape within which my dreams play out. There‘s something comforting and familiar about that.

But when I have to give in and take medication to help me sleep, I don’t dream at all. Or, if I do, I don’t remember them. It’s like one minute I’m awake - the next minute it’s morning. And I can’t say I feel overly rested. At least with my dreams, I’m aware of the passage of time - even if it’s not “real” time. And often times, the dreams help me work through issues or feelings that I may be dealing with in real life. Which, surprisingly, is a real benefit to remembering your dreams.

(and clearly I have a lot of things to be working through right now… I need all the help I can get.)

However, I can’t go on not sleeping. So I will likely take the Unisom again tonight and hope to collapse into bed a little earlier than last night. It did help and I felt somewhat better today.

In other words, I didn’t sit here all day crying.

That’s progress I guess.

For now.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Damn holes...

I was diagnosed with MS in March of this year. March 13th, to be exact... which, yes, was a Friday the 13th. (Bit of advice? Never make an appointment with a neurologist on a Friday the 13th... or really, any doctor in general... how could it be anything but bad news?) Some of you already know this bit of information... many of you don’t.... and I am sure some of you are thinking “So, what is MS...??”

Briefly, (and totally taken from the National MS Society website) “Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another. MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease. The body’s own defense system attacks myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers in the central nervous system. The nerve fibers themselves can also be damaged. The damaged myelin forms scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name. When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing the variety of symptoms that can occur.

Most people with MS learn to cope with the disease and continue to lead satisfying, productive lives.”

I like how they put that last sentence in there. Here I was worried that having holes in my brain was going to be a bad thing. But, whew, I’m relieved!

(yeah, I know, forgive me my bitter sarcasm...)

The symptoms of MS can vary widely from person to person - and true, some people never really experience any symptoms that would be considered disabling. Others end up blind and/or wheelchair bound. There’s a lot of grey area within which to fall between those two extremes. There are drug therapies available that are used to slow down the progression of MS, but there is no cure for it. They don’t know what causes it. Luck of the draw I suppose.

(lucky lucky me...)

I’m on a daily drug therapy that is an injectible medication. Yes, the girl who hated needles - I’m now giving myself one a day. The drug I chose, of the four available, has the fewest severe side effects, but does cause some very irritating injection site reactions. I’m bruised and bumpy and sore and itchy - which I suppose is better than "death by suicide" which was a "side effect" of a few of the other drugs. But it's a daily reminder of what may otherwise be an ignorable disease. Except, really, I can’t ignore it. Some days, it’s all I can think about.

My symptoms, so far, have been mostly cognitive in nature, though I have had a few physical symptoms. I haven’t yet decided if that’s “fortunate” versus having more serious physical issues, but maybe it would be best if I never have the opportunity to compare. Some days I just can’t focus. Some days I deal with outright confusion. Some days I am angry - irrationally quick to anger. (right now in fact, I am fighting the urge to scream at the man who is vacuuming my office - seriously, there are no students here, just me - IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE VACUUMED EVERY DAMN DAY!! GET OUT!!) Some days all I can do is cry and it’s usually about nothing, which is lovely, because I was never an emotional person before and I don’t like it now. And some days I am all of those things rolled in to one with a dash of exhaustion thrown in for good measure, because I haven’t been sleeping well for almost a year now.

I am pissed about the whole thing, quite frankly. I realize that part of me is grieving for a future that was never promised to me anyway - I mean, it’s not promised to any of us, right? - but that doesn’t mean I’m over it. The part of me that’s not grieving for my future? Is grieving for my present. I fear losing my sense of self. I fear becoming this person who is constantly sad and angry and tired and confused. Because I am so often sad and angry and tired and confused - and I don’t particularly like that version of me.

A friend, whom I haven’t known that long, pointed out to me recently that I used the phrase “I’m not normally like this” a lot when explaining my state of mind. The truth hit me like a ton of bricks - (which, as a sidenote, I find to be a weird saying - how many of us have ever been hit with a ton of bricks??) - my “normal” had changed. Maybe I wasn’t ever like this before. Maybe the Jamie before MS was not so generally unhinged. But this “new and improved” MS version of me? Wow. What a hot mess.

On the positive side (if there is a positive side), there are many things I have now decided that I want to do. Things I always thought maybe I would do “someday” - I want to do them now, and sooner rather than later. Life is too short and we don’t get second chances. Who knows what the future holds. I feel like I had better get some shit out of the way now - before new symptoms crop up and make more changes in my life that I didn’t authorize.

Right about now should be the part where I offer some inspiring words of wisdom about how this complication has lead me to a greater understanding of life and a zen-like outlook on the pain/beauty in the world. But that would be a bunch of bullshit, quite frankly. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be happy if this lead to that sort of understanding and I’m not closed off to the idea of it. But right now? I’m just pissed off. And sad. And tired. But not confused, which is why I’m taking this rather clear headed moment to write all this out. Believe me, some days the words don’t come as easily.

(damn holes in my brain...)