Sunday, November 28, 2010

10 years later.

(I wrote this post on July 1st of this year and never published it.... I think it's just time to let it out.... and let it go.)

"Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive."
~Josephine Hart

There are always a handful of moments in life that you will never forget... even if you'd rather that you could. One of those such moments happened for me on July 1st, 2000.

Anytime I think of that day, I stumble into the open hole of a wound that, somehow, hasn't healed entirely. Even in 10 years time, it amazes me that there is still a fresh bloom of blood to be found... sometimes just a trickle... other times, a full gush.

How can words, spoken not in hate or anger but simply in ignorance, be so damaging?

I've actually spoken about this day with very few people over the years. It's always been on a need-to-know basis... as in, "you want to know why I'm so scarred? flawed? insecure? easily-hurt? Okay, here..." Of course, it’s just a piece of the story.... my story.... and the thing is, it's not a tragic story nor is this the biggest chapter. I wasn't physically harmed. I wasn't even maliciously accosted. Some may read this and not understand the big deal... but... I'm not writing for those people. I guess I’m not writing this for anyone really.... but maybe someone needs to hear it.

(or read it, as it were.)

((or maybe I just need to write it.))

July 1, 2000 was the day I realized that I wouldn't be able to remain married to my first husband. I knew it with 100% certainty. We had only been married a little over a year earlier. We married young. We loved each other, but something wasn't right - we were both deeply unhappy... and neither of us knew why.

We were in our bedroom and packing to go to New York for the wedding of a friend of his from high school. As I was gathering clothes and such together, I was relating a story about one of my high school friends, to whom I had just spoken the previous night.

The story was centered around his experiences in online dating - a rather novel concept at that time. He had met a girl online and had spoken to her on a daily basis over a few weeks - emails, phone calls, etc. He had gotten to know her well, really liked her, and the feeling was mutual; they decided to meet.

However, when he met her, he said knew immediately that he couldn't date her: she was overweight. Not cut-you-from-your-bedroom-and-remove-you-via-forklift big.... just, overweight. Maybe kinda big. He liked skinny girls, waif-ish even, he explained. And he was really disappointed because he really liked her.

(um, as a sidebar, I just feel it necessary to point out that he was not waif-ish himself.)

((at. all.))

I was baffled by this. I didn't understand why he would throw away a potential relationship, when there was such a good personal connection, simply based on a physical first impression. I was disappointed for him, but also kind of disappointed in him. I wouldn't have thought this friend to be shallow like that... or judgmental.

My husband, not at all understanding what he was about to do, interjected, "Well, I mean, I can understand that. If I saw you just walking down the street, I probably wouldn't even notice you. I wouldn't be attracted to you."

(yes, I remember it verbatim.)

I also remember, quite clearly, that I walked over to my closet - my back to him - trying to process what he had just said to me.

This, from the man that had, four years earlier, sought out my number from a mutual friend after seeing me walk through a grocery store, just once.

(I was smaller then.)

This, from the man who had promised to love me above all others, for better or for worse.

(how was the “worse” a simple matter of weight??)


I don't remember much else in the moments immediately following that comment.

I remember crying - tears silently streaming - as I "searched" for something in the closet - until he left the room.

I remember sitting right down in that closet and crying a little more until I could get myself together.

I remember a very very silent car ride to NY.

I remember a very long and not at all enjoyable weekend.

I remember wondering how many of these strangers at this wedding were looking at me…. and if any of them were actually seeing me…. or if I was simply invisible.

(I remember "Hope Floats" being on HBO as we were getting ready to leave the hotel the next morning and having a crying, physical breakdown like nothing I had ever experienced before.)

((yeah, "Hope Floats"...))

I did talk to him about it.... eventually. My trying to explain to him why the comment hurt me was the hardest.... because I didn't really understand why it cut me so deeply. I knew I had gained weight since he and I met. I had health problems and I was trying to lose weight - working my ass off, actually - but it was slow in coming, as it always is. But I wasn't going to, in the meantime, let myself go to hell. I always did my hair, always wore make-up, always dressed nicely.... but it seemed he didn't see me anymore.

I think, looking back on it now - and having 10 years to still wonder why this hurts me to this day - he hit upon an insecurity that I didn't even know I had.... and given the ones that I was aware of, I didn't expect that there would be more hiding like that.

I want people to see me.... to see the real me.... and I sometimes worry that no one does. I think that's part of the reason I put myself out there so bluntly. "Here I am world! Take me or leave me!"

(but really? I want them to take me.)

((don't we all?))

I thought, given that he married me, that he did see me.... and therefore, even in less than perfect times, I saw myself in him.... even if I didn't love me, he loved me.

And who was I if he didn't see me anymore?

And, to be fair, he didn't make the comment to say that he didn't love me.... he meant that he loved me despite how I looked.... which I guess was a good and honest thing to say.... but not what I was needing to hear. And not how I heard it.

"There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with."
~Harry Crews

Some days, I’m still waiting for this to scar over.

Other days, I am really am okay if the world just wants to leave me.

Fuck them.

"You used to be so audacious. People would stop to watch you come down the street. You think you've lost that. I can still see it."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dream a little dream....

Had the strangest dream last night. Not bad-strange, but nice-strange..... and a bit melancholy.

I'm at the shore, watching a pick up baseball game, sitting off to the side and just past third base, next to a car that is too nice to actually be mine, but is, and squinting in the warm sun. Suddenly a foul ball whizzes by my head.... and I'm not worried, just amused. But then other balls start being lobbed at me by a guy standing up by the dugout and I realize it's an old friend of mine. Laughing, I catch some, dodge others, and taunt him to come get me.

Next thing I know, I'm back in a beach house, going from room to room - aware of hearing him in other rooms, and knowing he's coming to get me. We're playing some childish game that's a combination of hide 'n seek and pulling pranks on one another. While he's in a room, I try to tape the door shut with duct tape (because what can't you do with duct tape??), but he hears the telltale rip of it coming off the roll and comes at the door before I get any more than the top sealed.

I squeal and laugh and take off up a flight of stairs, throwing myself into the first closet I see - climbing over a vacuum and a box to hide in the back, just peeking out of the crack of the slightly open door.

As I am in there, heart pounding with the excitement of potentially being discovered, I hear him laughing, running up the stairs. In that moment of pure joyful intoxication, I suddenly realize: this friend died years ago. In my dream, I flash to what are, apparently, dream-life memories - flowers on a headstone.... flowers laid in the dirt next to third base.... a baseball hat....

I walk out of the closet to an empty and silent room, turn and descend a different set of steps to a kitchen, where I hop up and sit on a granite counter top, waiting.

Pete walks in, laughing and talking with two other men I don't know. I smile, looking at a face that is older than the teenager I knew, and yet, every bit as youthful and exuberant. He smiles back and the three of them stop talking. He's holding a baseball glove and a hat in his hands, his hair longish, his face tan, but with the traces of wrinkles and smile lines around his mouth and eyes. I am comforted and happy, but I don't get off the counter - just smile back.

He tells me something that I don't remember. Perhaps it's small talk? I just keep watching his eyes and I don't talk. Then he tells me that he left me a message - two messages actually - but I won't get them until after thanksgiving, which I think is odd and sad because it's summer and thanksgiving is so far away and I am anxious to know what he wanted me to know.

Then I wake up.

It's the first time Pete has visited me since the year after he died - which was many years ago.... plus the more than 10 years before his death that had passed since I last saw him in person. It was nice to see him again.

Do I actually believe the spirit of my dead friend came to me in my dream? Yes. Is it wildly ego-centric of me to think that he'd take time out of his busy afterlife just to seek out his high school girlfriend to play hide 'n seek and lob some baseballs my way? Clearly. But I still feel it. I don't care if that makes me crazy. It may actually be one of the more minor ways I'm crazy anyway.

He looked good. He looked healthy. And he looked happy.

It was good to see him.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Anyone have a zippo? A flint?? Come on - even two sticks I can rub together??!

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~Albert Schweitzer

I'm all about self-exploration.

(get your mind out of the gutter.... I didn't mean it that way....)

When you spend as much time living in your own head as I do, it becomes a pretty common way to pass the time. Self-assessment. Self-evaluation. Self-exploration.

(but only when I have a few moments to myself...)

((okay, that time I meant it that way))

I've come to understand something about myself which, while not a huge earth shattering revelation, is something that sincerely holds true and explains a lot about me.

I am a hot mess, people.

Wait, no, that wasn't the revelation.

(although, quite true)

I am a care-giver.... a nurturer.... a source of comfort.... for many people. I realize that sort of flies in the face of my snarky don't-mess-with-me-lest-my-claws-to-come-out attitude, but it is, in fact, the truth. It's in my nature to care for people and offer them care. Despite other impressions to the contrary, I am one of the nicest, kindest, people I know.


No, seriously.

(oh stop rolling your eyes!!)

((fine, I can also be one of the most evil, manipulative, and destructive people I know - so don't cross me))

But with great power comes great responsibility and all, right? So I choose to use that power for good. I genuinely do care for people. And all that caring? is way draining on my own personal reserves. Reserves of strength and light and resiliency. I give it all away.... because I have to. It may sound corny, but it's what I believe I was built to do. Be the support, the strength, the comfort, the light, the what-ever-you-need-let-me-try-to-ease-your-burden-person.

(and it's exhausting)

The great cosmic irony here is that I don't know how to let other people be a source of comfort for me. And that's the great revelation. I suck at being cared for. In fact, I rather don't like it, because I am super resistant to letting people in. Not because there's something wrong with them or there's something wrong with me or I'm damaged goods or something.

(although I suspect that there is and I am)

((just sayin))

But I just don't know how to. On one hand? I am an open book. Sharing and over-sharing every little bit of me that I feel compelled to put on display. Including everything in this blog, the things which have yet to make it past the editing stage, and the things that have yet to be written. Things that need to be said. Things that need to be shared. Even if it's just sharing to the no one and/or everyone who does and/or does not read this. I just need it out there.

Because really? As a counselor, that's what I ask others to do. I ask them to share. I ask them to open their wounds to me so that I can help heal them. I ask for their dirty laundry so I can help get the stains out. I ask them to do any number of things which would make a good counseling analogy - though I lack any more at the moment.

And I take what they give me. I try to offer comfort in return. That's really all there is to what I do. Figure out what people need. Try to help them get it. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Every once in awhile though, I will meet someone who, unbeknownst to me, bypasses all my layers of inner armor and gets right to the heart of where that comfort-giver dwells.... and gives me comfort. They re-light my inner fire and replenish my spirit. I am stronger and better for having them in my life. Trouble is - I really don't know how or why they were able to bypass that armor. And usually they don't either. And sometimes, they don't really want the responsibility of being my fire-bearer. Because they are not the caregiver. Or the nurturer. Or the comforter.

They are just them.

And I am just me.

And something about them sparks off of something about me.... and, for a moment, that inner fire is rekindled.

But then they leave....

(and they always do)

....because they are rubbed raw by my need to feel that spark.

And this ability? To somehow cut through all my crap and feed some sort of primal need that I don't even know how to access?


And rare.

That's not to say that the love of my friends and family isn't brilliant and beautiful - because it is. And I value it greatly.

But it doesn't comfort me.... it doesn't nurture me.... it doesn't rekindle my fire.

And that's not their fault.

Something is clearly wrong with my ignitor switch.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I found myself having a conversation the other day with one of my former students about how I have never smoked pot.

(That's right: never.)

I know, given my proclivity for excess and indulgence and *occasional* drunkenness, that this may seem, I don't know, contrary to my very nature. Let me clarify now - I have actually never done a single drug in my life.

(That's right: never.)

This is a conversation I have repeated more times than I can count - with family, friends, and, apparently, former students.

(because I'm responsible like that.)

((or completely irresponsible, whichever way you want to look at it.))

I am considering having it printed on a business card. The very very short version of this conversation?

I have enough addictions, people.

I have no problem with smoking pot, nor with people who do. I have friends and family that do and I don't judge - whatever works and doesn't negatively impact someone's life, doesn't concern me. Are they using it responsibly? Great. Not driving while impaired? Perfect. Self-medicating? Well, clearly I'm on board.

It's just a choice I have made. And I don't feel badly about that.

Here's the thing: I'm afraid I would like drugs. Too much. I have enough things that I like too much. I simply don't have time to maintain any more habits. Period.

However, with MS, I have gone on a number of medications in the last few years for any number of symptoms - brought about by the crazy effects of having my brain eaten away. Pre-MS, I was always very hesitant to take medicine. I just didn't like the idea of it. Now? Sign me up. Where's my prescription card? Because seriously? If I need it, I'll take it. Just please let me feel better.

For the last 10 months or so, I've been taking Xanax on a daily basis. Very low dosage - lowest possible, in fact - and only twice a day, along with my other meds. The Xanax was introduced as a way to keep me from having pointless emotional breakdowns, angry outbursts, and sleepless anxiety-ridden nights. Or, you know, having them less frequently anyway. As a bonus side-effect, it seemed it helped lessen my twitching - which was simply the icing on the medication cake.

But, I am aware of the slippery slope that medications like Xanax represent. It's a double edged sword. On one hand, your body gets used to it and, occasionally, you end up needing it in higher doses to achieve the same effects. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, you feel so "back to normal" that you think you don't need the medication anymore and you simply stop taking it. It's hard to maintain a balance somewhere in the middle.

Right now, I am at the point - for not the first time - where I am wondering if I can go without it. You know, without completely losing my shit. Because I have tried before. And yes, I completely lost my shit. The most recent time, I made it almost a week without taking it.... and spent most of that week twitching and crying over nothing.

(it wasn't pretty.)

Again though, I am wondering....

The hormones I am on do seem to be helping. I haven't had a crying fit in I don't know how long. Most of my days are calm and even occasionally happy. Maybe I don't need the Xanax....?

So, for the last two days, I only took one in the morning and skipped my second dose in the early evening. Today, I thought I would go without it. However, I only made it until about 11:00. Which was, approximately, 20 minutes or so after Chris left to go golfing and I was left with Callie.

Callie, who was playing with her "Lazy Town" radio. While watching "Fresh Beat Band".


You try listening to these two gems. At. The. Same. Time.

It was not a great day. F-you, Fresh Beat Band. Stop mocking me.

On a separate, but not unrelated note? I do believe in the use of medical marijuana.

Just sayin.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Today I am grateful for....

  • Fridays
  • casual Fridays
  • warm comfy sweaters
  • jeans
  • jeans that fit comfortably without being all tight and cutting at my waist
  • slippers that look enough like shoes to wear on casual Fridays
  • caffeine
  • cookies
  • good tunes on Pandora
  • awesome friends
  • fun plans with awesome friends
  • having something to look forward to
  • knowing things will work out for the best how they're meant to
  • good memories
  • a quick happy hour beverage
  • home
  • my pjs
  • take out


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

If a picture is worth a thousand words... many words is a picture of pictures worth?

Answer: more than you know.

(because really? sometimes this is all that gets me through the day.)