Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I am such a hypocrite.

I owe many apologies to many people. If I owe you an email, phone call, or some sort of otherwise consistent communication, and I've been completely lax in follow through on those - I'm sorry. If I've sent you texts or emails in a somewhat altered state and/or just pestered you out of a need to not have to listen solely to the voices in my own head - I'm sorry. I think I tend towards extremes. I either can't connect with people when I need to or I over compensate by reaching out to those who don't want/need my witty pesterings. (please note: in my mind, everyone needs my witty pesterings. (this is part of my problem.)) If I owe you anything else, including but not limited to, framing, design advice, a lunch/dinner date, and/or anything else that requires even the smallest output of energy - I'm sorry. Chances are, that shit ain't getting done.

Anyway, I went to see my neurologist the other day and a simple "so, how have you been doing" turned into a steady 20 minute litany on how NOT-well I've been doing and ended with her sending me out of her office with a bag of drug samples and an order to see my doctor for a medication check ASAP. That visit took place three days later and my antidepressant dosage was upped by 50% on a daily basis. We're currently in the "wait and see" stage of this process to see if the increase helps at all.

Helps with what, you may ask? For starters, feeling completely overwhelmed by nothing more than everyday life. For example, getting up and showering. Making dinner. Doing my shot. Paying my bills. Putting gas in my car. Doing laundry. You know, the hard stuff. Way too crazy to tackle.

I'm also waiting to see if the fog lifts. The fog that makes me feel like everything and everyone in my life is somewhat disconnected from myself. Like I am simply a spectator watching the spectacle of my life unfold in all it's banal glory through a pane of smudged and smokey glass. Hard to care what's going on when you can't even see the details clearly, right?

I'm waiting to see if some of the aches and pains subside. You know those commercials where they talk about the "pain" of depression? That shit's for real. Okay, maybe not the little black cartoon cloud that follows people around, but the pain is real. I'm just achey. It's nondescript but completely draining. And it sucks. Sure, I guess it could be MS. But maybe it's depression. And maybe it will go away.

Bah.

But, the hypocritical part comes in that I talk to students every day who are on similar medications. Students who may be new to these meds or old pros and I tell them all the same thing - be aware of how you're feeling. If something doesn't feel right, find a way to give voice to that disquiet and fix it. Don't settle for feeling sad or alone or helpless - because there are other options and other things that can be tried if your current meds aren't working. And the only person who can assess how well those meds are working, is you.

Um, duh, dumbass. So why did it take so many months to finally, inadvertently, blurt out that you're falling apart?

*sigh*

I don't know.

I guess I'm tired of the bitching too. Tired of feeling like shit and tired of having to give voice to that fact. Most days? I feel like shit. That's my norm now. AND I'M TIRED OF IT. I'm tired of living in the grips of some disease. I'm tired of not just living my life. And mostly, recently, I am very very jealous of those who can get up, get showered, pay their bills, do laundry, don't have to take meds, and don't feel constant aches and pains.

Then, after that small pity party for myself, I feel like a complete tool - because I know there are people who have it way worse than me too. So then I beat myself up for a bit for forgetting that fact.

*sigh* (again)

It's kind of endless like that. Some days are better than others, but most are like that. And it takes a lot of energy to get up, get showered, pay the bills, do laundry, go to work, etc etc, without just curling up all fetal-position-esque and asking in the loudest scream possible to be left alone. Because if I do that? That's when I get the 30 day vacation in the quiet white room with padded walls. And that would be bad.

Well, maybe not all bad. I hear they have the good drugs in there.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Something wicked this way comes.

I hate days like this. Especially when they line up, string themselves together, and don’t give me a moments rest. It’s not the uneasy agitation that I mind so much - though, it is ridiculously tiring - but it’s that those feelings usually signal the start of worse times to come. I can’t even blame it on the hormones - I’m not on the evil red pills right now anyway, but I am due for another cycle. I’m certainly not starting that cycle until this mood passes. I cannot imagine the apocalypse that would follow if I took them now. I also hate blaming all my mental and emotional swings on my meds when the truth is this: I blame MS.

In that first year, even before the official diagnosis, I had a lot of dark days. A lot. I even went for about 6 weeks without sleeping more than 3 hours a night. (That was bad. Really bad.) I didn’t want to acknowledge, at that time, that my issues may be MS related. I knew that’s what that year’s worth of testing was about; they were trying to determine my diagnosis. I knew it was likely going to be MS. But it was so much more convenient to ignore the fact that a very scary brain MRI had turned up unexpectedly in the first place. All those tests and bloodwork and doctor’s visits that year? what? didn’t everyone have that? Psh…. whatever, I was choosing ignorance and I was sticking with it.

March 13th 2009 changed that. I finally went to my one-year-later follow up visit (only two months later than I should have) and my neurologist looked at me very matter of factly and said, “well, you have Multiple Sclerosis.” Not-so-blissful ignorance: shattered. End scene.

I spent the next year falling prey to massive meltdowns that came, seemingly, out of nowhere. Eventually, I learned to listen to my body better and when the hallmark precursors would make their presence known, I would take it easy. Sometimes I could even avoid some of the more serious physical meltdowns. Not always, but sometimes. And that felt like progress.

The shit of it is, I don’t really know how to stave off the emotional meltdowns. I am aware of the precursors though. This simmering unrest? It’s my MS equivalent of a Kansas tornado warning system. You hear that siren go off and you better head for cover. It usually boils over into anger or crying fits or totally irrational unstableness.

Yeah, it’s super fun.

In these times of unrest, I find myself very torn. I don’t want to be around people. I don’t want to talk to people. I don’t have the energy to invest. But, at the same time, part of me hopes the right person will reach out and lead me out of that darkness. Trouble is, I don’t know who that person is. I don’t know if I’d let them get close enough to try. And yet, I am vaguely bitter at everyone for not trying.

(no offense intended; trust me, you’re better off not trying.)

((no, really.))

I actually hate people for living their lives without these feelings. Without having to worry about the tornado warning. And that’s *totally* ridiculous because I know everyone is dealing with their own shit too - different shit than my shit and sometimes shit that’s far worse than my shit - but I still harbor bitterness. Which, I then feel badly about. And then again, I totally don’t.

Maybe “torn” isn’t the right word. I’m clearly a head case.

I wish this storm would pass already.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I am the least "adult" adult that I know.

I turned 34 this month. I am in no way fooling myself into believing that this makes me an adult. In fact, I am even more convinced that this whole aging thing is a hoax. Aging certainly isn't linear and it seems every bit of me is aging at a different rate.

For example, a friend of mine likes to tell me that I'm eternally 22 at heart. I think he chose 22 just so my inner self wouldn't be subject to eternal harassment by the po-po for being drunk all the time, but the truth is, I don't even feel 22 most days. Some days I don't think I ever outgrew my teens. Other days I'm ready for social security. (in that, some days I am borderline senile, subject to falling asleep before primetime television, and I have two different days-of-the-week pill cases.)

My body? Ugh. I am as fit as an overweight 60-something. Although, that might be offensive to 60-somethings. MS definitely makes me feel older than I am, physically; from the twitches, to the stumbling, to the aches, to the injection scars, I am much more beat up than my 34 years would imply. And with a rack this size? And gravity?? You don't need to understand physics to understand the issue there. To be fair though, I have not a single grey hair and the smattering of pimples that my skin constantly produces would suggest someone much more youthful than 34. (I use the term "youthful" very loosely here.)

Financially? Ha. Just, ha. I still don't have a savings account and I think nothing of charging something that I don't really need but really must have despite already carrying a balance on my credit card. My debt to income ratio is for shit. Seriously. Adult? Psh. As if. Today though, I made my second financial step towards adulthood: I started a 403B. To be fair, the lady had to explain to me what a 403B was and I randomly selected an amount to invest each month without figuring out how it would impact our ability to pay our bills every month in our living-paycheck-to-paycheck existence, but yeah: 403B. Yay me.

(my first financially responsible "adult" move? (in case you're wondering) Getting half a mil worth of life insurance on both me and my husband when we had Callie. Because with an unstable mother and a father who rides a motorcycle? We owe her at least that much. Probably more.)

I just don't feel 34. I feel simultaneously older and younger than that everyday. Older when the pain hits or I happen to, I don't know, look in the mirror or try to button my jeans, and yet much (much) younger when I blow out the second set of speakers in my old as hell and poorly maintained car while rocking out to LMFAO or Kanye West. Granted, I feel slightly older when it's Aerosmith or Journey, but it's just as loud.

Also? As a final nail in the I-don't-know-how-old-I-am-but-I'm-sure-as-hell-not-grown-up coffin? I just made spaghetti for dinner. Kick-ass homemade sauce (so adult) with chicken nuggets covered in mozzarella cheese because I'm too lazy to make chicken parm (so not). I mean, I have college friends who wouldn't even stoop to that.

And, oh, yeah, I almost forgot to mention: I have college friends. Meaning friends currently in college. Which, of course, confuses the hell out of my friends who are actually adults. Because what could I have in common with people who aren't even old enough to drink legally? Other than a need to drink, bad skin, rash decision making, and a lack of a moral compass?

Well, frankly, that's enough for me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reflections from an outpatient surgical suite.

I cannot pee on command. How are you supposed to pee when you aren't allowed to have anything to drink all morning? This completely baffles me. And my bladder. I am a camel.

Generally speaking, doctors don't seem to get my sense of humor. Nurses? They do. But doctors? Not so much. Maybe at some point in all those years of med school their sense of humor gets shoved aside in order to make room for knowledge on how the limbic system works. I don't even know what the limbic system is, so maybe that's why I'm so funny. Or maybe I'm just the only one who finds me funny. Either option seems equally possible to me.

I've decided that, overall? my health really isn't all that bad. Do you know how many questions I had to answer "no" to today? High blood pressure? No. High cholesterol? No. Asthma, breathing issues, chronic bronchitis? No, no, and no. Irregular heartbeat? No. Allergies? No. History of cancer? No. History of stroke or aneurysm? No. (there were more, but I really don't remember them all.) Then, when the next doctor came through, she lead with the question of "how's your overall health?" and I had to answer honestly: "it's okay." She flipped through my chart and asked the next most obvious question, "but you have MS...?" Yep. Yep, I do. But considering all the other shit that I apparently *could* be dealing with? I'm sort of feeling okay about it. It's just MS, after all.

Half a liter of IV fluids later, and it's back to the bathroom for me. Seriously, people: CAMEL. I managed to squeeze out a few sad little drops. I felt like a urinary failure. My bladder was shamed. But it was enough to confirm that my uterus was not harboring any fugitives. My uterus appreciated my bladder's efforts, at least, and the nurse was amused.

I am convinced though, now more than ever: my body basically shrugs off any and all attempts at sedation. ("I don't take drugs; I am drugs." maybe Dali had it right.) Nothing phases me anymore. I find this fact neither comforting nor troublesome; I find it fascinating. Am I feeling at all woozy? Um, no, should I? Did you even administer the drugs yet? Oh.... you did.... hmm. Interesting. I was hoping for a nice little moment or two of floating lithium-like happiness. Instead, I got a morning without caffeine and big ass needles in my spine. This was not on the brochure people. I'll take a shot of whatever the incoherent lady in the stall next to me had, please and thank you.

To round out the morning, the lovely recovery nurses offered me juice and a snack. Much like the protocol of the vampires at the Red Cross blood drives, actually. I think the real purpose of this is practice is to, on a subconscious level, induce fond childhood feelings of snack time in kindergarten. I mean, unless your kindergarten experience was traumatic. In which case, those nurses better watch who they give those crackers to. But the last time I had a snack of graham crackers and apple juice, it was probably followed by a nap on a mat with 20 other kids.

And really? A nap wouldn't be so bad, right about now....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

If you believe in this kind of stuff. (which I do.)

So, the other day - September 24th, to be exact - I was all, "yay! it's time for the Libra birthdays!" as I was under the impression that I had so many more Libra Facebook friends than any other zodiac sign.

(because, as we both know, there's the real world and then there's the FB real world.)

((and we both know which one is more important.))

24 hours later (because apparently these are the things that weigh on my mind) I decided to actually check the numbers. Here's what I found:
  • Aries (March 21 - April 20): 29 friends
  • Taurus (April 21 - May 21): 31 friends 
  • Gemini (May 22 - June 21): 30 friends 
  • Cancer (June 22 - July 22): 29 friends 
  • Leo (July 23 -August 21): 31 friends 
  • Virgo (August 22 - September 23): 28 friends 
  • Libra (September 24 - October 23): 29 friends 
  • Scorpio (October 24 - November 22): 26 friends 
  • Sagittarius (November 23 - December 22): 34 friends 
  • Capricorn (December 23 - January 20): 35 friends
  • Aquarius (January 21 - February 19): 21 friends 
  • Pisces (February 20- March 20): 26 friends

 (please note: apparently 40+ of my FB friends exist outside of the zodiac.... whoa.)
 
Wait a minute..... where did all these Capricorns come from?? Capricorns??!

Okay, so, that being said, I went back and looked at the people on that list. Not that all my almost-400 FB friends aren't equally important to me.... but yeah, they're not. So, I went back and counted - out of those people - people that I would consider to be a close friend, someone I have/had a significant connection with, and/or someone that I just really genuinely like.

(not that I don't like the rest of them....)

((wow, I am just not going to dig myself out of this one.... moving. right. along.))

This is what I found: 
  • Aries (March 21 - April 20): 5 friends
  • Taurus (April 21 - May 21): 7 friends
  • Gemini (May 22 - June 21): 4 friends
  • Cancer (June 22 - July 22): 7 friends
  • Leo (July 23 -August 21): 11 friends
  • Virgo (August 22 - September 23): 11 friends
  • Libra (September 24 - October 23): 16 friends
  • Scorpio (October 24 - November 22): 10 friends
  • Sagittarius (November 23 - December 22): 9 friends
  • Capricorn (December 23 - January 20): 6 friends
  • Aquarius (January 21 - February 19): 4 friends
  • Pisces (February 20- March 20): 6 friends
Now that's more like it.

I know I have a lot of important Libras in my life. I equally know that I am seriously drawn to Leos and Virgos - always have been. I never actually gave much thought to the Scorpios although maybe I should have. Interesting. There's definitely this bell curve type distribution centering around my own sign.

(ha, bell curve. Shit just got real.)

I'm a Libra myself and I am a Libra. Almost every time I read one of those "Libras are blah, blah, blah...." I am the blah, blah, blah. Care to know more? (I realize the answer is probably no, but too late now, if you've been reading this far, you're kinda pot-committed.)

Traditional Libra Traits:
  • Diplomatic and urbane (please note: I do not know what "urbane" means.... so hopefully it doesn't mean "knowledgeable about obscure words", cause yeah, that would be wrong.)
  • Romantic and charming (obviously)
  • Easygoing and sociable (totally)
  • Idealistic and peaceable (everyone should be) 
But, on the dark side....
  • Indecisive and changeable (ummmm, maybe....?)
  • Gullible and easily influenced (what, who, me??)
  • Flirtatious and self-indulgent (that's a bad thing.....? whatever ;-))
A bit more about Libras:
Librans are among the most civilized of the twelve zodiacal characters and are often good looking. (yeah baby....) They have elegance, charm and good taste, are naturally kind, very gentle, and lovers of beauty, harmony, and the pleasures that these bring. Their characters are on the whole balanced, diplomatic and even tempered. Librans are sensitive to the needs of others and have the gift, sometimes to an almost psychic extent, of understanding the emotional needs of their companions and meeting them with their own innate optimism - they are the kind of people of whom it is said, "They always make you feel better for having been with them." Their cast of mind is artistic rather than intellectual, though they are usually too moderate and well balanced to be avant garde in any artistic endeavor. (which is why I am artistic, but not an "artist") They have good perception and observation and their critical ability, with which they are able to view their own efforts as well as those of others, gives their work integrity. They like the opposite sex to the extent of promiscuity sometimes, and may indulge in romanticism bordering on sentimentality.

The negative Libran character may show frivolity, flirtatiousness, and shallowness. It can be changeable and indecisive, impatient of routine, colorlessly conventional and timid (never!), easygoing to the point of inertia (guilty), seldom angry when circumstances demand a show of annoyance at least; and yet Librans can shock everyone around them with sudden storms of rage. Their love of pleasure may lead them into extravagance; Libran men can degenerate into reckless gamblers, and Libran women extravagant, jealous, and careless about money sometimes squander their wealth and talents in their over enthusiasm for causes which they espouse. (or just wine, apparently.)

Libra governs the lumbar region, lower back and kidneys. Its subjects must beware of weaknesses in the back, and lumbago, and they are susceptible to troubles in the kidneys and bladder, especially gravel and stone. They need to avoid overindulgence in food and especially drink, for the latter can particularly harm the kidneys. (hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!)
I'm not going to list every single sign (you're welcome) but you should totally go check out your sign from the links above. Even if it's not something you believe in, you might be amused to find how your sign description compares with how you view your own personality.

One thing I will note though: My husband is an Aries and my daughter is a Gemini - two of my "least" drawn to signs. Yeah. Our family dynamic should be interesting.

If you believe in this kind of stuff, that is.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Things I learned this week.

I can be counted on in a crisis. Totally level headed. Just don't ask me to hold a raw egg while sitting at a table and *not* expect it to end up broken.

Even when pressed? I have a really hard time identifying three possessions that are important to me. Equally so? it is hard to pick the three "most" important people to me. (there are far too many.) I am absolutely fine the complete imbalance of those two things.

I am, at the same time, totally crazy and totally amazing. (I have this on good authority.)

There is always someone who has it better than you. And worse than you, too. Don't compare war wounds. We all go to battle sometime.

I can't spell. Seriously. Thank god for those red squiggly lines and autocorrect. (they make me look smarter than I deserve.)

Some days, my iPod is out to get me. I am convinced of it.

Truth happens. Most frequently, when I am drinking.

Sometimes, I completely lose my mind. Fortunately, it has always come back. (kind of like an old cat that wanders away for three days in a storm and just when you're certain she's probably gone for good, she shows up on the deck all, "what? was I missing? meh, whatever....")

Jeans make everything more palatable. Including three days of discussing mental health, addiction, and suicide.

On a totally related note: I cannot handle three days of discussing mental health, addiction, and suicide. True, that wasn't the sum total of the conversations, but I get enough of that already. I'll happily write some college recommendation letters now. Please and thank you.

Some people actually had genuinely happy and well-adjusted childhoods. This concept is wholly unimaginable to me. And, frankly, concerns me. It should, in theory, fill me with hope for my own students, but the plain and simple truth is this: I don't know how to relate to well-adjusted people. I'm still not even totally sold on their existence. (well-adjusted people and aliens: we may never know for certain.)

I am 100% sure that I will irreparably damage my child(ren). Despite any hopes/intentions to the contrary.

"I'll never stop loving you. You exist in a place where time stands still, where the conversation never ends, I carry you in my heart always." (seriously, this was said to me.... texted to me, actually.) ((and it just might be the nicest thing ever texted to me.))

I still love this song.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

There's never an easy way to explain.

I want to tell them: I understand.

I want to yell it. I want to hug them and whisper it. I want to write it in the sky and on a note that I slip into their bag when they're not looking. I just want them to get it: I understand.

I know the pain. I know the exhaustion. I know what the emptiness is. I recognize the look in their eyes because I've seen it in my own mirror.

Don't do it.

Don't give up.

Don't let the bitterness win!

Don't lose yourself.

Rage.

Rage against the dying of the light.

(someone way more poetic and important than me said that, but, the first time I read it, I knew he understood too, so I don't think he'd mind my obvious borrowing of the sentiment.)

Its so hard sometimes.... to not only know that pain, but to see it reflected in others. It's so exhausting wearing that mask everyday. That "I'm okay" mask that you have to wear so people won't worry and won't ask questions that you don't have good answers to anyway.

"How are you?"

"I'm good." (I'm a liar)

"How are things going?"

"They're okay, thanks." (No, they're not, they're a big festering pile of not-okay-ed-ness, actually. But fuck off, cause I can't explain what's wrong anyway.)

"Well you look fantastic...."

"Thanks!" *insert smile that stops short of touching my eyes* (Now you're the liar, cause I look exhausted and I look like I've gained a lot of weight - because both are true. Oh, and occasionally I am convinced I am dead inside - completely sapped of any useful life-force, but totally, sure.... I. look. great.)


Social interaction has a way of wearing on me at times that is at once as ironically funny as it is painful. It's what I do for a living. Which really, wouldn't be such a bad thing if that were all because you can change a career but it's also kind of what. I. do.

A coworker of mine once compared teenagers to psychic vampires: they are needy at times and when they are needy they suck the life-force from you until you're completely spent. And while I get the analogy, for me, it's not quite accurate.

I *want* them to feed on me.

Wait, no... that doesn't sound right... that kind of makes me sound like an accidental-pedophile. I'm not good with that.

(and why do so many of my thoughts come back to vampires?? oh Joss Whedon...)
I guess what I'm saying is that I'd gladly give up whatever psychic life-force it is that I have if it meant it would help heal their wounds, even if for only a short time. And I do. Over and over again. I can't help it. It's what I do. It's who I am.

Because I'm broken too. And I've been broken for so long that I don't remember what it means to be whole.

Just.... don't give up, okay? Because I'm still here. And I haven't given up. And whatever I have? You can have it, if it will help you.

You can have it all.

Friday, September 9, 2011

10 years later.

Like many others, I will never forget the morning of September 11th, 2001. It’s an oddly communal feeling to know that I am one among millions for which that is the case. That, for a brief horrifying moment, the world we knew stood still - we collectively paused and each experienced our own unique WTF moment, together - and when the world resumed its forward motion, it was truly never the same.

I remember a lot of moments from throughout that day, actually. And the fact that my life couldn’t be more different now than it was 10 years ago doesn’t make it any more or less surreal. It just, was. And that will always be part of the horror to me. It should be surreal. It should be unimaginable. But once it happened, it could never unhappen. And it would never again be unimaginable.

No, I didn’t know anyone in NYC, DC, or on any of the ill-fated planes that morning. I didn’t know anyone personally who was a first responder or worked on the almost never ending clean-up. But I didn’t have to.

I was in the hallway bathroom of my townhouse in Perkiomenville that morning blow drying my hair. It was the bathroom that had become “my” bathroom; my husband and I had been living in separate bedrooms for over a year at that time and he had the master bath to himself. He came out of the master bedroom (also his) and said “a plane just flew into the World Trade Center.” I turned off the hair dryer thinking for sure that I had heard him wrong. I walked into the bedroom, staring at the smoking tower on the tv screen, asking if it was small private aircraft, and just then the second plane flew into the second tower.

We were both briefly silent then I whispered what I would probably say 1000 more times that day and in the days to follow, “oh my god….” The sight of that plane. Knowing it was a passenger airliner and yet scarcely able to comprehend the size and scale of something that size crashing into a building…. and the people…. my mind wasn’t even ready to begin trying to fit that into my understanding of what I was seeing.

Eventually I drug myself away from the tv and drove into work. Which, at that time, was the framing business I shared with my mom. It was such a gorgeous fall day - crystal blue skies and white fluffy clouds. But every glance to the skies made the morning’s events even more absurd. The soundtrack for my 15 minute drive was a rush of information and speculation being delivered by equally shocked and confused radio station hosts. When I arrived at work, my mom was already there and she was simply standing in front of the tv in shock.

Two things I remember from that abbreviated work day: the woman from the Chinese restaurant next door came over to watch the tv reports with us. Her English was almost nonexistent and the shock of the morning wasn’t helping; she kept shaking her head and clucking, occasionally saying “so bad”. At one point, two men entered the store. They were the only people we saw that day and they were salesmen for Verizon or AT&T or some such thing and as they launched into their overly cheery salesman schpeal, I remember looking at them like they were from another planet. My mom then told them about the tragedy of what had occurred, assuming that they were unaware, to which they simply waved it off, implying they didn’t think it was something to be concerned about - likely pilot error. I don’t remember how we told them to leave, but I know they left.

The first tower collapsed and we closed for the day. I watched tv off and on throughout that day and in the days that followed, still trying to digest what had happened. My husband and I hung an American flag outside our front door. I remember, oddly, explaining to my Dalmatian that it was an important thing to do, as I stroked her fur and thought of my long deceased grandfather. Within a month, I had made the decision to move out of what had been our marital home and thus began the long process of our divorce.

In the span of the 10 years that have passed since that Tuesday morning, my divorce was finalized, our business closed, relationships were built and destroyed. I went back to school, fought with the depression that had been threatening my life for so many years, fell further into debt, fell in love, married, and had a beautiful daughter that came into this world without planning. I found out I was sick and fought more than a simple depression - I fought myself. I began a new career, began a new life, began new relationships and ended others. I’ve loved and lost and questioned my sanity and grown older and stronger and weaker, all at the same time.

I was 23 on September 11, 2001. Even if pressed to come up with the most unlikely life I could imagine for myself in 10 years from that moment, I wouldn’t have come up with anything close to where I am now. I don’t know how I feel about that. But I don’t think we’re really supposed to understand everything about life. It happens. It continues. And I think sometimes that’s all we can know for sure.

The students I work with now would have been just slightly older than my daughter on that day; my daughter who wasn’t even a thought in the back of my unhappily married 23 year old mind. To them, the memories of 9-11 may be vague. For my daughter, it will simply be a lesson in a history textbook someday. Maybe someday she will ask where I was the morning of September 11, 2001. I will have a hard time explaining who that woman was to my daughter. Some days I feel like I don’t remember her well at all. But I will always remember that morning.

The changes that have taken place in my personal world since that day 10 years ago had nothing to do with the actual events of that day. Still, the comparison is stark. However, the changes that have taken place in the world since that day have been vastly impacted by the events of that morning. The world my daughter will grow up in - the only world she will ever know - will always be shaped by the events that I stood and bore witness to on a small tv screen, feeling like what I was watching was bigger than life itself.

The world may or may not be more dangerous now than it was 10 years ago, but for me personally, the stakes are now higher. And I understand what those stakes are in a way that ignorance will never again cover. I have a child; she is my connection to a future that I may never see. I have former students serving in the various branches of the military; I never want to hear their names spoken in a past tense. I want, more than anything, for them to be safe in a world that is very clearly not a safe place.

I joke about a lot of things. I bitch and complain and laugh at inappropriate times. I have to; it's how I cope. I see and experience a lot of pain; not just my own, but the pain of others as well. The world is an imperfect and cruel and completely unfair place. And yet I know with certainty, that to be a part of it is a beautiful and worthwhile thing. I just wish it wasn’t such an imperfect and cruel and completely unfair place. I wish it wasn’t so damn fragile.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This isn't the muthfuckin' Matrix, people.

Long story short? You might want to just leave me alone until early to mid October. Unless you like being verbally assaulted and/or potentially stabbed. That being said, you can read on if you'd like, but you've really already got the most important part: shit is going down; you won't want to be around for it.

Welcome to the world of the red pills.


Once every 90 days, I have to take two progestin pills, every day for two weeks, to offset the shit ton of estriol I'm taking as a part of this MS study. Theory is, it will lessen my chances of developing breast and/or uterine cancer from the estriol. Thing is? I'd almost rather take my chances with the cancer. Not to be making light of cancer - cause I'm not - but seriously, the side effects suck.

SUCK.

(oh, no worries, I will elaborate.)

During this time, it is basically even money that I will be ridiculously exhausted, cry, yell for no reason, want to die, cry some more, try to crawl out of my skin, send nasty texts and/or emails to anyone who even remotely made me angry in the last 2 years, bleed profusely, cramp spontaneously, cry again, yell even louder, and eventually slip into a sullen hateful black mood where everyone within arm's reach is in imminent danger.

I actually feel a little kind of very sorry for those who have to deal with me on a daily basis. Unfortunately that empathy is usually expressed via mean venomous words barely articulated through clenched teeth or loud yelling that would make a taxi driver stfu and run for cover.

It gets ugly.

It's actually kind of all the worst emotional effects of MS, all rolled into one whirlwind month.

But wait! One month, you say? "I thought you only took the pills for two weeks!"

THAT'S THE BEST PART!! I take the pills for two weeks and then the side-effects take a solid 2-3 weeks after that to flush the fuck out of my system. Canna geta A-MEN??

(you better not be "amen-ing" me right now, muthafucka.)

((shit. I think it's already started.))

 I don't give a shit about your goddamn rabbit hole, Morpheus.


(Don't do it Neo. Trust me. Those robo-cop guys will be the least of your concerns.) 

Friday, September 2, 2011

"You do not have the right to quit trying. (The universe wobbles when you do.) "

It's been a long time, but there's a reason for it as well. That reason? Simple; I had shit to do. But, shit's done, and I'm back. I'll explain in a moment. First: within the last three days, the congruence of three disparate things made me feel the need to spew forth with some blogging.

To start, a friend posted a link on Facebook to a WSJ article that revisited Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford from 2005. I'd actually never read it before and if you haven't, you should as well. The next day, I had a great conversation with one of my students about how lost he was feeling in figuring out what to pursue after high school. It was one of those conversations that was only so great because he was in a place where he was really open to listening as well as talking. Sometimes with teenagers, they won't give you both. Go figure.

Lastly, and most profoundly for me, I had an awesome "talk" with a friend that took place in the form of a series of FB messages. A talk that was meant to help him, but really resonated with me. He was feeling at a loss for direction and motivation in his life and wanted advice - although he never really asked a question. I began with the idea that had sort of been at the crux of my conversation with my student, which, not so coincidentally, arose from the WSJ article - in thinking of the future, there are two things I think everyone should consider: What am I good at? And, more importantly, what makes me happy? Because here's why: somewhere, somehow, those two things intersect. What you're good at meets up with what makes you happy, and that? Somewhere in there? That's where your future lies. There's a career there, there's a destination, and there's purpose. It's not always easy to find but it exists.

For me, I chose a path through college based on what I thought I was good at. And, with a few minor tweaks along the way, I followed that path right through college and on to a career that I enjoyed. I don't regret that path and I learned a lot about myself - both during that career and in hindsight. However, I can see now that, though I was very good at what I did, I was never truly great. And while I enjoyed it immensely, I never really loved it in a way that was personally rewarding. As a counselor? I am great. Something in me shines and keeps me going, even through bad days and missteps and disappointments. It's personally rewarding. What makes me happy is dynamic personal relationships. Where that intersected with what I'm good at? I found counseling.

And I love what I do - as much as I may bitch about it at times.

This summer, I had to complete 36 credits of post-grad professional development courses. Before you get all impressed, please know - they were 36 credits of busy work and bullshit. But finishing them or not finishing them meant the difference between making more money and being reimbursed the $3000 I spent for the classes, or losing the $3000 and not getting a raise for the next year. Crazy thing was, the money wasn't a motivator for me to get them done - money, while necessary, has never been a great motivator for me. Hell, I wouldn't be working in education if it was that important to me. So, I had to find different motivation.

I decided to shut down my Facebook account (and not blog) until I took care of what needed to get done. I took a lot of shit for this. First, in the form of, "are you so addicted to FB that you can't pull yourself away to do your work??" (answer: um, no.) Then, in the form of, "I feel like I don't know what's going on your life now..." (hmm, fuck you for your mockage then, how about that?) I took away FB because it took away something that was important to me - my connection to the *people* who are important to me. I'm motivated by the relationships and people in my life.

(and just so we're clear? I took those courses and kicked their collective ass.)

And now, I'm back.

(see how that came full circle?)

But seriously, do yourself a favor. Figure out where your talent intersects with your joy. Figure out how far you are from that intersection. And if need be? Find a path to get there. If that intersection shifts? Don't be afraid to change your course. Don't ever feel stuck or bound to one path - forge a whole new one if you must. It's never too late. And go back to read the Steve Jobs article. (It doesn't seem fair that someone so otherwise talented and successful would also get to be so articulate, but cancer isn't fair either, so I'll make allowances.)

I've missed you though. And I promise to try harder with this relationship. Because it's important to me.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My friends are totally funnier than me. (unless I am imagining them) ((in that case? I am fucking hysterical))

This is the uneditted text conversation between myself and my girlfriend who somehow knows exactly what it's like to live in my head.

Awesome Girlfriend: I have an idea....

Yes.....? :Me

AGF: u guys should start a weekend poker and/or blackjack gaming night... and then ur dream of bartending can come to fruition.

AGF: OR: you could just serve up drinks when I drive by + know ur in there drinking... I should be allowed to quick pull my car in-leave it running if I'm pretending to be at CVS + do a quick shot, served by Jamie-Jack-Daniels, my neighborly barmaid... and then roll out...

Here? Cause right now this place is more romper-room meets hoarders than a bar - but I'm a fan of the concept. I'm feeling like complete shit so I'm about to mix myself a drink and pop a Xanax/benedryll combo and hope for the best. :Me

AGF: and, yes-these are TRULY the things I think of.

Then I like the way you think. It's just a quick left on gerloff instead of a right. And btw? "heroics" is apparently auto text for gerloff. Who knew? :Me

AGF: Bahaha-that made me snort out loud...romper room meets hoarders...I won't judge u:) why don't u feel good?

I don't know. My sinuses are going nuts all of a sudden so I'm either getting sick or have an allergy to rain. Plus? I have the lovely sensation of my skin itching/crawling, which is usually an MS thing but maybe it's allergic to my sinuses. Either way, I am trying to kill it with Xanax and rum. Seems logical, right? :Me

*scratch scratch scratch* :Me

AGF: Actually that happens to me quite often from my allergies--it even feels like its UNDER my skin. It makes me scratch like a fiend coming off heroin. Not fun. Oh well, the xanax + rum is sure to kill something... sensations, itchiness, hearts, liver, so - any way u look at it: win/win.

Totally my thinking. It's like you're in my head. :Me

AGF: That's what they all say;)

Hahaha. Devil woman. ;-) :Me

AGF: Oh-i forgot to mention that in my fantasy-land of alcohol + gambling--its all done in pj's. Its a prerequisite for entry.

YESSSSSSS..... this is good, very very good. :Me

AGF: Do u want actual "allergy medicine" for tomorrow? I have allegra-d + also regular allegra?

I have allergy stuffs too but I'm going to wait to see if I can do without. For all the meds I take? For sine reason I hate all the allergy/sinus stuff. Go figure. :Me

AGF: I'm actually leaving here now to get my moms dog-i'll drop it off

AGF: Oh-wait--u meant pj's!!hahahah--ok-so-u don't need allegra?

Yes, pjs good. Meds unnecessary. I have a pharmacy here. lol :Me

My phone is apparently on a delay or something. lmao :Me

AGF: Pharmacy just makes the bar an even better idea.

And btw? I am totally going to plan a poker/pj party. I have you and Kevin RSVPed as "attending" so I'll let you know when it is. You'll need to clear your social calendar. By "social calendar" I obviously mean "shit-ass mom duties". And by "pjs" I mean "comfy sit-my-ass-around-my-house-and-wonder-where-the-stain-on-my-shirt-came-from pjs".... not the cutesy "aren't-I-sexy-in-this-wanna-be-Victorias-Secret-get-up" shit because no one actually wears that. No one. :Me

AGF: We'll keep it a classy joint though-pills can only be swallowed-no crushing+snorting-thats just trashy. Especially when we're all in our pjs.

Amen. I'll have that hand painted on a little sign that hangs over the pile of kids toys.... um, I mean, the bar. :Me

AGF: And a crate large enuf to house all our kids-with a water bottle attached to the side-u know,like bunnies have-but filled w/benadryl for them.

PERFECT..... :Me

AGF: Love it! Count us in! And ps-anyone who wears pjs like THAT can come-but better be prepared to be the focal point of every joke that comes out of our mouths.

I just read this whole conversation to chris. All he did was shake his head. I'm going to take that as affirmation that the pj/poker night rocks. (not that he's just amazed/worried at how similar our collective genius is.) :Me

I'll plan it for early June then. Excuse me as I go get a tissue for the snot that just ran down my face. Seriously. But only from the left nostril. I hate my nose right now. :Me

AGF: I swear to god-i was just writing that its not fair for us (you) to expect him to be able to comprehend the magnitude of "genius" that we possess.

Lol I am so posting this conversation on FB. The world needs to know how awesome we are. Charlie Sheen has nothing on us. :Me

AGF: Its intimidating to most. No wonder I have, like, one friend.

I have two. I think. One could be imaginary. I take a lot of meds. Are we really having this conversation?? Or am I texting myself? I really wouldn't know. For real. :Me

AGF: Its cool. Its just another sign of the genius within.

Duh. I should have known that. Beautiful Mind and all.  :Me

AGF: No-its real. After all-if we can't put our inner-superhuman-intelligence to work? Then, we are just average laymen sitting at home drinking and popping meds,no?

Right. And that can't be the case. I mean, look at how fabulous we are. Clearly we are superhuman. :Me

Btw? I need a refill. And I totally mixed my drink in a disposable coffee cup and drank it through two stirrers. It kept the ice from melting, there's no clean up, and it might be my solution to hating my mornings, quite frankly. :Me



AGF: I was beginning to think u died from ur cocktail combo.

No. Apparently my phone us just on delay. You're like, a mile from my house, but the message has to bounce from 17 satellites to reach you. Technology rocks. We should totally tie two soup cans together with string. Although I don't know how well that would transmit texts....  :Me



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lest I get lost in the bitterness.

I can't lose focus of the good. And, there was good. There is good.

(And in the end, isn't that all that will remain anyway?)

((Yes))

If that *good* had a soundtrack, this would be it.

Metric: Black Sheep
Vargo: The Moment
Bass Hunter: All I Ever Wanted
Bass Hunter: Now You’re Gone
A Fine Frenzy: Near to You
A Fine Frenzy: Almost Lover



Heather Nova: Gloomy Sunday
Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams
Lisa Miskovsky: Still Alive
Lily Allen: Smile
Lily Allen: Fuck You



Christina Perri: Jar of Hearts
Christina Perri: Tragedy
Christina Perri: Bang Bang Bang
Lily Allen: Friday Night
Snow Patrol: Set Fire to the Third Bar
Hilltop Hoods: The Nosebleed Section
Nancy Sinatra: Bang Bang
Sara Bareilles: Gravity
Lily Allen: Never Gonna Happen
Bat for Lashes: What’s a Girl to Do?
Adele: Set Fire to the Rain



Tiesto: Just Be
Weezer: Island in the Sun
The Cardigans: Lovefool
Yael Naïm: New Soul
The Clash: Straight to Hell
KT Tunstall: Suddenly I See
Sara Bareilles: Love Song
Regina Spektor: Folding Chair
Kate Nash: Merry Happy



Lenka: The Show
Jem: It’s Amazing
Maria Taylor: One for the Shareholder
Frou Frou: Let Go
Lily Allen: Everything’s Just Wonderful
Bitter:Sweet: Trouble
Nelly Furtado: All Good Things (Come to an End)
Imogen Heap: Headlock
The Ting Tings: Shut Up and Let Me Go
The Ting Tings: That’s Not My Name
Ingrid Michaelson: Be OK





(Just so you know - I love you, just the way you are, for the person you are. Always will.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I promise this is the last time I'll use it.


It's so damn versatile! But I do love this quote. Mostly cause I am in the gutter all the time. You know, in one way or another. (take that whatever way you want.... you're probably correct on some level anyway.)

And, it reminds me of a song.

(go figure)





For all the things you said I'd never do
For all the things you said that were untrue
For all the times you made me feel alone
Said I'd never make it on my own


Things are lookin' up for me now
It seems like Karma's makin' its rounds
It's my turn now, won't be held down, no
Karma's gonna visit you too
You gotta pay for the things you put me through
I hope you do, I hope you do, yeah, yeah


I hope your Hell is filled with magazines
And on every page you see a big picture of me
And under every picture a caption should read
Not bad for a girl from the gutter like me


For all the times you said, "I got your back"
For all the times you stabbed me
For all the times you tried to hurt my pride
For all the pain I held down deep inside


Things are lookin' up for me now
It seems like Karma's makin' its rounds
It's my turn now, won't be held down, no
Karma's gonna visit you too
You gotta pay for the things you put me through
I hope you do, I hope you do, I hope you do


I hope your Hell is filled with magazines
And on every page you see a big picture of me
And under every picture a caption should read
Not bad for a girl from the gutter like me


Needed to make me weak to help you feel stronger
I know y'all bitches think I'm somewhere dyin' inside
Oh yeah, poor Kina, she went home
She couldn't take it no longer
But I'm right here
I'm right here
I'm right here


I hope your Hell is filled with magazines
And on every page you see a big picture of me
And under every picture a caption should read
Not bad for a girl from the gutter like me

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lighthouse.



This is really a profound truth for me. I feel like a beacon some days. And I don't mind being the beacon - in my head, I liken it to being the "light" for someone who may otherwise be in the darkness, and that makes me feel good. I like being the light.

But other days? I just feel like the porch light that a million and one bugs are swarming and mindlessly bashing themselves into.

I never did build a ship. I wouldn't even know where to start.

Honestly, I don't think it ever occurred to me that I could.

Bring them to meeeeeeee.......

*sigh*

(maybe I am just lazy)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Yes, another song.


I can't help it. Some of the best, most profound, most poetic, most meaningful pieces of writing aren't literature at all. They're songs. And when I listen to music, I am mostly listening to the words. I realize that's kinda not the entire point, but it's just how I hear it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The beauty of true friendship.


Sometimes there's that one person who says just the right thing at just the right time and it changes your entire outlook.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's like that pointing fingers quote... but, you know, different.


I really believe that part of understanding people is understanding that we all share commonalities. And if we look hard enough for common ground, it can be found. In working with people, I do this so easily it has become second nature.

Of course, there's also that thing about the stuff that we hate in others are the same things we hate about ourselves.

Life is confusing.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'm in love with Neil Gaiman. Because he's just *so* right.


The funny thing is - funny as in, ironic, not really "haha" - is that I've never read any of his books. I came across a quote of his that resonated with me such that I began to cyber stalk other bits of his snark and wisdom and I was instantly hooked. I'm actually kinda scared to read his novels and have them be a let down from the initial joy of that one quote. It's like, one FANTASTIC piece of chocolate that melts in your mouth just right and *makes* your whole day. But, were you to eat a whole bag of said chocolate, you'd be sick and never want to see it again.

Kinda like that.

Oh, and that one first piece of chocolate?

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”

Friday, March 11, 2011

Secrets.


So I found this picture and I was immediately taken by the female figure that's on the bathroom wall, which, if we set aside the completely odd nature of it, is actually quite cool. I was all "wow, that's so cool, I like the abandoned nature of the whole..... whaaa...? Wait. What the fuck is that??!?"

Yeah. Little old creepy thing in the center. Person? Doll??? Dear god, I am totally creeped out.

(but I still love the pic.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fat is the new black.


Today as I was getting dressed, I convinced myself that dressing entirely in shades of black and grey - in multiple layers - would somehow slim and, at the same time, camouflage, the obscene amount of weight that I have gained recently. Black tank top, dark grey (baggy) low cut shirt, lighter grey long sweater (long sweaters are my fashion fix-all (which don't fix a damn thing, btw)), and black pants. That barely buttoned.

Yeah.

On a lighter note though, it was a good hair day and, paired with some bold lipstick, I was doing my damnedest to draw attention away from my body and up to my face.

The high point of my day actually - a day that was spent unconsciously fidgeting with clothes that were too tight in all the wrong places - was when one of my tenth grade girls told me - mid conversation - that I don't look at all like I'm 33. I can only assume she meant that I look younger than that because otherwise, well, that would be rude and she's a sweet girl. Also, I am assuming that the extra fat is simply plumping up my wrinkles and the pimples are causing some confusion. Yay bad skin?

But it is beginning to wear on me. (You know, the fact that I can't wear most of my clothes, that is.) I know part of it is the meds I'm taking. Mega doses or hormones will do that. Period. But also? Work is stressing me out. I might be losing my job to budget cuts. Late nights at work are sapping my time and energy for exercise. And frankly? I just love to eat. Too much. (that's nothing new though.)

So I suppose my choices now involve any combination of learning to purge after binging, making time to exercise, buying bigger clothes, or just continuing to bitch about it. Yep. One of those.....

Although, I will say: the hormones? Still worth it. The fact that I am handling this much stress, at a new job, with a fair amount of instability in my future, without having emotional breakdowns the likes of which would rival any diva and/or my three-year-old daughter when she doesn't get her way? Epically amazing. In fact, the poise and equanimity with which I am facing every day is a little shocking. Sure, some days I am especially bitchy or snarky or even exhausted. But, I am not. losing. my. shit.

And? I totally used the word equanimity correctly.

(even though I didn't spell it right.)

((I'm still giving myself bonus non-brain-fog points.))

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Let. Me. Out.



(I find this concept very comforting and very concerning.... all at the same time.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wine never lets me down.


The line is from a song. A song I love and used to not be able to listen to without sobbing hysterically. I can not sob now, but apparently I'm not really ready to talk about it either.

Thank god for wine.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reading is good for you. (unfortunately, it's just one more thing I don't get to do often enough.)


I literally - no, really, I just went and counted - have 10 books on my bookcase right now, waiting to be read. Another 5 or 6 on my shelf at work, 6 more for classes I am taking (*yawn*), and a dozen or so in my Amazon wish list.

I love to read.

I am a huge dork like that and I own it for all it's worth. I've actually read every single book Stephen King has ever written - own them all, in fact - and have read many of them many times. I think I could develop a quasi-religious thesis based on the Dark Tower series. Although I'm sure someone already has, so I would probably be wasting my time. It's a fantastic epic tale.

This summer? I am dedicating some serious time to reading. Reading stuff I need to read, stuff I have to read, and stuff I simply want to read. Because it is medicine for the soul.

(but also? it's just a really convenient escape from reality.)

((and who doesn't need that?))

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

You met me at a very strange time in my life.


...you're not how much money you've got in the bank.  You're not your job.  You're not your family, and you're not who you tell yourself.... You're not your name.... You're not your problems.... You're not your age.... You are not your hopes.

(I keep waiting to meet my Tyler.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Yes, I do, in fact, want a cookie.

 

I have literally been "on a diet" since I was 12. That's more than 20 years of feeling guilty about what I was or wasn't eating at any given point.

Let me be clear about this: I did not need to diet at 12.

I thought I was "fat".

I was not.

Now that I have had to legitimately struggle with my weight for many years, I can see the difference. From my highest weight (which was 245 - seriously y'all. It's not like I'm 6'9". Or even 5'9" for that matter.) to my lowest (which was still 20lbs heavier than my "teenage" weight but gloriously wonderfully thin - for me - and a weight I stayed at for all of 30 minutes before creeping my way back up the scale) I have constantly struggled.

And it's bullshit. Not the struggle - that's a given. I will always have to work against the medical conditions that want to make me F-A-T... because that also makes me W-E-A-K.... and they prefer me that way. So, I struggle. Against genetics, my health, and myself.

What's bullshit is the guilt. I want to get rid of that part. Guilt is such a wasted and useless emotion. I've spent too much time feeling guilty.

What I want is cookies.

(With milk.)

((Not guilt.))

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Photos I didn't take. Paired with words I didn't write.

So all over facebook, people are doing this 30-day-photo-challenge-thing. And, frankly, while I like the idea... I'm not such a fan of my own photos.

(Even less a fan of photos of me.)

Also, I kinda prefer words.

Even when my words don't seem to be very forthcoming. Which, right now, they are not. They are hard fought and stuck. My brain is, at the moment, the La Brea tar pit of eloquent speech and snarky repertoire. Many a great thought, feeling, and idea will be found millions of years from now - fossilized and contextually insignificant.

(I am probably humoring myself by calling them potentially "great". I am aware.)

So, for the next 30 days, I bring you: Photos I didn't take. Paired with words I didn't write.

(But somehow? The combination seems to kinda sorta fit what's sinking slowly in the tar pit.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Is this how Dorothy felt? There better be some fucking munchkins somewhere. And a wizard. And some really fabulous shoes.

I fucking hate MS. I mean, I haven’t had an MS rant on here in a long while, so it’s only fair, but really? Really MS?? Are we just going to do this dance where you taunt and tease and fuck with me? Cause honestly? I’d rather pass.

The last many days I’ve just felt…. off. Not right. Partly like I could crawl right up out of my own skin and partly like I could rip someone out of theirs. Partly like I’m getting a cold and partly like every bone and muscle in my body is just aching for a revolt.

If it’s going to come? Then just fucking come already. Hit me with whatever you’ve got MS. Body pains, crying fits, brain fog that leaves me a barely functional adult, fatigue that cripples - whatever. Take your pick. Dealer’s choice. Let’s just have at it already!

This bullshit of it hanging over my head though? Thoroughly exhausting. I had one really good clear day in the last week. One. And while I really enjoyed that day? It just stands in stark contrast to every other day recently. Not a full on MS attack but not right either. I’m just…. off.

And I’m tired of it.

I’m tired of waiting for the storm to come. I’m tired of noting every little tick and twitch and ache and pain and wondering if it’s just a passing flit of whatever or if it’s the harbinger of MS doom. And that’s the thing with MS. When the attacks hit? It’s easy to look back and see all the signs that the storm was coming. The gray and foreboding horizon. The clouds rolling in. The thunder in the distance. How could I have *not* seen it?

There’s a storm on the horizon… something wicked this way comes… and whatever other catchy sayings apply. I just wish it would hurry the fuck up and get here. Or, you know, detour right on by me all together. Cause I am tired of feeling so off balance.

I’m just so tired.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I blame Buffy Summers.

During my New Year’s weekend marathon viewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes (as if I had anything better to be doing for three days straight), I came to the startling realization that Buffy is not only to blame for my distinct need to kick ass all hot-ninja-slayer-style but, apparently, I’m pretty sure I can now blame her for my career choice.

Did anyone else completely blank on the fact that in the season seven Buffy was hired as a high school guidance counselor??

(for real, people.)

((and yes, I am speaking as if you’ve all seen every episode of every season as I have. Because if you haven’t? you have better things to be doing than reading this blog.))

Now, I can put aside the fact that in the world of slayers, hell-mouths, demons, and hot sexy vampires, you apparently don’t even need a college education to be a counselor. Let’s also put aside the fact that Buffy does so little as a counselor that she, at one point, is sitting at her desk trying to balance a mug full of pencils on her head for fun. (really Joss Whedon? Really??? for shame.)

But, in one particular episode, a love-spell cursed varsity letter jacket makes Buffy (as well as her sister and other girls) fall in love with the high school quarterback. (because this *totally* happens all the time) Clearly, awesomeness ensues. Including, but not limited to, Buffy getting down with said hottie in the letter jacket in her office and an empty classroom. (and that *totally* happens all the time too)

Wait.

No, it doesn’t. Ever.

Never, in fact.



What. the. fuck.

I’m all over here dealing with the kids and their parents and the teachers and the drama and never once did I find myself atop a hot (obviously over 18 cause otherwise that would be creepy) young stud on an empty lab desk.

Again I say….

What. the. fuck??!?!!

I was clearly sold a bogus bill of sale. Being a guidance counselor isn’t a damn thing like Buffy made it out to be.

(to be fair, I don't make it look as good as she did.)

((and I'm still not a hot pole-dancing ninja either.))

I am so disillusioned.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sometimes having boobs is overrated. (not often, but occassionally.)

First, let me just get this out of the way: yes, I haven’t blogged in forever. Not that there haven’t been things to say (there has) and it’s not just because there hasn’t been much time for it (there hasn’t) but simply because sometimes the words don’t come. Sometimes, all the shit that’s in my head? gets trapped there. And my ability to articulate? is basically swallowed whole and all that comes out is equivalent to caveman grunts. Tree pretty. Fire bad.

(Buffy reference right there... cool points to anyone who caught it.)

This week at school, the committee for the Relay for Life is raising awareness (and money, because what good is awareness without fundage) by having the students wear a different color each day for the different cancers out there. Faculty is allowed to wear jeans (jeans!!! Will we pay money to wear jeans?? That is a resounding “hell yes we will!” cause work is somehow more bearable if I am bearing it in denim) if we make a $5 donation and follow the color/cancer of the day.

Today is breast cancer awareness and, having forked over my $5 for the week, I had to actually purchase something pink to wear. Because really? I don’t like pink. I know, pull my girl-card, but I don’t. Still, a quick purchase of a pink tank top – added to the cost of the $5 donation – still worth it to wear jeans.

(It clearly doesn’t take a whole hell of a lot to make teachers happy. Just sayin. The bar is pretty low people.)

So our school nurse, being the social-conscience-awareness-raising type person she is (wow, most awkward sentence EVER and this is why sometimes I go for months without writing and I am leaving it to make a point) sends out an email about the risks and warning signs of breast cancer. Being a person with boobs, I have been well aware of the warning signs of breast cancer for many years. Along with the yearly uncomfortable down-under poking and prodding that we endure, there’s always the awkward feel-your-boobs-for-lumps part of the exam.

Being a girl is super fun.

Part of the drug study I have allowed myself to be guinea-pigged for is to assess if the 8mg dosage of Estriol shows an increased risk of cancer - breast and uterine cancer, specifically. Now, as there are many types of cancer in my extended family, but no breast or uterine cancer, I felt like this was an acceptable risk to take. If I’m not genetically predisposed to breast cancer, that’s got to be better for my chances with the increased estrogen, right?

Oh school nurse, you dash my ill-informed hopes.

Things that can increase your risk of breast cancer include:

Being female. Women are much more likely than men are to develop breast cancer. (Um, okay, guess I’m not gonna escape that one.)

Increasing age. Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age. Women older than 60 have a greater risk than do younger women. (while I’m clearly not over 60, obviously my age is going to increase. I mean, the alternative? really not any better.)

A personal history of breast cancer. If you've had breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk of developing cancer in the other breast. (yay! not me!)

A family history of breast cancer. If you have a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer, you have a greater chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Still, the majority of people diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. (okay, so I was feeling good with that first part and then? then?? “the majority of people diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease” fuuuuck.)

Inherited genes that increase cancer risk. Certain gene mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer can be passed from parents to children. The most common gene mutations are referred to as BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes can greatly increase your risk of breast cancer and other cancers, but they don't make cancer inevitable.

Radiation exposure. If you received radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult, you're more likely to develop breast cancer later in life. (I don’t think this applies to me. I mean, I don’t glow in the dark. Pretty sure I’m okay.)

Obesity. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of breast cancer. (fuck.)

Beginning your period at a younger age. Beginning your period before age 12 increases your risk of breast cancer. (fuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!)

Beginning menopause at an older age. If you began menopause after age 55, you're more likely to develop breast cancer.

Having your first child at an older age. Women who give birth to their first child after age 35 may have an increased risk of breast cancer. (okay, I wasn’t quite that old…. but I was about 15 years past being an unfortunate teenage mother.)

Postmenopausal hormone therapy. Women who take hormone therapy medications that combine estrogen and progesterone to treat the signs and symptoms of menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer. (Um, yeah….. okay school nurse, I think I’ve had about enough now….)


Drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol may increase the risk of breast cancer. (STOP. RIGHT. THERE.)

No, seriously, stop. They might as well cut my boobs off right now because truly? I am way screwed here. The estrogen, oddly enough, does help the MS….. the MS is going to be a life long thing.... (as will the drinking)….. maybe I just need to take a pre-emptive boob strike - as in, chop them off. We can rebuild them. Make them better. We have the technology. (because really, they do.)

I hate to see what the rest of the week will bring as we “honor” and educate ourselves about other cancers. I have a feeling the hypochondriac in me is going to be suffering from a lot more than MS by Friday. If I am worried about my prostate by the end of the week, someone should be worried about me. Just sayin.