Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My mind is in turmoil.

I have wondered for years if she was still alive. Her name is Mel too. We are opposites in every sense of the word. She is tall and I am short. She is blonde and I am brunette. She is hyper and I was always laid back. She was popular and I was not. She taught me how to dress, wear makeup, how to talk to boys, introduced me to heavy metal and taught me how to bang my head. We learned how to smoke cigarettes together. We babysat as a team. We once spent a whole weekend rewinding a tape and learning all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody. We double dated. She was my sister and we were inseparable. In fact, we married each others high school sweethearts in a surreal chain of events that no one saw coming.

We lost touch after I moved away but I was able to visit her twice when our vacations bought us back to Florida. The second time we visited her, her marriage was falling apart. Then I traveled to Central Florida just after my mother’s death, just to see her. Her mother called me out of the blue after 2 or 3 years of no contact. My immediate thought was that she was gone. The last I had talked to her she was babbling and incoherent. I remember sitting silently on the phone for what seemed like an hour and listened to her ramble without making discernable sentences, but not wanting to hang up because I was comforted at least that she was alive and as long as I had her on the phone with me she wasn’t going anywhere. Then I didn’t hear from her until her mother called.

I knew that she must have been high on something the night she called, so when her mother called me, with that sad tone in her voice and important news to tell me, my first thought was that she was dead. No, her mother said, not dead, merely overdosed and now living in a rehab. She warned me that the damage done by the drug was devastating to the brain and that she was now in a state of psychosis. Even living 9 hours away, I dropped my life and came running. I didn’t care the personal or financial hardship an emergency trip would cost me. We were talking about my sister, my best friend. I had to see her, hold her and know that she was still alive. When I arrived, she did not know me. Her mother had to introduce us, then after blaming her new “foggy” brain she was overjoyed to see me and spend time with me. I spent one hour with her after driving all night to get to her. She spent the whole hour telling me that she really wasn’t that sick and that really all she needed was for her mother and ex-husband to get off of her case. For that one hour, I was anything that she needed me to be…a person to vent to, an old friend who needed to have the “true” situation explained to her, and at one point, a stranger she was introducing herself to for the first time. In my heart I wept more and more. With every word she spoke, it was obvious that the friend I had spent countless hours laughing and sharing with was forever gone. She had been destroyed by the drug. Obliterated permanently by the damage left behind. We parted with promises to keep in touch. She told me that she planned to be home in the next month and restart her life…maybe even move to where I lived to start over. I held her close and smelled her hair, not knowing really if I would ever see her alive again.

I drove back to her mother’s house silently. I pretended a headache and went to lie down. What I really did was sit on the bed and cry while my husband held me and prayed. Her mother asked me later what was really wrong with me. She wanted to know what I wasn’t telling her. She needed me to talk to her like a nurse. Knowing that she needed to hear it, I explained that this person, this altered version, is permanent. This brain damage is unchangeable. This personality shift is probably the new her…forever. In reality she had died that night. The person that we knew was gone forever. I spoke with her twice more before she left the rehab. I didn’t even know she had gone. I called one evening to check on her and they said she had checked out. I didn’t find her again for almost a year. She called me at midnight on New Year’s. We spoke for 15 minutes. She told me she was in love with a man she met at AA and that she still wanted to move near me to start her life over again. I asked her how her children were…she changed the subject.

That was 5 years ago. I was able to find her cousin on Facebook and asked tenderly if she was still alive. I was told that the cousin didn’t have contact with her, but that yes she was alive. I miss her terribly. I think about her almost everyday and utter silent prayers that don’t even have a form other than “protect her”. Last night, after entering her name in the Facebook Search box (which I am in the habit of doing every so often but always finding nothing) suddenly there she was. Older, a little more rough around the edges, but alive and staring back at me from my computer screen. She is suddenly tangible and available….and I chickened out. I looked through her page, trying desperately to glean some insight into the person that she is now. It amounted to no less than stalking. I looked at posts, pictures, looked at the page of the man she is in a relationship with now, but I didn’t send her a message. I just…I don’t know…I’m scared. But then, that’s not exactly the right word. Worried may be a better word. By all appearances she is still that “other” person, the new person that I don’t know. I am faced with a dilemma that I never saw coming. Do I get to know this new person? It would seem that after searching methodically for her for years and even asking family members about her that I would be overjoyed to find her and would not be able to stop myself from contacting her immediately, but that is totally not what happened. My heart leapt when I saw her face, but then immediately in the place of joy came fear. Fear that I would hope for a relationship that cannot be. Fear that I would not love this new person and might even hate her for taking my best friend away from me.

I could tell from her Facebook posts that we have very little in common anymore. She appears to still be working out her demons while mine were faced long ago. We apparently lead completely different lives, with different directions or even morals. Do I let this person into my life, not knowing what pain will come of it? Do I welcome her knowing that I may have to walk away from her at some point? I cannot abide letting drama into my life for the sake of a friend I do not know anymore. Honestly, I am ashamed of myself. I searched for her. My heart pined for her. I have grieved the loss of her for years and now that she is right in front of me, I am frozen in fear. How can I ever have claimed to love her and not leap for joy at the sight of her? How can I say that I truly am a friend when I became a coward the moment I saw her? How can I be someone who is in school to be a professional counselor and feel judgmental towards my oldest and dearest friend for changing after a nearly deadly addiction?

I am ashamed and I should be. I lay in bed last night and prayed. I didn’t even tell Hubby that I found her or what I was going through. I just wanted time to process. As I lay there, I thought about my boys talking at the dinner table about the Mayan Apocalypse. We were discussing how no one really knows the hour and time that God will call us home. Then I thought about my oldest and dearest friend, who I almost lost and to some extent did lose to a drug. What if …. What if something does happen to her? What if I had the chance to hear her voice one more time and I chickened out? I have lived without my mother for 6 years now. What I wouldn’t do to have one more day with her. God is handing me another chance with Mel and I am letting the fear of the enemy keep me from her. It does not matter if she is different. I am different. I am different in so many ways than I was in high school. Different even, than I was the last time I saw her face. Being close to her might be painful, as I am reminded of the differences between then and now, but at least I have the chance to be close to her at all. I am going to take that chance. It might not end well, but I do not think I will regret trying.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Mysterious New Backbone

Just wanted to take a moment to update the situation with my oldest son, The Sweet One. Thank you all for the kind comments to my last blog about him. It really meant a lot to me, to know that others understand where I am coming from :) The situation is different now, but no less scary for me as a mom. February of this year, The Sweet One "came out" as bisexual. It was a scary time for us, especially for Hubby. I think we were well prepared for it because we had already been dealing with the bullying. At least it wasn't completely out of the blue. That would have been harder to deal with. Originally, he told us he was gay. Well...he told me that anyway. I wanted to be cautious and urged him not to label himself at this age. Like I said before, our morals dictate our behaviors no matter what our preferences are! But, he felt like he needed a label. I understand that though. I understand the need to feel confident in your actions and even in your own mind. A label, even though it has the potential to be damaging, is solid and concrete. It sometimes can be used as something to hold on to when nothing else makes sense. This is totally not related, but I have used my title of nurse as a platform to stand on, and an identity to push myself to perform in situations I knew that I could not handle. It was the foundation I needed to help myself know that yes, I could do this difficult thing as a nurse, even when as a person it was too much to handle. I'm not sure that's what he meant, but that's how I understood it. For him to be able to stand up for himself, as a bullied person, he needed a place to start from. He's almost grown. I can't make these decisions for him. I don't even think I can influence him anymore than I already have. I've done my job, I've left my mark. One of the things I have learned about and for myself is that the world is not black and white. Motherhood is muddy. I can have all the opinions I want about other people's kids, but it's not so easy when it's your own child. I'm here to tell you that right now. I would like to say that I handled it well, but the truth is that I did struggle. I struggled with my personal opinions about homosexuality (which were that it is a sin, but so is my mouth so who am I to judge?), I struggled with worrying that he was acting out the trauma of the bullying (he quickly set those fears at ease with a few stories dating back to elementary school) and I also, to be honest, struggled with my faith. I'm still struggling with my faith somewhat. No, that's not correct. I am struggling with my faith "community". I have no problems with God. I have no problem with my son. I have a *HUGE* problem with other Christians' actions towards my son. Note to them: You are not being judged by him. You are not responsible for his actions, or preferences. YOU are not his mother. I tried to keep quiet for many months about his orientation. I figured, it was his business and he will handle it as it comes to him. Mostly, that is still true. But, I find myself becoming more and more defensive as time passes. This is what I recently told a friend, I need my son to know that I love him. Period. I don't care about what others think of me for it. If I have to march in the Gay Day parade wearing a rainbow striped shirt for him to know that I love him....where's my shirt?? I don't care if my brand of faith differs from yours at all. In fact, I could honestly care less. I'm not asking anyone what they think about it, or what they would do, because in reality, unless your child is gay, you have NO idea what my family has gone through. A very sweet older couple in our church recently came forward as having a gay adult son, whom they shunned and now are trying to re-connect with. They're advice was this: Love him. Never let him feel like you don't love him. Even if you have to keep your mouth shut about his life, his choice in partners, his choice in friends, whatever, make sure that he knows you love him and that is what is more important than being right. I think that is advice that I can live by. Since his announcement, he has taken the time and given himself the permission to "learn" more about himself, which is amazing considering I still can't decide if I like red peppers. He has dated a few girls and a few guys and has decided that he likes both, for different reasons. For now, he has chosen the label Bisexual. That may change with his life and experience. I may end up with a daughter in law, or a son in law. Both are wins for me, as long as he is loved. For now, as long as he choses the label son and lets me carry the label of mother...that's all that matters to me.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Crazy Ideas, Crockpots and Me

Ok, so sometimes I think I am really a glutton for punishment. No, really. I am. My recent decision to go back to nursing school has me a little frantic. I remember nursing school. I remember how exhausted I was, how much I cried, how few hot meals my family ate during that time. No joke, at least 3 nights a week of peanut butter and jelly. In an attempt to keep my life from falling apart after I start nursing school in January, I have decided to *attempt* this crazy thing I have been seeing on the internet...Freezer Cooking. Now, this is not a a "cooking" blog, but I thought, who cares? Someone might enjoy it :) Probably not, but I'm writing about it anyway haha. The general concept is that you buy all the ingredients you need for several meals and spend the time to assemble them into ready to cook recipes (like crockpot meals or casseroles) then freeze them. When you need to cook, you just pull it out of the freezer and throw it in the oven or crockpot. I really like the idea, I'm just not sure I am consistent enought to do it right. I have been scouring the internet, reading every blog I can find, trying to learn from these other women who's houses are mostly clean and who's freezers are fully stocked with ready to go meals. It sounds like a total scam, but I'm going to do it anyway. Have any of you tried this? Did it work? It's a scam isn't it? No, don't tell me. I want to be suprised. I will be starting sometime in the next week or two, but this is what I need...warnings, tips, advice, general moral boosters, and booze. Not for the cooking, just for me :) If any of you have tried it I need to hear from you! If it didn't work, I need to hear from you more!! Do you have recipes that you know freeze well? Send them to me! If I use of your recipes I will link back to you ;) Anyway, be on the look out for that post in the next couple of weeks!

The funny thing about making plans for the future....

Well, Hello :) I promised myself I would attempt to check in on my blog once in awhile. I miss it. I miss my readers! I miss having the time to write most of all. I may have a little more time for the next couple months, so maybe I can blog a little more than once a year haha. I started my junior year for my Psychology Degree this year but I'm just not feeling it anymore. Life has changed so much since I started. So, so much of my life is different. I'm not sure that I even recognize the person that I was in 2009. I am much less sure of who/what I am now. Much less sure of my likes, my wants, my dreams. I'm not quite middle age, but since I started so early with my adult life, maybe that is exactly what is happening. Professionally, I have hit a brick wall. My current nursing license is pretty well un-usable (is that even a word??) in my area now. As an LPN, my job prospects are almost non-existent now. For one, I live in a very rural area and attempting to commute to a large city where my job prospects would be better would mean I would have to make twice what I would ever be offered just to pay for the gas. Aside from that, my hometown hospital is the last hospital, maybe in the whole area, to even hire LPN's. I could just stay where I am, but my hours have been cut to less than 24 hrs a week and still falling. Financially, my hospital is dying, as a lot of small rural hospitals are doing right now because of budget cuts and the change in the way the government is reimbursing through Medicare/Medicaid. It won't be long and my position will be dissolved all together. I was actually reminded of that this week when a co-worker was let go after 25 years of service just because of lack of funding. So, combined with lack of growth in my area of the industry and frustration at my current personal issues, Hubby and I have decided to put my Psych degree on hold. I will be leaving the workplace in January and returning to nursing school. Another 2 years of school. Yay. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful to have the opportunity, but I just don't feel like I am ever going to *not* be a student again. I made up my mind to leave the nursing field 3 years ago...I am not too thrilled about coming back into it this way. But, Mommy's and Daddy's have bills to pay. 24 hours a week is not paying our bills right now. Losing my job completely is not going to help matters any either. So...I switch majors, finish my nursing degree so that I can continue working while I finish my Bachelor's in Psych and go on to get my Master's. At this rate, I should be out of school sometime around the year 2020. That sentance made me want to take a nap. I almost cannot believe that 3 years have passed since I even made the decision to go to school in the first place. That seems impossible. But, time does what needs to passes. On the bright side, at this rate, I will be graduating with my Master's in Psychology, after having also gotten my Nursing Degree, by my 40th Birthday. All I can say is that, I plan on having a hell of a party that year! I DO promise to blog about it :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

I'm still a Hot Mess

I haven’t written in a really long time. A really LONG time. I miss it. I miss thinking about what I’m going to write, banging it out, reading and re-reading it, changing it all up and writing it again. It’s not that I haven’t had things to write about. Life goes on every single day…the good and the bad. I just haven’t slowed down long enough to do it. There isn’t enough of me to go around anymore.

I am sitting alone on my couch, the night before Christmas Eve, listening to the sounds of my house: dog bumping around in his crate, my youngest son’s sniffles (must get him some medicine tomorrow!), my husband snoring in the next room, etc. I am surrounded by the people I love. No matter what has happened in the day to day, good or bad, this is all that matters. Its been a year, give or take, since I wrote my last real post. A lot has changed, but then again, maybe not so much. I am almost halfway done with my degree in Psychology. I am still working at the doctor’s office but, as always, keeping my eyes peeled. In fact, I have an interview next week for a potential start up office in the next town. Keep your fingers crossed for me. It would mean more money, but less free time (as if I had any to start with) and less time for school. The largest change is in me. I see so much more than I used to see…in life, in other people, in myself. The biggest change revolves around my oldest son, The Sweet One. Two of my last posts were dedicated to my youngest children. I didn’t get around to posting about my eldest son. Before I could post about him, we had a nearly life-altering event in our household. It was brought to our attention that someone was bullying him. It turned out to be several some-ones…most of the high school really. Someone had set up a fake Facebook account in his name, proclaiming “himself” to be homosexual, having lewd conversations with other students, propositioning people. Although one person set it up, the password got passed around so that a large chunk of the high school was taking turns “being” my son, posting things on Facebook like they were coming from him, etc. Pictures that were taken on school campus were posted of him like he was posting them himself. Some of them he even posed for because someone said “Hey, get in on this picture with us!” He thought he was being included in the group…he wasn’t. 3 months after we left homeschooling for a private Christian education we were broadsided by this.

It was only brought to our attention because the principal found the website (he routinely checks up on the kids this way) and was concerned enough to call me in for a meeting. You see, he believed that it was my son’s real Facebook page, and he wanted to make me aware of his “indiscretions”. Needless to say, when I left the office he was very aware of the true situation and vowed to investigate. I did what I know was the right thing to do. I went home and I told my son what the other kids had done. Part of me wanted to hide it from him and let him go on thinking that these people were his friends, but I knew in my heart of hearts that it would be wrong, that he deserved to know what kind of “friends” he had. The next thing I did was call a friend of mine, who happens to work for law enforcement, and asked about the legality of the situation. Unfortunately, in Alabama, there are not (or were not at the time) any specific laws against cyberbullying per se. Other than them threatening him or making a profit from his name (they didn’t do either) there wasn’t anything really that could be done. I was devastated for him. I watched as the reality of his world sank in. I watched as the blood ran from his face. I watched as his whole 15 yr old life crumbled down around is ears. It may not sound like a lot for some, but for a 15 yr old boy, to have rumors of this magnitude spread about you is tantamount to social execution. Not only did these kids “friend” kids from 4 area high schools, their friends sent friend requests to their friends and so on, until more than 200 kids in our immediate area were either witnessing this behavior or were participating in it. Many didn’t know that it wasn’t really him saying these things and it wasn’t just boys participating. You probably think what I thought before this happened: boys bully boys and girls bully girls. Wrong. There were just as many girls participating as there were boys. I think that was the part that nearly killed my son. It wasn’t just that the girls might think he was gay, but they were actually participating in the rumor-mongering, posing as him, propositioning gay sex to other students. Such a blow to your sexuality would be hard for an adult, but for a young boy…well, I probably don’t even have to tell you. After I told him what I knew, we sat together for a little while. He talked and then he cried and then he talked some more. I remember thinking to myself, “This is why kids commit suicide. They really think that life is over for them because their way of life really is over. How do you come back from this?” I lay on his bed with him and just let him be angry, but mostly what we did was cry. It was like the death of something. The last of his childhood slithering away from us as the cold, hard edge of adulthood jammed itself into our lives without welcome. I wished with all my heart that I could shoulder this pain for him but I couldn’t. I asked him if he wanted to go back to school and he said no, not yet, but then he said something that made my blood run cold and stopped my heart in its tracks. He said, “I don’t even want to wake up tomorrow.” Now, I know that adolescents are full to the brim of melodrama…its their currency….but I could hear in his voice that he really felt that way and all I could envision was that mother who found her daughter hanging in her closet after being bullied on the Internet. I have never been so scared in my life. Everything in my world stopped turning right then and I knew that I had to do whatever was in my power to make sure that didn’t happen. He was so distraught and I was so scared that he would slip away from reality and harm himself during the night, that the first night I just lay in his room with him and let him cry. My poor husband slept alone…it was Valentine’s Day. I had to take several days off of work because I just didn’t trust him enough to leave him alone yet, let alone leave him in charge of his brothers while I worked. The principal agreed with me and allowed him to finish his work at home that week. Meanwhile, the group of kids who had done this was rounded up and summarily chewed out by the principal, who gave an assembly about the dangers of bullying the next day, and then this group of kids was given Saturday school where they had to scrub floors and walls and bathrooms, etc as their punishment. Don’t get me wrong, at least the school tried to do something, but it just didn’t seem fair to me that my son is barely functioning and this group of kids who maliciously destroyed his outlook on life and turned him into this fragile creature who doesn’t even want to exist…these kids are given “chores” for their crime. I was bitter…I suppose I still am.

I discretely went to my boss and told her what was happening and why I needed the time off. She hooked me up a local child psychologist and within the week he began counseling for his grief. He only went to about 6 sessions before he backed out, but I have faith that when he is ready to deal with it fully we will return. Because of this event, for a time, wasn’t sure of his sexual orientation. I think he looks at himself and asks ‘Do they see something in me that I don’t see? Am I gay? How do I know?’ Not that I was particularly ready to have these discussions, but I have had many discussions on the topic with him. I can say that before this event, I was pretty sure that I had a strong conviction about sexual orientation and how it related to my faith…now, not so much. I know what I think in my head, but I just can’t reconcile that to my son. My child, my baby whom I carried in my body and whom I would die defending…I don’t believe the same things I used to because I was able to look at it from a different perspective. I can say this…anyone who carries hatred in their hearts for people of different orientations have never faced loving one before. I can guarantee you that. I have urged my son not to label himself right now. From a mom’s point of view, it doesn’t matter right now anyway because I do not want any experimentation with anyone of any sex! We do believe in saving ourselves and that doesn’t change no matter what our preferences. It was a dark time for me and my husband, particularly my husband. No matter what, we know now that our love for our child doesn’t change. It scares me, thinking of his future now, but my love doesn’t change. I see the feminine marks on my son that the world has tried to enlarge and turn into something it may not be, but I don’t care. I don’t care that here in the South, boys are supposed to play sports and fool around with their girlfriends. I don’t care that boys in the South aren't supposed to spend all of their time reading and writing stories and painting like my son does. I don’t care that he’s not like the other boys. God didn’t create him to be like everyone else and I make sure he knows it everyday.

It has been nearly a year since the original incident. My son did return to school because he didn’t want to let them beat him. He does still occasionally face some ridicule at school but he tries not to let it bother him. The Sweet One turned 16 this past June and is looking forward to having the courage to take his driver’s test eventually. He has tried to have a few girlfriends but so far nothing very important. I think the farther and farther away the incident goes the more secure he feels in himself. That is all I care about. I worry for him that he doesn’t have friends, doesn’t have that “core group” that is so vital for teenagers, but I pray everyday that he draws what he can from our family and that one day soon he will show us all just how strong he can be. I can’t wait for that day. You'll recognize me...I'll be the one cheering the loudest :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Photo Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Repost Thursday: Best/Worst Analogies

I'm starting a trend. Well, maybe not, but I am starting a new thing for Thursdays. I think I'd like to have one day a week where I am obligated to post something because I told you that I would. Let's call it "Repost Thursday". I will repost something (with credit of course) that I read and enjoyed recently. Not very original, I know, but since I have gotten out of the habit of visiting my blog I am hoping to get myself back into the swing of things!

Okay, so some of you may have read this one already but I just happened to read it yesterday and I laughed so hard I cried...then I shared it with my older boys and watched them laugh until they cried. I'm sure my writer/teacher friends will enjoy them as well!

56 Best/Worst Analogies (you decide which!)

1.Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center.

2.He was as tall as a 6′3″ tree.

3.Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

4.From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

5.John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

6.She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

7.The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

8.He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

9.Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

10.She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

11.The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.

12.The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object.

13.McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

14.His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

15.He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at asolar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

16.Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

17.Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

18.The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

19.Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

20.The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

21.They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

22.He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

23.Even in his last years, Grand pappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it hadrusted shut.

24.He felt like he was being hunted down like a dog, in a place that hunts dogs, I suppose.

25.She was as easy as the TV Guide crossword.

26.She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

27.The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

28.The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

29.“Oh, Jason, take me!” she panted, her breasts heaving like a college freshman on $1-a-beer night.

30.It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

31.It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

32.He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

33.The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the period after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.

34.Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.

35.Her date was pleasant enough, but she knew that if her life was a movie this guy would be buried in the credits as something like “Second Tall Man.”

36.The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

37.The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.

38.She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.

39.Her pants fit her like a glove, well, maybe more like a mitten, actually.

40.Fishing is like waiting for something that does not happen very often.

41.They were as good friends as the people on “Friends.”

42.Oooo, he smells bad, she thought, as bad as Calvin Klein’s Obsession would smell if it were called Enema and was made from spoiled Spamburgers instead of natural floral fragrances.

43.The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton.

44.He was as bald as one of the Three Stooges, either Curly or Larry, you know, the one who goes woo woo woo.

45.The sardines were packed as tight as the coach section of a 747.

46.Her eyes were shining like two marbles that someone dropped in mucus and then held up to catch the light.

47.The baseball player stepped out of the box and spit like a fountain statue of a Greek god that scratches itself a lot and spits brown, rusty tobacco water and refuses to sign autographs for all the little Greek kids unless they pay him lots of drachmas.

48.I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don’t speak German. Anyway, it’s a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don’t know the name for those either.

49.She was as unhappy as when someone puts your cake out in the rain, and all the sweet green icing flows down and then you lose the recipe, and on top of that you can’t sing worth a damn.

50.Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.

51.It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.

52.Bob was as perplexed as a hacker who means to access\aaakk/ch@ung but gets T:\flw.quidaaakk/ch@ung by mistake.

53.You know how in “Rocky” he prepares for the fight by punching sides of raw beef? Well, yesterday it was as cold as that meat locker he was in.

54.The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.

55.Her lips were red and full, like tubes of blood drawn by an inattentive phlebotomist.

56.The sunset displayed rich, spectacular hues like a .jpeg file at 10 percent cyan, 10 percent magenta, 60 percent yellow and 10 percent black.

(All of these can be found here!)

Monday, April 11, 2011

*Breaking News*

This just in:


Okay, you can go back to what you were doing.
I just wanted to pop in for a second and announce the end of my Emergency Room career, if it ever were one. It's been real and it's been fun but it ain't been real fun, if you know what I mean. I got the job offer actually last week but since I was traveling for Spring Break this is the first chance I have had to blog about it.

I didn't think I was getting the job at all to begin with because the office staff told me that the corporate manager who does the hiring did not take to me very well...why does that always happen to me? Apparently, she thought that my family might just be more of a priority than my career. What am I supposed to say to that?? Ummm....yeah, it is. Anyway, I don't really care that the rumor is the only reason I got it is because the first person it was offered to declined the job due to a pay increase she was offered at her current job. It worked out well for me so who cares? I'm ok being second string...lots of good people were not the first person picked. The point is that I got the job.

No nights, no weekends, no holidays, an hour for lunch...speaking of lunch - Drug rep lunches are awesome! It's not all roses and wine however. Now that I have an 8-5 job I have to figure out how to get my children home from the private school that does not have a bus service. I could not dare ask if I could have 30 min to go get them at 3pm because Ms. Witchy Manager already thinks that my family is too high of a priority. So, I put the word out amongst friends that we needed help. Now, I just have to wait and see what kind of mommy-swap-carpooling we can dig up!

I am almost giddy at the thought of being able to have dinner with my children every night, not to mention the extra day off every week since it's a 3-day a week job. I refuse to get my hopes up too high. I work 4 days this week in the ER, then it's off to the land of Part-Time. Ya'll wish me luck...and thanks for the prayers. It worked ;)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Deep Reflections from a Shallow Mind

I am sitting on my bed, Indian-style, trying my best to shut my brain up. Fat Chance. I have been toying with the idea of mediation for about a week now…well a few days…okay 2 days. I watched a popular movie about a woman who essentially runs away from her problems and learns how to re-connect with herself through meditation. Now, I have no interest in other religions. My interest is solely in the quietness, the stillness, the peace that people seem to achieve through mediation or “contemplative prayer” as Christians like to call it. I wasn’t even sure at first if something like meditation had a Christian cousin. I had to look it up. That in itself should red-flag a couple problems I need to be working on as well.

A couple of years ago I confided in a friend that I was incapable of being quiet, not just with my mouth, but also in my head. There is a constant string of thoughts that are assaulting me daily. Yes, it feels like assault. Add to that, that there is also a song constantly stuck in my head like a theme song to my thoughts and it’s no wonder why I’m so tired all the time… it probably explains my desire for wine as well. It’s one of the only ways I can shut the noise up. My friend was a little worried about what I was telling her. She said that I should be working on that because apparently she viewed it as not just the inability to endure quiet but also the inability to withstand peace for any length of time. Hmmm…I hadn’t thought about that. I thought about that for a few days and then pushed it aside. I have so many other things to think about, right?

The only problem is that she’s right. I am uncomfortable with quiet…painfully uncomfortable. In fact, those who know me well know that the TV or radio is always going in the background in my house, even when I’m not watching or listening because it soothes me…noise soothes me. In my younger years, teens and twenties, I couldn’t even sleep in the quiet. In my teens the radio played all night and in my twenties I bought a sound machine with little chirping birds, rain patter and ocean waves. I justified the sound machine by saying it was relaxing. My poor husband has just, in the last 5 years, been able to sleep in a soundless room. Another example is a little more extreme and a little embarrassing to me personally. When our pastor prays during our church service he takes a second or two to “quiet” his mind before beginning the prayer. It goes something like this:
“Let’s pray ..............................................................................................................Dear Heavenly Father…”
I wanna scream every time he does it….Every. Time. That’s sick right?? Inside my head I am groaning and shouting silently, “GET ON WITH IT GENE!”.

I know…that’s pretty bad. In an effort to teach myself the joy of quiet and of just “being”, I have taken to turning off the radio when I’m in the car. I try to turn off the TV when I’m home by myself after I realize that I’ve turned it on without thinking. I think I am learning to like the quiet little by little, but my brain is a different story all together. Even when it’s dead quiet in the house or the car, my brain is going 90 miles an hour. It’s exhausting. It doesn’t help that I work in the noisiest and most chaotic environment known to man: the Emergency Room. Bells, alarms, overhead PA, nurses shouting, doctors calling, phone ringing, patients questioning, people talking, families crowding, babies crying…I could go on, but my blood pressure is going up just thinking about work.

I just want quiet…peace and quiet…peace most of all. I have to learn a new way to cope. Coming home from work and drinking is effective at shutting up the brain but only by way of incapacitation. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t come home and tie one on…usually. A drink…One Drink… is the norm for me. A glass of wine, a rum and coke, occasionally a beer stolen from my husband, is not unusual. Problem is, I’m not in my 20’s anymore and it seems like even the one drink leaves me with a headache the next day. I gotta find a new trick at taming my thoughts.

So, all of that leads me back to where I am now: sitting on my bed listening to my ceiling fan rotate, trying not to look at my bedside clock, and desperately wishing that my brain would shut up…just this once. I tried to find something to focus on to take my mind off of its mindless rambling. My heartbeat, my breathing, the face of Jesus…I even tried the “Om” thing. Don’t laugh, I told you I was desperate. Finally, I just sat and tried to imagine what I might look like in the future if I achieved what I am chasing (even though I am not totally sure what that is right now). I remembered a conversation that I had with my husband just yesterday about us both being miserable at our current jobs and wondering what God has in store for us. I sent up a silent prayer to God to help me see what it is that he wants me to see about myself, in myself, or what he sees that I don’t see. I don’t know where God is headed with me but I know that at the core of it, where ever God leads me, I want to help people find Him, I want to write and I want to talk or speak to people either in groups or individually. Those three words just hung in the air of my mind for a minute: Help. Write. Speak. They just… hung there, like a wet sweater, dripping on the floor. Looking sad and pitiful. My brain says: 'You are too screwed up to help anybody. You have no talent or education to write anything. What are you going to say to people that is going to help them in any way?? You cannot make a career out of talking incessantly the way you do, Melanie. That is an idiotic idea.'

Help. Write. Speak.

They still hung there. I tried to imagine what that life would look like. I didn’t see a location, a home, a position in life or a lifestyle. I just saw my own face. It was smiling. Happiness. Confidence. Joy. Peace. Love. Things that I attempt to have now but which I fail at pretty miserably. Even when I am projecting these things now it’s a lie. Just beneath the surface, were anyone to scratch at it, lies doubt, worry, regret, insecurity, apathy and fear. Fear most of all. And the fear is mounting. My oldest son turns 16 this year. I should be joyous but I’m not. I am deeply sorrowful and angry. Angry at myself for letting so much of his childhood pass without being present in it. Sorrowful that I missed so much of it working or being too tangled up in my own junk and problems to enjoy it. Being the oldest son, he has lived most of my junk out with me.

I was 15 when I gave birth to him. The year before he was born I was: raped, became heavily involved in drugs and alcohol, tried to commit suicide twice, was ostracized at school, beaten by my father, thrown out of my home by my mother, moved into my boyfriend’s house, had gotten pregnant, went my entire sophomore year in maternity clothes and ended up moving back into my parent’s home with my boyfriend. To say it was rough would be a gross misunderstanding. It took me at least 15 years to recover from that one year…his entire life up to this point. I had used this child’s entire life, entire childhood, on MY recovery, instead of on him. Yes, I have loved him and cared for him and provided for him, but I could never see past my own pain enough to fully be the mother he needed. In fact, there were times that he went to live with my parents (voluntarily) so that I could try to function. Function is all I ever learned to do. I still don’t think that I’ve ever learned to live. So, now at the age of 31, I am facing my failure to be fully present and my anger and sorrow at missing so much and I have had enough. I am done with “functioning”. I want to live.


I don’t know where I am headed. I don’t know how long it will take. I have no idea if the path includes the education I am trying so very hard to achieve right now. I have no idea how it will happen.

All I know is that it has to. It has to happen and preferable soon or I may not be able to withstand it anymore. I am exhausted, I am depleted, I am used up, I am …tired of waiting for what is coming. My whole existence right now is in waiting for what’s to come. There is a scene from that movie where the woman’s boyfriend looks down on her while she is face down on the floor in misery at her life and he says, “Stop constantly waiting for something to happen!” I think that might be the wisest thing I’ve ever heard.

I can’t spend my life waiting. What am I waiting for? The life I am living right now, the life with a messy house, a dog who scratches the floor and isn’t fully potty trained, boisterous boys who don’t clean their rooms correctly, a husband who forgets I exist periodically, a job that forces me to pray everyday just to get through it and laundry baskets that are possessed by the Devil…this life…this is the life God has given me. And I am wasting it. I am pushing every single day aside to get ready for the next one, and the next one and so on until one day I’m going to run out of “next one’s”. My mind is ever on “what’s next?” instead of “right now”. Life is lived in the “right now”.. not in the future. I can’t live a life that doesn’t exist simply because it hasn’t happened yet! So, this is what I learned from my attempt at meditation this morning… “Get off the bed”. Sitting on my bed, imagining a life that could be, is keeping me from living that life the already is. Okay, so I don’t know where God is taking me. So what? No one does. Not one of us have any clue what the future holds. The need to control even the parts of my life that haven’t happened yet is keeping me crippled to the life that I can have right now. Everyday.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Message Brought to You by the Squashed and Tired:

So, I'm still doing the "errands and cleaning in the morning/work in the evening/homework in the wee hours" thing. It still sucks...I think that should go without saying. However, I think *hope* that by the end of the week I will have fabulous news. An office position has opened up in the Family Practice where I used to do relief work. It's part-time. Hubby and I have been yelling at each other, I mean "discussing", the possibility of my going part time for a couple months now. I have had more meltdowns, nervous breakdowns and need for alcohol in the last 6 months than I did when my children were small and not potty trained yet! Basically I had to explain the concept of "If Mama ain't happy..." to him. Ya'll know what I mean. So, after the office manager called me twice to see if I was interested in putting in my app, I finally bit the bullet and did it. Then, I had to tell my boss what I did. I sure wouldn't want her to hear about it in the morning meeting instead of from me. She took it well....actually I don't think she was upset at all. She wasn't an advocate for my position in the first So I had an interview last week and made myself available for peer interviews but was never called in for one. I called the office manager, just to check on the process, and was told that she had everything she needed and that after a dept. meeting this week that she would know further by the end of the week.

So now I wait.

It's a little nerve wracking though. I hate waiting.

Anyway, so ya'll pray for me. And, really put your backs into it because I don't think I will survive another year of 4-5 hrs of sleep a night. That's probably why kids eventually learn to sleep at night because if Mom's had to do the night shift thing for more than a year or so we probably would have collectively decided that Communist China had it right with the One Kid Rule, ya know what I'm sayin'?

I hope to be able to transistion to dayshift, no nights, no weekends, no holidays, and only working 3 days a week soon....REAL SOON.

Until then, I guess I'll just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimmmmmming....Thanks for the advice Dory :)

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