Presidential Debate #2: “Locker Room Talk”

Everyone waited with bated breath to see how Donald Trump would squirm his way out of questions about the recent video comments unearthed of his from 11 years ago in which he gleefully described groping and grabbing women, unaware, apparently of a hot mic that was on . He talked about trying to have sex with a married woman and told NBC’s Billy Bush that you have to “grab them by the pussy”, among other tidbits of advice. Prior to the debate, many top Republicans came out against Trump, withdrawing their support, stating that they could not support a candidate who made such statements about women, as if this was the first time he showed himself to be sexist. Supporters were starting to scatter. How would he handle it? As only Donald could. He doubled down on it. When Anderson Cooper asked him the question, did he think his comments about women equaled sexual assault he dismissed it all as “locker room talk”. Simply, “locker room talk”. Which, I assume, is some code for, ” perfectly  acceptable”. In a split second he turned that over into talking about what was wrong with the country and ISIS and what he was going to do and everything except what the question was about. He finally admitted, yes, he said it, yes, he had been embarrassed, but look at what’s happening in the world with ISIS!! Heads being chopped off and whatnot. He really wanted to talk about ISIS. To be sure, ISIS is very important, but it’s highly unlikely they are going to be brought down by Trump alone, though he would have us all believe it so.  And that to him was really more important than any offensive language he had used about women or even any offensive behavior he had engaged in. All across America, athletes looked at each other and their coaches and asked, “Locker room talk?” I’m sure in a few locker rooms, that may be the case. Or by a few individuals in locker rooms across the country. But I would not insult all of our young men by saying, “It’s just a thing.” I’ve heard many women on the right in recent days try to dismiss Trump’s disgusting dialogue as “just guy talk”. UM, NO, MA’AM. Not every guy talks that way. Guys have dirty mouths sometimes, there’s no denying it. If you are in a relationship, you may enjoy your guy talking dirty to you.  But the average guy does not go around talking about doing things to women without their consent. That’s what we call rape culture, and that needs to STOP. Guys, when you hear it, you need to step up and say, “HEY. NOT COOL.” Ladies and gentleman, we all need to remember the  Word of the Day, and that is CONSENT. If you do not have consent, then you do not have sex. That is the rule. ALWAYS. NO EXCEPTIONS.

A lot of other things were said in the debate but I think I decided to focus on “Locker room talk” for this blog because it is so vitally important in our society as men and women continue to navigate their roles in our society and attempt to communicate with each other. Hillary performed admirably as usual, maybe not quite as in control because of the town hall setting, but she held her ground. But she stood up to Trump’s bullying well, with all his lurking about behind her, pacing and sniffing and playing to the crowd, threatening to throw her in jail. She was tough, as always, which even he admitted at the end.

But back to “Locker Room Talk”.  People need to learn to talk openly about their needs and desires in a dignified way, asking for what they need or want, not just grabbing and taking by force. In the meantime, we have a President to elect and one of them is a sexual predator.  Yes, I said it. In case you didn’t hear or have forgotten, Donald Trump is charged with the rape of a 13 year old girl, and is set to go to trial soon. His “friend” whom he used to spend time with in the company of young girls, is a convicted pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein. This is a man we are SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING FOR PRESIDENT. Liar, sexist, racist, cheat, etc. So many labels I can pin on this man. In every way he thinks he is above the law. He doesn’t pay taxes.  I could write for hours about how unfit he is for the presidency. But I just have one question. DO YOU WANT A RAPIST FOR PRESIDENT?  

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I’m In Repair

Facebook post from last night: My husband and I took my mother out to eat for lunch today and in the ladies’ restroom I had the pleasure of seeing myself in a full length mirror for the first time in a long time. I was not unaware of my weight gain, but I was not quite prepared for the image that greeted me. My first thought was “Mama Cass” and the words to “California Dreaming” started playing in my head. Tears welled in my eyes, but I thought, you know, of the two women in the group, she did have the better voice. And also, I thought, taking a deep breath, there is always something to be grateful for. At least I’m not starving. Right? Right. Still, I wish somehow I could choose my mental illnesses. Instead of bipolar and ADD, I would be severely OCD, with specialties in cleaning and exercising. I would be disturbed, but thin and meticulously organized. But the mental health lottery doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. You play the hand you’re dealt.

 

For you younger readers, Mama Cass was a fabulous singer from the 60s group, The Mamas and the Papas. I’m sure you can find their music on iTunes. She sang beautiful harmonies, but she was mainly known for being “the fat one” and dying at an early age. I believe she choked to death on a ham sandwich or something else not very glamorous. That’s all I was ever told about her growing up, and left with the impression that if you were fat bad things were likely to happen to you, and maybe even SHOULD happen to you, like fat people deserved to die young. I got the message. I stayed skinny for a very long time. Then life happened. I grew up,  I became depressed and was given anti-depressants. Anti-depressants helped me realize, perhaps for the first time, that food tasted good. Really, really, good, and eating was enjoyable and I began to put on weight. This was healthy at first, as I had been significantly underweight. But I grew up and developed and began to change medicines often and was  susceptible to the side effects of all of them and I began to put on more weight. I should add here that I have never been a physically fit person, even when I was stick thin. I was never athletic, never enjoyed physical education class in school, even flunking it on purpose in high school by not dressing out out of sheer stubbornness. I never developed the exercise habit. I didn’t like to sweat. I liked walking well enough, if I was walking somewhere, or walking in an area with scenery like a short hike. But walking around and around a track didn’t interest me, and I didn’t see the point of running unless I was being chased, and then it depended on who was doing the chasing. (If it was a cute boy, I might let myself be caught! *blush* coy smile*) I was too cool too dance and aerobics, popular during my time, was lame.I was thin because God made me that way, but when I didn’t take care of myself over my lifetime, when i worked out only sporadically and ate whatever I felt like eating, my body began to change. I went from skinny in my teens to average sized in my twenties to curvy in my thirties to overweight at forty. The decade of my thirties really did the damage. I switched to an almost completely sedentary lifestyle. Sitting all night at work at a stressful job, stress eating, and sleeping all day. I joined gyms and rarely went. I bought exercise equipment and rarely used it. I made plans to walk and did for a while, then quit. I just never could stick to anything. Exercise made me so tired so quickly; my heart beat so fast. I found out that I have “exercise induced tachycardia” which just means when I exercise my normally high heart rate jumps up abnormally fast to a dangerously high rate. So I can’t run or do any high impact aerobic workouts. I can walk or cycle slowly. I can do yoga, pilates, weight training, etc. I just have to make myself do it. But it’s soooooo hard. WHY? Don’t you feel better after you exercise? People would ask me? Sometimes I would. Sometimes I would feel like I was dying or like I wanted to go to bed and stay there. Surely that is not normal, is it? So here I am, today. Not giving out specific numbers but well over and above a healthy weight range. My goal weight loss is 100 lbs.  To get in a healthy weight range, I need to lose 80. I’m trying not to think in big numbers yet. I’m trying to think about 10% of my body weight first.  Just losing that much can have great benefits for your health. I learned that from Weight Watchers, which really works, if you work it and stick with it. I’m not sure what kind of program I need now. Diet or exercise or both. I hardly eat at all. Ask my husband, he will tell you how I don’t finish meals or I skip meals. I’m doing SlimFast right now and some kind of diet pills I got off the internet. But I am tired ALL THE TIME. I have an exercise bike, and I am too tired to ride it. Simple household chores exhaust me. A few months ago, my doctor told me that I still had mono from a year ago! But my blood tests are clear now. Supposedly the virus is gone, but I am still tired and weak. My fitness level is zero. The doctor suggested water therapy and is supposed to be giving me a referral but I haven’t heard from the clinic and I don’t know if Medicare will cover it. If I had the energy, I could go to thy Y in Madison and do water aerobics twice a week. (and the motivation.) But I don’t have the energy. Just started taking super potent max dosage B12 vitamins that are supposed to give me massive enetgy, but so far I haven’t noticed a big change. Taking big dose of vitamin D too. Maybe B12 shots might work? I’m ready to try anything. Adderall worked when I was taking it for ADD, but Medicare stopped covering it and will only cover Ritalin and Ritalin does not boost my energy, at least not at the dosage I am on. At least it keeps me awake. I was sleeping half of every day for the longest. Now I am awake, if barely, but I go to bed early. tired, every night, soon after dinner. Just a blob. That’s what I saw in the mirror in the restaurant. I felt pretty when we left to pick up my mom. I had on a new top, purple, my favorite color, beaded and cut loose and full so it didn’t cling to me and feel tight. Probably looked like a maternity top only I’m not pregnant, just fat. I looked in the mirror and just saw a purple blob, with newly colored black hair that my mother didn’t approve of (she had made sure to tell me as soon as she got in the car) and now in the ladies’ room when I joked I looked like Mama Cass, she didn’t deny it, just remarked something about her career. And I just felt fat and old and stuck  and hopeless. But I have so much to live for. I am blessed with a loving, supportive husband whom I love with all my heart and soul and we have big dreams together. And I am finally beginning to fulfill my dream of being a writer. I can’t let my weight drag me down. I have to get healthy. I have to take care of myself, for us.
Later, when I came home and posted that status, many lovely people wrote kind words of support in the comments and my good friend Kristine McKeown reminded me of our favorite guy John Mayer and his song that has brought us back from the brink so many times. If you’re not familiar with John Mayer, you should get to know him. He is my favorite singer-songwriter. I have often said I feel like he is singing my journals out loud. He really gets me, and I get him. His song “In Repair” perfectly describes how I feel, in this in between stage of not being quite right, but getting there. This fall and winter I will be in repair, and hopefully “when things turn green again, it will be good to say you know me.” Here it is, with lyrics. Enjoy.

Too many shadows in my room
Too many hours in this midnight
Too many corners in my mind
So much to do to set my heart right
Oh, it’s taken so long
I could be wrong, I could be ready
Oh, but if I take my heart’s advice
I should assume it’s still unsteady
I am in repair
I am in repair
Stood on the corner for a while
To wait for the wind to blow down on me
Hoping it takes with it my old ways
And brings some brand new luck upon me
Oh, it’s taken so long
I could be wrong, I could be ready
Oh, but if I take my heart’s advice
I should assume it’s still unsteady
I am in repair
I am in repair
And now I’m walking in the park
And all of the birds, they dance below me
Maybe when things turn green again
It will be good to say you know me

 

 

Politics vs. Prose

I should have seen it coming, in retrospect. My anti-anxiety medication, which I normally take on an “as needed” basis, and hadn’t been needing all that often,  I was taking the maximum dose at bedtime every night for months, and wishing for more during the day. I was tense and having trouble sleeping and watching the news obsessively and living on Facebook, posting meme after meme after meme about Trump, Hillary, and all things political, not caring who I offended or bored. My husband was perplexed, to say the least. He tried to reason with me. “Why do you care so much? Why does it matter to you?” I couldn’t come up with an answer, only a question. “Why don’t you care?” He does care, but “they’re both criminals”. And this nation is going to hell and yada yada yada, I can’t discuss this with you, don’t you have a headache, anyway? Seriously, he told me, “You are only one person. All you can do is put your message out there and sit back and wait and see what happens. We are not driving this train.” And my therapist agreed. She asked me  how much attention I give to politics and I explained to her that it was about as much as I would give a job. She said, “That’s a little obsessive.” And I realized she’s right. I’m on disability because too much stress makes it impossible for me to hold a job with my illness. And here I am heaping stress on myself on purpose. But I love politics. It’s in my blood. Perhaps I could take it down to a part time job? This seemed like a good suggestion to the therapist. More drugs is not the answer. I’m already medicated to the max. A change in lifestyle is required. And besides, I’m supposed to be a WRITER, not a political strategist. Whatever happened to that? OH YEAH, that. Not just a blog now and then, but the real writing. What’s going on with that? Well, not much, frankly. I’m working on a memoir project, but I haven’t touched it in two weeks, so I can hardly say I’m “working” on it. I have an idea for a novel, but I have been procrastinating outlining it, probably because deep down, I know it’s a dead end. In fact, when I pitched the idea to the therapist, she laughed and said it sounded like one of those “what do you call it, that channel with all the movies with women in trouble?” And I said, “Lifetime?”  “Yeah, that one, ” she chuckled. (BURN!!!! OUCH. Truth hurts!) And I have a ton, quite literally a TON of reading to do. Just got in three new books and I haven’t gotten through the last two months yet. Who assigned these? Why, I did, of course. I’m doing a DIY(do it yourself) MFA (Masters in Fine Arts degree) program on my own and it requires a lot of reading. It’s legit. Look it up. DIYMFA.com. It’s for people who can’t or don’t want to spend the money and time going to school and have the self-motivation and discipline to create their own program of reading, writing and building community. So I signed up for that and I have a plan, but I haven’t been working the plan very hard. I’ve been obsessing over Hillary and Trump and I’m afraid the next few months are going to be even worse. But I am going to make a very concerted effort to STOP THE MADNESS. Yesterday, as I explained to my husband when he got home from work, I took a mental health day. I did laundry. I never turned on the news. I got on Facebook and shared a few things but mostly stayed away from politics and edited and managed my profile and photos and chatted with a few friends. It was a peaceful, quiet day, and I remained calm and anxiety-free throughout.

In the interest of full disclosure I have to confess that I have recently added well over a hundred, probably close to two hundred new Facebook friends based on politics alone. Just went down the list and added people with Hillary profile pics, building myself a support army for the coming months. It’s lonely being a blue girl in a red state. Also I deleted a few people based on political differences, and I don’t feel one whit guilty about it. One posted “BS” when I posted a pic of Obama wearing a hat that said “I’ve already made America great”. She was an old friend and coworker, and I felt a little twinge but then….nah. The other was a person I liked quite a lot but who unfortunately fell victim to some Hillary conspiracy theories and she was getting a bit psycho and hysterical. If she had been in the room, I would have slapped her just to get her back to reality. I couldn’t deal. She had to go.

I made two commitments. One, to defeat Trump, and two, to get Hillary elected.  So, although I’m sure I’ll have my moments, and I’ll depend on you all to call me out, expect to see a little less of me and my obsessive rampaging on Facebook. Oh, I’ll be there. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about that. I’ll be skulking about. Just dialing it down a notch, that’s all. I’ll be around. My work is not yet done. 😉

 

All I can do is all is all I can do.

Question to myself from a private journal:

Why am I always worried about what others think of me? When did I become such a people-pleaser? Why doesn’t anyone worry about what I think?

Answer:

Because you are WEAK. You seek others’ approval to build up your low self-esteem. You always have and you will do this until you learn to love and approve yourself. And no one cares what you think, love.

(True enough.)

The thing is, I could please people more if I would stop being quite so much myself, if I could tone THIS down a bit, maybe. Posted less politics and opinion and more Harry Potter and cats. Then more people would like me. But then, why don’t people worry about getting along with me? Why do I always have to be the one to change? Well, I’m not, that’s all. I will pick and choose my battles and decide what’s worth fighting for and what can fall by the wayside. I just have to give up this juvenile desire to be loved by everyone because it ain’t gonna happen. I’m never going to please everyone and I have to stop trying. Some people are easy. Give them a smile and a kind word and they are good to go. Some people are never going to be satisfied with me no matter how hard I try or what magnificent feat I pull off. I have to cut myself some slack and stop trying so hard. All I can do is all I can do, as the song goes.

 

 

 

Bipolar and the Hall of Shame

First of all, let me say that if I was to tell you every negative, embarrassing, humiliating, horrible, awful, thing I have ever done because of having bipolar disorder, this would be a book, not a blog. Not that I blame all my bad behavior on my illness. Just most of it. Some days I’m just a bitch, and no amount of medication is going to fix that. That’s just me being me. But usually, most people who know me will tell you that I am a laid-back easy-going kind of person. One friend once told me if I got any more laid-back she was going to check me for a pulse. I am a confirmed introvert, a homebody, almost a hermit. I don’t go out much. I don’t do much. I am happiest at home in my comfortable little nest with  my loved ones and my wi-fi and my books. I don’t start trouble. Generally. Hardly ever. So the story I am about to share with you will shed some light on the power of  mania in a bipolar person’s life. The following is the biggest trouble I have gotten into while suffering a manic episode. I won’t say it’s the worst thing I’ve done, because technically there are things that are morally far worse, but anyway….

It all started because I had a doctor’s appointment at 9:00am, which is a reasonable time, unless you work 3rd shift and get off at 6 am and have to stay awake and wait for that appointment. I was tired and stressed when I got off work at the police department where I was a dispatcher. I tried to take a short nap, but to no avail. I made it to the appointment, more tired still, where I proceeded to wait in the waiting room for  two hours. TWO. HOURS. I did not complain or ask what the holdup was. I knew there was no point. You’ve all had to wait at the doctor’s before; you know how it is. I suffered in silence, becoming more and more exhausted.Finally, my turn came to see the doctor. He breezed in and looked at my chart for about two seconds and wrote me some prescriptions and left. I got out of there and went to the nearest pharmacy on the corner, not even wanting to go to my usual pharmacy. I remember it was a warm September day, the kind of day where you knew fall was coming, but it was still comfortable outside. I walked into the pharmacy and was blasted with cold air. The air conditioning in there was unreal. I wondered if I had wandered into a meat locker. There were others ahead of me so I sat down, crossed my arms to keep warm and put my head down. I stayed like this for a long time. I think I began to fall over, because I overheard one woman ask another if I  was passing out and if they needed to call an ambulance. I sat up then to let them know I was ok, but I was really feeling bad. I wanted to lie down on the floor. Finally, the pharmacist called me up and apologized for the wait and told me the problem. My doctor had prescribed me a medication that was contraindicated with one of the meds I was already taking. He had been on the phone an hour trying to get him to give him a substitute. AN HOUR. He said, “I’m so sorry,  honey, it might be quicker if you just go back over there and see if you can pick it up from the nurses’ station.”  I said thank you. I must have looked like a zombie. Flat affect, flat dead voice. I felt half frozen. I shuffled my way to the door, and went outside to my car. I don’t know if it was the sunlight or the heat that affected me more, but suddenly, I was wide awake. Wide awake and mad as hell. I got into my car and tore around the corner back to the doctor’s office. Thank God no one was in my way. I got out, slammed the door, marched into the office, slamming every door I came to, marching like going to war until I met the receptionist who, I noticed for the first time, was behind protective glass. Probably because of people like me, I thought. And laughed. I felt high. I felt invincible. Nobody was going to tell me no today! I walked up to her and told her I needed to see the doctor RIGHT NOW. She skittered away, apologizing profusely and came back with a nurse in about twenty seconds who led me straight to an exam room, the door of which I SLAMMED as she was saying “The doc will be right with you.” It slammed a lot louder than I expected. Really, really loud.I started to talk to myself in my head. OK. You are out of control here. You have got to stop. But I couldn’t stop. I was still trying to calm myself down  when the door eased open an inch or two and a hand appeared with a prescription, then finally a whole nurse looking nervous came in with it and handed it to me. One was for a drug for fibromyalgia, which I don’t have, which I threw back in her face with a look of disgust and said, “I’m not taking THAT”  and the other was the one I needed. I got up to go and asked if I would just sign for them at the nurses’ desk.  I said of course and I said “May I leave the doctor a note, since he is obviously too busy to see me?” My voice was pure sugar coated sarcasm. They all nodded. “Or maybe you all could just remind him that next time he writes someone a prescription he should maybe check and see what other drugs she’s taking so he doesn’t waste her time, make her sick, or GET HER KILLED!!!!” Then  I stormed out, slamming all doors behind me, and got the hell out of there before they called my own police officers to come and arrest me. I got home safely, took my meds, went to bed and slept like a baby. As far as I know, they didn’t do a police report.  No one ever talked to me about it at work, and after a few days, I breathed easier. But about two weeks later, I got a letter in the mail telling me that I was banned from all doctor’s offices within that group, which was practically every doctor in town. They didn’t say “banned”. They said something like they were “discontinuing services” or some such nonsense. But it meant banned. Because I called a doctor later that I wasn’t sure was part of the system, and his receptionist told me that  “Dr____ doesn’t feel that he can be of service to you now.” Alrighty then! So that’s basically how I got blackballed out of medical care in my hometown. I’m not sure how far it spreads. I assume the ER won’t turn me out, surely. But, I live elsewhere now, anyway, so, it’s all good. And now you all know, there’s another side to me, a side you want to avoid seeing if at all possible. There are many sides of me, actually.”More sides than Sybil!” Just kidding. I DO NOT have multiple personalities. If I did, I would make them write their own blogs. 🙂

I Am the Queen of the Nation of Procrasti!

I have been sitting at my desk for almost 4 hours, counting lunch, checking email, surfing the internet and mostly playing on Facebook. It hasn’t been entirely unproductive. I made a few new friends, gave a little advice, got a little advice. But not what you would call a productive day. I sat down with the plan of writing a blog, but didn’t have a topic ready in mind. So I put it to my Facebook friends, more of a threat than a request. Give me a topic or I start posting Grumpy Cat memes. No topics were forthcoming, so I began to post Grumpy. First one was funny, but surly, as always..best-funniest-grumpy-cat-2     I meant business. Grumpy Cat is sort of my alter ego. The expression on her face pretty much sums up my general demeanor unless I am given something specific to be cheerful about. I don’t go about smiling for no reason. I am not PERKY, and I despise perkiness in others, especially when I am not quite awake. So I have grown quite fond of this kitty with the unfortunate facial expression, who I am sure is as sweet as a lamb despite her murderous stare. She’s just misunderstood. I can relate. But I digress. My purpose today was to write a new blog post, and it wasn’t getting done. Instead,  I continued to peruse Facebook and post items of interest and comment on others. Time to just log off, right? NO! Of course not.best-funniest-grumpy-cat-13 I promised more Grumpy and that’s what they got.And I continued to procrastinate. Why? I don’t know. I have over 100 books on my Kindle I could be reading. Not to mention the hardcover books I have on my shelves, including 3 from the Book of the Month Club just waiting for me. I have a memoir project that I am working on that has been going well…memories gushing from seemingly nowhere through my fingers into my keyboard, and I will soon begin working with an instructor on that, so I need to get busy on it.It has the potential for a book. I have ideas for a novel, which needs to be outlined. And there are towels in the dryer than need to be folded. And the whole place needs vacuuming. And that’s my JOB. But no, I am sitting here, nursing a mild headache, praying it won’t become a migraine and WASTING PRECIOUS TIME. Here have some more Grumpy.best-funniest-grumpy-cat-16

Meh…that’s kind of how I feel, too. I need something to motivate me. I love to read. Why don’t I want to read? Could it be because I’ve been reading nonstop lately and my brain is so overloaded with words I can barely sleep? I don’t have writer’s block. I have plenty to say, just ask me the right question or give me a topic . I’m tired of Hillary and Trump right now and I think everyone else is weary, too. I think I’ve said my piece on police violence for a while.  I don’t care about the Olympics. USA is #1, yay!! We all knew they would  be. I don’t feel like talking about depression or bipolar.   Maybe I should focus on the manual labor instead. (“YES! ” says my husband.) Mindless drudgery to give my brain a break. Yes, that’s it. I shall become one with the laundry. Very zen. Then something brilliant will come to mind to write about. Maybe not. But the towels will be folded and my husband will be pleased. Maybe he will be pleased enough to vacuum for me. Annnnnnnd maybe not.