What I Know For Sure

   The first thing I know for sure is that I straight up stole that title from Oprah and her magazine and I’m hoping she will sue me, because I need the publicity. But there are many other things I know to be true and here are just a few:

     If you are a writer, you should concentrate on your “audience” and not concern yourself about what the people close to you think about your writing, because I am here to tell you, I know for sure THEY DON’T GIVE A SHIT. Most of your friends and family will not even bother reading your stuff and those that do will either tell you it’s wonderful when you know it isn’t, or just not comment at all. Because THEY DON’T GIVE A SHIT. It’s not that they don’t love you. It’s just that they aren’t living the literary life. They don’t live and breathe books and reading and writing. So, THEY DON’T GIVE A SHIT. Get over it. Get over yourself. Put some ice on that bruised ego and don’t insist they read your blog or your short story.  Find other readers and writers for that. 

     The movie is NEVER as good as the book. Almost NEVER. The film version may indeed be excellent, but almost without exception, the book is infinitely better. I have to give credit to the BBC’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and also Emma Thompson’s version of Sense and Sensibility. They stayed pretty close to the book. But still, if you liked the movie, I recommend you read the book, because you’re probably missing a lot, and likely seeing a lot that the author never intended to be part of the story. I hold up the Harry Potter series as an example. Delightful, entertaining films, but the books are better. Of course they are. How could a two hour film do those books justice?  The fourth film in particular, The Goblet of Fire, completely butchered the book. And yet it’s still better than most of what’s coming out of Hollywood these days. 

    People who care about you will make time for you. If they don’t answer your call or text or message right away, they may be busy. People have lives. They have jobs and spouses and children and responsibilities. Things come up. Emergencies, big and small. However, If they don’t respond to you for days at a time and you notice that they do seem to have time to post on Facebook, THEY DON’T GIVE A SHIT. They can’t be bothered to make room in their busy lives for you, and you should stop wondering and whining about it and focus on people who do make time for you. An exception to this is a friend or family member you suspect might be depressed. Give them some time. I know from a lifetime of experience that depression causes you to withdraw from the people closest to you, even though you know they love you and want to help. Some days you just can’t deal with PEOPLE. But the others? THEY DON’T GIVE A SHIT. And you shouldn’t either. Move on. 

It is true what they say, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” I am not well. I will not bore you with a list of ailments, but suffice it so say, I am not dying, at least not imminently. Technically, we’re all dying, but you know what I mean. Anyway, while other people have jobs and children to focus on, my main focus is just on getting healthy. It’s a good thing I like to read and write, because that’s about all I’m good for, besides watching TV. I do enjoy having the time to read and write, but it comes at a cost. I am often sick, weak, tired, in pain, or all of these things. I suck as a homemaker. My husband deserves better. It’s a lonely existence. But I suck it up. Because NOBODY GIVES A SHIT. 

 There is life outside of Facebook. YES! It’s true! I deactivated my account days ago and I have survived and am actually thriving. I’ve gotten tons of reading done, started writing again, began learning piano, exercising,  and I feel so much calmer. I didn’t realize how agitated I had become. Facebook had become a sordid addiction for me, like gambling and I had to cut it off cold turkey. So I did, and apparently Facebook is rolling merrily along without me! AND I DON’T GIVE A SHIT!

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Let’s Go Crazy!

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life. It means Forever, and that’s a mighty long time, but I’m here to tell U…there’s something else….The Afterworld. A world of never-ending happiness.U can always see the Sun, day or night. So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills. U know the one. Dr. Everything’ll be alright. Instead of asking how much of your time is left, ask how much of your mind . Because it looks like, things are much harder than in the Afterworld. This life, you’re on your own.”   Prince

Words of wisdom from the musical genius we lost too soon this year. Some of his music is pure sex but a lot of it is very spiritual and it speaks to me on a very deep level. U are missed, your Purple Highness. Even though I hated his use of “U” for You and other shortcuts. I forgave him. Because he was PRINCE!!!💜💜💜💜💜 Anyway, maybe he had the right idea. Sometimes you gotta go a little nuts in this life.Not psycho killer rampage nuts , but just a little crazy. Because this WORLD is crazy. Look around you. Look at this Presidential election we’re about to have. Everyone is on edge. Find a way to let off some steam before you completely blow your top. Embrace your own craziness. Learn to love it. It’s part of you.If you’re freaking out and don’t know what else to do, TURN THE MUSIC UP LOUD AND SING ALONG. And dance if you feel like it. Driving and singing along is especially good therapy. Whatever music does it for you. Your personal favorite artist…mine is John Mayer. Classic rock, 80s, 90s, country, hip-hop,Kenny G. Ok, maybe not Kenny G. Save him for your more intimate moments. Get your jam on!!! Caution: playing your favorite music loudly in your vehicle may cause you to drive faster and more aggressively and will not be accepted as an excuse by local law enforcement if you are pulled over. Trust me. I’ve tried. (“Excuse me, ma’am, you say the MUSIC made you drive faster? Uh-huh. Why don’t you go ahead and step out of the car for me, please, ma’am?”)  So keep your foot off the gas. But sing along! Do a little dance in your seat! Serenade people at stoplights! Live it up! If you’re, home, crank it up and put on a show for the neighbors, especially you apartment-dwellers like me with noisy neighbors. Give as good as you’ve been getting. Just make sure the music isn’t loud enough for the cops to hear outside in case they call and you’re home free. What can they do about it? NOTHING!! I like to put on headphones and sing along so all they get is my voice which you know sounds EVEN BETTER when I can’t hear myself!!! Hahahahaha!!! Crazy? You betcha! Let yourself go a little crazy and see if you don’t start to feel better. Lighten up, loosen up, let go and CHILL. OUT.  Tell yourself, none of this will matter in a hundred years. Because it won’t.Tell yourself, all of this is temporary. Because it is. Good or bad, it will all change. The only thing you have control over is YOU and how you react. There will be serious times that call for serious decisions. Until then, LET’S GO CRAZY!

 

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