WATCH THIS SPACE!

I am crawling out the abyss of depression and I am going to be writing here again, but I have no idea when or about what. Just putting you on notice. I’m still out here, skulking about, endless conundrums on my mind, trying to nail down some clarity. During a recent panic attack in my therapist’s office, while I was crying hard and she was coaching me to breathe and think of a peaceful happy place, I protested, “I can’t, I can’t.” But I took a deep, cleansing breath and exhaled and imagined….the color turquoise… the color I have always associated with clarity, and then turquoise waters on white sandy beaches, and I began to calm down. It’s obvious, I thought, I only need to go to the Carribean. Then she told me to go to my happy place and my mind immediately switched gears and put me in a beautiful castle in the north of Britain: Hogwarts. I breathed a few deeper breaths and felt the panic recede. If reality was unbearable, there was always the world of Harry Potter and his friends Ron and Hermione. Especially, Hermione, whom I identified with strongly.  Maybe I need a vacation in the Carribean…or Hawaii…(yes, please). Maybe I need to reread the Harry Potter books. Not just watch the movies or listen to the audiobooks. ACTUALLY READ THE BOOKS. I don’t like the narrator’s voice on the audiobooks. If only Alan Rickman had read them! *sigh*

Anyway, it was clear that I had finally hit bottom and needed to find my way back up and out. I had stopped listening to the news. I didn’t care about Trump or anything that was going on. (I know, shocking!!!!). I got sick of Facebook and started purging friends in alphabetical order causing a slight panic among people who don’t even know me. I would post my “memories”, posts from other years, but I hardly looked at my friends’ posts anymore. I deactivated my Facebook and left it completely for 5 days and loved it, but it called me back. There is a love/hate relationship there. But I just stopped thinking creatively. I had abandoned all writing projects. (Simple rule of writing: Writers WRITE.) I watched the same movies over and over, listened to the same books over and over, too lazy to sit up and read from my Kindle or a REAL BOOK. I listened to the same music over and over…..Prince, mostly,(still haven’t accepted he’s gone) and John Mayer. Thankfully, Mayer introduced some new music that I have been positively giddy over. Just the change I needed. His music is always right on time.

So there I was, feeling “meh”. I changed my profile pic on Facebook to Grumpy Cat and made grumpy statements. People were amused. I was deadly serious. And then a friend posted a video that was an incredibly lame attempt at humor at the expense of anyone intelligent enough not to buy into stereotypes. It was a black man, a “gangsta” (their word, not mine) who promised to explain George Orwell’s 1984 from his point of view. So I pressed play, expecting mild humor and was overcome with a horrendous white man’s caricature of a black man, a completely, racist, stereotypical portrayal of this “gangsta” who used language I have never heard come from the mouth of any black person I have ever met, and I know a few. It was shameful. I was embarrassed for the man portraying the “gangsta”, and felt he ought to be ashamed of himself and embarrassed, too, but I supposed they paid him the right price. This video filled me with so full of negative emotion that I really thought for a few minutes I might be having a heart attack, but I recognized it as panic brought on by pure provoked anger. Racism is a trigger for me, for many reasons I won’t go into here. It should trigger anger in everyone, maybe not to my degree. I decided to get some feedback. I shared the post on my Facebook page with the explanation of how racist I found it and how angry it made me and waited for my friends to respond. One hour went by, two hours went by. No response. No likes, no comments. This made me angrier. In my anger-addled mind, I reasoned that probably a  lot of people on my friend list thought this video was funny and didn’t care that it was racist and were too afraid to say so to me. And this made me angrier. And the anger and panic built. I was talking to two different friends by text and they were both trying to talk me through it, begging me to breathe. It just MAGICALLY happened that I was on my way to a therapist appointment that very morning and was about at the boiling point when she called me into her office. So I got in there and finally let go and I told her about the email, and I suddenly realized how really unimportant it really was in the great scheme of things. Yes, racism is important, but it’s vast problem that is not going to be overcome by me throwing a tantrum over a video. And then I remembered, and I told her, “This is not what I wanted to talk to you about.” And I calmed down a little and told her what I had planned to talk to her about, which was some things my mother had said about me to a good friend of mine. Terrible, hurtful, damaging things. As my mother has been the main subject of my therapy for many years, it wasn’t too surprising. But when I looked the therapist in the eye and told her my mother said that I hadn’t turned out the way she wanted, she inhaled sharply and startled a little and for a moment I thought she might cry herself. But she didn’t. I did. HARD. I cried and cried.  I curled into myself in the chair and rocked myself crying and gasping for breath and confessing random worries and secret hurts. “I’m never going to have a baby. My cat is getting old. I can’t deal with losing her. She’s like my baby. ” And on and on, every doubt and fear and insecurity, until I was completely spent. I got my cry out, and cleaned up my face and answered the therapist’s questions. She’s fairly new. I’ve only seen her a few times so she is getting caught up on my history. I explained to her how my mother had emotionally abused me my entire life. That she loved me, but she loved me too much. She was clingy. Nobody loved me more than she did, but she couldn’t stop criticizing me. She made me dependent on her and then when I became independent she flipped the tables and became dependent on me. When my therapist asked, without a trace of irony, “So would you say she used guilt…” I just burst out laughing in her perplexed face. I laughed and slapped her on the arm and kept laughing, nearly hysterical. “Oh, sister!” I said as I wiped the tears from my eyes again. “Does she use guilt??? Yes, ma’am, she does!” And I was laughing again, and she finally laughed with me. And I thanked her. I had needed that laugh!

I told the therapist the other things my friend had reported: my mother’s derogatory comments on my weight and not working. ( I am on disability. She was on disability, too, before she retired. I guess she forgot about that.) I told her my friend said if she had known I would be so upset that she wouldn’t have told me about it, I said that I thanked her. “I felt that she gave me a gift,” I said. “Now, someone else has seen and knows and it’s not just me, it’s HER. I feel validated.”  I told her I didn’t care about the fat remarks and the other stuff, but the part about me not turning out like she wanted was too much. When my friend told me about that, something in me just broke, and I thought, “I don’t love her anymore.” Now anyone who knows me knows what a source of anguish this is for me. Because I have always loved my mother so much, and I strongly believe in God’s command to honor your mother and father. How can you honor them if you don’t love them? I told the therapist that the ones who came before her had advised me to cut her off completely. Maybe that is the healthiest thing to do psychologically. But I have to think spiritually. She is my mother. Can I really cut her off completely? I have compromised. I limit my time with her. When the phone rings and I see it’s her and I don’t feel strong enough, I don’t answer. I wait until I do feel strong and then I return her call. It takes strength and energy to endure a phone call with her. Because she talks A LOT. If I want to get my word in, I have to be determined. And if I want to disagree with something she says, I have to be ready to stand my ground. And I have to do my duty as a daughter and check to see if she is really ok and safe, which is hard to untangle from all of her physical complaints and comments about the house falling down around her. She is a hoarder. My brother and I would like to help her but she refuses to let us. I have to resign myself to just sitting and listening to her prattle on about nothing. Why? Because she’s lonely, and she’s my mother, and who else is going to do it? Yes, Ms. Therapist Lady, she does use guilt, whether she intends to or not. My dad reminds me that my mother is living the life she created, and I know that’s true. What happened between them was over 30 years ago. Yes, he left her for another woman. I’m not defending that. But she has had ample time to get herself together and create a new life, whether that involved getting remarried or not. That is her choice. It is plenty of time for her to forgive if not forget. But my mother does not believe in forgiveness, at least not for people who sin against her. She is still bitter and derisive when she speaks of my father, never caring that it hurts me because he is STILL MY FATHER. Recently, I apologized to my father for believing all her hatefulness about him over the years, that poisoned my relationship with him. It’s a little late in the game, but I think he accepts it. We have a healthy relationship now.

So this is where I am. Still a little girl trying to win her mother’s approval, almost knowing before I start that I will fail. My question for you, dear reader, is this: What do you want to read about? What do you want to hear about from me? Do you want to go with me on the journey to explore the depths of motherhood?  Both the struggle to become a mother myself and the drama of the relationship with the one that I have? My ongoing struggles with depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety? Do you want me to write about politics? The Resistance against the EVIL TRUMP and other stories of the day, or human interest stories from around the world? Focus on incidences of injustice and inhumanity and racism? Maybe a little of everything? Or something yet unnamed? For the first time, I am blatantly asking for a response to a blog. PLEASE COMMENT HERE OR EMAIL ME AT heathersavann@gmail.com   Tell me what you want to read. What do you want to see here? What do you want from me??? I’m gonna try to give it to you, you wankers!!!!! LOVE AND PEACE TO YOU ALL!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ 

Advertisements

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!

2017: To Blog Or Not To Blog?

WELL. Here I am, finally, some two months or so since my last blog entry. For the handful of you who actually follow me, I sincerely apologize. To say I hit a “rough patch” would be putting it mildly. Sometime in early November, I sort of had a “come apart”. The fact that my hero, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by some 3 million votes but lost the election to TRUMP is not a coincidence. Combine that with the anxiety I felt trying to write a novel in  30 days for the National Novel Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo) and I just sort of fell to pieces. No novel was forthcoming. No writing of any kind was forthcoming, not even in my personal journals. I just froze up. I was dead inside. All because of an election, you say? Well, yeah, kinda. It was the most important election of my lifetime, I believe, and it was a disaster. In 10 days, a lying, racist, sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic, narcissistic , moronic  blowhard will be sworn in as President, despite proof of Russian hacking in the election, despite, Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote (because even though we complain about the electoral college every election year, we never do anything about it!). 2016 was a rough year. It had it’s bright moments. We should all count our blessings, of course, But it was a long, arduous election cycle, and the celebrity death count was unprecedented. People die all the time, of course, famous and not, but there seemed to be an unusual amount of big names on the In Memoriam lists for 2016. I won’t run through them all, but the most traumatic for me were Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Prince, Harper Lee, and Carrie Fisher, though I admired many of the others.

Alan Rickman: a gentleman in real life and often onscreen, though he will probably be remembered for his starring role as the cold, brooding Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies. That gorgeous bass voice will forever haunt me. I have a recording of Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native narrated by him, and I treasure it and listen to it when I have trouble sleeping.

Glenn Frey, founding member of the Eagles, one of the all-time greatest rock bands. Lead singer of so many classics of my youth, like “Take it Easy”, “Heartbreak Tonight” and so many others. I regret I never saw the band perform live.

PRINCE….What can one even say about this genius? He was just the best. He wrote his own music, his own lyrics. He could play every instrument. People tried to compare him with Michael Jackson. I’m sorry, but NO. Just NO. His was my coming-of-age music. I had put him away for awhile but since he died I’ve been listening to him every day. I just can’t say goodbye.

Harper Lee. Her death wasn’t such a shock. She lived a good long life. She wrote one of my favorite books, one of the greatest books in all of literature, To Kill a Mockingbird. It was adapted into a wonderful film and she rested on those laurels for many years and no one thought she would ever write another book. But about a year before she died, a second book was released, possibly against her wishes. Her state of mind was unknown. I read Go Set a Watchman and wish I hadn’t. It had some of the same characters as her first book but they were too different. I don’t believe she really wanted that book published. I believe someone took advantage of her to make money. A sad situation. But that can never erase the wonderful legacy of To Kill a Mockingbird.

And dear Carrie Fisher. I identified with her so much. She was open about her struggles with bipolar disorder and addiction. It’s easy for me to talk about being bipolar because I’m not trying to maintain a career. But she was in Hollywood, an actor and also a writer. She was very brave. And had such a wicked sense of humor. She and her mother were so close, it reminded me of my relationship with my mother. When her mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, died within a few days of Carrie, I thought, “She just couldn’t make it without Carrie, ” and I could imagine my mother doing the same. Or me, if my mother died. So close we don’t know where each of us begins and the other ends.

So this is what all has been on my mind during the time I haven’t been writing. Death and disaster. I want to be optimistic for 2017, but it’s hard. The question I have now is: To blog or not to blog? If so, why? What is my purpose for keeping this blog going? I don’t have a huge readership. I can barely get my friends and family interested, and often not even them. I think I started just to be writing SOMETHING. Well, now I am writing something. I have a memoir project I’m working on and I’m outlining a novel, both potentially paying projects. No one is going to pay me to write this blog. This is sheer vanity work. This is just  getting my name out there (I guess. Is it really?). It’s a place for me to blow off steam. That was especially useful during the election year. It’s my place to share my opinion. Bur really,  who cares about my opinion? Not that many people, really. So I don’t know how much time I will be spending here, honestly. I’m committed to resisting the Trump regime so I may write about that. But I mostly intend to work on other writing projects, so if I’m in here, that means I’m procrastinating. I thought this would be a good forum to talk about bipolar disorder and maybe help others who suffer mental illness but I’m not convinced I’ve done any good. I think I may have just spilled my deep, dark secrets in vain and now everyone knows I’m crazy and thinks I’m a narcissist who can’t stop talking about herself.

Maybe I’m just in a mood. I don’t know. I had a medication increase recently and it should start helping soon, I hope. The fact that I’m even at my desk, on the computer, typing a blog is an improvement. Maybe I’ll come around and think of some brilliant new blog topics to dazzle you all with. Who knows.

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. 😉

 

Aging Gracelessly

Facebook post from yesterday: 

Well, I’ve had a lovely birthday….kind of blown away by all the birthday wishes here on Facebook. Had a delicious breakfast from Cracker Barrel brought to me by my sweet husband, Steve, Then we went to the movies for the first time since our first date and saw Bad Moms (totally raunchy but hilarious….I needed a good laugh!) and now we’re winding down the day with some chocolate birthday cake from Publix. Big piece of cake, tall glass of ice cold milk. It doesn’t get any better than that. By the way, this is an important birthday for me. This year I start counting backwards. I have some lost time to make up for from the last several years. So, without giving my exact age, I can tell you by the time I turn 50, I will be turning 40…again. 🙂 It’s like…magic….

Yes, I decided “growing old gracefully” is for the birds. I plan to be dragged into old age kicking and screaming. So as of yesterday, I am growing younger by the day, until…until I change my mind and decide it’s time to be old. I’m simply not ready yet. I don’t feel XX years old and therefore I am not going to be. Over the last several years, I have suffered a major breakdown and lost a job that was precious to me and spent the better part of a few years almost entirely in bed. So I feel I have to make up for lost time. Some tell me that’s impossible or unnecessary. “You’re only as old as you feel”. Fine. I find that I do not feel as old as my driver’s license claims I am, so I refuse to be it. Looking in the mirror, I find that I am no longer passing for a twentysomething,  but my true age is still hazy. At least one friend my age has sworn not to tell if I don’t, so that’s something. It’s no big thing. I’m not going to cringe and cry if someone finds me out. The truth is, I never thought I would live this long, suffering from depression and being often suicidaI. It’s kind of a miracle really, to find myself here….at my age…whatever it may be.

I know I can’t avoid aging. Every single day there’s another reminder of that. But I can fight it for a while. I don’t have to give in so easily. I don’t have to do like some people and wake up one day and decide to be old and just give up. And if I live to be 102, I don’t ever plan to GROW UP. I plan to be childlike until my dying day. As innocent as possible in this screwed up world, pure and simple. Not childISH. That’s a different thing. Not immature and bratty. Despite my leaning toward realist/pessimist views I want to remain open to things that are new and different and good and positive. Peace and love and kindness and all that hippie stuff. To quote my favorite actor, the late Alan Rickman, “When I am 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I will still be reading  Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, ‘After all this time?’ and I will say ‘Always.'” Yes, I will be reading Harry Potter and other children’s books the rest of my life. And coloring in coloring books, and playing with animals, and children when I get a chance. Anything to “rage against the dying of the light”. I will not “go gentle into that good night.”

And I challenge the older people in my life not to give in so easily, no matter what the calendar says, no matter what the doctor says. What does your heart say? Do you still have the heart of a young man in a wizened body? A mind full of wisdom, even though you can’t remember where you left your phone? You still have lots of living to do, lots to offer the younger ones. Hang on, as long as you can. You are so loved, and your life matters.

 

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 19141953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

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.