Kicking Things Up A Notch

Since moving to Massachusetts, I have made a whole new set of friends who have become my adopted family. My best friend is someone who is the sister I never had growing up. When we get together we always have a good time, whether we go to lunch on a Sunday, or decide to go shopping, there is nothing boring with the two of us around. When she really wants to have fun, she will say to me “Let’s kick this up a notch.”

I have now started calling her Emeril in response. “BAM!”

It has been a long time since I had a best friend. Sure, I had close friends and all of that, but I had no one that I knew would love me even when I was not that lovable. We have been through a lot together as friends. She has seen me at my worst and I have seen her at her worst. Over the past two years we have become each other’s biggest cheerleader. Every one of us needs that one person who doesn’t let us lie to ourselves. About a year ago, I was so stuck on stupid that she finally said to me some things I did not want to hear.

I needed to hear them. That is what real friends do. They tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear.

Hearing that I was being used hurt, but it was the truth. I respected her for not letting me go wandering around thinking this person loved me. It was the reality check we all sometimes need. When I was done being hurt, she was there to help me. That is what means the most to me. Now it is a year later and our lives have changed dramatically for the better. She has a job she loves, a new home with her man and the respect of her family. I have met someone that I love and who loves me back. We have moved in together and are creating a wonderful life. We have all that we need, and even a few things that we want.

One of the nicest things is that the four of us spend time together at least once a week. With the four of us, we always have a great time. I go out every Sunday with my sister.

Then we kick things up a notch.

Life With Gracie

A few months ago, I moved into an apartment with my boyfriend. We both wanted a kitten, and began posting on Facebook that we were in search of one. A few weeks later, my boyfriend received a message from a friend of his that she had a kitten that needed a good home. She had too many cats already, and could not keep her.

We saw her picture and we were both smitten. She was adorable. It was a simple message back “Yes we want her.”

The kitten was delivered to us the next morning. We named her Gracie the moment we saw her. She is the best housewarming gift we could have ever wished for. She has taught us so much about unconditional love. Gracie is exuberant. She loves to chase toys, play, and to nap in our laps while she purrs.

Gracie is more than just a pet. She is part of our family.

I have heard people say their pets were family members. I never understood that sentiment until now. Gracie is a huge part of both of our lives.

My boyfriend has said that Gracie taught him that a pet can be loved as much as a person. What Gracie has taught me is acceptance. When we first got Gracie, I was sick with bronchitis and would have awful coughing fits. One night, I was unable to stop coughing. Gracie laid down on my chest and began to purr. My coughing ceased in less than a minute.

Gracie has reminded me what it is to be a mother. She has reminded me to be not just a lover, but a teacher. Showing her right from wrong is not a bad thing. I do not spray her with water or tell her “NO!” for no reason. We all need boundaries and rules, even our pets.

As a young girl, I always wanted a kitty. Now we have one and she has made our life together even more rewarding.

Gracie has truly been a gift. We will love her for many years to come. Although, I could do without being awakened each day at 5:30 in the morning to feed her.

Being Me No Longer Sucks

Have you ever seen a person break down only to judge them as a train wreck? Have you ever been that train wreck yourself, yet think you should be able to have emotional outbursts whenever and wherever you happen to be at the time? We are all human, some of us are great at this thing called life, we are the solid rocks others look to and lean on when life gets tough.

So what happens when the tough ones break down? Who or what do they turn to when no one is around?

This is where things get tricky for me. For years, I have been self-reliant. I have had to take care of myself through good times and bad. I lived through highly abusive relationships and had precious few people to turn to. I was that train wreck. I was the one whose life was being judged harshly by others. I had no control over my situation at that time and things got progressively worse.

Things improved in my life once I cut all ties with toxic people. I no longer invite bullshit into my life. When I did that simple action, my entire life changed. The big success for me now is that a bad mood is no longer a day killer like it once was. It has taken a long time to accept that I have limitations on what I can handle. Nowadays, when things start to overwhelm me, I can stop the mood before it gets out of control.

When I first got in the accident, my emotions were all over the map. Today I can still have anger, depression and self-pity. The good news is they leave as fast as they arrive if I refuse to feed into them. This was my blind spot. I had this unreasonable expectation that I would be fine after suffering a skull fracture – and I wasn’t much to my dismay.

The truth is I am getting better all the time. I just don’t always notice it. Having depression and PTSD is no picnic. I do the best I can do with these conditions. I try to stay out of stressful situations. I know what I can handle and what I can’t. I also know that bad days are part of the package and I do my best not to beat myself up when they come.

I have had to learn new coping skills like taking time out, having a coffee, writing or listening to music. The biggest favor I have done for myself is realize I will never be perfect.

I am perfectly me and that is okay. Being me no longer sucks.

A Never Ending Coughing Fit

I had to go to the emergency room yesterday. It seems I have acute bronchitis. It took two hours to be seen by a doctor and another hour just to get a prescription for antibiotics. This annoyed the fuck out of me. I hate waiting. I also am no fan of being sick. Actually, I don’t know anyone who likes getting sick except for hypochondriacs who love the attention.

Me? I am perfectly happy to get my seven or eight hours of sleep, do some housework, play with the kitten and wait for my sweetie to come home from work.

I hate coughing worst of all. It wakes me up from perfectly nice dreams of winning the lottery or of my man asking for my hand in marriage. Ah. Such is life. Dreams can come true of course, this would mean I have to start purchasing lottery tickets. You gotta be in it to win it right? So they say.

Who are they anyway? And, where does the money the lottery get go? Certainly not to education. Take a look at our public school system and see if you think money is going there. I bet you it is lining some politicians pocket. That is what I think.

Of course, what do I know? I am just a blogger. A blogger on excess caffeine and antibiotics. This is the result of what is rolling around in my head.

Speaking of rolling, I love the Rolling Stones. My favorites by them are “Gimme Shelter” “Wild Horses” and “Tumbling Dice.” I am having one of those days where I need some loud music. Maybe that will take away my sudden urge to play the lottery.

Or not.

Have you ever had one of those days where you wished all your problems could be solved with something like winning the lottery?

That is what is in my head today. What about you?

When Is It Going To Stop?

Last week, Danny Brown did a blog post about the rape and murder of two teenage girls in India. If you have not read it you are doing yourself a disservice.

Let me make one point clear – NO! always has been and always will be a complete sentence.

When is this era of entitlement going to stop? How many more girls have to be raped and or killed for others to see that this behavior is wrong on every level?

The sad news is this – it will probably never stop. The pervasive mindset in this world is that everything is for the taking including people. How do families deal with daughters being treated as nothing more than chattel? How do we teach girls to respect themselves when we know full well that the mentality among teenage boys is one of competition to bed the most girls through any means necessary? What can parents do in this day and age to ensure that their sons and daughters grow up to care about themselves and others?

The problem does not necessarily lie solely with the parents. In many gang rape cases, peer pressure is the main culprit. This mentality if often reflected in team sports. In the United States, football players basically get the chance to do what they want with little to no consequence. The old adage “Boys will be boys” needs to end. It begs the question – what would these parents of these boys think if they had a daughter that was targeted? What then? Would they just shrug off the behavior or would they be looking for justice?

I am going to guess that they would be looking for justice like any other parent would.

Rape is wrong period. It does not matter if the incident occurs in a third world country, or in the baseball dugout at the local high school. Once the word “No.” is uttered it goes from being “just having fun” to rape plain and simple.

There are many countries where men are more valued than women. Why is this? Women have plenty to offer besides being sexual objects. The problem is that in many cultures, this is not the case. Think about it. In China, a male birth is celebrated, while a female may be killed simply for being born the wrong sex. This is the kind of thinking that keeps perpetuating rape cases. The idea is that females are disposable and that no one will fight for them anyway.

The time has come to fight.

The biggest problem with high school is not sex ed. It is humanization. Everywhere you look, there are sexual images especially of women. Advertising has become more risque over the years, along with music videos and songs about “hoes” and about getting what you want. This is where the problem begins. This is not just a US problem it is worldwide. When will we start being accountable for monitoring what our kids are listening to and who they are hanging out with? When will team sports stop embracing antiquated attitudes?

It may never end sadly. The onus is on us to teach our children to respect their bodies as much as they respect others.

In my early twenties, I was raped by my best friend’s husband. I was in their house sleeping on the couch fully dressed. My friend’s husband had wanted to have sex with me apparently for years and knew I would never consent, so instead he came up with a plan to strike when I would be too inebriated to stop him. This is the essence of being entitled. This individual told me quite simply he would beat me if I resisted him and that if I dared to tell his wife she would not believe it.

He was right about that. He told her I seduced him. That I wanted this and what was he to do? Umm…how about have some self control perhaps?

When is it going to stop?

Probably never sadly.

Everything Changed

There was a time in my life where I was full of bitterness. I nearly died in an accident and had no idea why things had to change so much. What had I done to deserve such a rotten fate? Would I always be jumping at shadows? Would my head ever stop pounding, and what was I going to do now? I was just as afraid of living as I was of dying. I had a few friends who helped me through the worst of this, but I still could not make sense of it all. I had no faith in God, I had precious little hope of ever improving.

Day by day I saw that nothing was the same, everything changed.

They say “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” One of my best friends who I consider my sister, kept talking to me about God and about faith. At that time I thought it was all nonsense. In my mind there was no God. If God existed, why was he making me suffer so much? We spent many hours talking, laughing and her love kept me going. It took almost a year for me to come to the realization that God spared me from an early death. Learning that simple fact changed everything again.

I am not the same person I was before all of this happened. Yes, I do have limitations, we all do. The biggest change in me is that I see now that with faith all things are possible. I used to be of the belief that life was random. I had been deceived into thinking that I was in charge. Now, that does not mean I am powerless. I have control over how I choose to respond to things. I also have a responsibility to take care of my health and to realize when I am taking on too much. These are things I do have control over.

Six months ago, I began to question why things were the way they were. At that time, the teacher appeared. We began to talk about God. He answered my questions in a non-preachy way. I began to think about things in a new way. Everything changed yet again. Now I was truly opening my mind up to the possibility that I had been wrong. What if there truly was a God?

I started to do something new, I began to pray.

In short order, life began to fall into place. Some may call it a coincidence. I do not. Everything changed for the better once I stopped doing things my way and tried something new. Will there be challenges along the way? Of course there will. No one has a perfect life. What I do know is this, since letting go of the old me life has improved. This is a fact, not wishful thinking.

Everything changed for the better and I could not be happier.

Mending a Nearly Broken Life

Life as I knew it blew up a few years ago. I became homeless and hopeless. It seemed to me things could not get any worse but they did. I got hit by a car crossing the street and suffered a fractured skull. At that time, I was living in a homeless shelter. The pain was excruciating. Many days I wanted to quit and just stay in bed. That was not the answer. Instead, I went to doctors of all kinds from neurological surgeons to ear nose and throat specialists to speech pathologists and many more.

I would not allow my situation to define me.

It took eight weeks to get out of the neck brace I was in. I did every single thing the doctors told me to do. Now I had a new problem to add to being homeless. I could not work. I am still not able to work since my attention span is still not where it should be. I wondered for a long time what the purpose of all of this was for. We all have a purpose in this life and I had no idea what mine was. There were many nights of crying myself to sleep feeling lost and alone. I felt like a freak.

Later on that spring, I met someone who seemed to be really nice. He was not. All I can say is I would have been better off alone. It became a toxic situation full of verbal abuse hovering a hair away from becoming physical abuse. Many patterns repeat themselves until we break the chain.

All I wanted was to have a normal life again.

I moved out of the shelter with this person and wound up back at the same place a month or so later. I felt like a huge failure. It seemed that all of my hopes and dreams would never come to pass. I had so many crying jags at this point. I had no idea how life would work out. During all of this I had been applying for financial assistance and going to all of my appointments. At this time I had physical therapy twice a week, speech pathology twice a week, other doctor appointments and going to my lawyer to get this other paperwork done. At one point my schedule was so hectic, I did not have even one day where I did not have someplace to be.

At this time, I finally was starting to feel better. The injuries I have sustained will take years to heal, if they ever do fully. During this time, I began to make noise that I wanted out of where I was staying. Help was coming in all kinds of forms at this time, from social workers to more specialists to even a better social life.

While all of this was going on, I began to date again. This was a major event because I had so little trust left. This relationship started slowly, then blossomed like a flower in springtime. We got closer to each other day by day. I learned things from him such as having faith in things unseen. Little by little, I began to believe that something or someone must be out there.

Around this time, I got a huge break. I was declared disabled. I began to have some money and began the process of saving for an apartment. It also came to mind to talk to the man I was with about moving in together. This was the biggest leap of faith I had taken in ages. At one point in my life, I did whatever people told me to do. This is no longer the case.

The time had come for me to think for myself.

Words cannot adequately express the joy I felt when I signed that lease with my boyfriend. We have done all of this together. Climbing out of one of the darkest places in my life has been hard but not impossible. Mending my nearly broken life has taken patience, hard work and faith. This work is far from over. There is still work to be done. I look forward to the next chapter in my life.

If you are in a bad situation, take it from me, there is a way out. Sometimes it takes a long time, but the results are worth the effort.