The 5,000 Pound Gorilla

Fear has governed my life with an iron fist for as long as I can recall. Growing up, I had a horrible fear of abandonment, which came from finding out I was adopted at five days old. Fear gave way to anger and angst in my teen years. It was far easier to have an attitude and keep people away than be honest and tell anyone how badly I was hurting.

Hurt was a feeling that got turned into anger. My rage knew no limits. I was a ticking time bomb in those days.

I still have issues with fear and anger, sometimes it can be over something insignificant. Many times fear starts the ball rolling, then anger steps in. Fear is a normal part of life, and there are situations that would make almost anyone scared. Remembering I am not the only one to feel this way can lessen my load.

This may seem strange, but for years I did not know who I would become if I walked away from fear and anger. What would be left of me?

How could I stand up for myself if I wasn’t feeling so defensive? How could I make sure injustices were being put right?

Why do I think all of this is my problem to solve?

Oh boy, that is the 5,000 pound gorilla in the room. Somewhere along the line it seems, I decided I needed to be the one to right all of the wrongs and take all the evil doers to task. This complex drives me crazy. Before my brain can kick in, I am busy telling someone off who richly deserves it. Maybe they do need to be told they are an ass. It is not my job to be the one to tell them all of the time. I can leave others to deal with their own problems without my assistance.

When I let go of outcomes, life goes better. That is a fact.

Telling my fear and anger to take a hike is not so easy. I reach for them the way Linus often had his security blanket. Fact is, no one wants to be around a person who is always upset about something. We all have issues. It is time for the 5,000 pound gorilla to go back where he came from. I don’t have to be so afraid any longer. The days of my past are gone. I no longer reside in the past.

Do you have a 5,000 pound gorilla you need to let go of?

Beer Drinkers, Hell Raisers, and Bloggers

Ideas can hit me out of nowhere. The idea for this post came while I was at what could be described as the most boring wedding on Earth. These people were neither beer drinkers or hell raisers. They were lazy karaoke singers. At one point, I thought I would hear Rod Serling announcing that “Nancy and her beloved boyfriend think they are at a boring wedding, but they have entered into the Twilight Zone.”

I sipped on a glass of beer, watching the odd display of people in attendance. It was then that Hemingway popped into my head with his epic advice “Write drunk, edit sober.” Now, I have never written drunk, mainly out of fear that what would come out would be gobbledygook. Writing with only one or two drinks could be beneficial if the subject is painful to write on.

All of this thinking was interrupted by the worst rendition of Beyonce’s “Halo” I had the misfortune to hear.

What does writing drunk have to do with lousy singing anyway?

On the surface not much, but look again. They both are about losing control of oneself and letting go. Sometimes the result will amaze you. Other times, the only amazing thing is how bad it can suck. Singing karaoke is fun to do drunk, but at a wedding made it feel like it was part of a Twilight Zone episode. Thank God I had beer. This was a moment when I wished I still smoked. This would be an ideal time for a cigarette.

A word to the wise, if you are going to a wedding in the near future and you see an attendee with a wireless microphone in hand, go to the bar and get yourself a shot of Jack. Tell them your buddy Nancy D. sent you.

I Can Do That With One Hand Behind My Back

We have all heard the saying “I can do that with one hand tied behind my back.”

A few weeks ago, I broke my left wrist. The worst part is that I am left handed. My right hand is becoming much stronger as a result. Finding ways to do things one handed got me thinking. I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that we don’t think much about having two arms or what tasks we do on a daily basis requires two hands.

A typical day goes like this; “Honey, I need you to help me bag my arm so I can shower.” I am in the uncomfortable spot of asking for help. I am the person who tries to do all kinds of things herself first. Pride does not allow me to ask for help even when I really need it. Since breaking my wrist, I have been given no alternative. There are certain things I am unable to do without help. Losing my left hand has taught me to rely on others, especially since I now need help with something as basic as taking a shower. I even need help squeezing out shampoo from the bottle.

My ego screams that I should be able to do all of this stuff with one hand. Failing to do so labels me a failure.

I tell that voice to go fuck itself. Having only one arm has taught me how to think outside the box to get certain tasks done. Circumstances can make us quitters, or it can make us dig in our heels and refuse to give up.

The other funny part of losing one arm is the cast itself. I have a bright pink one. Friends have been signing my cast since I got it a few weeks ago. It reminds me of a high school yearbook with all the funny hearts and cute expressions. Back in high school, I had an odd collection of friends. Nothing has changed. My group of friends is just as eclectic today as it was in those days.

Yeah, now I can do stuff with one hand behind my back. I just wish it wasn’t my left hand.

The Great Equalizer, Or Why I Like My Birthday

Another year is in the books. One thing that never changes is the march of time. The greatest equalizer is this – we all get older, we all eventually face death.

“Death is very likely the best invention of life. It is life’s change agent.” – Steve Jobs

Time marches on whether we want it to or not.

I don’t think I fear dying as much as I fear being alive, yet dead inside. I don’t want to live my life to please everyone around me since that is an impossible goal. I would much rather do what I love and follow my heart. Doing this the past few years is how I have been cheating death. Aging happens to all of us. A fate I work to avoid is getting old and brittle in my heart and mind. Writing is what I love. I will get my life story written before I die. It is a story worth telling.

If you ask me why I like my birthday, it is because I should have been dead a few years ago. Celebrating my birthday is like giving death the finger.

I love the fact that I am still happy in spite of all that I have been through. A few weeks ago, I listened again to that Stanford commencement speech. Steve Jobs talks about connecting the dots. There certainly have been times where life made no sense at all. As I look back now, I see how many situations in my life worked out for my good without me realizing it at the time.

When I first moved here, I met a person who would become one of my closest friends. We are a year and three days apart in age, so we celebrate our birthdays together. I love this idea. Not just for the celebration of our birth, but acknowledging all of our successes large and small in the past year. How we stick together through all sorts of nonsense. That is why I love my birthday.

It isn’t about gifts. It is about being around those who matter. For me, it is a day to realize how much life has changed in one year and be grateful for those changes.

No one is going to escape death, so enjoy life while it is here!

Below is the speech Steve Jobs made at Stanford University. It is well worth your time, trust me.

All About Perspective

Life is what I make it. If I want to focus on the things that are wrong, depressing, or annoying, I can’t bitch when I feel lousy. There is a simple way to solve how I am feeling and that is to flip the problem on its head. For example, I had to go to the doctor for test results that I was told could not wait.

There is nothing wrong with me other than getting older. That couldn’t wait huh?

The part of me that is negative wanted to be irritated about all of this. The part of me that tries to find good in situations thought about what a relief it is. Certain health issues may not be improving, but they are not worsening and that has to be enough.

When I get down because my bills are too high, or I want more money, I remind myself that a few short years ago, I had no place to go and no money. How ungrateful of me to sit and bitch that I want more. Moments such as these remind me to take a good look around. A few years ago I had no place to live. I was lost.

Now, I have a beautiful apartment with the man I love. People ask us “When are you guys going to get married?”

“Sometime after the engagement.”

The people either then ask us when we will get engaged, or wander off. We laugh and hug, knowing full well we are right for each other and that makes the trials of life easier to deal with.

Life is better when I am not feeding the negative side of me.

So what? I had not my best week. I had a few more doctors to see and none of the news was great. I am still alive. One of the doctors commented on what happened and was amazed at how I communicate. I consider it a gift that I do still have a way with words. I can sit in self-pity or I can get off my ass and do something.

This past week I fell and broke my wrist. Since then I am working on seeing what I can do rather than crying about what I can’t. Typing is much harder now. So is getting dressed. It could always be worse. I have to be in a cast for a few weeks. It is an inconvenience compared to what other people are up against.

I have a pretty good life. It is all about perspective.

I Don’t Fit The Mold

Thoughts circle around in my brain until I pull them out and see if they are worth keeping. Lately, the main thoughts that I have been chewing on are about perception. I can take a situation and make it worse than what it is.

A simple cancellation of plans can turn into a thought that no one likes me. Now, I know that we all sometimes get a better offer. Does it make me feel left out? Of course it does. The trouble I have is when I feel like an outcast because of it. Ah, the awkward days of high school draw near in my head.

In high school I was not popular. I was a chick in the 80’s who listened to metal and did not dress like Madonna. This meant I did not have a boyfriend. I wore jeans and my Led Zeppelin or Judas Priest t-shirts and my studded leather wristbands. The other girls wore those lacy shirts and fingerless gloves. Yeah. I did not fit in. I don’t fit the mold.

In many ways, I still don’t.

It is the same thing here on the blog. I don’t fit any real mold so to speak. I write from the heart and that can leave me wide open. I look for that kind of vulnerability in other bloggers. Those are the ones I love to read. I embrace the raw, honest, thought provoking content. I run like hell from the bloggers who do not reply to their comments or refuse to engage if someone dares question them.

Over on Danny Brown’s blog, we talked about why we subscribe to blogs. I only subscribe to four, but read two faithfully.

Why do I not read all four? Simple. They have lost touch with who they once were and to read that hollowness kills me. I remember when one of the two burst on the scene years ago, and was full of enthusiasm. I loved reading and commenting on their stuff. Then, I faded away, and stopped mattering. See, when I feel that I don’t matter I do the slow fade. Like a friendship that has gone south for no real reason, I just begin caring less and less until I no longer care at all. I find these relationships to be closely linked since you are opening up about yourself.

Another blog I flat out refuse to read is one I read on a daily basis when I first began blogging. In fact, this person played a major role in me becoming a blogger at all. Sadly, this person became a “guru” and is officially too big for his britches. I still want my white robe and guru status that I was guaranteed at that ill-fated webinar. I lost respect for this person when they came under fire and promptly closed the comment section of their blog. If we cannot disagree, what is the point?

Do you fit in? Or, do you not fit the mold?

Letting Go Hurts

Yesterday I went to one of many doctors I see to get testing results. I was saddened to find out no progress has been made in terms of my memory function. My attention span is still not showing improvement. I broke down in tears upon hearing this. I screamed that I want the old me back.

Letting go of the old me has been hard.

At first, there was so much involved in getting well that I had no choice but to accept that this is my life now. I had the mistaken notion that I would be better in a few years. Hard work, along with faithfully going to appointments, and positive thinking would cure me. Or, so I thought.

I thought wrong. I am far from cured. The sad part is that I will only get better in small areas at this point.

At least I am getting better and not worse. Missing parts of me that were once there is part of making peace with the new me. So many things that came easily are now a major struggle. I have new strategies in place. Most days they work. Other days they don’t. Such is life. Nothing is foolproof. Positive thinking is great, but it can only take you so far. The rest is up to luck. That and getting good doctors.

Is there a bright side to any of this? Of course there is.

I am still here. This is the biggest bright side of them all. Yes, it is challenging to learn new methods to do daily tasks, but I am now able to take care of most things pretty well. I have come a long way from the person who ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. Gone are the days of running across town, only to backtrack and forget what I was doing. Gone are the days of not remembering appointments. Each week, I look at the calendar first to see what I have to accomplish that week. I then plan accordingly. Once I know what I am doing, life becomes easier.

Living by a schedule is vital.

I do the same things each week. This helps me not to forget to take care of things. Life now revolves around taking care not only of myself, but other people as well. If I have a long day ahead, I plan for it by getting what I can do out of the way early. Then I have free time to take care of myself. A year or two ago, I not only forgot what needed to be done, I got overwhelmed easily trying to do it all.

So, while I have to work to let go of the “old” me, the new me is improving. I no longer have to run to win the race. I am here and getting better. What more can I ask for?