Fringe

First off… There will be no pity.

This is simply me, telling about something I’ve figured out about myself. I don’t want any sad looks, or “sympathetic statements”.

It is what it is, and that’s what it is.

To start, I started listening to a new type of music, for me, about 3 months ago. K-pop.

I know, odd choice for a 48-yr. old woman, raised on hard rock & heavy metal, right?

Anyway… I’d been watching videos on You-Tube, and found this song called “Pop Stars” by K/DA, created for the game League of Legends. If you haven’t heard of it, which you probably haven’t, it’s an animated video, and it’s amazing.

I loved it instantly.

I started looking for more K-pop (Korean Pop) to listen/watch, which led me to Blackpink, a girl group, who are also kickass.

And they led me to…

BTS.

Yes, BTS.

A boy group, comprised of 7 members, who – yes, again, sing mostly in Korean.

BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan – which means “Bulletproof Boyscouts” in Korean)

I don’t even care.

I fell into the gravity well that surrounds this group. Wholeheartedly.

Why?

Because these boys are a family, even though they aren’t blood.

And they treat their fans like family.

And the fans, known as ARMY (Adorable Representatives MC for Youth) treat each OTHER and BTS like family.

At least, the ones that I’ve met so far, which have been quite a few, have all been respectful, welcoming, kind, and warm.

Which has been really, really nice to experience, for a change.

You see…

I live my life on the fringes of everyone else’s lives, anymore. Always on the outside, looking in.

And, I understand.

I always kind of hung back, growing up, too. I was always “someone’s friend”, or someone’s daughter, sister, cousin, girlfriend, or whatever. I’d walk into a group, slightly behind and to the side of whomever I came in with…I never walked in somewhere on my own. I needed to belong with someone else.

And then, I grew up & became “someone’s mom”, and then “someone’s wife”. Later dropping the “wife” part.

And now…

My children have their own lives. They must go live them, and NOT be immediately tied to me. This is a good thing. They have their wings, they have to fly. This is life.

My parents and I are not immediately tied together, either. This is a good thing. I’m not super dependent on them for things, and they aren’t at a stage in their lives where they need me to step in, either. I’m glad they are still young enough, vital, strong, independent, people who don’t need a caregiver. There may come a day when that happens, but that day is not now.

And, I don’t have a significant other. This is obvious. No need to rehash this.

My best friend, my Beloved Nephew, lives in Georgia, while I live in North Dakota.

He has his family there, his dad, brother, extended relatives, etc. Yes, he is still my best friend, but we are no longer enmeshed in each other’s daily lives like we once were, due to geography.

I’m on the fringes of all of these relationships.

Hanging by the threads of phone calls, text messages, short weekend visits maybe once or twice a year.

And, I can’t deny that it hurts, sometimes, dangling from those delicate strings.

Hmm..so, what, you say, does BTS and the ARMY have to do with any of this?

Well…

I figured out WHY I fell so eagerly and completely into their orbit.

Because with them, I don’t have to be fringe.

I’m just another member of the extended family.

They let me right in and gave me a hug and told me to sit down and get comfortable.

And it felt good.

I’ve missed that feeling.

I haven’t had that in a long time.

And, I think that’s the saddest thing of all.

That it took strangers to make me feel better.

(Please don’t feel bad Beloved Nephew! This is me, not you!)

This is just where I am, where I’ve been…for months, now.

On the fringes.

Of everything.

Hanging.

But the music helps.

And so do the boys, just by being who they are. The message they send out has to be listened to carefully in order to really be heard.

It’s difficult to explain, I learned it in small steps, as I watched many, many videos. Not just the music videos, but other ones, too, about the guys, ones that they put out themselves, and ones that fans put out about them.

The fans are super loyal. No joke.

And yes, I’m one of them now, all kidding aside. I don’t care what anyone says.

I really don’t.

Because I purple BTS. 💜

And if you want to know what that means??

Google it. I dare you.

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Have You Tried The Bread?

I made some cinnamon streusel bread today, needing a little pick-me-up after the last few days of feeling like trash, between being sick and being in a depression.

I actually got a couple of household chores done today, as well, surprisingly, which means my energy is starting to come back, so this is a good thing.

I’ve kind of bottomed out now, though, which is not a shock. I know I need more rest to get well, I just hate this worn-out feeling. I really do.

Anyway, tonight, as I was getting ready to put the loaf of bread in a big ziploc… I suddenly heard in my head –

“Have you tried the bread? It’s good bread…”

In a voice I haven’t heard in years.

Ahhh, the voice of Ren. That infamous Asthma-hound chihuahua.

But, it was his voice as interpreted by one of my beloved Chosen Family. A “little brother” from my past, who loved Ren and Stimpy as much as I did.

And a pang went through my heart.

Because I don’t get to hear his voice anymore. He died a few years ago, taken by an inoperable cancerous brain tumor. He was smart, funny, fiercely protective of those he loved, and he was my friend, Shane.

And I fucking miss him.

And yes, Shane, I tried the bread.

It is good bread, dammit.

No Breath, but Speak.

I’ve been sick for days, now, and finally, after going to the convenience-care clinic yesterday, I was diagnosed with a bad dose of both bronchitis and sinus infection. So bad, in fact, the doc wouldn’t let me leave her office without making me have a nebulizer treatment, & giving me a scrip for both an antibiotic and prednisone (a steroid, to keep the bronchitis from becoming pneumonia).

I’ve taken steroids before, and…we don’t get along really well, so we’ll see how this goes. I might end up looking like a blowfish.

Anyway, I have no – and I mean – ZERO – physical strength right now. It’s a bit better than yesterday, shit…going to see the doc, then getting prescriptions? Man…I was wiped, and slept most of the rest of the day. I woke up long enough to eat something, so I could take the drugs I needed to, and called it a day.

It doesn’t help that my depression has been riding me hard for the last week or 2. I hide it, for the most part, because people just don’t want to deal with it, or me when they see it, but it’s always there, and I have to live with it. It doesn’t just wander off after a joke or 2. It’s not that easy.

I alternate today between the fires of hell and Antarctic winter. Take a deep breath, and I’m wracked with deep, hacking coughs, I remind myself of my Grandma…it’s a little frightening, and sad. I’m becoming her. She was plagued by chronic bronchitis. I don’t want to remember all the crap she had to go through. Just – not today. I’m tired, and not dealing well.

So, the only thing I have energy for, is pretty much this. I can type a little, or read for a while, until my body’s battery runs out, & I need a nap again.

I know, bitching doesn’t make it better.

But it makes me feel better to get it off my chest.

And if you don’t want to read it, don’t. *shrug*

Well, the battery has about bottomed out, & it’s time for more drugs again.

*sigh* maybe I just need to move somewhere where the air doesn’t hurt my face… Then bronchitis & pneumonia wouldn’t be such an issue.

Sometimes Weekend Insomnia isn’t my fault

I have insomnia a lot, mostly in the fact that – yeah I have trouble falling asleep, so I’m up late, but I also wake up 2, 3, or sometimes 4 times a night.

Not for long, just long enough to roll over, look at my clock, realize it’s hours before I should be getting up, & go back to sleep – but still, it breaks up my nights enough so that I normally only get around 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night on the regular.

And, weekends are usually worse.

Because I’m busy, and have shit to do.

Things I want to get done.

Things I want to enjoy.

Things I can’t seem to get accomplished during the week, like laundry (my dryer takes foreeeeever), and housecleaning, & grocery shopping & things like that.

Weekends mean all-nighters, a lot.

With a crash nap the next day, sometimes.

Yeah…*sigh* I know. Not healthy.

But, whatever.

I live alone. Who’s here to care?

Anyway, this weekend, it wasn’t really my fault that I ended up staying up late, and extended it out into an all-niter.

It started with OnlySon.

He changed his “visiting day” to Saturdays, so that we can actually see and interact with each other, talk a little, maybe, before he goes back to his dad’s. It was great, we went grocery shopping, which we both hate, so we riff off each other, & make fun of everything the whole time. When we came back, we talked gaming for a while, which we both enjoy, & made chocolate-covered potato chips together. (I’m using them for gift-giving this year, & he’s not much of a sweets eater, so it was just the making, not the snacking)

We had hours actually together, which we don’t really get, and it was – – great. It was just, really, super nice to have my son back for a while.

Not long after he left, I got a phone call from YoungerDaughter, she was on her way home from a friend’s house after some holiday activities, & wanted me to be her late-night phone buddy while she drove a very lonely, long stretch of road.

So we talked for a couple of hours as she drove home, from the town where she was, to the city she lives in a couple hours away.

By this time, it was already after midnight, and I’d hit my second wind and was good to go for a few more rounds.

And…Just as she was pulling into her driveway…my Beloved Nephew calls & my call waiting beeps!

No rest for the wicked, right?

I’m absolutely NOT going to turn down a phone call from Beloved Nephew, and the daughter is now safely home, so I hang up with her & call him back.

….

By the time I get off the phone with Beloved Nephew, it’s about 3:30 am.

Why the hell would I sleep now? Sun’s going to be up in a couple hours, & I was in the middle of a pretty good book on my Kindle.

ANYWHO… I started receiving texts from my highschool best friend about 9:30, so she & I chatted through text for a bit. She loves over-tired, insomniac me, says I’m hilarious.

Then, yes, I crash-napped for a bit.

Fell asleep around 11:30, woke up around 3:30, & here I am.

Oh, I’ll sleep tonight, even with the nap, never fear. It’ll be the same, broken, woken sleep…

But, sometimes?

Honestly, the insomnia really isn’t my fault.

But I love them.

And I wouldn’t change a damned thing.

Call me anytime, fam. You know I’m here.

Not the Fear of, but Missing Out

So, ElderDaughter got married yesterday.

And she’s due to give birth to my third grandchild, who is purported to be a girl, next week.

And she is in Washington state.

And I am in North Dakota.

And I can’t get there.

And I make jokes, I talk about how ED and her new hubby are now officially “Moose and Squirrel”, because that’s what I call them.

He’s a big dude, and yes, she’s a little squirrelly.

But, in reality…

The jokes are just a cover.

They’re to get me through the day, so I can get home without losing my shit.

……

It’s not okay today.

I’m not okay today.

Time Travel happens when you’re not looking, so wear sensible shoes

I lost my damned wifi password today.

And, of course, I never bothered to write it down for myself, because it was stored in my phone, so why bother, it was right there.

I wrote it down once for OnlySon, but, like all good tragedies, his room was struck by a cyclone before I could get to the Post-it note, and he’s not here to find the grumble-fucking thing for me.

ANY WHO…..

During my rip-tear-toss of a search around the house, I decided to try my rusty, trusty… (Drumroll please ****)

ADDRESS BOOK!!

YES, this is a thousand years old, the binding is cracked & in desperate need of some form of bonding agent, but!

It’s also a vehicle of time travel.

Honestly, I think I picked this book up at Ben Franklin in the little town I used to hang out in, my senior year of high school… It. Is. That. Old.

My Mom always told me to write addresses into these books in pencil. (wicked, morbid woman).

Because you know what pencil means…right??

TEMPORARY.

It makes my heart hurt & my brain ache, just thinking about all the names my mom would’ve had me erase from this book if I’d kept following her stricture.

But…I’m an ink-pen kinda girl.

Yeah, some of the names in my address book are written in pencil, but I’ve still never erased One.Damn.Name.

Not. One.

Ohhhh, I’ve scribbled out a few, hooo boy, yah I have.

But erased?

Nope.

My Grandma’s name, last home address and phone number are still written in this book, and she’s been gone a couple of years now.

My friend, Shane, he’s still in the book…and he passed away quite a few years ago from a cancerous brain tumor.

A great aunt & uncle, both passed, many years ago… Still in the book.

Friends I haven’t talked to in years, but if I saw them on the street tomorrow, I’d hug the crap out of them?

Still in the book.

Multiple addresses for my male sibling… Some crossed off, some not, none current. All still there.

People’s names, addresses, and/or phone numbers that I haven’t thought about or used in years, they’re probably no good anymore…

But when I look at their name in that old handwriting, I’m suddenly transported back to whatever time of my life that was, & remember that person.

And…in the back of the book…carefully scribbled

Anniversaries

Birthdays

Important numbers belonging to people I cannot forget – my children, my parents.

For a book small enough to easily fit in the back pocket of my jeans…

There’s a whole lot of living time crammed into those pages.

Step lively, step lightly, but step forward.

…….

…………

No, I never found the damned wifi password. I’ll call the cable co. tomorrow. Dammit.

Nopevember 2018

I was quiet all month about my Nopevember curse, hoping it would pass me by this year.

Annnnd… No such luck.

This month has ended in its typical crash, the way it has for the last 10 years.

Every. Damn. Year.

Something happens.

A deer smashes into our vehicle, or there’s an unholy, knock-down, drag-out fight with my brother, or my daughter crashes her car (black ice, NOT her fault), or, well, a mixture of awful things that culminate in totally fucking up the month.

This year?

I spent Thanksgiving week trying to help my son deal with severe anxiety and panic attacks. And spent an afternoon in the ER with him the day before the holiday, making sure he was safe, and not spiraling out of control, due to a bad reaction to his meds.

When he called me that morning, I was at work, & luckily had my cell phone ON me, instead of charging, so I was able to take the call right away.

This kid doesn’t call me for shit.

He hates talking on the phone. Period. But, he called & begged me to take him to the ER, because he couldn’t take it anymore.

Now, I have this weird thing that happens in my brain when there’s an emergency.

I call it my “ER Nurse Gene”.

See, my grandmother was an RN for many years, and my Mom was an EMT, and an LPN, at different times, and for many years, as well.

I’ve had a lot of exposure to the medical field in my life, both growing up, and as an adult.

Mom brushes this aside & says it’s not a “real thing”, but even she’s seen it in action with me, & can’t truly explain what happens.

You see, when there’s an emergency…

Something clicks inside my brain, and suddenly… Everything gets very, very clear.

Like, my vision is suddenly crystal clear, & I can see everything going on. I am hyper focused and can triage with the best of them. My senses are all heightened, my mind has a clarity to it that – even I don’t truly understand, once the whole ordeal is over.

Whatever it is, I knew exactly what I needed to do, where I needed to go, just what to say.

My son wasn’t able to focus well enough to answer many questions for the nurses and doctors, due to the medications side effects he was experiencing, so I asked him if it was ok for me to answer for him. He nodded, so I did.

We were lucky, we got right into a room in the ER, & were seen in a relatively short period. All in all, we were only there for about 3.5 hours, which is fairly quick for our ER.

OnlySon got some help, even if it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for, more of a stop-gap measure until he can get into his regular doc. But it was at least better than what he was going through before.

And, I talked to my ex, his father, & tried to explain that, yes, OnlySon’s anxiety & depression are mental illnesses, but, they are also –

Physical, chemical imbalances.

They are physical disorders as well as mental, and need to be thought of in that way.

It is a chemical imbalance, that can cause, will cause, mental instability, if it is not properly balanced.

That just like Diabetes, this is something lifelong, to be treated and lived with, not something to be hidden or ashamed of.

He grumbled at me a bit, told me, jealously, how “He talks to you about this, he doesn’t want to talk to me”.

And I told him, that, OnlySon knows that I live with anxiety and depression too. That I understand so much of what he’s going through, and that, unless you live it, unless you’ve been through it, it’s really difficult to explain to someone looking in from the outside.

And, when the day was over, after I’d take OnlySon home & finished my workday, I drove home…

And shook.

Every ounce of adrenaline that I’d been running on all day, rushed out of my body at once.

Thanksgiving with my parents was – an exercise in acting normal.

I wore the mask for their sake, and for Youngerdaughter, who came down to stay.

But, the rest of the weekend was a total bust.

I basically collapsed inward.

I didn’t want to see anyone, didn’t want to talk to anyone, didn’t want to interact with the outside world at all.

That’s the price.

I could never have been a nurse, emergency room or otherwise.

I couldn’t afford the cost of what happens afterwards.

Days in a black hole…

Nopevember.

I’m so done with this month.