Dichotomy

I spent a lot of time thinking about this, yesterday, on my drive to & from my folks’ house.

I am a tangle of contradictions.

Most people know one side only, as I keep its opposite pretty well hidden from view.

And nearly all the people who know me IRL, know the jokester, who mixes in with the caring, nurturing part of me. (If I care about you, I care enough to joke with you/about you)

Something I don’t say often, though, is that – once I love someone, it’s forever. No matter how much this can hurt ME in the end. And I’m not just talking about being in love with someone, I’m also talking about Chosen Family love. And there’s a few of those out there.

Beloved Nephew is first & foremost of the Chosen. He is now, and has been for years, my best friend. There could never be anything intimate between us, because we’re family to each other, but he knows me better than anyone else alive.

And he’s seen both sides of my personality.

There are also kids, well, they’re not kids anymore, because they’re godsbedamned grownups now, (yes, I’m feeling the age, here). Kids my children brought home with them, who needed an adult at the time to tell them that they were going to be ok. That they were enough, that they could do this thing called life. I don’t get to see them, or talk to them anymore, because they’ve moved on & past needing me, but I still consider them Chosen Family.

And yes, it stings a little sometimes when I think that, once I wasn’t needed to prop them up, I was forgotten. But that’s what happens. And I don’t want anyone to feel any kind of obligation to me because I was kind to them. That’s selfish. I’m just glad they’ve grown, and hopefully gotten themselves to a good place.

And, yes, there are people whom I’ve been involved with in the past, exes. Who doesn’t have those?

And yes, some of them I love.

Still.

To this day.

NOT to say that I’d go back to them, because most I wouldn’t. There was a reason behind the split, and it was needed. I’m healthier, emotionally, mentally, without them in my life.

There’s a couple that I would, but it probably wouldn’t be good for me, so I keep my damn mouth shut. Go me. (sarcastic eye roll)

BUT.

Not one of them can say they’ve truly seen my other side.

The dark coldness that I keep for only myself.

Y’all have no idea.

There is a detachment that happens when my switch gets flipped. And I can honestly say I, myself, have only seen it truly come out a couple of times. Always in the most dire of situations, and ALWAYS as a protective measure, either for myself, or for a loved one.

Example – cutting my male sibling out of my life.

I’m not going to retell the story, just know that I did it to protect myself from further emotional harm.

The point here, is, that I was able to do it. With no guilt, no remorse, and no second thoughts.

And no one has ever, nor will they ever, talk me out of it. Familial guilt gets nothing.

Talk of blood, of dna, gets nowhere.

After all, his blood, his dna didn’t stop him from hurting me in the first place, now, did it?

Anywho, before I get completely derailed off onto a rant, this is only one example.

But it’s an effective one.

The level of darkness to which I can descend, should I deem it necessary to the situation, is one which most would never seek, and I’m sure, they would never suspect me of reaching it.

But a part of me lives there.

And only the Nephew has seen it, or heard it in my voice.

Probably because he recognizes a kindred spirit when he meets one.

But, I digress.

My tangled dichotomy is pretty balanced, ironically enough.

Because as deep as my darkness goes, that is how far my love extends. And vice versa.

Scary thought, hunh?

Wear Something Black

I’ve been mulling over a new story, & the title of this post will the biggest hint.

Today was Turkey Day, so I spent a few hours with my parents. I don’t get to see them much, with the way things are right now, so it was good to share a meal.

Turkey Day has never really been a favorite holiday for me, ever since I was little. It was all food, football, dishes, & being told to keep my nice clothes nice. Me being the HUMONGOUS tomboy, hated that. It was a day of varied tortures, broken up with some passable snacks.

Buut, anywhozits, that’s just the highlight reel of the day.

I had to stop in, to share something here that I feel is probably inappropriate to share on fb, today of all days… I don’t want to upset anyone on one of their high holy days…

So, fuck it. I’m posting it here.

As you might know, if you’ve read some of my other posts, I have a dark, morbid sense of humor. I’m also on tiktok, which is an important aside.

So! I was watching vids on my fyp (For you page) & this video came up of an exhumation of an old gravesite. From the background music, you could tell that something was going to go wrong in just a few seconds.

Well, yeah, duh. The cement lid was lifted, without the casket…and underneath was a grave filled with brackish water.

Not inappropriate yet, folks, just the facts.

Sooo, being curious & slightly confused as to the missing context of the video, I opened up the comments to see if the creator had left any info there.

What I found was someone with the same twisted humor as myself.

Commenter: I LOVE πŸ–€ unboxing videos!

*cue choking laughter*

Annnd, I’m done.πŸ˜‚

The Problem With Invisibility

Chronic illnesses, Chronic pain, autoimmune disorders and diseases, they all change a person’s life forever, and not in a good way.

I’m not going to try to cover all of them, not even some of them. Because I don’t live with them all, I don’t know how they all affect someone’s body, or emotions. It wouldn’t be fair to try to “explain” someone else’s pain to them.

All I know, is what I’m going through.

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I also have Chronic Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, & CPTSD (Childhood Post Traumatic Disorder).

You might not think that all of these qualify as Chronic illnesses, or Pain Disorders… And you’d be wrong.

RA is a chronic, degenerative, incurable disease. It’s most often one of the “hidden” diseases until it reaches one of it’s worst phases, because all of the pain is on a person’s insides. Joint pain isn’t obvious, until you can start seeing the gnarling of fingers, the oversize swelling of joints, the warping of stance.

And one of the things about chronic pain?

After a while of nonstop pain… Most people become somewhat used to it. We never have moments without some form of pain anymore, so can’t remember what that’s like.

And, as your body becomes used to the lower level constant aching… Your body resets its base level for pain.

Things that would cause a normal person to call out a 6 or 7 on a doctor’s pain scale, are now a 1 or 2 for us.

“It’s just always there, it’s normal”

Whether my face shows it or not… I’m always in pain, anymore.

Knees, ankles, wrists, fingers, lower back, hips…it’s like a sub-aural hum from elephants. Human ears don’t pitch for those, and my pain receptors don’t seem to pitch for the pain that’s constant, anymore.

My mental illnesses, Chronic Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, & CPTSD, are also hidden diseases.

Many people still don’t think they’re actually real. They claim it’s a “weakness of spirit”, or laziness, or, as some religious fanatics call it “infestation of evil”.

When, in reality, my body doesn’t produce certain chemicals to properly balance my brain, so I have to supplement them from the outside with medications.

Just like people with diabetes have to take certain medications to properly balance sugar/insulin levels.

And yet, I don’t know of anyone saying Diabetes isn’t real…

And as far as my mental illnesses go, most of them go back to traumas that happened when I was young, and my brain stopped making the chemicals to balance out the emotional damage from overuse of the stress chemicals.

How long can a person survive on adrenaline from a flight/fight/fawn response?

Eventually, it runs out.

And, as the lovely topper one this stacked shit sandwich –

All of them have a side symptom of exhaustion.

As a person with these illnesses, I struggle a lot to do certain things. And some days are a harder struggle than others. Some days…are just a wash.

And yet, no one can see any of them, unless I choose to show them, to talk about them, to try to explain.

But, because you can’t see them, they’re not real, right?

Cover your eyes, make them invisible, and they cease to exist?

That’s a 1-yr old game of peek-a-boo.

And I’m no longer playing.

I’m not invisible, and I won’t go away.

Wiped

I fell asleep with my phone in my hand, Facebook open, last night. How do I know this? Because the 1st thing I saw this morning when I picked my phone from the chair today was the top of the FB screen.

I don’t even really remember opening fb, last night. I’d spent the evening mostly on tiktok (my new favorite social platform), & must have decided to flip over to see what the other side of the fence was doing before I…*blank stare, slow blink…oh, Good morning, sun.*

This – the random exhaustion, completely debilitating, has been something I’ve been dealing with for a while now.

I worried about it for quite a while, thinking there was, maybe, a new issue with my thyroid? Maybe a bad slide down in my depression? Maybe (help me out here, WebMD) it could be something really awful?

I visited my doctors. Had tests run. Numerous tests. Lots of money down the drain, and a lot of patronizing medical verbiage from some of the physicians. You know, shit I don’t put up with. One doctor, I refuse to go see, anymore.

Putz.

Well, funny enough, it was the internet that helped me figure it out, not one of my Drs., who basically all told me that it was nothing, “Just the price of getting older, dontcha know”.

On a tangent, (but applicable, just wait) did you know that I have RA?

Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Yeah, I’ve mentioned it, once or twice, because it mostly affects my hands, both wrists & knuckles. It makes it difficult to work on crafts I love, but, it’s not usually severe, unless I push it too hard, like with serious yardwork over and extended period.

It is starting to affect one of my ankles, which I broke a few years back, so… that’s nice.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

It was actually a TikTok (don’t ask which one, I can’t remember their name, & was in epiphany shock when I saw it) that clued me in.

The creator was talking about something she’d been trying to do, but her RA fatigue wouldn’t give her enough spoons to accomplish the job. (I’ll write about the “Spoon Theory” another time, or you can Google it)

So, I went back into research mode.

I have at least 5 of these symptoms. βœ… Lucky, Lucky me.

And no, RA is not the only cause for my fatigue. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Chronic Depression, & PTSD working on me too, all of which cause cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to regularly flood my system, causing adrenaline to kick in with the “fight, flight, or fawn” impulse. And once the adrenaline bottoms out, exhaustion sets in.

And…AND… if that’s not enough fun for you, I developed vertigo this year.

My body is literally on a self-made chemical rollercoaster.

I hate rollercoasters.

Is it any wonder I stopped drinking?

Fuck, I feel drunk half the time as it is, anyway, who needs inebriation?

I’m still in research mode, trying to find what legit information I can, trying to plot my own course for treatment, since the doctors I currently have, don’t seem to want to discuss the notion that I might be right.

And no, I can’t go get 2nd opinions, or 3rd, or 4th, whatever I’m on right now, because they all work for the same medical hospital/clinic, & I can’t afford to travel & pay new medical bills somewhere else.

This shit’s expensive, y’all.

So, I’m looking towards more holistic, homeopathic, & self-generated help. As long as I can back the decisions with my own solid research, I might give it a try.

But, until I can start seeing some positive results…

I’m wiped.

Quality Quotable

I found the quote I thought I was looking for in my last post!

It’s close, but not quite, what Stephen King wrote in Shawshank Redemption.

One of my favorite books of all time is Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love.

It’s a science fiction novel about a man named Lazarus Long, spanning centuries. (Yes, he’s long-lived, that’s part the book’s aesthetic.)

The quote is in the Chapter The Tale of the Adopted Daughter, which, frankly, makes me sob reading it, every time. I know it’s coming, I’ve read this book a dozen times, easily, but I can’t help myself.

The quote reads:

Here is life or here is dying; only sin is lack of trying. Grab your picks and grab your shovels; dig latrines and build your hovels – next year better, next year stronger, next year’s furrows that much longer. Learn to grow it, learn to eat it. You can’t buy it, learn to make it! How’d you know until you’ve tried it? Try again and keep on trying —

So many quotables in this book. Some I dislike, for – reasons – but others keep bringing me back, just to read again.

Certainly the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you; if you don’t bet, you can’t win.

Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.

Small change can often be found under seat cushions.

It’s amazing how much “mature wisdom” resembles being too tired.

Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate – and quickly.

The more you love, the more you can love – and the more intensely you love. Nor is there a limit on how many you can love. If a person has time enough, he could love all of the majority who are decent and just.

And…

One I’ve used a million times, often when wistful, or regretful about the past… I remind myself:

When the ship lifts, all bills are paid. No regrets.

The book has hundreds more stunning quotes, some even separated out into their own “Notebook” chapters.

I.. Just wish the things in this book were possible.

I see so many correlating instances with the beginnings of this story, and our present timeline.

May the Great Diaspora happen soon.

Humanity needs the humbling experience of space.

Safety First…or last…it’s whatever.

My Beloved Nephew and I were talking the other night about risk management. He was contemplating something that could change his life, but couldn’t decide which route to take. Which risk was worth it?

Some risks are acceptable, because they are very small, & not likely to cause a shift in your life. They’re easy, both to take, & to live with.

Example – trying a new food. This might end up as a foodgasm, & you’ll want to consume this again, or it could be an ashy dumpster fire, & you’ll wretch, vowing to never let this cross your palate in this lifetime.

Risk assessment? Low, go for it. βœ…

Other risks are – possibly life altering, in that they could bring either positive, or negative equity into your life. These risks could move you forward into your goals, sparking joy & abundance…

Or they could draw you into an emotional, financial hole that would be difficult to crawl back out of again.

Risk assessment? Medium to high. Research, research, research. Maybe ask an opinion from someone trusted. Try to see what the benefit-to-loss ratio is. Write down pros & cons. Weigh & measure everything before deciding.🚧

And, of course, there are some risks that are simply too.

Too dangerous.⁉

Too embarrassing.❌

Too awful.β›”β˜’β˜£

Too deadly.☠️

Abort commencement. Please back away from the door…it’s on fire… and emitting noxious gasses.β‰βŒβ›”β˜’β˜£β˜ οΈ

I’ve been rolling along, lately, trying to manage my life by taking only βœ… risks. Sure, it’s a whole lot more comfortable to live this way financially, geographically.

But, I’m left, emotionally, canceled.

This is bland, boring, quiet (which, yeah, I like my solitude & quiet, but sheesh), and I need something else. Something more than taupe, slate and oyster. Something a little more lime, crimson and onyx.

This is where I kind of fell down the philosophical rabbit 🐰 hole in the conversation.

What in your life is guaranteed?

I mean, rock-solid, certified, absolutely concrete, as a result of a myriad of choices throughout your existence?

Death.

That’s it. Everyone gets a one-way ticket. What’s at the destination? *shrug* No fricking idea, but we’re all going, sooner or later.

Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING else carries a platinum-plated guarantee like this.

Everything else in our lives is mutable, ever-shifting, transitory & possible/impossible.

Warranties and guarantees are for large appliances.

What does this mean?

Well, for me, this means I need to start getting off my ass, taking only the βœ… risks.

I need to start contemplating the 🚧 risks. I need motion, action, & research. Cause-Effect.

I’m tired of stagnating and waiting for something to come along. Waiting for my life to truly start.

Fuck.

I’m 50 years old.

My life started without me a long time ago, and has been chugging along, watching me sit on the sidelines. It’s been mocking me for years for my inactivity.

Fucker.

Comfort is a lie. The only way to truly be alive is to always be at least mildly uncomfortable.

Because if you’re not uncomfortable, you won’t shift to change anything.

And that, is death.

The only true comfort, is 6 feet underground, with your eyes closed on this plane forever.

-“Get busy living, or get busy dying, the only sin is lack of trying”

I know, Stephen King wrote the first part of that in the Shawshank Redemption, but I would swear another of my favorite authors, Robert Heinlein, wrote that in his classic Time Enough for Love. (I’ll have to go back & reread it for the 50th time to check)

Anywho, the sentiment stands.

‘Cause I’m not ready to be dead.

AU

I imagine there’s an alternate universe where I became a horse trainer, & lived alone on a farm with all my animals.

I imagine there’s an alternate universe where I died from suicide at the ripe young age of 16, because – emotional trauma.

I imagine there’s one where I became a published author, famous or not, I finally finished writing a damn book & sent it toddling out into the world, instead of having children.

I imagine there’s one in which I actually finished college, and became a psychologist, only to realize I got too depressed over my own problems to help anyone else effectively.

I imagine there’s one where I stayed with my love of acting, even with crippling stage fright, & became a bit actress, only to become a diet-pill junkie, who died from complications due to extreme yoyo diets & depression.

I imagine there’s one where I became a famous horror writer.

I imagine there’s an alternate universe in which I have more friends than I know what to do with, because I can be so extroverted with the emotion switch “on”, and a complete recluse, with the switch “off.

I imagine there’s one, where I retreated into the woods to become the swamp witch of my dreams, leaving everything behind to live off-grid, because I had no one left, after pushing everyone I knew away due to emotional issues telling me I’m not worth loving, which is why everyone leaves, refuses to commit, or plays on my heart strings until I collapse & lose my shit, running screaming into the void.

I imagine that there’s an alternate universe in which I am living a happy life, with someone I love, who loves me back.

Wild imagination.

Some of it works out…Some of it just pisses me off.

All my tests (EKGs, blood test, & Chest Xrays) came back normal. This is the good news.

Figured y’all would want that up front.

So, my symptoms on Tuesday, really were just side effects of one of my medications. And yes, I have an appointment with my primary to switch my scrip.

But…it’s been a long damn week. And there’s been some stuff that’s happened that just -flat out – pissed me the hell off.

So, I’m not talking about it here yet.

I know me.

If I give even an inch of my rant over here…it’ll be verbal diarrhea, & I’ll end up being the one with the regrets.

If I keep shut for a little longer…work on it in my head, talk it over with my Trusteds – then when I AM ready to spill, it will be tea, not gasoline.

I’ll leave you with a quote I found in a book I’m re-reading:

Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing. ~Euripides

Beautiful Creatures -by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia

Freaking Obnoxious and Scared Shitless

I’ve been on a new depression & anxiety med for a little over a month, now.

The effects were great, at the beginning. I could almost -feel- the depression peeling away like dead skin. I felt happy again, instead of numb or so extremely sad that it felt as though there was no way out.

But, then, side effects started popping up. Small, at first, they grew & multiplied over this last couple of weeks. They began to interfere with everyday normal stuff, so I started feeling that I probably needed to talk to my doc about switching.

Even happiness isn’t worth some of the shit I’ve been trying to work around, lately.

Tremors that started in my hands, are now full-body. I feel as though I have mid-level Parkinson’s, & can barely sign my name. (Kind of a problem, as my signature has to be on certain stuff at work, & I don’t want it to look like it’s a forgery!)

Constant headaches – every – damn – day. I ingest so much Advil migraine in a 24-hr. period, it’s kinda sad.

There’s other crap too, but the capper started on last Thursday. I started having some really uncomfortable chest tightness and pains, which did eventually subside, but came back today.

Yeah, I called my doc this morning.

And she freaking sent me to the ER when I told them I was having chest pains.

Shit.

So, here I sit, now.

They ran an EKG right away, but obvi I’m not in failure, because they booted me back to the lobby a little over 2 hours ago to wait for a curtain corner.

Shawn Coss artwork -freaking genius
Shawn Coss artwork -freaking genius.

I just want out of here. I ain’t got time for this, I’ve got shit to do.

And yes, I’m fucking scared.

That’s obnoxious.