Glass

Today is not a good day.

I woke up with a migraine- breath-stealing, nausea roiling, light/sound/smell/touch-sensitive; and all I wanted to do was take my meds & sleep it off. Stress has been high lately, & I’ve had more migraines in the last few months than is normal. I can’t afford some of the meds they want me to try, so I have to deal with them by smothering the pain in sleep. The doctor doesn’t understand… It doesn’t matter if a drug might help me, if I can’t afford it. It’s not even a guarantee of pain relief, just a chance. A maybe. 

I don’t make enough to throw utility money at a Maybe.

Then, I get a call from my regular doctor’s office. 

I have osteo arthritis in my hands, diagnosed by a rheumatologist. Most of the time, my hands, mainly my finger joints, feel as though they are full of broken glass, grating & grinding on itself, just under the skin. Occasionally, when there’s pressure put on those joints, the glass sets itself on fire, just for that extra-special kick.

He told me he couldn’t do anything else, as far as treating the pain long-term went, that I had to go to the Pain Clinic for that. I was to call my regular doc & have her send a referral to the Pain Clinic for me.

They sent a note back to her this morning saying they won’t see me.

Regular doc says I have to call rheumatology doc back, to see what my other options are. 

So, basically, the health care system here is telling me they want someone else to deal with it. No one is willing to actually sit down, LISTEN to me, & help figure out a solution. I don’t know if they don’t believe me about the pain, because no one is actually talking to, or listening to, me. They’re all looking at xrays & blood tests, thinking that tells the whole story.

I’m not a hypochondriac looking for attention. I’m someone who’s been through a lot of medical crap in her life, & because of that, has built up tolerances to certain pain meds. 

I don’t like taking pills. I don’t want to feel stupid & slow at work, & I don’t like the loss of control the drugs make me feel. I’m a control freak when it comes to my own body. I’m in charge, & I hate not feeling like I can say what happens with it.

In 2001, I finally had surgery that fixed a problem with one of my kidneys – that took 5 years & every test known to man & his dog to figure out. 5 years of flaring, excruciating pain, without a diagnosis to even give me a sense of reason. 

In just the past 3 years, I’ve had to deal with having my gall bladder removed due to gall stones & severe pain caused by inflammation.

I’ve had endometriosis, adenomyosis, & an ovarian cyst, which ended up with me having a hysterectomy. Following my surgery, my surgeon said he couldn’t figure out how I’d been walking upright, much less how I’d gotten into the hospital on my own two legs, due to the extensive pain the numerous occlusions of endo & adeno would have caused.

And now, the arthritis diagnosis.

I know pain.

I know how it steals your breath, messes with your senses, & turns your world into a small, very self-focused, & seemingly selfish, place.

I know that other people can’t feel my pain, they don’t understand that – even picking up files, taking a cap off a water bottle, using a pliers to take apart rivets & staples (part of my job, taking apart books held together by these things) – all these things cause my hands to flare, & tears to spring to my eyes because of it.

I gave birth to all 3 of my children naturally, without any drugs to aid the process, & ended up in shock due to blood loss during one of the deliveries.

I know pain. Don’t tell me I’m not perfectly aware of what my body is telling me.

I just want to be able to go to work & live my life without being either half-stoned on pain meds, or in constant, grinding pain.

Where do I turn now?

While I sit here with my hands full of glass, my head pounding, & my chest full of anxiety, depression & hopelessness.

What do you do when all the doctors, the “professionals” tell you that you’re not worth their time…..

Why I Lurk.

My anxiety is so bad tonight, & I should have known better.

Some little time ago, I joined an internet group for introverts. I thought that maybe, if I joined, I’d find some people who truly understand some of the things I go through daily.

Fuck – was I a little too optimistic.

I normally don’t post my own queries in groups…it always seems to erupt into chaos. But, I’d been silent in this group for some time, watching others interact. I “liked” a few memes. I commented once or twice on someone else’s post.  It all seemed to go well.

And I thought that maybe it was time for me to pose a query of my own.

So, I did. I asked my question, which was about me.  It was concerning the effect that anxiety & introversion have on each other for me. I asked if it was possible that my introversion & anxiety seem to feed one another. I stated that I knew almost to the day when my anxiety began to present itself, & that I wondered if that was what caused my introversion to start, or if I had always been an introvert & that the anxiety simply “peeled away” the layers and revealed my introversion.

One woman immediately told me that obviously I wasn’t really an introvert, & that it was all my anxiety causing my issues. 

Yeah, I got defensive. I tried to be polite, I tried to explain myself, but I hate being “diagnosed” based on a 3 or 4 sentence conversation by someone who has no knowledge of my history or circumstances. 

She fired back that obviously I was wrong, she was right, & I had broken 1 of the rules of the group by not being polite.

Fuck that. I was polite. I just didn’t kiss her ass, fall down at her feet, & tell her that obviously she was the Goddess of Right, & I was a lowly Minion of Wrong.

And, she had me booted from the group. 

Exit, stage right.

Shit like this is why I lurk.

I fucking hate confrontations. It makes my heart race, my stomach queasy, & my skin gets hot, I’m nauseated, angry, & anxious.

I can’t stand people who judge others, especially after only just a few words. It reminds me of the presumption that those radio “psychiatrists” could diagnose someone’s problem over the radio after just a few words, & actually help them fix their lives. 

I’m so done trying to join groups. I’m better off on my own, blindly grasping around in the darkness, looking for my own answers.  

Just like my love life, I’m better off not even bothering trying to connect – less chance of being hurt.

Walls up, barbed wire back in place.

Lurk Mode activated.

Catching Up, Letting Go, & Shoveling Through

Got into an argument on the internet, today. 

Yeah, I know, it’s pointless, irritating & inflammatory to argue with strangers on the internet…but he pissed me off. 

It was in a pagan group, & he was busily invalidating people’s beliefs, so I spoke up & told him off. 

Politely, and with facts.

The subject was Wicca, & he was running his fingers, telling everyone that the only TRUE Wiccan was HIS type of Wiccan.

I pointed out to him that there are many valid paths, not just his, & he got condescending…which, you know, just calms me right down, because who doesn’t like being talked down to?

When I pointed out to him that Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, etc., were just as Christian as the Catholics, even though they’d split from the Holy Roman Catholic Church years ago, he totally ignored that, & spouted that I just don’t understand what true initiation is.

Someone get him some Kool-Aid, wouldja? Jim Jones wants to visit with him.

So, I dropped the mic on the conversation & left the thread. 

Let it go. Trolls shouldn’t be fed, I wasn’t going to get him to understand that he’s just as bad as the fundie Xtians who think all of us Pagans are going to hell, & I just get all riled up with no resolution.

Time to do something a little more constructive.

Like baking cookies. Chocolate chip are all baked & ready to go on Monday. Snickerdoodles are waiting to be mixed next, & they go in the fridge overnight, so I need to get on that.

I also need to shovel my front sidewalk, but that’s not happening anymore to right. Maybe tomorrow…maybe I’ll wait till my neighbor decides he’s sick of looking at it & clears it for me with his 4-wheeler…

I also need to get busy on Yule gifts & a custom Xmas order my mom wants for a family member.  Trees…trees, trees, lots of little wire trees. Nothing I Can show you till  after the holiday season, since they’re all going to be gifts, but I will post pictures then.

Annnd, I’m almost done painting inside my house for now. The living room & dining room/office/gym/ferretarium are painted, & most of the hallway is finished, with only the trim at ceiling & floor, & around doors is left. Touchups, really, then I’m done for now. I’ve got some demolition to do in the kitchen before I can paint in there.  I’ll post pictures of the finished painting as soon as it’s all done. I’m rather proud of having done it by myself. I love the soft grey color that seems to shift throughout the day with how the light hits it. Sometimes it’s just grey, sometimes it looks more blue, sometimes more lavender, but always clean, soft, & comforting. 

There, now you’re caught up. 

Time to go mix cookies…

Honestly…

I value honesty so much.

In fact, it’s one of the keystones of my personality.

Without honesty, there can be no trust. There can be no friendship, and no love.

And I’d rather be disappointed by the truth, than comforted with a lie.

If I tell you I have feelings for you (didn’t say I was in love, for fuck’s sake, just that I had feelings, even I wasn’t sure what they were at that point), & you don’t reciprocate? The truth is much less painful in the long run than “playing along till you can escape”, then ghosting me, hoping I disappear. At least with the truth, I can say “Ok, that’s not going to go anywhere, so I’ll let it go, lick my wounds, & move on to, someday, find someone who will appreciate me”; Instead of being confused by silence, hurt by being treated as though my feelings don’t matter at all , & angry at being ignored.

Without honesty, what’s the point?
I actually sought out some advice, honest & blunt, from an ex-boyfriend today, knowing that he would be just as completely & totally truthful with me as I was seeking. And I wasn’t disappointed.

I knew that, no matter what I said, or asked, “A” would tell me the absolute truth as he saw it.  And it was a man’s perspective I was seeking, so he was just the one to ask.  No pulling punches, no tactful, biased by our previous relationship, answers – just his honest opinion. He wouldn’t back me up if he didn’t truly feel I was right in my thinking, he would’ve called me a twit (or a reasonable facsimile thereof), & laughed at me.

But, he didn’t laugh.

And I really appreciated it.

And in my questioning, I realized that I was right about thinking that someone else’s words & actions were inconsiderate, rude, thoughtless & hurtful.  

Not living up to your own word, shows that your words can’t be trusted at all.

“You do that/act like that because you’re a female”. 

When I told “A” about that (supposedly joking) comment, he rolled his eyes, and seemed to be offended, as I was when I heard it myself. It shows, at least to me, a complete lack of respect for women as a whole, to label us all with one broad stroke of a tarred brush.

When I told him about the refusal on the other party’s part to even discuss the breakdown in communication I had with this other man, he basically called it childish.

“A” and I may not be in a relationship as “boyfriend & girlfriend” anymore, but at least we can communicate. No matter what, he’s always remained the same in that regard.

And, that honesty I value.

It’s All About Me

This blog is, anyway.

What I write here, comes from my head, my heart, my fingertips. 

Yes, I’ve talked about my kids, my family, my friends…but these are people who are in my life, so once again, it circles back to yours truly in the end.  How I feel about them, how I feel about what they said, or did, or what happened to them.  It’s my perspective on the world around me, and the people in it, that you end up reading.

So, it’s my galaxy, my universe, here.  And that gives me permission to say what I want…within my own limits.

If you are a satellite in the orbit of this, my universe, you run the risk of finding your story appearing somewhere within the lines of my posts. I might not use your real name (probably won’t, as I try to protect the people I care about from the rigors of others knowing their words, actions, stories), but, sooner or later, something I write will resonate in your mind. 

Hey, I resemble that remark!

And if it makes you laugh, or makes you cringe, well… It’s still my story told here.

As I read somewhere, “If they wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

I’m not an impossible person to get along with. I have only a few rules that you really shouldn’t break, at least, not if you want to stay inside the circle.

1. Don’t lie to me.

2. Don’t break promises. Matter of fact, don’t make promises, unless you absolutely know you can keep them.

3. And to expand on #2, if you tell me you’re going to do something? Doesn’t matter if you say the word “promise” or not. I will take you at your word. If you can’t do what you said you were going to? Call, text, message me. I’m not insensitive, & I know that plans change because life gets in the way. 

But, I do also have feelings. I won’t put up with being “ghosted” or ignored. It’s rude, insensitive, & ultimately, it tells me that I mean shit to you.  So I’ll be on my way, without a backward glance. 

I’m worth more than that.

4. I expect my friends & family to call me out on my bullshit, too. I am an introvert with anxiety, which means I don’t really like going out, much. I detest crowds. So, sometimes, if I’ve made plans with someone, I’ll try to worm out of them. And I can also get irrational when my anxiety is really high, or my depression really low. My friends & family care enough to talk me down, ride it out, and wait for the storm to pass.

5. Don’t do anything to hurt my friends or family. I’m awful at sticking up for myself, but if anyone hurts someone I care for? Back up, & buckle up. It’s going to get ugly, fast.

That’s it. 

Don’t lie, don’t jerk me around, don’t let me be a jerk, & don’t hurt the ones I love.

Not that hard to follow, right?

In other words…

Don’t be a dick.

Because if you are… Chances are you’ll see yourself in the words I write…and it won’t end with “happily ever after”.

My Generation

OK, this subject is a touchy one, I know.

And I’m going to piss off more than a couple people, I’m sure.

But, I truly want to know…

What the hell is wrong with my generation?

I’m a Gen-X’er. 

Born in 1970 (yes, that makes me 46, I don’t lie about my age)

And it seems to me, that there is a seriously messed-up issue with my generation when it comes to relationships.

Yes, I know there are throwbacks to other generations – folks who found their “one”, married them, and have lived happily ever after.

But, most of the people I know from my generation have married, divorced, or never married at all. Maybe there was a long-term relationship in their life, marriage or otherwise, but it doesn’t last.

And, I’ve found a lot of men who just, simply, want to “hook up”. No dating, where you actually go out, with one or the other paying for both people to have an enjoyable night out. (yes, I believe in full equality of the sexes, and have paid for dates when I was the one doing the asking) No real relationship, where you are introduced to the other person’s friends, or their family, after a suitable amount of time spent getting to know one another.

Yeah, I’ve been the “dirty little secret” before, and I resented it. Whether we’d stayed together or not, not being introduced to the other people he chose to spend time with felt as though I wasn’t worth mentioning. It felt awful.

Men who thought that paying for dinner meant they’d be getting sex in return, only to find out that I’m not into prostitution, and went home, alone, never to return another phone call or text.

Women friends who can’t seem to find “Prince Charming”, perfect in every way, and they aren’t willing to even try to work through differences, compromise, communicate.

Wait…that one goes for the men too. Except for wanting “Snow White” instead of a prince. 

Instead, we seem to be the generation of Throw-Away Relationships.

Red flag? Recycle.

Quirk? Disposable.

Stone in the path? Whether small or large, personal or relationship related, the relationship is the first thing chucked out the window, so that the person struggling is left to do so alone.

Nevermind sticking by someone you care about, nevermind working through something together, which means it gets resolved quicker, oftentimes in ways you wouldn’t imagine, because 2 heads are better than 1 at solving problems.

Yes, I’m twice divorced. Does that make me a hypocrite?

In the case of the first marriage, probably. We were both young, headstrong, and he hit me. Not hard, just a light slap across the face to “prove a point” to a friend of his. But I wouldn’t put up with it. Wouldn’t talk calmly about it, and he could never believe that when he left to go to work (out of town, often overnight) I wasn’t secretly screwing his friends. (No, I wasn’t. I was totally loyal, but he could never believe it)

In the case of the 2nd marriage…No.

Our marriage slowly eroded from good and loving, to distant, resentful, and emotionless (except for anger and disdain, there was plenty of that). 

I’ve written about my 2nd divorce before, won’t do a complete blow-by-blow here. (If you really want to read about it, click here for Part 1)

So, for me, yes & no. I’ve acted the same way, in the past, but I worked really hard on changing those bad habits after my 2nd divorce. I’ve tried being the loving, compassionate, supportive girlfriend. I’ve been loyal – I call myself a Serial Monogamist.

But, what’s lacking?

Someone who is willing to fight for a relationship. Someone who is willing to work with me towards that goal. Someone who actually wants to spend thought and time on me, rather than money. Someone willing to trust that I can be that, well, not a freaking princess, that’s for damned sure…but maybe partner in crime suits the situation better.

Why are we Gen X’ers so afraid of commitment? Why do we just toss in the towel and give up at the first sign of wavering off balance?

Are we really that weak?

And now, here we sit… Middle aged, and so many of us still alone, whether willingly or not. Where is that “Happily Ever After”- Hell, at this point, I’d take “Happily in the Beginning, and Pulling Together When the Shit Hits the Fan”.

Because I do know the value of my time, my company, and Myself. I’m worth it.

If I could just find someone willing to take the time to see it.

(Well, I guess I found something to talk about today, after all)

I don’t know how to title this.

It’s 4:15am, and I’ve been up most of the night.  This is a bad time for me, between 2:30 and 5am…too many dark thoughts, not enough sleep, and no one to hold me in my anxiety-ridden panic attacks.

So, I’ve come here.

I’m angry. And I feel horrible guilt.

I can feel the lump in my throat, choking my voice, threatening tears, which I won’t allow to fall.

Anger, shame, guilt, hateful rage, and soul-crushing depression, all weigh on me, each voice in my head clamoring for the lion’s share of my attention… screaming and pounding on my temples, until I feel like banging my head on the floor just to make them shut up.

Because there’s a confrontation coming. I can see it up ahead, I feel it in the wind, and I know it, in my bones.

Because his father is dying.

Gods. There’s so much history tangled up in this. 40-some years of it. How do I explain it? Can I even explain it clearly to myself, much less others? 

And the history doesn’t even touch on all of my anger.  

Fuck. 

My parents and his are best friends.

Their daughter was my best friend growing up.

He was the boy who taught me how to French kiss – in the 3rd grade, on the playground at school.

And then, when I was 16, he molested me.

I don’t know, truly, what my parents thought when I called them at 2am that morning. But I know what they did.

They made me wake up the mother. She took me upstairs & made me confront him, while he lied and, of course, said that he  never. 

My parents didn’t come get me. Yeah, yeah, it was a 12-hour drive from here to there, 2 states away. Instead, they had me shuffled from family member to family member, slowly working my way closer to home.

Nothing would have stopped me from reaching one of my children if they called me at 2am, sobbing about being sexually abused. Nothing. 

Did they not want me home? Were they hoping that by the time I got there, they could have given me enough time to forget what had happened? Or, maybe, they were trying to give themselves time to forget.

Forget that their friend’s son had harmed their daughter. Forget that their daughter was now “damaged goods”.

Forget that maybe, just maybe, they were supposed to DO SOMETHING about this? Instead of just closing all the blinds and pretending it never happened?

And now, the father is dying from terminal cancer.

He is still my father’s best friend.

His wife is still my mother’s best friend.

They visit, back and forth, at least once a year, they come to North Dakota, and I’m expected to come down, play the dutiful daughter, and visit with them.

And every year, I have panic attacks, nightmares, trigger events, from these visits. The mother always has to, at some point, bring him up, show me pictures with him in them, call him on the damn phone when I’m sitting right there, and can’t escape.

30 years later, and they’re still all denying that it ever happened.

And I feel rage.

I know that there is a funeral coming up. I know that my mother will want me to go down there for it. Show support. Be kind. Be compassionate. 

I feel horrible guilt about this.

Because I – can’t. 

I just can’t.

I can’t be anywhere near him.

He caught me by surprise, once, a few years ago, when my girls were little. I was visiting his parents with my daughters & mother. He wasn’t supposed to be there, but showed up, unexpectedly. He tried to corner me, actually tried to grab my arm, and I threatened him. Told him that if he ever touched me again, if he ever came near me or my girls, I’d kill him. Then I went straight to my mother & demanded to leave.

I never returned to their home.  I wasn’t going to go through that ever again. 

And now, if my mother tries to guilt me into going down for the funeral… I’m going to have to confront her… Them, really, because my father is just as deep into this. But it’s Mom who uses the guilt. Dad just ignores it, and hopes the emotional people will go away.

I don’t want to cause anyone hurt.

There’s the guilt.

But they never defended me, never believed me, never talked to me about it, never confronted the other family. He was never punished. He got away with molesting me, because our parents couldn’t deal with it.

They left me damaged and alone in my pain. Which has colored so much of my life since.

And there’s the rage.