Lying to Myself

We all lie to ourselves about something.  Do we tell ourselves that we are happier than we are? Do we try to convince ourselves that our partner is faithful when we know he’s not? Do we try to find value in that which is meaningless in the effort to cover up our true feelings?  Probably.

I’ve been lying to myself for too long.  I value honesty and demand it from my friends and family members but I can’t seem to reciprocate with myself. Why do I do this? I suppose it depends on what the lie is.

Lately, I’ve been having anger issues and I tell myself that it’s because I have put up with anger and stress and anxiety for too long.  I suffer from depression and have for most of my life.  There’s nothing I can do other than to try to live with it and by trying to live with it, I try not to “sweat the small stuff.” But by ignoring or not acknowledging the “small stuff,” I end up letting the frustration and negative feelings build up until I explode.  That’s is what is happening now.

I can no longer control my feelings. I can go from zero to bitch in less than a second without any ability to slow it.  The most minor things set me off. When I am “triggered,” life around me goes hazy and all I see is red. I’ve never been like this before now but I don’t want to be like this. I don’t want to have my family members afraid to talk to me for fear of a nuclear meltdown.

So what is the cause? I imagine it’s mainly centered around my step-daughter, who just recently turned 16. There’s quite a back story involved there, but allow me to briefly touch on it.

My husband and I were awarded custodial custody, which means that the child lives with us, of  “J” and her sister, “S” when they were 4 and 7, respectively. The reason? Their mother (and my husband’s ex wife) went to jail for embezzling nearly $30,000 from her place of employment. She went to Las Vegas twice, she bought a motorcycle, and spent tons of money on herself.  When we gained custody, we were allowed to go to their house, where he was let in by his former mother-in-law, for 15 minutes for the girls to collect as many of their clothes and belongings as they could in the allotted time, and leave with them in garbage bags.  I was forced to stand outside in the cold. When we got back to our home and began to go through their belongings, the clothes that they did bring with them were stained and covered in marker or pen, were too small, and had images and sayings on them that were entirely inappropriate for children of any age. I only include this detail because years later, she lied to them and told them that the reason she “stole” the money (she refuses to use the word steal or stole) was to take care of them.  That’s a horrible lie, but then again, she is a pathological liar.

So the girls were ripped out of their familiar environment AFTER having gone through their parents ugly (thanks to their mother) divorce, which was caused by their mother’s infidelity. They had to switch to a new school. They had to leave whatever friends they had behind them and make new ones.  I fully acknowledge how difficult it must have been for them and we did everything we could to make it easier on them. But it wasn’t easy for us either.

We went from a family of three, consisting of my husband, me, and my then 2-year-old daughter, “K,” to a family of five. That’s a big adjustment, not only for the number of people in the house sharing one bathroom, but to the amount of groceries, and the dynamic of the relationships in the house.  My husband and I went from hosting them every other weekend to full time parents of three children overnight. It was overwhelming, to say the least.

Over time we adjusted and did everything we could to make all three girls happy.  The oldest, S, is intelligent and self-sufficient.  She’s one of those firstborn children who had to grow up too soon to take care of a younger sibling because their mother was more concerned with herself than her own children. So when they came to live with us, S was bossy, overbearing, and worried about things, like money and the cost of things, that no child should every be worried about. On the other hand, J, the younger sister, was quiet, reserved, and was used to being cared for 100% of the time.  S was the leader, J was the follower. My daughter, K, a quiet, intelligent, sweet and highly imaginative girl who was happy playing by herself with her toys had to adjust not only to no longer being the only child in the house, but having to play with “sisters” she didn’t really know.  Because our attention was so focused on the two who had their lives upended, she didn’t get the attention she needed at that age.

Fast forward a few years.  S remained the same: strong, attentive to others’ needs, intelligent.  She was the captain of her color guard squad for two years in high school and is now a freshman attending a university with plans to become a nurse.  She is going to make a career of taking care of other people.  K is 13, still imaginative and intelligent, but she is also fun, quirky and nerdy.  She plays softball, and despite being one of the better players on her team, doesn’t believe she’s as good as we and her coaches tell her. She’s humble, almost to a fault. She does what she can not to draw attention to herself or stand out.

Also unchanging is J, whose concerns center around herself. She is very intelligent, gets very high marks in school, plays softball, and does well in the public eye.  Her teachers and coaches all think very highly of her and when we explain that we have troubles with her at home, they can’t fathom it. So what troubles do we have? She’s lazy and just like her mother, whom she continues to idolize, lies and steals.

She has stolen multiple times. It began when she was approximately 9 or 10. She stole several priceless and irreplaceable items from me: a gold necklace and pendant my grandfather gave me in middle school before he died, a name stamp and ink pot from China that my mother’s cousin brought me back from China when I was a teenager, my Graduation ring from Air Force Basic Training.  She has stolen silly trinkets from a souvenir store at the beach. She has stolen money directly from my husband’s wallet the same week we were at the beach. Most recently, in October, she stole a $100+ bottle of Chanel perfume of mine simply because my husband told her that the (cheap) perfume that she had been wearing didn’t smell nice and to find something else to wear.  She translated this to “You stink; find other perfume.”

She has been caught, spoken to, yelled at, and punished so many times I have lost track, yet every time she gets caught and is punished, she gets upset. She plays the victim.  Despite being told that every time she is punished it’s because of something SHE has done and to avoid being punished all she needs to do is behave, do what we ask (chores, don’t lie or steal), and life will be a lot happier, she still breaks the rules. When we punish her, we are the bad guys. More specifically, I am the wicket stepmother.  Sadly my husband has enabled this by refusing to punish her, thus making me the one to do so.  I don’t know what do to anymore, so I’m at my wit’s end.

I’m not happy and I need to stop lying to myself, telling myself that it will get better. We’ve had J in our house for 12 years and nothing has improved. I’m out of patience and I just don’t know what to do anymore.


Why are people such assholes?

The older I get, the more jaded I think I’ve become.

When I was younger, I understood that I was a child and I wasn’t privy to all the information that people know about what goes on “behind the scenes” of daily life. I didn’t know the details of people’s romantic relationships, of their professional life, or of their relationships with their kids or parents.  What I saw on the surface was what I knew.  Otherwise, I was happy to mind my own business.

As I grew older, I thought that I’d have a deeper look into that and understand why people act the way they do.  Maybe he and his wife are having a fight.  It could be that his teenaged daughter just told him that she hates him. Maybe he is being belittled at work.  I would have thought that the people who are in my life would share those details with me and I’d have a better understanding of why they take on their current mood and attitude.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

I’m still just as clueless.  I still don’t know what pushes people to act like such outrageous assholes.  Why do they take out their frustrations and anger on people who don’t deserve it?  Sure, psychology tells us that “projection” is a common method of coping. When there’s something going on at home, we don’t deal with it internally.  Instead, we push that anger onto someone else.

But that is just plain unhealthy.  If people would just “deal with it” at home, at the lowest level possible, that hate and anger wouldn’t get spread everywhere like a biological weapon.  Instead of communicating with your spouse or child or boss, a person finds it easier to yell at the girl at the drive-through, honk at the person in front of him in traffic for not going as soon as the light changes, or even bringing the anger home from work and yelling at his spouse or children.

If you find yourself angry and you need to “get it out,” do so in a healthy manner.  Go to a driving range and hit some golf balls.  Write.  Go to the gym and do some boxing or run it off.  Do something positive with your energy.

The people closest to you will thank you.


Already August

Despite my pledge to write in January, six months have gone by without much writing from Yours Truly. Life got in the way.

Softball was part of it, but softball was the real culprit.  I spent so much time dedicated to our league, both as a Board Member and coach that I didn’t do the things that I need to do for myself.

That’s going to change.

I won’t be coaching this season and I won’t be taking classes.  We are in the process of building a house and packing and moving will take of a lot of my time. I don’t want to attempt to take courses when my time and effort will be spent working towards the house.

However, just because I won’t be in class doesn’t mean I can’t write.

Even if it’s just to jot something down, however small, I need to start writing.

Wish me luck.




Here we go again!

I started playing softball when I was 8 years old. It was a slowpitch league, and when I was 10, it changed. We began playing Fastpitch, and with the change in pitching style, I thought I’d give it a try. I got hooked.

Here I am, 26 years later, and I’m still actively involved in softball. I’ve coached for our local league for the last 3 seasons and I’m looking at becoming a board member. My husband, who, before me, knew practically nothing about baseball OR softball, is now the Head of Promotions for the league. One of the parents, who volunteered to help assist with coaching my first season with the league, dove right in too, and is now the VP and Treasurer for the league. I feel like King Midas, but with the Softball Touch. I give “the bug” to anyone I encounter. I shouldn’t take all the credit, because there’s something about softball, fast pitch softball, that works it’s way into your heart and stays. I just help, I guess, with my enthusiasm.

So even though the season doesn’t start again for a few months, we’re running clinics for pitchers and catchers, as well as hitting and fielding clinics. They’ve asked that I be there, not only as a coach, but a former player who played at an elite level.  Despite my workload for earning my Masters, I can’t seem to say no.

My first clinic will be tonight, for pitchers and catchers. Here we go again!

Night Terrors


Last night I woke up, screaming. This isn’t the first time that it’s happened, and usually, my husband, who hears me screaming, is the one who actually wakes me up. I’ve had episodes where I’ve sat up, bolting upright, but if he wakes me, I don’t get that far.

Last night I dreamed that I was with him in a North Carolina hotel and the lights started changing colors in the room. I was the only one who noticed. Eventually, I began to see the ghost/spirit of a dead woman who was getting closer and closer. She was obviously dead, and she had blood oozing from wounds on her head. It wasn’t the fact that I was confronting a ghost that terrified me; it was the malevolent look in her eyes, like she was going to make me next to die, by her hand somehow.

I remember screaming, “NO! NOOOOO!” in my dream and I was screaming NO! as my husband “smacked” me in the arm to wake me up. My body was rigid, and my head was raised slightly off the pillow, but I don’t know if that was a reaction to him hitting me awake or if it was because of the dream. I remember that for the first minute or so, all I could do was blink furiously, making sure I was, in fact, awake.

It must have been quite the ordeal because I had a dog and two cats come running. They jumped on my bed to see if I was ok, and one of the cats continued to circle me, purring, as if to cheer me up. Luckily, it worked. However, it was nearly impossible to go back to sleep immediately, for fear of entering back into the dream I was just having. I stayed up for at least an hour, going downstairs to let my dogs out, and playing on Facebook and Pinterest on my phone to pass the time and get my mind off of what had just happened. There was even a kind friend who, seeing that I was posting to Facebook at 5 AM, messaged me to see if everything was ok. I’m really lucky to have friends like that.

Are they Sleep (Night) Terrors?

My husband, Mark, asked me if I thought that I suffered from “night terrors.” I had heard this term before, but today I did a little more research. According to the Mayo Clinic, “sleep terrors” are “episodes of screaming, intense fear and flailing while still asleep.” These occur more often in children, usually ranging in age from 4-12, but can occur with adults as well. They aren’t supposed to be dangerous, unless they cause a person to lose sleep often. Differing from nightmares, sleep terrors don’t wake up a person. I wonder if I would have awakened if my husband hadn’t woken me both of the past two times this has happened. Also signs include (mine have been noted):

  • Sit up in bed
  • Scream or shout
  • Kick and thrash
  • Sweat, breathe heavily and have a racing pulse
  • Be hard to awaken, but if awakened be confused
  • Be inconsolable
  • Stare wide-eyed
  • Get out of bed and run around the house
  • Engage in aggressive behavior (more common in adults)

As previously stated, they aren’t dangerous, but one should see a doctor if they:

  • Become more frequent
  • Routinely disrupt sleep or the sleep of other family members
  • Cause you or your child to fear going to sleep
  • Lead to dangerous behavior or injury
  • Appear to follow the same pattern each time
  • Persist beyond the teen years or begin in adulthood

Maybe I ought to seek professional help?

What are the underlying causes?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the following could be causes of this phenomenon:

  • Sleep deprivation and extreme tiredness
  • Stress
  • Fever (in children)
  • Sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings
  • Lights or noise
  • An overfull bladder

But other causes, like underlying problems that cause sleep disorders include:

  • Sleep-disordered breathing — a group of disorders characterized by abnormal breathing patterns during sleep, the most common of which is obstructive sleep apnea
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Migraines
  • Head injuries
  • Some medications

I face some of these problems already as part of my past or fibromyalgia, which independently of anything, can cause sleep disorders.

According to information on Fibro and sleep disorders, 80% of people who suffer from Fibro have a sleep deprivation disorder of the Delta sleep, or “deep sleep” phase in particular. Wikipedia’s entry on Night Terrors states that they typically occur during the first hours of stage 3-4 non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and tend to happen to people during periods of arousal from delta sleep. A study done about night terrors in adults showed that other psychiatric symptoms were prevalent in most patients experiencing night terrors.[17] There is some evidence of a link between adult night terrors and hypoglycemia, from which I do not suffer. Also mentioned was that in adults, night terrors can be symptomatic of neurological disease and can be further investigated through an MRI procedure.[21]

Fibro IS a neuro-muscular disorder, so I already knew not everything in my brain is AOK. I’ll save myself from the MRI and the cost. But in the meantime, I guess this means that until someone finds a cure for Fibromyalgia, I might have to deal with this for awhile.

JJJ 2016







What are the Odds?!

So right now, as of today, the Powerball lottery is up to $400 million dollars.  Is this a big deal to me? No, because I don’t waste my money on pointless hopes. There are terrible odds. It’s insane.

In fact, Time wrote an article about it. They included Ten Things that are more likely to occur than winning the Powerball…

Here are 10 things that are more likely to occur than winning the lottery:

1. Dying from an asteroid strike: 1 in 74,817,414.  Personally, I’m pretty happy that the odds are this bad. I wouldn’t like to see a life-ending event in my lifetime.

2. Getting killed by a terrorist act in the United States: 1 in 10,000,000. I’m old enough to remember 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. I’d rather not face either of these personally, although I know people who have.

3. Getting murdered during a trip to the Grand Canyon: 1 in 8,156,000. OK, well since I’m not planning to visit Arizona any time soon, I’m safe here.

4. Dying from chronic constipation: 1 in 2,215,900. Why wouldn’t you just take something? What causes it to be chronic?  And this coming from someone who suffers from IBS…

5. Becoming a movie star: 1 in 1,505,000. I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

6. Getting struck by lightning: 1 in 1,101,000. I actually know someone this has happened to.  I tease him about it all the time.

7. Dying from a hornet, wasp or bee sting: 1 in 79,842. Unless I am stung multiple times like Macaulay Culkin’s  character in My Girl, I doubt that I’m in much danger here.

8. Bowling a 300 game: 1 in 11,500. Oh. Yes. This is the one. I used to bowl in a league when I was a child. My highest game?  247. Bowling a 300 game could happen.

9. Being the same height actor Hugh Jackman, who is 6-foot-2: 1 in 23.3. I’m 36, and 5’8.5″ tall. I would reckon that I’m finished growing.

10. Becoming disabled, disfigured or killed by a parasite: 1 in 7.2. Sure. What a way to go.  You can’t even face it because it’s so small. Bastards.

So what’s the point of all of this?  Save your money for something more worthwhile…like being able to afford that Lamborghini you’ve always wanted. Chances are, you’ll be able to afford one before you win the Powerball.

.JJJ 2016



Get started!

JJJ 2016

I don’t want to do this out of some trite reason like a New Year’s resolution, but beginning with #JusJoJan, I would like to pledge to start writing more.

Like all writers, I suffer from a low self-esteem concerning my writing. I don’t want people to read what I’ve written and think to themselves how pointless or horrible it was. I’m going to do my best to get over that.

With the current course I’m taking towards my Masters in English and Creative Writing, called The Editor, I am learning not only how to self-edit my work but how to write better. Not too many of my courses covered actually writing. We learned more about the history of other people writing. I want to get INTO the writing.

So what’s stopping me? School, kids, family, and other priorities take my time first. At this point, I need to just tell everyone in my life that I need to buckle down and get going. Even if it’s blog posts to begin with, culminating into a novel, we all have to start somewhere.

So it begins…

Just Jot It January 2016 Rules

I will be taking part in this, to the best of my ability, while I’m also taking a Masters course called, The Editor.

Here are the rules for JusJoJan:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list) counts as a “Jot.” If it makes it to WordPress that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. If you write a JusJoJan post on your blog, you can ping it back either to my daily JusJoJan post or here, to make sure everyone participating knows where to find it. To ping back, just copy the URL from this post or the daily post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want…

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As Masha drove north on I-35 out of San Antonio for the last time, her mind was on one thing: Chris. She wasn’t thinking about the traffic or the 20-hour trip to Nebraska to see friends on which she had just embarked. Her mind was locked on him and every detail of him that she could remember.

What started out as a professional relationship created out of necessity ended as one of the most intense relationships Masha had ever known. The connection between the two of them was more than words could describe. There was a power that surged between them; a natural attraction that had a stronger pull than gravity, and she wasn’t sure she would ever feel that with anyone again.

The first correspondence with Chris occurred because they were both members of the Air Force in the same job field.  Chris was nearing the end of his training, and Masha had signed up to be a “sponsor” for an Airman relocating to her squadron. Before he relocated to San Antonio, they had corresponded via email several times and spoke on the phone once. When he finally arrived, he wasn’t anything like how she had pictured him.  Standing six feet tall, with blond hair and deep blue eyes, he resembled a certain boy wizard, but with different characteristics.

Masha chuckled, thinking of the exact moment she realized this resemblance. She smiled and shook her head.

Over the next few months, they became movie buddies. They’d frequently do movie marathons at the “Dollar Theater.” They’d grab a meal at a restaurant before or after the theater.  If you didn’t know better, you’d swear they were dating.  However, Masha was already with someone; someone she would marry and with whom she would have a child.  Her marriage didn’t last long, but her friendship with Chris lasted, and each time they saw each other, the sexual tension grew.

One night while seeing “40-Year-Old Virgin,” Masha asked Chris if that would be him in several years, knowing that he had chosen to wait to have sex.  He floored her with his reply: that wasn’t him now.  He’d been with a woman and never told Masha. Slightly hurt, she brushed those emotion aside and concentrated on what he’d just said. He was no longer waiting… Her heart started pumping faster than normal. After the movie, they went back to her house to watch a DVD and only saw the first 10 minutes.  That was the first time they were together.

Her divorce had been final for about a month and unlike many of her friends who divorced, she didn’t run out and start dating as soon as she and her husband were separated. So when she and Chris started dating, it was especially exciting for her.  They’d still go out to movies and dinner, but they also stayed in, having a very healthy sexual relationship. She’d even nicknamed him, Dorogoy, meaning “my dear” or “my darling,” in Russian. Soon, however, Chris started acting strange.

He started to distance himself from her. Months earlier, Masha had informed him that she would soon be relocating to the east coast to retrain.  They knew when they started dating that their relationship would end as quickly as it began, but they proceeded anyway. Masha often thought, “Carpe Diem,” and made the most of their time together. However, after six weeks, he ended their relationship, stating that he needed to be with her or not, and couldn’t do the gray area in between. He drove the nail farther into her heart by announcing that he’d met someone else, Amy, and they had gone on a few dates.

The last month that she was at their base went by in a blur. This break-up hurt her more than the divorce from her husband, and considering he had broken her trust and cheated on her, that was saying a lot. She saw Chris once after that, at work, and Masha could barely look at him because she knew if she did for too long, it would bring her to tears. Luckily, they had no interaction and she was spared.

Masha passed a car, mindlessly, listening to the music. She thought about the previous night and shivered.

It was her last night in town, and she planned a “going away” dinner at one of her favorite restaurants. Her mother flew into town and took her daughter back to the east coast via plane. Her friend, Angela, had flown in to drive with her across the country and another friend, Josh, visited from out of state. She had invited several other friends to the meal, including Chris without high hopes of seeing him. While Masha and her friends were waiting for a table, he arrived. Masha made sure that he sat next to her at the table.

Throughout the meal, there was a significant amount of flirting, and Chris even brushed her leg with his hand under the table. Confused but elated, Masha tried not to react. The meal was a success and before she knew it, the dinner was finished, the check had come, and it was time to leave. She didn’t want Chris to leave her life yet, so she invited him back to the hotel room where she, Angela, and Josh were staying, to have a beer with them before he had to go to work that night. He accepted.

At the hotel, they all watched television; Angela and Josh on one bed, and Masha and Chris on another. Masha found herself rubbing Chris’s shoulders and scratching his back with the manicured nails that she specially had done for her going away dinner and trip.  Chris made a flirtatious comment that it was a shame that Masha hadn’t had them done like that in the past, turning around and giving her a look, THAT look, HIS look.

Masha turned to Angela and demanded, “Get out.”

Angela said, “What?!”

“Get. Out. Take my keys, take my car, leave, and don’t come back until after…” she looked at her watch, “10:45. Please!”

The pair vacated the room, leaving Chris and Masha alone. “What about Amy?” Masha asked.

“She’ll never know.”

Masha didn’t like being “the other woman” but reasoned that he was hers first, and shrugged. At that moment, everything stopped as they came together in a magnetic embrace, with a kiss that couldn’t even compare to the one described at the end of The Princess Bride. They hastily stripped out of their clothes, entwining their bodies, not bothering to slide under the covers. The heat between the two kept them warm enough. As Chris slid himself into Masha, she shuddered, and she felt whole again. She was finally getting the closure she needed. They made the most of their last 20 minutes together and when he walked out of her life, she felt better about leaving.

“God! Stop grinning like an idiot,” Angela snapped, bringing Masha back to the present. “You’re not the only one who got laid last night.”

The two of them laughed together as they drove away from the men who gave them each unforgettable memories.

I’m the Worst

Though there are many reasons why the television sitcom, Friends, is grossly outdated, there are still many topics and themes that can still be applied to life in 2015. For example, I was watching an episode earlier this week and Chandler, who was dating Monica at this point in the series, found out just how bad she was at giving massages. Because he was afraid to tell her the truth for fear of hurting her feelings, Chandler never told her and Monica didn’t find out until Phoebe told her so. Monica, an extremely competitive person, was very upset because she likes to be the best at everything, so Chandler pointed out to her that she was the best at giving the worst massages. Problem solved.

This got me thinking, “What am I the worst at?” As victims of retail marketing, we concentrate on everything being bigger, better, faster, and/or lighter these days and so to really embrace the level at which we suck at something might be fairly refreshing. This was an amusing and deep exercise for me, because I am very competitive and strive for the highest level of excellence, like Monica. I’ve come up with a few ideas though, as to how I suck.

For example, I may just be the worst morning person ever.  I am terrible at getting up in the morning. I hate alarm clocks and I despise having to get out of bed when I’m still tired. As someone with Fibromyalgia who faces fatigue daily, I’m tired a lot. How tired? Imagine you have the flu, think of the fatigue that cripples you and makes you want to spend the day on the couch. Got it? Multiply it by five. Now you know what it’s like to live with the fatigue of Fibro. So, getting out of bed while I’m still tired puts me in a bad mood from the moment I get up, which usually occurs in the afternoon.

You see, another thing that I’m terrible at is maintaining a proper sleep schedule. Even before the insomnia (ironically associated with Fibro) came calling, I was always a night owl. There’s something about the peace and quiet that I revel in while my husband and kids are in bed. The animal residents of the house are typically calmer too, notwithstanding the lurking that my cats do in the hours of darkness. Even now, as I write this, it is evening, and I feel I can concentrate more without the harsh light of day streaming in the windows of my office.

Unless it’s something that I’m really excited to finish, I am the worst at completing tasks. Even so, I will pick up new hobbies and be over the moon about them, running to whatever store or Super-store that carries the materials necessary, buy EVERYTHING I might need to accomplish unnamed hobby, and begin the project with zeal.  However, in time, life gets in the way and I don’t have the energy to push myself to continue.  There are dusty, unfinished cross-stitching projects in the basement, scarves half-knitted lying forgotten in a bag in the corner, and a crochet book and hooks still in the plastic casing that enclosed them when I bought them. I have started Paint-by-Number pieces, because I also completely suck at painting, and can never complete them because even when I go back to them after months of inactivity, I cannot locate the little containers of paint with the correct corresponding numbers.

Painting is not the only thing that I fail at in the art world. I am absolutely lousy at drawing or sketching, painting, or anything that requires my hands to take a picture from my mind and convert it onto some willing medium. Sure, I can paint the hell out of a wall or some furniture, but that doesn’t take very much imagination. If you want me to paint some happy little trees next to a mountain, you’ll be waiting forever if you want it to look nice.

Lately, one task I find that I am constantly fighting a losing battle with is my journey to lose weight. I take handfuls of medication every day for my Fibro, and many of them contribute to weight gain. Eating a better diet, moving more, and cutting out all sweets doesn’t do the trick. My body hates me. Medications hate my body.  I am currently into my second month of a three month long, doctor-monitored weight loss program and have seen little success.  The first week, I lost about 10 pounds. Great! What a hell of a start, right? No. The second week, I gained back a pound, followed by the third and fourth week, where I gained back two and three pounds, respectively. I stand at a total of four pounds lost in a month.  I have followed the low-carb, low-fat diet and I am going crazy, and why? Because there’s no other way.

Although I’ve tried an succeeded at many sports in my life, like soccer, swimming, field hockey, softball, and even archery, which I can do left- or right-handed, I am terrible at basketball. I can dribble, but not well. I can pass, but not far. I can shoot…no, no I can’t. I can’t make a free throw, I can’t make a lay-up, and I certainly can’t make a three-point-shot to save my life. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m terrible at it, or because I don’t think much of it as a sport, but regardless of the feeling of excitement that March Madness injects into nearly every other sports fan in this country, I’m more than satisfied to watch hockey, wondering who will clinch the last available slots in the playoffs.

My husband tells me I’m intolerant of people, but I will offer this caveat: I’m only intolerant of people who are extremely different than me. Of course this doesn’t apply to people who are a different race, religion, or even have a different sexual preference than me. I accept them with no problem and no hatred. Instead, the people who get on my nerves are the ones who for example, don’t signal their blinkers when turning or changing lanes, the people who don’t use proper grammar, the people who use religion as an excuse to treat others badly, and people who, while harming no one, don’t make any sense to me.  Southerners, cheerleaders, people who wear camouflage clothing when they aren’t hunting or in the military, people who are inappropriately dressed, whether it’s wearing pajamas or slippers to the store, or a mini-skirt and heels to an amusement park: every last one of these people work on my nerves, and I don’t even know them. They could be fine, wonderful people, but I judge them, most of the time as idiots, and have a hard time forgiving and forgetting their transgressions.

Most people find it difficult to list their talents or to compliment themselves at job interviews or on resumes, but I find it tougher to list those things where I not only need improvement, but that I’m terrible at doing. However, just thinking about those things, trying to find all the ways in which I am horrible, I find that I am satisfied with where I excel, what I do well, and how I’m better than you.

My anger: It’s time to “Let it Go”

In an attempt to improve myself, both as a person and in the realm of mental heath (which affects my physical health), I am taking a vow and making an effort, for lack of better words, to “Let it Go.”  Now, while my previous life mantra had been “Let it BE,” I can no longer sit idly by while I internally injure myself. It’s not healthy.

For my entire life, I have worked with the theory that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all. Sure, that’s great, for other people, but how does it help me?  It doesn’t. By not stating my feelings, I end up internalizing so much of it, that the stress and anger turn inward and it becomes unhealthy.  This was how I handled bullying, anger, stress, or conflict of any kind. I would avoid conflict as much as possible, but trying to go through life by hiding from conflict is impossible. Turning the other cheek doesn’t always work.  One cannot always put up with getting crapped on by others.

I was bullied by the “mean girls” in the grade ahead of me; I was verbally and emotionally abused by my High School field hockey and softball coach; I was sexually taken advantage of many times throughout my life; I served in the military, where one cannot simply drop a witty retort or show any sign of subordination when being bossed around, even by idiots; I have been lied to and cheated on by a spouse; I have put up with more than my share of stress and anger due to my current spouse’s ex-wife.  I have quite piled-up amount of anger inside, and it’s time for it to come out.

Now, how will this be accomplished?  By writing, of course. While therapeutic, writing about everything gives me practice on what I want to do most in life: Become a writer. So, I’ll do both. Release the built-up anger, frustration and stress by intelligently speaking my mind and writing at the same time. Many therapists recommend keeping a journal for just this reason: when you get it down on paper, it’s beneficial to your mental health.

So, over the next several days to weeks, I’ll be discussing several of the aforementioned topics, by writing about them. Some already planned posts include: Religion and Politics on Social Media; Improve Your Children, Improve the World; Open Letters to the following–my rapists, the mean girls, and my coach.

I hope you enjoy the ride with me.

An Open Letter of Love to Black Students: #BlackLivesMatter

Black Space

IMG_5465 Black students and professors, Beaumont Tower, Michigan State University, December 6, 2014. photo by Darryl Quinton Evans

We are Black professors.

We are daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, godchildren, grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, and mothers.

We’re writing to tell you we see you and hear you.

We know the stories of dolls hanging by nooses, nigger written on dry erase boards and walls, stories of nigger said casually at parties by White students too drunk to know their own names but who know their place well enough to know nothing will happen if they call you out your name, stories of nigger said stone sober, stories of them calling you nigger using every other word except what they really mean to call you, stories of you having to explain your experience in classrooms—your language, your dress, your hair, your music, your skin—yourself, of you having to fight for all…

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The enemy within…

The enemy within….By The Burned Hande

When there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.  I want you to think about that for a moment.  It has taken me two days to process the death of Robin Williams for many reasons.  Being happy all the time takes a lot of work if your smile doesn’t quite reach your eyes.  I noticed that about him some time ago, but thought he had control of his demons.  I feel like we have failed him in some way.  But this isn’t about him entirely.  It’s about us.  All of us.

You ask your friend how they are doing, and they reply with their usual “I’m fine”, but you see they are not.  What do you do?  Dig deeper.  Make sure they are okay?  Reach out.  Have the discussion.  The one no one wants to admit they need to have with their friend.  Yes, have it.  Stop being scared.  The truth is, if you think you need to talk about it, you probably do.  The enemy is already within.  It’s time to draw it out into the light.

When you voice these fears, when you let people know, hey, sometimes, I’m not really okay.  I’m DEPRESSED.  There I said it.  I look okay on the outside, but at some point, when I wasn’t paying attention, after 16 years or so of fighting it back, it crept in.  I allowed it to come in.  I know when it happened.  I know why it happened.  I even know the day I realized what triggered it.  It is fueled by pain.  My pain.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t force it back.  I can and I will.

This is what we have to do for our friends.  We have to say, hey, I get this.  We have to be honest with ourselves and not pretend you don’t see it in their eyes.  Because you do.  You know you do.  I have had several VERY open conversations lately about triggers for people.  This lets your friends know you see it and acknowledge their fight.  Do they need back up?  Reinforcements??  The cavalry???  A FLAME THROWER to beat back the darkness????  A can of whoop ass perhaps?  Whatever you need, let me know.  We are in this together.

Sacrifice: the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.

If you do one thing, one thing, it’s listen to this.  Really take it in. 

Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did.

Excellent. Just excellent. 🙂

Pearls Before Swine

Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning.

He is legendary. He is reclusive. And like Bigfoot, there is really only one photo of him in existence. 

Few in the cartooning world have ever spoken to him. Even fewer have ever met him.

In fact, legend has it that when Steven Spielberg called to see if he wanted to make a movie, Bill wouldn’t even take the call.

So it was with little hope of success that I set out to try and meet him last April.

I was traveling through Cleveland on a book tour, and I knew that he lived somewhere in the area. I also knew that he was working with Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis on a book about Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson’s art.

So I took a shot and wrote to Nick. And Nick in turn wrote to Watterson.

And the meeting…

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