Smelling Change, Part 2 (2 weeks ago)

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, ...

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, folio 270 recto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A follow-up to “Smelling Change” where I was highly optimistic….

It was a long week or two that followed that one amazing day of innocence.

 

WHAT THE HELL WAS I  THINKING?

 

At least I thought things were going to change for the better.

I know, nice try. The thought of happiness and joy, like being enveloped in a soft pink cotton shawl didn’t work at all. Maybe it was a lot of bull—-. Maybe I was just in a really good, positive, affirming mood that day. I’ve tried so hard, you know I have, but I went from gratitude and perseverance to sadness, depression and disgust. Now, I’m plain fed up.

The fantasy of hope was delicious for a few days, like savoring a spoonful of a rich, vanilla bean ice cream twirling on your tongue, letting it melt and slowly swallowing. A tantalizing, sensual process. I lick my lips with the tip of my tongue.

 

Now?

I have lost all feelings. I’m in an empty, lonely place and that scares me more than any situational depression. I am a woman with great emotions, always, good or bad, high or low and now I feel like I am pressed in a corner, invisible, except for the dust bunnies that surround me. My husband will most likely vacuüm around me but not see. He prides himself on his vacuuming skills.

Worst of all, now I feel nothing. If you can feel numbness, that’s what I feel. Things haven’t been going well at all. I feel alone, not the “we’re in this together” support that usually holds us closer together. We may watch television together but he holds his cell phone in his hand playing games and not my hand.

Droid Apps Cell Phone

Droid Apps Cell Phone (Photo credit: GoodNCrazy)

This is the person who was my support system, my best friend in the world. Whoever is living in the same house now, I do not know. He’s a stranger to me. Yes, I am here, imperfect, with all my flaws and disabilities but I have raised our children and have done a great job of doing that. I need more in my life than emptiness, and sitting on my bed to eat alone. I have my dog who keeps me company, I enjoy that.

I feel sad when I write this, is that a good sign? I know all couples go through good and bad times. It’s not the very first time this has happened in 25 years but of course, it feels that way.

When my husband brought up my disability, Fibromyalgia, in a threatening/demeaning way, “when I get a job, things will be different because you are sick” what the HELL did he mean by that? AM I NOW supposed to apologize for my pain? Get down on my hands and knees, scrub the floors but not be able to get up?

That was insulting to me and to my Fibromyalgia sisters and brothers, something I will not accept.

EVER

 

underwater fibro fog (unfinished)-altered jour...

underwater fibro fogSigh,

We both need to work harder to communicate more clearly. Over and over again. Riding the waves, up and down, in and out; there are never new problems, just old problems recycled again and again.

The work is endless, the peaks and valleys are like that of an EKG. Everyone has problems, we go up, we go down like waves on the beach, we’ve been down together for a long time. Are we ever going to be able to get up? To rejoice? We, have lost all hope in the world, not in us, but in the world.

We are both under a lot of stress and have been for many months, we both realize that. But, we are on the same team and need to rally, once again to support each other. To keep each others hopes and dreams alive.

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FWF, Kellie Elmore- Image Prompt

Image Credit: We Heart It

The” haunted house” has always been in my neighborhood. When we were little we stayed away from it. When I became a teenager and my little sister, Dani, would annoy me I would tell her the ghosts from the haunted house would fly in our windows and take her if she wasn’t asleep. I thought it was funny, you know one of those older sister “things.”

When I was 15 I claimed that neglected house as my own. Eventually it became our crack house,but for the first few months it was our hang out. We’d go there every day, cutting Senior year’s “internship” program. We had a tight circle of five or six friends. We all brought drugs, I stole pills from my mother’s medicine cabinet, there was alcohol, weed, all of us brought food, Benny and Steve always had heroin, my best friend Jenny brought cocaine and chocolate chip cookies.

My parents had no idea of who I had become. All they did was fight with each other. It was pathetic how easy lying was. If you wanted to change your life, it was so simple.  Assholes. They didn’t even pay attention. My little sister played in her room, alone. She barely came out.

One night, at dinner, the tension between my parents was especially bad, thick like the humid rain forests, we had to study. Hard to breathe. I saw my  7-year-old sister sucking her thumb which she hadn’t done since she was 3. I was fed-up with their non-stop bickering but when I tried to say something both my parents would tersely say “not now Tess.”

I pushed my chair back from the table and left, telling them I had study group and they didn’t even question me about what class or where I was going, so I left. I headed to my real home, the crack house where I knew my friends were.


I sat on the floor next to Danny he lit up a joint and we shared a few beers. It felt so good. I tried to forget about mom and dad but it was hard. Danny said there was one thing that would help me forget all about it as we giggled together and he nuzzled into me and whispered in my ear “I have something special just for you.” He laughed and said “Baby. I promise you, it is the biggest high you will ever have, all your silly problems will melt away in a minute.” He showed me the heroin and the idea of escaping my miserable world was so tempting.”Since it’s your first time, I’ll even stay with you if you want.”

We kissed and I whispered “okay” in his ear. He looked so happy that I let him inject the heroin into my vein. First, from what I can remember, I felt amazing, lots of colors and sounds, I had no idea where I was but it was better than any place I had seen. I remember dancing to the music alone, smiling a lot.

Later on, I got paranoid and scared. I just remember screaming so loudly in my ear. Everywhere people were screaming and I couldn’t take all that noise, I cried from the pain, covered my ears with my hands but it did not go away. Hours later there was nobody left and the screaming remained. Apparently the screaming came from me.

I don’t know what happened after that, someone must have called the police because I just remember an ambulance coming and strapping me down. I screamed when I saw both my parents waiting at the hospital, holding hands? The nurse gave me a shot. I felt  asleep in seconds.

When I awakened I pretty much just felt stupid, only realizing then that my problems had just begun.I saw a glimpse of my little sister hiding behind the curtains. I tried to smile but she did not want anything to do with me. I didn’t blame her.

I really was sorry, I guess we all were. My parents decided we would all go to family therapy and they would go to couples counseling. I lived back at home and my relationship with my little sister got better, sometimes I even played with her in her room. The crack house had been gutted and cleared.

I was happy to see it go. More than happy.

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FWF Kellie Elmore: B Is For Bum

English: Three drug addicts seen smoking a hug...

English: Three drug addicts seen smoking a huge amount of crack cocaine, in a downtown eastside alley, in Vancouver BC Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“When you get into a tight place you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Bitches,” Anna growled underneath her breath, what the fuck do they know? These stupid clichéd words were written on a huge, dumb banner in bright red, thick letters right when you walked into the room. A bare room with folding chairs, a typical support group, she was there for what they called “Substance Abuse.” Yeah, you know, weed, coke, meth, snow, uppers and downers and whatever shit she could find to snort up her nose or inject into her spidery veins.

She had gone to court appointed meetings from jail, not like she had a choice, she had gotten busted, “possession of illegal drugs.” Big deal. She only had two more “meetings” to go to get her out of prison and then she would be free. These fools knew nothing. They didn’t even know that right here in the audience she was high.  Hopefully, if she was careful, she could score coke after the meeting but that was tricky.

What did these rich, entitled “group leaders” know about suffering and pain? They stood up there beaming, wearing their matching navy skirts and blazers and talking to us like we were a lower species. Oh sure, they said they had gone through the program too. Really? Maybe they used coke twice or three times at a party  and got busted or hooked and their CFO husbands had found out so they went to some private, fancy, swimming pool facility in a secluded area in the Berkshires or San Diego where it is warm.

They were probably in for  two weeks, paid the fine and out. Simple, easy, if you have money and a really good lawyer. That stupid banner was not for people like me, it was for people like them. Didn’t they get it? The world is divided into those who have and those who have not. My wicked step-mother is one of those kind of people, she lives in the land of entitlement, in a suburb in a big mansion, except there’s no room for her stepdaughter, you know, me the drug addict.

She and my daddy can have five martinis plus and smoke cigarettes but I’m not allowed to sleepover, damn hypocrites with their “own” children now. You know what? You don’t always learn when you are “in a tight place.” Got that? It’s not FOR everyone.  Me? I’ve been pushed into a lot of tight places in my life, gray, dusty, tiny, urine smelling corners and what did I learn? I learned to get out of that space and find another. That’s it. Some people like tiny spaces, especially those whose daddy don’t love them any more.

There you have it twinkle-toes. “Tides don’t always turn” and maybe I don’t want  this tide to turn. Face it, my daddy and I used to be so close, and now he doesn’t even talk to me. She made him like that, I know it. He doesn’t want anything to do with me now, the wicked witch of the north changed him and now I’m trash. So, you see that corner I’m in? Once I get out, I’m hitching a ride to NYC, to live in the streets with my fellow bums, to get drunk every single day with beer and cheap box wine and at night score drugs until I’m dead and gone. You think I want to be alive? Hell no.

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/harrietbee126390.html#CjQDWIeOXQhWKejR.99

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/harrietbee126390.html#CjQDWIeOXQhWKejR.99

I Don’t Care What It’s Called, (Mercury in Retrograde?) GO AWAY

enjoying the mercury retrograde yet?

enjoying the mercury retrograde yet? (Photo credit: andres musta)

I heard someone mutter to a friend ” no wonder this is happening it’s Mercury in Retrograde.” The friend sighed and nodded reassuringly. They knew what was going on, I didn’t. Oh, but I learned, I had no choice. All I knew was that my life and everyone else’s life was falling apart and their were weird vibes in the air, all around us. Doctors and medical visits, broken down communication, bad bosses, arguments, disappointments, and miscommunication just to name a few. I blame Mercury in Retrograde because otherwise I think a lot of people would be on serious amounts of tranquilizers right about now.

Yes, it just so happened when the sun slipped away into cold, angry-looking clouds and the wind picked up with fury and for the first time in a long time, everyone was cold. “It’s gonna be real cold tonight” people said on the streets or on-line in the grocery stores. Sigh, tell us something we don’t know and we are not aware of, I thought grumpy because that’s the mood I’m in and a lot of the people I know are in too.

I’m not talking about a bad day here and there, no. I’m talking about bad days that continue, over and over without a break. Bad news, sad news, news that makes you feel scared, anxious, about the people you love or like or your own family. Someone, somewhere has altered the dynamics just a touch and now it’s like everybody is saying the same thing that they should but it sounds different, like it has a different tone or expression meaning you need to look out for more carefully I doubt you’ll get much success.

It’s stress, over and over and different for all the different people in your life. Oh no, believe me it’s not just you, but its everyone in your circle so what you are talking about is everyone elses fear or their emotional and physical incapacitation. I can’t lean on her, she probably has issues of her own, I wouldn’t for a second, put my problems on my friend.

No, I’m keeping this one inside, inside where I can ruminate if I want to or need to and take every hour by the hour. I can worry about things or people in my circle of love but I know that won’t change anything all, it certainly won’t change the outcome. I feel we’re all being tested, sure, pile it on until we break, is that the game we are playing now? We have no choice but to play along but it seems to many people are in this game.

This game has to stop, soon, I hope. Let it fade and let still waters calm our minds, our souls. Let ease and comfort blanket anyone and everyone who is experiencing pain or discomfort or loneliness or ill-health or any physical or emotional pain. I feel it too. Please, let it be over soon  (earlier than November 10th please?) for you, for us and anyone you know who may need to hear this, please pass it along. Thank you.

Photo credit to above named photographer,Andres Musta

Written by LAF Publishing Inc.

Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore

House cat with a ball of yarn.

House cat with a ball of yarn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The air was thick with humidity, Emily hadn’t seen the sun in five straight days. To say she was going “stir-crazy” was the understatement of a lifetime. It was hard to breathe, harder to move. She was home with her teenage children, her husband worked long hours and while he used to call her nine times a day just to say hello, he had stopped calling altogether. She had signed up for a clay class but she just heard that it had been cancelled. Her volunteer work at the hospital had ended three weeks ago. She had nothing to do, nowhere to go and she was starting to feel bored, restless and just a little off-center.

She made dinner for the family, most of which was eaten in silence. The cat, Ivy, purred on the sofa, her head resting on a ball of blue yarn. Emily let out an audible sigh of envy, at least the cat was happy, she thought, at least someone was, she certainly wasn’t. What was it about this summer that seemed so different? She felt so closed in, none of her friends were around and there was nothing to do, no one to talk to. She wasn’t brave enough to fly someplace alone and even if she was, they couldn’t afford it but she knew it couldn’t go on like this, she needed to do something, soon.

She thought about it that week and slowly she came up with an idea, an idea that made her smile inwardly. She came up with a plan that involved everything she loved, didn’t cost a lot of money, gave her independence and a mini-vacation. She didn’t ask anyone’s permission, why should she? She had waited on her husband and family for years but one night she told them, not asked them, that she was going to be away for a few days, with her old college roommate. They barely even acknowledged what she said, they mumbled “ok” and  her son asked ” Who is going to cook us dinner?” was the only question asked by her son. You’ll figure it out, ” she said calmly, “Dad can give you extra money for pizza.”

The next morning, after everyone had left she packed her car, turned on the music, her music, on loud and headed to meet her old friend in Boston. She knew they were heading to the beach, which beach she wasn’t sure. She would stop at a motel or an Inn, whatever appealed to her on the way. There were no rules, no rules except for her to have fun and to do whatever made her happy. She had packed a few books, she had her radio and she felt peaceful. She was going to pick up Jane and then Jane would take over the driving. Leaving had made her happy, that was something to think about on its own.

They hugged tightly when they saw each other, it had been years since their last reunion. Jane took over the driving while Emily, now wearing her new sunglasses, put her arm and hand out the window in joyous rhythm to the music she loved. She tilted her head back, grinning, laughed happily and sang, loudly off-key.

Carry on Tuesday: When all is said and done

Let's Talk About Feelings

Let’s Talk About Feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Zoe’s Journal:

I need to find forgiveness in my heart. I know that’s the right thing to do; I just don’t know how to do it. How do you forgive people whose bond with you should be so natural, so instinctive? I don’t have the answers but I am trying to find them. I am trying to find them so that we can all live in peace. I think the psychologists call it “individuating;” when you separate from your parents and become your own person; believe me I don’t think my parents would call it the same thing.

I just want to protect myself from the past, I was strong enough now to be my own person and not take any of their old shit. I had figured out the dangerous mind games and I wanted no part of it. I had always been strong inside, my parents knew that about me, they were proud of that, until it seemed like I turned on them. I hadn’t; I just stopped putting up with all the bullshit. They couldn’t handle it. The more they tried to guilt me, the more I pushed back. They would immediately go to the speech where they were “all alone in the world” without their “only daughter.” I would be empathic but I would not cry and apologize and they missed that; they missed the part of me that they could hurt. Wound. Destroy. I don’t think any of it was intentional, well, of course some of it was. After they spewed a nasty string of malevolence they would not remember a word of what they said! How could they not remember what they had just said?  I was labeled “too sensitive.”

It took me a long time to understand the game they played, unwittingly, but I swore I would never fight with them again. Since they couldn’t express any feelings at the time they would hold something against me for weeks. Eventually, one day there would be a vitriolic, icy cold lecture of how I had changed. I would figure it out in time but it left me stunned, still hurt. However, I did not offer myself up as a sacrificial lamb; that was no longer my duty, those days were over.

When all was is said and done, what they really needed was attention, to feel wanted and needed and not dismissed. It was quite simple once I figured it out and I was more than willing to give it to both of them, on my terms. Once I did, they became nicer, happy for the attention and we seemed to get along better.

Sometimes, the things people say are irrelevant, I guess you need to go deeper and see what they are feeling. Not everyone wears their heart on their sleeve like I do. As I have said before, words don’t count, actions do. Since we were talking about forgiveness  there is another very important person I need to forgive.  Me. I need to forgive myself for all the grudges I have held, for all the hurt I have carried, for the blame I have caused and for all the tears I have shed. I was just a child, an abandoned child. I know I will never forget but I need to forgive myself and let go of the pain because true forgiveness really means setting our souls free, the greatest gift you can give yourself. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

Carry On Tuesday – I listen to the silence …. as you do also

Martini

Martini (Photo credit: ginsnob)

Dear Sam,

I listen to the silence in our conversation but are you aware it even exists? Even at the cocktail party for dear friends you are elusive yet most people would never guess that. The perfect martini, with one olive, fits comfortably in your hand as you take loud gulps. You don’t pause long enough in your own glaring monologue to wait a second or two for any type of pause in the conversation. You talk over people, especially me, your wife,  you long to shine and glisten in the spotlight but you don’t see me or hear me.

You live in a world of denial, a narrow focus with blinders. Like a poor, old horse in NYC tired and sick, having to drag tourists around Central Park, in the blistering heat. There is so much wrong with that, with you, my love. Still, you continue as if we were the same we were thirty years ago, newly married, and nothing could be farther than the truth.

Some might call us “strangers” which, in a way, we are. We are held together by artificial glue, the fake kind that smells of chemicals, a sickly, strong, sweet smell. The bond between us is just as artificial and unnatural but I’m not sure you even realize that.

There are unspoken words between our sentences; repressed feelings, deep down resentment. I don’t think we are happy anymore, dear. Let’s at least acknowledge it, shall we?

You seem to look right through me, even after many years of practiced conversations, your arm hung loosely around my peach cotton sweater set. I feel that you are really only taking up space in our relationship, that I could be cardboard cut- out or a figurine; you use me like a prop.

Our children are not really a big part of your life, certainly not as much as they are in mine but you were always that way. Nothing came before your needs, your wanton luxuries: the sailboat, the new car, all toys. I never needed those things but you said that you “deserved them.”

Now, you can have all the expensive toys you desire but you can’t have me and the children too. I am taking the children and we are leaving you. I don’t expect you’ll care all that much, except for appearances sake.

I’ve done all that I could, I’ve tried and tried. When I suggested marriage counseling you ignored me and you suggested a wide-screen television. I begged for both of us to go to therapy together, you said we didn’t need it. That was a mistake. All the time you were playing with your expensive toys, your computers, your new technical gadgets, your madly expensive convertible, you left me out and alone. You pretended that everything between us was fine, it wasn’t.

I am leaving you. I’m sorry if it comes as a surprise but it shouldn’t. I have been telling you this for a very long time.  You just never bothered to listen.

Technology's Impact on Families: Depends Who You Ask!

iPhone 4 Bumper + Universal Dock w/ DIY Adapter

According to my mother (my teenagers’ grandmother) you would think that society and civilization are quickly burning up with raging orange and red flames of fire because of two second text messages. That said, it is a new generation and technology obviously has changed interaction within families and in the general public.

In my generation we spent all our free time on the phone. I remember walking back and forth from the kitchen to the living room with the long, dirty, coiled, yellow stretchy phone cord to talk to my friends from school who I had just seen hours before. This was way before call-waiting too.

Then there was e-mail and even us parents could pretty much keep up with that as well as the older generation. But now? My children text obsessively on their multi-faceted phones and we have to force them to turn them off while we are eating (which sometimes they do and sometimes they pretend to do.) On a weekend away with the entire family our mother could not believe that the first thing her four grandchildren did was check their phones and Facebook. She was disgusted and distraught and my sister and I (and husbands) were used to it. Our mother took it as a personal affront.

Things change, people change, as parents we get used to things; we have no choice but it is helpful to set limits. The older generation think we have all lost our collective parental minds. In defense of my children they can keep up a great conversation at any time, they do well in school and we have adjusted. That’s what parenting is all about, you need to change with your children and with the times and set some boundaries. Is it easy? Not always. Will it make your children unable to have a reasonable conversation over a family dinner? No. Honestly, if I could figure out how to use one of those fancy phones I would own one myself. I have a simple, made for dummies phone and if I am lucky, I can actually call someone or pick up and scream “hello?” and hear a response. I consider that, for me, a success.

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The Awareness of Being

Stairs to Nowhere

Image by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

I am a chronic pain sufferer, and have been for the past four years. I consider myself lucky most of the time, comparing my pain threshold with those of my fellow sufferers. I know that pain-free is no longer an option, though I admit it took me some time to accept this.

I was on vacation last week with my family and we went to a small restaurant, up a flight of stairs. I gripped the hand rail on my right, yet I still couldn’t move. I reached my left arm to find the left hand rail and I tried to move. Nothing happened. This is how some people live all the time, this is a limitation, this is an awareness that made me think of other sufferers. People in wheel chairs, people with a disability, and less so, people like me. I remember that the steel handrails were cold, and I remember not being able to get up those stairs. Luckily, my husband gave me a push up and I made it up one uncomfortable step. It took a moment for me to get up another step and when I was finally up the six  steps, I was weary and tired, and every bone in my body hurt.

It was not attention I was seeking nor was it the awareness of myself feeling weak. I thought of other people who have much more pain than  have. I also felt bad for people who didn’t have a loving husband/partner to help them up from the rear. I understood, in those few minutes of time, what it felt like to be physically disabled but more aware of this disability for people who have to do this every time they think about taking a step.

I appreciated sitting down at the table though I felt a bit unsteady. I remembered to drink, a sweet refreshing fruit juice drink that lifted my spirits, and of course, my sugar intake.  I made it up those stairs all the while thinking of how I was going to get down. I had no choice in this situation, I knew I would have to do it and I did. I felt grateful for the awareness of my limitations in comparison to others. Those of us with chronic pain do not have a wheelchair to use for a clue to the outside world, or a cane to show others are limitations. We live in silent awareness and while we understand each other, it is hard for outsiders to understand. We are the invisible victims of pain, of suffering and only with communicating with other people, one by one will we get our message known.

Pain is pain, we all feel it, we all deal with it the best way we know how. In our hearts, we should acknowledge those with more pain, it doesn’t lessen our own pain, but it emphasizes our commitment for understanding and awareness and most importantly, our acceptance and empathy for others.