FWF Kellie Elmore

Source: We Heart It

Source: We Heart It

You suddenly find yourself standing alone on an unknown sidewalk in an unknown place. It’s night and snowing and the only other person around is walking away from you….

Everything looks different at night, doesn’t it? I turned to watch the back of Julia’s slim body walk away from me, in the snow one last time. For a second I thought I would run after her, tell her I would change. But, I had gone down this road too many times, that even I didn’t believe my own shit now.

I liked to drink, so what? We all drank, mostly vodka, sometimes beer, I did cocaine a couple of times.  Julia and I lived together in our first floor apartment in Soho. Those were good times, we had just graduated from NYU, we both worked to pay the rent and we hung out with a bunch of friends. Sometimes our parents would write checks to help us out with the rent or just to be nice which was awesome for us.

We would have brunch on Sundays in the Village with our friends, mimosas were free and I knew the bartender, he and I were buddies, so he always gave me an extra shot or two of vodka in mine. It felt good to be with my girlfriend, out on Sundays in the summer sun. This was Julia’s idea of perfection, she looked forward to it every week, I loved that she looked so happy.

I don’t know if she suspected that I drank more than what she saw but she did give me a few curious looks now and then. Since she didn’t ask me about it, I chose not to tell her. I wasn’t lying really. Our fights were always about me drinking and getting high anyway, I didn’t want to start something else. No way.

We both drank, maybe me a little more, fine, a lot more and we got high once in a while, listened to music. I don’t even know when things started to change, I can’t remember although Julia could probably remember ever damn fucking situation that she seemed to bring up and throw in my face as often as she could. “Of course you can’t remember, she would scream at me you were totally doped up, drunk and passed out.”

She was right but I would never admit to it. I’m an angry drunk and I took my anger out on her, I threw things, broke things, I crashed her light green plates across the apartment but I never laid a hand on her. Almost came close, twice. Real close but I didn’t, she had gone but she had always come back after a couple of days. Always.

This time, was different. She gave me an ultimatum, choose a treatment program or her. I told her I would try, really try but this time but I saw golden sparks coming out of her deep brown eyes. She kept standing and wouldn’t sit down even when I tried to pull her close to me. When I tried to kiss her she moved away. “C’mon baby, I love you, don’t you know that?” I asked. She said she knew “but it wasn’t enough anymore.” I just kept shaking my head  and mumbling “no, can’t do, no, no, no, not for you, no, no, no.” She turned around and abruptly left my apartment slamming the door. The noise hurt my ears.

Since when is love not enough? I knew she loved me too. For a second I thought I would run after her but instead I lit up a joint, poured myself  a stiff drink, a tall vodka on ice. After a while, I didn’t care that she was gone, I was probably better off. She was just a nuisance anyway, always bugging me to get clean.

I didn’t need her anymore. I didn’t need anyone. I was happy just the way I was. Damn straight, I refilled my glass of vodka to the top.

Enhanced by Zemanta

We Give Thanks For Many Different Things

Cake made of chocolate mousse.

Cake made of chocolate mousse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am the meanest person on earth, or at least the most honest and outspoken but I give thanks that Thanksgiving is over. Yep, I said it. You can judge me all you want but holidays can be stressful. Family dynamics,  emotional baggage, demons from the past, they all get rattled and those emotions escape. They slip from your unconscious like slithering snakes darting out without your permission. Filters don’t work, the id, ego and superego are all in repair.

Families members regress, the dysfunctional aspects of relationships become unglued, it seems like anything negative that you can rein in for most of the year just gets ignited during holiday celebrations. Forgive me, don’t judge me. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way.

I used to be the person who loved holidays the most, it WAS my favorite time of year. I sang along with every song on the radio, happily. I loved to shop for hours getting just the perfect present for each member of my extended family. Now, I beg my kids to tell me what they want, preferably with a link online. I don’t feel like celebrating, when did I become Scrooge?

I’d rather appreciate my family as I do, every minute of every day instead of on one particular day.  All the work you have done to prep and prepare and cook and bake is finally here; by the time you sit down to eat, you are exhausted and then the meal is over in literally five minutes. Tops.

You take a breather and move to a different room, everyone moaning about how full their tummies are and the tension moves with you like invisible cloaks. The young “adult” children text, the older generation talks about  people who have died or are very sick  and all I want to do is change into my soft flannel polka dot pajama pants and tee-shirt and climb under my blankets and go to sleep.

However, the chocolate cake with the layers of lighter chocolate mousse winks at me and soon we go back to eat dessert. A lot of dessert. That incredibly delicious chocolate cake with edible sugar ornaments, my vegetarian daughter grins as she eats a sugar “turkey.” There is also apple cake, strawberry-rhubarb pie, chocolate rugelach, banana bread, apple pie and assorted cookies. I’m ashamed to say that the fabulous chocolate cake, with an ice-cold glass of milk cheers me up. I can see the women of Weight Watchers “past” shaking their heads at me, tsk- tsking all the way to the scales. Sorry leaders, I haven’t gained any weight, in fact I lost more weight.

My daughter drives her grandmother home, with a care package that will last her at least a week to finish, complete with forbidden dessert since she is a not-so-so-strict-diabetic, it’s a treat for her, one bite or two at a time. The fact that my sister and her family aren’t here was felt by all, it just seemed empty without them. I missed my sister and the “cousins” being together. My husband’s parents are coming tomorrow, does that make any sense to you? Fill me in if you can figure it out, I can’t.

I see myself going away for a few days this year or next. This time I will go someplace different to be alone, to have some space, to smile at the sun and do some thinking.  It’s my turn now. I’m tired,  physically and emotionally. I need to get a good night’s rest and maybe when I wake up tomorrow morning I will feel just more hopeful. I give thanks for my family, my friends, for the food on the table. I give thanks that the holiday is over and for my pretty polka dotted pajamas. I am grateful for the sleep that is sure to come quickly. Good night.

The Art Of Keeping Pancakes Warm

Pancakes

Pancakes (Photo credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton)

Emotions often overlap, sometimes they are hard to distinguish, or they are hard to separate, sometimes they coexist, they hold each others hand, their fingers intertwined. Sometimes there’s a base and if not resolved things pile on top of it like a stack of freshly made pancakes, each one giving off heat. The first pancake starts the flow of the heat which rises into the air. Soon, we add another pancake and then another to make a stack; each pancake produces heat adding heat to the bottom, the first  pancake, not taking heat away from it.

Usually its easy for me to figure out what I’m feeling, I generally pride myself on knowing how or what I feel, not that I think it’s a fabulous trait to have because many times it is overwhelming. Recently, In the past few weeks I seem to have lost that trait, I have absolutely no idea how I feel, I don’t feel anything strongly, hate, compassion, appreciation; I don’t feel anything at all. If I feel anything its emptiness in a very cool, detached way, like reading a book of a different culture that I have no interest in whatsoever. I feel like a different person, cool, calm, detached.

This is not me.

If I stayed like this my life would be a million times easier but somewhere, deep in the bottom of my soul, I know, that there is a catalyst waiting to happen, a word or a memory, that will make all my emotions come flooding back. For now, I’m probably resisting it and I can’t lie, it feels like a vacation. A dull, boring vacation in a zombie time zone but for a roller coaster woman like me, I’ll take it. I will jump in with gratitude In one split second because now, I don’t want to analyze it, think about it and most of all, deal with it. If this is a break from dealing with heavy things, I’m in, thank you very much.

We have all gone through love, hate, grief but now I feel numb. I choose numb now because numbness gets me through the days. I am not sobbing on the bed, my cheeks and eyes are not swollen and red, I’m taking a breather.  I know, soon enough, that dam will break and I will probably learn new information that I need to be ready for because once again, if I choose to hear the new information, my life will change forever.

For as long as it lasts, numb will be satisfactory. I know it’s not a steady job, just temporary, a respite from unhappiness and doubt but if happiness and knowledge elude me than I would be honored to take up residency. There’s also: Sad, Mad, Love, Grief, Hate, Happy, Sensitive, Unaware, Raw, Grieving, Disbelief, Guilt, Sorrow, Pain, Game, Delusional, etc….No person is just one thing. We are all complicated beings, we all make mistakes. We are faulty human beings so pick whichever traits you want or have, learn from mistakes and then move on. Do the best you can in the present. Don’t look to the past, don’t worry about the future, your destiny is here with you now, staring you in the face, the sweet smell of pancakes wafting in the air, warm amber-colored maple syrup poured from a white pitcher to enjoy on your pancakes while you contemplate. Treat yourselves well.

WRITE RAW: That’s the price of admission (no editing)

“I didn’t want to belon in their stupid club, I told you that, Mom, I said I didn’t want to but you didn’t listen. You never listen. I said NO. why did you have to push me and talk to others to get me in to a place I didn’t want to go in the first place. Why? To embarrass me as you usually do? No, don’t give met hat “I thought you would have a good time” I said I hated that place and you know it. You lied to me because I said I wanted to stay with Dad this summer. He said he might call, so he hasn’t yet, so what? There’s another week and a half, he could call by then. Why don’t you ever give him or me ghe benefit of the doubt?

Anyway, I’m not going there, no chance. So not. I am not going to that obnoxious club with those stupid girls that think the only thing more important than getting a tan is going into Abercrombie and buying 30 dollar tee shirts. Uh-uh, no way.Why are you saying I’m being unreasonable, you’re the one that is being unreasonable. Compromise? Fine, I’ll try it for a few days but that’s it. You can’t force me, I’m NOT being fresh, fine, ok, I’ll go and try to give it a chance but maybe I will hear from dad and then all bets are off. Deal?”

I went into my room and closed the door firmly, I was in enough trouble already for talking back to my mom and refusing to go to the swim club she enrolled me in. It;s not that I didn’t really want to go but I was so hoping I could stay with my dad in San Francisco like he promised this summer. I hated thinking he had broken another promise and that’s what I was really mad about. I brushed the tears away from eyes quickly, my spiky black-blue hair stood up and I muffled my sobs in an old bandana that my dad got me when I was  little. My parents divorced when I was 5. I’ve lerned never to expect anything from him but it still hurts, kinda.

He never called, not that day or even that week. When I called him he didn’t even remember what I was talking about. he was a big deal record producer and he was usually high as a kite so i tried not totake it personally but I was upset and i knew my mom could see it. We just didn’t talk about it. I decided to go to the swim club because I had literally nothing else to do, all my friends were supposedly there and sitting in the house for one more day with my mother and aunt was jsut not an option.

I didn’t even tell them I was going, just drove to the club, with my towel and some food and went in, they didn’t even check my pass, well, because they knew me and I guess my name was written down there. I sat with some of the cool kids that were there, they acrtually iinvited me to sit with them so I did. They were complaining about their summers so I told them about mine and my dad and they thought it was awesome that he was a record producer and all that.When the life guards weren’t around someone brought out a couple of joints and passed them around. I had never smoked them before but hey, I was bored nad my mother forced me to come here so I thought why not? She said she wnted me to come here, well I was smoking dope now, that’s the price of admission, as I lay ther stoned out of my head and lying back in the sun.

I went back every day, smoking every day, drinking beer too. My mom didn’t notice a think except my eyes were red and I told her it was from the chlorine. My friends and I hung our all day and night together, we got pretty trashed but it was something to do. I HAD wanted to go to San Francisco with my dad but I guess he was too busy for me, well, I don’t want to go there anymore. I’m happy here with my friends, smoking weed, every single day.

Going Crazy Fast

Crazy Gia
I want to drop, like a rag doll, on the wet-soaked grass, kick my arms and legs, up and down and scream. Holler. Curse. I want to have a tantrum worthy of an overtired three-year old child that has had too much sugar and not enough sleep and way too many unanswered demands. No inhibitions and no one, not even “The Nanny” could try to calm me down because I can’t be talked down today, no, not today.

Things are closing in on me and I’m having a meltdown and I feel like I’m going crazy. It started as soon as I woke up way too early this morning. My seventeen year old daughter slept her day off from school while I walked the dog, purchased my cherished coffee from Starbucks and tried to absorb Vitamin D, my head pointed towards the sun on an old, run down wooden bench. The world seemed tilted left, all too much to one side, off-balance, like a triangle gone awry, unsteady.

There are those days, now far too common, when the whole day and night feel off. This evening I had a scare, in front of my dog, when she was scratching herself viciously and I felt a lump in her fur and then I couldn’t find it again. How could I not find it again? I kept looking but I didn’t feel it or see it and she looked at me with those melting, trusting brown eyes. I was ashamed I couldn’t find it again and worried so I cried a little, gave her a cookie, nuzzled her neck and she was happy. I felt only a bit better but still not quite right. I’m worried about her so I will calm down and take her to the vet next week so he can calmly examine her.

My feelings scared me tonight.  I brought home a piece of shiny, honey drenched baklava from the diner so I can drown my sorrows in sweet syrup. Believe me, yes, I will resort to that low or that high, depending on the way you look at things. I will spare no expense to body or mind to make myself feel better tonight and to promise myself a better tomorrow. I know it doesn’t always work. It didn’t help at all, there are too many issues going on at once.

I have been stuck in this one room with the whole family for three months now and the walls are closing in on me. Our house is not ready to move back in yet but closer than before; maybe all the tension is starting to release now, now that it looks like the house may actually get fixed in real time.  Maybe I am starting to breath now instead of holding it in and the anger is starting t0 come out.

I want to sleep all the time, because right after my dreadful birthday in October the clock moves straight to here, the horrible time period: my deceased father’s birthday on the 13th 0f November straight through to Thanksgiving and Christmas, Chanukah and New Year’s Eve, the night he died and then New Year’s Day, my parent’s wedding anniversary. I kick it up a notch and remember January 5th, my grandmother’s birthday (my father’s mother) and the day we buried my father. Come January 6th, deep in the winter months I can start to breathe, that is until next year. But, as an insightful person and psychiatrist once said: ” I guess every November stinks for you.”

Genius.

Good-Bye 2010; I Won’t Miss You.

066 | 365 listless

Image by sweethardt via Flickr

I know it’s New Year’s Eve and I’m supposed to have some quirky, funny wrap up of the year we have almost left but I’m sorry, I just can’t do it. I can’t wrap up this last depressing year into a neatly wrapped Christmas present tied with a big, red sparkling bow. This last year has been horrible and I can’t wait to see it leave us alone and go away. I don’t care about the Times Square ball dropping and the countdown. Nothing says partying to me more than having two cups of non-alcoholic eggnog, a few Ghiradelli dark chocolate brownies, slipping into my monkey night-shirt and deeply sleeping through the transition of one year to the next.

I admit that I was never much of a party girl for New Year’s Eve before but I do have a legitimate reason not to feel festive these days. My dad died on New Year’s Eve ten years ago. I can’t remember what I had for lunch today but I can’t forget that my mom called me on the phone ten years ago at 10:20pm and told me bluntly “it’s over.” At first I really didn’t understand what she meant. I can’t forget the look of my eight -year- old son screaming “NOOOOO” and  the innocent look in my six-year-old daughter’s bright blue eyes. I remember my husband storming into the room as I started wailing and rocking back and forth, for a very long time, sobbing and holding on to myself and to him. The next thing I remember I was in the fetal position on the bed, moaning.

Mornings after that were the worst for me. I hated waking up each morning, knowing that something was terribly wrong and needing a minute to remember what it was. That in-between state of dreaming and awake was like cruel punishment.  I had a husband, two young children and a puppy that needed me, that saved me and I needed them even more.

In the last few weeks I have felt the best in my life and the worst. My heart has been open and trusting and giving and it has been crushed, cruelly like a sharp ice pick  through young, vulnerable skin. I can see the blood dripping on the beautiful untouched, glittering snow but I can’t believe it. I don’t know what’s real and what’s fake these days.

I’ve grown-up quite a bit this year and I have made amazing progress about boundaries with my extended family. I am no longer the public defender, I have stepped down from that role. I will only comment on what happens between me and another person and everyone else is on their own. For me, this is huge.

Once in a while you take a step forward and then you stumble backwards, sometimes falling straight down to the black ice and breaking bones, sometimes lucky enough to catch an extended, sturdy, warm hand and walk away. It’s all we can ask for. Hope, Trust, Friendship, Love and Health. This is my wish for you.

“Because I Am”

Black balloons

Image by stvno via Flickr

Tonight I am having a pity party for one; I am the guest of honor. You are welcome to join me but motivational speeches and happy clichés are not allowed. I’ve learned that the sun will probably not come out tomorrow, it will be cold, dark and windy just like the last few weeks. Some of my friends with chronic illnesses seem to be feeling the same way: Is it the weather?  Seasonal Affective Disorder? Pain and unhappiness? Other friends that don’t have chronic illnesses are also fed up and feeling down. I’m wallowing in self-pity and I am allowing myself to do so. Wallowing and venting are the main attractions in my self-imposed symposium.

1) Both my husband and I have been very discouraged because of the job market; he has been unemployed for a long time. He is always the best candidate, the one they love, the one they want. We get excited, euphoric even, and then the final news hits us like a tsunami: “We would love to have him but there is no funding approved for this job now” or “There’s a hiring freeze that just  started.” We plummet, like rapidly deflating black balloons.

2) I need to protect myself from future painful disappointments. While, in the past, I have tried to feel positive and hopeful,  I am now keeping my defenses up because it is too damn painful to feel excited and then let down over and over again.I am tired of feeling bad and blue and not having anything to look forward to. Yes, I have tried to be positive, I count my blessings and I list the things that I am grateful for: nothing works. A good friend of mine told me she was depressed last week and I asked her “why?”  “Because I am” she said. I now understand that completely.

4) Physically, I have no energy. I’ve been over-eating and sleeping way too much these past two weeks. I’m trying to sleep straight through to May but the chances of that are pretty slim. I stopped taking the autoimmune drug that was helping my energy level because it made my legs ache continuously and I wanted to rid myself of extra pain. This is what happens when I try to rid myself of drugs and toxins in my body. I end up asleep. I made the wrong decision.

5) The holiday season is not joyful for me. After my father died, the holiday spirit died with him. We go through the motions for the children. I’ve accepted this but each year after his birthday in November things start to go downhill fast, straight through to New Year’s Eve, the night he passed away. Why can’t I prepare myself? Why is it only familiar when it is happening again? Think of it as a long, a really long extended period of situational depression.

6) I’m having a default Thanksgiving in my house this year. My mom broke her wrist and I just couldn’t let her have it in her house. She is also depressed because of her broken bone and pain and having to be dependent on others, this affects me too. I feel bad for her. I can’t begin to talk about my self-involved sister, there is too much to say and at the same time, nothing to say. Thanksgiving is in one week, I have nothing prepared and I am both overwhelmed and underwhelmed.  I will rally for the holidays because I have to; it’s a necessity not a choice.

Let me tell you directly what I want:  Accept how I feel and allow me to have the emotions I do have. Don’t analyze, debate or criticize me. Try active listening. Help out during Thanksgiving and be kind to one another. I would truly be grateful if you could do just that.

Fat Fits

OUCH!  My pants are killing me and they are digging into my stomach and causing major red welts. WHO put them in the dryer for so long??! It is obvious that they shrank to a smaller size. Who hasn’t asked the very same question or said those very same words? When you are in your twenties or early thirties, five, even ten pounds are not that hard to lose. You skip some desserts, eat a few more salads with dressing on the side, you’re pretty much back to where you were. Not really a big deal although it probably seems like it when it happens. After all, you have nothing to compare it to. You can moan or groan and be a size 6 or 8 or 12 or 22 and still feel conspicuous. You can lie (as most of us have done) and say it’s “water weight,” “I’m bloated” or “just too much salt in that French onion soup (regardless of the mountain of gooey, stringy cheese on top).”  It’s all very plausible and they basically mean the very same thing. It’s not fun but it is fairly easy.

Now,  we are married and pregnant and you ARE eating for two! Thank goodness I had my children in my early thirties because now I hear that you are only supposed to gain about eight pounds for your entire pregnancy. Eight pounds? I probably gained that in between office visits when I was pregnant.  I didn’t crave pickles and ice cream much to my husband’s disappointment; he wanted me to wake him up in the middle of the night with cravings for chocolate ice cream with butterscotch syrup. I just wanted to sleep without peeing every hour on the hour.   With my son I craved Chinese food, French rolls from Dunkin’ Donuts with grape jelly (no butter) and bologna and orange American cheese sandwiches on white bread with butter; chocolate milk was the beverage of choice. After all, the baby and I needed calcium.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, a  mere twelve months after my son was born, we thought she would be Greek because all I ever wanted were Greek salads with extra feta cheese, all the time. It sounds healthy but it really wasn’t. The Italian (I know, right?) place I got it from gave giant-sized portions with about two pounds of salty feta cheese along with their deliciously creamy home-made dressing; extra dressing on the side, please.  It was a salad, and, in my befuddled brain, that meant healthy. It was also served with a lot of bread.  In addition, since I was pregnant in the summer, Carvel’s vanilla cones, dipped in multi-colored sprinkles were a must or extra thick, creamy French vanilla milkshakes to quell the nausea (if there was nausea), of course. Again, we needed even more calcium.  All that vanilla and my second child, my daughter, loves only chocolate. It figures.

Losing baby weight from two pregnancies in a row is a joke and besides, those pregnancy pants are so darn comfortable. Skip ahead a few years, okay, more than a few, and you’re fifty. You’ve gone through peri-menopause, menopause and post menopause and every single thing in and on  your body changes and you pretty much fall apart. The three pounds you used to be able to lose in two days? Gone.  You have gained weight by NOT changing your diet at all and you’ve developed a large kangaroo pouch for which there is no joey. Your fat is redistributed and your clothes don’t fit the same anymore. Your waist has all but (speaking of the butt, the butt reinvents itself and is its country), your hips take on Titanic proportions and you can’t even begin to describe your upper legs as thighs. They are more like battleships and the more you walk around, the more they shift and fight each other and no one ever wins; there are no survivors.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure things out and you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to put the pieces together; you are older now, middle- aged, middle- aged plus, or old and your body, in a sense, is breaking down. To put it clearly, after a certain age, you really do start falling apart.  I find this happening more to women than men but that could be because we just talk about it more. That is, women talk to women about these kinds of things ad nauseum.  This is not a discussion they are having with their boyfriends or lovers or G-d forbid, their husbands.  If we don’t speak about it, it must not be true.

The years go by, the numbers go up. You try to exercise but the numbers stay the same. If the numbers go up, it’s definitely muscle mass. It’s so damn cold outside how can we exercise? It is way too icy to walk and heaven forbid slip, you don’t want a broken ankle especially because your bones are more brittle now too.  You have the elliptical machine that you could use but with the foot/heel problems you have had your orthopedist strongly recommends you NOT use it because of the trauma to your already torn ligament. Of course there’s indoor swimming, which even if you had the ridiculous amount of money they charge at the gym, the thought of swimming indoors and going back outside to the freezing cold with wet hair is less than desirable. Don’t you get an instant cold that way? That could lead to the flu, swine, regular or all-purpose.

What can you do?  You either fight like hell and become a person who is relentless in starving and maintaining the lowest calorie account imaginable.  You can eat a moderate amount and not forsake all the things you love.  Or, you can eat as much as you want, when you want and just buy bigger clothes.  There are a few options in between and we can justify whichever one we want.  Basically,  fat is a relative thing. Health is a whole other article.  Do what’s right and what’s comfortable for you and don’t let anyone, ANYONE judge you. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t want to lose the extra ten or……if I easily could. But, the fact is, I’ve tried and I’ve tried again. Being 53 I just don’t care that much about what other people think of me. I know who I am and I’m the same woman inside no matter what the label says; let us be comfortable in our own skin, inside and out.