Loving The Ocean, Settling For A Lake?

Dear Fibromyalgia,

Another loss, another dream dashed, this one really hurts. All my life my dream was to live in a small house near the ocean. It was my fantasy, the one thing that I could think about when I felt a little down or when the Winter seemed unending.

Rainbow Waves

Rainbow Waves (Photo credit: The Uprooted Photographer)

Someday…I told myself, I will live in a beach house, and swim in the ocean. To me, the ocean is life, it is majestic, magical. It is the one source of pleasure I can count on, always.

Ever since I was a child my favorite activity would be to collect shells, to feel their shape between my fingers. What were the dominant colors? I used one as a “worry stone” others shaped like hearts I would give to my children. Another one with a little hole on top, I used as a necklace.

Seashell

Seashell (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn (back soon, sorry for not commenting))

When I was hot, I would drift into the ocean between the two green flags and submerge my whole body and head into the oncoming waves. I was not a timid swimmer. I loved to jump wave after wave, it was thrilling for a scaredy-cat like me. It was adventurous and bold for someone scared to take chances.

In the water I was brave, confident, and happy. It was hard to get me out of the water but when I came out, usually under protest, I was out only until my swimsuit was dry, and then I went back in. I never had the patience to lie in the sun just to get a tan. Never. If I was in the sun for more than three minutes, it was far too long.

The beach was MY place. My secret place. I can’t even allow myself to have the fantasy anymore which saddens me. I have no balance and no strength since I got Fibromyalgia, seven years ago. My life was stolen from me, little by little. The last time I went into the ocean was in Florida, three years ago, with my daughter, and I couldn’t get up out of the water. I kept getting thrown under, again and again until I couldn’t breathe.

Fibromyalgia Eye

Fibromyalgia Eye (Photo credit: Vinally2010)

I needed her to help me get up. It took several times.

I lost part of myself that day and every day since. I know now that it IS a progressive disease, I feel it. I know with time I have gotten worse; my dream will never come true.

Beautiful, Tranquil Water

Beautiful, Tranquil Water (Photo credit: BrotherMagneto)

If I ever get to live close to the water it will have to be a lake but that’s not nearly the same as the ocean, not even close. Dreams die, health fades, burdens multiply. We cannot do anything else but accept. Accepting graciously is one option. I’m not there yet.

So, Thanks Fibromyalgia, you not only messed with my body this time, you messed with my dreams and emotions too. Way to go.

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Plinky Prompt: Tell us about a time…

Thought bubble...

Thought bubble… (Photo credit: Al-fresco)

  • Tell us about a time you couldn’t quite get your words or images to express what you wanted to express. What do you think the barrier was? For bonus points, try again. See all answers
  • Express Yourself Or Don’t
  • I am usually a very emotional person and my instincts are generally spot on.I would say that would be true nine times out of ten. However, when I am overwhelmed AND feel conflicting emotions at the same time I don’t know how to express my feelings and I don’t even know what my feelings are. I feel totally disconnected. I pull away from the situation so I am no longer hurt or angry, sad or upset. I hide in a bubble of safety, thick enough to shield me from any painful feelings while the world goes on around me.I become detached, I float in the sky, safe in my bubble.

    I need a certain amount of time to process new information, it has to settle naturally and I don’t try to analyze it or question myself vigorously (though I used to when I was much younger.) I know that, with time and patience, it will resolve itself and when I am ready to hear it, the answer will be there for me to learn from it.
    It’s a pleasant feeling, it’s one that feels like floating above and around people, but it’s better than emotionally killing myself, torturing myself with angst and wreaking havoc with my life. It’s a temporary phase that lasts until all the emotions inside me have settled down and I can look at them with some logic and not the emotional upheaval that would roar and fight inside me like angry tigers.
    These feelings come up when I have heard something that is extremely hurtful or when I feel emotionally devastated. Then, the barrier comes up to protect me. When I am emotionally devastated, I go into this bubble of safety, not to run away, but to escape for those hours I need to understand without any outside distraction.
    It’s my way of trying to process new, hurtful information and absorbing the shock without completely falling apart. In time, I will learn from it when I am ready to take it all in.

  • All photo credits and rights to Al-Fresco

Simply, Jack

Newest Addition

Newest Addition (Photo credit: FrankGuido)

Days go by that seem ordinary, nothing really special seems to happen that you can remember. Maybe, we are just too tied up with our everyday lives to take a breath, and break down our day into moments, seconds, even. I try to do that but more often than not I forget and the days blur together like wet watercolor paintings. Once in a rare while something happens that makes you stop right in your tracks and hits you in the heart and stomach like a wonderful, joyous sucker punch. Yesterday, it was meeting Jack.

Even while I am writing this my eyes tear up and I honestly can’t explain why exactly. Is it that for once something good happened, some miracle answered? That the child I met was so beautiful, angelic, almost ethereal ? I was absolutely honored when I was introduced to her son, Jack. His lovely, pink-cheeked mother, looking exactly as she had years ago, introduced me and Jack held up his hand to shake mine. Something my 19 and 20-year-old children would never think about doing. Was I crying about the miracle of Jack or did it evoke memories of the miracle of my son, a junior in college and daughter, a sophomore in college to me? Each their own miracle and I do not say this lightly.

We had a rough time getting pregnant with our son, two and a half years of infertility treatments, shots, blood tests, ultra-sounds, medication, driving to the hospital at 5:30 am for my blood to be tested, for sonograms, back at night for more blood tests, shots. I did all of this in silence because back in the early nineties, no one talked about infertility. It was a shameful secret. My colleagues, boss, family and friends would make such hurtful comments and jokes all the time about “So, when  are you going to have a baby?” Grandparents were no different but finally we had to tell them; we thought they would be more sensitive but they weren’t. People say remarkably ignorant and cruel things even though that is not their intention. I’ve always watched my words to other people but this cemented it. When we conceived our son it was indeed a miracle. Our daughter, 21 months later, was again, another wonderful miracle. Just as I was about to call the doctor for treatments, I learned I was already pregnant! Now we are blessed with two kind, smart, wonderful young adults, it seems like just a minute ago that they were still young.

Jack’s mom is a kindergarten teacher who worked across the hall from both of my children’s kindergarten’s teacher. When I ran into her yesterday I knew exactly who she was. I am the type of person that never forgets a face. I, of course, thought she had no idea who I was but she stopped me, she remembered me and my name and my children. This time, I was the one who was shocked and incredibly touched. How amazing that she remembered me! How could that be? That was always my role.

Then there was Jack, beautiful, angelic, pale skinned cherub, Jack. I remember he had to fight to live, I think he was premature but I truly can’t remember the details. I just remember there was difficulty and when he was born, even though I didn’t know his mom directly I was euphoric. I was so thrilled that I ran to buy a present for her son to welcome him into the world. It didn’t matter if she knew who I was or not, I didn’t care. As someone known to be sensitive to other people, her joy was mine too.

Seeing her face yesterday was more beautiful than a sculpture, she glowed with happiness and with pride.  I was so touched by her happiness and by young Jack. I thought about it at night and obviously today too. Jack, maybe when you are older your mom will show you this but just know: that as much as everyone loves you know, you were loved by many people before you were even born. It’s like you had your own fan club waiting for you, every single day.  We crossed our fingers, we said our prayers because your mom is such a special and warm person we knew she deserved a boy exactly like you.

Dedicated to JP and Jack.

Photograh: credit to photographer

words and lyrics by John Lennon

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Me, First.

Lioness

Lioness (Photo credit: Crouchy69)

I need to give myself more time to trust people, I need to stop following just my emotions and balance myself instead of falling in love with people.  I AM a Libra after all. People need to prove themselves to me, slowly, before I trust them. No more eyes lighting up with a friendly smile, no more picking out a person and internally saying “I want HER to be my friend.” Nope, not gonna happen anymore.

I’m too old for this.  Stranger people are often more attracted to me, people with stories upon stories because I do like to help and I am a good listener.I am also the most gullible person alive because I believe in truth and have learned the hard way, several times, that many people are manipulative and NOT honest, not even a bit.  People sniff out that I am a good and loyal friend because I always get sucked in. I’m not doing that anymore. I’m too old to do that,

I need to take care of myself, finally. Me. I come first. Not some stranger on the Internet or the woman picking trash and me encouraging her to come to my house so she could take our cans. Of course, she could take our cans but that’s not really the point. I don’t have to become her to be nice to her, I don’t need to get wrapped up in her life to feel her pain. I do what I can do. I don’t need to borrow her sadness and take it on, we all have sadness in our lives, struggles. Being empathetic is good, taking on everyone’s pain as your own is not.

Of course I feel horrible for the family whose husband has cancer and yes, I donated money, not a lot, but the amount we could afford. I wrote them a note to offer help because that is something I can give but I can’t pretend that this family whom I have never met are my best friends. I don’t know them, I just know that someone’s husband and children’s daddy does not have long to live, for the mother and father and siblings who have to bury him. I am sad for that. For anyone facing that.

I mourned for the little girl who died of cancer who I knew really only from the internet. I became attached to her as many people did. I checked on her status as often as I could. I followed her photographs. There was one photograph that had a lasting impression on me, it looked like she was walking straight into heaven’s door, and she was still alive. Talia Castellano, I still think of you, you definitely have left your mark on the world and on my soul. That is not something I want to ever change.

But, I no longer want to be that quivering duck, hiding in the corner anticipating disaster before it presents itself, worrying before there is something t worry about. As an old friend used to say “Don’t meet worry half way.” No longer a duck, I am a lioness, strong, in control, protective of my loved ones, independent. A lioness, a strong woman, in nature. I have my family, I have my two soul sisters, Ash and Michelle, I have my close friends.

I need more bubble wrap, more of a shield to protect myself instead of always caring too much for others. It can’t continue. My friends know I will be there in a heartbeat, there is no doubt. I need to strengthen MY boundaries and tighten up some rules. Not for you, for me. I want to stay centered and make my life easier. Because, damn it, I deserve it. I am tired of being super sensitive and people, I am sure, are sick of it too. I need a thicker skin, so that annoyances, criticism, hurt feelings will roll off my back like oil and water. I want to be those little beads that form and separate and not get emotionally weighed down all the time. I’m not saying it will be easy or that I won’t get sucked back in sometimes but I am going to make a conscious effort to be aware of it. I need a filter from the outside world, a shield. This is my life too.

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Blue

Woman in Blue

Woman in Blue (Photo credit: thorinside)

She stands by the window at a safe distance and looks outside

She used to be somebody I knew very well,

but I don’t know who she is anymore.

Soul-mates, matched perfectly, shadows giggling together, joyful voices floating in the air, singing like angels

Now, she is questioning everything she thought was definite.

Her pale face lined by wrinkles and her red hair is limp, lifeless dragging on her shoulders.

Big blue eyes are downcast, dull.

They used to shine with excitement, sparkle like stars, fireworks when excited.

It didn’t take much to make her happy. Little things worked easily.

It’s as if my heart was cut out

in the middle of the night without warning.

I went to sleep with the soul within me,

my arms slipping comfortably around his neck,

somewhere in the cold night I felt pulled, scared and anxious,

ripped apart leaving the warm comfort I thought we had together.

I used to know who we were but now I don’t.

There was always a secret, she knew that, was hostility it?

Passive-aggressive behavior? Something else?

She did not want to tear her family apart for a couple of remarks in many years.

But, what about settling?

What about resigning yourself to a life that is just good enough,

Accepting that things won’t get better but will stay the same or worsen.

Is that enough to keep a relationship alive?

Her parents, dead and alive, her sister, why all this grief?

Does she hate them all now?

How do you get rid of a past that still plagues you?

There are so many questions now and no answers.

Time is not my friend, time is nobody’s friend.

I am sad, miserable, drenched in uncertainty,

I look out the window and see my reflection.

I’m Cranky, No, I’m Sad, Whatever…..

Cottage in the Woods with Bluebonnets

Cottage in the Woods with Bluebonnets (Photo credit: Bill Gracey)

I want to slap people, well, not really.  I’m disappointed in people: in general and specifically and now there is nobody I want to be around except my auburn colored dog, Lexi.  It’s not as if anyone has done something horrendous but it seems a lot of people (okay, women my age) are going through a lot of “something-something” (as my friend Barbara would say) at the same time. Kind of a later mid-life crisis for women, different from when we turned 30 or even 40. This is worse, this is mid-life crisis on steroids or acid, maybe both.

Yup, I said it. First I just felt cranky and after a bit, I felt lonely. All along I thought those words were antonyms when in fact, they feel like synonyms today, they are definitely connected. I could blame these moods on a lot of things, certainly the beastly weather. This unbearable heat and humidity for the last week has everybody miserable but I think I would be doing myself a disservice. I’m not sure that answer would be entirely honest. It definitely has an impact on how I feel physically, Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups, IBS, not sleeping well, feeling out of sorts, all are true, but there’s definitely an emotional component as well.

I want to crawl and hide someplace where no one can find me. I want to be on a path, in the woods where I can find my peace, in Nature where nobody will hurt me, I trust animals, I don’t trust people; not anyone. Everyone’s history has its secrets, its shame, hurt, heartbreak. In nature there is innocence, love, and peacefulness. I want to move to a little red cottage in the woods somewhere where nobody can hurt me. Again.

Today is July 4th and here is one time where I want to be social and go to a barbecue. The one family who intimated they wanted us to come over apparently forgot, changed their minds or life got in their way. We’re not invited to anyone’s barbecue basically because every year my husband and I host the barbecue ( Thanksgiving,  parties etc). I’m tired of being taken advantage of and being the one that hosts the numerous meals for friends and my family. I’m right here, I’m not invisible, look at me. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it could be a pizza on paper plates, it’s the effort and the manners and the feeling of being wanted. I’m both cranky and and lonely, it’s a tough combination.

I told everyone at the last big gathering that “I’m now on strike.” So while I am fantasizing about a Hebrew National hot dog, sizzling on the grill, plumped to perfection and lying in a soft bun covered with mustard, I will be here trying to forget other people’s broken promises and talking myself down from being way too sensitive. Everything is alright, I have to make it alright, I have no choice.

There is only one thing that is a guaranteed fix. Works every time. (No, NOT drugs or alcohol ) The one movie I love more than life itself: The Sound Of Music. It fixes me, I can’t resist singing every song (knowing every word to every song) and relaxing while watching it. So, today while you are eating S’mores and drinking beer, sweating in the horrendous heat and humidity, I’ll be here, on my bed, in air-conditioned splendor singing along with Maria and the Von Trapp Family Singers with my dog Lexi, on my lap.

Decluttering My Life

Clutter

Clutter (Photo credit: marlana)

First, I thought I might be a hoarder, and believe me I am in no way making a joke out of this. I read that hoarding starts with keeping sentimental things. If that’s how it starts then I am in big, big trouble. If I look around my house, though, the clutter is really just in my bedroom and my (once) big walk-in  closet. You can’t walk into it anymore. I ‘m scared, truly scared, as I look around my bedroom filled with Diet Snapple bottles and magazines, candles, plates, lavender moisturizing creams, piles of paper… I need to breathe, I  need to breathe.  Other rooms in the house “look” fine, for example: the living room but my room and my closet are humiliating and filled with junk. Boxes and boxes, laundry baskets and laundry baskets filled with everything but laundry.

If I declutter my house, will my head and heart be clearer too?

Lately, I have misplaced things too. My keys, my sunglasses, my plane ticket,  lipstick, my book, my jacket. Also, recently I have been very stressed out, emotionally. This is MORE than my nemesis Fibro Fog from Fibromyalagia. I misplace one thing after another, panicking and starting the cycle over again. There has to be a connection here I’m trying to slow myself down, so far it isn’t working. It’s not amusing when I “lose” something, my daughter helps me find it, ( I always find things,) I misplace things rapidly. I need to slow down.

I can’t deal with anything when I am feeling so overwhelmed. I need to start cleaning and organizing now, actually yesterday. I feel the stress in my stomach. I always feel stress first in my stomach, is that just me or does it happen to everyone? The tender points in my neck and shoulders are all raw, tap me lightly on a tender point and I will let out a blood-curdling scream. Last week the edge of my husband’s sleeve brushed against me and my scream was so awful and so loud that it scared both of us. Damn disease.

Next morning: I can breathe a little easier today, I really did work myself into a panic but once I started organizing my room and recycling a lot of papers and magazines I felt better. There’s still a lot on my mind, I don’t feel settled yet, but even if I make a tiny bit of progress it will make me fell more in control. Of everything. I will need to work things out, in my head and in my heart. I will do all that while I am cleaning, because cleaning will give me more control, I just feel that. I can’t be wrong. Can I?

little bird

English: Green Violet-ear -- Finca Lerida, Boq...

English: Green Violet-ear — Finca Lerida, Boquete, Panama. Français : Un Colibri thalassinus, Finca Lerida, District de Boquete, Panama. 日本語: ミドリハチドリ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

little bird, you don’t have to apologize for having a new home, i understand completely. I said the same things to my parents when I was your age. I remember thinking that college WAS my home and of course it is. you come back for some vacations, you have moved on and will continue to move on and out. Don’t you think I know that, of course I do. I understand and I support it and I am proud of both you and your sister’s independence, the grown ups you have become. If I shed a tear or two at times, it’s okay, I’m not good at transitions, I never have been, starting from when I was a little girl. Don’t take it too seriously, please. You know I have always been the most sensitive person in the planet and always will be, at times it is both a curse and a blessing. believe me, I have tried to change myself for years but as you know, it really hasn’t worked.

i’ve told you before that I just need a little time to get used to things, even on vacation. when dad and I were dating long distance, he knew i needed 24 hours to get used to him again, some people are like that, its not better or worse, it’s a personality trait. not everyone is as incredibly adaptable as you and your sister,where you both got that trait from we have no idea (okay, maybe my mom) but dad and i are thrilled you both have it.

I was fine saying goodbye to you today until i heard your sweet voice asking “you’re not even going to hug me?” do you think i didn’t want to? could i say no to you? I ‘m laughing at the thought of me not wanting to hug you, of course i did, just didn’t want the flood gates to open up, kind of like now. waiting for that darn transition to kick in (it hasn’t been 24 hours yet) I am writing this for me and for you, and you know how i get when i feel like i’m writing something mushy…not a sight to be seen. you’ve seen it many times before, but now i’m also laughing at myself too which is a very good sign.  I know that you are happy and independent and i am so proud of the person you are. my goal in raising a son, was to bring up a good man, truly. when i found out we were having a boy, i was honored, blessed that i could try to make a difference to help shape a boy to become a wonderful young man.

you have become all that and more. you know i feel that way. sometimes we don’t even have to talk, we know what the other one is thinking with a look, or a smile or a quick nod of your head. this gift will never go away, no matter where you or i live. we are connected. forever. so have the best time of your life, and, because i’m a mother, it’s in our handbook to also add “please be safe.”

i love you.

Carry on Tuesday

angel

angel (Photo credit: M@rg)

Title : Old and wise
First line: As far as my eyes can see
I stare at an old photograph, taken in 1991, of my father and me.  It was taken in my husband’s and my first garden, actually our only functioning garden, ripe with carrots and beans and peas and three types of tomatoes and corn that the raccoons ate. My arm was around my  father’s neck, my dad and I are grinning. We both looked incredibly happy, his eyes: grey-blue, old and wise, saying without words ” I knew one day you would have your dream.”  I am 6 months pregnant in the photograph; it had taken me over 2 and a half years to get pregnant. During that time, I shed more tears than I thought possible. In that photograph, in the late afternoon sunshine, with my dad, both of us were beaming.
During the long phase of infertility however, I was poked and prodded and put through every invasive test known to woman-kind by my doctor and everything was done in complete secrecy. I was ashamed, it was all my fault.
Only many years later did magazines burst into publication with articles describing the shots we had to take, the mood swings, the twice daily blood tests and ultra-sounds, the stress and depression we felt. Back when I was desperately trying to get pregnant, we kept our feelings to ourselves. Sometimes we shared our lives with the other people in the infertility office, a very strange, yet delicate friendship. You wanted your friends to get pregnant but not at your own expense. It was a double-edged sword. Close but not too close.
The photograph before me, which stands framed on my table now, represents both the good and bad; ultimate happiness and deep depression. I was pregnant and standing next to one of my favorite people, my dad. Sadly, he died when both my children were young but at least he knew they were born. No one could replace him for me, no one could have felt more dramatically upset than my mom and I. He was my mother’s husband, but for me, he was my hero. He knew me better than anyone. We had the same personality, my sister and my mother still do. Without our spouses and kids, our nuclear family consisted of three; our mother, my sister and myself; a triangle is a tough combination. I can’t understand how they think.
I’ve had to fight on my own, grow-up, remain firm and I have done that; it’s hard for me to even remember what it was like having someone who understood me so well, having an ally in the family. I look up at the clouds sometimes, I look as far as my eyes can see and beyond that, for a sign from heaven, from my dad. I am one of those people who definitely believes in those signs, that bodies die but souls don’t; that love NEVER dies. How could it? I know my dad still loves me as I love him. When he first died I got many, many signals and messages. As time passed, I got fewer. But I know, if I truly needed him, he would, without a doubt, send me a sign to show me that he is still watching over me and that love is everlasting.

Carry on Tuesday: “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”

English: a little shy girl Русский: ЗАСТЕНЧИВА...

English: a little shy girl Русский: ЗАСТЕНЧИВАЯ ДЕВОЧКА (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She had always given up too easily. As long as she could remember, she chose not to fight but to deflate, like the air sizzling, slowly, out of a big brightly colored blue balloon. Why, she wondered now? Was it just her character or was she never able to feel safe and confident as a young girl even in her own home? It was hard to differentiate one from the other. Nature vs. Nurture?  Was it because she had  been six weeks premature and had to stay in the hospital for that long in a heated crib? She had always been a shy girl, an anxious one too.  Whose fault was that, she asked herself, in her older years. Surely it was not hers alone? Did her parents not think this was unusual enough to warrant some extra attention?

She didn’t like “playing board games”like Scrabble because there was no game that she thought she could do well in and she was easily embarrassed and ashamed. Had she dug right in, like others she knew and practiced feverishly, she could probably have been on top in at least one or two things but she never stayed long enough. It was a shame, she thought, later on in her life. No one had ever encouraged her to keep trying, it was almost as if they expected little so she gave them what they expected. She felt just like a tiny speck against a world made up of giant red rocks and icy mountain peaks, even large green valleys. She could disappear easily and no one would notice.

She tried to disappear one day when she was about thirteen or fourteen. Their family had a shared cabana at a beach club and one day she took off walking a very long distance and stayed away for hours. She wanted her family and friends to worry, to look for her, she wanted to be missed but when she eventually started walking back, and came “home” no one said a thing; they never even knew she was missing. She was upset, and mad that no one had even noticed.

She gave up all the time, but it didn’t seem like giving up when she was doing it, only years later, while looking back at her youth she figured out that she had been too scared, too fragile, too afraid to try new things. She gave up before she could fail; that was a very lonely and limiting life. She pushed boyfriends away before they became too close. She knew they weren’t serious, so she ended the relationship, knowing it would never be more than what they had then. She regretted that only once in her life but she didn’t have the emotional capacity, at the time, to communicate well.

Looking back forty years, she could see when her life had come to an emotional halt. It’s as if the brakes were firmly pushed and there she stood, alone and apart from most of her friends. Her husband still teased her about playing with Barbie dolls at fourteen with her friend, Linda. She was definitely a “late bloomer,”  her comfort companions were stuffed animals that surrounded her bed for many years. Even now, one or two are tucked under her pillow.

Now, as an older person, she sees the world in a different way. While physically she cannot run anymore, her mind jogs like the wind, as fast as possible. She is no longer shy and introverted but strong in her opinions and in her intuitive feelings. When she walks now, she walks with a brightly, colorful cane to help her balance issues but that does not stop her from walking, it fuels her with confidence, a confidence she never before had. Lastly, if she doesn’t like the sound of something she has written or a photograph she has taken, she will take another and another and not give up, until she knows, in her heart that it is exceptional and only she has to love it for it to be magnificent and divine.