Sunday, May 21, 2017

It's 3 a.m........

......and I'm wide awake again.

The insomnia that is usually only occasional has been in full on Beast Mode this week. Even pharmaceuticals are refusing to get the job done. Friday night at midnight marked about 36 hours with only about 2 hours of sleep. When I laid my head on my pillow and went to sleep, I slept for 10 hours. And now we're fast approaching 24 waking hours again.

I lay my head down on my pillow and one of two things happens.......either I can't shut my brain off or I can't shut the pain off.......physical or emotional.

There are things going on with Ma over and above the Alzheimer's - including the possibility of yet another devastating diagnosis.

There are things going on with The Former Supposed Spouse's children....children I have no legal obligation to or for but still love as if they were my own. I know they don't believe that. They will tell you that I hate them. They will tell you that their current predicament is my fault. They will tell you that I'm a total bitch of the highest order and my mission in life is solely to make theirs miserable. And that's fine. I can take it. It breaks my heart, but I can take it.

And then there is The Former Supposed Spouse. Always the same story. Always the same apologies. Always the same vows to change. Always the same knowing it will never happen. And I know, this is old news, I've written - exhaustively - on this subject and I'm weary of it.

I'm weary of all of it.

There are days when I think I would really like one of those 72-hour vacations. You know the ones where the men bring the funny white jackets, wrap you up, take you away and pump you full of thorazine for the weekend? Yeah.

I'm feeling lost. I don't recognize myself anymore. The Wild Woman that was in this body just two years ago has gone......somewhere else. And the chick that's here in her place is so far from down-ass it's not even funny. I'm so paralyzed by anxiety that I can't seem to do anything for fear of doing the wrong thing. I try to write it out and even if I can finish a post, it just feels like I'm whining.

I'm supposed to be the strong one. The peacekeeper. The one who never gets angry or cries or - God forbid - NEEDS anyone.

But I do......

Need someone.

I need someone who will just let me dissolve into a puddle of tears......to make it okay for me not to have to be so strong all the time......someone who can find that Wild Woman that used to be me.......



Monday, November 14, 2016

Dear Mrs. Clinton.......

.....I may or may not have voted for you. Whether I did or I didn't, I feel like I got ripped off. I am a registered Democrat and have voted as such my entire adult life. Even for the likes of Al Gore and John Kerry. I even voted for Michael Dukakis in the mock election in my Government class in High School. But this year, for the first time, I was truly conflicted.

I am sorry that you lost. I know it must have been a horrific disappointment for you. And your concession phone call to Mr. Trump must have been a very bitter pill to swallow, indeed. It couldn't have been easy to admit defeat to such an unimaginable ass hat. But, if you're interested, let me explain to you what, as I see it, you did wrong.

-First, your sheer arrogance was extremely ugly. You, your advisers, even the media were so smugly sure that there was no way in hell Donald fucking Trump could possibly get elected that you took your eye off the ball. And Trump knocked it out of the park. This arrogance was evident, palpable even as I watched the returns come in on CNN. I thought Mr. Blitzer's head was going to explode, he was so stunned that a Trump win was actually possible. And as the night wore on, it not only became possible, but probable. In the days afterwards, CNN was a ghost ship.

-I, like most Americans, am beyond tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. Only this year, it really didn't feel like there WAS a lesser evil. Your evil wasn't as blatant as Mr. Trump's, but it was there. Somewhere in the smoke. And there was a LOT of smoke for there to not be any fire. The fact that it was so unclear and murky and hard to discern only made it worse.

-You spent your campaign quoting me your resume. Which is impressive, but I already knew that. I needed to hear you say that you heard us little people. Us, the ones who do the actual building of bridges and highways and houses and not just the ones who design them. Because those of us in the Blue Collar Community? We're still struggling. We're still living paycheck to paycheck if we have one at all. When you've been struggling - to hold on to your house, your vehicle, feed your family, keep the heat and lights and water on, and send your kids to college - for the last eight years, you're willing to overlook a lot. Mr. Trump spoke - very clearly - to these very people. The people in Michigan and Wisconsin and Ohio and Pennsylvania and all those other places where the majority of people feel abandoned and forgotten. He promised them jobs. You listed your qualifications for the job.

-We did not appreciate the idea of our lifelong friends and our family members being tossed in your "basket of deplorables." That was not the best example of "when they go low, we go high." I know you only said half of Trump's supporters belonged there, but still. You and the rest of the political elite tend to look down your noses a little bit at those of us who are not college educated or live in the heartland and other rural areas. You don't think you need our votes to win and so you focus on the Battleground States; the states with the largest population of urban dwellers. And while they're also important, you need us, too. You need us out here growing stuff and building stuff and driving stuff from point A to point B. You would do well to remember that the next time you're enjoying your fancy steak dinner at your $50k a plate fundraisers. A lot of us don't even make that much in a year. Or two years even.

-You and the DNC did Senator Sanders a dirty. While I'm not certain exactly what that dirty was -again with the murkiness - y'all were convinced that you and you alone had a shot at defeating Trump. Again with the arrogance. Had you taken a risk and chosen Sanders as your running mate, I would have happily cast my vote for you and never looked back. But, you chose to play it safe with 50 shades of bland in Tim Kaine.

-You can point fingers all you want at Mr. Comey and his ill-timed letter to Congress regarding the e-mails. Again. I do believe that his motivations were entirely political and intended to sandbag your campaign. But the fact that there was anything there for anyone to question is solely and completely on your shoulders. You would have gone a long way with me if you had just said again and again and again, "I'm sorry. I was wrong. I shouldn't have used a private e-mail server. I have learned a valuable lesson and it won't happen again." Own your mistakes, Mrs. Clinton.

-I know you have no control over your husband's previous escapades in and out of the White House. I respect your decision to stand by him and keep your marriage intact. These days, it's awfully easy to just give up. There's a part of me, however, that wanted you to kick him to the Pennsylvania Avenue curb and step over his philandering ass on the way out the West Wing door.

What you did do is open the door for the possibility of having a woman for president. That in and of itself is pretty amazing. And I'm sure in the next four years we will see more women put themselves out there for consideration. Again, I'm sorry you lost. But in my mind, you just weren't the right one to be the first one. Be better, Mrs. Clinton. Be better.

Sincerely-
A Fed Up Voter

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dear Young Person.......

.......I see you struggling.

I know you are voting for probably the very first time and I am so very sorry that this election has been so terrible. As an adult who has voted in a great many elections, I do not recall one as nasty and divisive as this one.

I know you are still idealistic and believe that you can change the world and make it a more loving and inclusive place for every one. I'm older and I still believe in making the world a better place, but my world has become much smaller now.

I know you might not yet understand that good doesn't always win. Time and experience has shown me that the world can be an ugly place and that disappointment is a part of being an adult.

I know that you are still trying to find who you are and where in the world you belong. Growing and changing is hard work and can be scary. I wish I could tell you that change gets easier. The good news is this: with change comes opportunity.

I know that you are afraid - for yourself, for your friends, for our country. It's okay to be afraid. You must, however, not build your house in a fearful state. You must continue to be brave.

I also know that the sun will continue to rise. And even though it feels as though all is lost, it is not. Hold on to your passion. Use it to continue to fight for your ideals. Engage in the dialog. Be the ally your friends need you to be. You can count me among them.

Because, dear young person, I am struggling as well. Maybe we can help each other through it.

Sincerely:
An Old(er) Person

Friday, September 9, 2016

September 11......

......was a terrible day in the history of this country. One of the very worst. And I think I probably write something about it every year. To me, even though I was not directly affected by it, didn't lose a loved one on that day, it's worth remembering. It NEEDS to be remembered. Every. Single. Year.

And I don't really care how you choose to do it. If, like the Walmart store in Florida, you want to build a replica of the twin towers out of Coca-Cola products, do it.

Image result for 9/11 walmart coke display

Do it, and don't give in to pressures to take it down. If this is the most offensive thing you've seen or heard today, then appreciate the uncomplicated and sheltered nature of your life. (I don't know about anyone else, but Imma buy Coke regardless of how it's displayed. I probably wouldn't take it from the display. I'm weird like that. Someone went to a lot of trouble here so who am I to ruin it?)

Use what you have. Fly your flag on your house. Tie a red white and blue ribbon around a tree in your yard. Write the number - 2,977 - on your tail gate or back window. Watch the reruns. Watch the updates. Forgo the opening day of NFL football and just watch. Talk with your children about it. Mine were not alive when this happened. They have no memory of it except for mine. Share yours with your own kids.

If you haven't thought about it for a while, take a few minutes of conscious thought. Sit with it for a bit. Allow yourself to remember. Allow yourself to feel that gut wrench when we all saw that second plane slam into the second tower. It's hard, I know. It may even be painful. But let yourself feel it. Cry, if you want, if you need. Share your stories.

Let me tell you about my experience on that day.

The thing that I remember most vividly is what a perfectly beautiful fall day it was. Here in Havre, just like in New York and Washington D.C. and in that field in Pennsylvania. I was trying to get up to go to work. I kept hitting snooze on my alarm clock, not wanting to get up. My husband at the time finally came in a told me I needed to get up and come watch the news. I needed to see what was happening. I came out into the living room just in time to see the second plane. It's good that I was standing in front of a chair because my legs left me. The air left my lungs and I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.

And the first words out of my mouth were much like those of then President George W. "What the....????? Who the hell??" I couldn't move. I couldn't form a cohesive thought in my head let alone find a voice to speak them. Like everyone else watching, I didn't so much see buildings on fire. I saw people. People stuck with no way out. People. Who died. Who were going to die. Because even if I didn't know it yet intellectually, I felt it intuitively that those towers were not going to be standing much longer.

I couldn't move. I sat for a long time just watching and listening and trying to process for I don't know how many minutes. At some point, I got up and got in the shower and got dressed and ready to go to work. And just as I should have been heading out the door, the first tower fell. And I could feel my heart break for those that were still in there, for those who were on the ground below it. for those who were still in the other tower who must have realized in that moment that it was only a matter of time.

I was late to work that day. Shortly after I arrived, the front office called for all staff in the building to come to the lobby. We stood in a circle, all of us shell shocked and horrified by what we had seen. We held hands. We cried together.

And we prayed. Together. A man named Frank Whitter spoke the words that were in all of our hearts. I am so grateful that he was able to find them because although I felt them in my heart, I wouldn't have been able to give a voice to them. We prayed for the people on the airplanes. We prayed for the people in all those buildings. We prayed for their families. We prayed for the first responders. We prayed for the families of the dead and the missing. We prayed for one of our colleagues whose daughter was in Washington D.C. working as a congressional page. We prayed for our leaders who would face difficult decisions in the coming hours and days. We prayed for the families who had active duty military personnel in their midst because I think we all knew, even at that early stage, that those folks would be called upon in the coming months to find those responsible for this horror.

We prayed.

And then we went back to our business. And I'm sure I processed a bunch of applications for assistance that day. Did some filing. Made some calls. Sent out some letters requesting more information. Just sort of going through the motions. And I went home and watched the news coverage that seem to go on and on and on for days and days and days.

I kept thinking about all those people. All those families and all those children who were now without one or both of their parents. So many people - just regular everyday, punching a time clock, house in the suburbs people whose only misfortune was to go to work that day. Just like they had the day before and just like they would have done the next day.

And there were so many of them - those regular, every day, ordinary, people - who did so many heroic things and saved so many lives that it send chills up and down my spine. And they are all - every one of them - so self deprecating and so very humble......saying "I'm not a hero. I just did my job."

These are the people who represent the America that I love. It's not the politicians, it's not the superstar athletes, it's not movie starts. It's regular, every day people who were as devastated as the rest of us by what had happened and instead of obeying their very human instinct to run the other way, ran in.

Ran towards the danger.

Ran up the stairs.

Ran into and on top of the debris.

Ran towards that cockpit door.

Ran towards their own certain death.

On that horrible, horrible day, where evil attacked us on our own shores, we as a country shared in the terror, the grief, the helplessness, the horror.......and in the days and weeks and months following, were united in the resolve to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back to the business of being Americans. There was a job that needed to be done at Ground Zero. At the Pentagon. In that field in Pennsylvania. And we rolled up our sleeves and just did it.

I remember feeling so very proud to be an American. I still am. I still believe we live in the greatest country in the world. Sometimes I take that for granted. This time of year, I can't help but be reminded of all the freedoms I take for granted. The simple act of writing and sharing this blog is a right guaranteed to me. Some of my content may well get me stoned to death in other parts of the world.

My prayer this September 11th is simple.......May I always remember and respect all of those who have given their all to protect the rights and freedoms I enjoy.

Monday, September 5, 2016

My Kid Thinks I'm Crazy.....

......and he's not entirely wrong. There are flashes of insanity here and there. But when it comes to his well being, I am 100% Mama Grizzly.

I am fanatical about knowing wherehe is, who he is with and what they are doing and where they are gong. We just talked about this last night. We were watching a show on Investigation Discovery about two little girls who were kidnapped, assualted and killed.

"This is why I always need to know where you're going!!" I told him. "Because bad things happen everyday, everywhere."

And I got the typical 12-year-old response. And eye roll, a giant sigh, and "I KNOW mom!!"

The next show was about a 17-year-old who decided that she and another friend were going to try dropping acid. One hit. One time........and she died. She DIED. Because what she thought, what she was told was LSD was actually one of those new synthetic drugs. The person who was selling it to these little high school kids KNEW it wasn't LSD and purposefully lied to them because he knew they wouldn't buy it if they thought it was dangerous.

And I turned to him again and told him, "Not even ONCE!!" And, again, "I KNOW, mom!!" I swear one of these days those eyes are gonna roll right out of their sockets, out onto the floor, and underneath the couch.

I give him a considerable amount of freedom. He's a good kid. He's not a bully. He doesn't go in for vandalizing shit. He likes to ride his bike and his scooter and generally, the farthest he goes from home is the skate park. I trust his judgment. I trust him. I know all of his friends and, for the most part, all of their parents. And they're all pretty good kids too. And I trust them as well.

It's everyone else in the world that I don't trust.

It's tough letting your kids go, giving them a little bit of independence. But, you have to. If you don't, they will never learn how to make good choices. How to think for themselves. It terrifies me though. It keeps me up a night and gives me nightmares sometimes. But it I were to dwell on all the terrible things that MIGHT happen, I would miss out on all the awesome things that DO happen.

It's a hell of a balancing act. One that I don't always get right.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"The Road To Hell Is Paved.......

......and it seems our hand baskets have been shipped." A friend of mine posted this as her Facebook status the other day. I hadn't been paying attention to much of the news outside my own little world and the craziness happening right here at home. So when I saw this, I was flippant. Trying to be funny, I replied that I had received my hand basket and was disappointed. I thought it would be bigger.

I put CNN on in the background and realized, very quickly, what she was talking about. Funny was the last thing I should have been.

This week, in a space of maybe 48 hours, ten American citizens are dead. Ten. Ten individuals lost their lives. Ten families are forever changed. Some were white, some were black, some were cops, some were civilians. Some had extensive criminal records, some were fine, upstanding citizens just trying to do their jobs and go about their day. Trying to keep the peace in a world that becomes less and less peaceful every day.

And why?

I could rattle off a long and detailed explanation about race relations and racial profiling and a bunch of other words that have little impact and even less real meaning. It really comes down to only one word.

Hate.

Hate is a learned behavior. Hate is taught. Those with hate in their hearts learned it somewhere. It doesn't have to be formal instruction. I mean, I'm not talking about skin-heads or the Klan or White Supremacists or anything that organized with that obvious an agenda. That's easy to see and easy to say to our children, "That is just wrong."

But our children watch us, and listen to us, and imitate our actions and words and how we react and treat (or mistreat) people who are "different" from ourselves. It's much more subtle than a burning cross or pointy hats or a swastika.

It's the extra attention paid to a shopper in a store because they're Native American. It's clutching your purse a little tighter when you're passing a black person on the sidewalk. It's the uneasiness on a plane with a middle eastern looking passenger sitting across the aisle. It's the dirty looks given to someone paying for a cart full of groceries with an EBT card. It's locking the car doors and rolling up the windows when there's a homeless person with a sign asking for money.

It's slippery and insidious and sneaky and slithers it's way into our words and thoughts and actions without us really noticing much. And I am guilty of having all those thoughts at one time or another. And it takes courage and conscious effort to notice it, to recognize that it is wrong, and to change it.



The world today is far too divisive. Each side is shouting their opinion at the top of their lungs so neither side can hear the other. Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. All Lives Matter. No Syrian Refugees. Veterans Before Refugees. Build The Wall. God Hates Gays. Take The Guns Away. Buy More Guns. It's unsettling. it's confusing, it polarizes everyone, and it's just plain scary. Every time I hear about the latest horrible thing that's happened, it hurts my heart. And every time, we're left with the same question......

Why? 


Sadly, that is the one question for which we will probably never get a satisfactory answer. How can we? What possible reason could a person have to pick up a gun and kill 50 people? 20 children? 5 police officers? In my mind, it doesn't matter what reason is given. There is no reason that would satisfy me. Or anyone else, I think.

There IS a division in this country. Slavery may have officially ended more than a hundred years ago, but the line between "us" and "them" is still clearly defined. And if you can't see that, or understand it, then you're on the wrong side of it.

Friday, July 1, 2016

I'm Having a Little Trouble........

.............deciding which way to go next.

I find it a little ironic that the last time the Former Supposed Spouse went away, he did so without a huge amount of fuss. His probation officer showed up at our house, determined him drunk, and whisked him away. Along with every drop of alcohol in the house.

And I went completely off the rails. I was lost and angry and hurting. And constantly inventing ways in which I could get even with him for leaving me yet again. And instead of rehashing everything and every one, let me just say that I accomplished what I set out to do in grand fucking fashion. Two summers ago? That was my summer of living dangerously. Reckless and risky behavior. Far too much alcohol. People who a non-crazy person would have had the good sense to steer clear of. I, on the other hand, fell in love with Him.

There was collateral damage, too. I was too self-involved to allow myself to think of the consequences. People got hurt. I broke a couple of my Cardinal Rules. I threw myself at the ones who were absolutely no good for me and ran from those who might have been among the best things.

Anyway.....I promised irony so here it is. This time around, the Former Supposed Spouse caused an enormous amount of fuss and went to jail in rather grand fashion. Five cop cars and an ambulance descended on my home and spirited him away. The broken bathroom door remains as an awful reminder of that night.

And my reaction?? Meh. 

Somewhere inside I knew it was only a matter of time. And I'm surprisingly calm about it. Battered and broken and wounded. But this time, my Inner Vindictive Bitch is quiet. She's tired. Perhaps my recently acquired backbone has beaten her into submission. I don't know. What I do know is that without her yammering on in the back of my mind, I can think more clearly. I can take the time to build myself back up into something better, and not bitter. Something happy, not horrific.

So, I'm doing my best to continue moving forward, and not back. To leave the ghosts in the attic where they belong.

I think about them. And they send the odd text message now and again. For the most part I ignore them. They don't always make it easy though. I guess I'll just take it as a compliment that they still think of me and want what they can't have. Sucks to be them. You should have known what you had when you could've had it.

There are a couple who are, and will always be, forever friends. And who have become a soft place to fall. And fall apart. Mr. Minnesota....thank you for being there. Again. You listen. You don't judge. You laugh at me and call me on my shit. And I love you for it.

One last shot......to the one I was so over the moon for.....it's NOT okay to text me dirty pictures when your girlfriend is passed out. I did my time as your side chick. Not interested in going back to that. I'm thinking a little more highly of myself these days. And I deserve so. much. better. than to be anybody's dirty little secret.