Tic Tic Tic Boom

Some days I wake up with this incredible feeling of doom. It takes me a little while to come back from that. I usually have my coffee and something sweet and crunchy to share with my dogs. I get on social media and quit thinking. It’s not hard. You just start focusing on posts that have no real importance to anyone and all the importance in the world to someone.

I think that this feeling is two-fold. Firstly, I think it is physical. I have two kooky diseases that cause depression. Secondly, I think that my mind holds in so much. When I am asleep, I have no control over what comes out. When I wake up, its like a caul that has to be removed so I can breathe again.

When you are hurt on such a basic, bone-deep level for most of your years, I think it damages a part of you. Although I have healed in so many ways, there are still those wounds. When exposed, the overwhelming sadness comes in waves.

When someone has chronic pain, it  lends to a depression all its own. Have you ever had a tooth ache? That on the weekend, have to wait til Monday, deep seeded throbbing ache that makes you sick at your stomach and pissed off at the same time? Nothing helps it. You have squirted a pound and a half of Orajel on it and eaten Tylenol and ibuprofen and searched the medicine cabinet for any left over antibiotic from that last cold you had. Nothing helps. That’s what my legs feel like some days. Or my arms. Or my sides. It’s a constant painful surprise party with no freakin cake. It’s hard to stay positive some days.

Then there are always one of ‘those’ days. The kitchen sink leaked all over the floor I just mopped. Or the dogs jump all over the couch with muddy paws. Or Belle left her room a disaster. The house is a disaster. The laundry is piled up. I got my feelings hurt. Someone let me down. I found out my new friend is an old whore. You know, just the crap of everyday that everyone goes through. It’s no different from the things that you experience, except with me, I have a harder time bouncing back from it.

I have always tried to be positive person. I always look for that silver lining. I just have to look harder some days now. The key for me is to zone out a bit. I immerse myself in something trivial, something that requires no really  difficult thinking. Something that keeps my attention but requires no decision-making. Something mundane. Sometimes this doesn’t work. Most days it does.

My camera has become my meditation, if you will. When I am looking through my lens, all that matters is if I’m focused. This takes some extra effort lately, my eyes suck. I am learning lots of little tricks to get around that crack in the sidewalk. Finding those little tricks is an awesome feeling. Accomplishment!!!! What a wonderful word. It’s also something I am proud of. No one else has anything invested in it, it’s all for me. It makes me happy.

I have taken steps to let go of things I can’t control. Good grief!! That is the hardest thing for me to do!! I had no idea I was such a control freak until I lost control. This is a work in progress. If I don’t feel like cooking, there is always a pizza in the freezer. If I don’t feel like doing laundry, I don’t. I hired the most adorable little cleaning girl, she comes every Thursday and saves a bit of my sanity. I started this blog. I have so many drafts that are just sitting there. Some days I get on here and just fall apart. No one wants to see that! So I save it and start again. Purging is awesome.

I woke up today happy. I had my moments a few times but for the most part, it hasn’t been bad. I asked for prayers a few days ago. I have a deep faith in prayer and sometimes I just need to be washed in prayers and  good thoughts. So I sat down to tell you what ir’s like being me. Did I scare ya? Snicker I have a good life. I have amazing children and almost children. I have grandchildren to spoil. I have my dogs. A dog in your lap is a very healing thing. I have a sweet husband, good friends and a great view of the lake. And I have you, perpetual reader, that I can vent to. And you always listen, at least I hope you do. If you don’t, I won’t ever know the difference.

 

A disappointing paradox

 

Disappointment. Sometimes that word becomes a wet blanket I have to tug around. Although this blanket was once warm and lent a feeling of security, it is now dank, cold, wet and heavy. Where there used to be an air of freshness, it now reeks of rot. Wrapped around my shoulders, the weight is almost impossible to shake off.

I trust very easily. I set my bar high. I am under the constant assumption that everyone is like me in spirit. I am open and light. I see the good always before the bad. Even when the bad starts seeping in, I barely glance at it. Like an ostrich, the underground is so safe.

I have been disappointed by people my whole life. An absent parent who prefers the absence. The appeal is not to forge a relationship but to avoid it as much as possible. Scattering bits of love and want sporadically around, leaving me wanting. Finally feeling the failure of expectations like a blow. Learning and leaving.

I have had minor disappointments in casual areas of my life. nondescript movies, books, songs. You look forward to the chance at tasting, smelling, listening and then, nothing. Those are the ‘oh, wells’ you live with and can look back on with discernment and dismissal.

Friends and lovers are different, aren’t they? With the disappointment often comes rejection, feelings of failure, inadequacies. We seek in our selves the answers. What if? Could I? Should I? Would I? The answer in a paradox. People disappoint. Loyalty is for the open-hearted. Selfless not selfish. Light not dark. Truth not betrayal.

I seek like-minded people. That is only my perception. I make your acquaintance and I wonder if we might be friends? Lovers? Soul mates? I follow your lead and I am always secure at first. Then the shadow of a truth bleeds in. Whisk it away. No matter here. But it keeps bleeding. No bandage can absorb all the lies. Eventually I am faced with a wound too deep to stitch.

I am disappointed in many people. I may disappoint myself. However, I will always try. That’s what we do, we keepers of the faith. We try again. We wipe our wounds and soothe our souls and begin again. I still search for like-minded people. When you find one, you hold on with all you have. They are who become your life.

The South

South

I moved South ten years ago. My ex-husband and I uprooted four of our five children and moved to his hometown in Northeast Arkansas. I was leaving behind my family and my oldest son, but I was anxious for the move. Our family was in shambles and we needed a fresh start. I was running away from home at the age of thirty-nine. I’m forty-nine now, I’ve quit running and found myself a new home.

I came from Indiana. I was raised in a small town and I moved to a small town. The similarities started and stopped there. This was my ex-husband’s hometown we had visited over the years. I had friends here. I was familiar with the area. I loved the area. Small town. small school, small businesses. I felt like I was coming to a new place with a familiar soul.

Being a photographer, I spent the first six months or so just quietly going around town and taking pretty pictures. I was infatuated with the crop dusters. Farmers don’t use those where I was raised. I was so taken with them. We lived around the corner from a flying service. I would leave the windows open in my house so I could hear the planes start. As soon as they did, Belle and I would jump in the car and take off. We just simply followed the noise.

If you’ve never watched a crop duster, you don’t know what you’re missing. The ground has just been turned. The dark, dank smell of earth is comforting to me. I always want to take my shoes off and walk through the warm soil. It’s not dirty, it’s clean. It’s pure and hot and damp. It sticks to your feet. It’s new. It’s the beginning. Much more than New Year’s, it’s when I ponder what my future will be like. What do I want? Where do I want to go today? It’s a new start for me.

Getting out of the car and laying down a worn quilt, Belle and I would sit there and wait. Digging for bugs and worms, searching for frogs and drinking her Dr Pepper, she lay on the quilt in the sun. Finally we hear him. We hear our little yellow plane. We are both excited. What sort of flip will he do today?

A crop duster is a small plane. Usually only one seat for the pilot and the rest of the room in the plane is for spraying the newly planted field. The crop dusters around here are almost all yellow. My favorite is the bi-plane. It lends to the days-gone-by atmosphere I feel when I am out in these fields. As he sails up and up and up, Belle holds her breath and I ask her what she thinks he will do today. The pilot leads these sharp little birds in an air dance that will take your breath away. Soaring down, surely they will crash, but no…at the last-minute they straighten out and aviate across the open field, spraying their leavings behind. Banking to the right or to the left, the pilot angles the plane toward the ground again. In a wooshhhhh, off he goes. The plane’s engine makes your heart stop. The hot air, a mixture of the ground temperature and the plane’s heat, rushes by you and you cover your eyes out of instinct. Around and around he goes until the field is completely attended to. Never is this tedious. Never mundane or humdrum. It’s exciting. It lifts you up and makes you want to skirt across the sky with him. Once in a while, when the work is done, and if you’re really lucky, the pilot will give you a treat. Laying on our old worn out quilt, sipping our sodas, we wait. Sure enough! Here he comes. He flies right at us. Feeling a bit scared, as if we are about to go down the biggest hill on a roller coaster, we wait on him. The pilot directs his little yellow plane straight towards us. We squeal as, at the last-minute possible, he pulls the throttle up and with a yank and a yawn, he flies directly over us, his belly just feet from our bellies. Oh!! The thrill of that!! I feel like I’ve just performed a stunt. I never try to get a picture of this, I’d miss part of it and it wouldn’t be the same.

Small towns. County carnivals. Hometown Days. Strawberries out of your neighbor’s garden. Sharing a pie with the lady across the road. Hot nights in the river. Loud music on gravel roads. Owls in the old barn. White geese that only stay a while. Town meetings. Neighbors who become family. Town children who become your children. Celebrating birthdays and mourning at funerals.

Everyone is family in a small, southern town. We rally around those in need, even if we think they stole our favorite fishing spot. We buy at Christmas for children who have nothing and we don’t question the whys. Hello’s in the grocery, exchanging recipes at the post office. Riding the tilt-o-whirl with an old friend who is visiting. There is nothing like it.

The South is a home. A home where you can come and heal if your heart is broken. A place where you can come and forget for a while. The food is always like you remembered it. Come and sit a spell or bait a hook. Bring the Cutter though, mosquitoes are a sight this year!

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My heart

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She is my heart. She was always the ‘easy’ child. She was always afraid of disappointing me, as if she ever could. These are her senior pictures. I was going to pick one to put in my little soliloquy today, but she is so fetching, how do I pick just one?

She was the little girl I waited on. Kennedy is Sis. Our Sis. She had to learn early to hold her own. Her brothers were wild and mean and she would have been trod over early. Not her. She grabbed on to the rope and hung on. She will never back down. That is one of her greatest strengths.  She is loyal to those who love her and wary of those who have hurt her. She doesn’t like second chances. When you show her who you are, she believes you.

I have always known she would do something big. She does everything big, I guess. Her dreams are mountainous. She never sees the ceiling, only the clouds and stars. She wants to travel and learn and see and write. Her words make you curious and she can show you so many things. When she goes on her adventures, she will take me with her. I will never get to see the things she sees, except through her eyes. She will show me, make me feel and taste and smell all the tales that she tells. She will be my hot air balloon, my sailboat on the high seas. She will bring me exotic fruits and breads and stories of graceful women and ravishing men. She will take me on all the lives that I didn’t get to live.

Isn’t she magnificent? Although I can’t take full credit for her, God made this sweet gal, I am overly impressed by this woman child I was blessed to raise. I think I did a good job. I tried so hard. I wanted her to always be more than me. I want her to be all.

She worries about me  and takes too much on herself. She excels in school and her teachers and professors always want to know her more intimately. Her person begs to be known. You want to know what is behind those eyes. You can see something is forming every minute. She is startling and staggering. She is guarded. She has been hurt and she doesn’t trust, yet she wants to. She yearns for the closest of relationships.If she gives that part of herself to you, for God’s sake hold on to it. If you ever let it go, it will be a treasure hunt you will never win,  you will never find it again. The death of her friendship is something you can’t recover from.

These pictures, these are her senior pictures. I came upon them today in my Facebook timehop. It’s a funny thing, that timehop. Sometimes it makes you laugh, sometimes mourn, sometimes celebrate. This is a celebration of my Kennedy. She has accomplished enormous things since I took these pictures. She is running a race, grasping at the beginning of her new life. The life where she gets to jet to places most places people only dream of. She wants to fly. I helped do that. I helped her want to fly. I’m proud of both of us. When she soars, she will have me tucked under her wing. I can’t wait.

Laughter is the best medicine OR Are storks really just trying not to pee all the time?

It’s not my age. I had a hysterectomy and my doctor neatly tucked my bladder back up where God put it years ago. It’s my MS. Just another fun little obsticle course that the MS Gods have blessed me with. It’s a daily battle and sometimes it’s so damn funny, it makes me pee….

You have no idea how many times I will be walking through the store with my girls and they will say something that strikes me funny. They don’t even know what I’m chuckling about. So naturally they ask me why I’m laughing… My response is usually… Oh, for crying out loud, don’t look at me! Don’t talk to me! I’m going to pee! I walk along, something tickles me, and I start laughing. Instantly I get the sensation that I am about to tinkle. I cross my legs and lean forward. It’s hard to walk like this. Which is funny! They laugh and ask what my problem is now. Shit, now I can’t walk or talk, I don’t dare move. I stand there, kind of stork like, waiting to ger myself under control. STOP TALKING!!!  Just give me a minute. I take a step, it seems like I have things wrapped nicely up now…SHUT UP!! Oh my goodness, just let me make it to the car.

Another nice little bonus I have, is known as an MS hug. Hugs are nice. Using this word to describe what I experience is a sin. If you say it, you have to Hail Mary or get baptized again or maybe even kill a goat. I don’t know exactly, but I know it’s pretty bad.

Picture a Charley horse that starts just below your boobs. Well, where your boobs used to sit before gravity reared it’s ugly head. Anyway, at your bra line down to your waist. All the way around your middle. From the left side of your belly button to the right side of your belly button. Walking along, all of a sudden you are squeezed, as if Andre the Giant is using a scissor hold on you. It takes your breath and halts you in your tracks. Tears come to your eyes and you hold on to what air you have sucked in, because you don’t dare move. Not much. Movement is your enemy right now. So you stand still and try to breathe without actually expanding your lungs much, that will only compound the issue. That isn’t a ‘hug’, man. A hug is nice. A hug is warm. You hug people you love. This IS NOT a hug. This is something we could utilize in a torture chamber.

Ok, two insane things that I battle quite often. Then the inevitable happens. I get sick. I have pneumonia. Yes. Just a little bit. Just a ‘shadow’ as my cutie patootie Dr. Treece explained to me today.

So, I have been coughing. A lot. Coughing until some smart ass says ‘Hey, was that a piece of your lung’? Original. I’ve had a dry cough then a wet cough. A barking cough, a horrible, hold on to something and cough until you see little stars in front of your eyes. Then the battle really begins.

When I cough I pee, so I have to do that stork-leg thing so I don’t. Coughing also makes your thing, the thing that isn’t a hug, wail in agony. I didn’t realize how many muscles you used to cough. Every one. Every muscle in your torso. So I brace myself, trying to soften the blow to my middle and I figure out I can’t do both. I can’t squeeze my hoo ha and try to tighten my middle muscles at the same time. I don’t know if you can. You should try now……

If you can, more power to you. I cannot. So a decision has to be made. If I’m lucky and I’m at home, I just go to the bathroom. Problem solved. If I’m in public, it’s mortifying. People don’t like coughers anyway. They give you that wrinkled-nose look and if you don’t have any hand sanitizer that you can whip out super freaking quick, they are trying to get the CDC on the phone. When you cough like a TB patient and then do the stork-leg thing not to pee and hold on to your middle with one arm and cover your mouth with the other hand. Well, when you’re done, just flip them the bird. You’ve lost anyway. You might as well get some satisfaction. I’m just staying in the house until I’m well.

This was pretty much my day today. It’s laugh or cry. I’d rather laugh. Laughter is the best medicine, isn’t it? Laughing makes me pee though. I figure that’s a small price to pay to stay somewhat sane. Please. For the love of all that is good and holy. Don’t. Say. Depends. Cut me some slack, huh? It’s been a long day.