Feeling Powerless

More night terrors. Well, they call them “night”, but I usually have mine early morning. Yell and scream, and curse in my sleep. Another unrestful night. I wake up exhausted and aching everywhere. Even the joints in my fingers hurt as I type this with one finger on my phone.

The anxiety is high, my depression is high. Feeling powerless over everything in my life.

I envy those in control. I have no income, the transcription company changed their metrics, and I got bumped back down to the level of trying to transcribe prison calls and people with mumbling thick accents. It’s a nightmare.

I have no money, no car, no real friends in the city, no family… It’s lonely.

What’s going on at home, being evicted, not knowing where we’re going to live, is a nightmare.

The sleeplessness, the stress, the struggle, feeling sick all the time, being in pain, it’s ALL a nightmare.

Why am I even here?

What’s my purpose?

I feel like a burden. I feel like a loser.

No wonder I’m having the PTSD dreams again.

Going to keep trying for a job. I hate having to work for 4-6 hours, hurting my body, for a measly $15 – $20.

I am so much more than this.

Feeling shattered today.

S.

Don’t Take Shit From People

So I’m laying here tonight trying to relax after the week from hell. (Impending eviction)

Fumbling through my old Facebook photos, you know how that goes. you start nosing in on people you’ve lost touch with over the years to see what they’re up to. Tonight, mine led me to a face that I haven’t seen in over 9 years. My mother.

For the past couple of years, I’ve missed her. I’ve missed having a mom I could call up and ask for advice from. I’ve missed having a mom that would be there for me when I needed her. Most recently, I’ve needed my mother to deal with this illness. whatever it is is. Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, something neurological. I really don’t know what the fuck is going on inside my body. I know I’m in early onset menopause, I know I have pretty severe osteoarthritis as it’s throughout my body and leaves me pretty crippled in the damp and humid weather. I know I have something seriously wrong with my spine and am waiting to see a specialist about it. I know I have PTSD.

I’ve also needed my mom to deal with my father. His in and out presence in my life. His oblivion to my pain. His inability to recognize how seriously he has damaged me.

Then I browsed through some more photos. Saw her and my stepfather got another dog. Got a new motorhome I see. It baffles me how my parents were unable to attend my wedding years ago (I’m divorced now, thankfully and am with the right person, finally) but are apparently able to travel in a camper. You couldn’t even send me a card when I got married.

I remembered how my mother was never there for me. When I called she couldn’t be bothered to take the time to talk to me on the phone. Her TV shows were more important. No matter if I was in a jam and needed help, or just really needed to hear her voice when I was down or needed life advice.

I had no one to go to for life advice.

I look at my stepfather’s smug face in his profile picture and remember how he always looked at me with contempt. Like I was gross. Some kind of fucking slimy garden slug. A garden slug with a bad smell. Yeah, that’s how I would describe it. Oddly enough, it’s the same way my stepmother always looked at me.

I feel like I’ve gone through tremendous mental growth over the past few years. I’ve terminated friendships that were not healthy, balanced or kind. I don’t need that. I’ve ended associations with people because I don’t share their views or ideas. I have different values, I have strong morals. something that seems to be lacking in this world.

Funny thing is, I didn’t get these morals or values from anyone in my family. Not my mother, not my father, and most certainly, not my step parents. I have absolutely nothing in common with my stepbrothers. For the most part, they’re egotistical, selfish, immature, and well… they’re kind of jerks. Who needs that? Nope.

I developed my own code as I grew up. As I made mistakes or failed, I learned lessons the hard way, on my own. Some values I received from my grandmothers. My paternal grandmother was a woman of faith who taught me about Jesus and the Bible at a very young age. I loved it. I found the time we spent reading the Bible together, I read it out loud to her because the printing was too small for her eyes, to be peaceful and reassuring. My maternal grandmother taught me about strength and perseverance. She taught me how to cook. Both grandmothers taught me to stand up for myself and, in their words, “don’t take shit from people.” They were sassy ladies. I probably get my sassiness from them as well.

No. Looking at my mother tonight brought me to a conclusion. A closure even. I don’t know this person, and she doesn’t know me. She’s never been that kind of mom you could call when you needed her. She’s never been that kind of mom that puts her (only) child(ren) first. She’s always been more concerned about her own needs, her own wants. It was proposed to me that perhaps my stepfather is too controlling. Well, yeah. he is controlling, sometimes an outright asshole but, I also know this. What my mother wants, my mother gets. My stepfather has always been a “Yes Dear” man. He’s not entirely to blame. My mother had a choice, and she chose to pretend I don’t exist. In the photo of my mother’s most recent lap dog, she’s a better dog mom than actual mom, I zoomed in on the shelf behind her. There were pictures of stepbrother one and his woman, next to it was a photo of stepbrother two and his wife. There were no other photos on that shelf. No, I’m sorry, their past dead dogs’ photos were there. But that was it. I didn’t make the shelf display cut. I simply don’t exist.

Last year, this would have sent me spiralling down the depression hole quicker than a squirrel up a tree with a cat after it. But tonight something in me clicked. I’m done grieving my father and my mother. It took some time, but I think I’m done. They’ve sucked up enough of my time and energy. No more.

I cut these ties.

I am just going to focus on building what I have with the love of my life. I’m going to enjoy some happiness for a change. As my paternal grandmother would have said, “Fuck ’em.” So sassy.

I feel remarkably stronger and lighter. My love is intact, my faith is stronger than ever. That’s all I need. We have overcome worse things in our lives, we’ll overcome this too.

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

S.

So You’re Crying A Lot, Feel Like You’re Losing Your Shit & Sweating Like a Construction Worker? Oh Snap. It’s Menopause.

menopause_illustration_libertyantoniasadler_metro
Illustration by Liberty Antonia Sadler

I’m in menopause. Full blown menopause. I’m 44 so it’s early onset from a prior medical incident following emergency surgery for Endometriosis. Endometriosis is a disease that not a lot of people know about or understand but lemme tell you, it affects A LOT of women. Roughly 10-20% of women in North America suffer from Endometriosis which affects everything menstrual cycles, mood swings, pain. So much pain. You see get these cysts that develop from hormone levels; environmental things like the foods we eat, or the chemicals we are exposed to as fetuses and young developing women. These cysts over time multiply and multiply. They sometimes rupture which, depending on the size and location of the cyst can result in not only toxic material flowing in to your body which can cause sepsis. It can result in many emergency room visits, and Ladies, don’t you dare think this isn’t ambulance worthy- it is. It will be the most excruciating thing you will ever experience next to childbirth. Truth, and I don’t have children, but fuck me- that looks mighty painful. These cysts then go on to form colonies of cysts that can fuse your organs together. My ENTIRE endocrine system is fused in these cysts. That means my ovaries, well I only had one partially working one anyway, my bladder, bowel and uterus are fused. I was unable to carry children. I got pregnant once and I had miscarriage. After an emergency surgery, as my body was in sepsis I was placed on a drug called Lupron which medically induced menopause. After that, I was prescribed Depo Provera for 6 months before getting the Mirena IUD which completely stopped my periods for 7 years. I started experiencing the premenopausal symptoms around age 39 then full blown Menopause this year. It’s been well over a year and a half since my last period.

I don’t have anyone to talk about this with. I mean, you don’t talk about menopause, it’s something old ladies get. Right? So we often suffer in silence with all these symptoms because, it’s embarassing. Why? I’m not sure. I don’t have a mom or a step mom to talk to, and I seem to be the first one of my friends going through this, that I know of anyway. While I am recovering from pneumonia (I’m so hopped up on meds and this relentless cough) I decided to write a blog post about this.

First thing you need to understand ladies: You’re NOT GOING CRAZY. It’s a fact of life and the end of a natural cycle in a woman’s life. Some of us will have it sooner than later, some of us will have it harder than others. It’s not gross. Periods were gross. I won’t get in to the gory details, men can’t handle this talk, and it’s my hope a few men will read this so they can understand their partners a little better.

Your hormones are battling it out for sheer dominance at every given moment of the day. Your emotions will become hijacked, your mind will race with thoughts of anger, frustration, sadness, hunger, remorse, guilt, fatigue. This can take place over the course of an hour. It’s kind of like developing Borderline Personality Disorder.

My food tastes have changed dramatically. I don’t crave the sugar and the salt like I once did. Because of other health issues, immune system disorders, CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) Fibromyalgia & Osteoarthritis) I eat a fairly clean diet. I reduced my animal proteins and increased plant proteins, I avoid gluten and dairy as much as I can. I eat as organic as I can, I don’t consume alcohol* so this combined with fairly regular low impact exercise I have kept my weight down but it’s not uncommon that women gain weight during this time.

The Crying. Oh God, the crying. Unless you’re a stern, or staunch woman, you will experience bouts of tears that appear out of nowhere. You will cry from anything ranging to past memories, to things you are grateful for. My friend bought me a book that I wanted – BOOM- crying. Someone letting you cut in a line when you’re in a hurry- BOOM- crying. An elderly person wins the big prize on The Price is Right- BOOM-crying. So help you God if they win BOTH showcases! It’s an emotional roller coaster. I recommend maybe a COSTCO membership just to save on Kleenex and chocolate.

WHY AM I ON FIRE? Is this what spontaneous human combustion feels like? I think this is what spontaneous human combustion feels like. I NEED TO GET THIS BLOODY SHIRT OFF!!!! All that needed to be bolded because this is how it will go through your mind when a hot flash kicks in. BUY HANDHELD FANS IN BULK. Those bitches break. Mine just broke this past week and I tell you what.. scream .. I need that fucking thing and they are APPARENTLY fucking seasonal so you can’t find one goddamn hand held and/or power fan in this Godless city. Sorry for the cursing. THAT’S gonna happen a lot more too. Thanks to the rage of a hundred angry, hungry, fighting dogs that has now set up pit in your head, frequent shows, all access, anyone can view for free! Be sure to include children because Lord are they little shits now. It’s not their fault. I blame the internet and handheld devices. It’s commercialism’s fault. They’ve fried your brain a bit as a parent and as developing youth because…. what’s on Facebook/Pinterest/ Twitter/YouTube/Netflix……?” It’s not your fault, society has changed us for the worse. We’re all just slightly bigger dicks for it.

Hot flashes will begin in your chest area and sweep up your neck and face until, unless you have a fan, you will literally pour water from your body. You’ll sweat more. It’s gross. I can’t often wear make up because of it. What’s the point without a fan your make up is no match for a hot flash. Oooh! Cosmetic companies: Create makeup for hot flash women. Wait, it would probably include some carcinogen and cause cancer. Fuck. Scrap that. Wear light layers and go with my bulk handheld fan recommendation. Get a small power fan and keep one next to where you sit in the daytime, in the evening time, and next to your bed. Drink LOTS of water. If you don’t you’ll get A LOT of headaches. It’s because of the hot flashes and all the sweating. A good way to tell if you’re dehydrated is the color of your pee. The darker it is, the more water you should pound. It should increasingly get lighter then clear. If it doesn’t, you may have an infection. (bladder, urinary tract, kidney) Go see a doctor for God sake what’s wrong with you?

There are some natural things out there you can take in supplement form you can find at any pharmacy or nutrition store. Black Cohosh, flax seed, Calcium, Vitamin D, Wild Yam, Ginseng, DHEA, Dong Quai, Soy (if you’re not allergic of course) Currently I have no access to these right now so I’m going on nothing.

You’ll want to keep a towel nearby to cover up the sopping wet mess you will constantly leave on your sheets and pillow cases. Trust me, lay that towel down on the wet spot and go to sleep because Girl, you’re tired and you a’int got time to wash sheets in the middle of the damn night what are you doing?? You’re just gonna be in the same boat tomorrow. But you will need to frequent up your sheet changing regime. Keep a change of clothes nearby and change them if you are wet, I think this could be why I got pneumonia.

It’s like going through puberty all over again I’ve noticed my anxiety has kicked up several notches. You’ll probably experience bouts of insomnia simply because you can’t shut your brain off. I also went through some adult acne. I think my voice is even deeper than it was. Keep to a healthy diet and exercise the way you want to, it can help and it’s just common sense. You may get some unexpected unflattering hair growth as well. Tweezers and good depilatory creams will become a must.

Your chances of having a child, or another child is done now. You may need to process this. Cry it out, that is how you process things. You have to allow yourself to feel things in order to move past it. This is true with any traumatic event we encounter. Think about it, cry about it, pray about it, have some inner dialogue about it, eat some dairy free ice cream and you’ll probably move on and feel better.

Your sex drive will probably decrease Our bodies use sex to procreate mainly so once the need to procreate ends you will probably feel the urge a little less. You may have to put in a little more effort with your partner during this time. That effort would include finding things to stimulate your desires, discussing things with them so they don’t think it’s them, which can leave them feeling a little neglected. We should always show love to our partners- when they deserve it. Those assholes.

You should experience some emotional growth as well as some confidence during this time With maturity comes an understanding that shit just is what it is. You can’t control or change everything. You are not Superwoman. You are not a unique snowflake. You don’t have to have the body of a 25 year old because, Surprise Bitch! You’re NOT 25. I for example, am just a broad. Just a broad getting through day by day through the Grace of God.

It’s not all bad. It can be pretty freeing to not give a fuck anymore.

I really hope this post has prepared you a little bit. Maybe you’ll learn what to expect and can prepare. Share this with your lady friends, share this with partners. Because Menopause is a family event. It will affect your loved ones, your friends, your work, your energy levels and it IS a big deal because of all these things.. I often wonder, if men experienced menopause would there be paid leaves and loads of information out there for them. Possibly a national holiday in honor of it. National Men’s Awareness Month. They can have March, no one likes March. Look how much research has gone into extending erections.

Why can’t we just talk about it?

*update: (June 2019) I have begun drinking again. Because fuck menopause, and a little alcohol seems to help with the hot flashes.

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

And take care of yourself.

Sam

The Blog Broad
This ol’ Broad..

Images

Menopause Your Personal Sauna https://metro.co.uk/2015/08/25/21-things-you-never-knew-about-the-menopause-5341203/

Profile picture taken by me.

Just a Broad

The Blog Broad Blog

When did you start blogging/why?

I started blogging 5 years ago with the encouragement of friends, under a pen name- Sparky Lee Anderson.  I chose a pen name because if my blog was terrible I guess it would never be attached to my name and no one in my family and no one I went to school with would know I failed as a writer.  I came up with the name as I was “sparking” a doobie one night while watching X Files.  Having had a crush on Gillian Anderson who portrays Dana Scully since the show began, I went with Anderson.

I was published in 2014 in a Horror Anthology titled The Horror Addict’s Guide to Life.  I wrote a non-fiction piece titled, The Horror Addict’s Guide to Good Health.  I was proud of myself.  I worked hard at it and my submission was accepted and I would finally see my name in print.  Well, not exactly, my pen name was in print, and no one really cared that I got published.

Earlier this year I decided I wanted to change how I write.  Lose the pen name and write as myself.  I came up with a new blog title which I thought really encapsulated who I was as a writer.  Stephen King I am not (although he is and always will be my biggest idol.  Ever.  In the universe.).  I am however, just a broad (my Facebook profile states just that- Just a Broad) and I blog about a variety of topics; barring Beauty and Lifestyle – there are plenty of people that blog about that.  The Blog Broad was born.

But why don’t you blog about beauty or lifestyle?

I am broke.

I am 43

I have never left Canada

I”m a lesbian

I’m usually in sweatpants or jammies

I have bigger things to think about than the right shade of concealer or “maximum coverage” whatever that is.  Isn’t that just a bag over your head?  There.  There’s your maximum coverage.

*if you are reading this and you’re a beauty or lifestyle blogger, my apologies.  Your make up and/or trips look great and/or intriguing.  Thank you for reading.

 

So what do you write about?

Well, I write about what it’s like being in a lesbian relationship like in The Mysteries of the Lesbian Relationship Revealed  or in Things I Do That Drive My Partner Crazy .

I also write about my feelings for my narcissistic parents.  Like in I Can’t Throw it Away, These Things are Valuable to Some People

I get annoyed with technology a lot.  I write about that too, in I’m Drowning in Notifications I rant about having to be notified for everything you do online.  If you’re a subscriber for example, you were notified when I published this piece.

I write frequently about dealing with my many health issues, like PTSD, ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia, Depression, Anxiety and chronic pain.  Sometimes I write humorous posts because honestly, my humor is all I have left that’s still in tact.

I even write about weird things that happen to me.  Like in A Ghost Sat on Me, I write about some paranormal experiences I’ve had here in Saint John, New Brunswick Canada

I try to be encouraging, supportive and respectful to other bloggers.  There’s enough nastiness in the world and not enough kindness.

 

So, what’s the point of your blog?

It’s for me first of all.  It helps, flushing out your feelings on to the keyboard, sending it out in to cyberspace even if no one reads is cathartic and therapeutic.  I like to make people laugh and smile, so if I can do that to one person a day…   In addition, if there’s one more depressed lesbian out there suffering with PTSD and chronic pain well then, maybe this blog is for you and maybe we can exchange emails.

What is your endgame Sam?

Boy, I’m glad I asked.  Eventually, I would like to publish books.  Books I have written just to be clear.  Preferably non fiction, something humorous and relatable to others.  I’d like to publish a book of my poetry as well as a book of short stories.  This is my goal.

The act of blogging regularly helps enforce consistency and setting writing schedules prepares me for a career in writing which is what I want.  I’ve wanted it since I was 6 years old when I got my first typewriter.  I’m running out of time!

Tell me, why do you blog and what got you started?  Did you use a pen name?  What are your writing goals?

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

My First Liebster Award On the Blog Broad

liebster awardI was nominated for the Liebster Award by Lavender and Levity .  This blog was designed as a coping tool for Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) which goes hand in hand with ADHD.  It’s defined as “an extreme emotional pain and sensitivity triggered by the perception (not necessarily the reality) that a person has been rejected, teased or unfairly criticized by important people in their life.” (Wikipedia)  Often, these emotions can be quite destructive and usually manifests as frustration, anger, sensitivity or depression so it’s important to learn how to manage them.  Lavender and Levity takes her anxieties in stride often with a twist of humor.  I highly suggest you check her out and I thank her very much for the nomination.  I wish nothing but the best for my fellow chronic pain/illness/depression warriors.  Stay strong!

 

The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers.  It is intended to recognize and encourage another writer’s work and efforts.  It also helps to shed light on what may be some lesser known blogs.  Essentially, once you are nominated, you pass along 10 other nominations and so on.  Some people actually find it an annoyance, but I can’t see how increasing traffic to your blog and discovering new writers is annoying.  It’s an honor, and I will take it.  Thank you!

 

I have been blogging for about 5 years now.  Originally under Sparky Lee Anderson but I didn’t want to write under a pen name anymore, so I left one final post on that, and the Blog Broad was born.  It’s a name I’ve been thinking about for close to 2 years and I really hope to register a domain with it soon.  I try to use humor while living (coping) with chronic illness, ME/CFS {Fibromyalgia}, Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Depression,Anxiety and PTSD.  It basically helps me from losing my mind completely.  I feel like I have changed and grown a lot since the original conception of my blog.

 

The instructions for accepting the Liebster are:

 

  • Create a new post thanking the person who nominated you, link their blog and insert the award graphic.
  • Answer the questions provided to you, share a little bit about yourself.
  • Develop a new set of questions for your nominations to answer
  • Nominate 10 others and share your post with them so they see it.

 

My Questions from Lavender and Levity

 

 

  • What is your Myers-Briggs personality type?  Do you think it describes you?

 

First, I needed to take an online test, which I found here .  I am INFP: The Idealist. (Introversion- I, Intuition-N, Feeling- F, and Perception-P)  This states that I am an introvert, that is guided by my intuition.  I make decisions based on feelings rather than thinking and I perceive rather than judge.  It states, and I quote “that the main characteristics of an INFP include:

  • Loyal and devoted
  • Sensitive to feelings
  • Warm caring and interested in other people
  • Strong written communication skills
  • Prefers to work alone
  • Values close relationships
  • Focuses on the ‘big picture’ rather than the details

INFPs tend to be introverted, quiet and reserved. Being in social situations tends to drain their energy and they prefer interacting with a select group of close friends. While they like to be alone, this should not necessarily be confused with shyness. Instead, it simply means that INFPs gain energy from spending time alone. On the other hand, they have to expend energy in social situations.

INFPS typically rely on intuition and are more focused on the big picture rather than the nitty-gritty details. They can be quite meticulous about things they really care about or projects they are working on, but tend to ignore mundane or boring details.

INFPs place an emphasis on personal feelings and their decisions are more influenced by these concerns rather than by objective information. They also dislike conflict and try to avoid it. When conflicts or arguments do arise, they usually focus more on how the conflict makes them feel rather than the actual details of the argument. During arguments, they might seem overly emotional or even irrational. However, they can also be good mediators by helping the people involved in a conflict identify and express their feelings.

When it comes to making decisions, INFPs like to keep their options open. They often delay making important decisions just in case something about the situation changes. When decisions are made, they are usually based on personal values rather than logic.

Because they are so reserved and private, it can be difficult for other people to get to know INFPs. They tend to be quite devoted to their circle of close friends and family and place a high importance on the feelings and emotions of their loved ones. Much of their energy is focused inward and characterized by intense feelings and strong values. They tend to be very loyal to the people they love and to beliefs and causes that are important to them.

INFPs tend to be very creative, artistic and spiritual. They are often skilled with language, but may prefer to express their thoughts and feelings through writing. Because they have strong ethics and values, they also become passionate about advocating or defending their beliefs. While they feel strongly about their own values, INFPs are also interested in learning more about others and are willing to listen and consider many sides of an issue.

INFPs also have strong interests in making the world a better place. In addition to wanting to gain a greater understanding of themselves and how they fit into the world, they are also interested in how they can best help others. People with this personality type spend a lot of time exploring their own purpose in life and thinking about how they can use their skills and talents to best serve humanity. (http://www.onlinepersonalitytests.org/mbti/infp)

 

Well, I’d say that pretty accurately describes me.  

  1.   Which technological invention of the past 100 years could you least live without?

Probably my hair dryer.  I use it everyday and my hair would be a curly frizzy mess without it and my ceramic round brush.

  1.     If it were solely up to you (no medical, job or family demands to dictate otherwise), what time would you go to bed at night and what time would you get up?

I’d probably stay up all night and go to bed around 8 am or so.  I like the quiet during these hours.  I also like watching the sun rise, having a good breakfast then going back to bed.  It happens often when I am writing plus I don’t sleep well at night so I’m sometimes up all night anyway.

  1.  What is your favorite pizza topping?

Mushrooms.  All the mushrooms.  (But only if they’re fresh, canned mushrooms can go in the trash where they belong)

  1.     What superpower would you choose if you could have only one?

I think I’d go with invisibility.  I have (embarrassingly) spent time fantasizing about being in the kitchens of fabulous restaurants and bakeries going unseen while I sample all of their wares.  I used to have a recurring donut dream, right before my monthly, where I was behind the glass just grabbing donuts of every kind, taking bites out of all of them.  

  1.     Again, assuming no financial, medical, job or family demands, and that all options were available where you live, would you rather drive your car or take public transportation?

That’s a no-brainer for me.  If I had a car, I’d use it.  I hate public transportation because I hate people’s smells.  I hate loud people, drunk people, smelly people- period.

  1.     If you could only eat stereo-typically “breakfast” foods, “lunch” foods or “dinner” foods for the rest of your life, which would you pick?

Breakfast foods.  I LOVE bacon, eggs, hash browns, pancakes, waffles, omelettes, fruits, and cereals.  I could very easily live off that and when I go somewhere that serves all day breakfast, I usually announce it like a BINGO caller, “Oh! ALL DAY Breakfast”

So that’s a little bit about me, again I’d like to thank Lavender and Levity for the nomination and here are my 10 nominees:

A Fractured Faith 

Oh Words 

Sunlight in Winter  

Sleeping Tiger  

Bethany K  

GabFrab  

Confessions of a Brat  

M.U.D. Life  

DGGYST (Damn, Girl, Get Your Shit Together)  

Spooky Action at a Distance  

Here are your questions:

  1. If you could travel through time and live in any era, when would you choose?
  2. What was the last good book you read and why would you recommend it to a friend?
  3. If you could change one thing you’ve done in the past year, what would it be and why?
  4. Tell us one of your guilty pleasures.
  5. What is the goal of your blog?
  6. When did you start writing?
  7. If you could fight a celebrity in a boxing ring, knowing you’d win, who would it be?
  8. What’s your biggest pet peeve?
  9. What show can you simply, not miss?
  10. What game (Board, card or video) are you best at?

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

A Letter To My 10 Year Old Self

Writing a letterAs I was spreading a thick layer of depilatory cream on my upper lip and chin this evening, it occurred to me that no one prepared me for this. No one told me I’d have to spend extra time in the mirror looking for errant black hairs. No one prepared me for having whiskers. No one told me I’d turn into a man for fuck’s sake and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it.  

Come to think of it, I feel like there have been a number of things I just wasn’t prepared for. I thought I would write a letter to my 10 year old self to warn her. 

Dear Sam,

I thought you would appreciate a head’s up from your future self. We are now 43 years old and things didn’t quite go as we thought it would, so I’m just going to lay it all out there for you in point form.  Brace yourself. 

You will get fat in your twenties, please for the love of God, stay away from those donuts, pizza and potato chips or at least pace yourself. Stay active and eat right. You may not be aware of this now but when you get older it becomes harder to poop, so eat all your fruits and vegetables.  

In the future we won’t be dating boys. You know how you like to watch Daisy Duke in her short shorts? In the future, this will become far more socially acceptable and you won’t have to hide your love of Madonna and her belly button. It will even become legal for a woman to marry another woman. They’ll throw parades for people like us and it will be fabulous. The only downside is that with gay marriage comes gay divorce and you will experience that too if you jump in too quickly and trust the wrong person. Pay close attention to the signs that your partner is cheating, you’ll be able to see that up close and in action in 2 short years when your mom and dad break up. 

You’ll become a dog person. I know that sounds impossible to you given your life long love of cats and all things kitty, but you will meet a dog one day that changes your mind about dogs and you’ll see how awesome they are.

Can you imagine a world where we can take our phones with us? Now, I know you’re thinking of one of those 15 pound phones with the giant aerial right? Looks like a shoebox? They get smaller, smaller and smaller and then a little bigger, then bigger again so we can watch TV on them! No one has house phones anymore. We all carry tiny computers around with us everywhere. Not like the Commodore 64 either. They’re lightening fast with bold bright lifelike colors and have this remarkable thing called the Internet. It’s like having a library at your fingertips with a world of information a click or tap away. The whole world is connected now and you can talk to someone on the other side of the world just like that. No one sends letters anymore and rarely do people actually TALK on the phones we all carry. We simply send each other text messages instead. In fact, we have basically developed a new language based solely on shortened words and pictures of faces we call emoticons. The whole thing is going to blow you away. You won’t need to visit libraries anymore, or bookstores for that matter, or really any stores since we have this thing called Amazon now that sells pretty much anything you will ever need. We don’t really do things in person anymore. You will hardly have to leave your house. The only problem is that we end up giving away all of our privacy and personal information in exchange for the convenience. There’s a book you should read, it’s called 1984 by George Orwell, that should explain it better for you. 

The world is a pretty crazy place right now, the Americans elected Donald Trump as their President. I know. Our Prime Minister is actually Pierre Trudeau’s son and he got elected with a promise of legal pot for everyone. You know that stuff from the Cheech and Chong movies your parents watch? Well in the future, a lot of people use it for medication, even you.

You will end up with crippling pain in your body from something called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, or Fibromyalgia as they generalize it. You also end up with pretty severe Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Degenerative Disc Disease and Endometriosis. You will have pain all the time and it will get worse as you age, so enjoy your life now. Enjoy being able to freely move and run, even with your bum ankles. Climb as many trees as you can find, sink as many basketballs as possible and ride your bike with total abandon because you will really miss that when you get older and your mobility decreases with illness.

You won’t ever be a Mom. I know you wanted to but that disease I told you about, Endometriosis, is going to cause cysts to grow all over your insides and destroy your uterus and you’ll only have one ovary. It’s okay though because in the future, less and less women are able to have babies, so you won’t be the only one. You can still have pets and enjoy your friends’ kids and honestly, you’ll be so tired and ill so frequently that you probably wouldn’t be the best mom anyway.  

A lot of famous people will die. People that you love. One of them, is Michael Jackson. Michael will leave quite the legacy. Some stuff will happen with him that you won’t know if you should believe. Just remember the good stuff about Michael. Robin Williams, Prince, David Bowie, Whitney Houston, George Michael and many others die unexpectedly. The one that will hurt the most is Leonard Nimmoy. I know how much you love Spock. On a side note, Star Trek is still going! They’re still making new movies and there will be several spin off series for you to look forward to.

Work hard in school. Work so hard that you earn scholarships. Education will become really expensive and very necessary to gain steady employment. Without it, you will have to work in retail or in call Centers answering questions and taking complaints from assholes. You’ll do it so long that when your phone does ring, it will make you sweat and shudder and throw up in your mouth a little bit. You will grow to loath a ringing telephone. 

Continue writing. Maybe work harder with that. In the future people can self publish, you won’t even need a publisher at first, you can write your book and put it right on Amazon. Keep reading, books never go out of style. Keep learning. Your love of learning will stay with you throughout your life.

One last thing I need to talk to you about it the reason you are sad. You have something called clinical depression and you already have a pretty remarkable case of something else called anxiety disorder. That’s the thing that makes you cry before you go to school, it’s what causes that pain you get in your stomach all the time. You will have this for the rest of your life. You will try many treatments, medications and lifestyle changes but it will always be there. Try not to let it get the best of you, learn to soothe yourself because your parents won’t. They will never understand it. Learn to be strong, secure and resilient. Learn to love yourself. You’re not alone and you will meet some pretty great friends that will become your chosen family.  

Your life will be hard but remember, God never gives us more than we can handle. You can apply that reasoning when you find out you can’t have babies. Also apply that logic when you don’t move past a B cup in bras.  

Stay strong little warrior. 

PS. You are lactose intolerant, please stop drinking milk and lay off the cheese slices.

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

Weird Things From My Childhood That Made Me the Weirdo I am

AnxietySo this is a little more personal, I often try to write with humor, but some things just aren’t that funny and that makes it difficult to put a humorous twist on it. Like many of us, I had an unconventional childhood. My parents had a rocky marriage, we didn’t have much money, I spent my early childhood living in a trailer. My father drank a lot, my mother cried a lot. My parents fought a lot. I hid in my closet a lot. I was an only child with no freedom who was afraid of everything and overly anxious. I grew up to be an overly sensitive, massively anxious adult.

My parents split up at age 12 so I had a lot of firsts at that age you’ll notice. I’m not going to get into every little detail but rather I will just highlight a few things that made me the neurotic mess I am.  

My father’s idea of playing with me was throwing plastic spiders at me, knowing I was terrified of spiders. He thought making me scream was funny. You know when your parents used to say “if you don’t eat your food, I’ll dump it on your head.” He actually did that. When I wouldn’t eat my dinner, he’d dump it on my head and laugh hysterically. Somewhere there is a photo of me crying with clam chowder running down my face. Hilarious. 

I wasn’t allowed to stay overnight anywhere until my parents separated. I stayed overnight once or twice at my cousins’ house, but they lived next door and it took a lot of begging. At my cousins’ house we could stay up late watching TV and eating treats. At my house, I had to be in bed while it was still light out and no treats unless it was a Friday.

I wasn’t allowed treats. Not to say I never had any, but it was limited. Sugar was limited. As a child I was underweight but my mother was overweight so I think she was trying to prevent me from being overweight in some weird way. At Halloween she’d ration the treats much like the Third Reich rationed butter during the war. I’d still have candy left come April. Same thing happened at Easter and at Christmas. I think this made me indulge too much as an adult. I only tried McDonald’s for the first time at 12 when my friend’s Dad took us and I thought it was amazing! In my twenties I had ballooned up to 260 pounds. I have since lost that weight but it made me obsessed with food for years. 

My family aren’t the hugging ‘I love you’ type. The way we showed affection was to make fun of each other until someone ended up with a crippling case of self consciousness. I got made fun of for my choice in music, clothes, make up, friends, grades, you name it. Doing that resulted in a lack of confidence. I was also being bullied at school, I wished for love and reassurance from my family, but it has always remained just a wish.

I never had a shower until I was 12. We had a dug well so my father’s logic was that it would run dry. It never ran dry that I can remember but my father insisted that we take baths. So first my Mom would take hers, then I would take mine, then Dad would have his- all in the same tub of water. At the time, I figured that everyone did this, but then I heard they didn’t. It was just us. The first time I had a shower was at my stepmother’s house and I had to ask how to use it. She couldn’t believe I had never showered before. I flooded the bathroom not realizing to put the shower curtain inside the tub. Now I bathe several times a day. I am obsessed with hygiene and I’m a compulsive hand washer. 

I wasn’t allowed to have friends over, I had to spend my summers babysitting my younger step brother with not even an allowance. I wasn’t allowed to join extra curricular activities; the list goes on and on. My aunts and uncles labelled me “the little prisoner” as a child for a good reason. I felt like a chained up back yard dog that you only occasionally pay attention to. I think this is where my love of animals stem from. My pets would become my best friends. 

There are so many other things that come to mind, some of which are hard to talk about. As an adult I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with things, I have PTSD and have been clinically depressed since I was a teenager. Writing about it helps. It can be therapeutic. Seeing it in print and learning about other people’s experiences seems to make it a little easier to deal with.  

I don’t have a relationship with my parents. It’s been almost 2 years since I spoke to my father and 5 since I talked with my mother. I miss them but it’s more like I miss the idea of them rather than the actual people. It feels weird to say that, but it’s true. I don’t feel connected to my family, I never really have. I’ve just always felt like an outsider, like I didn’t belong simply because I’m not like them. I am more compassionate and sensitive, I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings and I care about others. Some of these characteristics I attribute to the fact that I had a less than caring family and in many ways I’m glad that I am who I am.  

Just know that actions you take with your children can last a lifetime. It can hurt and even damage them. Show your kids what unconditional love is, be patient, listen to them. 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

Image courtesy of tuelekza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Appointments.  Are There Anything Worse?

I am sitting here dumping a Lukewarm cup of tea down my neck hole fussing about my appointments today in my head.
I’m guessing normal people don’t do this. They probably just get up feeling rested in the mornings, go to their jobs and appointments and then home to their pet unicorns and eat mana as it rains down from the Heavens.. 

Stress. Why do I stress about everything? My anxiety levels rise, my heart beats a little faster, I start walking into door frames and bumping into things as I am otherwise distracted by my worries, then I start chewing on my fingers and cuticles as scenarios play out in my mind.

Today’s appointment is with Mental Health. I have been dealing with clinical depression for my entire adult life. I’ve been on medication since I was 18 years old. I have severe anxiety as well as PTSD. I moved to Saint John, New Brunswick with my partner two years ago and it has been DIFFICULT to find doctors here. It turns out I moved to the sickest province in Canada; meaning there are more chronically ill people here than anywhere else in Canada. That means doctors have limits on how many patients they can see, it means limited access to specialists, long wait times and full emergency rooms at the hospitals. I also don’t have a vehicle so that makes transportation difficult. I have to do quite a bit of walking to get around, and on days like today (rainy, damp and cold) I am going to need an appointment with a long hot bath and my heating pad when I get home. So this appointment with Mental Health; I don’t know what to expect really, but these are the possible outcomes:

“Ugh you people with your “chronic illness” and your “chronic pain” don’t you know how much of a drag you people are? You people are just whiny little pissers who just can’t toughen up and deal.” I picture a nasally lady with glasses much too large for her face with one of those long gold chains that attaches to your glasses so you don’t lose them. She has a knitted sweater around her shoulders  probably knitted by her friend Myrtle last Christmas, poor Myrtle has the rheumatoid arthritis so she can’t knit like she used to so Sheila (that’s what I named the Mental Health lady) wears it often because it reminds her of the everyday struggles and that people can overcome anything. Sheila is also slapping a nightstick in her palm. Not sure where she got that but, I feel scared.

“Wow. You are literally THE craziest broad I have ever met. You need some serious help. How do you get through life at all even? I’m not sure I can continue this session today.” The uptight tight faced lady then places a call and requests Igor and Hugo immediately. At that point I am carted away by 2 beasts of men in a straight jacket against my will. 

“Yeah you have some legitimate issues for sure, unfortunately so does everyone else so you will need to go on a waiting list for a year or so. It could be less if suicide rates continue to rise.” This time it’s a man who looks like kind of like David Suzuki only less Asian. He’s wearing brown pants with brown loafers and grey socks to match his grey shirt. I find him oddly comforting so I agree to go on his list.

“What problems? You’re completely and utterly lying. Pain? You are not in a wheelchair nor do you have cancer, why are you wasting my time today?” This guy kind of looks like Sigmund Freud only he speaks with a British accent and wears his shirt collar buttoned up with a bow tie. Normally I think, ‘Bowties are cool’ but not in this particular case. It just comes across as simply pompous. 

I don’t make it to my appointment at all, instead I just collapse from exhaustion and pain in the street while the rain beats on my face. The camera pans out from above and I am all alone drowning in rain, tears and failures while people hurriedly walk past and over me.

Wow, that’s a little dramatic Sam, and yes I am aware of that but this is how my brain works. Mostly I’m simply afraid of opening up to yet another doctor/medical professional with little to no help as an end result.  

After this appointment, I have yet another with a social worker from Community Living here in the city. They assist people with disabilities attain help from different resources. I don’t have some of the documents they want though and need more time so again I stress.

What would a life without anxiety feel like? Would it be as liberating as I assume it would or would you even notice how lucky you are?

Worry

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,
Sam

Photo credit http://www.demotivation.us/worrying-works-1281560.html