We Are Going To Make It

Is anyone out there as old as I am? I grew up to the Mary Tyler Moore show, on every week as I recall. When I was 10 or so, she was beautiful to me, not just as a pretty woman (which she was and is, if she is still alive, is she?…)but as a woman in “the workplace”. I was too young to understand the dynamics of discrimination against women, I was buying into the whole “be a good girl, speak when you are spoken to” misogynist mantra.

That is where the slogan “We’re going to make it after all” first made me feel warm and fuzzy. My folks both worked long, hard hours to feed my brother and I. We saw them briefly each morning. Mom on her way to bed after all night at a local “old folks” hospital, and Dad on his way to the Speciality  Steel Mill. The only thing “special” about the steel mill that I could see was the fact that Dad was “‘specially”angry when he got home.

.  We didn’t want for anything that I ever knew, except that I never got designer jeans like my best friend, with the rich dad. No, my belly was full, and I was as happy as a chubby pre-teen with thick glasses and a mouth full of braces could be in the late 70’s. The only thing lacking was joy, any kind of joy, at home. Even “The Holidays”, when I still celebrated them, were joyless, because there was always disappointment lurking under the tree. Family gatherings were nice before I got old enough to feel the undercurrents of dislike and tension that flowed thru the affairs, like the lambrusco in the fancy glasses.

.  We are going to make it. After all.

.  I’m in the ” after all” phase of life now. And I have made it, thus far . All the family drama is distant history, now that my parents are dead they don’t fight as much.(chuckle). I have learned to live without them here, and I have gleefully learned to live without my abusive ex and now deceased husband. (No, I’m not gleeful at his being deceased.)

.  I have lived on my own for 4 years now, Dad died on 3/7/16, and Mom on 3/21/10. The grief did not stab me like a bayonet to the stomach this year, no, it was a dull, ongoing ache that I thought I didn’t feel, until this very moment. A heaviness inside my heart, a gray, damp blanket on my view. But I have made it, after all…

.  I want to share happy tidings, tho’, not the fear mongering that is flying all around the internet and all the airwaves. Yes, this Pandemic is a very, very bad thing. Many of our loved ones, friends and neighbors will get very sick, and many will die. More people will die than usually do in a “regular” time period. It will be very difficult to work, to shop, to meet with friends and family. However, we must endure these difficulties with a hopeful demeanor, and share our hope with  Everyone we can!!! We All need to support our fellow humans, and we CAN!!!!!

You may ask why, and I understand how hard it is not to have a pity party when one has no access to TP or Oreos. I am not immune to this situation, especially the Oreo thing. But as a person who has lived with chronic intractable pain all over my body for the last 20years, I do have experience with the power of positivity shared. This will be a HUGE HELP TO ALL OF US: BE UPBEAT AND POSITIVE WHEN SPEAKING TO OTHERS! DO NOT BOG OTHERS DOWN BY SHARING NEGATIVITY SUCH AS WHAT WE CAN’T DO, BUT FOCUS ON STEPS WE CAN TAKE. 

One thing we must do to help is STAY POSITIVE when we talk to others. Just as you would not talk to a Child about negative outcomes of a storm, we all, ALL need comfort from our fellow humans right now. Just as we would not want our Mom to be overly anxious about a situation, think of your friends and neighbors who are anxious also!

.   We want to help the people we love, and hopefully we want to help our fellow man who we don’t even know. I am going to work on this, and I already know it helps, because people who cared for me when I was incapacitated did it for me. And I made it thru to better days. Picture 346

. I hope you are doing well, that you can see the sky today, wherever you are. One thing that helps me so much is prayer because I know God is close to me when I pray to him in his Son, Jesus name. Reading the Bible books of Psalms and brings me peace, and talking on the phone to others about God’s promises soon to be fulfilled.  If I can just smile at someone, it lifts my mood and hopefully theirs as well. I send out my warm hugs and smiles to all of you.

.  We’re going to make it, after all!

Jehovah created a paradise...
frannie-pannie…

Hello from a NEW Perspective!

I have been spinning my wheels today, trying for hours to get my blogs here on WordPress all straightened out. It is very difficult to keep settings and numbers straight in my head since I sustained that TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) in a fall in 2013. Along with all the other physical and Mental challenges I have, I just did not want to accept the fact that I have more struggles now. 0

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

It is amazing, however, that the life I have now with Jehovah helping me, no matter what the challenges may be, I am more content inside than ever before in my life! I used to wish I was younger, but when I look back the only real times of loving family memories are ones that I have created in my imagination. I had buried myself under so many layers of fantasy, that I believed I was happy in the World. Happy doing drugs, happy smoking stinking cigarettes. Happy letting people use me. Beautiful in my filth.more self portraits 028

But I cried every single day, I hated the way I looked, I never felt safe, I was always jealous and insecure…I wanted to die most of the time. But I was young and pretty, right? No, I was tired and sick and overly made up, and either starving cause I was doing speed or puking cause I thought I ate too much… So beautiful… Did you ever see a stung out 20 year old who has been awake for a week so wired that she can only drink beer to try to come down. Make up all smeared and clothes stinking from sweat and alcohol and cigarettes, in skiiiinnnn tight jeans that leave red imprints on her skin, and her hair all stringy? No, you never did?

Believe me, you don’t want to.  Nothing very attractive to see there. The eyes were the worst , though. I had dead eyes. No light, no twinkle, no shine of good health and vitality. No glow of clean living on my skin.  And fear was my constant companion, though he took many forms. Fear of Judgement, fear of running out of drugs or drink, running out of love, running out of gas, losing jobs, fear of having no money for bills, for food, for gas. fear of not being able to explain where I was , what I was doing, who I was with. I feel a knot forming in my gut now, as my fingers fly over the keyboard, like the dogs are behind me now, panting, jaws dripping teeth glistening, necks straining, moving in for the kill…

STOP! STOP THE MERRY GO ROUND!in a forest like this...

I breath a deep sigh as I write this, and I feel cool rain on my skin, a cool breeze wraps around me and the wretched image disappears. Like a steaming apparition, fading away into the night. No more to chain me down, no more to lure me into dense darkness with promises of belonging, promises of fame, promises of beauty. No, I have seen the errors of my past and I have

REPENTED, TURNED AROUND, HAD MY SINS BLOTTED OUT SO THAT THE HEALING LIGHT of HIS LOVE has HEALED ME…

For the longest time after I became a baptized servant of Jah, I hated my old self. I had to create a whole new persona for myself, strict and unflinching, upright and uptight. I never wanted to look the way I had in the past, it was as if I physically cut that person out of my life and off of me like a surgeon divides Siamese Twins. Just as I cut out my ex husband who hurt me so bad, and just as I cut all my old “friends” out of my life, I also cut myself off from the music I listened to, the tv shows I watched, the clothes I wore, and the books I read.

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striped reflection

 

Was this necessary? Did I have to be so stern, so strict? Yes, at that time I did. The break from my past had to be as sure and swift as beheading a chicken with a hatchet. Like Jesus said, “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out! for it is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye then to be pitched into fiery Gehenna…”

This had to be the way for me, I was so determined to show Jehovah that I want to make Him happy, that I never, never wanted to go back to the way I was. And that is as it should be. But in my zeal, I was actually running away from myself. And I know that Jehovah does not hate me, but I hated that me. I hated her, and I blamed her for my “fall from grace”.  That person, that Me was evil, she was bad, rotten to the core. I never wanted to look at her or acknowledge her ever again. I spent the first ten years as a Witness trying to figure out who I was now, how should I look, act, speak, dress. And here was a big problem: How Should I Feel?

Any time I had bad thoughts I shut them down and cast them, out like throwing out the trash. But the self loathing would not go away, and I could not forgive myself for them. Even though I asked my true friends how they felt, and how they thought, and I tried very, very hard to mimic them, I felt cursed to always be bad. I even told people I felt like Pig Pen on Charlie Brown, carrying all the bad around me like a cloud of dirt. I blamed it all on that Me. And I was suffering.   Jehovah did not want me to feel this way, and I know now that I never have to feel that way again.

How did the situation resolve, you ask?  Let me explain…

I have been seeing a mental health professional ever since I quit using drugs and alcohol. The reason I began to was that I was still VERY depressed after being clean for a year and  when I sought help they diagnosed me as Bipolar. (more about that another day…)  On a therapy day, not long ago (maybe six months) Dave , my therapist noticed my loathing for the Me of the past. He was very intuitive and suggested a type of play acting. I had no idea what was about to happen. He placed the other chair in the room across from me, and had me turn my chair to face it. As I sat looking at the empty chair he asked me to visualize my old self.

“What does she look like?”, he asked.

“Well, she’s kind of pretty,” I saidM, “she’s got long dark hair, and a bunch of earrings, and tattoos.”

“What is she feeling?”, he asked quietly.

” I think she is very sad,” I repli ed, continuing,”She has the saddest eyes and I think she wants to die.”

“Tell her what you told me, Susan. That you hate her..”

“No! I don’t want her to know I said that!” I had tears running down my face…

” Well, what do you want to tell her?” he gently nodded at the empty chair.

As I sat there seeing old Me as clearly as I see this tablet, I began to talk to myself…

” hey there, don’t cry… You will be ok… I know you are scared right now, but God loves

Picture 017
one day soon!

Picture 013you… I…I love you… poor girl.”     With  the tears just pouring down my face, he helped me to realize that old Me wasn’t evil, or someone I had to hate or shun… I did not have to cut myself in half anymore. I was seeing myself in a new light, as I would look on any other sick and sad individual who was beaten up and trodden down by Satan’s system of things.

This therapy tool had a profound and lasting effect on me, and I still can use it when I lose my focus and start berating myself for my sinful nature. Jehovah knows we are dust, as our Creator, he knows we want to be happy and He knows exactly what we need to live meaningful and purpose filled lives.

I am so grateful to be just me today, a whole person joyful serving God, under the rule of His Son, Jesus Christ, alongside millions of other faithful ones all around the world!

The Melee in My Mind

Bipolar Disorder. What an illness, huh? It seems to wait, like a kitty under the covers, to pounce on your feet when you least expect it, and least desire it! Such as that cozy twilight of consciousness right before you drift to sleep.

Only that is not a good example, because bipolar disorder is no playful kitty. It is a life encompassing, joy challenging, disruptive and potentially deadly mental illness. More like a raging, ravenous tiger bursting out of the underbrush to drag you screaming into the dark.

It has been quite a while since I wrote about my mental illness, and not because it went away. It is the nature of it, that I shut myself up and bottle all the turmoil away, until a hairline crack appears, and the fizz hits the fan. I have been so busy, flailing away at life, downsizing, moving here to the west coast, setting up house etc., etc. This is much like how I used to claim to be clean and sober, which only lasted as long as my frenzy of work, all to come crashing down in a dead drunk in a week…or a day. Now I dont have the drink, or the drug, or the cigarette, or the parents, or the abusive ex. Just the moving, cleaning, painting, eating and locking all my worries up in a box.

I have been happier though, as I have moved forward and away from the physical address of so much grief. It really was holding me back, seeing their living spaces each day, moving through the “big empty” of it all. My new home feels hopeful and kind, like each room is a new friend, just waiting to be discovered. As the old dark colors and furnishings fade, and a new layer of pride of ownership covers the surfaces, it feels as if the same is occurring on my inside. A good sweeping out, and sloughing off.

It has been difficult trying to rebuild with altered puzzle pieces. Since the accidents of 2013, and the head trauma (TBI), I struggle to accomplish the simplest tasks, paying the simplest bills, and being on time for appointments being two “biggies”.

On days when the pain overwhelms, I try to just do the dishes, or make myself rest without guilt, which ,for a person with my issues is nearly impossible. I still hear the voices in my head, “lazy…stupid…useless…”, and I still miss the touch of a hand, the contact of another human who loves me. The years of caregiving for my Dad has left me broken inside, dry as a popcorn fart with the lack of kindness all those years.

I talk to myself constantly, using the soothing voice of a mother to a hurt child, to get me through the loneliest parts. When I am feeling too fragile, I lie on the living room floor on the dogs blanket, with them around me where I can feel their warmth and hear them breathing. I dont even mind the company of a flea… as long as it is not a verbally abusive one….

I know that this situation is temporary, that I must endure, as we all must. The Word makes that crystal clear. “The one that endures…endures…ENDURES!”

And so I shall. If you need me, I’ll be on the dog blanket…

We Never Moved, Just Moved On…

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This is Baby Izzy. Her full name is Aiko XoXo Izabella, and she is a shih-tzu, as are my other 2 babies. This is her older brother, Kiko San Majestic:Picture 724

He looks like a wookie from star wars here. Or an Ewok, I can’t remember what that furry creature as called. Both of the kids were young in these pictures, Kiko may have been just over 2 years old, and Izzy was about 8 months. SO cute!!!

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one of the GIANT houses we looked at!
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pretty porch!
Picture 714
GIANT kitchen!
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standing in Alabama looking into Georgia

Mom and dad and I had driven up to Alabama looking at houses. This was when houses here were selling for 3 times more than they are now, so we could have purchased a larger, nicer house, with some acreage. Mom had not been diagnosed with stage 4 colo/rectal cancer yet, that would come the next year. And although we saw many beautiful properties, we decided not to move, which was a good thing in the long run. Here at this house where we have been for 30 years, everything is paid and there is no mortgage.110 Banyan, abandoned and vandalized 001 skinny faces 003 skinny faces 020 The Fall at Arby's on 4-5-13 010Picture 711Picture 811

We also live by a major Interstate Highway that runs from Maine to the very tip of the mainland in the Keys. Every type of hospital, doctor’s office, pharmacy, store, post office, and any retail establishment you can think of are in a 10 mile radius of our home. I happen to hate “city” living, so now that we are bigger than West Palm Beach I do not enjoy all the traffic. We are so close to the HWY. that we had a big wooden privacy fence erected to block traffic noise and keep us safe from transients, and criminals. I used to go to sleep to the thumping sound of car stereos rattling my windows. And the house next door has been abandoned for at least 5 years now. It has had a pool full of mosquitoes nearly the entire time, the shutters all fell off, and they ran over their septic tank with a backhoe before they moved. I am only scratching the surface here, but suffice to say the grass is high next door!

Ok, I gotta hang up my pencil now- my neck has a crook in it…I mean a crick! Or is it a creak? I know it is creaky, just like all my other moveable parts! Goodnight friends!

Pray to Jehovah, my friends!

A Mess of a Blog!

Today I was running around, trying to get all my work done and I was having a hard time catching my breath. So I have been calling a local Pulmonologist (sp?) to make an appointment. I just can not abide with this proposed course of blood thinners, all the while not knowing where this blood clot came from! I am like a dog with a bone, and it is just worrying me to death!

Anyway, I think I have somehow turned all my readers away…(sad face…) I have been talking too much about things people don’t want to hear, I suppose. I wish there was a way to know what I am doing wrong. I think I enabled the comment feature, so perhaps I will get some feedback about my Blog.

I think it looks pretty nice, but that’s just me. I like this theme, and how each picture moves when you mouse over it. I put a static page up tonight, perhaps I was overloading my site with pictures. Isn’t it funny, I am so co-dependent that I actually want to configure my blog the way complete strangers want it, not myself! Perhaps that is the problem, in a nutshell. It could be that I’m just trying too hard to be helpful, to impress, to be popular, to be read. Could it be that I am writing my blog for the wrong reasons?

I used to keep my journal just for my hidden thoughts, private and secret. I wrote to a person, a confidant, a friend who was really a part of myself, I guess. I know I have been depressed for the better part of my life, and my family was messed up, so I needed a safe place to unload. The anger, the loneliness, the doubts and fears-it all poured out of me onto the page.

I am an artist, so I would draw elaborate pictures of fantasy places and people, my imagination running free. I don’t draw much anymore, and my poetry seems to have dried up lately. I have had spells where I will go for a year without expressing myself. It  usually happens when I am very, very sick mentally, emotionally.

I felt today Like a caged panther, pacing her cage, ready to burst free and run to the highest mountains, to escape and never look back. It has been too long, too many years trapped here. A dutiful daughter thinking this way… I am going mad, seeing myself in all insanity’s amazing facets.

I feel myself disappearing more each day, becoming a person I never wanted to be, ever again. I must hold on with all my strength, and all my faith. I am crying out into the darkness and hoping I hear myself…

Dreaming a Dance

I am borrowing a line from a fellow blogger who has a rescue dog. The dog has a wild poopy dance, and since she lived in a crate for her first 8 years of life, Rachel said: “She must have been dreaming this dance her whole life”. You can read this post on The Cricket Pages, a WordPress blog I enjoy very much.

Those words, though, they got me thinking…

A song has started inside my heart, swirling, soaring and free.

I Try to dance, it tears me apart, the notes screaming their way out of me.

i reach through the bars of this crushing cage into the deepest of nights

and dream i’m a ribbon released in the wind, flying till it’s out of sight!

willing myself to learn steps in a waltz that no one has ever taught me,

i will whirl and cavort , my face to the sun, till someone shows up with the key!

This poem is dedicated to Butterfly.

aren't i the cutest thing you've ever seen?
aren’t i the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?

The Who I Once Was, and Am Not

I am working on being a well person. My visiting nurse had called my Neurosurgeon this morning to ask for a refill on my break-thru pain meds, and I really am a miserable girl, but I think I am going to try not to take them anymore. I will go thru more intense withdrawals the longer I take them, so why not bite the bullet now? I am sitting propped up on the couch, as we speak, packed in ice, basically. I had the staples taken out yesterday (42), and so far I am healing up beautifully. As beautifully as a seven inch incision on the back of my neck, a 3 inch one on my throat, and another long one on my lower back can look. Ah, it adds to my character:-) . This ice is not doing much, BTW, so this is kind of a grouchy post. I walked the dogs about 50 feet today in the 100 degree heat in my plastic turtle shell. And Dad keeps turning the AC off, so I think I have sweated off about 50 lbs in the past4 hours. Remember that Nazareth tune, “Miss Misery”. Here I am… more later…