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Violence: It’s not all about guns and fists

27 Jun

I’ll ask for your forgiveness before I even write my thoughts, because I know I’m going to upset some readers. I hope some of you will understand that with this post I mean to express my feelings and my knowledge not in an attempt to hurt anyone, but to hopefully make you think, understand, and perhaps change a bit to make this world, our world, a better place for all of us to live.

I’ll start by saying that I’ve lived with violence since I was a small child. I knew my father and mother’s violence much more than I ever knew their love from as far back as my memories begin. I was not raised in a poor home, my parents were and are very middle-class. I was not raised by parents who were uneducated. They both attended and graduated from fine colleges and universities, my mother is a registered nurse certified in every type of hospital environment, from the ER to the OR, and worked as not only a floor nurse but also as a house supervisor for the majority of her career. She also has experience as a school nurse, home health nurse, and saw people living in abject poverty and sometimes visited homes where she required a police escort to see that those in need were taken to the hospital or given care within their homes. She took care of patients from all walks of life and all socioeconomic levels. She was an excellent nurse, right up until she retired.

My father also had the benefit of an excellent education, achieving not only a Bachelor of Science degree but a Master’s as well. He was a mere three courses shy of receiving his doctorate before my mother announced that he absolutely had to stop being a student and find a job that would support our family of four. He resented her for that every day and would  tell my brother and me that we were the cause of his inability to follow his dreams of going into research, and instead having to become a teacher. He taught high school chemistry, biology, and also taught science courses at the local community college until he retired. He was by all accounts an excellent instructor and his students not only respected him but many told me personally that he was their favorite teacher of all time, how he was such a great man and how lucky I was to be his daughter. It took everything I had in me not to sneer and tell them I would  trade places with them in an instant and then they could see just how ‘lucky’ I was. My father never wanted to have children, did not even like children, and he had no problem telling  the two of us those facts any time he got the chance. He resented us, he disliked us, and consequently never approved of anything we did no matter how successful we were at anything we tried to do. I think the only thing I ever did that made him even seem to show a bit of pride was when I played or sang music. Maybe that was due to the fact that he enjoyed music and was unable to do it himself. But nothing else I did was ever good enough, and nothing I do now is….

When I talk about violence, it is more than just the corporal punishment I received at the hands of both my parents. Sometimes, I think maybe I deserved some of it, other times I know I did not. I have, over the last 43 years of my life, tried to make excuses for the way I was treated. It is a means of comforting myself, to try to convince myself that I was not all bad but maybe they were trying in some horrible way to wrench what evil there was inside me out by any means possible. My rational mind tells me that there are no reasons to ever hit a child, no reasons to warrant hitting a child with belts, switches, or fists, but the rational mind is no comfort in the middle of the night when the nightmares keep you from sleep. There are only tears and sobs and a pillow to hide the sound from the husband you love and whom you want to protect from hearing about the painful past that will only upset him. I have learned to cry quietly for the most part, and it is because I love my husband fiercely that I try not to talk about the memories that haunt me still.

When my father’s father died, he went alone to the funeral home when he knew he would be alone with the corpse of the man who had abused him in one form or another all of his life. My grandfather was a cold-blooded man, who treated his children and his wife and his sister with cruelty that would not be believed if written in a book. To this day, my father and his brother and sister still bear the scars of my grandfather’s abuse. They are suspicious and jealous of one another. They do not have the love for one another that we are taught by our religious leaders and educators is right and good. It was systematically beaten out of them, they were the victims of lies and stories my grandfather told them throughout their childhoods and their adult lives that killed any sort of trust they might have otherwise had for one another. Abused siblings often cling to one another to survive, to save their souls from the pain of being unloved and unwanted. My grandfather saw to it that they never did that, he made sure that even after he died they would continue to hate one another. If there is truly a Hell, he is there.

My brother and I are the same, we don’t even speak to one another. I have tried time after time to talk to him, to find some sort of common bond that would bring him into a healthy relationship with me, his only sibling. But I have failed, and I don’t know if I can ever change how he feels about me and about himself. He wants nothing to do with me, and to be totally honest he wants nothing to do with any of our family. My mother forces herself upon him and his family because of his two little girls, but he doesn’t like her to be in his home and treats her with disdain when she visits. He has nothing in common with my father, and wants none of his friends to even meet our father or mother. Since he lives a state away from them, it’s not very hard to keep our parents out of his life and the lives of his girls. Perhaps he is wise to do so, because I allowed my daughter to have them in her life and consequently she has heard how horrible a person I am so much that she and I have a very strained relationship. I’ve written extensively about my daughter and how difficult our relationship is, and how I feel I’ve failed as a mother. I believe that had I had a better relationship with my own parents, I would have been better equipped to raise a happy, healthy woman. But I did not, and I did the best I could with the tools I had. I love my daughter, but if I had it to do all over again I would take her far away from my parents and the poisonous relationship I have with them and then maybe she would have turned out differently.

Violence. The worst violence doesn’t come from a bullet shot from a gun, it comes from the words and actions of the people we are given to as infants and who are charged with bringing  us up to become healthy, secure members of this world. Telling a child that they are bad, that they are not wanted, that they are a burden and embarrassment, that even their parents don’t like them and only ‘love’ them out of reluctance and obligation, that is the worst kind of violence. That type of violence will bring a child to hate themselves and the world around them. That type of violence can make a child swallow a bottle of pills and pray for death, can make them slice open their arms and watch their blood run into the warm water of a bathtub and smile as they feel their life ebb away. That type of violence can make someone hate those who laugh and are loved, hate them enough to get a gun, load it with bullets, and carry it into a school, or business, or a crowd and open fire before turning it upon themselves. The violence we see and mourn when it’s reported on the news doesn’t start with the gun, it starts with the interior monologue that the child or adult hears after they’ve been told they are not good, they are not wanted, they are not valued, they are not loved. When a mother tells her daughter that she is ‘not the daughter I ever wanted’, or says ‘why can’t you look like (fill in any name), you’re so fat and sloppy’, or when she slaps her across the face in front of her friends and never apologizes and tells those watching that the daughter is worthless and ‘just a horrible person’, it leaves a scar too deep to ever cover or even truly heal.

The violence I write about is the kind of abuse that Social Services and Child Welfare doesn’t do anything about, especially when the kids are wearing the latest fashions, make decent grades, and the parents belong to all the right clubs and attend the right church. No one sees this violence because children who suffer through this don’t tell…they are too ashamed and believe that their parents are right. They suffer in silence until it erupts in self-mutilation, suicide, or sometimes in violence towards others before turning inward. I know this to be true because I suffered in silence until the first time I tried to take my own life. Then, thanks to therapists who helped me open up and talk about all the memories that were destroying me from the inside outward, I was able to begin healing. I’m not sure I’ll ever be truly recovered, I don’t know if it’s even possible to find peace from such things, but I’m trying. That is why I went back to school to study psychology and therapy, so while I learned to help others I might also help myself.

I have done my best to forgive my parents. I still, perhaps foolishly, try to gain their approval all the time.

I Failed at Motherhood

28 May

I Failed at Motherhood.

Video

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian-My two cents with Good Sense!

4 Feb

I think Kanye needs to take a step back for a minute or two and watch his own video and listen to his own lyrics…maybe he’ll think twice before he puts a ‘ring on it’!

I, like thousands of the rest of the world’s population, have grown sick of hearing the name ‘Kardashian’ every time I turn on my television. If it isn’t an advertisement for one of their reality shows, it’s another for one of their myriad businesses like the online shoe buying clubs or other crappy but profitable ventures they have their sticky fingers in. I admit, when the original show ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ first began airing on E!, I watched it whenever it was convenient. It seemed to be on whenever I turned the tv on, so it  wasn’t exactly easy to avoid getting sucked into their various dramas. I watched them prance around talking in a variation of the ‘college accent’ and ‘stripper-speak’ that was laughable and I made fun of their money-grubbing mother, Kris, and how she seemed intent on using her daughters by her late husband to get every dime possible from the public. I cringed as she talked Kim into posing for Playboy and was horrified when she told her that it was something to be proud of! Well, I guess when the only thing you’re known for is making a porno with Brandy’s little brother, Playboy probably IS a step up. But these three girls were supposed to be earning their keep by running a small clothing store, and then it seemed they took their combined lack of talent and morals and curvy figures and saw to it that every person in America and beyond had seen them in their underwear or less. Even Kloe, who was deemed the ‘fat one’ posed naked for PETA, after being told outright by stepfather Bruce Jenner that she might want to ‘tone up a bit’ before the shoot. All of it started making me simply sick to my stomach.

Yes, I watched as Kourtney gave birth to her son, literally pulling him from her womb on camera, I saw Kim get her butt x-rayed (which they proclaimed to be ‘iconic’-I doubt they know the definition of the word) and I saw poor Scott struggle with his alcoholism and then clean up, only to be told that if he agreed to knock Kourtney up again would she marry him. Still no marriage for Scott, but he did become a ‘Lord’ in England!

The worst thing I saw, hands down was the marriage of Kim to poor Kris Humphries, a relatively unknown basketball player with a low-key existence and from what I saw, down to earth morals and values and expectations of what marriage meant. He got swept up into the circus that is the Kardashian way of life, and the poor fool actually married her on television in the most gaudy ceremony I have ever had the misfortune to witness. (Yes, I watched the whole debacle…praying that he would run like hell before saying ‘I do’!

When your wedding is paid for by a network, your rings are given to you and the entire affair is televised and vendors actually PAY to be involved, surely there has to be some part of your gut that tells you that this is not reality, it’s a made-for-tv movie! But the poor schmuck went right ahead with it, and they went off on a lavish honeymoon (paid for by E! and the advertisers). Even that was filmed, and honestly I’m surprised that there wasn’t a sex scene in that too! The man may not be the brightest bulb in the socket, but he didn’t deserve all that happened following the wedding.

First, he is forced to change his practice routine so they can go live in New York, and be filmed of course. That didn’t work for him, and he was beginning to wise up. He went back to his home and got back to doing his job, training and playing ball. The poor guy thought that since he had a ring on his finger and Kim had one on hers that she would act like a wife now and come to be with him, live in his home and be by his side. But oh no! Kardashians can’t be expected to play normal roles in their lives, Kim had her home in California and she wasn’t planning on leaving it any time soon…in fact, she wasn’t even wanting him to live in her home at all! She had his things packed up and sent back to him so he knew he was unwelcome in her abode, ring or no ring! What was she thinking when she married him? Did she think that he was going to suddenly disappear now that she got the money for getting married on film and didn’t need him anymore? There is no way she could have ever loved him, hell she couldn’t have liked or respected him in any way to have treated him the way she did. So here come the divorce papers….

What she didn’t count on was that Kris had gotten a gullet full of her and was sick of all the bashing he was taking in the press and finally found his balls. Good for him! He was made a laughingstock in front of the world, and was the butt of every joke told on late night shows, online, and blogs. I felt sorry for him, it was not what he was promised when he married her, and he has every right to ask for an annulment! Kim did commit fraud when she stated that she would love, honor and be his wife for the rest of her life, and she also knew before she married him that he has a strong religious faith and that he expected to be married once, and that it would last for the rest of his life-not less than three months.

So, she won’t admit that she lied, that she’s nothing but a fraud, a woman who will sell herself to the highest bidder with no thought to who she hurts or who’s reputation and life she destroys. It’s Kim that is holding up the dissolution of that marriage, she needs to take a hard look in the mirror and admit that she did that man an enormous wrong and let him get on with his life. She sure has gotten on with hers.

Enter Kanye West, a purported friend of the family. He swoops right in and Kim latches onto him like a leech, managing to get him to get her pregnant before her marriage is over. Sounds like a fantastic person to mother a child, right? She argues that Kris won’t give her a divorce, well she needs to give in and sign those annulment papers! We all know the only reason she got married in the first place was for money, and to show Reggie Bush that there really WAS a man out there willing to marry her! Reggie sure dodged a bullet on that one, didn’t he? He is a lot smarter than I ever gave him credit for being. He saw Kim for what she is, nothing but a gold digger, and he wasn’t going to attach himself to a woman that was more interested in the salary and status of a husband than the love that she could give and receive. She is the kind of woman that makes me cringe, and I am ashamed that she even is the same SEX as me! There are women all over the world who practice the ‘world’s oldest profession’ and some of them are honest about it. Kim is exactly that, a whore, and the fact that she wears designer dresses and gets on any red carpet that will let her on it doesn’t make her better, it makes her worse because she is a liar about what she is.

So I have some advice for Kanye. I’m not his greatest fan, I think he is not high on the scale when it comes to intelligence quotients, but he’s stuck now because he let his libido lead the way instead of thinking about his actions. He needs to be a father to the child, of course, that is only right, but he needs to listen to the lyrics of his own song ‘Gold Digger’ and realize that he’s getting played by exactly the type of woman he describes in that song! “Eighteen years, eighteen years she have one of your kids she got your for eighteen years’, ‘If you gonna be with this girl you better be gettin paid’.

PRENUP!!!!! If you are indeed stupid enough to be considering marrying this trick, you better get an ironclad prenup and don’t forget to get a DNA test! Honestly, I’ve seen people do some really stupid things in life, but Kanye takes the cake! The president called him a jackass for getting on stage with Taylor Swift and interrupting her acceptance speech…someone needs to smack him in the head if he even THINKS about going ring shopping! Get her a dozen roses when she gives birth, get the DNA test done, and set up the child support payments and visitation.

Eighteen years, she already got you for eighteen years…don’t lose half of everything you have along with that! I’ve tried to warn you, that’s all I can do!

A Good Husband is Worth His Weight in Rubies

7 Jan

There is a saying, in several Eastern cultures, that a good woman is worth her weight in rubies. I was always curious why they would say ‘rubies’, and then one day a jeweler explained to me that ancient cultures did not mine diamonds, their most precious stone was the ruby. Then that part made sense. Then I wondered why there was no corresponding saying for men, that a good one was worth his weight in a precious gem. All you ever hear is ‘A good man is hard to find’. or derogatory statements such as ‘A man does not want to guy the cow if he gets the milk for free.’ I think it’s time we took another look at men, and perhaps reevaluated them as a sex.

Men are not perfect,, no more than women are, but they are not raised to be so this puts them at a considerable disadvantage. Men are not expected to be modest when out of the sight of ladies, in fact just the opposite!They are expected to behave like ruffians when in the company of men and gentlemen when in the company of women-and some have a difficult time keeping that straight, especially when the women don’t always act like ladies!

So, how to find a husband that has the right amount of testosterone and manners all wrapped up in one glorious package? Take some time!! Don’t rush into a relationship before you’ve observed his behavior both with the guys and in front of you and your girls. If he can’t keep his eyes off the waitress when you go out to dinner, it’s time to end it. If he forgets when you go to the bathroom and hits on your friend while you’re gone, don’t even think about forgiving him! Oh, and a true friend will always tell you, and if you are a grown up you won’t let it break up your friendship! I’ve lost several friends because their boyfriends hit on me and I was honest and though I knew it would break their heart, I told them. I got nothing for it but a kick in the teeth and losing a friend, but at least I did what I would have wanted someone to do for me! I only wish someone had told me the scumbag, Greg, that I was with was cheating with the toothless piece of trash he ended up with, I’d have set his clothes on fire a few days earlier! That was a fun weenie roast!

My first and second husbands taught me a lot about what NOT to look for in a man. The fellows I dated in between gave me enough knowledge to consider myself an expert! The main thing to know is you cannot change a man. When a man presents himself to you, he is like a great big bar of gold, all nice and shiny, looking like he is worth everything you’ve got and more. But some men are not solid gold, they are just turds, dipped in gold. Put a little wear on them, they begin to dull and pretty soon you start to get a whiff of shit, and then you realize you’ve been giving all the best of you to nothing but a piece of shit! That’s why I say wait, hold on to your best stuff, don’t go to bed with them, don’t start off cooking hot dinners from scratch, don’t do his laundry after the first week, see instead how he treats you! A real ‘Golden Boy’ will be the one who treats you like a princess, won’t ever be able to stand it if he makes you cry, and won’t give you cause t worry about his fidelity. You won’t, either, because there is something about him that is different than anyone you have ever known. He has goals and is working toward them, he is honest about all things-not even little white lies come out, he is where he says he is, his manners are natural to him and he makes you feel like a better person just by being with you.

Those types of men are worth their weight in gold, and I have one-my third husband. I will be with him until the day I die, and I have no doubt of this. How can I be sure? Because I put it in the wedding vows! “This is til death do we part, whether by natural causes, homicide or suicide, we’re not getting out of this marriage alive!” And I can’t see myself ever without him. We took our time, five years before the wedding, almost four before the engagement, and we didn’t live together beforehand. We spent weekends together, took vacations together, and enjoyed one another’s company the whole time. We only had a couple of arguments in all that time and made up right away, and we handled things maturely by talking them through. In fact, we talk a lot about everything and he is my best friend. I never tire of his company and I don’t think he tires of mine…but if we do the house has plenty of room to avoid one another for a while! And I never end a conversation or a night that we don’t say ‘I love you’ and have a kiss, even on phone.

I hope in twenty years we’re still doing that. I’m going to sure try! I always am good to him, and he is to me, and that is the kind of man to marry, one you are sure will always be GOOD to you!!!

The C-Word

15 Dec

You know, I’ve always made a joke that my favorite word was the ‘c-word’. I said it was the only four letter word that could literally clear a room, silence a crowd, and shock absolutely everyone but an English person. In England, the word ‘cunt’ is used as liberally as ‘shit’ and is not considered to be any worse…they consider ‘bollocks’ which most Americans don’t even know means ‘balls’ to be worse than ‘fuck’ and that cracks me up.

But the ‘C-word’ has become something else to me in the last few months. It means Cancer. I capitalize it because it is so horrible, so terrifying, and honestly I never thought it would be something I would have to ever really deal with. My parents have both had surgery for melanomas, because in their day no one ever used sunscreen and my Dad had a huge mole removed from his lower back when I was in the sixth grade, and I remember being confused and scared at what it meant, and all I knew was that people kept whispering ‘Cancer’, so I knew it was something awful. But he came home from the hospital and was ok, no treatments, no hair falling out, nothing. Just a bandage where the mole used to be and he was back to normal within a day or two.

My Mom had her bout with melanoma when she was in her fifties, and it was from laying in those damn tanning beds, which she did every Spring to get a ‘base’ tan. That bunch of bullshit that society fed her about how tanning beds were safer than the real sun, blah blah blah, well they ended up turning a mole between her shoulder blades into a cancerous growth that was as big as a grapefruit beneath the skin. If it hadn’t been for her wearing a backless dress to a formal and her doctor/friend noticing that the mole had an unusual shape she would never have known it was even there. So she got the surgery, suffered for a few weeks while she healed thankfully, and now has a ‘mole patrol’ done fairly regularly because as my niece said ‘Nana is polka-dotted’. Her moles are not small or normal looking anymore, now that she is in her sixties they are horrible looking and honestly they make me want to throw up every time I see them, because they make me think that she is going to have to have them all removed and I swear she is going to be more scars than skin on her stomach and back!

But I never tanned, I don’t have but a rare mole here and there, and I keep an eye on them. What I have had problems with for years is my weight. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in my twenties, and told I have a goiter. They found it quite by accident while doing a CT on my neck after a car accident. There was a trip to the endocrinologist, a pill that contained radioactive iodine so the goiter would not grow any more, then I was prescribed Synthroid, which I take every day. I was fine for a long time, but I always was on a diet, had to exercise like crazy or I would gain weight, and then sometimes I would lose weight really fast (I never complained about that!) I’ve always had mood swings, but I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder a long time ago and the medications kept my moods in check.

Then, about ten years ago I was prescribed Seroquel for my insomnia. I’ve had insomnia since I was a teenager and I’ve taken every drug on the market for it. Some work for a while and quit, others never worked at all- like Ambien and Lunesta. Seroquel knocked me on my ass and even on a low dose I had some really bad side effects, like eating in my sleep. I would wake up in the morning and my kitchen would be a disaster where I had cooked a full meal sometime during the night! I would wake up with a jar of peanut butter, a knife and a bag of bread and a gallon of milk beside my bed, where apparently I had pigged out on sandwiches all night. Consequently, my weight skyrocketed. I talked to my doctor, and she told me that it was a common side effect and that I would just have to either lock my bedroom door so I wouldn’t be able to get out without waking up (yeah, good advice in case of fire or emergency!) or go on a lower dose or different medication. Well, I tried different medications, but would go back every so often to the Seroquel when I was just out of my mind due to lack of sleep. I did my best not to eat as much during the day to combat the night eating, and I exercised as much as I possibly could, but I realized after two and a half years that enough was enough! I told my doctor that I had gained 100 pounds on that Satanic medication and I was not going to turn into a tub of lard just so I could sleep! She agreed and gave me some samples of different medications to try and I thought I was done with that. I worked hard to try to lose the weight, but I was really so tired all the time, and it wasn’t just from lack of sleep. My next checkup’s bloodwork showed that I was what they term ‘prediabetic’, but they said it was probably from the weight gain and that if I lost the weight I would be fine. What a crock of shit!!

I worked my butt off, literally, to lose the weight, and was down to my pre-Serquel weight within eight months. But the doctor had bad news for me, I was diabetic. They put me on pills, told me to stick to a diabetic diet, and learn all I could about the disease. Now, let me say this, no one in my family is diabetic, and it is known to be a genetic disorder. So in all my research, I could not understand WHY I was a diabetic, even with the wight gain and loss. Then add to the fact that the pills weren’t controlling my glucose levels, and I was told I was not a type 2 diabetic, but a type 1, and what they call ‘brittle’, which means you have extreme swings in your blood sugar levels and are difficult to control. I also have polycystic ovarian syndrome, which never caused me much trouble before, but turns out to be a real issue with diabetes because it means your insulin doesn’t work effectively and you have to use a lot more insulin than most people. So I was a diabetic, and a sick one at that. I also had a compromised immune system from it, turns out, and for over two years I was being admitted into the ICU for Diabetic Ketoacidosis roughly every six weeks. Having my period would throw my system out of whack, getting a sinus infection was like a death sentence, and there were a couple of times that I barely made it to the hospital in time to go to the ICU instead of the morgue. I actually had a near death experience during one of those times, but that is the subject for another blog.

With all of this going on, I found out that the pain I had been experiencing that I attributed to diabetes was actually Fibromyalgia, and then my thyroid was doing crazy things that they could not figure out at the hospital. They could not get my dosage of Synthroid right, I had seen three endocrinologists-each one worse than the next, and I found out that my goiter was not just growing but that I had developed nodules all over my thyroid and possibly my parathyroid glands. My vitamin D level was so low I actually broke the record at the hospital! My calcium level was low to, and neither one of those made sense because I was already on supplements. My doctor put me on huge doses of both (50,000 iu of D) and so much Calcium that I just took it by the handfuls. I also drink milk, eat yogurt every day, and eat cheeses and other calcium-rich foods. I try to get outside for about 10 minutes a day so the vitamin D metabolizes (yeah, turns out we need sun after all). But when my doctor told me that the reason I felt like shit and was so tired all the time was because of my thyroid, he told me I had to get to a GOOD endocrinologist ASAP. That scared me. I started doing research on the internet about goiters and nodules and parathyroid problems, and dammitol everything I was experiencing fit with some serious problems.

So week before last I went to the endocrinologist that was recommended by a woman my husband works with. She credits him with saving her life, and she’s a smart cookie, so I managed to get an appointment with him. I had to wait three months for him to see me, but it was worth it. He was great, he talked to me like I was a person, answered my questions, and ordered an ultrasound, a sleep study, labs and then a follow-up appointment to see where to go from there. I felt like I had finally found a savior.

I had my ultrasound appointment this past Tuesday. I went by myself because my husband is swamped at work, and honestly I was terrified. You see, I practically grew up in a hospital. My mother was House Supervisor at our local hospital, and when I got sick at school, or we had a snow day I would sometimes just go to the hospital and hang out. I would go to different departments and ask questions about what went on and the various techs would teach me how the machines worked, what they did, and I found it all fascinating. Add to that the fact that our dinner conversation every night was about what went on at the hospital that day, who came in (this was before HIPPA) and what they had done, and I had a really good grasp of the medical processes. I sat in that waiting room with a migraine, caused by my nervousness about the possible results of the test and having several doctors tell me my thyroid felt like ‘a bunch of grapes’ because of the nodules (each one of which could be cancerous, and I was a wreck. I have never in my life been scared of a medical procedure, I’m the kind of patient that watches the needle being inserted for an IV, tells the nurse to go ahead and dig until she finds the vein, never gets claustrophobic in a scan, and I’ve never had stagefright in my life. But this time it was different. I went into the procedure room, and the sweet young tech covered my white sweater with a towel and told me to lay back on the pillow, which as under my shoulder blades so my neck would be hyper-extended. I immediately had to sit up, I was nauseous. I apologized, and she asked me if I wanted to reschedule. I told her no, absolutely not, that I just had a headache and I would be fine. There was NO way I was waiting and rescheduling. So I carefully laid back down on the towel, and before I could stop it I threw up like a fountain! I threw up on her, the machinery, the floor, I tried to catch it with the towel, but all I had in me was coffee and some diet Mountain Dew and it wasn’t stopping for anything. I was mortified!

She was really sweet about the whole thing, asked me if I was ok, and I apologized about a hundred times. She got everything cleaned up while I tried not to cry, and then once everything was back in order she started the ultrasound. Now, I’ve had ultrasounds done before. I’ve had them done of my thyroid before back when I was first diagnosed with the goiter, so I know how many ‘clicks’ to expect.

She started, and I swear it was like over a hundred clicks, and she just kept going. Terror was ripping through me like I had never felt before. She even called in another tech to observe, and I know when that happens they are seeing something very unusual and want to make sure they don’t miss anything. They were dead silent, only pointing at the screen, click, click, click, click. Finally, I asked her if she could tell me anything, and she got this look on her face, and said that no, the radiologist would have to read it then my doctor would talk to me.

The C-word is no longer a four letter word. The C-word now has six letters and yeah, it shocks entire rooms and stops all conversations. It doesn’t shock because it’s profane, it scares the hell out of everyone within earshot. I’m at the beginning of the journey that will tell me if I’m it’s victim, if I will just need surgery, or treatment that will make me sick as hell and lose all my hair-my waist length thick red hair that my husband loves so much, or if I will die because it has metastasized and is slowly eating me inside out. There are no dice to roll, there is only waiting, hoping, praying-a lot of praying, and wondering if I will be one of the lucky ones who survives this nightmare. I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of suffering, my suffering, my husband’s suffering, my daughter’s suffering, my friend’s suffering, and missing out on the wonderful things I’ve been looking forward to for years. I want to see my daughter become a successful woman, marry, have me some beautiful grandchildren. I want to finish my degrees so I can practice and do some good for those in need. I want to grow old and comfortable with my wonderful husband. I want to see my family together, finally, for Christmas. That last one may be possible only with me, my husband, my daughter and her husband and children, but dammit I want a happy family Christmas!

Right now, though, I’m scared. I’m more scared than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I don’t have any alternatives but to deal with it, though, and it’s terrifying. I want to cry all the time, I want to hide away and pretend none of it is true, I want to twitch my nose and make it all go away. But none of that is possible, and the best I can do is to try not to share too much of my fear with my loved ones, because I’m afraid if they know just how serious this all is, they will suffer. I won’t be the cause of their suffering, not any more than I have to be. So I’ll just write here about it, and it’ll be our little secret, ok?

I’m Tired of being a Mom-it sucks!

7 Dec

Every year around this time, I have to see all these family pictures on cards, in emails, and on social sites where mothers are smiling happily with their offspring looking for all the world like some scene from a Norman Rockwell painting. At the same time, I’m making cookies all alone and crying into the dough, knowing I’ll send most of the final product to my husband’s office the next day so I won’t eat them all. My daughter calls me only to place her ‘order’ for presents, or if she pulls one like last year after we had t put her in the hospital for slitting her wrists and taking an overdose (all of which was my fault, of course), she will ruin the entire holiday for me and return all of my gifts and leave me crying for a week. I couldn’t even manage to shop or put up a tree, nor visit with any family I was so hurt. This year might be better, but I doubt it.

I honestly don’t know why I bother with anyone but my husband. I love everything he buys me and I love shopping for him. We make stockings filled with treats for the dogs and they play with tinsel and their new toys like they are our children. It’s really nice to smile on Christmas, it’s been the only time I have in years is when I’m with Daniel and the dogs.

My parents house is nothing but tense, thanks to my daughter and my brother’s family. Someone is always pissed off at someone and honestly I envy my grandmother being deaf. My mother clucks around everyone like a chicken ready to explode, and my brother (when he used to attend) was just simply an asshole, but the kind of asshole that said ne thing t your face then made a snide remark just as you were turning your back. I hate cowards like that, no balls to say anything they are thinking to your face but not man enough to keep their mouths shut.

The nieces were always odd. They had been kept inside so long and away from other humans they had absolutely no natural social skills and no trust that we were family. I actually hugged the oldest, Graycen, and she freaked and said ‘I don’t like hugs!’ Yup, schizophrenia is quickly developing there…

Then there is the jealousy factor. My dad and my husband like the same hobbies, and can talk for hours. My brother finds it difficult to carry on a conversation that does not revolve around him and his magnificence, so he is always in the kitchen where mother can pet him. Seriously, it truly is pathetic, because all Mom wants to do is play with her grandchildren! He is in competition with his own kids for his Mommy’s time!!!

You know, I have a wish this year. I’d like for my daughter to treat me like a mother she lves, and not someone who is just there to buy her shit. I’d like a really thoughtful gift that didn’t come from the clearance rack at Walmart on Christmas Eve, or something regifted, or something my Mom bought for her to give me so I would ‘shut up and be grateful I got something’. (Yes, I’ve heard that more than once.) I’d like someone in my family to spend some time and think about what it is I might REALLY like this year, like MY PIANO that yall gave my brother knowing full and well it was bought for ME, not HIM!!! He can’t play anything but ‘Chariots of Fire’ on it and I can play anything you name by ear or by sheet music! I don’t want another no-name purse-when you know full well my husband buys me the best designer bags as treats all year round. And don’t give me fake cheap jewelry, when you see me wearing Tiffany’s, Yurman, beautiful pearls in strands 80 inches long or blended with 18k gold beads. Even my costume jewelry is Vrba and elaborate. My mother has known me for 42 years and still has no idea what my taste is. I know hers. I had to laugh when I gave her a white gold necklace with Diamond and Pearl accents (wrapped by the store and in the box) and she made a HUGE show of rubbing the pearls against her teeth to see if they were real!!! I would have been insulted if I didn’t have t laugh at the ludicrous behavior of it all! Poor Harry, he would have been mortified!

Last year I have her a Pandora bracelet, which was too small for her due to all the charms I loaded it with. I subsequently bought another silver rope chain that was longer so she could wear it. Do you know that 6 months later when she retired, they gave her another Pandora bracelet, and she had the nerve that they gave her a ‘real’ one’? I wanted t smack her, fr n matter how I explained that my gift was REAL, she insisted theirs said ‘Pandora’. Mine had to, until she made me buy her a longer chain.

I give up. I’m having a centerpiece delivered 5 days before Christmas and she’s getting a silver and garnet bracelet that is made to look like poinsettias. I think she’s getting that horrible purse she gave me for my birthday back too. Serve her right and she’ll carry it just fr spite! LOL

At least I have my beloved husband and my dogs. My daughter and mother don’t give a shit about me, and the guys in the family just are there for the food, but my husband makes up for a good majority of holiday heartache.

Lessons I Learned from Successful Women

30 Nov

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I come from a long line of successful, strong women. When I say this, I am speaking of women who raised families, held on to their husbands and kept their marriages going through the best and worst of times when lesser women would have given up, gave birth to children in the most difficult of circumstances – my great-grandmother gave birth to her first child at home with not a bit of help from a doctor and that little girl weighed right at twelve pounds! She went on to have another child, my grandfather just two years later in the same manner, in the same bed and he weighed eleven pounds. My very own mother, a CN3-RN who was a supervisor at a large hospital went into labor with me after watching two women die from emergency C-Sections, so she herself refused to have the same procedure done even though I was coming Frank-breech (butt first) and upside down and the doctor begged her to allow them after thirty-six hours of hard labor to allow them to cut her open and relieve her pain. Out of fear for her life and mine, she instead insisted on a much more painful episiotomy that cut her two inches ABOVE her anus and left her unable to walk for ten days and me black with bruises from my legs up to my shoulders. But we were both alive, and she went on to have my brother 17 months later without complications. Honestly, I’d slap anyone who ever dared say my mother wasn’t a strong woman. She may have been terrified of having that C-section, but it took not only physical strength but determination that lasted more hours than any one of us can imagine to bring me into this world and I am forever grateful to her for it. So no matter how angry I ever get at her, no matter what she ever says or does, I will never forget the sacrifice she made for me before she ever knew me.

She wasn’t always a patient woman, but few women who are smart and strong and successful often are. She told me things growing up that I didn’t understand the reasons for until much later, and she would do crazy things that I thought at the time were completely ridiculous. Now, however that I am a wife and a mother, I know why she did those things, and what they all meant, and I passed them down to my daughter-she thought I was just as crazy I suppose but now that she is twenty-one I believe she is seeing that I’m not as foolish as she once believed. I know that there are many daughters who did not get those lessons from their mothers, not because their mothers did not love them, but perhaps because their mothers had forgotten them or just hadn’t been blessed to have the same crazy mothers from which we descended. That’s what this blog is about tonight. I’m going to share some of the lessons I learned about life, men, succeeding in this world, and maybe you can use it to your advantage and pass some of these lessons down to your daughters one day too.

1. My mother used to make me walk with a book on my head, just like in those old fashioned movies. I had to walk with a heavy book balanced on my head while walking the straight line of the kitchen linoleum, the hardwood floor, or a chalk line she drew outside on our carport. I had to do it in flats, heels, tennis shoes, and place one foot in front of the other and execute a graceful turn at the end of the room or line without dropping the book. I’d walk back and forth for what seemed like forever until she was satisfied. If I was standing and she saw me slouching, she would slap me HARD between my shoulder blades and tell me to stand up straight and that would be the signal to go get that damn book of Shakespeare’s Sonnets or the S out of the encyclopedias and start walking. Some days she would pick out a really high pair of heels, some days I’d get lucky and get a pair of low kitten heels, but I NEVER got to do it barefoot. Do you know what I learned from this? I bet you can guess! I have, to this very day, excellent posture! I can be ANYWHERE and if I feel myself starting to slouch from tiredness or boredom I very quickly straighten up and put my feet in a ladylike position, one heel to the instep of the other foot and stand like I should. Why is this important? I feel good when I stand straight, and people notice that I look professional and put together, no matter what I have on when I stand like a lady. I AM a lady, and I always want to look my best and unless I am sick I will always do my best to look like the lady my mother taught me to be! I taught my daughter this, and it has served her well in her school days, jobs, and whenever she is in public. This is not to say there haven’t been times when both of us have leaned, stumbled or even fell, but when we needed it, we knew how to stand and walk properly.

2. My mother corrected my grammar relentlessly from the time I was learning to speak. Yes, I am Southern, and I know how to speak ‘redneck’ with the best of them. I can speak with a country slang so thick that when I lived in Belgium I could mutter insults aloud with an accent that people swore I was NOT speaking English! I laughed and told them I was speaking ‘Redneck’ and it was a language all it’s own! But my mother made sure from the time I could speak that I knew to say ‘she and I’ and ‘her and me’ and when to use each and how to construct sentences in the proper form so that no one could ever say that I was uneducated, no matter where they were from or how many advantages they had been raised with! She encouraged my brother and me to increase our vocabulary daily, often challenging us to not only use new words but to spell them at the nightly dinner table. It was a game we played, and it challenged us to expand out minds and use our conversations to grow and become better at expressing ourselves so we didn’t have to resort to profanity to make ourselves understood. I became an autodidact, and greedily soaked up obscure language so as to impress my mother as well as my teachers. I did this as well with my daughter, and perhaps it is why she is such an excellent speaker and writer to this day!

3. Know your worth, my mother always told me. My grandmothers both said the same thing every time I saw them and until I grew past the awkward teenage years when self-doubt ruled me I truly had no idea what my real worth actually was or would ever be. I had to have my parents force me to not allow the boys I dated disrespect me, or I would never have had a chance to gain that knowledge and I thank them for making me feel embarrassed with all their rules. They never let me go out with a boy who would not come pick me up at the door and meet them. I had a couple of boys, my first husband was one of them, who pulled up in the drive and honked the horn for me to come out and go. My parents physically forced me to stay in the house until my dates walked up to the door and knocked, greeted my parents and asked if I was ready for our date. The boys, or young men, would then have to meet my parents and then tell them where we were going and what time we would be back. Mom and Dad were never rude, in fact they were polite and welcoming, but they made sure those fellows understood that I was WORTH treating with care, with manners and dignity, and that I was a lady. My first husband told me he had never had to walk up to a girl’s door to pick her up, and I remember telling him that evidently he had dated girls without good raising then! I was being sassy, but now looking back, perhaps that is why he saw me as a potential wife and not just some girl to treat any old way.

4. Girls do NOT pay for the date! The gentleman asks the lady out, he pays, he always opens doors, he walks her to her door after the date, if they are ordering dinner the lady orders first (or she tells him what she wants and he orders for them both), he holds her chair for her, he walks on the side nearest the street as protection, and he chooses the restaurant. OK, now when I was told all of this, I thought just as you probably are right now “OMG, we aren’t living in the DARK AGES!!!” but listen to the reasons that this works, even today. The man invites the woman out to show he is truly interested in her as a girlfriend, not a buddy, not a pal, not a friend. He selects the restaurant according to his budget, so he knows he can afford the meal, and when ordering for both he can control the cost-allow him to make suggestions so he doesn’t overrun his wallet!!! See? This makes much more sense, right? The gentleman opens doors, takes her coat, walks on the outside of the sidewalk closest to the street so he can be her protector, because men LIKE to be protective and strong when it comes to women. Even if you are a foot taller and can bench press fifty pounds more than he can, no man wants to be reminded of that on a romantic date! Let him be the man and you be the woman, it’s nice to be treated like a lady, and you’ll both feel much better when this happens. And if a man isn’t willing to even open a door for you, what does that say about him? It says he isn’t a candidate for a relationship. It’s a small matter to do such a small thing to show you respect and caring and if he can’t do that, do you think he is going to be generous down the line with his deeds, actions or affections when it counts? No! And what man wants a woman who won’t let him treat her like a lady, or who doesn’t understand that she is WORTHY of being treated like she is special? Not much. I say this from experience, I’ve been married three times, my first lasted six years and ended amicably, my second ended due to our lives heading in separate directions (and hidden drug use on his part) and I am happily married now. In between, I dated many men, good ones, bad ones, abusive ones, and had several engagements that I ended all amicably due to family needs and job moves. The men who treated me like a lady and did what I am telling you they should were the KEEPERS!!! The ones I let slide on the rules turned out to be worthless and not worth the time of day! When I forgot that I was WORTH being treated like a lady, when I forgot that I was not their buddy, or their hangout ‘bro’ or someone to ‘kick it with’, that is when I was miserable!! I have friends, I have girlfriends, I have gay guy friends, and I have straight guy friends, I don’t DATE them!!! I split the meals bills with THEM, I open my own doors with them, I buy my own drinks with them, and that is how it is. If you start out buying your own meal, opening your own doors, and not making it clear that you are the GIRL and you are in a DATE, don’t be surprised when you aren’t their girlfriend!!! And don’t be surprised when you hear that even though he might have slept with you a few times, he is in a relationship (maybe even a serious one) with someone he met either before or after YOU! Know your worth, know the rules, and don’t kid yourself about any of it!

5. Never underestimate the value of a career and a good education. If you want to be respected in this world, both by your friends, loved ones, and your enemies, you best get a good education and get a career. OK, it’s fine to work in a restaurant as a waitress while you’re in college, or as a side job while you’re saving money to buy into something else, or even as a second job to help pay the mortgage and pay off your student loans as you work your way up the corporate ladder. Just don’t think when you’re thirty-five and working as a cashier somewhere and you’ve never even taken a single college class or tried to get a better job people are going to take you seriously. OK, yes, the times are hard right now, but if you can’t find a job in your chosen field then start your own business, do something about making things happen for yourself, have some dreams and set about making them come true! It is better to work for peanuts as a musician on the weekends playing music because you have talent and toil in a factory all week to pay the bills than to JUST GIVE UP!!! Life is much too short to not figure out what it is you love to do, what you’re good at and pursue it! Everyone has something that they do better than anyone else, you just have to figure out what that is and DO IT!! Michael Jordan played basketball on a dirt court in his backyard from the time he was a child, he has no idea that one day he would become one of the greatest basketball players in the world-he just loved putting the ball through the hoop. What if no one had ever handed him a ball? What if Tiger Woods had never been handed a golf club and a ball? What if Leonardo DaVinci had never had a pencil and a piece of paper? There are people out here, millions of them, that are in college right now, taking all different classes just trying to figure out what the hell they are meant to be doing with their lives. That’s ok! My advice is to do the same thing! Even if it is just one class at a time, you can only better yourself by having taken that class, you can only come closer to your dreams, and you can only increase your worth by increasing your mental prowess. Do it for YOU, no one else. You’ll be happy you did.

6. Love yourself, no matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like, how smart you are, or what you have. This world is made up not of a single path, it is full of paths and some are marked and others are covered with weeds and look totally deserted and abandoned. There will be times when the clear ones are the right ones, and then times when those are the ones you need to avoid. My point is, you have to use your own judgment, the lessons you’ve learned, your strengths and knowledge of what is right for you and those you love to know which way to go. I’ve seen people make some really stupid choices just because they didn’t take the time to stop and look at the landscape. Look at the people you know or have heard of who are in jail. Every singe one of them is there because of BAD decisions. They didn’t stop and take the time to do the right thing, take the right path. Most of them took what they thought was a shortcut, or made a hasty decision, or simply didn’t even look where they were going. There isn’t a SINGLE unwanted pregnancy in this world that happened because of a thoughtful, carefully made decision. No, someone acted without thinking, they didn’t plan ahead or wait until they could take the right steps. There isn’t a crime committed that didn’t involve a wrong decision. So my point is, you are in control of your own destiny. Take your time, think about the paths you want to walk upon and make sure that you always choose carefully because once you’re walking, you can’t turn around and go in a different direction when you realize you’ve screwed up. The best you can do is forage around until you find the correct way to go, and that’s a helluva lot harder than simply taking the right one in the first place. You’re going to make mistakes, but don’t beat yourself up. Love yourself enough to take care of YOU. Don’t let someone else put you last. You are too precious for that. It’s your walk, no one else, and while they may be along for the ride you have to feel the pain if things go wrong.

7. Know who your friends are, and know when to say goodbye. We have many people who come into our lives, and many we will call friends. Some will be so close they will be like brothers and sisters to us, and we will think they will always be there. Some will be friends that we grow very close to and the friendship is intense for a short time but ends soon. Some will be gentle friends that we know for a while but fade away, leaving us with smiles and great memories. Some friends will be false, and use us for what we give them and when we are dried up and no longer fueling them they will leave us for the next. Don’t be afraid to make friends, to love people, but guard your heart until you know what kind of a person you are sharing your friendship with. Know your worth as a friend, and be a good friend to all-but don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of or used if you can help it. I’ve had friends that I would have sworn loved me like they were my family break my heart and treat me like trash under their feet for no reason. When I looked back on my friendship with them, I realized too late that I was blind to what everyone else saw…I was a sucker being used for my time, my love, my money, and my support. Be a good, honest person in all you do, be a good friend to those you meet, but don’t give your heart wholeheartedly to anyone not willing to do the same for you. True friendship is as hard to find and as precious as true love, never forget that. Don’t be a cynic, but don’t be a fool.

8. This pertains to the way we dress, ladies. Men reading this will agree with me, I am sure, for all my friends who are men have told me this time and again, and it is hard for women to get it through their heads at times, but I must say it.

If you dress like a lady, you will be treated like one. If you dress like a whore, you will be treated as such. I’m not saying you have to wear a skirt to your ankles and up to your neck, but if you are out and about with no bra on, in a skirt that shows your legs all the way up to your butt, platform heels, and cleavage that shows everything but your nipples, you look like trash asking to get picked up…and you don’t look like anyone a man wants to take home to meet his mother or be a mother to his children. What you DO look like is a convenient hole for him to stick it in. Now, that may sound harsh, but I’ve owned several businesses, and I’ve had to send women home who seemed to have forgotten that bras are necessary undergarments at the workplace, that skirts at work should never be shorter than an inch or two above the knee and YES, you should wear hosiery-and not with bats or crazy patterns all over them! Save that for the club later! The office (Unless you work at a fashion magazine that allows it specifically) is not  circus, and we are there to do business, not distract one another. I admit, I am a lover of fashion, and I was working in a conservative office in my twenties and wore a leather skirt (knee length) with a beautiful silk blouse and black stockings and heels, and I got FIRED!!! Now, my outfit was completely modest, nothing showing, the skirt just happened to be made of beautiful kid leather. I was hired back the next day after I filed a complaint, but I quit soon after because that incident ruined the rapport I had with the other office staff. You see, I simply forgot that I was working in an office where women were used to wearing jeans skirts and sweatshirts, not fashionable attire like I was used to when I lived in the city and I stuck out like a sore thumb. I learned my lesson and began to invest in beautifully cut black suits, some with long skirts, shorter skirts that came just to the knee, others with slacks, but all conservative and with tailored jackets of various styles. I made my suits ‘me’ with various blouses, scarves, brooches-antique, real diamond, some pearl, all kinds, and I splurged on gorgeous shoes to match. I was a shoe freak long before Carrie Bradshaw’s name was ever known. But the point of this is that I dressed appropriately for not only the job I had, but the jobs I WANTED. I knew if I came in wearing clothing that was flashy or too sexy, I would never get ahead in the businesses I worked within, so I found a way to accommodate them and still be myself. I see young women in their early twenties getting ready to enter the job market and I see how they are dressed and I cringe. Ladies, New York is one city in this big country, and what they wear there is not what they wear in most of the rest of the country. If you want to be taken seriously in the business world, I suggest you invest in some good quality, well tailored and lined dress suits, blouses, hosiery, Spanx (the type that go ALL the way down to cover your entire legs) and some nice heels you can walk in (forget Louboutin, try some 3 inch Nine West black pumps to begin) and NEVER ever take your shoes off during the work day!!!! There is nothing tackier than a woman taking her shoes off and walking around in bare feet in the office!!!

9. Now that you look like a lady, sound like one! Clean up your language, even if you don’t think anyone important is listening! Do not involve yourself in gossip at the workplace-it will come back to haunt you. Don’t use foul language at all, get in a habit of not EVER dropping the F-bomb, and don’t use any of the other ones either. If you get the reputation of being the woman with the sailor-mouth, it will follow you forever. It’s simply for the best if you class yourself up and sound like a lady since you know deep down you ARE a lady. I guarantee when you sound like a lady, look like a lady, and do an excellent job as well, you will be a greater success!!! Your paycheck will reflect it as well!

10. Last but not least, no office romances-EVER EVER EVER!!!!!! Remember how in high school everyone knew who was sleeping with whom, almost as soon as it happened, and how everyone talked about it continually? Well, the office is worse. Don’t date clients, either, you’ll be labelled a whore trying to get business the ‘easy way’. Don’t even engage in the ‘what if’ conversations that go on when boredom hits the other girls in the afternoon or on breaks. That’s a very dangerous game, too. And don’t share tales of your own love life, no details about your dates from the previous weekends, don’t allow coworkers on your FaceBook, and if at all possible don’t put anything on FB that you don’t want your employers to read, such as how drunk you were on Saturday, or God Forbid any drug use or sexual escapades!! You want no one at your job to know ANY sordid details about your life, remember that these are NOT your friends, these are people who would throw you under a bus in a heartbeat if it meant a raise for them!!! Listen quietly to their tales if you want, smile and nod as they complain about husbands, diapers, soccer practices, but don’t say jack about your life out side of the office!!! You don’t need to ever air grievances about your job either, you don’t want them to have anything to tell your supervisor or boss, nothing!!!! As far as everyone you work with should know, you ADORE your job, LOVE IT, and would work late seven days a week if you could!!!

Now, I hope that some of these many words of wisdom have sunk in, I do realize they are long and varied, but I swear they are all true and if you keep them in mind you will do well!!!!! Keep the faith and never forget how valuable you are!!!!!