Time is fickle

This year has been a great deal harder than I anticipated and not because of the plaque and the world trying to navigate its way back into the swing of things, but because heartache, failure, illness, and grief are just so fucking difficult.

I have been lucky in that the company I am blessed to work for has allowed us to maintain a work-from-home liberal hybrid environment. This year has proven that allowance is critical in my life. Just a few posts ago I wrote about my 20th anniversary and how lucky we both were. Every marriage and every relationship undoubtedly has issues, big and small, to contend with and work through, but I daresay our marriage has seen more than its fair share.

In January this year, my husband sent an email to me asking for a separation. Sure, we had our differences, and we had our ups and downs, but nothing could have prepared me for that. After many, many years of supporting his various job changes and career changes, financially supporting him during times he needed to take off work due to the strain from being a Paramedic takes on oneself, and even raising our three kids (alone for a year so he could better his career 200+ miles away from our home). It was a slap in the face, the wind was knocked out of me and my life turned on its head in a single email – not a face-to-face conversation but a fucking email! I wasn’t what he wanted any longer, I wasn’t who he needed. I was devasted beyond words.

A month later he was offered or applied to, I’m not sure which because he began making decisions without including me, a traveling Medic job that would take him to California for 2-3 months. He accepted, without hesitation, and off he went. We really never discussed us or where we were heading, not entirely. We spoke each night or morning, depending on his schedule and I pretended all was well. He came back at the time our youngest was heading off to basic training so we put on fake smiles and tried our best. We went up to Chicago to watch him graduate from basic training and my Medic decided it was time to finally find a job locally as the travel jobs seemed to be drying up.

While home, he developed a cough and it kept getting worse. I persuaded him to go to the doctor. Fast forward a month of testing and waiting, we found an 8.5×11 mass on his left lung. A blow even I couldn’t have prepared for and fast forward a few more weeks we had an appointment for a bronchoscopy biopsy scheduled. That 45-minute biopsy that turned into 2.5 hours was failed, botched (the doctor stated “the mass oozed and the bleeding had to be controlled”), and ultimately led him to become septic, develop post-operation pneumonia, caused the eventual collapse of his left lung, kidney failure, and respiratory failure all within a week of the biopsy. He spent the next month in the hospital fighting for his life all the while we had no diagnosis of the mass in his lung. I spent each night dutifully in the hospital recording every note that came from a nurse or doctor (of which there were dozens) while working remotely from the hospital. During week four after he was stabilized, but not before he had to have a chest tube to drain the sepsis from his lung, we finally had a diagnosis. High-grade b-cell non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in his left lung.

He’s completed half of his R-CHOP chemotherapy treatments and had a mid-treatment PET scan done which we learned yesterday that the original 8.5×11.1 mass had shrunk to 4.3×2.8 – GREAT NEWS!!! However, during all this commotion, his older brother moved in with us after being released from a 4-year stint in prison. This brother has turned our lives even more upside down if that’s even possible. You see, during his diagnosis, I researched everything related to this treatment, this cancer, and all the foods I could prepare to help him through this journey. After all, I’m no doctor, but I can cook and cook well. I learned about nutrient-dense foods that were critical to his getting over the initial treatments that he undertakes every 21 days. This is not a sob story for me and what I’ve been through, though I admit it’s the hardest thing I’ve dealt with to date. I recognize my hardship pales in comparison to what my husband has undergone. However, this is a vent to the zero people who read me that I am absolutely infuriated that my brother-in-law believes me to be a controlling bitch who refuses to allow my husband to eat fried chicken, pork chops, steak, and drink shots at every chance he gets. Worse, even, he’s convinced my husband of the same thing. For the last 4 weekends, I’ve spent that time in my room trying to escape the negativity that follows this man and who he is turning my husband into.

Time is fickle. Just 10 months ago my husband asked for a separation and it appears he will soon be asking me for that again. Only time will tell, but call it a woman’s hunch. We both walked away with a new perspective on life after he got sick, the problem is I think our perspectives are polar opposites.

Likely in January, one year after the first time, his perspective will reveal he wanted a permanent separation after all. I say January because that will be the time when his treatments are over and my services will no longer be needed. As he has given me every reason to believe this, it’s just a matter of time.

That’s the thing about time. You exert your energy giving your time to others and they either use it, waste it, or destroy it. Time doesn’t come back though, so tread carefully how and when you give it.

Time, y’all. Time is an interesting, horrible bitch, much like Karma.

Tragedy in America

The below snippet was taken from an article written by Richard Berk on the website for the University of Penn State, Penn Arts & Science section regarding what constitutes a mass shooting.

https://crim.sas.upenn.edu/fact-check/what-mass-shooting-what-can-be-done

Based on this description, and according to gunviolencearchive.org, there have been 142 mass shootings in the US since January 1, 2022, that have either injured or killed more than 4 people at one or more locations close to another. One Hundred and Forty-Two, in less than six months.

Obviously, our country is devastated by the most recent shooting at an Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. No parent ever drops their child off at school and expects to not pick them back up later that day. No parent ever sends their child to school expecting them to perish at the hands of someone. Ever. It’s tragic, it’s devastating, it’s senseless, and it’s horrifying beyond measure.

This most recent shooting follows in the footsteps of the mass shooting in Buffalo where innocent lives were lost while they were simply grocery shopping. People going about their days in normal activity and are gunned down by a racist lunatic which, if I’m being honest those two words are synonymous with each other.

I follow a lot of celebrities on Instagram, I got the love of that from my Mom watching Entertainment Tonight every night in the 1980s. I watch them post the need for changes in policy and procedures, and I wholeheartedly understand their meaning. Yes, things need to change. But, what? What can we possibly do at this point to make any radical change that will do any real good? Many, many of the celebrities who live in Europe and Canada voice concern over how readily available guns are to US citizens, they simply cannot fathom it. True, they do not have the same rights we do here in the US.

Gun laws? Background checks? We have those. We have gun laws, and we have background checks that must be performed to legally obtain a firearm. Removal of AR-style weapons? Sure, if we stop selling them in stores, citizens following the gun laws will no longer be able to purchase them. But what about the citizens who do not follow our own gun laws? What about those who already have them? What about the black market? What about the criminals who have no use of our laws as they stand much less if they get stricter? I’m not saying these things will or won’t help. I am simply addressing the fact we have had the constitution since 1776 and we’ve had the 2nd amendment since 1791. I think it’s unlikely in a country that is as proud as the US is to be “free” that we will see any significant impact on our laws regarding guns or gun ownership.

I’ve seen many arguments over the opinion that is the access to guns that is the issue, much the same above, this is nearly a moot point with the laws we have in the US. However, I can say, while I am no journalist, I do know at least the last two mass shootings were carried out by 18-year-olds. Is this not something we can control? The age to purchase nicotine products recently increased to 21 without question. In fact, neuropsychological research has countlessly shown that and provided evidence that adulthood begins around 25 years of age for the average person. The average brain does not mature to include right/wrong sense, common sense, logical sense, sense of fear, appreciation of life until around 25. As a mother to a 24, 20, and 19-year-old, I can attest that my findings agree with that.

Would changing the age of being able to purchase a gun to the age of 25 aid in trying to combat future mass shootings?

Would adding mental health checks aid in trying to combat future mass shootings?

What about the insane number of young adults who aren’t able to get employment who know social media better than their older neighbors? Would it not prove beneficial to have an entire department of these young adults to help identify any social media red flags for those applying to purchase a gun? Almost every mass shooter has left a social media footprint directing us to their intended massacre.

I’m sure I don’t know, but I know these individuals had no business owning guns. I know these individuals have massacred innocent lives for intentions that will never be justified.

I am not an expert, I am not the one with answers, but I am a concerned citizen who understands our rights to bear arms, the freedoms we have come to know and love, and our dire need for change in the US to provide security from raging lunatics who want to kill innocent human beings.

While prayers and thoughts are always given, sometimes I think that’s just not enough. Not anymore.

It’s getting heavy, y’all.

After deep diving into the depths of my soul, I felt I needed air.  However, it’s rainy and gross so instead I needed hours of watching silly movies that only I would ever want to watch.  Mary Poppins wasn’t an utter disappointment, after all.  Puddin’? Punkin? Dumplin? I don’t know…but it was a cute little movie with Jennifer Anniston as an insufferable mom and it had a sweet message though I cried too many times than I’d like to admit.

The last movie I watched was Up in the air with Anna Kendrick and George Clooney.  I remember the previews but never gave it another thought.  It was near the bottom of a long list of movie suggestions on my Netflix and I decided to give it a go.  It started kind of slow in a way that I wondered if I’d nod off before I finished it, but it was just whitty enough to keep me engaged.  The synopsis is that he travels nearly all year with his company who is hired to fire people.  Ironical.  He loves to travel and hates to be “grounded”.  I suspect it’s because his home is in Omaha and nothing ever sounds fun coming from Omaha, but I digress.  Insert Anna Kendrick and she’s a young and uber eager girl who jumps in feet first only to realize the job is pretty damn depressing.  I mean seriously, you walk in to fire people at a company and they don’t even know you.  Screw that.

Part of the job Clooney’s character loves is public speaking.  It’s here that he asks the audience to figuratively, in their mind’s eye, start going through their home and put into a backpack all the crap in their homes.  Start with the things on the shelves, then move to the bigger things like clothes, and on to the even bigger things like couches and cars and the actual house itself, he says.  Then imagine picking up that backpack and lugging it with you when you go to walk away.  Laughter breaks out in the crowd because of course, no one can walk with that load of shit on their backs.  He then challenges people to start taking out the things that really don’t matter in their day to day life and learn how to unpack and repack this backpack with purpose.  All the while the movie follows him firing people who were lifers at their company, engaging in a relationship he didn’t think he could have, and we see him evaluating his own “backpack”.  I’m not going to say much more cause you’re probably one of the millions who looked at the previews and didn’t bother to see it, but I think this is an egregious mistake and you should give it a go.  It’s thought-provoking and real and it resonates to the deepest depths of someone’s life.  Truly.

My backpack is full of a lot of useless shit and I really need to start evaluating what I’ve decided to pack into it.  I’ve been battling with myself and my ever present depression and a friend recently asked me how that was the case since I had a job, kids, husband, car, home, health, etc. and I was really taken aback.  Just because I have all of these things doesn’t mean I’m not susceptible to depression.  It doesn’t mean that it ‘skips’ me.  It’s like that one asshole you inevitably run into when you say you’re tired and they want to argue that they are more tired than you are.  People fail to realize just because they are going through some tough shit they don’t own the monopoly of shitty situations, other people have their own problems and their own rights to feel a certain kind of way about them.  A lot of people are lugging around really heavy backpacks that they don’t realize they need to unpack and evaluate.  My backpack is heavy, y’all. Too fucking heavy.  It’s time to unload.  Baby steps, though, because I don’t want to throw out my good mascara.

2020

This year has been one for the records, and no doubt it will go down in history for its insanity and its unease.  It started off as any other year before it has.  We rang in the New Year hopeful for what was to come, closing doors on what has been.  Glasses were clinked, toasts were given and resolutions were made, mostly in haste as resolutions usually are.  I don’t think even fortune tellers could have foreseen the unfolding of 2020.

I am an Executive Assistant for a medium-to-large company.  I love what I do because I love the organization that it needs, and I am nothing if not organized.  I’m good at it, after all, I’m a wife and a mother of three.  I make sense of chaos.  It’s more social of a career than I thought I would have, but I love it despite that.

It was late February when the news started imploring our attention on this strange little virus that has been floating from continent to continent.  We watched with concern, but we didn’t grasp the reality that was coming.  The words Global Pandemic started to flow and with it the worry and angst that consumed most all humans.  On March 13th, we decided to follow the orders and shut our offices down and setup everyone who could be with virtual offices.  It was worrisome and chaotic, but it was a precaution in this unknown time.  Our executives made a great decision and led us with such care that I’ll never be able to thank them enough.  With Mr. Medic on the front lines of this terrible virus, I knew too well how serious it really was and having kind, understanding leadership in a time like this was something I didn’t see coming.  I’ll forever be grateful to them.

It’s now mid-October and our numbers here in GA continue to be at or over what they were when we decided to close the state so our office remains mostly remote despite our state throwing caution to the wind and opening up several months ago.  Seven months into this pandemic, all the while working from home with the exception of a day a week, and I have become a very different person.  I’d love to say I have gained insight, welcomed new challenges, or made better decisions for myself.  Alas, I have not.  In fact, I have found that I am far more comfortable in my home working diligently alone.  For someone who isn’t social, this has become a very eye-opening time.  I am finding life alone both reassuring and frightening in equal measure.

I’ve found solitude has started to break me in ways I never saw coming.  I closed myself into my own little bubble under the name of “sheltering-in-place”, but I have altered myself, inevitably, for the worse.  The idea of “going out” or entering the world again spreads an anxiety I haven’t yet felt despite the last 20 years of my life living with anxiety and depression.  This is different.  This is raw and carnal. This is a fear I can’t afford to have. 

This new fear has caused quite a few fights between Mr. Medic and I and it seems I am not responding logically and, in truth, I find that I am very nearly unable to find logic and reason at all even when I beg it to come.  We’ve entered our 40s and our children are all of adult age.  This is a time we should be living life to the fullest and traveling, and I’m finding it difficult to simply take a shower some days.  I acknowledge this change inside me and I want to fix it desperately.   I’m going to go dive in deep and figure this shit out because I refuse for 2020 to rob me of any more time.  

Two decades and an undying love

Today is my 20th anniversary, and this morning on my hour-long, traffic-filled commute, I reflected on these last two decades with my Mr. Medic.  Two decades.  Y’all, it’s difficult to fathom.  What’s crazier to me is that I can remember all of it like it was yesterday…literally.  I grew up hearing that phrase and remember sighing or rolling my eyes at its overuse, but as I get older, I completely understand its connotation.

I can remember seeing him in high school for the first time, and something inside me just clicked.  I didn’t know that 27 years later that he would be the sole person on this planet with whom I share my deepest, darkest parts of the chaos that is me.  Nor did I know we would grow to trust each other so emphatically and love so deeply that our worlds would truly merge as one.  We’ve seen each other at our best, and we’ve seen each other at our worst many times those two didn’t align, but we pushed on, and we supported each other the way only a wife and a husband could.

It’s not always been easy, and we’ve been way too close to divorce and have had our very fair share of fights and unspoken nights.  We’ve cried into the early hours of dawn pondering what would come of us as a couple, as a family.  But we’ve laughed so hard that we doubled over in pain.  We’ve spent countless hours laying in each other’s arms talking about our future.  We’ve made 5-year-plans and retirement plans and spoke about future grandchildren.  And we’ve become not just lovers or husband and wife, but the best of friends.

I love you, my darling husband, with all of my soul.  I thank you for your unyielding support and understanding of my, sometimes, debilitating mental chaos.  You are the only one on this planet who can understand and tolerate me at my worst, and I’ll forever be thankful for how much you love me.  Here’s to the first 20 and I’m so looking forward to all that we can experience in the next 20. xoxo

 

 

Yin-Yang Twins…No, not those guys…

I lost a dear friend this week.  It was a hard shock and my soul is still trying to stop crying over the premature loss of a soul whose very essence screams purity and wholesomeness.  We lived in the same neighborhood when we were middle and high school kids and we went through the same awkward phases together.  It was the early 90s and therefore we lived by the nights of MTV, when it still legitimately stood for music television videos, to watch the latest hairbands release the next big hit.  We spent many nights together listening to music, watching videos, and crushing on the likes of Axl Rose and Bret Michaels. We did silly things like tease each other’s’ hair, try on rad ass clothes, put on bright, powder blue eye makeup, and all the jewelry we could possibly find in her mom’s room.  It was a great time.

Honestly, she was my safe space.  She was the one person on the planet that wouldn’t judge me, hate me, or try to change me.  She was honest in a way that worked for a rebelling teen.  She balanced my yin with her yang, which is probably why we kept the BFF yin-yang necklaces for years.  You remember those necklaces, right?  The ones that started with half heart pieces that looked broken and one side had BE FRI while the 2nd half had ST ENDS…the yin and yang were much, much better options because honestly, who wanted the 2nd half that read ST ENDS, it was like getting the utter and ass section of a two-part cow costume…and who wants to be the ass?  No one.

Yep, yin and yang best friend necklaces in the form of hip chokers were our thing and it just fit perfectly.  She was always the positivity that everyone needed in their life, the shining brightness in an otherwise dark, dark world.  I remember I asked her once how she stayed so happy all the time and she simply said, because it’s easier to be happy than it is to be sad or angry.  It was simple, but it was right.

I remember when she had her 4 wheeler accident and she ended up with some permanent damage.  My mom, God bless her patient self, drove me to Macon, GA several times while she was in the hospital.  It was a scary time and it was some of the longest days until we were confident she would come through it.  It wasn’t long after that when we started to drift apart.  Boys got in the way, more specifically, Mr. Medic got in the way.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t his fault in the slightest, but it was something that happened the way it usually does when a boy enters a teenage girl’s life and suddenly there’s no time for anything or anyone else.  I was completely smitten and mine and her time became less and less until my family moved three states away.  We spoke a few times after I moved and a few times after I came back a few years later, but nothing was ever as close as those middle and high school years.

We met up a few times after I got back and she was still a pillar of sunshine and rainbows on a stormy night, but like with life and kids, time got busy again.  Technology advanced and eventually social media became a thing and we reconnected via Facebook, but we never really reconnected they way we were once connected.  I’ve always regretted that, but then I thought there was time.  Don’t we all think that?  Don’t we all think there’s time?  Time, it’s a fickle thing – you always think there’s more of it, until there isn’t.

So, here I sit in the darkness and silence of my living room with tears streaming down my face – thankful that I know my keys and I can punch these words out without needing to see – and I wonder.  I wonder if she knows.  Does she know?????  Does she know the light she poured into my soul some 25 years ago that has never, not once dulled?  Does she know how many lives she’s touched by just being the angelic, sweet person she was born to be?  Does she know how special she was to every single human being she met?  My guess is that she doesn’t. She saw herself as any selfless person would, just another person.  She was so much more though, she was the person that ALL people who meet her aspire to be more like.

She was unapologetically herself and who she wanted to be.  She strived for happiness and peace when others only dreamed of it.  As I sit here and reminisce over years gone by and time forgotten, I remember her smile, her positive thoughts, and the way she lived her life and I smile through the tears and heartache knowing that I am immensely blessed for having had only a blink of time with her.  I am a better person for just having known her.  I take this time to make a promise to her beautiful soul that I will strive to live in peace and happiness when others only dream of it, and acknowledge that if something does not bring that peace and happiness, that I must let it go and find what does.  She taught me that.  She taught me to be brave. She taught me to love endlessly and hopelessly and it’s time to start living for her.  I will grieve her, I will love her, and I will get busy living in peace and happiness because to do anything else would tarnish the perfect memory of the most beautiful soul I have ever known.  God bless you, Pamombeau, my darling friend and know that you will live on through time and space.  I love you and I can’t wait to see your smiling face again one day.  Fly high and shine bright my sweet friend.

I remember when

I sit here tonight in the quiet of the house with a heavy heart and fire inside me.  I have a plethora of feelings this evening and so I turn to this trusty place.  I’m staring at the blinking cursor as it mocks me when I can’t think of the words, but I know I have to write.

Do you remember where you were 15 years ago today?  The day before the world changed as we know it?  More importantly, do you remember what kind of person you were then? Who were you, what were your worries?  Did you lose your temper that day over something silly and mundane?  Were you a little too short with a loved one?  Were you a little too impatient?  Did you thank that nice girl at the counter who served you coffee as you rushed off to work, late because of the traffic?  Did you pass judgment on that person sitting at the end of that exit ramp asking for spare change?

I bet we all did some of these things 15 years ago today because none of us knew that tomorrow we would wake up and become someone different – that we would wake up and our country would be changed.  I remember exactly where and who I was 15 years ago today.  I was one week away from bringing into the world my daughter, The Middle, and I was as miserable as I could be.  I was impatient with anyone near me, I was short-tempered, I was tired, I was swollen, and I was not the person I am today.

Like thousands and thousands of people, I watched horrified that morning as the events unfolded and despite going into labor and my mid-wife instructing me to stay away from the news, I watched for days on end as the aftermath unfolded.  It was devastating; we all remember how devastating this day was.  It was a sight I will never forget, it was a feeling I will never forget, and it was a change in our country I wish we all would never forget.

You see, we’ve forgotten that part.  Every year on September 11th we all put that photo of the towers or the eagle that’s shedding tears on our social media pages and we promise not to forget, but do we actually remember?  Do we remember, as a country, what we swore we would never forget?  I do and I’m sure I’m not the only one, but not nearly enough people truly remember.  Yes, we remember the attack on our country. We remember the horrifying collapse of both towers and we remember the excruciating number of innocent lives we lost on that day, but do we remember the days that came after?  Do we remember how we promised to never forget that we are the UNITED States of America?  That when you attack one of us or some of us, you attack ALL of us?  Do we remember that at that time there were no black Americans, no white Americans, no brown Americans, no yellow Americans – we were AMERICANS.  We were UNITED.  We were one and we rallied behind our flag, behind our country, behind our law enforcement, behind our first-responders, behind our military and behind each other.

I remember when we became brothers and sisters of this country and we promised those nearly 3 thousand innocent souls and their families that we would never forget.  We also promised the assholes who killed these innocent people for simply being American that we would unite and rally behind our flag, behind our country, behind our law enforcement, behind our first-responders, behind our military and behind each other.

Today we are no longer brothers and sisters of this country as promised; we are jaded, separated, and self-proclaimed victims of a society that has done nothing but afford us every possible opportunity for success and freedom.  Today we can claim to be oppressed and show disrespect to a country we all promised to protect 15 years ago.  Today we fight each other to the death rather than the enemy who murdered us for being American.  Today we make excuses instead of change, we no longer hold the responsible parties accountable for the demise of their own lives but instead blame a country who has done nothing but house ideals, morals, and opportunities for centuries.

I remember when we were the UNITED States of America and I pray it doesn’t take another tomorrow to remind us of the promises we made.

A senior letter

This has to be one of the hardest letters I have ever written. xoxo

I’m supposed to be writing you a senior letter, probably without getting emotional.  HAHA!  Yeah, right. We both know better than that.

Starting with the most mundane, I’ll remind you how proud I am of you.  Words cannot tell you how proud I am.  You’ve become every bit of the man I had hoped you would when I met you 18 years ago.  I prayed you would take the good characteristics of your dad and me and mix them together with your own spin to turn into an amazing man, and you have done that plus so much more.  You’re better than I could have dreamed, God truly blessed me more than I deserve.  You have a beautiful heart and soul, more than you really know – don’t let life ruin that.  You’re more than just smart, you’re sincerely intellectual.  You consider all things and analyze the good and bad before making a decision or judgment.  That’s really the key to life, kid, so you have a one-up on most people already.

I’ve watched you learn to crawl, walk, talk, and read.  I’ve watched you learn to ride a bike, play soccer, play guitar, and drive a car.  I’ve watched you walk into your first day of pre-school, kindergarten, middle school, and high school.  I’ve watched you drive off to your first job.  I’ve watched you go on your first date.  I’ve watched you drive off for your senior prom.  Soon, I’ll watch you walk up on stage and receive your diploma.  Soon, I’ll watch you drive off for your next adventure in the Navy.  You have been a joy and blessing to watch and I cannot wait to watch all the next stages in your life.

I admit that when you first told me about your aspirations to join our military, my heart broke.  It was a selfish act, and it took a long, long time for me to come to peace with that.  I didn’t want to think about you leaving me.  You and I have had each other for 18 years, you’re my firstborn and I just wasn’t ready to face the fact that you’ve become an amazing man who doesn’t enter into things lightly.  It’s because of this and your infallible reasoning that I got on board and knew in my heart you would do amazing things with this opportunity.

I read somewhere that I’m supposed to tell you what I want for you or expect out of you.  Like so many parts of our family and relationship, my wants and expectations aren’t really traditional.  Of course, I want you to get an education, find a good job, meet and marry a great girl, start a family, and all that jazz.  But, Austin, I want so much more for you.  I want you to leave this little town, join the Navy, and see the world.  I want you to live with no strings attached.  You have such a great opportunity to do things very few people get the chance to do.  Since you could read (at the ripe age of 2½) you’ve been fascinated with the world.  You’ve been interested in all things history and science.  Go see all those countries you have only ever read about.  Go see, feel, touch the history of the world and let that experience blow you away.  Life is so short, baby, and you have the rest of your life for settling down.  Hold off on that day to day grind just a bit longer and make adventure your next path.

What do I expect out of you?  Greatness.  However, before greatness, I expect you to live your life to the absolute fullest.  Drink a beer with your new brotherhood and make stupid decisions that won’t cost you too much in the end – you know like an arrest and big ass tattoos that you’ll regret later (and coming from me that’s saying a LOT).  Get your heart broken a few times because until you do, there’s no other way to know real love when it comes to you.

You’re one of my greatest accomplishments in life.  If I have done nothing else in this life, I have raised a great boy into a phenomenal man.  I know that you’ll take part of me, your dad, your brother, and sister & papa and nana with you along the way and we will help keep you grounded…just enough – not too much.

You’re going to be scared, you’re going to be nervous, and I’m sure there will be days you’ll just want to come home, but those days will be few and far between.  You will succeed.  You will be ok.  You will overcome.

Go start your life, baby – it’s only just beginning.  I’m so proud of you and all that you’ve become.  I love you with all that I am and all that I have, son.

The Darkness

I used to be vivacious.  I vaguely remember those days, the days where I was always on the go and in want of someone’s company because life was full of possibilities.  I remember smiling and laughing without force.  Sometimes, when I try, I can even remember what it was like to not have constant darkness standing over me and threatening to pull me into myself.

I’m not that person anymore and I’m left with only memories of who I once was.  I clinically suffer from depression and anxiety.  I’ve only said it or admitted to a handful of close friends and my husband, only 2 people truly believe me and not one really knows what it means.  I should have a shelf full of Oscars for the performance I put on pretending that “I’m fine”.  Today, I’m not fine.

So, what does it mean?  For me, it means pain.  It means fear.  It means sadness.  It means anger.  It means loneliness.  For me, it does not mean suicidal or batshit crazy.  I was spared the batshit crazy gene, thank God.  For me, it’s most definitely NOT “in my head” and I cannot simply choose to “get over it”.  There is no medication I can take and magically feel better.  I take medication to manage this condition, but sometimes it’s unmanageable.

More often than not, I can be in a depressive state or having an episode and you’ll be standing right next to me and never know.  I still show up to gatherings with friends and family because I still show up for my kids and my husband every day and these are the things required of me.

I am a mother, wife, aunt, daughter, sister, friend, and coworker and sometimes that’s really hard for me.  Sometimes that makes me cry from the overwhelming knowledge that so many people rely on me and deep down I know I cannot even rely on myself.  So many days I just want to let the covers swallow me whole and disappear until these horrible feelings disappear.  But, I can’t.  I have a life, I have children, I have a husband, I have a career and all of this means I can’t escape to a corner in my room for days like I want to.

I wish I could openly talk to my loved ones about this to help them understand what I feel, but I can’t.  I can only write.  It’s my mask.  Today, behind my mask, I will try to explain it to those who don’t battle these consuming disorders.

Anxiety makes me feel everything all the time and at one time.  It feels like suffocation.  It feels like drowning.  It’s consuming.  It’s scary as hell.  I feel like I’m losing control.  I can’t catch my breath, I can’t see my way through my own fears and I just want to find a dark room.  Hearing my loved ones tell me to breathe or calm down or take a pill only adds to these feelings.  I feel like they’ve just pushed my head a little further under.

When the anxiety starts to fade and I come out of the suffocating fog, depression is there to latch on and its hold is so strong and so hard to get away from.  Depression knows that’s when I’m at my weakest and it twists and turns like smoke and smothers everything that is good in life.  My doctor once said that depression is an emotional paralysis.  He’s right, it really is.  Depression lies to me, fills me full of thoughts of how worthless I am, how much I have failed myself, my family, my friends, my coworkers.  Depression steals any ray of light that reminds me I am loved and worthy of being loved.

When the smoke of depression begins to pull back, it leaves me with anger.  Anger at myself for falling victim to this disease.  Anger at myself for being so miserable.  Anger at my friends and family for not seeing through the fake persona I put on so that no one sees just how weak I am.  I just want to scream “I’M FUCKING DROWNING, DON’T YOU SEE ME??”, but instead I smile and say, “I’m fine”.

Depression is exhausting.  Once the anger subsides I am too tired to care.  I am too tired to get up and cook dinner for my family.  I sit and I cry because I know I have chores, I have duties, I have kids to feed, dogs to feed, clothes to wash, a house to clean and I just can’t.  I’m so exhausted.  I’m emotionally drained and I just need to lay down and cry and cry and cry.

These are my bad days.  These are the days when I succumb.  I can be like this for a few days and then not again for several months.  It sneaks up on me and I’m never prepared when it hits me.  Depression is a sneaky bastard.  It’s an evil I never knew existed and then when I knew, I never fully understood what all it was.  Now that I live with it, I know all too well that depression can be debilitating and suffocating and incorrigible, and I hate it immensely.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. 
Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
– Oscar Wilde

Enough

When is enough, enough?  Is there ever a time, as a wife and a mother, that I can throw my hands up in the air and (not wave them like I just don’t care…) say – to hell with this, I’ve had enough!  Theoretically, I did just that the other day.  I went on “strike” *insert hysterical laughter here*.  What was I thinking?  That all of a sudden the kids and husband would hear the archangels singing and try to fix everything that I’ve been bitching about?  Pfft.  Yeah, right.

I have teens.  I don’t have really young kids.  In less than 6 months I will have an 18-year-old, a 14-year-old and a 13-year-old.  Oh, and a 38-year-old…*ahem*.  Yet, at some point these four individuals must have fallen and smacked their precious heads on some sort of hard surface and have completely and utterly forgotten how to use their senses.  Particularly the sense that tells them there are chores to be done – your bathroom looks like it’s growing something in the sink, the dogs have no water, you might have worn that a time or two since the last wash cycle, there’s a smell coming from your bathroom that is going to disturb the neighbors, and OMG you must be sleeping with a zombie because that’s what your room smells like!

So, I lost my shit.  Again.  I explained how absolutely tired I was of being the maid.  Because that’s how I feel…blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda (like Charlie Brown’s teacher only more life-like).  Most days it’s not worth the fight and I just handle it all myself – working, cooking, cleaning the bathrooms, sweeping and mopping, doing the leftover dishes that must have been wearing an invisibility cloak the night before, cleaning the house, and doing every stitch of laundry Mr. EMT and I own because otherwise he will attempt to ‘do’ laundry and we’ll forever be throwing shit in the dryer on wrinkle-free.

The strike lasted a day and a half.  The day I lost my shit, Mr. EMT was home from work and school, a rarity these days.  Thus, I sent him a message and explained what I saw that morning and that I was on strike until I saw the rest of the family learn to pick up after themselves and do their chores.  He had them clean, and clean well – for exactly one day.  It lasted for one day.  Because the dishes wore an invisibility cloak yet again last night, I refused to cook.  Make yourself something to eat, I said.  Heat up leftovers, I said.  AND DO THE MOTHERFUCKING DISHES, I said.  Well, not so drastically, but that’s how I wanted to say it.

I woke up in a little better mood today and I decided I would rather be pissed off and bitchy than to live in a crappily maintained home.  I was going to buck up and do all the stuff I didn’t do since Tuesday when I got home today.  However, insert a call from The Little’s school and I’m right back to wanting to scream ‘Enough is Enough’!  He got into trouble….again….albeit the first time in 3 weeks.  He’s a work in progress, but that’s for another post in the future about dealing with middle school kids with two parents who don’t often agree on parenting style.

With all that being said, I realize I cannot actually give up.  I have to remain married to Mr. EMT even though I wanted to punch him in the throat this week; I have to remain a mother to three unappreciative adolescents and try to remember that one day they will thank me for this shit; and I have to remember to buy another bottle of wine before I get home….because enough may very well be enough, but that does not count for wine.