All in My Head: Taking the Leap.

October 14, 2016

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to my first blog!

A blogger, a priest and Ken Bone walked into a bar…

Her name was LO-la..she was a BLOG-ger…

I don’t really know how to write a blog.

I have a lot on my mind, though. On most days, my thoughts and questions and worries and outrages literally (OK, OK. FIGURATIVELY)  boing around in my head.

Other times, my brain is completely ocupado, what with imagining Pentatonix  begging me to take my harmonizing on the road with them  (I always gratefully, humbly, refuse.).

I’ve been thinking of blogging for a while. Today I decided this might be sort of therapeutic for my brain. My thoughts tend to circle, endlessly. As a result, I magnify my thoughts and worries to such a ridiculous extent that when I finally confide them to my friends and loved ones, they look at me like I’ve just suggested they eat their own snot.

I’m hoping that writing things down will help.

At the very least, I’m a huge fan of my own jokes, and no one else seems to be documenting them, so….

Why make this public?

I don’t know. I’m not the most self disciplined person I know, but if I’m able to write something that makes someone laugh, or if someone can identify with my views/thoughts/issues….that will motivate me.

More to come.

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The Elephant.

October 31, 2016

‘Toddlers and Tiara’s was on the other day. If you’re smart enough to avoid the show, let me bring you up to speed: Toddlers and Tiara’s is about young girls whose mothers enter them in beauty pageants. They (the young girls, not the mothers) use fake teeth (called flippers), wigs, dramatic make up, costumes, etc. to morph into doll-like versions of their adorable little selves. The Jerry Springer-ey mothers are the real stars, though. This show is like a reality TV version of #epicparentingfails.

Anywho. I was half watching half folding laundry when I heard one of the charming moms refuse to clean up donkey poop. From her donkey. Which was in the hotel ballroom. She wouldn’t clean it because she didn’t think it was from her donkey, even though her donkey was the only donkey at the pageant (and probably the only donkey in any public establishment in America). Her whole attitude was arrogant and entitled, and I hates me some arrogant and entitled.

My blood started moving especially fast for a person who had nothing to do with the woman/donkey/pageant/poop. I was irrationally angry by the whole (staged) scene. My teeth hung on my lip like fangs (though admittedly, I was pretending I had fangs). All I could think was that I’d love to take that woman’s disgusting self outside and knock her sorry ass teeth and condescending smile right down her throat, and then I’d—

“There’s an elephant in the room, and it’s name is menopause.”

—“Brick”  ‘The Middle’, Season 5, Episode 21

A few years back, a friend of mine told me she was in peri-menopause. She talked about it quite a bit, listing her symptoms and confiding her experience. In the meantime, I pretty much nodded mutely, all the while thinking: Wait. That’s a thing?

I’m 46 now and can assure you, it is very much ‘a thing.’

Lately, I have been saying and doing and feeling things and think, ‘where the hell did THAT come from?!’  Things like..in terms of …um….well, I’ll list the top three.

First: ~Rage~

As you can see from my imaginary kick boxing scene with the mom on Toddlers and Tiara’s, my anger sparks very easily, and with, like, ‘verve.’

Until recently, I would shake off the unnecessary rudeness of others, but lately, I can’t. For instance, I stopped my car and stared down the runner who refused to move to the sidewalk even though she was truly endangering the people who had to drive around her. I was belligerent to the rent-a- cop/Olympic-speed-walker-hopeful who hustled across the parking lot to tell me I couldn’t park ‘there’. If I find a candy bar wrapper behind a living room chair I perform a 10 minute soliloquy about ‘kids these days.’

During the past few weeks of the election, I have not represented my finest self, and I’m constantly surprised that I ‘went there’ on Facebook posts. All my life I’ve avoided political stuff, mainly due to my lack of education interest about the issues. I figure that a person who can’t even convince her 14 year old to brush his teeth has no business trying to change anyone’s mind about public policy.

As you all know, though, the campaigns this year are basically, ‘If you vote for Trump you’re an idiot!’ ‘If you vote for Hillary you’re insane!’ Everyone’s anger seems to jump from 0 to 60 before you can say ‘go for the jugular’. I find it so hard not to react.

So, I have been rude and accusatory on Facebook. I’ve also been demeaned on Facebook….a stupid number of times.  Recently, a few people have un-friended me. And that felt icky.

 

Second: ~Hotness~

This one is embarrassing and I apologize up front for sharing TMI. Lately, I’ve had some problems with ‘hotness’.

More specifically, I’ve become remarkably attractive.  I cover it with bulky clothes and clumsy make up, just to divert people’s attention. These strategies don’t help. I turn heads where ever I go, and my whole family is noticing.

Pffft.

What I meant to say was, there’s rarely a time when I’m not miserably sweaty. And, my whole family is noticing (but I do wear bulky clothes and clumsy makeup).

Not just normal, over-heated sweating. More like sweat that tidal waves through my hair until it puddles into a reservoir in my back fat. THAT hot. Hot enough that I keep the house and car as cold as possible without actually making fog when I breathe. My family has invested in arctic camping supplies, and I would be happy to parade around the house in a wrestling unitard   t-shirt and shorts.

 

Third~I cry a lot.~

This is new.

I remember watching ‘Beaches’ when it first came out. The end of the movie rolled around and I remember getting ready to say something like, ‘ok, dinner time!’ But then I heard a sniffle or something and realized that my friends were all weepy from the movie. I wasn’t really sad, so I felt weird that everyone else was. Was I some kind of monster? No…if they’d tossed a lost puppy in that closing scene I would have definitely honked out a good cry. But there wasn’t, so I remember putting my head in my hands and shaking my shoulders a little, hoping that made me seem a little less dead inside. I was still thinking about dinner, though, for sure.

That’s sort of how I always was, between the ages of 5-45. I mean, I cried over death, but other than that, I really only cried when my feelings were hurt.

NOW? I cry constantly. A few weeks ago a friend’s daughter made her First Holy Communion (if you’re reading this, you know who you are!). The daughter was beautiful and happy and her parents looked on proudly with nice, clear eyes. I, however, cried to the point that my embarrassed son leaned over and said, ‘Her PARENTS aren’t even crying. You know we’re not related to them, right?’

Everything makes me cry. Being happy, sad, SORRY, pissed, moved. In movies, I’m still ok if someone dies because I know they’re acting (unless it’s a true story, then seriously, you don’t want to sit next to me).  But, God forbid throw in a person over 80 with a kitten for a room mate and I practically howl at the moon.

Movie theaters don’t like that!

And p.s.? Let’s just say…’crying’ isn’t my best look. Some women look so adorable when they cry, and everyone wants to comfort them because her sadness makes everyone else feel compassionate.

MY crying consists of a bright red (sweaty) contorted face, accompanied by the complete inability to talk without sounding like I’ve got a washcloth wadded up in my mouth. My crying doesn’t make people want to comfort me, it just makes them want to excuse themselves and find a bar.

So, peri-menopause, welcome to this chapter of my life. I take your sweat, tears and rage and challenge you with silliness. I was thinking though, that if I ever get a donkey, I’ll name him or her Peri/Perry, mainly as a note-to-self to not let peri-menopause turn me into more of an ass.

 

It’s All in My Head: Exhibit A

October 16, 2016

I once had a cough for a really long time. Eventually, I saw my doctor. She gave me a new asthma inhaler and put me on Zyrtec. The cough was gone within two weeks.

Except that’s not how things really went down.

I had been battling a cough for a long time. This cough was constant. Incessant. I once ran into a friend who actually said to me, “I THOUGHT that was you! I recognized the sound of your cough.”

Anxiety bitch slapped my brain, and was like, ‘Not good, dude. Not good at all. You MAY be screwed, I’d watch for it.”

I asked 10 or 20 people what they would do if they were me, and they all told me their stories about long coughs and what the weather can do to people, yadda yadda yadda.

The cough lingered. Sometimes it was dry and sometimes it was productive. My ribs ached. I was exhausted from coughing so freaking much. Why the hell was this lasting so long? I knew only one thing  could help me figure it out.

Google.

Google and I go way back, and he (not sure why, but I know my Google is a “he”) wasn’t surprised to hear from me. I filled him in on my symptoms and my age, and he, in turn, back-stabbed me with an article about Dana Reeve, a non-smoker, who died at age 44 from lung cancer.

SON of a BITCH!!!

I  updated the 10-20 people who helped me previously, and they tiredly reassured me, one by one, that this was not lung cancer. After all, their friend, so-and-so, went through the exact same thing. OK! I was being ridiculous!!! I could get on with my life. No more worry. In the meantime, the relief was intoxicating. I sat back and enjoyed feeling ‘normal’.

Which lasted about 3 minutes.

I worried for days. Not occasionally….not just when I remembered there might be an issue. Every. Second. Of. Every. Day. Sleep was my only peace. Even Google was sick of me.

Then, one morning, I hacked and hacked and hacked and eventually hocked up a wad of extreme grossness into a tissue. I had done this before, but this time was different.

There was a red line in it.

Blood. A string of blood. There was BLOOD in it, I had BLOOD in my wad of extreme grossness!!!!

In spite of my horrific white coat syndrome (a story for another day), I called my doctor’s office and told them I had just coughed up blood and needed to be seen asap.

In retrospect, perhaps telling them I had ‘coughed up blood’ was a tad dramatic.

When the doctor came in, I held up the tissue (yes. I kept/brought/showed her the tissue), took a deep, trembling breath and said something like, “I’ve had this cough for months. This morning I coughed up blood. I think you’ll agree that lung cancer is likely.  What is my next move…?”

For the love of God, I actually said, “what is my next move.”

Her response was, “A new inhaler and some Zyrtec.”

I wish I could tell you this was the only time—or even the first time– I’ve had this reaction to a stressful issue.  I wish I could tell you I’m not usually all that anxious. I wish I could tell you I don’t have some level of anxiety most days of my life. I wish I could say that the reasons for my anxiety don’t change constantly (though some keep circling back–also another story).

The fact is, I have an anxiety disorder.

I am not crazy. I am not weird (duh, yes, I’m weird, but you know). I function well in society. I am well educated, well read, well liked (sometimes). God has blessed me abundantly. I work hard. I care about others. I help people when I can.

But I do have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. There are 40 million people like me. Some studies suggest that  18 % of society deals with this.

I know some of you can identify.

My husband, family and friends are exceptional. When I’m in an anxious state, I am EXTREMELY ANNOYING. I badger people. I repeatedly ask for reassurance and reasons for WHY they think I’m OK. I make them feel my glands (and what not). I google until my fingers are sore (side note, I hate that I just used ‘google’ as a verb). I’m superstitious. What if I’m excited because I don’t have lung cancer, but I actually do? What if I have some other horrible disease that is waiting to pop out the second I let my guard down or get too cocky?

But no one abandons me. No one makes me feel stupid, no one turns me away. They DO try to make me laugh about it, which I always love. It always helps.

I have a doctor who monitors my progress and my backslides and I have to deal with this for my entire life. So that’s what I’ll do.

You may or may not have already known this about me. Maybe you weren’t sure but you had your suspicions. I’ve known about this for years and I used to hide it. But why? There are 40 million people like me. Maybe you are like me.

If you are, I’m here for you.

This is All in My Head. Exhibit A.