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Sunday, January 7, 2018

You can't go home again and drink.

I recently spent some time with my family for the holidays.  During that time, my mother said something that has stuck with me. 

We were preparing food for a family party later that evening.  I was preparing the beverage table, complete with 1970s ice bucket and tongs, assortment of soda, cups and the whiskey my brother requested I purchase.  While I was engaged in this task, my mother casually said, "you really do drink quite a bit, don't you". 

Um.  What? 

She then examines my choice of whiskey and reminisces about our deceased cousin and how this was his favorite whiskey.  I was flattered at first, but then remembered how this particular cousin lost his position as county sheriff and then his marriage due to his love for said whiskey. 

So, was my mother telling me I reminded her of our beloved cousin or that I reminded her more of his whiskey-induced downward spiral?  It was mystery that I chose not to explore with her further. 

Instead, I cracked open a beer and walked away to turn both televisions back to their normal volume level and set the heat back to a level more suitable for the survival of my parent's severely obese hounds. 

After the holiday, I embarked on a road trip to Kentucky to explore the bourbon trail and partake of various bourbon distilleries' offerings.  This did not help my case at all and my mother has spent our last few conversations asking why I ever thought that would be a fun trip to take and who ever thought of doing such a thing. 

Sigh. 

Do I like bourbon?  Yes. Do I like moonshine?  Yes. . Do I like...okay, I like alcohol.  To be fair, I get it honest.  My maternal grandfather and a couple great uncles were busted for bringing liquor into the county during Prohibition.  My paternal grandfather was pretty famous for his homemade hooch and his banjo skills, but mostly his hooch. 

Also, I like plenty of other things in addition to alcohol.  I like books, music, dogs, my husband, long walks in the fresh air and baking.  I also like helping those in mental health crisis and maintaining a solid 4.0 in my current graduate program.  So, yeah. 

If I chose to partake in a spirit every now and then, I think that's perfectly okay.  It's not my only coping mechanism.  It's actually a small part of self-care.  It just happens to be the one my mother disapproves of the most. Not that she even understands or attempts to understand my life or how I deal with it.

It's one of the saddest things about having elderly parents who live far away.  The phone conversations are impacted by hearing loss and mother-daughter conversations are never quite the same.  It's one of the things I miss the most about being away from my family.  I miss my mom.   I wish she and my other family members knew me as I am now.  I am so much more than that little girl who was once the baby of the family. 

I don't know.  This started out as a defense of my love for whiskey and has turned into an emotional downer.  I think the cabin fever is affecting me.  Is it too soon to blame things on the Arctic Bomb Thing that's happening?  


Monday, January 1, 2018

Promises, promises

     As I welcome the new year, I am taking a thorough inventory of my life.  I am carefully examining the relationships I have, the joys I find and the challenges I face.  In doing this. I realize there are a lot of things I want for myself. These are not so much resolutions as they are promises.  I have neglected myself for too long, believing I was not worthy.  That has to end.  For all of us. We all deserve to be happy.  We deserve the promise of joy, love and hope.  We deserve the promise of investing in ourselves because that will change everything. 

     So, in 2018, I have decided to promise myself the following things...

     To be healthy.  Not just to lose weight, but to be healthy.  I promise to be more mindful of what I am putting into my body.  I promise to be more mindful of how I am treating my body and soul.  I promise to exercise because I know I will feel better.  I promise to do yoga because I know it will help me relax and establish a stronger connection to my body and soul.  I promise to walk more with my dogs because they deserve my time.

     To be grateful.  I have many blessings in my life but I still choose to focus on the negative more often than not.  It's easier. I promise to change that way of thinking and focus more on the positive in each and every moment.  When that is too difficult to find, I promise to focus on solutions rather than problems.  When that is too difficult, I promise to walk away.

     To be frugal.  There is not much that I want or need in my life yet I continue to convince myself otherwise, thus spending unnecessarily.  I promise to be more mindful of this.  I promise to focus on reducing debt.  I promise to focus on having less and living more.

     To be myself.  And to be okay with that.  I am who I am.  I am kind, honest, loving and sometimes funny. I like bluegrass music, horror movies and dogs of all kinds.  Despite my clothing size, I have nothing to be ashamed of.  I am worthy.

     To let go.  And to be okay with that.  In the coming months, I will have to leave a job I love because it will just not work for me as I continue my education.  It has been a difficult decision.  It will be a difficult goodbye. I promise that I will let go and move on because that is what is best for me at this time in my life.

     To be happy.  Surrounding myself with positive people who make me feel good.  To share good times, laughter and fun.  To do things that I find rewarding.  

     To write. I miss this.  There have been excuses and reasons but there really aren't any that make sense.  There is no reason to give up something I love.  I promise to write. 

     New year.  New beginnings.  New promises.  New hope.  




Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Epic Commute.

     You start out on your commute and things are fine.  The guy on your right tries to cut you off, but you stand firm.  The lady behind you seems to want to be in your back seat so you slow down a little.       The usual.
      Then, you glance over to your left and you see it.  That little spot on the windshield.  A freakin spider.  Right next to your face.  You take a few deep breaths.  You tell yourself  that it's probably on the outside.
      Nope.
      It's on the inside.  Panic mode begins to set in.  Your knuckles become white as they are glued to the steering wheel.  You are trying to keep your face from contorting into the 'holy shit, there's a spider on my face' mode because that guy on the right is starting to give you the side eye.
     You take more deep breaths and try not to hyperventilate.  The only paper bag you have in the car contains your Dunkin Donuts trash from 3 days ago.
     You tell yourself that as long as it doesn't move, you'll be fine.  
     IT MOVES!!!
     Holy shit!  FULL ON PANIC MODE!!!  Why is this happening to me??!!?!??! Is THIS really how I'm meant to die?!?!?!? A brown recluse (because you've identified it as such as this point) to the face on I95?!?!?!  I'M NOT READY!!!  
     You're pretty much operating the vehicle from the passenger seat at this point.  You've given up on appearances.  Screw that guy to the right.  Unless he can reach over and smash the spider for you, he's useless to you.
     CAN'T YOU HELP ME?!?!?!??! YOUR CAT MAY BE SMARTER THAN AN HONOR STUDENT, BUT YOU ARE USELESS!!!!!
     When screaming at the guy on the right proves ineffective, you realize that all sanity has left the situation.
     You gather your self as you see that your exit is just up ahead. Deep breaths that taste of stale bagel and rotten cream cheese are surprisingly calming to you.  You manage to maneuver the vehicle while still keeping a vigilant eye on the spider, who seems to be mocking you at this point.
     Somehow, you manage to pull safely into the parking lot of your office, trying to maintain your composure.  The last thing you need is to be written up for your erratic behavior as your boss sees you driving from the passenger seat, muttering obscenities and threats at the window.
     You stop the vehicle and then it happens.  The thing you had been dreading.
     The spider moves.
     You stop breathing as it struts from the window down to the door panel and over to the dashboard.  It settles on the steering wheel, staring at you with a smug expression of victory on it's evil little face.
     That's when you reach down, grab your shoe and SMASH THAT EXPRESSION OFF OF IT'S DESPICABLE LITTLE FACE!
     As you keep smashing, shouting about how you will be coming for the spawn next, you realize you are just a crazy lady who keeps angrily honking the horn with her shoe.  You see your boss exit the building as you casually put your shoe back on and smile.
     Wave to the nice man who signs your pay checks.  That's right.  Everything is normal.  Nothing to see here.  Beautiful weather we're having.  Ugh to Mondays too.  They are the worst, right?
     You exit the vehicle, take a deep breath and begin your day.  No one has to know of the battle you just waged and won, but they'll all sense it in you.
     You have defeated evil.  They'll know. They may not know what they know, but they'll know. You won't be taking any shit today.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Extreme Makeover: Unstable Edition

     It's never a good thing when you see a wet spot on the ceiling.  It's even worse when you see a wet spot on the ceiling after having just spent money you didn't have on a new roof you didn't know you needed.  It's way worse when you hardly know the guy and he still makes you sleep...oh, wait.

     Let's just refer to them as water spots to avoid any further confusion as to the direction of this tale.

     Once you see said water spot, you can't not see it.  In fact, you can't see anything else.  You even start to find other water spots, bumps, cracks, the remnants of that spider you smashed with a shoe months ago and were too afraid to wipe away which looks suspiciously like a water spot.

     Then, you start to regret becoming a homeowner, wondering why you didn't just stay in the apartment with the stinky neighbor lady who smelled like cheeto feet.

     After crying in the corner for awhile with a bottle of bourbon, you decide to put on your big girl panties and beg your husband to call the contractor to confront him about his shoddy work.

     Turns out?  The roof is not leaking.  However, nothing in your house was built properly or to code. Your chimney is not secured to the house, leaving one entire outer wall exposed to the elements.  Said wall is now slowly rotting away.  You HAVE to fix it and replace your siding or the entire house will crumble around you.

     Remember how you wanted to put in central air this year?  HA!  Not happening.  Suck it up and deal with the boob sweat, princess.

     So, that's where we are.  The Money Pit Transformation 2014 has begun.  It's Day 3 and we are over budget.  We also discovered that we are lucky to be alive because apparently the wiring in the house was not done properly.  Shocking.

     Heehee!  Shocking!  Get it?

     I'm choosing to focus on the sunny side of this transformation.  I'm picking paint colors and fabrics and Pinteresty things to redecorate the interior.  If the contractor comes to me and says 'we have a problem', I'm going to show him my swatches and walk away with a big grin on my face.

     Since I am a mental health professional, I realize that is not the appropriate response.  In order to avoid an unnecessary straight jacket, I have come up with a plan.  I am going to need it because tomorrow is the day the siding gets ripped off of my house.

     I will mentally prepare myself for whatever problems they may find when this happens by envisioning that they will find what is pictured below...a spider infestation of epic proportions. It's a great idea because ANYTHING would be better than that. ANYTHING!



   

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Story of a Dress.

     When I first got engaged, I spent months scouring bridal magazines for the perfect dress.  I had absolutely no idea what a sweetheart neckline was or how taffeta was different from satin.  I was doomed.  

     In my quest for the dress, I discovered what I thought was 'the one' online.  It was an ivory strapless gown with minimal foof and a small silk flower at the waist. I envisioned myself walking down the aisle in this dress.  Kissing my husband in this dress.  Dancing with my Father in this dress.  Twirling in this dress.  It was perfect.    

     The first time I went to the bridal store, I chose this dress along with others to try on.  I wanted to twirl in this dress.  I knew it was perfect.  When I tried it on, my dress dreams were shattered.  The dress the sales lady pulled was not the right size.  It was too small.  It didn't zip.  It didn't fit.  I couldn't get a feel for the dress.  My dress. The sales lady was too shy to get the dress in a bigger size so I could see how it might actually fit.  I was too embarrassed to fight for the dress.  My dress.  

      My self esteem crushed, I gave up.  I wanted to feel beautiful and she made me feel hideous.  Ugly.  Fat. To end the misery, I chose a lesser dress.  It was...meh.  But, it was closer to my actual size and it didn't look too bad.  I was too traumatized and humiliated to keep looking lest I be reminded of my hideousness. My ugliness.  My fatness.  

     The dress hung in my closet until the day of my first fitting.  Occasionally, I would unzip the garment bag and peek at it, trying to come to terms with the fact that this was my wedding gown.  This was what I would be wearing on the day I vowed to spend forever with the man I loved.  

     Occasionally, I would wear the dress and twirl in front of the mirror.  Trying to envision myself walking down the aisle in this dress.  Kissing my husband in this dress.  Dancing with my Father in this dress.  Trying to make it feel perfect.  

       My family at the time consisted of myself, my future husband and our elderly Siberian Husky, Skye.  She had been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection on a Friday, two days before I was to have my first fitting in the dress.  When Sunday came around, Skye was sick.  We attributed it to the infection.  Thought it was something that would pass.  I rescheduled my fitting to tend to her.  Monday would be the day I would tend to the dress.    

     Sunday night was awful.  Skye was up all night, pacing the house and experiencing what seemed to be neurological issues.  I was heartbroken, exhausted and afraid.  Monday morning, the vet told us this may be the end for our girl.  We spent the day trying to keep her comfortable and hoping it was all still attributed to the infection.  Hoping she would come around.  Hoping we wouldn't have to face the end just yet.  Wouldn't have to say goodbye.   

     Monday afternoon,  I had a dress fitting to attend.  Things seemed to be stable with Skye at that moment, so I decided to keep the appointment.  As I left the house, she stopped pacing long enough to look at me as I told her I'd be right back and I loved her.  I have never forgotten that last look.  

     I spent the next hour or so on the pedestal in the back of the bridal store as the Russian seamstress pinned me and spinned me and tried to make small talk.  Looking in the mirror, I tried very hard to focus on the dress and how it was going to look on the big day.  How beautiful it was going to be.  How beautiful I was going to be. 

     Unfortunately, all I could think about was how I hadn't slept and how I may have to make the most difficult decision of my life thus far. All the pinning and spinning in the world couldn't change what I was about to face.  

     As she neared the end of the fitting, I could hear my cell phone ringing in my purse.  I knew it was either my Mother calling to check on Skye or it was my future husband calling to tell me to come home.  Telling me that it was time.  When it continued to ring again and again, I knew it was my husband.  I knew.  It was time.  

     I fought back tears and tried to explain to the Russian seamstress that I had to leave.  I tried to explain that it was time.  She didn't understand so I hurriedly got out of the dress, shoving the pins back in her hands.  I dressed quickly and left, driving home to face what I desperately didn't want to face. What I dreaded to even think about.  To say goodbye. 

     By the time I got home, the dress was long forgotten.  The tears flowed as we loaded our sweet Skye girl into the car and carried her to her peaceful end.  We kissed her and held her as she left us, knowing she would never leave our hearts.  

     That was the day I was fitted to the dress.  My dress.  Each time I put it on after that day, it never felt quite right.  It didn't fit right.  It seemed heavy.  Cumbersome.  On the big day, it needed lots of work. There was last minute pinning and adjusting.  Throughout the day, there was fidgeting.  Pulling.  Fixing.  

     The day was perfect.  The dress was...meh.  

     Two and a half years later, Skye's ashes remain on the bookshelf with her collar.   Two new dogs have joined our family.  My husband and I are happy and in love.  The dress hangs in the closet.  Occasionally, I unzip the garment bag and think about the day I was fitted to the dress.  The day I became a wife in the dress.  My dress.  What I should do with the dress.

     I still don't know.  It just hangs there.  Heavy.  Cumbersome.  Meh.  

       

     
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