Ignorance is Bliss: I Want Some Bliss

As I (former) librarian, I have a variety of reliable sources for news that are not the typical mainstream sources.  I want to be informed about the world I occupy, both locally and globally, and believe the (US) media has either too much spin and/or isn’t truly informative.  There is a lot of tragedy in the world and a lot of crazy right here at home.  What makes it on the mainstream news is either over sensationalized for shock value or under-reported (or not reported at all) to shape views.

I have no doubts that I am not as informed and aware of things as I should (or want) but I try to see beyond my little speck of the world.  I subscribe to various newsletters which bombard my inbox with the horrors I missed while sleeping and read, watch or listen throughout the day.

Unfortunately, I need to stop.

After seeing the photo of the dead toddler washed up on the beach in Turkey, I cried for hours.  That was the last straw, so to speak, for my heart and soul.  I haven’t even attached the photo yet so readers can understand which I am referring and I cried again looking it up.  Here it is:

I see a rising tide of hate in my country.  A division that is becoming stronger punctuated by the over proliferation of guns (and subsequent deaths).  I started fearing going to the movies despite the chance of a mass shooting being quite low.  I still don’t want to go, especially to a new blockbuster opening.  I’ll wait until it is on Netflix, thanks. I live within five miles of the Sandy Hook tragedy, where 27 people were killed, most of which were elementary children and see the conspiracy idiots who believe it was all a “hoax” almost daily. They wander around the town snapping photos of the churches where funerals occurred or the school entrance surreptitiously since the police chase them away.

In general, my state tends to be true blue Yankees, hard-headed, stoic,but even-keeled people.  We generally run fiscally conservative but socially liberal.  Yet even in my usually calm state anger and rage is everywhere.  Bumper stickers supporting candidates are cause for road rage or fist-fights in parking lots.  Neighbors shouting with neighbors if they have differing signs supporting their candidates.

Then there is Donald Trump and his hate fueled rhetoric constantly at the top of the polls and headlines.  It frightens me that he is even considered a “serious” candidate.  Many believe he will flame out during general elections if he gets the nomination but to me the larger point isn’t that he won’t get elected it’s how popular he is, period.  His hate and rage has many, many supporters and the media feeding, and fueling, his fire is complicit.  To me, the larger picture is that our country is in turmoil and he is the representative of the hate-filled undercurrent that constantly rages beneath our surface.

We are a violent nation.  We do not want to give up our guns in any way, shape or form.  Even the deaths of school children can not bring reason to the populace that prefers to cling to their guns.  We will not accept any reasonable restrictions on use or ownership.  We also tend to resort to physical outbursts quickly, such as during road rage incidents or arguments with neighbors or hell, even a simple little hitchhiking robot is destroyed because we are Americans!

So, between the demise of my country, the environmental crises (as I write this, another article about 60,000 antelope die en mass hit my inbox), the refugee crisis effecting Europe, financial disparity, racial divides, gun proliferation, wars, fires, etc., my heart is aching beyond repair.  I feel helpless, unable to make any true impact on all the woes that face this planet, and it is killing me a little each day.

My depression has lifted, my health improving, my weight loss continues and my small life is happy.  I am grateful for what I have therefore, I am putting a moratorium on the tragedies befalling the world for a little while.  Honestly, not because I desire becoming an ignorant fool but because I feel overwhelmed to the point that I’m unable to do anything to make positive changes.  I am becoming hypersensitive to tension and conflict to the point that even walking into a store, I sense which employees dislike each other.  I am happy with my life, unexciting and unglamorous as it is, and feel too deeply for all the suffering, that I need to block it out for a short while.  I do not know how long but if I am ever going to effect change, I need to decompress for a little while.

Spending hours crying over the latest tragedy helps no one.

Destination

Forgotten before I knew I wanted remembrance
dropped along Hollywood Boulevard among stars fallen in cement
before I ever shined; dreams lost in hazy insecurities and inadvisable redemption
begging for quarters dropped between lines of delirium; an elixir never sweet enough
drowning hopes in the bathtub gins of liturgical incisions leaving scars
while masturbating for comfort; blown away by dust devils and rain

The patterns imprint on the ceiling; mosaics imprisoned by impassioned pleas
waiting for sleep to weave belief in something beyond insanity; expecting love in all the wrong places
found only within the desiccated husks of sublime smoke and whispered lies
a weary traveler seeking peace in the ocean, lakes, rivers and waters now polluted with consumption
I remain calloused and sore, forgotten before I knew I wanted remembrance
picking the bones of guidance and peace, nothing more than an ancient traveler waiting for my destination to arrive

Quiet desperation becomes the monster under the bed telling the truth we wish to ignore
all the substances, illegal and prescribed, over the counter or otherwise
are nothing more than a destination to the endless drone
of a life lived forgotten before even knowing it wanted remembrance

Isabel Underground

Isabel stood, her hand outstretched about to clasp the item before her, when the market sounds blanketed her. Swelling like a chorus reaching crescendo, swirling around her, bouncing a staccato stereo cacophony left to right between her ears.

Her vision became soft focus, her hand still outstretched, shaking, while something like a silkscreen fell before her vision, overlaying the world she stood in with other visions, another world playing out like a stage set, pulling her in and twisting her thoughts and senses until she couldn’t define which was her world, which was real, which was false, which was on the silkscreen and which was surrounding her.

She turned her head slightly, setting her gaze on a gray-haired woman next to her, lifting deep purple plums delicately from the pile. The old woman squeezed each plum, raised it to her nose for a short sniff, then either placed it in her basket or back on the pile. For a moment they made eye-contact, first the old woman smiled politely, tipping her head in acknowledgment, then moved on to the melons in the next stall.

Isabel pulled her hand back, slowly, watching as it shook from the confusion filling her mind and senses. She put her basket down and headed in the direction the old lady walked. She lost sight of the gray-haired lady among the crowd. Her heart began beating strong enough to fill her ears like a drum keeping beat beneath the markets song. She kept moving, unsteady, unsure of where to turn, but with a sense that moving was the only thing stopping her from collapsing into herself.

Her mind raced — There’s the shit, always falling into something that isn’t real, isn’t me, but that’s it, that crazy darkness that swirls around and fills me with fear, makes me shake, makes me mumble incoherently in a language that isn’t my own, or I don’t want to be mine. What I want to be mine is not stiff, not formal, but crazy ass shit like me, making no sense but filling someone’s heart and soul with mystery of my madness, my sadness, my darkness, my laughter igniting a fucking bonfire of love that burns deeply, profoundly, in both of us, lighting skies beyond just this world but into all the layers of the universe. Like the beautiful, delicate looking colored gases that birth stars in deep space, only seen by mechanical eyes using filters to heighten each color undetectable to the naked eye. Because this world, the world at this moment, is shit, but the one that falls like silkscreen movies and make no sense but fill each of my senses and tap into the deep emotional creature inside me, the one that is darkness and pain, the one that feels joy in heights I’ve never reached, is the world that I want to touch, and create, and live and breathe and die in. Die in. That is the key, die in, not this world, this crappy world where I pace from wall to wall, in circles, like a wolf trapped in a cage too small for its very being needs to survive in someplace that is larger than explanations or descriptions.

Isabel’s mind slowly grasped onto one particular beat, a heartbeat, what she thought was her own heart pounding in her ears she now realized was outside herself. Her vision sharpened slightly from the soft, hazy focus she had moments before in her confused wanderings. She tried distinguishing if the heartbeat was real, detached from her, or if her subconscious tempting her to stop moving. As she looked around trying to determine which reality she was in, which reality the heartbeat belonged, whether she could find it or if it was nothing more than the unreality she felt someone else looking at her. She slowly turned, her eyes darting from face to face, finally landing on the dark eyes that stared back at her. He didn’t drop his gaze when she looked at him. As he slowly walked towards her, Isabel wrapped her arms around herself, feeling herself shake, yet her feet remained still.

He held up his arm showing her the small teal velvet bag in his hand. Recognition dawned and her right hand searched her left wrist discovering it was indeed her bag he held. Isabel left it in the basket along with the other items when she lost her focus and began following the gray-haired lady.  Her fingers clasped the bag and brushed his fingers as he released.  She stared silently at him; his dark eyes watching her.  Isabel realized she stood in the world that fell like a silk screen before her and she swayed slightly with anxiety.  Her reality and this silk screened world were swirling together, mixing and confusing her mind, as both overlay the other blurring which was true and which was false.

He touched her elbow sensing she might fall over, “Do you need to sit down?”

Isabel felt a sudden vacuum as all sound dispersed when he spoke.  The strange feeling, the sudden void of sound, caused her to stumble where she stood as though the market cacophony was the only thing that held her upright.  Her vision blurred and she feared the ground rushing up towards her but felt hands holding her upright.  Over this strangers shoulder she saw the gray-haired woman gasp.  Isabel felt herself being helped to a bench covered in shade by a nearby tree; blue mosaic swirled at her feet.

Isabel stared at the mosaic spiral at her feet — fuck, I’m falling, into the blue, the indigo, the magenta and royal purple.  It spirals, swirls, envelops me and it feels like a swaying flaming eye, watching me, boring into me, stealing my thoughts and memories.  Please, let me fall, disappear, never to emerge into any reality.  Blow me away like a mote in a dust storm.  I am lost.  I embrace insanity.  I am insane and it is beautiful. It smells delicious, like warm bread fresh from the oven, and the colors are riotous in their chaos here.  I hear a voice, his voice, the one with the dark eyes, but what, what is he saying?  I want to dive into this spiral ocean beneath me, swim in the colors and disperse the heat like his voice dispersed the crescendo around me.  This silence, this warmth, these colors are glorious and I never want to leave.  I will dive into this madness like Alice falling into the rabbit hole; I will swallow all the pills if it keeps this alive.

Isabel felt the teal velvet crush in her grip and she breathed deep focusing on the tiles at her feet.  She heard a distant voice, Isabel, wake up, Isabel and resisted.  No, she thought, I do not want to wake up.  Leave me be.  She broke her stare at the blue beneath her feet and looked into the dark eyes that led her to the shade.  She continued to hear a voice calling to her but refused to listen, refused to break her gaze with the dark eyes watching her silently.  She touched his face, felt stubble along his jaw line, and sighed deeply at his solidness.  Was he real and the other fake?

He placed his hand over hers on his face, “What’s your name darling?”

“Isabel.”

She blinked and the market sounds blanketed her. Swelling like a chorus reaching crescendo, swirling around her, bouncing a staccato stereo cacophony left to right between her ears.

POETRY BONUS: SPLIT

I am at war with reality
with humanity
with my own sanity
and my only escape is fantasy

Written under the influence listening to Puscifer. Unedited, sorry.

Epiphanic Dreaming

Once your mind changes, it seems so easy.  Actually getting to the point of changing your mind, well, that’s a much harder journey.  I’m not talking simple mind change like what color pants to buy but more profound changes like breaking free from ruminating, destructive thoughts or changing habits or dropping reactions that no longer serve.

This will make sense eventually but, apologies in advance, this will probably be a long, rambling read as I unravel it all in my mind as well.

PASSING COMMENT

My oldest brother and his wife are renting a house for a couple of weeks; a summer retreat near the lake now that they retired.  Talking to my other brother, he asked if I was going to visit for a few days.  I said probably not as the thought of spending time with my sister-in-law is not appealing.  Which, of course, led to further conversation regarding our relationship.

My oldest brother and his wife are twenty years older than me.  He met my sister-in-law when I was only a year old, they married when I was seven.  Throughout the years I never felt I could talk to her, turn to her when I was struggling with typical teenage issues nor any of the bigger issues like my depression, suicide attempt, being stalked by the schizophrenic neighbor, molestation or rape.  In fact, I felt judged and criticized yet never understood what was actually so wrong with me or my behavior.

I also want to add — my sister-in-law is a social worker.  You would think, in the very least, she trained to deal with difficult children or those struggling with various issues.  Or at least see the signs instead of assuming I was just a “bad seed”.

As a result, I’ve always reacted defensively.  To be fair, I’m defensive around all of my family.  I’ve never felt nurtured, or loved, or understood, or listened to, or supported in any way.  In fact, to this day, the rape isn’t known by anyone in my family.  It was a date rape when I was 19 years old.  I have always been afraid to tell my family because I know the response would be how could you be so stupid to let him into your apartment!  I never reported it to the police either because I didn’t want my family finding out.

The molestation (by three different men) — when I tried to tell my mother, she said I was lying.  That it was “false memories” planted by my therapist.  I mentioned it one other time, to my other brother, who brushed it aside since he had bigger news to tell me.  That left me with therapy and my mind to figure out all this crazy crap that happened to me all before I hit twenty.

So, back to the conversation about going to the lake house.  My brother told me he spoke with our niece and she figured I wouldn’t come since I don’t get along with her mom.  My brother said to my niece it is a two-way street, her mother didn’t like me either.  To which I responded, yeah, and I never understood why she always disliked me since I was just a child.  My brother said she didn’t hate me but hated the way I behaved.

Which, again, I’ve always wondered why.  I did not act out in the sense that I spoke back or did drugs or any such wild behavior.  I was a quiet kid, spent most of my time alone, and the worst I did was mope.  Hell yeah I moped, I had lots of reasons to mope!  Oh, and I ate.  Food was my drug.  It was my comfort and solace since I didn’t get any from my family.  Of course, I did curse like a sailor.  Still do.  I say fuck a lot.  Shit too.  It hurt her delicate ears.

Ironically, my oldest niece makes me look like a nun with her foul mouth!  I’m so proud, ha!

EPIPHANIC DREAMS

Now, this conversation about the lake house was brief, a blip in the hour-long talk with my brother.  However, it stuck in my mind and the ruminations began.  Every time I’d think about my sister-in-law hates me I’d try to stop myself from spiraling down into all the anger, resentment and hurt over the years.  It is not easy, as those who suffered trauma in any way understand, to just stop the past from rushing up and clouding the present moment.

I felt defensive.  It isn’t just me.  Yes, I was moody, but there were so many reasons.  No one ever talked about any of it!  No one let me talk, no one reached out to me, no one helped me.  They always judged and criticized.  Blah blah blah, on and on my mind began to race.  Then I get angry with myself for being incapable of letting it all go.  I’m 46 years old now.  I’m not that child anymore yet the spiraling voice in my head is that of a whingeing child or teenager as are my continued emotional reactions.

Of course, being defensive is also a way of self-blaming.  In all that explaining my behavior, my reactions, giving reasons for my hurt and anger, is the underlying issue that I blamed myself.  I blamed myself for us not getting along, I blamed myself for being ignored, I blamed myself for feeling like an outsider in my family.  I blamed myself for what happened to me.  I blamed myself forgetting that I was only a child.

Needless to say, sleeping becomes a distant memory once ruminations begin.  Unfortunately, I had an early meeting the next morning so I took a couple of sleep aids to force myself to sleep.  As I was falling asleep and the thoughts would spiral, I kept telling myself, let it go, you were a child. 

Which led to a dream where there was adult me and child me in a small room.  It wasn’t a room I recall ever being in before.  Rather nondescript, plain walls, wooden floor with a circular red rag rug.  There was no furniture and only one window with sheer, short white curtains.  Child me sat on the floor in the middle of the red rug, crying, holding herself and asking why everyone hated her.  Adult me tersely responded, they don’t hate you, just stop, let it go already.

Then, I saw my sister-in-law the way my mother described seeing her for the first time.  A young woman, early twenties barefoot with flowers in her hair in a white flowing dress.  A typical hippy flower child.  Of course, she was barefoot in the airport!  My brother and her were picking my parents up (no doubt I was with them since I was still a baby myself, but, my memory isn’t that good).

In the dream, that young hippy girl was carefree and full of dreams.  She wanted to save the world, to change it for the better, and wasn’t interested in corporate life or suburbia.  She was vegetarian and rejected all the typical trappings and expectations for her future life.  My child self asked her, why do you hate me? You hated the same conventional trappings as me?

My dream sister-in-law responded, I hate you because you never followed the rules.  You never caved into the demands of what your family expected of you.  I hate you because you didn’t wind up in suburbia, married, with children, retiring from a job you hated all to make your mother happy.  I hate you because you never shut up, you are raw all the time, you throw in my face that I failed.  You always rebelled, even silently.

The child me cried harder.  Adult me asked, why are you crying?

Child me asked, why do you hate me?

Adult me responded, she told you why she hates you.

Child me asked again, why do you hate me?

A CHANGING MIND

I woke up before responding and for a few days now my mind is changing.  The child in that dream was right, I did hate myself.  It was no longer about what the family does, or did, to me nor my response to them.  It was about always hurting myself again in various ways.  Living, constantly, defending myself, even if it is just in my mind, is a way of remaining stuck in that hurt.

Reading another blogger, The Wild Pomegranate, this morning, she writes of her own epiphany recently.  One line in particular struck me:

My recovery came from being in a “wellness” focused environment – not a “sickness” focused one.

Despite years of therapy I have remained stuck because of this focus on the “sick” me, the damaged me, the damaged family.  I focused so much energy trying to get my family to see, to understand, all that happened to me.  It filtered my entire world; my reactions to everything always come from this defensive state of reaction to my family even when they had nothing to do with that moment.  I battered that child as much as they ever battered her when she existed.

I punished myself over and over for not being what they wanted, for not being good enough, and never truly acknowledged that I was an abused child.

As such, I did pretty damn good despite it all.  My dream hippy-sister-in-law was right, I did not cave in to convention and remained truer to myself.  I never married because it didn’t interest me.  I never wanted a house in suburbia.  The corporate life kills my soul so I don’t work there.  I never wanted children — to all the naysayers over the years who said wait until your clock starts ticking, told you so!  I am now forty-six, in menopause, and not once has my damn biological clock started ticking!  If anything, the only clock that started ticking is the one counting down until my period, and subsequent “baby making years”, finally ends.

Despite my depression and struggles, I managed to avoid falling into an abusive relationship.

GOING FORWARD

Since this epiphany, I’ve felt lighter.  There is still ache from the past but it is slowly becoming a distant echo and not the constant thrum beat in my head.  I realize I need to stop reacting and begin to act, with purpose, to create meaning of my life.

As for my sister-in-law, I don’t feel angry towards her anymore. I feel sorrow for her.  No, she didn’t live a bad life and raised two beautiful, wonderful daughters who will do great things in this world.  However, she also ignored her dreams and followed the path her mother wanted.  I understand that.  She longed for approval from her mother the same as me.  We all long for things from family; it’s why they can so easily push our buttons.  Which says, in the end, she is family.  I rebelled, quietly, yet I, too, avoided grasping my dreams completely attempting to gain my mother’s approval.  No doubt, in all the years pointing a finger at me, she had three of her own pointing back at her.  No doubt she has demons of her own roiling around her thoughts.

To sum up, I will share a poem by another poet I enjoy a lot.  Steve Shultz often encapsulates what I’m feeling beautifully, as he does in this poem titled Meaning into Routine:

I want
to do better
than just get by, survive;
put some meaning into routine —
not dreams

Flash Writing Challenge: Why I Write

Chuck Wendig has a flash fiction writing challenge — well, prompt more than challenge — on why you write.  First, not really a challenge like running across hot coals, but a prompt in my opinion.  Second, not flash fiction since this is an essay based in truth.  However, has to be within 1,000 word limit.  SO, suppose it is more like a flash essay prompt.

Whatever, lets not waste precious words on frippery quibbling about the challenge.  He wrote:

I’m asking for a 1000 word essay (meaning, blog post).  And I want it on this subject: WHY I WRITE.

Writing saved my life.  Simplistic (clichéd), but there you have it.

I started as a young child, elementary school, as a way to assuage my loneliness.  I distinctly remember sitting in the school library while the librarian read to our class.  I don’t remember the story but I clearly see the short, blonde wood shelves stuffed with various books and seeing a tissue box wrapped in green construction paper labeled poem entries written in black marker.  I was bored by the story, I read it before (I was an advanced reader, having learned reading and writing before entering school), so I focused on other things to entertain me.  I asked the teacher what it meant and she explained that the school paper ran a weekly contest where students could submit poems.  The winning poem appeared in the school’s paper.

I remember stuffing that little box with multiple sheets of folded paper.  It never occurred to me to write my name on any of them.  I just wanted to send my words out for someone else to see.  It also never occurred to me that it was all older students, thankfully, or I may have been too intimidated to stuff that green paper box.  When my poem appeared in the paper no one believed I wrote it.

I’ve never been as brave, or naïve, since.

I started writing poems in elementary school, then branched out to stories, but story telling started long before I learned to write.  Among my friends, I was the script writer for all our play sessions, whether it was a simple game of playing house or more complex plays involving puppets and stuffed animals.  When my best friend moved away, shortly before I entered school, writing  became my solace.  My family life was dysfunctional, with a capital D (as they say), and I spent many hours by myself.  Writing became a way to escape.

When I hit puberty I gained a new friend — depression.  As a teen I remained mostly a loner with writing my outlet for the depression/loneliness that plagued my life.  I attempted suicide at fifteen and as I lay down, waiting for the pills to take their effect, a story formed in my mind.  While writing the story, I decided the timing for my suicide was wrong since I needed to finish the piece.  So, I went downstairs and told my mother.  She took me to the hospital, they pumped my stomach, and I spent a few days in the psychiatric ward.  When the time came for evaluation, to decide if I was ready for release, they asked what prompted me to reach out for help instead of letting the pills kill me.  I told them I hadn’t finished writing my story.

I still don’t know if they understood I meant the one I was writing at that moment, not my life story, but they released me.

Once I graduated high school and started working, writing took a back seat.  Since depression still shadowed my life, I wrote short pieces, mostly poems, as a release like I’d always done.  Imagine the old water heaters, where you had to bleed them once in a while, release the steam, to keep them functioning properly.  That has always been writing for me — a way to release the steam to function (somewhat) properly in a world that I’ve always been out of step with.

I finally went to college in my mid-thirties and continued on to graduate school.  My undergraduate degree is English Literature, my Masters in Library Science, and the best part was all the writing.  While other students complained about all the papers they had to write I reveled in each paper.  Every day, a new paper to write, and I was happier than any other time in my life.

My father died my first semester of graduate school, my mother died two years ago, and writing helped me grieve.  It also helped me discover who I truly am.  I’ve always struggled with self-esteem, self-confidence, never sure who I was and what I wanted to be when I grow up.  Now, as I’ve begun to write regularly again, I’ve decided it is time to pursue what I’ve known, deep down, but was afraid to admit.  I am a writer.  I’ve always been a writer and it is why I’m alive.

Currently, I am applying to grad schools again.  This time, for a degree in creative writing.  Will it help, no idea, but without writing I would have died in 1984.  Apropos, perhaps, since it is a great book that foresaw the future but not a good year to have died.

Writing is my drug, it is my escape, it is what keeps me alive and sane.  Depression kills pieces of you, slowly, insidiously whispering lies.  For me, poems release the darkness that depression enshrouds and stories ignite the lies.  I may never be published, I may never financially survive as a writer, but without writing, I am a goner.  Without stories and poems, I am completely adrift and lost.  I will always write for it is my lifeline.

Rebel and Revel

Two particular words, as of late, have followed me around.  Revel and rebel.  At first I didn’t notice but today, listening to Renegades by X Ambassadors, I noticed the words again.  I feel like the theme of my life lately, rebel and revel.

CONVERSATIONS

Here is a recent conversation I had with someone studying to become a therapist, of all things.  You’ll understand after you read:

Future therapist: God, my latest cases make me nuts, I think I need counseling.

Me: Oh, why? Too many cases or people not wanting help?

FT: No, just pain in the asses, all of them.  I have one transgender whining how he, or she, fuck, I can’t remember, doesn’t get any understanding from family.  I try to listen passively, not judge, but damn, I can’t help but judge, I mean, what. the. fuck.  He comes flouncing into my office ten minutes late complaining that the cab was late, complains that no one will hire him because he isn’t a he or a she and then started bitching something about bathrooms in Florida.  I don’t understand what the hell he’s talking about half the time.

Me: Is it man transitioning into a woman?

FT: Yeah.

Me: Then you should refer to her as she, at least respect her enough to refer to her as she identifies herself.  As for bathrooms, I think she might be referring to Florida where they wanted to pass some crazy law that said transgendered people couldn’t use bathrooms of their sex.  In other words, your client, as a transgender female, would have to use the male bathroom since, in the eyes of Florida, that is her sex since that is how she was born.

FT: Yeah, see, that is what I mean though, who the fuck cares, we aren’t in Florida! Then, another client, complains about how fat she is and the medication she takes isn’t helping so why should the surgery be any different.  I mean, shit, just stop shoving french fries down your throat and exercise, maybe then you wouldn’t need surgery.

Me: What medications?

FT: Thyroid and antidepressants, I think anti-anxiety, too.  But no wonder she’s depressed and anxious, she’s fatter than a house!  Get out and maybe you won’t cry in my office all the time.

At this point I admit, I kinda lost my shit a little, I was so annoyed my response was nasty.

Me: You need to check your privilege.  First, you’ve gone to the best schools paid for by your parents and you went into a profession to help people yet you have no damn empathy whatsoever.  Your job is a paid internship, granted, but it was a choice you had that most people do not get.  Most people are lucky when they have a service job, let alone get to choose what they want to do.  Second, the transgender woman, you disrespect her by not caring enough to think that it is an insult to continuously forget if it is he or she so to you, Florida is something not to care about, but for her, it is her life, where she has to worry about what freaking bathroom she decides to use because someone might decide she is not a “real” woman.  If so, if that law passed in Florida, it is a misdemeanor, something that would be on her record, just because she peed in a stall instead of a urinal.

As for your fat client, yeah, nice, saying this to someone who has struggled with weight, depression and anxiety my entire life, that you are so callous to not even understand that sometimes it isn’t about french fries and exercise.  Even when there are no underlying metabolic/hormonal/medical issues for weight, there are often still mental issues where food becomes comfort.  Depression, yeah, sure, just get over it, is that what you’re going to tell your clients?  Because honey, if that is the case, you have clearly picked the wrong profession!  I have had family, friends and therapists like you, who look only at the surface, who think it is just something to get over or suck it up or whatever idiotic idea that rolls around people’s brains.  You, who have never suffered with depression or anxiety, who has had parents that never told you you were stupid but instead supported even the dumbest ideas imaginable because they loved you.  You never worked through school, you partied through your first semester until you were on academic probation then became a serious student but even if you got kicked out, no big deal, you would have gone directly to another school.  You were given a car, grew up in a nice neighborhood with a great school and had teachers that helped you.  When you had some difficulties with math, oh, gee, there were tutors for you.  You joined a sorority and never had social anxiety issues so to judge someone else who struggles, wow, why did you decide to become a therapist?  You seem to think people need a kick in the ass rather than help.  It really amazes me that people are still so clueless about depression, anxiety and all these other issues but you, of all people, should in the very least have some textbook understanding that people do not want to be so stuck, to fear being around people, to feel like they are crazy all the time.  These are not choices and for those of us who suffer, we truly want a way out and in the very least someone to understand.

At this point someone else stepped in, calmer than me, and took over the conversation.  Honestly, I was shaking with rage at the callous disregard for people suffering and this from a soon-to-be therapist!  I truly feel sorry for her future clients.  Shortly afterwards, as I made tea trying to calm myself, someone commented that I was such a rebel for not holding my tongue.  They actually said, “I can’t believe how rebelliously you lashed her with your tongue!”

What I can’t believe is that it is rebellious to speak up against such attitudes.

LUNCH REVELATIONS

Speaking of weight loss, since January I have lost (so far) 70 pounds.  I still have a lot to lose so, while I realize I’ve done a great job so far, I tend to lose sight of the progress as I focus on the end goal.  So, during lunch with a friend I have not seen for almost a year, when she saw me, she was surprised and thrilled.  Honestly, she walked past the table not recognizing me the first time.

She told me I need to revel in my progress and the changes I’ve made within myself.  When I mentioned the above conversation, she laughed and said, “yeah, you have always been a rebel, revel in that.”  She said it isn’t so much me speaking up against it but how passionately I do it.  I guess I don’t see it and while I know she meant well, as did the previous person who made the comment about my rebellious tongue, I can’t help but feel as though I need to learn to shut up.  I never did learn when to hold my tongue, much to my mother’s annoyance.

SPEEDING TICKETS

On my way to the gym the other morning, I kept the windows wide open instead of turning on the air conditioning.  It was warm, around 90, but not humid so it was nice having the wind blowing in and not the usual bubble.  Of course, I also listen to music, loud, so I can sing along and not hear myself because, well, I sound like a bag of dying cats scratching their claws against a chalkboard.  But I like to sing!

I also have a tendency to… uh… drive a little over the speed limit.  In this particular case, I was doing about 50 mph in a 35 mph zone.

It’s the car I tell you!  It is, the speedometer tells me I’m doing just fine and the gas pedal hits the floor all by itself.  Yep, that’s my story, nothing to do with my foot pressing down and not paying attention to either the digits on the dashboard or the road signs clearly stating what I should be driving.  Nope, the car, it’s all the car doing it.

Anyway, yeah, I’m a speeder.  Always have been.  No excuses, terrible habit, I know and trust me, my insurance bills scream at me every month.  In a former life I was a race car driver… hell, probably just the race car!  I’m not reckless in the sense that I don’t speed around people, I don’t bypass school buses and cause people to leap to safety as I whiz past.  Nor do I have accidents (oh please, karma, do not punish me for this statement now).  The two accidents I’ve had in my life were not my fault.  One, I was stopped at a red light when I was rear-ended.  The other I hit black ice; driving below the limit as the conditions were bad.

However, that is a neither here nor there with this particular story.  I digress… guilt probably.  As I was heading to the gym, windows open, singing at the top of my lungs to music that was loud enough that I could not hear, it didn’t occur to me that others could actually hear me.  Lucky for me though, the cop found my performance hysterical.  He walked up, laughing, and said that he was ready to give me a ticket but because I was clearly enjoying my bad singing and made several people laugh along the way, he decided to let me off with a warning.  Plus, he said, the lyrics I was singing seemed appropriate and made him laugh harder:

You’re the judge, Oh no
Set me free
You’re the judge, Oh no
Set me free
I know my soul’s freezing
Hell’s hot for good reason
So please, take me

The song is The Judge by Twenty One Pilots.  I would like to note the part where he sings “set me free” is quite high, much higher than my range, but damn if I did not try to hit those notes!  No wonder he was laughing.  Other lyrics for this song: I don’t know if this song is a surrender or a revel.

REBEL AND REVEL

Which brings me back around to the two words, rebel and revel, and how they’ve been the theme words of my life the last couple weeks.  Perhaps it is because I’ve been happy and, in finding my happiness, my rebellious side is re-emerging.  I don’t care as much about what others think about me and, slowly, I’m letting go of the fear that has strangled me most of my life.  I still struggle but it is getting easier, finally, which means on my death-bed I’ll finally have achieved my utopia haha!

Now, for your enjoyment, here is the song that got me out of a speeding ticket The Judge by Twenty One Pilots.  Note: this is audio only so, for visuals, imagine a fat, middle-aged woman with an extremely short haircut in workout gear with windows wide open on a hot summer day, singing and car dancing trying to hit the high notes and failing — badly.

Finally, the song that brought the theme words clearly into focus for me, the one I am currently listening to, Renegades by X Ambassadors.  I’m surprised this band isn’t more popular.