Disneyland

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I wanna go to Disneyland. There I said it.

Tired, happy, poor, sometimes pitiful, me

One of the worst things about being poor and disabled is that it is very difficult, if not impossible to do things on your own to improve your situation. I am largely dependent on both, learning to do without and the generosity of others, to make things better.

It is specifically the combo of being poor and disabled that throws me into moments of bad attitude, fear and self pity. If I were wealthy, I would have access to things like targeted exercise classes that would give me strength and flexibility or treatments that would make the disability less disabling. I would be able to get out to social distractions, art, music, etc, more frequently despite my limitations. If I were only poor, I’d still be deprived of a lot of things, but I could do more things to improve my financial situation.  I could go on hikes, ride bicycles, exercise more, do things that don’t cost money that my body has great difficulty with now.

I am so lucky and grateful that I do have an abundance of friends that try to include me, help me financially and treat me to things. There are days when I wonder if it would be easier somehow if I were friendless and could be used to having absolutely nothing. It’s easier to be blind than aware in so many aspects of life. There are days when I wish I had never had a taste of what it was like to be able to get out and do things that cost money, to buy things, to be productive and useful. That sounds bleak, horrible and perhaps a bit nihilistic, but can you miss something you don’t know? I’m glad I have my friends and I’m glad to have experienced some of what life has to offer so I’ll take this option with lots of gratitude.

I have also realized that I am still having trouble psychologically wrapping my head around my dramatic change in circumstance. I’m still thinking of myself as a person who should be able to afford to collect things, make art, go places and can help other people out when they are struggling. However, I am no longer in that position of privilege and chances are, without an equally dramatic change in circumstance, something like a lottery win, inheritance, sudden success or having a partner willing and able to support me, I am permanently going to be the one with my hand out, but still doing whatever I can to be of value.

An aside, for those who are not familiar with my background, In 2011 after a series of unfortunate (but not on the Snicket level of interest) events, I lost my home of 11 years, was homeless for a year, had a lifetime of belongings and very personal items in storage taken from me, went on permanent disability and have been struggling just to get a stable foothold since.

A recent night out to see my friend Victoria Victrola perform.  It meant no groceries this week, just toast, coffee, frozen veggies with rice, but it was worth it,

I miss things a lot. I don’t go to concerts or plays or friend’s performances very often, only when I get free or discounted tickets. If I do pay for things like food or drinks or tickets it comes directly out of my grocery budget which is laughably small. I eat once a day and go hungry frequently. I’m planning to go to karaoke with friends tonight. If I get a drink, which I’d like to, I’ll have to really think about it. Hopefully, someone or two nice people will treat me. I’m already having anxiety about whether or not people may want to go for a bite after.

There are things most people take for granted, like grooming. I scan craigslist for free haircuts and color and am lucky if I get one a year. I haven’t had a cheap manicure or pedicure in a couple of years. Though people do find me attractive, it’s hard to feel pretty when your hair is three different shades (not by choice) and your cuticles are ragged.

Recently, some racist twit who couldn’t come up with an insult of substance, went after me for my “fake hair and clown makeup” thinking that would hurt my feelings. Also, clearly she has no idea of the skill clowns have when it comes to makeup application. I have nothing on clowns. RESPECT! The wigs I wear for fun, are mostly old or hand me downs and recently a friend gave me a bunch of makeup to play with and I have been having so much fun with it! I did not take it as an insult. I did take her as a fool.

 

Me and my, “fake hair and clown makeup” *giggle*

These are things that make me happy. Things that make me feel human in a good way. Because of neuropathy I can’t groom my own hands and feet. Because of hormone and nutritional changes, I can’t grow my nails out anymore.  When I was homeless, I splurged a staggering $20 a month to get nails done by a woman who needed the money. Some people criticized me both for spending the money and not looking homeless enough, but no matter how harsh things were, I’d look at my hands and feel better about myself. And I also knew I was helping someone else.

My $20 manicure

Sometimes I fantasize about underwear, plain cotton underwear. I actually do have a box of sexy undies in great condition because I’ve gone without a regular beau for so long. I can safely say, I haven’t bought regular underwear in at least five years. Most of my daily briefs have extra holes in them. So classy. Also, I am busty. Larger size bras that fit are hard to find and are rarely affordable.

A few months ago, my mighty breasts finally broke my last bra. I put out a plea and a friend came to the rescue. I managed to find two bras for less than $80 at Ross and Nordstrom. Neither of them fit exactly, in fact because they are a touch too small, they are both a little painful, but they are so much better than going without. I recently did some searching on eBay and Amazon to see what they would cost in my actual size and nope, way out of my price range, around $80 each. I’ll break one or both of these soon because they don’t quite fit and because I don’t have more bras to alternate them with.

I can remember when I used to be able invest in a good bra-drobe. I could wear a different bra nearly every day of the week and I had some nice dressy bras too. I caught myself daydreaming about foundations the other day; comfy panties that only had holes for my legs and waist danced like sugarplums in my head. I imagined what it would be like to have bras for all occasions: two to three daily bras, a couple of nice dressy bras, a comfy wireless bra, a sports bra and one or two of those Tata Towels that are all the rage! Hmm that’s like the bra lottery right there. I could spend up to $1,000 on my boobs with that list, but that could last me 8-10 years so, it’s not impractical, just unattainable.

Again, that’s just a daydream. For now, my boobs make do and I am super happy to have 2 bras that sort of fit.

Travel is also something that is completely out of the question for me. If a friend or relative became ill or died, I’d have to raise emergency funds to go. I have long dreamed about travelling to Scotland and have a list of other places I want to see including archeological sites and places that house art pieces I have studied. It’s tragic to have an Art History degree and yet, to have never been to the Guggenheim or The Louvre. It’s weird to have an Anthro degree and have never seen Stonehenge, The Pyramids or The Acropolis!

I can’t even scrape up enough to take a break and drive a few hours away, up the coast for a refreshing weekend, let alone drive or fly to Seattle, Los Angeles, or farther to visit friends. I’ve never been to New York or New Orleans. I think my family might have gone to The Grand Canyon when I was too young to remember. Foreign travel is certainly a pipe dream.

Which brings me to what sparked this diatribe in the first place; Disneyland. I often see friends of mine planning adventures. They will hit the road to see shows, go to museum exhibits in Los Angeles, etc. They make it clear they would love it if I would join. I will find myself shuffling numbers around to see if there is any way I can do it, but it never works. I was sure I could make it on one of several excursions various friends took to see the Guillermo Del Toro exhibit at LACMA. I had to make do with an ebook and lots of pictures from friends. The latest of these fabulous ideas came from a friend mentioning Southwest’s $29 sale on tickets to L.A. and suggesting a bunch of us go to Disneyland. This would be so much fun, mostly because of the people going. Even if I skipped Disneyland, there are people in L.A. I would love to see!

Lord, knows I need and deserve a vacation. I haven’t had anything resembling a vacation in nearly a decade. Dreaming about getting away and frollicking with friends is one thing. Reality sets in pretty quickly. The sale ends tomorrow. Even if I could budget the $60+ for round trip, right now, I should not be spending any money. I am having to cover both full rent and storage costs now, which was unexpected. I need $60 to cover my cat’s prescription food by next week! Come November, the heat will be back on again to save money to move in December or January.

Say, the tickets were no problem. Say, regardless of funds, I resolved to do no splurges or souvenir shopping. It’s one day only so there’s no lodging fee. There is still the cost of Disneyland entry ($100) and food. Even at the thriftiest, I’m sure this would be a $250-$300 trip. I don’t have credit cards. I don’t have a partner who is going to say, “here is the money, sweetie.” Coming up with $300 to play, for me is like $3,000 to average working people. Even if someone were to gift me the money, I’d immediately come up with a list of more practical things I should be spending $300 on!

My friends will go. Hopefully, they will take lots of pictures so I can live vicariously. But it’s still a reminder that I can’t find a way on my own to live the kind of life I want to and hope I deserve. It’s bittersweet. I have this dichotomy of feeling deprived and extremely blessed all the time. I admit it, I want more blessings. I’d like to make my own blessings. I’d like to be a blessing to others more often.

I don’t want to be this poor. I don’t want to worry about housing. I want to go to museums and shows. I want to buy underwear when I need it and look pretty. I want to feel full and be able to buy the foods I need for health. I wish I could ride a bike. I wish I could change so many things.

I want to go to Disneyland with my friends.

And stuff like that; frivolous, extravagant (for me) spending.

I know that I am not alone. It’s expensive and disheartening to be poor and trapped in the poverty cycle. I know there are those struggling even harder than I am in this country with all it’s bounty. That breaks my heart.

I still want to go to Disneyland.

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My Shoes!

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I’m finishing and loading up a bunch of things today, because I had that marvelous combination of time, internet access and my neuropathy being veddy, veddy quiet. Enjoy!

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“You can’t understand someone until youve walked a mile in their shoes.”

What a ridiculous idea! I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes for two steps and I won’t let you walk a mile in mine. I wouldn’t even let you walk around the block in them.

This is my path. My pain. My difficult road. And sometimes, it’s my easy street. You couldn’t stand to wear my shoes for a minute. Stop looking at them.

This isn’t some kind of challenge. And walking in my shoes won’t make you more empathetic or less judgemental. You’ll just end up pissed off with sore toes and a twisted ankle.

Oh, it’s possible the whole experience would give you some fleeting respect, a little awe for how I’ve managed to traverse such uneven ground in mismatched shoes for all these years. You might marvel at how most of the scars from my falls ended up on my insides instead of on my knees. But your appreciation won’t last because after you’ve taken your pity tour, you’ll be tottering along in your own shoes again, feeling quite superior. While you’re strolling easily or scrambling over debris in YOUR path, you’ll forget all about walking a mile or a minute of mine, although from time to time it may cross your mind that you’re glad you don’t have to.

I’ll let you in on a little secret because I know you won’t remember it next time we meet. I don’t always walk in my shoes either. Sometimes I kick them off and run completely off track for a while plunging my bare feet in sand or wiggling my toes in the grass. Sometimes I stop and lie flat on my back and thrust my feet into the cool night air and laugh at the sensation of lightness.

Sometimes I think subversive thoughts about not putting them back on again or just buying a new pair. But, no, they’re my shoes. Sometimes; a comfortable old friend, sometimes a particularly cruel bully that shadows me home, taking my refuge. Some days they hurt me to my bones, other days they soothes my soles.

I’ll walk in them until they become ghosts. When they fall off in tatters, I’ll walk barefoot until the sun sets.

LM – 2014 / 2016 /2017

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Another Mothers Day Blog

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20170329_173218I don’t have the spoons to write a big Mother’s Day blog this year.

Mother’s Day is one of the rough ones for me. Honestly, ALL of the, “in your face commercialized holidays” are rough when you have painful family issues. It’s probably just as well, I’m still recovering and slept through the whole day. I missed most of the cheery, teary sugar and schmaltz and that’s just fine with me.

 
Some people I know and care about lost moms recently. Some have mothers who had health scares or were in the hospital this year. I want to send extra love to those who are missing their mothers and to those for whom Mother’s Day has extra meaning because they weren’t sure there mother’s would be here this year.
 

As always, I want to acknowledge those for whom Mother’s Day hurts because their relationship with their mother is/was difficult, terrible or absent. I want to acknowledge those mother’s who pulled out all the stops to love and protect their child but lost them anyway through death, drugs, mental illness or just emotional distance. I want to shout out to all the heroic parents who have had to be both Mom and Dad to their kids. And I want to give a big hug to all those Moms whose kids happen to be furry, feathered or scaled. You aren’t less than because you chose to nurture a pet rather than pop out a hooman. You have your reasons. It’s cool. Maternal love doesn’t discriminate.
 
Stand in Mom’s who were that positive support or maternal figure in the lives of many kids (and adults) who were missing what they needed; to you I give enormous respect. YOU are the lifesavers! Jennifer and Jolene‘s mama, JoAnn was this to me. I could not have survived my childhood without her. She fed me, let me tag along on family adventures, she tolerated my weirdness, she let me spend hours and hours away from home. I’m quite sure we drove her crazy sometimes. I practically lived at the Norton house for much of my childhood and it was a sanctuary. As an adult, I’ve been lucky enough to have several friends who also rocked the mom vibe with me because they just ooze compassion and maternal instinct. Cheryl, Jean, Linda and Libby come to mind. *blows big kisses* If you have had a good mother and also, stand in mamas in your life, you are doubly blessed!
 
To the almost parents, I know how difficult this day can be, whether you have gone on to have kids or not. I was an almost parent and oddly, this year, I’m going through a numbness, instead of that twinge of grief. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a little time but maybe it’s because it would have been nearly impossible to raise a kid in my current situation. Losing a child you are pregnant with or one you wanted to adopt are very complicated situations to process. So is losing a child for any reason at any age. There’s no right way or wrong way to do it.
 
To those who desperately want to be parents but haven’t been able to do it for whatever reason, I wish you comfort. I also wish that those of you who are so set on popping a kid out of your own womb with your own genetic material would stop spending so much money and shedding so many tears and just adopt. But if you won’t, I pray that you are really good parents when you finally get your wish.
 
And most of all, I wish that Mothers would not be treasured just because they are Mothers, but that they would all earn these accolades. I don’t want you to be perfect. I want you to live up to what a mother should be as best you can; a person who loves, nurtures, supports, protects and guides their child. A good mother, in my opinion, does not have children and make their existence all about her or try to force them into her idea of the kids she wanted. She realizes that sometimes you can do all those things and still feel like you failed.She realizes that you don’t always get what you expect, you work with what you have and love them anyway. And sometimes that love means letting go in many different ways. 
 
Motherhood is complicated. Our feelings about it are complicated. You can’t serve it breakfast in bed, slap a card on it, give it flowers and platitudes and think you’ve done it justice. It’s also not sacred. Many people are victims of Motherhood, whether it’s the child whose mother had unrealistic expectations, or had a mother who struggled with mental illness, addiction, poverty or simply as dealt more than she could handle or the child whose mother was a monster.
So, lavish the praise on your mother if she’s earned it, but don’t heap guilt on those who had a different experience. And please be gentle with those who are having trouble with this day, whatever their reason.
 
I am so very happy for the friends out there who have benefited from the love of a mother who made them feel supported and cherished! I am so grateful for all those mother figures in my life and to look around and see mothers who are doing right by their kids right now. I stand in awe of all the friends I see being amazing parents every day despite their challenges. I have many of them, which means, many kids who are growing up with a better outlook than I had. I hope all of you enjoy this special day. Even more so, I hope all of you feel appreciated and loved all year round. It’s the days that don’t have a spotlight on them that mean the most.
 
Oh hey, I wrote a blog after all. Oops.

 

Some Thoughts About Motivation

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I am, as Carrie Fisher used to say about herself, an over-sharer. I have been jokingly referred to as, the Queen of T.M.I. I share liberally and personally. I process out loud, frequently about my health issues, how I wrestle with depression, anxiety and PTSD, abuse I have taken the brunt of, family, life experiences.

Sometimes people balk or take offense at this. They tell me it’s too personal, that I should keep it to myself, that what I share is inappropriate for Facebook or a blog. This used to be something that occurred more frequently. But now, I think the people who were offended have gotten used to it, given up or it’s just finally sunk in, why it is appropriate.

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I do it for me.

I learned a long time ago that returning the shame to the person it actually belongs to, means no more secrets and no more silence. I don’t have to name names, but speaking about my experience out loud makes it real, makes it less painful and it means I am no longer a conspirator. I separate myself from the person who put me through the trauma and become the person surviving it. Why should I be ashamed for what was done to me (or for the resulting life issues) or worry about embarrassing the perpetrator? I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed and embarrassed about. That shame belongs to them!

And when I do this for myself, I am also doing it for others; as support for those who have been through or felt similar things and also to bring awareness and help those who haven’t been through these traumas to understand.

Much of this is also the motivation for my project, The Empress Dammit, which is a definitely a rough work in progress, and deals with how I started to finally build healthy self-esteem, post age Forty.

A lot of strangers run across things I have written and respond favorably. Lately, I’ve been trying to get more of my personal friends, especially those that have said they appreciate my writing, to follow my writing blog. I think it will motivate me both to write more and to actually post it.

Tonight, I was going through past posts and saw something I posted that underscores all of the reasons for why I do this. There have been people in my life that I will never meet that have saved my life with their art, with their openness and with their shared experiences and feelings that mirror my own. Two people I can think of, immediately are Amanda Palmer and Carrie Fisher. If I can move someone, make them laugh, make them aware that they are not alone, that even if they are damaged that their voice, experience and their very SELF is VALID, then it was all worth it.  

So, here is the post, from a couple of years ago; I can’t recall what post the comment was in response to. :

YES THIS! This is why I air out all this “private,” painful, embarrassing stuff. This is why I blog and this is why it’s worth it. When I get comments like this from readers who are absolute strangers that touch me to tears of my own:

” I am very literally crying as I type. I very desperately needed to read this and see my experience put in someone else’s words (so much validation for so many things). I honestly felt my skin crawl reading your experience. In all seriousnesss, it matched my own so closely that I felt irrationally paranoid…still am a little…Regardless, thank you. Thank you so damn much. May I please share this? “

I hate so many things about the life I have had. It hurt and still hurts so much.
At the same time it is a huge blessing, it is a valuable tool to help others and I am so filled with gratitude.

I guess we are all seeking motivation from without and from within. I write, largely, because I have to get it out. If I don’t, it hurts. That goes for the personal content as much as the poetry, stories and other creative bits. But, that internal motivation is not enough for me. Motivation is usually a good thing. It isn’t always pleasant and it’s not guaranteed to make things easier, but it is a tool that can help you do things that give your life purpose and make it both meaningful and satisfying. At least that’s true for me. When I get a response or a message, even a “like” on a post on Facebook, it lets me know I’m not alone out there. My words have reached someone. And I know for every person that lets me know they read something, there is probably at least one person who read and didn’t leave any clues behind. Dare I hope more than one?

Thanks to those who like, follow, message and comment. Thanks for motivating me to make more content.

Cheers!

 

A Lifetime of Collected Boo Boos.

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I’ve been really sick for a while, too sick to write or do much of anything. I’m finally starting to rebound so I figured, this might be an appropriate topic.


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Here is a list of some of the injuries and illnesses I have had over the course of my life. Some of them are funny, some are violent or gross. Believe it or not, even though some of these things sound terrible, they have elicited big laughs when shared socially. And the bottom line is, I am tough. I SURVIVED all this so none of it depresses me. The consensus seems to be that many of my past pitfalls are interesting.

The list came about in the spirit of several things going about on social media; FIFTEEN are true, THREE I made up. Can you guess which ones?


1) I had pink eye, exactly once as a child. I was so squeamish about having the ointment squirted in my eyes that when threats of violence failed, my folks paid me a quarter to hold still every time they gave me a dose.

2) Most of my injuries are embarrassing. My clumsiness is LEGENDARY! Once, I was walking into my bedroom and was startled by the doorbell. I turned my head real fast and broke my nose.

3) It takes a lot to get me to go to the doctor or stop what I’m doing when I get hurt. I had a heart attack a couple years back, but didn’t know that’s what it was, so I just kept going and found out some time later what had happened. (I am fine, my heart is really good now) 🙂

4) I’ve had whiplash several times, from three separate car accidents over a period of 10 years or so. Each car accident I was stopped at a red light or a stop sign when I was hit and I was driving a white car. Since I quit driving white cars I can’t say I’ve had no accidents but I haven’t been in a rear end collision.

5) The worst car accident I was ever in was when a drunk driver hit me while I was with friends driving between Fresno and my home town in dense winter tule fog. The friend that was behind the wheel of the car I was in was driving too fast, but the other guy hit us so hard that I went flying through the windshield. If a cop hadn’t been on the same road about the same time. I might have died. I was told I was lucky I wasn’t decapitated.

6) I have had a lot of cuts during the course of my life. The only time I ever bothered to get stitches was after opening a can of Whiskas cat food, the kind with the pull tab. It stuck and when I forced it my hand slipped and it completely sliced through the web of my hand all the way up to the meat of it. I finished feeding the cats, went to emergency where I waited for hours in a room with a guy who had been jumped on the street and beaten. He was moaning and crying. Later, the ER doctor whose stitching was so good, I barely have a scar, bought a pair of glasses from me (this was in my optician days)  and invited me along on a road trip. He was moving to Alaska. I will always regret that I didn’t just go!


7) For a few years, while living in Fresno, I was plagued by ear infections. I had a chronic staph infection in my ear that was resistant to medicine and my doctors were afraid I would lose my hearing and that it might get to my brain and kill me. I did have some hearing loss from it, but obviously, I survived. Once, a doctor tried to clean my ear during another painful infection. I involuntarily slapped him because it hurt so bad. I was once dating this guy who lived half the year in Yosemite and did things like show up when I was home sick in Fresno and say, “We’re on our way to San Francisco. You have 10 minutes to decide if you want to go.” So, I decided and went to San Francisco with a horrible ear infection. I slept on the floor with strangers in a house in the Haight, saw my first girl with furry unshaved legs and had my first Irish Coffee at Tommy’s Joynt. It was miserable and awesome. I haven’t had an ear infection since moving to the bay area.

8) Boyfriends have broken more than my heart over the years. Besides the clumsy boyfriend who broke my toe, merely by stepping on it, I once had a boyfriend who dislocated my jaw in anger because he was upset that he couldn’t punch the person who had raped me. Yeah, makes so much sense, right? I got chlamydia from a boyfriend who cheated on me with a catalog model. And when I had my wisdom teeth removed a well meaning boyfriend put chicken fettuccine in a blender so I could drink it. It didn’t cause me injury, but it hurt all the same. Soooo wrong.  I got a concussion after an ex slammed my head against my own front door multiple times. The attack also left marks where you could make out the shape of his fingers around my throat. He tried to convince a judge that I did this to myself. Many of his friends chose, and probably still believe his story that I am a psycho, who made this up and duped a judge into to giving me a restraining order so he couldn’t go to concerts for fear of going to jail. On a lighter note, my hair once caught on fire while I was making whoopie. We put my hair out, moved the candle and resumed what we was doing. It was worth it. Before that, I had no idea how bad burnt hair smells or how long it takes to get the smell to go away! (Unbeknownst to me, at the same time, my house caught fire and miraculously, the fire went out on its own.)

9) My sister got mad because I got tired of her “borrowing” my clothes and put a lock on my door. It’s the only time I have ever been in a physical fight. She jumped on top of me, punched me and chipped my tooth. I grabbed her in the crotch and called my big brother to rescue me. After all this time, it’s actually sort of a funny memory. In her defense she was doing a lot of coke and crank at the time.

10) Speaking of my sister; one time I was walking her family dog, a big doofy Golden retriever, named, Jeffrey. Jeffrey saw another dog and dragged me across the park. The leash constricted around my fingers and mangled my pinkie. Even though it resembled a little cocktail shrimp, my sister was convinced the finger was merely dislocated and yanked it hard. When I started screaming in pain she took me to the hospital where much to her embarrassment we found out it was broken in three places. After healing and physical therapy, I still could not make a fist or put any pressure on it to say, play piano or guitar chords. Recently, after nearly 30 years, a dog I was walking pulled really hard and my pinkie snapped. I can make a fist now and exert a bit of pressure with it.

11) Finger injuries aside, I am the queen of foot injuries, which should be appropriate since I am a Pisces, right? It’s no surprise that when my neuropathy symptoms appeared, they started in my feet.  I have broken nearly every toe. One time, as I mentioned previously,  a boyfriend simply stepped on my foot the wrong way and broke a toe. Several times because I just walked into some piece of furniture and rather than just stub a toe, it would break. The most spectacular toe break, was when I broke a big toe coming down a client’s stairs in the dark. I thought I was stepping off the bottom step, but actually had three more to go. I came straight down on the tip of my toe with all my weight. My ankle twisted so badly that I couldn’t move for a good ten minutes. I thought I had broken it too, but it was just my big toe that was pulverized. One time I actually did have an ankle fracture and I had a gig. I took my splint off, ace bandaged the hell out of it, took extra codeine and shoved it into my high heeled boots. I made it through the gig, running around stage being metal, more from adrenaline than from the drugs. Afterward, I collapsed. My foot was so swollen we thought we were going to have to cut my boot off. But hell no! I loved those boots so I elevated my foot for something like six or seven hours with ice packs wrapped around it until I was finally able to ease that boot off. I did my next two gigs barefoot and was more sedate.


12) One time I was doing a show and the guitar player went down on his knees, skidding across the stage and knocked me clean off of it. I pretended it was part of the act and kept going even though it turned out later I’d twisted my ankle and bruised myself up pretty badly. People talked about how cool that stunt was for a long time. If only they knew.


13) Every time I have broken a bone, I have known it was broken immediately, but my family has always had a tendency to not believe me. Maybe because I tend to break bones with what seems like low impact situations versus more dramatic scenarios where it seems like I should have broken something, I walk away relatively unscathed. When I was in the fourth grade, I broke my arm in a really weird way. I got into trouble for running late for school and my dad was chasing me to give me a beating. We had swivel chairs in our dining room that had a base with four prongs that stuck out. I caught my foot on one as I dashed around the table in fear of my red faced, bellowing father and hit the floor. Since according to him, nothing was wrong with me, I had to go to school. But the school nurse thought I was hurt so he took me to the local hospital where they decided I’d only sprained it and put my arm in a sling. Not long after I had an appointment with my pediatrician in Fresno. Can you move your arm without pain? NO! Can you lift your arm? NO. He took my arm and lifted it up. It just fell to my side. I had no muscle control. He asked, Has her arm been XRayed? NOPE. He orders XRays. SURPRISE! It’s a really nasty fracture! Oh the parental guilt!

13) I have a tendency to not be picky about food temperatures and I don’t like very cold or steaming hot food and drink. But I have learned my lesson about things being thoroughly cooked or heated thanks to food poisoning. I have had food poisoning severe enough to go to the hospital twice and I remember exactly where I ate each time. When I was a teenager, my mom took me to Marie Callender’s in Fresno, one of our favorite places. I had quiche and it was not very warm when it arrived but I didn’t complain. In the middle of the night I woke up in such extreme stomach pain I couldn’t stand and I couldn’t call for help. I had a phone in my room and I actually had to call my parents on it and whisper my distress. It was salmonella. At the hospital, they kept trying to treat the nausea even though I kept telling them I wasn’t nauseated, I was just in pain because my stomach would not stop cramping. That was horrible. Also horrible was the time I ate at Wendy’s and got e coli poisoning. It’s possible, I got the bacteria from somewhere else, but Wendy’s was the last thing I ate before I got sick and I have not eaten at Wendy’s since.  I was housesitting at the time and I was so sick, I couldn’t walk the dog, I had to just leave the back door open to give her yard access. It was so bad I spent the better part of three days in their bathroom. The floors were terra cotta and I just lay on them. They were so wonderfully cool. When I was able to get up and clean myself up, I went to the hospital. I wouldn’t let them admit me because I was still taking care of the dog so I had to go in daily for several IV fluid treatments because of the dehydration. Luckily, I got well enough that I was able to clean up all my mess from being sick before they came home.

14) Other clumsy injuries I have had include slipping on stairs outside an apartment, landing on my tailbone and bruising it badly on two separate occasions and falling backwards off a ladder and fracturing my sacrum. Once I reached into the trash to pull out shards of glass from a broken photo frame because I realized I probably should have put them in a paper bag first so that they wouldn’t puncture the trash bag and hurt someone. However, in doing this I ended up with a triangle of glass the size of a slice of pie puncturing my hand. The point went in far enough that it just stuck up out of my hand, firmly embedded. I heard it go in before I felt it and the sound effect was pretty much like sound effect on TV and movies when someone gets stabbed. Gross.

15) Despite working with animals, I’ve actually come out fairly unscathed. I’ve only had two dog bites. Once when I was holding an antisocial chihuahua and someone came up to pet her. She bit my lip and severed a nerve. It took several years before I got feeling back. The other was when a client didn’t have a firm hold on their vicious dog and she surprised us all by getting loose and hitting me like a 70# rocket. She tore my shirt and bit through my jeans twice, but because they had spandex in them, they didn’t tear so I had no idea how bad the injuries were or that she had even broken the skin and I told my clients I was fine and stayed for the rest of the visit, about an hour. When I got home, I discovered bloody bites and big bruises on my thigh and groin. No, I didn’t sue. Yes, they replaced my tee shirt.

16) I’ve also had cat bites so severe that my fingers and fingernails were punctured. Once, a couple brought their fractious cat, who several vets had refused to see after bad experiences, into the vet I worked at without telling us their cat was vicious. The cat was really sick and docile when I took him out of the carrier but when I tried to weigh him, he went berserk. He bit me, then had a seizure and died. I went to the emergency room where they tried to irrigate the wounds and flat out told me, you need serious antibiotics! This is going to get infected. This is really bad! I told them, yeah? Well, you should see what happened to the other guy. He’s dead. My boss wanted to avoid a worker’s comp claim and she didn’t want to pay for the antibiotics so I took the dog version and to get the correct dose I had to take a lot of extra pills. Another time I brought a cat who had had a leg amputated home to convalesce. I had her set up beside my bed. Her pain meds wore off and she started thrashing around in the middle of the night. I reached for the lamp, but she’d knocked it over. She caught my hand and arm as I groped in the dark and latched on, kicking and biting hard. I got the light on, went to the bathroom cleaned up all the blood and bandaged myself as well as I could. When I came back to my bedroom, she blinked at me earnestly as if to say, I don’t know what tried to attack me in the dark, but boy am I glad to see you! More antibiotics for me. She healed up nicely and went to a wonderful home.

17) I joke that my cat tried to viciously murder my face once, but oh maybe 15 years ago, I was lucky enough to pet a tiger at the zoo who was in the on site hospital going under anesthesia to get his teeth cleaned. He flailed while he was “asleep” and I am the proud wearer of a scar from being sleep mauled by a tiger!


18) The most glorious and ridiculous way my sister managed to get me injured was, once when we were out camping and tramping around in nature, we hiked down to a small beach. I had a backpack which had held our picnic lunch, and afterwards, she convinced me to let her pack it full of shells, driftwood and rocks. We lost track of time and the tide had started coming in which was cutting off the path we had taken down to the beach so basically we had to scramble up a cliff. I got about 20 feet up when I could feel myself peeling away from the rock because of the weight on my back. I lost my grip and fell backwards all the way down to the beach below. Thankfully, I did not hit my head, but I did land on my back on top of the backpack full of lumpy, pokey, hard objects. I had the wind knocked out of me, but no limbs were broken and the tide was coming in so I had no choice but to attempt the climb again, yes with the backpack strapped to the front of me, still full of rocks. It was hard to tell my sister, no. Six bruised ribs, no broken bones. Amazing.

I am a walking boo boo factory so I have more stories, but I think these are the most flamboyant. Can you guess the ones I made up? You won’t win a prize but I’d love to see your guesses.

Be well.

Coming Attractions!

Aside

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I disappeared for a good long time. It wasn’t that I was not writing anything, I was. I just wasn’t posting for a variety of reasons. When I have been writing it’s not as much as I’d like. Some of that is because of life stuff, but mostly it is because I have neuropathy in my hands. I really need something like Dragon software so I can dictate my writing. That one seems to be the most popular with writers but I just can’t afford it right now.

Well, I’m just going to grit my teeth and keep trying, just don’t expect a novel anytime soon.

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Trickle

Standard
desert
I am weary of being scared. Fear is simultaneously very real and just plain pointless. Fear is a bully!
 
Freedom is at once with me and illusive. I would like to be free but freedom without the means to choose my situation is just another kind of trap. I keep thinking there has to be a way; a way out, a way ahead, a way through or even a way to accept, Yes, I keep thinking there has to be a way, but I have not found it yet,
 
I keep thinking if I was younger, prettier, more energetic and able; if I was less ethical I might be able to use those things to my advantage. However, I am not any of those things.
 
I have tools. I lay out the tools I have on the table in front of me but my fingers merely fumble with most of them.
 
I look back over my shoulder into that dark and treacherous place and I refuse to go back. I look forward into the shifting fog. I look up at the blinding sun. I look down at my feet and I can for fleeting moments I can feel my roots. I am strong and grounded. Then the earth cracks, breaks and rumbles to remind me that it is difficult to keep my balance. I look inward at my wounds, some healing, some tenaciously festering and I see where I have been. It is a place and time where angels covered their ears and would not tread.
 
I find myself marvelling at all the brutality I survived with astonishing resilience. How did I manage to keep opening up my heart? How did I determine to keep trying to trust, to forgive, to love? Yet, now my heart finally closes, hardens, becomes wary, cynical over much smaller offenses! The clock is winding down and I have more happiness yet more frustration than ever before.
 
All I ever wanted was to be loved and cared for. All I ever wanted was to give love, to share, to help others by word, deed and through my art and music. I wanted to let all this creativity and care flow to the ocean in a torrent but all I can do is let it trickle through a straw in the hopes that someone who is thirsty will find it and drink.
 
-LM September, 2015