Mother Nature is a Horrible B* Sometimes

I can feel the moodiness, the irritability, and the darkness flow through me. It’s close to that time of the month and while I can tell it’s coming, I am helpless in the wake of it’s power. Today I have cramps as if I’m having my period but there’s no bleeding. That has to be the worst part. To be in so much pain but have no visible sign for it is awful. I spent most of the morning on my side in bed, wrapped under two blankets because my body temperature wouldn’t regulate properly. I really hate Mother Nature for one thing: my period.

My tubes are tied. Actually, to quote my ob/gyn, they’re snipped, tied and burned. Nothing is getting through that. Ever. And so far, seven years and she’s been absolutely right. And I’m grateful for that. Knowing I will not accidentally birth any more children is a daily blessing. I haven’t regretted that decision once.

But what is cruel and unusual is having to still suffer through a monthly period with all the pain and anguish. I can’t have children yet I still bleed like I could. It sucks.

To make matters ten times worse, I’m allergic to chocolate. I tell you, that bitch has a horrible sense of humor. Chocolate, that aphrodisiac of the Gods, the dark cure to all of my ills once a month, and I can’t have it. Oh the universe is a cruel, horrible place for five days out of every month.

Usually that dark cloud that’s hanging over my head right now is visible to all around me – I’m bitchy and snappy and pessimistic and really unpleasant to be around. Each month is a little different ultimately but the results are still the same. My head spins around on my shoulders for a few days and then, works its way back to normal again. Oh how I crave being “normal” again or at least my version of it.

Sadly, for the last few days I’ve had some really horrible, depressing thoughts about my relationship. Things like, “God, it would be so much easier if I were alone.” It feels like all I do is work lately. And I don’t know that either of those things are true.

I miss being able to do whatever I like. I miss not having to navigate the tricky waters of a relationship. I miss not having to be responsible for anyone else. It just seems like it would be so much simpler without anyone else around. It’s probably just temporary but the last few days there has been quite an urge to tell everyone around me to go to hell and send me a postcard letting me know how the weather is. Which is definitely not my normal state of being. Here’s to hoping it reverts to normal again soon before I hurt anyone.

Life Story Part 5: The Children

It’s ironic to me that for a woman who had her tubes tied so she couldn’t have any more children, I sure do seem to keep inheriting kids. Is that the universe’s idea of a sick joke? To make me a mother to abandoned and motherless children?

My first child and my only biological child is currently seven. I struggle to be what I consider the right kind of mother: loving, kind yet disciplined. I try to be present, to take advantage of teaching moments but still be stern when the situation requires it. I try to guide her in life and to be a role model.

I don’t always succeed but she seems to be growing up okay for the most part. She’s not spoiled, she has her strengths and weaknesses but I’ve done okay with making sure she’s well-mannered, creative, with a mind of her own, but kind to others.

My second child is a stepchild and from my ex-husband’s first marriage. She’s thirteen and I’ve been part of her life since she was nine. When Brian and I separated, he lied to his own daughter, saying I was leaving him for another man, which was completely untrue. I was leaving him because he had turned into an utter dickhead who didn’t care at all about the relationship, being a loving husband to me or a proper father to our two children. She will always have a piece of my heart and while she is not speaking with me, nor does she want anything to do with me thanks to her father’s poor decision to make her choose sides, I love her anyway. I miss her daily and it’s a pain that will never go away. Losing a child that way creates an ache that will never be healed. But I made a promise that I would always be there for her and while I can’t be there in the way I’d like, I’m at least there in spirit.

The next child to come into my life is my eight year old son, who is biologically Jon’s from another marriage. He’s a sweet boy with shockingly bright copper red hair. He also has Aspergers and ADHD. The challenges with him are numerous and getting him to follow the rules has been problematic. Lately it’s been all I could do to make sure he got put on the right meds and is getting extra help in school.

Then there’s my other daughter, who just recently turned eighteen and graduated from high school. She is Jon’s oldest daughter from his first marriage and so much like him that we instantly clicked with each other. She came to visit for a week and we immediately offered for her to move in with us. She’ll be here in about a week and I’m so excited to be able to spend more time with her. Hopefully she’ll start college in the fall or spring.

With the exception of my biological child, all of these children have mothers who neglect and/or verbally abuse them. Every one of them gravitated to me for love and affection, understanding and for lessons in life.

So when I say this is the universe’s idea of a cruel joke, I’m not at all kidding. I didn’t want more children but the universe saw fit to make sure I had more, whether I wanted them or not. And despite the challenges, occasional pain, and frustration, being a mother to all these children has made me a better person and enriched my life in ways I never imagined.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rocky_Mars_Surface.jpeg

Journey to Earth

Daily Prompt: Longing for Gravity

You are on a mission to Mars. Because of the length of of the journey, you will never be able to return to Earth. What about our blue planet will you miss the most?

(Thank you for the wonderful prompt suggestion, K. Renae P.!)

This is the beginning of a short story. It’s intended to be a speculative fiction piece, probably in the 7-10K range. I would love your feedback if you care to give it. This is just a draft based off of the above prompt from The Daily Post.

Journey to Earth

Day One: January 5, 2075

I can hear the jets increase, feel the landing gear extend, and grit my teeth. Landings are always the worst when I fly. My seat jerks and wobbles as we settle on the surface with a thud. I look out the window. My first thought is “What the hell was I thinking leaving Earth for this place?”

Six months ago, the head of NASA sat down in my cozy living room, full of bookshelves of books (many of which were written by me), knick-knacks and pictures of my children, and suggested I take the “trip of a lifetime”. I guess I should have read the fine print a little closer. They were looking for writers and journalists to document a trip to Mars. Since I am an award winning novelist and Pulitzer prize winning journalist, my name was somewhere at the top of the list. For all I know it was at the top of the list. I didn’t think to ask.

I knew flattery and my ego would be my downfall one day. It looks like that day has come.

The deal NASA offered was this. My family would be taken care of for as long as they lived, by the government, in exchange for my services. What I didn’t realize was the reason for the journey in the first place. That I found out about from the scientists on the mission. They did a good job of keeping us isolated from one another by using Secret Service handlers.

Resources on earth have reached a critical point. We have too much demand and not enough supply of all the essentials – food, water, minerals, oil. While the general population isn’t aware yet, it is only a matter of time before even the dimwitted begin to figure it out and start to panic.

In addition, super germs are decimating the population. The CDC is fighting multiple germs but they are mutating faster than scientists can come up with cures or even temporary remedies. One genius even predicted it wouldn’t be long before these germ mutations would start to change our DNA. All very hush-hush amongst the government bureaucrats.

The plan, as they told me, was to send four mega-shuttles to Mars with all the things necessary to recreate a “Big Bang” on Mars, in theory. Regular shipments by unmanned craft would continue as needed and as requested by the teams. The goal is to make the planet habitable by humans. My job is to document the program and send regular reports back to earth.

Then the lead scientist, Jonah, told me there were no plans for any of us to return to earth. Ever. All of this said very casually, while the autopilot steered us to our destination. Jonah sitting there, smugly staring out the window, arms behind his head as if everything was perfect in the world. That’s when I started screaming and punching him, which I’m sure didn’t win me any favors with the crew. They probably all think I’m psycho but I don’t care. Of course, all I was told was I would be documenting a trip to Mars. I didn’t think to ask when the trip would end.

So for now, I’ll do my duty for my country and my family, and document everything. First thing tomorrow, we have to start setting up short range communications equipment so we can communicate more easily with the other shuttles, which should have arrived at various carefully mapped points on the planet.

Day Two: January 6, 2075

Setting up the communication equipment on this planet was a pain in the ass. I imagine if it were this difficult on earth, we wouldn’t have had any of the modern day technology we enjoy, like cell phones and free wi-fi at every Starbucks. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a decent cup of coffee!

The rock on this planet seems very dense – the scientists struggled for a long time to drill just a few inches to put in anchors for the communications equipment. They’ve also begun construction of a few greenhouses, which have to be carefully constructed in order to survive the ferocious windstorms. Watching these scientists bounce around the low gravity like psychotic slow-motion bunnies has been quite amusing all day. Glad I don’t have to do that.

To Be Continued…

Life Story Part 4: The Drama and the Departure

It’s funny how blind we become when we’re in a relationship. I suppose it’s all part and parcel of it really but we create this bubble and we stop looking for the cracks and flaws. The warning signs were all there but as long as I was inside the relationship bubble, I couldn’t see them.

My ex Brian and I are in the process of getting a divorce. And I use that phrase loosely because frankly, if I don’t do the filing, he sure as hell never will. There was so much drama before he left that I am almost afraid to file for divorce out of fear that it will start all over again. The last thirty days have worked to restore parts of me to myself. I’ve begun the long, slow process of healing. The last thing I want to do is unravel that. But I’ve never been one to let fear hold me back from doing the right thing or the hard things in life. So why do I hesitate? Am I really so traumatized by it all?

There was a solid 30 days of drama after I told Brian it was over. Brian is the first person who I yelled “Fuck you” at repeatedly. The loathing and hate was like a thick chalk stuck in the back of my throat. Brian seemed to be able to push my buttons as much as he wanted. He’s the first person I seriously considered physically harming. Some part of me that is still good managed to avoid crossing that line but it was so tempting.

At one point Brian looked at Jon and said, “What, are you ashamed to be with her?” Now Jon is 6’2″ of muscle and I thought he might just tear Brian apart, limb from limb during this period. Brian did everything he could to push both of us, and to push us apart.

In an effort to bring about some peace, I had Brian sit in a vehicle with me for three hours while we discussed everything. I gave him an opportunity to say whatever he wanted to say, to clear the air. I watched him go through the whole gamut of emotions, and at one point he cried and told me he still loved me, that if I said it he’d take me back, no questions asked. He asked to hold my hand one last time. I hoped I saw the beginning flickers of healing but the next day it was right back to where it had been – angst, verbal sparring and antagonism from him. Brian could not understand that once I was outside the bubble, there was no going back into it. I could not unsee the truth. All I could do was look at him with pity, which probably bothered him most of all.

The day he left was a mixture of pain and relief. Jon had stepped in as a complete barrier between Brian and I – physically, emotionally, and mentally. I would no longer communicate directly with Brian and all things had to go through Jon. Still Brian persisted in verbally and emotionally abusing me, with phone calls, long texts and emails. I lost the ability to work for seven long months. My ability to write was blocked entirely. If not for Jon, I would probably still be locked in a quagmire of remorse, guilt, fear, and indecision. Not to mention homeless.

One of my best friends put it best when she said, “Why would Brian ever leave? You take care of him – he’s got it made. Who’s taking care of you?” Nothing could have summed up our relationship better. Jon had said at one point, “You’re his doormat” and he was right too.

I give to others – it’s who I am and I don’t know how to be anything else. My whole life I’ve tried to surround myself with people who don’t abuse that or use it, who won’t take it for granted. Giving to others lifts me up – it makes me happy. It makes me forget all the ugliness in life. And I tried to do that in my relationship, only to have it used against me once again.

The strangest part is that at the height of the drama, I was falling in love. I didn’t think that was even possible. All the therapists and such say you should take a year to recover from a divorce, to grieve and regroup but instead I’m doing it inside of a relationship. Is that a mistake? Only time will tell. But we seem to be navigating it with flying colors honestly. He counsels me, I counsel him and we simply let each other vent when we need to. There’s plenty of baggage and triggers but nothing we can’t handle. We’re helping each other through it. And that might be the best path for both of us. But it certainly isn’t for everyone.

Jon likes to joke that we’re “demi-Gods”. It’s not arrogance, it’s simply that we both are above average intelligence and ability. We stick out like sore thumbs around most people. It doesn’t make us necessarily better, just different, and on another level. I do NOT recommend this path for others. There are times I question my own decision but in the end it is just instinct.

I need Jon like I need the air I breathe. I’ve always been drawn to him and I’ve fought against that current for four years, consciously and unconsciously. Now, having experienced him in all his incredible glory, I could no more deny myself him than I could stop breathing. It’s almost a helpless kind of thing, once the door was opened, there was no closing it again. Once I kissed him, my fate with him was sealed. Once he touched me, our lives were entwined. I cannot imagine my life without him in it and the thought scares me. I know I will never experience a love like this again. This is one of those epic love stories you see in the movies, only it’s as real as it gets.

We’re two people who have walked a similar path. We’ve both been hurt, abused, and struggled. We’ve overcome it and come together like puzzle pieces. When he tells me I’m amazing, I know he means it and believes it. It’s not just fodder for my ego or to boost me. He looks at me with this wide-eyed wonder like he just can’t believe the gift he’s been given. He chokes up when he talks about how grateful he is to be able to cherish me, to love me, and to feel the gifts of my love.

For my part, no one has ever made me feel both fragile and strong at the same time. He makes me feel like the finest crystal – perfectly shaped but completely fragile. He holds me and I can feel that he will never let me fall, that I won’t shatter. I have a picture from early on in our relationship where I’m cuddled up against his chest, and he is literally almost entirely wrapped around me, with his hand gently holding my head. Our eyes are closed and the expression of bliss and love between us is a visible thing. That picture moves me to tears every time.

It may prove to be a mistake but I would rather experience an epic love like this than be afraid of it. Isn’t life all about experiences anyway?

Morbid Musings About Life & Death

Almost three years ago, one of my favorite authors, Sara Douglass, tragically died from ovarian cancer. I don’t recall what led me to reading up on her again but I was delighted to find her websites have been restored. After several hours of reading, I decided to blog about my thoughts.

One thought that immediately comes to mind is an ongoing and intense debate my ex and I had about death and illness. I am admittedly a big wuss. I hate needles and all things medically necessary. I have a living will and have ever since Terri Schiavo‘s case made national news. I lived less than a mile from her (what a circus that surrounded her once the media really got involved!). I am adamantly against being artificially kept alive.

If I get cancer, I don’t want chemo. Why on earth would I want to ruin my last few months of good life? If I am brain dead, why keep my organs going when the biggest part of what makes me who I am is gone? I do not understand other people’s selfish needs to keep another from dying. Why can’t I just have peace and surround myself with those I love? No one lives forever.

The argument I would get is “But what if chemo gives you six more months or a year?” To which my response quite simply is, “What quality of life would that be?” I would rather create a bucket list and pursue it than fight against a medical certainty.

Fortunately, as far as I know, no one in my family has ever died from cancer. Heart attacks, yes. Cancer, no. So I’m not necessarily predisposed to cancer but regardless of that, if I can’t be independent, if I’m going to be a burden on those I love, and be unable to truly participate in and enjoy my life, then there’s really no point. Maybe I’m old fashioned but I think a person’s right to die is their choice and shouldn’t be taken away from them. Let me sign an affidavit with witnesses and then help me find peace. Is that so hard? Instead of being a drain on the medical community and my own family’s resources?

Personally, I think Steve Jobs did a great job. He died with dignity as far as I can tell. He sought medical treatment that would extend his life in positive ways and then when the end was certain, he allowed himself to fade amongst his family. He did as much as he could do but he didn’t cling to life unnecessarily. Patrick Swayze did the same thing.

I’m not saying I would assume cancer to automatically be a death sentence but I would have to weigh it all pretty heavily. I have had three major surgeries in my life and I hated every one of them. I’ve had over 15 dental procedures, each one more grueling than the last. I’ve developed an allergy to Novocaine because of all the dental procedures I’ve had since I was 15. Most of the time, to start an IV they have to drug me. When I was pregnant and laying on the operation table for my c-section with my daughter, my heart rate and blood pressure were so high they were concerned I might have a heart attack or other medical event. Medical procedures terrify me. Just being in a medical setting is enough to get my heart racing.

Recently I went to the doctor’s office for my annual ob/gyn exam and the office wanted to do bloodwork. It took the entire exam to convince me to let them draw my blood and they had to have the tech come to me. Thankfully it was one of the best blood draws I’ve ever had but I was still terrified. So why would I go through some of the most horrendous medical procedures known to man to treat cancer? No thanks!

I do what I can – I eat reasonably well, I’m working on losing some weight (which is much tougher since having my daughter 7 years ago – stubborn muffin top!), I’ve eliminated caffeine, I don’t smoke, rarely drink and I don’t do anything dangerous. So if cancer comes into my life, it’s obviously something outside of my control and should be a sign that my time has come. So let me go gracefully and peacefully in my own way. I can only hope I will have left some kind of positive mark on the world, through my writings, my kids, and my life.

Fortunately, I do not have cancer or any other life threatening illness. I expect to live long and prosper (thanks Spock!) and die an old, crotchety lady in my bed, hopefully surrounded by people who love me. I just want, in the words of One Stab (Legends of the Fall), what every warrior wants: “Every warrior hopes a good death will find him.” I’ve been a warrior in this life – fighting against abuse, fighting to overcome and break the chains of abuse, poverty, and violence. I’ve fought to better myself.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s been good too. My daughter is proof of that. Other children who have come into my life in need of a mother are proof too. But overall, life has always been hard, from the moment I was born two months early. So yes, a good death would be the best I could ask for after all the struggles.

http://www.saradouglassworlds.com/the-guilt-of-cancer/

Memories

It’s a lazy Sunday, the kids are off playing outside and I can’t seem to stop frickin’ blogging! It’s like someone opened a fire hydrant and all these thoughts keep bursting out of my fingers. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m reading other people’s blogs too.

For example, I visited my newest follower, A Worried Student, and found a post talking about memories from childhood. Well, how could I possibly resist such a delicious and perfect topic? Never one to pass up a good opportunity, here I am.

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