Tag Archive: random chaos


(Apologies in advance: while this is the “short” version, it’s still quite long. >_> But, anyway, this is the post I mentioned on FB a couple of weeks ago, so a little bit is out of date [like the fact that I’ve been sick as hell for three weeks & counting].)

In August, I had a mental breakdown. This sounds incredibly dramatic, and I have been struggling with how to talk about it. I’ve written pages and pages of explanation of how I Dropped My Basket (which is what I’ve been calling what happened in August), and it is always so very long. Sometime this week, I realized that I could tell the story in pieces, that it does not all have to appear in one post. With that concept in mind (something that would likely be obvious to most people but was a true light bulb moment for me because it hadn’t even occurred to me), I am going to endeavour to try again.

I am beginning with dropping my basket, because it was a catalystic event for several things and certainly shapes where I am now. While I have not written a lot about it, people who know my family know that we have had a rough couple of years. The last eighteen months in particular have been pretty hard. A lot of it has been me. I’ve battled anxiety and depression most of my life; the last three years has seen a resurgence in prevalence of anxiety and a case of depression that I’ve not had for years. There are a lot of events that led into causing this and counting them all would take way more effort and time than I want to put into it. Like anything that happens with mental illness, it’s rarely one thing; it’s a puzzle.

To try to help you understand how hard this year has been, here are some examples of things that I was either not able to do or that would cause panic attacks or that would take days (or longer) for me to do:
– deciding what to eat (this question could literally be one of two or three decisions I could make in a day)
– leaving the house (for ANYTHING, be it for fun, for medical appointments, for simple errands)
– making phone calls of any kind
– talking to people (online, in person, etc.) There were literally days where talking to the three people in my house were too much for me, so anyone outside of it was outside the realm of consideration.

These are just some examples. The emotional roller coaster that I was (and am), is hard to describe. Rin has been a champion through all of this, and I’m still not sure how she handled all of it. If it were simply a case of handling my anxiety issues, it likely would not have been so thoroughly overwhelming, but life kept throwing us curveballs. There are several things that I will (hopefully) be exploring in more detail in the future, but I’m going to sum up some of what the end of 2014 & most of 2015 has had to offer:
– Last fall, I had an EMG that confirmed nerve problems in both of my legs. The diagnosis that resulted from that is idiopathic peripheral polyneuropathy (though it wasn’t completely confirmed until March 2015.) 

– Last November, I fell and injured myself enough it required an ER trip; that ER trip proved to be frustrating and required a follow up to my PCP. She was concerned at potential complications that can occur with neuropathy and falls, so she prescribed a medication (Neurontin) for me to try to help avoid both that complication and possibly help with pain issues. I started taking it, and it seemed to be helping. Seemed to be is the operative phrase.

There were complications with our family travel in Georgia in December including some family drama and me becoming incredibly sick. It delayed our return until early January (which caused a small bit of trouble at home, too, since people had been expecting us at Christmas).
January and February are largely a blur to me. Since the medicine seemed to be helping, I talked to Doc about increasing the dose. I started having more anxiety problems and a few other issues including thoughts of self-harm that made no sense (as in I felt like a passenger in my brain watching myself think these things). Since partially controlled pain can cause symptoms to be exacerbated (and in some cases can make them worse than before), after lengthy discussion between Doc, Rin, and I, we increased the dose again. This was a huge mistake. The worsening symptoms increased DRAMATICALLY, so much that I started to step back down to the previous dose immediately.

March saw me at the first appointment with the neurologist She agreed that if it was causing that much trouble I should definitely stop taking it. The catch was that I had to continue to dial it down which meant almost a full month of taking something that I KNEW was harming me and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. This was not good on so many levels.

April is typically a rough month for me for a variety of reasons. It was complicated by some miscommunications with my therapist which just added to the stress. My baby girl turned thirteen which was less hard than twelve, but was a milestone for her.

May brought us news that Rin’s PawPaw was doing more poorly than he had been doing last we had heard. This brought some serious discussion between Rin and I about trying to travel down south to see him. We had aimed to leave in early June, but life intervened.

June had a check-in with Kero’s pediatric neurosurgeon at Riley. There was a small amount of growth in her cyst, but Dr. Smith was not overly concerned. She did however find some concern in the overall level of symptoms that Kero was showing, and she took our concerns about them seriously. We all agreed that it was time to start the testing process so that we could learn more. Sadly, the scheduling process became one of the stressors of the summer as there were miscommuncations between two offices, and a bunch of other issues. The first test wasn’t scheduled until October which was frustrating, but there wasn’t much to be done about it. June also had me seeing a new specialist, a urologist. This was incredibly stressful and led to my own tests being scheduled.

For the next two months, various crises kept popping into our lives. We kept trying to schedule a trip down south and kept having to reschedule it. Thankfully, we had agreed early on that we were only going to tell a couple of people to avoid any Issues. Of course, the downside of this was that no one realized that we were struggling with travel plans that much, but it would have been worse for all of us if everyone had been trying to make plans and kept having them rearranged. It was bad enough with Rin’s mom knowing (and she knew because we were staying there first.) Not Traveling has been an overall theme this year.

August was bad. The urologist testing was far worse than I had anticipated, and involved a lot of unpleasantness for both Rin and I. The first week after was largely me helping convince Rin that I wasn’t upset with her and helping her handle what had happened. (This was also me avoiding thinking about it and recovering because holy fuck that took all week.) Just over two weeks to the day, I Dropped My Basket. (I’ll come back to this in a bit.)

More travel plans failed. We missed DragonCon, we missed David and Catie’s wedding. (We’ve also now missed Samantha & Dustin’s wedding.) We missed several other things. In fact, off and on, we’ve been Trying to Leave for several months. A lot of it has just been small things piling up. A good chunk of it was anxiety on my part and Rin’s, and my breakdown certainly didn’t help THAT situation at all. So, now, we’re going to try again in a couple of weeks and hopefully make my cousin’s wedding. *fingers crossed*

*glances up the screen* That’s the short version. Really. I don’t think I could simplify it much more than that, but it’s necessary to give a picture of how I came to where I was in August.

We had been having a disagreement. I couldn’t tell you what it was about, and frankly, it doesn’t matter. In the middle of it, I quietly said, “I want to die.” This isn’t something that I would say lightly, and it almost started a fight on its own because she thought I wasn’t being serious. Then, when she did realize I was serious, there was a lot of hasty explaining to get to what I actually meant.

The truth was I didn’t want to die, I just wanted everything to stop. I wanted to not be overwhelmed all the time. I wanted to not be in so much pain all the time. I wanted to not be terrified of the entire world and everyone in it all the time. I wanted it all to stop, and in that moment, the only way I could think to make it stop was death. Exploring further led to a lot of sobbing (hours of sobbing) as I choked out everything that was blocked up in my head. By the time I was done, I felt emotionally wrung out and empty. I certainly had no idea what to do with myself, but there was a silver lining in all of this.

A lot of the things that I was sobbing about were things that I’ve been holding onto for years. They included coping mechanisms that were really not helpful or healthy. They included beliefs about who and what I am supposed to be according to pretty much everybody -but- me. By the time I finished dropping my mental basket and watching it shatter into pieces, I could see that a lot of what I had been holding onto with duct tape, fairy dust, and anything else that would hold it together was not the stuff I’d spent the previous eighteen months learning how to get better at. It was all the other stuff. So, by letting it all go, I was able to give myself a place to start again.

Unfortunately, that place was (and is) fragile as fuck. I am having to rebuild how I think about myself and how I look at the world. But, within a week of having my breakdown, I was able to look at my sometimes-therapist Tom and tell him that I felt BETTER than I had in ages. I was finding that I was able to process things a bit more clearly, I wasn’t cutting myself down all. the.fucking.time. which I pretty much had been prior to that point. Nothing was good enough. Nothing. Tom made me examine a few hard truths, and he told me something that I plan to explore in depth in its own post, but overall, I was able to see that hitting bottom was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, timing notwithstanding.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing since August: rebuilding. I have been taking the things that Kim taught me about mindfulness, and I have been taking the words of Jenny Lawson, Glennon Melton, Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and other writers like them to feed my spirit and my soul. I was finding more solid ground than I’d had in months, but at the same time, I was still struggling quite a bit. Aside from anxiety being a thing I’ve had for years, it is also a symptom of some of my chronic health issues, so it’s a double whammy. I’ve also learned that ADD can play merry hell with anxiety, too, so…triple whammy. It left me in a completely vulnerable, messy place.

In that place, though, I was able to genuinely consider a subject that my psychiatrist had been mentioning as a possibility for about a year. While he was not thrilled to hear that I’d been in crisis, he was pleased that it was getting better. He was also able to extrapolate that it was the irritability and other mood swings that were a problem, so he mentioned a mood stabilizer again. I was at first hesitant as I have been every time it has come up. In the last three years, I’ve had some pretty shitty experiences with trying new medicines, and the one early this year was pretty damn awful. I was not eager to jump back into medicine roulette, no matter how good an idea it might be. I also knew that I couldn’t take the most common mood stabilizer for reasons that I explained to him. He thought about and did some looking and realized that one of the newer medications in that class might actually be a good fit, both because it has the potential for starting at a very low dose, and it is listed as weight neutral. (I’m not going to talk about which medication it is because I try to avoid talking about active medications for…well, a lot of reasons. If I know you and you’re curious, feel free to ask. I might not answer, but feel free to ask.) Rin and I discussed it for a minute and decided to let him write the script with the caveat that I would not start it until after Kero’s EEG at Riley was done. (That was coming up about 5 days from my appointment.) The prescription was written, my refills were sent to the pharmacy, and off I went.

The Riley experience is DEFINITELY it’s own post, because it’s going to be long as hell because three days in a pediatric hospital breeds adventure. Or something. 😀 I ended up starting the medicine about a week later than planned, but I could tell a difference within the first three days. I refused to let myself get overly hopeful though. I was still too nervous. However, within the first week, I was actually able to go on errands with Rin. I didn’t have a panic attack before leaving or while we were out. We were at Menard’s picking up a couple of things for the car and the house, and I realized that not only was I NOT freaking out about being in public, I was actually ENJOYING myself and I was singing. It was…incredibly nice. We actually went several places, and then I was able to go out again the next day AND the day after that. (Going out of the house three days in a row was something that really hadn’t happened in awhile the Riley trip being the exception.)

Things continued to improve. I also had  A LOT  of guilt, because the clarity I was gaining and the emotional control I was gaining had me looking at Rin and frequently saying, “How the hell were you dealing with me?!” Thankfully, she helped me work my way through that. Since I started the new medicine, I’ve been able to reach out to people more – in text, anyway. The phone is still panic inducing I’m sorry to say. >_> I’ve been able to actually look at things on Facebook AND set limits for myself when I am becoming overwhelmed. I’ve been actually commenting on other peoples’ posts which I hadn’t been doing for awhile.

The biggest stressors have been Trying to Travel and handling the Teenager Dramaz. I also found out that my Grandmother has a small aneurysm and her sister died. It was incredibly upsetting, and still is. I am worried for her. And yet, I’m also terrified. Every day, I try to summon the courage to call and see how she is doing and every day, I fail at it. The phone is just too daunting and I have no bloody idea what to say, because, “Hi, it’s your crazy granddaughter who had a nervous breakdown this year and who is terrified of the telephone but wants you to know that she loves you anyway” seems a little crazy even for my level of acceptable crazy. So…I struggle.

For all that the medicine helps, it isn’t a magic wand. It hasn’t made everything all better and it’s not going to no matter how much I wish it were different. I keep being worried when I have a bad emotional day that I’m breaking the new medicine and Rin has had to talk me down from that one a few times. The biggest difference with those bad days though is that a) I notice it more quickly and can tend to stop the crazy spirals from becoming completely off the rails, b) I am more able to say, “Rin, I need help” in some variation on the sentiment, c) I am able to have a few minutes or an hour of being an emotional hot mess and then I’m able to balance again (sometimes anyway), and d) they aren’t EVERYSINGLEMOTHERFUCKINGDAY like they were before. So, there’s improvement there. A lot of it.

I’ve also been making the effort to feed my spirit with things that are encouraging. I save pictures I see on FB that have inspirational quotes. One day, I was having a bad day and I asked my friends to either tell me something amazing or show me something beautiful. Many people posted pictures. Since my phone has an S-pen which lets me write on the screen, I saved every single picture that people posted, and I wrote a note about who shared it and anything else that was relevant. I made myself those notes for the Bad Days. I think I might try this more often. I even made an album in my phone’s gallery called, “I Am Loved” and that’s where I saved those images. I am working at creating better habits. I am working at not letting the self-defeating anxiety monsters win, and I am working on trying to create new mantras in my brain to replace the negative mantras that I’ve lived with for years.

The most important thing is this: I am trying.

I am trying desperately to regain ground I’ve lost. I am trying to relearn healthier habits and I am trying to find new ways to manage both the changing things my body is doing (thank you so much neuropathy for adding to the “what will my body be doing today” game *headdesk*) and my mental health issues. One of those methods is talking about it. It’s actually helping, but more importantly, I want to show people that they aren’t alone. That’s why I finally decided to break up the monster update post (not that this is -short- by any stretch); by breaking it up, I will “let” myself write current things as well as cover other things more in depth. (Yes, I know. That sounds silly, but for some reason, I felt that having an update of where I’ve come from on my blog was important before sharing any new things. I just try to roll with the quirks in my brain…) Also, we will (hopefullypleaseuniverse) be traveling in a couple of weeks, and we’re going to be seeing people, and I’m going to be testing a lot of this new stuff during the holiday season which is…my worst time of year for anxiety probems anyway. I want people who see me to know that I’m a hell of a lot more fragile than normal right now. I’m also being a lot more honest than I have been in the past. Instead of playing down the type of pain I’m in or the type of day I’m having, I’ve been telling people the truth. (Or most of it. No one needs EVERY detail.) Hiding things like that is something that I do to “protect other people”, but it doesn’t protect anyone, least of all me. So, you know, if I’m having an awful pain day, I’m not going to try to hide it in the name of not upsetting other people. My theory is that the people who love me would rather know the truth anyway. No. That’s not my theory. That’s my sincere hope, a prayer, and something I am hesitantly counting on.

I also want people to understand that Rin is still doing  A LOT of taking care of me. I’m getting better at being able to do more for myself, but I’m still needing a lot of help. Don’t be shocked if I defer to her for most things; there are reasons for it and I’m not explaining all of them. Also, there are days where I just really cannot handle people well. People are scary, even people I love. Try not to take it personally if I’m really quiet or if I spend a day hiding in bed. It’s not you; it’s me. But…I’m trying and things are definitely better than they were in August.

I’m doing the best that I can. Please be gentle with me.

As might be obvious in a moment, I started this post on FB, intending to just make a quick, slightly whiny post and go back to what I was doing. It ended up turning (at least somewhat) into a post I’ve been trying to write for a week.

What’s on my mind, FB? Too much to actually process apparently. I keep getting distracted so easily that I can’t even remember what I was doing two minutes ago, which is basically the LAST thing I need tonight. I’m trying to finish getting my things together for this trip of insanity because I keep stopping in the middle of that to help someone else or just to stare at the wall.

While I can objectively step back and realize that the week delay in leaving has been an overall net good (we’ve had more time to get better, we’ve managed to get some of the work done in the house that we’ve not been able to for awhile from a combo of necessity/prednisone/packing chaos, and Rin’s glasses FINALLY came in this morning), it is also a point of frustration because we had a sort-of schedule and it obviously needs changing now. And, objectively, I know that’s okay. The people who that schedule change is going to affect already know and have been in contact and they keep telling us to calm down and not worry so much (which is helpful and more appreciated than they likely know), so basically, fretting over it is a by-product of my brain being unkind to me as opposed to something to truly be concerned about. I also logically know that I’ve known from the minute we started talking about this trip that it was going to have to be approached differently from normal. There were going to have to be allowances made for a body (mine) that is doing new and interesting things in the name of fuckery and I knew that I was going to have to make allowances for the brain changing work I’ve been doing and to remember to be compassionate with myself despite my frustration.

But all of that falls into the “logical” portion of my brain that I can look at from a distance. The “emotional” part of my brain seems to be running around like a three year old in a tantrum, throwing out phrases like, “I can’t do this,” “this is stupid,” and “let’s go hide under the covers; they’ll never find us there.” I’m tired despite having slept for a good chunk of last night and today (not that tired is a new state, because it seems to be the norm). I’m in pain because my joints are are being cranky and *glances at clock* it’s likely time for more medicine and I just want to scream about it but all that would do is make my head hurt and not actually solve any problems. I’m having a night where I want to have a stompy fit and rage about how “unfair” it all is as though somewhere along the way I was promised fairness which is absurd and most of the time that phrase isn’t even one that I tend to think let alone give voice to, because life isn’t fair and everyone should know that. But tonight, apparently, with the worst timing possible, my brain seems to be clinging to the need for fair as though it were an option.

I’ve obviously been pretty quiet the last few months. There’ve been reasons, some better than others. A lot of it has been the simple fact that I’ve not had much energy for dealing outside of my small part of the world. Health issues have been the name of the game since before October when my gallbladder started going rogue and they haven’t slowed down since. Since October, I’ve spent chunks of at least 3 months dealing with medicines that were causing horrible side effects and the withdrawal from those same medicines in the name of finding something that worked better. Two of those were for ADD which was incredibly frustrating because I really just wanted my old medicine back. I’m on a new med for that that is mostly helping so long as I remember to take it super early in the day and understand that it just isn’t as good as Old Medicine was. One of those was me humoring my doctor. Since I was having trouble at the first dose of  New ADD Medicine, and since I have pain issues, she wanted me to try Wellbutrin because it theoretically works well with the other medicine. I hate most medicines in the family that Wellbutrin falls into. I’ve had shitty luck with a lot of them and have managed to not take any of them since I stopped taking them about ten years ago because they just don’t do good things for me. But, time does change things and she put the choice in my hands, from the start of the medicine to the parameters for stopping if necessary, so I agreed to try it. I figure if she’ll work with me, I should work with her.

I tried it.

It was a very failed experiment, one that we didn’t realize all of the repercussions of until after I stopped taking it. It was actually making me sick (like with laryngitis sick), so we figured that some of the side effects the medicine was causing were just me having a cold. A few things culminated in the realization that, no, the medicine was responsible, and also, the utter numb/lack of caring about anything was a HUGE problem. So. I stopped taking it. And had almost a week of withdrawal issues followed by issues that I am STILL sorting back out. You see, one of the things I’ve been doing in therapy is learning how to deal with emotions as they come as opposed to shoving them into boxes either because I don’t want to deal with them/don’t have time to deal with them/can’t deal with them. This involves a new level of vulnerable living that is taking some adjusting to. It means that for the last six months, my emotions have been a bit…raw…at times while trying to sort where some of those bad habits came from and while working with myself to fix them. And in the last three months, I’ve been able to stop and pinpoint exact places where the therapy is working, that the mental ass kicking I’m doing is working, and that this is a Very Good Thing. And that is GREAT. Seriously. But.

But…

The Wellbutrin that I took for ten days turned me into an emotional zombie. I didn’t feel anything, didn’t care about anything, and didn’t really understand how much of a change it was making. I saw that I was having trouble making decisions, that I was having trouble writing, that I was having trouble knitting, and basically, was just Having Trouble. The big moment of “oh shit” came the night before a brain MRI. While I won’t say that I should have been freaking out over it, let’s say there should have been some level of concern and care involved. I didn’t. Rin was able to then realize that I had gotten myself stuck on something that Dr. L had said and had turned it into a Rule That Had to Be Followed. (In this case, she’d wanted me to try the medicine for two weeks, but it was never, “you HAVE to try it for two weeks”.) She took the medicine away and recovery started. Within 16 hours, my voice was almost back to normal. Thirty-six hours later and it was perfect again and ya’ll, I just don’t recover from laryngitis that fast. Within two days, I was so overwhelmed by my own brain that I wasn’t sure what to do and so it went.

Why am I writing all of this? I sure as hell don’t necessarily want to admit all of this. I don’t really want to stand up and say, “Hey, yeah, so I’m incredibly vulnerable right now and I’m learning how to be a better me and that means needing some extra space and care from other people,” because anytime you put a sentence like that out there, there are so many opinions you can get from the absurd (“you just need more self-control”) to the painful where someone sees that admission and decides to run over your boundaries anyway. It means standing up and saying, “I’m delicate” and waiting to see what happens next.

And yet, part of being able to stand up and say that is some of what I’ve been working on. Not hiding everything, not pretending to be something I’m not (which includes pretending to be “okay” when I’m not), not locking everything inside to maybe deal with later is all a part of this process. And some of it I was working on before I walked into therapy. By reading people like Glennon and actually taking the words she writes to heart, I’ve been working on this for months. Therapy is just adding to the groundwork I’ve already started and it has given me tools to build a better foundation. I like words, and that is one of the biggest things that my therapist has given me actual words to combat the things my brain likes to do. Mindfulness is helping me a helluva lot and that is also a good thing. Being able to stop and look at the things in my head and say, ‘Okay, you’re trying this old bad habit but I’m not going to let you” or even, “Okay, I’m going to give you two minutes to be Prophetess of Doom and Gloom, but then you’re going to stop and move on” is a huge help for me.

I just also feel fragile. A lot. Rin has been doing so much to help with all of this. She goes to therapy with me every week so that I can actually walk in the door. She helps me remember things (good and bad) that I forget through the week so that I can tell Kim about it. She helps put me back together when the world is too overwhelming, she drags me out of the house when she realizes I’m just hiding behind fear instead of a legitimate reason, and she basically, all around takes care of me. At varying points in the last six months, both because of my brain chemistry and because of all of the other health problems, she’s basically been supporting me so much that I don’t know what I’d have done without her. She helps me make decisions when I get stuck on little things. Hell, there are days she finds me something to wear when even that seems too overwhelming. (Did I mention just how bad some of the medicine side effects were at varying times?) She helped take care of me post-surgery recovery which I’m sure was a ton of fun, because after four weeks, I got more than a little whiny.

One of the frustrating points in all of this is that it feels as though I’ll find a point of balance and then something else comes and yanks that from under my feet. I’ll find a medicine combo that works and then stops working, so I need something new. Or, my body will do something new and creative (read: generally terrifying) and it’s time to reevaluate again. Her and Kero both are a constant source of help in all of this (though, Kero, obviously is less involved in the exact details of everything going on; she’ll get details like, “Mom’s having a bad reaction to a medicine” but not the specifics of what and why and she also doesn’t know about the quest for MS because she doesn’t need to worry about it; she knows there are tests but not necessarily what they are for and I need it to stay that way). Balance is something I crave which is pretty hilarious to me because a lot of times, I’m just…not great at it. It has been particularly frustrating with some of the new symptoms (or in most cases worsening of other symptoms) because I’ve not been able to pull my magic tricks of “okay, if this happens, then I can do ‘x’ to make it easier” because there’s not a lot you can do about suddenly falling over for no reason and there’s not a lot you can do when your limbs decide to just ignore the fuckin’ signals your brain tries to send to them. You just grit your teeth and get through it, and that sucks because I want a solution.

Kim often tells me that I’m a very logical person and I’ve finally stopped laughing at her. After spending a lot of my life hearing people tell me how illogical I am, it’s nice to see that the things I try to do to cope are actually pretty darn logical after all (even some of the unhelpful ones though obviously, there’s room for improvement). Searching for a new and somewhat terrifying diagnosis isn’t logical. MS is not logical. Part of me wants it to be that, not because I desire to be ill, but because I AM ill and I want an answer. Ten years of “it could be blah” is wearing on a girl and this could be an answer that makes a lot of things make sense. However, it is also terrifying. It means an entirely new playbook and some of the plays in that book are downright frightening. The thought that I’ve built my castle on though is that it either is or it is not; therefore, I keep going. Curling up in the corner in fear won’t change it and if these new symptoms are going to become part of the “normal fuckery”, then there’s nothing to do but learn how to handle them. It just takes time and patience and a lot of grace, and a whole lot of being willing to ask for help. To top all of it off, the neuro I was sent to has basically done everything wrong in terms of helping me sort this out, up to and including CANCELLING the spinal MRI that was on the calendar because they decided they wanted it done somewhere else and failing to call me and telling me that they cancelled it. Needless to say, I need a neuro. At the same time, it also means that some of the things I was expecting to have going into this trip I just don’t have. I don’t have the reassurance of the image of my spine to see what is or is not there. It just couldn’t happen. So, it became one more place that this trip had stressful parts.

Planning was another area that things had to change. So often, I tend to put everyone’s needs ahead of mine during trip scheduling. I try to make sure that everyone gets at least some time and I try to make sure that Rin gets to do the things that she wants to do and that Kero gets to do most of what she wants to do and if there’s time at the end, I do some things I want to do. (Which, for clarity, does not mean that I do not want to do the same things that they do. What it does mean is that while I DO enjoy those things, I also don’t tend to schedule trips/visits that are more for me than for anyone else. It means I make sure that I try to please everyone else without taking time to sort in what I -need- in the middle of it all.) I knew from the start of conversations about “impending GA trip” that I couldn’t do that this time. I couldn’t be the one to make the decisions about who we saw when, when we went where, and how to put it all together. I told Rin and I half begged her to be in charge of the calendar. She’s very magnanimous and simply told people that it was a joint decision, but since I’m already spilling my guts in a vulnerability storm here, I’ll admit that I begged her to do it and to not make me do it unless she absolutely had to.

That change has been amazing. It means that I’ve been able to help plan without worrying about this person’s feelings or that person’s feelings or this person’s schedule or that person’s schedule and could instead focus on the actual goals of the trip. Stepping back from it also gave me the space to say, “There are a couple of things that we’ve put off the last couple of trips and I’d really like to not do that this time, even if it means upsetting someone else.” At least one of those things is on the calendar and the family whose house we are visiting because of that request honestly has NO idea just how over the moon excited I am about that part of the trip; in fact, that visit has been one that I’ve been able to hold onto at the worst moments of “omgicannotdothiswhyamieventryingtodothisicannoticannoticannot”. It has basically taken a ton of responsibility off of my shoulders and has let me be part of the process without being in charge of it and that is amazing. It was also a somewhat risky decision.

Despite eight and a half years together, there are times that people like to discount the relationship that Rin and I have and her role in both my life and in Kerowyn’s life. I weighed the risks and found the benefits far greater. After all, a key part of that sentence is “eight and a half years”. If someone hasn’t come to the conclusion that Rin is my partner and Kero’s second mother, then they likely aren’t going to magically do so now; therefore, the best course of action was not what was good for everyone else, but what was good for us as a family. In fact, many decisions about this trip were made with that exact discussion. Something Kim frequently reminds me of is that I’m not responsible for how anyone else feels or thinks; I can’t make them think a certain way. I CAN present information and give them room to make a choice, but I cannot make them make a choice. The only person whose choices I have complete control over is me and I have to make decisions that I can live with later. Thus, a second layer of decision making for this trip came with conversations about, “what choice will you be able to live with an hour later, a week later, a month later?” It is a question that has come up several times and is one that stays with me because it is important. I can only make decisions for me and I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror at the end of the day.

Does it suck to upset other people? Oh sweet gods, yes.

Do I hate upsetting other people? More than you could possibly realize.

Am I growing up enough to understand that I can’t please everyone, no matter how hard I try? Yeah, I finally am.

I’m basically writing this all as a giant torrent of words as opposed to the organized thing I’d been considering writing before. I even wrote an outline for that complete with a timeline about when meds were wonky and what other things were going on, but every time I tried to write that, I failed. I think, perhaps, I just need to keep going with the giant torrent of words and hope that people will care enough to follow my rambling brain all the way to the end. (With a secondary hope that after I finish this monster post I started an hour ago, I’ll be able to focus more on other things.)

Everybody changes. It is a simple fact of life. Some people change for the better, some for the worse, and frankly, everyone’s opinion about which is which can vary. I’ve been doing a lot of changing in the last few years, but especially in the last few months. In some ways, it is making me a much better me. I’m becoming more forgiving of myself and my flaws, of the “weakness” that I constantly feel because I can’t just “pull myself up by my bootstraps” or “use more self-discipline” to solve my problems. I’ve become better at acknowledging that everyone has feelings, lots and lots of feelings, and that the real difference is simply in how a person lets those feelings work in their life. I’ve always been an emotional person and empathic sometimes beyond desirability; I’ve also spent a large chunk of my life trying to fix everyone else because I thought it made -me- a better person. The reality is that while helping other people is admirable, you can’t fix someone else – they have to do that themselves. Also? At some point, you have to stop trying to fix everyone else and make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Self-care is not my strong suit, but it is something that I am HAVING to become better at because if MS is what I have (and realistically, even just for the diagnoses I already have), I need to practice self-care all the time, not just when it is convenient, even if my need for self-care makes someone else unhappy.

I’m learning how to make boundaries, both for myself and outside of myself. I’m learning how to come to the point that I can see that doing thing in small bits, while annoying, is better long term than simply throwing myself into things. I’m learning to see that if reading an upsetting article or ten is a problem for me on a certain day, I can and need to walk away from them. The world will still have problems whether I read the article or not. I’m learning to say “no.” This one is hard because as people, we don’t want to make others unhappy, and yet, sometimes, ya have to say, “No, I’m sorry, I can’t do that.” Oh man do I have a battle with this one. It’s why a lot of times I depend on Rin to be my second back-up, to be able to say, “No, you’ve done enough” and to also help me realize what I have accomplished when my brain says, “That’s not enough, you need to do more.”

I’m learning to love myself. The real me. The one I live with every day, as opposed to the idea of me that other people want me to be. This is also hard. Gods, is it hard. “Who am I?” is a question I ask often, but the difference is that of late, the question has an answer more often than it doesn’t. Mindfulness therapy is helping me find the things that are important to me and showing me how to make those the things I build my mental and emotional image on instead of building it on some concept of expectation. I can look at my non-traditional family and I have no shame, because there is nothing shameful to be found. There are three consenting adults in this house who keep their private lives private just as most adults do in houses with kids. There is a healthy almost twelve year old who has two moms who love her to pieces and who are doing everything in their power to grow her into a well-rounded person while embracing all of the things that she loves and nurturing those things, offering guidance when she needs it, and who will, hopefully one day, finally convince her to wash dishes correctly. *headdesk* Does my family resemble what some people call traditional? Nah. Am I okay with that? Oh yeah. Why? Because it works for us.

I have more support from my partner in this relationship than I have ever had in any of my “traditional” relationships. Ever. And while I will be the first to tell you that I never thought I’d fall in love with a girl (cause, face it, boys are nice), it doesn’t change the validity nor the strength of love I have for the woman who is both best friend and partner. I also can’t think of anyone else who would be helping me do as good a job raising my kid than Rin does, and Kero tends to be priority number one for me. I also know that a lot of times, I let people brush over our relationship as “less important” for its non-traditional status and I’ve realized how much that has hurt me and my family. Kero, if you ask her what she thinks about having two moms, will tell you that she loves it and has no desire to change it. She oft wonders why anyone would have a problem with it because it doesn’t make sense to her. Don’t believe me? Ask her about it sometime and she’ll tell you she’s happy. Know how I now? Because we talk to her about it and we ask her how she thinks and feels because that’s important.

I understand that there are people who don’t agree with non-traditional relationships and I firmly believe they have the right to that belief. What I do not believe is that their belief has the right to impinge on the validity of my relationship, my expectations for how my partner should be treated, or how I personally feel about my relationship. Everyone has a right to their beliefs, but those rights should stop when they begin to impinge on someone else’s. For the most part, this isn’t a huge issue, but given that it is something that I’ve become more solid on in the last few months, finally not listening to the voices that say, “you’re wrong” and instead listening to the evidence in front of me that says that my family is pretty damn awesome and I’m quite happy even with all of the health chaos, I feel it is worth nothing. Rin is my partner and as such is involved in decisions I make. Period. Rin is Kero’s second parent and is involved in decisions that Kero is a part of. Period. There are no exceptions for this, nor should there be.

Something else that I’ve come to understand about myself is that I’m broken…and I’m okay with that. Glennon at Momastery talks about how brokenness is actually something to cherish because it means living without trying to be perfect and it means accepting all of the pieces of yourself and inside those pieces finding what you can use to make the world a better place. I still struggle with this one sometimes, but most of the time a simple re-direct from Rin helps to ease me back toward my belief that broken is not equal to bad. Sometimes, it takes more than a gentle reminder and she points out how pots are repaired in Japan with gold to show the cracks and how they add to the worth and value of the piece, even when they change it from its original state. Broken is not equal to bad and broken can even be sacred. I’m not going to find a magic cure for ADD or for anxiety or for fibro/CFS or for MS if that is what the eventual diagnosis is. Those are all parts of who I am. I could spend time fighting against them, hoping that they will magically get better, or I can be a realist and understand that this is the way things are and work within those parameters. But to choose to work within those parameters means acknowledging each of those things and making allowances for them, even when they are annoying. It means stepping back and realizing that barreling through something won’t make things better in the long run even if they help in the short term and thus deciding which choices are best at x time. It also means living with the understanding that, now more than even early on in all of this chronic illness bull shit, it changes from day to day and sometimes hour to hour. Right now, I go from “okay” to “oh fuck me now” very quickly. (One example, I’m not tolerating heat at the moment hardly at all. I start to get hot and I have to try to fix it quickly or else it becomes overwhelming and nauseating.) When your body constantly makes you live by the seat of your pants, you have the choice to dance with it or fight upstream against it. Since bouts of fighting upstream haven’t worked so well, and since between some of the writers who have spoken to my soul of late and Kim and especially Rin in her quiet vigilance have helped me to see that I DO have the strength to do more than just swim along, I figure it’s time to change my dancing shoes.

Do I still get frustrated? Oh sweet baby Jesus, yes. Constantly. But instead of letting that frustration eat away at me, I acknowledge it as a thing and then try to move forward. Sometimes, just saying, “okay, I see you” is enough. Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes I want to throw a full body fucking stompy fit that puts the biggest diva three year old to shame. That’s just part of the dance, I think. So, even on the path toward more enlightened thinking, I still stumble and still need reminders.

Do I fail? Hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhhahahahahahahahahahahahhahah

*coughs*

Um, yes. I fail. Sometimes every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. But instead of letting that failure define the rest of the day, I try to only let it define the moments surrounding it. This is another lesson I’ve learned from Glennon (and in case you haven’t figured it out yet, you should totally read Glennon at Momastery because she basically speaks my language so, so much and so many times she writes things that leave me saying, “Omg, yes, I could write that same thing” and while our past backgrounds are much different, the way she thinks about things now is so, so helpful to me some days and yes, she is awesome and you should read her). Anyway, she wrote a post called Don’t Carpe Diem and it sings my language. Instead of trying to seize every moment of every day and make it “good” (whatever the fuck good actually means), she instead encourages people to seize the moments inside the day that help you find peace. For her, it is seizing kairos, or “God’s time” which is basically the time outside of chronus where God shows you He exists. Since my definition of God is a bit broad, I tend to insert “Creator” and move on because it works for me. The goal is basically to stop expecting yourself to make every moment magical because no one can successfully keep up with that and striving to do so just sets you up for failure.

This is an area that Rin and I both have been working on because both of us have had the bad habit of letting one bad thing ruin an entire day, even when that thing was disproportionate to the rest of the day. We were cutting each other to pieces doing this and finally have started to manage not to do so. We’ve managed to work on being able to take things as they come and accepting that shit happens and then moving on. It doesn’t always work, but I can tell you it has dramatically cut down on the number of hurt feelings about one or the other of us inadvertently crushing a day for the other. It also helps keep me sane. Not expecting myself to be perfect and happy and good every single moment has been a huge life saver. It’s been part of accepting feelings as they come and learning how to properly react to them (and “properly” here means “for me” as opposed to necessarily what works for someone else). Carpe Kairos is one of my snippet mottos (I have a list; I’ll share them with you!) that helps me get through days and stressful moments.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I’m not the same person I was six months ago, a year ago, ten years ago, twenty years ago. I’ve changed. I am still so very flawed because who is not, but I am working on those flaws and working to have less of them. I’m also working on becoming better at admitting when I’m wrong and being able to apologize and move forward instead of sticking to the unhelpful “but I want to be right” mentality that got me in trouble a lot as a teenager. I’m trying. I’m imperfect and broken and I am sick and there is no denying any of that nor is there really any changing it. I do the best that I can and right now, I am so gods darned fragile that it scares the hell out of me. No, seriously, it does. I want to be “strong” and yet, I really don’t, because the definition that I have of “strong” for myself is flawed. So I’m learning that in being weak, vulnerable, and broken, there is strength. In acknowledging that I can’t do everything, there is strength. In being able to sit and write this out, to admit that I am walking into this trip more vulnerable than I have ever been, there is strength. Inside that admission is a request for gentleness and compassion (but note it is not asking to excuse poor behavior, because if I’m being a whiny punk, I don’t want someone to accept that because #vulnerable) and the understanding that I am trying, some days so hard that I can’t even put the trial into words. Some days, Rin cheers me on when I make it from bed, to the bathroom, to the living room, because some days I need even those absurd baby steps praised. There is also peace in all of this, peace that I’ve not had about this trip since we started talking about it. For the first time in the last two weeks, I’m not dreading leaving the state. (And I don’t want people to read this and think that I didn’t want to see them, because it is pretty much the opposite of that. It’s just that people are hard and feelings are hard and it is totally possible to want to see someone and wish that you could do it from four states away to protect your fragile heart, is what I’m saying.) I am broken and vulnerable and oh, so scared right now. There are so many unanswered questions in the balance and there are still many miles to go before most of those questions are answered. I’ll answer questions that I can, but I ask that you not become upset if I say, “Not right now” or if I direct you to Rin and let her do the explaining (especially since I know for some of you, the potential for me having MS has been a brief note in the middle of two giant notes, one from Rin and this one from me, so I suspect that there are questions). One, she has a short version down that is easier to deal with than me trying to fumble in my brain and two, some days, I just can’t. It’s that simple. I just can’t.

As I begin to run out of steam, I’m starting to wonder if all of this sounds negative and I truly, truly hope that’s not how it’s come across. I can’t begin to tell you how positive some of these changes are, for me and everyone around me. They are helping me to understand more about people and myself. They are helping me to learn to live with who I am not who the world thinks I should be (and in this case, the world includes young me who had dreams that didn’t involve a chronic illness), because that’s the me I get to be. Being more mindful is making me less quick to snark, to judge, and to automatically assume the worst of someone because there aren’t as many negative thoughts running around my own brain to cloud my vision. (Which is not to say that I’m never snarky for anyone who was worried about -that- possibility; it means I am snarky without necessarily being mean and there is a difference.) I am becoming more able to exist in my spoonie skin without constantly being angry at its failings and even when I do become angry with my body, I am able to acknowledge that anger and then find a way to turn it into something productive. You’d be AMAZED at the difference that simply acknowledging emotions that can have “negative” connotations can be for me. It also is involving me learning how to judge myself less (because, face it, I’ve been my worst critic since I was a kid and that’s not necessarily the best thing) and to forgive myself more. This is the one area that I still have a lot of trouble, but thankfully, people help me to remember to forgive myself, too. So, all of this is good, but it is also so utterly terrifying that sometimes it leaves me breathless. To be open and vulnerable requires an entirely new level of courage on my part and even now, I’m becoming pensive about hitting the “publish post” button…and yet, I know I will (at least after Rin reads this for major typos/issues) and I’ll likely even go so far as to tag people in it on facebook just as a “please read this and see the me that is here and not the me I used to be”.

Also, if you made it this far, bless you. I can’t imagine it was easy and gods know it is long as heck. And since it is long, there’s one more thing I’m going to leave (and honestly, it’s just a testament to how stream of thought this has been that it isn’t peppered with more links because there are several things that highlight some of these points so much that I want to share, but I’ll keep it to one more and not be overwhelming) a video here that I watched from another writer who is quickly becoming one of my go-to “go to church” writers, joining Glennon and Jenny. This particular video is by Brene Brown talking about Listening to Shame. I started watching it one day, curious because I’d seen several folks speak highly of her. I had to stop the video about two minutes in to start taking notes for myself because it moved me that much. It is likely because of Brene that I’m actually able to put all of this out there without a panic attack and for that, it is worth sharing.

Love Wins.

We can do hard things.

#omgthisisscary

So It Begins

Today was actually a relatively easy day. I’m actually fairly proud of myself because I managed to make a couple of phone calls that needed making and I ran a couple of errands on my own. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to do that. Rin wasn’t feeling well and unfortunately, we had to use tonight’s dinner plan last night, so she was at a loss as to what to do. I went to the library to pick up a couple of books that she had on hold and then ran to Kroger to find myself something for dinner and a few other items to get through the next couple of days leaving her open to order pizza for everyone else.

I was actually quite pleased to find that there was a GF version of an Annie’s burrito that we had tried this summer and liked quite a bit. I picked up one of those and a few other odds and ends. Kroger’s healthy life generic brand had several things on sale so I picked up a couple of types of crackers and a box of waffles to try. I don’t have high hopes for the waffles, but I figured that trying them on sale is better than nothing. I also grabbed a couple of boxes of the Kroger brand chex cereal that are also GF so that there was an easier breakfast option. Basically, I just grabbed a few small things to have on hand to give Rin and I time for more menu planning and shopping later.

After I got home, Rin and I went for a walk and talked for a bit. We added Miss Ma’am in on the last couple of loops around our circle key and chatted with her about some of the schoolwork she’s been doing. About the time we were heading home, the pizza guy arrived so it made a good stopping point. I had cauliflower and my burrito while they had pizza and I was okay with that. The GF version of the burrito was a little different than the non-GF but it was still damn tasty!

Tomorrow will be the “go deal with some medical crap” day. I have to go get blood drawn and then we’re going to head over to the hospital to try to start the paperwork for financial assistance to avoid having to try to do that Friday morning when my ultrasound is scheduled. I have to be at the hospital by 7:15 that morning and I’m going to just make a guess and say that I won’t feel like dealing with paperwork that early. Just a guess. 😉

Now, Rin and I are watching a movie called Swashbuckler which is pretty cheesy and entertaining. We started watching it on recommendation of our friend Greg and it is proving to be distracting and goofy, so that’s fun. It’s on Netflix if you want to check it out. I’ve been amused by some of the cameos of folks like Beau Bridges and Anjelica Houston. James Earl Jones and Robert Shaw play the two lead pirates. It’s fun so far and if you like campy pirate movies, you should totally check this one out!

That’s about all for today. I successfully made it through the day without gluten! Huzzah! Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

I have been pretty crappy in the writing department of late and I wonder if there isn’t one more lesson tied up in the large one I am currently learning from the universe. I suppose I should start from the beginning.

A couple of weeks ago, before I finally gave in and went to the doctor, I had a couple of days where it felt like angry, angry minions were crawling around my abdomen and back. I almost ended up in the emergency room with pain that was worse than labor. (A lot of women say this, let me clarify that I was in labor for 43 hours before I had a c-section so my “worse than labor” benchmark is pretty damn high.) It finally eased up and I got some sleep and then the next day Rin threatened to call everyone we know to tell them I was being a stubborn ass and refusing to go to the doctor and did I REALLY want that. No. No, I did not. So, I went to urgent care.

I had a sinus infection (which I knew) that OTCs weren’t kicking. I also had a kidney/bladder/UTI thing going on which I didn’t know about. (Yay for asymptomatic illnesses?) As a precaution, the CNP did decide to draw some blood (which they had to do twice because one of the vials clotted. Bwhee.) After two doses of antibiotics, I felt about 3000% times better and had no more abdominal pain and a lot of that ended up being chalked up to my kidneys. There were several reasons for that, including the fact that when Rin would rub my back during the worst of the previous episode, it would feel better and so…I floated along in a antibiotic daze and worked on recovering. After starting the Prednisone script that I was given to go with the antibiotics, I felt a WHOLE lot better and realized just how much inflammation my joints have been carrying lately. (The answer is a scary amount but more on that later.)

So, in a Prednisone fueled couple of days, I managed a neighborhood walk with Miss Ma’am and running errands without wanting to cry and it was good. And then I got a letter in the mail from the urgent care place that said they had been trying to contact me and they had information for me. I figured it was about my blood work results. Rin and I stopped by there after I had a massage with Natalie on Thursday and things were a bit odd from that point. The nurse kept acting like I had been ignoring her calls on purpose though I’d only received one voice mail and it wasn’t all that informative. However, my voice mail has been wonky since this summer, so, you know, I don’t know. (P.S. My VM has been wonky for a couple of months. As in, I just received a couple of VMs from JULY last week.) Then she was like, “Yeah, I’m going to get the doctor to talk to you about these results” and she left Rin and I in a room with me starting to freak out a bit. By the time the other nurse practitioner came in (a different one than I saw first), I was a bit wound and she made it so much worse. She basically was like, “You need a doctor” and she made me sound like a horrible person because I am a) sick, b) uninsured, and c) do not have a job and/or money. She treated me like crap, scared the hell out of me because my liver enzymes were REALLY high, and she refused to tell me ANYTHING that could cause that kind of abnormal blood work. (Upon later reflection, I realized that I am glad that I have medical knowledge and know that if something is wrong with your liver, one thing you absolutely should not take is acetaminophen. I shudder to think about someone in the same situation with this woman without that type of knowledge.)

So, we left. I was angry and upset and scared to death and the more stressed I got, the more I started to realize I was getting some twinges in my side again. Not pain, per se, but twinges. So, I tried to distract myself and figure out what to do while I waited for a call back from the clinic about where I might be able to go get quick doctor care that I could afford. The CNP called back and said that they had called Healthlinc but they were about to close, so someone would call me the next day. So, it was a long, restless kind of night and I kept it all bottled in. Rin did chat with one of my adopted big brothers who is also a CNP to ask for information and advice and that did help bring some reassurance. He basically made her swear in blood over FB chat that we would watch for certain things like jaundice (which we already had been) and that if there was a HINT of them that we’d go to the ER.

Friday, I got a call that the clinic had called Healthlinc and they had made me an appointment for Saturday morning which was…a surprise. The last I’d heard, that particular clinic was booked three weeks out. (Another local clinic for low income patients that Rin called couldn’t see me until the end of November.) Needless to say, the increased urgency added some stress. To combat that, Rin and I tried to keep me occupied and not freaking out. We also spent five hours going over the medical records I have on hand and realized that Harbin Clinic is not the best at organized record keeping, that I am missing three years of information (coincidentally the three years RIGHT after I was first diagnosed with CFS/Fibro stuff), and that there are A LOT of errors in my file as well as things missing like ER reports. Bwhee. One more thing to figure out how to fix later. Our efforts let us compile a list of the times of past diagnoses and things like that and so we at least went into the office prepared with that. I figured if I was abruptly being thrown into a new office that I was going to do so properly or at least as properly as possible.

Saturday morning I was a bit of a wreck. I’ve had horrible experiences with doctors of late which is why it’s been over a year since I’ve seen one regularly and why I’ve been without my normal meds for about that long and I just…was not prepared to face a crisis and a new office at the same time. To Healthlinc’s credit, the nurse and nurse practitioner I saw Saturday were amazing. There were no recriminations about the amount of information I brought to them (in fact they were thankful that I had it and was sharing it). There were no recriminations about not having insurance/money/jobs/not taking care of myself/it’s all in your head nonsense. There was listening. There was talking. There was a lot of concern about my liver enzyme numbers.

Alisha was very helpful. She was also pretty insistent that I try going gluten free. She said that looking at all of my symptoms and diagnoses across the board she felt it was a good path to try. She said she could order the expensive test for it or I could just eliminate gluten and see what happens. It is a concept I have pondered off and on as I’ve done more research but it is a huge level of commitment and well, I love me some gluten. So I haven’t tried it. But she was earnest in her conversation about it and suggested that it was a good place to start and so, there was one dropped bomb for the day that basically meant an entire lifestyle change.

She also was insistent that I have my labs redrawn and have an abdominal ultrasound as soon as possible. Unfortunately, that does mean that a lot more of that is going to have to be paid out of pocket than might normally because the way Healthlinc normally works is that you have an intake appointment with the financial counselor to find out how much you can pay and where on the sliding scale you fall and THEN you see doctors. I’m doing it ass backwards and they don’t have an intake appointment until later this month. But, that will be okay both by careful budgeting and some help from Mom and Dad because Mom was insistent and I stopped being a proud “I Can Do All The Things” asshole and agreed to let her help. (Sorry, Mom.) On Monday, the nurse is going to call the ultrasound folks that Healthlinc works with and set that up and I will likely have the labs drawn Monday or Tuesday depending on when the US is and we’ll go from there. I also have another appointment scheduled with the doctor at Healthlinc on Wednesday to talk about All the Things. Progress is being made and it is a bit terrifying and world changing all at the same time.

I looked at Rin at one point in the office yesterday and I said, “I think the universe is trying to teach me a giant lesson in humility.” She didn’t immediately say anything (my suspicion is that she was waiting to see where, exactly, I was going with that thought), so I went on to explain why I felt that way. I’m going to break down in a bit more detail here, though.

First, there are things that I have been putting off because of pride and anxiety. The biggest one of those has been filing for Medicaid in Indiana. A lot of it has been leftover stress/anxiety from dealing with the bureaucratic red tape I dealt with in GA. Some of it has been that the stigma regarding people who need public assistance has gotten into my head so much more than I ever realized. I fall into the category of folks who is in a situation where things like food and housing are covered, but medical expenses start to fall way the hell outside of sane budgeting. We travel. Hell, we have a lot of access to electronics largely through T’s job. We do all the things that people talk about those damn poor people not being able to afford and I stressed myself out and let the voice of public opinion make me act in a ridiculous manner. I have since rectified that point of pride. In fact, I did that Thursday night after dealing with the nurse practitioner because part of the reason she made me feel so awful was because it is something that I have mentally been kicking my own ass over for awhile. So. The thing is filed and the die is cast and we’ll see where everything falls out.

Letting myself become so proud that I acted stupidly is something that I have some regrets about but this situation with my liver going rogue has made me come to the point that all of the built up arguments like, “We’re doing okay” and “we can manage” and “I can live on ibuprofen alone! (the biggest lie of them all)” and threw them all out the door and said, “Honey, you’re up shit creek, what are you going to do about it?” So, I grabbed the paddle, beat the hell out of the last shreds of pride I was holding on to and filed the application.

Second, there are a lot of other ways that I have let pride become the boss of me in the last couple of years. I retreated inside my own shell after some things went horribly wrong with some people that I genuinely cared about. And that reaction was okay for a time because I needed the space. But instead of eventually crawling my way back out, I built up the wall that said, “I don’t need no stinkin’ people” and kept building. I reach out sometimes and I’d poke my head around the wall. For many people, it probably didn’t look that different than normal. But I kept trying to protect myself from the world because it seemed like the thing to do at the time. In the last few months, in part with the help of some awesome writers like Glennon at Momastery and Jennie at The Bloggess, I’ve been trying to unwrap myself from the “people are bad” cocoon I’ve built. It hasn’t been easy. And reaching out to other people and crawling out of that hole means remembering what it is like to feel things for other people again and as G says, the world is a brutiful place full of beauty and pain. And my heart hurts, but I’ve been trying.

Right now, I’m sitting at a junction where I can continue to keep all this shit to myself and Rin and a few other folks or I can open the door and say, “Hi, I’m sometimes a crazy asshole who needs to be reminded that she isn’t a super hero and right now I’m terrified out of my brain and if you have a kind word or a hug to spare I’d totally appreciate it even though I don’t think I deserve it all that much.” And oh how there is an internal battle in my head about which option to choose, but in finally making myself sit down and write about this crap I think I know which option will win. At least I hope so. Though I suspect that since Rin knows I’ve been writing something she’ll likely just hack into my WordPress account and post it for me if I don’t so maybe I should save her some work.

If there is anything about the current government situation that I think acts as a lesson unto my own life it is that we all need each other when shit gets weird. We all have to learn how to stand together and find some common ground even when we vehemently disagree or there will be people who will capitalize on that fact. And…I need people and I need to stop being a hermit. And for those of you who have kept poking at me and making me interact with the rest of the world whether it is via insane FB messages, random texts, or even something as simple as a word game on the Internetz, you have a lot more gratitude than I have words for. Please don’t stop.

Third, having to embrace a gluten free diet offers an opportunity for some of the health changes that I have needed to make. I have needed to become more active, but I have let the fugue of “it hurts too much” and “it’s too hard” become my rallying cry. Now, I’m taking words from Glennon again and I am trying to change my rallying cry to “we can do hard things.” In fact, I told Rin that maybe what I need her to do for the next couple of weeks is to sharpie “We can do hard things” on one wrist and “love wins” on the other because I am probably going to need the reminders. I was half kidding last night when I said it, but the more that I think about it, the more I think it is actually a really good idea. Sometimes I need the visual reminder to beat the negative words in my head.

Because the first doctor I saw mentioned that if I was having problems with my gallbladder (which is what I thought the abdominal pain could be), he suggested a low fat diet to help. Because I’d already had several days where I couldn’t eat because I was too sick, Rin started introducing things slowly back into my diet. The result has been that the two weeks that I’ve been on antibiotics have seen a somewhat revolutionary diet change for me already. She cut out pretty much all of the processed crap with the exception of saltines and toast (since for the first couple of days that was what I was keeping down). She has been giving me a lot more fruits and veggies than I normally eat. And basically she’s been a freaking rock star taking care of me and making me awesome veggie soup with a little bit of chicken in it and things like that. Seriously, her veggie soup is amazeballs and you should ask her to make it for you. What I’ve noticed is that I haven’t been craving as much of the junk that I usually do, and in fact when she and I were driving through town last week a lot of the fast food places that I look at as comfort food just sounded gross to me. Sure, there are things that I want (fried shrimp omg), but on the whole, a lot of the stuff that I haven’t been eating the last couple of weeks is stuff I didn’t really need anyway.

Those changes have also been enough to give me a small ledge to stand on as I face this new change. Because I know that I CAN do it, but being able and being willing are two entirely different things. However, as I said, the universe is teaching me a lesson in humility and has offered an opportunity for change. I can accept it and see what happens or I can keep living with my head under a rock and doing things the old way because that’s the way I’ve always done it. And thereby I get caught in my own trap because I HATEHATEHATE the rationale “but this is the way we’ve ALWAYS done it so we have to keep doing it that way” with a fiery passion. I have to accept the fact that things need to change. In the last two years, I’ve kind of let food become the source of comfort that I needed and I put on a lot of weight that my effed up joints don’t need to carry. Now, I have to relearn how to eat again and that’s going to take making some changes. Thankfully, I don’t have to do it alone. Rin has, pretty much from the get-go, been thinking about ways to make some of my favorite things without gluten and she’s come up with some pretty awesome ideas. She is most worried about being able to bake me things because that is her passion, but I reminded her that we know a lot of people who know how to deal with gluten free baking and that is helping bolster her courage, too. Things have to change and I have to be the one to make the decision to let the change happen. So, baby steps. Tomorrow, I say goodbye to gluten and it will be hard. Oh, it will be hard. But it is doable and I can do this.

If you’ve read this far, you might be wondering what I need at this point. Well, the answer to that is simple. Encouragement, for one. I am scared that my liver has decided to go rogue and well, with my health history, you never know what could be causing that. It could be something as simple my gallbladder giving up the ghost or it could be something else and I don’t do well with uncertainty. Mystery is not my favorite genre after all. 😀 So, encouragement is good. Beyond that, I am likely going to be a raging bear for the next couple of weeks because from everything I’ve heard, quitting gluten can be mood swing inducing and at the same time that I am giving up gluten I will also be detoxing from Prednisone, so encouragement not just for me but for Rin and K as well is good. I told Mom last night on the phone that nobody is going to love me this week and she said, “No, they’ll still love you, they just might not want to be around you.” You know what, fair enough. On that point, she is definitely right because gods know many of ya’ll have seen me at my awfulest and you still hang around so there is that. Also, I apologize in advance if I whine a lot on Facebook. I may whine there to avoid doing so out loud to the people who have to live with me.

Oh and finally, encourage me to write. Feel free to send me texts and emails. But I think that one way to help combat some of this stuff in my head is going to be writing it down. Logically I know this, but I have kind of screwed myself in the writing department the last few years with mixed messages of “it is helpful” vs “it is utter rubbish and who the fuck do I think I am writing anything” and I need some help dragging myself out of this hole, too. This one is a bit harder because sometimes the reminder makes me belligerent. I still need the reminders and the encouragement. Hell, at bare minimum I have a built in well of new topics to talk about because I’m sure that adapting to a gluten free lifestyle is going to make for some fascinating times for me. But knowing that and remembering to put hands to keyboard doesn’t always work. So, please, if you’re of a mind to so, drop me a note once in a while to suggest you’d like to hear what’s going on. It will help more than you realize.

We can do hard things. (The we is important to me because I know I can’t do this alone.) Love wins.

The time for traveling is upon us once again. We were hoping to be out yesterday, although when we first started talking about travel plans, I felt that Thursday would be more likely given the other things that were going on in the week prior to traveling and packing. Of course the impending storm (amusingly named Draco) was causing anxiety and desire to be out sooner than was realistically feasible.

That said, packing is always a royal pain in the arse. Trying to figure out what we need where and when is annoying. When you factor in presents for our extended families, you get a right mess of things that all need to go in the car. We also have presents for K because we’re not making her wait until January to receive all of her holiday gifts. It’s made for some frustration, that’s for sure. Also, there were a few presents that either we hadn’t picked up yet, hadn’t figured out what to buy, or whatever, so there’s been a bit of last minute shuffling in terms of that type of thing.

As far as clothes go, we’ve been trying to keep it to about a week’s worth of items this time and just washing accordingly. Given that our washing machine is broken and we’ve not managed to figure out what’s wrong or have it looked at since it broke, there’s been some added chaos there. About half of our things are coming down dirty this trip which is pretty annoying, but it’s certainly cheaper and less time consuming than trying to wash EVERYTHING at the laundromat. That gets really expensive very quickly.

Outside of clothes and gifts, there are always the other odds and ends that travel with us. The requisite stuffed animals are easy to figure out how to pack and they go in the car last since they get used for various jobs on the drive. However, when you started adding up electronic devices and chargers for three people, as well as crafting supplies for the same three people, you get a bit of extra chaos.

I’d love to say that our house is super organized and that packing was easy and maybe one day it will be, but the reality is that just isn’t the case, so a bit of the chaos is simply trying to find space within which to organize things and also finding all the things that we’ve “hidden” or “put somewhere safe”.

Right now, I’m trying to summon the focus to be able to finish sorting all of my crafty/electronic/random crap items so that part is done and yet I’m not finding a ton of motivation to do so. Yes, I want to go, but right now, the whole getting ready process (that we’ve been working on in between the umpty-dozen other things we’ve had to do in the last two weeks) is wearing on me. I’d love to be able to just throw things into bags and go but we have to make sure that we don’t take too much down with us given that we’ll be coming back with holiday gifts and other things. We already have an idea about how big some of those gifts are but not all of them and we also want to try to bring K’s bike back up with us this trip, so packing lightly is a bit of a necessity.

We’ll end up on the road when we end up on the road and hopefully the majorly crazy snow storm will stay north of us like it is supposed to at this point. If it doesn’t, I’ll drive carefully and be annoyed with myself for not getting out sooner. Ultimately, we’ll get to the places we are going and we tried to build in a couple of buffer days before we Absolutely Had to Be There for just the sorts of things listed above. We don’t have an obligation to begin until noon on Saturday, so we still have some time, though I suspect that my sis-in-heart Megan is about ready to shoot us because she’s been looking forward to our trip for a bit. (To Meg, I apologize, but I promise we’re trying…it’s just taking a lot more time than either of us want.)

There is the basic “haha travel makes me insane” post of what I suspect will be several over the next couple of weeks. Anyway, I’m going to stop babbling and go try to get some more things done. I think my current holiday wish for most people is “may it be less chaotic than mine” but that might just be the packing talking. 😀

You know what really is irritating? Trying the new post feature and it eating your post… yep. That’s irritating.

I know I need to write more and I’ve been pretty slack-ass about it of late. I’ve done a mix of lengthy, thought out posts on FB followed by periods of utter quiet and lack of word sharing much of anywhere or with anyone. I need to create a new habit of remembering to write more and to actually try to get the word chaos down to a minimum in my head. (And, really, the first version of this post was worded much more clearly and neatly and argh, stupid draft not saving properly!)

I’m not making any promises, not even to myself, because that always fails abysmally. I miss a step and then I work myself into a fit of anxiety over writing that is mostly for me and then I miss another step and then I don’t write anything for months. It’s a bad pattern and it’s one I am hoping to ease myself into breaking. I’m working on mental and physical health improvement across this board and this is one of the areas that needs work.

I likely will need some help along the way with encouragement and maybe a light nudge in the writing direction (or perhaps a less than gentle nudge from time to time). I tend to be able to write more frequently if I know people are reading. I also need to remember that even if I am just writing a silly post about Farmville, it’s still writing and it’s worth doing. Perhaps that last part is key.

There’s a blog I read called Momastery written by Glennon Melton. She challenges me to think in ways that I’m not accustomed to thinking and I’m trying to take more of her messages to heart as opposed to just reading them, agreeing, and then forgetting five minutes later. One of the things that she writes about is how the Momastery is a place for the Monkees (her followers) to be enough and to have a place for them to share who they are without fear of judgement or reprisal. It is a place where love is strong and that’s the most important thing. It’s a pretty amazing community and yet I find myself frequently hiding from it because I’m not always ready to deal with the Truths that she says. (It’s easier to remain hidden than to open myself up to fragility, right?)

The simplest answer is, no, not really.

This year has been hard. It’s been filled with a lot of ups and downs and a lot of things that have made me question a lot of things about myself. I started finding a place for myself with a group of people and it fell to hell in a handbasket and I am still so very angry because being angry is just a fraction easier than dealing with the hurt that lies beneath. I’m mending, though. I don’t end up in a blind rage when I see certain people mentioned and I don’t want to scream if I start thinking about a certain organization. But, there’s still a long way to go because I am still angry. However, that’s it’s own post entirely. Part of that anger stems from the loss of the things that I felt I had accomplished within myself. The self-doubt has returned in droves and it is oh, so hard to deal with.

I am struggling to work through some of that. I am struggling to learn how to properly deal with Big, Emotional Feelings and Overwhelming Mental Anxieties and it is slow going because the ways that I’ve dealt with those things in the past haven’t always been healthy or conducive to mending from them. It’s easy to shove things away and pretend that everything is fine; however, that doesn’t mean that everything is fine. This process has not been easy and gods know it’s certainly been hard as hell on Rin because she tends to end up taking the brunt of the emotional roller coaster that is me. Yet, I know that this battle is important, and so, I’m trying even though every instinct I have says to take it all and hide it because people might use it against you.

Here’s the thing, whether it’s hidden or not, if people want to find something to use against you, they’ll manage to do so, even if they have to make it up. Hiding behind a facade of “everything is fine” might make you a more pleasant person, but it isn’t particularly honest. (Yeah, imagine how THAT revelation felt in the midst of a giant pity party earlier this year. It was like a giant boot to the head and then some.) So, I try to not hide the fact that there are days where everything isn’t perfectly okay and that I’m not quite all right. I’m trying not to hide from All The People simply because I was hurt by a few. (Though I’ve been pretty lousy about this one and Mana’s been one of the few people who I think has realized that sometimes the path to finding me is to send me umpty dozen random FB messages and waiting until I find a moment that I can answer them. In that, she’s been pretty amazing and even when I’ve not been utterly up front about how I’m feeling/doing, she’s still there…pretty much the same way she has been for the last fifteen years. She rocks like that.)

I want to write everyone off. I want to curl up in my own cynical little world and sit on my moral high horse that says, “Well, obviously, people are just going to hurt me so why should I share anything with them,” but it’s not the correct path to follow. Also, Rin tends to drag me out from time to time whether I want to go or not. >_> It’s usually a good thing though because then I run into people like Boni and Doyle and the other Brothers of the Wind folks who, as Rin frequently reminds me, like me and want to spend time with me and who miss me when I send her and K to do things without me. It’s hard to remember sometimes, though. It’s hard to process. Why? Obviously I’m flawed in some horrible, awful way, right? Isn’t that what the last 8 months I held office in the SCA taught me, that being honest and trying really damned hard and trying to do what people wanted wasn’t enough? That perfection was more important than intent and that I was useful only until they found someone else they wanted to use more? Isn’t that what the interrogations and the accusations said, that I was a horrible person who was dishonest and who took credit for other peoples’ work and who was sneaky and underhanded and just plain wrong? Aaaah. Yes. Still angry. Still hurting. It didn’t seem to matter that I had solid evidence that went contrary to lies that were told about me or that I was doing my damndest with what I had to work with. I know in a lot of ways that I was turned into a scapegoat and in others I achieved a purpose that a couple of people wanted and everything after that was inconsequential. I just…don’t know why. I’ve still not gotten an answer to that and I suspect that’s part of the problem.

The people who were the most outspoken against me never actually came to me and said, “This is the problem and this is what I would like you to do.” Even worse, they tried to say that I never went to -them- with problems, despite the fact that I spent a couple of months and multiple mediums of communication to try to do just that. And in all of that I kept losing bits and pieces of myself and I kept losing the bits and pieces of purpose I had found and I kept losing the sense that I could, in fact do more than I thought I could and I just…kept losing. And I tried to put a cork in the leak but it didn’t work very well and the feelings of inadequacy and horrible personness continued the longer that things dragged out and while I’m still glad that I managed to walk in one last time and say my piece, I still feel like I got a raw deal and I still feel as though there should have been at least some sign of remorse on the parts of other parties involved. But mostly, I really just want to know why two of the people who had become very close friends here in my new state of residence decided that I was no longer worth talking to and I’d really just like to know what was so utterly wrong with me that they felt they couldn’t even -tell- me what it was that had upset them so much. I even tried writing one of them a letter and…she refused to read it.

No answers makes it really hard to properly heal. Yet I’m trying. I’m trying to put the bitterness and the anger away and I’m trying to not let it color the entire organization for me, but the simple fact is that I’ve not been to an event since Val Day and while there have been a couple that I thought about going to, the anxiety about walking into drama or walking into an event and being ostracized and the anxiety about randomly bursting into tears because the bubble I made inside the Dream was so irrevocably burst that I just…I can’t do it. I’ve set myself a goal though: I want to go to Val Day next February. I really enjoy that event and it is very easy to find people who are kind and who will talk to you no matter who you are or where you’re from and who will perhaps listen to you as you try not to cry for things lost (and to those two esteemed Ladies who I spoke with at the end of Val Day last year I have nothing but thanks) and basically, it’s a large enough event that it’s easy to just go experience the Society and not be mired in politics or whatever else. But even now, when it’s a couple of months away, I can already hear the little voices asking me why I want to bother and is it really worth it?

The reason I want to bother is simple: the medieval and the Renaissance are my periods in history. They pretty much always have been. I’ve had fun at many SCA events and I’ve met some amazing people and Kingdom events like ValDay are good places to run into those people. I want to bother because I miss the magic that events held for me in the past and I want to at least try to piece some of that back together and I think that to completely work on healing that I’m going to have to go to at least one more and just see what it’s like in the aftermath of the Awful Things. I need to see in person if it is going to be something that is irrevocably broken or if there is a place for me somewhere in the Society though there is not one in the local area.

The idea scares the hell out of me though. What if some of the people that I respect (like Her Most Awesomeness Runa Kirri or Master JP) won’t talk to me as they have in the past? What if they believed the bull shit that was spread? What if, what if, what if? It’s frustrating as hell and terrifying at the same time. But…maybe Val Day is a realistic goal. Maybe. We’ll see.

…Hrm, perhaps losing the original post was a good thing given that it was about two paragraphs long and this is a lot longer and…okay, well, it’s certainly taken a slightly awkward, painful turn, but these words have been running around my head for months so maybe it’s time for them to come out.

So, yes, it’s been a hard year and I’ve kind of only been so-so at the recovery process. When you pour yourself heart and soul into people and into goals and activities, it is really hard to find equilibrium again in the aftermath, but I’m trying. I’m trying to not let the little voices in my head that tell me how I obviously screwed things up or how I’m obviously just a crap person or whatever other ridiculous lie or half-truth or warped truth that they say win.

Sadly, they have been though. Sure, I’ve managed to attend some social things and I’ve tried to makes steps to be more a part of Brothers of the Wind even though the periods they tend to reenact aren’t my favorites (though Rin and K love them to pieces), but I keep holding pieces of myself back because I don’t want to end up in the same place again and I don’t want to be hurt again and I just…I just…oh, I have so many excuses. In the midst of all of that, I’m trying to find Things to Occupy My Time, though I’m better at thinking of the idea of me picking up a hobby more than me actually doing it it seems. I’m trying to work on this one, too.

I am a work in progress. I know we all can say that for we write pieces of our story every day, but this year has been hard…hell, the last few years have been hard…and I’m trying to find my way out of cocoons and prisons of my own making to try to find my place in the world. I’m trying to figure out who I am because, though I’m thirty-one years old, I really don’t have a clue what the answer to that question is and I don’t really have an answer to the question “what do you want to do with your life” because I don’t know that I ever had really stable answers to those questions anyway.

I’ve been this thing for this group of people and that thing for that group of people and I’ve always hidden bits and pieces of myself away (though there are a few people who’ve managed to find their way through the chaos field to figure out a bit more than I let on…whether I always wanted them to or not). I’m K’s Mommy and Rin’s girlfriend and I’m a daughter and a sister and an Auntie B and a friend and a spoonie and a sometimes writer and a procrastinator and a lover of Farmville (I know…it’s awful, but I love it) and music lover and a cat lover and a history nerd and…a lot of other small pieces but…I don’t always have the blueprint to the bigger picture.

The lack of blueprint and the utter brokenness that I’ve found myself feeling this year have led to me trying to make new habits and patterns. Sometimes it works…sometimes it doesn’t. There are days where I burst into tears for no discernible reason beyond “ALL THE THINGS” and I don’t entirely know what to do with myself sometimes. I’ve not been in -that- state in…well, awhile. Close, but not quite to that level of anxiety/broken feeling. Yet every time I tell Rin that I’m broken, she finds a way to disagree with me that I actually try to listen to because deep down in my soul I know that if I were truly broken, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things that I do. At my heart, I am a survivor – it’s what I do – it’s just that the last few months have been more about surviving at a very basic level and letting the world pass by around me.

Now, though, I’m finding myself at the point that “just surviving” isn’t enough and I know that I need to make more changes and I need to start taking better care of myself again and I need to start becoming more actively engaged with the world around me and not just my tiny piece of it in my house. There’ve been a lot of things I’ve read in the last week or so that seem to be guiding me on this path and instead of just filing away useful tidbits, I’m trying to listen. I’m trying to listen to the voices that ride in the night with the moon that gently speak to me when all else seems lost. I’m trying to listen to the words that others have so boldly written, sharing their fragility and their vulnerability and their craziness and their courage and their pain and their love and their laughter and the fact that even in the middle of chaos and utter hell they are still going because life keeps going. (Writers like Jenny Lawson and Glennon remind me that we’re all in this together and that pain is part of life and that sharing those things with the world can sometimes help other people struggling on the road. Glennon coined a word – brutiful – that I love. It’s the combination of “brutal” and “beautiful” because you cannot have one without the other and it seems very fitting to my state of mind of late. In the midst of the joy there’s a whole lot of pain and I’m working on learning how to navigate those waters.)

As the holiday season started coming closer and closer, my anxiety ramped anew. Places that had been newly healed proved to still be raw and achy if pressured. The Holidays and I have a long history of not getting along. There’ve been times in my life that I’ve hated them far more than I’ve loved them and I’ve hated the drama and the ugliness that seems to abound at this time of year and as Holiday Season 2012 loomed, I cringed inside and wanted to just call the whole thing off; however, that’s not really a viable option. Instead, after discussing things, Rin and I decided that we would spend Thanksgiving in South Bend this year because we were both still tired from the summer drives to Georgia (probably me more than her because I was still finding the idea of the drive so very daunting and Thanksgiving in GA last year was nice but it was so very hectic and rushed and I just…I couldn’t deal, so we decided to stay home for Thanksgiving) and that eased a fraction of the tension. Of course, that also meant that we had to figure out Christmas plans and where we’d be when but I’ll come back to that in a minute or ten.

The decision to stay at home helped ease some of the impending doom feeling. Black Friday also helped, though it was certainly a chaotic BF even for us. First, some background. I understand that BF is a commercial day of insanity and only crazy people go out and all the other things that people like to bring up when they talk about it. That said, you have to understand that it’s part of my holiday ritual. I love BF. I love the challenge and the chase and the energy that can run around stores and just the general goofiness of it all. It’s exciting and so long as you’re not going after the major high tech items, it doesn’t have to turn into a potential mob scene. Amusingly, a lot of times the things that we buy on BF are things like blankets, jeans, and other things that we use on a regular basis as opposed to luxury type items. We buy some of those, too, but in general, some of the best sales of the year on staple items happen that day.

This year, I was a bit dismayed that the sales were starting on Thanksgiving evening for several reasons: one, it is really kind of insane; two, it meant less prep time (which did become a factor later); and three, it meant that the crowds were likely to be bigger since it wasn’t some insane time in the middle of the night. We had Thanksgiving dinner at T’s parents’ house and as the time for stores to open neared, we realized we’d made a mistake and had forgotten to ask T if he had room in his car to take K home with him. Oops. He did not. Rin and I consulted a bit given that we were contemplating going to Toys’R’Us (which I NEVER do early on BF…never!) for a few things. We decided to take K with us since she’d been asking to go for a little bit of shopping and since TRU is on the same side of town as the in-laws’ house and the opposite side of town as our house.

We arrived shortly after the store had opened and the line was starting into the parking lot. Five minutes later and we’d have been there a whole lot longer. As it stood, we were cursing the fact that we’d not made it home before the shopping started. (See, we’d planned on making a stop at home to drop the kiddo off and get our warmer clothing and make our battle plan BEFORE the shopping started but it just didn’t work out that way. It kind of sucked because while it had been a lovely 60 in the afternoon, the nighttime temp had dropped about 30 degrees.) We waited in line trying not to freeze and being grateful that we’d actually managed to snag a cart. It started to rain about two minutes before we went inside for which I was very grateful for not having to stay out in the cold rain!

A divide and conquer mission ensued as we split up to look for a few pivotal items. K ended up finding a video game to play in the electronics section and stayed there while we did most of the shopping (which did make it easier to hide things in the cart so she couldn’t see them). She had fun taking turns with other kids and we got the things we’d been looking for. Alas, we ended up being there a lot longer than we had anticipated and so by the time we were done, we really needed to head straight to Target to check on a couple of things. K was happy because it meant that she got to do more shopping.

We were at Target for quite awhile looking at different types of things, price checking other things, and in general trying to figure out what all we needed. This was one of the stores that not being able to make my typical BF battle plan posed a problem. It meant that things took longer than normal which combined with having to artfully hide things from the small child and then trying to do math at the end of the trip before check-out, well, we were there a whole lot longer than we’d planned. We did have some really good successes, though, so that was certainly a bonus.

By that point, I was expecting the munchkin to be dead on her feet…nope, she was still rearing to go. It was around 4am. o_O Yep. I was impressed, too. We stopped at Krispy Kreme after Target because everyone needs a hot doughnut when the Hot Light is on, right? From there we went to Old Navy to try jeans on the small person. Usually, dressing rooms are anathema to me on BF but I made an exception this year given how difficult it had been to find the kid even three pairs of jeans that fit her well. (Seriously, earlier in the week, she and Rin went on a five and a half hour jeans hunt ranging from Target to Kohl’s to Meijer and their luck wasn’t all that great and the ones they did find were MUCH more expensive than we usually pay for kid’s jeans. The trick is that the kiddo is tall and slim but she has hips and a bum and since they are making little girls’ jeans to be low cut and skinny fit, well, the combo doesn’t go all that well.) Thankfully, we had luck in both the girls’ and boys’ section at ON and bought four pairs of jeans there with the plan to take two of the pairs they’d found earlier in the week back since they were more expensive. Rin and I also found jeans and I was pretty excited because they had an 18 short in the style that fits me best so that was pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, we also went through the clearance section in the girls’ department and K kept adding things to the cart and I’d found several things that were cute and Rin had found things…we were in the dressing room for a very long time. (Just for the record we were keeping an ear out for the dressing rooms to become more busy than they were when we went in so we weren’t just hogging a stall to try on a million things.) As we would finish with sets of things we’d give them back to the attendants outside and they kind of loved us because we actually folded everything back the way it was meant to be folded and put things back on hangers. It amazes me how many people DON’T do that. Seriously. It’s common courtesy. Sheesh. Anyway, so, there was much trying on of things and a bit of lamenting from the child for a few of the things that didn’t fit but pleasure at the ones that did. We finally finished and then headed for checkout.

It was nearing 10 at that point, but we were all hungry. We stopped at McDonald’s for a quick attempt at food (it was only so-so) and then headed to Joann’s. That was the other store that not having a battle plan for was problematic. Eight hours later, I left a beaten woman. 😀 Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but there were certainly times in the fabric store that I wondered what the hell we were doing. (The answer was buying flannel at 75% off/yard and various other things we needed/wanted for projects.) Our first stop was actually the patterns since many of the Butterick patterns were $0.99. We also thought the McCall’s patterns were $0.99, alas though they were in the ad, that price was for the 29th. Argh. Irritating given how much time Rin spent pulling out patterns, mostly for American Girl size clothes and the like.

I made notes of all the patterns and K ended up putting them back a few at a time. It gave her something useful and helpful to do. We ran into Mrs. Peyton her drama teacher from Hamilton and she reassured us that we are first on her list of helpers for Drama Club this year. (We’d arranged last year for K to be able to come in and help – and Rin and I, too, since we had such good luck wrangling the munchkins.) They are performing The Little Mermaid this year so K is excited to be helping with that. Mrs. Peyton also recommended that we get a number for the fabric cutting counter early rather than waiting until we were done. We ended up trading numbers a few times throughout the day, but it was definitely a good tip.

At the end of the craziness, we weeded through a lot of the impulse fabric picks and came up with specific uses/projects for each bit that we got as opposed to just randomly buying whatever we wanted. After some discussion, Rin helped me realize that she could, indeed makes skirts and petticoats out of flannel, and thus several of the choices were made with that in mind. Some of the bits are for doll clothes and other projects like that. I honestly can’t remember how many yards and bolts we bought, but we definitely amused the woman who was cutting our fabric.

After we left Joann’s, it was dark again and we were all pooped. (Also, we were bummed that we had missed Boni’s Green Friday sale but the eight hours at the fabric store kind of killed that.) We started trying to figure out what to eat because we were all hungry and if we needed to do anymore shopping. We ended up heading to Logan’s because we know how to eat fairly frugally there. Rin and K shared the dinner plate and I had K’s kids’ meal since they like their steak cooked the same way and I like mine more cooked. It was so-so and we were pretty upset with the manager. He dumped the rolls before they closed so we couldn’t have any fresh ones and he was just being a bit of a jerk. I get that they were tired and ready to go home; however, there were still a few tables in the dining room so he was jumping the gun a bit.

We had one last stop to make after dinner since I’d told Dad and Adam that I’d hit the Hanes sale at Meijer. I started to become irritated fairly quickly. Their Friday sale ended at midnight but their Saturday sale didn’t start until 6am. It was a bit ridiculous and frustrating, particularly since one employee was VERY rude and snotty at me. She had us thinking that if we didn’t check out by midnight we’d lose the sale prices…it was quarter til when we got to the store, so I was half running to keep up with Rin and K to get to checkout. Turns out we had an HOUR to check out. The saving grace of that store was the two employees working the front registers. The guy was running his butt off and the girl was just nice and helped reassure me that we could still pick up a few of the things we’d been looking for and she was quite apologetic for the other employee’s rudeness.

We made a quick check through the store and I was cheering up (I was tired, in a lot of pain, and REALLY upset at the way the other employee had treated me) as I relaxed. Finding the 3 pack of Aladdin cups that I LOVE for $10 instead of $20 which is a SUPER FREAKING DEAL since those things are normally $8 a cup. Woot! We did some poking around the toy section and the movie section but a lot of the things I’d been aiming to look at were already gone. It was about 1:30am (on Saturday) when we were leaving Meijer and Rin and I were so. very. done. The thought of going to another store was pretty much making me want to be violent, so of course the ten year old was all, “Where are we going now?!” She did not want to go home. *headshake*

After all was said and done, we all had fun, but there were definitely some lessons learned. While K CAN keep up that long, there were a few times that having her with us made the shopping harder and not just because we were trying to keep her from seeing things. It meant one more person that we had to keep an eye out for which added a bit of stress at some of the busier times. Having to hide things did add to a challenge. On the whole though, I was super impressed with her behavior. She had fun and there were only one or two times where she was acting like a punk and that was when she was getting hungry…and when we wouldn’t buy the $8/yd. meh My Little Pony fleece fabric. Other lessons learned include making sure that we have our warmer clothes/extra snacks/extra shoes/etc. ready BEFORE going to the family shindig even if we are sure we’ll make it home in between and making sure that we both have a chance to go through the paper ads and make a list. Several stores took a lot longer because we had to walk around them a lot more than we typically would have simply because we couldn’t remember what all we were looking for. All in all though, we did pretty well, though Rin and I realized we had overbought a few things and thus have been working on taking some of those things back.

Saturday, we ALL slept all day. I woke up around midnight Sunday morning and was up for a couple of hours before heading back to bed. I spent a lot of Sunday in bed, too, though Rin and K were both a little more active. Twenty-eightish hours of shopping is perhaps a bit much for gimpy folks but the end results were largely worth it.

Now, though, it’s a week after Black Friday and that means that decisions have to be made about traveling over Christmas and that means stress. (I wrote more about that in the other post and I’m not repeating myself overly much about that here because that’s just silly.) I do know that things will work out and we will get where we need to go (likely late) and we’ll see folks and it will be good…but the anxiety monster is trying to do a number on me. I just keep trying to remember to breathe.

…somewhere in all of this I lost a train of thought or five and I’m not entirely sure how to pick them back up again. I know some of it was talking about Glennon’s writing and the messages that she seems to be zooming at my head today. I read this post earlier and while a lot of it is more about Glennon’s personal journey, there were bits and pieces that caught at my attention. Because I was curious, I Googled the title and found it incredibly appropriate. In researching, I realized that a) she’d transposed two of the letters in “kuom” (it should be “koum”), b) that it is Aramaic, and c) that it is generally translated to “Rise up little girl.” It struck me as incredibly pertinent for a couple of reasons: the fragile state that I seem to be occupying in the latter months of this year could certainly be indicative of state of a child and the call to “rise up” strikes me as particularly apt given the growing realizations inside myself that it’s time to slip out of the “just surviving state” and move into the “actively living” state. Another interpretation says that it means “Damsel arise” which is equally fitting and perhaps a bit more so.

She closes the post with the sentence, “Don’t think. Just listen and do, ” which is certainly advice I need to take to heart. I am very good at thinking of things that I need to be/could be doing; however, I’m not always great at following through on those. I’m very good at doubting myself and my abilities to do things…though I could likely just end that sentence at “doubting myself.” There is certainly something to be said for embracing the quiet things the universe whispers to us and following through on those whispers and it’s something that I definitely need to work on attuning myself to again. On the page that explains what the Momastery is, Glennon uses a quote from Mother Teresa that caught me again as I was rereading the page earlier and ties back to my realization that I’ve done so much self-isolating that I’ve gone too far. The quote is, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that We Belong to Each Other.” How striking is that idea? It is certainly something that I will let brew in the back of my head for a bit.

I started veering off into another point but I think that will have to be its own post for later. After 6ooo+ words and several hours I’m finding myself both drained and tired.

http://9gag.com/gag/4779450

I feel like I’m somewhere between the fourth and fifth panels, not totally consumed, but damn if I can’t feel it coming. I’m better than this, or I tell myself I should be, but isn’t that just part of the problem?

It’s been a rough few months where so many things have been yanked out from under me. I usually recover more easily, but some of these things were things I’d been rebuilding my sense of self on, things I could look at and say, “See, I am doing these productive things and I AM useful and I do STUFF.” And they were important to me and they were ripped away from me in fashions designed to break me down.

There was no courtesy or respect, no, “We think you actually suck at this, so go away,” or anything. Just lies, backstabbing, and shadiness. And I’m moving past it. I’m not always rage filled when I see one of their names. I’ve not replaced all of those other times with being upset. Some, but not all. Some times, I can see their names and just breathe and move on.

I hate that they still have any power over my emotions and it makes me so awfully angry because I should be better than that, but logically, I know it’s not true. I know that betrayal and hurt feelings take time to work out, and I know that the cuts that all of the earlier drama this year caused are going to take time to heal, and I’m obviously going to have to do it properly because trying to shove it and ignore it until it hurts less isn’t working. Damn does that make me angry.

As a result of a lot of a lot of this, I’ve been having more problems with anxiety. It’s not a new thing, not really. It’s a battle I’ve fought since I was younger. And like times when I was younger, the anxiety is turning into gut churning fear and damn if that is not frustrating as hell.

Even more frustrating is that I had been getting a handle on some of these things and I had been mentally pep-talking myself and had been trying to do things again because I know, know, know that the way to defeat this anxiety monster is to do things and to not let it win. But it has been a constant battle that has oft felt as though it were built on a house of cards that are so easily knocked over. But, I’ve been trying…but one thing I’ve not been doing is talking about these things, all for ridiculous reasons that I know are ridiculous but they seem so damn logical some times.

Last week changed some of that…a lot of that. Folks know we were going to face paint at Celebration VI. It’s a gig Rin has done since C2 in 2002. At the end of CV, everything seemed to be great. About a week before CVI, trouble started brewing. The lady in charge of the kids’ room had only scheduled us to paint for 2.5 hours a day…when the room is open 8. The first day we got to Orlando, when we went to work straight off from the drive, things were a bit tense but okay. Although after we hit our time cap and had to keep telling kids no, I was steadily less okay. I was definitely not okay when said lady in charge lost her shit at the tip jar on the table behind us (with a sign that said Tips are welcome but NOT Required) in front of two kids and a couple of parents. By the time we finished up, I was pretty upset. She didn’t tell us when to come back or what to do, so we took our time, particularly after we listened to a VM from Mary Franklin (our top boss, the other chick’s boss, and Rin’s primary contact) that said, basically that she was sorry it had waited so long, but she needed to talk to us about attitude and how to be Elite Squad and that there had been complaints at CV (two years ago). We were both upset and confused as hell and trying to catch Mary to talk to her during the show is almost impossible, so we were left hanging. We made it back to the family room after a couple more delays (like Rin waiting half an hour for the wheelchair stall in the bathroom) and got attitude from two of the junior staff members. No instructions. No direct comments. Just the two if them being catty. We kind of stood around for a bit feeling like morons with nothing to do, Rin coaxed an artist into not ditching his panel in the room because no one was there yet by explaining that a lot of times folks come scrambling to the room from other places, and then we worked on tidying the classroom area because we had nothing else to do. We left for the day with room boss explaining what would be going on tomorrow, no more talk of problems or what have you.

We walked in Friday morning and were fired on the spot for “taking money” and a vague claim of dishonesty. It was embarrassing, but more over it was upsetting as hell. Rin got into the room first and she was visibly upset when I walked over. The head chick in the room was downright rude and I kind if told her off. We were escorted from the building. We had no option for even a day pass or a side trip to the store, nothing. We ran into Mary on the way out and she was pretty generic about it all but did thank Rin for all her years of service.

On the way out, the guy who was escorting us actually was pretty decent and he listened to our side of things and seemed not so okay with how we were treated. But, he still couldn’t do anything.

Basically, there were personality conflicts in the family room and we were the scapegoats. They said we violated policy, but it certainly wasn’t in the paperwork we signed to work this year and no one could say where it was. It was just the reason she needed.

The only positive was that we ran into one of the families from the day before that we’d promised the little boy of that he could tell us about the rest of his day, so I explained while choking up that something had happened and we wouldn’t be there. I honestly don’t remember what I said beyond a lot of I’m sorry.

We left, went to lunch, and then went back to the hotel and crashed. I slept the rest of Friday and most of Saturday. And then Tropical Storm Isaac was coming and blahblahblah.

This whole thing pretty much kicked me in the face. It was way high on the scale of Feeding the Monster. I did actually start managing to articulate some of this to Rin this week, so that’s a plus. But last night, at the start of the geek prom that is Dragon Con, I was trying not to have a panic attack in the car. I keep wanting to hide in the hotel room all weekend (but I won’t…I hope). I’m trying. As I was laying down for the micronap I was going to get before today, I realized that some of the problem is an extension of the one I’ve been having: how to answer the question “what do you do/what have you been up to/etc.” I blank on the answer or I say “Nothing” and Rin fusses at me because I do things and why do I knock myself down like that (I don’t know, I just do, I’m sorry) and I just all around fail at this. And I had the thought, “I almost wish I could write down an answer and just hand it to people so I don’t have to be that awkward right now,” and I’m tempted to maybe do it or ask Rin what she thinks. It was that idea that got me started writing this in the first place…that and not wanting to spend the weekend of our 7th anniversary snapping Rin’s head off every time the anxiety monster rears it’s ugly head. Because it’s already happened and that’s really not fair. So…yes…trying to put this into something that makes some sense.

And still trying to decide if I’m going to be brave enough to share it…

 

[Edit: So, I ended up not sharing it until December; however, I decided to take it off my phone’s local posts and shared it my blog because I think it’s important.]

Brighter Things

I refuse to let all of that be the top entry right now*, so I’ll talk about a couple of MUCH happier things before I crawl into bed. I obviously am VERY behind so I’ll just share some of the highlights from today.

Rin frantically making little cookies to take to K’s class for her Holiday Party

The other parents, but more importantly the kids, all loved making their own ornaments. They even managed to share far better than I expected from that group.

K winning bingo, bouncing out of her seat with excitement and pride as she realized she’d won. She has HORRIBLE luck at playing bingo and so her winning was pretty big. Her prize was a chocolate santa. Huzzah for that.

The sounds of happy K working on cleaning up her room. She didn’t have homework today, so she had a bit of extra time. Sure, she had to be sent back several times, but you could still tell that in spite of cleaning up, she was happy and having fun.

Watching K’s bouncing excitement as she conspired with Rin across the room. I knew what they were planning, at least a little bit, but not exactly.  She took the time to write out a note and then typed it all in: the note?

From: Us ^_^

Message:
Rin had the idea for Mercedes Lackey, but I picked out the book. 🙂 I hope you like your Christmas present. I love you! Love, K

Rin had given her the idea a couple of weeks ago about making part of my holiday present a book for my Kindle. Rin obviously gave her the idea of Mercedes Lackey, and she let her see the titles that were available. When K found out that the newest was available, that was the one she had to pick. So, I was blessed with an early holiday present and a lot of love and smiles. They both felt it might help me feel better and it might make waiting at the doctor a bit easier.

Later, while Rin was at the grocery store and picking up dinner, listening to K play Petville on my computer. Really, hearing her narrate the different things going on is quite amusing, but mostly, she just makes happy noises and conversation and it’s fun. Some days, it can be overwhelming, but it was comfortable tonight.

There are painful things in my life but I am happy and I sometimes have to remind myself of that. Moreover, I have an AMAZING kid who fills my day with a lot of laughing and a lot of hugs. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

* Nota bene: The post that came before this one is a private entry at this point. I decided to leave it that way for reasons. So, enjoy the brighter stuff.

Forgive Me if I Doze Off

I seem to be taking tired to a whole new level these days and I am getting plenty of rest. Of course my sleep cycle has gotten a bit wonkified in the past few days and I’ve fallen asleep on the sofa more than once which is probably not the best thing, but it could be worse I suppose. Tonight I keep half-drifting off in spite of attempts to stay awake. Go figure. I only mention it because it gave me a half-witty blog title which is about all I have at the moment. 😀

The past couple of days have been busy. Friday night was fighter practice with the SCA which was fun. We actually had fighters healthy enough -to- fight so I got to watch a little bit of heavy fighting and a bit of rapier practice which was neat. K also got to try a little bit of rapier practice – at least the basic movements involved. We still have to get her gear for her to be able to fight. She also got to try some Middle Eastern dancing because the lovely baroness was teaching her and another young girl some of the movements. That was fun to watch but also pointed out that K is way out of practice with dance movements which is something we need to start working on now that she has gotten in the habit of doing running and walking outside. Stretching is good for you! I suspect that the incentive of working with Sarah will help that a lot.

Rin was working on some of her Illuminations homework and making several other people ooh and aah which I thought was cute. 🙂 She is working really hard in that class and has done some amazing work already in spite of the professor being a pain in the tush. She made a letter F with Fawkes and Dumbledore and it was fucking phenomenal. I’ll have to ask her if I can post a picture of it at some point because it is awesome. I know that a couple of people have already asked her if she’ll start helping with scrollwork once she has a bit more practice and time, so that is pretty neat!

After practice we headed over to Tradewinds. K and Rudolph (the baroness’s son) had fun together, as usual. He is a couple of years older than her, but K manages to have fun with pretty much everyone. 😀 They had a great deal of fun turning all of the paper placemats into airplanes and crashing them. Rin, Sarah, and I had a lot of fun just hanging out and talking. We decreed that we were at the cool kids’ table since we had it to ourselves. I suspect that we certainly had a great deal more fun than at the other tables!

Continue reading

I cannot quite seem to sort where to start which is probably not a huge surprise. I am supposed to be heading to bed (which seems to be a recurring theme on its own, no?), but I can’t manage to get my brain to match my body’s desire to sleep. Hah, and I totally just had to pause and go check out my last entry to see what the last things I posted were. Since I am oddly not in the mood for random, I’ll try the slightly more organized method again.

Fun Run
K was pretty excited about it because third grade got to wear purple shirts instead of their normal uniform shirts. They were running late morning but before lunch, and the day was pretty much perfect for it. It had rained the day before and we were a bit worried that they would get rained out. Rin and I headed over to watch and cheer them on. When we got there, we could see K before she could see us. She was bouncy, but what was really cute was that she got about five times more excited when she saw us.

The kids ran for about twenty minutes after their warm-up wiggling and dancing. Some of them actually managed to run most of it. Others…well, you could tell that a lot of the third and fourth graders weren’t used to having to run for long stretches. They were running to different songs and one of them was a cover of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ which was both slightly surreal and also a bit disturbing. It wasn’t bad, mind, simply…different. What was perhaps more amusing was that all of the grown-ups were singing along and some of the kids were appraising them as though they were more cool than perhaps they had thought. If only they knew! (Of course, if they are as cool as K, they DO know considering that she knows the original!)

We were quite proud of K because she actually managed to run a good portion of all of the activity time. It turns out that having her do sprints on a regular basis is a good thing! She had a lot of fun because she got to run around with Max, the Movin’ and Groovin’ Crew’s mascot, who just happens to be a cheetah. Rin managed to get some really cool pictures and even some video with her phone, so that was fun.

At the end, the kids all got popsicles and then each class had their picture taken with Max. That was its own amusing bit of chaos because at that point, the kids weren’t entirely paying attention anymore and most of the teachers looked a bit lost since the Get Movin’ and Groovin’ team hadn’t given the best instructions. The pictures all got taken though and then the kids were back to class and Rin and I headed for lunch and a few other errands.

Full Moon, Solstice, and Other Random Things
This month’s full moon was a bit odd. I suspect that part of it had to do with the fact that it fell on solstice which can change the energies in the air anyway. However, I don’t think I’ve had a full moon pass where I was so exhausted in quite awhile. Normally I have a fair bit of extra energy and even tend to go a day or so without really sleeping because of the charge in the air. This time I was a walking zombie and was more than a bit agitated because of it.

The general feel of the solstice was heavy and there seemed to be a lot of tension running around, not just here, but with other friends as well. I later posited to Rin that some of -our- general tension and sense of “something pending” was perhaps that this is the beginning of our first full season in our new situation and that can make things seem more intense. It also doesn’t help that right now both of us are trying to balance a lot of things and answer a lot of questions that don’t seem to want to have easy answers.

On the whole, the days around the full moon were relatively quiet. Rin and I did sneak out Thursday night after K had gone to bed to get coffee and finish plotting out what we wanted to send to the coronation that was going to be happening on Saturday. (More on that in a bit.) It was still warm enough that we could sit outside on the patio at Starbucks but it actually was a bit brisk which was nice given that the first day of fall was in the upper 80s temperature wise which felt a bit odd, too. It was nice to sit and talk and enjoy the evening and watch the clouds passing over the moon. They made some rather spectacular images and made me wish for about the millionth time for a camera. Sadly that is way down on the priority list at the moment.

Friday Rin ran around and covered a lot of ground on finishing our project while I slept since I felt like crap. That has been a theme of the past couple of weeks. After K got home, we went to get the things we needed to finish up the project even though we found out that odds were low that we were going to manage to run into the Baroness before they left. We also were briefly pondering attending said coronation because I had gotten the distance mixed up with something else. A three and a half hour drive is plausible for a day trip…a five hour drive is not, because really, ten hours in the car total, plus the event itself, and she and I both likely would have fallen on our faces or driven into a ditch. Reason won the day though since we knew we couldn’t really afford the expense of a hotel room right now. Of course, this meant that our gift for the new King and Queen will have to be delivered to them another time, but sometimes that is how things fall out.

It turns out that it was a good thing that we did not go though since I spent most of Saturday with a vicious headache stemming from an earache. It only got worse as the evening progressed and some drama that cropped up throughout the day didn’t really help that at all. I didn’t get a ton of sleep Saturday night and spent a lot of time with a heating pack across my face. It helped some but really, when something hurts so badly that it hurts too much to cry…well, that says something about how much it hurt I think.

Sunday, for me, was a very slow, lazy day. I was curled up on the sofa for most of it. Rin and K on the other hand were busy little beavers. They were doing helpful and useful things like cleaning out the ovens since it was cool enough to air out the house and other cleaning up the kitchen work. K was a super helpful which always makes me really proud of her. I felt like hell that I couldn’t really help, but every time I stood up on Sunday I was having to catch myself on something in an effort to not fall over. I was unamused by this state, though it is, in the grand scheme of things, nothing new.

I do know that they got a fair bit done on the kitchen and the bathroom and they also were working on laundry, too. I was pretty proud of both of them, really.

Life as a Hornet
Monday night was the first PTO meeting at K’s school. It was actually really interesting and I have to say that they really have their stuff together. I like the fact that they seem to be really organized; I also like the fact that the PTO at her school actually does make a really big difference with school activities and even community activities. It was also fantastic to learn that Hamilton is in the top 15% of elementary schools in Indiana and they are really close to being a four star school which requires the school’s test scores in math and language arts to be in the top 25% and also for them to have the top 25% in attendance. They are a bit short on the math and a little short on the attendance; however, their language arts scores are pretty phenomenal. It makes them stand not far behind the “banner” school in the Corporation which I think is pretty awesome.

The president was talking about several things they need volunteers for and Rin has talked me into helping with the Playground Grant Writing Committee. I think she’s nuts and that I am in way over my head; however, the president pointed out that no experience was necessary but that useful skills included being able to do Internet research and also being able to make things sound really smart. Given that I actually can be good at both, I might not be so lost as I fear. Of course, I think there is definitely going to be a learning curve here. o_O I poked into a bit of research after we got home and there is a LOT that I need to find out about and learn, that’s for sure.

On the whole, one thing I REALLY like is that the members of the PTO were -really- accepting and basically treated Rin and I like we were already a part of the team. In the past, I have had to earn my position as a team member and that was after putting in a lot of work in a lot of places at the school. I was pretty impressed on the whole that they were as friendly as they were. I like it a lot.

After the meeting we went to dinner. I called Mom while we were there since I had been incommunicado all weekend. Whoops. She has pretty much been at Grandmother’s non-stop. She was actually at home when I called and she joked that it was like her and Dad were dating again except that she was living at the wrong house. I thought that was pretty hilarious actually. I asked her if she got mauled by the cats and apparently she almost did and they had been playing lap roulette with her while she was there. I also got to share the news that my cousin and his wife had had their baby that day since I knew she and Grandmother both would want to know. She and K talked for a bit and then K talked to Dad but about that point, our food got there, so I told Mom I’d talk to her later and we finished dinner.

Girl Scouts
Today was registration for Girl Scouts which K was literally bouncing over. We officially have all of her paperwork turned in and Rin and I have started the process of being volunteers for her troop. Her meetings are going to be on Sundays which is better than the other option. It does mean that the group that is based out of her school is not the troop she’ll be in but Wednesdays from 4-6 doesn’t work for us since Rin doesn’t even get out of class until 5 on Wednesdays. Honestly, I like the troop leader of the Sunday Brownie troop and she is already excited for us to be working with her, so that is awesome. We just have to finish getting our paperwork filled out which includes having five references which they will call…and the references cannot be related to you, which I think is interesting. The Girl Scouts, they are not playing! They run background checks on their adult volunteers.

At any rate, the process is now underway and our first meeting is 10 October, and K is super excited which is good. I just hope she STAYS this excited.

I also had a chance to talk to one of the other troop leaders and got some tips about pediatricians and dentists and other information like how some of the state assistance works up here so that was handy. It turns out that unlike Georgia, Indiana will back pay on medical bills if you’ve already gotten the paperwork process started so that is something that I am going to be working on tomorrow. I am really not looking forward to that and I know that a lot of that is basically me arguing with my pride; however, I know that I HAVE been job hunting and I have been trying to find income and it hasn’t worked out so far…so now I need to get my head out of my ass and do what needs to be done. I just…had hoped to not have to do it all over again.

It’s 3am…
Well, almost. We’re about three minutes shy…and of course by the time I post this, we’ll likely be long past that point, by you never know…and it does make a nice heading.

I don’t much know what else to say. I am using a new laptop than I was which is making my life a lot easier. It’s nice to be able to do more than one thing at a time, that’s for sure.

Medically…well, it’s been about a month since I was on prednisone, so a lot of the typical post-steroid issues are cropping back up. The tightness in my chest wall, the inflammation between my ribs and across my chest area are making life unpleasant. The faint rash across my face and across my chest is quite present and it is most definitely not sunburn. Dry, itchy eyes are driving me up a wall. The lack of mobility is disconcerting some days. The list kind of goes on and on and it is upsetting and worrisome. Even more upsetting is trying to figure out how to balance the cost of medicines with everything else. Once things are a bit more sorted and I have the things K needs taken care of sorted, then I will get to begin the fun process of trying to find a new doctor for myself. I am very much not looking forward to that. Finding a new doctor is tricky when you are healthy. Finding one when you have a chronic illness is a thousand times trickier. First you have to find one that will handle a chronic illness with more than “it’s all in your head, here have some happy pills,” and then it will be finding one who will be willing to hear me out and maybe run some more of the tests that I need run. There are things that really should have been done that have not been and I don’t know where to even start. Obviously walking into a new office comes with a lot of things to consider anyway. I need to find a doctor who will work with me and talk to me. Oh, and finding one who will also write scripts for my meds would be handy. *sighs* I’m giving myself a headache just thinking about it…but it will have to happen and sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’ll just try not to think about it too much. I can’t sort that until I have insurance of some kind anyway.

I feel like a whiner tonight. No, worse, I feel more than a bit useless. Rin has been doing most of the things that need doing lately. I have helped with some small things, but it is not taking much to send me back to bed. For the tons of stuff that she did this morning and afternoon…I gathered up one bag of trash and sorted a few other things. It…is frustrating and upsetting and…some of it is kind of scary. I am used to having mobility issues…I am not quite so used to having such broad-spectrum mobility issues. My coordination has been incredibly off the past couple of weeks and I do not think that my inner ear is to blame for all of that. Sometimes, it feels like muscles and joints just do not want to move the way I want them to move. It takes almost nothing to send me almost careening to the floor and on more than one occasion I’ve had to put myself in the floor before I ended up there in an uncontrolled fashion. I don’t entirely know what to do with all of that. I stay exhausted, no matter how much sleep I get…and believe me, I’m doing a lot more sleeping than I tend to make it sound. My ability to even do the bits of walking about that I was doing have been severely limited again and that is kind of frustrating since I had sort of begun to get into a routine. It is tricky to do exercise when you’re almost falling on your face though. *sighs* I don’t know…I do know that talking about it is just kind of making me more frustrated right now and I need to actually go to bed because I have a lot I need to do tomorrow and I really, really do not want to sound like a whiner.

One step at a time…that’s the best that I can do I suppose. Aside from attempting to handle bureaucracy tomorrow, I also need to make a couple of phone calls and try to get a couple of things done around the house. I suspect that the latter will be the most limited activity. Who knows? Maybe I’ll wake up with a stored energy pool or something? *hopeful*

Until later…be excellent to each other.