Tag

Grateful

I Quit

The time has come; I just have to quit.

Drinking has become a chore. Finding the alcohol in every situation…

quit mimosas

There’s no drink service on this plane/in this comedy club/at this tapas joint? How can I possibly deal?
Will I be able to sneak a bottle into that festival/concert/cruise ship?
How will I function without alcohol at this holiday party/high school reunion/completely random social gathering?

 

Perhaps there is a comfort in knowing exactly where to go (the bar!) and what to do (get a drink!) when entering a potentially awkward situation, but hopefully this is something that a mature (kinda) adult can deal with.

I’m not a person who has some amazing blackout-rode-a-llama-home-from-the-bar-and-there-are-3-people-who-I-don’t-know-sleeping-on-my-kitchen-floor-and-how-did-I-end-up-with-MORE-money-in-my-wallet-than-I-started-out-with-? story, but I’ve definitely had periods in my life during which I imbibed a little more than I should: when I was dealing with my diagnosis, coming to terms with my separation, that time(s) that my kids just would NOT STOP (okay, so that’s daily).

And my interest has just not been where it used to be. I truly feel that sometimes I’ll have a cocktail out of habit, not enjoyment.

quit alcohol

And health!
Of course it’s better for your body to stay away from alcohol. As per WebMD, drinking, even moderately, boosts one’s risk for several types of cancer (but, let’s be honest, that site is infamous for diagnosing everyone, even someone with the slightest swollen glands, with the big C).

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism discusses the horrific effects of drinking on most of one’s anatomy, including the brain (shocker: it’s harder to think clearly when you’ve been consuming alcohol), the heart (stroke, among other issues), the liver (I think we were all aware of this one), the pancreas (dangerous inflammation and swelling), and the immune system (maybe get 2 flu shots this year?).

Further research discusses how the chronic abuse of ethanol (alcohol) can have permanent effects of brain function.

And of course my health in particular, which has taken a turn for the worse as of late. I know drinking alcohol is disproved of among the medical community in regards to autoimmune diseases, so this is precisely directed toward my goal of taking MS down!

I’m not talking about the dude that has a couple of beers on Saturday night with his buddies then calls it a night, and I’m not implicating that woman who meets her co-worker for a drink after work.

I’m also not talking about that guy who needs a couple of shots of vodka in his orange juice in order to function for the rest of the day or the lady who carries around a flask of rum to work to pour into her coffee. The chemically-dependent individual is on a whole different level.

I’m talking about ME. I am not a binge drinker. I wouldn’t even consider myself an abuser, but I do drink.

I’m just a girl, standing in front of a bordeaux, saying “No thank you.”

I just don’t need another “thing.”

I remember quitting smoking. How it seemed completely impossible in the beginning. I couldn’t even wrap my brain around the concept of going to a bar and NOT smoking.

  • Being in my car and NOT smoking.
  • Eating a meal and afterward NOT smoking.
  • Taking a smoke-break at work and NOT smoking.

Now, however, I feel so completely free of the burden of cigarettes: of buying them, of having them in supply at all times, of smelling like them (in retrospect, eww!), and of having to go outside in the middle of January to have one.

Will I feel more unburdened without having alcohol in my life?

Let’s find out.

Placing Blame (mostly just a list of stuff I’m bad at)

I can name a million things that I’m bad at:

the first 16 have to do with the maintenance and handling of a motor vehicle (I’ll let you know when I’m in the road),

  • properly plucking my eyebrows so they’re even own both sides,
  • reading “I’ll Love You Forever” without sobbing uncontrollably,

    Bad at reading this children's book without crying
    *sob* …then he holds HER is his arms!?!
  • successfully completing a Lego playset without abandoning it halfway through,
  • confrontation with people who know what they’re talking about,
  • a sense of confidence that everything I said and did during that social interaction last week wasn’t completely awkward,
  • sometimes snorting while laughing (okay, OFTEN snorting while laughing- take it as a compliment),
  • and team sports.

Additionally, I wear shoes that are completely inappropriate for the weather. I drink too much wine. I get frustrated and tend to fly off the handle when I’m running late. I look drunk at 10 am, when I’m dead sober.

Oh yeah, I’m also petrified of small rodents- to the point that I’d throw a loved one in the direction of a heinous mole to run away screaming for my life.

Bad at reacting to rodents
*shudder*

These are for starters.

There are things that come more naturally to me; for those, I am grateful. Specifically, car dancing. I am excellent at busting a move to 90s R&B classics at red lights. My children may disagree, but I know the truth.

A sign of maturity is the ability to realize and accept one’s own faults, and I try to do that. It drives me completely out of my mind, though, when I’m blamed for faults that are not my own, or things that are totally out of my capacity.

Which brings me to my current situation: homeless, bags of food and clothing in the trunk of my car, moving from place-to-place because wonderful friends are willing to take us in, awaiting a closing date on my new house.

It could be worse. It could be A LOT worse.

The problem I have is that it seems as though everyone in the situation places the blame on every other person. At the heart of it is (li’l old) me. Although I know that there are many things that I’m not great at, I need to realize that this is out of my hands, and resist the urge to blame anyone else.

Even though it’s clearly somebody else’s fault.

Forgetting MS

Sometimes I legitimately forget.

It’s 9 am and the moving truck is coming in an hour. I’ve been up since 5:30 and still haven’t finished packing up my clothes. Or- doh!- the basement. I wish I could just power through, like I had planned.
My legs, though, they’ve quit- they up and decided that they’d had enough.
And now I sit and wait. Wait for my mom to get here. Wait for my ex to get here. Wait for my legs to feel up to the task of walking; a task that I’d taken advantage of for the 30 years before I started to show symptoms of MS.

My message is this: don’t take advantage of the things we all sometimes take for granted. The ability to see, the ability to hear, the ability to walk.

Love to all <3

Forgetting MS
My baby, sleeping on the floor, next to one of the many moving boxes throughout the house.

Misconceptions

Life is a series of misconceptions.

When we are kids, this is more direct: the belief in a magical fairy who creeps into our bedrooms as we sleep to take our old canines and slip a couple dollars under our pillow; a 6-foot tall rabbA misconceptionit, who hops around laying chocolate eggs and leaving baskets of candy and fake plastic grass, wrapped in cellophane and a giant pink bow; an elf who flies from the family room curtain rod to the bookcase in the den at nighttime, surveying our behavior in December in order to report it to the big guy.

Okay, perhaps these are less misconceptions, more like lies.

 

But, as kids, we also have misconceptions about the people we are surrounded by. That our parents are always perfect. That everything will always turn out okay in the end. As a parent now, I have first-hand knowledge that the former is not true. Not even a little bit true. I am admittedly flawed, yet I try to live up to the conceptions that my children have of me.

And, perhaps it’s a little naïve of me to think so, but hopefully everything will turn out okay in the end, or, at least, how it’s supposed to.

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Christmas Past, Christmas Future **three**

The Conclusion

“Happy Thoughts”

**one**

**two**

The memory faded and my brain returned to the present, being crushed on both sides by my aggressive seatmates, both determined to be the emperor of the arm rest.

The seat in front of me reclined, making my space even smaller. Row 22, mine, didn’t move back. I suddenly felt as though the oxygen on the plane was getting more sparse, and I half-expected the masks to fall from the ceiling. I slowly filled my lungs with air and blew it out, realizing that I looked like a lunatic to the people seated next to me. Just a couple more hours…

Thinking happy thoughts

I picked up my magazine again, but it was mere moments before my eyes glazed over, and my thoughts began wandering yet again. Once more, it was Christmastime, but this memory was from a few years earlier.

Avery was in her infant swing, giggling as she stared at the colorful lights that adorned the tree. I looked around at the decorations that I had just put up, and silently congratulated myself. Now, to finish ironing the Christmas linens and put the meatloaf in the oven.

I was one housedress away from becoming my grandmother.

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In Retrospect, I’m a Moron

 

TheySeeing things in retrospect say hindsight is 20/20. Looking at things “in retrospect” is never good for the psyche…

I just had such a typical reaction. As with so many in the situation, I blamed myself. If there’s one thinIn Retrospectg I hate, however, it’s being so regular.

When our ninth Valentine’s Day together rolled around, I received no mention, no card, no delivery of over-priced bouquets and chocolates sent to the door. That isn’t to say that couples who don’t celebrate the day are destined for relationship trouble- we just always HAD.

Sappiness is a quality that runs deeply through my veins.

I could sense that there was something awry. As the days went on, I bought pseudo-informative literature on being a better wife to peruse on my kindle, and put some of the ideas into practice. Telling myself I was crazy, and that nothing was wrong, we went back to our lives as normal: me taking care of the kids, him taking care of the bills.

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First Date With a Friend (Segment D)

The Final Chapter: At the Concert

Segment A

Segment B 

Segment C

Concert

The screams of 50,000 ecstatic fans filled our ears before we even entered Shea.
“Glory Days!”
“Dancing in the Dark!”
“Born to Run!”

People at the concert kept yelling out the names of The Boss’s most popular songs, hoping they’d be played, not taking into account that the set list had been created and maintained throughout the entirety of his tour so far. Though I wasn’t the hugest Springsteen fan, the excitement of being in the stadium amongst the uproar of the people and in the presence of such a popular figure was thrilling. Chris and I walked (a little on the wobbly side from our earlier cocktails) to the doors and handed the man our tickets. I half expected him to say that they were no good, but he instead pointed out our seats, far closer to the stage than I had anticipated.

“One of my Dad’s patient’s gave him these tickets,” Chris said in a voice that was meant to sound like a conspiratorial whisper, but was instead a strange hushed-yell, attempting to be heard over the crowd. We made our way down and took our seats momentarily, then popped back up with the rest of the crowd to sing (shout out what lyrics I knew, make up others) and dance (what some might call convulsions on my part). We laughed and smiled and made googly eyes at each other. He was just a friend, but…

As Bruce performed his signature, “Born in the USA” for his second encore, I looked up at Chris, who caught my eyes in his own. I stood up on my tiptoes and I kissed him. I kissed my friend.

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Hike

hike

 

Butterflies the color of frothy milk bubbles glided close to my nose and tall grass tickled my ankles.I breathed in the sweet smell of honeysuckle, peering through the tree trunks, so long and slender, like the necks of a hundred giraffes.

On foot, I raced the strong river currents. The sound of the rushing water spilling over abounding rocks competed with the raucous chirping of the blue heron.

A wall of dirt loomed to the left, the gnarled roots of trees jutting out toward me, desperately searching for nutrients. The path became more narrow and I looked down at the rocks and sticks and uneven ground that tried to prevent my endurance on the trail.

Looking back up to the mountains in the distance was all at once exhilarating and calming. My breath felt like it had been cut short, to blame: the enchanting scene before me, the thin mountain air, the strenuous hike. I took a large gulp of oxygen and continued to put one foot in front of the other. I allowed my mind to meander through the cavernous enclaves of thought that paralleled the twisting path.

I shouldn’t be doing this. It’s a fact that those with multiple sclerosis cannot hike on dirt paths through the mountains. But I put that thought out of my mind and concentrated on planting my feet on the ground in a meditative rhythm. A little over an hour had passed and I started to notice that it was becoming harder to lift my feet over the debris on the trail. I was beginning to move at a much slower pace than my mom and my sister, whose bodies became smaller and smaller as they got further away. Don’t look back… don’t look back and see me stumbling.View from our hike

My new soundtrack became the more frequent tapping of my walking stick as it hit the earth, and my breath as it augmented when I tried to speed up. The last few paces of the hiking trail were a struggle. Although I didn’t feel tired, my legs and feet just wouldn’t obey the directives so clearly laid out to them by my brain. I looked up the dirt path, assessing whether I’d be able to make it, or if I’d be spending my remaining years sitting on a rock, only a few feet from the paved road. From around the corner, I saw the dog, pulling my sister down toward where I was standing. She put out her arm without a word and I gratefully grabbed hold, allowing her to be my support up the rocky hill.

I’ve never been more appreciative to see the blacktop of a parking area, and I welcomed the sight of the silver Mazda that my mom had thankfully pulled around closer to where I had emerged. With a huff and a grunt, I fell into the backseat of the vehicle, the dog seated comfortably next to me. I caught my breath and absorbed the coolness of the air conditioning. My mom twisted around to look at me. “So, what did you think?”cloud and sun

I looked over to the magnificence of the mountains, the clear lake below. I thought about the butterflies and the birds. I remembered the trees and the colors so vivid that I actually felt them. “I can’t wait to go again.”

 

Identification

What Is Your “Identity”?

I remember in a graduate class the professor posing the question.

She told us not to answer right away, but rather to consider the question carefully over the course of a few days. The next time we met, each of us were to think of all the words that identified us as individuals— teacher, spouse, parent, student, patient, former whatever-the-case-may-be, athlete, friend, etc.

Oh, good. Any easy day, I thought. Time to give my brain a break.

Turns out, I was wrong. This happened to be a defining moment for me, though at the time, I was unaware. So, I considered the ways that I saw my life, and how others perceived me. I thought about how I wanted to be identified. I also thought about how I didn’t want to be identified. This is an exercise that I find helpful to return to often, in order to make sure that I’m doing everything in my power to display the qualities that I want to be synonymous with as a person.

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Bizarrare, Yet Sublime

My New SAHM Life

I felt the comfort of being in a place with no complications; no obstacles to hurdle. But that, dear readers, does not a story make.

As my 32nd birthday approached, I thought of where I was now, what my life had become, and the fact that there was so much to look forward to: another baby was on its way, to round out our family- a boy, no less! My little toddler, Avery, was bright and self-aware, my marriage good.prenant sahm with toddler
I was a stay-at-home-mom now, a SAHM, something I never imagined I’d be, but was quite fond of the new position. Although I’d been known to don an apron to avoid the inevitable flour spill in the kitchen, I was not the type to vacuum the carpet daily, nor was I one to iron the bed sheets, and if my family was waiting forI'm not a proper sahm me to lay out their freshly laundered and pressed outfits each day, they were going to be spending an awful lot of time in the nude.

I had always had an image of the stay-at-home mom as a woman who anticipated and tended to every need of her family with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. She wore sensible shoes, oven mitts, and a perfectly coiffed bob, and she listened to Tony Bennett while frosting a chocolate cake. This could NEVER be me: uncomfortably high heels, chipped purple fingernail polish, and long hair piled in a wet knot at the back of my head. Led Zeppelin (and, at times, Tony Bennett) roared out of the ipod speaker, and there were no sweet confections displayed lovingly on the countertop. Not exactly the image of June Cleaver, yet here I was. Mom. Everyday. Every minute.

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