Kids… Should Be Seen and Not Heard

Shush!

Do you remember that old adage? Well, these days parents and guardians are lax on this and that makes sense (to a point).  When I was growing up, I wasn’t really allowed to talk about how I felt when it came to anything… If you were a kid before 1995, this probably rings true in your life as well.  Since I wasn’t allowed to talk about anything, or ‘if I didn’t stop crying I’d get ‘something to cry about,’ it kind of did some kind of trippy thing to my psyche.

But then, it also taught me how to handle life as I got older.

Most of us were told to sit down, shut up and eat dinner. Or when we came home from school with a note or a bad grade, we were afraid of the consequences.  So, what did we do? We tried harder.  When we fell, we were told to ‘stop being a baby’ or ‘you’ll live.’

Looking back, all of this shaped me into who I am today.  I have respect, I make sure I do well in things (or give it my best), I don’t freak out if i don’t get my way, and I tend to not cry when I get physically injured.

What I am saying, is that there were some lessons learned there.

These days kids do what they want, say what they want, scream when they want and the parents… well, a lot of the parents just let there kids do whatever the hell they want!

WTF kind of bull**** is that?!

I get that kids should be able to communicate their feelings and verbalize what they need… but it is up to parents to teach children how to do this in a constructive and healthy manner. This comes on the heels of the news bit trending and plastering social media about the kid who was screaming for pancakes in a restaurant while being ignored by her mother. The owner of the establishment handled things the only way she felt would work and allegedly screamed in the kid’s face.

Now, I am not saying this was the right thing to do.  It surely wasn’t.  And I’m sure, looking back, that owner knows she probably should have handled things differently.

But holy hell, how many other patrons were in that restaurant listening to that screaming kid wishing the mother would do something to sooth and quiet that little girl?

I have been in restaurants with screaming kids… I have been a parent in a restaurant with a grumpy child.  Albeit, that was about fifteen years ago, but still, I left when my kids wouldn’t settle down!  No one will enjoy their meal while there is a screaming child in the establishment, and certainly I wans’t going to enjoy my meal while my kid was freaking out for whatever reason.

Sure, the restaurant owner could have handled the situation differently. But you know what?  The mother could have handled it differently as well.  I mean, we can point fingers all day long.  The fact is that the baby was crying for whatever reason and it was up to the parent (and no one else) to take care of her.  And if a parent doesn’t want to tend to the needs of their child, why should other people suffer?

You may or may not agree.  Chime in with your thoughts.

Addictive Personality… What I Learned About Myself Through Mini Pretzels

Addiction

Since I was little, I knew I was different.  I didn’t act like other kids; didn’t play like other kids or think aloud like other kids.  When I found something I liked (whether to eat, read, watch, etc) I did it until I got bored and exhausted at the thought of it.

I have been clean and sober since May 26, 2006.  It was a rough road before that day of enlightenment, and the road after the sun shone on me was pretty dark at first. I essentially locked myself in my basement apartment only leaving to go get cigarettes and bottles of water.

As the days turned to weeks, weeks to months and months to years, I didn’t really think of any of my actions as being relative to addiction. Sure, the drugs and alcohol were definitely a part of it.  My lack of self-control and my glaring sense of low self-worth paved the way to the drugs and alcohol that I let destroy my life.

Now, nine years into a clean and sober life, I had a realization about myself.  And it involved mini pretzels.

In the office I have worked for over seven of my sober years, there is a set of chairs and a small, black table across from my desk.  Often times, we here at the office will put a snack on the table.  It might be a box of cookies, a tin of wafers or a giant plastic tub of mini pretzels.

These pretzels have been hell for me since they arrived.  The tub was stuffed to the gills when it arrived and now it sits half full because someone in this office kept opening the tub and taking handfuls of pretzels out.  They would put them neatly on a tissue from the tissue box and then eat them one after the other.

That someone was me.  That someone was me every day up until today.  And as I drove home from work last night cursing myself (because I ate so many mini pretzels; because I gained some weight in the last three weeks; because if I don’t stop eating, I’ll never fit into my wedding dress in two weeks) I had an epiphany.

Everything I do, I do in excess. There is no such thing as moderation in my life when I am left to my own devices.  Whether it is food, coffee, cigarettes, spending money… it does not matter.  I will do it until I can no longer do it (whatever it is).

I will do these things until I am physically sick, or mentally anguished or utterly disgusted through and through.

Then I get down on myself (like, really down) because I think “hey, you’re a giant piece of shit, you know.  I mean, look at you!  You ate all those pretzels!  You drank all that green tea! Look how many cigarettes you smoked today! You’re a fat, disgusting worthless piece of shit.” And then I’ll say ‘fuck it’ and eat more pretzels, smoke more cigarettes, drink more green tea. I’ll pull out my credit cards and see how much money I have to spend and if I have some, I’ll spend it.

And that pisses me off to no end.

I had my days of feeling worthless and low when I was drinking and drugging over nine years ago. Those days of slovenliness were over for me!

Or were they?

Because there was something else I noticed last night while I sat on the couch at home while my cat meowed from the kitchen regarding his dinner.  I am extremely disorganized.

Disorganization for me is a way to keep the chaos in my life because somewhere deep down inside (I think I have almost found that dark part of me) I STILL feel I don’t deserve good things.  I don’t deserve to be in shape.  I don’t deserve a nice home or any of these things I have worked so hard for (busted my ass for) throughout my sobriety.

I just realized all this last night!

How could I think this?  How could I, a woman who has managed continuous sobriety for over NINE YEARS, have such a hard time getting rid of piles of papers or putting down the mini pretzels?  How could I find it difficult not to spend money that I don’t have to spend in the first place?!

I’ll tell you how… because somewhere inside, that little girl is still in there and she is angry or upset over something.  There is something I have not touched on and I know that if I touch on it, it will be painful.  Initially, it will be excruciatingly painful.  It will suck and it will hurt and I will be angry and crying…

But I know in the end, it will be glorious and I will be able to laugh at the giant vat of mini pretzels and say, ‘not today’ every day until I don’t even think about the mini pretzels. And then I’ll clean up all those papers, and I’ll stop spending money on stupid shit, and I’ll finish everything I start.

Thank you for reading.

Must. Write. Something.

So… a few years back, I signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and did, in fact, complete my word count to get my handy dandy certificate that hangs on the wall in my office.

I wound up tossing that novel in a pile; leaving it unattended and pining for attention on my laptop. I guess it was a starter novel or just something to occupy my mind or maybe a challenge to see if I could actually finish something I started.

I was ecstatic that I finished something… but I was sad because I knew it was not my best work.  I have since dabbled in starting a music website, www.thesteelonion.com and also some paintings and other artwork for sale on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StarSteelArts.

But I have picked back up on a story idea I started almost two years ago… it is apocalyptic in nature, but not zombies per say.  I like where it is going and at the same time annoyed because I have a day job (need to pay the rent and buy food) that takes eight hours out of my day.  I can feel the passion burning inside of me.  I feel it shaking my core.

I haven’t felt that nagging ache to write in a long time.  It is gnawing at me like cocaine used to gnaw at me back when I was still using.  That was almost nine years ago.  This gnawing is different.  This is a healthy want.

I will finish writing a great novel.  I will publish that novel.  I will live my dream.

People… They Are Scary. (Rant)

Scary People
There was a time when I truly loved people… I loved being around them to an extent and I loved interacting as well.

These days, I am not so sure.  It is a glaring fact (which no one wants to address) that somewhere along the way, people have come to the conclusion that just by showing up to your job, or a sport you play or to school every day, there should be some type of reward in it for you.

When the hell did this happen?

Look around, people. We have raised a nation (quite possibly an entire world) of narcissistic brats with a grandiose sense of self-importance.  I am pretty sure it started when someone got the idea that it made sense to give out trophies for participation only.

When I was young (not that long ago) we got trophies for winning; stickers for getting an A+ on a paper, a couple of dollars for bringing home an honors report card.  We got dessert when we finished out entire dinner.  If we talked back, we were in trouble.

When I was a little older, I got raises and promotions at jobs because I worked really hard to get ahead.  Things didn’t happen for people in the 80’s through the early 00’s simply because they ‘showed up’ (or any other decade until 2010).

Now… now we have people demanding high wages for menial labor.  We have people getting incensed over not getting tipped at a restaurant and plastering it all over the internet. We have people who think it is totally legitimate to do whatever the fuck they want to do simply because they want to do it.  We have beer commercials getting banned because it says “take the word ‘no’ out of your vocabulary.”  I guess I am old, because when I saw that commercial, I didn’t think what the majority thought.  I thought it meant to take chances and face your fears. I didn’t think it meant to go out and rape someone because she said ‘no’ when you came on to her.

What the hell is going on around here?! Is there really something in the water?  Is the air being pumped full of chemicals that make so many people under thirty years of age completely bat-shit crazy?

There was a time when life meant something.  It meant something to go to school, graduate, get a great career, maybe settle down and raise a family, or maybe stay single and travel the world. We did all these things without putting it on the internet for validation.  We suffered life and enjoyed life and we loved it.

These days, we suffer life and enjoy life, but for some reason, it lacks meaning if we don’t put it on Facebook.

There are so many people who take ‘selfies’ and put them on the internet with a negative comment… “I’m fat” or “Ugly” or whatever cockamamie negative comment a person can make about oneself. I can’t possibly be the only person who sees through this bullshit.  Can I?  Am I the only person on Earth that sees these people are starved for attention and suffer low self-esteem and self-worth despite trying to tell the world otherwise? If you felt that great about yourself, you wouldn’t need to put a picture of yourself on the internet saying ‘I’m ugly’ or ‘fat’ or whatever.  If you really felt you were fat or ugly… you wouldn’t be putting your picture on the fucking internet!!!!!!! 

Thank the Bejeebs not everyone is like this… the scary thing is, that one day everyone WILL be like this (unless something changes), because all the people with common sense will have died and the world will be full of people smashing into each other in their cars on the street because they were too busy texting, or taking a selfie to notice that there are other people in the world that deserve the same respect as they demand.

They will be too busy crying and bitching about their kid not graduating high school despite the fact he didn’t pass one class for four fucking years to notice that our natural resources are almost depleted. They will be too busy bitching about the fact that they got kicked out of Wal-Mart for whipping their boob out in the checkout line because their baby was hungry to notice that the social media generation will most likely be the generation that makes us go full circle back to the caveman years.

I mean really… look around.  There is nothing but a bunch of hungry, horny and violent Neanderthals running around today.  The only difference from millions of years ago is that today we have the internet.

Those Crazy Thoughts…

Yep.  Where do they come from?  I am pretty sure they start out rather small and then if fed, they grow, if ignored, they eventually wither and die.  Today was one of those days (and still is one of those nights) that I wound up feeding them instead of starving them and now I am just a giant ball of nerves and nausea.

It’s incredible, really.  The core of it all is how I don’t feel “good enough.” I am not pretty enough, or smart enough or funny enough, or sassy enough.  My feet are too big, my boobs are too small, My legs are too skinny and my belly isn’t flat enough.

Looking at it from a perspective of brief sanity, it all sounds completely insane. But my brief bout with rationalism is, in fact, less that the flash of a firing gun.

Why do I do this to myself?

The other thing is, too, I self-sabotage in interesting ways.  There are certain people I don’t want in my life nor my fiancee’s life, but still they come around begging to get some work done by him.  And instead of me just lying and saying he is busy or whatever, I am honest.  Damn it, why am I so fucking honest?!

Tracks of Insanity
Tracks of Insanity

The Holiday Season

Sometimes I think I am a long lost relative of Grumpy Cat… But then I think about it and realize a) she’s a cat b) she’s still alive and c) she’s a fucking cat for God’s sake.  I have been kind of down for the last few days.  This could be obvious to my readers because, since inception of this blog, I have not posted anything close to happy and my posts are not consistent.

Yes, I have been to a shrink (many) and (I believe I stated in an earlier post) I have been diagnosed with PTSD, Depression and Bi-polar Disorder… I’ve read about these disorders as well as being told I have them (one or two or all) by more than one doctor/therapist.  Hell, I even took psych classes in college because I was going to be a drug and alcohol counselor before the boom. I was also pretty sure I could figure out what the fuck is wrong with me.  After reading the DSM-IV, I was sure I was everything from a psychopath to having dissociative disorder.

Nope, just depressed with bouts of bi-polarism sprinkled with PTSD.

Go figure.

Anyway, I get in these moods where I just wish everyone would go the fuck away, all the people I dislike would just die and then it would be me, the animals and maybe some coffee and a few packs of cigarettes.  Thankfully, these moods don’t last more than a day or three and I gradually seep back into the molasses of reality.

So, it is the holiday season… woo hoo (sarcasm).  My kids are grown (not to mention they don’t really speak to me), my family moved away a couple years ago, the other part of my family is pretty distant and the other other part of my family is dead.

Charcoal Tree Sketch
Charcoal Tree Sketch

So the holidays consist of my fiancée and me, a handful of friends and the flock of Facebook Friends on the computer.  You know, the whole “Hey, I’m doing great and I hope you are too! 🙂 Stop by if you wanna and tell Susie I said, ‘hello!’.”

Rubbish.

I write about music on the side… I was writing for other websites but then decided to start my own because no one was letting me write what I wanted or write about the bands I liked.  So I said, ‘fuck it.’ and started my own site. Yesterday I had someone comment to me on Facebook because of an opinion I had about a band I was checking out.

That opinion really fucking pissed me off.  Normally, I don’t let such things get to me when I am in a ‘normal state of mind.’  Clearly, this state of mind was not the case because he irritated the hell out of me, but I kept my cool.  I am a master of saying the right thing… always.  Sociopath? 

Possibility… but, I digress.

That has nothing to do with the holidays, except maybe the holidays have everything to do with how I have felt since Thanksgiving. I mean, it is a holiday.

I remember when the holidays used to mean something.  On Thanksgiving, I had to run out for another can of cranberry sauce, and they were putting up stuff for Christmas. Not to mention, now Black Friday means nothing since now they have ‘brown Thursday’ or some shit. My GOD, let the people eat dinner with their families in peace!

Anyway, the holidays are just different these days.  Sure, they are happy (especially when it snows on Christmas morning) since I have love in my life.  But, they are just different…

Peace.

When It Gets To Be Too Much…

Did you ever have one of those days when you just felt like, “What the fuck is the point?  I mean, really.  What is the damn point?”  I have had a few (dozen) throughout my life and the worst part of that is when I feel really low… like really low that I want to reach out to someone but I already know how the conversation will go because I have had the conversation multiple times with several different people.

One person I had that conversation with was my mother when I was thirteen years old. 13.

I told her how sad I was and that I wanted to die, hell, I even cut my wrists a little (this was before cutting actually became recognized not so long ago) and my cries were swept under the rug… yes. I was whisked off to my paternal grandmother’s house and they gave me Vitamin E pills to open up and put on my scars. No one asked me what was wrong or why I was so sad.
See, when people blatantly fail an attempt, it is indeed a cry for help. And there are signs that someone is thinking of taking their own life. Things like:

They stop paying bills.
They reconnect with old friends.
They start ticking things off of their “bucket list” when they are still fairly young.
They become distant and maybe moody.
They may start engaging in dangerous behaviors.
They start talking about things like what the world would be like without them or asking people ‘what would you do if I disappeared?’ (Not verbatim – just along those lines… reflecting on the world without their presence).

The second time I slit my wrists was a little more severe and I still have the giant scar on my right wrist (I’m left-handed). I was taken to the hospital, stitched up and then sent off to EPPI (Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute). I actually had a decent time there with all the other crazy people.  My room-mate was a fifty year old manic-depressive whose family had pretty much given up on her.  I’m still not so sure I was serious then… I just wanted someone to LISTEN.  Just fucking LISTEN to me for God’s sake.

I can think of one time I was serious about taking my own life. It was in the summer of 1996, I had four children, was recently separated from my husband at the time and had just found out he knocked up his underage girlfriend.

Well, isn’t that just fucking great?

Conflicted

Anyway, this is how it went down:

I started using a lot of drugs (stimulants).

I stopped talking to my friends.

I stopped eating.

I stopped caring.

The scariest part of this is that while all the signs were there, I told no one I wanted to die in the weeks leading up to the event.  I took a handful of Ultram (a muscle relaxer) and in about fifteen minutes I started to feel sick and light-headed… I ran to the sink to try to puke the pills up  because my life (and the lives of those I loved literally flashed before my eyes), but it was too late and I stumbled into the living room.  That was the last thing I remembered before waking up in Frankford Hospital in Philadelphia some days later.

I died.  I literally died and somehow 911 was called, EMT’s showed up and worked on me for a solid thirty minutes before they got a pulse.  There was no oxygen to my brain for thirty minutes.  I now suffer from short-term memory loss, strange thoughts that realistically no sane person has, and can finally remember some of the dreams I have at night.

My suicide attempt was on July 19, 1996.

So, that is where the kicker is… when a suicidal person is set on taking their own life, they aren’t telling anyone which is why it is so important to have an awareness about those we love and care for; especially if they have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts and ideation.

Because here is the even scarier part about suicide:

We aren’t going to say shit to anyone because of the stigma that revolves around suicide. 

It’s true and it’s sad.

The most recent episode I had with suicidal ideation was in the middle of September 2014 after an acute episode of sadness.  I sat here rocking myself and crying and wanting to die and even went in the basement to test a beam to see if it would hold me when I hanged myself.  I sobbed as I begged for a sign from God to hold on… nothing.  I thought of calling someone, but wait.

They’ll laugh at me.  They’ll tell me to grow up.  They’ll tell me I need to stop being so fucking selfish and look at the good in my life.

Do you think if I saw the good in my life that I’d be thinking of ending my life?!  Here are some of the things people say to those that actually take a deep breath and tell someone they are thinking of taking their own life:

  • Everybody goes through that
  • You have so much to live for
  • Grow up
  • Get a real problem
  • Stop feeling sorry for yourself

These types of responses make a suicidal person feel little, unworthy and embarrassed.  Ultimately, they solidify all the reasons why they want to end their life in the first place.

So if you think someone you know or love is dangerously close to ending it all in a fleeting moment (or even a planned moment)… just listen to them without judgement.  Please.  It is the difference between life and death.

Check out some links below if you’d like to learn more about prevention and bereavement.

A Day For Those Left Behind By Suicide

Ian’s Chain