I Want You Back

I want you back for all the wrong, selfish reasons a human could have. I know you’re not in pain any more, and for that I’m glad, but damn it, I want you back. I want to hear your laugh one more time. I want to have one more conversation with you. I want to laugh when you can’t figure out some new fangled technology, but you can play on any of the game consoles without even looking at the buttons.
I want to see you smile that knowing smile when you pushed your husband’s buttons on purpose, then tell him you love him. I want to watch him roll his eyes and kiss you while you laugh. I want to watch in amazement as you make a buttery, flaky pie crust without even looking at a recipe, but turn biscuits into hockey pucks.
I want another hug, damn it! Even when I told you I didn’t want one and you knew I needed one, you still gave them. You were the only one I would let call me by that nickname because, coming from you, it just seemed to fit. I want to hear you side with me on an argument or even tell me I’m wrong. Hell, I’d be happy to have you yell at me, as long as you were here. I want to be able to talk to you about anything and everything like we did. I want to ooo and aah over dresses of different styles for each of us. You never cared that I was overweight, you pointed out things that you saw beautiful in me. I want to buy you stupid, silly things. I want to ask you to be my mother-in-law again. You wore the stuff I made you with pride even when I knew some of them weren’t your thing.
I want those conversations in the kitchen and I want to roll my eyes at your stories when the way you say something wasn’t exactly the way it happened. I want to discuss books and genres and goals. I want you to sigh and look at me sideways when I’ve said something stupid. I want you for every selfish reason I can think of, and can only think of the one reason for you to remain gone: You’re better off wherever you are. I can’t imagine you’d be anywhere with suffering. I wish you an eternity without pain and only joy. I’ll always miss you and love you.

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That Age Old Saying

Okay, I’m not one to have everything come to a screeching halt at the first sign of trouble. If something big happens, there might be a stutter, a stumble for a few days, but rarely does anything in my world come to a complete stop…until everything falls apart and I feel like I’m in a tailspin, a downward spiral that isn’t going to stop. Heck, I usually have contingency plans for every eventuality I can think of. I even have contingencies for if, heaven forbid, I keel over tomorrow. I have left notes everywhere. I have PowerPoint presentations on how to do some of the stuff I do. I have Post-Its on what needs to happen next, what I’ve done and what I’m going to be doing on other things. Now, I know some of it is gibberish to anyone but me, but it’s a work in progress. Again, contingencies. Heck, I back up my data usually three times and still things go wrong. It’s an eventuality, it will happen.

This post isn’t about being ready for everything. You can’t be. Unfortunately, life has been teaching me that in spades lately. It’s currently taught me that there is no such thing as backing up too much (thank you to my adorable son for that lesson), that sometimes things (bad and good) happen for no reason at all, that the ones who truly care will still care no matter what they are going through at the time and they will ask you how you’re doing before they tell you what they’re doing (I have a few friends I’ve been thanking daily for that, you know who you are, so thank you again), and that no matter how many things we think we don’t take for granted, there will always be things we do take for granted.

So, this blog post is about being thankful for what you have, that age-old cliche. Below this paragraph is a rather lengthy summary of what I’m thankful for. You can read it if you like, sometimes it’s good to step back and take stock of what we have that’s going well when everything seems to be pointing to the negative. I encourage you to post in the comments what you’re thankful for.

I’ll tell you what I’m currently thankful for: I’m thankful for each morning I wake up, for each night I go to sleep, for every unlabored breath I take, for those who love me enough to call me and ask how I’m doing. I’m thankful for those people who know by the tone of my voice when something is wrong, for the acquaintances that I have who genuinely care even though they don’t know my situation. I’m thankful for those moments of peace when the house is still or settling and I find hope in the new day ahead. I’m thankful for the years I’ve spent with my husband. I’m thankful for my friends and family. I’m thankful for every bite I eat, for the ways that people show that they love me. I’m thankful I can still function on an everyday basis. I’m thankful I’m an optimist. I’m thankful for the little things people do sometimes that they think go unnoticed but mean the world to me. I’m thankful for the outpouring of love and support people have given lately. I’m thankful for the ability to rest. I’m thankful I have people that I worry about and people who worry about me. I’m thankful for other people’s blogs that talk of struggles and how they overcame them. I”m thankful for inspiration and prayers, even from people who don’t have the same beliefs as I do. There are so many more things I’m thankful for, but I’m going to leave my list here; partially because I’m exhausted, but partially because I’d be here all night if I continued. Every time I look around I see more that I’m thankful for, and not one is about the stuff, but they’re all about the things that money can’t buy like comfort and hope and resilience and childlike innocence. Thank you for reading my post.

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Midnight Monologues

I know it’s currently not midnight, and this would be more of a soliloquy than a monologue. I also know that I shouldn’t sit up at night sleepless, and then attempt to write a blog. However, lately, there have been many midnights that I have been awake and a lot of them have been spent thinking of the inevitability of death. That is not necessarily a depressing subject, but it is one that I believe deserves a profound amount of thought. I’ve mentioned in the past that more friends than I care to count have died in the past several years, and they weren’t, by today’s standards, very old. Many of them were quite sudden. Again, right now, I’m not necessarily sad so much as reflective.

Another year has gone by and another friend has passed. In the past five years, that has numbered over 20. That’s four per year, like a quarterly event. Of course, I don’t like it, but it is inevitable. People die every day. Loved ones pass away. We still live on. There have been numerous times I thought about no longer having friends and loved ones. No friends, no pain, right? Except it’s those people who enrich our lives. They are the people who make life worth living when everything else tries to get you down.

I think I first started this blog post months ago and here it sits. Here I sit, waiting for another funeral of another friend, thinking possibly that we never spend enough time doing what we should be doing in life. We should be getting out there, talking to friends. We should be getting into conversations and arguments. We should be appreciating people and those moments that will never come again. John Lennon said it best in the song “Beautiful Boy”: Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

We collect stuff instead of memories, we go to restaurants and play on our phones instead of engaging in conversation with the person across from us. We work 60 to 80 hours per week and sleep on the weekends or play games until our minds turn numb and we fall asleep. We forget what the wonders of childhood are like. Now, I know, we have to work 60 to 80, sometimes a hundred hours per week to make ends meet, we are attached to our phones because we want to stay connected to the people we haven’t seen in years, but the ones we see every day are sitting in front of us. I know most of us don’t get the sleep we need, and I know, one blog post that’s more than half rant, won’t do much, if anything, just remember, we only have one go around in this body and these people, so please, try to use it wisely.

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The Flaws in Our Eyes

I’ve been remiss. I know it’s not Monday, and I know it’s been two weeks since I have written anything. I could present the reasons why I haven’t written anything, but instead I’m going to talk about something that is very touchy for me. I’ve spoken about it before in previous articles. This article is once again about body confidence. It seems that no matter whether you are thin, athletic, heavy, short, tall, etc., you’re not good enough. No, this isn’t another diatribe about the subjugation of women. It’s about learning to love yourself not only in spite of your “flaws”, but because of them.
I’ve had a lot of ups and downs when it came to my body, and when I say a lot, I’m talking about 30+ years of self-hatred: my skin is too dry, my skin is too fair, my cheeks are too red, I’m too short, my hair is too frizzy, I can’t lose weight, my hands are too small… The list goes on and on.
This year was kind of a wake-up call. Over the last three years, I’ve lost count of the number of friends that my husband and I have collectively lost, many around our same age. While some of them were devastating, and each was painful, it still didn’t hit close to home that I may not have another 40 years on this planet. This year, though, not even halfway through the year, I’ve had two surgeries, two CAT scans, and pain bad enough to take your breath away on several occasions. Even then, it didn’t quite hit home the amount of self loathing I had until I looked in the mirror one day and found something good to say about myself. It took being in a serious amount of pain to recognize that my body, when it’s performing properly, is a miraculous thing.

When I’m not in excruciating pain, I can stand, I can walk. I can do things with my hands that others cannot. I can type and draw and feel. If I looked on the outside what I was feeling on the inside in the past several months, you would see a shriveled, old woman, hunched over a cane with a million lines on her face. I realized just how good I look for the amount of stuff I’ve put myself through. Now, I’m not complaining about pain or my health, both can be fixed. What I’m trying to say is that we shouldn’t have to get to that point in our lives to realize exactly what we have. We should be looking at ourselves in the mirrors and enjoying our “flaws”. And since I’m preaching, I think I should be the first to start: I love my hair, it’s curly on top and straight on bottom, it’s still attached to my head, even after everything I’ve put it through. I love my fair skin, some people would kill for skin like this. It keeps me warm in the winter, cool in the summer, it has touch receptors that help me do my job every day. I love my scars. They are a road map of my experiences, both good and bad, that I’ve not only survived, but am also able to say that the body has a miraculous way of attempting to fix itself. I love my body, the thing that I’ve loathed for so long. It enables me to run (if I wanted to), jump, play, stand, sit…interact with the rest of the world in a way I wouldn’t be able to if I didn’t have a body.

Comment below about the “flaws” you love!

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I want…

My son has reached the “I want” stage where everything he sees, he wants, even if he doesn’t understand what it does or why he wants it. He will walk in and spout off a commercial, down to the really difficult words. I’m working on at least getting him to understand commercialism and how he doesn’t have to have everything he sees. He pouts, he cries, he whines…I say “no” a lot. I also ask him why he wants whatever commercial he is currently quoting. His responses range from “because it’s awesome!” to “I don’t know,” and everything in between. Most of the time, I don’t even think it’s about him wanting something, it’s about acquiring it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a generous soul. If someone wants what he has, with the exception of a few things, he’ll readily give them away, always has. He shares without having to be asked, even gives away things he has come to value in his five-year-old mind. This blog isn’t about the dangers of commercialism or the evils of consumerism either, it’s about an inherent need we seem to have.

I’m not saying the need to acquire is bad. It’s in our nature, just as every other creature on the planet has an inherent need to acquire. Crows and magpies gather shiny things, not because it has anything to do with survival, but because extra bling attracts mates. It seems, no matter what species, females like pretty things…but I digress. The reason I’m bringing it up at all is because more and more, I’m seeing the need to acquire focusing on something else: envy. Envy is the need to acquire’s little sister. Again, I’m not saying envy is bad either. Envy can do good things. It can increase drive, increase efficiency, increase performance. When you have something you want, you will not be complacent about it. You won’t sit back and wait if you know how you can acquire what you want.

Lately, though, I’ve seen the uglier side of envy, the side that has people pining for things they can’t have, the side that people show to other human beings that they deem successful. Envy can make a rational person bitter and angry. It can take that need to acquire to a whole new level. We throw adult tantrums when we can’t have what we want. People kill other humans over stupid things like ink printed on cheap cardstock. A friend of mine was killed over his Magic cards, and I don’t know which one was more foolish, the guy willing to kill to get a bunch of cards, or my friend, who was willing to be, and was, killed for them. How messed up is it that?

Again, don’t get me wrong, I like my things, but am I willing to die for them? No. If someone came to me holding a gun to my head and said he wanted all my things, he could have them. Now, for threatening me, he might be in a world of hurt, but my life and my family’s lives are much more important than thingsThings can be replaced. People, love, trust, safety, connections, those cannot be replaced.

If I wanted to summarize what my entire diatribe today is about, I would have to say, “Stuff is just stuff. Don’t value it more than what really matters.”

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Busyness

I’ve been remiss. It’s been almost a month to the day since I actually posted anything, and for that I apologize. The funny thing is that I’ve probably thought about 30 or more subjects that I could talk about, and even in the height of desperation, downloaded an app on my phone to help me out. The problem wasn’t the subject matter, or even that I’ve forgotten how to write. It was the fact that I allowed other things in my life to get in the way. This, in and of itself, has a lesson: there are always other things that we could be doing. We could be attempting to climb the corporate ladder, looking for a new job, staring at the ceiling, watching movies, staring at a computer screen. We could be playing the newest game that comes out, washing our dog, blow drying or cats, even daydreaming about what we will do when we hit the lottery, become the next big thing, make lots of money, buy a house, etc., but there is only one way we will ever achieve this: by doing. Not only do we have to do what it is that is going to make us rich, happy, healthy, whatever, we have to do it consistently. If you are writing, you have to set a specific time or day and consistently write during that time, and unless your house and or equipment is/are on fire, at that time, you should be writing. The same goes for just about every other goal that you have.

So, here is my goal and/or my promise: I will write a blog post either in this blog or my other blog (http://deerhawkpublications.com/?p=643), every Monday. I am certain that there are times that I will miss, but this is my goal, and I will attempt to keep it.

If you would like to take this commitment with me, please post your goal below and how you plan to achieve it. Good luck to us all!

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Life Has a Way

I’ve always been full of good intentions. I intend to do a lot with my day, and most days,  I even start out well. I get up, get dressed, brush my teeth, and am out the door before anyone else in the house is awake. I get my errands done some days before I go into work, even put in half an hour at the gym. Lately, however, life has gotten in the way. Since November, I have gotten very little done. I could say a number of things have gotten in the way of me progressing at my normal pace, but I don’t know. It’s been a little rough lately, holidays are wont to do that…birthdays have come and gone, and some people, I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve forgotten to respond properly to. I have sent fewer and fewer text messages, I’ve called fewer and fewer people, my blogs have been suffering, and so has my job. One other factor is called into place regarding all this: my health.

Not many people know just how sick I’ve been over the past few months, mostly because I hate weakness and feel that illness is a weakness. I had more responsibilities at my regular 40 hour per week job, that has made it difficult to work less than 60 hours per week, and I was kind of going crazy. Between those two things, the last few months have been sort of a living nightmare. I haven’t been able to exercise, I haven’t been able to do much except make my doctor appointments, go to work, and go to sleep. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like to slow down or be held back, but I honestly believe the latest news I got, a demotion back to the simplest tasks at work, the possibility of surgery, and many other factors, are telling me I need to slow down before I explode. It is also opening the doors for me to be able to slow down and catch up with myself.

While this is a bit of a blow to my ego, I do believe that this step backward is probably the best move to make in order to be more healthy and productive in the long run, so who knows? Maybe whoever’s pulling the omniscient strings and guiding us on our paths, knows how to bring us back to where we need to be when we need to be there. I’m going to look at this last experience as a positive piece of learning, and continue with the chapter I really want to finish.

Wish me luck!

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Sleepless in…

Hooray for another sleepless night.

Any more, I have more sleepless nights than I do restful ones. It’s okay, it means I’ll get a few hours of work done that I need to do…as long as I’m lucid when I’m sleepless. I actually like when I’m not lucid and sleepless. Some of my best stories come out of being unable to shut my brain off. I’m also open to the more ridiculous ideas I have at that time, so, it seems, a little more inspired.

Dragons become more interesting when you think of them as sentient beings, so do plants. Nightmares that wake you up in a cold sweat make wonderful fertilizer for the next novel, and no idea is too ridiculous when you’re not lucid. Heck, there would be times I would pay someone for ideas I have when I can’t sleep…that is, if I can get past the annoyance of my brain not shutting off, of it telling me, “Oh! You have to hear this one!”. The other annoyance I have when I’m not quite lucid but still awake is that my brain has no attention span, and no short term or long term memory. Since starting this blog, I’ve created a minimum of 7 other blogs, I’ve searched 5 websites, posted something on Facebook, started another new blog that had me slightly nostalgic, and considered some story ideas, that, if I don’t write them down right away, I will lose them.

And, I’ve lost them.

I have spent three hours of my precious life going back and forth between changing clothes, considering story ideas, surfing the web, and attempting to soothe my brain long enough to go back to sleep. Will anything come of it? Maybe. Maybe not. What I’ll probably have to show for sleeplessness (again), are a few blogs that are not complete, maybe one that is, the feeling that I may have created something significant on paper or on screen, a lot of time that my lucid self would be screaming at the misuse of, and dark, dark circles under my eyes. Thank heaven for makeup.

Am I going to regret it? Probably not. I’ve spent more time on less fruitful adventures such as watching movies I wouldn’t care to ever watch again or, if I could go back in time, would not watch to start off with. Am I going to be a grouch today? Probably. Luckily, that will affect very few people because I don’t come into contact with a lot of people on a daily basis…one of the perks of being antisocial is that I only affect those I get close to, which turns out to be very few people. Will I learn anything from this endeavor? No, not really, but at least I can say I did something with my time.

Now, off to bed I go (again), to see if I can catch a few more hours of sleep before work.

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If you’d just…

Amanda Trusty Burlesque Dancing
The above link is to a dancer in response to pressure from the entertainment industry for her to lose weight. I think it’s a wonderful declaration and an empowering video. Most of the comments were uplifting, many from people who have struggled with weight as well. There are, of course, negative comments, which a person will get no matter what they post. I was scrolling through them, and found one that, while I believe the poster was trying to be encouraging, my reaction to it wasn’t. I don’t normally share extremely personal things, but I’m going to tonight.
The person posted that if the dancer in the video danced like that every day, they would lose weight. Sounds encouraging enough, doesn’t it?
For those of us who have tried and can’t lose weight, it’s not. Here’s my story:
I was never the skinny kid in school. I was never fast, never athletic, but I wanted to be. Day after day, I was told that if I would just run down the driveway and back, I would lose weight. If I would just do fifty sit ups a night, I would lose weight. I was teased mercilessly, not only by people I could care less about, but also by family members. I joined track, joined wrestling, took long walks (7-15 miles), rode my bike, starved myself. Nothing helped. There was a point that I was eating an apple per day and that was it. Yes, I know that’s wrong, yes, I knew it then, but when you are harangued to the point of not caring, it doesn’t matter to you any more.
It wasn’t until my early 20s that I learned I had a metabolic problem, and that I probably would never lose the weight. Even with that, with medication I take daily so that I don’t die because of it, with therapy, with everything else, I’m still battling those same voices in my head, the little demons that tell me I’m never going to be good enough because I’m fat.
I know I can’t lose weight, but I do exercise. It’s not because I want to be thinner, firmer, in better shape, it’s because I know my family history and
no longer have a death wish.
It’s very sad that a few simple words brought it all back; a few simple words that weren’t even meant for me. I can still feel the pain over 20 years later. Anyone who knows me personally, knows I foam at the mouth about this particular issue. I have heard all of the “If you’d just”, all of the “helpful hints”. Most of the time, I get comments only from people who don’t know me, but there are some days I even receive it from family and friends. Here’s the thing: Those of us that are overweight, fat, heavy, chubby, plus sized, whatever you want to call it, we know. We can see it every day when we look in the mirror. We don’t need to be reminded. We don’t need helpful hints, tips, tricks. If we ask, that’s one thing, but we don’t do well with unsolicited advice when it comes to our weight. I know my lifestyle, I know what I do and what I don’t do. I know that I should eat more, not less, because I don’t even get to 2000 Calories per day. Heck, some days, I don’t even get to 1000. I know that that is part of the problem. I know that I have a penchant for sweets, but I also love fruits and vegetables.
The thing is, I know. Anyone who looks in a mirror then looks outside themselves at what the trend is, knows. It’s been drilled into our heads that we aren’t healthy, we aren’t attractive, we aren’t good enough. It’s not enough that we can’t find attractive clothes in our size (without spending a boatload of money), it’s not enough that the media portrays overweight people as lazy and also, sometimes, less intelligent. We don’t need the “If you’d just”. We don’t need to be reminded of our current status of jiggles. Now, if you’re put off by heavy people and have nothing nice to say or just have to give advice, I encourage you not to talk to them, but you’re missing out on some really warm and loving people. If you’re disgusted, look away and continue on with your day. Don’t assume you know anything about us just because of the way we look. This goes for all types, I have friends who were and are extremely thin and have gotten similar “if you just” comments, and I mean no disrespect to those battling depression, those battling anorexia, anything, but next time you feel the need to offer sage advice, please think twice. We’ve already heard it.

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7 Lessons I’ve Learned in My 34 Years on Earth

Today’s my birthday, a day to celebrate the fact that I’ve survived 34 years above ground. There have been 34 rotations of the Earth around the sun since I’ve been born. In those 34 years, there have been six presidents: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and our current president. In my lifetime, history has seen the Three Mile Island incident; Mount Saint Helens erupting twice, once spewing ash hundreds of miles that changed the landscape around it; the discovery of the AIDS virus; Challenger Space Shuttle exploding; the fall of the Berlin wall; the breakup of the USSR; the Gulf War; Internet not only becoming a useful tool, but also an integral part of everyday life; and terrorists attacks on 9/11. Many very influential people have passed away since 1979, and I’m sure they will pass the mantle of influence on to other people who do not even know they will make history in their lives.

Lessons I’ve learned… It seems kind of trite, especially since, in my mind, I’m still 25. I suppose we’re learning lessons every day of our lives, little life hacks that make it easier for us to function in our daily lives, how to cope with stressors, how to get along in our jobs, how to get along with other people… But along the way, we learn about the big stuff too. Here are seven things I’ve learned:

  1. I’ve learned that nothing, good or bad, lasts forever. Life will most certainly suck at times. It will seem like you’re in this continuous downward cycle and nothing’s ever going to change. The truth is, while you’re in it, it feels like forever, but if you are persistent and work toward change, things will eventually get better. Don’t take the good times for granted either. Learn to appreciate them while they’re here because you never know when they’ll be gone either.
  2. Along the same lines, I’ve learned to appreciate the positive people in my life and to distance myself from the negative ones. People will betray your trust. People will be intentionally and unintentionally cruel. People will try to take everything that you have and then some, and still try to ruin your life. You may wonder if you can ever trust another person again… Do it anyway. If you close yourself off of relationships because of what’s happened in the past, you may miss out on some truly exceptional friendships. Be thankful for those who encourage you and trust and support you. They don’t have to, but they have chosen to.
  3. I’ve realized that no matter how much I wished a person or situation to change, it’s not going to without a very large amount of work. If it’s a person, the work has be done by the person changing, not me, otherwise, it’s impossible. I’ve learned not to be surprised if a person never changes, and, if I want them in my life, to accept them as they are. Most people will remain the same throughout their lives unless there’s incentive to change, and it won’t come from outside sources.
  4. I’ve learned that a positive attitude is essential in coping with daily stressors. Whether you can do something or you can’t do something is actually up to you. I’ve known plenty of people who have said, “bad things always happen to me”, and they’re right. Bad things do happen because they believe it. On the other hand, I’ve seen people who were told they couldn’t or would never be able to do something, and their response was “watch me”, before they went out and did it. Attitude is everything.
  5. Let your friends and family know how much you appreciate them while they are around. You never know how long those friends will be around. I’ve been to more funerals in the past three years than I have the entire 31 before it. Cherish the people that you share your life with.
  6. I’ve learned that “should” is nothing but a time waster. Either we are going to do it or we are not. If we are not, we need to stop feeling guilty about what we “should” do. Also, unless your livelihood depends upon the small stuff, don’t sweat it. There’s plenty of big stuff to worry about, no need to cry over the details.
  7. I’ve learned to try to celebrate the differences in others. If everyone was the same, life would be awfully boring.

In the end, I suppose we all have things we need to learn, and things we need to do. When we find out what our path in life is supposed to be, maybe then, our learning will be complete.

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