Archive for February, 2015
I heard his tiny footsteps coming down the stairs he knows today will be a different kind of day because his Mom is having surgery. He is happy to see me sitting on the couch, but immediately blurts out “My Mom is at the hospital.” I shake my head in agreement, and I tell him that Mom is going to miss him every second! “Big Brother,” and “The Baby” (otherwise known as the king) were still sleeping. I don’t tell him that everything will be okay because I try to be very careful with my words when I speak to “Little Man.” He is 8 years old, and his super power is Autism. He is very adamant about holding you accountable for your exact wording, so I have learned to choose my words carefully.
Mom is the heart of her family. I love the way she takes care of boys! She is the only female in her house with the exception of one of her dogs. Mom works a full-time job in addition to being a wife, and a special needs mother. All three of her sons attend different schools, and each one is completely different from the other. Her super power is her ability to meet everyone’s needs in a loving, and structured way. Mom has made it a priority to have a unique, and special bond with each of her boys. I am in complete awe of her stamina. I arrived at their home at 5 a.m. this morning she greeted me with a hug, and her always warm smile. I could see the fear in her eyes. Her fear is not because of her impending surgery, it is the fear of a loving mother worrying if her boys will be okay. Her surgery is of a serious nature. I personally wished that it could have been put off one more day. I have a great dislike of the month of February,so one more day would have put us into March. I know this is irrational, but still the thought lingers in my mind.
“Little Man” and I decide we should wake his brothers for breakfast together. He gets some satisfaction from the idea of waking them up in his own little unique way. He bombards each brother by pouring a bucket full of his beloved beanie babies onto their heads. All the while laughing so hard he can hardly catch his breath. “Big Brother” and “The Baby” do not find this to be funny at all. Usually “Big Brother” would react to this in a much more physical way, but today he is worried about Mom. He asks me if Mom is already in surgery. I tell him I’m not exactly sure, but I know that she is thinking of him too.
Next the boys and I go downstairs to the kitchen. Mom has set the table for each boy with a paper plate. She has written a note on each plate with a red marker. ” I Love You! Mommy.” Beneath each message she had drawn several red hearts. I couldn’t help thinking how fitting to receive little plates filled with hearts from the Mom who is the heart of this family. 😉
Some people learn quickly from their mistakes. I am not one of those people. I would love to tell you that after my first experience with drugging, and cutting class I learned my lesson. That I never repeated this behavior again. The truth is that for the next decade I partied like a rock star, and showing up for classes wasn’t exactly a priority for me. If your parental mindset has kicked in, and your thinking to yourself things would have been different if I had never met Wynn, well that is a mistake a lot of parents make. Which leads us back to the argument of nature versus nurture.
Just as a reminder I think both play a role in a person’s choice to experiment with drugs/alcohol, but I definitely lean more towards nature in this argument. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had not met Wynn in the bathroom that day. If it had not been Wynn it would have been someone else. As disappointing as it may be to all the parents out there, the only one responsible for my choice to experiment with drugs/alcohol, and various other juvenile delinquent behaviors was me. Blaming someone else for my choices would just be wrong. Convenient and enabling, but still incredibly wrong!
This of course does not mean that family influences (the nurture part) are completely absolved from any wrong doing, whether unintentionally or with intent. The environment we grow up in plays a major part in how we approach life. My father’s undiagnosed mental illness’ symptoms, and severe alcoholism certainly played a part in how I approached my life choices in a major way without a doubt. However I was also surrounded by even more good influences from the other adults who played major roles in my upbringing versus my Father’s singular influence. On life’s scale this should have pushed me over to the good choice making side. Yet I chose to make poor decisions in spite of that fact. I would also like to point out that I am the oldest of 4 children, and 2 of my siblings raised in the same environment have never experimented with drugs, and were exceptional in their behavior at school.
Now let’s go back to the nature side of the argument. I firmly believe that some people carry a genetic predilection towards addictive behaviors. I come from a long line of alcoholics, way too many to consider it a coincidence. Alcohol is not my personal demon, my preferences lean more towards pot, and prescription drugs. I have been drug free for 27 years, but I still carry my addictive tendencies. I have just replaced my drugs of choice for different addictions like coffee and food. I will admit to you though that there have been many days when I do wish I could revert back to my old habits. Particularly at times of extreme stress, sometimes just because I miss the feeling of being buzzed. I also believe that some people who have certain forms of mental illness use both alcohol/drugs as a way of self-medicating.
The road to self recognition is a long one. Realizing or being willing admit to one’s self that you have a problem is a pretty major moment in a person’s life. Understanding that your behavior not only impacts your life, but the lives of those you love, and share your journey with is a sobering thought. Deciding not to repeat the bad choices you’ve seen other people in your life make, or the ones you yourself have made well that’s maturity. Making a commitment to hold yourself accountable for your own actions, well that’s enlightenment. 😉
I remember my first experience with getting high as clearly as the first time I had sex. The question of nature versus nurture is an age-old argument. I say both have a huge impact on why some people decide to experiment with drugs/alcohol, but I definitely lean more to the nature side of this argument. I’m pretty sure the first time I smoked a cigarette somewhere in my mind I knew I was going to be a smoker. I smoked my first cigarette alone early in the morning in an old abandoned cemetery behind our house. I continued to do this every day. I enjoyed being alone, and I felt very grown up. I would steal one of my Dad’s unfiltered Camel cigarettes every morning. Having a smoke before catching the bus to school became a ritual like brushing your teeth.
That day in eight grade middle school bathroom, when Wynn said let’s get the fuck out of here was the day I left my childhood behind, and took my first steps towards becoming a juvenile delinquent. She had issued an unspoken dare to cut class which was something I had never done before. We waited for the next class bell to ring, and while everyone else obediently went to class we sneaked out the side door. My heart was racing. I was so scared, and excited that I failed to entertain the thought of how I would get back in time to catch my bus home without being caught. I never even asked Wynn where we were going, I just went along with this girl who was a complete stranger. Behavior I would later label as “sheep-like” to my own now adult children with a devastatingly harsh tone of negativity.
We walked to Wynn’s house which was about seven blocks away from school. On the way she told me that her parent’s would be at work and that we could hang out there until I needed to get back to catch my bus home. When we got there her older high school aged brother was already there hanging out with a couple of his friends. He asked Wynn “What the fuck she was doing home, and who the fuck was I?” She sarcastically replied “The same fucking thing you’re doing.” He and his friends bust out laughing, and then they asked us if we wanted to smoke a joint with them. Her brother looks me over for a second, and then asks me if I smoke pot? I was determined to keep my seemingly bad-ass image in tact with Wynn so I said ” Yeah I do.” Looking back I’m not sure he bought that answer. Next he lit the joint, took his hit, holding his breath he passed the joint to his friend.
I watched their every move so I could imitate what they were doing to hide the fact that I had just lied my ass off. After each of his friends took a hit the joint was then passed to Wynn. I watched her to see her reaction. She smiled at me, took her hit as nonchalantly as she had smoked her cigarette in the school bathroom. Then she passed the joint to me. Everyone’s eyes were now on me. Without hesitation I took my first hit, and tried to hold my breath the same way I had seen the others do. I was not successful! I began to cough, and choke so hard that my eyes were pouring out tears. I thought that I had just exposed my huge lie, and I was humiliated. I waited for them to call me out on my lie, but they just busted out laughing saying “That’s some good shit right?”
I was completely unprepared for what happened next. Almost instantly my eyes felt heavy, and peculiar. My mouth felt dry, (I was experiencing what I would later be told was “cotton mouth”), and then I began to find everything that was being said absolutely hilarious! I looked around at everyone else, and they seemed to be feeling exactly the way I was feeling. I don’t think I have ever in my life laughed as hard as I did that day. We talked about the craziest things continuing to laugh at every sentence. Wynn was completely amused by my reactions. Next came the most indescribable feeling of hunger, another label I would come to know as the “munchies”. We all raided her refrigerator for something to eat. I had completely lost track of time when suddenly I was filled with panic about how to get back to school in time to catch my bus!
Wynn’s brother laughed at me and said “You can’t go back to school all stoned, and shit we will give you a ride home.” The incredible laughter filled high was now being replaced with an immeasurable amount of paranoia. I just cut three classes, and smoked pot for the first time in my life. I was so afraid to go home, and face my father. A man with a demeanor so harsh he had actually made other grown men cry during fits of anger. Dad was not like other people’s fathers. He was an (unknown to us) undiagnosed mentally unstable violent man. Obsessed with monitoring my every move. Dad was a heavy drinker so I think the rest of the world (like us) thought that alcohol was the reason for his constant violent raging outbursts. I was completely panicked, and paranoid about facing him when I got home! The strange thing was that even in the midst of my incredible fear, I knew I would do this again. 😉
I met Wynn the first day of eight grade in the girls bathroom. If I had to describe her to you I would tell you she was unlike anyone I had ever known. She was short, blonde, with round deep blue eyes, and little wrinkles around her lips from constantly smoking cigarettes. I was the new kid at this middle school . Second period had just ended, and I ducked into the bathroom for a quick smoke. I know smoking in the eighth grade boo, hiss, yet pretty common back in the day. We lived in a tobacco growing state, and a pack of cigarettes cost 65 cents. Smoking was not viewed as negatively, in fact most people barely gave it a second thought. Wynn was sitting up in the window, legs crossed blowing smoke rings into the air. She had perfected the “fuck you look” and she flashed it at me the moment we made eye contact.
I was quite use to this look after all this wasn’t my first time being the new kid. I was a military brat, but this was my first time outside of a military base school system. For the benefit those of you who were not military brats raised on a military base, mainstream public schools are a lot different. Especially in the deep south where both the people, and the atmosphere seem to run at a much slower pace. I didn’t know that Wynn was also a military brat whose father had retired in this sleepy little southern town, but she seemed to know that I was.
The other kids in this school knew that I was an outsider as well. I’m not sure if they picked up on the military thing, but they absolutely knew I wasn’t from their town. Being a small town, most of the kids in this school had grown up together since preschool. They all shared a thick “twangy” southern accent, and a mistrust of anyone else not raised in their town.
The school was divided into four main groups. The largest group was the African-American kids most of them had been born, and raised in this town. They weren’t very eager to share friendships with the second group of southern born and raised white population in town. The third much smaller group were the wealthy more privileged white kids often referred to as “The Preps.” Then the fourth group of kids were known as the outsiders. Many of us were children of retired military families, and some were just kids who had moved here from somewhere else.
Wynn continued to stare at me. I think she was curious as to why her perfected “fuck you” look had not made more of an impression on me. I told her she should take a picture it would last longer. (Oh I forgot to mention in addition to early smoking being a smart ass equipped with lame little sayings was also a sign of the times-very cool lol) She responded by saluting me with her middle finger. Smirking I asked her if that was her age or her I.Q.? (yes I known your even more impressed by my coolness) She laughed this time climbing down from the window, this time actually saying fuck you. Hold on here’s the point where I really blow you away with my coolness. I say “No thanks your not my type.”
An just like that one of the most significant friendships of my life was born. She asked me “If I had, had enough school for one day?” I nodded, then she called me out on my seemingly bad- ass behavior, and said “Then let’s get the fuck out of here.” I knew in that moment I had no intention of backing down no matter what the consequences would be for cutting school. I felt a rush of excitement. A combination of fear, and excitement. Something I had never felt before, and I liked it! What I didn’t know was that was the day my childhood died, and a juvenile delinquent was born. 😉
I hate talking about sexism and racism. Hate it. Why? Because it stirs up a range of shit that really should not be an issue at this point in time. We should have grown the fuck up by now and move on. Let’s deal with the hungry, our addiction to fossil fuels, accessible education for everyone, or getting our planet into better condition. ANYTHING other than trying to shit on one another because of where or how we were born.
I’m all for learning from past mistakes, but don’t browbeat people under the assumption they still think this way. Nitpicking the shit out of someone else’s terminology because they’re trying to communicate a thought, also an irritation. Did you know that “hispanic” is considered less PR than “latino”? Well, according to a college class on cultural diversity I took some time ago, it is… but it depends on where you go, and then the person… until basically you have no way to communicate a damn thing without pissing someone off. What’s the point of communicating at all then?
I happen to live in one of those states where segregation wasn’t so long ago and for some, it still weighs very heavily on their memories. I consider myself lucky that I did not come up in that time period, but I see the aftermath everywhere. Where I went to school, the ethnic minority was actually the majority of the students attending. Spawn has the same type of ratio at their school. Race just didn’t become an issue until our prior generations starting putting in their two cents. You had past generations that were used to or pissed off about things being the way “it used to be” and both wanted nothing more than to bitch about it constantly.
Now understand, even reading about happenings of the heavily racist periods of the American South makes me sick to my stomach to even be part of the human race. We should NEVER have been this way and considered ourselves anything above savages that should have been put down.
However, I also think that dwelling on the shitty parts not only elongates the healing process, but pretty much makes all chances of recovery worse, if not impossible. Fully understand it, mourn it, pick up the pieces and do fucking better, but let it go. Harping on this shit is doing nothing but making all of us anxious, depressed, withdrawn, medicated and venomous.
Is anyone else tired of the fucking annual events that people seem hell bent on having every September 11th? Isn’t 13 years enough to stop sensationalizing the shit and move on? It sucked, it really really sucked. Why are we continuing to harp on it though? That doesn’t honor them, that just enables a pity party for those left.
With that said, I was in a mixed group of people once and one in particular… I guess felt his “good ol’ boy” mentality would fall on a few supportive ears. He ran a management company that generally catered to lower income residents. Lower income in the South is still predominantly ethnic. His comments centered around drug use, criminal activity, monetary and domestic issues “they” caused.
“Whose “they?,” I ask.
He’s uncomfortable. With some dancing around the subject, he finally comes to say that usually it is the ethnic groups, specifically black, who cause him the most amount of issues. I point out that even though segregation is no longer an issue, a vast majority of all minorities are still in the lowest portion in terms of income, residence, access to medical care, etc so it really would not be odd that that would be higher than average, statistically speaking, but doubtful they were the only ones to have those issues.
He grasps on the one thing I hear come from just about every white racist mouth here… “exploitation of the welfare system,” “government assistance,” “living on the taxpayer’s dime” etc. I retorted that it was complete bullshit if he thought the welfare system was so robust anyone could live large on it. Generally speaking, even with the most assistance given, no one could pay any amount of rent with it, let alone any other expenses and there was a time limit on how long you could remain on it, let alone getting on it in the first place. I cited some places he could read more about it. He scoffed.
He then diverts to the hostilities that come from the more unproductive sides of the ethnic group, the pitiful few loudmouth douchebags who unfortunately get pinned as the “stereotype” of blacks in the south. Those in gangs, or wish to be, drug dealing, etc (you know, the ones that exist in just about every race, but that just doesn’t register).
I asked him if he wanted things to change. He said “of course.”
I told him “then stop using the word ‘they’.” “They” do not exist.
The minute he separates himself from those around them, he becomes part of the problem. He counters that “they” should be the ones to improve since “they” made him think this way. I asked him why he would give any unnamed, blank, ambiguous group of people the power to wire how he thought about anything or anyone.
If everyone goes around thinking that everyone else just needs to be nicer to them first, then nothing will ever change. If you want to live in a neighborhood where everyone waves to one another, then raise your fucking arm and wave first.
By the same token, the minute we judge people on a completely irrelevant point, we lose. Assholes and saints come as varied as a 64 box of crayons and then some and the true assholes are the ones who let a very narrow view of society embitter their judgement so much, they feel righteous in using “they.”
So yesterday my neighbor called me a racist! I was so stunned by her words that I would have to equate the feeling to having been slapped in the face. It took me a few seconds before I was able to respond. I have a great deal of respect for her opinion on a wide variety of subjects so I stood there considering if there was any validity to what she had said.
I live in a neighborhood where neighbors still chat with one another. Especially those of us who have been here for over 20 years, and have raised our families together. It’s very common for us to be out working in our yards and to take a moment to stop and talk about how things have been going. I will admit to you that there are many new neighbors who I have not really taken the time to get to know. Yesterday’s chat started out with another neighbors health issues, and knowing that I spend a great deal of time dealing with doctors my neighbor asked me to recommend a doctor who I thought would be most suitable for her very reluctant husband.
I recommended one of my most favorite” Dr. G.” She looked at me, and commented that the last doctor I had recommended to her was also from India. I smiled, and told her that my primary, obstetrics/gynecologist, and my gastrologist were all from India. She then asked me if I had purposely chosen Indian physicians? Smiling again I told her that I did actually have a preference for Indian doctors, Indian people and most definitely Indian food. She asked why Indian doctors? I told her that in my experience doctors from India practice medicine from the standpoint of including not only the physical aspect of a person, but also their spiritual health. I find them to be much warmer, more personal in their bedside manner. Her face wrinkled sternly and she said “That’s a very racist thing to say!”
As I stated earlier I was very stunned by her accusation, and it took me a bit to respond. I finally said “No not racism just a personal preference!” I asked her if she was still seeing the primary I had recommended and she said “Yes I am.” So then I asked her why? She said that she felt he was a very good doctor.” I asked her if she liked his bedside manner?” This time her tone was a little more sharp “Yes, I like his bedside manner, but not just because he is from India!” So then I replied “Oh I know that you just prefer the way he practices medicine.” 😉
Women and men share one thing in equal proportion, our desire to be invisible guest at a meeting of “The Secret Club!” We reside next to each other on this planet on a daily basis sometimes even in the same household, and we seem to be unable to crack the secret code. We always seem to think “we” are so easy to understand, and that the other gender is just making things so much more complicated than things actually are…
As a member of the female gender I have a few secrets I can share with the men without risking my “Secret Women’s Club” membership. Keep in mind that the topics I will bring up do not apply to all females. Not being a male I apologize for not knowing all of their secrets, but I can share a few things that I have learned from the men in my life.
- Many women have been raised to believe that their own sexuality is of less importance than yours from a very early age. It’s not that anyone specifically said this, but the subliminal message was very clear. It came in many forms- men have a stronger sex drive, sex is much more important to men.
- Masturbation and self-examination are shameful. Women are taught to ignore their bodies/natural urges. (I know males many of you were also discouraged from this completely natural inclination, you will just have to take my word for it when I tell you it is MUCH more frowned upon with our gender.)
- Men have very delicate egos so you should never tell them that their sexual performance was not to your liking. Especially during the sexual encounter. Men should always be the initiator in all sexual encounters. Also you may have to exaggerate your height of pleasure to ensure that their fragile egos remain in tact.
- Men prefer women with less sexual experience. They will gladly have sex with more sexually experienced women, but those women will never be considered for long-term relationships. Women with too much sexual experience are viewed as whores.
Once again I want to remind you that the above mentioned do not apply to all women, but I’m pretty sure based on the conversations I have had with a lot of women this kind of misinformation is more prevalent than you might imagine. Males (females too) out there you should know that all of these concepts directly affect you in ways that you may be completely unaware of, and they have the potential to destroy relationships which is ironic since a few of them were actually designed with the intention of keeping relationships in tact.
Let’s start with #1 if you are a female who was raised to believe that your sexuality is of less importance than a males, you may be more inclined hold resentment that your needs are viewed as second class ,or you might adopt the practice of ignoring your partner’s sexual needs (not to mention your own) within a relationship since it’s not something defined as important to you. Both concepts leave both genders unfulfilled, and at risk for huge resentment. The final result is that sex either becomes a chore or a power struggle.
#2.The idea that masturbation/self-examination is shameful, or unnecessary is deeply destructive. Our bodies mature sexually much sooner than our minds. Masturbation is a safe way to deal with natural urges with the added benefit of allowing your mind more time to reach the same level of sexual maturity. It is extremely important to be aware of our bodies, and how they function not only for a healthy sexual development, but for health issues as well. We would never let a person drive a car without studying the driver’s manual so the very idea of letting someone have a sexual experience without their own personal test drive has the potential for some very undesirable outcomes. You can not communicate to your partner concepts that you yourself are unaware of, and the idea that someone else will magically know how your body works is unfair to you ,and your partner.
#3. When it comes to sex everyone’s ego is delicate! When you are untruthful about the level of your sexual pleasure you cheat yourself, and you set your partner up for continued failure. Everyone loses! You have just set the groundwork for relationship failure. Our men want us to be honest about our desires as much as we want them to be about theirs. Also keep in mind no one’s ego enjoys harsh criticism especially in the most intimate moments. The gentle nudge, or relocation of body part placement is a really sensitive option. Both genders appreciate not having to always be the one to initiate an encounter. Everyone enjoys the concept that someone has unexpected desires towards them.
#4. Being a sexually experienced woman (or man) does not make you a whore. Men often feel as overwhelmed by a partner’s expectation of their performance, as women do, (this is where masturbation once again proves to be beneficial in regards to experience) knowing what is pleasurable for yourself goes a long way in alleviating anxiety performance for everyone.
I think that the whole “Secret Club” concept comes from our shared fear of being viewed in an unfavorable way, harsh judgement regarding how we feel, or the things we desire. I have to admit that even while writing a post I am often reluctant to share a lot of the things that cross my mind. We all fear being viewed unfavorably. I also know that I have read some incredibly honest posts regarding some extremely personal subjects. Communicating honestly is a huge personal risk but it comes with the incredible possibility of making some very positive changes like breaking down old barriers, removing shame and stigma. So here’s pulling up our big people pants, and putting our honest feelings out there for everyone else to see. 😉