Gingers and Math Professors and Bhagavad Gita, Oh My.

Y’all. Something is up with Oregon. I mean aside from triple-decker man buns, obsessions with microbrews and whiskey, and wannabe hipster bro-boys. I’m talking about the ridiculously high ratio of gingers to the rest of the population. At least, I mean that’s at least a thing in the dating pool. Not that I’m complaining; some of these gingers are smokin’ fuckin’ hot. (Uhm. Maybe most of them. Which is weird, because as an aesthetic, I was never interested in gingers. I mean, I’ve always been a fan of ginger flavor – ginger beer, ginger snaps. But ginger boys? Too…pale. Oregon is changing my mind.)

If you stacked all of my dates up on a weirdass live human bar chart, the tallest bar would be gingers, by far. (This is not intentional.) At one point, I may or may not have been casually dating three gingers at once. One of them was pretty simple, but funny and wild as hell. Another of them was a super country libertarian boy (yeah, I passed pretty hard and fast on that one). The third was fucking brilliant – this weird dichotomy of former military and current anarcho-philosopher turned psychotherapist with a fucking PhD. Oh…was he yummy. Lemme tell ya… Too bad he was emotionally inaccessible and a bit of a sociopath.

Last night, I had a date with yet another ginger. A math professor. Yep. Another weilder of a PhD. (No, stop picturing a 65 year old in a tweed blazer with elbow patches. Fuck, I just planted that image, didn’t I? Stop picturing it!) Shy and awkward over text. Funny, witty, and deep in person. In between covertly checking him out (holy shit – since when do nerdy geek boys lift??) and getting coached on how to play pool, I was alternately laughing my ass off and diving off into deep conversations about math, the universe, string theory, self, other, the Bhagavad Gita, and Eastern Philosophy. With wild fucking abandon. Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that rocks my socks.

We did a bar crawl – my first ever, I think – and drank. A lot. Well, my a lot is just a little compared to seasoned drinkers. I don’t drink often. So, the two jumbo-sized ciders and the sangria had me in orbit. (Oregon makes sangria with wine AND tequila, y’all, at least at rooftop bars in college towns. My name is Stephanie, and I approve this message. (That fucker also came in an oversized, don’t think you can call that a pint glass anymore, pint glass.)) I wasn’t wasted – those three drinks were spread over about three hours – but boy, I got spirited and (only slightly) wobbly.

We walked it off, then looked at the stars. Man, there’s so much less light pollution in that little town than where I live. It was glorious. We listened to Irish folk music and Ravi Shankar and had the deepest conversation I’ve had in ages, punctuated with sass and smartassery, crude jokes, and ribald laughter.

It was incredible.

That charming, brilliant, Irish bastard.

And it’s almost a 100% certainty that I’ll never see him again.

Why? Because out of this abundance of gingers, only one of them has been interested in more than a single date (see simple but wild boy – and he’s not in it to win it, either). And it seems the smarter and more philosophically inclined they are – ginger or not, but especially the gingers – the less likely they are to be interested in anything even remotely serious.

Unfortunately, what dating is teaching me is that my interests border on the fucking unattainable. If the guy isn’t a deep thinker, I’m not interested. If the guy can’t banter, I’m not interested. If we can’t talk until 4 in the morning (yep, last night was a late one) about anything and everything, with no filter, I’m not interested. If we can’t enjoy comfortable silences, I’m not interested. If all conversation is all about him, I’m not interested. If all conversation is all about me, I’m not interested. If conversations are about things or people, I’m not interested. If conversations aren’t about ideas and thoughts and philosophies and weird little eccentricities of self and universe, I’m not interested. If I’m not laughing until I’m doubled over in pain, I’m not interested. If he isn’t a little….wild, rough around the edges, I’m not interested. And every. Single. Motherfucker. That I’ve met that has those qualities – the ones I AM interested in, are “ethically non-monogamous” or “polyamorous” (welcome to fucking Oregon) or strictly interested in an “FWB” or “NSA” situation (yeah, I’m learning a lot of fucking acronyms lately).

And it feels strangely like the longer this carries on, the less interested *I* am in something long-term and serious. Sometimes I think I’m *too* fucking adaptable, because I don’t want to compromise my personal convictions, the ones I have just for me. But at the same time, I don’t want to go back to being a complete and utter hermit, either, afraid of the opposite sex and what they do or don’t want from me.

Dating is nice. But it’s also terrible and unpredictable and scary. And I’m fucking sick of it. And also wish I had one tonight. (Oh wait, I did. But after the stellar night with the Jacked and Ginger Buddha, there’s no way I could meet this other guy. It would have been a soul-sucking exercise in tedium. So I canceled.)

See. If I don’t even know what the fuck I want, how can I expect others to know what they want? I mean. Every time someone does want something serious with me, I’m the one that’s not interested. I “don’t feel a connection,” or something on that laundry list of elusive but critical qualities is missing. I’ve totally ditched boys for lack of banter. And I just ditched one for lack of depth/connection. I don’t wanna talk about tv shows and YouTube political commentators all the damn time. I wanna talk about Plato and Buddhism and Experiencers/Enlightenment. Fuck those fucking gingers for dangling that fucking carrot and running off because they wanna be deep…with a shallow girl.

Fuck those fuckers for making me think it’s possible, because there’s no way in fuck I can settle now. I know what’s out there. I’ve known it for a long time, and I’m just getting it reinforced now and then. (Don’t get me wrong, most of the people I’ve been on dates with are horrible. I have some horror stories to share with you people! But sometimes…the veil is parted, and I get a glimpse of what could be. And I know…fucking. I know, I’m not digging too deep or searching for something imfuckingpossible.) So fuck those guys…and thank those guys.

Fucking gingers.

Advertisements

The Horse is (Not) Alright

Exiting the roundabout, I crane my neck.
I have to see the horse, traffic be damned.

He stands there in his meadow-like pasture, outwardly indifferent to the traffic.
Selectively nibbling on the verdant grasses and sweet-smelling flowers, he’s alive.

The horse is alright.

How do I know the horse is a he?
He’s strong, muscular, virile, powerful, secure in his solitude.
Those are masculine traits.
Aren’t they?

Another long day, another fretful drive “home.”
Please let him be there.
I only need to see that

The horse is alright.

Exiting the roundabout, I hold  my breath.
Craning my neck, I scan the field.

Nothing.

I risk another look.
Fuck it; if he’s not alright, I’m not alright.

The horse is not alright.

I can’t find him.
Has he given up?

Frustrated and empty from his solitary jaunts,
Today, he doesn’t leave his stall.

His handlers cajole and prod, first sweet talking, now scolding.
You need to get outside, horse. It isn’t good for you us to see you holed up inside all day.
Keeping to yourself.
Why don’t you go outside, seek new grasses and flowers.
And pretend you aren’t still keeping to yourself.

The horse is not alright.

I enter the roundabout with trepidation.
If he’s not there today…
If the horse is not alright…

Exiting the roundabout, my arms tremble on the steering wheel as I turn to look.
He’s there. He’s there.
I exhale a breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding,
Dash away tears I didn’t realize I’d been shedding.

And I breathe a sigh of relief,
Of grateful reassurance, because

The horse is alright.

Désolée (an un-poem)

I’m sorry, but…
I’m giving up on you.

Waiting for your call, your text, your email.
No more.

When you finally come to your senses,
I won’t be there, waiting as I always do.

Ardently, perpetually, relentlessly waiting.
No.

Je ne renoncerai plus à moi.
Je m’abandonne à nous.
Je renonce à toi.

Désolée.
Je suis très désolée.

5-Day Song Challenge: Fifth & Final

The five songs I’ve used in this challenge surprised me. The only one I knew I’d use was Slow Cheetah. The rest happened a day at a time, and none of the other songs I planned to use made it into the five posts – including today’s. That’s one of the interesting things about music moods for me – I never know what I’ll be in the mood for from day to day. And this time, rather than relying a planned lists of songs to type about, I decided to wing it from day to day and let my mood guide the choices.

Which leads us to today’s selection.

Song the Fifth:

Float – Flogging Molly

Flogging Molly’s Float is on my mind for two reasons:

  1. The theme: struggling with depression and indifference as time inevitably marches on. Trying to make sense from the senseless and grasping for reasons to persist. For obvious reasons, it speaks to me. Rather, it speaks me.
  2. The timing: totally going to a Flogging Molly concert tonight, and I’m stoked. Fucking. Stoked.

Have a listen.

The Lyrics:

Drank away the rest of the day,
Wonder what my liver would say,
Drink… That’s all you can.

Blackened days With their bigger gales,
Blow in your parlor to discuss the day,
Listen… That’s all you can.

Ah but don’t, no don’t sink the boat,
That you built, you built to keep afloat.
Ah no don’t, no don’t sink the boat,
That you built.

Sick and tired of what to say,
No one listens anyway,
Sing… That’s all you can.

Rambling years of lousy luck,
Ya miss the smell of burning turf,
Dream… That’s all you can.

Ah but don’t, no don’t sink the boat,
That you Built, you built to keep afloat,
Ah no don’t, no don’t sink the boat,
That you built… That you built to keep afloat.

Singled out for who you are,
It takes all types to judge a man,
Feel… That’s all you can.

Filthy suits with bigot ears,
Hide behind their their own worst fears,
Live… That’s all you can.

It’s all you can.
It’s all you can… do.

No matter where I put my head,
I wake up feeling sound again,
Breathe… It’s all you can.

Tomorrow smells of less decay,
The flowers create this blooming fray,
Be thankful… That’s all you can.

Ah but don’t, don’t sink the boat,
That you Built, you built to keep afloat.
Ah no don’t, no don’t sink the boat,
That you built… you built to keep afloat.

Ah no don’t, no don’t sink the boat,
That you built, that you built to keep afloat.

A ripe old age,
A ripe old age,
I’m a ripe old age,
That’s what I am.

I’m a ripe old age,
A ripe old age,
A ripe old age,
Just doing the best I can.

A ripe old age,
A ripe old age,
A ripe old age,
That’s what I am!

A ripe old age,
A ripe old age,
A ripe old age,
Just doing the best I can!

The best I can!

~

Fighting hard to not sink the boat. Hoping like hell that tomorrow smells of less decay. I’m doing the best I can. Are you?

5-Day Song Challenge: Day the First (Or: Slow Cheetahs are not faster than me.)

The awesome Rob at The V-Pub invited me to do a song-a-day challenge thingy. And since I love songs. And thingies. I decided to participate. Plus, it gives me extra incentive to actually show up every day for five days straight. What! To think I once posted every day for like forty days. Who was THAT person?

Anyhoodles. I love – and agree with – what Rob says about music: “It’s something that speaks to individuals in different ways. It’s universal and paradoxically personal.” Yes. That. Yes.

So. Yes. Rules. How I love thee, rules. (Did you hear that? I just snorted.)

Rule Thingies:
Post a song a day for five consecutive days. (Oh shit.)
Post what the lyrics mean to you. (Optional. Sweet. I like options. And crawfish. Damnit, I miss crawfish. Oops.)
Post the name of the song and video. (Not optional. Come on, dudes. This is supposed to be the easy part.)
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge. (Fuck.)

Today’s Song

Slow Cheetah – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Yep. Gotta start off with my current favorite Peppers song. (Peppers favorites shift for me. But right now, it’s Slow Cheetah.) Have a listen and take a look at the lyrics, and you’ll see why.

The Lyrics:

Waking up dead inside of my head
Will never never do there is no med
No medicine to take

I’ve had a chance to be insane
Asylum from the falling rain
I’ve had a chance to break

It’s so bad it’s got to be good
Mysterious girl misunderstood
Dressed like a wedding cake

Any other day and I might play
A funeral march for Bonnie Brae
Why try and run away

Slow cheetah come
Before my forest
Looks like it’s on today

Slow cheetah come
It’s so euphoric
No matter what they say

I know a girl
She worked in a store
She knew not what
Her life was for
She barely knew her name

They tried to tell her
She would never be
As happy as the girl
In the magazine
She bought it with her pay

Slow cheetah come
Before my forest
Looks like it’s on today

Slow cheetah come
It’s so euphoric
No matter what they say

Everyone has
So much to say
They talk talk talk
Their lives away
Don’t even hesitate

Walking on down
To the burial ground
It’s a very old dance
With a merry old sound
Looks like it’s on today

Slow cheetah come
Before my forest
Looks like it’s on today

Slow cheetah come
It’s so euphoric
No matter what they say

Slow cheetah come
Before my forest
Looks like it’s on today

Slow cheetah come
It’s so euphoric
No matter what they say

~

I’ve added emphasis to the lyrics that resonate the most with me and, therefore, mean the most and hit me the hardest.

I’m not one to look up song meanings. I’d rather listen. Feel. Soak. On my own. I don’t want someone telling me what the takeaway is. Not even the singer/songwriter. Music is so deeply personal, and lyrics are so often the poetry of my soul.

I don’t need someone to tell me that Slow Cheetah is about being: lost, adrift, alone, aimless, pointless, worthless. And fucking numb and over it all. It’s…euphoric. Right? No matter what they say. And I sure as hell don’t need someone telling me that not what it’s about. Even if it really isn’t. After all…everyone has so much to say, they talk talk talk their lives away. But this song…is deeply personal to me. And for me, it has become about survival in spite of myself, no matter what they say.

Because this is one of the many songs I attribute to saving my life. Even on days when I barely knew my name, this and countless other songs spoke me in the dark. Made me feel seen. Understood. Part of something – even a dark something – and therefore less alone. Not alone. I’ve had a chance to break, so I took that chance – even against my will – and I’m still. Fucking. Here. And no matter what the fucking predatory depression says or does…I’m not alone.

No matter what they say.

The Ubiquitous 2016 Wrap-Up / Navel-Gazing New Year’s Post

The ‘net runs rampant with posts about how 2016 is the most terrible year ever to be had. No, not the years of the Bubonic Plague outbreaks. Not the years of the Holocaust. Not the years of Genghis Khan’s hordes. It was 2016: the year we lost certain celebrities, the year of yet more unfortunate film adaptations and remakes, and then the year Trump became President Elect of the United States. Tragic? The latter, for sure. The former happens all the time. It’s called life. Sucks, yeah. Any loss of life is tragic for the individual and his families. But come on. The loss of my dear Leonard Cohen and isn’t enough for me to call 2016 the worst year on record.

Fine, I glossed over the Trump bit. That was intentional. I don’t wanna talk politics, but if you wanna know how I feel about him, specifically – I’ll just say – fuck that guy. And not in a fun – I wanna do you all night long kinda way. But with like a mile long, herpes-infested cucumber-up-the-ass kinda way. That opinion has nothing to do with politics, by the way. (Okay, that’s not 100% true.) But it tends to spring forth from a woman when a man tries to grab her by the pussy because he’s a slimy-ass rich celebrity who thinks he can get away with it, because he can. And is my little STD-ridden cucumber fantasy hypocritical? Yes, I’m aware. That is all.

~

So. That’s the Internet’s 2016. My 2016 was far less focused on celebrities, and actually far less focused on Trump that my little rantlet makes it sound. A couple of Very Important People encouraged me about how well I’d done this past year, not to mention all the encouragement I received here from the WordPress fam. But the thing is, the saying, “I’m my own worst critic” is an adage for a reason. Upon reflection, I’m thinking they were right. It was messy (isn’t life supposed to be?), but I did make progress. Sure I want it to happen faster, cleaner…Right. Fucking. Now. But that’s not how shit goes down. In my typical random fashion, here’s some shit that did go down in my 2016.

Divorce – Yep. Let’s get that one out of the way. Surprised? “Regulars” probably are. Thing is, I was separated for somewhere between 4 and 5 years. But he refused divorce, and I didn’t pursue legal channels to enforce it. So I was stuck. In so many ways, I was stuck. 2016 was the year I finally asserted myself, broke the toxic patterns that had ended our marriage and stood up for myself. It took roughly five years, but it’s now official. Now…one never marries intending for things to go down that way. We’d been a couple since I was fifteen. But if things do go sour (and they did), it’s fucking toxic to be held in limbo for so long. With the support and urging of a couple of very strong and important friends, oh and some strong doses of anxiety meds, I finally asserted myself and ended that limbo.

Therapy – I finally caved and tried therapy, after at least twenty years of decrying it as a scam. I’ve tried talk therapy as well as meds, but with all that I had going on concurrently – in addition to limited financial means – I haven’t found the right combination yet. But. I do intend to try this out again. I’m still taking Lexapro, at least until my refills from Louisiana run out (soon), and I have a handful of Xanax left. But I haven’t been able to afford new doctors yet. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get that sorted soon. So 2016 was the year I finally really began addressing my mental health.

Masturdating and Social Interaction – Along with my therapy, I also pushed myself to move beyond my boundaries. At least a bit. I took myself out to a couple of movies (Deadpool, yeah! And something with Bill Murray, because Bill Murray!). I took myself to a concert. I took myself to a poetry slam (which I haven’t told y’all about!). I took myself to Happy Hour (more than once). And I even took coworkers up on invitations a few times. I mean, this chick drank IN PUBLIC. She did not dance. She did not karaoke. (How many times does she have to say HARD LIMIT for people to get it?) But how she laughed. Oh how she laughed. 2016 was the year Stephanie hid a little less.

Quitting a Toxic – But Solid – Job & Moving Across Country – For the town I lived in, I had it made at my job. Aside from Queen Bitch, that is. But the direction things were moving in the last month or so would have had me in a new department under a brand new director with a brand new title and brand new salary. Yeah. There was no pressure at all at work. They didn’t beg me to stay or make my decision increasingly harder and more panicky each and every day. No. Not a chance. (I hope your sarcasm detectors are on and working.) Point is: Stephanie took shittons of Xanax in the last month and especially in the last two weeks in Louisiana. I met with a brand new therapist on the proverbial eve of my departure, and after an extended session, he agreed with all of my decisions. Except: he disapproved of the job I intended to accept in Oregon. It would have sapped me of my all and left me wrung out and an even greater emotional danger to myself than I already was. In the end, I agreed with him (though I had a tough time with the decision), but that has me still unemployed at the moment. I have made the move, though, and I’ve been in the Greater Portland Area since September. Newsflash: I Fucking Love Oregon. And, as yet, I have no regrets. 2016 was the year I gambled everything, turned my back on “everything I’ve ever known,” and risked staid stability to chase a dream in spite of everyone breathing down my neck what a fool I was. And I’m damn fucking proud I did.

Dispensary – Fucking right. I visited a dispensary for the first time. I’m in Oregon, dudes. What did you expect? So yeah, I got a J and a lollipot. I still have half the j left. (I may have a piss test in my near future. Yeah. Even in Oregon.) And I’m totally having the lolli if I land the job. Or at least part of the lolli, in celebration. Hm. Or maybe the other half of the j. Oh yeah! Pretty sure I’m gonna smoke it up with someone over Skype. I’ll toke over here. He’ll toke over there. It’ll be neato. Except I’ll have to find somewhere to do it, because of my “roommates.” Yeah. Remind me to tell you about them. I’m in a…weird situation. But one I’m grateful for. It’s just…fucking weird and uncomfortable sometimes. A lot of times. Anyway. Yeah. Old Stephanie never would have been brave enough to just stroll into one of those places, even though I’d have smoked whatever my friends brought out of there. I don’t see why people still think it’s such a big fucking deal. I’ve been smoking pot since…11 or so and I turned out. I still wouldn’t have gone in there. 2016 Stephanie? Dispensary-bound!

~

There’s probably more shit. I mean, it was a whole fucking year. But I need to get my shit ready for tomorrow. I don’t have a real job yet, but I do have a little side gig in the afternoons. Tutoring some kids on algebra and science. It’s not much, but at least it’s something for now.

I don’t do resolutions, so I ain’t making promises about writing. But when I come back, I’ll maybe tell ya about Oregon stuff. Oh! Oh! And I’ll leave you with a lovely piccy taken right here in Oregon, this very day.

img_1361
Accidental Penis: A Counter Stain

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

She awoke with a gasp, bolting upright in bed. Gathering the soft fabric of her nightgown about her neck, she clutched tightly and frantically searched the room.

No. The room was devoid of life, aside from herself. And Darkness.

She tried this every night, to no avail. Every time she woke from these furtive but desperate attempts, only Darkness and her own haggard panting greeted her.

They were partners in an arranged marriage. One she didn’t want to be in, but Darkness was insistently insidious.

~

The visit to the weathered old woman was a pointless endeavor. Give up. That’s what the old woman had said. “You’ll find no light there, no redemption. This isn’t hope; it’s desperation. Stop now before it’s too late.”

If the old crone wouldn’t help her, she’d go it alone.

From that day forth, she spent every day in bed. Flat on her back, hands clasped over her heart, she sank into a trance state.

Through the void, she reached, fingers grasping at the viscous mass of nothing. But they found no purchase; what she sought simply wasn’t there.

For days she was like this, until finally. Finally, something happened.

~

She stood at the foot of the bed looking down upon her own sleeping form. The brief flutter of hope immediately crushed under the weight of what had actually happened.

She had peered too long into the darkness, mining its depths for some glimmer of light. Only now did she realize she had faced the wrong way.

Of course! There is no light in Darkness. Darkness is the very absence of light, cast aside by it. It was all consuming of those who plumbed its depths for answers to futile wishes.

And now? Now?

She was Darkness.

~

By the time the reclusive woman was found some months later, her corporeal form had withered into a corpse.

Only Darkness remained. Insistent. Insidious. Lifeless.

One of those standard update thingies.

So. Great progress in some ways. None at all in others. Let’s get to it, so I can get it off my chest. Kind of like the pain in the everything bra that hits the deck as soon as I get home every day. I can feel it there, driving me crazy, all fucking day. So maybe I can get some mental shit off my chest, and I’ll feel a bit of relief? Doubtful, but let’s try it anyway.

House Stuff

The house goes on the market tomorrow morning. Sign in the yard, MLS, Zillow, the whole nine. Well. She said Zillow usually takes three to five days to pick new listings up. But after that, it will be available for any google search. Sweet biscuits.

She said houses are selling fast in my neighborhood, but agreed with me that having only two bedrooms and one bathroom will make it harder than most to sell. That’s fine – I anticipated that from the moment I bought the place.

She offered me a full percent less on her commission than I anticipated, so I didn’t even negotiate that. I was gonna try to knock her down half a percent, but she did way better than that on her own.

She also named the exact list price I was going to suggest (I’ve been researching comps for ksofmusemeweeks). We both know it probably won’t go for that, but it gives me room to negotiate without fearing dropping below my bottom line.

So tonight, I do the final touches: tucking stuff away in closets, mopping everything one more time, water the plants and put the hose away, clearing the back deck, tidying the storage room, etc. Then I’m gonna take a much needed superlong soak in the tub and hit the hay.

She’s meeting me at the house at 9:00 AM in the morning. She said we’ll do all the paperwork then, photograph and video everything, then go ahead and toss the sign up. Weeeeeeeee. Here we go!

Job Stuff

Fucking sucks. Still no feedback from slowass corporate about the jobs I applied to in hopes of staying with my current company.

Still nothing but dead-ends on the couple hundred apps I’ve done thus far in my search. (That isn’t an exaggeration. If anything, it’s an underaggeration. Yeah. That’s a word now. Suck it.) Now and then, I get serious nibbles or even bites. A couple times, I’ve all but been offered jobs (talking only about ones that would pay enough to live there)…only for them to fall through at the last minute.

There’s time yet, as the house is only now being listed. But…I’m still nervous as fuck. I’m not sure what the hell I’m going to do if the house sells and I’m still stuck down here with the same shitty prospects. Do I gamble it all and drive my ass up there? Hoping employers will be far more amenable since I’m in situ? (And risk losing it ALL in the process?) Or do I sign a fucking six month lease on an apartment here and keep wiling my life away, waiting for change.

For now, I shall focus on the sale of the house, continue applying my ass off and bide my time.

Mental Health Stuff

I still wake up wishing I hadn’t. I struggle mightily with things I want and think I need, but feel they’re far from my grasp. Perhaps eternally so.

I’ve had some mopey days. I’ve had some weepy days. I’ve had times I’ve had to hide in the bathroom at work, so I could cry it out and compose myself.

I still think I’m a pointless waste of space, an inconsequential non-blip on the universe’s radar. I still wonder what the fuck the point of it all is.

I fight hard not to dwell on that, because I don’t have the answers. I know I have it better than so many do, but it doesn’t really help to know that. It doesn’t ease the pain in my soul. God, I sound like such a whiny little bitch. Yet, it’s how I feel.

I’m fighting. I’m not giving up. I’m not giving in. I’m not. But. Motherfuck, some days it all feels so fucking impossible.

~

So. Good things ahead. New things ahead. Things I’m nervous about. And things I’m still struggling with.

Overall. Trending upward. The trick is to keep it that way.

 

The Iron Horse

She could hear the faint groans of life stirring from the master bedroom.

“Fuck. He’s awake.”

With a heavy sigh, she struggled to turn her head toward the window. She could hear his soft approach, the door squeaking open. Will he ever fix that fucking squeak?

“How do you feel this morning? Ready for breakfast?”

“Would you just leave me alone? I can’t bear this ritual anymore.” Why must he torment me so?

“Look at me, Clara. Can’t you even look at me?” His soft touch caressed her cheek, brushed her hair back.

Her reply was less biting this time, her voice suddenly soft, tears streaming down her cheeks to wet the pillow. “I can’t stand for you to see me this way.” Please don’t look at me.

“How long will it take for you to realize I’m not going anywhere? Nor do I want to. How long will it take for you to see the richness of life still in your grasp?”

He realized his mistake as soon as it escaped his lips.

“Heh, my grasp. My grasp?!” Her eyes flitted down toward her motionless hands, then up at him.

“I’m sorry, Clara.” He cocked his head to the side, eyes suddenly flashing. “No. You know what? I’m not sorry,” he said in a stern voice. She couldn’t remember the last time this gentle man grew so stern. “I’m not sorry at all. I’m done tiptoeing around you, and you’re done existing this way. This is no life.”

She gasped as she looked up at him, eyes surprised as the tears slowly dried. He continued, “Right here. Right now. You make a choice. Are you going to live? Or are you going to die? If you want to die, you know she’ll do it. I can call her right now, and a simple injection will end it all. You have that right. But if you’re to live, things change. Starting right now. So what’s it gonna be?”

She eked out the barest of whispers, “Live.”

“I. Can’t. Hear. You.”

“Live. I want to live.”

He stooped over, draped her arm around the back of his neck and carefully lifted and carried her to the wheelchair. He smacked the wheel nearest him and smirked, “You think I haven’t heard you call this a fucking prison? This, my dear girl, this is your freedom. This is your steed. Your iron horse.” He wheeled her down the hallway, through the living room and carefully out the front door and onto the porch. “Now. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?”

“Everywhere,” she whispered. “Everything.”

“That’s my girl.”

Shit Happens: Real Talk about Serious Health Issues

I told myself I wasn’t going to talk about this here. “It’s too private,” I thought, “and it’s entirely too embarrassing and uncomfortable. …no. Fucking. Way.”

But you know what? That’s selfish of me. What if someone out there is afraid like I’ve been? Too embarrassed to see a doctor and talk about what’s going on, too afraid of receiving terrible news. What if someone reads my words and, as a result, looks after his or her own health? It hasn’t been too terribly long since I would have been (genuinely) willing to die before seeing a doctor. Embarrassment and shame do voodoo on the psyche. But I’ve recently got some awesome people in my life (you know who you are, and you know how I feel) – and this community is priceless. Fucking priceless. And you have lifted me up, encouraged me and offered me a world of new perspectives. Shouldn’t I try to do the same?

Shit happens, and the sooner I learn how to roll with it better, the more chill my life will be. And I’m a chill dude, man. It’s one of the few things I like about myself: I’m chill as fuck. So yeah, why not spill my embarrassing health issue – that shouldn’t be embarrassing at all, because it’s the human body and sometimes it fucks up, or we fuck it up – and maybe, just maybe, being candid about it will help someone. The more willing we are to speak openly about the things that scare or embarrass us, the better prepared we will be to move forward and heal. Knowledge is power, but it takes communication to gain that knowledge. Let us communicate.

If you’re squeamish, back away now. Back away. And if you’re not, then you’re about to see another layer to the title I used.

~

I have a lot of health problems. I’d say each of them is not a big deal, but stacking them all together gives me really bad days sometimes. But I’ve learned to deal, push it out of my mind, compartmentalize the fuck out of things, and keep on keeping on. Granted, I’m not always very good at it, but for the most part I try not to dwell on things.

Lately I’ve been seriously kicking ass. For me. I’ve been on a really good track to improve my life, and I’m getting good feedback and results. Personally, professionally, whatever. I’ve been hesitantly optimistic.

Did I say I’ve been kicking ass? I have been. Fuck it, I’ll own it. I’m nowhere near where I need to be. I’m only just beginning. But we all have to start somewhere.

Only now, my ass is kicking me. Yeah. You read that right. Are you ready? I’ve given more than enough intro, and now I’m just stalling. Let’s go…

~

My latest health issue started about three weeks ago. Or at least, I think it did. (I’ll explain that part shortly.) I went to the bathroom. I had to, you know………………fuck, I’m so embarrassed. Fuck it. Fuck it. Let’s do this. I had to shit, right? Everyone has to shit. No big deal.

Except, there was blood.

It was only a tiny amount, though. And it was bright red. It’s not the first time that’s happened, so I’ve read about it. It’s a hemorrhoid. Simple, whatever. I pissed the fucker off, and it bled a little. Little bastard. Case dismissed.

Except, it got worse.

Over the course of a week, the tiny bit of blood grew into a small amount of blood, which then grew into a semi-scary amount of blood. Only semi-scary, though. At this point, I knew I should see a doctor. I was semi-scared, for fucks sake. But who the fuck wants to go to their doctor and say, “Yo doc, there’s blood coming out of my asshole! What’s good, homeslice?”

Yeah, not me. So I ignored it and told myself that it would go away. The thing is, you remember that bit I said earlier? That “I think it” started three weeks ago? Yeah. That bit right there. For much longer than that, I’ve been having…problems…going…to the bathroom. It’s either one or the other: I can’t go, and it hurts like a bitch…or it’s like a motherfucking faucet. Either way, I’ve been having severe abdominal cramps. Mhm. So it has occurred to me that whatever this is…could very well have started much longer than three weeks ago. Fuck, I hope not.

Anyway. I fucking ignored it. Because that’s what I do. I stick my head in the sand and pretend the bad shit isn’t happening. And I carry on smiling and laughing and cracking smartass remarks in very poor taste. Because that’s what I do. Deny, deny, deny. And carry on not taking care of myself, dumping shitty (haha that’s punny) food in my body, wallowing in bed and wasting my life away.

And now I’m paying for it. Even if it’s nothing, I’m suffering at the moment, and most likely because of my abuse of my body.

So the next week, you’ll never guess what happened! You’ll never guess! You guessed it, didn’t you? Yeah. Shit got worse. (Heh. I did it again. SHIT got worse. Get it?) It got to the point where I’d have an urge to shit. My body’s telling me I gotta go, and it makes my abdomen rumble and cramp, and it’s urgent. It feels urgent. I go to the bathroom, and what comes pouring out? Shit?

Blood.

Just. Blood. Copious amounts of blood. And it’s not as brightly colored anymore. It’s still relatively bright, but I tell myself…”just give it a bit more time. This is nothing. It will go away. You’ve just really really pissed Hank off.” (That’s the name of my friend’s asshole, but I’m stealing it.) I pissed Hank off, nothing more. No fucking way will I go to the doctor about this. I’ll fucking bleed to death first.

So the first week, I ignored it as best I could. The second week, I became terrified. The amount of blood filling up the bowl scared me. And it wasn’t bright anymore. I was barely shitting at all. For the most part, when I went to the toilet, it was Only Blood. The third week (this one), I had to start lining my underwear. Yeah. That fucking bad.

Yesterday, I went to the bathroom three times with that problem. Oh. And coupled with the blood loss, I’ve been experiencing significant dizziness, drastically increased fatigue, some disorientation, etc. Very woozy, all the time, and I have little to no appetite.

I called the doctor.

I had made a promise to call the doctor yesterday, and not only did I have to keep it, but I had finally gotten scared enough to seek treatment. The doctor got me in right away. The nurse said she’d call me back..she called me back within five minutes and asked if I could be there in fifteen. I texted my boss and left.

I told the doctor everything. He asked some questions pertaining to pain (location and severity), color of the blood, shitting schedule, etc. After I’d answered all of his questions, he said,

“You need a colonoscopy.”

I cried a little. Just a couple tears, and I practically whispered, “What about other tests first, like a stool sample?” (I’ve been researching…) And he calmly, quietly repeated,

“You need a colonoscopy.”

He sent me across the street to the hospital, to test for anemia. I bypassed admissions, no check in, no paperwork, and went straight to the lab where I was seen ahead of everyone and immediately. I don’t mind saying I cried all the way out of the hospital and all the way home. The urgency did more to scare me than anything else.

I got the results of the blood work today. In a bit of good news, I was told I haven’t gone anemic. Whew.

I have a colonoscopy Tuesday morning. I have to be there at 5 AM. And because of the prep that has to be done beforehand (drinking a tanker truck of vile liquid and subsequently shitting your brains out for hours on end), I’ll have to take both Monday and Tuesday off work.

I’m scared. Yesterday, I was really fucking scared. I shed a lot of tears. And then I got immense encouragement, which I am endlessly grateful for.

~

Here’s where I’m at now:

It could be lots of things. I could have a tear. I could have irritable bowel disease. I could have Crohn’s (don’t think so on that one). I could have angry polyps or some shit (ha). I could have colon cancer. (I watched one of the most important people in the world to me slowly die of colon cancer. He was diagnosed at 44 and passed away at 46. It wrecked me, and I’ve lived in terror of it ever since.)

Simple or complex, odds are very good that it’s something treatable. In which case, I get it treated, I heed the wake-up call and take better care of myself, and I go on about my life – more mindful than before.

And if it’s terminal, which my mind can’t help but wonder, then that will be alright, too. I’ll sell my house, quit my job, try to raise some funds, and I’ll travel and adventure until I drop dead with a smile on my face.

I can wallow in bed, feeling sorry for myself, or I can live. I choose life, regardless of the test results.

As for today, I’m going to my storage unit after work to pick up my camera. I said I’d do that today. It will be good for me. It will give me more reasons to get out of the house. Go find something beautiful and interesting, photograph it. Get back to what I used to do: finding something beautiful each and every day.

And hopefully some time next week, I’ll find out exactly what’s going on and what the next step is.

~

If there’s something you’re scared of, something you don’t want to face, especially if it’s something that presents a danger to your mind or body, it’s worth the risk to say something.

The doctor is not going to laugh at you.

Real friends will not laugh at you.

You will be encouraged. You will receive help. You will feel better. And you will know that shame and embarrassment are merely other forms of fear.

You’re worth it. There’s too much left to do. Your story doesn’t end here.

There are mountains to climb, oceans to swim, photographs to take, trains to ride, planes to jump out of, people to embrace, stories to hear, stories to tell, raucous belly laughs at vulgar jokes, souls to touch, music to dance to.

Confide in someone, be encouraged and seek help. Go to the ass doctor. Go to the gynecologist. Go to whatever doctor grabs your nuts and makes you cough. Get a finger stuck up your ass. Have satan’s claws shoved up your ladybits. Seek. Help. Now.

Your story doesn’t end here.

Now let’s dance.