Breathe

Yes, breathe I tell myself even now as I write this.

There are so many hot button issues right now and one in particular is burning my ass.

Lately I’ve seen a ton of posts about people not wearing masks, their right to do what they want etc.

“My opinion is valid!” They all scream.

Guess what? So is mine.

The curse of DBT, I’m sure I’ve mentioned is that I can see both side of a situation.

I understand that masks are uncomfortable. They make it hard to breathe. We shouldn’t have to wear them. There are valid reasons for not wearing one. Do you know who likes wear a mask? No one.

This is a post that I saw three times on my FB timeline yesterday:

“That woman you shamed in the grocery store, because she wasn’t wearing a mask? She already feels enough shame because she was raped. Having something over her nose & mouth triggers her PTSD, and causes her to relive that trauma.
That man at the Quickee Mart who you called selfish? He’s a volunteer firefighter, and just came from the ER, after being treated for smoke inhalation. He removed his air mask, in order to help a child breathe fresh air, instead of thick smoke.
That elderly lady who you screamed at to put a mask on, or shop when it’s her turn? Her husband of 60 years just passed away. She’s doing her best to learn to live alone. Every breath is physically painful, due to her grief.
That little boy you lectured about removing his mask? He’s autistic. He doesn’t understand. He simply wants it off of his face.
That little girl who screams when somebody tries to mask her? She’s claustrophobic. She came from an abusive home, where she was confined to a closet.
There are all sorts of reasons for not wearing a mask. Not all are lung, or immune system related.
How many of you are among those shaming, name calling, and berating complete strangers, or worse, family members? How many of you are against bullying?
If you are among the first group, and align with the second, you may want to pump the brakes, and check yourself… you have become the bully you claim to be against.
Wearing a mask does not make you a kind person. You are either a kind person, or you aren’t. A piece of cloth does not determine that trait.
On the flipside, not wearing a mask does not make a person selfish, or inconsiderate. It simply means that, there may be an unseen reason why they cannot wear one. You don’t know their story, and, to be quite honest, it’s none of your business.
You have my permission to copy/paste/share.”
If any of these reasons apply to you, I have some good news.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE.
No one NEEDS to be milling around at Walmart or Home Depot, feeling victimized because they don’t care to wear a mask.
Groceries can be delivered. Doctor appointments are virtual. There is no need to run around without a mask, if that makes you uncomfortable.
And especially don’t bring your kids, are you nuts?
And another post:
Except, there are so many cases of people accidentally shooting themselves or kids getting a hold of the gun.
You can’t sneeze on someone and expect a bullet to save you.
This argument is stupid. Very judgy of me, I know. Guess what? It’s MY opinion.
Here’s another thing that pisses me off.
When people post political/controversial stuff and then say, “if you disagree, just keep scrolling”. In other words, don’t disagree with me. I’m right.
Ok, cool. I guess this is how shit will get solved.
I am not Jewish, though I attended a Jewish service last Saturday. It was moving, beautiful and enlightening,
The Rabbi told a story he’d heard that highlights the whole mask controversy.
Two men are in a boat. The one man starts to drill a hole in the bottom of the boat.
“What are you doing” asks the first man.
“None of your business. This is my life, it’s my choice if I want to drill a hole here!”
“But if you drill a hole in your side of the boat, we will both still drown.”
Make sense now?

 

Trust

If anyone is wondering why I have trust issues, here’s an example.

My daughter’s second birthday is coming up and she is very into two things: baby dolls and shoes. I’m with her 100% on dolls but shoes, I don’t cate for. I prefer to feet the grass under my feet, thank you.

So, I’m looking at all kinds of baby dolls for her. On one of the websites, there was a pop up ad for BuyMyBestItem. They had beautiful, intricately designed and gorgeously painted dolls. I was in love! Here is a sample of what they offer:

Adorable, right? At 17” and nearly 3 pounds, how could I go wrong?

 

So many choices! They all look amazing.

But, time passes so quickly, I had to make a decision. I bought the baby in the first picture and anxiously awaited her homecoming.

I don’t think the shipping took too long… but I was surprised by what came in the mail.

It was a small, gray envelope. I order a fair amount of stuff these days and I couldn’t tell or possibly remember what I was holding.

Once inside, I opened the package and tears lids down my cheeks as I laughed so hard.

This is what came in the mail:

Not 17”.
Not 2+ pounds.
Not what I ordered!

I immediately (after I stop laughing) email the company to alert them of my problem.

The respond quickly with an apology and offer a 10% refund. I paid almost $40, so no, $4 was not going to cut it when I still had to buy an actual doll.

Four emails later, they tell me the best they can do is 20%, how does that sound?

Like a bunch of BS.

I filed a dispute with my bank and they promptly reimbursed me for the full amount. Alls well that ends well, right?

I wish…

Several weeks later, I’m talking to my mom on the phone about what Olivia might lime for her birthday. She starts to giggle and says I bought her a doll- it’s a really cool Avatar one!

This is what I’m imagining, because I have also seen them:

How fantastic is this

“But I have to show you what it looks like…”

No. Oh no. I think I know it looks like. When she brings the doll up to the camera for FaceTime, it’s a mirror image to the one I’m holding up.

We both laugh and then get incredulous. How can they? What the? Huh?

I told her that my bank fixed it and most likely, the credit card company would as well.

I think back to the teachings of Judge Judy and hear her say “if it looks too good to be true, it is”. $40 really would have been a steal if I actually got what I ordered.

I did have a baby reborn in 2016. He was much more than $40. He was beautiful. I loved him and named him after the late miscarriage I had. He was good and healing. He served his purpose. Then, I knew it was time for him to find another home when I’d look at him and feel sadness for what I thought I’d never have again. He went to a woman who also experienced a loss and less than a year later, I was pregnant with Olivia.

So it almost came full circle.

I guess I just have one more question.

I don’t know what to do with this thing… mom, what are you doing with yours?

I Won, I Think.

In my last blog post, I talked about a Christian whom I didn’t agree with and my childish struggle to unfriend him as opposed to wanting him to unfriend me as he was the one so offended by me and my lifestyle, beliefs, everything. Every time he posted, I seethed, silently. I could feel it coming. This was stupid. I was only upsetting myself. I would unfriend him. Before I did that though, I scrolled through my page feed and saw something that I strongly agreed with and tagged this person, soon to be ex friend, to see. I had no idea he was so sensitive! The response he sent was certainly NOT that of a christian and he promptly unfriended and blocked me. Yay, I won, right? Why don’t I feel better?

Here is the picture I “liked”…

Maybe not inhumane people but people who are more concerned with money and every word in the Bible as it was written so long ago there is no room for interpretation or growth or the fact that it was a starting point that were supposed to grow from as the world and people evolved!

I added the caption and tagged this person. Here was his response:

“Congratulations, you will now be unfriended and blocked. You got your wish. I’m so sorry that you let the world make you as evil as you are and as horrible of a person as you are. You are blind, ignorant, not paying attention to anything important. Stupid, a hater, downplaying and ignorant to your own hate. You hate Donald Trump who is the best president we’ve had in a very long time, and you know nothing about Christianity. You follow Satan rather than you follow God. I don’t want to have anything to do with the likes of you, or anybody like you. It’s people like you who make the world a horrible place to live in Melanie. I’m so sorry that you’re such an idiot so damn stupid and so much of a freaking hater that you’re willing to sacrifice people that actually care about you and people that have put their lives on the line for you. You’re damn right that I follow the Bible and I always will! Good riddance you terribly evil person”

I was astounded. Dumbstruck. Incredulous. When I told my therapist about it, he laughed. He was sure this person was kidding me. I assured him, he was not.

I do not care one bit what this guy thinks of me. I don’t take it in, I’m not taking it personally and yet… I felt a hollowness. An emptiness. What was this all about?

I wasn’t going to miss him. I didn’t care for his holier than thou posts of FB. I hadn’t seen him in years.

Upon further reflection, I think it’s that he attitude is widespread. That a lot of people do not agree with the above post. Since I started DBT (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy) 10 years ago, I have always been able to see the other person’s side of the things. Generally, both sides are valid. There can be a kernel of truth in the opposing view point. But this, this isn’t even anything I can wrap my head around.

His view is I’m evil and stupid. I believe he believes that. Trump is a good President. Just trying to think about the position of a supporter makes me twitchy. I blank out.

Black Lives Matter vs nope.

Trump is really getting us through this pandemic vs nope.

I can’t even do it.

I’m just going to leave this here and try to wash off the pathetic attempts to demean me while staying nice and tidy white with his champion, Christ behind him.

The Tale of Two Wolves (and which one is winning)…

All of us have our good qualities and um, qualities we’d rather we didn’t have. I am a very kind, compassionate, loving person. Not just to friends and family, to strangers as well.

There is a person I used to be friends with. He and I are on the complete opposites of the political spectrum. But this isn’t about politics…

Not completely. That’s where the difficulty started but it went far beyond.

I hesitate to even say that I’m a democrat, yet here we are. I am a good person, looking for a good person to represent our Nation. Trump is the LAST person capable of the job.

So this person, is very pro-Trump. Pro voting conspiracy. Pro Corona virus is a hoax.

He has posted many clips, videos and opinions. Many I have reacted to. Usually with an angry emoticon or “are you serious”?

We both stand strong in our convictions. He believes he is kind and loving person who wants nothing more than to more than to bring people to Jesus.

Ok, cool. I do believe that he believes he is this person.

Yet, how can he support a “man” who is so clearly incapable of truth, democracy, and human decency?

I’m not going to get to deep into politics, I promise.

Alright. I was going back through FB posts and it looks like this person has taken down every post I have commented on. I was looking for something to give you context but I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.

It started out with him telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about because “I’ve ADMITTED I don’t read the bible”. Ok, that’s true AND, I still got the message.

He continued on, telling me I was a disappointment to him and he failed me as a spiritual “mentor” because of the life I’m leading. He said he checked out my page and was disgusted.

In one post, I disagreed with a video he added of doctor who was fired for not believing in the Corona virus and the reasons. I don’t remember what I said, it was probably one of those “are you kidding me” beginnings followed by the fact that ONE doc didn’t believe and was fired was NOT proof of a government conspiracy. I really wish I could remember what he’d replied with because one of his own friends told him to lay off of me. That he wasn’t being very christian in the way he was responding to me! So, I’m sure he paid lip service with his half-assed apology.

In another controversial post, I disagreed with president Trump. He responded with a comment that I didn’t immediately respond to. He assumed I realized I was wrong.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

So, the two wolves within me fight as I resist the urge to post my very unkind reply.

He followed with the fact he would not unfriend me (Wtf, why not?) I could do that myself and ps. Trump is the best president we’ve had since Reagan. The sooner I see that, the better.

Wait, I just realized something. If he’s trying to “save” as many people as he can, that must be why he’s supporting a president who has encouraged people to DRINK BLEACH. He wants to make sure that go quick, to meet God.

Why don’t I just unfriend him?

The truth? I don’t know. Childishly, I guess if he won’t unfriend me, why should I unfriend him? He’s certainly NOT my friend and the fact that he won’t unfriend me suggests to me, that he wants to stalk my page. What other reason is there? It’s not christian? He’s not been very Christian to me these past couple of months… I know he’d be quick to point out that I’ve left some “nasty” comments on his page. Yes. Because I’m standing up for what I believe in. If you’re putting it out there, I can comment on it. I know the same is true for what I post. There are people who don’t agree with me and fight with me on the page. According to this person, he’s being persecuted, just like JESUS,

He has accused me of being pompous and a hypocrite (because I wouldn’t read a story published by the Republican Party. Why would I? I know what their agenda is. Yet, he has compared his suffering to the suffering of Christ.

I guess I don’t know his pain but…

Ugh. I’m so riled up and the better, kinder part of myself tells me to unfriend him, avoid all of his self serving religious crap and live peacefully. Unfortunately, the angrier, meaner part of me wants to keep on seeing his posts and leave comments that are “against the truth”.

Insert eye roll here.

No, this is not one of my better moments. I don’t know what I am going to do, which wolf will win or if there will be anything left.

Untitled

Untitled because I don’t have the right word. Words have been failing me as of late…

Do you ever get so angry or upset that there are no words? I usually just end up stringing a bunch of four letter expletives and still no one knows what I’m trying to say.

George Floyd. The entire encounter was horrific. The aftermath, the same. The inequality, the injustice, the heartbreak, the destruction of lives and homes and businesses. It is crushing.

Of course he didn’t deserve it. And I cannot even comprehend what justification there was for the aggressiveness. He may have been using a counterfeit bill? He seemed intoxicated? So what? That becomes a death sentence?

I am not black. I cannot understand the fear and hate that too many people have. I wish there was something I could do to help. I want to be a voice… and I feel like a fraud. I don’t know what it’s like to be black and I don’t want to pretend I do.

A couple of days after George Floyd’s death, I went to the gas station. I pulled up to the building, in a parking spot. In the car next to me was a young, black man. He was on the phone and he looked scared. His head bobbed from right to left and left to right. I followed his line of vision and I saw two white police officers. They were just standing outside. They didn’t have anything, they weren’t going inside, they weren’t wearing masks. I immediately felt my chest tighten. I was scared. I went into the store, got what I needed and when I came out, everyone was gone. That one tiny instant in time and I felt so much stress. Fear. And now anger.

There is a burning rage in my belly, a smoldering angst, an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.

I understand why there are riots. There have been many, many times where peaceful protest did nothing. Time to amp it up. The atrocity of it all, I imagine it compounds and years of abuse of power offer fuel for the fire.

I don’t know what the answer is… part of me thinks it has to be love. My sentimental, sappy nature tells me love conquers all. Until.

Until I see the President. Encouraging, inciting violence and not for the first time! We need leadership and the White House goes quiet and dark.

I hear the news reporting telling me their is a vigil being held where “George Loyd lost his life”. Really? He didn’t lose his life. His life was stolen!

He was murdered and the cops responsible? No accountability. Derek Chauvin? He offered no apology. No remorse. The cops had to go to his house and arrest him? I can’t imagine killing someone, there being tons of recordings of it and not turning myself in. He couldn’t even feign surprise? None of the other officers had the inclination to intervene?

Murder at the hands (knee) of police. Riots followed. The Corona Virus is still a thing. And Trump? He’s busy complaining that people on Twitter are being mean to him.

I want to believe love is the answer, yet there is no love for him. There is no place even for basic tolerance for him. He is a disgrace, he is unfit to be president and I cannot believe he hasn’t been removed from office yet.

When I don’t know what I can do to help, at least I can take solace in the fact that at least I care. It’s not enough, I know it’s not enough and I’m willing to listen and that seems to be a big part of what has been going on.

Four Year Anniversary

A time to remember what I will never forget.

It’s been four years since my sister Natalie passed away.

Of course I’ve been listening to her music and going through photos… Yesterday I watched an episode of American Idol. Not on purpose, the t.v. remote was lost and it’s just what came on.

I watched the first three people audition before I broke down. All the talent, the potential and determination… she had all that too.

I’d gotten to a point where I almost forgot that she was real. The past four years she existed only in pictures, videos, old post cards and memories. I felt more like a crazed music fan. Then when talking to a friend, I talked about how I loved dolls growing up. It wasn’t Natalie’s thing. She loved the plush monster toy. The action figures. In the Disney movies, she rooted for the Queen of Hearts and Captain Hook. And then it hit me.

I knew those things about her because she was real. Because we shared a bedroom as little kids. We built forts under the dining room table where we’d watch vhs tapes with our fancy New York Seltzer waters and popcorn. We got into trouble together. She was my maid of honor and I was hers. When my first baby was born premature and my husband had to go back to work, it was Natalie who made sure I got to the hospital every day to be with my baby. She was my sister. She was my friend.

The other day I thought I would go to the cemetery and visit her until I realized she isn’t buried anywhere. I used to be anger about that. Now I’m glad. She wasn’t real good about staying in one place anyway. She was a mover and a shaker. It wouldn’t have been fair to put her in one place.

And I deal with that. The fact that she is everywhere and nowhere.

It’s harder this year. This quarantine is making me crazy not being able to hug my mom. Not knowing when that will even be a possibility.

So, I cry. And cry. And I try to wait until everyone is gone or at least asleep because I’m tired of people comforting me. I know they mean well… I just want to be sad, angry, gutted. I feel the need when someone sits with me or wrap their arms around me that I need to stop crying or at least slow down. Be quiet. Show them that yes, they are helping me feel better.

I will never feel better. Not when it comes to this.

I wish I could end this post on a more positive note but I wrote this post to honor her and now I’m going to honor my grief and sit with my sadness.

I love you, Nat.

Nat

Natalie – Asilos Magdalena

Later, “G”!

Today, Olivia was scheduled to have her G-tube swapped out (something that’s done every 3 months).

The doctor asked how things have been going and I told him “Wonderful! We haven’t used the tube at all since January 3rd, and weren’t totally dependent on it half way through December.”

He warned us that if Olivia got very sick and needed fluids and wasn’t taking them, they would have to do another surgery to replace the tube. And… since we are low risk for getting the flu (everyone at home has had the flu shot, we don’t go out very much with her, are homebodies, strongly discourage people from coughing directly in her face…) that he would take the tube out.

And he did. It took 2 seconds. Olivia didn’t even flinch.

I asked if the “button” was hazardous material and they had to dispose of it or if I could keep it. As soon as it was out of my mouth, I felt embarrassed. Was that weird to ask to keep it? I don’t know… it was a means to an end. Her ticket out of the the NICU, after 90, we were able to feed her enough for her to thrive. Hell yeah I want to keep that.

Holding her afterwards… it was incredible. I was like I was holding her for the first time. I didn’t have to worry about pressure or positioning, question whether or not tummy time hurt, if she was going to get angry enough to pull it out herself…

It was a healing cuddle.

They popped it out and bandaged her up, the bandage is ridiculously large. It covers nearly half of her belly!

As we approach the second half of her first year, I’m looking back with gratitude and forward to smoother path.

 

Favorite Prompt

One of my writing teachers’ favorite prompts is “Since I saw you last”.

There is too much to write about. I’m going to get back to writing. I am writing, just not blogging. I want to change that. Baby steps. I was going to title this post “Here’s my little toe” but I didn’t want people to think it was a foot fetish story…

I’ll start with last week.

I’m pretty sure I had a mild case of food poisoning (self-diagnosed) after dipping fries in ketchup that had been upstairs in my kid’s room for nearly two months. Good times.

I slipped and fell on the ice. Not on my butt. I did the splits, until I couldn’t and then crashed down on my knee. I skinned it pretty good in addition to it swelling and bruising. Then I did fall on my butt and had to drive from Eden Prairie to Burnsville wet. On the bright side, my bff was waiting for me with a brand new, full body (not kidding) unicorn fuzzy… outfit? Pj’s? I don’t know, they were DRY, warm, cute and fit perfectly!

Husband and I celebrated our 17 year anniversary last Saturday. We went to the MOA and had dinner at one of my favorite spots. The waitstaff was enchanted by Olivia. How well behaved, how alert and how beautiful she is. We were also stopped several times strolling through the mall. After supper, we got some Cold Stone Creamery treats and Liv had her first taste of ice cream!

I met with my Endocrinologist about the amount of insulin I’m still taking (it shot up quite a bit with pregnancy) and sugars not coming down. After making sure the insulin was not expired, I hadn’t made any drastic changes to my diet, etc. he asked when the baby was due. Dude, I used to like you. “She was due 3 months ago but was born almost 6 months ago”. I didn’t really take offense. I saw the wheels turning (wheels? Still? For a doctor?) in his head as he tried to figure out what could be causing my elevated sugars. I told him they haven’t come down since I gave birth. He then wanted my thyroid checked because Graves Disease can rev up after delivery and that would explain it. He also prescribed Victoza, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Last week also marked one month that Olivia has not needed her g-tube for a feeding! We see the surgeon on Tuesday to figure out if/when they will remove her “button”.

I think that’s all for now… maybe next post I’ll dip in more than just a toe! 🙂

For Her, For Me, For All of Us

In an attempt to get Tayla to be more social, I thought I’d look into some volunteer opportunities she might be interested in… That didn’t pan out but I did find something I was interested in!

The Crisis Text Line.

I’m not sure what it was about their ad in the volunteer section that made me think of Natalie, only that I did and I couldn’t stop.

She had so many friends and so much family that loved her, yet, I’m sure she felt alone- or at least like she didn’t have anyone she could confide in, without feeling like she was disappointing them.

Ironic isn’t it? How many people feel alone?

Sometimes people find it easier to talk with someone they don’t know. They can be completely open and honest because they’ll never have to meet or even speak to the crisis counselor again. And if one conversation can help a person, even a little bit… help them to feel a little stronger or more capable or even less alone… I wanted to do it.

I signed up, I went through training and started my first shift on June 19th.

The 19th. I wondered if it was a nod from Natalie, a thumbs up kinda thing.

I didn’t have to wonder long.

My first text was a transfer from… Natalie. The young texter was feeling down because she’d lost her grandma and to relax, she played the ukulele.

After my shift, the song “Lost Boy” by Ruth B. played followed by “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. Two songs I associate with my sister.

Maybe I couldn’t help her, but I know I can help someone.

 

That Was Huge…

I’m sorry for inviting you all (Facebook) to my Improv showcase and then uninviting all of you (in my head).

Here’s what happened.

Back in April, I started taking an improv class at Huge Improv Theater. (Improv 101, taught by Will Roberts, awesome guy). I didn’t know what to expect… He/she/they (everyone at Huge Theater) was super cool and very helpful, even with the uncomfortable stuff… We actually played a game called “Loserball”.

We did some, ok, a lot of things that were outside my comfort zone! Most of them were fun, some of them… not so much but they all served a purpose and help me to grow and develop.

It was 10 weeks, two hours a week and at the end of our last class, we had a showcase! I was excited and made an announcement on Facebook with very little information. The closer the day came, the more unsure I was that I would actually be able to perform…

It’s so much different than stand-up. At Acme, I’m prepared. I know the material and what I’ll talk about and say. I’ve been able to practice. I’m confident in the material I’ve written.

There’s no such thing with improv. Not only do I not know what I’m going to do, I don’t know what anybody else is going to do… and neither do they! No forethought, no plan, suggestions from the audience?!?!

No, I figured I’d just better keep this under wraps.

So I just didn’t mention it again.

Well, the big day came. I did perform. I had a great time, and I’m super glad no one I knew saw me!

I do plan on continuing with the improv but after Olivia is born. The next session doesn’t start until right around her due date.

Now that I’ve had some experience, you can be sure you’ll all be invited to the Improv 201 showcase!