Black & White

There is a challenge going around on Facebook. Seven Photos for seven days. Each day you post a black and white picture from your daily life, with no explanation. No kids, no pets.

Today I was nominated to participate. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t just do it myself… I wanted to do it, I “liked” every post that I saw (that was participating) in hopes that someone would nominate me. I think it’s kinda funny that it happened today because the writing prompt for today was identity.

I’ve struggled for a long time with the concept of identity and actually, with the concept of black and white thinking (all or nothing- either/or vs both/and) so to get both of those things on the same day… I knew I had to post.

For a few years, “photographer” was a big part of my identity. Not nearly as long as “writer” but I almost took more pride/joy in the role of photographer. As a writer, fear got in my way so much… I was afraid to write. I was afraid to submit anything anywhere. Once I finally did, when I wound up with a rejection, it was paralyzing. The worst time being, I’d quit writing for almost a year. I was miserable. With photography though, it was instant gratification. Pictures were digital, parents were happy, I felt accomplished. Plus, I met some really cool people.

And then it happened. Whatever “it” was or is. The problems with my back. And my legs. The fibromyalgia, the chronic fatigue. I couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t think I could go back to it either. Not as a job, anyway. But it was nice to go out and do something fun, snap a photo and be able to post it.

Thank God I’m back to my writing!

The “feature photograph” is the one I took and posted on Facebook. What do you think?

 

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Daily Prompt: Pretend

via Daily Prompt: Pretend

Today I was a nurse. Well, someone thought I was a nurse. I was at an Asian restaurant tonight, grabbing some lemon chicken. At the register, the cashier asked me how my night was. “Fine” I replied.

“Do you have any plans for the rest of the night?”

“Oh, um… I’m going to go home, eat and try to stay awake until it’s time for bed.”

He asked “Are you a nurse?”

I squinted in confusion as if the sun were in my eyes.

“No” I said, shaking my head slowly.

He nodded toward me, the left of me and I realized I was wearing my sweatshirt with the End the Epidemic logo I designed.

“Oh, because of the syringe?”

“Yeah, that and you look tired. And you mentioned trying to stay awake until it was time for bed…”

“Got it” I said. “No, I’m not a nurse. I just wear this sweatshirt because I lost my sister to the heroin epidemic in May.”

As I was speaking, I was also thinking, “wow, that was almost completely painless”.

“Oh my God” he said. “I’m so sorry. I have two sisters that were heavily into drugs in the 70’s. One has cleaned up, the other… she’s still kind of a mess.”

“I’m sorry to hear that” I said.

We talked for a few more minutes and by the time I got home, I realized the opportunity I’d wasted. Here’s how I imagined the conversation went, had I been a nurse.

“Are you a nurse?”

“Yes” I would say

“Where do you work?” He’d ask.

“Um, at a hospital?”

“What do you do there?”

“What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?”

spanish-inquisition

“Sorry, just trying to make polite conversation…”

“No, I’m sorry, didn’t mean to snap at you. I change bedpans, start IV’s, bring people ice chips… that kind of stuff.”

He would nod, thoughtfully.

Wow. That was WAY LESS INTERESTING than I’d imagined. And really? The first thing I think of for my job description is changing bedpans? WTF?

It’s Time

I’ve been sitting on an idea. For years, it’s been in the back of my mind. Natalie’s passing has brought it to the forefront and it seems with each passing day, it gains more energy.

Today, all that momentum has come to a head. Today is the day to let my “baby” out into the world… because I need help. I can’t do it alone and I don’t want to.

The daily word prompt today is muse. One of the dictionary definitions for the word is: “The goddess or power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the like.”

I remember the moment with crystal clarity. We were driving home, (the old place) down McAndrews Road. As we approached the stoplight, I saw in my mind’s eye, a vision. A flash. An image… It was shortly after Natalie passed and I was drowning in a sea of my own thoughts and grief.

In 2015, police in MN seized 18 pounds of heroin. That is equivalent to 8,200 doses and heroin has been steadily on the rise.

“This HAS GOT to stop” I thought.

Then I saw it.

FullSizeRender (5)

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but it has been one of a handful of times where I was sure I was merely the instrument for some higher purpose.

A month or so goes by and I am realizing how much shame plays a part in addiction. “We’re as sick as the secrets we keep”. If people can’t talk about it? They aren’t getting help for it. Addiction has been scientifically proven to be a medical illness. Even if it wasn’t, I still don’t see the good or the point of shaming anyone because of it… if they are talking about it, it’s because they want help.

Anyway, I was reminded of a very low point in my life. I had a lot of shame. A ton of it. So much so, I figured the word shame and my name could be interchangeable. “It even SAYS me in the word” I thought. A minute later, I realized the “me” in shame is at the end. Shame ENDS with me.

This is what we need to realize to stop the stigma.

FullSizeRender (9)
Sample of a cell phone case.

People are dying everyday from this shit. We can not afford to pretend this isn’t a problem or that this doesn’t affect us. My life, my world was shattered nearly three months ago from heroin I never touched…

I keep hearing the mediums voice in my head.

“She says she doesn’t want to be just a number”

The only number Natalie will ever be to me is number one.

I am (hopefully soon) starting a line of products, cell phone cases, t-shirts, magnets etc. to raise money and awareness. A percentage of the proceeds will go to Progress Valley, the treatment center where Natalie stayed and The Steve Rummler Hope Foundation who is committed to ending the problem here in MN. I’ve included links to both organizations, check them out!

We do better together… It doesn’t have to be this hard.

Please, help us?

Steve Rummler Hope Foundation

Progress Valley

 

 

Unstoppable?

I’ve been keeping an eye on the word of the day prompt. The past several days have been as follows:

Sanctuary

Elusive-

Crisis-

and today’s word, Unstoppable. I’d been following right along, keeping up, mentally checking in and wondering “do I have enough to say about this?” Enough to post?

My initial thoughts…

Sanctuary? A holy place. A place of asylum. Where? There is no place left. No place to offer comfort and solace. Not the kind that can penetrate the deep layers of anger and sorrow that have cocooned themselves around me. Unless this IS my sanctuary. A place to run and “hide” from life and responsibilities. A cop out I can use to avoid engaging with other people… Well that’s depressing. I’ll skip todays prompt.

Elusive. Yes, much like my sanctuary. Elusive. Elusive… happiness? Elusive… purpose in life? Elusive… Natalie? Ok, this is going about as well as it did yesterday. NEXT.

Crisis! Yes! I have a lot to say about crisis. Cry-sis? Yep, lots to say… Right after I clean off my desk. And get caught up on the laundry. Finish the thank you cards. Do the dishes… Oh, and it’s Wednesday, so I already have to blog. Hmmm. Maybe tomorrows word will be THE ONE.

Unstoppable. Sounds inspiring, doesn’t it? I am unstoppable. Together, we are unstoppable. Know what? I call bullshit.

Even a train without brakes will eventually run out of steam and come slowly to a stop.

I understand determination. And setting goals for yourself. Pushing yourself through the hard stuff. Believe me, I do.

What I don’t understand, is hyping something so much it becomes unattainable. Speaking for myself, I have to be realistic. Would I like to run a marathon? Yes! Will I? Not a chance in hell. Play all of the Rocky theme songs you want, pump me up and still… I have physical and mental issues that are so great, it is not worth the risk of expending all my energy and ability to get there and then have nothing left over at the end of it.

I worry that if a person sets their mind to do something and then realize at some point before they’re finished that it’s something they can’t do… they will beat themselves up for “failing”.

I’m not one of those people who is overly concerned with other people’s feelings… I don’t think everyone on the team should get a “we tried” trophy or avoid cheering at a match (yes, they really banned cheering!) because some kids might feel bad…

I’m talking about the adults. Actually, I’m talking about me. Huh… Oddly enough, I didn’t see that coming!

I guess I want to tell whomever came up with the prompt of “unstoppable” that it’s ok to stop! Rest. Take a break. Abandon ship, if that ship is sinking. Doesn’t really matter what other people think anyway, does it?

Fuck no. So give them hell! Or … start and then change your mind. I don’t know. I guess what I mean to say is, if it’s important? I don’t need someone to tell me to keep at it or be unstoppable, I can do that on my own!