Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, February 23, 2015


I met with my accountant friend this afternoon and decided to chat with my old therapist and attend the support group that follows whilst I was there. 

The accountant was chosen by my ex-husband to do our final year together tax reports.  He chose him because he was expensive and because he...the ex...had all the money and I had nothing.  This was at the very end of the divorce process and by that time the house was sold and I had to use my half of the proceeds to pay my legal debt.  It would have been nice to have that money, but using it was worth the other stuff.

So, anyway, when I received the notice from the ex's attorney, all very snarky by the way, I was surprised and pleased to find that the accountant was one of my fellow school-parents from when our children attended parochial elementary and high school.  When he saw me arrive for our appointment, he gave me a huge hug and, well, during a very difficult time he was just plain wonderful.  Turns out that he is expensive and deserves the fees he charges.  He is going to teach me how to do the specific tax stuff I need to do now and this will probably be the last time we do this together.  I have known him for for nearly forty years and whilst getting rid of other stuff in my life is good, breaking this tie to him and his family is more sad than I would have guessed.

A short session with my old therapist was nice and it turned out that I spent an extra hour and a half counseling one of the group members.  It was very satisfying to have another opportunity to use all of that training. 

Even good things are stressful and I really have to find a clean pair of big girl panties and get out there and find an internist and a therapist.  It is so hard.   I have an improved health insurance plan, so if the first choice is not a good match, at least I can try again with someone else without becoming impoverished jumping from one doctor to the next. 

Despite a decent day I am tired and feeling down and having anxiety attacks (little ones) all over the place.  I cannot even watch television because seeing any kind of mean-spiritedness upsets me and I end of taking all that fictional stuff personally.  The local news had me weeping last week and I just have to stop watching it.  I should stick to zombie filums; they are so outrageous and I get to cheer for the dead/undead and living alike.  Go pale people!

Tomorrow I am learning how to make paper roses from the pages of old books.  Go crafty people.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Despite my awareness and planning for today, I totally forgot about today's anniversary until I logged-on to read some of my favorites on my blog list.

It is two hours until the day is over and I would have gone to bed to read and sleep without a thought to what I believed would be a significant day for me.

Well, so much for anniversaries, or anticipation for that matter.

I did go to church, but the first reading sent me off considering all of my life's failures and mis-steps, all of the ways that I have not been faithful to who I believed myself to be and, mostly, to all of the ways that I failed as a wife and mother.  So, I guess in one way, it was about the marriage, just not the day I left.

I have been attending the church that my daughter favors.  It is a Catholic church, the worship and education of my childhood and then for a bit in my twenties.  It is more modern that my younger experiences and the prayers are all updated and there is way too much extremely loud/amplified singing.  Actually makes my ears hurt no matter where I sit.  Another thing is that I am still holding the old prayers in my head and whilst I feel motivated to learn the new versions, I am not making any progress with it.  My grandsons like sitting with me, and apparently so do their parents because we sit together.  That part is nice. 

I feel better when I attend regularly, although I am still struggling with believing as I was once able to do.  I do not blame god or anything like that, but I want so dearly to feel the grace and comfort of belief.

So, anyway, there I was, ears pinging and thinking a whole lot about why the priest's sermon about  being fallible creatures bothered me so much.  Part of it was that Tiger Woods was used as the object example of someone who had it all and pissed it away, and is still paying the price for his transgressions, which as a human being are both private and, in his life, very public.  And, I think what bothered me is that I found myself judging the priest (who is probably a nice person, generally) for using that person's name and judging him for his actions and problems.

Dumb.  But, even now it bothers me that what I got out of that sermon is comparing our own messed-up lives by comparison to the messed-up lives of other people seems as though our own messes are comparable to those of other people.

If I fuck up my life, if I make mistakes, it has to do only with me.  And, man, have I done that.  I have made so many choices to do something or not do something that it is staggering.  I was sitting there and thinking that I am going to have to shed myself of all of this eventually, especially if I want a more peaceful life, but sharing all of the stupid and paralyzing behaviors I used to have.  Still have a few. 

It was only yesterday that I was able to go into the basement here to do laundry.  I have a washing machine and dryer for my own to use, but I could not bring myself to take everything down those creepy stairs.  Two months of alternative clothes cleaning.  But, I did it and it was not too bad and I will be able to do it again whenever I like.  Plus, it was light years away from doing laundry in that other life; I never knew then if I would be attacked down there or for having the nerve to wash my crap when he was home.   Lordy.  That really is a life ago.  Factor in that another fear was being trapped down there if the downstairs couple started fighting and I would be unable to leave the basement. 

Nothing bad happened and I am fine, but it illustrates my faith dilemma, in that I still fear new ways or geography of doing things. 

Still, I am going to, have to, eventually confess my failures to someone and I guess a priest is the safest place right now.  When I was a child and young adult the church or its people never helped with any of the bad stuff, even when they knew about what was happening.  Maybe it is about my ability to trust as much as it is about my shame. 

Anyway, I am going to continue to go there and sit and pray and mostly listen, although I might be getting some earplugs to help with the sound system there, at least for my left ear where it seems to bother me most. 

After church I bought groceries I cannot afford and this week I will be going back to the city for group and to have my taxes done, which if I could figure it out would not need to pay someone else to do, another thing I cannot afford.  I am fairly stressed about a lot of things and have filled this week with something every day, my customary avoidance practice.

Well, happy anniversary to the day I left that other life.  Happy anniversary of that first step to actually living.  Yeah.  Yay.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sunday next

On Sunday I will be in church, as is my current practice, and whilst I have no idea what the service or readings or songs or sermon might contain, my best guess is that I will be struggling to pay attention to all of that.  February 22nd is the third anniversary of the day I escaped that other life.

At various times during the time between then and now I have thought of that moment of that day as having left or fled.  It is only in this moment that it occurs to me to think of it as a genuine escape.  Maybe because the months following that day were still very dangerous. 

Of all of that time, it is only during the past year or so that I do not feel in that kind of danger.

Of all of that time, it is only in the past six months that I have more normal...yeah, I know...feelings about dying.  Pre-that-other-life, I pretty much knew that my only way out was to die.  By who's hands it would be was a toss-up.  Now, I kind of want to live.  I have shared this before, but whilst I am not fearful of just up and dying, I would be really pissed if I did not have a whole bunch of years in this now new life. 

Just saying.

So, anyway, I can remember the exact date of when I was married, but the day of the divorce was somewhere in the middle of August.  The date I left is as clear as yesterday.  I remember day, date, year and minute backed out of the door and never went back.

I went back to my old city to attend the support group there and I did so because I wanted to be there before Sunday.  I have no idea why, but I am willing to venture a few guesses.

One is that I promised to come back for a visit and this week was the first time that health and weather and money for gas cooperated.  So, I went and it was nice, well as nice as a support group for depressed and recently abused women can be.  And, the truth is that whilst there are more than desired bad experiences to share and talk-through, there is almost always plenty of tenderness, smiles and relief as well.

Second is that one of the subjects that came up was how to move from pain and disability onto one's path of healing.  Recovery usually comes after, but those first, tentative, and what seems like dangerous, steps forward is a very vulnerable place, even when shared with great counselors and other women with similar experiences.  And, even though I am still a bit of a mess with so damn much healing and recovery to do, I am three years past that significant day and I have moved on.  I have had exceptionally wonderful people to fight for my rights when I was unable to do it for myself, I found both employment and volunteer work to fuel my sense of worth and my bank account.  Money is the single most important barrier to successfully leaving a horrible past behind and finding the peace, at least moments of peacefulness, that help you catch your breath and begin to make your own decisions. 

I keep saying this and writing this over and over again, but the notion that money cannot buy happiness is faulty.  Money would buy me freedom from worry about having a place to live or enough to eat, which, in my experience, leads directly to happy feelings and a truly stunning decrease in unhappiness.

The connection from beginning to end may seem tenuous, but the line between the lessening of fear and increasing happiness is essentially invisible, so that means it does not really exist in any relative way.  So.  There.

I am not swimming in money, and I am struggling to pay my bills this month and next, but I am no longer homeless.  I have actual bills for actual housing and the services to support living the life I want.  It really does not get better than this.

Thirdly, I wonder if I needed to be in the vicinity of that other life, not so much go back to the scene(s), but to be close enough to make some difference.  I think this third reason might be because I recently learned about a treatment for PTSD that involves returning to the actual geography of the trauma.  It is called exposure therapy and is part of several aspects of psychotherapy processes.  I am not interested in doing anything like that, but it does make sense in regards to other anxieties, like phobias and does not sound as icky as aversion therapies.

Fourthly, maybe some anniversaries are going to be remembered or noticed or honored on some way or another whether you want it or intend it or not.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Harper Lee

Harper Collins P. released the information that they will be publishing a new book from Harper Lee.

It was the first manuscript she submitted to them, but they thought that the story of why the character (Scout, as an adult) was returning home and they published that instead of Go Set A Watchman.

After Monday, July 13th.  we get to read that novel.  Woo-Hoo!

I immediately ordered it and set about sharing the good news with my close friends. 

I guess that all of us To Kill A Mockingbird lovers are as mixed a lot as any group of people.  I am thrilled, but I keep hearing back that the new book will most likely be a disappointment or be lacking in some undefined manners.  TKaM is one of the half-dozen or so books that I re-read at least every year.  I think that for many of us fans reading it again before reading the sequel is going to be a unique, once-in-a-lifetime pleasure. 

Well, duh.  It puts this in the perspective of my never having used that culturally guttural sound of disbelief before now.

I am not alone in believing that TKaM is flawless.  That, however, does not mean that GSaW has to be anything more than the inspiration for her first book.  That the manuscript survived all this time is a miracle that I, for one, will not judge, only blissfully stew in the five month wait.  Anticipation is a good thing.  Patience is, too.  Embracing this book, even if it turns out to be a mess...which it will something I am grateful to have lived long enough to experience.

When I shared this information with my daughter she replied, "That's crazy, is she gonna write 1 book per century?"

We should only be so lucky