Lies my depression told me

Today I’m recovering from yesterday, which was a Bad Day. I’m ok, I’ve survived the worst of it. I haven’t showered yet, I haven’t brushed my teeth. I haven’t gotten out of my pajamas. I haven’t done much yet.

But, I did get out of bed. I did eat breakfast. I did take my meds. I did drink my coffee.

Today I’m writing again. In a little while, I’ll go upstairs and shower. I’ll brush my teeth. I’ll dress. I’ll put on deodorant. I might even wear shoes at some point today. I’ll hang out with the kids today and show them that I can Mom better.

Today. I’m gonna make it to the grocery store today. We’re out of milk, and lunch meat for the kids, and I have no idea what dinner will be, since we’re completely out of things to make dinner with. Maybe today I’ll even make it to the gym. Or, at least maybe go for a walk with the kids and the dogs. Today, I might.

Yesterday was rough. I felt like a fish out of water, gasping and not knowing anything about my surroundings. I felt like air was water, and water was air. Like I wasn’t breathing. Like everything I’d taken for granted was suddenly and inexplicably turned into something Else. Yesterday was a dark cave of blindness and icky cave-dwelling creepy crawlies that invaded my thoughts and covered everything in pitch black lies.

Depression lies. Brain weasels. It’s ok to not be ok. Hang in there. Cliches that are true but feel like they can’t be true when they’re rehearsed in a dark place. When everything feels like smoke and mirrors, it’s impossible to tell what to believe. Depression takes quick advantage of that. It’s ironic that what saves me from Depression is Anxiety. Anxiety over what would happen if I did give in to Depressions seductive persuasions.

Depression whispers in sly, confident tones that everyone is worthy, just by virtue of existence, everyone. Everyone except you. Everyone is right, and you just need to trust them, and not believe in your own perspective. Depression is seductive. There’s something very persuasive about having your worst fears confirmed by the voice of insecurity. It says, “Yes, that’s right. You’re wrong about everything” and feeling bad feels right, because it feels like truth that you don’t deserve to feel good. Depression doesn’t feel good, and somehow Depression convinces you that things that feel good can’t be your truth. Depression lies like a cheap rug.

But.

Depression lies. Yesterday those lies felt like truth. Today, they feel less like marble and more like papier-mâché. Less like concrete and more like plaster veneer. They feel like lies.

Not today, depression. Yesterday, you were Depression. Capital D. Today, you’re lower-case d. Yesterday, you might have had a chance. Today, you can take your lies and go fuck off. I’m not falling for it today.

Musings about animal group names

A group of platypuses are a ‘Paddle’, though they’re generally solitary critters and don’t really paddle together much. Or do anything much together. Maybe that’s because they’re one of the only venomous species of mammals out there.

A group of hippos are a Bloat. That’s fuckin’ epic. Don’t fuck with a Bloat of hippos.

A group of hedgehogs are an Array. I want an Array of hedgehogs.

Wow, speaking of epic, a group of Giraffes? That’s a motherfucking Tower.

A group of jellyfish, that’s a Smack.

A group of lizards is a Lounge. Again with the epic.

A whole bunch of parrots is a Pandemonium. A group of pheasants is a Nye. What does that say about the science guy?

At the beach we saw a Fling of sandpipers. That shit rawks.

I’m going to need a few ferrets. I want to start a Business. Its funny, in looking up the etymology of why its a Business of ferrets, its because someone somewhere misspelled “Busyness” which does, in fact, describe ferrets. When that typo for busyness was authoritatively published, it became the rule. Even though it was a mistake. So, I guess a group of ferrets is a mistake.

Herons gather in a group called a Siege. This, having spotted them lurking by our koi pond thinking its their own all-you-can-eat sushi buffet, seems dead-on.

A group of martens is called a Richness. A group of lapwings is called a Deceit. This leads me to believe that the martens got first pick.

A group of peacocks are a Muster. Wait. So, who exactly was it in the library with the candlestick? I’m so confused now.

A group of mice is a Mischief. That makes having them sound wayyyy more fun than it actually is.

WTF is a bobolink and why does it come in a Chain? Actually, on reflection, that makes a weird kind of sense. Like, someone out there has a very dry sense of humor. Someone with the authority to name groups of animals. I like that guy.

Camels, like seagulls, come together in a flock. Camels, unlike seagulls, live in the desert and have humps.

A group of asses is a Pace. The pace of asses is usually slow.

You can have a Cast of crabs, a Raft of coots and a Trip of dotterel. All of which should indicate to you a change in life choices may be in order.

A group of finches is a Charm. A grouping of bullfinches is a Bellowing. This is because finches have a better marketing department.

Its the little things

Today, I’ve had “tummy troubles”.

By tummy I mean “my lower digestive tract”. By “troubles” I mean “diarrhea”. Yuk. After the 468th trip to the bathroom, I realized, while sitting on the white gilded throne, that I’ve had ‘tummy troubles’ a few times recently.

By “a few” I mean “twice” and by “recently”, I mean “this week”. Now, I know that ladies aren’t supposed to discuss such things. I was raised to not acknowledge that I even had a digestive tract, and that NOBODY ever wanted to know what was going on in mine. And that’s ok, since nobody reads my blog anyway, I’m in the clear as far as the Lady Club is concerned.

Although, I am so very not a lady. Ladies drink tea and water, both with lemon. I drink Diet Dr. Pepper with Cherry. Ladies never discuss bodily functions, not even the mostly inoffensive ones like thinking and having a heartbeat. I’ve complained about my period on the internet. Ladies use polite language. I try sometimes not to cuss in front of the kids. Sometimes. And I hate lemons in any beverage. They’re ok in Meringue Pies. But that’s it.

Well, I’m digressing about digesting. The fact is, that I’ve had tummy issues a few times lately, and I realized while Attending The Facilities, that there is a good chance that if my wife finds out that I’m again having the runnies, she is going to make me eat a more of her yogurt. I must, therefore, at all costs, prevent her from finding out on pain of worse than death. Its not (just) that her yogurt is All Natural. No Yoplait for My Dear. Hers is GROSS. It isn’t even sweetened. It has the consistency of clotted milk. The only flavor comes from the three tiny pieces of fruit that lie pathetically at the bottom of the cup: sad, like orphaned children.

So, in order to eat this clotted milk, you have to stir the yogurt and these three pieces with the determination of a baking contestant whose first entry in the week’s competition failed utterly to impress Paul and Mary. If you do not stir the yogurt long enough, you end up with chunky yogurt. Nobody wants chunky yogurt. The three pieces of fruit will disintegrate as you stir, leaving you eventually with a yogurt that looks deceivingly the color of decent yogurt, but with none of the flavor. Of any flavor. And its probably still chunky. Its terrible yogurt, given to humanity by gods who hate mankind and want retribution for stealing fire or inventing MLMs or something. Its the kind of yogurt that makes vikings want to go fight hordes and rummage and pillage other lands to get away from it. And by the time I’m done describing it here, I have already had to RUN to the bathroom, past my increasingly suspicious wife three times. The jig is up. She’s on to me. I can see horrible gods-hate-us yogurt in my very near future.

The upside is, that having written all about this dreaded food product, I have been able to hear the word yogurt spoken in my imagination, pronouncing it as Alan Rickman did in Love, Actually. I hear it just as he spoke in his adorably delicious voice as he sarcastically asks Mr Bean Rowan Atkinson, ‘What are you going to dip it in yoghurt?” pronouncing it ‘yaw-gurt’. Yaw-Gurt. *sighs contentedly*

Yes, it truly is the little things in life that make it special. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta run. I think I hear my wife rummaging in the fridge.

Sacrificing my kids might be easier…

I don’t really remember what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I mean, I remember several things that at one time or another I wanted to do.  Singer.  Paleobiologist.  Oceanographer.  Actress.  Professional Dolphin.

Then as a young adult, I wanted to be a Writer. A Counselor. A Game Developer. A Project Manager. A Nurse. Artist.

I still want to be about 5 of those things.  When I grow up.

I don’t remember what I wanted to be, but a mediocre Sales Administrator wasn’t it.

My mother told me once that she guessed I would be an English Teacher.  I might have been, but I was determined to avoid like the plague anything my mother suggested I should do, and the more practical her advise, the more plague-avoiding I did!

I suppose that there are lots of things I might have been if I’d abandoned all the other things I wanted to do.  So, instead of picking one of them, and letting the others go, I didn’t do any of them.

Not even Professional Dolphin, though, to be fair, I don’t really know how to Dolphin.  Not Professionally, anyway.

It’s probably not my guidance counselor’s fault that she never suggested Muppeteer, Travel Blogger or Myth Buster.

All I do know is that if I’m going to achieve a dream, I’m gonna have to commit to it, and follow through. Press every decision into service of that dream, and let the others go.  Or I can hold on to a flock of dreams and let them all stand unfulfilled.  I wish I still believed in reincarnation, like I did in my last life, and believed that I’d have lives in which to be all the things I want to be.

I always heard that I could do anything I wanted to do.  Nobody ever told me I could do everything that I wanted.  This is very much like trying to pick which of your children should live. That might actually be easier, depending on your kids.

What it comes down to is that inaction is easier.  Blaming your guidance counselor is easier.  Professional Dolphining is probably easier than going out on that limb and putting forth that effort and trying knowing that if you fail, you failed not only yourself, but all the dreams you sacrificed for that one.

 

A Few Words on American Injustice, Poverty and Ramen Noodles

I was born in South Carolina in July, 1968.  That makes me… uh…

muttering: carry the one, divide by 16, add 0, subtract 43…

well, that makes me older.   I’m older now than I’ve ever been before.   Also, Mathing is hard.

I was born a little more than 100 years after the Civil War ended.  That seemed like ancient history when I was a kid, but now, with the wisdom that comes with age, I realize now that means that when I was born, I had some very old neighbors who remembered the stories their parents told them about surviving the war between the states.  Very, very  old neighbors, but yes, this wasn’t ancient history to them.  The parents of my oldest neighbors bought us a moral victory against acquiescence to the enslavement of human beings with the currency of their blood.  And in my schoolrooms, that’s what we learned.  We were taught that slavery was evil, and that all people deserved better than that.

It was also only 23 years after the end of World War II.  This seems astonishing to me from the perspective of 49yrs old.  WWII ended 72 years ago.  As a kid, this wasn’t all that long ago.  Looking back now, it’s eons.  But I remember as a child being taught that we, as a nation, decided that Nazi’s are bad and that Americans were the good guys who fought the good fight for freedom and decency and an end to oppression.

My grandfather served on a US Navy ship in WWII.  He enlisted so that his children and his grandchildren could live in a world free from Nazi Fascism.  He didn’t do it so that his children’s children could pick up Nazi flags, shout in praise of Hitler and march with TiKi torches intended to intimidate the very people his generation literally signed up to risk their lives to protect.

My generation fought a war, too, not an actual, literal war, but a conflict with a marketing slogan that included the word “War”, in the name of freedom and moral clarity and anti-authoritarianism.  We were caught up in the Cold War, fighting against the communist USSR, and the perils of the overarching state thwarting the freedoms that our grandfather’s protected in their war. And we won our war when Ronald Reagan said “Mr Gorbachev, tear down that wall,” and the world celebrated our moral victory of freedom over tyranny right along with us. In the 70’s and ’80’s, we worried about the possibility of nuclear war.  In the 90’s, we didn’t.

Growing up in the South, even just 120 years or so after the civil war, I never experienced any moral ambiguity about the justness of the Union cause in my classrooms at Hillcrest Senior High School.  We were taught that Nazis were evil, slavery was wrong, fascism was Anti-American, and that what made America great was that we were willing to stand up and fight against that shit. Were there bigots?  Absolutely.  Was there injustice and racism?  Yes, there definitely was.  But it was, at least, at a bare minimum, labeled “Wrong.” We were so very, very far from perfect.  But we were facing, if not always moving, in the right direction. Of course, this was before Fox News came along.  Now, with Charlottesville and Nazi Alt-right fuckers and the Trump Administration taking Putin’s denials over the agreement of our own intelligence community regarding Russian interference in US elections, it seems that there are those among us who think that we weren’t fighting the good fight after all.  And I am afraid for my country, that we have won the war, and lost our way.

One more thing.

150 years after the end of the civil war, 70 years after the fall of fascism, and 30 years after the Cold War, we’re fighting a new war, one waged against our own minority and poverty-stricken citizens, with centers of internment no less concentrated than the Warsaw Ghetto. It’s a war, for all that its undeclared, that makes the most of the classic psychological weapons of terror, hopelessness, depression and segregation.  Opportunity is stymied for all but the most exceptional.  Then the exceptional are held up to demonstrate just how much opportunity’s laying around all over the place for everyone to find and if you didn’t find some, then fuck you and fuck your children, you’re a worthless piece of crap.

If you don’t think poverty in America is pretty much inescapable, you haven’t tried supporting your family without access to reliable transportation and affordable healthcare in the shadow of addiction and the barrage of social media judgment based on your skin color and/or your possession of both a smartphone and an EBT card.  You’ve never faced the choice of paying rent or buying your kids’ food.

If the opportunity to escape poverty is so accessible in the US, why aren’t most poor people doing it?  Nobody WANTS to be poor.  Nobody says I wanna go without health insurance, and have a shoddy, unreliable car (if I get one at all) when I grow up, and nobody,

at least NOBODY over the age of 23,

eats Ramen noodles every day because they taste just so fucking good.   We don’t aspire to reside in jails, or to raise children in violent, drug-riddled subsidized housing, or to occasionally (or not occasionally) rely on homeless shelters.  This isn’t the dream, Cupcake.  We all want a house in the burbs and a car and an X-Box, and to know where our next meal’s coming from and that we can make it financially if our beloved kiddo should happen to break his arm playing baseball.  We all want that.

Nobody wants to grocery shop at the dollar store.

There are many factors that contribute to abject poverty in the US, but ultimately there are only two ways you get there: you’re born into it, or you stumbled and fell into it, and either way its unlikely you’ll have the gumption or the social support, to get yourself out of it once you’re there. Once you’re there, the statistics say you’ll stay there til the day your family starts a Go-Fund-Me for your funeral expenses.  And every single conservative blowhard in the country is going to say you wanted your life to go that way or else you’d have pulled yourself up by your bootstraps.

Bootstraps.  Funny thing to ask someone to pull themselves up with, when you support policies that make it harder to buy a fucking pair of boots to begin with.

Twas the Day Before Christmas

T’was the day before Christmas, and I wasn’t ready,

With so much left to do, my heart feeling heavy,

Cookies unmade in the cupboards awaiting

Mixing and cutting and shaping and baking

And the stockings unhung lying by the fireplace

In hopes that toys and candies would give them their shape

Maybe magically they’ll hang themselves on the mantle above

After all isn’t magic what Christmas is made of?

And the shopping not quite finished, I’m not sure what’s the reason,

Anxiety and depression the feels this whole season?

 

This year’s been a doozie with losses and pains

And tragedies and tribulations the recurring refrain

And yet it is Christmas, and I have much to celebrate

My wife is amaze-balls, our children are great!

And we have a nice house, the best possible friends

We are blessed to have between us a love without end

And the boys are excited to soon be decorating

The “Ninjabread Cookies” we soon will be baking

And while they’re psyched about  getting their presents and toys,

They’re happy because they’re unconditionally loved boys

And I have to remember with all that’s undone,

Enough’s been accomplished its gonna be fun

And though my wish for perfection won’t be coming true,

Our holiday will be special and yours will be, too.

For it’s not about presents or shopping or lights,

Not about fruitcakes, or getting it all right,

No, it’s not about presents or shopping or lights

So if everything’s not perfectly right

Its still gonna be the best Christmas Eve night,

And before I go set to make gingerbread dough

at the very last minute, I want you all to know,

No matter what  you’ve missed

In your Christmas to-do list

If you have love in your life, its going to be ok

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Trump-Supporting-Former-Facebook-Friend,

I guess you have some questions about why  I unfriended you.  I don’t owe you an explanation, but I do want you to think about why I don’t want you in my life anymore.

No, its not the guy you voted for.

I mean, I don’t agree with your choice, but I thought I could understand it.  We don’t need to agree on everything; I learn from people presenting me with new ways of looking at things and being respectfully challenging to me.

When I was young, I believed that people had the capacity for great Love, and that they resorted to hate out of fear, and insecurity, and because they were hurting.

and that made sense.  I believed that Love could save the world.

I get that you voted for an economic ideal that didn’t have anything to do with the racism, the bigotry, the negativity that resounded throughout the Trump campaign.  I get that you wanted an ‘outsider’.  I get that you disliked Hillary’s ‘insider status’, that you thought the email scandal actually held water, or that you were convinced that she was just as bad as Trump for how she supposedly treated Bill’s mistresses.

And that makes sense, though I disagree with you on these things, which is why I didn’t unfriend you during the campaign when you made your position clear .

When I was a young woman, my dad told me that I was too idealistic.  He said, “the reason we’ll never have peace in the world is because there are bad people in the world who want  what you have  and you have to be able to defend yourself against them,”

And that made sense.  But I thought Love could save the world.

You said you didn’t believe the rhetoric.  You said you got behind your candidate because you believe he’s changed and that he was the godly candidate. The allegations were old, and people change, and your preacher said he was like the apostle Paul, called.

I find that hard to believe.  That a man who says that the solution to our woes is to build a wall.  The man who said that he doesn’t trust black people to count his money, and who has been sued twice by the justice department for refusing to rent properties to black families.  The man who refused to disavow white supremacists during the campaign. The man who refers to minority groups as “the blacks”, “the muslims”, and “the gays.” As if we’re all interchangeable, that any one of us is representative of all of us, and as if that’s the only characteristic worth noting about us.  I’m gay, yes, but I’m also a mom, an employee, a blogger, an artist, and a shower/car singer.  In fact, my lesbianism is probably the least interesting thing about me.  But when someone refers to me as one of “the gays”, they’re dismissing all the things about me that are unique.

“But,” you said, “that’s not why I support him.” And, even though I felt that your vote meant that you valued ideology over my well-being, I could respect that you genuinely believed that you were voting for the candidate you believed was either the best, or the least worst, in the running: more importantly,  that you didn’t believe this would affect my well-being.

And that made sense.  You aren’t someone who has ever displayed openly racist, misogynist, homophobic, or anti-muslim/antisemitism around me;  you wouldn’t have been on my facebook page all this time if you had.

We aren’t close, you and I.  You’re a family member I haven’t really seen in a long time.  Or you’re someone from my hometown that I knew growing up.  Or your kids played soccer with mine.  Or you’re friends with someone I know and so we’d met a few times. We aren’t close.  Still, I valued that we could teach each other something about the world, about each other, that we would grow from the exchange of ideas.  I don’t need to agree with everything you say to value you.

I used to believe that people were basically insecure.  That their choices in religion, ideology, and even simple preferences were threatened when other people didn’t make the same choices that they did.  That made sense to me. I felt sorry for them, and thought that Love could fix that.

Then, last tuesday, the election happened, and everything I thought I knew about the world, about justice, and about the basic motivations behind people’s actions and values changed.  Immediately there were incidents of violence all over the country, too numerous to list, aimed at persons of color, at gays and lesbians, at muslims, women, and hispanics.  The backlash against us took me by surprise, and I realized that the world I thought I knew, the world where my neighbors wanted a safe space for my children and for their children, is not as I’ve understood it all my life.

I used to believe that given the choice between loving and hating, between doing something to help or something to harm, most people would choose doing the helpful, loving thing.  The backlash from the skinhead-contingent of the USA shocked me.

Maybe it shouldn’t have shocked me; dad tried to tell me.  But, to be fair, he was wrong, too.

Because it seems that people are not intrinsically good while being plagued by greed and insecurity.  They’re not lashing out from a place of hurt and bitterness. I don’t need to defend myself from people who want what I have.   It turns out that people, given a choice between right and wrong, will as often as not choose wrong.  Just because they can. Because Love doesn’t fix everything. Maybe it doesn’t fix anything.

People aren’t hurting, they’re hurters.  Not all people, I thought.  Not you.   But more people than I could have imagined in my darkest dreams.  The world changed.  MY WORLD changed.  I needed time to figure out if Love makes any sense at all.

I didn’t unfriend you because you voted differently than I did.  I didn’t unfriend you because you haven’t stood up to the skinhead-contingent within your political party.  I didn’t unfriend you because I didn’t like what you said about the candidates, about the election.

I unfriended you because of what you said in the days following the election.  You used words like “crybaby”, and “whiner”.  You told me to ‘get over it’.   I unfriended you because the world shifted under my feet, because I see vulnerable people being hurt and terrorized and when I pointed this truth out, you told me that you were already tired, after only a few days, of protests and fearful facebook posts like mine.  You’re sick of us not responding to this election with the acceptance and grace that y’all never once showed Obama during his presidency.  I unfriended you because by disparaging my right to express my feelings , by not respecting my need for some time to grieve for the view of humanity I once held, you  finally clearly showed me  the truth behind your lies about why you voted the way you did.  You really don’t care about me-or any one not just like you– at all.

And that doesn’t make any sense.  Because now I see that its even worse than I have ever realized.  Because yes, even you.