To My Love on This, Our Third Valentine’s Day

I weddingdaymay never again dump an entire cup of frozen yogurt on my lap, just because you make my heart flutter;

I may never again get to stand outside in the cold wondering why you won’t kiss me, and wishing more than anything you would;

I may never again conduct a NASA training mission with you, my body probably won’t handle it;

I may never again write an achingly sad love poem, you have filled my heart too full;

And I may never again be as strong as I was, as able as I was, or as able to eat normal foods with you again; and I’m actually ok with that.

Because, thanks to you

I will never again wonder if I’m beautiful, I see it in your eyes;

I will never again worry that I won’t have money for groceries, you provide for me when I am not able;

I will never again fear spending my life alone, if you were going to run you’d have done it by now;

I will never again think that I am less than in a relationship, you raise me up above what I see in myself;

Tkisso you, my love

On this our third Valentine’s Day

I hope you know how much I love you.

How much I appreciate all the apples with peanut butter, late night runs to Giant because I won’t make it without chocolate, the  it’s oks that you say when I just can’t do what we wish I could even when you don’t sound convincing I’ve learned that you will eventually mean it.

How much it means to me when you pick up Daisy after a seizure to carry her down the stairs and out the door, when you sleep on the sofa when my pain is too much to sleep in bed and won’t leave me to sleep downstairs alone, that you believe in my dreams and won’t let me throw them away, that you want to convince Oreo how safe and how loved she is and that you will always, forever do what is needed for both our girls.

And while I wish you never had to I can’t thank you enough for the hours you’ve spent with me at the ER, the times you’ve left work because I’ve fallen and actually really can’t get up, taken my temperature knowing full well it’s normal but knowing I’m worried, gotten wet washcloths so I can clean my face after losing a meal and being so, so incredibly determined that we can make me better.

If I could give you anything, I’d give you a healthy me.

The me you fell in love with not knowing how sick I’d get or how fast I’d fade.

The me that went out to dinner without caring where we went or what they served.

The me that didn’t have so many doctors, so many medicines, so many pains.

If you wanted to know what I wanted from you, for Valentine’s Day, I would say…

Nothing. us1

Nothing more than what you already do.  Every day.  Any time.  All the time.

You love the broken me as much as the me you first met.

You *almost* never complain the times you have to care for me.

You are my forever Valentine.  My love.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Book Preview (Just a hint)

She turns, presumably to exclaim about the scene that she just witnessed, but instead he puts both hands on either side of her face and kisses her again. Kisses her longer than he even meant to. Ignoring the fear he can’t quite keep completely at bay. This woman is getting to him and he knows it. The feel of her hands on his chest, the smell of her shampoo as her hair blows around them, the taste of her mouth; all of them stain his senses with beauty and need.

When he finally pulls away, she says, “What was that for?”

She’s smiling, glowing. All that crap you see in movies and think is just that- crap- until you see it yourself.

“It’s getting to be a bad habit of mine, this kissing you. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry. Bad habits are hard to break,” she smiles that coy smile of hers again. It’s coy, that’s true, but it’s also real. Genuine. She’s not playing a game with him. He knows it, most of the time anyway. It’s a shyness in her. A gentleness.
To hell with it, he thinks, and puts his arms around her waist, draws her up against him. As she weaves her hands together at the nape of his neck, he leans in until their lips are barely touching.

“I think this is one bad habit I can live with.”

And he kisses her smiling lips once again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I am fine

****Trigger Warning:  This post deals with PTSD in general and childhood abuse and sexual assault specifically.  Please do not read if you feel it might trigger something negative in yourself.  But please know you are not alone.

When I talk about my past- it’s that.  My past.  It wasn’t always that way.  I used to live in the constant haze of yesterday slamming into today and things I never knew suddenly belonging to my set of memories as real as all the others.  But I’m fine now.  At least 90-99% of the time.

That’s the thing with PTSD- it will be my life long companion.  Sure, I’ve learned to cope.  I’ve found ways to heal the wounds that my traumas left behind.  And while I can now go weeks to months without a nightmare wrenching me awake, they still come.  Out of the blue for no reason I can find, my mind leaks one out and I find myself in a cold sweat again, gasping for air and looking for the safest way out of my own bedroom.

I’ve learned to love, learned to trust and learned to live a freer life.

And yet.

I sit in the movie theater and it happens.  A scene catches me off guard and I didn’t know not to look.  Not to listen.  She says no.  She screams. And no one listens.

And no one listens.

And no one listens as the babysitter tells me that this game is so special we can’t tell anyone.  The game isn’t fun, it’s scary and all I can do is look out the window at the clouds an I’m floating away on one.  Away from what he does to me and makes me do to him.  And no one listens because he tells me not to tell.  Tells me it’s our special game and they’ll get mad if they know.  And I float away on the cloud.

Crashing down on the trampoline in a yard five houses down.  No one listens as he yells at me.  Calls me names that I don’t understand.  I’m only nine.  He doesn’t listen as I beg him not to do again what he’s done so many times before.  He doesn’t listen.  There are no clouds to take me away this day and I search the yard for escape and all I find is my own pain. And a piece of something shiny that winks at me as if it knows I have no choice.

By the time my mom tries to listen, to understand my pain, I’ve learned to well that I’m a whore and a disgusting piece of shit that no one will ever love again if I tell.  And so there’s nothing to listen to because I’m learning to shove it all down.  Deep inside and while I feel pain it is somehow not mine.  It just is.

No one hears the lie I tell as I say I’ll be fine.  I’m seventeen and drunk.  And now alone with three men way too old to be with me.  And as he slurs a half question he doesn’t hear the tears that slide down my cheek because I cannot speak.  I am not ok.  I don’t know why I’ve let this happen.  Why I almost begged to be in this place where no one hears me and I have no words anyway.  I push it down again.  The alcohol makes it easier.  And all I see is the leopard print underwear he hadn’t even bothered to take all the way off.

I push it down.  All of it.  Except the cloud, the winking metal and the leopard print.  Only at night does it come to me in vivid dreams I cannot decipher because I no longer hear myself.  And every man is either my savoir or puts me in mortal danger.  And I sleep around but don’t know why.  It doesn’t fill the hole inside me.  I stuff and stuff and stuff it all down and yet the hole grows bigger.  And any  man that flirts or talks sweetly can bed because I know.  I know this is what I was made for.

I have to blink hard to see the credits scrolling up as my tears fall down.  I mumble some words and hope they suffice because I am not fine.  Not today anyway.

Because that’s how it is with PTSD.  Years of hard work and even harder therapy and I’ve learned to cope. Learned to discern between real dangers and those my  PTSD is forcing on me.  I’ve learned it’s ok to break down on the floor of the bathroom even if you aren’t really sure why.

I wrote this to help me piece some thoughts together as I start working on my novel again.  Both characters have PTSD and I want to give a voice to this disorder.  This struggle.  The female character is actually loosely based on me. On my past.  Writing “her” story helped me work through mine.  The male character is a combat vet, haunted by the men he couldn’t bring home.  I am passionate about getting this right because I’m passionate about what our returning vets are facing.

According to the government an alarming number of combat vets are committing suicide every day. 22 a day.  (Source)

22 A DAY.

To me that means we are failing the people that put their lives on the line for us.  And we should be ashamed.  Sure, we’ve all heard of PTSD.  But even that sentence suggests a problem.  We’ve shrunk it down to initials.  We don’t have to think too hard about what that means.  Trauma.  Stress.  Disorder.

This is why I want to get this right in my book.  Maybe only ten people will ever buy it and read it.  But maybe one of those ten people will understand a little better why this matters.  And maybe that one person will do more to help.

Lofty dreams, I’m sure.  But this is something that I can do even when I’m too tired or in too much pain to leave the house.  I can research.  I can talk to people.  And I can incorporate their experiences into my book.

That’s my goal.  But I do need help.  I’d really like to talk to a few vets that are coming through the other side of this.  I don’t want to make anything worse for anyone.  I just want to listen to anyone willing and able to tell me their story.  However much or little they want to.  So, if you know someone that might be willing please have them contact me.  I would really appreciate it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Daisy Girl

daisygirl

To say I love this dog is an understatement.  I have admitted often that I realize my love for her could be considered by some as an unhealthy thing.  But then, they probably never knew the the love of a dog as amazing as Daisy.

I’m a bit off today.  I feel I should warn you of this now.  I’m in pain, which is common for me, but it’s an uncommon pain that I’m feeling today.  If that makes sense.  And I’m having to go into work on what should be my day off.  And all of it has me thinking.

Daisy.

The pain.

“Having” to work on a day off.

Did I do the right thing in adopting this amazing dog?

I know for me, it was the right thing.  She gives me a reason to smile when I really don’t feel like it.  Got me out of bed on days when I could just as easily stayed in bed…and stayed for days.

But that’s what I get out of it.

What has she gotten?

A mom that can’t, no matter what she does or how hard she tries, can’t afford to pay for the tests that have such a good chance at ending her seizures.  And that makes me feel like a failure.

I comfort myself in the fact that she choose me.  So clearly choose me.  Of all the people that walked into that yard that day, she only came out from under the pick-nic table to see me.  And not just to see me, to sit on my feet and lean all the way back until she could see me.  As if to say, “Yep, you are my home.”  She wasn’t hiding.  She wasn’t afraid.  This dog has only shown fear of two things…the portable heater and the sound of the tv turning off and on.  She apparently was just waiting and waiting indifferent to the other dogs and people as she has been ever since.

But she didn’t know, did she?  She might have realized no one could love her more.  But she didn’t know that she was picking a person starting life over with close to nothing.  That this person she chose would still be struggling a year later to make ends meet.

I’ve willingly spent my entire savings and have gone into debt way beyond what I’m comfortable sharing in order to cover her vet (“normal” and neurologist) bills, emergency hospital visits (six or seven to date I think…I lose count as they often happen at 2 or 3 in the morning),  and her medicine.  And if I had anything left on my credit cards to spend, I’d spend it on her in a heart beat.

Even now, out of school and gainfully employed…it is a struggle.  I have to work today. Despite it being my day off.  Despite a spasming back that will make giving massages a painful endeavor.  All because I had a “snow” day last week and I have a bare minimum number of massage hours I have to work in order to make ends meet.

And I’m doing it.  I’m paying down my debt.  I’m paying my bills.  I’m managing.

But every time I spend “extra” money, I feel guilty.  Is a working cell phone worth putting that much more distance between Daisy and the tests she needs?

Every time I have to admit defeat, that my body that is always in more pain that I ever really admit to anyone…that it can’t take adding any more hours of work into my schedule I feel like I’m failing the dog that trusted me to care for her.

And then I tell myself I’m doing the best I can.  That most days are good days for her.  That she probably doesn’t remember the seizures after they are over.  That when we have moments like this

meanddaisy

she knows without a doubt that she is loved and will never be left again.

But is it enough?  She’s only five.  Jack Russells can live to be 15+ years old.  She potentially has ten more years of life.  How many will she have to live with seizures every 20 days before I can finally afford to figure out what’s causing them and then treat them?  And what if the cause of the seizures is doing some as of yet unseen harm that could be stopped if only we knew what it was?

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for whining about a dog when there are people that can’t put food on their table.  I get there are bigger problems in the world.  And I realize there are people who will say that all the money I’ve already spent is “too” much on “just a dog”.

But this one…this is my problem.  .  And I needed to vent.  Needed to shed a few tears.  Needed to get it off my chest so I can go do a job I really, really love even if it exhausts me.  Needed to let you know why I sometimes seem a little too preoccupied with money.

It’s because of my Daisy girl.  My heart.  Not “just a dog”.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Love Is

When you look at me, I know what love is. I don’t worry about time.  Past or present.  And the future is a dream waiting to happen.

When I look at you and see you looking at me, I know love is real.  And it’s more than the fluttering in my  heart.  Or the smile I can’t help but give you…though those things are all a part of this thing called love.

When you hold me tight against you, in the kitchen or the hall or the middle of a crowded store, I realize love is not finite. It is not stagnant. It is not some over-used expression that has lost all meaning.

Love is…

knowing no matter what, it’ll be ok.

feeling at home wherever I am with you.

wondering if tomorrow will be as fantastic as today

and

learning that indeed it is.

Love, my love, is you.

It’s you when you rub my back late at night because my body is acting all weird and I don’t know what else will make it right.  Love is you kissing my forehead when I say I’m sorry but I just can’t go out because my head is betraying me and hurts too bad.  It’s knowing you aren’t mad at me for my health that I cannot change (though I wish so much I could).  That you simply want to be there to do whatever I ask in hopes I might feel slightly better. It’s you, every day you can, bringing lunch home to share with me.  It’s you always wanting to hold my hand.  Always wanting to spend time with me but ready to let me have my space, too.  It’s you jumping out of a sound sleep in the middle of the night because my dog is having a seizure and you don’t want me to face it alone.  It’s you calling my dog stinkerboo and taking her out at 7 a.m. so I don’t have to.

Love, my love, is us.

It’s us when we dissolve into laughter and giggles at something no one else would likely understand.  It’s us when we think the same thing about where to go, what to eat or what to do.  It’s us slow dancing in the living room with Daisy watching, because the song that’s playing reminds us of us.  It’s us when we stop in the middle of the aisle at Target and share a sweet kiss because something we see reminds us of how lucky we are to have us.  To be us. It’s us when we talk about what might be.  What we want it to be.  What we have always feared and how we’ll face those fears together.  It’s us in a brand new relationship that somehow seems to have always been and us that we can’t fathom not being us anymore.

Love, my love, is me.

It’s me when I am at work and can’t stop smiling.  It’s me trying to figure out how to give back to you 1/10th of what you’ve given me.  It’s me walking past Coal Fire Pizza and having to stop because I remember the first time I saw you through the glass and my heart jumped knowing it had found home.  It’s me dumping a whole bowl of frozen yogurt on my lap because I can scarcely believe that someone like you wants to spend time with me.

Love, my love, is ours.

It’s ours to decide how real it is…not the naysayers who might think it’s too soon or too fast or too anything other than what we feel.  It’s ours to determine what path it will take and at what speed.  It’s ours.  And as unique as you are. And as unique as I am. Our love is ours uniquely.  Ours to color in, sing along with, drink to and revel in.

He really does exist. Google Mighty Mike Wedding. Just saying.

Love, my love, is…

every action we make.

every word we speak.

every hope we hold on to.

And, my love, it is all I have to give you.   I could list all the “ifs” and “buts” that keep me from giving more.  I could list all the things I saw and wanted to get you.

 

Except…I know you know.  And I know you understand.

And I know you love me all the same.

And that is all I could really ask for from you.

except maybe some rhubarb

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Soul Mates

I was asked the other day if I believe in soul mates. And at one o’clock in the morning I couldn’t muster a better answer than, “Yes and no.”

Yes…I think there are people we connect with on some basic, innate plane that can’t be explained in any simple measure and so we can use the term soul mate.

No…because the typical concept of soul mate is that there is only one soul mate.  One person you are meant to be with and generally be with in a romantic relationship.

The question and its context has had me thinking for the past few days about the idea of soul mates.  And what do I do when I think non-stop about something?  Why I read about it, ponder some more and then write about it of course.  🙂

All knowing Wikipedia says: A soulmate (or soul mate) is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity, similarity, love, sex, intimacy, sexuality, spirituality, or compatibility.

I like that one.  As it suggests that the relationship can be something other than romantic.  And it doesn’t automatically assume that there is only one to whom we can have this feeling.  The idea that there is one person that is ideally suited for me and only me bothers me.  How do you know you’ve found the person?  How do you even go about finding that one person when there are 6,973,738,433 people in the world? (World Bank)

My personal experience has been one that suggests there are people we connect with on some unexplainable level.  Not always romantically and not always forever.  We as people constantly change and often two people in any type of relationship change in ways that draw them apart.  The once incredibly easy conversation and “just knowing” the other has faded.  If the relationship had any salt to it, then it survives the transition.

So, to me, a soul mate is anyone who at that moment in time, gets you as no one else does.  Who understands you without having to try.  Who accepts all you are.  But a real relationship will always require work at some point.  As life progresses and people change so will the way they interact and how they see each other.  And that’s ok.  Anything with value is worth effort.

And I’m happy to say that this philosophy is apparently a healthy one.  I found this article from Psychology Today that sites research showing those who hold fast to the one true soul mate ideal usually don’t have long lasting relationships.  It’s a short but interesting read.

“Subsequent research supports these differences. Particularly, those who believe in soul mates tend to be less committed to a partner, particularly when there are relationship difficulties (Knee, Patrick, Vietor, & Neighbors, 2004). Also, soul mate believers are often more anxious in relationships and less likely to forgive romantic partners (Finkel, Burnette, & Scissors,2007). Overall, when the going gets tough with a partner, or requires work, soul mates tend to quit and look for the next “perfect” match.”

That definitely isn’t me or anyone I’d want to be.  I know I’m far from perfect. I don’t realistically expect perfection from anyone else…not even in the sense that they are “perfect for me”.

I guess to sum it up…I believe we can have intense, instant bonds with other people.  But I also believe that a relationship worth having, romantic or otherwise, will require something other than an idea of a soul mate.  It requires a bit of (or a lot of) work, compromise and forgiveness.  I will mess up.  I think it’s safe to assume you will, too.  No matter how “perfect” we are for each other.

Quote | Posted on by | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Faded Friendships

It’s the start of a New Year.  Just in case you missed it.

You’re Welcome.

Anyway, I don’t really “do” resolutions.  But I’m not immune to the common trap of thinking about my life and where it’s going, where it’s been and what I wish for.  Lately, that thinking has centered around relationships.

Relationships of all kinds.  Love would be nice.  I’d like to be in love, be loved.  But really, most of my thoughts have been centered mostly on friendships.  And sadly, mostly on friendships that seem to be fading or completely faded.

This past year my longest friend, the one I’ve known since sixth grade informed me via a Facebook post that she would never ever speak to me again.  It crushed me.  I understand her anger.  I missed her son’s baptism and I was meant to be one of his godmothers.  In my defense, though not in her eyes it seems, I was in the emergency room for five hours the night before.  When I got home from the ER I slept for about 20 hours straight because of the drugs they gave me.  I didn’t call.  I didn’t explain.  And she was furious.  And she won’t forgive me.  I can’t really do anything about it.  I tried writing to her after the fact.  My then boyfriend even wrote to her.  She never answered.  While I understand how much of a let down my missing the major life event was- it crushed me to have missed it, too- I really didn’t have a choice.  I was incapacitated.  So, sadly- tragically to me- I have to add this to the list of friendships gone forever.

There is one other friendship I think I’ve lost for good that I still mourn.  Again, I can take the blame.  I couldn’t handle the parameters of what he needed.  What he wanted.  And while I know I wanted (and probably needed) more, I still miss him.  Almost every day.  I wrote him a note the other week.  He never responded.  So, I’ll add that to the same list as above.

The rest?  They are the slow fades.  You have to know what I mean, right?  This can’t just happen to me.

These are the friendships that were both big and important and small and not so meaningful.  They’ve gone from whatever they were to…nothing.  Or close enough to.

The “best friend” who you couldn’t imagine living without last year, has suddenly become someone you only hear from once or twice a week.  Or less.  I’m happy for them. That they’ve found a place to belong and that a person so far away from them isn’t their sole source of friendship anymore.  Doesn’t mean I don’t miss them.  Doesn’t mean I don’t wonder why it has to be.  If I did something to cause it’s slow demise. Or if I should work harder to save it.

The “always depend on” friend, who was always ready to hang out, talk, chill, whatever.  They are still there.  Still ready to help whenever they can.  But you don’t call as often.  They don’t call you as often.  You go weeks without seeing each other.  Maybe I was too busy.  Maybe I worried too much that my life is too different for them.  Maybe it’s nothing and I just feel alone because so much is different I don’t know what normal is anymore.

There’s others.

And I recognize that this all in my own perception.  That things might be completely the same as before and I just don’t realize it.  Or maybe it’s my fault.  That I’ve put distance between me and everyone else.  I don’t know.

If I was to make a resolution, maybe I’d make one that said, “Be a better friend, find better friends and learn what real friendship means.”

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment