Saturday, August 22, 2020

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

 I feel like it's time for one of those authentic skeleton in the closet posts.  How else can you ever relate to a writer if you never see a bone.  Therefore I present to you: "Something I only share with my closest friends while drinking beers" (cheers):

I had just graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville.  To celebrate I went out with a group of friends.  And, looking back, by "friends," I mean that circle of people you associate with so you don't have to be alone. "Friends."  We were in "Old City" at a bar on the corner called...(damn I can't remember).  We were sitting at a circular booth like the ones in Pulp Fiction.  Some random people came over to sit down with us.  I was getting pretty, I dunno, not wasted, but all my sixth senses were gone.  And, suddenly I realized my purse with all my cash and phone was gone.  And, I went nuts in a panic.  

I ran to the bar to call the police, and looking back I'm not even sure why I made that mistake.  The bartender could see my panic and would not let me use the phone.  So, in hysteria I did the Karen thing and asked to speak to a manager.  And, the manager brought me back to his windowless office and shut the door.  And, he pushed me up against his desk and ran his hand up my dress.  

I learned I am a fighter a long time ago.  When presented with a situation of fighting or turning back in fear, I will always fight.  Only people don't like fighters.  I find people, generally, praise and admire a fighter.  Like Mohammad Ali.  Take for example his famous words: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."  What does it mean?  Is it literal or metaphorical?  Anyways, additionally, maybe that's why "the first rule of fight club is 'there is no fight club'"

I decked the guy in the jaw.  He wasn't prepared for it.  So, he picks up the phone and calls someone, and I run out of his office.  All my friends were gone and I was there, alone.  From that moment on I can only recall what happened in segments:

I was thrown up against a squad car and cuffed by two male officers.  I do not remember what I could have done to have possibly warranted that.  I was driven around dark parking lots and alleyways for who even knows how long.  When you are in the fear state, time is inconsequential.  I remember finally seeing a light and it was the street light of the jail.  I was aggressively taken out of the car.  I was strapped to a wooden chair with arm and leg restraints.  A female officer kept coming up to my face and agitating me, and I spit in her face.  They took me out of the chair and down the hall to another monster who asked me my name and social security number.  And I told her I was just a figment of her imagination.  Okay, lemme stop right here and say, "Never try this at home kids.  Unless you want to spend the night in a padded cell listening to the cries of a pregnant prostitute in the cell next to you." (Spoken from experience).

Anyways, my point is this: (yes, I do have one, so thank you if you have read this far.  I know it's hard.  People hate reading anymore).  Yes, my parents drove 7 hours to come get me out of jail and help get me a shit lawyer who didn't do his job.  Yes, all my charges were dropped after the bar manager was convicted of two rapes, both in his office.  But, does that mean this ONE night has not haunted me through my life?  Turns out, if you ever want to work for the government, they can see "assault" on your record even if it was expunged.  And, my "assault" was "self defense."  It's just been misunderstood.

Thank you so much for reading, lovies, and I hope you have an inspiring day.  "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Namaste.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Ordinary World of Gods and Monsters

You thought I just lured you in with Duran Duran or Lana Del Rey tunes, didn't you?  Well, you're partly correct.  Okay put in a pin in that for a quick minute.  I ran into a friend today, and this blog post was born.

Remember playing Pac-Man as a kid?  You're basically just in a mad frenzy to run through a maze escaping ghosts and trying to find nutrients along the way (and only those with great hand-eye joy-stick coordination survive)?  Maybe this is a great allegory for Christianity.  We are born into the Ordinary World, and as the Duran Duran lyrics promise:  "And, as I try to make my way to an ordinary world, I will learn to survive."

But, on a spiritual realm we figure out quickly the Ordinary World we see with our eyes is also a land of "Gods and Monsters" (Thank you Lana Del Rey for that very catchy tune).  And, by "gods and monsters," I mean angels and demons.  If you do not believe you're walking the Earth daily among angels and demons, that's totally okay.  You can still read on, and we can agree to disagree and still be friends...

Angels are prevalent and I know because I've encountered many, though I've not seen them physically with my eyes.  The mere fact that I should have been dead over and over in my life is the first clue.  But, not only can angels help you, they can deter you.  And by "deter," I realize that word denotes harm sometimes.  But, angels will actually hold you back from something or someone harmful to your spiritual journey.  The best explanation I've got for "Guardian Angels" is:  Imagine if you will, you're sitting out in a park under a huge Oak tree eating a pimento cheese sandwich, when suddenly a mad man comes at you with a gun.  Your angel would be like Arnold Schwarzenegger standing behind you with a light so bright that only the mad man could see it and run away back into the darkness.   So, those are the angels in a nutshell.

Devils can't be seen either but they require a host.  Usually, they use a human body for their vessel.  So ipso facto you can kinda see them.  Hollywood made many movies about Exorcisms which can scare the heck out of anyone, as it should since evil is very real.  But, like the media, Hollywood always over sensationalizes and messes it up, right?  Anyways, when a body is demon possessed, that person hates anyone with the light that can and will expose their darkness.  

So, how can a mortal, like me, fight off a demon I can't even see, you might be asking right now?  And what if the demon is inside me?  Okay, time for an anecdote (or three):  

I was in a women's Bible study and the lady who was leading the group invited me out for lunch one day.  She was an older black woman, very wise and extremely caring and kind.  I felt like every time she looked at me, she could see into my eyes and know I was very lost.  She was talking to me about my faith and my spiritual journey.  I told her that my path was quite different from most of my coworkers and friends.  I had never married or had children (which was highly faux pas for a Sourthern lady at my age).  And, it prompted her to open up to me about her marriage and her children.  She explained that her husband was not a believer and that he battled demons.  As I sat there listening to her, and this was several years ago, I guess it didn't mean anything to me at the time...the demon talk.  The phrase "he/she has his or her demons" was so cliche to me and sounded like a romanticized way of saying someone couldn't get their shit together.  But, now I know the phrase is not metaphorical but real/literal.  

Anyways, she went on to share that one day her husband came up to her as she was getting ready for church.  Apparently it upset him that she got up to attend church on Sunday mornings.  She recounted that as she turned around she saw this demonic look in his face he took his fist up in the air intending to hit her in the face (which he had done before).  She held up her hand in defense and spoke: "In the name of the Holy Spirit, I rebuke you!"  And, she said the demonic look just vanished and he lowered his fist and just walked away.  I admire this woman in many ways, mainly for her strong faith.  I've not met many women in my lifetime with a faith as strong as hers.  But, her loyalty to someone who is abusive?  I can't say I would have stayed in that marriage like that.  Yet, I didn't feel it my place, having never experienced marriage, to interject and suggest she separate until he sought counseling, just for her own safety.  On a side note her:  I feel like domestic abuse in the church is so prevalent in the South>  I've spoken with more than a few women who were in marriages where they were beaten and were taught to be submissive and stick it out through abusive marriages because divorce is bad.  The problem is not everyone is so lucky, and often times these domestic abuses can end fatally.  

Another anecdote, as I love a good story.  I hope you do too!  My mom can't swim.  She's been to the YMCA for several swimming lessons, and they just didn't take because of her extreme phobia of drowning.  Admittedly, she will tell how her father, my Papa, would take his kids down to the watering hole so they could witness dead bodies pulled out of the local swimming holes and that trauma stuck with her.  Her father was just trying to make sure his kids didn't drown, but in doing so, he instilled a fear that runs deep.  My mom's family was in the nursery and landscaping business.  So she was probably about 15 or 16 years old when all the work-hands went for lunch.  She was at a mansion where they were all landscaping.  She was just walking and she felt her entire body freeze (like a paralysis) and she looked down to see she was at the edge of the deep end of the pool.  She would have surely drowned since no one was there to rescue her and her fear would have taken over.

Lastly, my very first blog post, I recounted about a near death experience just this year while hiking alone.  I had scaled down the mountain thinking I was on the right path only to come to a dead end and  to look up and see the vastness of the mountain.  I was very lost and scared...and alone!  I will never forget that feeling of fear.  My palms sweated profusely, I felt weak, I was clutching haphazardly to loose rocks.  I yelled, "HELLLLLP, SOMEBODY, PLEASE!"  And, all you could hear was my echo.  And, then I remembered, as if someone planted it in my ear: "fear and love cannot coincide."  They cannot simultaneously exist.  You either lead with fear or you lead with love.  And, from that moment that I decided I would not be a victim of fear, this warmness entered me.  And, it was already super hot that day as I hugged the side of the mountain baking in the afternoon sun.  But, I climbed up to where I had made the wrong turn and ran into a lovely group of women and their little girls out hiking on Mother's Day weekend.  And, suddenly, with the most severe cotton mouth in the world, I could laugh about the whole encounter.  (On a sad note: due to COVID and everything fun being banned, more and more people have gone into the Great Outdoors to the Flat Irons and other technical hikes in the Rockies.  Consequently there have been several deaths from people stepping off cliffs or going the wrong way.  They do NOT believe in trail blazing around these parts.  So this is my PSA to please respect and be mindful of Mother Nature.) 

Summation to the Jury: When the Holy Spirit is inside of us: It protects, encourages, and uplifts...it leads with love.  When the demon is inside us: it hinders, destroys, creates fear and anxiety.  And, that is the spiritual realm that parallels our Ordinary World.  The "Gods and Monsters"...

Thank you for reading and have a great night.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Psychiatry Gone Nuts

I'm going to start off this blog post with a joke, because we could all use a laugh:

A naked guy wraps himself in Saran Wrap and walks into a psychiatrist's office.  He goes in to the see the psychiatrist and the doctor looks at him and says: "I can clearly see your nuts" ["...you're nuts"].

Now you may be laughing right now.  But, one of the funniest things ever was when my Granny would tell this joke.  And, at the end she would say: "I can clearly see your BALLS!"  I miss my Granny so much!

Now to the meat of the matter, so to speak...


Last year I went through something pretty traumatic.  It cut so deeply at the time, I really didn't know who I could talk to about it.  And, to top it all off, it was embarrassing and humiliating.  At the time, I was attending a Bible study class in Simpsonville, SC.  The group leader could see I was deeply sad.  She invited me to lunch and I just opened up to her about everything I had experienced.  She suggested that I go talk to a professional about the matter.  And, she gave me the name and number of a counselor who had also helped her son.

I called and set up an appointment.  It wasn't the first time I had gone to speak to someone about my life.  I remember back in college when I went through a breakup.  It was pretty traumatic for me, because I left after the abuse.  Yet, I still couldn't find closure.  After one session with the counselor, I realized I was wasting my life being sad over an abuser...a manipulator.  Furthermore, I realized that prior relationship taught be things early on that would stick with me through the rest of my life and serve me well.

Anyways, back to last year...

So, I set up an appointment with this male counselor.  I showed up to the appointment.  I sat on his sofa.  He, right off the bat, promoted his book to me.  Feeling obligated, I pulled out my checkbook and purchased a copy of the book.  I remember him having a HUGE Bible sitting on the coffee table and maybe that's why I felt so trusting.  I opened up and told him about everything that had occurred.  I cried, pretty hard.  And, he took one of my Kleenexes soaked in my tears, and he put it up on his book shelf and told me that he was going to keep it as a memento of me...and that one day I would be the CEO of a large company and he would have my tears I cried over something silly.  At the time I thought that was really sweet and it didn't raise any flags.

Having not been through a lot of therapy in my life, I didn't really know what was normal and what was kinda "off."  So, he started texting me.  He would send morning texts from time to time encouraging me to have a great day.  He would start them by saying: "Good morning, Princess!"  Then, one day, he invited me to Long John Silver's to meet him and his wife.  He said that I reminded him so much of his second wife.  So I agreed to meet them there.  On a side note, I have no idea how Captain D's and Long John Silver's even stay in business.  Their parking lots are always empty.  They collectively reminded me of the Billy Chrystal old couple from "Princess Bride."  His wife started telling me all her wild youthful stories and how she met Bono on a flight and a few naughty tales.  Then they looked at each other, and promise on my life, they said, "You're like the child we never had."  Talk about tingles shooting down my arm.

Yet, I agreed to meet him again.  And, this time, during the appointment time his entire focus was on my father.  I never mentioned my dad, but he kept insisting we talk about him.  And, then he goes down this path of trying to make me see my dad in a dark light.  That's a form on control and brainwashing to separate you from your emotional support system.  Luckily, from past experience, I was able to feel my gut on that.  I ended the session and I explained that I would contact him if I wanted to schedule again.

For the next weeks he persistently texted me.  In the mornings, afternoons, evenings.  It became almost obsessive.  I even told him I had gone to see my family and he replied: "Are you going to see them out of gratitude or guilt/fear?"  Like, I dunno about you but I could kinda go without a third party psycho-analysis of my every move.

I texted the Doctor that I would no longer be needing his services.  He followed by a another psychobabble question, indubitably, trying to hook me back in.  In cases of manipulation, I find it best that instead of politely reforming your response, to just keep saying the same thing until it's like a broken record.  "Again, I will no longer be needing your services."  And, almost as if to manipulate one last time, he said, "I'll be praying for you."  And, I replied: "For the third and I really hope the final time, I will no longer be needing your services."

He never contacted me again.  And, I've never been back to therapy again.  But, with that said, I know I have a network of people to call that will tell me the God's honest truth if I ask for help.  And, for that I'm truly grateful.  Am, I slamming counseling or coaching?  Absolutely not!!!  These people are supposedly "healers" and should maintain a clear professional boundary. I felt this doctor crossed so many...like Stevie Wonder driving.  

The author's purpose: Just be vigilant!  If you do seek therapy, do your due diligence to determine their background and reputation/client reviews.  Just because they helped someone's son does not mean they can help you!  He has my DNA on that tissue and I'm worried about it.  And also, paraphrasing here: "life is the toughest teacher, it'll get you the test and the lesson later."  So really, the lesson is what we pay people for, right?  

Thanks for reading and have a lovely night!




Saturday, August 1, 2020

Dying to be Skinny

I want to start this blog post by sharing a secret with you.  I had an eating disorder called Bulimia.  It started my senior year of high school.  I started abusing laxatives until I got down to a size zero.  I'm sharing this because I know I'm not alone.  In an age of Cosmo and Vogue, airbrushing, and photo shop, it's really hard for young women to accept their bodies and celebrate each and every unique and beautiful figure.  On that note, I was always bullied for my figure.  I'm very curvy with a big round butt.  And, this was pre-JL era, so big butts were not in fad at the time.  I played softball and wore very tight form fitting uniforms.  Bulimia was a way for me to erase myself.

My mom almost immediately caught on when I started wasting away to nothing.  And, not to get too graphic, but there is a distinct odor when someone is abusing laxatives.  It's almost a chemical/soapy smell.  I remember she got really mad!  One day I got lightheaded in the main stairway of my high school and collapsed, requiring a trip to the hospital.  My family always used "tough love" on me.  Mom explained that if I kept on abusing my body I could end up with a colostomy bag, or worse, my heart could stop and I could die.  And, that talk did it for me.  I put down the laxatives and never used them again.  

Today, I have a very healthy relationship with food - except for that time I went vegan, but instead of eating "clean," I ate a lot of processed foods and became overweight.  Now I celebrate my curves.  Instead of looking for fashion inspiration in magazines, I tend to look at blogs of curvy women.  It inspires me to be different in my fashion and not try to wear things that were only meant for models.  I work out, not to look skinny, but to look like I could kick some butt.  

But...

Not all girls are that lucky.  This blog is dedicated to Terri Schiavo.  Have you ever heard of her?  Born December 3, 1963, Terri struggled with obesity most of her childhood, weighing up to 250 pounds.  She eventually lost around 100 pounds before attending Bucks County Community College.  There, Terri met her husband, Michael Schiavo in 1982.  They wed November 10, 1984 and moved to Florida to be closer to Terri's family.




On February 25, 1990, at the young age of 26, Terri suffered a cardiac arrest.  How did an otherwise perfectly healthy 26-year-old woman go into cardiac arrest?  Her chart showed that she "apparently had been trying to keep her weight down with dieting by herself, drinking liquids most of the time during the day and drinking about 10-15 glasses of iced tea."  She suffered a severe electrolyte imbalance and dangerously abnormally low potassium levels called hypokalemia.  Why are low potassium levels so dangerous?  They can cause heart rhythm problems up to "sudden arrhythmia death syndrome."  Basically, Terri had been starving herself to death, blocking her body of healthy nutrients it needed to function.

Although Terri was successful resuscitated, she sustained severe brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation to her brain.  She went in to a coma and was diagnosed as being in an "irreversible persistent vegetative state."  Roughly two and a half months passed and there was no improvement to her condition.  Her husband tried several different therapies, including experimental therapies to include: Occupational, Speech, Physical, etc.

In 1998, eight years after her coma, Micheal petitioned the Sixth Circuit Court of Florida to remove her tube.  When married, your spouse is your legal guardian, so Micheal was within his rights.  Michael persistently advocated that his wife would not wish to live in a vegetative state.  A lot of people found him a cruel and uncaring husband for wanting to remove Terri's feeding tube, including Terri's parents. Robert and Mary Schindler again vehemently opposed. Most parents would, right?

On April 24, 2001, Terri's feeding tube was removed.  It made front page news and all the networks were covering it.  However, the feeding tube was put back in only days later.  Again, on February 25, 2005, a Judge in Pinellas County Florida granted the removal.  Terri's parents and lawyers appealed to the Federal government for intervention.  Finally, on March 18, 2005, while Terri was in hospice, the tube was disconnected for the final time.  Terri died thirteen days later on March 31, 2005.

However, what the media, I believe, failed to convey was that Terri had been in this vegetative state from 1990-2005, FIFTEEN YEARS!

Despite her husbands desire to end Terri's life, her parents fought for continued artificial nutrition/hydration.  Thus, a long legal battle ensured that involved both state and federal courts, even escalating all the way up to the POTUS (George Bush, at the time).  The legal tape created a seven year delay.

Terri passed away on March 31, 2005.  She had been in a vegetative state for fifteen years before leaving this world.  I visited her grave site.  After having trouble finding it, we called the Cemetery staff and they told us that the family did not wish to disclose the location.  However, after scouring the area, we finally found the spot.  Next to a beautiful pond and fountain.

As I stood there, I wondered where this woman would be today.  What would she have accomplished? She would have been 56 years old.  If Terri could speak from the grave, what would she say?

I would like to think maybe she'd say the following:
It's important to draft a living will and discuss it with your legal guardian so your family knows what to do in the event of a coma or a vegetative state.  

You're beautiful just the way you are, so please value your health.  And, if you're currently battling obesity and on a journey to weight loss, please make a path of lifestyle changes and lose your weight in a healthy way.




A Magical Mountain Zoo Experience I Won't Soon Forget!

G'day Mates! Thanks for stopping in!  Realizing I’d written a few back to back  blogs with a more serious, heavy tone, so I was feeling ...