Tuesday, January 31, 2006


This will be a brief post due to time constraints. I am going to attend a lecture at Vanderbilt University this afternoon with my dear husband about Marriage Equality. In all honesty (admitting my unculturedness ((yes, that's a word, cuz I just made it up!)) here), I've never attended a lecture before, so I'm really looking forward to it, but maybe also feeling a little bit intimidated. You know -- it will be obvious to everyone there that I never finished college, that I don't belong, yada yada yada. But thankfully, I'm feeling strong enough to know that that's my little insecure inner child trying to avoid 'exposure'. My outer adult (is that the right term?) knows better, and is able to reassure 'her' that this will be fun, interesting, and definitely something I will be a perfectly acceptable and appropriate audience member for. Thank God for healing.

Later I shall make up for this brevity. Until then....


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Beautiful morning, beautiful world

One of the greatest joys in my life is getting to sleep in on Saturday morning with my hubby. Every other day of the week he rises early, mostly by habit, but also by necessity -- that pesky job thing. Saturday morning is also when we have our favorite meal of the week -- BREAKFAST. He makes our coffee -- now with a French press that I recently turned him on to -- and then begins the cooking portion of the morning. We usually have bacon, because it just smells so damn good, mostly. We don't eat a lot of fatty things usually, so this is a real treat. Then, believe it or not, he frequently makes either pancakes or waffles...FROM SCRATCH! I told him in the beginning of our relationship, with much chagrin, that I had not even thought about the fact that you could actually make those things from scratch -- i.e., not from a mix or frozen from a box. Yes, I've been deprived. ::sigh:: But he is definitely making up for it. Our local NPR station is playing some lovely jazzy piano tune, the front door and blinds are open, and Roger the cat is perched on his windowsill, guarding us from all manner of wiley beasts who apparently lurk in our yard. One can only imagine the peril if he were not here to stare at them.

How did I get so lucky? That applies to so many parts of my life. I am lucky that I have the world's greatest and most handsome and talented husband, ever, bar none. I am lucky that I have finally begun to feel better, because I was able to reach out and find professionals to help me through a long period of darkness and confusion. I am lucky to have a strong inner core that eventually always shows me the way and never lets me fall too far into what I would term as the pit of hell. Dramatic, yes; also accurate in how it feels sometimes.

I was supposed to do a radio interview this afternoon, but am unable to due to this crud I have in my head and chest. More than likely I'd be fine, but I am loathe to be exposed to other nasty bugs, or spread my crud to others. I hope I'll have this opportunity again -- I was really looking forward to it.

Hubby has a piano student coming for a lesson at noon. He's a professional keyboard player in Nashville, successful in his music career, as he says, "because I have a day job." He has performed with tons of people, including Grand Ole Opry stars, recorded with and for all sorts of folks, and played in who knows how many bands. He is a gifted teacher, I can attest, because he's taught me to play a few things, and I don't play. I always wanted to, but never could find someone to teach me to play the things I wanted to play. No "Blue Danube Waltz" for me! I wanted "Great Balls of Fire!" He had 10 years of formal lessons, but discovered his real gift when thrust into his first band with a group of self-taught teenage guitar players. They had no sheet music, so the guitarist basically had to show him the chords on the guitar, and he had to learn on the spot how to translate them to the keyboard. From that day forward, improvisation was his forte. Now he teaches others how to improvise, and the light in their eyes when they start to get it is pretty much worth the entire experience. Fortunately, people will pay him to do this, this thing he loves and does as naturally as he breathes, and he looks forward to spreading the joy of music making to as many as are interested in the years to come. He hopes this kind of thing will be a big part of his retirement, and I am certain that it will. His dream is to be an instructor at a "Blues Week" type event. He has called himself a "Pied Piper", and I can attest to the accuracy of that analogy. He makes it fun; he makes it sound really possible; and he teaches people according to their desires -- not according to the established rules. He's a rebel, my husband -- what a guy!

Time to go scramble the eggs -- that's my breakfast duty and I do that, at least, better than anyone. For other meals, I'm the queen of the kitchen, but when it comes to breakfast, I'm happy to turn it all over to the king. :)

Enjoy your Saturday. Go out and turn your face up to the sun and shout THANK YOU! It's a beautiful morning....


Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday musings

Did I mention I have a 'pseudo flu'? Well, it appears to be turning or turned into a sinus infection and possibly a little bronchitis. Booooo! Called the doc this morning and left a detailed message, complete with descriptions of what is coming out of my head through my nose and lungs, and they reviewed my visit Monday, and called in some Augmentin for me. I am so grateful not to have to go back in after just seeing them this Monday. However, if this doesn't improve pretty quickly, I believe I'll be on my way to an ENT. I have had lifelong sinusitis, both acute and chronic, and only in the last few years was able to see an ENT for these issues. The first thing they found, through a CT of my sinuses, was that the turbinates on my right side were very tiny, and therefore I was not able to ever really drain properly. There was also a protrusion of some bone into my sinus cavity, which also interfered, and I was developing bone thickening due to the chronic infection. My wonderful doc performed Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) to open up the turbinates, remove the protrusion, and basically clean me out. I have to say that it seems to have helped a great deal (I've gone almost a year or more without ANY kind of sinus infection, which is a RECORD for me).

I think the chronicity of these sinus problems is an expression of my depression somehow. I used to get very discouraged about going to the doctor for a sinus problem. I seemed to never get completely well after whatever treatment my doctors prescribed, and I grew weary of returning to their office still complaining. I felt like I was being 'a baby' somehow, just whining. I think somehow I felt *I* had failed. Now, though, that I have had some relief, and therefore believe it's possible, I will not wait any longer than I absolutely have to to see a specialist and get this under control. I deserve to be well, and I do not make up illnesses.

I was supposed to be interviewed on the radio tomorrow for the Marriage Equality initiative here in Tennessee. Let me be clear -- I am definitely PRO Marriage Equality, meaning that I believe that civil unions like marriage should be a civil RIGHT for all. Let me also remind my reader that I am a straight, married woman, though I have had a sexual relationship with one woman in my life. I never really thought about having a relationship with a woman before -- it just 'happened'. Much to my surprise and delight, this relationship was more than sexual -- in fact, that was the least of it, so to speak. Her kindness and friendship and understanding, not to mention her compassion and caring, was exactly what I needed at a very stressful and sad time in my life. I'm so grateful to have not missed this experience. It definitely showed to me that love is love, period, regardless of the gender of the person who loves or is loved. And for her, and for all of my many LGBT friends, known and unknown, I feel I have an obligation to stand up and speak out. I know it won't be easy, and some people will really vilify me, but hey, I always did want to be a radical hippie -- I was just born to late to do it! :)

Peace to anyone reading this blog. I hope it either helps you somehow, entertains you, or provokes some new, different thoughts for you.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Start of a brand new day

I can't believe I woke up this morning looking forward to making another post here! Color me shocked! Maybe there's something to this after all.

Yesterday seemed to be a day of revelation and courage. For one thing, I let my minister and one of the church groups (Unitarian Universalist, btw) know the real truth (as opposed to that pesky fake truth) about what's really been going on with me and why I've had to resign from every obligation recently. I told them that, in layman's terms, I had a nervous breakdown. Oddly, it feels good to 'confess' that. One of the problems with having an anxiety disorder and depression is that you feel mute and isolated, which obviously hampers reaching out to people. Since I'm a relatively new member of this congregation, and this denomination, actually, so I don't know that many people very well. The ones I do know, however, are probably some of the most compassionate, loving people I've ever encountered, and I realized yesterday that if I couldn't be honest with them, there weren't very many people I was going to be able to be honest with. Further, I realize that my own silence helps perpetuate the stigma of what is viewed generically as 'mental illness'. In truth, those who treat anxiety disorders will tell you that many of them, especially panic disorder, should be more accurately classified as a neurological disorder which has psychological ramifications. (See Dr. William Kernodle's book "Panic Disorder: The Medical Point of View") So far the responses I've received bear out my belief that these are the very people (my church group) that I can be most honest with and receive much love and support and, most importantly, acceptance and validation.

The other revelation that was brought yesterday is a little more complicated and requires some background info. Here's the short version: I married too young, picked a very bad husband, and lived a very torturous 6 years with him. He was and is an alcoholic, whether he is drinking today or not. And he was and is, I've learned very painfully, a child molester. There, I've said it. My ex-husband is a child molester. I learned this when he was convicted of molesting his own daughter, before I ever met him. He wasn't arrested for this crime until at least 7 years after the incident with her, but I now believe she was only one of his I'm afraid many victims, even before I met him. What he did while we were married I will blessedly never know, and I'm more than thankful I never had children. The knowledge that I was so very blind to his evil is difficult for me to digest, but I think I'm finally, all these years later (divorced for 13 years), coming to grips with it. I did a search in sex offender registry for him Monday night and discovered that he's back in jail (thank God) for committing 'lewd/lascivious act(s) with a child under 16'. Horrifying, isn't it? When I first found his listing and saw his picture, I felt nauseated, had hot flashes and chills, cried, felt guilty myself, again. Why guilty? I couldn't figure that part out for a while -- it's something I've felt ever since learning about his offenses. But I think I've finally realized what it was for me. I worried that maybe there was something I could have/should have seen to prevent him from harming another child. In reality, there was nothing I could have seen or done, and nothing I should feel guilty about. It is my nature and my lifelong experience to care for children, though I have none of my own. I'm the oldest of 4 children, and always was the babysitter for them. I was also always held responsible for them and their actions -- "You're the oldest! You're supposed to set an example for the younger kids!" -- and would get in trouble for THEIR actions.

Part of my adult working life has been online, monitoring kids' chat room and doing tech support for a teens and up game/chat site. Last year I grew increasingly frustrated with this work because I felt there was so much we were missing, so much was being let to slide -- the tools were buggy, the servers would go down while we were at our busiest -- so I felt I couldn't actually DO my job. I would see offenses but couldn't act on them. Daily the moderators would catch adults trying to or outright soliciting children for God only knows what all. Not being able to act on this was more than frustrating -- it was scary and unacceptable for me. I didn't realize that part until yesterday. I resigned that job in November, realizing I couldn't handle 'the pressure', but it wasn't just that -- it was the tie-in, though I didn't recognize it, with my feelings of guilt deriving from my first hideous marriage. Knowing that helps a lot. I am relieved to find that common thread, because it makes it easier for me to absolve myself of unfounded guilt.

The bottom line is that the crazy, sick bastard is IN JAIL, where he cannot harm another child. I will pray that he stays there for good this time. I also give thanks to whoever for the relief I feel. I've been praying for peace, for release, and I've received it. I am so grateful for that -- it's beyond my vocabulary to express just how grateful. My life is beginning to take a new direction, to a place of healing and of self-acceptance. I believe I've come to the crossroads, met the devil, and am now moving on without having sold my soul, or even rented it! Let's hear it for the gift of peace which passes all understanding! :)

Peace, and I really mean it...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

First post

Today I'm beginning an experiment. Can I blog? Will I blog? If I blog, what will happen? I guess we'll find out.

I've been inspired by the first blog I've ever read from beginning to end, and have actually posted comments on. If you're interested, the URL is http://fatdoctor.blogspot.com . Though I believe myself to be a decent writer, I have always had the idea that just writing about myself is 'selfish', in the negative way. However, I hope I'll find that to be a false assumption and that I will be able to not only speak for myself, but also connect with others who resonate with whatever it is that I ramble about.

If you've gotten this far, thanks. I hope that the days ahead will be, at the very least, interesting, and at most, therapeutic and useful. The last few months have been rather tough for me, and I'm trying to do all that I can to feel better and have a normal life, if that's even possible. I've been reading a book written by James Hollis called "The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife", dealing with, to paraphrase, mid-life crises. It's not for the faint of heart. Dr. Hollis is quite eloquent, but also expects a lot from his readers, which I find to be a good thing for me. This is one of those books that can only be read (by me) in small bites. The words, the ideas, the feelings they stir, are very profound, and, I hope, life-changing.

For much of my life I've dealt with anxiety and depression, including panic attacks with a bit of agoraphobia and social phobia. I had what I describe as 'a nervous breakdown' in October. That sounds like a single event, but it's more that I didn't have any more fingers to put into the dam to keep it from breaking. Though I had a lower-level depression already, a visit to my sister, who has been in a dysfunctional, abusive relationship for 15 years, and now has 3 children, ages 8, 18 months and 7 months (yes, do the math), provoked my first panic attack in over 7 years. I am widowed since 1999, but even when my beloved husband died at home suddenly of a massive heart attack, I didn't have panic attacks. This visit to my sister revealed her to be probably manic, and definitely a little past exhausted. Her ex, with whom she and the children live (yes, really), and I had a verbal altercation, which left me kind of shattered. This man is physically abusive, a big guy, and very cunning, as many abusive men are. I've had run-ins with him before, once even having to throw my body against a door to keep him from breaking in after they were divorced, so I do have an 'actual reason' to fear him. But more than my own safety concerns, I was deeply disturbed by my sister's condition, her inability to extricate herself from it once and for all (she's left many times), and the concern that the children suffer in who knows how many ways. I had and have reason to suspect there has been sexual abuse of the children, maybe even of my sister, and that makes me sick to my core.

However, the bottom line is, what is 'me' and what is 'not me'? I've come to her rescue on behalf of my entire family (mom, stepdad, good sister, good brother) several times, but all to no avail in the long run. It's been hurting me more than anyone else, apparently, and I can't afford that any longer. Before this event, I also had been very dissatisfied and unhappy about my lack of any one career path. I have no idea what I want to do, and never have. I've managed psychiatric practices, been a billing specialist in a hospital, a trainer for medical software company, a systems administrator for a non-profit org, an online chat moderator/tech support person for a teen-oriented chat/game site, to name a few. Now, it sounds like I jump from job to job, but in reality, I usually hold more than one job simultaneously, and always have. Now I'm not working, for the first time in my life, and it's weird. I had hoped to be able to figure out in which direction I'd like to go now, but I've been temporarily incapacitated. I hope that as I get better and feel stronger and more at peace with my own worth, I'll be able to figure it out. Wish me luck.

That's it for my first post. Now we'll see what happens.