Sick – Haven’t Been for a While

For four days I’ve had a very sharp sore throat. I was proud that on the second day I went to the urgent care. They told me it wasn’t strep, just a virus, nothing they could do. I took an action to take care of myself instead of waiting like a usually do. I felt good about that.

Even so, the next day I was moaning in agony. The pain was so sharp I couldn’t swallow. The motrin and tylenol wasn’t helping. Sleeping was the only way to take the pain away. My regular physician had no time for me. “Call in the morning if you can come in tomorrow” they said.

So I did. I was miserable. They gave me an appointment with a junior doctor. I was worried that it was the same guy I had seen right after my father died two years ago.

Back then I was driving by their office feeling really sick. I called to see if I could have an appointment. All they had was Dr. Z, a new doctor. He told me I wasn’t sick.

“Then why do I feel so bad?” I asked.

“You have allergies, are stressed, and are depressed.”

My jaw dropped open. “How can you call me depressed? You don’t even know me?” I asked him.

“In your chart it says that you were crying when you came in last.”

“My father had just died. How was I supposed to be? It’s called grief.”

I left horrified that he had said that. He also recommended an acupuncturist which I went to a few times, spent a lot of money on, and didn’t feel much better so I stopped going.

Let’s just say I wasn’t thrilled with him then.

Yesterday I asked the nurse if I had seen this doctor before. She said yes. I decided to have an open mind. He looked at my throat and said it was strep. He didn’t look at my jaw or ear. He didn’t say anything about how I couldn’t open my mouth. When I said I couldn’t swallow and the water came out my nose, he said that was fine.

Later last night I got a call from the Urgent Care from Sunday that it was NOT STREP.

I’m confused. How could the test say it’s not and he said it was without doing the test? I really want to throw this young doctor under the bus for not doing a culture.

But where is it going to get me? It’s just going to keep the poison in me.

Last night I had nightmares about weird stuff like luggage and strange thinking. Someone else told me you get a sore throat when you are not saying something.

I’ve said everything I was holding in since then. I’m asking God to help so I can drink without the liquid coming out of my nose. It helped.

I googled jaw, nose and throat and there’s something called a eustachian tube that can get blocked. I closed my mouth and blew like it said. I can now swallow. Hallelujah.

Hopefully this is a temporary thing. I’ll have forgotten about it in a few months. I don’t think I will go to that young doctor again. I don’t think we have a strong connection.

I’m going to go to a work meeting later, fortified with plenty of motrin and lozenges. Tomorrow I have my pilot speaking engagement. The next day I have to drive to New Jersey to open a new account for one of my interns. Luckily my ex lets me drive his car since mine has a bad transmission and probably wouldn’t make it. For all my complaining, he does come through when I need him. I am grateful for that.

I’m ready to stop moaning and join the world. And I can ask for help when I need it.

Thanks for listening. I needed to get all this out of my head.

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60th Birthday Reunion – Thank You Class of ’77

This weekend my high school class got together to celebrate the year of our 60th birthdays.

It was really nice.

Even though it was savagely hot and humid, we toughed it out last night in a pavilion overlooking the boat basin of our local beach.

We sweated, reminisced, ate and drank for about six hours.

I reveled in the wonderful feeling of knowing most of these people since we were children. I moved from person to person, enjoying this unique community.

Unlike our early reunions, I experienced acceptance, closeness and familiarity. There were no airs and no need to impress. We’ve all had our challenges and people we have lost. Some of us are married, and some are not. There was sadness, but mostly joy.

It was nice to go from person to person and find out what they are up to. Some are embarking on a new career. Some are even retired.

One of the guys I hadn’t seen since graduation was standing on the steps. I knew I knew him, but couldn’t figure out how until he said his name.

“Oh my God, we played flute together in the band and orchestra. I can’t believe it. It’s so good to see you.” We got caught up on the last 42 years. WOW!!!

Some were old friends, some were new, and a couple were guys I had dated. We discussed our families, past memories, and difficult conversations we were now having with our own children.

I feel lucky to have such a great bunch of people in my life. Ten years ago, before our 50th birthday party, I didn’t feel like a part of the group. I was in a funk, unhappy, and ashamed of the weight I had gained and not been able to lose. I almost didn’t go. But an incredible thing happened once I got there – no one seemed to care how I looked. Instead, they welcomed me with open arms and reminded me how FUN I was in high school.

“I was FUN?” I asked myself. “Really? Why don’t I remember that? Where did that fun girl go? What happened to me since my marriage in 1994?”

That was a wake up call. I spent several years soul searching and uncovering my old self. Gradually, I remembered who I was: smart, athletic, fun, funny, respected and liked. It was an important time in my life.

I am thankful for this community. They woke me up.

I had been waiting for my husband to change so I could be happy. He shouldn’t have to change. And I didn’t have to stay married. It was freeing. 4 years ago I got divorced and created a new life for myself that I love.

It all started with a classmate saying how fun I was. Other classmates told me I didn’t have to stay unhappy. And another one helped me stay strong through my divorce.

I owe my new life to the class of 1977. I wrote a memoir about that part of my life. I can’t thank them enough for being there when I SO needed them, even though I didn’t know it at the time.

Thank you Class of 1977. I can’t wait to see you again, soon.

UGH

I just found out my son made a not so good choice last night.

I’m trying not to make him wrong.

I’m hoping there are not consequences to his action.

What else can I do?

I told him that I want to be able to trust his decisions. That I want to believe in him.

I guess what I didn’t say is that I don’t.

I think he’s careless and thoughtless. Chasing fun and not necessarily what I think he should be chasing.

He’s 23 and a grown up. He’s old enough to make his own decisions.

Or is he?

Did I do stupid things when I was young?

Absolutely.

Were there any that left a permanent consequence?

Let me think.

Probably. But none that jump out. There was a club med when I was with more guys than I would like to admit to. There were nights that I drank too much and may have ended up with someone I didn’t know and didn’t remember. One night especially where I could have died. I woke up having thrown up in my bed. I was lucky I didn’t choke. I know, gross.

I was lucky many times. I walked through Harlem alone one night cause I was mad at a guy. I figured I was safe because I had such a nasty snarl on my face. Who was gonna mess with me?

I was lucky. I hope my son is too.

What can I do? I can pray. I can speak in a way that doesn’t make him wrong. I can pray that he will listen. That he won’t do the opposite like I used to do to my mom.

I guess he’s still a kid. Figuring out life. I can make sure he knows I love him unconditionally no matter how stupid he is.

OK, let’s try that again. I can make sure he knows I love him unconditionally.

That’s better, isn’t it? And I can say what can’t be said. “You fucking scare me sometimes with your lack of concern for possible consequences.”

That is being honest. Now I can breathe freely. That’s what I didn’t say.

OK, thanks. It helps me to work through this stuff. Otherwise I’m just stuck in uncomfortable body sensations and nasty thoughts. I feel way better. I’m going to go talk to him.

Have a great Sunday.

Hate When Mom Is Right

“What would you do if your mom kept inviting YOUR ex everywhere? How am I supposed to move on with my life?” I asked my mother, exasperated.

“I would go out and meet new people,” my mother said with a smile. “Get out of the house. That’s what I would do.”

That was last night. I went to bed very annoyed.

Today, sitting at the beach during my daily “power hour,” I realized she was right. I could do something. I could get out of the house. I was blaming her for my not moving on.

“I need to see my mom,” I’d think to myself. “I can’t leave her alone. She’s old. What if something happens to her? I don’t want to regret not spending time with her.”

It was a nice comfortable rut. This month, living at my mom’s, it’s much easier to blame my mother than to go out and try to meet people.

And when I’m back in my beach cottage. I have other excuses. I’m tired. I don’t feel like talking to anyone. I like being home.

I have not made many attempts to go out. I haven’t wanted to.

Today was Saturday so I wasn’t in a rush to leave the beach. It was lovely in the sun, feeling the cool breeze, listening to the water and the seagulls.

I like my rut. It’s comfortable. But I feel fairly dead.

I picked up my phone. “What are you doing tonight?” I texted a friend from high school. I know she goes out. I’ve seen her happy pictures on Facebook with bunches of friends.

“I’m going out with a friend,” she answered.

“OK, have fun,” I said.

“Why?”

I explained the situation. “Why don’t you join us?” she asked.

I waited a while to respond. I had to think about whether I wanted to continue not having what I want. Could I take this step to get out of my rut? I was afraid I’d yes and then not want to go.

It’s strange. I used to love to go out. I used to love to have fun. I hated staying in alone. But something happened after my divorce. I went from being afraid to be alone to being really comfortable being alone. I think I had adjusted a little too well.

But it’s been four years. How much longer do I need to adjust? What am I waiting for? What am I afraid of?

“I’d love to. Thanks.” I texted back.

I don’t have to stay long.

I know, I’ll wear my cute little black dress. I’ll put some make-up on. I can even wear my new high heels. I could feel good about how I look. I could smile at people I don’t know. I could even have fun.

What a concept!!! My 30 year old self would be shocked that this is so hard. “Whats the big deal? This used to be fun and easy. How’d you get so old and afraid? What happened to you?”

Life. Disappointments. Doubts about my judgement in choosing men. Wondering if I could be vulnerable again. Wondering if anyone would ever find me attractive again? Wondering if I can be fun again?

My thoughts happened, I guess. It’s all in my internal monologue.

Tonight is my chance to get out of my head. And talk to people.

And have my mother be right.

Saying What Can’t Be Said

I love that some of you are reading my blog. That I have grown from 7 followers to 12. My goal is 1000 loyal followers. This is a start. I’ve almost doubled. Thank you for reading and following.

My initiative is “saying what can’t be said.” And I’m afraid to say something. For the usual reasons:

I don’t want to upset anyone.

I don’t think I should say it.

I don’t think I should be upset in the first place.

I’ve tried communicating my upsets before and it hasn’t worked. People get afraid to speak cause they might upset me. They get cautious. Our relationship suffers. It sucks for both of us.

I’m apologizing ahead of time in case I mess it up again. But in the spirit of the title, here goes:

I love that a few of you have made comments over the time I’ve had this blog. It means you are reading it and enjoying it. So thank you.

And, there are certain types of comments that get in my head and fuck me up. And it’s not your fault. It’s my shit that’s triggered.

And triggered I have been. So this is my attempt to work through it publicly to give me and others freedom. And since my past attempts have reduced freedom, I’m a little nervous.

Enough caveats and warnings?

OK. This kind of trigger is not new for me. When someone gives me coaching or advice or comments that I have not asked for, I don’t like it. I interpret it as a criticism, even if it’s not meant that way. And I go south.

My “I shouldn’t be the way I am” and “trying to get it right so as not to be criticized” get kicked in.

Historically, instead of speaking up and saying something to get beyond it, I stay quiet, resent the person who made the comment, and decide they are not a friend but a foe (to quote the Nemo movie) and just eliminate them from my life.

This is all under the surface of my consciousness. I don’t do it knowingly, I just do it.

During my childhood I was told not to be upset. I thought if I was upset, there was something wrong with me. So I didn’t tell anyone. I waited until it passed. I was “fine.”

It was my fault if I was upset. A character flaw. I was just “too sensitive.” So I stayed quiet. Why would I say something and let someone see my shame? Unknowingly, instead, I just cut the person out of my life. They obviously didn’t like me in my mind. If they did, they wouldn’t be criticizing me. So I stayed away from them.

You can imagine that I would have eliminated many people. Eventually I would take something wrong and they’d be eliminated. Not good for making friends, is it?

I don’t know if you follow that logic, but it makes sense to me since I was the one living it.

Working this out is very helpful. I can create a game plan.

Actions: I can “say something new” or ask the person what they meant. I can tell them what I heard. This could eliminate my negative mental energy and possibly result in being more connected.

I am doing a pilot speaking engagement in a week and a half on “saying what can’t be said.” This is great. I’m taking my own advice. What an idea!!!!

My goal is to say it in a way that creates life. Instead of suppressing the other person. Have us both feel freer.

Doing it this way is new for me.

And I may create a mess. Or maybe I won’t. It’s ok to mess things up. Better than being stuck.

Isn’t it?

Wish me luck!!!

Sorting It Out

Yesterday I tried to write a blog. But it just became one long confused ramble that I couldn’t cut and paste to make work. So here is another stab at what I was trying to say.

Yesterday I woke up in a funk. Didn’t know what it was about. Nothing was really wrong, but I just felt like everything about life in general, and especially me, was just plain wrong.

I kept having an image replay itself in my mind. It was of my mom from the morning. I’m staying at her house and I get out early to go to the gym. Even though I’m quiet and try not to wake her, an alarm on her front door wakes her up, signalling that someone is entering or leaving her house. She loves to know what is going on so she gets out of bed, and goes to the window.

I look up on my way to the car. I see her struggling to open her bedroom window. Finally she gets it open and starts frantically waving her hands.

I open my window and wave back. I blink my brights. And on the way up the street, I beep my horn. I want her to know that I see her. She always asks if I did.

On the one hand, it is adorable. She wants to say goodbye.

On the other hand, when I finally allow myself to feel my emotions, I am just sad. And I think I shouldn’t be.

  • I am lucky to have her
  • My life is going great
  • I am doing well at work
  • My kids are thriving and we are very close
  • I have nothing really to be upset about
  • …….

Recognizing I am sad is hard, but allowing myself to FEEL my sadness is even harder. There’s a few reasons that I’m noticing:

  • I’m afraid I will disappear into the sadness and never come out
  • It hurts
  • I think I’m not supposed to be
  • I’m supposed to always be happy
  • I’m supposed to “get over it”
  • It’s a downer
  • I’m just not supposed to be
  • ……..

When I can finally allow myself to be sad, I cry. This week I’ve cried in the car. I’ve cried at Whole Foods, and I’m crying now.

What I’ve noticed this week is that afterwards, I feel surprisingly free. And light. And present. I can’t believe it. Feeling my feelings allows the sadness, heaviness and wrongness of life to dissipate.

And I can get real with myself. I can see I’ve been frustrated about not being able to:

  • help my mom remember things
  • have my sisters get that she’s not helpless
  • have my sisters treat her like a person and not an invalid
  • reverse aging and go back to how it used to be
  • forgive myself for being so annoyed by my mom’s questions for so long instead of just appreciating her for who she is
  • have her get how much we love her and are so proud of who she is

Last night my mom came up to my room and sat on my bed.

“I guess I’m a problem,” she said. She looked so sad.

What had happened was that a tracking device that my sister had planted in her wallet was missing. [It was supposed to help her not lose her wallet, but also help my sister track my mom down when she is worried because she can’t reach her. My sister spent hours trying to find it. Phone calls, questioning my mom, etc. My mom couldn’t remember touching it or moving it.]

On the one hand, my sister cares about my mom and wants her to be safe.

On the other hand, she treats her as if she is not capable of taking care of herself.

I don’t know what the truth is. I just hate to see my mother feel that way. It breaks my heart.

This is life. I know that. And I don’t have to like it. And I can cry and be sad whenever I need to. Because that frees me up to be present with her and the rest of life. Resisting my sadness makes everything 1000% worse.

All I can do is love my mother as best I can. Have her see that she is a blessing and not a problem. Enjoy the moment and not project doom and gloom.

I never thought that crying and sadness were pathways to freedom. But, for me, they have become that. I am really surprised that the heaviness and wrongness disappeared just from feeling my emotions. It seems so easy now, even though it wasn’t at the time.

What will I discover next? Who knows?

Going On a Trip – Being Real

I only have five minutes.

All I can say is that I’m much better off when I’m not pretending.

When I can be real.

Say what I need to say and then move on.

Pretending I’m fine when I’m not is not good.

  • I eat
  • I drink
  • I make myself wrong for being how I am
  • I think everything’s my fault.
  • The world sucks
  • etc.

So why wouldn’t I just be how I am?

Good question. Probably because:

  • I think I should always be happy.
  • My mother thinks I should always be “perky.”
  • No one wants to hear my shit.
  • People will try to coach or fix me and I don’t really want to hear that.
  • Basically, my core conversation is: I shouldn’t be the way I am. So, therefore however I am is wrong if that makes sense.
  • So, I guess, since in my flawed thinking I am wrong anyway, I might as well be REAL wrong instead of PRETEND wrong.

That’s actually freeing. So thanks. Gotta get in the car to go to a wedding.

PS I’m not going to write about my encounter of the worst kind with my psycho ex. I’m just not. I’m trying to move on.

PPS OK, here’s a little bit: He acted like he was all into me and when I asked if he was still married he told me to look on-line. I figured he had finally gotten divorced.

PPPS I had six hours of fantasy before I looked. There is no case. No divorce. Nothing. He’s still very married. Fooled me again.

PPPS Well, I got hooked for 6 hours. Next time I’ll be faster. And, the truth was, I was disappointed. That’s the real truth folks. I hate to admit it, but it’s true. I was actually hoping he was free and available. I’m admitting it. Not going to pretend anymore, remember?

PPPPS OK, I told you the truth. It feels better than the anger at him and myself. I was DISAPPOINTED!!!!

PPPPPPPS Gotta go.