Blogger appreciation award

Thank you, Benjamin, for nominating me for this award. Your kind words made me cry pretty early this morning. They mean a lot coming from you, because I respect and admire you so much. You’re one of those people I’ve come to love, even though we haven’t had lunch or coffee together. Yet😁

If you haven’t checked Benjamin out yet, I encourage you to do so. His is a voice that deserves to be heard; he delves into some weighty social issues in a very personal way that truly touches my heart.

So, I’m supposed to write a paragraph, about something positive about myself.

It’s hard to choose something positive about myself. Well, actually, it’s hard to choose just one, because I’m so full of the awesome all the way through.

Just kidding. Being the fully westernized wypipo woman I am (and an addict on top of that), I tend to see the negatives first, foremost, and always. I also tend to be a very fully westernized wypipo woman that’s really good at beating herself up for the tiniest little imperfection.

Side note: wypipo is deliberately there, because I’m pretty good at having wypipo problems #firstworldproblems.

Ultimately, the one positive thing about me that I have to choose to write about is my recovery from addiction. Anything else good about me stems from that, even all the good stuff my mama taught me as a kid. My addiction took so much decency, goodness, and normalcy; and it buried it under a mountain of character defects and nasty behaviour (AKA shortcomings). Through my journey in recovery, I have learned to accept myself just as I am, even the flawed parts; and I’ve also learned how to take the flawed parts and get into the solution. I don’t always do it perfectly; and that’s where I’m glad that pretty much all of the world’s spiritual teachings say that nobody’s perfect so we just do the best we can to keep growing. Recovery has also opened me up to other people: I see the beauty of a person’s humanity, other people’s feelings matter to me, I remain open-minded because everyone has something to teach me. I don’t dwell on past mistakes and I don’t worry too much over potential future problems; I try and stay in the moment and just experience the joys of living it. Again, I have to state that I do none of that perfectly. Some days, I do none of it at all. I do the best I can with what I have to work with. I always try to keep in mind that I’m fighting my biology; I’m fighting my disease; and I’m fighting the damage my addiction did to my mind, body, and spirit. I scream for help when I need it, and I try and listen for the screams of others. Someone heard my screams and responded; it is my honor and duty to hear someone else’s screams, even when I can only respond with a hug.

Now, I’m supposed to nominate other bloggers, so:

My friend the dancer

Manuela

Tag, you’re it😁

The last thing on Benjamin’s checklist for this award was a Mic drop, so I leave you with this:

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This body

I was listening to some music a couple of months ago, and this woman was singing about her body. She sang about how this body had birthed children, and done this and done that and so on and so forth. It was a powerful message of hope, that acceptance of my body just as it is… well, that’s possible.

I’m just not there today. My doctor has ordered dietary changes and exercise, and I’ve actually gotten serious about it. I’ve gotten so serious that I’m even keeping a makeshift journal of sorts about what I eat and vital signs and so on and so forth.

I’m sitting here right now, acutely aware of all of the ways this body is failing me. Along with the inevitable aches and pains of aging, I deal with the remnants of all of the abuse I heaped upon this body in active addiction. I have a bad shoulder that likely needs surgery to reassemble a bone that was broken in a car wreck. I have fingers that don’t work right because they were cut off in that same car wreck (reattached by an Emory surgeon at Grady Hospital, they mostly work but they look a little different now). For fuck’s sake, I cracked my T1 vertebra in that wreck (luckily it just cracked without moving). My right hip aches extra much thanks to a car wreck in the early 2000s. That’s the same hip that now has sciatica thanks to the great septic system debacle. My left knee hurts sometimes and I have no fucking clue why. I struggle to breathe sometimes, because all the cigarettes and dope I smoked left me with COPD. I could do this shit all day, listing body parts that don’t work right anymore and the insanity that caused the malfunction, but I think you probably get the point right now.

I’m sitting here typing this, fighting back tears. It’s hard to NOT be depressed about all of this, especially when it is standing in the way of actually following some simple doctor’s orders to exercise.

Walking aggravates the right hip. Running is out of the question with this hip and these lungs. Yoga often hurts my right shoulder and that right hip. Pilates? The right shoulder and my neck mean that I have to modify the modified versions of the exercises in the video.

It fucking sucks, and I’m on the verge of sinking into a pit of despair and self-pity. I refuse to call my sponsor about it because I already know I’ll get a writing assignment out of it so I might as well just write already. I can guess what the assignment would be, even: a gratitude list, and a list of all the things my body has done and can still do.

So fuck it. Here it goes:

  • This body has danced
  • This body has laughed. Laughed til it cried, laughed til it hurt
  • This body has solo piloted a Harley Davidson. Hell, this body survived a solo flight on a Harley where the brakes failed with absolutely no warning. This body kept that bike under control and safely stopped it, upright on both wheels. Barely, but it did it, and that was definitely a case where the ends were more important than the means
  • This body has survived active addiction. 26 years of active addiction, to be more precise.
  • This body has survived some seriously ugly DTs. More than once, more than twice, more times than I can even remember, this body has made it through very painful detox from drugs and booze–the kinds of drugs that detoxing from them can literally kill. This body survived.
  • This body survived the gated community as a guest of the state
  • This body has survived car wreck after car wreck that should have been fatal
  • This body has survived surgery after surgery to try and repair damage that some utter insanity or another has caused
  • This body has survived damn near 48 years on planet earth and is still mostly functioning
  • This body has survived through not one, but THREE, physically abusive relationships (the first of which involved having a handgun pressed between my eyes; I’ve been too fucking stupid/crazy/something to ever let a man scare me again since that moment)
  • This body has survived rape
  • This body has planted gardens
  • This body has harvested and preserved the fruits of gardens
  • This body has done construction work
  • This body has laid out concert stages for some major touring acts, and it did it after most of the damage had already been done. This body, with boobs and ass and no penis, did a hard fucking job in a male dominated industry, and this body did that job very very fucking well (I was good at my job as a stagehand; so good I always got assigned to that one British asshole on every tour that hated all the local stagehands, and none of them hated me after 5 minutes of working with me)
  • This body is surviving anemia, COPD, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and a never-ending allergy season here in this part of Texas
  • This body is building a house, a place for this weary spirit to call home

Now for the gratitude list:

  • I’m grateful for the doctors appointment I have today, hopefully we can start finding a solution to the shoulder problem
  • I’m grateful for Sunshine, and his willingness to find a way to do what’s necessary to get me healthcare. I’m grateful to just have his calming presence in my life, and getting to be married to him is positively delightful
  • I’m grateful for Miss Mollie, who constantly reminds me to enjoy the moment
  • I’m grateful for my recovery
  • I’m grateful for my sponsor
  • I’m grateful for each of you. I’m grateful for every person who reads my drivel, and who sticks around for those times (like this) when I am just screaming into the void out of sheer frustration
  • I’m grateful for my mom, who would instantly talk me down from this pity-pot I’m perched on if only I would just call her
  • I’m grateful that, in spite of the ways he irritates me, Mr B has opened the gate to his property to try and create a community that welcomes my weirdo self
  • I’m grateful for the physical warmth inside my RV, with all of my layers of warm clothes and faux fur blankets to fend off the wet, grey cold that is knocking at the windows today
  • I’m grateful for the dark chocolate cocoa that is just waiting for me to get up off my ass and go fix myself a cup. (The gratitude list isn’t supposed to include things I can hold in my hand but DARK CHOCOLATE IS A GIFT FROM THE GODS THAT IS A BALM FOR MY TROUBLED SOUL and I will scream that at my sponsor if she ever dares question dark chocolate on a gratitude list πŸ˜‡)
  • I’m grateful for a job I enjoy and a boss I actually like
  • I’m grateful for my oldest stepson, who is visiting us today. The growth I’ve seen in him over the years has been beautiful to witness, and it reminds me that miracles happen–even for an addict like me

Thank you. Each and every one of you reading this, thank you. Each of you reading this is carrying a tiny little piece of my burden today, for pain shared is pain lessened.

Humidity

I grew up near Atlanta, Georgia. I thought I knew what humidity was. Then, around the turn of the millennium, I found myself in the northwestern Louisiana area. That gave me a new appreciation for humidity; I thought I knew what humidity really was. Then I traveled to New Orleans the summer after Katrina. Now, I really am starting to get a sense of what humidity can be, because that was some seriously sticky air.

Humidity is one of those things that can affect my breathing; barometric pressure and dewpoint can affect it, too. COPD is a motherbitch like that some days.

It’s been humid and/or rainy here for over a week now, and it isn’t going to stop before the end of the coming weekend. It’s really starring to piss me off. I’m supposed to be exercising to lose weight, and that’s hard to do when it’s cold and rainy outside and one lives in an RV that has no space for any sort of exercising. I’m struggling to breathe BEFORE any exertion. I’m exhausted from the effort, and from the anger at something I can’t fucking change.

I wish I could say that my humidity woes ended there. However, this morning, as I’m tripping through my RV because I’m too fucking lazy to re-tie my slipper lace that keeps trying to kill me, I’m on an epic bleep-fest behind all this never-ending humidity.

The purple wall tile for my shower? Not setting. My clothes that are hanging inside to air dry? Not fucking drying, and it’s been days. I have dirty clothes I need to wash and I have nowhere to hang them to dry because the laundry from several days ago is still hanging to dry.

I call bullshit. I’m over this shit.

NOW that I’ve bitched about it, it’s time to put on my big-girl panties. It’s time to get out of the problem and into the solution. I’m off to deal with the leaky window in the bedroom of the RV. After that, I’m headed down the hill with the laptop and a workout video so that I can take advantage of all that space in my under-constriction house.

Meet the Flintstones: Mrs B

Mrs B is a science teacher. She cam to me a couple of months ago wanting to know if I needed some old canning lids, or if it was ok to donate them to a science project for her class.

She brought me one of the finished objects, and I was delighted with the repurposing going on here.

They made little cars with old soda cans, old jar lids, old straws; balloons, glue, and tape.

The students would blow up the balloon using the straw; and as the balloon deflated the car would go.

I think it’s a pretty fun way to demonstrate physics to kids.

A huge thank you to Mrs B for sharing her science project (and creative repurposing) with us.

Writing assignments

I remember my early days in 12 step recovery. When I was pissed off, my sponsor would have me write. When I was ungrateful, my sponsor would have me write a gratitude list. Since I was a pissed off, ungrateful shit when I got to 12 step fellowships, I got assigned a lot of writing.

This morning, I contacted my sponsor to explain that I made a decision. I’m actually going to start making some drastic lifestyle changes: diet, exercise, monitoring my blood pressure, and monitoring my anxiety. My sponsor told me to keep a journal so that I could go over it with my doctor at my next appointment.

I told my sponsor that if I had known I’d get a writing assignment, I’d have kept my mouth shut. She pointed out that I likely already KNEW, and laughed at me.

So this morning’s diary entry:

Dear diary, got up this morning with a new plan for trudging along. Have foregone the search for Twinkies and decided to forage for twigs and sticks and berries and shit to eat. Have also made a commitment to trudge more each day, or engage in other forms of exercise when the weather is to foul to trudge. Hopefully, these actions will bring about some weight loss, which should result in lower blood pressure, which should alleviate some of the anxiety. With any luck, my dear Sunshine will know which twigs and sticks and berries and shit are safe for humans to eat. I’ve just had some yogurt, a banana, a handful of blueberries, and a small number of almonds for breakfast, and am now off to trudge about the property doing laundry, gathering seeds for the spring garden, and helping out with the projects at our little house build. Am putting on my fitness tracker watch to help me keep track of how much I trudge.

Mollie Day

Instead of Valentine’s Day, we celebrate the anniversary of the day Mollie decided she would let us be her people. She was a Valentine’s Day gift to me from Sunshine many many moons ago, and we’re all about rejecting the lies that corporations try to sell us, so instead of buying diamonds or gold or greeting cards or chocolates to prove our love for each other, we celebrate Mollie Day.

Mollie Day always involves some sort of steak. This year it was venison. It also involves cupcakes.

I love ignoring what corporations dictate, and twisting these holidays to become something meaningful for us on a personal level. Mollie just likes any excuse to eat steak and cupcakes. Total win-win.

Method to the madness

I was looking for some particular decorative tiles today. I got to thinking that maybe I had put them in one of the basement storage compartments of the magic bus, so I waded through the muck from last night’s rain and…

Well, let’s just say I surprised myself. I had finished craft projects in there THAT I FUCKING FORGOT I HAD MADE!

I’ve retrieved those finished objects. They will go to work with me as soon as the boss gets finished expanding the shop, on consignment.

But here’s the thing: what the fuck else is under there that I forgot we owned? And if I forgot we owned it, do we really need it? I’m so sick of the tetris games and musical coffee pot and “have you seen my ______________?” that I could scream.

I’m hoping that any other treasures hidden under the bus make more sense than what I encountered today:

  • The yarn hat Christmas ornaments I fucking forgot I had made
  • A ziploc bag of sage and fuck knows what else
  • 2 bankers boxes full of receipts and shit from Sunshine’s business
  • A giant space saver bag full of sanded chunks of cedar
  • A giant Ziploc bag filled with cross sections of large cardboard tubes
  • Some really scratchy rug yarn
  • A trash bag full of mesh bags I crocheted, filled with yarn scraps, to hang next to Bird feeders, so the birds can use yarn in their nests (and that I FUCKING FORGOT I HAD MADE)
  • A pile of collapsed duffle bags stuffed into a suitcase, including the giant white crochet one that I FUCKING FORGOT I HAD MADE

I found all of that stuff without investigating beyond the opening. I have no idea what might be buried in the center of the basement. I either need to develop a method to the madness or just burn it all and start fresh.