i cried so much that day

It’s been nine years since the phone’s loud ring woke me out of a slumber. Nine years since my mom told me my grandfather had fallen and hit his head just before bed– that she had to call 911 and that he was en route to the hospital.

I knew it the moment I heard the shakiness in her voice that he was gone.

They didn’t pronounce him dead until after they got him to the hospital so it was technically November 8, 2005 when this happened. But I always remember it as the 7th.

November fucking seventh.

I spent that day at work. I believe it was a Tuesday.

My brother called me in the afternoon to tell me he had enough with his son’s attitude and was going to be granting Jordan’s wish to go live with his mother who never wanted anything to do with the boy. But Jordan was 13, my brother was on disability with little money coming in, and they were constantly fighting. So Marco took the easy way out and let Jordan go.

I cried so much that day.

I left work and headed out to my brother’s house an hour away. I had to give my nephew a hug before he left. I guess I knew it then that our lives were all going to be so very different from that moment on.

I wasn’t there when his mother picked him up, but I was there when she left him 9 years prior. I was there on his first day of Kindergarten. I was there at all of his soccer games. I was there helping him with his spelling. I was there teaching him how to tie his shoes. I was there going on bike rides with him. I was there feeding him dinner at night and getting him off to school in the mornings.

After saying goodbye to Jordan and trying my best to get him and his dad to talk, I drove home that night in tears.

I cried so much that day.

By the time I got home I was so spent that I just undressed and climbed into bed as soon as I got in the door. And then the phone rang. And then it was cemented: my life was forever changed.

Not all anniversary’s are happy ones. Like this one. November 7th. The day my brother stopped talking to my nephew and the day the most wonderful man in the world left this earth.

Fuck you November 7.

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change

Things have changed even around here since the last time I blogged. That’s what life is about, really: change. Without change, you’re stagnate. And who wants to live life like that? Yet it happens all the time.

All the time.

Fear is an ugly creature that prevents many of us from changing.

Fear of the unknown. Fear of the known. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of happiness. Fear of solitude. Fear of being even more motherfucking empty.

As if that’s even possible.

When you get to that empty point… where nothing seems to be going your way and you sincerely wonder why the fuck you’re even still alive… that’s when you need change the most. But it’s probably also when you’re most afraid.

I’ve been there, man. I know.

But that won’t help you and I know that too.

You have to find something. Some.Thing. Anything. Quit thinking about the shit you can’t change. Instead think of the stuff you can change. And do it. Change. Make the change.

It’s worth it.

You’re worth it.

Truly you are.

overcoming addiction (or at least trying to)

It’s been about a month or so since being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Once I got past the anger toward myself for letting my body, my system get to the point where I could get diagnosed with diabetes, I started to put that energy into … MYSELF.

The past month has been quite interesting.

It started out so. fucking. hard: Going from consuming literally whatever the hell I wanted, whenever the hell I wanted, to 1200 calories a day was.. fucking hard.

But what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, eh?

A month later and I’m down 25 pounds. Not bad.

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some of the food i’ve been enjoying

 

I feel really damn good… alive… energized. (I’m even taking about 6K steps a day, hoping to get up to 10K a day.)

I feel like this is it for me.

I feel like I’ve finally come to terms and accepted that yes, I have a problem with food (much like some may have with alcohol or drugs– yes, MUCH LIKE THAT!!) and it’s up to me to change this problem.

I feel like I’ve finally accepted that it’s okay to feel a variety of ways and NOT turn to food. It’s okay. I’ll be okay without that crutch.

It’s only been a month. That’s not too horribly long.

But.

It’s long enough to consider it a giant step toward succeeding.

I simply have no other alternative.

 

the ugly is resurfacing

In a strange, strange place right now…

I’m generally a pretty happy person these days, but then there are moments when the darkness creeps in a bit and right now that darkness is starting to take over.

I don’t like it.

Not one bit.

I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve been waiting for my period to show up for weeks now, certain that today would be the day only for it not to be. My personality becomes extremely short-tempered during this time. I feel and act quite ugly during this time.

I don’t like it.

Not one bit.

Faithfully I take my “happy pills” that have helped me immensely the past several years. It used to be that the darkness would manifest into a monster. Inside and out. It used to be that I had absolutely no control over the monster I would become before getting my period. Because of those happy pills, I have more control. But it’s slipping lately. I feel that control slipping away a little more each and every day.

I don’t like it.

Not one bit.

 

branded

I’m the youngest of three, the baby of the family. This isn’t something that I’m just coming to terms with now at 40-something; it’s something that’s practically been branded.

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When I was little, Marco (3 years older) and Melinda (7 years older) would tease me all the time. That’s all I really remember about my youth with them– the endless teasing and taunting. Marco wasn’t so bad; he just didn’t want me hanging around him and his friends which was hard for this baby to comprehend because all I ever wanted to do was “boy things.” Melinda, on the other hand, oh was she ruthless. Actually it wasn’t so much teasing that she would do either. She just had these ridiculous expectations and when not met, she could be darn right brutal doling out her punishment.

It’s probably typical sibling behavior, but it doesn’t negate the fact that I very much felt like the odd one out when it came to my siblings and family.

When my parents split when I was 9, both Marco and Melinda instantly sided with our mom, leaving me, the baby, to vacillate between Mama and Papa.

Soon, it became quite clear that I was used as a fucking pawn.

Papa would ask me about Marco and Melinda; Mama would ask me if I had the child support check. Neither of them ever asked me about me and that’s not me being a baby, that’s me being a pre-adolescent needing reassurance, love, guidance and getting anything but.

Poor me, I know.

Every single time my dad would ask about Marco or Melinda, I would feel a sting inside. A slice to my heart. I tried convincing myself that I was being dramatic and that of course Papa loved me like he did them. I tried convincing myself that the only reason he always asked about them was because he missed them and they refused to have any contact with him. But. The bottom line is that it made me feel like… well… nothing.

brand NOTHING

I honestly started wondering if maybe the only reason my dad picked me up for weekends was to get details about Marco, Melinda, and my mom. Yet I never said anything to him about how it made me feel; I never told him to stop.

I would continue gossiping and when it would be time to go home, I’d inquire about the check to give to Mama when he dropped me off. Lord knows I didn’t want her wrath bestowed upon me if I came home without some money.

Fast forward a lifetime and honestly (and sadly), things haven’t really changed.

Today my 80-year-old dad can’t go a day without complaining that he hears from nobody and that he has to go on The Facebook to find out anything. And he always, always asks if I’ve talked with my one nephew (my brother’s oldest 23 year-old son). Rarely does he ask how my own daughter is doing. Maybe it’s because he sees pictures of her on Facebook; maybe it’s because he knows I won’t ever let that ray of sunshine turn grey.

It’s a damn good thing I have faith in myself.

It’s a damn good thing I’m a great mom.

I may not be the best (attentive) wife, but my mom pants are always on.

I refuse to do unto my daughter what was done to me.

She won’t be getting belittled on the daily. She won’t be made to feel like nothing on the daily. It’s not going to happen.

She won’t be branded to feel insignificant.

 

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sickening sweet

It’s been a long time coming, but I made the decision a couple months back that it was time to really and truly treat myself better…to take care of me.

I finally made a doctor’s appointment for a physical and blood work several weeks ago and was told by said doctor what I already knew: I’m incredibly fat and need to change things. So I vowed to do just that. I started logging all foods that entered my system via My Fitness Pal (highly recommend, by the way). I was doing really well and was seeing a difference on the scale, too.

Then I got a call from the doctor’s office that I needed to go back into the office to discuss the blood test results. I suspected the outcome and was soon spot on in my thoughts:

I have diabetes.

When I was pregnant five years ago, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD). I was pissed off when I first discovered this, but once I learned more about GD and that it truly was the fault of my body’s system and not because I was old or fat, I accepted it and did all I needed to do to ensure my baby doll wasn’t born with diabetes. She wasn’t.

I was told then that because I got GD during pregnancy, chances were much greater that I’d get diabetes later in life.

I didn’t think they meant five fucking years later.

Again, upon learning of the diagnosis, I was pissed. But this time, instead of learning it’s the fault of my body’s system, I learned it was the fault of … ME.

The years I’ve spent consuming whatever the fuck I wanted caught up to me.

The thing that really upsets me about all this besides the fact that I did this to myself is that I’m not 80. I’m 41 (42 on Saturday). Forty fucking one. And I have diabetes. I have diabetes because of the shit food I’ve consumed most of my life. Because of the inactive lifestyle I’ve led most of my life. Because of ME.

***

It’s only been a couple of weeks since the diagnosis, but I’ve made significant changes that I feel I have to live with forever and always, amen.

I don’t want to die.

I don’t want to have a foot or leg cut off for not giving a shit about my blood sugar levels.

***

The good thing about being proactive about all of this is that I can change this diagnosis. I can. And I will! There’s just no other way around it. I have to eat natural foods- low in calorie, low in carbs. I cannot have anymore sweets. I just can’t do it.

Chrysanthemum

The time has finally come to be good to me and that’s exactly what’s happening from herein out. Period, end of story.

But not end of me.

Nick’s buddy: It’s time to move on.

My cousin and his wife Casey lived next door so I went for a visit one day but my cousin wasn’t home. Casey was though, so we hung for a bit before she asked if I wanted to visit with another neighbor.

Despite all of us living in the same neighborhood, only houses away from one another, it had been years since I’d last seen her neighbor Nick who was outside the back of his house when we got there. We crept through the garage to see him.

Nick looked just as I remembered: tall and lanky; dark hair; dark, expressionless eyes.

“You guys wanna play some softball?” Nick asked upon seeing us.

Talk about it being a long time since seeing or doing something… I was a kid the last time I played softball, but I loved the game so I was in.

First up to bat was Nick. He slammed the ball way out in the field so that his buddy, who looked super familiar, had to fetch it.

Next was Casey. She made contact with the ball but nothing like Nick had.

Then there was me. It had been 20 years or so since I’d even picked up a bat, but how hard could it be?

Hard.

I had so little strength to grip the bat; my hands fumbled to get in position despite my brain knowing exactly what I needed to do.

Finally I mustered up enough power to lift the bat and Nick’s buddy pitched the ball. I swung and totally missed the ball, but the bat went flying from my hands just past Nick’s buddy’s head.

They all just looked at me.

“Lessgo shower,” Nick proclaimed.

Like robots, we all four headed toward the shower, which was a single standing box shower in the back of a huge pickup truck.

We all wore bathing suits and showered quickly. First was Nick, then his buddy, then Casey.

When it was my turn, I had a hard time not watching Nick’s buddy sitting in the front of the pickup truck, behind the steering wheel. While the water poured over my body, he just sat there looking ahead and smiled. I couldn’t stop watching him sit there and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I knew him from somewhere.

“You done?” Nick asked, popping his head in through the shower door.

With a towel wrapped around me and my hair dripping water down my back, we all started walking back into the house. All except for Nick’s buddy.

“Hey man, you comin or what?” Nick shouted toward the truck.

There was no answer, no movement.

“Hey!” Nick shouted again.

And again there was no response.

Nick, Casey, and I all looked at one another and then back toward the truck. In slow motion, we moved toward the truck. Nick opened the passenger side door.

“Yo!” Nick reached to shake his buddy by the shoulder. “Dude, you comin?”

Nick’s buddy, staring out the front window of the truck, hands on the steering wheel as if he were driving, smiled. Then he slowly turned his head to us. His bright blue eyes practically glowed, while the warmest smiled I’d ever seen in all my life said hello.

Nick’s buddy was Robin Williams. THE Robin Williams.

“Yeah man,” Robin said. “Lessgo.”

***

(This is a dream I had early this morning before my alarm sounded. Names, other than Robin Williams’, have been changed.)

***

It’s been a rough couple of days. For many of us.

The news on Robin Williams’ death shook a lot of us to the core. Depression is an evil motherfucker. Sometimes we think we may be doing well and then bam! something transforms us back into the depths of the dark hole.

Find the light, my friends. It’s shining so goddamn brightly, I promise.

You may not see it this very second, but keep looking and when you do see it, focus on it till it envelops you instead of that fucking black hole that you’re submerged in.

Goddamn is life hard. But it truly is a gift. Truly.

on becoming badass

She made me feel like a badass when we hung out. Still in high school, we were so badass we even made a 12-hour drive to her hometown one weekend. Just the two of us.

We met junior year in high school. Or was it senior year? I know I met Danni* at the last high school I attended in the late 80s. She stood at maybe 5 feet tall—the most petite thing you’d ever see. She wore leather, lots of makeup, gaudy jewelry. She smoked a lot, talked a lot, lived a lot, sang a lot. She was pretty much the opposite of me, but she was also one of the few people to talk to me.

Danni worked at a gas station in town. I thought that was pretty rad, too. She closed up most nights with her boyfriend in tow. She constantly told me about her sexcapades with him. I’ll never forget her walking kinda funny one day and telling me it was because he went in from behind. My virgin everything was mortified at the idea. I don’t remember his name but he was kinda cute. And short, too. They really did make a cute little couple.

Danni was newer than me at school, which is probably why she talked to me. She wasn’t shy at talking with anyone actually; she didn’t really give a shit what others thought of her. At 16-17, she had more confidence in who she was than I’d ever seen before. I admired that about her. But I also soon learned that a lot of her confidence was a show.

Actually, Danni was kind of a show herself.

She was sexually and physically abused from a very early age on. I didn’t quite understand all of what she told me, but that part was pretty clear. That’s why I didn’t really understand why she wanted to go back home to visit since that’s where the abuse happened and that’s why she wasn’t living there anymore. But she borrowed her aunts car for the weekend and wanted me to come along—so I did.

I felt pretty badass driving shotgun in her big-ass car with her. Kinda Thelma and Louise (before Thelma and Louise) but without the guns, the cliff, and Brad Pitt (too bad).

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We weren’t best friends—she actually never really knew much about me—but we were on an adventure like them. At least that’s what it felt like to me.

Danni was a big flirt. Still, it amazed me how the guys flocked to her. She looked like she was a 10-year-old dressed up trying to look older because of how short she was. But the guys loved it and her. She loved fluttering her big blue eyes at them and putting on her best mischievous smile. She’d flirt with anyone anywhere. It didn’t seem to matter. We’d be driving down the highway about to pass a trucker and Danni would slow down and start mouthing shit to the guy, maybe even giving him a show of her itty titties too.

It really is incredible how different we were.

***

It’s been 20 years since I’ve last been in contact with her. But thanks to Facebook, that’s changed.

She’s still Danni. She’s still very different than me. She’s still very much a show. She’s still this little thing only now she doesn’t look like a 10-year-old dressing up to look older; instead, she looks like a 60-year-old dressing up to look younger. I was pretty astounded to see pictures of her to be frank. She’s aged a lot. I’m sure she feels the same about me and my white hair, though.

It’s strange, really. I feel like the last 10 years of my life have been the best years of my life. I’m certain of this actually. But when I look back 20-plus years, not all that much has changed. Not really. I’m still very much the listener amongst others. The only thing is that now I don’t need to hang with a badass person or take a 12-hour road trip to feel badass.

I just am. Badass.

 

 

*Danni is not her real name

what’s the frequency, kenneth?

I ate more than half of this fresh baked blueberry cobbler yesterday.

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It was quite delicious at first, but that’s not why I continued eating the thing. No, I continued eating it for various other reasons:

  • Because Taye didn’t get out of bed till Lovie and I were out the door to go to the park at 11:30AM.
  • Because she was too tired to ride her bike home and we had to wait for Taye to come get us. And wait. And wait because “getting clothes on” takes the man half a fucking hour each and every time.
  • Because he ate a piece of my pizza I reheated instead of getting his own that rested, already reheated, near the toaster oven.
  • Because I wanted to nap and during that hour I could hear Lovie shouting: “Where are you, dad? Where’d you go?!”
  • Because I know how immersed she gets while play-dohing, which she was when I laid down, so I can only imagine how long he was in the bathroom in which he spends hours daily. HOURS.
  • Because he disappeared back into the fucking bathroom, just minutes after I got up, where he stayed until Lovie and I started banging on the goddamn door to get his attention after going on a search for him.
  • Because Lovie begged her now-snoring-on-the-couch dad to open the front door so she could go downstairs to play since she was bored (I wouldn’t open the door for her).
  • Because I finally had fucking enough of her begging and his motherfucking snoring that I got up and started vacuuming the fucking play-doh bits while telling him to DO something with Lovie if he wasn’t going to open the door for her.
  • Because he then told me I was crazy …that I was hearing what I wanted to hear …that he wasn’t snoring …that he wasn’t sleeping …that he was just sitting there sprawled out on the couch (not sleeping) …that I was pissed because of something- who knows what- and he was the victim to my insanity.
  • Because I wanted to take him and shake him so fucking hard that maybe his head would snap off and then he’d be able to finally SEE that he DOES fall asleep on the fucking couch any and every goddamn time we’re all hanging out …that he DOES go to the bathroom multiple times a day and spends a RIDICULOUS amount of time in there every fucking time …that his kid is bored because he does NOTHING (active) with her …that he’s fat because he doesn’t fucking MOVE.
  • Because if I didn’t eat half of the fresh baked blueberry cobbler yesterday, I’m certain I would’ve packed a bag, grabbed my child’s hand, and left.

And why? Because he snores. Because he takes forever in the bathroom.

WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY, KENNETH?

Now, had I not just finished bleeding last week, I would’ve chalked up my insanity to PMS, but the fact is that I ate more than half a fucking blueberry cobbler yesterday because of all that shit up there.

Not because I was hungry.
Not because I wanted the funky shits.
Not because I just couldn’t stop eating it.

But because I gave up, like I often do, and turned to food.

I know this, and I’ve known this for a long time, yet I can’t seem to fix it.

But I sure as hell can grab another spoonful of that there deliciousness. Like it’s my job.