A loved one in my life has been going through a lot lately. Honestly, so much has come to light the past week that my head is still spinning. Not only was I unaware of just how bad her own situation was, I was also in the dark about the toxicity of the conditions under which she has had to live. The everyday home life that’s supposed to be a safe place… a refuge.
This morning, I ran across an article I can only describe as one of the best published articles I’ve ever read. Not only is it well-written – it delves deep down into the crevices of certain ‘toxic environments’ we sometimes find ourselves in, exposing unspoken facets of unhealthy and even hellish habitats. After reading it (twice), I simply couldn’t continue on with my day without sharing it with all of you.
Escaping a Toxic Environment – Written by Natalie Thomas
(Published in Huffington Post Healthy Living, 10/27/12)
We’ve all been in them. Situations so dire we lose hope, becoming the very person we pitied, dreaded, swore we’d never become. We talk of an exit like a dream scenario: a child running away with the circus, an adult winning the lotto and immediately quitting their job (not to mention the detailed disbursement of riches: 10 percent to charity, 10 to parents, 10 to splurge, 20 for dream home, 50 in savings). But somehow, we can’t seem to envision a world in which we get there. Capable, otherwise strong, able-bodied beings paralyzed by fear, believing the hype, fearing the backlash.
I’ve been in quite a few dysfunctional situations in my life: bad relationships, unhealthy work environments. And no matter the category, the symptoms are similar: broken-down self-esteem, misery-loves-company companionship, excuses like rain drops.
But while unhealthy intimate unions can wreak havoc on the psyche and may inform the way in which we treat others, it’s usually an insular thing. Group dysfunction, however, is far-reaching and often much more dangerous. They say there’s safety in numbers, but there’s also destruction.
My first experience with toxic circles began like most — in middle school. Her name was “Shannon.” Up until she arrived, we were a blissful, naïve little bunch. Most of us had grown up together, performed in dance recitals, shared many a sleepover and were on track to ride out our middle and high school years together, tight as ever. Then she showed up.
Within weeks, we turned on each other. Shannon decided who was in and who was out. One day you were popular and pretty, the next you were a pariah, with no warning, no bearing on your behavior or actions, simply her whim. She had the power and she abused it. Heavily. If you didn’t agree with her, didn’t laugh at her jokes at the expense of others or talk trash about your friends, you were her next target, and God bless you, because her bad side was everyone else’s backside. You were ostracized. No one would face or acknowledge you despite it having been done to them the week before — how horrific it felt, how they were raised, how much they knew it was wrong. They were just thrilled to be accepted again and did whatever it took to stay there, in her good — albeit evil — graces. Shannon transferred before high school, but it was too late. The damage was done. She came, she terrorized, she left. We were never the same.
It began in middle school. It should have ended there too. But we all know, sadly, that’s often not the case. I had a few more experiences through college and post but, thankfully, I was experienced enough to avoid the drama, speak up for my friends and myself and maintain some shred of dignity. Since Shannon, I’ve made a conscious effort to surround myself with trustworthy, unconditional, loyal and uneasily-influenced friends, so it wasn’t until I entered the working world that the toxicity returned.
Despite the professional setting, those with power and plenty on their plates, those who know better are often caught up in office drama, choosing sides and spewing names. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. They also manifest in all ages and professions. Just like middle school, in the corporate world there is a cool crowd with a penchant for hazing. And although the behavior is similar, the ability to remove oneself from it is likely harder. After all, beyond your reputation, your paycheck, career and livelihood are also at stake.
As a newbie, you’re tested, humiliated and alienated, but you suck it up and trudge on. Eventually you earn your place as newer souls are indoctrinated. There’s a level of pride and confidence that comes with seniority, being a veteran. You’re finally accepted and, initially, that’s enough for you. But eventually that too wanes, and you realize how silly it all is. You realize who you’ve become and, disgusted with yourself, start to break away from the group and forge your own identity. But it doesn’t come without a price.
As soon as they smell indifference, independence, you’re a target again. To blend in, strike a balance between individual and included, you laugh at the occasional joke, roll the obligatory eye, knowing it’s wrong. With each disparaging remark you champion, a bit of you erodes. This is not who you are, who you want to be. You are better than this. Better than them.
In winemaking, there’s something called bunch rot, in which one bad grape infects the group. Toxic friend and work situations are no different. By definition, toxicity is the degree to which something can damage. Make no mistake, these are damaged people — once smart, free-thinking, well-respected individuals now broken down to think and act like a vicious, rotten herd.
These cultish environments lead you to believe you are fortunate to be where you are, can never do better, there’s another waiting to take your place. Those that leave are ingrates, “depressives” — no matter how many years you gave, how hard you tried, how amicable you think you left, you are the enemy. Others are encouraged to shun you, engage in the shit-talking. The ringleader feels more secure — and less inclined to lash out — the louder the laughs. And so you do it; you laugh at what you know is wrong. You contribute in the ripping apart of your friend, your former colleague. It’s just easier. Knowing, hoping one day you too will be a refugee, doing all you can to better your situation in the meantime, adopting the mantras, lying to others and yourself. You are happy. It’s just temporary. Everyone else is doing it. It’s not that bad.
Until it’s finally your time. You’ve woken up, gathered the strength, gotten a better offer, had a life-changing experience… Whatever it is that is propelling you forward, upward, past the muck, the insipid and incestuous clone-like clique, you do it. You — gasp — leave.
You’re filled with a rush of emotions: elation, paranoia, sadness, relief. You seek shelter with other survivors, celebrate with drinks, commiserating about how bad it had gotten, exchanging war stories, your scars like badges of honor.
Away from the brainwashing and the negative influence, you realize how self-consumed you’d become, how jaded, how bitter. And, little by little, each moment without your toxic crutch, you become you again, realizing just how crippling your situation had been. You start to think like an independent, no longer part of a petty pack. You become kinder, lighter, sunnier. And soon it all starts to feel like a dream. A beautiful, shameful, fucked up dream.
You move on. You work on and better yourself. And you wait. You wait for the next embattled soul to wise up and join your fray. And you welcome them with outstretched arms and a cold beer. No “I told you sos,” no “What took you so long?” not even a “How could you do that to me?” because they know and, with one look, you do too. It wasn’t them. It was the atmosphere, the influence. After all, you once were there too. And you don’t “get it” until you’re gone. And once you are is when you really start living again.
For more by Natalie Thomas, click here.
It is to me, at least.
My circle of friends is small, and that’s by choice. Once you’ve been burnt by a select few throughout the course of a lifetime, it becomes pretty easy to build up that old retaining wall – to keep the nicely filtered water safe inside and disastrous tidal waves out. The quality level of my true friends is nothing short of stellar now – that’s what is important to me. I love having a friend I know so well that half the time we actually finish each other’s sentences. With most every subject, Lou and I end up having the same opinion. On the rare occasions we don’t agree on something, we still respect each others opinions. Neither of us have ever tried to change each other, nor persuade the other into doing something we’re uncomfortable with. Because a ‘real’ friend would never do that.
Lou and I have joked for years now about how we would be perfectly content to drive home from work on Friday and not leave out again until Monday rolls around. Once home from work on a weekday, we won’t start our car and go out again until the next workday. Doesn’t matter if we’re in need of something, it has to wait. You’d literally have to light a fire under both our asses to get us back out. Like many others, we both have a dog waiting for us to get home. Fact is, any type of errand after work requires careful prioritizing because of our pets – but I don’t know a pet-lover out there that begrudges this. I wouldn’t trade a thing.
I’m not complaining about any of this – quite the contrary. It makes me happy going straight home and and staying home. I’m not a socially active person by nature, never have been. Once in a while Keith and I will have a family event to attend over the weekend which we enjoy. I just find joy in weekends which have no plans whatsoever – aside from the rare impromptu day trip with him.
Speaking of my husband. He’s a hard-working man who works out of state all week and only comes home on the weekends. After so long it became routine like anything else – I just got used to it. I am not afraid. I’ve got my fearless boy Mojo, a fully loaded S&W and a quite sophisticated home security system. All that said, when the weekend finally does get here I relish my time with him. Since the weekend is all we have, we definitely make the most of every moment together. Hey, I realize it could always be worse – he could be deployed overseas for months or even years. I’m thankful for the time I do have with him and everything else we’ve been blessed with.
I’ve never been a bar person by choice. Ever. There’s something very sad to me about bars. Again, just my personal preference and opinion. We do enjoy having dinner with our parents on occasion. I don’t socialize with friends on a ‘regular’ basis aside from maybe a couple times a year, then it’s usually just for dinner or when someone is moving away or some life-changing event like that. I do not enjoy shopping – while I know this is weird for a woman, trust me when I say I’m totally okay with it. I guess the most social I’ve been in my entire life was last summer while I was busy planning our wedding, which I’ll admit about killed me. Literally had to be somewhere or meet up with someone 3-4 times a week. My stress and anxiety levels were off the charts. It was during this time that my friend Lou even sacrificed her own after-work time (something we both hold sacred, remember?) to plod the hot summer streets with me to help search for a wedding dress. I remember that after the wedding was over, I couldn’t wait to get back to my old ‘rut’. And so I did. I didn’t walk… I literally RAN back to it.
Ah… the aroma of sweet familiarity. Mmmm – smells SO so good. Just. Breathe. It. In. And Relax.
So what’s the point of all this, Bon? This is getting a little monotonous.
Apparently there are some out there bearing a false impression that I have a moral obligation to restructure my time to deligate more of my after-work hours to socialize. This has even included pressured attempts during the weekend when Keith comes home from working out of town all week. Needless to say, my patience level has bottomed out on this.
It’s not like I’ve been silent about my stand on the subject. It’s not a hidden secret on a game show being held for a big reveal later to floor everyone. I’ve expressly stated on several occasions that I’m a homebody and choose to spend my time after work at home, and my weekend time with my husband – but it’s all been blatently ignored.
My question is this… having made this a wide-open fact, why on earth would someone push the envelope, again and again? And if you do find yourself attempting to change or reroute how a person thinks – what kind of friend does that make you? And why would a person want to spend more time with you if you’re trying so hard to inflict your preferred method of thinking on them? Why would any real friend do that?
My reasoning is, a real friend wouldn’t.
I will not change the way I choose to spend my time, and I refuse to be bullied into it. Of course I realize there are exceptions to every rule. But if dire circumstances ever did warrant a change, my family and close friends would be those who took precedence. This 46 year-old broad has worked 40+ hours a week my entire adult life (attending several years of college during that), and traveled from one side of hell to the other in an attempt to start a new life. I have earned my right to spend my time after work however I damn well please. So I’m gonna clear something up real quick-like, once and for all. If you have a problem with how I spend MY time – weeknights or weekends – I strongly suggest that you start keeping it to yourself.
I will not apologize to anyone for being a homebody. It’s who I am, and I won’t apologize for being me. So quit right now trying to change me.
That is all.
Now if you’ll excuse me – I’m home for the evening. So I’m gonna fix myself something to eat and watch Dr. Phil.
The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. ~Maya Angelou
If we allow ourselves to admit it, we are all constantly learning new things about ourselves. In reality, perhaps it’s only the realization of some already existing traits; or where certain events have led us. Through spurts of time, I enjoy compiling certain findings to peruse at a later date – thought I’d share my most recent ones.
• Unlike the majority of the population, I do not trust cruise control – therefore I don’t use it. And I’ve tried. When enabled, I experience the most profound sense of loss of control ever. For this reason I must maintain control of the brake and gas with my own foot – just my own personal preference.
• I have found that you can learn a lot about a person simply by watching how they treat a stranger. I’ll go so far to say that it speaks volumes.
• I cannot understand why someone would purposely choose to stay in a relationship without a strong sense of commitment from each side. Of course, I’m aware there exists an entire rainbow of exceptions on this little finding.
• I can sit with the insides of my thighs, calves and ankles flat on the floor like a frog. When I was younger, I secretly enjoyed the looks of horror from others when I did it. I kinda still do.
• I’ve never broken a bone, had stitches or been in the hospital (with the exception of having my daughter, and a hysterectomy some twenty years later).
• I have found that under most conditions, I drive better with one hand instead of two.
• The $5 taco bell ‘box deal’ will generally be a disappointment due to a lot of dough. It’s better to just order what you like.
• I’ve abhorred any type of seafood my entire life, but 2 years ago found I love sushi. Not the veggie stuff, but good reputable sushi with raw fish. I have it at least once or twice a week.
• I dated Clyde Pickler (Kelli Pickler’s father) back when I was 17 and living in Albemarle, NC. This was long before he had Kelli. He was a nice guy and a gentleman – and of course we thought the whole ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ thing was treacherous. Back then, treacherous was the word Albemarlinians substituted for cool.
• I have a scar on the back of my right hand that looks exactly like the Starship Enterprise on Star Trek. It happened when I was washing dishes while swirling my hand inside a glass and the glass decided to bust. Thus, the ‘Scarship Enterprise’ serves as a daily reminder never to stick my hand in a glass again.
• Certain dreams have much significance to me, so I pay close attention to them. One such recent incident occurred two nights before Keith hit that deer. My mother has a very strong hold on this ‘gift’, and apparently my daughter as well – as she dreamed of the tragic 2005 tsunami two days before it happened. Unfortunately, with dreams you sometimes have to read between the lines and figure the details out.
• The power of certain words continually amaze me. Like a man who opts to use the word ‘dear’ condescendingly on a female. You can always spot it – I’ve found it’s almost always used in a persuasion effort. ‘Here here!! SEE THINGS MY WAY… NOW.’ Guys, you gotta know we don’t like that shit. So am I one of those females that will call you on it? Damn straight, every time. And for the record, it’s not my husband who does this. He’s a smart one, he is.
2013 – time just keeps ticking on by, doesn’t it? Jerry Garcia once wrote into a song, ‘Lately it occurs to me… what a long strange trip it’s been.’ This is surely the truth.
It’s hard for me to believe the series of events that have been jam-packed into one lone year. Honestly, I’d never have believed it even if someone had forewarned me. A lot of things stand out, too many to mention really. If you follow my blog, you know them already anyway.
Every year, I pick one word in an attempt to describe the year. 2008 was Monumental. 2009 was Colorful. 2010 was Serene. 2011 was Transitional.
2012 was Disclosure. That one just looks so out of place with the others, I figured it deserved it’s own paragraph.
I hadn’t even thought about a word for this year, until my husband started monkeying around with our dog while using the word on him. Only then did it hit me – BAM… there’s my word.
My word of 2013 is Persistence. Maybe I should say it’s Keith’s word instead, since it was his own persistent efforts that played out in both our favors. In any case, I’m forced to use it just because it fits better than a glove.
Continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. Donning your suit of armour, setting forth a plan of action for something you feel you can’t live without, never accepting defeat – making something so worthwhile to you actually happen.
Gotta admit I admire your persistence, baby. And at least Mojo’s pronunciation of the word is considerably different than our own… Per·thith·tenth.
As I came to the first red light on the way to work this morning, I was stunned to see a car stalled between it and the busy highway which I was waiting to turn on. An elderly lady with a desperate look on her face sat in the drivers seat on the phone, and her husband sat slumped in the passenger seat with a blank look on his face. The ass-end of their car sat poised in the busy intersection of the highway, just waiting to be t-boned. She’d even called the cops, who still hadn’t showed by the time I left a half-hour later.
When I finally got her attention I asked if her car was stalled, she replied yes. I asked her to hang on since I was forced to make the green light turn. Maneuvering a quick U, I pulled in front of her, ran back to their car and asked her to put it in neutral. I immediately took note of the incline it would have to be pushed up – even though I had doubts about handling it alone, knew I had to try anyway. They always say adrenaline kicks in the moment you need it, and these people desperately needed to be moved out of a very busy intersection of a highway. The cars came and went, some honking and rapidly switching lanes to avoid hitting us at the last minute. I finally had to face the brutal stomach-sinking reality that I couldn’t move the car by myself. I started locking eyes with passerby cars who came to rest at that red light, spotted what I thought was a guy, and waved them down. Lo and behold, the door opened and out popped a female. I yelled over to her that we needed to find a man, but she ran over anyway and became my teammate.
Inch by slow inch, we made tiny progress. We both put our entire body weights into it, which even combined didn’t seem enough to get the job done. The elderly disabled husband began exiting the car very slowly (as we were moving it). I noticed his arms didn’t work – they just hung to his sides. I tried to get him to step to the side but he wouldn’t. He leaned his back end into it and did what he could, bless his heart.
My cohort and I proceeded to inch the car along, with it coming to rest every few seconds. Her and I didn’t speak, but every time the car stopped I knew we were thinking the same thing – we both had to fight to keep it from reversing backwards on us. I truly believe it was God’s hand that helped us push that car upward…
For the next 20 minutes, car after car whizzed past us while we expended every bit of energy we had to get the car up the hill. Once we got her pulling into the grass, a van stopped and a man got out. With three bodies pushing, the car finally came to rest safely in the grass.
When it was all over and I was back in my car, I found myself beyond infuriated. Why, you may ask? It’s simple, really. WHERE THE HELL WERE ALL THE MEN?? I mean, are you serious? Out of the scores of cars that passed us in that 20 minutes, my money’s certainly not riding on the fact that they were all female. This includes all the ones at the red light who were already safely stopped, who came and went.
I know of a good many men that I feel sure would have stopped and leant their strongarms. I’m hoping that chivalry is indeed not dead and the people I encountered this morning who ‘opted out’ were not in the majority of the population. This chance encounter only dimmed that hope, unfortunately.
My beloved South got it’s snow yesterday. It came in swift and accumulated very rapidly. It was a blessing for it to occur on a Saturday afternoon/night of the weekend! The residents here seemed perfectly content to have a warm night tucked safe in their homes, and enjoy the scenery of the beautiful white snow outside.
It brought along with it thunder and lightning, which has been endearingly termed Thundersnow. The conditions that lead up to this type of event are extremely rare, and usually only occur in the states along the East Coast.
This morning, I couldn’t resist the urge to walk down the pathway adjacent to my building to the lake. Although the overnight ice was treacherous, I went slow to reach my intended target.
A true photographer at heart, whether professional or amateur (I’m most certainly the amateur), will do almost anything to get their intended shot.
This is my second weekend here. Along came the cleansing white snow which, to me, signifies a clean white slate. That’s how I see it, anyway.
Can you tell I have this little thing for trees?
I’m well past the time I normally post this little entry as I do at every year’s end. With each coming year, I pick a new word to try and sum up the prior year in a nutshell.
In case you missed it in priors years’ posts, here’s the rundown. 2008 was Monumental. 2009 was Colorful. 2010 was Serene, and 2011 was Transitional. The word I picked for 2012 was Disclosure.
I guess I was dead wrong in last year’s post when I said ‘this butterfly has completed her journey’. I have not. In fact, it would appear the journey never ended, and indeed is far from over.
I wanted the fairy tale ending. Can’t blame a girl for that, can ya? Even though fairy tales rarely if ever come to fruition.
The commitment I so yearned for is not to be. Over the last year I’ve heard a spectrum of excuses ranging from the somewhat believable to the absolutely ridiculous. You may remember I didn’t want to open my mouth to begin with, but with year after swift year passing, what else is there left to do? Just as I thought, as soon as I allowed those sweet thoughts to pass my lips, I felt less-than. Less than the woman I’d worked so hard to uncover – the woman who’d previously remained unknown, even to myself. I, as a whole, had immediately been lessened.
He just wasn’t ready. His job security was unforeseeable. He’d set a (silent) 5-year mark for himself before ever contemplating a commitment to anyone. He’d known all along about my wishes but avoided the issue. Why is it so important to you – it’s just a piece of paper, after all. Our exes names still remain on both our mortgages. You’re like a kid wanting candy. My credit didn’t go through. I was gonna wait until your birthday.
Like a kid wanting candy. Gotta admit that one burned.
I have to take blame where blame is due. I should never have given up my home and moved in with a man, in his house, in hopes for a commitment. I didn’t and don’t approve of living this way, and I know right from wrong. I went with my heart instead of my gut instinct, and we all know love is blind. That’s my bad.
I will have a home of my own again soon, planned for the beginning of February. After 3 1/2 years I have much healing to do and feel the need to once again find and complete my inner Bon. Being single isn’t so bad. Being in a relationship with someone who has no desire to make you a permanent fixture in their life is a bad feeling.
Here’s to 2013 and the goodness it may bring to us all. And always remember change can often be a good thing.
I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is a helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”
It’s always worried me when a fellow blogger disappears suddenly and never comes back to let you know they’re okay. In these albeit rare instances, it serves to feed a pit of never-ending questions and scenarios in my head. Did they have an accident, did they die, are they sick, the list goes on – and believe me, I can create some scenarios. It’s for this reason that I wanted to let you guys know I’ll be taking a blogging break. Heck I as much as have already, anyway.
When I started posting back in 2009 it was something I needed to do, and it ended up being very therapeutic. It was also something I enjoyed doing. The past few months, maybe more actually, it’s become (can I be frank?) more of a chore. All of you should be able to relate to this honest admittance, since we’ve all likely had an occurrence of being burnt out on some thing at some point in our lives. To be honest, I’m dealing with a lot of ‘stuff’ right now, and a blog isn’t always the best place to, ahem… bare it all. Sometimes it is, just not all the time. So I also consider it ‘removing the cell phone from the drunk’. Yeah. That’s a good analogy.
I’ll try to visit in here and there, and may even be back again in good time. I value all of your friendships through the years more than I can tell you. I’ve met some truly wonderful and inspirational people who, I like to think, have influenced me in very positive ways. For this I feel so blessed, and I’m thankful for each and every one of you.
With that I’ll bid you all adieu for a while, and in typical bon-fashion will leave behind a couple of renegade thoughts.
- As much as I prefer routine, it seems as if my life is always changing.
- Never take communication for granted. It’s such an integral part of life.
- A promise is a promise – it’s not made to be ignored or left to dry up, as if never mentioning it again will make it disappear. That’s simply not the way it works.
Hugs and Kisses
Never have I felt so introverted and withdrawn from my old life, from day-to-day society even. It’s not a good feeling. When this is allowed to continue for a few weeks, a person can start feeling less than whole. What feels like a month or more to me actually has been, as all the pre-op jitters I had beforehand had really started to get to me. For at least a week and a half before surgery I could barely eat. I skipped breakfast and lunch at work, and the few bites I ate for dinner were forced in a subconscious effort to keep myself going. I go back to work on Monday. What seems to have lasted a month has actually been a record two weeks. I’m eager to get back to work, which in essence is a huge part of my ‘normal life’. So for now I’m back… at least in written form. As of today I have 264 unread emails. I’ve really missed reading everyone’s thoughts and posting every now and then.
Of course me being me, the surgery couldn’t go off without a hitch or two. The night and day afterwards my blood pressure dropped to an alarming rate. Each time a ‘team’ of about 8-10 people rushed in, which can totally make a person forget how bound up their bowels are. In all seriousness, it brought back memories of my late grandmother and uncle, who had that same type of team rush in as their own BP plummeted. There was a concern of fluid on my lungs and/or a heart problem, so various tests were ordered including x-rays, labwork and an EKG (I was actually grateful to get the EKG since it’s been about ten years since my last one). With the exception of a high white cell count, the tests came out fine. Come to find out later, either the buildup of medicines I’m on for high blood pressure, the administration of morphine, or possibly a combination of the two was the culprit for the BP nosedives. For the duration of the next week I was kept off my BP meds. Two days after I was released, the nausea set in – of course this came after I bragged about being one of the women who didn’t get sick. Along with the post-surgery pain, I knew my fluid buildup was becoming a serious issue. My ankles looked like thighs and my feet resembled pillows – it was literally cracking my skin on the top of my feet I was so swelled. I couldn’t breathe well or even take in more than a shallow breath. On my second trip back to the doctor that week, I was told ‘Oh yes! You need to resume taking your BP meds immediately!’. I provided a gentle reminder that on Monday I’d been told to hold off on all BP meds until further instructed – Keith was sitting beside me in the exam room and remembers this very well. Bottom line, I was off the meds I urgently needed for nearly a damn week. Pardon my uber-long, exasperated sigh.
That Saturday, one day after I started back on my normal BP med regimen, almost all of the fluid was gone and I could breathe easily again. I don’t even want to even consider what being off of them for another day or two might’ve done to me (the word stroke does come to mind). If I’d ever doubted before how important those medicines are to me I never will again. They are literally my lifeline, and it’s scary to contemplate any natural disaster or other happening mandating my existence without them. Millions of people with different healthcare scenarios are in the same situation, having to depend on prescription medicines for their very existence. It’s yet another stark reminder of the healthcare crisis we’re dealing with in America, as so many individuals are having to do without or not getting the care or medicines they need in order to survive. Just thinking about it boggles my mind. I know that I’m one of the lucky ones, for now at least.
As most of you know, I have a new ‘son’ – Mr. Mojo Risin. He was unusually nervous on the way to get groomed for the first time today. Although the little man was afraid, he trusted his new Mommy implicitly. In fact, everything seemed more than okay – as long as we were Together.
I found the little boy an hour after he was posted on the shelter’s website, and immediately called to inquire on him. I was told there was someone else also interested, but that the staff would put a ‘note’ out for him with my contact info signalling I was interested too. I know how this works and have done it before, many times. Realizing the shelter operates on a first-come first-serve basis, I literally ran up to my boss and asked if I could leave work an hour early, which he graciously obliged.
As I walked in the door, my heart sank – a large woman with another small dog in tow already had him in the acquainting room with her. I watched as she shooed him off with her foot and leg, and barked out commands which the little eleven-week puppy had yet to learn (she was also blissfully unaware of her loud voice bellowing into the corrider for everyone else to hear). I went to the front desk and spoke to the girls about ‘pup’, telling them I also had a note out on him. To my chagrin they informed me that Mean Lady™ was going to adopt him. Mean Lady™ had been there for hours waiting to adopt, but their computer system was down and they had to wait for it to come back up to complete the adoption. I verified once again that this was to be a sure thing, and they told me it was. As I walked toward the exit door, I noticed Mean Lady™ had her oversized leg and foot outstretched again towards the pup. I left the shelter in tears even though I’d never even met the little fella. I wondered just what kind of life he had in store for him.
That night at home I told Keith about my misadventure at the shelter and that Mean Lady™ was probably at home with her new pup by now. I pulled up the shelter’s website on the internet to show Keith his picture and immediately noticed he was still listed. They probably haven’t updated their database, I thought. I called them up anyway.
“Hello, my name is Bonnie Melton and…”
“Oh, Miss Melton, we were just about to call you!“
As it turned out, Mean Lady™ thought the pup would grow to be ‘too big for her needs’ (I’m thinking she knew she couldn’t kick around a larger dog). Just as well.
SCORE ONE FOR THE BON.
Meet Mr. Mojo Risin. That’s Mojo to his homies. I guess now I’ll be able to say with full confidence… I’ve got my mojo back.
NewMommy said we’re going HOME now. I like the word home… it sounds homey.
My new sissy. I like sissies, cuz’ they give good kisses.
See?? Told ya.
I think NewMommy needs some direction here…
What?? Who, me – pull?? Never.
The little eleven week-old border collie mix has stolen my heart from the very beginning. How someone could mistreat these little defenseless animals is beyond me. Here’s an added bonus… Mojo and Camille have the same color scheme going on! So does that mean I can say I have designer pets??
I love wind chimes.
Maybe it’s because they’re one of the few things left in life that are non technology-related. Maybe it’s because it’s the first thing I bought myself a couple of months prior to moving and starting a new life in 2008. Or maybe it’s because they provided such good company during the times I felt alone.
I paid only ten dollars for this set of windchimes, which is a steal for chimes (I know mine isn’t such a vintage set, but I’ve grown accustomed to their harmonial sounds). I’m sure at times my neighbors could’ve shot me for the relentless chime songs coming from my third floor condo, but I never got any complaints.
My chimes are still with me, though now weathered and worn. Much like an old flag proudly waving, both require that common denominator of wind in order to perform their duties. I’ve always thought weathered and worn adds character to pretty much anything. Weathered and worn tells stories.
This morning I ran across the Mother of all Windchimes -they’re called Corinthian Bells. I can’t afford them, but if I ever can you can bet I’ll have a set. Aside from the beautiful music of a harp – I’ve never heard anything quite as lovely. Thought I’d share one more video (not mine) showcasing this beautiful set – it’s so sweet. The end of this video made it an instant favorite of mine… and who couldn’t use a little more sweetness in their day?
Each in separate cars, Keith and I were on our way somewhere. As I drove behind him, all of a sudden he made a quick turn and disappeared from my sight. I immediately took note of the fact that my phone was not with me. Of course, I could still ‘see’ him worriedly dialing it over and over to no avail, not understanding why I didn’t answer. A mile or two further up the road I turned the car around, parked, got out and started walking back the direction I’d seen him last.
As I was walking, I happened upon a grocery cart. Not just any old grocery cart – one that I could push off with one foot and ride on down the sidewalk like a skateboard! This baby was slick as a whistle and was getting me places fast. That is, until I noticed I was skimming through what seemed to be a bad side of town – then it started skipping and giving problems. Suddenly passersby started throwing garbage at me and calling me homeless. Not a good feeling.
While still pushing the cart along I noticed a familiar face – a former schoolmate named Seth. I asked Seth if he’d seen Keith, to which he replied “Yeah, he’s over at DNA.” Now I had no idea where this DNA place was, but it didn’t appeal to me to find out. I turned around and began the trek back to my car.
I never located Keith.
By the time I reached my car I’d made the decision to take a little vacation all by myself. I somehow ended up with a reservation at what was to be a very large and swanky log cabin located in the mountains. I remember draining my savings to pay for myself 3 nights at this place for the sum total of exactly $2967.00 or $2963.00 (that last digit is foggy though I repeated it several times). I got there only to find I had to dig my way underground in a tunnel to actually reach my final destination. I used a huge outdoor umbrella and other objects to push the heavy dirt out of the way; it took a long time to dig my way there. When I finally arrived I was filthy, but gave the guy a check and went inside to check out my beautiful One-Grand-Per-Night posh quarters. I was appalled to find it resembled something like a concentration camp, with one huge darkened room containing 8-10 double beds; meaning I was bunking with others. The linens and curtains were yellowed and worn. No bath or shower was afforded, just one 4×4 room with a toilet. The other ‘guests’ seemed as appalled as I was, but for some reason were planning on fulfilling their stay.
I demanded a full refund, which I received after having to wait an hour for the guy to return from lunch. Meanwhile, my Mom met me ‘on the outside’ after I emerged from the tunneled hole (exiting was the same as entering, after all). I’d forgotten my luggage, and was despaired to find I would be forced to dig back through that long set of tunnels in order to gather my belongings. My Mom insisted on coming with me even though I’d advised her how hard the trip would be. And so, we began.
A kiss on the cheek awoke me from the dream. I was told to have a great day and that I was loved. Keith was leaving for work.
Because you know this is how I roll, here’s a few search results in my quest to find the meaning of this dream. I find that a few closely correspond with current events in my life… a few don’t.
- To see freshly stirred dirt in your dream symbolizes thriftiness and frugalness. Dirt is also representative of situations where you have been less than honorable and may have acted in a devious manner. You are trying to conceal or bury your questionable behavior.
- To dream that you are living underground signifies a loss of status and wealth and even the longing for a greater piece of mind and sanctuary. You may be placing these matters and thoughts into the subliminal part of your mind.
- Dreams that take place underground represent the dreamer’s need to explore feelings – possibly painful ones – that up until now they’ve kept hidden. Coming back up or emerging from underground in the dream suggests that the dreamer is ready to do this.
- To dream of being underground is associated with feeling the need to hide oneself from other people or situations. Such a dream is typically the result of great shame, guilt and low self-esteem. Something could be going on under the surface or a change in lifestyle may be indicated.
- To dream that you are digging, indicates that you are working to hard to uncover the truth in a problem that is haunting you. You may also be overly preoccupied with trying to find out about yourself, your reputation and your self-identity. Alternatively, the dream suggests that you are working on getting to the root of some issue. Or the dream could be a metaphor to imply an insult.
- In a nutshell, any type of dream where you find yourself underground shows that you have a prominent fear of losing control of your life and that you are worried about failure.
I’ve missed all you guys and my little steam release of a blog here. For a over a week now I’ve been sick with the crud, which literally made it’s debut one full day after bragging about how well I’ve been for over a year. If you’d like for the crud to come pay you a visit, all you have to do is brag about your long tenure of being without. This little rule also applies to speeding tickets. You’re welcome.
In lieu of jotting down anything and everything boring in my life at the moment, thought I’d share a few sights of Spring as seen through my own eyes. Hope you all are having a beautiful start to the Spring season and staying healthy and happy!
Last night I had a monumental moment – I built my very own fire. This might sound silly to some of you, but for as long as I can remember someone else has always built them. It’s good to know I can make one on my own.
Of course, I had some help from the little match-lights. As warm as it’s been, it could very well be the last fire of the season and I was proud to have built it.
It’s the little things in life… like how my cat now thinks I am a god.
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to read more of what my fellow bloggers have to say – even if it meant me writing less. I figured if I didn’t have anything interesting to post (which often I don’t) I’d just utilize the time to enjoy the intellect of others. This has been one of the few resolutions that I’ve actually kept, and turns out to be the most beneficial one.
Most of us have heard the saying ‘listen more, speak less’. I’ve never taken that in the literal sense perhaps like I should. In carrying out my resolution, I discovered an invaluable treasure when I chose to ‘read more, write less’.
The extra effort I’ve put into reading more has opened up a whole new world. The depth of talent out there amazes me, and I’ve learned much from each of you. All this compels me to search and read even more. I have a deep appreciation for all the thoughts, music, ideas, art, poems and pictures you guys give so freely for the rest of us to enjoy.
I just wanted to take a moment to give a shout-out to all you gifted souls out there… and thank you for sharing a piece of your world with the rest of us.
Today’s date with my daughter at the farmers market was to start bright and early at 8 am, per her request. The little darling overslept, leaving me there to people-watch for over an hour which is a bad move. I’ve since decided ‘opening time’ at the farmer’s market isn’t necessarily the best time for yours truly to arrive. Why? Because this is when all the skinny little vegan people are scurrying about, looking desperately hungry, frail and cold. It’s not hard for me to spot ’em – their beady little accusing eyes attempting to size me up tends to give me the creeps. The women’s ponytails are pulled so tight it could actually serve as a breast-lift. Instead of one canvas tote, they’re carrying three or four – still requiring a dump of the first load in their car before going back in for another round. With stern expressions, they complete their mission like a well-oiled machine. Truth is, I guess I’m more of the I’m hungover, slept ’til noon and decided to come out in my pajamas® type. Sue me.
So that’s my observation on spotting a vegan. I also learned something today from babygirl – it appears I’ve mispronounced ‘vegan’ all my life (for the short time I’ve known what they were, anyway). Apparently the correct pronunciation is vee’-gan, with a long e and hard g. I like my own pronunciation better, which is ve’-jan, with a short e and soft g. This just makes more sense to me – it sounds short for vegetable, which is what they eat, right? Vee’-gan sounds too much like a monster or witch or something. So I think I’ll keep saying ve’-jan.
I’m just having a little fun here, so if you’re one of ‘them’
I’m sure I hope you don’t resemble the vast stereotype I witnessed today. Word… I just might have joined forces with you if I didn’t enjoy my meat so [very very] much. Then again, I could never give up that extra-heavy leather coat I got for Christmas that still permeates an entire room with the most pungently aromatic leather smell everrrrr. Pure Heaven, I tell you.
Off to cook my chicken. And zucchini. And squash. And corn. Did I mention I’m having chicken?
Right before bedtime last night, I found out another friend of mine had gotten engaged. I’m uber-happy for her because, well, because she’s a wonderful person and she deserves it. She has three years invested with this man, and they both know full well what they’re getting into. Isn’t her ring absolutely gorgeous??
Which got me thinking (uh-oh). Three years. That’s almost how long I have invested. Don’t worry, I’m not going there again. Oops… guess I just did.
That dreaded Kenny Rogers song has been ringing in my head all morning, so I thought I’d do you all a favor and put it in your heads too.
“You gotta know when to hold ’em… know when to fold ’em… know when to walk away, and know when to run. You never count your money… when you’re sittin’ at the table – they’ll be time enough for countin’… when the dealin’s done.”
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve looked forward to today for a long time. Alright, for maybe a week or so. Superbowl, you may ask? Absolutely. Well, what it stands for anyway. I have to admit, I couldn’t care less about the actual game (if our Panthers ever go again, I’m sure that’ll change). To me, Superbowl Sunday is about everything that goes along ‘with it’.
Commercials. All those funny commercials that when asked about on Monday I can never remember (clears throat). Lazing around my jammies all day long with a nice hot fire blazing. The musical acts – I could take or leave Madonna, but I simply can’t wait for Blake and Miranda’s duet of ‘God Bless America’. Never to be last on the list… my chili.
Oh, chili – let me count the ways I love you. I cherish each and every ingredient that goes into making a love-filled batch. You see, I couldn’t use these ingredients in my old life because it wasn’t permitted. Now that the rules are out the window so to speak, consider it no holds barred. It’s not just meat, beans and a seasoning packet anymore, baby (meh). How ’bout starting out with some kickin’ seasoned ground beef, 2 different kinds of beans, couple cans of seasoned diced tomatoes, diced garlic, onion, habanero and bell pepper, hot Rotel, hot chili powder, and towards the end of it’s cooking life, a
nice little half-bottle of cayenne pepper? Hey, if this sounds bland to you I’m always open to suggestions. Being that I’ve had chili-making policies to follow all of my adult life, you could say I’m a ‘chili rookie’ of sorts. Oh, and mustn’t forget the sour cream, grated cheese and jalapenos upon serving time. And the ‘Tostitos with a hint of jalapeno’. And the cornbread. And the Hawaiian rolls. Oh and pay no attention to the wine in the background. It’s, um… just for looks.
Prior to the main course, we’ll have Queso for an appetizer. How I do love that Velveeta and HOT Rotel. Have I mentioned I like it hot?
Happy Game Day to those of you who watch – I hope you enjoy it in your own special and memorable way!
Ever throw a hint that doesn’t get picked up on? Maybe you’re sure that it’s a strong enough one to be recognized but it gets averted anyway, or worse – avoided. Not a good feeling. Can even be frustrating, especially if the hint’s been thrown out on a semi-annual basis for any length of time.
Hinting about a want, desire, or issue of importance in your life can be mentally draining when the hint goes unacknowledged. I understand it’s sometimes better to come right out and say what it is you want – but for me that key word is sometimes. The problem I have with this is, depending on the subject matter, there are wants/needs I just don’t believe I should have to suggest or hint for. It’s just the way I feel, the way I was brought up, the way… well, let’s just say I don’t want to repeat any past mistakes. That’d be kind of stupid.
Mama always said, stupid is as stupid does.
Setting Stages is a very close friend of hinting, and they often show up at the same event together. I’ve set some pretty cool stages myself, if I may say so – like Biltmore House and the beach. Is it right? Wrong? Hell, I don’t know. I just know I could do it, so I did. There’s this little thing you’ve gotta remember about setting stages, though. If your expectations are too high, you’ll end up setting your own self up for disappointment. Which sucks.
Throwing out an effective hint can be tricky. It needs to be thought out carefully beforehand, because the last thing you want is for the hint-recipient to feel pressured or bad in any way. You need to make sure whatever it is you’re hinting for isn’t too far-fetched or ‘out of reason’. If repeated hints never get addressed or acknowledged, the time will come when you must accept the fact that it’s probably something the other person doesn’t want.
Some things are meant to be… while others aren’t. And I’m pooped.