Wait a minute…

I have something called a birthday coming up.  Perhaps you have them too?  I’ll be turning 25.  Again.  I do this thing where I celebrate the people in my life instead of being all “Hey! Worship me!  It’s my day, bitches!”  Sometimes I can’t do this because Harpy decides to invade and drains my mojo, or one of the people I celebrate (but shouldn’t because he’s being a turd) gets called to the other side of the world.  Or maybe I’m too sick to realize it’s my birthday.  Whatever the case is, I don’t enjoy being the center of attention.  When I was a tiny poddling, one of the kids I went to daycare with shared a birthday with me, so we shared a party.  I enjoyed that much more than any other party thrown in my honor.

My bridal shower was a nightmare and the whole thing was caught on tape.  I need to track that thing down and burn it!  I was still a smoker back then and knowing I’d have a houseful of strange women (relatives of MC, gaaaaag) who would potentially judge me for having such a stinky chemical dependency, I decided to purchase some nicotine patches to use on that day.  I bought the highest strength they offered because I figured that’s what I’d need.  Alright, so, being around strangers makes me nervous.  Being around strangers whose eyes are fixated on me makes me extremely nervous.  When I get nervous, I sweat like a cat in a Chinese restaurant (I’m fully aware cats don’t sweat).  The problem with transdermal nicotine is that the combo of heat and moisture will cause a surge of nicotine to be delivered in a short amount of time.  Did you know people can actually turn green?

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I was so amped up on caffeine and nicotine, I’m fairly sure I looked like a tweaker.  It was all very traumatic.  Especially having Harpy try to talk her son out of marrying me the next day because of my chemically induced extended panic attack that was witnessed by three dozen people.

Okay, I got sidetracked there.  Birthday!  Yes.  That’ll be happening soon and there are enough things I want to make a proper wishlist this year, rather than saying I don’t want anything with the exception of a cake large enough to feed 50 people, to keep all to myself, of course.  I share many things, but I will roll around in a cake as a means to mark my territory.  Mine.

Most of my wants are books – as though we don’t already have at least 800 pounds of books.  I marked a $1200 cookware set (five-ply! holy shit!) just to be funny.  Although, it makes much more sense to spend that amount of money on something that will outlive me, and possibly my non-existent grandkids, than to spend it on technology that will be obsolete by next week.  Or, as MC is doing now, things to kill squirrels with.  If he has to spend that much to take down a single squirrel, they’ve won.  You lost, MC.

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He sat down next to me and reminded me that it’s almost July.  Which means, what?  Obscenely high electric bills?  Swamp butt when you go outside?  Lightning bugs?  Ticks?  Mosquitos?  Fireworks?  The year is halfway over?

“No, you ass.  It’s your birthday.  You have to decide if you want a tattoo or a new video card for your computer.”

Uh.  Huh?  I’ve been trying to figure out my next tattoo for almost 20 years so I can nix that one immediately.  Plus, I don’t think I’m allowed to get a tattoo?  It hasn’t even crossed my mind so I haven’t asked.  I’m also not sure why he thinks I want a new video card.  I’m a non-commital, casual gamer.  What this means is that I purchase a game on sale, I play it for all of twenty minutes, then I’m done with it.  Forever.  The exception is obviously anything Blizzard because they lace their software with digital cocaine.

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While I was sitting there thinking, it occurred to me that I didn’t want either one of my given options.  And why was he telling me what I get to choose from?  Isn’t it supposed to be a surprise?  I call foul.  But hey, at least he remembered.  That’s an improvement!

Memories and…cannibalism?

I’m on a break.  The sort of break that involves lots of strangers asking me lots of questions.  The same questions every day, multiple times each day.  I need flashcards.  It also happens to be one of those rare times that I find myself going blank.  I want to talk about it because it’s an important part of my narrative as someone who has Crohn’s disease, but I haven’t quite put all of the pieces together yet.  I’ll get there eventually, once the fog lifts.

Certain things can bring an old memory to the surface.  Sometimes it’s obvious, like when I see roses, I think of all of the ‘death flowers’ I dried and collected from funerals of relatives.  If I see black light posters, I think of my colorful history painted by certain plants, resins, and fungi.  If I’m worried I’m going to trip and fall on my face, I remember the one time I slid down an icy hill and smashed my nose into the ground.  Ice is excellent for smashed parts so there I stayed, face against the ice until it was completely numb.

Music, I associate with plenty of memories.  Some good, some bad.  The playlist I had during 2014/2015 has since been deleted because it was the playlist I defaulted to while I was trying to drown out all of the unpleasant hospital sounds.  It wasn’t the individual songs so much as it was the order in which they played.

I was listening to a random radio station playlist in the wee hours this morning, and a (way overplayed) song by Fuel was next in queue.

I saw Fuel at X-fest in Cleveland one year along with Hed P.E, Staind and Breaking Benjamin.  Fuel was no good.  Hed P.E was terrible.  Somehow, I completely missed Breaking Benjamin.  By the time Staind took the stage, I was on the other side of the pavilion in a sparsely populated area of the concert grounds looking at the water because the number of people there was overwhelming me to the point of a panic attack.  Ah, those were the days.  After a little doobie therapy, I was almost good to go.  I was also recovering from being ambushed by PETA.

Before the bands started playing, there were vendor tables set up selling band merchandise and other junk.  There was also a PETA table.  Shit.

They had a small television playing a video about animal cruelty in chicken farming.  In the video, chickens were being handled like they were nothing more than garbage and it even showed them being dumped into boiling water while they were still alive.  I stood there horrified but I couldn’t look away.  My eyes were filling up with tears and I continued to stand there until my boy-thing rescued me and dragged me away.

Ugh.  Fuck you, PETA.  I was clearly not the target audience as I was already a stinky, tree-molesting vegetarian and only a very small number of meat eaters will give up meat when they’re enlightened to the, uh, nuances of factory farming.  I guess that’s the goal – if one person shuns meat, then traumatizing the masses is worth it.  Some of them might put effort into sourcing humanely raised meat (sick animals produce nutritionally devoid meat, after all), but a vast majority of them won’t give a shit.  “Chickens are stupid.  Cows are stupid.  Pigs roll around in their own shit.  They deserve to die.”

Hmmm, plenty of people are stupid.  Ethics obviously don’t matter, so why aren’t we eating people too?  I’m not suggesting we farm humans for meat because they’re (we’re) a bunch of resource hungry heathens.  The need for sustainable living is thanks to the human population exceeding what the planet can handle.  There are more than 7 billion humans.  That’s a whole lot of meat ripe for the picking.  The average person is worth 35,000 calories.  Food for thought? 😉

I could say that jumping from a song to the idea of noshing on man-meat can be blamed on pain medication and delirium but let’s be honest, this is 100% me in my natural state.  Some things will never change.

Don’t wanna do stuff, don’t wanna die either

Let’s forget for a moment that I’m not the healthiest person on the block.  Instead, we can pretend that this endless tug-o-war game I’m playing with myself is simply because I’m an exceedingly lazy, selfish person.

Not wanting to do anything hasn’t always been linked to being physically ill.  I was born with a few loose screws and faulty wiring.  This likely happened in-utero while my Mother was dealing with the stress of an internship and being married to a guy who she thought was the bees-knees but turned out to being a raging asshole.  We can’t forget my Dad is a direct descendent of Crazy.  On his side, we have bipolar depression, schizophrenia, major depression, a propensity for substance abuse, and the list goes on and on.  That’s only going back two generations.  The family tree looks more like a bucket of nuts.

Add a year of bathing in agent orange to that, plus the abuse he put my mother through while she was cooking me in her oven, and I’m the end result.

Rather than writing a sad, sappy story about how I was taught to hate myself by the very person who was supposed to encourage me, I’ll get straight to the point.  My desire to do nothing is part physical, but it’s mostly mental.

I’m too physically tired to deal with all that my illness requires of me as much as I’m just tired of dealing with it in general.  This makes it extra difficult to find my big girl pants each day and do what I need to do.  It’s sort of crucial at this juncture that I don’t flake out.

A quick shuffle to the left, and I’ll find myself in a hole in the ground.  To the right, it’s nothing but an uphill climb.  I can’t see the top of the hill from where I’m sitting.  As far as I know, it doesn’t have a peak.  I’ll have to keep climbing it for the rest of my life.  Straight ahead is my bed.  It looks very comfortable.  I think I’ll live there.  But wait, I can’t.  I have to climb the hill if I don’t want to sleep in the dirt.  I don’t have anything against dirt, per se, it’s just that dirt nap=death, and I’m not into that either.

I don’t want to climb and I don’t want to fall into the hole.  Falling into the hole would be easy but it’s also permanent.  While climbing the endless hill I have the option to sit down and rest, but I can’t rest for too long, or I’ll tumble backward and fall into the hole.

It’s tricky.

“Although you may not be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation.” ~His Holiness the Dalai Lama

That’s just the perspective I needed.  I choose to respond with wine.

 

 

The camps of chronic illness explained (with a little help from Monty Python)

Those of us who enjoy life with one or more chronic illnesses likely fall into one of three camps.  Positivity porn slingers, Tell-it-like-it-is’ers, and Neutral floaters.

 

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Positivity porn slingers: Perhaps you’ve just been diagnosed and now that you’ve finally got your diagnosis you feel that there’s hope, that things will get better.  Or perhaps you’ve had your diagnosis for decades and you’ve FINALLY figured out how to live with it.  You see other chronic illness patients who seem to have a dark cloud hovering over them and boy, do they ever complain!  You vow that you won’t become like them.  After all, a big portion of owning your disease is having power over your mind.  You avoid these people like they’re lepers.  Some of them might actually be lepers.

 

 

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Tell-it-like-it-is’ers:  Ah, the complainers.  My compadres.  It’s likely you’ve been around the block a few too many times, have possibly been misdiagnosed, dismissed, passed around, or otherwise treated like medical waste.  You seek to expose the deficiencies in your respective healthcare systems so that, just maybe, the right person will read or listen and begin to affect positive changes.  You’d like to sling positivity porn too (even though, at this point, it makes you  gag).  You want a reason to warrant posting asinine motivational quotes.

 

 

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Neutral floater:  You’re cool.  You’re neither positive nor negative.  You take things as they come and don’t assign much meaning to the negative shit that goes down.  Your karma isn’t being attacked, the universe doesn’t hate you and this didn’t happen because of the mirror you broke while walking under a ladder when you tripped over a black cat.  You agree with Forrest Gump; shit happens.  It is what it is.  You acknowledge that being sick constantly is stressful but you don’t allow it to control you.  Like a floating turd can sometimes be difficult to flush, so too is bringing you down.  You’re a buoy in the storm.  Float on, floater.

 

Now that I’ve identified these three types, there’s no rule saying you can’t move from camp to camp as it suits you.  No one can be 100% positive that everything will turn out okay if you have faith, just like no one can complain 24/7 and believe it’s the end of the world.  Just as you’ve had to adapt to the physical limitations your illness has imposed on you, your mind must do the same and may not be as quick to follow, particularly if you have a mental illness on top of everything else, and especially if mental illness happens to be your primary chronic illness.

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I cycle between all three of these, although I’ll never post motivational memes because it doesn’t mesh with my base code of snarkasm (snarkiness and sarcasm – I made a new word, just call me Shakespeare).  Illness can bring out the best in us but it can also bring out the worst.  If you’re above going into meltdown mode occasionally, please share your secret with me!  I follow all types of chronic illness bloggers and even though they may not be dealing with their challenges in the same manner I would, I respect the hell out of them for having the guts to share their struggles.

Passing judgment simply because you don’t agree with the way a person copes or attempts to adapt is not cool.  I don’t imagine anyone truly enjoys writing about being sick.  I do it because I need to.  Think of it as opening a pressure valve in my head so my brain doesn’t explode.  No two people are alike and neither are two people sharing the same diagnosis.  We all have our own unique experiences and perspectives and deserve to have the freedom to express ourselves without being antagonized.  Capisce?

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