I’ll Give You Fish…

 

A few blogs back, I promised you a story about the day, fifteen years ago, when I caught my husband “cheating” on me.  We were taking care of my father, who was extremely ill; we moved him to a house out in the country, where he lived for a year-on his terms-no nursing homes, praise God.  I loved my dad more than I have ever loved another soul, or perhaps the love I have for my husband is equal-but completely different types of love.

Dad was my best friend and, quite honestly, the only person besides my husband who really got me.  We were extremely close.  We laughed at the same things, had the same interests, and thought hiking was the greatest thing next to grilled cheese sandwiches.  I take after daddy, in almost every way.  Mom was the writer in the family, and she was very talented.  It is no small wonder that my brother and I are the artsy, fartsy, poetic side of the family.  I think it rather neat that my brother is a musician who writes amazing songs-not unlike myself-who writes about music-daddy was the musician.  I can still hear him singing the Midnight Special, banjo in tow, at three a.m. after an argument with my mother.  Good times.  Good times.

I would do anything to have those times back.

So, between working evenings as a waitress in a busy diner (one of the biggest tourist spots in Lancaster County) and taking care of my family-well, I guess you could say I was just a tad stressed out.  If you saw me in passing, you would think me a demented Flakka head, on the verge of going off the deep end; at any given moment in time.  You would also be correct.  About the losing my shit, not the Flakka.  When my husband complains about the two cigarettes I smoke each day with my coffee?  I always say:

It could be worse.  You’re lucky I’m not on Flakka.  Or crack.  

Jiminy Cricket, I was wound so tightly, I actually pitied the fool who got in my way.  Back then?  I was anger personified.  I seethed with an all consuming rage that basically enveloped me-my mother abused me emotionally, and my memories were a big reason I drank to begin with.  I wanted to take care of dad, believe me, but the sad truth?  I was scared senseless.  My alcoholism had progressed, then eased after he died.  Eventually I came to a place of rewriting my story, and forgiving mother.  Years of my life, consumed with bitter ire-and a tragic notion that I needed to be punished, put in place-as mom had made it perfectly clear that I was undeserving.  Forgiveness is incredibly freeing, and you should do it often-not for them, but for you.

Finally, to the point of the story.  I was in the aforementioned condition while driving my Jeep Wrangler up Route 501 on a Friday afternoon, headed in the direction of the pharmacy in Myerstown-to get my father’s refills.  My hair is fried, not tended to; I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth.  I am breaking out-not only in zits but pimples as well-my first outbreak of acne, ever.  Stress pimples and blackheads.

I head North and see my husband’s baby blue Chevy pick up headed in my direction.  I believe I went into a fugue state the moment I saw the blonde.  I was a jealous madwoman back then-it wasn’t my husband I didn’t trust, let’s just say that.

“OMG, who the FAZUCK was in Dwain’s truck?  How long has this been going on?  I’m taking care of my invalid father and the bastard is cheating on me?  What the FUCK?”

I ran into the pharmacy, almost hyperventilating when I see the long line.  This is the most impatient moment of my life.  I fantasize about killing the man behind the counter.  I want to slap the woman who forgot her insurance card, and truth be told?  My thought cloud was rated RRR.  If not ZZZ.

I raced to the jeep and drove like a stunt car driver all the way to Dwain’s work.  I see him in the park, akin to his business.  I aim for him as I drive, he jumps out of the way.

“Oh my GOD honey, what is wrong with you?”  He looks more than mildly alarmed, but he knows on many levels what this is all about.  I jump from the vehicle, not thinking to put the jeep in “park.”  Dwain jumps into said car and saves it, saves it from going directly into the pond behind us.

I scream and holler.  He tells me he took her to drop off her car, to have it inspected.  I eyeball him from toe to head.  Calmer, yet not quite assured that all is well; I head for my car.  He gives  me a hug, chuckles and says these exact words:

“Honey, why do you have spaghetti sauce all over your face?”

 

 

 

I’m on the Outside…..

Good Sunday morning to you all.   I was unable to attend church today, and I was supposed to be working the Welcome Center.  At this moment I am almost hysterical at the idea of being held hostage by Lyme related complications for the duration of my life.  I keep telling myself that others have it much worse (and they do) but I have a sneaking suspicion that I fucked up my meds, as after the fight with my step son?  Well, let’s just say I wasn’t on top of my game and now I am left with decisions, so many, do I go to a Specialist?  Shouldn’t I just trust God?  I am not going to ask Why Me? because that is a ridiculous supposition, we all suffer in one way or another, right?

I want to rant and rave.  I want to hide in the fetal position, as I am as afraid as I was as a little girl, terrorized by thunderstorms.  As a sufferer from CPTSD, I do not do well with unanswered questions or the unknown.  I loathe going to the doctor, deplore their inadequacies in diagnosing, well, anything.  My doctor is most certainly not on top of this, and I need to move on, and I hate change.  Like poison.  Change sucks.

I feel as if I stand outside the window, looking at the healthy and content, as if they have something I desire, something I need.  They look oh so pleased on the outside, and maybe that’s the secret.

I’ll just fake it ’til I make it……I want someone to hold me and tell me it’s going to be okay.  I want, oh how I desire, to be that ten year old child once more.

I’ll Give You Fish…

 

A few blogs back, I promised you a story about the day, fifteen years ago, when I caught my husband “cheating” on me.  We were taking care of my father, who was extremely ill; we moved him to a house out in the country, where he lived for a year-on his terms-no nursing homes, praise God.  I loved my dad more than I have ever loved another soul, or perhaps the love I have for my husband is equal-but completely different types of love.

Dad was my best friend and, quite honestly, the only person besides my husband who really got me.  We were extremely close.  We laughed at the same things, had the same interests, and thought hiking was the greatest thing next to grilled cheese sandwiches.  I take after daddy, in almost every way.  Mom was the writer in the family, and she was very talented.  It is no small wonder that my brother and I are the artsy, fartsy, poetic side of the family.  I think it rather neat that my brother is a musician who writes amazing songs-not unlike myself-who writes about music-daddy was the musician.  I can still hear him singing the Midnight Special, banjo in tow, at three a.m. after an argument with my mother.  Good times.  Good times.

I would do anything to have those times back.

So, between working evenings as a waitress in a busy diner (one of the biggest tourist spots in Lancaster County) and taking care of my family-well, I guess you could say I was just a tad stressed out.  If you saw me in passing, you would think me a demented Flakka head, on the verge of going off the deep end; at any given moment in time.  You would also be correct.  About the losing my shit, not the Flakka.  When my husband complains about the two cigarettes I smoke each day with my coffee?  I always say:

It could be worse.  You’re lucky I’m not on Flakka.  Or crack.  

Jiminy Cricket, I was wound so tightly, I actually pitied the fool who got in my way.  Back then?  I was anger personified.  I seethed with an all consuming rage that basically enveloped me-my mother abused me emotionally, and my memories were a big reason I drank to begin with.  I wanted to take care of dad, believe me, but the sad truth?  I was scared senseless.  My alcoholism had progressed, then eased after he died.  Eventually I came to a place of rewriting my story, and forgiving mother.  Years of my life, consumed with bitter ire-and a tragic notion that I needed to be punished, put in place-as mom had made it perfectly clear that I was undeserving.  Forgiveness is incredibly freeing, and you should do it often-not for them, but for you.

Finally, to the point of the story.  I was in the aforementioned condition while driving my Jeep Wrangler up Route 501 on a Friday afternoon, headed in the direction of the pharmacy in Myerstown-to get my father’s refills.  My hair is fried, not tended to; I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth.  I am breaking out-not only in zits but pimples as well-my first outbreak of acne, ever.  Stress pimples and blackheads.

I head North and see my husband’s baby blue Chevy pick up headed in my direction.  I believe I went into a fugue state the moment I saw the blonde.  I was a jealous madwoman back then-it wasn’t my husband I didn’t trust, let’s just say that.

“OMG, who the FAZUCK was in Dwain’s truck?  How long has this been going on?  I’m taking care of my invalid father and the bastard is cheating on me?  What the FUCK?”

I ran into the pharmacy, almost hyperventilating when I see the long line.  This is the most impatient moment of my life.  I fantasize about killing the man behind the counter.  I want to slap the woman who forgot her insurance card, and truth be told?  My thought cloud was rated RRR.  If not ZZZ.

I raced to the jeep and drove like a stunt car driver all the way to Dwain’s work.  I see him in the park, akin to his business.  I aim for him as I drive, he jumps out of the way.

“Oh my GOD honey, what is wrong with you?”  He looks more than mildly alarmed, but he knows on many levels what this is all about.  I jump from the vehicle, not thinking to put the jeep in “park.”  Dwain jumps into said car and saves it, saves it from going directly into the pond behind us.

I scream and holler.  He tells me he took her to drop off her car, to have it inspected.  I eyeball him from toe to head.  Calmer, yet not quite assured that all is well; I head for my car.  He gives  me a hug, chuckles and says these exact words:

“Honey, why do you have spaghetti sauce all over your face?”

 

 

 

My Name is Michele, and I am a THUG….

In an effort to be completely transparent, I thought I would come clean about a certain aspect of my personality that rarely surfaces, but when it does? LOOK OUT. I have a zero tolerance for bullshit of any kind, I hate to be lied to, and I HATE bullies-the type that troll, tease kids on the playground or make it impossible for others to be around their toxicity. Recently, while working on my recovery, I have been known to tell folks off-if they violate my boundaries, dismiss me in general, or treat me like rubbish.

I have been this way since childhood. For a time, in Elementary School, I would attack my brother from behind, and throw him over my shoulders. This was quite effective, and I wasn’t doing it to hurt him (I thought that rather funny at the time) but the practice came to a screeching halt the day he turned it around on me, and I lay breathless in the grass…….humiliated.

Then in High School, I would jack up neighbors or “friends” for introducing my sister to booze and cigarettes. I kicked my brother’s peer down the cement stairs in front of St. Augustine’s for calling Craig an “Egghead;” Mark lost a tooth that day, and more than a little self esteem. It was my pleasure really. I was teased mercilessly in grade school and Junior High. I could handle myself, (don’t get me wrong, it hurt, it hurt so much-but I would never, ever let them see me upset)but you messed with my siblings? Oh my, I pity the fool…….

In my twenties I was as badass as badass gets. NOTHING frightened me, unless it was my health-I was a full blown hypochondriac. I remember my sister and I in a bar one evening in Conshohocken, dull evening at the local bar….when this big old dude came up and grabbed my sister’s ass. It took me five minutes in the bathroom to calm down-but I emerged a stronger woman, and I grabbed HIS ass as hard as I could and screamed DON’T TOUCH MY EFFING SISTER. Literally, five feet in stockings and I am quite certain that I intimidated quite a few people. My sister’s friends would literally hang up if I answered the phone. Part of this was due to anorexia and the fact that I was malnourished and deranged with fear; but the other part? Had to be Jesus, because as psychologically sick as I have been in the past? I had zero fear until the age of 32, when I realized I was terrified of driving on highways and bridges, but that’s another story for another day.

From early on in life I learned to pray for my family.

“Dear God, please let my family be healthy, happy and safe.” Seriously I was five when that started. I remember this conversation with my brother years ago. I was telling him about some recent problems at work, and he replied:

“Well, Michele, you can’t really blame people, it’s the way you come off. Snooty and ferociously confident.”

I spent the next hour clearing up those misnomers. I was never snooty, just hated social situations. And “ferociously confident?” And, if I am to be honest, despite my upbringing my relationship with my father is what gave me that confidence. I have always been a Daddy’s girl, and I am proud to say that neither of my parents took any proverbial crap-and everyone in the neighborhood knew it.

One year, my mother went out to collect the newspaper and as she opened the front door she emitted the most blood curdling scream you can imagine. After I changed my pants, I went to see what was going on. There was a tiny little mouse on our doorstep. My mother wasconvinced that Charlotte Demig had put the rodent on our doormat. I never truly understood why she would think that, but next thing I know? She is walking up the street with the mouse in a bag. Yes, you guessed it. Mom returned it to Charlotte, and the ensuing war was made even more hilarious when she phoned the house and my father answered:

Why Charlotte? (said in a really bad Southern accent) whatever do you mean? My parents were convinced that Charlotte’s southern accent grew worse each year, thus the accent-I remember crying-laughing.

I lived with excruciating fear for the next twenty three years. Anxiety and depression, combined with drug and alcohol addiction took its’ toll. I was a shell of the person I wanted to be, the person that I have again become.

After Two Years of Writing, a Celebration

 

This missive contains updated information and a whole bunch of love!!!  After blogging for two years now, I have come to a place of  gratitude and acceptance.  Yes, I really am a writer, and this fact had to be hammered home a million times…before I would believe.  I have worked in virtually every field you can imagine: waitress, hostess, legal secretary, health food, private duty nursing, hospice, radio, advertising, and at my lowest point a janitor for a local beer distributor.  I am quite sure I’ve left a few vocations out, but my point here is:  I never understood why my employment always ended in hysteria and self degradation.  It is now my understanding that God did indeed want me to write; my only regret is that I didn’t listen sooner.

I want to introduce myself to my new subs, and also thank each and every one of you who took the chance and subscribed!  Here’s a few things about me that you may not know, and the categories I have listed pretty much describes the subject matter I write on, have experience with,  and blabber about from time to time.

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My hero and therapy dog, Jesse Bocephus Hoffman.

I have struggled with a few things in this life, but God has always been with me, Jesus has never abandoned nor forsaken me.  I am not proud of so much of my drinking/drugging career-yet it has given me the compassion and understanding necessary to navigate this world untethered-by anyone or anything that tries to hold me back, namely being my family, but that’s another story for another day.

I love nature, gardening, animals, worship, and my husband-who made it possible for me to attain sobriety.  Those were frightening days, and there were times where homicidal ideation floated around in my mind…but suicide attempts were what manifested.

I suffer from depression, CPTSD, anxiety and Lyme.  I do not consider any of this a handicap, and neither should you.

Rejoice in this day the Lord has made!!!  Be glad in the perilous times, as the Holy Spirit is within, guiding you-after the storm His blessings are out of this world.

And jeepers creepers, gosh almighty…

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

close up of pink flowers
These are for you~

Spit it Out….

Sitting in my safe place, watching it try to snow in Central Pennsylvania. My thought cloud has no shape or form, just winging it today…but I was contemplating the messy, suffocating, codependent strife that is our relationship with our family members. It doesn’t have to be this way, oh no, it doesn’t.

I have never understood why people don’t say what’s on their mind, even though I myself have been known to hold a grudge, hold it back, seethe for awhile. And the more I seethe? The more I hurt? Well, communicating is an art form-let’s just say that.

The bible tells us all how to handle this. If you have been offended, go to that person with your heart on your sleeve, and tell them in a loving way that they have wronged you. It’s that simple….and yet, that horrifically complicated.

Telling my truth has never, ever gone over well. I am a perfectly nice person, loving even in my walk, but mess with my mind? My heart and soul? Mister, you better have an excuse-and even if you don’t I’m coming at you-full throttle. Empaths have the ability to read a person in two seconds flat. We know if you are in genuine, bring malice or aren’t what you appear to be. I read faces like some read tea leaves, and I am almost never wrong. Ever.

Not to say that the wool hasn’t been pulled over my eye a time or two. Fool me once, shame on you-but fool me twice and I am put in the position of having to address your hijinkery and call you out on your insincerity…I have been known to be stubborn, and that’s on me, but wouldn’t it be so much EASIER if we spoke what is on our mind and hearts?

So much melancholy in so many families……..but hey, the Bible says that if you are “doing it right” your entire family will hate you.

At least I have my tribe, and that means each and every one of you.

Joy and Peace

 

Two years ago, right before our 24th wedding anniversary and subsequent trip up to the cabin in Potter County-a man I called friend, shot his ex-girlfriend at point blank range:  in broad daylight, with children everywhere, at the Jigger Shop in scenic Mount Gretna.  Patrick then put the gun in his mouth and ended his mental anguish forever.  His ex died on site, and she left two heartbroken children behind.

I met Patrick and his brother Mitch when first dating my husband.  They were dear, uproariously funny and rebellious.  I left the Philadelphia area to get away from drugs, namely-cocaine.  Working at a Houlihan’s in the King of Prussia mall, I had developed a habit, and I had just shaken an addiction to methamphetamine months before.  Coke was the perfect substitute, and it was very, very easy to score.  When my then fiancée asked me to move with him to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, I jumped at the chance.  It wasn’t long before I met my current man, who, unfortunately, had a behemoth of an addiction himself.

Patrick and his brother, Mitch, were the local suppliers.  Patrick and his wife were the first friends I made out here-it wasn’t long before the midnight phone calls began-Liz, out of her mind frightened, as Patrick would come home drunk and ready to rumble-waking his wife and infant, smashing Christmas trees, and yes-he hit her.  More than once.   I would come and talk him down.  But I began to loathe him-domestic violence is no joke-I have been a victim of both emotional and physical abuse.  I stuck with Liz, but Patrick faded away.

At one point I heard he was doing jail time, for beating the crud out of his new bride, who just happened to be an attorney.  But nothing stuck, and his actions-combined with the mentality of local police and judges alike-would be dismissed out of hand.  Thus the murder-suicide.  Tragedy is an understatement, this rocked our collective worlds.

At that time, my sister was also creating in me a downward mental spiral.  I hadn’t even heard of Narcissistic Abuse; it was on this vacation that I found information that would, two years later, set me free.  Yet my state of mind when we arrived at the cabin?  I believe I was in shock, grieving and mentally/physically at my limit.

As we entered the cabin, Dwain went to turn on the water, heat and other appliances.  I went for the bottle of Tequila, and sipped slowly as I read the news from home.  I mixed the liquor with Juicy Juice, so my husband wouldn’t suspect anything.  I had been sober for the past nine years, but I made the deliberate choice to drown my sorrows,  I didn’t get drunk on this vacation, but it was enough to remind me how booze can take away the pain.  A reminder I didn’t need at the time.

Standing in the kitchen, just a few days ago, my husband asked a question which led to my confession.  The only person I had told, previous to this conversation was my friend Joyce, a fellow recovering addict.  In the rooms, we are told to make amends, absolutely, but not if the process would leave the person hurt.  I had thought of coming clean many a time over the last few months and years; I just couldn’t do it to Dwain-and no, it wasn’t an excuse.  I was afraid he wouldn’t take me to the beloved cottage in the woods of Potter County.  I was in fear of the truth marring his memories of our anniversary.  To tell him would be cruel, not?

I answered his question, then turned my face in his direction.  I confessed.  And it hurt him, very much so.  He screamed he couldn’t trust me, I screamed back.  I cried big, fat, ugly tears that evening-angry with myself, angry with my addictions and yes, even angry with my loving husband-who doesn’t deserve the likes of me, and never did.

The moral of the story is this:  yes, we want to be truthful, as Christians-it’s a pretty serious matter.  But the past is the past.

Keep it there.  Ask Abba for forgiveness.  And swear an oath of secrecy to Jesus, to yourself.  The past is just that, but the future awaits us-like a diamond in the rust.  Polish that stone often.  Don’t look back, for you are a child of God-and your remorse and repentance is more than enough.