I am in the mood for hijinks!  What, you ask, is holding me back?   Someone to play along.  I grew up in a household of practical jokers.  My siblings (my sister Courtney and my brother Craig) and I scared the bejesus out of each other on a daily basis, but I have to admit, I ruled the house in a reign of terror that left my brother an almost emotional cripple.

My earliest memory of scaring my brother is the day I decided to mess with his Sesame Street puppets.  Poor Ernie.  It takes a pretty sick mind to come up with the prank, but this was just one in a line of many, many horrific frights, leaving him paranoid, emotional and let’s just say pissed.  It was so out of hand that my mother screamed at me, more than once:

“Are you trying to commit your brother to a mental institution?”

No, but I sure as hell delighted in watching him scream.  So, one night he is in the shower and I grab hold of Ernie.  I manufactured a little sign to put in his hand, it read:

Help Me!

I lay underneath my brother’s bed and awaited his doom.  It seemed like hours, and the thought of my father, just feet away at the living room bar, made it even harder to contain my laughter.  Finally, he opens the bedroom door.


The thing is-he didn’t stop screaming.  It was one continuous scream.  I had to do something, so I stood up.  That may not have been the best move, as his scream turned into a shrill siren’s call to people everywhere who have been the victim of tomfoolery.

Craig!!!!!  It’s me, Michele, calm down.”

But he didn’t.  Not one iota.  And the louder he screamed, the louder my father’s laughter became.  Needless to say, I chilled out for a bit, I loved my brother.  I loved seeing him frightened even more, but nevertheless.

One night my best friend, Denise, slept over.  My sister had been given a wicker mirror for Christmas, and the box remained in my father’s work shop for weeks.  Craig’s bedroom was downstairs, next to the shop.  I talked poor Denise into waiting, in the box, for 2 hours.  I though his return was imminent, but he had been working a shift at Victoria Station, and came very close to putting the kibosh to our fun.  When I heard the cellar door open, (my parents were away for the evening) I warned her that he was coming.

“Why would he come in here?” Denise blurted.  “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” I demanded.

“Hello?  I heard a noise, is someone down here?”  My poor brother.  It is my opinion that he was never the same after seeing The Exorcist.  My mother would NEVER have let him go, so he snuck to the theatre with a few of his dimwitted friends.  My sister and a few neighbors  had gathered out in my front yard when it happened.  Craig came barreling out of the house, as if Linda Blair had popped out of nowhere with a cross in her back and murder on her mind.  “SOMETHING IS IN THE HOUSE,” Craig bellowed.  It took a good two hours for us to calm him down, insisting it was just the wind.

So, back to the night at 202 Riverview Road.

“I hear something, is anyone here?????”  Denise and I,  trapped like sardines in a can, held perfectly still.  My brother approached the box.  What happened next is seared in my memory forever.  This time, there was little, if any sound emitting from his weary body.  It was a silent scream, if you will.  Convinced I had really done it this time, I moved away from the box to apologize, but instead we crumpled in laughter on the floor of dad’s shop, hopelessly breathless.

After that, I was pretty much under my mother’s direct supervision.  But I remember the laughter, even if it was at Craig’s expense.


And She Was……

There is a well known fact in this household, rarely spoken of, but my heart beats for him continuously, and he has earned my adoration.  David Byrne, MARRY ME.  🙂  I had the pure privilege of seeing the Talking Heads at Emerald City in Philadelphia, circa 1980.  Front row.  The rolling melodies and heart thumping bass can still be heard in my head, and I am dead serious when I say that the female guitarist made a pass at me.  Ah, the good old days when rock was rock and  a spade a spade.

I had a horrible nightmare last night.  Or I should say this morning-Dwain had decided to go to work, despite the blizzard conditions-he wasn’t answering my calls, he was nowhere to be found.  I awoke in a cold sweat, extremely anxious and confused.  Moments later, while sipping hot coffee, I phoned my husband and my nerves were calmed just by the sound of his voice.  Strange way to start the day…….

As I walked down to the garage, to feed the feline community, I felt it-or, perhaps didn’t feel it is a better way to say this.  No pain.  During Lyme flares, my feet are constantly in pain.  Bone pain, muscle pain-I don’t let it slow me down, but the mere fact that I was pain free was reason enough to look up at the sky and praise Him.  My lymph node has diminished, and there is even a noticeable lift in my loafers.  Oh, how beautiful life is.  And here’s the thang-none of us are promised more than this day.  We have a choice-to be positive among the chaos and confusion, carpe diem,  or, as I did yesterday-we can pout, stomp our feet and be a miserable pain in the ass in general, bringing everyone around us on edge, walking upon proverbial eggshells.

I fail Him each and every day, by thought and deed.  I repent, ask for forgiveness, and concentrate on my future-with my main man, golden retriever and Yeshua-and between the four of us?  We have this, He is working in our lives, whether we see rainbows or coffins-the choice is ours, and I choose life-oh, my dear friends, I choose life~



I Ain’t No Fisherman’s Slave…

I want to thank those of you who felt it necessary to give me a virtual hug.  It helped, it helped so much.  Just back from a hike with my men, (I asked that we not do hills, or even inclines, but that didn’t happen-oh well, I lived.)  When we returned home, the poor dog ran into my bad knee, causing it to overextend, which caused a new wave of emotions.  And then I became angry.  Scary angry.  Deranged angry.

It doesn’t happen often, but at times I hold things in for so long that when my angst surfaces it is not proportional to the event that caused my ire.  And there is a reason for this, I believe.  I don’t want anyone to see me down and out.  I put on that happy face for all the world to see, and I stuff anything I can’t handle deep down inside….where it festers, then my rage appears as if out of nowhere, and I am humbled, chastised and driven to tears.

My poor, poor husband.  Holy Moses does he ever get the short end of the stick at times.  He doesn’t deserve it, oh no he does not.  Thankfully, I regroup quickly and apologize for my childish ways.  He always shushes me, but I know that I am a handful, even on a good day.

From early childhood, I learned that what I felt was irrelevant.  There was no validation of our feelings, and if we insisted on being heard?  Well, that’s what bedrooms are for, apparently-and I learned quickly, little sponge that I was, to not complain, not fuss, not emote-the consequences became to hefty, and my self esteem suffered, to the point where at the age of 56 I am just learning boundaries, just realizing I matter……my feelings are my business, and right or wrong-I hurt.

We were plowing along on the trail, looking for sheds.  My body wasn’t cooperating, as a result I grew sullen, cranky and out of sorts.  Dwain had promised to stay with me, but he couldn’t resist the temptation to walk the mountain-and, for the first time in years, I became paranoid, anxious and timid.  I needed him more than he needed me, the scales unbalanced, I held my head up and carried on until I heard his voice, beckoning me to see the deer pellets he had found by the huge Maple tree down stream.

SERIOUSLY?  I thought.  Why?  Oh God have mercy on my soul, I just want to scream.  Why do I have to go look at a pile of Deer do?  I finally caught up with him, and he pointed to a pile of deer droppings……..

“Honey, what do you think?  Does this look like it came from a deer,” he asked.

I wanted to look around for the camera, as surely I was on some kind of reality tv, this was insane-my husband has hunted the tri state area, he has seen every kind of deer waste there is to see.  Had he lost his mind?

“If you must know, it looks like a cat turd.”  And just like that, no warning-he picked up the specimen and put it in his mouth.


“I just wanted to see what it tasted like,” he says to me.  Convinced I was in Bizarro World my brain searched for answers.  And then I saw the corners of his mouth turn up. My nearest and dearest had brought along chocolate covered raisinettes, to plant in the middle of nowhere, to scare me straight, and laugh his hind quarters off at my expense.

It tickled me to the point of wheezing.  I laughed so hard my stomach burned, and then he lost it too.  I am almost always the strong one, the starry eyed optimist who won’t allow his constant worrying to bring me down.  The tables have turned, and for once in my life I will let go the reigns, silence my racing heart, and laugh like there’s no tomorrow.


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.

Just Another Lazybone….

Just another lazy Saturday, actually-we did a lot in the morning, and had lunch with Dwain’s parents and brother. There has been an unspeakable change in the family dynamic-I suppose we are truly growing closer because of the incident with my step son last month.

We had just ordered, and sat with our ice teas and coffees; a family restaurant with great food, and prices to boot. Bud’s name hasn’t come up at all since the day we all prayed together. An unspoken rule. We are afraid, my husband and I-we are in fear that his parents will forget what transpired, as our approach to this is that we are not reaching out to him. He almost put his step mother in a psych ward, but hey, I have forgiven him already. But the moral of this story is that he will not, not ever, take responsibility for his actions. I will not suffer him gladly, no, not until he apologizes, sincerely. But my fear isn’t as much with me as it is with my poor husband. He loves his son dearly, as any father should. But I always used to tell him-you shouldn’t be best friends with you son; you are the authority figure, the father, the leader.

Dwain announces to the table that he hasn’t heard from his son in three weeks. Just as we feared, the incident has been forgotten, and there is pretense in the air-a sullen belief, you can see it in their heartbroken eyes-as if they have amnesia, and don’t plan on being a part of what should be a united front.

I have no other answers, frankly. I am exhausted and don’t want the stress as I am just beginning to feel better, it’s a harder row to hoe, this Lyme, this time. I fall on my knees, and fall into His grace. I just can’t do any of this alone, Jesus.

And why have we lost so many family and friends this year? Is the veil thinning? Are these the end days? Or, could it possibly be that we are deepening our faith, and drawing closer to God? The bible tells us that if we are getting it right with Yahweh, we most certainly WON”T be getting it right with family.

Whatever comes, I know this: I am completely incapable of doing anything without the strength that comes from Christ.   I know I must hand it over to God, as they say in the Rooms-and not plan on talking it back.

Have a groovy day, peeps.  🙂

The Silent Scream

I want to write about treating others as we would expect to be treated (if you love yourself enough)  In recovery, there is this long and arduous, yet somehow pure and raw discovery of who we really are and what our destiny entails.  If you are one of the lucky ones?  You will go through the darkest nights of repressed grief, shame, abandonment and despair.  I say this because in order to get sober, you have to do the work.  There will be slips and relapse, until you finally come face to face with your demons, make amends to people you may not even like (over and over again) have awkward discussions in the supermarket aisles because you run into the nurse you screwed over in regards to a shift you didn’t show up for because you were home, hungover and sick…..and not remembering that you had told her just last night you would work for her because her aunt died.  Those conversations.  Bad lighting, bad feelings and bad memories, oh my GOD those first years re hard.

If someone argues with you that getting sober is easy?  Call them a liar.  Call their bluff.  They may just break down and get real, emotions might be triggered….every sober person has a colorful, if not plethora of “stories” involving how hard it was not to take that drink/drug the night that something didn’t go your selfish way.

My husband just came home to find that I have yet another cold.  I have done everything under my control to protect myself this year (vitamins, homeopathic mixes, probiotics, vitamin C……) and remain healthy.  I do have a compromised immune system, and I can no longer apologize for things of this nature, as I do not relish in it, nor do I enjoy being sick and ineffective when I am painting the entire house, take care of 12 animals, have to clean, cook, do laundry, change sheets, go to the grocery store….. my volunteer work, clean the litterboxes…Come on.

“You’re always sick,” he laughs, bitterly.

His reaction let me down, and rather than retaliate?  I want to lovingly say that I have told him thousands of times that this is related to my Lyme, and my state of mind.  I used to pray for a cold to get a few days off around this time of year-you know, horizontal, you-can’t-clean-you-can’t-cook, you want to sleep until the cows come home, you know the drill.  As of late I loathe the idea of being less than 100 percent.  I wasted way too many days sleeping or sick, although I remain convinced that God wanted me alone, near and quiet.  I want to live this life I love, have new adventures and we aren’t promised tomorrow.  Carpe Diem is literally my new catchphrase.

There are things on my mind this time of year, but I push my feelings down.  Everyone and their mother knows that  many people suffer crippling depression/anxiety during the holidays, and not only are my parents gone, but I am only speaking to one third of my family, and the other third lives thousands of miles away in Las Angeles.

What I am trying to say is:  this has been a hard week.  I found out my estranged sister was diagnosed with melanoma in situ, and obviously I just cannot afford to break no contact.  Sometimes it’s all I can do not to drive down to Exton, and insist she cry on my shoulder, show some emotion, get it off her chest….no you are not perfect, who said you ever had to be?  Please, please seek counsel with a professional for your pain that you have pushed down for 51 years!  I don’t judge you, I am protecting my sanity and well being.

What I’m trying to say Dwain is this:  Why can’t you be happy about how far I have come?  Did you forget how much I dread the holidays…..how I have scratched and clawed my way out of bed, out of depression and addiction.  I have scars on the outside, but that is nothing to compare to what I have on the inside, that remains unspoken, so I don’t have to rock the boat.  But honey?  I’ve been apologizing for my own pain for way too long, just be the husband Jesus and I know you to be.  I love you Charlie.

Leave You in the Summertime…

Thinking about the people I have lost this year, and I have to say-there is freedom in walking away from toxic, malignant and evil psyches. I was also thinking about Stephen Hawking-didn’t that dude die like ten years ago? No disrespect intended, but I am a nurse and I know a few things. Anyhooser, on to my main topic.

I want you to understand that if you are in a relationship with a narc? And you have already tried everything-agreeing, bowing down, playing by the rules, screaming out ENOUGH, ENOUGH!!!! Well, if you have tried playing to their sympathies (they have none, so stop it) or even reality, and if you are ready for the tactic which is extreme, but very powerful, NO CONTACT-then I have some advice to share.

-It will be PAINFUL to let this person go. You will go through extreme emotions, utter devastation and, if you are lucky-you will come to the conclusion that as sad as it is, as unreal as the situation seems-you are BETTER OFF without their toxicity. You will be so much happier if you learn this lesson the first time. For me? It took a few tries.

-They are going to lie, cheat, seek and destroy to get their bloody selves out of trouble. Let’s face it, they have been doing this behind your back forever! Only now, for whatever reason, the mask has slipped. They have hurt you in a place that hits home. You can’t believe the betrayal, but this may be of some comfort: the narcissist is in pain as well. They won’t admit to it, but they faced abuse as children. From being spoiled rotten, to neglected, and they have put in years of hard work to ensure you depend upon them, to make sure you don’t leave them, they are petrified-absolutely petrified of abandonment. It helps to pray for them, because deep down inside you know that what we are fighting is not of this realm: no indeed, we are dealing with powers and principalities of evil, not flesh and blood.

-When you have grieved, and the pain is behind you-well, you open yourself up to so much joy, so much creativity (hey, no one is telling you to think or act a certain way!!!!) and so much freedom, you won’t believe how good it gets! (They used to say this in AA meetings, and I didn’t believe them. Nothing like dragging your alcohol deprived butt to a meeting, feeling as if you’re about to cough up a fur ball, when some stranger pops up in your face, clown smile intact, whispering sweet nothings in your ear, but they mean well.)

It’s just not about them anymore.

It’s about your recovery.

You have been told that you’re just not good enough.

Don’t believe a thing that doesn’t come from God’s mouth.

You are so much more than enough.

You are worthy, you are light.