“You see, we may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. It may even be necessary to encounter the defeat, so that we can know who we are. So that we can see, oh, that happened, and I rose. I did get knocked down flat in front of the whole world, and I rose. I didn’t run away – I rose right where I’d been knocked down. And then that’s how you get to know yourself. You say, hmm, I can get up! I have enough of life in me to make somebody jealous enough to want to knock me down. I have so much courage in me that I have the effrontery, the incredible gall to stand up. That’s it. That’s how you get to know who you are.” — Maya Angelou
Category Archives: people
I wrote this piece, and posted it, to my private Facebook profile on Feb. 1st, 2016.
Writing about family is tough for me. I’m never sure what’s really gonna come out. Sharing it is difficult, but I think I’m ready now.
I’ve had some memorable concerts. This one’s up there with Voodoo Lounge in ’94.
Rock ‘n’ roll.
~ ~ ~
We had KISS tickets. I think T worked her concert mojo and won the ticket seller’s lottery because she had come out with four seats not only in the same section, but RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER. That’s rare.
It was done. We needed to prepare. We headed for the joke/magic shop.
The old dude behind the counter was rather awesome. While I was browsing the rubber chickens, Whoopee cushions, dirty dice, and playing cards, the others were picking out various makeup containers in shades of silver and black. The silver glitter was an afterthought from the old man. He got us. Like attracts like. We took our loot and headed home.
Hungry but too excited to eat. We painted our faces and dressed in our blackest finery. I wore my silver sequin tube top and black vinyl pants. If I had a tail, I don’t remember it. Erik wore the Demon face, Marci had the Starchild, T and I were both Ace. If I’d been a little more sure of my skills, I’d have worn the Cat makeup. No time for regret! But… regret.
Sunset. Time to roll. We filed out to the hoopti, garnering strange looks from the nieghborhood kids. They knew we were odd, but they hadn’t known just how much. They still don’t.
Flying through the darkened streets, tunes blasting, we arrived at the parking garage more or less in character; a state of mind that crystallized when T found herself on the wrong floor. First she was next to us waiting for the elevator, then somehow we were up, and she was one floor below. “Goddammit, Ace!” Then we went down and she was up. I’m still not sure how she pulled that trick off–hell, there was only one elevator on that side.
We were on the right track. Rock n roll, baby.
After extricating ourselves from the garage with much laughter, we head into the venue. Our silver makeup glinted in the light. My sequins made me feel like a disco ball. We bought one concert tee forever known after as “The KISS shirt”. I did a quick change on the escalator. The disco ball was feeling vulnerable showing so much skin.
We find our section and show our tickets to the usher. They call another usher over. They look at the tix again and murmur amongst themselves, casting quick glances at us. They say, “This way,” and we follow. Up, down, up, round and through half a stadium and some parted curtains into… box seats. The swanky seats the rich snots usually sit in. We sit. We look around. We see a sea of Aces and Peters and helluva lot of Genes and Pauls. They look good. We look better. The old man’s brainstorm on the silver glitter was genius.
The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ was playing low throughout the place. It was five minutes in before I even registered it. The crowd was getting rowdy. T and I started waving at everyone, cheering them. The crowd got rowdier. The song got louder. We waved more.
And then… “Yeeeeaaaahhhhh! Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”
The crowd goes wild!
And then the lights went down.
Showtime. The smoke. The boots. The codpiece. My eyes. Dat bass. The shattered mirror guitar. The sunburst. The swagger and the blood, the synchronized guitar and headbang. Ace’s perpetual slur. The spectacle, indeed. It was everything that had been promised, and it was good.
It was only after we sat sprawled, exhausted, into our seats that we looked up and saw the video cameras filming the crowd, us included.
That was a good night. Hope you enjoyed the view, boys. You’ll never get that again.
“All this pain, all this suffering…even though it almost broke me, almost turned me into the worst version I could be capable of being, in the end, all it did was make me want to save the world, made me want to spend the rest of my days improving myself and helping others too.
That’s why I write. Why I blog. I try to make sense of my suffering, and hopefully help others understand their own struggles.
. . .
The real struggle is in the choice. The real pain. In walking on the street without wishing for someone to hold your hand, in spending time by yourself without feeling bored as hell, in working your ass off every day, trying to better yourself. The pain of choosing to love yourself even though you hate what you see in the mirror. To help the broken even though some of them will try to break you as well.”
Source: Life is pain « Cristian Mihai
For most people I talk to, when I tell them I have an anxiety disorder, they nod their head and tell me it’ll be okay. When I tell them, “I’m sorry, I’m having a bad anxiety day, can we reschedule?” They smile and tell me there’s nothing to worry about and if I just get out of bed, I’ll see that everything is fine. When I don’t want to go bar hopping because I know that alcohol only increases my anxious tendencies I hear, “You’re fine. It’ll be fun. Let off some steam!”
Meanwhile, my heart is pounding so fast that I’m afraid it may be visibly beating out of my chest. But it isn’t. My head isn’t actually spinning in circles. My eyes are not crossed like my blurred vision indicates. My knees aren’t wobbling along with the trembling muscles fighting the urge to collapse. My face isn’t pale and my eyes aren’t bloodshot. No, on the outside, I look like I do every day. My hair is clean. My clothes match. I am awake, alive and breathing fine. So nothing is wrong, right?
That’s the thing about anxiety disorders. We look fine. Of course, we look fine. Our legs aren’t broken. Our tongues haven’t been cut out. We aren’t cut or bruised. Because anxiety is not a physical disability. That however, does not make it any less debilitating.
Anxiety is a complex disorder and it is nothing to simply smile and nod away. You telling us everything is okay not only doesn’t help us, but it hurts us more because nobody seems to take it seriously.
So here are some things I would like you to know about struggling with anxiety.
It is not constant.
There are days when I can make it through without having to stop and breathe or pop a Xanax. I can smile and laugh. I can be productive and go to work, go out to dinner, go see a movie with my friends. And trust me, I know how difficult it is to understand how I can be fine one day and the next, not be able to get out of bed. That’s just how it is.
Which leads me to my next point:
It comes in waves.
Anxiety is a strange beast. It will let me have some fun for a couple of days and I think, hmm maybe it’s finally left me alone. Then a few days go by, and I wake up one morning unable to even think straight because for whatever reason, the beast has once again emerged and there is nothing I can do to stop it from coming because I have woken up to it sitting on my chest smiling as if I’m welcoming it home.
It can be completely paralyzing.
I don’t know if this one applies to everyone, but I know it is a very big piece of my anxiety disorder. When anxiety hits, I am frozen. I can get up and go through the motions of my day but my brain is elsewhere, held captive by whatever “demon” is inhabiting me this time. I cannot think about anything except my inability to think or breathe or feel. Let that one sink in. My brain feels like it is literally paralyzed, as if it is stuck in some kind of limbo with no doors or windows or exits of any kind.
The worst part? I’m completely alone in there.
It can ruin relationships.
Not just romantic relationships, but a relationship of any kind. Friendships and relationships alike can be destroyed by this condition. I have experienced both, and it is the most devastating kind of loss. Why? Because it is not our fault.
It is a disorder that, without the knowledge of how to care for it properly, can explode over time. Eventually, it can become too much for someone else to carry around with them. If they become close enough to you to experience firsthand the effects of your anxiety, it can become too much for them and they might sever the ties for their own mental health. And it hurts like hell.
But I can’t blame them because if I could choose to stay as far away from anxiety as they can, I would in a heartbeat.
It can make trust nearly impossible.
I know it sounds awful to blame trust issues on anxiety but in all honestly, it’s not placing blame, it’s placing responsibility. Anxiety almost never fails to make you think the worst of every situation.
If someone doesn’t answer my text, well then that’s it, they no longer like me. If someone doesn’t text me first, they don’t think about me. Someone is busy? Forget it. They just have better things to do with their time than spend it with me. I sound ridiculous, right? Welcome to the anxiety life. We do not have cookies, sorry, but can I interest you in crippling loneliness at a table for one? No? Didn’t think so.
I do not want this.
. . .
I will overcome it.
But it will take time. Fighting anxiety can be a never-ending battle with frequent slip ups and breakdowns along the way. I am still in the process personally, and it is not easy. At all. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life. And I have been through a lot. Anxiety however, takes the cake.
Note: I tried to keep it short, to not actually use all the article’s text, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut more out. Every word of it needs to be said, and read, by as many people as possible. Understanding is everything.
Maybe I’ll just get an earring. Or a tattoo. But I hate needles. And what would my tattoo say? What could I have etched on my body that would sum up my unique approach to life? The only thing I can come up with is, “My back hurts.” That’s all I got, and that’s probably not edgy enough.
Here’s the thing about inner conflict: it’s the heart of everything. It’s the recognition that you are your best friend and your worst enemy. It’s the battle between what was, what is and what will be. It’s the ultimate choosing of right and wrong, of what feeds you or what sucks your soul dry. It’s grabbing your childhood by the throat and saying “enough already!” It’s learning how to take all those chronic character flaws and turn them in your favor. It’s recognizing that there are certain things that you will never change about yourself.
. . .
I’m putting a spin on my forties, when I decided I’d become a martial artist, super mom, Japanese ink painter, personal trainer, officer of the law, marathoner, web genius, everywhere volunteer and organic vegan superfreak. It was all research for writing. It sounds so much better than a midlife panic.
I’m rarely in the moment with other people because I’m in my head, over-thinking, worrying, and analyzing. Those same thoughts and worries also prevent me from initiating hangouts and following up on rescheduling plans. I always assume that if someone doesn’t contact me or has to cancel a plan we’ve made that they don’t like me. I take any kind of rejection, real or perceived, incredibly personally. I obsess about what people say and do, analyzing their words and actions for cues to help me figure out what they really think of me.
Of course, this is the same kind of thinking that they might be applying to me as a result of my quietness and failure to initiate or reschedule. I’m doing the exact same thing that I don’t want them to do to me. It’s too bad that anxiety doesn’t respond well to basic logic.
We turned to face the faint light. As if a few feet would make a difference in the millions of miles that separated us, we all drifted a bit closer to the water in the direction of the already brighter pink sky. In that first light I noticed we had not been alone.
I’m a walking regret, a truth-teller, a liar, a survivor, a frowning ellipsis, a witness, a dreamer, a teacher, a student, a joker, a writer whose eyes stay red, and I’m a child of this nation.
You got: Natasha Romanoff
You’re the epitome of the strong, independent woman – not to mention how fierce and smart you are. You might be running from something dark in your past, but whatever happened, you have turned into someone who always fights for what’s right and you would die to protect the people you care about.
Lol Well, that was unexpected. 🙂