“Writers seem to me to be people who need to retire from social life and do a lot of thinking about what’s happened–almost to calm themselves.”
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.
When you can dig deep to uncover that stinging level of honesty, people will relate to your authenticity. So stop being scared and write the hard stuff. Fiction or nonfiction, it doesn’t matter.
Accept now, before you even start, that some people will hate it. Then again, some will love it. Write for the lovers.
Strip yourself naked, bare your soul, and be brave.
“As someone who has suffered from depression and anxiety, I know how difficult it can be to admit that you are struggling. I know the crushing feeling of despair that settles into the back of your mind and pushes down on your chest until you feel as though you are drowning underneath a sea of hopelessness. But thanks to blogging, I also know the feeling of release that comes with being able to open your heart and mind and communicate with your peers. There is no shame in admitting that you are vulnerable, depressed, or alone.
Mental illness is claiming far too many lives, and for me personally, it has taken too many wonderful people away from me far too soon. While I adore and admire the hardworking organisations that fight valiantly to save lives, I believe that we as individuals can have a far greater impact. We can start having conversations that might seem uncomfortable, or difficult to broach at first. We can stop turning a blind eye when we see a friend, or stranger struggling. We can give those in need an ear to talk to, or a hand to hold, instead of a cold shoulder and a diverted glance. And maybe in doing so we can stop people from feeling so fucking alone, or depressed, or broken that suicide becomes their only answer.”
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.
. . .
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.
“Writers seem to me to be people who need to retire from social life and do a lot of thinking about what’s happened–almost to calm themselves.”
The $7.63 price on top is for some boring Swiss cheese that I didn’t purchase. Under that label is one for $6.63 which also shows the correct cheese, which I ordered and watched her slice on the spot. She obviously put the correct one on first, then covered it with this bogus one. If it was the other way around, I’d think she mislabeled it the first time, then corrected it. In THIS order, the only possible explanation is that it was intentional.
This is where it starts to disturb me a bit more. Due to the fact I would be taking this to a random checker and paying the “Swiss price”, there’s no potential for profit to the deli girl in this scenario. She doesn’t take payments, nor could she have something going with anyone else to profit from this in any way. Further, there’s no way she’s doing this just to keep inventory in line when she sneaks Swiss out in her bra since she’d just have a similar inventory shortage of pepper jack!
That leaves only one of 2 possible recipients of this switcharoo: Either the deli or whole store is scamming the company for bonuses and so on due to reduced “shrink” from sneaking this kinda crap in repeatedly to make up for employee theft, shoplifting, damaged items, etc. that normally factor into this rather important retail statistic. If it’s not this individual location (Walmart #5462, Vancouver, WA), then the other possibility is that Walmart is pulling this scam company-wide. Assuming they manage to do this to 1 in 4 customers, the extra dollar per 4 customers would make a hefty sum when they apparently have 100 million customers a week. That’s a lot of thievery.
Either way, Walmart, whether locally or worldwide, is training its employees to do things like this, and fuck us if we don’t like donating dollars to Walmart. This isn’t the first crap like this they’ve pulled. Several years ago a bunch of employees verified some suspicions that stores were adjusting shrink numbers by sneakily spinning the bag turnstile in such a way to guarantee lots of people leaving a bag or 2 behind.
via Timeline Photos.
“If we had no speed limits or traffic laws, some people would drive like idiots, even more than they do now. If we had no age of consent, some people would have sex with children, even more than happens now. If there was no IRS, no taxes would be paid, and our country would collapse overnight into anarchy, a horror almost beyond imagining.
And if we had basically no gun restrictions…whoops. We don’t. And gun crime is rampant, and accidental shootings as well, and mass slaughters are becoming more and more common.
One political party in America wants to have meaningful regulations, regulations that would not infringe on the right to gun ownership any more than speed limits infringe on the ability to drive your car. The other party wants mayhem and murder, crime and terrorism, mass shootings, 5 year old boys shooting their 2 year old sisters, and they will fight to the death to keep as many of those things happening as possible.
via Grammar Jedi
But the danger we perceive doesn’t actually have to be there. We just have to think that it is.
Whether the danger is real or imagined, our automatic survival mechanisms will kick in and we will try to escape or avoid the danger.
We might avoid certain people or places. We might refuse to go out. Perhaps we’ll only go out with someone else present and then leave early.
Whilst our coping behaviours get us through the perceived danger, they actually keep our anxiety going. As long as we depend on them to cope, we don’t give ourselves the opportunity for the anxiety to go away on its own.
Learning to confront our anxiety might be uncomfortable in the short term, but it helps us take control and feel better in the long term.
If you feel anxiety starting to overwhelm you, ask yourself if you have any proof that what you fear is actually going to happen. What is the worst that could happen and how would you cope with it if it did? Imagine it is six months from now. How important will this feel then?
Just because you feel bad, doesn’t mean things really are bad. Imagine yourself coping with this situation. If you can handle it in your imagination, you can handle it in reality.
via Inner Child Healing.
“I dreamed there were a whole bunch of fireworks that shot to the sky and exploded. They made a big picture of Mickey’s face.”
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