Memories From a Little Girl in a Plymouth Duster

We traveled home late one night down Southbound US-23. I sat next to Mom in our mustard yellow Plymouth Duster, and did my best to try and sleep. The black sky was spitting snow at the headlights while the heat vents blew warm stale air onto my face and chest. It was warm enough in the car, but I used my long winter coat as a blanket. Sis was asleep in the backseat and I envied the ease in which she could sleep just about anywhere.

I could feel the thick, hard vinyl of the mustard yellow seat as I shifted my weight and tried to drift off. The seat was anything but comfortable, but I liked riding up front with Mom.  The radio was playing low and the AM dial glowed in the dark. Mom listened to the late night news on WJR which I have to admit even at an early age, scared the heck out of me. Maybe it was the staccato rhythm of the announcers voice or the sound of the teletype and the occasional beeping that signaled the end of one segment and the beginning of another. It seemed that the news was always bad.

There was a murderer on the loose in another state that I was convinced was going to show up at our front door. There was disaster somewhere in the world and my mind would race with thoughts of could it happen here in my state, or the city I lived in. The stories of missing children, of wars in other lands, of leaders that would kill their own people. Even at the young age of eight, I felt that the world would never be safe for me. Maybe it was because my parents were divorced and my daddy wasn’t there to protect all of us, I don’t know.

Mom’s family was located on the west side of the state. When she married my father she pulled up stakes and moved away, but our homes were always pretty close to the highway. She loved my dad, but not in a traditionally romantic way. Dad wasn’t her Prince Charming, he was her best friend. He offered security and unconditional love and the escape from the abuse she had experienced her entire life. I don’t ever remember living with my dad, which is kind of sad.

Maybe the anxiety that I experienced at such an early age wouldn’t have been so devastating if Dad had been there to fight the monsters in the closet, or under the bed. Maybe he could have quelled my fears from the horrible news stories I heard on the radio and t.v., but maybe not.

After all these years of dealing with a backwards fight/flight response, I’ve come to realize that it’s pretty much how I’m wired. Therapy and a good anti-depressant/anxiety medication have made my life better, but there’s the little girl in me that still wishes for my dad. My parents’ divorce wasn’t anyone’s fault, but I’m sad it happened all the same.

Sometimes, I wish I could take the knowledge I have now, and go back to being that little girl trying to sleep on that crappy colored vinyl front seat, and tell myself not to fear life. To not fear the unknown sounds in the walls, and not fear the darkness of my bedroom, to not fear whether or not I will be liked or loved, and to not fear being alone. There are so many things in the world to fear, but there is so much more to be experienced and enjoyed.

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When the Stars Landed in My Eyes

A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes
I screamed aloud, as it tore through them, and now it’s left me blind

Last night, after I placed the cannula from my temporary oxygen machine in my nose, I laid back and placed my ear buds in my ears. It had been months since I’d enjoyed any kind of music because it seemed like every time I listened to it all I did was get pissed off or sad.

Tapping the touchscreen of my smart phone I selected Cosmic Love by Florence and The Machine. Letting the sound envelop me, I tried my best to slow my breathing, enjoy every nuance of every note, and feel every word wash over me. I needed to be taken under the waves and made clean, and I figured Flo singing about standing in the darkness listening to a heartbeat would push me through the abyss.

Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too,
So I stayed in the darkness with you,

At the utterance of these words, my body began to shudder. I wasn’t sure if it was from the steroids that I was tapering off from or the words that had finally hit me. Tears began to stream down my face and I wrapped my arms around my waist. I whispered into the air, ‘hold me, just hold me, I’ll be okay if you just hold me.’  I didn’t know who I was speaking to, but I didn’t want the experience to end.

Still shaking, I fingered my iPod to play Never Let Me Go. The tears continued, but with it came a sense of calm. Through the sounds of the oxygen machine, the fan, the music and my tears, I heard a crash. My old spirit was breaking free and I was on my way back to myself.

Finding the love of music again made me want to listen to more, but I forced myself to turn it off. I placed the phone beside my bed, rolled over and fell under the wave of sleep. I dreamed of Him, and fell even deeper into oblivion. I dreamed of the promise of him, and hoped that he was dreaming of me too.

Looking out from underneath,
Fractured moonlight on the sea
Reflections still look the same to me,
As before I went under.

And it’s peaceful in the deep,
Cause either way (Cathedral, where) you cannot breathe,
No need to pray, no need to speak
Now I am under, Oh.

And it’s breaking over me,
A thousand miles down (on)to the sea bed,
Found the place to rest my head.

Never let me go, never let me go.
Never let me go, never let me go
.

And the arms of the ocean are carrying me,
And all this devotion was rushing over (out of) me
,

And the crashes are heaven, for a sinner like me,
But the arms of the ocean deliver me.

Four Little Children

Tom my new friend and taxi driver, dropped me off this morning at Domino’s Farms for my Pre-Op appointment. Once there, I checked in, completed forms. Next, I was poked and prodded. I sat in the lobby and waited for the physician’s assistant to explain the surgical process to me. In two weeks, hardware that held my ravaged then rebuilt ankle will be removed. Tendons will be unwrapped from freshly healed bone in hopes that it will alleviate some of my chronic pain. I am tough, but I am scared. I am scared, but I am strong. I pick up my phone and the heat from my fingertips bring it to life. As I begin to play a game I mutter in frustration, “I’m so fucking tired of this injury sucking the marrow out of my very existence.”  

I’m an observational writer. Two and a half years ago I would have laughed if you’d said such a thing. Most of my young and adult life, with the help of ADHD, OCD, married life, parenting, and plain old rushing around, I couldn’t observe more than five things at once. Once I realized that my dream was to observe and write about it, I couldn’t stop. Life was a rush. I was constantly stimulated, and inspired. I say passionate, everyone else in my life said I was obsessed.

This morning, as the lives diminished in my game, I remembered who and what I was.  Placing my phone in my purse, I began watching four little children. One boy and three girls ran wild up and down the hill outside in front of Lobby C. The girls, ranged in age from 8-11, and wore short skirts with little shirts. Their feet were clad in sandals and their long blonde hair whipped around their faces as they ran. The little boy, about 7 was clad in shorts, t-shirt and black flip flops. He ran up and down that hill, faster than his sisters did. He didn’t seem to care that  he lost his shoes in the process.

The oldest girl walked away from her siblings to stand in the stone and ivy garden. The foliage and ceramic toadstools made her look a bit like Alice when she spoke to a hookah smoking caterpillar in Wonderland. Her young charges continued to run up that hill, around the tree at the top and back down.  I’m sure if there wasn’t concrete at the bottom of that hill, they would have rolled down it. Staining their knees and elbows green, as their little brother lost his shoes again.

I sat in a comfy armchair inside, but I wanted to run with them. I wanted to walk on stick thin legs made tan by the summer sun. I wanted to be the young girl standing in the ivy garden that looked like Alice. I wouldn’t have even minded being the little boy that lost his shoes as I jumped to touch the arbor at the entrance of Lobby C.

I don’t wish to go back to that age, but I do wish I could let the wind whip my hair as I run. And to feel confident that when I run, there wouldn’t be pain. I want to suck the marrow out of life again. Maybe after this next surgery, I will.

A Train Whistled in the Distance

“Accidents are not accidents but precise arrivals at the wrong right time.”
Dejan Stojanovic

Tonight, I turned off my television. There was no music emanating from my radio or computer. No videos played to distract me. Instead, I read a book by Chuck Palahniuk on how to write. My a/c clicked on from time to time, but for the most part my world was silent. As I read an essay, I was bombarded by the sound of a train whistle in the distance. From my second story apartment, I swear I could feel the vibration of the train cars as they glided across the tracks.

Instantly, the hair stood up on the nape of my neck, and I became acutely aware that the train whistle I heard was crossing the tracks where my accident took place on March 12, 2014. I could feel the cold from that night, and when I exhaled I swore I could see my breath. My heart raced and I could feel everything from that night. The impact of the crash and my body being thrown all over the car. My foot slipping off the brake that I’d jammed to the floor to keep from running into the back of a bus. The delicate skin around my ankle bone sliced open and laid bare to the bone. How helpless I felt, and broken.

The blood trickled down my face from the cut on my forehead. The skin on my left arm burned because of the powder from the deployed airbags. I was bruised and my right hand was laid open with a cut that required stitches. My head hit the windshield and I blacked out. I was almost dizzy with excitement when I came to, and then slid into the welcoming abyss of shock.

I screamed to anyone that could hear, ‘GET ME OUT!’

I was acutely aware of my surroundings as I touched the windshield where a hank of my hair had been pulled out. I think I even told one of the rescue workers to look at it. I’m sure they thought I was crazy. I remembered asking the bus driver if he and the passengers were all right. I don’t even think I was wearing a coat.  I smelled blood, powder, burning rubber, and adrenaline. My vision went yellow and green, but I had no idea why.

In one coherent moment, I texted Roger that I’d been in an accident. I was so damn cold. The ambulance drivers had to pull me out of my car. Or maybe it was the fire department, I’m not sure. I begged for pain meds and for someone to miraculously fix my foot. I thought for sure I’d torn the damn thing off. The pain was so bad, and recovery so slow that I sometimes wished I had.

Train whistles used to make me smile. They reminded me of when Mom would send Sis and me on the Amtrak to go visit our grandparents in Battle Creek every summer. I hope I find serenity again, from that train whistle in the distance, and  the clack, clack, clack of the metal wheels on polished tracks.

 

Five Sentence Fiction and The 100 Word Song-The Pursuer

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Sleep came to Audrey in trivial amounts, and when she least expected it to. Sitting in a coffee shop by the open door, waiting for the waitress to bring the only drug she could afford. She supported her blonde head in her left arm, the sounds around her muffled. How much she wished for a peaceful night’s sleep, without that prickle of anxiety that continued to nag at her. There were not enough locks in the world to hide her away from her mistakes.

Five Sentence Fiction

Continuing to sleep, her regular order was delivered to the table, but Audrey hadn’t spoken to anyone. Involuntarily her arm bumped into the warm cup, but she didn’t startle awake as she usually did. It seemed her body had given up. Whatever was pursuing her had won. Audrey was done, finished, spent. There was no awesome need to prove anything to anyone, anymore. Her shoulders relaxed. She softly snored into the crook of her arm.

The Pursuer stood before the sleeping beauty. Placing the silenced pistol to Audrey’s temple, she fired. In a flash of gun powder, Audrey discovered oblivion.

Robot-Badge

 

Quoteful Thursday-FDR and Fear

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I wondered if I was going to be gutsy enough to write about the recent goings on in my life. But I’ve been too afraid. For so many years I’ve been ruled by fear. Fear of what others would think about me. Fear of being alone. Fear of losing my sanity. Fear of not having enough money. Fear of death. Fear of unemployment. Fear of being a drunk. Fear of being fat. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of being found out. Fear of leaving my husband and making him sad. Fear of upsetting and hurting my children. Fear of just about every fucking thing you could think of.

Hell, I can’t even grocery shop without feeling the icy cold grip of fear wrapping around my heart. No, I’m not standing in the freezer section with hardened nipples. I’m trying to slow my thought process down and not be ADHD girl. To be fearless and say I can do the simple task of shopping without crying. I’ve always had Roger Darling to rely on, but not anymore. After 24 years I’ve decided to separate from him. I care very deeply for the man and we’ve had a good life, but it’s time for me to move on. I’ve tried for years to change my feelings for him. To try and love him again. There is no solace in knowing that I’ve broken his heart and the hearts of my children. I’ve broken apart my family.

I’m not asking for pity or empathy. The only thing I ask for is understanding. I pray for it everyday.

In a week I will move out of our home and into a little one bedroom apartment. I will leave all that I’ve ever known. I have not lived on my own since 1989. People, it is 2013 and I am 45 years old. I’m scared as fuck but I’m ready.

I have so much shit to pack. All I really want to do is go to sleep, wake up and have it be next week. I’m tired of hurting myself and those around me. I don’t know how it works, this moving on without Roger Darling. This not talking to him everyday. He’s been my confidant, lover, and friend. I want us to continue being friends. To not be the normal ones that go our separate ways. We’ve never been much for normal anyway. Hell, we raised our children to be outspoken, rebellious and fearless. We tried to live our lives that way too. I guess I didn’t comprehend the memo though.

I’m hopeful that in time Roger and I will be able to meet for a cup of coffee and conversation.  I know we’ll talk mostly about our children and what they’re up to. Meggie, the teacher. Adam, the lawyer. Chris, the lumberjack. Claire, the scientist. But I hope we touch on the subject of our past life and how good it was for the most part. I’ll want him to know that although we are no longer together, I’ve never regretted being married to him.

It was my destiny to be Roger’s wife and Meggie and Adam Boy’s mother. Unfortunately, I have to change the end of the story and go it alone.

Insignificance

SPARKLE!This is not going to be a Debbie Downer post. It isn’t.

I disconnected this weekend. I stayed away from Facebook. Steered clear of WordPress too. Until Sunday when RG and I put the finishing touches on a story that we’d been writing for a few weeks.

I kept to myself. I enjoyed the rainy days and the January thaw. I watched bad movies.

I laid on the couch on Saturday night. Snuggled close to the husband and watched (Ick!) football. Peyton Manning was playing, so I didn’t mind it too much. I think he’s such a damn doll. Funny too. Give me a funny man and I melt. The Wonder Schnauzers draped themselves all over us. We went to bed at 10:00 pm. Slept in till 8:00 the next morning.

I went to the movies with Roger Darling on Sunday. Zero Dark Thirty (go see it!). Did an early dinner. Folded clean laundry. Wasted time. Drank coffee. Got food around the week. It’s time to eat healthy again.

I have to tell you, it was probably one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time.

When I logged into Facebook this morning, I didn’t feel the draw to it I usually do. I didn’t feel it too much when I was on WordPress either. I checked my work email a bit and I’ve been working on reimbursements and all kinds of other office paper work. I’ve stayed off of my iPhone too.

My mind isn’t racing. My thoughts aren’t scattered. I’m breathing easy and not anxious. There’s no depression; anger. For today anyway. I’m smiling. Not apprehensive. My soul is quiet. Not tortured.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m but a speck of sand on a beach. A mere ripple of wave in a vast sea. I must quell my need for significance.

I’m here to get on in this life and live the best I can. To love those around me.

It’s nice when you realize your own insignificance and fade into the background.

To let go.

Love and kisses, An insignificant Sparkly Girl (and I really am okay with that.)

The Intense Need to Live

Anxiety Photo

Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.-Anais Nin

I feel torturous fear. My entire body becomes chilled. Palms perspire and feel as though 1000’s of stick pins are pushing into them. The small hairs stand up on the back of my neck. My heartbeat quickens to 175 beats per minute. There’s tightness in my chest. Tingling and numbness in my left arm. Am I dying? Will someone help me? Please!? My head pounds and I become dizzy. My teeth clench. I feel as if I’m living outside of myself. That I’m not real. I touch objects, but can not feel them. My breathing becomes shallow and rapid. I have feelings of impending doom.

My brain speeds up and all thoughts scatter. My eyes dart around the room. Can anyone sense what’s happening to me? My anguish? My need to live? To run away? That I’ve lost my breath? That I’m shutting down? Dying. Of what, I’ve no idea? I hyperventilate and my body shakes. I think I’m going to pass out. Won’t anyone help me? I can’t breathe! I can’t see! My face flushes. I am shaking. I reach out with trembling hands and scream, “HELP, I’m dying!!” Am I crazy? Can those around me see it? See me? Heal me. Please!

So pronounced was my need to live that I lost my breath. Every single day.

I would wake up and try to focus. Stand up. Breathe air into my lungs. It felt as though they had collapsed. I could barely gulp in air. The tightness in my chest would intensify and my heart would constrict. Such was my need to live. My need to survive everyday. I was a young wife and mother. I had lost control of my spirit, mind, and body. I wanted to die. But I didn’t. I wanted the fear to subside, but it never did. Every day I spiraled out of control. Every damn day.

It took years to come to grips with the fact that I was doing all of this to myself. That I was hurting myself. I went to the emergency room constantly. There were EKGs, EEGs, blood work, stress tests, and echocardiograms. I was a healthy, albeit crazy 22 year old woman. I fought the good fight. I finally found my way to the Anxiety and Panic Disorder program at the University of Michigan Hospital. After an assessment, I was put into an anxiety group discussion. I worked hard at my program. I faced my fears. My anxiety went into remission. I was able to live again. Enjoy my husband and children. Find my way back to happy.

Ten years later I started having symptoms again. My children were growing up. I was self-destructing. I was gaining weight and sabotaging myself. I started waking up in the night with panic attacks. It was time for medication and more therapy. I started Lexapro. Within one week the sparkle returned to my eyes. There was life in my life. There was hope. I and my family flourished. I realized that I was like a diabetic. I needed the meds to bring me back to life. I still take them. I need to.

I work with an incredible therapist. He helps me find my way. He tells me I’m not crazy. That I am good. He makes me work hard. Makes me accountable. What’s surprising is the fact that I’ve become an adrenaline junkie. Nothing scares me. Well, hardly anything. There’s that unnatural fear of sharks that I have. I think I was killed by one in a past life.

If you feel these symptoms, know that you are not alone. Get help. Talk to me. Talk to others. Find your way back to life. And breathe easy. You are okay.

Do I Want to Give This Blog Up?

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” ― Marilyn Monroe

(I do believe I’m a lot like Marilyn. I’m not sure why I feel a kinship with her. I guess because all I want is to be loved and understood.-Sparkly Girl)

There are times in my day when I think about writing and it overwhelms me to the point that I don’t know if I can write another word. I I have met people while doing this writing thing that have changed my life. In good ways and bad. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster and I think I may want to get off the ride now. I’ve found this passion and I’m feeding it. But at what cost? To become emotionally connected with people I don’t know? And then lose that connection and be devastated? Where is my happy medium? Why can’t I find it anymore?

Maybe I never had one. Maybe this is how I’ve always been. Mixed up, confused, discombobulated, crazy and too clingy. I’m forever changed by the words I’ve written on these pages. I’m changed by all of those that I have “met” while doing this. I’m having a hard time prioritizing my life. I want to write a book. I’ve written the ending. I’ve written the first two chapters, but now I need to continue it. To put the meat in the sandwich, I guess. It’s a love story of course. It’s what I do well for the most part. How I ever started writing about love, I have no idea. This was supposed to be a journal about weight loss and change. It turned into so much more than that.

Will I continue to write this blog? I don’t know. For me it’s difficult because I’ve become very close to some of you. It’s how I communicate. But when I see some blogs come up on my reader, my heart beat freezes and a chill spreads throughout my body. That anticipatory anxiety is what gets to me the worst. It makes me irrational and feel out of control. If you’ve read me for very long, you know I like to be in control. Those of us with Anxiety and Panic Disorder and ADHD need to be in control. It’s a built in defense mechanism.

I hate that part of myself. The angry, crazy and jealous person I can be. I’ll step back for awhile. Type up my couple of chapters and the ending of my book. Then start filling in the rest of the story. The love story. A word of warning to you all. It won’t be pretty. But then some good love stories aren’t. Most aren’t. There’s anger, pain, jealousy, loss and a lot of hurt. My main character does not win the love of her life. But she does change his life for the better.

I don’t know where I’m going just yet. But I’ll let you know when I get there. Thanks so much for reading me.

Red Lights on a Rainy Night

MacKenzie is trying hard to keep herself together as she drives home down a familiar back road. Her hands are white knuckled as she grips her steering wheel. It’s windy, unusually dark and raining. Normally it exhilarates her. Makes her senses come alive, but tonight all she feels is fear. Her heart is racing as she drives down the familiar road. It is slick with rain and the wind is blowing the autumn leaves across it. It makes driving hazardous and difficult to see the center line. Up ahead she sees red flashing lights of the emergency railroad signals.  The signals are flashing their crimson warning as the arms descend and come to rest. She presses the brake and stops in front of the signal. The lights from it become smeared as the wipers swipe her windshield.

She screams, “fuck this shit!”, as she slams her hands on the steering wheel.

“Why can’t I stop this endless spiral of fear, shame, anxiety and pain?”, she exclaims to herself.

She is so damn angry. The red emergency signals are flashing, and the arms are still lowered. It’s not raining anymore, though the wind is high. And the autumn leave are flying everywhere. She puts her car in park and cranks up the radio. She hears a familiar song. A new one by P!nk. It’s become her new favorite. MacKenzie opens her door and runs to the tracks. The train is still a good distance away.  But she can see the lights. Hear the warning of its horn. She steps in the middle of the tracks as the wind whips in her hair. She feels a few drops of rain on her cheeks and then her heart begins to slow. A train is coming at her and her anxiety begins to wain.

“Why is that God?”, she screams into the night.

“Why have you fucked me up like this? Why am I so fucking backwards?”, she cries as she throws her middle fingers into the air.

She hears the train as it come closer.  The engine, the wheels churning on the tracks, and the horn. The engineer keeps blaring the horn, but she doesn’t move. MacKenzie finally feels peace. With the wind in her hair, rain on her face, music blaring on the radio, and the red lights blinking all around her. The train is so close she can see the face of the engineer and his fear. He puts on the brakes, and sparks fly from beneath the wheels and their contact with the tracks. She doesn’t move. He honks his horn one last time.

She smiles, and sings “Blow me, one last kiss”.

Then just like that, it’s over. She’s gone. She has peace.