“Is there a letter in your bag for me?” ~ Please Mister Postman

Dear 15 year old Kristi,

Howdy! Here I am in the future wanting to tell you a few things about what your life is going to be about and to give you info I think might be important to you. And please don’t roll your eyes…again…you will be 53 someday. I guarantee it.

Anyhoot, some easy stuff first: quit picking at your zits because it only makes them worse (you aren’t going to believe this, but in 2020 there is actually a show on Pimple Popping…it’s great!), use sunscreen every single day, don’t use Sun-In on your hair before your senior photos because your hair will be orange, you can shave up higher than your knees and not be a hooker (like Linda Belcher says…you’re going to love her 😏), and for the love of all that’s holy…do your freaking homework (you are going to be a college professor someday…can you believe it?).

So far, pretty easy. Right? Hmmm.

Look, when you are 16 you are going to be struggling with an eating disorder. In fact, it’s starting right now. Ma is really going to start worrying in about a year and will be sending you to the ‘best’ psychologist in Decatur. He’s a shit. Tell ma, respectfully, you want to see someone else…this is really important to do so work hard convincing her. You see, he’s going to hurt you if you don’t…in fact, he’s going to sexually abuse you. At first you won’t really understand what’s happening until you are so dependent on him you won’t be able to break free easily. So, find someone else and work as hard as you can with them. K?

Guess what? By 53, you are going to have had 3 hubbies (🙄) and yes, you will marry them all no matter what I say because you certainly didn’t listen to ma and she’s actually a lot brighter than me. Anyhoot, hubby 1 is who you’ll meet in college. And no, you can’t live on love. And yes, landlords like to be paid. ‘Nuff said on that one.

Hubby 2 is going to change your life because that’s who you have a son with! Right now, our son is 27 and he’s so amazing. He’s smart and funny and talented and your life is so wonderful because he’s a part of it. In fact, you won’t be able to imagine your life any other way. You and hubby 2 are going to be married for 13 years happy years, and believe it or not, he’s a guy you are in high school with right now…but I’m going to keep you in suspense 🤨. But here’s the thing, around your 13th anniversary you guys are going to experience a lot of conflict and I wish my suggestion for you would be to try harder to make things work. But I believe the past builds on the future and that at 53 (yes, you get wrinkles and still get zits…God has a sense of humor 🙄) I’m where I’m supposed to be. Just be sure to cherish every year you do have together and by the way, read The Art of Loving by Fromm. It’s not as exciting as Judy Blume but the info is something you can use. 🤓

Hubby 3 is a wild one. Like, wild. You won’t believe this, but you’re going to marry an outlaw biker. Yep. Little prissy you! It’s not going to be easy in the beginning. He’s a troubled man who is going to push you away again and again and test you a million times in the first 2 years. Stick it out (and no, I’m not talking about physical abuse). He loves you so much and needs you so much. He’s going to realize this and become such a softer, sweeter, open guy who you laugh harder with than you’ve ever laughed before. He’s going to be the first man you’ve ever been with that you won’t have to ask “Do you love me?” because baby, you’re going to know it.

Then we come to the relationship after this divorce. Sweetie…listen to me now. Don’t go out with J. Don’t do it. He’s handsome and smart and loving and yummy right now, but it’s not who he really is. He’s a very troubled, sick man and no matter what you do, you are going to be hurt badly. Very badly. In fact, you’ll carry actual scars with you for the rest of your life. Yes, you helped hubby 3 but J is different. He’s mentally ill and can’t be ‘fixed’. In fact, he doesn’t want to be helped by you at all and what ends up happening is just a shit-ton of hurt heaped on you again and again. But, please do this for me: pray for his kids. OK?

And that takes me to something really important. Honey, you are mentally ill too. Yes, you are beginning an eating disorder right now but you are also bipolar. Let that sink in for a bit. Bipolar. I guess you are still hearing it referred to as manic depression, but it’s a serious one. You know how you feel like you don’t fit in? How you have all that crap going on in your head all the time? How you feel like you can conquer the world at times and then barely be able to face it at others? You know how you have always questioned your existence and wonder why you have to keep living your life? Well…that’s your fucked up brain talking (sorry, ma. Even at 53 she doesn’t like me to cuss…go figure. 😐) You are going to pretend and act and imitate others and hide what you are feeling so well you aren’t even going to see it yourself at times. But you need to see it! This is something that you need help with and the sooner the better. Trust me, it will save you from so much pain in the long run. Go tell ma NOW. I’ll wait. And don’t grab chips on your way back…the oil is bad for those zits. (And for fuck sakes, quit messing with them…I’ve told you once already and I’m not going to say it again. 🙄)

So here’s what happens if you don’t get help for your pesky bipolar: you are going to eventually experience a break down when you’re 51. You’re going to attempt suicide. You are going to cut yourself. You are going to lose a lot of friends. You are going to wish you could just get so far down the tunnel you’re in that you can’t see any light anymore and are basically empty to where you won’t be able to feel anything. Yes, you obviously survive this. No, I don’t want to see you go through this because I love ya. Sheesh.

And no matter what you say, I know you don’t love yourself now. In fact, a lot of high schoolers don’t regardless of how ‘popular’ they are (and guess what? High school never ends. Seriously. It’s just the same crap over and over again.) Look, I’m going to let you in on a secret: no one is looking at you. No one gives a shit about what you look like or weigh or wear as much as you do. Don’t believe me? Ask someone tomorrow at school what clothes you were wearing a month ago and they’ll be dumbfounded. No one remembers day to day…except you. Listen here girlie, when it gets right down to it, you are all you have in this world. You come in it with your own little soul and you’ll exit it with your own little soul, and no matter how many people love you, you are ultimately responsible for you. And honey, you need to learn to love yourself…take care of yourself…believe in yourself. OK? And, just a tip, but that blue eye shadow isn’t doing a damn thing for you. Just sayin’. 😳

OMG (that’s a saying we used in 2020…look it up, toots), you are going to love love love being a professor. LOVE IT! See, you won’t be able to have but 1 kid and your students are going to be your extended family. So many wonderful people will pass through your classroom doors and every single one of them has something special and unique about them that will teach you something…give you something…change you in some way. I know you are going to hate working at Hardees’ and Claire’s in high school/college, but it’s totally worth it to become a freaking professor. (By the way: always start some fries at Hardee’s 20 minutes before closing so you can chomp on them while mopping the floor. Trust me on this and don’t worry about zits. Free fresh fries are worth it. 😁)

Now, here’s some bad news: you know how ma is seeing that son of a bitch? Well, right now he’s not so bad. But, after they get married he’s going to become very violent and you are going to see ma hurt so many times that you’ll lose count. Sissy and you will try to help her the best you can and try as hard as you can to get her away as soon as possible. But, she’s not going to listen to you guys…she’s scared and in denial and at a loss as to how she got in the situation in the first place. Since you and T won’t be able to ‘save her’ until she asks to be saved, just love her and talk to her and tell her how you are always there for her. It’s going to kill you to see her black and blue. But never turn your back on her. She needs you.

And Kristi (I know…I hate our name too 😐), never ever lose faith in God. People are going to tell you how stupid you are to believe in him (even though they believe a ‘Big Bang’ that came out of nowhere caused all of the universe to be created…my point is they are both faith based to a degree) and there are going to be times where you think God has turned his back on you. God never turns his back. He’s always with you. Always loves you. Always feels for you. Thank him every single day for all the blessings you have because girlie, you have a lot of them.

Finally, a guy from high school (another secret I’m going to keep 😀) is going to message you in September of 2020. ANSWER HIM! He’s awesome and will make you feel more loved than you’ve ever felt in your life. And his voice? Sexy as hell. 😉 I know I’ve been to this rodeo more than once (shutty the mouthy 🤠) and can tell you this: he’s your last. OK?

Now, I could have told you something completely different in this letter: who not to marry…who to go out with…etc. but here’s the thing: except for me wanting to protect you from abuse, the people and decisions and behavior in your life are making you what you are today. Everyone in your life has played a role to where you are now, and I believe you are where you should be. When people ask you to listen to them, you do. When they talk about being divorced or mentally ill or feeling like they don’t want to live anymore, you are going to be able to say: “I understand.” You are going to be a hugger. A smiler. You are going to appreciate the people in your life so much and know what a gift each and everyone is. This past is making you into what you are today…and this is a pretty darn good place to be right now.

Look toots, I’m proud of you and want you to be proud of yourself now too. Sing more. Dance more. Put yourself out there more. Try more things. Open up more. Ask for more help. Give more time to family and friends. Say thank you more. Say hello more. Look up at the sky more. Cuddle with your son more. Get as many puppies as you want…carpet can be replaced. Don’t worry about wearing purple all of the time. Plant more flowers. Pick up more trash. And for fuck sakes (not even going to apologize for this one…I’m a rebel), eat dessert…first if you want.

And finally…just one more thing: for piss sakes, don’t go to prom your freshman year with that boob from St. T. But if you do, don’t buy the cream colored dress. It sucks balls. Instead, go for the red one! It rocks.

Kristi xoxo

P.S. I know I shouldn’t do this, but what the hell: In 2004 a company called ‘Google’ is going to go public. Buy some stock. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THATY’S HOLY, BUY SOME STOCK. K? 😉

Dear John.

Dear J,

So, I know you won’t read this and that’s OK…sometimes you need to say something even if no one is listening.

When you texted me the other day, I was pissed. It wasn’t necessary to say you were ‘happy for me’ that I was with Bill and how glad you were that I was finally seeing our ‘relationship for what it was’.

Look buddy, I saw our relationship for what it was at the beginning. Remember then? When you and I were besties and did everything together and took care of each other? Remember when you thought I was the most fantastic person who ever walked the earth and you made me feel like I was loved more than anything? I do. And I believed it. And reveled in it. And savored it with every piece of who I was. I fell in love with you so fast…so hard… because you were every single thing I had wanted.

Then, things started to change. You began to get impatient with me…cut me down…mock my art…make me feel insignificant in your life. And, like I always tend to do in any relationship, I felt it was all my fault. See, it had to be. Right? Because you were perfect at the beginning and I had to have done something to screw that all up.

When I first suspected you were talking to your ex-girlfriend, you assured me you weren’t. And I believed you. Totally. Because I trusted you. Totally. Then the angrier and more distant you got that first year, the harder I tried. Because that’s something else I tend to do: try when things look to be at their worst. What’s a partnership when the people don’t work on addressing their issues and fixing them? The answer is nothing…and both have to want something to work.

Anyhoot, you know how it was that first year. You also know how bad you were because you’ve apologized for it. But I was so attached. Not just to you, but to your amazing kids. J, I love them so so much. I never ever would have let myself get so close to them if I thought we weren’t going to end up working out. I never would have been a 2nd ma to them…never would have held them and kissed them and played with them and took care of them. I hope to hell you gave them the letter I wrote them when I sent your things to you. I want them to know they will always be a part of my heart. Always.

Was it silly of me to think we were still going to work after all we’d gone through in those early days? Was it stupid of me to believe it after you put your hands on me twice and then cheated on me throughout that first summer? Was it naive of me to think that was a one-off and you were truly repentant and that it would never happen again? I guess so. But part of that was your fault. You told me from the very beginning that I was going to be your last. That we’d be a family. That we’d be a forever. I’m one of those people who believe what people say…particularly if it’s something I want to hear.

And things were so much better for our last 2 years. So much. We traveled and grew together and solidified what were building. Yes, there were some bad times too. Some raging…some horrible words…some days when you would simply leave without contacting me for days. But it was better and I knew in my heart you were trying.

I excused so much of what you did because of your PTSD. I was so so proud of your military service…3 tours is truly amazing. I was also aware of your friends death that happened in front of you and the other terrible things you had to witness. Of course I took that into consideration during the times you were unstable. I also knew of your childhood. How dare your family raise you and treat you the way they did. No little boy deserves any of what you suffered. None. You were an innocent child and because of their own ignorance, selfishness, and issues they raised a boy who never had the chance to experience the unconditional love from a family which later provides the base for future relationships. I hate that for you.

So, I tried to give that to you and people thought I was nuts. I lost friends because I kept taking you back. But they didn’t understand how fragile all love is to you…how much you fought against it because you had never had it…how much history I was trying to erase for you. They didn’t understand how bonded I was to you. How connected.

And yes, I know my anger at your cheating and abuse was a problem during those last years. You would get so upset when I asked to see your phone or ask who you’d been talking to or where you’d been. In fact, you’d get so upset that I felt guilty for it, even though I was completely justified. Having to win back my trust was your penance so to speak…the price you needed to pay for the months of cheating that happened. Do you really blame me for that? Then, when you’d lash out at my ‘control’, I’d get even more angry since you just didn’t get it. You were in a similar situation once and told me you couldn’t handle it. Well, I was handling it the only way I knew how…trying to get out my anger and build up that trust.

I also knew how distant I was that last summer we were together. I think I had to do it though. I needed to know that no matter what happened between us, I’d be OK . And, I needed that lesson…didn’t I?

Then, we argued over your son needing some help. You know he does and I couldn’t understand why you were fighting something that he needed (needs) so desperately. I got loud and angry and said things I shouldn’t have…but someone needs to fight for that little guy. And it was my turn that night.

But, the ‘fight’ led you to someone else who I had the pleasure of seeing in the apartment I helped you move into, decorate, and furnish. That was fun. I had come over to tell you we both needed to let go of our anger and move forward. And you said this: “You’re a day late.”

Wow. It’s my fault you cheated again because I was a day late in coming to you. And then? You wouldn’t even speak to me. I haven’t heard your voice for a year now and it was the most humiliating thing in the world for the person who hurt me to disregard me so completely. Like I never existed. Like I was nothing. Like I was simply thrown away. Which actually, you pretty much did.

I mourned us for months and months and months. Every single night, without fail, I’d ask God to bring you and the kids back to me. Every. Single. Night. And he didn’t. Finally about 5 weeks ago, I asked God to just do his will and what he knew was right for me. Bill literally messaged me the next day.

He’s awesome. Totally. He’s kind and understanding and sweet and smart and funny. Actually, he’s everything you were in the beginning. And that scares the fuck out of me. I never would have believed in a million years you would end up treating me like you did, and Bill is having to show me again and again he’s not going to do the same. Bless his heart…he’s taking on this baggage and doing it so willingly and well. I love him. To be honest, it’s not the “Oh my God I’m going to die without him love” that I had for you. It’s different. Softer. Nicer. It’s safe and content and secure and I’m growing in it. Instead of shrinking. Damn that feels good.

So, it’s been a year since we parted and you told me I was finally seeing things for what they are. Let me shed some light on this for you: I loved you. More than you’ve ever been loved by anyone in your life. I took care of you. I loved your children. I wanted nothing more than to build a future with you. I even loved you enough to forgive you again and again and again. That’s what things were. It’s funny, isn’t it? I tend to remember the good we had, while you ruminate on the bad. You need to break that habit for your next love.

Anyway, it’s been a long time coming and I’m finally ready to let you go. Took a while, didn’t it? So here it is: goodbye, J. God bless you and the kids. I hope you find your happy. I hope the kids grow into the awesome people I know they can be. I hope they lead happy, healthy, safe lives and will one day hear my name and smile. If that’s all that’s left of everything I went through with you, then it’s enough. Truly.

Kristi

“Sunday, Monday Happy Days…” ~ Happy Days Theme Song

Photo by gya den on Pexels.com

So, my ma sent sissy and I an e-mail that was literally entitled: “Pictures for Seniors”. Yes. You read that correctly. My ma apparently thinks my sis and I are in the ‘senior’ age category like she is. I think I speak for my sis when I say I was going to e-mail ma a snarky comeback to such an e-mail, but then I opened the damned thing and realized I knew a LOT of what these ‘old pics’ were. Thanks, ma. I now feel elderly. “T? Should we start looking at old age homes together?” 🙄

These 2 pics actually made me laugh out loud. When ma was a fresh divorcee and I was a freshman in high school, she decided she wanted to save some money and asked me to give her a perm. Let me rephrase this in case you don’t get the dramatics of it: Ma asked a freshman high schooler who had absolutely no experience at all with curlers, perming lotion, etc. to give her a perm with the expectation it would look at good as the gal at the beauty parlor used to give her for $50. Now I ask you…what could go wrong?

Well…first off, ma’s hair is not the thickest and after rolling 3 curlers, I was done. I literally got all of her hair into 3 rollers and figured the ‘stragglers’ and short hair underneath that couldn’t fit on a roller would just ‘blend in.’ Ma was skeptical since the beauty parlor used about 30 on her but I told her to trust me…I knew what I was doing. (I had no fucking clue what I was doing…sorry, ma! 🤨). Anyhoot, I drizzled on the very smelly and chemically goop on the curlers and we waited for the magic to happen. After a time, I figured we should wash it out. Now, here’s some life advice for you grasshoppers…please take heed: when you are asked to wash your ma’s hair in the sink with a shitty sprayer, don’t do it. Period. You will inadvertently spray water in her ears, up her nose, and in her eyes. She will get mad at you and say words you never ever thought your ma even knew.

I took out the curlers (didn’t take long) and VOILA! Ma had a perm in 1/20 of her hair with the 3 curls looking fried and crispy. She was not a happy camper…but neither was I! “That’s what you get for trying to save a buck, Ma!”

My grandma also liked curls and after grandpa would shampoo her hair in the sink (she certainly didn’t fuss like ma 🙄) she would sit on the ‘davenport’ (which was always covered with a flowery sofa cover so you never knew what it looked like at all) with a hand mirror between her legs and make her ‘pin curls’. It was quite something to see.

Does anyone play ‘jacks’ anymore? I’m thinking not since they are sharp, metal mini-weapons that you played on concrete to where you scraped your hand with every move. Ahhhhh…those were the days. Anyhoot, I was a jacks champion! I could get to my ‘sixies’ fast but I have to say this: T had the best jack ball of all and I was pea green with envy. Neon orange and pink and bigger than the standard ball…it was a sight to behold.

I know there are still roller rinks around but in the 70’s they were the bomb! The skates that stank of old feet whose laces were always torn so you had to tie little tiny knots you couldn’t untie later in the day. The disco ball rotating above the floor with The Village People singing YMCA in the background while you made the letters with your arms. The ‘moonlight’ skate where you…gasp!…held hands with a crush and skated around to Olivia Newton John. The snack bar where you could buy a plate of nachos with sticky orange cheese globbed on top. The bathroom where your friends would congregate so you could giggle about the guys you skated with. I’ll say this: best $5 you could spend. 😃

And I actually had a ‘Wooly Willy’ and Pic Up Stix. When I think about it though, Wooly Willy was kinda creepy and if I had one now, I’d probably be naughty with where I put the black stuff. But I loved Pic Up Stix…trying to get a stick out of the pile without moving any others. Only for the very talented…that’s for sure.

Now, do you know what these are? They go in the center of 45’s (records, peeps) and you played these singles again and again and again. There was nothing sis and I liked more than to grab our hairbrushes, close her bedroom door (her room was bigger…my closet was bigger…it worked out well), and sing The Partridge Family to our pretend fans who were listening with rapt admiration while we gyrated along on our pretend stage on T’s shag carpet. *T…should we go on America’s Got Talent together? Text me ASAP.

Ahhhhhh…the smell of old classrooms with chalk and crayons and pencil sharpeners and the class hamster no one wanted after the first week. I loved school! Every single classroom I was in from Kindergarten through at least middle school had the green alphabet hanging over the blackboard. Why in the name of all that is holy are some school districts not teaching cursive writing? This just burns me 😠 ! Writing in cursive is an art and doing so can actually boost creative juices…this is why so many authors write in long-hand like Joyce Carol Oates and J.K. Rowling. In fact, Voltaire once said: “Writing is the Painting of the Voice.” Isn’t that a yummy quote?

And ditto machines? Every worksheet was in purple and to be one of the teachers helpers and actually operate this beast was the best. I loved using the machine because not only did you miss class for a bit, your fingers got all purple and the ink smelled so good. Actually… Hmmmm… I think the ink actually made me quite high at times. No wonder I wanted to be a teacher. Go figure.

Whenever I see a flashbulb camera, I think of my grandpa at holidays. His wasn’t as cool as this one but he had a camera with a flashbulb that would literally blind you after it went off. Hells bells…no wonder everyone in my generation wears glasses. Anyhoot, you had to stand ramrod straight so the pic wouldn’t blur, look directly into the lens so gramps could line everything up correctly, and then BOOM! A blue light flashed throughout the room and for the next 10 minutes, you battled a migraine while seeing spots 🤪. Now son, I know you are a professional photographer and are so amazing at what you do. But until you use a flashbulb and everyone’s skin looks transparent and their eyes remind you of someone possessed, you haven’t experienced photography at it’s best. Just sayin’.

So…I just read this over and am kinda thinking ma did right by sending that e-mail even though her daughters are no where near being a ‘senior.’ It’s fun to look back on things that seem so archaic or silly now and it makes me wonder what my son’s future kids will someday say about what he grew up with. Laptops? iPhones? Pokemon? Blue Ray player? What the heck are those? Of course my grandkids will think I’m the hippest grammy ever…and I’ll be right there with them rolling my eyes at my son as he reminisces over his Charmander card one more time.

Kristi xoxo

“The whole thing I think, it’s sick.” ~ Slipknot

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

So, here’s a disclaimer for this particular post: the views of the author (me 🙄) are not necessarily those of anyone else on the planet (although I’m sure there will be MANY women nodding and agreeing with what I have to say) but are based on my experiences only. K? Hey ho…let’s go!

Hopefully my sweetie peeps aren’t reading this while eating because I’m going to get just a tad gross right now. For the past 3 freaking weeks, I’ve been dealing with an inner ear infection and kidney infection (which has made me pee blood for the entire time…charmed, I’m sure 😐) and am now on my 3rd round of antibiotics. During this all, I’ve managed to keep up with school, the house, the yard, the shopping, the dog caring, the plant watering, and everything else that needs attended too. Consequently, some friends have said this: “But you don’t act sick…it must not be a big deal.” Well…peeing blood is kind of a big deal since you think you are knocking on death’s door and the inner ear infection hurts like a MF (don’t ask what that is, ma…it’s not a bad word 🙄). Anyhoot, this made me think of how differently I’ve handled sickness and injury in my life compared to the many many hubbies I’ve had over the years (shutty the mouthies). * Note to Sis: you are why I use the word ‘charming’ now! 😘

Hubby 2 and I had only been married for a few months when he came home early from work one day and told me he was ‘sick as a dog.’ First, my dogs rarely get sick and second, they are troupers when they do. Anyhoot, I asked him the following to ascertain what exactly was wrong with him: “Are you throwing up? Does your throat hurt? Do your ears hurt? Are you achy? Have you had diarrhea? Did you pass out?” To each of these questions I heard a resounding “no.” So, I asked him: “B, what exactly is wrong with you that you felt you needed to come home during ‘All My Children’ just as Erica and Jack were preparing for their wedding?” And his answer? “I just feel ‘off’.”

Okey dokey. Hmmmm. I sort of felt off too considering I was 8 months preggers in the middle of July in the middle of Kansas carrying an extra 65 pounds (8 of which was actually ‘baby’) while still doing every God forsaken thing around the house and yard. So, I said: “Describe ‘off'” and he did: “You know the day before the day before you are actually sick? That’s me.”

What the fuck (sorry, ma 🙄)? The day BEFORE the day? Who knew his constitution was so delicate that he could ‘feel’ a sickness 2 days before it happened? Wow! And, side note: he didn’t get sick 2 days later. At all.

Fast forward to a family dinner with my nephews and in-laws while we were visiting home when O was a little guy. I went into the kitchen and saw my sweetie nephew K, with his feet in a bowl of salsa. Let me say that again: his feet were in a bowl of salsa. In the bowl. Right as I was getting ready to tell my stressed out sis-in-law about the foot situation, she said: “K! Get your feet out of the salsa and put it on the table!” And he did. So, I trot out to the family room where all of the male relatives are waiting for us ‘women folk’ to serve them (don’t ask…it was like the 1940’s 😬) and I say to B: “B…whatever you do, DO NOT EAT THE SALSA! K’s feet were in it.” And what did he say for me being so kind as to give him this warning? “You don’t like my family…blah blah blah…you are just saying that…blah blah blah…” So, the salsa is on the table. B eats the salsa. Kristi and her little fella don’t eat the salsa. And…drumroll please…B gets sick. As a dog. O and I don’t. ‘Nuff’ said.

Once when we were in Kansas (away from any family that could help), all 3 of us got the flu. It was hellish at best. Two adults and a little guy in diapers (just O was wearing the diapers although I was greatly tempted to myself 😐) barfing, pooping, coughing and sneezing all over the place. All of our sheets and towels were dirty and our washer was pretty small. So when B and O fell asleep, I tottered to the laundry with 5 loads, did it all while laying on the floor of the laundry steeped in my flu sweat (literally 😳) while people stepped around me like I was Typhoid Mary, and came home before my men were even awake. When B found out everything was clean, he said: “What happened to the laundry?” For piss sakes…what the hell did he think happened? Think man! I said: “I went to the laundry to do it.” And my sweetie hubby said this: “I guess you aren’t as sick as I am.” OOOKKKKAAAAYYY. Ugh. 🤒

A couple years later, he called me from his work and said: “Now honey…don’t worry but I cut myself and have a huge gash on my hand.” This scared the shit out of me since I was thinking I’d have to take care of everything myself for a couple of weeks. I asked if he needed stitches and he said he was just going ‘to tough it out.’ My hero. When he got home, he had a sock wrapped around a finger. I very very gently unwrapped the sock and said: “Honey, where is it?” He said: “It’s right there!” like I was an idiot or something. I looked. And looked. And looked. And all I could see was a scratch that looked like a paper cut. So I said: “B…is this it?” He said: “Yes! That’s the gash!” Oh my lord. For fuck sakes, I’ve had bigger shaving mishaps. 😐

Hubby 3 wasn’t much better. When he would get his yearly bout of bronchitis, he would tell me this: “Do not bother me. Leave me alone. I don’t need anything and I can take care of myself.” Wow! The first time he said this I was gobsmacked. What a difference! This guy was going to take care of himself….and he did. Sorta.

First though, I needed to get him: his meds, Halls cough drops, Vicks Vapo Rub which I rubbed on this chest then put a warm washcloth over, his Ghost Rider movie complete with remote and soda, never ending bowls of chunky Chicken Noodle soup (only Campbells…the others ‘didn’t taste right’ to him), a stack of hankies by his hands (no Kleenex for this guy…he thought it was much more hygienic to use these multiple times and then have me wash them with fabric softener so his nose wouldn’t get irritated), his favorite pillow (with ever changing pillow cases so he could feel ‘fresh’), his favorite pajama pants (Jack Daniels with a hole in the crotch for easy scratching 🙄), his phone and charger, a bowl of M and M’s (since those are great for bronchitis), and a bell by the couch so he could ring if he needed anything he couldn’t get for himself. He was definitely a little soldier.

My son, bless his heart, tends to take after his dad. In other words (and he doesn’t read all of my posts so I’m not too worried about him seeing this 😳 ), he can be a bit of a ‘bother’ when he’s sick too but he also has another quirk which I actually don’t mind: he likes it when I’m ‘there’ when he’s sick. When he was little, he would practically refuse to throw up or juicy poop unless I was witness to it, and as a man now, he doesn’t want me to watch (phew) but does like to ‘describe’ what is happening so I can make my diagnosis.

Courtesy of https://www.glasbergen.com/ Cartoon ID: toon-3368

Now that’s a whole other ball of wax. My family doc who has been with us for 24 years just loves it when I try to diagnosis illnesses myself. For example, when I went in the other day for this infection, I told him I had punched my symptoms into a med site and am either suffering from prostate cancer, sepsis, or am pregnant. He rolled his eyes…I swear he did…and said this to me quite clearly (with a tinge of frustration): “Kristi. You are not a doctor. I am a doctor. I have a medical degree. I will do the diagnosis.” So I said: “But doc…I have a Master’s degree (in Family Studies…very relevant to medicine 🙄) and peruse WebMD regularly.” I heard him mutter something under his breath…I’m still trying to figure out what he said.

Anyhoot, I’m going to keep on being my strong, brave self in the face of this physical adversity and just make sure my ‘papers’ are in order in case anything happens. I’ve only asked Bill for about a dozen things and ma has only gotten about 30 calls from me. Every neighbor in a 5 mile radius knows of my ‘infection’ and I announced it to all 1000 friends on facebook. In other words, I’m one of these women who can take care of herself (Bill? Can you bring me some fresh ice cubes? These smell ‘used’.) and doesn’t need anyone else to pamper her (Ma? I think some of your homemade chili would hit the spot…but if you’re too busy…for your sick daughter…that’s fine…sigh…). I am woman hear me roar (Ouch…that roar hurt my throat…O? Can you bring me some cough syrup to soothe it?) and am just so damn proud I’m stronger then the men in my life (Pop? Some non-dairy ice cream would really hit the spot right now.). Just saying.

Kristi xoxo

“Let it all hang out.” ~ Weezer

So, sometimes it’s hard to come up with things to blawg about. I think about whether I want to be serious, funny (yes, some of the posts are meant to be funny…at least ma and sis gets them 🙄), educational, etc. But then someone messages me and let’s me know exactly what I need to say. Bless their hearts…they are doing half my work for me!

Anyhoot, yesterday I posted about body image struggles and one of my past sweetie students and I talked a bit and she said this today:

“I always thought you were so badass because you are so fit, you held down a full time job, and were a mom and you in my eyes were your own woman but it just shows everyone struggles with voices in their head. I always looked up to you while I was in your classes as someone I wanted to be like one day and I want you to know you are loved by so many people.”

Now Pinky Tuscadero was a BADASS!

First, this choked me up and I had to use my hankie. Second, this gal is a beautiful woman, excellent wife, and amazing mama. To have her say these words means so much. Third, am I a badass? That sounds so freaking cool to me. “Hello everyone. My name is Kristi and I’m a badass!” 😎

But here’s what made me think: we all have personal struggles…voices in our heads telling us things about ourselves that no one else sees…obstacles we are personally trying to overcome day after day. Isn’t it amazing though how we are so good at hiding these? How we feel like we need to keep these to ourselves? I wonder why we do that? Why we don’t allow others to see our struggles so they can learn from them…help with them? Know they aren’t alone.

I think there’s still such a huge misconception regarding mental health and mental illness. None of us have ‘perfect’ mental health…and when someone talks about another person acting so ‘normal’ I wonder what that means. Is there a ‘normal’? Or…is there a ‘normal’ for each of us? I tend to think the latter is true. But we’re so hard on ourselves when we don’t feel that mental health ‘perfection’…probably because there are so many books, quotes, mantras, meditations, etc. that tell us we can have it if we follow their advice. Uh uh. Not true.

I love that my student saw me so positively and sees that you can be strong and smart and funny…yet still have struggles. Having a mental illness or mental health issues doesn’t take away from the ‘soul’ of who you are. It just puts up hurdles we have to learn to jump.

Hmmm…isn’t that a great analogy? Sometimes I can jump over my hurdles really well…they’re sitting ‘low’ that day, and other days I struggle to get over even one of them.

We need to be more vocal about our struggles. Our battles. Our obstacles. I hate that people think they’re alone and that everyone else has it figured out. We need to teach more about mental health and mental illness. We need to stop pretending to be ‘perfect’ and wearing the masks we feel we need to don everyday. We need to be honest when someone asks about how we are. Instead of saying “I’m fine” why can’t we say: “You know, I’m struggling today…can you talk a bit?” Or, when we see someone who looks down or anxious or stressed…why can’t we say: “Hey…you OK today? You need anything?”

Why is it so fucking (sorry ma 🙄) easy to blab to all and sundry about our physical issues? After all, there’s nothing more I like than to hear about people having trouble with constipation and the many laxatives they’ve tried. 💩

Charming.

But we can’t talk about our mental issues? We can talk about pooping, peeing, bleeding, leaking, erecting, etc. but we can’t say, “I’m depressed and I need help.” Or, “I’m thinking these things about myself and need someone to talk too.”? Sheesh.

Why is it still so taboo? Why do we picture people that do struggle as ‘less than’? (Why am I using so many ‘quotation marks’ today?🤔 ) Why can’t we admit that although what you see on the outside looks pretty good, the inside is needing some help. Some attention.

I love that my sweetie-pie student sees that inner struggles are something we all have. I love that she told me she’s going to be talking to someone about hers. I love that she understood she can reach out to me and I’ll listen.

Most of all I love being able to open up to my peeps about all of my struggles…body image, being bipolar, anxiety, relationship issues (shutty 😐) etc. I love that you listen and support and care. But, I’d really love it if this was the norm. If all of us felt comfortable talking about our mental health. Opening up about our struggles. Getting the help and support we need.

That, my sweet peeps, would be awesome.

Kristi xoxo

“We are what we imagine ourselves to be.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about body image lately because of Bill. He has issues with this himself and we’ve talked about how we’re both insecure. Let’s take a look-see.

Bill went through a lot in 1995…his twin brother died, he lost his job, and his wife left him after she cheated on him. The only way he knew to cope with his grief and stress was to eat. A lot. Bill has always been a binge eater and he completely lost control during this time. In fact, he gained over 200 pounds and weighed close to 500. He could barely do anything with so much weight on his body and a couple of years later, after feeling horrible and like he was going to die at a young as as well, he decided to start running since it was something he’d done in school and the Navy and liked. He knew he needed a ‘new addiction’ (not food!) plus he wanted to get healthy and lose the weight that was holding him back.

I’m gobsmacked.

To make a long story short (something I’m not so good at 🙄), he ended up losing the 200 pounds, has run marathons, and 4 ultras. For you non-runners out there (hi ma! 😁), an ultra is a 100 mile run. One. Hundred. Freaking. Miles. That’s unbelievable to me! I’ve done 5 marathons myself, and after 26 miles, I’m wiped. I can’t imagine getting to that point in a run and still have 74 to go. And yes, he wants me to run one with him. And no, there’s not a snowballs chance in hell I will. 😲

Now, I’ve written about my struggle with anorexia and like all eating disorders, you are never ‘cured’ but aren’t always experiencing the severity of what it can be. With anorexia, you wax and wane depending on environmental stressors and I’ve had bouts of it after my worst time in high school.

Part of anorexia is having a distorted body image. Regardless of what really is there, you see yourself in the mirror and think you’re fat. I mean, you ACTUALLY see fat and this simply feeds (no pun intended although that was pretty good) into the anorexia and a new cycle begins. We know that having a high level of perfectionism and self-criticism are common in people with a distorted body image, and I’m lucky enough to have both of these. Of course. 🙄

My biggest area of concern (and yes, I still struggle with this…I never eat ANYTHING without wondering what it’s doing to my weight 🤔) is my belly. I hate it! I see it as way too big and abnormally large for my frame. And yes, my friends and family have told me it isn’t for decades, but I still see it that way. Blech.

God Bless you, Kristen!

Anyhoot, here’s where Bill has really helped me and I hope I’ve helped him too. Because of his huge weight loss, he has a lot of loose skin and is still a pretty big guy. He’s so self-conscious about this and was really shy (so cute!) about being intimate with me (nothing much, ma…just smooching…🙄). But here’s the thing: when I saw him, I was still so attracted to him. He’s sexy to me…handsome. I don’t see him as ‘skin’ and ‘weight’…I see him as someone I love who is perfectly unperfect. In fact, I told him his skin was a badge of honor at losing so much weight and accomplishing so much as a runner.

So I started thinking about why I can’t do the same with myself. Why do I continue to beat myself up for my own body imperfections (and I have a lot of ’em)? It’s like I’m finally understanding (hello, lightbulb 😳) that if someone really loves me, why should I worry about my fucking belly (sorry, ma 🙄)? Why should I think myself un-loveable or undesirable when Bill, and the people around me don’t? If Bill can believe that I accept him in the package he comes in, why can’t I accept my own packaging? Why’s it so hard to believe him when he says I’m beautiful (I made an appointment for him at “All About Eyes”🤓 ) when I want him to believe how I think he’s a cutie patootie? And…if I’ve truly come to love myself again, shouldn’t I love my ‘package’ too (sounds a bit dirty, ‘eh?)?

But bigger questions are seeping in my head too. Why have I wasted so much time on looks? Why have I denied myself so many things to keep fighting a battle that will never be won? Why do I only see my worth in terms of my bod? Hmmmm…these are toughies to answer.

When I was with my last partner (20 years younger…shutty the mouthies, please 🙄), I was so so so so so (get it?) self-conscious around him! Not long into our relationship, he told me that my neck looked old. And yes it does. I was 50 years old and the skin is thinning and wrinkling (charming 😐). But I took what he said without question, and now I can’t even look at a pic of myself without seeing my ugly neck. I was also very conscious of my shape. Women his age have such great, young smooth bodies (sigh…). How could I ever compete with that? (Obviously I couldn’t…he didn’t cheat on me with another 50 year old…that’s for sure 😐).

Then Bill came over for the first time and we kissied a bit (just a couple pecks, ma) and he actually said this without knowing my insecurity: “I love your neck.” He didn’t understand why I suddenly burst into tears and when I told him about J, he said this: “Why would you believe anything that jerk-wad said?” Wow. That was put into perspective, particularly since I now have a loving, kind, nice guy tell me otherwise and it’s his opinion that matters. Actually, mine does too.

Yes, my neck is wrinkly. But I’m 53 (as is Bill…no worries there🙄 ) and after the breakdown I had a couple of years ago, it hit me that I’m so lucky just to be alive. So lucky my suicide attempt didn’t succeed. So lucky I had the support around me to get myself out of that hellish place. YEA! I have a wrinkly neck! And…I’m alive. How ’bout that?

And my belly? Of course Bill hasn’t seen it yet (if you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Wyoming to sell you. And ma, just disregard that offer…K?😃), but he has told me my shape is perfect for him. For me. I’m who I’m supposed to be. And I look the way I’m supposed to look. And he loves it all just like I love all of him.

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why can’t we cut ourselves the slack we cut others? Why can’t we see ourselves through other’s eyes? Why do we waste so much time and energy on something that in the end is so superficial? You know, I love the last scene of “Rocketman” where Elton (I LOVE YOU, TARON 🧡) is in his group therapy and says this: “I’ve spent so long feeling resentful for things that just don’t matter.” How right he is.

There are people out there that would give anything for my ‘wrinkly’ neck and ‘stick-outy’ belly. I have a body that works and plays hard for me, and that’s really all that should matter. The rest is just icing. Why is it that the lessons we need the most are often learned so late in life? Maybe because we’re most open to them then? Hmmmm.

Kristi xoxo

“At first I was afraid, I was petrified…” ~ I Will Survive

Photo by Edward Eyer on Pexels.com

So, one of my students shared a tweet they had seen in a paper they wrote for me and I was so intrigued by it. The “Feminist Next Door” wrote this: “Women, imagine that for 24 hours, there were no men in the world. No men are being harmed in the creation of this hypothetical. They will all return. They are safe and happy wherever they are during this hypothetical time period. What would or could you do that day?” (@emrazz).

Here are some of the replies:

  • “Go out without worrying, dress however I want to go out, go for a walk at night or generally going for a walk with headphones at whatever volume I like, the list is endless…”
  • “Enter my workplace without being harassed.”
  • “…the freedom to move around the world without fear and with confidence.”
  • “Walk my favorite trail at night, with or without my large dog, and marvel at the stars away from the city lights.”
  • “I was thinking I’d let my daughter be free in public, take a deep breath and just let her be, not watch her like a hawk.”
  • “Hike in the woods, sleep with my windows open, or outside, walk everywhere, leave my home any time of the day I wanted too.”
  • “…not be forced to smile and respond to strange men making jokes for fear of them becoming hostile.”
  • “Talk about things I have expertise in, uninterrupted.”
  • “Talk without being corrected.  Talk without having things explained to me when I hadn’t asked for it.  Talk without constantly watching my tone or making what I was saying more palatable.”

Wow.  When I read these responses, and this is just the tip of the iceberg, I was gobsmacked.  Truly.  Now, before anyone starts defending men, let me do it myself.  

Obviously, from my many many many (🙄) marriages, I love men (maybe a bit too much 😳) .  And besides my rockin’ son, I love my nephews with all my heart as well.  My dad is a good man…my grandpas were good men…and I have tons of male students/colleagues/friends etc. that are good men.  THERE ARE REALLY GOOD MEN IN THE WORLD!  Got that?  Good.  

But, like with everything, there is always good and bad.  And here’s the thing:  men do prey on women much more than women prey on men or other women.  Let’s take a look-see with stats from The National Coalition against Domestic Violence:  

  • 1:4 women and 1:7 men have experienced severe (injurious) physical violence by their intimate (opposite sex) partner.
  • 1:10 women have been raped by an intimate partner (no data available on men)
  • 1:5 women and 1:71 men have been raped in their lifetime.
  • 19.3 million women and 5.1 million men have been stalked in their lifetime.

Wow.  Again.  Obviously, violence is an issue for both men and women but when it comes right down to it, women are violated more by men than vice versa.   

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I think it’s really hard for men to understand how scary the world is for women.  Let’s face it ladies:  men are stronger then we are.  Yeppers.  It’s true.  It doesn’t mean women aren’t strong…of course not.  But when it gets right down to the nitty gritty, men have much more muscle mass, power, etc. that puts us all at a disadvantage.  And anytime a person’s size is used as a tool against someone (bullies always pick on the little guys…right?), the ‘fight’ is no longer fair.  Grip tests have women scoring 90% less than 95% of men, and the fastest woman in history (Flo-Jo: RIP ❤) has world record times that wouldn’t qualify for the men’s Olympic team.  

A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that men (on average) have an average of 26 pounds more muscle mass than women.  Also, women exhibited about 40% less upper-body strength and 33% less lower-body strength.  

Is it no wonder that women fear this population who can feasibly ‘win’ against them at any time?  Man on man violence?  More of an equal fight.  Man on women violence…not so much so.  

I know that whenever I go to a store by myself at night or run until dusk or even just take a hike at our local nature center by myself, I’m leery.  I’m watching my surroundings.  Listening for noises.  Hurrying on my way.  And I’m not being ‘paranoid’ by doing so.  The top places for women to be attacked (besides their own home 😕) are grocery store parking lots, office parking lots, public restrooms, trails, and college campuses.  To top it off, the most common time for attack is between 5:00 – 8:30 in the MORNING.  

“So, don’t do these things, dumbass.”  Rrrrriiiiiggggghhhhhttttt.  I’ll refrain from going to the store.  Parking my car in my school’s parking lot.  Not running on the bike trails in my town.  And I’ll be real sure not to do any of these things in the morning.  

But I think the responses of the women on Twitter show it’s more than just being fearful of men in specific areas, etc. but an overall unease that seems to permeate a woman’s world everyday.  Not being taken seriously.  Not being listened too.  Feeling you have to soften things when addressing them.  Feeling the humiliation of being talked too in a condescending way.  It’s almost as if women have to ‘monitor’ their words so carefully…not over-step their bounds at work lest they be seen as bitches.  Not be too much smarter than a guy lest they be called the same.   Not out-run a guy too much (like I could do Hubby 3) lest you be a ‘ball buster’.  And the list goes on.  

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Then, IF we do get attacked, victim blaming is often the norm.  “Why were you out late?”  “Why did you go to the store then?”  “Why didn’t you wear something more conservative?”  “Why didn’t you look around more?”  In other words, the ‘whys’ center on the victim’s behavior…and not the perps.  Fucked up, huh (sorry ma, but I know you agree! 🤨)?

I get this.  An incident happened at a workplace once where a subordinate sent me texts describing how he’d like to rape me and make me into lampshades (he knew I had some Jewish ancestry).  We had been friendly at one time, and when I passed on his desire to be more than friends, this was the result.  So how was this handled at that particular workplace?  I had the texts.  The literal texts.  And I was blamed.  I must have been too ‘flirty’ (i.e. nice/funny/kind 🙄) so what the hell did I expect?  Of course he should have sent me these.  Of course I should have been threatened with rape.  Right?

All of this isn’t women’s issues though.  When it get’s right down to it, it’s men’s issues.  It’s like bullies at a school:  help the victim and the bully will move on to another and another and another.  Help the freaking bully…find out what the hell is happening in his (or of course, her) life that might be causing the anger, frustration, feelings of inadequacy, etc. and work on that.  Fix the bully…fix the problem.  

So why aren’t we doing that?  Why aren’t all parents teaching their sons to be the ‘good men’ we know they can be?  Is it that difficult to teach our sons respect?  Kindness?  Sensitivity?  Empathy?  Or do any of the parent’s  messages really matter when the media and their peers often tell them otherwise.  

I didn’t do a perfect job raising my sonshine.  In fact, I fucked up (sorry again, ma…I couldn’t help myself 😐) many many many times…as do all parents.  But I like to think I did teach him these things the best I could.  Some he’s better at than others.  And like a lot of other men, I don’t think he takes the fears that women have as seriously as he should simply because he doesn’t live in that world.  A world of power and strength that physically puts you at a disadvantage regardless of anything else.  I used to ask him to check on my while I ran and he’s say “Ma…you’ll be fine.”  Yes.  I have been (except for 1 time a guy ran me off the road and came after me 😞 ).  So far.  See, he wouldn’t have to worry going out for an early morning run as much as I have too. 

I believe the majority of men in this world are great guys.  I believe that because I’ve seen that.  But I also know the world can be a very dark and scary place for women because of the bad ones.  And how we can fix this is something we need to work on.  Now.

Kristi xoxo  

 

“The Bachelor”

So, I decided to drive to Indiana to see Bill this past weekend and had forgotten what a ‘bachelor’ pad looks like.  It’s obvious to me the poor man needs my help in terms of ‘decorating’ and…well…most everything else as it pertains to housing.  🙄

When Eddie and I were on our way to “The Pad” (Little Miss Dottie was with her brother…otherwise known as my sonshine 😎), I called Bill to chit chat while making the 3 hour drive.  I was confident he’d have everything I needed but clothes, so I was a bit taken aback when he said this:  “Uh…there’s no food in the house.”  

OK.  I get it.  No ‘food’ means there’s just the basics: crackers, bread, peanut butter, eggs…you know, the staples.  Ed and I split a hamburger outside of Terre Haute and I figured we would snack once we arrived.  When we got there, Bill was at work and after lugging in my bag and pillow (can’t sleep with out it…down filled…on sale at Kohls last year plus my Kohl bucks plus my 30% off made it nice and cheap or otherwise I would have said “Hell to the no” in terms of the price 🤨) I decided to get some food out because I was so freaking hungry.  And, as my family members know, when I’m hungry, I’m very VERY crabby.  😠

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Bill’s fridge. Nuff said.

So…I start opening the cabinets.  Plates…glasses…cutlery…pots…spice rack (minus spices😐)…and…no food.  Heh?  Did I miss it?  I scrounged through the cabinets again and there was…no food.  OK.  Stay calm, Kristi.  I tottered (because of my hunger I was a bit unsteady on my feet…or it could have been that I’m just unsteady on my feet) over to the REALLY nice fridge (meaning, better than mine) and opened her up.  And waiting to be eaten was literally 2 bunches of brown bananas.  Two.  That’s it.  There was NOTHING else in that son-of-a-bitch.  Now, I realize bananas are food…but they are the ONE fruit I can’t stand.  At all.  So…with a hopeful heart, I opened the freezer and lo and behold, there was…NOTHING. 

What I realized were these 2 things:  Bill is very literal and truthful when he speaks, and not everybody stocks up food for weeks on end like I do.  Sooooo…I gave him a jingle and he said this:  “Honey, I’ll bring you food after I get off of work…at 4:00 in the morning.”  Well…this was sweet but I was hungry at 8:00 in the evening.  So I stuffed a banana down my gullet and when Bill arrived the next morning he brought me the staples we all should have:  2 bags of sunchips, a Hershey bar, and a ‘healthy’ organic protein bar that has more calories than a full birthday cake and tastes like cardboard on top of cardboard.  *Note to family:  I said birthday cake.  If I’m not mistaken, I’m the next birthday we need to prepare for.  Just sayin’.   🙄

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Edward was quite comfy on the bed!

Eddie and I then looked for a place to sit and read for a while, and as I really looked around, I saw there was very little furniture.   Very little.  In fact, his house consists of a kitchen table and 1 chair downstairs, and a bed and 3 small chairs upstairs.  And that’s it.  Hmmm.  I decided on the bed and I think I made the right choice and as you can see, Eddie concurred.  When I called Bill again and asked why he didn’t have any ‘usable’ furniture…you know, like a couch or comfy chair, he said:  “I never really thought about it.”  OOOKKKKAAAAYYYY!  

Now when I first went upstairs, Eddie and I had to fumble our way in the dark to find the various rooms I assumed existed, and I started flipping light switches before a serial killer popped out.   I tried 5 switches in a row.  None worked.  I finally stumbled into what I assumed was some kind of bedroom, felt my way around like Mr. Magoo, and found a lamp!  Hallelujah!   Then, with that precious light on I found the other bedrooms.  However, since the switches didn’t work because there are NO ceiling lights in the whole place, I had to carry around a 6′, cast iron, wobbly lamp everywhere I wanted to go.  I really roughed it…sorta like Laura Ingalls having to carry  lantern.  (I’m actually quite proud I survived this 😉).

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The heavy lamp I drug to the hallway so I could see to type this.

So, Edward and I saw that one of the ‘dark rooms’ was Bill’s office.  This modern day technologically impressive room had 2 computers, both of which are quite old, a filing cabinet labeled ‘student grades’ (he is not a teacher), and unopened boxes.  I was actually quite dazzled by this.  

Then, I walked into the other room and lo and behold it was the ‘home gym’ he’s been telling me about. At first, I had to look away. Literally. The rug on the floor was like those optical illusion posters that if you look at it long enough, it ‘spins’ and makes you dizzy. (Since I was already a bit woozy from lack of nutrition, I was scared that looking at the rug would cause me to lean over the porcelain throne).

The “Home Gym” complete with the rug.

But WOW…the ‘gym’ was quite impressive and after phoning him yet again (when you’re hungry and dizzy you don’t really think about how annoying you’re being 🙄) I asked if he was selling memberships.  There was a push up board and some elastic bands.   Eddie and I were stunned at the equipment he invested in.

Yesterday, after lunch (which I inhaled), we drove to Lowe’s so I could scope out their plants. I put a couple in our cart and then saw my dream: an 8′ Fiddleleaf Fig tree! (If there was sound to this, it would be like angels singing right now 👼). It was only a hundred bucks (shutty) and I almost peed myself I was so excited. Until reality set it. My jeep can only haul 6 foot long stuff and you can’t bend a Fiddleleaf tree. Bill said it was going to be impossible to get it back to my place (which has furniture and food…just sayin’) so I came up with a solution: I’d quickly trade in my jeep for a cargo van. Doesn’t this make sense to you? I was excited at the prospect of being able to haul trees but Bill, for some reason, thought this was a bit foolish. Sheesh. So then, we came across a medium sized tree that could easily fit into my jeep! But, by this time I already had a cart full of plants and I do have a small one at home. I pondered and pondered and kept walking back to it, but told Bill: “I shouldn’t get that” which actually translates into: “Talk me into getting that so I don’t feel guilty about spending more money.” However, Bill does not fully speak “Kristi talk” yet and decided to buy the damn tree himself! I was sweet about it…telling him how great it would look on his floor (no end tables in sight) and was a good sport. Until last night when he got home from work, leaned over to give me a smooch (that’s all that happened, ma…I swear…🙄) and whispered in my ear: “My fiddlefig is bigger than yours.” I will NOT tell you my response to this…let’s just say it was ugly.

The much sought after tree. In Bill’s house. Not mine.

Anyhoot, it was really fun visiting Bill in his ‘natural environment’ and enjoyed roughing it for an entire weekend.  After this, I think I’m ready to camp out in Yellowstone.  But do you know what was the best part of the weekend?  No…not that you naughty peeps…it was this:  Bill and I being able to laugh at ourselves, laugh at each other, and laugh at situations.  

It’s been a long long time since I’ve had this.  You see, my last partner made me cry.  This guy makes me laugh.  And you know what?  It feels so good.  

Kristi xoxo

“Your problem is you’re…too busy holding on to your unworthiness.” ~ Ram Dass

So, I talked a while ago about toxic positivity and how it was really quite detrimental to mental health since it is impossible to be ‘happy’ all of the time. Well, I’ve been looking at a lot of self-help advice lately and to be honest, have to wonder about these too 🤓. I’m here to tell you: there are some doozies out there.

Hows about a book I found that basically tell you that if you read it…and follow it’s advice to a T, you will have NO WORRIES. None. Zippo. Zilch. Really? OMG! So…if I read this gem and practice what it says, I will literally HAVE NO WORRIES? Well spank me hard. The whole world should be on board with this one. Right?? 🙄

Or, how about this advice which is literally labeled under the title “How to Improve your Life.” One tidbit is to deep condition your hair once a week and another is to have a skincare routine. OK. I’m all for these 2 things. However, I find it difficult to believe that the happiness of my life is dependent on what I do in the shower. After all, I deep condition more than once a week (which is why my hair is often ‘stringy’ but healthy 😳) and my skincare routine is consistent, but hey, I’ve still experienced ‘unhappiness’ at times. But, if you want to try to improve your life, try my skin care routine which consists of the following:

  • Wash face with one of the 15 cleansers I have accumulated over the last month because each one said they would make my skin ‘radiant’ after just the first use.
  • Tone my face with one of my 20 bottles of Witch Hazel which I hoarded because it contains alcohol and I figured there’d be a shortage during the first quarantine.
  • Re-wash my face with another one of my cleansers because now it feels a little tight and ‘sticky’ because of the coveted Witch Hazel.
  • SLOWLY open the medicine cabinet in case some of the products are jarred and start tumbling in the sink and select:  1 tube of deep wrinkle cream, 1 jar of retinol, 1 jar of collagen blend, 1 jar of hydralaunic acid, 1 jar of ‘water boost’ gel, and 1 tube of acne medication since I always have a fucking (sorry, ma…😐)  zit on my face regardless of my age.  
  • Looking like a mad chemist in a lab, I begin mixing, rubbing, slathering and schmearing all of the goop from the previous point until my face is covered with 3 layers of ‘stuff’.  
  • Find one of my 100’s of tubes of Carmex (EVERY single time I’m at Walgreens, CVS, or the ‘General’ I buy one by the cash register 🤨) and then plaster on a nice thick coat like I’m icing a cake until my lips become stuck together if I’m not careful.

Now, looking at this, I can see how my regular skin care routine makes me a better person.  So, my sweet peeps…if my life is in the shits and I find myself struggling, I’ll just do my routine a couple more times a day and I’ll be fine and dandy.  Phew. 🙄

I like this advice too:  “Start working NOW!”  Ummmmm.  OK.  Now?  Middle of the night?  While I’m on the toilet?  While I’m fixing dinner?  Just do it?  OK!  I’ll get right on that.

Another self help goodie that is packaged in various ways is this:  “Avoid negative people.”  Hmmmm.  First, a lot of times I don’t know a person is negative until I’m with them so avoiding them would be difficult unless they had a shirt on that said “I’m a negative person.  Avoid me.”  (You know…I might just make this shirt…I can see it selling 🙄).  Second, what if you work with a negative person?  Have one in your house?  Have one living next to you?  Have one in your class?  Have one at church?  You have to avoid them all the time?  We’re not talking toxic people here…just negative.  

So my question is this:  why?  Why avoid negative people?  Why not interact with them and find out why the hell they’re negative?  What bee is in their bonnet (perfect title for a self-help book…remember this one, ma)?  Maybe we need to learn to get along with all types of people and not live in a Pollyanna bubble.  Just sayin’.

Another self-help tip for y’all:  “You are your only limit.”  Heh?  Really?  Soooooooo…if I want to be President (and I’m here to tell you I’d be WAY more polite in the debates if I was 🤨 )  I’m my only limit?  I’m a middle class woman who doesn’t have any millionaire friends that can start off my campaign with lots of moolah in the coffers.  And, if I quit teaching to campaign…then lose (which I undoubtedly would since running my house is stressful enough for me)…I’m outta work?  OK!  No limits on this girl!

I like this one:  “Read a book everyday!”  Yes!  I love love love to read, so…after I take care of the 8 classes I’m teaching online this semester while starting to prepare for spring semester that will also be online but with different classes I have to develop, get my laundry done, eat and do dishes, take care of Eddie and Dottie, do my daily grooming, water the 50 plants I have, run errands, finish painting the house, mow the yard, trim the bushes, and help ma with stuff, I’ll read a 300 page book today!  No problemo.  

Maybe this would be easier:  “Quit bad habits.”  Yes, this is another one I need because I know I got them…big time.  Since I was little Professor K in her crib, I have rubbed my upper lip when I’m thinking, worried, stewing about something, etc.  It’s a 53 year habit (shutty…) and I don’t think reading 3 words is going to compel me to stop doing it.  Great advice?  Maybe.  Reasonable?  No.  We all have bad habits.  So what?  We’re human for piss sakes (see ma, I didn’t say fuck again…aren’t you proud?? 😀).

“NEVER GIVE UP!”  This is another common self-help theme out there and is great advice.  For some.  Not for me though…because sometimes I give up.  If I’m working on a project that isn’t going well…that I hate…that is causing me more stress than good…and it’s not a necessary thing I need, I give up on it.  Why waste my time?  In fact, why is it bad to quit things?  Don’t we all have to do that periodically?

BBC News

Some of you runners out there may know who Paula Radcliffe is…an AMAZING runner from Britain who has set numerous world records including the one for the marathon which she then held for 16 years.  Now, in the 2004 Olympics that were held in Greece, she dropped out of the marathon with just 4 miles to go after veering around and trying to start back up after she stopped.  People were HORRIBLE to her after this…calling her a quitter and slandering her in the press.  Of course, this came from people who couldn’t walk from the couch to the fridge without a break, but anyhoot, they should stand in judgment.  So why did she ‘quit’ and disappoint all of her Olympic fans?  Two weeks prior she had a leg injury, the anti-inflammatory drugs made her nauseas with her food/nutrients not being absorbed, and the temperature was 95 degrees Fahrenheit.  When you run, you tack 20 degrees on the temp in terms of how you feel:  so, we had this woman who was injured, sick to her stomach, not fueled well, running a 26 mile race in heat that equaled 115 degrees.  How dare she quit.  Right?  

And finally?  “Always let out your feelings.”  Now, I’m all for letting out feelings…bottling them up isn’t healthy and pretending they don’t exist doesn’t work either.  However, you can’t always let them out when YOU want too.  What if your boss upsets you and want to cry and yell?  I would kindly suggest you wait until you are out of their office…and earshot.  K? 

Look peeps.  Self-help advice is out there everywhere and to be brutally honest with you, much of it’s crap.  Really.  It’s just someone taking a few choice words and turning it into something ‘necessary’ that we all have to do in order to be the ‘very best ever.’   You know, my belief is that the more you read ‘self-help’ advice and books, the more you feed into the fact that you aren’t OK like you are.  As if having flaws and challenges and bad days is something you should be able to avoid since the advice feeds into you thinking you have to be ‘perfect’…the ‘best’…the ‘most’…etc. all the time.  Sweetie peeps, you are never going to be all of that.  We are never going to be perfect unless we are the one who can walk on water, and we all have different obstacles, situations, environments, etc. that affect how we are at any given time.  

So, here’s my self-help advice for tailored just for you:  do the best you can, be as kind as you can, try as hard as you can, cut yourself slack when you need too, and remember that bad times don’t equal bad life.  They are simply a part of a regular life and trying to avoid anything ‘bad’ to always feel ‘good’ is not possible on this particular earth.  All of this may sound simple and not very exciting, but honestly…I think it’s way more realistic. 😃

Kristi xoxo

“If the sky that we look upon, Should tumble and fall…” ~ Stand by Me

From: Family Resources and their Psychological Series

So, my new love and I are doing great and we are so freaking compatible. Meaning, I like to sing and he doesn’t cringe when listening, and I like to be busy and he’s more then capable of keeping up. He’s like a ‘saint’ almost to me…he listens, cares, asks about me, worries about me, etc. and even though you might be thinking “This is the way it should be”, I’m thinking “This is the way I haven’t experienced in a very long time.”

My last partner is formally diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder which is characterized by instability in mood, relationships, self-awareness, etc. and I saw all of these in our 3 years together. However, I also firmly believe he has characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder too (although I’m not ‘diagnosing’ him…only correlating his behavior with the disorders ‘symptoms’) which often co-occurs with BPD and is in the same ‘Cluster’ of personality disorders ( 😮)

Narcissus looking at his reflection.

Anyhoot, there has been so much writing about narcissism in the last few years and people with NPD have the following (per the DSM V):

  • Inflated sense of self-importance
  • Lack of empathy (when my nephew was killed, he said, while ‘hugging’ me: “I don’t give a fuck…I didn’t know him.”  Those words devastated me and this is the first time sissy and ma will know he said this.  Had they known while we were together, they would have hog-tied me and gotten me away.  And, he didn’t go to the visitation or funeral with me…I just had ma and my sonshine.)
  • Attention seeking behavior (we were at Kohl’s one day and he started spitting on the floor just to get my attention, make me mad, and give him an excuse for raging at me later.)
  • Takes advantage of others 
  • Has a feeling of entitlement
  • Are great liars (to be honest, I don’t think he ever told me a ‘truth’.  Ever.  Certainly not about loving me.)
  • Has no boundaries (zero…zippo…)

Now, partner had all of these and I’m not going to rehash our history…been there done that. However, the lack of empathy, lying, and taking advantage of others is something I experienced time and time again while we were together. The serial cheating he did after looking me in the eye and telling me there was no one else he was communicating with showed his lack of love and respect for me and taking advantage of me financially is something I’m still recovering from. I also saw his sense of entitlement in that he could cheat and still string me along…in other words, wanting his cake and eating it too. And self-importance? Uh. Yea. Thinking he’s God’s gift to women when in fact he’s…well…not 🙄

So, why am I bringing this up now? Because after being in this relationship for 3 years and experiencing the gaslighting, lying, cheating, etc. day after day after day, I still have effects from it. Bigtime.

There’s actually a condition that’s referred to as Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome and I’m struggling with it in my new relationship. People who have experienced loving a narcissist might have these things:

  • Question their sanity
  • Mistrust those who support them (every time ma and sis told me how horrible my situation was, I just thought they weren’t able to see the ‘great’ guy I thought he could be)
  • Feel worthless (yep…anyone who gets cheated on multiple times feels this way…)
  • Doubt their abilities to think or make decisions
  • Disconnect from their own wants and needs (what are those again?  According to narcs, we don’t have any 😯)
  • Give in to what the narc wants (New car?  Check.  New motorcycle?  Check.  New clothes?  Check. And on and on and on…)
  • Devalue their contributions (I never ever thought I was doing enough…because if I had been, he would have been better to me…right?)
  • Obsess on their faults and mistakes (I would ruminate over things I said and did again and again and again when he would rage at me, cheat on me, give me the silent treatment, etc. because there just HAD to be a ‘reason’ for this and it was undoubtedly my fault.)
  • Make excuses for the narcs actions (“But ma…he’s a vet with PTSD and had a shitty childhood…he can’t help it.”)
  • Spin their wheels trying to gain the narcs favor (I did ANYTHING I possibly could to make him see how important I was in his life and how much he ‘needed’ me.)
  • Obsess on how to the make the narc happy (they are never happy…ever.)
  • Idealize the narc (Ohhhhh…I definitely did this.)

Now, why in the name of all that’s holy did I ‘put up’ with this? Well…because narcs are ‘master manipulators.’ You see, they go through a pattern in relationships that involves 3 stages:

  • Idealize (when we first got together, he was EVERYTHING I needed and wanted him to be.  He made me feel like I was a ‘Queen’ and he held me on a pedestal that I thought would never tumble.  I truly believed he was my soul-mate and couldn’t imagine my life without him).
  • Devalue (as time wore on, he started to slowly pick at me…criticize me…hurt me…until I felt like ‘NOTHING’.  But see…he did idealize me so I had to have done something for him to devalue me…right? 🙄)
  • Discard (again and again and again…)

So why am I bringing this up now? Because this pattern and the Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome still lingers. There are actually ‘boot camps’ and classes and support groups and therapists who specialize in this type of abuse. Because it is abuse. It’s emotional manipulation, gaslighting (big time), and with me, some physical abuse. You just can’t ‘get over that’, and to have someone hurt you to the core where you question your own worth and sanity is devastating.

Here’s another secret ma and sissy don’t know: The first time I cut myself was in front of him…and he said this: “You can’t even do that right…it’s not deep enough.” So, later that week I made a 4″ cut that needed stitches (which I didn’t get since I didn’t want the docs to see it 😔) and the scar will never fade. He seemed pretty proud of that one.

How sick can you be to do that? I didn’t start the relationship out wanting to cut and commit suicide. But as I got deeper and deeper into thinking there was something very wrong with me because of his treatment, my self-worth and meaning vanished. Here’s what a lot of people say who were abused by narcs: ‘These people (and yes, women can be narcs too 😕) don’t just break your heart, they actually break your spirit.’ I believe this. The other day I was going through photos and came across a pic of me during the time of my breakdown (he was living with his other woman during this time and didn’t give a rat’s ass about the suicide attempt, etc.) and my eyes look vacant. Lost. Dead. Literally. It broke my heart to see how broken I really was.

I know Bill isn’t like this at all. He’s full of empathy and understanding and compassion and kindness and sweetness and he is open and genuine with me. I love this and feel like I’ve waited all of my life to get it. But here’s the thing: I don’t feel worthy of it. I really don’t. Partner did such a number on me I still feel ‘broken’ in a way…still feel if only I would have been good enough…still feel ‘bad’ about myself…am still struggling to understand why he targeted me. What is ‘in me’ that makes someone like him hurt me so bad? How he could do this to someone who loved him so fucking (sorry, ma…but you’ve said that word in reference to him too…just sayin’…😲) much. How in hell could he manipulate me so easily when I should have seen all of this coming?

In my heart I know Bill is different…I’ve even talked to 2 of his ex-wives and they have nothing but great things to say about him. He’s the real deal. But… and there’s always that BUT…how do I learn to trust again? Give myself totally when my heart has just healed from shattering? Believe his promises? His words? Feel worthy of having such a terrific man in my life? I wish I knew the answers to these.

Bill is aware of all of this…I’ve told him more about the partner than I’ve told anyone else and he has cried because of how I was treated. Even ma and sis don’t know the seriousness of things I experienced. Bill is giving me all of him. Everything inside of him. He’s putting it all out there.

I want to as well. And I’m trying my damndest. But I know it’s going to take time to fully trust and believe and understand that Bill won’t do what partner did. I hate that Bill has to almost ‘prove himself’ to me when he’s done absolutely nothing wrong, but it’s the baggage I carry after such a relationship. But you know what? If anyone can help me unpack that baggage and lay it out bare and get rid of it once and for all, I think he’s the guy. And I feel so fucking (sorry again, ma…this was just because…🙄) lucky because of that.

Kristi xoxo