Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teeth, Eyes or Limb?

Yes, it's time once again to play the game of If-you-had-to-lose-one-thing... (I don't know why I do this over and over. Well, I do know: it's because my answer always changes!)

Let's see - if you had to lose one thing today (other than your life, of course), what would it be? And I'm not talking about things like the love of God. I don't play around with that! I'm talking some ability or function.

My first thought is that I would not mind losing my ability to taste things. Maybe my big behind would lose some weight! I'd only want to lose taste if I could also lose any sense of smell. I know that the two go together, but I think it would be absolute torture to be able to smell a wondeful meal AT ALL and not be able to savor the taste. Then again, if I could not smell, what about things like fire?

Sooo... No. Taste and smell are out.

Hearing woud be my next choice. Except I am so nosy that nosy is a required daily vitamin in my life! But we'll hold that one aside. I might could deal with lack of hearing.

Sight is definitely out. I can't even stand my situation of being... whatever it is when big things are blurred at a distance and small things are blurred up close. Yeah, I've had a taste blurring sight. I don't think I would want to be blind. Again - too nosy and too visual. I love being able to see the beauty in things.

This is getting kind of tough.

Losing the sense of touch might not be the worst thing. How bad would it be to not be able to feel something? (And I mean this for those of us past our youthful hormonal existence and primary reason for living.) 

I think I am on to something with the touch thing. I really can't imagine any cons. Think of the benefits...

Doing the worst of your dishes without being bothered by the residue of leftovers and the slime of old soapy water. Doing laundry without feeling those crusty-toed socks that men seem to create just by wearing them.

Okay, that's not exactly a plethora of benefits, but the lists of cons is pretty bare.

Wow. I think I finally have the answer to this quandary!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Where I sit

So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great. (Job 2:13)

I have been listening some to the contending politicians. Some are doing a lot of talk about people in need. What they are saying is not very thoughtful or insightful  By that I mean that they are not thinking deeply about what they say and they are speaking on things into which they have little personal insight. How do I know this? Because I have said some of the same things in the same way.

Little did I know - back when I was pontificating on it - that poverty and need is not a stereotype. There is no stereotype for those conditions. There are stereotypes for actions and consequences, but not for conditions and circumstances.

I am black and female, on food stamps and medicaid. Sounds like a what some would call a stereotypical situation until you think more about how I got here and have some insight into how it affects me.

I was previously of a different "stereotype." A woman in a solid family, working in skilled fields of employment -  as a corporate trainer for a customs broker, then as a real estate clerk, then as a specialist in a state unemployment office. Yes, the irony. I owned an average home (nothing fancy, but not shabby, and in a very decent neighborhood), drove an average car, had the average "working stiff" lifestyle. I never considered myself as being financially poor, but realized that I was not upper middle-class or above and was content with that. I have no criminal history - in fact, I had a Homeland Security/FBI clearance for my brokerage employment - and my neighbors felt safe living near me. I was liked and respected.

That was about six years ago.

Understand, please, that living does not always go as we plan. Things happen that you don't expect to. Economies stumble, families lose members, hasty decisions turn out badly, people lie to each other. One thing leads to another - another same sort of thing, another good or better thing, or another bad or worse thing.

In my case, I have been led to where I lost a house, finances crashed badly, emotional health suffered, then physical health followed.

Here I am. Black. Female. On food stamps. On medical aid.

I am not a statistic or a stereotype. I am a person trying to heal and get back to a better place in life.

Please don't talk about me as if I have a color-coded, bar-scanned tag plastered across my forehead. Don't try to popularize your opinions - to win votes or friends or an argument around the office - by labeling my situation. You might be right here where I am someday. If not you then maybe your son, daughter or other loved one.

In the meantime, don't wait to be where I am to gain compassion.

I am taking action to get better and to get out of this situation. That's really all anyone else needs to care about.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


In thinking about and talking about people I know, I can list the good, the bad and the ugly. I know a lot of beautiful people. I know people who I believe should have halos and wings. Then there are those people who should have horns and a spiky tail! lol... One of those people I will call Edrick. Good as name as any:

Edrick is the person who is very intelligent, charming and sure of himself. We all know an Edrick. He is the one who is fazed by nothing. The one who never sees things as a worry but as a challenge. We all secretly (or even not so secretly) want to be a bit like Edrick.

Edrick is an accomplisher, a meeter of goals, a riser to challenges, a winner, a success. Edrick is driven to taste all the finer things the world has to offer. Edrick is never content, never still, never at ease. Edrick lives for more, bigger, faster, latest, better and best.

But Edrick has his own errors of personality.

Edrick - for all that he is and all that he has - is lacking something. There is a meanness about Edrick, a need to belittle people. Edrick needs, just every now and then, to make someone the butt of a joke or a taunt. He needs to be just a touch cruel. It's as though Edrick's own decency is held together with a very fine and fragile network of emotional wires that sometime snap.

Edrick is the one who will, in the midst of laughter, warmth and camaraderie, suddenly toss out a nasty jibe at the unsuspecting. What he says will have the illusion of being in jest while having the ability to cut deep into the soul of his victim. But because of his charm, Edrick will get away with it. His victims are chosen carefully - they are the ones who love him, look up to him and want to please him. They are timid and eager not to be hurt. And when they are hurt, they hold it inside with all the other gifts of pain and disappointment that Edrick has doled out over time.

The Edricks of the world feel tallest when standing above someone and feel most powerful when a light is shining their way. That is the error of the Edricks of the world. There is a missing piece to all that they are, all that they have accomplished, all that they gather.

I believe there are too many Edricks because the world admires Edricks. The world does not stand up to them. No one speaks for the victims of Edricks. The only way to survive an Edrick is to be steeped in God's love and favor and strength or to be as wicked and lacking as an Edrick.

So, of the people I have known in this life, the Edricks are the most damaging and exhaustive. Fortunately, there are anti-Edricks. I will save those for other posts.


Sunday, January 15, 2012


Definitions of "depression"

Psychiatry a condition of general emotional dejection andwithdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than thatwarranted by any objective reason

depressed  or sunken place or part; an area lower than thesurrounding surface.

Both work when talking about the state of our minds and lives.

There are so many amazing people using Google Plus. Someone there was brave enough to announce his personal battles with depression. Another person remarked that "Silence is deadly." So I am speaking following example and speaking out here about my own battle. (Not that regular readers probably haven't guessed at it before!)

I don't really know how to address the issue except to point out some things I have noticed:

  • My depression is mine and no one else's. I don't understand it fully and I can't expect others to understand it with or for me.
  • I don't need people to understand it. I just need them to accept me with my depression and it's weight.
  • Some people feel that depression is just a bad mood that a person can "snap out of." 
  • Being depressed is not the worst part of this battle. Trying to pretend I am not depressed is the worst part. Trying to appear "normal" and "happy" when I am not.
  • Depression for me is sometimes a force of  sudden "Un-ness."  Un-expected, un-controllable, un-explainable, un-definable tears and grief and ground-opening-up-beneath emotional terror. There is a sense of being un-tethered from life, un-loved, un-lovable, un-needed, un-able, un-salvageable. 
  • Depression for me is a sense of complete alone-ness. For long moments (minutes, hours, days...), I will feel as if I am locked in glass walls of sadness while I can see other people moving on around me, living their lives so normally while normal is not something I can comprehend at the time.
  • When depressed, I am not only sad but disappointed that others cannot see my pain. The things they do and say that have such profound impact on me - it means nothing to them because the can't understand my depression.
Maybe that explains it all somewhat. Maybe not.

Part of my depression is due to my Sarcoidosis. I was in a period of depression for months before I was diagnosed. It seems to have gotten worse with the raging of the Sarc. I think that some of my depression is due to the disease itself and some is due to my dealing with the disease. I don't know if that makes sense, but having the disease is one thing in a physical way and another thing is a daily living way.

Since I have been diagnosed, some people treat me as though I am less than I was before. Less smart, less capable, less human, less real, less worthy. God forbid I have a mood swing and get grumpy. This disease gives some people an excuse to be cruel and superior. But in a very nice and loving kind of way, mind you.

Depression is tough, but so is life. Depression is part of my life so I treat it as such. I am lucky to have an understanding and truly compassionate doctor and a best friend who deserves wings and a halo. They keep me steady (for the most part) and constantly repair me when I break myself into mental pieces and the rest of the world steps on those pieces. 

If you know someone who you think might be depressed, pray for them. Try to approach the subject of their getting help. Make it easy for them to open up. It's okay for you not to understand the depression; you can still love the person. And don't let their smiles fool you. No one can appear happier than a person who is about to drown in depression. 


Saturday, January 14, 2012


I was just now commenting on my G+ to someone about the sweet people I meet when I visit my sister during her dialysis treatments. One of them I think of as "Mami."

Mami is so easy to fall in love with. She is a tiny lady always wrapped in layers of shawls and scarves. Under all those wrappings, I can tell that she has lovely hair, thick and smoothed back in waves. When the technicians seat her in her dialysis chair and finish attaching her to the machine, they wrap her legs in blankets. Mami speaks very little English and I speak zero Filipino. We communicate with smiles, hand-to-hand touch and the feel of what we say to each other. It works.

Three times a week Mami and my sister receive their treatments, sitting for four hours while a machine cleanses their system of toxins. My sister watches DVDs or plays games on the tv that is provided. Mami watches tv for about ten minutes before she dozes off, sleeping like a child until time to go home. If the people around her talk too loudly or too much, she will wake and tell the techs that "They are too noisy. Too noisy for me to rest." And everyone will quiet down a little so that Mami can sleep.

Mami's son and daughter-in-law transport her to and from the treatments. She and I typically get to spend five or ten minutes together while she is waiting for her ride and I am waiting to take my sister home. We talk to each other in words and pantomine ("I was in the hospital this weekend. Chest pains." "Are you feeling okay right now?" "Yes, yes, I think so.") We manage to exchange bits of news ("How is your sister?" "She's doing well." "My husband will be coming here." "To dialysis?" "To Alaska. Here." "Where is he now?" "In the Philippines still, but he is coming here.") I learned that her husband is deceased. It doesn't matter, she still loves him so I always ask about him and she always tells me that he will be coming here soon.

When Mami's children arrive to take her home, she will touch her lips to my cheek and tell me she loves me. (When I first cut off most of my hair and felt de-Trudied, Mami told me "You are beautiful.") I tell her I love her. We will  expect to see one another "day after tomorrow." Always day after tomorrow, every other day of the week, as long as dialysis works for Mami and my sister.

So that's what I can tell you about Mami.


Saturday, January 07, 2012

I Didn't Break the Internet, But...

... I did something to my Google Plus! LOL

I was over checking out the latest of "What's Hot" on G+ and... not sure what happened. I was trying to comment on a post I had just read and, um, it disappeared.

I'm not kidding. I am a little bit scared right now. I hope no one over there notices.

Anyway, here is another site showing the article, which is very, very cool. I get sick of young folks throwing the whole "green" thing in my face. This is the perfect response. Enjoy.


(P.S.: I'm going back over to G+ to see what the heck I did!!!)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

It's Here: 2012

Wow. When I was about 15 or 16, I could not  have conceived of life in 2012. 2000 and 12... Whoa.

So, I made it. Sort of surreal to think of being alive in this year when I was born in 1963. Born into a world of no computers, no cable tv, no cell phones... And living in a world where all of that is almost passe! Wild.

I made resolutions, not many, but a few. I will keep them to myself, but can let you know that I decided it is an easier and less painful life if you only care much for the right people and things.

I wanted to take a picture that symbolized the new year, but can't find even one that begins to cover it. I will have to ask my niece Gabby to draw something for me.

Anyway - here's wishing you all a happy, blessed, healthy, peaceful and joyful 2012. May God keep you under His love.

Here is the best I can do for a pic for now. (Isn't this kid just adorable?) This is going to be a funky-happy new year! lol