Living Life Underneath An Umbrella

I’m going to be brutally honest in this post; some might say crazy; but there are days, like today, that I think about dying.  There are bad days when I wonder whether I am worth anything; if I’m just a waste of space.  But I know that’s a lie.  I know that being an introvert and an Aspie can mess with my mind.  There are days I over think things.  And that’s when I feel like I’m losing my mind; when I want to punch walls, scream, and curl up into myself.

Today was a day that I (a) wasn’t feeling well, (b) was frustrated with things happening in my life, and (c) questioning my existence.  The good part, the sane part, is that I understand that it is just a phase I go through occasionally.  I would never kill myself though I do think about it from time to time.  Maybe I just enjoy a little self-pity.  Maybe there are times that my mind plays tricks on me.  I ask myself:  Am I more afraid of living or I am I more afraid of dying?

Since my brain doesn’t function like ‘normal’ people(those not on the Autism Spectrum), I worry if my family actually loves me; if they’d be better off without me.  And again, it’s a lie that’s trying to screw with my head.  I know that they do love me yet there are times, like today, that I do not feel loved; by my husband, my children, my parents, my siblings, etc.  I feel like I’m living underneath an umbrella; the trials of life, like rain, pummel me and I am curled up, fetal-position, underneath a blanket, waiting for the nasty weather to pass.

And pass it does.  The trials disappear, or I learn to manage them, or I decide they aren’t worth my time and energy worrying about them.  That’s how life goes for me.  I get into these little snits and I want to end it all.  I think about how I’d do it.  What would be the least messy way to do away with myself?  Then I think:  how would the person who found me feel?  That is something a person doesn’t forget, etched into your memory forever.

Sometimes I don’t even want to leave the house.  I have a desire to be involved in society, yet I don’t want to deal with people most times.   The Aspie says, ‘I don’t know how to associate with others.  And the introvert in me says, ‘I don’t want to be around people.’  Yet the real me says:  ‘I want to enjoy life.  I want to have friends.  I don’t want to let life pass me by without accomplishing the things I most want to do.’  I’ve made up a bucket list of things I want to try.  Publishing a novel, rock climbing, zip-lining, learning foreign languages, belly-dancing. What stands in my way of reaching those goals? Fear.  Fear holds me back.  Fear of failure.  Fear of looking like an idiot.  Fear of not understanding the instructions on how to do things.

And I have a terrible habit of over-thinking things, and that’s when I screw up.  I try very hard to learn things but somehow there’s a disconnect in my brain.  I am the type of learner that needs to do the thing I’m trying to learn rather than have the person teaching me explaining it with words.  I am a hands-on learner.

So there you have it; my secret pain.  It’s not something I enjoy sharing, but I want to be honest that I suffer with these bouts of depression to the point of contemplating suicide.  I am thankful that the feelings are short-lived and pass by quickly.  I believe in being positive and doing my best to make others happy.  I believe every life is precious.  I believe that the voices in our head are liars.  We are worth something.  We are precious to our families, spouses, and children.  As a Christian, I believe we are important to God as well. Our lives are important.  I heard it said once that ‘suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.’  It’s a sad fact that people who take their own lives believe that the horrible, messed-up part of their life that they are currently in will never end; will haunt them for the rest of their lives; and that’s not true.  I’d say talk to someone; get help.  You don’t need to suffer alone if you are contemplating taking your own life.  I refuse to believe the lies swirling around inside my head and so must you, my friends.  Until next time.

 

 

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When God is Silent

All my life I’ve been clinging to the hope of God and His existence.  Deep down I am fully aware that there is something greater than myself; than all of us; alive and in control of this infinite universe.  Death has had its fair grip on me for decades; what will it be like, how much pain, and will I still exist afterwards?  I believe in a God that is omnipotent and unending.  As a child I’d play church(not too many kids out there playing church, I imagine).  We had this half-shell knick knack with Jesus on the cross attached to it and I’d put water in the shell and pretend it was holy water, dabbing it onto my forehead just like I saw my parents and others do in the Catholic church we attended.

Having Aspergers, I just felt closer to the existence of some higher power; something or someone I could look up to and have a sense of peace over.  I’ve read somewhere women with Aspergers have a unique pull to the divine.  I have a thirst for Truth, to know wrong from right, to understand others and what they are going through.  I want to grasp why some people are good and others are seen as evil.  What turns a person from light to darkness?  What snaps inside?

Peace within is a blessing.  But when we seek answers from an almighty Being, we expect answers, and fast.  We don’t want to wait.  From experience there were, and still are, frustrating circumstances in my life that needle the flesh.  Why does this person act this way?  Why don’t I feel closer to the ones I love?  Why do I keep getting rejected in places that preach about love and acceptance?  My ear is attuned to his anticipated reply.  But I cannot sense any forthcoming. Then the fear and doubts set in.  Is God truly out there?  Does he even care about me and my concerns?  Now I’m drawing into myself again.  I’m screaming within, Help me, God!  Why aren’t you listening?  Do you even love me?

As a believer, fear of God no longer loving you is like a baseball bat to the face.  It’s like trying to breathe underwater.  Crying helps, a bit.  But after the tears, the cursing(yes, the cursing), the pleading, I can take a deep breath and refocus.  Peace surrounds me once again.  God isn’t intimidated by your little outbursts.  He knows you intimately since he created you.  His love for you is eternal.  When God is silent, I believe he is testing us and our faith.  Do we trust in him or not?  He swoops in to rescue us and our dwindling faith.

He is good and merciful to his children, and knows us all by name.  God has not abandoned you but continually longs to have a place in our hearts and thoughts.  Talk to him today.  He is waiting.

Death – The Great Unknown

Okay, here’s a topic which most of us are uncomfortable discussing. And for good reason; who wants to talk about their own death? But the conclusion that I’ve come to is: I don’t want a wake or funeral. As an Aspie and an Introvert, I do not want people looking at me and saying inane things like, “Doesn’t she look like she’s just sleeping?” or “What a nice job they did on her makeup.” I don’t have anything against anyone who wants these things, but it’s not for me. Are you listening, my dear family?

There’s something highly uncomfortable about friends and family standing around me, commenting on my appearance and reminiscing about my life. Can you just throw one big celebration party and leave it at that? Please? No open coffin. No crying. No expensive coffins. None. Zilch. Zip. Nada. I don’t want people crying over me. As a believer, I don’t think that death is the end. That my spirit will live on. When I was a child, the thought of death terrified me to the point that I had trouble falling asleep. I thought about the blackness of the grave. About no thoughts and dreams. No more existence. But I don’t dwell on those thoughts because I feel that death is not the end. Okay, enough of that.

Anyway, I had this as an on-going conversation with a Facebook group. And there were plenty of responses. We need to think about our death sometimes. Because in so doing we learn to appreciate the little things in life; sunrises and sunsets, puppies and kittens, and the contagious laughter of little children. There are other things important in life, of course, but my point is we only have a certain amount of days on this earth and that we need to treasure each one. And make time for family and friends. We don’t know how much time they have either. The sad reality is that there are too many people out there who live with regret because they couldn’t or didn’t find time to spend with the ones they loved.

So there you have it. Do not waste any money on me, family. Remember the good times, have one hell of a party, and please don’t cry. Where I believe I’m going is a far, far better place. What do you all believe about death?

I’m Just A Plethora of Personalities

I have a lot going on in my head, and body, currently. Let’s see: I’m an Aspie, Menopausal, arthritic, introverted, right-brained(left-handed), and deal with bouts of depression. And I have learned to be happy and grateful throughout it all.

I have learned that being introverted does not mean that one is shy, but rather means that you enjoy your own company and wish not to be the center of attention or the life of a party. Unless it is a party of one, or two, if my dear husband is involved. And as for being an Aspie, it just means that my brain is wired differently. Does not mean I have a disease. When I was younger and in school, it hurt deeply that I was being rejected on a constant basis, and not understanding the why of it.

Here I am, a writer, though an unpaid writer(as of this writing), who relishes in sharing words that come pouring out of my brain and straight into my tiny little fingers. What joy I find in it. And, if I haven’t already mentioned it previously, I am going through the NaNoWriMo 30-day challenge to write 50k words. I’m more than half way through, for those who may be interested.

I also see the world differently. And I like that fact. Everyone is an individual who needs to see things around them as they see it. No one is a puppet. No one needs to feel that they don’t fit in if they don’t see things as others do. That is what makes us unique. I love being unique.

And as for being menopausal and arthritic, I guess that means I getting old. But I’ve had a good life up to this point, and I’m praying that whatever years I have remaining will be good also. Just need to keep working out, which unfortunately I seem to be like a damn teeter-totter, up one day and down the next. Consistency is what I lack and that needs to end. Especially with winter’s cold breath breathing down upon us here in the Midwest, I need to bundle up to work out in our garage, where we have our weights.

So, there you have it. Me in a nutshell. A woman who loves to laugh, a lot, and I must admit that I even have a peculiar type of laugh. I am deeply interested in what others think and believe, especially as a writer. I am a people-watcher. What they wear, how they move, how they talk. Again, the writer thing. I want to be more dedicated to taking better care of myself, especially as I’m getting older. I’m 51 now, so I’m not getting any younger, folks.

But I love life. I love my family and close friends. I hope that everyone reading this is content with what they have and are in this life. We only have this one life and so many years t live it. If you’re not happy, please find out why and seek out your true joy in this world. Don’t let it pass you by before it’s too late. Embrace it, learn to not only love yourself but like yourself as well. You, dear friend, are an original!

A Bittersweet Melancholy

Watching the two people who raised me, held onto sticky hands as I took those first tottering steps on chubby legs, were the gleeful recipients of my first toothless smiles, become timeworn leaves me with a dull ache inside.  The people who loved me, cared for me, sacrificed for me, put up with my teenage bullshit, now declining in health, mobility, and cognizant functioning.  This is about watching the two once vibrant and youthful adults  who caused fear and trembling inside of me, especially my Dad, and how this saddens yet gives me hope about the future.

My parents are involved in many various activities back home in Florida.  They play cards, travel, are in the German and the Polish Clubs back home.  They both can still move around on their own albeit slowly.  This brings me joy.  I love seeing my parents fully enjoying their senior years.  They are not sitting around their home in some wooden rocking chair waiting to die. 

I watch the two people that were infallible in my eyes as a child, insufferable as a teen, and inadequate as a young adult become wise as a middle-aged woman.  We all understand that aging is a rite of passage that not everyone is blessed to pass through.  Sometimes our bodies mock us in the process, wrecking havoc on the mind as well.  They may walk with hesitant steps, for one misstep could land them in the hospital with a broken hip or worse.  I can close my eyes, though, and easily recall the times my Dad and I went on long bike rides.  I remember when he was strong and full of energy.  But now hair graying, thinning, and well, balding, the advance of time takes pity on no one. 

But no matter how we look at the transition from youth to agedness: a goal, a wish, a dream, or a gift, we all must pass through those darkened corridors, hopefully not alone though.  Aging can be frightening going it on your own, being a widow or a widower.  How comforting it is to have someone else along for the ride.  Yet I am thankful and truly blessed to still be able to enjoy my parents while, unfortunately, so many of my peers cannot.  We will all be bruised and battered by what life throws our way, but no matter how cracked and worn it becomes, we can call each day a gift at the end of the day and pray that tomorrow will be another new chance to make things better for yourself and for others around you.

 

A Writer’s Life in the Open

Sometimes I’d like to retreat into a shell, to be that boring, unintimidating person in the corner.  No one bothers to come near.  No one questions my intentions.  I like to see myself as bland, but deep down I know that’s not the truth.

I struggle to keep myself underwraps.  Not that I’m a dangerous person; or in any way a danger to society.  No.  It is my thoughts that I try to hide from others.  I’m afraid that others may find me a bit “off”.

I can’t write happy, frilly tales of kittens, and apple pie, and other sorts of fluff.  It’s not me.  When I try to write about sweet stuff it comes off as just plain corny.  Others can write about it, but not me.

I need to write about the gritty, raw aspects of everyday life.  Ones with the scars; open, festering wounds.  The ugly side of humanity.  We all know that life is not always pretty.  Perhaps our upbringing was far from Ozzy and Harriet.  Maybe it was cold, lonely, and abusive, and left us wondering what we ever did to deserve such resentment.

We could be facing serious addictions – drugs, alcohol, food, and even sex.  Life can be messy.  Sometimes even downright dangerous.  But we keep trying.  Trying to get ahead.  Trying to better ourselves.  Trying to succeed.  Trying to survive.

That is what I want to write about.  The dark underbelly of society.  About the jealousy, burdens, fears, and heartache.  The unknown factors.  Life.  Death.  And everything in between.

My husband used to say that my writing was ‘poetry to commit suicide by’ since it was so dark and depressing.  Perhaps it stemmed from my teenage angst and pain of rejection from my peers.  I just wanted to be real.  Like life itself.  No false pretenses.  No sugar-coating the truth.

I am a writer.  I need to write like I need food, air, and water to survive.  Yes.  I am even miserable when I don’t write.  It is my addiction and my balm.  And I need to write honestly about the things that float around in this brain of mine.  Tales of passion, violence, deceit, and grief.  Reality.

So you have been warned, dear readers.  I can no longer hold these thoughts inside.  Either release them or I’ll explode.  Maybe I don’t want to be judged harshly by my peers.  I don’t want others to question my sanity.  To question my faith.  I must write what is in my heart. I have to write.  I love to write.  It is my passion.  My joy.  My lifeblood.  Follow me on this journey, if you so choose.  Welcome to the madness and the fun.

Remembrance

My fondest memories are those of my strong-willed and feisty maternal grandmother.  Looking for a better life for her remaining family, my widowed grandmother came to America in the fall of 1951 from what was then the country of Yugoslavia.  She had lost both her husband and her eldest son to the horrors of war and its aftermath.  Adding insult to injury, my grandmother and her children were thrown into concentration camp for 33 months back in November of 1944.  Fortunately they were finally able to escape in 1947, fleeing to Austria, where they remained for four years before being able to come to America.  After 15 days in New York, they travelled to and set up their new home in Chicago where they already had family settled.

A deeply religious woman, my Oma, German for grandmother, attended daily mass.  As her children got older and moved on,( getting married and began families of their own), Oma spent her free time sewing clothes for her growing brood of grandchildren, and, during the seventies, sewed toys for underprivileged children.

With her giving and caring nature, Oma was hardly without something to busy her hands with, be it knitting, crocheting, or baking sweets for her beloved grandchildren.  Our family’s weekly visit to her third-floor walk-up in Northwest Chicago was always a highlight of my week as a child.  She usually made my favorite:  a jelly filled biscuit-type confection drizzled with melted sugar.  But then something went wrong.

It was in the early-80’s that I remember the cancer dominating my Oma’s life.  Diagnosed with ovarian cancer, her descent towards death was unbearable to watch.  In the early-stages, my mother and her three sisters dutifully took care of my Oma at her home; bathing her, feeding her, applying salve to her bedsores.  Her only remaining son lived in Germany and was unable to help his sisters.  My Oma faced this new obstacle with the same determination and quiet strength that was so clearly defined within her.  Bravely, she coped with the chemotherapy, and the strong narcotics that caused her to be wrapped inside a fog.  Eventually she didn’t know whether it was day or night, confused to what time of day, or night, that it was.

When it was mother’s turn to take care of Oma, my dad and I would spend the night there if it was a weekend.  I remember her cries doing the night; long, sorrowful moans that broke our hearts.  As she continued to deteriorate, that fierce independent flame that once danced in her eyes was now barely a flicker.  She begged her daughters to leave knives nearby so she could take her own life, but of course they wouldn’t hear of such things, ridding the home of any sharp objects.

After some time, my mother and her sisters were no longer able to care for my Oma and they had decided to put her in a Chicago hospice.  The physical and emotional exhaustion was beginning to take its toll on them.  Every movement for my Oma became a slice of hell for her.  I have the last family portrait with my Oma in it.  You could see the ravages of the disease clearly etched on her; puckered face and sunken eyes.  The drugs that were feeding her blessed relief from the pain caused her to blur faces and names together.  In the last week of June, my cousin Peter from Germany came to say goodbye to Oma.  All Oma could do was hold his hands in her nearly lifeless ones, repeating his name over and over.  This would be her final connection to her beloved son.

On July 6, 1981, the final page of her life here on earth was written.  With her second-eldest daughter, Hilda, at her bedside, my Oma smiled blissfully through a medicated fog, as though greeting an unseen visitor, then peacefully closed her eyes and died.  There would be no more pain.  No more struggle.  Finally, at peace.  Goodbye, Oma.