Depression

It’s opening the front door on a gorgeous day, knowing that being outside will do so much good and then not going because putting proper clothes on, like a bra and clean socks, let alone finding shoes, is just too much work.

It’s being hungry, knowing you should eat something mostly good for you, and grabbing the bag of chips or package of cookies because it’s just easier. Then feeling awful because you know you’re going to gain weight, which depresses you more.

It’s looking at the work at hand and being so overwhelmed with the size of the job that you become mentally paralyzed and don’t know where to start.

It’s not showering or brushing your teeth for a few days, because you just don’t have the energy.

It’s insomnia, full body fatigue, and apathy so deep it’s hard to explain.

It’s forcing yourself to smile because genuine ones have disappeared. It’s hiding in plain sight, hoping you’ll be noticed but not seen, and yet not forgotten.

It’s cancelling plans. Or you’re just a no-show because A) explaining why you don’t feel up to going out would take too much energy B) your friends may not understand C) you don’t want to lie, and you hate being lied to D) all of the above.

It’s having some really good days, even a few that string together, and you come out of your cocoon of Darkness and Wallow, and you go outside to enjoy the gorgeous day.

It’s feeling the warmth of life from the sun on your face, and you relish the moment, sitting quietly in your car observing the world, being in it and yet, not fully participating.

It’s the comfort of a genuine hug that pulls the stress out of your shoulders, and being able to relax.

It’s standing at the open front door, staring outside for a minute and closing it again.

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Inauguration Day

Tomorrow is Inauguration Day for incoming President Barack Obama. If you are alive and breathing in the US, I’m sure you know this already. I’m not going to carry on about how he’s this or that.  I don’t trust him, personally; his agenda is far too liberal for me to accept from a man who proclaims to be Christian.  I know, I know, there are lots and lots–oodles & gobbs, scads & scads, even– of good Christian people who call themselves Democrat.  I just struggle with how the two can be side-by-side.

That’s not what I want to get at.  I’m going to speak my mind, and risk sounding like some sort of hater bigot.  Call me that if you think you must, but I’ll disagree, and reserve the right to delete comments.  Comment if you like, but keep it clean: no vulgarity, no swearing, no playground-esque name calling.  Here goes…

I’m worried that some of my more liberal friends are going to become self-righteous smug caricatures of themselves in their bubbling rapture at Mr. Obama’s swearing in.  I’m not sure if the root of their joy is a deep despisal of President Bush, their giddy joy in a non-Anglo President or a combination of the two.  I just don’t want to see a bunch of ‘sore winners’ dancing around the Washington Mall over the next two days.

President Clinton had the same Svengali hold on his party, and with some across the aisle.  There just wasn’t a throng of people a million strong crushing on Washington DC for his inauguration– either of them– and he came into office after 12 years of Republican presidencies, war, economic recession and terror attacks.

I am celebrating with our country over breaking the racial barrier for our highest elected office.  I can not celebrate having a Democrat move into that same office.  So I hope we can revel in this moment as an historic achievement, but please, no “Booyah! We win, you guys suck!” attitude.

Knees, Revisited

I had my appointment with the orthopaedist.  I’ll get to what he said later. First, I need to give an impression of his office.

On the wall was a list of all the doctors who participated in the practice itself.  There must have been at least a dozen, all etched in a glass wall plaque that measured a good 18″ x 36″– good to see where my co-pays are going.  They also had three —3!– receptionists working the front desk receiving patients as they arrived for their appointments.  There was seating for at least 50 in the waiting room, which explains this next part: pagers.  You know the kind, too; the kind you get when your favorite restaurant is busy and “buzz” you when your table is ready.

I get buzzed and a minute later a medical assistant takes me back to get x-rayed.  After I’m excused from the x-ray room I’m left on my own to find my way back to where I started from.  The hallways aren’t marked, and it’s a labyrinth.  I wander past another administrative work station with at least 6 staff milling about, chatting.  (More co-pays at work, I see.) I end up back in the waiting room, but at the opposite end from where I had originally found a chair.  I have no idea how I managed this. At least this end wasn’t as crowded, and I was relieved to not have to sit directly next to anyone else.  We’re a curious lot, we humans, and I didn’t want to get caught staring blankly into space and have someone think I was staring at them.  Worse, I didn’t want anyone staring at me.  “She’s too young to have joint problems…If she lost some weight, maybe that would help…Poor thing, she’s here all alone…”

Okay, so maybe no one was going to judge me and why I was there, but I just hate the thought of the possiblity. Ladies, I know you know what I’m talking about here, because we’re all guilty to some degree.  Gents, if you think I’m over reacting, then you really won’t understand.

I am called back in to an exam room– I think–the place is so big I can hardly hear my name.  I’m usually the only one with my first name, but the place is still packed, and now I’m not so sure about that, as the waiting room is filled with people older than myself, all born in a era when my name was more popular. Again, I can see the need for pagers, as impersonal as they are.  But they don’t use them for this part of my visit. I wish they had.  Thinking to myself, if it weren’t for all the privacy rules, wouldn’t it just be easier to send someone through the office with the patient’s name on a placard, like the limo drivers at the airport.  Wouldn’t you feel more special to have someone come searching for you, eager to escort you to your next stop in your day as opposed to have your name called out anonymously from a doorway?

I meet with the doctor, who flips a switch on a digital monitor, and there are my knees on the screen.  (More co-pays at work; what happened to the lighted wall board?). We talk about my problem, he touches my kneecaps, has me do some extensions to feel for himself what’s going on inside.  I tell him I’m training for a marathon, and he looks at me like I’m nuts. (More time to think I’m being judged, o joy.) He tells me running would not be good for my knees– this I already figured out, that’s why I came; now tell me ‘why’.  He says it would be helpful if he could have seen the kind of shoes I was training in.  TA DA! I produce two pair from a back pack, and now he’s no longer judgemental, and is slightly impressed.  (Yeah, uh huh, I got you on that one!) Bigger surprise, they are the kind I should be wearing for the kind of ankle structure I have (Double boo-yeah!)

Chondromalacia patellae It’s a big fancy word for bad kneecaps, they are getting pitted on the back side where the joint itself rubs against it.  It doesn’t hurt-yet- but I expect it will some day. It is a form of arthritis, and there is no ‘cure’ and I asked about possible kneecap replacement.  Not possible without doing the whole knee.  So I have to live with it, which is what I’ve been doing for a while now.

And so I walk. I’ll still be doing the marathon in October.  I’ll just finish about three-and-a-half hours after the winning runner.  That’s okay with me, finishing is what I’m after, and that is a WIN for me.

Un-ordinary People

I went for a walk with Sugar Bug a couple of hours ago. We went up the main street past the city cemetery. After I told her I love cemeteries, she wanted to know why.

“There’s so much history buried in there. People who have lived their lives, gone places, done things. You know, just ordinary people who went about their business.”

“What kind of people?” she asked.
“Well, some were parents raising their families, dads who went to work. Some were in the military and fought in wars.”

“I don’t think they would be ordinary. I think that makes them un-ordinary”

“Which ones are ‘un-ordinary’?” (I knew she meant extra-ordinary, but I didn’t want to correct her; grammar lessons could wait. I wanted to hear what she said.)

“The ones in the military. That makes them special, because they were there ready to give up their life so someone else could be free. That makes them un-ordinary.”

“I suppose that does, then, doesn’t it. There are a lot of people who don’t think the same way today.”

“Why don’t they?” (She has no idea how loaded that question is in a post-modern 21st Century USA.)

“Well, back when those people were alive, they –and the culture and society — used to think it was a privilege and a duty to serve their country. It was an honor for them to be in the military. They did it out of respect and honor for their country.”

“O, that definitely makes them un-ordinary.”

[ I thought of telling her that back then they didn’t think about whether it was the nations business to be there, if the military action could be politically and socially justified, or if it was ‘the right thing to do’. They left that to politicians and government to sort through; they joined because they wanted to serve, not earn a free college education. That’s what I wanted to add, but I didn’t. I’ll let her 10 year old innocence stay intact for as long as it can. I’ll let her patriotism stay strong, so she can still think people today serve their country in the military because of love of country– nothing more, nothing less. ]

Un-ordinary indeed! To her, they are heroes, and that’s the kind we need to look up to more often.

One Loaded Little Word

(Original draft 09 April, 2007)

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and millions of Christians, quasi-believers and the guilt ridden filed into churches world-wide to celebrate a Risen Savior, or to at least purge themselves of another years’ worth of sin.

Sin is a funny word: three letters, not phonetically challenging in the least and filled with so much. In our age of relativity, and accepted lack of absolutes, sin is a dirty word, and I don’t mean what it does to ones soul. It’s dirty like swearing used to be. I can say almost any word/phrase I choose (in public or private) and it won’t get the same reaction as saying “That’s a sin”. I can condemn anyone by stating: go to hell. Depending on the volume I use few would give me a second look if I said that anywhere. But, why is it I am condemned by stating the obvious: you sinned? I know it’s a rhetorical question. But for the sake of people who believe relativity is a valid way of spiritual living and that there are no absolutes, I’ll argue their case.

When I condemn, by saying ‘go to hell’, I’m telling them “You are wrong; I am right. You are weak; I am strong.” But because I am here, next to you, on this corporal plain called life on earth, it doesn’t matter to you, because you can easily return the *favor* later, and condemn me to hell, and we are still equal; well all things being relative that is. You and I aren’t mass murders, after all, just maybe recovering shoplifters, or at worst fudge a little on our tax returns. We aren’t Hitler, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein or Genghis Khan. We’re both pretty good, most of the time, right?

So I say to you later: you sinned. I am, in effect, saying “You are wrong; you are weak; you are worthy to be condemned.” But now, I am not the Judge, just the messenger, stating a flaw — your flaw. Nowhere in that do I say I am stronger or right, but that’s what gets read into my message because we hate to be wrong and weak. Now I have brought into the mix a notion that life is not *relative* and that there are absolutes, and of course that is a very disagreeable notion because now there is no *favor* to return (but you will try, by pointing out all of my flaws, in such a delicate and gracious way, won’t you? hhmm) You must answer to a Judge, who is also Jury. Saying SIN means that God is involved, and it’s easier to just not think about Him, as He is old, ancient, out-dated and irrelevant.

Is there really much difference between the two? The end result of both phrases will get you to the same place, won’t it? I can tell someone to go to hell, or tell them they are going to go to hell. The wages of sin is death, you are going to go to hell. What if I had the power in my words to actually send you to this place that is name-dropped so flippantly? Suppose I said, “Go – to – Hell” and in the next instant you were actually there?

“Wait!,” you object loudly, “Hell isn’t even real, is it? I mean, it’s just a phrase, right? There can’t really be lakes filled with burning sulfur fires, and Satan and demons, and stuff, right? ‘Cuz that would, be like, so… unfair.”

Yup, unfair, indeed, because I am the one sending you there- because we are both nearly equally good people. But God never said He was FAIR, only JUST. Justice isn’t about fairness, it is this: “merited reward or punishment; that which is due to one’s conduct or motives”. (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 1913**) Justice is doing what is right, even if the the end result is unpopular, or makes you unpopular. God’s justice has made Him very unpopular, throughout all of history.

The wages of sin is death. That’s not my law, I didn’t write it. I’m just the messenger, remember?

~~~ ~~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~

**Why so old a definition? the same reason if you looked up gay, it’s doesn’t mean just happy, delightful anymore. Contemporary dictionaries have equated fairness to justice today, but they are not the same thing. Definitions are swayed by popular culture, and a word becomes redefined to suit popular demands, which can be a disservice to it’s true intent.

Blogging?.. ice cream would be jealous

I got a random comment from someone about the last post about blog-tag; they didn’t want to be “it” and, well… read the comment if you must, but read the post before that.

That’s basically the reason I’m writing this. Blogging can become an all-consuming past-time, like video games, except the reality is actual and not virtual. That’s not to say some bloggers’ reality’s aren’t delusional, misinformed, biased, confused, one-sided–well, they’re all one-sided. Back on point: we write to get something off our chest, make announcements, pronouncements and even denouncements; but we all do it hoping that someone else will stop by and leave a comment. We humans are pack animals, and crave interaction within our social structure. Even the anti-social still need and crave that contact, even if it’s to rebuff and reject the contact, to growl out “Back off and leave me alone.” We want some random strangers to stop by and read our chatterings about mindless babble or significant social events. We want someone to acknowledge “Yes, indeed, you have an opinion, and I heard what you have to say” and leave a comment of praise, encouragement, like-mindedness and agreement or disagreement.

When I started this, I figured it would be an outlet for the quasi-author in me to release creativity onto the world, and if I didn’t get any responses– well, so what? Well, guess what? I love–no LOVE– getting a response from someone, ANYone. Why? it means that person stopped and read what I had to say. It doesn’t matter if they were wilf-ing, or purposely looking for a blog to read. That person saw mine in a tag listing, and decided to stop by. Well, how cool is that? I’d say I’m so cool, ice cream would be jealous. (My son would say: Mom your so not cool, ice cream would melt.)

So, to the 2 or 3 who stop by here regularly, Thanks!

But, hey! Psssst! Can you send them a link to my blog, I’d like more than 3 regular readers, cause that kinda makes my “ice cream coolness” seem pretty lame.

Ain’t I a Woman?

In honor of women, and Women’s History Month; it’s well worth re(print)posting.

 

 

Ain’t I A Woman?by Sojourner Truth

Women’s Convention, Akron, Ohio
Delivered 1851

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man—when I could get it—and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.