Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sins of the Father.

Damn! This morning I got up and grabbed the camera to start organizing and posting my pictures from Maggie Island. My digital camera has been killing every battery that I put in it after one picture, so my father-in-law let me borrow his nifty Nikon for the trip. He’s at work, and I’m scouring his junk drawer to find the USB cable so I can transfer the pictures! Aargh!

In the meantime, I bring you an archive from my Bipolar blog, dated May 18, 2010.

 

So last night I was trying to explain to my husband that the lack of my father in my life isn't really a big deal to me anymore. He retorted, "don't you want to spend time with him? I mean, all that time he was with [name removed to protect the evil monster that is my dad's ex-girlfriend] (update: as of December they are sadly back together, and I haven’t spoken to him since September due to this) you haven't really been able to connect with him". Because of my analogous nature, I explained, "Babe, what if you bought two lottery tickets every day for a year, and ticket A paid out like every other day, and ticket B over the course of a year paid a dollar. If by next year you could only afford one ticket, would you buy ticket A or B? You would totally pick A, and kick yourself for spending all that money on B in the first place!" Yeah that's how I feel for my mother and stepfather versus my father, respectively.

Growing up, as stated in my earlier blog "Blood", my dad was the cool guy. He let me sleep in his giant bed when he would be in his office with friends. I would ask him questions that he would answer speaking to me like I was an adult. He told me about the Donner Party (go Wiki it!), told me the story about how he smoked Opium for the first time and woke up on the airstrip of Edwards Air Force Base three days later, argued with me about politics when I was 8. I would wake up in the middle of the night and my dad would be MIA. I would find him at the end of our property in his shed building something. It was so cool that he was a free spirit, and people would be in and out of his house all the time, just to stop by because my dad was just kick-ass. Of course I didn't know at 8 that all of those events could be considered classic signs of meth-amphetamine addiction.

When I was a little kid, my dad would promise to come pick me up from my moms at a certain time. Both my mother and I remember what I did like it came out of a movie: I would have my hands pressed up against the living room window, looking onto the street and KNOWING that black car was my dad. Or maybe that next black car. Oh, it's definitely the next one. Three or four hours after calling him non-stop, or crying my eyes out, my dad would either call or show up and state that a) he got a flat tire, b) got pulled over for a speeding ticket, c) had to finish a job for someone, or any variation of the three. As soon as I saw my dad the tears would stop and I was in for a fun-filled weekend with my DAD! He would tell me about a museum an hour away that had this really cool exhibit he was going to take me to the next day at 11am. Before he would tuck me in I would ask "okay, so we're going tomorrow? Right? At 11? Can we get McDonalds on the way?" and he would tell me, "yes, yes. Now get some sleep!" 10am would come and I would wake up my dad, and he would tell me, "okay, come back in a half hour, I just need to sleep". 10:30am on the dot I would come back and it would be another half hour. After a while he would get angry because I woke him up so much, so I would just hang out in the living room, watching TV and eating whatever was in the fridge. Sometimes I would get bored and walk a block alone to my mom's parents house or go next door and play with my neighbor. My dad would wake up around 4pm and promised that we could go the next day at 11am. Rinse, and repeat.

I always ended up defending my father to my mother. I was a classic case of "stuck in the middle"-my mom would call dad a loser, or a bum, or make me ask where child support was, and my dad would call my mom a rich bitch and have me tell her the check was in the mail. He owned his own landscaping company when I was younger, and lost it. I never knew why until I was an adult (drugs). I always defended my dad, usually in an argument with my mom more than any other time. The thing was, when my dad would bad mouth my mom, I would usually snicker along or keep quiet. She did ask a lot for money. I mean, sheesh, she worked. She had money! Why would she need any more from my dad? Isn't my dad doing enough already? Looking back, I realize all I ever did was defend my dad, and for nothing. He was a drug addict. He lost his teeth and told me it was from "getting older". He went to jail on more than one occasion, which he always told me was from a parking or speeding ticket he didn't pay. One time he got arrested in front of me, and they handcuffed him and put the both of us in the back of the police car. I had to give them my mother's phone number through terror and sobbing and they dropped me off at a restaurant to wait for my mom to pick me up while they took my dad God knows where. When my mom did pick me up, she tried to rationalize the situation, and I was so mad at her for not caring that they picked my dad up for no reason! And took him away! And didn't tell me where!!!

When I was in fourth grade he had a job as the groundskeeper of a beautiful private university. He would take me with him to work when he was stuck with me on the weekends, and I got to see every bit of the college-the campus kitchen, the alumni house, the dorms. He said that as a part of his benefit package, I got a "free ride" to the university when I graduated high school. When the students would leave for the summer to go back home, he even showed me what "dumpster diving" was-when you hopped into the trash bins and picked up old walkmans, telephones, clothes, etc. I was too girly and grossed-out to ever hop in a dumpster, but I was fascinated by what people threw out, and my dad was pretty much a treasure hunter in my mind. One day I found out he had lost his job. He told me that the morning he had to drop me off at school he was late for work and they fired him. I was devastated for him, and felt just terrible for being the reason he lost his job. I am now 29, with an 11-year-old. If I got fired for any reason pertaining to my son I would never let him know. Ever. Who would put a burden like that on a child? I mean, 20 years later I pass by that university every day and think to myself, I could have gone here. I could have been successful.


In seventh grade my mom remarried and I chose to live with my dad. The year before he let me have a party at his house and let me invite boys. He left us alone and we played spin the bottle. Coolest. Dad. Ever! My thoughts when I packed up my stuff and showed up on his front porch was he's gonna leave me alone and I can just do whatever I want. How right I was. After about a day he dropped me off at his parents house, who I had a history of not getting along with, and they gave me the guest house. I was totally a grown-up. And never felt so alone. Most of the time my dad wasn't around, and my grandparents left me to my own devices. I walked to school, ate what I wanted, and pretty much did what I wanted. (Note: Thank God for Pearl Jam's album "Ten" during this period; I don't know what would have happened if I didn't have that tape.) One day my grandma was taking me to my Saturday sports league-something my dad was supposed to take me to every week, but was too sick to go this week (drugs). Once we got in the car she started yelling at me about how selfish and ungrateful a child I was, and that my dad is sick and needs help and I only cared about myself. She pulled the car over, grabbed my head, and repeatedly slammed it into the passenger side window. I was shocked and stunned. She dropped me off and told me she would pick me up three hours later. I had a friend call my mom, and she picked me up right away and I was not allowed to see my father for a very long time. When I tried to tell him what his mother had done, he told me I was over-exaggerating, and said "I have no choice but to love my mother. You don't have to like your parents, but you have to love them." He or my grandmother never apologized for what they did, and the aftermath ended up with my first therapy sessions at 12 years old.


When I was a tween, my dad told me on more than one occasion, "you are going to become a teenager soon and we won't have these talks anymore. You will be too busy with school, your friends and boys, and hanging with your dad will be lame". I thought he was out of his mind. I would never stop loving my dad or wanting to see him. All these years later I realize the statement was true. I just didn't think it would still hold as an adult.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

YouTube Tuesday.

I decided to make today’s YTT about the lovely poll I concocted last night. I figured “guest rapper” would be the right name, but people are still scratching their heads! A guest rapper is someone who is featured on a track-it’s not their song, but they just pop in and say hi, maybe do a shout-out. Having a featured artist on a song is more and more commonplace-I don’t know if it’s an “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” kind of thing, or if the record companies force an artist to work with another up and coming star for some name recognition (and holy crap as I write this I have completely forgotten to add Eminem to the poll. Shit!).

First on the poll is Ludacris. He’s gettin' soft on us, as his latest collaboration is with Justin Beiber. Justin Bieber! My favorite rap of his by far is from Missy Elliott’s “Gossip Folks”-whenever his part comes on, I have to rap along with it. I’m cool. His part is about 2:30 in.

Next is the S to the N to the double O P…Snoop Dogg. Doesn’t everyone know who Snoop is, even if you don’t listen to rap? He’s the guy who gave us the hizzle for shizzle! Snoop was discovered by Dr. Dre, and was a gangsta thug for most of his rap career. Then he became a pee wee football coach. Okay. Here he is in Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”.

Then there is Jay-Z, a.k.a Hov, a.k.a Mr. Beyonce a.k.a The Best Rapper Alive (not if the next guy on the poll has anything to say about it!). I don’t think he has yet to get soft, and he only gives his contributions to a handful of artists. I think everyone and their mom has heard Rihanna’s “Umbrella” (ella ella eh eh eh), and he’s the dude that raps the intro.

And lastly is Kanye. Oh, Kanye, Kanye, Kanye. I love him. I don’t give a damn if he’s an egotistical jerk-off! You may not know his music, but you probably know him as the dude with no tact. “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”? “Imma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of ALL TIME!!!” ring a bell? He’s in every song under the sun, but I decided to go back in the day and post him in Twista’s “Slow Jamz” video, if only for the line “she’s got a light-skinned friend (look like Michael Jackson), got a dark-skinned friend (look like Michael Jackson)'”. Priceless. He comes in about 0:35.

I was thinking about some of the write-in candidates for the poll (like Kid Cudi, Kid Rock and Wyclef Jean), but I don’t think they have as much guest output as these four do (or else I would have put Drake and Pitbull on the poll). So…this means today I did a whole blog post about rap. That’s awesome! I think at around 25 my ears decided not to be snobs anymore. What I mean is, if a singer that was generally crap had a catchy song, by principle I wouldn’t listen to it because it wasn’t “my” type of music. Now I can listen to everything-even Justin Bieber (if I wanted to, and I DON’T, thankyouverymuch!). With that note I’d like to add a final music video about the best music moment of 2010: New Kids and Backstreet Boys at the AMA’s. Yep. THAT JUST HAPPENED. I watched it and was giddy! My first music crush was good ol’ Jordan Knight. So this made me pee my pants like I was 10 again. Enjoy! Pick your dreamboat!

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Cheesecake Factory! *drool*

So with 4 hours left on the poll, it looks like “Chicken Marsala with Strawberry Shortcake” is tied with Mexican food on my first meal when I get back home. Yay! I shall also add a Peach Bellini to my order, since I have been craving one SO BAD!

On our drive yesterday the next poll question popped in my head. J and I regularly talk about random shit, so when my IPod was on shuffle I casually asked him, “babe, what guest rapper would you want to be?” I know not all my readers are into rap or hip-hop, but I’m assuming you can at least recognize one or two names up there? Also, if you have randomly thought of this before and I failed to add someone, choose “Other” and add your entry to comments!

I have tons of pictures to go through from our Magnetic Island trip, so I promise to get those out ASAP. We had a great time! Hope all is well in blog land, yo.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

The power of…Pine-Sol?

Hi friends. Just wanted to let you know a couple of things today! First is there is a poll to your right ---> that has two days left to vote on. Indulge in your fat girl desires and pick a food! Second I’d like to let you all know of a giveaway happening at This and That. If you don’t already follow Barb’s blog you are seriously missing out. I think if the world had more innately kind, funny and crafty people such as herself we’d all be in a better place. Go check it out. Go! Third, tomorrow the hubs and I will be celebrating our 2-year wedding anniversary at Magnetic Island so there will be no Shortlist. Oh, and Friday Flick was postponed due to the holiday (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

Lastly, even though I fiercely believe in freedom of speech I also know the world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you, may not be right for some. So I hope that my views on religion don’t offend or upset anyone. But doesn’t the Bible say “judge not, lest we be judged?” (that may very well be the first time I used a Bible verse in an argument, even though the argument was with myself. Hmm.)

This blog is dated May 15, 2010.

I've stopped praying. I started when I was 10, and I memorized a prayer in my head to try and make it habit. One day I saw my cat Mojo get hit by a car, and in my mourning it occurred to me that the night before I didn't pray, and that's why he died. I didn't ask God to keep him safe. After that day, it stuck. The prayer stayed the same, with additions and removals of family, friends, animals, boyfriends, etc. If I had a super special request I would throw that in after the prayer, and in the beginning I would always start with, "Dear Lord, please forgive me for everything I've done wrong". I don't know when my OCD knocking on wood started, but I would think of something bad at random and I would knock on wood three times and say to myself, "please let (insert fear here) not happen". After a while I would knock on wood about all the things I was worried about and then pray. It was a long process. Many a time I was staying at a boyfriend's house they would say, "what's that knocking sound?"

In the middle of my last depressive episode, I just stopped praying. I don't know if it was the fact that I was exhausted every day, or if by this point I realized God wasn't listening. For anyone wondering, I grew up in a house that didn't talk about religion or incorporate it-I went to church and Awana weekly as a child, but only because my half-sister’s dad and his family were very religious, and due to my deadbeat dad they were decent about including me. I remember every time I would walk into a church I would be very uncomfortable. I would fidget and my mind would wander until the service was over. My ex grew up in a strict Christian household, and we made a compromise where I would go to his "mega church" on religious holidays like Easter. I hated it. I hated that they made God so commercialized. I wanted to go in a quiet church, stand and read hymns then sit and listen. These people would mumble to themselves, raise their arms in joy and I felt like I was soaking in sin. I wanted to run out screaming.

I'm happy that my parents didn't raise me with any specific religion, as now that I'm older, I can look at religions with no bias other than my own. On the other hand, I look at my friend who is a born-again Christian and I absolutely envy that she doesn't fear death. If something goes bad in life, she can surmise "that was not the path that God chose for me", and move on. I only have myself to blame for anything that goes wrong. In my opinion, if you are inherently good, you go to Heaven. My grandma never talked about whether or not she believed in God; what I do know is that she was a good person, and she has to be in a good place or the whole concept of the life we choose to lead would be a joke, and my head would explode. In regards to religions and which one is the "right" one, I believe that Heaven is a series of land masses somewhere where the Jews have one continent, Hindus have another, and so on. I know it's completely a juvenile way to think of it, but I'm always thinking, "if I commit to the fact that Jesus is the 'real' Lord and savior, how can 6,000,000 Muslims be wrong and automatically go to Hell? What if I'm wrong?"

Anyway, I was sitting here and thinking about where times have gotten really bad, and I still don't really blame God. I sometimes look up and think, "C'mon! C'MON!" I know I am an inherently good person, I wouldn't hurt a fly, yet I am cursed with this useless brain that likes to play tricks on me. I chose to have a child and he happened to be autistic. But I still know that there are children that die from starvation, or live forever as a vegetable, and even though you would think I would be giving props to God for sparing my child, I get even angrier that these innocent children have to be born just to suffer. I think that's ultimately why I chose to stop praying, because as we all know, life will go on whether or not you tell God daily, "I know I ask for a lot, but I appreciate everything you have done for myself, my friends and my family, and the good people around the world".

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My mind is my enemy.

Still working on blog archives. This one is dated May 15, 2010.

 

At 20, my great-grandma died. She was 92 and raised 5 girls who in turn had 15 kids and countless grandkids and great-grandkids. My brother was the first great-grandchild, and he called her "Moo-mama", which we all ended up adopting. Her funeral was a packed house of her large family and neighbors and friends through the years. The pastor presiding over the service kept calling Moo-mama Mrs. Hill, and a longtime neighbor came up and read a poem about his nice neighbor, Mrs. Hill. Towards the end of the service, the pastor asked if anyone else would like to come up and share some memories about Mrs. Hill, and the crowd was dead silent. I was sitting in the front row wedged between my grandma and mom, and as I went to stand up they actually grabbed my hand for a second to stop me, then let me go. I walked up to the podium overlooking at least 300 people, and said, "Hi, I'm Hed, M's grandchild. I keep hearing everyone up here talking about Mrs. Hill and I don't know who that is. I know Moo-mama." As soon as I said that, I looked over at the pew I was sitting in and my mom, my grandma, my sister, my aunts etc.-who for the entire service were composed-were just bawling their eyes out. I felt awful, I just wanted to share a few memories I had spending time with my great-grandma!

After the service, people were leaving to the cemetery, and so many people stopped me and told me "you said exactly what I was thinking, I just didn't have the courage to stand up there." In a day of mourning, I felt good that my great-grandma, my Moo-mama, was loved and cherished by so many. If Moo-mama died this year, there is a strong chance that I wouldn't even be at the funeral. I am grappling with what my psychologist is calling "social phobia". Me. ME! The person voted "Most Outgoing" in junior high. The person who was a bingo caller in a large casino with 500+ customers daily. The manager who steps in and fixes problems. I haven't told my friends that I am terrified to leave my house, and when I do leave, it's because I have to. I think they would all say something along the lines of, "you're pulling my leg, right?" I don't go to family events, I didn't go to a funeral for a very close friend of my family recently. I didn't go to my niece's and nephews first birthdays, or second, or third.

When I was younger I was always a homebody, but I went out and hung with friends when I could. I didn't make excuses not to see them. I have lost jobs because I couldn't leave my house. Up until last year, the phobia was mild enough that I put on a happy face and went to work, or saw friends maybe once every three months. The cracks started around March. I had taken vacation time off to take a road trip with my husband up north. I had started taking Cymbalta for anxiety in January, and it made me go from anxious to extremely depressed. My boss took me aside and offered to give me a "vacation" where I was on medical leave. I couldn't get out of bed. I started seeing a psychiatrist who upped my dose of Cymbalta and also gave me the mood stabilizer Lamictal. Five weeks later, I was back at work and better than ever. I was working, I was solid. Even my employees saw a change. You know how they say hindsight is 20/20? I'm so stupid that I didn't realize I was in a "manic" sort of phase.

Since I was 15, I have been in and out of doctor's offices and hospitals for severe depression. I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and in my twenties it was revised to Bipolar II. The difference? Regular bipolar people, during their highs, or "manic" stages, will do things like stay up 5 days straight, compulsively gamble, eat, have sex and then crash. People with II have more of a "hypo-manic" state, which is instead of these bouts of crazy, "it is believed to be underdiagnosed because hypomanic behavior often presents as incredibly high-functioning behavior. Indeed, to a physician or psychologist specializing in mood disorders, highly confident ambition might appear to be symptomatic of hypomania if that individual's goals are viewed as unrealistic." (Taken from Wiki) That was me last summer in a nutshell. I took on college courses while working a 50+ hour a week job. I started a diet that had me organizing and labeling all the food in my house at 4am, and keeping a food diary. I offered to organize all of the shelves at work, and work on employees Human Resource files, and everyone just thought I was at 100%. If you know me, if you REALLY know me, you would know that that's me at like, 300%.

Anyway, my 300% self crashed and burned around Thanksgiving. I quit my job without notice. I withdrew from all my classes. I started calling in sick to my brand new job, giving them excuses like, "oh I have a flat tire and I...I uh, can't leave my car behind." There was a point where I just couldn't get out of bed anymore. When I did, I ate, I would try to function, and I would end up crying and going back to bed. I saw a doctor twice a month ($100 a visit because I no longer had health insurance), who tried to prescribe better medicine, or told my husband things like, "make sure she is praying, and tell her she's pretty and that you love her every day." I was suicidal. I started cutting my arms because I didn't know how to function anymore. And instead of this going away after a month like other depressive episodes in my life tended to last, it lasted five months. By this time I was so distraught I couldn't even talk to friends on the phone. My doctor finally got the meds right: Celexa in the AM, Elavil and Lamictal in the PM, and I'm sitting here typing to you all.

The residue of this last depressive episode is social phobia. I have turned so inward that I can barely speak to strangers. It sucks. I used to be the life of the party, the one who always had a joke to tell, the one you could always count on to cheer you up, and now I feel like I have nothing to offer to anyone. I am broken. The Hed that friends and family know is on life support, and I'm desperately trying to bring her back to life.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In memory.

Twenty minutes ago there was a breaking news story that came across our news: The New Zealand mine that had exploded last week had a second blast today, leaving no survivors.

This is heartbreaking in any light, but my husband is devastated. He found out one of his mates that he grew up with, went through secondary (high) school with, was one of the miners. This was a 25-year-old man with a baby on the way.

Please hug your family and friends extra tight today, and give a moment of time for the 29 miners that perished today.

Taken from Miss Vicki’s page at Core Blimey

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Test, Part Deux (sorry!)

Just seeing if I have some crap working-here, enjoy this picture of Angelina Jolie..

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YouTube Tuesday.

Before I post me basic stuff I wanted to share a comment I got from my sister (not the one I wrote about yesterday-the oldest one that I share a brother with). It’s amazing how may times I have gotten e-mails or comments like these from my friends who I think have perfect lives, only for them to tell me I have no idea. This was her comment:

I enjoy reading your blogs. You think you know about your siblings, but in actuality we don't know that much about one another. We may be five years apart; therefore, didn't bond much growing up. Yes, I went to 3-4 schools compared to the dozen you went to. I had anxiety my whole life. I am more private, you guys (mom and you all) didn't know I went to counseling at 21 for eating disorders and again at 27-current for anxiety. SO, as much as I don't know or understand you, you think I have this great life and your say your siblings have never dealt with depression but that's just not true. Were losing our home, I have guilt over not spending enough time with my daughter yet I am proud to help provide for our family. I didn't stay in College because I always felt, frankly, I was never smart enough. I graduated high school by the skin on my teeth. My dad may have been there more than yours and set ground rules and paid child support, but we don't have the father/daughter relationship some do. SO, Hed, you are not alone in feeling depressed, anxious, hopeless, sad, alone. I know I have a loving family like you, a great husband, adorable daughter, caring friends. Does that make me jump out of bed every morning with a smile and want to conquer whatever comes my way. NOOO, I push snooze at least 5 times, have panic attacks to and from work at least 3 times a week, cry for no reason, nap on weekends when I should be doing housework and don't care that we may be homeless soon. I guess what I am saying is... IDK, life sucks I guess. What is the alternative? I have to pull myself out of this, read self help books, take medication, get out of the house into the daylight, and physically move my body. I love you and we’re not THAT different whether I like the Gap and you like Hot Topic. You are my sister, different sperm but we’re blood and we go through these downtimes together. See you soon.

I’m all ferklempt now. Thanks S for sharing! Maybe I can let her do a blog post on her anxieties. It helps me, that’s for sure. Okay, on to videos now.

I’d like to start off by saying the ONLY thing I know about Australian music is what I’ve heard, my husband’s ramblings, and the ARIA charts-so if I get this one all wrong don’t find me and punch me in the face or anything. When I first got here we were watching Max Music-sort of a VH-1 music station that plays a LOT of classic videos-and I was taken back by this one guy’s voice. Watching him, he was kind of a spaz, but dude could SANG. I asked J about him and he told me, “that’s Jimmy Barnes. He’s the equivalent of your Bruce Springsteen” (ha ha Bruce Springsteen is “ours”. USA! USA!). The song that he and his then-band Cold Chisel are most famous for is “Khe Sanh” (one of the YouTube comments says “Anyone who wants to be an Australian citizen has to sing every word of this song correctly to get their citizenship”), but I much prefer the track “Bow River”. FYI-the guitar player that mainly sings isn’t Jimmy Barnes-to get the epicness of his voice you have to forward the video to about 4:00. Seriously, dude can SANG.

When I think of notable Aussie bands, these ones come to mind: INXS, AC/DC, Bee Gees, Kylie Minogue-and many bands that have gotten a hit or two in the States but are still HUGE in this country-Silverchair, Jet, Wolfmother, Olivia Newton-John, Crowded House, Keith Urban, Midnight Oil, The Divynls-and the list goes on and on. One of the songs that you can’t get out of your damn head this year is from Australian artists-“We No Speak Americano” (if you’ve heard it, you’ll know-you’ll be singing it like a dork). Other bands that are kick-ass are Temper Trap, Dead Letter Circus, John Butler Trio, and this brother-sister group that swept the ARIAs this year: Angus & Julia Stone.

If anyone has any more Aussie music that I may have missed that are awesome, let me know, damn it!
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Blood.

Still going through my blog archives currently-this one is dated May 12, 2010.

When I was three, my mom and my dad got married. When I was three, my mom and my dad divorced. Yes, I was one of those kids that always hoped their parents would get back together. My dad was a cool dad, the one that would never spank you-he would use logic like, "tell me why you think I'm upset you ate cookies before dinner?" On the weekends I would visit him, I would drink Squirt cola at two in the morning and get the 10 pack of burritos from Del Taco. My mom was the bad guy. I always had to spend the night with my grandparents because my mom had to do things like work double shifts as a waitress. She would make snide comments on the Monday after my dad's weekend like, "God I hate when you come back from your dad's! He doesn't give you any rules!" During my early years, we lived on Avenue E with my grandparents. Then 16th Street. Then Avenue E. Then Avenue G. Then Avenue E. Then Avenue F. Then Avenue E. I made friend after friend after friend because I was shuffled around schools so much. I didn't have time to be shy. I remember, in fourth grade, going back to the school I spent second grade in, and a girl came up to me and said, "Remember me? I was your best friend when you went to school here!" I thought to myself,"I was? Geez, I don't even know you."

Before me, my mom had a son and a daughter from her previous marriage, and my dad had a daughter, so technically I wasn't an only child, but I never felt like I belonged in my own family. My brother is 8 years older than me, so I barely know him; who wants to hang out with a 10-year-old when you're 18? My oldest sister is 5 years older; the age difference growing up was a little too wide for us as well-she loved The Gap and U2; I loved Hot Topic and Nine Inch Nails. My grandparents loved and raised us like we were their own, and even though they loved us unconditionally, they were not affectionate. We would hug Pop and say "I love you", and he'd pat our back and say "uh huh". My mom and dad are huggers. My siblings? Not so much. Hugging my brother and sister is awkward; it feels forced. Don't get me wrong, I love them-but we just never hugged or were verbally affectionate.

The sister I shared with my dad was only 2 years older than me; in theory we could play Barbies together, and listen to the same genre of music and go to the same school-in theory. My dad also had weekends with her, and either we didn't share the same weekend or she didn't come over. Eventually her mother remarried and her stepdad petitioned to adopt her. I was maybe 9 when this went down. I always thought, as I still do sometimes, that even though she was gone she was still my sister. I mean, it's not my fault that she got adopted, right? When I was 11, my own mother remarried and I was asked if I would also like to be adopted. By this time I hadn't seen all the opportunity my sister was able to receive by not having my dad as her dad, and I threw a FIT just even being asked. I would never do what she did and bail on my dad! That would make me a monster! Who cared that my dad didn't pay child support, or pick me up when he was supposed to! He lets me stay up until 3am! I get to watch scary movies! When I got engaged, my fiancé and I sat down with my mom and I casually asked her, "Mom, what made you marry my dad? I mean, I was in the damn wedding! Why didn't you just stay dating?", and she casually told me "It looked better if we married so your father could get full custody of your sister". Her words sank in, and just ended up a checkmark on the list in my head on why I shouldn't be alive. Other reasons on that list? My parents and my siblings all got delivered by the same doctor and the same hospital. Before I was born, that doctor died. My sister and brother went to three schools in their entire lifetime; I went through twelve. My brother and sister both have no traces whatsoever of depression, and their kids all came out healthy with no developmental problems. Yeah, these reasons might sound trivial to you, but to me these are all rational and logical reasons why I feel God made a boo-boo.

Anyway, about the "long-lost" sister. I always tried to catch up with her. She lived a town away, and was only a couple years older, but it was like pulling teeth. I don't consider that her fault, I honestly believe that her mother wanted all residue of my side of the family dissolved in her brain. I came across a picture of her when I was 12 and she was 14. She was blonde, and slim, and tall; I was curly haired with braces and a flat chest. I immediately and instantly looked up to her. My oldest sister, well, I didn't look up to her per-se, knowing her dad was reliable and dependable and a DAD was proof enough she was a good person. My other sister for all I know could have been shooting up heroin in high school and I would still have thought she was AMAZING. She had this whole life, these prospects that I wasn't able to have. She went to a University. She double majored and then got accepted into medical school. My mom had to work double shifts to pay for my braces and counseling and summer camp that my dad promised to pitch in but never did. Not only did I feel like a black sheep for a) Not having the perfect life, b) Not having the perfect dad, but also for a) Not having perfect teeth like my brothers and sisters, b) Not having a perfect mental state like them either.

As an adult, I found my long-lost sister on the Internet, and to me she is still AMAZING. She is beautiful, in a state of great health, and livin' the dream. I am terrified to ask her if she thinks of me as her sister. Her mother ended up having another child, and even though his blood and my blood are in equal proportions towards her, I have no doubt they are brother and sister.


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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sharing is caring!

A few weeks ago I was reading how a fellow blogger was already getting their Christmas cards done. I mean it was right after Halloween! I knew with me being in Australia and 99% of everyone I know in America I needed to give myself 2 extra weeks to mail them all out and make sure they got to everyone in time. Now with the BIG MOVE looming, picking, writing and mailing seems like a huge task.

At first I was going to find Australia themed Christmas cards because seeing Santa BBQ’ing by the ocean looks hilarious-but they were like $3 for one card. So then I thought about the generic card/Christmas letter option, but with my blogs kind of being a daily diary I figured I would just be rambling on about the same stuff that everyone already knew. So with the Magnetic Island trip coming next week, I decided I am going to use all the batteries up on my camera and take pictures like crazy, and make personalized photo cards.

This is going to be super easy, because right now Shutterfly is doing a promotion with bloggers where if they post a blog about their Christmas card collection, Shutterfly will give them 50 free cards. Yep. This is a huge weight off my shoulders, because Christmas cards in my family are pretty much mandatory. Last year J and I did the personalized card route and had caricatures of ourselves and our two cats on the cover, and they were by far the best card I ever sent out. So I’m hoping to do some that are uniquely me (and J, of course), and the options are limitless!

Depending on the pictures that I take, I may go the single picture route:

http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-cards

Or continue the “Summer Christmas” tradition and do a photo collage:

http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery

Or condense all of 2010 into a Top 10 list…I like this idea…I love lists!

http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/cards-stationery/top-ten-moments-christmas-card-5x7-flat?sortType=1&storeNode=93478

If you guys have some cards to do this year as well, Shutterfly has a thousand cards with a million customizations. The link to their blog promo for 50 free cards is at http://bit.ly/sfly2010. Go check it out!

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hed’s Sunday shortlist.

 

I’ve decided to stick with my list making abilities and rename “hed’s Sunday shout-out” to “hed’s Sunday shortlist”. I think it gives me more breathing room to basically list whatever the hell I want, don’t you think? Today’s shortlist is:

10 Things I Take With Me From Australia.

10. Music! Australians LOVE their pop and electronica. There are so many songs on the radio here from bands I had never even heard of that are great! I think the reason may be that Australia tends to have more of a UK band base as opposed to a US one. Plus, they actually have music video channels here! That play music videos! On the weekends there are no less than five on at any given time: V, V Hits, Max, Rage, and MTV (I am going to be really happy to go home to my beloved VH-1 and see what “I love the…” show they are doing and what herpes-laden vehicle Bret Michaels is on trying to score with whores though). Right now at #12 on the ARIA (the Aussie equivalent to Billboard) charts is “Barbra Streisand” by Duck Sauce…it’s not even on the Billboard music charts! What’s up with that? BEST SONG EVER!

 

9. Screw you, nature! I’m all for fishing on a boat for 9 hours straight. I like to go camping in a recreational vehicle. I like the zoo, and even animal sanctuaries. But Australian wild animals are just too, too much for my poor, wimpy American system. First I was startled with geckos. Then hissed at in the dark by possums. Then eaten alive by mosquitoes and was sure I would contract malaria. I would see kangaroos on the side of the road, looking like giant, stupid rabbits (that’s what they look like to me at least), and we would run over cane toads (which is apparently a GOOD thing). Now that summer is near, we’re seeing more bugs trying to infiltrate the house, getting out of the wet humidity. And the frogs, cicadas and birds are so incredibly LOUD at all hours of the day and night I have to shut the windows because I can’t sleep with them making noise all night! Give me the hum of the freeway any day. I am an urbanite, damn it!

8. The scenery is like no other. In August we were able to take a train up a huge chunk of Queensland’s countryside, and the views are spectacular. At any given day you can stand on a high hill and see forever. There are no buildings or haze obstructing your view. The water is blue (unfortunately also filled with box jellyfish, see #9) and clear, and the skies come in colors other than grey or brown from smog. Even the evil animals are full of color!

Taken last Saturday. Isn’t it so pretty?

7. I know what coffee, chocolate and pastries are SUPPOSED to taste like. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to stick an IV of Starbucks into my veins when I get home, though. Australian coffee is pure. It’s nice and black or black with just a bit of milk and sugar. It’s easy. It’s everywhere! Australian chocolate is exquisite. The minute you touch it, even if from the fridge, it instantly starts to melt. And fresh whipped cream from the bakery is to die for. I mean, I miss glazed donuts with sprinkles, but that crap doesn’t even compare to apple turnovers, eclairs and scones. And while we’re on the subject of food, I’m going to pull a Kanye and say RED ROOSTER CHIPS ARE THE BEST FRENCH FRIES OF ALL TIME!!!

6. Shitty food is a luxury. On Sundays, J and I have a “cheat” day where we eat at Red Rooster or Maccas (McDonalds) instead of at home. I admit I talk him into cheating a little more than once a week, but back home, fast food was all day every day. It’s cheap and easy and down the street. When I think of the food in the States, I swear to Jeebus I’m a contestant on Survivor saying “I would cut my foot off right now for a big Italian beef sandwich!” But I know now it is something that needs to be enjoyed occasionally…wait-what’s the word between “occasionally” and  “all the freaking time”? That’s the word I need (what? I’m fat and it’s almost Christmas!). I land on a Friday morning and am basically going to hold my friends picking me up at the airport at gunpoint to take me to Hof’s Hut for breakfast/lunch. I would cut off my foot for a beef dip and a salad with ranch.

5. The grass isn’t always greener, or, sometimes you like brown ass grass. Within a week J and I got jobs in Australia. We searched for a long time for decent jobs in the States because, well, you all know America is sadly going to hell. I happen to like hell apparently. I had the opportunity to be an expat and be international, but it’s just not me. If I don’t get on another plane for the rest of my life I’ll be just fine (although we will definitely be traveling back for the Aussie family!) When I come home my goal is to appreciate what is in front of me. On that note:

4. It’s the simple things. I used to take over an hour getting ready. Even if that meant going to the post office. I rarely put make-up on nowadays, and my poor hair straightener has gotten maybe three uses since I’ve been here. It’s not necessary to spackle yourself up!When J and I had the apartment in California, we were always bummed we couldn’t afford to go to a concert, or an amusement park, or have more material objects. Since I’ve been in Australia I’ve bought a couple of nightshirts, a bathing suit, and some lounge pants, and I’m okay with that. I don’t need a new IPod. Or a new Volkswagen. I would like a new camera, but only because mine is broken. Anyway, living here in a much, MUCH smaller place has made me realize that as long as I have my husband, air conditioning, a bed and a laptop, I’m fine. Oh, and meds. Lots of meds.

3. I need to be a better friend. I read all these Facebook and e-mails from my friends who are concerned about me, my mental health, and my well-being, and to be honest, I 100% feel I don’t deserve it. Some of my best friends have babies and husbands and lives that I have been too down or anxious to contribute to, and I owe it to the ones that truly care and love me to give to them as much as they give to me. There’s also one I need to call out for not being there when I need her the most, but that may be a lost cause considering when I wrote her I’d be coming home she replied “Oh, I’ll read about it tomorrow” instead of, oh, I don’t know, giving a shit? I’m talking about YOU, Kato…

2. Family first. I’ve always been around my family, but not really around them. I wouldn’t go to birthday parties or holiday events, or I would stop by and leave right away. Now that’s I’m not around them, I miss them like crazy. I don’t think I can be far away from them again, and that’s the truth-but living in another country, on another continent, in another hemisphere has given me some insight to realize how far away “far away” is. You only live once (I think), and if I don’t use the time to be involved now, I may be losing precious moments.

1. Happiness is a mood, not a destination. I read that this week, and it made so much sense. I’m so good at running away and starting over because it’s new and I can be at the top of my game again and I haven’t failed at this venture just yet. I have to do what’s best for myself, and that it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing (I swear SS is reading this yelling out loud “that’s what I’ve been telling you ALL ALONG!!!”). I also have the most wonderful, selfless husband on the planet that would let me move across the planet for my family and to sort my shit out and continue to support me and be devoted to making it work out in the end. I owe it to him to be happy. To my family. My friends. To me.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

So here we are…in the NOW.

I’m happy to see that in the course of 24 hours, I have 13 followers already! Holy CRAP! I promise and swear up and down that when I have some free time I am going to update my blog lists, join new blogs, and read like hell! I’m still in the process of switching, tweaking, and fidoodling my blogs, so today I leave you with an archive from May 12, 2010 from my Bipolar blog.


Last night, I heard the song "Adventure" by Angels & Airwaves, a band I wouldn't normally associate myself with, and I said out loud, "this song makes me want to go to Hof's Hut!". In case you are not familiar, Hof's Hut is a Coco's-type restaurant that exists in Orange county. Thinking of Hof's Hut on Chapman in Orange made me think of my old apartment off of Main Street, next to the Children's Hospital in Orange. I immediately got a pang in my belly. Moving to Orange from the Inland Empire was a HUGE deal. My family is very close-knit, and everyone is generally twenty minutes away from one another. When I got the urge to move out of my family's house, I started looking outward. Way outward. I happened to stumble upon someone who already lived in Orange, and wanted a roommate. I told him I could only afford $600. He said, "that's fine". This was the spring of 2006, when I worked at a Hot-Topic type store and had a hoop in my lip. I ended up moving away from my family two weeks after my grandmother died, which was also a HUGE deal. No one in my life other than my great-grandmother and some distant cousins have died in my family, and my grandma was like my mom.


I had a sense of independence I had never felt before. I had lived away from my family before, but it was with an ex-boyfriend, and we were always struggling. This felt different. I was in charge of my life. If something broke, there was no one around but myself to fix it. I ate whatever I wanted. I did whatever I wanted. I was free. The room I had was massive, literally as big as the entire apartment I share with my husband now. I had my own bathroom, my roommate was never home, and I could hear the fireworks from Disneyland every night out my window. The Starbucks closed at 1 a.m.! I still worked in the I.E., and every time I drove home, I would hit the 55 freeway from the 91 and it was magical. When I was a kid, hitting the 55 freeway meant we were almost at the beach. Now I lived off of it! I wish I could explain in more detail how amazing that time in my life was. I don't ever recall having depression during that time (well, except at the very end of the 9 months I was there-but that's a whole other blog). I had a "friend with benefits", I could do whatever I wanted.


After thinking of my time there, I said out loud, "I miss Orange County. I miss my life". My husband turned to me and said, "are you serious?". I told him yes, I was. I had no one to rely on but myself back then. I had no crutch when things went down. I WAS FREE. The thing is, was I? When I was in that time, did I not stress about money? Did I not have work woes? Did the "friend with benefits" not break my heart time and time again? Of course they did. But I happen to believe, as I always have, that the past experiences are always better than the present. At that time, when that time was the present, I probably would trade it all in for my grandmother still being alive. I probably cried myself to sleep every night for a month. The whole time I lived 20 minutes away from the beach, I never went. But yet, I always glamorize my past, and my past is always better than what it is now. I hate my life at the moment. I am afraid to leave my house. I am 100 pounds overweight. I have missed friends and families birthday parties, baby showers, holidays. Just six months ago I had a townhouse, a great job and nothing to worry about. I miss my life then. 18 months ago I was planning a wedding, was only 50 pounds overweight and after a long struggle, my fiancé was living with me. I miss my life then. It goes on and on and on. I am never satisfied with how I am feeling NOW. I have always had the option of change, and now I have to be concerned with how that will affect my husband. I don't know how to love myself and appreciate the things I have in the moment. My life is always yesterday.
P.S. The Hof's Hut down the street from my house? It closed down.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Hi, I’m hed.

So any of you coming over from my Hed Down Under blog know what I’m about for the most part. Same with my “Musings of a Bipolar Girl” peoples. Earlier this week I posted about merging the two blogs into one, and well, this is the finished product. For now, until the transition from Australia back to California is completed (3 weeks), you will be getting some of my “best of” blog entries to chew on. This is the first post from my “Musings” blog, and…not much has changed. I really hope you’ll follow this blog ------------>                       and enjoy reading it as much as the last two.

(Dated May 9, 2010)

I love to write. I usually have so much stuff stuffed inside my brain that it seems like I have ADD. Look, a blue car! What were we talking about? Oh yeah, me. Good subject. I'm like a Chuck Palahniuk book-on the surface, normal, but when you dig deeper you realize it's more fucked then you could have ever imagined. I try my best to hide the fucked-up part, and I'll bet that a lot of the people that know me, even the really close ones, would think that I'm overreacting. I'm not. At all. I'm like a good, law-abiding senator who gets caught in a gay bar with his leather daddy. You should also know that I'm good at analogies.


a·nal·o·gy 

 [uh-nal-uh-jee] –noun, a similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based

My whole life, my being, is a comparison between me and something I'm not. I'm constantly running a checklist off in my head when I think about others vs. myself. "Oh, she's married, like me! And she owns a house." "See? I'm better than her because she's single and I have found someone. But she has a master's degree." I've been doing this as long as I have been living, and nine times out of ten I'm the one on the short end of the compare stick. When I visualize my feelings about this, I always picture myself as the Silver Medal; and everyone else is either a Gold Medal or a Bronze Medal. I don't know if I've ever thought of someone as my equal; you're either better than me or beneath me. It takes a LOT to be the Bronze Medalist, by the way: you need to be snorting heroin on a street corner for me to look my nose down at you. I am an unbelievably forgiving person, even when I know I am right. I will bend my will to make sure people like me. It makes me a good manager for the most part; employees love me because they can walk all over me, customers get whatever they want. I go home with an anger bubble so deeply logged in my stomach that I usually eat or sleep away. Oh, the manager thing? Since about 2001, I've been in some form of retail management: a video store here, clothing store there. I am currently not working. I recently broke down, and don't have enough money for a full overhaul of my system (Like that one too?). Two months ago, I started seeing a psychologist twice a month to figure out why I do the things I do, and to really get to the core of who I am. The funny thing is, my doctor's superiors, after reading her files on me, urged her to make me come in twice a week.

Writing to me is cathartic. It's either that or sleeping, and I can't sleep at the moment; eating (which I have finally tried to take control of-more on that one later); or zoning out with mindless video games, which I will actually do after I post this. So that's about it for now, I felt like posting about my core so I can work outward when I write. Hi, I'm hed.

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