When you live

inside your head, with no one to talk to but imagined people, it’s always a jumble of things outrageous and mundane.

A rehash of personal history; questions about why you are who you are – where did all these opinions, beliefs, judgements, preferences come from? Why do you think how you think, and reason?

The telling, to these imagined and imaginary people, of all the stories, both funny and sad, of your life.

The imagining of other ways to live, the if only’s, the when this happens then that.

The crazy experiences I invent, even other lives I invent, that I live in. And yet I say I have no imagination – Ha! – if you only knew.

Today my mind is awhirl with books I’ve read – that remind me of other books and movies and experiences and the question becomes – how in heaven’s name do we justify eating other sentient beings. The answer is – that is the way of nature – the food chain. But still…

And the thought that so many people are drawn to the sea, to bodies of water, like moths to the light – because that is where we came from? It is our happy place (as Sharla calls it). And then there is me – I fear the water. Nothing petrifies more than water – ponds, rivers, lakes, the ocean, even a bathtub. I don’t know why.

And yet nothing mesmerizes me more than the ocean; nothing draws me more. Living by the ocean has been my deepest, strongest, most unrelenting desire – I picture my home, on a cliff, overlooking the sea. “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and sky…” (opening line from John Masefield’s poem Sea-Fever).

This morning I sat with my coffee and thought “Today is not a good day” and thought “No particular reason why this is not a good day, it just is. And I want to go – end it all. It’s time.”

It’s almost Noon and I have to start lunch and I don’t quite feel that way anymore. The day hasn’t gotten any better, really, but I’m not feeling that defeated.

Instead I am writing this.


Yesterday I finally finished the book “Hello Beautiful” (which I wrote about in the previous post). As I said to Sharla, it is a tearjerker, especially towards the end, and yes, it jerked some tears from me.  Well, almost – there was just a hint of mist in my eyes.

I suppose the overall theme is love – of friends and family. Connections. With a large side order of living with clinical depression.

Three-quarters of the way through the book I thought “Wow, wouldn’t it be great to have to have friends and family and connections like that” As I sat with that thought for a few moments, I thought “No, not for me.”

I’m the friend who will always be there for you, help whenever and however you need me to. Just ask. And if I sense you might need me but won’t ask, then I’ll ask YOU. I’ll show up and ask. And I’ll go away if that’s what you want. I will not live in your back pocket. I’ll keep in touch and keep track of you but I won’t hover. I’ll be easy to forget about until…

The connections and relationships in this story were overwhelming – at least for me they would be. Thinking about them makes me shudder.

I didn’t grow up with any close relationships and therefore never established any close relationships with anyone at anytime. I never had a “best friend”, oh hell, growing up I had no friends. Come to think of it, aside from my therapist and maybe one other person, I never confided in anyone about anything. I never depended on anyone for anything. Learned behavior or just who I am?

I’ve been accused of being cold-hearted because I seem to have the ability to just walk away from people and relationships. As much as I, all too often, had let people treat me badly there were times when I not just closed a door or burned a bridge but bricked up the door and started a conflagration. As much I avoided confrontation, when my limit was reached, it was reached and I was done.

It wasn’t until I was in my late 30’s that I learned to say NO on a regular basis. Hoo-boy were there a lot of shocked people.

When I think about that I also think about being told that my vocabulary, until I was 3 or so,consisted of 4 words – Ma, Pa, John and NO.  Makes me laugh. According to family lore the first full sentence I spoke was “NO, I won’t. Make John do it” And then I stomped out of the room and slammed the door behind me. I was like 2.5 – 3.

I guess I had more confidence and sense of myself when I was a toddler than when I was an adult. Where did it all go? And why did it take me so long to get it back.

If you want a nice book to read, with nice people and a warm and fuzzy feel, go ahead try Hello Beautiful. Ann Napolitano uses language beautifully, it’s a well written book and quite frankly there aren’t that many of them around these days. It’s even well edited. It won’t knock your socks off but when you finish you will go Awww.


It is 2 pm. We finished lunch at 1 and then I sat and went through my email – so many newspaper articles and book reviews and I want to read them all. I scan through some, read others in their entirety but not truly absorbing their content. There are still more left unopened.

There is the book I am reading while I eat lunch. I skipped the middle, the beginning was of interest, the last third even more so, I have about 100 pages left to read. I want to, I do.

Mornings are so busy – especially the mornings that include a shower for my husband. I grab a half hour here or there to do some of MY stuff – read some of those articles, pay a bill, research a new doctor. Do some odd housekeeping chores, laundry, wash dishes, cook lunch.

Then there is this afternoon time. I can barely keep my eyes open – so tired. Lately I have been lying down after lunch, during this time that I am now writing instead of resting, and I’ll drift off for 40 winks because my brain knows that I have to be up at 3:15 to make my husband his coffee and snack to have at 3:30 when he watches Jeopardy re-runs.

6 o’clock comes quickly. Evening meds and other odds and ends – perhaps wash all the dishes – from lunch and afternoon snack, I often save them all up and just do it all in one fell swoop. Oh, and my husband’s physical therapy exercises, have to do those as well.

Where does the time go?

7pm – a light supper and then sitting like a lump, watching television I have no interest in, wasting precious time doing nothing when I could be doing something – my husband wants company – he sits all day in his recliner – unable to do anything on his own. While I flit around the apartment doing this and that – fetching for him – trying to steal a moment here and there for me – but there is no ME.

And here I sit writing when I could be catching a much needed nap, because I need to, write this, at this moment. Write this. Write other thoughts that are swirling through my mind.

But I must stop now. I need to lie down – just for a bit. Please.

There was no shower song this morning but there was a laundry song – Enya – Only Time.

As Jack Benny would say…

This morning’s newspaper was, how should I say, amusing.

You may (or may not) recall the story of the 6 year old boy in Newport News, VA who shot his teacher. There was an update in this morning’s paper with the most interesting part being the response of the various entities being sued by the teacher, and I quote “Last month, the defendants in Zwerner’s lawsuit filed a motion to have it dismissed. The Newport News School Board, the former superintendent of Newport News schools and Richneck’s former principal argued Zwerner’s claims are covered under Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Act and should be considered a workplace injury.” (Emphasis added.)

Oho! Getting shot is now a workplace injury in schools. For teachers? Seriously? How many people snorted derisively when they came across that sentence? Who typed the legal document, and did they type it under duress?

(An aside: When I worked as a legal proofreader, we on the night staff refused, on moral and ethical grounds, to work on a particular case the firm was defending.  And yes, we got away with it with no reprisals from management.)

Is anyone seriously wondering why there is a teacher shortage with few new victims candidates and so many leaving the profession altogether.  If people wanted to risk their lives every day at work they would join the military or become police officers or firefighters.

I’m just gobsmacked with that response. Workers Compensation Act my ass.

Today was an expanded edition of the Washington Post with several special sections that elicited a huge MEH from me and sympathy for the trees that died in service to them.

One is called The Weed Report and no, it’s not about gardening.  Should you be a devotee of cannabis in any form and are in need of such while in this area, you should check this out. It covers what to buy, where to buy and the legalities.

The other special section is A Guide to the AI Boom. Am I the only person who doesn’t care? I’m sure there is useful information in there but I have no use for it. Are Siri and Alexa considered AI? And BTW – what are they used for? Seriously, I do not know what they are used for or even how to use them. Not that I’m a luddite, just that I don’t talk to inanimate objects – my husband notwithstanding.

I think that to access Siri you have to say “Hey, Siri”. Now right there I am put off. I detest, DETEST, the use of “Hey” in conversation. It is no way to address a person. I can’t abide it. (Alright, alright, – Siri is NOT a person. I get that still – I see no use for the word Hey. Merriam-Webster does tho – “used especially to call attention or to express interrogation, surprise, or exultation“)

And what the hell is Alexa? You have to buy some sort of gadget to access it? What do you use it for? And Why?

I realize I have overused the word And. I care only a little about that. Were I writing for something other than my own mental health I would have crafted this rant/tirade more carefully.

Also too – despite getting little sleep last night and being up at o’dark thirty for a grocery delivery, I managed to make it a bit of a spa day for me – facial, hair cut, eyebrow shaping etc. I’m tired but pretty.

the obituaries become A Trip Down Memory Lane

I read the obituaries every day just to see how I’m stacking up on the ‘age at death’  statistical charts. Sometimes I read about people who led interesting lives and should have been well known, and sometimes I read about ordinary people who had led lovely lives, and I think, it would have been nice to have met them.

When it comes to famous people dying, those of my generation, or just a bit older, the memories come flooding back. I get to relive good times. I get to ‘remember when’. I get to laugh at my own antics that may have been influenced by the career of the famous person.  Sometimes those laughs may be rueful because – ‘What the hell was I thinking?’  is often my reaction in retrospect.

Mary Quant, who died this week at age 93, reminded me of the fabulous clothes we wore thanks to her.

Mini-skirts! I wore the miniest of the minis.  The trick to minis, back in those days was to have everything match – your tights, your undies, would be the same color as your skirt or bottom half of your dress. Sometimes you even matched your shoes so there was just one long block of color from your waist to your toes.

And then there were hot pants – showed a lot of leg but actually were a bit more demure than minis because they were pants and there was no danger of private bits going on show.

I wish I had more photos of me when I was young and good looking but here is one that was taken with the camera we used to  make ID badges – That’s me rockin’ my hot pants – Hot Damn!

I’m just lucky that way…

While I was scrub-a-dubbing in the shower the other morning  my mind was swirling and  tossing with  my reaction to something I had just read. Then it coalesced into – No everybody doesn’t.

Everybody doesn’t need “Nature’ – to interact with, to be out in it. Everybody doesn’t find it soothing, or rejuvenating.

Everybody doesn’t like or need Everything.

What I’m lucky with is a strong sense of self. My psychotherapist friend commented on that aspect of me. Given my childhood one would think I would be the last person on the planet to have that trait – and yet I do.

Not to the point of me reeking with self-confidence. Oh no, because if I did my life would have turned out very differently. But to the point that I know ME. And I’m really confident in who I am. And that who I am is exactly right.

You know my “About Me” page – “The first thing you should know about me is that I am not YOU. A lot more will make sense after that.”

So all that Nature stuff that philosophers thru the ages have touted, and all those annoying positivity people keep throwing in people’s faces, just makes me twitch and pisses me off. Guess what world – some of us enjoy Nature from the inside of the window.

I’m stressed and itchy and twitchy. No I don’t want to go for a walk – anywhere. I don’t want to go outside. I certainly DON’T WANT to go for a walk in the park or the woods or even around the block. As much as I like walking I’ve always looked at it as transportation – a way to get myself from one place to another. Is it enjoyable? Sometimes, and sometimes it is just expedient. It is in no way soothing, unstressful or anything more positive than getting where I need to go. Period.

I learned the hard way that looking out my window and seeing sky and trees is a total necessity to my mental health and well-being. The operative phrase here is ‘looking out the window’. 

While I am obsessed with light, sunrises and sunsets don’t really interest me. One more photograph of a red sunset, oooh’d and ahh’d over leaves me ho-humming. Unless there is some incredible play of light, which there usually isn’t. Seen one sunset/sunrise, seen ’em all. (Inside joke there.)

Years ago, when I lived in New York City, a friend asked why I never got out of the city for a country weekend. I asked “Why would I? What does the country have that NYC doesn’t” Central Park was always enough ‘country’ for me.

And quiet? I treasure quiet. Do you not know how quiet a city can be? Spookily quiet. Comfortingly quiet. Safe and cozily quiet. The most amazing moments of peace for me was an early Sunday morning, after a snowstorm, standing in the middle of Park Avenue, no cars, no people, twinkle lights on the scraggly trees along the median. The world seemed to have stopped and I was the only one in it – Heaven! So brilliant that I can conjure the scene and the feeling even now.

My point? So many people are not as lucky as I. They look outward for clues and cues to who they should be. And they rarely come up with anything that makes them feel good about who they are. Who they really are. It sucks their self-confidence from their souls.

When you write about ‘everybody’ you are contributing to this soul-sucking. Because they think you know better because “everybody’.  I need the word ‘everybody‘ (and that includes ‘everyone’) to be stricken from the language. It pisses me off!

You want to talk about what brings you pleasure and joy! By all means, I’d really like to know.  But to insinuate that those things should bring me pleasure and joy? You might want to re-think that. Please re-think that. I won’t rain on your parade, don’t rain on mine.

Please make it about YOU. Your likes,dislikes, pleasures and joy. Yours. Not mine or anyone elses. Not everyone’s. Or everybody’s. YOURS.

I can appreciate without wanting or needing. I love your enthusiasms, please respect mine. We can learn from one another without embracing the other’s point of view.

There is no ‘one size fits all’. There is no one answer. But there is the one YOU.

I hate the phrase “You do you” – it drips with sarcasm and dismissiveness, at least that’s the way I hear it. But there is some truth to it – said kindly and sincerely.

Appreciate yourself. Trust what makes you happy. Even if it seems like no one else shares your happy. Because there IS someone else who does.

Why do we have our best ideas in the shower? I know I do. My best writing gets done in the shower.