Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Let Me....

It crunches under my feet like the hardened snow. It makes crispy, annoying sounds that interrupt the silence of everything else that is not going on.....I have been kicking it around for so long that sometimes I could swear I have literal bruises on my toes...I am a warrior and conqueror of only that which can not be seen...on the outside I am just ordinary. On the inside I am a phoenix rising from the ashes.

So let me wrap my toes in ice and bandages. Let me put away my sword an shield. Let me spread my wings of fire and rise..........

Let me close my battle scars with kind words and bits of string. Let me rip the stitches from my mouth. Let me scream about the injustice of it all. Let me breathe and spread my wings of fire and rise....

Let me wash the soot from my armor. Let me tattoo my sins on my breast with permanent marker and fountain pen ink . Let me grieve the pain of lost battles and victories and of all that lies in between. Let me cry and spread my wings of fire and rise....

Because I am the conqueror of my fears....I am the imaginary warrior....I am the phoenix rising from the ash.




Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Unique and Uniquely Broken....


            Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong time? I love old things. Vintage table cloths, old architecture, old tea pots. I prefer vinyl records over cds. I prefer old blues, old jazz, old swing music. I like the new stuff too, but I always go back to Billie Holiday, Perry Como, and good ole' Frank. When I was kid, I listened to the oldies channel over the pop music my friends listened too. It is how I got a love for Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Aretha Franklin.  In my teens, I was rocking out to The Glenn Miller Band and big band swing music. I love vintage clothes and vintage furniture. Antiques make me extremely happy. Nothing bums me out more than going into an old house that someone has stripped all of the original character out of and made it "modern"....shudder. I mean, some things have to be modernized but leave the molding alone!

Right now, I am obsessed with old feed sacks. They are just so freaking neat. I also have an issue with old signs. I have a whole wall of them in my living room. My husband thinks I have enough, but just like books, I am not sure you can ever have too many. Of course, that could be my slight hoarding tendency trying to come out. I have to be careful or I could totally end up with a basement full of cheap vintage signs and old flour sacks....

I also love old typewriters, old radios, old cameras...ect. I just tend to feel like I was born in the wrong time. Or maybe, I am just weird. At this point, I can't tell the difference anymore. All I know is, I always prefer something old over something new. Like my great grandmother's chipped fruit bowl...I love that damn thing and it isn't worth anything. Except that it was hers and it was special to her because she grew up in the Great Depression and she got it around the time my grandmother was born. It is my most prized piece of china. It is my only piece of china but even if I got the most expensive china in the world, I would still only love this one chipped bowl. I love the vintage tea pots my grandmother gave me. They have lost all of their silver plating. One was from an old hotel in Texas that was given to her by one of her grandmother in law's husbands. Or the other tea pot that was made in the 1800's but has a huge dent in it, is no longer shiny and the lid hinge is completely broken so the lid falls off if you even breath while looking at it. They are worthless monetarily and yet they mean so much to me.


I love old, antique and vintage things so much that even my wedding ring is over a hundred years old. I picked it out myself thirteen years ago because it was unique, hand tooled, lovingly crafted for someone, and old.

 Maybe, I like old things because they are no longer run of the mill, cookie cutter objects. They have a history. I don't want new hardwood floors, I want hardwood that has been worn down for decades by the feet of living, breathing, loving, happily families. I don't want new furniture in my dining room. I want the table that has little scratches where the silver wear was placed for a century. I don't want the things that have no story. I want to add my stories to the things that already have one. I am fascinated by everyday objects that have little mars and scratches and marks from owners past that are a testament of their life experiences. A sign that they were here. I love the history of it all.

Obviously, some things have to be bought new but whenever possible I always go for the old. The down trodden. The underdog. The flawed and less desired because it is not perfect. I go for the tarnished tea pot, the well worn flour sack, the broken typewriter, the rusty sign and I utilize them to been seen in my home. They are my little artifacts of history. Worth nothing to most but so much to me because at one time they meant everything to someone else.... Maybe I like them because I see myself in each dented and cracked object...flawed, sometimes overlooked, bizarre, unique, broken, rusted, and well worn. Maybe these things bring me comfort because I feel we share a sameness. Our value is hidden but still exists just waiting for the right person to recognize it, not only in my little artifacts but in themselves as well. Maybe I like them because they are like tiny mirrors of what I see in myself. Maybe a bit dinged up but still beautiful, still interesting, still worthy of being seen and loved. I like them because they remind me that we are all unique and yet uniquely broken....and we all should be treasured.

Neurotic Nelly


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

This Means War.....

                    I have never had a problem with birds per say.....I even had a pair of "love birds" a few years back. Except they more tolerated each other rather than  loved each other. They were decent pets although, you didn't really do much with them and they had this talent for being able to poop outside of the cage even when their butts were inside the cage....as an OCD sufferer this was so not cool. I gave them to my grandma after a few years because she loves birds and birds for me, seem like they should be free. That way if they hate each other they don't have to actually be forced to lived together forever and no one should have to poop in a cage.

None of this has anything to do with my current problem except to prove that I am not a bird hater.

For the last year or so my front porch has been covered in bird poop at any given time. Mostly in a straight line all the way across my red brick porch half wall. It never fails, that at some point, I will be out there with a wet broom and hot soapy water scrubbing away like a ship's deckhand, trying to remove it all. It is unsanitary but even more than that, it is just fucking gross. And it seems to be happening more and more often and at a higher poop percentage.

And they have gotten even more devious and sneaky about it. You never see them actually do it, but let's be real....someone is using my front porch as a public toilet. Before you start thinking I am paranoid, riddle me this.....a couple of days ago, I went outside to get into my car. On the passenger side because I don't drive. And what do I find? Apparently, the birds decided to dive bomb my car but only on my side and only on my window. So while everyone else was bird poop free, my window had giant splotches of bird crap all over it. My kids thought this was just hilarious.

I blamed the red breasted robins innocently (or so it appeared) in my neighbors yard. I mean, what else am I going to think?

And then yesterday we had gone out to the Home Depot to get some paint and when we pulled up to our house I saw them. No, not the red breasted robins, I had falsely accused of barraging me with poop, (sorry robins) but black birds. Little evil black birds lined up on my porch wall, twelve to thirteen of them. And there were more on my actual porch floor. I had finally caught them red handed.....

And here is where I developed the crazy old man-get off my lawn mentality. I swung open my car door cursing at the little evil porch poopers and they flew away. My oldest ran up to the porch flapping his arms in the wind to try and help disperse them and I asked him the loaded question....how bad is my porch? Well, I will tell you just how bad my porch is.....it's covered. There are literally hundreds of blobs of bird poop over every square inch of this damn thing. And there is the tell-tale straight line of doody on my half wall.....bastards. It appears that some horrendous poop massacre had occurred while we were mindlessly traipsing around the Home Depot and we came home in the middle of it.

And to make matters worse, I even have an outside cat, so one would think that would be a bird deterrent. But no, they aren't the least bit bothered by something as paltry as their natural enemy lazing around on my porch.

This is causing me to obsess and my contamination fears are through the freaking roof. I mean, it's poop. Ewwwww.

So, last night as I laid there trying to sleep, I was plagued with thoughts as to how I am going to solve the bird poop debacle of 2015. If live cats aren't a deterrent, I doubt plastic owls would be anything but poop fodder. A scarecrow would be odd and kind of creepy sitting on my porch all year round. My friend suggested a fake snake but I am not certain they would be intimidated by that. She also suggested mirrored balls because birds don't like shiny mosaics. I am currently entertaining the idea of hanging hundreds of aluminum pie pans all over my house, like a big shiny disco ball circa 1975. I don't know what I am going to do but the one thing I am certain of is this can't go on....these feathered jerk faces can not be allowed to crap all over only my porch...and it is only my porch. I have checked. (not sure what that says about me.) It is the line in the sand this means war.....

So if you drive by a red brick house covered from roof to foundation in pie pans, it's probably mine, unless I can come up with a humane but yet kick ass deterrent to save what little is left of my sanity. Although, at this point that may be a moot issue....

Nature's for the birds, and apparently so is my porch.....have a great week guys.

Neurotic Nelly.




Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Blinded.....

My mom always says,"There are none so blind as those who will not see." And I sometimes think that is where we are. This divisional line in the sand crudely drawn with broken bits of lumber and long crooked pieces of driftwood. I sometimes feel like I can explain it until I am blue in the face and yet there are not enough words to fully paint such a horrific picture. I could go on and on and on and yet you would not get it. Not totally. And sometimes I wonder if that is because you are unable to understand because you do not suffer from it, or if it is simply because you can not see it. Or maybe it isn't that you can not see it but rather that you will not see it. Because seeing it means having to acknowledge the depth of agony, fear, and frustration that rules my life. And honestly, who wants to see that in the one they love?

I sit there in a quiet room and I hear you not meaning to trivialize, but doing it all the same and I want to scream....I want to yell......that yes, OCD can cause all of this pain. Yes, OCD can screw everything up and no, it doesn't necessarily matter what else is going on at the time. It is not that the triggers cause the anxiety as much as the OCD causes the triggers to be there in the first place. Without the mental illness there would be no triggers, just everyday things in life that no one notices except people like me.   So, it is in fact, just the OCD being the culprit and to pretend it is not such a big deal or that somehow I am blowing this all out of proportion is frustrating...not to mention, dangerous. Because OCD is a killer just as much as any other mental illness is and people need to remember that.

And I want you to understand my mental illness because if you did then you could understand me better. Because it is what makes me act the way I do, and it is what shapes my decisions right or wrong as they may be, and it is part of who I am. And since my youngest also has it, it would help you to understand him. It would help you to know what he will go through like I know what he will go through, because I have been in that hell for so long, I chose the wallpaper.

I really wish you could see. I wish I could explain it in a manner that didn't frighten you and that made more sense. I wish that you could see it as it is. It just is and like everything else, it is just something you have to learn to live with. I wish that it came with diagrams and maps and charts and picture books. I wish that it came with movies that depicted all of like it actually is and not the silly parts of it. I wish it came with warning labels and soft fuzzy blankets and posters to hang on the wall....I wish it came on coffee cups and in shadow boxes so that everyone could be familiar with it and understand it. So that everyone would know that it is a struggle and that struggle is real. That it is not an excuse for not doing something. It is not a fad or passing phase.  It can get better but it never goes away completely. It is manageable but it is not "curable". And he and I will be just fine although we will have bad days. We will also have good days. And there is always hope that things will get and remain better. Nothing in this world is hopeless as long as you make sure to always keep a positive attitude.

I don't know how else to put it. Maybe I fail at describing it in a way that makes it understandable. Maybe I fail at showing you how it works but then again I can not always understand the things you have gone through. Even though, I try really hard to. So there is that. Maybe I too sometimes can not see the struggles you go through for the very same reasons you can not see mine. Maybe that is what life is.....trying to see others and their lives with complete honesty and compassion and having love for them just the same....

Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Think About.....

My day today started as dawn broke. The light peeking in through the window blinds. Some days I hate the light and others it is my welcome friend. The birds chirp, the clouds hover over head, the smell of coffee fills my atmosphere. My hopes that the morning light would mean a slightly warmer temperature was met with disappointment. It was 21 degrees. Mornings are quiet before everyone stirs and makes the normal morning sounds. I love this time. My time. Time when nothing is expected of me but to simply open my eyes. The few seconds before I roll out of bed and meet the world and all of it's expectations and demands...grudgingly.

Then it is afternoon. Somehow, the day seems like it is slipping through my fingers. I eat lunch, which I have never liked. Lunch always makes my stomach curl. It doesn't matter what I eat. I think it might be anxiety. I jot notes on paper only to lose them in  my cleaning spree. I bet if you opened the desk drawers and cabinet doors you would millions of my half assed thoughts lying around. Not that they would make much sense singularly, all together even less so. They are the keys to the thought narrative in my head. Sometimes a few lines, sometimes just a sentence, mostly just a word or two. As if my OCD  mind is some dark hidden diary that requires a special key to unlock and reads it's secret contents. Although, they really aren't so secret since I write many of them in here. They are just reminders of things I want to write about.....or phrases that touch my soul. Other people's quotes, poems, prose...ect. 

I was thinking about how when I am in the car and looking out the window, I often think about riding horses in the deep green grass. I think about running through corn mazes and having picnics. I think about how money seems like such an odd concept for me. Not because I have ever had much but because I have never had much. Even if I did, I would probably give most of it away. I always want to help others, do for those that have less than me, and I find many things to be ridiculously priced these days. I don't need a bouquet of roses, just pick some wild flowers on the side of the road.  I don't need diamonds and fancy shoes. I hate shoes, they make my feet sweaty. I don't know, maybe that is weird?

I think about how everything seems like people become more and more detached form each other. I used to write long thought out hand written letters on vintage stationary I bought from various resale shops and send them to my loved ones. All of the people I used to write to have since passed. They were the older generation. I receive no letters and send none back. It is kind of sad really. I get bills though....yay. (sarcasm)

I think about how my oldest is turning into a teenager and I worry if I am teaching him the right things. Do I teach him to really listen to the world around him? Do I teach him the importance of liking himself and trusting his intuitions? Because a low self esteem is a horrible cross to bear and a hard one to rectify. Do I teach him how to stand up for himself and the things he believes in? Do I teach him that life is love and music is a representation of life and therefore universal? Do I teach him that of all things in life I find to be important, compassion is the biggest and sometimes hardest thing to learn? Do I teach him that education is something to be serious about? Do I teach him to be fearless in his pursuits and to always question everything and to never give up?.....Hell I don't know. I try.  I hope these things are coming through, but with a teenager it can be hard to tell. He is an amazing kid,so I must be doing something right. After I write this I am going to call my mom and apologize again for being a teenager.....because wow....just wow. They are a real trip. I never appreciated all that she did for me like I do now that I am doing it for my kids. It's an eye opener. 

I think about what it must be like to live unafraid of the things I am afraid of. I think about how some apples were recalled for Listeria. My husband just bought some apples too. I most likely will not be eating them. I might if I feel up to battling the contamination fears. I don't at this exact moment. Maybe later...

I think about blood sugar levels and weight loss. I think about vacuuming the carpet. I think about finding things to write about and this horrid writer's block. I think about my husband's upcoming birthday, and wanting to train to run a marathon, and of learning to be secure in myself enough to go places on my own. I think about what nightclubs must be like because I am a horrid dancer and have never actually been in one. I think about bookstores and antique shops, and how much I love the smell of old musty books. I think about the Winter being over because I detest the cold.  I think about how nice the aroma of wood burning fireplaces and bonfires are. I think about the garden I am going to plant in the Spring as a memorial to my aunt because she liked pretty things and her favorite color was green.... I think about anything and everything in rapid succession and I wonder if maybe I have a touch of ADD with my OCD or if this is just how an overactive brain works.

It seems like thinking is all I ever do. A never ending, never ceasing mumble in the back of my brain much like the sound of a train passing by in the background. Only the train never passes fully, either that or it is the world's longest train track occupied by the world's longest train. If it is a train, then I hope it has a caboose like the ones I used to see as a kid when I played near the tracks of my great grandmother's house. Cabooses are a thing of the past too, and they were so neat looking. Children these days really miss out on some of the old cool things. Makes me feel a tad bit ancient.

I guess this post is about how OCD just never really stops. It is manageable but it is never quiet. Never fully silent. There will always be thoughts, and wondering, and thinking about stupid and or ridiculous things. There will always be that mumble in the back of your brain, even if the loud thoughts and images aren't present. It gets to be where you don't notice it as much. It is just something you learn to tune out. It is part of the OCD experience, I suppose. But hey, I always liked trains so I am not too bothered by it.

Neurotic Nelly



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Inspiration.....Go Whitney!...Haters Need Not Apply....

Sorry I was unable to write last Thursday and Tuesday but I have been under the weather lately. A head cold and a case of "the blahs" will do that to you. But never fear, I am back!

I was watching this television show called "My Big Fat Fabulous Life" the other day. For those of you who haven't heard of this show, it is about a woman who wrestles with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and has become obese due to the weight gain of her disorder and depression. It is inspiring to me because she has such a wonderful outlook on life. She is working on losing weight but at the same time, she refuses to let it stop her from living her life. She dances. She goes on dates. She laughs. She LIVES.

Of course she gets haters, because people really don't like when someone "out of the mold" as they say, defies social norm and learns to love themselves, or pushes the media fantasy of what a "real woman" is, or refuses to be an unhappy recluse shamed to tears because she is fat.

And this show resonates with me on a number of levels. For one, I have wrestled with two separate eating disorders in my lifetime. A binge eating disorder I have struggled off and on with for most of my life and unspecified anorexia, which I had at the age of eighteen. Basically, I ate only tiny bites of food and exercised for six hours a day. My bones were sticking out, my face was sunken in, my hair had started to fall out.  I have never felt so fat as I did when I was anorexic. I was under 120 lbs which on my frame looks sickly, and yet in the mirror all I saw was fat. The scale was the weapon I used to torture myself with. Then after around a year and a half of this kind of horror with an inept therapist and a bad marriage helping to take it's toll in flipping me to the anorexia, I swung right back to the binge eating like I had done all of my life. I ballooned up, gaining one hundred and forty lbs leaving me at 260 lbs. My weight for me, has been a struggle and it still is a work in progress. I am finally for the first time under 190 lbs and eating completely healthy. I am for the first time, not worried about what the scale says, but what my doctor says about my blood tests. I am not binge eating anymore and have not for over a year.

The second reason for loving this show, is that I don't fit the mold either. Not just because I have been both overweight and too skinny, but because I have a mental illness. And just as there are several stigmas and untruths spread around about being overweight, there are equal if not more stigmas and untruths being spread about mental illness. Some of them are similar i.e. laziness, weak willed, pathetic, disgusting, worthless....and some of them go a step further i.e. dangerous, scary, unhinged....ect. So, even though, I am not as big as the woman in this television show, I feel like we could have been sisters in the discrimination department. We are similar in the discrimination that she faces and the battles she has dealt with because of other people's judgments making her judge herself.

I doubt she knows how inspiring she is, not just to those people with weight issues but also to those of us who have also unknowingly let our disorders steal life away from us. Those of us that too, do  not fit the society's mold of perfection. Because we are scared of what other people would say. Of what other people might think. Of how we forget that we have every right to be seen and be loved not just by others but more importantly, by ourselves.

She says things that inspire me. When she was about to teach a dance class and she was talking about her weight and struggles. Her words hit me like a ton of bricks," It's about a passion and if you feel it you gotta bring it."  And I thought about all of the things I am passionate about but I am afraid of and it made me realize I have a right to do what I am passionate about, to admit that there are big things I am passionate about, and that I have a right to be passionate in the first place. Because she is human, and I am human, and we are all human and to be human is to dream, to learn, to love, and to be passionate.


Case in point, next weeks episode preview was about her buying a swimsuit for the first time in twenty years. I sat there and tried to remember when I bought my last swimsuit, which was over thirteen years ago. Then I tried to remember when I last went to a beach or public swimming hole and I realized it had been at least fourteen years. Not because I was overweight or not, but simply because even though I enjoy swimming, I have OCD and being in a large group makes me feel vulnerable and nervous. It took a television show to show me how far I have let my OCD stop me in things I could be doing. I should be doing. Things I used to love to do but somehow became complacent in because I was worried how other people would react if I had an anxiety attack.

The woman in the show is not so different from the rest of us. She is different from what the media force feeds you to believe everyone should be but she is so much more than that. She is beautiful, she is strong. She is an inspiration and she is a bad ass. She is everything all of us are but many of us just haven't been able to see it yet.

She is learning to say yes to things and she is doing things for herself. In spite of other's ignorant comments and opinions and it inspires me. Maybe one day soon I will go and try a new swimsuit on and go to the beach. Because if she can do it, and not give a flying fritter what other people think, I can too. If she can dance and kick ass then I can too, even though I am a horrid dancer. If she can say yes to things that make her uncomfortable simply because she is an amazing, positive, and inspirational human being, than I can too. Because as she says," I have one life to live and it damn sure better count"

No one deserves to live in shame whether it be for weight, mental illness, or anything different. Difference is what makes us unique and beautiful. Difference is what makes us...us and we are fabulous.

You go girl! Thank you for reminding me to keep trying even when things are scary and rough. You are an inspiration to more than you know!
Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Silver Linings....

I finally got to watch Silver Linings Playbook. My husband didn't really understand it but I sure did. It was a good movie. It resonated with me.

Part of what keeps me positive is finding the silver linings in things. So, I have been trying to do that everyday.

-------
Things here are still pretty stressful. I had this horrid nightmare last night that I was on a bus going downtown and people kept touching my face (one of my major triggers). Like a bunch of strangers walking down the isle putting their open palms on my cheeks and mouth.......shudder..... I could feel the anxiety swell and I tried to yell at them to stop. No voice would come out at first but when it finally did, no one listened. It was awful!

Silver Lining: I woke up by rolling of the bed and was relieved that it was just a really bad dream. No one had actually been touching my face unless it was one of my cats and that is perfectly fine.

-------
I have been stuck in a weight plateau of 195 lbs for six months. It was really bumming me out. No matter how much I tried on my elliptical bike, I couldn't lose anymore. It was starting to really bug me. First I did 10 miles a day. That seemed to do nothing weight wise but I did get some great leg muscles. Then I tried to up the resistance and only do 5 miles a day. That didn't seem to do much, either. After three months an zero loss on the scale I became irritated. I wasn't looking for a huge amount of difference but I was hoping for at least a half a pound. Out of extreme desperation, I upped the resistance to where every ten pedals I feel as if my legs have been set on fire. I push through and do 5 miles a day even though I have to take breaks between every mile. It hurts, I hate it but you don't go to the gym and not "feel the burn" so exercise at home should probably feel the same. I need to lose about 30-40 more lbs to be "target weight" for my height.

Silver Lining: I lost eight lbs finally!!!!! My blood sugar is much better and I look forward to the possibility of being able to manage my diabetes without medication. Although I am not sure I will be able to not have to use the medication, I am going to give it the good ol' college try.

-------
I haven't had as much time to write and think and do my posts because of all that is going on.  It seems like I have lost the "alone time" it takes for me to be able to put thoughts together. I am always busy and I can't even get my house as clean as I would like. I kind of feel like I just can't catch up. I lose the energy to clean when everyone is home. I clean better and write better when I am alone.

Silver Lining: I haven't had time for my OCD to plague me either. Not a bad trade if you ask me. Things will eventually get back to normal at some point and I will have a cleaner house, better posts, and my OCD will be back in full swing (the last thing not being great but at least I am used to it).

So, things are hard but I am getting through it. It is sometimes all about attitude and I am trying to keep a positive attitude going. Or, as the movie says, "Excalibur". Stay positive and keep going no matter what obstacles get thrown in your path. You can either stop  in front of them and walk away feeling defeated or climb up them scratching and clawing until you get over them. And I need the exercise anyway....

Silver Linings, people. Silver Linings.....
Neurotic Nelly