Same Bat Channel, Same Bat $hit…

It’s been a while since I last posted. For the exactly none of you reading this, I’m sure that means exactly jack and shit (in that order). Truth is…I’m beyond depressed.

I’m on massive amounts of Prozac, but I can’t get out of this funk. My house iS a mess, and I have no willpower to clean it up, or even bring in someone else to clean it for me. I haven’t opened my mail in months and I’m pretty sure there are some bills that have gone to collection, but I just don’t give a shit. I put in time for my work but it’s not my most shining work or effort, and I lie to myself when I say to myself that I’ll do better tomorrow. I just feel like I’m waiting around to die and wondering why the f*** it’s taken so long for Death or God to get here and just do it finally. I’m sure I’m not the only cancer survivor to have gone through this, but eff me if I can figure out how to handle this. I can’t ask for help – I’ve done it way too much already, and I can’t go to help groups or support meetings because I’ve always looked down on those who do as being weak sob sisters, ¬†unable to stand on their own two feet (and my over inflated sense of Pride hasn’t gone away even if my confidence and will to live has, so I can’t overcome that bullshit way of thinking and join a group, just like I could never join AA when I was wrestling with alcoholism).

Fucking just wish I knew what the magic Harry Potter spell was to get out of this and start living again. “KickyIntheArseius” or “FuckingBeAppreciatusForBeingAliveus” maybe, I don’t know. When so many want what I got…why can’t I appreciate that I have it??

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I Cannot Win

I just got back from family reunion – I had a good time overall. A few f-bombs dropped in the presence of my young nephews, but generally conflict free (ok, conflict free with them. Obviously not Facebook conflict free). 

Got home, dropped my bag off, grabbed my wallet, and headed for the grocery store a few blocks away because I knew I had nothing to eat at home. To get to the store, I take a main arterial road, and make a left turn onto a side road (a road with a stop sign requiring drivers trying to turn onto the arterial road to stop until traffic on the main street is clear.

In the picture above, I’m in blue, an idiot guy is in red. I’m driving along, and put my blinker on and started to turn left on to the side road. I saw the idiot guy stopped with his blinker indicating he was going to make a left turn, but I naively assumed he was smart enough to yield to oncoming traffic. I know he saw me, because we made eye contact. Didn’t matter, he just tried to turn left onto the street at the same time I was turning. I laid on the horn and thankfully he stopped a few feet from my car. He looked pissed. I was tired and cranky. He rolled down his window, probably to be a jackass defending his right to not follow the rules of the road. I flipped him the bird and yelled at him with my windows up and then kept going. 

As I started to turn into the grocery store lot, in my rearview mirror, I see the guy do a 180 and come back following me. I thought, yeah, great. I am SO not in the mood to get into it with this guy. I drove through the parking lot, circling around one of the lanes to see if he was really following me (he was), and seeing if he was going to just get tired of this and leave (he didn’t), so I was getting a bit concerned. What did this psycho want? I was going to make another run through the back parking lot and then just head out for the nearest police station. Thankfully, I was spared the drive, because as I rounded the lot, I saw three beautiful police cruisers parked, and police officers hanging out in their cars talking. I parked next to them and jumped out, asking them to help me deal with this guy. 

This guy is apparently pretty stupid, because he actually drove up and parked NEXT to me. I’m telling the officer what happened, while this guy yelled that he had apologized for almost crashing into my car, and that was why he followed me. Really?? You apologize to a driver, and then follow them to do…what? Have them say thank you? Shake hands? Bullshit. No way. 

Aside – I fully support the black lives matter movement with every fiber in my body or soul. I was still riding the high of getting to do something (be a troll on Facebook/make a donation yesterday) to demonstrate my belief that judging someone by their race or ethnicity is the most ridiculous and archaic concept ever, and that it is disgusting that someone can get killed because of the color of their skin. So naturally the road rage idiot was black and the cops white. 

Fuck.

I wanted them to help me get this guy to leave me alone, but at the back of my mind I was thinking, oh my God – what if these guys are bad cops who will kill or beat the man for following/getting into a road rage incident with a white person? I live in a city that has seen riots and protests following the senseless death of a young man at the hands of police (who were protected by the police department higher-ups). It isn’t out of the question that I had brought a lit candle into the gunpowder room. Was I now going to have to defend this guy from injury or death because of this? What could I do? Should I raise my hands in the air?? Should he?

Thank God, nothing happened. The end result was the police officer said he would keep the guy there until I left so the idiot couldn’t follow me home. I left and went to the grocery store, and that was the end of it. Realistically, I know this guy created the drama (for whatever stupid reason) because he was pissed I flipped him off, so I shouldn’t feel guilty for asking for assistance. That being said, there’s still a part of me that thinks – what if it hadn’t ended so well? Would I be morally culpable?

I cannot win.

In Which the Fuckers Win…(?)

Jesus jumped up Christ on a Winnebago. What the fuck happened to me today?

I…don’t incite drama on Facebook. I don’t. I post crap, I make smartass comments, but I don’t respond to the horseshit political bullshit commentary posted by my racist idiot relatives.

Until today.

Here’s the thing: was I justified in what I did? Yeah. I think I was. And I feel good about it. Was I in the moral high ground, leading by example though? Holy fucked up shit on a crappy diarrhea pony N. O. NO. Man, I took the moral high ground and then bypassed that sucker by drilling to the Earth’s core, and then kept going down, all the way through the Earth, past the moon, beyond Mars (or whatever way is down, maybe the Sun is down in which case, yeah took that ALL the way through the Sun’s core, kept digging, on past Alpha Centauri, picked up speed and rammed back through space and time to beyond the Big Bang, ending up somewhere in some hypothetical paleouniverse prior to the current concept of time andspace  we live in now, and honestly, I’m still probably not finished going yet. That’s how far down from the moral high ground I was. 

Let me take you back to the beginning – (ahem, pay attention – this is long, but it gets fucked up fast). I watched the Republican convention last night when Orange Tornado Face accepted the nomination for Prez. I listened to what (to me) was a very obvious attempt to take all the charm and respect for human rights of a Hitler or a Stalin, and just…use it to take a dump on the American people. Holy crap guys – it’s 20-fucking-16!! How is this a thing? And of course, Facebook posts from my relatives in the Midwest bombarded the news feed as they praised his wisdom. 

Side note: This attitude from my relatives is a big part of why I left the Midwest (ok, this, and the miserable fucking snow, icy blasts of cold that suck your lungs dry, and the whole “get paid shit wages compared to the rest of the country” things). In their extremely whitecentric world, Fox news is their idea of listening to liberals. These guys have zero concept of any view but the white, Midwestern, conservative, Christian, Republican view. These are people who distrust anyone who isn’t a Christian, not because they disagree with their religious tenets, but because they honestly believe doing so could instantly turn them into terrorists. 

I’m not lying – These are people who believe all “African” Americans are on (or trying to get on) welfare. Side note – why are they still African American? Can we not use the term “people that aren’t lily white overly entitled idiots who are afraid of change”? Or be more accurate and say “brown, tan, hazelnut, coffee, dark ecru, black, and a range of other colors including sometimes white” people? 

Getting back to my idiot relatives and how they view black people, they will strangely become color blind and view certain celebrities as de facto whites to get around the whole “painting the people they like with the welfare brush” bit. Bill Cosby? Persecuted white guy. Ben Carson? White guy with a bad sunburn. Condaleezza Rice? Um, probably like Italian or something. They post countless gifs about “all lives matter,” and will spend HOURS looking for anything they can hang their hat on as incontrovertable proof that police officers do no wrong. Philemon Castille? He had marijuana! Oh my God!! Charles Kinsey? I mean, good Lord, he had his HANDS in the air! Do you know what kind of harm he could have done to that poor honest police officer with HANDS?? Freddie Gray? Well obviously they were forced to protect themselves when he, I don’t know, went into a PCP/the Wire/heroin/LSD/rage. In handcuffs. In a police van. 

Don’t think for a moment they’re only suspicious of black people. They hate immigrants, gays, feminists,  and anyone not  White Christian as well. Someone driving like crap on the road? Obviously an uninsured illegal job-stealing alien. Had to talk to a customer service rep who had an accent? Hoo boy, that person is distespecting our country by not learning English. Guy wearing a turban in broad daylight? Must be ISIS. You’ll never convince them otherwise, even if you print a picture of Sikh clothing requirements and provide documentation to support the concept that Sikhs and Muslims have TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT RELIGIONS YOU IDIOTS!!!

But I don’t respond to their bullshit. It’s America – believe what you want. I find their views repugnant and so disgusting at times, that I want to look for a hidden camera and prank show host to reveal they were just shining people on. It’s gross, it’s repellant, but at the end of the day, I’ll never get anywhere arguing with them. They’ll feel attacked, I will feel gross for taking their bait, they’ll become more convinced of the righteousness of their world view, and we’ll inch or leap forward to hating each others guts. Given that they’re my dad’s side of the family relatives, and he’s dead so I can’t connect via him, I just figure it’s easiest to “fast forward past the bullshit, do not collect $200, and let them keep posting shit on their disgusting feeds long after I’ve moved on to the LOL cat posts.”

The problem from today was…they didn’t leave it on their feed.

This morning, I posted a link to Jon Stewart recapping Trump’s speech, saying “thanks Jon!” Off I went, getting breakfast, hanging with the family, traumatizing my nephews by trying to convince them that the lake got drained last night because someone forgot to put the drain plug back in – you know, happy times. Looked and saw I had new posts. Hooray, pictures from our family reunion, I thought naively. Ha ha. Yeah, but no. 

Opened Facebook and…WTF. Not kittens or cats. What I got was pages and pages of hate rhetoric attacking “communist liberals”, “socialist Hillary”, “seated at the right hand of the father Trump”, and (don’t ask me how this got dumped in there, “abortion murderers”, castigating me for my support of those who hate America. It was a veritable flood of hate speech attacking me for posting the link. I had to read it twice to figure out it wasn’t a joke. When you get something like that…everything goes out the window. I was pissed off, but I was calm and rational in my mind. I saw clearly that I had a choice – a choice to take the high ground and be the bigger person, OR, the choice to assemble my four letter word troops to fuck with these guys like they’ve never been fucked with before.

It was at that point that it was on. On like Donkey Kong bitches. 

I started slow – pretending to misunderstand why Jon Stewart would want to move to Canada in November, because it seems to me he would enjoy the Clinton administration years. That got back a response that Trump was going to be a shoo-in. I then laughed at their naivety and let them know that I believed there are enough decent people to prevent Orange Hitler from being elected. Out, once again came the “attack and destroy Liberal” invectives. Paragraph over paragraph of the same recycled horse manure they already posted.

Having equated them to Nazis by this time, I decided to show my hand, since it was starting to get real. I fully owned up to trolling them, but said there was an easy way to make me stop: just stop posting bullshit on my page unless they wanted me to rub their noses in it. Now, I should have left it there, but foot-in-mouth disease sucks, believe you me. My disease and irritation joined together and gave my fingers permission to apologize to my aunt, while telling my cousin’s wife that she was a racist that I was enjoying enlightening about how gross I thought her opinions are. I got a long (well-earned) rant about how typical liberalish I was, calling honest, liberty-loving, upright people “racist Nazis” (yeah, I went there). I was also informed that I shouldn’t blame my cousin’s wife, because my cousin was the one making the posts. Well fine then cuz, let’s keep going.

My response was on the order of “here’s an idea – a) try reading a book sometime instead of being a mindless sheep; b) for the second time, I am trolling you – if you don’t like it, don’t keep writing bullshit on my page and post; c) if you keep writing bullshit, I’m going to keep bringing the pain. Seems reasonsble enough.

The response (my fav) was another long paragraph of hate speech, that concluded with an order telling me to “shut my mouth”. I upshifted and kicked troll mode into high gear. High gear like, “ooh, what whit, what decorum – did you take debate in college, because how else could you have scored such a sick burn like “shut your mouth”?” I again reiterated that I was 100 percent doing this to piss them off, and they had the power to make it stop by not posting back on my feed. I offered a suggestion – post your idiot replies on your own page, because I’m not going to go there. I also suggested he stop hiding behind his wife’s account and man up and get his own.

Oh Lord – by this time my aunt had realized what I was doing and bowed out. My cousin? Nope. He was still on his crusade. The next post from him talked about how I was (again) a typical  liberal because I could never debate the topic – I could only try to insult people because I had no comeback to the truth.  I laughed again. There was no way I was letting him get away thinking he had been looking for earnest discourse and had had his proffer of a gentle discussion get a response of brutal, mindless attacks. Uh huh. I schooled him on the difference between a discussion, and an attempt to start some shit, and described how his posts all fell squarely in the latter. I also mentioned abomething about eagerly awaiting whatever his next verbal diarrhea post would be.

Yadda yadda yadda, bullshit bullshit bullshit. On and on, all afternoon. Then his daughter got into it. I was disgusting and vile. I had deeply insulted her poor honest parents. She had no respect or love for me after today and she eagerly awaited my lumbering insults and four ketter words that I use because I’m so stupid…etc. I didn’t disappoint. 

However, I was getting bored and wanted to end it. I don’t regret putting them down and trolling them. The shame comes more because I stooped to the worst level and gave them what they wanted – juvenile insults. I am ashamed to admit the tipping point was using the word “fucktard” to describe her. I should never, EVER have disrespected mentally handicapped people that way. I truly, no joke, feel ashamed of that one because they and their families don’t deserve to have their condition used as an insult. I honestly feel like going to “fucktard” just…made me a gross person. 


I wanted to end it on a high note, so I figured I needed to do something unforgivable. No, I didn’t unfriend them. Puh-lease. I was able to find a far better way to go nuclear. I blanked their names and amounts in the picture here, but figured a donation in their honor to a worthy cause was the best thing I could do. Finally got a white flag of surrender.

Spoiler alert: I deleted the post a few hours ago. That’s why everything here is paraphrased instead of shown. I felt vindicated and triumphant…for about 15 minutes. After that, the rank stink of grossness fell on me. It sucks – I smell like I just bathed myself in Fox news followed by marathon viewings of David Duke speeches. I’m angry at them for pushing the fight, I’m angry that I lowered myself as far as I did. I’m angry that I’m not giving myself permission to enjoy pissing off someone with repellant beliefs. I just feel low and gross. 

I just hate my actions – I tyink they proved I acted like an idiot and let the Fuckers win. And that sucks. Sucks beyond belief.

I Prove What an A$$hole I Can Be Yet Again

I suffer from a severe, often debilitating illness – one that has plagued me from early childhood: I have acute chronic foot-in-mouth disease. I am congenitally unable to prevent myself from saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the worst possible time. (Side Note: Since I had a fibula flap surgery earlier this year, I take pride in knowing that I can literally claim to have my foot surgically implanted permanently in my mouth. And yes, I get that it’s a leg bone, not a foot bone, but close enough for government work).

(Side, Side Note: I fully expect someday to have my identity publically revealed as the author of this blog, and when it is, I’m sure my medical condition will ensure the revelation happens by the main point-of-contact/decision maker in a large governmental entity with whom I am trying to close a multi-million dollar contract, a deal that will fall through when they take offense at my saying “close enough for government work” since it implies government employees can’t be bothered to do more than slap some random crap together and call it a day. I’m not (ok, mostly not) saying that – I worked in government, I know a lot of hard-working, productive employees. But dmn it, it’s a stupid saying that I never created, and kind of works in the sentence, so cut me some slack on this for crying out loud!)

I started thinking about this topic today after I got off the second of two frustrating calls with family members (a call to my sister, and a call to my mom). These are two of the people who lived in my house for weeks at a time while I was going through cancer treatment, driving me back and forth to appointments at the hospital, trying everything they could to find food I could keep down, and who pulled me through the worst experience of my life – one I could never have survived without them. But the problem was, they both have shitty phones. They both are aware of the problem, but haven’t gone to the Vrint or Sperizon store to get it fixed yet. The issue is that they cannot hear most of what people are saying on phone calls (it’s not just me – it happens on all their calls). The problem is that they both try to avoid letting people know they have bad phone service in the same way: they wait until they don’t hear talking anymore and then give some sort of neutral response to pretend that they had heard every word, even though it’s obvious they haven’t. The calls were pretty much like this:

Mom/sister: how’s your day going?

Me: oh it’s good, but it started horribly. I burned my lunch and set the smoke detector off. Then while I was trying to air out the kitchen, I spilled all my washed and cut up vegetables on the floor, before tripping over a computer cord and spilling burnt sauce all over myself.

Mom/sister: (pause. Nothing. Pause. Nothing. Pause).

Me: hey, did I lose…

Mom/sister: (interrupts) oh yeah, ha ha, sure, that sounds good there.

Me: (losing my temper) Jesus Christ can you please take your shitty phone in and get them to replace it? I am so tired of you not hearing anything I say!

Mom/sister: I’m sorry, I’m going to take it in, but I was too busy volunteering with homeless children and AIDS patients to get to the store before it closed!

Me: (thinks to myself, aha, I have once again proven what an asshole I am. Spends next hour kicking myself in the butt, metaphorically speaking, not physically because I’m not that coordinated).

I really can’t help myself. The worst part is that I can sometimes see it coming. It’s like I’m seeing myself from afar, watching my mouth opening, about to say the wrong thing, and I’m running forward in slow motion, like in a movie, calling out “nooooooo!! Don’t do it Celina!!” And yet, boom, out it tumbles, my little tongue turd, out there in front of everyone. It doesn’t even need to be something I say: I get into trouble just as easily (or easier) via email or text. For example, about two years ago I was on a project with a guy who was a bit of a blowhard (by “bit” I mean “absolutely and 100 percent”). I was texting a friend of mine who also knew Coworker Blowhard, relaying my thoughts of the guy’s rambling bull$hit. Guven my previously disclosed medical condition, I probably could end this story here. However, for those who can’t see the obvious, the end of the story is that I texted Coworker Blowhard instead of my friend. I remember the text wording had enough to immediately let him know I was referring to him (so I couldn’t muster up an excuse of “no you’re not the jackass I was talking about, that was, um, my cousin!”) I don’t have the text anymore, but think it was something along the lines of “Jesus will this jackass ever quit rambling on with his bullshit about how to plan a (project/deployment/activity, whatever else we were discussing).”

Constantly, constantly, this issue follows me constantly no matter what I’m doing. The end result is always the same – I look like an asshole, end up having to apologize profusely, and worst of all, I basically cede all higher ground that I may have held before the comment was made to the idiot that I was beating (up until then) in the discussion or situation. That’s what really sucks. I don’t feel bad for thinking or (often) saying what I did, but man do I hate having to give an enemy a freebie like that. 

I can do it in non-verbal, non-written ways too. Few years ago I was taking a plane from the East Coast back to California. Having lost all elbow room to armrest hogs on the flights earlier in the week, I was determined NOT to spend the next four hours with some selfish prick’s (it’s always a guy doing this) elbow jabbing me over and over again in my side. I got on the plane and took the window seat, and I planted my elbows firmly on the armrest, taking control of the situation and staring down others to let them know I was NOT f**king around – this was MY goddamn armrest. 

This guy comes in and sits down next to me, trying a few times to adjust his position, but gaining not a micromilimeter of space on my armrest. I almost strained my arm keeping it frozen in place, but by God, I was taking a stand. This was for me having to suffer on the earlier flight, and on other flights in my lifetime. This was me taking a stand for women everywhere, women who were tired of being pushed aside by selfish bastards who think the world owes them an armrest, because it DOESN’T! No, EVERYONE deserves a share of the armrest jerkface! It’s not yours by virtue of you having a penis! Today, it was MY armrest, the armrest for all of womankind! Hear us ROAR and FEAR us, because your happy-go-lucky days of stepping on women’s elbows to steal our armrest space are OVER!! I was so proud of myself, my resolute steadfastness was a solid steel backbone making me proud for being in control. I was actually pretty uncomfortable, but I was suffering for the cause. 

After a few minutes, I decided to put my headphones on, awkwardly since I could only use the arm that wasn’t cemented to the armrest. I had to fumble around and shift, and as I did this, my soda started to slip from where I had braced it between my knee and the window. I made a grab for the soda and in doing so, lost my grip on my iPad and headphones, which hit the ground between the feet of my up-to-then conquered foe, before bouncing underneath his seat. Fuck. What was I supposed to do? Bend over and reach between this guy’s legs to get my iPad back? I could see how that would go over so well with the authorities after I was kicked off the plane for attempting to molest a fellow passenger. Luckily, I was spare the inconvenience of this, because the guy reached down and got my iPad and earbuds, handed them over to me, and said very nicely, “there you go.”

Nature and airlines don’t give you a hole in the ground to crawl into when you need it. I mumbled my thanks to him as the truth sunk in – the truth that I had let down all of womanhood. How was I supposed to keep control of the armrest when I was fighting a guy who not only gave me back my iPad instead of forcing me to beg him to step out of his seat so I could retrieve it, but was also NICE when he did it? A part of me wanted to think, yeah, sure he was nice, he just WON THE WAR, cocky bastard! However, the realistic part of me knew he probably never noticed he was fighting in the Last Battle of Man versus Woman over Armrests Everywhere. My face was burning as I silently signalled my disgrace and defeat by moving my elbow over and off of the armrest (yes, he immediately stuck his elbow on it as I vacated it, but to his credit, he didn’t keep moving around jabbing me in the side). I lost, that’s what hurts.  This was at least seven years ago, but it remains as clear as if it had just happened. Without saying a word, I had stuck my foot in my mouth, and given control of a situation to the person I most wanted to prevent from having it. 

I have thousands of these stories. Family, friends, enemies, coworkers, coworkers who are enemies, I have embrassed myself in front of them all. It would be funny if it happened without me getting caught, but alas, I am ALWAYS caught. I could never be a criminal, because I am completely sure that the minute I committed a crime, I would do something like accidentally send out a public Facebook post to the entire world announcing what I did, or I would butt-dial the investigators while I was bragging to myself about getting away with whatever it was that I did. I don’t just follow the law because it’s the right thing to do – I also follow it because I could never get away with anything if I didn’t.

Blargh. It’s a hard burden to bear sometimes. Knowing I’m going to always do the wrong thing in the most public way is not easy. I was at a pool party and some good friends were ragging on reality tv shows with somebody I barely knew, saying that the Duggers were creepy, or that the Sister Wives guy was a tool, and I thought that sounds like a funny conversation. I think I’ll join in by joking! I opened my mouth and said, “yeah but the worst reality show is that Little People Big World right, because what’s scarier than a tiny person right guys? AmIrite?”

Stunned silence and gasps as my friends looked at each other. Another friend came up and told me that Tammy or Tabitha or whatever her name was who was sitting next to me had two brothers who were little people. And she was a key member in the Society for Protection and Understanding of Little People, or some other group. And, I don’t know, probably her brothers were the official spokesmen for worldwide Little People advocacy and outreach. And..holy $hit, there I went again. It seemed so unfair – why am I the one getting busted for a stupid joke when they were all joking about other groups a few seconds ago?! Where were the ploygamous FLDS members who should have been there for their Sister Wives slam, or radical conservative members of the quiverful movement ready to defend the Duggers to the death, huh? Where were they? Why was I the asshole (again)?!?

There’s something I learned since then, something important I will tell you now: I was, and am, the asshole, because that’s the role God has designated for me in this life. I’ve learned to accept this “blessing” or “curse”. It doesn’t make it less difficult, constantly having to eat my words and grovel for forgiveness, but at least I know that it is out of my control to prevent it from occurring. I’m as much of a victim by my Fate-ordained role of the Asshole, as are those I am directing my asshole-ishness towards. 

And something else: maybe I’m supposed to be the Asshole. First time I realized this was a divine gift was when I was at the Smithsonian Museum with my sister and nephew. The nephew wanted to see the rocks and genstones, so we decided to take the elevator up to the next floor. Elevator arrived, and it was fairly full, but definitely had enough space for us. This blond hag, however, blocked us from getting on, putting her hand up in my face, screeching there was no room, nobody else could come in (all while poking at the close door button). I was stunned – but only for a second. What the fuck you stupid bitch! There’s enough room for us to get on! Give me a effing break!

She started to answer back, but the doors were already closing, so I ended giving my retort to a pair of elevator doors (I increased the volume, hoping it would carry my words to her). I turned to my sister who was trying hard to pretend she wasn’t related to me, and said loudly, what kind of fucking asshole does that? Did you see that? Did you see that stupid bitch? What the hell!? 

I was still monologuing about the situation when the doors re-opened a minute later, with the same stupid blond witch, and the same people who were on it previously. This time she got off, pushing past me, saying, “the elevator is BROKEN, but nice language in front of my precious snowflake, formerly innocent children whose lives you have devastated with your vile, vicious language.” (I’m paraphrasing). 

Most people would skulk off at that, because, yeah, you shouldn’t call a woman a stupid bitch in front of her kids. However, I’m not most people: I tealized it for the first time right then and there. I am God’s Designated Asshole. I felt like a dove had come down from heaven to crown me with this title. Emboldened, I let fly with a variety of insults punctuated by commonly-deemed-inappropriate four-letter words, all while my sister was pulling me backwards away from the encounter, and my nephew was struggling with his iPhone trying to capture the moment for YouTube eternity. My sister thinks of that as a “unhappy” memory. I look at it differently though. Yes, I was an asshole, but in this case, the woman kind of deserved it. She could have told us that she thought there was something wrong with the elevator, but instead she put her hand in my face and screamed at us that we weren’t allowed on the elevator. If you need proof of the righteousness of my actions: my sister pulled me onto the elevator, and when I hit the button for the next floor, we immediately were transported there with no problems. Obviously, God had fixed the elevator because I was in the right. Maybe my assholery had (and has) a purpose. Maybe, just maybe, I am being subcontracted by God or Destiny to serve out a helping of Vented Spleen upon those most deserving of it. Maybe, I am God’s Designated Asshole, upholder of truth, justice, and karma against malefactors everyhwere. 

That’s what keeps me going these days. The thought that my humiliation and near constant stupidity has a purpose – that this is my reason for being here on Planet Earth. My reason for surviving all the crappy times earlier in the year. My mission for humanity. I get that not everyone will understand that. A lot of misguided people will think, no, you’re just an asshole, but they’re partly wrong. I am an asshole, but I’m not JUST an asshole – I’m the Designated and Chosen Asshole thank you very much.

Oh, and you’re welcome for when I deliver my bullcrap spewing to the next deserving person potentially impacting you later in life, even though I know you won’t say thank you, just remember that it wasn’t an accident that caused me to make an asshole out of myself: it was Destiny

C’mon Guys!

I’ve been watching a show I have only seen 549 times – Dinosaur Revolution. I seriously love watching dino shows, and have ever since I first saw Walking With Dinosaurs back in 2000. Dinosaurs are epic, wonderful, awesome, and infinitely great, and in my opinion, they can’t make shows like this fast enough. Plus, they keep getting better and better with the animation technology, making the shows seem more lifelike and realistic. Watching Walking with Dinosaurs now is almost painful given how dated the production is compared to newer shows.

I love Dinosaur Revolution the most, probably, in part, because there is significantly more animation and dinosaurs than there are talking heads. (The premiere ultimate dino doc, naturally under my standards, is Dinotasia. Just Werner Herzog giving some general color commentary, and ZERO talking heads). No offense talking heads like Dr. Thomas Holtz or Dr. Matthew Wedel – you truly are amazing, and veritable fonts of information about the who, what, when, where, why, and how of prehistory’s all and sundry. But…I came here to see T-Rex battles.  

Although the special effects have vastly improved, sadly the content hasn’t kept up. Many times I have to call bullshit on speculative vague guesses stated as absolute fact. See, here’s the thing – there’s only so much guesstimating you can take before everything collapses under the weight of the bullshit – think “running from t-rex in high heels” levels of disbelief, for perspective. I often want to learn more just by virtue of the dinosaur’s general description. The mosasaur was the t-rex of the sea? Wow, I want to know more. Google: Come to my aid! What happens more often than not, though, when I Google it, I find that the description was pretty much of the “pulled from their ass” variety. The bubble gets burst and I find that the show I just watched was based on 99 percent speculation and/or animators creating kickass graphics from their imaginations, and 1 percent science. Sad day for me, and my excitement at learning about a new giant killer is alas, crushed.

I often imagine myself talking to the doc as if the creators were right there in the room with me. Here’s a summary of my internal discussion with the dino doc creators:

Dino Doc (DD): the MadeUpaSaurus was a meat-eating dinosaur living in what is now South Dakota during the late Jurassic.

Me: ok, cool. Tell me more.

DD: the MadeUpaSaurus hunted the PlantaSaurus, one of the largest dinosaurs ever to walk in the Dakotas.

Me: wait – how do you know that they hunted the PlantaSaurus? Or that they were the largest herbivore?

DD: PlantaSaurus bones have been found with teeth marks of the MadeUpaSaurus. No fossils larger than the PlantaSaurus have been found anywhere in America.

Me: good explanation! Keep going, please.

DD: Plantasaurus roamed across the land, following the rain and moving on to new areas after depleting the lands around them.

Me: hmmm, I guess I can kind of buy that – they are probably speculating based on what they know about modern birds or large herbivores.

DD: the MadeUpaSaurus followed its prey, attacking the weak and old. 

Me: well, it kinda makes sense.

DD: the MadeUpaSaurus hunted in packs.

Me: I’m not so sure about that. How would you know that they hunted in packs?

DD: scientists believe they hunted in packs because they have found fossil sites where remains of MadeUpaSaurus were discovered where they lay after being covered in volcanic ash emanating from the Dakota Supervolcano. The remains included multiple adults, juveniles, and baby MadeUpaSaurus together in one place.

Me: still doesn’t totally explain that they hunted in packs. They could have all been washed downstream from various locations. However, I’ll concede it does seem to indicate some sort of group or pack behavior.

DD: the packs were led by the oldest female MadeUpaSaurus – females were much larger than males in their species.

Me: let me think about that. Well, I guess you could conclude the females were larger because remains were found with unlaid eggs or some other indicator. Maybe even some modern birds or reptiles have dominant (and larger) females. But how do you know she was the leader? Was she wearing a crown? Did she have a larger office space than the other dinosaurs?

DD: modern reptiles and predatory birds that hunt in packs are matriarchal, led by the dominant female.

Me: all right. That sounds like a good call then. 

DD: the MadeUpaSaurus laid eggs in clutches of three, within circular mud pits designed to allow the eggs to breathe while being protected from the elements and predators.

Me: yeah, if you guys found egg sites, then you probably are basing the statement on your excavation findings. Otherwise, I’m ok with speculating based on modern reptiles. 

DD: the female dinosaurs protected their nests by constantly walking around the pit.

Me: ? Really? Did you find pacing footprints? I think you’re getting into some speculative territory there.

DD: the females definitely and absolutely protected their nests by constantly walking around the egg pit, spending the entire 3 month incubation period within eyesight of the egg pit at all times.

Me: look, I think what you’re saying makes sense, but you can’t say “absolutely” if you don’t have better evidence! I mean, you haven’t even explained how you know they paced around the nest yet! And where did the 3 month incubation period come from?

DD: juvenile MadeUpaSaurus remained close to the egg pit during incubation periods, serenading the pacing mother with gentle chirping songs to soothe the embryo MadeUpaSaurus’ stressed bodies.

Me: guys, I’m sorry, but you really need to add some caveats on that. No way can you tell the juveniles were serenading anyone just based on bone fragments. Or that the babies were stressed out. Or even that the juveniles stayed close to the nest.

DD: the juveniles 100 percent sang to the expectant mother, varying their songs by number of days left in the incubation period.

Me: no way, sorry guys, but that’s pure guessing.

DD: the embryonic MadeUpaSaurus would respond back to their older siblings’ songs a week before hatching, singing in turn clockwise around the nest, twice a day.

Me: seriously calling bullshit on this.

DD: the female MadeUpaSaurus was normally covered in bright blue feathers, but as the incubation period came to an end, she suddenly molted and regrew pink and green feathers.

Me: what the fuck. No, not going to pretend to entertain the idea that this is factual.

DD: on the hatching day, the juvenile members of the family would get drunk from fermented ginko trees, partying until the sun came up, leaving a trail of puke and broken branches scattered around them. 

Me: no.

DD: the mother MadeUpaSaurus sent out twitter updates on the hour as the hatchlings emerged, and posted the first pictures of the new family members on Facebook within an hour of their birth.

Me: …..

DD: close relatives of the MadeUpaSaurus would send congratulations and upvote her baby photos. Many also sent gifts from the Dinosaurieman Marcus catalog, choosing from gifts the mother had placed on her gift registry earlier in the year,

Me: why are you even still going on with this crap? Nobody is buying any of this at this point.

DD: if relatives gave the wrong item, or multiple items were purchased, the mother would return the gift and get a store credit that she would use to buy extendable arms.

Me: this is seriously the dumbest show I’ve ever seen. I mean, God Damn it. When you started, I really thought this was a cool show. Now, I’m so pissed, I’m going to Google this dino crap to find out what we ACTUALLY know based on SCIENCE, not pulling shit out of your asses!

(Me – goes on Google and searches for MadeUpaSaurus facts).

Me: what the fuck! I just Googled thsi crap, and it says that everything we know about the MadeUpaSaurus is derived from 10 fossil fragments, which included two teeth, six tibias, a head crest, and half of a crushed pelvis. JFC, are you guys for real? C’mon! You guys are the biggest bullshitters I’ve ever seen! How do you live with yourselves, spewing this horseshit out on tv? Have you no shame?? Screw this, I’m going to go watch something more realistic, like the Real Housewives of MadeUp Valley. Bastards.

Anger and Reflection

I’ve been doing something I probably shouldn’t because it’s just making me unnecessarily angry: I’ve been reading articles about people who fake cancer for attention. 

The ones doing it for cash? Lower than pond scum, and I think they need to earn the money needed to repay those they stole from by cleaning up the puke and waste from patients going through treatment. However, at least there’s a motive (money for bills, money for boob jobs, money for weddings, whatever) that I can kind of understand. They aren’t the ones making me fume (the most).
It’s the others – the ones without a soul. The Fakers who do it for attention. These sick fucks deliberately maneuver their way into the hearts of people actually suffering from diseases or illnesses – cancer and cystic fibrosis seem to be the most common. Once they’ve hooked in their believers, the lies start, and they get the pity and attention they desperately crave. The problem is: they’re seeking and feeding off attention from those most in need of support themselves. Those people are going through the worst experience of their lives, but even so, they reach out to others trying to offer comfort and love, taking away time they may have wanted to spend with loved ones (or with themselves), and the sick-fuck Fakers steal that time for their own perverted satisfaction.

Here’s one sick bitch -Ashley Lively. I know she got cash and donations, but she belongs in the “Sick Fuck” group because her real motivation appears to be attention. I’ve read the comments on the news page and Facebook posts discussing her. The people she did this to are devastated. Beyond devastated. The worst time to get bad news is when you’re already dealing with the worst, but these cyberfakers don’t care.

http://www.wfmynews2.com/mb/news/local/2-wants-to-know/fake-cancer-post-gofundme-refunds-donors/156507518

I went through the c-word this year. It was the most worst (I don’t care if that’s grammatically correct – it’s factually accurate) time of my life. I felt like I had been enrolled in the world’s worst social club without my consent. I hated it. I refused to read books written by others who went through it. I wouldn’t read or join online support forums or blogs. When I was in the waiting room for RT, I wouldn’t talk to or acknowledge anyone. I sat head down playing Angry Birds, refusing to join in others’ conversations, even the slightest bit. 

I hated them – the others waiting for treatment. I know that sounds evil and idiotic, but I resented having to sit there with them. My heart felt like “fuck them, they probably did the wrong things in life and earned their spot there, unlike me who was kidnapped and forced into that room for no fault of my own.” Yeah, extremely shitty to think but you don’t do your most rational thinking when you’re waiting to have your head microwaved. 

This resentment carried through to other things. The thought of joining c-support groups was anathema to me. I mean, my God, why would I want to sit and talk to others about this thing that was consuming my life, separating me from my job, my friends, causing the most agonizing painful experiences of my life, and forcing me even more into isolation than I ever had been before? Talk about it, and rehash all the crap over and over again voluntarily? I already hated how cancer dominated everything as it was. I wanted to get past it and FORGET about it forever.

These cancer fakers, they don’t know that. They don’t know any of that. They never had to lay on their living room couch crying big snotty gasping tears that you don’t care are dripping all over your shirt. They never had to deliver the news to their family and friends feeling like the world’s greatest fuckup for allowing this to happen somehow. They never took four or five showers a day, standing under the hottest water possible sobbing great big galumphing tears from the bottom of the soul and wishing God had just killed me on the operating table or that I had never woken up so my family could go home and start the process of mourning and forgetting me. They never added boxes, sharpie markers, and tape into their Amazon carts, planning ahead to start packing up the things that I wanted family members to have so they wouldn’t have to try to figure out what things should be kept versus those that could go to Goodwill or be sold after the funeral. They didn’t have to go through ANY of that.

But they don’t care. They love getting to go on Facebook with their bullshit sickness and bullshit updates. Today they have liver cancer, tomorrow it’s lung, liver, and brain cancer. Oh and  yesterday they got into a car wreck and their fiance/husband/SO died. On his/her birthday. And they got raped by a family friend/uncle/boss at the funeral. And got pregnant. And the baby is deformed or the doctors are insisting on abortion because of the cancer treatment, and on, and on, and on, to the point where, if it was real. even Satan would be saying to God: hey kinda piling on there big guy! Maybe try easing up a bit on these modern-day Jobs! No matter what though, these stalwart sufferers were unrelentingly optimistic – their updates always referring to their belief that they’ll get through it thanks to their God, the bible, and the American flag.

What a crock of shit. Updating Facebook hour by hour wasn’t something I wanted to (or could do). I had a really hard time just going on FaceBook. I’ve never had so many people praying for me, sending good wishes and thoughts of love, in my life; but it was so hard, so very, VERY hard to read and respond to their posts. I tried, but I couldn’t do it at first. I think it took me two weeks before I finally had the guts to read the posts. Probably another week or so beyond that before I could go through and “like” the posts or reply back. I can’t explain it – maybe I felt like reading them was ackowledgement that I was the world’s greatest fuckup. Don’t take that to mean that anyone was telling me I was a screwup – it just means that I felt like I should never have had a reason to make them want to send those good thoughts. I felt like I had screwed up all their lives on top of mine. I know it was a random, spin-the-wheel-of-crap-ooh-landed-on-cancer-so-sorry-better-luck-next-time event. But that didn’t make me feel less of a loser. Honestly, if this was “the end” I was going to spend it with my family and friends, not blogging or posting on Facebook.

Aside: after the diagnosis, I spent months trying to find out why this happened, and (news flash), sometimes neither Google nor your doctors can tell you the “Why.” That opens up the vast possibilities when your mind starts trying to find the answer on its own. I don’t smoke, but I have inhaled a couple of times – did I get cancer from those few puffs? I gave up drinking 8 years ago, but was a total alcoholic before that – was that it maybe? Retribution for the gallons of wine and liquor I had consumed in earlier years? I’ve always been overweight – maybe that was it. I mean, you totally read about obesity causing problems – wasn’t I just walking talking proof that being fat causes cancer? Or maybe, if it wasn’t any of those, maybe it happened because I’m a shitty cook. 40+ years of standing in front of a device (microwave) nuking my meals could easily be the culprit. Not to mention that the last ten years I’ve had microwaves at eye level. Can standing nearby waiting for the ding be what did it? Or how about the computer factory I worked at when I was 20? We were working with lead paste and no gloves or masks – we washed the lead off our hands using liquid freon. Does cancer tie maybe to my youthful assumption that I was immortal and didn’t have to bother finding safety equipment unlike all the old people – the ones in their 30’s – that I worked with sometimes?

My head knows it’s not my fault, or if it is, I can’t go back in time now and change it. But god DMN if I don’t feel that I was a horrible person for doing this to my family. The head can’t always overcome emotion through logical reasoning.

All of this is why I get angry reading about Fakers. They take on these personas and pretend diseases to get sympathy and attention. I got sympathy and attention, and I hated every bit of it. I felt horrible guilt that I was putting demands on others by virtue of this fucking disease. I’m not saying I hate my friends, family, or well-wishers. Just that I felt like I should never have allowed myself to get cancer so that, consequently, they felt obliged to say sonething nice or to pray for me. Soul sucking Guilt – that’s what I felt. The worst Guilt with a capital G possible. And these hoaxers WANT that? Why?? I would gladly give them all my sympathy and well wishes if I could. It’s like they’re trying desperately to break into the cancer building, when everyone else already in there was thrown in against their will, and desperately trying to escape. I get angry at myself and hate having this mystical cancer membership  card, and at them for being so mind-shatteringly stupid to want it is just unfathomable.

I am so glad to be out of that (metaphoric) cancer building today. I wasn’t at first. I was pissed at God for not killing me and putting me out of my misery. Don’t misunderstand – I could never kill myself. Even at my darkest, most depression filled “at the bottom of the 9,000 foot well not thinking there will ever be sun again” days. It would be the equivalent of getting cancer on purpose. My family doesn’t deserve that crap on top of everything else life has thrown our way. But if God had happened to just stop my heart on the operating table? Yeah, I was cool with that. Or maybe not cool, but I was ok that it would put an end to my problems and free my family from having to take care of a sick bitch sister/daughter/loser instead of spending time with their own kids or friends.

See, that’s what those guys don’t get – nobody in the c-building wants to be there. Pretending that you do, like these idiots do, is pitiful and more than infinitely stupid. I had to wait until two months after chemo/RT was done before I was able to start thinking, “maybe it’s ok that I am alive” instead of the constant, “I hate God for making me live when he could have just killed me” song I played a million times a day in the shower. In the c-building, you’re just a lab rat and it sucks. It sucks on a level that exceeds anything else. It was the worst experience of my life. It was worse than my dad dying at age 50 and one day. It was worse than having to pay to have his body reburied after the cemetary where he was interred stopped all maintenance of the plots. It was worse than being insanely broke and coming home to find that my electricity and phone had both been shut off  on the same day. It sucked worse than the year I was even broker, when I could only pay bills by kiting checks from my account in one state to the account in the other, panicking and praying to God that I would have those 2-3 days of float to protect me from bounced check fees. It sucked worse than having to pay payday lenders hundreds of dollars to make ends meet after I stopped kiting checks because I couldn’t afford the gas and time to get to the other state and back again. It’s not just hard, or worse, it’s the ultimate worst, and these guys who want in…just mind-numbing incomprehensible.

Deep breath.

I am grateful I’m here and happy enough at getting to do day to day things (including blargh things like cleaning my cats’ litter boxes or mowing my postage stamp lawn). I didn’t think I could ever get to Content let alone Happy ever again, but I am here, and I’m thankful for it. Thankful for my life, thankful for God not killing me (although still a little pissed at him killing off Snape, David Bowie, Prince, and my Grandma), thankful for my cat even when she’s being a pain in the ass yowling while I’m trying to lead a conference call, thankful for my doctors and medical team who treated me kindly and didn’t look at me like I was a number, thankful for Amazon deliveries so I don’t have to make and lose shopping lists, thankful for technology, and iPads, and Waze, and Starbucks (when they don’t eff up my order). Just generically grateful and happy to be here, living my life again, getting to see what happens next.

P.S., no judging on the check kiting unless you’ve ever been hundreds of miles from family and friends, dealing with undiagnosed clinical depression, trying to pay rent and bills on a $500/month salary (rent was $250 a month then), working 10-12 hours a day managing a shitty pizza store, with no days off for months at a time, missing your family, your only escape being watching six episodes of Star Trek TNG on a 4 inch tv screen over and over (because I couldn’t afford cable or a real TV), and knowing that on top of working tonight and still being exhausted from working until 2am yesterday, that I had to spend three hours driving to another city 85 miles away to write the checks, get the cash from the grocery store, drive to another city 40 miles away to deposit the cash, and then drive home to get ready for work. When you’re poor and have no options, you do anything to survive. I’m not saying it was moral or the right thing to do – I’m not saying that at all. I AM saying that when you’re drowning, you’ll do what you can just to survive a few more days. In case you’re wondering, I finally ended the madness by going to Consumer Credit Counseling offered by Lutheran Social Services. They called my banks, had the checks bounce, and then made arrangements with the banks and bounced check collectors for me to repay everything over the next year. I am eternally grateful for their port in the storm. I’m sure that without them, I would probably have been arrested and sent to jail for bad checks. My life would have been shattered – maybe not ruined forever – but closed off for a lot of the opportunities I was able to pursue because I didn’t have a bad check conviction following me for the rest of my life. If you ever need help, call the local CCC office.

Dinosaurs Walking…

My crap drawing of what they looked like.
I grew up in the Midwest. Maybe I should say, I was lucky to grow up in the Midwest, in a relatively small town, in a tends-to-be-forgotten state. I attended a baptist school for grades 1 – 3. My family was Catholic, but my mom had a weird period where it was like she had a religious hard-on for PTL (Praise the Lord) tv, Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, pretty much any religious right extreme fundamentalist she saw on tv. And yeah, it was a bit schizo trying to conform to both Baptist and Catholic tenets. Best example I remember was when I tried to argue with my teacher that my response of “Mary” to the question, “who was born without original sin” was true. If you aren’t too into religion, just know that Catholics believe both Mary and Jesus were born without original sin; Baptists cut the list down to one (Jesus). 

Anyway, for a pretty fundamentalist church, they were surprisingly progressive even by today’s standards. True, History class was focused a bit heavily on tales of Moses, Noah, Joseph-of-the-multi-colored-coat. However, during Science class, we learned about evolution and got to read about dinosaurs. I’m probably generalizing, but it seems to me that most of the current day fundamentalists would probably run away in horror at the thought of a religious school that did not insist dinosaurs were a hoax by God when he created the Earth 6k years ago (more or less). My cousin went to the school at least one year, and I remember feeling a bit jealous that he got to have a dinosaur named after him (Corysaurus). 

During lunch and recess, we would go play outside in a play area behind the church. The church property was built on a hillside, and behind the swings we had a multi-year archaeological dig. I still have all the fossils I collected from all those years ago. A lot of them looked like a cylinder with the fossil on the outside, marrow on the inside, tiny and covered in dirt and clay. Every once in a while, I lucked into a big one, which I was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt was a t-rex bone. The biggest, and my favorite find was the one that looked so much like a tooth, it 100 percent had to be a (t-rex) tooth. See my horrid attempt of what the looked like in the drawing on this page. True it was a small tooth, but a t-rex tooth is a t-rex tooth. 

There’s one day that stands out in my mind, the day my friends and I made the archaeological equivalent to Carter finding Tut’s tomb. 

We hadn’t been digging long when we got to a fossil that we couldn’t easily dig out because of its size. As we dug around it with our hands as shovels, we saw that it was at least 12 inches in diameter, and had ridges around the edge. So now we knew what it was – no question at all that this was t-rex’s favorite snack, the mighty Triceratops!

The other kids normally didn’t join us girls scrabbling around in the dirt, but they came over when they heard our high pitched voices, excitedly discussing our awesome discovery. This fossil discovery was going to be HUGE, AMAZING, might even GET US IN THE NEWSPAPER, or (dare we dream) BE WORTH A MILLION DOLLARS even! Recess came to a close with Mrs. F’s whistle. We heard it and saw the others off as they trotted back to school. We kept at our work – Mrs. F  would just have to understand that scientific discovery comes before second grade. Plus, what would happen if we went inside and left our great discovery out there, halfway uncovered? Some bad thief would steal it and get all of our fame and money, that’s what. No, we were serious explorers who would never risk having that happen. This was OURS.

Our teacher came looking for her delinquent students about ten minutes after recess ended. We all talked at once trying to show her how earth moving this find was. Truth be told, I was a little pissed because we had asked the other kids to explain why we were busy with this critical work. The traitorous little snitches never mentioned the triceratops and just told her we were out back looking for fossils. “Looking”? Had they not seen with their own eyes how momentous our dig was? We told Mrs. F about how this was super, SUPER important. Please. We don’t let thieves to take our fossil, please let us finish excavating our great find. PLEASE!

Mrs. F had to have been one of the world’s kindest and most patient teacher in existence, because instead of laughing at us or grabbing us by the ears and dragging us back to school like we deserved, she told us we could keep digging while she got the school’s principal to come out and help us protect our treasure (it’s value increased every minute that we spent digging it out – as far as we were concerned by that time, that thing could have been made out of 14k gold. Solid gold). We immediately raced back to work. After all, we were serious and educated scientists on the cusp of becoming famous. 

A few minutes later, Mrs. F returned with the principal Mr. D, and a trowel. I’ve wondered how hard it must have been for them to keep from smiling. Our principal listened to our story, and then got on one knee to use the trowel to help pry the find of the century out of its 100 million year old bed of clay. 

The memory of that day has stuck with me forever. The feelings of, pride, glee at the money we were going to make, nervousness for how we could protect this treasure from wrong-doers, amazement that we had gone from being insignificant 7 year old girls to world-renowned dinosaur experts, and just ordinary joy that of all the people in the world, God chose us to have this glory…it was just beautiful.

Sigh.

Our great find was a bust. About five minutes after he started digging, our principal pried out our great mysterious-but-probably-a-triceratops bone. We gathered to help him brush off the remaining dirt and reveal the wonders beneath. After a close look, he told us that he was pretty sure what we had was not so much a triceratops (or even a plain old regular dinosaur), as it was a big gear left over from the church construction. Kind of disappointing. Ok, absolutely devastating. Wait though, maybe, could it maybe still be a big find? Like is it worth a lot because it’s ancient history? How much could we sell it for (if we couldn’t have the fame and √©clat of top scientists, we could still make some money, right)? He and Mrs. F shared a look, and then he patiently explained that scrap metal from the construction that happened only twenty years earlier wasn’t really worth anything. So, yeah…poof! There went our bountiful money flying off into the sunset. 

We lucked out and he didn’t put us in detention for disobeying the end of recess whistle (he probably saw how down we were about losing our triceratops). He told us not to worry, because it could have been a triceratops fossil. Maybe next time we’d actually find really important bones.  We perked up a bit at that – after all, he was a grown up and if he thought there was a possibilty that triceratops bones could be found, then there you go. The hill definitely had giant dino bones, not doubt about it. We walked back into the building, hot and sweaty from our efforts, a tad disappointed, (but not too disappointed, because now we had confirmation that a triceratops fossil was just waiting nearby for us to discover). Our time to shine wasn’t today, but was going to come some day. Today was just Fate giving us a fire drill to prepare us for the day our triceratops would again see the sun thanks to us.
I never lost that feeling – decades later and I watch every dinosaur documentary or movie out there. I am happy enough because it reminds me of the how great anticipation and going for the gold could be. And happy that I spent formative years in a school with such amazing teachers who supported and nurtured us, encouraging us in learning more and discovery. 

Epilogue: four or five years later my mom asked a professor from a local college (famous for its science, math, engineering, and archaeology offerings), to meet with me. I packed up all my fossils in a dusty tupperware box with a lid, and carried it as solemnly as if the box was the Eucharist and wine offerings for mass. The professor took a look and identified the fossils as small orthocones (basically squid in a long straight shell). Even the t-rex tooth – just a plain old orthocone. I was nervous and shy, probably bright red from blushing, but I stumbled out an offer to donate my fossils to the museum so that they could be displayed in one of the glass cases. I don’t think he realized how devastated I was when he said no; however, truthfully, the disappointment was abated by the relief of not having to give away my precious fossils and t-rex tooth (because fuck that guy – it IS a total t-rex no matter what he said). 

Happy Enough

Let me get right to the point: I am about to explain why I’m happy enough and why that’s really cool. However, I need to clear up a few things, and give a background for understanding why that matters. Sounds good? Right then, we’re off.

Happy enough is cool, because I’ve spent too much of my life feeling bad, angry, depressed, not content with my life, wondering why I can’t have the 100 percent wonderful, fulfilling life that everyone else in the world gets to enjoy while I’m shut outdoors in the cold and rain. I have seen a horrible, aching loneliness that has just dementor-ed my soul and made me become…old. I’ve looked at my face in the mirror and thought that the world knows. The world knows that the happy kid with dreams of running away to live in Narnia or Gondor is gone and there’s just this grey, angry harridan left, turned ugly by all her bitterness and loathing and jealousy, banished from Neverland because I didn’t believe in fairies enough, not because I got older. I have felt like the opportunity train came, and instead of getting on it, I bitched and moaned that it wasn’t air-conditioned enough or looked like a piece of crap or any one of a million other reasons that were just a mask for bullshit cowardice.

Every humiliation, every time I was a fool or idiot in front of others, or even alone, burns in my soul. I should be able to look back and laugh at myself, but I’ve never been able to. When I was about 9 or 10, I had a role as a shepherd in a Nativity scene play at church. Somehow I missed my cue and didn’t walk up with the other shepherds. I got a bit panicked – do I go up with the angels? Just not go up at all? I looked around and nobody was giving me any direction, and I thought maybe the attendees won’t know my mistake if I just run fast and catch up. I took off running down the aisle, trying to catch up with the others who were (by that time) already standing around the manger worshiping the little Lord Jesus.

The audience burst out into laughter at the little tardy shepherd. In retrospect, it probably had to be pretty hilarious – the little shepherd girl flying down the aisle, robes and headpiece flying all over the place, desperately trying to get caught up with the others. I didn’t think it was funny though. My face was flushed from the embarrassment that was eating my heart away. I had to stay up there until the play was over, mentally reliving the moment everyone laughed, seeing it as a huge mistake that revealed what a catastrophic fuck-up I was. I remember thinking my dad must be so disgusted to have a kid like me. I didn’t know what I was going to do – I had been unmasked as an idiot and all I knew is that I wanted to run away and hide and never come back to this world. Ever. Maybe I could live in the woods.

Even tonight, as I sit here writing this, I feel a bit if that shame and despair. If this had been anyone but me, I would laugh at the incident as I looked back with a grownup’s eyes at something pretty hilarious that probably gave the congregation a more memorable experience than they would with the “boring, has my kid said his line yet, how long us that angel going to talk, I am starving maybe we can stop for ice cream on the way home” Nativity Play. “That little lost shepherd girl, though, she was a hoot right?” No. Instead, because it’s me, I get the feeling of shame, horrible, horrible shame.

Rinse and repeat and you will have a pretty good idea about what I meant when I said my anger and shame at my near-constant failures (that never seemed to diminish in my mind and just keep getting worse) hasn’t allowed me to get past it. Better yet, to forget it. Or even best of all, have a laugh about it.

Sitting here writing this, I think the main reason it still rankles me so much is that I’ve never forgiven myself, not once, not for that, not for panicking and crying out to my deceased father “please dad, please save me, please God, please dad, help me, please help me!” over and over again in front of my brother as we came down the Wasatch mountains into Salt Lake City in a car whose brakes were failing, not for saying something weird and inappropriate and ruining a friendship, nothing. Not for one fucking second have I been able to forgive myself for my crimes against my dignity I have brought to my family.

But you know, I think I’m getting to a place where, if I can’t forgive myself – Happy Enough lets me able to cut myself some slack. I can tell my little lost shepherd girl that it’s ok. It wasn’t a giant screwup that tainted your family, or that exposed your idiocy, or followed you everywhere so that I would never be able to get past the disgust everyone surely had after they saw the real me, a shriveled little troll. Writing this, I know how stupid that is, to carry all the worst dignity-killing moments around in, playing them over and over again at top volume, and telling myself what I pretty much assumed everyone else thought – LOSER. A loser who can’t get a single God-damned thing right if she tried.

I know where that voice comes from. The voice in my head who can never forgive me, who tells me over and over again how bad, how useless I am. It’s Great-Aunt/Step-Grandma C (I’ll explain the title later). Staying with her on the ranch was a constant balancing act between moments of absolute delirium when she would take me to Mac’s Corner or Benjamin Franklin, and buy me something (made really awesome because I didn’t have to share with it anyone) and moments of pain when it was time, once again, to destroy me when I failed to do any of the 1,001 random things I was supposed to do (or did the 9,000 things I was prohibited from doing). None of which I had ever been told, naturally. That voice has been a constant pain in the ass. And head.

“You did a half-ass job.”

“What made you think you could touch the ranch stationary and stamps in the office? You have NO right to steal those things from the people who have sweated at their work, doing good jobs, and using that well-earned money to buy stamps just for you to waste them.”

“Who told you and your cousin you were allowed to just go off on your own and walk into the little patch of trees up the road without telling anyone where you were going? I’ll tell you who – nobody. Nobody did. You just decided to go ahead and do it and not give a damn about anyone else because you are spoiled and inconsiderate. Oh you’re crying now? Crying because you got caught, not crying because you’re sorry. Don’t you dare look at your mom over there. Don’t you DARE! You think she’s going to save you and let you get away with murder like she always does? No siree buckeroo, you’re staying in that chair until I get an answer. An answer and apology, and then you’re going to go around and apologize to everyone else who you worried about you, even though you can’t be bothered to care about others! And you better hope they forgive you, because right now I sure don’t, you little good for nothing spoiled rotten brat!”

Never cry – whatever you do, do NOT cry – it will only make her angry and worse. Never, EVER let her see you cry. And I mean worse, not louder or longer, WORSE. Worse because that scary red monster living inside her would swell and grow and get worse. Tearing your soul out worse. Making you wish you had never been born rather than wasting everyone’s time and love when you are incapable of knowing what love is because you’re a horrible spoiled rotten half-asser worse. Worse – worst maybe, because she was raping your mind and putting that fruity C voice in your head so you could never get away from her for the rest of your life and would always have that drill sergeant from hell in your brain who could come out and replay all your many fuckups and confirm in your mind that it’s not just your imagination, everyone DID see you make a fool out of yourself, you fucking idiot dumbass.

Jesus Christ.

It feels good – this exposure of the corpse of C, my great-aunt/step-grandmother who has been living in me for so long and treating me so badly. I don’t know if anyone will ever know how destructive she was. I wonder if I’ll even ever know.

I didn’t say goodbye to her in the hospital. When she went in and it was clear it was for the last time, everyone else went, even L, saying goodbye and making the peace before she left, and I said No. I said it even though it hurt. I said it even though I small and vindictive. I wanted her to go to her grave having no forgiveness from me, because I hated her, even at the end. Her life turned to shit and she was dying in a strange hospital without friends, and I kept any comfort I could have given safely inside me, no good endings for us. So…there’s that.

I’m not certain, but I think I may still hate her a bit, even knowing I’m safe now. A couple of years before she did, C visited my mom while I was there. I sat in the living room with them, barely pretending to hide my contempt as I openly played Fruit Ninja on my iPhone. After I was satisfied my point had been made, I wandered away to see how the kids were doing. They were with their mom (my sister) down the hall in their room, and I told them I hope you guys don’t play the screaming game (where they would scream at the top of their impossibly high 4-year old lungs and reach record setting ear-shattering levels). They, of course, obliged. My mom and C came in the room to see what was going wrong, and C lost it. ” What the hell are you doing,” she said in her pure-C fruity flubbery voice. “Your brother’s wife is sleeping in the room next door! Don’t you care you’re going to wake her up?” (The “and you’re still an inconsiderate selfish spoiled rotten bitch” part was left implied rather than stated). I just laughed at her, and not just because the sister-in-law in question was in her usual drug-addicted, Vicodin/Oxycodone/Xanax induced stupor, and wouldn’t have woken up if I had led a marching band past her bed. I laughed because it was the contemptuous thing to do. I laughed because I won that round. Me. Not her. I won and goddamn if that doesn’t still make me feel glad.

Should I have forgiven her? I’ve been telling you about her abuse, but need to clarify that it was all mental and emotional abuse. She didn’t beat me. She didn’t sexually molest me. “I couldn’t forgive her because she yelled at me? Boo fucking hoo?” But it WAS bad, it was worse, because I think I wouldn’t have felt, and still feel, such hatred if it weren’t for the words. Bruises go away, broken bones heal, but joy sucking and soul crushing attacks that scrap anything positive away from your mental self-image…I know it sounds petty, but you weren’t there, and I was, and I can’t change how it felt to me.

Ok, summary time here. Let’s recap: ugly thoughts on face, little late shepherd girl, lack of self-esteem or worth, body dysmorphia from growing up to be a fat teenager and an even fatter adult, blame dead Great Aunt/Step-Grandmother C, let her die alone.

It doesn’t matter anymore though. These days I am allowing myself to be happy enough. Not “rainbow and unicorns” happy, but not “dying inside with a smile on the outside” unhappy either. I’ll get into the things that let me get to happy enough later. I set up this blog to hash it out – not shying away from the good, the bad, and the ugly, laying it all out in the sun for you to read, even if you, my unknown, possibly not-even-there, reader are even there. I am glad I’m happy enough. Happy enough to love myself a bit and be glad C is dead in my mind and in the flesh. Probably sound psychotic but there you go.

Signing off but more will follow. Trust me and come down the rabbit hole – I promise you it gets a lot better here on out.