Reflections on some not so awesome memories

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I have had this song come up several times on Pandora lately. I initially really liked it because it’s got a lovely piano playing in a predominantly minor key and the singer’s voice matches the tone of the song so well. I like the bridge transitions, especially the way she transitions from the bridge to the chorus by using what I’ve always thought of as chunky, melancholy chords. It’s one of those songs that kind of makes me want to cry, but that’s because the song is intended to elicit such emotions. That was all I paid attention to the first half-dozen or so times I heard it.

Then I listened to the lyrics. I was in the shower, my thinking place, and just sort of stopped to actually hear the story Ms. Grey painted with her words. It was sort of like getting punched in the gut. Or maybe the throat.

I’m sure I’ve referenced it a few times here, though nothing overt or glaringly obvious. My ex was something of an ass to the Nth degree. If it weren’t for the fact that he was in the Army and it’s a big no-no to get an Axis II diagnosis a psychiatrist would have diagnosed him with Narcissistic Personality Disorder with Antisocial (personality disorder) Traits. In case you don’t actually want to read the wiki articles about those two disorders, just know that they both are pretty much what they sound like they are. He was charming, suave and subtly manipulative the first 6-12 months that I knew him. Then he not-so-slowly transformed into something of a clearly manipulative, emotionally and mentally abusive, controlling, delusional, lazy-ass, *insert your favorite descriptor for a waste of space here* moocher that I had the pleasure of having to deal with outside of work. Except he was really great at sleight of hand maneuvers so that I and anyone casually interacting with either of us wouldn’t realize something was going on or that it whatever they noticed was my fault, my failing. He even managed to convince me that all our problems, his problems really, were my fault. He couldn’t keep a job because we lived too far away from all the places he could work. He lied to me because I wasn’t strong enough to deal with or know the truth. It was my fault that he turned to one of his exes for support, talked shit about me and was making promises to leave me and go off with her as soon as I was “strong” enough to not kill myself over him. The list goes on and on and on.

How does it relate to the song? Well, note that he started out only subtly off. Then he turned into the sort of person that I never thought I would attach myself to. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I didn’t actually deserve to be happy. I really was the cause of so much misery and heartache. The fights were all my fault. The things that went wrong were my fault. I just wasn’t enough. I failed again and again when I tried to make anything better. I was never good enough. I never knew what I was talking about, even when I did. I deserved all the bad things that happened, all the lies, all the half-truths and misdirection. It was what I knew, what I expected and it was, as so often happens, normal, comfortable in that horrifying sort of way. I wasn’t happy, but I knew the routine, I knew how it would end, change was scary. I accepted everything because, well, what other choice did I have? (I know the answer now, but not then.)

Except that I (finally) got space and time away from him. I lived half-way around the world from him and discovered that I could actually be happy. It took over a year, but I gathered my courage and told him I was no longer going to be his thing to manipulate. I left him. And I suppose that is where my story differs from the one told in this song. She doesn’t leave at the end. At least not yet. I escaped. I found a life that I am happy with. I found people who love and support me and whom I love and support.

Sadly, that doesn’t keep me from going back to those memories. I still have times when I revert to behaviors I learned while in that relationship. I suppose I’m still a work in progress. Aren’t we all? We’ve each got our own demons, some are just more obvious than others. I just wish they couldn’t haunt us after we have exorcised them from our lives. Their shades can be just as painful and scary as the demons themselves were.

Right. Well, something more pleasant to come in the near future. Probably something about Anomalycon or the zombie apocalypse or something.

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American Politics are… ugh

Aside

Ugh.

That is all I have to say about the most recent political “upheavals” in the US and Colorado. It is only Wednesday and yet there has already been enough going on to make me want to block my ears and eyes and count the hours until November.

The worst part is that I am able to tolerate the back and forth bickering and bitching and rhetoric from the politicians and reporters. That is expected and coming from the people who get paid to take part in such activities. I don’t like what goes on, but it’s something resembling tolerable and something which anyone who bothers to can see the purpose and the expected outcome. I’m not the greatest at seeing through all the points, I don’t pay enough attention to all the minute details or track what all the sides/parties are saying and responding to. I listen to NPR and glance through a few blogs and new articles as I come across them to get what bit I can tolerate.

The part that I have the most trouble stomaching is hearing and seeing the hateful rhetoric of “normal” people. An example is from one of George Takei’s facebook pictures.

Yes, it is a quote from Rush Limbaugh that I do not agree with and which I believe is willfully ignorant and intended to incite a reaction. That’s his job, it’s what he gets paid and advertising money to do. However, the hundreds of comments that anyone can read here are just horrible. The over abundance of ad hominem attacks upon Rush is, while also expected, saddening. The number of comments condoning violence and hate is disgusting.

The worst part is that I do not think most of the people who write such things realize what they are propagating. I may dislike Mr. Limbaugh. I may think that he intentionally spreads deceits, intentionally misconstrues a quote or interprets something so as to put his own very partisan spin on things and says many, many hateful things, but none of that is any reason for a person to spit (or in this case type) so much vitriol. Especially because it turns the very person saying such things into the hypocrite that they are raging against.

Now, I know it may be too much to ask, but is it possible for people to see people on the other side of the political spectrum as, well, people?

I do not believe we, as a country, will be able to figure out how the hell to pull out of this political tailspin we are currently in until we are able to discover the humanity in our fellows, regardless of whether they sport red, blue, purple, pink or polka dots. We are going to find ourselves in a nasty and dark place in the not to distant future if we’re not able to figure this out.

Personally, I’d like to avoid that. So… let’s go hug a Republican/Democrat. Or maybe start with a nice handshake? Or something along those lines.

Deaf or Blind?

I admitted a patient to one of the residential houses today who is deaf. It was an interesting experience and sent me back a few years time to when I worked for the Mental Health Center of Denver and worked with four different deaf patients, all of which also suffered from Mild to Severe Mental Retardation.

It also set off a thought wave that I’ve caught on several different occasions. If I had to experience being blind or being deaf, which to me would be the least difficult way to navigate the world?

This was a really easy question for my husband to answer – he would rather be deaf. He could not work in his field and be blind. He also would not be able to read books, work on a computer or any number of other things that he needs his eyes to do, but does not need to be able to hear. He also made a very good argument that it is much easier to introduce medical and scientific interventions that are more capable of replacing various parts of the whole system related to hearing sounds than interventions for most any part of the system related to sight. The eye is more complicated than the ear, which is really saying something since the ear is a very delicate and fine piece of work by itself.

I have to agree with him that in the modern world being blind is probably more of a handicap than being deaf. But, as I experienced today, the one thing that gives the strongest argument for “choosing” to be blind is that being deaf means a significant loss of the ability to communicate with the world at large. This means far more to some people than to others. I could not do the vast majority of my job as it is now if I could not hear and therefore easily communicate with my co-workers or my patients. At the same time, if I were blind, I could not do most of my job either. Too much hinges upon being able to quickly and easily navigate computers as well as be able to speak. Hell, nursing in general requires all five senses to be able to do a complete assessment, even as a psych nurse I use all my senses (though I sometimes which my nose weren’t involved…) and so I would have to conclude that if I were to be either deaf or blind, I would be stuck with finding a different career.

So, I stand where I have found myself every time I have evaluated this question – I have no idea. Do I give up easy communication, music, and the easy ability to have a general idea of what is going on around me, even behind me? Or do I give up colors, the ability to easily manipulate the technology of today, fewer bruises from bumping into things, and being able to see everything that is around me?

Today, I lean toward choosing to be deaf, but tomorrow I will likely say I would rather be blind. Honestly, it makes me appreciate more and more just how lucky I am to be able to correct my vision with glasses or contacts so that I can see the beauty in the world around me. I am blessed to be able to hear everything around me from the annoying hum of the TV to the gorgeous music in the background to the sound of my husband’s voice. I am blessed to have two legs of even length with feet with five toes each and two arms of even length with hands with five fingers. I have a heart and lungs and liver and kidneys and stomach and all my other organs that function normally and my brain is at least of average intelligence and capable of abstract and forward processing and thinking.

I am blessed in so many ways and I often don’t even think about it. Today though, I am aware of just how lucky I am and today I give my thanks to the universe for giving me this gift.

Observation #252 (or 2)

I’m sitting in a motorcycle dealers lot while waiting for my fiance to talk to the mechanics here to figure out what in the world went wrong with his “new” 2009 S1 (I think it’s an S1, maybe it’s an R1? Whatever the speedy speedy racey one is) since after owning it for less than 2 weeks the battery apparently decided to stop working on him. Highly annoying, right? I’m thinking so at least because it really is a fun bike to ride around on, if a bit uncomfortable for the passenger. That be way off-topic though. The point is that this is not the first spot of trouble he’s had with the bike. Nope.

The first night he was the proud new owner of said bike, he tried to drive it off the lot only to find that it would no longer start. Rather than having the fun of showing off a new bike, we instead got to laugh and joke about his problem child toy. This was especially annoying as we had plans to try to cheer up a friend of his who had recently lost her job and she *loves* anything to do with motorcycles. Rather than meeting up for karaoke and giving her the chance to ride any bike, she got to see pics on a phone and laugh with us, though her heart wasn’t quite in it.

Fast forward a few weeks and he’s greatly annoyed by the bike yesterday morning when the engine won’t turn over so he can leave for work. I’m still in bed trying to decide whether I’m going to join the land of the living or return to dreamland when he stomps back upstairs to put his riding gear down and says something about the battery being dead. Say what? First, he never stomps, so that was new, and second, the bike was working fine less than a week ago. WTF, mate? Jump forward half a day and we jumpstart it using his car and leave it running while he does some mechanic voodoo magic stuff to make it stop squealing when it turns on or the wheels turn. (In case you can’t tell, I don’t know a damn thing about cars besides how to drive them, and even that is something of a miracle in my mind.) While in the midst of doing that, his bike does some very short splutter, cough, cough, *dead* dance thing and we’re both like “wah…. huh?” because that’s really not the way this is supposed to work. Even mechanically dumb people like me know that if an engine is going, even just idling, it is usually going to be able to get some reserves going in the battery. W.T.F?! Cue much grumbling and mumbling under our breath. And that leads to me in a bike lot the next day sans a shower and trying to decide if my throat will tolerate food when we get back home because my body is craving protein like no other. But that’s another post and another story.

The moral of the story, at least in my mind, is that even if something seems like a great deal, think about it long and hard before deciding what you want to do with it. This bike had been lost in the back of the bike shop for 2 years because someone forgot to remove a “missing part” sticker from it. They only realized this after they got new 2011 R1/S1 (whatever the hell it is) series in. So he got a brand spanking new, high-end sportbike for basically the high end of what it would sell used. Awesome trade in for is S6 or whatever it was that he had before. But… since then it has caused much more trouble and grr argh than it is worth. People don’t just give things away for the hell of it. Especially businesses. I’m also of the superstitious kind and really, if something managed to get lost for so long, there are really only two possibilities: it was “waiting” for a particular owner to come by (highly unlikely, but I suppose not unheard of) or it was operhaps not the best of the bunch and there’s something of a jinx on it. I’m leaning towards option number two in this case.

Ah well. And hey, you never know, maybe I’ll be surprised and I’ll be coming back in a few months and writing about how persistence can introduce you to some very interesting different sort of things or how waiting to pass judgement can yield some interesting results. *shrugs* Who knows really? I know I don’t.

Peace