Would You Write A Letter To A Fellow Blogger?

In today’s world of email, texting, and the interwebs, isn’t it fun to get real mail that is handwritten and adorned just for you? Here’s a challenge you might want to try. Oh and if you live in the US, leave me a comment and I will send you a personal hand lettered (brush lettered) note from yours truly 🙂

Fractured Faith Blog

Yesterday I posted about emojis and the death of the written word. It generated quite a dialogue and one of the themes that emerged was how much people miss receiving, and sending, letters. You know, in the post. Stamps? Envelopes? Am I ringing any bells here people? It brought back to me the excitement and anticipation of receiving mail from penpals. There is something in the care and attention of writing and posting a letter that cannot be replicated into today’s ‘junk food’ society of e-mail, text and social media messaging.

So today’s post is a challenge to you all. Whether or not you choose my metaphorical gauntlet throwing is entirely up to you. It’s a challenge to write a letter and post it to a fellow blogger. Or bloggers if you are feeling particularly inspired. It can be anything. A few lines or your life story. It can include…

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Be Afraid

After my last few days, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to go kayaking. Kayaking? You bet! And within an hour, I was rushing to her house for our adventure.

Kayaking is something I’ve always wanted to do but have never done. Sure I’ve paddle boated, canoed, and swam in lakes before so kayaking didn’t seem all that difficult. You just get in a boat and paddle, right? Plus I loved swimming so if I did happen to fall over, I could handle it.

I put on my life jacket and carried the kayak down the hill to the docking area. The hill was pretty steep and the kayak was awkward but I got it in the water, got in, and shoved myself out into the lake. But I immediately noticed 2 things: 1) staying centered and balanced on the kayak was harder than it looked and 2) I had no idea what I was doing.

My friend was rather skilled at this whole thing. On the other hand, I was getting water in my kayak from my paddles, my shorts were all wet, and I couldn’t keep up with her. I got tired easily too. But I was having fun and getting out of my house was what I really needed. The lake was beautiful so I decided not to complain or be annoyed at my lack of skill.

At some point, I realized this kayak business was kind of tricky. Mostly because the lake had boats and the waves had a mind of their own. When a wave would come my way, I’d stop paddling and sit still. If I moved at all, I noticed my kayak start to tip.

My friend suggested we stay closer to the shoreline so the boats didn’t hit us. So we were traveling back after venturing to the end of the lake, about 45 minutes one way. Two jet skis passed back and forth. I was trying to avoid hitting my friend and tipping her over when it happened.

I fell out of my kayak.

At first it was funny. But then I realized that I needed to get back in my kayak but it was filling up with water. I mustered all my upper body strength and tried to swim with it. If I didn’t have a life jacket, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to swim with the waterlogged kayak. I tried heading towards the shore but the water was deep. I tried not to think about the green stuff floating around or the green algae and what was possibly living in there.

My friend took my paddle so I had one less thing to worry about and made it to shore. I kept going. I finally was able to feel the ground, which felt like a mushy poopy diaper. Oh and my shoes were in the kayak floating around. I was trying not to lose those too.

I did panic a bit because I felt like I might drown. Not feeling the bottom of the lake was pretty scary. I also had to hold on to a very heavy kayak and so that felt like it was pulling me down too. And the entire time, the two jetski people didn’t stop to help or just stop making waves so I felt anxious and scared. When I got to the shore, I dropped down on the sand. I was so shaky.

I settled down and my friend told me I was a good sport. She couldn’t tell I was anxious at all. I was joking about it mostly to ease my anxiety so maybe that’s why.

I managed to get back in the kayak after dumping the water out and spent another half hour trying to paddle cautiously back to where we came. The waves from boats still hit my kayak, but I tried to be as balanced as I could.

We got out and loaded the kayaks back in the van and headed home. I was joking around about mushy algae, fish eating my toes, and lake amoeba. My friend was nearly crying from laughing so hard. She kept apologizing and I would make another funny comment and we’d laugh even harder.

The thing is I would do it again. Sure it’s scary to flip over in deep water, but sometimes a little adrenaline is a good thing.

Lately I have been telling my husband how when you are our age, there is a lull. You find your routine. All the exciting life milestones like marriage and kids come and go. Then you feel either bored with life or stressed out by it. It isn’t often you feel the blood pumping, nature in your face, and laughing until you cry. Mostly, you set into your normal and become apathetic and indifferent. Every day feels the same after awhile.

At least it has for me.

So falling out of a kayak and being faced with fear was a good thing. For once, I felt alive to the world. And knowing that people worried about me and kept saying “I’m glad you are OK!” made me feel like I wasn’t just existing.

Sometimes it’s good to do things that scare you. It might just save your life.

The suicide Game

I’m sitting in the eye doctor office waiting for my oldest daughter to finish her appointment. People walk past me. Patients sit across from me. But they would never know.

I’m tired. No, nix that. I’m depleted. I pulled my hair up in a presentable bun. Threw on some “good enough” clothes of jeans and a short sleeve black sweater. Tossed on my sensible flats even though nothing in my life seems all that sensible.

My husband stayed home. Thank God. I couldn’t have survived this day if he didn’t.

We both tried to resume some sense of normalcy. I ran to the store this morning to get donuts. Maybe copious amounts of sugar will make this day less awkward.

No, not really.

Yesterday my middle child sent me a text at 7pm telling me how she should’ve tried harder. The text was sent 7 minutes before. I instantly knew what that meant but was I too late? Just moments before I heard the water in the shower running. I didn’t know what I’d see on the other side of the door. I wiggled the handle but it was locked. I pushed on it as hard as I could and it popped open. My daughter was in the bathtub full of water, fully clothed with cuts up and down her arm. They were mostly shallow cuts.

My body started shaking. I could only express anger. “What the hell??” I managed to yell at her. She sat there sobbing.

The next hours were spent contemplating hospitalization or something else. We talked to her psychiatrist who said we didn’t need to hospitalize her unless she was unsafe. She wasn’t. We have done this 2 other times, once in a hospital. We knew to hide everything and to watch her like a hawk.

She was angry but wouldn’t say why. I knew that once her anger subsided, we’d be better off but sometimes her anger didn’t go away until the next day. So she treated her dad and I like monsters and then fell asleep. Usually we have approached this with lots of empathy, patience, and coddling but last night, I was done with that. I told her exactly how all of this made her dad and I feel and what would happen to us if she succeeded. She needed to hear it. And I figured all the empathy and egg shell walking hadn’t prevented a thing.

It seemed as if we had jumped back in time to a year ago. Nothing had seemed to improve despite all the damn therapy, drugs, hospitalizations, and doctor visits. We have gone broke trying to make her happy. And I’m sorry if I’m insensitive, but no one gives a fuck about the people who have to deal with this day in and day out. Everyone is concerned for her which they should be! But no one seems to care about the toll it takes on me, on her siblings, or on her dad. No one understands the cloud of shame, the anxiety from being on high alert, the inability to share what really hurts (because who can understand this?), the level of secrecy her siblings must have, and the days where we just don’t function that well. It’s like being in a war zone, all the time. Every counselor we speak to, every social worker, doctor, nurse, or psychiatrist is paid to help her. I’m glad they try. But who is there to help the rest of us?

Our time and energy is spent keeping her alive. We maneuver our lives so she can’t possibly end hers. We deplete ourselves trying to make her happy, but we become miserable. Her pain and agony become ours. There is no individual pain when it comes to mental health. Behind every depressed, suffering person is a family of people who suffer with them. Or die trying.

And yet through all of it, we are told things like we can’t give up hope, we have to fight, we can’t detach, we have to have empathy and show concern, we need to be rocks and never waiver.

Who can do all that, honestly? Who can lose hours of sleep, their own sense of sanity, and not turn bitter, angry, and depressed themselves?

Of course, I keep fighting (for someone who won’t fight for themselves) and trying (even though giving up sounds less painful). But I’m also angry and ridiculously fed up with this game. It’s becoming rather predictable. The ending, I still fear, because that part is always a mystery. I can’t know whether her cries for help are feigned suicide attempts or not. To guess wrong might end up in terrible regret. So I’m a puppet on her string, being pulled this way and that, tossed in a box and pulled back out for the show. This is my reality. It’s how I feel.

And the show must go on. But I don’t know how long I can keep going. It’s nothing but pure emotional torture and I’m exhausted. Sometimes I think a cancer diagnosis would be a relief. Life is hard when you feel like you are not in control of your own life anymore.

My life has become a series of power plays and coercive manipulation. How do I get my life back? How do I do it without causing great harm? That is my cunundrum.

There are no easy answers. I keep looking though.

She is in better spirits today. I sigh. This is the temporary relief in the raging storm of depression. I don’t know if it’s game, but I’m so tired of playing.

I Feel Pretty, Witty, and Bright

Being a woman has always felt a bit complicated to me. There are certain rules and expectations to be met. I feel like if I’m not happy, cheerful, or positive, I’m somehow not woman enough. And this pressure to conform often comes from other females.

I feel like the vast majority of people don’t mesh with me. Maybe I’m a giant jerk. I don’t know. But seems to me, I often find myself on the defensive or I feel hurt by their insensitivity.

According to most online quizzes that probably means I’m a crazy maker, narcissist, or worse. The thing is I have tons of empathy for people and I care, but sometimes I care too much. That’s where I tend to feel defensive.

I’ve been seeing a counselor for 6 months or so. She’s been nice and listens but we don’t mesh well. It’s not that I hate her or find her offensive. Sometimes she has good things to say. I just still feel like she misunderstands me. She interprets my cynicism towards certain things as “I need to correct this”. And when she does try to correct my out loud negative thinking, it’s off putting.

Today I was trying to tell her about my anxiety. I’ve had a lot lately and most of it is because of my family, or rather how I cope with them. When discussing how my daughter wants more friends, I jokingly stated that she thinks life is like a Disney show where you have your best friend from high school all the way into adulthood. The therapist chimed in to inform me I shouldn’t take away her hope and that some people do have childhood friends. I felt like I hit a nerve with her because then she said “I still have my friends from high school and so do my kids.” OK, so don’t tell my kids the reality that most people I know don’t?

So in our last few sessions, I’ve felt worse walking out of therapy than going in. And I feel like she overlooks the main point: my anxiety and stress. Instead, she addresses my parenting or communication issues. Is that the point? I didn’t come there for parenting advice. And I hate trying to explain to her that I’m cynical and although I tell her how I think, that’s not what I say to my daughter. I just feel defensive because I’m not Mrs. Positivity like she is.

On one other occasion while expressing my anxiety, she told me to look for things to be thankful for. Oiy. First off, I already know that and secondly, positive thinking is horse shit. It doesn’t do me any good to focus on positivity when I have a panic attack. Let’s ignore the tornado and pretend it’s sunny. Stupid.

So that leaves me with two options: stop going to therapy or find a new counselor. Part of me just wants to quit because it’s exhausting having to start over and bring up all my problems again and then what if that fails too?

On the other hand, the therapist we use for our marriage is like a breath of fresh air. I’m considering seeing him by myself if that isn’t too weird because with him, I state how I feel and he seems to get it. I walk out feeling validated. I don’t have to over explain my sense of humor or be told I should be doing this or that with no relation to my therapy goals. He doesn’t tell me to vibe positivity. He doesn’t coddle me either but offers advice that actually helps.

Part of me wonders if I’m just not a person who does well around most women. I seem to defy the female norm sometimes. I hate bridal & baby showers. I try to talk about other things besides motherhood (I’m more than a mom and wife). You won’t find me knitting. I do garden and I am artsy, however my gardening skills are amateur and you won’t catch me painting florals or girly crap. I am cynical and sarcastic and sometimes inappropriate which makes most guys laugh at me because they don’t expect it, but makes me unlikable by some women. I do have girlfriends but they tend to be like me. My best friend bakes and knits, but she also cusses and can spar males in karate and drop them to the ground. When we get together, we laugh at each other’s inappropriate stories that would make some women cringe.

Oh, I can be feminine and girly when needed (that’s how I attracted my husband lol) but I’m not a pushover. I don’t sugar coat things or prefer politeness over honesty. I’m not into thinking I have to be cute and sweet and never express negativity. I’m definitely not a stepford wife and I don’t feel the need to apologize for being realistic and honest. I wish someone would’ve been honest about life when I was growing up instead of going into adulthood thinking marriage was like a fairytale. Nope, I will not feel bad for stating what I know to be true. That’s not squashing hope. That’s offering a dose of reality.

My main point is that I don’t seem to mesh well with other women. Not the phony, overly positive types anyway. I’d honestly rather be friends with guys. And maybe finding a guy therapist would better suit me too. I like honest, real people not ones that tell me to blow positivity up my ass and everyone else’s.

I guess I’m just too old to have to waste energy explaining things like sarcasm to some people. When I told the male therapist one of my cynical thoughts, he laughed and agreed with me.

I guess I should’ve been born a dude.

After the rain

I took a few photos of my flowers in my yard. Some were too wind blown to photograph. It stormed here. Here’s our recent lilies that have bloomed.

Our Korean irises already bloomed and died but they are white and purple. I love the varying colors each month. Our hostas and stonecrops will bloom next month. Our other lilies are pink and should be coming up soon.

I wish summer lasted longer. Sure seems once winter hits, the landscape turns ugly. I love art and gardens are a bit like an intuitive canvas. Lots of colors and changes throughout summer.

So while it’s here, I appreciate the beauty of it.

A Waste of, I mean a wrinkle in time

This weekend we decided to rent “A Wrinkle in Time”. I’ve never read the book and so I can’t comment on the story from that perspective. But I can comment on the movie and it’s story.

I honestly can’t believe Chris Pine decided to act in this film. If you’ve seen Wonder Woman, then you know Chris Pine. Swoon. Except not in this movie. He was all hairy and straggly.

Little trivia… Did you know his Dad played in Chips? His name is Robert Pine. I just dated my damn self.

And I thought Chris looked an awful lot like his daddio in this movie. Besides that, Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kahling played “the misses”, which were sort of like fairy God mothers who transported the kids around to different universes. The kids were looking for their father, played by Chris Pine, who goes missing while trying to “touch hands with the universe”.

The story was all over the place and confusing. It starts out ok with the main character, Meg trying to make sense of her dad being gone for the last 4 years. Like most kids movies, it has the typical bullies and the kid who falls for her. And then it gets bizarre with Reese Witherspoon dropping by unannounced. The family doesn’t seem all that shocked when she arrives looking like she wrapped herself from head to toe in toilet paper and making small talk with her adoptive brother, who apparently had talked to her before. The entire storyline is weird like this and you find yourself filling in the blanks later, but still perplexed.

The acting is pretty weird and unconvincing. The special effects were almost too much. And the storyline was cheesy mixed with Oprah-like quotes throughout. If that wasn’t enough, I felt like I spent most of the movie looking up Oprah’s nose. Also her makeup was just distracting. I found myself staring at her eyebrows trying to figure out if it was tinfoil or makeup. Just weird.

I can’t believe I sat through the entire thing. My husband fell asleep. When he got up, he asked if I watched the entire thing and I responded, “Yeah I did. I kept waiting for it to get better, but it never did.”

What is much more entertaining is reading the movie reviews, which is what I should’ve done before renting this dreadful flick. I think this guy on Rotten Tomatoes summed it up pretty well:

I feel as though this film is some sort of punishment for not having read the book as a child. Dreadful. Absolutely dreadful.

The thing I hate about summer

To complain about the one season that has sun in Minnesota just feels wrong, but I’m gonna do it.

Mosquitos. Ticks. Spiders.

I’ve been bitten. And I itch all over. And honestly, I want to punch mother nature.

I have about 20 bites just from being in my back yard. The spiders keeping making webs in our windows and I spray them down. Go paralyze your food in another corner. My house is off limits. Then the house flies!! I let go (yes, let go, not killed… See I’m not totally cruel) about 30 flies. Everywhere I look is bugs.

I wonder how many bites she got

While for the most part, I deal with it, there’s another part of me that hates it. Mostly the parts that itch and look like welts and prevent me from sleeping.

It’s been perfect hiking weather, but do you think I want ticks on me? Uh no. So I’ll wait until tick season is over.

The one remedy that works pretty well for itching is Peppermint oil. I use Edens Gardens essential oils and I buy Peppermint in huge bottles. It’s so good for so many things from cramps to aches and pains to itching. And I love the smell so I diffuse it. Wish I could diffuse it over my entire lawn and get rid of the bugs, but I’ll take temporary relief.

You know what’s the worst though? Getting a mosquito bite between your fingers! It’s awful. Like Chinese water torture. But at least the oil takes away the constant itch.

If I had to guess, I’d say mosquitos were the spawn of Satan.

But even with all that, it’s still better than our Minnesota winters.

50 Versions of the F word

Whenever I’m watching TV or hovering over an online game my son is playing, I notice how the F word gets sanitized with frick , freaking, frock, or some other variation of the word.

While I state my own fair share of expletives from time to time, I know it’s still disrespectful to announce the word “fuck”. It brings back to mind looks of horror and gasps from when my mom heard me say it. I know it’s just a word-no better or worse than saying idiot or stupid, but it’s still not a word I want my kids using as verbs or adjectives. Honestly, the dictionary has a lot more descriptive words I prefer they learn instead of resorting to some language everyone else uses when pissed off.

So my kids try to get away with saying frick or Fook or something. And today I was feeling annoyed at how much I hear it. It could be any word, like “whatever” or “I know, right?”

The redundancy was exhausting my nervous system.

I turned to my son and said that from now on, if I hear that word or any version of it, expect to run around the yard 3x. He blurted out, “What the Frick?”

I said, “looks like you want to run.” He got upset and continued complaining, using F word versions of all kinds until he was up to 12 laps. At this point, his sisters and I were laughing. That’ll learn him, I guess.

I wasn’t trying to be wise, but I realized I killed two birds with one stone. Not only am I attacking his redundant word usage, but I also got him to exercise, something he’s not overly fond of.

Not sure if he’ll give up his F word variety show, but at least I tried. Parenting these days takes way more creativity. When I was a kid, I got a bar of soap to the mouth. Of course, I don’t agree with that at all but parents never knew how easy they had it.

Anyway, I got tired just watching him run 12 laps so hopefully it taught him something. Next attempt will be to make him memorize words from the dictionary. Haha.

Getting rid of social media

Last year I had a blog that I was trying to monetize. I thought maybe it would be fun to try to make money myself from blogging. I spent lots of money, time, and energy on it only to realize it wasn’t me. Expensive lesson, I guess.

In the process, I had social media everything. I had Facebook pages, Twitter for business, and Instagram for business. I signed up to Medium and Quora as writer and expert question answer-er. I basically spent all my free time living online.

I still have two blogs that I paid for but I’m finding them annoying. I rarely ever post on either one and when it comes time to renew my hosting, I will just cancel them. Feels like a bit of a waste but I can’t envision sucking more money or time into it. Its just not something that brings me joy.

I’m finding I need things to be really simple. If someone wants to know about me, they could call or text me. On my social media pages, no one even seems to care what I say. So why keep up the charade? And I’m tired of trying to keep up with people online. At the end of the day, it’s all self absorbed BS. My life is better without it.

I just spent about an hour unsubscribing from countless blogs I used to follow. They are all the same, honestly: Here’s the bait, here’s the hook, buy my stuff. That’s just not me and why my blog ended up failing. I hate con jobs and most blogs are like that.

The older I get, the more I realize that my energy needs to be put in things that actually matter. You know the story of how to get rid of things: hold it in your hands and if it doesn’t bring you anything but joy, it goes. That’s exactly how I feel these days with everything–relationships, technology, social media, belongings, or requests for my time. I no longer feel obligated except to myself and to my immediate family.

So it makes sense to declutter and detach from the online world. I enjoy this blog because it’s my expression and there’s no obligation to anyone or anything. It’s just me being me. It’s ok if only a few read it or none at all. I’m not parading myself to the masses to get subscribers.

But social media doesn’t bring me joy. It brings a lot of regret, negativity, and annoyances though. Therefore, with the exception of email and this blog, it can go bye-bye. I will be deleting all my accounts going forward.

I wish people didn’t solely communicate on Facebook or Twitter but they often do. So my world is very small and the people in it, dwindling. That’s ok. What’s important will be easier to define when the chaos of social media and the pretense is gone. It will be easier to pick out those who truly cared from the crowd because the smokescreen that is social media will be long gone.

The Mirena Scare

If you search the internet, you can find thousands of people complaining about anything from poor quality cars to restaurants that made them sick to shady insurance companies. I try really hard to weigh out the complaints with what professionals tell me and I try to seek out people who have had good experiences.

I struggle with hormone issues specifically in the PMS department. I know guys read this blog, so I’ll spare you the disgusting details but let’s just say CSI crime scenes are pretty darn close to my own experiences.

So I went to a women’s clinic to try to sort out the cause. I got an ultrasound done. They found a fibroid, but it’s location wouldn’t be the cause of menstrual problems. Basically I just get crazy cycles because my body is psycho. And stress. So my doctor highly recommended an IUD called Mirena.

I knew some people who swore by the Mirena so I questioned everything about it, read the pamphlet, and did only minor research online. My doctor warned me that there was a lot of negative reviews but you never hear about the positives. The pamphlet didn’t list anything too weird.. Some mood swings, tiredness, initial cramps. I trusted my doctors assessment and scheduled to have the IUD inserted.

After insertion, I didn’t notice anything too crazy the first two days but then I started getting chest pains. This was worrisome but I tried to just remember all drugs (and the IUD is a drug… It releases synthetic hormones) have side effects. I had migraines, bad dreams, and my heart raced at times. Then I started feeling extremely anxious followed by one of the worst episodes of depression in my life. I woke up wanting to die, was so irritable and over the top angry that my family was wondering who I was.

I called my doctor and we decided I’d give it the weekend to sort it out. Here it is.. the weekend… and I’m still a mess of anxiety and depression and suicidal thoughts. I’m about to rip it out of my own uterus!

When I confided in someone who also had the Mirena, I told them I feel psycho and I can’t trust myself. She suggested I was probably depressed before the Mirena (her exact words were, “weren’t you like that before the mirena?”) and then suggested I wait… one week isn’t long enough.

OK, let’s back the crazy train up here for one second. No one, and I mean NO ONE should ever have to endure suicidal ideation. Ever. Under any circumstances. And why does society, even women, think it’s ok to put up with side effects like depression so long as you are keeping the population down? As long as it’s birth control, we should endure it. Hell no.

I recently took my autistic daughter to a new doctor. My daughter is 19 but developmentally, her age is like 12. The doctor was pushing IUD’s and the implant for birth control. Her words were “you don’t want to end up taking care of another problem.” So wrong on so many levels.

But let’s for one second remember my daughter has major social anxiety and doesn’t leave the house and where would she ever hook up with a guy if she can’t even say hi to her teachers or our neighbors? But let’s push the hormones that probably would cause 1000 more problems for her because we can’t have babies running around. Doctors are freaking ridiculous.

Anyway I’m getting this satanic device removed the first day I possibly can and if I can’t get in within a few days, I’m removing it myself. I will not endure depression or wait it out. My family doesn’t deserve that and I sure as hell don’t either.

One week is way too long to put up with the majority of these symptoms.

Besides the initial BS from this device, leaving it in also causes all kinds of other nasty side effects like weight gain, pregnancy symptoms, and cystic acne. When you remove it after 5 years, you can endure what’s called the Mirena Crash. Look it up. More horrible stuff like heavy bleeding, clots, and depression. The reason is because it tricks your body into thinking it doesn’t need to make progesterone so you end up with too much estrogen. Basically your body becomes too dependent on the Mirena. So even if I did suffer through the first few months, I have bad feelings about what it would do long term to me.

I don’t give a crap about the birth control that this IUD provides. I was trying to help my menstrual issues but looks like I’m back at square one once I get this thing out. I feel sad for women who are dealing with worse symptoms than I am. Of course, there are many who swear by this device. I’m glad it is helping them. What pisses me off is that there is very little warning given that this drug could cause a multitude of problems. And when I express my concern, I’m treated like it’s all in my head.

I wouldn’t say I’m a super happy person but I rarely wake up hating the world or wanting to die. Sure, I get grumpy and don’t aways deal with stress how I want to, but that’s a far cry from wanting to jump off a bridge or something. This past week has caused me to doubt myself on many levels and worse, I doubted my own sanity.

If you experience any odd or scary symptoms after the IUD, consider the fact that your birth control might be poisoning you.