Find your happy place

When you have so much going on or you are pulled in so many directions or (like me) you are knocked on your ass by health issues, if nothing else I have learned you must find your happy place and find some peace. Now, I know that most people have a physical happy place they want to go to find peace but that isn’t always possible. So, figure out where your mental happy place is. I’ve found peace in music. Sometimes it’s lyrics that speak to me. Sometimes it’s the rhythm. Sometimes I just get lost in the past with those golden oldies from the 80’s. But, ohhhh, when I need to work out angst or I am up and around and having a “hell yeah I’m doing things today” kind of day, I get my groove on. And at my age and with all the other crap I deal with on a daily basis, I truly don’t care what anyone else thinks.

One of my favorite things is car dancing. My daughter and I are huge car dancers. Don’t worry, I’m safe about it. The thing about not giving a damn about what anyone else thinks, you can usually pass your joy along to someone else. Maybe they smile and give you a thumbs up. Maybe they are laughing their ass off at you. Maybe their day sucked and when they glanced over and saw us totally getting our groove on to some random song that we liked and our funky groove movement were all in sync, and that made them laugh. Win/win.

Just find what makes you happy and do it. And don’t give a damn what people think. Just find your happy place inside yourself and let it loose. Dance in your underwear. Sing at the top of your lungs. Jog like Phoebe and look like a fool. Just do it and don’t bother with what other people think. Because you are too busy being happy in your happy place. And when you’re there? It is contagious. I promise  you’ll make other people smile or laugh (even if it is at you) or even want to join you. The most important part of this is to find your happy place because we all need to retreat from the chaos and craziness that is life. Don’t wait until you are overwhelmed. Dust off you happy place. Give it a spit shine and air it out. It’s time to visit it more often. You need to take care of you. Yes, YOU.

And kids, that’s why you shouldn’t be an asshole like I was

In case this isn’t permanently written on all of your calendars, this is my birthday  month. More specifically, on Saturday, the 7th. You still have time to shop. But it’s okay to be late because you have all month.

Actually, this birthday is kind of  a big deal to me. No, it isn’t a big number birthday or one that anyone else would evenn give a second thought. In truth, I’ve only told one person about why this birthday not only has me on edge but why I want to make it special. Because of all of that, she and I made plans to celebrate it together. We started these plans many months ago.

I can’t tell you how excited I was. Not just because I was going to spend my birthday with one of my closest friends but because she understood me and didn’t laugh when I told her why this birthday meant something to me. Just a couple of weeks out, I was finalizing flight plans etc. and texting back and forth to make sure it would all work out. (We were waiting on word from work.) Well, you know how they say “Make plans and God laughs”? Well, he was down right rolling in tears with this one. (I mean, hell, we’ve been trying this for  years.)  While I was about to book my ticket,  she texted me and said it would just be better for me to not come at all.

My heart shattered right there on the spot. I spent two days crying. I felt at the moment like I became the expendible friend.  So easily tossed aside rather than one you want around when you need someone.  It just hurt on many levels. I felt like I lost my best friend. (Other factors contributed, too. But, this felt like the final demotion.) And  you know what it actually made me? A totally and complete asshole.

Yes, I was the absolute and total asshole here. You see, she has been living in crisis mode for…well… months. Trying to take care of everyone. Pulled in so many directions, I don’t even know how she is still standing.  I’ve never met someone stonger with so much compassion in my life. She’s the friend every one wishes they had. And what did I do? I spent two days crying thinking of only myself and how I might be effected. See? Total asshole.  That’s not what  you do to the people  you love. You just don’t treat  your people that way. I am sorry. So sorry. There are times I can hardly breathe it hurts so much that I  hurt a relationship so  much. But you just can’t take some things back. We have barely spoken since then. Life is busy. Plans change. Health and work and family and life take over and before you know it, it has been weeks since you’ve talked.

myperson

So, in short (Ha! Nothing is short with my writing.) I let down a friend by being an asshole when she needed me because I was thinking of myself. And now? Now I have to pick up the pieces and hope we’ll be okay. It’s going to take time.  And that sucks.

The moral of the story, take a step back, take a deep breath, and look at both sides of what is going on before you act like an asshole or you may hurt one of the most precious relationships you have. Don’t be me, kiddos!

It’s just a peacock call. Relax.

When my boys were young- and I mean really, really young–  they found a very unique way of calling each other when they wanted to talk to or find the other. In fact, I don’t remember a time when they didn’t do this. It was startling at first. You see, one would let out the bellow of a peacock call and from somewhere in the depths of the back of the house you could hear the sound of the other one returning the call. Sometimes it would stop then. Other times if it was really important like an online game or a funny video, the calls would go back and forth until they were  in the same room. At the young age that it started, I don’t know how they picked it up. I have heard that it is deafening at cons like Quakecon but the boys had never been to something like that when they started their traditional tribal like call. Even my daughter picked it up rather young.

It became normal in the house. It was, however, hilarious when we had guests. We were used to it. Company? Not so much. Once when my sister had been visiting, two days into her trip she look up from her magazine and sighed looking at me in defeat saying, “Your house is really loud.” I did what any frat house mom would do and burst out laughing. She’s right. And I love the noise.

One would think that would be something for the home only. But no. They find each other in public that way, too. In fact, to be honest, we all do.  A few years ago when we were at Disney in line for Space Mountain, they wanted to test the whole herd mentality business and started calling each other- while standing beside each other. Of course Gabby started in. Then their cousins. It wasn’t long before other people in the line started. Before we knew it, most of the people shoved in like sardines in line in a very echoing echo hell, were all doing the peacock call. I was doubled over laughing uncontrollably, legs crossed, trying not to pee my pants. My sister looked slightly horrified. My kids looked cocky with pride.  Gosh I adore my kids. They are pretty awesome. And always entertaining.

So if you are out and about and hear a peacock call, just return it. Chances are pretty good it’s one of my family. Or me. Find us and say howdy!

Let’s talk about Chronic Jenn

(Warning: This just may be the most boring post you’ll ever read from me. I just wanted to educate y’all before we move forward.)

One of the things that is going to change around here is the fact that my “babies” are grown up. I have a 20-something, a just about to be 20, and a high schooler. So, my days as a momblogger are fading. Their stories are theirs to tell. I’ll still share some of our family fun because, well, we aren’t the normal family. We are loud, sarcastic, (at times) inappropriate, and we have one helluva good time. There is too much fun to not share those family times.

However, when it comes to my stories, you’re going to hear more about my medical conditions. It’s not that I want to whine or gain symathy. I have a dog for that. You should just understand that every day, all day, every hour, every minute, I am effected by one or more of my chronic illnesses or syndromes or nasty little devils that make my life a living hell most days.

Pain

I won’t list everything I have going on because that will be the most boring post EVER. But the big three – or as I like to call them – the mighty triad that wants to kill me or least make me suffer. I really need a meaner sounding name for them, come to think of it.

Anyway, the chronic issues I am dealing with are:

Chronic daily headaches & chronic migraines (and their good friend cluster headaches). And yes that does mean every single day I have a headache at or above a pain level of 5 or above. That is a good day. I also have a minimum of 12 migraines a month. A good month. Those are just examples. It can be worse. It is rarely better unless I have been in the hospital and they have medicated it down to a zero pain level. That usually takes about 9 days of nonstop IVs.

Fibrmyalgia is along for the ride. I don’t even know how to explain all of what fybromyalgia does. But I can share what I go through with this.

  • Chronic muscle pain or spasms (like having the flu all the time, 24/7)
  • Severe fatigue (Again like the flu. You need a nap after a shower.)
  • Insomia (which is a bitch seeing as you are so fatigued but sleep is not going to happen)
  • Your body feels all kinds of stiff when you first wake up. (Feel like I’m Rice Krispies with the snap, crackle, and pops going on.)
  • The awful “fibro fog” where I have retention of Dory from finding Nemo (Feel free to call me Dory. Seriously, my retention is horrible a lot of the time.)
  • Migraines (YIPPEE) and tension headaches. (YAY)
  • Feeling anxious  (Me? Yep!) or depressed (Duh)
  • Tingling in the face, arms, hands, legs, or feet (Too often to count. Like the pins & needles when your foot goes to sleep)
  • Exercise kicks my ass (even more than before)
  • (And the one no one talks about) GUILT  Seeing as it is an invisible illness, I am always apologizing or feeling guilty if I have to nap or not go out with the family. Guilt sucks.

Now Lupus is the one I know the least about because it scares me the most. I realize that is not the wisest route to go, but that’s me. I am  very aware of the chronic headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches and I do know my fybromyalgia but when it comes to Lupus I can only tell you a few things.

With Lupus, I know my ANA is very high. (Meaning the my good cells are really awesome at kicking my own body’s butt.) What I do know that has shown up:

  • Fatigue (Like with fibro, it is worse than the flu)
  • Fever with no explanation (I wake up every day with one and have one many nights)
  • The butterfly rash on my face (So not a big fan of this)
  • Hair loss (It’s bad enough that I see grey popping in. I don’t need to lose what I have.)
  • Swollen joints (I mean it is seriously hard to put a bra on, people.)
  • Dry mouth & eyes (I literally never leave home without a water bottle and eye drops.)
  • Kidney issues (This is also a side effect of all of my meds. Need the meds, need the kidneys.)
  • Gastro issues- (Like reflux so bad it is burning my vocal cords and changing my voice)

So, there you have it. That is a day in the life of Chronic Jenn. Anyone want to switch? Nah! There is no one I would ever wish this upon. I take it upon myself before I’d ever wish it on someone else. I’ve got this. I’m kind of a badass now.

 

 

It’s time for me to go old school again

Ohh Emm Geee! Look who is blogging again. Yes, I realize it is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting  Month) but no, I am not blogging because of that. And I also know it is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)  and rather than sign up for that, I may dust off something I was working on. And, yes, it is also NaNaTaMo (Natioanal Nap Taking Month) and I most definitely will be taking advantage of that particular tradition.

Anyhooooo, I realized most of the things I would’ve normally blogged here, I have  been microblogging on Facebook. However, I haven’t been on Facebook for almost a week and you know what?  No one has even noticed. Facebok tends to give you a false sence  of intimacy. Not with everyone but with many. Especially when it comes to my chronic illnesses and bad days. My high school friends don’t want to hear about that. Neither do the people I worked with on campaigns a year or two ago (or more).  However, I will add that  a couple of weeks ago when I hit a wall of pain and a very dark place and gave a shout out for help,  many, many people came forward to be there to help pick me up.  That meant everything to me. So, there are awesome exceptions. I may pop my head in now and then but it hasn’t missed me so why should I miss it? Am I right?

Focus On Your Goals!

Focus On Your Goals!

So if I am going to be here more often, I need to clean house. Basically, I have some big changes coming up for my little home here. Can  you believe I missed my Blogiversary? 12 years! 12 YEARS!! Now it’s closer to 12  and a half. Nevertheless, can you believe I have been writing here for 12 years. Granted, I have been terrible about being consistent. But I need my space here to be share my thoughts freely. If you come here, it’s your choice. Unlike Facebook when I just pop up in your newsfeed, you choose to come to my home here. I am dusting her off, washing the windows, fluffing the pillows, and lighting some candles to make it smell cozy and homey. And of course, there is always coffee ready for anyone who wants some. I hope you come here and keep coming back. I have set some tough goals for myself here.

For instance, this post was supposed to be about something totally different and more personal but I backed away.  I’ll get used to being open here soon enough. (Or as they call it “blogging naked.”) The things I post may not be what my old readers  want to read. And, yes, that scares me. But? I have to get back to being myself. I can’t be the person some people want me to be. At least not all the time. I have changed. Chronic pain and chronic illness have changed me. I’m sorry to those friends who couldn’t handle the changed in me and had to walk out. I understand and I hold no grudges. It’s rough to have someone with chronic pain and illness in your life. I get that.

But as I write this, I can’t help but wonder if personal blogging is still a “thing” or have bloggers turned to microblogging on sites where they blog in sound bites? I guess we’ll find out. Are you ready to figure this out with me? Grab my hand. Let’s close our eyes. Now… Leap!

On friendship and being all in

“I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.”

-Jon Katz

minions

I love this quote. I’m so blessed to have these type of friends. I have some from childhood, from high school, from college, early motherhood days, new friends, those I’ve met online and never in person as well as those I’ve met online and they’ve become like family. You can ask most of them, when I go into a friendship, I go all in. Because I don’t know how to love a friend with a half heart. It’s not always fun. But it is always worth it. I’ve been reconnecting with some older friends lately. It’s been good for me to remember who I was because honestly it’s who I still am. I just sometimes need to be reminded. I have been talking more frequently with one of my very dearest friends from high school and it’s been filled with laughter and reminiscing. He gave me a much needed gift. I saw myself through his eyes. He held up a mirror that was more accurate than the broken, warped, and twisted one I’ve been seeing myself in. It’s made a difference. 

Anyway, all that to say, if you have a friend you love & value, don’t let them slip away. Don’t be too ____ for them. (busy, tired, withdrawn) I know I’ve been guilty of that. Especially lately. I’m no different from anyone else. I have doctors appointments etc. Of course, not being a working woman and being at home all day I always worry about calling at the wrong time (which I usually do) but I know I get to the point of being paranoid that I’m annoying and that is harmful, too.

Anyway, like I’ve said and anyone who’s been in the line of fire when it comes to me being all in with friendship, I’ll fight for you. Probably long after I should have let go. I don’t give up. I stick. My friends are my people. My tribe. They are my life glue. I need my people. So make no mistake, even if I’m hurt, I’ll never give up. Ever.

On blogging and Facebook

 

blogit.jpg

 

Today was one of those days that kicked my ass. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. It brought me to a place where I thought “I want to blog about this.” But then I thought, “No, I shouldn’t. I may upset so and so.” Or “My blog has been down and I doubt anyone reads it amymore.” Or “Why do I even blog anymore. Do I still love it? Does anyone?” So I took the question to Facebook.

Oh, there was a time I never would have done that. It would be blog first always then maybe a link on Facebook but that would be a second thought. Today it was my first that and the blog didn’t come to me until after I read over 90+ responses to my question: “Does ANYONE blog *just* for the love of blogging anymore? Not worrying about stats, SEO, reviews, readership numbers, ads? Would you blog simply for the love of blogging? Or is that a relic of the past? Is that kind of blogging dead? It’s a genuine question. I want to hear your thoughts.”

I loved the variety of answers. Some blog for the love of it only. Some for money and passion. Some for work. Some only when they think about it. Some have quit. Every one that answered had a different reason for blogging. And I loved that. I really wanted to know if anyone still loved it because after more than 11 years (and many bumps, bruises, blood, sweat and tears), I wasn’t sure if I still did.

During the day (after I posted that) I noticed that I had 2 comments I had previously left on 2 pages were deleted. Maybe coincidence. And? Only one comment got me wrapped around the axle. It made me wonder…with the instantaneous ability to comment, question or debate someone on Facebook, are people more  likely to question something you write there than to come to your house (BLOG) and do it there. Say for instance if I asked that question here, first of all, I know I wouldn’t get over 90 people responding. Secondly, would people be likely to expound on their thoughts? Dig deeper than on Facebook? Maybe start a dialogue? I don’t know. It just made me wonder if people act/react differently in a community like Facebook than they would in you home like a blog.

Do you respond differently on Facebook than on a blog? I’ll be honest. There are times I do. It’s an easy knee jerk reaction when you see something scroll by to immediately respond. Good or bad. I’m open to both. I just want the dialogue. I have LOVED the conversation my question started. Absolutely loved it. Whether your answer was “Nah, don’t have time with all my work SEO etc to have the love” or “I love it so when I feel it, I write” or even “I hate this question. It makes me uncomfortable.” I love that it make you think. Or at least react. Thanks.