My book is coming together like magic

Today I thought up a new outline and everything’s coming together like magic.  I had originally thought this was going to be a whammy of a project and now I am realizing that….

YES, I CAN DO THIS.

I love being a writer.  I love that I don’t give up.  Anyone who says poor people are lazy or have an attitude problem is just plain wrong.

I get knocked down like you wouldn’t believe, and yet…remember that song…

“I’m still standing”……?

Yep. Still kickin’.

“Can it get any worse?” My thoughts on being ungrounded and what it means to be an adult

“Can it get any worse?”

In a word, “Yes.”

More words:

It often does.  Looking back, people can live a long time, and when you are young you are rather clueless as to how truly bad “bad” is.

I mean, think back to when you were really, really little. What was the worst thing?  Having your lunch money stolen?  Having that really cute girl say no when you asked her out on a date? Being turned down when you tried out for that sports team you wanted so badly to be on?

Okay, okay, I’ll dig a bit deeper.  How about the day your teacher took you aside and told you you need to lose a few pounds.  That teacher held her face so close to you that you could see the creases in her face and all the flakes in her makeup.  You cried all the way home and then you were scared to tell anyone.

Yes, it does get worse.  If you are reading this, you might be one of those people wondering about this or asking yourself that question right now.  I wish I could tell people it doesn’t, but I have no platitudes or euphemisms or answers for anyone.  I’m surely not going to lie.  I don’t have an explanation for why people are mean to others or are uncaring, but that’s the way the world is.

What’s really the worst thing that can happen?  I look back over the years and ask this.  When did the bottom drop out the absolute worst? What events struck me down the hardest?  It’s surprising that sometimes what appears to be rather subtle affects me deeply, and other things that are seemingly huge events I pick myself up from and move on like a trooper.

Believe it or not, I’m not alone in this. I’ll bet most people are the same way.  I can remember tiny things setting me back.  It makes it harder still when people around me put me down for “making a mountain out of a molehill.”  I don’t know why people choose to insult another person instead of trying to be empathetic. Again, humans tend to be uncaring and they’d rather put me down even deeper into the hole that I am already in, hammering it into me how “negative” I am, rather than showing love and affection.

I guess the worst thing that could possibly happen, or ever happened to me was losing a loved one, that is, someone very, very close to me.

Losing my home and being homeless, that is, having to sleep literally on the streets, this would be a bad thing, too.  (The term “homeless” is often misused, by the way.) I hope it never happens.  I’ll bet it sucks bad to lose your home.

I have lost a partner and that, I must say, is for sure like having the bottom drop out from under you.  No explanation, no reason. Random bad luck.  It happens to some and not others.  I’m not going to tell one person it has anything to do with deserving anything.  It doesn’t.

I had no clue it would happen beforehand.  No anticipation. One day he was there and then he wasn’t.  I went on with my life because I had to.

Joe and I had been together every day.  We didn’t live together, nor were we married legally.  I guess we had no word for it, maybe “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” but it had been so many years that we stopped using those words.  I can’t recall the word they used for me in his obituary. I can imagine the awkwardness.

My own family paid their respects, that is, my bio family.  They made a brief appearance and that was it.  I’ve been lost in the shuffle rather quickly afterward.  Ten years have passed, over ten years now.

I have lost dogs. Now let me tell you, losing a dog for some people is a bigger deal than it is for others.   I have one beloved living being in my life right now, my Puzzle with whom I share my life and that’s it, and thinking now that to lose her would mean the bottom would surely drop out.

For some, losing a beloved animal is harder than it is for others.  It has nothing to do with values or morals.  To say that an animal “doesn’t have a soul” or to say it’s a lesser loss than losing a person and that this grief “doesn’t count,” well, that’s an insult indeed.  I honestly don’t know a thing about souls. All I know is that I love my dog. Being sad doesn’t mean you are a bad person or morally weak.  If anyone puts you down for grief, don’t listen to them.

I lost my dog right after I lost Joe.  The timing? Joe died August 19, Tiger died October 12. This was in 2003.

What now?  I can tell you you will be loved, maybe it will last, but for me, it was only momentary, actually a few weeks, then I was suddenly alone and in shock.  People came to court me, and maybe this will happen to you, too, but maybe not. Those seekers may lust after you with caring as a goal, or perhaps only to use you briefly for their own purposes, then toss you aside.  That’s what happened to me.  They may see you as someone who has already been taken out of the box long ago whose original warranty has already expired.  Some folks do in fact meet others and then have good partnerships again. I didn’t experience that.  Again, perhaps just luck of the draw.

How do I feel after all these years?  In a word, “ungrounded,” like there’s nothing underneath me to hold me up.  Everything has whittled away.  I was abused in hospitals a bunch of times, and lost countless friends because of it. I’ve had serious bodily organ damage that affects daily life.  I am completely alone 99% of the time.  I rarely have spoken conversation. Domino effect, I guess. Bad luck.

I’m trying to change the situation, but it’s actually not as easy as you’d think.  I have tried certain solutions that didn’t work and made things ten times worse, so I stopped trying those solutions and tried doing something else to fix the problem. I’m currently in the process of changing my living situation.

Being ungrounded is a blessing, actually, though it took me a while to realize this. How did I come to this conclusion?

We’re on our own.  Adults in this world.  There’s something both scary and wonderful about that. Remember the day you left your original place you called “home”? For me, I remember the day I walked out of that big house with “Mom and Dad.”  I was counting down the days and could hardly wait!  I told myself I was now an adult.  I was so proud but I knew I was going to have to fight very hard to get that “Mom and Dad” machine off my back. That ungrounded feeling felt terrific, however scary it was. The Big Unknown was inviting to me.  “Mom and Dad” felt like prison, and I’d do anything to get away.  It felt like I was in a bad trap with my bio family.

I can tell you one thing: it’s true that when you are completely ungrounded, you do get stronger. Find that strength and hold onto it.  It’s who you are.

I celebrated everything wonderful about being lifted up off my feet when I was 17. I guess now that some very, very bad things have happened to me, especially in the past decade, I can look back on how terrific I felt as a 17-year-old and tell myself that “ungrounded” could be seen as a good thing even now.  Why do I now see it as bad when in fact, it means independence and freedom?

It’s time to find out who I am, that is, the person I always was inside.  It’s cool that I’ve been doing just that.  I love the way it’s gradually unfolding.  If there’s nothing to fall back on, I end up finding that strength within that was always there to begin with. I won’t find it if I fall back into a trap of dependency. I seem to be daring to be that adult I always wanted to be, and I’m taking more and more responsibility for my life.  It’s rather liberating.

Stick with folks that are affirming and loving, and you will go far. If anyone insults you, walk away. Dependency and insistence on neediness is an insult, too.  Don’t fall for that trap.  You will blossom among those that encourage independence, freedom, trust, creativity, and love.

If you have anorexia and enjoy caffeine, you may be interested in this….

I am posting this with full awareness that it’s a documented case study of one person.  Also, this is something that happened to a young woman beginning in 1975.  I believe the value in this is that back then, patients were less exposed to a whole bunch of propaganda regarding nutrition, eating, eating disorders, weight, dietary myths, snake oil, nor were we bombarded with “advice” everywhere we turned.  There was no Internet and the world was a quieter place. Still, she developed anorexia after being given an antidote that was supposed to counteract an allergic reaction to clams.

You can read it all in the link below.  It all happened because she was unusually sensitive to caffeine.

We all know folks that are like that.  Many figure it all out early on and they know enough not to drink coffee or any caffeinated beverages at all. They learn what has caffeine in it and what doesn’t. Just like people who are allergic to bee stings don’t walk near bee hives if they can help it.

But still, the article points out that without knowing it, folks just might keep at it with that one very thing that they are allergic to, and in fact crave that substance!  Even if it’s making them sick!

How can this happen?  For one thing, if the allergic reaction is delayed, how is the allergic person going to know?  Say you are allergic to cherries.  You eat ten cherries on Monday.  On Tuesday, you eat celery.  You get hives Tuesday afternoon. You might assume the celery gave you the hives, or anything else you ate or drank. In fact, when you first ate the cherries, maybe they made you feel terrific.  Or not. You’ve probably forgotten.

My dad was sick and missed a lot of school until his mom took him to the doctor’s finally. The doctor ran an allergy test. Back then, this was done by making many scratches on my dad’s arm. The doctor asked my dad’s mom what she gave him when he was sick. She said she gave him milk, but put chocolate in it so he’d be more likely to drink it. After all, kids were kids just the same as they’ve always been.

However, the doctor told my dad’s mom that feeding my dad chocolate would have to stop.  Milk was fine, he said, but this little boy was going to stay sick if his mom kept feeding him chocolate.   “He’s allergic,” the doc explained, “to chocolate and peas.”

I can picture my dad right now. Knowing my mischievous dad and his love for chocolate, I’ll bet inside, he groaned to himself, “Oh no!  No chocolate?”  I’m sure already he was devising ways to sneak into stores and buy it when his mom wasn’t looking.

As it turned out, lucky for my dad, his allergy wasn’t that serious and for the next 60 or so years, he regularly broke rules and ate a fair amount of chocolate.  I’m sure it was more likely workplace or wartime toxin exposure and not chocolate that caused his cancer, or whatever random unlucky things happen to people. As for peas, he never liked peas anyway. I’d say he was a happy person. I loved his sense of humor. He would come up with things that would tell me that my dad saw things in many ways as if he were seeing them for the first time, as a child does. That’s the best humor, and a great way to view the world as a writer, too.

The above story doesn’t have much to do with caffeine or anorexia but I thought I’d throw it out there for the heck of it.

My own caffeine intake varies, but I consume very little of it. Now and then.  If I’m going to go for a run I usually have a cup of coffee beforehand. To me, it’s like eating the right combination of foods before a run.  Many runners enjoy a peanut butter sandwich. Some swear by bananas. However, I’m not a coffee freak and I don’t drink it every day.  Maybe twice a week, for a treat, and I don’t notice any sleeping changes or anything off kilter as a result of drinking it. Actually, if I have a bad stomach ache, a cup of coffee will cure it.  I don’t put anything such as milk or sugar in the coffee.  I wonder if the stomach ache cure is the placebo effect or maybe if drinking something warm is the reason I feel so much better. Or maybe it works because I’m doing something nice for myself and that’s affirming. Or perhaps the stomach ache was going to go away anyway.  Or maybe the coffee does indeed work. Am I over-analyzing and is my over-analyzing a “diagnosis” I should worry about?  Maybe we should discuss this over coffee.

Some say caffeine suppresses appetite. I also know that caffeine, if timed at certain bad moments, will cause overeating or binge eating.

Do you recall that article I linked to by Dr. Weil?  It was rather brief but his point was this: Don’t drink caffeine while under stress and don’t use it to cope with stress. I would have to say I’m in full agreement with Dr. Weil on this one and that for many, probably most, this applies.

However, unless you are one that is sensitive to it or don’t like it, or have been told you have a health condition and therefore should avoid caffeine or are allergic, to drink it to keep yourself warm or to add to a meal or to enjoy because it’s the social lubricant of choice or to drink as a cultural or spiritual ritual I certainly see no harm.

If you are in doubt and you have a health condition, you may wish to consult someone who specializes in that condition, and ask others who are affected as well. As for anorexia and caffeine, here’s that article about how a young woman got inadvertently caught in a downward spiral:

http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2004/pdf/2004-v19n02-p092.pdf

Don’t forget the past. Don’t believe those who tell you to live only in the present. It’s a myth!

I am a Jew and I was taught that memory is essential to survival.  I heard, “Lest we not forget,” muttered over and over as if it were a sacred prayer.  I remember when I was 19 years old I went to Israel and saw the Wailing Wall and the Holocaust museum.  We know that history can and will repeat itself. We know we will make the same mistakes again  and again if we don’t learn from them.   This is meant both historically and personally.

I believe that we need to retain our memories in order to survive as we get older. We need to pass on our stories to the young, to give our stories to young people as a gift, so that they may learn.

Lest we not forget. What does this mean to you?  How can we give to the younger generation? What was it like growing up for you as a young child? Can you tell your children what your childhood was like, and how will this help them? What was fun for you? What frightened you?

If you can find beauty in pain, and humor in all the irony around you, there is value in these lessons. Why deliberately forget?  Why live only in the present and deprive our precious children of all that we hold to be of value. This is what is priceless, so much more than an inheritance. This is our culture, what is real.

This is why I write. Sure, it’s rough around the edges.  It’s raw.  It bleeds.  It cries out. But I love to remember my life and write about all I see as if it happened only moments ago.  I believe it’s of value.  Don’t lose the past.  Hang onto it. It’s our gift, and with it, we can empathize with others who suffer, too. Without the ability to sit down with the young people and say to them, “I was once there, too,” I cannot hold their hands and weep with them.  So I do this now as often as I can.  Today, I believe in myself.  That feels darned good.

Miminum wage? Here in Massachusetts it’s a matter of being HUMANE

Please read this document if you can read .pdf’s.  Note: it’s straight from the Catholic church itself here locally and the Pope, too:

http://www.bostoncatholic.org/uploadedFiles/Roman-Catholic-Bishops-Statement-on-MinimumWage03192014.pdf

So you figure someone earning $8 an hour is going to get $16,640, but that’s BEFORE taxes, folks.  Now this is in Massachusetts.  I have told you how much it costs to live here in Boston.  Rent for my place if I didn’t get a subsidy would be at least 1,500, more like 1,800 for any 1 br out there at least.  I have 300 square feet. This will fit one person. Two is a squeeze.  You figure a person needs 30,000 or 40,000 at least to rent anything larger, so if there are two parents they will both have to work, or one will have to get two jobs.  Am I guessing wrong? Probably.

No one in Boston should have to work for so little.  In other places life might be different but here, no one should have to try to make a living being treated like crap.

And anyone on disability?  Same deal.

We are not worthless throwaways.

We are valuable people. If you honor someone that person will be wonderful in some way that’s worth far more than money.

I write, see, and I don’t shut up.  You value me for my talents and abilities and my stick-to-it-iveness and I will run far.

 

Superman as a young boy, my version

Remember superman? I don’t mean the remakes.  I mean the originals.  Remember those very, very first episodes of Superman as a young boy? Do you recall those honest, hardworking parents of his that discovered Superman, that special, talented boy and how they honored that boy?  His mom hand-sewed his Superman uniform.

I was a young girl when I watched that show on my parents’ black and white TV. I felt such awe that Superman’s mom would take such care in his magical outfit.

Priceless.

Today, Superman would be drugged and thrown into a kiddie mental hospital. He’s a boy with ADHD or whatever. The outfit would end up burnt at the dry cleaners.  Or confiscated.

Or Superman would end up in foster care and his loving parents would be wrongly accused of abuse. Superman would be stuck in the mental health system for life, not the Clark Kent we all learned to adore.

Wow, have times changed from the black and white days of yesterday.

We need to honor the special abilities of kids. All kids are Superman.  Let’s let them fly.  Let’s set them free. We can do this.

Leaving the System is like leaving an abusive marriage

Think back…Remember when you left that abusive marriage?

Think back on the day you walked out.

Or if you had tyrant parents or one of them that was, try to remember your escape from that one parent. If you were fostered out or if one parent gathered the kids together one day and said, “We’re leaving. To save our lives.” Do you remember?

Do you remember that feeling? Like you were running from a burning building?  If you didn’t leave, you’d perish. Do you recall the wrath of the abuser inside?  Calling out to you, screaming, “Come back! Come back!” But no, you couldn’t do that. You’d rather die than return.

Most of us in our little band of escapees don’t even turn back and look. That slows us down. We keep running until we are safely far enough away. We gather more strength and run some more if we can. Safety comes in odd-looking places and often where we don’t expect it.

Who give us assistance along the way? Often the kindest are those that have the least to spare. Those that have run in the recent past are empathetic. Others find us strange. We seem crazed to them.

Yeah, that’s what it’s like to leave the System. For a long time, we are looking over our shoulders, even in freedom. We are afraid of being snatched up, of losing our newly-found freedom, because at first, it’s fragile.

But then, it begins to build. It takes time to build confidence and for others to see that we are strong, and now, so much stronger because we have walked away from the prison of abuse.

The whole world watches as we again become whole. We are better than ever. The amazing thing is all the false promises that those abusers made. We are so, so much better than we ever dreamed possible, because we have torn off their yoke. We are slaves no more.

New world

The world is no longer broken. It’s not double-sided or two-faced and it sure is less confusing for me now. Know why? I replaced my broken glasses with new ones. The new blue glasses arrived in the mail today. I could hardly wait to pick them up. New glasses! New glasses! I was impatient like a little kid. They were right there in my post office box. I put the envelope into my pocket. I  crossed the street. Into the library and a beeline for the ladies’ room. Into a stall. I opened the package. Inside, my glasses. All mine.   I put them on and suddenly the world was mine again. I had lived with broken glasses for too long. The world is mine again. I own you. I am boss. I am strong and unique and proud and beautiful once more. And I see you, too. Hello, world. My name is Julie Greene and I am unstoppable.

I’m late, oh dear

I used to think It was the worst sin on Earth to be late.  Now I feel it’s the second worst. So I can breathe a sigh of relief I figure. It’ll most likely go ignored unless I offend too often, then I’ll go to hell, but I’m there already, so who cares?  Nobody. That’s what He’ll is,.folks, in case ya’all were wondering. However,  I gotta be totally sweet tonight. Polite.  You know. The nice me. See ya.

Update

Guess I forgot to give ya’ll an update.  I think I let you know I had gone to my doctor’s office to get a note to give to my manager. I did that. I got the note rather easily, and just in time, too!  You shoulda seen me, dudes. I rocked in that doctor’s office, turned on the charm in fact. Here’s a piece of that conversation, replayed:

“So it seems that you are doing well, aren’t you?”

“Oh yes, quite well. Puzzle’s doing fine as well.  I had to take her to the vet, though, she had  little lump on her.  Fortunately, it turned out to be all fine though. The vet said it wasn’t anything to worry about.”

“I’m having the secretary type up the note as we speak. So you should be all set.”

“Oh thanks. I didn’t want to trouble you.”

“I hope the note says what you need it to say.” (secretary walks in with note. Doctor hands note to me and I read it.)

I say to her, “Oh yes, this is just fine.”

She says, “If it isn’t, let me know.”

“I want to thank you so, so much for understanding, and taking the time to do this.  I appreciate it very much.”

And so on.  All nice charm.

And so, I stopped by to see my manager.  No mention to the doctor that my neighbors hated me since the day I moved in for no reason and have been hostile to me. It all seemed unnecessary. So I went to the manager on Monday, and made an appointment to see him the following afternoon.

I showed up bright and cheery.  My usual quiet demeanor.  As usual, I remarked on how lovely his office is, how sunny and scenic the view, etc.  And of course, more commentary on the weather.  We New Englanders often speak of weather cuz there’s really nothing else to chit-chat about.  It’s an interesting topic.  This winter has sucked bad anyway. Of course, I didn’t word it that way. I was cute about it.

Then, wouldn’t ya know it, my manager was the one to bring up The Topic.  Cuz he knew I was coming to talk about it. Was I glad I had moved there…or not?  I said, “This is what I came to talk about.”  I told him it was “too noisy” where I live and told him all the reasons.  First I asked him if he often was down my end of the hall.  He wasn’t.  I listed all of them off the top of my head.  I was honestly rather surprised.  He knew about the televisions but wasn’t aware of the garage noise. I also mentioned the sneezing, as example of how thin the walls are and how easily sound travels  through them.  He takes me seriously and this move is bound to happen.  I had to officially fill out an application, but I believe that now that I’ve spoken to him, the ball will indeed get rolling. I attached the doctor note, which of course was necessary for this to happen. There has to be a medical reason or some other reason to request a transfer.  I will receive an official response in three weeks. After that, I will wait for an opening and then accept or decline what is offered to me.

I did this just in time.  Our manager has known me over 20 years. He’s seen my health decline since I’ve moved to this building.  A new manager wouldn’t know that. This current manager is retiring at the end of the month.  Yep, just in time.

We shall see.  I will be relocating a few blocks from where I currently live.

You know what I’m gonna do? When I move into my new home, I’m gonna do something I have never done, not once since I left my mom and dad’s home at 17.  I’m gonna put up my own mezzuzzah.

The mezzuzzah is what us Jews put up on the front of our homes, on our gates. Know what it means to me?  It means, “I live here.”  Never mind what else.